My friend, Mike, did not know what he was starting the day he came bounding across the Quad at the University of Alabama and put a colorful little gift book in my hand. [Read more…] about The Seed of a Dream
She asked about how to get started in speaking. [Read more…] about What I Told An Aspiring Speaker This Week
I’m a lifelong fan of stained glass. I think it’s purty, purty, purty! (That’s my Southern-ese for “pretty.”)These are windows I photographed at the Church of the Anunciation in Nazareth, Israel. There’s nothing like the beauty of light shining through colorful shapes of glass to delight my eyes… and these were exceptionally lovely!
I nearly fell as I was taking the photos because these particular windows grace the stone walls of a circular staircase, but I just had to try to capture their vibrance.
Do you know why the colors in stained glass look so brilliant? It’s because of value contrast- light against dark. The black leading around the glass makes the color stand out (or “POP!” as I like to say) when placed side by side.
Here’s a cool parallel: The darkness of difficult times in our lives, laid along side the light of Christ in us, makes our faith “POP!” as well.
2 Corinthians 4:6 says: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
That means… as He shines in us and through us, we can “POP!” with His light just like these beautiful stained glass windows.
Here’s a true confession: Lots of times I have squealed, “LORD, GET ME OUTTA HERE!!!” the minute that life gets tough.
The beauty of stained glass reminds me to cry out, “LORD, please shine Your light through me- like light through stained glass- during this tough time,” instead.
Sometimes when life feels really heavy and dark, I can forget that it’s His opportunity to shine in and through me. When He does that through me and through you and through the church, collectively it looks beautiful like this…
So the next time you look at some beautiful stained glass, remember it’s a picture of Jesus’ light shining through us into this dark old world. I like that imagery! 🙂
I’ve been as busy as a bee this week, getting ready for my Open House Art Show scheduled for this Saturday, March 16th. I used to hold one every year, but since my sweet Hannah got married five years ago, I have not held an Open House. It’s waaaaaay past time to do so again!
This week I’ve been packaging and pricing paintings and prints, making display signs, figuring out what I’ll do for refreshments, etc. What’s funny is that, on one hand, it’s kind of overwhelming as I look at the stacks and piles of paintings I’ve created and accumulated over the past 5 years, but it’s also exciting.
That’s because taking inventory helps me remember there has been progress. That’s really a good thing to consider— especially on the days when it feels like there has been no progress in my life. Whatsoever.
Do you need to stop and write down an inventory of the progress the LORD has brought about in your life as a– spouse, parent, friend, growing Christian, worker, etc? I encourage you to do it. Maybe it will encourage you to ”press on” in the same way that taking inventory for my Art Show has done for me.
(If you live near Amarillo, I hope you will bring a friend and join me Saturday— 11:30-3:30 in the Lone Star Room of First United Bank, 45th and Soncy, Amarillo, 79109)
PS Funny fact: Did you know the name “Debbie” (Deborah) means “bee” in Hebrew??? (BZZZZZZZZZ)
I was painting the other day (after our recent historic blizzard) and the piece was just not coming together. I finally realized that the problem was me– I was looking at the painting so closely that I had lost all perspective on the big picture.
Like grass buried beneath a blizzard, I was tangled up beneath the weight of all the minute details.That’s when I remembered some wise advice I received from another artist many years ago: When you get stuck, stop and look away from the painting.
There are lots of ways to do this. Leave the room and comeback. Turn the painting face down, wait a while, then come back to it. Prop the painting up on an easel and glance at it as you walk by for a few days.
It always amazes me how looking away at other things can help me renew my perspective on the painting when I finally look back at it again.
If you have a need, a problem, a concern that’s weighing heavy on your heart today, could it be that you need to look away from it for a few moments?
The LORD is so gracious to provide us a place to “look away to” in order to renew our perspective: the Bible. The older I get, I’m finding the Psalms to be a place of great comfort and hope amidst life storms.
Here’s a little prayer that may help you gain a new perspective on your problem today as you look to Psalm 121:
Lord, I’ve been consumed with thinking about _____ lately. It’s been weighing heavy on my heart and overtaking my thoughts. I choose, right now, to look away from _____ and look to You for a new perspective.
I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. –Psalm 121:1-2
Thank you for giving me steady footing as I face___, because I can trust you to be with me 24/7.
He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep. –Psalm 121-3-4
Thank you for watching over me and providing a protective covering for me and those I love, even in the midst of ___.
The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. —Psalm 121:5-8
Thank you that, even as I face ____, You promise to give me help right when I need it and, as I look to You, You strengthen and encourage me. Amen.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
In April 2011, Psalm 121 is the Scripture the LORD sustained me with the day I sat in front of my computer screen in Amarillo, watching live TV coverage of a tornado as it hit my beloved hometown of Tuscaloosa. It sustained me through the 16 hours when I knew my dad’s nursing home was hit by the storm yet we did not know if he had survived or not. It sustained me when he when to heaven six weeks later.
I hope that whatever life storm you may be facing today it sustains you as well.
When you feel overwhelmed, don’t forget to look away from the problem and look to His word. It reveals the beautiful wisdom of who the LORD is and how we can rest in Him. I can testify to the fact that doing this can give you a whole new perspective when life storms- even blizzards- are bearing down!
I hope this little watercolor I call “Happy Flowers” is a blessing to you today!
Somewhere between my brain and a post on my website, a ton of posts get written, but never posted. (Most of them never leave my cranium. Do you have that problem as well?)
Fortunately, “a picture is worth a thousand words” so please think of this image as a thousand word blog post. Problem solved! 🙂
Feel free to share this with a friend who needs the gift of flowers today.
Here’s a page from my watercolor travel journal created on our 2011 study tour of Israel.
It was a beautiful spring morning when we stopped just north of the Sea of Galilee at the Jordan River. Across the water we could see the hillside where Jesus fed 5,000+ people.
I’ll never forget how fabulous the wildflowers were in that area. (We were there in March, but I understand it’s not like that all year round.)
Our stop at this place reminded me that Jesus was all about fulfilling prophecy.
He was the Bread of Life in the flesh, yet on this remote hillside, He miraculously provided bread- and fish- to hungry people, many of whom would have been traveling through this exact region on their way to Jerusalem for Passover.
My time in Israel helped me see that where Jesus did things was just as important as what and when and how He did them. He had a heavenly perspective on the perfect “when, where, why, and how” of His ministry.
He also has a perfect heavenly perspective on the “when, where, why, and how” of my life.
Here’s the Bible passage surrounding the site of the feeding of the 5,000. . .
Matthew 14:15-2 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
I can’t wait to take another group to Israel next year! Let me know if you want to join us.