6.27.2012

WWⅡ Veterans


Recently, I went to the airport, for a couple hours, with friends & family, (& about 300 othepatriotic people), to honor our veterans. These vets fought & died protecting others & our country. Sadly, America is becoming the very thing they were fighting against. We (as a country, nation & people) are  in dire need; we've nearly lost what was once held dear. We have strayed so far from Christianity, & are becoming a sick people, who have been benumbed to the twisted  ways of the world. We need to stand fast, grounded faithfully in our believes, defying the world, as we endeavor to share Life & the Gospel. Our World War survivors are becoming fewer & fewer. My great-grandfather fought in the war; he passed away at the age of 84, when I was 12. On a lighter note; this night was a special occasion. Accompanied by a volunteer or nurse, 81 veterans were flown on an honors flight, paid by the government, to Washington D.C for a four day trip. They got to see the memorials, & receive honor long due. The decorated veterans were all in their 80s or 90s. The looks on all their faces were priceless, as the crowd went wild, & the band started playing. I felt very patriotic & glad that I went to wave my little flag & cheer for these courageous men & women, as they descended on the escalator.   

 84 & in uniform, he walked down, shaking other's hands.
We need to remember these brave people, a hard working generation nearly gone. It takes a lot of courage to grow old. (Or as my late pappaw said; it ain't for sissies.) It takes courage to fight in a war, where decisions you make could be the death of yourself or someone else. They had a rough life, living through a war & the Great Depression. But they had their priorities straight.  At this moment, there are thousands of our soldiers stationed overseas. And there are thousands of veterans, living here in the country. While we need to always remember & honor these amazing people, we also need to remember that they fight for the external. As Christians, we need to fight for the internal, where it truly maters. We are internally waging in a holy war every day. Take heart! The Son of God goes forth to war with us. In Christ & through Christ, we are HIS saints, a glorious band, fighting for everlasting life. Though at times, the odds may seem set against us, we always need to remember that Christ is triumphant & has defeated sin, & has conquered the grave. Christ, who is living & reining, fought, & died, for our salvation! We are alive because of the Lord's mercies & loving grace. We all need to be courageous, fight with our whole hearts, all our being, & do everything to the best of our ability for HIM.                                                                
-GB

6.22.2012

Teaching

This past week has simply flown by! (Dontchya love June weather?!) I had the awesome privilege of teaching art (basic drawing) at the Summer Art Academy; an intense week long art camp, for kids ages 8-14. It was such a wonderful experience, to be a part of so many kid's lives, brief though it was, sharing the gift of art with them! All of my students were amazing, & did wonderful jobs. It was fantastic meeting new people, parents & students alike, who had an enthusiasm for art. I had a total of 30 pupils, & taught for 4½ hours each day. I dearly love working with children & teaching; it's as much fun as it is challenging. I got a huge class room all to myself. It was on the 2nd floor of a large & creaky floored, unair-conditioned building on the beautiful campus of grounds :) Here's what I taught— 
  • 1st class: Converting basic shapes (e.g. triangle, sphere, rectangle etc.) into fruits; shading with random hatching, curved hatching, crosshatching, dots, scribble & blending. 
  • 2nd class: Drawing multiple objects: focusing on centering, composition, distance. Developing a critical eye for position, proportion, shapes, & relation. Using charcoal & pencil. 
  • 3rd class: Positive/negative space, blind & semi-blind contour drawing with charcoal & pencil. 
  • 4th class: Drawing textures in fabric; wrinkles in paper, folds, rough surfaces, smooth surfaces, reflective surfaces, in metal & glass, with charcoal & pencil.
  • 5th class: Drawing symmetrical objects, with a ruler & measuring with a pencil. Review & discussion of previous classes. 

Soli Deo gloria- 
-GB

6.16.2012

Hiking in the Mountains

  Line Lake is on top of the Beartooth Rocky Mountain range,
perched on the edge of a big precipice. (elevation 10,000 ft.)
Brightening up the earth's carpet— 
Were small & hardy flowers blooming on the spongy tundra.  
  The air was cool, views were breathtaking.
The guys built a fire. It felt wonderful. All 10 of us ended up
huddling around it. We ate lunch & fellowshipped.

It snowed & rained on us for the entire hike out. Very cold.  
*To compare size, that's a fishing rod & reel.
It was a fun memorable adventure. Even if the weather was crummy for part of the trip, I greatly enjoyed it. It's all about the people you are with anyways. There was still a good bit of snow up there. While hiking, we had to cross over a couple snowmelt creeks & trek across a huge snow-packed bank on the side of a very steep hill. I'm so thankful that the Lord kept us safe while we were out there. On the hike out, a few of us got ahead of the main group. Through the wind & sleet, I saw two grey wolves! One slipped over the hilltop quickly, & the other lingered a moment, watching us. The wolf was really big, & about 200 yards away.  

But unfortunately, my hands were so cold & numb, that I couldn't get to my camera in time. (It was actually quite alarming, by the time we reached the vehicles, I couldn't even open the car door with the key, my hands were so unresponsive. If you ever go out hiking, even in the middle of June, dress for {completely unpredictable} weather!!) We found lots of large wolf paw prints following our trail, in the snow. (That was kinda eerie, thinking the wolves had just been where we were.) *My cousin took the pic above with his phone—
-GB

6.14.2012

Kayaking

 The weather was perfect for spending the day out on the water... 
  
……...We (myself, my brother & two cousins) drove about an hour away, to a nice sized lake nestled at the base of snowcapped Rocky Mountains…...                               The views were gorgeous & the sky was bright & cloudless…….                                                    . …….I glided through the water effortlessly in my kayak, without making hardly any sound or breaking the still surface……. . ……...The cold water was crystal clear, I could see the bottom of the lake, 20some feet beneath me; a whole other world of with fish, algae, pretty rocks & sunken logs…... I soaked up the sun's warm rays & enjoyed the calm afternoon…….  . ….It was just perfect…… .                                   . …. Wildlife didn't seem to mind us, birds went about their lives without hardly giving me a glance……. ……Everything was so quite and picturesque…….                       Kayakers can get right up into little coves & inlets, places where the water is only inches deep…... Unless you've kayaked, you do don't know what ya are missing. I took my camera out on the water. (I was really paranoid I'd drop it or something, thankfully I didn't.)        
 We packed lunches & kayaked across the lake. We hiked  to the top of a large rock formation & ate. 
“You are worthy, our Lord & God, to receive glory & honor & power, for you created all things, & by your will they were created & have their being.” Revelation 4:11
-GB

6.10.2012

Salt & Light

Whatever we do, it needs to be done with more than just external practice. How do we relate to the world? We need to look at all things with eternity in view. How does the world look at us? Does it see children of God, that standing brightly amongst the rest of the world? We are not of this world, but we are in it. (I am not my own.) I have been adopted, by the grace & mercies of the Lord, into the Kingdom of Christ. The world can't stand what it can't own. We shouldn't derive our views & standards through the eyes of the world. As Christians, we need to know where we stand, & how to 'separate' ourselves from the world. We need to have a deep faith, know how to organize our lives— everything we do is meant to glorify God. 

We shouldn't remove ourselves from the world, 
we should live out our lives & 
take back the world & transform it! 

Like a garden; we root out the weeds, to bring order & beauty. We need to root ourselves in time & space. The same truths tie us to all Christians, who have come & gone before us. We shouldn't want or need the world's approval in our life's journey. We are alive because of Christ. We need to stand strong; established in the Word. We cannot leave anything out, or it becomes watered down & inefficient. There is an overall redemptive plan. We are all His people. When we are truly focussed on Christ, we can better discern the truth. We need to take a deeper look into our own lives. The further down the self-centered road we travel, the more lost & confused we become. We need to look deeply into our hearts; are we accommodating ourselves to the world? Why do we do, what we do? We are called not to hate the world, but to live out our lives unashamed, living dangerously, & boldly proclaiming the Gospel.  
-GB

6.05.2012

Trying to catch a glimpse-

Of the strawberry moon. It's 4:00am. Only got 2 hours of sleep. The night is beautiful. The temperature is cool. The dawn is still breaking. The stars twinkle faintly in the pale light amongst dark clouds that lie low on the horizon. There's a full moon. It's large & luminous, setting slowly. There are cool shadows being cast by her radiance in the misty light. The swollen river roars in the distance. All is calm. A company of crickets sing their song in the field. A dog barks. I'm looking out my window, waiting for a lunar eclipse. If I'm fortunate, I'll see the anomaly, take a picture, then return to bed for a couple more hour's of shut eye. 

(edit: Somehow I missed the eclipse & got up for nothing. This pic is from one I saw last year.) 

Whenever I look up at the heavens & see those innumerable twinkling stars, I'm reminded that they are the works of HIS fingers, & not one of them is missing. HE set them all in place & calls them all by name. Through faith in Christ, I'm one of those stars; I am a descendent of Abraham. (Genesis 15:4, Psalm 8, Isaiah 40:26, Galatians 3:7-9) The stars are so amazing, it's hard to fathom how far away they are, the concept of space & how short a time we have here on earth. We need to be wise with the time given to us. 

      Here's s bit from John Piper's Desiring God


In “The Simple Life”, Vernard Eller delights himself in some of the great parables of S├śren Kierkegaard. One of his favorites is the parable of the lighted carriage and the starlit night. We could also call it the crisis of Christian Hedonism. It goes like this:

“When the prosperous man on a dark but starlit night drives comfortably in his carriage and has the lanterns lighted, aye, then he is safe, he fears no difficulty, he carries his light with him, and it is not dark close around him. But precisely because he has the lanterns lighted, and has a strong light close to him, precisely for this reason, he cannot see the stars. For his lights obscure the stars, which the poor peasant, driving without lights, can see gloriously in the dark but starry night. So those deceived ones live in the temporal existence: either, occupied with the necessities of life, they are too busy to avail themselves of the view, or in their prosperity and good days they have, as it were, lanterns lighted, and close about them everything is so satisfactory, so pleasant, so comfortable — but the view is lacking, the prospect, the view of the stars.”

Piper summarizes:

Eller comments, “Clearly, ‘the view of the stars’ here intends one’s awareness and enjoyment of God.” The rich and busy who surround themselves with the carriage lights of temporal comfort, or the busy who cover themselves with troublesome care, cut themselves off from what Kierkegaard calls “the absolute joy”: What indescribable joy! — joy over God the Almighty… for this is the absoulute joy, to adore the almighty power with which God the Almightly bears all thy care and sorrow as easily as nothing. 

Wow. Think that over. We shouldn't hide under baskets, we should shine bright as stars in the dark of night. It's very profound. The world is sacramental, as is everything in it. When understood, this results in mediated grace for everyone who is responding to God in true faith. God grants immediate grace in various ways... This immediate grace should be radiant grace, that spreads everywhere, & gets into everything. True faith can find it in anything- keep the wonder, look all around you, what do you see? All too often, we get distracted & shut it out. The grandeur of God can come from anything; shining stars, the shrill chirr of crickets, doing house work, shoveling rock etc. We all need to have radiant grace, that spreads out through everything, affecting everything else, & causing everything else to become a mirror that reflects the glory of God.

-GB