July 31, 2022

Leading Profession Development in Elizabethtown,KY

I had the joy of leading professional development up in Elizabethtown, KY this past week. Even though I had to leave my house at 4:30 am (time zone difference) ha ha.   I was there leading PD in 2020 at the start of the pandemic.  It was so nice to return, and get to see everyone's face this time around!!  We had a jam packed day of art making & conversations.  

July 24, 2022

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Commitment

 When I tell people I studied watercolor in college, they usually respond with, "Watercolor!?  That is really challenging?"  I didn't actually think of it like that when I was in school. Everything had challenges that had to be learn & experience.  Honestly, I really stuck with watercolor because it was too expense to switch over to oil or acrylic (for my non-Art/Art Ed friends...they require totally different brushes & supplies). I was paying for college myself, and money was a major factor in my choices. I committed to watercolor..no matter the reason.  I was going to see it through.  However, many people feel watercolor is challenging because you can't really take back the marks you make(not easily at least).  With oil you can remove the paint & acrylic you can paint over, but when you paint with watercolor you are making a commitment.

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

  Commitment is kind of a fading concept in our society.  People don't commit to anything.  Jobs, marriage, mortgage, friendships 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.  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.

No matter....

July 17, 2022

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Just Love?

Robert Indiana's LOVE is iconic.  The image has been used, reused, overused, and abused. Shirts, postage stamps, wall art...it has been on everything imaginable.  What is it about this "simple" work that has captivated the world. First, we have to realize that it is not as simple as throwing letters together and calling it art.  There were thoughts, sketches, redesigns, and different iterations of the idea before the public ever observed the finished work.  LOVE started somewhere deeper than we know.  If you read up on Robert Indiana & his work...you might come upon theories behind this work.  You can rest assured, LOVE is not as simple as it might seem.

 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.    John 13:34-35

In John, Jesus gives a "new" commandment.  The command is to love.  Seems simple enough, right?  I can do that!  Well, maybe not the person at work that gets on my last ever loving nerve.  Oh... what about that relative that constantly points out that I've gained a few pounds.  I know we are "family"...but.  Then there was that person that was riding my tail on the interstate yesterday. They were kind of jerks.  I don't have to love them! 

  I was being a bit overly dramatic, but I hope you see my point.  Loving others isn't always as easy as it might seem.  We find a million reasons to justify why we don't have to show the same kind of love, compassion, and grace that was given us!  It might not be as dramatic, but love can be a challenge for us in many situations.  If we have been hurt, if we lack understanding, if we think more highly of ourselves than we should....love doesn't always come so easy.  Many times we feel if we're going to put our necks out there and love....by golly we better get some reciprocation.  That isn't really how love works. 

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Love is not as simple as it might look.  However, for those of us who KNOW the Lord....we have the perfect example in our lives.  Jesus modeled love with His life, death, and resurrection.  If He lives in you...you KNOW love.  It might not be easy to live it out at times, but trust the Lord to develop this in your life.  He has called us to love....the only way you can know Him & make Him known is LOVE!  

July 10, 2022

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Endurance

 As an art teacher, I often find myself reminding my students that "GOOD ART TAKES TIME".  For some reason, they want to race through their projects to be the first one complete.  In the rush to finish, their art work truly suffers.  They are messy, incomplete, lacking detail, and not fully developed in concept & composition. I will first tell them to look at their work HONESTLY and see if it is truly their best.  If they can see it is not, I will have them go back and fix it up.  If they tell me it is their best work, then I will take them through the different parts of their picture that might need their attention.  Sometimes during their attempts to complete their work ( the second time), I will hear them complain about something being too hard or that they "can't" do it (reasons why they may have rushed the first time....frustration & lack of confidence).  They need to move past the mental blocks of "TOO HARD" & "I CAN'T".  They aren't just words, but a mind set that traps young artists. This prevents them from finding joy & success in creating.  I can reteach the lesson/concept, work individually with them, and answer questions they might have, but what will benefit them the most is continuing to try their best and being able to work through their frustration.  There is an endurance in art that some do not consider.  Being an artist is like a marathon runner.  Time, practice, and pushing through the frustrations will yield reward.  

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of thrown of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Herbrews 12: 1-2

Our faith walk can be derailed by our mind set.  We allow the world to speak lies into our life that just aren't true.  It may come from media, friendships, or even family. These lies start to  take root in our life, and we find ourselves struggling to move forward. These lies are the things that so easily entangle.  We be believe the lies instead of what the Lord says.  We choose lies over the the truth.  Fixing our eyes on the Lord, pushing through the lies of this world and focuses on THE TRUTH.  It takes work.  It takes time of being uncomfortable. There can be a battle in our heart and mind.  If you continue in the truth and trusting who God says you are...you WILL overcome! Lies will come, situations will rise up again, and wars will rage around you. You will have an endurance because your faith is stronger. When the next time the battles rage...yes...there will be a next time...you will be stronger...IN HIM! The lies will no longer have the same impact they once did. The traps of this world will not snare you. The wounds will not be as deep.  God will get the glory, and you will run the race with endurance....to the victory which He already has won!! 

July 03, 2022

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: It Shows

 If you spend much time with an artists/art teachers, you will notice something about their hands.  They always seem to have evidence of their work on them.  I personally do not reserve it for my hands only(unfortunately).  My shirts, pants, shoes, face, hair, arms...all tell the story of my work and what I'm investing myself.  A good artist or art teacher is often so involved with what they are doing, that they do not pay attention to such things.  It is just not a real priority.  Their priority is doing what they're passionate about...what they were created to do.  Just look at their hands and you will see the evidence.

Whatever you do, do your work heartily,
 as for the Lord rather than for men.
Colossians 3:23

God has called each of us into "ministry" if you have accepted the Lord as your Savior.  You know that, right?!?  Your ministry may not look like the pastor's, overseas missionary, or Sunday school teacher.  Maybe your ministry is being a mom, custodian, fast food worker, or maybe even an art teacher.  Whatever it is... it should be done as for the Lord.  When we are working as for the Lord...it should be with all of our heart, mind, and might.  People will begin noticing when you serve the Lord with all that you are in whatever your job/ministry is.  Not because you are proclaiming your awesomeness & deeds, but because living a life for the Lord shows on you like an artist's hands.  Your words, work, attitude, and priorities all start looking like they have Jesus all over them!  

How about you?  Does your life have Jesus all over it?  If you feel like people may not be seeing Jesus in you, THAT'S OK!!  We aren't perfect & no one has "arrived".  Each day we have a chance to do better than the day before.  We learn from our mistakes, and we give those areas of our life over to God.  Ask Him to help you see your WHOLE life as MINISTRY!  Try to do all things for God....work, home, friends, play..etc.  When we do this...we are like the hands of an artist, you can't help but see the evidence of their hearts passion.