Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Veronica Wipes the Face of Christ

Today is the beginning of Lent, an appropriate time to post the collaborative Stations of the Cross piece Wayne and I created for Station Six. The piece is five feet tall and you can't tell by the photo but behind the glass is inset a crumpled piece of cloth. If you have time to go by Xnihilo Gallery in Montrose, you can view this and all the other stations. Saturday, March 3, is an artist reception where you can meet and talk to the artists involved. This show is presented biannually and there will be a wide range of of representation--from paintings to multi media pieces. I actuallly recommend viewing the show at a time when you suspect not many others will be around; it's meant to be a contemplative journey.

The text reads:

Veronica Wipes the Face of Christ

and out of his sweat pours the salt of a million burnt backs,
and out of his blood the pus and poison of lesions and lepers
out of his tears the cry of every bruised and battered child,
every lonely, forsaken night, the dirt and spittle, drainage
of a wounded world from which he will not turn away

and for whom he climbs the hill.

days later she searches out the still moist rag
balled in a pile of soiled linen.
she lifts it to her face, closes her eyes,
breathes it in, finds it still reeks
with undiminished love.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The PB lottery

When my daughter missed two days of school recently with high fever and stomach cramps I figured we were all in line for whatever bug she'd caught. But we all remained well. So when I ran across the news item reporting samonella in Peter Pan peanut butter I ran upstairs to check our jar. Sure enough--we had the tainted numbers. What are the odds? Maybe I should start buying lottery tickets and opening those letters from Ed McMahon.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Stations of the Cross

Next Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, marks the opening of the Stations of the Cross exhibit at Xnihilo Gallery in Houston: a series of 15 devotional works of art, each representing one step in Christ’s journey to the cross. This show will feature sculptures, paintings, photography, poetry, and videography by local artists. While the traditional Christian meditation based on Christ’s journey includes only 14 stations, concluding with Jesus being laid in the tomb, this exhibit will feature an additional resurrection piece to be unveiled on Easter morning, Sunday, April 8, 2007.

Although Wayne and I had hoped we could make it back to Houston for the opening of this exhibit, it turns out we will have to depend on you locals to tell us about it. I saw this biannual rendering of the Stations Lent before last and was stunned at the impact it had. Physically moving from station to station in a space that is church/art gallery, encountering each artist's unique presentations of each, was an altering experience. This year Wayne and I were invited to collaborate on Station 6: Veronica wipes the face of Christ. It is the first time we have collaborated so the Station is especially meaningful to us.

So, if you can get by the gallery at Taft Street in Montrose, please post or email your impressions. I'd love to know what you think.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

the Voice

Yesterday a funeral was held for woman who finally lost a 17 month battle with leukemia, leaving behind a husband and two young daughters, the eldest of which is the same age as mine. Her name was Chris Oden and she lived in Nashville. I did not know of Chris or her family a week ago and now I cannot stop thinking about them or grieving for them.

A little backstory: just over a year ago I became involved with the Voice, a project conceived by Chris Seay of ecclesia, described as "a group of writers, poets, scholars, pastors, and storytellers [who] have committed to work together to bring the Scriptures to life in a way that celebrates both beauty and truth. The result is a retelling of the Scriptures: The Voice, not of words, but of meaning and experience." I've had the privelege of "retelling" some of the psalms over the past year. The project features a (beta) website which I visit on occasion, especially when I'm feeling particularly homesick. Friday night, between other chores I was doing on the computer, I decided to investigate Chris Seay's video blog. The first entry was entitled "The Voice experiences loss" and it had been posted the day before. Had I not moved 900 miles away last June, I would probably have been aware of (and praying for) Chris Oden and her husband jc. jc (unbeknownst to me) is the brand manager of the Voice and works closely with Chris Seay. I listened as Chris sadly report that Chris (Oden) passed away the night before and felt deep sympathy for this young family and was very sorry I had been unaware of their story.

It occurred to me that I might on occasion post a link to a particular Voice podcast on this blog. So I clicked "send us your comments" and inquired if it was possible to do something like that. To my surprise I got a response only moments later. Tech support on a Friday night? Imagine the shock I felt when the signature on the email said "jc." After answering my techie question, jc went on to ask if I was the one who wrote Psalm 91. (I was.) Turns out the reason he was on the computer at that very moment was that he was working on his wife's memorial service and he was using the whole of Psalm 91--his wife's favorite scripture (and according to the family blog set up during her illness, the scripture she hung her hope on).

I have no explanation for why two precious young girls will be required to grow up without their mother. I don't know why what were the fervent prayers of many went unanswered, or were answered like this. What I do know is that in the very hour a man struggled to compose words that could somehow contain the grief and love he felt for the wife he expected to spend a lifetime with, a stranger who'd written his wife's psalm sent an email in the dark and that connection carried a tiny spark of light. A whisper of that Voice. Yes, I am with you. Still.

If you'd like to read more about the faith of a beautiful family, their blog is Chris Oden
Please keep the Odens in your prayers.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Before my parents moved back to Texas a couple of years ago, they spent a decade on the west coast of Florida. We never considered visiting at this time of year. Living in Houston, we didn't need a break from the winter and their town swelled and choked with what my father, somewhat less than affectionately, called "snowbirds"--northerners (anyone north of the Florida state line) who, for weeks or months, found respite from the cold on Florida's sunny beaches. The same folks he grumbled about as he rode their bumpers on the one road on and off of their island were liable to be the same ones he had a good ol time with on the golf course. But no matter. My parents have now flown back to Texas and we now live in a place where we are thankful when the temps reach double digits or the sun appears at all. Where is Florida when you need it? The glacier that is the hill to our house is slowly losing its ice (slowly as a man balding). I attempted it yesterday without four wheel drive. So that is a small triumph. My survival skills are exponentially multiplying. People here keep insisting, "We never have winters like this," to which I say, "Get used to it". With the same cosmic logic that ensures if you wash your car it's going to rain, because we moved to a place we believed had mild winters, mild winters here are history, global warming notwithstanding. As soon as possible, I'm going to turn into a snowbird myself. In the meantime, my paper birds are keeping me company.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Though we are web designers and work on web sites all day long, or perhaps for that very reason, our own sites are always last in line. But we've finally got Wayne's sculpture site up and running. Currently, he's working on new pieces for a show he'll have in Columbia in July. And we've just finished our very first collaboration for a Lenten exhibit at Xnihilo Gallery in Houston which combines Wayne's sculpture and my text. I'll post on that soon. Meanwhile, enjoy a stroll around our virtual art gallery. His work, as always, is being extremely well received here. Needless to say, I'm extremely proud.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Do you ever feel sorry for this girl?

I hope she made a million bucks for this ad. I know that's how many times I've seen it. I wonder what high school she went to. I bet she had gold sparkly skates too.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Weird Continued

My friend Jenni has publicly tagged me so in the spirit of "if I have to, you have to", I'll comply and compel six more people to spill their irrational dirt. "The rules are as follows: Each person who gets tagged needs to write a blog post telling 6 weird things about themself... as well as clearly state the rules. After you state your 6 weird things, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says "you're tagged" in their comments and tell them to read your blog for information as to what it means."

1. I gag if I see milk anywhere other than in a glass or bottle. Dripping down the side of a glass, a ring of it on the table or worst of all, a milk mustache, makes me want to spew. Those billboards are torture.
2. I not only wear my shoes in the house at all times, I usually carry my purse from room to room as well. This is not primarily because I want my feet to stay clean (I do) but because of a peculiar laziness: I don't want to have to search all over the house to retrieve my shoes or any of the twenty things I'll inevitably need from my purse as soon as it's been put down in another room.
3. When I visit my hometown and have to go to the grocery store or any public place where I might see someone I know, I hide. Were I to run into the very same person in a city far away (which has happened) I'd embrace them like a long lost friend and be entirely grateful to see them.
4. If I saw a blackhead on you I'd be obsessed with wanting to squeeze it. The bigger the better.
5. I sleep with my eyes open. I've woken up to people making faces and gestures at me as if I were a guard at Buckingham Palace and they were orangutangs.
6. Did you ever see the episode of Friends were Monica attempted to prove she could indeed go to sleep at night WITHOUT putting her shoes away? Enough said.

Okay, here ya go:
1. Karen
2. Stacy
3. Amy
4. Wayne
5. Ben
6. Deeanne

Weird Pandora update

Since I posted on Pandora last night, I thought I'd listen today while working. Dum, dee, dum. Then I heard a lyric that sounded an awful lot like "you did time in Duncanville...". Did he just say "Duncanville?!!" Seeing as how I did a stint in Duncanville, namely from 5th to 12th grade, I thought, hmmmn, let me pause this song, google this guy named Rhett Miller, and see if he did in fact just say what I thought he'd said. Well, as you well know, one google leads to another. Turns out Elliott Smith, who the title song of Rhett Miller's The Believer is written to, grew up in D'ville. He went to my junior high and his photo is probably in my brother's yearbooks. Miller wrote it on the day he heard Smith (real name Steve Smith) died (reportedly of suicide) in Oct. 2003.

You did time in Duncanville
Part of you’s living there still
In a hole where the souls
Of the lost kids are saved.

I didn't know there were any rock stars from Duncanville, other than my friend Ben Huggins of the Galactic Cowboys . Maybe it's because I'm totally out of touch with my hometown that I don't have a clue. And then last night I got an email from one of my oldest and dearest friends from Duncanville. Suddenly, my childhood is haunting me. I bet tonight I'll have nightmares about the totally uncool gold sparkly skates I was forced to wear to the skating rink. And that Dorothy Hamill haircut...