LeAnne Martin
Beauty and the Beholder

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Dance

On Sunday, our church launched a new arts series. The service had almost every type of fine art represented, including dance. Two wonderful dancers, who are also my friends, performed to a song called "Perfume." They use their bodies to praise and worship God, the Creator of the human body. Each of them have been dancing their whole lives. One of my favorite things about seeing them dance is they smile throughout the performance. The beauty of the dance given in worship, along with the beauty of their smiles, add a special and meaningful element to the service every time.

My daughter took dance when she was in preschool. She and her fellow ballerinas were so cute in their tutus, it was almost painful--I knew those precious moments would not last forever. And they didn't, of course. She quit dance at the end of pre-K.

At our house now, dance involves the two of us boogie-ing to her music in her room and an occasional freestyle shuffle/tango that ends with me dipping her in the finale. Which reminds me, we haven't done that in a while. I'm going to suggest it after school today. After all, moments like that will not last forever.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Marking Grief

Just a quick note to say thank you to Peg Phifer over at Writer to Reader for the special recognition award for Beauty and the Beholder. Here's what she says:

I try to find unique content that touches me, blesses me, or even challenges me. Yours was a warm and inviting place to spend a few minutes. Thank you for that.

You can read the feature here.

The other day, my friend, Nancy Ring, had an interesting post on her blog, Anchors, Signposts, and Wanderings, about creative ways to mark grief. She asked: "Is there a loss in your life that you would like to honor by creating something? What would you create?"

This is not something I created, but it's a created thing that I shared. At each house where I've lived, I've planted a tree in memory of my first baby and in honor of my second baby, who is now nine years old. It's a wonderful feeling to plant and nurture a beautiful thing for such a purpose--reminders of how precious life is and what a gift our loves ones are.

The first trees were pink cherries. The second pair at the second house were pink dogwoods. They were all beautiful and they bloomed early, reminding me that winter was over and spring was arriving. An ongoing metaphor for my life at the time.

I haven't planted trees at our current house yet, because we want to make a landscape plan first. We will do it, though. Maybe this year?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Beauty of the Moon

The last few weeks, the sun has been rising a little earlier, so when we leave the house for school, there's a bit of light to guide us. Yesterday, as we drove down our street, we saw the moon big and full just ahead. It had a haze around it, which reminded me of the fog a couple of weeks ago. It was so beautiful. I don't tend to think about the moon until I see it, but if it weren't there, I would miss it.

The beauty and mystery of the moon have inspired many people to write songs about it, or about love under the moon, or a longing for love under the moon, or even "I have nobody except the moon." Songs like "Blue Moon," "It's Only a Paper Moon," "Dancin' in the Moonlight," "Carolina Moon," "Moon River and Me", "Moonlight and Roses." These songs make me think of romance, and of Valentine's Day on Saturday.

Then there's "Fly Me to the Moon," which makes me think of The Flintstones, where I first heard Fred sing the song to Wilma. Now that was romantic.

For fun, I looked up some quotes about the moon and of course there are scores of them. Here are a few favorites:

“I like to think that the moon is there even if I am not looking at it.” Albert Einstein

“See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...we need silence to be able to touch souls.”  Mother Teresa of Calcutta

“Beauty is a form of genius - is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts in the world like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark water of that silver shell we call the moon.”  Oscar Wilde

“When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator.” Mahatma Gandhi
“The moon, like a flower
In heaven's high bower,
With silent delight
Sits and smiles on the night.”
William Blake
And finally, a blessing for you: “May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and a smooth road all the way to your door.” Irish Blessing

Monday, February 2, 2009

25 Random Memories of Beauty

I'm posting a little early this week. I had lots of fun pulling this together. Hope you enjoy reading it.

Here's a list of 25 random memories of beauty that I love:

1. daily sunrise over the trees outside my bedroom window
2. that memorable sunset one summer night at my old house that had the best view in the neighborhood
3. my dog sailing through the air, her ball in her mouth
4. the view of the Alps from the first-class train in Switzerland
5. strolling the gardens at CS Lewis' home, The Kilns, in England with my husband, who loves Lewis as much as I do
6. my first deer sighting: the baby that stood silhouetted in front of my subdivision sign, surrounded by yummy pansies
7. the cheesecake last Friday night; the "braided" white and milk chocolate sauce was art on the plate (it tasted fabulous too)
8. the moments in front of Monet's Water Lilies that started my pursuit of art and beauty
9. the blue and purple hydrangea blossoms on the tables at my friend's July wedding; she was beautiful too
10. Handel's Messiah performances
11. the redwoods, tall and majestic
12. the wild sea at Carmel
13. the desolation and the promise of Mt. St. Helens
14. the surprise snowfall last January that actually stuck around for a few days
15. the orchid house at the botanical gardens
16. our wedding
17. butterflies as big as my hand landing on our butterfly bushes
18. the pink cherry and dogwood trees I planted for my babies
19. the large, vibrant Jar of Clay painting we bought for our 1st anniversary
20. the pears painting too
21. the Oxford Symphony Orchestra performing classical favorites
22. last year's performance of Cotton Patch Gospel at Theatrical Outfit
23. this line from Big River, the musical based on Huck Finn: "considerable joy, considerable sorrow"
24. the wild rose vine in the dogwood tree down the street from my parents' home
25. favorite books read and re-read like The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

What are some of your favorite memories of beauty? Please leave a comment and let me know.

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