Gator Tale

See this “Gator and Snake” oil painting come to life in under 2 minutes (time lapse)

Something interesting happened yesterday at the sale. It was the last day of the 2-day event and I was discouraged because we still hadn’t had any interest in the large air hockey table. It would take a lot of room in the moving pod and we needed to sell it, as it was in like-new condition and too expensive to not try to get something back from it. I didn’t want the stress of trying to sell it individually. It would be very helpful if someone walked in and wanted to buy it, but we were running out of time and it was heading into the afternoon. So, I prayed that God would send someone to take our things that we were worried about- especially the table.

Shortly afterward, a couple came in and they said, “PLANTS!” They bought a few and then spotted the air hockey table and made an offer. The offer was lower than I wanted, but they made up the exact difference in plants and a pile of other things that they also intended to buy- things that I would have been fine to donate if they hadn’t sold. So, in my mind I got the exact price for the table that I expected and wanted!

Well, guess what? This couple had no idea that we were having a sale. They hadn’t paid attention to the community sale ad. They were here to see the gator!

They’d seen someone posting about an alligator in the lagoon behind our house (see my previous blog post and video of when Trapper John removed a rather large gator). They wanted to see this new gator and stopped by after they left church. They were surprised to see a yard sale going on, and on impulse decided to see what I was selling. So, they left church and then spontaneously ended up at my sale where they bought the exact item I wanted them to buy! They were SENT to me!

EDIT: Forgot to mention, it was this purchase that put us over our goal! We’ve since done the math and we verified that the yard sale will fund the entire move (the cost of two moving pods and a small rental truck for last minute items such as bed mattresses)! We exceeded our goal, meeting our “stretch” goal. The initial goal was to fund at least one pod. Middle goal was both pods. Stretch goal was the truck as well. We did it all! And I don’t think we could have done it if I hadn’t had all of those garden plants to sell.

This type of thing happens often. Some may think that I manifest what I want, others might say that these things are coincidences and I only notice the times when I ask and receive, and not the many times when I ask and don’t receive. Is it positive energy, fate, random, or God? I pray daily and often, about anything that I’m concerned about, and anything I’m thankful about.

I pray for others. I pray when I hear sirens and I know someone may be having the worst day of their life. I may never know the people involved, or what happened, and that doesn’t matter- I believe that my sincere desire for these people to receive comfort and strength helps them, even if neither they or I will ever know the connection.

I believe that prayer matters and I hope that you do too. Whether it’s about something small or something big, our individual lives matter. We may be just one small human in a large universe, yet we are loved. How about right now I pray for YOU? Whoever you are reading this, right now I am praying that you feel blessed by God, and whatever you are facing in your life, you feel empowered to handle it. Goodnight, dear friends.

Silence the Foe

See oil painting “The Moon and the Stars” come to life in about 1 minute (time lapse)

I uploaded this art video to YouTube today and it triggered a copyright claim so I changed the music. I like the new choice. It really suits the painting, which was inspired by Psalm 8:

“You have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them”

When we look up at the sky, perhaps we can imagine that our enemies are bound by earthly constraints; even the most powerful entities are small compared to the vast heavens. And while it may seem that we do not matter, God assures us that we do. We are sovereign and loved.

The Unexplained

Watch this oil painting “Visiting Rabbit” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse)

I explained the story behind this mysterious encounter with a wild rabbit on the “Visiting Rabbit” page. This week there have been some serendipitous events, nothing of the emotional magnitude of the rabbit in my yellow roses, but powerful nonetheless. It would be difficult to explain all of the small connections that have lined up in an improbable string of consequences, but it really doesn’t matter what is happening in my little world. The larger picture is that this sort of thing happens to all of us, sometimes because we’re paying attention to it, and other times because it’s so in-our-face blatant that we can’t ignore it.

What’s on my heart tonight is to remind you that we are loved beyond what we can understand. We know this- without a doubt- when mysterious unexplained events happen to us, that make it clear that there is a God who loves us, sees us, and wants us to know that He does. There are strange signs, and things that only we know, that come together in perfect synchronicity. I believe that when we feel spiritual lonely, all we need to do is pray for a comforting sign. Then pay attention to what happens. We are never alone. Everything is connected.

God bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you and give you peace. Good night, dear friends.

Is it a sign?

Watch oil painting “Road Unseen” come to life in just over 1 minute (time lapse)

This painting is about serendipity and events that make us think about how the puzzle pieces of life fit together, and how important we are to God. I blogged about this painting in a March post called “Roads Unseen“, in which I told the story of this art, and an update. But today, I’m reminded of it because of the alternate reality vibe of this painting.

In the story of my art, I was at the right place at the right time. But what if I hadn’t been? Apparently my role was important to the life of that stranger I met, and whose name I don’t remember. Evelyn? Probably not. I am not likely to ever see her again. But stranger things have happened.

Today’s story is about something entirely different, but along the alternate reality lines. I thought something had happened and because of this, my mind raced through an avalanche of thoughts. Let me start at the beginning, which happened a few weeks ago.

I’d splurged and purchased a little garden sign post and small flag. I call it a “splurge” because I don’t usually buy things that aren’t necessities, related to work, or to help a family member. This seemed like an indulgence, but it feels important this year to show a strong Christmas spirit that begins early.

My plan was to buy a few garden flags to switch out, ending with a Christmas one. I started with an autumn flag that made me laugh when I saw the picture online. It is autumn themed with a pumpkin, apples, a sunflower, and leaves, but also features a cardinal (which if you’ve followed me for a while, you know that cardinals are special to me and I’ve painted them several times), and also includes coastal images (I live near Savannah, Georgia). How hilariously spot on with what our family is about! I didn’t know how I’d figure out what our holiday display personality is, but this was definitely it!

This is the garden flag I bought. (Not my art, just something I found online to purchase)

Well, can you imagine my shock when I went outside and looked at my lovely display to find an EMPTY flag holder! I froze and stared at the sign post, as if I wasn’t seeing it correctly. I looked around. Maybe the sign had blown off. If so, the flag should be somewhere nearby. It wasn’t. I took a closer look at my flag stand, which is a bit different from the one in that product image. Mine has a much tighter holding area.

I snapped a picture of the empty flag holder and texted it to my husband with the message “STOLEN!” I then waited for him to arrive, as he was on his way home. He pulled into the driveway and before I could say anything he told me that he’d removed the flag because it was windy and he thought it would blow away or get damaged.

This whole thing took place over ten minutes or less, but that was enough time for me to stew, and mentally accuse imaginary persons of stealing my flag for vindictive reasons. These unknown vandals might strike again! We’d had some dangerous situations of violent crime in the neighborhood (SWAT teams involved, murder charges) as well as drug busts. Some of these things happened right across the street, while we watched the whole thing unfold from inside the house, while US Marshals were staked out in our driveway. This isn’t the best neighborhood, but it’s not the worst either. Yet, maybe I was a fool to think I could put something nice in the yard where anyone could steal it.

Taking my little flag felt like such a spiritual slap in the face. I had finally had enough trust to put something personal in the yard, only to have it stolen! That’s what I get for letting go and trusting life! All kinds of negative thoughts flooded my mind and my heart while I paced the yard, glancing mournfully at the empty flag. And here all along, my husband was protecting my flag for me!

Such a powerful message: we may leap to wrong conclusions, and assume that life is out to get us, when the exact opposite is true. What we think is stolen, gone, or empty may exist outside of our knowledge; held for our protection. Friends, we are loved by God. We may not always feel it, but it’s true, even when we can’t see it.

Peaceful Sunday

Watch oil painting “Wings of Heaven” come alive in 2 minutes

Psalm 36: 5-7 “Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies… You, Lord, preserve both people & animals…. People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

I shared this art with you in a rather long April blog post called “Shadow of your Wings” and also in an art technique post called “Painting Illusions“. But today, I just want to wish you God’s peace and love.