Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Daddy's Feet

He looks down at his princess,  His beloved.  Lost in this moment, wanting it to last forever, He stretches His arms around her, seeking a tighter grip.  Right here, right now, His beloved little girl dances with Him, and seeks him out.  This moment is a sliver of time that will pass all too quickly.  His love is reflected in His eyes as He laughs with her.  As He holds her tight, He holds onto the little girl who will grow into a woman before His very eyes.  His love surrounds her as He takes the next step that has been prepared for her.  He leads her into new places, places she has never been before.  In the safety of His arms he leads her into the matters of the heart.  How to love.  How to trust.  How to give and how to take. How to dance the dance we call “life”.  He holds her and takes another step. She wobbles and almost falls, but His arms catch her.   She will fall sometimes.  She will get bruised sometimes and, He knows that.  He knows that He has to let her grow up.  But right here and right now. He can protect her and He can hold her and He can keep the whole wide world away while He dances with His princess. 
 If you close your eyes, you can hear the ripples of laughter that follow their dance steps.  You can imagine the arms that are holding, protecting, comforting.  Her head is thrown back and she laughs, out loud, with reckless abandon .  Her world is safe and carefree; her steps have been  prepared for her.  She dances with her Father.  He is always leading, allowing, holding and protecting.   The world slips  further away with each step.  With each step the profound love that He has for her seeps into her, like water on desert sand.  With each step she grows more aware of her inheritance of love.    In His arms she is a beloved princess and her worldly rags fall away.  In her Father’s loving arms  the bruises that the world has dealt her are soothed away with the balm of laughter, acceptance and love.
She has captured His heart  with their dance, with her laughter, with her eyes and with her very nature.  This dance will last forever, as she dances out different relationships in her life.  As she takes this purity and trust out into the world, she will dance some dances with some partners that will knock her over.  Some dances will leave her wounded and hurt.  Some dances will bring great joy for a season, and great pain in the morning.  
She will always have the security and the safety of Daddy’s feet to fall back on.  When the world licks at her and it is too hard to navigate the next step, she can release into the relationship of her heart.  She can step back up on Daddy’s feet and let His arms surround her and protect her.  She can rest her weary head on His chest and she can allow Him to lead her out of the circumstances and out of the pain.  Daddy’s feet can be trusted to guide you onto solid ground again.  Daddy’s feet can be trusted to prepare the way for a new day.  Right here and right now, He has you.  He knows you will dance away into the world again.  He knows you have to dance in the world.  But for right now, He holds on a little tighter and He loves a little stronger, because His princess has been hurt, and that hurts Him.  Drawing together you dance out of the circumstances that have bound you, on the safety of Daddy’s feet.  He waits for the day that you will come to Him, take His hand, and dance with your own feet.  He waits for the day that you will be His partner and you will dance in a symphony of grace, movement and love.  But for now, He just holds on a little tighter and He protects His beloved.

Shores of His Grace

Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away, return hastily, O my beloved,  and be like a gazelle or a young hart as you cover the mountains which seperate us"
Song Of Sol
Imagine that you have just committed a sin, and you are standing at the edge of the ocean. You cast that sin out into the ocean and watch it bob out to sea.....satan would have you believe that you are casting that sin out into the eternal wretchedness of all of your past sins, that it is just one more in the pile. Imagine that sin being a soda this never breaks down and never goes away. It is bobbing along, with all of your other sins. Sometimes, it will wash back up on the shores of your heart, and it will stab you with guilt and remorse, as you remember the sin. Once the damage is inflicted, it floats back out to the sea of wretchedness. The tides bring in other sins that awaken the sense of guilt and dread. Satan would have you NEVER forget the past sins, He is the accuser of the brethren...he will remind you and pull those sins out of the sea of wretchedness, to torment you, if you let him.
But, here is the reality. You stand on the shores of God's grace, mercy and love. You see the sin, recognize it and repent from it, and cast it off into the ocean of God's is erased for all eternity, through His blood. Our God takes those sins and they disappear into the great expanse of His grace! The only thing that is lapping onto the shores of your heart is God's love, forgiveness and mercy.
If satan is beating you up with the day you have had, with things you have done in the past, with old junk....stand on the shores of God's love today, apologize, and cast the sins into His grace. Change your ways at the shoreline and choose to make different choices. If you have already cast that sin into the waves of God's grace....satan is just beating you up...because God doesn't even remember that sin...if you are clean before the Father - then you are clean. Silence the attack of the enemy...get yourself back to the shoreline of His grace - and see the expanse of the crystal blue waters...see the expanse of God's love for you and His forgiveness. It is FINISHED, when you cast it into His expanse.....silence the enemy with truth!!
1John 1:9
If we confess our sins,He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
Ephesians 1:7
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.
If you find yourself being beat up, recite the truth- the scriptures above, out loud------ and silence the voice of the enemy!  He holds His hand out to YOU and asks that you would enter into a Symphony of His grace today....

Unspeakable Joy Conference, March 5th- See You There!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I Am Not Creative!!!!!

I do many workshops and work many retreats.  I, invariably, hear - at EVERY event I work: "I am not creative", "I can't draw a stick figure".  I hear it again and again, in all areas of the country and the world. I AM NOT CREATIVE.

I look at the greatest attacks on the children of God and realize that our enemy is concentrating a lot on the creative minds, and hearts of His children.

Why such a full frontal assault on the creative? This past weekend I was with two other artists as we pondered and thought through our role at Encouragement Cafe, 91.3 Joy FM.  We spoke of the Tower of Babel and how God intersected human pride and scattered us through language.

And then it hit.

Color is a universal language.  It speaks to everyone, without words.  Beauty speaks and it requires no translator.  It is the universal language- of course, the enemy would want to shut it down.  Shut down the creative and you shut down a language that intersects the darkness, through color and light. Remember that black is devoid of color, white embraces all of the colors. Shut down the creative and you shut down the use of light and color as it pierces into the darkness.

John 1:4-6: "The Word gave life to everything that was created and His life brought LIGHT to everyone.  The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it."

So, today, I whisper into your heart - that you serve a creative God - you were made to be creative. Rise up creative Army of the Most High and take a stand against the darkness. Beauty Matters- speak the language of color, shatter the darkness,  and salt your world with His love. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Journaling Birthday Party

I was asked to share my love of journaling with a group of ladies, as a birthday party, for a special birthday girl!  After snacks and treats,  I shared some techniques, did some praying, showed some examples,  and released everyone to play with the supplies.  What a great way to usher in a new year - in the throes of creativity!!!
Want to have a birthday party - child, tween or adult?  Message me for details!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Art on the Misssion Field

In Romania we served the elderly, through Elder Orphan Care. Imagine your parents out on the street, through a cold European winter. Imagine the frostbite settling in and the feeling going out of their limbs.  Imagine the sleepiness that takes over the senses.  Now, if you would join me in imagining the rats that feed on such victims, nibbling on frozen limbs through the long hours of the night. Imagine your parents and grandparents waking up to the horror of seeing their limbs frozen and gnawed on and the horror as their legs are amputated.   There is a man in Romania who was watching TV one night in Dumbravya, Romania.  The news caster spoke of two elderly that had frozen to death on the streets of Oradea. He had a choice.  He could have turned the channel, turned off the TV and “said a prayer” – or- he could act.  He chose to act. He hit the streets and found elderly and took them into his home. He rescued, and continues to rescue, the elderly and frail from the streets.  At this point, he is serving 161 elderly and frail through the countryside villages in Romania.   We get to partner with him when we go to Romania and encourage him. He is the one that lives there and lives with the everyday demands of rescue.  We are a small respite that wishes to encourage and partner with him.  If you are interested you can learn more about “Elder Orphan Care” on Fb,

In the months of preparation of our trip, we prayed into what our focus would be.  In the past we have brought eyeglasses so that – literally – the blind could see.  This did not feel like the focus of the trip. Through prayer we kept landing on “art” and “shoes”.  With 160 elderly, of all different physical and cognitive capabilities- I had no idea how to roll out an art aspect! The Lord provided answers in little steps.  First, we purchased watercolor kits, inexpensive watercolors, and cheap brushes.  With a sharpie marker, I printed out 160 different Romanian words: Jesus loves  me and Praise the Lord!. I had an art bag packed and ready to go, not sure how it would play out and if it would be received well.  These were children’s watercolor kits- would I be insulting?  Would they “go for it”?
I was there with one purpose and one passion, because BEAUTY MATTERS.  Beauty pierces through the darkness and brings hope.  A single rose is a protest against the violence, poverty, disease that is all around it. Color is the presence of LIGHT, in dancing hues.  Blackness is not a color – it is void of color.  To bring color into the soul is to bring LIGHT into the darkness. 

Let me take you to the moving moments when the art bag was opened and color was released out into the world. There were gnarled hands, incapacitated from a stroke.  There were trembling hands that shook. There were those that couldn’t even sit up in bed.  Protests against the light were many – in the words of our translator: “We will not take no for an answer!” The paints were given out and we all stood and sat by each bedside. Sometimes we gathered in the garden, and other times we gathered in the lobby of their homes. Either way, paintbrushes were put into gnarled hands and encouraging words were spoken.  Men with big hands, that had worked their whole lives- dwarfed the little paintbrushes- engulfing the tool of light so that it was almost not visible.  And……they….painted.
Smiles played on their lips and sparkles could be seen in their eyes.  It was if they had INGESTED the color, they were radiating out this message of life and light and color.  We all wept to see the transformation that a simple pan of watercolors could bring.
One man, Rudolph, spoke gibberish constantly.  He has been waiting for his mother to come and get him for years. We put the watercolors in front of him and he continued to babble and gesture wildly.  One member of our team, took his hand and placed it around the brush.  At the darkness often does, it protests against incoming light.  He gestured,  his eyes told the story that he believed he couldn’t do it. With patience, each stroke was laid on with the help of a team mate. His breathing slowed, his focus sharpened.  She let go of his hand.  HE continued on. He took a deeeeep, deeeep breath, almost breathing in the light and the color into his soul and continued on in silence- finishing the entire painting by himself.
And we wept to see the beauty find victory over the darkness.
One man couldn’t do it, though we tried and tried to convince him. Another member of the team sat by his bed and did it for him, while he watched in fascination. One might say that the beauty failed him, that beauty couldn’t pierce through his darkness. When we all left his room, a member of the team stayed behind and caught a picture of him, holding the little painting before him, soaking in the color and the light- as beauty pierced into the darkness and shattered the night of the soul.
And we wept for the goodness of beauty and a God that works in such an intimate way.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

God of The Impossible

What if the dreams that you are ignoring were planted for such a time as this?  What if He planted them, and He simply needs you to trust Him to take a leap of faith?  What if those dreams were planted, before there was time - for this hour?
What if you could not fail?

Would you reach for those dreams?  Universes were planted within you before there was time - you were made to do great things, for the Lord. Arise, and take your stand for His name!!

He is in your details, the time is now ---sometimes you have to jump to find your wings.  <3

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"The Silver Palette" is born!!

I would like to announce some very exciting news!!! As most of you know, I teach ages 2 - 92.  The Seniors that I teach are in a retirement community and are always ready for a new adventure.

Starting with this school year, we will begin a new volunteer program, that will be open to all of my students.  The first Friday of each month, we will host "The Silver Palette", and we will go to an Assisted Living center nearby and share in God's creative joy with these seniors, that require a little more attention, love, encouragement and support!

My prayer is that this experience will teach that art is a powerful vehicle into the heart, that is able to express itself more eloquently than words and that we are called to share our talents with the world and love His sheep well, no matter the age.  To take art away from the narcissistic venue of competition and into the loving hands of the Father, where we get to stake a claim against the darkness with beauty.  Beauty in paints, beauty in relationship, beauty in slowing down and beauty in loving well.  Or focus: to merge, in a beautiful array of colors: the young and the young at heart, and stand in awe of the beauty.
And now in my old age, don't set me aside. Don't abandon me when my strength is failing. Psalm 71:9

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Twist on Gratitude Journaling!

I am a gratitude journaling junkie, confession is good for the soul, right? In Psalm 118, Scripture says that His STEADFAST LOVE endures forever. In looking up this word, I found that hidden within the meaning "Chesed" we find the very character and nature of God - His kindness and faithfulness which serves as the foundations for His character and actions.  His KINDNESS is His foundation!!  As I continued to dig into this word and its meaning, I found that it means "Acts of Kindness".  Lets just sit there a spell and think on this mystery: It is IN HIS NATURE to Perform ACTS OF KINDNESS for you and I!!!!!  Whaaaaat????  
I was recently on Facebook and I saw a post from a mom who busted her tail to make an awesome dinner for her family. Fried chicken and fresh, homemade mashed potatoes, grilled tomato and zucchini - there may have even been a pie thrown in for good measure.  She was so disappointed that her family didn't enjoy it, they picked through what they liked and left the rest.  She was heartbroken at the lack of GRATITUDE.
Imagine our God- looking for ways to bless us with ACTS OF KINDNESS.....and we miss them and shrug them off and miss the heavenly kiss that was intended.  I don't think God gets His feelings hurt - I think that would be putting too much earthly emotion on an omniscient God....but, what do WE MISS, when we MISS THE ACTS OF KINDNESS???  I think we miss a whole lot.  I think we miss those precious moments where you feel so alive and joyful, because YOU MATTER TO AN ETERNAL GOD.  I think we miss the "bigger picture" of how He knits us together and hears the cries of our hearts.  I think we miss relationship.  It's never about God - He isn't the one on the trial seat - maybe it is about us, and making the time to find Him in our everyday, our every moment and appreciating His acts of kindness?  
If we seek Him with ALL OF OUR HEARTS - He will be found by us- Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Scripture Doodles

Doodling through the scriptures.....What if you wrote your scriptures down and, simply, doodled around these words with different, defined patterns? 
I have included a few examples of these doodles to get you started.  Let's remember that there is no "wrong" way of doing any of this - and I release you from the power of "It has to look nice".  While I am working through a scripture , in this way, I am engaging my heart and mind, soul and body - in a complete dance with the Lord.  Every sense is firing and concentrating on His presence and what He is saying to me through this scripture----write it all down- all over the page that you are working through!  Who cares what it looks like?????  You are interacting with God- and THAT is the blessing, the visual representation is a testimony to this interaction - NOT the purpose of the dance, but the beauty foretold of the dance. 

I release you from that Critical spirit that stops you from trying.  I release you from that critical spirit that tells you its not good enough.  In the Old Testament, they would pile rocks  in places that they had an interaction with a Lord - to serve as a visual representation.  Do you think, and I wonder, did the prophets of old look at their rock formations and think, "That doesn't look good enough." ? Our enemy will always try to get us to NOT draw attention to a physical representation of a heavenly manifestation....after all, it focuses on God....... Focuses. on . God.

Let your artwork and your dance focus on God - not on what you can, or can not do. Point towards God with all that you do, and be released from the need to "get it right"----you GOT IT RIGHT - You engaged in a heavenly manifestation of God, through the scriptures and through the salt of creativity ---You got it right.   That's the thing that you got right - the artwork is nothing more than a pile of rocks to give Him glory - I release the artist within you to create with Joy and no longer to be a slave to creating for others approval. 

Be blessed, create in joy and rise up, Oh Creative Army- take your stand against the darkness!!!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Psalm 23 Revisited!

Psalm 23 is a well loved, classic scripture that we all seen to be familiar with, regardless of our spiritual walk. It seems that ithas become embedded into our hearts, and our society.  What a beautiful scripture to find such widespread acceptance in the world.  This is the scripture that I am referring to:
1The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
----when the Lord is our Shepherd - we can have faith, trust and hope in our tomorrow.  Hope is the expectation of good.  Through Jesus- we get HOPE for tomorrow

2He makes me lie down in green pastures,  ----We are called to seasons of rest- in His will, He provides green, fertile places to rest our head

he leads me beside quiet waters, - --bubbling brooks scare sheep, He leads us to quiet waters.  He knows our fears and our anxieties - when we follow Him, He leads us away from these things.

3he refreshes my soul.  ----There is peace in having a good shepherd

He guides me along the right paths ----He guides us in truth and love and out of the situations and circumstances we get ourselves into.

for his name’s sake. ----To always be more like Him, to glorify His name

4Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death  -----A shadow is cast,only when there is light.  He is with us through the valleys that we walk through - the valleys that want to kill us, destroy us, hold us hostage...His light is with us, when we ask  Him to be the lord of our lives, giving our will and our hearts over to Him.  In this place,w ith Him as our Shepherd, the darkness is merely a shadow.  A shadow can not hurt us or harm us.  His light negates the powers of darkness.

I will fear no evil,  -----Every knee will bow to Jesus Christ - with Him leading- there is nothing to fear.  Your greatest fears,addictions, bondages -are negated to mere shadows in His presence.

for you are with me;
-----He is always with us - before we even know His name He pursues us. HE dies for us before we took our first breath.  He loved us while we were sinning.  He loves you now - and wants to be your good Shepherd

your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. -----The rod is meant to protect you from the predators that circle you, taunt you and mock you and the staff is meant to redirect you and guide you - what a comfort these re - that we dont have to defend ourselves anymore - He will do that - and He will always be with us, through the Holy Spirit, guiding us and gently correcting us.

5You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.  ------In the presence of your enemies- He sets a table for you.  the enemy has kept you on your knees, begging for scraps.  That is no position for a child of God---He sets a table for you - a banquet - and sits you down in the presence of your enemies to eat with Him.  The shadows cant hurt you anymore.  You can dine, at peace, with predators all around.

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows. ------Annointing oil was saved to designate kings- to designate God's chosen one.  Before there was time - you were chosen by God as His child.  There is no need to beg for scraps anymore - you are a child of the King - declare your inheritance and your birth right!!

6Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life, ------Yes, through the Good Shepherd there is goodness and love.  You are never too bad, too far gone, too much of a sinenr - goodness and love are your birthright

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.   ------We will all spend eternity somewhere.  Jesus brings us heavenly access - to dwell with Him forever.

Want to know more about becoming a Christian and declaring your birthright? Drop me an email - I would love to pray through that with you!!!  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Journal Bible and a few supplies = Worship!!!!

I have gotten an ESV journaling Bible- it has large margins that allow me to draw in it.  I was having a "problem" with this form as worship - as I didn't want to cover over any of His living Word - to highlight the "Spirit Speed Bumps" that I was getting. You know, when the Spirit slows you down and deposits a great revelation through His Word?  These are Rhema moments that I want to remember always.  But - WHAT if??  What if- once I cover that page over with mediums and pictures - He chooses to give me another Rhema word in that very passage???  I was paralyzed - for. months- over this dilemma and the Bible sat and waited to be loved.

Enter ......<GRACE>

This week I realized, that this Bible is for THIS Season - if I were to fill all of its lovely pages with verse, picture and the outpouring of my love for our Savior - well now, isnt that a GOOD thing??  Couldn't I get another journaling Bible for a new season?  Wouldn't this be a beautiful legacy and heritage of faith for my children and my children's children?

So, my little Bible came off its shelf and it has gotten loved up on this week...and i have enjoyed the process!!!  These are not materpieces - these are "Cha-Cha's" with the Lord.  I will leave the canvas for His masterpieces, for His slow waltz.  This is a quick sketch of the pictures that cement HIs Word squarely in my heart.

Thank God for Grace and Wisdom.  Thank God for this new fun way of interacting with the Scriptures!!!!   This is the journaling bible I like --
Jeremiah 33:3  Ask me and I will tell of remarkable secrets, you do not know, of things to come.

Psalm 23: He is THIS generous, so I must be THIS generous as a response to His loving me.

Friday, July 10, 2015

I AM: 365 Names of God

Journaling the Bible: Meditating on the Names of God

There are a lot of places to search out all of the names of God. For me, each of these names holds a promise that we can hold onto.  This is a powerful excercise that needs to be repeated often, for me, to remind myself of all of His character traits and attributes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Bible Journaling: Journaling the Scriptures!

I often hear that folks dont like the way their handwriting translates into their journals.  Might I offer a different perspective?  What a treasure and a sentiment to leave behind.  My dad recently passed away, and grief is a funny animal. It comes at you in waves, and you never know what is going to trigger the wave. I had to call my mom recently, and her voicemail picked up.  It was the androgynous voice of the robot that lives within the confines of my moms answering machine. I thought, "Oh Dad, I wish you had recorded your voice on that machine...what I'd give to hear your voice one more time."  And there it is - the wave that makes my eyes leak and my heart sad. Strange things hit out of the blue.  As we are going through my mom's house moving her and getting the house ready for sale, I came across one of my dad's old rulers.  There is this little piece that slides out - and there I found the best prize of all....he had written his name. With those simple letters came a flood of memories - too quick to process, to special to share - because they felt like "home".  His name- written brought comfort.  Write- just write- we will all pass on one day and leave treasures behind for our loved ones.  Your writing is something that is familiar and known to your loved ones.  What a blessing it has been for me.
Ok - let's say I didnt convince you?  In a Word document - you can play with text boxes and scripts and compose a page of scriptures to add into your journals.  You can print off pictures.  You can print off words and tape them into the journals.  The computer and the printer can do a lot of work for you, if you dont want to try your  hand at it yourself.
In the pics above, I worked in word and assembled a host of scriptures that dealt with the word, "HOPE". This became the opening cover of my journal - with my handwritten scripture on the other side.
But - I will end this post with - write, somewhere, somehow, it will be a blessing one day!
Love you Dad

Monica: Romania

Monica: Romania
Beauty Pierces the Darkness

Join us at Encouragement Cafe!

On Earth As It Is In Heaven

On Earth As It Is In Heaven

God Will Fix This

God Will Fix This
A prayer for San Bernadino

Art in the Mission Field

Art in the Mission Field
How much would you pay for a smile like that?

God of the Impossible

God of the Impossible
Dreams made Flesh

The Majesty of God

The Majesty of God
His Threadbare Sandals


You taught My Feet To Dance on Disappointment

Creativity Unleashed!

Creativity Unleashed!