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In Appreciation of the Dedication

I enjoy the privilege of appreciating the fruit of people’s hard work, dedication, passion, and training.

I’m continually inspired by artists, photographers, sculptures, writers, choreographers, dancers, directors, and all the other creators out there.

In that vein…this photo is breathtakingly beautiful to me. While Gene Kelly played Gene Kelly in every movie he ever acted in, his choreography and creativity blow me away every time.  What about Cyd Charisse?  What can you say when you look at her in this image but stunning!  To hold herself in that position takes incredible talent, and years of training.

Point to ponder while you wander…What is it that you are passionate about?

Maybe it’s the arts.

Maybe it’s engineering or innovating software or machinery. 

Maybe it’s education or politcs or medicine. 

Maybe it’s your kiddos and family.

Maybe it’s being a pastor or running an orphan home.

Wherever you passion lies…go for it with all you have! Be a driving force for good in your chosen field. Leave a legacy with your passion, dedication, and hard work.

Note: I always credit photographers and artists but the image above was posted on FB by Gene Kelly The Legacy without a photographer credit. It could be a still from Brigadoon or a photo. Either way I don’t know who to credit. Sorry.

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Fun Fact Friday: Pulp Fiction

Before e-readers and audio books…

Before television…

Even before paperbacks and comic books…

There was PULP FICTION!

The Pulp…

Rough and untreated paper made from wood pulp, as opposed to the shiny and higher priced “glossy.” This low quality paper allowed for a cheaper publication cost, and therefore wider circulation of the magazines.

The Fiction….

A bevy of stories across all the genres written by a varied flock of writers. The writers would often use multiple pen names so they could have more than one story in a single magazine. They weren’t paid very well, so they would need to pump out as many stories as they could, as quickly as they could. 

The Pulp + The Fiction…

Pulp fiction refers to the cheaply printed magazines that invited, lured, and sometimes enticed the American public with colorful and sometimes lurid covers and the promise of adventure. Magazine stands from the late 1890s into the 1950s were filled with these “pulps.” But the high point in sales and popularity was definitely the 1920s – 1930s. Sources vary on the total sales but the most popular during this time could sell upwards of a million per issue!

The insides were without illustrations.

The edges were rough.

But the stories…ah the stories…

These stories provided readily available entertainment, adventure, or in some cases escape. 

Heroes rescuing damsels in distress from mustache twirling villains. 

Cowboys taming the wild wild west. 

Eerie science fiction and scary horror stories. 

Adventures in far off lands. 

Spicy romance and mysteries being solved by brilliant detectives.  

All this for about a dime an issue!

Reminds me of my Papa and his “2 cartoons and a movie for 12 cents” stories from his childhood…which happens to be towards the end of the popularity of the pulp magazines. He used to say, “Who knows? The shadow knows.” Cracked me up! But I found it that The Shadow was actually a popular pulp fiction character, as were Hopalong Cassidy, Conan the Barbarian, Tarzan, and Zorro!

Point to ponder while you wander… “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zechariah 4:10 NLT

This blog is my small beginning.  Encouraging me to write at least a few days a week. But for some famous authors their small beginning was the pulp magazines. Don’t believe me? Check out a few of the many vastly underpaid pulp fiction writers who became household names:

Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)

Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan, John Carter)

Agatha Christie (Murder on the Orient Express)

F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)

Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man Series)

Rudyard Kipling (The Jungle Book)

Louis L’Amour (Hopalong Cassidy and a whole lot of other westerns)

Uptown Sinclair (The Jungle)

Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Advenures of Huckleberry Finn)

H.G. Wells (Time Machine, War of the Worlds)

Tennessee Williams (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Streetcar named Desire)

Selfie Saturday: Vinny V

Today’s artist….Vincent VanGogh, aka Vinny V!

Fun facts about Vinny V’s Selfies…

*There are 39 surviving self-portraits bainted by VanGogh.

*The lack of a model often inspired Vinny to paint a selfie.

*Vinny exchanged selfies and letters with fellow artists Paul Gauguin and Émile Bernard.

*He used a mirror to help him paint his selfies.

*I’ve personally seen two of Vinny’s selfies.

The first is hanging in the Detroit Institute of Arts. It’s an oil on pasteboard, entitled, “Self-Portrait with Straw Hat, Summer 1887″

The second can be found in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. This one is an oil on canvas entitled, “Self-Portrait, August 1889″. It is my favorite of Vinny’s selfies.

I love all the blues that make his eyes and ginger hair just pop! He seems confident in who he is, and what he is doing in this one. Maybe because 1889 was also the year he painted “Starry Night”, “Sunflowers”, and “Irises”. A very good year!

Bonus Selfie: There was one other self-portrait that is believed to have been destroyed during WWII. “Painter on his way to work: Vincent van Gogh on the road to Montmajour“.

Vinny painted it in August 1888. It was an oil painting on canvas, and was 48 × 44 cm.

Deep Thought Thursday: What Job is Really About

I’m currently studying the book of Job. Truthfully…it’s not my favorite.

What do you think the book of Job is about?

Most people, at least by the studies, commentaries, and posts I’ve found, believe Job is about why the righteous suffer.

I disagree. Wholeheartedly.

The book of Job is about relationship.

In the beginning, Job 1-3, Job knew of God. In the end, Job 38-42, Job KNEW God. That my friends is the point of Job’s story.

Are you going through hard times right now? Please save yourself the agony of the why that may never be answered (Job never found out why).

Instead focus on the who. Who is Jesus to you? Who do you want to be?

Use these hard times to grow and be a better person that you were before they happened.

I know it sucks. I’ve been there.

I’ve spent months battling a disease, having surgeries, and lying in a hospital bed. #notontodeath

I’ve lost a house, two cars, and had to depend on other people to help me financially. Literally living on less than $200 a month for over a year. Read more about how I felt going through it here. #pridekiller

I lost 3 of the most important people in the world to me in a 6 month time span. #deepdeepgrief

Sometimes seasons in your life just suck. Sometimes we lose. Sometimes we get sick. Sometimes we suffer.

If you read Hebrews 11, the Hall of Faith, many of them went through rough stuff too! BUT…just like with the 3 boys in the fiery furnace, they were not in it alone! And neither are you!

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel…” Isaiah 43:2-3 NIV

Point to ponder while you wander…

Life is not always easy, even if you are a believer!

BUT every season you go through can help you grow wiser, stronger, more compassionate, and closer to God.

Or you can choose to shrink into resentment, bitterness, and blame God.

The choice is yours.

History of the Selfie

My last visit to the National Gallery of Art I entered with an entire busload of Japanese tourists.

As we were moving through the galleries together I realized that this group of people were excellent selfie takers!

Now if you’ve been following along here for any length of time you know that where I start is usually not even close to where I end up. The journey on this particular day was how much effort selfies were before cellular phones.

In the present day…people with zero artistc ability can use selfie sticks & take as many shots as they need until they get a decent enough image to doctor with clever crops & fabulous filters.

But before that..

Cameras…

1. Set up the camera at the right height & angle. 2. Set the timer. 3. Then run like the wind to get in to the frame before the click. 4. Pray for a good shot.

But what about prior to cameras?

Seriously think about that!

To take a selfie…you had to have serious skills to draw, paint, or sculpt an image of yourself.

So I decided to do a new feature called #SelfieSaturday to celebrate how artists wished to present themselves to the world.

To kick it off…here is one of my own selfies. It’s a fave. It was taken several years ago while camping with friends.

Sin and Wisdom of Thomas Jefferson

I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” -Thomas Jefferson

Random fact…I refer to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial as “Jeff”.

I enjoy visiting Jeff for the view sometimes, and other times I go there to ponder. Something about being there in the early quiet of the morning just inspires me.

Recently I heard that people want to either tear down his memorial or tack up a list of his sins.

Seriously?

We all know the founding fathers were not saints by any means. But his memorial is meant to inspire and to make people think not as a temple of worship!

My response to those people is let he who is without sin cast the first stone!

I doubt those folks suggesting the sin list would not want a list of their sins tacked up on their tombstone for everyone to see? I know I wouldn’t!

Point to ponder while you wander… We should be inspired by the wisdom of historical figures, but also learn from their struggles and failures. But if we only focus on someone’s sin…we miss out on the gift God intended those people to be.

Same is true of the people in our day-to-day lives.

Unity of the Nation

I was just on the roof of my building enjoying the view of DC, and praying for wisdom for our president and our congress.

And this is what came to me…Our military is the best in the world, so chances America being taken down from the outside are not very high. But the chances of us destroying ourselves from the inside out are currently astronomical.

We are not United.

Why would a terrorist waste their time attacking us? When we the people are using our diversity as a wrecking ball against ourselves & destroying our own country.

History should be studied and learned from so it is not repeated.

But yet we haven’t learned a thing! Here we are fighting amongst ourselves over historical statues and skin tones!

Come on people. Take a deep breath.

Hate, fear, anger, wrath, rioting, and finger pointing do not resolve anything. And we all know fear is a liar!

People are hurting, legitimately, and I’m sorry to see and hear that. But knocking down a very old Christopher Columbus statue is not going to heal anyone’s wounds. It just won’t.

Is this what you want to teach the next generation of Americans? Do you want your kids and grandkids to destroy art and history because they are hurt and upset?

I sincerely hope not.

Listening. Open communication. Love. Kindness. Patience. Mutual respect. These are tools that lead to unity.

Unity does not mean we are all the same and have the same opinion. It doesn’t mean blindly following either.

Unity is diverse people coming together for the common good. It’s choosing to listen to those who have a differing opinion. Unity is choosing to be kind & respectful even when you disagree.

The goal of unity should be to build on the successes of the previous generation accomplished, and improve in the areas where they struggled.

Point to ponder while you wander…This is our country. We are the people. We, you and me, are the solution to the problem.

So please join me in praying for peace and unity for our people, and wisdom for our leaders. Please choose to be kind. Be the positive change.