June 28, 2015

Sunday Morning Devotional: Taking Chances

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately.  I must stay at your house today."  So he came down a once and welcomed him gladly.  All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a sinner."  But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord!  Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."  Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
Luke 19: 1-10

As an artist(and I'd say many other fields)...stepping out of the "norm" is part of growth.  Risk taking isn't always popular though.  People often value routine & those that "get with the program".  I know this sounds absurd in relation to the arts. In college, I was told I should switch to oil because my themes were not appropriate for watercolor.  I was really bothered by this, because I felt that art was about pushing boundaries & taking risks. I found a way to continue pursing the themes/subject matter I wanted to pursue, and feel I've grown personally & artistically because of the challenges I encountered along the way.

Jesus did not always make "popular" choices.  In the case of Zacchaeus, Jesus truly went against "acceptable" behavior by going to his home.  Zacchaeus was a tax collector...and a pretty self serving one at that.  No self respecting Jew would want to go to the home of a known baddie.  However, unlike most "self respecting Jews" ...Jesus could see beyond what others saw.  He knew...if given the chance Zacchaeus would change his life around.  It just took someone taking a "risk".  Going against what was "acceptable", Jesus showed love to someone who was in desperate need of it!  Am I talking about Zacchaeus now...or us?  Before Jesus, we were just as unacceptable as Zacchaeus.  Sometimes we forget that we were/are just as much in need of a Savior.  

Do you know someone that needs you to take a "risk" with?  A friendship, an invitation to church, a kind word or deed done in the name of Jesus.....could change someones world.  Be the risk taker the Lord created you to be!  Be willing to stick your neck out.  I bet you will see a change...in yourself!(it is in God's hands regarding the heart of the other person).  

(I love turtles...and this is one of my fav sayings!)


Dear Lord, let me see with your eyes! 
 Let me be an instrument you use to meet the needs of others.  
Let me be an example of Your love.
Jesus, help me to not look at labels, but at the 
the love you gave to me...and may it compel me to 
love others.  Let me be the risk taker...
knowing you are always with me & 
will never leave me.  


June 21, 2015

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: The Watercolor Way of Life

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
Proverbs 16:3

When I tell people I studied watercolor in college, they usually respond with.."Watercolor!?  That is really challenging?"  I didn't really think of it like that when I was in school.  Honestly, I stuck with watercolor because it was too expense to switch over to oil (for my non-Art Ed friends...oil requires totally different brushes & supplies).  I committed to watercolor...no matter the reason...I was going to see it through.  The reason many people feel watercolor is challenging though...is that you can't take back the marks you make.  With oil you can remove & acrylic you can paint over, but when you paint with watercolor....you are making a commitment.

  Commitment is kind of a fading concept in our society.  People don't commit to anything.  Jobs, marriage, mortgage, and a host of other things are just commitments while it's convenient. (please know I'm aware that there are many valid reasons for some of these commitments to end...but I'm speaking of commitments of convenience).  We aren't willing to pick up the brush...and make a mark.  God's desire is that we would commit our ways to Him!  He doesn't say commit the easy things...the fun things...the things you know you'll be successful in.  He wants you to commit ALL your ways to Him!!  I love this because I feel my life is ministry...my job, my hobbies, my family...my everything can bring glory to the Lord if I commit it to Him.  If you are thinking there are some things in your life you can't commit to Him....then you may want to reconsider if it is something that you need in your life!!  

Pick up the brush...make a mark...commit to it!! What is the worst that can happen?  You make a mistake? God won't be shocked by that.  In art we call them happy accidents...because they can add character to our work or move it in an unexpected direction that turns out being more than we could have imagined.  In our walk with God...mistakes are opportunities to grow in Him....accept grace...and learn from the situation.  It gives us a testimony to share with others.



Dear Lord, allow us to have holy boldness to step out in our faith & trust you with it.  You don't call us to be perfect, but to step out in faith & trust you with the results.  Allow us to be willing to commit all our ways to You.  May our steps of faith glorify you & bring us into a closer relationship with You.  

In Your Name Lord ....AMEN

June 14, 2015

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: How To Be

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6-7

As artists we take our life experiences, art experiences, training, and imagination everywhere we go.  Anything & Everything can be inspiration for our art.  Sketch books, napkins, digital collections fill up with promising concepts for future work! Making art becomes a basic need for existing.    However, there can be seasons of our life where we are not creating.  It happens: job, family, LIFE!  I've heard it said that it is like riding a bike...you just get back on & go.  I don't really feel that is true.  It is very easy to slip into bad habits, struggle to concentrate, and get easily frustrated when we're out of the artistic habit of creating. I picture the artist like a stagnant pond.  It has all the makings for life & vibrancy, but with not input or output...it becomes mucked up!  It will take a little bit of time getting yourself back into the swing of things...discipline & hard work will once again allow you to see the fruit of your labor.

Our walk with God is the same way.  Life can sometimes get in the way...and we find ourselves not reading our Bible, not spending time in prayer, lacking fellowship with believers, and forget about any kind of discipleship/mentoring going on.  When this happens, we come stagnant....disconnected....out of touch with The Giver of Life!   Our life no longer reflects one passionately seeking after God.  We stop seeing some of the exciting God things that use to be apart of our daily walk with Him.  He has never left & He is still there in your life, but you aren't seeing fruit.  Yes, we can confess our sin(which really it is...putting other things before God), and ask for God to help us keep Him first in all things.  But you have to play a part in this! Getting back into the Word, praying, and spending time with brothers and sisters in Christ(we're all hypocrites and slackers....they will welcome you back! Haha).  You will begin to see God's hand at work in your life, you will know He is with you(and never left you in the first place).....and the fruit will grow once more!  

Receiving Christ is where it STARTS....but we must be ROOTED in Him....and continue on on!  Continuing on is not stagnant...it is active & moving!  Just like our faith (and art) should be!  

Dear Lord, help me to never lose focus of you!  
May I make my relationship with you a priority, and let it be ever moving, growing, and going deeper! Allow my life show the relationship I have with you...and may I seek out opportunities to make you know through my life, actions, words, and art!

June 07, 2015

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Judge/Critique

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of saw dust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.  
Matthew 7: 1-5 (NIV)

I remember the first time I "participated" in a critique.  It was a very vulnerable & raw experience. It shouldn't have been though.  A critique is designed to be a detailed analysis/assessment.  Basically...just the facts.  There is no emotion or opinion to a true critique.  They are meant to inform.  That information can then be used to improve upon the original work, or be used for future endeavors. Unfortunately, critiques are often judgement filled sessions of destruction. Opinions are used to assert superiority/dominance of the given subject matter/medium/technique.  What should be used as a tool for growth....often is misused & ineffective.

In Matthew 7:1-5 we are warned about judging others.  Too often those that are the quickest to judge have the same issue...or one "greater" than the person they are judging.  Why?  If they are able to point out the problems in others, then they can feel better about their own ("At least I'm not as bad as ____").  We also must be careful not to hold "the world" to the same standards Christians. You can not expect someone to behave like Christ if they do not know Him!  Christ came to Earth, lived as an example to us all, died to take away the sins of all who believe, and rose again to give us new life in Him. I don't remember Him telling me to go around being hateful, unkind, and judgmental to those who don't know Him. My life goal is to know God & make Him known.  I have no time for judgement if that is truly my goal!!  

A Time To Critique
.  If we want to grow in our relationship with Christ, we must have people that can "critique" our lives.  Having that person who can say, "I see this area in your life that doesn't reflect the Lord like it should."....will help us to mature in our faith.  It isn't always easy to hear the truth, but if it is coming from someone we love & respect...than we can trust that they are saying it for our good.  Make sure you have permission to speak into that person's life.  If they aren't willing to hear it from you...maybe God has someone else He wants to use in their life.  

I saw a great art critique poster from educationcloset.com 

This might be a great way to go about approaching people!  
" How do you feel things are going?   You are such a hard worker, and I love how you jump in behind the scenes to get the job done!  However, I've noticed that you are a little gruff with people that don't seem to know what they are doing.  A more Christ like response would be to show compassion & grace.  Maybe ask them if they need some help, and you can model for them what they should be doing."  


Lord, let us be people that are quicker to love & share grace than judge.
Thank you Jesus for loving me...and forgiving me of my sin.  
I pray that I have your heart for the lost.
I pray I have your eyes to see the need.
May my life reflect the Truth of You & what You have done for me.

In Christ Jesus,

June 05, 2015

Paint Roller A.D.D.?


It is VBS prep time again...and that means repainting huge backdrops for the main stage area(think set for a play).  I am the one to call for organization and set up...I love it & can do it blindfolded.  However...whenever I get a paint roller in my hand...I can't focus!?!?  I jump from canvas to canvas(or wall to wall)...and put a little color everywhere?!?  Anyone else like that?   

June 02, 2015

Summer Art!

     My kiddos are experiencing the beach for the first time!  They love it!!  We have enjoyed building sand castles together.  My oldest (6yrs) loves decorating them with shells and sea weed!  Though the beach is not my favorite place...I am loving this time with my family. Hope you are enjoying your summer break too!