Tag Archives: journal

Autumn Begins Watercolor

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And so it begins…

Time cannot be undone.
And the leaves cannot go back on the trees.
But we can still move forward hand in hand with our Everlasting Father as He carries our hurts.
Amen.

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Mighty Oaks Watercolor Sketch

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On the advice of a Dove Candy wrapper (sea salt caramel & dark chocolate), I got lost on purpose….

Swallows dance above Crabapple Lake. Even though it is an overcast day, I can still see their shadow on the surface of the lake as they swoop within an inch of the water.

The wind pushes northward and along with it, a single cottonwood seed, floating in slow motion above my head.

The crabapple trees look thin. One looks as if it has changed prematurely, a brilliant red for autumn. But on closer inspection, half the tree has lost all it’s leaves and the only thing that remain are the brilliant little crabapples dangling in clusters.

The mighty oaks across the lake stand firm. Strong, thick, and firm.

How does one strengthen their faith as strong as the mighty oaks on Crabapple Lake?

By denouncing emotions and relying on the Word instead….

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. Isaiah 26:3

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Crabapple Lake

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The brilliant red crabapple tree

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Bumble bee on goldenrod

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Here’s wishing you many happy adventures when we get lost on purpose.

In Memoriam

It is with a broken heart and many tears that I announce the passing of a dear friend, sister in Christ, and painting buddy, Alanna.

I met Alanna 7 years ago when she contacted me through this site. She LOVES to paint and wanted to learn more, so she emailed me. We struck up a friendship and knowing she was from my area, I offered to teach her how to paint at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center. That began a wonderful painting and hiking friendship where we visited many forests preserves and explored nature together.

Through the years we shared many things…talking hours about God, sitting in her prayer swing in her backyard, discussing frustrations in our lives, discussing current events, relationships, you name it. She always has a way of making me feel better about any situation. I only wish I could do the same for her.

Many of you might recognize her from the MeetUp group painting events. It was rare when she missed one.

This is the last MeetUp painting she beautifully created….

She wrote:
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…. ye, though I walk through the valley of death, I shall fear no evil.  Psalm 23”

The MeetUp topic was depression and how to cling to God’s word in the midst of struggle. This was her favorite verse.

But she was depressed and she was very fearful about an upcoming surgery. A routine surgery.

It is with the permission of her family and with great devastation that I inform you that Alanna took her own life.

Our mission now is to tell her story and help others considering suicide. See, just because someone seems strong, or independent, doesn’t mean that they aren’t a scared little girl or boy on the inside. Just because someone says they’re close to God, or a Christian, doesn’t mean that they feel safe and have it all together. Many hide their true feelings deep within.

But God LOVES YOU.
He IS love.
He knows the very number of hairs on your head. (Matt 10:29-31)
He has loved you with an everlasting love. (Jer 31:3)
He sent his very Son to die on a cross for your transgressions so that you would be with Him for all eternity. (John 3:16)
He personally formed you in your mother’s womb. (Ps 139:13-14)
He adopted you as a son or daughter through Christ. (Eph 1:5-6)

Not only that, but He sent the Holy Spirit to walk next to you day by day to strengthen you because he knew this world is difficult. (Matt 10:16)

Life is difficult. Christians are not exempt from suffering, nobody is exempt from suffering, but the Word has power and we must cling to it.

He will never leave you nor forsake you. (Heb 13:5)

If you are struggling with life and have even a tiny fraction of a doubt whether you can go on or not….
If you’re scared and don’t know what to do….
If you’re lonely and have no one to turn to….
If you’re lost and you think there’s no way out….
If you’re so angry you can’t take it any longer…..
If you’ve been made fun of and you believe the bullies….
If you can’t look into the mirror anymore….

DON’T GIVE UP

Call 911 and tell them.
Call the Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255  available 24/7
Text “CONNECT” to 741741 on your cell phone

Please.
You are not alone.

Listen to this encouraging song and hear the words:

I will always keep Alanna in my heart and with me in the woods when I’m exploring.

Mr. Bad Raccoon Watercolor

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This is Mr. Bad Raccoon. Mr. Bad Raccoon liked to visit my bird feeder at Christ in the Wilderness promptly at 8pm every night. He was very hungry.

He was also very smart. His large body conquered the raccoon baffle on the feeder itself by standing on his hind feet, hugging the baffle, and inching his way to the top where he would lift the lid right off. Once on top, he would either cup his hands grabbing seed and bring it up to his face or he would place his whole head inside the feeder.

His determination created a soft spot in my heart and I stopped shewing him away. I reasoned with myself that if he went through all of that hard work, he must be rewarded. So I just watched in amazement. His is kinda cute.

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Forest Floor Mushrooms Watercolor Sketch

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I have a choice.

I can let worry hijack my thoughts or I can just say, no, to them. It’s an epiphany.

What I find helpful is to journal about the worry and or anxiety, let it all out. And by journaling, I mean hand writing…analog not digital. Why? Because the thought travels from your brain, through your nerve endings, down your spine, down your arm, and on to paper. You’re contemplating each stroke. You’re not letting a keyboard form the letters for you. There is something about this process that is healing.

Now, if I’m angry about the worry, I will hand write in ALL CAPS as if I’m shouting, using more pressure on the paper, darker letters. My formed words have expression to them. They are not just punched monotone letters. They have urgency and emotion.

Next, the most important part……
I give it up to God. And then I choose to say, no, to the next thought of worry. No! I do not allow it any more of my energy or space in my mind. For the Word says:

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.
Is 26:3-4

There is no freedom in allowing worry to consume your mind. There is freedom in laying it at Christ’s feet and saying, no, to a returning thought.

Now, where do mushrooms fit in to the equation?

Sometimes being weighed down by worry can cause you to stop doing what you love. It’s such a heavy invisible weight that suddenly you can’t seem to muster the physical effort for the activities that you used to look forward to. Write your worries out, give them to God, then let them go, then do the things you love. Go for a walk. Be able to see those little mushrooms because your mind will be free to play and explore. Paint! See a friend!

You have a choice. Leave everything in His care.

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