Glad you stopped by on this blog. I hope you enjoy what you read and would love for you to leave a comment. Helpful suggestions are welcomed. If there is anything I can do to help you, please e-mail me @ anitawriter7@ yahoo.com

Monday, December 2, 2019

A Word for Christian Artists

 A word aptly spoken is little apples of gold in sockets of silver. Proverbs 25:11

Since I’ve returned from the Gathering of Christian Artists in Asheville, North Carolina, I’ve been doing more art and asking God to reveal His will about my creative work. I’ve been trying to be silent and listen to Him more.

He’s been speaking to me about several things that might encourage you also. First, my art and writing are not as important as my relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That is to be the number one thing I should pursue and my art will flow out of that relationship. If I trust Him, and lean on his word, bring my requests to Him in thanksgiving, I’ll be less anxious about what to do (Philippians), which is sometimes a struggle. Since God often speaks to me in first person, I’ll write the word, as He gave it to me today:

“I invite you to participate in creation with Me. I have 
made you in My image and so therefore I bestow on you the ability to create. However, each one’s creativity will differ—some will be visual artists, musicians, writers, as well as pastors, prophets, administrators and skilled craftsmen, along with other gifts, such as helps and healing. It should not be a cause for jealousy but joy. Together, you make up the glorious whole, the body of Christ.

The aim is to imitate Your Father in heaven. Draw on Me as your inspiration. The world has many muses—nature, self and the voice of other gods. While some of these may be good, others are evil. You need to look to Me, that may include studying nature, which is a reflection of Me and My Son, as well as the Holy Spirit. Let your true source of inspiration be divine. Paint, fashion and create the vision I give to You.”

While this may be ingrained for some of you, it is new to me. I’ve always just painted what I wanted, mostly nature and other artists work. As an art teacher for elementary school children, I’ve been a fan of nature studies, Pinterest and seasonal crafts for the children. While I’ve developed my writing, I need to look at my art in a whole new way. I’ve been reading the Bible in a new light—looking to the scriptures as a source of inspiration for what I paint. I've been writing prayers to accompany the verses and artwork.

Matt Tommey addresses this issue of creativity in his book, Creativity, According to the Kingdom. I’ve just begun to read it and I highly recommend it if you desire your creative work to align with Kingdom principles. It is my desire to glorify God with my work. I also recommend the facebook page, Thriving Christian Artists. I’ve imbedded the link if you are interested in joining. I hope this word sets your work in a direction that will inspire and challenge you to fulfill the purpose God has for your talent and abilities. If you like what you’ve read or seen, please leave a comment. Thanks and blessings!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Knowing Jesus Makes a World of Difference

From the start of your life, Jesus has known you as He is the author of life. He knows your strengths and weaknesses, your talents and pitfalls, your good and your bad days and your heart. But how much do you know Jesus? He longs for you to know him intimately.

As woman, we want to be completely known and this is why we like to communicate. Get a room full of woman and you’ll hear a lot of talking and hopefully see some good listeners too. This is how we get to know others and others get to know us. It is the same with Jesus. We get to know Him by talking to Him and listening. How do we do this?

Open communication is the key, aka prayer. Let Jesus know your every thought, feeling, heartache and joy. Pray about the big things in your life and the little incidental things. Read your Bible and pray through it. When you see a passage that resonates with your heart, stop. Meditate on it. Turn it into a prayer for you or someone you know who is struggling with that issue. 

In my last year of teaching I had two flights of steps I had to climb each day with my heavy art bag and purse. It contained my lesson planner, supplies that I purchased and needed for the day, my lunch and other incidentals. Everyday I’d face those stairs and knew that soon I’d face over a hundred students with all their needs. As I climbed the steps, I’d pray:

            Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.

            They will mount up with wings like eagles

            They will run and not grow weary

            They will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).

I’d pray: Lord renew my strength, help me up these staircases and any other obstacles I face for the day. Let me not grow weary in doing good and dealing with the students. Help me not to lose my patience. Thank you that I will fly like an eagle over these circumstances.

And you know what? Jesus did it! He gave me the strength I asked for and needed. He led and guided me throughout the day. As I kept my eyes on Him, He’d give me the strength. So much so that a young teacher commented that she couldn’t believe how much I did in my last year when most teachers really slow down. But the most important benefit was that my relationship with God and Jesus grew because I kept in constant contact with Him.

How do we do this? Talk honestly with Jesus about what you’re facing.  He wants to know you as much as you want to know your husband. In the spiritual sense of things, He is your husband and Good Shepherd. He wants to embrace you and comfort you. Speak to you and encourage you, challenge you and guide you, fill you with wisdom and the joy of knowing Him. 

He can’t do that if you’re not spending time alone with Him. Read the Word, pray and listen in return. Don’t do all the talking. After you’ve read the Bible, carve out a few minutes listening for the Good Shepherd’s voice. Get to know it. His voice will never contradict the Word of God so be careful not to listen to the wrong one. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and listen. If he shows you to do something, pray about it.

Think of this time alone with the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as your daily bread. You wouldn’t go a whole day without eating unless you’re fasting, so don’t go a whole day without carving time out for your relationship with God and Jesus. It’s your spiritual food that feeds your soul. Don’t starve. Get to know Jesus and you’ll reap the reward—a joyful relationship with the Good Shepherd. The benefits are innumerable—peace, love, joy, a sense of well-being, guidance, purpose, and more than that, all of them are eternal.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Travel Log: Southern France: Arles

As an art teacher who often used the Impressionist's work as examples for my students, I've always

wanted to go to Southern France, to catch a glimpse of what they saw and be inspired. I especially desired to visit Arles, where VanGogh painted many colorful canvases. So when the opportunity came to visit Provence with my sister, I jumped at the opportunity. We traveled by boat on the Rhone River, and it was everything and more than what I hoped for, not only in this town, but all along the river--vistas of ancient ruins, small clusters of terracotta roofed towns, fields of vineyards and sun shining on the blue waters.
Arles was saturated in colors--bright green vineyards, muted olive groves, bright blue skies, yellow cafes and pictures of sunflowers everywhere. Van Gogh's presence is felt strongly here. Our guide stopped at many markers which pictured the scenes he painted in the exact locations. We wove our way along the river and the scene where he painted Starry Night over the Rhone. Thought not as famous as the Starry Night, it is still beautiful. 

We turned into the town and quickly reached the area near Van Gogh's apartment. His yellow house, though no longer there, was bombed in WWII. However, the area still clung to all the other buildings in the painting as you can check for yourself. Also pictured was the painting of his bedroom, which is another piece I enjoy and had my students' learn about perspective from his room.

Our guide filled us in on the details of his fight with his friend, Gauguin and Vincent's desire to start an artist colony, which never happened. We saw the hospital where Vincent was sent to while he healed from cutting off his ear.

His painting was pictured on a placard and the scene was exactly the same except for a missing chicken coop.The replicas also include information about him during the time he painted the scenes and our guide answered all my questions. 

At last, we walked on cobblestoned streets to VanGogh square and the café he painted at night. The café though originally white was painted yellow to match Vincent's work. Arles profits much from Van Gogh's notoriety, though the former residents ran him out of town because they thought him crazy after he presented his ear as a gift to a woman who called the police. After four months, he was sent to a sanatorium further south. Though many of Van Gogh's most famous works, like Starry Night, were painted in St. Remy, I felt fulfilled walking along the sunny streets of Arles. At long last, my dream was fulfilled and I saw what and where VanGogh painted.

In our free time, I purchased a number of  Van Gogh related items: such as handbags and miniature paintings.  I also made my way to the open market and purchased two beautiful blouses and a straw basket. Arles was not only all about VanGogh. It boasts a rich history, for the history buff as well. We visited the Roman ruins of one of the largest outdoor amphitheaters in France built in the first century B.C. Though constructed much like the colosseum in Rome, it is only two stories high as opposed to four. However, it could hold up to 20,000 people and was very impressive as you can see in the picture. We also passed by the other Greek and Roman ruins and a roman bath. The church of St. Trophime is a wonderful example of Romanesque architecture built in the 13th and 14th century, pictured below. 

I loved everything about Arles, though I feel such a pang in my heart for the sad life VanGogh llived. As an artist, he was ahead of his time. I hope he is looking down from heaven and sees that indeed his paintings are masterpieces of color and light and that he is at peace.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Myriad Flecks of Silver and Gold: A Poem

While vacationing on Lake Sacandaga right by the water, I was inspired to write this poem

 The sunshine manifests its myriad flecks of silver treasure
          when coupled with the waters of lake, sea or river,
          wherever water may wander on this earth, large or great
                                          if it catches the light just right.

The golden orb--source of earth's energy, absorbed by man and beast,
            transformed into solar power, recharges the spirit as it
                                           dances on the water.

So too, the sonshine, when absorbed by even one,
                                           restores the soul.
                                I too am ignited by the Son of God
And desire to radiate His light,
                                where ere I go.

To do so, I must abandon my sharp tongue
                                which clouds the joy of my heart and
                                the transcendence of my being,
                shattering the light and obscuring
                                                The Son.

    With wings like a gull, I must take flight
                     from the flesh's weakness,
                                And land on the Rock.
                whether in storm or gale, tempest tossed,
                                or calm waters.

   Like the apostle Paul,
                                 I wrestle with the monstrous, beast of the Sea
                who wishes to pull me under, to his lair.
                                 I must stand and watch,
               or he will chain me to my earthly carcass,
                                which daily  decays.

   While my spirit longs to live in Love,
              Even in the presence of my darkest foes and deepest enemies
                              or anxious thoughts and circumstances.
                               I must escape Myself.

   Help me, dearest Father,
                               Rescue me from dark waters
                               and train my land lubber legs
                                      to walk with you
                                                    On water.

    Help me, to place my mooring in You.
                             To stand strong against the tide of self,
                             To rest in Your loving arms of grace, through tumult and storm.

    Trusting you, as we journey together,
             that we may safely reach the other side.
                  I cry out
                             as thunders booms warnings.

     Let me take cover in Your loving arms.
            "Though ten thousand fall beside me,"
              I shall not be moved.

     Guide and protect me.
           with every step and stride,
                             to the mountains of Your holiness,
           with treasures you have placed
                              like liquid gold, they will radiate
                                      divine joy!


Thursday, August 29, 2019

Overcomer is for You: Movie Review

If you’re looking for an inspirational, family movie to see this summer, Overcomer is for you! Written and directed by Alex Kendirix in conjunction with Paramount Films, War Room, won’t disappoint. Priscilla Shires does a great job at playing the principal of the school as well as the young girl, Aryn Wright Thompson. Though the promos’ tag it as a film about a basketball coach, don’t think it’s just another sports movie, it’s not. It’s a lot more than that.

Every major character in the film has something to overcome—the father: his disappearing basketball team, the mother: her desire to change her husband, the young girl: the loss of her father years ago, the girl’s grandmother: her bitterness and the sick man in the hospital: his past. (So not to contain spoilers, I’ve not included the details.)

The story gradually unfolds, and then hits hard, as life often does. The film portrays how each character initially reacts in trying to fix their own problems and addresses that issue realistically. Once they realize they can’t change themselves, they turn to God in prayer. Not just rote or banal, the prayers are heartfelt and touching.

It was applaudable to see dynamic prayer that appealed to God in their moment of need on the big screen. Like life, it often takes a crisis for us to turn to God in prayer, and He listens to the cry of our heart when we are in earnest. We are encouraged in the Word of God to be fervent in prayer and Overcomer demonstrates that.

While much of the plot is inspirational, I thought the film's tracking of the young girl’s life from an awkward, shy and troubled teenager to a confident follower of Christ, the most powerful. Yet, it was also very inspiring how each one of the major characters’ lives are transformed by God. And the music is great too. In the final moments, the film ends with the popular hit song, You’re an Overcomer, which makes you want to stand up and sing along.

While the movie presents godly solutions to our problems, I think anyone facing a crisis can benefit from watching it. The film shows us that God isn’t a genie, answering our every wish, but that He hears us and works His will, if we let Him. It may surprise us at first, but in the long run, it’s for the best. We may not know Him, but we can and the film shows us how and what to do when we don’t know. We can trust God and let Him perform His transforming work in our lives. All of us can learn how to be an Overcomer

The Word of God points to this truth and encourages us. “With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies” (Psalm 108:33). While the psalmist David referred to literal enemies, we can easily substitute our enemies—pride, anger, jealousy, bitterness, selfishness, depression, anxiety and so on. So why not take your family to the movies and let God inspire you to overcome whatever it is that blocks you from knowing Him and tackling the problems of your life. You too can be an Overcomer!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Garden of Eden Fulfilled

A stirring in my heart for the last week produced this word of encouragement or prophecy, however you want to view it:

Though the world is heavy with sin so that even non-believers can see the evil, My Spirit is still on the move. Miracles are happening every day, if you just open your eyes. Stop and watch the sunrise and the sunset or the moon rising and you will begin to understand the miracles of nature I have wrought. Yet the greatest of all miracles is the work of My own son, Jesus Christ, on the cross.

My love and forgiveness continues to be poured out daily on the inhabitants of earth, through My spirit. Stop and listen to My heart, see the love and mercy, feel My presence walking with you in the garden. The Garden of Eden was hidden from you because it was a physical place where immortality could be obtained, and evil unmasked. Now I have replaced that garden with My son. He is the Garden of Eden—filled with choice delights. Think about that for a while and let that realization soak into your being.

 Jesus Christ is not only the doorway to eternal life, but He is the sustainer of all life. He is the bread of life which feeds you, the fruit of the spirit, which grows you, and the water of life, which refreshes you. Walk with Him in the cool of the evening and in the heat of the noonday sun and you will be able to experience Our presence—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is what is needed on earth today. Those who remember the power and forgiveness of My presence.

If you would but acknowledge it, you would know that all is well with your soul if you have the Spirit of Christ living within you. This is the greatest miracle of all and it can fill you with His dunamis, dynamite power, wisdom and love. All three are needed for your journey on earth to live the abundant life. Remember I have come that you might have life, not death. The enemy of your soul seeks to destroy you, but you must not listen or succumb to his lies.

Walk in the Spirit and you will not cave into the desires of the flesh. Tap into the place in your soul where the Spirit of God lives and breathes and has its being, and you will have everything you need to overcome the darkness. Remember the garden of Eden beckons you to the tree of life, which is Jesus Christ. It is why humans have a desire to get back to the garden, because I have placed that desire within. It is fulfilled through the spirit of Christ living in you. Seek Him today and everyday and you will live in victory!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Most Valuable Certificate

Impatient to get though all the paperwork I had to sort through these last few days of school, I tossed large wads into the trash. I had already sorted through my art folders and older business files, so without looking through the individual papers, I tossed away blindly. I already brought home three heavy boxers of files and many folders of artwork—project directions, samples and art my daughter contributed. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with all this stuff in my retirement, but I thought I might teach homeschoolers, so I retained a fraction of what I had.

That day, I felt justified in getting rid of almost everything that remained. Yet, I had forgotten about an important little slip of paper that offered a free facial for a value of $75, which we received for teacher appreciation week. I’d tucked it away, and had forgotten about it until one of the teachers had redeemed the certificate and said the facial was wonderful!

That night I remembered this and searched frantically through the files there, but no certificate. The following day I searched through the files that remained there, once again nothing turned up. I went and asked the secretary and my union rep if either of them had more and discovered they were limited and none remained. On the last day of school, I made one more fruitless effort. I came to the conclusion that I was not to have the free gift given to us. Ok, I could live with that, but I was annoyed with myself.

My first day of retirement was glorious and I didn’t think once about the certificate. The next day I saw an object lesson waving before my eyes. How often do we throw away the most important gift given to humanity? So many people don’t even realize what an important gift they have at their disposal, that of Jesus Christ. He offers us freedom from the power of sin and eternal life. Yet we forget about the significance of His certificate of reconciliation with the Father. Because its free, we might think its worthless and throw it away, just like I did.

Though I am a Christian and have redeemed the gift certificate offered me, I often forget about the power of the Holy Spirit living within me. Just yesterday, I got all bent out of shape because I couldn’t find one of the chapters I had written for my WIP-work in progress. I lost my peace, got angry and threw away the peace of Christ. I spent two hours rewriting it and later discovered I had saved it in the wrong place. I misplaced the power of Jesus Christ living in my life. I tossed it away without a thought, only to realize later how valuable it is—the life of Christ living within me. It's our most precious possession.

To those who don’t know the love of Christ, I ask you to redeem that valuable certificate. Everyone in the world has been given one, and unlike my facial certificate, we can always retrieve it when we need it. To those who know Christ, I ask you to think about the value of knowing Him. He is the most valuable possession in our being. Let’s be more mindful of that when we are tempted to throw away that knowledge.

 I’d love for you to leave a comment and let me know what you think.