Tuesday, October 21, 2014
This month marks the opening of my new etsy shop, Lazy River Arts. I've put together all of my favorite artistic pursuits in one place and I'm adding more all the time. What an incredibly exciting time, what a crazy time...change. It's funny how change can be both exciting and terrifying at the same time. From full time career to full time artist and business owner. There are lots of cliches about change, and for good reason. It's, well, different. I find it so funny that as human beings we are always longing for change, praying and wishing for some new excitement; a new get away, a new career, house, etc. Then, when the change finally arrives we find ourselves exhilarated at first, and then uncomfortable and questioning.
I find I'm no different. On one hand I am absolutely thrilled, pumped even, to get to wake up every day and do what I love to do - take care of my family and make stuff! It's every artists dream! But then there's the side of me, that "sensible" side telling me that (1.) Work isn't supposed to be this fun (2.) Shouldn't I be doing MORE to bring in income for my family? What was I thinking? and (3.) Wow, this really is a whole lot of work building a business - what was I thinking?
Would I trade this time? NO WAY! But I am surprised at how I've had to really shift my thinking away from the guilt of not bringing in a stable income and the fear of the future to remind myself of the reasons I am doing this in the first place. I am learning and growing as an artist - and, hey, my house hasn't been this clean in a long time. Instead of focusing on the fears that sneak into my conscious and subconscious thoughts, I must purposely hold them hostage, examine them and then remind myself of how glorious it is to be free to explore and to stop wasting my time in worry. After all, I don't know how long/if this time will last. The sensible side with budgets, bills, and family dreams may have to outweigh my dreamy side and I might have to once again squeeze in those moments of creative bliss. For now, I prefer to try to help myself remember the joy of that creative bliss and the blessing it is - and remember to stay sharp when it comes to the thoughts I choose to let dominate my thinking. One fact in particular I choose to remember - though life may change, my Father never does. He is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow. His love never fails. He will be with me through it all. Praying you find comfort in that today as well.
Friday, March 28, 2014
There are many so-called church affiliated groups in the news whose main function and focus seems to be telling other people why they believe God finds them unacceptable and unworthy of love - the second message being that if they would just get with the program they too could be a squeaky clean near perfect Christian complete with church certified seal of approval. God would then find them acceptable. Worship this way, align your political views that way, either do or don’t do this or that and you too will be given the golden ticket to heaven. The truth is, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Then, there’s Set Apart Church. The name says it all. Here the invitation comes with no strings. You don’t have to change a thing to show up. Come in your pajamas, your shorts, your favorite t-shirt. It won’t matter. Come ready to hear exactly what Jesus said about God’s love for His children with no political slant, no judgment, and no request for money. Just come. Here you’ll find a welcome invitation from your Heavenly Father. You’ll learn through a series of online sermons and devotions exactly how He feels about you. The answer may surprise you. If you just need someone to pray for you, you will find a place for that as well. All of it in church online.
At Set Apart Church it’s God meeting you wherever you are. It’s a church without walls where the door is always open. There you’ll find a passion for Christ that comes from true relationship with Him and a deep desire to share the forgiveness of God, His love and His heart for you. Whatever your reason for not going to church, here is the answer. What do you have to lose? You never know what you might gain.
Photo courtesy of freedigitalimages.net "Old English Church on a Sunny Day - Stuart Miles
Friday, March 21, 2014
It has been such a long time since I put brush to canvas. This painting represents the change that is going on in my life right now and the beauty of possibility within that change. I've heard it said that God loves His children too much to let them stay the same. I do believe He likes to see us grow and move forward. Stagnancy is never good. I suppose that's one of the reasons I have enjoyed teaching for as long as I have - each day is filled with new challenges, new material, and new lessons for both teacher and students. My change at the end of this school year is to begin pursuing both my writing and my art full time. I am ecstatic, frightened, energized, and I feel like a new student at the first day of class. This is life class. And like my students I find myself wondering if the "teacher" will be kind, strict, forgiving. I'm wondering if she'll have a sense of humor. I'm wondering about the new friends I'll meet and the adventures I'll have. I am a student again.
This last year has taught me that there is much listening I need to do. I have a long way to go. I feel as if I've left the close companionship of Christ to venture out on my own. I'm ready to be a student there as well. I'm so thankful that while I change, and need changing, He never does. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. His love never fades or grows weary. He never gets impatient with His students. He applauds our efforts, cheers our successes, celebrates each tiny victory from a glance His way when it's needed to a blessing shared, a life changed, or a comfort given. And His correction is gentle. What a teacher. What a Savior.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26 NIV
Saturday, April 6, 2013
This is my girl, Lilly. She is deaf. It's a good thing she has a kitty friend to guide her around. We adopted two cats at the same time from a shelter a few years ago. Lilly loves to be near people but prefers to be ON them. Her partner in sweet crime is a big fan of my crochet projects. When the yarn comes out, he takes that as his personal invitation to stretch out on my pattern book and go to sleep. The calm, peace, and joy they give humbles me.
I talk to my students often about the beautiful variety of creatures God created. Why did He do that? Because it pleased Him to do so, and I dare say, He knew it would please us. I love that He bothered to put such sweetness into the creatures He asked us to care for. Many of us have had a special pet that we really seemed to connect with. Do you really think that's an accident? I love how God truly does keep in mind all of our needs...and He fills them so tenderly. I hope you enjoy this picture of one of my precious gifts. I pray God would help us all to have eyes to see the blessings He has given us, and that this knowledge would lead us to stronger faith in Him.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
5 x 7
Acrylic on canvas
This little guy is more a representation of me than anything else. Sheep are not the brightest creatures on earth. Sometimes it seems it takes quite awhile for God's truth to sink its way from my head into my heart and out into my life lived out. I seem to have to relearn God's truths over and over. Can anyone relate? Sheep must rely on their shepherd for everything. They are not meant to be self-sufficient. Still, I often try. I'm always thinking I have to be the one to plan, to see ahead, to think through and be prepared for things - what a joke. Only God has access to the future, has an awesome plan, and the power to carry it out. The question is, will I go my own way trying to see ahead to things I cannot see or relax and let the Shepherd take over? Will you?
"To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling...be glory and majesty." Jude 24-25
Monday, December 31, 2012
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
This is a painting of the Lone Cypress Tree of Carmel that I finally painted for my dad. He and my mom visited that spot on a trip to see my younger sister. I confess I have feared that photo for four years or so now. It was never that I didn't want to paint it, rather, the photograph was so breathtaking and I had absolutely no idea how to capture it. I felt completely inept every time I looked at the picture. You feel a metaphor coming on, don't you? I absolutely love how God uses events in our lives, the simplest of things, to remind us of His truths. I was focussing on the wrong thing.
How many times in life have you looked at something and felt completely inept? Completely NOT up to the task at hand, and you wondered how in the world you were going to manage it? I had a wonderful conversation recently with a dear sweet lady about letting go of control. How do we function as children of God and completely trust? How do we tell the difference between our striving and taking things OUT of God's hands (and trying to manage it on our own) and just taking care of the responsibilities God gives each one of us? I believe it is a moment by moment thing. Just as you do not eat the food you'll need for the whole day in one meal, God does not give us all the strength, direction, guidance, peace, hope, etc. that we'll need all at once for the whole day. It is a relationship where we continue to seek Him and He gives. He continues to show me that my place is at His side; trusting, reaffirming His promises to me, looking for Him in the day's events, and in the faces of the people I meet. He demands silence from me - not as a cruel taskmaster, but as a loving Father who asks me to turn away from the noise of the world and cover myself in silence so that He may be found by me. That is our special place. I look at this tree surrounded by water, high up on a hill and it reminds me to wait. To wait in silence for my God, my Savior, my Lord who promises to never leave me or forsake me. He promises that He will be found by those who seek Him. Seek Him today. Not just once, not twice, but all day, and watch Him change your life. "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek me with your whole heart."
Jer. 29:13 NIV