Tag Archives: Christianity

cancer is a life sentence.

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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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“Play Full”

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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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Glow bugs in my heart’s jar

I traveled to Redding, CA this summer in the middle of the moving chaos that was going on at home. The decision to go was extremely spontaneous, and I asked myself several times,”What are you thinking?!” But the flights were booked and there was no turning back.

The trip was weeks ago now, and looking back…I can see how it all began. My glow bugs. During that time away I carried my heart along, transparent like a mason jar…and then, there was a shift. Something changed inside. I found a glow bug. And then two, then three…

When I got home, we moved the next day and life became a flurry of unpacking and coordinating tradespeople, trips to Home Depot, packing and unpacking. Though I carried my little jar around with me, I had no time to crack the lid to process what had happened while I was away, and it seemed like it may have even been just a dream.

Now that the new place is unpacked, I have been staring at the treasures in my jar. As I write this today, I am unthreading the lid and setting them free.

Freedom. What does it look like? Is it a physical condition like looking out at the beauty from the top of a mountain? Or is there even more to it?

I was singing at the altar that day…My eyes were closed. I was conscious of only the Lord and me. That was when I saw the scene unfold before me.

Everything was sepia…like it had been tea-dyed. Beautiful, uneven, messy, artistic. I saw a piece of paper with words on it. I tried to read it, but before I could, a pair of hands reached down and began to fold the paper; and the words began to be pressed deeply into the middle until I could no longer see them. More folding ensued. Then, I saw that the paper had been folded into an airplane.

Hard to describe how I know this because I saw and felt nothing. I just knew. But there was a breath…and the paper airplane caught the flow and took off. No sooner had it begun then the wings of the airplane turned into the wings of a bird.

The bird flew briefly and landed on a brown bush. I mean EVERYTHING was still sepia colored. The bush also had no leaves. Instead it was made up of quilted pieces of material all grafted together. Perched on the tip of a branch, the bird began to sing…

I was mesmerized. Instead of a sound, tune, or whistle…little words began to flow out of the birds’ mouth on tiny pieces of paper. And each time the bird opened its mouth to sing, a new word came out.

They appeared almost as if they were alive, and they began to float towards a low-lying cloud that hovered like fog in a valley. When the words reached the cloud, they began to dangle like crystals from a chandelier. It was so beautiful to watch, I wish I could have grabbed a coffee and sat down and just adored the whole scene. But there was more.

Another breath came. Again, not sure how I knew. They all just simultaneously dropped… this time heavy like rain; and when they landed on the dirt, everything turned to full color!! The brown, what first seemed so cozy and artistic now paled in comparison as gardens began to team with the most vivid life I had ever seen.

Woah.

God, what are You up to now?

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reveal

There are times when we think and hope and pray, and we are convinced we know what God has in mind. (In spite of myself, I do this.) In the shadows of the unkown, some may assume confirmation that He can’t hear us, doesn’t know us, and doesn’t care. We grow cold. This painting reflects the cold and dark areas of our hearts that we don’t like to acknowledge.

But He does see us.

It’s not how we assume it is. His plans are not like our plans. We may think we know what He wants, but God responds to what actually is best for us. Believing this truth revives our hearts. This painting also reflects the growth of believing His promises for us.

This weekend, His promises were revealed to me, and I had a choice. Would I doubt His plans or would I respond to them, even though they were different from my own?

Lord, make my heart fully Yours. My plans do not truly matter at all…only Yours do.

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 36:25, 26 NLT)

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light house

Almost anybody can accomplish a task when they feel like it. Today, I step out with only an obedient heart, knowing that today is the day.

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This painting has been a long time coming. It has been finished for almost two months, while I wrestled with the “WHEN” and “HOW”. Some might call that creative instability. Something that started out with the right intentions but lost steam over time.

And part of that might have some truth to it. This painting definitely started out with a heart FULL of inspiration, on a level of which reminded me of the very first one I ever did. But when it was finished, a deep “unknowing” settled in, and I waited for it to clear.

Creativity for the SAKE of being creative is actually NOT my thing. I don’t know if you’ve noticed. I’m not a fan of creativity, although it is probably the number one characteristic most people would use to describe me. If I don’t want creativity, but I AM creative, what is it actually that I am looking for?

If I were to simplify it down to its most basic form, I would say that I want a move of God. I am passionate about hearing what God is saying no matter how uncomfortable. I have been praying for breakthrough…not for inspiration.

Personally, I am concerned about the use of creativity for the sake of having fun or feeling the high that inspiration brings, followed by the quiet lull; and if in a group, the subsequent approval or non approval of weird ideas. I am also concerned about the use of creativity for the purpose of whitewashing old tombs.

I wish I could say that in a way that sounds awesome. Although…I think it can be.

The key here is *what propels the creative juices?* Is it God’s presence, what He is saying, what He is doing, where He is going? Or is it…*how can I spruce this up a bit?*

I want to use creativity to minister to God, not people. If it touches His heart, it will move others.

So having now just said that, here is one WEIRD painting.

Weird, because nobody would want this on their living room wall.
Weird, because many would not have a clue what it means.
Weird, because it might disturb hearts, stir minds, not set them at ease.

And I’m okay with weird. Because I know that God uses the MESS in life to produce a message. I get messy.

“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept.” [Matt. 5:14]

That was the quote that stirred this painting. You may or may not see it, and that’s ok. Not everyone was meant to see it; that doesn’t diminish the message.

Feel free to comment and say what you see. Or not. It’s ok. Although it is the first “CRAZY” painting I’ve done, I doubt it will be the last.

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wordless words

What would YOUR world be like if you woke up one morning and WORDS no longer existed? What if you could neither use words to speak or understand words of others as a form of communication?

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Credit: Alicechan @deviantART

Do you think you would have trouble connecting to people? Doing your job? Helping others out?

Can I just suggest here that we are really limiting ourselves if this is the case? Don’t get me wrong, I am not negating the fact that words are extremely powerful.

I just think we limit ourselves to words.

As an artist, I have been exploring the idea that language and communication actually exist solidly in many other ways.

Example. I had a revelation one day…when I realized that I knew with confidence that my dog loved me. I marvelled. I thought. How can I be sure of this? She hasn’t spoken a single word to me! My relationship with my dog is not based on words. Yet we have a very close bond. I would even go so far as to say that I understand what she is thinking, what she is needing, and how she is feeling…yet she hasn’t spoken a single word to me.

As bloggers, words are our pulse, as we limit ourselves almost exclusively to them. As artists, words are our box. Well, the inside of my box is completely covered in paint, and I’m BORED! I need out of here.

My heart beats a little bit faster as I wonder what it is that we aren’t considering? What if there is a different way to communicate that doesn’t get the same credit as words?

…What about the language of music? Dance? Paint? Passion? Aren’t these forms of communication?

…after pondering this…how would you start your wordless morning now?

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I choose YOU

One of the most empowering feelings ever is knowing that you were chosen for something.

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No, not like a lottery win, not a prize of acknowledgement for hard work… but actually being named, called out and chosen.

Goosebumps from behind the keyboard here. I think it’s what dreams are made of.

Over the course of our lives, we will also be choosers…those who will choose people, places, things. We also feel the responsibility to choose well, especially when there is no discernible “right” option. Or is there? Making decisions is difficult when all options are good options. Does cowardice force you into a stalemate or make you choose both options?

Even more intense is this: Now what if you have to choose between two negative or neutral options with undetermined endings?

My question is this: What helps you make that choice?

“Train your eye to discern that which is of true worth, and let it not escape you.”
[Frances J. Roberts]

Getting Personal
Sometimes I know who a painting is for before I start, while other times I do not. I finished one last night and it wasn’t until this morning that I knew who it was for. That’s like a whole 5648 hours of not knowing!

The less I knew, the more my mind spun with options…maybe him…he’s going through a challenging time…maybe her…she could use some encouragement. Choices. Were any of them inherently BAD choices? Could giving a painting away ever be a bad thing?

No, I suppose not. But we do acknowledge the DESIRE to be chosen for something, so then it is worth waiting for. I repeat: waiting is indeed involved. As is often becoming the case, I finally knew who it was for because I was moved to prayerful sobs as I began working through the painting’s prophetic message…

Any number of choices can have a good result. But when you want to partner with God in finding the “CHOSEN” choice…wait for it.

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