Remember Monkey see, Monkey do?

At the Cincinnati Art Museum I had to wonder what this artist was thinking!

Future Retrieval: Close Parallel

Future Retrieval, the studio collaboration of former University of Cincinnati faculty members Katie Parker and Guy Michael Davis, appropriates imagery and forms from historical objects to create new art that speaks to our twenty-first-century experience. Their practice is rooted in ceramic art, but also incorporates a diverse mix of media and techniques that combine age-old methods with new technologies.

For this exhibition, Future Retrieval will take over two museum galleries as project spaces where they will construct an unconventional response to objects “borrowed” from the Cincinnati Art Museum’s decorative art and design collection. In pairing their own work with objects from the museum’s collection, the artists will create an experience that encourages visitors to consider aspects of our historical collections and practices in a new light.

#CAMCloseParallel

At home when I enlarged the photo I wished I had gone around the other side of the ape. Evidently it was holding something in its hand! And chin on other hand. How like us! was it thinking “Should I eat this?”

Well, it was at the end of our museum visit and we older folks get tired. The painting of mushrooms and sculpture of mushrooms was interesting also.

Perhaps more interesting in person, but thought I’d distract you with these art items. Careful next time you look in the mirror. Make certain there is not a monkey looking back at you!

Everything Will be Alright

Been hearing this song. And then HEARING this song when the radio is not on so it was time to share with you!

At https://55promotion.com/music-spotlight/be-alright-by-evan-craft/the writer says: “Hey guys it’s Evan Craft. And I’m so excited to share with you my new song “Be Alright”. We actually wrote this song first in Spanish hoping to impact people around Latin America who were struggling with anxiety and depression. The response was so great that we decided to do it in English. So I called Danny Gokey and he said he wanted to be a part of it. We wrote this song and the lyrics were so powerful that I was crying in my kitchen writing them saying “Lord they say you hold the whole universe in your hands but my world’s falling apart like it is made of sand. Am I small enough to slip through the cracks?”

My home church has a terrible reputation of being awfully lacking at communication with the congregation about what is going on in our part of the Body of Christ. There was certainly NO improvement during the Pandemic crisis when the church meetings were curtailed. Even when services resumed, no improvement. As Bob and I continued to guard our health in preparation for moving we felt as if we literally had fallen through the cracks as far as our church was concerned.

We recently made the decision to leave that church. After 10 years of service it was a difficult decision to make. So the lyric about sand and falling through the cracks really hit me. We have not found a new church home yet, but feel certain that we will. With the rampant spread of the Delta variant we are reluctant to get out there in a small room singing with other people right now. For this period of time we are listening to various local preachers on line.

Take a listen. Then listen again. I remember my mom and her friend Norma singing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” when I was a child. Still true today!

Charles Martin, Favorite Author

When I begin a Charles Martin book I know I will be staying up late to read. His work is just mesmerizing. I cannot close his books, even when very sleepy, without regret.

I recently read “The Letter Keeper,” second in a series about Murphy Shepherd. This man goes into situations of extreme danger to recapture girls and women who were taken against their will into the sex trade. The first in the series is “The Water Keeper.”

“If my life experience had taught me anything, it’s this: the wounds of the past carry a lot of weight when it comes to walking into one’s future, and if anything can rob you of now, it’s yesterday. We are really good at taking the pain of our past and projecting it into our future because it’s what we know, and yet our past has almost nothing to do with our future other than being connected by seconds. That’s it. So we face a choice. Either shine a light on yesterday and expose it, or forfeit the joy of now and the hope of tomorrow. I realize this is easier said than done, but left untreated, experiential pain becomes a fortress in our gut that houses a lie spoken by fear. And behind that fear is an idol of our own making.”

The Letter Keeper, Charles Martin

This wisdom applies to each of us. That first sentence alone might need re-reading several times! Then “Shine a light on yesterday and expose it” is right out of Scripture. The light of the Holy Spirit can bring forth things from the shadows of our soul to full exposure. Romans 12 says

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:1-2 NIV

When Paul writes bodies he is referring to the ‘totality of one’s life and activities, of which ones body is the vehicle of expression.” (from Bible Knowledge Commentary) The Father wants to make an exchange with us. Our trouble and sin from the past for joy and hope. When I present my body to Him (my all) He sees that as a living sacrifice. He finds that to be my holy and acceptable sacrifice to Him. Even the things I am ashamed of do not shame Him.

Charles Martin encourages us to not let the past rob the future. Wisdom indeed. Are there things you need to ask the Holy Spirit to shine light upon? Are there things you are holding back from the Father? Are you ready to open your hands and heart and release those things to Him?

He is waiting and ready to accept you and any baggage you bring. Let Him have every area of your life. You will not be disappointed in His plans for your future. I promise.

Wish I had Remembered a Camera!!

We had two open house parties this past week and I forgot to have a camera ready for either one of them! Drats.

The first was an open house Wednesday afternoon for my friends from the Union Township Crochet and Knit group. Following day after day of summer sweltering heat, we had a tremendous downpour right at party time. Most guests waited in their cars for the storm to abate. Even at that when they came in they were wading through the full gutters along the street. As usual, there was much laughter and sharing. After touring the house we settled down for a small lunch with Jimmy John’s third cut sandwiches, chips, cookies, lemonade, water or iced tea. No one drank coffee. We had fun opening our home and sharing with this joyful bunch!

Then on Sunday afternoon we had another larger group. We invited 37 and about 27 showed. This group was comprised of neighbors from our old address, friends from our church of the last ten years, people Bob used to work with and others who had not seen our home yet. It was a rowdy bunch. We had lemonade, tea, bottled water, cookies and York peppermint patties. Some folks stayed the whole 2 hours. Others came and went at their leisure.

The last half hour we were left with a table full of friends who are all strong Christians. About then I realized our friends who have an adult daughter who has been ill for over 16 months had not arrived. Someone mentioned the serious turn for the worse that her health had made. Another read a prayer request for her that had arrived in the last hour on their phone. I was stunned as if someone had slammed me against the wall. One person suggested we pray right then and there as a group on her behalf. And we did. One man mentioned how we could all go from rowdy laughter at one moment to solemn intercession the next. Such a clear example of the Christian life. I was so grateful to have all those sweet folks praying with us for her at that moment.

How fitting that this house that we believe belongs to God and is on loan to us, was suddenly transformed into a prayer altar on Mindy’s behalf. Please, please pray for Mindy, her husband and children, her parents and siblings. These folks are exhausted and in need of encouragement and prayers on their behalf.

So I have no photos to share with you, but hope from the words you get an idea of our week of celebration. I failed to put “No gifts” on the invitation and people brought gifts that about overwhelmed me. Bob is out buying thank you notes now. We are blessed beyond measure.

Hurricane Ida is supposed to bring rain to our part of Ohio this week. Though our hearts are heavy for the people on the Gulf coast, we are grateful Bob will not need to water the sod and plants. Weather will likely delay the start of our deck being built, but we can wait. Ryan homes is also supposed to begin digging a drainage ditch across three lots (ours included). Hopefully that will clear up the standing water and let us use all of our lot instead of avoiding the last 5 feet due to marshy soil.

Online I did find a photo of the Hallmark invitations we used!

Spiritual Practice While Walking Lucky

While walking Lucky and trying not to be preoccupied with her, just looking around and trying to keep silent I happened upon

and

Even when I am not thinking about it, the pollen falls off the sunflower onto the leaf, the buds form, the bees work, the ants crawl along the underside of the leaf and over the petals, clouds roll past and all God asks is my attention and presence to Him. (Mind you, the sentences above are thinking, not just looking. I realize that.)

Pay attention. Still your inner chatter. Listen for His voice. In 1 Samuel 3: 10 it says, “The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.””

Frogs jump, crickets call, He leads me beside this man made pond, yet speaks to my soul, most times in spite of my chatter. If I am willing to quiet that chatter, His voice is especially impactful. The natural world unfolds without my input. For my inner being to grow my cooperation with God is essential.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God

Psalm 46:10a

An imperfect entry this. I just wanted to try to convey that God’s natural order goes on without my input. He has the power over that. The affairs of other people evolve without my input. He has the power there, also. He desires my attention, cooperation and presence in the affairs of my soul and spirit. He has given us free will and does not violate that. He asks the same from each of us. As Eli instructed Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:9, ask Him to speak to you and listen carefully!

Sue Monk Kidd

Many think her greatest writing is within some of the novels she has written and then allowed to be made into movies. I tend to think her self-revelatory book When the Heart Waits is her best EVER. Reviewing a few pages while writing a recent blog entry pulled me in again to her masterful discussion of how she stumbled upon the power of prayer in unmoving silence.

“Why couldn’t I pray? Why? I stood by the doors, watching the fog, everything in me hushed and unmoving. All at once I caught my reflection in the glass. I saw my posture silhouetted against the darkness. And it came to me in one of those grace-ful moments – I was seeing myself at prayer. I was praying. My still heart, my silence, the very posture of waiting against a backdrop of darkness was my prayer.”

She goes on to explain that she saw into the interior posture of prayer. “Such interior postures are themselves the prayers that transform, heal and yield the answers in our waiting.”

If you have followed my journey you perhaps remember me writing about Richard Rohr relating a lesson he was given on prayer from Fr. William McNamara. “Just look.” Not saying or doing anything, just look and let God open your heart and mind and soul. “Just look.” That is one powerful exercise. Try this for yourself. Practice it on random Wednesdays or when you take a walk. Just invite God to lead you. He will show up if we cut off the faucet of verbage.

Remember the old childhood song about stop, look and listen? We could use more of that in our Christian lives! Stop all the usual chatter in your brain. Look around you for evidence of God. Listen for the still small voice of the Spirit.

From the Inside Out

Inside Out © 1988 		Molly Lin Dutina		


I want to live from the inside out,
always within the center-down silence.
Having to struggle to get back 
is not the direction I choose.

Teach me, Lord, and help me 
know how to grow 
from the peaceful
sanctuary within.

Show me please where 
to refresh our love.
Give me attitudes that will unravel me
from the sin which so easily entangles.

Make me one with You, Lord,
so I will know 
how to be close 
to all that is around me.

Help me, Father,
and be glorified in my life.

Sue Monk Kidd says “This prayer isn’t about talking and doing and thinking. It’s about postures. Postures of the spirit…. Such interior postures are themselves the prayers that transform, heal and yield the answers in our waiting.”

The still point from which we live our lives. How do reach your still point. What does it take for your creativity from the Spirit to flow forth from you? Have you practiced that lately? Are you willing to do that this day? This week?

Soul of My Soul

Sometime after 1985 I read a book by Catherine de Hueck Doherty. Chapter 15 covered The Great Pool of Silence. “The silence of love, coming from a pure heart, will examine with wisdom all that is said to me, and this love will determine my response.” That is an incredible challenge to someone like me who tends to respond immediately off the top of her head! “In this holy silence, we learn discernment.”

When we moved I let go many of the books I owned. I kept a copy of her Soul of my Soul.

She wrote, “The silence is the silence of love. My heart is silent, and thus there is created an inner space where I weigh my words…. Into this great pool of silence can be thrown all sorts of words.. The silence of love, coming from a pure heart, will examine with wisdom all that is said (by me and) to me, and this love will determine my response. Years ago I copied her thoughts into a cross stitched saying for my laundry room. “The great pool of silence is the laundry room of the Spirit.” That is still in a box somewhere. Hopefully I held on to it! The great pool of silence. Have you been there lately?

Have you wondered the value of silence? Have you tried to enter the pool of silence? It is very difficult in our age of constant bombardment by TV, smart phone, computers, radio, etc. When you do set aside time to try entering silence you can be discouraged by being flooded with thoughts. Even after years of practice it can be difficult to enter into silence. I do not believe it is impossible though. I think it is well worth our efforts and we should endeavor to do it with the help of God.

There have been many tomes written about the value of silence. I will not try to quote them all here. If you are interested I have learned much from the writer John Main Word into Silence, The Way of Unknowing and others titles. Also Sue Monk Kidd in When the Heart Waits Chapter 6, “Concentrated Stillness.”

“How do we fashion an environment in which we become stripped and stilled, in which the ego patterns of a lifetime begin to move away from the center and our innermost spiritual life is reconstellated?”

Kidd continued “I’ve been impressed with the emphasis that Quakers place on the concept of Christ as one who teaches us from within, of the Holy Spirit as the Inward Guide. What would happen if we took this seriously? What if we turned to the Inward Guide to lead us through our waiting?

There was an old cereal advertisement that said, “Hey, Mikey! You like it!” This might be your response if you are willing to try this sort of prayer, centering silence, asking the Lord Almighty to cleanse you in the pool of silence. Oh Lord, unless you wash us we cannot be clean.

Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part [of my heart] You will make me know wisdom.

Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Psalm 51:6-7 AMP

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:

In returning and rest you shall be saved;

    in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.

But you refused

Isaiah 30:15 NRSV

Ordinary

What a powerful sermon! I became aware of this church in Harlem because the brother of a friend sings there. Eventually I signed up for notifications when a sermon is posted on You Tube. This one was terrific. Brandon Cobb speaking about Ordinary People.

He speaks for a little over 20 minutes. Seriously, this is food for thought!

44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 2:44-47

What a Relief!

We have been suffering the extreme heat along with the rest of the nation. This morning the sky is pouring rain. Not drizzle but downpour. I guess one of those clouds finally decided to bless our sod and the yards of our neighbors.

I have spent quite a bit of time consuming Mark Buchanan’s book “The Holy Wild.” It was so meaty I decided to savor it. Then it got lost in the shuffle. I finally determined to finish the book. What a blessing. The subtitle is “Trusting in the Character of God.”

Here is the publisher blurb to draw you in:

“Our perception of God makes a difference in every crevice of our character, from our inner anxieties to our public conversations. It determines whether we’re trusting or suspicious, whether we’re happy or discontent – and whether or not we can rely on God matters mightily on the day of our death. Mark Buchanan’s third book continues his penetrating exploration of the God we worship. Bravely and honestly, he poses the direst question of human existence: Can God be trusted?

“It’s life drunk deeply, lived to the hilt—where we walk with the God who is surprising, dangerous, and mysterious. It’s the terrain where God doesn’t make sense out of our disasters and our boredom, but keeps meeting us in the thick of them.

“But unless we trust in His character, we’ll never venture in. We will sit at the stream all day, dying of thirst, but not daring to drink. To follow God is to drink and drink from the stream, even if it means—especially if it means—getting swallowed up.

“Let Mark Buchanan show you the entrance to the Holy Wild, where you can live face-to-face with the beautiful, dangerous God of creation.”

The idea of “unless we trust in His character we will sit at the stream all day, dying of thirst, but not daring to drink” really pulled me in. I have had many prayer experiences with the image of the stream of Living Water.

37 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38 and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”

John 7:37-38

There is a river in Psalm 46 whose streams make glad the city of God. I believe that includes the citizens. Do you simply sit by the stream or do you dare drink from it? Have you asked the Lord to help you slip your feet into the stream, then your lower body and perhaps your entire self? Have you been for a swim in this holy stream? Have you allowed the Lord to wash you in this holy water from Him? Soak in it?

If not, why not try this during your next quiet time? He has promised there is a river of living water flowing in your heart, i.e., the depths of your being. Are you willing to accept His gift?

What if our yard or the neighbors new sod across the street refused to accept this blessed downpour this morning? What if their sod said, “No thanks. I don’t trust that water. Give me water from the ch-ch-chuk rotating sprinkler any ole’ time. Not that downpour stuff that occurs so unreliably.”

Unlike rain from the sky the river of Living Water runs continuously within us as we stay joined to , abiding in the Lord Jesus Christ. He gives the water, not the clouds or weather systems.

What are you waiting for? If your soul is dry and thirsty now is the time to drink deeply from His eternal source.