Friday, January 28, 2011

The Natural Life and Eternity

This life reminds me of a period at the beginning of a run-on sentence.  .The sentence runs on forever and ever and ever and ever and...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Don't Forget the Lost Quiet Ones

So here I was, praying fervently for the salvation of the rude, disrespectful person that seemed to be a tool of that hideous satan. Do you have people in your life who seem to desperately want you to despise them?  I do.  So I pray for them.  I pray for their salvation, and that they will be all God wants them to be.

But then I saw a mental picture of the quiet person who never gives anyone any trouble, and is always compliant and helpful.  The fact that she is kind and sweet does not make her automatically saved from eternal darkness.  So now, I pray for the quiet ones, the ones whose names may not jump out at me twenty years from now.  Quiet people's names don't always stick with you the way thorns do.  So please, if you are reading this (and I suppose you must be), don't forget the lost quiet ones.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Melrose Plantation, Louisiana

Step back into time...
Melrose Plantation

Where:  Head South from Natchitoches on I-49; Exit 119 
Price:  $10 for a tour of about an hour (as of June 2010)
Open:  Daily, 12-4:00 PM, except for major holidays

A Little About Melrose Plantation

I love visiting Melrose Plantation; I've been there three times.  It consists of lovely, well-kept grounds, with several interesting buildings.  Of course, the star of the show is the majestic "big house."  This house actually was not the original main house.  That honor belongs to Yucca House, which stands in the back of the tour area. 

I won't delve deeply into the historical aspects of the story of Marie Therese Coincoin, the original owner of Yucca House; check the link below for that.  A former slave, Ms. Coincoin became the mistress of her own plantation, and owned slaves. Later,  the plantation underwent a few changes of ownership.  The Henry family did much to make Melrose what it is today, adding onto the current main house, and bringing in additional buildings.  

Mrs. Henry was hostess to several famous authors and artists.  One of the most famous artists associated with Melrose was not actually a guest.  Folk artist Clemintine Hunter was a cook and field hand.  She was inspired when she found some tubes of paint that an artist had discarded.   In an upper room of the hig house, you can see some of her original works.  Upstairs in African House, the walls are lined with murals that Clementine painted.  She created them while under the old oak tree that stands on the front lawn of Melrose. 
The guides will tell you interesting stories of  her explanations of what she painted and why she painted certain things.

There is a huge amount of information that I haven't written here.  Do see it for yourself.  It's easy to get lost in the enchantment of that place.  I wanted to just wander off alone and daydream about being an artist or a writer, invited by Mrs. Henry to stay at Melrose. 


*Melrose sits near the Cane River, which is not really a river, at least not now.  It's actually a horseshoe lake that was once a part of the Red River.  It was cut off when the Red changed course.  Real estate on the move!

*The tour guides told us that one man came to Yucca House (when the Henry family was there) to stay for six weeks and ended up staying for over thirty years.

*On my second tour, a descendant of Ms. Coincoin was one of our tour guides.  She gave a captivating portrayal of her famous ancestor. 

*African House is a unique and interesting structure, said to be the only one of its age and type in North America.

Melrose Plantation at

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Breathing Constitution?

Regarding the U. S. Constitution:  I submit that a constitution that can be changed to suit the winds of political correctness is not a living, breathing document.  It is a gasping, drying one.  The following link explains it briefly and well:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

First MRI

I wrote this article shortly after I endured my first MRI session.  I was reminded of three basic lessons that have taken me my whole lifetime to learn--lessons about life in general.  I list them below:

1. Things are usually much better than they seem.
They slid me into that tube twice. The first time, I lay on my back. As I glided into the tube, it narrowed a bit. The ceiling was just above my head. I began to feel claustrophobic, and visions of sarcophagi danced in my head. However, my fear was unnecessary. They pulled me out of the tube, and I was allowed to stand for a few minutes. I had thought, wrongly, that the tube was closed at one end, the end closest to my head. As I glanced into that tiny prison, I saw that it was actually open on both ends. So my head was never against the closed end of a tube. I felt slightly foolish and very relieved.

2. It is vital to trust other people.While lying in that tube, thinking morbid thoughts, I had to let go and trust the technicians to remember me, take care of me, and just be nice to me in general. That sounds like a no-brainer, but many of us feel a need to control all situations. When we learn to occasionally turn the reins over to other people, out lives become much easier.

3. When you cannot quiet the noise around you, turn to the Voice inside you. An MRI is noisy business. The tube was tight and I had to lie still. The procedure was somewhat loud and I had to remain calm. I turned to the Lord, communicating with Him. I don't remember exactly what I said to Him, but He was there, and I was calm. A few years ago, the turning inward would have only exposed me to my own weaknesses, or at best, my own coping strategies. There was basically emptiness. The emptiness no longer exists. I have, in accordance with lesson number 2, learned that we can't control everything about our lives, and we certainly cannot control everything about eternity. Because Jesus took my place on the cross and I accepted His gift of salvation, He now lives inside me, and prepares a place for me in eternity. As a bonus, I am able to lean on Him in this life.

Three lessons learned, a million to go!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Canvas and Other Art Supplies

Buying and Using Stretched Canvas

1. When buying stretched canvas, check to make sure the stretcher bars are not warped. I lay the stretched canvas on the floor, tapping it here and there to make sure it doesn't rock. It should lie flat on the floor.

2. If you do find yourself stuck with a warped canvas, a good, sturdy frame will likely bring it back into shape. However, you should not try to display an obviously warped, unframed canvas, even if you've carefully and beautifully painted the unstapled sides. (Note:  This happened to me!  I was displaying in a multi-artist show and did not realize the thing was warped until the show had begun.  It happened between the hanging and the show.  Ouch!)

3. You may have to add more gesso to your stretched canvas. I know most of them advertise double gesso, but if you hold the canvas up to a light, you may see tiny openings. Oils will seep through the openings and leak to the other side. So, if you see tiny holes, put on more gesso.

4. Be careful where you set your canvas. Even after several years, I've leaned a stretched canvas over things that poked dents in it. It's worse if you end up with holes.

Extra thought: Beautiful art is more important than beautiful consumable art supplies. 
I used to have a problem messing up my nice, pretty new pastels, pencils, or paint tubes. I didn't want to mess up the points or tear off the paper. I wanted to keep them pretty. I began to realize that I could either have attractive paint and pencils, or I could have great art. So when Pencils and pastels start to wear down, and when tubes start to get crinkled, great. You've been hard at work.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Unexpected Contentment

I don't really like cooking.  I do all sorts of things to avoid it and when the other half says, "Let's scrounge for food tonight," I readily agree.  So why is it that when I when I am preparing food, I often encounter an unexpected feeling of contentment and even (huh?) happiness?  Maybe it's because I'm thankful to have something to cook.  Maybe it's because my family is near and okay.  Maybe I'm doing what I should do, so I feel satisfaction.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Teeth in Amos 4

Reading the Bible the other day, I was reminded that I need to read carefully. I was reading Amos 4, and came upon 4:6. The verse states,
"'But I gave you also cleanness of teeth in all your cities
And lack of bread in all your places,
Yet you have not returned to Me,' declares the LORD."

When I first read the part about cleanness of teeth, I thought that was a good thing. Hey, clean teeth are great! Clean teeth with nice, fancy breath is even better. What a silly twenty-first century person I am. The teeth are clean because they haven't seen food in no telling how long. Reading the Bible carelessly causes a lot of misunderstanding.