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A Post-Election Liturgy

A liturgy is a guided prayer that takes you through song and poetry and meditation, etc. I put this together after I couldn’t sleep last night, all stirred up from the election. What a difficult season it’s been!

I hope you find it centering for your soul, friends. I prayed through it this morning… It was good.

https://theliturgists.bandcamp.com/album/a-post-election-liturgy

(BTW, I partnered with The Liturgists for this. They do incredible work for the spiritually frustrated and homeless.)

February Balm: Practice and Process Part 2

PRACTICE:

As we are making our way through February, Betony and I have been staying true to practicing the two things we put forward at the beginning of the month:
Praying for people each night as a family
and
Exploring where our family can do service work (especially looking in to “Turn Around Bikes” in Greeley).

Volunteering

So we met with Liz Young and her intern of Turn Around Bikes last week just asking, “What all do you guys need this year?” Since Betony and I have experience with putting on big events and art shows we volunteered for the “Turn Around Bikes” fundraiser committee. Be looking for a that event come July! It should be an incredible time of biking, live music, food, and Weldwerks Brewing Company will hopefully be involved.

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We also decided to do a special for the next two weeks on our site: 100% of proceeds of sales of this print go to support Turnaround Bikes!
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PROCESS

I’ve been performing a new song this year that has really good energy when I sing it for people. I’ve been ending sets with it. “There is a Balm in Gilead” is a song about deep hope and it feels like a proclamation every time I sing it. It felt right that we would record this song in February and release it with this theme being lived out… More to come on that in a couple days!

Betony put up some versions of this incredible poster last week on Facebook. (True to Giants & Pilgrims projects, it coincides with the song.) You all voted and chose this version! It will be up for sale alongside the song in a couple days as well!
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Some folks that helped make “There is a Balm in Gilead” happen (Charla Bultman, Brian Claxton, and sound engineer/ producer David Wilton):

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My friend Jeff Cook and I released a teaching/song meditation for Lent called Observance.lent

FURTHER EXPLORING “BALM”

We read “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” out loud as a family this month. There are so many beautiful and interesting spiritual archetypes in this book: baptism, desert, resurrection, etc. The whole of the book explores LOVE as an act of giving and sacrifice that shapes someone for the better.

Betony has also been reading “Home Grown” and “Man’s Search for Meaning”. She is highly recommending them for me as well!

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This month I helped friend and Giants & Pilgrims band member Mary Claxton do a songwriting intensive, while Betony designed a set for Frontier Academy Elementary’s performance of Aladdin and volunteered to help with a art show fundraiser at our pre-school (check out those Lorax trees)!

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The family took a trip to see the orchids at Denver’s Botanic Gardens.


And we had lots of fun with Valentine’s shenanigans:

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And, speaking of “Balm”, I have been batching my newest set of colognes, beard oils, and aftershaves!IMG_5129

That’s all for now! March is going to be all about “Ground” so be watching for that soon!

February Practice and Process: “Balm”

(image is from a Chinese cloisonné painting factory we visited in China 2008)

In creating our new project, Bellwether (an art series and album due winter 2016) we’ve decided to share what we’re doing each month before it’s released.
We’re calling these posts “practice and process“.

They will detail the spiritual/life practice we’re doing,
give a look at our in-process art that we’re creating in response,
and then include a whole host of resources and activities! (like the new desktop wallpaper, book/music/movie lists, recipes, explorations for kids, etc. This is so as a entire family we can engage in this year’s exploration of “belief” we’re calling Bellwether. 

FEBRUARY Theme: BALM

February is in the heart of winter, close to the edge of a hope for spring. And with Valentine’s Day sitting in the month we’ve often treated February as a time to put into words the way we feel about the ones we deeply love. It’s a way to warm up the cold. We’ve chosen our theme of “balm” with some of these lines drawn.

Practice:

The very definition of balm is “something that has a comforting, soothing, or restorative effect.”

This month we are

  1. exploring what service looks like for our family. We want to start being restorative in an intentional way. For us that looks like partnering with a local charity called “Turn Around Bikes”. They restore donated bikes and give them to people in need. Honestly, since having children we’ve had a hard time being consistent and feeling effective when it comes to giving of ourselves in this kind of way. We’re open to getting better at service. Furthermore, it’s our hope to instill a great sense of compassion in our children. This is at least a first step.
  2. For our second spiritual/life practice we’re setting up a table altar like we did last month. This time before dinner we’ll be praying for people in need of “balm” or some extra love and care. Then on Mondays we’ll be writing and mailing postcards, sending that love out in words.

Here is a really cool free printable postcard designed by our friend Kyle Steed, if you’re needing a great design:

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Process:

Tim is working on recording a song called “There is a Balm in Gilead” this month while I’m gathering ideas and paper tidbits for the overall series.

Resources for “Balm”:

FEBRUARY Dates to Take Note of:

February 7th – Superbowl 50 (with the *ahem*, Denver Broncos! Bake these, I promise you won’t regret it.)
February 8th – Chinese New Year (year of the monkey!) – We love to celebrate by ordering Chinese takeout and reliving our China trip 🙂
February 9th – Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday – we love to listen to this sweet mix curated by Starbucks
February 10th – Ash Wednesday
February 14th – Valentine’s Day
February 15th – President’s Day
February 17th –  Random Acts of Kindness Day
February 28th – The Oscars

Local: Greeley, CO events:

February 5th (and up through the end of the month) – Soundscape a group art show at the Atlas Theater that pairs music and art (right up our alley don’t you think?)
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February 27th – Tim and Charla are opening for the lead singer of Everclear at the MOXI theater!
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Let me know if you have other fun Greeley events I should add to this calendar!

EXPLORATIONS:

Here in Greeley, CO we have had just buckets and buckets of snow. We haven’t seen the ground since December 1st. I don’t even remember what it looks like. During winters like this, I think the best possible plan of action is to find a warm tropical greenhouse to visit. Usually we make a trip to the Butterfly pavilion. This year, I am thinking we are going to visit the Orchid Showcase (Jan. 8-Feb 22) at the Denver Botanical Gardens.
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Participate in Turnaround bikes workshops this month and other service related activities.

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Make a visit to the Cranford Cove to get a new selection of looseleaf teas to enjoy this month.

Speaking of tea, the girls and I are planning a lovely Valentine’s tea party with lots of tiny delicacies, fancy china, and, of course, hats and dresses.
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ART:

Spend some time digging into Picasso’s works and share with the girls.
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Their are some really fun art activities in this book.
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Make all sorts of homemade valentines

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READING lists:

Here are some of the kid’s books I have on reserve at the library this month. I was looking for books that deal with Compassion. I would love to hear your recommendations if you have any.

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, The Invisible Boy by Patrice Barton, The Lion and the Mouse,  and A Sick Day for Amos Mcgee

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I am also reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane out loud to Lucy. It is an absolute favorite of ours. The themes are nested in kindness and compassion and the journey of self-discovery. It’s a good one for adults too.
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Mary Oliver poetry books – these are ABSOLUTELY balm to my soul.
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As a little personal “balm” against the dreariness of February, I love to order my garden seeds. (my favorite is Baker Heirloom Seeds – just reading their catalog is therapeutic)
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LISTEN:

Oxygen by Willy Mason. The video is only ok, but the song is so good.

This Great Valentines Mix curated by Personal Practice

February Free Calendar Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

Both my mom and grandmother are wonderful cooks. I grew up eating all foods made “from scratch.” For big meals and special occasions, they would get out the fancy dishes – their collection of transferware china – my mother’s were blue, my grandmother’s brown. It always meant that we were about to celebrate something special. To this day, I love all transferware. The patterns for February’s desktop are inspired by those dishes and the colors they come in. The plant in the middle is Lemon Balm, a nod to our theme this month – “Balm”.

For more inspiration for this month – make these rich chocolaty brownies, read this poem and this one, and dig into everything Letters in this February list from last year.

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the iphone images. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen.

High Resolution Desktop Wallpaper:

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