Friday, April 19, 2013

He Speaks In Dreams

Lots of times God will share stuff with me through a dream.  Night time dreams.  Like when I saw Daniel, my husband, in a dream about 5 years before I met him.  Job 33:15 says that God "speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds."  
 He sure does in my world.

Like right now, we've been going through some challenges with Daniel's work.  I use the word "challenges" very lightly.  It has been incredibly physically stressful to our entire family.  And this, after picking up said family and moving three states away in order to come serve these folks.  But in the midst of the worst working environment we have ever experienced, God gave me specific dreams that have to do with our situation.  I love it when He invades my world in this way.  It brings hope. (Image at right is by forgottenx: )

In the past, I have sometimes looked up symbols in dream books to try to bring more understanding to what God is telling me.  But I really think that dreams are incredibly personal.  You can only get so much interpretation from a dream book.

For instance, Grandma's house in your dream might represent all that is loving and warm and delightful.  In my dreams, my Grandma's house always represents a place of fear.  Usually I am blowing up my Grandma's house or leaving it.  I have no idea what a dream book would say about that(Image at left by Gilmec   But in my world, with my background (which no one really knows except me and God), a dream like that actually means that I am becoming more and more healthy in leaving Fear and trusting God when Fear attempts to torment me.  And what did "Grandma's House" mean to Little Red Riding Hood...well, before or after the wolf?  See how symbols can be so personal?

So, I had this dream recently.  It was actually rather morbid.  It didn't "feel" morbid while I was dreaming it.  But I woke up and thought, "Uh.  That's a hard one to share with people.  Just cause it's gross sounding."  And with that introduction, here ya go:

"Daniel and I were working in a dark, dank basement kind of place.  It was rough-hewn,
unfinished; not a good working environment at all.  (We talked it over later and agreed that pretty much sums up the working environment we are currently in.)  A lot of folks were working in this place as if it was a normal office.  Not far away from me on the ground (here's the gross part) was a clear plastic garbage bag and in it were a whole bunch of my internal organs.  I was worried about these, since I knew that a garbage bag couldn't be the right place for them (especially my heart, which I was pretty sure was in there).  Then the bag began to seep blood into the groundwater and other people began noticing and getting grossed out.  I mentioned it to Daniel and he told me not to worry.  He would throw the bag away.  It would be okay."(Image at right by Alipants: )

Needless to say, this was something of a disturbing dream.  We're throwing away my heart here?  That can't be good, right?   Well, I don't know what it means, (half the time, I don't, the day after I dream it), but I write it all down, as much as I can remember and file it away for future reference.

Fast forward a month or so.  The working environment we are in has degenerated even more.  The leadership is a fiasco:  there is constant under-cutting, juvenile-like pushes for power-plays, and my husband is having to deal with antagonism that we have never experienced before (and he worked for a stint in the state capital of California, for goodness sakes)!

Did I mention we currently work for a church?  So the leadership happens to be our pastoral leadership also.  Double ouch.  Nothing like the fun of getting friendly fire from the folks who are supposed to be spiritual family.  This has created just a tad more internal pain and stress than I am used to.  Ah well.

But, Daniel reminded me of something beautiful in the midst of this mess.  It's from this neat verse in Ezekiel (36:26):  "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

(Image at right is titled "Heart of Flesh" by Arteigel, who's gallery can be seen at .

I guess it's pretty comforting to realize that in spite of the pain that hits sometimes, there is Someone who cares, who notices and who plans on taking care of you.  He will allow you to go through the junk, yes.  And He will not ignore the pain--He SEES it (that part is important!)  But, He cares very much about your heart and doesn't want it to feel numb or be stepped on or be thrown away.  Rather, He will give you a brand new one, that maybe doesn't even remember the hurt that destroyed it in the first place.

Oh, and the day after this morbid dream, God gave me another one.  In it, I was going on a date with
my husband and we were going to go to a wonderful restaurant that was an all-you-can-eat kind of place.  We went to peek at the banquet and I remember being delighted by all the possible desserts.  In the dream, I remember thinking, "Hooo, boy.  There's so much good stuff here, we're going to have to be careful we don't eat too much!"

Ha!  How's that for an encouraging thought.  There's good stuff ahead.  And in the midst of working in a dungeon, that's encouragement!  That's what makes us keep our chins up and keep pressing on.  And that is the beauty of knowing that dreams are from God.   (Image at right by Er-ca :

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Fairy Named Kayleigh

    It's been such a long time since I posted any of my artwork up here.  Look, this proves I still do some!

    This is my little niece, Kayleigh.  She is just three.  She loves fairies, I'm told.  She lives in California, with the rest of our family, so we don't get to see her now.  A friend took this photo of her after she was bouncing around on a trampoline and fell.  She even made falling look fun.  I begged the use of the photo when I saw it on Facebook so I could turn her into a fairy.  Doesn't she make a sweet little one, though? 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Influencers: Remembering Corrie

  As an author (who really needs to get back to writing the sequel to Tarnished, I've been thinking a lot about how much it matters who has influenced me.  I'm going to begin putting up posts every now and then that share who the "influencers" are in my life.  My heroes, basically.  Because if I was a reader, I would want to know.

  So, for the first of these, and in memory of the recent anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, I'm sharing about Corrie Ten Boom.

Corrie was also an author.  She wrote a book about the illegal activities she was involved with during WWII, when her country of Holland was overtaken by Nazi Germany.  She was involved with the Dutch Underground and ended up being put in a Nazi Concentration Camp for failing to reveal the hiding place of the Jews she had hidden in her home.  She didn't get started on this stuff until she was in her late forties, I think.  You can tell she was a rather extraordinary person just by hearing this much, right?

(Image above right which shows some of the Holocaust's victims belongs to Color-Her-World.  You can view this artist's work at )

In her book,  The Hiding Place, Corrie shares about surviving the Concentration Camp (Ravensbruck).  It's a pretty amazing story.  Here's a link to the book on Amazon: .   But she begins by sharing about her early life, growing up in the Victorian era.   One of those early stories left a lasting impression on me for how I choose to write.

(The above photograph is of Corrie and her family taken in 1902, Corrie is on the extreme right.
This story actually has more to do with her father, who seems to be quite an extraordinary man as well.  Little Corrie, who was around age 10 or 11, was with her father, a watchmaker, at the train station when the story picks up.  It is here that she asks him a question that had been troubling her.

      "'Father, what is sex-sin?'
      He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing.  At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.
     'Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?' he said.
      I stood up and tugged at it.  It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
    'It's too heavy," I said.
    'Yes,' he said.  'And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load.  It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge.  Some knowledge is too heavy for children.  When you are older and stronger you can bear it.  For now you must trust me to carry it for you.'
    And I was satisfied.  More than satisfied--wonderfully at peace.  There were answers to this and all my hard questions--for now I was content to leave them in my father's keeping." 
-page 26, The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom

I love this!  Isn't it beautiful?  A father, protecting his child from hard truths that could hurt or harm her before she is ready to hear them?  It reminds me of that one movie, Life is Beautiful.  Few of us have fathers who understand to this extent that a child should be protected in this way.

Now, keep in mind that Corrie was raised at the turn of the century, when sex was never discussed, even at home.   In our society today (which is rather infiltrated with "sex-sin", and therefore might require an explanation a little earlier), we might answer somewhat differently a child who is age 10 or 11.  That's not really my point.   I'm talking about the way Corrie's father valued his daughter's heart.  Like the way a millionaire might care for his Rolls Royce.  The millionaire is not going to drive his Rolls through a bad part of city or over roads that he'd take his beater Jeep on.  Like a man would recognize the worth of a ridiculously priced car, this father recognized the value of his child's innocence.  (Artist of image at left is kawaiikitteny, whose work you can learn more about at the link under the photo.)

Recently, I was hanging out with friends who have children around the same age as we do.  The father was boasting about their 4 year old son, and how the boy could watch anything and it didn't seem to affect him in the least.  The man had showed his son Batman, the Dark Knight.  I cringed.  What about that precious innocence?  To see such dark visions; images of lunacy, hatred, fear, affects me, as an adult.  What must it do to a four year old child?

So this is a legacy that my friend Corrie has passed on to me:  a desire to cover the children.  To bear some of the harder burdens for them, until they are older.  I keep this in mind as I write.  I do not wish to enter the deeper dungeons.  There is a place for that at another time or with another author but mostly I trust you will find my stories free of the heavier burdens that would be more than a child should be asked to carry.

Image at right is by artist *Zindy.  You can find her incredible portfolio at

Another friend and influencer (who you will hear more about another time), L.M. Montgomery, put it this way:   "A pine forest is just as real as a pigsty, but a darn sight nicer to be in."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

More Fun With Pinecones

   Earlier this year I put up a post of a wreath I made using pinecones that dropped from my own trees (it's so much fun to use stuff off my acre and a half!).

You can view that post here:

There are other fun things you can do with pine cones, and today, I wanted to show you something else I had fun making with them.

 Here's the first one:

I found some fun DIY projects on Pinterest where people had dipped pinecones in paint and then allowed them to drip-dry.  I had some leftover glossy white paint, so I decided to give it a try.  It was tedious and messy, but I think the reason I had more trouble was because of the kind of pinecones that I had.  They were too fragile and it was hard to make them work.  However, I have one tree that produces a heavy, thicker pinecone.  I think it's a cedar.  And with the pinecones from this tree, I got this beauty:
I screwed in a tiny picture hanging loop, and then tied the ribbon to it.  I'd been looking for something to utilize the knobs on this bathroom shelf. 

All the rest of the pinecones that I had experimented with worked great in this apothecary jar, with a few natural ones thrown in and some more of the green ribbon.  At first I left it like that, but I have these branches (same ones I used in the pinecone wreath) from these bushes that line one side of my house.  I liked the look of them sticking out of the top. 

The bathroom also has this window on the opposite side.  I figured, since I had a few more paint covered pine cones, that I would set a few in the window sill.  And since we have a pine cone theme going on here, I glued some of the pine cone seed flakes to a photo frame of my husband and I. 

I like the contrast of the natural pine cones with the paint covered ones.  It's fun.

Here's a detailed shot of the photo frame.  I used hot glue, but I will say if I thought this frame was going to get a lot of handling, I'd probably use tacky glue instead.  That would hold better on the metal of the frame.

I'll be doing at least one more post with pine cones.  I have another wreath and a small decorative Christmas Tree partially done.  I figure, since I have all these materials (pine cones are still dropping from my trees) that it is a good plan to work on future Christmas gifts now, when I have the time.  So stay tuned for at least one more Pine-cone Post--yay!