All Saints Day/0 Comments/in Almanac, Almanac Adventure Days /by Betony Coons
Candles and a make-shift alter
The day after Halloween (or All Hallows Eve) is known in the ancient Christian calendar as All Saints Day. Traditionally, it’s November 1st and is about remembering the saints who have gone before us as the days fade into colder, darker hours and winter approaches.
Untraditionally, we suggest you celebrate this holiday sometime this month in a new, creative way.
Gather family and friends together- it can be around the kitchen table, somewhere special outside, or even a planned religious service.
Let there be an open time of sharing.
Ask, “Who has been a “saint” in your life? Someone who’s
been a “light” for you?” It could be someone who’s passed or still with us, someone you know intimately or an artist/writer who’s deeply inspired you from afar, they could be religious or not…
Honor them by naming them, remembering how they’ve lit up your life. Perhaps share a story. Then light a candle to represent them and set it in the area you’ve designated as an alter.
This activity works with a large room of people or even privately on your own. Celebrate how you see fit.
October Reflection/0 Comments/in Poetry, Writing /by Betony Coons
The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves!”
Featured Artist: Tony Garza/0 Comments/in Almanac, Art /by Betony Coons
Tony Garza is one of our favorite local artists. Much of his work lives in our home where we are inspired by its beauty and truth daily. Tony has a way of telling stories through his paintings that are deeply moving. He created this piece, titled “Remember” specifically for our October almanac.
Bio: “I enjoy painting animals. Not because I like animals, but because I love that for many people certain creatures personify human characteristics. They’re great symbols to use when communicating a message, because the life in them demands the viewer to relate on some level.”
Through his work, Tony Garza strives to communicate elements of truth- whether personal or universal, beautiful or ugly.
He believes there is always a story to be told.
Tony Garza lives in Greeley, Colorado with his wife and 2 girls.
Follow him on Instagram @tonychristophergarza.
For more of our featured artists, click here.
The Smell of Each Season/0 Comments/in Almanac, Writing /by Betony Coons
Betony and I have a strange tradition that we
haven’t yet shared here in the Almanac.
With the turn of each season we go and buy
For fall we will perhaps get an apple smell, pumpkin, or maybe cloves. Then for winter we almost always get one of those Christmas tree ones, and maybe a cinnamon/spice fragrance. Come spring we’ve found “cut grass” and various flowers while summer this year took us to “Margarita-vile”.
I know it seems superfluous and a bit silly, but we look forward to doing this each fall, winter, spring, and summer.
They say that the sense most connected with memory is that of smell. So it would make great sense that when the weather changes and we find ourselves in a new place in the year yet again, we would want to recall the past.
In doing so we bring to mind all the good we remember from the last year and let that color our coming days.
And by purchasing candles, sometimes revisiting the exact same smells, sometimes finding new perfumes to add change and variety,
we anchor our joy in taking on each new season.
Like Ships Passing in the Night/0 Comments/in Almanac, Art, Music, Writing /by Betony Coons
THE STORY OF THE SONG
The producer of “Almanac No.1” (our Giants & Pilgrims album) is
Dave Wilton. He’s a sweet and extremely talented man who’s awesome
to work with creatively. He recorded all the music in his studio, St. Idas,
and helped arrange each song we captured.
In the making and writing for this album Betony, Dave, myself, and a few others, were exploring this idea of love coming up from the dirt. (I would say that was the music’s over-arching theme for Almanac No. 1.)
Rarely is anything worth doing easy, especially in love, and this idea plays itself out in family, faith, dreams and hopes, friends, regrets, our need for more time, etc. The best kind of love is the most difficult, but it’s the best, but it’s difficult… and so on.
While working together one day Dave turned to me and he said,
“Hey, Bro. Do you ever feel like you and your wife and just ships passing in the night? I get up for work and say goodbye to her and the kids. I get home and take over and she leaves for her work. I’m in bed when she gets home… We hardly are seeing each other. It feels like we’re just these ships passing in the night.”
And so Betony’s painting was created from that sentiment. Then my song was written.
I very much related to what Dave was saying. And so my song plays out that these busy seasons happen, but the hope is that we’re going to turn things around eventually; that we’ll be intentional and find
time to be together. This season won’t last, we’ll find
ourselves out of it eventually and back into a better
schedule of relationship with each other.
Ships Passing in the Nights
by Giants & Pilgrims
Bride up against the tide it’s always you and I, when you want it
Brave, pushing on the waves for a place to stay, Bring the harbor
And our ships are passing
My love this won’t last
Our ships keep on passing
missing in the night
missing in the night
And this too shall pass
Wind, four corners closing in moving on my skin
Do we have to?
Stars thrown upon the wall navigates it all
Like a calling
I’m going to steal my time like it was a crime
For my heartache
The river knows if I take off my clothes
and lay me down we’re drowning ghosts x2
F- C-G F- C-G
Some images from the process of creating this painting –
Read about how/why Betony brings her kids into her painting process here.
October Theme: Remember/0 Comments/in Almanac, Poetry, Writing /by Betony Coons
A poem for October. “Remember” is our theme for the month and all our posts here will play on that theme, for the most part. Fall is my favorite time of year and October my favorite month… so this should be a good time!
October is a swan song
A last grand gesture of earth color and twilight
before everything sustained by light and warmth
fades into winter
The beautiful funeral is felt in
gray skies, falling leaves, and shorter hours
In the face of the Great Sleep
It’s best to
to keep account of the memories of days
filled with vibrant greens and full hours
So we head forward
into the dark with a candle
and a recollection
“Ferocious” Painting Process/0 Comments/in Almanac, Art /by Betony Coons
Just wanted to share some of the behind the scenes process photos of how I create a painting. These are from last year (I was at my parents house in Kansas).
A good day of painting always starts for me with some good reference photos and a delicious cup of coffee.
Next comes roughly sketching out an idea – with lots of little scribbly help from the kiddos (an excellent place for them to help since all this gets covered anyway)
Also usually need some live modeling from Tim…
Refining the sketch…
Painting everything in black and white only to “set values”
Adding first collage elements and color (plus fixing some elements).
And more… teal and zig zags eventually gets covered up.
And after the edition of lots of white and lots of fun scribbles from the kids, FINISHED!!
Song: Paint Your Tigers Gold/1 Comment/in Almanac, Music /by Betony Coons
The Story of the Song
“Paint Your Tigers Gold” was written when our daughter, Lucy (then 2 years old), was having night terrors. She would erupt into screaming and crying anywhere between midnight and 4 AM. And we couldn’t wake her up to calm her down.
Being in that helpless place and not being able to fix the problem was extremely hard for me as a dad. Exhausted, I would hold my frantic daughter and be completely unsure what to do.
After several weeks of trial and error, turns out she just had to go to the bathroom as a part of the bedtime routine. That was a tiring lesson to learn and best remedied at 7 PM rather than 2 AM.
I wrote this song as a prayer- processing what it means to come alongside someone (when that’s really all you can do… just be with them) when they experience darkness. There’s such strength in coming alongside them to tell them you are with them; that they are brave and can do it.
The sound of the song is purposefully both circus/ kaleidoscope joy and vesper/lullaby hush- a call to courage and a calming comfort. And all that wrapped up in hope.
Listen to “Paint Your Tigers Gold”
“Paint Your Tigers Gold” Lyrics and Chords
by Giants & Pilgrims
Hedge of angels come to corners with me
Riddle out every shadow you see
dm C dm C F
Ring a bell, shake across, give them hell whatever the cost
Summon all of your rave revelry, Say a word against the indecency
You’re alright, you’re not alone, Keep the fight, you’re safe and you’re home
F F/E dm x2
Put on your brightest shine
(Paint all your tigers gold, Whistle your loudest song,
Shout in your highest notes, Singing your loudest tone,
Put on your greatest crown)
Bb F F/E dm
… And your Lionheart sleeps tonight
Every ride, every Carasol stops, In the end, ended all without knots
Breathing deep, thank the Lord, you’re covered up, with rock and with sword
dm F Bb
Sleep along, dear. Darling I’m here
I’ll hang my heart, dear, upon the door here x2
Bb– F– dm– C–
Poem: The Day the Bravery Parted Ways/0 Comments/in Almanac, Poetry, Writing /by Betony Coons
The Day The Bravery Parted Ways
By Mariah Foster
You couldn’t rise from your bed after such a dead sleep,
Straightjacket sheets holding you together
So you don’t spill your guts;
Not that it’d be enough to fill the skeletons in your closet-
You can’t poach new pieces from the elephants in the room.
You’ve got to foster new growth,
Pull nutrients from the suck you are stuck in the tarpit of.
My love, it will always be too soon.
You won’t feel ready, but you need to
Grab life by the horns as you brace for more bucks.
Get up. Get up.
Get up on your day, on your feet,
On your desk- for perspective, yes, but also to
Prove you can still climb and find reasons to fall,
Fear of heights dulled by the pull of faith you leap with.
Skin to the wind, you finally got that shirt off your back.
Opportunity keeps knocking until your shell finally cracks.
Your wings are spreading, feathers full of glitter blood and ink,
Your razors are waiting, ready to cut your puppet strings.
All the right things are where you left them, and
You’ve been holy this whole time. There’s no more need for digging.
Cry just enough to clean your hands, the shovels;
Stop before you have to drop anchor.
Success is not sedimentary,
Satisfaction never achieved by settling.
Complacency is the enemy, and
Your strongest muscle has been strength training,
Drumming out war beats.
Your courage can no longer be caged by the ghosts of your sheets.
You are ready.
You are ready.
You’ve always been
- Almanac Adventure Days
- Creative Process
- Desktop Backgrounds
- Iceland Pilgrimage
- Imago Divina
- Monthly Themes
- February 2022
- January 2022
- December 2021
- November 2021
- October 2021
- September 2021
- August 2021
- July 2021
- June 2021
- May 2021
- April 2021
- March 2021
- February 2021
- December 2020
- November 2020
- October 2020
- September 2020
- August 2020
- July 2020
- June 2020
- May 2020
- April 2020
- March 2020
- February 2020
- January 2020
- December 2019
- November 2019
- October 2019
- September 2019
- August 2019
- July 2019
- June 2019
- May 2019
- April 2019
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013