Thursday, December 27, 2012

Theme Thursday: Rebirth

The theme this week for
is Rebirth.

As in reinventing oneself.

Coming to a place of acceptance 
and moving on to a new phase of life.

"Fresh Talent" - created on by MeriMagic (Meri Arnett-Kremian)

Giving up those limiting beliefs
and dancing with possibility.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Best wishes from my home to yours!

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24

Be safe and warm
and know that you are loved.

Monday, December 17, 2012

My World Monday: Newtown

My heart aches for the families
who lost their hearts
their bright lights
their hope for the future
their shining ones
in Newtown.

My heart aches for the children
in Newtown and elsewhere
that were robbed too young
of their innocence
of their trust that the world
is a safe place

that school is a place
for learning and friends
and buzz about Christmas.

I feel so impotent.
Yes, I signed the e-card for Newton,
but words are like dust 
at a time like this.

Nothing that can assuage the grief of those
who have had lives torn to shreds
by the evil actions of one who chose
to cast such a long shadow 
of hate and rage.

I dealt with the assault on my compassionate heart,
my mother love and instincts to protect,
 to make things right,
in the only way I could under circumstances
where no one has the power to make things right.

I created. All weekend.
Chose to minimize my exposure
to the horror,
because -- unlike the citizens of Newton --
I have the luxury of doing that.

Art heals.

Not all at once.

Not quickly enough.

But it helps mend the broken pieces
bit by bit.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sepia Saturday: Vinnie Ream

Lavinia Ellen Ream was born on September 25, 1847
in a log cabin in Madison, Wisconsin
to Robert and Lavinia (McDonald) Ream.

Robert was a surveyor and civil servant
in the Wisconsin Territory. 
The Reams also operated a stage coach stop --
Madison's first hotel -- in their home.
Guests slept on the floor.

Young Lavinia, known as Vinnie,
was a young woman of great promise.
She attended college in Columbia, Missouri
where her innate artistic ability blossomed.

In 1861, her family moved to Washington, D.C.
Vinnie became one of the first "women"
(she was a mere 14-year old when she was hired) 
to obtain employment with the federal government.
She worked as a clerk in the dead letter office
of the postal service beginning in 1862. 
Her employment there continued until 1866.   

That's impressive in itself.
But it was just a foreshadowing of her greatness.

In 1866, at age 18, she became the first woman
to receive a commission from the U.S. government
to create a statue.

She was awarded the commission 
for the full-size Carrara marble statue of Lincoln 
by a vote of Congress on July 28, 1866. 
She worked for a time in a studio
 in the basement of the Capitol.
Later, she traveled to Europe's art centers 
and while living in Rome, produced a finished marble figure
from her plaster model.

When the statue was complete, she returned to the U.S.
On January 25, 1871, her statue of (now-deceased)
President Abraham Lincoln was unveiled in the
Capitol Rotunda. 

In 1878, when she was 30, she married Richard L. Hoxie,
a member of the Army Corps of Engineers.

 They had one son and Richard's career took them
to postings in Montgomery, Alabama and St. Paul, Minnesota.
They eventually returned to Washington, D.C. 

Vinnie continued her career as a sculptor.

Among a number of well-known statues,

including this likeness of Sappho,
in the collection of Smithsonian's American History Museum,

she created the sculpture of Sequoyah,
the first Native American to be commemorated
by a statue in the Capitol's Statuary Hall.

She died on January 12, 1914.
She and her husband are both buried 
in Arlington National Cemetery,
across the Potomac from Washington, D.C.
 Her grave is in Section 3, site 1876.

(Interestingly, she's distantly related
to some of my Biggs cousins,
Dave and John Ream. . . )

photos from Library of Congress photo collection

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Virgin a Day: Day Twelve

I think that Mother Mary
as an older woman
was an activist for justice
a crusader for peace

didn't take no for an answer
when only a yes would do

ate spoons full of pomegranate seeds
danced in the moonlight
wove flowers in her hair
and slathered honey into wounds

she was a healer
a teacher
not altogether tame

she was a woman
with fire in her belly.

A woman for all times.
A woman for our time.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Virgin a Day: Day Eleven

We seek her wisdom,
ask for guidance in matters mundane
and monumental.

Our Lady, what should I do?
we ask,
like those seeking guidance
from the Oracle at Delphi.

Sometimes her answer comes
in the words of a song,
in a resonant phrase in book,
in the insightful advice of a friend.

Sometimes it's just a sense of knowing
a sense of the rightness
of a course of conduct
that hadn't been apparent before.

She waits
until we seek her help

then pats her lap
and beckons us settle in
for some mothering.

She smooths back our hair
and rubs our forehead
in little circles
until our eyelids grow heavy

and then she whispers

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Virgin a Day: Day Ten

Our Lady of Shape Shifting (MeriMagic on Polyvore)

Oh mistress of shapeshifting,
you come to us
in many guises. . .

as a lady in white floating above an oak tree
in the fields of Portugal,
with messages to shepherd children.

as an image on a highway sign in Sunnyside
in eastern Washington, 
not once, but twice.

as a statue weeping blood
at a Vietnamese Catholic Church 
in Sacramento, California.

People see you in the browning
of a grilled cheese sandwich,
in the hues of a plate glass window.

You told the young Bernadette
to dig and when she had done so,
you filled the void with healing waters. 
Even now, over a century and a half later,
pilgrims flock to Lourdes,
seeking miracles of their own.

I don't seek your appearance
in an oil spot on a garage floor,
though you may well choose to do that
for the mechanic who needs a reminder
of the ineffable nature of faith. . .

Instead, I seek your company
in spirit,
as a feeling of rightness,
of comfort in the face of discomfort,
as acceptance of what seems unacceptable.
I listen for your voice to guide me
when I feel lost in a thicket of uncertainty. 

Come to us
in the call of the birds returned home in early spring, 
in the curling of smoke from a stick on incense,
in the giggle and froth of a river,
in the singing of stones in a temple at Abydos.

Come to us in whatever form
we will understand
as apparition
as song
as a whisper
as a gold-leafed image 
or a warm breeze.

Just come to us.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Virgin a Day: Day Nine

Our Lady of the Linoleum Forest - created on Polyvore by MeriMagic

One of the things that makes Our Lady so approachable
is her humanity.

She was a mother, laboring through natural childbirth, 
raising children, watching at least one of them
 die before her.

She followed the dictates of her husband,
even if it meant riding a donkey to his village
of origin to be enumerated in a census
when she was near her date of confinement.

Though she is exalted by those who wove her mythology 
(scant as it is) into the texts that became scripture
as an extraordinary woman,
a woman above all others,
what those who seek her blessings see
is her humanity.

She is, and was, one of us.

While we know little of her life
 beyond the bare facts recited,
we are assured that -- 
in the 2000 plus years since her death--
she has worked countless miracles.

How can that be,
if she is one of us?

Each of us is a spark of the divine,
capable of miracles.

Only by denying our divinity,
our inherent creative potential,
do we lose our capacity for the miraculous.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Virgin a Day: Day Eight

Our Lady of the Arts -

Mary, the Blessed Virgin in Christian tradition,
surely must be considered 
Our Lady of the Arts.

She has inspired frescoes on walls in ancient churches, 
innumerable sculptures,
gold-leafed religious icons galore.

She speaks to us without words,
heart to heart,
bidding us to bore down to our essence
and share it freely with the world.

A Virgin a Day

p.s Please visit Meri's Musings
to see today's tribute to John Lennon.
He died on this date in 1980.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Virgin a Day: Day Seven

"Our Lady of the Natural and Unnatural World" - created on

I call her 
"Our Lady of the Natural and Unnatural World."

She is omnipresent,

She is in the song of the birds,
the preternatural stillness before the tornado,
the glow on the margin of the horizon
as the sun rises or sets with the turn of the earth.

She is in every molecule of our bodies,
in every grain of our spirits.
We are breathing air that she once 
inhaled and exhaled in her mortal state.

She dreams clouds,
showers in the rain.

Her heart bursts, leaking joy,
when we laugh.

So laugh long and often.

Our Lady has known enough sadness.

you breathe miracles
into being, Mary mine
unloose the sacred

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Virgin a Day: Day Six

"Our Lady of Perpetual Woes" - created on Polyvore/MeriMagic

I call her "Our Lady of Perpetual Woes."

I'm sure you know her.

She's the friend, the colleague, the cousin
who makes a career of complaining
about all the things that are wrong in her life.

She sees the cup as half full. . . 
or less.

Any attempts you make to help her alter
her perspective are rebuffed.
She doesn't want to make a shift.

She is the shadow of Our Lady,
the part of her that wanted to lie down and quit
when her burdens felt crushing.

Only, unlike the Divine Mother,
Our Lady of Perpetual Woes 
chooses to suck on lemons
instead of making lemonade.

Sometimes, the only way to keep
their darkness from seeping into your aura
is to minimize contact
or cut ties all together.

We can't mother the whole world.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Virgin a Day: Day Five

"Our Lady of Indigenous Peoples" created by MeriMagic on Polyvore

When I think of Our Lady,
I think of hope.

Of compassion.

Of miracles manifesting in unlikely places.

Her image appears in many guises:
on a grilled cheese sandwich,
in colors of a plate glass window,
Any place that people are moved 
to look with their hearts.

When I think of Mary,
I think of all the indigenous peoples,
converted to Catholicism by missionaries
(and not always willingly),
who found in the Divine Mother
a source of comfort,
a connection to the fertile earth,
to birth and death,
to the connective force that women represent.

When I contemplate this image of Our Lady,
I imagine her meditating. . .
gathering strength to support all those who lean on her
because she seems more approachable than God.

I suspect that she is creating a blueprint
in her mind of a world at peace,
where there is enough for all,
where Earth is cherished and protected,
where we act on our knowledge 
that we are connected to everything,
that we are part of the all there is.

Let her vision become yours.
And today, do what you can
to make it so. 

To see more visions of the Virgin,

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Virgin a Day: Day Four

"Our Lady of Fortune's Arrows" 

So often,it seems like we're targets for fortune's arrows.

Things happen that are outside our control,
no matter how much we try to keep our lives 
measured and fully predictable.

Hurricanes roar ashore
and wash away homes and all the ephemera
 that makes up the collage of our lives.

Lovers betray us
and make us wonder how much of our relationship
was mere fiction.

Miscarriages, stillbirths, debilitating or even fatal illness,
job losses or financial reversals,
deaths of people we love. . . 


We can only choose how we react to it.

Will we, like the Holy Mother,
look "what is" in the face and find the strength
to move forward,
perhaps with a heavy heart but full of resolve?

Will we face down tyranny, abuse, 
and ignorance with a heart of love 
and the conviction that if not us, then who?

Will we move through life with a certainty
that we have the power of miracles within us?

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Virgin a Day: Day Three

"Visions of the Virgin" created on Polyvore -
it won 1st place in the Collagists' Rollage contest. 

She is portrayed as a willing vessel
for the Christ child,
a bearer of other children
who stories seem to have been forgotten,
a dutiful wife, a woman who somehow
finds the strength to stand witness
for her beloved son in his final hours
and then to tend to his body in a burial ritual.

She is the approachable face of God.
The mother, the sister, the friend
that we can converse with.
The listening ear.

A spark of the feminine divine
whose role it is to balance the concept
of a hierarchical, warlike, tribal god
and bring balance to notions of the sacred.

She is the sacred within.
Our piece of the Divine Feminine.

A Virgin a Day

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Virgin a Day: Day Two

A contemporary, modern-art look at 
Mary, Queen of Heaven.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Virgin a Day: Day One

My dear friend Rebecca hosts a special collaborative event
the first twelve days of December,
culminating with the Feast of the Virgin on December 12.

This year, I'm planning to focus on non-traditional, 
self-created Virgins,
as well as the more sedate, expected (expectant?) ones.

I'll start on the conventional side
and get more challenging from there.

Please visit her site and enjoy all the collaborative posts.