Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No idea what I would call this blog if this is how The Wizard of Oz had ended

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Who's ready for green bean casserole???

Thanks Mom!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

FUZE Week 31 & 32

The MTW Asia/Pacific Area retreat in Malaysia was this week (and a bit of next, hence the same theme for two weeks).  The term retreat comes with two distinct and opposed meanings for me.  First is the idea of escape or holiday, as this retreat was intended to be.  There is also the idea of running away, retreating from battle or an enemy.  The theme of retreat was deliberately chosen for that very reason and to be a reminder to rest and not to be running away.

When I left for Malaysia I had a 1,000-page book, fully loaded, fully charged iPod, and a big bottle of SPF 50 in my suitcase.  I was fully prepared for a week of resting, relaxing, and retreating alone, poolside.  They were the first things I unpacked upon getting to the resort and the last things I put back in my suit case when packing up at the end of the week.  The battery on my iPod was still fully charged and I was no further into my book than I was before.

What I discovered this week is regardless of retreating, or battling, it’s the people we do it with that is important.  At the area retreat I was able to meet tons on people on the field and from the home office.  The teaching, sessions, activities and worship that had be planned and organized for us were great, but it was the fellowship that happened between those events that was of most value to me.   That made my time a retreat a time of rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation compared to the running away kind of retreat.

Here are some of my sweet friends from all over AustrAsia in Malaysia...
Dr. Kooistra (the boss of all MTW) Joy and I loving the pool
Shopping buddies

Erika, Joy and I, aka the cool room

Singles gang
Beers in Kaula Lumpur with Steve

If a picture is worth a thousand words this one is Anna Karenina!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Minor Prophets, Minor drawings

Hosea 2:6-8
Joel 3:16
Amos 5:13-15
Obadiah 17
Jonah 4:10-11
Micah 5:6

Nahum 1:3
Habakkuk 3:13
Zephaniah 3:15
Haggai 2:4-5
Zechariah 9:12
Malachi 3:17

FUZE Weeks 28 & 29

            Due to crazy schedules and different responsibilities around the world Steve and B were doing a lot of traveling these weeks.  So, to keep things simple and sense B and I wouldn’t be able to do our regular weekly wrap up we set the theme knowing that it would be for two weeks.
                        In preparing to go to Malaysia in a few weeks I started researching the country.  We called it MY-Laysia week.  I spent some time in the library and on the internet researching culture, religion, language, art, ect…  I also intentionally spent time with several people I know who have lived in Malaysia. 
                        The overwhelming advice that I got from all of these sources was to look and watch and to eat anything I could get my hands on!  That last bit made me nervous when I read about Sup torpedo!
                        The thing I notice most about looking into and preparing to go to this new country was how much it became about being here.  The most valuable information I found was through friends.  Friends who live in Perth.  My conversations with them became less about my going to Malaysia and more about my deepening bounds here.

                        Just for the record… I didn’t try the soup, but the rest of the food was AWESOME!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

FUZE: Week 39

     At the end of Cost week, knowing we were moving into Thanks week I made a one page list of all the things that bug me.  I was a bit shocked at how easily I got through that page.  Just for fun and in the spirit of honesty and transparency, here is my list…

Cancer.  Child abuse.  Domestic violence.  Rape.  Neglect.  Hunger.  Poverty.  Ungratefulness.  Pride.  Arrogance.  Ignorance.  Judgmental people.  Lack of tolerance.  Unwillingness to learn.  Know-it-alls. Hidden agendas.  Broken promises.  Unfulfilled expectations.  Stinginess.  Fear.  Boring artist’s talks.  Boring lectures.  Ill prepared presentations.  Self-centeredness.  Tardiness.  Missed deadlines.  Running out of shampoo before conditioner.  Shaving my legs.  Razor burn.  Being alone on holidays.   Spoiled milk.  Presumptuous people.  Goodbyes.  Lies.  Change.  The lone broken cracker left in the box.   Dust bunnies.  Inconsiderate smokers.  Addiction.  Suicide.  Weddings.  Cake with too much frosting.  Waxy chocolate.  Paintings under glass.  Gallery fees.  Fake people.  Forced vulnerability.  Shoes that pinch.  Sweat stains.  Hate.  Homelessness.  Short shorts.  Noisy neighbors.  Noisy housemates.  Alarm clocks.  Drunkenness.  Swearing.  Sexism. Euthanasia.  Abortion.  Disrespect.  Music snobs.  Crowded pubs.  Uncomfortable chairs.  Country music.  Rap.  Apathy.  Stupidity.  Blaming culture for bad attitudes and actions. Buying toilet paper and tampons.  The cereal dust in the bottom of the box.  Trying on jeans.  Packing.  Chipped nails.  Pantyhose.  Broken sunglasses.  Crowded trains.  Bad elevator courtesy.  People who talk loudly on cell phones in public.  False piety.  Strapless bras.  Heavy backpacks.  Asking for help.  Asking for money.  Needing money.  Showing up underdressed.  Forgetting things.  Paranoia.  Whales.  Sharks.  Being out of control.  Other control freaks.  Always being far away from someone.  Being left behind.  Shin splints.  Bruised fruit.  Gray roots.  Getting lost.  Whining.  Pushover parents.  Undisciplined children.  Long lines.  Hairy legs.  Superficiality.  Insecurity.  Barbies.  Carrying groceries home.  Difficult locks.  Sticky keys.  Inconsistency.  The song “Happy Birthday.”  Double standards.  Mustaches.  The unknown.  Weak coffee.  Bitter tea.  Bragging over sin.  Bad habits.  Breaking habits.  Cheap paintbrushes.  Stereotypes.  Politics.  Cliché clothing.  Vegans.  Paying more for organic food.  Coddling.  Late buses.  Bad public art.  Clothes on dogs.  Matching outfits.  Failed blue tack.  Tattoos drawn with sharpie.  People who say, “tats” rather than tattoos.  The word moist.  Washing getting rained on.  Dead batteries.  All lids and no Tupperware containers.  Broken umbrellas.   Sunburns.  Blisters.  Gossip.  Entitlement.  Complacency.   Pride.  Clogged drains.  Cards with too many words.  Bad art.  Blame shifting.  Being ignored.  Pity.  Being set up.  Dating.  The dentist.  False accusations.  Getting left out.  Receiving obligatory invites.  Jealousy.  Manipulation.  Dry skin.  Oily hair.  Failure.  Waiting.  Having to rely on others for your need to be met.  Low quality paper.  Sticky lip-gloss.  Racism.  Bad customer service.  Overly sensitiveness.  Migraines.  Warm beer.  Unclear expectations.  Excuses.  Complainers.  Gossip.  Canceled appointments.  Going to the doctors.  Calling things vintage when they’re just old.  Oatmeal colored clothing.  Melted crayons.  Being called crafty.  Torn contact lenses.  Yard work.  Paying for health insurance.  Stubbornness.  Cockroaches.  Humidity.  Cheap glue.  Dirty feet. Uncomfortable silences.  Weak handshakes.  Soaps that smell like food.  Confusion.  Being short.  Car trouble.   Socks with sandals.  Elitism.   Lame pick-up lines.  Religious speak.  Folding laundry.  Picky eaters. 

     I know what you’re thinking… “Great way to start Thanks week Shannon!”  That exercise was done to set up a contrast for this list, one page of things I’m thankful for.  Here’s that list…

Family.  Hope.  Coffee.  Art.  Art Galleries.  Reese’s Pieces.  Shade.  Free bus rides.  Tattoos.   Aloe Vera gel.  Sunscreen.  Prayer and financial supporters.  Grace.  Redemption.  Paul’s letters.  Cross references.  Beauty.  Skype.  iTunes.  Free wifi.  Brunch.  Sharing brunch with friends.  Eggs Benedict.  Air conditioning.  Fans.  Heaters.  Creativity.  Messy studios.  Good critiques.  Art magazines.  Naps.  Bubble baths.  Mani/pedis.  Baristas that remember your order.  Sales clerks that remember your name.  High heels.  Routine.  Soft beds.  Tinny roses.  Big sunflowers.  Donuts.  Maps.  Google.  Generosity.  Champagne.  Hot showers.  Red toenails.  Nieces.  Nephews.  In flight movies.  Latex free Band-Aids.  Midol.  Homecomings.  Long talks with old friends.  Sleepovers.  Snuggling.  Family game nights.  Might-as-well-be-family.  Humility.  Honesty.  Proximity to the people I want.  Margaritas and guacamole.  Personal space.  Friends to be quiet with.  Knitting.  Clean sheets.  Spell check.  Yoga.  Dancing.  Sparkles.  Wax.  X-Acto knives.  Sleeping in.  Lazy mornings.  Friendly bus drivers.  Eyelash curlers.  Care packages.  Good graffiti.  Power point.  Prayer.  Scented candles.  Cool weather.  Rain.  People who “get it.”  People who support you even though they don’t “get it.”  Secondary colors.  Nibbly platters.  Belief.  Stories.  Materials.  Meaning in objects.  The stones that cry out.  Accents.  Sisters.  Pretend sisters.  People that it’s hard to say goodbye to.  Multitasking.  Listening and good listeners.  Train rides.  Surprises.  Comfort food.  Butter.  Adventures.  Discovery.  Overlapping of ideas.  Good paint.  Reusable shopping bags.  Lilies in the bush.  Fresh herbs.  Fabric softener.  Long afternoon teas.  Girly china teacups.  Girl time.  Daddy dates.  Whoppers.  Nicknames.  Driving with the windows down.  Facebook messages.  Spas.  Learning.  Teachers.  Crossing things off the to-do list.  Clever kids.  Hugs.  Cotton thermal blankets.  Baby animals.  Kind sarcasm.  Inside jokes.  Being home alone.  Picking people up at the airport.  Wondering aimlessly.  Being read to.  Day dreaming.  Podcasts.  Back rubs.  Stupid TV.  Couch time.  Days off.  Peacemakers.  Wind.  Mentors.  Scientist and mathematicians and knowing that I don’t have to be either.  Internet banking.  Home cooked meals.  Bravery.  Kindness of strangers.  Intricateness of our bodies.  Hair dye.  Ancestry.  History.  Dinner parties.  Guests.  Babies with milk breath.  Humor.  Play.  Patterns.  Swinging.  Common grace.  Literacy.   Letters of reference.  Unsuspected opportunities.  Collaboration.  Being appreciated for who we are and what we can offer.  Freckles.  Laughter.  Freedom.  Feminism. Femininity.  Audio books.  Narnia.  Imagination.  Church.  Kitsch.  Art history.  Paisley.   Resolution.  Family recopies.  Tradition.  Pajamas.  Wine tastings.  Being amazed.  Old family snap shots, even if it’s not my family.  Gifts for no reason.  Thunderstorms.  Analogies.  Metaphors.  Happy accidents.  Parades.  New journals and sketchbooks.  Filled journals and sketchbooks.  Postcards.  New pens.  Post-it notes.  Travel mugs.  Turkish delight.  Dreams.  Family trees.  Sweet-tea.  Cartoons.  Sale racks.  Warm homemade bread.  Art books with lots of pictures.  Authenticity.  Unlimited text messaging.  Irony.  Stamps in passports.  Big earrings.  The Bauhaus.  Hand sanitizer.  Raw edges on wood and fabric.  Honest compliments.  Spontaneity.  Tweezers.  Road trips.  Unsolicited encouragement.  Ladybugs.  Courtesy.  Graphs.  Factoids.  Love. 

      Why go through this exercise?  To remember that in the midst of extraordinarily costly things, and mountains of things that get under my skin, there in much to be thankful for.  Often it’s the little, everyday things that I’m thankful for.  Choosing to take notice of the things that make me thankful somehow makes the annoyances more tolerable and the cost seem not to great.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

FUZE: week 38

          Cost week started with a phone call that I knew was coming sooner or later, but thought was still about a month away.  My support account at MTW had tanked.  It was before noon on Thanksgiving Day when I got this call.   Although there were many things this week that revolved around financial matters

          A true blue Aussie saying goes “Can’t be bothered.”  The rough translation of this would be, “Meh, it’s not worth it.”  As I reflected on the idea of “cost” this phrase kept coming to mind.  Generally it was followed by the thought of how much of a bother am I?  Everything costs us something… time, money, energy, resources, pride, emotion…  I cost Jesus everything.  And he didn’t hesitate to pay that cost.    How much more willing should that make me to pay my time, pride, energy, ect… for Him? 

          I am making a real effort to not say, “I can’t be bothered.”   Because I’ve been called to bother, we all have. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Appology and Request

I'm a terrible blogger.  I'm sorry.  I have really good intentions but poor motivation.  Thank you for following and reading in spite of me.

I've come to realize that I often avoid writing a blog or letter or journaling because it brings a level of reality to things.  Writing it out forces me to deal with things rather than ignore them.  There have been a lot of things in the past nine months that I'd much rater ignore that admit and had to deal with.  This week I was faced with something I couldn't ignore.  My support account has tanked and I need more funding or I'll have to leave Aus prematurely.  You may have received an email with the details of this (if you didn't and would like to let me know).

I cannot remember ever having made New Year's Resolutions.  My birthday is the time when I usually reflect and seek to make changes.  My birthday was 2 weeks ago.  And being a better blogger/letter writer/emailer is something I hope to get better about in the next year.

Please be praying for me.  That God might give me wisdom as I look forward to the last few months of my internship.  Pray the the needed funding would come in quickly.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

More from the studio

First of all, THANK YOU to all of you who have collected and given your teabag tags to me!!!  Each one of these tags is iconic of a shared moment and a conversation (perhaps it is a conversation with yourself or with God if not a friend).  As of now over 1,000 moments and conversations have been collected form six different countries.  I can't help but wonder as I ponder this work what could happen if each of those conversations were grace filled and the moments purposeful.
Tet a Tet (in progress, Nov. 2011)

In addition to tea-tags I've been collecting used teabags of one specific brand.  Each of these used teabags after being pulled out of the trash is dried, emptied, cleaned, embraced with it's stains, has it's wrinkles smoothed out, and is put in community with other teabags just like it, but with different stains.  Sound like a familiar journey?

The Remnant (in progress, Nov. 2011)


 This last image is a new work I've just started.  All of the tags from the teabags I sew together I've kept separate from the ones for Tet a tet.  These tags are then braided together into one long strand.  I have a feeling that this work will have other elements added to it in the future, but it hasn't told me what those might be yet. 

From the Studio

A dear friend of mine, Luci invited me to join her in reading through the Minor Prophets a while back.  After each book we did a drawing.  Then would discuss the book and our drawing over a bottle of wine.  

If you can guess which book inspired this drawing there might be a prize in it for you....

Thursday, October 20, 2011


As you may have heard I spent the last week in Malaysia!  Here are a few pictures to tide you over until I get a proper blog up.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Clearly I'm in dire need of some Toms and chest hair.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mmm... pie!

One of my amazing supporting churches, Westminster PCA, took me on as fund raiser during Vacation Bible School. The VBS theme was the beach, so my being in Australia didn't hurt. Also, having a sister on the VBS committee who volunteered to coordinate the missions minute didn't hurt either.

Part on the internship I am doing includes going to another field for 2-4 weeks to embody the skills I'm learning here. Right now it is looking like I will probably be going to Japan in early 2012. However, there is so concern over the expense of this trip. All of the daily offerings brought to VBS by the kids, teachers, parents, and staff are being donated to MTW to help me get to Japan.

One morning I was able to be Skyped into their assembly. Several different kids asked questions. I was so impressed by the quality of questions they had. The kids wanted to know when I would be going to Japan, how long I'd be there and had lots of questions about an artwork that I'm working on for Japan (more to come on that soon!). One sweet little girl walked up to the computer held out her hand and said "I have some money for you." Melted my heart! It is always an encouragement to see such little ones being kingdom oriented and missions minded.

The fund raiser was set up as a compitition between the classes to see who could raise the most money. The class with the highest total at the end of the week got to throw a pie at the associate pastor along with a VBS t-shirt and bragging rights.

I am so blessed to have been a part of this years VBS! I have to say a huge thank you to my sister who put all of this together. Also, to the teachers and coordinators at VBS who got their classes so involved in supporting me. To the amazing kids at VBS, thank you, and I couldn't be doing this without you! Thank you to Westminster for being faithful partners with me in prayer and finance. A big thanks to Pastor Jon for being such a good sport! And of course, to Michale for getting the pie action on video.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

FUZE Week 3

In the two short weeks I’d been in Fremantle so far there have already been patterns emerging in my schedule, routine, and people I interact with. Patterns naturally was B’s and my word for the week.

The most frequently asked question I get is “what does your schedule look like?” Being in the business of people it’s hard to have a schedule because you can never know when you’ll get called in. Likewise with creativity. There are however marked events on my calendar that reoccur regularly that establish a schedule of sorts… Sunday night there is churchfreo.
A few days during the week I spend the day at churchfreo doing studio work. Tuesday is Bible Study. Thursday I spend the evening with Steve and B, just catching up on each other’s week. Friday B and I go over all of our stuff for FUZE, evaluate the past week and prepare for the next. At this point we’re still allowing things to flow organically around these emerging patterns.

I find it interesting to talk about pattern in this way. For several years now my creative practice has included visual pattern. Now I’m looking at my practice and art-making as the pattern. When I have used patterns it has been to reference tradition, history, and home. Now I’m looking at pattern as faith, art practice, and life style. Pattern is becoming something that you embody and live out.

In the past pattern and ritual have been very important concepts to my work. They are now also becoming important to my life. I wonder how the patterns of my daily life will continue to change in this year. How pattern and ritual will change in my work as learn to embody and live them.

FUZE Week 5

When Berenice and I made “Making” our theme for the week I expected it spend a lot of time making art. Easter is coming quickly and I needed to get busy making work for the installation. There was a lot of that, but it became clear to me that most of my making was going to be in relationships.

Because using the churchfreo building for my studio wasn’t going to work out I started looking for other places I could work. The house I was staying in quickly came to mind. Although it was a convenient space, I started getting restless there. So, I found ways to take my work with me to places in Freo. I found myself in coffee shops mostly which has also proved to be a good relationship making site. There were several occasions where a friend or two would join me for coffee as I made.

It’s difficult to know how much detail to go into here, but there was a lot of making up, making steps towards, and making nice that happened this week. After the events of structures week all of these kinds of making were very necessary, for others and me. A making amends, if you will.

The work that I was making in these cafes was for the Easter installation at churchfreo. I spent the week writing “paid in full” on the front and back of 490 price tags. 490 is the sum of 7 times 70, the number of forgiveness (Mat. 18:22). It was an amazing reminder why making up is important and what it cost to make this sinner right before God.

From the Studio

In process work exploring uses for and metaphors behind tea in my practice.

Sharing cups of tea is a key way I have been getting to know people here. Each of these little tags has come to represent a shared moment and relationship building.

A map of stains

What part of relationships do we keep? The useful part that gives actual product?

Can the part normally disregarded redeemed? Can the throw away bits be beautiful?

FUZE Week 16

There is no Aunt Jemima Syrup in Australia. My friend Allie, who is also from the US, and I made pancakes on Saturday morning. Rather than our beloved Aunt Jemima we topped our pancakes with Golden Syrup, which is kind of like a cross between American syrup and honey. On the front of the syrup tin, right under the brand name is the image of a dead lion with a swarm of bee’s hovering over it. In small type under this lovely image is the phrase “out of the strong comes sweetness.” Those of you who are better Bible scholars than I will know the reference here and why it makes since on a tine of some honey like stuff. However, Allie and I were thoroughly grossed out and couldn’t figure out why on earth this would be on a syrup tin.
Later in the week I was listening to a sermon postcast. The text was from Judges 14, telling the story of Samson. Imagine a light bulb going on over my head right now! Sampson was marked as a Nazarite. That marking came with certain requirements that any Nazarite had to keep… No fruit of the vine, including grapes, wine, vinegar and raisins. No death, Nazerites could not touch or be close to corpses or graves. No razors/hair cuts (No, Samson’s hair was not long because it made him cool, it was out of obedience to God). Samson’s marking as a Nazarite was evident in his appearance.

But in Judges 14 Samson kills a lion, by strength given to him by God. Then, “Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.” (vs. 8-9). Samson broke his Nazarite vow. He broke the vow again in Judges when Delilah cuts his hair.

Like Samson, I often fail at looking and acting differently, according the calling I’ve been given. Again, like with Samson, God used me anyway.

The theme fro this week was marks. This week I took a weeklong drawing intensive at Curtin University (drawing is often referred to as mark making within the arts community).
I asked those of you on my email list (if you’re not on this list and would like to be, let me know!) now that it was my desire that God would mark me as different, that grace would shine through me in such a way that I could might be able to make marks on others. I often struggle with being am introvert. I really do want to meet new people and make friends, but fear of rejection combines with extreme contentment in being alone often keeps me from doing this. On the bus going into campus Monday morning I prayed the whole way that God would either make me braver than normal or do the work for me. I admit it was a little “wet ground, dry fleece” of me. By the time we broke for lunch on the second day (a day focused on mark making rather than representational drawing)
all of the 17 other students had made a point of coming to me. Many of them commented on my accent first thing, asking me where I was from and how I had come to Perth. God had done the work for me. Not only that, He gave me an opening to talk about the internship and my work, neither of which I can do without speaking about grace.

In the days (and now weeks) following the intensive I have had the opportunity keep in touch with some of my classmates. Pray that as I continue to pursue these relationships I might look and act as one marked my the Spirit.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

From the Studio

We've officially begun the rainy season here in Perth. Here's a taste of what it is like in my studio when the rain comes in off the Indian Ocean. This video was taken a few evenings ago, right before I made a run for the bus stop. For the full affect you'll need to turn the volume all the way up.

The studio has corrugated metal roof. In case you couldn't tell.

FUZE Week 11

One of my least favorite words ever was the theme this week. Vulnerable… shudder!!! I come from a long line of proud and stubborn stock. If you’ve ever met members of my immediate or extended family you know that I’m not exaggerating here. Vulnerability does not come easily for me. In fact, I often see it as weakness… It’s setting your self up for hurt and that’s just stupid. In an effort to honor this weeks theme in mind but also be wisely self preserving (as needed) I took to heart Matthew 10:16, “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

The FUZE week (which is Friday- Thursday) always starts with B and I sharing a lazy cup of coffee at her house. This week started a little differently as our boss was visiting. We still had our coffee, but I was on my best behavior. Knowing that it is my hope and intention to return to Australia after my internship to work with MTW fulltime helping B further develop and run FUZE I really wanted to make a good impression on my Grand-boss. In situations like this I tend to over share in a way that often looks like verbal bulimia. In this case I had to be vulnerable but wise in knowing when to stop, not out of self-preservation but simply not reaching the point of overkill.

This week I was moving into my new studio in Freo. As I was meeting and getting to know the other artists in the building there was a very different type of vulnerability needed. The first questions artists tend to ask each other when meeting are “what kind of work do you make?” Typically in an effort to protect myself from scrutiny, judgment, exclusion, or further questioning I sidestep this question. Saying my work is couched in the feminine and abstractly explores the processes and rituals surrounding the domestic sphere through reenacting and/or recreating them. But the fact of the matter is my work is often about grace and uses the familiar language of the domestic to point to heaven, process and rituals to point to change or growth, and object to give form to abstract ideas such as hope (like in Now and Not Yet). It took a lot of vulnerability for me to confidently have that conversation with my new studio mates.

The very last day of vulnerability week while I was on my way out to Steve and B’s for the day, at the bus stop I was reading Visual Faith, by William Dyrness. There was a middle aged middle-eastern man also waiting for the bus. Seeing the title of my book and a folder of magazine clippings sticking out of my bag asked me if I was an art student. I simply said not anymore, but I had been and I was a working artist. We chatted for a while and when he asked me about my work I told him about Now and Not Yet at churchfreo.

I told him about the hope and promise of heaven that I have been given through the work of Christ that we remember at Easter. In that few minutes while we waited for our bus, using my artwork as the vehicle I was able to speak to this man about grace. As the 851 bus pulled into the station he turned to me and asked what church I had shown my work at, and was it still up. Unfortunately, the installation had come down weeks ago but I gave him my website address. I don’t know if he looked at my work or if he was just being polite. The point is the same regardless. I had an opportunity and the ability to have a conversation where Christ was proclaimed through art.

As we progressed through vulnerability week I encountered situations that required more and more vulnerability from me. With each event I came across I realized more and more that it was not out of a place of weakness that my vulnerability was coming, quite the opposite actually. It took a lot of bravery, confidence, and wisdom (obviously, not my own)… not to be confused with pride or stubbornness.

FUZE Week 4

Structures seemed to be a natural progression forward from patterns. Taking the patterns observes last week, the plan B and I had was to give bones to them. I though I would leave this week with a schedule, a day in, day out system that I would follow for the duration of my internship. It was a good plan…

In keeping with the patterns I had observed last week I spent Sunday at churchfreo. B and I started doing The Artist Way, which requires daily writing. This added further structure to my days. Monday morning after doing my morning writing I headed into 408 for some studio time. This was becoming the structure of my days… writing first thing in the mornings, studio time till mid afternoon, reading, more writing and fellowship/relationship building in the evenings.

When I got to churchfreo I found Jim Kelley (A once homeless, alcoholic who with the support of churchfreo has been sober and off the streets for a year, and now serves as the main caretaker of the building at 408) there, drunk. It wasn’t even 9am yet. Jim quickly became angry and belligerent. He told me he intended to continue drinking the rest of the day and to find a woman for the night. I left quickly with the realization that the structure that I had in my days was going to have to change.

Here I was at the very beginning of structures week feeling like my structure had been severely shaken. In the midst of sulking, licking emotional my wounds, and trying to devise alternative plans, I found myself in frequent prayer. Prayer for myself, for churfreo, for Jim, for wisdom in the situation we were in. It was in this time that I realized that studio time at churchfreo was not really the structure God wanted me to have. Prayer was. When I was thinking of “structures” I was thinking much more superficially. Through the events and challenges of this week God taught me that the structure under girding everything I do, be it here in Oz, or wherever He takes me needs to be prayer.

Post Script:
This is Jim. After about a week long bender Jim sobered back up. He spent some time "taking a break" from churchfreo. I am thankful to be able to say he is back in our midst on Sunday nights. Last Thursday he gave me a yellow, 12 speed bike, giving gifts is Jim's love language. I am blessed in many ways by his love.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

FUZE Week 10

I fell down. Leaving the wedding of two friends on Saturday afternoon I tripped on a curb, fell off of my high heals, twisted my ankle, and skinned both knees. In the time between the ceremony and reception (which happened to be 2 hours) I was able to run home, clean up my bleeding knees, take some Advil, and change into flats. I also realized that my incredible swelling ankle could detour me from the theme of this week, frolic.

Pitiful, huh?

My idea of frolicking included playing, skipping, and pretty things. Me being me, I naturally thought of my shoes. While I was working at Lucinda’s I amassed quite a collection of some quite lovely and unique shoes. My plan was to go about my week in a different pair of fabulous shoes, often high-heals, each day. Letting my footwear dictate my frolicking. But after Saturday night not only was there no way I was going to try to walk in heals but I couldn’t even fit my swollen foot into them if I had wanted to. My frolicking plan had been foiled.

I found myself on the couch most of Monday and Tuesday with my foot elevated and under an ice pack wondering how in the world I could frolic when I couldn’t even walk. I tried to frolic in my heart, to make it like celebration week where even when things were not exactly celebratory I learned to take on that posture because of grace (by no means am I seeking to compare spraining my ankle to my grandfather’s death). Nonetheless I think I learned a similar lesson. My brilliant frolicking plan was based on the superficial and on what I could do. I had couched my ideas of frolicking in appearance and in my own strength. But, like celebration frolicking is not done in and of our selves. Frolicking can only truly be done in Christ.

As I reflected on this week I was reminded that God delights in His children. Not only is He the reason for our frolicking, but He frolics in us. What I found particularly amazing (and convicting) was that God used my own shallow perception of and plans for frolic week to show me this. Every day this week in the midst of scabbed knees, a bruised kankle, and a serious pouting face and general self-pitying attitude, I received genuine complements… two of them from total strangers. Even though I couldn’t ware my frolicking shoes God still frolicked in me and reminded me that in Him, humbled and barefoot I am lovely.