whiterthansnow

 

It is one of the devil’s oldest tricks to discourage the saints by causing them to look back at what they were.  No one will make progress with God until he lifts up his eyes and stops looking at himself.  We are not to spend our time looking back and looking in – we are told to look forward!  Our Lord is more than able to take care of our past.  He pardons instantly and forgives completely.  His blood makes us worthy – all we are and all we have is by the forgiving love of God!

~A.W. Tozer

 

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 NASB

 

Linking with Sandy and the Still Saturday community! Click on the button and join us!

birdinsnowstorm

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

Matthew 6:25-26 RSV

 

 

I am an expert in borrowing trouble. Perceived trouble, that is. Nothing that has actually happened.  But it could.  Maybe.

 

I am also imaginative and slightly dramatic which means when I worry, it’s in technicolor!

 

For the last couple of weeks I have stewed over one particular issue which is totally out of my control. It not only weighs me down, it stirs me up! I have prayed and prayed and today these words from Matthew came like a soothing salve to my soul.

 

What a relief to remember Who holds the future!

 

Today’s challenge: Cast my burden on the One who even cares for the birds and focus only on today.

 

 

 

It has been well said that no man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow’s burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear. Never load yourselves so, my friends. If you find yourselves so loaded, at least remember this: it is your own doing, not God’s. He begs you to leave the future to Him, and mind the present.

                                                                                                                          ~G. MacDonald

 
Linking with Still Saturday! Click on the button and join us!

 

A Note of Thanks

I told the story of Thanksgiving yesterday. It’s been years since I told the story of pilgrims and indians sitting down together and enjoying a harvest. I smiled to myself as I remembered my daughters making construction paper hats with big buckles and feathers and cornucopias and children eating on paper plates shaped like turkeys.

 

I haven’t thought about that original Thanksgiving in a long time. And it’s the first time I told the story in Spanish.

 

A friend from Mexico asked me why so many people are cooking sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie and turkey.

 

I told her a little bit about American history. About a three day feast where indigenous Americans and Englishman came together and broke bread and gave thanks for the harvest. All that God had provided.

 

She smiled and thanked me for telling her the story.

 

And I can’t get it off my mind. That reminder of why we go through the motions of preparing a feast every year.

 

I take so much for granted.

 

Like speaking Spanish.  I’ve done it so long that it seems ordinary.   Commonplace.   It’s not.

 

There’s really no reason why I should be bilingual. My family doesn’t speak Spanish.  But from the time I was 9 years old I was welcomed into the homes of dear Cuban families who had immigrated in the early 1960s. to Florida.  They taught me their language and I learned about salsa and Celia Cruz.  About ropa vieja and platano frito.  About Cuba in its hey-day. About losing your country. Your home.  And moving to a country who does not share your culture or your language. These families have left indelible marks on my heart. They helped shape the person I am today.

When I’ve traveled to Puerto Rico and South America people have asked me if I’m Cuban. I always smile because I do feel a little bit Cuban in my heart.

 

Learning Spanish created a bridge into another world.  Not at all ordinary for a little farm girl from north Florida.

 

My friend from Mexico reminded me of this.  Of all the gifts God has given me.  And I am so grateful.

 

 

*Salsa- a popular music of Latin American origin (the Cubans claim they invented it)

*Celia Cruz- Cuban singer/performer who is one of the most popular salsa artists of the 20th century. Often called the “Queen of Salsa”. 

*Ropa vieja- literally means “old clothes” but is a popular Cuban dish of shredded steak in a tomato sauce. 

*Platano frito – fried plantain

Melody_72dpi_littleBM
I met Ellen Hathaway over 20 years ago and was immediately drawn to her southern charm.

 

She grew up in rural eastern North Carolina, in a town of only 12,000 people. The sights and sounds of Washington, North Carolina provided plenty of inspiration for this little budding artist!

 

 

Crown of Glory_24x36x3_mailchimp

 

Ellen dabbled in art as she grew up, but decided not to pursue it in college. It wasn’t until she had children of her own that she began taking classes in watercolor and acrylic painting. And she’s been painting ever since!

 

Euphoria_xanadu

 

I spent a few hours with my friend in her studio at home. I sat wide-eyed as I looked at all the vibrant colors of flowers and leaves bursting forth from canvases. We talked about the creative process and faith, and how the two are connected.  I love these words that she penned for an exhibit she entitled, “Epiphanies”:

 

Trust now.

 

That tiny seed, that tender root,

with no power in itself transforms through

Grace into glorious bloom at just

the appointed moment, making the place which

once appeared empty, now full of life,

color, texure.

 

 

Just as writers struggle with a blank page before them, artists can struggle with a blank canvas.  Ellen says the remedy for that is to get some paint on the surface as quickly as possible!  Her studio is full of canvases, but they’re not blank.  They’re all painted!

 

Kaleidoscope II_36x24x3 Lesson #1 – Begin. Do something. Get some paint on the canvas or the paper or the computer screen.  Just start.

 

She really makes this look so easy, but when I asked her about the creative process, she admitted that there are times when she struggles with controlling the outcome.

 

She says, “I try not to get so married to my own ideas or listen to the critical voice in my head. I try to let go and let God.”

 

Lesson #2 – Don’t get into a tug-of-war with your work. Take a deep breath and release it to God.

 

When I asked Ellen about her greatest difficulty she remarked, “The hardest place can be resolving the painting. . . wanting it to go one way and the painting wants to go another. I’ve learned to step back, throw a glaze on it and come back to it later.”

 

Lesson #3 – Step back. Hit the pause button. Come back to it later. 

 

{I think I need to keep these on my refrigerator as well as my easel! I think they’re life lessons, not just art lessons!}

 

You can visit Ellen at her website. You can also visit her Facebook page.

 

ellen hathaway photo

 

The burning desire to live creatively intersects with the generosity of the creating Spirit. Living creatively is a gift, unmerited, abundant, and waiting to be indulged.  Another epiphany.  Live gratefully.

 ~ Ellen Hathaway

heartful friday

So….I’m a little late getting here today. {My friends would tell you that I’m rarely on time!} But it’s still technically Friday and I want to share several sites that I keep up with regularly. Both are incredibly creative and both of these ladies love Jesus!

wifey singer blogheader

I’ve been following Hannah {aka Wifeysinger} for quite some time.  Her photos and writing always encourage me.   She also makes beautiful jewelry that you can purchase here.  I love her use of color !  It makes me smile.

wifeysinger washi tape and candy

 

Becky {aka Farmgirl Paints} is another one of my faves! Her blog is warm and inviting and I always feel inspired.
farmgirl paints

 

Becky makes cool jewelry and she also paints {hence the name of her blog!}.  She’s taking a little break from her shop for the month of October but you can visit it  here.

 

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 5.26.34 PM

 

And . . . I’m working on a little something myself.  It’s not finished but I’m almost there. I think.

in the garden

 

I’d love to hear about other creative blogs. Feel free to share in the comment section below!

Have a beautiful weekend!

Blessings to you,

mysignature
 

 

heartful friday

I’ve pulled out my paints and brushes and made a tiny studio out of a corner in my house that’s bathed in light.

I have loved to paint since I was a little girl.  I remember the first time my mother took me to the art store. I remember my first brushes, my first sketchbook and canvases like it was yesterday.

My art teacher,Mrs. Spieth, had a studio in her basement. Each week I made my way down black and white checkered hallways filled with paintings from floor to ceiling. I was mesmerized by her ability to create so much beauty.

She taught about 5 of us at a time. Patiently. Quietly. Always encouraging.  Mrs. Spieth made me feel like the possibilities were endless when I took a paintbrush in hand. She taught me how to look at things. How to see.  She said that painting was really about training your eye to see what is there and then interpreting it on canvas.

I haven’t painted in a long time, so I’m working out the kinks, but I’m having fun.

Here are my two most recent paintings.

 

lilies of the field

 

through a glass though darkly
I am always on the lookout for artists, blogs and websites that inspire me creatively. Here are a few places that I love.

Jen Ramos has a couple of sites that I visit all the time. Made by Girl is straight from NYC and has all the latest and greatest in fashion and lifestyle.   But my absolute favorite is her site, Cocoa and Hearts., that features her artwork.  Here’s a glimpse of one of Jen’s paintings – gorgeous!

jen ramos:cocoa and hearts

 

 

I also love to check out what Merissa Revestir is up to. Her blog is full of creative ideas! Merissa graces envelopes  and cards with the most beautiful hand-lettered typography and illustration you have ever seen! She is from Hawaii, so her photography is also quite lovely.

merissa revestir art

 

Naptime Diaries {Jessi Connolly} is a frequent stop for me because of the beautiful illustration of scripture. I love to see God’s word illuminated in such colorful ways. Jessi is also part of the SheReadsTruth team, a group of ladies who have created a community to read God’s word together online.

naptime diaries

Do you have an artsy blog or website?  I’d love to know about it.  Please feel free to leave your info in the comment section below!

 

Blessings for your weekend,

mysignature

The rose of Sharon

I found this little poem in one of my favorite daily devotions.  It so hit home with me.

These days, {as I mentioned in an earlier post}, I don’t feel like I am much of a blessing.  I have had seasons when I felt like I could reach out and touch God. His presence was so tangible to me!  I’ve had seasons when His word blossomed before me and became three dimensional. Reading the Bible was invigorating and exciting!

This is not one of those seasons.

But I come every morning to my little rocking chair and my time-worn Bible to meet with Him.  I come because He has lead me out of the dark valley of depression and the grip of addiction. I come because He has pulled me out of a pit of sin that I dug all by myself. I come because He has rescued me from more disasters than I can count. I come because He has wrapped me in affection when I felt utterly abandoned and alone. I come because He has thrilled me with unspeakable joy when I least expected it.

I know He is real. I know He is good. And I know He loves me. So. . .  I come.

As I read these words I realized that regardless of how I feel or what season I’m in,  as I spend time with Jesus, He changes me.  I become more like Him.  I take on His fragrance, His sweet perfume.

Others will know that I have spent time with Christ.  I will wear His perfume.

 

A Persian fable says:   One day a wanderer found a lump of clay so redolent of sweet perfume its odors scented all the room.   “What are thou?” was his quick demand, “Art thou some gem from Samarcand, or spikenard in this rude disguise, or other costly merchandise”?  

“Nay, I am but a lump of clay.”

“Then whence this wondrous perfume—say!”   “Friend, if the secret I disclose, I have been dwelling with the rose.”   Sweet parable!   And will not those who love to dwell with Sharon’s rose, distill sweet odors all around, though low and mean themselves are found? 

Dear Lord, abide with us that we may draw our perfume fresh from Thee.

 

Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, Streams in the Desert

 

Blow upon my garden that the spices may thereof flow out.

Song of Solomon 4:16

 

bring all your moments to jesus

Do you feel like you’re always dwelling on the future?  Waiting for that time when your home will be peaceful, your problems worked out and the bills paid up?  A time when your children rise up and call you blessed, your husband sings your praises from the rooftop and your skinny jeans fit!

 

I certainly do!  I’ve caught myself lately ruminating and fantasizing about that elusive future.

 

Truthfully, life at my house goes something like . . . conversations with my teenagers which are less conversation and more full on arguments which reduce me to throwing the laundry that I am folding clear across the room. (I know, not the finest parenting!)  Problems at work.  Unexpected bills.  And did I mention that I’ve gained and lost the same five pounds for the last two years!  Pageant weight is long gone! (And, just to be clear, if I eat any more green than I do, I will probably turn green. Literally.)

 

So, I have a choice to make.  I can keep living for the future that may or may not come to fruition, or I can look for grace and joy in a less-than-perfect now.

 

Rejoice in Me always!  No matter what is going on, you can rejoice in your Love-relationship with Me.  This is the secret of being content in all circumstances.  So many people dream of the day when they will finally be happy: when they are out of debt, when their children are out of trouble, when they have more leisure time, and so on.   While they daydream, their moments are trickling into the ground like precious balm spilling wastefully from overturned bottles.    Fantasizing about future happiness will never bring fulfillment, because fantasy is unreality.   Even though I am invisible, I am far more Real than the world around you.  My reality is eternal and unchanging.  Bring your moments to Me, and I will fill them with vibrant Joy.  Now is the time to rejoice in My Presence! (Philippians 4:4,12; Psalm 102:27)

~ Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

 

Here’s the deal. My girls may always argue with me. I might always have problems at work. And I may never be thin again.( Ugh! That one was super-hard to write!)

 

But I can praise God for the moment He has given me. I can ask Him for eyes to see and ears to hear all the grace He has poured into right now. And it’s there. It really is!  Right now is jam-packed with grace. . . and joy. . . .and something to praise Him for!

 

mysignature

 

 

 

 

 

Joining #TellHisStory with the lovely Jennifer and gang! Click on the button and join us!

john 7-38

Have you ever felt like you have nothing else to give?  Dry to the bone.  I’ve been feeling like that lately.  I read these words from Oswald Chambers a couple of days ago and I realized, God doesn’t promise that we will feel like “rivers of living water”.  He promises that, in fact, we will BE rivers of living water.  I’m counting on this!  Believing God’s word and not my feelings.  I’m believing that He flows through me regardless of my circumstances or my feelings.

 

He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow

rivers of living water.

                                                                                                       John 7:38 KJV

 

A river touches places of which its source knows nothing, and Jesus says if we have received of His fullness, however small the visible measure of our lives, out of us will flow the rivers that will bless to the uttermost parts of the earth.  We have nothing to do with the outflow – “This is the work of God that ye believe…” God rarely allows a soul to see how great a blessing he is.

 

A river is victoriously persistent, it overcomes all barriers.  For awhile it goes steadily on its course, then it comes to an obstacle and for a while it is baulked, but it soon makes a pathway round the obstacle.  Or a river will drop out of sight for miles, and presently emerge again broader and grander than ever.  You can see God using some lives, but into your life an obstacle has come and you do not seem to be of any use.  Keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you round the obstacle or remove it.  The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles.  Never get your eyes on the obstacle or on the difficulty. The obstacle is a matter of indifference to the river which will flow steadily through you if you remember to keep right at the Source.  Never allow anything to come between yourself and Jesus Christ, no emotion, or experience; nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source.

 

Think of the healing and far-flung rivers nursing themselves in our souls!  God has been opening up marvelous truths to our minds, and every point He has opened up is an indication of the wider power of the river He will flow through us.  If you believe in Jesus, you will find that God has nourished in you mighty torrents of blessing for others.

 Oswald Chambers,  My Utmost for His Highest

 

Blessings to you ~

 

mysignature

 

 

 

 

 

Linking with Sandy and Deidra this weekend. You can come too! Just click on the icons below.

isaiah 32-17

I am come by a hard way to the quiet of God.

Alistair MacLean, The Quiet Heart

 

These days I am seeking His peace.  His quiet.  His rest.  His assurance.  I am come by a hard way, but still, I come.

 

Joining Sandy and Deidra. Click on the buttons below to visit too!