Monday, January 2, 2017

Dallas Arboretum Holiday

Holiday at the Arboretum displays twenty five feet tall gazebos telling the story of the 12 Days of Christmas, Victorian style.  History and holiday traditions unite through the garden in each well thought out display   Many are unaware that the centuries old song of giving gifts teach hidden meanings to the teachings of  faith.   The song was created in England as a memory aid  to teach children basic truths.
Each scene uses whimsical animals, and costumed characters set up to tell the story of each day. 

Each display is created by local artists with details capturing the imagination of children.  The same artists create sets of the Dallas Opera.
In the song the Twelve Days of Christmas the 8 maids a milking was created to remind children of the 8 Beatitudes.  It also reminds us that not too long ago we got our milk from cows and not our local grocery store.  

The eleven pipers stand for the eleven faithful apostles.  Follow the large signs as a guide to the different songs.  

The four calling birds stand for the four evangelists and four gospels.  
A 30 ft Christmas tree decorated with silver and red balls has friends and families gathered around for a  holiday photo.  
Twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles's Creed.

Swans a swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.  

Warmth and good cheer is felt as couples display their love and devotion.  The symbolic herb of mistletoe dates back a thousand years.  Many ancient cultures prized mistletoe for its healing properties. The Greeks were known to use it to cure spleen disorders.  The Romans  used it as a balm against epilepsy and ulcers.   

At night the gazebos light  up with 500,000 lights throughout the garden.  

The Dallas Arboretum is beautiful in all seasons of the year.  Cascades of waterfalls are discovered along the winding paths.  Fresh water hits the rocks with splashes of joy of the holiday season.  

People gather for weddings and special celebrations.  
Musicians play melodies of live music for a delight to the ears.
Reflections of traditions are everywhere in the holiday atmosphere.  

Gary Lee Price created this amazing sculpture for others to enjoy. 
Gary spends countless hours creating sculptures of inspiration.  His quest to lift the human spirit through sculpture is shown in each piece.

  Shakespeare would  have enjoyed visiting the Arboretum for ideas to create future plays.  People taking family photographs, couples getting engaged and daughters bringing their aging parents are possible topics Shakespeare could have woven into dialogue.
There are acres of grandeur spread across the Gardens.  Weddings, banquets and family gatherings reveal life is still vibrant.  A story is behind every corner.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Bethlehem Revisited

God promised the Savior's virgin birth after mankind's first sin in the Garden of Eden.  Genesis 3;15
Hundreds of years later the prophet Micah foretold the birth of Christ in the small town of Bethlehem:
Micah 5"2 
"But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." 
Because of the crowds that had come to Bethlehem, there was no room at the inn for Mary and Joseph. Luke 2:7-12 " Mary wrapped Him in cloths and laid Him in a manger.  Later that night shepherds from nearby fields found Him just as the angels told them they would. "
So why was Jesus born in a manger where animals were kept?  He was born in meekness as one of us.   He is available to any of us.  King of Kings and Lord of Lords first bed was a manger. 
"And the word was made flesh."
  John 1:14 
"He who believes in Me, as the scripture said, From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water. "  John 7 38  The fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.  Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation  Isaiah 12:3

The real Christmas story is God became a human being in the person of Jesus Christ. Why is Christmas necessary?  Because we need a savior to save us from our sins.  
John 3:16-17 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
The true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of this incredible act of love.  Jesus took the punishment for our sins.  Romans 5:8  "God demonstrated His own love for us in this:while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." 
We remember his birth by giving gifts each year.   God gave us the gift of love, free from condemnation, through His Son Jesus.  The town of Waxahachie celebrates each year the miraculous birth of Jesus by revisting the town Bethlehem.   

Isaiah 9: " For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace"
A friend made this plaque for me this Christmas.  I have it in a special place to remind me of who Jesus is.   This scripture is found in the Old Testament as a prophecy to the birth of Jesus.
Joy to the world the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing.
Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy.
No more let sins and sorrows grow 
Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse if found
He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
Author Isaac Watts in 1719

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Happy 95th Birthday Mom

We celebrated my mom's 95th Birthday with cake, party hats and precious birthday cards from my first grade class.  I explained to my students my mom was in a special place for people with Alzheimer's.

"What's that Ms. Kent?"

 I explained it is a disease that slows thinking skills and memory.
When I visit my mom she will repeat herself.  But you have to be patient because she can't help it.
We are lucky because she still remembers us.

 She says to my sons Alex and Michael.

" It makes me so happy to see your face.  I love you."

We brought Happy Birthday Balloons and a special Christmas sweater.

"I like that."  as she holds the sweater to her chest.

She opened the special hand made cards created with six year old minds and loved the colorful pictures.

"Oh she likes my pink kitchen."  as she pointed to the picture of her favorite color pink.

She loved her special Christmas tree decorated with reindeer's made with googly eyes.  The red and white candy canes look like Rudolph with pipe cleaners for antlers.  I think it was the same craft my mom taught us to make when she was Room Mother for our class.

She placed the special hand made birthday cards in her memory box.  The same box she holds other letters from her friend Jack.  Old meets youth when she looks at each drawing of stars and Christmas trees.  Sometimes she would stop and say my back hurts.  It's hard when your bones are 95 years old.
We all sang Happy Birthday in the dining hall.  Friends sat at our table as we ate delicious butter cream white cake my brother had brought.

 I am grateful to all of the staff who cares for her.  It is not an easy task but they do it with love and grace.  Thank you to my first grade students who so joyfully made the cards and candy cane reindeer.  It made her birthday more glorious.   Happy Birthday Mom!!!  You are the best Mom ever.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Bob Dylan, A Sweet Sound of Humility, in Concert at Winstar

Bob Dylan, the spokesman for a generation, played with a sweet sound of humility at the Winstar in Oklahoma, after recently winning the Nobel Prize in Literature.  The closest photograph I could take of Bob Dylan was the sign in front of the entrance to the seating area.  In big letters was NO PHOTOGRAPHY!  Since my number one goal was to take a photograph I was a little disappointed.    It is historic Dylan won the Noble Prize in Literature and I wanted to record a little piece of history.

 People in the elevator said after the concert,  "He didn't mention the prize.  In fact he didn't even speak to the audience."

I said, "He seemed very humble."

Sometimes silence is more powerful than words.  We don't know publicly what Bob Dylan is thinking about being the first musician to win the Noble Prize in Literature.  Perhaps later he will do a Barbara Walters interview.  I'm sure deep down it  made him a little happy.  He isn't revealing his thoughts and feelings about it right now.   But what is so terrible about that?  His words in his songs express his feelings for the past five decades.

So as a first hand witness to his delightful concert at the Winstar, a place to escape,

 I want to give my impressions.  Mothers and daughters were sitting side by side.  The lady in front of me had a garland of dried flowers embracing her head as a symbol, I'm apart of the flower child generation. I remember when he fought for equal rights and was a symbol of the movement.  Her daughter gently fixed her flowers so it was ever so perfect right before the concert.  They looked at each other with loving eyes to know I understand how special it is to be in the audience.  It was a memory they will cherish forever.

I saw  men and women coming together as  unified groups saying,
" I love his lyrics and can't wait to hear his passionate voice say them with honesty."

I saw loving couples of men and women sitting side by side, holding hands.   The lady next to me said I don't know how much my husband paid for the tickets but I'm so glad he bought them for me.  She gave one of those yells from deep in her belly that said Bob Dylan brought back a truck  full of happy memories.

He sang for ninety minutes of sure bliss.  Each song was a surprise as the chords of the tune trickled hints of the melody to come.  The seventy five year old musician's voice was a little raspy but it made the words to his songs resonant with purity.

 The vibe in the audience was electrifying as he opened with "Things have Changed."
by Bob Dylan
 Worried man with a worried mind
No One in front of me and nothing behind
There's a woman
Got white skin got assassin's eyes
I'm looking up into the sapphire tinted skies
I'm well dressed, waiting on the last train

Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose
Any minute now I'm expecting all hell to break loose

People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed

This place ain't doing me any good
I'm in the wrong town, I should be in Holly wood
Just for a second there I thought I saw something move
Gonna take dancing lessons do the jitterbug rag
Ain't no shortcuts, gonna dress
Only a fool in here would think he's got anything to prove

Dylan chose for his grand finale "Why Try to Change Me Now?"  As he sang the song he seemed so sweet, not angry.  It was as if to say I am who I am.

Why Change me Now originally by Frank Sinatra
I'm sentimental
So I walk in the rain
I've got some habits
That I can't explain
Could start for the corner
Turn up in Spain
Why try to change me now

I sit and daydream
I've got daydreams galore
Cigarette ashes
There they go on the floor
I go away weekends
And leave my keys in the door
but why try to change me now

Why can't I be more conventional
People talk
People stare
So I try
But that's not for me
Cuz I can't see
My kind of crazy world
Go passing me by
So let people wonder
Let em laugh
Let em frown
You know I'll love you
Till the moon's upside down

Don't you remember
I was always your clown
Why try to change me now
Don't  you remember
I was always  your clown
Why try to change me
Why try to change me now

The audience in Oklahoma gave Dylan a standing ovation and cried for more.

He came back out for his last song of Blowin in the Wind, my favorite..   He sang the lyrics like true poetry.
I came a little closer so I could get a closer look from my C section position.  He moved from mike to key board so gracefully.  As if the instruments were an extension of his being.

Fans lined up to get the latest TShirt with his face etched in the fabric.  Leather bracelets were sold with a silver emblem of his name.

The last time I saw Bob Dylan was at the Bronco Bowl in 1980.  He was just as delightful as years in the past.  He has aged with wisdom but I think a big dose of humility is sprinkled to make the seasoning just right.  Go see Bob Dylan in concert if you get a chance.  It's well worth it!!!! 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Bob Dylan Wins Noble Prize In Literature

It was announced Bob Dylan won the prestigious Swedish  Nobel Prize in Literature for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.  The Nobel Foundation thought Dylan deserved the honor because of his choice of words, which turned him into an icon. His work became popular for human rights in the turbulent 1960's and his ideas of revealing the human condition span six decades of potent lyrics.   The last American who won the prize was Toni Morrison in 1993.  It was the first musician who ever received the award making the win even more extraordinary.   Bob Dylan said his lyrics to his songs painted pictures.   

Blowin In the Wind by Bob Dylan  It shows the ability to question everything around you.
How many roads must a man walk down

Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?

Yes, and how many  times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind
The answer is blowin in the wind.

Yes and how many years can a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?

Yes,  and how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?

Yes, and how many times can  a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?

The answer, my  friend, is blowin in the wind
The answer is blowin in the wind.

Yes, and how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?

Yes, and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many  deaths will it take til he knows
That too many people have died?

The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind
The answer is blowin in the wind.

If You See Her Say Hello by Bob Dylan

I see a lot of people
As I make the rounds
And I hear her name here and there
As I go from town to town
And I've never gotten used to it
I've just learned to turn it off
Either I'm too sensitive
Or else I'm getting soft.

The Times They are a Changin by Bob Dylan

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway

Don't block up the hall

For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle you walls
For the times they are a changin

By Bob Dylan
Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good?
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could?
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money  you made
Will never buy back your soul

Mr. Tambourine Man by Bob Dylan
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,

Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.

Gotta Serve Somebody by Bob Dylan  Written after he saw Jesus in a hotel room.
You may be an ambassador to England or France

You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heayweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with long string of pearls

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody

You might be a rock n roll addict prancing on the stage
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a business man or some high degree thief
They may call you doctor or they may call you chief

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are
You're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're...

Slow Train by Bob Dylan
Sometimes I feel so low down and disgusted
Can't help but wonder what's happen-in to my companions
Are they lost or are they found?
Have they counted the cost it'll take to bring down
All their earthly principles they're gonna have to abandon?
There's a slow, slow train comin up around the bend

I had a woman down in Alabama
She was a backwoods girl but she sure was realistic
She said, "Boy, without a doubt, have to quit your mess and straighten out
You could die down here, be just another accident statistic
There's a slow, slow train comin up around the bend

Man's ego is inflated, his laws are outdated, they don't apply no more
You can't rely no more to be standing around waiting
In the home of the brave, Jefferson turning  over in his grave
Fools glorifying themselves, trying to manipulate Satan
And there's slow, slow train coming up around the bend.

Big time negotiators, false healers and woman haters
Masters of the bluff and masters of the proposition
But the enemy I see wars a cloak of decency
All non-believers and men stealers talking in the name of religion
And there's slow, there's slow train coming up around the bend.
People starving and thirsting, grain elevators are bursting
Oh, you know it costs more to store the food than it do to give it
They say loose your inhibitions, follow your own ambitions
They talk about life of brotherly love, show me someone who knows how to live it
There's slowl slow train coming around the bend.

Well, my baby went to Illinois with some bad talking boy she could destroy
but there was nothing I could do to stop it
I don't care about economy, I don't care about astronomy
But it's sure do bother me to see my loved ones turning into puppets
There's slow, slow train coming up around the ben.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Monarch Butterflies Flutter Across Texas in Autumn

Monarch Butterflies must begin their journey each fall ahead of cold weather.  They travel 3,000 miles from their summer home in the Rocky Mountains and migrate south to Mexico for warmer weather to wait out the winter months.  They fly through Texas in the month of October.
North American Monarchs are the only butterfly that make such an incredible journey.  Butterflies that emerge from Chrysalises in late summer and early fall make the journey.  They are born to fly and know the changing weather means its time to prepare for travels.
They love to sip nectar from purple flowers for energy.  It took several generations of butterflies living their cycle for a period of one year to prepare for just the right Monarch to hatch.
It will be the great grandchildren to make the trip.  They open their wings to feel the warm sun.
The average life span in the wild is 6 to 8 months.  The wingspan is 4 to 10 inches.  Flutter is their group name.  They are about the size of a tea cup.
The butterfly lays their eggs on milkweed plants.  The larvae enjoys eating the green plant and becomes beautiful caterpillars.  They create a hard shell and enter the pupa stage.  They emerge as black, orange, and white adults.  They have an interesting pattern on their wings.  The black etching makes the Monarch Butterfly easy to recognize.
So when you see orange and white polka dotted butterflies flutter by, remember the journey they must make to get there.