James Edward Hergel, Canadian Artist: A Collection

…home holds the heart as nothing else can

find me, buried in this frost & moondance rhythm of light & dark

the northern lights have held me hostage, willingly I die with them 

each summer, each dawn

this quiet haven of stilled sweetness,  thick & beloved, pining admidst the lucid shadows of winter—

there, all things are converging & tearing apart

my heart, my heart



I could pretend I know much more about Canadian artists than I do, but one thing I do know, Canadian artists seem to be some of the most illustrative & colourful. At least, my favourites are & I rarely see art from other countries that touches my heart the same way. 

Perhaps it is the bleak long winters devoid of colour, but I gravitate towards the intense images & bold colours. Often there is a fluidity to the lines that reminds me of blowing snow more than water. The shift colour gradients & deep shadows in many artist’s works is so engrossing. 

From a young age I wanted to be an artist, & for reasons I can’t quite understand, I felt very discouraged from this path. Only now do I realize you just can’t fight these things, you must let yourself be taken along for the ride with artistic journeys. For me, I could pretend only, to be anything else. My nature is artistic. 

Whether it’s been music, writing, visual art, fabric art—I am by nature an artist. This hasn’t always meant I’m good at it by nature, or that I’ve not needed to learn the craft, & practice it, it simply means, I see & dream & feel & live most thouroughly when being creative. I am not good with redundancy or conformity. I get tired, bored & definitely unproductive. Some people thrive on schedule, routine & knowing what comes next. I’ve discovered some people ‘hate surprises’ & change. That, I cannot wrap my mind around. 

I struggle to be constant. It is true, I love my own home, most certainly, my own bed; but, give me challenge & variants & an opportunity to learn new things, & I never get tired or bored. I wish I had a little more constancy to get perfected at something. I feel this might be my greatest flaw. But, if life had unlimited time, the slow gradual opportunity to form a skill as layers of sediment forms a ridge eventually, that would be perfect for my learning style. 

Anyways. Enough about me. I really just wanted to share some lovely art today. 

It’s a day when I expect the snow will start falling any moment now, things are looking browner by the day outside, the days are getting very short & dark, so this spark of colourful artwork is keeping me cheery. Enjoy! 

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It’s a Cold Love

Yay! So excited for this tonight. I could pretend they are not my favourite but, they are totally my favourite, ever since I had two wee babies & I escaped home life for an iddy-biddy concert with this cool laser show of green. They were amazing then, when pretty much no one knew who they were, and they are still ridiculous live. 

There are so many songs I am looking forward to hearing, singing along to, jumping along to & dancing to & frankly, I’ll probably cry along to a couple. Good music always makes me cry. Live music impacts harder. I’m not gonna even pretend that I won’t have some mild post-concert depression. I’ve been waiting five plus years to see them again. Three of my kiddos are going. It’s going to be so fun! 

Read God’s Word the Bible Daily

So, how’s this going? So far—SO GOOD! 

It’s only a few days in, I know. But already I have come to love my time alone with Jehovah’s word each day. Seriously, I love the thematic reading schedule. I look forward to starting next week’s rotation because there are parts I am literally excited to get back to. I am taking time to watch the videos entitled “An Introduction to…” just to be reminded again of the Bible book writer, their timeline, the book highlights, the geography of the book’s location. Tho we have relatively recently read much of this in our scheduled weekly readings, I find, with the weekly readings, the purpose is different, so I have gotten different things out of those readings. This schedule, I’m really truly reading for just myself. I’m listening to it with a different ear, one that is seeking out what Jehovah is saying to me with this. I know we are supposed to do that with our weekly reading too, but perhaps because I do that while doing meeting prep, it is a little too hurried, or maybe because we have all the highlighted points & scriptures & a general theme to the evening’s material, I focus mostly on just those things, sometimes finding a point that’s off topic & wondering if it’s worth sharing. Anyways, the point is, my daily Bible reading is really just for me & the things I feel, think, worry about, am preparing for, with my life in mind, my family in mind, including my spiritual family. 

So far I’ve completed all the scheduled reading for this week: The Law: Genesis 1-3; History: Joshua 1-5; Psalms: Psalms 1,2; Poetry: Job 1,2; Prophecy: Isaiah 1-6. Out of these I surprised myself & today’s reading, Isaiah 1-6, has been my favourite so far. It is the prophetic judgement warning against Judah, written in poetic format, with rich detail & scathing words. It feels like just yesterday we covered this in our weekly reading, yet I loved it & still found it fresh to read. 

Each day I’m making detailed notes for myself in a little journal, writing down thoughts & recording scriptures in handwriting I want to memorize; highlighting the scriptures I want to memorize on my jw app tagged “memorization” along with underlining them in my hard copy study bible. I’m also highlighting scriptures I just find inspiring & beautiful or powerful. Today’s reading, read in ‘an undertone’ was inspiring & just a delicious read. You really get the sense of Jehovah’s strength & justice from the imagery. This is why the New World Translation is so amazing to read—this is how The American Standard reads at Isaiah 5:18-24:

“18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, and sin as it were with a cart rope; 19 that say, Let him make speed, let him hasten his work, that we may see it; and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it! 20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! 22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink; 23 that justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! 24 Therefore as the tongue of fire devoureth the stubble, and as the dry grass sinketh down in the flame, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust; because they have rejected the law of Jehovah of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.”

This is how The New World Translation reads: 

“18 Woe to those who drag along their guilt with ropes of deception And their sin with wagon cords; 19 Those who say: “Let Him speed up his work; Let it come quickly that we may see it. Let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel take place That we may know it!” 20 Woe to those who say that good is bad and bad is good, Those who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, Those who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe to those wise in their own eyes And discreet in their own sight! 22 Woe to those who are mighty in drinking wine And to the men who are masters at mixing alcoholic drinks 23 Those who acquit the wicked for a bribe And who deny justice to the righteous! 24 Therefore, just as the tongue of fire consumes the stubble And dry grass shrivels in the flames, Their very roots will rot, And their blossoms will scatter like powder, Because they rejected the law of Jehovah of armies And disrespected the word of the Holy One of Israel.”

See how easily the New World Translation reads. The meaning is exactly the same but the English is so current a child can understand what is being read. I honestly can’t imagine the amount of time it would take for an average young person to understand even the American Standard (one of the other ‘modern’ English translations) reading of that scripture. The King James is even murkier. It feels to me, the bucking by religious leaders to translate into modern English is no different than when they burned, for heresy, those early translators taking the Bible from Latin to English—they hate that people can read and get the sense of it without them. They want the Bible to seem bulky & clouded & difficult. Then, no one will read what it actually says, and they can keep lying, stealing & acting like gods & pretend to be so wise & all-knowing when the knowledge within the Bible, from God to humans, is free for the taking. You do not need a degree or years at a theological school or to earn a title to understand it & know the true God. 

I am so thankful for pure worship & this organization for giving me a Bible I can read & understand. I’m thankful they encourage you to look for yourself at other translations, even easily providing them for you, to consult & see, that this translation says the same thing, but in clear, modern English. 

In Russia last month, the New World Translation was banned. It is illegal for someone just like me to sit and read this bible, be it on my phone, tablet or in paper format. 

Well, “woe to those who say what is good is bad”! Or shall I quote it via King James? 

” Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Or perhaps, in Russian? 

“Горе тем, кто называет добро злом и зло добром, кто выдаёт тьму за свет и свет за тьму, горькое за сладкое и сладкое за горькое!”

I love reading Jehovah’s word the Bible & I know he will strengthen & embolden the friends in Russia to keep going until the wicked one’s roots rot & they scatter like powder. Jehovah’s enemies always end up the same way—humbled, one way or another. 

With all this in mind, new tag on here, “biblical texts & quotes” for the ones I particularity like or want to attempt to memorize. 

And perhaps, I’ll share them in Russian, because, you never know that someone who needs them might not just find them at the right time. 

Thematic 

So September has officially begun & I am so excited (& a little apprehensive) about what this new school & service year will bring. 

For the first time in nineteen years I will not have any preschoolers at home with me at all. All my kids are in school or done school. 

Life keeps changing, so must I, tho I don’t easily. ‘Mid-life me’ is ready for tea & baking & knitting & ripening into something of a ‘granny’ sort without the grandkids. But, ‘Jehovah’s servant me’ sees a door of opportunity opening. I am still a mother of five. Life is never slow or dull, never as quiet as I thought it may be with my youngest being six, but I suppose when they all start back at school on Tuesday I’ll know how loud or quiet my life really will be. 

Last year, my goals of learning guitar & taking more walks & getting more personal study time in, all panned out reasonably well. I didn’t expect how little time morning kindergarten actually affords a mother, & I’m fairly certain seven hours per day with no little kids home won’t be as many when all is said & done as I think it is. There is still laundry, cleaning, organizing, grocery shopping, cooking, baking & if time, breathing to be done. 

This being duly noted, I have set some bigger goals. I love the ministry. I actually do. Our congregation territory is diverse & shockingly fruitful. Even last week I got an amazing new call with a young guy, maybe twenty or so, (why does everyone under thirty look twelve) humble & reasonable minded, strong spiritual need, respectful of his family’s faith (Roman Catholic, they were gone to church when I got him home, not often that people are at church anymore) but completely not impressed with Catholicism. He is delving into Genesis & Exodus & completely cannot stomach the ideas of evolution, & believes the Bible has the full explaination of why the earth is how it is now, and is trying to understand where we go from here. It was a wonderful conversation. I used only the Bible, that had been my goal that day, no literature—just Teach the Truth. This was perfect for this initial call because he really truly respects the Bible. It stands on its own in his mind. He actually said it was so strange I had shown up at his door that day because he had just been trying to learn how Genesis connects to our day. Anyways. Great start and look forward to seeing the progression. 

Meeting spiritually hungry people of all ages in the ministry is why I love the ministry. The appeal to people of all backgrounds, ages & kinds is obvious, and if Jehovah can use me to find sheeplike ones, I’m in. 

So, I’ve set my personal goals. I’ve looked at my life and attempted to find an achievable & balanced approach to both home & ministry. These goals, are not for public display. They are private, between Jehovah & I, and he will teach me where I can go, & perhaps, where I am limited. I am willing to accept both. This week’s Life & Ministry Meeting was perfect for self reflection, goal setting, & inspiration. 

But, one goal I am willing to share is my new daily Bible reading goal. 

Over the years I’m fairly certain I’ve read the Bible several times over. I’ve set the goal before to read it cover to cover in a year, and discovered somewhere in one of the Chronicles, I’m going to fail. Seriously! Anyone who’s done these books knows what I’m talking about. Parts of the Bible are literal lists of names. It’s historical. A genealogy. All serves a purpose, but thick & slow, like reading mud. I mean, if the whole Bible was like Psalms & Proverbs I’m sure we’d have all read it cover to cover uncountable times. Point being, I’m going to attempt something new: a Thematic cover to cover reading. 

Broken up so that one day of the week for each, The Law; History; Psalms; Poetry; Prophecy; Gospels; Letters—this seems doable. I’m actually really looking forward to this. It feels like I could truly enjoy the skip around. I’m kind of like that in life, variety keeps me from losing my drive due to boredom. 

So my main goal is yes, to read the Bible, cover to cover, over the next year. But my secondary goal in this is to find ‘gems.’ Spiritual gems. The kind we’ve been taught to look for in our weekly Bible reading. I’ve loved the new format of our mid week meeting. It has taught me so many new things about teaching & preaching & our organization & Jehovah, but more than that, it’s taught me that just because I did things this way or that, changing how we do things, is good. Changing focus & our entire motivation or way of being, is productive. I am not reading the Bible in a year for any purpose other than to improve my day to day mind set; to practice what I preach; to improve myself; to draw closer to Jehovah. If I can set goals & accomplish them in small, manageable pieces, it helps me set new goals, manage my time & energy, & the joy of fulfilling set goals is a very personal thing, only you & Jehovah have real joy in these little individual goals. He sees you work hard for them, & you & he alone see how he helps you with them. I want stronger faith. It’s been a main aspect of the fruitage of the spirit I’ve been working on for some time. Daily Bible reading with the goal of reading the Bible in a year is going to inevitably help me with my faith. That I am looking forward to. 

My focus this coming year is family & faith. To keep my kids moving forward in their own relationships with Jehovah; to get this home functioning a little smoother; caring for the physical health of my family & myself; using my time & energy for things that I am proud of—study, prayer, meditation, meal planning, cleaning, organizing, ministry, family worship, learning guitar, knitting, exercise, baking…it’s an endless seeming list. But I’ve come up with a tentative yet flexible schedule, haphazard as it may seem. What a busy life. I’m just so thankful I’ve this circumstance to focus on these things. I’m so thankful for this family. I’m so thankful for Jehovah’s patience. I’m truly looking forward to focusing on the inner workings of myself via daily Bible reading. It’s a small thing but such a big thing all in one. 

Wartime Poetry

“In my faith,
I will always stand firm, . . . On my own I could never remain.
With my life, I will even stand firm,
And as I my last breath confer,
You should with that dying gasp hear: I stand firm”
—Franz Wohlfahrt

The story of neutrality is one seldom told or understood & frankly, I don’t think in today’s politically rife atmosphere, appreciated. 

Very few understand that neutrality is a different stance against the powers that be. It is not a lack of seeing injustice. The fighting of injustice tho, can be a strange monster filled with paradoxes, an endless maze that again can lead you back to becoming the problem. 

Seeing how Jehovah’s people the world over refuse to stand for one government or another, that is part of what gives us our unity. Refusing to stand for a cause humanity of the day has deemed worth fighting for prevents us from fighting each other. Seeing that history has proven, there is no winning side in war, that death & anguish are the main victors of all war, and that inevitably, bad rulers return, this has become such a reminder, to remain neutral. 

This is difficult in the face of injustice. My heart yearns for justice as equally as another’s. But, to know the true source of justice, and to patiently await His timing in procuring it, that takes a faith & a courage that must be cultivated everyday. 

The stories of our brothers & sisters imprisoned in various places & at different times is so faith strengthening. 

The acknowledgement by some of the great injustice that was done to Jehovah’s people who refused to participate in the Nazi reign of terror, willing to die to remain neutral, is faith strengthening. In the Allied countries, we were thrown in prison as well, and actually, truth be told, here in Canada, we were sent to work camps as well, tho gas chambers & guillotines didn’t await us here. 

Here tho, post World War II, the Witnesses were a major component in legally establishing freeness of speech & religious freedom. Before their battles that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada religious freedom & free speech, was not legally established in Canada at all. The main stream religions, Catholicism, along with the main Protestant faiths, Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, United, seemed to be the main religions of the people, and very entwined with governmental affairs. It was a step away from traditional religion to be politically neutral, and to follow Jesus example of being “no part of the world.” 

It seems, that tho other “Christian” religions claim to follow the Bible they forget Jesus reaction to the people wanting to make him king while he was here on Earth, & they forget what his response was when Pilate asked him about his kingship. Christ himself said his Kingdom was not a part of this world. So, since Jesus Christ is our king, we as well, do not support the kingdoms or governments of this planet. We follow our King’s example & we await the time when he will establish his kingship over the whole globe, correcting the problems mankind seems to flourish at creating. Jesus, while on earth, healed the sick, cured the blind, fed the masses both physically & spiritually, and even raised the dead back to life. This was an appetizer to what awaits us in the future when he becomes king over all the earth. It seems a very foreign concept to these so called Christian faiths that they should not be embroiled in the conflicts of this world currently under Satan’s rulership, that as well is a biblical teaching, that “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” 

One thing I know for sure: neutrality tho not easy, marks me as being no part of this world. I love people. I hate injustice. It literally is heartbreaking when you hear the bad things that happen to good people. But humans cannot fix this mess. They’re going to try. But thousands of years has proven they cannot fix a world under Satan’s rule. Only Jehovah can appoint a King that will rule us well. His choice, not only has been given the power to fix things, but also the compassion by being sent here to live as a human as well. What a wise choice. Until then, to remain neutral is both a challenge & a joy. 

Read a brief article on how one Austrian town recently commemorated the stance of neutrality by Jehovah’s Witnesses during the Nazi reign of terror in their community. 

Concierto de Aranjuez: II. Adagio

Trust me, take the 12 minutes to listen & watch it preferably. 

There are several pieces of classical that I have loved since rather early childhood, this is one of them. To me, all people should have the opportunity to fall in love with classical. Not every piece will strike you powerfully, but when they do, you are changed. 

To soothe & break all at once, this is my pick for today.