Look Again

I saw the something where the other had been proposed.

Painting over.

Left alone, a tiny bit tired over the way it hadn’t developed the as my heart hoped, strived for, imagined.

Look for good.

Look for God.

The tiny bit of light, the sunlight landing on one square of a blank canvas, painted dark and waiting for something.

The spot became water, I changed my idea of what a now finished piece would be. I left it, came back and saw it differently.

The piece did not turn out the way it began.

We don’t know what God has in mind for what has begun in us, what situation has come, has caused us to “come undone”.

We can’t predict the outcome. We can only be faithful to work in progress or thought not finished.

Faithful in our trust, faithful in our decision to continue surrendering

Our lives like blank canvas to his hand a broad stroke of brush or detailed pencil points added.

Pick back up.

Begin again.

Art imitating life, pieces coming together.

Look for God today. Look for good that is likely hard to see. Look for good in everything.

Look for God. Pray.

Trust. Wait.

Continue and believe.

In the Pause

If I hadn’t stepped away from the large canvas covered in colors I’m not happy with

I’d not have texted my daughter to check on her daughter’s fever.

I’d not have gotten her good word,

Walk it out. HB

If I hadn’t told her I was unhappy with the painting.

If I hadn’t said “Yep.” with such resolve I may not have walked at all.

It’s cold.

Not too cold.

Sun still and I told myself as I struck out I’d been walking this way for a while.

This walking strongly, walking as a prescription, walking fast, walking with a song.

Long time.

If I hadn’t decided to pause to notice the squirrel I’d not have tilted my face to find the 3/4 moon against blue vastness.

I wouldn’t have lingered happy with the way the sun glazed the crinkly branches.

I would not have noticed the male cardinal on the tip top skinny gray and fragile limb.

Color so red. I rested.

I paused and then walked.

Again.

If the sun had not been fading down I’d not have seen my shadow like a reflection on the side of a house.

The shadow showing in the forward force of my arms, my legs, my shoulders, what I felt.

Determination

And going, going.

If I hadn’t taken the long way around over dread of sundown, I’d not have heard the few lines about story in a song.

Bear your cross as you wait for your crown. Tell the world of the treasure you’ve found. Elevation Worship, Come to the Altar

No, if I’d not paused from frustrated creating, I’d not have been restored.

To again be creative.

Different, new.

Growing.

Bursting in a slow promise.

Walking, a pause at the altar

Laying down burdens and writing new stories.

Pausing for treasure.

From 1 to 700 or More – Good Things

Last night my husband agreed.

You’re not tech savvy, are you?

I’m not. I don’t worry over linking my Pandora to a blue tooth speaker. Oddly, curious over this blog though, this morning I delved into the tab marked stats.

The same husband who pointed out my ineptness over speakers told me he read my blog the night before.

His comment?

How was Panera?

One thing for sure, he’s predictable, and a non-restaurant dining fan.

Oh well.

I began blogging in 2014. The most viewed post had 127 views. I began with 1 follower and five years ago had over 2700 viewers in some way shape or form.

I wrote about work, about suicide, about my children, our dogs, about my growing understanding and often doubtful relationship with God.

I had a tendency to center my content. I guess I thought that was cute (?)

It was unnecessary and well, amateurish and unskilled. I began using my own photos back then and I still do. I sort of love this way.

My most read post was about my children and a blogger who had asked for prayer for her son.

Read here:

Most read in 2014

I’ve come a long way. It’s nice to see my writing is an indication of this.

I am glad I kept blogging. It could have easily been just one of those trendy things I copied my daughter on.

She, once was a blogger. She shared such good words and beauty.

She and my son are very good writers. Maybe future bloggers, writers, story and wisdom sharers.

They’d say.

We got it from our mama.

And I’d say and mean it…”Well thank ya!”

I’ve come a long way.

They have too, daughter who teaches 1st graders and a sweet sweet mama to a little baby named Elizabeth.

Son who survived, no excelled at The Citadel, a military college and is in the home stretch of grad school for CPA.

Both are well and love me well.

Both have grown.

Haven’t we all?

Happy New Year with new chances for good writing, good things, just good!

Thank you, important to me, precious reader!

New Year Word

What do you know of yourself because of 2019?

How can you be honest with you?

It is good to understand your ways, good to be truthful with yourself, good to right unintended wrongs.

I can be distant, lose connections, be a not so dependable friend.

I’ve got some notes to send, some catching up to do with my “colors” the women who supported me through the years.

In a way the year has felt like an onslaught, a flood, a deluge of concerns along with a swift flowing stream of so much love.

My word was “faithful” in 2019, meaning I was faithful to keep pursuing God’s way for me and knowing He was gonna be faithful in His care for me.

Just kept on going, kept being buoyed in the storms, safe and learning.

We went out to the country the day after Christmas. Because of the rain we expected the dam would have bursted and his parents’ pond might be empty.

But it wasn’t, we walked together towards the edge, following the sound of bubbling, the soft yet strong flood of overflow towards the wide tree planted creek.

So, no problem. We stood and then stayed a while. It was quiet, tucked away in a back corner of his parents’ land.

The dock seemed more brilliant in color, the sun and shade mixing the tint to an almost feminine green, green like the color of spring, green like soft velvet.

The pads on the surface some with long weedy tendrils were situated softly, not overgrown in a cluster.

Okay alone.

.

Mostly single floating blooms.

The little bridge he built of old wood was bordered by stone he made from bags of cement.

But, it didn’t seem manmade. It looked as if the water’s edge was made of a beautiful white stone, marbled by harsh weather.

A lily pad top was resting, its softness molded into stone.

Must’ve been forced from the pond by the flood of water and somehow rather than drown in the rushing torrent, it was found pretty by me.

I knew the sight was meant to be mine to see. Other than just a bit of nature, there was something else for me.

I choose not so seriously a word every year. I don’t spend time in prayer or take time to decide. It’s always just happened to be found and I decided it made sense.

And then, it has.

It does.

In my Bible next to the verse I call “life”, I’ve penciled the last few years in.

“Breakthrough”: 2017

“Still”: 2018

“Faithful”: 2019

“Endurance”, I’ve decided, my word for 2020.

Because I could settle with the good enough I know, my life is good, my family, my marriage, my children.

My art, my piecing together of words into sentences, stories.

All of the former would be wasted in my settling, if I didn’t endure to the calling forward.

My breakthrough in healing over past trauma, my getting better at waiting, not forcing, of being “still”. My grasp of God’s faithfulness and my ownership of it.

After all this time, I believe it’s not just for others, that He loves even me.

So, endurance?

Yes.

Endurance like the pond’s flower, not resisting the strong rush of water, being pliable, being carried to a safe place and resting there to be seen as strong and surrendered to whatever.

What still will come.

He will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground which will be rich and plenteous. Isaiah 30:23

The seeds from my breakthrough were scattered, not wasted and there was a stagnant period that felt like a flailing of me and my value.

Still, I waited.

It was unpleasant and heartbreaking at times. Waiting felt like being nothing, doing nothing, like the end of possibility because of my age.

But, I painted still and I was frantic over every chance to be seen as important, either a writer or an artist.

I was pitiful at times, seeking pity from others too.

None of this stopped God from holding on to His hope for my purpose. I was persistent although struggling, what He saw was that I was “faithful”.

Now, days from a new decade, I’m seeing joy in all of it. Being chosen for exhibits, an idea making sense and being well received, a 2020 calendar, a different perspective on the “Colors” memoir manuscript.

A brave goal by the end of January, 30 pieces to launch a more serious art website. (?!?)

I was brave in 2019. I made choices I would have never made before, choices that are not the choices of a timid victim, choices that said “victim no more”, no longer controlled by fear.

2020 will be a year of remembrance, I’ll be buoyed farther from the safe and hidden shore and I’ll not expect unwavering tides or resting ease.

I’ll go where his faithfulness has brought me and I’ll trust with endurance the newly emerging artist and writer, woman of me.

I’ll endure to see more clearly what God made me to be.

Because of mercy, I’ll continue. LT

Now I rise from my “morning spot” to tackle to the waiting list in my workroom, newly cleaned, brushes washed, desks rearranged, laptop and manuscript newly placed.

A letter for my “colors”, finish two commissions, one of which has made me feel so ill-equipped and then begin the first of 30 new pieces.

I’ll begin today and then

Endure.

the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina

Your Gift

Whether you believe or not

It is true.

You’re gifted.

Your gift?

Your story, the truth of it, what that truth has taught you, what God desires you not keep boxed up.

Your gift is your belonging because of or despite your story.

You’re gifted with stuff you should never stuff down

Nor keep tightly wrapped

Nor keep it hidden in the darkness of your heart.

The events that made you, the hard, the happy, the glorious.

There are times I believe it’s essential to remember the before things, it’s beneficial to not forget the ugly so that you can smile when you communicate to others the pretty.

I told a story twice yesterday. The story of this drawing, a drawing in my Bible, a print I call a “margin girl”.

The professional gently turned the pages of my Bible, she positioned the page on the scanner.

With the first of my five she asked what I called it and I answered.

Made well.

The drawing depicts the story of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’s garment and was made well.

We examined the print closely together, the lines so clear, the color so vivid.

I thanked her.

I told her that this is one of my favorite stories.

She paused and said she didn’t know it.

So I told her.

I told her I wonder if the color is too graphic, the deep red that encircles the woman’s gown that represents blood, years of incapacitating menstrual flow.

She listened as I continued with remembering how Jesus was intentional in finding her. He wanted her to know her faith had made her well.

Told her.

Go in peace.

Later, I sold this print and three others. I stood with two women who knew this story and now, the story of God and my art.

Now, they know that little bit of my story.

Not kept hidden, wrapped tight or concealed for dread of paralyzing trigger.

No, our stories are gifts.

We’re gifted and we’re givers.

Share your story, feel your soul open wider, your heart expand to allow others in.

Know the glow they’re seeing, the soft fire in your eyes.

No, you don’t see what they see.

But, oh my goodness you surely feel it.

So, that thing or things that made you stronger, wiser, sure ‬‬and surer of mercy and grace?

Give it to others.

“And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:50‬ ‭ESV

Your gift.

Share and give.

And continue.

Continue and believe.

Breakfast, Dreams Unsettled and Possibility

I’ve only scratched the surface, understanding who I am. Some things I’ve settled on being done with, the unsettled traumas no longer unsettling me. I’m not settled, though, on all I’ve yet to see, what God made me for, possibility.

Before I went to the kitchen cabinet I remembered, I didn’t buy the cereal.

I woke up this morning and laid quietly anticipating my decided on Raisin Bran with banana swimming in creamy white milk.

I’d be on the second cup of dark coffee made the color of soft wheat with my half and half cream and a tiny bit of honey.

Raisin Bran is my favorite. It had been years since I had allowed my treat. After having just what I wanted for breakfast yesterday, I made up my mind to do it again.

Sigh, I took the other road, I bought the cardboard textured granola.

I settled.

This is not unique to me, this deciding something less is better for me, deciding I’ll just stop here, only the small good things were meant to be mine.

It is not unique to me that under the layers of self-critique there resides untapped potential, joyous possibility.

It was good and better for me. My rebellion towards sugar only slightly compromised already today. It was good, the granola.

Many years ago, my diet was deprivation. I survived on lettuce laced with mustard and then blew it out by Thursday on keg party beer and Krystal burgers. The memories are not pleasant. I’d love to frame them funny, just not possible.

Now I allow what I want on occasion and I don’t diet harshly or with rigid expectations. I may be close to deciding the 15 pounds I’d like to lose, been talking about it for a few years, have settled, they might be the allowance of grace I need to give me.

Other settling?

Art, book, health, career…I’ve not achieved as much as others here. I’m heavy on the ideas and light on the sticking with them.

Not settling, just waiting and maybe accepting.

Yesterday, I got an email rejection in regards to a story I’ve written about my grandmother, edited three times and sent three separate places now.

What am I to do with these sweet words? I really don’t know. I have so many it’s crazy. How do you settle with them never going anywhere. Writing is hard. I’m not sure why I’ve not quit by now.

Take Me To The Water

Last night after dinner I returned to the large canvas. My daughter had an idea for a painting she’d love over her bed.

Try, try again I did. Covered over covered layers and wiped the whole canvas one color. Again.

“Have I forgotten how to paint?” the familiar aching question.

I stayed at it, kept adding color and layers and I did not quit until I could snap a pic and send to my daughter.

“Beautiful”, was her reply and then that she knew I could sell it and that I should and it shouldn’t be hers for free.

But, it will be if she loves it in person. It will live in the home of she and her husband, their daughter. I won’t find another canvas and recreate it. No, this will be hers.

I don’t want her to settle.

I’m not settling on the small things any longer. I’m having toast with my cheesy scrambled eggs and dark chocolate with almonds in the evening with red wine.

Deprivation to me leans toward punishment. I do love to call myself out. Self-critique over my lack of writing progress is defeating. Pondering perfection based on the price haggled over for painting, so exhausting.

I’ll return to the easel now and I’ve jotted down new thoughts for the book idea. Both, more storytelling and less audience seeking.

And maybe for lunch, I’ll have a Peanut Butter and Jelly, just a half of sandwich on the crusty bread, crunchy peanut butter spread with sweet fig preserves.

I’m believing the wisdom of Psalms and beginning to want to know it full well. I’m choosing to savor everything and be satisfied in the truth that I have only barely begun to know the me made by God.

Good Settling

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:14-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There’s some freedom for me there. In the uncovering of my layers. There’s all sorts of unsettling of my thoughts, my days, my offerings to others.

May it be the same with you.

Hope and Strength 2020

I sometimes wish I didn’t love both.

Art and words.

I paint what I call “female forms”.

Some call them angels.

I’ve designed a 2020 calendar. Each month has a thought, a little nudge and a Bible verse.

11×17 on ivory, images large enough for framing.

More photos later and I’ll add to my shop.

For now….just writing about it here.

I’ve done something new.

Feels like a whim.

Is a whim a leap of faith?

Maybe.

Maybe.

More info on ordering this week!