Hot, it’s HOT! Summer’s Here, Already?!

Arizona is beautiful! We have at least one of the wonders of the world with the Grand Canyon, but also have countless lakes, mountains, incredible rock formations, beautiful winter and spring weather, and, when summer shows up, we have heat like you can’t believe unless you’ve lived here! This week the heat showed up and 110 degrees in the shade is pretty HOT, thank you very much! I am thankful for air conditioning and a keyless car. I remember when I’d need a potholder in order to start my car without burning my fingers. Of course I still have to cover my steering wheel or I’ll burn my hands on that!

But I didn’t want to write this to complain. I love Arizona and thought it would be fun to share some of my Arizona paintings. I have shared a few of them with my recent trip to Sedona, but I have painted others as well. For those of you who love the desert, I hope you will enjoy these views of my home state. I’m about to start painting a few new ones from my trip. Maybe these will inspire me.🎨

Today I had a dear friend over who is finding some joy and respite doing watercolors with me. I hardly feel qualified to teach as I am still learning myself! I imagine this is a lifelong learning process. But what a joy to show some of the tricks I’ve learned and how to look at a grey sky and instead see purple and blue. I’m a long way from even thinking of starting a YouTube channel, LOL! But painting over 300 watercolors, illustrating 4 children’s books, being written up in a national magazine, and writing a blog was never on my radar at ALL! I can absolutely assure you of that.

I write and share to ENCOURAGE ANYONE who feels the best of life is behind them. That is not true at all. Keep on keeping on. PRAY! Seek the wisdom and direction of God Himself to help you find what might be a totally new direction. Turn off the nightly news and find hope and direction in the Good News of the Bible. “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Find your passion, be blessed to be a blessing, TURN from the darkness, shine LIGHT✨and His light will shine on you.

Cheryl

So What is a Businesstry Anyway?

When I started painting watercolors in 2015, I had no idea what I was to do with this painting gig I had begun. The more paintings I had the opportunity to paint for others, 🎨 the more I realized this was as much a ministry as it was a business. That is when I found the word “businesstry” beginning to define my passion. Painting is a means whereby I can hopefully create something unique that will bring joy. I paint because it also brings me joy and enables me to hopefully bless people in my own way.

The article below was printed in our local paper in 2019. It was a great privilege for me to be interviewed and to tell my story.

I have painted over 300 watercolors. I have painted portraits, animals, places I’ve seen and places you’ve been.

If you just like to window shop, all my 300+ paintings are available in the following formats: as prints (canvas, paper, framed, matted or not, wood, metal) throw pillows, towels, T-shirts, coffee cups, masks, shower curtains, phone covers, tote bags, cards, spiral notebooks, Yoga mats – I’m probably forgetting something.

I want to celebrate life. Truly many of us are struggling with the sharp turns our lives have made in the last year or so. But I believe we should choose to make our lives count for something. I feel I have been incredibly blessed and I am grateful I know and trust Jesus with my present, my future – my eternity! I want my life to reflect the truth of God’s handiwork in our world and tell of His incredible sacrifice on our behalf. I believe Him! I KNOW Him. I love Him. I pray that my paintings would bless someone. I pray that my words would encourage someone to pray and ask for faith to believe and to walk the rest of their lives with Him by their side. He is FAITHFUL.

I never would have imagined I would paint, or would blog, or would have articles written about me (in 3 places!) There has been a lot of painful loss in my life, but the Lord never abandoned me. He led me through and He guides my steps. So this is my description of my “Businesstry,” that I might prayerfully paint and thoughfully compose – that I might shine light on your path today – whichever road you are on – and bless you.

I would be privileged to paint something that would be special for you: a person, a pet, a place or a magical moment in your life. I invite you to message me.

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

Psalm 139 – You Are There

Have you read this wonderful Psalm of David? I first became acquainted with it through one of the most beautiful songs I ever heard. This piece of music struck me somewhere deep in my soul where powerful, impacting music lodges and changes everything. It was a song composed by the very talented, Dan Burgess, called “You Are There.” It became a bit of a theme song for me way back in the early ‘80s and my heart would about come out of my chest every time I sang it. I haven’t heard it in a very long time. But I thought of this song tonight when Psalm 139 was referenced in a message I was listening to. I wondered if I might be able to find the song on YouTube, and to my surprise I did! I have searched for it before. And yes, it is just as wonderful as I remember although with slightly different lyrics. I hope you will take a few minutes to listen to this powerful rendition of David’s incredible love story to God written so beautifully by Dan, sung by Cynthia Clawson, and played by Brian Mann on piano.

PSALM 139 paints such stunning word pictures of a loving Heavenly Father who has known us from even before our birth watching as we were knit together in our mother’s womb.

No matter where we go, where we come from, how high we fly or how deep we may fall, we cannot escape from God’s presence. From the desert to the mountains, from the forest to the oceans…wherever we go He is there. This psalm (song) was set to music as David himself was the original composer.

I hope you will read or listen to the Psalm and find encouragement for wherever you find yourself today Because you can never be lost to His Spirit or get away from His love.

Right after listening to and humming along with this song tonight, I happened across a post on Facebook where I was stunned to learn that Dan Burgess passed away last month on March 11, 2021! Somehow I feel this was God’s way of allowing me the unique privilege of acknowledging the talent and gifts of this wonderful composer and to share how much this song meant in my life. I hope that somehow his family will realize he left behind a significant legacy. He was also the composer of (In Jesus’ Name) “We Press On” another very beautiful song, among many others.

We all have a life to live and for good or for bad, we will have an impact. Dan Burgess had an impact on me that I just felt compelled to share! It’s been almost 40 years since I’ve sung his song. But each time I knew the beauty of the message and the soaring power of the music. There is a place in my soul that this song resides and I trust that I am not alone in my feelings. I am grateful I could acknowledge a gifted composer who touched my life. He painted with a musical paintbrush creating beauty for the ears that reached to the very soul.

Well done, good and faithful servant.🎶

Meet, Know, Follow

As we move forward on the paths of life, we will encounter loss. It may come gradually over time slowly filling us with anguish. It may happen suddenly causing profound and devastating shock. But loss is unavoidable and however it happens, we are forced to face the changes – ready or not.

I met Jesus in my mid-twenties after years of rolling my eyes and changing the subject when He became a topic of conversation. I was searching for Him even though I didn’t realize it was HIM for whom I was searching. One day, God found me. To my amazement, I met my Savior and was captured by the “Hound of Heaven.”

Over many years I came to know and build a relationship with Jesus. I studied the Bible. I attended a church learning under a Godly pastor. I began to recognize Jesus’ voice leading me, and as the years went on and the pain of loss began to tear deeper into my world, I clung to Him. I trusted His faithfulness and great love for me even though I did not understand much of what was happening in my personal life. I KNEW He loved me although I lived shrouded in emotional and relational struggles. He did not take away my pain, but He was there with me everytime I cried

God led me through one painful step at a time. After many difficult years, He led me slowly out of that hard season of loss into a time of joy and abundance. I learned that although He may not answer my prayer as I expected it should be answered, He did have an answer. And it was one I never would have dreamed.

FAST FORWARD Loss continues to follow me of a different sort. From my youngest years I knew I would sing. It was just built into me – even though the reality of it scared me. I first picked up a microphone to sing a solo before our church when I was in my mid twenties. I was terrified! But the joy of communicating a powerful message with beautiful music was like nothing I could have imagined. I continued to sing for over 4 decades loving the sense that I was communicating from the depths of my soul. I sang to an Audience of One regardless how many faces were in front of me. God heard. And each person sitting in their seat heard, each receiving it themselves – as one. Singing was one of the ways I defined my life. Music was a Big Deal to me.

About three years ago, I realized my “instrument” wasn’t working as it always had. I felt as if I had somehow swallowed someone else’s vocal cords! My range was rapidly changing, my high notes disappearing. I lost confidence in my ‘identity’ as a soloist. I realized it was time to hang up my soprano hat. And that has been and continues to be difficult for me. I have lost part of what had been part of my identity. Yet I FOLLOW Him where He leads. I trust Him as I walk the path of my life: sometimes in light, sometimes in darkness – not often knowing what lies ahead for sure. But I TRUST Him, wherever He takes me.

If God has seemingly taken something important from you, I know it hurts. There is grief and sadness, confusion and pain. There is a period of mourning for our loss – there is no way to avoid that. But He is always there! He KNOWS. He CARES. He DOES have a plan for our lives and it likely looks nothing like we had imagined.

Here I sit. Writing to you. Painting now and again when my paintbrushes scream to be taken into the light. 🎨 I could NEVER have imagined in my wildest dreams that I would write – that I would PAINT, for goodness sake! That I would care so much to share what the Lord has taught me over 50+ years of holding tight to His hand. That my paintings would bring a smile to someone’s face is such a surprise. Writing and painting did not happen until my voice began to fade away…

I pray these words might encourage you in your season of grief or loss. He is FAITHFUL and He will continue to use you in ways you may not have yet considered.

I have followed and trusted Him these many years since He ‘caught’ me. And Jesus has loved me well. He has forgiven me for every mess I’ve made, for every heart I’ve wounded, for my anger and frustration and hurt for so many years – He has loved me and will love me, to the last breath I take. And He is there for YOU. All you need to do is call out to Him and invite Him into your wounded heart.

Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.

Meet, Know and Follow Jesus is the mission statement of my home church, Traditional Service at Sun Valley Community Church, Tempe, AZ

Whatever Path You Are On

Do you ever feel as if your life has you stumbling down a confusing road with an uncertain destination and wonder where on earth you are going?! I think of times I had no clue whether to choose “path A or path B” – and which one was “God’s perfect will” anyway? The life roads we had been on before 2020 suddenly made a sharp left turn OFF the paths we had thought we were safely on. These uncertain days have created a lot of division in our world and brought many to not only a fork in the road, but a huge boulder. Everywhere we go and to everyone we speak we navigate a minefield in fear we might set off an explosion! No matter what is going on in our lives, we move forward uncertain of what lies ahead or around the next corner. And as we’ve certainly learned especially in these recent days, life can throw us unexpected curves.

I have walked a very rocky path with a dear friend for several years. Her life has been painful on many levels and her faith has been a roller coaster with many stomach-dropping loops. Through the unremitting stress exponentially increasing this last year, we have prayed and asked God for what only He can do. And the months have gone on and the battles have continued raging. Then, within 48 hours, her circumstance abruptly changed 180 degrees to the positive and she was no longer on the same path at all. That which had been so incredibly frightening for her suddenly evaporated as her situation changed overnight. Too complicated to explain, the short answer is that God had NOT forgotten her, He HAD heard her many anguished prayers, He was working on it, and He finally had all His proverbial ducks in a row and made the Great Reveal. Her longtime prayers for release were suddenly answered. And her attitude was suddenly one of great relief and joy.

As I look back at all that has gone on for such a long and painful time and remember the many times she cried out, “Where is God?” “Why isn’t He doing anything?!” I know that I too wondered where He was. I have faith and knew He heard. I KNOW He answers prayers! And I know many times the painful answer is Wait. But what a lift to my spirit it was to see how AMAZINGLY God met her need! “Coincidences of timing.” No, I don’t have faith to believe in coincidences. It was God’s miraculous provision: blessing her beyond what would be a minimum answer to her need. I was reminded of one of my favorite Bible passages, Jeremiah 29:11-13.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

JOY! I rejoice with my friend. I look back in HINDSIGHT and celebrate! Yes, He was listening, He was directing her paths, He loved her all the way through hearing every prayer and seeing all her tears.

You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8.

I LOVE Hindsight! Through the rearview mirror I can see clearly what God has done. I will make an effort to REMEMBER His great acts of kindness and how He has blessed by sharing with you and by recording in my journal. I can hopefully encourage others and hopefully you, on whatever twisty road you may be struggling, to TRUST Him! To believe His promises. To remember His great love for You. And to continue putting one foot in front of the other trusting He will direct your paths. He is faithful And I for one shout Hallelujah This morning!