Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
We are in Indiana today for a concert. It's been refreshing to be out here where the weather isn't continually overcast. I don't remember if we've actually had a sunny day in Nashville all through September. It's been awful.
After Church this morning we were taken to 'the spot' in Columbus, IN - Zaharako's Ice Cream Parlor and Museum. I'm telling you, I don't think I've been anywhere more idealistic. The Parlor opened in 1900, and they've kept all of the original decorations in tact. I was totally unprepared for the marble counters and authentic soda and ice cream dispensers, the high gilded ceiling, and the lights that lined the edges of the ceiling. In the back of the parlor there was an organ that held several different instruments, among them a drum and violin. The machine plays all of these instruments at one time to create a one of a kind sound.
On the other side of the parlor there is a gift shop and museum. In the gift shop there are replica toys and old newspaper articles. My brother Jeremiah bought a wooden yo-yo - we still have to see whether or not it will end up in the floor of the car with the twine tangled into an unmanageable knot. Next to the toys there stood several antique ice cream and soda dispensers. It's hard to describe just how ornate and beautiful they were. One in particular was shaped into a marble two story house, with golden handles at the bottom, and a great big glass globe at the top of it. I'm still trying to figure out how that was made.
The whole experience was quite wonderful. It made me wish that our stores and restaurants today cherished beauty and uniqueness as much as they did back then. I hope you get to go to Zaharako's someday, because last, but not least - their ice cream was amazing!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Earlier today I started to think about why I don't do the things that I really want to do. That might sound weird, but I find that it's true (at least with me). When I know that what I really want to do is draw - I dispose of the thought and get on the computer. Sometimes I feel lazy and don't want to do my math, and even though I know that my math isn't very hard, and I can be finished with it in less than an hour if I set my mind to it, I just don't. I know that I really want to do my math, because finishing it will make me happy, but there's a little voice in my head that says, "That will take forever!" and, "You can skip out on math one day and get by. Anyway, you're exhausted."
Now, why is it that, more often than not, I listen to that little voice rather than my own reason? When my conscience pops up and says, "You should draw, Gretchen! You haven't in an age, and whenever you actually do it you re-realize that you love it. So go be creative and use your mind you lazy bum!" this little voice blocks it out and says, "Drawing is tedious, and it takes mental energy. Don't do that today." And why do I listen to one over the other? especially when I know that the first is the more truthful of the two? It's ridiculous. I've noticed that this usually happens when I'm trying to get myself to do something artistic. Now why is that? I love being artistic and creating things!
So, guess what? I'm going to rebel against that little voice.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Lars Porsena of Closium
By the Nine Gods he swore
That the great house of Tarquin
Should suffer wrong no more.
By the Nine Gods he swore it,
And named a trysting day,
And bade his messengers ride forth,
East and west and south and north,
To summon his array.
East and west and south and north
The messengers ride fast,
And tower and town and cottage
Have heard the trumpet's blast.
The horsemen and the footmen
And now hath every city
Sent up her tale of men;
The foot are fourscore thousand,
The horse are thousands ten.
Before the gates of Sutrium
Is met the great array.
A proud man was Lars Porsena
Upon the trysting day.
But by the yellow Tiber
Was tumult and affright:
From all the spacious champaign
To Rome men took their flight.
A mile around the city,
The throng stopped up the ways;
A fearful sight it was to see
Through two long nights and days.
Then outspake brave Horatius.
"Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,
With all the speed ye may;
I, with two more to help me,
Will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand
May well be stopped by three.
Now who will stand on either hand,
And keep the bridge with me?"
Then out spake Spurius Lartius;
A Ramnian proud was he:
"Lo, I will stand at thy right hand,
And keep the bridge with thee."
And out spake strong Herminius;
Of Titian blood was he:
"I will abide on thy left side,
And keep the bridge with thee."
"Horatius," quoth the Consul,
"As thou sayest, so let it be."
And straight against that great array
Forth went the dauntless Three.
Now, while the Three were tightening
Meanwhile the Tuscan army,
Right glorious to behold,
Come flashing back the noonday light,
Rank behind rank, like surges bright
Of a broad sea of gold.
Four hundred trumpets sounded
A peal of warlike glee,
As that great host, with measured tread,
And spears advanced, and ensigns spread,
Rolled slowly towards the bridge's head,
Where stood the dauntless Three.
And looked upon the foes,
And a great shout of laughter
From all the vanguard rose:
And forth three chiefs came spurring
Before that mighty mass;
To earth they sprang, their swords they drew,
And lifted high their shields, and flew
To win the narrow pass;
Aunus from green Tifernum,
Lord of the Hill of Vines;
And Seius, whose eight hundred slaves
Sicken in Ilva's mines;
And Picus, long to Clusium
Vassal in peace and war,
Who led to fight his Umbrian powers
From that gray crag where, girt with towers,
The fortress of Nequinum lowers
O'er the pale waves of Nar.
Stout Lartius hurled down Aunus
Into the stream beneath;
Herminius struck at Seius,
And clove him to the teeth;
At Picus brave Horatius
Darted one fiery thrust;
And the proud Umbrian's gilded arms
Clashed in the bloody dust.
But now no sound of laughter
Was heard among the foes.
A wild and wrathful clamor
From all the vanguard rose.
Six spears' lengths from the entrance
Halted that mighty mass,
And for a space no man came forth
To win the narrow pass.
But hark! the cry is Astur:
And lo! the ranks divide;
And the great Lord of Luna
Comes with his stately stride.
Upon his ample shoulders
Clangs loud the fourfold shield,
And in his hand he shakes the brand
Which none but he can wield.
He smiled on those bold Romans
A smile serene and high;
He eyed the flinching Tuscans,
And scorn was in his eye.
Quoth he, "The she-wolf's litter
Stand savagely at bay:
But will ye dare to follow,
If Astur clears the way?"
Then, whirling up his broadsword
With both hands to the height,
He rushed against Horatius,
And smote with all his might.
With shield and blade Horatius
Right deftly turned the blow.
The blow, though turned, came yet too nigh;
It missed his helm, but gashed his thigh:
The Tuscans raised a joyful cry
To see the red blood flow.
He reeled, and on Herminius
He leaned one breathing-space;
Then, like a wild cat mad with wounds,
Sprang right at Astur's face.
Through teeth, and skull, and helmet
So fierce a thrust he sped,
The good sword stood a hand-breadth out
Behind the Tuscan's head.
And the great Lord of Luna
Fell at that deadly stroke,
As falls on Mount Avernus
A thunder smitten oak:
Far o'er the crashing forest
The giant arms lie spread;
And the pale augurs, muttering low,
Gaze on the blasted head.
On Astur's throat Horatius
Right firmly pressed his heel,
And thrice and four times tugged amain,
Ere he wrenched out the steel.
"And see," he cried, "the welcome,
Fair guests, that waits you here!
What noble Lucomo comes next
To taste our Roman cheer?"
But meanwhile axe and lever
Have manfully been plied;
And now the bridge hangs tottering
Above the boiling tide.
"Come back, come back, Horatius!"
Loud cried the Fathers all.
"Back, Lartius! back, Herminius!
Back, ere the ruin fall!"
Back darted Spurius Lartius;
Herminius darted back:
And, as they passed, beneath their feet
They felt the timbers crack.
But when they turned their faces,
And on the farther shore
Saw brave Horatius stand alone,
They would have crossed once more.
But with a crash like thunder
Fell every loosened beam,
And, like a dam, the mighty wreck
Lay right athwart the stream:
And a long shout of triumph
Rose from the walls of Rome,
As to the highest turret-tops
Was splashed the yellow foam.
Alone stood brave Horatius,
But constant still in mind;
Thrice thirty thousand foes before,
And the broad flood behind.
"Down with him!" cried false Sextus,
With a smile on his pale face.
"Now yield thee," cried Lars Porsena,
"Now yield thee to our grace."
Round turned he, as not deigning
Those craven ranks to see;
Nought spake he to Lars Porsena,
To Sextus naught spake he;
But he saw on Palatinus
The white porch of his home;
And he spake to the noble river
That rolls by the towers of Rome.
"Oh, Tiber! Father Tiber!
To whom the Romans pray,
A Roman's life, a Roman's arms,
Take thou in charge this day!"
So he spake, and speaking sheathed
The good sword by his side,
And with his harness on his back,
Plunged headlong in the tide.
No sound of joy or sorrow
Was heard from either bank;
But friends and foes in dumb surprise,
With parted lips and straining eyes,
Stood gazing where he sank;
And when above the surges,
They saw his crest appear,
All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry,
And even the ranks of Tuscany
Could scarce forbear to cheer.
But fiercely ran the current,
Swollen high by months of rain:
And fast his blood was flowing;
And he was sore in pain,
And heavy with his armor,
And spent with changing blows:
And oft they thought him sinking,
But still again he rose.
And now he feels the bottom;
Now on dry earth he stands;
Now round him throng the Fathers;
To press his gory hands;
And now, with shouts and clapping,
And noise of weeping loud,
He enters through the River-Gate
Borne by the joyous crowd.
Friday, February 13, 2009
I have always loved painting, drawing, and photography, and I was thrilled when I discovered the phenomenal photographer, Anne Geddes. She makes her living by doing portraits of babies. You might have heard of her (as I did) through Celine Dion's lullaby album, Miracle, that was released in (I think this is correct) '05. Geddes did all of the artwork for the album, as well as a coffee table book that went with it, which was filled with images of babies nestled in flowers. It's some of the most breathtakingly beautiful art I've ever seen, and that's saying the least.
Mama got a new coffee table book of Gedde's the other day. It's actually her autobiography, but there are pictures that she's taken during her career all throughout it. Reading and looking through the book has inspired me to post some of her pictures on my blog, just for all of you who have never seen any of her work. It perfectly represents the innocence and beauty of God's greatest creation.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
For the past several days we have had really wonderfully beautiful weather. It was bitingly cold for a few months, and then all of a sudden it feels like April. It's one of the reasons I love Nashville, the weather is never always cold, and never always hot in the seasons.
I have been extremely thankful for the weather, not only because it's just plain pleasant, but also because I've had cause to be outside a lot lately. My family is in the (very long) process of remaking two rooms of our house into a studio. It's been a month and a half or so project, full of sawdust and tearing out of ceilings - and other very pleasant things. My part in this whole affair can be summed up in two words, staining wood. I've never stained before in my whole life, but am now a pro (not really, i just like to think that, keeps my self esteem up =). I think I've stained around thirty to forty planks of wood within the last three days - and still have more to go. And so you see, there is great cause for rejoicing in the lovely weather.
My brother Benjamin informed me that Mr. Groundhog (I forgot the little fellow's name, it's really ugly and long) has predicted a four month long winter. I was very glad to scoff at the idea, considering the sunshine and mild breeze - but.... I was told not long after that we're expecting ice storms here in Nashville not long from now. Very pleasant prospect. Oh well, I suppose you have to take the bad along with the good. It's also supposed to rain tomorrow. And so saying, I'd better go hit the planks once again.
In studying the book of Genesis, and reading 'The Genesis Record' by Henry M. Morris as a study guide along with it, a new thought has been brought to my attention that fits like a puzzle piece with my earlier post, God and the gods. Morris talks on the subject below in his book, but since not everyone who reads this post will read the book, I thought I would put it down here.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
If you've never heard of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, I pity you. He lived from 1872 to 1958, making his living by writing symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He has written pieces such as, Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, and The Lark Ascending. For some reason every time I hear either of these pieces, I want to cry. There's a welling up of emotion in my soul that is so hard to describe, but it overflows my heart and makes me feel like I'm going to burst. Why does it make me feel like that? It could be the combination of a heart-wrenchingly gorgeous melody and performance, or it could just be that I'm a terribly romantic and emotional person (which I kind of am), or it could be both of those things - and something else. What is that something else? You tell me. But it's something that touches the very root of my soul, a something that reaches deep down and touches a place that no other art can. I believe that this feeling cannot be brought by any kind of music but Classical, and that is why I believe it is superior to all other genres. It evokes feelings that Popular music never can, and never will.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
In reading through the Old Testament it has struck me how everyone in that time period believed in God, or a god. They even believed in a god that they didn't serve. The Babylonians worshiped Baal and others, and yet when they talk about Israel they always speak of the God of Israel as a god just as real and worshipful as theirs. There is such a gigantic difference between their way of thinking, and todays way, where most people don't believe in any god, true or false.
In Bible times people were much more open to mysterious thoughts and ways of thinking than we are today. Take the Greeks for example, they had hundreds of gods and demigods, and didn't think twice about it; of course all of their gods were false, and it can be argued whether or not they were actually demons, but still they believed in them wholeheartedly. Today's world is so full of steel and metal and science that it has choked out most of the healthy amount of belief in things unseen. The more knowledgeable we become in the arts of science and architecture, the more we become illiterate and idiotic in the spiritual things - and then when someone thinks that they've found the answer to the spiritual questions it's always some babble about Buddha and finding the perfect spirit within yourself. Humanity has even become so spiritually blind and dumb as to think that this magnificent Creation was made by a fluke of a chemical reaction. Here's a question - where did those chemicals come from? Answer that for starters.
Every day I wake up and am overwhelmed by the splendor of God and the magnificence of what He's made. He is the Beginning and the End, and He has made all things.
Monday, January 19, 2009
It might come as a shock... prepare yourself... but despite the fact that I'm from Tennessee, and really truly love my state, I think the Titans stink! Now hold on... you may think that I'm unpatriotic, (that's what a few of my friends think) but I can testify whole-heartedly that that isn't so. They're like a racehorse who when he puts his mind to it can outrun every other horse in the race, but at the very end just starts to slow down for no explainable reason. I mean, they lost the game against the Ravens for no apparent reason! I think that they must have some psychological problem that doesn't allow them to win. Oh well, the Colts are my team, and always will be. For the Super Bowl I'm rooting for the Cardinals, partly because I like their quarterback, and mainly because I hate the Steelers. I mean, the Steelers are like the evil team in the football movie who are huge, ferocious, and unbeatable - that is until the underdog team comes and beats them in the last fifty seconds with a breathtaking touchdown!! And so, on February 1st I'm going to sit back with a bowl of chips and a soda, and cheer on the birds!!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Last year I read 'A Room With A View' by E.M. Forster and it immediately joined the list of my favorite books. Not only is it deep, romantic, well written, and over all just plain wonderful, but the characters themselves are so original and fresh that the combination of Forster's intriguing writing style and his creations make a book full of vitality and color. A few days ago me and Camille (my sister) came across a movie adaption of the book starring Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy Honeychurch, the heroine. I don't exactly remember what year the movie was made in, but Carter was very young, and it had a handful of famous actors in it that were all significantly younger than today, so it must have been made several years ago. I really loved the movie - the script is practically taken word for word from the book, which is always nice (it's one of the things I love about the ABC adaptions of Jane Austen's novels). I must confess that I was rather dismayed when I learned that Carter was playing Lucy Honeychurch, but when I watched the movie I was sweetly surprised by her wonderful portrayal of the character. The movie caught the nuance of character and story arc that is what's so endearing about the book, and for that I'll give it a definite five stars. But, take care that you know to read the book before watching the movie. I have yet to see a movie adaption of a book that is better than the book, and that rule certainly applies in this case.
Despite the fact that it's been at least two months since I last wrote a blog, many things have happened, and I've decided to forget whether or not I have something brilliant or clever to write and to just write something.