Tag Archives | God

What is the Shape of Your Soul?

daydream papa nap dream

The only statement you really need to make is the sound of Your Name pressed against the never-ending skin of the universe.

When someone is striving to be more spiritual or more religious, all too often they end up despising their physical existence in the hunt for the metaphysical. I have been guilty of this. I understand the impulse. I want to rub up against something divine, to grant Meaning and Purpose to my mundane existence. I want to believe things happen for a Reason, that the monotony and heartbreak of everyday life isn’t all that there is.

I’m not supposed to talk about these things. It’s not polite. But, during tragedies, or in the quiet, lonely moments of the night, these feelings slink about in my heart, like never-ending questions. What is the meaning? Who am I? What is my purpose?

I don’t have answers, but I find comfort in words. (more…)

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Radio Lab, Musical DNA, and Surprising God

tech joy

My hands are in the sink. I am washing dishes. My family is off playing Nintendo. I am blissfully alone, and my mind is open. Radio Lab is on NPR.

The interview is with David Cope, a composer. When faced with musical writer’s block, Cope built an analytical computer program, named EMI (Experiments in Musical Intelligence). EMI is able to ascertain patterns unique to each composer run through its system. After analyzing scores of music, Cope applied algorithms from these composers to other works of music, giving them new and amazing life. (more…)

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First Fruits: Selling My Artwork

I am announcing the inaugural sale of my watercolor paintings! My original artwork will be posted for sale on Memorial Day morning, to my etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ekwetzel . For the first week, ALL SALES WILL BE DONATED to our local church planting fund for Mars Hill Church in Tacoma. That means: for a $50 art piece, all $50 will be donated to our church plant (the extra shipping fees will cover my shipping costs).

Prints

WHY AM I GIVING TO THE TACOMA MARS HILL CHURCH?

Matt and I are passionate about the Tacoma area and about being on mission in our region. We currently attend the Mars Hill location in Federal Way, but we have yearned for a church in our Tacoma home ever since we were married five years ago…and I have hoped for a local Mars Hill location since I became a member in 2005. This dream has been a long time coming.

Our church has now purchased a building off of Wright Park, one of our favorite parks in Tacoma. When we walked through the doors of this building for the first time, it felt like coming home. We were giddy with excitement. We want to be a part of the restoration of this building. We want to make this a home for our children…and our children’s children. We want this building and the church of Christ’s body that worship and serve in it to bless this region that we love.

You can read more about the restoration of our church building at the Mars Hill Tacoma blog … The long and short of it is that we bought an old building at a killer bargain, but it needs a lot of repairs. We have no deep pockets in our church body to help fund the restoration of this space, so it falls to all of the ordinary people with average incomes in our church to find creative ways to contribute to the restoration.

Matt and I talked about it. We prayed about it. And we believe giving our fruit fruits in this way will glorify God. And we are thrilled to do it!

bokeh heart

WHY AM I GIVING FIRST FRUITS?

I have always loved the idea of giving first fruits. In the past, whenever I got a new exciting job, I always wanted to be able to give my entire first paycheck to church or charity, but something seemed to always get in the way.

The seed was planted in my head at a young age. Growing up, I read “The Pineapple Story” (published by the Institute in Basic Life Principles) about a missionary who planted a pineapple field and struggled with the natives who were stealing his pineapples. After much heartache, the missionary decided to give the pineapple field to God. When the natives asked why he was no longer angry when they stole his pineapples, he told them they were not his pineapples; they were God’s. This transformation entered other areas of the missionary’s life…he was less possessive of his time, his family, and his belongings. Once the missionary gave up worrying about all his stuff and let Christ’s love shine through him, the natives responded in kind and opened up to the missionary and his message of Christ. And they stopped stealing the pineapples. Everyone ended up sharing them.

I like having faith in God to meet my needs.

And I like the idea of giving extravagantly.

This is a picture of one of my originals (right) compared to the art print (left). Even here you can see the poor quality of the print.

This is a picture of one of my originals (right) compared to the art print (left). Even here you can see the poor quality of the print.

WHAT WILL BE FOR SALE?

I will not be selling art prints.

I have been holding out on opening my etsy shop for business because I wanted to sell art prints; however, I have run into great difficulty in making quality art prints. Even the best prints that the local print shops have to offer are subpar, and I would not feel right about selling them. Therefore, I will hold onto the original pieces that I want to keep trying to make art prints from.

I will sell some original works.

I will sell some reproductions of originals that I’m keeping for future art prints.

I will also sell one commission.

All told, I hope to have ten total paintings, plus one commission, up for sale.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’m excited to open up my etsy shop with artwork for sale. I hope you enjoy what you see, and I hope you find something you like! If you do not want to buy artwork, but would like to donate to our Tacoma church plant, you can do so at marshill.com/give.

Thank you!

By Erin
5/25/2013

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Week 23 – The Sparrows and the Lilies

To be honest, I don’t want to write a blog post this week.  I’m not sorry I made the commitment to local food or to writing about it. The food is just not inspirational right now. We buy food from a farm. We’re convicted it’s healthy, good for local economy, good for the environment, cost effective, and a slew of other things. But this is not a week of revelations and insights about our wonderful CSA yummies.  This is a week where we’re not poets, philosophers or activists. We’re simply eaters, and the food is just our food.

This post isn’t about perseverance. It isn’t about finding a bright side. It isn’t about BS-ing my way into writing meaningfulness.  We like our food, but we haven’t been thinking about it much lately. It’s part of our habit, part of our routine. We don’t take it for granted, and we don’t expect it to be more than it is. In its silent, humble status of being, our potatoes are potatoes, our apples are apples, and our leeks are leeks.  We don’t need them to impress us. We’re happy with them just the way they are.

Do you know what I have been thinking about this week? My own identity. We’re 23 weeks pregnant this week, and I’m starting to really show. Everything is in flux: my wardrobe, my appetite, my sleeping schedule…even my work schedule and income are changing. Being pregnant is disarming. You lose a lot of self-control and self-reliance, and it’s easy to freak out over how insecure and “not yourself” it can make you feel. I have found the truest way to remain true to myself, to my family and to Christ is to allow the people who love me to help me and care for me.

Which got me thinking about the lilies and the sparrows. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus addresses our tendency to worry (Matthew 6:25-34). He uses the birds and the flowers as examples, explaining that they don’t worry about caring for their needs; God cares for them day in and day out.

This is what I was thinking about: if a sparrow doesn’t care for its own needs, what’s the point of being a sparrow? Well…to be a songbird and sing.  And, if a lily doesn’t care for its own needs, what’s the point of being a lily? To be a flower and look pretty. To BE a lily. Therefore, if the point of my existence is not to take care of myself, it leaves me asking: what’s the point of being me? If I can’t take care of myself, if I can’t find my identity in my independence and self-reliance, then how do I find identity? How do I find meaning? What’s my purpose?

And it struck me: I’m supposed to be me. To be real. To be honest. To exist fully and openly.

I think we can use self-reliance as a shield to keep us from opening our hearts to other people, and I think that’s a sad way to live. Think about the CSA where we get our food: CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. We are all part of a community, whether or not we realize it. We all need support from each other, whether or not we are willing to give it. Real food cannot exist without real people.

You don’t have to spend your life having mountaintop experiences in order to be real or feel real. Potatoes are just potatoes, sparrows are just sparrows, and I am just me.  But to be true to myself, to be real with you, I believe I am called to fill myself up with the songs of my souls, and then open the beak of my heart and let my being pour out. That, to me, is worshipful living. That is the foundation for community.  That is how to find true identity.

I don’t typically like to write deeply autobiographical posts, but this is what I have for you this week. If I were to write about anything else, I wouldn’t be true to myself or to you. Being real takes courage.  Being real leaves you open to the wind. But, being real is the only way to truly find the songs of your heart.

By ekwetzel
2010-12-11

csa food organic washingtonWEEK 23
(Top Row)
2 Squash: 1 Delicata and 1 Kubota
Turnips
Potatoes
2 Leeks
(Middle Row)
Beets
Frozen Raspberries
Apples
Pears
2 Onions
4 Carrots
Garlic
(Bottom Row)
Mizuna
Fennel
Celery

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Week 8 – Secular Calling

I believe the world is rich with value. You don’t have to be a lay person to glorify God in your labor.  A farmer can do so by growing good food; an artist, by creating beautiful works; a writer, by delving deep and being unwilling to settle for trite tropes when there are deeper and more meaningful matters at hand.  Some are called to be teachers and preachers.  Some are called to be artists and farmers.  We are all called to glorify the Creator in our own ways.

What does it mean to glorify the Creator?  This is a simplified vision of how I see it:

(1) The world was created by a good God to be a good creation.  This “good” aspect of the creation is a reflection of the Creator.  The creation is meant for goodness.
(2) There is hardship in life.  These are the “not good” or “evil” forces at work.  They tend to make amuck of things or simply make it more difficult to find or preserve the good things in life.
(3) aWhen we choose to overcome the hardships and fight to preserve the good things, we are choosing the side of Creation and Creator.  If you work hard and the fruits of your labor are of great quality, this is a way to glorify God because it reveals that your vision for the world is one as a good world, a vision that is shared with the Creator God. Being constructive (as opposed to destructive or lame and neutral) in our labor can be an act of secular worship.

I choose good food because I want the best for my family and our health.  This does not mean that I think I’m better than anyone who doesn’t choose local, organic foods.  In truth, I believe we all deserve good food.  My choice to eat locally grown, sustainably farmed foods is one way that I practice my expectation for good things for a good earth.

I choose to write these words because they are honest, earnest and come from the heart. Not writing them would to omit part of the mystery that I see in life.  .  Not writing them would lead to some trite, cute blog. There is no room for secret convictions in good writing.  You need to be willing to lay your soul on the table.

And, in an effort to have better pictures once again on my blog, I will try to find my lost digital camera.  It got packed last week as Mr. Wetzel and I moved into a new home, and I have missed having crisp photos on my blog ever since.  Fuzzy photos are just not a reflection of the glory that I hope to reveal in my work!

By ekwetzel
2010-08-27

WEEK 8
(Clockwise, from bottom left)
Yellow potatoes
Onions
Carrots
2 Heads of Lettuce
Tokio Bekana
Garlic
Summer Squash
Yellow Chard
Beets
(In the middle)
4 Apples
2 Cucumbers
4 Tomatoes
Eggs (again, the farm has new hens, and they are laying smaller eggs this week, so we received 18 eggs instead of the normal dozen)

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