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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Patience is indeed a virtue... and hard work helps!

My husband received some great news this week! A gallery in Philadelphia, PA will be picking him up!! That means they will be representing him and displaying and selling his work. :) He is already being represented by a gallery in Oklahoma City.
There is a back story with this Philidelphia gallery. My husband has actually known of them (and they of him) for about 8 years. The gallery liked his work, but had made a commitment to represent only established artists so they did not chose to represent him at that time, even though they liked what they saw. They are on the mailing list my husband has assembled and have kept up on him and his career.
R has been very intentional in his career. He is a professor of Art/Art History at a small liberal arts college and he also heads the department. He has made a point of gaining and maintaining professional contacts as well as keeping an eye out for any opportunity that might avail in his field such as securing shows, applying for grants, or submitting work to juried exhibitions.
He was selected as 1 of 8 American professors/Art Historians for a 2 week seminar that took place in Indonesia that dealt with Christianity and Contextualization of the Arts. (I was only slightly green with envy that he went w/o me as I was very much pregnant and really would not have physically enjoyed the trip in that state. :) ) You can read more about it here on his blog. (Just scroll to the bottom and begin reading your way up.) As a result of that seminar he now has artwork in a show that is touring the country and will then tour Asia.
He has also been awarded a solo show in Sao Paolo, Brazil in the near future. It is not connected with the seminar.
It is so nice to see that his hard work and dedication is reaping some reward. It has proven to be a nice boost for my guy. Now, of course, one never knows when work will begin to sell with any regularity, however it's certainly a good start. :) Galleries have a reach that the independent artist would find hard to duplicate.
It's in the Lord's hands and we shall just enjoy the journey. :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

I have nothing much to say today and have not for a number of days.

I have realized why. I have used all of my words (and brain cells) in dealing with 5 children. :) Profound, no? ~giggle~

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another rescue from my old blog.

Dec. 13, 2005 - Smoke and Mirrors

Don't you just love mirors? Well, on the good days anyways.... the days when your hair looks perfectly coiffed, and you look (and feel) a few pounds thinner? Mirrors themselves are quite attractive, I think. In a well-lit room they are bright and cheery as they help the light to bounce across the rooom or reflect the view of a window. The problem I have with mirrors is......well...... they reflect things as they are. On good days, this is fabulous! But, if you are like me your fair days or even not-so-good-days are more abundant than the really good ones. :)

I have come to realize than I have a few more mirrors around my house than I had thought. These mirrors can be bright and cheery, or they can be altogether different! These mirrors that I refer to walk about on two legs, with two arms, two eyes, and for now they are a few inches shorter than I. I have realized that children are perfect mirrors. You may have heard the saying that children learn what they live. That statement has become startling clear to me as of late and I must admit, the reflection is rather unsettling. Are my children so misbehaved as to require "Super Nanny" pay us a visit? No. But do they reflect the selfless character of Christ? Not near as much as I wish! But the deeper question is do *I* reflect the selfless character of Christ? Do I possess His heart? You see, mirrors reflect because it is their nature to do so. So it is with children AND adults.

What we reflect and HOW we reflect it is in direct proportion to what is in our hearts. The bible tells us that:

" The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9

Boy do I know the truth in that verse just by looking honestly at my own heart! I have a song on CD that says at one point "O wretched man, that I am, Who'll deliver me?" It helps to keep my true state at the forefront of my mind. It does not make me sad to hear it, rather it helps me to be focused honestly on my position- one seriously lacking perfection. Recognizing that I am wretched is not fun, but I have great joy in knowing that in my heart dwells One who has delivered me, can deliver me and will deliver me again one day. HOW Amazing!

So back to mirrors. My 4 children are spaced: 2 (a several year gap) and then 2 more. I began to realize the perfect mirrors my children were when my 3rd child began reflecting habits, tones, and ways of doing things that I really did not like, however I had allowed (at times unwittingly) my older children to portray. It was a bit of a wake-up call, I'm afraid. What was even MORE unsettling was the realization of where my older children had picked up their undesirable traits. I have come to realize that in a number of ways and areas I have not fulfilled my obligation towards my children. In many respects it has been due to my desire for my own comfort. ~sigh~ I did not honestly realize how much so. I realized that at times that though I had been disciplining my children's actions, it was like blowing smoke in front of their reflections. Smoke billows, can't be captured, and clouds the view. Just like disciplining actions and not getting to the heart of the issue- your child's heart. I had thought I was being fairly consistent, however, I was consistent with the wrong emphasis. I was trying to capture my children's heart....but what about mine? Trying to capture my children's hearts is a noble effort, and very worthwhile. BUT, if my heart is not first in the right place, my efforts will amount to nothing.

"As he (a man) thinketh in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7a

Very worthwhile words from Proverbs to ponder. Am I thinking on the very character traits/qualities that I desire my children to possess? Am I WORKING to possess them myself through a relationship with Christ, self discipline, and much prayer? Where is my heart? Is it in line with scripture? I must first deal with my own heart issues before I can begin to effectively deal with my children's or to win their hearts. The key question I need to continually ask myself is, "Am I exhibiting Christ to my children today?"

Another post taken from my old blog for some history.

Aug. 14, 2007 - Death is not only an end, but it can also bring new beginnings- Part 2

This second part has been on my mind since I posted the last entry, but I just have not had time to ...well... think. :)

So where was I.... ? Oh yes. We had arrived in CA just in time to say good-bye to MIL as she was dying. She died with her children and many of her grand children standing around her hospital bed singing in the front room of her house. My MIL loved music and had a wonderful voice. I had never before heard one harmonize in soprano, but she was able to do so. As she was drawing her last breaths we stood singing any and all hymns we could come up with that most present knew, and especially ones we knew she loved. She quieted down from the noises she had been making, and peacefully left this earth. That was on July 2nd.

What followed was a whirlwind~
A few neighbors and long time family friends had stopped over in MIL's last hour. The 2 good friends of dh's who had picked our family up from the airport and who had each spent many hours at his house and with my MIL during high school were there, just as we were, with tears streaming down their faces.

The next day was July 3rd. Which of course precedes July 4th.... July 4th has always been a family holiday (with friends invited as well) for those living close enough and was one of MIL's favorite. We were so blessed to have a long-time friend unexpectedly bring a huge dinner for us. My DH and FIL spent the latter part of the day gathering supplies last minute for the 4th of July celebration, complete with fireworks, that I was suddenly preparing the food for 25 people. :) Traditions are traditions after all, and MIL would have wanted us to carry on. :) Some neighbors, who had been such a blessing in visiting MIL and bringing food while she was bedridden, also attended.

The rest of the week was a blur. There were preparations for MIL's funeral to attend to as no plans had been made prior to her death. So everything had to be done from picking the casket to the plot. We tried to call everyone we knew who would want to know about MIL's death and funeral arrangements. Throughout the last few months I had also been keeping MIL's sister and FIL's siblings up to date on what was transpiring in regards to MIL's health. FIL was just too busy with the amount of care and time MIL required.

Death (and even ill-ness) bringing new beginnings is a new concept to me. But what I have experienced through MIL's death would fill her heart with joy. MIL was always there to lend a hand to anyone in need. And all those who knew and loved her, or benefited in one way or another from her gracious and giving personality, gave back in amazing ways, and even some who did not know her at all.

Neighbors and long-time friends kept my family and FIL fed (and fed well!) for the 2 weeks we were there. They went to Costco for us and bought basics and brought meals. I had been a bit stressed about the food issue as I have somewhat of a crew to feed and with all the emotions, the thought of cooking and meal planning was not one filled with joy.

The church was filled to overflowing for the funeral and our very small country church was a major blessing in providing most of the food for the reception following the funeral, and serving all the guests and family. The number of flower arrangements was astounding to me. It was such a blessing to see the love and respect people had for one who was so selfless and giving.

One new beginning belongs to my FIL. The morning immediately after MIL's funeral a dog showed up. A very sweet, yet hungry dog. FIL had talked about getting a dog or even two for a while and we had just discussed how the place didn't feel right w/o one. Well, the dog found the accomodations suitable and is still there with FIL. MIL was a lover of animals, so the timing of the dog's appearance gave pause. I told FIL mom sent him a dog. :) (In reality I know it was the Lord, if anyone.)

Our family has received many, many blessings immediately following MIL's death. I am still surprised and astounded. We have connected with old friends, we have re-connected and become better friends with some old acquaintances who we will be able to spend a day with when we travel back to CA this next weekend for a family reunion. We have reconnected with distant family. We have also found new family in our new location. Some friends we had only known for about a week and a half stepped up and offered to feed our cats and dogs while we raced to CA not knowing how long we would be there. Only they didn't stop there. They contacted other faculty- most of whom we had not met and some we still have not been able to meet. We were blessed tremendously when we walked into our home after 2 weeks away and it was sparkling clean and smelled fresh. There were flowers on the dining table, food enough to feed us for the better part of a week (only requiring heating), milk, eggs, bread...the very large yards had been mowed (a dirty job with the sparse grass and all the sand!) and weed-eated....and the dogs who had been relegated to outside for 2 weeks- had been scrubbed clean and smelled wonderful! Even our towels had been washed. There were sympathy cards on the counter, including a gift card for a local grocery store.
The day after we came back home a local church brought us wonderful leftovers from a church function as well as gave us a cash gift. Another church also sent us a cash gift a little later. All of these were such blessings and really ministered to us as the prior 2-3 months had been very exhausting emotionally, physically and financially.

I am reminded of the story in the Old Testament of Moses holding up the serpent in the wilderness and the help he received in holding up his arms when they became weary.

I am so humbled to be a beneficiary of God's wonderful love and grace and to feel the effects of that oft invisible thread woven in , around, and through my life.

Re-post from my old blog... I thought I'd move over a just a few posts.

Jul. 29, 2007 - Death is not only an end, but it can also bring new beginnings- Part 1

It has been busy for us since March. My dh has had a few art exhibitions and sold a number of pieces, and after pushing off our move a little bit due to a hospitlization of dh's mother, we continued on with our move to Louisiana for his new position. We had lived with my in-laws in their house, and then in their second house on the same property for just over a year as we were getting on our feet.

A month after moving from CA we (Dh, me, 4 dc) found ourselves flying back in a race against the clock to see DH's mother before she passed away. We made it with one hour to spare. Praise the LORD we made it , and praise the LORD we will see her in Glory! She knew we were there and though she could not say speak clearly at all nor turn to look at us, she did say dh's name very clearly. She was dh's mother, but she was also like a mother to me and I was so glad to be able tell her what a blessing she had been to me in my life and to tell her again that I loved her. (Makes me tear up just to write this...)

Can I just say that I have always had issues with death? I don't like it, and want no part of it- in any way. I am aware, however, that I also have no say in the matter. :) I've just trusted the Lord to help me with it. I know I will be with my Savior- and the rest will just have to work itself out.

Death is an end. There is a finality like nothing else I've encountered. It is sad when one must confront it. But death can also bring about some good things. Throughout MIL's short (4 months or so), yet severe health issues (the result of Stage4 br**st cancer) life changed. Unbelievably- in good ways. Neighbors and church folk pitched in to help me in taking meals for my in-laws as I had been cooking extra and walking some up to them. The neighbors whom I had only known in passing, really, were such a help in watching my dc while I was helping and staying with MIL for 'shifts' in the hospital, or taking the children so dh and I could go together to visit MIL. They brought us food as we were half-packed and a week away from our scheduled move date when MIL was severely ill in the hospital for 2 weeks. Neighbors, and one angel of a woman from our small church, pitched in with the packing in a huge way. I am no stranger to packing and moving, but I just could not pull it together- they did, really. They kept me going and helped me to have direction. They kept me sane.

We drove to LA in our min-van with 4 dc, 2 dogs, 4 cats (2 of them kittens) and of course dh and I. I began calling our van the 'Ark' in jest. When we arrived here the house we had rented was not ready so we had to stay an add'l week in the hotel. I have had more fun... We were finally able to move in as work was almost completed. There was a bit of work for me to do as well- like paint the INSIDE of the kitchen cabinets and putting peel and stick tiles down, as well as painting the interior room that was lit by a single light bulb so it would not look (and feel )so dreary. DH was getting things in order at his new job, so most of it fell to me. Boy was I tired, but it had to be that way. Just as I unpacked the last of the boxes and had dh shuttle the last few items to storage- we found that we had to leave immediately for CA in hopes of seeing MIL one last time. We had been in the house for perhaps 3 weeks by this time and in the state of LA for close to 5, I think...

The following 2 weeks were amazing.