October 2007 Archives

blogging and life

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Blogging for blair may be sparse in the near future. Aside from a must-do back post of our girls adventures in vegas, there won't be much here in the next several weeks...me thinks.

two reasons.



Yes I have an excessive amount of prep leading up to a conference in san diego (final booth design touches, web content uploads, t-shirt printing for give-aways... and that pesky book I swore I'd finish. Now I think I will be smart and reduce some of it's unfinished pages into a book proposal. I will be surrounded by publishers at the show, so why not troll...)

and on the play end of things...

well one doesn't pay the high cost of airfare to san diego just to come home from a four day show without utilizing all that its destination has to offer.

mainly cruises.

so, yes Bryan and I will be sneaking off for our first true empty-nest fling, and the first childless trip since...

well, our honeymoon, I guess.

(Sorry Daniel, you know we love having you around, but you are in school and so we just can't take you with us this time.;-)

So once work is done (conference) then there will be play. Lot's of it.

10 day mexican riviera.


And I am oh so ready for it. The last blue water I saw was a year and a smidge ago on our exnihilo sand.
I miss it.

So... blogging may be in spits and spurts for the month of november.

I promise to play catch-up with some underwater pics of pretty fish and all things exotic.


going with the flow

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Shifting gears again today after discovering the Solar Decathlon on the mall. Heading down there for this last day of the event to gather more info for our mondo beyondo bahama project. The Solar Decathlon is a contest of what college team can build the most solar efficient home. The last week was spent in the assemblage of these homes up and down the mall. Judging was yesterday and today is the last day to view, so we are dropping our normal weekend projects to go do some research, touchy feely style. It is one thing to pour through books, quite another to walk through a real live building. Bonus: University of Maryland won second place.

Maybe we should have students build our retreat.

For more info on the event goto Solor Decathlon (here)

catching my breath for the next thing


Back from vegas, I hit the ground running. Coming off of a red eye flight I spent most of tuesday sleeping. Then it was photographing Jim Wallis for his new book. No I am not a highly published photographer, no I don't have a swanky photo studio, but via a series of connections I ended up with this great man sitting at my dining room table right next to the unfinished drywall from our new patio door. Taking his picture was such an honor, and I am thrilled to add another author photo to my whompin list of two. He didn't seem too phased that there was no studio, but was gracious and polite in his handsome black suit as I bossed him around telling him smile, don't smile, sit up, lean forward...

you get the idea.

I tried not to get ruffled by the fact that just days ago he was sitting with Katie Couric under professional lights being tended to by a makeup stylist.

But I have found that the most effective thing that captures a person's "soul" isn't a swanky studio or tons of merle norman. No instead it is strategic questioning. So having a wee bit of knowledge about his family and having met his wife at a women's leadership thang that I was at three years ago, I had a few questions that made the right connections.

The eyes of a person change when they are thinking of the things that they most cherish.

So, if all things converge, the angle of your camera, the settings, the lighting, and then that fleeting second of expression...

you have the picture.

The one that really matters.

But it is a sweat fest to get there and I did my share. Even shooting digital I can never quite tell if I have hit the mark until the person leaves and I can truly examine the work. I guess I just can't multi-task with another body present.

But I am relieved to say I got a shot that they saw fit to use. I would post it, but that might not be appropriate so soon, just watch for his next book and my name will be next to the itsy bitsy copyright symbol that says "author photo by".

Aside from the nerves I just enjoyed the presence of the man.

I asked specific questions about special moments in his life (which is what got the shot) and then other questions for fun...

like what was your favorite interview?

Jon Stewart.

What was your least favorite interview?

Hannity & Colmes.


Handshakes and he was off to his next interview, catching a plane, or political event.

I realized I forgot to have him sign my copy of "God's Politics"


Maybe he will sign me his new one. Right next to the picture.

some of Jim's interviews on youtube.

a great lady at 80

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My mother turned eighty today.

And I can hardly keep up with her.

Her charm can warm up the coldest room.

Her presence makes things seem alright.

Her sense of fun makes you take yourself less seriously.

Her laugh makes you remember that life should be relished.

When you are with her you think that you are the most important person in the world...

these are her gifts.



girls time out

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A little travel time for me... meeting mom and sis in vegas for a very important event.

Mom turns 80.

So we three are getting some girl time this week. At this moment I sit in borrowed pjs due to the airline losing my luggage. So hopefully the airline will find it. If not I may spend a week in a t shirt that says What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.

Oh well.

No matter how I am dressed it promises to be a very special time. Some gallery hopping, shopping, a Cirque show, and champagne on the 10th (mom's b-day). Already (after my arrival) we stayed up all night talking like three teenagers at a slumber party.

What fun.

So for the next week we celebrate.

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas;-)

what a night

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I didn't have to miss it and I am so glad. Two paintings of Daniel's sold out of the total of ten that sold (out of 50 showing) from a dozen (more seasoned) artists. What made the evening truly special (especially for a fund raiser) is that the individuals that connected with Daniel's work really connected with Daniel's work, one even shed a few tears.

It is interesting when you stack up a collection of work from different artists what tends to emerge. The super representational...

and the stuff that really moves people.

Well, as you might think I was fighting back tears of my own(of pride), my own opening virtually forgotten. It was great watching Daniel interact with the crowd and with what would ultimately be...

his first real collectors.

Congrats Daniel. Bravo.

Daniel with show curator Luis. Later Luis was calling Daniel "my boy", but here Daniel is politely pointing out that his work was hung upside down.


Bryan assisting Luis with some last minute labeling


Daniel talking with viewers(at the top of the crowd)


Daniel discussing his work with what would end up being his first buyer


caught in the crossfire

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My show is off.

At least for now.

I haven't blogged on it because at first I was so disapointed that I didn't know what to write. And then life went on and I just sort of got ok with it. I was mad, and then relieved.

The gallery in which my show was going to be held was in the middle of a change in staffing. It is a community gallery that needed a facelift, but apparently when art meets politics things can get ugly. My show was to be the first show after this changing of the guard and like most change, some people didn't like it. Those in the community that were opposed to the change were going to boycott. Nothing personal, they don't know me from a hill of beans. I am an innocent bystander. The prudent thing to do was put things on hold.

So my show was caught in the crossfire.

There is talk of postponing it but things are still up in the air. Maybe november. Frankly right now I am overwhelmed with business stuff and would probably be having a meltdown if the show was a day away as originally planned...

so all works out.

And the best part of it all is I will get to attend Daniel's show.



I had to share this portion of a post written by Daniel on the voices of god. It was both humbling and inspiring to me. How much of god's voice do we filter out because of a stereotype? What messages do we miss when expecting to hear only a masculine voice?


"while i had been viewing and expecting god to act in a very masculine sort of way, i instead found a god that talked to me, or was trying to talk, in a way much more similar to the way my mother first spoke to me when i was young...quiet whispers, close by and into the ear. i, like then, am staring off into space. but perhaps i'm beginning to pay attention.

and as such, this Mother-god who first imparted to me love (as well as my name, and repeated it many times so i would know it), thereby defined love, and set me on the journey towards love. yet love has an end in relationships, and ultimately a completion in not just human flesh, but divine creation. if we are agents of spirit, then there is work about and present in our day to day lives that is at once beyond our control, yet also dependent. like a child to his mother, we may choose to listen closely to this spirit, bringing about good things in relationships and the earth itself. but if we do not listen, we may not just forget these things...we may also forget who we are, for it was our name that was first called into being, into existence, and that with a mission...a mission implied in love...for us to complete."


Beautifully written son. Made me cry.

You can read the entire post and view the painting of Regarding the Prayers of Mothers for Newborn Children

reverend gladys



You'd think that the polite way to retire for a gentle clergywoman at sixty five would be to pull up the rocking chair and knit.


or maybe settle in and do some baking.


or what about joining a bridge club?

think again.

Our iconic Reverend Gladys retired from her pulpit on september first and was at our doorstep on the 28th, via car all the way from Manitoba. Embarking on a journey that loops the continent we were only one of the many stops along the way of what will be a three(or was it four) month trip that also includes a cruise.

I am not kidding.

I coerced her to let me scan her map. That green line is her travel path.


Of course she had her share of naysayers. Those voices citing all the reasons a single woman of her age should not be driving alone across the country.


When she arrived at our house on friday I had to laugh at the technology she was packing. Laptop, GPS, digital camera, power adapters...

she is as wired as we are.

She even had this nifty little plug-in mini fridge in the trunk.


She showed me how she had a different piece of luggage holding clothing for all four seasons(because she would be encountering all of them).

But in spite of how utterly prepared for every situation she was there was no denying the nature of this trip...

pure adventure.

Which actually isn't new to Gladys. Having seen many parts of the world during her sixty five years thus far has just been par for the course.

But that isn't what makes her so special. Rev. Gladys has had one of those unsung ministries that keep the angels watching. A consistent focus on the needs of others without the applause of man (sometimes with their opposition) has been the benchmark of her life. Maybe it has been her travels that has enabled her to see past the unlovely parts of people and embrace them in love...

seeing with the eyes of jesus.

Maybe it has been the opposition that she faced as a woman ordained that empowered her with more compassion.

Maybe it was the encouragement of a father (both earthly and heavenly) who believed in her that keeps her going.

For certain the sum of all these things has been used to change lives in ways that she may never see and out of humility would never take credit for.

But the angels know.

Forsaking the more alluring styles of ministries involving big programs, big numbers, big money, She chose the broken and blind, unwashed and elderly, touching one life at a time, making space for the spirit.

And so while visiting our family and during many of our discussions involving what it means to be a follower I pestered her relentlessly about her experiences...

"You have to write a book".

I am sure she got weary of me saying it, but retired or not I think she has something to say. I know that women in ministry need the voices of other women to sustain them, especially the ones that forged the way.

like Gladys.

So as the modern ego-centric mega churches of our day begin to tumble I believe there is hope. There are others like Gladys, women out there doing the unsung work, the hard work, one person at a time.

And regarding Aunt Rev. Gladys...

I don't think she is retired...

I think she is just getting started.


baby squirrels

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Sunday morning coffee on the new deck. We were entertained by a nest of baby squirrels who had apparently just discovered the world outside the nest.


postmodern walking-kindred spirits

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The end of the day. Daniel and Gladys walk ahead of us deep in animated conversation. Standing back and taking these pictures I marveled at the similarity of spirit in these two. Although their earthly packages couldn't be more contrasting (65 year old woman vs nineteen year old male), at their very core they are disciples of christ in its rarest human form. I guess that is why watching them connect was so special. Witnessing how god transcends our trappings is one of those thin place moments.

What a great day.




any given saturday in dc- sept 29

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On any given saturday in dc you may encounter a festival and a protest. This saturday was no exception. The national bookfair was on one end of the mall while an antiwar protest was at the other. We were headed for one of the smithsonian museums. The National Museum of the American Indian.



I am always inspired when we go downtown, and this museum is a favorite. The new exhibit this time was an installation of dresses called Identity by Design

dcsaturday2.jpg Check out the link if you want a walk through. The web version of the exhibit is just as inspiring as the real life (without the crowds). The main thing that struck me about this presentation as well as the museum is the value of being tied to a heritage. While looking at one of the displays, standing next to Bryan, I leaned into him and said, "What is the contemporary american's equivelant to a right of passage."?

All I could think of was getting your driver's license.

Doesn't it seem that cultures that are able to hold on to their heritage seem to have a rich sense of family, community, and grounding? Sometimes I wonder if some of the components of the "american dream", have stripped us of some of our richness in order to be rich.

One display in particular talked about a tribal practice of government(I don't remember which tribe, shame on me) that when making decisions of consequence, the elders always considered the ramifications of their decisions thinking forward to seven generations.


What if we did that? Would our decisions become less self serving? Would we pass on wisdom?


Leaving the museum with lots to think about we made the trek back to the metro.

gladys on the mall


crab night- sept 28, friday

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A visit from Bryan's aunt Gladys prompted an evening in baltimore with Daniel, and an overnight at home for some time to spend together chatting over inconsequential subjects like postmodernism, love, and the end of the world as we know it.

But first we had to have crab.

And if you have ever gone "pickin crab" you know that it is a very messy ritual involving a hammer.

After ordering the number of crab you would like, the waiter brings you a big piece of butcher paper to cover the table and then dumps a bucket full of crabs all over it.

The rest is up to you.

Introducing Aunt Gladys to this maryland tradition, she was more than just a good sport but embraced the experience with fervor. Unlike Daniel (who is normally adventurous when it comes to food) who had to leave the table to get some air. One can get kind of squeamish after the lesson of how to disect the little beasties. Pulling the tab (breastplate) and then popping their top (pulling the shell apart) is hard enough, but removing gills and brains and other such muck to get to the good stuff can sometimes turn an appetite inside out.

I have to admit fighting back the squeems but my big issue was patience.

I just don't want to work that hard for my food.

But putting the work aside, with hammer in hand, once you get a system going it is kind of fun.

And very tasty.

poor little beasties.





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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2007 is the previous archive.

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