Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Bite of Fall

I've been experimenting with some autumn-flavored confections. For results, stay tuned.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Clad in Plaid for October

Autumn is around the bend, bringing with it vivid colors, warm plaids, aromatic seasonal flavors, and.... October valentines!

Falling for someone this October? Nothing like a Calendartine from fourhatspress to let them know! As always, find them at and soon (by the first of the month) at Urban Standard, Zoe's and Charm. Get 'em while it's cooling off!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Alive and Awake In the Silence

(Blossoming Almond Tree by Vincent Van Gogh)

I've been thinking a great deal on the following passage from trappist monk and deep thinker, Thomas Merton. The following is part of No Man Is An Island's chapter on silence. The excerpt may be a bit lengthier than your attention span, but I urge you: take a few minutes, read it slowly, read it again. You won't be sorry.

Those who love their own noise are impatient of everything else. They constantly defile the silence of the forests and the mountains of the sea. They bore through silent nature in every direction with their machines, for fear that the calm world might accuse them of their own emptiness. The urgency of their swift movements seems to ignore the tranquility of nature by pretending to have a purpose. The loud plane seems for a moment to deny the reality of the clouds and of the sky, by its direction, its noise, and its pretended strength. The silence of the sky remains when the plane has gone. The tranquility of the clouds will remain when the plane has fallen apart. It is the silence of the world that is real. Our noise, our business, our purposes, and all our fatuous statements about our purposes, our business, and our noise: these are the illusion.

God is present, and His though is alive and awake in the fullness and depth and breadth of all the silences of the world. The Lord is watching in the almond trees, over the fulfillment of His words (Jeremiah 1:11).

Whether the plane pass by tonight of tomorrow, whether there be cars on the winding road or no cars, whether men speak in the field, whether there be a radio in the house or not, the tree brings forth her blossoms in silence.

Whether the house be empty or full of children, whether the men go off to town or work with tractors in the fields, whether the liner enters the harbor full of tourists or full of soldiers, the almond tree brings forth her fruit in silence.

The slightly-accusatory tone of Merton's words leads me to confess that I am often self-importantly busy, loving to fill my Moleskine with names and appointments and errands. It makes me feel like a real person to have things on the to-do list. I'll be quite honest when I say that lately I've felt mounting pressure to establish myself as a more real participant in the professional world. But, what for? Is it just so that I have a title to spout out when someone asks me what I do? Is it so that I no longer have to feel slightly sheepish when I tell people I am a blue collar worker, that I scrounge to piece together my income?

For whatever reason, I stay occupied. I flit here and there to keep up the appearance of adult life. But, the busyness is the illusion. I find myself understanding the Ecclesiastes' "it's all smoke" spiel more and more every day. My work will not last. My legacy will surely not be remembered for long.

It's just chasing after the wind.

Of course, none of this is an excuse to check out and fail to see the long-lasting effects of relationships in the midst of my work and life. I am deeply aware that God's hope for Christians is that they will be active participants in the redemption of this earth. And that lasts forever.

But in the din of my noise-making, my failure to quiet enough to listen are the patient silences of the world, the underlying calm voice of a Sovereign-over-all-God.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Greater Than Our Worried Hearts

My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. 1 John 3:18 (the msg)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How Bazaar

It's a ways away, but go on and mark your calendars for this year's Holiday Craft Bazaar, set to take place at Avondale Park during the first weekend in December. I'll be there with my wares: full sets of Calendartines, special thank you cards, sweet somethings, and maybe even some special edition prints. I'm busy preparing now, looking forward to the artistic push I'll likely get from some of the talents of Birmingham's Art Walk this weekend.

Lots to look forward to.

A jolly hurrah for local art.