The painting video I shared yesterday included a piano instrumental version of “In Christ Alone”. My daughter (standing behind my chair) was kind enough to sing it with me for you. I added the lyrics at the top of the screen. This old hymn is good comfort for the times we are living in and goes well with the inspiration of a lighthouse.
By the way, the unframed canvas paintings you see on the shelves behind me are my drying system. I lay a fresh painting flat when it’s very wet, then I move it to the shelf (vertically leaning, as you can see in the video) to continue setting/drying. When it’s dry I move it into the closet storage. Then start all over again with the next wet canvas, still working toward my lifetime goal of 1,000 finished oil paintings. I have one on the canvas right now but I’m feeling tired and I’m procrastinating. We’ll see if my willpower wins today or my physical fatigue. So far I managed singing this song, one of my favorite hymns, and that was a good thing. God bless you and your families as we move forward in these chaotic times.
The song in the video is a piano instrumental version of the hymn “In Christ Alone”.
“In Christ Alone”
In Christ alone my hope is found He is my light, my strength, my song This Cornerstone, this solid Ground Firm through the fiercest drought and storm What heights of love, what depths of peace When fears are stilled, when strivings cease My Comforter, my All in All Here in the love of Christ I stand
No guilt in life, no fear in death This is the power of Christ in me From life’s first cry to final breath Jesus commands my destiny No power of hell, no scheme of man Can ever pluck me from His hand Till He returns or calls me home Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand”
(there are more verses, but those are the ones that I feel fit the theme of the painting the most)
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Well, the rental market has spiked out of control! The cheapest rent for the number of bedrooms we need, expanded to a wide area that would require a long commute, is $400 more per MONTH than we are currently paying. That’s nearly $5,000 USD extra we’ll have to pay this year in rent!!! And that’s IF we get the cheapest rent we’ve so far found, and those have already all sold out- already rented! So it goes up from there. There’s a house that would cost us over $1,000 more per month, so, over 12 grand for the year. No, no, no, that will sink us!
The property management of this house says that rents and home sales have gone crazy. There’s nothing they can do to help us, except honor their contract with the home owner and send us the vacate notice (because she wants to sell and cash in, which is understandable, but it means we are once again the LOSERS in this game of life, in which corrupt politics elevates some and crushes others. It feels like we are always the ones crushed! Do you feel the same?). So we’re being kicked out during this treasonous economic housing crisis, with only 2 months to find a place and move out. Except there’s no place to go and all of them will charge us way more than the rental house is worth.
Husband’s job offer is in this area (so we do not want to move yet again to another new state), but he won’t start until after his June graduation and assuming he passes his licensing exam (he will, but the exam testing dates haven’t even been posted yet so we don’t know how long the wait time will be for taking it, getting results back, and then getting the start date). It will be only a few months though, so I tried to find a 6 month lease option to cut down on the horrible rental costs (no) and then asked if an exception could be made. No such luck.
Well, I guess I better say goodnight. Tomorrow will be a better day. I will then be positive and willing to share something better than this. But, I think it’s good to allow myself to be human, and show you that my hope doesn’t come from an easy life. I am not privileged or special. I’m just a person who is sometimes lucky, and often not. My hope comes from faith that tomorrow will be better, and is deeply rooted in a love of God, goodness, happiness, nature, creativity, humor, the collective empathy of the best of humanity (like you!) and my family. Hope doesn’t come from circumstances or lineage. It comes from within.
I’m feeling better already. It will all work out, even if temporarily- it doesn’t. The fruit of the Spirit doesn’t come from earthly prosperity or the easy road. It comes from a faithful life. Of course during times of extreme grief (which I’ve experienced and you probably have as well), we cannot expect ourselves to feel hope at all times. And that’s normal. But when the crisis is the type in which we still have our spouse and children, food on the table, and the expectation of a better future (like this housing situation I’m in), we can muster through another bad year.
God bless you and keep you, and may His face shine upon you, this day and always. And if you can spare a moment to pray that our family find the right housing, I’ll be grateful.
How long will we be paralyzed by the dystopia of 2020+? During the past couple of years I’ve taken up gardening and sewing, but I let my musical instruments dust over. Today I spent time playing music. My fingers are sore, I’ll have to build up callouses. I’m going to add music to my weekly schedule. If not now, then when?
Let your light shine! Time is being stolen from us, and if we let it happen, we’ve surrendered. What have we always wanted to do? Our lists may look different, but our goals are probably similar. We want to do things that bring us joy. The pursuit of happiness may need to be worked hard for and it may be hard to make the time, but if we put in a few minutes every week and never give up, we will do the things we’ve always wanted to do.
Like a lighthouse that guides us home, may we have our hopes set high that the best is yet to come. As we look ahead to 2022, it’s easy to feel the wind of the storms from the past years on our backs, and sense the darkness closing in, but look for the light. God bless you and keep you, this day and always, and into the new year ahead.
This lighthouse art is one of my favorite projects. I’ll talk more about that tomorrow. I love how the music tells the story. Today I’m feeling grateful for what is, accepting of what isn’t, and hopeful for what is yet to come.
I was sorting through my video files to clear space for the Christmas 2021 show I’m starting to film this week (are you looking forward to this year’s show? I hope so!). While sorting, I found this clip of me singing.
I was feeling overwhelmed by something that day and sang this. I no longer remember why, or why I never shared it. I will share it now, as this is my mood for today. God bless and keep you, may His light shine upon you and give you peace, this day and always.
I share this one when I’m feeling melancholic, flitting back and forth between faint optimism and bittersweet sentiment, and a gloomy premonition that something bad is about to happen. This sense of doom is partly an empathetic response to the way the wind is shifting on the world stage on a particular day, and partly a personal, individual perspective that is complicated and unique to me (although my own emotions are often astonishingly in sync with other fellow humans, even with people I’ve never met).
Melancholy can be channeled into beautiful things. I tend to be more introspective and lost in my art when I’m feeling a bit blue. Depression or a funk is a different state, and I find no benefit to emotions so low as to be unproductive and damaging to one’s health. So I’m definitely not advocating for sadness that causes a person to have difficulty leading a normal life. What I mean is the kind of sadness that put us in a quiet, restful state that may evolve into empathy; a profound connection to fellow humans and our shared plight. This state of being is a good foundation for creating art.
When you’re feeling a bit blue, embrace those emotions by channeling them into a project you can escape into, as if alone at sea on a peaceful cloudy day, in which you can just see the comforting glow from a lighthouse. You won’t lose your way home. Stay in the cold murky waters for a while. Take in the beauty of the moment; as our joy is defined by our sadness. When we don’t know sadness, we may struggle to fully appreciate joy.
When we are weary, the lighthouse will lead us back to the shore. We can rest, and let our breath flow out, relaxed, letting go of all of our concerns. As we lay our heads on our pillows that night, we sleep deeply; our fears lose their grip, our sadness lifts, and when we waken in the morning our energy is restored.
“My dad’s one and only painting in his life was of a lighthouse. Decades later, I was inspired to paint one, after seeing this lighthouse both from the road on the way to Tybee Island, and then later from the sea while on a dolphin boat tour.
This lighthouse is located two miles west of the tourist attraction, Tybee Island Lighthouse, and is actually on Cockspur Island. The first Cockspur Lighthouse was built in 1849 to mark the entrance to the south channel of the Savannah River. Because it wasn’t working adequately, it was later rebuilt in 1857. To preserve this historical marker, the lighthouse isn’t open to visitors.
What do you feel when you look at this painting? Hope, above a sea of unknown depth & profound sadness? Do we focus on what lies beneath, or look to the Light? Art says something different to me, depending on the moment, even if the painting is my own work. So, my answer to how this lighthouse makes me feel will be different depending at where I am in life’s journey, or what my mood is at that time.”
Collection of 50 works of art: a coffee table book, fashion, prints, and videos
From Natalie: “‘Waves of the Sea’ is inspired by Scripture about trials and perseverance. James 1:2-6 ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.’ Through it all, never give up. When the seas are rough, during a storm, and whenever troubled times come, a lighthouse guides us home. Faith over fear, perseverance through trials.”
Watch Natalie paint this art (scroll down this page). Order gallery quality prints, here:
Small Print “Waves of the Sea”
All small prints are approximately 8 x 10. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.
Medium Print “Waves of the Sea”
All medium prints are approximately 16 x 20. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.
Large Print “Waves of the Sea”
All large prints are approximately 24 x 30. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.