Sunday, December 29, 2013

Quietly...

Sometimes the quiet calls loud and clear.

You can hear it best when your heart longs for a place to rest. It will happen at the most inopportune moments, too - those times when you are hip deep in shopping, errands, planning that grand event, or... then. now...

You know this because you have heard the quiet call. You have longed for that rest.



Shhhh. Stop what you are doing. I give you permission - no, I encourage you! Go sit down in that favorite place you have, close your eyes - just for a few minutes. Rest and be still. You know you would tell me to do the same thing - so go do this for yourself.

Enjoy!

Blessings,
Kathy

Come to Me,
all who are weary and heavy-laden,
and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28



Friday, December 27, 2013

The Funtry Friday between...

Here we are. Merry Christmas greetings are fading and being replaced with Happy New Year greetings. The tinsel still glitters and the lights still shine, but the new year will soon begin and we will roll down the road for new adventures.

Some things will stay the same, though.


Billie Jane will still try to eat the bottom of the bowls.


Hershey will still play with his sticks. Imagine this happening with a two by four... I try to hide those from him, but every once in a while he finds them.


There will be more glorious sunsets to see, I am sure. God sure puts on some dramatic sky-scapes out this way!

So now that the Christmas fun is slowing down, how about propping your feet up, grabbing a cuppa and diving into a fun read?


My friend, Carol Cox, has a great new novella in this collection! There's a little mystery going on out in Texas and someone is checking them off one by one. Who is responsible? Hmmm... These novellas were all fun - see if you can figure out who the matchmaker is before the secret is revealed.  

Oh, you may have to wait until January to get your copy - but, hey, January is just around the corner!

Blessings,
Kathy

Sunday, December 22, 2013

T'was the week before Christmas and...

No! Stop! Not another bad parody of Dickens's "T'was the Night before Christmas"!!!


If you find you are exiting sanity to the tune of screams from "Home Alone", you need to stop, sit down, and breathe.

Breathe in the essence of Christmas. Breathe in the peace of Christ. Not the "cute" of a toy nativity - look at the wonder of how the birth of Jesus changed the whole world.

And no reindeer or chimneys were involved. Neither were fifty million trips to the mall, maxed out credit cards, or a schedule so full that there is no room for fun.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
John 10:10

Don't let your Christmas be stolen. Celebrate Christmas with the peace of Christ in the middle of everything you do.

Merry Christmas!

Blessings,
Kathy

Friday, December 20, 2013

Funtry Friday... the video that wouldn't load...

Huh. And here I thought I had figured out how to load those videos. I haven't given up yet! haha

But for now, a little photo is all I have...

How does a horse play?  Hmmmm....


With a stick and some friends, of course!

Happy Funtry Friday!

Blessings,
Kathy

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Abundant rewards!

Okay, mama and daddy - if you have more than one or two children, you have probably had someone make an unsolicited comment while you are shopping/at the park/loading your kids into the car.  Recently a wonderful blogging mama posted this comment on Facebook.

"Here's a lil' gem for y'all:

No mother enjoys being told her hands are full. Ever. No exceptions.
Can I get an "Amen"?"


Four, five, or six kids will get you the comment: "Do you do daycare?"

Seven or more kids will invite the comments about youth groups and other creative... um... bluderous verbal spews.

Fecundaphobia. Yep. Check out this article by Dr. Lu: Fecundaphobia: On the Fear of Large Families.

Well, I'm hear to tell you that these families do have their hands full - but not in the way (if you have a bit of Fecundaphobia) that you think.

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Psalm 127:3
 
Then, there was that very special Child - the one whose birthday we celebrate this month.
 
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us
And the government will rest on His shoulders
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6
 
And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people, for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.
Luke 2:10-12
 
When that child grew to be a man, He valued children.
 
And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Mark 10:13-14
 
Jesus thought enough about children that He filled a womb and came into this world the same way that we all did. God thought enough about children, that He calls them a gift and a reward.
 
Mama and Daddy, whether you have one child or 21 children, your hands are filled with tiny hands that reach for you, pictures drawn just for you, special pretend meals that taste better than real ones, handmade ornaments, just picked flowers, books to read to little listeners, and so much more. The world sees diapers, dishes and mounds of laundry, but that isn't what fills your hands. Your hands are full of gifts and rewards straight from the Lord!
 
How do I know that's true? That awesome blogging mama is my daughter.
 
Very blessed - and hoping you are blessed, too.
Kathy
 
 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ice skating - Funtry Friday!

Welcome to winter sports! Anything with any kind of water in it is freezing every night now. I chipped chunks of ice off of the big horse tank and found that parts of it were about three inches thick. The smaller water containers just freeze solid. But, hey - they make pretty good skating rinks!



Nope, these chickens aren't wading in the water - they are standing on the ice cube.

Well some of them are standing on the ice. The rest are still in bed waiting for the sunshine to warm things up a bit.



Speaking of ice. It's been sooooo cold.... How cold is it? Cold enough to freeze the water draining out of a hose.


After I filled up Billie Jane's water bucket, I unhooked this hose and tossed it on the ground. This is what I found in the morning. This wasn't running water that froze - just the water as it drained out of the hose.

How do the critters fair? Just fine! In fact, the colder weather has made some of them quite frisky. Bailey is up to her usual "throw the stick for me" morning routine.


This little stick started out as a three foot long dried up sheep weed bush, and by the time Bailey was through with it, this is all that was left. Don't need a wood chipper around here!

As always - no matter how cold it is - when the clouds roll in and the sun sets there is a glorious sunset to be enjoyed!



Happy Funtry Friday!

Blessings,
Kathy

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

And the next art adventure will be...

Are you wondering what will be showing up on my easel next? Well, I do have a few little bits and pieces to finish up, but then this very fun painting adventure will be my first class project in 2014. Our teacher, Caroline Linscott, gave us a preview of what we will be doing next.

First you get your watercolor paper all soaking wet.


Then you start splashing on some bright colors.


And then you really splash on some bright colors!



Caroline is using a large Connoisseur cats tongue wash brush to put all this color into place. Yes - there is a lot more color to add!



Wet wash, wet into wet paint, splashes, and now drips and runs. She is turning the board and letting the paint run together and then turning it another direction to let the paint run that way. Done? Not quite!


Now scatter a handful of salt over the wet paint and wait to see what happens.

 
 
You have to wait until the paper is completely dry to move on to the next step, so just take some time to stare at the beautiful colors on her palette while you wait.



You may have noticed that the colors are all very vibrant - rather like fall leaves when they change color. Well, this is going to turn into a carpet of fall leaves when the painting is finished. How? By the use of painting negative spaces.

Like this:

"Butterfly Fantasy" by Caroline Linscott
Illustration from her book, "Watercolor 1, Learn the basics of watercolor painting"
A Walter Foster How to Draw and Paint book
We will be taking a little break for some Christmas festivities, and then we will all be back together in January. This will be a very fun way to start our New Art Year!

In the meantime, I will be finishing up a few art projects and enjoying lots of Christmas fun with family and friends.

Merry Christmas!
Blessings,
Kathy

Sunday, December 8, 2013

December 7, 1941

Remembering.





Keeping those who defend our nation in prayer.



Praying for the families who wait at home.


Thank you!

Blessings,
Kathy

Friday, December 6, 2013

Funtry Friday shivers!

My calendar says that winter begins on December 21st. My calendar has obviously not been outside. It has not looked at the rock to check the wet weather. It has not stood on the porch to test the wind chill. My calendar doesn't know winter from... from... a warm summer day!

This is winter.


There are two layers of ice on this bucket. The top one was probably from last night before Billie Jane finished eating. Then she poked a hole in the ice - being the Colorado horse that she is! - and drank a bunch of water. Then the temperature proceeded to drop enough to freeze an inch of ice on the rest of her water. Brrrr. Looks kind of neat with a double layer of ice and space in between.

And, this is winter.


Okay. Maybe I should make this photo teeny tiny and zoom in on one of the random icy patch (if I can find it). Then my whine would sound better.

But, hey - it was cold out there! And all kinds of things froze - like this spider web.


 The ice was just starting to melt when I went next door to feed the critters. The spider web with the glistening icy drops was what caught my attention at the time, but I have to admit that it's pretty funny that Raven is standing in her "food dish". Silly girl!


Okay. I admit it. I did find some green stuff growing around here. It must be pretty hardy because it has been below freezing for several days in a row now. Does that mean I have to quit whining about how cold it is?

How about a sunset? Maybe that will take my mind off of the cold.



These clouds were absolutely crazy bright and glowing yellow, orange and red. Ummm. Never mind the big blurry UFO in the sky above the clouds. Some hay got trapped inside my lens, and, well... no, the lens doesn't come apart. Yeah, I know. Hay inside my camera... pathetic. It does seem to have shifted around, though. Maybe the UFO flew away.

Perhaps a bigger sunset will make up for the "hay episode".



Huh. There's a big UFO in this one, too. I really don't know what caused the huge shadow across the clouds - but this time it wasn't hay in my camera! The clouds looked like this with or without the camera.

Why don't we just skip the rest of this wintry cold and walk down memory lane where we can think about last summer...


Nothing quite like an early morning guinea serenade to take my mind back to warmer days!

Hope winter is being nice to you out in your neck of the woods.

Happy Funtry Friday!
Blessings,
Kathy

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New brush, add painting, stir in class, and...

Remember this painting?


Well, I've been working on it a little bit - with some new brushes that I got. Oh, don't you just love new toys tools!? The brushes are Loew-Cornell 7020 Ultra Round - a synthetic brush that really does hold the water and keep a nice point. So with my new tools toys ;-) in hand, I grabbed my paints and had some fun.



Remember this painting started as a value study in yellow, then I added a value study in orange, and topped it with a value study in red. Here, I have added more to the red layer in this painting.

Time to get brave and grab the blue!


The wash of blue over the yellow, red, and orange did turn the leaves green. *yay* The darker shadows on the flowers are beginning to take shape, too. Um. A little too much shape. Remember how I was working from a black and white photo for the value study?


Well, I should have switched to working with the color photo somewhere in the middle of the red layer. So, ahem, I changed directions - and grabbed the red paint again and put that on top of the blue.



So now instead of a painting with pure color in successive layers of yellow, orange, red, blue, and green I now have a painting with layers of yellow, orange, red, blue, and red. Some people just color outside the lines. Moving right along...

Then I went to class...


...and had lots more fun coloring outside the lines! After I added the green glaze during class, my teacher, Caroline Linscott, made a few suggestions and *poof* this little painting appeared!

It's going to be fun to see what this ends up looking like!

Hope you are having as much fun with your creative endeavors as I am with mine.

Blessings,
Kathy



Sunday, December 1, 2013

To "sale" or not to "sale"...

Here we are, in the midst of sale season. A black day, a small business day, a local day, a cyber day - grab your wheel barrow and load it up with your moola or just memorize your credit card number and don't worry because they will raise your limit if you spend "enough". And, hey - if you shop at the smaller local stores or buy online, you probably won't get trampled or whomped by anyone.

Ummmm. What happened to all those (brief) thoughts of thankfulness that were being flung around last week? Ya know what I found out? Canada has started having sales on the USA Black Friday weekend. The frenzy has spread... sorry for the invasion, my Canadian friends - I hope that sanity prevails for all of your shoppers!

What is this compulsion to buy? Why? Ummmm... if you look around there are signs that indicate that there is some vague "holiday" coming up that requires going into debt during repeated frenetic shopping frenzies.

Whatever that "holiday" is, I want nothing to do with it.

I think I will stick with our plain and simple Christmas where the primary focus is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ - the One Who thinks I am precious.

How precious? He paid a very dear price for me - His life. Not so I could buy a lot of stuff for an unknown holiday, but so I could share His love with every gift I give for Christmas.

By the way, He thinks you are that precious, too!

Merry Christmas!
Blessings,
Kathy

For god so loved the world that He gave is only begotten Son
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Day

In 1953, Thanksgiving Day was sandwiched between "Thanet, Octave" and "Thaumatrope" in the encyclopedia.


In 2013, Thanksgiving Day is sandwiched between "working late" and "Black Friday".

In 1621 the corn harvest brought rejoicing and Governor William Bradford decreed that December 13, 1621, be set aside as a day of feasting and prayer, to show the gratitude of the colonists that they were still alive.

In 2013, people argue over ham vs turkey and white potatoes vs sweet potatoes, between watching a parade and watching sports.

Many days were spent preparing that first feast and 80 guests arrived with gifts. Tables were set up outdoors and all the people sat around them like one large family. Prayers, sermons, and songs of praise were an important part of the celebration. This splendid feast lasted three days.

In 1863, President Lincoln issued a proclamation to set aside the last Thursday of November of that year "as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father." He issued a similar proclamation in 1864. Four seventy-five years, the Presidents of the United States did the same thing. In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the day to a week earlier. Congress stepped in, and ruled that the fourth Thursday of November would be observed as Thanksgiving Day beginning in 1941.

"In the United States, Thanksgiving is usually a family day, celebrated with big dinners and joyous reunions. Many persons travel hundreds of miles to spend the day with their parents. The very mention of Thanksgiving often calls up memories of old farmhouse kitchens and pantries crowded with good things to eat. Thanksgiving is also a time for serious religious thinking, church services, and personal prayer."

Now you know what Thanksgiving Day was like 392 years ago, how our nation started celebrating Thanksgiving Day 150 years ago, and what Thanksgiving Day looked like 60 years ago.

It's a lot more important than potatoes and parades, or a day off before a big sale.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!
Blessings,
Kathy

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A month of Sundays

Nana's conversation was filled with fun expressions. "Fine as hen's teeth", "this world and one more in the bandwagon", "six of one and half a dozen of the other", and many more expressions flowed freely when she spoke. "A month of Sundays", meant that it had been a long, long time. How long? Well, today is officially a "month of Sundays" for November.

November, National Orphan Awareness Month - where those of us close to adoption remember that there are more than 150 million orphans in the world. For those orphans, their whole life is a "month of Sundays".

I started this month with a blog post about adoption and I will end this month of November Sundays with links to other great stories about adoption.
And, one last little thought. A little story of two young women - both about the same age. Let's say around 17 years old.

One is just about ready to go to college - an incredible dream come true.*

The other is a widowed mother of a five year old child. She is the daughter of a widow and she just left her infant at an orphanage to be adopted.

Both stories are true.

Praying for a world with no more broken families,
Kathy

*You can make this kind of difference in the life of a child through World Vision.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Funtry Friday - here and there

Well, the little birds have mostly all flown away - but some nests are right there!



Brrrr! and ahhhhh! The wood is here - to chase away the cold morning chill.


That is a good thing - because the storm is over there. And over my head.


Lots of gentle rain is falling, and I'm very thankful that the Lord has sent the moisture we need.

As long as Benny Bunny gets his carrot, he doesn't care what the weather is like.


By the way, do you know what most of my photos of Benny look like? This.


Curious little guy - and always hopeful for his snack!

Also, by the way, your weather report today is:  the rabbit is wet.


Apparently, he doesn't care if he is wet - he was still racing to get his snack! I did manage to snap the photo before all I got was nose... Some things never change.

Oh, like Bailey. Rain or shine, it's "toss my stick for me"!


Since I can't get Cookie or Lova to chase anything, I'm glad that Bailey comes over and wants to play.

Hope you have had some play time in your neck of the woods today. Happy Funtry Friday!

Blessings,
Kathy

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Keeping those brushes wet...

Yes, I know you were expecting to see my rose painting all (or almost) finished. Ummm... nope. It looks just the same, but I did get my apple painting finished.


At least I think it is finished. I may darken the background a little bit more, but I am happy with the lace pattern that I added on the table and I do like the shadow now that I lightened it up a bit. Trying all of these new painting ideas is a lot of fun!

Here is my new little painting from my watercolor class with Caroline Linscott. If you are local to the Prescott, Arizona, area - you should contact her about her classes! There are spaces available.


Caroline has a tremendous amount of knowledge about watercolor techniques, and this week we dove into something that I had never done before. Woohoo - another adventure in painting!

Our reference photograph is a Hollyhock, but we are not painting this Hollyhock by mixing reds, pinks, and greens. We are actually building the colors in a value study and mixing them  optically layer by layer.

 
value study focuses on painting the same color, but adding more paint and less water for the darkest areas and more water and less paint for the lightest areas.

HINT: It was much easier for me to use the black and white photo for the first part of this painting, because I could focus on just the values and not the colors.

The first layer was painted in a bright yellow, the second value study layer was painted in orange (yes, you read that right!), and the next layer was painted in red. The red value layer of paint is painted wherever there is red in the painting. My red value layer isn't quite finished yet, but it is getting there.


Because watercolor is transparent, you now see both the yellow and the orange through the red. The next color I will add will be blue and I will then green. Yes, you heard me right - there will be green right over the top on the darkest values in this painting. If I do it right, you will see all the other colors peeking through. The transparent colors optically mix when they are painted in thin washes of color. I am kind of excited to see how this painting turns out.

So, some artistic hints and a nudge or two:
  • Try something new! Every art form has lots of different approaches - look for a new way to use an old favorite medium.
  • If you are local to Prescott, take a class from Caroline Linscott! If you aren't local, find a great teacher in your area and soak up some new information.
  • And one final great hint... When you photograph your artwork, dust off the dog hairs. Hey, I could have retaken the photo - but I thought it was another good hint. *roflol*
I'm keeping my brushes ane wet learning lots of new things. What are you doing to keep your creative juices flowing? Share your latest artistic adventures in the comments!

Blessings,
Kathy

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Euclidean Geometry

An infinitely beautiful sunset -
posted here so that your brain may rest
between colliding infinitely infinite thoughts.
You're welcome.
Remember pi r square? Remember that whole radius of a circle thing? I have a vague recollection of high school geometry - probably because I had a very cool teacher. Mr. Draper was able to explain math to right brained people - what's not to enjoy about that kind of math teacher?

I (vaguely) remember a discussion about how the radius of a circle determined the size of the circle. Mr. Draper went on to explain that the radius was the same measurement all the way around a circle and that you could find out how big the circle was if you knew how long the radius was.

Being totally right brained even back then, and having brushed up against the concept of infinite distances in space - I blurted out the first thought that came to my mind: "But what if the radius is infinite?"

"Ah," he responded without a pause, "then you would have Euclidean Geometry."

Now, umpty-ump years later I am hear to tell you that today was the first time I ever looked up Euclidean Geometry. To me, it simply meant that there was infinite stuff in math that would make circles (oh - and maybe squares) so big that they could reach out to space and touch that star - way out there.

Today, I know oh so much more. Yeah, well. Ummmm. Well, Euclidean Geometry... has a history. And it means a... *cough* lot of stuff. And all I can recall from what I just read is this little drawing on Wikipedia - but it says a lot about Euclidean Geometry.
In summary:  if "a" is that-a-way and "b" is this-a-way, then eventually they bump into each other.

Math people, I see your eyes rolling back in your head in despair - so with apologies to Euclid, let's just change the subject.

Infinity is something that only God *really* understands because He is the only one Who has always been. And that concept is too big for me to comprehend. I'm really grateful that God knew we would have a bit of trouble with that - so he slipped on human skin and came to earth to explain it to us. *whew* Thank you, Jesus.

Sometimes I feel like that little triangle. There are dotted lines that meet up somewhere - but they aren't always visible to me. So I pray - a lot. I know those lines bump into each other, because God always answers prayer. Always.

Okay - I hear someone saying, "But...", followed by a list of missing blessings.

I stand by what I said. God always answers prayer.
  • He says "yes" and showers the blessings we ask for on us.
  • He says "not yet" and asks us to wait for His timing. Then He pours out His blessings on us.
  • He says "I have something better for you." and then He pours out favor and blessings and surprises that we could not have imagined - or even thought to ask for - all over us!
Step into infinity and give God a chance to do something spectacular for you today. Pray. But don't expect Him to be like the shopping mall Santa who pretends to check things off our list.  Be prepared for Him to know what really will bless your sock right off and send them into (infinite) outer space!

Anticipating some of those incredible blessings,
Kathy


The earth is the Lord's and all it contains,
The world, and those who dwell in it.
Psalm 24:1









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