Monday, April 18, 2011

Gotta Love Her

I love this girl.







made her own



the 8 and 9

year olds were

having a spa day in my living room

for her sister's birthday slumber party.

Guess she decided to do

some mud treatments.

So imagine

my feeling walking into church

yesterday morning with this child

to see that we were having communion.

Somehow I missed the memo.

Lately I miss alot at church.

I like to prepare myself and my kids for communion . . .

before we get to church.

Especially this one

so she gets a tiny glimpse of the significance . . .

But she is silly and fun

in one moment

and impatient and determined in the the next.

So, she let me know as I am trying to whisper about

Jesus' death on the cross

for her sins and mine


"This is boring!"


"Your breath stinks!"

And I tell her to "Sit here with me."

And she says, "I'm going to the play room" and walks off,

while my friends and family sit behind me,

and it feels like they are watching

(even if they are not, but how could you not watch this spectacle)

as our pastor is leading this most

precious moment of rememberance.

And I am not thinking about the precious body and blood of my Savior

given and shed for me

even though I want to.

But for some reason . . .

it is hard to focus on it

with a girl who likes to stick her tongue out and make cross-eyed faces

for the fun of it.

As my mind is being pummeled in the pew

with thoughts of

"Can't you get it together?"

"Why don't you do a better job of teaching your child proper respect
of the Lord and others before you come to church?"

"If you had the proper perspective of the way to reverence
the Lord, perhaps you would teach your children better."

"Why do you even come to church? 
It's just a waste of time and a disturbance to those around you
when you can't control your child and teach her proper behavior."





These are the thoughts going through my head at church
. . . these horrible parenting thoughts . . .
these thoughts of
"You can't control her in the church pew,
what is she going to be like in 10 years?

This is all going on in my head
I am sitting there trying to prepare myself and family for communion.

And the trays come around
and she searches for the biggest piece of Wheat Thin.
And then the cups come
and I give to the other children in my row,
take one for myself
and he walks away
she is whiny-whispering, left-out faced, saying,
I tell her,
"You can have mine."
She goes to eat her cracker
and I say, "Wait! We have to wait for pastor and everyone else."
We eat the cracker, to remember the body of Christ.
The church is so quiet
that the crunching of every cracker can be heard.
Which only reminds me how
easily heard our whispering back and forth probably is.
We hold on to the cup that, if spilled,
will stain the carpet of our church.
So I am holding a cup with a four-year-old that is testing me,
thinking Dr. James Dobson has a book for me,
wondering if he knows how to wash grape juice out of the church carpet.

Breifly . . . back of my mind . . . thoughts
Stain . . .
 grape-stains . . .  blood stains
Wash . . .
washed in the blood . . .
cleaned . . .

We drink the cup.
She says, "Can I have it?"
I say, "No. I'll hold it."
She says, "I want it."
My son gives her his.
She does exactly what I expect:
sticks her tongue in the cup and rolls it around inside
getting the last drops of grape juice
making a little slurpy sound as she does it.
Then I think,
"This is exactly why some churches don't allow children to take communion.
Am I defiling this most holy tradition?"


in that moment at church,
the answer was
That afternoon, I could laugh.
Today I can laugh.

At church I am thinking,
"What is the point,
I should just take
my child and myself home
and have my own communion at home
because this is completely a
battle for control played out in front of half the church
and I am losing it."

I am sitting there in the pew
and start
thinking about these pictures
that I took of my girl in the mud.
This vibrant,
kind of girl
that I love so much.
And wondering . . .
how do I do this, Lord?
What do you want me to do
here in this moment
that is so full of reverence and holiness and meaning
yet feels so messy and chaotic and sloppy and frustrating.
Childlike faith.
Climb up in His lap kind of faith.
Faith in a Man who gave his life.
For the frustrated.
For the sloppy.
For the chaotic.
For the messy.
For the broken.
For the one who can't keep it together in the church pew.
For the one whose mascara and nose are both running.
For the heart that hides insecurities.
For the heart that tries to push back fears.
For the one that feels condemnation.
For the one that cannot keep all the rules.
For the one that feels like a failure several times a day.
For the heart that says at last . . .
"I can't do this .
But here I am, Lord.
I need you.
In the big stuff
and in the every-Sunday-battle
in the pew
of a little country church
and the battles
of a little house
in day-to-day life."

And I am reminded that
life is not about painting a perfect picture
even in church where it feels so pressured to do so.
And perhaps my daughter will learn of Him
through this time of remembering.
And perhaps she will teach me that I am not a perfect and proper parent
who does not need a Savior,
but rather that I am imperfect and improper
and desperately needing my Savior.
And that I am never
in my own strength and performance
But He is.
And He makes up where I lack.
And He went to the cross for all of me.
And I know that I need it . . . need what He did.
And I receive the gift
of being enough


Palm Sunday.

He enters Jerusalem on a donkey.

Wednesday, I will share the Easter story
of Jesus . . . his death and his resurrection
with preschoolers with Resurrection Eggs.
It will be messy,
chocolate stained chins,
chaotic, questions, and poking back and forth,
wiggles and squirmy kids
while I tell them about Jesus.
It will be imperfect.
And it will be a seed
planted in their heart
and mine
that He died and now lives
to wash away our stains
that are far deeper than
the chocolate eggs on our faces.
Clean us and give us new lives
to live
His grace.

Linking up with these great women of faith
Read their stories here:
Finding Heaven

Friday, April 8, 2011

Testing Waters

Each day



















To bloom.

To be real.

To be me.








Each step











Fifteen months ago

I bought

my first

"grown-up" art supplies,

and I took a deep breath of courage when I did.


felt the same



when I bought my first canvases.

I can't believe how much courage

it takes to move from

found wood that others were planning to burn . . .

to a canvas.

And that was just buying them.

I haven't even begun to paint on them.

But these pieces of wood and my newly matted photo prints

that I have poured

my heart into

will be part of my first public events.

And my "studio"

is  full of

works in progress.

Small steps and big steps

toward living the authentic & creative life I want to be living.

Each has felt big.

Resigning a work position.  Beginning a blog. 
Speak at Women's retreat.
Painting~collage~mixed media.
Showing pictures of my work.
Art booths
Cammack's Open House, Union Center, SD, April 14
Faith Spring Fling, Faith SD, April 15
South Dakota Chocolate Festival, Spearfish, SD, April 30-May 1.

This is a sneak peek of what I am preparing for
in my studio
{which is in my kitchen}.
Each is a step
that requires me to be
have faith in the One who called me on this journey.
be strong
not terrified or discouraged
for the Lord my God
will be with me
wherever I go.
(Joshua 1:9)

sneak peek
I am so proud and happy
to have been invited to be a part
of Jennifer's
In The Studio Sneak Peek Friday group
which is on
(in) Courage this week here:
I have been richly blessed by the talents of these women
grateful to Jennifer for hosting, brainstorming with me,
and inspiring me with her
creative life.


Art & photography copyright Jodene (Jodi) Shaw 2011.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More Alive

Finding Heaven
I love linking today with
Jen and this sisterhood here:

I have finished the blocks in memory of my Grandma Marj.

Here is an excerpt from a little essay
I wrote of my memories with her:

After school in the breakfast room, over a glass of apple cider, a wooden bowl holding Triscuts , and a date-filled cookie, I remember Grandma Marj saying, “This morning I saw what I thought was a flock of cedar waxwings in the ash tree, Jodi, but when I looked it up, I found that they were Bohemian waxwings.” She spoke to me at six years old, like I was an Orinthology student in grad school, like I knew without a doubt what a unique treasure it was to have waxwings in the front yard. And, of course, I eagerly responded with a mirror of her reserved excitement as she so precisely pointed out the differences between Bohemian and cedar waxwings as illustrated in her well-worn green covered Field Guide to Western Birds by Roger Tory Peterson. She also noted the comparison information from her Birds of North America Golden Field Guide.

The Peterson field guide was always her favorite and regarded as the most superior to all other bird books. It was a birthday gift to her in 1966, from my Uncle Bob and Aunt Janet Klein from Homer, Alaska. I knew that it was a gift not only because it was a detail that Grandma would have shared with me, but also because it was written in my Aunt Janet’s handwriting on the first blank page as is customary in the VanDervoort family. Along with birds, books were also to be treated with respect and reverent interest. It was assumed that the book would be kept for years. A book was a gift from the heart of another to the heart of the recipient. This was a truth in our family culture that I knew as a child.

Now in reality, I did not know when I walked through the screen door in the garage that day what in fact a “waxwing” was. But I responded with studious interest. A new bird to add to the list was not to be taken lightly. It was a celebration, though not with outbursts of “hurrah” and applause and emotion. No, it was with whispered, wide-eyed excitement and wonder.

I was not sure if the quiet excitement was so as not to scare the birds away or if it was not to disturb my Grandpa Rand reading the newspaper—perhaps it was both. And perhaps outbursts of emotion were improper. They all weaved together I suppose. Even today, I have difficulty allowing excitement and passion burst forth. Reserved and composed, even in excitement, I remain—serious and studious.

Yet, not knowing how to identify a waxwing earlier that day did not stop me from peering through the glass of the living room window at the Bohemian waxwings with wide-eyed fascination and delight.  If Grandma Marj had never pointed them out, I would have missed them.  The significance in this was not just that she told me the bird’s name, nor even the extravagant beauty of the bird.   Because a waxwing is just brown, with a black mask over its eyes and a crested head—like a cardinal but tan instead of red.  The significance was the way that she spoke to me.  It was the care, precision, interest and time that she took with me.  It was a relationship of appreciation between Grandma Marj, myself and the birds.  It could not be separated.

And so, it was with sweet memories that I put these art blocks together . . .

copyright 2011 Jodene (Jodi) Shaw.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bird Art ~ Memorial to Grandma Marj

I have 3 events coming up in which to take my art!
{Yeah!  So excited . . . some of my first bigger public events}
So, lot's of work to do
"in the studio"

sneak peek
{Check out my studio friends here:  Studio JRU}

In my art journal, I had an idea to do a bird series
in memory of my Grandma Marj.

I get my boards, bird photos, and quotes.
Looking for items to collage with . . .

Last summer my Aunt Janet had sent a package
from Alaska
of a wall hanging sewing project that
my Grandma Marj had started but never finished.
I admit that when I got it, I had no idea what I would do with it.
Until last night.

Grandma had cut these pieces of fabric.
The colors are distinctly her colors.
Golden yellow, avocado, russet.

Her favorite bird book
was always a
Roger Tory Peterson.

I found these amazing quotes of his.

"Birds are eloquent expressions of life and vitality
and watching them makes you a bit
more alive."

"If you get bored with birds,
you get bored with life."

"The birds are HIS heavenly messengers,
not unlike the angels
which are always pictured
feathered wings."

I will not be able to part with these pieces.

Won't be finding them on my new Etsy site
{opened this week}
{happy dance!}

Thanks for all of the support!
So many have encouraged me with words,
with giving new homes to my work,
writing notes.
Really, it is fulfilling to do art for myself
but there is something full circle
about another heart finding delight in it.
There is a communication with that person that feels
out of


Jodene (Jodi) Shaw
copyright 2011.