Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"To Be Set Free" - A Colored Pencil Drawing And A Work In Progress

"To Be Set Free"     Colored Pencil on Paper     11" x 20"

"To Be Set Free"     Detail of her face
So here's the next installment of "To Be Set Free." I still need to go back and add some fly away hairs in the front like I did in the background, and the Bokeh (the circles of light and darkness) needs some serious blending, but other than that, I think all she needs next is her wings. I'm not sure if I'm dreading that or looking forward to it, to be quite honest... But I do know it's going to be a challenge to get those textures just right, especially getting them to look further back behind her without blurring them out or making them appear too detailed. This could be interesting...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

"To Be Set Free" - A WIP (Work in Progress) in Colored Pencil Over Graphite

This originally was a graphite drawing I started in college, but I saw my friends black and white colored pencil drawing and immediately fell in love with the way it made everything look like a photo, and so I set to work right away on re-drawing it right over the original with colored pencils. Right here it's in both phases, so you can see the hair is graphite, as well as from her shoulder and collar bone and down, and the rest is colored pencil, just of white and black, though I'm adding grey in later as well. It's got a long way to go before it's even close to being finished. Definitely a Work in Progress at this point. By the way, the blackish brown lines around the outside are just my couch. Not part of the picture. Just really wanted to get this posted because I miss blogging sooo much!
God has been working on my heart in ways that you wouldn't even be able to believe or imagine. He's brought some absolutely amazing women of faith my way that have been such needed encouragers of the faith and speakers of God's truth through LOVE  that they have taken this wretched woman in me who has been engulfed in bitterness and anger over losing soooo much in my life - nearly everything I hold dear - and I mean it - when my illnesses hit, it was like our lives stopped dead in their tracks - both Tyler and I are still reeling from the suddenness and severity of how intensely we lost nearly everything we held dear to this absolutely mind boggling constant and excruciating pain. I know I've said it before, but my pain is literally so insanely bad that nearly every specialist I've seen - like my Dr. at the pain clinic, my rheumatologist AND Sleep Study Therapists have ALL said is off the charts it's so bad - that I have pain so severe they've never seen anyone with it worse than me for what I have, and that it literally doesn't get any worse than what I have. And to add insult to injury, the sorrow on their faces as they empathize with us over our age and the fact that we have two little babes at home is just heartbreaking. They all tell us how sorry they are for us - it's been crazy to finally be validated, and yet heartbreaking in it's own right because not only am I the worst they've ever seen, but usually you start out really bad and get better each year but for me it's not been the case. It's gotten worse and worse each and every year - it's just crazy town. But God gave me this burden to bear, and I am convinced wholehearted that He is going to do AMAZING things out of it!!!

Detail of her mouth, chin and some fly away hairs - still working on it - needs it's highlights for sure on those lips and a lot more blending to make it smooth. Loving to work on this again. God is sooo good!

And what's even better is that God is now speaking hope into my life again. Showing me that joy and praise, not bitterness and anger, are the way to a happy, positive and God-filled life, even if it's a life lived on the sofa just about 24/7. And yes, that means it's my lonely little bed if you're wondering... Anyways, God is teaching me that to let go of all the pain of the past AND present, of all the hurt I have over abandonment by friends, or loneliness, or any other host of issues. But to hold on to the pain is to give Satan a foothold over my life, and I just WILL NOT HAVE THAT ANYMORE!!! I RENOUNCE HIM FROM MY LIFE, AND I CHOSE THE LIFE OF REPENTANCE FOR ALL MY OWN SINS, FOR THE UNFORGIVENESS IN MY OWN HEART, THE BITTERNESS, THE ANGER, THE DARK PLACES I GO TO WHEN I FEEL SO MUCH PAIN THAT I JUST WANT TO BE REUNITED WITH MY KING! I CHOOSE JESUS, AND FORGIVENESS, AND LOVE, JOY, AND HAPPINESS. To try to be a peacekeeper instead of stirring up drama, to try to love others and realize that when they sin or hurt me they do it out of their own brokenness, and I'm no different. I want to be FREE and POSITIVE and full of HOPE again, SO THAT I CAN SERVE God in MIGHTY, MIGHTY WAYS,  AND BRING HIM AS MUCH GLORY AS I CAN - TO BE A CONQUERER FOR HIM, because I LOVE Him sooo, soooo very much.

What I found very odd about all this, is that when I started making these choices in my life and asking for forgiveness, forgiving others, uprooting these ugly roots of bitterness that so deeply entangle me, well, I started getting passionate about my art again. And I mean VERY passionate about it. I've been drawing again, with a Godsend of a friend who met because I saw one of her gorgeous drawings and immediately had to introduce myself, we immediately hit it off right away, and now she comes over just about every week to draw together. And now I have the blessing of being able to try to paint again as well because of another one of my Godsend friends who was sooo sweet that she sat down in Hobby Lobby for like who knows how long and literally sat with EVERY lap easel in her lap to find the lightest one for me for my birthday knowing that I can't paint because of my pain, and so she knew that if the easel was light enough, I could do so (isn't that such great love?) that I might be able to paint again - I am soooo truly blessed!!!

In fact, we're hoping to start up a little group of artists who can come and pray and read the bible and do art together we're sooo inspired by all this. God is soooo good!!! And what I've noticed so fully and truly is that in order to truly get rid of all the filth inside - the anger and bitterness and unforgiveness - is to fully fill our minds with praise and all that is pure and lovely. As the Bible says:

 Philippians 4:1-9
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Final Exhortations
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

So basically, I've learned that I have to get my heart right by forgiving those who hurt me, by becoming a peacekeeper rather than someone who tries to constantly fight or be "the one who's always right all the time" and by giving up this spirit of arrogance and rebellion that I've had for FAR too long - something that at times I'd confuse with confidence and pride and get all mixed up until I was all twisted up inside. But by coming to God DAILY first with a heart of praise, thanking Him for all that IS good in my life, praising Him for His Glorious creation - one that is soooo breatakingly beautiful and that I have the privelage to try to re-create WITH Him as I do my art and spend time with Him in worship. There is almost nothing more that I love to do than to sit alone with God and paint with Him by my side, or draw with Him out in nature, marveling at all the glorious beauty that he has created! My, what a Majestic and Artist and Gifted God do we serve!!! <3 The more you sing praises to Our King, the more that peace and tranquility creeps into your heart and soul, as the light, the GLORIOUS LIGHT pushes out the darkness because where there is LIGHT no darkness can reign. Halleluiah! I am so on FIRE for our King, let that fire NEVER falter, let it never grow dim or burn out, but Lord, let it grow and grow until it is all that people see when they see me - You and Your light in me. AMEN to that, right?!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Owen's 3rd Birthday - Happy Birthday Mr. Giggles!!!

"My Sweet Little Owie"

I can't believe my sweet little baby is already 3 today! Through all the prayers for him from the moment we prayed about even considering having another child considering how difficult and potentially deadly the first one, had been for me, and Levi as well, though he was quite the trooper I'll tell ya! But oh man, when we finally did feel God's blessings on trying, and the month before we were going to start trying Tyler sneezed on me or something and I got pregnant, it was a rollercoaster ride from then on, and we still are stuck on it - seems the workers all left and we're stuck in some kind of dreamy/nightmare ride that twists and turns and just never ends.

Praise the Lord God Almighty though that he gave us such a blessing in this little bundle of joy who has lived up to his middle name, my prayer for him, prayed out of fear and hope that someday I would hear his laugh, for his middle name literally means "he laughs," and as you can see above, he laughs so much that he even laughs during mommy's incessant photo shoots - and it's one of the cutest, richest, purest belly laughs I have ever heard in my entire life!!!

So sweet little Owen, on your birthday, I just want you to know that you are such a sweet and wonderful blessing from God in our home!
"Mr. Giggles"

Dear Owen on Your 3rd Birthday:

You have the gift of encouragement, you always know how to give the most amazing cuddles, and I pray so much that God has chosen you to be saved as soon as possible. You love meat, cars, planes, and are an all American boy at heart, and have finally learned the art of swallowing your bites of apple instead of just chewing them and spitting them out all around the floor for mommy to step on (thank you baby! Haha!). You absolutely LOVE Dumbo, Little Bear (which you call "The Owl Movie" for some odd reason just because an owl is in it), and just like Mommy, you LOVE Owls. =D You look up to your brother like he's the bee's knees. And when I said you liked cars and planes, perhaps that was an understatement. You spend most of your day either sitting at the train table, sitting at the couch, or lying flat on your tummy lining up your cars one by one very methodically. It's quite adorable, I must say! You are such a blessing to us in so many ways, and a miracle in your own right as well!

I'm so thankful that your Dr. was able to save your life during delivery - that she was able to force her fingers under the cord that was so tightly wrapped around your neck even before you were outside in the real world. I remember each time that I wasn't able to push hard enough, and everyone's faces would turn a ghastly shade of greenish grey, as they all shouted at me to push harder than I had ever pushed before. You would crown, she'd get her fingers between the cord and you so you could take a breath, and then you'd slip back inside, unable to breathe, me exhausted beyond belief, thinking you were dead, since for the last 15 minutes no one would tell me if you were alive and the staff in the room had gone from 1 Doctor and 2 Nurses to 2 or 3 Doctors, a NICU Doctor, and about 8 other Nurses or RN's. I was terrified, heartbroken, overwhelmed with feelings I can't even begin to explain. But eventually, with a cut, a vacuum, and the Lord guiding every step, every movement, every breath and heartbeat that day, out you came, the most beautiful little boy, crying and blue, with a terrible APGAR score. Oh, but when I got to hold you for a only moment before my Dr. friend from the NICU who had taken care of Levi only 2 years before, assessed you and said you were good to go, I had already fallen deeply in love, smitten at the very first glance. Whoever says love at first sight isn't possible, clearly has never had the joy of parenthood. OH, GLORY TO GOD ON THE HIGHEST!!! I know how blessed I am - for I know that others don't always have that same blessing, and the fact that God fulfilled that prayer that I would hear your laughter one day is something I don't hold lightly. I treasure that in my heart greatly, just like I treasure you Owen. You are my sweet little Owie boy, and I love you more than life!!!

My greatest hope for you is that you live your life with great passion for God, that in all ways you would seek his will, and fear Him and love Him with all your heart. May you have great wisdom to do the things that God asks of you, and do them well, and live your life loving others with great compassion, seeing them through God's eyes and not your own. Selah! I love you my little Owie. I love you so very, very much, and I am so excited to continue to paint and draw (which, by the way, you have an amazing, and I mean AMAZING gift!) and giggle and cuddle and worship with you for the rest of our lives!

With the greatest of love,
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