Ruby Prose Blog by Cheryl Wilson, Intentional Artist
Author: Cheryl Wilson
I paint intuitively by embracing spontaneity to allow passionate paintings to be born through a transforming layering process of acrylics and inks. Each layer informs the next story of paint. In addition to layers often you will find sand, coffee, glass beads or perhaps even a gum wrapper invoking the question of what story is being revealed. I paint what I feel, how I feel, and each found object in my art continues that story. It is my hope that you find a connection to my work and might, if only for a moment, become captivated and feel something within yourself. The art I create are visual expressions of my inner soul, spirit and passion. Once a corporate entrepreneur trapped inside a suit and wearing heels, the desire to put my feelings, thoughts, and emotions on canvas became too powerful. The life-changing event that turned the corporate pen into a paintbrush was the dark world of Alzheimer’s that struck my mother. I could not wait any longer to paint in the event that world captured me as well. Leaving the boardroom behind, what has emerged is a new language expressed on canvas. This language expresses the freedom and unbound passion to create and let my art direct itself without fear or influences that has previously stifled my intuitive style.
Constantly moving around the world, staying in one place no longer than three years at one time, living in the back of a musician’s studio, provided the opportunity to meet vast numbers of different people from all walks of life.
These experiences set the canvas for the style of abstracts I paint because I find these people, locations, and experiences are represented in each painting in some way.
I do not have to worry about my art journey because my God has a plan for me …. all I have to do is follow it …… Are there times I forget, well, yes, for a moment. But that moment is short as God has time over time shown Himself to have a plan for me that is absolutely perfect. I choose to trust Him.
I know my best days are the days I start my day with a prayer to God … I open my heart to HIS perfect plan before I head down to my art studio to paint. This actually had to become a habit. It is normal for our minds to start planning our day the moment we wake up, our feet hit the cool floor and we rush to get a cup of coffee. One rushed moment after another can lead us into forgetting to stop and start our day the right way. It is so easy to put talking to God to the end of the day … or to just forget it altogether!!
This habit of talking to God for me, had to actually be planned into my day. As I am a planner, making sure there was a plan in my morning was critical. There is a saying…. “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” So, I even add a time to pray into my planner. This might sound easy, but it can get pushed off so easily. When you add this in writing into a planner, soon that event, that planned moment turns into a habit, you will never forget it!!
If God had a plan for my life, why would I NOT want to follow it? Why would I want to follow some other path? I learned years ago that God’s plan is perfect, mine is not.
Act 20:24 says: …. ” so that I might finish my course with joy,…”
There are days I wake up and feel depleted quickly from many weights that seems to be on my shoulders. I am normal in that I do worry about things and ponder things. I do have the ability to quickly parse these thoughts into their proper avenues but there are days I want to just pull the covers over my head and not expose myself to the daylight and what pain I might perceive awaits me.
I am robbing myself of the joy that awaits me in my day. I know this but that power to roll over with another cup of coffee and forget my timelines is strong.
So what do I do on these days? I get out of my routine and do something that will awake myself inner self again. Adding variety to your life is actually rather simple. Like instead of taking my coffee back to bed where it is too easy to stay there longer than I need to, I open the back deck and breath in the fresh air with my cat, Diva.
Many times I throw on some clothes and drive over to one of my favorite coffee shops with a notebook and enjoy some coffee while writing whatever comes to my mind. Soon I am inspired and energized for the day.
You can make your coffee at home, but it is just not the same as that stepping out to breath fresh air and going on a short adventure.
Enjoy your journey. There is an office park close by me that has a pond where ducks go to play. There are times I will take my cup of coffee over there to sit and enjoy the nature.
God wants us to have joy in our life. He does not want us to be sad and continue in that sadness day after day. Finish your course with joy.
Recently I started learning a new dance call the “West Coast Swing.” It is such a challenge as that as a woman I have to truly know my part and hold my own destiny in my steps or I will not be able to dance my part. In the Waltz or some other dances, I can follow the lead and in a way, relax a bit. I can let the man (or lead) control my moves).
Learning this dance reminded me of a conversation I had with another woman that was telling me she was sad because her husband stopped making her happy. In tears she told me this story of how she was miserable and cried a lot and felt incomplete. She did not want to get up in the morning and get dressed or put on make up which was what she loved to do.
I listened to her and actually cried with her as I knew she was in pain. But, then I told her what she might not have wanted to hear. Here is what I said and if you are in this boat, listen up!!!
it is NO ONE’S JOB on this earth to make YOU happy. It is not your child, your spouse, your dog, NO ONE. Being happy is YOUR JOB. Think about it. how can someone else make you happy? Ok, maybe a present can make you happy, but even then, if you are not truly happy, even a present you might cherish has a short season, right?
I am not a preacher or protest to be one, but listen to this one….. it is not even God’s job to MAKE us happy. Read Psalm 37:4 where the Bible states, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” The verse leans toward telling US TO DO THE ACTION first…. we are to delight in the Lord. We are to be the ones doing the work, not the other way around.
To tell myself OR YOU to be happy, you might say, “say what girl?” …..so let me say to seek joy first. Joy and happiness are wonderful feelings to experience, but are very different.
Let me tell you my thoughts on joy. Joy comes when you make peace with who you are, why you are and how you are. As I age, I have had surgeries that I have not liked how i was left, but I am 63 this year, I am going to have a less than bouncy body!!! If I decided to let the surgery lines take away my joy as I not have marks on my body, I am robbing myself. It is not always easy to transition to joy when you have to alter your way of thinking, but it is to me so critical before I can be happy.
I think happiness tends to be externally triggered and is BASED ON OTHER people, things, places, thoughts and events. But that deep joy comes from within ourselves so you have to have joy.
The reason I say you have to have joy to be happy is i feel true happiness, is an inner state of mind. If your mind is at peace and you seek joy, you can achieve happiness.
If you have everything the world can give – money, pleasure, possessions, power – but lack that joy, that peace of mind, you can never be happy.
So how do we get JOY!!! Which leads to our own happiness instead of waiting for someone else to make us happy? Joy is truly knowing that God is in control of all the details of our life. This take confidence that we need to let God lead and be aware that God is leading and LET GO.
SO, I hope this makes sense. If you wait around for someone else or some event to make you happy, you will continue to feel empty. Seek joy and in order to do that, you HAVE to ask God to fill you with joy.
Romans 15:13 says: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
I know I am not alone in wondering this question, i feel it in my bones. And the answer is actually very easy, but sometimes the things right in front of our cute noses we just do not see.
As I enter 2020 and I am secure in myself, but I find I still desire to fine tune what my purpose is on this earth God created and along with that, continue to be happy. Remember it is not those around you that make you happy, but it is YOU … and only YOU that can create your happiness. Note: If you wait or demand someone else to create your happiness, that is just not gonna happen, more on that in another blog.
But, back to my humble thoughts on how we obtain the desires of our hearts. There was a time I would ask God and pray for success in my art business, healing of my fibroymalgia, more attention the way I WANTED from my husband, etc. These are not wrong as God loves us as his children to talk to him and be specific, but I honestly I realized I was missing one very important point that should precede these other requests.
I realized that I need to be praying and asking God for ONE THING…. instead of all of those other things that I needed.
The key is in Psalm 27:4
One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.
You see, the key is …. if we seek the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts. It is such a beautiful thing. God knows what we want, He knows our desires and our down deep cherished needs. With the fast pace of our culture today, there seems to be so many “things” that pull us away from truly seeking God. We also can be too self-absorbed in trying to seek one detail we think will make us happy that we miss seeking God as the bigger picture.
I have tried to describe this thought like a donut. If we seeks Gods path and HIM, He will in turn give us the desires of our hearts. If we do it the other way around, we might miss for years what God truly has to make us happy. Does that make sense?
It is my firm belief that, second only to salvation, seeking God is the most important aspect of the Christian life…to truly know God: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
As we enter into 2020, think about this concept, think about seeking God first and allowing Him to give you each one of your desires. I am going to refocus on this concept. It sounds simply but … well, lets make it simple!!!
God, I put my path in your brush You create the lines of my life. You paint the lines of my future And as the ink is revealed on the canvas, you reveal my destiny
Please allow me to flow in your perfect timing Let me trust in your brushstrokes
Let me acknowledge the freedom in your perfect plan
I will allow your brush strokes to paint my walk I will allow the drips of the paint to color my thoughts
As you create me with each stroke, uniquely placed on the canvas I will not question nor will I hesitate to express the life I feel you are painting in me
I will instead breathe as I allow your art to show me what I am here for I will be brave and strong and not fearful I will embrace the unknown as I know the unknown is already known by you.
My dear God in Heaven, paint my path, and let me exist in your perfect purity I will explore with no fear. I will step out without knowing where my steps will land As I know you will paint my canvas with the wings of your angels.
Here I am Lord, send me anywhere, as long as you go with me.
As I am
migrating my way through my health journey, I have learned so many things about
my body; things that work and things that are challenging for me. I also know that I have choices in my journey
and I need to embrace these choices. I am
in control of these choices and what I put into my body.
I think how I believe
I was made by my Lord and not only do I want to be healthy, but God put such
care into my creation that how could I not want to take care of my body? I included the entire chapter below as I felt
every single verse was worthy of reading here.
I have had this
chapter as one of my favorites for years as I migrated through my teen age
years, into my newly married years, into my years where I miscarriages many
times into my challenging health years and now as I am going into my retirement
years. God had a plan when I was born,
when I was a blooming young girl and I need to remember, He still his this
perfect plan as I age.
Recently I was at the beach, a place I
so much love. I collected some beautiful
shells each morning as I walked along the water. I actually loved the ones with the flaws as
they reminded me that even with my flaws, I am beautiful. Each shell has such a quiet story to tell
about its path to the shore to me. As I
picked up each one, I thought about the story that shell could teach me. Some were still perfect and unflawed. But more had some wear on them reminded me
that flaws are a rite of passage as we migrate from our youth into our aged
God says in
Psalms 139 that He is familiar with ALL MY ways. He knows even the deepest hurts I hold within
my soul that I speak to no one. He knows
of the wounds I cannot completely heal. He knows of the fears I have even when
I try hard to keep those fears under control.
He is there to help me control those midnight panic attacks that creep
up on me out of nowhere. If know if I
did not have Him to look to, many of my fears could overtake me. He promises in this chapter that there is NO
WHERE I could go that He is NOT THERE WITH ME.
HOW powerful is that?!
I still have
moments where I tip into anger too easily or I lose faith when I step on the scales
to find I gained a pound instead of losing one. These things could tip me into self-doubt
or a spiral of self-hate. But is that
what God wants for us? As I look at my
collection of shells in my pretty cup I placed them in, I again remind myself,
I am flawed, but I am not damaged. My flawed
body is ok as God still holds the reins!!!
Psalm 139 “139 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about
me. 2 You know when I sit or
stand. When far away you know my every thought. 3 You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where
to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. 4 You know what I am going to say before I even say
it. 5 You both precede and follow
me and place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 This is too
glorious, too wonderful to believe! 7 I
can never be lost to your Spirit! I can never get away from my
God! 8 If I go up to heaven, you
are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. 9 If I ride the morning winds to the farthest
oceans, 10 even there your hand
will guide me, your strength will support me. 11 If I try to hide in the darkness, the night
becomes light around me. 12 For
even darkness cannot hide from God; to you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are both alike to you.
13 You made all the
delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know
it. 15 You were there while I was
being formed in utter seclusion! 16 You
saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to
breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!
17-18 How precious it
is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even
count how many times a day your thoughts turn toward me. And when I waken in
the morning, you are still thinking of me!
19 Surely you will
slay the wicked, Lord! Away, bloodthirsty men! Begone! 20 They blaspheme your name and stand in arrogance
against you—how silly can they be? 21 O Lord,
shouldn’t I hate those who hate you? Shouldn’t I be grieved with them? 22 Yes, I hate them, for your enemies are my enemies
23 Search me,
O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. 24 Point out anything you find in me that makes you
sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
I hope God’s
words can give you some peace today, some comfort. Read them several times. Trust that they are there for you. Know you are NOT alone during ANY hurt, God
promises “when I waken in the morning, you are still thinking of me!” Trust His words.
We wake up each day to a new fresh blank canvas. WE can choose what we write in our own canvas. The brush is in your hand, the paint is wet, what are you going to write?
Will you write words of positive thoughts, kind words to encourage or will your brush paint negative notes and take you down a path to rob your joy.
I have been there, I have let negative thoughts after negative thoughts take over my mind and like soap suds with lot of water, these negative thoughts can take over and I have become overwhelmed with sadness.
Each day we can start off with a fresh attitude and a renewed look on our life. Even if your day yesterday was full of stress or sadness, People let you down, you found out your pain was still sharp, how are you going to write on your canvas today? Will you grab the newness of the day and embrace the opportunities that could be there?
I have had my share of hardships, I have also been incredibly broken. I have been in so much pain that I could not think of anything else, but I did not let those events write my story. I CHOOSE. When I write my own words, I choice to write positive words that will make me stronger. I choose to push those negative thoughts away and rewrite my story with positive words, even if I have to wipe off my words with white paint and start over.
Here are a couple things you can to to help.
Before sunrise each day, I start the day reading the Bible and asking for my day to be filled with God’s direction. There are times I fail this and instead put my agenda on the canvas and head down the path of getting in my own way to only find I missed the joy in waiting for God. God’s path which is ALWAYS better then my own.
Write on your canvas a gratitude list. If you woke up in the morning, you are alive and this is huge!!! Be thankful for that!!! What about all those in your family that are still on this earth. Be thankful for those people! One of the silly things I am grateful is a strong wonderful cup of black coffee!!!
Paint a Lemon!! No, actually, get a glass of water with lemon and drink. This actually helps you wake up and feel energized.
Get mentally organized and write down what you are going to do.
I hope you think about this, think about your beautiful blank canvas and what you are going to write or paint on your canvas. YOU DO have a choice. Make it a beautiful painting each day!!
I pose the question to you: what does God have to do with my Weight Loss Journey?
One thing I do know is that I fully believe God wants me to be have a healthy
body. He tells us our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. But what does
that mean? I want to impress upon those
that are taking their time to read this is that first, there is no mistake you
are taking the time to read this and secondly, that unhealthy part of my journey
was A PART of my journey. I feel God
allowed me to experience this path as I learned so much during this journey which
in itself is such a love story. God allowed
me to grown when I was in a pretty bleak state.
Sometimes God allows us to go deep to know what the light looks like.
That was my story.
I know when I was sorely overweight, I felt depressed and tired and this
affected my thoughts, my art, my friendships, and so much more. The guilt side of my kept saying: “How could I be used by God if I was headed into
a total health crisis?” But God was
loving and stayed there with me and did not give up.
The more overweight I got, the more I was dominated by feelings of defeat
and inadequacy. I determined my self-worth
in the world by the number on the scale. I felt judged by people when I am sure
was NOT always the truth. I was also misled
by thinking food was what I could turn to, to feel better. When I was sad, I told myself I deserved that
bowl of macaroni. Then the more I made
the wrong choice, the more I felt like I was failing. This seeped into many parts of my life and
how I looked at life.
Life became dim for me when things were compounded when I lost my
mother. I was dealing with a silent
struggle and there were days that hope was dim.
I knew I loved God, which was what kept me focused on living, but those
dim days were dark.
I know I am not alone in this thought pattern. Which leads me to say to you:
YOU. ARE. NOT. ALONE.
I want to focus the next several of my blogs focusing on verses that can
help in our health journey. It is not
just about losing weight, it is about a path to a healthy life.
Losing weight with the focus on God walking with you changes the focus from
your body to your soul and that lasting lifestyle change begins in your
This is only the first part of a series I want to share with you on how God
spoke to me and is still speaking to me on this journey of health. I HAVE DO MUCH TO SAY…. So hang on.
I just finished cleaning my suitcase from my trip to Florida…. and I found these beautiful seashells that I had packed in a special place to keep safe.
While at the beach a few weeks past there was no one else out walking on this cool morning. But off in a distance, was this one lone gentleman in a hat that as I recall made me think of a man from Australia…. me past me, tipped his hat and smiled. As I sat on the beach enjoying the sun and the sand knowing soon I would return to the city, my mind forgot about this kind stranger. I soon took some photos and pushed my toes into the sand and felt as each moment pass, more relaxed.
Soon, in the distance, I saw him returning. It was obvious as his shadow returned as again, no one else had joined the beach yet. This time he slowly walked up to me and handed me all these shells and he said … “I collected the best for you.” That was all he said, and turned an kept walking.
As i am a city girl, this handful of seashells truly intrigued me as I studied each one like each was a gift in itself!!! I am sure he had no idea of what a gift they were to me
Today as i think of the event and being Christmas I can not help think of how our Heavenly Father does the same thing for us!!! He collects the best for us and lovingly hands these gifts to us for us to enjoy.
I have always heard the verse “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” This verse is found in Psalm 37:4. But what does it mean when God says he will give us the desires of our heart!! Does that mean I can list all the things I want and push that list up to God in a prayer like a list children do and send off to Santa?
You might read that verse and focus on the second part of the verse as it might look more appealing!!! BUT, of course the result will be quite disappointing. The sentence is structured to read the first part of the sentence first…. “Delight thyself also in the Lord”…. to make this clearer, it means something like this…. Make God the object of our desires. I feel the verse is saying He will in turn give us our desires.
I also think that if we make God the object of our desires, follow Him, pray for His direction, our hearts will be so right with God that our desires will be what is best for us!
The question many people face almost daily is whether or not their desires are covetousness selfish wants. So how can we know our desires are from God? Again, read the first part of the verse, “delight in the Lord.” When we allow God’s word to renew our hearts and mind and we allow God to have His way in our hearts, we will find our desires are in alignment with His will and our desires are His desires for our life.
When I started my art venture several years ago, a complete opposite direction from my professional career path, I promised myself I would NOT do it alone. In other words, I did not just list all the things I wanted as an artist and expect this list to be fulfilled. I put my entire art path in God’s hands. I asked for complete direction and took my hand off the door handle and let God open all the doors for me.
In turn, I never worry about my art business because my path is already planned, each corner I turn!! Even down to the little things like the sale of that next painting or where I will show my art. Putting God as the first person I talk to each day, the one I ask for guidance for any decision, allows me the peace in knowing my path is already sanctioned by God. Does this mean I sit back and not work hard, but expect opportunities to fall into my path? Absolutely NO. Most that know me will say I am one of the hardest working people they know.
The difference is, there is this walk in such faith that I have because I have asked for guidance by God that I know the desires in my art world are in sync with God.