Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Some sweet assurance and a survival guide

When it is hard to make sense of all you lost and all you missed, the beautiful thing is...you don’t have to. Instead, you can focus on this new day that has just been given to you, and rest in sweet assurance, that even in the little things, Light is still pouring through.🛋
~Morgan Harper Nichols

I will be working a lot over the next few months. I was in a store yesterday and it started, the Christmas season was here, the craziness has begun! Then at that moment I realized that I will be working black Friday!

I have always managed to avoid that day, really all of my life! We usually walk outdoors or visit friends.

I love lights and natural Christmas decorations not the gaudy stuff in the stores, its just a personal preference. I'm not a scrooge, but i am not a big fan of some of the mainstream Christmas music ethier. There are a few of them that I like but a lot of it that plays in stores just adds to the stress.

I do like Christmas and all the feels that come with it. Snow days, candles, peaceful nights and a cozy fireplace with beautifully lit up churches singing Christmas carols all around the world. We usually have tamales at our house and other goodies made once a year. I do believe that you can make beautiful things for Christmas out of nature, fresh tropical flowers, branches, shells, lights and a lot of glitter! I usually put colored lights on one thing but the rest is white and soft amber. This helps a lot during those dark winter days. The light shines more brightly in the dark anyways!

My company starts tomorrow and with my mother sick, my job, cooking and entertaining company I thought I would take measures for self care, rest, exercise and having the right attitude in me to get me through the next few months. :) Really just to focus on what this season is all about, the birth of Christ, gratitude, joy to the world, love with family and friends and of course...
peace on earth good will toward men.

God loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.

For God so loved the world 
that he gave his one and only Son, 
that whoever believes in him shall not perish 
but have eternal life. 
John 3;16

Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

Psalm 63:3-4

In a nutshell, why is it so hard not to get stressed out this time of year?

By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

Psalm 42:8

 “If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.” — Banksy

I gathered a collection of songs, verses and pictures, many of the songs have finger picking as Im learning the Ukulele. to put in this room , space, post, for a retreat from the day. They are a little on the calming side and I hope that you like them too if stress during this time of year is an issue with you too. Feel free to suggest new songs to me, to add to the "retreat room during the next few months in the comments below and we can survive this together. :)
"The Caregiver" oil on mini canvas

Praying for California and for all the fires to stop.  I grew up in Southern California and  lived outside of Malibu in Pacific Palisades in my very early years and  I have memories of my Father on the roof with a hose because of wildfires that were getting close.
⍆ It is a beautiful place and lovely people. ⍅

There is no better survival guide then the Bible.  
God's word is a brightly lit lamp under our feet. 

Come sit down, and take a breath and visit awhile. I don't mind how many times you come. ♫ I will be adding to this list.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” -Anne Lamott

About midnight Paul and Silas 
were praying and singing hymns to God, 
and the other prisoners were listening to them.
 Acts 16:25 

I am doing a little better on my new ukulele. I have learned about five chords now and I am practicing my fingerpicking.  I still have a long way to go, but I am hopeful that it will actually sound like music someday. ;)

Verified account

A little collection of "calming" songs to fill this room here, find the cds for yourself of some of your favorites this Christmas.

Welcome · Big Daddy Weave

Once and for all- Lauren Daigle

Morgan Harper Nichols - Storyteller

Water And Dust - Cory Asbury

Lauren Daigle - Everything

Your Love is Extravagant - Casting Crowns

Danny Gokey - Give Me Jesus

Salt & Light - Lauren Daigle

Christmas Must Be Tonight-The Band

Danny Gokey - O Holy Night

 Hawaii Acoustic Ukulele

A Hallelujah Christmas- Cloverton

Endless Alleluia- Cory Asbury

I Will Be Here - Steven Curtis Chapman

Born Again- Cory Asbury

Cloverton - God Help Me to Be

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.

Psalm 63:1

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. 

And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:46-47

“An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.” -Unknown

Donate for gifts this year, there are many beautiful things in the World Vision catalog for Christmas and doing a good thing for a child in need will change your heart too! https://donate.worldvision.org/giftcatalog
Sponsoring a child is one of the most effective ways of tackling poverty ♡  https://www.worldvision.org/sponsor-a-child?campaign=226220126

Monday, October 29, 2018

A Voice for Childhood

Throughout his life, Albert Einstein would retain the intuition and the awe of a child. He never lost his sense of wonder at the magic of nature's phenomena-magnetic fields, gravity, inertia, acceleration, light beams-which grown-ups find so commonplace. He retained the ability to hold two thoughts in his mind simultaneously, to be puzzled when they conflicted, and to marvel when he could smell an underlying unity. "People like you and me never grow old," he wrote a friend later in life. "We never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.
Walter Isaacson
As we are approaching a new season, the weather is starting to get cold and the days are getting shorter, I can't even explain how crazy the last few months have been.   I really felt as if I have been juggling many things all at once only to conclude that God has been carrying all of it all along.
Over the summer I painted 8 paintings that had to do with World Vision's work around the world. Seen Here  All have sold except one that is on display at a place locally and this one, Nirma's Story.
Painting number 5 of my summer project series. I think I connected with this one the most out of all of them so far.  I am a folk artist not a realist, but I really did want to capture her expression on her face. Her name is Nirma, she’s 15 years old and was one week away from her wedding to a much older man and it was stopped just a week before her nuptials, and she was grateful to be able to learn some technical skillsI painted the partial window with the blue skies to represent hope and beauty on the horizon. Thank goodness the marriage was stopped for a few years and this girl was able to learn new skills for a good future.  

 Photo credit Nissi Thapa/World Vision
 As a grandmother of two and a third one on the way, I have recently faced the fact that I will always have "childlike wonder" in life, my approach is alway to look at things through a different lense, at all angles, putting myself in someones elses shoes.  My own grown girls scolded me for something the other day, (in a funny way) they have grown up to be such lovely and mature young ladies! :)  

 This particular photo of Nirma says to me that she is a very young girl and has no choices, not like my girls (three including my exchange student, Im wearing her necklace here) My girls really got to do amazing things and are still growing in many ways, but of a girl with the harsh reality that her childhood will end that very  moment. No time to find out what she is gifted to do in this life.  I knew by this being the last painting in my possession that I wasn't done, and there was more to the story.  A story of child marriage in general and while Nirma was spared that day, many more children are still facing this every day.

 I have to dress up for Halloween for the first time in 40 years! (Wow that sounds old):) It is true, while I have been balancing all that has been going on, I have to find a costume for work, so I picked up a second hand outfit that looks like it could be from India, Bangladesh, Nepal or somewhere close to one of those areas and began to do my research. My older daughter hand sewed all her and her younger sister's costumes every year, all I had to do is sit back and see what glorious costume she came up with.  I wanted to do something that went with this last painting.  A bride, maybe not a child bride, but maybe a loving grandmother standing up for these girls in the only way I know how, my voice. 

It wasn't until I started researching child marriage that my heart began to break for these children!  My heart did break for Nirma, but her story ended well.  I learned that many laws are placed to protect children from early marriage, but that is not stopping this practice in rural areas.  It is still believed to this day that a family will go to heaven if they give their child in marriage before their first menstruation.  Girls are seen as a burden and another mouth to feed when a poor family would rather put what little resources they have into boys.  For the girl herself, child marriage is devastating to her future, economical, and emotional wellbeing. 
I think one of the most heartbreaking things is that when a child is widowed. Nepal has one of the highest child marriage rates, 51 percent of all girls marry by 10-13 years old, according to UNICEF.  Nepal is just the place where my painting is from, but child marriage is happening around the world, children fleeing violence feel they have no other alternative than to marry early in some areas. 
In Nepal when a child is left widowed they have a stigma on them of bad luck all their life.   They have to wear only white, no colors and are banned from social gatherings, even with their family.  They are not allowed to remarry or even look a man in the eyes and can't eat meat or fish and some are even burned.  Yes really, some are covered in kerosene and burned alive. 

"I painted the partial window with the blue skies to represent hope and beauty on the horizon".
My heart breaks for these kids!  I know that these places are fighting hard to change laws and in some cases are winning and laws are now being set, but I think it's up to the older generations to intervene and change the heart and mindsets of these old traditions and stand up for these kids today.  The role of the elders and the grandparents are more valuable than gold for a good future for these girls. 
All of these views are my own. 

To learn more about this issue and how World Vision helps young girls at risk for child marriage around the world, click on this link... Child protection

 Sponsor a Girl like Nirma and help her have a bright future. 

Photo credit/ Laura Reinhardt World Vision

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Titus 2:3-5

Jeremiah 29:11-13(NIV)

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

"In His Shoes" Part three summer project series

Walk a couple miles in someone else’s journey and I can almost guarantee a couple of things. We’d be less harsh, less apt to think we’d do better, less tempted to think we know stuff we don’t really know. And much more willing to just give them a bandaid for their blisters, a kind prayer, and a glass of ice cold lemonade.
Lysa TerKeurst

In His Shoes

Photo credit Laura Reinhardt/World Vision 2013 
The first time I saw this photo  I was struck by it, it was profound and mesmerizing.  It told the whole story of what it means to be a child living in poverty going to school in holey shoes.  There was a richness also in it, although this picture was saying so much more.   

       I named this piece "In His Shoes".  In all that we go through we know that Jesus went through the same things. He walked with the poor, the suffering and the outcasts. He was called names, ridiculed and beaten. (it has been a ruff couple months but not as bad as all that) :)  

Every painting I did in this series told a story of a child 
and what it was like in their world.  
The timing of every piece I was working on 
and all the things that were happening in the world (and in my world) 
was undeniable.  A miracle, God be the glory!

Pick a child to sponsor  )  

I kept thinking of the bible verse,
Jesus replied, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62 
 but I had no idea on how much would be holding on to that verse this summer to complete this!
  I have an event this Fall with some kids up for sponsorship so I pick out some World Vision photos (with permission) that had to do with sponsorship and why it works for children suffering around the world.  This particular photo by Laura Reinhardt was so moving to me that I decided to make it my final one in the series.  I have had this song on my mind all week, so I finished painting this last piece by music, 
Lauren Daigle‘s new song “You Say” 
(in this video.  In His Shoes

 I could only see His feet while painting this!

I hope you can too!

Thank all of you that have been following along with me this summer. 

Much Love,

 Part one

Part two

To donate to this cause *

Artwork is by reservation only, thank you for following!

Thank you for 
your part in my 

original footprints poem
One night a man had a dream.

He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand:
one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.

"Lord, You said that once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.

I don't understand why, when I needed you most, you would leave me."

The Lord replied,
"My son, My precious child, I love you and I would
never leave you. During your times of trial and
suffering, when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I Carried You."

Friday, July 13, 2018

Summer project series Part 2

I have learned to live my life one step, one breath, and one moment at a time, but it was a long road. I set out on a journey of love, seeking truth, peace and understanding. I am still learning.
~Muhammad Ali

It’s about half way through the summer now and it's been a hectic month.  I have just been bombarded from every direction (it is intense) this summer,  but the joy has been in the journey (painting) so far as I carve out time in each day to work on my "Summer Project Series"  There is a part of me that is thinking, why do I do this to myself?  

The other part of me is thinking...this will truly be a miracle if I'm  able to get this done.  

  I really do feel at peace while working on these pieces, in the quiet hours of the morning and the moments I find to work on them.  The craziness of this summer, somehow stops my own voice, and Im pouring that voice into these paintings only.  Maybe that was meant to be, hopefully they can speak on their own and for the subjects involved and their issues with the love of Christ. 

Sponsor a child  ❃

Photo credit Jon Warren/World Vision
This painting is from a photo captured by Jon Warren of World Vision of a mother grateful for the medical help she received for her newborn baby.  A mother may walk for miles, or days to get medical help.  While some babies don't even live past the age of five in some areas, this mama knows that she has been given a gift.  

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young-- a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God. Ps 84:3

Sponsor a child like Nirma ❃
Photo credit Nissi Thapa/World Vision
Painting number 5 of my summer project series. I think I connected with this one the most out of all of them so far.  I am a folk artist not a realist, but I really did want to capture her expression on her face. Her name is Nirma, she’s 15 years old and was one week away from her wedding to a much older man and it was stopped just a week before her nuptials, and she was grateful to be able to learn some technical skills

 Her thoughts at that time was that she was doing a selfless act of lo've for her family, she did not want to be a burden to them, even though it is obvious that she seems really scared and nervous about this marriage. I painted the partial window with the blue skies to represent hope and beauty on the horizon. Thank goodness the marriage was stopped for a few years and this girl was able to learn new skills for a good future.  


Sponsor a boy ❃
Photo credit Jon Warren/World Vision
This little boy from Africa shows so much joy from receiving clean water to drink,  I decided to add a few sunflowers🌻 from my own garden. Clean water is everything to villages suffering from diseases that are caused by dirty water!  The colors represent lightness and joy.
"Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Neh 8:10


Sponsor a child for a good future ❃

Painting number 7 in my summer project series and only one more to go! Thank you if you have been following all my progress this summer! This little girl from Peru is reading a book outside among some bricks.  While this child may not be working instead of going to school, many children do not go to school and go to work instead all around the world, and some of that work is heavy labor. This photo was chosen for me by Lauren Reed/ Digital Librarian  World Vision USA
Photo credit Ester Luis/World Vision 2010