How are you?

Watch this oil painting of a bird in a forest come to life

in about 2 minutes (time lapse)

You might remember when I first shared this painting when I finished it in April? Here we are, five months later, and I’m guessing you are feeling a lot of the same emotions that I am. When spring came upon us, I felt hopeful that the change of seasons would bring positive developments along with the blooming trees and sunny skies. Then we slipped into summer, and my optimism waned. Now we are entering autumn. With fall leaves changing, soon we’ll be hibernating again in a deadened world of shorter days, longer darkness, bare trees, and the emotions that come with the reflections and reminiscing that ring in the holiday season.

I don’t have extended family who visits, nor do I visit anyone, but I enjoy the time I spend with my own little family (my husband and kids). I’ve shopped early this year and their presents are already stashed away, long before Christmas. I want to make sure that we can celebrate so brightly that our happiness and gratefulness outshines anything dark that may be upon us in December. I’m also investing in new baking projects and food ideas, party plans (even though it’s just us, we are a party!), and of course the big holiday show that I’ll be sharing with all of you. I want to encourage you to think ahead about how you want to spend your holiday season and prepare for it in a way that is bigger and brighter than you’ve ever done before, even if it’s just you alone.

I will be here with you, same as always. I am committed to blogging every day. So even if it seems that “no one” is around, someone always is. Stay strong, stay positive, and plan for happiness.

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October Morning Surprise

Do you remember when I shared my outdoor painting experience this spring? Watch my Plein Air oil painting experiment in this 2.5 minute time lapse

What is fun?

Watch this oil painting of my son jumping in leaves come to life in 48 seconds (time lapse) You might remember when I shared this

Are you Safe?

See oil painting “Guardian Angel” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) I last shared this painting here with you in August, in a

New Painting

Are you enjoying autumn treats? My daughters love the specialty coffee and snacks that come out this time of year. They especially love their sister

Roaring, Snarling or?

You might remember when I painted the snarling lion in the video above, as it was fairly recently (August). Perhaps you see him as growling

Seasonal Perspective

Watch oil painting “Trees and Stream” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse) When I shared this painting with you in July, I was thinking

A Rose by Any Other Name

Watch this rose oil painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) The old saying “a rose by any other name”, derived from Shakespeare,

Plant your Flag

Watch me paint “Flag on Mars” in 2 minutes (time lapse)

“The excitement of ‘heavenly realms’ has inspired people for hundreds of years. When our United States President (President Donald Trump) cheered that we’ll one day plant our flag on Mars, it created quite an image of the thrill of discovery and awe in God’s universe. Today as in Biblical days of old, the creation of the world and the mysteries that lie in the heavenly realms are beyond our comprehension. Looking upward, pining to touch the beautiful lights and colors, is perhaps one of the best ways to appreciate the vastness of God.”

                                             -from book “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by my Christian Faith” by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

A 2020 article in Newsweek, Love for the Flag Explains the Iwo Jima Memorial’s Power states:

“What Europeans fail to understand is that, to most Americans, the flag means much more than mere nationhood. It is a symbol of virtues they believe to be universal: hope, freedom, justice and democracy. Between 1941 and 1945, Americans watched the progress of their flag across Europe and the Pacific, saw liberation spreading in its wake, and knew that they were doing something remarkable. After the war they were magnanimous to those they had defeated, nursing their economies back to health, and quickly handing them back their independence. This is the final meaning of the Iwo Jima memorial: when an American soldier plants a flag on foreign soil it is not an act of domination, but of liberation.

Americans understand this instinctively. That is why, since 1945, America has paraded its flag so proudly in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Somalia and Afghanistan. It is why, during the liberation of Baghdad in 2003, a modern Marine climbed the statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdos Square and wrapped a U.S. flag around his face. Americans believe passionately in the values they promote, which are no different from the values for which they fought the Second World War.

Unfortunately, other parts of the world see things rather differently. However glorious an American flag seems when flown in the U.S., it begins to look very different when planted on foreign soil.”

Just as in other countries, the American people are NOT their government, nor are they represented by activists, actors, or any other type of celebrity. Each citizen is an individual. Therefore, the feelings that an American has toward the United States flag are also individual, and likely deeply personal based on childhood memories, religious values, social experiences, and political influences.

As an inspirational metaphor, planting your flag is about finding and achieving your purpose, story, and legacy. Your personal liberation may be in the area of relationships, career, vocation, life goals, or any other passion. The pursuit of happiness is the right of all human beings. 

When Americans proudly wave their red, white and blue flag, it may not mean anything political. It could be deeply spiritual, connecting one human heart to another. Planting your flag may be a celebration of what it means to be free.

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New Painting

Are you enjoying autumn treats? My daughters love the specialty coffee and snacks that come out this time of year. They especially love their sister

Read More »

Secrets

Watch me paint this apple tree branch in 1 minute (time lapse)

If we’re being honest, there are no secrets to life’s happiness. What we need to be happy is intuitive. The real secrets are the ones we don’t tell: why don’t we do the things we know we should? Perhaps we’ve yet to learn the answer because we’re not ready, or because we choose not to know. Change is difficult. We may feel as if we can’t face up to it, but more truthfully, we probably aren’t willing to do what it takes. 

Because, no matter how weak and broken we are, we can find a way to be strong. There are stories of prisoners of war or victims of enslavement who had spirits of iron. They never gave up hope, even when they had nothing left, and were abandoned to a declining existence of abuse and eventual death. Yet they stayed strong in their minds and hearts, willing their bodies to survive.

What we ask of ourselves is seldom anywhere close to that magnitude! Most days, we are simply battling fatigue, discouragement, anxiety, stress, and fear about things that may or may not even happen. Many of us have the freedom to choose how to fill our time- at least a few hours a week- even if we are busy. The words “I can’t” are only in our vocabulary if we choose for them to be.

“Secrets” to Life (that everyone knows!)

  • Develop long and short range goals. The short range goals will encourage us to keep going, as we see a fast result. That will keep us on track for long range goals that will improve our lives in a bigger way. Stick with these goals. Win. Make new goals. Win again. Repeat indefinitely. Never give up. When stuck, try something new. Never quit, but know when to move on (listen to the song “The Gambler”!). Never bend, never break. Be determined, persistent, and strong!
  • Become strong by doing things that will produce a healthy mind, body, and spirit. These things are science based, as they can be proven to work. For example, if we improve our nutrition, we become healthier. The effects of eating good food go beyond the physical, as our mental acuity and emotional stability also improve. The singular act of improving our diets can effect hormones, blood sugar, and other factors that have an impact on our total health package (mind/body/spirit). The same is true for other obvious areas for improvement: exercise, fitness, being outside, spending time in nature, limiting screen/media/Internet time, creating art/music/other, spending time in positive social situations, investing in intimate relationships, etc.)
  • Choose love. Choosing a loving response for any situation in life is likely to bring inner peace. Why? For several reasons, but among them are these: a loving reaction encourages us to feel as if we’ve done the best we could do and can now let go of negative experiences, thereby avoiding resentment that interferes in the ability to be happy; a loving reaction eases stress as the body responds differently to peace than to aggression; a loving reaction is in alignment with a spiritual journey and therefore produces happiness in people of faith.

Because we already know the above life coaching advice, these things aren’t “secrets”, no matter how many books are sold that use Secret in the title. How to become happy isn’t a secret, but our happiness should in some ways BE a secret. As in, we have within us a precious private space where we are known only to ourselves and God. This space is highly valuable to abusive persons, organizations, and governments. Dysfunctional relationships involve invading our private spiritual self, and attempting to know our inner secrets for the purpose of power and control.

Whether the abuser is a controlling parent, friend, spouse, or boss, personal relationships can become too invasive. Allow yourself to have secrets from people who don’t have your best interests at heart, but instead abuse your private information. When someone knows our inner selves, do they use that information to manipulate us into doing what they want? Do they know what pushes our buttons? Do they know what type of flattery and praise motivates us? Do they steer us toward certain emotions to benefit themselves, caring little for how their power plays affect us?

If the abusive relationship is with an organization or government, it’s even more important to keep our inner selves secret. Why reveal what truly makes us tick? Abusers want to know what triggers would manipulate us to comply. Protect yourself from powerful abusers knowing what your breaking point might be. Guard the secrets to your happiness, known only to you and God.

For what is claimed to be a secret, is no secret at all. And what should be kept secret is stolen from us through manipulation, betrayal of relationships (employer/employee, spousal, parent/child, etc.), abuse of trust, illegal spying (corportations/governments/etc.), deception, misuse of authority, and more. It’s important to know the truth about secrets. I talked more about this in my other blog post featuring an apple painting: “Are we Unpredictable?

Happiness is not a secret. It is a gift available to all. We may have to work at it very hard, with our full hearts, but it is never impossible to pursue- and find- the happiness that is known as inner peace in the darkest of times, ranging in escalation to pure joy in the best of times.

Never listen to the snake who tells us we must eat the forbidden fruit from the apple tree to know the best kept secrets. We already know everything we need to be happy. Happiness is a spiritual gift. 

Specific tips for establishing inner peace: “Do we want Peace?

More about developing strength: “Peace through Strength

More about happiness: “Balance

More about breaking free from dysfunctional relationships (personal/work/government): “Dark to Light

More about happiness: “Be a Lamb

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Are you impossible?

Watch me paint this eagle taking down an owl in under 1 minute (time lapse)

Are you impossible? Sometimes we describe a stubborn person as being “impossible”. We may not be fully aware of times when we are ourselves impossible- TO ourselves. Often, it’s a spiritual battle we’re fighting and we would be much happier if we’d only understand the type of war this is. We are often at war with ourSELVES, and are our own worst enemy!

We may tell ourselves that something we want or need is “impossible”, when it’s really OURSELVES being impossible. Consider this… name anything you want that you don’t have, any place you haven’t gone, a job you’ve not done, or any other unfulfilled desire. Why do we not do the things we long to do?

  1. “It can’t be done. It’s impossible!” (and yet there are examples of others who have found a way to do it)
  2. “It’s too hard. It’s impossible!” (and yet we make no attempt to learn how, become stronger and more capable, or ask for help)
  3. “I don’t have time. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE!” (but some people have much busier schedules than we do, yet manage to do much more)

The truth is:

  • It CAN be done.
  • Nothing is too hard when determined and persistent.
  • There’s always time for what’s important to us.

So if we’ve not yet done what we want to do, we must ask ourselves why, and let our answers be honest. If we have no money, have we tried to raise it? Have we taken on an extra job? Have we asked others for help? If it’s time we need more of, have we stopped wasting valuable hours by cutting back on unimportant things? Have we made ANY changes at all in the direction we want to go? If not, why not?

If we are weak, weary, or of ill health, have we put together an action plan to become stronger, rested, and well? Have we found a way to manage any physical limitations? Have we learned about resources for help and assistance? If not, why not? For what we declare as “impossible”, others have done. Perhaps some of these others have more hardships and limitations than we do, yet have accomplished what we have said was too hard, impossible.

If, after analyzing the situation, we decide that the honest answer is any of these:

  • “I don’t want to work hard enough for it”
  • “I don’t want to make the time”
  • “I don’t want to face up to my anxieties or fears”
  • “I don’t want to work on my health, financial situation, or any other obstacle”

…if our answers are any- or even ALL- of the above, then we don’t really want it badly enough. At this point, if we don’t let the matter drop, the situation isn’t what’s impossible, it is WE who are being impossible. For when we know in our hearts that we will never choose to act on what we think we want, we have no business being envious of others who have it, or in sulking as a victim of circumstance.

How we live is a choice and it’s up to us to be held accountable for our own happiness. If we determine that something is “impossible” (because we don’t want to commit to what is needed to make it happen, or because we don’t want it after all), we must then let go of the desire to have it. We must accept that the door is closed, because we have CHOSEN to close it. For whatever reason, we have determined the situation to be impossible, and now it’s time to make peace with that decision.

If we cannot make peace with our decision, we will stagnate. We will be prone to jealousy when we see others pass us by, living the life we wanted. We might fall into a state of bitterness, resentment, and self-created depression. All of this would not be because we are victims of circumstance, or because our situation is impossible. It would be a result of US being impossible in our attitudes.

When we let go of that which doesn’t belong to us, and make peace with life’s disappointments, we are in good practice for how to handle bigger things, such as an extreme crisis or heartbreaking grief. We have learned to live a disciplined live, in which we hold ourselves accountable for our own happiness, and can therefore rise to the challenges that come our way with the strength and calm that we need to survive. And best of all, holding ourselves accountable for our happiness lends itself to being happy! We don’t just “survive”, but THRIVE!

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New Painting

Are you enjoying autumn treats? My daughters love the specialty coffee and snacks that come out this time of year. They especially love their sister

Read More »

New Painting – Parrots

Watch me paint “Parrots” in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Some of you may be following my blog to be the first to see my new paintings, if so- today’s your lucky day! No talking, just painting. 😊 🎨

If you haven’t yet subscribed, please do so below. I use my oil paintings to blog about the beauty of life, philosophy and faith (I love metaphors), and this mysterious world we share. At the core of everything I share is a genuine wish for your prosperity and happiness, that the sun shine upon you and you are richly blessed. However, if what you’re looking for is art training or technique, you may find them here (blog series Compare 3) and here (free 12 week art course, take as few or as many classes as you like).

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New Painting

Are you enjoying autumn treats? My daughters love the specialty coffee and snacks that come out this time of year. They especially love their sister

Read More »

Autumn in 2021

Watch oil painting “Autumn Tree” come to life in under 2 minutes This short project began with an abstract background. Next, while it was still

Read More »

New Painting

Watch my new painting “Pumpkin Carving” come to life in just over 2 minutes (time lapse) Father and son enjoying an autumn custom of cleaning

Read More »

Worn

Watch this “Armor of God” oil painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) There’s a lot going on in the world today, and

Read More »

New Painting

Watch me paint this “Autumn Leaves” oil painting in 2 minutes (time lapse) No matter what is happening in the world or in our personal

Read More »
Lion of Judah oil painting by Natalie Buske Thomas

Quiet Lion

Watch me paint this lion oil painting in 2 minutes (time lapse) I changed the music for this video today. Whatever you’re experiencing, you probably

Read More »

Not Again!

Watch this oil painting about the dark side of the animal kingdom come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) I don’t have a painting

Read More »

Happy Grief?

Watch this hedgehog oil painting come to life in about 1 minute (time lapse) You might remember when I painted this one and shared it

Read More »

Melancholy

Watch this lighthouse painting come to life in 1 minute (time lapse) I share this one when I’m feeling melancholic, flitting back and forth between

Read More »

History

Watch this oil painting of the day (July 23, 2020) that the Statue of Liberty in New York City looked to have been struck by

Read More »

Things we See

Watch this jellyfish oil painting come to life in just over 1 minute (time lapse) You might remember when I shared this one in April?

Read More »

Inspiring

My oil painting of my daughter reading in the butterfly garden… this one doesn’t have a video because I painted this before I started filming

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Sunday Rest

Watch this Irish Angel oil painting come to life in about 2 minutes (time lapse) The image in the video above is a photograph of

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Be a Lamb

Watch me paint these lambs in 50 seconds (time lapse)

Yesterday’s blog post was “Be a Lion“, part 2 of “Are you a lion or a lamb?” Today, we’ll take on part 3. Let’s ponder why being a lamb is important to a happy life.

The definition of the word lamb, as it applies to humans as per The Free Dictionary:

  1. a sweet, mild mannered person, a dear
  2. a person easily deceived; one who can be duped or cheated especially in financial matters
  3. a person who is innocent, meek, good
  4. like a lamb to the slaughter (without resistance, innocently)

Of these, we don’t mean 1, 2, or 4. Of course we don’t want to be deceived or destroyed. Nor do we aim to be “mild mannered”. No, we are also lions! For the purpose of this blog post, what we mean by “lamb” is a person who is innocent, meek, and good.

  1. Innocent

There are two paths to innocence:

A person who is innocent because he’s done nothing wrong, or declared innocent because he’s been pardoned is free. Being a lamb is about service and sacrifice. It’s difficult to serve from a position of slavery. Freedom isn’t a selfish choice; it’s our responsibility to remain free.

     2. Meek

Meek also has more than one meaning. A person who is meek may be “easily imposed on; submissive”, which is the definition that many people think of. This is not what being a lamb is about. “Showing patience and humility; gentle” is the definition we mean. 

Why are we happier when we are innocent, meek, and good? What do the traits of a lamb have to do with living an ideal life? Goodness, mercy, and prosperity are often grouped together, along with blessings and a secure future. We can meditate on these things as spiritual gifts, but who we are in spirit and the rewards we manifest spiritually also impact the natural world.

It’s an upside down world when evil people are depicted as exciting, popular, and living ideal human lives, when the opposite is true. Evil is wrapped in hate. Malice is born of anger, bitterness, resentment, impatience, vanity, hostility, and no moral accountability. Does any of that seem happy? Not only are they themselves not radiating happiness, but their tendency to control and dominate people leads to misery of many others as well.

     3. Good

Whereas, when we see a good person, we find peace, patience, perseverance, humility, and inner joy. These are traits that seed a happy life. Not only do such people manifest happiness in their own lives, but they inspire other people as well. This is why we must be lambs. The world needs innocent, meek, good people. Lambs reassure and encourage others. Haven’t you often heard people say, “It makes me feel better to know that there are still good people in the world”?

Goodness Checklist

Lambs don’t lie, aren’t selfish or vain, and don’t betray our fellow humans. We don’t betray each other by arriving late to relieve them from work, or to meet with them socially. We don’t betray them by not completing a chore that we promised we’d do. On a grander scale, we don’t betray them by complying with oppressive actions that will then grow in greater power over more people as a result of our selfish cowardly compliance. And we certainly don’t shame, bully, and coerce others to comply with coordinated propaganda campaigns to control the populace. Lambs do not terrorize anyone in the name of “virtue”, “health”, or “science”. The actions of good people match the words from their mouths.

Lambs live a happy life because they embody the character of happiness. Happiness doesn’t hold grudges or seek revenge on those who they perceive to be enemies. Happiness doesn’t have an unquenchable thirst to control others, or a hunger to dominate them. Happiness gives space and freedom to all. Happiness is sweet, humble, and kind. Anger and happiness are not compatible, nor is hate or tyranny compatible with happiness. One cannot oppress others when one is happy, as actions of malice aren’t created from a state of happiness. It is like planting a pumpkin seed and expecting a tomato. Malice doesn’t seed happiness; love does.

Goodness brings the fairness and joy we seek, and our joy is then shared beyond our own lives. Although we make a difference when we are as a lion, we are incomplete without the character of a lamb. Wise people from long ago understood that the pursuit of happiness is an important freedom. For while evil has been made popular and lucrative, it is a lie. Happiness is seeded from good. Therefore, goodness- not evil- is the state of being that is truly exciting and ideal.  

Be a lamb.
Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

New Painting

Are you enjoying autumn treats? My daughters love the specialty coffee and snacks that come out this time of year. They especially love their sister

Read More »

Autumn in 2021

Watch oil painting “Autumn Tree” come to life in under 2 minutes This short project began with an abstract background. Next, while it was still

Read More »

New Painting

Watch my new painting “Pumpkin Carving” come to life in just over 2 minutes (time lapse) Father and son enjoying an autumn custom of cleaning

Read More »

Worn

Watch this “Armor of God” oil painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) There’s a lot going on in the world today, and

Read More »

New Painting

Watch me paint this “Autumn Leaves” oil painting in 2 minutes (time lapse) No matter what is happening in the world or in our personal

Read More »
Lion of Judah oil painting by Natalie Buske Thomas

Quiet Lion

Watch me paint this lion oil painting in 2 minutes (time lapse) I changed the music for this video today. Whatever you’re experiencing, you probably

Read More »

Not Again!

Watch this oil painting about the dark side of the animal kingdom come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) I don’t have a painting

Read More »

Painting Yellow

Painting yellow is generally associated with positive emotions. Artists who paint in the healing arts and other areas connected to therapeutic positive thinking may go through many tubes of yellow paint. Nature, landscape, and children’s book painters rely heavily on yellow for trees, grass, plants, and sunny skies.

 “Little Girl in a Tree” depicts confidence and carefree attitudes of childhood through her bold red and blue hued clothing, casual body language, and facial expression. But it’s the yellow in the tree that frames this scene with happiness. The yellow hues are repeated throughout the tree bark and her ponytail hairstyle. Yellow says “happy”!

There’s nothing freer than a bird, and when the bird is yellow, the connection between freedom and happiness feels clear. Of course we can see what we want to in this painting, and when I painted this it was merely a project assignment to illustrate a book. But, overall, vivid yellow shouts “feel good” vibes, especially in the context of uncomplicated, nonpolitical, no-strings-attached art.

Candle and Bible” is a much more profound and complicated example of painting yellow. For some, viewing this art will bring up happy feelings from childhood like “Little Girl in Tree“. Yellow appears in the flame and wall, golden candlestick and Bible pages, and is woven through highlights in the wooden table. Sunny warmth might call to mind fond memories of traditions, holidays, and special family moments.

 

The white candle may represent purity, simplicity, and tranquility. Some may feel peaceful, assured, and as spiritually free as “Goldfinches“. Yellow may seem like warm spiritual light.

 

But while some see “uplifting” in this piece, others may feel that this scene is oppressive, and the composition may stir up uncomfortable emotions, melancholy or even resentment. Hopefully the soothing yellows and golden browns make this art acceptable as “sharing and communication”, personal storytelling from one human to another. Sometimes the right color choice can soften our differences in how we think and feel.