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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Tagged art, Artwork, bad raccoon, birdfeeder, Christ in the Wilderness, journal, nature, raccoon, sketchbook, watercolor
There’s something about an empty bench underneath a gorgeous, shade providing tree… I couldn’t resist.
Here you find rest. The birds sing for you. The leaves cover you from the scorch of the sun. Time slows down a tad. And your mind unclouds. Life goes on around you without your help as it should. It’s healthy to take a time out.
That’s exactly what I did a few weekends ago at Christ in the Wilderness, a solitude retreat in Stockton, IL.
The tiny little chapel on the property is open all day and night and perfect for solitude meditation. Every retreatant is given a bandana. If you wish to be alone in the chapel, you tie the bandana to the outside door knob and everyone respects your wishes to be alone.
When I start to feel like my wheels are coming undone and life starts to get hectic, I know it’s time for a retreat.
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Tagged art, Artwork, bench, chapel, Christ in the Wilderness, nature, retreat, sketchbook, tree, watercolor
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.
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Tagged art, Artwork, blue-winged teal, bridge, Easter, God, Jesus, journal, nature, painting, pond, sketchbook, spring, watercolor
Chorus frogs sing in the background. Heavy fog in the air. Moss covers trunks and branches so thick, it’s as if spring is crawling up the trees.
The wind sways low basswood branches causing them to move side to side, like the nodding of the head implying, no.
Steady drizzle now.
There is peace in the trees as they grow their moss…a slow calmness. Slow is nice.
The American Basswood takes advantage of the space when it has room to grow. Lower limbs grow downward and sprawl out far. This particular basswood had many lovely burls and a carpet of moss and lichen covering them.
The drawing in the first picture was done with graphite and pastel pencils on Strathmore Toned Tan paper.
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Tagged art, Artwork, basswood, drawing, nature, sketchbook, strathmore, toned paper, tree
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
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Tagged art, Artwork, faith, God, hidden lake, nature, painting, sketchbook, trust, watercolor