Category Archives: Thoughts For Today

Grand Re-Opening

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At my mom’s house in Milton Freewater, Oregon, the birds and the cows wake up at 4:30 a.m.

Well, if they are like ME, they might wake up at 4 a.m. and then have a cup of coffee – but they start CHIRPING and MOOING at 4:30!

Mama "Pearl" and a baby from Daddy "Rebar".

Mama “Pearl” and a baby from Daddy “Rebar”.

And when I say “if they are like ME“, I do NOT mean that I wake up at 4:00 a.m. – I only mean that the first thing I do WHEN I wake up is have a cup of coffee.

The 4:30 a.m. time is significant this morning because today, June 1, 2014 marks the day for some big changes for me.

For my birthday this year, my husband bought me Kelly Rae Roberts‘ e-book Flying Lessons. I have been reading that and getting inspired and excited to delve deeper into my art and explore art as a business. There is a Facebook group for those who have purchased the book and from that page and the folks on there, I have gleaned even MORE great information and met some WONDERFUL artists.

Someone posted this TED Video and asked us if we wanted to begin a challenge on June 1, Art 101: Artists Supporting Artists, it’s called. Making art over the next 101 days and networking with the other artists in the group, each sharing the other’s work, creating or re-starting our Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts, Blogs, and Etsy shops. Here is the Facebook page for that wonderful group: Art 101: Artists Supporting Artists

So, here I am, June 1st, 2014 saying Welcome (Back) to Expressatory. I am on a fast-track to learning about badges, blog rolls, banners, buttons and widgets. My specific art commitment is to create a new piece of artwork each week for the 101 days. Here is a birthday card I made for my mom’s birthday yesterday.

Mom and her two sisters. My mom is the youngest one.

Mom and her two sisters. My mom is the youngest one.

I look forward to getting to know YOU along the way,.

Pondering the Saying: God will never give us more than we can handle…

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This is a piece I have been working on here and there, mostly at the hospital while waiting for the ER, admission, surgery, etc. It was created on the iPad using the app ProCreate.

This is a piece I have been working on here and there, mostly at the hospital while waiting for the ER, admission, surgery, etc. It was created on the iPad using the app ProCreate.

I often hear (and have even SAID) the phrase “God will never give us more than we can handle”.

but I don’t think God GIVES us the suffering. I believe it is a consequence of living on this earth but not that God GIVES different measures of suffering to different folks – and based on WHAT?!

But on the other hand – while I believe in miracles and believe that God could perform a miracle and heal Brian – I don’t EXPECT him to, in the sense that I feel he SHOULD.  But SHOULD I expect him to? Is it not happening because I am not EXPECTING it? And if I expect it and it doesn’t happen…THEN what?

but if I don’t expect a miracle or even PRAY for one – what SHOULD I pray for?! Have I let the fact that I am not “expecting” a miracle keep me from regular conversation with Christ?

it feels strange to continually pray for miracles that don’t happen. But maybe they ARE happening. The first infection Brian got after the initial surgery to remove the cancerous tumor COULD have been a miracle, or at least a BLESSING because if it hadn’t happened we wouldn’t have known that his artery was exposed and he could have been in a very serious life or death situation at any time.

Seeing Brian almost continually in pain just seems so unfair and yet I know this life isn’t about fairness.  Every couple of nights I mind myself holding him a little too tightly and praying, begging God to take away just a LITTLE of the pain he is feeling.  Then Brian will say it feels better and I wonder…does it REALLY or is he saying that to ease my fears?  Maybe these are little miracles, little answers to prayers…maybe not.

I look to God to give us the strength to get thru this and that is what that phrase means to ME.

Here’s how I might say it…at least today –

Whatever circumstances we are in – God is there to BE our strength (more than even GIVING us strength…he wants to BE our strength).  The world will OFTEN give us more than we can handle…God is ALWAYS there to be our strength.  We are not expected to be strong enough to handle ANYTHING ON OUR OWN.

Prison Gangs, Oprah and the Teaching at Church Last Week

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Every once in awhile I see a connection or a recurring theme coming out of totally different places in my life.  Recently I saw a connection between a documentary about prison gangs, a quote repeated on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday show and the teaching by Marc Schelske at Bridge City from 6/1/13 titled : No Longer Far Away
I watched a documentary recently about prison life and prison gangs. If you are interested, you can watch it here:
In the outdoor prison yards, everyone separated themselves into their respective gangs, generally by race.  They don’t interact with members from other gangs unless it’s a fight or something. A couple of prisoners that were interviewed were asked how they got their scars or injuries…assuming it was from a rival gang member. Both prisoners said they got their scars and injuries from both THEIR gang AND rivals. The gangs are run by gang leaders who are in solitary confinement because they are so dangerous. So the gang members are following “rules” set forth by people they may have never met and never see. The guards basically said the gangs have the power in the prison…OVER the guards. They are just TOO powerful.
Then there’s this other yard they called the “dropout” yard. These are Prison Gang Dropouts. Some are there by choice, some because they were kicked out of their gang for various reasons. Many of them are constantly in danger of being killed by members of their previous gang.
But here’s the thing that caught my eye. In the “Dropout Yard”, there was no segregation. Black hanging with hispanics hanging with whites, all brothers, all looking out for each other. How is THIS the “Dropout” yard?!
The second connection was Marc’s teaching this week based on Ephesians 2:11-22. It was a VERY powerful message. You can see it here:  But here’s my Cliff Notes:
What Jesus did on the cross redeemed ALL of humanity.  ALL OF HUMANITY! Not just the good people, not just Christians, not just Americans, not just those outside of the prison walls,  not just US but also THEM!
Marc said “If I hold on to old hostilities, I have not been transformed by the gospel.” The gospel teaches Grace. If I believe in and understand Grace, I understand that it applies to ALL. I look at the grace God has given me…ME and learn how to release my old hostilities and instead, extend grace, as God has done for me.
Here’s the third connection I had.  On Oprah’s show Super Soul Sunday last week, the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk Thích Nhất Hạnh paraphrased a quote by the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  The paraphrase was this:  “If we really listened to our enemy’s suffering, we would no longer be enemies.”  The original quote is this: “If we could read the secret history of our enemies we would find in each man’s sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”
Marc gave an analogy of his teaching by picturing a wagon wheel with the spokes. God is at the center. The closer we get to God, the closer we get to each other. This is what created the church so long ago.  This is what can change the world today.

It’s a GIFT….really!

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Ephesians 2

I just recently started exploring and learning about digital mixed media artwork. My husband got me two styluses for my birthday that I spent some time researching to make sure they were the best at doing what I wanted to do. My mom gave me some money for my birthday and I used it to buy several iPad art apps. I will share these and the stylus info in another post.

While my more comfortable go-to would be to put actual paint on paper, I attempted a digital piece in response to the teaching at my church this Saturday (Bridge City Community Church in Milwaukie, Oregon). We have been having a series on Ephesians. This Saturday my friend Marc Alan Schelske shared part 7 and it was based on Ephesians 2:1-10. I suppose the key verse here, or the most well-known is verse 10: For by GRACE are we saved thru FAITH; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of GOD.

I am sure I can’t even remember how many times I have heard a teaching on Grace…well, probably lots of SERMONS and Preaching on Grace, that may or may not have hit the mark. But, speaking of Mark…Marc seems to always have a way of bringing things down to earth for me and making them current and relevant. I can’t seem to find clear words to describe what I heard in this teaching, what spoke to my heart. That’s why I decided to use a different part of my brain to share this topic with you. I encourage you to check out the teaching, here.