Friday, April 5, 2013

This Makes Me Happy ~ To The Letter

This sight of gesso-drying boards
makes me so happy.

Because I am thinking about the ladies
I get to spend the afternoon with tomorrow.

Nothing can take the place
of sharing from the heart
to encourage women
to be who God made them to be
and even better,
the privilege of getting to use the vehicle of art
to share that message.

I just love it!!

This special aspect of this class
comes in embracing the my own uniqueness.

Below is a photo of my monogram piece.

It took me a LONG time to own
that I am
deep thinker

Even if I never made a lucrative profession of these things,
I can still own them.

Are there things
that are difficult
to own about yourself?

I am talking about
the hopes,
the deep passions and interests.

Are there things
that feel
so . . . 
so hidden . . .
so hoped
that if you owned
perhaps they might get squashed??

I have felt that way.

I still do.

I have ideas.

Ideas that are a bit scary.


what if I never acted on them?
What then?

What if I never took a step toward living that idea?
Would it matter?
Would it make a difference?

What if I tried?
What if I tried and failed?
Would that idea still be worth trying?

What if I made the decision
to own
my hopes?
my ideas?
my interests?

Like being a bird watcher and a bookworm and an introvert?

What if I just embraced that part of me?

Every day that I choose to embrace things
that seem silly, yet vulnerable, I am finding
that I am

We are creating a monogram tomorrow.
Either for yourself or for your family.

And considering questions about



{Sign up for my newsletter at the top of this blog if you'd like to receive my next class schedule.
I will be working on setting dates for the rest of 2013 in the next 2 weeks.}

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Easter Scavenger Hunt 2013

Instead of an Easter egg hunt,
this year
we had a scavenger hunt at Shaw Ranch.

My sister in law has a wonderful family
with an abundance of FABULOUS kids,
so I had lots of enthusiastic takers for the project.

My favorite thing to do with holidays
is to do fun, hands-on activities that teach
spiritual truths & values and historical heritage.

You can do this any time of year.
I'd love for you to copy this & add your own twists
and share about your experience!

The first thing I did was make little books.
I cut up old file folders that were too big for my file cabinet.
Then I hole punched them and tied colorful random ribbon strips
 that I had left over from other projects.
{Use whatever you have!  I did not buy anything specifically for this event.}

I hid challenges and little projects in Easter baskets and buckets all over the yard.
I had planned on doing it in our windbreak and spreading it out over a larger area
making the hunt a bit more challenging,
but it was cold, so . . .  we did it in the yard instead.
I gave instructions on the deck
and I had found some leftover prizes that I had from last year's Bible School.
Everyone who found all of the baskets
and did all of the challenges
got 2 prizes from my prize bucket.

Here we go!

The kids could do them in any random order.
There were no clues to where to find.
Just that they had 8 to find and complete.

Here's the first one:

The second was this:

I used plastic ziploc bags or lunch sacks in some of the baskets
to keep all of the items together.

I also have a sticker machine that I roll paper through to make stickers.
I typed up Bible verses or phrases for their books and made them into stickers.

Because it was cold out,
my masking tape and my ball point pens did not work very well,
but oh, well.

We had to have a sweet treat somewhere along the line,
so this Easter basket was full of eggs with Reeses peanut butter cups inside.

Here is another.
I have a large feather collection from 
turkeys, pheasants, prairie chickens, and other random birds,
so I used what I had to make something.

I had the feather as a reminder of God's protection.

I used a bumble bee for this one.
I have lots of little bumble bee pins from prizes I used to give,
so I decided to use those
with this story:

A friend of mine owns a flower shop
and when she was cleaning it out to do some remodeling,
she was throwing away all of this ribbon,
so I had lots on hand to make a rainbow stick
to remember that God keeps his promises and to worship Him.

The older kids helped me hide baskets,
helped with reading the cards,
and doing some of the more challenging projects.

Once upon a time,
I had found this little bit about Easter bunnies,
so I included it for them.
I didn't have any cotton balls,
so I had them use flocking to make a tail.
But cotton balls would work too.

I gathered sticks for the kids to make crosses 
with masking tape and some twine that my mom had given me.
Again, I just used random things that I already had
or could go out and find.

I really believe in making memories
while teaching valuable lessons.

I would much rather do that than have them all quiet
and in front of screens.
We all get enough screen-time!

This was so much fun for me and for the kids!

Hope you try something like it! USE WHAT YOU HAVE!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Art of Spring . . . and of Easter

It began a couple weeks ago when I picked up 
my journal from 2004
to create an art journal

I picked up the journal to make
cute, happy, new spring things.
To learn some new art skills
from the sweet spirited,
Junelle Jacobsen
from her

I decided to use this old journal paint over some pages...
and practice art.

But I have noticed it with other journals of mine that I have picked up...
or thrown away.
Things I have written in the past.
This is what I noticed:


Contempt . . . a feeling of superiority even...





Like I wanted to cover it up and not read it because I remembered
who I was and what I was struggling with at that time,
and not only did I not want to revisit it, but I felt embarrassed and ashamed of who I was 
at that time in my life.
I felt like I should have known better then.
I felt a bit of having "arrived" at a new "awareness" that was "better"
than the old me.
And I wanted to HIDE HER 
the 'old me' and the 'young girl' I used to be.
I even felt like despising her...
and the "her" was me.

I thought these thoughts of . . . 
I was so foolish to dream and hope for that.
I was so naive.
I was so immature to want that.
How humiliating.
I hope nobody reads this or sees it.
I am embarrassed about this.
I thought I was so ______, but I really was ________.
I can't believe I did that.
I can't believe I couldn't see through that.
How could I not have been strong enough to say "no" to that?

And right in the midst of these thoughts,
I heard this new thought,
Have compassion.
Love her right where she was.
Have compassion for yourself.
Love yourself
in that moment.
Have compassion for the journey you were on.

H. a. v. e.

c. o. m. p. a. s. s. i. o. n.

I have been painting cute, fluffy chicks
and this is what is going through my mind,
of all things!

Right there,
in my journal
it says to
Write down for the coming generations
what the LORD has done,
so that people not yet born will praise him.
Psalm 102:18

And as I type this, my fingers are shaking
because I am going to write this down and publicly share this
because someday I will look back on myself in this moment
and I can choose to chide her {me} for being naive and immature,
or I can choose to have compassion for who I am
at this moment of my journey.
And give her {me}
for the journey.

This is what I realized and wrote this morning.
And I want to share it,
in hopes that it helps YOU.

I can choose to view myself in my past
as a little girl, 
as an 11-12-13-14-15 year old girl,
as a young, full of dreams, ready to conquer the world 20-something,
as a new and clueless wife and mom . . . 
contempt and shame
with compassion.

for a girl 
trying to find love and belonging and security
and falling flat, 
and searching in many wrong places,
on a journey.

Here is the thing:
if I view myself in the past with contempt, shame, humiliation, as a fool,
I will be arrogant thinking I have somehow "arrived".
I will have an air of superiority toward myself in the past . . . 
and I will also have it toward others.

And here is the other thing:
If I view myself in the past {way past and even moments ago}
with care and compassion, with love,
as a child made in the image of God - -
if I view myself in the past 
as if she were my own daughter Sydney or my own daughter Erin,
I will view other people that way too...
With value and love 
no matter what 
they were learning and growing and struggling with.

I would see them as worth helping, worth rescue, 
worth teaching and guiding with love and good intention.

If I see myself in the past, in my mistakes, and worst moments and wrong beliefs and foolish actions,
as a person with value on a journey 
of searching for love and belonging, acceptance, 
a place, safety, security, searching to find if I even had value,
then I will see others in their struggles
as a person with value,
stumbling along forward in their journey.

When I look back at who I was with compassion,
I see that I was and am still on a journey that God has redeemed and is redeeming
by creating things of deep, priceless value 
out of my worst moments and hardest seasons.

If I can see that about myself,
I can view others with care and compassion for their journey,
their life of working it out, searching it out.
I can see that they have value and honor right where they are,
as a child of God, created in the image of God,
as a person that Jesus thought was worth going to the cross for...
right at that time
of worst 
. . . sin.

When I was embarrassed about my old journals,
I noticed that I was despising who I was,
ashamed of my apparent foolishness,
and I was trying to remove who I am now,
from who I was then.

But if I try to completely remove my current self
from who I was,
I remove the compassion for the girl on the journey.
If I do not have compassion for my journey,
I will not have it for anyone else.
I become proud, arrogant, judging.

And yet, there is something in me like a buzzing mosquito that is trying to say,
"Well, you are just trying to let yourself off the hook for those wrong things you thought and did,
and if you let yourself off the hook, then you are letting others off the hook,
and then we've lost control
because people won't be accountable for their actions
and then we will be too soft-hearted . . .
and evil will prevail because you're not being hard enough on those law-breakers . . . 
and . . . 
and . . . 

But here is the Easter thing that I learned on
these pages of sketching whimsical cows
and cute fluffy chicks:

When I look at myself in those worst moments
and realize that God, that Jesus, saw those worst moments
and loved and valued who I was in those
foolish, shameful, humiliating, immature moments,
as worth dying for,
it gives value to myself and to other people.

Why have I not seen this before?
Is this completely obvious?
Because if feels huge to me this morning!

Like it feels as if I am seeing this source of pride and arrogance
that is so offensive
and I am seeing the source of it in me and the way I look at myself.

Here is what I also see that is 
amazing love, amazing grace, unfathomable, WONDERFUL:

In those moments,
that I wanted to cover up,
and hide and distance myself from,
I could have compassion for who I was then.
That is exactly what God the Father did and what Jesus did.
He saw me with love as valuable enough to do this:

God the father did the unthinkable.
He handed over his son.
Like me handing over my Tom or my Sydney or my Erin
to the worst perverted abusers and murderers
to be payment
for me . . . for my life.
Because my life was worth rescue.

The Father gave his child.
as a parent to give my child over
to anyone who would harm them.
Simply unthinkable.
Whose life would be worth that?

And then Jesus.
Gave Himself
to be humiliated, mocked, beaten and beaten and beaten,
spit on, clothes ripped off and strung up on nails,
and bleed out.

For the person I was in my worst moments,
that I was feeling like despising,
but that I can have compassion for instead.

See the value in me.
See the worth in others.
Love myself on the journey.
Love others on their journey.

See, we all have a story.
And there is always more to it than what appears.

A diamond covered in sewage is still a diamond.
It is worth getting out and cleaning up.

How much more is the life of a person
worth helping out and cleaning up and loving?

{Thank you Melody Ross for teaching me this here: 

And if I can't see it for me,
I won't see it for others.
But if I can and do see it for me.
I can see it for other people too.


It's not about selfish, arrogant, all-about-me self-love.
It's about compassion and value and honor and grace.
And how God sees us.
Seeing ourselves and seeing others with love and precious honor and value,
in all the foolish and humiliating stuff.
All of that can be washed off by God.

We can accept it like a wrapped present.
Or reject it.
Or try to earn it.

It is my choice.

That is why He said that the greatest commandment
is to
Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, strength
and to love your neighbor as yourself.

We cannot do it until we see ourselves with compassion and value.
Then we see others with compassion and value...
worth dying for.

I am asking myself this question,

How do I see the love of God the Father and the Son and what the cross was really about?

Today my answer is that it was a brave, fueled by love, rescue mission disguised to many people in weakness but backed by more brute power and strength and intelligence and valor and honor
than all the military forces and weapons and strategies imaginable.

A rescue mission
for that little girl I was.
For that confused searching woman I was.
Searching for love, security, to prove my worth.
In wrong places.
In so many wrong ways.

I was taken off the hook,
by the One who went on the hook.
And it means everything.
And it changes everything.
How I see myself.
How I see others.
How I speak of and to myself and of and to others.
How I treat myself and how I treat others.

It comes from how He treats me because of how He sees me.

Things can get all messed up and ugly
when it comes to sharing faith in this world.

But this is so beautiful.
So wonderful.
So healing.
And when I finally see the truth of how God sees me,
I am absolutely amazed
and loved
and secure
and in awe
gives what I have always searched for
even when I didn't know what I was searching for...
how can I not tell other people about this????

Linking up with
Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood