Wednesday, November 24, 2010


"On the other hand, many newly sighted people speak well of the world, and teach us how dull is our own vision. To one patient, a human hand, unrecognized, is 'something bright and then holes.' Shown a bunch of grapes, a boy calls out, 'It is dark, blue and shiny....It isn't smooth, it has bumps and hollows.' A little girl visits a garden. 'She is greatly astonished, and can scarcely be persuaded to answer, stands speechless in front of a tree, which she only names on taking hold of it, and then as "the tree with the lights in it." ' Some delight in their sight and give themselves over to the visual world. Of a patient just after her bandages were removed, her doctor writes, 'The first things to attract her attention were her own hands; she looked at them very closely, moved them repeatedly to and fro, bent and stretched the fingers, and seemed greatly astonished at the sight.' One girl was eager to tell her blind friend that 'men do not really look like trees at all,' and astounded to discover that her every visitor had a different face."

"Finally, a twenty-two-old girl was dazzled by the world's brightness and kept her eyes shut for two weeks. When at the end of that time she opened her eyes again, she did not recognize any objects, but, 'the more she now directed her gaze upon everything about her, the more it could be seen how an expression of gratification and astonishment overspread her features; she repeatedly exclaimed: 'Oh God! How beautiful!' "

-annie dillard from "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

a test and a challenge

so this post is a test to see who is still checking or using this blog- the way you prove to me that you do is by accepting this challenge, write and post about one thing you are grateful for this thanksgiving season. xoxo love you all! (ps i'll be doing this challenge too, but for now i'm grateful for those lovely flowers in the mountains this past summer)

Friday, November 13, 2009

House by the Side of the Road, by Sam Walter Foss

There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
In the place of their self-content;
There are souls like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze the paths
Where highways never ran-
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat
Nor hurl the cynic's ban-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife,
But I turn not away from their smiles and tears,
Both parts of an infinite plan-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead,
And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
And still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by-
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish - so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban?
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

-Sam Walter Foss

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

amen sister

I know this isn't live, but it was on my friend's blog the other day and it is such a lovely piece of choral music. Lately I've been having a craving to get together with people and sing. There is something so easy and enjoyable about praising God through song, and it's such a wonderful thing to do to feel close to people. I'm glad to see this blog being used again! I'm off to the temple, but will post more soon. You do the same!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

speaking of all things lovely and of good report and praiseworthy...

live art
live music
live dance
live theater

there is no substitute for living art's ability
to inspire,
to raise one up
and call one to create!

what power this is!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

happy earth day

today on radio west they were celebrating earth day via poetry and reading all sorts of lovely, interesting poems, and it made me think of mary oliver, my favorite poet. she deals with nature all the time, and the way it connects us to our own humanity and the divine. so happy earth day dear friends, here is a little mary poem for you.

The Swan

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air -
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music - like the rain pelting the trees - like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds -
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


by way of introduction, i am christina thomas......once "tina thomas tickleheimer, now sometimes "lydia the tattooed lady," more often "the Q," always "the bid."

i am a book conservator and bookbinder, a craft which the famous bookbinder Edgar Mansfield describes as "the most unforgiving craft there is on the face of this bloody earth!"

he is right!

but thanks to those unforgiving demands, i have gained some vital insight into hard work, perspective, patience, and learning processes.

after two refreshing, whirlwindy years in boston, i live in utah once again and work as the book repair assistant in the byu library. i am grateful for and content in my job, but not always happy. in an ideal world i would also be a dancer, film historian, baker, and horticulturist. and everything in between, including parent.

i'm excited to be invited as a contributor and listener here and excited to get to know the rest of you folks. i count the 13th article as a close friend and beautiful, billowing statement of belief.

speaking of things virtuous, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy.......and of things silly, this past weekend i saw the bollywood movie Om Shanti Om for the first time. on the surface, this movie was sheer delight, a spectacularly silly spectacle, and thoroughly entertaining all the way through its 164 minutes.

nearly every 10 minutes or so the film erupts into song and dance. during one especially exteeeeeeennnnnded dance, my mind drifted a bit and i began thinking about the influence of western popular culture in these movies. sometimes we or others decry our western infiltration and the way it “corrupts” indigenous culture and changes it, rendering it “less authentic”.

but then i considered all the ways many of our cultures throughout the world are interacting with and influencing each other and melding, in large part because of increased mobility and communication technologies. we are all borrowing and lending and trading bits of culture. certainly it’s unfortunate when people demean themselves or their culture in the name of some of other culture being superior. but is the way we are blending such a bad thing?

and then, since the dance number was still going strong, i continued thinking.

naturally my thoughts turned to......gathering. as in the gathering of israel. the gathering of saints into the kingdom of god. we have, over the ages, dispersed and scattered ourselves, developed into unique and fantastically rich and diverse cultures.....

...kind of like pangea and its gradual dispersal
into the land masses we know and love.

i thought of how we are gradually re-gathering ourselves and each other back to the genuine community of God's kingdom, where we will be not a homogeneous, unified culture, but one made up of all the varieties of goodness, artistry, experiences, knowledge, and light of all these individual cultures. so instead of looking on disparagingly at the blending of american and indian culture, i saw this merging--this developing "friendship" between peoples and cultures--and i liked it. tremendously. i love this idea! and i loved Om Shanti Om for inspiring the thought. it sounds a bit schmaltzy to say, but i’m excited about our uniting world. of what we are becoming. it feels epic and unimaginable. deserving of fabulous and grandiose song and dance.

and is it too far fetched to suggest that the physical earth's processes and movements mirror those of its inhabitants? over millions of years, the once united land masses divided and diversified themselves, evolved and expanded. eventually the land masses will spread so far they might just reconvene. just like the children of israel. maybe? it is already beginning, and in the name of this gathering i celebrate the cross-pollination of cultures and the good that others bring and the good that we add. i celebrate the scattering for the incomprehensible richness, depth, and beauty its experience will add to a regathered kingdom of God's children.