Sunday, August 14, 2016

Wabi Sabi

Okay you've never heard of "Wabi Sabi."  Well it was a new one to me too.'s not a nomadic African tribe.'s not a plant used as a pungent condiment in Japanese cooking.

I first ran across this term while perusing an internet story on the restoration of a beautiful old relic: The Chateau de Gudanes in Dordone, France.  Chateau de Gudanes

There are a number of slightly varying definitions, but if you condense them all, WABI-SABI means:

Looking around my house I find my own version of "Wabi-Sabiness." My house is filled with things I love that have no special value or meaning to anyone else except family.  I have my own "cracked teakettle," I have candle "cages" and have no idea what they were originally, nor do I care because though they are old and rusted, they are just too cool and no one else has them.Then there's my old concrete French cherubs with the patina of many years. When I walk by and glance at them they bring me joy and fill my soul because there's a special story that goes with them. And my patio is the one place in the world that I most love to be.  The antique French chairs are chipping and rusting to show the layers of blue and white paint accented with rust.  They are just my size and oh so comfortable.  Wouldn't have them any other way.

But most of all, I can relate to what "Wabi Sabi" says about me! I'd like to think that life has created a special patina on me.  And hopefully a beauty and grace that comes with age.  The bags under my eyes, the saggy skin, and graying hair have created that certain flawed beauty. And I hope that a rustic simplicity alongside a quietness and serenity are who I am becoming. I'd like to think the my chinks and cracks are being filled with gold by My Maker and He's making repairs that make me more "beautiful" than ever.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

My Favorite Soviet Spy...

If you watched Sunday evening's Oscars, you might remember Mark Rylance winning Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Rudolf Abel, the Soviet spy, in the recent movie Bridge of Spies. I thought it was just me that LOVED and connected with him, but I guess not...

There's a great story behind this. For the past year I've had multiple health issues that consumed my time, energy, and concern. I have often felt overwhelmed with worry not knowing how it would or wouldn't work out. I dealt with an almost daily struggle to hold it all together. Finally God, who knows me best, said, "Deb, let me help you with this. Let me give you a visual that's gonna make sense of this for you. You can quote all the Scripture verses, but that doesn't seem to be working for you. So I'm sending you to the movies." Huh? That movie was BRIDGE OF SPIES, the Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg movie about the American lawyer who represented the Soviet spy who was ultimately exchanged for the American U2 pilot, Francis Gary Powers, during the Cold War in the 1960s. Now I was a little kid during that time and really had no desire to hear "that story" again. I thought maybe that should be a guys' night out and I would just stay home. But no, I went. What I hadn't known was the incredible back story behind what I remembered. The Soviet spy turned out to be an endearing, little (as in short of stature), introvert and artist who also happened to be a spy. Ok, ok, the connection was not lost on me. (I am also a short, introverted artist). I liked him immensely, spy or not. Then WOW...during the initial trial scene, Tom Hanks leans over to his client and asks him, "Aren't you at all worried about the outcome? (Like this is espionage and your life is on the line). The cute little artist-spy's reply was short and to the point, "Would it help?" Several more times throughout the movie, the same question was repeated in varying versions. "Aren't you afraid?" "Aren't you concerned?" The answer was always predictable. "Would it make a difference?" "Would it do me any good?" Ok, I got it. It's a visual parable that makes sense and works for me. Thank you, God, for working with me on this one!

Monday, February 1, 2016


What is this, you ask?  Well ...this is me reading in the dark with a headlamp. 

You see, not long ago we had a 10-hour power outage.  It was just long enough to be fun and not so long as to spoil food or get overly cold or make life too difficult.

The result was a little "enlightenment" and the beginnings of a new tradition. You see, we enjoyed that evening very much. Frank brought home a take-out supper and we sat around the table with lots of candles. Ahhh, the atmosphere was wonderful! Then we had hours and hours without tv or computers or any electronics.  It was actually quite nice being "unplugged."  I chose to do something that I don't normally do. I picked up a book I'd written on our family history and re-read it from cover to cover.  I once again enjoyed the pictures and stories and memories.  If there hadn't been a power outage, I wouldn't have slowed down and taken the time.

The take away is:  We have made being "unplugged" a regular part of our lives.  Often after dinner, we retreat to the living room, curl up in a chair with a cup of tea and settle in with a good book.

Try it! You'll like it!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Stop and Play with the Cricket

While out walking the other evening, I came across this cute scene.

I must have watched for several minutes while an adorable little black puppy entertained himself with a cricket. He would pounce on it, play with it, and roll it around in his mouth. And do it all over again and again. The puppy was very gentle and didn't seem to want to eat it or hurt it. He was just having fun playing. (I'll bet the cricket saw it very differently).

I was reminded to "stop and play with the cricket" aka "smell the roses."

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Can an Artist Take a Quick Walk?

I think not! Today (like many other days) I headed out for a “quick walk.”  This was to be my 30 minutes that I do 5 days a week.  Well…that didn’t happen! I tried. I even purposely didn’t take my camera. Unfortunately I did take my cellphone which has a large screen and takes very nice pictures.  So my quick walk turned into an hour. I didn’t just get some exercise, but I got some wonderful pictures and even better…it refreshed and fed my soul and got my creative juices flowing.  I met some friendly people and had some quick but nice little conversations as well as some smiles and a warm greeting from everyone along the way.  The sun was still low and skipped along the tops of the fields to glint nicely on the flowers, grasses, and weeds.  So I HAD to capture the moment!

...and the answer to the question is: The only way I can take a quick walk is if it happens to be snowy or rainy and I'm on the treadmill. Then I can easily get 'er done in 30 minutes because I can't wait to get off! 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Off-the-Wall Sheep Art

Yep...literally off-the-wall.  This is NOT a painting.  It's a stamp.  It comes from an engraving by Czeslaw Stania and is probably his most famous stamp and masterpiece.

Gotta love the internet.  Today while I was trying to determine if sheep had wool or fur, I stumbled across this beautiful Faroese stamp from 1979.  Ever hear of the Faroe Islands? Well they are an archipelago approximately halfway between Norway and Iceland.  They are a self-governing country within the Danish kingdom.  The name of the island, Faroe, actually comes from the Old Norse word, faer, which means "sheep." Thus the Danish name translates as "the islands of sheep."

As for Czeslaw Stania...Well he is one of the most prolific stamp engravers with over 1000 stamps to his credit. He was born in Poland, the son of a miner. During WWII, he forged documents for the Polish resistance.  Afterwards, he entered the Krakow School of Fine Arts, a renowned graphic arts center.  He worked at the Polish Stamp Printing Works and his first stamp was issued in Poland in 1951. Later he moved to Sweden and made stamps there. His work was of such detail and quality that he made stamps for 28 other countries.

So there you have it...just a little bit of totally worthless trivia.  Ahhhh...maybe not. It IS beautiful art, is it not?

PS:  Oh by the way...some sheep varieties have wool and some have fur.  It depends on the kind of sheep and whether they are "hair" sheep or wool sheep. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Road Not Taken


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.