Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 9: Freely Give

Still thinking on the lesson from yesterday. God really has given us our gifts as artists and we are so blessed to be the recipients of such gifts.  I pray that in this season and always God might root into my heart that as my gifts have been freely given to me I should freely give mine as well. And now I am laughing out loud at myself... A window into my morning:



For the last three hours I have been spending time making this new #scripturedoodle and then fighting with my computer to edit and list it in my shop for sale as a digital download.... (which is a fairly basic process but for some reason this morning it was about the death of me). I was yelling at my husband who couldn't help me, ignoring my puppy and counting the minutes till my baby would wake hoping to finish before he did- all for the sake of the gospel... Ha- in my own sinful way.

THEN as I write this post I am typing the words "freely give" realizing I was asking you to purchase this print which is the opposite of free..... (sigh).  Jesus save my soul again- Thank you God for revealing yourself to me and for giving me the obedience today to do as you have asked, next time maybe show me sooner even though I know your timing is perfect.

Lord have mercy I hope this print blesses somebody today because it has been a fight to make it available. So download this happy fall print FOR FREE right here. Share it with everyone you know!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 8: There IS enough room...


Last week I had the sweet opportunity to watch an artist friend of mine paint live at our church's First Wednesday service. Normally if there is an artist painting it's me painting, so what a privilege it was to sit and watch Carrie paint. As I was watching, worshiping and taking inventory of my soul I was sweetly nudged to examine the shift in my heart when it comes to art like mine...not even sure that's the right way to say it, but what I do know is that I've grown. A few years ago, or depending on my attitude a few weeks ago, My first instinct if I saw someone painting in worship especially at "my" church- I would have felt threatened. Why am I not the one painting. Shouldn't they have asked me to paint? That is the nasty, honest, truth. First of all, it's not MY church it's God's church and I am just a small part of it. Second of all, I have no right to any position or claim in service or leadership- only in the place he chooses to put me. And it is an issue of my heart to be content where He's placed me in the season I'm in. Lastly, I am not the only artist at our church of 10,000 and frankly there have been many artists at Seacoast, including Carrie who were using their gifts for God long before I came along. 

Have you ever felt that way about your craft? Threatened by another artist or creative making a living at their work or simply using their gifts to worship God... "their art sort of looks like mine", or "I've done that same thing and not had the success he or she has had". Why do we feel that way? Why is jealousy and envy our default? The short answer is- because we are sinners, we are flawed, Romans 7:18 says, 


 "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out."




That is the truth, but to dig into it, the truth behind God's character is this- God is a God of abundance. Not just in the arts and creativity but in all areas. There is enough room for everyone at the table. God can never receive "enough" worship. he is so great and mighty we could never give him enough praise or honor that he would say, "sorry, you can't use your gifts for me anymore, there's just no more room". I also know that God is able to use our gifts for Him in a way that we can't even imagine. 


"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us"
                  -Ephesians 3:20


 Which is why it's so important to hold what we've been given with an open hand, sharing it with others as God leads. And if someone is serving in "your place" or doing what you do...isn't God big enough to lead you to a new place, a deeper place, or make room for both of you sharing in a similar ministry. God IS big enough. There IS enough room. We may feel ownership over what we've been given- but it's not ownership it's actually stewardship- it belongs to him, all of it. Our job is to take care of it as long as it's ours and to hold it always with an open hand. Freely we receive, freely give. God will continue to give as we give of ourselves and our gifts because that is just. his. character. He is the ultimate giver- never betraying himself so he will ALWAYS give.

So......
Examine your heart.....


Allow God to shift your heart, rest in this as an artist, he will fight for you and make a place for you among his worshipers. 




Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 4 Keeping the balance


So I've consistently shared four days in a row now which is super uncommon for me and has required quite a bit of discipline. But as I observe this, I can see the beginning of unbalance in my routine. I'm getting up each morning knowing I need to blog and so that becomes my priority, usually happening in the time I'd be doing some sort of devotional. When I sat down to blog this morning, what I really wanted to do was read the word and spend some time with the Lord. So I opened Jesus calling instead. 


My favorite line in today's passage was, "Although I am unimaginably vast, I choose to dwell within you". God is so vast, yet he chooses to Dwell with me. How could I be so prideful to dwell without him and choose to go it alone even ONE day when He is always with me, waiting to help along the way. 

Even when I'm not blogging I'm not great at keeping this balance in my daily life. But the truth is that, If God is my source and my number one job is to worship Him. He needs to be at the center of my balanced life, right? He fuels me as an artist and person, I've always known that. SO if I'm not spending time with him I will quickly run empty. 

I've not found an answer to my unbalance, maybe it's getting up earlier, maybe it's blogging the night before. I do think there's room for blogging in my life, I just know it can't come first. Lord teach me the balance. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 3 Art for no reason



Art for NO reason


So last night I tried some Art for no reason, just to paint for the sake of painting. I honestly cannot remember the last time I did that before yesterday. And can I say it was FREE-ing. It's like that old saying about the shoemakers children with no shoes... when you're making a living at something there's not time for it for yourself.

I started with watercolors and white paper. I chose three analogous colors yellow, green and teal turned on my Christina Perri pandora station and I. just. started. As I began i watched the yellow spread across the paper and then I went to green... at one point I had the instinct to blow on the wet water and paint just to see what happened, I quickly stopped myself because "I don't do that", it's not my style. But then  I remembered! There were NO RULES. I could paint whatever I wanted because it was only for me. In the end I didn't love the affect it created but I did love the fact that I did it.


I have a feeling this practice of Art for no reason is going to fuel my creativity as an artist. When we continue to try new things we broaden our idea of what is possible. I invited others to join me via instagram and twitter, and we're doing it again next week. So put it on our your books and we'll do it together. And if you're thinking, "but I'm not an artist" good, all the more reason to join! Maybe you fill find something you love about art.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Back to the Heart Day 2

First can we have an applause for two days of consistent posting, even though it's past lunch already. Yesterday I had my Art Space class and it ended up being a super sweet time of worship and creativity. This semester our class is themed around God Led Creativity, I love the way it's turning out even after two classes. I've not set up many rules on the how and our main goal is really only to cultivate and stretch creativity. 

Yesterday we spent some time looking at and practicing interpretive painting to worship music. I showed the girls some examples of this and then practiced briefly with each of them to introduce them to the concept. We did a few different exercises, one with a partner, one with only chalk on dark paper and lastly we spent three songs painting freely to the music. It was so cool to see them going for it without being limited by a final project or worried out the end picture.



 

Tonight I'm going to spend a little time doing some interpretive art to music and see what comes from it. If nothing else I hope it's restful and therapeutic to my busy self. Would you join me? Grab some paints and paper or pencils even and your sketchbook turn on your favorite music and give it a try, let's see what happens.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

31 Days of Back to the Heart of it..


Today this one is for me...
Two years ago I started #Scripturedoodle as a way to incorporate the creative into my everyday life. It was art for no reason, other than worship and it was a way to honor God with my creativity on a daily basis, a sort of artistic devotional study. Over time it quickly became a way to monetize my art and grow as an artist. Not a bad thing, but so easily distracting from the heart of it all. 

As an artist I often find this is true not just of #scripturedoodle but of all of my art. I see myself working so hard for the craft but easily drifting from the heart of it. Bringing me to a place where I'm left with questions. Why do I do what I do? Who do I create for? Aren't I making art for God and his people? So many times it feels I'm working for a deadline or for a check off my to-do list so I can tell Robert I accomplished something when he get's home from work, Or working for the paycheck.

Actually the heart of it is for worship isn't it? For God, for the sake of creativity. To worship God and to know him is the number one of why I do what I do, why we all should do what we know. I'm certain I'm not alone in this. Do you need to get back to the heart of something?

So for the next 31 days I am (reluctantly and cautiously) jumping in on this 31day blog challenge that so many are doing with The Nester. I had no intention of doing this myself, frankly 31 days of blogging anything seems like a huge task to my inconsistent self. But I felt a little nudge, so we're going for it. In these days I want to get back to the heart of it. Asking God the why? Am I missing the mark? Did I get it right today? I want to do some artwork for no reason, that won't make me money, but it might make me happy. I want to take time to be creative with friends and encourage others to honor God with their gifts. I want clarity...to know the why and to come back to the heart of it. Here goes....

Friday, September 27, 2013

Influence Conference Day 2

This week I'm in Indiana for the Influence Conference and can I just say it is surely a privilege. Getting to lead the decor of the event has been somewhat overwhelming but super fun and a great opportunity. We've had so many helping hands come together to make it look fabulous, cutting paper and taping things late into the night.





I'm learning so much and taking inventory and mental notes of how to improve it all next year. But most of all I've been asking God to show me my place in this whole thing. Although I don't really identify myself as a "blogger" I do share a lot of the same desires and goals as so many women here. Feeling slightly overwhelmed by the incredible talent and consistency of these women, I'm asking,


Where do I fit?

I know God has given me influence and gifts, but how do I steward them? Do I resolve to blog twice a week or set my online shop up in a certain way? Should I have a craft that is partnering with a specific justice mission as so many do? So many questions. 


What I don't have is an answer yet but I'm asking God and I know he will answer as He is always faithful. Maybe he's been waiting for me to ask...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Colossians

At church we recently finished a series studying Colossians called Deeper. It was SO good. I've read through the book before but it's been awhile and during the study the verses of each chapter just came alive. Much of the book talks about what it looks like to be a christian and Paul brings a strong challenge to "take off" the old self and "put on" the new self. I felt God challenge me in a few different areas. To bring accountability to myself (which let's face it, is basically the only way I get anything done) I decided to #scripturedoodle one of my favorite verses from the book.


And so I'm sharing it with you! This verse is great to have hanging on the walls of the house to remind us to love...especially when the kids are screaming and the house is a wreck. Happy Day!

Download it here.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Art Space: God Led Creativity



 Hi y'all I'm so excited to launch a fall Art Space course centered on 

God Led Creativity


Exploring what God can say to us in our artwork. I'm offering a ten week series of art classes for elementary students growing God led creativity, expressing our heart to God through artwork. 




This will be a slightly different class than those in the past. It will be less focused on the elements and principles of art and more focused on the creative and worship end of artwork. It will have a more out of the box format and will not necessarily yield lots of projects to bring home and show. I do however feel excited about this course and opening the door to creativity in worship for your children at a young age. The class will be $130/student. A price breakdown of $10 a week with a $20 supply fee per student. I will continue to offer a 10% discount to families with two students. I am capping this class at 7 students so the first seven get a spot! I’d like to start next week if possible, that would be the 17th of September. Email me if you're interested in signing up your child. 

Time: Tuesdays  3:30pm-4:30pm
Location: My house in Park Circle

Quickly I want to say thanks for letting me host these at my house. I know the location isn’t super convenient, but with the pace of being a mom of a little one working from home, this is the best win for me so thanks!

Friday, August 23, 2013

...In a remote village

On our third day in Sri Lanka we had the sweetest privilege of delivering school supplies to a remote village, however it didn't start out that way, God has an incredible way of working above what we see in the moment.

God has given Bethany Church favor among the nation of Sri Lanka not just in the Christian circles but in the Government as well. They have a great relationship with the Social Minister of the entire country, not sure exactly his role but he's big time and there's only one of him in the whole nation, AND he was wearing white linen clothes when we met him so that impressed me right off the bat.

On our itinerary for the trip was a charity event if you will at the Social Minister's home (imagine a mansion) where we would hand out school supplies to children. Shortly after arriving in country we were told that because of a death in the family we would not be able to have the event where it was planned but they would have to find somewhere else, to be determined. That morning we were praying for the day and my prayer was for the children, that wherever the event was God would make a way to tell the people that He would bring even more children than would have been at the Minister's house.

Once we finally arrived in the village our van pulled up on some event that was happening, there were drums and people and dancing. Immediately I thought, "how lucky they are having this ceremony and we can watch". It never crossed my mind that all the fuss was over us coming to their village. And it was! The ceremony was to honor us and the social minister coming to their community.

Here is a rice field on the outskirts of the village

We exited the van to be greeted by crowds, hundreds of people on both sides and a procession of the sweetest children I've ever seen. A particular group of them dressed in traditional white dresses each a little different. At the end of the line were two ceremonial dancers adorned in special jewelry on their arms and head, feet and neck  a pair of strong men dancing and drumming to a beat. As we walked toward the people each child in white came up and handed each of us a stack of Beetle leaves (this is a gesture of hospitality in the Sri Lankan culture) and then put their hands together in prayer and nodded their head at us, as if to say "bless you". This moment straight out of a national geographic magazine was moving beyond words. I could barely hold back my tears, I just felt so unworthy to receive this place of respect and honor from complete strangers. It was as if we were celebrities- but we had done nothing to earn their adoration. Isn't that how it is with our God? He puts us in a place of honor and showers us with un-due privilege and favor, love and position. God has called us sons and daughters of Him, the most high king to ever be. I was overwhelmed.

As the ceremony progressed and we gave the children their school supplies, I felt a moment of understanding with the Lord that he had answered my prayer to bring so many children. I'm convinced it was even sweeter because we were visiting them in THEIR home, not making them travel to the city to collect the supplies. It was a privilege to see where they live and work. As we distributed the gifts I kept praying their would be enough bags and every time I thought we ran out someone would bring a handful from the building, like feeding the five thousand. The children lined up in such order and were  grateful to receive such a small token. Some of them even bowed at our feet. In their culture that is a sign of respect and gratitude, but for me it felt wrong, like too much. I wanted to lift up their heads and just smile at them, as I believe Jesus would, just to say He loves you, it is our pleasure to give on his behalf.

There were so many more sweet moments wrapped up into that day, I could write for hours.

I just. feel. blessed. 

and honored that God chose me to be part of that special day, I will remember it forever.

Side note: I wish I had pictures to share from this incredible memory, I had no pockets in my skirt so I left my phone in the van- worst dressing mistake I made the whole trip.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

...the less spiritual parts

I would be dishonest if I didn't share another favorite part of my trip... the not as spiritual but just as lovely part of things, the shopping! If you know me at all you know I love shopping and bargain shopping even more. Being that the cost of living is lower in Sri Lanka the shops were much more affordable. I thought I wouldn't be doing my tourist duty if I didn't bless the shops with the patronage, so of course I did. Stephanie and the girls of Bethany were so great to serve us and take us shopping when we had a little free time. Here are my favorites....


Oh the clothes! I am a sucker for tunics and leggings, and the Sri Lankan women have mastered this art. I had to cut myself off at the second shop. 


Possibly a little known fact, there is a new phenomenon happening in Sri Lanka... paper making out of Elephant dung...yes you heard correctly. Naturally I had to purchase some poo paper for my loved ones 


Even a cute owl tank for my little


Tea is one of the biggest exports of the country. I loved the tea so I brought some stateside. A moment of honesty: I bought the wooden box kind because I loved the box itself but, bonus- the tea inside is delicious as well. 


And last but certainly not least my prized purchase during my time overseas.

Thanks for entertaining my silliness. To put you at ease be assured I didn't use any trip donations for my shopping escapades ;). And if you are disinterested in shopping don't worry, I will share something more holy tomorrow :)


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Leprosy Hospital

Probably the most moving experience during our trip was when we had the opportunity to visit a Leprosy Hospital. Living in America, many times I forget that leprosy still exists. We never see this in our country and certainly not in a hospital dedicated solely to the care of those infected with this crippling disease.

leprosy has taken this woman's fingers and all her toes as well

The hospital was set up somewhat like a compound there were grounds with outside space and different buildings each one holding about 12 leprosy patients many of which had been in the hospital for decades. One man we met had been there since 1945, can you imagine being in the same place for over sixty years never to leave? He would surely die there and his only joy would come from his caretakers and fellow patients. Many of these people no longer had leprosy but their bodies were so damaged it was obvious by looking that they were once sick. And in their culture that is enough, they are not welcome in the outside world. Their families do not visit them and they are confined to a bed. It was overwhelming to meet men and women who were happy under such circumstances simply because we came to visit and share a simple gift and some lunch. The saddest part however, is that the majority of the patients are buddhist, muslim and hindu. In fact we only met two Christians in the entire community.

...but there is hope, Bethany Church is serving this community on a regular basis! How awesome that they are bringing the love of Jesus to these people, sharing the only hope of healing and a future. Bethany works hard to bring the service and love of Jesus to this hospital in order that they as Christians are set apart. By loving, serving and praying for these patients their hope is that the patients may see that our God is different than other gods and he brings the only hope of true healing.

One particular woman I felt the nudge to pray for. She was asking for healing, as I prayed for healing I felt God communicate to me that He was the only hope of healing for her and that it would most likely look like healing through death and new life in Heaven. This woman was a Buddhist, she did not believe Jesus was the way to Heaven. God revealed to me I had to share this with her.... who else was going to? I asked her if she believed in Jesus and told her that if she chose to worship God over all other Gods then she would receive a new body and be fully healed in Heaven after this life. She gave a reluctant smile and did not choose to receive Christ, but at least she has now heard and I will continue to pray that she accepts Christ before she dies. In this situation it is easy to be discouraged, but remember it is not our job to carry the weight of whether someone accepts Christ or not, only to make sure that we share. Our job is to share the story of Jesus, He will do the work of bringing people into the kingdom. May God bring salvation to that woman and every soul at the Leprosy Hospital.  I am beyond thankful that Bethany Church will continue to serve this hospital and love and pray for these patients. The women at Bethany Church understand what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I pray that I will continue to learn and be challenged to serve others in this way.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lessons from Sri Lanka

After an incredible trip to Sri Lanka I sat down this morning  and asked God, "what's next?" I heard him say, "tell your story". There is so much to share and I know not everyone will be inclined to hear it all, but for those you who'd like to I will be sharing stories here all week starting with today. So here we go...

A Hindu temple sits behind the bus in this photo

On my trip I learned that Sri Lanka is a buddhist nation, not only that but Hinduism and Islam are practiced in a way that we do not see in America. I saw the first and second commandments in a new light. These people are radical about their faith and offer sacrifices to other God's on a daily basis. In certain establishments everyday twice a day there is a prayer song that comes across a loud speaker for those who practice a daily prayer time to their respective god. As I observed this part of their culture I was blown away by their allegiance to a false God, and at the same time filled with an urgency to share the freedom that comes in knowing the one true God. They are in bondage to something that brings them no true joy. These people not only worship Buddha and Ala but they welcome Jesus too. The challenge is getting them to abandon other God's to worship Jesus alone. How similar is our country? Our people may not bow to another God but they are lost in a journey to find true meaning in life, seeking material possessions and "things" to fill their lives with purpose.

Seeing the culture of Sri Lanka has helped me realize the importance of what we have to share and give in Jesus name. The VALUE of life with Jesus. We are bringing the good news- the BEST news.

News of... 

purpose
freedom
Heaven
provision
protection
grace
love
forgiveness 
joy 
peace 

and so much more! What's not to share? We are sharing the best news there ever was! And why would be ever have fear in sharing such beautiful things.


For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”.
                                        -2 Timothy 1:7


The possibility of rejection is nothing compared to the opportunity for people to receive salvation and new life.  I've gained from these people a new zest and encouragement to share God's love and salvation with those who don't know him. So be encouraged as well. Remember why we share what we share and that what we share is life changing to everyone who chooses to believe.

More tomorrow.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

First Wednesday Revelation 21:5

Recently I had the chance to paint at our church's first wednesday worship service. This is one of my favorite times to do live painting, mostly because it is my home church and they are my people!
The day of I just had a sense of expectancy that God was going to bring a great piece out of what I painted that night. There was a buzz of excitement in my creative soul. That being said if you know me at all I am a super off the cuff go with the flow type of planner (mostly just last minute but go with the flow sounds sweeter), especially when it comes to first wednesday because I get to paint whatever I want.  My creative process started promptly at 5 o'clock at the art store when they didn't have the size canvas I was hoping for. I settled on a square canvas. I had the choice of a slightly smaller rectangle, but there's just something about a square you know? Immediately I thought of the globe.

I recently did a piece that I fell in love with so I wanted to create a similar feel with this painting. My goal was to incorporate this look in the clouds that I did in my latest commission, here's a snapshot of what I lovingly refer to as the "Young Painting".



I hadn't decided on a verse I liked yet so thankfully a friend of mine came to the rescue and shared Revelation 21:5


He who is seated on the throne said, “I am making all things new”.


This passage is describing the new heaven and the new earth that will come after the rapture back here on earth with Jesus ruling among us, how incredible! It was perfect to use. I quickly sketched a circle and a rough outline of a world map. Also buzzing through my mind was this idea of newness and growth, for this verse was talking about that very thing. During the service I got the idea to make a scattered plant surrounding the coast of each country as opposed to a straight tree or sprout. I love how God develops my ideas through the process. My pieces always evolve along the way. Here's the finished piece.


If you are interested in purchasing the original it is still available! You can also purchase an 8x8 print here. Thanks for letting me share.