Saturday, October 31, 2015

31 October: Almost

31 days of free writes

Last day, yay, I did it! All month long, every day, I've been writing for Kate Motaung's October 2015 edition of 31 days of free unedited writes, this is wrapup day 31.

Saturday 31 October: Almost


As a big fan of country-crosssover vocal artist Mary Chapin Carpenter; I've sprinkled her songs throughout my YT playlists. This "almost" prompt immediately reminded me of her "Almost Home." On her version of Almost Home in my into the future playlist someone commented, "these days, days, home seems to be just where I am." But then I realized I can say a lot more about almost than home.

autumn house
Today is 31 October—Halloween, Samhain, and for church and theology types, supremely Reformation Day! In fact, this is the 498th celebration of the church-, world-, and culture-reorienting Wittenberg Door Event. 498 years means it's almost the 500-year anniversary, #Reformation500, #Luther500...

#Halloween means All Hallows' Eve, which means almost All Saints Day. This year All Saints Sunday – usually celebrated the Sunday after 01 November – is on All Saints Day. Churches of Reformation heritage typically celebrate Reformation Day in a big way only when it falls on a Sunday; otherwise Reformation become Reformation Sunday, the Sunday before 31 October. The Gaelic festival of Samhain signals "almost winter," with the end of autumn harvest leading to the start of winter, a seeming (but not real) lull in the gift of the agricultural cycle. It's also almost winter in the northern hemisphere because we have one more month of meteorological fall, and that means almost summer in the southern hemisphere. Today in many locations in the the northern hemisphere, it's almost time to set the clocks back one hour, so we're almost up to those very visibly shorter days when it gets dark early.


production notes about my illustration:

(after multiple failed attempts) This is amazing! I scanned the 4 seasons holiday cards my grandparents had printed on not exactly high quality paper who knows where and finally, with lots of imagination, patience, experience and photoshop tools I've ended up with something more than acceptable. Despite my using descreen scanning the originals, the paper texture on all the cards except "summer" remained obnoxious, but a cool and serendipitous combination of filters and effects helped mostly to obliterate it (don't look too closely, though).

from Almost Home by Mary Chapin Carpenter
I'm not running
I'm not hiding
I'm not reaching
I'm just resting in the arms of the great wide open
Gonna pull my soul in
And I'm almost home

Final note: I didn't simply "almost" finish 31 days of free writes—I made it home! I did it all!

October 2015 31 days of free writes

Friday, October 30, 2015

30 October: Bacon

31 days of free writes oct 30, bacon

Next to the last day of Kate Motaung's October 2015 edition of 31 days of free unedited writes; this is day 30. next to the last day!

Friday 30 October: Bacon

Besides day 30, today's the weekly Five Minute Friday that Kate also hosts.

oct 30, bacon

BLT photo with reuse rights from wikimedia commons; some photoshopping by me as suntreeriver design

Although I eat very low on the food chain and hope to become fully vegetarian sooner rather than later (vegan would be closer to ideal), I sure do love me some bacon now and then, and finding a pic of a BLT made me very happy! Close to ecstatic! My preferred BLT-related samwich actually is a BLOAT: bacon; lettuce and/or spinach; onion; avocado; tomato. Always starting out with lots and lots of Hellmann's or Best Foods' mayonnaise depending on which coast I'm on, with a side dish of mayo so I can add extra with each bite. I prefer my bacon not crisp, somewhat on the soggy side. More flavor, more texture, and more greasy yummy! When I was coming up in a family with its midwestern and especially southern culinary origins, we always kept a pot of bacon grease on top of the stove. I continued that wonderful practice when I got out on my own with my own or shared spaces and places, but at some time at the end of the last century that practice disappeared. I also stopped buying bacon altogether. Interesting that from conversation and observation on social media I've discovered many of my mostly southern USA friends and acquaintances have said the same thing, and no one seems quite sure when the bacon grease disappeared from the stovetop. For me, it first migrated into the fridge, and then it was no more.

October 2015 31 days of free writes 5 minute friday icon

Thursday, October 29, 2015

29 October: Sea

31 days of free writes oct 29, sea

Only a duo of days to complete this month of Kate Motaung's October 2015 edition of 31 days of free unedited writes, this is day 29.

Thursday 29 October: Sea

beach greens blues teals

The Spirit of God brooded over the face of the deep, and birthed planet earth from the depths of the sea.

Let the sea roar, earth rejoice, heavens sing!

Most days I've written a little about one or two aspects of the single word prompt, but how can I put limits on the boundless sea? Water is life! No water—no sacraments. As much as I love the desert, my heart lives close to the ocean, the beach, the shore. I first saw light of day by the bay.

Scripture is full of sea-related and other water-saturated accounts. Songs about the sea include baptismal, homecoming, wayfaring, and nautical imagery. Quite a few of my analog drawings and paintings feature an ocean, river, or sea. "They're all the same," as streams and tributaries flow into the rivers that make their way into oceans and seas.

Gerry Rafferty sings about finding "a ship to take us on the way." For centuries they've built church naves in the shape of a (upside down) ship; the word nave is the same as "navy." The church becomes our ship as we navigate the sea(s) of life in the Spirit.
"The Ark", from Gerry Rafferty's City to City

See the dark night has come down on us
The world is livin' in its dream
But now we know that we can wake up from this sleep
And set out on the journey
Find a ship to take us on the way.

The time has come to trust that guiding light
And leavin' all the rest behind
We'll take the road that leads down to the waterside
And set out on the journey
Find a ship to take us on the way.

And we'll sail out on the water
Yes we'll feel the sea grow
Yes we'll meet out on the water
Where are all strangers are known.

If you travel blindly, if you fall
The truth is there to set you free
And when your heart can see just one thing in this life
We'll set out on the journey
Find a ship to take us on the way.
fish swim

October 2015 31 days of free writes

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

28 October: Hope

31 days of free writes oct 28, hope

Three more days to make complete this month of Kate Motaung's October 2015 edition of 31 days of free unedited writes, this is day 28.

Wednesday 28 October: Hope

hope city stampMore than a couple of lives ago, a couple of different people each gave me a book about hope: Is there Hope for the City? and Hope for the Flowers. A lot of my books and other stuff's currently in storage, so I found them both on Amazon. Are they ever old! For a fact I know I kept both books, and I plan to reread them when I unpack my storage.

Hope for the City... I've been looking at the Revelation text for next Sunday, All Saints Day, because I'm facilitating adult bible study again.
Revelation 21:1-6

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and tears and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away."

And the one seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life."
hope city stamp
In this passage we hear about the New Jerusalem, the city of God that formed the axis mundi between heaven and earth, where the old now has passed away—a common colloquialism for "dying"...

Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, tells us "Behold! I make all things new!" No more death, no more sorrow, no more tears. A well-tended garden grows into a city. Easter is about hope. Christianity is about hope. Christianity is about death and resurrection, about God's incarnation in Jesus Christ, and then about the presence of the risen Christ in each one of us. Our dwelling is in the city. We make all things new? We become Hope for the Flowers and Hope for the City.

PS I wrote this after spending some time with Sunday's lectionary texts earlier today and in five minutes or fifteen or fifty minutes couldn't say everything I wanted to. It's all very very dense and rich. The Greek for God's dwelling with us is the same as in John 1:14, "the word became flesh and dwelt among us." In essence that's pitched a tent, a tabernacle (remember Ark of the Covenant?), a portable shelter. Succoth – the Festival of Booths – remembers and celebrates that sheltered precariousness! In The Message version of the bible, Eugene Peterson says "God moved into the neighborhood." True. God did move into the 'hood, but didn't stay put inside the house, condo, or apartment. God lived on earth as the axis mundi between earth and heaven. God moved around alongside the people everywhere they went, just as God in the Spirit calls all of us to do.

October 2015 31 days of free writes

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

October 27: Maybe

31 days of free writes oct 27, maybe rain

Four more days to make the month of Kate Motaung's October 2015 edition of 31 days of free unedited writes, this is day 27.

Tuesday 27 October: Perhaps

Intro: when Kate gave us an opp to suggest prompts for this month, I had my say, but since I didn't keep a list, I don't know if she chose any of mine. However, I can tell ya, "perhaps" was not one of them! It's not a word I use more often than once a decade or so. I far prefer maybe—or occasionally possibly. Perhaps sounds contrived, formal, and pretentious, though words from the same root such as happen and happenstance, haphazard and hapless don't bother me at all. "Perhaps" in my journaling book and on my keyboard is similar to pesky, redux, mauve, garbled, boho, eschew, and a few others. Long way of explaining why "maybe" is my word for today.

Words like maybe, possibly, (perhaps) need to include a picture of rain and lots of hope. Too many unforeseen, untoward, unanticipated and – even by later on – pretty much unexplainable events have been going gone down in my life, with far less than the eventual outcomes I'd expected by now. A roundabout way of saying I still have dark, dreary, rainy, cold days. Then there's California's close to desperate drought—except desperate means "without hope," and if we steward creation in the power and presence of the Spirit, how will planet earth be anything but replete with hope?

"Water is life!" Water is the womb of the first creation, of our first and second births, of the new creation in Jesus Christ. Our bodies are at least 50% water. The oceans are this planet's circulatory system. You know salt water heals anything! Tears, sweat, the ocean. So maybe, just maybe, rain will pour down from the skies again so creation can thrive and flourish again. Maybe, it just may be that my own rainy days will become bright. We know the sun's always there and always shines somewhere. Maybe, possibly (perhaps) rain? Yes! Maybe, possibly (perhaps) sunshine?! Yes, absolutely, truly, indisputably, indubitably, for sure, for all of us.

serious drought

Outro: Rain image with reuse rights from arien on Morguefile; graphic embellishment by me, suntreeriver design. Serious drought banner (this time my photo and again my design) features mustard plants alongside the San Diego River in Mission Valley.

October 2015 31 days of free writes

Monday, October 26, 2015

Day 26: Whisper

31 days of free writes oct 26, whisper

Continue the final week home stretch of Kate Motaung's October 2015 edition of 31 days of free unedited writes, this is day 26.

Monday 26 October: Whisper

Advertising loves the word "whisper." Whisper soft—because it's not shouting loud. As a designer I've noticed more expensive, higher-end retail goods usually have more subtly understated packaging: colors; layout, logos. Sometimes their brand name and logo will occupy only a teeny tiny portion of their print and online ads and their shopping bags! How counterintuitive is that? They won't shout to get your attention, because soft whispers are less off-putting than loud screams.

Yesterday in my creation theme I talked about loud and crashing! Nature can whisper, too. In the quiet first light of a new day. Awesome star splashed night sky, especially in Tucson AZ, an official Dark Sky area. Wordless whispers of the ocean barely lapping the shore—especially the Pacific that doesn't get into roaring raging crashes the way the Atlantic does at times.

Long ago in a discussion with a music school classmate, my classmate suggested opening your organ recital with very quiet music, such as Handel's F Major organ concerto (Op.4 No.5 in F Major HWV293, but I no longer link to vids because they often are here today, gone the next time I log in) because "it forces people to listen." Then there's my favored opening with something bright, splashy, and fairly fast like a Buxtehude Prelude and Fugue or Toccata and Fugue (most of them begin loud and clear so I don't need a special citation).

October 2015 31 days of free writes

Sunday, October 25, 2015

25 October: Crash

31 days of free writes oct 25, crash

Home stretching with day 25 of Kate Motaung's October 2015 edition of 31 days of free unedited writes.

Sunday 25 October: Crash

day 25 crash

Continuing with my theme of mostly creation, "crash" first always is ocean waves reaching the shore with a ....crash! I can hear them, see them, and when I'm close enough, smell them and revel in the mist or spray. I've never seen or heard a glacier's crashing calving in real life, but on video that's another stunning visual, loud auditory crash. Thunder, of course! I can hear thunder's crash (the word crash carries a hint of onomatopoeia), view the lightning, smell the ozone, feel the rain. When there is rain. When it rains I also can smell the activated earth. "Dry lightning" seems to be a hot humid weather phenom in some parts.

A car crash and a plane crash, neither of which anyone wants to see, hear, experience or have happen to anyone anywhere. Every one of these crashes have a sense of haphazard randomness, but someone still could chart their trajectory, digitally capture their sounds and their sights.

My last "crash" is what I sometimes do. I think most humans crash at times; it's usually tiredness and exhaustion throughout my body, mind, and spirit. Usually not visible to anyone else, silent to the point of a whisper to myself. I wonder why we talk about needing to crash when we're tired? What other words could we use?

1. I like the beachy oceany salty seaweed smell – along with the crunchy effect of ocean mist on my hair – so seriously I've even bought some in a (spray, of course!) bottle and also saved a couple of make-your-own recipes. Alongside that "like," I also like that messy hair is in style these days.

2. I almost always think some before writing to the single word prompt, then typically write my five minutes before logging in to see what Kate and others have done—how funny my ideas today were so very different from Kate's! This time she had three buttons with people in close crash-prone proximity; I chose the one that's maybe a transit center, lifestyle center, or office building lobby. I LIKE crowds of people, though I'll admit crashing into them or have someone crash into me isn't a day-maker, but not a day-wrecker either.

October 2015 31 days of free writes

Saturday, October 24, 2015

24 October: Silence

31 days of free writes oct 24, silence

Day 24 of Kate Motaung's October 2015 edition of 31 days of free unedited writes.

Saturday 24 October: Silence

day 24 silence

My 5 minutes on silence has to begin with Jary Vajda's one-stanza hymn, "Now the Silence, Now the Peace" [you can read it at the end of this post].

I could write about the countless silences in my email inbox, in my postal mailbox, the too too silent phones. But more than that, I think of nature's silences with their still quietness. The silence in the air before a storm begins. Silence that surrounds me when I lift my head and wonder at the star-filed southwestern desert sky. Silence in between each time a wave reaches and then loudly crashes on the beach shoreline.

My own illustration for this post is snow. Silence that permeates the air as snow falls from this sky. The total overarching silence at the end of a snowfall. Snow seems to absorb every sound that comes near it! Staring out my window after a snowfall in City of History and in A Former City and having a sense of quiet that makes everything ok. I decided not to write about those smaller personal – though still important – silences because as Mark Sanders and Tia Sillers say in I Hope You Dance, "I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean," creation's silences envelope and surround me, and let me know I'm part of the larger whole.

Now the Silence

Now the silence, now the peace,
Now the empty hands uplifted;
Now the kneeling, now the plea,
Now the Father’s arms in welcome;
Now the hearing, now the power,
Now the vessel brimmed for pouring;
Now the body, now the blood,
Now the joyful celebration;
Now the wedding, now the songs,
Now the heart forgiven, leaping;
Now the Spirit’s visitation,
Now the Son’s epiphany;
Now the Father’s blessing,
Now, now, now.

Words ©1969, Jaroslav Vajda

The top button on the right is from Kate, who got it from unsplash dot com them a shoutout because they have fabulous hi-res pics; giving myself a reminder cuz I subscribe to unsplash and haven't used many of their offerings.

October 2015 31 days of free writes

Friday, October 23, 2015

23 October: Joy

31 days of free writes oct 23, joy

Today's Five Minute Friday continues Kate Motaung's October 2015 edition of 31 days of free writes; today is day 23! We got a list of prompts for every day of the month except Fridays that remain a mystery until Kate posts at 19:00 Thursday. You know how these free writes go―write unedited for five minutes.

Friday 23 October: Joy

Isaiah 55:12 at the end of 2nd Isaiah – the exilic Isaiah – follows the über-famous passage about God's word bearing fruit and not returning empty to heaven. The entire chapter 55 dances and sings with joy-filled hope that forms a paradigm for us to follow in this technology-saturated century. Please note—God promises joy and shalom to the human exiles; creation responds with joy to the people's joy!!

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Can you imagine what a hallelujah time for rejoicing it would be for the forests, rivers, sky, oceans, mountains, deserts, fields, farms, and cities if the divine presence in their midst cared so well for them they'd sing and dance in joy-filled response? That "divine presence" in the midst of creation now is us, the church, the people of God filled with the pentecostal spirit of life! The rest of creation depends on human creatures that depend on the rest of creation... besides being the venue, focus, and locus of God's merciful grace-filled love, planet earth now is God's temple, God's earthly dwelling.

In addition to several Isaiah passages, Psalms 96, 98, and 148 that describe creation rejoicing are the psalms appointed in the Revised Common Lectionary – RCL – for Christmas (incarnation, nativity, yuletide, noël).

psalms 98 and 96

psalm 148

At first I thought this topic of "joy" would be an edit later and write longer for sure, but after writing a little beyond two minutes, instead of continuing for a full five minutes I decided to post the designs I created with the nativity psalms. They originally were timeline banner-cover photos on my Facebook design page.

October 2015 31 days of free writes 5 minute friday icon

Thursday, October 22, 2015

22 October: Value

31 days of free writes oct 22, value

Day 22 of Kate Motaung's October 2015 edition of 31 days of free unedited writes.

Thursday 22 October: Value

Worth was our word last Sunday. I'll logically assume worth is from the German; value from Latin.

What's this to you? Name something of equivalent worth for you—that'll explain how much you value it. Stored value gift card, pre-paid credit card. Value added purse at the racetrack.

I got a degree in economics because I couldn't start seminary without learning a lot about money, finance, the exchange of goods, and the psychological phenom of the stock market. The circulation of money everywhere includes a strong psychological component. Economics literally is the law of the household; "household" technically begins with a single individual, and ultimately extends to the whole inhabited world: the ecumenopolis, the city that fills the planet. In the retail world of clothing, household goods, vehicles, and assorted miscellany, one person doesn't not always "value" a particular object to the same degree another person does. In many ways it's cultural, in other ways it relates to income and/or cash on hand along with true necessities.

After studying economics, I went to seminary and studied theology, the word about the Divine, the discipline that articulates ultimate values that can't be bought or sold with ordinary transactional legal tender. Learning the scriptures of the church and the stories of God's people help us learn what God ultimately values, and makes us more aware of what we need to learn to value most, as God's people created in God's image.

Time is money, and often people place a dollar or pound or euro *value* on their labor—or sometimes on their non-workplace time. Some non-profit organizations have a "time-dollar" program that helps clients learn to earn. Stored value of some sort, I'd say.

October 2015 31 days of free writes

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

21 October: Wave

31 days of free writes oct 21, wave

Day 21 of Kate Motaung's October 2015 edition of 31 days of free unedited writes.

Wednesday 21 October: Wave

A wave to someone; a cultural wave, sound wave, a "wave of the future"—(what's that?!). In every case, undulating, advancing, retreating ocean waves form the basic model for all these other types of wave.

sea blues grunge waves

Here in usually sunny, frequently anonymous, often laid-back, coastal Southern California, The Ocean Wave is The Main Wave on most people's minds. This is one of the surfing capitals of the world, and whatever the weather, whatever the season, you'll see wet-suited human penguins bopping up and down along the ocean surface. In warm weather, super-tanned guys, girls, women and men going out to catch the next wave, hoping to ride it into shore.

Every bit as typical of southern California in this 21st century is the number of people who treat everything as casually as the next wave they'll catch. The wave rolls in. You ride it or you don't. The wave rolls out. People, jobs—I'll be acquaintances with this person until the next one rolls in my way, and then they'll be my person for today. Jobs? I'll keep this one until surf's up.

I like to keep a tide chart nearby to track times for low tide and high tide. I've never been an ocean wave surfer, but I love walking along the ocean shore as waves roll in. I love walking knee-deep in the placid Pacific and feeling the strength and power of that wave surround my body. Sometimes their power knocks me down; at time's they're tame; sometimes I resist the energy of the wave and stand my own.

October 2015 31 days of free writes

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

20 October: Temporary

31 days of free writes oct 20, temporary

Day 20 of Kate Motaung's October 2015 edition of 31 days of free unedited "just writes".

Tuesday 20 October: Temporary

Temporary, pro tem—lasts, endures for a while, for a time, either short or long. but not forever, usually not for the long run.

Sometimes knowing something is temporary helps me stay the course and hang in there. At other times realizing this is only temporary makes me sorry and sad because a lot of those temporaries feel so good and are so wonderful. Reunion with an old friend? A fabulous concert? Perfect summer weather? Yummy eats, of course! Again right now my housing situation is temporary. For sure it won't be so-called permanent housing. In some ways I like the freedom of coming and going from this very very inner-city abode, in other ways I think of my *stuff* in storage and would enjoy bringing it into a place and space where I'll abide for at least a somewhat longer while, possibly a year or two or more. Erik Erikson speaks of the furniture of self, and says that *stuff* is part of how we recognize ourselves and our history; it's part of the evidence of who we are. (I can't recall the exact quote.)

Our physical stay on planet earth truly is temporary—whether we live for only a few seconds after birth, or like Louise from the church I attended for a while we live into our 100s. She was 107 last time I looked! That temporary phase also tells me we need to "make the most" of the time – the tempus – in acts and attitudes of loving service.

That's my Tuesday take on temporary.

October 2015 31 days of free writesOctober 2015 31 days of free writes