Friday, December 19, 2014

My favorite museum

I realized as I was going through images the other day 
that I had never posted any from my recent visit to Sheboygan, WI - 
and my favorite museum of all time, 
the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

I'm serious - 
if you've never been before, 
what are you waiting for?
It's truly worth a visit all on its own - 
although some of us are lucky enough 
to get to visit it on the way to see family!

Don't expect the usual stuffy, medievally museum portraits though...

they specialize in folk art and total art environs;
helping to preserve whole buildings that 'regular' and irregularly creative folks have created.

There's nothing about it that I don't love -
even their bathrooms!

Here are some of my favorites from this visit...

There were several pieces from a house built by a man for his dying wife -

 his version of a 'healing machine' 
which played the most oddly melodic music
the inscription reads - 
"Any kind of temporal cure for this wholly temporary world".

She died - 
but not without knowing how dearly she was loved.
Such a lovely gift 
in and of itself!

There was a terrific 'art altar'
and an installation for skateboarders!

Like I said - 
never stuffy or even expected.

Find the road that takes you there - 
and GO!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Family tree - Christmas style

 One last Christmas touch - 
and then my house will be decorated 
as much as its going to get -
which is fine
since it already falls into the 
'over the top' category!

And this is exactly how it happens -
every year I think of doing some little 'tweak', 
using things I've already got - 
which snowballs into a project
involving glue guns - 
which morphs into a whole tabletop of more Christmas!

While poking around in Northern IL and southern WI earlier this month,
I was drawn to these decorations and ornaments
using antique light reflectors and tart tins. 

Just the inspiration I needed 
to get out MY reflectors/tins 
and create my own 
for a family tree!
 I included a Mary/Jesus one as homage to where the inspiration
  - for a lot of things - 
comes from!
I have crystals from an old chandelier that I'll add to some of them later,
but, beyond adding tinsel,
 'blinging them out' 
wasn't on the list yesterday!

 Even if some of the images are blurry 
from taking photos off Facebook,
it doesn't matter! 

They're family, 
they're with me all the time in my heart - 
and they're on the tree!
This idea is a keeper!

Speaking of keepers - 
I'm headed out soon on another road trip 
to see this little one
in Iowa
before she gets any bigger!
Can't wait!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Words from Sunday

I found them very timely and helpful...
maybe you will too!

When John is asked, Who are you?; he answers with a string of nots. 
He is not the Messiah, nor is he Elijah the prophet.
He is also not the light.

What we know about who we are 
is aided by knowing who we are not.
In our current darkness, 
as much as we might wish it were otherwise, 
we, like John, are not the light. 
We are not able to be all that our hurting world needs.

In the shadow of these stressful days, I find an odd comfort in this reality.
I am not meant to be who I am not.
I am not Jesus, nor am I a prophet.
I am not the light.
 We are told that John himself was not the light . . . BUT
—notice the compound sentence, each part having equal weight—
BUT “he came to testify to the light.”

Lest we be tempted to make our permanent home in who we are not,
in the small cramped space of low expectations and limited responsibility,
the second half of the sentence clarifies the first.
It calls me out from the shadows 
and gives me my own significant part to play.
I am not the light, 
but I am called to testify to the light.

To testify is to tell my truth, the whole truth,
to be held accountable for what I know and see.

I am a witness to the light. 
I have watched it shine in my very own darkness.
Light, of course, always shows up best in darkness. 

As it turns out in God’s wise economy, 
I serve the light best not by trying to be light, 
not by trying to create an illusion of light, 
but by being simply myself. 

A wondering, a waiting, a longing, a doubting, 
a sometimes lost and tired traveler. 

My unique darkness becomes my unique gift. 

It is how I testify to the light. 
The very parts of me that I think about trying to hide 
reveal the light most clearly. 
Because even in darkness—especially in darkness—
the true light, oh how it loves to shine.

Kayla McClurg

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Back story

The exchange of words
that played itself out on my Facebook page late last week
left me thinking -
and it's right that it did.

The events in Ferguson,
racial divides, root causes thereof,
reconciliation and where we go from here
are important issues;
they reflect much of what we believe,
cherish, hope for
and hold dear.

There clearly is also not consensus about any of it;
to discuss these things with anyone,
let alone in an informal and indirect fashion
has the potential,
if not the probability,
of stirring controversy,
and misunderstanding.

It wasn't even a particularly contentious debate -
just an honest exchange between friends who see things
from very different points of view.

Halfway through,
a young friend joined the conversation with an impassioned comment,
portraying Michael Brown as being nothing more
than an impulsive teenager who made bad mistakes.
She expressed rage and sorrow that he hadn't been given the opportunity
to live through what she saw
as normal teenage acting out.

And, just as I was in the midst of preparing a retort
that I was sure would
a) put her in her place
(yeah, don't ask... 
I don't know where that would be either!)
b) prove my point and get her back on track
while being
c) scathing and brilliantly clever
all at the same time,
dazzling everyone with my knowledge and acerbic wit,

God intervened.

In a moment of grace,
I remembered her backstory.

Her brother died in his early twenties,
several years ago,
after years of struggling with drug addiction.

He too had not survived his youthful experimentation
and bad mistakes.

The pain she expressed
was not simply about a teenager she didn't know in Ferguson.

Her sorrow was for all those young men
whose impulsive poor choices
have unintended fatal results.

It helped me remember that everyone of us has a backstory -
protestors, police and onlookers alike.

We all have narratives that inform us,
feed us and give us life.

What we see
is only a small part of the whole creation;
what's exposed to the naked eye
is NOT what's feeding each one of us
and our perceptions.

Roots are tangled and go deep;
they're messy
and never as tidy
as we try to make
what's visible appear.
I need to remember that.

These Days 
whatever you have to say, 
leave the roots on, let them dangle 

 And the dirt 

Just to make clear where they come from 

 Charles Olson