Friday, May 31, 2024

Five Minute Friday :: Through

five minute friday through tucson hibiscus background
• Five Minute Friday :: Through Linkup

Churches that follow the lectionary read this scripture on Good Shepherd Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Easter:

The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
John 10:2

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
John 10:9

Door and gate are the same word in Greek. Gate better fits rural, agricultural life; a door may be more common to us, but how about gates at the entrance to our yards, to our apartment buildings? Back in bible times, cities had gates and walls! You may have visited European cities that still have a gate and wall fragments from medieval times. In any case, to get to the other side of the gate or the door, you must walk through it. Not around, not over, not under. Through.

We need to go through Jesus the door, the gate. Even with Jesus, you can't go over, around, or under. Go through Jesus and you'll be saved, safe, and whole because Jesus the door is the shepherd, the savior, who already has gone through to wait for us, to welcome us home to our pasture—or other settled place.

Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.
Genesis 12:1-4a

For what does the scripture say? Abraham believed God and it was reckoned (credited, counted) to him as righteousness.
Did you ever sing Rock My Soul at church camp, vacation bible school, or Sunday school?
Rock My Soul

Rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham,
Rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham,
Rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham,
Oh, rock my soul.

Too high, can't get over it
Too wide, can't get round it
Too deep, can't get under it
Gotta go through the door.
You can see through the type on my header because I used a layer style that…lets you see what's behind, though at the cost of the text itself being a little harder to read.

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five minute friday through
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Desert Dance

Desert Dance by Charlotte Armajo and Teri Sloat on Amazon

desert dance cover
This is early October (when I first blogged and reviewed this on Preservation Project), and we recently experienced another full Harvest Moon like the one in Desert Dance. In colorfully subtle tertiary hues, Teri Sloat illustrates lizards, wild hares, rattlesnakes, sage hens, wolves, and roadrunners dancing under a bright moon as it illuminates the Southwestern USA desert. This mostly is a picture book of seven 2-page spreads, a title page and a closing page—the enchanting art totally makes the book sing! Not that Charlotte Armajo's simple text that includes a lot of repeated words almost any preschooler or early-grader would understand isn't well-done and appropriate, it just doesn't contain a whole lot of substance or imagination, so 4 stars total.

• my amazon review: desert dancing

Drawing and Reinventing Landscape

Drawing and Reinventing Landscape Cover
Drawing and Reinventing Landscape, AD Primer on Amazon

It's wonderful having a multitude of full-colour illustrations of mostly non-computerized graphic landscape representations of many types – photographs, pencil drawings, ink and watercolour renderings, charts – in this book; details regarding history and current status of landscape architecture and garden design are interesting and illuminating, as well.

I chose Drawing and Reinventing Landscape because of my lifelong interest in cities and in the process of urbanization, and because of my current work as a graphic artist and designer. Author Diana Balmori has worked in the field of landscape architecture most of her life; her well-deserved degree of renown makes her expertise and perspective especially insightful and valuable.

However, I've removed a star because the text is too tiny for comfort, and its size adds an unattractive sense of miniaturization to the book. In natural light or with reading glasses I can read it easily enough, but a little less information – or the same information expressed more succinctly – would greatly increase the visual appeal. I assume all books in this AD Primer series carry the same general format, but related to my remarks about point size of text, if the publishers were not going to produce this book or the series in a larger format (not necessarily coffee-table size), I'd recommend increasing the font size. But happily, there's still enough literal "white space" on each page for create an altogether pleasing presentation.

• My Amazon review: landscape representation and history

The Tumbleweed Society

• Allison Pugh, The Tumbleweed Society: Working and Caring in an Age of Insecurity on Amazon

The Tumbleweed Society cover

When I originally blogged and reviewed this book almost ten years ago in December 2014 on Preservation Project, I concluded:
I'd love to read a similar report about a similar population cohort about ten years from now. I also wonder where I'll be working, where you'll be working, if housing and employment will have settled down and stabilized? Or not?
Is that crazy, prophetic, prescient, or what?

Needless to say, the plant-people tumbleweed analogy won't parallel perfectly, but it's a colorfully useful image. Living in the southwest, I've seen lots of tumbleweeds, but still needed to learn a little about them. Via wikipedia, here are a few facts:

"A tumbleweed is a structural part of the above-ground anatomy of any of a number of species of plants, a diaspore that, once it is mature and dry, detaches from its root or stem, and tumbles away in the wind. ... Tumbleweed species occur most commonly in steppe and arid ecologies, where frequent wind and the open environment permit rolling without prohibitive obstruction ... Many tumbleweeds are ruderal species, opportunistic agricultural weeds."

Sociology sometimes is a quantifiable soft-scientific discipline that studies, analyzes, charts, and plots. At other times sociologists report in a more essayistic manner, using prose to describe their findings, as Allison Pugh does in The Tumbleweed Society. Our lives are about story, our lives becomes stories, and sometimes a narrative approach like this book uses lines out the truth a lot more clearly than charts, graphs, stats, and percentages do. Given the true employment insecurities many of us already have experienced, and every single one of us knows is out there, no wonder I found this book so interesting! Allison Pugh's writing flows well, without any annoying mannerisms, though I need to comment on what feels like her frequent use of "eschew" and its variants. Who on earth says "eschew"?

Pugh's and her colleagues' one-on-one interviews of and observations about eighty individuals demonstrate that these days job retention and change is mostly related to socioeconomic class, rather than being as ethnicity- or gender-driven as job and career opps were in times past. So we find high employment mobility and high residential relocation rates amongst those with high-end, elite level skills who tend to be sought out, sought after, and routinely draw high income levels. We also find high employment mobility and high residential relocation rates amongst those with approximately high school level schooling and skills.

But The Tumbleweed Society experiences not only "Working," but also "Caring in an Age of Insecurity," as the subtitle describes. Briefly, it seems as if a lot of people are okay with companies they work for having only nominal commitment to their workers' lives while the workers do their best by the company. On the other hand, we find truly dramatic, impressive instances of individuals maintaining "no matter what" commitments to family (parents, offspring, sibling) and significant others.

I'd love to read a similar report about a similar population cohort about ten years from now. I also wonder where I'll be working, where you'll be working, if housing and employment will have settled down and stabilized? Or not?

• my Amazon review: a book almost everyone can relate to

Daily Greens

• On Amazon, Daily Greens 4-Day Cleanse: Jump Start Your Health, Reset Your Energy, and Look and Feel Better than Ever! by Shauna Martin, with foreword by Mayim Hoya Bialik

Daily Greens book cover

I'm delighted I decided to read the book description and a couple of reviews before deciding this book wasn't for me, which almost happened because of the "Daily Greens 4-Day Cleanse" title. I've heard of various fasts and cleansings, but never undertaken either, but then when I realized author Shauna Martin included recipes for smoothies, salads, and a few other dishes, I figured Daily Greens would be useful and helpful in any case. I especially appreciate the first part of the book where Shauna (whose diet is completely plant-based) explains some of the rationale behind cleansings and fasts. Interesting stuff, as are her lively descriptions of various mostly green super-foods such as the currently super-popular kale, the eternally green fave spinach, (not really green) ginger root, watercress, dandelion greens, cilantro, etc.

This is about wisely eating seasonally, which means expending fewer $$$ while enjoying better tasting, more local, frequently organic, healthier fruits and veggies. All the recipes are simple, which adds to the book's appeal and utility. There also are several categorized shopping lists and an index.

A lot of the full-color photography, the text, and page design conveys a verdant, green, growing, and alive sensibility! Besides greens of differing hues and intensities in the layout and design, some of the backgrounds are a lovely, appealing cantaloupe color. Gorgeous full-page photos, lovely smaller pics, too. As a graphic artist-designer and as a reader, I appreciate the open layout of the pages with lots of literal "white space" so it's not cluttered like a pennysaver ad. I also like that the hardbound book stays open on its own. However, as interesting and almost essential as the descriptions and commentary are, given that recipes are the main thing, why not format ingredients and how-to instructions in a larger font that's easy for anyone to read? Even the introductory text to each recipe is in larger type than the recipes themselves!

Despite those reservations, I'm happy to own a copy of Daily Greens, with so many literally good enough to eat photographs, and especially knowing the recipes and ideas will entice me to shop and try some of Shauna Martin's smoothies and other creations.

• My Amazon review: greens & other earthly goodies

The New Shingled House

The New Shingled House: Ike Kligerman Barkley on Amazon

the new shingled house book coverArchitects John Ike, Thomas A. Kligerman, and Joel Barkley have been partners for twenty-five years.

I'm a graphic designer with an interest in houses, a theologian with a passion for their homemaking implications, so I ordered The New Shingled House―thanks, Amazon Vine! I've long majorly been about The City and Cities, too, and this book enhances my collection of quality printed urban books and city literature. However, the fourteen dwelling places in The New Shingled House are all around everywhere across the vast expanse of the continental USA, and not exclusively in cities. To cite the book description, "the shingled house can suggest the beach, the countryside, the mountains, and even the city."

The 10.3" x 12.3" format, (physically very) heavyweight book is packed full of full-color, mostly full page photographs of interiors and exteriors. It also provides descriptions, commentary, and floor plans. The grand scale of these places impresses me, but possibly part of that impression comes from the perspective of the photographer's camera? The often subtle, usually understated natural colors, materials and textures in every design and production detail of these houses is my idea of elegance! These are models I'd love to draw on and change around to the needs of my own environment.

From any viewpoint, what a wonderfully inspiring resource for designing your own rooms, offices, studios, or almost any work place or living space. Summing up this book and the houses in the book? Fabulous, simply fabulous!

• my amazon review: stunning, opulent, brilliant

Using Feng shui

Using Feng Shui: Easy Ways to Use the Ancient Chinese Art of Placement for Happiness and Prosperity, by Antonia Beattie

What a delight! As a feng shui novice yet amateur in the true sense of the word, I knew some room and space arrangements felt good and produced healthy living but usually wasn't exactly sure how.
Using Feng shui book cover

It is wonderful to find various topics such as life aspirations, colors, grids, mirrors, shapes and doors in easy to access format. There's a feng shui lifestyle and yes, I definitely want and need to add that to my repertoire. The feng shui lifestyle section begins with a check like of Imbalances, Symptoms, Cures along with corresponding pages in the book where you might be able to find solutions.

I especially appreciate the book's square shape, the binding on the hardcover version that lets it easily stay open and the open page layout along with a natural color palette. I love this book and hope you'll find it useful in helping increase the feng shui of all your places: home, yard, garden, work, school and recreational.

• my amazon review: a beautiful, balanced layout for a beautiful, balanced life