Tag Archives: nature

THE Master Artist of Autumn

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn.” -Emily Dickinson

IMG_1051“Fall colors are funny. They’re so bright and intense and beautiful. It’s like nature is trying to fill you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted and dreary.”  ― Siobhan Vivian

God is THE Master Artist.  I am reminded of this every year when Autumn begins to roll out her magical colors.  Deep burgundy reds against golden yellows bordered with fiery orange hues are a feast for the eyes of the soul.  Just when the heat of Summer has browned the grass and left beautiful blooms withered and spent God dips his brush into the warm hues and spreads vibrant color across nature’s canvas.  As Siobhan Vivian, author and editor writes, “It’s like nature is trying to fill you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted and dreary.”  Even my knowing that this burst of beauty is a herald to the snows and cold of Winter does not make the Master’s painting anything less than stunning.

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These are the days I revel in, when the nights lengthen and the days chill.  Nature redressing herself in fiery shades  is only one piece of what nurtures my soul this time of year.  Autumn is a combined feast for the senses…the smell of the smoke from fireplaces that hangs over a cold morning and the aroma of my pumpkin spiced coffee also warms my spirit.  This is the time of year when the spices come out of the cupboard and dance in a curry soup or snickerdoodle cookies.  These are the days that my heart sings the Psalm “This is the day that the Lord has made, and I will be glad in it.” And in that spirit, today I completed an annual ritual of bringing the glories of God inside GraceStone Sanctuary.  Placing a spray of leaves or mums around autumnal candles was a celebration of joy as my favorite Autumn mood music, like Shaker Loops by John Adams and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – Autumn filled the house with sounds like leaves trembling in the wind.

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Ecclesiastes teaches that everything has a time and a season.  This season brings a refreshing hope and joy to store up for the drearier Winter days ahead and a reminder that “God makes all things beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) My prayer is that when this season of celebration is past and my windows frame snow covered trees and gray clouds I will remember this day of vibrant color and know that THE Master Artist is always at work creating beauty in all things.  May my senses be open to the blessings that surround me.

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Would you like a little autumn music?  Here are my favorites:

Shaker Loops Live performance of the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School Of The Arts Chamber Orchestra directed by Matthew Cmiel.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons-Autumn Live performance by Detroit Symphony Orchestra

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Healing Hankies

Acts 19:11-12 (MSG)  God did powerful things through Paul, things quite out of the ordinary. The word got around and people started taking pieces of clothing—handkerchiefs and scarves and the like—that had touched Paul’s skin and then touching the sick with them. The touch did it—they were healed and whole.

Handkerchiefs – a symbol of God’s healing power.  A simple square of cloth, plain or fancy, can be used for many things.  Paul’s handkerchiefs and scarves were used as sacred tools for healing.  Throughout history hankies have been used, not only for wiping sweaty brows or runny noses, but as banners, bandages, and tokens of love.
When I was a child all proper girls would carry a handkerchief where ever they went.  Tucked into a pocket or waistband, it was an ever-ready tool for living.  I used my hanky for many things besides wiping a runny nose.  Sometimes it was the perfect fabric to fashion a doll dress and then the next day it became a fluttering flag on my bicycle handlebars or a tiny basket for gathering clover flowers to make garlands.
I still have quiet a few of those old handkerchiefs.  And my mother gave me some of hers.  As I unpacked them from our moving boxes last summer I marveled at these small works of art, each one different than the rest.  Some were surrounded by tiny stitched hems and others with fancy crochet or tatted edging.  Though some carried stains from years gone by, they were all beautiful and unique and held memories for me of times long ago. I knew then that I would find a special place for them in our new home, GraceStone Sanctuary.

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And I did! I hung my “gallery” of handkerchief art as a valance above the windows on our enclosed back porch.  I used all that I had and then gathered some from flea markets and on-line stores.  I love watching them flutter above the open windows and they bring back those wonderful memories of my mother and me carefully folding and tucking a hanky in a pocket or purse for the day.
Those things alone are healing and uplifting and make me smile.  But when a guest comes and sits with me in the hanky gallery I inevitably watch a sort of healing take place.  Eyes begin to sparkle as stories of their handkerchiefs unfold.  I often hear about a time of sorrow when someone offered a hankie to wipe a tear or stop a bleeding wound.  I hear stories about creative uses of these simple pieces of cloth…as a strainer for drinking water or a simply fashioned hat for relief from the sun.  And I am reminded again of Paul’s humble cloths by the images of water and relief.
I also think of a quote by music composer Robert Schumann.  He knew the beauty of the healing hankie when he said, “Nature best teaches how to pray, and how to reverence all the gifts the Almighty has given us. She is like a vast outspread handkerchief, embroidered with God’s eternal name, on which we may dry alike our tears of sorrow and of joy; she turns weeping into ecstasy, and fills our hearts with speechless, quiet reverence and resignation.”

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If you would like to know more about GraceStone Sanctuary, please visit our website at gracestonesanctuary.com

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Care For the Earth

Day 23 -January 23, 2013

“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility  To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.” -Wendell Berry

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Care For the Earth
Recycle

“Waste not.  Dig in a recycling bin for all of today’s materials.”  -from 365 A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin

“When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to dust.  When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.”  -Psalm 104:29-30


Simplicity

Day 4 – January 4, 2013

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“Take a five-minute walk, then make something using whatever materials are available where you’ve ended up.  Leave it there for someone else to discover.” – from 365 A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin

Late afternoon today I prayer-walked my neighborhood.  I was grateful for the few minutes away from a busy day to just enjoy the brisk air and sunshine.  On my street there was a stone slab.  The sunshine and shadows that played on it caught my eye.  The gray hues highlighted by the sun brought me back to moments in my life of simplicity, when life was not made complicated or overwhelming by my own hand.   I longed to be in that peaceful moment again, then realized that in this brief space walking with God, the uncomplicated stone created that moment of peace.  I had been caught up in todays assignment to make something and leave it behind.  Trying to complicate it, my mind had been full of fanciful ideas.  In that special moment simplicity was brought into focus once again, bringing me peace.  The few twigs on the ground provided the perfect medium to express myself and to share my gratitude to God who always calls me back into balance.

The art of art,

the glory of expression

and the light of letters,

is simplicity.

– Walt Whitman