Monday, December 7, 2009

The Realm of Women

"When men reach their sixties and retire, they go to pieces. Women go right on cooking." ~ Gail Sheehy

I want to reach one kind of Christian with this post. This is the person who misunderstands woman's "role" in the world--that is, the tasks for which God has granted her the capability and perfect capacity for. Because everyone misunderstands it, you know. The over-compensating "career woman" who gets unreasonably angry that
someone might even suggest there are things women are better fitted for than men (i.e., childbirth). The ignorant teenage boy who boasts to his friends that he wants a "submissive wife" when his every action toward girls repulses and offends them. The people who say women shouldn't work, the people who say women shouldn't stay home. The women that agonize over that uncomfortable submission verse, as if it should make anyone uncomfortable. The men who love that submission verse and forget that the "love your wife" verse is far graver and should transfix any man with humility. Anyone, male or female, who tries to make women feel better about their role by telling them, "It's all right. Men are dogs, you are far smarter. Don't feel bad that they run everything."

I hesitate to even say anything, because there is so much, but the theme of this blog keeps it together. I am to write about beauty and loveliness. I want to talk only about what is beautiful and lovely in the God-ordained "role" of women, and hopefully the flip side of that will instruct as well. (For the curious, I put "role" in quotes because there are many roles for women, just as there are many roles for men--they are only different in capacity, not in number.)

I love vintage things. I saw a girl on the train reading a magazine for women that I would like to buy for myself. It did not feature a bikini-clad Scarlett Johanssen on the cover (who are those covers for? Lesbians? Definitely not for the straight older women who are their main demographic). Nor did it feature 300 billion sex tips (come on. There can't be that many) or ways to stretch your face back so men will still like you. I think it was about clothes and music and crafts and things. Anyway there was an article about vintage magazines from the 50's, including one called "Home Improvement for Girls". It was accompanied by a cute picture of a 50's girl in red lipstick and a skirt sitting on the floor and building a piece of furniture. I thought that was adorable. I mean a girl should know how to fix and build stuff...even if you're a stay-at-home mom, if the baby's highchair breaks, you don't want the kid to starve until Daddy gets home. And single women need to do that stuff all the time. It just really stuck in my head that people always assume that being home-oriented means that ALL you do is cook foods and clean floors, when any homemaker knows that managing a household is a monumental and often varied full-time job.

In the Victorian era, a very wealthy woman was not expected to do much of anything at all. If she had servants to clean and cook and plan meals and shop and nurse her baby, she did nothing at all. As a result a lot of women became depressed, ill, and often insane and suicidal. ("The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Gilman is a good example of this, when a woman is deprived of her God-given task of running her home.) This is not the Biblical idea of woman's role. My favorite expulsion of this is Proverbs 31, which everyone knows but not everyone really grasps, I think. I am so thankful God put this work in the Bible, because it is so beautiful and so full of meaning, for married and single women.

A wife of noble character who can find?

She is worth far more than rubies.

Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.

When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

"Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Upon reading it myself I am overwhelmed with the sheer amount of wisdom contained in this small passage. I don't think it's possible to over-rate the profound knowledge it contains for women themselves and the men who live in this world with us. (I am sort of envisioning a nice several-week study on this passage that I would like to do, theoretically, because I think more women need to understand what they are here to do and this passage states it so clearly. Any interest from those in the Brooklyn area? Just a thought) Read it. Read it again. This woman is not a CEO. I don't see the word "power" in here at all (though we can debate till the cows come home about woman's flirt-power and how she can reel men in, so on so forth, which I don't totally subscribe to but I digress). That is not what this is about. Nor do I see anything about sitting around gossiping and watching What Not to Wear (although I do like that show). This is a busy lady, not a busybody. She is not locked in her house, unaware of whether a bomb is currently settling on her city. The Proverbs 31 woman has a car--a decent, working, versatile car, if not a minivan--and she is smart and capable and talented. She is also compassionate and unselfish and responsible. She is frugal but generous, serious but joyful, thoughtful but not anxious. She is a true Woman.

You know the bit about being a helper to Man? A lot of single women might come to better terms with that part by thinking of "Man" in terms of mankind. There is nothing worse than a woman who is self-centered and unhelpful simply because she tells herself she has no husband to be a helpmeet unto. Sorry to say, when you do find a husband, those old selfish habits are not going to just disappear. A selfish single woman will make a selfish wife. Just because you are not married does not mean you cannot extend your hands to the poor. Just because you are alone does not mean you cannot bring good, not harm, to others all the days of your life.

I think the gist of it is that women are here to make this world easier, not just for men, but for ourselves and each other as well. If you are a homemaker, which is an amazing calling and very fulfilling for many women, you are there to make living easier for your family. Everyone knows that a messy, ugly, undecorated house is depressing and can ruin your whole outlook. (Why do you suppose organization experts and interior decorators make so much money, or why Extreme Home Makeover is so popular and mesmerizing?) Homemakers are experts in that, and you can always tell an unhappy woman, married or single, by the state of her home. What about single, working women? God has given you your calling for the moment, and you are to excel at it. But never let that get in the way of your calling to be a helpmeet to mankind. Psalm 68:6 says that "God sets the lonely in families". If you are single, set yourself in a family. Your church family, if you cannot have your blood family with you. Get to know the older people and the children, not just the cute guys or fun girls in your singles group. Surround yourself with human souls that you can love and who will love you and embrace you, and do good to them, and you will be fulfilling woman's role. It is by no means only married women who can fulfill the ultimate goal of woman, which is not solely motherhood. I believe it is utilizing your special ability to get close to people and immerse yourself in their love and esteem. However, if you are a mother, than you know what your first priority is. You don't need me to tell you that it is your children. Nancy Wilson in the book The Fruit of Her Hands relates that she was once washing dishes and began to worry about glorifying God. Doesn't God want me to witness to someone? Lead a Bible study? Start a prayer group?? She then realized exactly what God's holy will was: He wanted her to wash the dishes. We make a grave mistake when we assume that menial tasks do not glorify God. Not all of us should presume to be teachers, we are told. Some of us will be copy editors, dancers, waitresses...and still others may feel like little else besides diaper-changers, but God finds that work holy when it is done to His glory.

*I feel as though one more group needs mentioning, especially since I am of this group--young single women still living at home. You are in a family, and it is hard to be a woman in a home dominated by another woman. Your mother's decisions will dictate how it looks and functions, and this can be hard. But it is doable. Sometimes it may require adjusting your instincts to respect your mother's wishes, even if you disagree and think you can do it better. You're not meant to be in that position forever, but until you move out and/or get married, it can be tricky. Realize that it is uncomfortable for a reason, and a season. While you are there, continue being a helpmeet to your family, and learn all you can about how families work. Whether you marry or not, what your family teaches you about people will be a boon to your whole life.*

I am by no means trying to preach...because I know women Biblically can't be preachers. ;) Which is why I'm talking to women mainly. But I hope some men read this too. I think it would help them understand those woman-things that they share the earth, and sometimes a dining-room table, with.

That's my girl Rosie. She is telling you that not only can women do everything God wants us to do, but also that we can do it in killer red lipstick. Plus, have you ever scrubbed mildew off a bathroom ceiling? Gives you great biceps just like Rosie's. Trust me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." ~Albert Camus

When one is a child, grown-ups often like to pepper one with ridiculous inane questions that are a lot harder to answer than it may appear. "What is your favorite food?" Well, quite honestly, I prefer ice cream to food, but you won't like that, so...whatever Mommy makes. "What is your favorite color?" I'm a child. It changes every day, and today it is black, but you're not going to like that either,

"What's your favorite season?" That one is easier. There's only 4 options, and each one has its beauties, so you won't be penalized for anything. Well, I hate bitter cold and sweltering heat, and living on the East Coast gives you a proper lashing of each over the course of the year. So I tended to waver between spring and fall, being that they're essentially the same in temperature.

Well, I've made up my mind. Fall is unquestionably my favorite season. I told Brittany recently that I realized I associate fall with change. Maybe this is because it's toward the close of the year, and there's a tendency (for me, at least) to go over in my mind everything that's happened in the past year and think, oh, that has definitely got to go! Things are going to change soon, it certainly feels like it! But in actuality, things seem to change for me in the summer, uncomfortable, itchy change, right in the middle of uncomfortable, itchy summer. (During the winter things just sort of, well...hibernate.) Still, my fairly inaccurate and unfailingly deceptive sixth sense tells me fall is change-time. Very well.

My other reasons for liking fall are varied. I like pumpkins. I used to go pumpkin-picking every year with my family as a child. We never did anything with them, not even jack-o-lanterns. We just had them. I actually like the purity of an un-maimed pumpkin...and there were sometimes trips that included hay-rides and petting zoos and losing the baby brother at the checkout line and said baby brother having a potty accident in the cornfields. (This is true, we have pictures.) And the leaves, the leaves, the leaves!

The leaves are fire. The earth just blazes when summer is over.

Alas, I live in New York. I haven't seen any trees really do this yet...I saw several going half-heartedly sallow from the window of the F train. I am planning a trip to New Jersey, wherein I hope to see some trees.

I saw Pride & Prejudice recently (the new one...I'm sorry, I love the old one too, but this one probes my soul) and was just taken aback by the landscape. The English countryside, which I have never seen in real life, just has something that matches something in me. I'm pretty sure my own personal corner of Heaven is going to look like the English countryside. All my best daydreams take place there and when I picture being in love, I picture me and "Bill"-the-Future-Husband hanging around there. Pretty neat.

Back to fall...I forgot to mention the other things that I love about it. Thanksgiving-type food. Pies. Visiting people who have lovely houses and everyone is friendly. Just cold enough out that you need to wear a sweater, but not freezing. That fireplace smell, which just smothers you in youth and the hope of love and strains of acoustic guitar and a tinge of a bitter disappointment that will come later when it's all over and nothing is left but the smell on your clothes. (I can't tell you how many bonfires I've sat by and thought about nothing but wishing for a boy to like me. Even when you stop liking those boys, or when you're too old to let your imagination have its way, the sweet, hopeful part clings to you. That's why the smell of a campfire or fireplace makes me really, really happy and a little sad.)

Cold, cold air rushing through your hair that you've left down because summer's gone and it won't get frizzy, and anyway being outdoors in nature makes you feel so beautiful that it doesn't matter if your hair is a wreck.

Waking up on Thanksgiving morning and your mom has been up since 7 putting the turkey in the oven, the whole house smells like turkey and coffee and you can eat cereal while smelling the aroma of turkey-seasoning and it doesn't bother you one bit, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is on TV but the reception is bad, the screen fizzes and jumps and your mom is wondering when they will show excerpts from Broadway shows. The Christmas commercials have begun, and lovely Santa Clauses are in them.

Your fingers are cold but it's too soon for gloves...right? You put them in your pockets, and your little sister also puts her fingers in your pockets. Her fingers are so freaking cold.

The littlest sister is wearing a strange pink fleecey hat. Nothing she is wearing matches.

Pumpkin pie batter always runneth over when you carry the pans from the table to the oven. It looks (and smells) like baby food.

"What do you want for Christmas?" The aunt that gave the best presents starts calling in October. Your list changes dramatically over the years. Remember the Star Castle? And then you had to list which Enya CDs you had so that she could get you the one you didn't.

Being inside your warm, cozy house. Fluffy, fluffy socks. I wish I had millions of them.

I could go on like this until winter.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Praying Oh So Badly

"Come and see what God has done,
how awesome his works in man's behalf!"
~Psalm 66:5

Part of my intent in starting this blog was to force myself to look at silver linings, the half-full glass, and all. In light of that goal, I avoid writing in it unless I can actually feel like talking about something...well, good. This will in part explain why I haven't updated in over a month ('in part' meaning I also had tons of stuff to do). Sometimes it's hard to see past the looming monsters of student loan debt, family problems, the economic crisis...not enjoying the single life....

However, one must keep her head up. Last night after a very good Sunday wherein I spent time with friends, ate delicious barbecue food, etc., there was also a lot of saying goodbye to people, and I am still at a loss as to why it was made to seem as though my closest friend was moving to the outer regions of Andromeda 9, some 3 billion light-years past our solar system. She is moving to New Jersey, for crying out loud. I will still see her plenty, thank you very much! But since everyone was rubbing it in, I was all: I AM ALONE IN THIS WORLD.

My sister Brittany wasn't there, which probably had a lot to do with it.

Anyway, there are terms for the way I was feeling at about...oh, 1:30 a.m. Old-timey people called it melancholy, or maybe blue? I don't really like 'blue'. Nowadays some call it 'emo'. Nobody was on Facebook. Nobody was on DeviantART. My drawing was suddenly boring and pointless. I couldn't look at anything or read anything. Sallie Mae informed me via email that I was thisclose to defaulting on my loan, whatever that means (and it can't be something good). That loan, the one that eats up entire paychecks. Whatever! I was so annoyed and alone and kept rotating my neck and mussing my hair (I didn't have any sackcloth and ashes handy).

Well, God, I thought, I am so forlorn, and things are so BAD! Oh, woe is me. You would probably tell me that hey, some people have it worse! Someone always has it worse--you could be sick, or someone could die, or you could have no job at all, or no friends, or--Well, I don't care--I have it pretty bad. And hey, You're God! Your job is to comfort me. So I will read my Bible (extra Christian points for doing it out of my normal routine, AND at night...almost as good as sackcloth!) and You will have some words to tell me yes, it is bad, but everything will be okay and I am a good girl and people love me.

I've done this in the past--felt strongly about something, and opened up to the book of Psalms and read whatever one I saw first. It seems a bit superstitious, but the one I choose is always PERFECT for the situation. However, doing so in such a spirit of whiny me-first presumption, God often has some surprises waiting when we come wailing to His throne. I fully expected to come upon a Psalm like, oh...maybe 46. The sort that basically tells you "God will kick all the bad guys dead. And He'll place YOU on top!" There is a time and attitude for that sort, but mine was not it. I would have crowed in triumph, Yes, God! ME! I'm the worst off! (I deserve it!)--I don't think I'd have said what's in those parentheses, but that was my attitude.

I opened to this:

Psalm 66

Shout with joy to God, all the earth!

Sing the glory of his name;

make his praise glorious!

Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
that your enemies cringe before you.

All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing praise to your name."

Come and see what God has done,
how awesome his works in man's behalf!

He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the waters on foot—
come, let us rejoice in him.

He rules forever by his power,
his eyes watch the nations—
let not the rebellious rise up against him.

Praise our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;

he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.

For you, O God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.

You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.

You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.

I will come to your temple with burnt offerings
and fulfill my vows to you-

vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke
when I was in trouble.

I will sacrifice fat animals to you
and an offering of rams;
I will offer bulls and goats.

Come and listen, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.

I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.

If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;

but God has surely listened
and heard my voice in prayer.

Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!

....I almost thought I'd found the 'wrong' Psalm. I wanted to hear about me, me, oh, and quite possibly me, but when I looked at the psalm, God was saying LOOK AT ME! Not at you, not at your problems or at your desires, but at ME! He was saying in this psalm that it is HIS glory that matters, the things He has done that are mighty. The psalm begins with praise to the Lord, telling you to forget ALL that comes before His glory and scream about it, shout that HE IS GOD.

And when it is done saying that, it tells you that God watches all, rules all, and forgets no one. This means that He deals with us in ways we don't always like, He lays "burdens" on us, and lets "men ride over our heads." That last part is so picturesque to me. People stepping, riding horses on your HEAD. How much lower could a person feel? But He does it to REFINE us. He leads us through "fire and water" to bring us to His abundance. And it ends, it ends saying that God HEARS us. He hears us and listens and "does not reject" our prayers! Even if we are praying out of heart filled with discontentment and wounded feelings, He knows which parts of it we really mean, and can sift out of our awful badly-put-together prayers which things are the true pure desires and sorrows. He does not withhold love because of our clumsy, whining way of asking.

It said every single thing I could have wanted to hear. And all at once I realized what I
should have been praying for all along. I should have told God, Lord, I do not have money for such-and-so. Please provide it because I have no way. Please protect my credit from the loan service. Don't let me be treated unfairly. Take away my envy and my discontent, and my anxiety, my crippling anxiety that burdens my health and destroys the gentleness of my spirit, that makes me hard and rough on the inside, and old before my time in my heart. Replace it with peace, and trust, and joy. Thank you for my blessings. Please add more if it is your will. But let me be content anyway.

I think Psalm 66 is now one of my favorites. Along with 2, 46, and 100. It says everything, everything. It's perfect.

I still highly recommend the randomly-opening-to-Psalms method. Sometimes it feels like your heart is just going to overflow with things and you just need to get your head clear.

I apologize for the blatant this is how I really am--a bratty jerk but I think maybe others could relate...?...I hope?...anybody...? Don't all speak up at once now...heh....*sweat sweat*

Monday, June 22, 2009


"There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea."
~ Bernard-Paul Heroux

As I thought up and prepared to write this entry, I had the opportunity to put the above adage to the test. I heard some distressing news, of the sort that looks at first to be completely out of hand, and which at the point of my writing this, may as yet be unfixable. We'll see. In any case, I was drinking a cup of tea at work (Earl Grey that I'd brought with me from home...the ever-present Lipton lemon [DECAF no less] is an abomination to me), and I found that it not only helped diminish the shock and anger at this news, but enabled me to laugh at it. (Indeed, I may continue to laugh at it, forever, and never stop. In that case, straitjackets may be the answer, not tea.)

My experience with tea has not been long. I did not grow up drinking it, since coffee, which I still despise, was the drink of choice in my home. Spanish coffee, which most people know as espresso, was normal (my dad always did and still does drink it before bed). I recall once having spearmint tea--I found it nausea-inducing. Sometimes when I was sick my mom made me try to drink Lipton tea with honey. This all led to my associating tea with illness and I avoided it as much as possible.

I discovered proper tea-taking in Europe when I was 21. This isn't as cool as it sounds. My friends were all taking advantage of the beer-cheaper-than-water policy of the Czech Republic (with the result that I was always thirsty) as well as that country's lenient attitude toward the "Green Fairy"--absinthe. (This stuff makes some artists feel more like, well...artists. I just thought it tasted like Listerine.) Basically they went and hung out in pubs every night, which is pretty boring unless you intend to get wasted. I didn't, so I stayed in at the hotel, reading Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five (did not like) and drinking the only free beverage available in the room--Earl Grey tea with bathroom faucet-water boiled in one of those automatic teakettles. I put sugar and powdered milk and found it tasted like flowers. Thus my love affair with Earl Grey tea began. It still makes me think of Europe, along with cobblestones, crepes and the smell of expensive cigarettes. I found that I like taking tea the English way, very sweet with real sugar and milk (no honey).

In Victorian times it was considered bad luck to give an unmarried girl tea-ware as a present. The reasoning behind this was that one of the few consolations of spinsterhood was a good cup of tea. Not sure where this came from. I'm pretty sure married ladies can enjoy tea as much as the next girl. Maybe husbands are averse to tea-taking, and take great pains to upset the cup every time the missus prepares to take a sip. "Hey! Pay attention to ME, not your tea!" I've never noticed this phenomenon among my good married friends Mr. and Mrs. Byrd. Mr. Byrd even drinks tea himself. Perhaps this is due to his mother's being a great tea aficionado, or his British ancestry. The point is, the Byrd couple takes their tea together, and nothing seems to be amiss. But in a way I do get the Victorian idea of tea being a remedy for low spirits. I drink it when I'm sad, cold, tired, excited, relaxed, happy, awake, writer's-blocked, artist's-blocked, prolific, early, or late. Earl Grey is the best for all situations, but chai works well, as does vanilla and other flowery flavors. I'm not a big fan of herbal, but I hail it as a worthy tea.

For Tea the Way I Like It:

A china or glass teacup is best. Styrofoam really ruins the taste! :P

That sage of wisdom, Anonymous, has said, "The perfect temperature for tea is two degrees hotter than just right." This is exactly true. If your tea is just perfectly hot, it will be disgustingly lukewarm in all too short a time. Heat the water in a teakettle or pot. A microwave on high for 2 minutes is fine for a single serving, but be sure to use a microwave-safe cup. My brother once made the mistake of using an aluminum mug in the microwave.

Make sure you mix the sugar in while the tea is too hot to drink. First sugar, then milk. Please do not use Equal, or anything with ingredients you don't recognize. Mrs. Byrd enjoys Splenda, as it is a sugar derivative. I like white sugar. My sister likes soy milk or coffee creamer in strange and exotic flavors, and GOBS of sugar--I find her tea methods a bit barbaric, but I keep an open mind when it comes to personal tea preference.

Tea is best with French madeleines, better than anything else. (Scones with clotted cream--oh joy--make a very good rival. My sister and I once took tea at a Manhattan teahouse with our friend Miss Murphy, and it was there that I first tasted clotted cream. I have yearned for it ever since....) If you take your tea sweet, any really sweet thing like doughnuts or Entenmann's crullers clash with the taste. If you take tea unsweetened, I imagine anything could be paired with it. Except, you know, French fries. Tea is one of the only things in the world that you cannot take with French fries.

And If It's Too Hot for Tea:

"Iced tea is too pure and natural a creation not to have been invented as soon as tea, ice, and hot weather crossed paths." I don't know who John Egerton is, and this post is too quote-heavy already, but I heartily agree.

Don't try to mix sugar into already cold tea. Many restaurants will give you unsweetened tea under the guise of normal iced tea, so always ask first! Unless, of course, you like it unsweetened. More power to you. But for the rest of us, sugar in cold tea is just grainy and nasty.

Olive Garden once gave me a raspberry iced tea with slices of peaches in it. I approved of this, especially since I could suck up peaches and have them stick to the end of my straw. Fruit can give such endless amusement when eating out.

Favorite iced tea recipes, anyone? Or further thoughts on tea?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Diamond (Capers) Are a Girl's Best Friend

"But square-cut, or pear-shaped, these rocks don't lose
Their shape,
Diamonds are a girl's best friend."
~ Nicole Kidman as Satine, "Sparkling Diamonds", Moulin Rouge!

I simply had to register at, just so I could vote for my favorite ballet performance ever, "Diamond Caper" by Covenant Ballet Theatre of Brooklyn (CBTB). This dance happens to be one of my 20 Most Beautiful Things (in post #1), and I had no idea there was a video recording online! If you've never had the privilege of seeing this performed live, then check out the following link:

Now this dance was choreographed by the director of CBTB, Marla Hirokawa, who is one of the most amazing and beautiful Christian women you will ever meet--ever. It tells the story of the Hope Diamond, which is a pretty huge, gorgeous (and some say cursed) diamond, which was stolen back and forth by various people and then went missing, and then was's a pretty crazy story. And who would have ever thought to create a BALLET based on a diamond heist?? The answer is, the same person who manages to create awesome ballets out of the story of Japanese-American nisei soldiers in World War II (not to mention tour Hawaii putting said ballet on!), or of orphaned New York children and the "orphan train" that brought them to new lives and homes in the early 20th century midwest, or...well, she's made a LOT of amazing ballets.

And no...I'm not just advertising CBTB because its director is a family friend of 15 years...or that my little sister is a dancer in the company's Brooklyn studio...not to mention many of my good friends...or that I go to every show and every event involving the studio, because I love it to death. This is GOOD ART. Can't say that about too many things, can you? I mean, really. About contemporary stuff. Not too often! This company is a force of nature that God is using/will continue to use to blaze a path for His work into the (mostly) dead landscape of contemporary art, particularly in the New York area. I've been dragged (kicking and screaming against my will) through what passes for art in this city and believe me, it's hard to come by. Like a diamond, if you will....

Please visit for more information about this studio, and if you live in the NY area, don't hesitate to stop by and maybe sign up for a flamenco class starting in September. (That's one of the few CBTB classes I've not tried and failed at. I'm not a dancer....)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Perseverance Is a Beautiful Thing Too.

I have just won an internal debate with myself over whether to update this. But since I do not want this blog to die a horrific death (as per all other blogs I've attempted), I will make myself talk. Granted, on a personal level these past 2 weeks or so have not been the most lovely for me--unemployment and a nasty cold--but! There have been several bright spots that I must share:

1. The Inheritance Christian Academy children's end-of-year performance. Who wouldn't be moved by a bunch of kindergarteners and first-graders doing some really intelligent and wonderful things? This wasn't the usual awful, boring school show where bratty children show off their mediocre skills for parents who are ready to kill each other for the role of "Parent of the Smartest Child". No, I'm pretty sure that type of performance is only found from TV and movie children.
This show was great. The kids sang Judy Rogers songs, which rule the planet (if you don't know who she is, look her up on iTunes or something). And, which was particularly relevant, recited the days of Creation. YUS. SO refreshing. A kid can say without blinking that God created a chicken in ONE day. 24 hours, believe it or not!...and not see any 'inconsistences' or scientific issues or what-not because for them, there is no difference between believing that and believing that a God-Man rose from the dead. Or that a virgin had a child. I don't suppose I can ever have a purer faith than that, and I'm not going to attempt it.

2. My friends' David and Rebecca's wedding. Great event. Pastor Paul Murphy (of Messiah's Reformed Fellowship, or MeRF, in Manhattan...known the family for many years) gave one of the best wedding homilys I've heard in my life. I mean, he laid it all out on the table. One would think that, for a couple perhaps less aware than Dave and Rebecca, that sermon would have been pretty scary. I mean, no one's supposed to talk about 'duty' and 'responsibility' and 'vows' at a wedding, right? It's supposed to be all hearts and clouds and kissy-faces, right? Pastor Murphy knocked that idea right down, and although I'm sure he was preaching to the choir (Dave and Rebecca are both very mature and Godly), it was still a great thing to hear.
The food, the friends, the DANCING--all was incredible. Best wedding band ever! Crepes for dessert!
I was even asked to dance once or twice. And I loved the dress I had on. And all the songs were great.

I want to go on about other things, but this will have to do for now, as I need to get up early tomorrow. Next time I might talk about some other random stuff, like cute and gorgeous webcomics, and some movies maybe? We'll see.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In Which I Attempt to Begin.

"What is the felt experience of cognition at the moment one stands in the presence of a beautiful boy or flower or bird?...When the eye sees something beautiful, the hand wants to replicate it." ~ Elaine Scarry, On Beauty and Being Just

For several reasons I've taken it upon myself to create this blog--one, being that I always intended to blog about something; but, not trusting my random fits of melancholy, decided that I needed a definite topic to talk about. Otherwise, I figured I would be doomed to have nothing to talk about except, perhaps, a bad commute on the subway home from work, or the fact that quite a bit of time has passed since I'd had anything "exciting" to do.

It's pretty late now, and my sister Brittany will be home from work in a matter of minutes, whereupon I will have to abandon this post and watch Firefly with her. Not that I'm complaining--but I would like to further expound on my purpose and subject matter.

For now, I will leave only the following list, which I think sums up basically the sorts of things I want to talk about here from now on. It is a list of 20 things which I consider beautiful, the kind of things that will hopefully be featured here in future posts.

  1. The sad romantic smell of a campfire.
  2. Springy curls, flowing waves and silky sheets of hair in any color.
  3. A nude drawn by a master artist.
  4. My best friend in her wedding dress that fit so perfectly without any alterations.
  5. A ballet about love, or war, or a jewel heist.
  6. A man's voice cracking with raw emotion and vulnerable imperfection when he sings.
  7. The twinkle of Christmas lights and the taste of cold peppermint.
  8. Violins playing faster than you can hum along.
  9. Sweet creamy vanilla and rich smooth chocolate.
  10. Elephants painting canvases with their trunks.
  11. An open smile from my brother.
  12. Making something well, whether it be a picture, a story, a song or a batch of cookies.
  13. Tree-green against sky-blue and how those exact colors can't quite be reproduced.
  14. Heart-breaking acoustic guitar that makes you sad for no reason.
  15. Making my mother laugh. For real.
  16. How the city never sleeps and you can find a place to eat at 1 a.m., and how it feels so friendly and safe if only for that reason.
  17. How night in the country makes you feel closer to God.
  18. The book of Hebrews when it feels like God has turned His back.
  19. Blankets, pillows, hot tea and unspoken love for everyone in the room.
  20. Ants rescuing their children when their nest is destroyed.

I could probably think of more right now, and will think of many more, no doubt, as time goes on....

How about you? What are 20 things that are just, for many reasons or none at all, just simply beautiful, and you notice it each and every time? And love them for it?