Saturday, March 26

Remember the Tulips

Red Tulips

"No, my little friends," I said to my tulips when I saw their little green heads poking from the ground in early March. "You are not finished sleeping. Winter is not over just yet. Spring is not here. The cold air will inhibit your growth, and a sudden frost will hurt you. Just be still and wait. Your time is coming. Soon the sun will warm the earth, and you will be able to spring forth, blooming radiantly. And you will bring me such joy. Soon, my friends. Soon."

But my tulips didn’t listen. They pushed through the hard ground and into the frigid air. And while they are still lovely, they are not as beautiful and as glorious as they could have been.

Poor, confused, impatient tulips.

“No, my friend,” God said to me when He saw me struggling to figure out His will.  “You are not finished learning. This period of your life is not over just yet. The time is not here. Your impatience will inhibit your growth, and your lack of knowledge will hurt you. Just be still and wait. Your time is coming. Soon I will show you what I have planned for you, and you will be able to spring forth, living radiantly. And you will bring Me such joy. Soon, my friend. Soon.”

And so I wait.

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. ~Proverbs 16:9

Thursday, March 17

Some Days and Baby Steps

I was speaking to a lady in my office recently about "some days" - you know, the things you want to do some day.  Sometimes they are serious things.  Sometimes they're more on the silly side.  Regardless, there's a bit of our heart in each of our "some days." 

Here are some of mine:
Some day, I would like to...
Be in better shape
Be published in an art magazine
Go to the San Diego Zoo
Throw a really big party
Plan my own funeral
Do a 365 project
Be an expert of something
Own a house with a bright red door

In discussing this, I came back to my desk thinking about my friend Gerry.  She's the one who - I've shared in earlier posts - has thyroid cancer.  This past Monday, I got an email from her explaining that her cancer is no longer treatable, and the doctors are giving her less than 5 months to live.  I wonder how many of her "some days" will have been completed when all is said and done.  Hopefully all of them.

I am learning that I waste way too much time thinking about my "some days."  There's always a reason not to do something.   Not enough time.  Not the right time.  Not enough money. Too many excuses.  Or as it is in my case more often than I'd like, there's too much fear getting in the way.  Maybe it's time to say, enough is enough!  Time to subscribe to Dr. Leo's radical new therapy "BABY STEPS."  (Anybody seen the movie What About Bob?)

What am I putting off until "some day" that could be done today?  What am I missing today because I'm scared to try or because I feel like it's not the right time?  What could I be doing now that would make the world a better place?  What could I be doing now that would bring joy and love to my husband?  What could I be doing now that would bring honor and glory to my Jesus?  Or that would bring SOMEONE to my Jesus!

I think it's time for a change of heart and a change of action.  In other words, I need to get off my butt and start DOING!  Just a tiny little step gets me on my way...

Baby steps leave the office.  Baby steps out the door.  Baby steps to the hall.  Baby steps into the elevator.  Baby steps...

Wednesday, March 9

Why Do I Even Pick Up That Paintbrush?

Photo by Geoffrey Sokol
Many of you might remember from my post All Things New that 2011 is the year that I become more serious about my art.  Currently, I am in the second week of the She Art Workshop by Christie Tomlinson (which is awesome btw). For this workshop, I spend a lot of time creating mixed media backgrounds. Doing this basically involves a blank canvas, assorted papers and paints, various "texture makers" and lots and lots of Mod Podge. All of these things get layered upon each other in different ways until the background is satisfactory. The challenge for me has been to let go of my perfectionism and just "go with it." One thing I am especially learning is that if I’ve done to the canvas that I don't like, I can do other things to lessen the negative effect or to cover it up altogether so that no one knows it's there but me.

Last night I got a little too rambunctious with some wide swipes of dark purple paint on one of my canvases. I freaked. I wrinkled my nose and shook my head, feeling certain that it was ruined, and considered putting that canvas in the trash and starting over with a fresh one. But, fighting that urge with everything in me, I began covering up some of the purple with lilac, pink, and aqua. And I must say that the effect was amazing. The purple is still there - I can see it - but now it is a much more pleasing part of the background. And the aesthetic of the background overall is quite attractive (at least to me, it is). I was still marveling over the transformation this morning as I checked on the canvas once more before heading to work.

And today I've been thinking about how I am like that canvas. I’ve gotten a little too rambunctious with the dark purple paint (and the red and the blue and the orange), and it’s time to just throw me in the trash and start over with a fresh canvas. But thankfully, man’s ways are not God’s ways. He sees me with all my mistakes and ugliness and unworthiness. Maybe sometimes He wrinkles His holy nose and shakes His holy head when he looks at me. But instead of giving up and tossing me aside, He picks up the brush and goes to work yet again. He dabs on some mercy. He dribbles on some forgiveness. He doodles on some grace. And He seals it for eternity with His love.

And the effect is amazing.

All of my screw ups are still there, layer upon layer, part of me. But the overall aesthetic – my humanity covered by His holiness – is absolutely beautiful. And in spite of where I began, or where I screwed up, He marvels over me again and again and again.

Ephesians 2:4-5
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Monday, March 7


I got a phone call this morning regarding my friend who recently discovered she has cancer, and she is not doing as well as she had been. The tumor that had been removed has already returned, and the cancer has now been found in her lungs. She had to go back for more surgery last week, and the doctors are trying to determine the next phase of her treatment.

And I hate it.
I hate that someone I love is going through this.
I hate that the road ahead of her is going to be a tough one.
And I hate the thought of possibly losing her.

I have experienced a decent amount of loss in my 37 years, and each passing has affected me in vastly different ways. And I have learned that the effect is not based on the amount of time I knew the person, or even how I knew them. The effect is based on what footprints they left on my heart.

Today I am thinking about the footprints my friend has left – her artistic inspiration, her encouragement of my own art, her courage to try new things and go new places, her desire for adventure… I can hear her footsteps through the halls of my heart, and I treasure each and every one.

But I also wonder what footprints I have left behind.
Do people know I love them?
Have I encouraged them?
Have I challenged them?
Made them think?
Made them laugh?
Helped them love?
Shown them God?
Loved them?

I hope so.

Friday, March 4

I think I've seen too many scary movies...

Ahhh....  It's Friday.  And that means tonight is FRIDAY NIGHT, my favorite night of the whole week because I have 2 whole days before I go to work again.  :)  Today is also the start of spring break which means there will be a mass exodus of college students from the area for anywhere-but-here hooliganism.  Oh to be young again!

Bruce is doing a ride-along with a police officer friend of ours - he is quite excited, I must say. I'm excited for him - kind of.  I am happy he gets to go re-live some of his policeman days and have good convo with a friend, I am not relishing the thought of being alone in the house all night long. 

See, our house is cute and charming and wonderful, but then night comes and all that changes. 

At night, it quickly becomes something out of The Strangers, where very, very bad things could happen, and no one would hear you scream.  Creatures roam around outside, just out of view.  I hear rustling under the house.  The dogs bark for no reason - or at least I tell myself there's no reason as they go tearing off into the darkness....  There are no blinds on the windows, so all I see is darkness. 

My heart pounds. My imagination runs wild.
I sit on the couch under the safety of the down comforter.     

So yeah, I'm really happy for Bruce. :)

(OK, maybe it's not THAT bad.  But it is creepy.)