Sunday, November 19, 2006

On the First Day of Christmas My True Love Sent to Me....

The presents have been rolling in from my Twelve Days of Christmas Swap. Just look at this tantalizing basket of goodies! I think I've received all but 1 and there are still 3 weeks to go before I begin opening them.

I yearn to see what is in them, but at the same time I am delighting in the anticipation. I want to drag it out just a little bit longer. I want to look at this little basket filled with beautifully wrapped packages knowing that each one contains a handcrafted gift from a talented artist, and just savor the anticipation.

I know when the 13th of December comes and I'm allowed to open the first one, I will come eagerly into my studio with my morning cup of coffee and just walk around for a while looking at them all together one last time. I will want to open it, but I will want to prolong the delight for as long as possible. Like taking a bite of chocolate pudding and not wanting to swallow for just a minute. Just enjoying.

Of course I won't be able to resist forever and then I will have 12 tiny treasures to delight in and to keep around me as permanent inspiration! I don't remember when I ever had 12 gifts waiting just for me, let alone by my own little tree!

Here are my presents all wrapped up and ready to ship. Mine will be opened on day 9. Shamefully I think I am the last in my group to send my packages out.

Here they are all laid out on my work table. I can't show you what is inside until after the group opens them, but there may be a little clue somewhere on that messy table. I'll never tell!

Check out the Twelve Days of Christmas Blog to see each artists pressies all wrapped up, and starting December 13th each present will be unveiled on the blog. There are 2 groups so you will get to enjoy seeing 2 new pieces of art each day!

I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughts and prayers toward my health. I can't even begin to tell you how touched I am to have received so much support and encouragement, both here and in private e-mails. I still don't have an answer, tests will come in a few weeks. Meanwhile, God is in control and I am at peace in His hands.

Have a very blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Just a little hint...

You might think from my lack of new listings on ebay or in my Etsy Store that I haven't been doing a whole lot these days, but the truth is, the less you hear or see from me here, the busier my life has become.

Last week I returned to the work force full time. My art has had to take a back seat to "reality" and reality is, my husband has been out of work since July and has had nary a nibble on any of the millions and billions (only a slight exaggeration!) of resumes he has been sending out, so back to the world of working outside the home I go.

I have managed to spend quite a few hours in the studio this weekend working frantically on 12 Christmas gifties for another swap with online artist friends. Sooooo.....since the swap is a Christmas exchange I can't show you pictures of what I am making but, I've posted the photo above as just a little hint. Hmmmmm....what could it be? What could it be? I'm not going to tell, but if you'd like to read more about the swap and keep tabs on its progress, check out the blog that our swap hostess Lelainia has put together: Twelve Days of Christmas. Good stuff!

Along with the challenge of being back at work full time, my health has taken a dive. Just as I was beginning to feel great on my new gluten free diet, I began having some weird and serious head and heart problems. A trip to the doc who treats me for Lupus and Connective Tissue Disease left me with one of 3 possibilities. It could be "just a migraine" (a really long migraine unlike any migraine I've ever had before, but still in the realm of possibilities), it could be MS, or it could be a blod clot. This week I get to have an MRI and make a trip to the neurologist, who will hopefully solve the mystery for me. I don't know what I'm more afraid of, that it will be something serious, or that he will scratch his head and say he doesn't know what it is.

If I didn't believe so strongly that God is real and sovereign, I might be cursing my rotten luck and the terrible timing of it all. But I don't believe in luck, I believe in Jesus, and He knows me better then I know myself.

I'm pretty sure He knows how fickle I am.

If I weren't having health problems this week, would I remember to pray for others who are ill? If we weren't having financial troubles, would I remember to count my blessings and pray for those who are much worse off then we? If my kids weren't real kids, with real issues, would I remember to pray every day for them or their friends?

If I didn't believe so much that Jesus loves me just the way I am. With all my flaws, with all my health issues, with all my (many, many, many) imperfections, I wouldn't be sharing any of this with you. But Jesus was a friend of sinners, he was the friend of the lepers, the tax collectors, the outcasts. He didn't expect anyone to clean themselves up before they could come to him.

This morning in church the worship team sang a new Casting Crowns song titled "Stained Glass Masquerade". It speaks volumes about how we present ourselves to others and what a relief it would be to be real with each other.

I hope you are having a great week, as a matter of fact, I hope you are having a great life. But if you are hurting, if you are ill, if you have a broken heart, or life has just gotten to be too much to bear, please know that you are not alone. You are loved by the one who knows you and loves you best. He is more then enough to see you through. Reach out and talk to somebody about it, take a chance that you won't be rejected for being real. And even more important, talk to God and ask him to see you through the storm. He is more then faithful.

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feeling so small

Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong

So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the heart again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who's been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who's traded
In the altar for a stage

The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart

But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be

Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay