Spacious Mind

"The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing." Isaiah 35:1

Cultivating an open, a spacious, mind allows us to see the desert and oasis as one. In so doing we never lose hope, but are mindful always of possibility. But, what if peace and war are one in possibility? Then, we must not only cultivate hope, but also actively make choices that lead to peace and not war. Keep hope. Choose peace. Love.
Words and Image by C. Robin Janning. All Rights Reserved.

While We Wait

"for yours is creation and compassion and
community now and forever. Amen"

It’s Advent and we are waiting. Sometimes it seems that the gifts all come at the end of the season. But no. Look now and you will see glimmers of light. Pieces of that which is to come. Clear a little space around you as you wait. Then, watch it fill up with wonder and joy.

This is light, brought by the eyes into the heart. This is the art of Nancy Chinn, along with the words of Connie Maas. More can be seen at Nancy Chinn’s
web site. Look also at the Washington National Cathedral web site for another gift from Nancy: "A Banner Year." And, for even more of Nancy Chinn’s art, search the Art and Faith Database at

As seen above: Art by Nancy Chinn and words from the prayer "Our Mother" by Connie Maas.

Prayer Plant

"The world now has the means
to end extreme poverty,
we pray we will have the will.

This is the prayer offered on the
web site "
Counting Prayers."

Image by C. Robin Janning All Rights Reserved.


Well, it's only fair that a sabbatical predicated on an aqueous motif should start with bailing water. Here's where I've been: Swabbing the decks!

My sabbatical began with the reclaiming of a much-loved, calmative former studio space. I've missed it a lot, and I'm glad to be back. Early on, I even posted a sign outside the door: "The Refuge."

The Refuge promptly flooded - again and again and again. I moved in an easel with rubber feet, gave thanks that much of the rest was already on wheels, and continued onward. Tonight I am, in fact, tapping these computer keys in The Refuge, at a spacious, comfortable desk that my husband used throughout his childhood and a bit beyond. Now the drawers are filled with porcelain palettes, printmaking tools, tubes of watercolor paint. The legs of the desk are up on little glides. Good thing, as a bit of water continues to accumulate.

Because I can imagine my husband using this desk as a brilliant, intent young man, it gives me a warm feeling to sit here; but my feet are damp with water that seeped up through the floor tiles, and then through the soles of my normally cozy houseshoes and thick cotton socks.

In the wake of the first flood - a clue that things might not go as planned - came a tsunami of other demands: health problems for a loved one who is reliant on our care; new and urgent needs from others; unwelcome stresses that descended unannounced; many strains and fault lines that had lain buried in the sand before. A painful time.

Well, I'm still here. Now, I hope I'm finally getting down to the business of life: calm, creation, and listening. Those are the things I need.

Lately, I've acquired an insistence on working from life. That's apt, as I have been fairly well desperate to recapture my own life. Most painters, me included, will tell you that working from the life is always preferable anyway; everything you need is right there in front of your eyes, and you have only to see it. That is not the case with working from reference photos, which may seem to capture so much and yet reveal so little. I still prize my trove of photographs, but perhaps for different reasons. More and more I tend to look through a sheaf of visual reference, then put it away and paint what I want to see.

It has become satisfying to work from a single motif, reworked and refined from memory and imagination, over and over; as Degas did in his last works, while his sight steadily diminished. I have waded into painting what is in my mind. The challenge is rigorous, but comforting. And, I have taken a perverse (and characteristic) turn toward obstinacy. I can't seem to paint anything casually any more.

My, that sounds dour. I'm sure the phase will pass.

I'll post images when they are ready. However, the yeast in them is still bubbling away. The heat of the oven raises the yeast's creation to its greatest heights, and then kills it. You can see why I'm in no hurry to go there.

© 2007, Brie Dodson


A garden blooms inside the heart. Sadness sits alongside serenity, which sits alongside passion. All together creating life-giving, life-remembering breath.

Image and words by C. Robin Janning. All Rights Reserved.

Entering The Heart

This is the day which the Lord hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

My Father wrote these words from Psalm 118 in a card to me recently, on my birthday. The words entered my heart and carved a graceful trail made of memory, imagination, and faith. I am grateful to him for the repetition of words for which I have reverence, and also for his demonstration of a certain kind of energy.

So much enters the heart. Marks are made; scars and trails are forged. Some detours end in blind confusion. But love, when entering the heart, always finds a path that nourishes and continues.
Image and words by C. Robin Janning. All Rights Reserved.

Giving Thanks


My friend, Barbi Tinder, captures nature in the most astounding ways with her camera. She does the same with her words. Together she creates an image that perfectly captures this time of year. Late Fall is a time of mist, brilliant angled light and a Thanksgiving realization of how God provides water to quench the thirst of turkeys and deer. Through her eyes and words we can agree with her that "the outdoors is god's cathedral."

Mist and Sunbeams by Barbi Tinder
(all rights reserved)

This morning was one of those magical times. For me they are a reward for tolerating the brief daylight hours. God frosted my part of the world last night. I had a wonderful time early this very cold morning capturing snippets with my camera. Then as the sun occasionally made an appearance from behind the clouds the neighborhood turned into a crystal fairyland.

I'm sending you another photo from yesterday morning. I almost could not walk up the hill fast enough. I felt like I was chasing an illusion. I had to keep the right angle of light to get the reflection of the frost as it turned to liquid on the needles of the line trees. As I walked back down the hill the drops dripping off the trees sounded like a babbling brook in springtime. What a joy!

As one who does not adjust well to the short daylight hours, the late days of fall can get discouraging. This year the turkeys and a young deer are visiting our crabapple tree for the drops, and a morning like yesterday just nourishes the soul!

Image and words, ©2007, Barbi Tinder
Introduction by Jan Neal

We Thirst

Psalm 42:1 As the deer pants for the stream*
art is a glass that holds
the wine the water
that offers the hope
the taste of Spirit
the coming home

*Image By Jesse P. Mark. Original oil on canvas, 12 x 36 inches with calligraphy of the Psalm in both Hebrew and English. This image is one of eleven paintings in the series "Landscape of the Psalms" hanging in the church school rooms at Christ Church Cathedral in Lexington, KY. The artist states: "Landscape of the Psalms combines American landscapes with calligraphy from the Psalms because when I hike the trails across America I am reminded of the plentiful wordpictures of the Psalms."

Words by C. Robin Janning

Serenity In The Communion Of Saints

Ah, my dear friends and fellow saints, I am, yet again, behind the seasonal power curve. However, I have had the communion of saints on my mind for days as I always do at this time of year. I am not sure of the reason, but the communion of saints is one of my favorite theological concepts. It may be due to a longing to be part of something larger than myself; it may be longing for those I love who have passed from this life; it may be a backward longing for what is to come on Earth after I am gone. It may be a manifestation of sensucht, the inexpressible longing examined by C. S. Lewis.

On page 862 of the Book of Common Prayer we are given a definition of the communion of saints:

Q. What is the communion of saints?

A. The communion of saints is the whole family of God, the living and the dead, those whom we love and those whom we hurt, bound together in Christ by sacrament, prayer, and praise.

Interesting...those we love and those we hurt!

I have a vision of the communion of saints. I sit in my little stone church with fellow church members and imagine saints like Mary Magdalene, Mother Mary, Francis & Clare, and John the Baptist present in a translucent embracing mist along with my father, uncle, grandparents I knew, grandparents and great-grandparents I did not know. Similarly I envision the presence of Shelly Ross, Sarah Glenn Pitts and the Jeter Sisters (local parish saints) . I also imagine the translucent presence of people who have not yet been born but will one day take my place on the heart pine bench I now occupy and stroke the old wood and treasure the hand carved cross on the base of the bench while they feel my embrace. No one left out; no one on the outside looking in; all reconciled; the closest thing my feeble humanity can imagine to all longing fulfilled, all tears wiped from our eyes and heaven on earth. Oh how pleasant it is to imagine the gathering of those I love!

But what about those I hurt? And why not those who hurt me?

Is it possible that those I hurt are present in the communion to give me another chance to make right errors in things I have done and left undone - an opportunity for honor that I might know perfect peace and joy? Is it possible that we have individual, or relative communions and that those who hurt me without reconciliation are not part of my communion? After all the communion represents union through love, and love and pain cannot co-exist. Is that reasonable? I don't know, but I can certainly imagine how this gathering would be soiled by the dishonorable presence of someone who visited evil upon me without remorse.

The presence of those I hurt and the absence of those who hurt me in the communion remind me of the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

Perhaps the communion of saints is an opportunity to experience Wisdom, to right wrongs and forget that which we cannot change, and know serenity. I will have to ponder this a bit before I will comprehend the inclusion of those I hurt and the absence of those who hurt me. In the meantime I ask for your thoughts - the thoughts of my fellows in the communion. What do you make of the composition of the communion?

Image "Sanctus Circle" and words by Jan Neal. ©2007, All Rights Reserved.

And Then

flying to you
my heart
filled with love
and longing
prayers and

Image and words by C. Robin Janning. All Rights Reserved.

Sea Change

It's been a long time since I've posted here. So many things got in the way. Now I'm trying to put life to rights. I've let the waters slip over me, and I'm waiting for a sea change. Here's what Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest to coin that term:

"Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange."

More recently, we take a sea-change to mean a mystical and profound transformation. Well, this past spring I faced "full fathom five," and a sea-change has been calling to me.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a walk all alone on the beach in early morning. Just me and the sea-birds, a mug of hot coffee, and a warm, smooth rock for a seat in the brightening sun. Best coffee I'd ever tasted. I never wanted to leave. The shoreline, the horizon, the birds gathering unperturbed all around me; that was all I thought about. The only human sounds were my own slow, quiet steps on the wet sand. Nobody hurrying me. I knew it was time to surrender.

So, with the warm support of my dear friends at ECVA, I've embarked on a sabbatical. It's a voyage to a place unknown. I won't come back the same as before; facing down "full fathom five" has called for many changes in my life. I need a permanent slower pace. More quiet. Less stress. More of the right kind of listening - the unhurried kind, with no expectations, only receptivity. More of that "human touch" Bruce Springsteen wrote about.

A good friend of mine, a brilliant light in my soul, laid down one of his last drum tracks on "Human Touch." His hands on the drum set make the song both spooky and compelling. My friend has gone his full fathom five.

One thing I need to do on my sabbatical is understand how dear ones - like my friend, and others - can be here and then not here. But for the grace of God, I would not be here myself. My oldest son, Joren, saved my life. So I need to understand how it can be that I was on the border of here and gone, and then came back. And, how it can be that I gave life to someone who, many years later, literally gave life to me. It's hard to make sense of all that.

Isn't it strange how water seems so important to both healing and change? When John the Baptist immersed Jesus in the River Jordan, Jesus emerged forever changed in the eyes of the world. We are conceived, and grow, in fluid; at birth, we emerge from it - never again the same. Now I've had an extraordinary experience: I've slipped back into the water. I can't help but think of an old Talking Heads song that I always loved:

"Take me to the river, drop me in the water
Push me in the river, dip me in the water
Washing me down, washing me ..."

I need to be in the water, and I need to be healed - and then I need to emerge. And I will be forever different afterward. Water is the sign of change. A sea-change - something rich and strange. I know it is time to let the waves wash over me.

I am grateful to be able to share these thoughts, and these experiences, here at the Sketchbook. I don't know what will come of them. My hope is that they will be of some use to someone. I look forward to posting here as time progresses, and to hearing from those of you for which any of this strikes a chord.

May God bless you all, and give you gratitude for the miracle of life - so easily lost.

© 2007, Brie Dodson

No Fall From Grace

It follows us and wraps us in opportunity and possibility. Like the smallest seed that rests in the winter ground remembers the spark of light that will cause it to grow and reach again toward the moment of its birth. Grace: the kindest gift of our Creator. We never fall away from it. In our darkest place, it speaks and there is light. When the Creator dreamed us, grace was the breath of life that made us. There is no fall from grace.

Image and Words by C. Robin Janning. All Rights Reserved.

The Divine Parentage Of Flowers

My eyesight isn’t very good. My "soulsight," I hope, is better. I think it might be improving, as today I understood, for a moment, the inherent divinity of Family.

I was not instructed by my dear Father, not my Sister, not my Brother. It wasn’t my Priest or my Spiritual Director. It wasn’t my deeply loved husband or my dearly loved friends. It was paint.

The process of painting is my meditation. As I work out issues of color, hue, transparency, or translucency, other issues declare themselves to me.

"The Divine Parentage of Flowers," a mix of paint and paper, spoke to me of relationship. I understood, in an abstracted glimmer of grace, the human relationship to the Divine parent. Now my sister is not only Carol, but also Rose, Geranium, and Fig.

Garden and Gardener, we are related. As I wrap up the garden, stung by the edges of frost and Fall, I have no regret, only confidence. The garden like the gardener will go under covers for awhile, tended by divine promises and permissions.

Image and words by C. Robin Janning. All Rights Reserved.


©2007, by Jan Neal. All Rights Reserved.

Grace Falls

"At your feet, O Christ, we lay
your own gift of this new day;
Doubt of what it holds in store
Makes us crave your aid the more;
Even in a time of loss,
Mark it, Savior, with your Cross."
Words: William Bright (19thC)
adapted/Music: Sunrise (18thC)

Into the day comes doubt, into the desert creeps fear.

Is this, after all, a gift worth offering? I struggle. Who am I to offer this—smudge of paint, hint of line, color. Am I blinded by a desire to give or enlightened by His gift?

Hard days, dark nights. What comes through, what gets us through is practice. Practice makes the eye and hand move through the darkness until light appears on the surface and grace falls on both artist and art.

Image and words by C. Robin Janning. All Rights Reserved.


Wake my soul with all things living
thanks be giving to the Source of life and day
Sunlight comes and gone confusion,
night's illusion, like the starlight
fades away.

Music: Haydn Franz Joseph Haydn (18thC)
Words: Baron Friedrich R. L. von Canitz (17thC)

Creation and Recreation

Photograph, Creation
© Frank Logue, All Rights Reserved

You send forth your Spirit, and they are created; and so you renew the face of the earth. Psalm 104:31

I like to think of artist as co-creators who work with the raw stuff of creation to forge a vision of not just what is, but create a unique view. Art speaks in a mytho-poetic way to show the deeper reality or the possibilities that lie hidden. But for this to work, the artist must not just create. The artist must also make room to be recreated. As Christian artists, we must make room within our lives for the Gospel to break into our lives in such a way as to show us the world anew. In that spirit I offer two photos from recent travels in Italy and France. These were both taken in Rome and in that eternal city, we see people in two different piazzas involved in creation and recreation.

Photograph, Recreation
© Frank Logue, All Rights Reserved

Comments and photographs by The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church, 6230 Laurel Island Parkway + Kingsland, Georgia 31548 ;;


Time in that creative place of the soul can be as exhilarating as drinking in the dry clear air that lifts you up into a sky of uncountable stars lying high above the desert. Or it can be like drinking fire with no respite, no cool water. Time in the extreme. Ecstasy or agony. A gift that keeps slipping through our fingers.

But there’s another gift we’ve been given. Memory. Indeed, this gift allows us to stop time. Not forever, of course. But as we step into the desert, searching for what to take forward, we can take a piece of time, hold it up and examine it for light and dark, faith and hope. It’s ours, after all.

We can leave memory tarnishing on some forgotten shelf, or we can polish it and use it as a guide for continuing our creative journey.

As seen above: "Trying to Stop Time"
Rachel Weaver Rivera
Acrylic on Canvas, 40 x 30 inches

Words: "Memory" by C. Robin Janning

We Live

Darkness falls in variously described circumstances, but the common factor is "absence." It may be the absence of light, the absence of health, or the absence of companionship. In these absences, the desert light stuns, the sand stings, and the solitude crushes. Our need is for a balm that will allow us to survive this harsh climate. But we’ve been given more than a balm. We’ve been given the eyes and ears and breath of God. We discover this gift in prayer, in the observance of nature, and in the simple act of waking from sleep. This is so simple, it can’t be the answer. We speak; God listens; we live.


this is "church" today
staying in, listening
watching shadows
bowing to light


blueberries for lunch
earth, sky, sun, rain
and human endeavor
blessed and bound
with sparks divine

each round blue orb
appreciated for color
for taste and for health
received gratefully
this humble sacrament

Where Is?

Where is your Selma?
Where will you be when freedom's band
Shouts its hurrah?
Where your deep passion meets a deep need
That's where God is planting a seed.
Raise up your voice and make the choice
To make your stand.

Words: "Where Is Your Selma" ©2007, by Martha Kirby Capo
Image: "Proximitas" ©2006, C. Robin Janning


books are hollow, teachers silent
no words making sounds of comfort
heaven! where do you hide?
in silence, wrapped in a blanket of hope
leaning against a rock of faith

heaven! where do you hide?
oh! not hiding at all
here you are, in my heart, waiting

Image and words by C. Robin Janning


The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart...
Psalm 51:17

On view above: "Broken" © 2007, Jan Neal


…and ever present
reaching up and out to You
this ground of longing

presentation and solace
merciful mothering arms

Image and words by C. Robin Janning

Silence and "isms" in the Christian Life

During this Season after Pentecost church teachings focus on living the Christian life. It is a good time to take a walk through the Outline of Faith (commonly called the Catechism) found on page 845 of the Book of Common Prayer. This is "Our Faith 101" which clearly states the theological teachings of our church.

I am often troubled by the "isms" I hear in church which seek to over-simplify the Christian life. An "ism" might be "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" out of the mouth of a person who does not appear to have contemplated how revolutionary a concept this is for humans. Or perhaps "love your neighbor as yourself" spoken in a sing-song voice by one who would mow down a neighbor on the other side of a particular vestry issue. Or the unrepentant, rather than turning to God, addressing other humans to justify and report "we are all sinners..."

Yes, we are all prone to "isms", aren't we? Somehow it makes living the Christian life seem simple and do-able. But if we look at what the Catechism says about how to treat others found on page 848, and if we meditate upon these words, we might be surprised at what it teaches:

What is our duty to our neighbors?

Our duty to our neighbors is to love them as ourselves, and to doto other people as we wish them to do to us;

To love, honor, and help our parents and family; to honor those inauthority, and to meet their just demands;

To show respect for the life God has given us; to work and prayfor peace; to bear no malice, prejudice, or hatred in our hearts; and tobe kind to all the creatures of God;

To use our bodily desires as God intended;

To be honest and fair in our dealings; to seek justice, freedom,and the necessities of life for all people; and to use our talents andpossessions as ones who must answer for them to God;

To speak the truth, and not to mislead others by our silence (emphasis added);

To resist temptations to envy, greed, and jealousy; to rejoice inother people's gifts and graces; and to do our duty for the love of God,who has called us into fellowship with him.

Perhaps I am most surprised to find that the Catechism addresses misleading others by our silence. Is this not a necessary element of hypocrisy? How many times do we pretend to agree with something in order to get along and be liked, only to turn our backs and say what we really believe? We all do this at some time or another, maybe because it is easier than learning to speak the truth in love; maybe because we do not want to be shoved to the edges by those with whom we do not agree. Or, as C. S. Lewis described in
The Inner Ring, we do not want to be tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. Maybe misleading others will get us something we want more than we want truth and integrity.

We all know that words can hurt. But may we ponder these precious words of the Catechism and meditate upon them so that we learn that our silences that allow others to be misled may be as hurtful as unkind words.

As seen above, Digital Painting by Jan Neal

In Shalom, II

Guest Commentary by Barbara L. Desrosiers"

Send Thy peace, O Lord,
which is perfect and everlasting,
that our souls may radiate peace."
(Sufi Prayer for Peace)
C. Robin Janning’s "In Shalom" (seen above) came to me quietly, like a foggy memory. I recognized the feeling, but wasn’t sure why. Then it struck me: it is holy graffiti, left hidden on the walls of my heart while I was embroiled in life’s turmoils. The surface pulses with the power of diluted blood, signs of a weary heart. The colors are warm, but sad, as if one has tried in vain to wash away the blood stains of a pain-filled life. The etchings of dark scar the surface in an ancient way, saying "look, you can’t erase the past." It is the cement wall of my stubbornness dripping with God’s gentle touch. The scarring of pain merges beautifully with the emergence of a new, triune hope.

That hope emerges as flowers, arising from beneath the surface. They bring with them the promise of "shalom." This shalom is much more than the simple translation of "peace" we generally use in the English language. It is a deep, multi-dimensional term with an intense history. It is a completeness, a secure peace, a victory over discord.

Partners in Urban Transformation put it thusly, ". . .at its fullest, shalom captures the Hebrew vision of human society, the non-human world and even the environment in an integrated and relational whole where ‘the wolf and the lamb shall feed together and the lion shall eat straw like the ox’(Isa. 65:25)."

"In Shalom" aims to do just that, to speak of a unified world, one of forgiveness and gentleness. It is a quiet painting with a powerful duty. In Shalom radiates peace: peace for the individual, peace for the whole world. Robin’s painting lingers in one’s psyche, a mark of holiness, calling one back to the desert for renewed baptism in its quiet presence.

Editors Note: You can see Barbara L. Desrosiers' art at
Turtle Spirit Studio. Her art and her words have been featured at Episcopal Cafe and in the ECVA Exhibition Art and Faith, A Spiritual Journey.

As seen above: "In Shalom" by C. Robin Janning

Taking Joy In God's Creation

Prayer For Joy in God's Creation

O heavenly Father, who hast filled the world with beauty:
Open our eyes to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works;
that, rejoicing in thy whole creation, we may learn to serve
thee with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all
things were made, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

From The Book of Common Prayer,
Prayers and Thanksgivings, Page 814

Photo taken at Chewacla State Park,
near Auburn, Alabama, by Jan Neal

We Become

Image and words by C. Robin Janning

All My Fresh Springs

The singers and the dancers will say,
"All my fresh springs are in you." Psalm 87:6

Sometimes my soul feels parched. I crave some sort of nourishment or surely I, and my art, shall faint. It’s a lonely feeling; there’s nothing you can point to and say "this hurts." I see myself crawling across the desert, stalked by vultures who take their strength from any bit of weakness I show. My eyes search each crevasse, each shadow, for predators, and because I am alert and aware I see them.

Is that the cornerstone of our life, our work, searching out predators?

As human beings, we have been blessed with memory, imagination, and soul. We see the predators, yes, but we also remember that light from which we sprang; we imagine what we cannot know; and we own our soul for eternity. This allows us to lift our eyes from the shadow and the crevasse so that we can see beyond the moment’s parched ground to an abundance of grace.

As artists, perhaps this is our mission: search out the vistas and portals, hear the heavenly voices, and see the light to which we are all related. We must be, we must point to, "the fresh springs."

The Psalm reference above was sent to me by
Dorothy Ralph Gager, whose art is currently showing on the Art Blog at Episcopal Cafe. She wrote to me: "Fresh Springs, that’s our challenge."

Image and words by C. Robin Janning

Independence Day

Nasturtiums are the symbol of conquest, victory in battle and patriotism, so during this week of Independence Day it is fitting to share with you a painting of a nasturtium by my friend, Brie Dodson.

Independence Day is designated as an "Other Major Feast" in the Book of Common Prayer. The collect for July 4 is found on page 190 of the BCP:

Lord God Almighty, to whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant, we beseech thee, that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even though most of us will not be in church on the 4th, may we nonetheless turn to page 190 and collectively offer up our gratitude for the liberties we cherish as Americans.

More of Brie's work may be seen at her web site,
Hunt Country Paintings.

Spectacularly Ordinary

The altar flowers at my church last Sunday were perfect for the Season After Pentecost. Ordinary flowers from an ordinary garden that has struggled through a summer of drought put together by two ordinary church members who long to find God in the beauty of the gifts of Summer. The muted blues and greens blended with the green hangings to make an image of unity and a fullness of time. No violet, white or red of high feasts adorn the altar at this time, rather the subtle colors of the good earth, richer and more quietly vibrant with the passing of time. Is there not a lesson for us to learn in our Christian journey from the flowers of Summer?

Photograph of altar flowers taken at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Opelika, Alabama, by Jan Neal.

Sacred Space: A Studio Visit


Welcome to guest writer
Gay Pogue!

Gay and I have been trading thoughts about studio space, and she's agreed to share some of her own musings on the subject. And because an artist's words are always much enriched by visuals, here's a piece from her
"Seven Sins" series. (To see more of this series, visit Gay's web site, then click on "Gallery Portal" and then "Seven Sins.")

© Gay Pogue. All Rights Reserved.

Gay says this about her "Seven Sins" series: "The primitive iconic style of these images invites observers to enter the painting and examine their own souls. These snakes hail from the Garden of Eden -- cheerfully tempting us, without forcing the issue."

And now, on to our studio visit.

Sacred Space by
Gay Pogue

Right now my studio is in a corner of the back guest bedroom. In the past it has been an unused dining room, a sleeping porch, even a closet. When I travel, it is a box full of books and supplies for drawing and painting that I can haul into the motel room if there is time to work.

Is it really necessary to have a studio? Yes. When I did not take even so much as a corner of my apartment and designate it “my studio,” I did not create anything, and I suffered.

Numerous articles and books tout the benefits of a home altar or sacred space. Recently I realized that my studio fulfills that function, operating like something between a chapel and workshop. The right music and a little incense enhance the meditative feeling of the place. The computer is banned from the premises.

Being in that sacred space signals that it is time to engage in the creative visual work that God has assigned me. No matter what I may need to give up, I will never again be without a studio of some sort.

Would you like to share some thoughts and images about your own studio, for possible publication in this space? If so, please e-mail them to me,
Brie Dodson.

Introduction and closing comment by Brie Dodson.
Image and Words by Gay Pogue

Trinity Sunday

Earlier this month, on the Sunday following Pentecost, we celebrated Trinity Sunday, one of the high feasts of the church year. It sometimes seems as though Trinity Sunday tends to get lost due to the post-Easter/ Pentecost fatigue of the faithful, but let us remember that this is the feast that wraps up the whole teaching of God as Father, Son and Holy Ghost that has been enfolding since Advent. A glorious conclusion, if you will, of the story we have been living and telling over time to celebrate our belief spoken in the Creed, "I believe in God the Father...I believe in His Son Jesus Christ...I believe in the Holy Ghost" which leads us into a season to study the practical aspects of the realization of this belief as it appears in Christian lives.

Trinity Sunday did not appear in the church calendar until the 10th Century, and according to Gervase of Canterbury, Thomas Becket came up with the idea. To whomever we owe the feast, it is a blessed time to examine the mysterious nature of the Trinity, how we relate to each manifestation of God and how it changes our lives.

Images of the Trinity have historically been overlapping circles or the three fish or the three logos joined in some manner. My symbol of the Trinity, above, was inspired by the ever evolving ghinko in my side yard. The leaves are lime green in the Spring, darker green in the Summer and gold in the Fall. The leaves appear and evolve in different forms, but they are the same leaves...all the same yet all very different. This image is available for download at the
ECUSA Image Shop.

How do you see the Trinity? Send your images to to post here.

Ordinary Time

The Season after Pentecost is referred to as Ordinary Time. The term brings to mind a time of rest after back to back festivals and fasts from Advent through Pentecost. A friend of mine thinks that art depicting Ordinary Time would consist of images that reveal God in the ordinary. What a lovely concept. She saw the energy and power of God in a cornfield struggling to live in the middle of drought, having received a recent rain that encouraged a second wind of growth. This mental image makes me realize how God saturates the world with his presence.

May we all resolve to have eyes to see God in the ordinary during this season. Might we make this a season heretofore not recognized as a season of rich image? Have you seen God lately in the everyday wallpaper of the world? Share your thoughts and images.

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The Greatest Gift of the Spirit

The Novena is based on Isaiah 11:2:

The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD -

During this season leading up to Pentecost when we are praying The Novena to the Holy Spirit I have frequently found myself so tired at the end of the day that I can barely pray as I should. I will admit that I even had to catch up a couple of times because I was too otherwise distracted to pray the particular day's prayer. How discouraging to be so overwhelmed by life that one prays a day late for such things as wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge and fear of the Lord?

On the nights I can do no more than mouth the words I have called sincerely upon what I consider to be one of the greatest gifts the Spirit gives - praying for me with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:25-27 assures us that:

...the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

This Pentecost my heart-felt prayer is:

Holy Spirit come to me and pray for me for I know not what to ask. And that is a perfectly acceptable alternative novena.

The image used here is extracted from a photograph taken by Dawn Glascock. This window is in St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Greenville, Alabama.

Rose of Pentecost

Did you know that in the German-speaking countries the red peony (paeonia officinalis) was historically called Pfingstrose (Rose of Pentecost)? This lovely Rose of Pentecost was photographed by C. Robin Janning.

Art and the Great Flood

For many years I spent a lot of time in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, on land with river frontage on a flood plain. Major floods supposedly came once every forty years or so. In practice, that meant twice a year, in a bad year. One learned to listen for the sound of rising water. It tore at everything in its path, rushing past with a roar: a frightening, wild sound that would not allow sleep. One waited anxiously: how high up the hill would the waters rise? Surely the house would always be safe. Wouldn't it? One year, the flood came almost all the way up the hill we counted on for safety. We knew others whose homes were damaged severely.

The next morning, if there had been sleep at all, one woke dreading the first look outside. Still, one had to look. It was almost a moral obligation to confront that which one did not want to know. (A lot like painting.) The result was always devastation. (Not at all like painting.) It took time to learn the full extent of the destruction. Inevitably, the riverfront was reshaped, often drastically. Doesn't that happen to our lives, too, sometimes? In the worst floods, land simply vanished, carved away by the torrent. Other times, the aftermath of destruction laid open new vistas, suddenly bare of trees. The reshaped views looked strange at first. Sometimes it seemed that there was something not entirely bad about the spareness. Still, one never quite got used to it.

I miss the way the riverfront used to be. Way back when, before the floods, I took pictures - never dreaming they'd become precious. No matter how many more years pass, I will never again gaze up-river along the seventh bend of the Shenandoah and see it look the way it used to. Painting it is the only way I know to bring it back.

One tree, old and grand, survived a particularly bad flood only by a knob of painfully exposed roots. The next flood tore the tree away entirely. One of the worst floods came on my father's birthday. The aftermath looked like a war zone - trees broken like match-sticks, debris strewn everywhere. A few days before, the terrain had been beautiful, idyllic - like parkland, or a nature reserve - shaped and preserved by his constant care. Now it was gone, all of it. My father and I made our way through the detritus, one step at a time, in silence.

Life is like the floods, it seems to me. Life may seem destroyed; then afterward, one slowly perceives new vistas. Sometimes, the new terrain reveals only great loss. What is gone will never return. Other times the views are cleaner, simpler than before, and ultimately one finds a certain relief. Perhaps that relief represents only the cessation of pain. But sometimes, maybe, it is more - the promise of new life. We all hope that, don't we?

And sometimes one is just left picking one's way through the destruction.

Do you paint about the floods in your own life? Me, I avoid it - I fight it as hard as I can, but eventually it comes out, regardless. Can't stop it. How about you?

Novena to the Holy Spirit

The Novena in Honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Christ prior to his ascension when he sent the apostles to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit. Addressed to the Third Person of the Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Novena begins on the day after Ascension, Friday of the 6th Week of Easter, even if the Solemnity of the Ascension is transferred to the 7th Sunday. A group in my church will be praying this beginning on Friday and ending on the evening of the Pentecost Vigil. Won't you join us?


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of they womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. Amen.


Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.


On my knees I before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.


O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit on Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples, and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

FIRST DAY (Friday after Ascension or Friday of 6th Week of Easter)

Holy Spirit! Lord of Light! From Your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give!

The Holy Spirit

Only one thing is important -- eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared--sin· Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for "The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us."


Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

Pray Our Father once, Hail Mary once, Glory to the Father seven times, the Act of Consecration once and Prayer for the Seven Gifts once (above)

SECOND DAY (Saturday of 6th Week of Easter)

Come. Father of the poor. Come, treasures which endure; Come, Light of all that live!

The Gift of Fear

The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. "They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls."


Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever, help me to shun all things that can offend You, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Your Divine Majesty in heaven, where You live and reign in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.

Pray Our Father once, Hail Mary once, Glory to the Father seven times, the Act of Consecration once and Prayer for the Seven Gifts once (above)

THIRD DAY (7th Sunday of Easter or transferred Ascension)

Thou, of all consolers best, Visiting the troubled breast, Dost refreshing peace bestow.

The Gift of Piety

The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.


Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.

Pray Our Father once, Hail Mary once, Glory to the Father seven times, the Act of Consecration once and Prayer for the Seven Gifts once (above)

FOURTH DAY (Monday, 7th Week of Easter)

Thou in toil art comfort sweet, Pleasant coolness in the heat, solace in the midst of woe.

The Gift of Fortitude

By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to under take without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. "He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved."


Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.

Pray Our Father once, Hail Mary once, Glory to the Father seven times, the Act of Consecration once and Prayer for the Seven Gifts once (above)

FIFTH DAY (Tuesday, 7th Week of Easter)

Light immortal! Light Divine! Visit Thou these hearts of Thine, And our inmost being fill!

The Gift of Knowledge

The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth--in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. "Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it."


Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen.

Pray Our Father once, Hail Mary once, Glory to the Father seven times, the Act of Consecration once and Prayer for the Seven Gifts once (above)

SIXTH DAY (Wednesday, 7th Week of Easter)

If Thou take Thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn'd to ill.
The Gift of Understanding

Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion BY faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to "walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God."


Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.

Pray Our Father once, Hail Mary once, Glory to the Father seven times, the Act of Consecration once and Prayer for the Seven Gifts once (above)

SEVENTH DAY (Thursday, 7th Week of Easter)

Heal our wounds--our strength renews; On our dryness pour Thy dew, Wash the stains of guilt away.

The Gift of Counsel

The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. "Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth."


Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long.
Pray Our Father once, Hail Mary once, Glory to the Father seven times, the Act of Consecration once and Prayer for the Seven Gifts once (above)

EIGHTH DAY (Friday, 7th Week of Easter)

Bend the stubborn heart and will, melt the frozen warm the chill. Guide the steps that go astray!

The Gift of Wisdom

Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written "all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands." It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: "Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light."


Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

Pray Our Father once, Hail Mary once, Glory to the Father seven times, the Act of Consecration once and Prayer for the Seven Gifts once (above)

NINTH DAY (Saturday, Vigil of Pentecost)

Thou, on those who evermore Thee confess and Thee Adore, in Thy sevenfold gift, Descend; Give Them Comfort when they die; Give them Life with Thee on high; Give them joys which never end. Amen

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.


Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

Image, Novena Symbolica, digital art by Jan Neal.

The Color of Ascension

Only in the Episcopal Church would people stand around the parish hall and compare notes on the color of Ascension from an artistic perspective. Yes, it is a high feast of the church, but being in the middle of the week, it is not so often observed. I think our mental images of Ascension are somewhat underdeveloped.

Our Verger threw out the question because she was working on a calligraphy of the Collect for Ascension. Cindy said white and yellow, Linda thought just white, Ilga said blue, Dawn thought yellow and blue, I thought blue and coral, Catherine voted for white and John said fuchsia. Interesting.

I say "only in the Episcopal Church" because we are Protestant enough to have opinions and Catholic enough to want to honor tradition, have order and get it right.

This year we will have an Ascension service at my church, and I am looking forward to it. What a lovely observation of such an incredible event in Christianity. Christ took human flesh to heaven...where human flesh continues to exist. What a comforting thought to be so beloved as we contemplate the incarnation still existing in heaven.

Dawn Glascock's "Ascendere" presents the colors of Ascension for the Collect which reads:

Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into heaven, so we may also in heart and mind there ascend, and with him continually dwell; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen

Words by Jan Neal;
Image: "Ascendere"
by Dawn Glascock

Celebrating the Seasons with Art

I go to church a good deal and confess that I like it. This is amazing for a child who was rigidly transported to church every Sunday and Wednesday. In fact I can remember how special it was to be able to stay home on Sunday or Wednesday night and watch TV.

I have asked myself why I like church better now, and I am sure that it is my discovery of the Episcopal Church where I found a home the minute I sat through my first Rite II service. Oh my goodness, the sites, the sounds, the reverence, the ribbons in the prayer book and, most of all, the altar. Not just any altar. An altar set with beauty in a frontal of the particular color of the season. It was white at the time I arrived since I came to the church during the Season of Easter, and moments after my arrival came the Feast of Pentecost with its glorious red. At last I found a color coded church. But seriously, I discovered the liturgical, official visual recognition of sacred time, and church would never be the same for me again.

I believe that the use of color to designate the seasons is a lovely thing, and it seems that I am not the only cradle Baptist to think so. I am amazed to report that I have begun to notice even Baptist churches in the deep South with crosses draped in purple during Lent. What that tells me is that people must be hungry for visions of faith, tradition and the observance of sacred time. It tells me that we and our visitors might be better served by preservation of our liturgical traditions and meaningful education about our customs rather than diminishing our use of them.

Do any of you remember your first impression of your church? Have any of you seen liturgical images creeping into more protestant churches?

By Jan Neal

The EmptySketchbook

I have several beautiful sketchbooks, which I admire so much that my day-bag is rarely without one. My current favorite has a slubbed linen cover in a muted shade of cerulean. Ceruleans are the blues that attract me most of all, and this is the loveliest sketchbook I've yet found. Like most of the others, it is empty.

The sketchbook is an artist's creative wellspring; so why do I sit and stare at the pretty closed cover, instead of busily scribbling visual ideas inside?

Why indeed?

Well, the sketch might not be perfect, and someone might see ...

The sketchbook only has twenty pages, and it's watercolor paper, and I don't want to waste any ...

Gadzooks! I'm in a public place. What if somebody sees me drawing?!

Reminds me of when I practiced piano after class every day in an elementary school's music room. One of the teachers routinely snuck up behind me and yelled, "Don't make a mistake!"

Do you have empty sketchbooks? Do you, too, sit, incapable of action, once the time and the sketchbook - or canvas - are finally both at hand? Is Miss P----- watching eagle-eyed, ready to yell from behind you?

Those are reasons, but I think that more serious factors are often the real issue. Here's a thought trap I often fall into:

1) Time not spent making art is worthless.

2) Thus, if I am not using my time to make art, I am worthless as an artist.

3) Therefore, any art I might make is also worthless, so I might as well not make any.

That line of thought can damage an artist's morale, spirit, and ability to create. It is guaranteed to leave me staring at the beautiful blank page. Wrong premises lead to wrong conclusions. I am trying to learn that time spent away from art is important, even restorative. Time spent doing nothing - just sitting quietly, gazing and listening. Time spent soaking up sensory delights: a delicious meal; a vibrant farm market; the sun on one's face; the warmth of good company. God spent the evenings in Paradise simply walking in His garden.

Oddly enough, I have one sketchbook that does get used. It's not so pretty that I fall into thinking it's for show. Instead, it's unobtrusive. I always have it with me, and I never leave it around where anyone can look inside. It's private and it's mine. I paste things in it - clippings, images. I write in it - ideas for paintings, random thoughts, and possible titles (recently I gleaned a list of nearly two dozen from the Song of Solomon). And sometimes I sketch in it. Most of the sketches aren't terribly presentable. But I do go back to them, over and over, as the raw material for paintings. Even the most rudimentary sketch or written note brings back the visual memory, the day and the moment. This sketchbook is deliberately un-organized, and that makes it all the more useful to me. In fact, I have three decades' worth of these private sketchbooks. Funny how easy it is to open one of them and go right to something remembered from years ago.

Do you suppose God has a sketchbook? I rather doubt it, myself. But I can imagine Him looking over my shoulder, saying "Hmmm," at mine.