“Little Known” People & Projects You Should Know

Edmund Mitchell and I chatted Tuesday night. It was fun! I felt a little bit old. (I used Tamagotchi in an example. Give me a break… I had a full day of work.) Somehow, we hit some deep points.

I promised Mr. Mitchell that I would “blog this”; projects and people that I enjoy and you should know — since I couldn’t commit to picking just one when he asked me.

APOSTOLATE: Dr. Mark Hickman – Vasectomy Reversals

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BLOG: Anthony Baratta – Evangelical to Catholic

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PODCAST: The Sports Fathers

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BOOK: Peregrine: Poems by Paul Soupiset

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CATHOLIC MUSICIAN: Dave Moore

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WEBSITE: Reverb Culture !!!

Those are a few!

Tools for Communicators – Learn About and Use Color Effectively

Kuler

Do you know the science behind color? Did you know that certain colors have certain effects on the human brain? Did you know that there are lots of free resources for color education, inspiration and usage?

You will become a more effective communicator when you know how to properly put color to use. Check out the following links, and let me know what resources you have to share!

By the way, my favorite color is RED. What’s yours? - Angela

Education:

PANTONE – If you don’t know this word, I highly recommend you take a graphic design course pronto! (Or watch Karen excitedly explain.) Follow these color experts on social media for the latest color news: Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram

Graphic Design Tutorial: Basic colour palettes (Video) – Graphic designer Shawn Berry gives a crash course on the color wheel, RGB, CMYK, and how to work with color in 11:40 minutes

The Effect of Color (Video) – PBS Digital Studios gives you the scoop on color theory in 7:29 minutes

DOs and DON’T of Colour” – Summary of color temperatures, psychology, undertones, and use

I firmly believe in keeping reference tools nearby, and utilizing them often. My desk at work is stocked with magazines for inspiration, and my bulletin board has two posters about color:

  1. Color Wheel & Quick Reference – Similar to this one
  2. Color Psychology Chart

Inspiration:

ColourLovers – Color palettes….tons of ‘em

ColorLovers

The Day’s Color – Originally a daily site, but great archive of inspiring color schemes

TheDaysColor

Colorgorize the Web – Get color inspiration from this curated collection of website designs, categorized by color

Colorgorize

Creation:

Colourco.de – Interactive color scheme creator

colourcode

 Kuler – Color scheme designer by Adobe

Kuler

Where I Get Free, Hi-Quality Stock Photos

StockPhotos

No more excuses! After reading this post, you’ll be equipped to get all the high-quality, free to use images your heart desires. When I need a stock photo…

First: I check my personal stash. Take your own photos, for crying out loud. Do you have 10 minute periods between projects when you’re not doing anything except checking emails or waiting for a download / upload to complete?

- Keep a running list of photos you think will be helpful in upcoming projects. (ex: chalice and paten, crucifix in our sanctuary, people shaking hands, etc.)

- When you have a few moments, grab your camera and see what you can snap!

- Store them on your drive, organized in folders by subject.

In addition to photos taken in-house, my “stock stash” also contains photos from free stock services to which I’ve subscribed. These will send you an email periodically (generally once per week) with a collection of fresh photos:

Death to the Stock Photo

Little Visuals

Unsplash

Second: I check my ‘top pick’ websites for the photo I need. Here’s that list, in order of preference:

Free Images – Requires a free account. Be sure to check below the image preview for usage requirements. Most images here are ready to use, but some photographers request their permission be granted before a photo is used for your project.

Flickr’s The Commons

Splashbase – Requires a free account.

Gratisography

Refe Free Photos Category – Photos of people & tech

Refe Mobile – Hi-res photos taken on mobile devices

Third: Scrounge around elsewhere. *If* I still haven’t found something I need (rare, but it happens), I’ll run down this list – in no particular order:

BigFoto

FreePhotosBank

MorgueFile – Check the license before using.

New Old Stock - Many of these you’ll probably find on Flickr’s The Commons, since they’re old photos in the public domain. You also can’t search this site by keyword, but it’s nice if you’re willing to check in once in a while.

PicJumbo

Pixabay

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Hope that helps! Next week, I’ll share some of my favorite resources for other free communication tools. Enjoy! - Angela

Inspired Art: “Divine Praises, Divine Heart”

This is a visual story of how I attempted to calm my restlessness Saturday night. As an artistic and highly visual learner, I sometimes prefer (need) to pray this way.

Moleskine_Tools

DivinePraises_copyrightAngelaSealana

DivinePraisesHeart_copyrightAngelaSealana

DivinePraisesBlood_copyrightAngelaSealana

Whenever I see images of the Sacred Heart, I note how the Crown of Thorns looks picture-perfect. Last year, I took a morning “course” in some of what science has revealed about the Shroud of Turin’s image. The man pictured did wear a crown of thorns, but not the short rosebush thorns we’re used to seeing in Western art. Rather, it was more like a helmet, and made of a thorn bush native to the Jerusalem region with very long, thin, thorns.

Seeing a replica of that crown reminded me that the Sacred Heart of Our Lord is not picture-perfect as we might have it. Jesus knows about the mess of life. I’m glad.

SacredHeart_copyrightAngelaSealana

Thank you, Lord.

Images copyright Angela Sealana, 2014. All rights reserved.

Inspiring Parish Bulletins – Pt. 1

Bulletin-ICMA

Dom Bettinelli recently got my attention by asking for examples of well-designed, “beautiful” parish bulletins. (One commenter quipped: “Those exist?”)

We may poke fun, but let’s face it: Bulletins are generally template-based publications created using outdated or sub-standard software, by parish secretaries, overworked pastors, or volunteers. I daresay 98%(?) of these folks aren’t trained graphic designers.

A select few parishes, however, are making communications a priority, rising above the norm by hiring talented personnel for the job. Let’s see what a difference this can make.

After some “power Googling,” I came across the following noteworthy parish bulletins. A few parishes responded to my requests for more background information about their bulletin editors; you’ll see some of this below. Click the sample images to visit the parish websites, and check out the bulletins yourself.

In the following weeks, look for some additional posts here at the blog, including…

  • Why parishes with beautiful bulletins don’t stop there
  • How Sts. Peter & Paul in Hoboken, NJ’s beautiful bulletin improved stewardship
  • How Pax Christi in Eden Prarie, MN applies professional graphic design practices

For now, enjoy these inspiring samples!


 

Immaculate Conception in Malden, MA

Bulletin by Scott Morin, Coordinator of Youth Ministry

Bulletin-ICMA

Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Natchitoches, LA

Bulletin by Parish Director of Evangelization Ashley Hebert, who studied journalism and graphic design at McNeese University.

Bulletin-Minor

Sts. Peter and Paul in Hoboken, NJ

Bulletin by Parish Director of Marketing & Communications, Max Colas, whose previous job was senior marketing executive for a global company.

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St. James and St. Philip in the Diocese of Baton Rouge, LA

Bulletin design by Fr. Christopher Decker, whose hobbies include art and design.

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St. Stephen in Anoka, MN

Bulletin by Parish Marketing Coordinator Julie Gerads, who has been bulletin editor for 13 years.

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Our Lady Queen of Angels in Newport Beach, CA

Bulletin by Bulletin Editor Kay Flierl, who has twelve years experience in advertising and graphic design and continues her passion as a fine artist in oil painting.

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St. Benedict in Phoenix, AZ

Bulletin designed by Tyler Bartlett, student with Arizona State University’s Graphic Technology program.

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St. James in Novi, MI

Bulletin by Patti Wienclaw, who holds a BA in graphic design and seven years of professional experience prior to her current position as parish Coordinator of Communications.

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Pax Christi in Eden Prarie, MN

Bulletin by Melissa Nault, parish Communications Specialist, who has worked for the parish over 10 years and in graphic design for over 20 years.

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Remaining True to Oneself: A Blogger’s Lifeblood and Kiss-of-Death

LeonardCohen

“…the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may”. – John F. Kennedy

I borrow this remark to begin my little reflection since I’ve just read it in a book I’ve just borrowed: The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah” by Alan Light. The author quotes Cohen’s remarks about his infamous song:

“This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled, but there are moments when we can transcend the dualistic system and reconcile and embrace the whole mess, and that’s what I mean by ‘Hallelujah.’ That regardless of what the impossibility of the situation is, there is a moment when you open your mouth and you throw open your arms and you embrace the thing and you just say, ‘Hallelujah! Blessed is the name.’

That’s the point I’ve reached.

You know, we bloggers stress over this (in my case) unpaid gig. We look at the onslaught of emails in our Inboxes asking for favors, and the flies hiking up the mountain of dishes in the kitchen sink, and the reflux-inducing stress of work and life, and we think: “How am I going to blog this week when I’ve barely introspected?”

At least, that’s the life of an introverted blogger. Me. When I’m short on words, you can guess that I’ve also been short on sleep and prayer and every other quieted exercise.

Funny enough: A few weeks ago, God altered my life with — what I described to my spiritual director and a few close friends as — a miraculous healing. Not of my physical ailments, but of spiritual, emotional, and psychological ones. I had a prayer experience which, after I opened my eyes and lifted my head, left me with a sense of peace I cannot recall feeling since childhood. Hallelujah.

Then, the Machine called Life cranked along. Human frailty kicked in. Those lovely, feminine hormone cycles worked their magic. I did not feel a ‘Hallelujah’ — nor did I feel much at all. I couldn’t even think of feeling. Prayer became a constant, tiring struggle that I engaged because I knew I’d be worse without it.

And blogging? Well, blogging was impossible. My personal standards forbid me from blogging when my interior life is wreathed in a thick haze. (Who wants to read a blog post that feels like intellectually skimming through someone else’s thought-vomit?)

Back to JFK: Just as in poetry, music, and painting, blogging requires that the blogger ‘remain true to himself’.

Authenticity is why Heather King gains instant fans by writing a single paragraph or speaking for two minutes. The woman oozes original, honest thoughts. That ‘remaining true to himself’ is the success of almost every well-read blogger on the digital continent.

On the contrary, when a blogger’s life is as I’ve just described — clouded, cluttered, and noisy beyond comprehension — ‘remaining true to himself’ means, in my view, not blogging. And that’s when ‘remaining true’ can be the kiss of death.

So, God bless you who read this; who’ve stuck through it. My blog once appeared dead, but has come back to life. For now.

Despite that Machine called Life, that human frailty, those hormone cycles, the mountaineering insects, and the Inbox…I’ve been blessed with moments to reflect, read, and stare into space. So, in the midst of the mess, here’s my somewhat warm and broken

“Hallelujah.”

Maya Angelou: What She Said Life Taught Her

MayaAngelou

As a little girl, even in kindergarten, I wrote stories. In fourth grade, my elderly teacher introduced me to poetry.

I used to write poem after poem after poem. It was as if I had re-discovered the world — or my senses. Poetry taught me about the beauty of being human.

Maya Angelou was one of the first poets with whose words I connected. Yet, now as I look back on those first Maya Angelou poems that I read, I realize that I knew very little about their beauty. In my youth, I barely knew the meaning of suffering. Now in my adulthood, having gone through emotional and physical pain, I admire Maya Angelou more than ever. Remember I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings? Even in my innocence, I saw its beauty, but now having suffered abuse, having felt trapped, I see Angelou’s brilliance.

She was the caged bird who dared to sing.

Here is what she said life taught her:

 

“If I think of my life as a class, and what I’ve really learned, I’ve learned a few things. First, I’m aware that I’m a child of God. It’s such an amazing understanding to think that the ‘It’ which made fleas and mountains and rivers and stars, made me. What I pray for is humility; to know that there’s something greater than I.

And I have to know that the brute, the bigot, and the batterer are all children of God — whether they know it or not — and I’m supposed to treat them accordingly. It’s hard, and I blow it all the time!

I’d like everybody to think of a statement by Terence. The statement is: ‘I am a human being. Nothing human can be alien to me.’ If you can internalize at least a portion of that, you will never be able to say of a criminal act, ‘Oh, I couldn’t do that,’ — no matter how heinous a crime. If a human being did it, you have to say, ‘I have all the components that are in her or in him. I intend to use my energies constructively as opposed to destructively.’

If you can do that about the negative, just think what you can do about the positive! If a human being dreams a great dream, dares to love somebody, if a human being dares to be Martin King or Mahatma Ghandi or Mother Teresa or Malcom X, if a human being dares to be bigger than the condition into which she or he was born, it means: So can you! And so, you can try to stretch! Stretch! Stretch yourself!

So, you can internalize: ‘Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.’ I am a human being. Nothing human can be alien to me.

That’s one thing I’m learning.”

May we dare to stretch and to sing.

Dear Doctor Angelou, may you forever compose heavenly verse. Rest in peace.

What I Prefer to the Culture Wars

Tedashii - Make War

Yesterday, I was sitting with some folks — all Catholics, varied ages. This particular group tends to discuss all the ‘culture war’ news… Hobby Lobby, Chick-Fil-A, Obamacare, you name it. Our conversation took a turn.

“It’s a shame,” the older man bemoaned, “what’s happened to music and dance in this country.”

His brow wrinkled. Clearly, he was referring to hip hop.

Yeah, I thought… darn shame that was ever invented. It’s all bad news.

 

Thank God for hip hop.