Buildings Beautiful

2018-09-21 St Mark's sanctuary facing back
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, built in 1836

Artprize, the international art contest in our area, is in full swing. Although I enjoyed seeing the art entries, I enjoyed walking around in the hundred-year-old churches that are hosting some of the art entries just as much. Here are a few of my favorite sights:

2018-09-21 St Mark's church organ pipes
Organ pipes in St. Mark’s Episcopal Church


2018-09-21 St Mark's church NOW St Francis
St. Francis Of Assisi sculpture, part of the Artprize entry “NOW”, outside St. Mark’s.


2018-09-21 Massive doorway Fountain St church
Fountain St. Church, built in 1924


2018-09-21 Raphael's Madonna Of The Chair - Fountain St church b
A mosaic in Fountain St Church: “Madonna Of The Chair”


2018-09-21 Artprize Fountain St church wooden ceiling
Wooden tiles on the ceiling of Fountain St. Church


2018-09-28 Cornerstone Church doors
Cornerstone Church (Heritage Hills)


2018-09-28 Cornerstone Church sanctuary
Cornerstone Church’s sanctuary


2018-09-28 Cornerstone Church joy box
A stairway in Cornerstone Church with a joy box beside it


2018-09-28 Cornerstone Church preach the gospel
Inscription on the outside of Cornerstone Church


2018-09-21 St Mary's chapel at St Mark's a
St. Mary’s Chapel inside St. Mark’s Episcopal Church


2018-09-21 St Mary's Chapel at St Mark's d
Stained-glass window in St. Mary Chapel


2018-09-21 St Mary's Chapel at St Mark's b
One last look at St. Mary’s Chapel inside St. Mark’s Episcopal Church




Bud Not Buddy – by Christopher Paul Curtis (1998)

Bud Not Buddy

If you loved “The Watsons Go To Birmingham 1963”, you’re sure to enjoy this book as well. It’s the heart of the Great Depression in Flint, Michigan. The main character, 10-year-old Bud, is without a family. His mother died four years ago, and his father is unknown. With no family to take him in, Bud has been bounced from one foster care home to another. When he is locked in a hornet-infested tool shed overnight by his caretakers, he’s had enough.

Bud breaks out of the shed and starts walking from Flint to Grand Rapids. One of the few things left to him by his mother is a picture of a man from a jazz band; Bud believes this man is his father. He’s picked up along the road and given a ride by a man who’s heard of the band, and is willing to get him to his father.

There were two things I loved about this book: one, the historical base of the story, and two, that everyone needs to know where home and family is, no matter how long it takes to find it.

I listened to this book on audio, and it was very well done. At the end, the author talks about how much of the story was based on his own family and local history. He reminds us to ask our senior relatives to tell us the old family stories, before there is no one left to tell the stories.

Just Scratching The Surface Of Artprize…

Tomorrow is the last day for the public to vote in the first round of Artprize. Although I have only scratched the surface of Artprize, 35 entries impressed me enough to get me to cast a vote for them. (Each person is allowed to vote for as many or as few as they want, until tomorrow at 11:59 pm.) Here are pictures of some of my favorites:

2017-09-27 Artprize The Orchid Tree
“The Orchid Tree” by Dale Cote

Its wood comes from the branches of five different trees. The flowers are made from metal soda cans that the artist cut, painted, and attached to the branches! Mr. Cote spent about four years making this masterpiece, but unfortunately he passed away about a month before Artprize began.


2017-09-27 ArtprizeMotor Bot And His SpRe Parts Buddies
“Motor Bot And His Spare Parts Buddies” by Anthony Lazar

This artist was born just a few blocks from the sidewalk he had his display on, and is a homeless artist who makes metal creatures out of discarded metal from cars, bikes, pipes, etc. Some of his pieces are actually stands to rest a Kindle or iPad on. (He sells these for $50 if you’re interested in purchasing one.)


2017-09-25 Artprize Early January On The Pearl Street Bridge
“Early January On The Pearl Street Bridge” by Melodee Jackson
Porcelain stoneware with a local bridge scene.


2017-09-27 Artprize Close To Family Jonathan
“Close To Home” by Jonathan D. Lopez

The artist created a tiny house inside an actual post office box, for a family of clay mice. There’s the mama cooking supper, papa supervising the young-uns, and grandpa giving advise. The detail of the facial expressions, the hardwood floor, the brick wall, and household appliances is amazing! It reminds me that no matter how small your dwelling is, if you’re with the ones you love, you are truly home.


2017-09-27 Artprize Food Fight
“Food Fight” by H.J. Slider

This is a scene made from wooden shoe molds, cooking utensils, and other wooden objects, representing people of all ages and groups looking for food.


2017-09-27 Artprize Jesus Wifes My Tears
“Jesus Wipes My Tears” by Tracy May Fouts


2017-09-27 Artprize Connection
“Connection” by Bruce Koster

A picnic table and benches made from a treasured tree.


2017-09-27 Artprize Whimsical Reef
“Whimsical Reef” by Pam Jernigan

Aquatic scene using shells and various fabrics that has a 3-D feel about it.


2017-09-25 Artprize Music Box
“Music Box” by Dihan Mao

No, this is not an actual casket, but a very unique music box (note the handle crank on the end).


Artprize Seeds Of Change by Ben Graham
“Seeds Of Change” by Ben Graham
Photo credit:

The artist began with the word “WAR” clearly in the grass, but as he offered seed to each person that visited the venue, and they sprinkled it on the bare ground, grass quickly grew, making the ugliness of war fade away.


Just a few of the many fantastic things I saw at Artprize.




Around Town With Artprize

2017-09-25 Artprize Tragedy Memory And Honor

“Tragedy, Memory And Honor”
(the curved look is because I took a panoramic shot of it)


2017-09-25 Artprize Tragedy Memory And Honor close-up

A close-up of one of the panels of “Tragedy, Memory And Honor”. The artist was in New York City during the attack on the twin towers. He saved some of the ashes and debris, and used it in this mural.



2017-09-25 Artprize Early January On The Pearl Street Bridge

“Early January On The Pearl Street Bridge”
One of our local bridges over the Grand River.



2017-09-25 Artprize Proud Parent giraffes

“Proud Parent”
Can you feel the love?



2017-09-25 Artprize Music Box

The hand-crafted coffin that is actually a “Music Box”.
Both creepy and beautiful.



2017-09-25 Artprize Metal Life

“Metal Life”
For some reason, this little guy made me think of the extra-terrestrial in the movie “E.T.”



2017-09-25 Artprize Divided We Fall

“Divided We Fall”
Clever art using PVC pipe, paper towels and duct tape to depict Vladimir Putin.



2017-09-25 Artprize We Are All Homeless c
One entire hallway of the convention center was filled with signs that homeless people had made. Some were very basic; some were creative.
2017-09-23 Artprize We Are All Homeless e



2017-09-25 Artprize The Stages Of Grief
“Stages Of Grief”
The artist used her gift for painting to deal with the death of her mother.
Sunshine coming through the skylight gave the picture an interesting look.



2017-09-25 Artprize Otto's Good Stuff
“Otto’s Good Stuff”
Am I losing my mind, or was this display in last year’s Artprize?!



Mistaken Identity – by Don & Susie Van Ryn and Newell, Colleen & Whitney Cerak with Mark Tabb (2008)

Mistaken Identity

They looked enough alike to be sisters. Same weight, same athletic build, same eye color, same hair color and part. Both were students at Taylor University in Indiana, but were originally from Michigan. Laura and Whitney were among nine people in a university van that was struck by a semi that veered over the divider line and hit them head-on. Five of the nine in the van died. Whitney was pronounced dead at the scene, Laura was rushed off to the hospital, where she lay in a coma. Later she was transferred to Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Newell and Colleen Cerak held a funeral for Whitney, and buried the young woman they believed was their daughter. Meanwhile, Don and Susie VanRyn and their daughter Lisa kept vigil at the hospital for Laura. The physical damage to her body disguised the fact that she was not Laura, but was instead Whitney. Five weeks went by before the mistake in identity was revealed.

It is hard to fathom how such a dreadful mistake could be made in the first place, then continued for five weeks. But equally unfathomable was the way in which the two families handled the tragedy. No angry press conferences. No lawsuits. Just two families grieving and loving at the same time, trusting God to heal their hearts. If I am ever in a situation as terrible as this, I pray that I would be able to handle it with as much grace and understanding as the VanRyn and Cerak families.

In Memory Of Kimberly



She’d been coming into my work place for some time. She was short, about the same age as me, and was always bundled up in a long coat. I would greet her with a smile, ask her how she was, but she would generally not speak. Occasionally she would smile and give a slight nod of the head. After a while, she would walk out the front door as quietly as she had entered.

On January 21, the local news reported her missing. Police found her purse on the ground, with footprints leading away and ending at the river. A search was conducted, but she was not found. For the first time, I knew her name: Kimberly. In the news article, Kimberly’s sister said that she suffered from schizophrenia and did not have her medication. Many of us prayed that Kimberly would be found alive somewhere, but yesterday, nearly two months after she was reported missing, her body was found in the river.

There are so many around us that suffer from illnesses of the mind, schizophrenia being just one of them. Most often we can’t do a lot to help them, but we can at least smile, say hello, be gracious, and pray for them. Treating people with kindness and dignity is the least we can do, as we were all made in the image of God.

Rest in peace, Kimberly.

Stories about Kimberly: