Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Bible Marginalia- Hear and Be Wise

Bible Marginalia Series-#250
                                   Proverbs 23:19
            Sometime when I read a section of Scripture-
                     I have to read it multiple times 
                      to find what "rises to the top"
                              for my attention.
                This week it was verse 19 in this chapter.
                      "Hear, my son, (and daughter)
                                    and be wise,
                       and direct your heart in the way."

                                           Be wise-
having or showing experience,

 knowledge, and good judgment.
Some days that just seems 
easier than others.
When I speak without clear thinking,
when I jump into a conversation
 without listening first,
when I give unwanted advice.
Time to go back 
and look at the direction of my heart.
Making sure the connections are in place for:
His leading, His guarding,
His whisper.

Various tags and die cuts
Fine-point Sharpie pen
Zig memory writer pen
Colored pencils
Assorted Acrylic paint- Target

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Boston Sightings

Last weekend we were blessed
 to participate in a PLI- 
Pastoral Leadership Institute-
 immersion program to learn more about 
missional leadership with a discipleship focus.
We met in Topsfield, MA.
 and then on Sunday took some time
 to explore a bit of downtown Boston.
Iconic- Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market,
and a lovely lunch at Boston Sail Loft.
 Cemeteries downtown are OLD.
Included were the grave of Paul Revere, and
 victims of the Boston Massacre.
On one side of  the Boston Commons
 is the famous-
Cheers Beacon Hill is a bar/restuarant
located on Beacon Street 
in the Beacon Hill neighborhood.
Founded in 1969 as the Bull and Finch Pub, 
it is best remembered internationally 
as the exterior of the bar seen
 in the hit NBC sitcom Cheers, 
which ran between 1982 and 1993.
The show used the Bull and Finch exterior 
for the establishing shots of the namesake Cheers,
Fun to explore with our friends
 Edith and Greg Walton.
A bit of local flavor- 
Agawam Diner - for some local fare.
is a historic diner at 166 Newburyport Turnpike
om Rowley, Massachusetts. 
Manufactured in 1954, 
it was moved to this location in 1970
 after first being located in Ipswich. 
 It is the town's only diner, 
and one of only six 
in the state manufactured by the
Fodero Dining Car Company.
 It was listed on the
 National Register of Historic Places in 1999.
  15 Walnut-
a local's tavern
 had beautiful hydrangea in pots 
and peonies on the tables.
A great gathering spot.
Sunday worship was at First Lutheran of Boston.
A beautiful traditional worship service.
An amazing organ blesses this site.
first lutheran of boston
The best part of the time in Massachusetts 
was being with friends- 
Edith and Carol and spouses.
Our husbands serve as
 District Presidents together in the LCMS.
We were blessed with the leadership 
of Jock and Gail Ficken 
who serve as the leaders for PLI.
Fun to learn from the young leaders in our District-
 Rev. Daniel and Jennifer Prugh from Midlothian, VA.
Also bringing encouragement 
was Rev. Nate Guelzow.
Lots to think about-
 and pray about for the Lord's leading-
 as we move forward 
in exploring discipleship models.
Living authentic, replicable lives,
in relationship with Jesus.
That is what it is ALL about. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

May Garden Walk

Tritoma- Red hot poker-
all names for this regal bloom 
standing as herald
 on the west side of the house.
Spiderwort and the old wagon wheel
Fairy rose and sedum
The Knock out roses out front 
beneath the crape myrtle
Meadow Rue 
clambering in the clematis
Purple Baptista
withe pink spirea 
and the honeysuckle on the fence
Evening primrose-
with the boxwood.
It has been wet and very rainy
here in Virginia.
Things are growing at jungle rate.
Trying to get ahead 
before the hot and humid days
 come for good.

Trimming bushes 
yielded an abandoned nest.
Always fun to see what turns up
 when we finally get to the yard in the spring.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Day at Vintage Grace Studio

The English District- 
Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod 
came to visit Vintage Grace studio.
Sarah, Kathy and Wendy 
came in from Pittsburgh for the day.
Joanne Fink bags 
held the goodies from the day.
On this day we shared
 the journey of Keep the Faith projects.
Tried out some things with an 
introduction to Visual Prayer.
Spent some time 
with a variety of mediums and processes 
and Bible Journaling.
And WOW- 
what a fun thank you gift basket.
Can't wait to explore this!

Maybe time to spend
a day in the studio?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Bible Marginalia-Shepherd Guardian

Bible Marginalia Series- #249

A simple margin gathers
 the notes from a recent sermon
from John 10.
The Shepherd Guardian-
steps in to rescue me.
It is not a game
 to play with the "enemy",
and He brings abundant life.
He calls,
and as we listen-
there is voice recognition.
The Good Shepherd 
lays down His life for His sheep.

We have returned 
to the shepherd and overseer-
the guardian of our souls.

Printable margin
Colored pencil
Fine-point Sharpie marker
Large-Print ESV Crossways Bible

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Bible Marginalia- Not Your Own Doing

Bible Marginalia Series- #248

Was looking at Ephesians 2:7-10 here.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing; 
it is the gift of God,
 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand,
that we should walk in them."

and then connecting that to John 8:32-
 "The Truth will set you free."

Important to remember 
that this walk of Visual Faith -
 is a Free Journey.
-not to compare our work with other's
- not a competition
- not a way of "earning" anything in God's favor

Important to remember
that this walk of Visual Faith-
is a Free Journey.
-a gift bestowed by God's grace and mercy
-part of God's IEP (individual education plan) 
for each of us
-that we might be a blessing to others.

 Pat Maier margin design 
Colored pencils
Washi tape

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Bible Marginalia- Follow Me

Bible Marginalia Series- #247

Spending some time in my 
ESV Crossway Interleaved Bible.
It has a whole blank page in-between each page.
I have loved the song:
The Summons for a long time.
If there was a worship service
  or consecration service 
when Jesus called each of His disciples-
I think they would have sung this song.
Not sure exactly how I will use this Bible- 
but it always seems I have large pieces of things,
 especially bulletin or worship service covers
 that connect for me. 
 I want to save those God and world intersections.
A Bible with this much space 
just might be where I want to keep things together.

Target Acrylic paint
Always rub-on
Fine-point Sharpie non-bleeding
Black calligraphy pen
Distress ink

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mothering Daughter Mothers

 Mother's Day 2017-
 and still celebrating three daughters.
They are 30, 31, and 32.

They have blessed us
 with a growing bunch of boys.
The three youngest- all born in 2016.
A large part of the fun
 is sharing this journey with John.
Papa now is becoming Horde Manager.
Jessica and Jack.
Learning new tricks 
each and every day.
Laura with Griffin and Gordon.
Learning to share and be flexible.
Sara with Levi.
Learning to grab moments
 to capture small treasures.
 What could I have done 
differently to parent them well?
It's a long list.
Much went undone.
And still does.
But, in the cards received
 this year is an interesting word-
You just don't get this growing up- 
until you are a mother yourself.
You think you do-
but then you find out you were wrong.
Your rearranged life-
of giving up.
Your time, your space,
your first choices, 
your priorities.
Now, just a muddled, 
jumbled mess sometimes.
But, sacrificial giving--
 has rounded corners now,
and sighs and a sweet hug, 
and a cuddle.
And headed toward balls 
and trucks and trains.

So now-
in another phase of life-
mothering daughters who mother.
What a sweet gift and joy.
And I pray:

Heavenly Father,
 I give thanks that on this day,
 you have blessed our daughters 
with children of their own, 
for that is truly an amazing gift.
You have given them the ability to love well, 
love often, and love unconditionally. 
Jesus, thank you for modeling this for all of us.
 Cover all our parenting cues
 and miscues in grace.
Help us to put the best construction 
on everything.
Help us to give the give to our children
 of loving our spouses well.
Let us not take these good gifts for granted.
Help us to count them, each and every day.
One by one.
Two by two.
Three by three.
In the name of Jesus, I pray.

And just because you three girls are 
Go ahead and sing the song...
You know how it goes....
 Love, mom

Special thanks to Megan Schmitz
 for such beautiful photos.
Megan Schmitz Photo

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Morn in May

A Morn in May-
each year without fail-
I am reminded-
of a poem 
written, well now,
 forty-five years ago.
Well, OK, some years it is late April,
 and some years- early  June.

I can breathe in the fragrance
 of the peonies as if they were yesterday.
 A field washed in bloom......
and the words that captured 
that simple morning.
When you walked without real cares,
even though life seemed complex.
God is still giving out those warm sunwashed,
and yes, rainy days too- 
just so I can stack
 them in memory bank layers
for another year.

A Morn in May
I wander through the open field
Stepping softly, afraid to crush even one
Tiny petal or fragile bud that would yield
Tomorrow's flower. And then the sun
Moves from behind a cloud of cotton
Casting shadows and patterns on the earth.
I stop for a moment, for I'd forgotten
The simple things and their worth.
Each precious blossom, filled with life,
Stretches heavenward, seeking light.
Brilliant hues color the day. 
Leaving forever the trouble and strife
Lost in ageless death and night,
As I recall a morn in May.

For the sake of posterity-
this Sonnet published in:

Doin' our Thing- Norwell High School, Spring 1973

College Poetry Review, National Poetry Press,
Los Angeles, CA. Fall 1974

Anthology of Poetry, Sherman Oaks, CA- March 1975

 "Far to Go", Concordia Jr. College, 
Ann Arbor, Michigan- May 1975

Primatum Yearbook- Concordia Jr. College
Ann Arbor, Michigan. May 1975

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Visual Faith Gathering- Northern Virginia

FaithArt 101was held
 on Saturday, May 6, 2017
 at New Hope Church in Lorton, Virginia.
65 women of all ages gathered to worship, 
learn about Visual Faith, and explore the topic of TRUST.

Director of Women's ministry - Karenna Rowenhorst 
and her retreat team did an awesome job 
of inviting area churches
 and welcoming all attendees.
I was blessed to present 
with artist Diane Marra-
who has mentored me
 in Visual Faith practices for the last nine years.
An opening devotion of Proverbs 3:1-8
shaped the framework for our day.
The morning was an overview 
of Keep the Faith and Visual Faith projects like:
Prayers for my Children, 
Counting Gifts and Prayers by the Month journals.
We then explored prayer roadblocks, 
Secret Code prayers, 
and praying Scripture.
Visual and Kinesthetic?
The makes sense for how many of us-
 connect and process.
New Hope sponsors 
her ministries for women:
honoring, equipping and rejoicing.
There was a Show and Tell 
table for sharing ideas.
A display table of Bible Verse Coloring books
 let you look through them 
and find one that would best suit you!
Then take a photo to remember 
the cover and author and order online.
There was also a table filled 
with resources for purchase
 from some of our favorite 
Visual Faith authors and practitioners:
 Lisa Hickman, 
Sybil MacBeth,
Shannon Noel, 
and Joanne Fink and Regina Yoder.
There were also some great door prizes
 and even a Journaling Bible give away. 
After a wonderful lunch and conversation, 
it was time to get messy  and dive
 into a study on TRUST-
led by Diane.
A flat canvas gave us a place for hidden journaling
 that was then covered with papers to collage.
  Once again - Proverbs 3:5-6.
TRUSTING- to spill our fears 
and say it all right there on the canvas.
 when we can't see where we are going.
 when we are rushed 
and can't plan things out to perfection.
when we have never done this thing before.
that our Lord has "got this"-
 with the covered- up mess 
 on our canvas.
that my walk will look like no one else's-
and that's BEAUTIFUL.
Always something new to learn-
the Greek batach- means to hide for refuge.
Loving that image.
And maybe we will just be reminded
 that God wants us to live a more careless life-
that is- one without fear and no worry.
Not a bad take-away
 from our one day retreat.

A special thank you to all 
who took the time in busy schedules
 to live this one day TOGETHER.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Empty Nest

One of the things I always 
do after a wind swept storm
 is to walk around the yard 
and look for nests 
that have been tugged
 loose from their moorings.
Some years there are none 
are then the next year
 the yard offers up one or two.
It was the flash of gold 
that caught my eye and led me to this nest.
Woven and mostly hidden right 
into the nest is the thin strand of shimmer.
Some forgotten birthday bow 
escaped from a trash bin.
And then redeemed with leaves
 and tiny twigs to give 
nurture and protection to tiny baby birds.
Yes, that's what nests are-
the place where we grow and raise the youngun's
and breathlessly wait for them to fly.
Years ago, a favorite term
 in our home was to "make a nest".
I hear it now in the homes of my daughters.
 We talk about "empty" nests and quiet houses-
and young parents look at you
 with longing-yes- that's 
another world to them.
Maybe all we can do when
 we are on the "other side of nesting"
is to continue to give encouragement 
and remind parents to tie in the golden strands
 of living together in faith with their children.
The empty nest comes all too quickly
 and then we wait for them to return 
here and there for visits in the future.
And once again, our children 
can be reminded of golden strands of memory
 that breathe grace, forgiveness, and hope
 into their lives as young parents.

Sunday, May 7, 2017


the mysterious power of art
to deeply move a person
I came across this word this week.
I had never seen it before.
It pretty much sums up the way
 this word describes 
what I see and feel about Christian art.

After worship today I took these photos
 of the art in the sanctuary of 
St. John's Lutheran Church
 in Alexandria, Virginia.

Duende is a Spanish word 
traditionally used in flamenco music 
or other art forms to refer to the mystical 
or powerful force given off 
by a performer to draw in the audience.

Seems like there is a whole lot
 to help us understand how Bible art-
 or journaling
 begins to have such a
moving force to our involvement.
It draws us in.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Springtime Richmond

 Richmond Hill, Virginia 
is a beautiful spot in the Spring time.
 The Spiritual Life Team 
for the Southeastern District meets here twice a year.
 We pray over the called church workers, 
the laity, the neighborhoods, the staff 
and the congregations 
of the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod.
 When it is time to take a "stretch"
 from our time of brainstorming 
and learning sessions-
I always rush outside.
 I have a routine here to check out the paths, 
the steps, the stacked stones, and ALL the flowers.
With iris and peonies and azaleas in full-bloom,
tha grounds become magical.
Jeremiah 29:7 is the theme verse
 for the community that lives 
and serves here at this Retreat Center.
Find out more about them here: 
Richmond Hill
 I give thanks for the team of people
 that I serve with 
and delight in 24 hours away 
to pray with each of them.