Make Art, Not War

9 Sep

There are two kinds of people in this world–those who make art and critics. Making art is more than just putting paint on a canvas; it’s the way we choose to live our lives.

Artists put flowers from the garden on the table, an extra little gift on a gift and fresh herbs and care into making a meal. Life is art and it’s up to each of us how we will use the tools we’ve been given.

Critics, on the other hand are not as concerned with building life as they are judging what others have created. Critics always find a problem with someone else’s design. They can’t tolerate the freedom of other people to create. They feel they need to correct their theology, adjust the table decorations and tell other people what to wear.

Critics have no time to contribute to the world because they’re too busy complaining about how the art of others should be corrected. Criticism brings pain, discord and ultimately death into this world, while art brings hope, resilience and life.


Some critics question how can we sit around playing with colors on paper when terrible things are happening in this world. They are concerned about starving children, Ebola virus and terrorists who chop off children’s heads. For a moment I listen to such critics because I too am appalled by the terrible things happening in this world, then I remember how the Nazis plundered art during World War II.

Adolf Hilter was once an artist or at least an artist wanna-be. He applied and was rejected by the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, but somewhere Hilter stopped making art and became a critic of the arts. When he became chancellor of Germany in 1933, he began to call art that did not pass his approval “degenerate art.”

Degenerate art included most art that was not from the old German masters. In Hitler’s quest to purify a nation, he started by stealing the freedom of artists to express themselves and eventually stole life from those who did not meet his standards. Perhaps history would have been different if Hitler had focused on making art, instead of trying to sculpt an entire race.

Art represents freedom and individuality. Most critics are not interested in the freedom of others, they simply want to control the outcome of someone else’s art. Whether the art is on canvas, or artful patterns of living, critics feel they need to adjust the freedom of others. We can follow the critical and destructive path of Hilter, or we can offer the beauty of freedom and hope to a world filled with despair.

So what business do we have enjoying life, painting pictures while such horrible atrocities are happening to our fellow humans? The truth is we are not on the position to stop every terrible thing from happening, but we can do something in our own neighborhood. We can express hope through color and individual expression and bring beauty to the lives around us. Making art is a form of resilience to the pain of living in a broken world.

God didn’t create selfishness or sickness. All of this pain is the result of God’s enemy. If this world still operated the way God intended, we would all be making art of some kind. It would be the norm to be designing, decorating, singing and playing. We would craft amazing gardens and compose beautiful symphonies because the pinnacle of our existence is to reflect our Creator. We were designed to add beauty to the universe with our individuality for God’s glory.

Our lives can be summed up by the way we contribute to the world around us–we either do this artfully, or we do it critically. Art is what we do with the tools we’ve been given. Art is what we create out of the chaos of our lives. We might temporarily live in a crippled and dying world, but as long as there is a God and life, we can make art and live artful lives and this is how we honor Him.

Thank you to everyone who participated in my Birthday Week Contest.

Here are the winners of the drawings:

For sharing on Facebook:

Jered Kostenko

For commenting on my blog:

One Escaping Goat

And for leaving a comment on Etsy:

Deborah Stevens

Please comment below or email me at with your address and I will put your art in the mail.

To read more about Nazi plunder during WWII:

What it Takes to be Brave

5 Sep

This piece of art was inspired by my brave friends. Those who are dealing with relationship problems or a rough diagnosis or struggling to make a living or those who wonder if they will ever find love in this broken world. Whatever our trials, they never seem small when we are going through them. Living and acting on the life we have is an act of courage and defiance to the evil in this world.


Here’s to the many brave people who get up every morning when they’d rather pull the covers over their head. Here’s to those who walk with pain or carry a painful heart as they go about their work, church and school. These brave souls realize the secret to being brave is not how we feel, but the action we take in response to life’s trials. Whatever happens, brave souls never give up or give in, they keep on looking up for the silver lining.

I especially want to dedicate this to all my friends who have had to deal with cancer this year. I send healing wishes and prayers for all of you! Bravo for fighting a good fight! And sometimes the fight is not about having a longer life, but having a better quality of the life we have today. Today is all any of us really have so let’s make it a good one.

I didn’t use any fancy techniques on this picture, I just painted a brave girl’s face and wrote the truth, but she caught the eye of a therapist friend who just opened a new practice near Seattle, Washington. Congrats to my friend and favorite therapist Lisa Boyl-Davis who will be putting this in her new office!

Talk about therapy–Jason Mraz has a great song that describes what it takes to be brave. Three things to do when your life falls apart. Enjoy!


Here is how I package my art. When you sell online, it is all about the buyer’s anticipation. They have to wait to receive it, so it’s nice to make it worth their wait by dazzling them a little. You can do this by wrapping it cheerfully and adding an extra surprise for them.

1. Start with a business card. (These came from Moo. I punched a hole in them and added a string of hemp and a bauble for fun.)

photo (48)

2. Add an extra surprise–I think a greeting card is perfect because it adds very little weight, is valuable for them and shows the great quality in case they might like to purchase some.

photo (47)

3. Write the recipient’s name on the back of the picture and sign it (be sure to ask if it is for them or a gift).

4. Then I lay all of these inside the back of the picture and wrap it in tissue paper.

5. I write a personal thank you on a postcard and attach to the package with curling ribbon.

photo (49)

6. The last step is to wrap it in bubble wrap before slipping it into a US Postal Service Mailer.

photo (45)

Note: By charging $12 for mailing, I can afford the USPS mailer and tissue and insure it for up to fifty dollars.

Feast In Front of My Enemies

4 Sep

When Rose discovered a more loving picture of God, she rejected her parents’ harsh religious views, but her narcissistic mother did everything she could to get Rose to agree as she had been raised. Rose had seen the light and for her there was no going back. After many lengthy arguments, her mother packed up Roses’ belongings and kicked her out of the house.

Shut out and with very little money she had no choice but to rent a studio apartment in a questionable part of town. Rose’s first supper was a can of green beans eaten out of the can with some plastic silverware she bought at a local convenience store. Rose had never dreamed she would be put in this situation and as she ate her green beans, tears rolled down her cheeks. She was lonely and scared and thought of all the things she needed to survive.


Little Red 23rd–A Feast in Front of My Enemies

Rose had a job, but no iron or ironing board to iron her uniform for work. She had no glasses or dishes or curtains. Her only transportation was a bike and she wondered how she would be able to carry the stuff she needed to outfit an apartment without a car. Exhausted, she said a prayer and went to sleep on the drop down bed in her new home.

The next day her brother showed up at her work. She hadn’t seen him in years because her mother had told him to stay away from the family home. He gave her a ride to the store and helped her buy the things she needed to live on her own.

Once again, the Good Shepherd not only supplied Rose’s needs, but prepared a feast for her in front of her enemies. This feast was not a physical meal; it was spiritual nutrition as her new understanding of the Good Shepherd nourished her soul and soothed her fears.

Rose is not alone. I have experienced such a feast myself and many other people who have been under all kinds of persecution and pain have discovered they can survive on less than green beans when they are fully awake and aware of the Good Shepherd’s protection and provision.

This happened many years ago. When Rose told me her story, she added throughout the decades, the Good Shepherd has never let her down. Even when we feel all alone and the cupboards are bare, we can endure such circumstances because the Good Shepherd has never abandoned us–He always protects, always plans for us and always prepares a feast for us even in front of our enemies.

Be a Giraffe

4 Sep

Many AcoNs* have been awake and aware long before the rest of their family. This causes them to be ostracized and scorned for speaking the truth and trying to help the rest of their family find healing. Often the one who sees the dysfunction first is labeled as the scapegoat, but there is good news for the designated scapegoats.

You might not be a goat at all, you might just be a giraffe. Listen to the video at the bottom where Dr. Karyl McBride explains how giraffes stick out their necks and see the world through possibility and move forward while they can observe the past and the future. This piece of art was inspired by the short video below. Thank you Dr. McBride.

PS If you think you might be the daughter of a narcissistic parent, Dr. McBride’s book Will I Ever be Good Enough–Healing the Daughter of Narcissistic Mothers is a must read.

*ACoNs-Adult Children of Narcissists

UPDATE: This picture sold as soon as it was posted, but if you want a giraffe picture of your own just let me know and I can make you one and give you the sale price of thirty bucks–which is a good price for an original handmade piece of art.


He Even Sees Me in the Dark

3 Sep

This is one of my latest works* which is very personal to me, but I just listed it in my Etsy shop in case there is someone out there who would like a reminder that God always sees them no matter how dark it seems.

Writing about my childhood this summer has reminded me of how much I used to be afraid of the dark. It might have been because we moved so much, or it could have been the fact that I am near sighted, but whatever the reasons even as an adult I used to sleep with a flashlight.

As I grew up, I began to see there are worse forms of darkness than not being able to see while you are supposed to be sleeping. Ignorance is always a form of darkness which in many cases leads to the even greater darkness of racism, prejudice and hate.



While darkness comes in many forms and can be related to our spiritual condition. We all go through times of darkness. Sometimes people refer to depression as a darkness, but I think the worst darkness is to know what is true and right and shut out the light.

As Eugene Peterson so beautifully recaps in the words of the Psalmist to God in the Message Bible, “Darkness isn’t dark to You.”

This is true because there is no darkness where there is light. Jesus is the LIGHT who comes into all of our darkness.

May you always know you are seen and safe in the Light no matter how dark it seems.

Thanks for stopping by,


*I am still learning to find my own artistic footprint and so I am experimenting with different styles.

Just a reminder, I am having a drawing for all who add a comment to my blog.

And also another drawing for all who share this on FaceBook and  tag me.

And if you should buy a piece of art from my Etsy shop and leave a comment there, I will enter you into a drawing for a five pack of Little Red Survivor Cards.

Provides All I Need–Little Red 23rd

2 Sep

Each day this week I am highlighting one of my art projects. Today I am going to share another piece of art from my series Little Red 23rd. I’ve mentioned this before but it is worth repeating. Many ACoNs have been abused and used by their fathers. This makes it hard to trust our Heavenly Father. Jesus came to show us what God is like and He is more loving and kind than any earthly father. And the good news is Jesus tells us that He and the Father are one. He even says if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Still, for many ACoNs even the words of Jesus are not enough to trust God.

This is because many ACoNs have a very tender place in their hearts where they have been beaten or ridiculed or slammed by their earthly parents and their ability to trust any parent has been damaged. This is where some of us have found comfort in the 23rd Psalm. Even if we can’t relate to the thought of a parent caring for us, we can relate to the kindness of a shepherd who cares for his lambs.


If you believe in a God, but struggle with trusting your Heavenly Father, consider the Good Shepherd. As we read Psalm 23 we see there is nothing narc-like in the Shepherd’s behavior. The Shepherd guides and protects his sheep. He also cleans out the wounds of his sheep to bring healing. He provides food and water and a peaceful place to rest. He literally provides everything we need.

Many fundamentalist Christians like to use the verse about sparing the rod and spoiling the child, but the gentle shepherd does not beat his lambs or his sheep. He uses the rod to bring them to safety when they have fallen over the edge and are hanging on a cliff. He uses the rod to guide his sheep and beat off the enemy wolves that prey on a lone lamb. So if someone is using the rod for an excuse to beat their child they have misapplied scripture. God does not support people beating their children.

Yes, he has brought us through the valley with the shadows of death but He also brings up out the other side into a place of peace. The Good Shepherd provides everything we need and we can rest in Him because He never sleeps.

“Provides All I Need–Little Red 23rd” is for sale right now on my Etsy store. This original, handmade piece is selling for thirty bucks if you use the coupon code–which is a pretty good price for original art.

I am having three drawing to kick off my Etsy shop and say thank you to my faithful readers–

1. For anyone who shares my blog this week, I will enter your name into my drawing to give away “Let the Sun Shine.”


2. For anyone who comments on my blog this week, I will enter your name into my drawing to give away the “We Need More Heart” Flying Monkey picture.


And for anyone who buys a piece of Original Art in my Etsy shop and leaves a comment, I will enter you into a drawing for a free 5 pack of my Little Red Thrive cards.* (You can read the quotes on my Etsy page.)

Shine set

Thank you for sharing, commenting and reading. Have a wonderful week!


*Cards are not in the half price sale, sorry.

One Week Only 50% Off Sale on My Handmade Original Art

1 Sep

Another year gone by and my birthday is only a week away. I haven’t accomplished all I wanted, but hey, I am grateful for another year of life with my wonderful husband and friends and many of my FB friends and readers have become my family, so I wanted to do something to bless you. I am selling all of my original handmade art on Etsy for half off–THIS WEEK ONLY!


So if you’ve ever had your eye on a piece of my art or thought of giving it as a gift, this is the time to do it. And since I’ve barely begun to sell on Etsy, I will also be giving away a couple of things.

To begin with you don’t have to buy anything to enter the first contest. If you like this post or share it and tag me on FB, I will enter you into a drawing for a free art giveaway of Let the Sun Shine.

If you are an ACoN and comment on my blog, I will enter you in the drawing for an original free Flying  Monkey give-away.

Here is the Flying Monkey up for grabs:


If you buy a piece of art in the sale and give me a review on Etsy, I will enter you into a drawing for a set of my Little Red Survivor Thrive Card set. Each set of five cards has special quote that is healing for survivors. You can read the quotes on my Etsy site. Thank you for sharing my blog and art this year and for commenting either in private or on my pages. It’s going to be a great week and I hope I can bless a few people.


Shine set


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