I'm headed across the pond tomorrow for a couple weeks of European adventure. Unless I have an unfortunate encounter with Nessy or fall victim to a chocolate eclair-induced coma, I'll be back with pictures and stories-a-plenty in a bit. Until then, cheerio and au revoir!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Taking a nod from a friend, I invited my book club to join me this month in reading and committing to the 29 Gifts project. The story follows Cami Walker, a woman who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in her twenties, as a very newly wed. With the loss of her mobility, freedom and functionality came an understandable sour attitude. But, when a "spiritual mentor" encouraged to focus on giving to others for just 29 days, she learned something quite profound about what she still did have to offer to the people in her world.
I'm only four days into the project myself, but am already finding it to be quite instructive. I've questioned my motives for giving and have pondered the idea of giving out of poverty rather than abundance. I've tried to think outside of the realm of people I already know and love to serve. With 25 days left, I know I'll continue to plunge the depths of the oceanic idea of generosity.
Come back here for an update, or even better, I challenge you to join the cause!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I know it's early yet, but it'll soon be that time once again....the time to tell your summer lover how you feel with a JUNE valentine.
Snatch one up early for your own June bug.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
(image c/o countryliving.com)
Go on. Pat the bunny. Remember how engaging it was to be read to as a child, but to also have the opporunity to participate in the story by putting your grubby little fingers into its pages to feel its textures.
Many of us have grown up and out of the wonder of that initial connection to our sense of touch. As Jane Brockett says in The Gentle Arts of Domesticity: " It is so easy to lose touch. We live in a digital era, and increasingly, spend our days in a cocoon of space, dealing with the virtual, not the tangible: on telephones, in front of computers and televisions, in cars, trains and planes. It is quite possible to pass whole days without making contact with any natural surfaces and textures. We can exist in a bubble of emptiness and not even recognize that we are suffering from sensory deprivation."
I've recently put my finger on just how important it is for me to have my hands in the mess of the world of which I'm a part. Just the other day, I had the wonderful opportunity to print some letterpressed cards. The timeless process left me satisfied and tired, ink lodged up underneath of my fingernails and in smudges up my forearms. Directly after that, I went to work, where I baked batches of red velvet cupcakes, taking home the remnants of my work in the form of red food coloring all over my palms.
Sure, I appeared a dirty slob at the end of it all, but I got such extreme pleasure from knowing how participatory my work was and is. I love that I'm taking purposed steps away from the natural tendency from the digital era and towards things that are requiring nimble fingers and hand-to-hand contact with other people. I take great joy in the fact that my hands carry marks of each day's activities.
My hands are vehicles for creation, but they are also how I take my part in the means to each end.
They hold the pen that moves to the thoughts in my mind as my right hand pinky collects ink on it's edge during flurries of writing.
They emulsify diverse flavors when I opt to hand mix scone dough rather than making the investment in a pastry blender.
They move across metal cyldiners, lead type, fibrous paper as I maneuver the printing press, immerse myself in the proofing process and get the feel of making a good impression.
"I do enjoy and prize texture," Brocket says. "It keeps us in touch, literally, with life. If we stop feeling our way through life, we become passive and dependent on the ready-made and the textureless. In doing so, we give up an element of independence, control, skill and autonomy."
Monday, May 10, 2010
Google images fails me. I have a vision in my head, a picture I want to show you, a story I want to tell. But a search engine proves insufficient for the task of aiding me.
Recently, my pastor's wife shared with me that when she prays, she often visualizes a room where the Lord waits on her to come and visit. The very minute the words were out of her mouth, I had my own mental picture appear:
I saw a stone cottage set within the woods, a sunlight room beside bookshelves peppered with colorful old titles. I saw a worn wingback chair and a fireplace....a perfectly inviting scene. It is what I now see when I envision approaching His throne of grace with confidence.
How often do I neglect to come to the Lord for a visit because I'm too busy, too scatter-brained, too tired? How long does He wait for me in that beautiful cozy scene in my mind?
I must admit, I've been incredibly self-centered, bordering on falsely self-sufficient as of late. Here's my admission both to you and to the Lord.
I'm fooling myself.
I'm just as desperate for His Spirit.
I'm nothing on my own strength.
I vow to spend more time in that sitting room, saturating myself in His wisdom and Word, to let it dwell in me richly.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
It's been a while, but the chewing is back on. This month, we'll be discussing domesticity, feminism and the Gospel. We're also looking forward to our discussion including two more women in the form of Kari and Jenn. If you fancy, join us on May 18 for another enlivening chat.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I had the serendipitous chance of being able to print these babies down in Gordo, on a German Asbern (similar but not identical to Vandercook) press, beside the renowned Amos Kennedy. I fiddled around (with some difficulty) with the new-to-me machine. While the print quality of these cards are quite different than their predecessor Calendartines, they are unique and special, no less.
While I shared the studio with Amos, he offered me aphorisms and some words of encouragement in between his visitors to the shop. "Find your bliss," he told me. Once you find it, find a way to follow it. Amos also informed me that beer has most of the nutrients of a healthy diet.
Below are two shots of his shop in the map dot that is Gordo.
Amos' printing style is considered a bit more haphazard by some. He slaps ink on the press messily. I even saw him (gasp!) using his pocket knife to scrape globs of ink off of his print surface. His methods are sure untraditional, but he's got an aesthetic and attitude all his own. He certainly heeds his own advice to "proceed and be bold." It was a pleasure to be able to turn the crank in his company.
If you'd like to purchase a May Valentine, you may do so here or in person here. (More brick and mortar retail locations coming soon, so keep your eye out on the blog or on twitter).