Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Memorial Day Outing...Memorialized

"What are we doing for Memorial Day? my husband asked.  I want to go do something."

There is  not a lot of choices when gas is like gold. I gave it some thought.  We see Mt. Baldy every winter, its broad face filled with snow, yet in our busy lives, we never venture up. Now it is spring, and the mountain called to me. "I'm right here, right out your window...come on up, take a look."  (Well, something like that...).  As we took the short drive up to our local mountains,  both of us were taken aback at the fact that beauty and nature were really so accessible without having to pack up the car and spend a fortune.  Grabbing my camera and tennis shoes, that is all we needed on a perfect spring day.  It was not long before the wildflowers greeted us along the road.  Spectacular in color contrasted to the green hills, these yellow bursts of joy were a pleasure to view. According to our good friend Tony, from the Dept. of Forestry, these are called Yellow Scotch Broom. 
"How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun." --Vincent Van Gogh

"There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transfer a yellow spot into the sun."--Pablo Picasso

According to the website:
Yellow shines with optimism, enlightenment, and happiness. Shades of golden yellow carry the promise of a positive future. Yellow will advance from surrounding colors and instill optimism and energy as well as spark creative thoughts.

Effects of the Color Yellow

How yellow affects us mentally and physically:  It is mentally stimulating, gears up the nervous system, gets our memory going, and encourages communication. So, if you are having trouble thinking, moving, feeling, remembering  and understanding...I suggest you have a Yellow Day.  Go buy yourself a big bouquet of sunflowers, make some lemonade, get your MP3 player and listen to Cold Play: the song, Yellow,  while making several egg salad sandwiches with extra mustard and a bunch of  bananas for your road trip. Get out the Yellow Pages,  then hail a Yellow Cab to take you to Yellowstone.  When you get back home, everything should be right with the world!

Mount San Antonio, commonly known as Old Baldy or Mt Baldy, at 10,068 ft (3,069 m), is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains, and the highest point in Los Angeles County. Mount San Antonio's sometimes snow-capped peaks are visible on clear days and dominate the view of the Los Angeles skyline.


Mount San Antonio has two peaks: the main peak, with an elevation of 10,068 feet (3,069 m), and a sub-peak, West Baldy, at 9,988 feet (3,044 m). Nearby are San Antonio Creek and San Antonio Falls. The creek descends through a gorge and forms several waterfalls. The last drop has a height of about 75 feet (23 m).

Along our journey, we saw many families also enjoying the day, but the road was not crowded and the drive was great.  Going all the way to the top, we circled the parking lot of the Ski Resort and saw many serious bicyclists and hikers.  I have heard the hike farther up the mountain is a little tough if you are not in shape, and at that point with Ted's knees and lack of balance, we passed.  We did though walk a little route down to the stream at two points to collect a few rocks and enjoy the water and sounds.

Some of us need a helping hand
Navigating down a steep hill, across the rocks, we found this serene place to watch the water and take pictures.  With more vegetation and water activity, it was hard to believe we were only a few miles from busy suburbia at home. 

If a tree fell in the forest and no one heard it...

 Walking back, I spotted this out cropping of bright green plants with these red dots clustered in the center. As I moved in closer, I discovered a massive amount of ladybugs.  What would you call that? A swarm?  No, sounds like a negative connotation. A  herd?  No,  sounds to large. A group?  No, sounds too organized.  How about a "League of Ladybugs?  Yes, I think I will call them a league.  (any entomologists out there, I welcome the correction).

 After viewing my pictures, this one inspired the poet in me. 

Lady bugs in a bunch
Enjoying a great big lunch
They’ll meet there for dinner too
But for breakfast, they’ll sleep right through.

I wonder if the whole world knows
That lady bugs have painted toes.
She picks red to wear each day
Her fashion sense is on display.

Lady bugs in a bunch
Ala carte or champagne brunch
Whatever is the soup de jour,
An aphid is the mealtime cure.

Coleene VanTilburg
June 4, 2011

Coming down from the mountain, we ventured just a bit over to Claremont Village for a wonderful Italian lunch of Pizza and cold drinks. 

 And we certainly can't forget what this day was all about, remembering our fallen heroes.
And some that are a little pooped out too.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Projects and Plans for the Summer

This being the first summer that no summer school assignment came to me from the district office,  I am a little nervous about the financial part of all this, but God moves ahead and I anticipate His continued grace to  work this out to His glory.  With that said, I will trust Him to provide for us as we continue to keep our head above water in this volatile economy. Back to school, for me happens the last week of
...What’s a girl to do?

Sleep, soaps, sunbathe….NOT

 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NLT)
11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 12 Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others

How about this?

Write, paint and draw, submit stories, read, encourage, reunite with many great friends, drop several pounds, blog, tend my garden, walk 3 miles a day, organize and purge my “piles” that collect (already got a jump start on that one), plan for the fall, hang out on day trips with my Sis, two weddings, listen to music, hopefully go see Les Mis at the Ahmanson, take a few short trips with Ted and Corey, make my zucchini quiche (definitely not on my diet), stay healthy mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Some “s” things I will keep doing: continue to meet with my small group and Starbucks…skinny latte for now.


Project #1: is still my children’s story, “A Worm’s Eye View.” Writing  a strong “proposal letter” and separating the text from the pictures for presentation is my next challenge. Most publishers have their own “in house” illustrators. To sell my book, I am doing double duty promoting both the story and my own art work. For me, the artwork is the story; each picture was divinely brought  to me and developed with clear intention. While drawing out each picture,  the journey kept me busy mentally, helping me focus my restlessness after losing Timmy into something tangible.  It’s a joint deal. With the encouragement of writing mentors, I am changing a few words in the story to make it more kid friendly, but other than that, buffing  it up to a sparkling shine and sending up a  prayer as the postage goes on the submission envelopes, is this summer's priority.

Project #2: Greeting Cards. A Toad, A Vampire, B.L. and T., (just what you think) and Fireflies. What do they have in common? Developing a series of six cards for each character, my colored pencils stay sharpened and my scanner is hangin’ in there. (Can’t say the same for my printer…but got a new one on sale at Fry’s). A mega-list of card publishers sits in my inbox. What is special about this project? Corey is helping me with some of the aspects of this. Photo Shop is still a foreign language but Corey surges through it like a dolphin in the surf. Corey and I need as much bonding time as possible to help ease the tensions the last few years have brought between us. If nothing comes of these, it sure has been fun so far.

Project #3: A very long time ago, in fact sometime during college I think, I did an oil painting of a working barn and a rushing stream; it's inspiration coming from a National Geographic picture shot somewhere in the Northeast part of the country.Working with oils before, I  find them messy, expensive and it takes way too long to dry. I gave that medium up. The picture though, I am proud of this painting and it hung forever in our living room until the fire. It was not all the way destroyed but damaged quite extensively. Checking out a  few places that “restore," I found this also to be very pricey with no gaurantees.  So, what I propose to do is to recreate it again, but use watercolors instead. Posting my progress on this blog will keep me accountable to finish this project.

Those are Corey's fingers poking through, very brittle and dirty. (the painting, not

Did you know there will be colors in Heaven we don't even know about?  Cool! 

 Project #4: is a secret. Sssshhhh. It is art…for a friend. Enough said until the reveal…

Hopefully all the above things will keep me busy blogging as well. Towards the end of summer is Tim’s birthday in which we celebrate it with “Timmy Day.”  Actively involved once again in planning our 2nd annual NephCure Walk, mark your calendars for October 29th. There is much more to be said about that…and I will!

Proverbs 10:5 (NLT)  A wise youth harvests in the summer,but one who sleeps during harvest is a disgrace.  (I think that goes for a middle aged woman on summer break too).

Take a "Trick or Treat Trek" for NephCure!

What are you planning? Comments encouraged here!

Psalm 90:17  May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;

establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"Sound" Doctrine

Lady G in her "meat" dress

Lady Gaga tops the record charts for the last two and a half years. She appears on numerous talk shows and lately entertained us on Saturday Night Live. Selling over 15 million copies throughout the world, her first album garnished two Grammys out of six nominations and thirteen MTV video music awards.  In the world of social media, she has broken all the records.  Lady Gaga “likes” on Face book total 33 million and she has close to 10 million followers on Twitter.  Past “stage shockers” like Madonna, wowed us in the late ‘80’s with her choreographed songs and provocative dance not to mention her fashion statement with “stylized underwear.”  Lady Gaga is more like Lady Goulash…a little bit of Madonna stirred up with Gene Simmons of Kiss and I Dream of Genie with her flippy blond ponytail.  Outlandish for my viewing taste, I do find myself watching her performances and interviews.  I confess, I love most rock music and  if you look back in my album collection which I still maintain, you will find Alice Cooper and a lot of Elton John. 


Beautiful Barbara Eden
Lady Gaga’s newest hit is called “Born This Way.”  You might have caught her beginning act where she hatches herself from some space capsule looking “egg” while performing.  Like a lot of music, she not only seeks to win the approval of her fans, (…it has a good beat and you can dance to it…) but with her words, encourages worldly beliefs, defining what sin is not; another mantra to “if it feels good to you, just do it because God made you this way”.  Probably most pop culture song writers preach the same in their lyrics. Vulgarity seems to rule as well.   (I wonder if they have a special thesaurus for those words?)

I’d love it if one of our Christian Alternative Bands rewrote some of her lyrics and made their own version…”I’m on the right track baby, yeah, I’m born again…”  God tells us to be discerning, to be careful listeners.  In Hebrews it says, “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” (Heb. 2:1 NIV).  In II Timothy 4:3, the Apostle Paul is quite clear: 

 “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear”.

 The world’s ears are itching to hear.  Are you going to say something or is Lady Gaga?

I am enjoying watching American Idol this year.  The two kids that are left, Lauren and Scotty, impress me as wholesome, God inspired, grace-filled kids with incredible gifts; a refreshing breeze of change.   The contrast in style and persona between Lady Gaga and her aspiring songster students, (as seen in a previous episode) is outlandish to say the least.  

Lauren and Scotty

Jesus turned heads and popular culture weighed in every day, when His ministry became active.  Jesus Christ Superstar was riding into town one day, hailed as King, but within a week, He was rejected by those He came to save.  Popular culture moved Him to a new theater, a top a hill with two other failed performances aside Him.  Jesus would do one more outlandish act, and act called Love.  He would die for the World and then resurrect the off key tunes in our own hearts. His title remains, King of Kings and Lord of Lords for all eternity.  Jesus Christ is outlandish for He promises that same power to all His true fans. 

Alice Cooper ---saved by Grace
I mentioned Alice Cooper earlier and now to quote the aging rock legend:

 “Drinking bear is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy, but being a Christian, that's a tough call. That's rebellion.” 

 No longer biting heads off of snakes, Alice plays a lot of golf and knows the Lord as his Savior.  While Lady Gaga is at the top of her game and may be there for awhile, her shock value will wear off unfortunately. In the lyrics of the same song mentioned earlier, crooning “Capital H- I- M”, maybe Lady G is referring to God. Maybe she has a few questions behind all the theatrics. Maybe some one will share or just maybe, she can go ask Alice. 
Coleene VanTilburg
May 24, 2011
I wrote this for the Faithwriter Challenge/Outlandish, but never posted it. 
w/c 716