Music Thursday: Miserere Mei

Good morning! Today is Music Thursday...not because of any particular musical association with Thursdays, but because I wanted to share a particular song I like. I'm intentional like that.

That song is Miserere Mei, a falsobordone setting(setting being the setting of a psalm to music, falsobordone being a style of musical recitation in the 15th-18th centuries) of Psalm 51, written by Gregorio Allegri around 1638.

I first heard the piece at a local choral concert with a friend--its strong melodies and haunting harmonies stuck in my mind, and I underlined it in the program to look up when I got home. Although I've since listened to it repeatedly, I never knew anything about it until this morning, when I looked it up to share with you.

 Allegri (1582-1652), an Italian priest and composer, wrote the work "on his own time"--or rather, not for a particular commission. Soon, however, his music caught the ear of Pope Urban VIII, who secured an appointment for him in the choi…

A Penny for My Thoughts

Well, I haven't been here since Thanksgiving! And I had planned to write at least one post about the new year and "thundering newness" and other esoteric feelings about 2018 (it's probably better I didn't). Happy March, anyway!

I've been thinking about...

...Amazing new opportunities as a graphic designer at our church. I'm actually a ministry "intern" now, and am shortly starting an Assemblies of God Bible school program (which is combined with the internship). I had looked at this program a couple years ago, but it wasn't the time yet. Now, it is! The Lord has pulled me into a group of awesome people that love Him, and I'm excited to start my first real ministry experience with them.

...How much fun it would be to write a travel blog. But first you have to travel. Hmm.

...Having stripped my phone down to the barest essentials of being a "phone." I'm tired of its technological tyranny over my I deleted every app…

A Quiet Thanksgiving Night

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! It’s a gorgeously clear night out, full of crisp autumn air and starlight from Arizona’s endless sky—a fine benediction on two days of holidaying with family. The last week has been so full of running and doing and talking and dishwashing that I’ve hardly had a chance to actually think about Thanksgiving and what it means. Indeed, I have so much to be thankful for that sometimes it takes my breath away. Here’s a few things that come to mind:
I’m thankful for hot showers, clean clothes, and a soft bed.
I’m thankful for a family that loves me and my multitude of flaws unconditionally—and shows it in practical ways.
I’m thankful for good music that stirs the soul.
I’m thankful for healthy food to strengthen our bodies.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to pursue my chiefest dream of becoming a book illustrator.
I’m thankful for golden sunrises and sparrows picking breakfast off the ground.
I’m thankful for a solid, time-loved house that keeps us warm and dry.

Autumn Days

Autumn has much the same feeling as New Year’s for me, for whatever reason. There seems to be a fresh start, with new winds blowing and the sun shining brighter (which it actually does), and everything changing with the bright colors and dancing leaves.

This autumn, my family’s had lots of lovely new opportunities for friendships and activities (yay Bible studies—so satisfying) to fill our days with, and I’m training to add some new responsibilities at work. Like I said, new things!

What I’ve been appreciating most this season, though, are the absolutely spectacular mornings. Every day, the sun rises with some measure of gold and glory, and christens the day with such beauty as would make you catch your breath. I’m usually at my quiet time when the sun crests the horizon, and it’s like the Lord’s own benediction on our time together.

As you can see, I gave my blog a little facelift (I can now change the header photo to suit my moods). I’ll keep posting some of my random thoughts and …

Little Blessings of Late

Odd as it seems, God's goodness in our lives can be easy to lose sight of. I cringe even saying it, but it's true--between the busyness of each day, we let thankfulness fall in the cracks. So, I'd like to dig it back out and spend a few moments reviewing some of my blessings of the last week.

My wonderful young adults group. It not too small, not too big, filled with people who love the Lord and His Word. We have awesome spiritual discussions, and play games that make us laugh ourselves sick. And we do it every week! It's pretty cool.An impromptu video chat with dear friends I haven't seen in forever. Seriously, there's no pick-me-up like old friends that you miss! It was super spur-of-the-moment, completely unexpected, and so much fun.Doing a quick drawing that just "clicked." Like I was made to do it. And maybe I was.Sticking with my workout program...and seeing results! I've actually lost weight (not necessarily what I was looking for, ha!), bu…

Quick Sketch: Sleepy Dog

My grandfather's art assignment for me the last few weeks (I do bi-weekly art lessons with him, as he is an accomplished southwest landscape painter and has much to share) has been loose contour sketches, like Shari Blaukopf's shown here. In her post, she mentions Charles Reid's "blind contour sketch" approach explained in his Watercolor Solutions—a method that has astonished me in its effectiveness. To put it briefly: keep your eye on the subject, your pen on the paper, and follow the outline (or contour) of the subject, checking occasionally to make adjustments on angle or proportion. I've been amazed at how accurate my drawings have been, while staying loose.

I used that method for the outline of this sketch, and added my own extras for detail and shading. The detail is fun—dipping the pen in from the outline for a quite squiggle that adds dimension and interest. I'll be using this method more in the future!

Materials: Strathmore 5.5" x 8.5"…

My best is yet ahead

Incredibly, it has been over six months since I last posted. And what a full six months they have been!

For those that may not know, my family is caregiving for my widowed paternal grandmother. Caregiving is a journey...and that's the only way to say it. You learn lessons (often hard ones) all the time whether you want to or not--because every day, every action is determined by the next right thing. The last six months have been full of those lessons for my whole family, including my grandmother.

To be perfectly frank, I let myself flounder for much of the last year. Spiritually, physically, I let my personal responsibilities slide and simply did what I felt like doing. I learned so much the hard way through this, but I'm so glad I did:

I am utterly miserable when God is not the focus of my lifeI feel sick inside when I spend too much time on my own entertainmentMy body and mind feel like stagnant ponds in the middle of August when I decide I "don't feel" like ex…

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