Hymn for Lighthouse Painting

The painting video I shared yesterday included a piano instrumental version of “In Christ Alone”. My daughter (standing behind my chair) was kind enough to sing it with me for you. I added the lyrics at the top of the screen. This old hymn is good comfort for the times we are living in and goes well with the inspiration of a lighthouse.

By the way, the unframed canvas paintings you see on the shelves behind me are my drying system. I lay a fresh painting flat when it’s very wet, then I move it to the shelf (vertically leaning, as you can see in the video) to continue setting/drying. When it’s dry I move it into the closet storage. Then start all over again with the next wet canvas, still working toward my lifetime goal of 1,000 finished oil paintings. I have one on the canvas right now but I’m feeling tired and I’m procrastinating. We’ll see if my willpower wins today or my physical fatigue. So far I managed singing this song, one of my favorite hymns, and that was a good thing. God bless you and your families as we move forward in these chaotic times.


Grace Will Lead me Home

Watch this oil painting Ireland Coast come alive in about 2 minutes (time lapse)

When we were planning our move to Ireland, I was grieving the loss of my only remaining parent, my mom (Dad died when I was a child). We let go of nearly everything that we had- my husband had lost his job after the company moved out of the country, something I’ve blogged about before, and because of this, we needed to sell our house. My teaching studio was in the lower level of our home, so I lost my job too. When Mom died, there was no family to stay for, no jobs to stay for, and my kids were in between school choices.

There was nothing to keep us from moving to an island far, far away… away from the snow and ice, to a place where wild dolphins swim free. Have you ever felt this way, even if you didn’t actually lose your family, your home, your job and most of your possessions? Maybe you regardless have felt that all you had left were the people in your own little family, or even just yourself- alone.

In times of solitude, we may yearn for more solitude, as there is no greater loneliness than to feel alone in a crowd. The moody skies, brisk salty wind through our hair, and the mystery of the cliffs at the Celtic Sea Coast overwhelmed my heart. I will never forget that magical place that healed something in me that I didn’t even know was broken.

But we couldn’t stay. I had to cancel my month-long solo art show, and the kids had to cancel their school plans. My son had a scholarship, but alas, it was not meant to be. We couldn’t get our “permission to remain” visa. So, we had to come back home, to America. And by then, I knew that I couldn’t keep running. I would have to begin again, and make a new life where I was born, raised, and where I belong.

This is me (in yellow) singing “Amazing Grace” with my kids, shortly after we moved to the Deep South, here in Georgia. We didn’t return to the north, or to the midwestern states we’d lived in. We chose a coastal state where my dad had once been and had told me I’d love. We came here sight unseen, on a leap of faith.

I will post the lyrics here. If you are feeling heavy in your heart, this traditional hymn may be of familiar comfort to you.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

Words: John Newton (1779)