Monday, June 4, 2012

The TMNT Art Tour And Other Things To Do Before You Die

I'm not sure when they found the time to create some of history's greatest art masterpieces. It always seemed like fighting Shredder and his endless army of Foot Soldiers was a full time gig. But somewhere between the street fights and a slice of pepperoni pie Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael managed to enrich the world with their art. No small feat for a bunch of slang spewing turtles. So seeing as how the art is there to be seen I feel I should see it before I die.

This one of the growing number of items on my bucket list. I'm not planning on dying anytime soon but it doesn't hurt to start working on the list now; after all failing to plan is planning to fail. I'll have more entries from my list as well my thoughts on the construction and use of a bucket list coming soon so stay tuned. It's gonna be radical dude.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

If you read Brian's post today....You'd get "it."

An Ode To A Thistle Hued Terrapin And Other Absurdities

Have you ever had a thought so completely random and outside the bounds of your normal thought patterns that any attempt to discern its origin is as fruitless as an orange grove in the Antarctic. And has such a thought ever gotten lodged in your subconscious and then floated into the realm of conscious thought at seemingly random intervals with such encounters sometimes separated by spans of a week or more. As you may have guessed I have been in possession of such a thought for some time now and have yet to uncover an effective method for dislodging my unwelcome if somewhat humorous guest. What now lies before you is an attempt to exorcise the specter of this thought by giving it a body of its own; even if only a body of the written word.
The thought in question is "purple turtle". Perhaps this terrible terrapin is the result of watching reruns of The Ninja Turtles as a child. Donatello was always my favorite. Maybe it's the rhyme that makes it stay and play and never ever go away. I'm suspicious that the purple turtle hails from the same realm as my friend's Cosmic Possum but that suspicion is not something I've been able to confirm at this juncture. Where the turtle hails from originally is in my mind of less import than where he has chosen to reside now. Namely in my mind. Perhaps now that others are aware of his existence he'll chose some other poor soul with which to room. In the mean time I'm going to try to lock him up for the night and hope he stays put long enough for me to get a reprieve.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Deep Water


“Rewriting history will not change the past, but a small change in perspective can.” – e. Tetterton

Today I’m delving into the deep waters of deep thoughts on this delightfully dreary, drippy day.  …..and pondering Proverbs 20:5…… “The purposes of a (wo)man’s heart are deep waters, but a (wo)man of understanding draws them out.”  So often when thinking through my past, I focus on the “What”?  “Where”? & “When”?…..but not “Why”?  ……yet it is through the answer to this incredibly simple question that I can begin applying the lessons of the past to my future. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Aforementioned Buoyancy Of Hope

We've spoken previously of hope's oft purported tendancy to remain aloft when there is no logical reason why it ought to do so. And while the this peculiar property defies our understanding it is well that it exists. For some days grabbing a hold of and relying on this buoyancy is all that keeps us afloat in a sea of uncertainty. Which doesn't mean that bobbing along in this fashion will be a pleasure cruise. After all; Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12 NLT). Waiting on that hope to be fulfilled can be a seriously miserable experience. But we hold onto hope because despite the pain there is a tree of life at the end of the journey. Sometimes we can't see that for the waves and sometimes the tree isn't growing where we thought it would be but never the less there it is. And when we finally reach that point we'll know that "every second lived is worth each second of the pain". So grab a hold of hope and hang on tight. Cause drowning is a terrible end.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Contrast

contrast[ kuh n-trast, kon-trast, kon-trast ]

verb (used with object)
1. to compare in order to show unlikeness or differences; note the opposite natures, purposes, etc., of: Contrast the political rights of Romans and Greeks.
verb (used without object)
1. to exhibit unlikeness on comparison with something else; form a contrast.
2. to differ in a way that can serve to distinguish meanings: The sounds (p) and (b) contrast in the words “pin” and “bin.”

I find the contrast created by certain events, people, and moments in our lives both curious and enlightening. The ease with which the status quo can be completely upset and what once was good enough rendered anything but acceptable is sometimes shocking. And I am always amazed at what I find I have allowed myself to accept when I lack these points of contrast. So here's to those moments when contrast changes our view of everything.
Now if only changing the contrast on my TV could improve the program content in the same way.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Light at the End of the Tunnel


First the good news (it’s always better that way):  I have been experimenting with a drawing process once used by the late Paul Klee.  Klee (pronounced Clay) is among my favorite super-hero art figures.  ……and I’ve been obsessed with his “Oil Transfer” method for weeks now.  See photo for current experiments. (Tutorial to come in the next few weeks.)
…..and now for the bad news: Finals week is upon me & as if that wasn’t enough to sink a girl, I have a show deadline for Monday!  In my world, that is usually a HUGE, “YEAH!!!” …….but this week just means less zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’s.  ……but there is a light at the end of the tunnel……errrrr…..wait, maybe that’s just the light at the end of the hall in the library.  Ugh! 
43 Paintings due in the next 10 day!!!  Can she do it?  Only 5 more to go!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dwell On Design

Around here we have a particular appreciation for things that are deigned in an interesting, unique, or just plain fun manner. And if they can be practical at the same time so much the better. With that in mind I thought I'd share with you a few pieces which are among my recent favorites from around the web. Today will be smaller home objects. Next time fashion. And then last but not least architecture and other large scale designs. Oh; and all the photos will be linked to the sites where I found these objects so click away for more details on each. Now without further ado and in no particular order... Here... They... Are!!




This appeals to me for many reasons. First because I love vintage industrial styling. Second the number of books an object of furniture can hold is a primary criteria to determine how useful it would be in my life; this is purpose built to hold a plethora. It is in fact a veritable cornucopia of books. Lastly, at least for our purposes, I love to see ordinary objects repurposed in new and interesting ways.




As Steve Carell would say, "I love lamp". You may have noticed that I find light an exceedingly interesting topic and my interest extends to those objects which function as sources of the aforementioned light. Here I love the simplicity of design leaving nothing superfluous; form following function and beautiful for that very reason. And if you're noticing a trend the answer is yes I do spend way too much time on etsy.




If I have to explain why this is truly excellent you have no sense of humor. That is all.




This UXO, google it I can't do everything for you, is so simple and yet stands out from the crowd of boring glass vases that seem to grace most homes. Modern and retro at the same time this pieces bridges the gap between two of my favorite design styles.




Most useful bookmark ever. I feel the need to have one in every book and I'm still kicking myself for forgetting to preorder some of the initial production run. But I'll most certainly be ordering a not insignificant number of these once they become available at retail.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Figuratively Speaking

This semester is drawing to a close and I find myself working feverishly to finish up several (six-ish!!!) paintings in the next two weeks. Here are a few of my "projects" from this weekend. Enjoy!!


I've been experimenting with painting over other paintings I've already done.  I'm enjoying scratching back down through additional layers of paint to what lies beneath. 

.....the painting on the right was originally a Japanese style flowering tree painting....which isn't much my style....now really that interesting. : (  .....but I'm liking it much better with the figure painted in on top. 

 These two are for a project I'm doing on the work of Paul Klee.  I'm experimenting with black gesso instead of white on the left......which inspired the painting on the right.  Many of the backgrounds in my paintings tend to have darker backgrounds to begin with.  This "under-painting" makes for an added dimension to the "Klee"-style squares as a background.  The possibilities for this process become endless. 
.....now to fix the size of her right leg.....

_______________
For more exciting drawings from other artist, check out Sunday Sketches.

Friday, April 13, 2012

All Quiet On The Eastern Front

Writer's block is something with which I have little experience.

Primarily, I suspect, due to the fact that I have not been a writer of any sort for all that long.

As you may have noted my previously limited experience has become far less limited in recent weeks; much to my dismay.

But I have a plan. Which I will share with you upon its completion tomorrow.

In the mean time I offer you the classic internet content placeholder; adorable kitten meme.



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Where it all began.....

This week, my photography instructor asked us to do a presentation on other photographers that have inspired our work.  Some of my favorites are Edward Weston and Philippe Halsman .....although the one that has most influenced my work is Matthew Carden.  Carden does tiny still-lifes using figures from train sets.....& since I've been featuring my more recent work with my "army dudes", I figured I'd do an old throw back and feature the original "story" I told with them.....

The Mysteries of the Sock Monster's Lair: REVEALED!






Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Just a thought.....

Have you ever had one of *those* days where you feel as if you hit the ground running and haven’t slowed down…..& yet still haven’t accomplished anything of significance?  …..and the last thing you were able to accomplish was taking time out to relax & reflect on how you could bless someone else’s life?  THAT was precisely my yesterday.  I typically greet each person I pass on the sidewalk…..but yesterday, I made phone calls as I commuted across campus and ran errands that put me in my car by myself longer than it took to accomplish the errands themselves……and in my haste, I stopped to grab “fast food”…..after all, I was in a hurry……but it was there that I found myself stopped in my tracks & reflecting on how selfish my day had really been.  …..as the blue mini-van in front of me pulled away, I handed my money to the clerk, he waved it away….he said the lady in front of  you bought your meal and wanted me to tell you to “Have a Blessed Day.”  WOW!.....me?!?!?  Amazing….I’m not certain I’ve ever felt so honored or even unworthy to have a sandwich from Chick-Fil-A.  What a simple act of kindness!  It didn’t even require a huge quantity of effort or time…..it was simple…..and the message was simple…..Be Blessed….
…..but it’s gotten me thinking about missed opportunities to bless others….in simple….even anonymous ways.  What’s five dollars?  ….or five minutes in the grand scheme of life?  She didn’t know me…..she doesn’t even know what I look like.  How often do *we* decide what others “deserve” based on our perceptions of their actions, choices, words, looks, etc.  I’ve done it!  It’s easy to think about some wild African tribe as a mission field, but what about the people in our neighborhoods?  What about that person at work or school that’s annoying or awkward?  After all, this is a blog about *mundane* things…..can we forgive mundane offenses too…..like being cut off in traffic?  …poor service at a restaurant?  ….or my own person beef, the mail carrier that inconsistently picks up my mail?  …..or will I continue to reserve *my* right to be angry, upset, etc.  In the south it’s more passive-aggressive.  People’s “hearts get blessed” and they are “wished the best.”  The Bostonian interpretation of this is more direct and begins with the letter “F.”  …..but what would happen if each time we were tempted to say….or even think these things, we instead hit our knees and asked God to change our own hearts in a way that allowed us to see others through HIS eyes and prayed that HIS best be done?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Playlist, Chapter: 1

As I walk with Emilie autumn winds whistle through the neon trees; a haunting chorus to the gaslight anthem played by the antique streetlights; their tiny flames flicker. The shadows cast by entangled branches dance and writhe across the ground; like clashing armies of monsters and men. And I flashback; we're watching a different flame as August burns red on the horizon with the fire of summer; the memory seems like yesterday yet here we are on the doorstep of winter. The crisp clear air reveals a starry sky so close you feel your soul could ply the heavens with angels and airwaves; so high you're only 30 seconds from Mars. While back on earth we walk among the forest. Frost covered trees glisten like tin soldiers with their shiny toy guns...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Figure "drawing"

......my favorite way to "draw" is with a brush. : )

Always love checking out the "Sunday Sketches" with Blue Chair Diaries.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Firefight Continues.....

The little army dudes that took the library by storm earlier this week have now taken their fight to the produce department.  This fall out may be over the fact that I'm not overly keen on paying CrAzY prices for "organic" veggies.....at least not at the grocery store.  .....although I am stoked that this weekend marks the first farmers market of the season.  ......and whilst I choose not to buy organic, I am particularly keen on buying locally grown produce.....not to mention that when purchased from local farmers is typically a praction of grocery store prices.  This keeps as much green stuff in my wallet as it puts in my belly.  ....and that my friends, is WINNING!!!!!



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

Today I experienced something rather unusual. I spent the day with my sister, a rare occurrence to be sure but not something I consider unusual, in Raleigh hanging out and doing some shopping; also not unusual. What was unusual is that despite hitting what seemed like every clearance rack and discount store in the greater Raleigh-Durham area I walked away at the end of the day having purchased nothing but a significant quantity of food.

And while this is a particularly unusual occurrence it does seem apropos given that the later portion of our day was spent viewing the The Hunger Games... In IMAX which as a guy I found highly enjoyable due to the human male's innate love of huge viewing screens and absurdly overpowered sound systems. The larger and louder the presentation the better the male viewing experience and IMAX delivers in spades. That the movie is both enjoyable in its own right and a features a screenplay adaptation faithful to the source material doesn't hurt either.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

No Librarians Were Harmed in This (photo) Shooting

I take this break from my "Chuckle-A-Thon" to bring you plastic army dudes taking over the library.



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kitchen Catharsis

Cooking is not an activity that most seem to find particularly relaxing. Even many professional chefs seem to exist in a state of perpetual anxiety and stress when in the kitchen; I'm looking at you Chef Ramsey. But thanks to one designer's morbid sense of humor there is finally a fun and functional way to relieve some that pent up stress. I give you the ex.




While it may not keep your pots from boiling over it may just keep you at a low simmer. Or if like me you aren't prone to reduction induced rage; it may simply give you an reason to smile when you put your tools away after preparing your favorite dish.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Slacking....

…..on blogging that is.  I’ve actually been quite busy, even busy with mostly mundane things.  This has provided plenty of blog fodder, although sadly an atypically small amount of time to report on them.
Tonight I find myself tucked deep into the library….not in search of a book (of course)…..but rather in search of an internet connection (my primary use for the library).  In general I pride myself on my frugality…..but choosing not to have internet at home has indeed been a new foray into this past-time.  I have however become incredibly intrigued by book titles and am planning a photo safari (probably along with my army men & a barrel of monk(e)s) soon. 
Stay tuned for further developments.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Antithesis

My life is, under normal circumstances, quite mundane; one might even say extraordinarily so. Today however has been anything but.

Instead we've had a rather mixed bag of news and occurrences. Some good some bad and some that defy such simple forms of classification.

I'm not certain how I feel about this turn of events. On the one hand this makes for an interesting if somewhat unhappy diversion from the mundane routine of a normal day. On the other hand I don't prefer unhappy even as a diversion and the mundane is sort of what I do.

The day brought with it the possibility of future joys and happy endings. It also brought a certainty of future grief and bittersweet farewells.

So now comes the waiting and praying which inevitably follow these kind days.

And lacking a better way to pass the time; I've queued up an appropriately moody mix of feel good, encouraging, and melancholy tunes and set the playlist to loop.

I suppose the only thing to do now is wait until tomorrow and see what the sunrise brings.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

An Interesting Day

As I pondered what content should grace these pages, metaphorically speaking, I arrived at something of an impasse. I have several projects and ideas which are blog worthy; but none sufficiently complete for me to want to display them at this juncture. And I didn't have a single really bloggable random thought to pursue. This situation is due in no small part to the fact that I have done effectively nothing today.

Last week was a nightmare of double shifts; as well meaning managers at both jobs loaded me with hours to replace those lost to my recent trip to Colorado. The resulting work schedule had me working over 85 hours in a five day period; which after accounting for travel and prep time left me with approximately 3.5 hours of sleep a day; most of it in less than 1 hour increments. So this being my first full day off since that excitement I decided to simply relax and do as close to nothing as I could manage.

Which has been great for me but not so great for my inspiration. Inactivity is a lousy muse. However my lack of accomplishment lead me to wonder what other people have accomplished on the 7th of March. And the answer is quite impressive. What follows are some of March 7ths' most memorable moments throughout history and my thoughts on those events.

1530 - King Henry VIII's divorce request is denied by the Pope Henry then declares that he, not the Pope, is supreme head of England's church.
So much for the separation of Church and State. And in all seriousness why did women keep marrying that guy?

1774 - British close port of Boston to all commerce.
Party poopers.

1876 - Alexander Graham Bell patents telephone.
That was a good call.

1908 - Cincinnati Mayor Mark Breith stood before city council & announces that, "women are not physically fit to operate automobiles"
This must be the oldest running joke about women.

1912 - Roald Amundsen announces discovery of the South Pole.
Santa isn't there so nobody cares.

1933 - Game of "Monopoly" invented.
An accurate indicator of how much time it takes to play.

1962 - Beatles made their broadcasting debut on BBC radio.
The British empire's final invasion.

1968 - The BBC broadcasts the news for the first time in color on television.
The news never has done well with issues that are black and white.

1987 - Gavaskar becomes 1st cricket batsman to score 10,000 Test runs.
I have no idea what this means but it sounds impressive.

1994 - 8th American Comedy Award: Carrot Top wins.
And that was the best joke of the year.

1996 - 1st surface photos of Pluto (photographed by Hubble Space Telescope)
Hey; I know that guy. He was a planet once... Right?






Wednesday, February 29, 2012

....and the Greatest of these is "Courage"?!?!?

“Many People today believe theirdoubts and doubt their beliefs.  Has anyone ever seen an idea?  Seen love? Seen faith?  The reality is, though that we can see the results of an idea.  We can see the acts of faith & love, but the real things—the lasting things—in the world are invisible, spiritual realities.” –Pastor Rick Warren
At the end of last semester, my colleague Katie and I were discussing the depravity of makind and the deficit of intangible things such as love, joy, hope, peace, faith, and courage.  As cohabitants on planet earth, it seems it is our duty to help provide this to those around us….and so we hatched a plan to distribute precisely these things.  …..but sadly we too were running short on the “intangles,” sleep & time….so our plan was shelved for a later date. 
Two weeks ago however, we put our plan into action, hanging 7 of these signs around the upper portion of our building.
….and then waited….
The results have been surprising.  Of the three words we chose, I assumed “Hope” would be the most popular; I was WRONG…it’s “Courage”!
Out of 28 possible tabs for each word:
Day #1:   4 “Faith” - 10 “Hope” – 15 “Courage”
Day #2:   9 “Faith” – 13 “Hope” – 17 “Courage”
Day #14:  12 “Faith” – 13 “Hope” – 23 “Courage”
This project has now been expanded to a total of seven buildings on campus.  There has been discussion as to how students of differing majors may react……although I have no intention to try quantify this.  My hope is rather that those who need “Faith,” “Hope,” and “Courage” find it and that these signs remind the rest of us to encourage each person we come into contact with.
If you are interested in hanging these signs on a bulletin board near you, email MONKe@TheExtraordinarilyMundaneLife.com.....and we’ll get a printable .pdf to you.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dear Jacksonville, NC

As I make my way back to you at the end of my trip to Colorado Springs I'm beginning to think that our relationship just isn't working out. I'll always like you as a friend but I'm not sure we can ever be more than that. You simply don't seem to be able to offer what I'm looking for in a permanent relationship.

Every time I travel I'm reminded of just how much you don't have to offer. Colorado Springs had the comfortable feel of a small city, like you, despite actually being much larger. And having that comfortable feel coupled with the perks of the better selection of activities and opportunities found in a larger city makes Colorado look really good when compared to you.

And then there's this.


You don't offer views like this anywhere. Oh sure there's the sunrise over the Atlantic and that is pretty great but you only get it once a day and only at a really unreasonable hour. This view on the other hand is there all day every day.

And then there were all the other little things. City layouts that actually seemed preplanned; rather yours which I think were drawn by chimps with a set of crayons 5 minutes before construction began. Tumbleweed which is awesome to watch and leaves you constantly anticipating a good old fashioned shoot out at high noon. Snow; of which I am a fan. And it doesn't hurt that not every woman my age in Colorado Springs is already married.

And this has been true of pretty much every place I have traveled outside of your confines.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is; we can still hang out but I think that's as far as it's going to go. I can't say for certain where I will end up but I'm looking for someplace more compatible with my life and where I want my life to be heading.

I wish I could tell you that it's not you it's me; but let's be honest. It's you.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Have Your Cake and Eat it too

Dear Lovely Lady (whether you think you are or not)—
Today I want to tell you it is okay to have your cake and eat it too. 
Magazines, TV, and movies are telling us we aren’t beautiful unless we’re thin, tall, and SEXY…..but that’s not true.  What makes you lovely is on the inside.  You’ve heard this before and my message is not different….just a reminder to embrace each day as an epic adventure…..encourage someone else to be more than they are today…..push yourself farther and harder than you’ve ever pushed……to find friends that will travel this path with you, laughing together as you tumble through life. 
You are all strong and made in the image of your maker to be more than you ever imagined possible.  Most days you take life by the horns and do what is necessary to be that better you…..but some days….it’s time to throw caution to the wind & eat that cupcake whilst wearing a bikini.
Why?  Because you’re beautiful.
Love
e

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mun(day)ne 400; Or A Year A Month And Five Days In Review

As I was pondering my options for potential content with which to pack today's post, I always plan these things out at least five minutes in advance as I like to be well prepared, and it occurred to me that the blog had somehow slipped past it's first birthday without anyone taking notice.

I feel a cake is in order. Of course I generally do. Perhaps tomorrow I'll make that happen. But for now a few thoughts on where we are and where we're going.

Back on Mun(day)ne 1 I really wasn't certain how long this thing would last. I'm somewhat notorious for becoming bored with projects and activities; moving from one thing to another on a whim. Given that propensity I had no idea if I would be able to successfully maintain anything that resembled a regular posting schedule.

But somehow, actually in large part due to my wonderful coauthor, here we are 400 days later still posting away. And here I think we will remain for sometime to come. I've come to realize that as an outlet for whatever is on my mind at any given moment the blog can change shift gears and adapt to wherever the winds and whims should take me. And that if anything my tendency to jump from one thing to the next is a large part of what makes this whole blog endeavor work for me.

It's been a crazy ride so far. I've attended, and participated in, more weddings since this began then in the entire rest of my life. There have been new family members born, monkeys photographed, old friends caught up with, concerts attended, and always plenty of toast. I can't wait to see what the next 400 days will bring. I believe it will be awesome.

So a big thanks to the people who make this possible, the people that have shared their lives with me, and to the people who let me share their lives with you.

And remember it doesn't matter how mundane your life seems. Every day is extraordinary.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

There's yer sign.

You may be an artist if you’ve ever seen a Rorschach test and thought “Dang…..my ink bottle’s leaking AGAIN!!”
A recent open art call required interpretation of an “ink blot.”  …..and the first thing on my mind is…..Mind the Ink…..You’re making a mess….
…..but on 2nd thought……I saw LUNCH!
….nom….nom….nom….

…..and just in case you’ve ever asked God for a sign as to whether or not He loves you…..
Here’s your sign….really. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Luke; Come To The Dork Side

You may have realized by now that I am something of a nerd, and yes I can use the n-word because I am one, and if you haven't realized this by now you must be new here.

I know at first glance I might not fit your preconceived notions concerning how a nerd should appear and behave. After all I have impeccable personal hygiene, function normally in polite society, dress well, I don't speak elvish or Klingon and do understand the basic workings of most major sports.

That said I would probably recognize elvish and Klingon if I heard them, I could speak ad nauseum on Fox canceling the best sci-fi show ever made and how George Lucas is ruining Star Wars. I know what a T.A.R.D.I.S. is and what the acronym means, and I have a conviction, not an opinion, on the matter of whether Kirk or Picard is the better captain.

Given all this it should come as no surprise that my childhood was rife with nerd related activity. Chief among these activities was the collectible card game (CCG). And the king among these CCGs was Star Wars. I played every chance I got; and one year even convinced my folks, who were wonderfully accommodating, to take me to the world championship tournament. I made it to the semi final round in that tournament and ranked among the top hundred players in the world; which as a kid seemed like the pinnacle of human achievement.

So when I saw an unopened box of cards from a game, now over a decade out of print, that was as much a major player in my childhood as I was of the game; I couldn't pass up the chance to relive some of those childhood memories.

And I have to tell you it was worth every penny. I felt like a kid again opening each pack of cards and pouring over the contents; contemplating how I could use the various cards to construct a game winning deck. That alone would have been enough to justify the expense but the cards just kept giving as one of the packs I opened contained a particularly rare and powerful Lord Vader card.


This was a card I'd always wanted but never been able to get my hands on as a kid and to finally have one, even after all these years, felt like winning the lottery.

So take a piece of friendly advice from the resident nerd. The next time you pass something out of your childhood on a shelf or come across it in a box of your old stuff; go ahead and pick it up. Forget that you're "too old" to play with toys anymore. Be it a Barbie or maybe some old Legos take a minute to play with it like you would have when you were a kid. Relive those memories and, if only for a moment, let all the "grown up" worries, cares, and concerns slip away. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at just how much joy those childhood things can still bring you.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Reflections...

My favorite part of life experiences are memories.



.….today seems like a day to reflect on them. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chalk it up to experience.....


……but LOVE is hard work!


It’s Valentine’s Day AGAIN. 

 Three years ago, I thought I knew a LOT about LOVE.  …..but learning to love in the midst of a storm has been the most amazing and exhilarating experience of my life.  I’m not perfect & I’m certain you aren’t perfect either.  But there’s beauty in that imperfection…..grace is found in the grittiness of the everyday…..and it’s LOVE that stands the test of time that I love the most.



LOVE GOD.
LOVE OTHERS
….AND SERVE THE WORLD….today.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Watching Paint Dry

…..which is better than watching dry paint do nothing.
This week I switched over from using charcoal to “sketching” with paint.  This process is much more enjoyable for me.  As my painting style has developed I’ve discovered I enjoy glazing (painting with very thin watery layers) most.  On Thursday I posted about the drips on the floor as a result of my painting  below is the paint “sketch” & the subsequent drips. 

I'm excited where this set of "collateral damage" paintings may go.  I'm thinking about showing them together as dipticts.  Could make for an interesting show theme.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Druthers

As I’ve discovered, if I had my druthers, I’D PAINT.  …..which is a luxury not always afforded me (sometimes I have to use charcoal or other lesser mediums)…..however, that is not the case this week.  My “real” paintings are coming along nicely and I will share some of them at a later date, but one of the things that I’ve come to enjoy are the “collateral” paintings, like the one featured below. 
There is often great beauty in the midst of a mess, if only we stop to look.  Slow down....pause....find the beauty and share it with the world.


I’ve come to the conclusion that it is time to place a canvas down to catch them.  I will reveal the results forthwith.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Of Light and Dark

I find it telling that the very first thing God did after creating the universe was create light and separate the light from the darkness. In that moment we see the universe as it is. Darkness the natural state and apart from God's intervention devoid of light. The reality here is the universe in its entirety as allegory for the redeeming work of God. The very first acts of creation illustrating all that was to follow...

As humans we are born into darkness. Separated from the light of God by the shroud of death that is our sin. Even so the heart of man yearns for the light. Oh, certainly we love the darkness for how it hides our retched forms. For the way it cloaks our wickedness. But we also fear the dark; cowering in the corners of our lives for fear of facing the monsters which roam the night. Monsters which have no place in the light. So even as we embrace the night still our souls yearn for the light. After all when we venture into the night it is not the darkness but the daggers of light which pierce the veil above that draw our eyes. The aurora on the horizon captures our imagination leading us to wonder what it would be like to dwell in that light... And for a moment we forget what terror the night holds. And maybe the wondering will turn to longing; the longing to deciding and we will dare to embrace the light.

But once within the light we must still be cautious where we tread. For while it is often stated that darkness flees the light; and this is true. It seems that nearly as often we interpret this retreat as a form of fear; thinking that the darkness dares not step into the light. But perhaps it isn't fear at all. After all the darkness does not cower shivering in the corner. Instead it creeps as close to the light as it can; encroaching on those places where the light is most faint. No; if the darkness feels anything towards the light it must be hatred. For the light binds the darkness as surely as chains may bind a man. And so; the darkness stalks along the edge of twilight and watches; waiting to strike at the source of the light. For it is only in the light that darkness cannot tread. So then; we ought to plant ourselves firmly centered in the light. Lest we stray back into shadow and the places where darkness and the monsters it hides have their way.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dear Defeatists & Nay Sayers.....




Dear Defeatists and Nay Sayers ---
God has a way of using what we think we can’t handle to knock off the rough edges.   I have therefore compiled a list to help you demystify this mutual experience:

1.)     If God promised it….He’ll do it……but probably not in our timing OR the way we think he should.  Take a lesson from the Israelites.  They spent 40yrs wandering in the desert for their unbelief.   GOD WINS!
2.)    God likes to let us know He is BIG, Powerful, and Creative.  Read the book of Joshua.  He digs unconventional warfare……but it requires RIDICULOUS faith.  The odds will never appear to be stacked in our favor.  Just ask the guys wearing out their sandals marching around Jericho.  GOD WINS!
3.)     God put us here for a reason.  …..a reason he has been building on for years….probably our WHOLE lives.  Esther fulfilled her purpose the first time God asked her to do something.  GOD WINS!
4.)    God will give you a 2nd chance.  Didn’t feel up to following God the first time.  Not to worry….you get “do-overs.”  Just ask Jonah…..the downside however, is “do-overs” usually land you in a place that stinks more (like a fish) AND you still have to do what God asked you to do in the first place.  GOD WINS!
5.)    God will give you 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc chances.  Peter was a man of a million chances.  They say Thomas doubted….but Peter doubted even more.  Don’t worry….God will let you know he’s God.  He’s REEEAALLLY patient.  GOD WINS!


6.)Conflict is the path to victory, NOT indicative of failure.  Paul was no stranger to conflict, yet he counted it all a "Blessing."  God never promised easy, he just promises it will be worth it.  In the end....GOD ALWAYS WINS!
7.)    You will be LOVED by God & me, because of a thing called grace.  Yes, that’s Love with a capital “L.”  I realize this LOVE frustrates you……and maybe even makes you angry.  Good.  Hot metal can be molded…..it’s when you become cold, crusty, and indifferent that God cannot work.  GOD WINS!
The toughest judge you’ll have on this planet will always be yourself.  TRUST ME….we’re a lot alike….we’re HUMAN. 
SEEK.GOD.TODAY!!!
Sincerely,
e

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Disturbing Commonality

At the surface these two persons...





Seem to have little in common. But the reality is that they share one very important concern. Your faith; or the lack there of. In fact one might say they find your lack of faith disturbing... And I'm sure they feel the same way about mine when it falls short.

Okay so a Dark Lord of the Sith is probably not all that concerned about my faith. But I'm sure the savior of the world is. And while I am certain that I have faith I am equally certain that there are far too many times when the people around me wouldn't know if I didn't simply tell them. Talk however is cheap and offers but little assurance when it comes to the veracity of the proffered statement. Or as is stated in the book of James,

"What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, 'Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well'—but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
Now someone may argue, 'Some people have faith; others have good deeds.' But I say, 'How can you show me your faith if you don't have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.'
You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can't you see that faith without good deeds is useless?" (James 2:14-20 NLT)

So action, not talk, is the order of the day. After all as my illustrious co-author has noted there is a sad truth in Thoreau's observation that, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation". And how will they ever know anything different if we who have escaped that life have nothing to show as evidence of our freedom. I believe Saint Francis of Assisi said it well when he offered this instruction, "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words", and "It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching". So I don't know about you but I think I'll go for a walk. Feel free to come along.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dear Cool Kids.....

Dear Cool Kids----
We need to talk.  Over the years we’ve spent a lot of time together, but this week, something happened that bothers me.  In one of my classes, I overheard some of you discussing another student.  I get it….she just isn’t *that* cool.  …..at least not as cool as you…..but the truth is, I’ve sat next to her too and she a much better draftsman than most of us….not to mention she’s incredibly smart AND has a delightful sense of humor albeit a bit quirky.  Many of my favorite people are introverted and some are even a tad socially awkward…..and it will stay that way.  Truth be told, even I haven’t always been as “cool” as I might seem.  Sure, I blend in pretty well.  I studied you “cool kids,” read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends & Influence People” (twice), and bought a bunch of clothes at Banana Republic……it’s like “cool kid” camo….and it works pretty well.  …..and whilst I’m over the childish games, I will not stand by and watch you behave this way towards others.  She and anyone else who has been spoken about this way have an open invitation to sit near me…..in any class…..and I promise to always stand up for them in life.
Sincerely,
e

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Find the MONK(e)

Check it out!!!  There is a MONK(e) on this guy's shirt!.....AND the message is excellent.

: - )



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hypothetically Speaking

Let us suppose I had something to say. Better yet let's suppose I had something to say that was worth hearing or at least not a complete waste of your time.

Wouldn't that be something? Of course it would. And something is certainly better than nothing, at least in this case, so let's run with this assumption; if only for a moment.

I think it safe to say that this post would address some situation or experience common to most. A relatively serious topic but told with a pinch of absurdity and the kind of humor that makes a tough pill easier to swallow. Perhaps an amusing life story from my own experience will serve to illustrate the point and create a sense of camaraderie betwixt author and reader as we bond over our common plight.

And then we'll end with a moment of insight, again presented with just the right amount of hilarity, which allows you to carry a lighter more humorous perspective on the topic into your daily life, you're welcome for that, thus rendering your life generally improved if only in the most minor of fashions.

Yeah... That'd be great...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What's in a word?

The power of words is astounding.  There are some words I loathe listening to, some I like listening to, some I love listening to, and some I long to listen to again.  Some words are binding, some are frivolous, and some are laughable……but alas they all have meaning.  …..but it’s written words I love the most.  From love letters on little scrolls and contracts to*real* mail in my mailbox and tiny notes on yellow post-its….I love them all.  …...but journaling may be my favorite.  My journals are a beautiful review of yesterday’s thoughts in the world one must in live today.  ….there are times I wonder *why*  am  where I am, but to be able to see God’s hand placing me exactly where I am today through the pages of yesterday and yesteryear’s journals is amazing.  My own words on paper, written thoughtfully and with conviction in moments of clarity often answer that *why.*  They help me to recognize God’s infallibility and remain courageous in the midst of adversity.  Sure things change, even written words, regardless of how *binding* they seem, are often broken…..but that’s the fallibility of mankind….it’s free choice at its finest….and it’s part of the beauty we reserve as human beings.