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Showing posts from April, 2007

center of the universe

having a baby makes it seems like that baby is indeed the axis of the universe; that everything revolves around this tiny helpless little human. who knows, maybe in some ways it does. and yet, the rest of life marches on, too. for those of you not looking for a baby fix, i thought i would include these collages for your perusal and possible enjoyment. i've had several guests to the blog over the last few days, and i want to welcome all of you and let you know that i hope you will not only stop by again from time to time, but also that you will be a part of the conversation by leaving a comment. my whole intention in creating this web log was to have dialogue about faith and culture and art and football and music and good food and baseball and hope. so, please visit again, but, more than that, please leave your mark. now, more than ever, we need to hear one another. "as a flower" paper collage with beeswax on a paper backing gregory a. milinovich i made this one in clas


wow. i forgot how much babies cry. not during the day, mind you. during the day he is as silent as a photograph. cute. cuddly. tiny. and absolutely quiet. but at night he comes alive. those seemingly glued down eyelids rip open to expose eyes that are ready to mock you with their incessant wailing, crying things like, "ha ha, you thought you might actually sleep for more than twenty minutes at a time tonight. what are you, crazy? its MY world, now, old man. you just have to find your little place in it." at least that's what it sounds like to me. here's the little nocturnal creature during his first sponge bath. you know, later on this morning i will be preaching on the 23rd psalm, and it occurs to me that the psalmist is really excited about his dependence on God. a sheep is pretty dependent. the shepherd leads him and provides for him and comforts him. sort of like what a parent does for a baby. in a culture (and in my own mind) which values independence, this

welcome to our world

hello friends. i just got home from the hospital and am only here for a few moments to put these pictures up here so that all of you can meet our new baby boy: caedmon charles milinovich. here is his first picture. right after delivery. this is him on the scale. you might be able to see that he weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces (exactly a pound less than jack). he was also 20 inches long. my mom and dad are in town, which is a huge help, and they brought jack in to meet his baby brother. here he is with his pappy holding cade. there's me. the proud papa. i cried like a baby when he emerged. i'm such a softie. i can't believe how little and light he is. i guess i forgot. he has a little bit of hair, and its red! he's got a much lighter complection than jack did when he was born, and his eyes are blue. i've been calling him my little irishman! here's cade with his mommy. she did an awesome job all through labor, and i'm proud of her. she looks beautiful

an open letter to my unborn son

april 22, 2007 to my unborn son, its spring out here. it beat you by a few days, and it brought with it buds and blooms and bugs and the kind of warmth that calls deep into the dark grave, loud enough that your snow-shivering soul can hear it. the feeling out here is the kind that can make you believe that you can come out and breath again; that you can dig your hands in the dirt, take your shoes off. there is life everywhere out here. the world seems ready for you. you can come out now. we await you. we have dreamt about you. we've prepared for you. your older brother has been yelling into you through mommy's belly (have you heard him? he's the one who's been shouting, "come out baby brother!"). soon your mother will labor for you. you will hopefully build up the courage to make a daring watery escape, an exodus of sorts, from darkness to light; from dependence to a new kind of independence (you'll have to eat your own food now!); from safety to r

jubilant song

"jubilant song" paper collage gregory a. milinovich thursdays are typically my day off, and i was really able to enjoy it yesterday. i was able to: make the above collage; take jack on a walk in which he was mesmerized by construction vehicles; watch the yankees win an awesome and dramatic game by a walk-of home run in the bottom of the ninth with two outs; shoot some hoops; do a crossword puzzle; replace the batteries in numerous noise-making-light-flashing toys, restoring the proper atmosphere in the toy room; eat leftover lasagna for dinner; listen to coldplay; and hug my very pregnant wife (hugging is remarkably difficult, considering that she is 9 months pregnant and i look like i am 9 months pregnant. we have to kind of stand next to one another and hug sideways. if we are belly to belly, forget it. we need inspector gadget's go-go-gadget-arms for that!). so it was a good day. the doctor told shannon that she is 1-2 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced, for t

scrabble style

we have these magnetic letters on our refrigerator that are there to help jack learn the alphabet and the sounds letters make. it is actually a really cool toy made by leapfrog. one of the things i love about this toy is that i get as much playtime out of it as jack does. in case you didn't know, i love playing with letters. anyway, yesterday shannon and i decided that we should close our eyes and randomly choose some letters from the front of the fridge, scrabble style, and find a way to configure those letters into the name for our soon-to-be-born son. i chose 7 letters for the first name. she chose 6 for the middle. i got a Q-X-L-P-U-H-A and she got a M-K-B-E-N-Y. i don't know what you would have come up with, but we have decided that our son-to-be will be known by the (i think rather sophisticated) name Qulphax Nembky Milinovich. it is pronounced QUALL-fax NEMB-key. what do you think? on an unrelated note, i sometimes wonder if my son is really my son. for example, this mo

in case you haven't noticed

'tinicum" paper collage gregory a. milinovich so i started a little class at a local art studio on collage. it is only for three weeks, and our first session was yesterday. looking back on it, i'm glad i went, and i intend to go to the other two classes we have. but in the middle of class yesterday, i seriously felt like i was in the wrong place. first of all, there are only four of us, including the teacher. all of us have been to art school and received some formal education around art history, form, and function. all of us, that is, except for me. i knew a guy named art once. that's about the extent of my art education. oh, that and i once made a turkey by tracing my hand and cutting it out. that was in fourth grade. art school schmart school. anyway, i felt like i was just slightly out of my league. when i mentioned that i really had no real training, the instructor said, "oh that's ok. outsider art is really popular these days." what


untitled paper collage on cardboard panel gregory a. milinovich its hard for me to know what to say today. sometimes, in the midst of a world where terrible things happen, where people do terrible things to one another, where life and death hang in the balance more than we usually recognize, my trivial concerns seem small and inconsequential. i have been in a bit of a trance since yesterday afternoon when i learned of what happened at virginia tech. i've been thinking about this thing quite a bit. i mourn the loss of these lives. but it has also made me think about war. about the lives that are lost everyday that we don't mourn. i mean, i think about how i am greeted by headlines almost everyday on my yahoo news page about an american soldier dead or an iraqi dead or a palestinian dead and so on and so on. and these words almost never penetrate the shell of my psyche. i have blocked them out. they bounce off of me. death has no sting because i ignore it. but when i am faced wi

our last weekend as a trio

assuming that this was our final weekend as a three-person family, we decided to go ahead and make it an honest-to-goodness weekend, which, for parents of a two-year old means that we watched a movie and took a road trip. i know, i know, we are wild and crazy. its hard to imagine how we can be so carefree and spontaneous, but we are. actually, we had the opportunity to have some friends from church watch jack friday night while we went to the movies on a gift certificate. we saw will ferrell's blades of glory, and it was actually pretty funny. i'm not a huge will farrell fan, but i really enjoyed this film, probably because i don't like figure skating very much, and enjoyed the parody. it was good to have a little evening to ourselves and experience a little calm before the storm. saturday morning we got up and took a road trip up route 31 north to route 46 in buttsville, nj; up near interstate 80. we went to flea market and then crossed over into pa for some walking

everything's for sale

"everything's for sale" paper collage on cardboard panel gregory a. milinovich so we are having some pretty good discussion on my post from wednesday about the rolling stone article on ron luce and battlecry. for those of you too lazy to read the article, it is essentially a story written by an agnostic about this organization that does ministry to young people across the country. the ministry, called battlecry, is one that relies on the emotion of young people to stir them up into an anger at the culture. it relies heavily on war imagery. wonderful things are, i'm sure, being done through this ministry. but some questionable things are also being done, and i think the article is well-written and balanced enough to bring some of that to light. i really encourage you to read it and join the conversation. that being said, i needed something a little lighter today, so here is a collage i made a couple of months ago about consumerism. many of my collages deal w


i read a fascinating article today in rolling stone magazine. i have to link to it because i would love to know what anyone else thinks about it. basically it is about ron luce and his organization called battlecry, which is a militant fundamentalist ministry aimed at teenagers. the article is of course slanted, being that it is published in rolling stone. but it is also very interesting. the most fascinating part of the article, to me, was the telling bit about how the library is never open at the complex. the exhange of ideas isn't too important to these folks, clearly. what is valued is answers. not questions, but answers. a pre-made worldview complete with passionate anger towards the culture, while mimicking the culture in almost every way imaginable. i am not ashamed of Christ. But i am very often ashamed of Christians. When people find out that i am a Christian and, worse, a pastor, i don't want them a

with fear and trembling

at the risk of stirring up some controversy, i want to bring up something that i haven't been able to get off my mind the last two days. before i begin, can i just say that i love Jesus and consider myself a follower of his, meaning that i have asked him to come into my life, i have been born again, and i have been saved from slavery to sin and death? thank you. having said that, i just need to say that i have some issues with the word 'saved' when it refers to a person. i mean, i'm alright saying that jim's seatbelt saved him from suffering even worse injuries. or that mariano rivera saved the game for the yankees. but i am not so ok with using the same word in a sentence like this: jim got saved this weekend. or, worse (for me), a sentence like this: are you saved? now, don't get me wrong. i believe in salvation. its not that i don't believe that Christ saves us (see my disclaimer above), but i don't like it when the word becomes a category. i mean, i&


well, it was easter here yesterday, and that means that it was time for greg to make his annual butter lamb. i had a little trouble this year, and so it looks like the lamb is in need of a bit of plastic surgery so the front of his head can once again resemble a face. but other than that, it was a success. and he sure is good spread on a croissant. baaa. on saturday we tried to have an easter egg hunt with jack and calla and ty (our neice and nephew - shannon's sister shaylene and her husband steven [a.k.a. butter] were visiting over the weekend), but after the hunt we had to rush all the children to the emergency room with severe frostbite. ok, i'm exaggerating a bit. but it was darn cold! it was a speedy easter egg hunt, that's for sure. jack sported his new 'bug boots.' and this is a picture of him in mid-sentence, saying, "OH my gosh, i am so cute. i mean look at my pants, you can only see like 3 inches of them. i look like i'm going to hunt

life wins

life defeats death! it always finds a way, you know, to crack through and burst into yellow. the stone has been moved. by life. the cold stone of death, that morbid marker, has been rolled and moved and made irrelevant. this day i want to shout that out. life wins! life wins! life wins! the stone has been rolled away. the stones that have entombed me. the ones i've been hiding behind. the ones that have choked out the light and life from me. they've been moved. and life has come in. hallelujah! happy easter. greg.

at the very least, hope

'thorn' paper collage on cardboard panel gregory a. milinovich On this Good Friday, and for my 100th post, i share with you this reflection on the cross by frederick buechner from his book "Wishful Thinking: A Seeker's ABC:" Two of the noblest pillars of the ancient world--Roman law and Jewish piety--together supported the necessity of putting Jesus Christ to death in a manner that even for his day was peculiarly loathsome. Thus the cross stands for the tragic folly of human beings, not just at their worst but at their best. Jesus needn't have died. Presumably, he could have followed the advice of friends like Peter and avoided the showdown. Instead he chose to die because he believed that he had to if the world was to be saved. Thus the cross stands for the best that human beings can do as well as for the worst. "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Jesus died in the profoundest sense alone. Thus the cross stands for the inevitable derelicti

the stone had been moved away

a stone grave marker from an ancient abandoned monastary in ireland last week i talked about the rightful place of stones. this week, the stones show up in our texts again. in luke 24:2 we read that 'the stone had been rolled away.' i don't know if its a remnant of our flannelboard sunday school days or what, but i feel like so many of us imagine this great round styrofoam stone that could just be pushed aside. if that were the case, why would the author tell us that the stone had been moved? the fact that the stone had been moved is a really big deal. stones don't move themselves. the text doesn't say that stone had moved. it stays that it had been moved. someone moved it. someone moved what was immovable. someone overcame that which was unbeatable. someone dared cross a line that we had all thought was uncrossable. here is at least part of the Easter story for us who are Christ followers: THE STONE HAD BEEN ROLLED AWAY. seriously. let's not t


look at his face. you can see it in his eyes. you know, that faraway kind of look that says, "i've got the giggles and the munchies and i feel pretty out of it." that's right. the boy has discovered pot. i just walked into the room, and there he was, unashamedly using it right there in front of me. in a panic and a fury i angrily asked, "where did you learn about this?" with a kind of innocence i didn't expect he replied, "i learned it from watching you!" this is your toddler. this is your toddler with pot. any questions?

orphan girl

i received a package in the post yesterday. i love reaching into the dark abyss of empty mail-space and feeling something other than glossy ads and credit card applications. it felt manila. sure enough, it was a padded yellowish envelope. the return address said "paste music" and so i knew what it was. inside was a little plastic disc encoded with 13 songs by over the rhine. i had pre-ordered it months ago and it finally arrived. its called 'live from nowhere: volume 2." sigh. i love over the rhine. upon first listen, i wasn't blown away by the music. it is a kind of collection of a variety of their songs from different albums arranged in different ways or performed live. most of the tunes seemed good not great. there are a couple songs i have never heard of before, and one i just didn't like. but, and this is a huge but, track # 10 is 'orphan girl,' a song originally written by one gillian welch and also recorded by emmylou harris on

the planets aligned

so, the planets must have been perfectly aligned yesterday. i mean, everything that i wanted to happen yesterday happened, and it ranks right up there in my top 10 sports days of all time. seriously. last night the gators showed their (multi-sport) dominance with ncaa tourney repeat, keeping the game out of reach despite the huge freshmen oden who kept trying to wrestle it away from the gators. and, of course, the yankees won their home opener, despite some subpar pitching and three errors. jeter came through with a clutch hit, and giambi came up big as well. i took the afternoon off and watched the game, and it was absolutely wonderful. now, those are the big two events for me. but everday during baseball season i hope for three things to happen. first, i want the yankees to win. check. second, i want the pirates to win. lest you think i have abandoned my first baseball love, you are wrong. it is hard to follow a terrible team from a distance. i only get to see a handful of their ga

entering the promised land

today is a great day. i've been wandering around the (sports) wilderness since the beginning of february. you know what i'm talking about here, that nearly 1/6 of the year without football OR baseball. its miserable. its depressing. its winter. but with spring comes new life. little leaves start pushing their way through the thin bark of branches. tulips rise up with colorful fury. the air stirs and moves and shakes off the crusty cold, signing a new season. and baseball begins. the wandering in the wilderness ends today for me. at 1:05, carl pavano will throw the first pitch of a (yankee) season that will last into autumn, when those same leaves dry up and fall off the trees. over the next several months there will be the crack of the bat. the smell of leather. the incredibly green grass right up against those dirt-brown basepaths. there will be spitting and signing. there will be grand slams and walk-off homeruns. there may be a no-hitter or even a perfect game. there will b

finally, a name

so i guess you can see pretty much what is up at our house. mostly the idea that soon we will have a completely helpless human living in our house for whom we are responsible is occupying our every moment. we are having to remember words 'diaper genie' and 'butt paste.' so, while sometimes these thoughts are daunting, to say the least, there are other times when there is a clear anticipation in the air. ready or not, we are ready. its been a good weekend. friday night we were able to go see a couple of the youth from our youth group in an excellent production of Peter Pan. saturday i was in the poconos for our jr. high faith and sexuality retreat, and that went really well. this morning we had a wonderful palm sunday service, dealing with the rightful place of stones. and tomorrow i enter the promised land of baseball season after the wilderness that is a world without baseball or football. but more on that tomorrow. things i may have forgotten to mention: j