Friday, February 13, 2009

The Joy of the World

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.

These two are from Miracle. What beauty.

Flawlessly poetic.

There's so much peace and gentle strength in this picture.

It's so colorful.

These next three are so cute!

A little flower angel.

I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I do.  What miracles of joy!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Eternal Goodness

O friends! with whom my feet have trod
  The quiet aisles of prayer,
Glad witness to your zeal for God
  And love of man I bear.
I trace your lines of argument;        
  Your logic linked and strong
I weigh as one who dreads dissent,
  And fears a doubt as wrong.
But still my human hands are weak
  To hold your iron creeds:        
Against the words ye bid me speak
  My heart within me pleads.
Who fathoms the Eternal Thought?
  Who talks of scheme and plan?
The Lord is God! He needeth not        
  The poor device of man.
I walk with bare, hushed feet the ground
  Ye tread with boldness shod;
I dare not fix with mete and bound
  The love and power of God.        
Ye praise His justice; even such
  His pitying love I deem:
Ye seek a king; I fain would touch
  The robe that hath no seam.
Ye see the curse which overbroods        
  A world of pain and loss;
I hear our Lord’s beatitudes
  And prayer upon the cross.
More than your schoolmen teach, within
  Myself, alas! I know:        
Too dark ye cannot paint the sin,
  Too small the merit show.
I bow my forehead to the dust,
  I veil mine eyes for shame,
And urge, in trembling self-distrust,        
  A prayer without a claim.
I see the wrong that round me lies,
  I feel the guilt within;
I hear, with groan and travail-cries,
  The world confess its sin.        
Yet, in the maddening maze of things,
  And tossed by storm and flood,
To one fixed trust my spirit clings;
  I know that God is good!
Not mine to look where cherubim        
  And seraphs may not see,
But nothing can be good in Him
  Which evil is in me.
The wrong that pains my soul below
  I dare not throne above,        
I know not of His hate,—I know
  His goodness and His love.
I dimly guess from blessings known
  Of greater out of sight,
And, with the chastened Psalmist, own        
  His judgments too are right.
I long for household voices gone,
  For vanished smiles I long,
But God hath led my dear ones on,
  And He can do no wrong.        
I know not what the future hath
  Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
  His mercy underlies.
And if my heart and flesh are weak        
  To bear an untried pain,
The bruis√ęd reed He will not break,
  But strengthen and sustain.
No offering of my own I have,
  Nor works my faith to prove;        
I can but give the gifts He gave,
  And plead His love for love.
And so beside the Silent Sea
  I wait the muffled oar;
No harm from Him can come to me        
  On ocean or on shore.
I know not where His islands lift
  Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
  Beyond His love and care.        
O brothers! if my faith is vain,
  If hopes like these betray,
Pray for me that my feet may gain
  The sure and safer way.
And Thou, O Lord! by whom are seen        
  Thy creatures as they be,
Forgive me if too close I lean
  My human heart on Thee!

by John Greenleaf Whittier

Friday, February 6, 2009

Staining in the Sunshine

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.


The Origin of Origins

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. 

The first sentence of the Bible, "In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth." is undoubtedly the most read paragraph in all of history. The Bible is the oldest book that we have, and the most printed. Everyone who picks up the Bible reads at least that first line, whether or not they go any further. And so, we can safely say that that sentence has been read more than any other in any book. It never struck me until reading The Genesis Record that the Bible doesn't open with proving God, but opens with that simple phrase, taking it for granted that God exists. God was so close to the writer, (so close in fact that it could have been God Himself) that the he wrote the account of the Creation with an overwhelming sense of God and His, if you will, realness. 

I believe that Genesis (besides the Gospels) is the richest book in the Bible. It lays down in stone (literally) the Creation and Beginning of the Universe; and in doing that completely disproves every other kind of disbelief: Atheism, Pantheism, Dualism, etc. And furthermore, it is the only book that has a believable answer for the question, "Where have we come from?" No Scientology nonsense about martians from outer space and the process of evolution, taken from a space novel. The very fact that Genesis is the oldest book that we have, and the fact that it is so plainspoken and records the Beginning without the least hesitation, should be enough for us to believe too. It's certainly easier to believe in than martians and spaceships, and an evolutionary cycle that we have no proof of. If we could just shed our chokingly skeptical mindset and worldview, and return to the child's simple trust and faith in things unseen, than maybe we could understand more fully the things of God, and what his purpose is for us.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Lark Ascending

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.