Category Archives: The Arts

God created us to reflect Him through the arts

Pasta, Please!

It’s a cold, cold day.

Snow has exceeded the weatherman’s predictions. I measured the snow on the railing of my back deck. Eight inches.

But, praise God, I don’t have to go anywhere today. I can hole up and spend the whole day writing.

Yay!

I’m making a pasta dish for dinner tonight. It’s my favorite comfort food dish when the weather is blustery.

I don’t have pasta very often. The amount that my dietician thinks is a serving is pitiful.

But this pasta dish is for days like today.

Wanna see the recipe? I call it “Pasta, Please!”

Here it is:

One pound mild Italian sausage

One half chopped onion.

I cup chopped red pepper (or yellow or green)

About 2 tsp. of Italian seasoning.

One tsp garlic powder or two to three chopped cloves of garlic.

Large jar of tomato pasta sauce.

Half a cup of chopped black olives.

Your choice pasta.

All of the ingredients can be adjusted per your taste. Break up the sausage and brown with the onions and red peppers in a pan. Or throw all in the crock pot. Drain off extra fat. When the sausage and vegies are browned, throw all the other ingredients in. Cover and cook on low in crockpot for about four hours, or in a covered pan for about an hour. Stir every so often. Serve over pasta.

(I love to do this in the crockpot because the aroma permeates the house and makes me feel cozy.)

What’s your favorite comfort dish?

 

 

 

Panic Attacks

Years ago I suffered a bout of panic attacks.

I was under great stress and several very hard things had happened to me within a few months.

The attacks came on suddenly. One day, I thought I was handling all my stresses with godly strength. The next day, wham!

Of course, being a musician, the first attack had to happen when I was playing in church for about 500 people. I felt like someone had sneaked up behind me as I played and bludgeoned me with a sledgehammer of impending death.

Many Christians try to spiritualize panic and anxiety. And I suppose there is in any illness an aspect of spiritual illness. After all, we humans have all inherited Sin.

But, like the flu, or cancer, or diabetes, etc. our brains are just as susceptible to illness as our bodies.

The treatment for me during those challenging months of panic was threefold:

  1. Cling to Jesus like I’d never clung before.
  2. See a counselor
  3. Over-expose myself to the things that trigger a panic attack.

I started by stepping outside the house. Then walking down the street. Then getting in the car and driving somewhere…anywhere. Finally, stepping inside my church. Seems so simple. But for the sufferer of panic, it’s not.

After many months of talk therapy, prayer, and forcing myself to stand in front of an audience, the fear became manageable.

When I had my first panic attack, I thought, “What the Sam Hill is this?!!

Later, I had conversations with many women (far more women than men suffer with this condition) and discovered how common anxiety and panic attacks are.

After I recovered, the Lord began to put a thought in my head: why not write about your experience, using a fictionalized character and set her in a wilderness adventure?

Show how the character’s faith in the Lord helped her. How she used a particular kind of organized and supervised therapy in the wilderness to help her face her fear. Then, throw in a very frightening situation—being stalked by a dangerous and delusional man—and show how her therapy and her faith helps her conquer even that kind of fear.

I finished writing the novel. It semi-finaled in a national writer’s contest. A wonderful agent picked it up. It’s close to being published.

Now I wonder, how many women readers IMG_1687who’ve struggled with any kind of fear will be interested in this kind of suspense novel? Would you be interested?

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree, planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought, and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jer. 17:8 NIV Bible)

Wednesday’s Word

Today’s Word is:

Badinage, noun

Pronounced: bah-din-ahzh

Definition: humorous or playful ridicule

I think I like “badinage” as much as last week’s word, “acerbic.”

Did you try to use “acerbic” in a sentence?

Here’s mine: “My English teacher’s acerbic manner made most of us students shrink from answering questions in class.”

 

The Sound of Music

 

In my college days, a talented cellist lived next door. He used to practice excerpts from a Rachmaninoff symphony, over and over. Beautiful.

Years ago Bruce and I lived in a subdivision in Crystal Lake, Illinois. The friendly neighbors next to us had hung wind chimes in their back porch. During breezy days, the chimes made their mysterious music. To this day, whenever I hear wind chimes I think of those early days when my kids were babies, and smile.

In Longmont, when the children were in grade school, a large cottonwood shed shade and leaves in our backyard. In the fall, while its leaves still clung to the branches, the sound of the foliage in the wind resembled a kind of rhythmic applause.

In Paradise, California, a pair of owls hoo-hooed to each other across our backyard in a nightly love song.

Living in Estes Park,the community chorus of coyotes serenaded us almost every midnight.

Now we live close to interstates and major traffic arteries. The other night a truck zoomed down a nearby highway. Its speed seemed to send shockwaves of undulating pitches. My husband said, “Do I hear music?”

“No, it’s just a truck.”

But it did indeed sound like music. My brain and my husband’s brain both recognized the alternating sounds as an unwavering drone pitch surrounded by two higher pitches which seemed to hide, then emerge, then hide again within the drone.

I marveled that God has so ingrained music into the human brain that even random pitches or rhythms are collected, comprehended and arranged into some kind of musical order. Wind chimes, coyotes, applauding leaves, musical trucks.

The other day a friend on Facebook sent me a link to listen to the sounds of crickets. Whoever had recorded the crickets had slowed down the the speed of the sound waves. The result sounded like a heavenly choir. Now, granted, the “choir” was a bit repetitious, but my mind immediately comprehended the sounds in an orderly, rhythmic sense.

Why do we humans do that? I can only speculate that our ability for making and enjoying music is somehow connected with our brains’ hardwiring for language.

Both require a capacity to hear sounds while placing beats in categorized and anticipated sequence, translating sounds into meaning, responding physically to the rhythm, and responding emotionally to the meanings we construct from the sounds.

It’s amazing that we can do that.

Thank You, Lord, for the sounds of music!

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;

let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

Let us come before Him with thanksgiving

and extol Him with music and song. ” (Psalm 95: 1,2 NIV Bible)