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“Elections are the dance of democracy.” –Dan Rather

Every election is not simply a choice between candidates – it is also a test of American democracy.

2020 has been a tough year for sure.  The good news is that we don’t have to close it out with chaos, distrust or disappointment.  We are not just Republicans or Democrats, for both parties must support all of the people for they are elected by the people in secret ballot. 

We are Americans and Americans are resilient.  Let’s take these last few weeks of 2020 and show our resilience by putting our fear in one hand, our faith in the other, and clasp them together in prayer for the courage to be the honorable, caring people that built the United States into a county that is loved and respected.

As we cast our votes, we do well to remember that there is no one perfect candidate.  Everyone is flawed; me and you included.  Here is my own platform that drove my vote for this election and is neither red nor blue, but perhaps shades of each.

Please consider your own platform, uncritically, with courage that comes from faith, not from enemies or media.  Our current political issues today are nothing new.  It would do us well to study history.  The election of 1968 is worth the study about the danger of not understanding basic human wants and needs.  The difference in today’s election is that 2020 is so more than a passage of 52 years.  I won’t point out the differences.  That is for you, the reader, to determine—check it out. 

Instead, I will share precious times of the day, walks with my dog, Teddie, where we experience the glorious mixture of babies in strollers being pushed along by their parents.  There are people jogging, talking on their cell phones, and those enjoying the outdoors. 

It is a mixture of races, ages, cultures, and beliefs.  There is Jan who proudly displays her shaven head.  She just finished chemo treatment.  There are the two mothers who take turns home schooling their children with hilarious results that they will tell years from now.  There is the young media journalist who only wants to escape from the written page and smell the air and watch as the fall leaves swirl around him, inhaling the freedom of this moment.  We all smile, say hello, and if we are very lucky, we get to pet their dog.  This is the America I believe in. 

There are infants that have just opened their eyes to a world that will be of their making, a shining light on the future.  There are those who have just closed their eyes, free from earthly worries. But with faith gained from their first awakening, they will preserve the life that they lived in such a way that they left the world a better place for those to come, than they found it.

Let us be in thoughts and prayer today for the courage to humbly accept the will of the vote, and that doesn’t mean ruminating that our vote didn’t count or that it only counts for me.  All votes send a message to every political party.  It is this: regardless of win or lose, the power lies with the will of all the people they serve.  A vote is a powerful reminder of that.

This morning I clasped my hands tightly together and prayed for our county that we all have the courage to do what Americans do best; that we all see each other with an empathetic mind and a loving heart.

I pray there will be no destructive disappointment or destructive celebration.  Instead, let’s join hands, virtually or in person, and be the salt of our nation and preserve what we stand for; let us be the light of unity.

Peace be with the United States of America, one nation under God.

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?  It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:13-16  KJV                                                          \

A Kernel of Respect

…can improve everything!


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
— 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

The current phrase of “Let’s Make America Great Again” has taken on a very different definition than what the words actually mean, depending on your viewpoint.  Today’s post is NOT a political blog.  It is one, I hope, of thoughtful deliberation.

People seem to measure life in a sequence of events: birth, childhood, adulthood, old age and death.  It is the connection of life events throughout these stages that define what we actually do to make our family, friends, neighbors, community, city or town, state, country and the world great – by our own individual actions.

An approach might be to view things from your own personal perspective and where you are in life and ask yourself “how can I make life great?”  You don’t need the word again – the fact that we breathe in and we breathe out already does that.

My method for myself, as a most flawed individual, is to do more than just breathe.  I’m a simple person and approach life with a simple outlook, primarily through these three things.

  1.  Demonstrate my faith.  Regardless of your choice of faith, or non-faith, this is not hard to do.  Respect. Kindness. It is simply helping others even when you don’t want too or don’t have time. Often this is made difficult because of the voices screaming to follow one path – their path.  While that may ultimately be the case, show respect for yourself.  Vetting it out will create an inner peace that will shine through your actions and help others return that respect.
  2. Stop and think.  Suspend any bias while you allow your mind to free flow without external noise.  What is the root of the issue? Why is it an issue?  Look at all sides.  Respect your own ability to reason, your own spirit to respect, and your own heart to love.  Find a point of collaboration – I promise you, this point exists. 
  3. That old expression, sometimes you have to go slow to go fast, is still true.  Rushing to action without going through steps 1 and 2, is fraught with heartache and can be damaging.  If I could have a do over for my rushing mistakes, knowing what I know now,  peace would be mine.  Peace doesn’t only come from regretting mistakes.  It comes from forgiveness.  When I learned to forgive, whether from someone asking for it or from my letting go of old hurts, I finally understood that I too could be forgiven.

In your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.  — 1 Peter 3:15

Kernels are…

Kernels are seeds we plant as we journey through life, from season to season.”





We leave kernels behind like tracks in the sand that show our past seasons; but, like sand near the ocean, the seasons of wind and water erase them.  They become bittersweet memories or just bitter memories, leaving scars.  They come in the form of words, actions, behaviors, thoughts, emotions, intentions and often, ‘un-intentions’.

Each Wednesday, here on my blog, Sparklers: Lights of Grace, you will rise and shine, greeted by my ‘something to think about’ Wednesday blog called, Sparklers Garden:  Kernels of….  My greatest hope is that by planting our kernels we will reset our view about whatever season we are traveling in. 

A Kernel of Faith

A kernel of faith is all you need to get through the ups and downs of life’s many seasons.  Right?

Some seasons are crystal clear. The sky is blue, the varying hues of nature crisp and the heart is bursting with the joy of it all – we see it. For this, we give thanks with all our heart and soul.

But, sometimes it can be so bright that all you see is what’s right in front of you.  This makes it hard to know where the blessings came from, therefore making it easy to feel invincible. 

Meanwhile other seasons can be a mist of pain and darkness where there is no up, no down, and no side to side.

Either of these causes life to lose its luster.  Either also makes the world seem flat.  Our steps try to go backward to a bright and easy season in our life.  But, those footprints are gone and we eventually collide with a big rubber wall that bounces us right back to the present.

Our season may be murky.  We run to the right — smack into a hard wall. We try it again with a slightly different direction, ziz-zagging our way to the left, then to the right as if we can fool life into a different season.

There’s no fooling the seasons of life, so again we smack into a wall, this time staggering upright, bruises and all.  The only direction left is forward, but the swirling mist hides what waits for us there. Scary, huh?

Perhaps, much like the long ago theory that the earth is flat, our life too has become flat.  If we go forward, we might just step off the edge.  Then what?  Well, when a season in life changes, there’s no way to go back.  It’s also impossible to remain still. Stagnation becomes a living death. 

Moving into the next season is the only option.  But that’s scary.  It’s going to take courage and we can’t find it in the fog that surrounds us. Where can this much courage be found? 

Listen. 

Listen and hear those words in your head – the two words that provide direction. Those words are, “you know”. 

You know to raise your hands to heart level – yes both at the same time.  In one you speak your fear; in the other you speak your faith; both of the unknown facing you.  Then you put them together, clasped in prayer, releasing fears by giving them to God – and don’t even think about taking them back (remember that rubber wall?).

This is when the grace of courage is given.  Works every time –  in His timing.

************

  It’s hard to to see evidence of faith in times like these when the entire world seems flat.  Let’s grow this Sparkler Garden! 

Please, share your own Kernel of… in the comments section in hopes that your kernel will touch at least one person reading it, and that one person is changed and in the doing, will provide a kernel that will grow in someone else. 

Luke 8:11

“Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.”

You know.

Words

bill cover

Family is a dichotomy of love and hate – especially true in the relationships of siblings.  Both emotions are steered by the conditions of their lives as they grow up.  There were six of us children, growing up as “army brats”.  That meant that every two years we moved to a new state.  As a result, we became each others best friends because we had to depend one-on-the-other to be the constant in our lives during our formative years.

Then as we grew up we drifted into forming individual lives, only coming together as a family unit on holidays.  That is until life began to bring us back to those feelings from our childhood when we were the only ones who recognized and who truly understood what the others were feeling.  It is those very feelings that cause us to join in God’s word in Isaiah 40:1 “‘Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’ says your God”  bringing forth the unconditional comfort of family.

Today, my guest blogger is my oldest brother, Bill.  When we were kids, he let me stay up late and watch The Twilight Zone with him on Friday nights, followed by those scary Godzilla movies on Saturday mornings, and laughed with me while watching Bugs Bunny cartoons, enabling me to face fear with the knowledge that better times always come.   When I was only nine and weighed 75 pounds, a bully at school stomped my foot, causing me to cry.  The next day at school, Bill walked up to the bully, stomped the bully’s foot and said, “Don’t ever do that to my sister again!”  And the bully never did, nor any other bully because words do get around.

Bill is the one who, when I was home with a very bad case of the flu, signed me up for cheerleader tryouts; not something I had even considered.  He then became my campaign manager by again signing me up to run for student council – also not on my “bucket list”.  He helped me write the words to my campaign speeches and encouraged me to reach all the way to my toenails and to pull up the courage to share them in front of the student body (I was very shy).  Imagine my surprise when I succeeded at both and both are two of my best high school memories.

He is the one, as I struggled with the decision to go to college after getting married said, “Just try it.  Take one class, make it your favorite subject – and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to go back.  You just need to know what it’s like.”  As usual, he knew me better than I knew myself.  Not only did I graduate cum laude from his favorite – The University of Alabama, I went on to obtain my Masters Degree.

He is the one who is calm in the storms of our lives as siblings today – all with words of peace, faith and hope, – and a whole lot of prayer.  I want to share the words of this man who backs them up with actions, making a difference.

 

BillWords by Bill Brewer

“I guess, just about everyone has heard the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I, for one, have never embraced this saying, because words do have meanings and they do have consequences.

What if you had printer in your home and as you went through each day each word you spoke was printed from the printer, page by page? What would be there for you read when you got home? Would you share it with everyone or just shred it?

Then, what if for one day each word that you spoke would travel across the screen of all television sets in your hometown? Could you then go out and walk in public with your head held high? Or would you hide and only come out when it was dark?

In a spiritual way, each word we speak appears on the screen of God’s television. When each of us talk to people we meet each day, we should always strive to use words that God would approve of.  Always remember that a word of kindness and encouragement, especially to a child, could give hope to a person that had none before, or give that child the needed encouragement to excel.

A single kind word or act to someone close to you, or even to a stranger, could show them that someone cares. So as you start each day ask yourself. “What will my printer say about me today?” But more importantly, when the day ends, we need to ask ourselves, “What would Jesus say about the words we spoke today?”

Bill, husband to Kathy, father to two daughters and grandfather to five grandchildren, brother, friend, veteran, refers to himself as “Just a God loving country boy.”

And so he is.

 

Happy Fall Y’all

What's that leaf doing here? It wasn't here a minute ago!
What’s that leaf doing here? It wasn’t here a minute ago!

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.” 

– Corrie Ten Boom

Every New Year kick-starts us by focusing our attention on new beginnings. Spring then propels us to a time of renewal, while Summer slows us down as we enter those “lazy, crazy days” of fun and relaxation. As we enter Fall, I begin to wonder:  What were my New Year’s resolutions? Did my spring cleaning get done? Did my “bikini weight loss goal” happen?

Some would say Fall is a time of cooler weather, football rivalries, comfort foods like soup and chili, the smell of burning leaves or of wood smoldering in a fireplace. Crazy Halloween costumes and treats or tricks are only days away while gathering with family and friends to give thanks for our country over a feast of golden brown turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, with a pumpkin pie finale is weeks away. The Christmas season has begun making its advancing presence felt, although it is months away.

Each day I accompany my dog Teddie on his twilight walks, with the sun either peeking over the horizon of the trees as it brings forth the dawn of a new day, or its descent teasing us with a gentle, albeit, restless reminder that the day is coming to a close. Teddie exudes glee with either time. Head down, he walks as fast as those little legs will carry him, nose to the ground searching out something elusive. Other times, he chases birds, or bunnies. or squirrels and with what purpose, I do not know. His walks are his own and the one thing I have come to realize is this: he is in the moment with the importance and enjoyment of that moment only. It is his moment and it is up him to do with it what he will.

For me, Fall is a season of reflection that usually occurs during those twilight walks with Teddie. Two seasons gone; did I do the right things –  those which are only important in this moment and on this day? Life is happening right now. Did I laugh out loud when Teddie ran after that bird that teased him into a chase? Whether this moment right now is joyful or sad, hurting or healing, the important thing to reflect on is in the knowing that everything changes. Life happens in the moment and if we fail to be in the moment with life, then we simply miss it.

What has happened then becomes a memory, often leaving us changed. What will we do with those changes? What will be is YET to be; leave the excitement or the worry for then. Be here now. Stop and look at the vibrant, as well as the muted colors of nature in the fall – both have purpose. Inhale the crispness of the morning air and feel the remaining warmth of the fleeting afternoons that are not yet willing to let summer go.

Nature grows older, but no less beautiful as it prepares for what is to be. Life grows shorter as the moments pass. That is our destiny. So for now, let time take care of itself.

In this moment do good things. Be kind to yourself and be kind each other and remember to pray. Laugh with others, cry with others, care for others – but make life count in this moment.

Lights of Grace:
Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

Squeeze Life Out of Every Second Because You Never Know When the Clock Will Stop Ticking! by Pastor Mic Barnett

Pastor Mic Barnett“You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).
I love the fall season with its brilliant colors, crisp air and the smell of football in the air. I feel so much more alive, getting up on these early mornings and walking out to the truck, the cool air hitting my face. I then travel to work through Horns Valley and Chandlers Springs into Clay County in beautiful central Alabama. It is twenty or so miles of pristine, brightly colored rolling hills and deep valleys. Many mornings, heading East, I can see the beautiful red and orange colors of the sun trying to peek through the dense fog as I drive in and out of valleys into the countryside. I have lived all over the world but this little piece of paradise is special and tranquil. Some mornings I just want to keep driving and not stop at work because of the beauty God paints for me each morning. So majestic and powerful are the colors that it sometimes blinds me with its beauty and takes my breath away. I know many who cannot see and I am amazed that God would bless me to have the sight to be able to see His beauty.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 1 Corinthians 2:9

I don’t know if it is me getting a little long in the tooth or getting wiser, I try, but often fail, to enjoy each day as if it is my last. I notice the things and the people around me more than when I was younger and running a hundred miles an hour. I call it “living in the moment”. Let me explain my change in thinking.

A little over 10 years ago, I had my first stroke. I woke up that morning assuming it would be like any other day. While taking a shower, I realized it might not. I was having a problem standing up straight. I went on to work, made an appointment to see my doctor (wife wouldn’t stop bugging me about getting an appointment) and went about my daily business. When the doctor said, “You have had a stroke and I will be admitting you into the hospital immediately” I was stunned. This could not be happening to me. I’m in great shape. This is supposed to happen to someone else!

As I lay in that hospital bed that night with my wife, Dot, sleeping in a chair beside my bed, I looked at her for a long time, appreciating her for all she had done for me over the years and forgiving me for all the wrong I had done. I asked myself, “Does she know how much I appreciate her and love her?”

What if I had another stroke before she woke up and I didn’t get a chance to tell her? I reached over and touched her arm and quietly said, “I love you with all my heart and appreciate everything you do. I just wanted you to know.”
I felt a huge weight roll off my shoulders. I then started to evaluate my whole life and wondered if I had done everything I was put on this earth to do. I realized then that many opportunities to touch other people and to truly appreciate this thing called life had passed me by. I had been too busy living life to truly LIVE life. From that time on I’d like to think I am different and I do cherish people and the years, months, days and every second God has given me as a gift.

I guess since that day God has given me a new perspective. I take time now to enjoy everything and everyone that crosses my path. I say, “I love you” a lot more than before and I do things now that it might not look cool but I do it anyway. I’ll get down in the dirt with my grand-kids and not care how dirty I get. I laugh hard now not caring how I sound. Most of my hair has waved good bye over the years, but that doesn’t bother me either. God has a wonderful way of talking to us, if we will only listen.

At one time, having male pattern baldness really bothered me, having that round spot on the back of my head reached down deep into my vanity but then something happened that stopped it from mattering. One day our second grandchild, a beautiful little girl of six months, was sitting on my shoulders and I noticed she had put her hands right in that bald spot. I moved her hands to see what she would do and she put them right back in that spot. They were a perfect fit! I almost cried. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Now do you know why you have that spot? It is so your grandkids have a place to put their small hands when they are on your shoulders.” Wow! My male pattern baldness doesn’t bother me any longer needless to say.

Living with the certain knowledge that your life is fragile and limited is different than just living. Things here are passing away. You’ve got to hold on to what will stand. Savor what matters. Showing love to your fellow man will last forever.
A few years ago I tried this principle out. It was Christmas time, Dot and I were in the toy section of a local WalMart. Talk about a mess; toys were everywhere!

A young clerk was on her hands and knees frantically trying to pick up and re-organize her department. No sooner than she’d clean up one area, kids would come through and mess it up again. From the other end of the aisle, I saw her just sit on the floor with her shoulders slumped over. She was in deep despair.

I knew then why I was there. It wasn’t just to shop for gifts, but to uplift someone. I walked down the aisle and said, “Miss, thank you for keeping this section organized because if you did not, no one could find anything. Merry Christmas.”
The young lady looked up at me and said, “Thank you. Merry Christmas to you, too.” Her face had changed from a deep scowl to a smile, all because of a few kind words that didn’t cost me time nor money. Kindness and love are amazing aren’t they? They are a great tool against sadness and depression.

Life Is Short. Eternity Is Long. Live Like It.

Surely God means for our minutes on earth to count for something significant.
You will exist forever. How long doesn’t matter. How you live does! Time is precious.

Psalm 31:19 Oh how great is your goodness, which you have laid up for them that fear you…

Squeeze Life out of Every Second by making those seconds count!

Driven to Distraction

I am excited, once again, to have Pastor Mic as a guest blogger.  He’s a regular man, walking his faith, and telling his truth.  His blog, Driven to Distraction, is a good old fashioned reminder that God loves us enough to do what any good parent does, provide caution when needed.  After reading his blog my epiphany is that God is not a rock star.  We don’t need that “backstage pass” to get to know Him.  We don’t have to wait for death to give us a better life.  He is with us, this day, this moment, right where we are.  His sparkles of grace are all around us!

                    ===============================================

John 8:12King James Version (KJV) 12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Football season is here! This means less yard work, summer vacations are over, and that new sixty inch television will be able to display all its HD magic! The important thing to remember is – no distractions.

I drive to work every morning through the beautiful countryside of eastern Alabama with its rolling hills and valley. With that beauty, comes also rain and fog that hovers in the valleys. Many times I have to slow down and use my fog lights so I can see better and to keep me from running off the road into a ditch or over a cliff. This morning was one of those mornings and as I drove I thought “That’s the way the Lord is”. He brightens our path. When the storms of this life rolls in like a thick fog and our lives are filled with rain, He will light our path with His written word or a word of encouragement from another Christian that will illuminate our path with His love, keeping us out of the ditches of this world and taking us safely home.

I just got back from an HR conference in Orange Beach and one of the classes I attended was entitled “Driven to Distraction”. The class was all about how we as drivers are distracted by so many things other than what we are supposed to be doing – driving. The instructor talked about the dangers of not focusing on the road and the vehicles around us. Most of the distractions were obvious such as being on the phone, texting, changing the radio, putting on make- up and passengers. He explained how dangerous it is to be distracted. As I sat there I started thinking about the spiritual aspect of this subject. As Christians, we too are driven to distractions that can take our eyes off the Christian road.

1. TV
2. Facebook
3. Sports
4. Shopping
5. Work
6. Hobbies

I’m not going to elaborate on each one and how it can distract us. I’m sure you can look at each one and KNOW how it can distract us can’t you?

I’m not talking about not doing any of this; everything in moderation. With football season starting, I think you know what I mean!

Making use of the most widely read guide book, the Bible, will help us with avoiding the pitfalls of distractions. It is a “cautionary tale”, it’s purpose to help us “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”(Philippians 3:14).

Did you ever notice how much of life is full of warnings and cautions? You can’t drive anywhere without seeing something that’s a direct warning or caution, or at the very least, a law or a limit with an implied warning.

Speed limits are an example. They’re an implied warning that if you drive over that limit, you can be ticketed, or get yourself hurt, or hurt someone else…. that’s why we have limits.

There are road hazard warnings. The road narrows ahead – move over or you’ll run out of pavement. There are all kinds of warnings in life.

Most products we purchase have labels warning about improper use. I found a great list of these kinds of warnings. Believe it or not, these are all real. Here’s a few:

– A fishing lure, with a warning that reads: harmful if swallowed.

– A warning label found on a baby stroller cautions the user to “Remove child before folding”

– A cardboard car sun-shield that keeps sun off the dashboard warns, “Do not drive with sunshield in place”

We can laugh about these and think who would be foolish enough to need such warnings?

But apparently someone did something goofy enough or some lawyer thinks someone is or will be foolish enough to actually drive with the sunshade in place.

Then of course, we often hear about warnings that go unheeded and the sometimes very serious consequences of these things that aren’t at all funny.

For example, how often have we heard the clear warning: “don’t drink and drive?”
But then how often do you hear or read of a drunk driver who causes an accident that kills someone.

Focusing on warnings or admonitions can help us know the difference when making choices that hurt or help ourselves and others. Cautions and warnings can be our friends. They exist to keep us well. Sometimes they exist to keep us alive.

The same is true of our life in Christ. While we rely completely on the grace of God, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for our eternal destiny, we Christians sometimes do things to mess up our lives on earth.

We can all think of things we’ve done or not done, things we’ve seen others do or not do, things that had at least some short-term negative consequences or often even long-term or life-altering consequences.

The Word of God is first and foremost is a story of how Jesus lived a life worthy of eternal salvation, as it details His plans for our eternal salvation. It is a guide that helps us focus on making us better and in the doing, makes our world better.

For, it’s not just a book full of caution and warning. The readings helps us understand how we can live Godly lives for Him and in doing that, escape the consequences of what we’d otherwise have to classify as foolish behavior.

While this world just about guarantees some measure of trouble, illness, or hardship, by walking wholeheartedly with Jesus, by devoting our lives to Him, we can escape or handle the hardships that we have to deal with in life.

There’s no guarantee of total bliss, even with the Lord, but things do go better as we focus: “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 ESV)

—Mic Barnett, Alabama

WHY MATH IS IMPORTANT

The new school year has either begun or is about to begin. I remember how excited I would be getting paper, pencils, a dictionary, and crayons. I was not so excited, however, getting calculators, compasses, and rulers for the dreaded math classes, because I refused to enjoy math.

Why?  Well, first I’m a girl and girls aren’t supposed to be good at math.  Although I usually made an A in math because, well, why would you not want an A? I simply saw no value purpose for math.  Sure, basic arithmetic is fine for balancing check books, figuring out percentages of 20% off of those shoes I’ve been lusting after, and perhaps the 10% tithe that the pastor occasionally reminded us about, never specifying if it was pre or post-tax dollars. I realize that math is one of the oldest academic fields, but I just don’t see why there has to be so many other kinds, such as:
algebra
geometry
trigonometry
calculus
linear algebra
combinatorics
differential equations
real analysis
complex analysis
abstract algebra (includes group theory, ring theory, field theory, and module theory)
topology
number theory
logic
probability
statistics
game theory
functional analysis
algebraic geometry
differential geometry
dynamical systems (includes “chaos theory”)
numerical analysis
set theory
category theory
model theory

See my point?

Until today when I attended Ms. Billie’s Watercolor Demonstration Class. This is what I learned:

My mentors Nelle and Lehehia are on the left - they actually think I can paint!  Ms. Billie is on the right.  Stay tuned for my progressive musings as I take her course over he next few weeks!
My mentors Nelle and Leheia are on the left – they actually think I can paint! Ms. Billie is on the right. Stay tuned for my progressive musings as I take her course over he next few weeks!

1. Good paintings begin with a good value plan. Your painting begins by first recognizing shades of black and white in order that those shades may become shades of rich, soft colors that envelop you in the warmth of peace.
2. Have a focal point and paint everything toward that. Everything painted around that focal point is there for the purpose of illuminating the artist message.
3. There are no rules, therefore go ahead and paint outside the lines – in fact you are encouraged to do so. This form of self-discovery allows the freedom to create art without restriction.
4. Always go to the edge of the canvas with lots and lots and lots of color. This seems scary, but by going to the edge comes the realization that we don’t have to jump or fall. We learn that beauty can be brought back from that edge.
5. Allow the paint color to run. Just like life meanders seemingly without purpose, the varying hues and shapes make it a life worth the living.
6. Don’t copy another’s paintings. True artists pull out their own creativity, creating their own joy.
7. Keep your sketch pad accessible at all times and don’t be afraid to use it. While stopping to smell the roses, it is important to memorialize the hues, shapes and flaws of the rose.
8. Take time to step back and look at the focal point using the value plan. Assessing our path along the way serves as a gentle reminder of a purposeful life.
9. Never ever construct without a value plan….of faith, of hope, or of love – all given so generously by God and should be generously received by us.
10. Perspective in watercolor art is a mathematical principle (geometry) and is learned from a square block.

After all, as Anais Nin said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”

Aha! Math is an art and that is why math is important.

My Best Friend

My Best Friend.

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