Author Archives: E.J.

God Makes Dental Appointments and Fixes Refrigerators

God fixes teeth and refrigerators

When I get engrossed in a project, like I have been this winter, I let everything else slide, including my healthcare. I had been suffering with tooth pain for a number of weeks, and just kept applying Orajel and carrying on.  A couple of weeks ago I noticed a voicemail message I had missed.  When I listened to it, it was the dentist’s office calling to remind me of an appointment I had never made.  Unfortunately, or so I initially thought, the appointment had been for the prior day.  I called the office and explained that I had missed the message, but also that I hadn’t scheduled an appointment.  They said that they had called me by mistake, but since they had me on the phone we should schedule an appointment.  The earliest one they had available was in April, which I took.  Later that day I got another call from the office, saying they just had a cancellation and could I come the next day.  I went and had x-rays and an exam, and found I had a badly infected tooth that needed to be pulled.  I also had a cavity and needed to schedule a cleaning.  When I was leaving, and went to the desk to schedule follow up appointments, the receptionist said: “This is your lucky day.  We just had a cancellation, so can you come tomorrow?”

Some people would say it was luck, or coincidence; but I know who was behind it, and no one could ever convince me otherwise. The tooth was pulled, pain is gone, and I’m happy.

Then my refrigerator started making this dreadful loud grinding noise. It would happen intermittently at first, but then more and more frequently.  A few nights ago I had to unplug it overnight so I could sleep.  I plugged it back in the next morning and it was quiet for a while, then the dreadful noise came back.  I told God I had a refrigerator problem and needed help.  I looked online for refrigerator repair places and decided to call Donyon’s.  They said they would come the next day and it would be $140 for the service call and repair, unless I needed part(s) which would be extra.  After I hung up, God told me to move the refrigerator, which I started to do, unbalancing a large vase stored on the top back of the fridge in the process, which smashed on the floor behind it.  I plugged in the fridge, pushed it back in place, and returned to painting, not wanting to deal with pulling it all the way out to clean up the broken vase.  Since that happened, the fridge has not made a single peep, and is even quieter than it was before it started making the dreadful noise.  It was being so quiet I had to open it to make sure it was still running.  I thanked God, then called and cancelled the service appointment.

Without pulling the fridge all the way out and looking, I don’t know exactly what happened back there, but I think God used a piece of the broken vase to wedge in and fix whatever was causing all the racket.  As long as there isn’t something dead, I don’t worry about what is behind the fridge, so I won’t be looking behind it any time soon.  I will continue to be grateful for my refrigerator and dental miracles.

E.J. Lefavour

http://www.hobbithousestudio.com

Field of Blood

field of blood

Field of Blood (22×28 mixed media)

There are two accounts of the death of Judas, one in Matthew, telling of his hanging, and one by Luke in Acts, talking about him falling headlong, bursting open in the middle and his bowels gushing out. Since Luke was a doctor, it is fitting that he would focus on the latter. I didn’t want to paint the bowel gushing, so I painted the hanging with accompanying clues to how the latter occurs. The little black bird on the hanging rope will peck away at it until it breaks under the dead weight of Judas, causing him to fall headlong into the sharp rocks below him, bursting him in the middle so his bowels will gush out. I don’t really believe that a little bird caused it, more likely the dead weight of Judas’ body causing the rope or tree limb to break. The vultures are circling and waiting patiently for the latter to occur to make their meal easier. A fitting end to a man whose sins included worshipping the idol of his greed, sacrificing his Lord to his love for money, and causing the shed of innocent blood. But in the end, it needed to happen to fulfill prophesy and for God’s plan for salvation of man to come into play.

Matthew 27:1-10

Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

Acts 1:16-19

“Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. “For he was counted among us, and received his portion in this ministry.” (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood).”

E.J. Lefavour

www.hobbithousestudio.com

Kiss of Death

kiss of death

Mattew 26:14-16

Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

Mattew 26:47-50

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.

While we cannot be absolutely certain why Judas betrayed Jesus, some things are certain. While Judas was chosen to be one of the Twelve, all scriptural evidence points to the fact that he never believed Jesus to be God. He may not even have been convinced that Jesus was the Messiah (at least as he understood it). Unlike the other disciples that called Jesus “Lord,” Judas instead called him “Rabbi,” which acknowledged Jesus as nothing more than a teacher. While other disciples at times made great professions of faith and loyalty, Judas never did so. This lack of faith in Jesus is the foundation for the other issues listed below. The same holds true for us. If we fail to recognize Jesus as God incarnate, and therefore the only One who can provide forgiveness for our sins, and the eternal salvation that comes with it, we lose in the end.

Judas not only lacked faith in Christ, but he also had little personal relationship with Him. When the synoptic gospels list the Twelve, they are always listed in the same general order, with slight variations. The general order is believed to indicate the relative closeness of their personal relationship with Jesus. Despite the variations, Peter and the brothers James and John, are always listed first, which is consistent with their relationships with Jesus. Judas is always listed last.   Additionally, the only documented dialogue between Jesus and Judas involves Judas being rebuked after his greed motivated remark to Mary (John 12:1-8), his denial of his betrayal (Matthew 26:25), and the betrayal itself (Luke 22:48).

Judas was consumed with greed to the point of betraying the trust of not only Jesus, but also his fellow disciples, as we see in John 12:5-6. Judas may have desired to follow Jesus simply because he saw an opportunity to profit from collections taken for support of the group.

Judas, like most Jews at the time, believed the Messiah was going to overthrow Roman occupation and take a position of power ruling over the nation of Israel. Judas may have followed Jesus hoping to benefit from association with Him as the new reigning political power. No doubt he expected to be among the ruling elite after the revolution. By the time of Judas’ betrayal, Jesus had made it clear that He planned to die, not start a rebellion against Rome. So Judas may have assumed, as the Pharisees did, that since He would not overthrow the Romans, He was not the Messiah they were anticipating. In the end, he played the part necessary for God’s plan of salvation for all men to come into being.  That doesn’t make what Judas did right or acceptable, because it came down to his own choice, but shows that God can take even our worst and turn it to be to his glory.

E.J. Lefavour

www.hobbithousestudio.com

Get Out Your Running Shoes!

rocky neck 5k

The Rocky Neck 5K Run/Walk & Team Challenge will be held this year on Sunday, May 15, 2016.

Participants registered before May 1 will receive a custom Rocky Neck 5K T-shirt.

Go to www.rockyneck5k.com to register online or visit the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck Thursday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. to obtain a paper registration form.

The event is sponsored by the Rocky Neck Art Colony to benefit Gloucester’s Rocky Neck Cultural District and the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck Building Fund.  With chip-timed results, participants may compete individually or as a team in the popular Team Challenge.  The Run/Walk along the breathtakingly beautiful seaside course will be capped off by a festive post-Race brunch celebration on the deck at Rocky Neck’s The Studio Restaurant.

The Rocky Neck 5K Run/Walk & Team Challenge is a fun community ‘happening’ to benefit RNAC, a neighborhood-based, volunteer organization committed to preserving Rocky Neck’s unique arts and maritime cultural heritage.   Open to all, beginners can experience the joy of exercise in the outdoors while  experienced runners can sharpen their times on a forgiving course.  Everyone will enjoy creating memories individually or in a team with colleagues, family and friends.

The Team Challenge provides a great opportunity for groups from businesses, non-profits, clubs and affiliations of every size to show their colors, build organizational pride and share an experience to be long remembered.

The USATF (United States of America Track and Field) sanctioned event will take off from the Causeway on Rocky Neck.  It will return along Gloucester’s ocean-rimmed Back Shore to finish on Rocky Neck where all participants are invited for a celebratory post-Race brunch and awards  ceremony at The Studio Restaurant and Deck overlooking picturesque Smith Cove on Gloucester Harbor.

The Race start will be at 9 a.m., with packet pickup at Race Headquarters in the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck from 7:00 AM to 8:45 AM. Race participation is limited to 400.  Participants registered before May 1 will receive a custom Rocky Neck 5K T-shirt.

If spots are still available on Race day, walk-in registration will be from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Sign up early to insure participation. Go to www.rockyneck5k.com to register online or visit the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck Thursday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. to obtain a paper registration form.

Volunteers will be positioned to direct visitors to street parking as well as  designated lots in and around Rocky Neck.  Space will be available in Rocky Neck Park along the Causeway for everyone to meet and warm up before the Race kicks off.

Sincerely,

Suzanne Gilbert Lee

Executive Director

Rocky Neck Art Colony

6 Wonson Street

Gloucester, MA 01930

978-515-7004

director@rockyneckartcolony.org

www.rockyneckartcolony.org

The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck is generally open Thursday – Sunday year round.

Seasonal Hours are: June through September 20: 12-6pm, September 24 through May 12-4pm

Gallery 53 on Rocky Neck, 53 Rocky Neck Avenue is open seasonally May – October, seven days a week, 10am-6pm daily

Please visit all the galleries of the Rocky Neck Art Colony.

Galleries are located on Rocky Neck Avenue, the Madfish Wharf, Wonson Street and more! 

Please visit www.rockyneckartcolony.org for the pdf download of our walking map & brochure, as well as a calendar of events.

The Last Supper, aka The Lord’s Supper

last supper

This is a non traditional Last Supper painting. The Apostles are standing and talking, having just arrived, rather than reclining or sitting at the long table which disappears out of the painting, and they are Jews, not Europeans. Mary Magdalene, who is sometimes but not always included, is in the front, and she is black, as she is believed to have come from Ethiopia. Mary loved Jesus dearly, and is the one He first appears to after His Resurrection, so she is given more prominence. Judas has no halo and his hands are red with the blood of his impending betrayal of Jesus to the Sanhedrin for the thirty silver coins in the satchel he is clutching. Jesus is seated at the head of the table, as on a throne. The table contains only a loaf of bread and a glass of wine, the most important elements of the Last Supper, and representing the sacrament of communion celebrated by His followers to this day. Above the halo of Jesus is Earth and the Star of David, representing the Line of David that Jesus came from as well the Jews He came as Messiah for, but they knew him not. The gentiles, however, did, and according to God’s plan from the beginning, salvation through faith in Christ was made available to the world. The setting sun, red sky and background represent evening Passover meal time, the sun setting on the earthly life and ministry of Jesus, and the red of His blood that would flow the next day. The tree outside the window is a fig tree, symbolizing the Nation of Israal, and the tree he would be nailed to.

Present are the apostles: Andrew, Bartholomew aka Nathanael, James the Elder, James the Lesser or Younger, John, Judas, Jude aka Thaddeus, Matthew aka Levi, Peter aka Simon Peter, Philip, Simon the Zealot, and Thomas.

Matthew 26:26-28

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

The Last Supper is what we call the last meal Jesus ate with His disciples before His betrayal and arrest. It was more than Jesus’ last meal; it was a Passover meal, as well. One of the important moments of the Last Supper is Jesus’ command to remember what He was about to do on behalf of all mankind: shed His blood on the cross thereby paying the debt of our sins (Luke 22:19).

In addition to predicting His suffering and death for our salvation (Luke 22:15–16), Jesus also used the Last Supper to imbue the Passover with new meaning, institute the New Covenant, establish an ordinance for the church, and foretell Peter’s denial of Him (Luke 22:34) and Judas Iscariot’s betrayal (Matthew 26:21–24).

The Last Supper brought the Old Testament observance of the Passover feast to its fulfillment. Passover was an especially holy event for the Jewish people in that it commemorated the time when God spared them from the plague of physical death and brought them out of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 11:1—13:16). During the Last Supper with His apostles, Jesus took two symbols associated with Passover and imbued them with fresh meaning as a way to remember His sacrifice, which saves us from spiritual death and delivers us from spiritual bondage: “After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’” (Luke 22:17–20).

The Last Supper was rooted in the Old Covenant even as it heralded the New. Jeremiah 31:31 promised a New Covenant between God and Israel, in which God said, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33). Jesus made a direct reference to this New Covenant during the Last Supper: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20). A new dispensation was on the horizon. In God’s grace, the New Covenant applies to more than Israel; everyone who has faith in Christ will be saved (see Ephesians 2:12–14).

The Last Supper was a significant event and proclaimed a turning point in God’s plan for the world. In comparing the crucifixion of Jesus to the feast of Passover, we can readily see the redemptive nature of Christ’s death. As symbolized by the original Passover sacrifice in the Old Testament, Christ’s death atones for the sins of His people; His blood rescues us from death and saves us from slavery. Today, the Lord’s Supper is when believers reflect upon Christ’s perfect sacrifice and know that, through our faith in receiving Him, we will be with Him forever (Luke 22:18; Revelation 3:20). From http://www.gotquestions.org/Last-Supper.html

Pascha, Easter and Easter Eggs

easter eggs and easter

Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is Christianity’s most important holiday. It has been called a moveable feast because it doesn’t fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Therefore, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year. Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to calculate when Easter will occur and typically celebrate the holiday a week or two after the Western churches, which follow the Gregorian calendar.

The exact origins of this religious feast day’s name are unknown. Some sources claim the word Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Other accounts trace Easter to the Latin term hebdomada alba, or white week, an ancient reference to Easter week and the white clothing donned by people who were baptized during that time. Through a translation error, the term later appeared as esostarum in Old High German, which eventually became Easter in English. In Spanish, Easter is known as Pascua; in French, Paques. These words are derived from the Greek and Latin Pascha or Pasch, for Passover. Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection occurred after he went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew), the Jewish festival commemorating the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. Pascha eventually came to mean Easter.

Easter is really an entire season of the Christian church year, as opposed to a single-day observance. Lent, the 40-day period leading up to Easter Sunday, is a time of reflection and penance and represents the 40 days that Jesus spent alone in the wilderness before starting his ministry, a time in which Christians believe he survived various temptations by the devil. The day before Lent, known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, is a last hurrah of food and fun before the fasting begins. The week preceding Easter is called Holy Week and includes Maundy Thursday, which commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples; Good Friday, which honors the day of his crucifixion; and Holy Saturday, which focuses on the transition between the crucifixion and resurrection. The 50-day period following Easter Sunday is called Eastertide and includes a celebration of Jesus’ ascension into heaven.

In addition to Easter’s religious significance, it also has a commercial side, as evidenced by the mounds of jelly beans and marshmallow chicks that appear in stores each spring. As with Christmas, over the centuries various folk customs and pagan traditions, including Easter eggs, bunnies, baskets and candy, have become a standard part of this holy holiday.

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/history-of-easter

Easter Eggs

At the Passover Seder, a hard-boiled egg dipped in salt water symbolizes both new life and the Passover sacrifice offered at the Temple in Jerusalem.

The ancient Persians painted eggs for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration falling on the Spring Equinox. This tradition has continued every year on Nowrooz since ancient times.

The Easter egg tradition may have celebrated the end of the privations of Lent. In the Medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lent as well as other traditional fast days. During the strict Lenten fast of forty days no eggs were eaten. It was traditional to use up all of the household’s eggs before Lent began, which established the tradition of Pancake Day.  In Eastern Christianity, both meat and dairy are still prohibited during the fast, and eggs are seen as “dairy” (a foodstuff that could be taken from an animal without shedding its blood). That is the reason why eggs laid during that time were often boiled or otherwise preserved. It was during Easter that the consumption of eggs resumed after the strict Lenten fast. Eggs were thus a mainstay of Easter meals, and a prized Easter gift for children and servants. And this is probably the reason why eggs came to be associated with Easter. Read more at http://www.theholidayspot.com/easter/history/icons/easter_egg.htm#GXsZoKAGhe5PaktI.99

E.J. Lefavour

The Golden Calf

moses and the golden calf

After giving Moses the inscribed tablets, God tells him to go down because his people had made themselves a golden idol cast in the shape of a calf, and were bowing down and sacrificing to it. God is not happy about it, and Moses is furious.

By way of backstory, this happens three months after God has led the 600,000 Israelites out of their 430 years of captivity in Egypt. These people witnessed the ten plagues brought down on Egypt which caused Pharoah to finally let them go, and then the parting of the Red Sea so they could escape when Pharoah’s army was sent to recaptue them after Pharoah realized he had just let all his slave labor go, and then manna from heaven God sent to nourish them during their journey. In short, they had witnessed amazing displays of God’s power on their behalf, and yet they still made and bowed down to a golden calf. We are still the same today. No matter what blessings in life, gifts and miracles God showers us with, we still sin (miss the mark, become forgetful, not conscious) and turn to the golden calf of our choosing.

Exodus 32:15-20

Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.

When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “There is the sound of war in the camp.”

Moses replied: “It is not the sound of victory, it is not the sound of defeat; it is the sound of singing that I hear.”

When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.

(Note: The earliest recorded use of gold for medicinal and healing purposes come from Alexandria, Egypt. Over 5,000 years ago, the Egyptians ingested gold for mental, bodily and spiritual purification. The ancients believed that gold in the body worked by stimulating the life force and raising the level of vibration on all levels. Moses and the Israelites had recently come out of a long stint in Egypt, so his making the wayward Israelites drink the gold makes sense under the circumstances.)

E.J. Lefavour

www.hobbithousestudio.com

Moses and the Ten Commandments

Moses receives the Ten Commandments

People might think that Moses went up onto Mount Sinai, met and talked with God for a while, and He gave him the Ten Commandments. In fact, Moses spent forty days and forty nights fasting on the mountain before receiving the inscribed tablets. It took another forty years for him to receive and complete the Torah, the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exedus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), upon which Jewish law is based.

People who do not spend time with God and haven’t heard or don’t realize they have heard His voice find it strange or unbelievable that others do hear Him. God’s voice is at once a quiet and thunderous noise that there is no mistaking when you hear it, but you have to be focused on Him to really hear Him. Just like with another person; if you are talking to someone and their mind is a million miles away on some other matter, they don’t hear you. There is nothing wrong with their ears, but their mind is somewhere else. It is the same with us and God. He loves us more than we can imagine and is always talking to us; we’re just not listening to Him.

Exodus 31:18

“When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.”

To refresh your memory, this is the short form list of the Ten Commandments. In actuality, the laws were not given for us to struggle to try to live up to, which is impossible, but to show us where we in our humanness miss the mark. Jesus said in Matthew 22:36-40: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, Love others as much as you love yourself. All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.” If we truly lived by them, all the others would be automatic. Unfortunately, we can’t, and that is why Jesus came, not to abolish the law, but to the fufill it on our behalf, so that we might be redeemed. Matthew 5:17: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

1.You shall have no other gods before Me. (In addition to gods or godesses such as Zeus, Jupiter, Venus, Ra, etc., it also refers to worship of living or deceased people, money, possessions, etc. – anything that takes your devotion away from God and places it elsewhere.)
2.You shall not make idols. (An image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed.)
3.You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain. (Because of the greatness of the name of God, any use of God’s name that brings dishonor on Him or on His character is taking His name in vain.)
4.Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (One day to rest from work and focus our attention on God.)
5.Honor your father and your mother. (Give respect and place importance on them.)
6.You shall not murder. (Most people think they are good on this one, but many are not. To God, who does not view our actions, but what is in our hearts, many of us have murdered. I know I have killed more than one person in my heart and mind in my lifetime. God defines murder as any thought or feeling of deep-seated hatred or malice against another person. In other words, it is more than just a physical act that constitutes murder to God, who tells us that “everyone who hates his brother is a murderer …” (1 John 3:15). When we harbor hatred in our hearts for another, we have committed the sin of murder in God’s eyes. Disdain towards another person (or people) never has to be demonstrated outwardly because God looks upon the heart for the truth.
7.You shall not commit adultery. (Same as murder, it is what is in the heart, not the action. “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman (or man) with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her (or him) in his (or her) heart.
8.You shall not steal. (This includes the obvious straight out stealing, but also cheating, and things like taking care of personal business on company time.)
9.You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (This includes someone who testifies falsely against another, someone who gossips or causes trouble, and false teachers.)
10.You shall not covet (desire) your neighbor’s wife or husband, his house, land, car, job, boat, money, etc. (updated for today, as most people wouldn’t be coveting someone else’s donkey, ox, man or maid servant in this time, at least not in the US).

E.J. Lefavour

Gloucester: When the Fish Came First

nubar alexanian book

a book of photographs by Nubar Alexanian

Retail Price: $295, Pre-publication price: $125. (Orders before May 6.)

Gloucester, MA— Walker Creek Media and the Rocky Neck Art Colony announce the release of GLOUCESTER: WHEN THE FISH CAME FIRST, a limited edition beautifully reproduced large format book (14”x11.5”) of 67 photographs by celebrated photographer Nubar Alexanian from his Gloucester collection.

A New England native and Gloucester resident, Alexanian accompanied the Brancaleone family of Gloucester and their crew aboard the Joseph and Lucia II on four ten-day fishing trips to Georges Bank in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s, just prior to the collapse of the fishing industry. His photos from these trips form the heart of this book and reflect his deep connection to these Gloucester fishermen. They record the last glory days of commercial fishing out of Gloucester harbor, and also life as it was lived in Gloucester over a forty year period. In his introduction Sandy Tolan writes: “This book is a love poem to Gloucester; it is, as Nubar says, a ‘historical document describing a way of life that will never ‘be’ again.’ ”

The public is invited to a celebratory “Meet The Author” and book launch party at the Rocky Neck Cultural Center, 6 Wonson St. Gloucester, on Thursday, May 5, at 7:30 PM.

Copies of GLOUCESTER: WHEN THE FISH CAME FIRST are available to individuals at a pre-publication price of $125 from March 25, 2016 through May 5, 2016. See the book’s official website, walkercreekmedia.com/Gloucester.

GLOUCESTER: WHEN THE FISH CAME FIRST is distributed exclusively through the Rocky Neck Art Colony.

Resellers interested in carrying this limited edition title may order through the Rocky Neck Art Colony, 978-515-7004 or by emailing info@rockyneckartcolony.org.

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“In his fish photos Alexanian finds a metaphor of the people of Gloucester – endangered, atavistic, communal – and they’re as riveting as they are forlorn.”

—Christopher Mills, The Boston Phoenix

“These images manage to be beautiful and honest at the same time. They are the real Gloucester, hard edges and all.”

—Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm

“Alexanian’s pictures are metaphors. Read them like poems.”

—The Boston Globe

“Alexanian is ever moving, ever growing, enlarging scope and depth, yet rooted in our rock and water—and in us.  Join him in his explorations of our Gloucester and ourselves, and make them yours.”

—From the Foreword by Joseph Garland

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A portion of the proceeds from the sales of GLOUCESTER: WHEN THE FISH CAME FIRST will be donated to the Northeast Seafood Coalition.

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The Rocky Neck Art Colony, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization nurtures excellence in the arts through exhibitions, workshops, residencies and vibrant cultural events for its members and the public. Long renowned for its luminous light, Rocky Neck has been a magnet for some of the most revered realist paintings in American art and a catalyst for the progressive ideas of artists from Stuart Davis, Marsden Hartley, Milton Avery, and Nell Blaine, among many others. For up to date information visit rockyneckartcolony.org

 

The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck

6 Wonson Street, Gloucester, MA 01930

What do you see?

what do you see

Every time I catch this out of the corner of my eye when walking on Toronto Ave. in the early morning, I always think there is some large creature stalking through the woods, or an ogre carrying a stick and rushing somewhere.  When the crows are really being vocal, I see a gigantic crow or raven.  It gets my attention every time.  What do you see?

E.J. Lefavour

The Many Names of Yeshua

Yeshua

Yeshua (meaning “Salvation”) is the original Hebrew name of the one English-speaking people call Jesus. Jesus is a transliteration of the Hebrew Yeshua to the Greek spelling Iesous, from which, through the Latin Iesus, comes the English spelling Jesus. The name Jesus did not exist during the time Jesus Christ was on Earth, and did not come into use until it was configured by the Council of Nicea of the Roman Catholic Church in the 4th century.

Yeshua has many names and titles given Him in the Bible, including: ADVOCATE, ALMIGHTY, ALPHA AND OMEGA, AMEN, APOSTLE OF OUR PROFESSION, ARM OF THE LORD, AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH, AUTHOR OF ETERNAL SALVATION, BEGINNING OF CREATION OF GOD, BELOVED SON, BLESSED AND ONLY POTENTATE, BRANCH, BREAD OF LIFE, CAPTAIN OF SALVATION, CHIEF SHEPHERD, CHRIST OF GOD, CONSOLATION OF ISRAEL, CORNERSTONE, COUNSELLOR, CREATOR, DAYSPRING, DELIVERER, DESIRE OF THE NATIONS, DOOR, ELECT OF GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER, FAITHFUL WITNESS, FIRST AND LAST, FIRST BEGOTTEN, FORERUNNER, GLORY OF THE LORD, GOD, GOD BLESSED, GOOD SHEPHERD, GOVERNOR, GREAT HIGH PRIEST, HEAD OF THE CHURCH, HOLY CHILD, HOLY ONE, HOLY ONE OF GOD, HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL, HORN OF SALVATION, I AM, IMAGE OF GOD, IMMANUEL, JEHOVAH, JESUS, JESUS OF NAZARETH, JUDGE OF ISRAEL, THE JUST ONE, KING, KING OF THE AGES, KING OF THE JEWS, KING OF SAINTS, LAWGIVER, LAMB, LAMB OF GOD, LEADER AND COMMANDER, THE LIFE, LIGHT OF THE WORLD, LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH, LORD OF ALL, LORD OF GLORY, LORD OF LORDS, LORD OF OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, MAN OF SORROWS, MEDIATOR, MESSENGER OF THE COVENANT, MESSIAH, MIGHTY GOD, MIGHTY ONE, MORNING STAR, NAZARENE, ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, OUR PASSOVER, PRINCE OF LIFE, PRINCE OF KINGS, PRINCE OF PEACE, PROPHET, REDEEMER, RESURRECTION AND LIFE, ROCK, ROOT OF DAVID, ROSE OF SHARON, SAVIOR, SHEPHERD AND BISHOP OF SOULS, SHILOH, SON OF THE BLESSED, SON OF DAVID, SON OF GOD, SON OF THE HIGHEST, SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, TRUE LIGHT, TRUE VINE, TRUTH, WITNESS, WORD, WORD OF GOD.

Scriptural Reference for painting: Revelation 19:16

“On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.”

E.J. Lefavour

http://www.hobbithousestudio.com

 

Cauliflower Fried Rice

cauliflower fried rice.jpg

This is delicious, and a great alternative to regular rice if you are watching calories and/or carbs. There are 45g of carbs and 206 calories in a cup of rice vs. 5g carbs and 27 calories in a cup of cauliflower.

Also, there have been several dozen studies linking cauliflower-containing diets to cancer prevention, particularly with respect to bladder, breast, colon, prostate, and ovarian cancer. Cauliflower provides detoxifying support, has excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and is good for cardiovascular and digestive support, so adding more cauliflower to your diet is a healthy idea. Even if you don’t particularly like cauliflower, you can barely taste it in this recipe.  Also kids will probably like it and won’t know if you don’t tell them it is cauliflower.

This is a very easy recipe that you can alter to your own taste. Take a head of cauliflower (currently on sale 2 for $4 at MarketBasket), and run it through a food processor (or chop by hand, which is easy) until it is the size of rice grains.

Saute diced onion and garlic (or green onion if you prefer) in sesame oil and then add in the cauliflower and cook until the consistency of cooked rice (don’t overcook).  The quantity of onion and garlic/green onion is up to your taste.  I personally don’t think there is such a thing as too much of either.

Beat up two eggs and add into the mix until cooked (or you can scramble the eggs separately and add in).

Add in soy sauce and other seasoning to taste (I added pepper, dill and some Chia seed to mine).  If you are vegetarian, you can skip the eggs, and it still tastes great.  If you are a hardcore carnivore, like Joey, you can add in crumbled cooked bacon or diced pork.  I added black beans and corn to mine.

To your health!
E.J. Lefavour

What Does God Look Like?

In the Beginning

John 1:1-3

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

Genesis 1:1-2

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:26

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

John 10:30

“I and the Father are one.” (said by Jesus)

For those who view Jesus as a prophet, a holy man, an historical figure, but just a man, the Bible clearly tells us that He is the Word (one of his many names), who was with God, and one with God, since before the beginning of creation. The Spirit of God or Breath of God, also one with God, is the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. Hence the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit/Ghost which has always existed as one.

Mankind is distinct from all the rest of creation in that we are made in the image of God. Just as God is made up of three parts — Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so man is made up of three parts — temporal body, soul (seat of the senses, desires, affections, appetites, intellect, will, emotions, conscience, etc.) and spirit (that part of us that connects, or refuses to connect, to God). As with a fellow human being, you can never completely know another until you personally connect with the physical man or woman (can recognize the person walking down the street because of how they look, their walk, etc.), and come to know the soul and spirit of the person. Those are your true friends in life, the ones you connect with on all levels (whether you agree with them all the time or not) and would trust with your deepest secret; all others are acquaintances, maybe buddies, maybe siblings or parents, lovers or spouses, but not true friends.  Since we are made up of three parts, we cannot truly know ourselves, never mind anyone else, if we don’t connect with all three.  So it is with God; to truly know Him and be His friend, we must connect with all of Him.

Like people throughout time have done, I made God kind of look like me, but with a beard and blue eyes, rather than hazel. Unfortunately, throughout time people have made God to be in their physical or soul likeness, and therefore anyone who doesn’t look or think like them obviously isn’t of God and should be discounted, discriminated against, or worse, obliterated from the face of earth (think ethnic cleansing – American Indian, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Chechnya, Darfur, Syria, and the Islamic State to name a few). God created us, loves us and wants relationship with us no matter what we look like, where we come from, or what we think or believe. And it is not because a single one of us is perfect, worthy or deserving.

Isaiah 55:8-9: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

E.J. Lefavour

http://hobbithousestudio.com

What Does the Word “Religion” Mean to You?

She who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

For many, it is directly connected to experiences they have or have had with a specific organized Church.  Whether that experience was good or bad for them tends to color how they view the word.  Someone recently told me that they hated Sunday School when they were young, and so have had nothing to do with any of it since.  Unfortunately, if someone teaches that God is angry, vengeful and something to fear, a child probably would not want to have anything to do with Him.  But like a person who is bitten by a dog at a young age and goes through life always afraid of dogs, they miss out on the wonderful unconditional love and joy a dog (and God) can bring to your life.

I personally do not belong to any particular organized Church or denomination. I enjoy going to Church.  I love the music, enjoy the people, and can be inspired by a well-prepared and delivered sermon.  Over my lifetime, I have attended Catholic Church, every Protestant denomination Church, non-denominational Churches, Jewish Synagogue, Baha’i meetings, Pentecostal Church (an experience), UU Church, Episcopalian Church, Kingdom Hall, Russian Orthodox (where I was invited by a monk to experience their beautiful icon paintings), mega churches and little tiny out in the middle of nowhere churches.  I have studied Rastafarianism, Buddhism, the Kabbalah, A Course in Miracles, Christian Science, Unity, read more spiritual practice and belief books than I could possibly list, have investigated the occult, astrology, numerology, scientology, Obeah, and have read and studied the Bible.   I have gleaned knowledge from all.  In the end however, it is my personal relationship with God and His word in the Bible that has proven to provide all the truth and wisdom necessary to live a loving, joyful, peace-filled life; not religion, which can get all muddled up by man with their creed and dogma, and has a tendency to push people away from God and each other.  As the Apostle Paul said: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

That is what that book causes you to do. It also causes you to connect on a personal level with God, and to hear what He has to say to all of us.  Call me crazy if you want, but it was He who told me to paint and share this series, and so I am.  It is for His purpose, not mine.  It was He who told me to get myself and my mother out of here and down to Florida in January last year.  Listening to Him saved us from experiencing the dreadful winter that none of us knew was coming, and which would have made it unbearable for me to care for Mom, not to mention miserable and dangerous for her during her recovery from major femur repair surgery, on top of her dementia, which had been made much worse by the anesthesia.  But He knew, and I listened, even though I really did not want to deal with the challenge of transporting her to Florida in her condition and state.  Do people consider that “religion”, or is it the wisdom of listening in faith to the source of all knowledge so that we might be blessed.

Here are a few definitions of the word “Religion”. There are many definitions, because it is such a hard word to define, but I thought these three were good (from http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_defn1.htm):

Definition from an unknown dictionary:

Religion (ri-lij'[uh]n) n.

The beliefs, attitudes, emotions, behavior, etc., constituting man’s relationship with the powers and principles of the universe, especially with a deity or deities; also, any particular system of such beliefs, attitudes, etc.

An essential part or a practical test of the spiritual life.

An object of conscientious devotion or scrupulous care: e.g. His work is a religion to him.

The Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM)’s definition is more flexible and may involve a deity, multiple deities, or no deities:

“An organized system of belief that generally seeks to understand purpose, meaning, goals, and methods of spiritual things. These spiritual things can be God, people in relation to God, salvation, after life, purpose of life, order of the cosmos, etc.”

Wikipedia defines religion as:

“… a system of social coherence based on a common group of beliefs or attitudes concerning an object, person, unseen being, or system of thought considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine or highest truth, and the moral codes, practices, values, institutions, traditions, and rituals associated with such belief or system of thought.”

This painting, called Under His Wings, is from Psalm 91:1-7:

He/she who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge;

E.J. Lefavour

http://www.hobbithousestudio.com

What is Faith?

faith Photography by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

spock

Everyone has a measure of it. Children have faith in their parents, people have faith in their spouse or loved one, their friends, their community, their doctor.  No one gets in an airplane, train, car or bus without faith that it will get them safely where they are going.  No one goes in for surgery without a certain amount of faith in their surgeon and anesthesiologist to bring them through safely.

Faith is defined in the dictionary as: “complete trust or confidence in someone or something”; and defined in the Bible as: “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Some would say that those who put their faith in God practice “blind faith”. That can only be said by people who do not know God, who is perfect, and created and is in control of all.  Those who don’t put their faith in God, by default put their faith in man.  Man was created in perfection, but, because he also was given free will, chose to become imperfect.  Hence anything man does or creates is inherently imperfect.  Just consider the current Takata airbag defect issue, possibly affecting up to 34,000,000 vehicles; and the exploding lithium batteries, to name just two current evidences of the imperfection of man’s creations (of course there are hundreds of thousands of examples).  On putting faith in man, a study in the September 2013 issue of the Journal of Patient Safety says that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death. That would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer, which is second.

The millions who know and put their faith in God can live with assurance in an imperfect world, being imperfect themselves and surrounded by other imperfect people, because we put our faith in the perfection of God rather than the imperfection of man. That is not to insinuate that nothing “bad” ever happens to those who put their faith in God, but we have the assurance that whatever does happen is in God’s control, and therefore not “bad” at all, but necessary for ultimate good. That allows us to live in a state of peace in a world that does not know peace.

Personally, I would much rather be viewed as foolish by people for putting my faith in God, than to actually be foolish by putting my faith in what I know to be imperfect.  To quote Mr. Spock: “I find that highly illogical.”

E.J. Lefavour

http://www.hobbithousestudio.com

Mug Up Goes to Texas

mug up goes to Texas

Those of you who were regular participants at the weekly Mug Ups at Khan Studio and the GMG Gallery on Madfish Wharf will remember Gigi and Stevie from Aquatro Gallery.  They were good friends, great artists and very determined competitors (and winners) in many of the food competitions we held.  They moved to Texas last year, and have started a Mug Up tradition there.  In this newspaper article, they say I started Mug Ups (which I did at the gallery), but we all know Mug Up is a very old Gloucester fisherman term for coffee break, and nothing I came up with, but we did have fun, and I hope they do in Texas too.  Nice to see one of our oldest seaport traditions making its way to Texas.

San Marcos Corridor News 2/24/16

Rio Claro Studio Announces Mug-Up – Community-Building One Cup of Joe At A Time

Rio Claro Studio, a San Marcos TX downtown gallery, is pleased to announce a big new monthly event called Mug-Up. The event will be held in the foyer of Rio Claro Studio at 120 West Hopkins Street, San Marcos TX 78666 this upcoming Saturday morning, February 27, 2016 between 10 am – 12 pm. Rio Claro Studio invites everyone to stop by and to bring your own mug! Mugs will be provided if you forget.

Mug-Up is a caffeine-fueled, informal meet-up. Rio Claro Studio will provide the coffee and some baked goods; all are welcome to bring a sampling of their favorite goodies and treats as well. Tradition holds that there are always deviled eggs to start things off.

The first Mug-Up was created by Ellen “Ejay” Lefavour on Madfish Wharf in the Rocky Neck Art Colony in Gloucester MA where Gigi Mederos and Stevie Black had their successful gallery, Aquatro Gallery. Mug-Up was a way for anyone and everyone to enjoy community building and networking on a grassroots level while enjoying a hearty cup of coffee and a tasty treat. It is because of Ejay’s love of deviled eggs that Stevie and Gigi will keep that tradition alive here in San Marcos.

Rio Claro Studio will hold the event monthly on the last Saturday of every month. Each month the studio/gallery will create an event page on Facebook with dates and times. The event will be held rain or shine, and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend this free event.

ABOUT RIO CLARO STUDIO

Rio Claro Studio is a concept space located on West Hopkins Street between Guadalupe and Comanche Streets in the West Downtown neighborhood of San Marcos TX. Opened in September of 2015, the unique space has a working fine art studio alongside a bustling retail gallery/boutique space. The two artist/designers, Gigi Mederos and Stevie Black, create and sell their own fine artwork, and design surfaces and textiles for their own lines of fashion accessories and home goods. Rio Claro Studio also carries local and international jewelers, and a variety of fair-trade certified goods from artists and artisans from around the world. For more information or to schedule an appointment to visit Rio Claro Studio, please go to their website at: http://www.rioclarostudio.com

E.J. Lefavour

Lent and Fasting

ministering angel_after the 40 days

This painting, called Ministering Angel, has to do with the account in the Book of Matthew of the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness, fasting and being tempted by Satan. Today, some people observe Lent, a forty day period which begins around Ash Wednesday and ends before or after Good Friday, depending on various traditions.  During this period, some people give up certain foods, drinks (soda, alcohol), etc.  While Lent is not mentioned in the Bible, and was a tradition created by the Church to encourage people’s remembrance of this time in the life of Jesus, it is based on the biblical practice of fasting, which comes out of ancient Jewish law and tradition.  There are many accounts of people fasting in the Bible, anywhere from one day to forty days (Moses on three separate occasions while he was receiving the Law, Jesus preceding the commencement of his ministry, and the Prophet Elijah).

People fast today for a variety of reasons: before a medical procedure, to cleanse and heal their bodies, to lose weight, clear their mind, slow the aging process, and for spiritual reasons. On the spiritual, fasting brings a person closer to God and allows for revelation more clearly than in a non-fasting state.  Many Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Rastafarian, Baha’i and Mormon adherents practice fasting. A biblical fast can be a full fast (liquids only) or what is referred to as the Daniel Fast from the Old Testament Book of Daniel (no meat, sweets, or bread, drink only water and juice and eat only fruits and vegetables).  While working on this series of paintings, I have done three and seven-day full fasts and a forty-day Daniel fast, which I hope to return to now that I’ve had my fill of bread, cheese, eggs and fish, which I love.

Other proponents of fasting include:

Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, who believed fasting enabled the body to heal itself stating: “Everyone has a doctor in him; we just have to help him in his work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. …to eat when you are sick, is to feed your sickness.”

Paracelsus, another founder of modern medicine, wrote 500 years ago that “fasting is the greatest remedy, the physician within.”

According to Benjamin Franklin, “The best of all medicines is resting and fasting.”

Reference for painting – Matthew 4:1-11

“Then Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But Jesus answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, And said to him, If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning you: and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone. Jesus said to him, It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil took him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And said to him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me. Then Jesus said to him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve. Then the devil left him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”

E.J. Lefavour

http://www.hobbithousestudio.com

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