Thursday, December 31, 2009
A really bright spot for me in 2009 happened when I found out that Nancy Lindemeyer had begun writing a blog. Then there was the onslaught of commissioned artwork that gave my spirits a real lift at the end of the year. It also confirmed for me that I have been following the path which the Lord has been leading me throughout this year. So, I am looking to the new year with anticipation and hope for what He will do. God has blessed each of us with spiritual gifts and also talents. I look forward to seeing what He does among us... it is sure to be above and beyond what we can imagine!
"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." - Ephesians 3:20-21
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Well, I delivered the last of my commissions last Friday. After a very full and wonderful weekend, I am so happy to feel Christmas cheer rising up within my soul. I don't know whether it's the relief of having all the artwork I promised to deliver done as promised, or whether it's being with my family and enjoying all the Christmas things we do together, or if it is just the beauty of the season... (probably all three) ... but I feel almost giddy, like I did as a very young child. Can you recall the excitement welling up, the sparkle in the eyes, the spring in the step that you felt as a child waiting for that special day to come? I don't always remember it, but this year it has risen in me like that.
Tonight was a special night with just the five of us. Each year we choose a restaurant to go to and then go out together to a local live nativity, or to the mall, or doing last minute things here and there. It is such a blessing to just be able to meld our busy schedules to have this special time together. I notice as the children get older, this becomes harder. But it is a priority and sets the tone for the rest of our week. I am so blessed with such loving and giving children and a very loving husband with whom I celebrated 23 years of marriage this past Sunday. I couldn't want for more. I pray for each of you that you are surrounded by loved ones this season, and that you will know deep in your heart the significance of Christ's birth, death, and resurrection.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
In light of things I haven't accomplished this Christmas season... this morning I recalled a poem I wrote over ten years ago (I can hardly believe that, as I type the words.) December, for me, does not just contain Christmas, but three family birthdays and our wedding anniversary just five days before Christmas Day. The Christmas I wrote this was a Christmas when I felt particularly stressed, pulled in every direction, disorganized, and just generally had gotten things quite out of perspective. Sometimes when that happens, poetry just comes pouring out of me. This was one of those times.
I have revisited some of those feelings this year, as I am barreling down on deadlines... and my living room tree still stands there with lights but no ornaments... and my dining room table centerpiece still holds the Pilgrims from Thanksgiving... and I have baked not one single cookie or goodies, nor made my traditional red Christmas punch. How did it get to be the Sunday before the Sunday before Christmas? With all these things swirling about in my brain, I began to think that I really need to have an attitude check. What about you? Have you been able to reflect on the meaning of Christ's coming?
How Could He Come Here?
Think with me now on this great mystery....
Will you close your eyes and let your heart see?
Can you catch a whiff of the sweet smelling hay,
Or hear His soft breathing while donkeys bray?
Dim light peeking down through cracks in the roof,
From a star that would guide and give wise men proof
Of the Child that was born on a soft bed of earth.
No mere baby this One of heavenly birth!
How could He come to this place ... for what reason?
Was it just so that we could establish a "season"?
If He were to come into our midst today,
What would He think, and what would He say?
Would He understand all our hustle and hurry,
Our lives filled with "world-centered" Christmas time worry?
He'd surely cry, "No! This is not why I came."
We do all these things claiming they’re in His Name.
But, His heart's cry for us is to gaze upon Him,
Our energy spent just to worship the Lamb!
Oh, Lord, help us only to focus on You
With all of our hearts as You ask us to do.
May God reveal Himself in new and fresh ways to each of us this season, so that we can reflect Him as He deserves.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I am in the midst of completing sixteen commissioned pieces before Christmas (and counting... as it seems right now I am receiving a new request every other day). This has been and will continue to be a busy season for me. But, it is such a blessing to get to do this and know there will be people opening gifts containing my artwork on Christmas Day. Above is a drawing I did not too long ago for a dear friend. It is really incredible how the Lord has blessed me in my artwork business this fall and winter. It really affirms that I am doing the right thing. In THIS POST just over a year ago I was really questioning whether it was the right thing to continue with it. Some of you gave me some treasured words of wisdom. At this point, I am trusting that I am following the path He wants for me.
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." - Ephesians 3:20-21
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Be thankful in every situation because this is what God wants from you if you are in Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Don't be anxious about anything, but pray about everything. Ask God for what you need, showing Him that you have a thankful heart for everything He has done for you. (Philippians 4:6)
Come into His presence by showing Him genuine thanks and praise. (Psalm 100) Let Christ have absolute rule and reign in your life and heart, since you are one with Him and with one another. If He rules in your heart then His peace will be evident in your relationships with one another. The manifestation of this in your life should cause you to be truly thankful. (Colossians 3:15)
Prayer should be something you devote yourself to because you are constantly watching for what Jesus wants to do in your life and because you are thankful to Him. (Colossians 4:2) Now that you have received Jesus as your Lord, be sure that you continue to live in Him. Make sure your roots are growing deeply in Him, so that you will grow tall and strong in your faith as you were taught. When this happens, your thankfulness will naturally overflow. (Colossians 2:6-8)
Since we are assured of receiving a kingdom that can never be shaken, we can't help but be thankful. Our thankfulness, then, should cause us to worship God in a way that shows we hold Him in higher esteem than anything or anyone. We stand in awe of what He has done and acknowledge that while our ways are flawed, His ways are perfect. We are also in awe of what He will do because we know that He could choose to consume everything. (Hebrews 12:28-29) I will sing praises to His name and bring Him glory by being thankful. (Psalm 69:30)
As you gather together with family and friends this Thanksgiving, I pray that you will truly understand what it means to be thankful. And in the spirit of thankfulness, I wanted to share with you a recipe that I tried for the first time last year. Delicious!
Cranberry Swirl Coffee Cake Recipe
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
1 (14 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Stir in vanilla extract. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition.
Grease a 10" fluted tube pan. Sprinkle the pecans into pan. Spread half of the batter over nuts; top with half of the cranberry sauce. Repeat layers.
Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over coffee cake. Yield: 12-16 servings.
Monday, November 16, 2009
9" x 12" watercolor
Before the commission rush hit, I was trying to come up with some artwork for Christmas cards. I thought I would share these and ask you what you think. Which would you choose... or would you choose neither? The poinsettia will obviously cover the front of the card. I thought the dove would be nice with the word "Peace" in some lovely font. Any ideas? Or more ideas for other artwork for a different sort of card. I don't have time for creative juices these days, as I am heavy into architecture. :)
9" x 12" graphite and Prismacolor
Thank you all so much for your kind words of encouragement. I am THANKFUL for you!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
graphite, 5" x 7"
This was a fun commission because I have never done a Basilica before. It was also a challenge because of the small size requested (5" x 7"), as there is a tremendous amount of detail. This is the Basilica of St. Lawrence, located in Asheville, North Carolina. It is a very beautiful church and has an interesting history. According to the church's website, "St Lawrence, with its unique dome, is the only church designed and built by the renowned Rafael Guastavino --and is considered the mother church of western North Carolina." At the time when it was designated by the Roman Catholic Church as a Basilica (in 1993) there were only 33 other Basilicas in the United States. The website states about the designation of Basilica that it "is a special designation given by the Holy Father to certain churches because of their antiquity, dignity, historical importance or significance as a place of worship."
And now, back to the drawing board!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
This post is inspired by a recent post, then comment, and then subsequent post on Nancy Lindemeyer's blog. As far back as I can remember, we celebrated Thanksgiving lunch at my grandmother's home. We always gathered there with as many of the family as could come. It may have been just my grandmother and grandfather with their two daughters (my mother being one of them) and their families. Or, it may have included great grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and lots of cousins. But it was always a time for family to come together. We ate together while we all caught up with what had been going on that year in our lives. We shared reminiscences of days gone by and just generally had a wonderful time of fellowship. I am quite sure that many of you have similar memories.
In the earlier years of our marriage, my husband and I did different things at Thanksgiving. Sometimes it was spent with my husband's family and sometimes with mine. But for the past number of years, it has been held in our home. It is always such a wonderful time of being together with both sides of the family around our table. The food preparations are usually not too taxing, as everyone shares the burden by bringing a couple of their favorite dishes. We put it all together and enjoy the blessings the Lord has given us.
In preparation, I don't do a lot of decorating. But Tuesday I put out my special Thanksgiving things. These are special not because of what they look like, how expensive they were, or what store they came from. No, these are special things because of how they came to me. The Pilgrim figurines you see in the pictures of my table each year were given to me by my grandmother, along with a number of ears of dried, multicolored maize. These, along with whatever other fall accoutrements I decide pull together, rest on my dining room table. The Pilgrims, maize, candles, and a fall arrangement are set on a beveled-edge mirror which belonged to my grandmother. This mirror was the base for many a centerpiece on my grandmother's dining room table. And becuase she has gone Home before me, it resides on mine.
But my true treasures from this mother's heart are the Pilgrims and Indians that grace our kitchen table. These are not just any Pilgrims and Indians, you see, but ones that were colored by the small hands of my chilren when they were very young. I proudly display them on the kitchen table each year, and my kids have reached the ages (in their teens/preteens) that they want to wince when they see how brightly colored these treasures are. Two Pilgrims and two Indians share their bounty of a turkey, a pie, a basket of corn, and a pumpkin. No black and white garb would do for these Pilgrims! And a purple-haired Indian man... you just have to love it. And if you have children, then you know just why these cutouts are treasured and displayed proudly every year.
So much to be thankful for... friends, family, all God's good blessings!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
I took these pictures this past Wednesday, one of the few days lately when the sun shined for most of the day. I was on my way to a local Arts and Crafts fair and literally stopped my car when I saw the trees in the photo below.
I was fortunate enough to have my camera with me and began to snap pictures as quickly as I could before another car came along. The trees in this particular area were just beautiful.
It rained and rained last night, so I imagine many these beautiful leaves are on the ground today. I am so thankful I was the beneficiary of this particular view for that one day, at least.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
This is not something you want to mess around with. I am still coughing and generally feeling lousy. My daughter has rebounded from her bout with it quite nicely, however. So, my best advice is to get as much Vitamin C as you can, wash your hands thoroughly and often, and avoid public places (this was our downfall, I'm afraid.) I wouldn't want any of my friends to get this... in fact I wouldn't even wish this one on my enemies.
Y'all take care and stay well,
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The sunset over the water paints a picture more beautiful than words can describe. It is refreshing down to the very depths of the soul.
The reflection of these beautiful flowers along the shoreline says everything about the flowers' health and vigor... health that is largely due, I am sure, to the fact that their roots are constantly nourished and watered by the life of the spring by which they are planted.
The hollyhocks were seemingly so happy to greet us in their fine ruffled, flowing pink skirts.
Though we were definitely not in paradise, there were many beautiful things to feast our eyes upon. And, this gorgeous bird of paradise was no exception.
It brings to mind this quote from L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables:
"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?"
A change of scenery often does bring that scope for the imagination and a renewed energy to tackle the day to day tasks waiting patiently at home for our return. Two weeks away has left me a lot of "day to day" to accomplish, but how wonderful that I have new scope for imagination to keep those tasks from being mundane.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Fall sparks all kinds of memories for me. It is a time for reflecting and remembering. The things in this photograph are all associated with memories for me... some are happy, some sad.
Take for instance the silver tray... it was a wedding gift and something I will always cherish. It reminds me of one of the happiest days of my life: my wedding day. I know that some people say theirs was a blur, but I remember everything about that day. I remember how I felt, what people said, the smiles of friends and family, the blessing that God gave me in my husband, seeing my parents and my husband's parents, our grandparents, and everyone witness our happiness and join with us in active participation as we pledged our lives together before God.
Then there are the pearls... the pearls on the left were given to me by my mother. They were given to her by my dad, but they are now divorced (she is happily remarried.) But, for me looking at those brings bittersweet memories. Then there are the single pearl earrings... they were a gift from my husband on our wedding day. And the pearls on the right were a gift from him on our 20th wedding anniversary. What special treasures those are.
Then there are the fragrances... the first time my hubby and I went to EPCOT together, we lingered at the UK pavilion. As we browsed through the shops I was aware of the most wonderful scent. When I finally located it, I had my first encounter with Burberry. I have loved it ever since. The scent in the center is called ....(clears throat)... Giardini di Montecatini VI by Princess Marcella Borghese. I saw the perfume first in Victoria magazine and had to check it out (mostly, I confess, due to its beautiful packaging). But I loved the fragrance, too. And not being one to overuse perfumes, it has been on my vanity for nearly 20 years... and believe it or not still smells wonderful. And then there's Coco Chanel. With Coco, it's all about fall. For some reason, I gravitate toward the scent when the temperatures begin to drop at the end of summer.
Then there is the magazine... Victoria was and is the only magazine I have ever really loved. All the others were just time fillers, but Victoria was special. Maybe it was because I was a newlywed when she first came into my life, and I saw the world through rose-colored glasses. Or maybe it was because she simply was the finest magazine ever published. She had articles about historical figures with pictures so rich you could frame them and hang them. She had travel articles, making a yearly tour to France and to England... again giving us such fantastic visuals that you knew someday you simply HAD to get there. There were even beauty layouts... but never the "here today, gone tomorrow" kinds of fashions. Rather, Victoria showed a classic elegance that would carry us through the ins and outs of yearly fashion trends. And then there were articles on women who had followed what came to be known as their "bliss" and actually made a living from doing what they loved. Now those were enough to inspire the meekest of us to reach for our dreams. And since that time, so many of us have seen even the most remarkable dreams come true. It may have taken years and work and prayers and sweat... but we are seeing our fondest dreams realized. For years Nancy Lindemeyer gave vision and direction to the group effort that was Victoria magazine. If you haven't visited Nancy's blog, I highly recommend it.
Memories are sparked by so many things. I hope that something here has somehow brought to your mind a bright spot from your past... some little glimmer that still lingers from a wonderful moment that may have occurred even years ago. And I would love it if you would share it with me, if you'd like.
Early Autumn Blessings to All!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Melissa at The Inspired Room asks the question: Which room in your home do you need the most help with for Fall Nesting?
My response, of course, is my soon to be new art studio (formerly my living room.) As I shared a couple of weeks ago, I am currently doing my artwork "in my own little corner of my own little room"... errr, rather my own little corner of my dining room. I have big plans for the room pictured above, but I can always use a little help... Home Goods/fairy godmother... either would work well.
I love autumn... love the cool nip in the air that comes and goes... the gentle breezes that sooner or later blow the leaves from the trees...
the myriad colors of the leaves as they begin to fall all around...
that the shadows grow longer and longer... the brilliance of the sunset...
the scent of fresh apple cider, pumpkin spice, and even the scent of burning leaves...
the vivid colors of chrysanthemums on porches... that there is a need to come in from the chill to the first fire of the season...
There is so much about FALL to love! Melissa, at The Inspired Room is hosting links to Fall Nesting. If you haven't discovered The Inspired Room, you must go and check out what you've been missing.
Monday, August 31, 2009
And I can't fathom how the movies could be any better. Megan Follows truly embodied the character of Anne so well that I can't imagine anyone else ever playing her.
She was able to transition from 12 year-old Anne with pigtails flaring about in the wind, to a lovely young adult teacher with a very Gibson girl look, with ease.
I also marvel at the gorgeous scenery in the movie... whether Green Gables itself, the beautiful "Avenue", the farms across P.E.I, the scenes at college, or the beautiful beachside scenes. It is all a delight for the senses.
If you have never taken the time to see these movies, don't wait. They will delight your heart and entertain you to the core.
If you want to find out more information about the movies, watch video clips, or see the beautiful photos shot during filming, click on any of the above images to go to Sullivan Entertainment's "Anne of Green Gables" website.