It’s a No

Watch this “Lion and the Lamb” oil painting come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

The update to yesterday’s post “Feeling Froggy?” is: no. No, the home owner is not willing to extend our lease by one month so that we can rent a house that isn’t available until June. We must be out by May 31, period. They want to sell and are concerned they’ll miss the housing spike window. Understood. So, I’ll have to put myself into the right mindset to take on this challenge of finding a new place to rent before then. Rents are so high, it’s absurd! We would be paying DOUBLE what we pay now in some cases. We might end up living an hour and a half away from where my family needs to be for work/school and it will even then still cost us a few hundred dollars more in rent than we currently pay.

This is rather heartbreaking because we have worked so hard to rebuild our lives and are only a few months away from buying a house. This could sink us and make us stuck in a rental for who knows how long. I will make sure that doesn’t happen! But, the fear is real.

I’ll have to live by my own words, when I previously featured this lion and lamb painting in a blog post about balancing the attributes of the character of a lion with the character of a lamb. This was the part about fear:

When I’m unsure of what to do, I ask myself “is this an action of faith or fear?” If I’m aligned with the character and attitudes of a lion and a lamb, then my decision is based on faith. If I’m not adhering to those traits, then I’m likely responding in fear. 

Fear is a healthy and normal response, but our actions cannot be ruled by it.

from blog post “Are you a lion or a lamb?”

The Unexpected

See oil painting “Porch Flowers” come to life in about 30 seconds (time lapse)

Here’s what I originally wrote about this art:

“When we moved here, I didn’t know that the shrubs near the front porch were the flowering kind, until one day they burst out in beautiful pink and white blossoms. The flowers graced the ground when they fell, leaving a carpet of petals. The floral shower right outside our door was such a nice surprise!

Sometimes in life we fear the unexpected- the call we don’t ever want to receive, the news we can’t bear- but there are times when the unexpected is a blessing. From the big surprises we didn’t see coming, to the small ones, an ordinary day can change in an instant over a cascade of flowers.”

So, here we are several years later, and these flowers are in bloom again. If you’ve read my recent blog posts, you might recall that there have been some unexpected developments- shocking sudden deaths- four of them within a few months of each other. I thought there were five, but my mind seems to have inflated that count. Now I’m worried that there IS a fifth one that I’ll learn about soon.

That’s a lot of “unexpected”- and not the good kind. Yes, an ordinary day can change in an instant. This time around, I feel sad when I see these flowers. They seem to be funeral flowers at the moment.

This is how life is, beauty is in the perspective. We can see something beautiful and feel joy, or feel sadness, or something else entirely. Here’s hoping that the next unexpected thing that comes our way is a blessing.

Peace be with you and your family.


Protected and Loved

Watch this oil painting of an angel guiding a child out of danger in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Sometimes this world throws so much darkness, chaos, confusion, fear, malice, violence and dangerous, heartless tyranny at us that there’s very little left to say. In these times, I feel opposing forces vying for my attention: faith and fear. Fear associates closely with suspicion, resentment, bitterness, anger and ultimately hate. So I must choose faith. Faith leads to trust, forgiveness, grace, peace and ultimately love.

The fires may rage, but we are delivered. We are like this little child led by our Guardian Angel. Or, maybe we are that angel to someone else. We can focus on the fire or believe in deliverance from it. When we believe that we are protected and loved, it is well with our soul. 

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Distorted Reality

Watch me paint “Kitchen Devotions” in under 1 minute

(time lapse)

Surrealism is an art style that combines unusual elements together to produce a dreamlike effect; merging reality with fantasy, simulating the subconscious mind. But sometimes paintings are just “a little bit” surreal. The unexpected, unreal, or dreamlike qualities may be so subtle that viewers of this style of art may not even be aware of it, and yet, they’ll probably sense that something is different that they can’t quite put their finger on.

 

In “Kitchen Devotions“, there are several elements in the composition that are unexpected. Why are the flowers in a food bowl? Why is one side of the curtain moving slightly, even though the window is closed and the other side of the curtain is standing still? Why are the walls that odd color and pattern? Why does the mug look like it was made by a pottery student? Why is the bookmark floating rather than in perspective? Why does the book look “ghostly” and blank? Why are the flowers spaced evenly apart and straight?

 

Artists who paint “freestyle” (painting an idea rather than prioritizing a careful, realistic technique), may inadvertently paint in a slightly surreal style. “Kitchen Devotions” was a freestyle exercise to paint whatever came to mind, without looking at a reference or planning ahead. This type of exercise is beneficial for any skill level of artist and may even emerge to become a favorite work or a signature style.

 

-from blog post “Painting Surreal

What I want to add today, is a different perspective on Distorted Reality. Rather than looking at it from the artist viewpoint of surrealism, what about when life itself feels surreal? These days I’ve been waking up after vivid, disjointed, and disturbing dreams. For a few seconds upon waking I’m not sure if the dream is real or not… and then later in the day, I may still not be completely able to sort the dream state from reality.

For example, yesterday I had a dream that I had flooded the bathroom of a house I’ve never seen before, but in the dream it was my house. I flooded it with clean soapy water, but I was still concerned that water had seeped inside the walls and would be trapped there to mold or cause water damage to the home. 

Later in the day, I was cleaning the real life shower stall of this house, when suddenly I realized that a repaired spot in the stall had fallen out, revealing an open hole that had been apparently plugged with putty at some point. Now I had a real life concern that soapy water had gone into the wall!

Fortunately the hole was very small and I’d noticed the exact moment when the repair patch had fallen off. I cleaned and dried the area, texted my husband, and he stopped by the store on the way home from work to get putty. He re-patched it in seconds. It was really not a big deal, unlike my dream that had me standing in about three feet of water!

But, real life was a smaller version of the dream and it was unnerving to have dreamed something so similar just before it happened. I felt a lot of stress when I saw the gaping hole, even though it was small and turned out to be easy to repair. What a trivial psychic ability! Not much prophetic use for predicting minor anxiety-producing events that are quickly resolved!

However, there have been other times when my portent dreams were not trivial, and it was very sobering when the predictions of my subconscious mind came true. Dreams are sometimes prophetic, but not usually. Many dreams feel like nonsense, or are a boring play about regular life activities. Sometimes dreams are a confusing distorted mix of people and places from our past jumbled together with current places and places we don’t recognize- and maybe don’t even exist!

We might wonder what the purpose of dreams are, but usually we don’t think much about it… until we have an unsettling dream, a vivid dream, or a dream that feels like a portent. I’ve felt lately that life itself feels like we’re in a dream state. More and more, as we merge the surrealism of our sleeping mind with the distorted reality of 2021, it can be difficult to sort out the truth. What is real?

In dreams, we may fear things that aren’t real. Anything can be dangerous in a dream. In our waking life, do we ever fear things that aren’t quite real, or at least not at the level of danger that merits the terror that is conjured up? What is real, and to what degree should we fear the dangers of 2021? Who are the truthtellers? Who are the “experts”? Who do we trust? Who should we fear?

Perhaps my dream of flooding a home, causing lasting damage and dangerous toxins, when the reality was vastly different: one small hole that merely needed to be patched, is an example of a bigger paradigm. Sometimes we fear a flood when the problem is much more manageable. We may even have a fast and easy solution to repair the damage and resolve the problem.

The trouble is, we may not know which way things are going. Life may feel surreal. Is it a flood or a small hole? Does this situation merit a small amount of anxiety and stress, or fear and escalating terror? We may feel confused, disoriented, and exhausted. Conflicting perspectives reach our ears and we may not be able to sort out what is real.

If something or someone is driving fear using hostility, ridicule, and disrespectful, dehumanizing and tyrannical methods that are devoid of empathy, are full of control and manipulation, and possibly even frothing with malice, condemnation and discrimination against those who disagree, then fear isn’t real… not fully real. Because when fear serves a master, the driver is hate (deception), the opposite of love (truth). It is not loving to be unkind, to use bribery or punishment to coerce people (rather than information, patience, and evidence). It is not love that whips up fear. Hate does that.

So when fear hits you from a source of hate, it is NOT real. We must stand against it. Step back, analyze the situation, research it, be patient with ourselves as we sort things out, and treat ourselves kindly. Never take on shame that doesn’t belong to us. Humanity is precious, and our sovereignty is essential. When fear comes through a person, entity, or government that wants us to control us, then we must question its validity.

Emotion and anxiety are not reliable indicators for testing if the things we fear are real. In dreams we may fear things that are not dangerous. That is true of our waking self as well. So we must use logic, facts, accounts from trusted sources, and stories relayed by fellow human beings who have nothing to gain by sharing their truth.

We must also trust ourselves, beyond our emotional self. Intuition is more than a feeling. It is defined as the ability to acquire knowledge without (or maybe ahead of) the evidence, conscious reasoning, etc. to properly analyze the situation as fact. Psychologists recognize intuition as nothing magical, but rather a way in which our minds generate “hunches” in our unconscious minds. It is referred to as a type of knowledge. 

Spiritual people have much more to say about the power of intuition. They may refer to it as the voice of your true self, your highest self, or even the voice of the Holy Spirit. Humans have acknowledged and defined intuition in many ways, and hold dear the idea that intuition is meant to help us know what is true. It is mean to protect us from bad things.

When our intuition seems to shout, “Pray NOW”, stop and pray. When our intuition says, “Don’t go that way today, take another route”, do it. There are so many stories of people who mysteriously felt an urgent tug on their hearts to go a different route and avoided a tragic end. Others tell of going a different route and being on the scene to save a life. We may never know why we are meant to go here, or not go there, but often we recognize immediately why we were “told” in our hearts to do something, or not do something. The important thing is to pay attention to what our intuition tells us, and do it.

When the world feels surreal… when things don’t look quite right… when something is off, and we have trouble sorting out the distortion from reality… when we don’t know who is lying, and who is telling the truth… when we don’t know what to fear, or how much to fear… we must trust our intuition. 

Often, a flood is just a hole. There is a remedy. All will be well. When our intuition says, “Do not fear”, we must remain strong, steady, healthy, and positive. We will endure. We will persevere. We will live fearlessly.

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Embrace the Storm

Watch me paint “Eye of the Storm” in under 2 minutes

(time lapse)

This painting was inspired by live radar of Hurricane Irma. How fascinating to watch the storm as it moved over the ocean! Up North, I’d been through bitter life threatening cold of -25 actual temperature, not including wind chill, blizzards, tornadoes, and floods, but none of those were a shared experience world wide. When a hurricane comes, humanity watches in breathless anticipation, in awe of nature. It is a bonding experience, and seems everyone who’s been through a hurricane, even if only to evacuate from it, has their hurricane story that they love to tell. I was worried that hurricanes would be a deal breaker for me down South, but everywhere I’ve ever lived, there has always been some type of dangerous weather. In fact, there were more episodes of dangerous weather in other places I’ve lived. At least with a hurricane, there is plenty of advance notice (usually- sometimes the forecasts are wrong about exact landfall or which levies may breech, tornadoes that spawn, etc.). My point is, I no longer fear hurricanes. We can’t escape risks in life. I love living in coastal Georgia, and hurricanes are a risk I’m learning to live with. I’ve only evacuated from the threat of two of them, but each time, I felt a renewed gratitude for my community, my home, my family, and my God. Maybe that’s what storms are all about?”
- from the book "50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Savannah, Georgia" by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

“Brace for the storm!” is a fear based approach to life. “Embrace the Storm” is a mindset that takes us out of a powerless victim role. We can’t prevent or control all of the storms that come our way, but what we can do is see opportunities and make the most of every situation. A crisis is an opportunity to connect with other people through shared experiences and powerful emotions. A scary event can also heighten our spirituality and sharpen our senses. Suddenly what’s important to us seems clearer than it did when life was “safe”.

Life is never truly safe. We weren’t meant to be idle with too much time on our hands to fret. Some moments we forget to worry about the dangers of living because our minds are occupied.  When we push ourselves to be active and engaged in pursuits that we’re passionate about, we have little room left in our day for fear.

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New Painting – “Alabama Landscape”

Oil painting by artist Natalie Buske Thomas "Alabama Landscape". Watch Natalie paint this art in less than 2 minutes (time lapse video). New painting for September 2022.

New Painting Finished!

If you’ve been following the progress of my new oil painting “Walking in Rain Puddle”, you’ll be happy to know that it …

Back to Work! Session 3

Well, it’s time to get back to work on the new painting in progress. Normally I wait until the painting is finished …

Today’s Painting

LOL! It looks like my daughter (girl in the painting) is afraid of my fan brush in this still photo I lifted …

New Painting in Progress

I don’t often show my paintings until they are done, but I thought you’d like to know what I’m working on since …

New Painting – “Lion in Storm”

Watch oil painting “Lion in Storm” come alive in under 1 minute (in the time lapse video above). This is an angry …

New month, new direction!

Did you click on the image above? I’ve painted enough art now to re-design this website and sort by categories! This will …

New Painting – “Coffee Outside”

See my new painting “Coffee Outside” come alive in less than 2 minutes (time lapse video). This art is for the 2022 …

New Painting – “Frog in Garden”

Watch this frog painting come alive in just over 1 minute (time lapse video) This project was inspired by my tree frog …

Hymn for Cardinal Painting

As promised, I’ve put together a singing video with the lyrics for the instrumental hymn that was in yesterday’s painting video. Maybe …

Are you worried?

Watch me paint this puffin in 2 minutes (time lapse)

We have many reasons to feel worried. We worry about our personal circumstances that few (or maybe only we) know about. Private fears keep us awake at night: fears about illness, tragedy, work, financial crisis, grief, and trouble concerning our families. We also worry about things that the world tells us to fear; things that may be real or built upon deception in whole or in part. These worries may never come true, but life has its share of heartache and hardship, so we can never be completely safe from the things we fear. 

In my video of the puffin, you may notice:

  • As I’m painting, you can see glimpses of other paintings in the background. You see not only this single painting session, where I’m sitting there in my comfy red work shirt painting at home, but the evidence of several others. This represents hours of my energy and focus directed toward creating art to share.
  • If you’ve made it to the end of the video, you saw the music credits. Can you picture someone recording that happy guitar music to share with others? That musician invested energy and focus into making music. It was probably after years of playing the guitar, perhaps a lifetime.
  • And… the puffin is investing time and energy into simply being a puffin.

When we invest our time and energy into CREATING, MAKING, and BEING, we occupy ourselves with the act of living. We have filled the spaces of our minds with positive thoughts, leaving little room left over for worry.

  • CREATE: We don’t have to create art to be creative. I feel the same peaceful awareness of the goodness of creativity when I garden. Planning and growing my garden creates a new living world that is a masterpiece. Creativity can be in the kitchen, the garage, or any other place. An “artist’s studio” is wherever we feel creative.
  • MAKE: I’m grateful when musicians offer their music. I have a tight budget as a one-person enterprise, yet I need quality talent for my art videos. My art is made better when music sets the mood for my videos. But we don’t have to make music to contribute our talents to this world. Not everyone was born to be a musician. We all have our own gifts and talents, even if it seems we don’t. Making the effort to make life better for others, especially our families who love us, is one of the greatest roles we can have. What we make of our lives matters. Each of us has an opportunity to make a difference.
  • BE: When we are busy creating something new or making a difference in the lives of others, we have little energy leftover for worry. But, the true state of peace is when we don’t need to busy ourselves with positive distractions to fill our spiritual spaces… when we are unworried while in a state of simply “being”.

When I was learning about puffins to create that painting, I discovered that the puffin is a social creature who seems to love hanging out with other puffins. Yet there were plenty of instances in which the puffin was fine to be alone while flying, swimming, or simply being. The body language of a puffin suggests a relaxed, content spirit. 

Do you think that the puffin is aware of what an inspiration he is to humanity? As he goes about his animal life, with his funny stature, color block body, and unusual lifestyle combination of flying and swimming, does he worry about anything? This interesting little bird was given a singular purpose to live the life of a puffin. He was given gifts and talents to make that life possible. He was blessed with the company of other puffins for the journey.

Is the puffin immortal? No. They live an average of twenty years. But during that time, they protect each other from predators by forming groups when they are feeding at sea. They are highly social animals and deeply loyal, as they mate for life. To protect themselves, puffins nest high on top of cliffs and burrow deep under the ground. Instinctively, they understand their vulnerability and they take measures to keep themselves safe. But do they “worry” as we humans do? Probably not. It doesn’t seem to be the case.

Puffins are mysterious. They spend a lot of time at sea, where it is difficult for researchers to study them. In a world where every living creature is spied upon, analyzed, and intimately known, the puffin has managed to keep part of its life relatively private. I’ve blogged about how important it is to be mysterious.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, you may have noticed that I’ve mentioned activities like painting, playing music, gardening, cooking, socializing, swimming, and flying (unlike the puffin we obviously need planes, but we too can escape to far away places). Nowhere did I mention filling our time with a devotion to media, the Internet, or packaged passive “entertainment” scripted with an agenda to steer us toward a faux reality, and away from our natural intuitive lifestyle. When we reject that which is fake and choose those things that are real, we live an authentic life. It is easier for us to just “be”.

Our life expectancy is much higher than that of a puffin, yet we waste so much of it in worry. May we strive to invest our time and energy into making and creating until we evolve into “being”, at peace while standing still. Whenever you start to worry, think of my puffin painting. Be a puffin!

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False Prophets

Watch me paint this wolf in 1 minute (time lapse)

Beware of false prophets. Or should we say, “Beware of false profits“? Fake prophets, teachers and experts lie and cover up the truth because they profit from:

 

  • false information
  • misleading forecasts of future outcomes
  • manufactured data trends
  • biased news

 

Follow the money. Are the people who profit from a coordinated agenda involved in a public perception, fact checking, or spokesperson role, such as a “journalist” (oftentimes an agent of the State)? Are any “experts” profiting from the very events that they are supposedly the arbitrator of truth for? Are any of the persons who decide which opinions, claims and counter-expert professionals must be banned, silenced, or even declared “dangerous” to society- are any of the mouthpieces, censors, or experts profiting from the agenda?

We can say that these are unprecedented times of deceit, but that would be untrue. There is nothing new under the sun. In ancient days, we were warned of the same thing.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."
- Matthew 7:15 KJV

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “ravening” has two meanings. The first is literal, referring to wild animals violently hunting for food. The second is “a ravening group of people try to get what they want in a forceful way”. The example used was “ravening journalists”, but we can apply the word “ravening” to any person or group who pressures, harasses, shames, threatens, coerces, or leverages compliance to get what they want.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing might be:

  • A pastor, priest, or any spiritual leader who aligns with government agendas, commercial interests, social agendas, and faux-religion ideology over the needs of the congregation; misleading people from a powerful pulpit
  • A teacher who preaches instead of teaches; pushing students to think the way they want, rather than to learn how to think critically and self-advocate
  • A doctor who knowingly withholds some information, while promoting propaganda that aligns with an agenda borne of ideology, profit, and job security for towing the line
  • A “journalist” who may not meet the definition of a journalist at all, as they may be working directly or indirectly for government entities and are merely posing as an unbiased journalist. In this way, they may meet two definitions of “actor”: an actor of the State (for their country of origin or on behest of foreign interests), while also performing as actors.
  • An “expert” who has been declared as such by the same wolves in sheep’s clothing as listed above
  • Any person affiliated with any form of government who says that they are here to help us, while their actions hurt us

Of course not everyone in a position of leadership or power is a wolf, but it is wise to always be aware of this possibility. Never give anyone full authority over your life.

You have only one mind, body, and spirit. You must protect yourself from those who wish to lead you astray for their own gain, whether they do so knowingly with full intention, or whether they do so because they are themselves deceived, or whether they do so because they believe in their cause with the fervor and blindness of a member of a cult religion… whatever the reason that others tell you how to think or what to do, what is good, and what is bad… always honor your own ability to make decisions for yourself.

“When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is... You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?"
- Luke 12: 54-57 NIV

How is it that so many people simply follow orders? Fear is a powerful weapon. New situations are frightening. But is anything really “new”? When we analyze any given set of people, situations, or events we can find common elements with people, situations, or events from the recent and distant past. Throughout all of history there exists a dynamic of shrewd powerful people enslaving innocent persons or an entire populace. This is nothing new.

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us."
- Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 KJV

The technology for enslaving others is much more advanced than in days of old, but progress doesn’t change what’s at the core. Enslavement is enslavement. Lies are lies. Greed is greed. Death is death. I’ve been at the bedside of people who are dying, and none of them cared in the end about their manner of death. They cared only for the people they were leaving behind.

Fear is a distraction, meant to render us powerless. “This is new, you cannot fight it (us)” is an effective psychological warfare strategy to force a populace to comply. It is helpful to see the reality that there is nothing new under the sun, merely different attempts to accomplish the same goals as in ancient days. Progress and methods may invoke great fear, but ultimately we still have free will. Don’t let anyone deceive you into believing that you are powerless.

When we know that we are powerful, we attract spiritual strength. The spiritually strong are happier. Happier people are healthier. Healthier people have greater mental acuity. Mind, body, spirit – all of it works together to keep us safe. May God bless and keep you, may His face shine upon you and give you peace.

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Are you a lion or a lamb?

Watch me paint this lion and lamb art in 2 minutes (time lapse)

A person of faith is meant to have the characteristics of both a lion and a lamb: mighty in spirit while also humble and merciful. But sometimes the balance is thrown. We may struggle to be strong, or struggle to be forgiving.

Character Checklist

The quest for balance in our lives is an everyday struggle, but we can see it as a challenge rather than a hardship. Sometimes all it takes is an attitude adjustment. How we talk to ourselves matters.

Attitude Checklist

  • When I have low energy, am I lazy or am I tired? If I’m lazy, I need to push myself. If I’m tired, I need to give myself permission to rest.
  • When I am passive, is it because I am cowardly and apathetic, or is it because I am wisely staying clear? I need to be honest in my assessment and then act according to my conscience.
  • When I don’t stand up to people, is it because I’m graceful, or is it because I fear uncomfortable situations? Am I avoiding a confrontation? If so, perhaps that’s a wise decision. Perhaps it’s simply the easiest one.

When mired in self-examination, we may forget that we need to treat our neighbors as OURSELVES. Therefore, if we treat ourselves badly, we won’t be up to the challenge of treating others well. We must show ourselves mercy and grace. We must hold ourselves accountable in strong leadership. We must defend ourselves as a mighty warrior of character.

When we show goodness, kindness and mercy to ourselves, we learn how to express these things to others. When we protect ourselves, we train to protect others. Mercy begins at home.

When I’m unsure of what to do, I ask myself “is this an action of faith or fear?” If I’m aligned with the character and attitudes of a lion and a lamb, then my decision is based on faith. If I’m not adhering to those traits, then I’m likely responding in fear. 

Fear is a healthy and normal response, but our actions cannot be ruled by it. Fear is a close cousin to vanity, narcissism, selfishness, and sociopath leanings; as fear can be the foundation for behaviors that place self over others, breeding a lifestyle that is devoid of empathy. When we put our own fears and concerns over the well-being of others, it’s a fast and slippery slope to malice. Apathy and indifference lead to hatred, as it is easy to hate those for whom we care nothing for, and have dehumanized in our hearts. We no longer see each other as people when all we see is a potential threat to ourselves.

We choose faith over fear when we choose love over hate. While dehumanizing leads to apathy, indifference, and eventually hatred, the opposite is true as well. When we see humanity in each other, we feel responsibility and connection. Kindness and the traits of the lamb are more easily cultivated when we grow close to each other. While it is unrealistic to love everyone with the same kind of passion that we love our family and dearest friends, there is a type of love that shows mercy. This is the love we give when we are as lambs.

When the rights of the lambs to live gracefully in peace are threatened, the lions must defend them. All of us are pressed upon to be both a lion and a lamb in character, but not always in corresponding action. Decisions about actions require discernment. Put any concerns to meditation, prayer, and careful listening for answers. Compare your responses to the checklists in this post. Be bold like a lion: act decisively when you know what to do. Be merciful like a lamb: if you are mistaken, forgive yourself.

When we do our best, that’s good enough.

When we live our best, that’s good enough.

Hold yourself to high standards, but be merciful when you judge yourself.

Be as brave as a lion, but as gentle as a lamb- not only to others, but first to yourself.

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New Painting Finished!

If you’ve been following the progress of my new oil painting “Walking in Rain Puddle”, you’ll be happy to know that it is now finished

Read More »

Today’s Painting

LOL! It looks like my daughter (girl in the painting) is afraid of my fan brush in this still photo I lifted from the video!

Read More »

Go Light your World

This is the song that is featured in my oil painting “Candle and Bible” video. The music in the time lapse video is an instrumental

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New Painting

See this oil painting come alive in about 1 minute (time lapse video). Note: if you read my blog via e-mail, my videos probably won’t

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Happy 4th of July!

See this oil painting “Americana” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse video), or view the longer version in the 4th of July show. This

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New Painting!

See this osprey come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse video). My new art area is now fully set up and I should be

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Happy Father’s Day!

I’m finally working on a new painting. I’ll share it on Wednesday. My daily blog has fallen behind since our sudden, unexpected move. I’m still

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New Art Journey

I’ve lost track of how many oil paintings I’ve done, but “over 200” is possibly right. My lifetime goal is over 1,000 finished oil paintings,

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I’m HOME!

All moved in and my Internet is up. Did you miss me? I missed you! I’ll catch up when I can. Just wanted to post

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Moving Day!

This looks nothing like the house we’re closing on, but our house IS in Savannah. I had no idea when I painted this several years

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MOVING TOMORROW!

WHEW! The issues are finally resolved and our delayed close on the house will happen TOMORROW! Tomorrow is moving day! I shall fly like this

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S T R E S S E D

Today was a highly stressful day. We still haven’t closed on the house and we are now running out of time for the moving pods,

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BAD DAY

Well, there must have been a bad moon a’rising because today was a horrible day. The close on our house was cancelled, and then thankfully

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Super Laundry!

My son is college age now, not a little boy like in this art for children’s book “Grandpa Smiles” (about my dad, who died before

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Happy Day!

Today we had the opportunity to bring the kids to the house we’ll be closing on. Until now, they’d only seen the pictures and video.

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Bandits!

These birds have been coming around and stealing our strawberries! What a disappointment! I was enjoying a fresh berry with Cool Whip as a snack

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Easy Going

This painting was a “free paint” project, in which there is no reference, plan, or agenda other than to let the paints flow. I start

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Joyful Memories!

Moving is so hard and bittersweet. The passage of time is on display with every box that is packed, every room that is emptied. Today

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WOOT!

“Fred” was my dad’s nickname for me. This painting was inspired by a black and white photograph he took to complete an assignment for a

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Wild Days

Ever feel that you live your life with reckless abandon, like these wild horses? What do they care about consequences or the worries of tomorrow?

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aww

My daughter brought me one of the boxes she packed herself for our move, for me to load onto the POD container. She said it

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Nature’s Music

This painting was an experiment. A talented indie composer shared his work online and I asked if I could use it to paint what I

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Ooh, Pretty!

These flowers are probably the closest thing I have right now to what my new “Freedom Rose” looks like, but imagine the buds and open

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LOL, Pumpkin

I planted a couple of pumpkins in grow bags and decided that I’d take those to the new house. Well, one of the pumpkins decided

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Bearing Up

The PODS container was dropped off today. I spent hours packing the first round of our household, mostly by myself. I felt victorious, like this

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Lead me HOME!

When I painted this city of Savannah oil painting, I had no idea that I’d one day live not very far from this fountain square.

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Strawberry Mine!

Guess what’s ready to eat already? I had the most delicious vibrant red fresh strawberry with a bit of whipped cream, MMMM! But you know

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Moving Soon!

Oil painting “Autumn Cottage”, time lapse video to watch Natalie paint this art, journey of move during housing crisis

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Be Thou my Vision

I hope you are enjoying this Easter weekend with loved ones and are feeling peace in your spirit. I’ve uploaded the Easter Show 2022 in

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HAPPY NEWS!

Thought this joyful hymn was a good choice to celebrate my good news update: WE GOT THE HOUSE! We still have the inspection and the

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Missed it?

If you missed last year’s Easter Show, here it is. It’s quite different from the 2022 show in many ways, but yet the general format

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New Painting – Something Windy

Watch me paint “Autumn Tree” in under 2 minutes (time lapse)

Do you spiritually go “wherever the wind blows”? How much of your life do you plan, and how much do you leave to fate, circumstance, random connections, or stagnation by default? Do you want to move, but you stay? Do you want to stay, but you move? When the world is windy, are you rooted down or are you swept away?

When we are rooted like this tree, we may be shaken, twisted and knotted up, and nearly bent to the ground, but we will not fall. When the winds cease we will stand once again, and new leaves will grow. The more challenges we face, the stronger we become. 

When we no longer fear storms, we are less concerned about which way the wind is blowing. We know that we’ll survive it, regardless of which direction from which it comes. I’ll depart from my metaphor and be more specific: we hear lies and rumors of lies at a pace that is extraordinary but not unprecedented in world history. If we believe that we cannot withstand the storm, we may submit, comply and surrender, even if our hearts are begging us not to. However, if we know that we are deeply rooted in our beliefs, values, and spirit, the winds can hit us from all directions and we will not only survive, but will eventually thrive.

Be as a tree. Stand rooted in who you are. Do not allow the noise, which has revved up to a mighty din, influence you. The babble competes for your spiritual attention and attempts to control your days. You are not part of the collective, whose only value is to enrich the powerful few. You are an individual whose thoughts, emotions, and actions are important to the eyes of God, and when joined together are collectively powerful for the many.

Keep your own counsel. Seek your own knowledge. Follow your own intuition. Always question what those with motive to lie are saying, but never doubt the discernment and wisdom that is a gift from God. As a dog will growl when he senses a bad person is nearby, so will your spirit growl when you sense something is wrong. Don’t ignore that feeling. Heed it.

As trees need water, soil and sunlight to remain healthy and strong, so do we. We need sustenance both in literal nourishment and spiritual. This is a good time to pursue things that necessitate that we believe in a future. For example, plant something. In doing so, you commit to the idea that you expect to see it grow. Plant both literally (flowers, herbs, vegetables, etc.), and figuratively (begin projects that require a commitment to future events, or have long-term goals). When we choose the future, we generate hope. The two cannot be separated.

The winds of this world howl, but may we stand as strong as a deeply rooted tree. Don’t fear the storm. Believe that we will survive it, and even one day thrive. Let your mind, body, and actions make you stronger. Commit to the future, and plant hope.

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New Painting Finished!

If you’ve been following the progress of my new oil painting “Walking in Rain Puddle”, you’ll be happy to know that it is now finished

Read More »

Today’s Painting

LOL! It looks like my daughter (girl in the painting) is afraid of my fan brush in this still photo I lifted from the video!

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Go Light your World

This is the song that is featured in my oil painting “Candle and Bible” video. The music in the time lapse video is an instrumental

Read More »

New Painting

See this oil painting come alive in about 1 minute (time lapse video). Note: if you read my blog via e-mail, my videos probably won’t

Read More »

Happy 4th of July!

See this oil painting “Americana” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse video), or view the longer version in the 4th of July show. This

Read More »

New Painting!

See this osprey come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse video). My new art area is now fully set up and I should be

Read More »

Happy Father’s Day!

I’m finally working on a new painting. I’ll share it on Wednesday. My daily blog has fallen behind since our sudden, unexpected move. I’m still

Read More »

New Art Journey

I’ve lost track of how many oil paintings I’ve done, but “over 200” is possibly right. My lifetime goal is over 1,000 finished oil paintings,

Read More »

I’m HOME!

All moved in and my Internet is up. Did you miss me? I missed you! I’ll catch up when I can. Just wanted to post

Read More »

Moving Day!

This looks nothing like the house we’re closing on, but our house IS in Savannah. I had no idea when I painted this several years

Read More »

MOVING TOMORROW!

WHEW! The issues are finally resolved and our delayed close on the house will happen TOMORROW! Tomorrow is moving day! I shall fly like this

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S T R E S S E D

Today was a highly stressful day. We still haven’t closed on the house and we are now running out of time for the moving pods,

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Dreams to Prepare

Watch me paint “Blue and Yellow Bird” in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Have you ever had a dream that prepared you for future challenges? Yesterday’s post “Do, then See” mentioned the above painting, which is about a dream I had when I was pregnant with my son. I believe it was meant to help me prepare for the fear and challenges ahead. Spiritual preparedness made all the difference when we didn’t know if he would survive the delivery.

“I didn’t want to know gender of my babies, but somehow I intuitively knew each time. During my second pregnancy, I had a dream about the spirit of my unborn baby- a beautiful vivid blue bird with yellow markings. I knew the blue meant I was having a son and the yellow meant a health related worry. I was certain of what the dream meant, and felt I knew my baby before he was born. I had a difficult experience, that I won’t get into here- but one of the scariest, longest moments of my and husband’s life was when our son was born with the cord wrapped around his neck. Not breathing. When they got the cord away from his neck and his little blue body started to breathe, it was as if everything in the world was the best it could possibly ever be. He developed jaundice, which made his skin very yellow. He was yellow for days. My dream helped prepare me. My unborn son had a spirit that I connected to. God gave us a way to communicate, and prepare me for the fears surrounding his birth and newborn days."

- from the book "50 Oil Paintings Inspired by my Christian Faith" by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

The up-to-the-minute update on this story is that my son is right at this exact second in the kitchen a few feet away from where I’m sitting here talking with you. He’s making bacon. He’s recently discovered that he can have bacon whenever he wants if he makes it himself. For the past two weeks, he’s had bacon every day. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night to the smell of bacon frying. Morning, night, or afternoon, apparently the craving for bacon can take him over at any time. 

I don’t know for how much longer he will keep this up. Other than saying, “that smells good” or “that turned out perfect!”, I stay out of his way. For, when we want to grant someone more independence and freedom, we must keep out of the kitchen and let the bacon fry.

He’s not my fragile blue and yellow bird anymore. He is much taller than I am, and his shoulders are getting broad like his father’s stocky build. He’s finding his own way, and I have a feeling the next dream I may have about him could be to prepare me for when he leaves the nest.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

New Painting Finished!

If you’ve been following the progress of my new oil painting “Walking in Rain Puddle”, you’ll be happy to know that it is now finished

Read More »

Today’s Painting

LOL! It looks like my daughter (girl in the painting) is afraid of my fan brush in this still photo I lifted from the video!

Read More »

Go Light your World

This is the song that is featured in my oil painting “Candle and Bible” video. The music in the time lapse video is an instrumental

Read More »

New Painting

See this oil painting come alive in about 1 minute (time lapse video). Note: if you read my blog via e-mail, my videos probably won’t

Read More »

Happy 4th of July!

See this oil painting “Americana” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse video), or view the longer version in the 4th of July show. This

Read More »

New Painting!

See this osprey come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse video). My new art area is now fully set up and I should be

Read More »

Happy Father’s Day!

I’m finally working on a new painting. I’ll share it on Wednesday. My daily blog has fallen behind since our sudden, unexpected move. I’m still

Read More »

New Art Journey

I’ve lost track of how many oil paintings I’ve done, but “over 200” is possibly right. My lifetime goal is over 1,000 finished oil paintings,

Read More »

I’m HOME!

All moved in and my Internet is up. Did you miss me? I missed you! I’ll catch up when I can. Just wanted to post

Read More »

Moving Day!

This looks nothing like the house we’re closing on, but our house IS in Savannah. I had no idea when I painted this several years

Read More »

MOVING TOMORROW!

WHEW! The issues are finally resolved and our delayed close on the house will happen TOMORROW! Tomorrow is moving day! I shall fly like this

Read More »

S T R E S S E D

Today was a highly stressful day. We still haven’t closed on the house and we are now running out of time for the moving pods,

Read More »

BAD DAY

Well, there must have been a bad moon a’rising because today was a horrible day. The close on our house was cancelled, and then thankfully

Read More »