Beautiful El Morro

This post is just a test for my blog posts –  but still, it’s a good time to say how much I appreciate this beautiful part of our country. This was taken at El Morro when I was living in Arizona.  What an amazing time of my life!

 

Encouragement for a Lifetime

“Everyone has inside them a piece of good news.  The good news is you don’t know how great you can be!  How much you can love!  What you can accomplish! And what your potential is.” Anne Frank

My thinking is…. why not take time to contemplate this with God?  What you hear will be the most encouraging words you could ever hear!

Stations of the Cross ~ a focus beyond ourselves…

Stations of the Cross

This creative visual expression of the ninth and tenth “Stations of the Cross” was a group activity of Color Me FRIENDS and some members of St Francis Episcopal Church, Manakin-Sabot, VA this Lenten season. The two stations are part of a series of coloring pages from Illustrated Children’s Ministry by artist, Adam Walker Cleveland.   I wanted to provide a creative response to a presentation I gave on how we hear God through creative expression.  I also wanted the response to deepen a sense of “belonging” and “community”.   In my own experience and what I know from others, as I engage in the creative process, my mind is quieted, my perception opens up, and I awaken more deeply to the Spirit of God.  One might say, “the eyes of my heart are opened”.  Working together as a group on any project, especially an art work, can provide a sense of belonging to something “bigger” than myself, as well as, provide a way for my values to be expressed and more deeply experienced.

“During the season of Lent, the Stations of the Cross are often focused upon – to help us see beyond ourselves, our own egos and agendas, and to walk with God.”   Images of the Stations are found in many forms in churches and gardens throughout the world.  They are associated with Christian pilgrimages to Jerusalem by the early Christians who would physically travel to Jerusalem.

The ninth Station on the “left” is entitled, “Blessing”.   Here in Luke 23:27-31, we learn that this is where Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem, and he says these strange words: “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore… (Luke 23:29).  I would like to share with you what the authors of “Illustrated Children’s Ministry” have written on this account. “These words are exactly opposite of what we hear at the beginning of Luke’s gospel when Gabriel announces to Mary that she will give birth to Jesus:  “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42).  Perhaps the words in Luke’s account of the Passion are a reminder to us that every moment of our lives, even those places that seem the most forsaken, can be places of God’s blessing.  And it is precisely those most human of conditions that Jesus wishes to bless, to transform, and to take up into the divine life.”

Is there something in your life that is difficult right now?  As you ponder the ninth Station of the Cross, ask the Lord to open the eyes of your heart to hear his words of blessing upon you.  Perhaps as you listen and watch, you may see a picture in your mind’s eye.  Write down what you hear and see, then take one more step and consider how you might visually, musically, or find some other form of creative expression for this blessing that has come to you.  Let yourself rest in this joy.

Carol

 

 

Winds of Time

I took a trip to Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona and like so many others on this trip, I took many photos. They are one of a kind every time because of the time of day and season of light one visits this amazing place! What you see is truly in the “eye of the beholder”! I have been looking at my photos lately and find myself taken with the beauty of this special place. The more I gaze, the more my soul is at peace. This time as I gazed upon this photo, I saw the waves embedded in the rock that were formed from the sand that the wind gently blew across the rock.

In my art therapy groups and expressive arts coaching sessions, I encourage the participants by asking three questions: What do you see? What do you think? What do you wonder? Then, after reflecting for some time, the journaling begins. Sometimes I will ask for a “title” as a starting point to journal writing. I might say, “give your image a title” and then tell the story. What comes from this kind of reflection can be powerful. It can help us see things and consider how what we see can give us fresh insight and open up possibilities. Sometimes when we feel stuck, this “gazing” can enable the light we need to see the way forward.

I titled this photo, “Winds of Time”…. now to reflect and see what comes. Why not join me?

What do you see? Where is your eye drawn?

Valentines for more than 70 years!

Valentines for more than 70 years!Aunt Nina's Valentine to DadValentines for more than 70 Years…. yes, that’s my parents’ story :)…  When a couple has shared that many years together it is something to talk about and celebrate!  On Valentine’s Day 2016 I had the privilege of being with them as they shared cards from friends and family.  Some cards were “sweet” like the one my mom gave to my dad. Other cards were fun and clever, like the one my sister and her husband gave with Charlie Brown and Snoopy.  Two cards were handmade ~ the ones made by my dad’s sister, Nina.  All special.  All encouraging love we share.  That’s a blessing and blessing one another spreads the love all around ~ more than 70 years!

Color Me FRIENDS

Really looking forward to the new community group we’re calling Color Me FRIENDS!  So many folks around the world are finding adult coloring a way to lower stress while at the same time stimulate creativity!  Excitement is building for our group meetings that will take place on the first Wednesday evening of each month beginning October 7th…. I am going to be posting artwork on my blog regularly. If you are interested in joining us from a distance, just send me a photo of your coloring work and I’ll post it to our coloring facebook page & I’ll invite you to the fb group.  It’ll be a great way to stay connected and encourage a CREATIVE CULTURE in our communities. Send Photos Here

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The First Time

My husband, John, and I often spend our early mornings talking over coffee. We talk about the things we value, such as our family, our ministries, and our future goals.  Of course, encouraging anyone we can to learn to recognize God’s voice is one of the most exciting and beneficial topics we could ever share.   There are so many ways to hear God’s voice, and so many good things come into being when we act upon what He says to us.    I think you’ll like what John has to say on this subject taken from Psalm 29:9.

The First Time  ~  by John Maher

The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth….    Psalm 29:9

John O’Donohue writes that home is the place where you see things for the first time (Eternal Echoes: Critical Reflections on Our Need to Belong, pg 31).  I would add a similar observation: Home is where you hear things for the first time. In one very real sense, following Jesus is putting yourself into the position to see and hear things for the first time.   In Psalm 29:9 cited above we can see the results of the sound of the voice of the Lord.  Hearing His voice can cause new things to be born.  New ministries, new forgiveness, new courage, new relationships, new power, etc., et. may be born at the sound of the voice of the Lord.  It is the birth of these new aspects of the kingdom of God that may be the flow of living water coming from the spirit of believers as Jesus described (John 7:39).  The sound of many waters (Revelation 14:2) may very well be the gathering of the church in a way that many new ministries and empowerments of the Spirit are born.

All of this means putting ourselves into the position to see and hear things from the Spirit of God.  Many of those things we will be hearing for the first time.

One more very transforming dynamic is at play when we put ourselves into the position to see and hear things for the first time.  We know we are where we belong.  Just as it is in our physical lives where we see and hear things for the first time as infants in our home where we belong,  so in our spiritual lives every time we see and hear things of Jesus and His great mercy we know we are home where we belong.

Take a moment and put yourself into the position to see and hear from the Spirit of God.  Consider what new things you might see and hear.  Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.