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Showing posts from July, 2009

date to save

for some utter strangeness from the christian ghetto, check out datetosave.com.
---- what do you think, is this a good dating strategy for christians? ---- ps. when i use the term "christian ghetto" i am not referring to the rough streets of south barrington, illinois. i am referring to the sub-culture of evangelical christianity that one encounters in christian bookstores where you can purchase christian t-shirts, christian music, christian candles, christian bookends, christian gum, and christian gossip magazines. it is the place where christians have ignored the call to be in the world: it is, rather, the evangelical attempt to create a separate world.

happy rain day!

in waynesburg, pa, the town where i was born and in which i lived until i was 12, they have a unique holiday. each july 29th they celebrate what is called 'rain day,' because it is said to rain on that day in waynesburg almost every year (110 of the last 134 years). basically, it is an excuse to shut down the town for a day and have a big celebration, complete with carnival rides, games, food, and entertainment (kind of silly to do all of this on a day that its supposed to rain, i know. that's how they roll in the keystone state, baby).

each year they bet someone a hat that it will rain in waynesburg on july 29th. they've had bets with many local celebrities, such as troy polamalu, myron cope, mr. rogers, franco harris and mario lemieux, as well as bigger names like will ferrell and jay leno, among others.

a quick look at the weather.com shows that they will be getting rain again today. so, congrats waynesburg. have a happy rain day!

panorama

"panaroma" paper collaage on cardboard panel gregory a. milinovich i sold this collage last week over at my etsy site, and i just wanted to remind you (or inform you if you didn't know) that you can purchase several of my collages here. i have about 40 for sale right now, and will probably add some new ones soon. i'm not really in it for the money, so if you see something you like and you want to make me an offer for less than the price, i'm willing to negotiate. i love it when my collages find a good home!

summer is...

picking raspberries. yum.







save the bees

shannon and i watched an absolutely fascinating show last night on pbs called "silence of the bees," which is obviously a titular twist on a famous film, and appropriately so, as the film details a recent horror developing in nature: the loss of honeybees.


it was a slightly disturbing but genuinely eye-opening documentary about the drastic disappearance of honeybees not just in the usa but all around the world. nearly whole hives of adult bees just vanish. i think i heard that at one point in 2006, about a third of the honeybee hives in the usa had been lost. scientists have named the situation ccd: colony collapse disorder, and it has many of them significantly worried because without honeybees we have very few pollinators, and without pollinators we have no fruits and veggies and nuts. there are many theories as to the cause of ccd, but very few answers. most scientists and beekeepers have determined that a broad range of factors have led to this situation, including …

the joy (and the job) of marriage

so this isn't very profound or anything for your saturday, and you may have already seen it, but i just have to share this video with you. i love this. i love the pure joy. i love the spirit of celebration. i love the surprise. there is something to be said for the wild freedom of uninhibited joy.



i wish more marriages started with such joy and abandon.

but of course, marriage isn't all rainbows and ponies. marriage can be a great joy, but it can also be a big job. as one who has the enormous privilege of working with many couples at the beginning of their marriage journey, i often struggle to balance these two. i want to encourage their unashamed, untainted love for one another, while helping them to see that it may not always feel this way, and equipping them for dealing with it when that happens. in my own marriage, i can experience both sides of the pendulum swing in one day! i heard this song on the country radio station last night that reminded me of how priorities c…

bouncy

when my kids spent the week with my parents last week, they played with a new toy that my parents purchased for them. it was a little tikes jump 'n slide, and my boys stinkin' loved it.

i recently had someone tell me that my blog was pretty good, but it was really just pictures/stories of my kids that they liked. well, here you go then. enjoy. they sure did!












christmas-in-july

anyone looking for a christmas-in-july present for yours truly might consider this little publication. just a thought. no. no one? sigh.

vbs

i have a confession to make: i do not particularly like vbs (that's vacation bible school for all of you who don't speak churchish). i try my best to put on my best face and conjure up some emotional energy, but the idea of dozens of sweaty children screaming and running around the church halls is daunting to me, at least. suffice to say that it is not my favorite part of church work. *** that being said, i do love the energy that the children bring each year, and the enthusiasm. it is a unique opportunity, from my perspective, to spend some quality time with our youngest people, offering them some ideas and pictures about what this Christian life is all about. this year, as in the past several, i am the vbs "floater," which means i walk around the facility and help out wherever needed. today i have been recruited to work in the missions area, which means i will be helping kids stuff these little turtles.we'll be sending them to honduras, eventually, so that c…
during our 6 hours in the car on saturday, this little monkey named jack sang the following lyric about 5,000 times: i've got a soul, but i'm not a soldier, i've got a soul, but i'm not a soldier... he got it from listening to this song, but he modified the lyrics a bit. nonetheless, i thought it was awesome, and wanted to share it with you. its not a bad mantra, really.

suspense

"suspense" mixed media collage on canvas board gregory a. milinovich here's a collage i made last week. have a great weekend!

from blah to canteloupe

while home without kids earlier this week, i took advantage of the empty house and painted the master bathroom (which may be the world's smallest full bathroom - the sink is the size of a camping sink!). it is hard to tell in this picture, but the color was kind of a drab pale yellow. i believe it was called blah. shannon chose to replace "blah" with "canteloupe slice." if you know me, you know that i had no complaints about this.


here it is after the first coat, with the tape still on.

and here is the finished product. it isn't as orange as it looks up by the lights. you'll get a better idea if you look at the color of it immediately above the sink.

*** we all need repainted from time to time, huh? at least i do. old ideas grow stale and worn out, bitter like old paint, raising on the edges and flaky. my growth as a person, as a husband and father, as a Christian and as an artist and so forth requires that from time to time i get a bit of an ove…

playlist

i just spent about 5 hours in my car, listening to my ipod on shuffle. its got 8,771 songs to choose from. these are some of the artists i heard on my trip:

johnny cash/bright eyes/greg laswell/pearl jam/queen/the myriad/over the rhine/the innocence mission/band of horses/patty griffin/steve earle/frank sinatra/bruce springsteen/david crowder/dwight yoakam/u2/ben harper/ben lee/harry connick jr./keane/jars of clay/grits/altar boys/nickel creek/yellowcard/willie nelson/mute math/asleep at the wheel/collective soul/something corporate/mxpx/pierce pettis/radiohead/taking back sunday/emmylou harris/joshua radin/wilco/ray charles/of montreal/great lake swimmers/gillian welch/bing crosby/julie miller/amos lee/page france/lost dogs/playdough/mat kearney/ray lamontagne

i heart my ipod. sigh.

ticket to providence

it is nearing noon, and i'm just now getting settled into my office at work, not because i overslept, but because i met Jesus this morning. he didn't look the way i usually picture him. he was about my height, but with a bigger belly and a sandy moustache that covered his upper lip. he was wearing some sort of boot-like-cast thing on his left foot. he said "man" alot when he talked, like a hippie. he told me how he needs to get back to rhode island, and how bad his foot hurts, and how he only has three dollars in his pocket. he told me a great deal about the last few months of his life, a convoluted and confusing stream of consciousness kind of story. i would never call Jesus a liar, but i wasn't quite convinced about every detail of his story. it started getting a little fishy around the part where someone stole $1000 from him at the pancake house. still, the lines on his face and the desperation in his eyes (not to mention the severe limp in his walk) …

considering the birdsongs by my window

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artwork: "gypsy bird" by samarra khaja
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considering the birdsongs by my window
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you sing so

boldly, within earshot,

shy little birds.

what gives you such courage,

such charismatic colorful carefreeness, to

lift your voices

so?

is it because you

do not worry

yourself with what's next or

what people think?

i consider the songs you sing,

with your strange high whistles

and morning blends of unashamed goodness.

do not worry.

i am blessed by your artful joy,

and am looking, today,

for a way to sing along.
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-gregory a. milinovich

at the flea market with my head down

when you have kids you give up some luxuries. that's just part of the deal. it might be that you give up walking around the house naked, or your propensity for colorful language, etc. for me, though, one of things that i surrendered was my saturday morning at the flea market.

going to the flea market with children is just not cool. for whatever unknowable reason, they don't seem particularly interested in 70 year old photos of some russian family on holiday at what looks like yosemite. and they aren't as enamored as i am with sorting through crate after crate of barry manilow and englebert humperdinck albums in search of that brubeck or nick drake album. instead, we go off searching for "toys," which mostly means broken transformers. sigh. i miss my saturdays at the flea market.

however, due to some divine providence (and eager grandparents), i was provided with a child-less saturday this weekend, and i headed down to the golden nugget flea market in lamb…

saturday song: laughing with

i have liked regina spektor ever since i began to discover her last year. she is a bit on the eccentric side, as far as her music goes, and some people really can't stand to listen to her, but i really quite enjoy her creativity, and playfulness, as well as her ability to be poignant. the latter is the case with the song i want to share with you today. i found this over at eric park's blog, and you can read his excellent analysis of this song, as well as his own meditation on it for his life here. that link also includes the lyrics of the song, which are worth checking out if you have trouble understanding her in spots. give it a listen.



i'm curious what you think about this song. what do you think she's trying to say here? is this a song of hopelessness or hope? i challenge you to take a moment and reflect on this little piece of art regina spektor has created. and let us know what you think...

for the love of coffee

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look, i love coffee about as much as anyone, but this is just a bit too much for me. i think. anyone ever tried it? let me know... ... in other random news... ... -the yankees are tied for first in the american league east. yay for pinstripes! -amazon is selling radiohead's album "amnesiac" for $1.99 download today. great deal. -shannon made blueberry pie yesterday. which means lots of yumminess in the next few days. it also meant an immediate post-desert bath for 2 purple kids last night. -somehow, we are almost halfway through july already. where is the summer going, exactly? -i took the kids to see ice age 3: dawn of the dinosaurs yesterday. it was what you would expect, but a good time was had by all. -when jack wants to eat some dry cereal, say for a snack or something, he asks for it this way: "can i please have some dried-up cereal?" i love that. -yesterday there was a scavengerous bird on the road, and jack called it a chicken vulture. -this week …

book: breath for the bones

i finally finished this book - luci shaw's breath for the bones: art, imagination, and spirit, reflections on creativity and faith- after slowly working my way through it for the last several months. the problem when it comes to a book like this, where each line is loaded with meaning, is that i want to read it carefully and closely, and conditions have to be 'right' for me to do that. and so i end up putting it off. i too often resist being inspired/moved, because i don't think its the right time (the kids are fighting, the lawn needs mowed, etc.). but this is precisely what shaw is writing about it. if her book has a thesis (which it might not since it is composed of writings from workshops, journals, lectures, books, etc) it is that each one of us is called to notice beauty, to see God, and to create in response. she makes a great case against a kind of christian pragmatism or utilitarianism, arguing for the importance of beauty in our lives, using several sou…

call and response

we had a great 4th of july weekend out in central pennsylvania with shannon's family, highlighted by the annual parade in osceola mills, which our boys have been looking forward to since last year due to the fact that the participants in the parade throw bucketloads of candy to the onlookers. they get more candy at this parade than at halloween. and so they love it. but the othe reason they love it is that all the firetrucks that are part of the parade (and believe me, if there are about 50 of them - every little village and hamlet and wannabe town in central pa. sends a nice shiny firetruck) leave town after lunch. and as they leave, they all turn on their sirens and make a big commotion. my kids love this. and i watched as they felt compelled not just to jump around or laugh or cover their ears or whatever, but to literally yell back to the sound, as if to join in the cataclysmic cacophony. they were filled with joy and intensity and the need to be a part of the noise, as…

now playing: spiegel im spiegel

on my 5 minute drive to work, i often listen to wprb, public radio from princeton university. i love them because they play such an eclectic assemblage of music, and i love hearing new things. this morning was a classical show, and they were playing a piece that simply haunted me. so i looked it up and purchased it on itunes. and i've been listening to it all day. it is called 'spiegel im spiegel,' which in german means mirror in a mirror (or mirrors in a mirror), and is appropriately named as the triads seem to repeat in beautifully reflected ways, like looking at several angled mirrors at once. it is a pensive piece of music, with piano and cello, written by arvo part in 1978. i find it to be relaxing and beautiful and inspiring, and i hope you might, too. there are several versions of it on you tube (and several versions in various movies and tv shows, too), and this is one of them. it is 8 minutes long, but close your eyes and relax for a moment.

15 albums: teatro

in case you forgot, i'm still counting my 15 favorite albums of all time. willie nelson's teatro is one of the two i have left. -- that's right - i said willie nelson. but before some of you write this off as an album you wouldn't be interested in hearing; an album by an old country hick who sings in a pot-inflected voice about getting on the road again and not letting your babies grow up to be cowboys, just hold on a second. this album might surprise you. released in 1998, it features the expert producing of daniel lanois, who has also produced albums for bob dylan and u2, to name a few. with lanois at the helm, the album feels like the americana version of achtung, baby. and it not only features the amazingly laid-back latin-inspired guitar licks of willie, it also features backup vocals on nearly every track by the incomparable emmylou harris. the match is perfect, and the result is incredible. this is not your daddy's country music. and it certainly is…

happy 4th of july, 2009

happy independence day

costa rica, part 4 (toucans)

one of the things that struck me about costa rica was the sheer quantity and variety of green. but mostly the quantity. it was everywhere. layers and facets and shades and sheets and canopies of green. green and green and green. and, to be honest, this eruption of life from every part of the panorama was at once breathtakingly gorgeous and a bit overwhelming. --- but the lush landscape also served as a perfect canvas for dots of color that popped up like epiphanies. birds and lizards who painted the verdant vista in technicolor. and the best of that, for me, was the toucans who would pass through each day, landing on the branches above us, temporarily decorating our view like a tropical Christmas. ---


hidden among the leaves would be this large bird, barely visible if i wasn't looking for it, but almost violently vibrant if i paid attention. the color would almost take my breath away.

and it reminds me of how i need to pay attention. i am currently in the midst of reading…

film review: persepolis

i picked up this film a few weeks ago for a few bucks and decided to give it a look yesterday, as i am planning my 'reel life' curriculum for the fall. i was really surprised and moved by the film, and just thought i'd say a word about it here. --- persepolis is an animated film, and it won several awards, beginning in cannes, and you can read about all of that here, if you really want to. in short, it is the story of a young girl who is growing up in iran in the midst of the iranian revolution. as such, it seemed particularly poignant, even so much as showing a political protest in which one of the protesters was killed, eerily foreshadowing current events. --- but the movie isn't as much about the political problems in iran as it is about marjane's journey through childhood and adolescence and into womanhood. from her childhood she longs to be a 'prophet,' and to a certain extent fills that role as she stands up for what she believes is right and true…