May 31, 2014

That Thing I Do Now - Vol 46

Happy Saturday, everyone!  Can you even believe it is almost June? JUNE, you guys?


It's crazy to me and yet, of course, I am loving it! All this talk of loving the weather is not over, because as much as I adore Spring, Summer is where it's at! (That is, until - of course - Fall arrives and is all swoony-like and romantic! Yeah - Fall is my favorite for sure... but let's not tell Spring or Summer just yet, alright?)

I have managed to collect little bits of Awesome from across the Interwebs once again! I hope you enjoy these little Gatherings! I can't believe we have spend nearly an entire year of Saturdays together already! I suppose once we hit the official Anniversary - we should do something fun(ner) or have a giveaway or something!  I will think on that one! I have a few more weeks to plan! 

Until then, here we go... 

Happy Reading!
Enjoy!

* This one by Mike Foster over at Storyline on If You Turn Down Your Noise...
"But I need a way to escape the silence, so I take that risk.

I need my noise.

We’re like this with a lot of things. We get so used to the convenient, low hum of our white noises of choice that we are no longer comfortable just sitting still. Quietness and being alone with our thoughts can be scary. We need a little something extra to drown out the silence."

This post by Jen Hatmaker on Parenting Teens...
"There is a super high chance your teen will ENORMOUSLY SELF-DESTRUCT. Need I remind you of our adolescence? They will lie, cheat, rebel, succumb, resist, disobey. They will do this, because they are no different than EVERY GENERATION THAT EVER PRECEDED THEM. But that is not the end of their story. It wasn’t the end of ours (thank you, Jesus) and their best years are ahead of them too. If they wobble, stick with those wonky kids. They will remember how their parents remained steady until they course corrected."

* This post by Sarah Bessey in which it all locks into place...
"Then there was the moment when your husband sent you home to sleep at last. You hadn’t slept in days, maybe that’s the reason why the sight of him there in that hospital bed beside the child you both love did you in. You kissed him heavily because here is someone who loves your child the way that you love your child. This is what love looks like: tired faces, relief, exhaustion, and still one foot in front of the other..."

* This post by Duane Scott over at Scribing the Journey on the Kingdom of Heaven...
"Being a Christian, I believe, is more relational than theological. Because a man can get lost within his Bible; can get lost learning and studying and then one day, he looks back at his life and realizes he never lived it, never lived discovering the power of the cross and the Man who died there.

Yes, a man should close his Bible sometimes and open his arms to life, to the hurting and lonely, to the world.
For then, and only then, is his the kingdom of heaven."

* This one by my sweet friend Ashley Larkin over at Draw Near on opening our rusty gates and why it matters...
"And when you see the rust on my gates,
and call even that beautiful,
because you understand it’s my human wear and tear,
my journey and my story,
the part of me that longs for shiny eases up a bit and exhales
because it’s good to be known."


* This over at The Huffinton Post by Emma Gray on 11 Ways Maya Angelou Taught Us To Be Better Women...  "In celebration of her incredible life, here are 11 lessons all women can learn from Maya Angelou..."  Hint: They are all great... I can't pick just one... (just click over and read them all!)

* This post by Glennon Melton on how you (we) all need to Find Yourself a Maya...
"Join the procession. Find yourself a Maya to follow and Be a Maya to the woman marching behind you. "When you learn, teach."That's how Maya taught us to keep our mighty, sacred sisterhood rolling on. And while you march, remember: "You are a child of God. Stand up straight." -- Dr. Maya Angelou

I'm sorry for your great loss, Oprah. We will miss you, Mighty Maya."

* These posts from Abiding Love, Abounding Grace wbecause I couldn't pick just one this week... 

This one HERE where I talk about Being a Bride... 
"This Stirring...  this Longing... this Pride and 'She chose me!' and Love spilling out all over the place?  This is what He sees every time He looks at us!"

... and this one  HERE  where I talk about feeling All. the. Feelings. and how Friday was Moving Day for our Only Nearly All Grown Up Girlie...
"You learn the rhythm of being a Mama by the day in, day out beating of hearts finding their own song... and just when you think you've got it down... well, a bridge. A new verse."


Finally... our video to wrap things up because that is how we do... This week... a KickStarter video, because - Reading Rainbow!





So - what did you think? Had you read these yourself already?  Did you find something that is not listed above? If so - share some Linky Love in the Comments below!

OH - and seriously... check back on Monday where I will be talking about Psalm 103 - you're not going to want to miss it!

May 30, 2014

Nothing Prepares You... Five Minute Friday

Whew - it has been a DAY, ya'll!  I was asked at the last minute (Wed night!) to paint a 'theme' piece for a Prayer Mosaic evening that I am participating in on Friday night (-that's TONIGHT!)  Sure... sure, I can paint not one but eight paintings (in one) by Friday... because, of course!  Here's the deal though - I didn't even consider saying No! You see, I am co-leading this art group and, well... it's making me actually DO stuff! So without hesitation, I said yes! Which means Thursday was spent sketching and praying and painting... (all, which helped in busying my thoughts and keeping my mind off the fact that my girlie is moving out today.  Yes, today!)

Oh but - first - the fine print: if you don't know what FMF is!  Five Minute Fridays are hosted by Lisa Jo Baker.  It is open to anyone, so to learn more about it - and to jump in yourself (the more the merrier!) or just to find a linky to see what everyone is writing about today - click HERE!  The idea is to simply write... for Five Minutes flat... no editing, no deep thinking - or at least REthinking, no spell check - just write! Let it flow! We all write using a prompt that Lisa posts at 10pm Thursday night (EST.)  I'm loving the community of amazing bloggers and the creativity that flows from these magical Five Minutes!

So - here goes: Five Minute Friday - The Word Prompt is: NOTHING

{GO}

So... we had our year of Lasts already... that senior year of high school is FULL of last days and last times and last evers... and sure, most Mama's have that summer and then, well - then they say goodbye and they adjust and life is different, but it's still good - or so they tell me, and life goes on. (and yes, they come home and it's still good - or so they tell me, and they go back to wherever 'home' is for college or work and life goes on...)

That was not the case for us.  No, we feel like we somehow snuck in one whole extra year!  


Last night, another 'last. night.' - and she is laying, head in my lap, as I play with her hair and tickle her back and we are watching some comedy show and both sitting there, crying. Because - of course... how can we not feel All the Feelings and try to feel Nothing at the same exact time.  

Suck it up... push it aside... life goes on (or so they say.)

And she falls asleep on the couch, again. And we go to bed, trying to get her to go to her room... and I kiss her good night and say that I will see her in the morning and my voice gets caught in my throat and the tears threaten to spill out once again and I realize that this right here? This is another end to a season and life does go on... and it will be good, but it will be different and as much as we like to talk about leaning in and embracing change, we are new to it too and it has never (so far) been easy! 

So I awake to today... moving day.  And I am determined to be strong, to celebrate the new with her because it IS good and exciting and time... and still, there is not enough coffee to shake this reality: she will come back, yes; but this is the last morning she wakes up here and 'home' is still me!

There is nothing that prepares you for Motherhood.  Not enough books and advice or knowledge to be gained ahead of time.  You learn the rhythm of being a Mama by the day in, day out beating of hearts finding their own song... and just when you think you've got it down... well, a bridge. A new verse. 

Just because they grow up and get tall and find their own way... their own dreams... their own new addresses- that doesn't mean that we ever stop feelings all the feelings; that we ever stop knowing the the words and the meaning of their chorus...


And whether they are here, safe under our own roof - right where we tucked them in, or they are out on their own, finding their way - sometimes choosing right, sometimes choosing wrong...

Nothing can ever make us stop being Mama... nothing will make me ever stop singing her song!

{STOP}

So... sigh... that was rough! And lest you think my Nearly All Grown Up Girlie is moving across the country or the world, I will reluctantly admit that she will be literally less than 5 minutes away... Still, baby steps to a whole new season!



Five Minute Fridays gives us the chance to dive right in and share what He puts on our hearts! Click here to read what others have to say about "NOTHING"  









May 27, 2014

He sees you as His Bride


It is that glorious season... the end of May and beginning of June just feels like they were made for romance and wedded bliss.  Of course, we know 'wedding season' is all year long and romance and bliss is so much more than fairytale dust and wishing wells! 

If we want it... if we really, really want it... well - we must decide ahead of time and not only be prepared to battle and fight for it, but ultimately, we must be willing to be fought for and accept the gift of already being the Bride.

These girls... 



...they have been friends for years and as life tends to do, it has thrown some curve balls and there has been all kinds of drama and their friendships have ebbed and flowed but when the first of them sent out invitations to attend her wedding, there was no doubt that they would all go and celebrate together!

When my girlie gave me a recap of the ceremony and all the beauty surrounding the day, she made a statement that was both true, and powerful. She simply said, "She looked like perfection - a gorgeous Bride... and she was so happy!"

There was no hint of comparison or jealousy... it was a simple, true statement. And then it hit me, this is how our Bridegroom sees us... every day! Not 'then'... not in the far off future... but every single time He looks at us, He sees His Bride.  

He sees us as Beautiful. 

He sees us as His - right now, today!

There is something swoon-worthy when I hear a man refer to his wife, after years of marriage, as his Bride.  It sounds so romantic, but what it really says is that through it all... through the inevitable ups and downs of living a life together... he still treasures her and claims her as his own! He sees her as his Love... his Bride... he still chooses her and will say so in front of anyone and everyone.

I don't know about you, but whether we are talking about real life here and my own marriage, or we are talking about the Bigger Picture and the One to whom I am betrothed, I can forget that I am a Bride.  I can feel anything and everything BUT ...uh, Bridal?  Anything and everything but perfection, or beautiful, or glowing, or treasured.

But if we have learned anything, we have learned that just because we FEEL something, that doesn't make it real!  

I think we come in line with lies on a daily basis and we feel them so often that they seem normal and we believe them because of the consistent way we give them room. 

They feel true.  But they are not Truth
There is a difference!

We talk about being real and vulnerable, and I pray we are all risking it more often now.  We talk about silencing the negative self talk and not agreeing with the enemy, and I pray we agree, at least, with more hesitation. It's a start.

But here's the deal... on our Wedding Day?  Well... the whole day can be less than perfect (Hint: for those still unwedded ones... it will be! I promise. It will be less than perfect. This is real life!) Some thing or things can (and probably will) go wrong but the overall feeling of the day is this: You are Breathtaking... you are a Beautiful Bride! 

We expect it... we feel it... we believe it... if only for that one single day! There is something about Joy and Love and Hope all on display, wrapped in White and surrounded by Flowers... a Radiance that speaks louder than anything else and that captures the heart of your beloved.

This Stirring...  this Longing... this Pride and 'She chose me!' and Love spilling out all over the place?  This is what He sees every time He looks at us!

He sees us through the sacrifice and redemption... He sees us how He created us and as the one He intended for us to be.  When He looks at us and bids us to come... when He speaks your name, He says it with so much Love... so much passion... so much Amen!

Let's try to view ourselves and each other the way He views us.  Let's determine to silence the whispers that tell lies and sow doubt and instead, let's be brave enough to trust Him and realize that He sees us and He loves us and He is for us and standing at the altar, waiting for us to march down that aisle... longing for us to believe Him when He says that we are Beautiful!

I don't know about you, but the thought of Him, so lovingly filled with pride that I am His... well, it stirs my soul and rearranges my priorities and what I wouldn't give to spend some time with Him... and everything within me cries out:
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”
                                                                                     Rev 22:17 NASB 

So as Summer unfolds and invitations come your way, while you are admiring the Bride, can I invite you to remember that the Lord your God... He is admiring you!



P.S.  I'm linking up with:

Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory

Holley Gerth for #CoffeeforYourHeart

and Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday

When you hear "My Bride" what vision comes to mind? Do you ever envision yourself? I pray you see now that you should... because when He looks at you, that is how He sees you! 

Radiant. Glorious. Beautiful.

His!

May 26, 2014

Art in Your Life... Just Breathe. It. Out.


What is it about titles that can have us all shying away, wringing our hands, and shaking our heads?  In our hearts, and sometimes escaping between trembling lips, we think, "Oh no... not me!"

I read about it ...how I am a writer and I knew it already but it took God and Jeff Goins and countless others along the way whispering it into and over me for all these years, before I could stand up tall in it and fully come into agreement. I am a writer.  I write because I can't not write.  I may not be trained. I may butcher the English language and pay no attention to grammar or punctuation.  These things could use some work - but with or without them, I am confident that I am a Writer. That is a title I proudly claim as part of who I am.  It took awhile... but I no longer shake my head or feel the need to over explain.

Still... we all have our doubts, yes? We all have those Titles, those things that we feel called to, gifts He has poured out and pieces of us that we hesitate to let be seen.

'Artist' seems to be another tough one for many to step into and claim with confidence.  I wrote about it last week as I announced that I am co-leading a new Art group for the Summer session over at Incourage.  So it should come as no surprise that I felt all kinds of wringing hands and shaking head and lack of training or skill or the 'right' to claim Artist, and yet I did anyway... because I am (anyway!)

In preparation for this new group, I decided to try new things.  

I watched (and followed) a YouTube Tutorial on Watercoloring a Tuscan Windowbox.  Sure, why not?  I didn't have the right supplies... my paper was too thin, my color palette didn't match, I had no watercolor paint brushes... but I did it anyway! (and... bonus - I actually LOVE my painting! Who knew?)

I got out my Sketch Pad (that had long been buried beneath All. The. (other) Books.  I grabbed an iced latte and just relaxed and sketched a little... then I grabbed my poetry journal (which has one poem... that I wrote last month... before that it had been over 20 years!) and I jotted down a short whimiscal little poem.  Nothing was a 'finished' product - except maybe they are... but either way, I gave myself freedom to do it anyway!

I stopped 'researching' Art Journaling, and I just jumped right in.  I wasn't thrilled with my first pages - mostly because of all my research! (Honestly, I had been looking at pages made by long term Art Journalers... I am guessing that their first pages were less than their favorites as well!) Even as it was 'not turning out' - I did it anyway.

I grabbed my iphone instead of my camera because, as David Molnar says, it is the camera that we always have with us, and I snapped some photo's of my garden. I have a 'nicer' camera but I was sitting on the patio and loving the sunshine and noticed the beauty of all these blooms and instead of grabbing my camera and figuring out my settings, I simply snapped a handful of pictures with my phone and went back to enjoying being in the moment. I later edited them a little bit and shared the art of His hands... He is so creative! I didn't want to risk the heaviness of doing it 'right' - but I didn't risk not doing it at all either! (You know I know you know what's coming, but I can't help myself!) 

I did it anyway!

And then in the middle of last week, my Honey announced that he signed me up to do a Spoken Word at the Coffeehouse night on Friday evening. He had been asked to play a song or two and in confirming that, the guy doing the schedule mentioned that they were hoping for a variety of singers and people using their gifts and he said something about Spoken Word... which caused my husband to say something crazy like, "My wife does spoken word... put her down! She'll do something!"

Clearly - he lost his mind.  I do not do spoken word.  I have felt drawn to it. I love to listen to others do it. That is not a title or a gifting that I have stepped into, but he was right in knowing that God is making me anyway! Whether I feel ready or equipped or gifted or not.  

Sometimes we are called to make art anyway...

To open our eyes and ears and heart and see art in our lives... to realize or remember that art is not just something we do - but it really is who we are! We are works of art in progress and when I so boldly foolishly argued with God about how it's hard, or I'm not ready, or I don't know how... well - He graciously spoke truth to me by saying this:

"You won't get better until you start!"

Well... thanks for that!

And so, with only a couple of days to write, and not enough time to actually fully memorize... shaky knees and racing heart, I did it anyway... 


Here's the thing... We think 'Artist' and we immediately go to museum quality work, or skilled and trained people who have spent years learning their craft.  There is value and honor and truth to that... but we are artists because we are created by the Master Artist and we are made in His image and sometimes we just need the reminder that Art happens all around us, and comes from within us, and when we breathe Him in... Art comes out.  It comes out in how you clean and decorate your home... in how you put an outfit together or how you style your hair... in how you plate a meal or paint a picture... in how you pray or sing a song or play on the floor with your Littles... art happens...  whether you see it or not, but I pray you will see it anyway!



Art is beauty and grace and love.  It inspires and heals and gives hope.  It happens all day, every day and I pray that all week long you will train your heart and your eyes to see it... to live it... to simply breathe it out where ever you go!

How do you make art?  Where do you see it in your every day life? I'd love to hear in the comments below!




May 24, 2014

That Thing I Do Now - Vol 45

Happy Weekend, ya'll! I pray you are able to enjoy it... to take even just a few moments for you... breathe in deep... do something you love... and enter into His rest a bit!




With the gorgeous weather, and me - trying to find my routine again... I have been somehow reading a bit less, and moving a bit more! It's a good thing... and rest assured, I am still finding plenty of Awesome to Gather here for you from across the Interwebs!

Happy Reading!
Enjoy!

* This one by Shauna Niequist on Getting Out of a Life Rut... "There are people and situations that take us back to old, old stories, and even though we’re moms now, not children, or even though we’re business owners now, not adolescents, we find ourselves acting out stories that haven’t been true for a long time, or stories that were never true to begin with... This old story isn’t helping me anymore, so I’m writing a new story."


This post by Emily Wierenga with Part 3 of 3 on Why this Former Progressive is Returning to Evangelicalism... (I highly recommend reading all 3 posts!) "I’d been taught to view the church, and world, through my behavior.
And my behavior was either wrong or right, and there was no middle-ground, there was no grace, because I didn’t start with Christ.

It’s not bad to have rules. In fact, it’s good, and sin is something we battle from day one, and we need saving from it. We need to overcome it, and live in the fullness of the resurrection. We need sanctification, justification, and one day–glorification.

But before all of that, we need grace."


* This post by Hannah Boning on the Split Second Before You Jump Off... "...it feels like a lot of things, at all once, and also nothing. because it feels like all of my feeling are a jumbled mess of kite strings, flown by a child who doesn’t know how to handle the wind. because it feels like I am a child who has been handed a kite, but no one told me how to handle the wind."


* This post by Ann Voskamp over at Incourage.me on When You Feel Like You Just Keep Blowing It... "Why do I blow everything, again and again? 

Will I ever be who I already am in Christ?

My chest hurts. I know what I have to say."


* This one by Lisa-Jo Baker on When You're Tired of the 'How-to' books About Parenting... "We keep score.
We are hard task masters. We cut ourselves so little slack. We judge our piles of laundry our kitchen counters. We are angry at ourselves for accomplishing too little in too short days

...Motherhood isn’t a competition it’s a calling."



* This one by Tonya Salomons on An Act of Obedience... "When it all really boils down to the truth of what niggles away at my heart I want a feel good kind of faith.  You know the kind I mean the one wrapped up in "you're a good person so good things will happen to you." 

I've written about it before, how I struggle with a gospel that includes suffering and yet somewhere beyond the I wish fors, and God couldn't you do it this way, just this once, I really want a gospel that brings me closer to Jesus - even if it means donning a sack cloth and heaping proverbial ashes on my head."

* This one by Shannan Martin over at Flower Patch Farmgirl On Discovering Why We Need Each Other... "Slowly, often imperceptibly, we drag each other back out into the noonday sun, where all the filth is exposed and there's no time to find shade.  We teach and learn and I hate the ways we keep screwing things up.  

But the point was never perfection.
The point was community - sharing a messy life, in slivers and in shards.

There is no us/them.  There are humans fighting for each other, humans more aware of each other, humans believing God wasn't playing games when he called us His family, effectively binding us together despite the barriers that always made us think we were meant to stay apart..."


* This post right HERE from Abiding Love, Abounding Grace where I talk about The Power of Encouragement, about motherhood... about holding close and letting go...  "She got the call of confirmation, saying yes - she and her girlfriends got the house and her first response was a shaky exhale, followed by tears... and a coming in close... a little weeping and rejoicing all mixed in.  It's the letting go so as not to tear apart and it's hard work, ya'll - but it is worth it!  So all week long, I have been reminded of our benches -of all the places we have made ourselves at home together and talked real... talked deep... talked truth."


Finally... our video pick:

I know... I'm sorry! If it makes you feel any better,
I don't own this new book yet either... 
but oh how this trailer makes me really, really want to!



So - what did you think? Had you read these yourself already?  Did you find something that is not listed above? If so - share some Linky Love in the Comments below!

May 22, 2014

Close to the Surface... Five Minute Friday

After a little Breaky (kind of) last week, I was all revved up and ready for a good party over on Twitter! I was missing my Community and ready to sit down, to chat it up (or type it out - same thing, really!) and catch up... but Tweetchat is being a little moody tonight and I am still trying to edit and memorize a piece for tomorrow night.  Still, you know me. I just can't stay away from this Free-Writing-Just-Let-It-Flow routine! So... I am in and out of Twitter tonight, missing you all... but taking just Five Minutes to STOP all the crazy multi-tasking and focus... just focus...

Oh but - first - the fine print: if you don't know what FMF is!  Five Minute Fridays are hosted by Lisa Jo Baker.  It is open to anyone, so to learn more about it - and to jump in yourself (the more the merrier!) or just to find a linky to see what everyone is writing about today - click HERE!  The idea is to simply write... for Five Minutes flat... no editing, no deep thinking - or at least REthinking, no spell check - just write! Let it flow! We all write using a prompt that Lisa posts at 10pm Thursday night (EST.)  I'm loving the community of amazing bloggers and the creativity that flows from these magical Five Minutes!

So - here goes: Five Minute Friday - The Word Prompt is: CLOSE

{GO}



So - around these parts, we love to talk of Benches and Community and Fully Investing in Friendship.  We like to talk about the Power of Encouragement, of Speaking Life, Being Love, and Shining On.

We talk about it... but first, hopefully - always - we determine to Live it out loud!

To carve out time and coffee dates and find ourselves benches in the shade and sometimes benches in the sun, too... to sit side by side, talk heart to heart... to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and weep with those who are weeping.

This is my heart... this is our call.  This is the thought that hovers so close to the surface all week long... this mingling of rejoicing and weeping... intermixed and flowing in one deep inhale, followed by one shaky exhale.

You see, this is the week that we have known is coming, we just didn't know when.  Our Nearly Grown All Growed Up Girlie signed lease papers and is packing up her closet (for the first time, ever)... driving away, car load by car load, building a new home and it is good! Oh - it is good! It is time... and yet, still... 

Still it is not easy... but it is good! 

She got the call of confirmation, saying yes - she and her girlfriends got the house and her first response was a shaky exhale, followed by tears... and a coming in close... a little weeping and rejoicing all mixed in.  It's the letting go so as not to tear apart and it's hard work, ya'll - but it is worth it! 


So - all week long, I have been reminded of our benches -of all the places we have made ourselves at home together and talked real... talked deep... talked truth.  





We have instilled in her the Power of Encouragement and a thirst for Community and just when I battle flashbacks of pumping toddler legs, swinging high, dreaming free... I remember...

HE reminds me...


...she is pumping and flying and dreaming still... and it is time. And it is good.

{STOP}

Seriously... together, we have learned the unforced rhythms of grace, and it is good! Just when I battle fear, I hear her talking with her new roommates and they are agreeing that they will need to set aside 'family time' for sit down dinners and just hanging out together. 

("...and it is good!" followed by my own shaky exhale!)



Five Minute Fridays gives us the chance to dive right in and share what He puts on our hearts! Click here to read what others have to say about "CLOSE"  




I am also linking up for "The Power of Encouragement" over at Incourage.me




May 19, 2014

Finding the Art In Your Life... a new Incourage Community Group


I have always been crafty... well, artsy anyway! That sounds a little better, right?  Whether it be with a pen (or keyboard), paper and scissors, paints and canvas (or blank walls! #swoon!), or a camera in hand, I have long loved to create beauty around me!

I remember being asked to join Company 7 when I was in elementary school and it was this school for the arts and I was all like, "Oh Yeah! Finally... someone sees Art in me!"  I was all of eight years old.  And yet that invitation was like a nod of acceptance and it planted in me a sense of purpose.  I suspect now that the leaders of that little organization fully believed that we are ALL artsy... and they most likely reached out to the ones who made Art, but couldn't quite see it all the time.

We would write poems and plays and act them out.  We would learn dances, and finger paint, and learn to use a potters wheel.  Well, by 'learn' I don't mean to imply that we acquired actual skills... but we were exposed to the arts and we were free to love it or hate it and the good news was if we didn't like it, there would be something new the next week!

I don't remember how long I attended this class. A year or two maybe.  It was a huge bonus that it happened on Tuesdays... during school hours, thank you very much! (This may explain why I feel the most creative on Tuesday afternoons - even to this day!)  I remember the smell of paints, and old furnaces clicking on... a mixture of oil, dusty heat and polished wood floors in an old empty school building. I remember the laughter and joy in the creating.  Everyone was welcome, encouraged, inspired to just try... no pressure!  Kids can be mean - but there was no room for that there.  Everyone was good at something and we were on a mission to each find our thing... well - things! It turns out, we were good at lots of things that we never would have guessed!  We were to stay positive and learn to look for what we liked... to train our eyes to see the art.



Fast forward years and years... ok - maybe a decade... I remembered the joy of creating beauty as God was creating beauty in my womb. I dug in to paper crafts and card making, scrapbooking and photography.  Art pulled me up and reminded me of gifts I had forgotten... of the pleasure of mixing color and texture and letting happy accidents simply have their own way.  I crafted and created for years but it was only recently, in the last two years maybe, that I have felt confident in claiming the title of Artist.  



I am.  You are too, you know!



As Emily Freeman writes in *A Million Little Ways:
"Art means believing that the God who created the world with words alone creates with words still, through us --whether it be on a stage to thousands or in a corner with one. 
Maybe you make paintings, or maybe you make pie. Maybe you live confidently in the midst of scary situations.Maybe you are brave enough to listen, to wait, to trust.Maybe you see potential in situations and in people that others aren't able to see.
Art is what happens when you dare to be who you really are.You have the power to influence, to move, to make, to become. You have the capacity to perform the human act of making art, of doing work that comes from deep within you and touches something deep within me.
We make art with our lives."

Enter a new season of (In)courage Community Groups for the 2014 Spring/Summer session and I am honored and oh so excited to be co-leading a super fun artsy craftsy Group entitled, Art in Your Life: Adding Beauty as Co-creators with Christ.

My amazing, talented co-leaders are Rebekah Ellis and Sarah Jo Burch and oh my goodness if we don't have some serious fun planned for ya'll!  Our vision for this group is to create a bench... a community where we can encourage each other in our art (because we all battle doubt and insecurity all the time from time to time!)  We want to give space to share in all the many ways we create art and we invite you to join us... create with us... learn together with us how to make art with our lives!

So no matter what kind of art you make... whether you use paper, fiber, fabric, paint, pen (or keyboard), glass, beading, wood, camera, or other mediums, we'd love for you to join us as we scoot over on the bench, share what we love, what we want to learn to do, and where we find art when we train our eyes to really see... 

We are finalizing the schedule and plans now, but I can tell you that we have fun things planned (like weekly prompts/themes to inspire you to create, great resources to share, and hopefully some fun Twitter parties, Hashtag fun, and Interviews with a few Artists.)  Of course, we want to see all of your lovely art, too!  

As with all the Incourage groups - space is limited to 30 so don't hesitate! Jump in, dare to be brave and create beauty with us in the next 6 weeks! 

Join us HERE and determine to make Art in Your Life this Spring! 



Linking up over at Incourage.me today, as all Community groups are now officially open for Registration!


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