Friday, January 29, 2010

I'm Going to Revisit Our Constitution ...

Well, the votes are in on President Obama State of the Union Speech ... and from what I've heard, the overall consensus is that the President's speech was condescending, non-conciliatory, and in some instances downright disrespectful (e.g., direct attack on recent Supreme Court ruling concerning campaign finance contributions, with the Supreme Court Justices sitting directly in front of the President during his speech ... and being seated there at the request of the White House).

[ News Story:  Justice openly disagrees with Obama in speech. Alito visibly responds negatively when president mentions recent decision.

Video:  Jan. 28: Watch Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's reaction after President Obama criticized a recent decision on campaign spending. NBC's Pete Williams reports. 

I was actually surprised to see this acurately reported ... especially by MSNBC?  Perhaps Obama's love affair with mainstream media is finally over.  ]

 
Glen Beck went so far as to say President Obama is attempting to $$BUY$$ Americans' support for his "liberal progressive agenda for America" with a government pledge of a college education for everyone -- which if you do the math and use logic just isn't possible without further increasing the already unwieldly monster of national debt.  Beck asks if our freedom, the future of our children and our country can truly be so cheaply bought?

I for my part, am going to revisit the Constitution and read up on the Executive Branch's powers, in particular the use of the Executive Order.  Then, I'm going to review historical instances for the use of this power by former Presidents.  I'm going to do this, because given the tone of President Obama's State of the Union speech, the subsequent remarks by Nancy Pelosi on Healthcare Reform ( e.g., "We will climb the fence ... if that doesn't work we'll pole vault over ... and if necessary we'll parachute in."), and the fact that Democrats no longer have the 60 votes that they need in the Senate in order to cram their destructive piece of Healthcare legislation through ... I suspect that it is highly probable that President Obama may resort to using (abusing??) this power.

On that note ... here is a cartoon that Lauren drew for me ...




Lauren loves to watch Glen Beck.  She is now 12 and still says "Mike Huckabee for President".  Lauren is probably better informed on current affairs, our government and key issues facing our nation than most adults that I know.




Keep hope! All is not lost, and whether the President likes it or not: I am hopeful that the 'times they are a changing' (Love this song!  : ).  Think my next post will be about Art again ... too much gloom and doom in politics these days, but such is life, no?


Song:  "The Times They Are A Changin' ", By Bob Dylan

Thursday, January 28, 2010

President Obama's First State of the Union Address ...

Don’t want to go into a lot of negatives about the President’s State of the Union Address.  I'lll leave that to the political analysts.  But right off the bat, something about the jobs numbers in his speech just doesn’t add up with reality. How can we have created so many millions of jobs if unemployment has risen from 8.7% (have to double check this … may be 8.6 or 8.8%) when Obama took office to now 10% (know this number is correct!) if the nation has truly witnessed such a surge in jobs created?



I was a bit disappointed that President Obama still (as from days of his campaigning) seemed to be blaming the other side of the aisle for lack of realizable progress on his promised partisanship pledge, stating that “Just saying ‘no’, may be good short term politics, but it's not leadership.” Gee, I wonder, did it not occur to President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the like, that Democrat-only meetings, behind closed doors, was anything BUT extending the hand of partisanship ... and just may have left the Republican constituency little alternative but to say ‘no’? Don’t need to be high paid political analyst to see that, now do you? Hopefully, the election of Senator Scott Brown, by the people of the state of Massachusetts, sent President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the like, a clear message on the need for true partisanship in the near and foreseeable future.

Didn’t like the coining (?) of the term “clean energy” … seems, in my mind, to be priming the pump for the Presidents ‘cap and trade’ agenda, which to my way of thinking is only going to further injure an already crippled economy and cost more Americans jobs in the long run. Seemed especially odd, in light of the fact that the eyes of the American public – and the rest of the world for that matter -- are finally beginning to open to the full story behind the REALITY of ‘Global Warming’ (i.e., what it IS and IS not). As I’ve said before: FOLLOW THE MONEY $$$.  Nuclear power plants and short term offshore oil drilling ... need to think some more on long term ramifications of these ...

Did finally realize that Joe Biden has a REALLY crooked … almost blindingly, white smile. Creepy?! And perhaps telling, no? Not sure if Biden's crooked smile has any real relevance to actual State of the Union though? : )  Just an amusing side note, maybe?

Okay transitioning from the negatives into the neutral: Is telling the other side of a war that you’re fighting the exact date of your military forces departure a sound military strategy? Might the other side just decide to lay low until after W-day and then let all hell break loose? I don’t know you tell me; I’m no military strategist? And ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ … ah, didn’t a revisiting of that policy fail once before? And with good reason? Somehow, I don’t think that an Executive Order, or Congressional Bill, ordering an end to the current 'don't ask don't tell' policy is the going to be the band-aid that suddenly changes military culture and makes everything right in the world once again.

Another neutral(?): Healthcare reform … can you say ‘beat a dead horse’?! Enough said?  The American people spoke loud and clear (via the recent Massachusetts Senate race)on the Healthcare reform that the Democats have been trying to ram through the House and Senate:  they don't want it!  Now should the Democrats continue to push this piece of dead legislation through as it stands, this now neutral point will quickly shift right back into the negative.  And something tells me that Nancy Pelosi and crew just aren't going to let this bad piece of legislation die.

Nuclear weapons proliferation … somehow, I suspect that telling those that pursue acquisition of nuclear weapons that "There will be dire consequences" for their actions isn’t going to carry a whole lot of weight with the likes of North Korea and Iran … hasn’t worked so far. Maybe it’s time to lay out the specifics and really hit them where it hurts (e.g., ). But I could be wrong?

And increasing our exported domestic products .... "We need to double our exports ...." … great idea, but again no meat … no specifics … another neutral. Wonderful idea, but how can we make it a reality?  What is it that we, as Americans, currently make (or can make) that other countries want?  And can we make this product(s) at a competitive cost with say China? 

Creation of a task force, by Executive Order, to study reducing the National Debt (note the President used the Executive Order override a bill defeated by Congress to do the same)… smoke and mirrors? I’m willing to reserve judgment, however, and take a wait and see attitude … to see what, if anything, this task force is able to actually accomplish. A noble idea … which might (emphasis on ‘might’) be capable of producing some tangible results.  The Presidents using the Executive Order with such levity has me a bit concerned though.  If I'm not mistaken, use of the Executive Order is privilege that is not taken lightly.  It has historically been used only rare instances and after great consideration of all possible alternatives.

Onto the positive (notice that I did not say positives, plural) now:  I did like the notion of finally eliminating tax breaks for companies who send jobs overseas. That would be a HUGE step (as I’ve said before … again and again) in creating American jobs.

Last but not least: "Freezing the national deficit for the next three years"…  that is eliminate all non-discretionary spending ... now that goal has merit and promise … if it can be and IS, in fact, truly done. I’m not sure where to put this? A neutral-positive perhaps?

On that note, my three shots of 5-hour energy drink have finally burned off (it's 2:15 a.m. now); I’m on the down swing now. So, I’ll wrap it up. Stay informed: BE INVOLVED!

God Bless!
M

P.S.  After a few hours sleep and rereading this ... seems to me as if President Obama seems to think that we can afford to maintain the status quo:

State of the Union ==>  Maintain the Status Quo? ... that is the liberal progressive agenda and power grabbing surge ....

 And just hours after the President claims that the government is going to freeze non-essential spending:  the congress just passed a 1.9 Trillion National Debt Ceiling increase?!  Am I missing something here?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Not your average violin?!

My middle daughter, who now plays the violin, heard about this unique spin on an electric violin from a visiting artist at her school.  She wanted me to share it with you all ... so without further adieu here it is.  First video is the violin itself and goofing around.  Second is the guy who made the electric baseball bat violin  playing our National Anthem.  Pretty cool!




posted by, Electric Violin Shop, Sept. 3, 2009






posted by GDonnellan, July 1, 2009


This rendition of our National Anthem ROCKS!  Awesome!  Right up there with Hendrix (see my playlist under 'Some of My Tunes').



P.S. I finally saw the movie 'The Invention of Lying' (on DVD).  It was not at all what I expected;  I absolutely LOVED it! ... Best movie I've seen all year :  ).  No seriously, best movie I've seen in ages!  If you haven't seen this movie and you're in need of a 'pick-me  up/feel good' ... warm's your heart (... lots of great laughs too) kind of a movie:  then you need to see this;  It won't disappoint.

Friday, January 22, 2010

We are so much more than the packages that we come in ...

A friend of mine once said  "It's not Jesus that I have a problem with, it's His followers."  I had a hard time understanding this statement at first, but since then I've experienced many things which have given me a clearer understanding of what my friend meant by his statement. 

Unfortunately, too many people use the name of Jesus as a means to impose their rigid -- often times somewhat distorted -- views upon others as to what they believe the world 'should' and 'should not' be .   I am sad to say -- not to mention think on -- the many, many wrongs that have unfortunately been committed in the name of Christiandom

God made this world and then He filled it with diversity ... Why?  I won't even try to begin to try to understand, or claim to understand, the mind of God.  ... But for whatever reason:  God painted this world of our with an abundance of diversity and I doubt that He did the latter so that we could tear one another apart because of our seemingly 'important' differences (e.g., skin color, beliefs, ethnicity, gender, etc.).  We are so much more than sets of man-made, man-imposed rules and ideaologies ... so much more than the packages that we come in;  And until we realize, accept and embrace this, we will never become more than what we are. 

God gave us free-will: who are we to disrespect that gift?  We should accept this gift in others, not condemn those who happen to disagree with the man-made ideaologies and beliefs that we personally choose to subscribe to.  As a wise man once said:   judge not least you should be judged and the first shall be last and the last shall be first ... I would offer that the latter applies to the pious and self-righteous among us as well.



"Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes."

"I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before any one even at the cost of your life."

~Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Darkness, Yet Truth in Poetry ...

Poems By, Thomas Hardy

Not all poetry is romantic, weepy and overly flowery ... some of it is DARK ... dark, but true ... The really good stuff, to me, makes the audience stop and think about how fully they themselves have (or have not) lived their own lives ... Anyway, stumbled across these in my ongoing quest to rediscover the poets of old.  I love these two in particular ... found these on ArtMagick.com (a wonderful site!).



'Allegory of Sculpture', By Gustav Klimt
(Image Courtesy of ArtMagick.com)



"Memory and I


By, Thomas Hardy


O Memory, where is now my youth,
Who used to say that life was truth?


I saw him in a crumbled cot
Beneath a tottering tree;
That he as phantom lingers there
Is only known to me.
O Memory, where is now my joy,
Who lived with me in sweet employ?
I saw him in gaunt gardens lone,
Where laughter used to be;
That he as phantom wanders there
Is known to none but me.


O Memory, where is now my hope,
Who charged with deeds my skill and scope?


I saw her in a tomb of tomes,
Where dreams are wont to be;
That she as spectre haunteth there
Is only known to me.


O Memory, where is now my faith,
One time a champion, now a wraith?
I saw her in a ravaged aisle,
Bowed down on bended knee;
That her poor ghost outflickers there
Is known to none but me.


O Memory, where is now my love,
That rayed me as a god above?"


I saw him by an ageing shape
Where beauty used to be;
That his fond phantom lingers there
Is only known to me."



Year Written: 1901
[Published in, "Poems of the Past and Present. 'Retrospect'"]








'Inferno', By Franz Von Stuck
(Image Courtesy of ArtMagick.com)



"Sapphic Fragment


By, Thomas Hardy

 "Thou shalt be--Nothing," ~ Omar Khayyam.


"Tombless, with no remembrance." ~W. Shakespeare.


DEAD shalt thou lie; and nought
Be told of thee or thought,
For thou has plucked not of the Muses' tree:
And even in Hades' halls
Amidst thy fellow-thralls
No friendly shade thy shade shall company!"

Year written: 1901
[Published in, "Poems of the Past and Present. 'Imitations, Etc.'"]





The poem above conjures up alot of ideas and images for me, especially in light of my recent read: Dante's 'Inferno'.  Yes, I finally did finish the 'Inferno' ... part I of the "Divine Comedy." I am continuing on to the end of this Comedy, as we speak. The final, innermost, circle of hell held a bit of a surprise for me.  Hell-proper was not at all what I was expecting, but my lips are sealed!  You'll have to read the 'Inferno' for yourself if you want to know the unexpected twist ... then again, in this day and age, you can just Google it, but that's cheating in my book...  ; )


 


'Lilacs', By Mikhail Vrubel
(Image Courtesy of ArtMagick.com)
 
"I wonder, is life not sweeter when one has tasted first of its bitterness ..." ~Me 1/21/2010


Meaning that, like with coffee ... "How would you know when you've had a good cup of coffee, if you'd never had a bad one?" (see Me and Coffee) ... maybe experiencing bitterness ... pain ... if we survive that pain ... allows us to more fully appreciate ... enjoy and embrace the good things in this journey called life.

I don't know ... just a thought ... one I've had many times before ... especially over the course of this past summer. No worries though ... Still flying ... all is good. : )





P.S.  I tried writing a dark poem of my own ... an allegory ... Dante's 'Inferno' was my inspiration ... though my end product is nothing like and a lot shorter ... still tweaking ... maybe one of these days I'll share it with you?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Maybe ... The Times Are A Changing?

One can only hope ...

Song:  "The Times They Are A Changin' ", By Bob Dylan
[Yes, love the irony ... on multiple levels ... maybe it's just that we've finally come full circle?]


"The People's Seat."  ~Scott Brown (quote of the day 1/19/2010)






Victory for 'We the People' in the state of Massachusetts! Maybe this is a sign that the times are changin'?

[Note: Contact me if you want to sign the e-petition requesting that the new Senator from Massachusetts be seated immediately and I'll send you the link.]



As I've said before:  INFORMATION IS POWER ... BE INFORMED ... STAY INVOLVED.  I am sincerely proud of the American people today!  Keep it up!

"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the
people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe
depositories. And to render even them safe, their minds must be
improved to a certain degree."
~Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia, 1782.


  "Whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, the
people, if well informed, may be relied on to set them to rights."
~Thomas Jefferson to Richard Price, 1789.


President Obama had post-poned his State of the Union Address to the Congress, pending the outcome of the Senate race in Massachusetts.  He's now scheduled to address the Congress on January 27th.  Let's see if the President gets the message being clearly sent by the American people ... doesn't seem as if Pelosi and crew (in the Senate) have.  In parting ... here's some interesting history on the State of the Union Address.

Escape for awhile ...

Into Mother Nature's tranquil retreat, as seen through the eyes of Impressionist Painter, Alfred Sisley ...

This post is dedicated to those in Haiti who have had their own world turned upside down ... praying for you, ONE and ALL!




posted to youtube.com by rododoro15, September 15, 2008


Born of English parents, in Paris.  Alfred Sisley had a conventional art education, with initial influence by Corot.  In 1862 he began study under Charles Gleyre and it was here that he met Monet and Renoir.  From 1874 on Sisley exhibited regularly with the Impressionists.  Many believe that Sisley is the foremost painter among the Impressionists to remain true to ideal and aims of the movement.

The majority of Sisley's works are landscapes (including the Loire, Seine and Thames rivers).   "Sisley revelled in the sublties of cloud formation and the effects of light, especially in the darting reflection of water. ["World Art, The Essential Illustrated History", @2006 Flame Tree Publishing]."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Insurgentes II

I won't let the things that've held me back hinder me anymore ...



'Eloe', By Witold Pruszkowski


For a friend ...

@Copyright December 2009 Michelle C. of http://www.whatplanetareyoulivingon.blogspot.com/


Insurgentes


Insurgentes II

In parting, I’ve finally come to see
To see that the moon, she links you and me.
From the three days hence our meeting first,
To the many dreams since and in between …
The rebel moon, ever-changing,
Boldly refusing to be fixed,
Somehow, and for whatever reason,
She connects me and you.
Do you feel this to be true?

The Nightly Sovereign,
She with her band of Celestial Sights,
You with your inner Light and Fight,
Me with my silly Hopes and Dreams
A Vision of a better life …
A Voice of Reason
Against all of this treason that abounds;
It tries to suffocate,
pull us down and drown.
Yet we two …
Like the Nightly Sovereign …
We too refuse to be fixed
Refuse to yield …
Truth and Wisdom be our shield.

Perhaps that’s why
I can hear in you a truth of sages
That is,
When you’re not so consumed
With all that ages,
And whithers,
All too soon passing into nought.
We two rebel against all we’ve been taught.
We have within us a Wisdom to be told …
A Greatness waiting to unfold.
Perhaps that’s why I see in you a warmth of smile
That reaches out to touch my very soul …
Why I feel in you a kindred spirit …
Though I’ve not yet held your hand.

We’ve both an inner fire, deep within
And burning bright …
A flame that refuses to be quenched …
It provides our Inner Light
Perhaps even our Gift of Sight
It is our reason for the Fight
The pursuit of All That’s Right
A bold quest for Truth
Taking us further from youth of being
Yet closer to a youth of spirit.
Still your thoughts, close your eyes,
Open your heart and listen …
Can you hear it?
The Rebel Call
The cry that will hopefully,
One day,
Unite us all …

Perhaps we’ve parted before our time?
Still, I pray for you time and time again.
Often, I’ve reached out my hand
And heart to you in prayer …
Even though, to you,
It still may seem as if I’m not there
My prayers for you,
For strength and inner peace
For you to find release.
For an awakening
Of ALL that’s best in you …
For your hopes and secret dreams
That in their due time they may be given birth,
At last, realizing the beauty of their worth.

It has been a gift to know you.
For a time,
You’ve quelled the loneliness
That often resides in me.
Truly a joy it has been to meet another …
Even if it were only for a short while …
In this lonely, lonely world,
Who has the power …
The privileged Gift of Sight
To see the world
For more than it would seem.
And so , my friend, in parting I pray:
All that is Truth light your path,
And Wisdom show you the way;
Peace fill your heart and
Joy illuminate your days.
Until we meet again …



@Copyright December 2009 Michelle C. of http://www.whatplanetareyoulivingon.blogspot.com


[ Beautifully moving song ... still trying to discern its full meaning ... but the melody goes straight to my heart ... Insurgentes ... Rebels ...  Rebels for truth ... awakening ... you and me.  Though, you are bit louder about it than me.  : )]

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Revisiting the Impressionists ...

I've been revisitng the Impressionist painters, off and on, since the start of the new year ... as time permits.  The Impressionists were the first artists that I was ever introduced to.  I love the Impressionists!  I love the way that these artists capture the simple beauty of the everyday ... of nature ... the play of light ... awakening the imagination ... sight ... within the viewer.

These artists, the Impressionists, were first presented to me by my French teacher ... of all teachers (?!) ... in junior high, 7th grade: Madame Halcomb. Madame Halcomb was a warm spirit and an old soul, with a zest for life. She had a gift for bringing learning to life: literally!  I can still vividly see Madame Halcomb's warm smiling face, twinkling hazel eyes, and flaming red hair. She could have just taught us French, but she chose to do so much more ... she wanted to introduce us to some of the world's most famous painters ... the Impressionists ... including Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Renior, and Degas.

I have to laugh now ... I probably learned more about art that semester than the French language itself ... but it is precisely because of the art that I happen to remember Madame Halcomb with such fondness. I wonder if she is still with us today? If Madame Halcomb's firey spirit and tenaciousness are any indication of her inclination toward longevity: she probably is still with us. I can easily see Madame Halcomb being a centurian.



'Girl with a Watering Can', Auguste Renoir


The little 'Girl With a Watering Can', By Renoir  is probably one the most vivid images that comes to mind when I recall the Impressionists. This painting is still one of my absolute favorite paintings to this very day. Degas's ballerinas and Monet's beautiful gardens (would love to visit the Gardens at Giverny ... need to add that to my Bucket List as well!) are vivid images as well.

'Women with a Parasol' is another favorite from long ago ... and probably because these are the very first artists that I was ever introduced to: this artistic style, these paintings, and the Impressionists themselves will always hold a very special place in my heart.  Of course, the fact that these artists were rebels, going against the established norms of their times might just have a little bit to do with why I love the Impressionists so very very much. : )



'Woman with a Parasol', Claud Monet



'La Classe de Danse', Edgar Degas




'Waiting in the Wings', Edgar Degas





'Water Lillies', Claud Monet



'Woman in a Garden, Sainte Adresse', Claud Monet



'Poppies Blooming', Claud Monet
[Love poppies ... recall running through glorious fields of poppies in Northern California.  Poppies became known as the 'flower of rememberance' after WWII]



'The Waterlily Pond', Claud Monet




'Canale Grande and Sanat Marie della Salute', Claud Monet


[I have an actual photograph from my trip to Italy, Venice, that is almost the same shot ... angle and perspective ... as this painting.  Need to go back to Italy ... LOVE Italy ... absolutely everything about it! : )]






'The Grand Canal', Edouard Manet
[Venice is just packed with hidden treasures!]





'Berthe Moriset, In Black Hat', Edouard Manet
[Moriset was also an Impressionist artist herself.  She worked with Manet and later married his brother.]





'The Japanese Bridge', Claud Monet





'Stary Night', Vincent VanGogh



[This is one of my absolute favorite pictures of the night ... I hear Don McLean's ballad 'Vincent' in my head everytime I view this captivating painting.  : )]


[ Viewing art is reawakening the music in me : ) ]



And Madame Halcomb, you would be happy to know that it was the French language ( not German ... not Spanish...) that I went on to pursue in high school and college ... and I am now trying to teach my daughters as well. God's Peace, Light and Blessings to you ... wherever you may happen to be.  And now I'm off on a journey to pick up where you left off and explore Morisot, Sisely, Pissarro, Cezanne and more ... even some of the American Impressionist ... Ah, the joys of Art!

More links and paintings to come ...

1/13/2010  All of this exploring art has inspired me ... I'm tempted to reach beyond my comfort zone and perhaps try going beyond pencil and charcoal sketches to explore some new mediums.  I've never thought I had talent, but you never know ... might just be loads of fun and give me an even greater appreciation for all of treasures that I've been so privileged to come to know as of late.  : )

Sending peace and joyful thoughts your way!  God Bless!

M

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm listening God ...

Someone .... "looking for a classmate" ... left me a comment yesterday, or early today ... regarding my 11 Nov. 2009, Veteran's Day post.

When I read their comment ... I could literally feel the pain that this person was feeling at this very moment in their life.  Instantly, I burst into tears ... probably right along with the author of this comment? I felt as if their pain was squeezing my heart as well. 

I can't explain it ... as I've said before: I have the gift of empathy ... perhaps that is why God, the Creator, also gave me the strong belief in the power of prayer and gift to be able to use prayer in my daily life.  I truly believe in the power of prayer!  Through prayer, I feel as if I can help others to find their wings. 



'A Prayer to God', By Louis Welden Hawkins
(Image courtesy of ArtMagick.com)



Lord knows, that I am about as far from perfect as anyone in this crazy world, but that doesn't matter ... I can still pray and God hears me ... especially when I pray for others.  But I think that the notion that you have to be perfect in order to talk to God is a myth that sorely needs to be shattered.

I've got news for you:  You don't have to be perfect to talk to God.  And you don't have to use fancy words, formal written prayers, or pious rituals ... God is listening and He speaks all languages ... just open your heart and talk to Him ... like you would a good friend over a cup of coffee.  He IS there for you, He cares, and He IS listening.  Go on, give prayer a try: you'd be amazed at the results and it doesn't cost you a thing, so what have you got to loose?


I'm still crying, as I write these words.  I wasn't even going to write today ... I had decided to just be quiet for awhile and just listenI guess, that what God wanted me to hear was that I need to keep praying for others. 

So whoever you are (maybe you'll visit again and leave me your name?  It's easier to pray when you have a name ... after all God says be specific : ) ... the person that left a comment for me today regarding an old JAG classmate:  please know that I am praying for YOU ... honestly and sincerely, from the very bottom of my heart ... for a healing of your pain, in all aspects of your life, and for peace and happiness to find you once again.  So please keep hope!  God Bless you!   And thank you for your warm wishes and blessing for me also.  Your words were truly heartfelt and much appreciated.   : )


Michelle

P.S.  Also please let me know if there is anyway I can assist you in connecting with your classmate.  I would be happy to help if the name mentioned in my post IS the person that you are looking for.  You can leave a personal message for me at ArtMagick.com .  My screename 'Awake'.  Leave your email, name, etc., and I will forward it to a friend who keeps in touch with them  (sorry, not comfortable leaving my email address out here ... the message at ArtMagick ('Contact this Member' box) will be private and forward to my email, without giving out my actual address).




1/12/2010   I am still waiting to see if the message to continue to pray for others ... that my prayers do serve a greater good ... was the only message that I was meant to get from this day ... still listening ...

I think all of us would do well to just stop ... stop the insane pace ... be quiet and just listen ... listen to what the universe ... God ... the Creator ... is trying to say to us in our own lives from time to time.

I think sometimes all of the noise (i.e., false forms of communicating, media bombardment with panic, frenzy and worry, television taking up so much of our free time, the quest for ever more materialism in a false bid for self-worth) just gets in the way of the wonderful beings that God has made us capable of being.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

National College Football Championship: GO TEXAS!

Go University of Texas!  National Championship tonight ... although, right at the start it's not looking too good?!  How Did Colt McCoy get hurt so badly just 8 plays into the game?  And the back-up is just a freshman?  YIKES!  Sending some prayers and positive energy your way ... GO LONGHORNS!







Alabama was hard fight for Ken's Gators ... was hoping my UT might pull off a win though.  Here's hoping and PRAYING!  Hang in there guys!


I actually put my Zombie Cheeleader pom-poms down and stopped stalking football fans long enough to watch this game : )


Me: Halloween 2009, 'Zombie Cheerleader'



... Well, Texas gave it an impressive try ... they were in it there at the end until the offense let Alabama knock the ball right out of Gilbert's hands before he even had a chance to throw!  The latter put Alabama right on their 2nd (?) yard line for an easy touchdown ... the rest is too painful recount and now ... history. 

But, I have to say ... Texas put up a good fight and Gilbert was most impressive ... considering the unexpected spot he found himself in.  Impressive game Texas!  With Gilbert as your quarterback next year, I'd say that you will once again be a force to be reckoned with ... not that I know ANYTHING about football ; ) (I'm married to a full-blown college football addict ... I've been subjected to literally EVERY SINGLE DANG game this season!).

Get better soon Colt McCoy!  I'll keep you in my prayers.  God Bless!



... Maybe this will cheer you up ... UT fans?  Made me smile : ) : ) : )


Pigeon: Impossible @ Yahoo! Video


1/10/2010  Ken says that his University Florida, Gator Football team has the "hightest ranked class of recruits for upcoming 2010 season."  He's psyched for 2010 college football already?!  Oh well, at least I get five months of relative peace from college football ... and I plan to make the MOST OF IT!  : )

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The 'Feast of the Epiphany' is celebrated throughout the world today ...


'The Star of Bethlehem', By Sir Edward Burne-Jones
(Image courtesy of ArtMagick.com)


Song: Surge Illuminare, By Zephyrus

The Feast of the Epiphany, for me and my family, is the 12th day of Christmas ... the day that the Magi visited the Baby Jesus.  Also known as the Feast of the Illumination, this celebration marks the formal close of the Christmas celebration.




Here is some additional, historical, insight and a link for further reading if you're interested ...

"That the Epiphany was of later introduction in the West than the Christmas festival of 25 December, has been made clear in the article CHRISTMAS. It is not contained in the Philocalian Calendar, while it seems most likely that 25 December was celebrated at Rome before the sermon of Pope Liberius (in St. Ambrose, De virg., iii, I, in P.L., XVI, 231) which many assign to 25 Dec., 354. St. Augustine clearly observes ... though, adds the saint, it was only after twelve days that Christ "appeared to the Magi in the Temple". The dies epiphaniorum, he says (P.L., XII, 1274), is by some thought to be "the day of the Baptism, or of the Transformation which occurred on the mountain".
"Finally, an unknown Syrian annotator of Barsalibi (Assemani, Bibl. Orient., II, 163) boldly writes: "The Lord was born in the month of January on the same day on which we celebrate the Epiphany; for of old the feasts of the Nativity and Epiphany were kept on one and the same day, because on the same day He was born and baptized. The reason why our fathers changed the solemnity celebrated on 6 January, and transferred it to 25 December follows: it was the custom of the heathens to celebrate the birthday of the sun on this very day, 25 December, and on it they lit lights on account of the feast. In these solemnities and festivities the Christians too participated. When, therefore, the teachers observed that the Christians were inclined to this festival, they took counsel and decided that the true birth-feast be kept on this day, and on 6 Jan., the feast of the Epiphanies. Simultaneously, therefore, with this appointment the custom prevailed of burning lights until the sixth day."   "
above from the source: The Catholic Encyclopedia:  Epiphany

Interestingly enough, my family did attend a church service on the day of the winter solstice ... the 'heathen' celebration referred to in the outake above ... December 21, 2009 ... which occurred at 9:47 a.m. WST, where we live. 

The purpose of this winter solstice service was to recognize that the light ... Light of God, through his son Jesus Christ (per our beliefs) would come into the world and every day thereafter there would be more and more Light in the world.  As our pastor said " ...Even though the date of Jesus's actual birth is debatable, the early Christians knew what they were doing: They said, 'we don't know the actual day ... but let's do this ... let's put it on this day ... the shortest day of the year ... the day with the most darkness ... because Jesus represents God's gift of light to the world'.  Then, every day after Jesus's birth, more and more of God's Light will enter the world."

A beautiful sentiment, is is not? Even those before the time of Jesus saw the remarkable significance of light coming out of the darkness. How simple, how beautiful and true ... regardless of what your personal religious beliefs might be.

Light out of Darkness ...


Image By Me: @Copyright December 2009 Michelle C. of www.whatplanetareyoulivingon.blogspot.com



Here's some more interesting reading: this site compares the birth of Jesus narratives between the different gospels: The Birth of Jesus: Comparing the Gospel Infancy Narratives, By Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.  Very useful and most imformative.



My family never takes down our Christmas decorations, or anything, until after the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th. Some years we celebrate with a King's cake ... often we read from the Bible ... whatever we do, it is a special day for us and marks the formal close of the Christmas celebration for our family.








In closing ... just for fun and to expand your knowledge base : ) ... here  is an interesting tale about the 'Star of Bethlehem' according to the astronomer Kepler:
'Kepler and the Star of Bethlehem,Kepler's Explanation of the Three Wise Men's Guide to Jesus Christ'>.




Joyful day to you! God Bless you and yours on this special day. : )

M