Happy Sunday

Play Video

Watch me paint “Flying to Heaven” in under 1 minute (time lapse). This was for a children’s book called “Grandpa Smiles“.

Here we are, another Sunday will be soon over, and July too is gone. It’s now August and a new season is upon us. As we approach this upcoming week together, I wish you a productive and joyful experience- no matter what turmoil and fear is outside our doors. Spiritually, may we maintain focus and inner peace.

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Trust

Watch me paint these cardinals in 40 seconds (time lapse)

I just came back inside after an exhilarating experience! We’ve had a male and female cardinal as frequent visitors to our patio garden bird feeder. This spring they apparently welcomed a nest of wee ones into this world. We think there are five. All are juveniles now, very silly and playful, and accustomed to me being around. They now trust me enough to play and eat while I’m standing on the patio, only a few feet from where they are.

Today there were three cardinals flitting about while a hummingbird was at his own separate feeder… all very near where I was standing. They looked at me occasionally. They seem to like the attention I give them. How amazing to have gained their trust!

Trust from the vulnerable is such a precious responsibility. When trust is granted, we have a moral obligation to never deliberately, willfully, knowingly abuse that trust. Imagine having a powerful position over more than just young hungry birds; imagine having power over nations of people who may believe our words and act on them in ways that may hurt or kill them.

When I feel the spirits of wild birds, I feel the power of nature. Nature is a balanced place where predators and prey exist alongside each other. When things are off balance, something happens to counter it. This too is how humanity works. Trust is a sacred agreement from one soul to another. Those who break that trust will face consequences- if not in this life, surely afterward.

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Holiday Break

Our house is already changing from pumpkin spices to gingerbread. Today we decorated the Christmas tree and made cookies. Yesterday for Thanksgiving we had a

Read More »

Happy Anyway

I struggled to think of what to say for today’s blog post. World events paint a bleak, angry, and fearful picture. What popped into my

Read More »

The Unexplained

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,

Read More »

Going Fast

You might remember when I shared this painting in September, and now nearly two months have passed by. Autumn is going fast. Didn’t it feel

Read More »

New Painting

This is the painting I finished yesterday. Thanksgiving is coming up fast. Beyond a special meal that features a roast turkey, those of us who

Read More »

When Lions Fly

I last shared this art in a blog post called “Guardians“, which was about protectors and believing in spiritual protection. That’s a big idea sort

Read More »

Who we are

Do you ever see yourself in the past, through a photograph, a video, through the eyes of an old friend or relative, or maybe a

Read More »

Veteran’s Day

My oil painting is of a roadside American flag on the only way to/from Tybee Island, Georgia. Police officers rescued it from hurricane flood waters

Read More »

Update

I like to use this painting for my updates. The music in the video is an instrumental version of “Be Thou my Vision”. The lyrics

Read More »

Thanksgiving Plans?

I talked about this painting in an August blog post called “Feasting“. Today, I’m thinking about Thanksgiving and how quickly it’s coming up. For those

Read More »

Is it a sign?

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

Read More »

Peaceful Sunday

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

Read More »

What do you see?

I only meant to paint a faint outline of the fish skeleton, but my daughter looked at the canvas and said, “oh, nice addition to paint the cross in there”. Wow, I didn’t even see that. So then I asked my other daughter what she saw. Expected to hear fish bones or cross. She said, “Heartbeat” (monitor).

What do you see?

So much of what we see is about perspective. I only saw what was in front of my face. I didn’t see the cross shape until I stood back and saw it through my daughter’s point of view. I still can’t really imagine the heartbeat monitor very well- I have to work hard to see what my youngest daughter saw. Sometimes even when we are shown what someone else sees, we just can’t see it like they can.

This is how life is. We may not always see things the same way, but hopefully we can agree on the goodness at the heart of everything we do. God bless you and your families this day and always.

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Happy Sunday!

Watch me paint “Floral Cross” in under 2 minutes (time lapse)

Peace be with you today as you reflect upon the week we finished and the new week ahead. No matter how exhausting the world feels, may we feel spiritually refreshed to face our challenges with strength, hope, and perseverance. God bless you and your family!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Holiday Break

Our house is already changing from pumpkin spices to gingerbread. Today we decorated the Christmas tree and made cookies. Yesterday for Thanksgiving we had a

Read More »

Happy Anyway

I struggled to think of what to say for today’s blog post. World events paint a bleak, angry, and fearful picture. What popped into my

Read More »

The Unexplained

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,

Read More »

Going Fast

You might remember when I shared this painting in September, and now nearly two months have passed by. Autumn is going fast. Didn’t it feel

Read More »

New Painting

This is the painting I finished yesterday. Thanksgiving is coming up fast. Beyond a special meal that features a roast turkey, those of us who

Read More »

When Lions Fly

I last shared this art in a blog post called “Guardians“, which was about protectors and believing in spiritual protection. That’s a big idea sort

Read More »

Who we are

Do you ever see yourself in the past, through a photograph, a video, through the eyes of an old friend or relative, or maybe a

Read More »

Veteran’s Day

My oil painting is of a roadside American flag on the only way to/from Tybee Island, Georgia. Police officers rescued it from hurricane flood waters

Read More »

Update

I like to use this painting for my updates. The music in the video is an instrumental version of “Be Thou my Vision”. The lyrics

Read More »

Thanksgiving Plans?

I talked about this painting in an August blog post called “Feasting“. Today, I’m thinking about Thanksgiving and how quickly it’s coming up. For those

Read More »

Is it a sign?

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

Read More »

Peaceful Sunday

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

Read More »

Tired?

You might remember when I shared this painting in a May blog post called “Are you Weary?“. It seems a lot of us are struggling

Read More »

Right to Pursue Happiness

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

What is the pursuit of happiness? Does it mean simply “feeling” happy, or actively living happily? A dolphin in the wild is playful and enjoys following boats, showing off for human audiences. I loved meeting this delightful dolphin named “Fungie” when I was living in Ireland. Unless captured, a dolphin answers to no authority and is free to pursue happiness. Apparently Fungie liked hanging out with his human fans. It seemed like he was looking and smiling directly at me, and stole my heart!

But there is something horribly wrong when a human being feels less free than a wild dolphin. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” seems like a good declaration for independence, for sovereignty over our bodies and our lives, and for the promise of freedom to follow our purpose, talents, vocations, lifestyles and dreams.

When governments and their “activist” proxies cancel some people but not others, when laws apply to some people but not others, when some of us are “essential” and others are not, when some of us can breathe free while others cannot, when some of us can travel, but others cannot, when some of us can work or go to school without restriction, while others cannot, are we free to pursue happiness? Have we declared our independence? Instead of looking wistfully at us from behind a glass aquarium wall in captivity, perhaps a wild dolphin observes us looking at him wistfully… wishing we too were on the other side of captivity.

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Holiday Break

Our house is already changing from pumpkin spices to gingerbread. Today we decorated the Christmas tree and made cookies. Yesterday for Thanksgiving we had a

Read More »

Happy Anyway

I struggled to think of what to say for today’s blog post. World events paint a bleak, angry, and fearful picture. What popped into my

Read More »

The Unexplained

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,

Read More »

Going Fast

You might remember when I shared this painting in September, and now nearly two months have passed by. Autumn is going fast. Didn’t it feel

Read More »

New Painting

This is the painting I finished yesterday. Thanksgiving is coming up fast. Beyond a special meal that features a roast turkey, those of us who

Read More »

When Lions Fly

I last shared this art in a blog post called “Guardians“, which was about protectors and believing in spiritual protection. That’s a big idea sort

Read More »

Who we are

Do you ever see yourself in the past, through a photograph, a video, through the eyes of an old friend or relative, or maybe a

Read More »

Veteran’s Day

My oil painting is of a roadside American flag on the only way to/from Tybee Island, Georgia. Police officers rescued it from hurricane flood waters

Read More »

Update

I like to use this painting for my updates. The music in the video is an instrumental version of “Be Thou my Vision”. The lyrics

Read More »

Thanksgiving Plans?

I talked about this painting in an August blog post called “Feasting“. Today, I’m thinking about Thanksgiving and how quickly it’s coming up. For those

Read More »

Is it a sign?

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

Read More »

Peaceful Sunday

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

Read More »

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

Holiday Break

Our house is already changing from pumpkin spices to gingerbread. Today we decorated the Christmas tree and made cookies. Yesterday for Thanksgiving we had a

Read More »

Happy Anyway

I struggled to think of what to say for today’s blog post. World events paint a bleak, angry, and fearful picture. What popped into my

Read More »

The Unexplained

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,

Read More »

Going Fast

You might remember when I shared this painting in September, and now nearly two months have passed by. Autumn is going fast. Didn’t it feel

Read More »

New Painting

This is the painting I finished yesterday. Thanksgiving is coming up fast. Beyond a special meal that features a roast turkey, those of us who

Read More »

When Lions Fly

I last shared this art in a blog post called “Guardians“, which was about protectors and believing in spiritual protection. That’s a big idea sort

Read More »

Who we are

Do you ever see yourself in the past, through a photograph, a video, through the eyes of an old friend or relative, or maybe a

Read More »

The Flag was Still There

Watch me paint “Flag on Tybee Island” in 1 minute (time lapse)

“This is a special roadside American flag on the only way to/from Tybee Island. It was saved from flood waters by police officers after Hurricane Irma, on the anniversary of 9/11 known as Patriots Day. The flag, attached to driftwood, had been a familiar landmark on that stretch of Highway 80 since the 1980’s. The officers knew that evacuees returning home after Hurricane Irma would find their beloved flag to be a comforting sight. They were especially grateful to residents who took care of the weary officers with coffee and encouragement, while first responders were working 12 hour shifts before and after the storm.

I had no idea of the history of this roadside flag when I was inspired to paint it. All I saw was our homeland’s flag waving on that stretch of highway, and I was stirred with emotion. I imagined someone had put that there with love and passion for our country and our people. It was only later that I learned about the story behind this flag. Now it is even more special and I’m happy to have painted it.”

-from book “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Savannah, Georgia” by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

I’ve lived and traveled in other countries, and while in those nations I enjoyed making dear friends and embracing their flags, customs, and shared values for good food, good friends, and the passion people have for their homes. The people are not the government. Citizens love their flags because they love their homes and their families, their culture and their lives. This is healthy and normal. 

If we hate where our spirits reside, we must make plans to leave that space. Malice toward an entire nation for the sins of few, some, or even many- past, present, or future- is hatred nonetheless. There is no valid justification to hate others. “Activism” does not provide an excuse to hurt people. Change does not require disrespect, destruction, criminal actions, and frothing contempt.

Never take on shame that doesn’t belong to you. The evils of powerful governments are not ours to bear, nor must we destroy our history in order to atone for the wrongs. Communism, fascism, and totalitarianism are not compassionate, but enslaving. Enjoy your home, where your feet are planted. Never let anyone steal your joy. You were born in the right place, at the right time. Wave your homeland’s flag without guilt or fear.

Humanity has its good and bad, but always striving to be better is about creation, not destruction. It is good to love our communities, our homes. We can’t solve all of the world’s problems, but we can be good stewards of the place we live. We can love who we are, so that we may love others. We can appreciate our past so that we may let go of it, live fully in the present, and have hope for the future.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Holiday Break

Our house is already changing from pumpkin spices to gingerbread. Today we decorated the Christmas tree and made cookies. Yesterday for Thanksgiving we had a

Read More »

Happy Anyway

I struggled to think of what to say for today’s blog post. World events paint a bleak, angry, and fearful picture. What popped into my

Read More »

The Unexplained

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,

Read More »

Going Fast

You might remember when I shared this painting in September, and now nearly two months have passed by. Autumn is going fast. Didn’t it feel

Read More »

Fish for Life

Watch me paint this bear catching a salmon (time lapse)

This is a recent painting that I shared last month. It’s said that if we give a man a fish, he eats for a day, but if we teach a man to fish, he eats for life. There’s a third option: a man who doesn’t wait to be given what he needs, or shown how. He doesn’t stagnate, wallow in ignorance, hesitate or follow. He’s like this bear. He sees what he wants and dives in to grab it with his bare teeth!

When we depend on others for nourishment, we submit ourselves to a weak position that is vulnerable to abuse, poverty, enslavement and victimhood. When we’re independent, self sufficient, ingenious and brave, we are in a strong position that frees us. “Nourishment” is literally food for our bodies, but is also a metaphor: “food for thought” or “food for the soul”. When we feed mind, body, and spirit in balance we are like this wild bear- healthy, active, and free.

Fish for Life

  1. Feed your body with good nutrition.
  2. Educate your mind about everything that impacts you, anything that interests you, and never stop learning how to do things, live better, and enjoy life more.
  3. Look for answers to your spiritual questions, act in faith even when you’re uncertain, pray even when you’re cynical, and believe in the impossible.

The rights of humanity should be as great, or greater, than the rights of wild animals, don’t you agree? We too should be free to nourish our bodies with fresh healthy foods, free to roam beyond our cages, and free to live our lives independently, without restriction. A wild bear lives as if he knows he is free.

A wild bear doesn’t wait for others to give him permission to live a full, healthy, active life. He doesn’t hesitate. He sees what he wants and grabs it for himself.

Be a wild bear. Know that you are free!

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Are you feeling beachy?

Watch me paint “My Kids at the Beach” in 2 minutes (time lapse)

“Beachy”, according to Urban Dictionary, means something that reminds us of the beach, something beach-like. But Dictionary dotcom defines beachy as “covered with pebbles or sand”. And that’s the definition we’ll ponder in today’s blog post.

After a day at the beach, we come home covered with sand. It’s with mixed emotions that we accept this part of the bargain: when we have a seaside outing we’ll get messy. Our bodies literally carry the evidence of how we spent our time. Using this as a metaphor- because I love metaphors!- we can think of carrying sand in a figurative and spiritual sense.

When we’re feeling beachy, we’re ready and willing to accept the mess that a full life creates. It’s spiritually tidier to stick with what’s familiar to us and reign our thoughts and actions in, at a pace that is comfortable for us. But when we push ourselves outside of our comfort zone, where the waves of the sea are unpredictable and wild, and emotions get a bit messy, we experience passion and energy that we’d otherwise miss out on. It is this passion and energy that fuels enlightenment. Without it, we may stagnate. 

Ever wonder why some people seem older than they really are, while others glow with such energy that they seem much younger? Passion creates energy. Passion + Energy = Fountain of Youth. We are a product of what we produce, and we produce what we are. Passion in, Energy out. Energy in, Passion out.

When I ask myself and YOU if you feel “beachy”, I hope the answer is yes! YES, we choose the spiritual wild sea, the glorious sun- and equally the risk of storms, our reflections on the wet sand, and time spent with those we love. We choose to live a full life that is messy. We feel beachy!

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Are you home?

Watch me paint this house in Savannah, Georgia in 1 minute

(time lapse)

I took pictures near a park square in Savannah one day, and this particular view inspired me to paint it. Most of the house was obscured by trees. It was as if nature and humankind had melded into a new world.

I feel that way about my patio garden, as critters and birds are quite welcome to hang out in the new space I’ve created. Indeed, they seem to think that they own the place and everything I put out there is for them. It seems we’re all at home.

Are you home? Do you feel welcome in your space? Do you feel compatible with nature, your neighbors, your community, and your surroundings? Being at home is less to do with others and more to do with ourselves.

Sometimes when I’m living in a temporary place it’s difficult to feel as if I’m home, so I have to work hard to create that connection. I remind myself that my wild birds and living trees are with me everywhere. Of course these are not the exact same creatures and plants I’ve seen in previous backyards, and many are different breeds of birds and different types of trees entirely, but some are the same as other places I’ve lived. A red cardinal in the Deep South in Georgia brings me just as much peace as a red cardinal Up North in Minnesota.

I’ve lived abroad as well as various places in the United States. They say “people are the same wherever you go”, and that is fundamentally true. There’s nothing unique or shocking about human nature. Everything we see has been seen before, for thousands of years. The only differences are in the way our human nature plays out due to progress and technology. But at our core, humanity carries the same mix of “good” and “bad” as we have since the beginning.

Home is not necessarily where our heart is, but we can put our heart into wherever we are. As we work and journey toward the place we want to be, we can embrace where we are today. So, when I ask myself- and YOU- “are you home”, I hope that your answer is YES.

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

Holiday Break

Our house is already changing from pumpkin spices to gingerbread. Today we decorated the Christmas tree and made cookies. Yesterday for Thanksgiving we had a

Read More »

Thanksgiving Eve

This painting is of a peach pie, but today my firstborn daughter baked a pumpkin pie for tomorrow. I baked ahead the homemade macaroni and

Read More »