Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Watch oil painting “Pink Flower” come to life in 30 seconds

In the good news, bad news scheme of things, covering the garden plants was mostly successful in protecting them from frost damage. Some of my plants died though. I lost some bell peppers, eggplants and flowers (cosmos, morning glories, and moon flowers). Some of my grapes and roses have a bit of (survivable) damage.

Other flowers were thriving today, especially when the sun and warmth returned. It was mostly unpredictable which flowers would be “here today and gone tomorrow”, as all young seedlings are tender and vulnerable. Yet some lived to grow another day and will likely bloom in a few weeks, while others withered, and some died rather instantly.

This is a metaphor for us humans. We may not know who will be here today, and gone tomorrow- it may even be ourselves who don’t make it to grow and bloom. In the good news, bad news scheme of things, when we know that each day is precious and fleeting, we may be inspired to live as if time is short. We must grow and bloom before it’s too late.

Much of my life I thought I might die young like my dad, as so many people would tell me, “You’re just like your father.” But in this aspect I am not like him. I outlived his years on Earth a long time ago, yet I still live as if I could be gone tomorrow. I want to know that I’ve done everything I could to live a full life, with people I love, and in alignment with the purpose I was born for. I don’t make much time for people I don’t like, things I don’t like to do, or conforming to what’s expected. I do make time for what feels special to me, even if my faith, passion, and ideas don’t make sense to anyone else.

Let us be like the flowers. They don’t know how long they’re here, but they work each precious moment toward the day when they’ve grown into their beauty. May we be beautiful!

God bless you and your family. Peace be with you.

Guardian Angel

See oil painting “Guardian Angel” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

I uploaded this painting video to YouTube today and since the music triggered a copyright claim I changed it. This new version seems to suit the art better so it was worth the extra work. I also had the opportunity to add a description which prompted me to think more about why I painted this art. It feels timely, since the same situations that inspired this painting are happening again now. But, ultimately, the goal was to create a traditional guardian angel that reflects the times we live in.

Sadly, a guardian angel leading a small child out of a burning city represents both literal fire and metaphorical as well. With so much going on, it can be difficult to feel at peace. Yet, we will miss living our lives if we cannot find balance between staying engaged and empathetic, and focusing on who we were born to be as individuals.

I hope you were able to have a restful Sunday and can push yourself to feel productive in the week ahead, to work toward your dreams and goals, and to give yourself permission to retreat into your own life- taking breaks from the world’s manufactured dramas and very-real stark crisis’s. Let the guardian angels take care of the worries of the planet that are beyond our control. Focus on your sovereign purpose and destiny. You matter.

God bless you and keep you, this day and always.

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Calm of a Cardinal

Watch this cardinal oil painting come alive in about 2 minutes (time lapse)

Today I was flustered, as I was preparing for the taping of the Christmas show and I realized with a sinking heart that the first segment I did had not recorded! I had to re-do that, setting my schedule behind. As I loaded the memory card back into the camera to tape the whole thing over again, a flurry of movement caught my attention. Just outside the patio doors was one of our favorite cardinals, a bird that came to our feeder as a juvenile that my daughter noticed looked like it has a mohawk hair style. The cardinal made eye contact with me as if to say, “Calm down. It will be all right. It always is.”

And it was. All went well. The show will be ready on time, despite the failed recording, a dead battery that required a delay and a switch to another one, and several other mishaps, like when my feet got tangled up in my dress and I almost did a face plant, or when my daughter didn’t realize that the camera was rolling and spent several seconds itching her nose after the faux fur on her dress jacket tickled her face. Or how about when I completely forgot the lyrics to a song, or when I was ready to paint but had forgotten my palette (the paint!)? My body aches from all of the climbing up and down the step stool to tinker with the camera, moving the easels and props around, and bustling from one task to another since early this morning.

It was a crazy day, but in the end I will look back on it fondly and remember the fun we had in trying to get this to come together. Hard work is always worth doing when we feel a sense of purpose and a connection to the people we share it with. A long day like this brings on a good kind of tired that leads to a deep, peaceful sleep.

I hope that you will enjoy the show and will feel uplifted by it. I expect it to be ready to share by next week, in plenty of time for Christmas! Please do share it far and wide when I announce it here on the blog. Thank you!!!

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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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