Sunday, October 30, 2005

Illustration Friday: Broken

Beauty from Brokenness
No matter how big of a mess I might make of my life, there is One who is faithful to pick up the pieces and make something beautiful from my brokenness.
"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18
"...he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the LORD has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory."
Isaiah 61:3 (New Living Translation)
This is dedicated to my dear friend N, who knows a thing or two about brokenness and the beauty that can come of it when we give Him the pieces.
Illustration is done in Painter 9

Friday, October 28, 2005

Illustration Friday: Remote

How can this remote place feel so much like home...??

That's the question I asked myself over and over again as I toured Israel last year. It was a wonderful journey in so many ways, but one of the most striking impressions that I still can't adequately describe is how it felt like a homecoming for me from the moment I stepped foot there, even though I had never been there before in my life. I can't begin to tell the story of my 11 day trip here, it would take an entire blog to do that - but I can say that the diverse beauty and awesome spirit of the Holy Land is in my heart and soul forever - remote no more.

(I tried to upload some photos from my trip, but Blogger would not cooperate - I'll try in a future post)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Illustration Friday: Cold

Well, another Illustration Friday theme is upon us - this week it's "Cold". I had to think about this one for a while, and I decided I really wanted to find a "cold" quote to help me out. So I turned to ThinkExist, my trusty quote-finder. I immediately loved this anonymous quote for its simplicity and its truth. "To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold." (click the image to see a larger version) I can really relate to this quote, because I am an ardent snowflake fan. Having grown up in Texas, my exposure to snowflakes was limited to picture books and the very rare once-every-20-year dusting that we would get. I also saw snow here and there on vacation , but not very often. So, when we moved to Colorado almost 8 years ago, I quickly made up for a lot of lost snow days. It snowed a foot on March 18, 1998, the day after we arrived. Our sweet neighbors (also Texas transplants) introduced us to the snow shovel, which of course we had never seen. Despite the jolting effect of that much snow at one time, in March no less, I was instantly hooked. I loved to watch it snow - and it still thrills me to this day.
As I went through several seasons here, I began to learn about types of snow. The snow that fell in the mid-winter season (December - February) was typically a dry, fluffy snow (not particularly good for making snowmen), and the spring snow season (March - May) brought the heavy, wet snow. It is the dry snow that is now my favorite because quite often you can see individual snowflakes falling, verses clumps of snowflakes. During such a snowfall, I will stand out on my back porch wearing a long-sleeved dark shirt and watch, for as long as I can stand the cold, the magnificent little works of art land softly on my sleeve. They are so incredibly delicate, etched with such detail and perfection. They last just long enough for me to delight at their artistry, then my body temperature gets the best of them and they're gone. This snowflake-watching ritual turns me into a giddy kid every time!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Becky's Big Day Off!

I had a rare and wonderful day today (Friday)...I had a day off from work! No real reason, other than I just really needed it. So, I set out to have my kind of day. I did a couple of days worth of the current Beth Moore Bible study we're working on (the Patriarchs). Then, I gravitated to the computer (I can't help myself) - saw that the Illustration Friday topic for this week is "Cold" - nothing came immediately to mind, so I shelved it for the moment. After I showered and got dressed, I took my camera to Lake Loveland, just a few blocks from my house. The recent snows in Denver coated the mountain tops with white, and the great fall foliage made a nice frame for the shot. I just love it that I can take my little van, drive for 3 minutes and see this...

Next I headed off to my favorite breakfast (or lunch,or dinner) spot, Mimi's Cafe. Without hesitation I can say that that was one of the finest breakfasts I've ever had - everything was perfect! I had the "Pain Perdu", which is petite french toast stuffed with cream cheese and orange marmalade - yum! The coffee was piping hot, the orange juice was freshly squeezed, the bacon was crisp and delicious. Fresh flowers, linen napkins - beautiful! What a treat!

After breakfast, I headed across the parking lot to do a little "market research" - in other words, I went shopping. But seriously, I was trying to get a feel for the dominant color palette for the season. I wandred over to Pier 1 first. I haven't been in a Pier 1 store in years, but I've always loved it. It was a riot of colors, textures and aromas, just like I remembered - only better now. I really liked these candle holders, fun accessories, great pillows, and beautiful Li Bien ornaments (hand-painted from the inside of the glass ornament - wow). I really love the colors that are prominent this year - teal, loden green, paprika, goldenrod, nutmeg, dk. plum, all shades of pink, mocha, espresso, black and white - gorgeous! These colors are everywhere. Same story when I went next door to Target. I was definitely inspired by all the color!

After Target, I headed to a flea market that I haven't been to for a couple of years now. It's a fun old place that looks kinda like a fort...

I perused the shelves there for about an hour, enjoying all the fun junk, and thinking to myself that there's not one thing in all the world that I need. But, one shy little bunny called my name, and I had to bring her home...I know, I'm hopelessly addicted...

I couldn't resist her little ribbon rosebuds and sweet face. She's now happily occupying a spot just to the left of my monitor. I know...I know...get help!

On the way home, I stopped to pick up our dry cleaning, and the clerk had it waiting for me by the time I walked into the door - she said she knows my face and name now, so when she saw me get out of the car she grabbed our stuff. It's amazing to get good customer service these days - made me smile all the way home.

Once I got the mail and pet the dog, I headed back out once more to go to Hobby Lobby to see what's new there. It's such a kaleidoscope in that store - it's hard to see for all the stuff. But I enjoy it - and I particularly love their sales. Check out the ministry projects they're involved in as a corporation - very cool! Then, on to Blockbuster to pick up a couple of DVDs for the weekend...

Once I arrived back home, hubby was home from work and was in the mood for Outback for dinner - so off we went. It was really nice, not too crowded for a Friday evening, and everything was delicious. We drove home under the constant shower of falling leaves and a view of the sun sinking low over the mountains. Magical!

So, after watching a little Friday night TV (league championship baseball and Hope & Faith), we decided we were too tired to watch a movie, so I headed upstairs to download the day's photos from the camera and draw a couple of pictures for this rather lengthy, rambling post about my day. It's soooo nice to be able to have the time again to blog more than once a week - I hope I can keep it up....

All in all, it was a pretty perfect day by Becky standards. Thanks for letting me share it with you...

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

New Links for You!

This and other free e-cards can be found at HUGS Online

Just wanted to let you know that I've been cleaning up my links a bit, and I've added several new favorites that I thought you might like to know about. They are listed here as well as in the sidebar under "Favorite Things:
  • Bible Gateway: An awesome online Bible resource that I use for all my online scripture references. For something fun, you can click the sound icon at the bottom a reference and listen to the chapter being read by the most gorgeous British voice with lovely background music.
  • Dayspring e-cards: Really beautiful animated (and free) e-cards for every imaginable occasion - or for no occasion at all.
  • Heartlight: These guys have been around forever in internet years. They have a wonderful, wide and deep assortment of inspirational resources including but not limited to devotionals, study tools, inspirational articles, e-cards, wallpapers, and great online shopping.
  • HUGS Online: A humble but growing selection of free inspirational e-cards that you can customize. I've done the photograpy and graphic design for most of these - and I hope to add Flash e-cards soon. (by the way, HUGS stands for Hearts United in Grace and Spirit)
  • Annie's Homepage: I've been surfing through Annie's MANY sweet pages for years now. She's one of the best collectors of inspirational information and cutesy graphics I've ever seen. She is big into holidays, and her Holiday Page is a jump off point to information on every conceivable holiday - as just one example of the kind of goodies she provides.
  • Women's Ministry Network: This is a great one-stop shop for all things women's ministry. Check out the extensive library of women's ministry ideas at the Idea Bank. Lots of good stuff if you are involved in any kind of women's ministry.

I'll continue to strive to bring you fun, inspirational, and informative links as I find them. Thanks for stoping by - I hope you find these useful!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Illustration Friday: Lost

This week's theme for Illustration Friday is "Lost". I thought of a lost sheep right away. I actually call this image "Lost and Found". (click the image to see a larger version) Whenever I've found myself lost, wandering and afraid because of the poor choices I've made or because of circumstances beyond my control, I've been blessed time and time again by the tireless pursuit and comforting embrace of the Good Shepherd. He has always come to my rescue, shined His light into my scary circumstances, and loved me unconditionally. Just like the words of the old hymn, Amazing Grace, "I once was lost, but now I'm found...", I too have been found...and I am forever grateful to my Shepherd!

"Like a shepherd, he will care for his flock, gathering the lambs in his arms, hugging them as he carries them..." Isaiah 40:11 (The Message)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Illustration Friday: Float

This week's theme for Illustration Friday is "Float". I had several ideas ranging from Noah's Ark to a float in a parade, but I settled on a mouse, floating down to the ground using a fall leaf as a parachute. I guess I've been inspired of late by the changing of the season. I love fall - always have. I guess my little friend here is jumping into fall feet first - I think I'll join him!

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree" Emily Bronte

Saturday, October 01, 2005

It's beginning to feel a lot like Fall

Happy Fall Y'all!
The crazy work schedule I've been working (55+hrs. per week) is soon to get back to normal - and I hope to be able to blog more than once a week. In fact, I hope to be able to get back to a lot of the things I've been missing during the past 6 weeks:
  • Early morning bike rides to see the sunrise
  • Working out at Curves
  • Quiet time
  • Coffee on the deck
  • Visits with my friends
  • Drawing, drawing, drawing
  • Taking photos
  • Not eating fast food
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Sitting at the computer for fun instead of for work
Here are a few Colorado Fall photos (from seasons past) to start getting us (me) in the Autumn mood. I know it's still hot in lots of places, but maybe this will help us feel a little Fall, no matter the temperature...
My backyard Aspen tree...

Old fence near Meeker Peak...

Some kind of reddish leaves...

Golden hillside...