Friday, November 21, 2008

The Season and the Theme

As this new year began, instead of making a New Year's resolution I wanted to come up with a theme for the year that would be honoring to the Lord. As I meditated on this, I believe the Lord showed me that He wanted this year to be one that produced fruit inspired from deep within ... from a thankful heart... and thus my theme became Fruit of Thankfulness. You can read more about that here, if you'd like. And now, as we reach the thankful season, I have been reflecting on how well I have "kept" the theme in my life.

My artwork has been a source of many ups and downs, but in all of it I have really and truly been thankful to be blessed to get to do what I love to do. God has shown Himself to me so often in this process, and for that I am TRULY thankful. I know that there are many days when I am not as productive as I could or should be, and on those days I am truly thankful that He loves me in spite of me.

I have also seen fruit in my family this year... not of my doing, mind you, but fruit straight from the hand of the Lord... fruit of children who are following the Lord and desire to serve Him, of a husband who loves the Lord and his family above anything else, of an extended family that is more excellent than gold or fine jewels and such a blessing to me, of God's healing mercies in my father and in my mother-in-law, of a precious church family who has gathered around us so often to lift up and encourage us in ministry, and so much more. I am truly blessed and as we head into this Thanksgiving week I just need to praise the Lord publicly for all that He has done.

From a thankful heart...

Thursday, November 13, 2008


What is home to you? While the first thing that usually comes to mind when we talk about home is a house, what is home really? For most of us, I would propose that it is more about who than where. Home is where our family is. That may be in our house, or it may be somewhere else. For our family, it is wherever we all are. Whether we are in a hotel room, on a vacation, driving in our car, at a ballgame, on a picnic... wherever we are all together is home.

Further, I would propose that for the believer, home is not a place but a person. Home can be here or in heaven... but the main point is that it is wherever He is. Because really, He is our home.

I Will Bring You Home
by Michael Card

Though you are homeless, though you're alone,
I will be your Home.
Whatever's the matter, whatever's been done
I will be your Home.
I will be your Home.
I will be your Home.
In this fearful, fallen place
I will be your Home.

When time reaches fullness, when I move my Hand
I will bring you Home;
Home to your own place in a beautiful land...
I will bring you Home.
I will bring you Home.
I will bring you Home.
From this fearful, fallen place
I will bring you Home.
I will bring you Home.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Some good news and some artwork

Two posts in one day... I know, I know. But I wanted to share some good news I just received and a little of the artwork I have done this week. First the good news... my son got his first college acceptance letter today from a university he has had designs on attending for several years now. As a homeschooling mom, this is a very welcome day and one that has not come without some major sacrifices. I look back over these twelve years and think of the mulititude of times I could have had peaceful days at home if all my children were off in public or private schools. I could have had "time to myself" and been able to do some things just for myself. But, I am quickly reminded that there would have been so many things I would have missed... seeing the "lightbulb" come on while doing a math problem or teaching them to read... seeing their eyes light up as they found out something wonderful about how our universe is put together or how our bodies are formed with such intricate detail and amazing functionality... or seeing their realization of how important communication is, as we see an ever-increasing need to have great command of the language in order to communicate effectively in our "wired world"... or knowing that they couldn't wait until we studied their favorite part of history. All these things and many more help me to know that the sacrifice was worth it. So, I am rejoicing today that I am about to send one of my "baby birds" out from this nest and am thankful that he is a responsible and generous young man.

And now for the artwork...

I thought you might be interested to see the stages of this one. It was a great deal of fun to do.

"Where Dreams Live"
- graphite on paper

This watercolor was done from a lovely picture I found in The English Garden magazine of two people from vastly different generations who were obviously enjoying one another's company tremendously.

"Joyful Years"
- watercolor on Arches 140 lb. cold press

And thanks to Cielo from The House in the Roses for hosting "Hopeful Friday"!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Christi's Psalm 123

So my study of the Psalms of Ascent continues and here's one that is mighty appropriate for these hours... in my own words, of course.

Christi's Psalm 123

My gaze lifts to You, LORD, and settles on the vision of You on Your throne.
Just as a servant's eyes are so careful to watch and wait for his master's hand to lift,
So my eyes are fixed on You in readiness for You to move with grace on behalf of Your people.
Show us Your mercy and Your grace, LORD, because as a people -- Your people -- we are ridiculed and scorned by those on the outside looking in ... those who consider themselves either more intellectual or more worthy because of their tolerance of things contrary to Your law.
They think their opinions are of more worth than Your Word -- and we need Your grace and mercy to endure it!

These words are so helpful right now with all that is going on in our present world. As a believer, I am called to pray for those in positions of leadership... that means local leaders, state leaders, national leaders, and world leaders. I am also called to stand for Truth. I can't back down on it even when it would seem more convenient. I know it sustains me through times of joy and times of total despair. Even when all the ground around my feet seems to crumble and fall, if my feet are planted on the Truth of God's Word I cannot fall. The ground of the Word right under my feet is firm and unshakeable! Am I naive enough to think that harm and calamity cannot come to me? No. I know that while God's people are blessed with His presence, they are also called to suffer. This may be a physical suffering, an emotional suffering, (economical suffering?) or spiritual suffering in the form of persecution. It is coming hard at us right now. But, let us stand firm. Let us not waiver in our faith. Further, let us who are called by His name praise God that we are counted worthy to suffer with Christ.

Acts 5:41 "So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name."

Romans 8:17-18 "...and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

There is no promise of immunity from suffering in God's Word. But there is the promise of His presence both now and forever. He is Emmanuel, the God who is with us. And if our covenant keeping God is with us, who can be against us?