As I redesign my website, I have decided to get rid of the "Must Read" section on my homepage and add it back to the blog section. With my thesis and knitting schedule, I wasn't keeping up with it as well as I had unrealistically hoped (as you may have noticed since I haven't touched it since November!! I blame Trump). The plan now is to write a post about reads, blogs and/or listens every so often on here. ( I would say monthly but I am trying to take off the rose tinted glasses)
1. How to teach children to care about Art:
After a summer of teaching children about art as a world class museum, I found this an interesting article with tips and tricks for parents that could have been written by any museum educator.
2. Google Arts and Culture
This is probably one of the best tools Google has done for the arts. Ever.
3.Can we get over ourselves?
This is a tough question in any circumstance especially now and especially when asked of "The Big C Church"
4.. MoMA hangs a doozy
Sometimes museums get it right and hang the art that society needs to see. Check out this powerful Faith Ringgold.
5. 10 types of feminist men to avoid
You know who I am talking about. Beware of the facades, the hypocrites and the sneaky. Also Everydayfeminism posts great things always.
6.God Needs Women
You may have noticed the feminist lence that most of my posts have taken lately. Rachel Held Evans explains it all with bluntness, and poise.
7. Object Lesson
I wish I could make it to New York to see this show, exploring the meaning and worth of objects through collections.
8. How do Working Artists stay creative?
This article serves as both an informative interview and a book review, that is sure to be on my Christmas wish list.
9. Black Lives Matter syllabi
This course outline that has been opened to the public is full of quality reads, videos and sources of learning about systemic, societal structures.
10. Never Give Up
Beautiful and inspiring article from Sojourners!
1. Discernment- AKA Life is hard.
This is my daily struggle. But is it really so unclear? An interesting read for the spiritual, or not.
2. Need some inspiration: Find it HERE
The semester has started but maybe you are uninspired. Here you go.
3. Get a Jump Start to Spring Cleaning with Spark Joy
Man, two of my favorite things: spring and cleaning! This is a free pdf that is worth the read. I managed to clean out 6 garbage bags worth of clothes and shoes out of my closet and hopefully they have now found a new home.
4. When Change is Scary
A beautiful post by Without Borders. It may give you chill bumps.
5. Need a good cry?
I understand, we all have those days.
6. Louis Bourgeois sketchbooks
insight about the sketch book practice from a prolific artist.
7. Sketchbook Look- John Hendrix
Hendrix sketches at church, creating a dialogue between the verses and his interpretation as an artist
8. The Outsider Art Fair
I was not aware that this existed but it's great. Adding to my bucket list stat, plus they have an informative list of artists online.
9. Renovation of the CAA
Great writeup and pictures the really capture the retained character of a Chicago landmark
This past summer I added a "Must Read" feature to my home page because I am constantly told about or stumble upon interesting websites (wow. Isn't technology astounding?) and wanted a place to share them, even if I did not have time to write an entire post about it. But recently, I realized that I have no documentation of these recommendations, and once I update it is lost forever. So... I am starting an archive! When I am done with links on the front page, I will move them here to the blog. This also means I will not hesitate from updating it more often. Win, win.
October - January List
1. An Amsterdam Museum Asks Visitors to Pick up Pencil and Paper
This article is a new interesting take on smart phones in the museums. As a hopeful-future-museum-educator I fully advocate for this move.
2. Current Train Ride Read: The Devil in the White City
Man this book is a goodie! It is full of facts figures and a little bit of suspense. Pick one up at your local library!
3. Known As A Collector, Gustave Caillebotte Gets His Due As A Painter
It is about time! Thanks NPR and the National gallery.
4. What I Wish I Could Tell Them About Teaching in a Title I School
from Love, Teach blog.
A great reality check for myself and others interested in working in the Title 1 system, and for those in decision making roles in our school systems.
5. Salmela Architect.
I can not get enough of this firms work.
6. Art Palooza! Engaging High School Students in Art History through Fashion Design
This is what I am excited about, with the countless productive ways art can be used in the classroom.
7. 11 Contemporary Authors Every Christian Should Read
You know I love lists, so I thought I would share my next reading one with you.
8. Need new Music? Why not check the Runway.
9. This is my city on the news
A different outlook on the news of the Charleston shooting, one that hits close to home.
Last year left me worn and tired. So when it came time for me to think and reflect on a New Year word (something I always do, read about it here and here), I was overwhelmed. It did not seem like I was done with 2015 much less ready to start 2016 head on.
I spent my Christmas break in Augusta, GA. It was a much needed reprieve from the fast-paced, crazy city life. Since I was not working or schooling, I had plenty of quiet time for thinking.
But still no light bulb moment.
My three weeks at home were full of rest and self-reflection but still no insight.
But you, Lord, are my shield! You are my glory! You are the one who restores me. I cry out to the Lord and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down, sleep, and wake up because the Lord helps me.
It was not until I was driving through the desert on the way to the CFB National Championship (Go TIGERS!) did I feel that still calm voice. Ironic, since I was about to enter one of the loudest stadiums I have ever experienced and over all the weekend adventure was quite hectic.
Perhaps it was the mountains calling or a new symptom of clay withdrawal. Either way, with unyielding confidence I knew that this year would be Refresh. The thoughts behind this decision stem from the ceramic studio. One of my favorite qualities of clay is that it can be reused. You can play with it without the pressure of finality. But even clay gets exhausted, the platelets no longer line up, the strength waivers and the consistency clumps. So you take the clay and refresh it. This is just as important and strenuous as throwing or building. You reclaim it, pug it and then wedge it repeatedly until the clay is ready again. In summary, you refresh the clay.
By choosing the word Refresh as my focus and goal, I am recognizing the difficult past couple of years and my exhausted state, but most importantly that I need to work to get back to a ready point. I need to fertilize the field and get ready for rain (Thank you Facing the Giants for never ending metaphoric gems).
Jesus replied, "Now you believe? Look! A time is coming- and is here!- when each of you will be scattered to your own home and you will leave me alone. I'm not really alone for the Father is with me. I've said these things to you so that you will have peace in me. In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world."
The move to Chicago has been, to put it mildly, stressful. The months before were full of doubts, tears and fears. Many times I felt lost and as if I had made a BIG mistake. Pre-move, when people asked me about the move, "Are you excited?", or asserted "I bet you are so excited! You are probably ready to be there already!", I would smile and nod as my eyes gave away my true feeling. Terrified.
Since getting here, each day has brought new blessings from friendly doormen, to new jobs and Chickfilla! PTL!
I want to back up a bit...
Back in May on the return car ride from NOLA, a friend wanted to play a psychology question game. He asked a series of questions, one of which was " describe my favorite place. Where would I want to live? and why?"
That was a tricky question because I love to travel and I really just can not see myself settling one place, at least not yet. I answered that I would like to live at Lake Lure, NC (where Dirty Dancing was filmed!) because it was beautiful, and peaceful. I had sentimental feelings about it from a family wedding years past but had not been in a long time.
My friend said that Lake Lure and all of my accompanying feelings represented my relationship with God, that I felt sentimentally about it and it was a place of comfort, but I had not been in a long time. Those words rang true and it haunted me the rest of the summer. Honestly, I still have a hard time writing it now because the truth is scary, broken and imperfect. I really had not been in a comfortable relationship with the Lord in a while, I was treating our relationship like a distant but cherished memory.
About two weeks ago, I decided that I had to stop waiting for a spiritual high to find me, instead I needed to begin trekking up the mountain. I began to pray with a goal to bring back this daily habit that I had forgotten. I wanted to be in a real, and present relationship with my Father after year of letting Him get lost in the shuffle that was undergraduate student life.
Today I read a chapter of The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis called "Be Guided by the Spirit." The title caught my eye when flipping around and I was hoping to find some insight. Maybe a step by step guide to life? That would be nice, right? Pope Francis begins by telling us that we live in a world skeptical of truth. We hear this everyday as people worry about religion, politics and events, not able to stand strongly on one platform, but rather being swayed by the currents of society. We worry about personal, daily questions as well: what job? who to date? where to live? what should I order at this restaurant? But if the answer bit us or tattooed itself across our arms, we would still be skeptical. We are weak and full of doubt.
But we should not be because the Lord "will guide you into all the truth" (John 16:13), since he himself is "the Spirit of the Truth" (John 14:17). Weekly, many churches recite the apostles creed like little drones. I am reminded of this creed as I read the Popes scriptural references, "Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Light..." Wow perhaps instead of going through the motions I should take those rituals through deep consideration.
Pope Francis goes onto say that to recognize this Truth we must be led by the Spirit. I learned a new word; Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as a Paraclete.
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to his disciples (and us!), to help them and guide them. The Holy Spirit will guide us "into all the truth" (John 16:13 again); " not only does He guide us to encounter with Jesus, the fullness of the Truth, but He also guides us "into" the Truth- that is, he makes us enter into an ever-deeper communion with Jesus, giving us knowledge of all things of God. And we can NOT achieve this by our own efforts." (Francis, pg. 44)
Wow, just wow.
This is where I had gone off track. I was lost because I could not find the Truth without the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis ends with a reminder for everyone to pray daily. He wanted his readers to ask themselves if they have really taken steps to know Christ and the Truth? Are we open to the Holy Spirit? What steps our we taking to "ensure the faith governs the whole of our existence?"
The Whole of Our Existence.
Our Whole Self.
This is beyond my comprehension. Just try to think for a second how powerful the Lords calling on our lives would be, how loud and clear it would be, if we listened and sought with Our Whole Self.
When I look back at dessert times, lost and grey, I see my priorities. God was a Sunday thing and a work thing. I did church a lot because it was my job and I felt like I was supposed to be there. On Sundays I go to Church. On Wednesdays I wear pink. The Lord did not get my whole self. I was divided between school, social life, entertainment, commitment, plus that search for "true love" that every good southern church-goin' girl is gripped by.
Yesterday, I was listening to a podcast by The Jealous Curator (I highly recommend *****). She was interviewing an artist and art professor named Mark Bradley-Shoup. He said that his recommendation for all of his students upon graduation was to literally schedule time for their studio work. You must carve time away to work in studio or it will get lost in the shuffle of crazy life and your art will suffer or even cease.
I began thinking about my relationship with God in this way. I needed to make it a vital part of my week. But He is even more important than my studio practice, so really He should be everyday. But really, one step further, Christ wants Our Whole Self, so we should be praying continually. Think "Constant Contact" and how you get so many ridiculous emails and reminders about emails (not saying your prayers our ridiculous...).
I want to end this never ending post, (I hope you read it to the end and did not give up half way. I would have given up half way...) with this thought. Jesus says that if you knock repeatedly the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:5-10), but you must get out of your own little apartment cubby-hole world to knock on that door!
As everyone is aware, from the bombardment of Instagram posts featuring first dances and throwbacks, today is Fathers day. I am blessed with a Daddy who has taught me about Clemson football, the love of line and buildings and the importance of a budget that a try very hard to keep. My earthly Dad has taught me what true, selfless love is so that I can better grasp the never ending, all encompassing love and mercy of my Heavenly Father.
Today though I did not get to spend a delicious lunch with my Dad feasting on barbecue, instead I am in South Carolina, the state that is on every news network and who fronts the topics for every talking head. Yes, it was a tragedy, but so much so that I honestly could not grasp it and pushed it of my mind. I did not understand, nor did I want to understand why someone would hurt people and a community that I love. Charleston is the place that I have vacationed every summer for my entire life. It is a city rich with culture, history, good food and beautiful people. So why?! Why was this happening to my favorite place?
I decided to just not think about it after scrolling through my Newsfeed and seeing all my friends from Charleston heartbroken and my strong African American friends yet again upset and hurt from the brokenness of society that creates divisive racism.
Too hard. Nope I did not want to think about it.
That was Thursday.
And that brings me to Today, the Lord's day; when we file into our Homes, our safe places, our churches.
We talked about the Prodigal Son today and about the hardship of returning to our past after mistakes. I could not help thinking about those at Emmanuel AME returning to their Home, and how hard it was going to be to face those slightly more empty pews on Father's day after so many strong earthly Dads and Moms had been ripped from their hugs.
After my Mema's passing I did not return to my home pew for three months. It was too hard to face that void. Today, just three days after tragedy struck, the Emmanuel AME congregation is being so brave and is returning to their sanctuary. They are facing the void, the pain and the broken pieces just three days after their world was overturned and the rest of the world began watching to see what would happen. All eyes are on them. The Charleston community, but especially the Emmanuel AME congregation is showing their true selves, their bravery, their strength. They are facing a tragedy the best way possible, together. They are not making the issues more divisive instead they are shining a light on the unending love of the Father that can take brokenness and make something whole.
All these pieces
Forbes recently published an article about Pope Francis and his smile. This smile seems to be set on the pope's face at all times, it warms up a room and creates a surge to know more about him. This still relatively new pope is very popular and his secret seems to "be the joy he spreads".
This was not news to me, as it probably stirred no surprise in you. When he took the papal seat in spring 2013, his smile was the first thing that earned the world's notice. What I did begin to think about though, is my own smile. Not in a is it pretty or attractive sort of way, but more of do I smile? Do I exude happiness as the Pope does? For we all have the same reason to be happy. We have a hope in the Lord Father that is much greater than any worldly problem; we are loved! Loved to the moon and back and much much further.
Back in second grade my mother told me that my teacher liked my smile and had said that I smiled all of the time. Well, after that great compliment I wanted to not disappoint my teacher and to always smile. But a week or two later my teacher asked my mother if everything was ok at home because I had stopped smiling. Well you see, when I tried to consciously make myself smile, I could not do it. Smiling is only natural, it can not be forced, or we all know what that looks like. Smiling is a reaction the body makes when the soul is just too happy that it must overflow into the physical. Smiling is not just the mouth but the pouring out of harmony and goodness out of every pore of being.
The Lord Father gives us such good news in the gospel that we should be overflowing and smiling with our entireties. He is so good! No little problem at work or school can cover that up!
Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
One of the things I can thank my mother the most for is an unquenchable love of reading. Though we diverge in our genre and style preferences, we both agree on the relaxing but educational qualities of books. I well read person is a deep, interesting and knowledgable individual.
Each summer I try to consume as many books as I can get my hands on to account for my busy days during the school year. I read a pretty large variety so bare with me as I share my top fifteen list for this summer (also I already started since it is week 3 of summer and I am in my hiatus between school and summer job).
1. The 1st week of Summer page turner:
My dad gave me this book for high school graduation and decided that the summer after my college graduation was the perfect time to check this off my list. It was awesome! Do not be intimidated by its size, it is an interesting and quick read that will leave you thinking about your own work and footprint on the world. Five Stars!
I know you have all heard of this one because of the major movie with Reese Witherspoon that came out recently. I refuse to see the movie before I read the book so it made my Top Ten.
I bought this book for my mom for a stocking stuffer and she just finished it so now it is my turn! I can not wait to start this book because I love the idea of a long hike and adventure full of introspection and maybe a bit of humorous ill-preparedness.