Debbie’s water media paintings, presentations, and products inspire women to savor, study, and share God’s word with people they love. Learn more about her story and painting-based speaking presentations here…
I was absolutely floored to receive a request from the Texas Governor’s Office recently. The administrator of the Governor’s Mansion told me Governor Abbott wanted to use my watercolor of the Governor’s Mansion on their official stationery.
[Pick me up off the floor.]
Funny thing is I had painted this about 10 years ago and sent it to the Governor’s office as a gift when there was a fire at the Mansion. As the “first home of Texas”, it grieved me to know it has been so badly damaged. The Governor’s Mansion Restoration Fund used prints of my painting as a thank you gift for donors so I looked at this as a minuscule way I could help get our “first home” up and running again.
I had not thought about this painting for ages, when “BAM!” here came this email in my inbox from the Governor’s office. Then, “BAM!” I received a few copies of the notecards in this envelope my mailbox a few weeks later.
I give all glory to GOD for this opportunity. He is the one who has woven a love for art in me. He is the one who has surrounded me with family and friends and art patrons and followers/subscribers over the years to sustain and encourage me on my art journey.
This unexpected opportunity was like a hug from heaven. It’s as though the LORD whispered words, “I have not forgotten you, Debbie. Whenever the time is just right, I’ll can use the work of your hands to my glory…”
I’m so grateful that’s the kind of great, good God I serve and that today He is is able to call up for service something created 10 years ago.
Helping people capture life memories of home is one of the great joys in my life. 🙂
For me, home was where I first learned about the world. It was a safe cocoon where I was nurtured with generous love and good food by great people. Home set the stage for who I am today.
These are just a few my my latest projects. Please let me know if I could help you capture your life memory of home in watercolor. . . after all, there’s no place like home!
The Pondering Palette: How did your home shape you? Thank God for the blessing of your home.
If you’re a fan of finding bargains on the “clearance” aisle (like I am) there’s something you’ll discover on sale this time of the year that can boost your spiritual life. . . a blank 2018 calendar.
Since we’re a month into this year, lonely little leftover calendars that haven’t been purchased by now are often relegated to the bargain bin.
You can snag one and use it as a TGB Calendar.
What’s a TGB Calendar? You ask.
T is for THANKFUL
G is for GRATEFUL
B is for BLESSED
Use your blank calendar to write one sentence a day on one of these topics: “I’m THANKFUL for…” or “I’m GRATEFUL for. . .” or “I’m BLESSED because…”
One little sentence is all it takes.
I’m a serial start/stop journaler with a stack of half finished journals to show for it over the years. The idea of pausing to write a page or two can feel overwhelming, but I’m finding that, for me, one sentence is doable.
I’ve been writing my sentence a day this past month and it’s been amazing how this has helped me reset my mind on the beautiful blessings in my life. It’s been a real heart-lifter!
Have I missed a few days? Yes. When I do, I don’t beat myself up over it. I just get caught up as best I can and then press on.
I’ve always loved the Apostle Paul’s words about “pressing on” in Philippians 3:13-14
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I want to press into my future with the remembrance of all the reasons I have to be THANKFUL and GRATEFUL to God fresh on my mind. I want to remember my BLESSINGS instead of wallowing in self pity.
Is that your heart’s cry as well? If so, you might want to take a stroll down the clearance aisle, get a bargain calendar, and try keeping a little TGB calendar this year, too. I hope you’ll find a blessing in this little bargain. 🙂
PS If you start a TGB Calendar, I’d love to hear how this works out for you!
Six years ago today, I walked through something both terrifying and comforting that once again proved the power of God’s word in my life. This little excerpt from my brand new contemplative coloring book, Fear Fighting Scriptures tells the story. . .
The Tuscaloosa Tornado
“I’ll never forget the sudden fear that signaled me to turn to Scripture on the afternoon of April 27, 2011.
Shadows danced on the grass beneath the tree branches outside the window of my home office. It was a beautiful, balmy spring afternoon in west Texas. I paused my typing mid-sentence when the phone rang. When I answered, it was my Mama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Breathlessly, she said, “I’m at your sister’s house. We’re watching TV and can see a tornado headed this way. We’re going to shelter in the pantry. Pray for us!” Click.
Over the next hours, I sat glued to my computer screen, watching news coverage of the devastating tornadoes that ripped their way across my beloved hometown and state.
A weather camera perched on top of a building in downtown Tuscaloosa recorded the monstrous storm plowing it’s way across the end of town where my family was hunkered down in the pantry. My heart raced as I prayed for them.
What the LORD did for me in that time of intense stress was flood my heart and mind with truth from His Word.
Six months earlier, I’d spoken at a women’t ministry dinner where my text was Psalm 121. It begins like this:
I will lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
I hadn’t thought of that verse for months, but when the anxiety hit, it was immediately brought to the forefront of my mind and spilled out of my mouth. I repeated it over and over, aloud, for hours, calling out for help to the One who created heaven and earth- the One in charge of the weather!
Reciting that Scripture calmed my spirit and gave me strength in the midst of a physical and emotional storm.”
Scripture Can Calm Our Fears
When we ingest the words of the Bible, letting it “dwell in us richly” (Colossians 3:16), those words can rise up in us like a ferocious animal ready to pounce on our fears and anxieties!
The nursing home my dad was in was hit by the tornado that day. He survived, but was never the same after that and died about six weeks later, counted as a victim of the Tuscaloosa tornado. He was a wonderful daddy who had spent his career as a newspaper photographer in Tuscaloosa county.
In previous days, he would have been out shooting pictures to report the story. On 04.27.11, he became a part of the story.
As dark as those days and weeks were for me, God continued to use His word to minister peace and comfort deep down in my soul. Those experiences were a part of the prompting I had in the intervening years to create contemplative coloring books to encourage people to meditate on Scripture.
A message from a reader of my first contemplative coloring book, Soul Soothing Scriptures, said:
“I struggle with anxiety. Your coloring book has helped calm my anxious mind with Scripture as I color. Thank you!”
Her words- plus my own experiences in watching Scripture calm my fears- prompted me to create a second book: Fear Fighting Scriptures. When I started working on this coloring book project last year, I had no idea it would be published on April 27th, a date that holds so much meaning for me.
My hope is that people who use this around the world will experience a little oasis of hope and help as they meditate on Scripture while coloring in these books.
If you’d like to get a copy for yourself or as a gift for a friend (or just want to share the news) here’s the scoop:
When we’re feeling fearful Scripture is a beautiful, powerful offensive weapon against our fears and anxieties. For me, April 27th will always be a reminder of this fact. Blessings. . .
I’ve been absolutely floored by the positive responses I’ve received from women who’ve taken part in Worship In Watercolor, my Visual Prayer Journaling Workshop. Here’s a short video where you can see a snippet of what participants have had to say…
This Saturday, 01.21.17, I’ll be leading another Worship In Watercolor workshop in Amarillo to help women engage their hands in art in order to focus the heart on God.
Here’s a link with all the registration information if you’re interested:
Is you’d like to schedule a workshop for your women’s group this year, simply contact Karen@christianspeakersservices.com and we’ll see what we can do to make this happen.
In the little circle of influence I’ve been given among my family, friends, church, and wider community, I am determined- now more than ever- to seek to be the kindness I think is missing in the world.
How? I can do these things. . .
- Speak gently. Proverbs 15:1- “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
- Stop the spread of hurtful information by not passing on (through my spoken words or clicks or tweets or posts) news stories that stir division instead of sowing peace. Matthew 5:9- “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
- Be kind and compassionate and forgive others as I pause to ponder how much God has forgiven me of through Jesus. Ephesians 4:32- “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
In my paintings, dark is used as contrast to bring out light. In the world, the darkness that’s so rampant around us these days serves to make the light of Christ living in us glimmer and glow with a bright, heavenly radiance.
Last Sunday night, we were driving back from Oklahoma to Amarillo when that big ol’ super moon was out. Did you see it? The moon doesn’t have the brilliance of the sun, but it’s a breathtaking reflector of the sun’s light.
I don’t own a fancy dancy camera with a fabulous lens, but here’s the photo I took with my iPhone as we stopped on I-40 at the giant cross in Groom, TX.
The image is a bit grainy, but keep in mind this cross is 19 stories high. . .
If I were to give this photo a name it would be this: Reflect Jesus.
Dear friends, we cannot control the darkness- the meanness, the inflammatory rhetoric, threats, violence, and lies floating around in the world. But, we can make small choices with our words and actions in seemingly insignificant places- from the grocery store check out line to our social media posts to the dinner table- to reflect the pure light of our beloved Jesus in our small yet significant spheres of influence.
Do I have times when fail at this? You bet. Nevertheless, my goal is to be the kindness where I’ve been planted in the world.
Will you join me by seeking to be the kindness where you are today? If enough of us try, it can make a big difference in the world.
Have a beautiful Thanksgiving!