wall art update

wall art update

I’ve been making a lot of watercolor paintings this summer, and I’m kinda running out of space to keep them!
I’ve been taping them on the walls with washi tape and rotating them out every so often. Here’s my latest update.
I made the four in the middle. The left one is an ink print I made in watercolor class this spring. It’s of a forest – reminds me of home.
Next to that is a quote that Paul says all the time, “That’s life. Right there.”
Then the next two are my paintings. One is of leaves/foliage, and the other is abstract circles (they look like planets to me) that I painted with the same color scheme.
Very slowly, I’ve been trying to switch out my boring mass-produced “art” and replace it with something that has more of a personal connection to me/us. It’s difficult, especially if it’s something I’ve made, because my tendency is to look for flaws, but I’m learning to look at my artwork as a whole, appreciate the process, and the uniqueness of each thing I create.

how to believe in God

there have been various times in my life where I’ve doubted God. I doubted the existence of God, but more often, I doubted that he saw me or cared or that he would intervene in my life and actually ACT.  I doubted there was any connection between us. Yes, he may exist, but it didn’t affect me.

when things did happen, where I did have thoughts that perhaps “that was God,” I would (and yes, still do) look for ways the event in my life could be explained by anything other than God.  coincidence. hallucination. inaccurate memories. luck. or – my favorite – I give credit to my own self and my own brain. I experience “blessings,” and I want to tell myself, “I earned that. I deserve it.”

And I feel, for a variable amount of time, that I do deserve it. Until something else in my life occurs, and I realize how much I come up short. That consistent visitation of fragility, incompetence, imperfection, ugliness of character — those things I don’t want anyone to know about me. But I know them, and I’m reminded of them often.

So, I get to believe I am indestructible for a short time — but always the truth resurfaces. I am less than.  God is merciful. I am a collection of broken pieces that somehow occasionally work together in harmony by God’s grace.

enough of these instances occur, and I feel a faith emerging. my subconscious is aware of a Divine Presence. I’m driving fast down a steep windy road in the dark, thick snow falling, and my car slides out of control for several seconds, my hands are turning the wheel the opposite direction and I can feel that it doesn’t matter, there is no traction, I’m sliding, sliding, towards the ledge, sliding, my heart is gasping for divine intervention, I feel suspended in space, helpless, time is racing and yet stopped. for this tiny moment, my entire being is 100% convinced of God, I am offering myself to him helplessly, beggingly, I fall into instant submission. and faith.

I am never more alive than in moments like this. I experience the frailty of life.

the moment passes. the wheels finally engage. I swerve back just in time. I scold myself for driving too fast. I swear to myself I will never do such a thing again, I will take measures to prevent this. I will control this. I’m not sure what was more frightening. the closeness of losing my life, or my automatic submission to God.

this involuntary, immediate, and undivided submission to God.  a total mind, body, heart surrender.  that’s what I experienced.

every knee will bow and every tongue will give praise to God. It’s interesting that verse is written in both the new and old testament. romans 14:11 & isaiah 45:23.  I believe what I experienced on the road that night was a glimpse of this. my knee will bow whether or not I believe right now or not.

but what if, I still have doubts now. what if I want to believe, but I can’t bring myself to that complete submission?  that’s what I’m trying to figure out now, still.  how does one attain faith? is faith a blessing in itself? does God distribute it, or do we have to muster it?

I don’t know. the mustering approach hasn’t worked for me in the past. if God distributes it, I believe we can ask for it, and he will give it to us. I must want to want to have faith. ask God for the desire to have faith and then pray that God will give it.

I will include this to, as it’s the only verse I know on the subject of attaining faith:

“so then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” romans 10:17

 

4th anniversary

4th anniversary

it’s our 4th anniversary

four years of hanging out with you

six, if you count the two

before we said, “I do.”

it’s a mystery to me

the two of us,

so different from each other

when we met, and yet

now we are one entity

seamlessly synchronized

although changing, no doubt

fluidly

in subtle ways

becoming more ourselves

an identity articulated

refined and fine-tuned.

I am more myself now

becoming more of her each day

and each new piece has dearer affections

for you.

small things

Small things can make a big difference. 

Lately, Paul has been expressing very passionate opinions about the environment and being more eco-friendly. Admittedly, I was getting annoyed with it at first. We’d go grocery shopping and I’d reach for the peanut butter we always used to buy, and then he says, “But, it’s in plastic.” Seriously?! We’re not going to buy something because it’s in plastic? This was a tiff. 

We already bring our own reusable bags to the grocery store. California charges 10 cents per plastic bag if you don’t bring your own, so that’s a little extra motivation. We are already vegetarians — that has huge environmental impact. Aren’t we doing good enough?

Yes, I think we are…but I married an idealist — a more extreme idealist than myself even — so part of loving each other is taking an interest in each other’s ideas and passions. So I let him talk to me about it a little more. Paul’s always been interested in protecting the environment, but he expressed how when he became a Christian, for some reason he suppressed that passion. Why would he do this? We’re not sure. Probably because most of the Christian circles we were in didn’t place much value in it. We’ll all going to heaven, right? 

But God has since convicted him (and me) that protecting the environment is a godly value, not just a “liberal” one. We should protect it, not out of the belief that “this is all there is,” but out of the belief that this is God’s divine Creation. This Earth is his handiwork which he gave us to care for and enjoy. 

Part of the reason I didn’t want to talk about it, was that it’s just so downright depressing. Who wants to sit around and talk about how we are burying our oceans in plastic, or the GM genocide, or the connection between phthalates & the rise in autism. While Paul could talk about it for hours and get fired up, I just get sad and hopeless feeling. 

I’d rather think of simple, small, daily changes that can make a difference and start doing them. I’d rather focus on positive stuff than dwell on the hopelessness of it.  

I came across a great quote recently about how we spend our money…it rings true across a lot of areas of life…

What do I want my ideal world to look like? Am I casting my vote for it? Am I putting my money on it?

My weakness lately has been Target. Buying stuff from Target out of convenience, even though they’re not my ideal purchases. Do I want the future world to include more Targets and less small family-owned businesses? This is the question I need to ask myself. 

Here’s some other “small things” that I’d like to change:

1. Only use recycled/repurposed/re-used wrapping paper when gifting.

2. Buy items in glass as much as possible, as apposed to plastic.

3. Re-use the said glass when the product is finished. (Ex. jars = drinking glasses, salad dressing container = flower vase)

4. When decorating my home, use vintage or used items. 

5. Clothing (this is the hardest one for me): shop thrift stores &/or vintage as much as possible. I currently don’t do this, but I’m trying to make this a new goal. 

6. Gifts: buy vintage or give handmade, thoughtful gifts. I recently went to a baby shower, and one gift was a collection of vintage baby books. They were beautiful and charming, and would make great decor, as well as, great reading material! Goal: step out and be different – buy vintage or eco-friendly gifts. 

7. Think before I drive. Carpool if possible. Bike or walk to work. 

8. Stop using those plastic bags for produce at the grocery store. Use re-usable mesh bags instead. That super thin plastic is the absolute worst for the environment, because when plastic is recycled, it can only degrade in quality (thick plastic recycles into thin plastic). 

9. Buy local produce. We recently bought some apples from Chile at Trader Joes. Not only were they gross, just think of all the transportation waste it took to get those apples to Pasadena, CA. Dumb. 

That’s a good list for now. A lot of these seem like small changes, but in actuality they feel pretty big when trying to do it. I’m no where near mastering these, but here’s to being positive and giving it a go. :)

stupid things meat-eaters say

Image

I found a great forum of stupid things meat-eaters say, and thought I would start a collection here of my favorites that I or others have heard someone say to a vegetarian or vegan.

“You’re vegetarian? Oh, so you don’t eat protein?”

“When cows fart, it gives off CO2, and it’s bad for the ozone — that’s why we have to eat them.”

“If we didn’t eat cows, they’d go extinct! They’re only here because we eat them.”

“Oh, so you’re a vegetarian. Do you eat chicken?”

“Do you ever cheat, and sneak a piece of meat when no one is looking?”

“I just try not to think about where my meat comes from.”   

“We’re raising money to buy meat animals for poor people in Africa.”  ME: “Can they not grow things there?”  “Most people don’t have land or irrigation to grow plants there.” …

“I’d be a vegetarian, but my husband loves meat too much.”

“God gave us animals so we could eat them.”

“We should all respect animals and life, but life will end for all living things. The process of human life requires the consuming of other life.”

“You can just pick the chicken bits off of it.”

When eating a vegan chili I made.. “Wow, this chili is really good! What kind of meat did you use? ME: “Oh, there’s no meat in it — it’s tofu.”   “Oh, can I have a meat version?”

 

LMAO!  No offense, of course..it’s all in good fun!  To be continued…

 

my ‘lil garden

garden

 

I’m so proud of my little front porch garden! All of these have survived 1 month or more here. I have no clue what I’m doing, but some of the flowers have started blooming, so I think that means they’re happy!

I’ve got parsley, salad greens, and then some flowers I don’t know the name of, and then of course, my trusty succulent. They’re like my little pets…love ’em! :)