Love Lessons from an Artist–Part Two

“Real creativity means listening to your heart,” my friend Yvette said. (I began sharing her story last week here.)

“Tell me more.” We entered her kitchen.

“This rug, for instance. I found it at a flea market. It was six dollars.”

“Did you know for sure it would match?”

“I didn’t care if it matched. I loved it.”

Oh.

“Creativity isn’t about matching or being perfect.”

Incredible! Yvette’s teaching me the same things God’s been showing me. 

“This was my grandfather’s pipe. And my grandmother’s snuff.” 🙂

We laughed.

“I love it! You keep your grandmother’s snuff on the kitchen counter. You’re breaking so many rules.”

“That’s what art’s all about. Being free. Being yourself.”

Maybe that’s what good writing’s about, too.

“How long have you known this secret?”

“It started when I was a little girl. I discovered treasures under my grandmother’s house–all sorts of bottles and tiny trinkets. I decorate with them because I loved my grandmother.” 

Wow! Sounds so SIMPLE–my word for the year. 

“Oh, look. Christmas candles and it’s not even December!”

Which takes a lot courage. To be different. Christmas candles in September.

We walked into her den.

“When I was nine,” she said, “I found my uncle’s miniature bronze horse–small enough to fit inside my palm. Love at first sight. I took it home with me.  A few years ago, I felt a nudge to give the horse to my cousin. It should’ve been hers all along. I didn’t want to, but I knew I was supposed to. Does that make sense?”

I nodded.

“A few days after I gave it to her, I found this horse at a flea market. Can you believe it?”

“Julie, it’s an exact replica of the horse I gave away. Only a lot bigger.”

“It’s a miracle.”

“I know. In all my  years of flea-marketing, I’ve never seen another horse like the one I gave away. Except for this one.”

Yvette had just given me another love lesson:

If God asks you to give something away, obey Him. Quickly. Blessings follow obedience. 

Has God ever asked you to give away something you dearly loved? 

Have you discovered art and decorating have nothing to do with being perfect? 

You can find Yvette here:

The Charm House  on Facebook.

The Charm House on Pinterest.

The Charm House in Instagram.

The Charm House website.

The Charm House on Twitter.

Love,

Julie

Chatty Cathy and Prayer

Do you remember that doll from the sixties named Chatty Cathy? When you pulled the magic cord in the back of her neck, she chatted with you.

“Let’s play school … Do you like my dress?”

Could there be anything more wonderful? A best friend who was always there whenever you wanted to talk.

But after a while, Chatty Cathy wasn’t that much fun.

She always said the same phrases over and over.

Sort of like my prayer time lately.

The other day, I filled my prayer journal with pages of the same words.

Same situations. Same people. Same problems.

Same concerns.

Could’ve just written, “Ditto.”

After I finished, I closed my journal and traced the letters in the word SERENITY.

My prayer time hadn’t brought much serenity that morning.

Later while I was washing dishes, I glanced out the kitchen window and spotted a deer.

He stopped eating, raised his head, perked his ears, and looked right at me. He didn’t run away!

He stood quietly as if he enjoyed my presence.

Such a peaceful moment.

Sweet. Unexpected. Unscripted.

Maybe my prayer time can be more like this …

Knowing for certain that God is with me.

He’s not in a hurry.

Sometimes I can just be quiet,

And rest in His presence.

No words are necessary.

Because He knows my heart.

He understands.

 “… a time to be silent and a time to speak …” Ecclesiastes 3:7 NIV.

Have you ever prayed like you’re a Chatty Cathy doll?

Have you had one of these quiet times with God lately? Aren’t they wonderful? 🙂

Love,

Julie

Stupid Days … Stupid Ways

You’re either going to understand this post, or you’re going to think I’m nuts.

Do you ever have days when your mind wanders–when you’re so preoccupied, you lose track of time and space and do a bunch of stupid stuff?

Please say yes.

That happened to me last week.

Tuesday morning, I made my husband’s lunch for work. He texted me with this picture. “Should there be something else here?”

That afternoon, I ran errands and forgot I’d left the water dripping on the ferns. I came home to a flooded front porch. Here’s the rug after it dried. Well, almost.

Later, I went to pick up clothes from the dry cleaners. I walked into the shop and everything looked different.

It was as though I’d entered The Twilight Zone.

I didn’t know where I was. Didn’t recognize the place.

I glanced to the left.

Okay, this is creepy.

A week earlier, I’d stood behind a black curtain in that very corner to put on a pair of pants.

I left them here to be hemmed.

Now there was no curtain.

Nothing looks familiar, but I can’t be crazy because I have a little green ticket to pick up my pants.

Standing in line it hit me.

I’d tried a new dry cleaners. And this wasn’t it.

I excused myself an ran out the door.

Three stupid things today, God. What’s going on?

It seemed His gentle Spirit said:

Slow down.

Focus.

You can lose your way spiritually too.

Sometimes Your mind leaves the Light of My Presence and takes off into dark places.

For you, those places are Fear and Doubt.

Stay close to me, child.

Guard your thoughts.

Maybe it wasn’t such a stupid day after all.

Can you relate?

Love,

Julie

 

Getting Over My Proud Self

Friday night, God seemed to gently nudge me. I want to show you something special. My husband and I were driving up the driveway in the dark. The only thing I saw was the moon.

Probably wasn’t God talking to me.

Look at the moon.

“This is gonna sound crazy, but I think God wants me to pay attention to the moon tonight.”

“Why?” Rick said.

“I’m not sure.”

Then the moon disappeared behind the trees. Guess it was just my imagination.

Keep looking.

“There it is,” Rick said.

“Oh, yeah. Looks like it’s right over the center of the driveway.” I took a couple of pictures through the windshield. Too fuzzy.

It wasn’t God.

Rick opened the sunroof. “Try it from up there.”

I stared through the opening into the patch of night sky.

And hesitated.

I bet I can’t take a picture of the moon from this far away. In the dark.

“Here,” Rick said. “I’ll hold your phone while you crawl through.”

I wanted to say never mind. Dumb idea. Just keep driving.

I didn’t want to look like a fool.

But what if God was talking to me? Calling me to an adventure? To something new?

Could I trust Him…even though I didn’t know the outcome?

Balancing on the console, I poked my head and arms through the sunroof–up to my waist.

“Oh. Wow.” Surrounded by the cool air, it felt as though I viewed the night from a balcony.  The stars were so pretty they took my breath away. And the moon! Look at the moon! Centered above our driveway…just for me.

 

Thank You, God. I snapped a picture and eased back into the car.

“Well?”

“There’s a whole ‘nother world out there,” I said breathlessly.

Listen up, proud self. You’ve knocked me out of a lot of blessings, but no more!

How do you sense God talking to you? Has He called you to a new adventure?

P.S. One more sweet thing….

Jennifer Mersberger  nominated my blog for the Beautiful Blogger Award. 🙂 🙂 I’m so honored! Ladies, you’ll love Jennifer’s blog, God in the Everyday.

I’d like to nominate these blogs for the Beautiful Blogger award…

All Things Heart and Home  (All things Crafty, Heartfelt, Decorating, DIY, and Gluten Free)

Girls God Goodlife  (for teenage girls)

B.J. Taylor (for animal lovers)

To receive the reward:

1. Copy the blogger award and place it in your post.

2. Thank the person who nominated you and create a link to their blog.

3. Share the love. Nominate others for their own beautiful blogger award.

Love,

Julie

 

 

The Clue in My Closet

I’m a strange woman. I’m not fashion savvy and I hate to shop.

My bedroom closet was out of control. Katie, our 27-year-old daughter, spent a Friday night with us this spring. Katie knows clothes. I asked her to help me.

We piled everything–pants, shirts, belts, purses, shoes, and scarves–onto my unmade bed. Katie studied each item carefully before suggesting the give-away or keep pile. I agreed with her on most things, but a few times I questioned her smarts.

She placed a black shirt in the give-away pile. I got it out. “This is cute. Black looks good on everybody.”

“Whatever you think, Mom.” She picked up a pair of faded jeans.

“But don’t you think the skirt might work with this shirt?” I held up a black-and-white swirly printed blouse.

“Really, it’s your choice.” She smiled and kept working.

If she’d just argue with me I could change her mind.

But she wouldn’t. Whenever I disagreed she said, “I’m being honest, but it’s up to you.”

Then it hit me.

Katie knows fashion, color, and style. I’d asked for her advice. Her gentle answers were a lot like God’s responses when I argued with Him. He reveals Truth and allows me to make a choice.

But God, don’t You think…

But God, if I just…

But God, surely You didn’t mean…

I donated three tall kitchen trash bags of clothes, but Katie left me with a lot more than a clean closet. She inspired me to be quiet and listen more intently to the Master Designer. He knows best.

“The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15 (NIV)

Love,

Julie