Wednesday, November 28, 2012

a mountain fairy tale chapter 4

When breathing was the hardest thing to do the little girl became afraid.  Afraid that she would never catch her breath again.  Never know peace again.  It was in those times the teacher would pull her into his lap and sing to her.

The words did not matter.  What mattered was the love and tenderness that allowed her to begin to breathe easier.  Once she was able to sing along the teacher would lead her outside to see what she was missing.

Outside there were flowers, birds, and bunnies.  There were rocks, sticks, and rivers.  So many things she had missed before as she ran from leprechauns.  Together they explored all that had been missed.  She learned how to lie on her back and watch the puffy white clouds as they changed shapes.  She learned when the rain was coming by watching the leaves.  She learned to dance with butterflies and sing with the birds.  She talked with the squirrels and the owls. 

In time the little girls forgot about leprechauns and made friends with those outside her door.  She learned to do new things in new ways.  There were days her heart was so full she thought it would break open. 

She learned to sing with others and to play new games that were fun and life giving.  She learned how to read sacred books and say timeless prayers.  Mostly though she learned about new beginnings and hope. 

She came to know that when the rain came it would only be for a short while and then the sun would come out again.  She began to understand that some friends would go away yet would stay in her heart while others never left.

As time went on breathing came easier.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

multitudes on monday ~ november 26th

here is my list of gifts,
not that i want,
those i already have,
given by the giver of all

380 seeing the boy become a husband

381 being told someone wants to know me because she loves my laugh

382 four generations gathered in prayer

383 dancing

384 being imperfect

385  Saturday breakfasts

386 shopping local

387 unexpected church

388 taking a real holiday

389 getting lost in the studio

390 the Psalms on a hard day

391 phone calls just when i need them

392 feeling peace fall down like a blanket

393 knowing others are loving community

394 new leaders

395 anticipating Advent

396 finishing a series and really, really loving it

397 knowing that background i "had" to do was for a specific purpose

398 hot baths on achy nights

399 middle of the night time with Abba when sleep won't come

Friday, November 23, 2012

sneak peek friday ~ november twenty third

it is friday
time to peek into the studio
yours, mine, and our friends

this week i finished 
my liturgical series
which was featured here back in june.

here is my Advent piece:

just in time for Advent 
which begins shortly.

will you share a peek into your studio?

Monday, November 19, 2012

multitudes on monday ~ november nineteenth

this is my list of gifts
not that i want,
those i already have,
given by the giver of all
400  a daddy's voices as he talks with a boy missed

401 birthday dinners prepared with love

402 long days in the studio to play

403 "aw" pics

404 da baby taking steps

405 seeing da baby take steps and da mama in tears

406 learning two of my fav artists will be an hour away in april

407 a la comita

408 phase four of a school funded

409 clergy shirts that are heavenly

410 connecting over lunch with one who speaks the same language

411 speaking the truth even when my voice shakes

412 driving to the wrong city

413 hearing my sister's voice 

414 birthday blessings

415 kind words affirming a big risk

416 prayer answered in a way that is obvious and immediate

417 talking sharks with a sweet boy

418 the smell of a wood fire

419 knowing God has this

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Mountain Fairy Tale ~ Chapter 3

Fairy tales are often truer to life than we wish them to be.  This little girl grew up feeling unnoticed and unloved.  Distance shows that it was not done because of ill will, but rather an unknowing.  Yet the feeling of not being valued led to the thinking it was acceptable to let leprechauns and helpers treat the little girl in ways that were not kind.

There was such a desire for love that even hurtful attention was tolerated.  Sometimes that type of attention had consequences that damaged the little girl’s heart.  Each time her heart was broken a little bit more it became easier to let someone else break it too.

It was in many ways like sliding down a snowy mountain on a sled.  In the beginning it is hard to move, but once in motion the speed picks up until the sled is out of control.  So it was with the little girl who came to believe she was worth less than other little girls.

Each time the little girl reached out for help stopping the sled what seemed an anchor would become a noose.  It became easier to turn inward and stop dreaming and quit reaching for help.  The hope inside became like a flame covered by a basket, it dimmed and tried to go out.

Each time the flame began to be rekindled a person that seemed safe acted in ways that made the little girl feel not so safe.   There came a point the little girl knew she had to not be unsafe any more. 

It was a hard thing to do and many who said they were friends turned away.  Some of those who had been called friends even made up stories that were not true or blamed the little girl for things they had done or said. 

It was in this time that the little girl met a teacher.  A teacher who loved her from the tips of her toes to the top of her head.  A teacher who took that basket hiding the little girl’s candle and threw it away to never be seen again. 

That teacher sent people into the little girl’s life who began believing in her words and actions.  These people knew how to tell the truth and listened to the little girl.  They helped her to keep telling the truth even when others did not believe. 

It was a time in which the little girl tried to be brave, but often got so scared she began to believe the lies again.  Each time that would happen the teacher would visit her.  In those visits the teacher would remind her that she was indeed beloved and worthy.  The teacher would let her be sad and cry, yet continued to challenge her to be brave.

Sometimes being brave meant nothing more than taking a deep breath and starting over again.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

sneak peek friday ~ birthday backgrounds

Thanks to a husband
who gets me 
i spent most of my
birthday in my studio.

it was a productive day
to make backgrounds
and complete thank you 
gifts for people who
minister with me
(which i am not showing
so they remain a surprise).

backgrounds made with
acrylics, inks, punchinella, and various
texture mediums
on a prepared board.

how did you create this week?
share here, over at (in)spired or

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Mountain Fairy Tale Chapter 2

Weeks passed and the little girl was still sad.  When she would walk down the hallways of her school on the mountain some of the other children pretended she wasn’t there.  They wouldn’t talk to her.  When she would go to get her letters from her family by the sea the mailman pretended she wasn’t there.  The little girl felt all alone and sad.  No one would sit with her at lunch any more.

The little girl didn’t know what to do.  She knew the leprechaun was real and he was mean.  She didn’t understand why the other children didn’t see it.  

Then one day another in a class ahead of her told her she knew about the leprechaun too.  The other girl said that the leprechaun had been mean to her and even played tricks on her.  The other girl said that she had a friend who had seen the leprechaun too.  The other girl invited her to have tea with her and her friend.

At the tea they had tasty treats and lots of chocolate.  While they were having tea the angel with the pretty hair came.  The angel said that there were even more little girls who had seen the leprechaun.  The angel wanted them to talk to the head teacher again about the leprechaun.  The little girl didn’t want to.  She wanted to forget about the leprechaun and have friends again.  The angel told the little girl that the leprechaun would keep scaring little girls if no one talked to the head teacher. 

The little girl was very scared.  She told the angel she would talk to the head teacher if the angel came with her.  When she was with the angel she felt safe and not so all alone.  The angel said she would come and so would some of the other little girls. 

The morning she was to talk to the head teacher the little girl felt sick in her tummy.  She couldn’t eat breakfast and she felt sad on the inside.  She really didn’t want to talk to the head teacher. 

When she got to school that day she tried to pretend it was a normal day.  She tried to pay attention in class but she kept seeing the leprechaun in the hall.  As she walked to the head teacher’s office the other children laughed at her and called her names.  She wanted to run away.

Then she saw the angel with the pretty hair and she felt safe again.  She went into the head teacher’s office and was surprised.  There were lots of other girls there.  They all went to talk to the head teacher.  The little girl heard the others tell about the leprechaun.  Some of their stories were even scarier than hers.  There was even a little girl who said the leprechaun had snuck into her house in the middle of the night and scared her.

All the girls told the head teacher about seeing the leprechaun.  The head teacher was very sad and said he would talk to the leprechaun.  The head teacher wanted the school on the mountain to be safe for everyone.

Days passed and the little girl felt better about sharing about the leprechaun.  There were other children who believed her now.  It was still scary when she was by herself but she knew she was no longer alone.

After a long time the little girl got a letter from the head teacher.  The head teacher said that he met with the leprechaun and told him he needed to quit scaring the little girls.  The leprechaun said that the little girls weren’t telling the truth.  The head teacher said that he knew the little girls were telling the truth.  The head teacher told the leprechaun that he could stay if he would be nice to the little girls.  The leprechaun said he didn’t want to and was going to go back to sit under his palm tree far, far away where people liked him.

After the leprechaun left there were still children and even some of the helpers that didn’t believe any of the little girls.  But the little girl found that there were more children and teachers that did believe them. There were still times some of the other children and helpers acted like the little girl wasn’t there or were mean to her.  But mostly the little girl learned that in telling the truth the school on the mountain was a safer place.  The little girl also learned that it is sometimes hard to tell the truth but that it is the right thing to do.

There are still times the little girl longs for her house by the sea but for now the little girl stays at the school on the mountain because she knows she needs to learn how to tell others not to let leprechauns scare them.

Monday, November 12, 2012

multitudes on mondays ~november twelfth

this is my list of gifts...
not that i want,
those i already have,
given by the giver of all

420 blue skies after lots of gray days

421 second chances

422 grace, lots and lots of grace

423 boys who are found

424 celebrations of ministry

425 boys named Samuel who find important things that were lost and return them

426 helping build a legacy

426 being woke up to breakfast on what is going to be a long day

427 coming home after a long day to a clean house

428 the sound of new wind chimes made by da bear

429 watching da baby do new things on skype

430 becoming brave enough to begin sharing hard stories

431 being fed in new ways

432 interacting with new friends

433 new faces on Sunday mornings

434 remember He holds all things together (Col. 1.17)

435 knowing Spirit led words spoke to the heart of another

436 taking God sized risks even when it doesn't feel safe

437 birthday backgrounds

438 Veteran's ~ past, present, and future

439 boys who learn hard lessons as they break old chains

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A mountain fairy tale chapter one

Long, long ago there was a little girl who moved far away from her family by the sea to live on a big mountain.  On this mountain there were lots of pretty trees, wild animals, and nice people.  In the woods there were even magic angels who watched over and protected everyone who lived on the mountain.

One day the little girl went to school.  Her teachers were very nice and very smart.  The other children in her class were friendly and made her feel welcome at her new school.  They even sat with her in the cafeteria at lunch time.  She liked her new school on the big mountain very much.

Then one day she went to get a glass of juice during recess.  On her way there she noticed a leprechaun in the hallway.  It seemed that no one else could tell that it was really a leprechaun.  The leprechaun smiled at her but it made her feel scared.  He said nice words but he said them in a mean voice.  She asked one of her new friends about the leprechaun.  Her friend said there were no leprechauns in the school on the mountain.  There were only people and angels.  The little girl thought maybe she was wrong.

Every day she saw the leprechaun in the hallways of her school on the mountain.  He was always nice to her when her friends were around.  One day though she went out of her classroom early.  As she walked down the hall by herself, the leprechaun jumped out of a corner and scared the little girl.  The leprechaun said mean things to the little girl.  She was frightened and ran away.

When she got back to class she told her friend.  Her friend told her again there were no leprechauns in the school.  Maybe the little girl was tired and seeing things that weren’t there.  The little girl thought maybe her friend was right.  Maybe the leprechaun wasn’t real.  She didn’t like to be scared so she tried to pretend there was no leprechauns like her friend said.

One day she went to a big campfire with her friends.  While they were talking, the leprechaun jumped out from behind a tree.  She was very scared but pretended not to see him.  Then one of her friends screamed and pointed at the leprechaun.  The little girl was scared all over again.  The leprechaun was real and he said mean things to them.  When they ran for help the leprechaun disappeared. 

They told the head teacher about the leprechaun.  The head teacher said leprechauns were not allowed at the school.  The head teacher said she would watch to see if the leprechaun came back.

For many weeks the little girl did not see the leprechaun anywhere.  She was very happy and started to forget about him.  Then one day when she was walking in the woods he jumped out behind a tree.  The little girl started to run when she noticed he had one of her friends.  The little girl tried to be brave and yell at the leprechaun but instead he disappeared.  She looked for her friend but couldn’t find her either.

The little girl did not know what to do.  It seemed nobody believed her that there really was a leprechaun.  She sat down by a tree and cried.  Suddenly a magic angel with long pretty hair appeared.  She asked the little girl what was wrong.  The little girl knew she had to tell the truth.  Angels always know the truth.  The little girl told the angel all about the leprechaun.

The angel looked at the little girl with kind eyes and said she would help her show others that the leprechaun was real.  The little girl was still scared but the angel made her feel happy on the inside.  The little girl knew the angel would keep her safe.

The angel took the little girl to her house and after sitting her in a chair she went to get the head angel.  The head angel looked just like Santa Claus and had a nice smile.  He had a soft voice that reminded her of happy things.  She felt safe when she talked to him.  The head angel asked the little girl lots of questions about the leprechaun.  She was afraid but she told him all about the leprechaun and the ways he scared her.  She was worried the head angel would not believe her.

After the head angel heard her story, he said that other little girls had told the same story.  The head angel said he would talk to the leprechaun and tell him not to scare them any more.  At first it seemed to work.  The leprechaun didn’t scare her any more.  Many days passed and the little girl began to feel safe again.

Then one day when she was by herself in the woods the leprechaun found her.  She tried to be brave and not be afraid.  The leprechaun began yelling at the little girl for telling the head angel about him being scary and doing things that were wrong.  He said she had done a very bad thing and no one would like her any more.  The little girl was very sad and told the leprechaun she didn’t want to get him in trouble.  She just didn’t like being scared.  The leprechaun told her no one would believe her because they knew he was nice. 

The little girl went home very sad.  She didn’t know what to do.  When she went to school the very next day the other children laughed at her and said she told stories that were not true.  The little girl felt all alone and wanted to go back to her home by the sea.  By the sea there weren’t any leprechauns.

Chapter 2 will be posted at a later time.  While this tale is told with fictional characters, it is true and parts of it have been told in real life.  Thank you to people like Elora Ramirez, Lisa-Jo Baker and Mary DeMuth who encourage girls to be brave about telling stories about people who make you feel unsafe.

Friday, November 9, 2012

sneak peek friday ~ november 9th

it is friday...
time for peeking into the studio...
yours, mine, and our friends
at Studio JRU...

this week found me sharing 
new places with old friends
and less time in the studio.

the theme of choosing joy
from Habkakuk 3.18
has been present with me 
and became this...

you may remember the background.
i added a new medium to it
that i am not real sure about
yet, then a little ribbon, and
some ink for the "choose".

how did you co-create with God
this week?
won't you share here,
over at (in)spired
or at Studio JRU?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

being fed in new ways

Just over a month ago my sister Catherine and I were part of the launch of a new ministry to women over at (in)courage.  Since then a group that has fluctuated a bit in number has tried to find community over at (in)spired as a closed group at Facebook.

There was an initial excitement as we got to know one another in this new way.  God was obviously up to something bigger than we expected.  Many of us couldn't step away from our computers for long because we just might miss something the first few days.

It was clear women over fifty were anxious for connection.  Social media is still foreign to many of us.  Some have had difficulty with trust (including the facilitators) in the internet world.  Others have had difficulty with time to be on social media or to be a part of a structured study.

Being the one who has a hard time with spontaneity, I suggested we do a study and why not the (in)RL one since this group is a ministry of (in)courage?  It became clear that direction was not the one God was leading us in.  Oh the study started some great conversations, but life got in the way and it was hard to keep the study moving in a consistent (and linear) way.

When we asked for honest feedback you could have heard a virtual pin drop, crickets chirp, clocks ticking...then one brave women said the study wasn't working for her, another said she appreciated knowing we were praying for one another, others appreciated that we were sharing our lives as parents, children, grandparents, artists, and children of God.  One bold and (in)spired lady suggested we follow the Acts 2 model of life together.

We listened and talked and prayed.  There are women who are part of the group who have never posted, not even once.  My sister (who at times is so much more in tune to others than I) reminded me this group is like an IRL group in that some will actively participate while others stand back and watch what goes on around them.  While they do not appear to be involved, they are being blessed by the interaction.

We are in fellowship, praying with and for one another,  and being fed in a way that many of us still struggle to be comfortable with.  Some of us participate more than others and even so,God is in the midst of this beautiful group of women over fifty who are creative and (in)spired children of God.

This group is bread in new forms for many of us as we learn how to be in community using means we are still learning to be comfortable with.  This bread may not look, feel, smell, sound, or taste like bread we are used to in this world past fifty, yet it is bread indeed.  Bread that nourishes us and brings us together in new ways.  

How are you being fed in the group this week?  Share here or on our Facebook page.

Monday, November 5, 2012

multitudes on mondays ~ november fifth

this is my list of gifts...
not that i want
those that i already have
given by the giver of all...

420  visits with old friends 

421 baby horses

422 first hard frost

423 boys who visit

424 skyping with da mama, da baby, and godparents

425 reading my story written by others

426 thirty nine million brave people and one who cheer them on

427 driving the Natchez Trace

428 da bear hitting a home run with the smoker

429 watching a boy who can really eat

430 seeing the prayers of many being felt by the one in need of them

431 da bear playing with his boy while a sister sings

432 saints who go unseen

433 World Series champion sweatshirts

434 incense rising to heaven

435 taking art off my wall to send to its new home

436 puppies who wait for something to come down the chimney

437 finishing the first letter of paul i ever studied once again 

438 remembering i have a special assignment

439 assistants who "get" it

Friday, November 2, 2012

sneak peek friday - november second

it is friday...
time for peeking into the studio...

this week was one of making gifts for others, which means i can't share until they make their way to new homes...

this piece is in the hands of those who will take it home...

friends who are living a dream in a new home in a beautiful place.

how did you create this week?
please share here or over at Studio JRU.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All the saints

Today we celebrate All Saints.  It is easy to speak of the saints of the bible, even those in the church, and those heroes of the world.

I am struck by those saints that go unseen by so many of us...

the maintenance worker who rides his bike to The Close to care for students trapped by a storm.

the mama who shares her written words as she struggles to parent so another mama knows she is not alone

the bagger at the grocery store always ready with a smile and willingness to carry items too heavy for a tired body

the sister who tells the painful story of not knowing how to love a brother in pain

the little girl sharing her story of abuse even when others do not believe her

the sister who dreams God sized dreams with me

the brother who transforms turning his back into a ministry that changes the world one orphan at a time

the little boy who takes a beating for standing up to the bullies hurting his friend day after day

the faceless factory worker who tightens the nuts and bolts that keep my car safe as I drive

the unseen faces of those who pray daily for me, for those I love, and for those they will never meet.

Yes there are those that are obvious saints, ones we read about in books, hear about in sermons, and learn about in the classroom, yet today I am remembering the saints I often overlook.  I thank God for their presence in my life, their witness to the kingdom, and all they do to make this world a better place.

Who are the saints you are remembering today?