There Will Be God In It

When I recently mentioned Vincent Van Gogh in my post about selfies, I decided to dig a little deeper into his life. I knew some of the usual details about his life … admittedly, most of it garnered from a long-ago viewing of the 1956 movie, Lust for Life, with Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn (as Van Gogh’s friend Paul Gauguin).Vincent-van-Gogh-brabant-etten-leur-zundertThe movie description talks about Van Gogh as the “archetypical tortured artistic genius.” This is not an appealing description (as I see it). Whenever the idea of a “tortured artistic genius” is suggested, I tend to assume the individual so described is likely a petulant child who’s never been taught to restrain him or herself. Though I very much appreciate talented artists, it seems to me they may get tagged with the adjective “tortured” so as to make their life stories more sensational. Continue reading “There Will Be God In It”

Beauty and Deficiencies of Age

When the media were all abuzz earlier this month with the announcement of Harper Lee’s new novel, Go Set A Watchman (set for debut this July), I was intrigued. The first story I read was from The Guardian, explaining that this “new” novel was actually intended – alongside the earlier work To Kill A Mockingbird – to represent two-thirds of a trilogy, with a short connecting work between the two. Pictures posted with the article show a smiling but frail little woman, too small for the clothing she’s wearing.GuardianHarperLeeAnother article, this one from The Atlantic, sets a somewhat somber tone with the title Harper Lee: The Sadness of A Sequel. The Atlantic also goes with a more gritty picture of Lee (circa 1962) after Mockingbird had earned critical praise from multiple quarters, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961.

FROM:  http://tiny.cc/uqndux
FROM: http://tiny.cc/uqndux

Both articles mention the author’s frailty. Lee suffered a stroke in 2007 and is now 88 years old, struggling with blindness (due to macular degeneration), profound deafness as well as the indignities of short-term memory loss. A close friend characterized her memory (three years ago) as “completely shot.” The author currently lives in an assisted living facility where she’s confined to a wheelchair. Continue reading “Beauty and Deficiencies of Age”

Eden’s Paradise . . . Lost

The world described in the Book of Genesis was different than ours. In the Beginning, after six days of creative endeavor, God rested and judged His creation as “very good.” Put simply, the Garden of Eden was Paradise … and while the Book doesn’t elaborate in minute detail, we know Eden was radically transformed because of sin into Paradise Lost.CMB_TimelineYesterday, I posed the question:  Are We Smarter Than Our Biblical Forebears? This question actually has some currency given recent discussions dealing with big bang inflation theory (as illustrated above). Certainly, this theory is a departure from the biblical narrative of Genesis. Continue reading “Eden’s Paradise . . . Lost”

Are We Smarter Than Our Biblical Forebears?

Over at the blog See, there’s this thing called biology, my friend insanitybytes22 always manages to generate stimulating conversation with her twice-daily posts. Today’s post is no exception and forced me to ask the question:  Are We Smarter Than Our Biblical Forebears?

IB22 doesn’t pose a question. Instead, she urges:  Honor Your Bronze Age Parents. I won’t spoil her insightful observations by repeating them here, but please click over to her blog and prepare yourself for an excellent read.IB22

In IB22’s post and the comments that follow, she addresses the point that here in our 21st century world, there’s a common arrogance we have about our vast knowledge, and with that arrogance, a reminder about how often we tend to look down our noses at previous generations who were so embarrassingly ignorant. Continue reading “Are We Smarter Than Our Biblical Forebears?”

Eye For An Eye, Log For A Log

From the time of childhood, we’re admonished not to point fingers at others. Whether it’s because “it’s rude to point” (as my mother often told me) or because a child is trying to shift blame for a misbehavior, pointing one’s finger remains a transgression that’s generally frowned upon … even though it’s a tactic used almost everyday by nearly everyone. Not one of us is immune to hypocrisy.clinton pointed his finger at us_thumb[1]The old saw about finger-pointing … three fingers pointing back at the one who points … occasionally discourages us from engaging our index fingers, but as illustrated above, some ignore that rule of thumb (if I may employ that expression here). The seventeenth anniversary for that infamous denial/finger-pointing event passed just last week. Who has forgotten the strenuous denial, later proven to be laughably false?

Continue reading “Eye For An Eye, Log For A Log”

How Much Wood Can A Groundhog Chuck?

Since as early as the 1840s, Groundhog Day has been observed in parts of Pennsylvania. In places like Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the observation has become a highly-celebrated tradition, thanks in large part to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, which hosts a series of events throughout the weekend.

One of the best things to ever happen to Groundhog Day (in my opinion) was the movie of the same name. It is a great comedy, as well as a unique view of human behavior and change. It wears well and even after multiple viewings, the predicament of the main character still resonates … we identify with Bill Murray’s Everyman.GroundhogDay

A number of my mother’s ancestors hail from Berks County PA where the earliest observations of Groundhog Day took place (in Morgantown PA), so I enjoy knowing something about PA festivals. These are my peeps! However, celebrants in Punxsutawney PA claim their tradition goes back more than a century. Those are not my peeps, though having watched the movie several times, I find their enthusiasm for this event contagious!

Continue reading “How Much Wood Can A Groundhog Chuck?”

Certifiably Married

Quick question … for those of you who are married, do you know where your marriage certificate is? This document, most often provided to the married couple shortly after “I Do” and “I Will” have been spoken, is often a fancy piece of parchment that notes the names of the married partners and the place where their vows were exchanged. Signatures of the witnesses and person who officiated are often included on the document.antique-marriagecertificate-graphicsfairysm

I love the marriage certificate pictured above – apparently from the 1800s – because of its elegant simplicity and its implicit invitation to attach photos of the bride and the groom! Unlike many of the digital documents produced today for births, marriages, etc., this above document is artful and would be a beautiful keepsake to display. Continue reading “Certifiably Married”

Renegade Nun, The Morning Star of Wittenberg

Important figures of history sometimes get pushed to the periphery as current figures take center stage. One such figure is Katharina von Bora, a renegade nun whose birth took place more than five hundred years ago this week. If the name is familiar at all, it may be because she was the wife of Martin Luther, who in 1517 posted on the door of his church 95 Theses (disputations), an act of defiance that set in motion the Protestant Reformation.

It’s possible others find both Katharina von Bora and Martin Luther to be unfamiliar names. Unfortunately, the Protestant Reformation no longer receives a great deal of attention in most history classes. (And Luther’s name often evokes a well-known 20th century figure, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., causing a measure of confusion.)

http://tiny.cc/e774sx
http://tiny.cc/e774sx

I love the picture (above) of von Bora. This portrait was painted by a close friend of their family, a German Renaissance painter who also painted a portrait of Martin Luther. In this picture, I see a resemblance to The Good Wife‘s Julianna Margulies. To me, the portrait depicts a beautiful woman, a no-nonsense presence who possesses quiet, bridled strength of character and soul. Continue reading “Renegade Nun, The Morning Star of Wittenberg”

On The Trail

Winter isn’t my favorite season. Bracing against the cold gets more tedious every year. Climbing into our car the other day, I was all bundled up, arms full with purse, packages, etc. My Beloved urged me:  “Close the door, close the door!” He was in a hurry to go. Dismayed, I glared at him and proceeded to pivot my legs and feet into the car before closing the door.

RandyThe image of Randy (from A Christmas Story) came to mind. Having obeyed the first rule of Winter (layers), I was encumbered by so many layers, my arms and legs moved only sluggishly! The garb prevented the gusty winds from penetrating, but if there’d been a fire, I’m not sure I’d have made it out! Continue reading “On The Trail”

Reach Out and Touch

My mother-in-law phoned this morning. For many people, this might be an ordinary event. More often than not for me, phone calls from her send a tremor of worry through me.

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With one of her granddaughters, 2010

Because of her various life challenges, using the phone has become a complex operation; her dementia makes communication problematic, plus her hearing has diminished so she can’t always hear information clearly through the receiver. When I receive a call from her, my first thought is she needs emergency care or she’s fretting about an imagined crisis. (Prior experience has borne this out.) Continue reading “Reach Out and Touch”