Light that Swallows Shifting Shadows

“Sunny morning
You can hear it
Siren’s warning
There is weather on both sides
And I know it’s coming

Just like before
There’s a black dog
That scratches my door
He’s been growling my name saying
You better get to running

Can you make it better for me
Can you make me see the light of day
Because I got no one
Who will bring me a big umbrella
So I’m watching the weather channel

And waiting for the storm”[i]

My breakfast room faces east. The morning sun streams in through the deck doors and stretches in long diagonals across the table. My youngest, Jamie, is always the first up, although not as early as his younger years. We’ve spent many a morning in darkness at that table, eating cereal to the jolting sound of cartoons invading my quiet first cup of coffee.

I used to resent that – no time of morning without a kid on my heels. I could not get past him. Even when I awoke first, Jamie would hear my cracking ankles down creaking steps, and inevitably come bumping down behind me. I quit trying. Now, Jamie and I sit together at the morning table. He eats and watches the noise, while I tune it out and try to read.

I like to open all the windows and welcome the morning light. Jamie usually lasts only a couple bites before he’s up closing the curtain, complaining about the sun in his eyes. One morning, he surprised me with a deeper revelation. I am learning not to underestimate a child. Just when you think your 7-year-old is lost is his latest Lego creation, leaving a trail of crumbs to clean, he turns and holds out bread. Soul-nourishing, faith-infusing, hope-inspiring bread.

After he closed the curtain, Jamie returned to his seat, turned to me and asked, “Mommy, will we have shadows when we get to heaven?”

    “I don’t know”, I answered, “What do you think?”

Jamie paused to consider it for a moment, and then spoke with the full weight of glory, “No. There can be no darkness when He brings us to the light”. Just like that – a theologian emerged from the Captain Crunch. I sat stunned, trying to absorb all he addressed in one simple sentence. So much to hold onto in the face of the shifting shadows and storms of life.

What Jamie didn’t know was how hard I had been wrestling in the darkness. How the shifting shadows were trying to swallow me down. Even my dreams betrayed my fears. I went to bed praying off worry, and awoke with a loud cry in my spirit. I surely have walked in the valley of the shadow of death, and I have been afraid. I have often tried to outrun that “black dog” growling my name, nipping at the heels of my heart. Relentlessly. I have become skilled at forecasting the storm, trying to steer around the worst of it. Jamie didn’t know any of that, or how hard his momma was fighting for hope of a shadowless day, in a Savior who is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

Jamie surely is a gift from the Father of heavenly lights. I welcome his boisterous footsteps behind me these days, as much as I welcome the morning sun. What I didn’t know until that day is that sometimes the boy brings the light with him down those stairs.  A ray of sun across the shadows of my heart. Bread of truth to a hope-hungry soul.

When Darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm,
He is Lord, Lord of all[ii]

[i] Song, “Weather Channel” by: Sheryl Crow

[ii] Song, “Cornerstone” by: Hillsong United

My First Ever heART Video!

I am celebrating a new milestone today! I released my first ever art journaling video in a free online class called, A Thing Called Love. My friend and group organizer, Brandi , asked me to be a guest teacher which led to me finally dabbling in recording, lighting, editing, etc. I learned so much through the process and am exciting about where this is heading!

My dream is to have an art journaling channel stocked with devotional art videos, set to music and Scripture. I LOVE the idea of doing something fun with a group AND encouraging others in faith at the same time! I also love the freedom and flexibility recording and editing gives me. It’s so much more doable for a busy homeschooling mom like me. I can record in the evenings and then edit as long as it takes. My house is too crazy to record live audio. My husband and kids were yelling, asking me questions, and all kinds of stuff while attempting to record this first video. But I learned about this magic little feature where you can make the audio portion silent and record voice-over commentary to go with the your video. I also learned how to speed up and time the video to go with the music. Fun, fun stuff! I am just a little excited about it (can you tell??)!!

Here are a couple pictures of my studio set up with my brand new gigantic lighting and my slightly genius camera mount. I took a microphone stand and weighted it with sandbags at the bottom. I bought this AWESOME gadget for ten bucks called a super clamp. It screws in the camera and then attaches to the pole of the mic stand. It worked beautifully! And the best part is I already had the mic stand and sand bags. Win-win. :)

17796142_1276464369056875_9092153117317782847_n17800258_1275556065814372_8563957831472380144_n My lesson is sunflowers – one of my favorite subjects to paint! The word “sunflower” was on my page which seems like a perfect match for the video. I paired it with the song, “Beautiful Things” which I totally love anyway, but even more with the painting and the message it contains. Here’s a close up of the flower with the word in the center:

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And here is the video!! Enjoy!!

He’s Home and Has a New Name!

It is with great joy that I announce little “Mickey” is now home and officially a U.S. citizen. He officially became an O’Brien the moment the plane touched down on U.S. soil. They flew home last Friday/Saturday, arriving in Cleveland late Saturday night. I had the pleasure of sharing in their journey through online updates and photos during the past few weeks while Scott and Paula were in China.

“Mickey” is an absolutely delightful boy. His smile radiates joy and those dimples – oh my! He has made his way into all of our hearts! Scott and Paul announced his new name from China. It is a privilege to be able to introduce Charles “Charlie”  ChenDong O’Brien, or “Charming Charlie” as his parents dubbed him….and you can see why!

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1st Happy Meal – not too sure about it!

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Welcome home, Charlie! <3

The AFA Gallery Show is Underway

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We had a great start to the Art for Adoption (AFA) show last Saturday night. Mayflower Arts Center is a gracious host, and we sold 7 original paintings!! I was so blessed by the support, and delighted to finally meet our feature family, the O’Brien’s. They are a super sweet family – the kids are adorable! Here we are pictured from left to right: Scott, Paula, Adhu, Cecelia, me, and, my daughter, Chloe:

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The winter gallery hours are Thursdays 10-2, Fridays 10-6, and Saturdays 2-8. The art will be on display through Saturday, February 18th. Please stop in at the gallery! There are still 23 original pieces of art looking for a home. Remember, 100% of your purchase goes directly to the O’Brien’s for the finalization of their adoption. And, look at this little guy:

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He is precious! The smile. The dimples. Enough said. I cannot wait to show the pictures of him with his new family. Stay tuned for those around the end of March!

AFA was featured this week in a lovely article in the Dayton Local News. Read the full article here.

Blessings today and always,

Robyn

 

2nd Annual Art for Adoption Gallery Show

Art for Adoption began one, short year ago with a prompt from the Lord, “Give your art away”.  I felt He was asking me to make good use of the “extra” art accumulating in my dining room. In 2016, we supported three families in the process of international adoption: the Schaadt family, the Whitacre Family, and the O’Brien family. Combined, my art raised about $4000 for these families (more if you count the matching grants!). Two of the three families have been to China in 2016 and have their children now at home, adjusting in their new families.

The Schaadt family and Nyah:

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The Whitacre Family and Elsie:

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The third family, the O’Brien’s, are nearing their goal, and hope to travel to pick up their son, “Mickey”, at the end of March 2017.

The O’Brien family and “Mickey” (the adoption agency name assigned to him):

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I have been given the opportunity again this year to have a gallery show in Troy, Ohio at Mayflower Arts Center in February 2017. 100% of the proceeds from this show will go to the O’Brien’s toward their adoption. We hope to see little “Mickey” home very soon with his new family.

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Local friends, you are cordially invited to an artist reception at the gallery on Saturday, February 4th from 6-8 pm. I am happy to report the O’Brien family plans to be in attendance. I hope you will come meet them, encourage them, and consider purchasing a piece of art in support of their adoption.

Non-local friends, I wanted you to have a way to participate in this special fund raiser, so I have decided to donate 100% of my shop sales now through February 18th to the O’Brien family. Many of the original pieces are loaded and available right now: here.

Lastly, we ask your crucial support in one other way….please help us spread the word about this event! Tell your friends, church, co-workers, anyone and everyone with a heart toward adoption how they can support bringing “Mickey” home.

Many thanks, and may God bless you richly in this new year!

Robyn