I Love...Change {February, the Month of Love}

{this home girl hates changing her mind about things}

You can experience troubles or trials without change, but you can not experience true, lasting change without some trouble and trial. In fact, trials are God's means of enlarging you. They carry within them the seed of new horizons, of territories gained, of increase and inheritance.

The essence of repentance is simply to change your mind. If all your dearly-held opinions have brought you to a place of isolation or misery, why then, you have the distinct and incredible privilege...and even the pleasure of changing your mind.

Try it.

I have found it to be even kind of fun. A few years back, I found myself with some life-long views of God that were so far beneath who He really is, as to be an insult to His Finished Work, His kindness, and His nature. Changing my mind was a privilege. I was glad to do it.

Change is God's way of lifting up your head above your enemy. You literally think at a different level than before, and grow bigger and stronger on the inside, than the giant you face on the outside.

Dude. Goliath is so about to become my little sister.

God has so enlarged me, using trials and my willingness to let those dang things change me, my Goliath (and he is honking big, if you could see him with your eyes) may as well be wearing Mary Janes and licking a lollipop. I am about to feed him to the birds.

Change is good. I rather enjoy being increased and enlarged. The bigger the battle, the bigger the spoil.

I invite you...if all your thoughts have led you to a place of anxiety, bitterness, or a critical spirit...

...change your thoughts. Change your mind.

It is one of our greatest privileges as saints of God.

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...

I Love...Godliness {February, the Month of Love}

THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us...

( Hebrews)

Oh, lovely women of God...of every age...I invite you to love Godliness with me. There is so much more to this life than what some of us are living for. Our heritage as Kingdom Daughters is so much more than we are actively experiencing. Some indulgences are too expensive...because they cost us our cutting edge.

There is nothing worth more to me than the Gospel, nothing worth more to me than learning "the art of losing myself in bringing Him praise". No glass of wine, no country song, no man, no extravagance, no job, no promotion, nothing is worth being even ever-so-slightly weighted down, or even a little entangled.

And everyone knows I love me an occasional Merlot, I love my red lipstick (toned down with a little nude color) and a good Rascal Flatts song. I love me a spa massage, a designer handbag, and being invited to show my art in art shows held in exclusive locations. My theme song can sometimes be, "All I Wanna Do is Have Some Fun" a la Sheryl Crowe.

But that is just a persona to compensate for the fact that I would toss it all overboard this moment, for one encounter with the Living God. There is an intensity in my spirit...a fire shut up in my bones...

I am all about leadership. Lead, follow wisely and well, or go sit down, out of the way. Some indulgences aren't worth my reputation as a leader.

I invite you to love Godliness. When you put it with contentment, you are a sloppy-rich woman.

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...

I Love...Process {February, the Month of Love}

So much going on, here at this cottage. Lots of letting go, where letting go is healthy. Lots of holding on, where holding on will make a difference.

Every once in awhile, I get a glimpse of a much bigger picture. I can clearly see, in these moments, how somany means are working themselves out towards a single end: that my life be an illustration of The Art of Bringing Him Praise.

No pain has been wasted...and no joy, either. Nothing wasted. All things truly do work together for good. I live my life at an unfair advantage, neck-deep in grace.

Not many strong or wise or even particularly, wildly beautiful are called.

And I revel in this fact. Me and my crazy-train family are vastly qualified to be His Ambassadors.

The process is the solution. Processes can be very long, and can seem to make nosense.

So often, we cannot find the forest...too many stinking trees. But there really is a greater, over-arching plan, right in front of our lovely faces. Problem is, it cannot, will never be found or discovered or discerned in any list of dos and don'ts anywhere. It is found in the daily monotony of process - when we, day after day, choose our point of reference according to the Gospel, and move forward, choosing to relate to God, people, and circumstances from that point of reference alone...no other perspective.

My point of reference these days is that of a cherished daughter, who, with open spiritual eyes, can see so clearly that "those that be with me are far greater, both in might and number, than those that be against me."

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...

I Love...Coffee {February, the Month of Love}

This is some of my original photography, available as a print, in my shop...

I love me a good cup of coffee.  I am also one of those women, whose husband delivers her a cup - in bed - each and every morning.  I sit, tousled hair and reading glasses, looking far less than lovely -  propped up on pillows, prying my eyes open so that I can begin my morning reading...and The Preacher makes my first cup and brings it to me.  Some mornings that might be six AM....most mornings it is seven, and some mornings eight.  Just whenever I wake up, he fires up the Keurig.

Don't be a hater.

He's a grace-man.  That's what you get, when you are blessed enough to be married to a man who "gets" the Gospel...who understands the grace of God.  He doesn't expect perfection from me...he loves me to perfection.


I Love...ANNOUNCING THE WINNER {February, the Month of Love}

True Random Number Generator  5Powered by RANDOM.ORG
I counted up the entries in our Jeanne Oliver Online Art Class Giveaway...carefully counting those who entered more than once, through Facebook and Twitter...and...you can check this below, yourself, in the comment section...the winner...via Random Number Generator is... NUMBER 5...MELISSA FINK, of Melissa Ellen's Loft!

I could not be more pleased unless it was my own daughter...(and one of my daughters did enter, by the way, and if the Random Number Generator had picked her comment, I was going to give it to her, fair and square!)...well, this sweet girl won the giveaway, and months ago, she grabbed a little piece of my heart as I got to know her.  She is quite good at mixed media art, has already taken the plunge and started an online business, and is fearless about her love for Christ, on her blog.  You.  Go.  Girl.

That makes us kindred spirits, right there.  So weary of women who are ashamed of their Christian faith, or too hung up on themselves, trying to break into certain circles in the online business/art world...or simply embarrassed to be a little bit radical or a tiny bit more bold.  This is NOT our spiritual heritage!  Think Sarah of old...think Deborah the judge...think of Ruth Graham or Corrie Ten Boom!  Come on, girlfriends...RISE UP.  I am continually sharing my faith, all the time.  So does Melissa Fink.  Being a good - technically good - artist, being a gifted business woman and fun friend, and a great woman to get to know...NONE of these things are incompatible with being a bold believer in Christ.

Oh dear.  I'll stop right there.   I promise the Random Number Generator picked her...but I do like Melissa Fink that much.  She and Shannan Garber Martin just tug at my spiritual mothering heart-strings.  Bold women.

This is besides the fact that I think Melissa's blog has the potential to be the next "up and coming" DIY blog out there...her projects are interesting, her photography is good, her taste impeccable.

Apparently, her heavenly Father wanted to bless her with a few art lessons - keep your eye on her, I think she'll amaze us all one day!

Congratulations, Melissa...and again, thank you Jeanne Oliver, of www.jeanneoliverdesigns.com

I Love Art Supplies {Happy Valentine's Day to Me}

This is what my Preacher got for me for Valentine's Day. Better than any several dozen roses...

...and just as expensive. I got the fifteen color set! These are just some of the colors, and the large blending stick...all oils.

The man saves his lunch money...he eats on the cheap, at home, or some days not at all...to get me little gifts like this. I would be unhappy if I weren't so happy.

I better post this, and shut the computer down, so I can go thank him properly.

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...

I Love...Little Monkeys {February, the Month of Love}

Warning: your cute-o-meter is going to peg waaaaay in the red. Alarms may go off.

My daughter Hannah went on a little Valentine's date with her little man today...these pictures stopped my heart.

For reals. I needed defib...too cute.

Don't forget the Jeanne Oliver Online Class Giveaway! To be entered to win, leave a comment here

Don't be intimidated...you do not have to be artistically inclined to enjoy these online classes...you will learn so much...and you will have so much fun....learning art techniques in your jammies should you so choose....

...class kicks off in April. You will have ~months~ to finish it.

A winner will be announced Friday!!

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...