Wednesday, November 12, 2008

By and By When the Morning Comes

This morning I was awoken by my kids' caregiver bringing little Adelaide to me. Adelaide has decided that her new awakening time is 6:40 A.M. I'm in denial about this. Molly doesn't start till 7:30, but her room is right by the baby's room, and she gets the gift of hearing Adelaide's morning jabberings and, um...cries. Most of the time, Molly just gets up and handles it, because, well Molly is just like that, and she knows I'm old and need my beauty sleep...okay so it's my don't be a jerk to your family sleep. Last night Molly studied until 2:30 A.M. at the library, and just couldn't do it. So, anyway, I was awoken with a baby falling into my bed like manna from heaven. I tried to ignore her, but if you have ever tried to ignore a 13 month old who wants her bottle, you know it's like trying to ignore a tasmanian devil under your comforter.
I dragged myself downstairs and made the requisit bottle, started the kettle and waited for the ascending melody of the kettle to announce that caffeine was about to jolt me into the reality of another day of dishes and laundry punctuated by telling my kids to glue their butts to their chairs and pick up their toys.


This is supposed to be a blog about art life and god right, not the morning meanderings of another stay at home mom desperate for a sense of interaction with the outside world. So where's the art you say?

I say it's right there in the midst of that morning muddle. Where did we get the idea that work can't be beautiful? Could we please strike the work mundane from our vocabulary? Perhaps I am playing mindtricks with myself in order to motivate my body to get out of bed and be the mom to these four kids who I brought into the world without their asking for it. Perhaps...but I don't think so. I think that when I work well, "for the love of God" that I am in line with my first father Adam, who named things. Adam, the first taxonomist, my inspiration. He wasn't even particularly creative in his about this one. "woman" - noun, taken out of man. Uh, gee there Adam, that seems a little about, "smoothness, or cool curviness"? I guess "flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone" does have a poetic congruity to it. And there is a connection to me. After all, why do I do what I do for my family? Because they are flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. So today, I name my kitchen, "dirty dish land" and "hearth of homeness" and I pour another cup of joe and I keep trucking, to the glory of God. If I'm really lucky, I'll be able to write a song about it, and maybe some plumber or homemaker, or lawyer, or student, or king, or best of all, a child will be inspired to live more nobly, to weild their crafts to the glory of God.

By and by, when the morning comes...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Simple Things

Sometimes simplest songs are the most beautful. I wrote one tonight.. .one that reminded me that nothing can separate me from the love of my God. This was one of those songs soothed. Where would we be without soothing, without comfort in this world? Two hands and a voice, four chords ...what amazing tools we have been given!

It's just been one of those weeks. We've all been sick, stomach flu sick, and we are all tired. My 7 year old stood over the toilet for another go round and asked, "I prayed to stop throwing up. Why doesn't God answer prayer right away?" I really didn't have a good answer because boy, don't I have things I would love to have answers for right away.

Tonight, I sat down to play and I wanted to do something different, snazzy, catchy, and all that could be coaxed from these tired fingers were slow block chords..then the words came. "I am convinced that neither life nor death, can separate us from the love of God." That felt good so I repeated it. Then just a simple haunting Oh....We don't need the quick answers. We just need to know that we are loved....

Well, for those of you who want to hear it, you know where I live :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Beauty and the Mundane, The Arftul Life

I've been thinking about this beauty thing lately...pondering the beauty around me, and how this beauty is a refection of a beautiful creative God. I'm reading a book by Andi Ashworth called "Real Love for Real Life". She says,

"One of the ways God's image is reflected in us is through our need for beauty. We were created to love the beautiful. Beauty gives pleasure to the senses, lifts the mind and spirit, and brings us to a place of longing for the Creator of all beauty."

Much of what God made is never seen by the human eye, yet He made it and called it good. When I contemplate this, it helps me to see the value in the many small ways that I can bring beauty to bear in my life and the lives of those who are in my sphere of contact.

Beauty can be integrated into all aspects of my life, not just my "art". I find that if I can approach my homemaking, caregiving role as lover of beauty and not just a "home manager" with a maintaining mindset, I start to find beauty in those many menial tasks. Cleaning becomes clearing out the chaos, laundering becomes about scents and crisp lines, cooking becomes more than just another occasion the dirty the kitchen. These tasks can become acts of art amidst daily life, and not just the mundane. Will I always enjoy making music more than making a roast...pretty much...YES, but it does help!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Art Music Justice Tour

This is my first attempt at blogging of any sort, and my hope is that this will turn into a dialogue among fellow artists and also those who wouldn't necessarily consider themselves in the artistic camp. Much has been written about the relationship of art of faith, and many of those who address this issue may do so more coherently. My desire is to engage with others who are working out their unique artistic gifts, and integrating those gifts with the calling of following Christ. Art is such a broad concept, and art is approached by both the artist and "art consumer" from a myriad of perspectives. These approaches range from the idea of art for art's sake to art as purely a communicative medium. Last night I attended a benefit concert that in my opinion blended these to perspectives.

The Art*Music*Justice Tour was born out of the vision of several musicians. It's purpose was to heighten awareness of certain social justice issues, and to provide audience members with an avenue of response by giving to two ministries - Food For the Hungry and International Justice Mission. Sara Groves, Charlie Peacock, Derek Webb, Sandra McCracken and Brandon Heath joined musical forces to speak on behalf of the weak and oppressed. These artists wielded their craft like a double edged sword, integrating high caliber musical and visual artistry with the power of story. The effect was a meaningful meditative evening that culminated in a clear call to action on behalf of the poor and oppressed. There were many layers of conversation that were explored from this diverse group of Christian musicians. Sandra McCracken reminded us that suffering is a thread that binds all humans together. Her song "Lock and Key" was especially poignant. Her husband Derek Webb played a bit of the questioning status quo rebel role, and stirred us with sarcastic silver bullets. He jabbed at political interpretations of salvation and left us with a bit of salty truth to savor. Brandon Heath became more than just a face to me, and it was moving to hear seemed to have been created in the deeper regions of Mr. Heath's soul some of his songs getting more radio play. The highlights of the evening for me were when Charlie Peacock and Sara Groves anchored the second half of the concert. To be a few feet from these wellsprings of creativity and artistic excellence brought me to a place of joy that I rarely encounter. I realized again that I need artistic community, that art is important both as a vehicle for a message, but also just because it marks us as image bearers of the Original Artist. Charlie Peacock made a passing comment about the visual artistry displayed on three screens behind the stage, that I have been chewing on ever since. He alluded to the pictures being beautiful in and of themselves-- good art regardless of their attachment to the cause. I got the feeling that he and the other artists reveled in their musical gifts, that in their childlike joy, they were somehow bringing glory to our Creator, just by being and who He created them to be. I think that this is such an often forgotten concept in a production, goal oriented world. I wonder in what ways did God create me as a musician to revel in the joy of creativity? I wonder how often I stifle that joy? I wonder how I can forget it when I have young children who delight in cutting pasting, gluing and glittering every day of their lives? How does it get turned into some perfectionistic ego-laden endeavor, when it's meant to simply be a joyful expression the divine spark?