The Birthday Club Previews ArtPrize 8…Including my Entry

from-the-rising-of-the-sun-mural-at-the-holiday-innYesterday our birthday club met to celebrate my birthday, knowing that once ArtPrize 8 begins tomorrow, I won’t have a minute to catch a breath until it’s all over. Besides, we wanted to celebrate my entry, which is at the Holiday Inn. singing-at-vans-pastriesBut, first the girls had a wonderful surprise for me! vans-pastriesWe stopped at Van’s Pastries, vans-pastry-shopwhere they have an old-fashioned hymn sing to begin the week
every Monday morning at 9:00! standing-in-the-doorway-of-vans-pastries-to-singWhat fun! It was so crowded that we had to stand in the doorway,
and more folks just kept coming.

hymn-sing-at-vans-pastries To start the day praising the Lord brightened my scan more than five cups of coffee could have, and we even got to catch up with a dear friend, “Uncle Charlie,” now retired from Children’s Bible Hour. kathryn-w-armstrongs-artprize-8-muralSecond stop was to check out my ArtPrize Entry, titled “From the Rising of the Sun,” based on Psalm 113:3, “From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, the LORD’s name is to be praised.”

from-the-rising-of-the-sun-second-halfI still need to finish up with the lighting and various other projects,
but hopefully everything will be in order for the official start tomorrow morning.sunshine-snack-along-the-grand-river By then, it was time to stop for “Elevensies,” and the girls picnicking-along-the-grand-river—knowing I’m on a diet—made the most magnificent banana/egg pancakes
with fruit, nuts, and coconut cream topping! It was amazing and tasted great! banana-egg-pancakes-with-fruitIn fact, I’ll make a separate post to share the recipe when I get a chance! public-museum-of-grand-rapidsAfter our respite by the Grand River, we headed out to see what else we could see of the ArtPrize pieces that are already installed. color-me-orangeOf course, with 1,453 entries at 171 venues, we barely scratched the surface, devos-hall-conference-centerbut we had fun, and I now know there’s a lot of excellent competition! migration-of-monarach-butterflies-sculptureWe could have spent all day (had we had the leisure), marie-catribs-in-grand-rapidsbut our last stop (before ending at my house for a prayer time) was a late lunch at Marie Catrib’s, where there’s always a great selection of veggie dishes.choosing-dishes-at-marie-catribs We all chose the “Choose 3 Salads” option, pick-3-veggie-lunchand I came home inspired with some new ideas
for how to eat light and still ‘licious! enjoying-lunch-at-marie-catribsI have to say, it’s great to have friends who are so supportive, not only of what I’m trying to do (like ArtPrize), but what I’m trying not to do (like overeat). elevensies-along-the-grand-riverThank you, Lord, for faithful friends! I want to be a faithful friend too.quote-by-martin-luther-king“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).

ArtPrize 2016 ala Notre Dame Cathedral: One Dream Has Come True

Rose Window in Notre Dame. Paris, FranceGuess what? Almost 3 years after initial inspiration, I signed a hosting agreement last night with the Holiday Inn on Pearl Street adjacent to the Grand Rapids Public Museum, so I’m now officially “in” for ArtPrize 2016! Votive candles burning in Notre Dame. Paris, FranceThose who know me well or have been patiently reading my blog will recognize that this represents a dream come true and the culmination of unending hours of contemplation, prayer, hard work, study, listening, submission, hard work, expense, prayer, research, prayer, frustration, hard work, submission, excitement, determination, prayer, soul-searching, anxiety, confusion, prayer, hard work…you get the picture! I would have added “ad nauseum” were it not something I felt like the Lord had inspired in the first place. P.A.S.S.I.O.N. Candles burning in Notre Dame. Paris, FranceSleepless nights. Distraction. Planning. Asking. Organizing. On my knees and on my face. Walking in the Spirit and wrestling with my flesh. Around, and around, and around in spiraling circles. Hope. Deferred hope. Hope again. Growth. Disappointment. Resignation. Hope. Then, the whole crazy cycle started over again for the third time this April when it was time to apply for ArtPrize 2016. Christ on the Cross in Notre Dame. Paris, FranceYou get the picture, and I’m sure you’ve experienced similar passions in your life—if not for a venue for ArtPrize, perhaps in wanting a particular spouse, a certain job or a particular home or car. As humans we all experience ardent hopes that something we desire deeply will become a reality. Candles and statue of Jesus in Notre Dame. Paris, FranceIn the process of praying about an ArtPrize venue, I was always acutely aware that whether or not I succeeded would be up to God ultimately, and that in the grand scheme of things, there were (are) innumerable things that I desire much more, such as the spiritual health and welfare of my loved ones and the world at large, peace on earth, and goodness to overcome evil. Inside the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, FranceWhat infinitesimal impact my ArtPrize entry might make on the relatively small population of people who will see it is less than a drop in the bucket of need and desire, but it is one of the things I feel like God has inspired me to pursue, and so I’ve been pursuing it with all the “heartily as unto the Lord” I can muster! Jesus with Peter walking on the water in Notre Dame. Paris, FranceDespite my calm assurance that God is in control, which provides  an ocean of peace in the depths of my being, I still struggle superficially, and I still find it thrilling when my prayers and hopes are granted. You too? Sarchophagus in Notre Dame. Paris, FranceI’ve prayed for some things over 50 years now, and perhaps I’ll go to my grave praying for others, but let’s keep praying and asking, for God’s glory and our good.Candles buring in Notre Dame. Paris, France 2

Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes,
it is a tree of life
” (Proverbs 13:12).Chestnuts bloomin in spring at Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris, France(I took all these photos in or of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, May 2016.)

ArtFeast: Please Come in 2017!

Pamela Alderman Painting 3Last week was the fourth annual “ArtFeast,” H.I.S. informationa fundraiser for H.I.S. (Health Intervention Services), Registration for ArtFeast 2016which is an outreach ministry to the un-insured in Grand Rapids,Daniel and Ken at ArtFeastwhere my son Daniel works as the director of dentistry. Hors d'oeuvers at ArtFeast 3If you enjoy good causes, good art, and good food, ArtFeast Auctionthen please join us for ArtFeast 2017 if you can!ArtFeast 4In fact, if you’re an artist, please consider donating some art while you’re at it! Caterers at ArtFeastJust let me know if you’re interested.  🙂Tarts at ArtFeast 4Of course, I’m only able to tell you about what happened at ArtFeast 2016, Yummy Food at ArtFeastbut maybe this will whet your appetite for good things to come! Bacon-wrapped chestnjutsWe met at the Harris Building downtown from 5:30-8:30 pm (free valet parking if you’re nervous about big city main streets, although it ended before dusk).Hors d'oeuvers at ArtFeast 2 There were tables mounded with great hors d’oeuvres,The Mood Swings at ArtFeast lovely background music provided by “Mood Swings,” Former President of H.I.S.and lots of interesting people to meet and greet, including the past president, President Bill Paxton and his wife at ArtFeastand the present president, Bill Paxton, and his wife, Ken Kraft Director of DevelopmentJane Renrick, the board chair…and Ken Kraft, the development director. Brianna served as PhotographerBrianna (Daniel’s wife) was the official photographer,
and I think next year she may offer portrait service. Anna Donahue Clay PotsMy long-time friend, Anna Donahue,
contributed a beautiful acrylic on canvas, “Clay Pots.” Friends at ArtFeastMy prayer partner for the past 15 years+, Cindi, and her husband
brought two of their neighbors and good friends along,Alan with Bob Evans from Guiding Light Mission at ArtFeast but even if you didn’t come with friends, it was fun to meet people! ArtFeast 4.1Alan and I shared a table with a couple who live in the neighborhood
and said they just like art and food, so they thought they’d join in! Hors d'oeuvers at ArtFeastWhile visiting with them, we realized that we all go to Calvary Church together. Pamela Alderman Painting being auctioned at ArtFeastHow fun is that? ArtFeast 4 in GRBeyond the excellent food and fellowship, there’s some mighty fine art available.Auction at ArtFeast. 2 Each artist contributes one piece for a silent auction, but they can additionally sell whatever else they want, with a percentage of the proceeds going to H.I.S. Auctioning Painting at ArtPrize 4There were some well known artists there, and some really beautiful works. Day Break on Lake Huron by Randy Brewer at ArtFeastMy personal favorite was a gorgeous oil on canvas by Randy Brewer,
titled “Day Break on Lake Huron,” but there were all sorts of great options, Reyna Garcia at ArtFeastincluding such diverse projects as pottery, prints, pastels, Quilt for saleknitting, photography, quilts, etc. Painter at ArtFeastThere were also a number of artists who created pieces for the auction
that evening so we could watch them at work.Pamela Alderman PaintingPamela Alderman, who paints with her hands,Pamela Alderman Painting 2 created a really lovely oil on canvas of the waves along the Great Lakes,Mark Kozar. Makeup Live Artist and  Mark Kozar, who’s a makeup artist, offered time, talent, and makeup Mark Kozar. Makeup Live Artist 2for a class, party, or personal use as his contribution. Floral Arrangement at ArtFeastReuben Antonio made a beautiful floral arrangement,
and Shirley Shuman painted watercolors. Kathi Armstrong with son Daniel Armstrong at ArtFeastI contributed a set of framed photos
but also offered several of my favorite photos from far and near.Daniel and Brianna with President's wife at ArtFeast There was even a raffle for a diamond necklace, which the president’s wife won (but graciously turned down so someone else could take home the prize)! Enjoying Food at ArtFeastIn all it was a great evening, and I even got a lead for a possible ArtPrize venue, Registration for ArtFeastso it was one of those occasions where I understood anew ArtFeast Deborah Hooverwhat the Apostle Paul said in Acts 20:35, Auction at ArtFeast. 3I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak,Volunteer and worker at H.I.S. and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, Auction at ArtFeastIt is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Kathryn W. Armstrong at ArtFeastCast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.” (Ecclesiastes 11:1, ESV)

Applying for ArtPrize (AGAIN!) and the Venues of Life

MuralIt’s time to apply for an ArtPrize 2016 venue. Unfortunately (for me, fortunate for most), Grand Rapid’s international ArtPrize competition has zoomed to popularity and in just 8 years has become “the most attended public art event on the planet” (according to The Art Newspaper). It’s also featured by the New York Times in their article on “52 Places to Go in 2016,” where Grand Rapids is listed as #20. Why so popular? For one thing, ArtPrize offers the planet’s largest cash prizes: $500,000, and that in itself attracts about as many attendees along with thousands of applicants. For another thing (and I quote the ArtPrize homepage), “It’s unorthodox, highly disruptive, and undeniably intriguing to the art world and the public alike.” Sigh. Given its popularity and the competition, will I find any venue that will be willing to host my collage, unknown and unproven as I am? Last year, in my naivety, I thought all you had to do was apply and you’d get in. Since I knew exactly where I wanted to be, I only applied there and then promptly left for a “Grand Southeastern Asia” cruise. Big mistake! The unwatched pot did not boil.  😦   I am really hoping this second time will be the charm, but I’m also more humble and a lot less picky now and have applied to half a dozen venues…actually, almost every venue I think might have a space large enough to handle a mural thirty-three feet long and almost seven feet high.Quirky People. EpcotThe struggle to find a venue at ArtPrize for my oversized mural gives me empathy for all the valiant young men out there who are trying to woo and win a bride…or don’t people even do that anymore? It’s hard to be vulnerable, isn’t it? And, if we’re honest, most of us are very unique and quirky, so it’s hard to find a good fit…not only for artwork, but for marriage work, for work work, and for home work. It’s so hard to give it everything we’ve got and fail, isn’t it? And yet, if I’m honest, I pretty much do that everyday. How many days do I fulfill even the small, simple goals that I set for myself, like eating and exercising properly? It reminds me of the scripture from Matthew 25:21, “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Perhaps I should work harder at the little things in my life, which I can and should control, and prayerfully leave the big circumstances—which are beyond my control—to the loving discretion of God.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:4-5).

Leep Art Gallery ala Birthday Club


Leep Art Gallery 2“From the Rising of the Sun,” my 400-photo collage project
contemplating the glory of God’s creation, Leep Art Galleryis now on display at Leep Art Gallery until July 1, 2016. sunrise-9-13It wouldn’t exist were it not for God sending the most gorgeous sunrise I’ve ever seen floating above Grand Rapids on the first day of ArtPrize back on 09/18/13.sunrise-reflected-in-lakeThat morning, our lake was awash in color, and I felt like God was pointing out that his handiwork is more glorious than anything I could create or imagine. Birthday Club partyCindi and Susan took me to ArtPrize for my birthday celebration that October, and we mused over what we’d make if we wanted to enter ArtPrize. Leep Art Gallery 5I thought I’d like to make a huge mural of the sunrise over our lake, Mural Pictures 400 copy 2but one thing led to another,
and eventually the project evolved into a 40X80″ collageLeep Art Gallery 7 of “a few of my favorite things,” mostly from around our lake home,
but also from around the world. Leep Art Gallery 1I definitely plan to enter ArtPrize 2016 if I can, but for the next three months, Leep Art Gallery 8the collages will be on display at the Leep Art Gallery in the Postma Center
(at Pine Rest, 300 68th Street SE Grand Rapids, MI 49548). SharonMany thanks to Sharon Rogers, who manages the Postma Center, Putting up collagesMorgan, who hosts and helps with everything, Getting ready to do the heavy lifting!and especially my beloved hubby, who really carried the load—quite literally—
to help me bring the artwork to Leep Art Gallery and get it all set up. Pine Rest Christian Mental Health ServicesWhat a joy it was to bring Cindi and Susan to Pine Rest Leep Art Gallery 2so they could enjoy the collages with me as part of our Birthday Club outing. (The gallery is free and open to the public Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-4:00 pm.)Fire Rock GrillOf course, we had several other items on the agenda as well,Shrimp on Hot Rock at Fire Rock Grilllike lunch at the Fire Rock Grill, where they serve delicious food on “fire rocks,”Buying pastries at Paris Cafe and dessert later at the Paris Cafe, where this Bosnian lady’s husband French pastries makes all their delectable desserts from scratch. Blue Dick in Sierra Nevadas. CAFinally, we ended up at my house for our monthly prayer time. Leep Art GalleryYet another day of sweet fellowship,
“spoiling” the birthday girl and encouraging each other in our walks of faith.

Bird's Eye Gilia. Buttermilk Bend Trail. South Yuba River State Park CA“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”                                                          (Hebrews 10:23-25, ESV)

Just Squeaking By…Or, Blessed by Stress?

Japanese Garden at Meijer Gardens 2How are you during these autumn days? Is your soul serene? Japanese Garden at Meijer Gardens Are you able to relax, or are you racing around like mad to keep up with life?  Too Blessed to be StressedOne of my birthday gifts is a new mug that says “Too Blessed to be Stressed,” and as I was pouring out a cup of steaming coffee to perk me up, I thought to myself, “Don’t I wish!” October is one of my favorite months, but I never seem able to say “No, thanks!” to just about anybody for anything,
so I’m always feeling a little over my head. H.I.S. poster Yesterday I enjoyed volunteering for my son Dan as a representative of H.I.S. H.I.S. Poster 2(medical clinic which ministers to the uninsured and underserved in GR), Harris Building Postergreeting ArtPrize guests to the Harris Building (one of many ArtPrize venues). ArtPrize at Harris BuildingWednesday and this morning I sat in on a class, not only for my own enrichment, but so I’ll know the students better before guest lecturing next week. Collage by Kathryn W. Armstrong at Acton InstituteLast week I had the happy privilege of hanging one of my 20 collages Acton Institute at the Acton Institute, and in conjunction with that, Marissa Voytenko and Joel Zwart I attended an art discussion there where my friend Marissa Voytenko Marissa Voytenko. Abstract Encaustic —who’s an abstract encaustic painter and has a beautiful exhibitionArtwork by Marissa Voytenko  called “Quiet Spaces” on display if anybody’s interested— Mark Murray Auditorium was interviewed by GR art critic and curator, Joel Zwart.  Acton Institute ArtPrize 7 My guess it that you are similarly busy—or even more so—
no matter who you are or where you live in this great world of ours. ArtPrize at Harris Building 7 For those of us who can, why don’t we just kick back and relax?

ArtPrize at Harris Building 4 Maybe some of you do, but I’ve found that industry and enterprise are deep in my DNA, and that I’m geared to go. Psychological testing indicates that this is generally true for us as human beings. People don’t function as well under conditions of no stress, low stress, or even medium stress as they do under conditions of relatively high stress (as long as it’s not so stressful that the person can’t cope). Did you know that? ArtPrize at Harris Building 6 The miracle to me is that when I’m saying “Yes” because I think it’s something God wants me to do, “somehow” things usually come together so that I can slide into home plate without getting tagged out.  Like yesterday. It was so quiet downtown that the curator at the Harris Building told me I didn’t need to stay until the end, springing me just in time to work on this post! Voilá!

ArtPrize at Harris Building 2 I think God delights in getting us over our heads
so that He can amaze us with his resourcefulness. ArtPrize at Harris Building 3 What do you think? Next time we’re feeling too stressed to be blessed,
let’s turn it around and say, “I’m too stressed in order to be blessed!” ArtPrize at Harris Building 5“So, Lord, I’m here again…in need of rescue! Help!
Will you please take this situation, which seems impossible,
and make it all work out right, in your eyes, for your glory?”

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.”
(2 Chronicles 16:9)
I find that the Lord is very gracious even to those of us who don’t perfectly succeed in our desire to have a perfect heart…)

(All the pictures were taken in the past two weeks during ArtPrize at:
Meijer Garden, my messy desk, Acton Institute, and the Harris Building.)

From Post to Post

DaisiesOn April 8 and October 8 each year I like to give semi-annual reports on Summer Setting, including some stats and reflections on the highlights of my blogging journey. Because stats are straightforward and fun, I’ll start there. Since last October 8, Summer Setting passed the quarter-of-a-million view milestone and has landed at a little over 318,000 views as of today. I’d like to say “Welcome!” again to the additional 202 followers who’ve joined us this year, and “Thank you, Father!” for the number of daily views growing significantly. The statisticians have reorganized our records such that I can no longer see all the countries that have accessed Summer Setting over the course of its existence, but since January 1 of this year, people from 169 countries have checked in with us some 74,443 times, which is an almost 30% increase from last year. Owl and Huskie So, that’s the easy part of the accounting. The harder part is reflecting on the possible value of what I’ve done, and that’s pretty much impossible to honestly estimate, because I’m basically trying to sow seeds through cyberspace. I will say that writing has been a huge personal blessing. It has definitely expanded my vision of life and gives me joy. I love writing and find myself  living with more intensity and intentionality..acutely interested in every detail…meditating on even the minutia of existence in the hopes of extrapolating some goodness, truth, or beauty to pass along as a blessing to you. My daily prayer is that what I write will exalt God and uplift people…that the stories will encourage every person who reads them and draw us all together more deeply into the love of God.  Dogs made of DogsWhen my children were little and listening to stories, I was constantly aware of my desire to edify and educate them, but they would remind me that there needed to be another “e” word in the formula: “Entertain!” “Make it scary; make it funny!” they would crow. I’ve never been much for the scary, although life itself is scary, and so some of my posts do deal with the harsh realities of life. However, I much prefer the “make-it-funny,” happy side of daily existence, since I think all of us are exposed to more than enough pain and tragedy. Asters. Pink and White Thank you for journeying with me. I treasure every connection and every comment (on this blog, email, and Facebook [please look me up if we’re not FB friends yet!]). I value your friendship, even if it’s only a cyber relationship, and I’ve loved the new friendships that have become real-time experiences with those of you who live close enough to interact in person. I sincerely look forward to the hope of meeting many of you in heaven some day, through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us, and gave himself for us: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:13-14).

Chrysanthemums“Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.” (Ecclesiastes 11:1) Shell (The above pictures were taken Tuesday night at Meijer Garden;
for ArtPrize, 2015 they’re exhibiting a collection of works by Japanese artists.)

Below is the list of countries/views for Summer Setting in 2015 as of last night:

47732 United States
3137 Germany
3024 United Kingdom
2302 Canada
2144 France
1678 Australia
996 India
854 European Union
569 Philippines
530 South Africa
523 Russia
430 Brazil
429 Spain
428 Italy
418 Ireland
390 Netherlands
355 Poland
338 South Korea
311 Singapore
307 Norway
282 Turkey
267 Indonesia
248 Thailand
223 Japan
207 Taiwan
200 Romania
195 New Zealand
185 Malaysia
176 Hungary
175 Greece
163 Mexico
163 Sweden
157 Belgium
154 Czech Republic
153 Switzerland
147 Hong Kong SAR China
143 Austria
136 Israel
132 Denmark
132 Ukraine
131 Finland
120 Saudi Arabia
110 Pakistan
102 United Arab Emirates
99 Vietnam
85 Argentina
84 Portugal
77 Colombia
74 Slovakia
73 Egypt
72 Croatia
69 Bulgaria
62 Serbia
60 Belarus
57 Slovenia
56 Lebanon
54 Nigeria
51 Trinidad & Tobago
44 Latvia
43 Bosnia & Herzegovina
41 Malta
40 Bangladesh
40 Peru
40 Kenya
39 Lithuania
38 Chile
37 Algeria
36 Jordan
36 Sri Lanka
35 Estonia
35 Qatar
32 China
32 Jamaica
31 Uruguay
30 Iraq
27 Macedonia
26 Puerto Rico
25 Azerbaijan
25 Ghana
24 Morocco
23 Cyprus
22 Costa Rica
21 Tunisia
20 Georgia
19 Ecuador
19 Moldova
18 Cambodia
18 Albania
18 Kuwait
18 Venezuela
16 Tanzania
16 El Salvador
13 Bahamas
12 Palestinian Territories
12 Uganda
11 Mauritius
11 Kazakhstan
11 Myanmar (Burma)
11 Bahrain
11 Mongolia
10 Oman
10 Armenia
9 Belize
9 Namibia
9 Botswana
9 Panama
9 Iceland
9 Guam
8 Luxembourg
8 Ethiopia
7 Barbados
7 Martinique
7 Syria
7 Laos
7 Dominican Republic
6 Nepal
6 Guyana
6 French Guiana
6 Sint Maarten
6 Guatemala
5 Zimbabwe
5 New Caledonia
5 Honduras
4 Seychelles
4 Cayman Islands
4 Guernsey
4 Fiji
3 Bhutan
3 Jersey
3 Nicaragua
3 Brunei
3 Maldives
3 Grenada
3 Monaco
3 Sudan
3 Guinea-Bissau
3 Burkina Faso
2 Angola
2 Macau SAR China
2 Isle of Man
2 U.S. Virgin Islands
2 Paraguay
2 Aruba
2 C√¥te d’Ivoire
2 Bermuda
2 Montenegro
2 Kyrgyzstan
1 Congo – Kinshasa
1 Cuba
1 Togo
1 Cameroon
1 British Virgin Islands
1 Vatican City
1 Suriname
1 Papua New Guinea
1 Swaziland
1 Andorra
1 Madagascar
1 Tonga
1 Antigua & Barbuda
1 Djibouti
1 American Samoa
1 Bolivia
1 St. Lucia
1 Réunion
1 Iran
1 St. Pierre & Miquelon
1 Gibraltar
1 Lesotho