Category Archives: God

For the Love of Winter Trees

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Winter brings out the true character of a tree, exposing every branch, every twig. It reveals the very essence, divulges hidden secrets, and leaves you in a trance as you try to follow one branch with your eyes…from the trunk to the very tip of its tiniest twig. It’s a challenging maze and no two trees are the same.

It is perhaps that challenge of recreating the spirit of the tree on paper which brings me so much joy, but I can only fully understand it in the wintertime. Exposed and silent, it confesses that spirit and somehow I feel as if I’m communicating with its Creator.

That is the mystery of art. Although done in solitude, you are not alone. Your creativity begins a conversation with nature and with God and the best part is, they speak in return.

This apple tree had the setting sun turn selected twigs a golden yellow, while others blushed with rose, and yet a few had a cobalt glow. A downy woodpecker feasted on the suet cake at the feeder, filling up before twilight. That’s the story it told me.

On another day, I chose to study this mulberry tree by drawing in graphite with branch pencils my daughter gave me for Christmas.

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Neat pencils! It’s like I’m drawing a branch with a branch.

Branch pencil art

This winter mulberry tree has a hard lean to the right. Most of it’s branches grew from the right side. To the left of the mulberry tree is a thick evergreen tree. There is  struggle for sunlight, resulting in the mulberry’s shape and that’s the story the mulberry tells me.

Let’s go out and paint nature, but more importantly let’s hear the stories nature is trying to tell us. Enjoy.

Safe Space Watercolor

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Weathered but strong for the moment
A safe space made by man.
Time and the elements will destroy
But God in the heart of man, a safe space forevermore.
For no force against can deploy.

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My watercolor was made from this picture I took at CITW of a birdhouse on the fringe of a field with dried goldenrods still bobbing their heads in the breeze. It was peaceful to look at and I contemplate the story behind…think of the hands that made the birdhouse and the successful broods of birds now alive and flourishing because of this man made safe space.

Return to Retreat CITW

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It is time once again.
I felt it stir within, an urgency to go back. A time to retreat.
As I grow, I am more in tune with my body and emotions. With the weight of work and family obligations I needed a time out. Silence is what I crave, giving me the ability to hear my own thoughts and process them. I get so little of it normally, so it was time to go back to Christ in the Wilderness for a solitude retreat.

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This time I stayed in the hermitage called, Mariglen. It has a fascinating view of the land and it’s a very popular spot for the birds to visit. You can read last years visit if you wish here, here, and here, when I stayed at the Paul of Tarsus hermitage.

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It may seem to some that staying at a place like this throws you into the dark ages, as there are no TV’s, cell phone service, and no WiFi. But oh, on the contrary! Being in the “dark” here contains more light than the brightest lifestyle back home, with all of its empty technology enticements.

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For the silence at CITW not only lets me hear the wing beats of birds, but I can also hear them cracking seed in their beaks. My soul craves this.

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Time on the trails gives me perspective. I ask God lots of questions and it’s quiet enough to hear some answers. Last year I pondered much on my past but this time it was more about my present and who Christ is to me.

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He is the Light, the Life, and my Hope. This is what He whispered to me in the wilderness.

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I also discovered other mysteries on the trail, like these bones most likely from a coyote. If you look close enough you can see fur, underneath the bones, closest to the grass.

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And on one of my nights I was indulged with this cloud bow. Great treasures are all around, even in the sky.

It was with a heavy heart that I had to leave, but when the time is right I will return. I know I bring home with me a little piece of this Peace, I am never truly far from it.

Rain and a Glimpse of Autumn Sketch

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08-28-2016 (Sun)
88°F
Rain. Beautiful rain.

Straight down it was…no meandering, no skewing, no divergence, no wind. Tapping on leaves in trees creates a sound as if hundreds are clapping. My spirit is clapping.

I try to hear splashes in the puddles but cannot. The clapping overtakes the moment and I get lost in the mystery of His design.

And a few more leaves change colors.

Whatever is Lovely… Dwell on These Things – watercolor

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In light of recent abhorrent events in the United States, one can find themselves in a state of disbelief, sorrow, confusion, and have a slew of unanswered questions. The answer to the question why, may never come. Violence never solved a thing and it never will.

When current events get me down, I hear the words of Paul in my mind…

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.      Phil 4:8

Sitting in my backyard, I stare at potted flowers. I notice them waggle in the wind. Sunlight dapples in between leaves. The makeshift plant pedestal has evidence of tiny holes and I know my woodpecker friend was here. This beauty is simple but lovely. It is good and it is pure. It uplifts my spirits for a time, but it is not the answer. No, dwelling on lovely is not the answer.

Love is the answer.

Just this morning, I came upon these statements:

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.      1 John 4:10-12

It makes complete sense. Nobody has seen God, but when we love one another He is actually dwelling in us. And what better example of love than our Father who sacrificed His Son for us? Not to receive anything back, not to have fame, but out of total self sacrifice to pay for our sins and make a way for us, even while we still rejected Him. That’s love.

There is no room for hate and violence in this kind of love. Let’s serve one another in love, let God dwell in the midst of this love, for underneath skin we all have the same color blood.