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.)

Favorite Birds (24): Peacocks…I Only Have Eyes for You

Beautiful PeacockPeacocks are perhaps the world’s most stunning and highly prized birds. peacock.. Worchester Art Museumjpg They’ve been a subject of nearly every art form for thousands of years,Peacocks and even though they are only native to Asia and Africa, they are a treasured addition to palaces and parks around the world. Stunning peacock Technically, only the males—with their immense tail fans (which comprise more than 60% of their body length)—are called “peacocks.” Pea hen The females, who are much less colorful, and called “peahens,” Peacock and Peahen and together they are called “peafowl.” Peacock on Railing  Also (technically) peacocks are large members of the pheasant family. Tail feathers of peacock Counting their weighty tails, peacocks are among the world’s largest flying birds. Girls with peacock They measure up to 5 feet in height and can weigh up to 13 pounds. Peacock in  trees In the wild, peacocks are omnivores who nest in trees & live as long as 20 years. Pea hen checking out pea cock It’s thought that the male’s vibrant fan, Peacock feathers from back striking tail feathers, Peacock. Rear view and lavish mating rituals are what attract the females, Peahen watching peacock and after watching them in action, who could disagree?Close up rear view peacock  Both males and females have a head crest, and although the females are much duller in coloring, they will also flaunt their plumage to ward off competition or defend their young. Peacock. Full fan The most common peacocks seen in America and Europe are Indian peacocks, Peacock fanwhich have iridescent blue and green plumage and eyes on their tail fans. Peacock Feather Close up As with many birds, the iridescence is caused not so much by pigmentation Peacock Feather eyes but by structure…the way light reflects off their interlocking barbules. Peacock Preening Although it’s a rare treat to see one, there are also white peacocks. White peacock drinking from bucket I always thought they were albinos, but true albinos have pink eyes.White Peacock+10 11.14.14 Most white peacocks are actually “leucistic;” they have less pigmentation and white feathers but blue eyes.SantaCeciliaMosaicPeacockSince ancient times, Christians have used the peacock to represent immortality.Peacock walking They are associated with the resurrection of Christ because they shed their feathers annually and regrow new ones (said to be even more beautiful). Igenio Epicoco Peacocks drinking from a vase symbolize Christians drinking Christ’s eternal life. Male peacock on wallAlso, the “multitude of eyes” on their tails speak of the all-seeing eyes of God. Flamingo and PeacockLast week I wrote about flamingos, and there’s a popular song sung by “The Flamingos” entitled “I Only Have Eyes for You.” Do you know it? Male Peacock+Albino“My love must be a kind of blind love
I can’t see anyone but you…
Maybe millions of people go by
But they all disappear from view
And I only have eyes for you.” Little girl watching peacocksThat’s sorta the way I feel about God, so I love all the symbolism in peacocks! Peacock. Beautiful…For His eye is on the peacock, and I know He watches me! 🙂

“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)



(Credit: Picture of St. Cecelia’s with two peacocks and a cross thanks to  http://silvertrumpets.blogspot.com/2012/07/peacocks-in-early-christian-art.html . I took all the photos of the peacocks in Hawaii, California, and the Bahamas.)