Monday, March 31, 2008

Wabi-Sabi 3: Brittlee


We are on day three of the Critique and I think we are getting the hang of this! Wonderful pictures so far, good commenting, and lots of votes - thank you. I also appreciate the time you photographers took to write a little something about each photo, and how that affects the viewers' experience of your work. Thank you for sharing that also.

For today,

Meet Brittlee.

Not only is Brittlee a photographer, but she is a blogger too! You can see more of her here.


This is a picture of a metal cart that used to belong to the train depot in town in the early 1900s. When the depot closed down, our neighbor salvaged these carts and they have since been aging in his yard.

Fence and Barb Wire

This fence marks the edge of town and the beginning of the open space.

Barn Wood

This is a plank of barn wood that had these really interesting old nails sticking out of it. I loved how the cobwebs had collected on the nail.

Comments and Voting begin now...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wabi-Sabi 2: Denise


Meet Denise.

"An Old Wheel"

This old wheel was attached to a tree. It was an odd sight and I could not ever find out what its purpose was for hanging on that tree. But I was struck by the beautiful colors found on this old wheel.

"A Shedding Tree"

I recently preached on Lazarus, and this tree shouted at me to take its picture. Maybe it is because I see a face in the tree. Maybe its because when I saw this face, and the shedding around it, I heard Jesus shout, "Lazarus, Come out!"

"Rust on Stairs"

Just an old stairway with a beautiful rust design on it. As the paint on the stairs chips away, the rust seems to be the more natural color underneath it....what it should be....but someone keeps trying to paint over it.

Comments and Voting begin now...

Wabi-Sabi 1: John


Meet John.

There is a poll question to your left where you can vote for the photo you want to see in the Show.

Please discuss, describe, and lavish in the Comments section.


These are pieces of slate I was using to top a table I built. The center piece had these veins of rust in it, and I thought it would be a good Wabi Sabi picture, that is, until I dropped it. Oddly enough, it became much more interesting when it was broken. I placed the other pieces to contrast the brokeness, and it seemed very Easter-y to me then.

"The Fountain"

This is a concrete bird bath in our backyard that we have never put water in. Turns out that is good thing as it is crumbling between the bowl and pedestal. I took tons of pictures of this, some with the sun shining through the hole, some from below, some from above. I liked this one best, because the edges of the hole were highlighted with light.


This is Ivy that is growing on the side of our house. I'm reading "The World Without Us" by Alan Weissman right now (a book about how quickly nature would take back the world is humanity disappeared), and I liked the idea of nature reclaiming part of our house. It made me wonder how long it would take for the ivy to just completely take over the house if we weren't around.

Again, don't forget to comment and vote.

Until tomorrow...

Critique Guidelines

I am about to post the first 3 photos of this Critique.

I want to suggest (read demand) that the comments stay positive and constructive. Questions are definitely welcome.

If you want to comment more on the commitment to the theme (Wabi-Sabi) versus the actual photography, that is definitely appropriate. If you want to keep it about the elements of the photo itself, again, appropriate. If you want to be ugly about it, you are not welcome. Take your own photos.

So here we go. I think we are in for a real treat...

Photo Workshop...On-line

We're having another Photography Workshop! Right here on the ole blog.

Here's how it started:
I emailed 5 friends who have blogs. and then they emailed some of their friends. Now we have 15 friends from Singapore to the UK all taking pictures.

Then, I emailed everyone an Assignment that I got from the book Living Out Loud: Activities to Fuel a Creative Life by Keri Smith (she also has a blog at

The Assignment is called Wabi-Sabi:

"Wabi-sabi is the Japanese concept that speaks to the art of imperfection, and/or the willingness to accept things as they are. Wabi-sabi is about process, not product. It is about decay and aging, not growth. Wabi-sabi requires that we slow down to take notice of hidden things, imperfections, and the passing of time. If you like control, it takes courage and trust to practice wabi-sabi.

To practice wabi-sabi means to accept nature’s process, including impermanence and the absence of life. You can start by taking notice of the details in your everyday life. A spiderweb full of dead bugs in the window frame. An old chair with chipped paint. A yellowed newspaper. These things could be dismissed as ugly and without value, but wabi-sabi teaches us that we are in a constant state of change and we must value that which is in the moment" (p. 74-75)

The Critique begins tomorrow.
I will post 3 pictures each day from one of the participants. The Critique discussion will take place within the Comments. There will also be a Poll on the side bar for you to vote for which photo will be in the Show.

Thank you for being a part of this exciting way to look differently at our days, to slow down and begin the acceptance of the life around us.

Wabi-sabi to all of you.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Kite Flying

We had our first kite flying attempt this season and it went fairly well.

Diego got up in the air a few times, and Daddy was out of breath.

I think Henry got the concept, but mostly was trying to take in all that outdoor air at once, since we have been cooped up for the past few months.

I'm sure we looked bizarre too, with ALL of us running around an empty parking lot looking at the sky.

Svea stuck to the running and I don't think noticed the kite. We'll open her Dora one on the next blustery day.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Our girl in the light, with the toys, at the Stamms'.

Can you tell I've been reading a lot of Go, Dog, Go!?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Creativity Workshop

This morning, I pulled out all supplies that can be labelled as "craft" or that stay still long enough to be glued, taped or stapled to a poster board, and put them on the dining room table.

Then ten friends came over and we dedicated 2 hours to layers, assemblage and collage.

There were very few rules, there was a lot of tape and glue stealing...or sharing I guess it was, there was music, tea, goodies and laughing with and at each other. What a good time!

What a good way to clear out left over papers and markers and paint and end up with such different art.

I didn't actually ask permission to put these up on the blog, so I won't name whose is whose. In addition, some of these are blurry and don't show all the textures and mosaic tiles, etc., but here is the first draft, the first layer, of everyone's piece:

There was some resistance at the beginning, along with excitement I think, but at the end I'm pretty sure everyone came around and felt really good about it. It's the process we were after, not the product, even though those did turn out nicely.

Basketball. Sort of.

Henry woke up in a basketball mood today.
And he asked for some basketball goals, though he already has two, and I don't have the mad woodworking skills his Daddy does.

So we glued and drew and taped this together. The yellow team is the Ha-choe Team. Their mascot is Growbie the Bear, of course.

He even let Svea play. As long as she did it RIGHT.

He did end up taking away the one player she was allowed to hold, so she just got up and found Dora and played with her in another room.

Henry's big brother skills have really piqued this week. One night, I heard Henry ask Svea, "Are you ready for your special treat?"
So she says, "YES!"
Henry then got up from his chair and went over and spit in her hair.
I swear, he skipped Childhood and went straight to Adolescence.

After nap today, he also drank all of her apple juice, then went and sat in his chair and started to drink his. What?
That's what I get for making their snacks ahead of time before Svea's even up from her nap.

Just now, while writing this post, Svea went to use the potty and Henry went with her. He lay on the floor by her and began a discussion of what noises are good to make when going to the potty.

I wish Brian and I were going on a date tonight.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Feeling Proud

There are not many four-year-olds who can walk up to their Daddy, while wearing jersey and helmet of course, and ask for a football goal, and the Dad can actually shrug and say, "Uh, okay."
Then twenty minutes later, there it is.

If football is ubiquitous, and PLAYING it is inevitable, then I am so pushing the punter position. Anything with minimal contact.

I'm afraid big dreams are starting early around here.

(I realize that it's baseball season, but today happened to be a football day in our home. And I also realize that I am low on Svea Pictures today but that is only because she is moving so fast lately and I am using my hands to retrieve her from dangerous heights instead of snapping her photo. More soon)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Indoor Baseball Tourney

Yet another checklist:

New batting helmet - check

New baseball pants - check

"Pillow bat" - check

Small tee and tennis ball - check

Daddy safely a few feet away trying to squeeze in some American Idol - check

NOT hitting the ball towards Daddy and Idol - check

Cleats present but not on feet - check

Leftover balloon from birthday - check

Everyone's happy - check

No Car Necessary

What to do when you get an awesome name plate from NEW YORK CITY from Aunt Beth and you don't have a car and it's flooding out so you can't put it on your bike so THIS is definitely the next best thing:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Wild Things

Our little four-year-old woke up this morning loving life. The second day of living four years, he loved most everything and cooperated beyond belief. Brian and I were not sure what to do, really.

To be honest, his birthday weekend was hard. We loved every minute of it, but it was really hard. Brian and I are still trying to figure out what we are teaching about presents, giving, and celebrating traditions...especially while living out of town from our families.

We were so lucky to have Bobbie and Aunt Merpha and Lydia here. That made Henry feel very special.

As did the Sunday Discussion Group singing loudly to him over candles.

And I'll just come right out and say it: Three is way harder than Two. Seriously. If any of you parents out there have advice about the threes and fours and birthdays in general, I would love to hear them.

Brian and I tend to parent the best we can until we hit a breaking point, then we initiate a sea change in the house. That started last night. It seemed a good idea to use Henry turning four to demand that no child enter our room at night (unless it's an emergency - definition pending on that one). All the palettes were removed and Henry and Svea have no place in Mommy and Daddy's Room. We were up a LOT last night due to thirstiness, needing to pee-ness, just missing you-ness.

All you judgers out there are probably saying, "You should have never let them in your bed to begin with." And I say to you, in my loving voice, "Thank you for your opinion, but YOU HAVE NO IDEA."

Mostly what I mean by that is that I have consistent nightmares and am still honing my self-soothing and coping skills. At 31. So when my now 4 year old has terrors and nightmares, I have a hard time not conceding.

Before Henry turned 3, I was sharing with my wise friend Alicia that I didn't know how to keep up my energy around Henry's difficulty sleeping and Svea's needs as an infant. Alicia exclaimed, "Oh my...they are experiencing the adult emotions of fear and frustration with limited ways to express those feelings."

That changed everything for me.

Then a few months ago, Henry told me he wanted to read Pops the book Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. So we started practicing. Over and over...until he got over it and won't read it with me anymore.

In the book The Art of Maurice Sendak by Selma G. Lanes I read tonight:

"Certainly we want to protect our children from new and painful experiences that are beyond their emotional comprehension and that intensify anxiety; and to a point we can prevent premature exposure to such experiences. That is obvious. But what is just as obvious - and what is too often overlooked - is the fact that from their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions, that fear and anxiety are an intrinsic part of their everyday lives, that they continually cope with frustrations as best they can. And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things."

Amen, Maurice. And THANK YOU.

So here we are, entering the 5th year for Henry and working on completing the 3rd for Svea, intent on teaching them to tame some Wild Things.