Category Archives: Artists I Love

Here you’ll find photos of art that makes me happy, some information about the artists, and how you can have it for your very own.

Wildin’

I love the song “Four Five Seconds” by Paul McCartney, Kanye and Rihanna. It talks about having had enough and being really close to cutting loose, or “wildin’.” I love it mainly because y’all know I’m often seen wildin’. One of my fave lyrics is, “Cause all of my kindness is taken for weakness.” How many of you have felt like doormats or even, God forbid, been exploited for your kindness being mistaken for weakness? I know many people who have, and I want to look at this in the context of how we walk out our faith.

Let’s flip the script. Instead of kindness being mistaken for weakness, let’s look at anger being taken for hate. Right now Christians and humanitarian activists for equality are facing the same issue as the kind person in the song: having their true heart misinterpreted. Their zeal and justified anger is being mistaken for “hate.” With this perspective the lyrics would go something like, “Cause all of my wokeness is taken for hatred.”

Friends, on behalf of many people (I won’t speak for all, but certainly include myself) fighting for equality, I fervently apologize when our passion has bent towards anger that catches you off guard. It often catches us off guard as well. Digging deeper, I apologize when we’ve taken it a step too far and have sinned in our anger. (Ephesians 4:26) We are an imperfect people attempting to help the marginalized. We often cross the line in our approach because of the visceral reaction we have to what’s going on. I have seen this in my walk, so I know others have as well.

But regardless of a person’s reaction to the current climate of unrest, what we all must come to terms with is there is unrest and there are sins against humanity on full display. Even on video. I imagine God Himself is quite unhappy with the state of current culture which accepts oppression as the norm. A culture that says, “Fighting oppression is something for someone else to take on,” while we remain in our places of privilege, also known as our “comfort zones.” Based on scripture, the Lord’s heart for the “least of these” is clearly laid out: He despises, even hates, when “the powerful abuse the vulnerable.” (See Old Testament prophets)

People who aren’t familiar with the global movement to lift the oppressed may see friends and family as impassioned zealots, and given time this will pass. They assume these friends are part of a fringe group who consider themselves “woke;” modern day hippies. People are seeing pastors and faith leaders, like Beth Moore, calling for us to open our hearts and minds to the harsh reality that our brothers and sisters face daily oppression. Some people push away their counsel, again thinking these leaders are just an impassioned few rallying around the latest cause. But they are not a minority. They are millions who have been moved by the public display of bigotry and inequality. Pope Francis himself said it is time for the marginalized to be given a voice, to have a place at the table. But he isn’t just saying they use their voice, he’s beckoning us to use ours.

We are the voice that calls for people to awaken to the truth. “How will they know unless they hear?” We are the voice and the strength to come alongside people of different races, cultures, sexual orientations, religions, etc. We are the people who act because those laid low are in need of our love and help. Gone are the days of the oppressed fighting alone; we fight alongside them now. We are using our place and our privilege to come to their sides, because we often have influence they don’t. We can engage people groups and organizations that may reject them. The People’s Pope isn’t alone in this fight, either. Leaders from varying faiths are calling their members to recognize that our place as a believer is in coming alongside the marginalized. Our place is to actively stand up and stand in for the “least of these.”

So, in what ways are we to do this? Does it always have to be with fervor, and “turning over tables” so to speak? No. And I’m realizing that this isn’t the only way to “prove” one is in the fight. I am guilty of doing what this song I love says, “seeing kindness, or meekness, as weakness.” In humility I have recently asked myself, “What different ways am I seeing fellow believers fight? Has my fight been effective, or pushed people away? Has their fight been effective, and in what ways can I learn from it? Where can I toss in more compassion while keeping my God-given zeal?”

These questions led me to remember and embrace that believers across the world are fighting in many ways: Prayer. Fasting. Donating. Learning. Re-learning. Leaving their comfort zones to interact with minority groups. Being more intentional and honest about how they view those different from themselves. Voting for social policies that will benefit those on the outside looking in. The list goes on. Regardless of what one is doing, I believe there is a deeper heart question at hand. It isn’t what we doing but, “Are we heeding the word and reflecting the heart of our Lord in this situation? Are we repulsed, as He is repulsed, when we witness people in power oppressing the weak?” One response to these questions may not look like another. What they do may not look like what you do. And that’s ok! Going beyond that, because each response and action is different we can learn from one another’s response instead of judging one another’s response.

I want to ask those shocked at someone’s public “wokeness ” or zeal to be slow to judge and label it “hate.” I want to ask those shocked by someone’s “silence” or meekness to be slow to judge and label it “weakness.” We are ONE body and we know not all body parts are called to the same action. But each body part and it’s function is needed to fight this most necessary fight. Each of us has been given our own gift and personal journey to do the good work of bringing peace into chaos.

Each human is called to stand up for their fellow human. The time is now. It has always been now. The marginalized and vulnerable being laid low has always been something that breaks God’s heart. People in power have been keeping them under their thumb since the dawn of time. But I firmly believe we have more education, resources and momentum now more than ever to bring forth lasting change. Every wrong will never be righted until Heaven comes to Earth. One day the low will be brought high, and the tears of the brokenhearted will be wiped away for good. While we await this day with great anticipation, it doesn’t negate our responsibility to be vessels now to help right wrongs.

So whether you do something as simple as join a book club to better understand race relations, or something as complex as joining a national movement, as long as we are moving toward God’s heart of peace and reconciliation among His children we are doing it right. Let us forgive one another for expecting their fight for justice to be identical to our own. May we realize we are each given a unique personality, gifting and method to serve one another in these trying times. And may we all have abundant grace to one another as we walk out the purposes the Lord has laid before us.

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#cancelnetflix

If “Cuties,” the controversial Netflix show, bothers you, AS IT SHOULD, please take time to read. This is a warning about the vile content of the show, why we should be vocal in opposing it, and also why we can’t allow the “sexualzation” of everyday kids not featured on a Netflix special to continue.

In light of the recent buzz about this immoral show, we are right to respond in a manner that denounces it on a macro-level, meaning how it affects our culture as a whole. Likewise, we are right to open our eyes WIDE to the micro-level effect and how such a “genre” affects children and families individually. We are called be “wise as serpents” continually “searching our hearts for any wicked way in it.” (Matthew 10:16; Psalm 139:24)

This is an open letter to parents regarding “Cuties,” and how I believe the publicity of it has revealed a deeper, more personal heart issue: our battle, as primary influencers in our children’s lives, against inappropriate content and undesirable behavior.

Many of you know my dance history, which is relevant to my stance on appropriate self-expression in fine arts. I was steeped in the art of dance and music for 20 years, guided mainly by my mother and also dozens of wonderful mentors. Because of this life experience I support free-expression through fine arts, specifically dance and music. Art imitates life and is a medium for many people’s stories and ideas to be heard. However, there is NO PLACE for young children to be exploited and call it “art.”

“Cuties” has shown the cultural shift in what’s considered acceptable in exploiting people, in this case children. The writer claims her intent was to “tell her personal story.” However, it seems to me the content of “Cuties”—whether her goal or not—was used at best as a shocking head-turner, and at worst a plunge into a dark agenda.

On a macro-level we are called to strongly oppose such disturbing content from becoming the status-quo. I see many doing this though social media platforms, rightfully shining a light on darkness. We must not turn a blind eye to this blatant attempt to corrupt minds and hearts.

I personally believe our micro-level response is just as important as our macro-level response, maybe even more so. In rejecting “Cuties” with our words and actions, yet ignoring similar behavior seen in our own lives, it has been laid bare many are condoning the very troubling behavior we claim to hate.

Parents, we have the obligation and personal responsibility to protect our children from darkness. The reaction to this show’s content is a wake up call for us to be alert and filter what we allow to influence our kids’ hearts.

We MUST do better monitoring what content, in this scenario music and dance, we allow our children to participate in. Our protection, or lack therefore, will directly impact their hearts and therefore their behavior for a long time to come. Future choices are often directly related to what was permitted in a young person’s life and heart.

Many are choosing to cancel Netflix, a powerful, worldwide company. This personal choice is a justified protest against the company, which requires a monthly fee. Refusing to financially support it any longer makes a bold statement: hit ‘em were it hurts! Likewise, public outcry over “Cuties” and constituents petitioning their representatives has spurred Congress to open an investigation into Netflix. I consider these macro-level responses honorable. Instead of just posting “this is gross, the world is horrible,” people are choosing to use their voice to call for change. These macro-level actions are to be applauded.

Friends, there is no space for children to be allowed to hear, sing and then mimic heart-damaging lyrics, filled with bad language and sexual content. There is no room to allow them access to media content where artists are often robed in scandalous outfits or costumes, performing “sexualized” dance moves. In this broken world immoral activity sneaks up on us. But do they shock us enough to intervene and fulfill our responsibility to protect our kids? Not doing everything we can to turn their sweet eyes from such things is neglecting our role as a parent. Period.

There will be times when your child is confronted head first with content you had no idea was coming. Then you’ll have to do some damage control, explaining what was inappropriate, why it was and how we don’t follow such behavior. We must even explain how this behavior can often lead them into a journey they will one day regret.

Then there will be times you as a parent(s) make the decision to watch a show or listen to music with your child that renders discussion before and/or after. For an example, we decided our kids were allowed to watch Hamilton the musical. Our children love musical theatre and have seen many like Newsies, Mary Poppins, Wicked and Shrek. With Hamilton, we knew the music and and choreography would be different than previous musicals they’ve seen. The story line is forward and powerful, and some lyrics contain colorful language. My children know these are words they are not to use, and they fully understand some content is for adults.

My husband and I decided, however, the benefits outweighed the risks and allowed them to watch. Personal family values should guide us when faced with choices like this. What my family decides is okay may be different than what your family decides. However, I am not speaking to content that can broaden your child’s appreciation of the arts with issues properly addressed. I am speaking to content that will influence them in a way that can lead to devastating outcomes.

Condoning inappropriate expression through dance, or any pastime for that matter, is wrong and misleads a child to believe this behavior is okay, because mom, dad or instructor allows it. Writing it off as “cute” or harmless is ignoring our parental duty . In doing so, we better be ready to own that we are creating our own “cutie” environment which is every bit as damaging to our children, young adults and even adults as the show itself.

If we are denouncing this show publicly, but allowing our children free reign and access to questionable content privately, we are walking in hypocrisy. How can we be vocal about cultural atrocities, yet not address the spiritual and emotional vulnerability we fail to reject in our personal lives? Furthermore, if we allow the “sexualization” of our own kids, we are blatantly ignoring the correlation it has to poor decisions they’ll make in the future based on what was permitted in their young lives.

Trust. Me. On. This. We will be responsible for what our lack of shielding leads to in our children’s hearts and lives. We, not government or networks like Netflix, are commanded by God to guard our kids’ hearts from sin that can lead to spiritual death. No law is going to protect them and their innocence. No bill passed is going to personally lead them to light and truth. It is our responsibility as parents to use God’s word, wisdom, discernment, grace and guidance to do this.

So if we find ourselves publicly canceling Netflix and calling Congress while privately allowing our child to memorize sketchy lyrics and act-out mature, questionable dance moves…we better be willing to recognize this exposure leads down the same road of brokenness we are publicly demanding be banned.

For the sake of our kids, we must be consistent in our call for modesty, innocence and proper expression through the arts. When we see repulsive material sneaking into our children’s world we must speak out just as quickly as we speak out against shows like “Cuties.” It doesn’t matter if it’s in your four walls, or being used to win a dance or music competition; call it out in protest and cancel it from your family’s life.

Our children’s spiritual purity and growth isn’t worth any award or attention gained from family and friends. There is no room for being okay with it; we can’t allow our lack of supervision or lack of awareness to welcome the enemy into our family. We can not embrace passionate macro-level responses while neglecting our micro-level responsibility.

John 10:10 says “the thief, our spiritual enemy, comes only to kill, steal and destroy.” But in God, we are equipped with supernatural power to fight the enemy. By doing so our kids and our families can have life in full. Please heed this word: fight the enemy, not only publicity on social media, but privately in your home and community.

Let’s usher in “full and abundant life” for our children and families. We have “all we need for a life of holiness” (2 Peter 1:3). With God’s grace and guidance, we can win the battles attacking us on every front. Rise up, parents. Rise up.

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Called and Equipped

Have you ever felt led by God to join Him is His redemptive work, but feel you have failed God too many times to be of use? Do you look at your past or current state and think, “I don’t have a right to champion this cause because I have sinned far too much?” Friend, I have amazing news for you! Good News. GREAT news!

In light of our current climate, I want to use standing up for racial equality as an example, because it is near to my heart. Please don’t stop reading now. We all need to hear this, because it relates to whatever arena God has called you into. The Bible says “there are different ways to serve, and they all come from the same Lord.” (1 Corinthians 12:4)

Contrary to the lie the devil is telling you, you don’t have to have a perfect track record on race relations to take a firm stand now. None of us are perfect, and each of us— white, black, brown, “tan,” as my kids call themselves—are sinful by nature, bending toward freshly biases. We’ve all made, and will keep making, choices that go against God’s way. It’s what we do as humans, we rebel and turn from God. Trust me, I can say with zeal, “I am the chief of sinners,” yet God still graciously uses me. (1 Tim 1:15)

BUT GOD has so lovingly given us, through His Holy Spirit, wisdom and discernment so we can ask Him to squash our sinful ways. Praise God! He can use us for His Kingdom regardless of our wretched heart! He can show us our wicked ways (Psalm 139:23-24) so we can slowly but surely become more like Him…and less like us.

Being limited in our ability to choose God over self is the just the stark reality of being alive. We are flawed beings who serve a flawless God, and rely solely on his saving grace each moment. It’s why we ask God DAILY to show mercy on us, and forgive us for our trespasses, because we ALL are trespassing against one another in some way. But, this doesn’t mean God can’t equip and use you. He has called you to step out of the darkness and into the light! (1 Peter 2:9) We are to call the devil a liar when he tells us we aren’t good enough for God to use!

It’s never too late do the right thing. I don’t care if you have been a blatant sinner against the very thing God has now called you to. Repent and WALK BOLDLY IN THAT CALL. I say this from personal experience. Never believe the lie that you aren’t equipped to be used for His service. It is not only in large, well-planned, church-organized times God uses His children. It is in the small moments in honest acts of love in action that God makes His biggest impact.

I’m so thankful, and also abhorred, when God shows me my sin and helps me correct course, because that’s not where my story ends. In fact, it’s the only place it can begin.

Be blessed, y’all! ❤️🙏🏾🕯

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Would You Light My Candle?

Marriage. It’s not always easy, y’all. It is a fine balancing act between two completely different people. I’ll give you an example. My husband isn’t a candle person. Like, at all. But every morning I light a candle and enjoy it’s glow against the budding dawn. He still doesn’t love candles, but he’s grown to understand that the sight and smell brings me a sense of peace, like several small things do for him. God often uses small things like a candle, or in my husband’s case a Saturday watching college football, to grow our hearts and build our fortitude for bigger things.

This is applicable not only in marriage, but in all relationships. Many people are taught in counseling about the importance of “compromise” to keep harmony in a relationship. Oftentimes this is true, my husband and I have agreed to compromise on several issues over the past 18 years. I don’t believe, however we should use only compromise–a term meaning one or both parties concedes something they value–for our relationship obstacles.

While looking at my lit candle this morning, God reminded me of a better way to work out differences in beliefs. I believe a lasting union is less about concession and more about laying down our pride while working to see and know another’s heart and motivation. In doing so we are ultimately saying, “Even though it differs from mine, I will honor your belief because this tells of my love for you.”

For a long time I’m sure my husband saw the candle and rolled his eyes. (Maybe he still does!) But over time he grew to understand the sentiment behind my candle. He didn’t ask me to compromise, rather he chose to lay his own agenda aside and see things from another’s perspective. His example causes me to search my own heart. At whom am I rolling my eyes instead of creating space to see know their heart and understand their beliefs?

While the example of a simple candle is minuscule in relation to the broader challenges in our relationships it’s a picture of how small acts of understanding are fundamental to more significant acts of understanding. It is a glowing reminder to examine our hearts, deny ourselves and let love and wisdom guide the difficult conversations.

I’m not sure about you, but my initial response to an alternative belief often stems from from a pride-filled desire to be right. We must recognize our natural bend is toward pride, defensiveness and self-righteouseness. When we acknowledge this fleshly, often embarrassing, truth about ourselves we can then beg God to remove these sinful attitudes from our hearts and minds. Such sins feed off one another, quickly stomping out any chance of unity.

With God’s help we can approach relationship challenges from a place of humility, faith and love. We can pause, listen to understand, and deny pride and arrogance a foothold in the conversation. My husband chose to open his mind and heart to a belief different than his own; this small act of understanding blesses me and increases our unity.

Where in our lives can we do the same, especially where another’s belief helps them on their journey to peace, holiness and wholeness? In every relationship we can practice love and understanding which guides us into deeper, purer, more enduring relationships. Using wisdom and the Holy Spirit as a compass, two or more can live more harmoniously no matter the differences in beliefs. When we choose to “put on love and become a people of perfect unity” we are choosing to live as Christ and be Christ to others.

–Collosians 3:14

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Heavenly Mathematics

This post is dedicated to Harmon Cox who married my grandmother after my biological grandfather, and Harmon’s wife,  passed away. “PaPaw Harmon” always made visiting fun, and I always felt wanted there. He would watch the Braves and cook the most delicous steaks and corn bread you’ve ever tasted. He let me play in his office with his office supplies and big old-timey calculator. He, nor my grandmother, ever wanted to lose their first spouse, their childrens’ parent, at such a young age.

But they allowed God to use his heavenly mathematics

to bless them for many many years. 

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When my step-grandfather died, I wanted to send his children and my cousins something special. I wanted to make it myself and include my favorite picture of him engaged in his famous, full belly-laugh.

The problem was, with a newborn and recent long-distance move, I was running on fumes. I didn’t have it in me to find my paints and brushes. Honestly, I don’t think I even knew where they were!

Instead, I threw together what I had: my kids’ markers and scrapbook paper, some cheesy office labels I found in a drawer and Dollar Tree frames. This was not going to be my typical “A Little Happy” gift, but it was honestly all I had to give during that season.

papaw harmon

I was a little embarrassed to send these hodgepodge gifts. I mean, I knew I had more potential than markers and stickers. I had seen my work–although amateur–and it was well above these juvenile looking gifts. But what choice did I have? It was what I could give at the time.

This experience reminds me of our daily lives. How often are we just doing the best we can with what we have at the time? How often are we using what resources we have, but still feel like we fall short because it doesn’t measure-up to the standard we and society have set? How often are we embarrassed even though we really were giving it our all?

How loud do I need say this so the people in the back will hear? YOU ARE DOING THE BEST YOU CAN WITH WHAT YOU HAVE AT THE TIME! You won’t always be able to give it your all. There will be days and seasons your “all” will be fabulous mediocrity. Do not carry embarrassment or shame for this. Do not worry about what you could have done better. Smother yourself with grace and move it along. If you are truly doing the best you can with what you have…this is enough.

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I always hated math. Like hated. Ask Mr. Davis, my High School math teacher, how good I was at it. (Spoiler alert, I sucked.) But here’s some math I absolutely adore. Our God is a God of multiplication. He can take your pure-hearted efforts and multipy them into what He wants them to be: a big fat blessing to others.

The Bible doesn’t give us an exact measure of how good our deeds should be in human terms. He simply asks us to do them. He doesn’t command Pinterest-worthy projects and lives. He only asks that we do all things with great love ( 1 Corinthians 16:14), to His glory (Colossians 3:17) and as if doing them for the Lord. (Colossians 3:23)

I hope you find as much freedom in this truth as I do! We can move forward in good deeds and service knowing God can take them straight from our limited human hands to heaven and miraculously multiply them. So cook that meal you’ve been wanting to take to a sick friend. Send that “happy” to a buddy you miss. Host that playdate your kids have been begging for. None of these things need be done perfectly. As long as we are doing the best we can with what we have with great love to His glory and as if doing them for The Lord, He will be faithful to use His heavenly mathematics and multiply it to be enough.

 

 

 

 

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Liar Liar

When I was a little girl, I knew where my Maw Maw kept her Sunday School funds. She was the “treasurer” for her Sunday School class, and a small white faux leather pouch sat in the second drawer down in her dresser. Sometimes she’d let me help her count the funds, and ever so often she’d “borrow” from it when she needed cash and immediately replace it.

We ate with my grandparents almost every Sunday after church, and one particular Sunday she wanted to give me and my brother a dollar before we left. She said, “Macie, you know were the Sunday School money is. Get a dollar and I’ll replace it later.” I opened the drawer and got the pouch. I placed my hand on a dollar bill and right behind it was a ten. I took the dollar and the ten and thanked my grandmother.

On the ride home my daddy said, “Where did you get that ten dollar bill?” I told him Maw Maw had given it to me. He was pretty shocked, ten dollars was a large sum to be given for no reason. When we got home he called Maw Maw and found out she did NOT authorize the removal of a ten, but a one. I was caught red handed.

My daddy put me back into the car and we rode back to Maw Maw’s to return the stolen money. I was mortified that I’d been caught and extremely embarrassed. I was ashamed I had lied, especially to my beloved Maw Maw.

I wish I could say it was the last time I’d lie to my parents, or other people, but it wasn’t. I would in fact proceed to lie about a lot of things in my life. This moment did, however, make an impression on my heart that would take root and last a long time: when faced with telling the truth or a lie, choose truth. No matter the embarrassment or consequence. Choose. Truth.

This story makes me ponder why people lie. We can list many immoral and selfish reasons, but I want to talk about a reason that’s often missed. Sometimes people lie because they are frightened by the wrath that will ensue when their lie is discovered. They have never seen grace displayed, and because of this they are willing to do anything to avoid “punishment.” If a child is shown nothing but wrath and legalistic parenting they will indeed sin more to avoid the pain and shame of disappointing their parents.

In our home we have a saying: “Tell the truth the first time.” We have explained to our children time and time again that the truth is always the best choice even if it means hard consequences. We have also promised them that immediate forgiveness and grace will be given, and quite possibly consequences will be less for “telling the truth the first time.”

Even though most of us have outgrown childish lying, we are still daily faced with the choice between the truth and a lie. Whether it’s to avoid something or gain something, the temptation and choice remains. What will you choose?

I made up a song when I was working as a preschool assistant. The lesson was lying versus the truth, and the little ditty stuck and we sang it all year. It went like this, “The truth is better than a lie. Oh the truth is better than a lie. A lie gets in your heart and makes you saaaaaaaad. But a truth gets in your heart and sets you FREE!!!”

It is for FREEDOM Christ has set you and me free.

Be blessed. Be free.

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A Few of my Favorite Things…and People

10003523_10152721227820218_700555349098349239_n Everyone loves Florida….but only some are lucky enough to call it home.

This post will introduce you to a family so talented and unique, I’ve often wished to be adopted into their little clan. For a period of time I feel that I was, and I’m very thankful for the time they generously spent being a surrogate family to mine while we lived in Florida.

The Wackes family–Jane and Alan Wackes, their daughter Megan Wackes Wells, and their daughter-in-law Lou Velarde Wackes–are my featured artists for the summer. I find it simply amazing for so much talent to abound from one family.

Separately, each of their work is very different–different themes, mediums and all that artsy talk. Together, their work is an eclectic mix of some of my favorite things. With way too much goodness for just one post, I’ll take time to feature each artist individually in different blog posts. I have no doubt you’ll adore their stories and beautiful work.

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Jane and Alan Wackes are Ft. Lauderdale natives and darling (I’ve seen the photos!) high school sweethearts. They married and raised three children, Robb, Katie, and Megan. Alan is a retired contractor, and Jane has never quite retired from busily working in the home.

45573_459112875217_4440644_n Showin’ some love to my home state!

We met the Wackes family at church shortly after moving to the Ft. Lauderdale area in 2008. Soon they were sharing everything with my family from Fourth of July fireworks to “Christmas Adam”–a clever Wackes thing. (Jane says since Adam came before Eve, the day before Christmas Eve is “Christmas Adam!”) My children even knew them by their endearing grandparent names, “J-mom” and “Pop,” and though years have passed, my oldest child still remembers them as the “artist family” in Florida.

525841_10150969747970218_233864246_n How cute and functional is this lego table?

Alan was always a skilled woodworker, and Jane a talented artist and crafter. Once retired, they were able to dedicate more time to their love for creating, and after several joint projects they began SonRooms Furniture and Art.

Together they create unique furniture and art, with Alan constructing the pieces and Jane completing them with vibrant designs. Between Jane’s unlimited imagination and Alan’s excellent woodworking skill, SonRooms produces hand-crafted pieces unlike anything you’ve seen.

True to their Florida roots, Jane and Alan’s creations have a “classic and coastal” vibe. Using various forms of reclaimed lumber from Florida docks, the finished product is beautifully rustic with the original saw marks and patina that “only time can create”.

10685804_10152721227935218_1819315797545487850_n Wet bar complete with ice bucket and bottle opener!

Pieces range from dining room sets to wooden sea creatures and anything in between. Alan will build to order and Jane can paint whatever your imagination thinks up! The couple travels to select art shows and have become a sought-after vendor.

Before leaving Florida, I knew I wanted my own SonRooms masterpiece. I described for Alan the type of table I was looking for to use as a TV stand, and he built it. Jane used a special technique to paint the piece and to this day our family cherishes it. I have many antiques and family heirloom pieces, but the first piece people comment on is my SonRooms table!

I am super thankful for my connection to this family. Moving frequently, God always puts a family or two in each place we go who takes-in our young family, providing a place of comfort when we are far from home.

271198_10150322731255218_2192167_oWhile the artistic talent is a unique bond for this family, they are held together by much more than their pursuit of creating. Keeping their faith at the center of their lives–during good times and bad–is the bond that keeps this family whole. I learned a lot about art and free-living from the Wackes’. I also learned that keeping God alone on highest display in life is the surest way to find contentment.

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10685528_10152633780150218_8142899972647941822_nCrab-walk on over to Facebook and “Like” SonRooms Furniture and Art. Browse their gallery of amazing work, and keep up with locations for their next art show.

J-mom and Pop with their cherished grandchildren.Jane and Alan now live in Yankeetown, FL where they enjoy the slower pace and beautiful landscape.

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Doodle Bug

I love cute stuff.  Even though I’m not nearly as “girly” in everyday life as my designs might suggest, I simply love cute stuff.  Sometimes people will tell me, “Your designs are so ‘cute’.”  I love that, because did I mention I love cute stuff?  But I never want the conversation to end there.all you need is LOVE

Each doodle and painting–no matter how “cute”–has a purpose behind it to outlast cute trends.  My hope is that a design would comfort and encourage the recipient.  Some designs are made for those facing trials, while others are made to celebrate life’s joys.  Music has always been a big influence in my life, and many designs come to me while listening to good music.  But all designs are from a deep place in my heart, and are intended to please not only the eye, but the soul.

LOGO BIGTake for example the simple logo for A Little Happy.  When I realized God was going to slowly grow this blog and hobby into a ministry I decided it was time to choose a logo.  Some people see this as a daisy, but it’s actually (supposed to be) a sun.  Originally the outside was orange, but I changed it to blue, representing the hint of sadness that often surrounds me in life when depression hits.  The little smirk says, “I’m okay because God’s promises are still true.”

saved by graceOne of the first Bible verses I doodled was Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith. It is the free gift of God.”  Sitting by the pool in the summer of 2013, I doodled “Saved By Grace” in my sketch pad.  Upon seeing a life preserver nearby, I knew that was the image I wanted attached to this verse.  The perfect reminder that I am rescued by God’s grace.

I often draw reflections of my home state, Mississippi.  The first Mississippi design was doodled on some old Kindergarten-lined paper.  I was just doodling cotton bolls and kept going to create this fun collection of things that remind me of Mississippi. The cotton, the river, the coast, the capital and the Choctaw tribe.  I never knew I’d end up selling this as a print!  If I had known, I may have cut it into a more exact shape, but it is what it is–a doodle on Kindergarten-lined paper.

One particular season of life I found myself strapped for time and pulled in a million different directions.  I just wanted to slow down, and in my quiet time one day doodled a snail.  I named him “Slowpoke” then began looking up scripture references for my new friend. slow poke

While many verses can complement Slowpoke, Jeremiah 2:25 hit home.  It reads, “Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry? Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway?” That’s not all, however, it concludes with, “But you say, ‘I can’t quit! I’m addicted to alien gods.'”  Now this is some scripture that calls you to self-examination.  Ouch, I like it! 

I like having visual reminders of truth all around me, it fulfills the need to be reminded where my hope lies.  Much of my personal home decor carries a spiritual theme, be it a Bible verse, decorative cross, or inspirational painting.

I used to be very intimidated when a person’s home was decorated this way, thinking surely they’d “arrived” to feel confident enough to display their beliefs so boldly.  But over time I’ve learned people of faith don’t display messages of truth because they are these things.  They display them because they know how quickly they can forget these things, and follow “alien gods.”

When I place Joshua 24:15–“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”–prominently in my foyer, I’m not proclaiming my little family has “arrived” or perfect.  I’m proclaiming we are a family in constant dependency on God, who is perfect.   JESS BIRD SCAN
I was once taught a proverb that says, “Place something for the eye to see, so the heart will remember.”  That proverb pretty-much describes what I want A Little Happy designs to do.  In fact, that’s what this ministry is built on–using words and images to help people remember their only true source of happiness is God’s enduring love for us all.
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These designs and many others are available on canvases, magnets, note card sets, and select designs on t-shirts.  If you know of a charity that would like to partner with A Little Happy, or needs a donated item for their charity event, please email me.  And be sure you come see me on October 18 at the Wesson Flea Market!

 

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All Dogs Go to Heaven

I am so excited to feature Mississippi artist Scott Jennings of Syntropy Creations and Sacred Space Urns.  Scott is a veterinarian by profession, and when his love of animals collided with his love of art, a beautiful concept was born.

scott jennings

Scott in his element.

The amazing human-animal connection has captivated Scott in his professional and personal life.  It was only natural that his compassion for animals–and their humans–became a central focus for his unique pottery pieces.

Along with Scott, Dr. Brigid Elchos (also a vet) and Beth Adcock (animal lover and marketing extraordinaire) share in the creative energy that drives the operation.  The company’s intention is to honor the life and death of loved ones, capture significant moments and recognize the magic of ordinary days through creative expression.  

Read below about how Scott’s innate desire to construct and create led him to pursue pottery, and how his heart for harmony flows into each piece he constructs.  I introduce to you, Scott Jennings, Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine and potter.

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113_170_csupload_38217858My interest in art led me to play and experiment in varied mediums such as watercolor and oil painting, as well as building and construction.  Pottery became my focused medium about five years ago after taking some classes in my local area.  I knew immediately this was something I wanted to pursue seriously.  The classes not only inspired me, but it was evident that through pottery I could really make the most of my interest in creating functional art.

Raku pottery is particularly appealing because of the aesthetics that can be achieved and how the effects are so different from other forms of ceramics.  Creating pottery has coalesced my interests and desires into a means for authentic expression.  As a veterinarian, this has taken form in a manner that benefits both humans and animals.

Earth Shade Raku Urn

Earth Shade Raku Urn

I have always been “creative,” enjoying the process of forming pieces that are both functional and visually stimulating.  I guess you could say it is “art in service.”  As in my veterinary career, I found my artistic interest is in honoring life itself and how the lives of humans are enriched by connections with animals and each other.

Every piece I form, whether urns, candle holders, bowls or other pieces, flows from my relationships to family, friends, customers, animals, and Life Force or Spirit of all that is.  The overall governing intention has always been to express compassion.  In veterinary medicine this happened through relationships with clients and patients, and now it happens through my art.

The Fire Collection: Holly Berry Vase

The Fire Collection: Holly Berry Vase

I love color.  It inspires, stimulates, and informs my creative process.  Colors just speak to me.  Color combinations pop out at me and I can see how I want to apply them to a piece. You can use color in one way that feels erratic and then in a different way to have it feel peaceful and calming.  Tone of the color really matters to me.  I strive to achieve a perfect tone with my combination of colors.

For the pieces I make for others, I try to see those combinations through their eyes.  With color, I endeavor to create a sense of serenity and aesthetic pleasure.  Because my art honors the spirit of the individual, there is intentional effort for timeless rather than trendy.  My hope is that every time they see my work, they still enjoy it.

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Syntropy Creations and Sacred Space Urns has made a way for people to cherish their animals and honor their lives in a beautiful way.  Visit the web site and find out how Scott can create an individual piece for your beloved pet.

Scott and his team feel true compassion and demonstrate concern with each pet urn purchase.  Read testimonials from across the country of the wonderful experience people are having with Syntropy Creations and Sacred Space Urns.

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Thin Mint Theology

Yesterday my husband brought home a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints, and we told the boys they could have one after supper.  Lucky for me, I don’t care for them, but the children were watching the clock and the box like an intense tennis match.banner thin mints

Well, our oldest has never had the most patient spirit–a paternal gene, I’m sure–and he continued to talk about the Thin Mints, and beg for them.  Finally we told him we’d throw the Thin Mints away if he didn’t show us some self-control.  Immediately my middle wails out, “No, mommy, NO! I’m not begging for them. Will you still throw them away even if just he is begging?”

My strange brain immediately jumped to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, where the Lord is telling Abraham he’s going to destroy the two cities due to their wickedness.  Abraham began boldly negotiating with the Lord to spare the cities, and ends his pleas with, “Will you destroy them if there are just ten righteous people found there among the wicked?”

I giggled to myself at my innocent child’s patriarchal parody.  He may as well have said, “Mommy, if there’s only one righteous child in this house will you still destroy the cookies?”  I couldn’t help myself and replied, “No, Nathan, I won’t destroy the Thin Mints since there is at least one righteous child in this house among the wicked.”

all GS cookiesThe moral of this story is Girl Scout Cookies are anointed and should be brought into the home of all true Believers.  The end.

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