Friday, August 26, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Loyal

Since I played Friday 5 today, why not take 5 to write on this late August late Friday afternoon? As usual, Kate Motaung hosts; loyal is our prompt.

Loyal! If you're loyal to a brand, a person, or a confession of faith, it's similar to trusting, to having faith in that entity. It is right and true. I know it won't let me down—in other words, it will be loyal to me, as well.

We've all encountered many many instances of look-alike packaging, products, and fashion designs at retail prices lower than the supposed real thing—most often at the dollar or discount store, sometimes elsewhere. Knock-offs. As a designer and as a creative in general, I know there are legal limits on how far imitation can go without getting the imitator hauled into court and possibly jail. Someone (like myself) who admittedly tends to be "quite a people-pleaser" often deals with misplaced loyalties in attempts to please other people, but to express it in a healthier way, a lot of my people pleasing is because I simply want to be included, to become part of the party. [Not to worry, because I'm also quite an iconoclast.]

So is loyalty to a brand name, to a designer, misplaced or not, is it good or is it bad? Maybe indifferent? Some brands will be loyal back at you: Apple/Macintosh; Audi; Levis®; Best Foods/Hellmann's Mayonnaise. But for the most part, they seek that market niche or consumer corner because they necessarily want steady income from their output. So take your consumer preferences for what they're worth.

When we read scripture we learn about the testimony, the witness, the loyalty to God and to God's people of countless generations of saints, yet every single person, family, and other group mostly displays not so much human loyalty as God's loyalty because it's all about grace. It's gift.

five minute friday button

back to school 5

school busMonica hosts today's Back 2 School Friday 5!!!

I haven't played Friday 5 in eons, but school always is fun and easy to write about, and I want to commiserate with the kids in town who started elementary, middle, and HS a couple weeks ago. Commiserate? Back in my day we didn't go back to school until after Labor Day. I also needed to play cuz I've captured a few school bus pics and needed an excuse to blog one. Or two as the case may be, since I well may edit my post and add more images later.

1. I've done an exceptional number of years of formal school that you can read all about on my academic transcripts, but favorite thing about school? I love being on campus! I enjoy and need the structure and expectations of the classroom. I love starting new notebooks. Writing papers.

2. My most memorable and most important teacher had to be Mrs. Hartley, senior year of HS. From kindergarten on, school did not interest me at all. I didn't hate it, but I sure didn't love it; it was what you did, though I did most of my homework and almost always was on the B honor roll. The idea of the required year of US History in order to get my HS diploma distressed me. I didn't know what history really was, and the way early grade teachers had presented it as tame facts, pale figures, and events not connected to any other event bored me into spending most of my class time drawing and designing. Mrs. Hartley taught us to ask why, to find reasons, to cite sources, to make conjectures... she brought history to life; she made learning alive! And the rest of my story with school is history.

3. At lunch I sat with anyone I happened to notice or sometimes someone who noticed me. Generally a time to eat quickly with little conversation and then move onto the next class or activity.

4. Favorite school supply/ies? Probably notebooks. Every late summer-early fall I bought a tall stack of 70 page, wide ruled 70 page spiral bound. Every late summer-early fall I still buy a few spiral bound notebooks and a couple of classic composition books. I also like packs of new pens, and, of course, Crayola® crayons, but my crayon supply typically is sated enough I can't justify buying more just because they're there in the store. Always a few packages of wide lined filler paper and a couple of new vinyl binders. Because of the way I think and work, these days I go through a lot of paper and notebooks, with my adult SS class prep, and use a fair amount for journaling and other life necessities, to a sufficient extent I often need to by more in the spring when none of the school stuff still is on sale.

5. "kids these days" are missing out on fresh air, free and unstructured time, being relatively free agents. They've also gained awareness of the rest of the world and of other cultures.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Team


All the way from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Olympic Games have been raising a world-wide ruckus—even deflecting social media interest from the presidential race in the USA! Imagine that! I haven't been watching, but the team spirit necessary to participate in many sports just may be the reason Kate gave us team for our Five Minute Friday prompt.

cathedral bells
Campanile at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles,CA.
Photograph ©


As a performing musician and as an enjoyer of most types and eras and genres of music, I know music always includes groups or teams of sounds, instruments, and performers that each do their own things, but at the correct times, rates, levels, and intensities. Even the audience for a musical performance needs to gear up and team in correctly—have you ever been at a symphony concert where newcomers to symphony hall do not realize one does not applaud between movements of a symphony that's in two, three, four or more movements?

Part of making music is discerning how to get from one note to the next; just as much, the rests or breaks or silences between notes in various parts of the performance team are as vital to the whole as the notes that sound and resound. In some ways a symphony orchestra – whether small classical size from Haydn or early Beethoven, or majorly mega post-Romantic size as from Richard Strauss – is the ultimate music team. But then again, The Symphony Orchestra performs from a carefully rehearsed, fully notated score, so a jazz ensemble may be even more or at least as much a team endeavor, because each instrumentalist needs to listen and be exquisitely aware of their time to blend, to riff, or to shine in silence.

"If we have no silence, God is not heard in our music." Thomas Merton


Writing about teams and music reminds me of The music of the spheres from the hymn, "This Is My Father's World." God coordinates all movements and actions of every part of creation to score a perfect ensemble, better than any Olympic, HS or pro sports team, better than the most highly acclaimed world-class symphony orchestra, jazz band, or vocal choir. God is free enough not to interfere with what's happening; God is resourceful, grace-filled, and creative enough to redeem and reconcile mistakes and mishaps.

five minute friday team five minute friday button

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

summer 2016 summary

Getty Garden summer 2016 summary header

Emily P Freeman's What I Learned this summer already is live and the linkup ends in three days, so here are some June and July highlights, a couple of August romps. As usual, I'm making this partly "What I Did" and partly "What I Learned."

3 word wednesday button
I'm also linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor's Things From August Three Word Wednesday. It's rare that I allow a blog post to do doubles or triples, but often a post can fit into more than a single linkup—especially the testimony-focused ones. Besides, I wanted to get in on Kristin's wonderful blog redesign and use her new Three Word Wednesday button right away!

Blog Content and Writing Ideas

Five Minute Fridays and Three Word Wednesdays are a major way to go in order to keep actively blogging; besides ideas and inspirations, they provide easy fun ways to discover new blogs and meet new friends. In fact, most of the summer I only wrote to those linkups, though every week I've posted my adult SS notes on Urban Wilderness/City Paradise. I print almost nothing these days, and especially since it's a lectionary study group [one pericope per week], I even might benefit from my own ideas aome day.

July Rehearsal Concert @ Hollywood Bowl

holly wood bowl banner summer 2016
LA Phil at Hollywood Bowl summer 2016

July Open House at Corita Art Center

Corita sale table summer 2016
Corita Kent for sale summer 2016
Sister Corita sale items summer 2016

August Excursion to the Getty Center

Getty Center 11 August 2016 Getty Center 11 August 2016
Getty Center 11 August 2016
Getty Center 11 August 2016
Getty Center 11 August 2016
Getty Center 11 August 2016
Getty Center 11 August 2016
Getty Center 11 August 2016
Getty Center 11 August 2016
These are Novel and Surprising!

Getty Center 11 August 2016
London Calling Exhibit Banner • Kitten and Girl by Lucian Freud (Sigmund's grandson)

Saturday?, August Friday in the [Griffith] Park

Griffith Park summer 2016
Griffith Park summer 2016
Observatory on the Hill

Griffith Park summer 2016
Griffith Parkn summer 2016
this green and brown is so California Currents

Griffith Park summer 2016
Still Loving Chrome Orange wherever I find it!

Griffith Park summer 2016
Serious Drought • Save The Drop LA

New Blog Page

Despite its not being finished or complete, I learned it was fine to post the theological trajectory page on this blog that I've wanted to do for quite a while.

Remembered and Re-Learned

On my theological trajectory page one more time I observed doors to my further participation only can be opened from the other side. Within the past week I also learned, remembered, became aware, that despite my currently trying to rebuild a life of service and participation almost from scratch (but not quite, because I have skills, background, and experiences all waiting and ready to go), and despite my observations that Previous City was not cutting it for me in the least, I recalled Good Friday 2007 lunch with the interim pastor back in Previous City. I won't make the detailed list here, but between North Minster and North Park I was doing exactly the ministry I prepared to do, though not nearly as much of it as I assumed would begin happening—you expect opportunities to expand rather than contract. A fair amount of teaching; a little preaching. Some graphic design, street evangelism, various varieties of music off and on.... other random ministries; all that ended with new pastors at both churches. Movin' on now in Current City.

Note to self: no wonder I'm grasping and holding on so tightly to my Sunday morning Adult SS teaching gig. No. Wonder.

summer 2016 summary header
emily freeman summer 2016

Friday, August 05, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Happy

This time we get to write for five minutes to Kate's happy prompt.

surfboards stacked
under the sea

Scripture reminds us, commands us, encourages us to rejoice. The God who inspired the Scriptures claims us with joy! A few years ago on the old online theology forums someone mentioned that despite joy permeating the text of scripture, happiness is more grounded, more "milk and honey" more everyday life achievable and... enjoyable, too. Latter-day Saints sometimes talk about God's Plan of Happiness. That sounds mundane and ordinary, but isn't day by day by week by year the entire idea of gospel-centered living?

The promised land of milk and honey means streams and rivers to water the grass so cattle can feed, cows produce milk, people make cheese. Bees mean fertilized crops; bees mean jars of sweet honey on the shelf, drizzles of honey on your home-baked bread. Desert streams mean irrigation for olives, figs, pomegranates, vineyards, barley and wheat. All that vitally inter-related good eatin' outta the good earth leads to conversing and connecting around the table. Happy you're here for me, I'm here for you, happy all of us are here together for each other. Happy is plain, everyday, just for today, one step at a time. Happy is a life you "don't need a vacation from," as Kate's button states.

# # #

PS: Happy also means living in the moment // living in the moment often leads to happiness. Earlier today when I was at the judicatory offices for a meeting, the surfboards and fishes in my header images made me happy and convinced me to Five Minute Friday.

PPS: These 5 minutes writes are supposed to be unedited, but happily I took the liberty of changing my original land of milk and honey description from past to present tense.

southwest california synod offices five minute friday happy
five minute friday button

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Three Word Wednesday: 14 Years Together

Today for Three Word Wednesday, Kristin Hill Taylor celebrates 14 years together married to Greg! Claiming that 14 year mark makes me feel prescient that I didn't write an actual blogoversary post this year but instead included desert spirits fire @ 14 as part of my July On A Page monthly roundup. I had no foreknowledge of Kristin's activities but probably wouldn't have done double blogoversary posts, so having such a perfect fit for the prompt delights me.

desert spirit's fire 14 years

Over the past decade and then some I've narrated bits and pieces of this blog's history and probably not enough of my own history; the archives will show you some. If you're online much, you've probably noticed starting a blog has become one of the things to do—that also was true back in 2002. In May 2002 I'd finished a year long certificate – mini-MBA – in Community Economic Development. As with most of my classmates who didn't do the program because it related to their current employment, I hadn't found a job during those two semesters, so I planned to network as much as possible during the coming year(s). I'd serendipitously heard about the CED program on the radio at exactly the same time I found out the possible worship specialist gig (not church musician, though it might have evolved into that) I might have returned to the east coast for no longer could happen. Since the beginning of time in terms of my agency to make life choices, everything had been more skills for inner city ministry; some people say urban, but I say "inner city" and I intend inner city. My very first internet venture had been a city site in the now defunct MSN groups; the page still was active during 2002. Post-another graduation with summer 2002 wide open before me, in my decision to blog I knew the subject had to be my second passion that interacted constantly with my first love, cities—that would be theology! I listed combinations of possible blog titles and read them out loud to assess what went down best. Desert spirit's fire won. In addition to four more theology blogs, over those fourteen years I started a dozen blogs for different subjects; recently out of necessity and in a quest for semi-saneness I began reposting some of my urban and design best blog posts on desert spirit's fire in order to simplify my life and unify my online presence.

Desert Spirit's Fire! remains "my more formal theology," but I've been bringing more of my everyday life into it. You know the description: theology • ecology • liturgy • life. After hearing only snippets of my history, someone in Previous City remarked how I'd kept growing my résumé in spite of everything, and yep, I have, and this blog has been major in helping me articulate my sacramental and other theologies, particularly in between times when I haven't been teaching on a regular basis.

Congrats to Kristin and Greg on 14 Years Together! Considering all the places I've lived where the dishwasher was broken, a new dishwasher sounds like a helpful accessory. You easily could say Desert Spirit's Fire! and I have been 14 Years Together, so I'm giving myself a shoutout, an atta girl, a hat tip, and wistful hopes for fourteen more years and counting of blogging...
three word wednesday button