Favorite Things

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the past few weeks. I encourage you to stop and look at each one for more than a minute. Just pause and put yourself into the picture. What does it make you feel? What can you infer about the subject from the photo? Does it inspire you to be more? Or is it just a cute picture? Pause for a minute and take a deeper look.

Hannah Furcinitti, Director of Media and Publications

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Silhouettes

I wake up early in the morning and I see them. It’s a first glimpse of the trees, an early introduction, so to speak. They stand as silhouettes against the dark blue background. I see their shapes outlined in crispness. And I stand amazed at His creation, and at Him. He made darkness and light and contrast. God thought up the idea of a silhouette and by the Word it was created. He gave us the ability to see the pitch black outlines standing tall in the morning sky, and not only to see, but also to enjoy and to realize its beauty. This puts me in awe of the Creator.

Silhouettes are one way of looking at trees; an art form in themselves. There are many art forms—modernism, expressionism, cubism, cultural art forms, sculpture, architecture, the list goes on. Man, created in the image of the godhead, is a reflection of his Creator. Man can create and express himself because God is creative and expressive.

As the morning light brightens and grows slowly in intensity, I begin to move away from the silhouetted introduction to a greater understanding of these trees. My first view turns to familiarity and understanding as I start to see color, texture, and detail. Art is the revealing of its subject, a progression of understanding given through expression.

All creation declares the glory of God. Nature is an art form revealing God, a progression to not only understanding the created thing, but to know the Creator as well.

And so it is in our relationship with the Lord as we move from darkness to light. We see more and more of Him, who He is, and we come to know Him as the day dawns and the Morning Star rises in our hearts. Through Jesus all things were created, and He is the pure, exact imprint of who God is. If you want to see the ultimate expression of God, what He is like, look to Jesus.

Elizabeth, my daughter, is a growing artist. She is expressive. She recently created the painting below using cellophane and acrylics on paper. I don’t know if you can see it, but when I look, I start to see three crosses. Look hard enough and I think you’ll see it too; and in seeing this, you’ll see the greatest expression of God’s love to you.

Joseph Furcinitti, Music Teacher and Guest Writer

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Morning dew & venus fly traps

I’ve resolved to never google the reason for morning dew. With each day and year of my life, fewer and fewer things inspire a sense of childlike wonder in me, and morning dew is one of those things. So I hang on to the morning dew, and I hang on to the fact that I have no clue what the cause behind it is. How strange that every morning I can wake assured that the grass outside will wet my bare feet! How strange that I have no clue why! As my childhood grows farther and farther from my present, I grow to relish the awe-inspiring more and more.

When I read “Margaret” to the book club, there were pages that produced gasps and exclamations. Being told that mosquitoes can have hundreds of babies didn’t shock me; it didn’t even cause me to bat an eye. But for all the kids of the book club, it was a different story; the knowledge that Margaret has 367 babies was almost too much to handle. I wasn’t expecting to have to stop and let that information settle because I had simply accepted it without any wonder and moved on.

At what point of our lives do we lose that wonder? Does the hardened cynicism come with age? Does it come with years of, “because that’s the way it is”s and, “why does it matter?”s? Does it come from living in a culture where science has the power to explain away everything?
More importantly, can we override whatever the reason is? Does more knowledge and years have to mean that we are left unimpressed by anything and everything? Or can we remain in that state of curiosity and wonder beyond childhood?

I believe we can. I believe we have to practice, we have to work to see the wonder, but I believe we can stop to remind ourselves that’s okay to be awed by the small wonders in our lives: the fact that grass somehow gets wet before the sun rises every morning, the fact that a caterpillar locks itself up in a homemade little room and emerges days later an entirely different creature, the fact that there’s a plant that eats bugs, the fact that the earth is spinning but we’re not dizzy all the time, the fact that there are 1 billion trillion (yes, you read that right) stars in the seeable universe alone, the fact that certain animals pop out eggs which are beyond fragile yet able to protect their little ones until they hatch, and so on. The world is amazing, the things inhabiting it are amazing, the God who created it all for His glory is amazing. I believe it’s part of our job as creation to work at recognizing these wonders with the utmost delight.

Hannah Furcinitti; Director of Media and Publications, President of the Book Club

Dance is scary

It’s funny, but there are a lot of people that are scared of the word “dance”. We all come with our preconceptions of what dance is and to many people it’s pretty scary. 

Confession time: I started writing this to disprove the thought of dance being scary, but then realized that I agree...

Dance exposes you. You can lie with your mouth, but your body can’t lie. What you see is what you get. And that’s incredibly scary and uncomfortable. You can’t hide behind movement; you will be exposed. This may sound extreme but it really isn’t. You are literally using your body to communicate what your heart is trying to say. Everyone watching you move can tell if your heart is really behind your movement. Now some will question this and say, “but I just dance for fun...how is my heart behind that?” And I would respond...have you ever watched people dance at a wedding? When the “Electric Slide” comes on and everybody comes onto the dance floor- people are exposed right there in that moment. I can group everyone on that dance floor into two groups...the ones that want to be on the dance floor and the ones that don’t. And as the song lingers on, we all know whose heart is behind that movement and whose heart is back at the snack bar. 

Dance is a release. To physically move your body at all, even the smallest of movements, there must be a release of energy. But I’d like to take things a step further...I’d like to suggest that to dance there really must be more than a mere physical release, there must be emotional and mental releases as well. There have been many times, when I have gone into a space to dance and have brought all my “crap” (aka stresses, worries, fears, distractions, doubts) and I’ve been unable to move...it doesn’t work. Dance is a release, but to be able to dance you have to be willing to release. You have to be willing to release all that crap that you’ve been lugging around. Unwillingness to release cripples dancing.

Dance takes us out of our comfort zones. Over the years, dance has taken me many places. I can admit that most of those places were far outside of my comfort zone. Being comfortable is nice, but staying in an area of comfort doesn’t promote growth but stagnates it. It’s only in the zone outside of the comfort that we are stretched, molded, and pushed to become better. Failure is imminent, but strength is gained when we get back up. 

I have been dancing for 27 years now and honestly, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with dance throughout the years. There have been times where I didn’t want people to see the real Caroline standing in front of them. There have been times when I wasn’t ready to release all the “crap” that I was carrying around. Dance has been an essential tool of healing and expression in my life and now as a teacher, it is extremely important for me that my students go on the journey of learning how to release, learning how to be open and honest with the audience, and finding the confidence to step out of their comfort zones. 

And as a dance teacher, but even as a human being, there is very little that infuriates me more than when a person is robbed a chance of reaching their full potential, especially when a decision or choice is made out of fear of the unknown. I’ve known a lot of people that think dance is “sissy”, that dance is only for girls, and that if a boy dances then he must be a “sissy”... #1 Who cares???? As if being gay or girly were some sort of communicable disease. #2 Probably best you get any weird phobias taken care of before you dance... remember you will be exposed. #3 Now, if you think that dance makes you a certain way, I am glad to say you are mistaken. You are you and dance doesn’t make you who you are, but it can certainly bring out some of the best in you. 

Truth is, dancers are some of the most genuine and courageous people that I know. And actually, anyone can be a dancer, they just have to have the guts to try. 

So yeah...”dance” is a scary word. But true dancers brave it out.

Caroline Poppell; Founding Director of Milk Carton on a String