Saturday, December 15, 2018

Light on a hill 🕯

“At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God's own love and concern.” 
Mother Teresa 🕯

≀Merry Christmas 

I knew this month would be really busy,  so I just painted one piece based on something that caught my eye this year.  
A little village called "Nativity Village".  

A little town in Portugal nested in the valley of the Acor Mountains,   a quiet place with just a few residents.  It is named "Nativity Village" because when it lights up at night it resembles the original nativity scene in Bethlehem.
I am looking forward to after Christmas when my schedule slows down. (really)  :)  Sad to say but I work alot over the next week or two,  but I will still count all my blessings this Christmas and look for the joy and peace that comes with it every year.
It always comes! :)  
Wishing friends blessings this Christmas!  Ones I get to see and ones I don't.   Have a lovely Christmas with family and many more blessings for the coming year!♡🕯
“But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one’s deepest as well as one’s most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person — having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.” 
~Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

🎜♪What a friend we have in Jesus ♫♪

The world waits for a miracle 
The heart longs for a little bit of hope 
Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel 
A child prays for peace on Earth 
And she's calling out from a sea of hurt Oh come, oh come,
 Emmanuel And can you hear the angels singing 
Glory to the light of the world Glory, the light of the world is here 
The drought breaks with the tears of a mother 
A baby's cry is the sound of love Come down, come down,
 Emmanuel He is the song for the suffering He is Messiah, 
the Prince of Peace has come He has come, 
Emmanuel Glory to the light of the world 
Glory to the light of the world 
Glory to the light of the world 
Glory to the light of the world 
For all who wait For all who hunger For all who've prayed 
For all who wonder Behold your King Behold Messiah Emmanuel,
 Emmanuel Glo-glory to the light of the world
 Glory to the light of the world Glory to the light of the world 
Behold your King Behold Messiah Emmanuel, 
Emmanuel The world waits for the miracle 
The heart longs for a little bit of hope 
Oh come, oh come 
Emmanuel Lauren Daigle 

You are the light of the world.
 A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
 Matt 5:14 

A little short and sweet, a message of hope 
and good news,  
have a blessed Christmas! 

Feliz Natal!

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

 The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.

You have enlarged the nation

    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder.

For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,

    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.
 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born,

    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace

    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9 

Photo credit World Vision/ Laura Reinhardt 
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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 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

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!

Sponsoring a child 
is one of the most effective ways 
of tackling poverty ♡  Shine bright this Christmas!

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.