When Lions Fly

Watch oil painting “Guardian Lion” come alive in under 2 minutes (time lapse)

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 of post. Today was much more down to earth. I was trying to accomplish a lot of things in a short space of time. I was more like a caged zoo lion than this winged one. I felt like I couldn’t get off the ground.

But when lions fly, nothing is impossible! I managed to finish my new painting and I’ll post it tomorrow. I also got about half the things on my list done. The problem is that I kept looking at the the things I haven’t done instead of the things I did. So much of our prosperity and happiness depends on perspective. When we think we accomplish little, little is the result. When we think we can fly, we do!


Guardians

Watch this “Guardian Lion” oil painting come to life

in 2 minutes (time lapse)

A guardian lion statue is meant to symbolize prosperity and protection and is usually installed on behalf of a city or a wealthy person’s home. I was inspired to paint a fantasy representation of the resin winged lion statue in Savannah, Georgia. I imagined the lion standing at the edge of a cliff, guarding the land from whatever darkness may threaten its shores.

The real Georgian shoreline isn’t lined with cliffs, but the imagery is meant to universally apply in a spiritual sense, in any way that the viewer chooses. The concept of Guardians is appealing and comforting. Don’t we wish that such a winged lion exists, who will protect us, and keep us prosperous?

Believing in a spiritual protector and a God who blesses us requires faith. Wouldn’t it be easier if we could see something tangible, maybe as obvious as a golden winged lion? And yet, sometimes, faith comes as easily as this. There are times in our lives when darkness and fear overtakes us. In that dark place we may feel absolutely certain of the presence of a spiritual guardian, of angels, divine intervention, and God. 

But when the crisis passes, we may doubt our experience. Always trust yourself and honor the certainty of the presence of divine love, protection, and blessings. Work to hold on to those moments when we have no doubts. Life feels so much easier when we believe that someone is looking out for us.

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LOL, Irishness

Today I tried a new recipe (not the peach cookies in my painting video). These also had powdered sugar on them, but I screwed that

Keeping my Cool

I felt a bit of panic, but I willed myself to keep my cool, as cool as this puffin. Today I was working on the

Do you See what I See?

After we moved to Georgia, we visited the same beach on Tybee Island several times. It became our favorite place. One day this graffiti was

Memory Lane

The current White House Christmas decorating theme was released this week, and I was reminded of the 2018 event that I was inspired to paint

Christmas Star and Curry

This art of Mary and baby Jesus features the Christmas Star, which was visible in some parts of the world the year I painted this

Is your life fruitful?

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

What is the “fruit of our labor”? Are our lives a fruitful vine? Grapes can take several seasons to produce any harvest, but once they do, the fruit may be plentiful, beautiful and delicious! Not only this, but grape vines provide shelter for plants that need shade. They are great for covering areas that are unsightly, barren, or can otherwise benefit from a large leafy expanse of visually appealing vegetation.

This is a pleasant metaphor for our lives. It may take us a few seasons to start seeing the fruits of our labor, but once the rewards start rolling in, we may be in a position to inspire, help, and benefit others as well. What ARE the fruits of our labor? We are short sighted if we think only in terms of financial prosperity.

While financial prosperity is certainly a blessing, and can bless others as well, the word “prosperity” is not limited to money. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, prosperity is known as “the condition of being successful or thriving”. While the definition goes on to say “especially economic well-being”, prosperity is not exclusively financial. Good fortune and success can be defined many other ways.

The pursuit of happiness is critical to thriving. We can measure the fruits of our labor by the presence of happy outcomes in our life. Money is a tool for achieving happy outcomes, but it’s only one tool of many. How profoundly we connect with fellow human beings in our relationships, our communities, and even random encounters with strangers online is an indicator of our ability to thrive. Connection is “fruit” on our spiritual grape vine.

Other signs of thriving may be in the small details. When we have a clean, organized, and pretty space to live in, it’s a healthy sign that we’re thriving. It means we’ve managed to keep up with the daily tasks and chores of our lifestyle, while achieving a pleasant home environment. This can be true of a tiny mobile home, an apartment, or a rental. Small and modest doesn’t have to mean dirty, shabby, and miserable. 

The same goes for our physical appearance. We don’t need to pay for expensive hair cuts or designer clothes to feel confident and healthy. We just need to take good care of ourselves even when we’re stressed, tired, and anxious… ESPECIALLY when we’re stressed, tired, and anxious, as that’s when we need to take care of ourselves the most!

It’s no small thing to keep ourselves going in a healthy and positive way when the world feels difficult to handle. “Fruits of our labor” might mean that we’ve managed a shower, clean clothes, chores done, a decent meal, and a good night’s sleep… all so that we can tackle it all again the next day. One day at a time, every day, every season, until one day we notice that our harvest is beautiful.

A fruitful vine is evidence of a happy life. What that means to you is highly personal and individual. Perhaps we define a happy life as having family and friends, productive work that we (mostly) enjoy (not always, or it wouldn’t be work!), hobbies that make our time here on Earth feel fun, good health, faith that gives us hope and something good to believe in, the beauty of nature, good food and celebrations. Goodness, in other words.

I have spent time with people who are dying. They don’t talk about prosperity in terms of money. They talk about goodness. They talk about the good things from their life, their cherished memories from childhood and the people they love. Money seems unimportant at the end. Perhaps it shouldn’t be so important now?

So when I ask you- and myself- “is your life fruitful”, we need not wait until the grapes are in harvest years from now. Before the fruit appears, a grape vine is quite pretty. It layers green leafy patterns over anything it climbs. There’s something so peaceful about a grape vine, as it ascends to higher places and spreads its shade to other plants.

The fruits of our labor may be more about what we do BEFORE the fruit appears. How do we make our time here pleasant and peaceful for ourselves and others? How do we protect others? Are we growing and climbing? Fruit appears only after the vine has changed and grown.

The grape vine metaphor is on my mind because I’ve developed a special fondness for the grape vine I rescued from near death. It was clearanced out and then left to die. I took it on and nursed it to a large leafy green healthy state. But it’s yet to produce fruit. It will, one day. Until then, it is sheltering my other plants and attractive to look at. I wonder how big it will need to get before it finally bears fruit? I wonder the same about myself sometimes.

But rather than get discouraged, I feel inspired to get more grape vines and start again from the beginning. I’m imagining a (small) vineyard in my future. The vineyard produces beautiful grapes that we can make jelly, jams and wine from. There’s a house at this vineyard, where I one day live happily, busy in the kitchen with my family, working in my garden, painting my pictures, and talking to you, my dear friends.

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Memory Lane

The current White House Christmas decorating theme was released this week, and I was reminded of the 2018 event that I was inspired to paint

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Sneak Peek

I’m still enjoying the holiday weekend, but this morning I was by myself while the family slept in, so I had time to dabble with

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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

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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

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Bluebird of Happiness

Sometimes called “bluebird of happiness”, seeing a bluebird is associated with prosperity, good luck, joy, life, beauty and hope. I saw my first bluebird this season and it took my breath away! I gasped and squealed aloud, even though I was alone. His belly was more red than brown, almost pink. The sun hit his blue wings when he flew away and it was gorgeous!

The cute plump bluebird above was painted for a children’s book called “Bird Days”. The one I saw looked more like the bluebird in this oil painting “Come to the Garden“, that is an exaggerated fanciful version of my real life patio. I painted a bluebird perched on top of the trellis, from my memory of seeing him there in real life. The trellis is an actual part of my patio (the path, fence, etc. are not real, nor is the row of white flowers in the foreground).

I didn’t get a real life bird video of a bluebird to share… I never seem to have my camera when he appears. But, if I do capture him on film I’ll post it. While cardinals have made their home here with us and live nearby year round, dining regularly from our bird feeders, the bluebirds are rare visitors.

I have a painting project in progress but, like seeing a bluebird, it’s rare that my husband is coming home early on a glorious sunny day. We plan to just “be”, doing home stuff at an easy pace while our kids are around us. I doubt I’ll get any painting done, and that’s perfectly fine. There’s always tomorrow to reach my 1k finished paintings goal!

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