Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Questions Anyone?

One more day until the end of 2015. 
Time to look back over the year, or in my case, over the past ten years. 

I have been reading through a journal that has taken me ten years to fill. Obviously I don't write often. I'm down to the last pages and will retire it tomorrow. Hopefully, I will be more consistent in writing in my next journal.

One entry a few years ago had to do with questions ...
questions about what I believe ... spiritually. 

I had copied a number of meaningful quotes about questioning that made sense to me.

"Questions are not scary. What is scary is when people don't have any. What is tragic is faith that has no room for them."

"Questions, no matter how shocking or blasphemous or arrogant or ignorant or raw, are rooted in humility. A humility that understands that I am not God. And there is more to know."

"Questions bring freedom. Freedom that I don't have to be God and I don't have to pretend that I have it all figured out. I can let God be God!" 

"Central to the Christian experience is the art of questioning God. Not belligerent, arrogant questions that have no respect for our Maker, but naked, honest, vulnerable, raw questions arising out of the awe that comes from engaging the living God."

~Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis 


In the beginning was the Word......
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
This image taken from cillelitchfield.com
A question that bothered me concerns this verse about the Word.

I've heard for decades that Jesus was at the beginning of the world. We learn that from the verses above.

I struggled with the idea of Jesus floating around at the beginning of the world. Yes, I realize that's a really stupid thought, but as an artist, I am a very visual person. I needed to know what the Word was before it was enfleshed. I questioned. Read various translations. I questioned. I investigated the Hebrew meaning in Strongs Concordance. I continued to question. I dragged out the dictionary, and through all of that, I believe the Holy Spirit gave me quite a beautiful answer that only He knows would satisfy me. 

Now, as I read the beginning of the book of John, I smile. It all makes sense to me.

What are you questioning? 
It's okay. 
It makes God smile knowing that you care.
 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Miracles Happen Un-noticed

     A miracle we humans take for granted is happening in our backyard, as it does every year at this time. Seeds planted last Thursday are beginning to poke their green bodies through the ground cover and will be a lush green carpet by the end of the week. This brings to mind a poem I found so many years ago.
--------------------------
      Fueled by a million man-made wings of fire, the rocket tore a tunnel through the sky and everybody cheered.
      Fueled only by a thought of God, the seedling urged its way thru the thicknesses of black and as it pierced the heavy ceiling of the soil and launched itself up into outer space, no one even clapped.

~Marcie Hans

Friday, March 9, 2012

Praying in Color




I discovered a new book that has helped me in my prayer life.

Usually I send out 'flash' prayers...prayers so quick you could miss them if you weren't listening closely. Often times they are one sentence prayers. Then, later I feel I've really let down the person I was praying for....not allowing much time to concentrate on them.

The method presented in the book Praying in Color by Sybil MacBeth causes me to slow down and really think about the person/situation and look at all the different areas that need to be presented to God.

In a nutshell, I write the name of the person or situation and encircle it with a shape, any shape. Then I add more shapes and lines to the first shape. In my style, I usually create random criss-cross lines and curlie-Q's around the name which creates various shapes. I then decorate those shapes with gel pens of various colors, metallic, sparkle pens, etc. As I decorate I think (spend time) with the person, and as areas of need come to my mind, I offer them to God. When I'm finished, I feel like I've really interceded for that person and I am satisfied.

Here are some examples:




Thursday, January 13, 2011

Torn Between Two Interests











I haven't posted here for a long time because I've become addicted to art journaling. I'll put my writing aside for awhile here and just upload a few art journaling pages for my new friends at Milliande Art Studio.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Art Journaling Madness


"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

Anais Nin must have been talking about me with that quote. The day is here and opening into a blossom is a thrilling experience.

My struggle with art has always been that I felt I wasn't "creating" anything. Sure, I was making paintings, but in analyzing the process I told myself I was copying what I saw and learning techniques to complete the painting.
I envied the students in my art class at the community college who could come up with the most wild ideas and turn it into a painting. So, imagine the joy when I discovered art journaling. There are so many books, websites, and videos that talk about art journaling. This process is truly creative. Start with a blank page, slop on some acrylics, watercolors, or collage pieces and take off! I'm still a bit "tight" with my planning of the page because I like to have my page speak to a subject. But with practice, that tightness might disappear.For now, I'll just continue opening my petals and soak in that sunshine of creativity.

**Footnote....for those of you who can't seem to get started creating, you might have the problem I had. Disorganization! I had to set up a corner of the room just for art journaling with all the supplies I use within an arm's reach. There's nothing more annoying than to constantly be jumping up to retrieve a tool, paper, paint, or scissors from various places
in the room or closet.




Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Comfort Zones


Yesterday was a day like no other. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and was blessed.

I visited with inmates at the prison and walked away feeling grateful that I had come.

Yes...comfort zones are made to be stepped out of.


Matthew 25:34-36 Then I, the King, shall say to those at my right, 'Come, blessed of my Father, into the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. For I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me water; I was a stranger and you invited me into your homes; naked and you clothed me; sick and in prison, and you visited me.'

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Relationship on the Highwire


I'm not an authority on the bird world. Actually I can't speak with authority on anything, but that subject will be tackled another day. So, read this posting as "thoughts from a bird brain."

Here in Phoenix, we're recovering from quite a severe rain storm. I often wonder where the birds hide to survive during the winds that force the rain to fly in a horizontal pattern.

The day after the storm hit, while the sky was still a slate gray dotted with menacing clouds, I spotted many birds lined up on the electrical wires like notes on a music staff. It's not an unusual sight during the winter. Why, I wonder, do they take roost out in the open when they could be comfortably hidden in the dense natal plum bushes that line the base of our house. Possibly the wires are warm and it's a substitute for socks on their feet? Afterall, if your feet are warm, your body feels warmer.

Another thing I've noticed is how they usually group together. Sometimes twenty or thirty in a row...evenly spaced I might add. Yet, they seem to be only a wings-width apart; just close enough to have physical contact with a fellow bird. Perhaps they experience a sense of security with the others in close proximity.

I may never know the answers to these silly musings, but it gives my bird brain exercise.

P.S. Look closely at the picture (taken from National Geographic). Even in Birdworld, you'll find a comedian in the crowd!

Luke 12:6,7 What's the price of five sparrows? A couple of pennies? Not much more than that. Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And he knows the number of hairs on your head! Never fear, you are far more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Memory Box

Oh No! Here it comes, sneaking up on me without warning. They say it happens to everyone, but I didn't expect it to happen so soon. Now it's time to deal with it...memory loss.

First it manifests itself in simple things like "Hmmm...where did I put my glasses?", or "What do you mean, we already saw that movie?" Then it attacks more serious areas such as "What time is that meeting today, or is it tomorrow?, and "In which aisle did I park the car?"

So before my memory completely fails me, I will save some of it in my memory box. I won't bother saving the memories that begin with "I remember back in '82", because I'll always remember what happened in the past. It's the happenings of yesterday or even this morning that I might need to toss into the box. Then, when that memory loss sneaks up on me, I'll show it who's boss! I'll check my memory box ... and find the one I'm looking for floating around inside.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Let's Zentangle



Zentangling. Sounds like a dance doesn't it! Well, actually it's my latest discovery on how to pass the time when I don't want to think too much. All it takes is a pen, some paper, and patience. I could just casually doodle them, but being the perfectionist that I am, I take my time... a whole lot of time... to precisely draw the design.


I think my husband enjoys my Zentangling. I actually sit in the living room with him while he watches football, basketball, tennis or whatever. Maybe he considers it quality time.



Although this is glorified doodling, the name Zentangle has been copyrighted. You will find the originators' website at www.zentangle.com.

I'm thankful for my desire to create.







Exodus 31:3 "I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftmanship to devise artistic designs...."


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Psalm 151


Psalm 151

Sing to the Lord, all you people,
Sing to our great Creator God!
He has given us many gifts for our pleasure.

Sing thanksgiving for sight –
To view the brilliant sunsets,
and the stars and all of nature.
The smile of a loved one.

Sing thanksgiving for hearing –
To listen to the mockingbird’s song,
and the crunch of dry leaves under foot.
The laughter of a baby.

Sing thanksgiving for smell –
To enjoy the jasmine in bloom on the trellis,
and the earthy forest moss.
Fresh cut grass.

Sing thanksgiving for touch –
To feel the gentle breeze against a face,
and the softness of angora wool.
A hug.

Sing thanksgiving for taste –
To experience the sweetness of the strawberry,
and the tartness of the grapefruit.
The jalapeno’s bite.

Sing to the Lord, all you people,
He blesses us with five senses.
O, that we may never take them for granted.
Sing thanksgiving for Life.

Baby Joshua, born July 9, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I've Learned a Lesson

There was a time when this photo really spoke to me. It wasn't long ago when I seemed to be bombarded with the idea of "solitude."




....while reading a book, there it was
.... a devotional would speak of the need
.... a quote would come from nowhere.
.... but most of all, I'd find myself wanting to run away for a day, or a week, not understanding what was driving these thoughts.


When I found this photo, I had a longing to be there, to have that book be mine. To have the cup bear my lip print. The photo made me feel comfortable. I decided I needed to write about it on my blog.
But that was then.
Now as I try to express my feelings, I can't. I should have done it when the mood hit. It probably would have made for a more interesting post.

Matthew 14:23 ...He went up into the hills to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Letter to Different Time

Dear Suzie,
I wish I could sit down with you at this stage in your life…the year of this picture. If only I could be with you to teach you some important things about yourself. Soon, after Mom dies, you will leave Buffalo and move to Wisconsin with Grandma. It will be a good move, creating some of the happiest years of your childhood.


As I look back over those years, I realize you will wander through life not really being aware of who you are. Not the superficial “who you are”, but the deep-down-inside “who you are.” As far as I can remember, no one ever taught you how to live life to its full potential. I feel I’ve also failed in this area with your future children. I really believe, Suzie, that after all these many years, I’m only now learning "who we are."
I want to talk to you about an incident that will happen the day you begin the fifth grade. Unfortunately, you will not be able to respond to it in a positive manner. And, considering that I have it in my memory today, it will be something that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.
A boy, new to the school, will come to your classroom. His name is Harvey. Nice boy, son of the new minister in town. His father will leave him in the classroom and Harvey will run to the cloakroom window to watch him go. He will cry. Kids will laugh at him….but not you. You will hurt for him. That’s because you will know how he feels. You see, you experienced the same thing just the year before when Dad took you away to live in Milwaukee. But happily you returned to Grandma's house after that year was over.
Unfortunately, you will be too afraid to go to Harvey and try to comfort him. You will be too young to know how to do that…and much too shy. But it's okay. There are so many lessons to learn.

Harvey, I’m sorry I didn't help you that day.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sheets Revisited


Just wanted to share the birthday card daughter Dana made for me yesterday. This card was created because of a conversation our family had last Thanksgiving. Check out my post from November 2008 entitled "Sheets."
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine. ~~Found somewhere in the Bible :0)

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Simple Life

Remember the phrase, “biting off more that you can chew”? Perhaps I’m about to do that. In this post I plan to make a statement about the purpose of life. Me!...a middle-60’s woman without a completed college degree is about to address a subject that has been discussed by the greatest philosophers throughout the ages.

Until just recently, I believed there was something "great" that God wanted me to do with my life. This thinking was especially vivid after being healed of cancer. There was a purpose for this healing…he had a special plan for my life. I just needed to find it. I’m sure I am not alone in this quest to find a purpose.

Well…here I am after four years…still wondering what the “great thing” is!

Recently I’ve been reading books by Donald Miller, Jim Palmer, Rob Bell, and the Bible. They all seem to point to the same thing. It’s a simple thing, really. As Jim Palmer puts it in his book Wide Open Spaces: “God’s purpose for me, for you, for everyone is to know him.” That's it.

Look what the apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:10…”For my determined purpose is that I may know him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His person more strongly and more clearly.]” (Amplified version)

To carry it a bit further, I think it all boils down to the two commandments that Jesus instructed us to do. I appreciate the way William Young (author of The Shack) puts it on his blog…”Love God, love your neighbor as yourself, and love yourself. Then go help people because you love them.”

I’m beginning to believe this is the purpose for my life.
Excuse me while I go to chew on it for awhile.



Jesus himself said, (John 17:3) Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Blessing Takes a Strange Form

Sometimes God uses the most unusual circumstances to speak to me. Perhaps it’s because when I’m wrapped up in the norm, I fail to see His leading. Such was my day yesterday.

As an artist, there are days that I just can’t get it together. No matter what I produce, I see it as crap. I experienced a day like that in class yesterday. My reaction to failure was so extreme that I wanted to pack up all my art supplies and sell them at a garage sale.

I went from that attitude to…”what is the purpose of my life anyway? Nothing I do is worth anything.” God healed me from cancer four years ago and I feel that I’ve wasted those years. What monumental thing for God have I done during those four years? NOTHING!

It’s at those emotional times I head out to walk the mountain in our neighborhood. I have two special places I go to talk to God. After arriving at my “prayer rock” I laid my hand on the huge boulder and cried “Lord, I need to know my purpose…I need to know the direction you want me to go.” As I was standing there in the silence, I began to hear a strange sound…a humming that grew louder and louder. I looked up and saw a cloud of insects heading straight towards me. My first thought was of the “killer bees” which we have here in Arizona. All I could do was stand totally still hoping they would pass and not notice me.

After they passed I realized they were headed in the direction of the path that would take me back down the mountain. I wasn’t about to go that way just in case they were lying in wait! Instead, I decided to take an unknown trail in the opposite direction. I remember telling God that I hoped the direction I was walking would take me where I needed to go rather than up to the top of the mountain. Eventually the path began a downward slope, and ahead I saw the parking lot at the bottom of the path. In that moment I understood He will lead me, even if I don’t realize He’s doing it.

As for the purpose of life….That will be my next post.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Melody of Mirth

Today I found another message on the wrapper of a Dove candy piece. It's funny how these messages speak to me. This one says "Lose yourself in a moment."

I was reminded of a special moment a few days ago. It was one of those days when I wasn't feeling quite like myself...spirits down. The morning sun was shining through the open window accompanied by a refreshing breeze. A beautiful golden glow showered the room. Those things alone should have been enough to lift my spirits, but they didn't.

Suddenly, an all too familiar sound caught my ear from just outside the window. A mockingbird song. The melody of the mockingbird is delightful, cheery, and sometimes even funny. I found myself chuckling quietly. The smile felt good to my face. All it took was one small bird to release me from my heaviness. I was definitely "Lost in the moment."

Draw Beauty from every flower and Joy from the song of the birds. Listen to a bird. Take the song as a message from My Father. Let it sink into your soul. It will be given back to the world again by you in the form of a smile or a loving word or a kind thought or a prayer. Laugh more, laugh often. Love more. I am with you. I am your Lord.
~God Calling, March 11

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork." ~Psalm 19:1

Monday, March 9, 2009

I really must wear my glasses

I read today on my yahoo page that those killer tomatoes are at it again. The headline read "Midwest tomatoes destroy homes...some roads flooded."


But on closer examination, I realized they were tornadoes, not tomatoes.
Where are those glasses when I need them!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

How often do we think of this?

From a reading in God Calling....
"How little man knows and senses My need! My need of Love and Companionship.
I came "to draw men unto Me," and sweet it is to feel hearts drawing near in Love, not for help, as much is for tender comradeship.
Many know the need of man; few know the need of Christ."






"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20

Taken from God Calling, February 29
Photo compliments of my camera

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Need I say more?


James 4:14 "How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog--it's here for a little while, then it's gone."

Photo compliments of the wrapper from my DOVE dark chocolate candy. Thank you, DOVE, for the reminder.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Think I'm Hooked!

I'm constanting discovering interesting things on the internet, with the latest being art journaling. Just enter "art journaling" into Google search and see what people are doing. I've experimented with it in the past, but usually didn't know what subject or theme to journal about. As of last night, I've become serious about it.

I use the devotional book God Calling often since my bout with cancer and have highlighted many sentences that touched me spiritually and emotionally. Last night, I became inspired to take those passages and represent them visually in my art journal.

Well, I've been working all evening, and although it's past midnight, I need to report my excitement. What fun I've had creating. The picture here is part of the page I created... the portion which represent the year past. The following is the text from which it is taken:

(January 1) I stand between the years. The Light of My Presence is flung across the year to come - the radiance of the Sun of Righteousness. Backward, over the past year, is My Shadow thrown, hiding trouble and sorrow and disappointment.

Bury every fear of the future, of poverty for those dear to you, of suffering, of loss. Bury all thought of unkindness and bitterness, all your dislikes, your resentments, your sense of failure, your disappointment in others and in yourselves, your gloom, your despondency, and let us leave them all, buried, and go forward to a new and risen life.


I encourage you to try art journaling. You don't have to be an artist. You don't have to make a pretty picture. The only requirement is ... you must have fun!

You can find God Calling here:

http://www.twolisteners.org/January%201%20-%2015.htm