May, May Go Away...

The month of May and I are not exactly on friendly terms. Every year, without fail, she over-schedules me. Every year, without fail, my Tourette's flairs up. (Not really...I don't have Tourette's. But I do wish I had an excuse for all the nervous twitching and the involuntary swearing.)

Not really. I don't swear. Much.

Busy is good, I know. An empty schedule equals an empty life, I have said that myself, and I believe it. The more involved you are in people's lives, the more full the days become. So if busy is good, then May should be my time to shine. Just please,Lord, help me get over this head cold.

The Mother's Day weekend was so, so good here at the cottage.
This is me, the night of the Art Walk. I look like I am mugging for my own camera, but really, I was trying to figure out ISO...really.

Bumping the ISO up, but the picture gets grainy...

I quit figuring out ISO, and chose instead to snap a photo of me, rocking the Maxi Dress. Boy howdy, though, do I ever need to get the ISO thing figured out...and looks like I am having a bit of a focus issue.

A snippet of life at the cottage on Mother's Day...Isaac and his girlfriend Emily at the table, and my man making coffee...

Two of my presents - a rose bush from the youngest, and gardening boots from Sarah...

(Hannah gave me books - two on DSLR photography, and one about slipcover making. I feel about forty projects coming on, everything from planting to pictures to parson's chair slipcovers! It is going to be a busy summer.)

If only I could get over this head cold. Sorry. I know I said that once already.

I would be remiss, posting about Mother's Day, without sharing about how I became a mother to begin with...

Isn't this the cutest piece of middle aged hotness you have ever seen? I'd have his babies again tomorrow, if he asked me to.

But he won't. He is loving the season of life we are in, way too much. For that matter, I am too. This was my first Mother's Day as a grandmother, and I gotta say...

...I'm diggin' it.

Now, if I can just get over this head cold...and fast-forward the calendar to June...

Deut. 1:32

"...yet in this thing you did not believe the Lord your God..."

Our relationship with our God is always defined by the "this thing" in our lives. The "now" thing. God said these words to a people who were His unique possession, who knew Him, who had seen His mighty works, and who had won many the past.

Past obedience does not accrue in some imaginary scale, absolving us from present obedience. Faith for the past thing does not accrue, offsetting the urgency of trusting God in the "this thing".

The New Covenant magnifies the sacredness of the Now. "Now" is forever the acceptable time. We can only act into the present moment. Neither guilt regarding the past, nor good intentions regarding the future are of any worth whatsoever.

Believing God in "this thing" is altogether the issue. It is easier than you could ever imagine to believe that God moved on your behalf in years past, but is for obvious reasons less pleased with you today, and therefore less inclined to bless and deliver you.

Obey God in your "this thing". Believe and apply the grace of God in your "this thing". Is there anything too difficult for Him?

Jonathan's Downtown Art Show...and Art In My Living Room

Our son-in-love has an art show downtown this evening, so Tim and I thought it'd be a wonderful night for a stroll on the streets of Knoxville.

Jonathan makes his living full time with his art. If he were not my son by marriage, I would still tell you that his work is better than most. I am quite familiar with many, if not most of the Smoky Mountain based artists, and Jonathan's landscapes excel most of those artists' paintings. And his portraits practically breathe and speak to you. (If you have ever considered having a commissioned portrait done of someone you dearly love, Jonathan is your artist.)

Having an inside view, as I do, of the life of a full time artist, they pour their hearts and souls into the work of their hands, and they have rent to pay and they get an electricity bill each month. Their art pays the bills. I want to enthusiastically encourage you to become a patron of a Christian artist...and why not Jonathan Howe?

This is after the crowd thinned a bit...for awhile, you could not walk easily through this shop...

Jonathan had several portraits of musicians on display. The top painting, up there, is actually of my son Josiah, playing at one of his local gigs last year.

Josiah, and his beloved acoustic - it used to be his pastor-father's.

This portrait is of my daughter...Jonathan's wife Sarah.

The name of Sarah's portrait...

A grouping of Jonathan's landscapes...

Jonathan and Sarah, who are still at the show, even as I type this...

It was a fun evening for Tim and I. We are proud of both our sons in law - both highly accomplished young men, who would lay their lives down for our daughters.

Last, but far from least - you will not believe what was brought to my house today, and hung in my very own living room:

Oh yeah. A Jonathan Howe original oil painting. Huge. Sofa-sized. Look at that moody sky, and those colors! I know this exact spot, too...I recognized it instantly. My beloved Smokies, from the vantage point of an overlook on Rich Mountain road, in Cades Cove.

Happy Mother's Day to me, for so many, many reasons...I'm blessed. Living a dream I have not earned and do not deserve.

Abundant grace is mine.

I Think I Wanna Tweet

I think you should follow me on Twitter. I can be very entertaining. And I promise to keep it to no more than a couple of tweets a day...

(It's easy. On your cell phone, just text "follow sheilaatchley" to 40404.)

Playing With Paints

I got my paints out this relaxing.

Jamie and Ryan...

Finally, a picture from our evening we spent with Jamie and Ryan Weeks!

After being on the road since early that morning, driving non stop (and I do mean non-stop, so help me, I do...) to Le Jeune, an emotional dropping off of our son, and GPS'ing our way to the Raleigh area, these two were a sight for sore eyes:

sorry for the low light...that's Jamie and Ryan, on the right. Tim and I on the left. In the background is a restaurant called The Angus Barn.

The angels love The Angus Barn, I promise. I heard them singing when I took the first bite of my ribeye. Jamie and Ryan were extremely gracious to treat us to such a great meal!

The conversation was so, so rich. I mean, the four of us went places some people never go, not even after a decade of knowing each other. We went there within a half an hour of meeting face to face for the first time, and felt completely relaxed and safe.

Jamie was tossing around terms like penal substitution and stuff. How fun is that?

The warmth of their love for Jesus lingers in my memory, along with the chocolate chess pie I had for dessert. I have the recipe, and I am so gonna make it, soon. Momma. What a pie.

Thank you again, Jamie and Ryan. It is nice to find grace-people who don't hate on pastors. (Believe it or not, a lot of saints who are well taught in grace, encounter a glitch in their grace when they encounter them, grace should equal no established order whatsoever.)

I keep thinking of the old saying ~

"Make new friends, and keep the old. One is silver, the other gold."

Here's hoping that silver turns to gold...

Puppy Life Jacket

Well, we have a new boat in the family...I say "in the family", because it belongs to Jonathan and Sarah.

Jonathan, his Nissan, and his boat he got from Alabama last week...

Nice boat! Runs great! They don't have a hitch on their Nissan yet...

...but we have a hitch on our old Toyota Previa.

Which means, bless their hearts, they get to share their boat with us, since only our vehicle can tow it. For now, anyway.


Soon, I am sure, they'll have a good, sturdy hitch on the back bumper of their SUV. And they'll be able to hit the water with no help from us. But in the meantime, we will be so sorry and upset to have to haul their boat to the lake for them, and take turns riding that boat with them.

Rambo hates it most of all. My man says "rules are rules", and the teacup poodle must also wear the proper safety vest...along with all humans, regardless of their size.

Anyhoo, everyone got out in the boat over the weekend...

....and my man insisted on taking his Little Buddy with him...

And here is Rambo, ready and darlin' and rarin' to go ride dat boat wif hiz pappa!

And we did. And all had big fun. And Rambo was promoted to Puppy Safety Patrol. And we are very proud.

An 0verview of our weekend would not be complete without one of my famous, shameless, grandmommy plugs:

His very first bite of cereal: before.

Now...wait for it....wait for it...

That same bite of cereal after. Bleh. It will take some gettin' used to, doncha think?? As the bib says: "Grandma's Sweetie".

This child lights up my life. And boat rides are the bomb diggity, and my puppy looks way too cute in his life jacket to even be real. But he's real, allright. Just reach down to pet him, and see for yourself. BE CAREFUL.

Life is good, when God is good, and when you KNOW that He is good, always.