A Gift for You!

First, do you remember this one? Watch my oil painting of geese come to life in just over 1 minute (time lapse).

And now, I’ll explain the gift that came to me this afternoon (relating to geese!), and I’ll share my gift with YOU. Yesterday I talked about how I needed to do strenuous landscaping in a hurry so that we don’t get fined for not having the property edged, trimmed, etc. It was a heavy job because we have had alternating extreme heat and tropical rains, a combination that makes it difficult to keep up with the lawn care while at the same time making invasive plants grow like crazy, very quickly.

My husband is scheduled to work long hours, so it was up to me to get it all done. My oldest daughter was available to help and the two of us did a mammoth job. I was a bit sulky and resentful because I didn’t think the tone in the email from the property manager was called for, nor was the threat of a fine upon very first notice of this necessary. We have never had any violations before, always pay our bills on time, and are never a problem for anyone. I think the courtesy of a notice that simply asks us to do it would have been sufficient instead of going straight to “you have a violation” and if we don’t fix it before the deadline we will have further violations and fines. Good grief, it’s just a yard! Stuff grows, then you cut it. We caused no property damage, and this urgency is ridiculous.

So the past two days my daughter and I have worked together to cut and remove branches, trim hedges, clear weeds, and edge the sidewalks. We probably overreacted and did more than what was expected, but I didn’t want any more problems. I try to do MORE than expected in everything I do. We cleared all of our things off from the cement surfaces and swept everything. We bagged up the debris. All of this, and my daughter never complained. Instead she said, “I really enjoyed working with you.” And I realized, I really enjoyed working with her too.

 

Now, for the thing that made the experience surreal and magical:

The entire time we were working today, under gorgeous sunny skies, there was a flock of geese enjoying an afternoon with us! The serenity energy of these large beautiful birds created peace, and reversed the feeling of being judged, punished and treated unfairly, (as a pattern in life, not just this specific landscaping situation); unmerciful when I commit the smallest offense, when I’m already trying as hard as I can to balance all the challenges that come my way… No. Even when people don’t extend grace to us, God always does. I had a rare cool morning to do the heaviest labor, and a warm pretty day for the lighter load. And that’s when the geese shared the afternoon with us. These are wonderful things!

Before I show you your gift, I want to talk about perspective. There was a woman who showed up, a frequent trespasser whose family treats the property behind our row of houses (the area by the lagoon, which none of us own, and is restricted) as her personal park, even though there are “no trespassing” signs and she doesn’t live in one of the houses on our row. She’s an annoying rude person who is obnoxious, yells and then ignores her child, drives off-road vehicles through the property, brazenly fishes with her family even though that is not allowed, and so on, sometimes for hours, late at night, and even on holidays like Christmas and Easter. So all of us who live on this row are forced to see her and her rude family spread out doing whatever they like, as the sole view from our back patio windows, the only windows we have on that side of the house. In other words, there is no escaping seeing this awful group (sometimes they bring friends as well!) spread out having their own loud gathering. I’d report her if it felt like the the thing to do, but it doesn’t. It feels like I should simply close the curtains and ignore what they do. So, that’s what I do.

Well, she was sitting there on the bank near the geese for part of the time we were working outside. She was looking at and then yakking on her phone the entire time. Why bother going to a scenic place if you’re just going to look down at your phone? Did she even see the geese? She eventually left, with the phone still on her ear. 

Another woman was outside, a neighbor. She was apparently alarmed by the large flock of geese getting too close to her yard. She sprayed them with a hose and yelled at them. Then she went inside. So, I guess she didn’t see what I saw. The thing is, these are migratory geese. They won’t stay long. We can choose to appreciate their beauty or not.

There are many bad things happening in the world today. And on a personal level, we all have challenges that are large, and small ones like my manic race to get the landscaping work caught up. So when we see something beautiful, that literally lands in front of us, it is a gift. It was a gift for me, and now a gift for you. I video taped what I saw and dropped music in. And now it’s like you were with me, seeing this too. Enjoy, and God bless you.

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Justice

Watch me paint this historical art in 2 minutes (time lapse)

The inspiration for my painting isn’t political (not about this appointee in particular). It was a tribute to the courage of the family- his wife and two daughters. I felt such sympathy for them when I saw their raw emotions play out for the whole world to see. It was a dark chapter in American history, that I’d like to briefly talk about in today’s blog post because what happened then is why “rule of law” is no longer a guaranteed protection in this country (USA).

While obviously freedoms aren’t removed overnight, and our “justice” system was never perfect, the Kavanaugh mob trial was a public reveal of the transition from Rule of Law to Communist Mob Rule. It was a free-for-all of corruption. There were frothing “activists” (loony protesters spewing malice and idiotic nonsense attention-grabbing displays), witnesses who witnessed nothing (like a court in Alice in Wonderland, pure gibberish and irrelevancy), lies, libel, obvious organized fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud, degradation and humiliation techniques, and a mockery of our institutions, thereby a mockery of We the People who were foolish enough to think that our government respects us. The whole farce was so shocking that in the end, it didn’t seem very significant that this appointee got through, as the issue was about much more than one judge.

No one was held to account for their appalling behavior during the hearing. No one was arrested (if they were, it was not made as public as their behavior was, thereby if we do not know about it, it is irrelevant to the perception). There was surely enough cause to investigate libel, fraud, and conspiracy to commit fraud. The “smear campaign” set a precedent. This was much bigger than this particular appointee or political feelings- this was about laying down the “new normal” for how government will treat US, We the People, who have no high political power to protect us. 

Our justice system is composed of human beings, and as such, it was always flawed. But in our imperfect system, we knew that it was publicly, professionally, and politically important to at least PRETEND that we operate by Rule of Law, in which all persons are presumed innocent unless proven guilty. But during the Kavanaugh mob trial, Congress overturned Rule of Law and the presumption of innocence that requires evidence to convict someone. Now, it’s becoming more and more accepted that we may at any time be condemned by our government or any other entities, and we are “guilty unless exonerated”, which is a legally impossible standard!

In a free country, our accusers must prove our guilt… we do NOT have to prove our innocence. The burden of proof is on the accuser. But during the Kavanaugh mob trial, even though “just” a hearing, our government mocked us while showing us that we are no longer free. We can be accused of something at any time, and they can bring false, lying “witnesses” against us, hearsay (stuff that one person claims another person said- in other words GOSSIP with no evidence to back it up!) and can humiliate us in personal degrading attacks. Message received: Good luck to anyone trying to prove their innocence if the mob wants you cancelled, fired, or arrested!

It seemed that few people felt the horror that I did, the horror that inspired me to paint that historic event. I can only imagine the courage and strength it took for his wife and daughters to be physically present and still show such warmth and grace after all that they’d been through on the very nasty, very unfair harsh public stage.

While many were distracted by the political aspects surrounding this particular appointee, I was laser focused on watching our justice system die while people jeered and gleefully cheered it on. Funny how even when these types get what they want, they are still not happy- still frothing with malice and unhinged insanity. But the appeasement, which did nothing to stop political terrorism, fueled the progression toward communism, the incessant march toward fascism and technocracy. Now, there are people arrested merely for being associated with the “wrong” people. History has alarming examples of where this sort of thing leads.

I could relate to the pained courage and grace of Mrs. Kavanaugh because I had been the target of a dangerous mob campaign. I learned details about the man who publicly listed me to be cancelled, threatened, and ruined, and he is a criminal who was later arrested for a sex trafficking charge. He was well connected, funded, had been on TV and had spoken in front of the UN. He had been celebrated by media and had been invited to the Obama White House. THIS is the man who had led a campaign to go after me, and 920 others, who he falsely libeled as “Nazis” for BLM and Antifa to “go after”. And they did, committing crimes against me such as hacking my website and deleting my art of Jesus, uploading a devil in its place. They knew where I lived and what my children looked like. I was terrified.

Yet, I knew that if I did not stand, if I did not smile gracefully, if I did not put my artwork back on my site… I would be committing a horrible offense of cowardice in which I may never recover. A good person must be willing to be hated. I will never comply when someone wants me to lay aside my God given purpose and destiny. This is not theirs to steal and I will not be complicit in treason; as the end game is to destroy capitalism/nationalism in favor of communism/globalism. I will not make it easy for them by quitting in fear.

I wish Mrs. Kavanaugh could know how inspired I was by her and her children. Even though I’m “nobody” compared to her famous family, my own daughters and I had gone through something that felt similar. We too were unfairly accused of something horrible, and we too felt afraid that someone would hurt us… and that my children would be harmed. I felt empathy for her, but also moved to paint this historical scene, because it represents the real core of justice:

  • NEVER take on shame that doesn’t belong to you.
  • ALWAYS stand in grace when you know you do not deserve condemnation.
  • Be secure in the knowledge that we are forgiven and free by our spiritual Father and judge of the highest power, therefore no man can condemn our spirit.
  • The burden of proof lies on the accuser to prove our guilt, not on us to prove our innocence –  even if a government’s failed justice system doesn’t protect our right to fairness, we must never comply with accepting mob rule. It is an illegitimate system of tyranny and control.

No injustice can break us. We must be confident in who we are, and what we believe in. We cannot let fear drive us to quit, or malice drive us to return hate with hate. Freedom begins when we have the courage to stand tall in grace, when we never give in, never give up, and when they expect us to cry… we smile.

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“We Gather Together”

Watch Natalie paint this art, and all 50 oil paintings in this collection (menu below)

“What is the holiday season like in Savannah? What is Thanksgiving like? Wherever our home is, is where we gather together. Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s pretty much the same, although there are some differences. There are more fireworks here, probably because the weather is mild. I’d love to see the ones that they show over Tybee Island on New Year’s. How exciting and beautiful that must be! But it will be hard for me to make the commitment to leave the house, because my favorite place to be for all of the major holidays is home, with my children and husband.

This painting is in a different style than I usually paint. It is meant to be representational, to allow you to imagine your own loved ones sitting around that table. It is, naturally, my own family, but I invite you to place yours there instead.

I look forward to this year’s holiday season, when it doesn’t really matter where we live, as the best part of the celebration is who we’re with. It’s hard when family members are missing due to temporary or permanent absence. I’ve lost both of my parents and many others as well. I think of them during the holidays, and I reach out to those who are facing their first Christmas without a loved one. We never know what tomorrow holds. Love is the most important thing, and it lives forever.

We Gather Together oil painting by Natalie Buske Thomas

List of Oil Paintings in this Collection, linking to their pages here on the site, and also citing physical pages in the hardcover book:

  1. City of Savannah
    1.1 “City of Savannah” page 6-7
    1.2 “Natalie at the Fountain” page 8-11
    1.3 “House in Savannah” page 12-13
    1.4 “Guardian Lion” page 14-15
    1.5 “Autumn Angel” page 16-17
    1.6 “Steamship Savannah” page 18-19
    1.7 “Boiled Peanuts for Sale” page 20-21
    1.8 “Bulldog” page 22-23
    1.9 “Serenity Piano” page 24-25
    1.10 “Painting Colors” page 26-27
  2. Tybee Island
    2.1 “I Love Life” page 30-31
    2.2 “Living Sand Dollar” page 32-33
    2.3 “Matthew the Sea Turtle” page 34-35
    2.4 “Fungie the Dolphin” page36-37
    2.5 “Angel Releasing Dove” page 38-39
    2.6 “Flag on Tybee Island” page 40-41
    2.7 “My Kids at the Beach” page 42-43
    2.8 “Lighthouse near Tybee Island” page 44-45
  3. Birds, Reptiles and Amphibians
    3.1 “Gator and Snake” page 48-49
    3.2 “Tree Frog” page 50-51
    3.3 “Lizard” page 52-53
    3.4 “Blue Heron” page 54-55
    3.5 “Hummingbird” page 56-57
    3.6 “Painted Bunting” page 58-59
  4. Flowers and Trees
    4.1 “Pink Flower” page 62-63
    4.2 “Porch Flowers” page 64-65
    4.3 “Clover” page 66-67
    4.4 “Butterfly Tree Flowers” page 68-69
    4.5 “Savannah Tree” page 70-71
    4.6 “Dancer in a Floral Forest” page 72-73
    4.7 “Come to the Garden” page 74-77
    4.8 “Cherokee Rose” page 78-79
  5. Faith and Food
    5.1 “Floral Cross” page 82-83
    5.2 “Lenten Flower” page 84-85
    5.3 “Celtic Cross” page 86-87
    5.4 “Mary of God’s Favor” page 88-89
    5.5 “Lion and the Lamb” page 90-91
    5.6 “Breakfast with Friends” page 92-93
    5.7 “Peaches in a Bowl” page 94-95
    5.8 “Peach Cookies” page 96-97
    5.9 “Peach Pie” page 98-99
  6. Seasons and Weather
    6.1 “Pumpkins and Mums” page 102-103
    6.2 “Autumn Cottage” page 104-105
    6.3 “Spring Lambs” page 106-107
    6.4 “Peach Tree Hurricane” page 108-109
    6.5 “Eye of the Storm” page 110-111
    6.6 “God’s Promise” page 112-113
    6.7 “We Gather Together” page 114-115
    6.8 “Savannah Snow” page 116-117
    6.9 “I Believe in Santa” page 118-119