Art of Redemption

Last week I spoke with Amy Bennett on her Feathers…Faith In Flight podcast. Amy has an ongoing series in which she talks with women around the world about taking leaps of faith.

I talked about honoring the process, the power of Christ in you and the art of redemption. I hope you’ll listen and if you do, please let me know. May you be blessed and encouraged.

mel feathers podcast pic

 

You can click here to listen.

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Be Brave – Jump First

“You’re very brave.”

The banker sat across from me and told me for the second time in an hour how brave he thought I was for putting myself and my art out there.  We sat, two strangers, and talked about small business trends, the latest in banking technology and art. He, who was raised in a different culture than I, confided it was not the norm where he was from to steer a child into a creative field. “All business,” he said. Then he added that recently, he too, had begun dabbling in art with charcoal sketches and how much he enjoyed it.

“But how do you stare at a blank canvas and know what to do?” he asked me.

“Pray,” I said. “I pray and ask God to give me inspiration.”

Little does he know just how much I pray and not only for inspiration, but for skill! I’m greedy with God like that. I ask for more and more. And then a little more.

We talked a bit about my Etsy Shop and the local museums. He shared his interest in the Dali Museum’s architecture. I told him about visiting the Smithsonian American Art Museum in D.C.

As he escorted me out, the word “brave” again entered the parting conversation, and I said, “You know, I’m not sure if I’m simply overconfident in my abilities or what…but I’m just not afraid to look dumb.”

 

Jump first pin

 

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I Don’t Deserve It

You know those moments when a word from God stops you in your tracks?

I had one of those yesterday. I was thinking about someone and how I did not feel  very generous toward them. I thought of what I could do…of what I could say…of how I  could be…and my very next thought (I’m ashamed to say) was, “They don’t deserve it.”

But then that voice – That Unmistakable Voice – asked me a question, “When did it become about deserving?”

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

I heard that. And there I stood in the middle of my kitchen all naked and ashamed and wanting to hide. 

That was yesterday.

I had forgotten about it until late today, when something happened. Something unnerving. Something that could send anyone into panic mode. But God spoke to me about refusing panic and remaining in peace. And I did. And I am. But I also cried as I prayed and asked God to intervene, “Please intervene. Have mercy. I know I don’t deserve it…” 

And once again I stopped short. Once again I stood in the middle of my kitchen. And I remembered yesterday.

I’m so glad it’s not about deserving.

Because I don’t. And you don’t. And none of us do.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 NIV

 

With that kind of love…love I could not earn and mercy I don’t deserve, peace is a part of the package. So instead of giving into panic, I’m going into peace. Because panic suffocates but peace resuscitates.

peace panic pin

 

 

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In Process

abstract and roses canvas

See that large painting? It’s finished. What I thought was “in process” is now a complete work of art. I painted it as background and as I waited for it to dry, I envisioned what might come next. What might I paint over it…a bird, a Mason jar, flowers, a nest…

No. It’s done. Finished. Complete. As is.

We so often want to rush the process to get to “the end.” Process is usually longer than we thought we’d have to endure and harder than we imagined we could ever handle. Yet it’s in the process we see God working in the details of our lives. We hear Him speak when we least expected it. We see Him open a door we didn’t know existed. We grow in the darkest places on the path of process.

Oswald Chambers wrote, “God is not working toward a particular finish–His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see ‘Him walking on the sea’ with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea.’ It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.”

My painting above may still look “in process” but it’s finished. Complete. As is.

When I lost my son, I came to detest the word, “process.” Grief is a process. I heard it over and over. But I didn’t want to give in to the process of grief or any other process that included such pain.

Now, however, I can look back and see God in the details of “process.”  You see, the very experience of “process” is for the purpose of producing something. In “process” I’ve known God’s provision. In process I’ve heard God’s promise. In process, I’ve experienced God’s purpose. And in process I’ve felt God’s presence. In process, God has (and still is) producing in me something I need to contribute to the working of His Kingdom.

This morning in prayer I felt this impression: Honor the process. 

Whatever process you may be in, honor it. Honor the purpose of God in the process.

process pin

Do you find yourself “in process”? How might you honor it in a way that benefits the work of God in the Kingdom?

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New

I don’t think I painted one thing in April. But then May…

A floodgate of creativity and inspiration opened! Below are a few new pieces.

The buffalo was a request from my daughter in New Mexico. It’s en route as I type.

buffalo The flamingos will probably stay with me. Most of the time when I paint it is with the thought of selling in mind but I’m just not sure I can part with these salmony-pink birds. When I finished this one, it reminded me of a vintage Florida postcard. I’ve actually thought about lettering, “Visit Sunny Florida” on it. What do you think? florida flamingos

This little nest has been sold. It’s on a 6 x 6 canvas with 1 1/2″ sides so it can stand upright or hang on the wall. I like this size for a gallery wall or displaying on a ledge or shelf.

nest and blue eggs

The rooster is also on a 6 x 6 and I had such fun painting him! I posted his picture on facebook and a rooster lover scooped him up before he could even crow about it!

rooster 6 x 6

Pink roses and snapdragons are on an 11 x 14 canvas that I’ve framed. I don’t sell my canvases framed but I often display them for marketing purposes in a frame. Many of the canvases that I keep for my own home are framed. ($35 + shipping)roses and snapdragons

Not only do I enjoy my backyard rose garden and the flowers that grow in pots on my front porch, I’m often drawn to painting flowers. This canvas has a lot of texture and I like the dark background.  ($35 + shipping)

roses in white vase

Below is another nest full of eggs. This is a 16 x 20 and if I don’t sell it soon, I may not sell it at all! It looks great in my dining room. {$45 + shipping)

big nest

I’m fortunate to have a spot in my home to make art, sew, crochet and write. It’s a bit of a shared space however as my husband’s very large desk is also in this room. I have lots of storage yet never enough. Or perhaps it’s not organized well or not the right type of storage for the things I need to store! The bottom line is I’ve finally gotten enough motivation to clean it and organize it. It will be much easier to flow in the creativity when things are in place. I’m one of those people, though, who needs to see her stuff or else forget I have the stuff. I prefer open shelving to closed doors. I want to lay my hand on something quickly, not open a cabinet door to retrieve it.

So, I’m working on my art studio this weekend. My space is a room that the original owners of our home converted from an enclosed patio to an interior room. Lots of windows overlook our backyard. I love that! Lots of windows let in heat! Not loving that so much as it gets pretaaaay hot in “the tropics of Clearwater, Florida.” Lots of windows means beautiful light. I love that! Lots of windows means a lot of glare. I don’t love that. When I need to take pictures of my artwork I can never use this room for lack of wall space and the glare.

Still, there’s plenty I can do back here to make it a fun, fresh space to create more efficiently. No before pictures but when it’s in better shape, I’ll share a few afters.

What about you? Do you like things put away and out of sight or are you like me and need to see it to use it?

If you are interested in any of the art work I’ve posted, let me know. I can answer questions and list it on “reserve” for you in my Etsy Shop. 

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Not So Secret

morning spotEarly this morning I created a little spot for myself to enjoy my coffee and read a bit before I set in to morning chores, painting and my Etsy Shop. I named it my Morning Spot as it gets the early light of the day. I sat, drank my coffee and read from the gospel of Mark. The line, “He could not keep His presence secret,” stayed with me.

FROM THE MORNING SPOT: 
This morning I was reading the passage in the 4th chapter of Mark about the Greek woman who begged Jesus to heal her daughter. Though he had entered her city, he did not want anyone to know it as it would have set in motion a ministry to the Gentiles before the appointed time had come. Yet when the woman persisted and pursued what only Christ could do for her, she was satisfied.
When we persist and pursue what only Christ can do FOR us, His presence IN us can not be kept secret. Build your spiritual house on the presence of Christ and you will be satisfied.
(passage from Mark 7:24-30)

 

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Banana Bread, Date Night and Netflix

banana breadWe always have bananas which means we always have bananas ripe for baking and since my men enjoy my banana bread, I often put the Kitchen Aid to work and mix up a few mini loaves. I like to make the minis because a.) they bake faster and b.) I can fit the small loaf pans in my toaster oven which means c.) I don’t have to unload the pots and pans which I store in my oven.

I use:

*Pamela’s gluten free baking mix (works GREAT!)

*Kerrygold butter

*local honey

*good eggs…as opposed to those ol’ bad eggs :)

*coconut flavoring because I’m out of vanilla but coconut is so tasty in this recipe anyway

I follow the recipe on the back of the Pamela’s baking mix bag and shorten the baking time (about 27 minutes for 3 mini loaves). I let them cool in the pans on a rack then gently remove and keep them under my glass domed cake stand on my kitchen table.

cake stand and roses

By the way, those roses are from my little backyard rose garden. Flowers growing around my house are a true pleasure for me. I so enjoy cutting fresh flowers to bring into my home. I’ve got roses, gardenias and hydrangeas available now. Love. Love. Love.

hydrangeas in clear vase

 

gardeniasAnd now for a funny story that illustrates that I. AM. OLD. NOW. or either just really, really boring! ;)

Friday nights are reserved for date night. That would be me dating my husband. He usually leaves from work a bit early so we can beat the traffic and the Friday night scene resulting in us joining another scene: THE EARLY BIRDS.  Yep. We’re quite often the youngest couple ordering dinner.

dan and mel

In my effort to use an actual picture we took on an actual date night…it was dark in there.

Last weekend we drove across the bay (oh, the BEAUTIFUL bay with the sun shimmering on the warm, Gulf waters!) to Tampa to eat at Eddie V’s. We sat in the lounge area and shared an order of lobster tacos. I also had the wedge salad with blue cheese dressing. Confession: I asked for extra dressing; it’s THAT good. My husband had a cup of seafood bisque. Since I’m watching the carbs I only ate one lobster taco as it was wrapped in a flour tortilla WHICH THEY MAKE IN HOUSE AND OH HOW I WANT THAT RECIPE.

Afterwards, we decided to drive across the street to the mall. We looked around a bit in Dillard’s together and then split up. He to men’s shoes and I to the Chelsea & Violet section. He called to ask if I were ready to leave to which I replied (after glancing at my watch), “I think so. I’m ready to get home.” On the way back across the bay, I remarked how early it still looked to be nearly 9:00! To which he replied, “It’s not even 8:00 yet..”

“What?!”

I had misread my watch and now I realize that may be just one more sign of ME GETTING OLDER! But, seriously…We are just not party people. Just not. Unless you call getting in your p.j.’s with a book, readers and Netflix a party. But now that I think about it, PARTY ON!

And I leave you with a few Netflix series I’ve enjoyed lately:

North and South

The Paradise

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

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Look For the Purpose

 

lilly in milkglass pm

8 x 10 acrylic on canvas – lily in milk glass

I have a confession to make.

I’m a woman who likes to have a plan. I don’t generally like to wing it or fly by the seat of my pants and I tend to get a little nervous when people say, “Let’s just go with the flow.”

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with a family member in which I said, “Keep me updated with your plans because your plans directly affect MY plans and I’m happier, which means YOU’LL be happier, if there is a plan in place.

And to be honest, I even like to plan for spontaneity! Now don’t I sound like a boat load of fun?! :)

But I think my “planning personality” puts me in good company because we have a Master Planner in Heaven who ALWAYS has a plan.

A scripture I hear quoted a lot is Jeremiah 29:11, where God speaks to the Jewish exiles that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away to Babylon, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (NIV).

Paul writes in Ephesians chapter 3 about God’s plan for the Gentiles: “I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.”

Then there’s the passage from Proverbs on the preparation of the ant who takes meal planning to the extreme!

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; observe its ways and be wise. It has no commander, overseer, or ruler, yet it prepares its food in the summer; it gathers at the harvest what it will eat” (Proverbs 6:6-8 NET).

But sometimes I think we can get so focused on the plan of God for our lives that we overlook the purpose of God for our lives.

The PURPOSE of God is always behind the PLAN of God. 

God has a purpose for the human race – that we should glorify Him and enjoy unfettered and unbroken relationship with Him forever!

Christs’ purpose in coming to this earth was to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

And we know that Christ fulfilled the plan of God in order that the purpose of God would be manifest. “Now my soul is troubled and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, Glorify Your name” (John 12:27-28).

One purpose of the Holy Spirit whom Christ called our Comforter (parakletos – {Greek} “someone called long side of another) is to conform us into the image of Christ! He leads, teaches and matures us by His indwelling presence!

Recently I was reading the 8th chapter of Romans and there were three things that connected for me that I had never noticed before: purpose, conformity to Christ and glory.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30).

God’s purpose for us is that we become more and more like His son and in this He is glorified and one day He will glorify us as well. Those things that are permitted or put into our lives are all made redeemable as a refining tool for us. As believers we are in a process of progressive sanctification until that day that it is completely accomplished and we experience glorification.

(Read more here about purpose and glory.)

Whatever God’s plan for you, His purpose for you is that you are made more and more like His Son. Ecclesiastes 3:1 records, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun.”  Whatever the plan God has for you in this season and time, don’t overlook the purpose of God for you in the plan. For the purpose of God is always behind the plan of God!

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