Archives for category: Art

Recently two friends of mine came to the conclusion that it is time to sell their home of over a decade. Many times I have been on the receiving end of their generous hospitality, so I wanted to make a gift for each to reflect all the love and memories of that home.


I started with sketches of the house itself.


I thought of the nonhuman residents as well.


Then it was just a matter of raw-edged appliqué, a bit of decorative stitching, turning under the blocks’ edges, and fitting them to embroidery hoop “frames”.

Sometimes I love a gift more in the making than the person receiving, but I could tell this time that wasn’t the case. Hoping that as time goes by, these little mementos will bring back sweet memories!

My husband and I talked about choosing a different theme each Christmas of our marriage. Knowing something of the traditional wedding anniversary themes (silver at 25, gold at 50, etc.), I thought it would be sweet to start there. With his affinity for reading, it was an easy sell. We visited our favorite used bookstore and picked up some older, free books. After a little Pinterest scrolling, we ripped out pages and set to work. I’m quite happy with the results!

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To the sea! To the sea!
Follow my feet up the Wearmouth quays
Where the gull brays
And memory keeps
Where old men watch the turn of days
And graves still pray

Past shipwrights’ industry
Looking for my heart to be
Rooted in a land where my
Soul is told to breathe

But I am not free

Wild heights and quarried ways
Hewn by hands in elder days
Or set by mind at dawn’s design
Still call to me, still call to me

And in the pounding, grey-lit surf
Waves convulsing, giving birth
I send my spirit to the wind
I soar from here, I’m gathered in

I’ve called this land my home, and for it
Given all to bless, restore it
To my gifts, the land has shuddered
Cannot claim me as a mother
So to the wind and to the sea
I will return where I am free
(You are the only Ten-I-see)
For my heart beats Tsalagi

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The above attempts to reconcile and understand my heart’s churnings while in Northern England. Photos are from Sunderland. Paintings completed in Tennessee in early 2014. All rights reserved.

Once upon a time I made a little pouch for my iPhone and loved it! I could easily feel for it in my messy purse, but I could still slip it into my back pocket. With a voile exterior and a flannel interior, it took a beating.

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All those murky greys were once cheery whites! Time for a new one, no? After scrolling Pinterest, I found a tutorial I liked. I didn’t follow it exactly as I had my own process for the patchwork, but I love how it turned out!

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I must say, my favorite way to piece is taking random scraps and putting them together like a puzzle. That’s how I pieced my phone pouch, and I couldn’t help myself until I had pieced an iPad sleeve, too!

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I couldn’t find a tutorial I really liked, so I just made an envelope and bound it with double-fold binding. If you look closely at my stitching, you see my frustration with double-fold binding! But I don’t notice that because I love Love LOVE the patchwork!

And speaking of noticing, the background in these photos is another project I’ve been working on! Can’t wait to finish it off and show y’all!

Last week I attended emanate, the young adult service that couples with the School of Supernatural Life and of which I’ve been part since it began (4 years ago this coming month!) I’ll admit, it has been a very rocky transition coming back from Sunderland, but in that meeting, I connected with God again in a way I hadn’t since I’d been abroad. Although He talked about many things, there is one I can share: He asked that I would invest my heart here with the same abandon I invested in Sunderland. Then He asked that I would invest my art here as I did there. I had to repent of withholding my heart and refusing to engage with the present circumstances – for being offended that God would have things His way rather than meet my expectations. And then I said, “yes.”

So yesterday I pulled out the last pad of watercolor paper I used before leaving for England. There were still some blank pages left. I found the last painting was from 17 August 2013, and of all things, my Mister watched me paint it – though we’d not been introduced at the time.

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I took that pad with me to emanate, along with a second, brand new one. And I painted my heart, and I painted a new beginning:

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Truly, I don’t know which is which. I don’t even know which way is up. But that’s okay. My life is a painting I’m making with my Papa, and even though I don’t know where I’m going or how it’s supposed to look or turn out, I know two things (maybe three): it’s full of life, it’s full of hope, and it’s beautiful.

I want to take this year by the horns and be deliberate and purposeful in it. To that end, I’ve taken this day to codify what I believe God is saying will be themes of this year for me. Happily, this year will be defined by Scripture, visual art, storytelling, and music, and those elements are all media through which God is speaking to me!

There are two verses that I want to define my 2014:

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. – Colossians 3:3

If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan? – Jeremiah 12:5 (NKJV)

In similar theme, over the past two days I’ve been working on a little collage about what I feel like God is wanting to do in my life this year.

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Finally, the Mister and I went to a matinee of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I can’t praise this film enough – best experience I’ve had in a theater in a decade (no word of a lie!) And the soundtrack is kickin’, too. I’m taking that entire film as a message from God about what He has planned this year. There is a fire stoked in my heart that cannot be quenched, and this film was a bellows to the oven.

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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!

Folks from Catch The Fire London came up this past week for an International Leaders School of Ministry. I took the opportunity during worship to paint. I also had some of my original watercolor paintings for sale, as well as sets of notecards I had printed of a few of my favorite paintings. For legal reasons, I donated these to the HOP. That way, all proceeds can go straight into the interns’ funds and distributed amongst the dozen of us.

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The conference itself was intense for a lot of reasons. As an intern, I found myself serving lots of coffee and tea and keeping the toilets stocked with paper products. But I also has some profound experiences with God, identifying and unlearning things I’ve believed about Him and working through misperceptions based in a hurting heart. I love forgiveness. It’s totally worth letting go of the need to be right or denial of mistakes. And the freedom of owning and admitting those mistakes is amazing – like letting go of a tractor tire’s weight of shame. The power of sin is in shame and hiding. Admitting to the shameful behavior completely obliterates that power. Freedom like that is addictive! It’s the difference between state park air and stuffy office air, or sunlight and halogen. So good!

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Of course, having world revival leaders pray for you personally is always a blast. John Arnott of the so-called “Toronto Blessing” is one of the gentlest, kindest people I’ve encountered. He reminds me of a hickory fire in the fireplace – warm with that something extra in the smoke that fills the house with richness and heat. He and his wife Carol are close friends of the Gotts, under whom I’m honored to serve in the HOP, and also mentored the pastors and leaders of the ministry school I completed last year. What a difference a few months has made! The Arnotts taught at my school the week before my initial trip to Sunderland. To see them again reflects the magnitude of the changes in my life, as well as the rapid succession in them, in just 8 months’ time. I hope to have time to reflect more on the course of my life. I get the feeling that rapid change is the new norm – from glory to glory to glory!

God does not create the storms of life, but He is with us through them. Though He may seem asleep in our boats, still His presence calms our hearts, and we are safe whether we know it or not.

Original paintings from the HOP.

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Original paintings from the HOP evoking invitations from God to engage with Him in new ways.

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