Time Flies

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Do you have a good concept of time?  I don’t, not really.  For example, today I sat on the couch reading a good book, nodded off, and before I knew it I woke up and it was dark outside and I had to rush to get dinner figured out.  Yesterday, I wrote down on two different calendars Annika’s basketball game was at one, only to arrive and find out it was at noon.  I can plan ahead one week at a time, but what is going on the next week?  Not sure.  I will undoubtedly be surprised with it when it arrives.  Other times, I am amazed at how much I accomplish and how little we miss or are late for considering how many commitments we have.

I was reading Unbroken this afternoon and time played a huge part:  first they floated with nothing for 47 days, then sat in silence in POW camps, then were forced to work 18 hour days.  It made me wonder, which was worse?  The waiting with nothing to do?  Or meaningless, endless, backbreaking work?   The thing that really stood out to me about Zamperini’s survival is how he piloted his time.  He made sure his mind was in use continually, and it is probably what helped save him.

It made me think about how I pilot my time.  Do I use it wisely? Am I using my mind?  Am I truly letting God guide me?  I can decide how my time here on earth is utilized each day.  Did I use it loving others?  Or, like the artwork above, was I a predator bearing down on prey?  Was I the prey and I hid?  Or was I wise enough to escape situations?

Before I let time fly this week, before I mess up our schedule, I am going to be prayerful about it.  I am going to make an honest attempt to use my time wisely this week.  And that does include sitting on the couch to finish my book.  🙂

How about you?

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Proverbs 31 Woman

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Proverbs 31 Woman:  it is a tagline we see often.  There are whole ministries surrounding these verses.  And they are good.  I see it mean a lot of different things to different people.

Today the part that is striking me is:  LAUGHS.  She laughs without fear.  At the future.  Because she knows that she is surrounded by God and has strength in Him.

She has HUMOR.  Such an incredibly important part of life.  And too often overlooked.  Too often poo-pooed as not serious enough, not deep enough, not intellectual enough.

Whatever.

I think it is the most important part of life.  If we can’t laugh at ourselves, at others, at the silly stuff we say and do, at the crazy things that just happen, at the future, what is our time worth?  Worrying?  Fear? I say it takes a crazy strong person to be able to LAUGH, to say I am not going to be mired down, that I am not going to take things too seriously, that I am backed by a God who has got this, now and forever.  Now, that is faith.

So here is a funny:  Tim Hawkins.  You need to youtube this guy.  My good friend introduced us to him this week.  He sings Bible Atheist songs.  He has a list of Christian cuss words, which my kids picked up on immediately.  They have been walking around the house all week saying, “Shove a crud muffin in your pie hole you fart knocker!”  all week and end up in fits of giggles on the floor.  What does that even mean?  Nothing.  All because those were the words they picked up on from the list.  My husband was appalled until I explained that they are playing with these words, and feel like they are getting away with something really big.  In reality, it is not big, but something to take strength in that our kids have found humor, that it is in something innocuous, that they can enjoy our language, that they can live in the moment without fear or worry.  That they can enjoy the laughter and endorphins God planned for us.

For they can laugh in the strength and dignity of their faith.

Shut the front door.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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blessed beyond belief

Just a short note today…IMG_0006One of the parts of my goal for 2014 OBEY is to remember to be grateful.  Jesus commanded it.  So each week I am going to either look back for art that reminds me of all the good in my life, or to make a new piece.  This one has been around for awhile, but I keep it where I can see it.

Today I am going to make a list in my journal of all the little blessings from today.  I will share soon.  One blessing is you…thanks for visiting the blog and facebook and ordering from Etsy.  Thanks for sharing photos of where you have the art.

 

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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More Butterflies Becoming

I think I like butterflies.  🙂  And I have this stencil that I like to use…so this particular shape has a tendency to land in my journal often.  IMG_0015IMG_0029

 

These are apropro for today.  It’s my birthday.  (The fact I am telling you is actually kind of crazy…I do NOT celebrate usually.)

It reminds me that even though as my husband reminded me, I am half way to dead (40, hahaha Jeffrey), I am still a work in progress.  These are good little reminders that when I allow myself to to soar and do what I am meant to do, it is lighter, better, freer, happier.   I am still becoming the person God created me to be.  He still has lots of plans for me on a long road.  I can change who I am:  whether I keep slowly progressing toward something better and better, or even if I slip and fall back into the pit sometimes, I can fly back out.  Everyday is a new opportunity to laugh and love at the good and the bad.

And that is what this birthday is, cathartic.  Opening the wings and coming out of a cocoon, allowing myself grace for the past and looking toward the future with antennae on high alert for the good stuff.

Two years ago, I was not in a good place head wise on this day so I decided to do something different:  I did a random acts of kindness day.  The kids and I spent any money they would have used for a present to buy flowers for people, hand mints out at Walmart, buy a kid a balloon and a lady some diapers and some guy some gas.  I encouraged my friends and family to do the same.  They let me know what they did and that was good stuff.  We are going to repeat today and do some RAKS.  Want to join me?  Let me know in the comments if you do.  It will make you feel lighter and brighter, I guarantee.

 

 

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
3

Progress at the rate of a Turtle

Sometimes, I feel like my artwork, this blog, and the Etsy shop are taking off and doing more than I ever expected.  And other days, I feel like it can’t move faster to my ultimate goal fast enough.  And I have to remind myself, that continuous progress is what really matters.

This is not one of the better art pieces, I sort of ran out of space.  But I still wanted to share it.
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Plato said that.  387 B.C. ish.  It sometimes amazes me to think that 2500 years ago they needed this reminder.  I think of how many times Jesus had to remind his disciples in the Bible.  (You can tell he really wanted to give some of them a V8 slap up side the head sometimes.  I love when He repeats Himself over and over and over.  I would LOVE to see His “teacher look”…you know He had one.)  I think of how I have to be reminded constantly.

During a discussion this weekend with my family (we love a good political, religious debate) we talked about the Israelites vs. everyone in the Old Testament.  Talk about slow progress and not getting it!  Humanity is SLOW.  So many times we just don’t get it.  Progress is like watching mold grow on the leftovers in the fridge.

We are not going to have fast progress all the time.  We are just not.  We are fighting fights that have been around for centuries.  Very little is truly new.  People have thought that they had it the hardest, newest, slowest, most violent, least faithful for centuries.

But does this mean we should give up?  Never.  We are all making progress, one day at a time through this life.  All of us.  We should never discourage ourselves or anyone who is trying to follow God’s path, anyone who is trying to do the right thing, anyone making the turtle steps toward the big goal.  Build one another up.  Encourage one another.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Fight the Good Fight

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Good morning!

There are a lot of races in life.  A lot of fights to get through.  Some are short but seem loooong:  my family has had the flu one at a time for the last two weeks, ending with me last Wednesday-Saturday.  I thought it would never end, despite the very short time period.

Some are years in the making.  My family came to visit this weekend from Iowa and Ohio, which was awesome because we only get to have everyone all together once or twice a year.  One of our celebrations marked my 40th year.    Soon we will celebrate my “little” guy’s 7th.

Some races are literal, I have a friend that ran in two Ironman races this fall.  She is awesome!  She has been training for years for this, what a huge accomplishment.

Maybe you are looking for a new job, waiting for a cure to an illness/disease, getting through college, waiting for a baby or an adoption, waiting for a vacation, a new home, a visit, a call, a drive through…..

Like my nephew asked all the way from Iowa, “Are we on the fast road?  When are we going to get there?  Shouldn’t we take a fast road?  Why are those cars going faster Daddy?  Which road do we need to take?”  Six hours worth of waiting.

We always want things Now.  But that isn’t always 1.  Possible  2.  In God’s Plan.  His master plan and timing are all up to HIM, our creator.  Our Savior will lead us eventually to HIM.  And that is what all things really lead to…the love and the grace that He gives us and teaches us to share.

In this verse Paul is in prison.  He is sitting and waiting and waiting and waiting.  But he can have a light heart, because he knows that he did what was needed.  He kept faith.  If we can do the same…even in times when it takes years of waiting, or the waiting is excruciating…we can turn to God.  He will help us fight this fight.  He will help us keep the faith.

And in the very end, we are all rewarded with Jesus.

 

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
0

Fly in a big way

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This is another piece from last summer, really, I paint more than I can keep up blogging.  Hence, why you get art almost every day  now.  This one was inspired by the barn swallows dive bombing my parent’s poor cat.  They are such a fun bird to watch, little dare devils they are, swooping and spinning up and down and all over.  And I heard Jamie Grace’s new song Do Life Big about the same time.  To me, it matched up.  I saw those birds taking all sorts of chances with grace and agility.  Their yellow bellies would flash in the sunlight and you could almost see a sparkle in their eyes.  It was just FUN.  Not halfway, but all out celebration in flight.

When was the last time you took a chance and did something just for the FUN of it?  It can be something simple…you wore that crazy outfit combo?  You stopped and got dessert in the middle of the day by yourself?  You bought a bouquet of flowers for your table?  You hung out in a book store and read all the old Calvin and Hobbes comics?  You went sledding if you are in the cold or surfing for our lucky warm friends?  Maybe it was just staying up extra late to watch a favorite movie.

Sometimes something fun and fresh can break up the monotony and bring that sparkle back–which can be so important this time of year.  Because at the same time, it awakens gratitude and grace.  All those wonderful endorphins wake up and start swooping through out veins.  It’s funny how God set that up, isn’t it?

How could you change your day by doing life big today?

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Caterpillar Wings

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This is one of those pieces, that I cannot believe I have not shared yet from last summer.  I love this one.  It reminds me of my oldest daughter.  Every morning she is rolled up tight in her blanket like a caterpillar in a little cocoon, and I have to pry her wings out to help her wake up and fly.

A lot of us crawl along, inching our way toward goals, taking our time, being overly cautious too often.  When really, we just need to unfurl those gorgeous wings God attached to our backs and let loose on the breezes.  A beautiful thing.  He is ready for us to use our gifts to love on our neighbors, and ourselves.  He wants us to be ready.

A little business:  my hubs reminds me, I should really support my habit sometimes.  You know, paper, pens, the like.  SO:  have you stopped by the ETSY shop?  There is a nice little link above on the navigation bar under my banner that will take you right there!  There are over 100 different artworks available there as prints:  4×6, 5×7, 8×10, and  greeting card size.  Valentine’s day is coming—by the time you order and I ship, it will be perfect timing!  Plan your birthday, graduation, or religious event card needs now and stock up.  Or just find something to brighten someone’s day.  And there are journals:  use them to write love notes back and forth, prayers, lists, journaling.    Love ya’ll!

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
1

make a Call

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I saw in a magazine recently, or a blog, or anyway..somewhere…a reminder to just call someone up to just CHAT.  Not a text, or email, or call that you hope reaches voicemail, but an honest to goodness LONG PHONE CALL.  One where you used to sit in a chair twirling a cord, one that other people would fight to get you off.  For me it’s a call that I can get all the windows and doors wiped down while I chat away –my ADD requires I do something with my hands.  (You can always tell at my house when I haven’t talked to my sister or mom enough just based on the filthiness of my windows).   Those calls are restorative to relationships and souls.

How about God?  When was the last time you called God up and had a long talk with him?  You will never get God’s voicemail.  Texts are okay, an occasional forwarded email.  But He loves when we TALK.  He is always listening, waiting for us to pour our hearts out to Him.  Sometimes it seems like we are on mute while He chats with someone else, or on hold even.  Sometimes it feels like our signal isn’t very strong.  But that is not true.  We all have a direct, speed dial, line to our Creator and Savior.

So, do two things today…call God and call someone special.  Take the time, and see how it helps you.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
0

Impressive Young Skywalker

I am not a Star Wars fan, but I often find myself telling my kids, “Impressive young Skywalker.”

It is one of those rolling off the tongue things, I enjoy the way it sounds.  Plus it is fun.

But, are my kids actually being impressive?  Awesome?  Amazing?  Our culture tosses around those words like kids in a dodgeball game.  And just like in that game, sometimes they hit the mark, most of the time they are just thrown away.  I catch myself sometimes and try to use my vast vocabulary (ha!) to actually give them praise in a meaningful way, but not as often as I should.  I often get annoyed with over clapping, over trophy-ing, over rewarding, building people up to standards that are unreal.

Really, who I, and all of us, should be impressed by  is….

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Because, really?  Anything we do pales in comparison to the work of the Creator.

How would we change our perspective, and kid’s, if we said,

“Wow, you did a great job using the talents God gave you.”  “It is fantastic how you worked so hard.”  “I loved the way you put all you had into that.””I am really proud of the great choices you made.”

How would those statements affect all of us?  How would it affect us if we truly took a moment to remember to be impressed by all God has accomplished, willed, created, loved, and been amazingly awesome for eternity???

Find something truly impressive in your day, and I bet it has God’s hand all over it.

 

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Hot Mess Grace

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A funny one today:  I posted this on Facebook**** awhile back, I don’t remember why….I think because I got up on my soapbox and went a little crazy.

I still like this gal, with her pink cheeks–her honesty, embarrassment, realism, and sassiness.  You know what, I don’t know if all this was in God’s original design for women or if it is all Eve’s fault, but hormones are one of life’s realities.  At all ages (as I can attest to in our house with two tween girls and myself, and even our quirky female doxie) we cannot escape the hormones.  Uffda.

So whether you are in your own hot mess, or living with one, or dealing with one at say…Walmart, let’s all remember to laugh and give each other a little grace today.

I think I just need to stop shopping at Walmart.  Those employees slip into the blog way too often.

****By the way, that reminds me.  Have you FOLLOWED  on Facebook or the blog yet?  It doesn’t take much, or long…just go over to that column on your right.  There are spots for both.  Just click away bloggy friends!  I love when you join me!  And thanks to everyone who has commented or emailed recently.  Ya’ll sure know how to make a girl smile!  It makes my hot mess a lot happier.

 

 

 

 

 

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Plans vs. Guides

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I already mentioned that all of our Christmas plans went awry, only to be replaced by God guiding all of us to where we really needed to be.  I have always been a planner.  I like nice, neat grids of calendars and routines.  It suited my position as a teacher quite well and helps with homeschooling tremendously.  My husband is not a planner.  He is a schemer…he always has big ideas, but rarely concrete plans.  He has been significant in my flexibility transformation.  He has helped show me that routines are great, but it is the bigger picture that matters more.

This is what God wants for us.  He has planned to guide us along His path since the beginning.  I don’t know about you, but the more I tried to turn off, the more He pushed me back to His way.

Sort of like a huge highway system in Chicago with one way streets.  I think I am trying to get from point A to B to C.  But one way streets do not allow for A to B to C.  And of course there is construction (because there always is) blocking different routes as well.  So I am forced back on the Eisenhower where traffic is stopped, get to the next exit, only to discover that the ramp is closed.  I get cut off by cranky Chicagoans, pushed into the wrong lane, and eventually give up and go home.

OR  I can take the express lane, not mess with any of the madness, follow the buses who always know where they are going, and end up right where God intended me to be.

Over the years I tried all sorts of different projects:  teaching high school art, coaching cheerleading and then speech, teaching fourth grade, subbing in public schools, writing and directing Vacation Bible School, singing at church, scrapbooking, being a barista, home party sales, working retail, PTO, all sorts of valuable things to do for so many people.  But NONE of them were where God wanted me.  All along, I knew the thing that brought me the most peace was painting and writing.  I would see bulletin covers at church, artwork on cards or posters, and read devotions and I could hear God whispering:  YOU should do that.  YOU are suppposed to do that.  But I kept my plans.  Luckily for me and you I finally let Him guide me to where I am, where He planned.

How is God trying to guide you right now?  Is He whispering to you–way to go! or whaaaat????  Are you making your own plans?  Are they following His express lane, or are you trying to find your way through the construction on your own?  As we make new goals for the year, now is the time to really look at who’s ideas you are going to make into reality.  Are you in a place that truly fulfills what God created you to do?  Or do you need to make some changes and follow the big bus to the all the right stops?  It is  not easy to give up on pursuits–people or places– we think are right.  But God makes all things good.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
2

Learning and becoming

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This is exactly all that my goal entails this year:  I want to learn more about being truly obedient to God, truly wise in my faith, and I want it to to soak into every ounce of my being until it is so embedded into my soul that it becomes who I am.

We can learn to be cranky.  We can learn to be rude.  We can learn to complain.  We can learn to be critical.  You know people like this; it has become who they are.  I don’t think they even realize it is who they have become sometimes.  But those traits have taken over and filled their souls with a bitterness.  It leaks out of them like poison.  I was becoming one of them.   I have had to make some major changes to separate myself and  unlearn some of those behaviors.

That is not who God created us to be.  He wants us to step back, put on the perspectacles, make sure we are learning to  BE LOVING and GRACE FILLED–to our self and to our neighbor.  And to make who we are into what He intended.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Perspectacles

This little owl showed up in my journal sketches one morning and the more I stared at her, I realized she was a wise, but funny and realistic sort of little gal–sort of like me 🙂 Just kidding, I have a lot to learn–but then again isn’t that very realization wisdom?

Glennon over at Momastery coined the word perspectacles, and it is one of my favorite words.  (Can you tell I am a bit of a word nerd?)  Little owl is a lot like Glennon, also.  And she wanted to share a Glennon lesson I decided.

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“Sometimes heaven is just a new pair of glasses.”- Anne Lamott

We all need glasses when it comes to counting our blessings.  We have to remember to look at our surroundings with a fresh perspective.  The need could be new glasses, a new prescription, a good cleaning, or even sunglasses to reduce the glare.

This can be a challenge sometimes.  Today’s culture celebrates possessions:  the nicer and more, the better.  Post Christmas, our house is filled with even more new “things”–I can see them as a mess and think, “Where in the world do I put all this!”

Or I can think of what a blessing it is to have this home, and all of these new possessions.

For now, I have “quieted” our house.  I took down all the holiday decorations yesterday.  I am not putting up anything else for awhile.  I love to move decor and furniture around, Jeff calls it playing house.  Decorating for each holiday and season, and swapping out favorite objects all the time is fun for me and keeps things fresh.  Plus, changing collections that are displayed means they aren’t crowding each other for space and attention.  But for now, I want it pared down to the basics.  Couches, chairs, tables, and the usual artwork on the walls (although a part of me wants to take all of that down also.)

I think of the first disciples.  Jesus called them to ministry by asking them to leave behind all their possessions and follow Him.  They willingly did it.  I consider missionaries in other countries who leave behind the creature comforts we take for granted in America.  I remember the homeless right here in Chicago shivering in the horrible cold.

God has blessed me tremendously, and all of you.  I sit here typing, wrapped in a new quilt, sipping a mug of tea, a fire going in the other room, in new yoga pants and a warm sweatshirt.  My life is full of possessions that make my life easy and comfortable.  I will probably add pieces back into our home to ward off the chill of winter and create a cozy scene for each space, but not yet.

Right now, I will wear my perspectacles and praise God for the basics He gives each day.  I will reflect on giving up the things of this earth to focus on Him.  And look at the excess in my home that I could share with the less fortunate.  Yes, perspectacles can lead to wisdom I think.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
3

Needed it

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What did you screw up recently?

How’s that for the start of  a blog post?

I don’t know about you, but I screw up daily.  I sure need God’s grace.  I crave it.  I ask for it.  I confess I need it.  Every single day.

As the Lutherans would say:  We confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.  We have sinned against you in thoughts, words and deeds;  by what we have done and what we have left undone.  We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

And one of the best parts about being a Christian is God knows that I am trying to do the right thing, He sees I can’t do it all the time, even expects it, and He loves and forgives me anyway.

Yep, I need a dose of that every day.

 

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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