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An Artist

Edited: Congratulations, Lisa Notes! You won the giveaway! 

I stepped back. And for the first time, after four years, I felt like an artist.

Four years ago I picked up pastels and began. Learning to blend. Learning to mix colors. Learning to draw. I took along aside our son. His gift evident from a young age, we knew it needed to be nurtured.

We have an amazing art teacher. Encouraging as she teaches, allowing us to choose the medium and guiding as we experiment.

My son gravitates to pastels and sketching, seeing easily how to draw a subject. His tender heart seen as he sketches animals and his fascination with architecture shown in other subjects he chooses. His gift amazes and inspires me.

The drawing aspect of lessons was difficult for me. With our teacher alongside, I was able to sketch a few landscapes, and while the paintings I did hold meaning for me they still seemed uninspired.

But there is something about painting. Something about creating a piece whether inspired from a photo or your own imagination where a spirit can find release. So I kept trying, kept showing up at the blank canvas.

I soon found a love for acrylic and abstract. Pairing colors comes natural for me. Finally unafraid to experiment and fail, I begin. Brush against canvas. Colors blending. Layer upon layer. I push myself out of comfort trying different textures and techniques.

I begin discovering my voice.

Many paintings later I still never felt like an artist. Until this one. Inspired by a friend’s story of redemption, I wondered if I would be able to translate the image in my mind to canvas.

Colors chosen, I begin. Colors brushed then blended into one another. Background layer then another and another. It’s the layers that build perspective. Depth. I step away taking deep breaths, knowing from experience it will eventually emerge. It does. When I get to the point where I think it may be finished, I step back.

And for the first time I feel like an artist.

Four years after picking up pastels and then brushes, I felt like I had created a piece of art. The cliquish words of other artists who define art as their way and no other no longer haunting.

Too often comparison paralyzes art. We overhear others remarks and see upturned noses and we think we aren’t good enough. I know first hand how creatives are prone to insecurity, always wondering if we are good enough.

But here’s what I’m discovering: Art (or any creative pursuit) isn’t about comparing our work to that of others. No, it’s simply about growing and sharing the gifts God has given us. Comparison only steals the joy we will find when using the gifts and talents He gives.

I still have much to learn, much more to experiment with, but I am no longer afraid to call myself an artist. And through the process, God calls me to encourage others.

So this week I’m taking a step that really feels more like a leap. I’m putting my art out there with more to be added in the coming days. Would you please stop by and maybe share?

To celebrate, I am also giving away a piece here on the blog! Just leave a comment to be entered to win your choice of one of the pieces below. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only and ends Friday, May 10.

Reflections of a Prodigal by Scott Garrison

Reflections of a prodigal “How can we come into that Presence and not be changed?”

These words from the introduction to Reflections of a Prodigal: 40 Days of Renewal by Scott Garrison strike me. I guess because while my own faith journey is very different from his own I’ve said the same in recent months.

Scott is a friend of mine from college. One of those friends that is a part of your life for a season and then life happens, things change and you lose touch. Until Facebook.

After college I only heard about Scott once through the network of southern baptist churches. Other than that I knew nothing of what was going on in his life. Once we reconnected on Facebook, I began reading Scott’s essays he posted. They were thought provoking and written from a heart seeking God.

Reflections of a Prodigal is a collections of these essays. Written during Scott’s own journey back to God as a prodigal. An Alabama native and son of a pastor and foreign missionaries, Scott walked away from the church.  But God didn’t give up on him. Scott shares his thoughts on many aspects of his faith journey. The essays are short and easy to read making them perfect for devotions.

I’m giving away a copy of Reflections of a Prodigal this week. To be entered leave a comment on this post. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Giveaway will remain open until Wednesday, March 2, 2011.

I received no compensation or merchandise for this giveaway.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

OneThousandGifts I discovered Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience, a few months ago while she was part of a Compassion International team of bloggers. Her words and stories beautifully woven make you stop and breathe in her thoughts. When I discovered she had a book releasing soon there was no doubt I would be buying it immediately. Preordering it on Kindle I couldn't wait until January. The publisher surprised us though and it was released on Kindle a month early.

My recommendation? Go buy One Thousand Gifts. Everyone should read this book. I don't often say that about books. There are probably only two or three I would give that recommendation. 

I had no idea how God would use One Thousand Gifts to continue changing me. 

I have to take this book in shifts so deeply has it affected me. Heavy at moments, I have to put it away. To take a breath and process all it is teaching me. I know the word this book has introduced to me will define my year. This eucharisteo.

Within her pages Ann Voskamp shares what she believes is the secret to a full, joy filled life. Not just joy amidst the good times, but also joy during the painful times. 

"In the original language, "he gave thanks" reads "eucharisteo." …..The root word of Eucharisteo is charis, meaning "grace." Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks. But there is more, and I read it. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning "joy."……..Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy. A triplet of stars,a constellation in the black. A threefold cord that might hold a life? Offer a way up into the fullest life? Grace, thanksgiving, joy. Eucharisteo. A Greek word….that might make meaning of everything?"

What is God teaching me through Ann Voskamp's words? Could this be what God started teaching me as He began this awakening in me over the past year? I believe so. He's teaching me that I need to live life in thankfulness. Not only in big things, but in the small details as well. To practice eucharisteo daily. To slow down, soak it in, and give thanks. So that if and when, I can live eucharisteo in the difficult times as well. 

Oh there is so much more goodness I could share with you from this book. But I want you to discover it for yourself. So I am giving away one copy of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. To be entered just leave a comment on this post before midnight (central time) Sunday, February 6. Winner will be announced Monday, February 7. 

No compensation or merchandise was received for this post.

Project Life Tuesday: Feb 15 – 21

Hello! Thanks for stopping by! Another week here in our life and it was a super busy week. Keep reading for giveaway #5.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 – We woke to a light dusting of snow as the sunrise peeked over the trees.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 – Sorting my last Stampin’ Up order as a demonstrator. After the changes in the demonstrator agreement and the ending of my latest hostest club I’ve decided to focus on other things.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 – Squirt decided to enjoy the warm weather & sunshine for a bit in the afternoon playing basketball.

Friday, February 20, 2010 – Squirt dribbling down the court at his basketball game.

Saturday, February 20, 2010 – Squirt and I went to Atlanta to visit the Georgia Aquarium and High Museum.

Sunday, February 21, 2010 – Legos, legos, everywhere I look, legos.

Monday, February 22, 2010 – Four or five days a week we sit down to practice the piano and then the guitar. I love hearing Squirt play and he’s pretty good although there are rare times it’s music only a mother could love. Usually it’s pretty good though thankfully.

And now for giveaway #5 for my 1000th blog post celebration. The Baroque Motifs stamp set from Stampin’ Up. This set has 6 stamps and is uncut. The set does come with wood blocks for mounting or if you’re like me and want to save space you can just cut it and adhere the stickers to the back instead of mounting it to wood blocks and use them with clear blocks.



To be entered for the giveaway just leave a comment below. You have until Tuesday, March 5 at midnight to be entered.

For extra entries leave a seperate comment for each of the following:

1. Follow me on twitter.

2. Tweet about this giveaway with the following & be sure and leave your twitter name in the comments:  @amykiane is celebrating her 1000th post at Ordinarily Extraordinary with a week of #giveaways. http://bit.ly/zYBR5