Bifocal Reader Love {...problem meets solution...}

I swear, the day I turned 40, I could no longer read the print in my books. And if you know me at all, you know reading is an addiction   ...a passion of mine.

So I bought the requisite, I did not purchase people to read for me, how could you think such a thing?  Rather, I bought those reading glasses you find in the drugstore...super-cute ones, the kind that perch on the tip of your nose.

But I kept losing them. And losing them. And I found I didn't like the look of having to tilt my face "just so" to see through or over them, depending on whether I was reading or speaking. I can't walk and chew gum simultaneously... this was a problem. All of this was a problem.

It was then that I discovered bifocal readers. Saints, I am telling you, my life was revolutionized.

See, I don't need "glasses-glasses". I don't need prescription glasses (I know - I got the eye exam...and I continue to have my eyes checked) but I needneedneed readers.

But I couldn't choose between losing my readers, or putting them on a chain around my neck like a granny. Even though I am a granny, but that's beside the point.

I want my grandkids to sport T-shirts like this:

And if I wear my glasses like a necklace, that can't happen, see. (You do see, don't you?)

Not long ago, a few of my friends who wear glasses-glasses began to
flaunt wear these beautiful Tom Ford glasses.  Now, far be it from me to be a Tom-Ford-eyeglasses-curmudgeon.  If you can afford them, by all means, enjoy them!

Then, at least two of my friends (one online, another "IRL" - in real life) bought more than one pair! As in...three, four they could get the look they wanted, when they wanted it.

As if that weren't enough to incite glasses envy, they purchased these gorgeous wood and leather jewelry boxes, only for those Tom Fords. I was over the moon...I have such fashionable inspirational, I'm not even lying.  I don't get jealous...that is just not my thing.  Trust me, I have other faults.  But I don't get jealous, because I am too busy taking notes on the women I admire.

Lightbulb moment. I realized my bifocal readers, since I do wear them almost all the time, are a fashion statement. I, too, could do with several pairs of them! I have various "looks" I need to sport too, ya know.

And I wanted a pretty box of my own, like a jewelry box, in which to house my facial-fashion acessories. I wanted to "respect the spectacles" like my fashionable friends, only I could not afford the price tag of a used car to do it.

This was literally months ago. I let the whole thing simmer on the back burner, as I am prone to do, waiting for the solution to present itself.

The week of Christmas, I found the bifocal readers I had been searching for, in every style I had been searching for, and all in one place! These babies are total Tom Ford knock-offs. You better believe I splurged! I bought four pair! I splurged to the tune of $40, because I also received a 40% holiday discount.

I got these, for my inner hipster...

These for my inner geek....

These for my no-nonsense inner business woman and Bible teacher:

And these for my inner sexy librarian:

Those last ones are The Preacher's favorites. Just sayin'.

And here are the bifocal-reader-Aviator-sunglasses that I already had:

Recently, for my birthday, my daughter Hannah bought me a wood display case. She meant it to be a display for my artisan cuffs, when I have art shows. And that is what I was going to do. But suddenly this past week, after my TF knock-off spectacles arrived, I knew it was meant to be... was meant to be my facial-jewelry box. (Are those words "facial-jewelry" creeping you out, too? Or is it only me? But I can't stop saying it.)

So I took a hammer to the cubbies inside, chipping off part of each divider, and then gluing a piece of soft leather to what was left, with fabric glue:

And now all my inner persona Tom Ford knock-offs have a place to be respected. (Is that too much metaphor to make sense? I thought so, too, but there it is.)

The price of four TF glasses frames: $1,200
The price of a beautiful wooden case for said frames: $75

Doing almost the same thing, but doing it preacher's-wife-style (Victoria Osteen, if you are reading this, then present company excepted): $40

And here is my facial-jewelry box, in its real home, in my messy home office:

"Oh taste and see that the Lord is good."

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

The Year of Grace {...happy new year, friends...}

The photograph above is so appropriate...because it was one of my very first "official" creative projects that someone actually purchased from me.  I worked so hard to learn how to watermark...and I put that silly watermark on the actual picture...the one that sold...not just the digital copy.  That's how bad of a newbie I was.  The year was 2012.

Seriously.  In 2012, I had no art studio, no website (just a blog), no online store, no clients, no small business, no Facebook business page, no Instagram account, no mailing list, and no idea what God was about to do...

...He was about to wreak His incredible goodness all up in this place.

And it couldn't have come at a more appointed time.

See, a little over a year before, in 2010, because I was so stuck in the middle of great pain,  I started "naming" my year.  Sure, that's become very old news here in 2015.  Everyone has done it and blogged about it, and almost no one does it anymore.  But then it was pretty cool and revolutionary, and now I will never stop naming the years.

I named 2010 "Create" - and with that, I began to create intentionally and have not stopped since.  That naming thing was the end of life as I had known it up to that point.  Naming carries with it some incredibly good juju, dating all the way back to the book of Genesis.

I named 2011 "Sow!"  {with the exclamation point...because I felt such urgency in it.  I could not have been more spot-on.}  In 2011, I kept creating...and I also began a very intentional mentoring of the next generation - finally taking it outside my own household, and in a structured way.

My own daughters, whether they knew it or valued it or not (and they did, and they do) had been on the receiving end of years of my mentoring while they lived at home.  It was (and is) their time to put action to all they had received.  My nest was emptying, and I clearly heard the Lord that I was to sow into young lives "not my own".  So...I did.  Later that same year, I realized that the results of the simple decision to sow and mentor intentionally just...well, the results rocked my world.  God's smile was all over me, as I "sowed" with all my heart.

2012 received its christening as "Cultivate".  As I re-read that last blog post, I get goose bumps, because I see this in the final paragraph:

I'm beyond excited at the prospects for the coming year.  I know I will be working even harder than last year, because I will be creating the environment for the growth of what ever else sprouts from 2011. What if every bit of it sprouts?  Oh.  Mah.  Werd.  I'll be working twelve hour days.  Cultivation is a bit more involved than sowing, but the rewards are...

...a flourishing harvest.

Um...yeah.  I sort of have been working a lotta lotta 12 hour days in the last two years.

2013 was "Harvest".  That was also the year I took up the "31 Days October Challenge" and wrote for 31 days straight on the topic of celebrating middle age.  I still get emails about it - massive fruit still coming from that project, which will become a book - dare I say this year?

2014 was "Lavish", but I was too busy working those 12 hour days to write much about it.  God has lavished me with His goodness this past year.  But even more than that, 2014 was a year {...and I still can't believe the whole thing is in the rear view mirror...} when I really worked to renew my mind with the truth of God's abundance.  2014 was a year to leave all the old mindsets behind - getting tuned in to a brand new spiritual frequency of "increase".  That is hard for this die-hard anti-prosperity-gospel girl.  I will always see the "prosperity gospel" as a false gospel - but that does not mean that my God is not a God of lavish abundance.

I feel I am still working on this, in some ways.  But then again, the lessons of each and every year have always been carried into the next.  

2014 has been a year of massive, yet quiet, G-R-O-W-T-H.  I began podcasting...became a CLC (certified life coach)...did many hours of live coaching...developed my own coaching published in a Stampington art magazine, (still a future issue)...

...was juried into two art shows (one of which I opted out of, to exhibit in the other show, which was local), and experienced a breakthrough, technically speaking,  in my artistic style.  My art is showing a more fine-art, impressionistic leaning, a leaning that was not there before, and I am not sure where it came from, to be honest.   

God lavished me, and I lavished my work with time and sweat and blood (literally) and tears.

2015 has been freshly christened:


I know, right?  I'm at it again.  Christ-centric and grace-besotted.  I will never leave the doctrines of grace.  

Besides - I have a feeling that in the coming year I will need unearned, undeserved favor from God...favor from strangers and friends...and will even get favor from enemies.  Unearned, undeserved, unexplainable, freaky favor.  

I'm not above admitting that I need favor to succeed in anything.  I need supernatural favor.

It's on its way.

Becoming - A Free Online Class {...when "it doth not yet appear what we shall be"...}

I never picked up the first paintbrush until my heart broke.  Then...just like that...I became.  I became an artist.

That was about 5 years ago, but it wasn't art that restored me.  It wasn't art that fueled my "becoming" was worship.

The Bible says that ..."By faith Jacob...worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. "  

Jacob felt it before I ever did.  He felt the pain of his own jacked-up-edness (that is a word in my house), he felt the misery of his own inability...and he glimpsed something of the grace of God when he saw that ladder that connected earth to heaven and heaven to earth.

 And He worshiped, leaning on his staff, favoring that hip put out of joint after his long wrestling in a black night of the soul.  Jacob wrestled for his identity, and I remember wrestling for mine.

See, I never expected to have not one, but two prodigal sons.  

(And yes...they are fine with me telling my story, and their part in it - past, present, and future.  We have good relationships, my boys and me and their dad.  I think the reason why they don't mind me telling you any of this is that - first of all, they still believe.  Not one of them has denied a solid belief in a supernatural God;  both would fight you over the truth of the deity of Jesus Christ...perhaps physically.  Ahem.   

I also think my young men know that their days in the pig pen are numbered.)

So I ended up with prodigal times two.  And it broke my heart, and it broke my identity as "The Homeschooling Preacher's Wife To Whom Such Things Should Never Happen."

I was going to write a book on child training.  Then, I had teenaged boys.  Then, they grew up.  Then, I needed therapy.  (Which I never got...)

Worship has fueled my becoming, from the time I was a little girl who wet the bed every night, through my early-married years when I gave birth to identical honeymoon twins (two beautiful daughters, who are mine and the Preacher's right arms today), and it fueled my becoming when middle age came fuels me at this moment, as a grandmother.

I am that "older woman", now, to whom the Great Apostle gave the admonition to "teach the younger women".

Teach them to love. That's the gist of what Paul told the older women to teach the younger women....teach them to love.  

With all my own becoming, it still "doth not yet appear what I shall be".  I believe - with all my heart - that my best days are right in front.

Having said all that, I am so thrilled to share with you that I have been invited by Jeanne Oliver to take part in an online course entitled, "Becoming - The Unfolding of You":

This course is FREE.  There is no cost to join Jeanne's creative community, and there is NO COST to join the 8 week course, "Becoming - The Unfolding of You".

Here is the trailer:

Here is the link to join the study directly.

Here is the course description, and instructions about how to join:

Course description:
This January join 20 women for an 8 week study all about finding your true identity in Christ.  Each week you will hear unfolding stories from the women in this study.  We will be sharing truths about who the Lord says we are and our personal journeys to accepting those truths.

We will also have fun creative videos that follow the study where the women will share one of their gifts. Think guitar playing, bread making, painting, entertaining and more.  You know I can't have a course without sharing how the Lord uses our creativity! My hope is that the study will give you fresh eyes for the Lord and yourself.  When we know who we are in Christ it changes everything and opens our paths and gifts in incredible new ways.
Some of us are carrying around "truths" about ourselves that are flat out lies and it time to lay them down

This study will be open and honest, real, Bible based and a bit of creativity too.  We hope you will join us January 6, 2015 for this free online study!

Directions to register:To join this free study you just need to be registered at (registering is free).

Once you are on the site you will find this study, free videos (business and art), my Creativity Takes Courage series and new online courses along the left hand side of the page.

You will find all of our courses/videos under the COURSES heading.

To register for Becoming | The Unfolding of You

1) Go to COURSES along the left hand side of the page

2) Go to the bottom of the course and click “view all” to find Becoming | The Unfolding of You

4) Click on Becoming | The Unfolding of You

3) Click the +join button on the upper right hand side

4) All of the details are on the page and you are all set for the study to begin on January 6, 2015

I cannot WAIT to see you in class.  Please tell your friends...share this blog me spread the love and the good news of the grace of God, in the face of Jesus Christ...

2014 Fall-Winter Launch { first online catalog/LookBook...}

The Preacher and I just got back from a too-brief vacation, and it is time to launch my latest art and designs!  I am so excited about these offerings...I truly do believe they bring "tidings of comfort and joy"!

The back-story is this:  I wanted a way to group everything in the new collection together, so you could see it as the body of work it is...the labor of love it is.  So, to do this, I decided to create an online catalog, or "LookBook".

I've embedded this LookBook into the below link.  Enjoy!

Another Peek Into My Fall Launch { art, as a smartphone case...}

Just a few short years ago, I couldn't see myself with a smartphone.  I was an analog snob.  I was more than satisfied with my flip phone...the one with real buttons.  Buttons you could push.  I sent texts the old-school way...where you went with the number 1 and chose "a, b, or c", and so on.

Then The Preacher got a free upgrade on his smartphone.  He gave me his old one.

Then I started a creative business.  The kind of business that requires you to quickly master digital photography and open an Etsy shop and think outside the box.

Now I love my smartphone.  As in, "if-I-weren't-already-married-I-might-date-it" kind of love.

And I do think technology can be beautiful.  So long as it doesn't interfere with our making eye contact with our children, or making love with our spouse, or making time for a friend, I think technology is amazing.  In what other era could I run an entire business from the beach, with a few swipes of my finger, in less than a half-hour a day, while on vacation?

{Been there.  Did that.  Last year.  Made money while sitting on the beach for a week.}

So here's to the smartphone.  And yes....selfies and apps and all that smartphones entail.  Were I to coach you in your business, I would tell you in a heartbeat to get over yourself and dive into social media.  Do it yesterday.  Start instagraming and tweeting and Facebooking and blogging and heck yes, take a few tasteful selfies (don't try to be sexy - be professional, be fun), because people don't want automation, they don't want faceless,  they want to at least have an idea of who it is they are doing business with.

It isn't ego, when you run a creative business.  It's good business.

I took a few of my favorite mixed media pieces, and made them into smartphone cases/covers for Samsung Galaxy, and iPhones 4 and 5 (not 5C).

Find them here

Won't Someone Please Love Me For Who I'm Not? { I have a few personas...}

I don't need you to love me for who I am.  Well, I do, but I mostly need you to love me for who I am not.

Who I am is essentially understood, once you get to know me:  I am a believer in Christ Jesus.  I am a preacher's wife.  I am an artist and a communicator - a speaker and writer and blogger.  I am a mother to four grown children.  I am a grandmother to four - a three-year-old, a two-year-old, a six-month-old, and one on the way, whose name is Susanna Joy.

I am deeply loyal, deeply spiritual.  I am so intense that I need my closest friends to be not intense at all.  I have enough much intensity, I nauseate and overwhelm myself.  I don't need more from anyone else.  I don't need a dose of hyper spirituality, complete with tears for all the world's prodigals (and my own) over lunch at Wild Wings.

I need you to love me for who I am not.  I need you to love me when I take a break from myself, which is a lot.  When, instead of primly saying that "I am a Christian", I flatly state:

"I am a jacked-up Jesus Freak!"

Or when I lovingly call my family, "The Freak Show".

When I am so broken I don't want deep conversation or even companionship.  (Know that "this too shall pass", and give me some room to be who I'm not!)

When I confess to being addicted to Red Band peppermint "crack sticks", or Dr. Pepper.  I'm really not addicted to anything but Jack Daniels - aaaand there I go again.  Just kiddin'.

See, I'm a living, breathing hyperbole.  I hyperbolate to blow off steam...all that intensity about the Gospel, it boils like a fire shut up in my bones, and occasionally I absolutely must act silly and say shocking things and adopt pretend personas to relieve the pressure of being inside my own head.

You should've been there when I played milk-pong at a church party, and pretended to get smashed on tiny Dixie cup after Dixie cup of milk.  I did make myself a little sick...but I had friends laughing until the tears ran down.

Laughter is carbonated holiness.  If that makes me holier-than-thou, I will let you figure out how to deal with it.

Yes, I hyperbolate occasionally.  It is my own signature coping mechanism, and I shan't give it up.

It's why I listen to the occasional country song.  ("Red solo cup!  I fill you up!  Let's have a party...let's have a partaaaaaay!")

It's why I sometimes use replacement vocabulary.  Dingdangdadgummit.  Shut.  The.  Front.  Door. 

It's why I can blog about boots and scarves and nail polish one day, and the Ecclesia the next. 

It's why I can think deep thoughts about pneumatology, but there was that time I almost lit my big toe on fire, and that other time when I couldn't properly signal a right turn while driving....instead, I honked my horn.  (??!  I have yet to figure that one out.  Don't you try to figure it out, either.  You'll never do it in a million years.)

The deep thinker is the real me.  The idiot-me is comic relief.  The hyperbolic mess is just for fun.

Love me...accept me...for who I am not.  Who I am won't scare you.  That other girl might.

Countdown to the Fall Launch Begins...{so much love will be in the shop for your holidays}

This design is the culmination of about a year's worth of tweaking.  I happen to love aged metal filigree - but on its own, it isn't very wearable, particularly with a heavy feature piece added to it.  I love to add something beautiful to the filigree - either my soldered designs, or any vintage or unusual new piece I happen to come across.  But they almost always end up too heavy, making the filigree cuff, on its own, difficult to keep arranged properly on the wrist.

I also love leather.  I can't get away from it, and I have tried to.  It finds its way back into almost all my designs.  But on its own, it can get ho-hum.

And so, voila.

So much of art is process.  You find out what doesn't work, far more often than you discover what does work.  I have pretty much discovered two hundred ways you cannot add a statement piece to filigree.

And one way that...oh yes, you can.

So...just as an aside...try not to balk at the price of an online course, or a piece of artisan jewelry.  I know what it is like to be on the tightest of budgets.  But trust me - you could not teach yourself or make it for that price, because you would have to buy the tools, and that is just the beginning.  You would then have to spend even more money and days and hours of your time in a trial-and-error process.

I am proud to be a maker...for you...

This beauty will be in the shop soon.  And she may be a "one-off" since I am loathe to repeat designs.

My artistic ADD gets the better of me.