Tag Archives: journey

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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pickles from the peanut gallery

I’m not saying that I always want to be alone when I’m painting…but…

I’m just saying it could be easier.

This is what I got from a little person in a span of 30 seconds today:

“Is that water or grass?”
“Why is that blue?”
“Trees again? Are you ever going to paint anything different? Aren’t you bored of trees yet?”
“No offence, but that actually doesn’t LOOK like a tree…”

I’d prefer peanuts. Things like “yay mom, you’re a rock star” and “I want to be awesome like you one day.”

But pickles are okay too…I suppose. I guess I can put them in my jar and twist the lid on it. When I think about it, I don’t actually WANT the peanut gallery to leave me alone. I just want to learn how to be okay with the nattering.

Here’s a thought:

“It’s not water or grass…it’s outer space, you can’t tell?”
“It’s blue because I’ve been weeping on the canvas and look what happened!”
“I’ve been living with you your whole life and I’m not bored of YOU yet!”
“No offence taken. You don’t look like an adult either.”


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a blank canvas: dealing with the FEAR of FAILURE

Is there a such thing as failure when you’re an artist? I mean, can’t anybody pick up a mangled brush and create art that stirs an emotion of some sort (perhaps even boredom or disgust apply)?

Yes, I feel fear as an artist. I deal with failure when I want something to look a certain way and don’t get there as fast as I think I should. Now that I phrased it that way, it’s starting to sound pretty normal, isn’t it? I’ve been doing this since I learned to crawl.

Here are some questions I challenge myself with when I am faced with the “mangled brush”:

1. What is the root of the fear? Am I prepared for what I am trying to do or am I trying to pull a miracle?
2. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Is that so bad that I couldn’t handle it? Is it worse than not trying at all?
3. Who does God say I am? If this idea doesn’t work, is it seriously a reflection of who I am?
4. How can I simplify what I am doing? Can I take this one step at a time instead of seeing the finished painting in my head and trying to get to the end too fast?
5. Failure is temporary. Am I going to let this stop me?

Getting Personal

This post comes as a personal lecture to myself after a hard day. Yesterday, I painted. I was trying to capture fog. I went too far. Now it looks as though I need to start over, but I’m still not sure how to create fog. While I was waiting for the butchered fog painting to dry, I pulled one of my biggest, most expensive canvases and began to play with the paint, dance with the colors, and just feel the brightness and explore where it would take me. Well, I accomplished some sort of exploration, but I tell ya folks…no magic happened! But REALLY where is the failure in that? I did exactly what I set out to do…feel the paint move and the colors mix. So now I need to show you just how proud I am of failure being a part of my walk, I’m going to post a picture of it. Just in case you think I’m amazing all the time, ha ha ha.

So today will be a day of starting over for me. It’s not really work. It’s life. After all, each day I start over. The alarm goes off again, I shower again. Lather rinse repeat.

I used to think there was nothing more scary than a blank canvas. I was a perfectionist back then, and one could argue that I still am. The one thing that has changed is I’m challenging that feeling when I make a mistake. Who feels inspired when they are afraid?

I couldn’t live like that, couldn’t paint like that, and confirmed it with years of drying paint tubes and dusty brushes.

It’s still there. The canvas is full of paint now and I look at it and have goosebumps. But now, instead of pondering all that could go wrong, I ponder all that could go right. Most of my canvases are painted in layers upon layers of starting over. In fact, I have done it so often that I plan my next layer over canvases that have been hanging on my walls for years…now it is part of my philosophy. Life changes, I change, and so must the walls.

Enjoy not being perfect. Fail well: perfect being imperfect.


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what do you do when you are uninspired?

Today my stomach hurts, and I feel tired. As much as I tried to avoid any sort of obligatory painting, I have committed to a gala in March and want to create something for that. I also have a few concepts in mind that I would like to paint; and instead of feeling colorful, I feel gray. Perhaps I should paint something in gray tones just to see how it turns out…

I know what I want to paint, but not HOW I need to paint it. I am unsure of the canvas size, and where to start. Sigh.

I understand that it is unsustainable to be full of inspiration all the time. But I wish it could happen, and at times I have even thought that it was possible. Perhaps I should just take these colorless moments to relax and ask myself some questions.

I decided to write because I wanted to be real about it. It’s going to be a journey.

To answer my own question…what do I do when I am uninspired? Well, I am going to get on my knees. I really have no other options.

Lord, you have given me gifts to steward; of that there is no doubt. I want to use them very much, but sometimes I am very aware of how led I am emotionally. This particular gift rises out of emotion. Please teach me how to find peace no matter what place I am at in the journey because I rely on you. No comparisons. No competition. No pressure. Just peace. And listening to Your Voice. Tears fall in desire to paint with You, not just for You. I don’t want to paint alone. Reveal Your presence to me.

Smile. There You are.

And…now the canvas awaits.


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how to be priceless

Out of curiosity, my husband asked me why I was  “announcing” that I paint for FREE. “Why make a big deal out of it?” he said.  Others may agree that I now have a classic case of “losing your crown in heaven” because of all the praise I will be receiving from people now that I’ve said it out loud.

How very unhumble of me.

Well, I’d like to explain my process, so that you can understand why I had to do it.  Because it most certainly wasn’t always this way.  Those who have known me for years would say they never even knew I was an artist or could paint.  I hid it quietly.

In fact, I felt like that was the right thing to do.  That is, until just recently.  The change, I believe is the result of maturity, humility and character.

Gasp.  Ack.  There she goes again.  Now she’s really crossing the line.

I know, right?  Who says these things of themselves?  Well, I guess I’m finally realizing that it’s okay to look at who I am through God’s eyes.  And finally, I can see me.

I’d like to propose that what seemed so humble before was actually just hiding in, around, and behind my gift.  Basically, I buried it.  I was safe from criticism and responsibility that way, or so I thought.

But let’s just saying it like it is.  And it’s time for me to step out and invest.  What am I investing in?  Well, I like to think that if you are reading this, I am investing in YOU.  No longer am I holding my passion in until I have “arrived” and become approved.  I’m actually there right now.  I’ve never been more there…I just “get it” now.

I want you to see what I’m doing and be challenged.  Be inspired.  Ask yourself what you are doing with your resources.

Just try it.  Look at yourself through God’s eyes again.  Ask Him who you are to Him.  You might just be surprised at what He says.

You don’t have to DO things to please Him.  He loves you for who you ARE.  Personally, that incredibly good news makes me want to DO THINGS to please HIM…becuase it makes me so incredibly happy.

If you want to be priceless, all you have to do is believe that you already are.  Now…what are you going to do about it?

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