Some of My Favorites 🎨 Paintings of Hope

I’ve been painting with watercolors since Christmas 2015 when I decided I’d experiment with the process. I’m still experimenting, to be honest! People have asked me to teach them to paint. I wouldn’t know where to start! Each painting I do I find I am still learning more. I imagine that’s how the creative process works.

I love to play piano and to sing. Music and art are both different sides of the same coin of creativity. I can remember telling someone that as I’d stand and sing before a congregation of people, I had the sense I was speaking an emotional heavenly language to one person. By that I mean, each person received it themselves and the person next to them, the same. It was a powerful realization that maybe that is similar to how Jesus reaches us – all of us in real time receiving what He has uniquely for us. Yes, of course I have no clue about that imagining, but it struck me as MY way of understanding the power of Jesus to the world, one person at a time.

One of my favorite authors, Jan Karon the writer of the WONDERFUL Mitford series of books wrote**, “Something out of nothing. Isn’t that the very crux of the creative process? Isn’t that, in the end, one of the great keys to living!” **the Mitford Bedside Companion, Jan Karon. As I take a blank piece of white paper, some clean water, a handful of paintbrushes, and paints I endeavor to create a representation of something that SAYS something without words. As singing speaks melody and the piano speaks without words, paintings create an emotional reaction. They tell a story that you, the viewer, understand individually from your own perspective.

So I invite you, from your unique perspective. to take a watercolor journey and hopefully find some peace and a measure of hope as you see from a different viewpoint. I can’t impact but one person at a time. But I pray that, should this encourage you, you would share with one other person to brighten their day.

Aspens to the Sky

Welcoming the Easter Lamb

I’m a long way past chocolate bunnies, Easter bonnets and white patent leather shoes – not to mention Easter baskets, or dying and hiding eggs. It’s all part of the family tradition and is/was certainly fun. It has its place in our families. But the real Easter recognizes the end of darkness and beginning of Light as Jesus overcame a brutal death on the cross on my behalf – on your behalf – and resurrected to LIFE.

Without the miracle of that first Easter morning and the resurrection of Jesus, there would be no need for the Church. This is the reason He came – to buy us back offering us His righteousness for our darkness and sin. His love for us is offered as a free gift requiring only that we receive it with gratitude: open hands and open heart to receive the forgiveness and grace only He can give. It costs you nothing. But to ignore it costs you everything

LIVING WATER

I pray you will find the Easter gift of the Lamb of God – God’s ultimate sacrifice of His Son – this Easter Sunday. Watch “The Chosen,” free on “The Chosen” app, and be blessed to watch His story unfold before your eyes. Regardless, the cost to you is only a prayer away. Even if your belief is small, it is enough! Ask Him and see if He isn’t faithful to His promises. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Praying for peace in our nation and in our world, trusting that He who gave us His story is faithful and will redeem that which is broken in His time. AMEN

Are you an Ocean or a Mountain Person?

Everyone seems to be drawn to one or the other. I suppose there are some of us who are drawn to the desert as well (who would have ever thought), but usually when you take off for parts unknown it is to the beaches or to the high places.

Here are some of my paintings from my Gallery entitled Ocean Breezes

Arizona does have mountains so I share some of these with you as well. I invite you to take a look at some more of my Arizona Dreaming gallery.

Praying for you as you start this new year! Believe good things for your life, step out in faith, trust the Lord and seek after the direction that tugs on your heart.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

All Aboard

My husband and I were so fortunate to spend two weeks in Colorado last month. We had a wonderful time walking, touring and bike-riding all over beautiful, charming Breckenridge for one week, then driving south through Salida (very fun and pretty) to Pagosa Springs. From there we took a touring bus to the old mining town of Silverton. There we boarded and rode the wonderful Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway back to Durango. I had never taken this trip before and it was more than I had ever imagined! Even the sounds were thrilling – listening to the clickety-clack of the heavy train over the rails, the haunting call of the train whistle, the sounds of the Animas River below. My husband, who loves me almost as much as he loves his camera, hung out the back of the train and took amazing photographs – this being one of them. So I had to paint this as a gift for him. But you can have it as well on my website by clicking on the All Aboard link above.

We don’t always get to GO some place to escape from everyday life. It was a blessing for us to have this precious time away seeing new things and having new experiences. And we are grateful! Most of the time we continue hammering on with our everyday jobs, regardless what they are. Whether we stay or wherever we go, ‘there we are’ — We cannot escape ourselves and often, we drag the worries and burdens along with us. And, in case we forget them for a few minutes, we turn on the TV or pick up the phone, and there they are again.

So, today I share wiith you a beautiful place and a different landscape. I invite you to listen to the echo of the train whistle, hear the metallic sounds of the train riding the rails, enjoy the soothing sound of the rushing river below and realize this too is part of our world – beauty and peace. Let’s celebrate the beauty all around and turn off the cacophony of dissenting voices and differing opinions for just a little bit.

Shut your eyes for a moment, take a deep breath, SEEK GOD~ Reach out to Him and grab onto His robe. Maybe you can find no words – and that is okay! “Be still and know that I AM God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted on the earth.” Psalm 46:10. If you are struggling with your present, with your future – or your past; if you are uncertain of where you are going and how you will get there – take a step of faith and TRUST JESUS, who came to purchase our ticket complete with a passport to Heaven.

The stamps on our passport read:

Paid in Full. Name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

For God SO LOVED the world that He sent His only Son so that whoever would believe in Him will not perish, but will have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.  John 3:16, 17     

It is not what you have done or even could do that matters. What matters is what Jesus has done for you – and His gift which cost Him everything, is a free gift. RECEIVE IT with gratitude and repentence. And you will start on a new destination.\

All Aboard✨

Searching for Beautiful

Looking for Beautiful

I painted this from a photo I took while in Bisbee, Arizona about five years ago. What a charming little mining town it is! We were walking down the old streets near the Copper Queen Hotel and I saw the most beautiful garden. It just screamed Paint Me! You can’t tell anything about the location by looking at this painting. My camera captured a tiny sliver of a moment in time. I found the beautiful because I was looking for it and I chose to ignore everything else around it when I painted it.

This is a reminder to me to focus on what is positive and good. The Apostle Paul, brilliant man that he was, said, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things.Phil. 4:8

There is a lot of opportunity to be frustrated or anxious by events happening in our world. We have to sift through a lot of noise and despairing views to find beautiful lately. The not so beautiful seems to get way more attention. But we have been called to think about what we think about. Maybe we have the opportunity to bring joy with acts of kindness and compassion. We can also seek to acknowledge kindness in the actions of someone else by speaking a blessing over them.

There is opportunity in every direction to be in opposition. Sometimes we must take a stand. But it is more important to be loving and grace-filled than to be “right.” We can be right and be hateful. But Jesus said “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 We are to love. It is hard in these days where right is now considered wrong, truth is now hidden, and dark calls itself light. But Truth will win out. And shining the light of Christ’s love is our primary mission statement.

Heavenly Father, help us to watch for Your hand at work in our world. Please help us to reflect Your love in our lives as a beacon of hope to others. And help us to spend more time searching for beauty and truth than despairing about ashes and chaos. “…provide for those who grieve a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:3

Help us to love one another as You first loved us, Lord, and help us to focus on the beautiful.

Bisbee, Arizona
Cheryl