Monday, January 28, 2013

Known. And Loved. And Lead. Everlasting.

Yesterday morning,
I am sitting with four great kids.
Just about ready for high school.
My heart swells with passion
for them
to believe truth
about God
who He has made them to be.
Truth that I learn and choose to believe moment by moment.
That I have to be reminded of.
That comes so fresh to me some days
that I feel like I never knew it before.
And maybe . . . I did not.

We are reading Psalm 139.
We are learning that God is omniscient.
He is all-knowing.
And not just all knowing about the universe and the stars
and the flowers and trees and snow and wind
and oceans and microscopic germs.

But all knowing about 


Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me.
Psalm 139:1.

He "gets" me.
The thought is big.  It's "crazy".  It is beyond our understanding.
It is a bit unnerving.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
writes David.
(verse 6)

He understands everything about me.
What I do, what I say, what I think, what I feel.
Better than I understand myself.

And even after that . . . 
"the good, the bad, and the ugly"
... who am I that You think of me?
Who am I?
That you care to take notice?

We can think that because He knows everything about us
that He is holding His hand out saying something like,
Stay away from me!  Stay over there.  I am disappointed in you.
I am angry at you.  You stay away until you have gotten yourself together.
Stay away until you have cleaned yourself up.
Stay over there until you have proven that you are Mine, until you have shown
that you are worthy and obedient and can do it on your own.
What a shame, can't you get in shape?
Can't you get your life together?
Why can't you get out of that addiction?
When you've got it fixed, then you can come to me.
When you don't struggle with that sin anymore,
then you can come to Me.
Then I will help you.

We can think His hand is there held up like "Stop, stay away."
But instead of that,
He knows everything about us and His hand stretches out
Take it.  Take My hand.  Let me help you.  Let me clean you up.
Tell me about it.
Tell me what is bothering you.
Tell me what you are struggling with.
And My hand will pick you up.
Let me love you right where you are.
I am for you.
I am on your side.
Let's do this together.
You can't do it without Me.
Let Me save you.
Cry out to Me and I will hear you.
Don't wait to reach for me until you look good . . . until you've got it all together.
Because that time will never come.
Let me lead you.
Come on.  Take it.  Take my hand. Come to Me.
I've got a plan.

David wrote,
"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting."
Psalm 139:23-24

We can trust that God is for us.
For the best for us.
And that He knows what will fulfill our hearts
more than we do.
And we can say,
here it is . . . here is what I cannot fix . . . here is what I cannot get together . . . 
here is the one that I cannot seem to love even though I know I am supposed to.
here is what i cannot seem to stop worrying about.
here is what i am so very afraid of.
i'm sorry i don't believe you.
i'm sorry i don't trust you.
i don't believe in myself anymore.
i can't do it myself.
i've tried.
help me.  forgive me. lead me.

And He will.
He knows me.
He knows you.
He knows the plans He has for you.
And they are GOOD.
They are always good.
Even when it hurts.
Even when it is hard.
Even when I don't deserve it.
Even when I haven't earned it.
He loves.
He plans.
He leads.
He works it out.
He is good.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Living My Life

It's a Sunday.

Late afternoon in January.

That tricks you into feeling
like it's almost Easter.

Erin says,
"It's nice out!"

"Come out and take pictures of me!"

She declares:

"I'm gonna go outside and




So we go outside and live some life . . . 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Made In South Dakota

Last week
I was honored
to display my art in the 
Made in South Dakota Showcase
at the 
South Dakota Governor's Conference on Tourism.

What I loved,
was being surrounded by people
who have a love and fascination for South Dakota.

And South Dakota people
are fast friends . . . 
fast family, in fact.
Because we immediately
start asking where one is from,
start telling where we are from,
where we have roots,
and who we know and love
in the community
our new friend is from.
We find out a mutual affection for a person or a place
that has a fond spot in our memory.
We make the small world connections
and we are soon
as South Dakotans . . . 
practically family.

I had a wonderful place between down-home Lori & Roger Pietz's Kuchen Kitchen 
(South Dakota's state dessert)
-- kuchen means "cake" in German --
and sweet Kari from
Kari's Kreations
with all her lovely beaded accessories.

I bonded with Diane and Ann from the Ingalls Homestead
over our love for all things Laura Ingalls Wilder,
and, deep breath . . . . beagles.

I made fast friends with Kris
as we selected the best pieces
for her new store opening soon in Garretson, SD.

I knew I could talk for hours with Colleen
at Prynt Comm
when I picked up my business brochures.

I met so many wonderful people.
With a desire to share their love of South Dakota.

Seeing the beauty right where you are.
That is one of the core messages
that I want to share.

When I become fascinated with the everyday ordinary beauty around me
and fall in love with the details that make
I live in a place of abundance.

I see the gifts of flowers or frost or sunsets and stars.
I savor the fragrance of the air when it is crisp and clean in the winter
or heavy with humidity and fresh cut hay.
I look at the pattern of a birthmark on my daughter's cheek,
or the salt and pepper tint of my husband's hair
and love that they are like nobody else.

I fall in love with my life.

That includes becoming fascinated with my home state.

I fell in love
with the Missouri River.

I could spend hours walking along the river
listening to the geese and ducks
and watching the eagles that take my breath away.

My week ended with a lovely
artist reception at Prairie Pages Bookseller.

In first grade, I was awarded
a shiny circle wrapped in aluminum foil
with a yellow construction paper circle
that said,
"Class Bookworm".

Prairie Pages,
was perfect combining my love for books, the prairie and art
all in one beautiful little bookstore.

An afternoon of smiles and hugs,
from new friends and old.

I met Lloyd.
He first talked to me about owls.
Because I live at White Owl, 
and he used to work at the Red Owl grocery store that is now Dakotamart.
He showed me his photo album in his pocket.
Told me about every picture.
My favorite was the sunflower
with the heart in the middle.
He is 82, loving the people and places around him, remembering it all with his camera.
We had so much in common.
He asked about how I got started taking pictures and making art.
I told him about how my eyes were opened up to the beautiful things
right where I lived and I fell in love with my life.
I told him I had a journey with God that opened my eyes.
He and I got a little misty eyed.
Misty eyes makes kindred spirits.
Lloyd made my day.

Along with Peggy and Kathy,
Kerry and Bobbi, Becky, Jim and Vicki,
Andrea, Ruby and Kristi, and Sage.
Great people.

Thank you so much to the 
South Dakota Department of Tourism
and to 
Prairie Pages Bookseller
for a warm welcome
and places to share my love of the South Dakota prairie.

it is good to be home.
I had a week of sipping hot lemon and ginger tea with honey,
nursing myself back to health.

January ends next week
I am pleased to share
my next event for February:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Even If . . . I will Dare to . . .

It takes courage.
To be courageous, I once thought, was to be fearless.
To be brave was to not feel afraid.

But I have learned that what I thought was not true at all.
To be courageous and brave,
is to step forward with
stomach flip-flopping
knees knocking
voices accusing of inadequacy
floating around in the head.

Waiting for it all to feel

for things

And that is ok.

That is what I am learning

The "even if's" and "even though's"

will always be there.

But . . . 

I will DARE to do this anyway.
I will DARE to live what I believe
I will DARE to share what I have to offer.

I am learning that
scariest things - -
the most

that hold the most value.

A child that I know
told me a story of
daring to take a stand for someone
one time.

There were no high-fives for the stand.
No "good jobs".
No "you did the right thing".

The response . . . 

But do we want to do what we do for the response?
Or do we want to really live what we believe?
Do we want to stand for what we know is good and kind
look away from injustice or cruelty
and melt in to the background?

Even if people make fun of me,
even if people text about me or talk about me,
behind my back or right in front of my face,
I will be brave and do something.

I spend time with 12-18 year old kids
at home, at church, at retreats, at camp.
They have stories like this.
They have times they melted into the background.
And times they took a stand.

So do I.

Shame tries to burn it's identity brand onto me for the times I chose to melt.
But in that moment,
it's fearful voice was shaming me into fear of being left alone, left out.

Often that pounding heart of fear
is the very indicator
that we should take a leap of faith
trusting that God's amazing grace will be a catching hand
when we go over the edge of uncertainty.
Because His sure grace and foundation
is far deeper than the things that
pressure with fear.

There are loads of thoughts
in my mind
this week as I prepare to share my art.

It happens every time.
The mental accusations of insecurity and inadequacy.

This morning I dreamed that in the middle of setting up my art display,
I had to leave and when I returned
all of it had been stolen.

Fearful thoughts.
Try to make each of us think we are the only one.
The only one who struggles with such things.

But naming it.  Calling it out.
Bringing it to the light.
Allows fear to be seen.

And allows me to identify
I want to be true about me.
And what actions I will take
even if . . . 

I am traveling to Pierre, South Dakota,
tomorrow, January 3, 2013,
to set up art

My art will be at Prairie Pages Bookseller for the month of January 2013.
There will be an artist reception January 18, from 1:00-6:00.


Even though,
I feel like I am putting my whole heart out there,
and maybe people will think my work is amateur or immature,

or maybe they will not even notice,

I will dare to share it for those who may be encouraged by it.

I will dare to be brave-hearted and do it scared,
because my heart always flutters at the things


It is scary every time.
But I am learning
it is still scary,
if it still feels very vulnerable,
it is still valuable,
I am still growing,
still walking by faith,
and trying
new things.

When it starts to be old and boring,
that is when I should really be concerned.