A Snow Day in East Tennessee

Double-click on image to enlarge

{Shot by The Preacher, straight out of the camera, using my Nikon...the show-off.}

This is just a fun little iPad shot, double-processed. Mine. I am so not a show-off. My art is accessible, don't you think?

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...

The Every Day Sort of Joys...

If you, like me, have ever struggled with actually doing the little things each day that bring you joy, if you have ever wondered if you were being selfish...can I speak some love over your life?

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Taking joy...every day...will make you a better wife, mother, boss, employee, entrepreneur, preacher's wife, you-name-it.

All I will remind you, in your quest for deep joy and sustainable pleasure, is this:

" 'tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free. "

Keep your joys as simple as a wood fire; as satisfying as a glass of Merlot; as sustainable as making roasted rosemary chicken for you and your love for dinner. Keep your joys free from comparison and competition. Leave comparison and competition to the unimaginative souls who must utilize those mindsets to be motivated.

You and I? We are so rich in Christ. All things are ours, indeed. A bouquet of sunflowers is our gold, and the stars twinkling above on a winter's night-walk are our diamonds. Holding the hand of the man of our dreams, grown deliciously and delightfully mature, is the stuff of fanciful girl-talk.

Daily, our God loads us with benefits. Rarely do they strain our budgets. Souls of artists, down through time, have discovered the tiny treasures tucked into the travel-trunk of each new day....and have written or sculpted or painted about them.

Take joy. Simple joy.

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Underlined Bits - CS Lewis

“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.”

~CS Lewis


Sheila Atchley

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

Mixed Media Art

This mixed media original is waiting for words to be put on the canvas. I dearly love this girl...she popped out of my heart and my paintbrush, and her message needs to be special.

This girl is all done. 11x14 mixed media original entitled "She Knew She Was...{blessed and highly favored}".

I could already have buyers for both pieces...four people have sent me emails, inquiring as to price...these girls might be getting new homes as fast as I can get their paint dry! Funny, since I am trying to build up inventory for a show...

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...

Art Show in Atlanta

Who knew I'd be invited to a by-invitation-only art show, in an affluent suburb, just north of Atlanta? Certainly not me.

After a lot of hesitation and brutal introspection, I said "yes" to the invitation.

May God have mercy on my soul...

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...

The Year of the Harvest

As a body of believers called Harvest Church...as a spiritual community...as a passionately artistic and musical and prophetic tribe...as a bunch of friends who love to laugh and do life together...

...we are so sold out to the Gospel.  We are still smack-dab in the middle of a torrent-flow of grace, and there is no going back...ever.  We have, each one, paid a high price to be faithful to the message of reconciliation.  Many of us are being forced to live it out painfully, in our own households, where no one applauds or appreciates.  Those not having to live out the grace-Gospel in their own households, are - with all their hearts -  standing with those who daily watch with longing for a prodigal's return.  When you love someone, their prodigal becomes yours too.  And it hurts.

No easy life...no "marshmallow world in the winter" for a Harvester.

But just you wait.  Just you wait and see what God will do.

In the summer of 2009, a prophetic minister out of the UK called the Preacher and I out of a crowd, and spoke over us a word of incredible financial prosperity, an unquestionable affirmation of  "the Gospel we preach" (this minister had never met us, and had no clue what we were, that very day and that very week, going through);  he said that God was pleased with what we preach, but more importantly, He was pleased with how we were painfully (the very word used!) living it out in our home...and he spoke a declaration over us that there is a strong anointing on our lives for the return of the Prodigal.

We knew right then that 1.  We were in for some financial hits, and 2.  The accusations against us and what we preach would continue, and 3.  That we would have to stand in utter faith for who knows how long until we saw even one prodigal coming "a long way off".  The prophetic is like that...a word from God rarely comes to pass on Tuesday.  Rather, it is meant to equip you to wage war...for the long haul.

But the Preacher and I were, at that moment, equipped to stand strong...caught up into heaven, so to speak, and given an inexplicable ability to see from the vantage point of the Finished Work of Christ.

And then...a year ago...we saw the First Fruits of our prophetic word:

Do you see the man, towards the center of the frame, hands clasped in front of him, lifting his voice in praise?

A prodigal of 25 years.  Suddenly... he came home.  Is still home.  I mean...he's home.  Every Sunday, when I hear this man worship God with all his heart, I know that if God can bring this son home, He can bring ANYONE'S dear one home.  There is not a man anywhere like Bobby - all he has to do is show up, and your faith is built, and you find yourself believing that all things are possible.  He has the strongest anointing for encouragement I have ever seen on anyone, period.  No lie...all he has to do is show up, and you are changed.

I think every prodigal we see come home will be like this one...exactly like the First Fruits of the word of the Lord to us and to Harvest Church. Each one...strongly anointed for prophetic worship...with the affection of the Father hovering over them like a sweet and heavy perfume.  Just like Bobby.

If you know and love a prodigal of any age...Harvest Church is the place to be.  Get here, fast.

Just sayin'.

I would be less than honest not to tell you.  And it would be less than faith not to declare it.

Word For 2013

2012 was an outrageously blessed year...

...it fulfilled the name I named it. 2012 so, so lived up to its name: "Cultivate"

Many amazing things were accomplished in 2010, named "Create". Create, I did...everything from a whole wedding event, to teaching myself how to knit.

Giving 2011 a name was life-altering. I was set utterly free from oppression I have yet to really talk in detail about...stories are still inside me, waiting for their time to be told. 2011 was named, "Sow!" There was an urgency to the word. I sowed with all my heart, in unexpected places, not where it was "expected" of me. I shook off the false expectations of others that year. I began to conceive of a life apart from the typical roles I had played all my adult life.

And it made me a far better wife, mother, and Preacher's Wife.

2012, I simply kept up the momentum. I continued to cultivate the conditions for personal growth, apart from the blessing of my sons, who are working on their testimonies, and even the blessing of daughters, who are working on their beautiful lives. The successes and perceived failures of daughters or sons didn't even slow me down. I just stayed rightly related, enjoyed life, and cultivated my own gifts.

The payoff? The Preacher's namesake now lives next door...an insanely perfect blessing. My grandson, daughter and son in law moved out of our home, buying the house next door. It felt amazing to know that living with us for a season (while Justin finished his Master's and internship) helped them achieve that dream.

A youngest son's high school graduation. A home education triumph, to be sure.

New business started. My art...in a Knoxville boutique! My art...sold as far away as New Zealand, the UK, and California.

New art studio designed and installed.

New car.

New granddaughter....who just last week moved to a cute house, with her mommy and daddy...a house with a studio and workshop for her artist-daddy...on 11 acres...2 miles away from my front door. Insanely perfect blessing! My cup runneth over.

And now...2013 also has a name. And it is big. For me, this is a leap of faith that excites me out of my mind! My word for 2013?


An explosion of new life. Abounding fruit. Abiding fruit. To my account.

Every prayer that I've prayed.

Every seed that I've sown.

Desires of my heart, He's preparing to grow.

Am I ready???

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...