AND THE WINNER IS...{Edie Wadsworth's 31 Days to a Heart of Hospitality E-Book Giveaway}

First of all, a HUGE "thank you" to sweet Edie for generously sharing two of her e-books with my readers/followers/friends.  Thank you so much!

Using's number generator, we have winner number one:

True Random Number Generator  19
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 Hayley Russell said...I would love a copy of the e-book as we are focusing on hospitality as a church group. Thanks :-)
29 January, 2013

Congratulations, Hayley!!

...and now, the second winner, again using's number generator is:

True Random Number Generator  6
Blogger sandi ware said...
I would LOVE to have a copy of this ebook..Hospitality has long been "my thing". Sharing on FB. Kudos and Love to you, Sheila! Sandi Holman
28 January, 2013

Congratulations, Sandi Holman!!

 Now, if you will both kindly contact me with your email addresses, I will get you your free download! Now, for the rest of us who didn't win...Edie's e-book is only $5, and so well worth that price. You can still obtain it via her blog

And...stay tuned...because next week...sometime...I will be hosting a BIG, WONDERFUL giveaway, featuring my small-business-mentor-and-friend Jeanne Oliver!

Original Art For Sale

She's finished...beautifully framed...and for sale in my shop

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...

Hospitality {an e-book GIVEAWAY}

Edie Wadsworth, of  Life in Grace has graciously donated TWO downloads of her e-book to TWO Sheila Atchley Designs/Season of Harvest readers!

::cheers, confetti::

For those of you who don't know Edie (which is hard for me to believe...) she has an amazing, amazing story.  One that is still being written.  First of all, her thoughts and theology on grace are right in line with everything The Preacher and I have written/blogged/spoken about for years...the same message of radical grace that I have fought, and even little pieces of me have died for.  I will never leave the subject of grace alone.

Rest assured.  Ever.  Right along with Edie, I am "living a dream I have not earned and do not deserve."  (That was Edie's original blog tag line)

She left a career as a physician to go home, and home educate her children.  That alone makes her as interesting as all get-out, in my book.  She blogs about this part of her life, too.

She lost ~everything~ in a terrible house fire about two years ago...she, her children, and her physician husband Stevie have since rebuilt their home and their life - a life centered around hospitality.

And, this past summer, Better Homes and Gardens featured her home in their magazine!  I swear, I was as thrilled for her as if it was me gracing the pages!  Her home is Edie.  Quirky.  Different.  Beautiful.

Edie recently blogged about hospitality for 31 days straight, this past October.  (I have yet to scrounge up the courage to take that "October 31 Days Of _______" blogging challenge...kudos, Edie!)  It.  Was.  Wonderful.  Truly, I read every word, every day.  And her tomato soup is to die for.  It has blue cheese, honey, and hot sauce in it, and it changed my life.

In a manner of speaking.

I want to keep this giveaway simple.  If you would love a FREE copy of Edie's E-book (which is such fun to say, twenty times, as fast as you can..."Edie's E-book. Edie's E-book, Ed....never mind)  please simply:

1.  Leave a comment

That's it.  

If you tweet or Facebook about this giveaway, come back and leave an extra comment and let me know.  I will count you twice.  Or thrice.

If you become a follower of my blog, that's another chance to win.

So you have anywhere between one and four or so chances to grab yourself a free copy of this sweet book.

TWO winners to be announced on Thursday!

{A Peek Into My Digital Art Journal}

And I've been dabbling in digital art...using a free app called "53 Paper". Here is a peek into my new digital art journal:

I can't tell you how fun it is to have yet another avenue to test out ideas and color schemes, and just a place to "mess around"...without making a mess at all! I can paint in bed!

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...

Experiences Versus Identity - Another Post in a Series on Middle Age

There is something about turning forty-something.  You suddenly realize that the years you look back on are more in number than the years you likely have to look forward to.  You suddenly realize that in some areas of your experience, there are no do-overs.  And - I do not care who you are, or how wonderfully you think you lived -  you slowly realize you were not the daughter...or spouse...or parent...that you really, really wanted to be.

Because you filled all those roles the only way sinners know how - imperfectly, at best.

Suddenly, you have accumulated a cache of very, very painful experiences.  What to do with the pain?

I have a friend, a dear friend, who came to the devastating realization that a grown child had slid into unimaginable, deviant sin.  With all I have personally been through with my sons, what this friend discovered made me feel like I'd raised angels.

Regret.  Even though none of it was her fault, the instinctive reaction was searing guilt.  Don't we all feel it?  When crisis hits one of our children, we suddenly remember every wrong, hurtful, thoughtless, weary, selfish thing we've ever done - accidentally or on purpose - in the course of our short season as mothers.  No matter how hard we  tried to do all we knew to be right...we, each and every one, fell short of the mark.

When you are twenty-something, and you fall short of the mark, you somehow think you have a few do-overs in your future.  When you are fifty-something, all you can do is remember how you wasted a good many of your do-overs.  Trust me on this.  You better tap into the grace of God, now!

If there was ever a time to identify with who God says we are - middle age is the time.

In the Biblical account of the prodigal son, we call him the prodigal son, but he was really simply a son.  We even sometimes refer to the father as the "Father of the Prodigal", but he was really a dad like any other dad.

Sometimes our perspectives are so skewed by our mistakes, our sin, and our devastating experiences, as to entirely misplace our identity.  The "adulterous woman" was someone other than that to Jesus - just as a sterile man named Abram and his barren wife Sarai were to God the progenitors of nations.

Having a prodigal child is a difficult...beyond difficult...human experience.  Unfortunately, it is an experience common to parents dating back to the garden of Eden.

But it is not an identity.

Being a single parent is a difficult experience - but it is not an identity.

Financial struggles are difficult - but they cannot be allowed to define you.

Losing someone you love to suicide is difficult.  The urge to identify with the event can be compelling.  The Preacher can tell you all about that - his father killed himself when he was eleven years old.  As painful as the experience was, and still is, for him, it is not a part of his identity.  He has never allowed it to be.

"If any man be in Christ, then he has become a new creation..."

No matter what we have already experienced - no matter what we will experience in the future - our true identity must not be those experiences, but rather we are to be found in the Gospel.

Dear one, your life is hid with Christ in God.  You are not "the mother of a prodigal daughter".  You are not a bankrupt human being, regardless of your bank statement.  You are not a recovering alcoholic, a grieving parent, the child of an abusive parent, or even a cancer survivor.  You may be experiencing one (or more!) of those events - painful beyond description, but your experiences must be kept separate from your identity, else you can never rise above the pain.

You are a much-loved daughter of a Father whose power and greatness is all surpassing - you are written into the Father's will, right alongside Christ Jesus.  If it belongs to Him, it belongs to you.

You are righteous.  You are blessed.  You are favored.  You are a delight.  

God Enjoys Speaking To You

Pick a chair by my fire, and let's talk, shall we? I really, really want you to be encouraged to hear the Lord in ways that are Biblical...yet personal. God is personal with you, and wants to relate to you in ways He relates to no one else.

And so, I want to share with you a little of what, and how, God has been speaking to me.

"For you shall be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you..." Job 5:23

This is a word God gave me, recently.

See, I have been reacquainting myself with the positivity of God. I have been side-swiped again by His sense of humor, and by His surpassing ability to handle everything at once. He is a supreme genius, He loves to laugh with me, He "gets" me when no one else does, can correct me and make me love Him for it, and He never....ever...commits me to anything but a winnable war.

That scripture...up the book of Job? It told me last week in no vague manner that the things that normal people consider obstacles to their harvest (rocks...boulders...Gibraltar...wild animals...lions, tigers, and bears) will for me be the helpers of my harvest.

For me, stones and all manner of impenetrable granite, cougars and wild boars will be forced to become willing participants in my version of world domination.

Just because He loves me, and can trust me with a measure of responsibility and authority.

I know, right? Cool word. The sort of word you have to get for yourself, so do be cracking open your Bible.

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...

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...