Thursday, August 26, 2010

Take Note

Take note of someone special this month with a September valentine.
As always, find them at (here, or soon here or here)!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Waking Up with Leah

I feel like I've been through the ringer during the last few days. The pressure to make a quick decision about my financial and artistic future had me scurrying to procure wisdom from every direction. Thank goodness, the hefty choice was one I did not end up having to make. Coupled with a little disappointment was relief. I'm out of control once again, but in the best way possible. A needed reminder.

I recently listened to an old Tim Keller sermon* about the story of Jacob, Laban, Leah and Rachel (found in Genesis 29). Generally speaking, it's a story of a deceptive son who runs away from home in search of solace from himself. Jacob ends up working for his uncle, Laban, and falling in love with Laban's beautiful youngest daughter, Rachel. Jacob asks Laban for her hand in marriage, and devotes seven years of his life in labor for her. After his last day of work, he receives who he thinks is his bride in a drawn out wedding ceremony. Throughout the wedding day and into the night, she is veiled, as per custom. It isn't until the morning after that Jacob realizes he's been duped when he wakes up beside Leah, Rachel's older (less-attractive) sister.

I, too, try to escape the messes I've made to search for an evasive happiness in something that cannot bring it. I toil for what I think I want to be my dream-come-true. But, no picture-perfect job, no full-of-life-culture-art city, no other wonderful-beyond-words human being can bring the fulfillment I seek. As Keller says, in running to these things for my answers, I go to sleep with Rachel, and wake up with Leah.

And I always will if I hold to a conscious or subconscious belief that a, b or c will make my life complete. I walk around in circles of my twenty-something search for life meaning. I wait for it all to make sense. Maybe once I do this, get there, achieve that. But Rachel is just a gorgeous idea. And she always seems just beyond my reach.

Perhaps it's just because she was never meant to be my prize.

*audio here, entitled "The Struggle for Love."

Friday, August 20, 2010

End Results

(image borrowed from Chronicle Books)

I have a tendency to be results-driven, sometimes enjoying finished products more than the process it takes to make them. Nothing beats admiring a stack of multi-colored, scored, folded, sleeved priced letterpress cards. Likewise, I've been getting quite a thrill from watching my quilt come together row, by finished row. And naturally, I enjoy having a table set with a meal that my hands have labored to create. But, I wonder if I'm sometimes too bent on the finishing that I'm not enjoying the joys and hardships of the step-by-step. If I'm too concentrated on the end, I'm sure to miss out on the scenery. Lord, help me to see both the trees and the forrest, even be able to stop and meander off the path for a spell, wide-eyed and willing.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Small Bite, Big Apple

I just returned from a tour de l'East Coast, dropping off a dear friend in the Big Apple for her new beginning. Our road tripping took us north to DC and through various New England states before we put the brakes on in NYC.

(Hint: click on the city names for links to some of the songs that soundtracked our journey)

The Capitol City is lovely.

The White House's backyard is just a vision (I thought I was seeing the front, and was thus underwhelmed. It took a drive around the corner to realize we'd been at the back door).

A kiss for FDR.

Then, it was on to New York, New York.

Our first real stop was in Brooklyn's Williamsburg. I loved this neighborhood, full with it's hipsters, artists and trust fund babies. (Apparently this part of town has the highest unemployment rate for folks who still pay rent.) We made a stop to visit and talk shop with the friendly folks of Couer Noir. They do some fine work.

Then, it was on to The Arm Studios to see a rent-a-press space in action. What do you know, I ran into my Penland teacher, Bryan Baker. It was wonderful to see him and a real treat to be able to see that such a resource exists in the city for hobbyist printers.

Terribly exciting for a press-less printer like myself.

I found the perfect lunch spot (Radish) filled with vintagey apron-clad girls serving seasonally freshly prepared foods. I had this grilled zucchini, pesto and gruyere sandwich on raisin nut bread with a peach rosemary spritzer to drink. Oh heavens, it was good.

Then it was back to Manhattan, where I stopped into Strand, and became obsessed with these pattern books.

We took a stroll through Central Park.

And wound up in Soho's Kate's Paperie, where I found some Night Owl Paper Goods cards, made right here in Homewood, Owlabama.

I also located the home to Soho Letterpress, but was way too much of a wuss to actually press the call button and go in. Apparently, the woman who started this company was one of the first to use polymer plates for printing.

The Brooklyn Flea was another fun find. I had visions of decking my tiny city apartment with all the full-o-character things I found.

Other things to note:

Rooftop Films. We went and saw Last Train Home, a documentary about a Chinese working force family split up by the parent's need to provide. It was a heartbreaking tale, not only of the terrible conditions of factory worker lives, but of the strain on family relations. (Beautiful music that evening was provided by Mountain Man.)

Spoonbill and Sugartown was a pretty great bookshop in Williamsburg.

Spice was a deelicious Indian-esque restaurant in the Union Square area.

Gimme Coffee's latte was a small taste of home.

Dean and Deluca: not only home to fine fare, but also the workplace of and inspiration for the set of Felicity.

New York. Gosh, do I want to be a part of it. I was singing a similar song when I visited the city two years ago. I want to wake up in the city that never sleeps....New York, New York!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Squint to Believe

(image of my quilt in-the-making)

In the process of creating my patchwork quilt, I was advised to lay out my squares, take a step back, and squint at the layout to check for color distribution. You don't want too many of the same color schemes sidled up next to each other. Neither is it advisable to have blocks of overwhelming patterns concentrated in the same area. "You can't see where you're cluttered when you're too close to it," I was told.

And, if this principle isn't also true in regards to my busy life. Sometimes it takes me climbing to an aerial view to get needed perspective. Though I don't believe my humble earthly position will ever allow for full understanding of my experiences, I'm so thankful for small stair step climbs that show me, however briefly, that my swatches are being sewn into the whole of something larger.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Contemplata Aliis Tradere

I told you about a week ago, that I was chew-ing on the idea of living in community. Despite the fact that an official discussion of the topic has been postponed, my thoughts surrounding it have not ceased. I've been thinking much on Eugene Peterson's translation of 1 Corinthians 12:20, that "no matter how significant you are, it's only because of what you are a part of."

It's been a twenty-something temptation of mine to hone in too much on what I am good at, what gifts I posses, what career path I should take...failing altogether to see that I am only a part of the whole. Maybe, just maybe, I exist to do something for the larger scope of humanity outside of finding satisfaction in my own work and life. I have this hunch that in my discovery of which role I play, I am being pointed to see how those things might serve to meet the needs of others, to serve in a more selfless capacity. Oh, let it be so.

I've thought also on this, St. Thomas' idea of contemplata aliis tradere, and what it is "to share with others the fruit of contemplation." There is worth in sitting silently. Meditation on scriptures has great merit. But, perhaps Bonhoeffer is on to something when he purports that God has put His Word in the mouths of men. Or that there's something to the thought that the Church exists, in part, to simply remind each other of the Truth.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Piecing it Together

(image from

I've decided to undertake a quilting project. My fabric swatches are piling up, as is my antsy-ness to get going. I know so very little about the process. I am thumbing through a few books to get some step by step instruction. But! If you are reading this, have made a quilt, and have some handmade homespun advice, give me a holler.