A Shepherd’s Guide to Herding Sheeple

I have a new short blog series that I will be posting over the next few weeks.  I have been thinking on how sheep are such interesting animals, so cute, so trusting, and so “not smart!” LOL, So I think this will be a fun read, and I’m quite sure you will enjoy it. Many believers can probably relate!
It will be a series of fun and humorous posts, but also reality check on our faith, and dealing with issues in the church family.   Artwork or photos will be included!

In my experience in working with Christian leaders on their church websites and apps, it never ceases to amaze me at the wide variety of churches, what they think is important, and how they care for their sheep and most importantly, where God is in their ministry. It’s really given me a lot of material, for the good and the bad. We gather all the information they send us about their church, their ministry, and their beliefs to create websites. My job is to put it all together for them so they can reach out and minister. My goal is to help them, add sheep to the herd, and to help them with tools to guide the sheep once they bring them in gate. I’m a little like a sheep dog! There will be no names, or particular faiths mentioned, but as I write these “parables,” I will enjoy hearing your thoughts on each post! I should have the first post over the weekend!

selective focus beige and brown goat
Photo by Sơn Bờm on Pexels.com
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The Case for a Christmas Tree….

As many close to me know….

I work at a Christian company designing websites and graphics for churches.  During the holiday season, I’ve also been lectured by several pastors, while on the phone with them, that Christmas trees are a pagan concept and have no place in a Christian home.  Some go so far as to say the Christmas celebration on the 25th of December, is a not a christian concept but derived from a winter solstice pagan celebration as a substitute to get people to come to church instead.. that Jesus couldn’t have been born in winter and blah, blah, blah….They are quite militant about it.

Nevertheless, I believe God looks at the heart, so as I began to get my tree ready this year, a lot of thoughts came to my heart about Christmas, trees and the whole celebration.

I started by setting up my smaller of the two trees, and carefully unwrapping all of my ornaments and lights.  As usual, several strands didn’t work, so I pieced together what I had, as you can see!  I’m not fond of the LED’s due to the brightness but I’m working through that phobia.   It’s a flocked tree, artificial, but still looks nice after several years.

I do love the blue and white together, though the white, being permanently attached to the tree and and only working halfway, and the blue here and there.  I love the blue, it’s a favorite of my husband Craig, and of my deceased first husband.  It’s also very peaceful and makes my heart think about that very first Christmas, in the night with the star in the east.  I think of the shepherds with their flocks and the angels.  Which then makes me think I need to add some sheep to the mix!

As I unwrapped the ornaments, it brought back so many memories of my life over the past almost 40 years of having my own home.  The ornaments all represented someone in my life, or something I made each year.  I have handmade stitchery ornaments from my mom along with several special ones she purchased as gifts for me.  Also, ornaments placed on gift packages from my sisters, and many from my late husband, my daughter and son in law.  There are some from special friends and some I had also purchased from craft shows I attended over the years. I’ve also been blessed to obtain a small Christmas village from Craig’s mom after she passed away.   They all brought back such warm memories. I know my tree looks a tad messy, old pearls and lots of hand made things, but what a blessing to have these reminders from years past! I just couldn’t have it any other way!

It occurred to me then, that God uses trees!  Of course there was the tree of life, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then the “tree” that Jesus was hung on and gave his life for us.  There was Zacchaeus climbing up in the sycamore tree to get Jesus attention.  And today God used my tree to get my attention and to bless my heart.

I think God must be happy with me having a Christmas tree to celebrate the birth of His son, our Lord Jesus!  Because He reminds me of every year of my life, that He has always been there, that He loves me and wants me to be happy!   I remember our Christmas trees as I grew up, whether flocked, Charlie Brown style or artificial!  How my mom made decorating a tree so special.  And though my family isn’t always interested in helping me, it’s a special holiday time for me and Jesus.

It then occurred to me, how sad it must be for those poor Christians that are so caught up in the law, that they miss out on the true joy of why God sent his Son!  That there is no wrong way to celebrate the birth of Christ, as long as it glorifies Him and brings us closer to Him.  That the focus is on Jesus and what His coming meant.   So dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, enjoy your tree if you like having it, and let it remind you of God’s mercy and grace in your life, that we will all one day be together with Him!  Merry Christmas!

It’s a New Year!

Why does it always feel like a fresh start or clean slate, just because the year on the calendar has changed? But nevertheless, it feels like you get a do-over.  You can make those new year’s resolutions, over again, begin that diet, get a new job and more.  You are able to forgive yourself for the failures of last year or rejoice in the glory of the accomplishments of the last year.

So beginning this year for me, I too have big plans!!!! I’ve gotten past foot surgery, biopsies, and health issues.  I’ve been working on new artwork and am making progress in setting up events to attend this year! Yay!

But above all that, I want my relationship with my Lord to be closer than it’s ever been.  We rely so much on Him!  But I want Him to be able to rely on me. To take His message wherever I go.  He is everything!  It’s not an easy task, loving others who are not easy to love, turning the other cheek when you really want to slap theirs. But there is way more to it than that.  It’s about starving the fleshly desires and feeding the spirit. That’s what Jesus did.  When the disciples wanted to know where the should go and get food, Jesus told them that he had food they knew not of.   He was concerned with feeding the spirit, by the Word of God.

So I am believing that this year, my flesh will grow slim, and the Spirit within me will be very well fed!  And the best place to find that food is in His Word.  I want to use whatever He gives me and be the best I can be with it.

I have been working on new designs.  I can’t wait to get these items out to the shows!
I know some of you have seen these already on my facebook. And please don’t notice the coffee cups, lol.  I do love me some coffee!

burned berries

Burned wood fractals and painted leaves and berries.

felted bunnies

Needle felted bunnies

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And quilting!!!!

So maybe it looks like I can’t make up my mind what I want to do, but I just love to do everything!  This kind of approach to an art business is not very profitable… but I can’t seem to focus directly.  I love to paint and can make the most impact with that.  But oh the joy of fiber arts!   SO I’m posting these pictures, I hope by the end of this year, my talent will have grown in fiber arts and painting.  I would like to have painting tutorials on here for you in the future for those of you who have asked me about classes!  I will keep you informed!

While getting ready for the Pennsylvania Apple n’ Cheese Festival……

I’m really conflicted about the future and how to go about making the important decisions that are necessary.   Yes, my artist friends, I know it’s just a little show, but for me, at this point, it’s a perfect show to do, since I have a 40 hour a week job, not including the drive/lunch break time.   My dilemma is that I need to make some changes soon.  Life changing choices.  I can stay where I am, where there is security, though it keeps me poor, or I can take that big leap of faith!  Just like I did so many years ago.  My heart is with my art.  Do I follow my heart, and take the leap of faith, or do I continue in the monotony of a normal boring life with no future for growth mentally or financially?

There are big risks, not having a steady income.  I know this from the past.  But is fear of failure worth staying where I am?  I think not! I can’t be one of those people that settle because it’s easy or comfortable.  I have to be brave and courageous to achieve the goals God set in my heart long ago!

I need to be back to the shows, where I used to be, but I also need to be teaching my craft, showing others how satisfying it is to create something from the heart.  I need to be more productive with my online sales. I already have a difficult time keeping up with my internet sales.

So keep me in your prayers about my future choices.   God always has a plan and He’s in full control, I just believe that the original plan He had for me, hasn’t changed.  There was just a big speed bump!

I’m praying for opportunities and open doors.  I’m excited at what the future holds!

 

UPDATE: Apple and cheese went very well thanks to good weather and a new craft!   The woodworking went very well along with my usual stuff.  I will be posting some new pieces very soon!  If you would like to know more about my work or see some photo tutorials, just stay posted and let me know what you would like to see!

Also, please add my blog to your favorites!  It will help me grow and create items that are inspirational to others!

 

 

Come visit us at Hammondsport!

The angel wing is finished!  It measures slightly less than 5 feet long and was done with acrylics.  It’s sealed with acrylic.  It’s a one of a kind, that’s for sure.  You can come and see it displayed at the Hammondsport Summer Crafts Festival August 19-20!  We will have much, much more in the way of the electrified wood with the Lichtenburg Fractals.

Hammondsport Crafts Festival

Under His Wings, You Will Find Refuge

This wonderful piece of wood has been sitting in my shop,  just waiting for the right design and project.  I’ve sort of had an idea, but hadn’t gotten to it. Today is the day!

So when you see this piece, what do you think of?

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It’s over 5 feet long.  It has a burl on the bottom. Woodturners are quite fond of those! Craig says it’s a piece of white oak but it really is unique with being cut from the crotch of a tree.

So as I look at it, I think of an angel wing.  I drew an angel wing in my journaling bible, with watercolor pencils and ink, but I think I will go a bit different with colors, mainly white. So I sketched it out on the wood, then base coated it with an off white.

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Then one feather at a time…..

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And that’s where it ended today!  It’s actually very helpful to have the instant photos to
review my work. I will have the verse from Proverbs on there somewhere.  This would be a great piece for someone with cathedral ceilings or a big space to fill.  It will be lightly stained and sealed to protect it when it’s done.  Then the wing will really stand out! I believe I will be finishing this at the Wellsboro Laurel Festival this weekend in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania!  Stop and sit a while and visit!   I’m in my usual spot near the front of the park on the corner.  I will also have some of my new needle felt creations there as well.  Hope to see you there!

A blessed morning with a shepherdess!

I got to take the time this morning to visit with my neighbors at Glenfiddich Farm!  What a special treat!  The England’s raise sheep, specifically for spinning wool.  Kathy showed me her shop where she has many different types of yarns and roving wool and more!  She creates a lot of beautiful things with wool and her knit sweaters were amazing!   When I was on the show circuit, Kathy and company were also at some of the shows I participated in.  Mainly the fine art or fine craft events and the folk craft shows. I feel really blessed to have them as neighbors!  We really live in a beautiful area so Check out their farm and sheep in this video!

And on this trip, I was blessed to be able to purchase beautiful roving wool for my new art, needle felting and felted quilt banners.  I was able to get a lot of natural colors to create animals and much more!  Kathy is very knowledgeable and helpful!  I noted all the great colors and types,  she had bags of fleeces that hadn’t been cleaned or carded yet that were so beautiful!  Her husband takes great care of the sheep, and is a wonderful shepherd!  Kathy had bought several of my art signs in the past and it was cool to also see them on the walls of her house.

Maybe some of you remember when I used to create dolls,  many unique creations from fabric, paint, and fibers?  Some of my regular customers were sad when I stopped making them and went to painting only, Well loved creating all of them, the normal and the crazy moose, giraffes, elephants, porcupines, etc.   and I am really looking forward to trying my hand at it again.  Only this time it will be more refined and detailed.  I will be making them out of mainly all natural fibers and materials.

Also!    Gina M. and Laurie L.  guessed my new craft!    I will have a little something for you in a couple of weeks!    Have a blessed day!

 

Another Hint!

This last week, I have been busily gathering new tools and supplies for my new craft!  So I thought I would take a moment to give you all another hint or two.   One thing I can definitely tell you is it’s not wood!  Someone asked me about this video and guessed that I was going back to woodworking.  In this video, that many of you have already seen, is my husband’s craft.  He is into fine woodworking and wood turning. He’s very talented!  The table top he is making in the video is hemlock being electrocuted with a very high voltage of electricity. He can maneuver the electricity to go in a direction he wants it to, and he can also alter the amount or depth of the burn.   But that is his work! 🙂

So that is one category ruled out!  My art requires very few tools, and most are small.  So a tool that an artist doing the medium I will be working with looks something like this item below! Let me know if you can guess what I am going to be creating!

Colonial Needle Felting Needle Tool

I hope you all are having a blessed Memorial Day weekend and remembering your loved ones that fought for our country!   We all know that freedom is not free.  We spent the afternoon with my husband’s family and visited the cemetery and placed flowers on the graves of family members.  Thanks to Uncle Steve and Louise for all you do!   The flowers were beautiful and the memories we create are even more special!