I have joined forces with my sister, Daphne (seated in the distance). Together we started this low-key outdoor art project in my neighbourhood in Rotterdam, open to passersby. We meet for a few hours on a Friday afternoon when we can, weather-permitting. We call ourselves “ZO MA outdoor art”. (ZO MA is a version of “zomaar” which means “just like that”.) Daphne’s medium of choice is chalk and mine is frottage, standing up against a tree and transferring some of the texture of the bark onto paper using a thick graphite stick or pencil. I usually turn the results into mini zines (A4 sheet of paper folded and turned into an 8-page booklet). You can find examples of my frottage experiments and mini zines on instagram (irene.bom)
A few quotes on the topic of play from a conversation between Esther Perel and Krista Tippett on onbeing.org:
“… playfulness comes with a certain element of letting go.”
“… play and curiosity are so intimately interwoven.”
“… play is when risk is fun. You can’t play when you are in a situation of danger, anxiety, or contraction. So you have to feel safe in order to play.”
May you find a safe place to play risk free and follow your curiosity, and may you pass on this gift to others too.
May God’s blessing rest on each one of you.
May God’s light shine on you, and make your path clear.
May hope carry you through the challenging times,
and gratitude be your response when life is good.
May your days be filled with curiosity and adventure,
and may you discover the incomparable joy
of living lives that bring honour and glory to God.
~ written by Christine Longhurst and posted on re:worship
For this post I’ve plundered a post from brainpickings.org entitled “Nature and the Serious Business of Joy” featuring quotes by British naturalist and environmental writer Michael McCarthy.
“There can be occasions when we suddenly and involuntarily find ourselves loving the natural world with a startling intensity, in a burst of emotion which we may not fully understand, and the only word that seems to me to be appropriate for this feeling is joy.”
“The natural world is not separate from us, it is part of us. It is as much a part of us as our capacity for language; we are bonded to it still, however hard it may be to perceive the union in the tumult of modern urban life. Yet the union can be found, the union of ourselves and nature, in the joy which nature can spark and fire in us.”
I commend the whole article to you for more quotes and reflections.
I thank you, O God, for the pleasures you have given me through my senses; for the glory of thunder, for the mystery of music, the singing of birds and the laughter of children. I thank you for the delights of colour, the awe of the sunset, the wild roses in the hedgerows, the smile of friendship. I thank you for the sweetness of flowers and the scent of hay. Truly, O Lord, the earth is full of your riches!
Children learning about God’s heart for the world (Photo: Irene Bom)
In October 2017 I visited the Scots Kirk in Lausanne, as part of a Local Church Review team.
At lunch one day I met Geraldine Ewen (82) who has been a part of the Lausanne congregation for 23 … 25 years. She told me about her links with the Salvation Army, through her grandparents. Still today Geraldine occasionally foregoes Sunday worship in her own church to attend the Salvation Army Sunday morning service with the band playing all the lovely hymn tunes.
Here is Geraldine singing one of the songs she learned as a child, and sharing how this and other songs from her childhood continue to do her heart good.
Whisper a prayer in the morning
Whisper a prayer at noon
Whisper a prayer in the evening
to keep your heart in tune
Irene: Tell me the story of the song.
Geraldine: It was Salvation Army that we used to sing it. Yes. I don’t know if it was used by other churches.
Irene: You learned it from your grandparents or not?
Geraldine: Yes. Yes, and from Sunday School.
Irene: Right. Thank you.
Geraldine: But it’s something that has come, come with me all along. And when I go to Bible Study … we have Bible study in Le Mont. One of the girls here, she runs it in her home. And sometimes I just think of a chorus, a refrain, you know.
My grandfather, he used to sing, ‘He came right down to me … He came right down to me to condescend to be my friend. (in a whisper) He came right down to me.’ That’s another lovely one. ‘Condescended to come right down to me.’
Irene: What’s your name?
Geraldine: Geraldine Ewen from Lausanne, yes.
Verse 2 of “Whisper a prayer in the morning”:
Prayer changes things in the morning
Prayer changes things at noon
Prayer changes things in the evening
And keeps your heart in tune