Friday, June 28, 2013

In Search of Beauty

Is beauty an image? A reflection? A perception? An emanation? An illumination?
Swan beauty
Ralph Waldo Emerson was definitely onto something when he wrote:  

No reason can be asked or given why the soul seeks beauty. 
Beauty, in its largest and profoundest sense, is one expression for the universe. 
God is the All-Fair. 
Truth, and goodness, and beauty, are but different faces of the same All. 
But beauty in nature is not ultimate. 
It is the herald of inward and eternal beauty...

And I would add: 
This herald of an inward and eternal beauty calls to the souls of men 
to come and enter into a relationship with the author of all beauty,
the Creator Himself. 
For we are His image bearers. 
We are beings made in His image and stamped with an indelible longing 
for a grace and beauty that would transform us from within...

Old Hands by ROD WILLIAMS Watercolor ~  x

Can I get an Amen?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Valley of Vision

   Have you heard of the Valley of Vision? Other than the place where you fall on your face to encounter the deepest heart of God in order to see one's life and one's Savior more is the name of a collection of prayers written a couple of centuries ago. By Puritans of all things. Now I am definitely not a Puritan, nor would I ever aspire to be. But there is something about these poems/prayers/meditations that inspires me. And leaves me weak in the knees. In a good way.
   So I am falling before your throne today, Sweet Lord, lifting my heart with those who have gone before me to whisper these words with an urgency that resonates like a drumbeat within me.

Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly,

Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;

Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty,
thy glory in my valley.

See what I mean?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Welcome to our World Supermoon

   With all of the hype surrounding the new movie adaption of Superman
I could not resist the allusion...
It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's Supermoon! 
This Sunday, June 23, marks the occasion of this year's Supermoon. 
For you science geeks (I am one), this is the technical definition of what you are likely to see:

Also known as a perigee full moon, the Supermoon event occurs when a full moon lines up with the Earth and the sun at a specific point in its orbit, called the lunar perigee. That's the point at which the moon is nearest to Earth as it traces its elliptical path around our planet. 
The best viewing time for this year's Supermoon should be Sunday evening, June 23, 2013, shortly after dusk.

There. Doesn't that make you feel better? So now you know.

The moon has always entranced, intrigued and beguiled.

When we are children we sing songs about this glimmering orb that fills our sky with wonder.

There are the tender lullabies

I see the moon and the moon sees me
The moon sees somebody I long to see.
So, God bless the moon and God bless me.
And God bless the 'somebody I long to see.

And the silly nursery rhymes

Hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle
The cow jumped over the moon
The little dog laughed to see such sport
And the dish ran away with the spoon

And who could forget the words 
of the beloved children's storybook Goodnight Moon?

In the great green room 
there was a telephone

and a red balloon 
and a picture of
the cow jumping over the moon...
Goodnight room
Goodnight light and the red balloon
Goodnight cow jumping over the moon 
Goodnight room
Goodnight air
Goodnight voices everywhere...

And then there are these beautiful words from the British poet Percy Bysshe Shelley,

Heaven's ebon vault, 
studded with stars unutterably bright, 
through which the moon's unclouded grandeur rolls, 
seems like a canopy which love has spread to curtain her sleeping world.

Step outside to see the show. Here she comes in all of her glory.

That glimmering orb that so entrances us is drawing close once again.

The heavens declare the Glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech
night after night they reveal knowledge,
They have no speech, they use no words
no sound is heard from them
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth
their words to the ends of the world
                      Psalm 19: 1-4
What celestial song does the moon sing?
What angelic music does she employ as she utters her praise?
What wonder, what beauty, what symmetry, what mystery 
she brings as gifts to the nighttime sky.
She is the Earth's fine evening song, 
not just for mankind,
but for all creatures everywhere.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dear Daddy

Dear Daddy,
    I am thankful for you. I wish that I had known you longer. Then I could have known for certain that my quirky interest in quantum mechanics, superstring theory, and the existence of black holes came from you along with my tin ear for music and my once incredible memory (age is getting the better of me now). When I was younger I used to look in the mirror, desperately searching for some physical proof of your DNA manifested in the reflection there. Yet, these days when I think of you I find the predominant emotion is mostly a pervasive sense of peace. And for that I am doubly thankful.

   I am thankful for your legacy of honor. I am thankful that a country boy from a small town in southern Alabama with no political connections persevered against all odds to make his dream of attending West Point come true. I am thankful that you swept my mother off her feet 64 years ago and gave her a love that has never faded despite the fact that you have been gone these nearly 52 years.

   I am thankful for my sisters. You and Momma gave me the gifts of a lifetime when Cindy and Julie were born. Thankfully we have matured past our childish propensity to squabble into women who love one another dearly and always have each other's backs. I think you would be proud. When one of us is hurt, we all three hurt. When one of us rejoices, we all three rejoice. It wasn't easy for Momma to raise us after you passed away, but she made the sacrifices of love over and over again without complaint. She has always put our needs above her own, just as she always put your needs above her own. She taught us to honor your memory and she kept close the ties with your parents and sisters. We grew up loving the small town of Opp that you called home. Momma taught us what it meant to be a Scofield and to wear that name with pride.
   I am thankful for the gift of our extended Scofield family: grandparents who loved and adored me, aunts who influenced me and boy cousins who provided relief from a female dominated family structure. Some of my best memories are of riding in the back of Uncle Fred's truck with Russ and Jud bumping over the cow patties in the pasture and laughing with great glee when one or the other of us would fall (on purpose, of course!) off the tailgate to land in the field.

   I am far from the little girl frozen in time in our last family picture. I have been happily married nearly 40 years to a good man. We have four grown children, (three sons and a daughter), and two granddaughters, one grandson and another soon-to-be-born grandson. I even named one of my sons after you, Daddy. His name is David Scofield White. He is tall like you and favors the Scofield side of the family, but oddly enough, it is my youngest whom they say looks the most like you once did. I don't know if that's really true, but it makes me happy to think that it is.

   I am comforted now by the thought of being your child, but for the longest time, I just wanted you back. I just wanted a Daddy. I was the little girl who could never seem to grow past the emotional ties that once bound me to you. But thankfully as the years have gone by, Abba has brought deep healing to my heart. My savior Jesus has bathed me in a grace and mercy that have finally filled the longing that once consumed me. I am also greatly comforted knowing that your faith in Christ Jesus was as important to you as it is to me. I remember watching you read your Bible and how you loved going to the house of the Lord.

   Although I have run from God in seasons of my life, I am thankful that He has never run from me. I am thankful to be both Abba's child and to be your daughter, as well. I believe that we will see one another again in heaven and have the joy of worshipping at the throne of of our Lord side-by-side. I am not sure how all of that is going to work. I am not that little girl anymore, but I still believe that somehow you will know me. I sure hope so. I am looking forward to catching up...
Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I will never forget you. I will always be proud to be your daughter.
Love always,

Sunday, June 2, 2013

To Keep or Not to Keep

   My friend recently inherited a set of French Provincial furniture. If you were a little girl growing up in the 1950's or 60's you know exactly what I am talking about. Every little girl I knew wanted a canopy bed and white desk and dresser just like the one pictured below. I remember showing my own Momma this very same ad from the Sears catalogue, but she wasn't buying it. We had Ethan Allen furniture instead. 
   No offense to any of you who might still be enamored with this style of furniture, I am no longer nor is my friend. In fact this white, somewhat prissy furniture could not be further from my friend's personal style. However, she is in desperate need of some sturdy furniture to provide additional storage in her bedroom. So it's off to the web to search for solutions to her dilemma...all involving some repurposing of the said French Provincial bedroom furniture into something a little more up-to-date.
   As you might well imagine, I found everything from exotic to moderately attractive to terribly tacky, so there's a wide range of ideas from which my friend can choose. Despite the way the pieces look at the moment, I am a complete advocate of keeping the furniture and applying different paint finishes to at least a couple of the pieces in order to break up the monotony and add some interest and variety to the room.
   Here are some options for that oh-so-boring dresser of hers.
This is a before shot to give you an idea in case you forgot about any 
of the features endemic to these stylistic gems...

How about this after? Not too bad in my book.

I confess I am a fan of this color combination
I also like this color palette that includes applying both a darkening stain to the original wood along with a paint treatment.

Check out this relatively simple two-color paint application, one that changes the character of the piece and gives it a different vibe. Note to painter: this definitely requires a steady hand.

If my friend decides to go with a pop of color, these are colors that pack a singular punch

And if she decides to bring a little pattern into the picture, this could work:

or this

or this available for purchase at this Etsy store.
Custom Painted Made to Order Vintage French Chest of Drawer Dresser

At least knowing my friend like I do, I know that she is NOT going to end up with
anything remotely resembling this! But as they each her own!