Category Archives: Photos

A Little Spanish Magic in Nashville

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Sculpture one

Stainless steel is painted white and then illuminated within to shine brightly in the dark.

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Near the sphere sculpture two guitarists serenaded visitors as they strolled through the gardens.

Jeff and I have discovered a small, beautiful gem in Nashville that we’ve embraced with our whole hearts. Cheekwood Art & Garden. Small. Lovely. Artful. Natural. Peaceful. It has a golf course on one side with Tennessee mountains hugging the other three.

We’ve seen it dressed in Fall leaves, trimmed with trees at Christmas, blanketed with tulips in Spring, and now aglow with lighted sculptures for Summer.

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The sculptures are made of letters from several different alphabets. Inside the sphere is the figure of a person symbolically contemplating language.

This nighttime Cheekwood was different. Soft Spanish music floated across the landscape enticing us to whisper and hold hands. Sculptures twinkled over ponds, near hedges, around trees. It was magical. We stopped by the food truck and bought a couple of hot chicken tacos to eat on a little bench by a babbling brook in front of the mansion.

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These two mesh sculptures were mounted over a pond, floating above the water with twinkling reflections.

crown-fountain-at-dawn_520The sculptor is Jaume Plensa, a Spanish artist who certainly has a different way of looking at the world. In the mansion we watched a video exploring his art. We were surprised to find out that he is the same artist who created the Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millennium Park (yes, the park with the big bean) that we visited a few years ago. That sculpture is an enormous wall that has an ever-changing variety of video faces spewing water unto a long wading pool. It’s a little disconcerting. And a lot cool.

The sculptures at Cheekwood can be seen any time the Garden is open. But I highly suggest you visit on one of the Spanish Nights (July–October) to get the full effect of the sculptures. Go before twilight to enjoy the flowers, trees, and museum. Then walk the grounds as darkness settles in. It is a bit like a fairytale with twinkle lights, uneven stairs, and all.

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This guy can be found just down the hill from the mansion/art museum where more sculpture are displayed. Instead of letters, he is put together with musical symbols–perfect for Nashville.

 

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Tulip Season at Cheekwood

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Gratitude by Way of Exhaustion

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snowlamps ©JoelJansenI just got back from a business trip that was exhausting. It started on a snowy, freezing morning around 5 a.m. and ended the next night after midnight. The meetings were great, the welcome warm, but the jiggity jogs between what I was expecting and what actually happened were emotionally trying. I had prayed for God to give me guidance and direction, to shut doors or open opportunities in an obvious way. And, boy howdy, did that happen. The reality of the new dynamic was hard to accept even if it was an answer to prayer. My emotions ran the gamut from anger to gratitude, from surprise to acceptance, back to exasperation and then resignation, conciliation, and thankfulness. The kind of emotional roller coaster that leaves you drained and confused. So today I was just tired, sore, and bone weary.

Then I opened Jesus Calling and read the selection for today:

Come to Me for rest and refreshment. The journey has been too much for you, and you are bone weary. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life.
    Remember that I can fit everything into a pattern for good, including the things you wish were different. Start with where you are at this point in time and space, accepting that this is where I intend you to be. You will get through today one step, one moment at a time. Your main responsibility is to remain attentive to Me, letting Me guide you though the many choices along your pathway.
    This sounds like an easy assignment, but it is not.  Your desire to live in My Presence goes against the grain of “the world, the flesh and the devil.” Much of your weariness results from your constant battle against these opponents. However, you are on the path of My choosing, so do not give up! Hope in Me, for you will again praise Me for the help of My Presence.

Wow, how is that for God speaking directly to me? I read the text a few times because it just seemed unreal. I felt like my soul was opened up and these words were poured in spreading warmth and healing throughout my being.

But, wait, that’s not all.

When I went through my email this morning, I found another answer to prayer. Another unlikely, big answer to prayer. A proposal I sent a week ago was met with openness and a quick response. God knows how to throw a girl some curves! It was a reminder that I have a host of friends and loved ones praying for me, that God listens and responds, and that no matter how I’m feeling, no matter how things look, God is behind the scenes gently weaving my life into a pattern for good. He is in control. I’m giddy with gratitude. God is soooo amazing.

I know I am where I am supposed to be. I know His presence is with me in airports, board rooms, and little shops in Franklin, TN. I know He is guiding, prompting, fighting on my behalf. I may be tired but I am thankful.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT

Aged Beauty

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Some things age beautifully. They settle into their surroundings with dignity and grace. I am not one of these things! But this old gristmill at Reed Spring near my hometown in Missouri is. Reed Spring Mill is in the southeastern Missouri town of Centerville in Reynolds County, near the Black River on the edge of the Mark Twain National Forest. I think it is beautiful.

How are you aging?

Well Watered

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My backyard is brown and dying. It is so sad. The grass was already brown from the drought and now with the temperatures dropping the foliage on the plants has all withered away. But before it changed to the color of mud, I had living, vibrant, tomatoes growing back there. On one of those rare days when it rained I was able to capture the beauty of it. Remember that?

My prayer today is that I never become a dry, dying Christian. I want to always have the joy of God dripping from my soul so that anyone taking the time to look will see a healthy, well-watered believer. God provides. I soak up the blessings.

Life is beautiful.

Transformed

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Isn’t it crazy that no matter who we were before, we can be transformed into a miraculous thing of beauty? God is amazing. Just as He takes creepy, crawly grubs and metamorphoses them into fragile wisps of wondrous insects, He changes us from dull, selfish slugs into awesome children of light . He is crazy lovely like that!

We all…are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
~2 Corinthians 3:18

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The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

The Twenty-Third Psalm

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And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
But don’t be afraid. If God’s by your side,
with big beasty things you’ll never collide.

(Dr. Seuss and more!)

Buffalo in Yellowstone National Park. They were sometimes scary.

Don’t Be Afraid