Celebration of the Arts

(I wrote this on Saturday, but didn't post it.  Chuck found it on the laptop and said he enjoyed it... so... thought I'd share.)

Last Thursday night I attended an event called, "Celebration of the Arts".  I received the invitation through my writer's group.  We were instructed to bring a piece of our art- anything we had written- that we were proud of.  I was a little nervous since I don't feel like I have done anything substantial with my writing in a long time.  But I ended up choosing to bring the magazines containing the last two articles I had written.  When I arrived people were placing their art pieces on a display table, so I laid out the two magazines.  It was a pretty cool feeling.  There were paintings, drawings, pottery, photographs, and then my art- writing.

I have thought to myself and said many times out loud over the years that I wish I had a talent.  I've always wished I had some skill I was good at.  I watch my husband create, and use his creative mind for all kinds of projects.  I have wished so often I could be like him!  I have wished I was able to create something beautiful to give as a gift.  Many of my friends can refurbish furniture, or are amazing at DIY projects, or can make cards, jewelry, clothing- the skies the limit for those kinds of artists.  Recently I even went to Michael's to look around and see if there was anything I could make to give away as gifts this Christmas.  It all felt extremely daunting to me.  I don't have the kind of mind that can picture something and create it, even though I really, really wish I could.

Back in October I joined a ministry called, "Infused Arts".  My particular group in this community is called, "The Write Space".  As the weeks have gone on I've learned that "Infused Arts" is simply artists coming together who are infused by the Holy Spirit, and create for Him.  These artists are inspired by Him and for Him.  As I participate in this creative community I am experiencing the presence of God more and more through my writing.  I have always known God has put this art of writing inside me.  Even as a young child writing was apart of me, but it has never seemed like a talent or a skill.  It's just been a part of me.

On Thursday night I was able to celebrate the gift God has given me as a writer with other artists who affirmed my gift.  I got to stand up, share about my articles, and celebrate how God had led me to write them.  Then I was privileged to see the pieces of art others created and got to hear their stories.  God was infused all over each piece of art whether written or visual.  It was beautiful!  So beautiful!  And surreal.  I have never been apart of anything like it.  Experiencing God through people's art was stunning.  Inspiring.  I was in awe, and still am.

It has been so exciting to embrace anew the gift of writing God has given me, and to be learning that He has a unique purpose for it.  For me.  He has created me with this gift, and wants to use it for His glory and His kingdom.  Really, me?  As Jase would say, "Woooow!"

Today I am at a Writer's Retreat, surrounded by others writers, and I find such strength and inspiration from their stories.  Their journeys as writers.  I'm finding a community of artists I can relate to, and connect with over our passion to write.  It's amazing.  It's like something inside me has begun to crack open, and I'm just beginning to realize what God could do through me using the written word.  It feels so good to be understood in this passion.  It feels so good to dust off my fingers, start to declutter the cobwebs of lies that have tangled themselves around my mind, and begin to see myself as a woman who has a voice that can only tell a story from my perspective.  A perspective only God could give me.

Blessings upon Blessings

November is such a great month for me to be reminded to have a thankful mindset.  There is always an abundance of things to be thankful for.  I've been wanting to come up with a visual way for Chuck and I to list the ways God is blessing us.  One year we had a thankfulness jar during November, and then we read all the things we had written down on Thanksgiving Day.  Since we haven't created anything yet, I decided to visually reflect through this post.  Some of these things may seem strange, but that is a wonderful benefit of having an intimate relationship with Christ.  He knows my heart, and the things that speak the loudest to me.  So here they are- blessings from God and the reasons I am thankful today:

I am FREE from the burden and chains of sin because Christ paid the price for me!
I truly have a fulfilling LIFE in abundance because Jesus lives in me!
I know God created me uniquely special, unlike any other woman in this world.
I can not fathom the depth of God's love for me.  It's even more than the depth of love I have for my own babies.  
Chuck is so much fun for me to be around.
He is a loving, sacrificial, selfless, hard-working, creative husband. 
Chuck continues to be so attractive to me.
Chuck is experiencing God in new ways- in ways I have prayed for.
A friend brought us groceries last week AND several meals.  I haven't cooked in a week, and won't have to cook for several more days.  Glory be.  
Another friend is baby-sitting Jase tomorrow during my OB appointment.  
Starbucks is having their BOGO on Holiday drinks this week!
It's Thanksgiving and Christmas season!
Jase is constantly smiling and laughing- he is such a happy kid.  
Jase started saying, "Wow!" this week in the most adorable voice.  
Jase absolutely adores his Papa.  And Chuck absolutely adores his son.  
Baby Girl is 30 weeks old, and we will get to hold her in the next 10 weeks.  
I believe God put her name on our hearts a couple years ago, even though we keep debating.  
My parents are giving us a dresser for the baby's room.  
Bottle feeding is such a joy for me.
We were given the gift of a maternity and family photo shoot.  (See Chuck's FB page for a preview.)
Being off of FB has been a really good thing for me.
Two girl friends have lent me maternity clothes.
My husband gave me a budget to buy some maternity items I needed to get through winter. God provided great consignment shop buys.  (Jeans for $9, for instance!)
Co-leading a girl's teen small group brings a lot of joy.
I am part of a writing community.
We have an HSA account.
My Mom will be taking and watching Jase for a week soon.  
I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the very first time.
God provided a FREE turkey!  
We have seen some houses recently we could see ourselves buying this summer.  
Chuck loves his job.
I respect the people Chuck works with.  
Jase is taking a second nap today- a special blessing because I hurt my back and it's hard to walk.  
I was able to get into a chiropractor TODAY.  
Decaf, soy, no whip, peppermint mocha's are out in the red cups.  Need I say more?!

Jesus, thank you for lavishly blessing.  

If anyone else wants to share their list of thanks and blessings, I would LOVE to read them!

Happy Halloween!

Weak Week

Last week was so super rough.  As I was starting to feel better from the stomach virus, I got two vaccines at my OB appointment.  I have reacted (chills, aches, pains) to both vaccines in the past, so I figured it was going to be a tough weekend.  And it was.  Thankfully Chuck is Super Papa, and I was able to stay in bed for a lot of Saturday and Sunday.  I'm still really weak.  I just tried putting Jase down for an afternoon nap, but I probably tried too early- wishful thinking on my part.  So now I face the dilemma, do I let him cry it out awhile and hope he eventually wears himself out?  Or do I get him up, and start the process all over again in an hour?  My energy for the day is sapped already.

I learned at my last appointment that I am in the throws of my third trimester.  Not sure how I missed that.  The contractions continue daily, and are even getting uncomfortable.  I'm waddling already, with three months to go. My doctor also informed us to be prepared for Baby Girl to come early, just in case.  She told us to be prepared even four weeks early, which would be NEXT MONTH.  I have nothing ready.  Nothing.  It's all very overwhelming.

So, in an attempt to "be anxious for nothing", I made a wish list today and put Philippians 4:19 at the top, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus".  The list will be between me and God, and I will take joy in watching Him provide for us.  He always does.  When Jase was born, our entire house was in boxes, and we weren't even living in our own home.  I write this as a pep talk to myself because I wake up every day between 4-6am wide awake wondering how so many things are going to work out.  Sometimes life just feels impossible.

Update:  The babe is finally asleep- I let him cry it out.  ;)  Now I need to get myself showered.  People, showering is exhausting.  Why is that?!  Then I need to move on to dinner preparations.  I just have to make it until Wednesday.  A dear, dear friend is driving a two hour round trip to bring us groceries, and several meals!  I told her I did not want her doing that for us, but she said, "Let us bless you."  Sometimes that is the hardest thing to do.  I desperately need the help at times, but when someone offers, I'm quick to say, "I'll be fine!".  I never feel like I deserve the help.  I feel like I'm being lazy if others do things for me.  I feel like I should be able to do the very natural thing of caring for one child while carrying another one.  Millions of women do it every day.  And this makes me wonder, why is it so hard for me?

Can anyone else out there relate at all???