The State of Things – Listening to God

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This is pretty much the state of things here. I have my Kindle and my cell phone, but it takes a huge effort to climb the stairs to the loft where I have my stand alone and all of my art supplies. I will be like this for most of the summer. It sucks for gardening and a lot of other things, but I refuse to let it be too much of a roadblock. The only thing I am definitely giving up for most of the summer is the one thing my foot rest wants most: dog walks.

Don’t judge me. He’s 85#, and while he heels quite nicely, he also wants to walk at a rapid pace. And while I can get around to a small extent on the boot, I really need to stay off the foot as much as possible until the bones mend. Plural. Bones.

So what to do!?

One: I have a friend who is a life coach, and she recently added me to a group on Facebook called Dream Achievers. She’s posting enthusiastic videos for a thirty day plan to actually set our dreams in motion. I stop by the group every day and listen to her short videos, take notes, and plan how to incorporate all of her steps into real life as soon as I gain full use (or mostly full use – of my foot and can climb stairs at will again). So – a shout out to Karen Gilliam in North Carolina (and formerly from Portland, Oregon) for the HUGE blessing she is in my life. (If you’d like to be a part of her group, find me on Facebook, message me, and I will see about adding you. If we’re not already friends, message me AND send me a friend request. I don’t add friends who don’t also send me a message about how they know me.)

Two: I hauled all my mini portrait supplies down to the kitchen table so I can at least continue to paint. Researching is a bit of a pain on the Kindle, but it can be done. I currently have ideas for five more works: a camel tribute to Gomer Pyle (or maybe Harrison Ford? Depends on what the camel tells me), a giraffe tribute to Bette Davis, an endangered giraffe tribute to Sidney Poitier, a longhorn bull (possibly) tribute to Dan Blocker/Hoss Cartwright, and a Brahman bull tribute to James Arness/Matt Dillon. Stay tuned for those minis.

Three: I am working on my mission statement, my model, and my plan. More on that in a second.

Four: I am staying positive. This is not a huge set-back, it’s a minor inconvenience.

Five: I already have a new business logo and my wonderful friend, Cheryl Edstrom, is working on business cards for me. I just need to take steps to register my studio name with the Sate of Oregon, get a Trademark, and find out if I really need a business license in the city where I live (since I’m not really doing a ton of business – yet).

two-crow-feather-womanSo – back to that business model and mission statement. I was brainstorming today and jotted a number of things down about my GOAL: To have a viable art business, specializing in animal portraits (to begin with), including custom pet portraits, all under 6″

That’s not entirely true, but it is a huge start. Conquer that, and I can move on to the next artistic goals. This is the goal that has earned me a few dollars in income.

MISSION STATEMENT: To bring awareness of endangered/threatened species by using humor & paint; to tell a story on a single canvas; to create tributes to other artists; to bring joy and color into others’ lives with my gift.

That’s as far as I got. Then, I opened my Bible and read Psalm 104.

Let me explain a little about my relationship with God. I understand and accept that we don’t all see eye-to-eye, especially when it comes to Scripture or Who you name as your god. That’s irrelevant to *my* relationship at this point in the conversation. I am only talking about me. God speaks differently to different people. That’s the amazing thing about the Creator: He (or She) MADE us. And knows us. And speaks to us in a way that WE can hear, if we choose to listen.

You really need to read Psalm 104 (I prefer KJV, but even that is up to debate in the Christian community, so choose whatever translation, or paraphrase, works best for you). God could not have more perfectly timed my reading to my search for a mission statement for my artwork. Psalm 104 is a celebration of the animal kingdom. it is a celebration of Nature in all her glory. A celebration of His Creation in all its glory. (Did you notice I got both masculine and feminine pronouns in there?)

This is not the first time God has spoken to me through the Bible: my “life verse” comes from a day when I was a young, inexperienced, and overwhelmed young mother. There was another time that God spoke to me about my love of horses, and His love of horses. Once, I dreamed a dream and the corresponding verse was spoken to me the very next day by a beloved friend. Psalm 113:9, Zechariah 14:20, Isaiah 61:3, Daniel 12:3.

You can interpret this anyway you want. It’s neither here nor there to me how someone else sees this: what matters is what was opened inside my own heart. My art is not an evangelical tool – it is only what it is: a gift and a talent that I need to use, and I need to gift to others. I want to give it with joy and color. I don’t care what your faith system is, and I am not here to judge you. I am here only to offer you the gift that I can give.

Okay, I’m going to charge you for that gift. I’ll be real about that. That’s stewardship of the gift. That’s wisdom. If you’re real about how life operates, you’ll understand that. If not, then – well, your loss. I’m not expensive, I’m realistic.

Psalm 104 is the song of joy I have to offer.

Postscript: And about that last verse. Consider that aimed at those who hate everything beautiful. They know who they are, and we all know who they are. Don’t bow to them, don’t give in to them, don’t let them whisper fear into your heart. They are as the grass that withers in the summer. Whatever name they go by, in whatever generation they rise up in, evil always loses in the end. Despots come and go, beauty and art and life will survive. It’s your choice which one to look toward and focus on. Don’t give terrorism any power by being afraid of it.