backlogs on a “full” year

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I never intended a year of silence at least in this space.

My word for 2014 was “full.”   Who even knows what that means until you live the year and reflect on its happenings.  Confidently I can say it was FULL indeed.

I started the year off with some goals, it seemed to be a transition year from full time stay at home mom to whatever God held next.  One of my goals was simply to contribute to our family’s financial picture.  I threw $10,000 out there as a optimistic goal.  But opportunities began to present themselves.

In January, I took on a long-term substitute teaching position at our local high school teaching art (imagine that!)  The first weekend I broke my arm and I learned two things.  First being, I love teaching.  I forgot how much fun it is to be in the classroom.  Second, I could do it with one arm… It was a schedule that worked for our family.

During the lenten season,  I took on another goal/challenge.  I decided to fast using the daniel plan, eating vegan diet for 40 days.  Three specific prayers grew deep in my heart.  One of these prayers was for “what’s next.”   In a small town there are few options to grow professionally, what are the chances there would be something here for me? How could our family “get ahead” and be faithful to where God has placed us?  At the end of lent, the three prayers were still unanswered.  Depressed that I gave up all my “comforts” for silence, I continued to wait for the answers.   Fasting isn’t so much about giving up for getting as it is intentionally withholding and waiting.

During the summer, I was honored to be asked to serve on a committee to interview a new principal and teacher for our local elementary.  After viewing dozens of cover letters and resumes, one thing came to mind… I am never going back into teaching.  It seemed that taking 10 years off was too much.  Look what all these other people have accomplished while I was home raising babies and playing in the mud.

But there’s one thing about comparison, it usually works against us instead of for us.  When God begins a prayer in your heart, be prepared for an answers that defies odds.

Ten days before the beginning of the school year I got a text from middle school principal, saying the current art teacher left, am I interested in applying.   YES. I am amazed to have an opportunity to teach and dive deeper into the community here.  Saying yes, is daunting and life changing.

After reflecting,  I remember my first teaching experience,  the “call” was very similar.  In the small town of Wilmore, there were few jobs around.  Two days before the start of the school year a principal from LCA called because they happened to hear I had an art teaching degree.

How amazing that I have gotten not ONE but TWO personal calls to teach.  I am still in the adjusting and overwhelmed stage but I trust that God calls us to use our giftings and our yeses to FILL our lives.  He doesn’t open doors to see us fail or struggle but to follow after him and grow us it deep ways.

 

 

 


some”bunny”

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We saw this little guy around all winter.  He has a whole slew of friends, bunnies, birds and deer.  I couldn’t keep from carving such a cute model onto a little print block.  The snow has since melted, I will miss seeing the little tracks, but now I can capture him on some of my new art work…

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same thing

loft stripe katharine morling

Living in a small town surrounded by woods, I would never call myself a fashionista…   Not that people don’t care about how they look, heels just aren’t practical on dirt roads.  I didn’t grow up here, so somewhere deep down there’s a little part of me that still likes clothes and dressing up. This desire just usually gives way to chaco sandals and yoga pants…   I am super thankful my whole life isn’t dictated by style and my budget is super thankful too.  Yet every-once in a while I get sucked in and this is how my brain thinks…

a conversation with my husband.
me:  “I really like this blouse” (looking at sites online – of course)
a:    “yeah, that’s cool” (not really paying attention)
me: “It looks like this ceramic artist’s work that I have been spotting on pinterest. ”    
         (now looking on pinterest for said picture)
a:  (looking over trying to catch up and connect what I just said to the photos now in front of him.)
       “I don’t think I could ever buy you clothes.” 
 
What?  Can’t you see they’re the same thing!
 
So I have no idea when I will wear it or where to but
 
I bought it for myself… and a new pair of heels.

walking with warhol

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Whew… I just finished 13 weeks teaching for our local art teacher who was on maternity leave.  Truthfully it was a divine appointment.  I needed a season of waking up – GETTING DRESSED – getting out the door – TEACHING – meeting new people – INTERACTING.  I loved it, it was like riding a bike, being back in the classroom.  I accomplished nothing of my own artwork except “examples” but sometimes you just need a season to break away and heal (literally, I also broke my arm the first week.)

I got to make my own lesson plans at the highschool which was a fun creative jog for me.  I pretty much had free reign… except the perimeter to stay in POP art.  This project was based off of Andy Warhol’s artwork – I wanted to steer clear of multicolored portraits and soup cans.  After putting a slideshow together of his work,  I realized that he began his career making shoe illustrations and ended it with these wild designer camouflage prints.  We decided to combine the two for this acrylic painting project.  Shoes are so personal and tell so much about a person – It really did help me to get to know the students better.  They also used design-seeds (I love this site)  to pick color schemes and learned to mix paint to match.  These are all students work,  they did such a great job!

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thin mint ice cream…

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It’s been a while since I posted an ice cream recipe… but its Girl Scout cookie season.  We have a ridiculous amount of cookies around the house.  Apparently I did NOT plan this well, as I had challenged myself with the daniel fast (vegan) at the beginning of the lenten season.  So no meat, dairy, caffeine, bread with yeast, sugar… chocolate…  ice cream… girl scout cookies.  I gave in and took a bite – it was like manna.

2 cups whipping cream

1 cup vanilla almond milk

1 egg, beaten

2/3 cup sugar

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

6 precious GS thin mint cookies, crushed

Whip the eggs and sugar together, add the cocoa powder, blending well.  Whisk in the cream, milk and extract.  Pour into an ice cream machine and freeze according to directions.  Mine takes about 20 minutes.  Add the chopped/crushed cookies the last 3 minutes of mixing.  Transfer to freezer safe container.


sweet stuff

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I went back to junior high this winter… and high school.   I am having a blast teaching art again.  I think anytime you get a eight year break off your job, there is a honeymoon stage again.  The highschoolers are doing a series of POP Artists, so we started with Wayne Thiebaud, he is most famous for his paintings of bakery cupcakes, pastries, and pies.

I started the unit off by bringing in giant donuts, for them to sketch.  There is a shop by us that sells awesome 7-8 inch donuts for $2 each.    The students drew contour and gestural sketches.  And of course we ate the evidence.  They were a big hit!

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broken

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I feel like I haven’t been very present on here this winter…  I have had my hands tied – literally!

I have two little girl scouts and we went to an ice skating event.   Now just to set the record – I am a decent/really good skater.  I am stunned that I  fell to begin with and heaping on my bruised pride, broke a bone.  How humbling to  “fail” at something you are good at.   Normally I would rest at home and heal but I had previously committed to a long term substitute teaching assignment for 12 weeks, and a baby was coming.  I remember thinking “Great, I knew I could teach, but now I have to do it with one arm behind my back.”

That first week my husband also left for Chicago for the week, and it snowed everyday…  were talking bitter cold -20, foot of snow on the ground.  Now someone said to me “I hope you broke it in the least possible way,”  which I truly believe was the case.

I haven’t been able to do any of my normal activities, swimming, skiing, cooking, pottery, but I can still teach!  I am thankful for an activity that keeps me from going stir crazy and uses my gifts. The kids have been super great at school and it helps me emphasize with a number of them that are “broken” as well.  It has been a huge blessing to see friends come forward to help in the smallest of ways – although coming over at 7AM to braid my girls hair for school  is a BIG deal!

( The photo above is the x-ray my daughter made for me). I  am in complete awe of how quickly the body heals.  It has now been about 5 weeks, and I have resumed using my arm.  It is not 100% back but it is so close.

 


two tangles

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I have been working on some zentangles.

A zentangle is a miniature abstract work of art.  It is created from a collection of patterns not meant to represent anything.  I think everything is supposed to represent something, unless someone is upset with me, in-which I reserve the right to say I didn’t mean anything…  They are designed to be made into tiles, each is a surprise that unfolds before the creator’s eyes, one stroke at a time.  The process teaches us to be comfortable letting our instincts be in control, so it does not matter what you add next.

So, I kind of took the “zen” out of it drawing recognizable images.  But this is what my first two looked like…  The one on the left is representative of my haunted shower.

And the right I was reading Matthew 13, can you spot all the parables about “The kingdom of Heaven?”  The sower, the weeds, the mustard seed, the yeast, the hidden treasure, the pearl, the net of fish and the owner of the house.


for the birds

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One thing about our new house is we live in the trees.  I put up three feeders for the birds.  They have picked out all the seed and basically only the corn remains,  it took only a few days.    I am in love with watching them.  I left my camera on the table and a few hours later there were 200 pictures, between the four of us.   Woodpeckers, cardinals and bossy blue jays.  I still can’t figure out what the brown one is below.   I totally get it now, people and their obsessions with feeders, it is so calming, they are the best.  I expect to see them flying into my artwork…

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raising strong girls and the tooth fairy

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My daughter, age 7,  lost a tooth this week.  We are not particularly organized nor faithful about the “tooth fairy.”  Yet she is particularly motivated to earn money to buy her own mini ipad… So she promptly washed her tooth off, put it in a baggie and wrote a note.  “Can I have $20, please.”

I chuckled, “You think that the tooth fairy is going to give you twenty dollars… for a little tooth… that you have barely been faithful about brushing…”  I kind of couldn’t believe her note, although the “please” was nice.

How bold and courageous a child’ s request can be.  I was quick to dismiss her demand but then took pause, who am I to squelch the dreams of a child.  While it is not my responsibility to give her everything she wants or asks for,  it is my joy to give her what she needs.  It is also my intention to train her to be a strong young girl, who is full of faith and serves a BIG God.  It is HE who gives us good gifts, not to pacify our selfish desires but to benefit others and advance kingdom work.  It is also He who encourages us to ask in HIS name.

Somewhere between childhood and adulthood we lose our courage, we have heard “NO”  so many times that we don’t bother to ask anymore, dream anymore, or pray BIG anymore.   We learn to be content with the broken way of life, making God small,  living half of what he has planned.

I want to teach her that we serve a BIG God, who does BIG things, who makes a BIG difference.   If I truly believe that, do I live it?   Have I lost the courage to ask for BIG things from God?  Do I ask for only what seems reasonable, or safe or do I  trust the sovereign God to meet our needs and be our provider.

So if you are wondering, no she didn’t receive $20, and she was quite disappointed, but we ended up having a great conversation and a brainstorming session on how to earn some extra cash.  For my not particularly clean child, this could be a win win.

 


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