Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Zentangle is an abstract art form known for helping artists relax.  Akin to doodling, it's simple enough to be fun for even small children. 
My dear grandma, a professional artist known as the Iowa Train Lady, introduced my family and I to zentangle-inspired art this morning.  
Start with a small piece of paper, and draw a square boundary with a pen or marker.  Next draw something small--a crescent moon, music note, or star.  Let your imagination take you from there, and draw whatever you think of, attaching it to your original sketch.  Fill areas of the page with patterns, repeating the patterns throughout the drawing for conformity.  Be sure to make sure there is plenty of contrast.
Grandma brought one of her zentangle practice sheets (above) to give us an example. 

Unfortunately, my art skills often seem to be at about this level:
(Yes! this is an original...I specialize in hairstyles!)

Consequently, I was a bit incredulous about learning to zentangle...

Getting started was anything but relaxing as I struggled with what to draw...first came a music note, then flowers, a corn stalk, drumsticks, part of the alphabet, a chessboard, squiggly lines, and still I wasn't making much progress.  Grandma gave encouragement and suggestions, and I peaked over at Charity's artwork and other example zentangles for ideas.  Several checkerboards, plaid tablecloths, fish scales, flowers, and railroad tracks later, I realized this indeed was a lot of fun! 
My finished work!

Zentangling is a great way for would-be artists to relax; and I assure you that you will be surprised by whatever you create!  Zentangles can be used as impressive home-made greeting cards.  You can't go wrong, so start drawing!  

Let Me See Beauty

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Let me see beauty in the plants that grow
Though they were once but tiny seeds in the dry earth.
Let me hear music in the wind that blows
Whistling through corn fields and heralding a fawn's birth.

From dormancy the small seeds come to life,
Fighting their way through the soil to see the sun's rays.
Sunbeams break the gloom in a world of strife
A dark world where all creatures born must live their days.

Let me see beauty in the dew drops each morning
And let me sing praise to Christ, crucified.
Let me hear the heavenly choirs sing.
Amazing love it is that Christ the Savior died!

Jesus alone is my hope in a world of woe.
He is my sole defense and confidence.
Seeds of mercy in my heart may He sow
That to walk in His way I may always commence.

Let me see beauty in being more like you, Lord,
Praying and taking root in your great Word.
Let me gain the crown and the heavenly reward
Which to those who worship You is conferred.

Your presence, joy, and peace bring life to weary hearts
And give an eternal wealth to the poor.
From those who love You your mercy never departs;
You, Lord, give us a glimpse through heaven's door.

So while we struggle in this world below,
Open our eyes that we may see heaven's portal.
Help us the way of Your will to e'er know,
And help us to realize that we are but mortal.

Establish us in your garden, planted by God;
Forever rooted and grounded in love.
Give us strength to break through our doubts;they're like thick sod;
May your Spirit rest on us like a dove.

Life is a struggle; we cannot face it alone.
Sometimes the wind is too strong to hear the music;
Sometimes beauty in darkness is not shown
Sometimes the clouds above us seem too thick

But the Lord is hope in sorrow, joy in sadness;
He will open our eyes to see the land above.
With strength and courage He our hearts will bless
And will lead us to new heights unheard of.

Lord, let me see beauty in the grass that grows
Let me see beauty in your creation, sustained by your grace
Let me hear music in the wind that blows
But most of all, grant that I may see the beauty of your face.