Tag Archives: art

At the Barn 2013

An afternoon at the barn.

Hosted by Emily P. Freeman and her husband, John, her sister, Myquillyn (also known as The Nester) and her husband, Chad, and their parents, Gary and Brenda Morland.

A small gathering in Winston-Salem, North Carolina that promised to be full of stories, music, and conversation to encourage awakeness of mind and soul to living art and Christ-honoring vision.

That was the invitation.

One that I was all too excited to accept.

Even though I only have what I’m more often referring to these days as barely a hint of a vision. The hazy beginnings of a dream that I’m not at all certain of, but that I’m [often imperfectly] trusting the Lord to unfold.

atthebarn1

When Saturday came, I was nervous. But I also knew there was something in this. Something I needed to see. Something I needed to hear. Something I needed to experience.

And The Barn did not disappoint. It was altogether lovely. In a quiet and thoughtful and peaceful sort of way.

Though I’m not convinced I executed my attendance perfectly.

I met two women from Virginia on the sidewalk right before the doors opened and they readily welcomed me into their little group. They were friendly and delightful and made the day so much more fun! But I could have mingled more. I could have talked more. I could have shared more. I could have asked questions more.

But instead. I listened. I watched.

And you know what? It may not have been perfect. But it was good.

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It was good to be an observer for an afternoon. Of people. Of beauty. Of art. Of Christ.

It was good to be a fully engaged listener without the pressure to process out loud, to figure everything out, to respond immediately (or even at all).

As I was getting ready to head out, I stopped Emily to say thank you, but I told her I couldn’t quite put my thank you fully into words … because I couldn’t quite express the depth of my gratitude for this afternoon of soul awakeness.

And do you know what she said? “That’s okay. You don’t have to.”

And the same freedom that surrounded the entire afternoon event was somehow wrapped up in that statement.

Because this afternoon wasn’t about a “supposed to” or a “should”.

atthebarn3

It was about leaning into the truth that we were created in the image of this Creator God. And when we make art with our lives – not just of the traditional variety, but when we do the things that make us come fully alive – Christ comes out and is glorified.

And I came to The barn desperate for that freedom, desperate for that truth. And in a season of life where I feel as though I’m clinging to Christ out of sheer weakness and total desperation more often than not, these words were perhaps the most needed and most beautiful:

“You can’t get too desperate for Christ.” – John Freeman

The afternoon At the Barn gave me soul space that my too-full calendar and over-committed self have all but pushed out.

Space to breathe, to listen, to intentionally lean further into Christ, to acknowledge some desires He’s placed on my heart, to just sit with those desires and to pay attention to them, to ponder, to reflect, to give them back to Him.

Space to be reminded of my eternally secure identity (an image bearer of the most High God), to be reminded of my purpose (to glorify Him), to be reminded that being is more important than doing, but that some of the doing allows Christ to come out of us because He’s designed us to reflect Him well through our unique expressions of art … in A Million Little Ways.

And for that space At the Barn, I am grateful.

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This is the Art I Live Everyday

Have you ever had one of those moments when you were just completely and utterly overwhelmed by the Gospel?

By its truth, by its fullness, by its richness, by its completeness, by its beauty, by its perfection?

Last night, I had just such a moment.

Yesterday was my birthday (yes, my birthday is on Halloween), and it had been a pretty wonderful day full of life-giving words and thoughtful blessings from friends and family. I mean, my brother wrote me a poem. In Middle English. More-or-less about the Sovereignty of God. Which I love! And he mailed it to me on stationary. He also included a Starbucks gift card…he knows me well.

I’m a words girl. Word of affirmation is my love language. My heart was full!

this is the art i live everyday

But as I arrived at Bible Study last night, I had no idea how my heart would be so full to overflowing by the end of the evening.

To begin with, my Bible Study group of women that I love dearly surprised me with a cake…complete with candles, y’all! And when I say I was surprised, I am so not kidding. I did not see that one coming!

But then as we continued our study of John (we’re on our third consecutive semester, Precept style), as we looked carefully at John 14 and how through Jesus Christ we have full and total access to God the Father, I was literally blown away by the truth and the reality of the Gospel.

I know this sounds ridiculously simple and basic, but this Gospel is just so eternally complete and perfect.

And to realize that we can’t DO anything to be saved through this Gospel, that all that is required of us is to ask and believe, yet it compels us, out of pure love and devotion, to know Christ, to trust Him, to please Him, to obey Him (because obedience is HIS love language)?

I can barely even begin to wrap my mind around it! It’s just THAT good!

So I found myself praying this prayer…

God,
We know You are good, and You are faithful, and You are true.
Thank You for loving us first.
Thank You for providing the way of confident and sure access to Your throne.
And thank You for that way not being an accident nor a surprise to You.
You have a purpose and a plan from beginning to end.
And we know it is perfectly complete … carefully crafted and thought out and executed.
And we praise You for that!
Thank you for Your presence that goes before us and walks with us.
Help us in our everyday as we lean into You, as we trust You, as we follow You, as we obey You.
Thank you for Your radical grace. Thank You for Your presence. Thank You for the new covenant through Your Son, Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice.
May the truth of Your Gospel never cease to overwhelm and amaze!
Lord, we believe. Help our unbelief!
In Christ’s Name,
Amen

This Gospel.

THIS is the art I live everyday!

“Every step we are breathing in Your grace.
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise.
You are faithful, God, You are faithful.”
– Never Once by Matt Redman

—–

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*linking up with Emily P. Freeman of chatting at the sky for we will make art*

When You Realize Writing is Not Actually Your Dream

I saw the invite – a save the date, really – and immediately checked my calendar to make sure the day was still free. It was the last time I checked (when there was only the hint of an event), but I had to be certain.

Because when Emily Freeman started talking about this Barn event – an afternoon At the Barn with her family and a relatively small gathering to spend time in soul-encouraging conversation about art, dreams, goals – all I could think was YES.

I’m in.

when you realize writing is not actually your dream

But as I purchased the ticket, I couldn’t help but also stop and think about how I now find myself taking all kinds of risks (of the best kind) with community and events and opportunities – like spending an afternoon with a bunch of fellow blog readers or spending five days getting Wrecked in Guatemala with complete strangers … and then doing it again six months later. All because of this gift of blogging which began as an extension of this gift of writing.

And it’s all in the very same season that I find myself pulling back on the frequency of posts and re-evaluating the purpose of this space.

A couple of months ago, I wasn’t even sure if I should continue blogging. This community is small and I’m not always convinced my words are necessary additions to the noise of this world.

But this community is also growing, and opportunities keep crossing my path to connect with other artists and other Jesus-followers as a result.

And I just know.

It’s not time to give-up this blogging thing yet.

Someday, God may ask that of me, but as I’ve been praying over and carefully considering whether or not that time is now, although the sitting-still long enough to think and write has been hard lately, I find I’m not finished here yet.

I want this space to be a place of restful harbor, filled with peace, where God speaks.

And more than anything, I want to honor and glorify Him in and through it.

So this community is small and the growth is slow.

But it’s His. And it’s good.

I began this blog a little over three years ago with a thought in the back of my mind that someday I might like to publish a book of some sort, but I could go ahead and start blogging without knowing if that would ever happen. I could begin sharing the message that the Lord had placed on my heart. I didn’t have to wait for that.

But somewhere along the way, I began to realize that while writing is a part of me and is a craft that I both love and enjoy, writing (or perhaps more specifically, publishing) wasn’t actually my dream.

The only problem? I didn’t know what was.

But all I knew to do was to keep writing, to keep taking small steps in obedience and faithfulness, and to keep seeking the Lord’s face.

Because that’s always right.

And through the writing, I kept sensing that there was something in all of this, something that I couldn’t quite figure out, something that I still needed to learn.

So now in this season, as my dreams and goals for this life are shifted and refined, I’m beginning to see at least a part of that something.

I’ve sought hard and waited long for the sort of dream I’m now beginning to consider. The one that in intentionally broad and vague terms revolves around orphan care (and no, I don’t know exactly what that means or what it will look like), the one that is so far beyond me and my ability, the one that scares the heck out of me, and the one that feels more like a God-whisper than anything I could dare to imagine on my own.

I’m not against the idea of publishing if that’s where the Lord leads and I suspect this won’t be the last times my dreams undergo some refining, but I also know this dream that’s slowly unveiling finally feels like mine. Like something only the Lord could have orchestrated and begun to reveal. And that makes it worth wanting and working toward and continuing to figure out … because it’s really only just a glimpse of a fuller vision. A hint of what could be.

So I’ll continue to write and I’ll continue to blog in this space.

And I’ll continue to lead and encourage this community to draw near to Christ.

To seek Him more. To know Him more. To trust Him more. To rest in Him more.

Because nothing – no amount of dreaming regardless of how right the dream seems – in this life matters more.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Have you ever seen this “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster?

                                                            Source: en.wikipedia.org via Emily on Pinterest

 

I’m pretty much in love with art that incorporates words. I don’t know why. I just love it. I’m also sort of into origins (as illustrated by this post). And while I’ve liked this poster for some time now, after watching this video last night (thanks to Young House Love‘s post on twitter!) and seeing the words in their historical context, I have a whole new appreciation for it. The video is only a few minutes long and much of the photography is beautiful. Such a fascinating story!

Fun Find: Love Poster

It has come to my attention that I have failed to post anything in my “fun find” category for over six months.  So that changes . . . right now.

But this is a different sort of fun find.

I have been following Shannan’s blog, Flower Patch Farmgirl, for some time now and absolutely love it!  She has a genuine and refreshing style and a beautiful heart.

Well about a month ago, for her blog’s two year anniversary, Shannon hosted a giveaway for an 11”x17” poster from Jerusalem Greer.  To enter, we simply had to check out Jerusalem’s etsy site, Jolly Goode, and leave a comment noting which poster we liked best (preferably providing a reason why).

So I left this comment:

My favorite is “Love has come to walk among us.”  It reminds me of the line from Michael W. Smith’s song “Anthem for Christmas” and that makes me think of the powerful message of “Emmanuel”!  Happy 2-year Anniversary!!

  

And I actually won!!!  I was SOOO excited!

Especially considering how much I love words (I’m pretty sure my Bible Study girls from college can vouch for this…) and recently I have become quite in love with art that revolves around words.

My evening-photos-in-bad-light do NOT do this poster justice.  It is a beautiful shade of red!

And to make it even sweeter, profits from Jerusalem’s etsy shop goes toward her family’s desire to adopt!  Love that!

A huge THANK YOU to both Shannan and Jerusalem for the giveaway/poster!!  I love it and cannot WAIT to frame it and get it up in my study!