Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sharing in church

I just got home from church and am starving. Need to find something to eat. I was asked to share in church this morning about how I wanted to experience God's presence this holiday season. Here is what I shared:
This past year has been an incredibly difficult and painful year. I have experienced extreme fear, hurt, anger, frustration, disappointment, disillusionment, confusion, and a constant struggle to keep my head above water. All this has been wrapped with layers and layers of grief beyond anything I have ever known. I have had to make some of the most difficult decisions of my life. And, in the midst of extreme pain, I have chosen not to run away but to sit in it and allow God and others to minister to me. God has proven Himself faithful and allowed me to experience His presence in ways I could have never imagined. He has cared for, provided, protected, and loved me in very tangible and unexpected ways, often using many, many of you. I have been tremendously blessed and overwhelmed with His love as well as yours. I know I have not been alone. He has carried me.

When I was asked to share today about how I desire to experience God’s presence this holiday season, I thought, “Wow, I could talk the entire service about how God has been so present with me this year so how can He be even more present?”

Just as God said to David in Psalm 2, “Ask of Me”, God has also been speaking these words to me. I am learning to ask God what he wants me to ask!

As I asked Him how He would want me to experience His presence in a new way during this season of celebration, he brought to mind Psalm 46:10. “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations- I will be exalted in the earth.” My sitting still and meditating in prayer and reading God’s word in the early mornings have been crucial. But I don’t want that time to be the only time I really sense His presence. I want to experience Him all day long as I go about my day. This is impossible for me to do on my own. I have begun asking God each morning to open my eyes and let me see Him in unlikely places during my day, no matter what the circumstance. I want to learn to still my heart, to withdraw and be quiet, in the midst of the craziness of the day. I am realizing that my “be still and know” sometimes looks like this:
1.) Going for a walk or hike and exclaiming to God my excitement over his creation.
2.) Sitting with a cup of Chai chatting away to God before the sun comes up.
3.) Driving down the road and gasping as I see the full moon or beautiful sunset and bring it to the attention of anyone in the car with me.
4.) Staring at my sleeping children in complete awe and gratitude.
5.) Choosing to look head on at my issues that have bound me, no matter how painful.
6.) Choosing to be vulnerable to others with all of me and submit to them trusting them to speak truth to me.
7) Noticing the kindness of a stranger or extending kindness .
8.) Giving and receiving with a loving heart.
9.) Choosing to stay in community paying close attention to those around me as I watch them be Jesus with skin on.
10.) Choosing gratitude gives me a heart of joy.

All of these things that are part of my day to day life, are things that draw me to Him. All of these things make me aware of Him being active in and all around me.

It is my prayer this holiday season, that God continue shining his light into the dark places of my heart so that I can more fully know His presence in the hardest and most painful things. I want Jesus to teach me to see with His eyes, to be the observer of my heavenly Father all around me and in me. It is in my place of waiting and stillness of heart that I experience the peace of His powerful presence. And in my willingness to be still and know Him, He is exalted.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Big blog give away!

I just found out about this blog give away and wow, what a bunch of prizes! The winner will certainly be scoring big time... hope it's me! Check it out!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Where did this month go? Someone help me find it!

I can't believe this month is over already! It was a blur! I'll try to do a catch up.

-Max's meds are doing really well but I'm having to really encourage eating as the meds diminish appetite. But what a life change we have had! Wooohoooo!
-Sam has an appt. with a specialist to be tested for Asperger's Syndrome the week of Christmas. If he does have this, it is on the mild end of the scale... I'm still leaning towards social anxiety stuff more than anything. But he's really done better in school this year, socially, than the past years.
-I celebrated my 45th birthday this month.
-I have worked like a crazy woman getting things ready to sell at an art bazaar, which took place last weekend. Unfortunately, it was a complete flop for me. Really not much traffic and obviously the wrong venue for me. I cleared $20. in two days! Eek! Not doing that again! Now I have to photograph things to get up on my etsy store!
-I had one class proposal accepted for Art Unraveled 2010! I'll be teaching Dimensional Watercolor on the last day of the retreat. Head over to the site and check it out. Registration starts earlier this year than in the past!
-As for the classes that were not accepted for AU this coming year, I will pursue teaching those locally, for now. I'd love to teach other places so if you have any ideas for me, pass them my way! I love the classes and think others will too. If you would enjoy having me come teach where you live, I'd love to talk with you about the possibility! A private art party would be such a blast! Have supplies, will travel! And, just to let you know, I try really hard to provide as many of the supplies in kit form as I possibly can making it easier for students.

Here are my sample pictures:

This first class is a recycled plastic bag book. I titled the class "Beyond the Bag":
This one is dyed with alcohol inks. The bags take the ink beautifully!

The second is a class I titled "Show of Hands". I based this on another book I made a few years ago. This one has blank painted pages inside and would be great as a gift book, journaling, quotes, etc...and would be terrific personalized for yourself or someone else. The initial book I did similar to this one was not hinged. I did create the cover for this one hinged and I like it much better. Pages are created with watercolor paper, painted, then cut out.

The third class I have created is titled "Watercolor and thread". In this class, students learn to paint with watercolors on unstretched canvas and then add stitching, both hand and machine, along with other fabrics and such to create one of a kind quilted wall hangings.

My next class is my watercolor on canvas. This is one of the classes I'll be teaching at the Shady Ladies retreat in April! Students will create small canvas works using watercolor with pen/ink. Having the watercolor paintings on canvas eliminates the need for framing! Here are a couple of samples:
And yes, I like painting cone flowers! LOL!

Sorry about the poor photo here... I had to use my computer camera to shoot this one. Never got a real camera to photograph it before I sold it either.

I also have my "Torn and Stitched" class that I would love to teach. Students learn to make transfers from transparencies and then use them as a focal point for a small "Quiltlet". These quiltlets are created with using several layers of bits and pieces to create the composition. Hand and/or machine stitching can be used. They are backed with mat board and a hanger. This class will focus a lot on composition, visual balance of color/texture/scale. For those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time, this will be familiar to you as I have done many of these little gems.

I will be teaching my "One Page at a Time" at Shady Ladies also. I loved teaching this class at AU last year and look forward to teaching it again. I want to teach it often! This is the class teaching my original book binding technique allowing students to bind one page at a time into their books. A great technique for working outside your book. Perfect for any type of pages, including small quilted pages or mail art. Here's a reminder of that class sample.
Here are a few samples of the "Dimensional Watercolor Class" I'll be teaching at Art Unraveled here in Phoenix next August. This class will focus on creating watercolor paintings with pen/ink detail. Some of the painting is done on the base and other elements are painted separately and then cut out and collaged into the painting. Other elements also work well being added into the painting! I've done many, many of these. Unfortunately, photographs do not show the dimension created within the painting when they are done this way. However, here are a few.

This last one was a spread in an altered book I did when participating in a round robin. This artist's asked that each participant do a spread in the book based on the season when we were working in it. Obviously, I had the book in spring around Easter. The background is done with acrylic and text woven. The watercolor elements were all painted individually, cut out, and added to the spread to create the composition. I've kicked myself ever since for not getting a good scan of the chick. I often will get good scans giving me the ability to reuse an image multiple times for other mixed media work. Since I didn't do that for any of these elements, it was a one shot deal. :( I love the chick! I hope Catherine loves it too.

Well, these are several classes I have written up with proposals, supply lists, and handouts, ready to go!

I had a nice Thanksgiving in spite of it being the first holiday without my step-dad. His presence and silliness... as well as his yummy food, we greatly missed. I took my boys over to be with their dad for a bit in the afternoon. I took the time for a mountain top date with God... I went hiking. It was the perfect day for it. I felt refreshed.

I'm also working on a special order "God box" for someone and have to have it finished by Sunday. I've make a lot of progress today so it will get finished up tomorrow. I MAY get out of my pajamas tomorrow... but getting to hang in them two days in a row would be pretty great to me! LOL!

Well, gotta' get going for tonight. I'm about ready for bed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I'm sorry I have not posted an update in a couple of weeks! I'll try to get one done in the next couple of days! I'm heading to bed now.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Quick update on my little guy

Well, today was Max's first day on his ADHD medication. He got home from school and, with great enthusiasm, says to me, "Mom, today was a really good day at school! Three things happened. (1) I didn't get talked to even once (meaning the teacher didn't have to get onto him for a number of reasons that have become normal every day) (2) I got an A+ cone on my desk and a sticker (earned for good behavior in class) (3) I got a lot of my work done today! Wow, that medicine really works!" He was so excited! And I was so happy to see him excited about a good day at school. He also get pretty jazzed because one of the cool teachers at school was a HUGE skateboarder ... well, guess he sorta' still is but he's no a teenager anymore! Anyway, he was showing Max some tricks on Max's skateboard. He's really, really good and Max thinks he's can skate on water... Well, I know this teacher from church. A super sweet guy. He asked if he could come over some time and skate with Max and teach him some stuff with his board! I was so excited for Max and Max was ready to jump out of his skin! They made a plan for after school next Friday and Max is already counting the days! :)

I taught a private art class today and got 4 fabric coffee sleeves made this afternoon. That is one item I will be selling at an upcoming arts/crafts bazaar. I have a few other different things I want to make as well, especially get some journals done, but I think these will be good sellers. They are fairly easy, don't take long to make, and are really cute... AND, they are "green"! No longer need the cardboard cup sleeves at coffee shops! Beautiful reusable fabric sleeves are the way to go! ;)

Now to see of Project Runway is up on the web yet. I don't have a t.v. and always have to wait to watch the show on the website! Hopefully it's up now and I can hang out and watch it in bed!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Soooo behind!

My friend, Judi, mentioned how behind she is in everything.... I told her I wondered if there were some sort of club we might join... a 12-step program perhaps? I keep thinking life stuff will calm down but it doesn't. This is my new normal and it makes me tired.

I don't even know how to catch up since I've not posted here in about 3 weeks! Where did that time go? So, let's see...
-I got Halloween costumes finished in time so my Ninja's were happy.
-I've been working on some items to sell at an upcoming arts/craft bazaar... slowly.
-trying to catch up on bookkeeping type stuff.
-went out of town to a FANTASTIC women's retreat through my church. It was up north near the Grand Canyon so much cooler weather and lots of trees! Photos to follow.... There were about 150 women that attended. Our times together were powerful. I also got some alone time in the woods to paint in my journal, take pictures, walk early in the mornings, yoga... well, it was just a wonderful weekend. I was thankful that God worked out all the details for childcare so I could go... even if he waits until the 11th hour to do it! Guess He likes the thrill and excitement of the last minute miracles! LOL!
-been doing lots of hard emotional work, homework for my support group, etc... and facing some of my grief stuff that I've been stuffing down out of survival. I mean, if I sit in my grief over many, many things from this year, I would drown in tears and not be able to function. So I've not allowed myself... or just haven't known how, to feel the force of the grief. I've been afraid that if I let it out, I will not be able to function and then who will care for my kids if I can't function? However, I'm learning that I can have some serious times of grief and in a couple of days, I can pick myself back up and keep moving forward. But it's SOOOO exhausting! I think I've had a nap almost every day this week. I'm not talking a 20 minute nap. I am talking "pass out cold for about 2 hours and can't seem to come out of the stupor for another hour" kind of naps... and then ready to pass out again by 9:00.
-today I took Max to a Dr.'s appt. that I probably should have taken him to several years ago. He has ADHD and we will start medication tomorrow. Since it is inherited, we are trying the same medication that Chuck uses. I hope we see a turn around. It's heart breaking to have your very bright, intelligent child sobbing because he feels stupid at school over his difficulty to not only do the work, but to stay on task about anything, follow directions, stay in trouble for not listening, talking, disrupting, etc.... He's really, really struggling in school this year and having such difficulty even getting his work done at all. This means a TON of it gets sent home and I have to deal with it. Not a pretty picture. Norman Rockwell moments do not often exist in our house, especially when there's school work involved. I'm very thankful Max has a fantastic and understanding teacher who is really trying to work with Max and me making the best decisions for him to get help. Chuck met us at the appt. today and we both liked the Dr. very much. I feel hopeful.
-I had to cancel one of the classes I planned to teach in April at the retreat in Texas. I hated to do it but the schedule was just so tight, I just didn't see how it could realistically be accomplished. I think I would have come home physically ill. But there are still 3 to choose from!!!
-I'm sorta' patiently waiting to see if any of my class proposals was accepted for AU 2010. I hope the wait will end soon!
-my art classes for the home school kids is going really well! They are such fun!
-I will be turning 45 on the 16th of this month. That sounds so weird to say when I feel so much younger. I always wonder if those who are say, oh... 75, feel about 45 and often think that way until they look in the mirror and realize that it's not true. I often think of myself about 30. I just know that this getting older thing is a very strange thing.

Well, here are a few photos from my retreat weekend. It was so beautiful!!!
This was the sunrise just starting my first morning... I got up THAT early to the dark! LOL! It was about 35 degrees out that morning.
Mountainside... boulders and trees
This little guy kept me company while I painted. I have never in my life heard a squirrel chatter like this one did. He was talking away at me. Wish I could have understood what he was saying. He stayed in the top of the tree watching me so closely for soooo long. See?

These boogers are skittish birds and very hard to photograph. I was persistent and finally successful. Stellar Jays are gorgeous birds. Wish we had them down in the valley!

I'd like a whole wardrobe out of this color combination! LOVE the moss!

I have a thing for the dead trees. I think they are so beautiful. I'm only showing you one shot I took and sparing you from the many others!

Finally, the grand finale of the day... God sure knows how to paint a sunset, doesn't He? Amazing! Try mixing those colors on a palette!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Answering a question

For my commenter, Judi, no, I do not have a camera yet... I have one right now that I borrowed. I've been making really good use of it and enjoying it tremendously. I hate knowing I have to give it back soon! ;(

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A walk in the woods

Today, I planned a day trip for the boys and I to go to Prescott, AZ. I invited my mom to go with us and we had such a fun day. It was cool, peaceful, quiet, relaxing, and there were moments of laughter that were unlike any I have had in months as we did a story round. It was a really wonderful day and very much needed. These are glimpses of our day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What to do...

My boys are on fall break this week so things change a bit for me. I could not go to Bible study this morning because there's no one to watch the boys. I'm trying to figure out what I will do today. I look around and see unfinished things .... piles of papers that need to be organized and put in my new filing system, an art table the I need to finish cleaning off, a box of items to list in my etsy store, laundry to be done, things to prepare for my kid's art class I teach tomorrow which will require a run to the store, well... and the list goes on.

Here is altered composition notebook/ journal I just finished this week. It is a gift item ordered by a friend for a friend.
The recipient loves the desert and these colors so I used one of my photographs taken at the Botanical garden. I love this photograph! And I love these colors!

I'm thinking of driving my boys up to a lake in Prescott on Thursday. It's going to warm up here over the next couple of days and I think it would be nice to just hang out in cooler weather by a lake, romp through the woods, have a picnic, and it only takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to drive there. I haven't been in over a year and it's calling me. I can do some painting. ;)

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Love Bob's "racing stripes". Bob is Sam's kitten who is now almost 6 months old. He's quite a character with the most expressive tail. He kinda' keeps craziness stirred up amongst the three furry boys. During the day, he finds the highest place in the house to sleep during the day, which is on top of a box in my shelving unit.. puts him about a foot from the ceiling! The past three nights, I have been able to sleep with my bedroom door closed since they have left me alone with no foot biting and Bob has become a bed buddy. I've nicknamed him 'MooBob' because he resembles a cow with his marking. But it's the white racing stripes up the back of his ears that I really love.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Guess where I went today....

Can you tell? I spent the morning at the Desert Botanical Gardens, one of my most favorite places! I took pictures (have 76 good ones), painted in my journal, ate lunch under a shady cottonwood tree, and had peaceful, quiet time to myself. It was heavenly! Here are some of my favorite shots of the day:
This was my first shot of the day upon my arrival around 8:45 yesterday morning.

I love finding little surprised.. a different variety of cacti growing in the crevices of a sajuaro!

A very rare sight here in the valley but, I understand there are two pair of Cardinals that live at the garden now!
I was very pleasantly surprised to find several cactus blooming this time of year!
And some that I photographed in spring now have fruit. I love the rich contrast of color against the pale green.
There were also several reptile out roaming about but only two that posed for me.
And then there's the evidence of a reptile... way cool. The shed skin feels like thin, fragile paper.
kinda' looks like bubble wrap! hehehe!
love this little guy... he was only a couple inches long sitting in the water. I was thrilled he didn't hop away.
Then, there's the trees. LOVE the tree bark! And it is evident that fall is hear beneath the cottonwood trees.

And then, there are the Monarchs. They were fluttering everywhere in the wild but the garden also had an exhibit where I got some good shots. Don't you love their polka dots?

I'm not sure what this plant is but I love the colors, shape, and textures.

And finally, here are the two journal pages I managed to get painted while I was there. I'm a slow painter, seriously. The one on the left took me a while but since I wasn't "on the clock", I didn't pay attention to time. I got lost in the process. The second one I did in about 20 minutes because it was almost time for me to leave to pick up my kids at school and I was determines to get in at least two paintings for the morning.

And that's a wrap! Hope you've enjoyed the show!
I'll be heading over there again a lot in the near future now that it's cooling off!