Friday, December 31, 2010

I wasn't always Like this - Sometimes I was worse!

Okay, so I wasn't always this way... And this wasn't quite the angle I was going for ... Still they are nice Ruby Slippers ... but I was hoping to look more like Dorothy than the Wicked Witch of the East under a house ... But you gotta love what can happen when you are trying to take your own pictures ... And, no, this was NOT PLANNED. But it is a mighty good lesson. Now, If I can just think of what that lesson might be... No, nothing is coming to mind...
But the future is looking quite optimistic... I actually have Ruby Slippers. The other pictures turned out okay. I was not hurt in the fall. My camera still works. And I had a great laugh when I got up and got back to the camera... which was set on a timer. And it has inspired a whole new set of artwork based on chairs - namely ones that have not tipped over when I went to sit in them. :)
I say the future is optimistic because of Proverbs 31... Which I read on December 31 which tells us that a woman of courage can smile at the future - And I love that. And if I can't smile at the future I now have this nifty "self-portrait" that will always make me laugh. Because there was a day when if I fell down, I couldn't laugh; I couldn't smile; and I certainly didn't want a scrapbook style photo of the event. But I am different now. What a wonder the grace of God.
So back to the point of the my picture taking session in the first place: Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been paid for the original Ruby Slippers; there were only 6 made for the actual movie. One pair resides in the Smithsonian Institution and they say people stand and cry when they look at them. I totally understand this. I watch the movie just hoping for a glimpse of them. But I mostly just adore their message. You always have the power to go back home... and There's no place like home. It may take a round about journey of struggle, and humility, and fear, and forgiveness - And it make take a few friends: some courage, some heart and a sound mind, but there is no place like it...
And one day, we have the opportunity of standing before a Holy God who longs to have us join Him in His Home... He has prepared a place for us - What a glorious thought.
So as I stand here in the wee hours of a new year I am grateful for a home; the friends that helped me here along the journey and the fact that I can take a new picture - 'cause it's a new year after all - And I am looking forward to this new journey.

And by the way, Happy 2011!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Embracing the Mystery"

"Embracing the Mystery"
Charlotte Holmes Murray
9 x 12 Mixed Media

As I come to the end of 2010 I am reflecting on the fact that I have never had a busier year of my life: From weddings to funerals, from stretches of time at home to many long trips, from the planting of our garden to the raising of chickens, from art classes and art shows to having the Studio and our home on an Arts Council Home Tour - Phew! It has been B-U-S-Y! And it has been good - very good.
This most recent painting, completed this week, actually sums up the whole year as it represents for me the mystery that is our existence: precious and precarious. We hold onto life gently and reverently and we wait: sometimes with great anticipation and other times with dread. My nest series continues to fascinate and intrigue me as representational of "the home" and all the ways we embrace a place of refuge. We are writing a history. It will be read by someone... and very often by those that we didn't even know were reading it.
I look at 2010 as the year that had a "mind of its own" and though at times I feel like I was just "along for the ride" it held for me many of the keys to a journey that I love more and more with each passing year. It is a journey of faith. Faith that is absolute truth and absolute mystery: It is why I love Jesus...
"who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to
be equal with God but made Himself of no reputation and took upon
Him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men..."

The key for me this year has been to embrace the mystery of our journey of faith and allow God to be God. There is no vacancy in the Trinity and I do not have to have all the answers. I can trust in simple faith that God is in His heaven and all will (ultimately) be made right with the world. I do not have to do it. (This fall I was enjoying some painting time while in St. Augustine and USA Today carried a front page headline: "What America Thinks about God." I thought to myself - Isaiah 40 - and promptly began a new artwork on the concept of the world and God. Read Isaiah 40 and see what you think about the world, America! It is not going any where until He says so. )
Thankfully, EVERYTHING is not a mystery. Some things God has clearly revealed in His Word. If we do not obey what we DO know, we cannot expect to be handed any more light for things we don't yet understand. Deuteronomy 29:29 is my favorite on this subject - and I will close the year with this:

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Amen and Amen.