62°F and very breezy. Somehow you don’t mind the wind when it’s mild, even if strong. I could sit here for hours.
After only a few minutes, to my surprise, a flock of ducks descend on the water. But these are no common mallards. What are they? They communicate with each other by “whisping”….whisp, whisp, whisp. It’s a cross between a whisper and a hiss. One performs some kind of walk-on-water dance. Was he impressing a female? I believe these are blue-winged teals. I watch them with great wonderment. They don’t feel my eyes prying, staring like a rude intruder.
l sit for an hour painting the bridge. I contemplate where it leads and why it was built. A smile comes across my face as I think about Easter and realize that Jesus became the bridge to unite us to God. By dying on the cross (also made of wood), he bridged the gap between sinful humans and God. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. [Eph 1:7] And after paying for our sins, He rose from the dead because death could not hold him. [Acts 2:24]
This act of death on a cross came at a great, painful price. A great loving price. A free gift from the Father through the obedience of the Son. If we repent and accept Him as our Savior, He promises to forgive….no questions asked…no sin too big, nor too horrible to forgive. You will be made white as snow and He will remember your sins no more. [Is 1:18]
He wants to be in your daily life. He isn’t a God who sits on a fluffy white cloud waiting to strike you down. He is love and wants to communicate with you through prayer. He also promised to never leave you nor forsake you. That’s good news especially in our tumultuous times.
A stranger walks towards the water and the bridge. Not only do frogs on the fringe of the pond shriek and leap for their lives into the water, but my ducks become frightened too and swim out of sight. Chorus frogs steadily call in the background.
The seen and unseen mysteries of life are fascinating. It’s all attainable, doors will open if you knock.
Posted in art, Artwork, Chicago, duck, God, hiking, nature, Paint His Love, sketchbook, watercolor painting, watercolor sketching
Tagged art, Artwork, blue-winged teal, bridge, Easter, God, Jesus, journal, nature, painting, pond, sketchbook, spring, watercolor
Driving home and not intending on stopping, something told me it was deeply necessary. Necessary because the world depends on it? Well, no. But rather necessary because my soul needed it. It’s been a while.
But I don’t have time!
But I’m expected home right now!
With art supplies in the back seat, I was able to focus on this scene and contemplate nature…the way the horizon looks a tinge peach even though I am facing east and it’s an hour from sunset…the way the dried golden grasses reflect in the water…the way the tiny foreground tree has tiny gnarly twigs…
And suddenly it is well with my soul.
I am learning lately to relinquish control and listen to that still small voice. I cannot fail if I trust in God even if I cannot fully see the situation. Today was a favorable situation and I enjoyed my quick impromptu painting, but can I still have that same positive attitude with a less favorable condition? Do I trust? Can I let go of control? Will it still be well with my soul?
Now that would be some kind of faith.
To trust in God, to trust He has a plan even when things don’t go my way or perhaps when suffering is involved, if total control is relinquished, that’s not only courageous faith, but peace and freedom too. And that faith will not go unaided, for He said:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Cor 12:9
Posted in art, Artwork, Chicago, God, nature, Paint His Love, sketch book, sketchbook, watercolor painting, watercolor sketching
Tagged art, Artwork, faith, God, hidden lake, nature, painting, sketchbook, trust, watercolor
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.
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.
Posted in art, Artwork, God, nature, Paint His Love, poetry, sketch book, sketchbook, watercolor painting, watercolor sketching, wildlife
Tagged art, Artwork, birdhouse watercolor, God, nature, poetry, sketchbook, watercolor
There are miracles in just about everything.
For example, think of the growing process in which these gourds and pumpkin developed: From a small seed by which itself is useless, but with the right combination, a combination we cannot materialize with our own human hands….sunlight, oxygen, soil, rain, in just the right amounts… not too little, not too much, can produce the most amazing fruits. Those fruits are beneficial to us, to nourish us, and bless us.
I want to view everything around me as a miracle and not take anything for granted. This way of thinking kills the negativity that creeps into one’s mind. When we choose to be thankful, when we choose to think positive thoughts, we choose to have a good day. And then guess what, somehow the day is good.
These gourds and one pumpkin gave me an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness and blessing, especially because of the company I was in, sitting with a dear friend. I painted with brush in hand and thankfulness in heart.
Posted in art, Artwork, nature, Paint His Love, sketch book, sketchbook, watercolor painting, watercolor sketching
Tagged art, Artwork, autumn, nature, painting, pumpkin, sketch, sketchbook, thankful, watercolor
I found this beautiful weed climbing on a friend’s fence. Beautiful but rather toxic. While not as poisonous as its cousin, Deadly Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade should not be consumed.
On this particular vine, the berries were in every stage of color. The berries start green and are most toxic during this state. Next, the berries ripen into an orange color, until they reach their final deep red color.
But what attracts me the most are those purple and yellow flowers….the pre-berry stage. And so it did as a child, attracted me to them. It’s a fond childhood memory of mine, finding these tiny flowers pop all over chain link fences.
In Thessalonians we are reminded to be thankful in all circumstances.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Being that this is a weed, but so beautiful, I can be thankful for weeds. On that thought, what about the things in life that we can’t see a silver lining for? Can we still be thankful then? For example, when you are without something you need or when someone back stabs you…can you still find a reason to be thankful?
Oh, now that’s difficult! But that’s what we are lovingly instructed to do. Why?
I found myself upset about a personal situation. I thought about it for many hours, how I was unjustly wronged. But in this moment, I had two choices…..
- Dwell on it and be upset, causing me to be in a negative mood and affect other areas in my life.
- Be thankful for something, ANYTHING in that situation and meditate on positive thoughts.
In reading the New Testament, I am reminded of Christ’s example. While hanging on the Cross he said, “Father, please forgive them, they know not what they do.
How’s that for finding the positive?
While I can’t come close to living like Christ, I can try to follow in His direction. And how good it feels to be set free like that! Even if it doesn’t seem like it…these bizarre life hacks (to find the positive in all situations) are for our own wellness. To give us life and hope.
Posted in art, Artwork, nature, Nature Sketching, Paint His Love, sketch book, sketchbook, watercolor sketching
Tagged art, Artwork, bittersweet nightshade, journal, sketch, sketchbook, thankful, watercolor, weed