“Patience is a virtue”

We’ve all heard it said AT LEAST a million times… “Patience is a virtue.”  I honestly have no idea where this quote originated, and let me spare you the time of looking it up online; you’ll get a zillion different answers, and who knows which one is correct!

For me, I’ve heard it the most from my parents…

As a kid, I was ready to start playing soccer before I was old enough… “Patience is a virtue.”  (Although, my Athletic Director father went ahead and let me start)

When I lost my hearing, I was impatient to get to the next step, because I had to wear useless hearing aids (hearing aids are great, but when you have NO hearing for them to aid, not so much)… “Patience is a virtue.”

Growing up, I’d be super-impatient about something with school, theatre, art, etc… there it was again… “Patience is a virtue.”

Applying for college… “Patience is a virtue.”

Now I’m at a point of my life where I’ve heard it SO many times, I’m about sick of it, honestly.  I graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with my MFA in Fine Art this past May, and have VERY impatiently been applying and waiting for jobs.  In fact, I’ve been so impatient, I let fear rule my thoughts, and I almost took a job I didn’t really want, simply for the sake of working again–I’m so ready to get out on my own again, pave my own way into this crazy world, meet new people, see new things, visit new places…

But am I REALLY ready?  I know I’m mentally ready… but maybe I’m not physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually ready… All I know is that God has been really working on patience with me lately.  I KNOW that He will provide a job and sustenance and that His timing is so so so so much better than mine.  I KNOW that.  I trust Him.

But do I really LIVE out that knowledge, that trust?

I think that’s what God is trying to tell me.  Until I can 100% trust Him, maybe I’m not really ready to be on my own again.  Maybe He wants me to stay with my parents longer than I want, so I can be part of their lives, and enjoy the time I have with them, ’cause goodness knows it won’t last forever.  Maybe He wants me to be close to my brother and his wife, so I can watch their ADORABLE child, Bailey, grow up a bit before I leave and go elsewhere.  Maybe, maybe, maybe…

That brings me to today’s devotional reading from “David: Seeking God’s Heart,” a devotional study written by Beth Moore.  Today, I was reading in 2 Samuel, and the title of the chapter in the study was “Right Place: Sometimes God reveals Himself through experiences we don’t understand.”

Hello, smack in the face!

Today’s specific passage was 2 Samuel 2:1-7.  David has just heard about Saul’s death, as well as that of Saul’s sons, including Jonathan, with whom David was incredibly close.  David is trying to decide what to do, and where to go from here.  Instead of acting of his own accord, David ASKED God what he should do!  This is super important to note–at least for me–because David ALWAYS asked God what he should do before he did ANYTHING.  David knows that God can answer and that He will… in HIS time.  This is where Beth Moore says, “He had taken some wrong turns and some right turns, but he took virtually every step crying out to his God,” which reminds me that, no matter where we go or what we do, if we strive to plant our feet in God’s Way, we will get where we are going… it may  be a different route than we originally think… it may not be the scenic route… and it may start MUCH later than we want it to… but God knows what His plan is, not us… and HE knows what needs to happen in order to make it come to fruition.  We just need to trust and follow.

I used to think that constantly asking God for direction would be like pestering Him… like, He has SO much going on that I shouldn’t “bother” him by asking for the same thing over and over again.  But that is exactly what David does.  He asks God for direction, repeatedly, until God gives him specifics.  And until God does supply these specifics, David stays put.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do anything or go anywhere until God says something extremely specific (I honestly believe that God can and will use us anywhere, even if it’s somewhere that seems unlikely).  In fact, if you struggle with that, you should totally read the book, “Just Do Something,” by Kevin DeYoung.  It’s a pretty good read!

one day.jpg
Unfortunately, I cannot take any credit for this absolutely gorgeous and inspiring collage! 

Basically, what I’m saying is that, maybe… just maybe… asking God for specific directions isn’t a sign of impatience or a lack of trust.  Maybe it’s a sign of deepened trust; a trust that transcends the fear of becoming a bother.  Maybe, like prayer, asking God for specific directions is more for us, as humans, than it is for God.  Perhaps it is a reminder, a daily mantra, to help us persevere in our patience and remember just why it is that we are patiently waiting for God’s direction: ‘Cause His way is the ONLY way!

Beth Moore left some pretty good guidelines/suggestions for how to learn to listen to God’s Word when we are in doubt or struggling with what to do.  I’m gonna leave them here, and challenge you, and myself, to try to incorporate these more daily:

  1. Acknowledge your specific need for direction.
  2. Continue to pray and study His Word daily.
  3. Ask God to HELP you recognize His answer (we humans can be pretty darn dumb)
  4. Ask for a confirmation if you have any doubt. (God didn’t even hate Thomas for doubting, way back in John 20:24-29, when he appears to Thomas and the disciples after the Resurrection… He won’t hate us.  He’ll just help us understand.)

Sorry it’s a bit of a long one this time… I guess I had a lot to say!

Peace, love and Jesus,

Danielle

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Artist Highlight (Friday Funsies)

Hello lovelies!

So, as I sit here finishing up my coffee (always a sad moment), I’ve been pondering what to write about for today’s blog.  I considered an updated photos blog, but realize I have already posted my final MFA work, and have been so focused on job-hunting that I’ve not done a whole lot of new work… sooooo, I figured I would implement “Friday Funsies!”  For me, this will be a chance to reflect on an artist I appreciate and admire.  The artist may be long gone, currently working, or quite up-and-coming.  The opportunities are endless, but it’ll serve as a chance to share my inspirations, and what I like about their work!

If you know me at all, you won’t be surprised that my first “Featured Artist” is Salvador Dali… I’ve loved his work for as long as I can remember; the smooth blending techniques, bright colors, and abnormal juxtapositions that define Surrealism… I could go on!

Salvador Dali was a Spanish Surrealist painter, born in 1904 in Figueres, Spain.  He studied in Madrid, and later came in contact with well-known artists like Pablo Picasso, Rene Magritte, and Joan Miro.  These interactions are what led Dali to his first Surrealist phase, during which he produced “La Persistencia de la Memoria,” or The Persistence of Memory, one of Dali’s most famous works.  In case you don’t know, this is the “melting clock” painting!

the-persistence-of-memory.jpg

 

Surrealism is a movement in art that focuses heavily on the artist’s rendition of his or her subconscious mind.  In the Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, written by Andre Breton, it is said that “the Surrealists sought to overthrow the oppressive rules of modern society by demolishing its backbone of rational thought. To do so, they attempted to tap into the “superior reality” of the subconscious mind.”  Although many of the tenets of Surrealism were present in the former Dada movement, Surrealists claimed to use the disparate objects, experimentalism, and juxtapositions more intentionally, focusing on Freudian concepts of dreams. (more on Freud)  “Breton defined Surrealism as “Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express…the actual functioning of thought…in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.”2” (MoMA)

My personal favorite part of Surrealism has always been the hyper-real landscape style, and the way the artists add totally unexpected, out-of-place objects that are so beautifully rendered, you can’t help but believe them.  I suppose this sense of suspended disbelief is also what I love about theatre, fantasy novels, and movies… I never thought of it that way, but it does make perfect sense!

Salvador Dali certainly fits the Surrealist motto, as his paintings and life were heavily influenced by his parents and their relationship to their son.  His mother was a devout Catholic, but his father a self-proclaimed atheist disciplinarian.  One can only imagine the struggle a young artist may have faced, due to a potentially divisive parentage.  Dali, the Surrealist that he was, used his experiences as fodder for his work, as many artists do.  Many of the painter’s pieces have been analyzed through the Freudian lenses of dreams, subconscious, and unrestrained thought, all characteristic of Surrealism.

While I could go on and on about Surrealism and Dali, I won’t; here is a link that provides OODLES of information and is a very enjoyable read: http://thedali.org/timeline/. I highly recommend that you visit!  Meanwhile, here are some of my favorites of Dali’s paintings:

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I simply LOVE the hidden objects in this painting.  One of my favorite things about Dali is that you can seriously enjoy them over and over, since new things become apparent each time.  To me, the best art keeps the viewer coming back for more, and I think Dali is a MASTER at that.                                                                                                                                         Swans Reflecting Elephants 
galatea-of-the-spheres.jpg
Dali often used his wife, Galatea, as a muse for his paintings.  Here, I love the way he renders her; you can clearly see her beauty, but he has fragmented it in such a creative way… you almost see it as a whole, then as various spheres!             Galatea of the Spheres 
The-Hallucinogenic-Toreador-1969-70-504x659.jpg
Ah! The Hallucinogenic Toreador! Totally one of my favorites… Just look at how amazing Dali’s hidden objects are, and how beautifully he merges one thing with another, until you see a different emphasis EACH time you view the piece.  

Well, I do believe I’ve probably bored you all by now… but if not, I’ll be happy to share more information with you all!  In fact, here is a link to a paper I wrote about Surrealism and the Femme Enfant… and seriously, get online and lose yourself in the amazingness of Dali and other Surrealist artists… in fact, I think next Friday will be another Surrealist!

With love,

Danielle

Surrealism and the Femme Enfant

This is a paper I wrote for a class in my MFA program while I was at RIT.  It included a presentation and the following document.  Needless to say, I LOVE writing, especially when I am able to pick a topic so near and dear to my heart as art, specifically Surrealism!

Enjoy and, as always, feel free to comment and/or contact me!

The Femme-enfant as Employed (Objectified) by Surrealist vs Western Contemporary Art’s Objectification of Women

(with an analysis of Breton’s Nadja

 

In much of Western Contemporary art history—the practice, the critique, and the institutional existence— the dominating force has been that of white,  heterosexual males.  Due to this prevalence, a certain “standard” of creating artwork involving the female nude has emerged as “natural,” though its precise role in art has changed throughout history.  In many Western Contemporary pieces of art, from the paint ejaculations of Jackson Pollack to the violently dominating strokes of Willem De Kooning, the female nude has been employed as an objectified means of transcendence.  The artist uses the abstraction of the female nude to seek liberation from the confines of Realism and morality and to escape the feminine threat of castration, inherent in the female nude.

According to Phyllis Evans in The Mirror and the Muse: Female Artists and Surrealism,  there is at least one group of artists who reject this dominant use of the female nude in Western art: Surrealists.   The Surrealist use of the female nude is referred to as the Femme-enfant; based on the the French words for “female” and “infant.”  As such, the potential complications of the term itself become evident.  Although Surrealists, unlike many of their Western Contemporary counterparts, outwardly advocate the liberation and creativity of women, they arrest the development of their muse.   In theory, by rejecting the rational thought portrayed in the transcendence-seeking nature of Western Contemporary art, they idolize the characteristics and connotations of femininity.  However, in practice, they are just as objectively patronizing as their Western Contemporary counterparts, if not more so.  In their work, the portrayal of these women is immature, incomplete and dependent, but beautiful.  Often, the Femme-enfant is inhibited or restricted, as they are in much Western art.  It could be argued that the Surrealist Femme-enfant is more restraining than Western Contemporary Art’s objectification of women, because the female’s body is frequently portrayed as visually and physically incomplete, literally immobilizing her and/or restricting her movement.

To fully understand the Femme-enfant, one must first analyze Andre Breton’s surrealist writing, Nadja.  Breton writes about his unequivocal love for a woman named Nadja.  Nadja was mentally disabled and unable to “distinguish between illusion and reality, obsessive behavior, and dark eccentricity” and so she represented, to Breton, the completely irrational complement to the rational side of masculinity.  (It is important to note that Breton also wrote The First Surrealist Manifesto of 1924)  At first, Breton falls in love with Nadja for her irrationality and natural intuition, both of which are embodiments of the Femme-enfant.  Recounting his words to Nadja, Breton says “you, the most vital of beings, who seem to have been put in my path only so I may feel in all its rigor the strength of what is not felt in you.  You who know evil only by hearsay.  You, indeed, ideally beautiful.”   This is where the Femme-enfant’s innocence and lack of rational, cerebral (masculine) knowledge begins.

However, over time, sweet, helpless Nadja is unable to overcome her “growing madness” caused by the lack of restricting rationality in her nature.  This madness renders her portrayal not so different than femininity’s portrayal in De Kooning’s Woman series.  Eventually, Nadja is institutionalized for her so-called insanity and the Femme-enfant is known as an irrational muse, who needs the rationality that men provide in order to survive in an agreeable state.  According to Breton, men are able to withstand the irrationality of the subconscious because they inhabit the rational realm of logic, whereas the Femme-enfant only exists in the liminal space between reality and the subconscious, yet natural, dreamscape.

One might argue that, since the Femme-enfant is portrayed as less dangerous as the female nude is in Western Contemporary art, surely it is a favorable representation?  While it is true that it may not be flattering to be deemed a threatening Western Contemporary female nude, at least such a view places a power within the female that is absent in the Femme-enfant.  In Surrealist art, such as Autumn of Life and The New Babylon, by Svetoslav Stoyanov, the female subject is kept under tight control, and there is no visible attempt to escape her threats or what she may signify.  Such an absence of “danger” could be translated into the idea that the artist has already transcended any threat the female poses and is no longer afraid.  In this case, perhaps Western Contemporary artists should be jealous of Surrealist men and their liberation from Western Contemporary confines.

It is clear that the Femme-enfant is not a Gorgon-like objectification of women, as it is translated to Western Contemporary art.  In both Autumn of Life and The New Babylon, Stoyanov’s Femme-enfant is seen as naive, pure, and youthful; her beauty and innocence signify a close connection to the “intuitive world of the unconscious imagination” and dreams, so upheld by Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto of 1924.   As such, it is no surprise that many Surrealists use the female nude as a muse.  “Surrealists value the illogical, intuitive, emotive, and irrational,”   as evidenced by Stoyanov’s consistent use of the Femme-enfant as an idealized and idolized subject.   Like many Surrealist artists, Stoyanov believes “there shouldn’t be any rules and restrictions in art, but only freedom of thought.” This desired freedom of thought—intuitive in nature—does not align with the Contemporary Western idea of masculine knowledge.  Masculine knowledge is cerebral; it is gained as one “feeds” his mind and so is granted far more power than intuitive knowledge, which is the realm of femininity and the Femme-enfant.  This is the knowledge of innocence.  It is innate; the possessor does not work to earn it.  The Femme-enfant, like a child, is not imbued by secular trials, and is free to figuratively travel between dreams and reality.  The natural, psychological, dreamlike traits portrayed in Stoyanov’s works like Autumn of Life and The New Babylon are associated with femininity as weak and dependent; childlike.  There is a difference here, between childlike and childish; the women are not visually or physically portrayed as children (childish), but rather as full-grown, luscious women, representative of the innocence, intuition, and natural connections often associated with childhood (childlike).

In Autumn of Life, Stoyanov portrays a nude female torso, stretched out over what appears to be a bare, branchless tree trunk.  The subject’s arms are raised above her head—or what would be her head, had Stoyanov graced her with one—and her legs are absent.  The missing head, the adherence to the tree trunk, and the absence of legs work to successfully immobilize the subject and render her helpless.  Without eyes, the woman cannot see to go anywhere, were she able to leave the tree trunk into which she appears to be carved.  This type of immobilization seems worse than the small “silly” legs of De Kooning’s Woman I.   At least De Kooning’s Gorgon has legs, even if they appear too small to benefit the figure.

The background of a crisp blue sky, white clouds, rolling plains of grass and trees speaks to the Femme-enfant’s relationship to nature.  This relationship reminds the viewer that the subject is intuitive, innocent, and lacking the cerebral, worldly knowledge associated with the dominant fantasy of the white heterosexual male.  This lack of knowledge reveals that the subject is not only helpless, but specifically dependent upon the male’s prowess.  Furthermore, the tree trunk to which the subject is affixed is rigid and vertical, which reinforces the immobility of the subject.  The trunk is also bare of any branches and there is minimal evidence of bark, which creates a smooth vertical shape that resembles a penis.  This reading of the shape of the tree trunk echoes the Western Contemporary threat of castration in the white heterosexual male’s dominant fantasy.  It could be read that Stoyanov is forcefully keeping the phallic power to himself, controlling the female subject acutely by superimposing her within his own power.  Because the viewer looks upon the figure with no reproach from the Femme-enfant, the viewer also possesses this phallic power at the expense of the subject.

The pose and position of the torso places the female in a place of exaltation and a state of exultation.  Because she is in the center of the canvas, Stoyanov elevates her to the idolized muse-like status of the Femme-enfant as the embodiment of the dream state, naturalness, intuition and freedom from Western Contemporary secularity’s evils.   The subject’s placement also reiterates Stoyanov’s objectification of her.  Furthermore, because Stoyanov so clearly forces the viewer to emphatically gaze upon the female’s outstretched body, the viewer is placed in the entitled, voyeuristic, objectifying view of the white heterosexual male.    As is typical of voyeurism, the subject does not look out of the piece.  In fact, the subject of Autumn of Life—lacking a face—has no means of looking back; of challenging he viewer’s gaze.  Thus, despite the differences in depiction and rendering, the objectification stressed by Western Contemporary art (and superficially rejected by Surrealism) becomes inescapable.  With her arms raised above her absent head, the subject seems to be praising something, presumably nature itself.  However, it does not seem that she is praising nature of her own accord.  Looking at the piece, one could almost visualize handcuffs holding her hands back, forcing her exultation.  The falseness of such forced exultation does not matter; the control of the female subject is all that matters.

The similarities between Western Contemporary art’s objectification of the female body and the Surrealist’s Femme-enfant is even more prevalent in Stoyanov’s A New Babylon.  Once again, Stoanov’s subject is a female nude, surrounded by and interacting with nature.  She is strictly controlled and inhibited by Stoyanov’s portrayal.  Similarly to the situation created by Autumn of Life, in The New Babylon, the subject is restricted by natural elements, despite—or perhaps because of—her close connection thereto.  The Femme-enfant is immobilized by a blanket of sea and the replacement of her legs with a rendition of the Tower of Babylon, which is representative of the Biblical Tower of Babel.  In Genesis 11, the people of Babylon attempted to build a tower that would stretch into the heavens.  Because the Babylonians were building the temple self-righteously, God dispersed their language, causing them to be unable to understand each other.  This unintelligibility prevented the tower from being finished and earned it the name, Babel, which is indicative of the Hebrew word for “confused.”   In this piece, Stoyanov appears to be completing the tower, either ending or exploring the confusion of the men of Babylon.  By placing the Femme-enfant on top of the tower, Stoyanov asserts her intuitive spirit as the answer to the confusion.  Aside from referencing the parable, the immobilization of the tower gives the subject a helplessness, dependent upon the non-intuitive knowledge that can “only” be found in the phallocentric man.

Perhaps an even more accurate reading of A New Babylon is that Stoyanov is referencing the Biblical parable of whore of Babylon, found in the seventeenth chapter of Revelations.  The whore of Babylon is the ultimate adulteress; the lust-throne of “the kings of the earth.”  Certainly Stoyanov’s luscious Femme-enfant outwardly resembles a whore.  In Revelations, the whore sits upon a crimson beast with seven heads, representing the seven kings who have fallen prey to her sexuality.  Correspondingly, there are seven tiers of the tower visible below the Femme-enfant’s truncated torso.  Furthermore, in verse fifteen, the angel of Revelations declares that the waters upon which the whore sits are nations, languages and multitudes, which easily relates to the multitudes dispersed in the parable of The Tower of Babel in Genesis.  Stoyanov also places his whore—his Femme-enfant—upon a sea.  The Revelations whore’s name is written on her forehead, but is unreadable; we do not see the forehead of Stoyanov’s Femme-enfant.  Lastly, the whore of Babylon—the great city of Babylon—will be ruined by the beast upon which she sits; the kings of the beast will strip her, leaving her naked to be destroyed.   Needless to say, Stoyanov’s Femme-enfant, once again, epitomizes this aspect of the scripture.

In a sort of juxtaposition to the Biblical references, the viewer is confronted with the typical, idealized, natural background of Surrealism.  We see a crisp blue sky, deep golden sand, and a visually calm, if not metaphorically, ocean surrounding the muse.  Despite her obvious maturational development, the subject is rendered innocent and childlike by her surroundings.  Even the positioning of the tower resembles the shallow spaces in the ocean where young children play at the beach.  The tower itself, has a sandcastle-like appearance, which relates to the innocence of childhood.  Such reflections evoke nostalgia in the viewer.  This nostalgia is another layer of inhibition; the subject is trapped in the childlike innocence of the past, unable to match her physical maturation with a corresponding mental capacity, because her knowledge is intuitively expressed rather than cerebrally gained.

Stoyanov has again used the placement of his Femme-enfant strategically.  In The New Babylon, the subject is placed in the center, at the top of the tower—a place of elevation.  In this way, she is at once exalted and controlled.   The sheer size of the subject in relation to her surroundings, including the small male figure in the foreground, heighten her exaltation.  Likewise, her arms stretched above her thrown-back head, with hands almost prayerfully joined, create the sense that she is praising something; basking in its glory.  Because we are presented with the Femme-enfant, it is likely that she is worshipping nature and the dreamlike connection of intuition and the subconscious.  As with the branchless, rootless tree in Autumn of Life, the tower’s strong verticality and thrust resemble a penis.  As the phallic shape of the tower covers the Femme-enfant’s own genitalia, we once again read an attempt to control and escape the threat of castration in the male-dominated phallocentric fantasy.

There is a butterfly on the left side of the canvas, presumably peeling back the carpet of sea that entraps the subject.  However, it is apparent that, even if the butterfly fully removes the floating ocean, the subject would still be immobilized by the tower out of which she rises. Perhaps a more silent means of inhibition is found in he small male figure in the foreground, who holds an ironically phallic-shaped object; a staff.  One might wonder why he holds the staff, but the staff is a means of control.  Thus, through phallic power, Stoyanov allows the voyeuristic male—minute compared to the female muse—to control the Femme-enfant.  He is clearly gazing, without opposition, at the subject.  Since his back is turned, the viewer is instantly placed within the piece as a fellow voyeur, completing Stoyanov’s objectification of the Femme-enfant.  This obvious and implied gaze, along with the subject’s upturned face lacking any sign of awareness of the gaze, creates the same voyeuristic tendencies found in many pieces of contemporary Western art.

Perhaps the “rift” between Western Contemporary Art and Surrealism is not as stringent as either party imagines.  Stoyanov says his goal is to “bring out the beauty and delicacy of the world around us, and the magnificence of the human mind,” which Surrealists believe is best reached by escaping reality and opening the mind to the subconscious.  This “escape” strongly echoes the transcendence described by Duncan in MoMA’s Hot Mamas.   Although Stoyanov incorporates the female nude in many of his works, he claims she is not his muse or focus.  He “paints what [he] loves to do. Sometimes [he] paints naked women, because [he] likes the woman’s body. This is the only reason.”   However, given Stoyanov’s subjects, it is nearly impossible to deny a strong objectification of the female nude.  Not only do the subject and background speak to the intuition and natural/dream aspect of the Femme-enfant, but the consistency with which these themes are displayed in Stoyanov’s work suggests, at the very least, a subconscious objectification of the female nude as a submissive Femme-enfant.  The phallocentric male fantasy of dominance, frequently attributed to Western Contemporary Art, prevails. Autumn of Life

Svetoslav Stoyanov, Autumn of Life, oil on canvas, 2012

New Babylon

Svetoslav Stoyanov, The New Babylon, oil on canvas, 2011

References

Breton, Andre, and A.S. Kline. “First Manifesto of Surrealism – 1924.” Poetry in Translation. January 1, 2010. Accessed October 24, 2014. http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/French/Manifesto.htm.

Broude, Norma, Mary Garrard, and Judith Brodsky. “Introduction : Feminism and Art in the Twentieth Century.” In <i>The Power of Feminist Art: The American Movement of the 1970s, History and Impact</i>. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1994.

Duncan, Carol. “MoMA’s Hot Mamas.” <i>Art Journal</i> 48, no. 2 (1989): 171-78. Accessed October 26, 2014. http://www.jstor.org/stable/776968.

Evans, Phyllis Leverich. Phyllis Leverich Evans: Digital Art, Photography and Encaustic Painting. January 1, 2008. Accessed October 25, 2014. http://www.phyllisevans.com/essays/01_essay_mirror_muse_01_01_09.html.

“Genesis 11: The Tower of Babel.” Bible Gateway. Accessed November 8, 2014. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=genesis 11&version=NIV.

N/A, Sophie. “The Unconscious (and Surrealism), Part Two.” Troubling Rationality. March 26, 2010. Accessed October 24, 2014. http://blog.lib.umn.edu/kerma005/rationaltrouble/2010/03/the-unconscious-and-surrealism-part-two.html.

ORLICH, Ileana Alexandra. “Surrealism and The Feminine Element: André Breton’s Nadja and Gellu Naum’s Zenobia.” <i>Philologica Jassyensia</i> 2, no. II (2006): 213-24. Accessed October 25, 2014.

“Revelations 17: “Babylon, the Prostitute on the Beast.” Bible Gateway. Accessed November 8, 2014. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+17&version=NIV

Stoyanov, Svetoslav. “Surrealism, Erotic Art, Landscape.” Svetoslav Stoyanov Art. January 1, 2011. Accessed October 24, 2014. http://svstoyanovart.webs.com.

Notes and Lessons from a TRSH message

TRSH.

Yeah, it’s basically just a disemvowelling (yes, that is actually a word… I looked it up) of the word trash.  So, knowing that, one might wonder why on earth that was a part of a message I heard at church yesterday morning… well, I’m going to tell you.  I’ll also share a few other nuggets I gleaned while sitting at Broad River Community Church this morning, ’cause the message and its themes really resonated with me, and I’d love to share them with you, lovely readers!

TRSH stands for, “The Rebellion Starts Here.”  And no, I’m not talking about some violent uprising, political angst, or anything like that.  At the risk of sounding cliche, this is a rebellion of love.  It is a rebellion that starts in each of us, as Christ-followers, but can easily be transferred to others.  The rebellion finds its base in the fact that we claim Christ as Lord of our life, not the materialism, vanity, or other secular things that much of our society holds dear.  Likewise, the mantra of TRSH leads to spreading love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control… yes, the fruits of the spirit, but also just things that our society is missing SORELY these days.  That is why I say that this rebellion is not just for Christians.  TRSH is for anyone who wants to spread kindness and love into a dark world.

Genuineness is another part of TRSH.  So often, we ask people how they’re doing, and the reply is, “oh, fine and you?” “fine, good.” There’s nothing REAL happening there.  We need people in our lives that we can HONESTLY ask how they’re doing, and expect an honest answer, even if it’s not a happy one.  Likewise, we need to be able to confide in someone, trusting them enough to be vulnerable in answering.  Otherwise, how on earth can we really know each other?  Along the same vein, we need to be intentional about our thoughts, too.  We need to practice taking them captive, so we don’t act on “bad thoughts.”  I’m not saying “bad thoughts” won’t happen… but we don’t have to act on them immediately.  This is something I struggle with sometimes, linked to talking back or being stubborn…I, for one, really need to work on spending a bit of time with my thoughts before I say or do something… especially when it can lead to harsh words or actions that ultimately hurt more than heal.  And words are strong!  That’s a topic for a whole other day, though.

Another tidbit came from my favorite book of the Bible, Philippians… specifically, my favorite chapter thereof.  We were discussing Philippians 4:10-23 (my favorite verse is 4:13!).  For a little background, we’ve got Paul, sitting in a cold, dank prison, speaking words of encouragement to his brothers and sisters in Thessolonica.  I don’t know about you, but I am always impressed by the JOY Paul is always able to spread, even from PRISON… PRISON!  Verses 11 and 12 REALLY stuck with me today, maybe because I’m at a frustrating crossroads in my life, as I simply wait to hear from various jobs to which I’ve applied…. maybe it’s because the Holy Spirit just knew I needed new insights to these verses.  Regardless, here they are:

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”    NIV

I think that this fits into the TRSH mentality, because life should not be about “keeping up with the Joneses”… We all strive for contentment and happiness.  I think the two are very closely linked.  If we can learn to be content, then I think we will gain the ability to more fully appreciate that which we have, whatever it may be.  This is a rebellious thought, in that it flies in the face of much of capitalism… but I think that’s kind of what we might need more of these days.  I’m not usually one to be political or assert super bold opinions, but I think that being content in God and knowing that ultimately, even if our path seems uncertain (like mine does right now…at least to me), they’re there.  God knows our paths, and if we keep “His word as a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path” (Psalm 119:105), He will guide us.  Yes, He knows our paths, but He gives us freewill because He loves us, and wants us to CHOOSE a path that follows Him.
For me, this is a relief, as I have NO idea what job I get, or where I will end up.  But, I just need to focus on the fact that, as long as I strive to keep Christ at the center of my life and work to life a life reflective of His goodness, I’m doing something right.  He will work all things for the good of those who love Him.  This doesn’t mean that everything will be all hunky-dory… haha… it’s definitely not.  But it does mean that, even when I can’t see beyond the uncertainty of the fog that I’m in, things will clear up and reveal something more beautiful than I could’ve dreamed or imagined on my own.  And I’ve got some wild dreams, so that’s saying something!
So, I’ll leave you with one other tidbit that I wrote in my journal today:
“In our rebellion, we are not seeking to spill the blood of our enemies; we are seeking to be totally washed by the blood of Jesus, the spotless, perfect Lamb.  It’s about US following Christ, being the best version of ourselves that we can be, not about us getting revenge.  God will take care of that part, so long as we commit ourselves to Him, and when He does, it will be righteous… there will be no guilt of wrongdoing or maltreatment.  It’ll be like Him… absolutely PERFECT and JUST.”
Peace, love and Jesus,
Danielle

LOOONG overdue

Hello lovelies!

I know it has been entirely too long since I’ve written a thing!  I figured that now is as good a time as any to get back into this blog, full-swing!  I’m going to plan to post more frequently, and about more topics!  A muggy, rainy morning with a good cup of joe is the PERFECT time to “restart,” isn’t it?!

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Okay, so that’s not today’s coffee… but I wish it was!

Also, while we are talking about restarting things… you should check out my Etsy shop, which I’ve also revamped.  I’ve decided to focus it primarily on wedding-related pieces and projects… thumbprint guest books, invitations, etc.  Right now, everything is done by hand, but I hope to add graphically illustrated things to the wedding programs and invitations portion of it!  I suppose the hopeless romantic in me, combined with my recent part-time employment with a Wedding Coordinator at Separk Mansion in Gastonia, has brought about this change and made me really excited about it all!  I DO LOVE WEDDINGS!

Here’s my Etsy link…. https://www.etsy.com/shop/dmbfromtheheART?ref=hdr_shop_menu

And here are a few images from my shop:

And OF COURSE, I still take commissions and other projects, so any time you have questions about anything, send them my way! 🙂 I would love to help you make your visions and dreams come true!

There’s so much I COULD say… but I’ll just keep this one short, a “re-introduction” of sorts, and unashamed advertising of my Etsy shop… so go visit it! 🙂

Peace, Love and Jesus,

Danielle