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!





1st Happy Meal – not too sure about it!


Welcome home, Charlie! <3

The AFA Gallery Show is Underway


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:


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:


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,



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:


The Whitacre Family and Elsie:



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):


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.


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!


My Magnificat

“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke1:38a).

Painting was a surprise. A joy I didn’t expect or see coming. Like all things, I have dabbled around, here and there, all these years. Following my curiosity, experimenting, learning. I have wrestled with painting- its meaning and purpose, wondering why God would give me something so wonderful, feeling the weight of responsibility to steward the gift well. I have learned I most enjoy painting faces. Each one is a challenge, and each one is unique – like us. I see a story emerging in each face taking shape through the layers of paint and collage. This is the most thrilling. What will this be? What does it represent?

This approach to painting, while creative and just plain-old-fun, does not yield many technically accurate, proportionate, and realistic results. Which has been perfectly fine to me. But I took a portrait class this fall with a really talented painter who taught me quite a bit about it all from watching her videos and taking in her knowledge of portrait painting. This led me to take a new approach to painting. I knew I wanted to paint Mary and Baby Jesus, and started with looking at several reference photos online. I found a couple I really liked and then sketched the basic figures onto a blank clay board (another note: this class was my first experience painting on clay and gesso boards. They are so wonderful for portraits. I had NO idea the difference this would make in the quality of the painting!). Then I set out to paint Mary and Jesus in intentional layers, like the master painters did. Starting with the darkest values and working to light, I followed my teacher’s advice, and mirrored her approach. I shared several pictures on social media of my process, including the shot painter’s refer to as the “ugly stage” with the dark values being very pronounced. Even in this stage, people were commenting this was a beautiful piece of art, which was so thrilling and personally gratifying!

My portrait, which is entitled, “Unto Us a Child is Born” is inspired from Isaiah 9:2-7. Jesus has the names from the passage written around his head, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”. I could not be more excited to share this with you this Christmas. I present to you, dear friends, my “magnificat” – my “song to the Lord” because He has done great things for me. He has remembered the lowly state of his servant and given me a tremendous gift in painting –  a gift I pray will honor him in every way “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior”:



“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth,
Sing to the Lord, praise His name; proclaim His salvation day after day.
Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples”
(Psalm 96:1-3)

I did make prints and cards of this piece, which are available in my shop. Everything is 30% now through Christmas day with code: JOY30.

Merry Christmas,


Sacred Intersections, Silence, and Shattering

I learned something about myself recently. Or, rather, I should say it is a lesson I am learning and re-learning again – the kind of lesson James spoke of about the man who looks in the mirror and forgets what he looks like as he turns away (James 1:23, 24).  I am like that. I forget what God has taught me, and then, in His infinite grace, He shows me again. And again. I marvel at my slowness! How poorly I translate the learning into life. How weary I am of the push-pull of sinful desires that war within!

Who will help this woman of sin?!

Praise God, “the Cross still stands and meets my needs in the deepest straits of the soul” (Valley of Vision, “Dark Guest”). I thank God for the Cross. For daily helping me take up mine and follow after Him. Today, I stumbled across my own words in an old journal: “Cross-bearing in silent, steadfast faith” and realized this is what I have been doing these last months. There are no words to share, only a slow, deliberate following after Jesus, refusing to veer off into my many weaknesses, temptations, and sin. A painful, careful following to be sure.

The blog has been silent lately. This has been a point of contention with me. A crisis point even. I have questioned if I should close it down all together, if I have said everything I am to say. And yet, oddly, the Lord has been pulling me back to the “mirror” to look long into the themes of my life, stoking the fires of my desire to write them down. So, I have concluded it is my flesh that succumbs to pressure, feels guilty for being quiet so long, and feels compelled to deliver “results” on a timed schedule. The Lord is teaching me much on all of this. Leaving it all quietly to Him is a daily devotion.

An author once cautioned me to be careful in what she termed “the sacred intersections”. The places where our story intersects with the story of another. Be diligent to stick to your own story, leave their story to them. This was good advice; that I’ve taken to heart. My life in recent years can be summed up in this thought. I largely live at the intersections, taking care not to cross the street in my sharing.

And this is the Lord doing. We grow in His timing and ways, at His pace. I try to listen and follow. Not share empty boasts, just for the sake of posting something. All of the above is the reason for my silence.

But, back to where I began: this lesson I am learning again. I noticed how susceptible I am to the suggestions or expectations of others. Just well-meaning people who say things to me – random, conversational type things that a “normal” person would probably be able to evaluate and filter fairly easily. But my boundaries are broken down. A suggestion becomes a burden, a sense of obligation, a desire to accomplish whatever Tom, Dick, and Harry ask for. I quickly take the pass and am half-way down the field before I realize it’s not my football. Or my game. Or my stadium. It’s not even my hometown, so why am I wearing your uniform? I’ll tell you why. Those darn fans. Those cheering, adoring people who compel us. Well, at least, me. That is sadly what I am learning. I am slave to performance. My doing overtakes my being in a desire to dazzle. I want to be the person you think I am. I want to deliver what you ask of me. The realization surprised me (again), but also frightened me more than a little. My heart’s desire is to run the race set before me, and only me. That’s hard to do, at least for me.  This idea of taking up my cross daily gets a whole lot more complicated when I am trying to keep all the incoming plates spinning at the same time.  So, these days, I am learning to let the plates fall, and with it, the shattering of meeting expectations that were never mine to meet. Even as I shudder and stumble in the wake of the terrible crashing sound, I am learning to rise and simply begin, again.