I was commissioned to paint a thistle as a special thank you gift. The painting is inspired by the family's ranch in Texas - Thistle Dew Ranch.
I had actually zoomed in and taken some photos of thistles over a year ago. I was excited to pull those out, observe and paint all those points and patterns and colors and textures...and then the dew drops! :)
I did a little research on the Texas Thistle: It is heat and drought resistant (reminds me of the truths found in Jeremiah 17:7,8) and provides for Painted Lady butterflies, bumblebees, and goldfinches.
I was personally struck by a simple statement I read: the thistle is "commonly recognized for its flower". It is known for its flower - the bloom - the beauty... not by its spikey ends (which do provide protection against hungry cattle).
The thistle, in all it's intricacy, is a reminder...Creator God sees me as He created me. He knows me by my "bloom". Psalm 139.
I've been reflecting on my recent trip to Fort Riley, Kansas and my heart is FULL.
I had the privilege of spending a morning and an evening with the women in PWOC at Fort Riley, Kansas. I had the opportunity to stand in front of a group of about 100 women (in the a.m.) who's families are currently stationed on the army post at Fort Riley.
I still feel quite humbled and honored!
I shared what God has been showing me about Himself - through the exquisite beauty He creates, out of the dirt. We then took time to connect with our Creator through drawing and painting on tiles.
Just look at the unique beauty pouring out of each woman!
Although I am most naturally comfortable behind the scenes, opportunities have been 'appearing' to share with different groups (Decorah Covenant Church women's Bible study, Iowa; Antioch Women's Retreat, Wheaton, IL; Thomas Jefferson School, Hoffman Estates, IL & now Fort Riley, KS) In the moment, I don't often think to take pictures & share (getting better, though!).
"The world is full of magic things
patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."
- WB Yeats
When we stop to observe what is in front of us - taking time to study it so that we can capture it on paper - we are sharpening our senses. We discover what we would normally pass by.
Our appreciation grows for the 'magic' that surrounds us.
My 1st through 5th grade students rose to the challenge of drawing from life. It can be easier to draw from a photo. The view is cropped for us and what is 3-dimensional has already been translated to a 2-dimensional image. The landscape (a view from my backyard) was especially challenging - but SO good for stretching our observational skills!
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I originally posted 'Being Filled' about 6 months ago. I hung it on the wall... and began to question if it was finished. I decided go back in with more layers and more contrast.
This painting is an expression of the desire to be filled. Some dark chocolate and a good book sound great (for you it may be chips, guacamole and a party! - the list is endless for ways we 'fill up'), but ultimately I want deep, life-giving, sustainable fullness.
I imagine being filled in and around and through.
Full of peace and joy
I keep coming back to God, asking Him to "Fill 'er up!" :)
Here is my prayer for you (and for myself!):
"I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." - Ephesians 3:16-19
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