Thursday, May 30, 2013

evolution of a painting



 
 
this is the process.
 
 
 

If you have ordered a custom piece of art or just bought one from the shop, this is how it starts. An email comes in and I hear what beautiful things are on your heart. I answer you, grateful as can be and start the process of discussing the details...size, colors, canvas style etc...
 
 
I usually take advantage of the early morning hours to look over your messages. Usually this starts between 5-7 am before my kiddos wake up, so you have my full attention.









 

If I don't have your canvas size, or this is just an order for my own art, I order canvas. My supplier ships them to me like this and they arrive all on my porch and its like Christmas. There really is no better feeling right now in the world than getting an order of fresh, white canvas...ready to be painted on. With each order I see greater and greater potential!



 
Now for some custom paintings I don't carry your box in stock. I usually have 30 boxes of each size at every given moment but if I don't have yours, I call up my mini van driving mama friend Sam and we pack up the kids and drive to the city. We stop for hash browns for the kiddos, talk about Jesus, and almost always one of them has to go potty so she drops me off there while I place my order. Then we load it all in (because I drive a Honda and that's not gonna work in my car). ;)

Then I take her out to lunch and before you know it, its time to pick up our big kids from mothers day out.

 
 Then I paint.

 
This usually takes anywhere from a few hours to a few days broken up.If this is a custom painting I try to finish it as soon as possible because I just know what its like to anxiously await something!! My kiddos spend time making their own art while I finish yours.
 

This is really what my kitchen looks like on any given day. We have learned to embrace it.




then we clean up.
 
There are brushes and paint and paper towels and bottles of water everywhere. Paint in my kids hair, paint all over me...
 

 
 When I am finished with your painting, I stage the photo. This means that I throw the socks of my dresser with my paint filled hands and take three photos. One head on, one of the side and one up close so you can see the detail. This is one of my favorite parts because I love to see what its going to look like in a natural setting.
 
 
 
then, we email you the photos and....
 
 
 
 
we wait.
 
Once you have answered me and say hey! I love it! We can move onto the next step. But if we need to make changes, I go back to the kitchen and work on it. If you love it...we varnish. 
 
 
 
Once the varnish has dried to the touch which is usually about an hour, we put the finishing touches on such as a wire for hanging or a sawtooth hanger. 


All large paintings or thick edge paintings get a wire and all wood and small paintings get a sawtooth hanger.

 
 
If this is a gift, we wrap it up all pretty. And if its just for you, I try to always include a hand written note inside to show you that I appreciate you and your admiration and I just wouldn't be doing this without you.
 
 I really am grateful. 




This is my very least favorite end of this. I don't like the packing and the shipping. If I could ever hire someone it would be for this. But I am so particular about how its done and such an A personality I don't know if I could handle not doing it myself.

If this is a big painting, or a order of several pieces...this process usually takes about an hour just for one package. Because its putting together the box, printing invoices, making a shipping label in UPS, boxing it up, weighing it and closing it up. Sometimes I do several orders at once and on those days I usually JUST box them all up and I have worked from 8 am to 1 pm on just that.



 



then we nap.







I get all the boxes ready and get the kids ready to go to UPS to drop them off. Usually I coordinate this trip with picking one up from school or going to the grocery store since its right next door.



 
but sometimes they don't fit in the car so I call a friend to watch them while I drop them off. Or I text my amazing UPS man and he comes over to pick them up for me! 
 


At this point in the process, I need to record everything. I use outright for all my receipts and expenses and it also records all sales etc...I just love it. My desk usually looks like a big storm came through until it all gets filed. I record all my trips to hobby lobby and my UPS paid invoices and my orders to dick blick etc...every single thing gets recorded and filed away.

 
 
Then, I wait for you to get it...and tell me you love it. Once you do, I just praise the Lord. I just thank him for every single sale and blessing and word of encouragement. I just get overwhelmed really from start to finish that this is even my life. To show my gratitude, I love to sit and write and encourage other people to let go of fear and pursue the big things God has planned. I just love to write about how he has taught me everything about this, I knew not ONE SINGLE THING when I started. And now I have a full on business going over here...its too much some days. Too much for me to thank him for.
 
I give at least 10% off the top of your painting. Which means I don't subtract my cost. If I sell you a painting for $300, I tithe off that. Which means $30 bucks goes straight back to the Lord. I do it because I am grateful for my canvas. I am grateful for my boxes, and I am grateful for the fees I pay on etsy so that people can find me.
 
I am just so grateful.
 
 
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Monday, May 27, 2013

we had another birthday!

 
Happy Birthday to my love...this birthday I am really thanking God hard that you are my husband and we stuck this thing out...together. I am just grateful you were born. We had some sunshine, some bowling, some steak and some ice cream...and you went fishing.
 
your perfect day.
 
 







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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

conversation with my husband...







 some things you just never want to forget, so you write them down.

M. I'm scared. Not in the way you think...sort of like in the deepest part of my soul, I know there is a God, I know him well...I know there is Heaven and a place where we go to spend eternity...but I am scared to die. Not the physical part of it..just the letting go of this world and my people.I don't want to leave. Because I don't want to leave you and our girls. And now these tornado's...and the kids. How do you explain this? How do you explain our God to people who dont know him? Why would God allow all those kids to die?

S. Well, its sort of like hes taking us home. Like this isn't our home...and all those kids are with Jesus now and everything is ok.

M. So you don't worry? You don't have any fear of anything?

S. Not really. Because I know that when its my time, its my time. I used to pray in Afghanistan that Jesus would lead my steps and if it was my time to make it quick. And then I came close to stepping on something big and I laughed at God because that would have been real quick.


M. So how would you feel if it were our Grace?

S. very sad of course...you know that. But she would have fulfilled her purpose. And I am comforted by that. All those kids in Sandy Hook, they fulfilled their purpose and God took them home. What do we notice when tragedy happens? Usually it brings us all together and makes us stronger...that's a purpose fulfilled.  

M. wait, your right. Because she talks about loving Jesus so much she would probably be having a blast. I can just see her jumping around with Jesus. That would comfort me. And thats beautiful, they fulfilled their purpose.

M. But how do you explain our God to people? Like the ones who know He exists but they don't know him personally yet...

S. Well, its sort of like this isn't our home. And Jesus came to show us the way to get to our real home...Heaven. If this life was about THIS world, Jesus would have come to show us how to stay here. We should be focusing on that when we die, he takes us home. But in the meantime, if we are still here, we live for him.

M. Scott, I think you just explained the meaning of life to me. I don't think anyone has been able to comfort me in a way like that before. I feel strangely comforted and like I want to rejoice over death...that we get to go home. I feel like I need to just repent so hard for being so attached to this world. So attached to people and places...but its hard because God gave me this measure of compassion for hurting people that is so great I cant quite understand Heaven yet...a place with no pain. Because that is most of what I have experienced in my life so far...its just...hard. I relate to it. When someone feels it, I feel it.

S. well, some people say, death...is like being born.

M. So I tell people all day long about Jeremiah 29:11. And when stuff like shootings and tornados happen, I find myself even questioning how to even apply that scripture to my own self. If he knows the plans for us, not to hurt us...but only to prosper us and give us a future and a hope...but then we just die in a tornado?

M. Wait...God just spoke it to my heart. He said,

" that scripture is for all people who are LIVING NOW! Go, live your life! I have a plan for it! You will prosper! Your life will be full...until your done and thats not your choice, its mine. If your still here, Im not done with you. Its true that your life is written already, I have planned a beautiful transition into Heaven to meet me! But its not time yet! Get to living!"


M. Wait, so we just had this huge revelation here...this is big. I think this could set me free. Because now I know that this world, its for him. Its for God. Everything I do, its for him. Its not about how much money we make or the degrees we have or the houses we buy or the food we eat or where we live or anything. These kids, they arent ours, they are his. And they have a purpose that has nothing to do with me.God just trusts us with them...to take care of them and help them to know him better. Its about living out our purpose. And along the way reaching out our arms and scooping up as many people we can and taking them to meet our father. Wait, so thats why he says not to worry about what we eat or what we drink or anything for that matter...because if we are living for him, he will always take care of us! Why would he not??? He would want us to be fed, and clothed and have our needs met! Geez. Its about telling as many people as we can how Jesus paid our way into Heaven, and loving them hard along the way...because thats what we need. In a world of tornados and shootings and cancer...we need more love. more hope. 

we need more people to realize that Heaven is our home. God is our home.

amen.
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

he is so faithful







what I have learned about giving...

Its not for them.

Its for me.

I used to think that God depended on me to give a certain amount of money, that it was a rule. And that God was only pleased with people who gave that certain amount. But he has just changed my entire world. He has just changed my view of whats normal.

Basically he has showed me that you don't need to be wealthy to give and that he is more interested in the changes our hearts will go through when we let go and give him authority over our finances rather than the actual exchange of money.

Last night I was sitting at my computer and was just thinking about dinner and how badly I wanted a tiny little cheeseburger like my kids were having...I know that seems strange but I am allergic, we all know that by now. I am just having a tough time with my restriction these days. God has taken away all that comforts me, in order for me to find comfort in him. And I am grateful for that.

I have to die daily, to myself. I have to in each moment...battle this sin of comfort. The sin of gluttony. Because really its not about the actual food, food is good. Nourishment is good. But my sinful nature uses it wrong. I'm tired, I eat. I'm happy, I eat. I'm sad, I eat. Its what I use to fill me, its my idol.


So instead I decided to cook up some broccoli and turkey, choose life and not death and then I just decided to take it to another level. I decided to just give a hundred bucks for mission feeding. I chose food poverty for a reason. I just wanted to acknowledge that I had a hunger but God provided my good portion and helped me make a better choice, and that under his authority I could confidently give knowing that he would meet me there. He would honor it.

It wasn't church. It was tithe time. Nobody was watching... nobody cared. But one hundred dollars is alot for us and i know you know what I'm talking about. A hundred bucks these days is alot to anyone. But when a hundred bucks is alot to me and I hand it over, its making me more like the woman who gave out of poverty and less like the rich, and I pray to be like her everyday.

I just want there to be less of me and more of him. I want him to know that I acknowledge that every single thing I have is because of him. All the countless surgeries I have had for this and that, its a luxury. I get sick and just drive myself to the doctor and get fixed. I am hungry, I open my fridge. My kids go to school and learn and have abundant clothing and resources. Being a mom is easy here. Being a human is easy here. I do not have to hunt and kill for dinner or wash clothes in body of water and then drink from that same place. I have so much. And I have been praying to be able to get to the point where, when the spirit comes over me, I just let go. I don't look twice, back or forward. I just in the moment, can say here...take my offering, my God will provide.

So I just thought what better way to kick this sin back to hell than to instead of reaching for something that temporarily comforts me, just do the opposite. Make satan really pissed.

I said hey, I'm hungry...so Ill give some money to some hungry people. And then I will just let God do whatever he wants to do, give him time to speak, to act. I felt no worry, like I would be missing that money or how I would pay this or that. I just did it because its who I am, who i want to be. I just LOVE TO GIVE. But I have never had much to offer....

Until now. So, wouldn't you know that I was laying in bed and heard a small "ding"the sweet sound of my shop letting me know that I had some sales....and wouldn't you know that God turned my $100 dollar offering into $900.

Just like that.

This is real. He is real and he is near. He is close to those who relentlessly seek him. He just wants us to get rid of the tight grip we have on everything. He wants to reward us for turning over our burdens to him.

He wants to bless us.


I was speaking with a friend of mine yesterday about marriage. We were talking about a beautiful submission that is necessary to bring unsaved husbands to Christ. I said its crazy I know, that its not your job to change your husband. God hates it. And the only way to win a family member to Christ and restore marriage, is to hand over your authority to God. I said, how far are you willing to go to let God know that hes in charge? Are you willing to instead of opening your mouth and letting daggers flare, are you willing to instead show love, mercy and grace to people who don't deserve it knowing full well that God sees you? And he honors that? And that same love that you are extending to your husband is a love that Christ shows you each and every day, each moment.

And God just spoke to me in that, about food. How far are you willing to go Melissa...in submission to me? Are you willing to say no to that craving, using my authority and then wait on me?

Because your saying no, then not asking me to meet you there, and then you give in.

I want to meet you there, I promised you I would.

So I just thought how precious obedience, hopeful obedience is. That when we give to the Lord, or we chose our better portion, or we chose to follow Jesus even when it goes against everything the world says to do, he honors it.

Every. Single. Time.

John twelve twentysix

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

 
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