Friday, February 17, 2012

Picture Study - Caravaggio

Over the last two years, we have been attempting to make our co-op more Charlotte Mason friendly. We have incorporated picture studies that seem to be a big hit.

During our winter sesssion, we are studying Caravaggio. I will caution you that if you choose to do this artist, he has produced some very graphic works. Lots of beheadings in particular. So I sorted through the paintings and found these four that I felt were "family friendly". Each is filled with symbolism and it has been a joy to explore each piece with the kids at the co-op.

To go along with each work, I have made copywork pages that I leave out at the co-op for parents to take if they wish.

Caravaggio was an Italian artist with tremendous influence on the Baroque Period. Each of the paintings is a depiction of a Bible story from the New Testament, so it seems natural to incorporate scripture with each of the pieces.

· Adoration of the Shepherds ~ Luke 2:8-18

Symbolism includes:

  • Bare feet - walking on holy ground

  • Rock on the ground - Earth (Jesus came to Earth)

  • Linen in basket - Death shroud (Jesus came to die)

  • Bread in baske - Bread of life

  • Carpenter's tools - Jesus earthly occupation

· Rest on the Flight to Egypt ~ Matthew 2:13-15

This picture is divided in half. The left half symbolizes the earthly. The right side symbolizes the heavenly.

Symbols include:

  • Three-leafed plant - the holy trinity

  • Rocks on the ground - Earth (Jesus came to Earth)

  • Oak tree - I'm sure this is a symbol, but I don't know what it means

  • Bare feet - holy ground

Calling of St. Matthew ~ Matthew 9:9

Jesus is calling Matthew to follow him. The tax collectors on the far left don't seem to notice Jesus and will miss out on all that Jesus brings. They are entirely too focused on their money. The youth in the middle of the piece seem a little startled, but interested. The room seems somewhat dark, but those looking toward Jesus have a light cast on their faces. Jesus is the light of the world.

Supper at Emmaus (1601) ~ Luke 24:13-35

Jesus is clean shaven, which makes him unrecognizable. This is the moment when Jesus is recognized. His followers are astonished, yet the man who is serving the meal doesn't seem surprised. I'm certain each food item on the table has some significance, but am unable to find what it is. The white tablecloth would indicate purity. I am continuing to research this piece to try to find the symbolizm that might be included in it.

Caravaggio was known to have a violent temper and ran for his life from many towns around Italy*. His general disposition may explain why so many of his works contain violent subjects such as beheadings and crucifixions. The four pieces we will focus on are more family friendly and are rich with symbolism.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Weight Watchers

What a difference a year makes. This is me, before and after Weight Watchers. I lost a total of 50 pounds in about 9 months and am very pleased with the Weight Watchers program. You can see the date stamp on the first picture of December 2010. The second picture was taken at the beginning of November 2011.

One of my measuring sticks when I first walked in was the question "Can I live like this for the rest of my life?" Quite honestly, any weight loss program will work. But can you live eating only meat for the rest of your life or just eating special, very expensive food that you have to order through the mail? I cannot.

I've tried Weight Watchers before and was in pain because I was so hungry. The program changed at the beginning of 2011 and I thought I'd give it a try. And I continually asked myself "Can I live like this the rest of my life?" After a year, I can honestly say that yes I can live like this. It is a healthier lifestyle based on choices I make.

I still choose to go to Chinese food buffets (my absolute favorite), but I'm careful not to overdo it. I look for the healthier options and if I want a heaping plate of General Tso's chicken, I get it. I just don't do that every day. That is something I might do occasionally.

Weight Watchers has helped to make me aware of portion sizes and food choices. For that I am very grateful.

I am currently a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. This is going to help keep me on track with my lifestyle change. Even though I only have to weigh in once a month, I am planning to weigh in every week. Knowing myself as I do, I know that I need the accountablity and that is okay with me. This is part of the lifestyle change I can live with.

One last note: I believe that most of the time, weight gain/loss is an emotional issue. If you are not willing to deal with what is really at the core of your weight issues, then no diet plan in the world is going to help you. It takes commitment, but also a healthy attitude toward food and activity.