The Purpose of a Pipe and the Redemption of Scribbles

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“The Pipe gives the wise man time to think and the fool something to stick in his mouth.” – C.S. Lewis

This is a birthday present I painted for my friend Scott. He liked it. The depiction of Lewis is based on this photo I found on the Internets.

I just might have to paint a series, as it turns out that many famous people have expressed their opinions on pipes.

(Here’s one Scott quoted today: “On land, on sea, at home, abroad, I puff my pipe and think of God.” – J.S. Bach )

It’s been a while since I’ve painted anything and I really enjoyed picking up a brush.

I used to paint watercolors for my mom when I was a kid and she’d calligraphy Bible verses over them. One of my favorites was a of muddy grayish red blob. It may have even been an unintentional painting… birthed out of mixing colors together on a sheet of paper and the addition of way too much water, to the point where the paper threatened to tear if moved. After it dried, in ornate lettering, mom wrote Genesis 1:2, “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”

Suddenly the scribbles were beautiful; redeemed.

A Simple Observation on Fighting

“If you find yourself in the physiological frenzy called ‘flooding’ – racing heart, sweaty palms – stop the argument. Stress hormones inhibit higher cognitive functions, like impulse control and attention. When we feel threatened, we can’t take in new information. In the lab and in therapy sessions, when people take a break, go back to their baseline heart rate and start the conversation again, it’s like they’ve had a brain transplant. Starting a conversation gently is the key to ending it well. ” – John Gottman, Ph.D, co-founder of the Gottman Relationship Institute, as quoted in the January, 2013, issue of Real Simple magazine.

My comment: Yep!

Reading: The Supper of the Lamb

“The graces of the world are the looks of a woman in love; without the woman they could not be there at all; but without her love, they would not quicken into loveliness.” – Robert Farrar Capon, PAGE 4 of The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection

(Only page four! What goodness is yet to come? )

The book began with a lamb dinner recipe including the ingredients+notes:

“Soy Sauce (domestic only in desperation)” and “Sherry (if you have any left)”

May I kiss this cook? Would he want to kiss me and/or eat my pancakes?

I’ve not been so twitterpated over food writing since How to Cook a Wolf.

Supper of the Lamb was recommended by @BekaAJohnson. Follow her, already!

Work: Evaluating Our Hearts

As part of the children’s school, we’ve been reading through CMI’S Christian Character Curriculm Vol. 2. This is from the lesson on Virtue:

“How would living (working) to please God differ from what we commonly call ‘good works’?

The former follows our submission to God, while the latter, all to often, are done to find acceptance with God.”

Eh… I don’t quite agree with the implication that “good works” is negative — it is a phrase positively used in scripture. I do, however, appreciate the opportunity to evaluate the motivation of my own heart. I’ve rewritten this quote to help apply it to me:

“Am I doing this work because I love God, or because I’m trying to get Him to love me?”

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ ( by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. – Ephesians 2:4-10

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. – Colossians 3:23-24

To love at all is to be vulnerable.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

-C.S. Lewis, from The Four Loves

Love, Springtime and Cherry Trees

“I want to do to you what spring does with the cherry trees.” – Lewis Blackwell from “The Life and Love of Trees”

The Life and Love of Trees was on display at the library tonight. I love trees, and its oversized shape beckoned me to pick it up. I’m so glad I did. This exquisite photographic tribute to trees is a feast for the eyes and tree-loving heart.

Ever since living in Japan, I have a special place in my heart for cherry trees. Their blooms mark the beginning of springtime, as the daffodils (which, I recently learned are poisonous!) and crocuses do in the United States. Entire festivals are inspired by cherry blossom viewing in Japan — and it’s no wonder why. They are breathtakingly lovely.

Blackwell’s photograph brought back fond memories of hanami picnics with my husband.

If you know someone who feels at home in a forest (like my dad), this book would make an excellent birthday present.

I leave you with a photograph of my own — blooming cherry trees in a park near our house in Aomori Prefecture: