Saturday, June 30, 2012

Prairie Song Retreat Art Project Time

Beautiful In It's Time
Session One:  Prairie Song 
Art and Photo Retreat

has been in my heart to share for over a year.

At last I got to share with lovely ladies!
So glad my 10 year old daughter, Sydney, was my photographer!
Thanks to her we have these photos!

A faith centered art and photo time with women in a relaxed environment.

To be encouraged to develop a habit
for a new way of living.

What is that habit?

To see the beauty in your very own right here and right now.
The things that we walk or drive by every single day.
To have gratitude to God for his gifts and for His walking with us.
To embrace Him and the life He has given us.
To embrace the uniqueness of who he made each one of us to be.

In Philippians 2:14-16, it says this:
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 
15 so that you may become blameless and pure, 
“children of God 
without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[a] 
Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 
16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.

This is one practical way that I know has worked for me
to live out gratitude to God for the life He's given
rather than be grumbler and complainer.
Photographs and art.
They create visual art journals of gratitude.
I want to share the message ~ to pass it on.
Do you see how much of a difference it makes?
When we don't complain and argue, 
we shine like stars in the darkness of this broken, crooked, depraved world,
holding out the word of life.
We find the gifts, the beauty, the life
that God has given.
Those glimpses of God's intention and beauty are still here.
And we are 
His little lights of hope 
shimmering in the darkness to others and to our own hearts.

Seeing beauty. Matters.
And God can even turn curses into beauty.
Creeping Jenny cursed weeds become a blessing of love
when my 5 year old brings me a bowl filled with them,
"These are for you, Mommy."
Beauty from ashes.

Like a mosaic made of shattered glass.
Broken and put back together into a beautiful work of art.
He does that with our lives.
He has done that with me.
And helped me embrace who I am rather than resist it, condemn or belittle.
Each of our uniqueness is our own beauty to share and give.
Our purpose from Him is in that uniqueness that is like no one else.
The closer we get to Him and know Him, the more we find out who we are.
And that is beautiful.

Creating keepsakes is fun.

But there is so much more behind it.




Here is a bit of what I shared that day
and wrote in the online portion of this class:

I distinctly remember the day that I first heard Kenny Chesney's song, Don't Blink
I was driving across the pasture of our "Schrek Place" alone in the old Chevy ranch pickup while my family pushed cattle along on four-wheelers to the corral on the hilltop.  
My breath caught in my throat and tears welled up in my eyes as I listened to the words, 
and realized that 
I was missing my life.

Don't blink.  You just might miss your babies grow and like mine did, turning into moms and dads, next thing you know you're better half of 50 years is there in bed, and you're praying God takes you instead. 
Trust me friend, a hundred years goes faster than you think.  Don't blink."
. . . best start putting first things first . . . take every breath God gives you for what its worth . . . so I've been trying to slow it down . . . I've been trying to take it in . . . in this here today gone tomorrow world we're livin' in . . . Don't blink.

Underneath was a deep longing for something real, pure, true, beautiful.  So that day, my breath caught, and as the tears that had welled up began to run down my cheeks, I thought about the brief time in which my kids had grown out of toddler stage and into starting school.  And about this rancher in Wranglers with icy teal eyes and flecks of gray in his hair that still made my heart quicken when I would see him walk through the door.  I thought about driving that rumbling Chevy bouncing along with them all in my sight.  And about how just a few years ago on long weekend breaks from college I would sit behind him on the four-wheeler riding across the prairie, put my ear on his back and hear his heart beat, and think that there was no other place in the world that I would rather be.  And I thought about in that moment of that song, that there really was no place in the world that I'd rather be than right here with this man, with these kids, driving across this grass with the window down and prairie wind in my hair.

This is about that transition in my life.
From always looking for the next big goal or big moment,
to looking the beauty of right here, right now.

I still have goals.  Holding these retreats are a goal.
But they come about through a process
of living a beautiful life that I enjoy.
I work, yes.  I have tasks that are unpleasant, yes.  I have annoying things, yes.
My kids fight. Grasshoppers move in.  There are bills to pay.  Dishes to clean.
But my eyes and mind come back to finding God and his beauty and gift in 
the work and tasks
I do what I believe in.
I try to live what I truly believe is important.

And passing it on . . . 
sharing it.

I loved spending the day with these truly beautiful spirits.

It was one of the most encouraging environments ever.

I loved seeing how given the same tools and "ingredients"

each one created an entirely different project.

All reminders to look for beauty
in their live
embrace it,
see it,
enjoy it,
have gratitude to God for it.

I'd like to share with you a little story about these retreats that I shared on facebook yesterday:

I just need to share this! SO AWESOME! In regards to these retreats, 
I kept hearing in my mind, 
"Use what you have," 
whenever there was a question of what to share, where to share, what to eat, when, what to teach, 
I'd hear in my mind, 
"just use what you have". 
"Use the camera you have, use the stories you have, use the wildflowers, sunflowers, birds that you have, use the cardboard that you have, the paper, the old books, the boxes of things from Irma, the White Owl hall, use the bountiful food that you have. 
You don't NEED ANYTHING ELSE to do this thing." 
This is what I kept hearing as an answer to my questions.
 I told Dede last weekend in regards to her camera lens, 
"use what you have." 
An idea to do a faith centered art/photo retreat has been in my heart for over a year...several years. 
Today, I was doing my Nehemiah Bible study that I'm doing with my Canadian friends. 
This is what I read in my Bible, 
"And in this I give advice: 
It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began
 and were desiring to do a year ago; 
but now you also must complete the doing of it; 
that as there was a readiness to desire it, 
so there also may be a completion to it 
For if there is first a willing mind, 
it is accepted according to WHAT ONE HAS, 
and NOT according to what he does not have." 
2 Corinthians 8:10-12.
(Caps are my emphasis) 
{I love it when God speaks out of His word a message I have been hearing all along and confirms the desires of my heart are from Him and not my own imagination! I couldn't help but share! I would LOVE for you to attend and we will see what God has for you! I can only imagine!}

Session 2 and 3 are open for registration here:

Sneak peekers, you saw the set up and this was the real deal.
You can go here to see the photo walk part: 

Love joining Jen and this group of inspiring artists!
sneak peek


  1. Hi Jodene, this is a beautiful post with so much in it! You have so much to share and I'm glad you got a chance to do it! How wonderful if we were all kindred spirits seeing God's beauty and goodness every day- this world will be a much better place! "Use what you have" is something my mom taught us ever since we were young! Patsy from

  2. Oh Jodene, I absolutely love what you and the others have done, have sung, have said, and have been while together. A blessing for all, I can feel! And I am looking for the beauty in the weeds too!! (from two days ago)! I am so thankful that you and your daughter shared all of this with us!
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda (SDG)


Welcome ~ share your beautiful thoughts.