Friday, August 23, 2013

Sitting a Spell, Spellbound

So, as I said, this photo  was a hint of things to come. You see that bit of light on the third pew back?
Well, just keep looking. Because light shines on whatever is in its path, and anything that will reflect it can be transformed. (Yes, I think there's a deeper story there.....)





I was thinking what a wonderful thing this is in a church building, because a church is made up of many people, all different from each other, like the different colors.

And with blemishes, too. But they just don't seem as important compared to the overall beauty created by the light and the colors.





Odd to think that had I come at a different time of day, it might have just all looked like this. The floor had a beauty of its own, a very subdued coloring. But I'm so glad I came when I did for the rich color feast.

It was like music for the eyes. (And, yes, I did try the piano while there. I'm guessing it goes back to 1960 and hasn't been tuned since being delivered there. So the visual music was much more lovely than anything audible!)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Stone and Stained Glass

So, following up on the Birthday Birthplace, here comes another phenomenon of light.
This site, now a part of Montgomery Bell State Park, is the birthplace of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. A log house is just down the way, a replica of the one where one of the first preachers and founding fathers lived. This chapel is not as old as the house, though it took me a while to track down information on when it was built, which turns out to have been in 1960. Not what I had thought! But still it's older than me.
It's a simple stone building, sweet and solid. If I were just passing by, I probably would not have even gone in, having been inside several simple stone church buildings over the years. But I had seen photos on the website that made me want to see the interior, and I did want a quite place for prayer.
But I had no idea what to expect. The photo I had seen intrigued me but did not do justice to what I found inside.

This is similar to the photo I'd seen on the website, except without so much of the side shots. So it seemed like a nice country church, a good place to pray, not likely to draw big crowds.

What I didn't expect was the windows all around and what light would do coming in.


From the looks of it, the Bible may have been original to the church.

(This photo hints at what's coming in the next post.....tune in next time....)

I love the way the light casts reflections on every surface possible, smooth or rough, near or far.

I think it's the first time I've been able to see through stained glass to the surroundings outside (the trees out the window, in case you can't tell).

When I was reading about the place, I learned that the man who lived in the house down the road, Rev. Samuel McAdow, died at age 84, in 1839, after losing three wives to death. According to the website, his last words were, in answer to a friend, 'All is peace, my work is done, every thing is ready; I have nothing to do, but to die; there is no doubt, no fear.'"

Makes me think that despite his being "rather inclined to despondency" throughout his life--or perhaps because of that--he must have searched out light and found it.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Dark. And a Phenomenon of Light.

In the very early morning, lying awake when I would have preferred to be asleep, I heard the rain start. A pouring rain. I hoped it might wash away the troublesome thoughts and feelings, and maybe I could get to sleep. That didn't happen, but it felt good just to hope for it.

During church, more rain fell than I remember hearing ever while in that place. Heavy, hard, pounding rain. It couldn't wash away the troubles, either, but being at church did help. Kind hearts and hugs do make a difference, as do songs of faith, reminders that ultimately Love will heal and transform this wounded world.

But outside again, the sky was gray. The clouds were thick and heavy. It's the peak of summer, but it was dark and bleak outside.

Later in the afternoon, I sat in a Starbucks talking with a friend. One of my best listener friends.

The content of much of our conversation was dark, heavy, thick, bleak. Hard. Because of situations in this dark world that weigh heavy on me. That can't be washed away. That will never wash away. That block the light from shining through, at least much of the time. That wake me up in the early hours more days than not. Because people I love are wounded, because I am wounded, because the world is so deeply wounded.

The rain stopped. After much talking and listening, the sky was a lighter shade of gray.

At some point I looked up. I had looked up in that direction often as we talked. Through the window of Starbucks were huge electrical lines and huge boxy thing-a-ma-jiggers connected to the lines, on their tall poles, crossing the street and looking ugly. Across the street huge golden arches blared bright yellow against the gray sky. And behind them a billboard advertising something or other framed the view. Urban ugliness matched the bleakness of the weather. A wounded landscape, like so much in the city.

But at that point when I looked up . . . . it was faint, but I thought I saw a rainbow. No, I was imagining it. Or was I? As I continued to look, it became more distinct, and I could see for certain that a rainbow was forming.


(I didn't have a camera with me. These are photos from five years ago. A faint rainbow is there, just right of center above the ground.)

Soon it became full-colored and distinct, and I couldn't help but notice that while it was interrupted and blocked by the ugly wires and arches and billboard, it went way beyond them, and beyond other signs and poles,  beyond where I could see, beyond, beyond, to wherever rainbows go.

In the midst of the wounded landscape, a sign.

Love will heal and transform this wounded world.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Birthday Birthplace

In July, as part of a retreat I went on, I went in search of a small church I had seen a photo of online when I was looking at the website for Montgomery Bell State Park, the site of the retreat.
It intrigued me that a state park would have a picture of a church on their site, so I wanted to find it, learn more about it (if there was a story connected to it), and I hoped to sit quietly and have a cool, mosquito-free place to just pray and think.
When I drove in the direction the park representative told me to go, I came to a parking spot and this sign.
Ordinarily I wouldn't take a picture of an informational sign, but it was just kind of amazing, because I didn't know this church was connected to any birthplace, and because February 4 is my birthday!
So I immediately felt a sort of kinship with the place, whatever kind of birthplace it was.
It turned out that there was actually a log cabin (which I don't have pictures of, because my batteries died, and I didn't have extras with me), and also this church.

Not particularly spectacular seen this way, but in my next post you'll see why my batteries died. They say you can't judge a book by its cover. Well, you can't judge this church's photographic potential by its exterior, either!

Till next time. . . .

Saturday, August 03, 2013


Oops. I went over a month with nothing on my blog. While I'd like to get back into more frequent "blogging" (still hate that word, cf. my very first post from--gasp--eight years ago), I do at least try not to go more than a month without posting something.
So tonight, a quick post.
In looking for something a few weeks ago, I came across these doodles in a couple of notebooks. The top three were done during a class when I was kind of bored.


Looking out the glass window to the foliage outside--wishing I were outside.
This, as I recall, related to something we were discussing in class.
There was not a tree in the room, so I was sketching an idea, not something I saw--obviously!
(Does anyone know how to stop Blogger from turning photos sideways?
I never have figured it out.)

Another view out other windows. It looks as if I were interrupted, or else that tree on the right would continue branching out into the window pane to its left....but I actually remember that it didn't.
It just went upward at that point, out of sight.

Another notebook, one I took to Croatia. This was the plan for tiling the bathroom,
though our plan was not to have a sideways bathroom.
Life is different over there, but we don't live sideways.(Blogger again!)
Of course when time for tiling came, and dear hubby flew home to oversee the project,
neither of us remembered that I had drawn this sketch!
Anyway, just seeing these things while in search of something else reminded me that I really do enjoy sketching/drawing/doodling and don't do it much. I enjoy the way it slows you down, focuses you, connects you to your own body and to the world around you.
So when I saw a very small, portable sketchbook at the bookstore the next day, I brought it home. It's set up to do a sketch a day, which I was doing until severely interrupted by two intensive weeks of school, but I intend to get back into the habit.
Maybe I'll share some more, though I must say sketching itself is much more relaxing that doing a post on sketching.
Here's to old-fashioned fun, no screens involved.