New Here At the Cottage {Artfully Blessed}

Funny, how every blessing is right on time. How every blessing comes in its season. My blessings seem to always fit with who I am, really.. Not who I imagine myself to be, but deep down. God equips me for every good work that corresponds to my fundamental identity.

I have limited ability to bless myself. This is an important point. I cannot fancy myself an artist, or an original art lover, and buy my way into the persona. Either something is a fundamental part of my calling and identity, and God equips me, or I try to accumulate the accoutrements of a life I am not actually living. I can't just go out and purchase beautiful original art, or vintage storage, or business supplies. My business pays for additional canvases and paints, so far. That's about it.

For now.

But Abba must see something in His daughter (um, that would be me...'tis fun to refer to oneself indirectly, sometimes) that is nurtured by beauty and message. God is intent, and even intense, about providing me with tools and inspiration.

New, here at the cottage, where we live large in small spaces:

New original art by our son-in-law Jonathan Howe...

Original black and white photography (also by Jonathan Howe...find him at

More original my Preacher's home office. This guitar looks somewhat like his custom Gibson Les Paul. (My preacher is, way more than a preacher. He is a drummer, a guitar player, a singer with a David-like anointing for intimate worship, and is a craftsman who can build almost anything. And fix old cars. He is repairing a daughter's water heater even as I type this...)

More original art...a close up of what hangs in my hallway...because the Preacher and I are rabid backyard bird watchers.

Also new, and original and by J Howe. This one means the most, because this one is my oldest son. My son Josiah is a musician, through and through. He plays in bars and restaurants all over town, and has auditioned for the reality show The Voice. (He is waiting to hear whether or not he made the initial cut...we are so proud of him for auditioning!)

This painting is of him, playing and singing at the Timewarp Tea Room, on his father's first guitar, which is now his. This painting constantly tugs at the tender spot of my heart, as we wait for our son's full return to his father's God. I am beyond blessed to have been given such a gift.

This was my Christmas gift from the Preacher...with cash God gave him, and he used to bless me...a vintage cabinet, with a locking cash drawer! Love the chippy blue paint...the whole thing is the kind of storage I have dreamed of having in my studio, and it was serious love at first sight. The Preacher managed to hide this from me until the week of Christmas!

The top drawer locks, and will be my cash drawer at art shows. For now, it holds all my paper scraps for mixed media.

Second drawer holds jewelry design supplies. The ceramic "leaves" each hold a project designed, but not yet assembled.

Third drawer, packaging and correspondence business supplies...also shopping bags with my logo.

Next drawer, stamp carving tools, inks, large wooden alphabet stamps, and paper punches...

Small frames and small future projects in this drawer...

Miscellaneous past, present, and future project supplies in the very bottom drawer...the things I reach for less than once a week...

On top, fresh flowers, paints, soldering stuff for jewelry design...and six active art read that right. I play in six different journals.

When I remember where I was a year ago, and see where I am today, I am amazed. When I see how much was sheer gift...supernaturally provided...I am overwhelmed.

And filled with a sense of calling and responsibility.

I have not purchased a persona...I can't afford to. I have been divinely equipped with tools and inspiration. I have been invested into. To whom much is given, much is...and will be...required.

In what unique and special way has God equipped you? Because He has. And He is equipping you right now.

Who are you, truly? Who are you, apart from who your friend is, apart from whoever the person you most admire is. You are not that are you. In what way do you bless the world, that is different from anyone else you know?

Good questions. Hard questions. Identity can't be imagined or bought with the swipe of a debit card.

If God is the One who equipped you (versus you blessing yourself...nothing wrong with blessing yourself with fun things, but it will not create your identity. God equips what is His original plan for you...) I promise He has equipped you to succeed!

What an adventure this life is!

Written for you with love...
Sheila Atchley

All blog content is the property of the writer, including all "In the Middle" intellectual and visual art property...

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