Friday, July 27, 2012

Wild Sunflower Gratitude

This is what artist Vincent Van Gogh had to say
about his sunflower paintings,

I feel the desire to renew myself,
and try to apologize for the fact 
that my pictures are, after all,
almost a cry of anguish,
although in the
rustic sunflower
they may


I get that.

Life around us

can be a cry of anguish.

But the sunflowers . . . 

my sun flowers . . . 

are a picture



They cry out to us







They inspire





1000 Gifts:

81.  The color yellow

82.  Hearts in gravel sprinkled with flower petals.

83.  Growing girls laughter on the evening air.

84.  Sunshine on blonde hair.

85.  Gravel Roads.

Join me for my last summer
art and photography faith-centered day retreat
at my home
Saturday, August 11.

Here's what Missy has to say,
"I attended the first session in June, and I would highly recommend this upcoming day retreat to ANY woman. You do not need to be a photographer or an artist (I am neither!) to attend this retreat. It is for any woman who would like to spend a day admiring nature, finding beauty in the ordinary, and being inspired by an amazing story. It is a very relaxing experience. I just took my little point-and-shoot camera, used Jodi's supplies, and listened to her stories. You do not need to be an expert, you do not need to be a professional, anyone would enjoy and learn from this experience. It has helped me appreciate the many 'everyday-ordinary-beautiful-b
lessings' around me. I feel blessed to live so near this inspirational woman and to be able to experience her story and learn from it. I hope all of you take the opportunity to experience these retreats, too!"

Read about it here:

Register here:

All photos property of Jodene Shaw. 2012.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Believe Truth Boards

Jesus said,
"I am the way, the truth, and the life."

I have come to see that
what I believe is how I will live.

And I have read that if the Son sets you free,
 you shall be free indeed.
And that you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

So if I live what I believe,
I might as well believe Truth.

But there have been times I did not.
And some times I don't.

I have believed lots of things that aren't true.
For many years I believed that my
security, identity, validity, and value
were rooted in a successful academics, school activities,
a long list of accomplishments, 
career and business success,
and underneath all of that
admiration, praise and applause were my cup-fillers.
It's not that doing well in school and business is wrong.
But I grasped frantically and in desperation 
and sacrificed time, money, and values for those things.
They seemed like things I could control, they were right and good and admirable.

Yet those "things" are not The Way.
Those are not where I find ultimate security, identity, and value.
They are not what fill the hole in my heart I was seeking to fill.

The false beliefs are endless really.
We can discover them throughout our life.
And they really become how we live.
Even if they are not true.

But as my truth rather than my shameful hiding entered my life,
. . . even though it was painful at the time . . . 
as that happened
and the forgiveness of Jesus poured out on me
and His grace washed over me,
His truth 
opened up before my eyes.
The truth of 
who He is
and the truth of 
who I am
because of Him
and the truth of
who He has made and is making me to be.

He has continued
to show me Himself.
His Truth.
One in the same.

Three years ago,
I came to Cedar Canyon Bible Camp
just to go to the evening service.
Very raw.
Very broken.
Very much knowing
I needed to make a change.
I participated along with the teens
writing down what I needed to let go of on a piece of paper
we burned it.
I was not free yet in that moment.
But in the weeks to come,
I spoke with authenticity and truth.
And made hard changes.
Through restless nights,
vivid dreams,
wrestling with God and myself
about my beliefs and my choices and my options
to follow the Way.

Three years ago,
I let go of my agenda for how life had to be,
I let go of who I thought I had to please,
and let God transform my mind and heart.

Three years later,
I am back at Cedar Canyon Bible Camp,
sharing lies I have believed
God's truth that can set us free.

we nailed the truth
to pieces of wood.
With the lie
on the back side.

As I picked up the left over sheets
of lies and truth.
My heart broke when I saw the things the girls had believed
even though I have believed them,
and even though I knew
they probably have believed them.

Still, it breaks my heart when I see the holes
in the page,
where it said,
"I have believed that I am ruined 
and my life is ruined by things I have done 
or things that have happened to me."
It breaks my heart
when the hole was in the page
where the words read,
"I have believed that I don't belong"
or the one that was typed,
"I have believed that I am abandoned"

But my heart rejoices to know that
they also acknowledged that
"The truth is the Jesus can give me a crown of beauty
 in place of the parts of my life that have been destroyed" 
(See Isaiah 61)
and my heart rejoices
that she acknowledged that
"The truth is I belong to the LORD. 
He says, 'You are Mine."
(See Isaiah 43:1)
and that 
"The truth is that I have been chosen by Him to be holy and blameless.  
The truth is that it is His pleasure to adopt me and He planned to do it.  
The truth is He accepts me."
Ephesians 1:4-6

They made a
beautiful remembrance of Truth.

My prayer
for these girls
is that their hearts are prepared soil
ready to receive
the seeds of truth.

That the Word planted
won't be choked out by weeds,
dried up among the rocks,
or snatched away.

My prayer is
that they will be willing
to give their hearts to
the One who will make
their hearts into
the soil of a good and noble heart
receiving truth
so that it can grow
and mature
yield a harvest in their lives
100 fold.

Dear Lord,
Your word says in Isaiah 55 that
as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
and bread the the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
For you shall go out with joy,
and be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

I pray that this Truth,
that your Word
shall not return to You void,
but shall accomplish what You please
and prosper
in the lives
of these
And that there
will be

In Jesus name,

Cedar Canyon Bible Camp was
my "studio" for the week.
Visit Jennifer at Studio JRU and these 
inspirational artists, photographers, writers,
for a sneak peek into their studio this week:
sneak peek

Jodene Shaw Mixed Media Art & Photography copyright 2012.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Name

Yesterday morning,
I was working through 

At one point, I was reading the names of those
who had returned to Jerusalem.
Nehemiah had led the people to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem,
but so few people were there.
What is the point of a wall with no people?
So I begin to read.
A list of names.
Tedious.  People I do not know.
Does reading their names matter?
But I made myself read each one.

Those names are there in print.
In the very Word of God.
For a reason.
They were people
with real lives
with real stories.

And I got to thinking about remembering names.
I thought about
Ground Zero.
Every September 11, the names of those who lost their lives
are read.
To remember.
Each and every one.
The name matters.

Even as a 17 year old girl,
I remember
the powerful reality
of life,
of life
Vietnam War Memorial.
Truly a place
where I felt like Isaiah
before the throne of God
where words
- any words -

I thought of the framed ship's manifest
hanging in my mom's hallway
with the list of names of my great grandfather and great grandmother
my great aunts and uncles
and my Grandpa Tommy
listed as 
Their names had to be on the ship manifest
and be registered
Ellis Island in 1908.
They matter.
They symbolize the courage it took to leave behind a land of oppression
for the hope of a new life in a new land.
If not for those names listed
on that ship,
I would not be alive.
I was born here
into this life
because of those names
of those
I ought to remember.
I have life because those names were on that list.
I have this life because of their sacrifice.

My 20 year high school reunion
is this coming weekend.
So I have been thinking
about name tags.
Ugh. Who likes to wear a name tag?
But we should.
We want to know who you are.
Know your name.
Remember your name.

I've been going through lists
of names,
trying to find people.
It's hard to find them all.
But I wanted them to know they were invited.
That they were on the list.
That their name matters.
They matter.

After all of this reading names
and thinking about
lists of names
and why they are important,
I opened facebook.

A picture of a nametag was there in black and white
staring at me.
It said
"Hello my name is"
and then
scrawled in the blank space was
"Easily forgotten
because I don't matter."

Someone feels this way
Someone was honest about feeling like this.
Someone is asking the question,
"Do I matter?"
"Does anyone see me?"

Why do names matter?
Because people matter.
A person matters.
Individual lives matter.
They make a difference.

Who hasn't asked the question,
"Do I really matter?"

Who hasn't felt the sting of being forgotten?
Of being left out?
Of being the one not invited.

And which one of us has not been the one

We all forget.

Who are the forgotten?
Who have I forgotten?
Who can I show that I remember and appreciate?
That they matter and make a difference

To believe that I am easily forgotten because I don't matter
is to give power to a lie over my life.
Oh, I have felt that way for a moment,
but what about the one who has believed it for years,
for a lifetime?
The one who is continually overlooked?
It is heartbreaking.  The lies that we let creep into our beliefs.
Lies shaped by our experiences.
That seem like they are giving us a true message.

Why is that a lie, when it sure seems like I'm forgotten?
Because even if our own family forgets,
we can
the truth
and choose
believe the truth

there is One who never forgets . . .

There is One to whom we matter,
who gave His life
that we might

Each one of us does matter to God.
You matter to God.
And that does make a difference.

There is One
who intended that we be.
Who wants us to be His.
To be on His list of names
The Book of Life.

Who takes us after we have
been busted up and broken
by our own selfish pride and arrogance and sin 
and mess and faults 
and fears and doubts
and wounded and bruised and manipulated
by others

Remakes us
for good works
that will
to others who have a name.
When we do those
good things
He puts in our heart,
we matter.
And a circle of grace can begin.
Of remembering one
making a difference to another.
And as we remember one,
they remember us.
His circle of remembrance continues.
We can be a part of it.


And He gives
new identity
which is
heir . . . 
to be who He truly intended us
to be.

we will let him have
our heart,
our life,
our name.

who we

I am engraved
the palm
His hands.


Art and photography property of Jodene (Jodi) Shaw 2010, 2012.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Just Pretty.

The kids are in 

Which means
it is 100 degrees out
we live
60 miles from the nearest
swimming pool.
So they are bugging each other.

And I just needed a quiet walk
on the prairie
in the cool of the morning.

Except it is not

So I went through
my photos of my morning walk.

I enjoyed them so much.

I thought someone else
could use a pick-me-up.


It can



Pure moments.



All Photos property of Jodene Shaw 2012.