Archives for the month of: December, 2013

Over the summer, my then-friend now-brother posted a few paintings to our favorite social media. I suggested a sibling date to paint together. At the time, he little realized I’d be coming back as an intern, and as I’d not been offered the position, I’d not publicized my intent to return. As it turned out, my brother and I had many opportunities to minister in the HOP together, and we often spoke of finding time to paint. On one of my last nights in Sunderland before flying back to the States, we finally made it happen.

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Another intern asked to join us. She and I have a history with art together as she had led worship at a summer camp in which I taught on prophetic painting. I was happy for her to join us!

That night I painted my heart – the sense that I am heading into unknown territory where the only constant is the confidence that no matter where I am, I am held in the peace of the eye of the storm.

As I said my goodbyes, I bequeathed my paints, paper, and many brushes to my brother. I gave him instructions on the paintings I left, those donated to the HOP for sale and to fill the space with life and dynamic color. Three unnamed oil canvases remained drying in the balcony.

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As I left the prayer room that night, paintings drying on the step, I walked out to the fellowship hall and was met by my beloved English family. I had already been crying for 5 days straight, anticipating this last goodbye. But my eyes welled up once again as they prayed over me.

Then my brother did something special. He held out a single £1 coin, saying it is a deposit and symbolic investment, a sign of giving back to me for all I’d given to the HOP, the community, the land. And it was a sign that I’d be back. The gift was profound for, unbeknownst to my brother, I’d returned from my initial trip in April carrying a single £1 coin, knowing I’d be back. I brought that coin with me in September, but just that evening, before heading to the HOP, I’d divvied up my remaining bills and coins among friends, and I’d specifically chosen to hold nothing back for myself. I told all this to my brother in the hearing of the others, complimenting his perceptiveness and giving him a last hug.

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I’ve not painted since returning to the States. I did, however, receive a new watercolor tablet and gift card to an art supply store for Christmas. I teared up at these gifts, sensing the kindness of God to restore my heart in all I’d given up.

I am not returning to England in the near future. My year began turning into a semester from the day I got off the plane and customs stamped me for a firm 3 months. But while I was determined to overcome obstacles and fulfill my commitment, the leadership at the HOP sensed a different wind. Six weeks before my flights, they approached me with the choice: if I wanted, I might be absolved of my commitment and return home. They firmly believe in the power of strong marriages, and with an ear to my unspoken heart’s cries, knowing me to be an ocean away from the man I love, they only felt it right to allow me the choice.

Suffice it to say my world turned upside down. Nothing was further from my mind than the thought of not completing a year in England. And yet, after prayer and conversation with family and friends, the decision, though anything but easy, was clear. Let’s just say I won’t be returning to England without my Mister.

Today of all days I find myself reflective, for this has been an experience so far outside of anything I could have imagined that I would not have believed it, even if I’d been told. This wild ride that began April 1, 2013, enabled by a beginning on September 7, 2012, made possible by a whisper in 2011, reflecting a moment in 2007… is an adventure unlike any I could conceive or hope for. And to come through fire and water restored and healed, to find myself living more than I could ever dream, and through it all encountering the infinite Glory of the Person Jesus… There need be no words.

So here’s to this magnificently wild ride that was 2013. Changes ahead, from glory to glory, with hope and expectation, confident that the best is yet to come! Happy New Year, and Happy New Beginnings!

After six years as a producer for the show Good Day, Sacramento, Mister up and followed God out of California to Nashville, Tennessee. Over Christmas, the prodigal returned for a visit and showed off his new arm candy (me) with many exclamations of, “I knew you’d meet a girl out there!” It was my first time behind the scenes in a television studio, so I documented it, expecting others would be equally interested.

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I am back in the States and visiting California for Christmas. Today the posse went geocaching in blue skies and strong winds. The cache was well concealed, but I spotted it. None of us had a pen, so we couldn’t add our names to it, but I put in my Marie Curie Cancer Care pin to leave a bit of my heart in the hills.

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I’d been holding onto this quilt for awhile, waiting until I could give it. In the joy of my birthday, I neglected to post about it! I created this quilt and finished it over the summer, then shipped it overseas ahead of me. It arrived in plenty of time, and it was well-loved and appreciated by it’s intended recipient. But I had to wait until my birthday to give it because I made it for my “twintern”, my sweet English doppelgänger who was born the same day as me, just a few years before.

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I used the “Jellyroll Race” technique with modifications. I began with the fabric line “Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Moda then added pink and black solids (my pink salt and black pepper) and sewed my strips straight, rather than on the bias. I also cut my strips at intervals before beginning to give even more variety, and I omitted the step of trimming off 18 inches.

I love the result. My “twin” did, too. She particularly loved the backing, a few prints from the same line as the top plus a piece of “Domestic Bliss” by Moda. Prints from both lines ended up in the binding, and I couldn’t resist the cheery frolicking kitties! My twin often totes her quilt to the HOP to cuddle up before the heat kicks on. I’m so glad she feels all the warmth and love I intended for her!

On Sunday a sweet friend walked up to me and asked if there was anywhere I’d like to go before flying back to the States. Up until that moment I’d forgotten I’d prayed and asked for an opportunity to visit the Angel of the North, the world’s largest angel statue that’s watched over the Northeast since it’s erection in the late 1990s. This past April, we passed the angel frequently en route from Newcastle to Sunderland. It seemed important for my heart’s journey to visit it before traveling home. I will miss its bold, declarative presence on the horizon.

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Béla Fleck introduced me to the concept of “throw down your heart“. The idea is that you are about to embark on a journey from which you will never return, so as a last act of love for the land and life you’ve known, you throw down your heart, you leave part of yourself there, you are never the same again. About six weeks ago I threw down my heart on Roker Beach in Sunderland, an echo of a similar experience in April on Lindisfarne. Today, a few days before flying home, I returned to pick up my heart again in preparation to come home whole.

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The back hall of the House of Prayer needed a quilt. It was a joy of a journey conceiving, cutting, sewing, and sourcing materials for it. The top is made predominantly of Moda Bella Solid in silver and features a bit of my favorite Sunkissed by Sweetwater print. I brought all the fabric for the top from home, and the back is a 100% cotton sheet picked up from TK Maxx. The batting – or “wadding” – is a woven cotton from Dunelm Mill. I figured the weave would negate the need for dense quilting, and sure enough, it was fine. I self-bound by tucking and turning under the excess backing, threw it in the wash, and let it dry over the radiator. The quilt gets a lot of use as folks curl up on couches or snuggle close to the radiator. I’m so thankful for the ability to share my heart with my beloved HOP through my favorite art form!

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Last Saturday we rallied the troops (ie 10 interns, 3 staff members), piled into a minibus and minivan, and roadtripped to Manchester. We’d agreed to partner with Prayer Storm, a group that brings together believers every quarter for corporate worship and intercession. The event stretched from noon until 7 pm. Pastors Ken and Lois were asked to lead towards the end of the evening, specifically encouraging those who feel called to a life of intercession to take action.

When we arrived, I did a quick survey of the auditorium. Some gatherings like this are open to artists, but I didn’t see any. Thankfully, as part of the HOP team, we had access to event staff, and one of them was able to secure permission for me.

Throughout the event, we worshipped and prayed. I found myself at the front when one speaker called for dancers. Two other interns joined me, as well as the Prayer Storm dance team.

Later in the afternoon, I pulled out my watercolors. When curious children drew close, I handed them paper and brushes. Soon we had taken over the space at the foot of the cameraman. My prayer is that these young ones walked away with an understanding that visual art is a powerful form of communication, and as prayer is simply communicating with God, that creating art is a legitimate form of prayer.

Below are photos from the event, including stills from videos and screenshots from friends’ Instagram feeds.

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