Two pictures that make me incredibly happy

Recently I came across two pictures on social media that filled me with joy.

They are wildly different: the first, pristine and elegant, mysterious, imaginative; the second, grainy and smudgy and hopelessly outdated. Look at this.

magic-realism-paintings-rob-gonsalves-100

Rob Gonsalves is a Canadian artist who likes playing with optical illusion and duplicate realities. Here is more of his work, but I find the painting above simply unbeatable. I could enjoy it for hours. And I think I probably have…

childhood

The second picture is from my childhood, posted for Throwback Thursday by an old friend. It makes me super happy, partly because our dresses are so hideous and partly because we’re all so glad. I’m the squirt on the left. My brother is behind me, and I believe my cousin (who’s having a birthday party) is showing off the food in his mouth. Three family friends, all sisters, are with us.

I had an amazing childhood.

When I look at this picture I just think, “Alright. I wore knits and I survived. My kids are going to be okay too.”

*****

What brought you joy today?

Tea talk

Dear people,

If you know anything about me by now, you will know that when I start Dear People I’m about to be particularly truthful with you. Much as I dislike blogging about blogging, it’s time for another little heart-to-heart about where we’re at. Can we pretend it’s just the two of us talking over tea?

Quite frankly, I’ve been rather scared of you ever since our little explosion at the beginning of December.

(You will here note the conspicuous absence of a pingback to the post. That would reopen a can of worms I prefer to seal with seven seals.)

(Do you use one lump of sugar or two?)

I’ve always loved blog comments. Sometimes I used to post on purpose right before leaving for the weekend, because I loved to come home to a row of your words and thoughts. But now I’m worried you’re going to come after me with a shotgun. It’s kind of that Piglet thing of being a Very Small Animal wondering about Heffalumps. Do they come when you whistle? And how do they come?

I am not a person who enjoys public controversy, and can usually only bring myself to say a hard thing when I feel goaded into it by the silence of others. I see that my blog would be a livelier place if I could say all the inflammable things I think.

But then I would have to shoot myself.

Unless of course you did it for me.

If nothing else, the experience relieved my occasional fear that I am writing to a pack of young liberals who won’t blink no matter what I say. You may or may not have noticed, but you definitely blinked.

As much as you would think I’d have known better about using That Word in this forum, I didn’t. I thought I would get more flak for the word “gluten;” that was the one I had vowed never to touch again. Putting them both together into a single post was nothing short of kamikaze, but unfortunately I didn’t quite realize that until afterwards.

I won’t say I didn’t deserve it.

I am still the same person who blogged here in December. I still believe in the things that influenced me to express those viewpoints in those words. But. While I am so, so grateful to the Lord Jesus that our approval comes from Him and not from people, I am not such a fool as to be careless of what His people think. You have the Spirit too, and if you say something is a problem, I want to sit up and take notice. I am currently in my “eat no flesh while the world standeth” phase: all bad words are safe from me.

I just feel a little jumpy. I don’t know what will send you, and there’s still some fire gear on my heart I’m having a hard time writing off. I thought it would help if I told you.

Thanks for listening. I’m glad we had this talk.

(More tea?)

-Shari

Is freedom of speech a Christian value?

So I’ve been thinking about the tragic Charlie Hebdo shooting and wondering.

I’ve lived within western democracy for so long that it’s hard to think in any other terms, but is freedom of speech a Christian value?

That is, was it important to Christ, and should it be to His followers?

You can hardly claim it for yourself but refuse it to others. Is it valuable to Him that we each may speak freely what we feel and believe, and grant to others the same privilege?

Why? Why not?

The SAD Regimen

Confession: I never could get the hang of January.

This year I am blessed. I have energy and focus and I love my life, but some days some days I worry myself sick over the silliest things, and I just can’t think of that WORD while I’m talking to my children (and so I stammer until they supply it for me) (multiple times in a day). Some days I can feel it like ghostly fingers: tendrils of SAD fear and fog creeping into my mind.

I have been here before and I remember how to cope, to live, to heal; and I know that I am loved and that spring will come again before I know it. So I hang in there, and I bless Jesus for conquering darkness. I make small goals for myself and do them—even just cleaning my bathroom or making that phone call. I eat protein and fruit. And I tell my husband how I feel.

Dorcas Smucker wrote an article called What Works for Me: the SAD Regimen. Read it, if you or someone you love has down feelings in the winter. It’s excellent advice, the best I’ve read on the topic for a long time.

April is coming!

Moving on

This is me writing yesterday.

shari-writing-at-laptop

This is me writing today.

shari-writing-decked-out-in-full-fire-gear

Thanks to all who shared thoughtful and gracious comments (both of approval and disapproval), and thanks to everyone else as well. I would just call to mind two things that I say in my blogging purpose statement; they seem to fit.

“I make a continual and deliberate effort to reveal the fact that I am a common woman who thinks that both dungeons and pedestals are restricting, and all humans need real faces.”

Which being interpreted is, I am human and permitted to say what I think, including the occasional really dumb thing for which I may pay through the teeth. (And believe me, I have.) You are allowed to speak your mind as well, and you do not have to agree with me or approve of me.

“I am here to encourage you, to humor you, and once in a while to infuriate you—”

—and I do the latter as infrequently as possible.

We go on.

Coming up soon we have

Giveaway Results
Rumpelstiltskin Reloaded —no, I did not forget
and A Christmas Hymnsing

No sensibilities should be harmed in the making of these blog posts.

Love,
Shari