Showing posts from 2008


Those of you who know me know that my two favorite authors are C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L'Engle (yes, I'm a Narnia fan.  But my favorite Lewis novel is actually Perelandra and every time I re-read it I end up in tears for the possibility of what we, as humanity, lost the moment we fell in the garden.)

I've read this quote by C.S. Lewis before.  But when I rediscovered it today, it made a deeper impact especially considering yesterday's post:
The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe, or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshe…

My faith. And art.

It's been three weeks since my sister's husband died.  I've been doing a lot of praying since then.  And a ton of writing in my notebook.  There is a patch from yesterday that I think relates to the idea of faith and art and why we create in the first place.

Dated 12/5-08: ...I'm conflicted because one moment I seem to "get" that this life is temporary.  I mean, I don't just acknowledge it but really fully feel it.  This world and this life is only a very bad copy of what we're created to be and of the reality that God exists in.  
I sense it so strongly sometimes that I almost feel like I could go out and kick the car in the driveway and it would crumble up like tissue paper.  And if I blew into the air the clouds would part and the sky would ripple like a curtain - that's how strong a sense of falseness I have at times about this life.  But then I stick out my foot and rest it on the coffee table.  And realize how hard and solid it is.  And the …

Alumni chapel

From the CCS alumni chapel today (I didn't make this.  I believe a student or recent alumnus did.)

Sam Dillard Memorial Fund

If I missed getting this to you via email, here is more information. If you are CCHS alumni, please send me your email and I'll add you to the update list. You can email me at

As most of you are aware, on Saturday November 15th Coach Sam Dillard collapsed at his home in Fairfield, Ohio. Mr. Dillard passed away later that same night from multiple brain aneurysms. Coach Dillard leaves behind a wife (Lianne Kelly) and two young girls (Callie soon to be 3 and Zipporah 1).

Sam Dillard was a coach and teacher in his 31st year at Cincinnati Christian High School in Fairfield, OH. As a strong example to his students and players, Sam showed, through his everyday life and actions, the true love of Christ. Now it is our turn to take care of his loved ones.

Lianne and their girls need us now more then ever. Medical bills, mortgage payments, food and diapers now become harder to come by in this time of grief. Sam and his family's home church is Tri-County Assembly …

Collage Canvas

Remember that canvas? The one that was going to be the base for my "BE" collage? Yeah, well, now it looks like this...

At first I was only going to post about the canvas and let you leave posts saying, "Oh, how very pretty." And leave it at that. I was going to ignore the fact that there has been nothing posted here for a month now. I mean, honestly, up until I just typed the beginning of this paragraph, that's all it was going to be. But I was thinking about how to explain why I took the butterfly off the canvas and added the vintage paper and ink and gel medium mixes.  And I realized my interaction and changing the canvas has had a lot to do with why I haven't posted and my emotional state of mind and how it's affected my creativity lately.

Let me start by saying I'm sorry. To be honest, I have no clue if anyone else was getting anything out of those challenges because I rarely get comments posted here.  I did hear from some of you by email e…


Stuff's been going on.  If you'd like a recap, please go over to the Art Chick blog and read up.  
Thank you, and have a nice day.

Today's post.

I wish I could say I "forgot" to post last week.  I didn't forget.  I just didn't do it.  I chose not to.  We have had a hard few weeks with school issues, house issues and other things I'd rather not discuss but just ask for your prayers.  I'm also finding myself horribly homesick for our friends back in Maryland.  I'm sure it's nothing a hug from Deedie, a day out with Betsy, an afternoon making something pretty with Sandi or a cup of coffee with Ashley and Sherri wouldn't fix.  It's nothing life-threatening.  Just life side-tracking I guess.
I'm planning on posting some photos of the house stuff on the Art Chick blog later today.  That'll give you an idea of what's up in that regard.  And for those of you know know Liam's situation I just ask that you continue to keep the school staff and Liam in your prayers as we work through this fall.  Nothing is "wrong."  Things just aren't working as well as they did last …

Week 5: See what's out there!

So back before Sean was born, I went shopping with a friend of mine to find some paper to make baby announcements for her first baby.  We ended up in this crammed-full little stamp shop in an old Victorian house.  Neither of us knew anything about rubber stamps.  The owner saw us staring blankly at a container of embossing powder and happily demanded that we come over and let her show us how it worked.  She spent the next hour stamping and embossing and answering questions.  We left the shop with stamps and paper and embossing powder to make baby announcements and Christmas cards.  But she didn't just make a sale - she inspired us.  We were really excited about what we'd learned and what we could do with it.  And?  We actually went home and used everything we'd purchased.
This is why I tell you that:  It's time for a field trip.  You need to get out.  You need to see what's out there, check out the supplies and fun stuff waiting for you to use them, and see what oth…

Post on the way...

I have a post written and am uploading photos now.  Liam is home sick (day 2) so it'll be about half an hour or so before it's up.  But be sure to check back!

This week's challenge brought to you by the letter "I"... in "Ike."  
There is no challenge this week.  No art challenge at least.  Because of this (click to read.)

Random photo fun

**UPDATED TO ADD: As far as I can tell, the challenge post and the canvas post are now posted.  They're showing up on my screen so I'm hoping that means they're out there for real now!  ~ Stacie  2:42 PM, Tuesday 9.9.2008
Compliments of my sister, Lianne!

For some reason blogger does not like my last two posts.  The canvas and a challenge are supposed to be posted (I actually wrote out the challenge last night!)  But when I try to post it, Blogger says it can't connect.  I'm working on it.  I promise!  But here's something fun to look at while you wait:
A tin pail full of dinosaurs and jewelry and baby doll bottles.  This was a random shot from my sister's house and I think it perfectly illustrates her life as a mom to two little girls.  This was totally not set up, it was sitting on the kids' blue Ikea table when I walked into the family room.  And the great thing about Lianne is that she totally saw the beauty in this image as well and is the one who sug…

Half-finished canvas

So I wanted to post a few photos of the canvas I was working on for the challenge involving words you love. I chose a book passage by Madeleine L'Engle, one that I've posted to the Art Chick blog in the past.

What started out as a Target Dollar Spot children's canvas (with a cartoon frog printed on it) was gessoed over...

Then inked and collaged a tiny bit.

But here's the deal: I can't figure out if I want to use the entire passage on this one canvas, which is quite a bit to squeeze on text-wise but I like the idea of smaller writing in greater quantity.  Or if I want to do the first part of the passage to give it more space for larger printing on this canvas and do additional canvases for the rest of the passage.  That idea has the advantage of getting to do more inking and bits of collage and have a set of canvases when I'm finished. 
I'll be using white paint/ink and a combination of stamping and free-hand writing to do the text.  So what do you think?�…

Week 4: What speaks to you? And why?

Alright, so, if you have an email address?  You've probably gotten one of those "Get to Know Your Friends Better" emails.  The ones with a bunch of questions like "Do you like chocolate or vanilla better?" or "Are you a beach or skiing vacation person?"  Yeah, those.  Well, we're going to do a variation of that for this week's challenge.  So get ready to do some self examination!

Ok, I'm going give you some questions.  Here we go:
1.  What is your favorite color to wear?   2. What is your favorite color with which to decorate your home? 3. What is your favorite color in general? 4. What is your favorite season? 5. What is your favorite flower? 6. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
So those are your questions.  I want you to go ahead and write down the question and the answer.  That shouldn't take you too long, but please be honest.  Don't come up with some answer you think makes you sound more so…

Update: Saturday 9.6.2008

Just letting you know that I was doing some updating of accounts and code and switching things around (nothing you'll see on the page but stuff that goes on behind the scenes.)

We're back from Maryland, school started last Tuesday, we had four birthdays within our extended family and soccer is in full swing for Liam as well as Rusty's coaching and training for Cincinnati United (formerly known as Lakota United.)
There will be a new post on Tuesday and now that school is back in session I plan on having those posts up on a regular basis again.  I really welcome your email and comments and photos.  And like I said, if you send me something but you don't want it posted in any way please let me know when you send it, ok?
Also, if you're interested in writing a post or issuing a challenge of your own?  You are more than welcome to let me know and we'll figure out when and how to put it up.  This isn't "my blog."  I want it to be a community project!  …

Road Trip

We are getting ready to leave for Maryland tomorrow for a week-long visit.  Because I have laundry to do and packing to take care of, and because Rusty is currently in Houston which means I'm doing it all on my own, this challenge will be short and fairly easy to do.  It's not really even a challenge so much as an exercise.  Or maybe I'm just rambling and it doesn't really matter anyway (entirely possible.)

So here's what you can do this week:  
Finish your collage.  Or get started on your collage.  Or read the collage challenge post and go from there.  It's week 3, parts I and II.
For a second option, the easy one I mentioned, you will need to go to Lowe's or Home Depot and wander around their paint department.  Go from display to display where they have the paint cards with the colors and names on them.  Find one that makes you really happy.  Not necessarily one that you would ever use on your walls; this isn't about paint.  It's about color.  Pic…

Week 3: The Written Word (part 2)

So here it is: Week 3, part 2. Finally!

So a few weeks ago, when I first posted part one, I asked that you look around and find some form of the written word that moves you.  It could be song lyrics, quotes, passages from books, or anything else that someone wrote that makes you happy, makes you think, inspires you or keeps you from losing your mind.  There's no right or wrong choice for this.
Next I asked you to gather up some pretty things that give you that same feeling of happiness or inspiration or whatever it was that caused you to pick your words.  Like I said, these things can be as random as you'd like - pieces of boken tile or beach glass or pretty clothing tags or magazine ads... again, things that give you a feeling when you see them.
Now that you've gone both of those (you have, haven't you?)  we're going to get creative.  We're going to make... wait for it... don't start to panic... we're going to make a collage.  A mixed-media collage at…

What you need.

Do you want to play along? Do you want to create art for fun and profit? (Ok... just for fun, really...) Then here are a few things you may find useful to have when the challenges are posted. I understand that a lot of people are willing to buy basic supplies but they just don't know what to buy or what to do with them once they buy them. Hopefully this will take the mystery out of some of it (I've even included photos because I have had people ask "What does this stuff look like?")

Remember, none of these are "required"; let's get real, you're not being graded on this.  And there isn't a lot on this list.  But please know you can do any of the challenges and still find your creativity without ever having to purchase anything.

Alright, so here are some things you might want to look for if you're ready to take the next step and buy some supplies and get messy:
Gesso - Simply put, gesso is a primer.  Use it on canvas, wood, fabrics, newspap…

What I learned while I had strep (a.k.a. stuff I thought about this week.)

Please know that I have been thinking about the blog and the challenges this past week.  I'm on a stronger prescription now for the strep throat and hopefully that's just going to go away.  One good thing about being sick at home for a while is that it's given me time to sit still and think. 
I hope everyone (anyone?) reading the Faith & Art Blog is willing to extend a little grace to me as I figure out how this is regular posting thing is going to work. When I put my foot down and said I'm committing to once-a-week updates with weekly challenges I knew I had to start right then and there or it would get lost in the chaos of my life as a wife and mother. Since I'm not getting paid for this, it's not my "job." But it is my passion. And I believe God loves that we're trying to be more creative how we think about our world, our relationships and our lives.
So here's what I've been thinking about: I will be giving you a pretty basic ch…

Please watch Matt Dance.

It's totally worth it. Seriously.

P.S. If you click on the video it'll take you to it's YouTube page where you can watch a higher res version.

Week 3: The Written Word (part 2)... COMING SOON.

Yes, I realize it's Tuesday.  And it's slightly past noon.  But I'm fighting through my second bought of strep throat in four weeks (after not getting it for years!)  So it's on hold.  I have the text ready to go but really want photos to go along with it and I haven't had a chance to take those photos yet.

In the meantime, I received an email from Teresa with some song lyrics she picked for part one of the challenge.  If she allows me, I'd love to post it here as an example of words that create a feeling and/or image that brings God into our little worlds.
Take note, though.  Part two of this challenge is the most artsy we've done so far.  Be prepared.  Gather the stuff I mentioned last week.  If you don't yet have your stuff, look around and see what you can find (if you have no idea what stuff I'm talking about, go back and read last week's post!)

I apologize.

I briefly mentioned a "situation" we were dealing with when I apologized for not posting challenges over the last few weeks.  I've finally gotten to a point where I can write more about that situation and it's over at the Art Chick blog if you're interested.

As for Faith & Art, the challenges are back and I hope you'll join in.  Check out last Tuesday's post for part one of the most current challenge.

Week 3: The Written Word (part 1)

Edited to add: I mistakenly posted this to the Art Chick blog today instead of here.  And I was so excited to be back in the groove... oy.

I apologize for not keeping up the challenges over the last two weeks. We've had a bought of strep throat, friends in from Maryland, a new nephew born, a trip to Indianapolis, Rusty's mom visiting from Maryland.

I'm so glad to be back to thinking about the connections between faith and art and how they can benefit our relationships with God and with each other.
I fill you with Naming.
Be, butterfly and behemoth
be galaxy and grasshopper
star and sparrow
you matter
you are
Be caterpillar and comet
Be porcupine and planet
sea sand and solar system
sing with us
dance with us
rejoice with us
for the glory of creation
seagulls and seraphim
angle worms and angel host,
chrysanthemum and cherubim
(O cherubim.)
Sing for the glory of the living and the loving
the flaming of creation
sing with us
dance with us
be with us.
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Wind in …

Fallen world again.

I just don't know what to say.  We've loved Katie since her first concert as a teenager at the Vineyard back in the day.  I'm sorry for Karen and their boys and for the entire Reider family.

Katie Reider 1978-2008

Today's post.

We're going to go ahead and work on last week's challenge again this week.  I got an email from one person saying they liked the challenge but couldn't work on it because they were out of town this week for July 4th fun and frivolity.

Add in that we have friends in from out of town (YAY, DEEDIE AND BETSY!!) and my youngest sister is due to have a baby any minute now.  So go forth, make art and pray for someone then send it.  
(I'm not asking anyone to send photos this week in case you're uncomfortable sending a photo of mail you're going to send to someone you don't like.)

Week 2: Wait a minute, Mr. Postman.

So, yeah.  That's a cow in a mailbox. You know what that means... it's time for a mail art challenge!

Now seriously, if you've followed the blog at any point over the last few months then you can't be all that surprised. So here it is. But this isn't really about livestock going postal (though the cow was glorious.) This is about building on last week's challenge and using an altered point of view in your thinking about another person.

Show of hands, how many of you love getting mail? I don't at all mean catalogs, ads, random mail for people who used to live at your address or the worst of it all... bills. No. I mean real, old school, not-electronic mail. My younger sisters used to send me sticker-covered envelopes full of love when I was in college. When I saw one of their works of art in the mailbox it honestly made me feel remembered.  It was just a piece of paper and to anyone else at any given time it wouldn't have meant as much. But it …

Week 1: Heather's Point of View

I received an email from Heather earlier this morning. In it she included a photo and the point of view that gave her the inspiration to take the picture. I wanted to post it before I get the week two challenge up. In her email, Heather wrote:

"I then noticed the tufts of grass - which are not just surviving within this concrete jungle, such as it is, but are thriving in their environment. We're called daily to bloom where we're planted and to THRIVE - not merely survive."

So is there anything "magical" about the little clumps of grass Heather photographed? No. I mean, on a technical level I love the contrast between the dirty gray bits of gravel and the healthy green grass sprouting up (I really like the vertical lines of the grass against the rough background of the rocks!) But the magic is in that it made her pause and think instead of passing by a little scenario most of us walk or drive by every day. And the thought she had is something that she…

Week 1: Challenge results

So I guess I didn't really think through how and when I'd post any photos or email I get regarding each week's post. Since I had a response from Teresa that included some great photos, I want to make sure those photos and part of her email get are put up here so you guys can check them out and read her insights on the storm.

In Teresa's email she writes:

"Anyway, to explain, I took a picture of the impending storm last night. Yes it was very ugly outside but I still find the beauty in how God can totally change the sky and perform a great symphony and out of that storm, flowers bloom and the earth just looks greener, not to mention, my car gets washed...LOL! As you can tell in one of the pics, you can see leaves and other debris flying around. Isn't it wonderful? God is soooooo cool!"

*Teresa also sent a great photo of a delicate little flower among some old, gray mulch but it's being difficult and though I can view it, it won't upload from t…

Week 1: Point of View

The poet Horace once wrote, "Nothing is beautiful from every point of view."  To which I reply that I believe the opposite is also true - nothing is ugly from every point of view.  And so begins your training, young padawan: Change your point of view.  Literally.

There are an awful lot of times when we look around and take a quick mental inventory then move on.  We glance over things that are familiar to us and may even miss small, unfamiliar things altogether if we're in a hurry.  Sometimes the environment in which an item resides can make it seem more unattractive and not-beautiful than it really is (your cube, your overgrown backyard, your least-favorite relative's house...)
A 19th century British painter named John Constable once said," There is nothing ugly; I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may - light, shade and perspective will always make it beautiful."  I think this is one of the most true things I'…