How I Maintain My Art Journaling Practice {A Free Sample Gift-Video}

In celebration and anticipation of the upcoming class {where I am a featured artist} "Reflections : Painting Your Story", I wanted to share a FREE video with you, right here on the blog...I want you to have a small idea of my teaching style - which, I am sure, will be different from the other art teachers
in the course.

There will be such a sweet and rich diversity of gifts and teachers and techniques taught - worthy, in my mind, of celebrating.

On another note, we had a sweet, sweet Christmas here at Celidgh Cottage (it isn't only the big lofty estates that have names...we named our little house years ago.  "Celidgh" is Gaelic/Scottish for a gathering that includes great food, live music, and story telling...something that goes on here with great regularity, even with our so-called "empty nest".)

This Christmas, our youngest son, a Marine, was able to come home.  Every single grown child was with us...their spouses...their children...all four g-babies were under one roof, breaking bread (literally) at the same table for the first time.  I wasn't a bit mad about that.

There wasn't a moment of any tense or unpleasant anything...there was a heck of a lot of laughter and love.  I was living a dream I had not earned and did not deserve.  Grace did in our family what the law could  I'm always sorry for Christians who think grace can be much they miss.

I trust your Christmas was blessed.  And guess what?  It isn't over.  According to the church calendar, we celebrate until Epiphany.  I'm so down with that.

 Included here, in this free video sample (heck...I don't even ask for your email address in exchange - which makes me a trusted friend but a VERY bad marketer) are some thoughts I've been pondering this Christmas season, and I hope they are game changers for you, as much as they were for me.

The things I share with you in this art journaling video?  They rocked my world this holiday.  In all the best ways.  Enjoy.

{and head over to the link included at the top of this post to sign up for the class!}

Another {free} Online Class

In January of this year, I was asked to be a featured presenter in Jeanne Oliver Design's free online class "Becoming - The Unfolding of You". (which you can actually still join  - your membership to any of Jeanne's classes, paid or free, is lifetime membership, for as long as Jeanne Oliver Designs owns that creative community.)

 Y'all, we ended up with over six thousand in that class.  It was an incredible time, a blessing for everyone...and I am still getting emails about my part of that class.  True story.  I have cried more over some of your emails than I have over anything else in a long while.  Y'all blessed me and rocked my socks off with your feedback.

So I am over-the-moon to tell you that I'll be presenting once again, in another (FREE) class for 2016, entitled "Listening - Finding the Quiet".   And we are already sitting at well over a thousand participants, and class hasn't even started!  (This class launches January 1st, 2016)

For me, as a presenter, the best part of last year's "Becoming" class was getting to know a couple of last year's presenters (like my friend Honey Holden) and also getting to know so many of you.  I developed relationships with some of you that we are still enjoying and nurturing, to varying degrees, even now.

Yes.  I am delighted to get to pour out yet again, for this next free class.  Honestly, I prepared for hours for what some artists (no one I know) might consider a small's true - since the class is free, some artists would just toss something together, and present it only for the exposure it gives them.  I truly believe my friend Jeanne Oliver searches for artists who will contribute substantially, no matter what, as a matter of principle, and she finds them.

Or they find her.  

This class will be a life changer.  Don't let the price of admission (free) fool you.  Yes, some artists, in other venues, might not take presenting in a free class seriously.  They might throw something together.

Not me, man.  I have a tender, overly-productive conscience....especially when it comes to presenting Scripture and sharing spiritual things.  I prepare.  And I prepared for my part of this class as I would any other speaking engagement I do.  I also believe every other presenter in this upcoming class has the same ministry/work ethic.

Here is the trailer for "Listening - Finding the Quiet"

And here are your detailed (easy, free) sign up instructions:

Instructions to join class:

To join this free study you just need to be registered at (registering is free).
Once you are on the site you will find this study, free videos (business and art), my Creativity Takes Courage series and new online courses along the left hand side of the page.
You will find all of our courses/videos under the COURSES heading.
To register for Listening | Finding the Quiet
1) Go to COURSES along the left hand side of the page
2) Go to the bottom of the course and click “view all” to find Listening | Finding the Quiet
4) Click on Listening | Finding the Quiet
3) Click the +join button on the upper right hand side
4) All of the details are on the page and you are all set for the study to begin on January 1, 2016

Make sure you take just a couple of minutes, and sign up today!  Can't wait to see you there!

The Choice to Cheer Up

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;
or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;
he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
 (Romans 12:6-8)

Yes, the gifts differ. Some of us teach, some of us administrate (lead, by taking care of details), some of us finance the work, some of us speak a "now" word from the Lord.

But the cheerfulness part isn't a gift - the cheerfulness part is a choice.

Here's what I've learned for sure: if you are the sort of person who can lift the atmosphere in a room, who can cheer others up and put a smile on their face, everyone who is of a negative bent unconsciously believes you are operating in some special magic they do not possess.

They believe this special "magic" you operate in must be inexhaustible...because they think it is your "gift".  No one ever stops to think that you could actually be used (and used up) by their perpetual need for your sense of humor and sunny outlook.  After all, gifts come pretty naturally.

That is like saying honesty is a gift. No. Honesty is a choice. It is a quality of character.

Our cheerful ones are at risk, friends. Not only do others believe the cheerful woman's good humor is her "gift", others also secretly sniff condescendingly at her joy.  It is a strange, convoluted tension between two extremes - negative people will privately scoff at the cheerful ones, while at the same time feeling jealous of them, while at the same time using them like a drug.

Now. In a departure from the usual, I am going to get down and dirty.

When you get all the way down to the heart of the issue, there is an unwillingness on the part of the woman who wallows in her "stuff" - an unwillingness to make the same hard choices the joyous ones have made. By default, this is a choice no different than choosing to tell a lie, or choosing to overeat, or choosing to gossip.  The woman swallowed up by her circumstances chooses not to be cheerful. The negative woman chooses to resort to her quiet drama as a means to get her needs met...and wonders why she must fake her joy, why she can't shake her despondency, or can't get out of bed.

So what does she do? She calls a Joyous One (or texts her). Every time. In fact, the Joyous One might even be on speed dial. Or live nearby. The Joyous One is asked to come over, to give her a hug, to pray for her, even to help her do life...the Joyous One is expected to listen to the latest rendition of her problems (as though the Joyous One has none of her own) and never a thought is given to the fact that a few months or years of this will put the joyous ones at risk.

Do not ask me how I know, because I just might tell you.

I read a prayer of St. Augustine the other day, and one line grabbed me in a headlock, demanding my thoughtful consideration:

"Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ,
Rest your weary ones,
Bless your dying ones,
Soothe your suffering ones,
Pity your afflicted ones,
Shield your joyous ones,
And all for your love's sake. Amen."

I get the prayers for the sick, weary, dying, suffering and afflicted...but the joyous?

You had better believe it. They need divine protection. They can have the very life drained out of them, and then the perpetually needy will leave them in search of fresh cheery-blood.

The way I see it, this problem is solved if we each one take responsibility for our own happiness, seek the Lord diligently, and seek to increase the joy of others instead of ourselves, at all times, in all ways, at all costs. The problem is solved if we each one access the Great Grace of God. (But first you have to have a revelation of it...and that is a different post altogether.) These things are part-and-parcel of life in the body of Christ, and is part of the idea behind the words of Paul in Galatians 6, "For each one shall bear his own load."

Rejoice evermore, church.

Rejoice evermore. REJOICE evermore. Rejoice EVERMORE.

And in the meantime, we say "Yes, Lord...shield your joyous ones..."