Christmas 2014, You = God's Work of Art!
Splendor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
~ Psalm 96:6
Christmas 2014-All the beautiful beach pictures taken by Kerin's sister, Katy Bloom!
You are God’s work of art!
The theme that emerged for this year’s Christmas update, was the idea that our lives are God’s work of art. :) And in keeping with that theme, before reading my thoughts on that idea, I hope you take a moment to enjoy our oldest granddaughter’s artistic design she made for our Christmas card this year! Abbi really is quite artistic and creative. She loves to draw, decorate, style hair, create fancy dresses out of my old clothes, etc. So when I saw a recent drawing, I asked her if she would design something similar for our Christmas card this year. I hope you enjoy it! She actually has an Etsy site, where she sells some of her designs, feel free to check that out! AbbisCardsnCrafts
Now for a bit of ‘art’ related ponderings…
In September, our extended family spent a week together at the beach. I brought along some art projects for the granddaughters to work on when they were off the beach for a few hours after lunch. They enjoyed working on the different projects, and as it turned out, my two daughters-in-law did also! They both made some nice pieces, pictured below.
The first two are abstract pieces done by placing random dots of acrylic paint on a stretched canvas, then using a finger to blend and spread.
The two in frames are pieces with blended pastel artist chalk, to create a stylistic seascape.
The way these pieces were created reminds me of how God works in our lives…
As the dots or the pastel goes on the canvas, it is not clear what the piece will become. It takes the touch of an artist to skillfully blend and mix and create the finished piece. If you look at the parts, or a small piece of the picture, it’s not very impressive. But when you stand back and look at the finished piece, it is quite beautiful!
I believe that each of us is like a canvas on which God is directing and orchestrating for our good, the experiences of our lives. We must be patient with this master artist as He works on us. We must be yielded as His ‘fingers’ apply and blend the paint. And, I believe, as life goes by, as we step back, we will see the beauty of the big picture He is making, even if the bits of paint and blends don’t make sense to us on a small scale.
Thoughts on gratefulness: an important key to vibrant living is trusting God for the ‘work of art’ He is creating with your life.
What happens to you when you are disappointed or get hurt emotionally, when things don’t go your way, when you don’t understand why life your life is so hard, when things don’t turn out the way you expected, when you encounter a serious trial of some sort, when your life seems to be going nowhere, and when there seems to be no end to the parched desert you are living in?
Our human tendency is to cry injustice and blame something or someone else and try to rescue ourselves, become bitter and depressed and sit around moping, or to blame ourselves and just want to give up.
While it is important to take steps forward in some way, and take the next step God seems to making clear to you, in faith, those steps do not need to be in anger or bitterness. God really is in the process of creating a masterpiece out of our lives, if we let him.
In a given snapshot in time, even a very difficult one, there is much to be grateful for. Survival in life I think depends on us having eyes to see the good, and be grateful. Without gratefulness we can easily become bitter when we get hurt, when we encounter various physical, psychological, emotional, or mental trials or challenges.
1 Peter 5:6-7
“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I hope what follows here doesn’t sound cheesy or cliché, but...I think we must always remember to look for the gemstones in the hard rock. Look for the pearls in the oysters of life! They are there, even now in your current situation. And trust. Trust your loving patient Father in heaven for the finished work of the beautiful painting he is creating with your life! Keep going, keep after Him.
I hope and pray that 2015 is a year you are able to have eyes of gratefulness as you journey on, as you let Him paint and create strength and beauty in your life. As is said, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ May you be blessed in 2015 to be a grateful beholder of the beauty God is making of your life!
FAMILY UPDATE CHRISTMAS 2014
The big girls:
Something special I have been blessed to be a part of this fall, is getting together once a month with my daughter and daughters-in- law for coffee, sharing and prayer. We keep it simple and come prepared with something to share and a prayer request. I am not the leader or teacher, we come together as peers, and I am so blessed by things these women share and what is on their hearts! Although we get together other times as families, as their young families get busier and busier it is hard to have the time to talk about deeper things when we are all together. So these times with just the four of us have been extremely precious to me.
L to R, Linda, Sarah, Christina, Kerin
The first time we met I shared that I had been asked to speak 3 times to a group of about 80 moms at a homeschool co-op, and wasn’t sure as I didn’t feel speaking was a particular area of strength. Should I do it anyhow? Kerin in particular said, “Yes! Do it!” And they all agreed and prayed for me, and that what was I needed to move forward. Such peace I had when I prepared and gave the talk, and it all came together so well, with Bernie doing the tech stuff of the powerpoint and coming with me. I really wasn’t even nervous. And the feedback was very encouraging. Kerin could be a speaker herself with what she shared at the next meeting of the four of us, which was quite inspiring.
Then Christina is always such an encouraging and outgoing person, and so positive about getting together. I am so glad she is in my life! She makes me feel valued and special and an important person in her life, although I am sure she makes lots of people feel that way, that is just her personality! What she shares when we are together as a group always shows the tenderness and yieldedness of her heart towards God, which inspires me! And she never seems to complain, although she has struggles, her focus seems to be choosing gratefulness, which you will see at her blog. www.fullmooninksplots.blogspot.com
She is a talented writer and she and Aaron hope to create children’s books together some day, with her doing the writing and him doing the artwork.
And Sarah always comes to our time with some interesting philosophical question. “Do you think thoughts can exist without a mind to think them?” “If we lived in a world in which there was no time, or if there were a being who existed outside the dimension of time, would the concept of predestination and free-will be, not right or wrong, but meaningless?” She keeps us all thinking outside the boxes and boundaries of our normal thought life!
The little girls: L to R, Evie, Abbi, Hannah, Bethy and Rachel
Taking violin and piano lessons, being a part of “Classical Conversations” homeschool co-op, chores at their farm, church activities and orchestra, and time with family and friends keeps them pretty busy. I enjoy having all five here once a week, they are so creative and imaginative in their play, always in the middle of a story or adventure, whether they are using dress-ups to create elaborate gowns, playing with Duplos, wooden tracks, the Little Tikes castle, playing with the American Girl dolls that are here, enjoying time outside swinging, picnicking or playing at the neighbor’s fort. They are certainly growing up too fast for me!
The big boys: Dan, Aaron, and Josh behind Bernie
Bernie and Josh and Aaron and Dan are all ‘conquering’ and moving forward in their spheres of family, work, and ministry, Bernie with an ever growing and expanding American Heritage outreach tour schedule, Josh with his family, work at HSLDA, free lance work, farmette and leading a parenting class at church. Aaron keeps busy being a great husband and Daddy, as well as with his work helping lead a team of programmers for a firm in Arlington, VA. He leads their small group from time to time and recently lead an advent celebration at their home. Dan continues to keep busy as always with many personal projects, and by assisting Bernie with scripture recitation when he speaks.
The little boys: Peter and Ezra ‘playing’
Both boys are so busy, so social and so advanced in skills it seems. Peter was pulling to standing and crawling already at seven months. His big smile at any face he can get in his gaze is quite adorable. And Ezra, also seems extremely social and extroverted. He continues to be off the growth charts in his size and development. He loves to hear music and also the human voice, and his comprehension of words as well as his spoken vocabulary is very impressive. You can communicate with him and he with you, and he seems to understand just about anything. He will also make an attempt to say anything you ask him to say, Sarah recently was giving him words like, propitiation and predestination....and it was adorable to hear him mutter out a string of syllables in a bold attempt. These two boys will certainly have some grand adventures as they get older and can play together; the seven month difference, being less than a year, will soon make no difference at all in their ability to play and communicate.
Well that’s all for now!
God bless you immeasurably in 2015!
Linda for the Bealls
Daniel, Bernie, Linda, Sarah
Kerin, Peter, Josh
Evie, Abbi, Hannah, Bethy, Rachel
Ezra, Aaron, Christina