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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: belief, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. The Island Horse by Susan Hughes

4.5 Stars From Inside Jacket:  Ellie believes she will live in her little village on the coast of Scotia for always.  But when her father gets a job on Sable Island, she must say farewell to her beloved home and her mother’s final resting place.  Not even the idea of seeing wild horses that roam [...]

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2. When Life Begins

One of the, if not The, deepest questions of the universe.

You have to start with what you believe is the force that is the creator of this life I believe.

Some think of GOD as a human type creature in who’s image we are created, with long flowing hair, robes to make him modest though he needs to hide nothing from his creations as I see it, and a celestial kingdom where he, or she in some cases, sits reining judgement down upon the works he designed and gave free will to.

I can not see that which created me in such limited form. I can not even envelope the concept of never ending or forever just because I am temporary in this form at least. I do however believe I was created from and by the “GOD” that has no limits and this is exactly why I think I am made in it’s likeness, BUT not in it’s totality, there are things missing if I am separate FROM God, God did not make me GOD, God, or even god, GOD made me human, GOD made everything else what it is too I believe but I think, like one atom in my body or even smaller than that, to infinity small, that part is still a part of GOD though never “GOD”, only a part, that the smallest part of me is still me, I am made in the likeness of and from GOD, I am alive, that smallest part of me is alive, GOD must also be alive if we are all part of everlasting life.

Conclusion; Life never begins, it is never ended, It IS!

Consciousness in itself does not prove to me that I am not alive.

The fact that when sperm and egg combine and the DNA messages combine to spark cell multiplication (The spark of life if you will) and a plan is put into affect to form a body which will make a human or any other living thing would seem to be life to me.

BUT it was life even before that! The EGG and the SPERM were also alive, donated by the life forms of at least two separate beings, who were made in the image of GOD, who is also alive.

GOD talks to all of us in GOD’s own way. Some hear “Him” like “He” was talking in their language and sitting having tea I suppose. Others see the “Great Spirit” manifest as all that surrounds us and all that can not be seen or even heard but that still is. I am more from that camp I suppose but still believe all is possible.

The right to life for me is hard to conceive when I believe that life is never ending. The right to life is not for me to tell you, you may or may not have though if you threaten my life I will not hesitate to use what ever is at my disposal to protect mine and stop yours!

The question to me is more the quality of the life you give rather than just letting all life happen. If all in creation is from GOD then even the worst of it is sacred and the Jaines may be correct and may have more in line with current Christian values than most think. But if we do not take into account what we offer, if a human is brought into this world through violent action that threatens the life that brings it who is the killer here? The mother who was raped or is too young and will surely die from the birth or the entity being born who would kill it’s mother, most assuredly it would be the rapist but can we take his life either? I would say it is not my place to judge any of these unless they are me. I WILL FIGHT FOR MY LIFE! But a Mother must make the call of giving herself for another in my view. It may seem selfish or unjust but it must be hers with as much help and support from all sides as she can get. Advise and support but not Judgement and in the end her decision as final carrier of that which will always be alive to enter into this world.

If you believe in eternal life you will not be sad for the soul who returns to it’s maker but wish it return another time

1 Comments on When Life Begins, last added: 2/26/2012
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3. Why some people hate god

By Bernard Schweizer


There’s a lost tribe of religious believers who have suffered a lasting identity crisis. I am referring to the category-defying species of believers who accept the existence of the creator God and yet refuse to worship him. In fact they may go so far as to say that they hate God.

No, I’m not talking about atheists. Non-believers may say contemptuous things about God, but when they do so, they are simply giving the thumbs-down to a fictional character. They may as well express dislike about Shakespeare’s devious Iago, Dickens’ scheming Uriah Heep or Dr. Seuss’ Grinch who stole Christmas.

For atheists, God is in the same category as these fictional villains. Except that since God is the most popular of all fictional villains, New Atheists – those evangelizing ones such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins – spend a considerable amount of energy enumerating his flaws.

But someone who truly believes in God’s existence and yet hates or scorns him is in a state of religious rebellion so perplexing as to strain our common understanding of faith to the breaking point.

Although these radical dissenters could steal the thunder from the New Atheists, they have remained almost unknown to date.

When it comes to God-hatred, a collective blindness seems to settle on us. First, we lack a generally agreed-upon name to refer to this religious rebellion. And anything that doesn’t have a word associated with it doesn’t exist, right?

Well, in the case of God-hatred, this principle doesn’t hold because the phenomenon does exist whether or not there’s a name for it. And in any case, I’ve ended the semantic impasse by naming these rebels and their stance once for all. My chosen term is misotheism, a word composed of the Greek root “misos” (hatred) and “theos” (deity).

Why do I care so much about them? They strike me as brave, visionary, intelligent people who reject God from a sense of moral outrage and despair because of the amount of injustice and suffering that they witness in this world.

At the same time, they are exercising self-censorship because they dare not voice their opinion openly. After all, publicly insulting God can have consequences ranging from ostracism to imprisonment, fines and even death, depending on where the blasphemy takes place (Ireland, for instance, imposes a fine of up to 25,000 Euros for blasphemy) and what God is the target of attacks (under sharia law, being found an enemy of God, or “mohareb” is a capital offense).

But I also care about these rebels because they chose literature as their principal medium for dealing with their God-hatred. I am a professor of literature, and the misotheists’ choice of literature as their first line of defense and preferred medium endears them to me.

Literature offered them the only outlet to vent their rage against God. And it was a pretty safe haven for doing so. Indeed, hardly anybody seems to notice when God-hatred is expressed in literature. Such writers cleverly “package” their blasphemous thoughts in works of literature without seeming to give offense in any overt way.

At the same time, these writers count on the reader’s cooperation to keep their “secret” safe. It’s like a pact between writer and reader.

Zora Neale Hurston could write that “all gods who receive homage are cruel” without anybody objecting that “all gods” must necessarily include the persons of the Christian Trinity.

Or Rebecca West could write that “something has happened which can only be explained by supposing that God hates you with merciless hatred, and nobody will admit it,” counting on the fact that, since nobody will admit it, nobody will rat her out for blasphemy.

There lies, in a s

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4. The Opossum




I'm a little late for posting this today but wanted to squeeze it in since Wednesday is my committed day to post and it's too early in the year to start slacking on it! This week's theme is animals and this morning I had some animal sketches due and the above it one of them. An "opossum". I prefer "possum" my self because it just is weird the other way even though it might be correct. Possums are really pretty ugly animals and since I am in Nashville, I started thinking about the old country music singer George Jones and how his nickname is "The Possum." I don't think it's a compliment, but he does look a little possum-ish!

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5. Holli's Process

This week's theme is "process". We are working on getting our Valentine's promo out this week and here is my little piece and my process.

I start out with a sketch.




I then draw everything in Illustrator.




And then I move it over to Painter where I add more depth and texture and then jump it over to Photoshop for my final file prep. Viola! And illustration :)


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6. Once Was Lost


Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr. Little Brown. 2009. Reviewed from ARC from publisher. Young Adult.

The Plot: Samara "Sam" Taylor is not having a good summer.

Everything seems broken or run down, as the heat builds. Her mother's secret drinking is not so secret anymore, thanks to a DUI and court-mandated residential rehab. Her father is more dedicated to his work as a pastor than to being a father. Money problems may mean that Sam doesn't go back to private school. The backyard garden is a pile of dirt; even the air conditioner and fans aren't working properly.

And then thirteen year old Jody Shaw, from her father's congregation, who Sam kinda knows from her Church youth group, disappears.

Sam is having doubts; a crisis of faith. Thinking things, wondering things, that she cannot say aloud because she's a pastor's kid. Everyone thinks they know who she really is; who her family really is; and thinks they have a right to say what she should think, do, believe.

The Good: Zarr delivers both an intensely personal, internal story of faith and belief; and a suspenseful mystery involving a missing teen.

Sam has good reason to question her faith. Her family is falling apart; faith, belief, love have not helped her mother. They don't help her father be a better father. They don't help Jody Shaw's family. Once Was Lost is about more than questioning, though; it's an exploration, with Sam remembering her earlier child-like faith and now looking at others, wondering, how to believe again. What does she want? Is it the faith of her childhood? Zarr handles Sam's spiritual dilemma with respect -- respect for Sam, of course; but also respect for religion, and faith.

The disintegration of Sam's family has brought her to her spiritual crisis. Her mother, Laura Taylor, is an alcoholic. I want to cry from happiness as I read the kind, nuanced portrayal of Sam's mother. It's easy to make an alcoholic parent the bad guy; we've all read tons of books where drinking = abuse = evil. But the reality is more complex than that. For this reason alone, it's on my list of favorite books read in 2009.

As Sam's father responds to some need of his congregation, Sam thinks, "sober, tipsy, drunk, whatever, [my mother is] the one who's been here, and she's the one who really knows me." The perfect illustration of how little Sam's father sees what is going on in his own household? He has no idea just how lost Sam is feeling. Just like Sam's mother isn't "teh evil" because she drinks, neither is Sam's father "teh evil." Neither of these parents are portrayed as bad, terrible, no-good people; rather they are real people, not perfect, with flaws, people who try and do the best they can.

As Sam looks back at the last three years, at what her family is now as compared to then, she wishes "there was a way to put your finger on the map of life and trace backwards, to figure out exactly when things had changed so much: when we started getting the dregs of Dad, if that was before or after the drinking getting bad. ... Still, it doesn't explain how on

4 Comments on Once Was Lost, last added: 12/3/2009
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7. Saving Maddie

Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson. Delacorte Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House. March 2010. Reviewed from ARC from author.

The Plot: Joshua Wynn is a perfect seventeen year old, just like his parents want. He's the role model, the evidence of his parents goodness. He's the son of Rev. Isaiah P. Wynn, with all that demands. Then Maddie comes to town; his friend from childhood, another preacher's kid, but instead of being a good kid (like Joshua) she is the wild child people whisper about. Joshua begins to question what it means to be good; what it means to be a role model; and what goodness really means.

The Good: Maddie is a year older than Joshua. Where Joshua complied, was compliant, has gone along with his parents dreams, wishes, expectations, Maddie has questioned and rebelled. Joshua is a the teenaged boy not invited to parties because his friends cannot relax and be themselves around him, hesitant to drink or smoke or flirt around him. Maddie drinks and smokes and has had sex; she's not a good girl. But does that mean she's a bad girl? Does that mean she's beyond saving? Does she need to be saved?

Johnson explores issues spiritual issues -- of belief, spirituality, religion. Of how hard it is to practice what one preaches, and what exactly does that mean. And he does so in a way that respects both sides of the coin: Joshua's path and Maddie's path. Joshua realizes his parents aren't perfect, aren't always right; and this frees him, to start to be his own man.

Joshua as the perfect teenage son of the preacher is a virgin. There there are books out there about teenagers and sex and sexuality and purity and "staying pure" they are usually told from the girls point of view. Saving Maddie has the same questions and struggles and examination of choices from the point of view of a teenaged boy, who has hormones and feelings and emotions but also has the value system of his parents.

I don't want to go to much into what Joshua ends up doing, or not doing. Can he save Maddie? Is it fair to him, to Maddie, to ask that? Does Maddie need to be saved? And are the only two choices open to Joshua to be either the dutiful son or the rebel?



Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

3 Comments on Saving Maddie, last added: 2/2/2010
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8. Several Fronts, Two Universes, One Discourse

Tariq Ramadan is a very public figure, named one of Time magazine’s most important innovators of the twenty-first century, he is among the leading Islamic thinkers in the West.  But he has also been a lightening rod for controversy.  In his new book, What I Believe, he attempts to set the record straight, laying out the basic ideas he stands for in clear and accessible prose.  In the excerpt below we learn a bit about Ramadan’s stance as a thinker straddling two worlds.

My discourse faces many-sided opposition, and this obviously prevents it from being fully heard in its substance, its subtleties, and its vision for the future.  Some of the criticisms expressed are of course sincere and raise legitimate questions – which I will try to answer in the present work – but others are clearly biased and attempt to pass off their selective, prejudiced hearing as “doublespeak” one should be wary of.  I have long been criticizing their deliberate deafness and their ideological “double hearing”: I am determined to go ahead, without wasting my time over such strategic diversions, and remain faithful to my vision, my principles, and my project.

I mean to build bridges between two universes of reference, between two (highly debatable) constructions termed Western and Islamic “civilizations” (as if those were closed, monolithic entities), and between citizens within Western societies themselves.  My aim is to show, in theory and in practice, that one can be both fully Muslim and Western and that beyond our different affiliations we share many common principles and values through which it is possible to “live together” within contemporary pluralistic, multicultural societies where various religions coexist.

The essence of that approach and of the accompanying theses originated much earlier than 9/11.  Neither did it come as a response to Samuel Huntington’s mid-1990s positions about the “clash of civilizations” (which anyway have been largely misinterpreted).  As early as the late 1980s, then in my 1992 book Muslims in the Secular State, I sated the first fundamentals of my beliefs about the compatibility of values and the possibility for individuals and citizens of different cultures and religions to coexist positively (and not just pacifically).  Unlike what I have observed among some intellectuals and leaders, including some Muslim thinkers and religious representatives, those views were by no means a response to current events nor a change of mind produced by the post 9/11 trauma.  They represent a very old stance which was confirmed, developed, and clarified in the course of time.  Its substance can be found in my first books and articles in 1987-1989; those views were then built on and expanded in every book I wrote up to the present synthesis.  A Muslim’s religious discourse, and the mediator’s role itself, bring about negative reactions in both universes of reference.  What makes things more difficult is that I do not merely shed light on overlapping areas and common points between the two universes of reference but that I also call intellectuals, politicians

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9. OMG!



OMG, does anyone actually read these posts? I hope so. It actually takes some time to share the "Best of the Internet" or whatever I put on here. I write what pulls at my heartstrings. That's the  poet coming out. Please take the time to comment.


I collected four sayings about God. I like to share them with you before I discard my little notebook page:


1. God grades on the cross, not the curve.


2. God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.


3. God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.


4. What we are is God's gift to use. What we become is our gift to God.


(Authors unknown)

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10. Here's Mine!

Here's my piece I did for our spring mailer:



Happy Spring!!

1 Comments on Here's Mine!, last added: 5/12/2007
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11. More Inspiration




The above is a collage I did a couple of years ago.

I've been really inspired by collage artists lately. Maybe is because of all the found object work I've been doing, but I can't get enough of it!

Here are some from my bookmarked illustrators:
Michelle
Judy
Claudine
Christiane

And for continued inspiration I go here!

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12. Your (My) Paradise



My paradise has to be an antique store. There is so mush old junk to find for my junk a doodles. I also love to scour yard sales for goodies. I'm sure when I leave people are like "Well, I never thought that would never sale!"

My process for this piece really started with a small thumbnail sketch of an idea and as I collected my junk I figured out what I would make. Can you identify all the found bits and pieces?

crab - nut
flower - chain
dog - fuse
word bubble - the letter "O"
heart - paperclip
ice cream - spring (it's hard to tell)
butterfly - ball chain
balloon - fancy paperclip
pig - button

If you're coming from Illustration Friday, be sure and check out my new creative marketing blog.

4 Comments on Your (My) Paradise, last added: 6/7/2007
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13. What's your favorite art tool/supply?



I work in 3 different mediums. Digital, clay and "junk." It's hard to pick my favorite tool, but for non-traditional work, my favorite tool would have to be Adobe Illustrator (and yes, it is a tool - that's directed towards those non-art people who think the computer just does it all for you - grr!). I like how I can move things around easily and enlarge as needed since it's vector.

My favorite traditional tool has to be color pencils. I use them in my clay and junk work. I use my huge set of prismacolor pencils from college. I remember saving up for them and was so thrilled when I finally brought them home. What are your's?

1 Comments on What's your favorite art tool/supply?, last added: 6/20/2007
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14. Holli's Hickory-Dickory-Dock




This is a piece we did for Woogie Wednesday this week on the blog. We're also posting Hickory-Dickory-Dock pieces here this week so I thought I'd kill 3 bird with one stone and submit it for Illustration Friday.

Can you see the items camouflaged in the background?

6 Comments on Holli's Hickory-Dickory-Dock, last added: 6/28/2007
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15. Holli's sketchbook peek



Just a little peek from my sketchbook. Some sketches that never materialized.

1 Comments on Holli's sketchbook peek, last added: 8/28/2007
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16. boo!



This is my piece for our group postcard. It's the first junk a doodles piece I had to do away from the studio so that was a challenge. I had to sit with my grandmother one day so I loaded up my tote bag with paint and junk and took it with me. I wish I had kept my sketch but I ended up using the paper to paint and glue on so it went in the trash :(

2 Comments on boo!, last added: 10/22/2007
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17. A New Year

I've been so blessed today, the first day of the year. I've been touch by sweet friend Debby's words of encouragement and support. I liked what she said about Ali Edwards choosing a word for the year and I've decided to do the same because I felt I really need to in the most sincere way. The word I've chosen is conviction. The definition for the word is:

noun
1. a fixed or firm belief.

Synonyms 1. See belief.
Antonyms 5. doubt, uncertainty.

Moving through the end of 2007, I've been filled with the antonyms of doubt and uncertainty. Even though I've believed in God all my life I feel the need for a stronger conviction in Him and His direction for my life. When life threatens to overwhelm you one is so quickly and brutally reminded of how weak you can become. Coincidentally both Debby and I shared in our own way how Beth Moore has touched our lives.

On that note expect to see more postings of illustrations, something I have been short on these past few months. I'm thankful if you'll just hang in there and be patient with me, my plate has been full and overflowing.

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18. Snowman

Since most of us have shown our holiday cards, I thought I'd show mine since it's more winter related than anything and well, it's winter here.



My 3 year old picked out all the snowflakes :)

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19. Resolutions

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