Tuesday, March 27, 2012

*things I find miraculous...part 2

  • Babies. How people so tiny are still so strong. Those little people who are so new to the world and have to learn everything from scratch. They're a mystery to me. They're sort of frightening. And their skin is oh-so soft.
  • Emotions. How we can feel happiness or sadness just as strongly as we can feel a bee sting. What part of us feels them? What is it in our souls or brains that allows us to feel emotions so keenly?
  • Time. It's so fleeting. You can't hold onto it or control it.
  • Relationships. Attachments by emotion. Those things we can't see or touch, but exist all the same. Those cords of emotion that tie us together so strongly.
  • Point of view. How we can all view the same situation differently. How knowing other people allows me to see the world from another point of view. Knowing others allows me to appreciate things I wouldn't have appreciated before. Knowing others makes life so much richer.
  • Watching young children learning things for the first time. What would life be like if everything seemed so new and exciting to me?
  • Our senses. I know I take mine for granted.
When I stop and think about it for more than a few minutes I still get so awed by our world and by people. It's so familiar, so it seems so ordinary. How silly of us not to realize how extraordinary our world is. I think that sometimes we think we created this place and control it. Really we just get the pleasure of enjoying it for awhile.

Art is the underdog

Of all the divisions within the creative arts I believe visual art to be the least appreciated. Everyone considers music to be essential; performance art is also considered very important. Because they are entertaining. A lot of them provide simple, clear messages and ideas that we don't work very hard to interpret. What we see or hear is often what we get. And music and performance art (I'm going to lump movies into that genre) don't always have to serve a purpose other than entertainment. I mean, how many stupid, nonsensical movies have you seen? How about some of the songs we've heard that don't say anything very important?

Art, our traditional view of it, doesn't often entertain. It has an air of mystery to it. It leaves the viewer to interpret or unravel the story behind it. It usually requires a knowledge of history and culture and other outside disciplines. It's work. Art seems to need to serve a purpose for us to consider it important. I believe it does serve a purpose. And that it can serve a very important purpose depending on how it is used. But usually when I start to talk to anyone outside the arts about this they seem really bored and eager to change the subject (or they tell me there is no money in it).

I love an underdog. I'm rooting for art. :)

Monday, March 26, 2012


Any time now my sister could call and tell us she's getting ready to deliver my nephew. I hope for her sake that she has him soon. I hope for my sake she waits till I get there on Thursday.

Yay for baby boys!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Spring is definitely here. Trees and flowers are blooming and the weather has been so warm you can run around outside without a jacket. It's really beautiful. Outside the studio are two trees that are full of white flowers. They hang over the ramp leading to the studio and almost create a little flowery canopy to sit or walk under. It's especially beautiful at night when the moon and street lights make the flowers look like they are shining too. Recently I can't help but appreciate nature more. It's just so beautiful. When I see it I'm sometimes awed by how gorgeous it is. Nothing I make will ever be as beautiful as what I see. I see the work of the master artist. The painter of nature. God is just so amazing and I love that I get to witness Him dressing up the earth now. I also love that it forces me to slow down during my busy days and appreciate what I see happening before me. That, I suppose, is two gifts in one; a small break and a beautiful view to enjoy. In those moments life is pretty much perfect and I am quite content.

Monday, March 19, 2012


My heart has been kind of heavy of late. So full and sometimes so burdened. Life is really good. But life can feel so lonely sometimes. I have this sad, wistful feeling while simultaneously seeing so many beautiful things happen in front of me that I can't help but feel happy about them. I feel convinced that at this time in my life I am right where God wants me. That feeling is reassuring.

I have had two situations in the past two years which I've faced that required me to choose between following God and following others. Times where I've been lonely and am given the choice to have friends and/or companions or to stand on what I believe and follow God. Loneliness is a difficult monster to deal with. Sometimes following God can feel so lonely. I know that in both these situations I felt so brokenhearted and hurt. Maybe even rejected. And because of what I believe about God. During these times though I prayed and read my Bible and was so encouraged and so comforted. I recently read Isaiah 55 and Psalm 37 and both were so beautiful and uplifting and I felt a nearness to God that I don't typically feel. It was such a gentle and loving moment between me and my God in which I poured out the feelings and concerns that I can't share with others and the desires of my heart that I don't feel comfortable talking to everyone about either. As I told all these things to God I knew that He understood and that He truly cared.

It's ironic that in these lonely and painful times I felt so encouraged and loved. Not punished. Not abused. Just loved. And I've also realized that nothing I've ever gone through or given up for Christ is that great of a sacrifice in comparison to the love He has shown me. It's a bittersweet feeling. Like getting over being sick. You still feel weak and tired, but you feel your strength returning and appreciate the feeling of good health more than you did before you were sick. In those lonely, sad times I felt so weak and little, but I also felt more supported by Christ than I can ever remember feeling.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Recently I've been thinking about how I'm a conglomeration of everyone I know. Each person I meet affects me and leaves a piece of themselves with me. Some more than others of course.

I have been thinking how knowing the people I do has changed the way I view my world, how I trust others, how I love others, etc. The little words or actions I pick up from them. They way they help me see the world through their eyes which of course is a different perspective than I've had before. The people I've known have taught me so much. They're quite the education.

If you want to get reeeaallly crazy you could say that I'm not only a conglomeration of the people that I know, but also of the people that they know since they are made up of the people in their lives and bring their influences along when they interact with me. Which means that I'm also made of of the influences of the influences of the people that influence me and so on and so forth (figure that one out). Basically I'm saying we're all like water ripples. Our affects may become so broad and get so far away from the source, but they have a far reaching impact all the same. Worldwide even, although perhaps in a small way. It's a nice thought to think that perhaps all the nice little things that people do for each other can end up making a difference in some way to someone we'll never meet and know.

I'm not sure I'm actually going anywhere with this train of thought. It's late and I'm tired and have been talking nonsense all day. I'm having a hard time articulating my words so I don't expect anything to be coherent on a page either. So feel free to disregard this post if it sounds really weird. Sometimes writing helps me to clarify my thoughts while other times it seems to muddy everything up. Funny how that works. :)

Good night!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rainy day

After my last post I had convinced myself that today if it was still nice outside after I finished with classes that I would go to the arboretum with my iPod, a journal and maybe a cup of tea and walk around till I found a place to sit and be by myself. I was rather disappointed when I finished classes and saw that it was raining. There's always tomorrow I guess.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


"If I were the emporer
Of a deserted island
That would be nice."

Lately I am craving a quiet, deserted place in nature to sit and rest and be by myself. Preferably without mosquitoes. Or ticks. And snakes. Actually I'm kind of afraid of frogs too. You just don't know when one might jump out at you unexpectedly and I hate being surprised like that. I'd love to go someplace rural with absolutely no one around for a few days and not have to answer a cell phone, keep a schedule, worry about my appearance, or talk to anyone. I'd like to lose all responsibility and obligation for just a couple of days and explore the world God made so long ago and gave to us. I'd like to sleep outside and really see the stars...not just a few like you see in the city. And I want to not have to talk to anyone about what happens in ordinary life. The problems we deal with every day. The worries of what comes next. For awhile I just want to forget everything I know and bask in the perfection that God made and be lost in wonder of it all. Just me and God. It would feel so free.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Life is one difficult, painful, beautiful, blissful, exhausting, confusing, amazing, miracle. And even though billions of people have lived before us and have left us their wisdom about life we're all still figuring it all out for ourselves. There isn't a formula for it. It's messy. It hurts. It's stunning.

Thank you, Jesus, for life. For love. For all your gifts to me. For holding my hand as we walk together through life. For guiding me through this crazy experience of life that I couldn't get through without you. For delighting in me while I just stand confounded at this mystery that you know all the answers to and reveal to me little by little each day.

Psalm 37:23-24

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.
24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ideas in the making.

I saw (yet another) really good artist lecture tonight. I tell you, with how much I've enjoyed these recent lectures, how much I've enjoyed my American art history class and with some of the conversations I've had with friends recently I'm inspired to quit school and go out west and see the world and make art and be a poor hippy or something. Every parent's worst nightmare I'm sure. Don't worry. I won't really do it. I'll at least graduate first. ;)

Some of these lectures have gotten me thinking how art is not just an object; it's a process. Some of these artists are really just generating ideas and and using them to create awareness of social issues or environmental issues or both. They collaborate with other artists and with people outside the arts to create dynamic and powerful statements. I've been hearing people try to define art since I got into art school and have heard a lot of different explanations which I think are true but I am becoming convinced that it is also largely a form of communication. Music can make us feel things we can't put into words or explain. I think art can do the same thing too. I think art can also create community. One of the cool things about some of the artists I've listened to is that they get huge groups of people involved in their work. The people become part of the work. Sometimes the work is ephemeral and the act of coming together and making it and watching it disappear is as much a work of art as the object that was created. I think to make good art you need to have a good understanding of history, science, politics, religion, social issues, environmental issues...really the more you know about the world around you the better your work will be. Art isn't just fun and games and useless, random objects; it's important. It can convey a message, make a statement, create community and more. Art is a responsibility in a way.

It makes me so excited to be an art major. This isn't useless, but I have to decide to do something useful with it. I feel that learning that art is interdisciplinary can make my work much better. Now I am trying to think of how to take this idea and apply it to my work. I'd love to find a way to get my whole school involved in making work together. Could you imagine getting English majors, Chinese majors, engineers, philosophers, mathematicians, science majors, history majors, social workers, psychologists, computer programmers, etc together to make art about their work? Collectively even? I think it would be a great way to show the rest of the community that art is meaningful, useful and not just something silly that people study so they don't have to work hard. Plus just think of how interesting that work would be. Maybe the work of art could be just organizing us all to work together and to see how interconnected our studies really are. Or how different they are.

Okay. Enough gushing about art for one night. Time to do Chinese homework.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

On that note...

To continue my train of thought from the last post...

It seems that we all work so hard to avoid any struggles in life. Financial struggle especially. It's all about going to college to get the degree that will get you the job with benefits and as many figures as you can get. It goes for all aspects of life though...relationships, faith, etc. Sometimes you feel that if you're struggling then you're failing. Because you didn't plan far enough ahead or you should have seen that coming. Maybe you should have made a better choice which means you're probably irresponsible and/or immature. This leaves me feeling inadequate, unprepared and vulnerable. I don't like feeling those things.

What strikes me as funny about this mentality of avoiding struggle is that quite often elderly people I have talked to talk about the "good ol' days" as the days where everything was a struggle. Maybe they were single and striking out on their own for the first time and learning that they could manage on their own. And it was really scary and intimidating, but also thrilling to see themselves become their own person and figure things out. Maybe they were a young couple just starting life together and poor and they just had each other while everything else seemed very uncertain. But the folks I've talked to about these situations talk about how those days meant the world to them and were the best days of their lives. They appreciated their loved ones; they appreciated the little things in life. They worked to create something better for themselves and their loved ones.

And now they all look at my generation and advise us to work hard in college so we can kick back and be comfortable and not have to deal with the same struggles they faced when they were young.

But why would I want that? If those hard times were the best times of their lives where they figured out their priorities and learned to appreciate their loved ones and the little lovely things that happen each day then why wouldn't I want those experiences? And why don't I consider these lonely, uncertain times to be a chance to experience those things now? Maybe I'm not failing...maybe I'm being given a gift. To remind me that the little things in life are the big things. When I think back to being a kid my fondest memories are of the little things. They stand out in my mind and I remember them more acutely than I remember vacations, big get-togethers and whatnot. Of course I loved any exciting event, but the things that really touched me and stayed with me were the little things that happened that I realized were lovely. Beautiful, every day gifts from God.

I want to look back on my college years and say that I appreciated the little things. Chats with friends. A walk on a pretty day. Working with my hands. A hug. Feeling loved. That sort of thing. Life is made up of little moments and I want to remember the special, extraordinary, miraculous events that happen each day that I don't typically remember to pay attention to.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Does anyone else ever feel so melancholy at times? Last semester I had times where I felt like I was on top of the world. I was so happy and my heart felt so full I thought I might burst. Or cry. I just couldn't believe how lovely everything was. The semester was crazy and exhausting and frustrating at times, but it was so good too. I went on break fully expecting the new coming semester to be just as amazing or better.

So why has this whole semester been such an emotional struggle? I think that part of it is that I realize that everything is about to change again. Two of my friends graduated last semester and I miss them both. The studio is different without them. I miss their personalities around the place and unfortunately we none of us are doing a good job of keeping in touch. This semester I'll say goodbye to at least two more friends and I know that the whole dynamic of the studio is about to change again. I didn't realize how dear my classmates have become to me. I've known all these folks since the beginning of my time here. That's about three years of daily interaction. They're such a part of my life...my every day. They help make my life so pleasant and stable. And they have taught me so much. I love them all. They are such a big part of my life and the idea of saying goodbye to all of them one by one makes me really sad. And I find it so strange that this group of people; this dynamic that we have that has meant so much to me and has blessed me so much is about to change and be lost forever. Does it mean as much to other people as it does to me? Does it only exist in my own mind?

Other than that I suppose I could blame lack of iron, vitamin D, and sunshine for my dour mood. Or my circumstances and influences. But I guess that the honest answer is that I choose to be a grump. It's my choice. Yes, some circumstances make it easier for us to be happy, but regardless of how "bad" things are (and trust me, they're so good) I have so much more to be grateful for than to complain about. And in the end I believe that the challenging times are so rich and teach us so much...what would life be without them? Why do I consider them to be a bad thing when they seem to only yield good things in the end? Why is it so much easier to get stuck on the things that bring us down instead of on the things that bring us joy?

I don't want to get through the semester and know that I spent most of it feeling sad. Especially when I have the ability to change that. I have mentioned before that so much of life is miraculous and we're so used to it and so caught up in living that we miss it. I want to be aware of it. I want to see each lovely little aspect of life as a gift. I need to take time to "smell the roses" and enjoy this beautiful world that has been gifted to me.