Tag Archives | perspectacles

Storm #1

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One of those things about not living in the now is getting caught up in our storms–worrying how big they are going to get, thinking about past destruction.

I hate the new radar weather things on phones.  I find them ridiculous.  “Well, it says there is a 20% chance that it might rain at 2:00 tomorrow, but tonight will be just fine.”  Hmmm, yeah.  Ask your phone why it rained an inch and blew down my garage sale in the middle of the night when there was no percent.

I think the wind may have blown if it off the course and the weatherman didn’t catch that.

Yeah.  I don’t trust that stuff.  (Now I will admit, I should check it a little more–being a little prepared isn’t all bad.)

And personally, I like storms.  I find them fascinating and beautiful.  If something is going to happen, it is going to happen.  I just accept it.

I think this quote (forget where I found this one) says it all.  Who cares how big the storm is?  Who cares what path it is going to take?  If I live in the assurance that God will provide, if not on earth at least in heaven, it doesn’t matter what the destruction of stuff the storm does.  I can overcome any of that with a God as big as mine!  He has made some seriously big crazy awesome promises.  And one of them was NOT that life would be easy as His follower.

In FACT, if anything, God says over and over in the Bible that it will be harder and we will face more trials.  Yep.  You know it’s true!  Ya’ll have read it in there before.  Why don’t we believe this?   Just because we are Christians does not make us impervious to the world and the sin that is in it or the natural disasters.  We just have a much better coping system–if we actually use it.

So let go today of your storm.  LET GO.  Right now.  Quit complaining to God about it –He knows about it anyway.  And just tell the problem, “I am NOT going to let this get the better of me!  I am handing you over to God and I trust He will take care of you, you big stupid storm problem.  Now, GIT!”

And see what happens.

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Walk through Today

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Three things brought this art to fruition in the last couple weeks:

  1.  The supermoon/blood moon/ eclipse–It was so beautiful!  Being someone who chooses to live in a vacuum of news I just happened to come across someone’s facebook post or we would have missed it all together.  But I ended up going out and checking on it sporadically all night to see it’s different phases.  I considered how we knew what was going on scientifically, but how such an occurrence would have affected people even a couple hundred years ago and the stories that would have come from it.  Although I enjoy science very much, sometimes it bugs me that science takes away the magic, wonder, and awe of the design of our world–although in other ways it adds to it I guess as well.
  2. The spiders are CRAZY busy this fall.  We had a big wolf spider build a web that hung from our basketball hoop and was literally 3 feet in diameter.  We happened to park directly under it just as she was finishing up.  Our family stood there and stared into apparently nothing watching her construct the most beautiful and intricate and delicate finery I have ever witnessed.  I am sure our neighbors thought we were nuts, but we were mesmerized by the spider’s instincts and skills.  And of course the web was gone the next day.
  3. Then I ran across this thought/quote.  I forget where–I don’t think I came up with this.  But I love the visual of LIMPING through a day vs.  dancing to the full potential of the current day.  The moon and the spider web are two examples of living to full potential without worry for the next day.  Enjoying the moment, the now.  That isn’t always possible but when it is–it always makes an impact.

I never remember the time I spent sitting and worrying.  Or complaining.  And if I do remember it isn’t fondly!  I would love to limit that time, and invest more time into this day alone.  Just this one.  Not the next, not the past–can’t do anything about that anyway–but now.  Let’s see how I do…

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Moon and Stars

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Just a fun quote to start the week.

Last week I traveled to Iowa with two girlfriends to do some antiquing/junking/treasure hunting.  We stayed with my family and I got the chance to show them some of the beautiful side of Iowa.  The one night my dad encouraged us to go out and see the clear sky full of stars.  If it had not been so darn chilly that night, I think we would have stayed out there gazing at them for hours.  It is so dark with no city lights, crisp and clear with no pollution and the sky is polka-dotted with millions of pricks of light.  It is gorgeous and awe-inspiring.

I originally found this quote when I was looking for inspiration for a bride.  I loved the concept that we don’t need the material stuff in a marriage.  It is the commitment to standing and enjoying the light and awe of love.  And sometimes that is hard–life gets clouded with pollution and swamped with light that drowns out the simple things.  It is about stopping to be together and just enjoy.  It is about keeping a promise to shine for each other.  It is about that forever quality of being in a very special relationship, especially when it is grounded by faith and the knowledge it can go on for eternity.

So tonight, find the light of a star–outside or the inside the one you love and enjoy it.

 

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A HUGE House

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Exodus 14:14 Remain Standing by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

So this is the for REAL Friday before Labor Day post.  🙂  So this weekend I am going to try and disconnect or REAL.

I am going to have to fight hard!

Not a battle we would usually give to God, but hey, He says He can and will take anything.  And sometimes its the little everyday battles that can be the hardest!  And I love that this verse reminds me that God is fighting for me when I am STILL, disconnected, just being.  He helps us through a battle everyday and leaves us standing on this earth until our battles are complete.  I am thankful for all the battles.  I am even more thankful He is next to me!!!

So as we enjoy our earthly castles this weekend, don’t go to far from your heavenly King and He will bless you!

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The Hospital

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The Church is a Hospital by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

Where do we go when we need “fixed?”

When our body has weakened to a point it needs specific attention we head to a doctor’s office or when it is really bad, the hospital.  We know we can’t cure the ailment on our own anymore and it is going to require the medical knowledge of a doctor or nurse.

So where do we go when our soul needs “fixed?”  CHURCH is where we should  go.  Too often I think that people think church buildings are museums, and full of perfect people and they choose to go where they perceive more broken people are:  places where they can find alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling.  Places that have things that don’t heal the sick soul but just deaden it.  When what they really need is a soul overhaul, operation, whatever, to scrape out the infection of sin and restore health.

I don’t know about you, but I am BROKEN.  My soul needs constant fixing.  I am like that pesky car that always needs to go in for a tune-up.  That sick kid at the school always on antibiotics.  I hope that when people see me at church, or headed there, or when they see me in a class, or in this blog that they don’t see someone “good”, but someone in constant need of prayer, confession, and healing.  I need me some Jesus medicine!

That is why I take my daily dose of Bible time, listen to Christian music, paint for Jesus, pray constantly.  I take my thyroid and crazy lady/happy pills daily for my body.  Why wouldn’t I take my soul meds too????  I mean that is a big ole duh!

You know what…how cool would it be if we could have Jesus in a little oxygen tank we drag around??  I know that sounds silly, but really!  Breathe Him in, everyone sees our need and broken-ness, we have to think about it constantly, everyone sees we are turning to the right healing.  I like this idea!

I know.  Crazy.  I better make sure I take my meds:  body and soul.  🙂  How about you?

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Satisfy the Desires of Every Living Thing

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Satisfy the Desires Psalm 145:16 by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

I am going to come full circle to the beginning of the week post on Memorial Day.  We are so blessed to live in America.  Really we are.

Because we have the freedoms we do, because many of us have the earthly riches we do, our earthly desires can be satisfied.  And easily.  We have shelter, we have food, we have clothes, we have technology.  We have A LOT.

Because of where we live, we are able to let Jesus strengthen us.  We are able to study His word and worship Him. (quick plug for the Bible study!  Have you gone there yet? It starts June 1st!)

Because of where we live, we have the opportunity for series of small things that can shape and change our lives:  jobs, children, marriages, churches, friends, moves, etc.

But even though living here in America can give us a lot.  It will never satisfy every desire we have.  Earthly things will never be enough.  We can keep chasing those small series of things.  We can keep desiring more earthly possessions.  But it will never be enough.

Only God can satisfy the deepest of desires:  to be wholly loved.  WHOLLY LOVED.  Wholly accepted.  Wholly forgiven.  And He opens His hand to us and offers it every moment of every day.

THAT is GREAT LOVE.  That is a miracle.

I am so glad to have that!   I am so glad to share that with you!

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No Greater Gift John 15:13

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John 15:13 No Greater Love by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

 

A huge thank you goes out today to all the veterans, policemen, firemen, anyone in service our country.  I also remember all those who have been missionaries who have laid down their life to spread the gospel.

We are so blessed people.  Truly truly blessed.  In our country we have so many freedoms.  The more I read about people who are oppressed, the more I consider how amazing it is that I am free to create my art.  There are regimes in place that do not see how necessary the arts are.  I consider how amazing that I am able to write my own thoughts and opinions in a public forum–and especially that they are centered on my faith.  That I am able to share Jesus’s teachings freely.  That I live next door to people of other faiths and opinions and they can equally share their thoughts.

I think through history of all the people who have laid down their lives.  For those who mourned those who gave up the ultimate sacrifice.  They fill my thoughts and prayers this Memorial Day.

I am thankful.  So very very grateful. Their gift is not forgotten.

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Follow the Stepping Stones

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follow the stepping stones by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

I love stones.  I have been a rock collector my whole life.  My poor mother watched me box up and move the same rocks, move after move.  I still have many of them.  So many characteristics call to me in them:  the solidity, the age, colors, textures (especially smooth ones), the weight.  Several sit on my desk, and every once in awhile I will pick one up, hold it, and just think for a bit.

Unsurprisingly, stones pop up often in my artwork.  This week I will share several of those pieces with you.  The first is these stepping stones, covered in moss, peeping out of water.  I thought of the large stones that you hop one to another across a creek as I painted.  Some are dry and easy to stand on, some are covered in moss, wet and slippery–stones you can’t quite be sure of your balance upon.  You could make it to the other side, you could slip and fall into the water.  But either way, whether dry or wet, we will make it to the other side.  No matter what.

Tanner starts full day school today.  Public school.  I am standing on a mossy, wet stone right now.  I had to hop from stone to stone in the first place to start homeschooling, and fell in a few times.  Now to backtrack, I am not leery or worried,  not necessarily nervous,  but I am sensitive, uncomfortable,  a bit tense.  I don’t know which stone we are going to jump to next.  But I have realized and remembered that I just need to take it one stone at a time.  My inner critic keeps wanting to look back, and the planner wants to look way down the creek.  But I really do just need to wait, watch the current, and then follow the stone that God will point out.  Have faith.  Know that God is planning.  Know that this stepping stone and any others that follow will be okay.

So today, I am going to carry a stone around with me.  To remind me that God planned these stepping stones eons ago.  They have been carried by the waters, smoothed and honed, and lasted.  And God will do the same with me.

Do you have a special stone?  Are you hopping from stone to stone now?

 

 

 

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Going deeper

I have decided to share something I wrote while at the IF conference.  I think it articulates where I am right now, and where I am wanting to go. Maybe some of you will be able to relate.  And of course I painted a visual to go with:

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Dear God,

I have believed in You always.  You have been a constant companion.  You have been a confidante.  I have always wanted your presence.  I have always known you loved me.  But, I have let that relationship become,well, expected.

Like a tree, I have a strong core…there are many rings in my trunk.   You helped my branches reach out to you and to others in faith, in gratitude, and in service.  You have helped me grow taller than I thought I could.  The canopy of leaves is lush and full.

BUT:  I have not worked on my own faith.  The rings got so thin.   I have not dug deeper roots, they have been rotting.  They are starting to touch the surface, no longer deeply buried as I forgot to water and feed my own faith with nutrients.  I used everything to reach out, and forgot to reach in.  My roots are stretched thin searching for your WORDS.  Not mine, or those of our culture or political society.  BUT YOURS.

Now.  Now is that time.  I want thick rings.  I want deep roots.  Help me, lead me, to fertilize those roots and grow thick rings in that core.

Yours Christ, Nicole

Ever feel this way?  Or are you the opposite–you have been digging deep roots, strengthening the trunk and are ready to branch out?  Either way, I am excited to see where we go with this.  We’ll talk more tomorrow.

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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.

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