Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Shepherd, Why this Jubilee?

Why your joyous strains prolong? What the gladsome tidings be which inspire your heavenly song?
Somewhere in the middle of the desert, in the middle of the night, the shepherds were roused by a song from the heavens; a sweet song that whirled o'er the plains, and urged the mountains to echo in reply. The news, exalted by angels, proclaimed by the earth itself, urged them to find the child, lying in a manger. The child was the King of kings before whom royalty kneels, and the Shepherd of men, at whose birth the shepherds of earth were present.
And just as every lamb is counted, so will every soul be.
While the kings bended knees in humility, imagine the adulation, the joy, exuberance of the shepherds. What an honor to find yourself in the presence of an enraptured young mother, awed by her child, and still trying to grasp the idea that this tiny babe is the gift the world has been awaiting. What a compounded happiness. Might we find the simplicity of life that makes us celebrate every tiny joy, that helps us be overwhelmed by the truly magnificent.
photos: Atef Safadi image on the West Bank at Ramallah, shepherd image from, Jesus as shepherd (who did this sketch? i love this!), LCTGloriosity Atlanta Botanical Gardens 2009, Rembrandt's Adoration of the Shepherds - speaking of the truly magnificent...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Star of Wonder, Star of Might

Star with Royal Beauty Bright...
I sent out my Christmas Cards today and quoted "We Three Kings." The beautiful parallel metaphor - The Star in the East marking the birthplace of the Light of the World - it always gets me. There's so much to learn from the stories of old. In fact, they were never just stories in the first place.

Three Kings, or Wise Men, or Magi, spotted a brilliant star hanging in the Eastern skies. A scientifically catalogued supernova did indeed light up the night sky around 2,000 years ago, give or take a few. So it's entirely plausible that Kings or Wise Men, ancient composite astronomers/astrologers wondered what exactly such a heavenly beacon heralded, and set off to find its true meaning.
In the story, they were named Balthazar, Melchior, and Caspar, magical names that resonate with Orientalism, so mystical to Western minds. The gifts they brought recognized the true nature of the Christ Child: Gold, to crown him King. Frankincense, to worship him as God. And Myrrh, a strong-smelling gum used in ointments and incense, particularly during burials, which recognized the humanity of the Child, and foreshadowed His death, that would raise us all to new Life.
And what can we learn from this aspect of the Christmas Story? From this segment of the scene at the creche? No matter your belief, or your religion, consider the Wise Men- Men of power and respect, men of great renown and great means, who recognized when a power greater than theirs was incarnate. With a strength of humility and conviction, they bowed before the lowly, the meek, and the mild.
In a world where we are blessed with so many things, might we also have the humility to recognize the Light of the World, especially when it shines in the eyes of the lowliest among us, and may we have the conviction to bow our heads and offer what we have to give.
photos: Star of Bethlehem (found via Google), Three Kings by James C. Christenson, "Adoration of the Magi" by Gentile da Fabriano, and the cover of "We Three Kings" by Gennady Spirin.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I just finished reading Muriel Bradbury's Gourmet Rhapsody yesterday. I read it cover-to-cover in one evening -a much more epicurean project than Elegance of the Hedgehog, which I also adored. Rhapsody was quick and guilty, with a real and bittersweet ending... like chocolate.
Here's one of the passages that swallowed me:
"Words: repositories for singular realities which they then transform into moments in an anthology, magicians that change the face of reality by adorning it with the right to become memorable, to be placed in a library of memories. Life exists only by virtue of the osmosis of words and facts, where the former encase the latter in ceremonial dress. Thus, the words of my chance acquaintances, crowning the meal with an unprecedented grace, had almost formed the substance of my feast in spite of myself, and what I had enjoyed so merrily was the verb, not the meat."
It made me excited to devour the book, and move on to the next; to again surrender to the power, and magic, of words.
Next up: Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. So close on the heels of 100 Years of Solitude, I seem to be falling into a literary cadence of (right foot) third-world epic fantasy, (left foot) eloquent philosophical high-culture novel.
Whatever will be next?

photos: etsy christmas library print book, GloriosityLCTBookshelf09, artwork by Scottish artist Georgia Russell, Lorinix Photography, B/W book found on Google Images, GloriosityLCTBookBarnCT09.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hold onto Hope, Love.

iTunes discoveries elate me. Last night I came across a lovely little lady and her musical offerings. Amy Stroup has a number of delightful songs which have been slowly accumulating over the years. One of my favorites is "Hold onto Hope, Love", a delicate anthem of two of the strongest or most fragile things in our lives.
Once that violin starts whirring, I'm stuck.
"Hold onto Hope, Love, I searched high and low for you, for you.
Each day gets closer, so hold on stronger to me and you.
Someday soon I'll find you, Someday soon I'll know you, Someday..."

Even better, I found the following passage on Amy's myspace page:
2 Cor 4:15-18 “Don’t lose heart, though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Despite the occasional sense of being caught in a whirlpool of time as we watch each glorious day go by, there are everlasting constants that do not age and do not tire.
Like Hope.
And Love.

photo: from Shirley at, "Hold onto Hope, Love" by Amy Stroup, available on iTunes ( worth the $.99).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Better off in Bed?

Occasionally, -not often, mind you- but occasionally, I feel like this. Today, riddled with disconcertion and equivocation, was one of those days. But what, oh what will tomorrow hold?

Sunday, December 6, 2009


It's falling outside, a new blanket of sparkling white to overlay the frosty remnants of what fell earlier this week. I haven't seen snow this often in my life, and it's beautiful. Needless to say, it puts you in the mood for the holiday season, and I find myself singing...

Bing Crosby's and Rosemary Clooney's voices, Vera Ellen's grace, and Danny Kaye's smile just make it feel like Christmas.

Snow stifles the frazzle, and leaves the world quiet, pensive, and oh so lovely.
It can be a little glamorous, a little sparkly, a little all-dressed-up,
or quietly magical;
nature's chance to play dress-up in the winter months,
or to change your architectural details.
You start to look at the world differently,
and you can't help but feel like a kid again.
Most of all, I love how the nights become magic. Snow flurries whisper at your window - or are they snow fairies? Street lamps become elaborate gobos and stage setters for the mundane parking lot that has transformed into a fantasy world, clean and sharp and bright. And somewhere in the stillness, your heart waits for you.
photos: RosieHardy at (i love this picture!!), LCTGloriosityColorado09, Fashion Image found online (whose is this?), Leaca at, LCTGloriosityPhiladelphia09, LCTGloriosityColorado09, MartaCernicka at, Kent Miles - English Gardens 1981 (Gorgeous!), yein~ at

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Life Limbo is the kind of place you only survive with ample amounts of faith and hope. That I knew. It's a precarious pile of rocks that can tumble down into disaster, or find a fragile, fascinating balance with a million different facets, edges, shadows, and light.
What I didn't know is how magnificent it is to have friends who understand, implicitly, the prismed angle on life that has captured and obsessed my inner eye. Friends who send messages that say, Life lived on the edge of life can heighten the sense of living. It's just the same as writing a book, or starting a business, or playing a sport. It is your life, your self-communication to the wide and wondrous world.
I wish to be in the thrall of something authentic.
The mona lisa, she smiles just like she knows me. You said she's a woman with nothing to lose. She gathers a crowd around her and she flirts with perfect strangers. But she will never take a lover in the Louvre.
- Ellis Paul, Paris in a Day
Do you think Mona Lisa ever longed to abandon her post, to throw off her black garb and run wild through the landscape behind her, escaping the lines and masses of the tourist views, running away from the magnitude of the art around her, to live, just for a moment, in the fleshy, breathing, gorgeous reality of life?
St. Augustine said something to the effect of: "We cannot hope to stifle desire, only to orient it properly." So which lens do you use to focus your desire? And how do you know when you've picked the right one?
Is life a fantastic trial-and-error process, seeking that which makes you vastly aware of who you are in relation to the grand human family? in relation to the world, in all it's gloriosity? Is the purpose to, as another friend wrote and urged me, make some memories to tell the grandkids; live your wild and precious life.
I wish to make the most of my wild and precious life.

photos: 1)GloriosityLCT, BoulderCO 2009 2) GloriosityLCT, BoulderCO 2009 3)unsourced, from 4)Oleg Breslavtsev, via 5) GloriosityLCT, BoulderCO 2009 6) mediatumblr image via

Monday, November 23, 2009

Music of the Day:

Oh, Ella.
My impulse purchase of the day was a cd of Ella Fitzgerald's ballads. You know those moments when you walk into the cd store and you hear something that makes you want to close your eyes and listen, and you get completely distracted from your original purpose? That was me today. I made the guy take the cd out of the player so I could buy it (used. I recycle.) Because she was singing my song of the day.
It was written high above, that I have to have your love,
or I'll never be free.
And cloudy though the day be, crazy though I may be,
what the stars foretold shall be.
Here as in a daydream, by my side you stand,
here with my tomorrows in your hands.
photos: Ella Fitzgerald, Stars from


It's coming..

I've always been a person who's enjoyed anticipation just as much as apotheosis. I have an inkling that this may have something to do with being Catholic. There's the pervading idea that you have to work hard to follow the Truth in the here and now because what's coming in the hereafter is truly divine (in all senses of the word) but there's little you can know or do about it. So, having faith that whatever is going to happen is going to happen, we focus on what we can get our hands on right now. Reaching out, serving others, opening our hearts, appreciating the human reality in the context of the Divine.
That idea is echoed in the Liturgical seasons; simply put: Advent is longer than Christmas.

And while I, too, can't wait to come skittering out to the den on Christmas morning with my brothers, all three of us well and truly grown but willingly and exuberantly channelling the joys of childhood while dad grins and mom smiles with that look that says, 'O, it's so good to have them home again,' right now, I really just can't wait for Advent.

Is that strange?

There's something about the season of candles, of the chill in the air that makes us bundle up. Our thoughts turn to our hearts, willing them to circulate the blood more efficiently to our fingers and toes, and to our Hearts, examining what lies within them, and what needs to be changed (and quick! for St. Nick!). I'm powerless when the haunting melodies of "Wait for the Lord," or "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" begin to play. When you sing in harmony on a minor chord, you feel the anticipation, physically. While you tiptoe on the suspension, drawing out the depth of the music, everything strains for the resolution chord, for the finish. And when you arrive, it's always softer than you expected, but resonates deeper than you could have imagined. What is it about music that can sweep you away to places you never know you held within you?

While our commodified tendencies scramble for gifts and decorations, whatever it is in us that recognizes a greater, overarching human-and-divine connection sees in the scramble the finer notes of preparation. We purchase gifts for those we love, not to prove our love, but to show our love. When you select the perfect cookbook for your friend back east, you smile and send happy thoughts her way. When you begin binding the leftover fir bows to make the front door wreath, you think of all the guests who will visit with smiles and laughter and joy.

It's a time when we begin to remember what it's like to open our hearts, when we remember what it is to love and be loved, when, overcome with great expectation, we recognize the similarities in the human condition. No matter what we believe in, we all strive to be better, we all strive to find happiness, we all find it more easily when we open our hearts. We all love.

Monday, November 16, 2009


One of the things I miss most of all: making music that didn't involve a cringe factor.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Because You Can't Be Audrey...

I've come to a conclusion.
You can't be Audrey.
She was simply too lovely, too charming, too kind, too extraordinary.
You can't emulate her. It can't be done.
(it's not a bad idea to try, though, and maybe succeed in a few small ways.)

So, despite an admitted fascination with Ms. Hepburn, I try to be like Kay.
She, too, was tall, blonde, and skinny. She could crow or croon and she could be loud. She was chic and witty and always into something, like her little girl creation, Eloise.
And she, too, knew how to be lovely:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Inside All Of Us Is...

I took a solo-trip to the movies last night, for a little one-on-one with myself. I'll be the first to admit that it's a bad idea to go alone to certain movies. Romantic comedies, horror films, action see these alone, you have to be a glutton for punishment (romantic comedies can be insipidly cloying or emotional black holes, depending on your mood), a connoisseur of the strange, or an adrenaline junkie. On the other hand, thrillers (Hitchcockian) and indie-films (also foreign films, non-conventional story lines, and/or think-pieces) can border on meditative, self-exploratory processes. I'm not denying the extreme edification of post-viewing film analysis with well-versed, trope-identifying, plato-and-popcorn friends. But when those friends are 1,000 miles away, a girl's gotta fly without her wingmen.

So off I went, Coca-Cola and Sour Patch Kids in hand, to take in Where the Wild Things Are. (note: still mildly disconcerting to be the only solo-flyer in the theatre. On the upside, there were no kids at the 7:35, which labeled me more as "depressed" than "creeper." Phew.)
I think it was easier to embrace the film alone. The irony is that such common themes as loneliness, love, misunderstanding, creation, destruction, and primal expression are compounded when they're re-wound to the fragile, uncertain context of childhood. Eschewing the comfort of grown-up analysis (read: giving everything definition and structure so we feel better about it) and opening oneself to the onslaught of base, uninhibited emotion, the kind that rarely comes along after we clear the threshold of adolescence, is difficult to do in the company of others.
After you peel away the network of knowledge and context we spend our whole lives creating, you get down to the heart of it:

So let's be serious: occasionally, you need to leave the trappings of erudition and maturity behind and scream at the top of your lungs, engage in a dirt clod war, and sleep in a big pile of fuzzy friends. There's something enchanting about the liberation of being wild.
images: Where the Wild Things Are promos, last image from

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fashion Mission

I watched the 2007 re-make of St. Trinian's yesterday. What a riot. It's a fantastically bad guilty pleasure of a feature film (I really must take time to track down the original...).
Every time I see this film, I come away channelling a different character's look. This time, I've got the insatiable urge to re-construct Kelly the Head Girl's heist uniform. I'm on the prowl for some fantastic motorcycle/riding boots, somewhat like these by b.o.c.:
plus some black skinny jeans (urban, here I come... these can be styled in a million different ways for fall: with boots, with flats, with tees, with chunky sweaters, military look, emo look, hipster look, white button-down and diamonds, the options are endless)
plus chunky jewelry (transforming the I'm-pilfering-a-classic-Vermeer-painting-a-la-Mission-Impossible-utility-gear into moto-chic-ready-to-wear)
and voila: Kelly's sporty look, re-imagined for wear. I've got that hat, and I'm pretty sure Target is selling those gloves...
In the absence of results in the job-searching arena, one must glory in the smaller sartorial successes. All this creative energy is tired of flopping around in my apartment. It must hit the streets somehow...