A sojourn



Last week I hit a wall.  I was overtired, not feeling well, and completely overwhelmed.  Completely surrounded.  I NEEDED space.  Physical space to make space for emotional roominess.

So, I did.  My parents have a home they are selling, and it is empty.  So I went there for an overnight.

First I emptied my brain and just let my body take over.  I trimmed bushes and cleaned off flower beds.  No music, no podcasts, no one to talk.   Just me.  Enjoying the labor.  And the next day, more of the same.   I sat and manically created paintings and journals.  Again, just the sounds of birds and trees.

And you know what  struck me:  I enjoyed the sight of a FINISHED PRODUCT.  I loved seeing that pile of sticks grow.  I loved seeing a clean and tidy space that won’t get bad again for at least a year.  I was so excited to see that giant pile of finished artwork.

Because that is the hard part of IMPORTANT WORK AT HOME.  There are no finished products.  My kids will always evolve and need new guidance.  (Heck, I called my own parents and I am almost 40!)  My marriage is always going to need a bit of polishing.  That laundry and pile of dishes….wait, I don’t even want to think about how quickly they return.  Hardly ever is there an end point in this journey.

I am so glad I took the time to rest.  I needed it and the perspective it afforded me.  It helped me realize what was wrong is really alright.  It helped me realize I can’t control or change it.  I am always surrounded by people.  I am never going to see a completely finished project.

And that is okay.

As long as I take time to rest on the journey and at least enjoy what I have accomplished so far.

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




Do you hear that still, small voice?  Have you taken the time to listen?  Can you hear the music in the trees?  Are you letting the colors form into songs?

I am.  I am on break from homeschooling.  Early Columbus Day/Veteran’s Day/Teacher Inservice day/substitute day.  Whatever you want to call it.  I am going on walks to listen by myself.    But, I am taking the kids, too.  We are going to go listen to trees.  We are going to listen to God’s creation and decipher what is being said.

I wholeheartedly believe there is no better way to listen to God than to get right up close to what HE created.  Not man-made, but GOD-MADE.


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

Go for a Walk



A walk can do the soul a lot of good.  It is one of my best ways to calm down.  To refresh, literally to breathe in some different (hopefully) cleaner air.  To clear my mind.  To pray and talk with HIM.  I need that alone time.

I am an introvert…I get my energy from doing things on my own.  I enjoy people and love to be around them.  But I can’t do it all the time.  I have to make space for myself to re-energize.

I am in need of some of that space.  This is the hardest part of homeschooling.  As I talked with my mom and some homeschooling friends yesterday I realized 1) I have brought this on myself by not setting aside time and by giving into the demands of those around me and 2) my recent meltdowns have a lot to do with my own perceptions and expectations.

Now…that being said there are some things that my kids especially need to get done.  On a daily basis. By themselves.  Thinking on their own.

I have allowed them to make me think for them.

So I am going to take a walk.   No dog, no kids, no spouse, no friends.  Not alone…but with God.  I am going to confess to Him what I have done and what I have left undone. I am going to take the time to really talk to Jesus and refocus, revitalize, re-energize.  I have a feeling that will help.   I’ll come back to them ready to walk with them each and every day.

And that is why I will turn to Jesus and walk with Him all of my days.

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




Do you remember that book The Purpose Driven Life  by Rick Warren.  I never got through it.  I was too young really.  I was in the baby steps stages.

Heck, I am still in the baby steps!

But I think I know my purpose.  God is showing it to me right here.  I am supposed to be sharing my faith through art and supporting the faith of others.

Now….I still don’t know my right from my left.  (Sad, but true.)  I have NO IDEA what 90% of the roads around me are named (just turn left at the yellow tree, right at the green house, go by the duck in rain gear).  I still measure how long it takes to get somewhere in songs and time (it is 3 movies to my parents, 2 songs to the grocery store, and an hour to go anywhere in Chicago).  I struggle with GPS (she recalculates constantly and is always telling me to make legal u-turns).

BUT, I know where my paints are!  Where and When are up in the air.  I hope Jesus calls me to big things.  We’ll see!

How about you?  What is your where or when in this giant Candy Land game of Life?

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

Life and Laughter




This is the title and tagline for a comedienne I know, Tracy DeGraaf.  Great lady.  She is doing a show at the end of the month and I really want to go.  You should go…I will post the info on the facebook page.

But life happens.  I planned in August things for ME.  I thought…now is the time!  I am going to start recharging Me!  I can do things I enjoy!  I can meet with my friends!  I can make art and sell it!  I am not volunteering, I will have so much more time!

Laugh with me here.  Loud.  Cue lots of moms laughing hysterically.

I was so silly!

I bought tickets to a play, I signed up to go to a retreat through church with good friends, I looked up concerts for favorite Christian bands, I promised to go to the comedy show.  I have a craft show planned.  I am participating in gallery shows.

Uh, huh.  Silly.  I am not sure ANY of that is happening now.

BECAUSE the kids schedules gelled.  I am pretty good about making them only sign up for ONE thing.  I was adamant about this starting in early childhood.  Or at least I THOUGHT so.

But, ONE thing means THREE days a week.  And Phoebe, miss 11 year old, is doing more than ONE.

Plus, we have homeschool and the art lessons I teach.

And there are two of us parents, two cars, and Jeff is coaching.  So now that there is baseball, football, and dance all at the same time and every Friday night, every one, and every Saturday…guess what is getting cut.

Yep.  LAUGH.  THAT IS ALL I CAN DO.  Because otherwise I am going to cry.  I will smile at all of them, and darn it, they better smile back.

But really, I should laugh.  Because I am blessed with three talented children and I love sharing in their joys.  They are important work.  And they make me laugh and smile all the time.

Now I understand why my retired parents are living it up right now….hmmm.  Life happens, doesn’t it?


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

Wonderful Angelou #2


What a wonderful thought!  Each and every day is fresh and filled with promise.  Even if I wake up back aching, nose stuffy, still tired, to a packed schedule.  It is fantastic.  I am alive.  There could be all sorts of great surprises that can happen.  I have the chance to love and laugh.  That is wonderful and new.

How about you?  What promises does your day hold?  What will be the wonderful thing growing in the garden of your life that blooms today?  Will you raise your face to the sunshine?  Will you look forward?

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

maya Angelou inspired #1




I painted this last spring right after Maya Angelou died.  I read many of her books and was always inspired by her prose and her attitude.

This one is so appropriate for this time of year with everyone going back to school.  Teachers are such an important part of life.  They affect the very threads of our social and cultural fabric.  Thank you to all of you who devote your lives to training others, no matter the age.

And not just in public school (which is only centuries old).  Most of our learning does not occur within the walls of a public school–as I discussed last week.  It takes place at home.  In our churches.  In nature.  In stores.  On dance floors and little league fields.  On sidewalks and roads.

Think of ALL of the people you learn from on a daily basis!  Think of ALL you learn each and every day still.  (And if you are not still learning you are in a heap of trouble people!)  Think of ALL the people you are teaching and touching.

This blog is one of the many ways I get to share what I am learning.  Thank you for all of the comments back last week.  I learned, I taught. You learned, I hope that you shared and taught as well.

Let’s do great work together.  Let’s make Maya proud.  Let’s make GOD PROUD.

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

And then He did more: Goose bump moment!

IMG_0023Goose bumps time.  Do you ever have those God moments when you know He was working and something happens and you are suddenly covered in goose bumps???  I do.

I had a big one the other day.  And it involves this artwork.  God is just so awesome.

We visited our good friends’ church a couple weeks ago.  Annika’s best friend decided to be baptized.  Their church does it in a river and we wanted to be there for him.  It was our first experience with this kind of baptism and it was incredible.

We were running late and I grabbed the card for him and four prints of my artwork.  I handed them to Annika in the car to let her choose–either one or all –for her friend.  She chose one.  That leaves 3, right?

We get to the service.  Outside by a river, gorgeous day.  Very moving.  Two other people are being baptized and then a third stands up.  3.  And the verse for the day and focus of the sermon:  the one above, Colossians 2:7.

So I realize, hey!  I have 3 prints I will give those to the other 3 new brothers and sisters in Christ.  So here I am, complete stranger handing these over to a teenage boy and two adults in their 50s or 60s I would guess.  I gave the one above to the teen.

So I am not sure what happened in between…but the print of this verse ended up on the windshield of the pastor’s car.  So for him, this was a total surprise.  He does not know me or my artwork.  He does not know that I handed this out.  It just ends up with him–what his sermon series started with last week and is focusing on specifically the next Sunday.  He has a God moment–how in the world did this artwork get completed, end up at a service by the river, and then on his car???  He decides to use it in his powerpoint for the sermon.

Our friends go to church, are listening to him telling his God moment story and the sermon and then my artwork is put on the screen and stays there for 10 minutes or so.  Several other people in the church know me through them and recognize it as well, and all are flabbergasted by how this came about.  And they share the story with me.

Cool, huh?  I cried when they told me.  Happy, proud and humble,tears.

This is what my artwork and this blog are about.  God moments.  God working through me to share His word and power.  Using my artwork to touch others.  To bring joy and peace to those around me, and around the world.

Thank you to all of you who share these stories with me.  They mean the world to me.  Thanks for being here.

Now, go share my artwork!  🙂  God moments abound!


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

Jesus called


See???  I am telling you, Jesus called me this week.  He plans this blog people, not me.

He knew He needed to remind me that the important work was at home.

He knew He needed to remind me that teaching and being there for my kids is not a distraction, it is the most important job I have.

He knew that I needed to be reminded that Jesus is not looking for perfection.  We are going to need a panic bag.  We are going to stumble.  We are going to need to get our perspective put right.

Jesus needed to remind me that with every breath He is there with me teaching them.  That it is my job to let my children in on on that super powerful learning and important life skill–turning to Jesus.  Giving it to HIM.  Letting HIM lead.  That they are looking to me to be an example of a Christ follower.

They see me reading my Bible, creating these artworks, going to church, serving others, praying, singing his songs of praise.  Talk about important home schooling.  Not indoctrinating, but modeling.  MODELING.  How crazy important.

I hope that these last blog posts have been good for you as well.  You got a glimpse into my days that is for sure.  Some of you have kids, some of you are teachers, some of you homeschool.  A lot of you don’t.  So I hope that you were able to find something in the artworks and even in my posts that encouraged you to do great work at home.  With those close to you who are not a distraction, but important pieces of your day.  I hope that you will remember Christ does not call us to perfection, but to just follow and do what we can in every step and moment.


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

Children are Important & a homeschooling panic bag



continuing from the last post…

Great work.  Important work.  Home work on family and self.

I took that one step further, I homeschool our three kids.  God planned these posts.

I am struggling with this important work.  God knew I needed these artworks.

Homeschooling my two daughters is easy peasy lemon squeezy.  They are born students.  They enjoy learning, do not mind doing the paperwork (too much), and catch onto concepts very easily.  My son is not the same.

He brought a brown paper lunch bag to class the other morning.  He says, “This is our panic bag.  wWhen I get frustrated with you mom, I can breathe in this.”   Funny, but so true.

My panic bag moment:  I actually went to the pubic elementary to talk to the principal this week.  She is a wonderful woman who I respect greatly.  Her background in alternative education actually makes her a proponent of homeschooling.  She gets it.  And she is an invaluable resource to me.  She helped me feel more comfortable again about Tanner’s learning.  And feel more convicted that I am doing important work with him and we are progressing just fine, thank you.

You see Tanner, as she reminded me, is a normal first grade boy with little interest or focus on learning.  That is what I needed to hear.  Schoolwork is going to be different for him since he is a boy.  I have to remember he is still a first grader.  He is a kinesthetic and auditory learner:  he can spit back information he hears me teaching the girls and he can recite anything put to motions and song.  He HATES to put anything on paper.  It is torture for BOTH of us.  He needs lots of breaks for snacks, play, or to just run around the outside of the house four times.  Not kidding.

When I want to just get him to do his work, just read the words on the page (not the story he made up from looking out the window), or just finish a project without telling me four jokes–when I am frustrated with him beyond belief–when the girls are ready to throw their books at him–we have to remember.  He is HIM.  He is important.  And just learning the rote of sitting, writing, focusing is HARD for Tanner.  Just this is IMPORTANT GREAT WORK.

Every time I see that panic bag sitting on his desk it reminds me:  we are doing okay, we don’t have to get frustrated, we can take our time, he will get it.  It reminds me of all the great ideas my mom (a special education teacher by trade and theater extraordinaire) gave me of how we can make learning more kinesthic and fun.  It reminds me to put away the workbook and get out the playdoh for him and then make his own books.

We both breathe easier just seeing that reminder.  He is one smart kid.  He made it funny.

He played his first flag football game last night.  I was so proud of him:  not for athletic prowess, but because he got IT.  He listened to his coaches, he was the first one in his correct spot, he followed the directions, he played fair, he was kind to his teammates, he was cracking jokes (of course).  I saw the important work we have been doing out there on the field.  He may not know all of his sight words and he might write every number backwards, but what I really NEED him to learn is happening.  He is a good kid who will be just fine out in the big world.

THAT my friends is important.  THAT is the greatest work I will ever do.

Ya’ll made me cry this morning.  Thanks for letting me share with you.

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

Swim and be sustained


I have had this quote for years and tried to illustrate it.  Finally I knew what to do with it this summer.  While I was in Iowa this came out of me and I shared it on facebook at the time, but this is the good scan of it.

This is yet another way of looking at what I talked about in the last post.  I noticed that many of my journal pages dealt with this theme…not being afraid.  Living each day.  Trusting God.  It is MY art and gratitude journal, isn’t it?  I guess I am drawn to these thoughts lately.  Or either God is slapping a big ole pile of learning on me.  Hmmm.  Maybe both.

How about you?  Are you drawn to a definite feeling in quotes or verses?  This fall (since I already have everything created and planned) you might see a lot of this type.  But I am going to challenge myself to verge off in a new direction.  Do you ever do that?


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

The right Way

IMG_0011-001He has a plan for me, for my talents.  As long as I turn to Him who created me, who is with me at all times, who doesn’t want me to stumble, He will direct me.  He will not let me falter.

This is my direction.  This art.  Sharing my faith, the gospel, spreading truth and light and love.

It may not be museum worthy.  But it is touching you and me in a real way.  And that is His plan.  It is time to be me.  The me He created me to be.

How about you?  Where is He directing you?  Which arrow will you follow?  His or your own?


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

Is this Heaven?

If you love baseball, are from Iowa, then you know the answer.  Is this heaven?  No, its Iowa.  (Field of Dreams)

This is how people get confused.  Easy to see why:IMG_0012

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

Just in case you aren’t feelin’ it



I have been just a little ray of sunshine lately, huh?  I am trying to walk the walk and talk the talk friends.

Sometimes I don’t feel it.  Sometimes I feel like a big ole nothin’.  I sleep too much.  I am not a “fine” artist.  I have not created an orphanage or malaria hospital out of the country.

I have a temper.  Sometimes I want to throw pencils at people.  Spit wads.  Sometimes I actually do sit on the rock in our front yard (which is at a four way stop that no one stops at) and I literally SHAKE MY FIST at the people in the cars.  True story.

I was just listening to WBGL radio and they were discussing the comparison game that happens among moms so much.  And apparently, according to them, there seems to be a peak in this at the start of school.  (I think it never dips, honestly).  The comparisons can bring us DOWN super quickly.  I do not even look at, let alone subscribe, to parenting magazines of any sort.  They bum me out.  Because I don’t sit on the floor and play games with the kids.  I don’t make shaped pancakes every Saturday and never will I frost a sugar cookie.  I let my kids watch an ungodly amount of tv.  I swear, in front of the kids.  I don’t make them match their clothes and they will never look like little models.  Not happening at this house.

And then I remember this.  God can do anything.  He created everything out of nothing, including Moi.  And He will help me be awesome in my own way.

So I paint in my journal illustrationy little things…that ya’ll seem to enjoy.

I homeschool my kids and take them on field trips.  I am awesome at letting them be their unique selves and celebrating that.

I take super awesome naps.

I bake really good mac and cheese.

And sometimes I keep that temper in check and smile really sweetly at people, maybe think naughty words.  🙂

God created me to be who He wanted.  Who He needed me to be.

God will help me turn it around, he will keep me on the path.

Well said Martin Luther.  That Martin, he was one smart dude.

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

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