In the Meme Time: When in Doubt

Do What is Right

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Video: The Unicorn in Captivity

Sharing a discussion about my favorite tapestry by Khan Academy:

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I is for Icon…by ARHuelsenbeck

This article first appeared on ARHtistic License.


An icon (from Greek εἰκών eikōn “image”) is a religious work of art, usually a portrait-style painting, used in Eastern Orthodox churches and homes. The most common subjects are Christ, Mary, and saints.


Eastern Orthodox tradition holds that the creation of Christian images dates back to the very early days of Christianity, and identifies Luke the Evangelist as the first icon painter. Icons can only be traced back as far as the 3rd century A.D. The icons of later centuries can be linked, often closely, to images from the 5th century onwards, though very few of these survive.


St. Peter

Though the Roman Catholic church encouraged religious art, other Christian denominations are wary about the veneration of “graven images,” forbidden in the commandments (see Exodus 20:4). Even the Orthodox church outlawed images at times. During 726-842, the Byzantine Iconoclasm destroyed most existing icons.

Madonna of Czestochowska

The iconographer is expected prepare himself for his work by following a strict discipline of fasting and prayer. Painting the icon is not a use of imagination. Instead, the icon is painted using the prescribed regimen and style passed down through the centuries. Everything from the facial expressions to the colors used is predetermined. It is understood that a person who saw him in the flesh painted the first icon of an individual; each subsequent iconographer will use the original icon as a guide.

401px-Vladimirskaya (our lady of Vladimir

Icons depict silence; no actions displayed, no open mouths. The icon invites the Christian to enter into contemplation, prayer, and silence. Space is not defined as three-dimensional and time is insignificant. Lighting proceeds from the character portrayed in the icon. There are never shadows in icons. And since the icon’s purpose is to lead the believer into worship, the artist never signs his work.

Angel Gabriel



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Why to Read Aloud to Children

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In the Meme Time: Marriage

Marriage rachael-crowe-78854-unsplash

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Life Lessons Learned from my Parents

Mom passed away in 2004, Dad in 2013. I miss them every day.

Mother's Day; Father's Day

My parents, 1951

In this season between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I would like to honor my parents by enumerating the ways they made me what I am.

My parents taught me:

  1. To work hard. Whatever chores they assigned me, I was expected to do them well, without complaining, and be happy that I was contributing to my family. (I often disappointed them by not complying with the no complaining and happiness stipulations.) My father worked long hours and sometimes worked a second job to support our family. He worked so hard at his baking job that he eventually became a partner in the business.
  2. To learn as much as I can. There was never any doubt that my brother and I would go to college. My parents didn’t have the opportunity, but they were determined that we would. Excellence was expected. My mother didn’t like to see anything less than an A on our report cards.
  3. To do the right thing. My parents sent us to parochial school because they wanted us to have a Christian education. Imagine my surprise to learn that many of our house rules grew out of the Ten Commandments. I thought my parents’ strictness was out of a desire for me not to have any fun. When my teachers reinforced my parents’ guidelines, I realized a higher authority decreed them.
  4. To play outside. My mother wanted me to enjoy being active in the fresh air, but I didn’t appreciate it at the time. (I think she also needed a break from me.) In the summertime especially, she always told me to go play outside, maybe ride my bike. Summer in New Jersey is humid and miserable, so I’d ride my bike—to the library, which was air-conditioned. Which takes me to the next item.
  5. To read a lot. I was reading by the time I started kindergarten. I think it was because my mother read to me every day and underlined the words with her pointer finger as she said them. We had a collection of Little Golden Books because they were inexpensive. When a neighbor family invited me to go to the library with them, I was thrilled to learn I could borrow as many books as I wanted as long as I brought them back two weeks later. My world expanded, and reading became a life-long love.
  6. To look for bargains. When I grew up, my parents were struggling financially. My mother pinched pennies until they cried for mercy. Often when we asked for something, my mother would say, “Maybe when it goes on sale.” To this day, I find it hard to pay full price for anything. Whenever I enter a store, I head for the clearance rack first. I hate to waste money when a more economical alternative might be available.
  7. To save things that might be useful. My parents were incredibly thrifty and upcycled and reused long before it was fashionable. When they remodeled our childhood home to include a second floor, Dad reused the attic stairs as access to a treehouse he built us. My mother saved the strings on teabags and used them to darn my father’s white work socks.

In a nutshell, these lessons my parents taught me have served me well and contributed to the making of the person I am today. Thank you, Mom and Dad.

Your Legacy
by ARHuelsenbeck

Watching you, I learned how to nurture.
You modeled how to put another’s needs before yourself.
You gave me what I needed to grow.
You showed me how to make wise decisions.
You taught me to act with integrity.
You helped me find the beauty hidden by the pain.

If you can see anything of value in me,
It’s because of you.
I am your legacy of love.

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Unwanted Houseguests…by ARHuelsenbeck

I always wear shoes in my house.

I live in the Arizona desert.

I actually live in a lovely urban/suburban area outside Phoenix. But, technically, it’s a desert.

Because it’s rather densely developed, we don’t have some of the wildlife Arizona’s famous for, like javelinas, Gila monsters, and rattlesnakes. When we first moved here, there was a roadrunner in our neighborhood, but he eventually disappeared.


However, thar be scorpions. And occasionally they come inside. We see one four or five times a year in our house—climbing up the dishwasher, strolling down the hallway, blending into the carpet… My husband and our five children have all been stung. So far I’ve not had the pleasure.

Shoes and clothing lying on the floor are favorite hiding places for scorpions. One daughter put on her jeans and got stung on her butt.

After one of our children was stung, she said, “I’ll never worry about getting stung again.” Our common scorpions here are not deadly. The stings hurt initially, but soon the affected body part turns numb, which lasts for a few days.

Friends who moved here before us told of going out scorpion hunting at night (when they’re most active) with blacklights. The lights cause the scorpions to glow, making them easy to see in the dark. Frankly, they’re crunchy. Just whack them once or twice, and they’re history. We keep a couple of flyswatters hanging on nails in the kitchen and the hall by the bedrooms. I’m our family’s prime scorpion executioner.

I’ve heard that if you hit a pregnant scorpion, you’ll release her many offspring, although I tried Googling that, and I didn’t find any articles to support that theory. (Apparently, it’s true of wolf spiders, though.) Mother scorpions do carry their young on their backs for 22 days, so if you try to whack one of them, you’ll have to be certain you get them all.

Raid didn’t even slow this scorpion down. (Note: Raid does not claim to be effective against scorpions.)

Sprayed pesticides have limited effect on scorpions because their bodies don’t touch the surface of the ground. One way to decrease your scorpion population is to address their food source. Do you hear crickets? Better put down some cricket crystals, because scorpions consider crickets gourmet delicacies.

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