colors for june – watercolors & prints

Last week I painted this peacock using watercolors.

watercolor

watercolor

About three weeks ago I picked up some watercolor paints and painted my first watercolor. I am smitten! Smitten, I tell you. Dipping the brush in the water and swirling it in the little pan of paint, I remembered something I have not thought of in a long time. Over the years my mother shared with me a regret. When she had the opportunity to take classes in watercolor painting, she did not do it. Mother was in her early forties when she had the chance to take a watercolor course. A couple of women from her church were registering for it and invited her along.

Over the years, she confided in me that it was one of the things she regretted not doing. She felt she could not take time to do something that was only for herself. I suppose she may have believed if it was not for her home, her family or her church, that it did not merit her time away from home, family or church.

Let’s pause for a collective sigh right here…

I finished that first watercolor.

colors for june - hydrangeas in blue jar

And about half-way through the next one, I remembered what my mother shared.

Bee Yourself

At that moment, I was inspired to give my watercolors a name and “colors for june” was born.

June Williams Clark 6/28/38 - 5/9/13

June Williams Clark
6/28/38 – 4/9/13

I know Mother would be happy about that.

I’m now producing note cards with prints of my watercolors. Click on the fish below to see my designs and order “colors for june.”

Be sure to check out Elaine’s blog at Peace for the Journey because she’s generously hosting a give away for 5 of my cards. My friend, Elaine, has always been supportive of my creative endeavors and I appreciate her friendship and encouragement. You’ll love her writing and be sure to click on the link within her post on “solving the problem of pain.” Wow! Did that resonate with me!

goldihana

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I Still Believe

Yesterday things began churning within me. This is good. I had a spiritual dry spell for several days and that always makes me restless and dissatisfied but it also causes me to cry out to God for something. To cry out to Him for whatever it is He wants to speak to me or show me. I’ll be honest, there are times when I just don’t feel up to hearing what He may say (which is partly the cause of dry spells).

Sometimes it’s exciting and feels good to my soul. Other times it’s a humbling, arrow to the heart. Of course, His heart pricks always, ALWAYS, result in a beautiful end. I say end, but there is never an end with God. There is only eternity.

I sat in the pew at church Sunday and had a flashback to a fall day in 2009. My husband and I were driving Andrew to Shands Hospital in Gainesville. I clearly saw the scene replayed. I sat in the front passenger seat as my husband drove us. Andrew sat in the seat behind his dad so I could see him easily and assist him should he get sick on the drive. (If you have not been a reader of my blog, you may not know my twelve year old son, Andrew was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer in August 2009. He went on to Heaven that December.) I saw my Bible open to Psalm 97 and I was reading a passage aloud. I was calling upon all the courage and strength I had. I read and I encouraged Dannie and Andrew to believe that not only COULD God do a miracle to heal Andrew, but that He WOULD do it.

In the pew, I sat and remembered and saw it all again…and then God spoke to my heart. He showed me that for some of us who have had the faith to believe He would intervene, yet did not see it manifest here, our faith will still be rewarded in Heaven. In fact, our faith acts and words are recorded in Heaven. And one day, there will be a reward for that faith. For some their highest reward is the answered prayer here on earth and that is cause for great joy in the here and now. But for others their prayers were not answered in the way they hoped. Their faith was not made “unto sight” in the here and now, yet for eternity their joy shall be unquenchable and their hearts will display the faith they exhibited in God’s power to respond even though it was not seen in this time.

Tears filled my eyes as I saw this yesterday. I’m still weepy over it. Last night I took my art journal and created these two pages as an expression of that spiritual vision.

I Still Believe

There is a future blessing that will last for all of eternity for those who believe and have not seen…yet…

Are you believing for something? Keep the faith. It’s recorded and rewarded in Heaven, my dear friend.

 

Heaven & Andrew

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Lilla Rose Review and Give Away

It’s a give away for a Lilla Rose hair accessory!

I recently heard about the Lilla Rose hair accessories from Deborah Cook. She sent me a Flexi-Clip and asked me to give a review. I was happy to do this as I often wear my hair up when I’m painting, cleaning, cooking or running errands. I have long hair and in our humid climate, it’s great to have an easy up-do. I’ve used all kinds of things to keep my hair up and out of the way – bands, bobbies, and even a clothes pin and a stick! Okay – the stick was out of necessity when I was walking on the beach. I forgot a band and used a small piece of driftwood like a chopstick! I have no excuses for the clothes pin. :(

As soon as I opened the package from Deborah, I tried my new Flexi-Clip and, I have to say, I’m now a fan. It’s easy to use and really pretty – like jewelry for your hair! And just like jewelry, there are pieces that have a casual vibe and pieces that are suitable for dress up affairs! I can easily see a few pieces that would look lovely on a bride. I chose the Celtic Cross style as I planned to wear mine for my everyday styles and didn’t need the bling for that. I’ve used it in a variety of ways – for a pony, a half up-do, a chignon and even a messy bun. Again, I find it very easy and quick to use. In less than a minute, my hair is up or back and actually looks like I put in some thought and time to fix my hair.

The photo below was a quick up-sweep I did in just a few seconds. It stayed with no problems until I purposely took it down. The Flexi-Clip grips well but does not pull. It’s a unique design that easily adjusts. It’s a one piece clip – kind of like a barrette but much better! I use the size small Flexi-Clip and it works great for several styles. Like I said, because of the unique design, the clip adjusts. CLICK ON PICS BELOW TO ENLARGE.

Celtic Cross Flexi-Clip

Lilla Rose Celtic Cross Flexi-Clip ”errand day”

And here with the Flexi-Clip holding my “everyday” pony. Both of these pics really are of my hair! Lighting makes a difference, plus my hair is darker underneath my top layer of highlights!

Lilla Rose Flexi-Clip

Lilla Rose Celtic Cross
Flexi-Clip
“at home day”

lilla rose flexi-clip

Lilla Rose Celtic Cross
Flexi-Clip
“painting day”

Lilla Rose has Flexi-Clips. Bands, Bobbies, You-Pins and more! There is a size guide so you get a great fit regardless of your hair type or texture. There are seven sizes from “mini” to “mega” so even the little ones can sport a sweet lilla rose hair accessory.

You can enter the give away below. It runs for one week. Watch a video for demonstrations on just how easy (and pretty!) the lilla rose accessories are.

This give away is for one lilla rose hair accessory. If you win, you get to choose the accessory you want (value not to exceed $16). {Independent Consultant Deborah Cook is sponsoring this Giveaway.}

How to enter the give away: You can enter in 3 ways:

1. Visit Deborah’s Lilla Rose biz page to check out all the lilla rose hair accessories then come back here to leave a comment on this post about your favorite accessory.

2. “Like” Deborah’s lilla rose facebook page.

3. Share this blog post on your blog or facebook wall. You can tag me on the fb status and let me know if you shared the post on your own blog. A single blog post is not required. Simply mention this give away.

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

From Deborah: “At the end of the Giveaway, I will offer a 3 day special for all NEW Lilla Rose customers. Purchase 3 items from my biz page and receive a FREE item up to $16 in value. To redeem prize, email Independent Consultant, Deborah Cook, at thecooks91512@yahoo.com with your Customer Number and the item number and description of your FREE item ($16 and under). Your FREE item will be mailed to you within 2 weeks.” 

If you live outside the U.S, Canada, or Mexico, you can still order some great Lilla Rose Hair Jewelry. Just email your order using item numbers or descriptions to the sponsor of this give away, Independent Consultant Deborah Cook @ thecooks91512@yahoo.com. She will calculate shipping costs and use PayPal to send you an invoice and will ship your items directly to you. 

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Go With It and You’ll Grow With It

When my son greets me in the morning like this, “You look like you haven’t slept in days,” and then points out which eye is puffier, I know it’s been a week of creating. Here are a few things I’ve been working on lately. :)

sunflower acrylic on canvasAs a soloist, “His Eye Is On the Sparrow” is a song I’ve sung in many places for many years. This painting is called “Sparrow” and is founded on the passage in Matthew 10:31 where Jesus begins teaching with these words, “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light…” He sums up this passage with, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
You will see two sparrows depicted here – one on the ground and one perched on the woman’s shoulder. The bodice of her dress has an overlay of sheet music and, of course, the song is, “His Eye Is On the Sparrow.”  {Sold}

Acrylics, hymn page, sparrow and girl on canvas

Le Poulet – “chicken” in French is soooo cute! I displayed her in a wire basket hanging on the side of my kitchen cabinet. I like out of the ordinary ways to display art and decor. {Sold}

Chicken art, Chicken in wire basket, Le Poulet

 

This verse is from the book of Psalms and is painted on a metal piece (11 x 27 x 1 – $49)

Ocean typography on metal

I’m thinking about using this sketch and others for a special project I have in mind. This is just a preliminary, rough sketch but gives you the idea. The necklace reads, “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.The heart of her husband safely trusts her.”

Proverbs 31 Woman I’ve got my fingers in a lot of pies lately: my BellaMella Canvas, sketch ideas for journal covers, typography (working on new {to me} materials – metal, wood, a contract job to organize an office, personalizing an existing fabric tote bag, and working on new music (learning lyrics, etc.). Perhaps I’ll share the bag make-over next week.

I almost forgot to show you the bird I painted on my kitchen wall this weekend. We’re planning to paint the walls in “Nurture” by Behr. It’s a pale blue/green with a gray tone. My kitchen gets a lot of light from a huge East facing window so I’m hoping this color works well in here. I’ll paint around the bird!

painted bird on wall

The “Today” canvas was a commissioned piece that should be arriving on it’s recipient’s doorstep in a few days. I’m doing another one – also commissioned – except with sunflowers. I enjoy the Mason jar additions to BellaMella Canvas.

Mason Jar Art, Typography, BellaMella Canvas“Faith, Hope, Love” is available for purchase – 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas – $45 includes shipping/handling.

Three Things Ball Jars

There are days, weeks even, when I don’t have the creative urge so when it hits, I have to go with it. Those are the times I get a lot of projects done and then I kind of burn out and crash for a while. The crash is usually when I cook more! So, there has not been a whole lot of cooking going on around here. I admit, when I’m in my creative zone, I lose track of time and forget about dinner until one of my men opens the fridge door and the pantry door then humbly says, “I’m hungry.”

Oops. Is it that time again? Didn’t we just eat breakfast?

I want to leave you with this. Are there days that you cry from frustration over lack? Lack of money, time, skill, talent, resources? I’ve had my tears over all of those, too. But here’s the thing, if there’s something you really want to do…I mean it’s in your heart to do it and you keep thinking about it…start with what you have. Start with the means, ability, resources you do have. Commit to learning all you can. Go forward with what you DO have and be patient in the growing stage.

Go with it! Grow with it! Amen? Amen.

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Unedited But Not Unplugged

Hi, today I’m writing unedited. What does that mean? I’m not really sure except to say, I’m just gonna write like I’m catching up with a friend. Not gonna stick to one topic. Not gonna think it through too much…just a little unedited chit chat.

This skirt! It’s what I’m wearing today. Marshall’s – $7.99 Brand – Quicksilver – Check it out online! It’s called the Reef Point Maxi – can you believe the price on that website?

maxi skirt blueI‘ll let you in on a little secret. I’m working on losing a few pounds –  10 to be exact but 8 will do. So…I’m taming my appetite for a few things. Namely, chips. I could eat tortilla chips all day long! These help. I still get that crunch and desire for a chip but they’re not so addicting. Very good but not addicting. Only 3 ingredients: sweet potatoes, oil and salt -

sweet pot

My latest creative project is adding graphics to flour sack kitchen towels! Soooo cute. I’ve analyzed why I’m loving this right now: what’s NOT to love about fresh, white cotton towels, birds & bees & wreaths – yes!, easy project once you have all of the components. I’m just hoping the image does not blur or fade once washed. It’s not supposed to but…

flour sack towels

A local friend purchased one of my latest canvases. I really like this one and I’m glad a good friend liked it enough to say, “Hey, I want that one!” or words to that effect. :)

I originally called it, “the fragrance of love” but now that my friend Regina is getting it, I’ve changed the name to “Regina’s Roses.”

reginas roses framed

You know how you overdo one particular meal and then you don’t fix it for a long time because you got kind of tired of it? That’s my Mexican Chicken Soup. But I made it for dinner today for the first time in several months and it’s so delicioso. Whenever we want chicken, I bake a whole bird and use it for 2 – 3 meals. I also save that wonderful stock, strain it and use it as needed. If I don’t plan to use it, I freeze it. It’s so much more flavorful than chicken broth off the shelf.

My Mexican Chicken Soup is an old Southern Living recipe. The main ingredients are cooked, shredded chicken, stock, Rotel tomatoes, beans and whatever else you want to saute and add: onions, celery, peppers. Add chili powder, cumin and salt/pepper to your taste. I add a lot. Today I topped mine with cilantro and diced avocado. You can make it on the stove or in a Crock Pot. It’s very satisfying even without adding my beloved tortilla chips.

We had a couple pieces of Key Lime Pie left from the weekend. Normally that would be unheard of as it’s my favorite dessert but Sunday I determined no more sugar, chips, and a few other things that trigger my appetite to cross over to gluttony. Yep! That’s what an out of control appetite becomes – gluttony. So, I asked my husband and son to finish it up today so I don’t have to see the pie every time I open the refrigerator. Here’s one I made last year. I know. It’s beautiful. ;)

key lime pie

 

And on that note, I’m off to walk a few miles! I’ll probably add in some running too but here’s another thing. I’m in the middle of a blog series called, “Work It Out” and I’m re-assessing my workouts. Sometimes I feel my workout of the day overshadows everything else and I don’t fully plug in and enjoy my day until I’ve gotten my run in or my resistance workout done. And I’m not happy with that. I’m looking for a better approach that still calls for discipline in exercising my body but doesn’t feel like a burden on a lot of days. I don’t want to give more than an hour a day to official exercise yet I also don’t want to let it go more than a day or three. So, I’m thinking it all through and trying to figure out what will be a good plan for me in this season. In the fall I may change it all up again, but for now I need to do something different. I’m not even talking about different types of exercise although it may include that. I just want and need a different approach.

Hey, I’m outta here for now – off to Work It Out!

What are you up to lately? Any new recipes? Creative endeavors? Do tell.

 

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The Courage of Creativity

June brought a flow of creativity. I’ve been the best kind of busy lately and I’m so grateful for the inspiration. I don’t consider myself an artist – but a creative, yes.

Writing, cooking, re-arranging my spaces, dreaming ideas when I run, turning phrases over, re-purposing furniture, using dishtowels for a kitchen valance, and swiping paint on a canvas – it all comes from the same creative urging.

flower wall

I often feel that twinge of this is no good…I don’t know what I’m doing…how do I get this right?…why do I try? 

"Pink Hydrangeas in Blue Jar" - 8 x 10 $30 includes S/H

“Pink Hydrangeas in Blue Jar” – 8 x 10

Sometimes I wonder what people will think. Do I look silly? Is this really bad but I can’t see how bad it really is? Am I weird? Does it matter if I am? So what if I am. Everyone’s weird. 

Be Joyful, Prayerful, Thankful 11 x 14

Be Joyful, Prayerful, Thankful 11 x 14

Look around! Others are so much better at this. At least I’m trying! It brings me joy. I feel peaceful when I create. Sometimes I am afraid, too. I get tired. My eyes hurt. My back aches. But I’m living. Alive. 

Love God 11 x 14

Love God 11 x 14

I tap into the invisible kingdom when I create.

“A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here waiting our response to His presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality.” A.W. Tozer

I feel a creative communion with God. I ask for an increase in knowledge and skill. “After all”, I say, “You’re the Master Creator. How did you do it? Teach me about shadows and light, color, depth, detail. Show me how you do it.”

Listening. 

11 x 14

11 x 14

I feel inadequate. But still…something moves me to keep trying. Just do something. Make something. See things. Really see what’s around you. Shapes, colors, line.

My Beachy Wreath
Love is greatest
chalkboard

I slow. My sight lingers on things seen before yet not observed. Appreciate. Take it in. Write it down. Paint it on. Bake it. Move it. Frame it.

Take courage to create. It’s often the very thing you need to reveal the burden you carry. And not all burdens are burdensome. The donkey carried the burden of Christ on his back. Did the beast know the load he carried was replete with anointing? Do you?

So, really, what does it matter if no one else celebrates or appreciates or is all that crazy about your painted roses, your new recipe, your vintage, your phrases, your whatever it is you’ve created, crafted, or crocheted? Perhaps, the burden revealed is the purpose unveiled. And that, alone, is reason enough to create.

aqua piece b

The “before” was a china hutch with glass sliders. The “after” is a painted storage piece (bead board added) for me!

“Creativity takes courage.” – Henri Matisse

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Work It Out – Sunlight

I was almost finished with my run. For the last half mile I was thinking of my son, Andrew. Painful memories surfaced from the devastation of cancer and what it stole from him. From us.  A familiar lump rose in my throat and tears gathered in the corners of my eyes – the companions of the grieving.

Most every time I run, I hear God speak. Sometimes we have a bit of a conversation. Other times, He reminds me of His faithfulness in the past and assures me of the same for the future. I’ve marveled at the ways He reveals Himself and His truths. His holiness intersecting my lowliness – running, sweating, panting.

Yesterday as I neared the end of a three mile run in the park in blazing heat and humidity, I stopped short when I saw this pattern on the pavement.

sunlight on pavement

The tree branches overhead formed patterns of light and dark on my path – like God’s grace in our shadowed seasons. I raised my arm to swipe at my dripping forehead, preparing to continue my run. I felt a slight movement in the air and a breeze stirred the leaves. I stayed. Clearly, He wasn’t finished here. Truth rushed in among the light play at my feet and the branches above.

The light is God’s glory – His glory in Heaven, on Earth and over all. “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” The shadows of our lives provide for the contrast, for if there were no shadows, the glory would be blinding. For now our ability to fully see is hindered…“for now we see in a mirror dimly…”

We see God’s glory on earth as His grace – the patterns of light among the shadows. But one day, “then face to face…” we will stand in the full light of His magnificent glory.

Until that time, we “…know in part…” as He chooses to unveil and reveal His glory–His grace–on the paths we run. We see Him and we stop. We hear Him and we linger. For we long to know…as we also are known. 

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I also am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

In scripture we see God’s grace and His glory intimately linked. In the Old Testament, “glory” is portrayed as a heaviness, weightiness and manifest presence of God among His people. However, in the New Testament, “glory” is a reference to brightness, brilliance and splendor.

In the book of  Ephesians Paul writes that God has “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…to the praise of the glory of His grace by which He made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:3-6, NKJV.

And in Romans, Paul writes, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:1-4, NKJV).

Peter writes, “And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10, NET).

I lingered under the branches of the tree and breathed deeply of grace – not just grace in grief but grace for life, grace for the glorious love of a holy God who overwhelms and overshadows my lowliness. My sweating, my panting, my running and running and running…

His grace calls me onward, upward, heavenward, home. Home, to stand in the full light of His glory, where shadows have no place.

“Grace is but glory begun and glory is but grace perfected.” – Jonathan Edwards

 

 

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Work It Out! Caring For the Temple

A few of my friends who are writers and bloggers are coming along to share in my Work It Out! summer series. Christine Thompson is a local friend whom I met via facebook and mutual friends. She’s also been a part of my Lunch Ladies group. Welcome, Christine!

“Caring for the Temple”

Two years ago, the day after Thanksgiving, I lay in hospital fearing I may have had a heart attack.  Lying there that night, I realized I needed to be more diligent in caring for the “temple” God has given me.  In the Old Testament the priests were not only assigned to perform the sacrifices, and incense offerings but their duties included caring for the temple.

I Corinthians 6: 19-20 says this:

“Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please; squandering what what God paid such a high price for?  The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you.  God own the whole works.  So let people see God in and through your body.”   (MSG)

1 Peter 2:9, calls us a “holy priesthood”, and as Paul stated our physical bodies are where He lives.  Our job is to care for this temple.

I thank God that it wasn’t a heart attack, but a much needed wake up call.  It was time to change some things.

Inconsistent sessions of walking were not enough. My eating habits were just as bad and maybe even worse.  I set goals, started regularly exercising, slowly cut out the bad food and taped a picture of what I wanted to look like to my mirror.

Changing my walking routine to running,  I posted my progress on facebook for accountability, and I began reading others posts about their exercising routines.

December 2013 013

Seeing more of my friends running, was wonderful because it spurred me on.  Second, others told me how inspired they were to do the same thing. After a while I noticed they were running everyday.  All I could do physically was run two or three times a week.  Some were losing weight quickly while my scale never changed.

The frustration became so great that, I would cry and ask God why. “Why can’t I run everyday like him? Or why can she lose all that weight and my scale isn’t budging?”

The more comparisons I made the more I pushed myself.  Weights were added to the regimen.  So were abdominal exercises. By pushing myself I was causing injuries.  This in turn, caused fear of doing any exercise at all.  So I started counting calories, and trying to find the miracle foods that would do the trick.  This only caused more hunger and sneaking food to satisfy the grumbling stomach.

The vicious cycle continued until I prayed “I’m doing everything I know how to do to lose weight and become healthy, and to care of the body you gave me God.  What am I not doing?  Now, five pounds added to my body, and it’s not muscle.  I hate looking like this.”

A little voice spoke to my heart, “Why do you compare yourself to others?   You are not honoring your body when you force it to do things others do.  Make adjustments in exercising and food intake.   So what if you aren’t running every day, you’re moving more than you ever did before.  You are not that picture on the mirror.  I think you are beautiful, because I made you.  Bring me into this area of your life, and I will help.”

Not what I wanted to hear.  But in truth, it’s what I needed to hear.  If you told me two years ago I would run three 5k races, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Because I pushed myself, I have to start over.  I haven’t run for about two months, but I started walking again, I have cut out a lot of sugar and other stuff.  Yeah, I do have dessert once in a while, sometimes too much.

The most important thing that has changed is my heart.  Yes, I still want and need to lose weight and there have been goals set, but ultimately it’s about caring for the God’s temple.

How about you?  Why do you exercise?  Are you comparing yourself to others or worse photoshopped magazine models?  We are called to care for our bodies.  You are unique.  Ask God how He wants you care for the temple He gave you.

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July 2012 012

Christine lives in Seminole, Florida, with her husband Mike and three daughters.  She has been a freelance writer since 2009, writing for Sunday school periodicals and devotional magazines and websites. Christine loves to reach out to women and encourage them in their walk with the Lord through scripture and personal experiences.

You can read more from Christine on her blog Encouragement for the Journey. 

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