Peace to You

Play Video

Watch this beach painting come to life in under 1 minute

(time lapse)

Another new week begins. Rest, reflect, and prepare your spirit to be strong, focused, and positive. God bless you and your families.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Peace to You

Watch this “Dove of Peace” oil painting come to life in under 2 minutes (time lapse) This was a short project that I hope felt

Read More »

Take my Hand

Watch oil painting “City of Savannah” (city near me) come to life in 2 minutes, time lapse I shared this painting here on the blog

Read More »

Peace in Chaos

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

You might remember when I shared this painting in April, while it was still fresh on my canvas? This art is a good choice for today’s blog post. Peace and tranquility are part of nature. Does “nature” include human nature? Why not?

Humans are complex beings. As a result, we often overthink things. We can be easily out of balance. Mind, body, and spirit can be skewed too heavily by our thoughts while our bodies and spirits are neglected. When this happens, the stress, worries, and fears that are generated by processing world, community, and personal daily events will dominate us. There is no peace in chaos when we can only see the chaos.

There is no doubt that these are troubled times, but every generation has its share of trouble. Even in extreme chaos, danger, oppression, and war, it is possible to achieve spiritual peace. It helps to study the philosophy, lifestyle habits and beliefs of peaceful people. What traits do such people have in common? What can we observe and attempt to bring into our own lives? How does spiritual peace help us survive hardships and oppression?

Spiritual peace creates strength that is resistant to propaganda, manipulation, steering, and more overt coercion. People who have a peaceful spirit often share these things in common:

  • Spending regular time outdoors
  • Eating nutritious fresh foods
  • Getting regular physical exercise (this can be from daily tasks, not necessarily a planned fitness routine- an active lifestyle may be enough)
  • Sleeping well, playing well, loving well
  • Practicing a personal, intimate faith that one strongly believes in
  • Educating the mind (not just receiving whatever comes through the “news” or social media, but a real focused effort to learn something new, or to study a familiar subject in more depth, learning a new language, contemplating mathematical or scientific concepts, exploring philosophy/sociology/psychology, learning about botany/gardening/homesteading, etc.)

Notice that the first four items on the list are related to the BODY part of the mind/body/spirit equation. Often, if we are dispirited, depressed, anxious, short tempered, or if spiritual peace eludes us in any way, the cause can be traced to something physical. We may be simply overtired. We might be hungry- even if we’ve eaten. When our diets are terrible, we are deficient in the right nutrients to fill us up. We may have a chemical imbalance that can be helped by changing our diets, adding more physical exercise, and better sleeping habits.

These are things that we probably already know, but if you’re like me, you need a reminder to stay focused and on track. The next item on the list refers to spiritual health. It does no good to choose “nothing” or to let ourselves fall into a mindless ritual of religious practice. These things don’t empower us or inspire us. We must dedicate our hearts to an active belief and practice of our personal, deeply connected faith.

Last on the list is the MIND part of the mind/body/spirit equation. The mind drives us, and therefore we must keep it in check. We must make sure that other influences don’t hijack us. The best way to do this, is to take control of our minds by making our own choices about what to fill our brains with. Choose good things, and good things will result.

Learning a new language in the area of literal language (such as a foreign language, sign language, or Braille), or the language of art, music, or numbers, expands our minds while overtaking the “weeds” in our brains. Create new neural pathways by directing your brain toward enlightenment, empowerment, and encouragement. Seek good things and your brain will find them. Not only that, but our minds are capable of modifying our bodies and communicating our desires and habits to our physical self.

Scientists know about neural pathways. Do we know science? Dark powerful entities know science, and their motives for their usage of it are often profit based (profit may be financial, an exchange of power, or something more sinister). What if we were aware of how amazing we are, and took control over our mind, body, spirit?

Psychological warfare only works on a willing victim. If we are not victims, and not willing, this type of abuse doesn’t work on us. Lies have little influence over those who are confident in the truth and in our ability to reason, our skills in logical thinking, and our reliance upon intuition and faith over blind compliance to an authority. Protecting ourselves during these troubled times is about being strong. It is about peace in chaos.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Meek or Mighty?

https://nataliebuskethomas.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/lion-and-the-lamb-oil-painting-by-natalie-buske-thomas.mp4 See oil painting “Lion and the Lamb” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse) I did a series of blog posts …

I forgot to tell you!

Watch oil painting “Cardinal at the Cabin” come to life in about 2 minutes (time lapse) In my blog post “New Painting- …

Peace to You

Watch this “Dove of Peace” oil painting come to life in under 2 minutes (time lapse) This was a short project that …

Take my Hand

Watch oil painting “City of Savannah” (city near me) come to life in 2 minutes, time lapse I shared this painting here …

You are Worth More

https://videos.files.wordpress.com/QkgZ01V2/sparrows-oil-painting-by-natalie-buske-thomas_hd.mp4 Watch oil painting “Sparrows” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) The last time I shared my sparrows painting was …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Red Flower is REAL

https://nataliebuskethomas.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/dancer-in-a-floral-forest-oil-painting-by-natalie-buske-thomas.mp4 See oil painting “Dancer in a Floral Forest” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) I painted this as an …

More Coffee

https://nataliebuskethomas.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/breakfast-with-friends-oil-painting-by-natalie-buske-thomas.mp4 See oil painting “Breakfast with Friends” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse) I last shared this one with you in …

New Painting

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

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 …

Seasonal Perspective

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

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”, …

Are your seeds growing?

Watch this oil painting of a lily come to life in under 2 minutes (time lapse) I had lilies just like this …

Playing a Tune

https://nataliebuskethomas.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/oil-painting-piano-serenity-by-natalie-buske-thomas.mp4 Watch oil painting “Serenity Piano” come to life in under 2 minutes (time lapse) I composed and played the music for …

Grace Will Lead me Home

When we were planning our move to Ireland, I was grieving the loss of my only remaining parent, my mom (Dad died …

A Month Ago

I painted this just over a month ago, you might remember when I shared it. It feels like much longer to me. …

Orchard Season

Watch this oil painting of an apple tree branch come to life in 1 minute (time lapse) Have you been enjoying pumpkin …

Seeing the Future

You might remember when I painted this and shared it on the blog in August. At the time I predicted that I’d …

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 …

Settling into October yet?

https://nataliebuskethomas.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/autumn-cottage-oil-painting-by-natalie-buske-thomas.mp4 Watch this “Autumn Cottage” oil painting come to life in just over 1 minute (time lapse) How are you settling into …

New Painting

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

October!

https://nataliebuskethomas.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pumpkins-and-mums-oil-painting-by-natalie-buske-thomas.mp4 Watch this oil painting “Pumpkins and Mums” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse) This is a good one to start …

Experimentation

Watch this owl and rabbit landscape oil painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) You might remember when I blogged …

Art Imitates Art

Watch this oil painting of a little girl in a tree come to life in under 2 minutes (time lapse) When my …

Update

https://nataliebuskethomas.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/painting-colors-oil-painting-by-natalie-buske-thomas-sept-2019.mp4 Watch this oil painting “Painting Colors” come to life in 1 minute (time lapse) I’ll be working on new projects this …

Thankful Anyway

Watch this oil painting “Prayer of Praise” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) It may be hard to feel like …

Sporting

https://nataliebuskethomas.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/oil-painting-bulldog-by-natalie-buske-thomas.mp4 Watch this Georgia bulldog oil painting come to life in just over 1 minute (time lapse) I painted this for the …

Something Different

https://nataliebuskethomas.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/oil-painting-peach-pie-by-natalie-buske-thomas.mp4 Watch this oil painting of peach pie come to life in about a minute (time lapse) When we tried the peach …

Do you have the heart to Celebrate?

Play Video

Watch me paint this sea turtle in less than 1 minute (time lapse)

The sea turtle in my oil painting is Matthew, a rescue animal at the marine center on Tybee Island. When I saw him he was fully recovered and swimming peacefully in his tank. Shortly after my visit he was released back to his ocean home.

Imagine if we could see Matthew now. What might he be doing, in the post-2020 dystopian world that mankind has created? Well, I imagine he’s still in a state of relaxation, swimming to his own rhythm regardless of worldly chaos, darkness, fear, malice, death, and oppression on the shore.

I saw a lot of debate about whether or not it’s OK to celebrate holidays such as Independence Day when we are hardly free at this point in time. But it is when we are enslaved the most when we must celebrate what it means to be free! When the chips are down, if we leave the table it means that we have accepted the loss. Accepting a loss of freedom is to submit to slavery.

Who desires us to stop celebrating? It’s sad that our own “side” (fellow humans who claim to wish to be free, sovereign over their bodies, choices, and homes) should align with the oppressive regimes and their mouthpieces! Shaming each other or being a voice of discouragement and despair is exactly the kind of drive toward hopelessness that abusing regimes desire. For when we are without hope, we will comply and submit. We will give up that which makes us independent and free. We will enslave ourselves.

I do not comply.

I do not submit.

I celebrate my God given rights,

and I hope that you do too.

If you missed my spectacular 4th of July variety show, in which I laid my heart on the table; and my family also committed their time and talents to the project… please watch. It may inspire you to celebrate, even when it seems as if there is nothing to rejoice over. In my show I also share my personal American story, a story that should be relatable in general, no matter which country you call home.

No ruler, king, or evil empire of technocracy can create laws or commit illegal actions over our spirit. If we are spiritually like Matthew the sea turtle, we can live by our own rhythm no matter how grim the state of the world is. There is no compliance officer who can force our hearts to be hopeless. Choosing peace, joy, and love is always our right. I celebrate this freedom.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

I forgot to tell you!

Watch oil painting “Cardinal at the Cabin” come to life in about 2 minutes (time lapse) In my blog post “New Painting- Peaceful Landscape” that

Peace to You

Watch this “Dove of Peace” oil painting come to life in under 2 minutes (time lapse) This was a short project that I hope felt

Take my Hand

Watch oil painting “City of Savannah” (city near me) come to life in 2 minutes, time lapse I shared this painting here on the blog

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,

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!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Do you have Dangerous Friends?

Watch me paint Gator and Snake in under 2 minutes (time lapse)

Alligators live in the neighborhood lagoon behind our house. From time to time, the housing association hires someone to remove them, but they always come back. A few days ago I stood on my patio and took this picture of an unlikely pair of friends. Don’t worry, I didn’t get too close, and the gator was occupied, as you can see.

This sage advice isn’t very useful for the turtle, who doesn’t seem to be aware of his new friend coming up behind him.

Sometimes we’re just living our lives, going about our business, completely unaware of the dangers around us.

He looks friendly enough. See, he’s even smiling! Of course that could be in anticipation of devouring his new best buddy. I didn’t stick around to see how this situation was resolved. 😲

And just now I took this video from my patio. I was about to hit the publish button on this blog post when I decided to look out… and there he was! So, I’m adding this video footage of my morning friend. Notice the steamy fog rolling off the lagoon? After a heavy rain that has left everything still quite soggy, it’s going to be a hot one.

Do YOU have dangerous friends? Many of us have a hard time believing that someone we know can be abusive, but chances are, someone we encounter will lie to us, be unfair to us, or much worse. On the path to enlightenment (the journey to becoming our best self, and making a difference in the lives of others) we must be responsible in the company we keep. Dangerous friends can devour us, and keep us from the destiny we were meant to be a part of. We can’t serve others when we are served up as dinner!

Part of being a good steward of our gifts, talents, and abilities to contribute to a better world is to hold ourselves accountable in the relationships we have. We must be aware of the gators creeping up behind us. Though they may be smiling, they are not acting in our best interest, but are destroying us for their own benefit. Their actions may seem relatively harmless, but predators are certainly dangerous.

Perhaps a mild form of passive aggressive behavior is directed at us, an unkind word, a rude facial expression that is unintentionally or deliberately insulting, or simply a lack of support for the things that matter to us; and it seems like an overreaction to perceive these typical unpleasant or hurtful social exchanges as “dangerous”. But when our spirits are targeted bit by bit, the erosion is felt over time. Destroying our spirit can take months or years, but one day it may finally become obvious that a certain person or an overall toxic environment was dangerous.

Some gators may take their time, enjoying the hunt. Others may prey upon us suddenly, attempting to destroy us with a single coercion. The “gator” may be a government, an institution, an employer, or a mob. The gator may be your own family or friends. Anyone who doesn’t respect your freedom to make your own choices is potentially a dangerous friend.

Do you have dangerous friends? Look behind you before it’s too late. Dangerous friends may smile and tell us that their tyranny is for our own good, but we must never feed the gators. Staying strong for others means that we must protect ourselves. If we allow ourselves to be destroyed, who will help those who need us? We are all needed. YOU are needed.

Watch Trapper John catch a gator! I was filming the whole thing.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Take my Hand

Watch oil painting “City of Savannah” (city near me) come to life in 2 minutes, time lapse I shared this painting here on the blog

Read More »

Timeless

Watch me paint this city scene with fountain from downtown Savannah, Georgia in 2 minutes (time lapse)

It’s difficult to tell when I painted this scene because there’s not much in the painting that dates it to a specific time period. There are no automobiles or people to judge by make and model of car or by style of wardrobe. The architecture can date it, but if the buildings and structures have been in place for many years, the time period isn’t narrowed down by much. The same can be said for mature trees- some trees can live for a very long time.

The absence of people and their possessions makes it nearly impossible to guess the time period, which was in the autumn of 2019. It’s people who mark the time, with our clothing, hair styles, and transport. Without us, the world is often timeless.

So imagine, if you will, that someone has stayed out of the public view for the past year… unwilling to see the world masked, hostile, and delusional. For such a person, the world is timeless, waiting for when people let go of fear and start living again. Until then, there are trees and birds to look upon, gardens to plant, and canvases to paint.

We all have free will to choose the reality we wish to live in. What is truth? Who defines it? If a person doesn’t hear the “new truth”, does the faux reality exist? No, it doesn’t. We must consent to a delusion to make it so. And even then, reality is not mocked. Eventually, the important things are known and the deceit falls away. Who is broken and swept under the ground during the destruction? Those who are caught up in its path may be swept away.

God is timeless. “And this too shall pass”. Things of man are temporary. Those who wait it out will survive. When we set our eyes upon that which is timeless, we will see the world the way that it really is… beautiful, unmasked, and free.

More about surviving through troubled times, and winning the battle for our mind, body, and spirit: “Are you Weary?”

 

More about how to protect ourselves spiritually and guard the individual human self: “Are you wearing armor?

 

More about how to defend ourselves and thrive in a hateful world: “Peace or Hate?”

 

 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

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

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Be Mysterious

Watch me paint this coastal scene from Dingle, Ireland in 2 minutes (time lapse). I visited this area when I was living in Ireland in 2016.

If you want to win the right to remain fully human, you must first desire freedom from control, enslavement and the systemic breakdown of the human spirit. The first step to control someone is to know them, to predict their moves, habits, and responses. When we know someone, we can then manipulate that person into doing what we want them to do. We can deliberately steer them toward self-destructive paths, or toward a collective (hive mind) that supports our agenda. 

Therefore, the first step toward resisting control and breaking free of brainwashing, is to be mysterious. When we are unpredictable, even computer algorithms that apply scores to our predictive behaviors cannot determine who we are and what we will do. We must choose to be organic, authentic, raw, real, emotional, spiritual, and light-seeking. We must choose love over the absence of it, which eventually becomes malice. For when we are devoid of love, the void is filled by hate. The removal of light is darkness.

It is impossible to have no religion. What we serve simply has a different name. We may not care to name it, but even “nothing” is something. The religion of globalism does not respect the freedom of individual spirituality. We must fight for our freedom by choosing to be mysterious, uncontrolled. We must not comply with illegal orders that violate human rights. We must declare such orders as Crimes Against Humanity and stand firmly together.

We matter.

You matter.

Believe in the beauty that God created: YOU.

Be fully human.

Be mysterious.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Embracing LIFE!

This is a tree on “Rock Hill”, a rural area in Ireland near Grenagh. Grenagh is a village close to Mallow in Co. Cork. In 2016 I lived there, off a boreen (a narrow road in which two cars can’t pass, and ours barely fit ONE, it was hairy). VERY remote. Even the native Irish couldn’t find us, they’d get lost. We had poor cell phone reception that only came in if we used a signal booster and stood directly under it. We had spotty, slow, and unreliable satellite service for Internet. Often a simple website would spin and time out. We had no rubbish (garbage) service and had to drive our trash bags to the dump site which was several miles away. 

We were completely isolated, with no visible neighbors. Yet, for reasons I can’t fully explain, I never felt alone. Of course I had my family with me, so I wasn’t alone, but many people feel unnerved when in a remote location far from any stores, hospitals, and civilization. That wasn’t how I felt. I was at peace.

Tree on Rock Hill” oil painting while still on my easel

in the house we were renting in Ireland

I’ve lived in very remote areas and very urban. I’ve lived in the inner city of Minneapolis. I’ve lived in villages (Geisfeld, Germany) and in small towns, suburban neighborhoods and apartment communities. I’ve lived in rentals, “fixers” and a hobby farm with a house we built ourselves (partly ordered up, partly with our own two hands). I’ve had times of want and times of plenty.

Some say that home is where the heart is, or where our families are, but I would politely say that this is not true for everyone. Sometimes we are placed where we do not wish to be. Sometimes we lose family members and are temporarily or somewhat permanently without close ties, without any deep sense of family or community. That has been true of my life.

Through it all, my spirit and mind stay housed in the same body. Home is where I am. Home is wherever I go. I feel most at home when I am at peace, close to God. There are times in my life when I have the company of precious loved ones to share this journey, and times when I have not had that blessing. There are times when I feel a strong connection to the place I’m living, and times when I’ve counted down the days to leave.

Embracing LIFE is to seek joy regardless of circumstance. Even an enslaved person has free will, should they choose. Mindfulness is a commodity that cannot be stolen without our consent. Even if deceived, on some level we are responsible for delegating the responsibility of our independent thoughts to others.

Today I am in high spirits. I am ripe with fresh ideas for my art, work, and lifestyle. I was up early and transplanted seedlings that I’ve babied into sturdy lush greens. My garden is really taking off and it’s such a delight to see. I’ve already enjoyed compound butter and infused olive oil and vinegar salad dressing. One of the tomatoes is red and will be ready to pick soon. My strawberries are formed but still green. One day soon my garden will be bursting at the seams with goodness… all from a small patio space.

I’ve blogged several times about the painful sale of our hobby farm when my husband lost his job. One by one, flock by flock, all of our animals were sold or given away to good farming homes, including our beloved sheep that we had raised from lambs and the guinea fowl that we’d hatched as eggs in an incubator and raised into fully grown birds. I could list all of the animals and the losses, but it’s the garden that’s the point of this. We had a very large garden that was plowed down a hill.

The garden was my husband’s deal. It was too much for me. The ground was uneven and the area was buggy. I’m allergic to many insects and the constant threat of it was unnerving. The terrain was steep and rough. He planted the rows in a compact way that made it hard to push through without brushing up against the plants. It was really and truly not my thing. I tended to my roses and other flowers in the landscaped areas near the house. 

My gardening role then was to can the tomatoes, bake the zucchini bread to freeze ahead, and cook/store all of the other garden foods as well. He grew the food and dumped it onto the kitchen counter. From there it was my job to see that the food went from the garden to our stomachs.

But now, many years later, I have a pretty garden of my own. I’m honestly quite hooked on the thrill of seeing my hard work grow into fruition. Every day there is something new to see and learn. I’m astonished at the world that has opened up for me. I didn’t realize how little I knew about food. I’ve discovered bloggers who are teaching me that there are many different ways to eat that I’d never thought of.

I’ll still do the things I’m familiar with, like canning tomatoes and making refrigerator pickles from cucumbers. My husband has his own gardening space too, so there will be zucchini bread-making again in my near future, just like the old days. We haven’t abandoned the things we used to enjoy. But I’m delighted to try new ideas. My tastes have changed over the years and I’m especially intrigued by the nutrition found in herbs. My husband actually thought parsley was “just for decoration” and was surprised when I showed him the many health benefits of adding parsley to our diets.

Embracing life is about feeding ourselves good food… not just literally, physically, but also good mental and spiritual food. I’ve been studying new things and expanding my ideas about philosophy. I’ve been learning more about science and botany. I’ve been learning more about chemistry and health. I’m pushing myself to see beyond what I’ve always known.

Last night I was in a foul mood. Everything was getting under my skin, especially the dark, somber, dystopia of “current year” (a trendy phrase I despise, but it suits). As I fell asleep, my mind was full of angry thoughts and pessimistic emotions. I woke up several times. My broken, disrupted sleep ended when I woke up with a splitting headache.

But I walked into the kitchen, poured myself a cup of tea, and opened the patio curtains. A tiny hummingbird flitted away and my garden plants seemed to greet me. It was a splendid morning, if I chose to see it that way. It was up to me. Would I allow the world’s perception of my future to control my thinking (mind), my health (body), and my emotions (spirit)? Or would I see the truth plainly in front of me?

Today I have chosen to embrace life. Every day I must choose anew. It doesn’t matter where I am, where I live, or who is with me. It doesn’t matter if I am in lack or plenty. It doesn’t matter if I’m in pain or full health. The choice is always mine to make.

I will have a good day today because I choose it. I will experience joy, regardless of my circumstances. Whatever pain or grief I have, I shall set it aside into the private healing space of my mind and spirit. I will see beauty and let the sun shine into my heart. Will you join me in embracing life? The choice is yours. Every day we are blessed to be here, we have an opportunity to choose joy.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Take my Hand

Watch oil painting “City of Savannah” (city near me) come to life in 2 minutes, time lapse I shared this painting here on the blog

Read More »

Create or Destroy?

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

A tribute to the Turning Angel monument, built over the graves of five children killed in a factory explosion in the early 1900’s: She was recently vandalized, toppled, and had a broken wing. She is made whole here. This was my first time painting in only black and white, with no color at all. When I first heard about this statue being toppled and damaged, something about it tugged at my heart. When I found out that it was a memorial over the graves of five children, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I looked up the statue to see what it looked like… and decided to paint it. I understand how that feels… to create something to honor the deaths of people, and to have someone destroy it in a hateful action. That beautiful angel statue, installed as a memorial for children who died so tragically young- toppled to the ground with a broken wing…"
- from book "50 Oil Paintings Inspired by my Christian Faith" by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

I know what it’s like to have my art destroyed, and I know what it’s like to be broken as a person. Because we share bits of ourselves when we create, when our creations are destroyed by hateful actions, all of the broken bits of our spirit are remembered and past brokenness is felt anew.

When “activists” (terrorists) listed me for ruination, threats, harassment, and more- committing libel against me and other crimes- they also hacked into my website and deleted my artwork. They uploaded a snarky devil cartoon in place of my blog about my dead parents, deleting this video that I painted in their memory:

My son helped me recover all of the files that they deleted. The original painting was safe. But the violation of my rights and privacy was deeply felt. They had seen my personal files that were stored in the non-public areas of my site, including pictures of my family, my children. They knew where I lived.

This is the complete handcrafted, handpainted nativity set that my parents made. It is the only thing I have left that is in this picture. Everything else- all of it- including the furniture, candles, decorations, and tree are all gone. We kept only a few of the small ornaments from the tree and the nativity set. Everything else was sold… including this house that we’d built after many years of working hard to earn it.

I’ve blogged bits and pieces about our journey of starting over, but that’s not the focus of this post. What I’m trying to share is that my heartfelt post about that nativity set and my painting video of it, held many layers of profound emotion. It represented a bittersweet letting go of painful loss, while honoring who I lost, and the life I lost.

When I chose to share such an intimate part of my spirit, it was my intellectual property alone. Deleting it was theft. When the devil cartoon was inserted in its place, it was a hate crime against not only my faith, but also a desecration of my parents. They have no grave to visit, as both chose to be cremated. I honored them with my public words and art. Terrorists destroyed my memorial.

So, when I heard about the “Turning Angel” memorial being destroyed, it touched my heart. I can only imagine the pain of those parents who lost their child that day. It happened long ago, and it’s unknown (to me) if any of the remaining families still feel that grief to this day. But even if no one from the current generation was deeply effected by the attack on the memorial, I believe that the energy of hate and destruction has an impact on humanity as a whole.

As humans, do we create or destroy?

Do we build each other up or tear each other down?

Do we say a kind word, or give a backhanded compliment?

Do we favor sarcasm and dry humor more often than whimsy and silliness? In other words, does “humor” become an excuse for mean-spirited interactions and exchanges that create pessimism?

Do we choose dark over light, or light over dark?

We don’t have to literally destroy an angel, breaking her wings as she topples to the ground. We don’t have to delete baby Jesus and a poignant story about dead parents. No, often when we destroy what others create the method is much more subtle. We don’t even always see evidence of it. There are no broken wings or snarky devil cartoons to show what we’ve done.

When someone creates a joyful spirit that fills the space of the room, and we destroy it with one unkind word, we destroy what others have created. We can do this without saying a word as well. All it takes is giving someone the silent treatment, the cold shoulder, or displaying a rude expression on our faces. In one second, the spiritual wings break.

The thought I kept going back to is that the person(s) who deleted my blog posts and my art had seen the story of why I painted that nativity set. Perhaps they didn’t read it carefully, but surely parts of it would have reached their minds. Why choose a devil cartoon? I truly can’t imagine seeing the grieved heart of a fellow human and choosing to delete their private pain that they’d decided to publicly share. It took several steps to hack into my site and do this, and they did it over the course of two days, with multiple messages left for me. The point is, they had time to reconsider their actions, yet still chose to hurt me in this way. It wasn’t a spontaneous action, but one that was done with full intention.

My guess is that these were young people who would have been too cowardly to confront me to my face, but perhaps not. It’s a dark soul who shows no empathy for another, who places one’s own agenda ahead of the grief of a fellow human being. It is this sociopath tendency that is quite chilling. To various degrees, we all have the capacity to destroy without empathy. How far would we go to destroy someone?

I believe that when we create, we aid in the redemption of the human spirit. We counter the heart of man that is capable of wickedness, by sharing something of ourselves. Creation is more powerful than destruction. While one unkind word is felt more deeply than a chorus of praise, in the end good always wins. The solution to destruction is creation. The solution to hate is never more hate. That’s not what justice is.

We live in an unfair world. Life is unkind. That’s how it has been since the beginning of time, and how it will always be. There’s good and bad; joy and pain, and sometimes we cause these hardships ourselves by oppressing each other or by allowing others to grow powerful enough to become an entity that oppresses us all. 

We don’t set the wrongs right by hurting each other. We set them right by pioneering new ways to make the world a better place, and standing strong in the truth. Justice is about holding people accountable who are directly responsible for committing crimes. It’s not about acts of terrorism to coerce change through hurting innocent people. It is not about changing the definition of “innocent” until it excuses targeting people who have legally committed no crimes. Somewhere along the way, society decided that terrorism is OK and hate is OK, if we agree with the cause. Once we allow mobs to decide what the law means, we have no protection from destruction of ideas, property, and lives.

Terrorism is never legal, even if the cause is (supposedly) just. Terrorism is always criminal. People innocent of a criminal act are always legally innocent, and cannot legally be judged guilty for wrong thoughts, wrong associations, wrong beliefs, or having been born in the wrong type of body. A society that sanctions lawlessness destroys itself, as there is no protection for anyone- especially the vulnerable who are then twice victimized.

I was afraid for a while. I feared that they’d come after me again at any moment. But I’ve discovered that I’m not only a survivor of life’s hardships, but a fighter. I put my painting of baby Jesus back on my site, and I continued to paint more art featuring Jesus.

When we live unafraid, we don’t give in to terrorists. We continue to share organically, without self-censorship. We openly express love through the generosity of our creations. Stay strong. Humanity needs each and every one of you. Create loving words. Be that light in the darkness. The difference you make is incalculable. Don’t let hate intimidate you. Love is always stronger than hate- always.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Take my Hand

Watch oil painting “City of Savannah” (city near me) come to life in 2 minutes, time lapse I shared this painting here on the blog

Read More »

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 »