Sunday, November 21, 2010


I just listened to Vivaldi's "Winter" and it was so good that I'm wanting it to not end. I want to hear it again and somehow be in the middle of the orchestra. Why don't I hear music in that way all the time? My husband does.

I think I don't take the time to really listen to the music and in the moments when it really reaches out and grabs me it takes me by surprise. Some Christmas songs are like that for me, "I Wonder as I Wander" having always had that effect. The first time I heard it was when a classmate sang it at a school concert in high school. She sang it acappella and from the first hearing it gripped my soul. Since then my favorite Christmas songs have always been unusual and not often heard ones. Maybe the ones we hear all the time are the ones we quit hearing first. Too much repetition robs them of their beauty perhaps--the old despising the familiar.

When my children brought home their Christmas song books from school, I was thrilled to see "The Wexford Carol" included. It's another favorite, but one I learned on my own. "In the Bleak Midwinter," "Gabriel's Message" (Sting's version is haunting, but he changes the words to present a different message than the Bible; the best one I've heard is on a CD from Our Daily Bread), "Love Came Down at Christmas" (not the Jars of Clay version, btw), and "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" are other favorites. I know I'm missing others, and at different times more standard songs have been more esteemed. But these are the ones that touch deeper than my emotions in the last few years. These are the ones that reach my soul.

I realize, now that I've written these words, that it isn't quite Thanksgiving yet. For the first time in a long while I suppose I am feeling very ready for rejoicing. I'm not sure why. The last three years have brought enough challenges to make me feel like I have walked through a fiery place moved to the top of earth's crust (unemployment, finances, health scares, multiple deaths, constant car troubles, work challenges and on and on--I'll spare you the details; chances are you can just fill in your own name and the story would sound similar, times are hard for everyone). Even though we are still in the midst of the journey, though, I still feel ready for rejoicing. Maybe reading Lewis's "Till We Have Faces" and the ending of the book of Job have reminded me that in the end of all the pain, when we have questioned the most, that God Himself, the very one we question, is the answer. And this is the time of year we celebrate His coming.

I'm not ready to say I know my own face, but I am ready to rejoice.

Opening image by Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Melozzo da Forli Angel

A beautiful image by Melozzo da Forli, a fifteenth century Italian artist. He was influenced by Piero della Francesca. Mostly known as a fresco artist, he was adept at the use of foreshortening.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cool Places I've Visited Lately...

One was exceptionally cool, as in not much indoor heating: Pilot Books. However, in my mind the books more than made up for the chill. My chilled-dren (sorry, I know it's a bad pun) weren't so convinced. Score for the day? A fabulous book of Giotto's Arena Chapel frescoes illustrating the story of Christ, and two Asterix and Obelisk books in French. Yes, they can sit next to my French Tintin until I learn French someday. Sadly I did not take my camera to be able to share the fabulously old (for our area) architecture with you.

The other cool place was Mariupol Market, where I went on a Russian Club field trip. And before you ask, no I don't speak Russian either. But my son is learning it. Of course, being only eight years old, he was more excited about the candy by the pound bins than being surrounded by Russian words. I thought the shelf goods were beautiful--so different looking than American goods. And those pastries, well, they just looked plain good!

Monday, November 08, 2010


I was going to change my blog header tonight, but then I remembered that I would have to pull an old header off my stick drive. I really would like to create a totally new one, using a snippet of a more recent photograph. However, the program I once used to make the headers is probably about three generations (that's optimistic) behind current and the computer I used to use it on is now a rather expensive paperweight. I'm too afraid to attempt to install the old software on the computer I use now because it belongs to my school and I've had too many bad experiences with graphics software and system compatibility in my old professional life. So now in order to create a new header I'm going to have figure out some new software, then re-learn some things, which I do not currently have time to do.

All of which makes me wonder how helpful technology really is sometimes... I think I'll go heat my tea in the microwave now.