Santa Fe, New Mexico–Olé!

"In case of fire, freak out and run like hell."An Arizona fire last week prevented us from visiting in-laws, who evacuated their mountain cabin and retreated to Phoenix under record-breaking temperatures. My faithful companion and I decided to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico. Olé!

Here is an armchair glimpse of a delightful southwestern city and more art galleries than you could ever count!

First on the tour is a snapshot of the forest leading into Santa Fe, followed by photos of desert plants, lovingly tended by gardeners at Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill. I don’t know the plants’ official names– they’re just beautiful pokies. Using a camera lens, one can appreciate why so many artists love the lighting and colors of Santa Fe and the Southwest.

Hyde Memorial State Park in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Hyde Memorial State Park in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Prickly plant with many pokies. Do not know the name.

A bush has blossoms that are fuzzy puffs of pink with a blue sky and green scrub trees behind it.  Pink cactus at Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill

IMG_3420

IMG_3421

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting the New Mexico History Museum offered us a good account of the state’s past 500 years. It’s a mix of several people groups: Spanish

Mi compadre stands by the Palace of the Governors, which was built in the early 1600s and is the oldest public building in the U.S.
Mi compadre stands by the Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, which was built in the early 1600s and is the oldest public building in the U.S.

settlers, who founded Santa Fe in 1607; various Indian tribes; countless adventurers; farmers; tourists and artists. Many pushed westward with donkeys and horses, and later with trains and motorcars.

Regrettably, we didn’t learn as much about the more ancient citizens. Nor did we visit the Taos Pueblo, an ancient community belonging to the Tiwa-speaking Native American tribe of Puebloan people and considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the U.S.

I was intrigued by one story of nine-year-old

Illustration of peasant girl on donkey with colt next to her. Done in pen and ink.
Illustration by José Cisneros (1910-2009)

Josefa Antonia de Pas Bustillos Ontiveros. The museum plaque states Ontiveros arrived in Santa Fe in 1694 after a 1500-mile trip from Mexico City.

She belonged to one of  hundreds of Spanish families that recolonized New Mexico after an earlier Indian war drove out the Spanish to Mexico. Though Josefa never married she bore at least six children and cared for many more. She owned property, fought land disputes in court, and made her own way in colonial New Mexico. Her descendants still reside in Santa Fe.  Do you think Josefa Antonia had true grit?

Another Sante Fe person who blew me away was Sculptor Allan Houser (1914-1994 ). Allan’s parents, Sam and Blossom Haozous were members of the Chiricahua Apache tribe, who were held as prisoners of war for 27 years. Allan’s father was with the small band of Warm Springs Chiricahuas when their leader Geronimo left the reservation and later surrendered to the U.S. Army in 1886 in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua.

After release from the U.S. government, Houser’s parents raised the family on farmland in Oklahoma. Houser eventually settled in Santa Fe after extensive art training. Below are several of his pieces that we discovered as we wandered Canyon Road and “the museums on the hill.”

Homeward Bound bronze statue by Allan Houser (1914-1994)
“Homeward Bound” bronze statue by Allan Houser (1914-1994)
FullSizeRender
Homeward Bound, front close up
A 49"x42"x42" bronze head of an Apache man, sober, shoulder-length hair topped with a head scarf
Allan Houser’s “Warm Springs Apache Man”
Bronze statue, 107"x44"x39"
“Morning Prayer,” Allan Houser

 

Canyon Road and the International Museum of Folk Art are two Santa Fe sites bursting with art. Canyon Road is populated with a half mile of galleries. We were quite content to view the sculptures on the patios, although in one gallery we longingly admired a $5500 bronze of a shepherd, dog and sheep.

Veryl Goodnight's "Shepherds of the High Plains"
Veryl Goodnight’s “Shepherds of the High Plains”

 

"Out of the Park"
“Out of the Park” by Walt Horton, Sage Creek Gallery

FullSizeRender

 

Flight of Folds, powder coated cast and fabricated stainless steel, by Kevin Box and Robert J. Lang
Flight of Folds, powder coated cast and fabricated stainless steel, by Kevin Box and Robert J. Lang

FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender

IMG_3344

 

A statue on Canyon Road

 

Bronze sculpture of cowboy on horseback

A centerpiece at Museum Hill is this fellow below, who reminded me of Goliath:

 

Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer, by Craig Dan Goseyun
Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer, by Craig Dan Goseyun

 

The Museum of International Folk Art is the largest collection of miniature folk art in the world. I couldn’t photograph all the museum’s 130,000 objects from 100 nations! We particularly liked the dioramas that showed figures of different sizes, which created a lengthy 3-D perspective. Below are a few of the art pieces we saw.

Small clay figures inside the open doors of a church show parents holding a baby with the priest by the Baptismal and godparents standing around them. Through the open doors, one can see many figurines of people looking in from outside.
An infant baptism–clay figures are smaller in scale the farther back they are positioned in the display
Hundreds of little clay people sit in bleachers in an arena. The bull fighter and bull with two Spaniards on horse back are in the front.
All of these people watching a bull fight are individual clay figures.
Eight little dolls sit on chairs at a table ladened with goodies for Victorian tea.
Miniature dolls at tea
Asian child, dressed only in cloth that looks like a swimming suit on her chunky body, holds a butterfly net.
Butterfly Catcher

A primitive wood tableau of mother, daughter, son

FullSizeRender
Performers in the circus

 

Mothers and children
Mothers and children

 

Pudgy boy and girl in swimming suits, his red, hers' white with red polka dot bikini and swim cap, stand in a box of sand. They are wind-up toys.
Wind up toys

Santa Fe is definitely a visual feast. I hope you will get to travel there and experience it for yourself. But try to go when the temperature isn’t 95 degrees!

 

Thanks for browsing
Thanks for reading “There’s a Blog in My Eye”! Happy summer!

 

2020 Class Vision–TCU Frog Fountain

At the beloved Frog Fountain, my alumni friends and I decided to pray for the Texas Christian University community, particularly the TCU Class of 2020. This fountain has bubbled vigorously at the heart of campus since 1969–most of the time. One midnight long ago a prankster dumped Tide into the water. We recalled frothy soap globs sailing in the wind. And then there was that time when the fountain made Jello!

I hadn’t been back to TCU for 28 years. Now our little band of seven senior prayer warriors marveled at the view from Frog Fountain. The road that circled this centerpiece during our time is gone, replaced by more buildings and grassy walkways.

Mike Southern, Louise Kingsolver Kennedy, Beth Daniel Roye
Mike Southern, Louise Kingsolver Kennedy, Beth Daniel Roye

Summer break meant there wasn’t a student in sight. My former TCU roommate Jeannie anointed the bubbling water with drops of olive oil from the Holy Land. A breeze baptized us with the fountain’s spray.

Two women sit and a man stands next to them at TCU Frog Fountain.
Connie Cox, Jeannie Hagstette Tate, Doug Macfarline

As we prayed, my heart was heavy for this generation of college students; for those who will be the class of 2020. These young adults experience more broken/blended families, more mental health issues, more pessimism about the future, more debt, more suicides, more pressure to climb ladders of success. More, more, more of most everything–except in the area of faith. Although statistics indicate this generation’s majority is still interested in spirituality, that word is tricky and elastic. Generally, the students do not have a faith compass to guide them through cultural waters. Often, it is every American for him- or herself to figure out a system that often doesn’t play fair. Many students, raised in Christian faith, are ambivalent about absolutes and their relationship to Jesus.

My heart’s prayer is that these students will not build their lives on quicksand. There are many profile studies, but I appreciate what researcher Elizabeth Corrie writes about this generation: “There appears to be no shortage of teenagers who want to be inspired and make the world better. But the version of Christianity some are taught doesn’t inspire them ‘to change anything that’s broken in the world.’ Teens want to be challenged; they want their tough questions taken on. We think that they want cake, but they actually want steak and potatoes, and we keep giving them cake. Churches, not just parents, share some of the blame for teens’ religious apathy. …The gospel of niceness can’t teach teens how to confront tragedy. It can’t bear the weight of deeper questions….”

During the ‘70s my Frog Fountain prayer warriors and I attended college during the Jesus Movement—a groundswell of youth who knew Jesus as their Revolutionary–their Way, Truth and Life.  An unexplainable Wind blew among us and miracles happened because of many prayers. There were mentors who taught and cared; and our youthful community was vibrant. I haven’t experienced anything on that scale since then.

Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never again be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life. –Jesus of Nazareth (John 4:14, PAR)

As our group prayed for future TCU students I cried because I hadn’t given this geographic place, its students and staff, much thought since leaving it long ago–that is, except during football season. Isn’t the TCU community worth more than that to me? Did I not have some kind of spiritual responsibility to remember my alma mater in regular prayer? Could I ask for that Wind to blow more powerfully now–not just at TCU, but at other campuses too?

C.S. Boyll, blonde hair, round, smiling face, stands in front of a TCU logo with the cartoon of a fighting horned frog
C.S. Boyll at the popular off campus Dutch’s, famous for burgers and beer.

My weekend TCU reunion, filled with much joy, was a wake up call. And I want to challenge you to pray for your alma mater and the wonderful young people who are coming by the thousands to hundreds of campuses this fall—the Class of 2020. Maybe when you take time to watch football and basketball games or read alumni news, these current events will trigger pray reminders for the 2020 class and its communities. You could start praying for the students this summer as they already begin packing for their campuses. I’m banking prayers that something great, beyond our wildest imaginations, will happen from new wineskins flowing with the greatest of harvests.  May the Class of 2020 have 20-20 vision that only God can give.

Baby Horned Frogs
Horned frog photo by Josie Wagner Cowen, used with permission

<><

Here is a good link, from J. Warner Wallace, listing various research facts on this generation and their strengths and weaknesses as far as faith is concerned: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/are-young-people-really-leaving-christianity/ 

A teenage-sized horned frog is on an arm. It is mostly brown, with black spots, a horn on its head and a light green chest.

 

This horned frog is puffed up looking more like a turtle in shape. It is brown, grey and tan with a few black spots on its back; two horns on its head.
Horned frog photos by Josie Wagner Cowen, used with permission

Graduation, Pilgrimage, Reunion

C.S. Boyll on graduation day, with parents Ben and Rosalie. The author is thankful they provided an opportunity they didn't have.
C.S. Boyll on TCU graduation day, with parents Ben and Rosalie. The author is grateful they provided an opportunity that they did not get to experience.

I am off on pilgrimage to a Texas Christian University reunion with friends I haven’t seen for decades. We were a tight group, who obviously had something special (since we’re spending time and money for this reunion). But some of us have had difficulty keeping connected–even Christmas cards fell away with best intentions. Now is an opportunity to get reacquainted in a fresh way–remembering, and sharing celebratory moments and battle scars.

Thinking of life as pilgrimage has been a constant for me. It still amazes how God teaches us with a rhythm of heartbeats and breaths, under sunrises and sunsets. One day at a time is plenty with its concerns, said Jesus in Matthew 6:34.

Below is a freshened excerpt of a former “There’s a Blog in My Eye post.” It is what I am thinking about while reflecting on TCU graduation, this reunion, and daily pilgrimage.

Imagine a California traveler journeying down a rocky path in the 1700s. It is the rainy season. He is cold and wet, hungry and thirsty, riding his mule for hours. Suddenly, in the darkness, he sees some flickering lights and hurries toward them. He knocks on the large mission door and is welcomed inside. Here is a place to rest, eat and drink, find encouragement and information–until he must travel again. The Camino de Real or King’s Highway was a pathway along the California coastline which connected some 21 missions for weary travelers. Each mission was a day’s journey of 30 miles from each other.  One can still visit many of these missions that stretch from San Diego to San Francisco.

Mission at Carmel's garden courtyard
Mission at Carmel, California (photo by CSB)

With a little faith we can stretch the Camino de Real into a metaphor for our life journeys. We’re on God’s road; his time table. The journey sometimes is easy with joy, but often difficult with tears. We press on.

I once heard poet Luci Shaw use the Camino de Real as a symbol for journaling. She suggested that daily, reflective writing can be mission respite from our work. It can refresh, encourage, and reveal insights we do not understand until we write them down. I have found this helpful, but journaling isn’t for every one. We each must discover what aids us best in traveling.

Recently, I discovered blogger D.L. Mayfield, a young woman who struggles with her vocation. Mayfield writes that she didn’t feel “called” to minister to the poor as much as she felt dragged. I appreciate her honest writing. She admits that she

D. L. Mayfield
Writer D.L. Mayfield

often feels helpless and overwhelmed by the hurts of others. She wonders if making Funfetti cakes for sad neighbors really is meaningful. But then she writes:

“…I feel like God said: you keep baking cakes. Some of the most unrecognized ministries are my favorites. Like, the ministry of playing yu-gi-oh cards with awkward adolescent boys. The ministry of bringing white styrofoam containers of Pad Thai to people whose baby is very, very sick. The ministry of picking up empty chip wrappers at the park. The ministry of sending postcards. The ministry of sitting in silence with someone in the psych ward. The ministry of gardening flowers….The ministry of noticing beauty everywhere–in fabrics, in people, in art–and in the wilderness.

“The older I get, I realize now that the ministries I once thought so trivial I now think are the most radical. I spent the last year being stripped of anything that would make me feel lovely to God, and I came out a different person. Because I discovered that he always loved me anyways. I’m not Joan of Arc, it turns out. I’m just somebody who likes to bake cakes.”

That’s D.L. Mayfield. With her I relate to small tasks transforming the trivial to the radical. Water turns into wine. Our work, our life journeys, the very essence of ourselves, matter to the One who keeps us. And if we believe this, our best works are done in response to the love that does not fail. In faith, and not alone, we keep traveling.

<><<

For a good armchair pilgrimage find the award-winning 2010 DVD The Way with Martin Sheen. The movie is about a grieving father embarking on the historical pilgrimage “The Way of St. James” in Spain.

Martin Sheen walks with walking stick and back pack against rolling, green hills and distant hazy mountains.
Martin Sheen does pilgrimage in The Way.

You can check out D.L. Mayfield at www.dlmayfield.com . Her new book of essays Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith is scheduled for release in August from HarperOne.