Friday, September 01, 2006

Greece and Donkeys

Two years ago, my husband and I went to Greece during the Olympics. We were brought there by a Christian promoter, who wasn’t at all what he said he was or did what he said he would. To see in detail the difficulties go to my husband’s blog

This photo was taken of us riding donkeys on the island of Hydra. Going to this island was us getting away from all that was going on in Athens. Donkeys and horses are the only transportation on Hydra. All mechanical transport isn't allowed on the island at all except the boats that pull into port. It is much quieter that way and slower. You can literally stop and smell the roses, because you are moving so slow.
Going to Athens during the Olympics was a dream come true for us, but we didn't know that it would be one of the worst travel experiences we would ever have nor one of the worst times we have had with a group of Christian artists either and then there were other people on the trip we met because of the donkeys that were amazing individuals. Let's just say the worst people we dealt with I'll call donkeys and those donkeys have actually been a blessing in some ways in the months and years since we went to
They have made both of us think about how we use our music and conduct our lives. How important it is to do what we say we are going to do and follow through. Also, it has made us realize how much isn't important in the scheme of things too. It was our small Olympic trial, but I think in a good way, as we are more cautious and really listen to know what is important in the scheme of things.
I was just thinking about those donkeys and how uncomfortable they were to ride at the time and I think about our trip and how awful it was dealing with "donkeys", but I am glad God took us there to see all the roses along the path. I truly cherish the time in
Athens and I hope I remember that the next time God asks me to ride a donkey. I just hope the donkey isn't sent to get my attention by speaking.

"Book Bound"

I collect experiences on my bookshelf
Dusty and forgotten or neglected
Never read, but purchased with great intention
To excel, succeed, and move beyond this moment's notice
To unstuck my slow footed-soul from its habitual quick-sand
I pick up a title that particularly taunts my sensibilities
Looking over the title page, I find the chapter I most need
Tossing aside an hour, I indulge
Plunging into advice that formulates a new plan of sincere action
I write my list, stick it to my fridge amongst a sea of witnesses,
favorite photos of far away family and friends
Tomorrow I shall write to them about the plan
that will be forgotten by week's end
When the book is misplaced or re-shelved
because the action plan is "in my way" of today's work that "has to be done"
The books look great to those visitors who don't know me
and have time to kill
Perusing my office bookshelf of yesteryear

Written by Sarah 8/26/06

Friday, August 18, 2006

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done...

This is an essay I wrote about a charcoal drawing I did for my church during the lenton season. There were 8 pieces put up in the sanctuary during lent. I have been part of other art projects for my church and they always come at a very profound time where God speaks to me through the creation of the art, I think perhaps more than those who might see it.

Lent is a time of reflection, evaluating, and contemplating what Jesus has done for me and what I can do for him. Also, the theme “Thy Kingdom Come,” to me, is a cry of all Christians for God to have mercy on this world. It is a call “to action” in a way. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus is asking for something better than we have in this imperfect world. I looked up the word “Lent” to see what train of thought that would bring. I was surprised at how many service-oriented words it brought me to, and at how the word mercy kept being brought forward. What mercy does God daily bring us, and how should I practice mercy in my life? What does all this mean?

When Abbie and I began talking about the Lenten project this year, she mentioned that she saw a vision of hard-hitting art pieces that made people think: about people with AIDS (not just in Africa, but all around us); about the high instance of divorce and the havoc it produces in the lives of so many families; about how Christians need to reach out with the love of Jesus to the homosexual community; about how the body of Christ needs to love all people as part of the kingdom. My thoughts turned to local landmarks—something I could use to bring home the idea that God’s kingdom, the place where we need so desperately to serve, is all around us, on earth as it is in heaven. What landmark says Seattle? The Space Needle seemed terribly cliché; Pike Place Market seemed too overdone; and the front of the Lusty Lady downtown would be too distracting in the sanctuary.

I thought about the first sermon in Dan’s series on the hands of God—about how Jesus reached out to the woman caught in adultery. I thought about portraying a modern Jesus in a biker jacket with his back to the viewer, but facing the adulterous woman. She would be like anyone we see every day on the streets of Seattle, and she would be on the ground looking up at him, about to take his hand and get up. I thought she would be outside of an easily recognizable Seattle location. At her feet would be the abandoned weapons of her accusers, and those would range from a gun to a Bible. There would be people watching from the sidelines, talking to each other, and just one other person turned toward Jesus. I was very excited about this idea, and Martin, my husband, suggested a local landmark: one of the dance-step patterns from the sidewalk along Broadway on Capitol Hill. That would convey more than just a location, and really add some punch to what I was trying to depict. We went up to Capitol Hill one night, taking black-and-white photos of street life and all the different dance patterns we could find.

I pinned all the photos on my living room wall, ready to start work. I did some sketches, but nothing was working out. It wasn’t right and I didn’t have the skill to draw what I wanted to portray. So I prayed a lot, staring at my blank piece of paper and playing music that always inspires me. I went back to square one, looking up scripture about mercy, kingdom, and hands. I searched the Internet for pictures matching those keywords. I also looked up the opposites to those themes—dark and painful images —wondering how to bridge the gap. Swords and ripping started appearing to me in forms of the cross along with the dance steps, but it still didn’t seem quite right.

During this time, I also received news that my older brother had been diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer. Unless God’s mercy intervenes soon, he has a limited time to live. It was if a bomb was blowing away my safe environment. As I was looking at all of this, Picasso’s Guernica kept appearing in my mind. Here is a brief history of that famous painting:

On April 27, 1937, unprecedented atrocities are perpetrated on behalf of Franco against the civilian population of a little Basque village in northern Spain. Chosen for bombing practice by Hitler's burgeoning war machine, the hamlet is pounded with high-explosive and incendiary bombs for over three hours. Townspeople are cut down as they run from the crumbling buildings. Guernica burns for three days. Sixteen hundred civilians are killed or wounded.

By May 1, news of the massacre at Guernica reaches Paris, where more than a million protesters flood the streets to voice their outrage in the largest May Day demonstration the city has ever seen. Eyewitness reports fill the front pages of Paris papers. Picasso is stunned by the stark black-and-white photographs. Appalled and enraged, Picasso rushes through the crowded streets to his studio, where he quickly sketches the first images for the mural he will call Guernica. His search for inspiration is over.

After appearing in a Paris fair, Guernica tours Europe and Northern America to raise consciousness about the threat of fascism. Speculations as to the exact meaning of the jumble of tortured images are as numerous and varied as the people who have viewed the painting. There is no doubt that Guernica challenges our notions of warfare as heroic and exposes it as a brutal act of self-destruction. But it is a hallmark of Picasso's art that any symbol can hold many, often contradictory meanings, and the precise significance of the imagery in Guernica remains ambiguous. When asked to explain his symbolism, Picasso remarked, "It isn't up to the painter to define the symbols. Otherwise it would be better if he wrote them out in so many words! The public who look at the picture must interpret the symbols as they understand them."

With pictures of Guernica and the dance patterns of Capitol Hill now tacked to my wall, and a heart longing for God’s kingdom to come sooner than later, I began to draw. Picasso’s painting has always made me weep, and those things I chose to mimic from it make me weep today for justice and for God’s mercy to rain down. The dance of life goes on, with all kinds of atrocities happening daily. We do learn to “mambo” around some of the worst things happening. However, the hands at the top belong to Jesus, whose shed blood rips through our lives with a blinding, healing light. Eternal life sheds a different light on how we spend our lives. One day Jesus will rip down the final curtain between this life and His kingdom. God takes what seems black and white and paints it with his color. His bleeding hands, and the blood he shed for us, heal us no matter what bomb rips through our lives.

Papa Father,

We ask for your mercy to pour down on our lives. Heal us, we pray. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Dr. Thomas Scott Walton 1957-2006

I haven't written for a while, because I've been bound up in a life drama of my big brother battling for his life. He lost the battle to colon cancer June 23, 2006 but I do believe he is in Heaven now pain free. I will miss him and do miss him very much.

I'm not sure what to say about this man who had the room across the hall from me in our house growing up. He was second oldest of five and I am the youngest. He was a man that I only had begun to know now that we were grown up. He is the guy who knew how to push my buttons to tease me and loved to get me all stirred up. He was in medicine and said he didn't understand my artistic nature, yet he loved music and taught himself guitar. He had a little girl with his wife five years ago and has always urged me to have a child with my husband. He was so proud that I had a little boy last year. He worried and fussed over all his siblings and when our Mom died he took her place in a way that we all complained about, but secretly loved, because his fusses showed us how much he cared.

He was a great brother, husband, and father. I miss you Dr. Tummy Tom. Give Mom a kiss for me.

Relatives and friends are welcome to send flowers or make contributions on-line to cancer research in honor of Thomas S. Walton, M.D. to or call 1-800-ACS-2345.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Life insurance?

Last night our friend Tim came over who happens to be an insurance salesman. He has talked to us for years just mentioning that anytime we want life insurance to just say the word and he'll be over. We finally decided or my husband finally was worn down about the subject or perhaps because of events this year, he sees things in a diffrent light, I know I do. Youth gives you an invinicible exterior and it is hard not to think of yourself as young. But this year, has been a challenge to my youthful outlook.
I had my first child, but was in the "high risk" age range for it and was frightened about it because there were so many things that could go wrong. Then my child came and he is so beautiful, but so vunrable and we want to protect him. Then one of my sisters came down with ovarian cancer and my brother was diagnosed with stomach and colon cancer at stage 4 and he was only 48 years old when he passed away in June. Then we've had two friends loose loved ones to leukemia, a daughter age 19 and a father of 6 age 48. Another friend struggles with leukemia, disabled for 5 years now. All this adds up and begs the question of what is predictable? Is there any real life insurence?
Not really on this earth. The only life insurence we can have is assurence in God and his kingdom. Sometimes that is very comforting and at other times it is deeply disturbing.

I know not what of good or ill may be reserved for me, Of weary ways or golden days, before his face I see. But I know whom I have believed and am pursuded that he is able to keep that which I've commited unto him aganinst that day.
From the old hymn "I Know Whom I Have Believed"

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Profundity Takes a Vacation

I often have profound thoughts when it comes to other people's blogs, sermons, or plays, but today in actually starting a blog I am stunned by the blank screen of my computer. I called this Strawberry Sneezes because that is what my 10 month old son kept doing this morning during breakfast sneezing out his strawberries as he tried to get down his yougurt.
He works so hard at everythig, because everything is so new. Things I don't even think about any more like eating becomes a serious endevor for him. Perhaps I should think more about what I eat and how questioning every bite, like a 10 month old often does, would do me a lot of good. I choose more healthy fare for him than I often do for myself.
I am concerned about his beginning of life getting off to a good start. Why don't we ever contemplate the middle of life continuing to be good as the start? That is where I am today, trying to make the middle really, really great by starting over with my ground in bad habits, stretching for my far off desires and dreams.
I am an artist, mother, wife, and friend. I can see middle-age approaching fast and wonder how I got where I am and how to go forward fantastically. This is the Skeleton Scoots part---getting my old bones to dance to a new tune. If you want to see a really accomplished blogger, go to my husband's blog spot: