It was not the usual “Paint with a Twist” class where there is wine served in a party atmosphere. Instead, we would be praying with words, song, brush and paint.
Reluctant to participate
The teacher had to cajole me to participate as I was concerned about covering the story and taking photographs.
I had not painted since high school and had long since forgotten how to create art in that fashion. My memories consisted mainly of my frustration at painting because I micromanaged the process rather than allowing that process to direct my brush strokes. By the end of high school I had given up on it.
Have you gotten your free copy of the Harmony Coloring book yet?
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Here are some sample pages.
I created the drawings from my photographs:
I invite you to share your colored-in pages.
My friend Val send me these. She wrote to me, “I love the pages! Thank you again for offering this to us.”
I colored in the cover:
Do you have pictures to share?
Take a photo with your phone and send it to me. I’d love to share.
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I haven’t known a book to affect me so profoundly as My Name is Asher Lev. The conflict is deep, searing, cutting to the core. It helped me to understand better the nature of being a creative person and the sacrifice it takes to be authentic and honest, even to the point of hurting others. The book is a long, slow burn, every page necessary to set up the final conflict. At the end I was racing through, dreading the end as tears sprung to my eyes and yet terribly curious about how the author would resolve the conflict. How grateful I am that there is a part two, The Gift of Asher Lev, now waiting for me at the library, ready to be picked up in just a few minutes. Continue reading “Book Review: My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok – a soul-searching must for every creative”→
I am pleased to present this guest post from Brunhilde Luken, a painter and spiritual writer. I met Brunhilde several years ago as we were both members of the Commission for Women of the Diocese of Worcester. She is one of those people that truly wears her heart on her sleeve–you know you’ve met someone who is authentic with an inner beauty that draws you into her creative works.
I can’t think of a better way to remember Thanksgiving than through this lovely meditation of image and words. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
In a few days we are celebrating Thanksgiving; it is a wonderful day set aside to celebrate with family and friends to give thanks. I am especially thankful to live in a country where I can celebrate and proudly confess my Catholic faith. A faith that stood firm generation after generation.
I am also thankful that we can hold hands with all our neighbors, friends and all those that cross our path, Christian and non-Christian alike, where we allow each one to be free. A country where we can share the love that Christ brought into the world for all of us alike. We have to remember He died on the cross for all the world. These are hard times right now. There is so much suffering in the world right now. At times we all suffer. By embracing our suffering, God will pull us closer to Him. This will help us to pray for all. Let us all pray especially for those that need it most. Let us share the gifts that God gave us. When we pray we speak to God, when we read the scripture, God speaks to us. A Gift given to all of us, a gift we can share with all.
We are the ones to show the face of Christ to the world, and to see the face of Christ in everyone. Let each moment be a moment of thanks. I am also most thankful for each one of you.
I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving, may God’s blessing be upon you and your whole family.
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth.
The heights of the hills are His also
The sea is His, for He made it.
And His hands formed the dry land.
Oh come let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God.
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you hear His voice:
“Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion.
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
When your fathers tested me;
They tried me, though they saw my work
For forty years I was grieved with that generation.
And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their heart.
And they do not know my ways.’
So I swore in my wrath’,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’ ”
Let us bow our heads in Thanksgiving to the Almighty, the “I AM WHO I AM”, “FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT.”
My older sister is a wonderful painter so I commissioned her to paint the Be As One bridge. Isn’t it beautiful?
My sister has ties to this bridge just as I do. She wrote the following on her website:
“The Wellesley College Bridge is iconic to me as is Wellesley College. My family and I have a rich history there. It all started with my mother who attended Wellesley College many years ago. My husband and I were married there followed by my son Jeff and Amanda, who were married right out on the lawn near to this bridge. There are photographs of us on the bridge with Azaleas and Dogwood blooming on our wedding day. My sister captured this image on a beautiful Spring day while she was out in her kayak.”
Christine is like me, acting on her passion after raising a family and helping to run a successful business. In her retirement she is making up for lost time, just like I am with my reading and writing. On her website she writes,
“So now I am becoming the artist I always wanted to be and feel so inspired by it every day! It is NEVER too late to start and make that change to be who you really are.”
Autumn in New England this year has been positively spectacular. In central Massachusetts where I live, the color is peaking this week. I haven’t seen such brilliant reds, yellows and oranges in years. Driving down the Massachusetts Turnpike every morning greeted by the rolling hills of fiery colors tucked among still-green trees starts starts off my day just right.
A Massachusetts autumn to me is not complete without a visit to my beloved Concord. Transcendentalism flowered here for a time in the mid 19th century represented by such luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Amos Bronson Alcott and Margaret Fuller. Nathaniel Hawthorne also called Concord his home although he did not subscribe to Transcendentalism.
One of the most beloved books in children’s literature, Little Women, was written by the daughter of Bronson Alcott, Louisa May. I have been studying Louisa on and off all my life and since 2010, consider myself a full-time student. I blog regularly about her on Louisa May Alcott is My Passion.
Last Saturday I spent some time at the Concord Free Public Library in their Special Collections room pouring over the diary of Louisa’s oldest sister Anna (aka, Meg in Little Women). The bright sun and cool, crisp air beckoned and I took the walk that Louisa and so many other famous authors walked, down historic Lexington Road, to her home (the setting for Little Women), Orchard House.
Between the gorgeous day and beautiful trees, the lovely antique homes and the history I pondered while walking … you can perhaps appreciate why being in Concord in autumn is a mystical experience for me.
Enjoy this virtual tour and I hope someday you can visit this special place too. If you have visited, share a comment about your experience. We’d love to hear!
This blog is supposed to be about making connections.. Lately it’s felt more like a hodgepodge, just a collection of unrelated posts. This blog is certainly challenging me to live out what I preach: living life in a single flow.
It ain’t easy!
This weekend however, it suddenly got a lot easier. I was blessed to attend two extraordinary events which practically shouted “Connections! Connections!” to me. The pen couldn’t move fast enough across the page of my notebook to capture all I was hearing so I could share it with you.
I will begin with this past Sunday night.
I teach CCD to high school students and needless to say, it is a challenge. Instead of our normal class last night, the students were treated to a one-man play about the Gospel of St. Luke. It was written and performed by Frank Runyeon.
Frank is a successful actor in television and movies. His bio reads, “He starred for seven years as Steve Andropoulos on As the World Turns opposite Meg Ryan, a storyline that garnered the second highest ratings in the history of daytime television. He next appeared for four years as Father Michael Donnelly on the Emmy award-winning Santa Barbara, and as tycoon Simon Romero on General Hospital, opposite Emma Samms. Frank has also guest-starred in recurring roles on L.A. LAW as talk-show host Brooks Tapman, on Falcon Crest as chess genius Jovan Dmytryk, on Melrose Place as Father Tom, and on All My Children as Forrest Williams.”
But Frank would rather be associated with the art closest to his heart: spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ through his vibrant performance of the Gospels.
He debuted his latest one-man play, “Luke, Stories on the Road” at the parish to which I belong, St. Luke the Evangelist in Westborough, MA.
Ah, the first connection!
I came with low expectations. I’m not a big movie-goer nor have I seen a lot of live plays. I had had a fight with my husband, was blown-out from a weekend of endless activity and just wanted to crawl under the covers.
So it took a bit of time to warm up.
About a half hour into the performance I felt a sudden urge to whip out my notebook and write. Frank spoke and I’d write. His performance became riveting.
The camera soon followed. As a former girl scout, I am always prepared!
Dressed in a simple robe, Frank wove stories from the Old and New Testament, focusing first on the story of King David and his disastrous affair with Bathsheba and moving into the stories of Jesus as recorded by Luke the Evangelist.
In each story, he shared a similar and striking insight: the stories, in many cases, had open endings.
The reason? WE are the ending to the story.
How can that be? These stories are thousands of years old. But inspired by the Spirit of the Living God, their truths are as pertinent today as they have ever been.
And Frank made the scriptures come alive with his talented way of weaving a tale.
Past and present – another connection.
Frank made an important association between the story of King David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11; 2 Samuel 12) and the parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus found in Luke 16:19-31.
In the story of King David, Bathsheba found she was pregnant after their affair. To cover up their relationship, David arranged to have her dutiful warrior husband killed in battle (2 Samuel 11). Nathan the prophet was sent by the Lord to point out David’s sin (2 Samuel 12) and he did it through a heart-wrenching tale of a rich man robbing a poor man of his only lamb who had been a member of the family so that he could roast it for his friends.
David was incensed. Who was that man? He should be punished!
It was then that Nathan turned the story around on David, using it to accuse him before God of his sin.
Frank put out the palm of his hand: the story was a mirror clearly showing David’s guilt.
David listened, made the connection and repented of his sin.
The rich man did the same with poor Lazarus, committing evil against him by not offering him food or comfort as the poor man suffered outside the door of his home.
When both died, Lazarus, in the bosom of Abraham became the mirror to the rich man in agony in Hades. The rich man listened but too late: he must suffer the consequences.
The rich man had Moses and the Prophets, but he didn’t listen.
He failed to make the connection.
Frank shared many such stories from the Gospel of St. Luke, the most powerful being The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) and The Publican and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14).
In both cases we are most definitely the end of the story. And it’s not the character that you would imagine.
Frank beautifully conveyed the deep emotion in the story of Prodigal Son, showing the arrogance, ignorance and finally, redemption of the younger son, the deep, generous love of the father, and the bitter resentment of the older son.
The so-called “good” son.
The father and the younger son reconciled. The older son, faithful in service to his father, complained, feeling entitled to better treatment.
And as Frank pointed out, the ending with the “good” son was open-ended.
The “good” son is us. We have to create our own ending.
The same was true with the Publican and the Tax Collector. Both praying in the temple, the Publican pontificating before God about how much he tithed and how much better a person he was than the wretched Tax Collector.
The Tax Collector, knowing he was an outcast in Jewish society, never raised his eyes to God but begged forgiveness.
He was justified. The “good” Publican was not.
And the mirror shines back on us – are we that Publican?
Do we consider ourselves as the “good guys?”
Frank Runyeon, through his vibrant, deeply emotional performance, demonstrated the deep connection of the Living Word of God to our daily lives. We at St. Luke’s were fortunate to have him tell these stories, opening our ears and eyes, helping us to listen and make those connections.
Bring Frank to your church
Frank is available for bookings throughout the country with “Luke: Stories from the Road” and other biblical one-man plays, all written by him. Visit his website at frankrunyeon.com.
This was a trip to fairyland, to everything I imagined Hobbiton to be.
It was hard to leave, reminding me of the great courage Frodo Baggins demonstrated in forsaking all this beauty to set out on his quest.
His life’s flow brought him to extreme danger, ugliness, terror and ultimately, heroics.
He had the courage to let his river carry him.
Kayaking has shown me in a graphic way how to let my river carry me. Some of the time the trip is bucolic, like this one to Lake Waban at Wellesley College.
Other times the water gets rough and it can get dangerous.
For today though, I want to share photos of a trip that was easily the best of this season. The conditions were perfect (90+ degree day, sunny and breezy) and the lake was teaming with families/clusters of birds.
Enjoy the beauty and see if you can imagine your river.