Mixed Media Art

~acrylics, inks, gesso, matte gel medium, papers, found objects

...a two-page spread, in an altered book I am working on...the right side will contain a quote about Spring, from one of CS Lewis' Narnia series.  The plan (for now - it could change) is to add more texture and layers on the left (using gesso and inks), and then use a sepia ink to hand-write the quote across the upper third of the right-hand page (another option would be to print it out on parchment paper, as another layering piece, and use a Remington font I've recently fallen in love with)  and lastly, I will paint some graphic looking flowers in the middle, springing up from the green.

I have to say this:  I was doing this mixed-media collage stuff way before it was cool.  I did this stuff back in the '90's, and it was far enough ahead of the times that I stopped - because I didn't see anything else quite like what I was doing, and that made me feel as though I was somehow "wrong".  Someday, I will learn to follow my instincts.

This is my first "big" mixed media project since those days (I've been getting comfortable with mixed media on scrap watercolor papers and these teeny tiny canvases I have, called "ATC's" - or, Artist Trading Cards), so I am absolutely certain I will look back at this picture and cringe, in years to come.  Actually, I will look back at it and feel happy, because I love to see a record of growth and progress, and am completely unafraid to share my chronicle of humble beginnings with the world.

In the future?  I want to do some simple color studies on small square canvases...texture-y, hombre'd delicious color studies, going from light to dark, top to bottom, and utilizing mixed medias.  Once I get comfortable with that, and get my bearings with color and texture, I then want to paint my version of a rainbow, no negative space, filling the canvas, in mixed media - to represent the Grace of the Gospel (Biblically, many colors represent grace and favor), and, at the very bottom, as an inset in whatever mat I will use to frame the painting, there will be a Scripture from Revelations about the rainbow that surrounds the throne of God.

And since my reach must always exceed my grasp, I want it all to be beautiful.

If you aren't creating something, you are not going to be completely satisfied.  What are you doing to image-bear the Creator?  Try mixed-media art...it is so forgiving, and unintimidating.  Perfect for beginners, like me.

25 Turned 19 Today

My baby turned 19 today.  And we had 14 in the house for lunch...grilling burgers and hotdogs after church.  Then I lit 19 candles on 24 cupcakes, all in the shape of a basketball, and we sang "Happy Birthday"....

I am having a hard time believing that this upcoming year will be the last year...ever...that I can say I am the mother of a teenager.  I remember the baby and toddler stage lasting so long, or so it seemed.  Between all four kids, I remember feeling like I'd been changing diapers forever.

Forever goes by so fast.

I remember feeling like I'd been stuck in phonics-hell "forever".  I loved finally getting out of grunting long and short vowel sounds, for years.  Then, it seemed like I taught elementary school "forever".

Then high school.

And here I am today - I have been a mom to teenagers since the dawn of this millenium.  Feels like "forever". 

Yet this year...2012...marks the end of my home school teaching career, and the end of being a mom to teenagers.  Next year, my baby will turn 20.  How does that happen?  I.  Can't.  Stand.  It.

I so love this boy.  He is freakishly tall for this family, and hilariously funny, and smart as they get, and the biggest brat you ever met, should you have the misfortune of seeing him in one of his bratty moments.  But there is something of greatness in this boy.  Grace will accomplish, in his life, what the law could never do.  The Gospel will be both his undoing and his best doing.

And as his mother...I wait.  I wait on the Lord, I hope in the Lord, and no one who does that is ever made ashamed.  No regrets! 

My son...he's the real deal.  A man with the call to preach on his life.  I'll wait to see what he does with it.

Happy Birthday, son!  May your Basketball bring the Spiritual Harvest you dreamed of as a little boy, when your heart was still so tender and you loved Jesus with such abandon.  That was the real you.  I see glimpses of that young man now and then....and I am moved upon by the very presence of God when I see it.

His plans for you are good, boy!


Basketball and Senior Day - Last Home Game

"Senior player number 25, Isaac Atchley..."

"...his parents, Tim and Sheila Atchley..."
"...his favorite Scripture is Phillippians 4:13..." (a teary moment, there...)
"...his favorite memories are all the stories of Coach Ritchie and his Sleep Number Bed!" (You'd have to hear these in person to "get this one"...)
"...he will be playing this fall for Johnson University, and in 5 years sees himself  wherever God wants him to be."  (Does my face even convey how I am feeling?  I didn't know how he'd answer that question.  My heart was full.  He's been such a brat, but my mother's heart was bursting with pride, nonetheless.)

In case you'd like a little visual hint on how the ensuing game went...

25 hooped it up - the whole team played phenomenally, in a very close game...and won!

Oh my baby.  Oh my heart.  Eye on the Prize, son...eye on the prize.  Keep your focus and keep your head and keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life. 

It was worth it all.  I am proud.

I cannot type anymore, friends.  The tears are flooding my vision and the keyboard.  Who can know how hard this journey was, and what this means to The Preacher and I?  Who can know, but The Preacher and I, our family and our church family?

Journal Page

Sorry about the terrible photography.  This was a "snap the picture and throw it up on my blog" sort of thing...

This is a page out of my "art journal" - - meaning:  I use colored ink and experiment with Zentangles and write original poetry and play with whimsical, hand-written graphic fonts.  (The above font is called "French Manicure".  I know.  I bought a book on hand-written fonts.  And I ramble, but that's okay.  Just flow with me ...after all, you are here, and you gotta play the hand you're dealt.  And I'm dealin'.)

It says:

  "...in a religious culture of artificial, tightly controlled environments, I am a glad oddity - a seemingly irresponsible saint, out of reach of religious manipulation, and in need of no justification beyond what is already mine through Christ Jesus..."

I know, right?  I'm irrepressible.  I'm becoming ridiculously free.  The weird thing is, the free-er I get, the more I want to love and serve and obey.

I think of it like I do my marriage.  I know Tim loves me.  I mean...I know.  The man is crazy for me.  He is a card carrying member of the "I Heart Sheila" club...and it has a membership of one.  He laughs at all my jokes, and still chases me around after 25 years and 10 pounds and 2 grandchildren.

And do you know what?  It does not make me want to "get away" with a thing.  It doesn't make me lazy.  It doesn't make me an apathetic wife.

Sort of makes me want to love him more.

Grace, grace, grace.

Learn it.  Grow in it.

The Almost-Spring Garden

...my patch of lettuce...I'm using the left corner as a daylily "nursery".  See them coming up?  I put the "babies" there last fall, until I can decide where their particular color needs to live, permanently.

Still haven't made up my mind.

Here's to warmer weather, and a very, very sore back!

The Battleground of the Mind

"Blessed be God, who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight..."

~King David

Our warfare is not against people - it is against untruth.  We must defeat, overcome, overpower, outspeak, deal with every haughty and lofty untruth that exalts itself against  the knowlege of God. 

Is this mindset I am encountering in myself or someone else - is it in line with the ways of God?

Is this mindset I am encountering in myself or someone else - is it in line with the words of God - His words, rightfully divided,  with the all-important New Covenant perspective?

If the answer in either case is "No"...well...

It's on.  Let's get it started, devil.  (He is the source - the father - of all lies, see.) 

Here is what the Holy Spirit said to me, last night, as I was on the very front line of the front lines:

There is no spoil without a battle...and through Me, there is no battle without spoil.  Get ready to come out of this with more than you had when you went in. 

The whole "battle" thing is real.  It is not some ethereal, mystic putting on of imaginary armor.  It isn't merely addressing demon spirits through prayer -  demonic spirits are defeated foes who have to resort to deceit to succeed.  Demons plant the lies, and either you, me, or someone else believes them.  When you encounter a stubborn refusal of Truth - you have to battle that thing.  You gotta OVERCOME.

Denial isn't overcoming.  Retreat isn't overcoming.  Putting your little spin on reality isn't overcoming - God only deals in reality.  Getting real is not even first base - it just means you've finally left home plate, and are started in the right direction. 

And can I say something that sounds so foolish, but is actually profound?

Defeat isn't overcoming.

Neither is passivity overcoming. Ignoring the problem isn't overcoming.  Going shopping isn't overcoming.  Starting a hobby isn't overcoming.  Compensating for your depression isn't overcoming.  Checking out isn't overcoming.  Losing your temper isn't overcoming.  Quitting isn't overcoming.  Leaving your church isn't overcoming.  Emoting isn't overcoming.  Being cool, calm, and collected isn't overcoming - if you don't have passion, you aren't even IN a fight.

Engaging the battle and winning - that is overcoming.  Dadgum hanging in there is overcoming. 

What are the ways of God?  Believe them so deeply that you apply the Gospel to your Present Situation, and you act accordingly.

What are the words of God?  (He has spoken to us in these last days in Christ - Heb. 1) Believe them so deeply that you apply the Gospel to your Present situation.  Act accordingly, with pure stubbornness...well, others will call you stubborn.  The Bible calls it "faith".  Being "unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord."

What is the work of God?  Believing on the Son whom He sent.

You stand.  Even when the nontruth is coming out of the mouth of your dearest friend - be immoveable.  You stand, and you don't take one step back.  Fight for their soul, and in the process, your own.  (Remember Paul's words?  "You'll save both yourself and those that hear you...")


Cinco Bambino is Here!

Reese and I...

May I introduce you to Matt and Kelly Bailey's fifth child - Reese Bailey!  He got here by surprise this past Sunday.  We didn't expect him to come this past Sunday - we expected him come about Monday or Tuesday, but we sure are glad he is here.  He is the lightest and the longest of all the Bailey Babies.   Every Bailey Baby has been cute and adorable, but I did hear someone just today remark that they thought Cinco Bambino is the cutest one yet.

Welcome to the world, sweet baby boy!  Trust me, there is enough love in all our hearts to go around.