love be like*

image

waterfall.

I really enjoy the process of making prophetic art, because it can take many twists and turns and surprises along the way.  Typically, I will have a word, a colour, a shape, or a person to start with.

On this particular day, I only had the desire to paint.  And then a request for a painting came in.  I don’t think I have EVER painted on a request before, and I said so, but I also said, “I will pray about it.”  Little did I know that the desire to paint was right in front of me.  Within a few minutes a song began to roll off my lips, and the painting poured out with more passion that I could ever imagine was possible…what a gift!
Your love is like a waterfall, waterfall
Running wild and free
You hear my heart when I call, when I call
Deep calls, too deep
Your love is like a waterfall, waterfall
Raining down on me
[Chris Tomlin]
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Walk a minute in my shoes

Do you carry art supplies around with you in your purse?”

This was a question I was asked this week. Although it is true that inspiration hardly waits for the convenience of paper, carrying supplies with me was not something I had ever considered before.

What do I do when I am hiking? What about when I’m on the toilet? What if I lose my purse????

Somehow, I have to carry something of even GREATER convenience with me. Somewhere that LEDs don’t dull and pages don’t bend. Somewhere deeper.

So that’s when I announced that “I carry around my art supplies in my shoes!”

What does that even mean?! I must be nuts. Pencil crayons don’t fit in shoes.

It means I AM the paint brush, pencil crayons, and paper.
I am also the canvas.
My fingers are brushes, ready for work at any time, and I always have them with me. My eyes are the canvas on which I paint the depths of my heart; my actions are the medium I use.

In this way, art supplies are incredibly limiting.

“Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.”
John 8:6

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how I almost died.

It’s the strangest thing to say.  And something I thought I would never have to say.  I look at the title of this post and suspect I am being dramatic, and yet, I have the blood test results sitting on my desk right in front of me.  All I can do is shake my head because of how fast it happened.

How do I feel about that?  Well, physically, I feel amazing.

On Friday, I had a bladder infection.  I got in to see the Doctor and started on antibiotics right away, but on Saturday something was wrong.  My head was pounding and I couldn’t stay awake.  My fever gradually climbed until it was 39.3 degrees Celsius in the early afternoon.  I just couldn’t keep it down.  I had phoned a nurse earlier that day, and she had said to wait until it hit 40.  At that moment, I knew if I waited, I would be going to the hospital by ambulance.

I will skip the Emergency Room experience because it mostly includes me getting 4 full bags of IV fluid, broad spectrum antibiotics, and a CT scan.  They sent me home with an IV in my hand and instructions for coming back every night to get IV antibiotics at the hospital until they said I was done.

By day two, I woke up for the first time without a headache, I felt like a MILLION dollars.  I walked the dog around the block and simply felt amazed.  How does one go from being completely unable to function and in the hospital to happily walking her dog around the block in the sunshine in two days?  Is that even possible?  Thank God for antibiotics!

Follow-up day is today.  This morning I saw my GP and he revealed the contents of my blood tests that the ER Doctor didn’t tell me:  I was septic. It was E.Coli. I knew my blood pressure was low (53/38) but I thought it was kind of funny because the nurse kept trying different arms and saying she didn’t believe the machine.  (She even tried a child’s cuff on me to try to get a better number.) (Then she made me stand up.)  Clearly, my blood pressure couldn’t be that low.

But hearing that news now after the fact, honestly makes me tremble a little bit.  I almost missed that.  I wasn’t thinking I was at the end.  Or nearing it.  Or even right around the corner from it.  I’m totally fine.

And I suppose in some ways, I’m still in the middle of treatment.  So I wonder if this will make me different.

I will be re-assessed in the ER again tonight, and I expect to hear good news.  Of course.  It’s always good news, right?  I’ve already dodged a bullet.

POW.

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cancer is a life sentence.

Sept 2013 iphone 709

When my mom found out she had stage four metastatic breast cancer, my dad would always tell people, “We have cancer.”

Little did he know that he actually did. Today my dad received his full diagnosis. Stage four small B-cell Follicular Lymphoma. Is empathy a carcinogen?

He stayed by her side through surgery, chemo, more surgery and more treatments, guarding her against pushing herself too hard (the feisty redhead needed that) and reminding her that it was going to be worth it.

How did he know it would be?

Something inside of him just said they were in this together.

And I’ve been watching. Honestly, there is something FIERCE happening here. So I have come to the conclusion that even though I don’t have cancer, my parents both now have the benefit of something I do not: PERSPECTIVE.

I want to live like I know I’m dying.

Cancer can’t take everything away. It will alter your family, it will change your body, but it cannot force you to surrender your will.

And so, I think…perhaps I can live in a new way. Every day AWARE. Present moments ENGAGED. Fully given before I am TAKEN.

 

“You prepare a table before me IN THE PRESENCE OF my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
[Psalm 23:5]

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When the cutlery drawer opens…

As we moved into our new home and began to settle in over a year ago, we began to get to “know” the house.

But I didn’t expect this.

I still recall the first time I viewed the house. It was overwhelming. I won’t go into unnecessary detail, but it was difficult to envision it being mine, and I was convinced that, even though it was propped on the edge of the mountain, there was “no view.” The truth was, I simply hadn’t found it yet.

We renovated before we moved in, changing key elements to provide a sort of “blank canvas” feel. We were starting to unwrap the mystery behind the move. As we began to move in, unpack, and explore, I began to find even more things about the house that I didn’t realize were a part of the equation before. The ironing board hidden inside a drawer. The boiling water tap in the kitchen. Surprise. Joy.

And then something even deeper happened. The more we settled in, the more we became aware of something else. It will seem silly to you. But to me, it is symbolic. You see, there is something weird about the cutlery drawer. If it is not pushed solidly shut (and no one can actually explain how “solidly” and how “shut” we mean when we say this), it will open at random times during the day. Sometimes it opens right after the attempted close.

Other times it opens when I am in prayer.
Or reading something meaningful.
Or just sitting in quiet contemplation.

And then slowly the drawer slides open like an invitation to me that whatever it is that I am doing right then is important. And deeper than I think. And more meaningful than I currently know. The drawer becomes an invitation to the table.

I could say that I love my house, but now I know that it never really was about the house, and it isn’t even about a slippery drawer. As the snow falls in gigantic flakes all around me, the drawer having slide open moments before, my soul just waits, invited, to see and take a part of the present. Where I am. Where God is.

If I had my way I would have purchased the crazy expensive gigantic fork and spoon I found at one of the furniture stores last year. But now I realize that what I have is even better.

“He escorts me to the banquet hall; it’s obvious how much He loves me.”

Songs 2:4

Time to RSVP.

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“Consuming”

Consuming, by Misty Bedwell, feeling paint

This painting was an 18-month-long process that took on many different colours and sizes after the flicker of inspiration first gripped me.  Had I known it would need so much time and uncertainty to become fully alive, I probably would have asked myself different questions along the way.

However, “not knowing” caused me to learn more about these things:

  • I don’t have to know what it is going to look like before I start.
  • The first time likely isn’t going to be the best time.
  • Unfinished is beautiful too.
  • Mistakes are opportunities to be creative.

I have felt so thankful for those who have displayed copious amounts of patience with my process (longest painting EVER!)  In this case, time was a necessary key to inspiration.  If I were brave, I would show you all the “FAILed” prior attempts, but I hesitate simply because I cannot yet describe WHY they didn’t meet the expression I was looking for.  It is the indescribable knowing that it’s not right that draws me back to the drawing board time and again, not with discouragement (as some would suppose), but with time-taught determination.

“Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.”

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“Play Full”

play full

Being completely understood as a human being and an artist used to be very important to me. Not that I tried really hard to communicate properly, I just felt sad when nobody seemed to *get it*.

A LOT of assumptions were made in those days…

Over the years I’ve found meaning in the process of trying to find words that articulate what is going on inside of me, and I’ve also deemed the people around me important enough to experiment on. So if you don’t get it the first time, I will try another angle…

This bird is me.

So, here’s to growing little! It’s not that I don’t want to grow up…that would be a waste of time. But I want to forget that it hurt when I tried before and assumed I had failed. I want to return to the place where I “cried & tried” instead of “gave up.” I want to become wiser by taking more risks, simpler by moving more rocks, and free to dance.

Is any of this making sense?! If not, maybe turn your computer screen upside down, nod your head every few seconds and say, “hmmm”…

Let’s get simple together.

“…unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 18:3

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