He knows

Have you ever felt like God couldn’t possibly understand what you are going through? I know that I have.

I’ve even said, “But God, you never went through “this”. “This” is huge and awful. How could you possibly know what this feels like?

I remember saying that to God years ago, when I felt so betrayed by some people. And He said to me, “I, too, have been betrayed. I know exactly what that feels like and it’s hard and devestating. Especially when it’s people you think you can trust and who claim to love you.

I remember when Nathaniel died and I wanted to scream “..but you never had a son who died…” oh wait…

I remember crying out to Him, in pain and confusion, “God, I hurt so bad. It hurts to breathe, to move. I feel like I’m dying. When have you ever felt like this?”

Ya, I don’t know that I’m the most reverent when I talk to God but He loves me even when – and maybe especially when – I’m feeling raw and broken.

It was a few days later that I came across this verse and it hit me straight to my heart.

Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane. And He knew. He knew he was about to be betrayed. He knew that He was giving
His life for ones who both did and didn’t believe. He knew the agony that was coming. He knew. He wished he didn’t have to go through it all but was willing to because of love.

He said to His friends,

Matthew 26:38 TPT

“My heart is overwhelmed and crushed with grief. It feels as though I’m dying. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

He knows. He really does know. And because He KNOWS – You can trust that He is with you, staying and keeping watch with you. You are never alone.

He knows.

Psalm 23 (part 1)

This Psalm has really come alive to me recently. Have you ever thought about what it really is saying? It’s such a popular scripture but have we slowed down and really thought about what it means and what it’s really saying and how it applies in our lives. It’s so powerful if you really break it down and make it applicable.

Psalm 23:1-6 NKJV

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
Forever.

When you break it down, you really start to see the incredibleness of it.

The Lord is my Shepherd

The root of the word that’s most commonly associated used for “shepherd” comes from a word that means best friend. So not only is the Lord referenced as responsible overseer of his flock (that’s us….we are His sheep) but he is our best friend; He never leaves us or abandons us. He is always there for us. He is a caring, loving nurturing father-figure who doesn’t just tend to his flock out of sense of duty but out of a deep sense of love. Shepherds were also fierce protectors of their flocks; keeping them safe from harm and predators. That’s amazing to see it like that. To see the depth of meaning in those five words! It’s so much more than just some random person guiding a bunch of dumb sheep around.

I shall not want.

I will have more than enough. I lack nothing. I have everything that I need. My emotional, physical and spiritual needs are met. I am provided for. What a powerful truth. What would it look like if we truly walked out our daily lives believing this truth and living in it! I’m pretty sure that we’d operate differently than we often do. How much more confidence would we have if we fully believed that everything we needed was taken care of? What would we do differently, if we really embodied this truth? Think about it! Wow!

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

In God’s incredible love for us, He provides a safe place. A place where I can rest, free from all fear, because I trust that He has led me there and is watching out for and protecting me.

He leads me beside still waters.

I can confidently follow where He leads me, because He brings me to peaceful, calm places where I can be refreshed.

He restores my soul.

When we follow the paths where He leads(to the green pastures and still waters) and rest in His loving, safe presence; our souls and lives are refreshed. So often life wears us down as we do our own things, our own ways, on our own; but He wants us to follow His ways, His path and be refreshed and restored!

He leads me in the paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.

This phrase actually translates as “circular paths of righteousness.” Did you know that the sheep on the hills in Israel would wander in circles as they grazed and they would slowly circle their way up the hills to the tops. It was so much easier than just heading straight up. Even though it may seem like we are just going in circles and not really getting anywhere, when we follow where our Good Shepherd leads, we gain ground; and in doing so, we bring honor to His name.

How incredible are those first three verses? I’d love to hear what part stands out to you the most.

I’ll share more of my thoughts, on the rest of this Psalm, in another post.

God is Love

I’ve been thinking about God’s Love recently; and how that plays out in my life.

God Is Love!

1 John 4

God is the embodiment of perfect love. In wanting to be more like God, I want to know His character and have it evidenced by His Love inside of me; in my every thought and action and word.

And God lives in us. Which means that the expression of our lives should be evidence of His Love. And fortunately for us, He gave us clear instructions on what love looks like in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I want to be able to substitute my name for Love and have this be a description of myself. That when I think about myself or when others think of or talk about me that this is what they say! I don’t believe the large part is talking about my physical size but rather that Love is Large within me. Although being honest, I’m not exactly a small person, so I guess that fits, too!

Patti is large and incredibly patient.
Patti is gentle and consistently kind to all.
Patti refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else.
Patti does not brag about her achievements nor inflate her own importance.
Patti does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek her own honor. Patti is not easily irritated or quick to take offense.
Patti joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong.
Patti is a safe place of shelter, for she never stops believing the best for others. Patti never takes failure as defeat, for she never gives up.

That’s quite the passage to live up to; to line my life up to. But, WOW, I can see how beautiful life is, as we operate from a position of love.

Galatians 5 talks about the fruit of our lives and I love the way the Passion translation puts it.

Galatians 5

The fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is
DIVINE LOVE in all its varied expressions.

And this goes right back to wanting the expression of God’s Perfect Love evidenced in my life.

I want overflowing Joy in my life, no matter the situation or circumstances.
I want to live a life of Peace, trusting that God’s got everything under control.
I want Patience that endures forever and ever.
I want to be Kindness in action.
I want to live a life full of Virtue, evidenced by high moral standards.
I want to live full of Faith; believing and trusting God, no matter what!
I want Gentleness to be so evident in my life.
I want Strength of body, soul and spirit so I can be confident and boldly move forward in life.

I so desperately want God’s love to be evident in my life in every way. I want my words and my thoughts and my actions to be loving towards myself and others.

Going back to the first verse in 1 John, when God’s love is working in my life and I fully grasp and understand and live a life of perfect love, then I will not be walking in fear.

Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts. Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection.

There is a footnote in the Passion Translation indicating that the context of the word “Fear” is the fear of correction, punishment or rejection.

So if I’m walking in Love then I won’t be walking in fear. Which means if I’m feeling fearful, I’m likely scared that I’m going to be in trouble, or be punished or rejected.

Often, when I can take a step back from my situation, and think about what I am feeling – that assessment is correct. Fear of punishment, or getting in trouble or rejection is often at play.

The more that I realize that I’m operating out of fear, the quicker I can align myself back to LOVE. Get my focus off my situation and circumstances; and back on the ONE who loves me unconditionally. The One who’s love for me is patient, gentle, kind…..perfect! And when I’m walking in alignment with Him, then I am also walking in Love. So that same love that He gives me, I can then give out freely to those around me. Its such a beautiful concept to think of – His love fills me because He lives in me; and as I fill up and overflow, His love pours out to others. Wow!

Community & Connection

There is only 3 days until the start of the next Art Challenge and I do hope you join us. It’s such an incredible and soul filling experience to purposefully engage your creativity for 30 days.

One thing that’s so valuable as we start this journey is COMMUNITY. It’s amazing to join in with others who are expressing their creativity; to be encouraged and inspired by them. You are also part of the encouraging and inspiring process for others. It’s this incredible loop that cycles around and fills your soul. So if you don’t already follow my Facebook Page, click on the link below and follow me.

XANGELLE

I’m going to send you there right now to follow or like or whatever it is that you do to join and see posts because that is where we will be sharing our daily art and creativity. Each day there will be a post with the Day and Prompt. We will be sharing our art in the comments of each day’s post.

That way we can all see who is playing along with us in this Art Challenge . It’s a great way to collect the art for each day and we can encourage each other as we go along. Think of it as a virtual gallery. I’m excited to see what you create.

So if you haven’t already, go give my page a follow. I’m so excited to start this art challenge and to see where our creativity leads us.

Words are Art

What if I’m more interested in writing than I am in drawing or painting?

That’s AMAZING! Just like the picture says above….words are art, too!

If I could encourage you to do one thing, it would be to listen to your heart and create. Your heart might be desperate to draw and you’ve not done it because you’re not very good. If you’ve always dreamed of writing poetry or stories, do it.

Very few of us humans start out naturally good at anything. But if there’s a small voice inside of you that has been desperate to do something creative, listen to it. Start now. Start small. Let the beginning be just that. A beginning. Take those first few wobbly steps; and soon you’ll be walking steady and sure. It doesn’t happen over night though. Just acknowledge that and know that it’s part of the process.

I’m planning on writing some for this Art Challenge. It’s another creative outlet that I’ve always dreamed about. I’ve have written some, here and there but recently I’ve embraced creative writing along side drawing. When I do express myself through art or writing, it feeds my soul in ways that very little else does. There’s a satisfaction in doing something that the very core of you longs for.

Is there a part of you that desires to create in a way that you’ve been denying yourself? I’d totally encourage you to join us as we spend the month of September creating.

You can find the details here:

Click for the Art Challenge pdf.

But 30 Days is SO Long!

You might be wondering what kind of commitment this whole 30 Day Art Challenge is.

Honestly 30 days is a long time.

Will you be kicked out of “the club” if you miss a day?

NOPE

Will you be letting someone down if you miss a day?

NOPE

Will you be shamed or called out if you miss a day?

Also NOPE!

I would strongly encourage you to join our 30 Day Art Challenge with every plan of creating art every day.

Purposing to do this will allow you to get the most out of the process. It will also encourage you to get creative with finding ways to fit creativity into busy days. It could be a quick 5 min session while you wait for a bus or a kid. It could be drawing while you sit in the waiting room at the dr or dentist. It could be on your coffee break at work. We waste so much time but the more you realize that. The more you purpose to fit creativity in to your day to day life , the more ways and times and places you will notice that you can fit it in.

If you get to the end of your day and realize that you forgot or were too busy…..take note of that. Use that information to give you feedback. If you had the most soul fulfilling day packed with love and joy and people, then call it a win and have a good nights sleep. If you think back and feel like the day was tied up in fruitless busy-ness; think about how you can make changes to be living the life that you want to and make one plan to do so the next day.

If you choose to invest in a month of adding creativity to your life, make that month count. But don’t feel like a failure if life gets busy. Just come back to it.

Live life with the passion of a baby learning to walk. They try. They fall. They try. They fall. They keep trying and trying and trying and trying until they’ve got it.

This also means they fall and get up, over and over and over until they walk.

Also think about the fact that we say they are “walking” when they manage to stumble through 2 or 3 steps. We don’t run them down for falling. We cheer and squeal and shout and encourage them on.

Be your own cheerleader on this artistic journey. Speak gently and encouragingly to yourself. Let us, also, cheer you on. The more steps you take, the more you will be confident in your abilities. But it’s not about the finished product. It’s about the journey.

We’d love to have you join us from September 1-30 for our 30 Day Art Challenge. Stay tuned for more details.

Create With Me!

I thought it might be fun to have a practise round before we get going, so that you have an idea of how this process works.

Starting with the prompt “Flower” create something and either tag me on Instagram ( @pattic ) or post it in the comments of this post on Facebook.

You can draw, paint, write a poem, a song, take a photograph, sculpt, do whatever you want. But create your interpretation of the word flower and share it with us.

The word is just a prompt so create what that prompt sparks inside of you. It could be a flower, it could be multiple flowers, it could be a bouquet, or a field. It could be a flower dress or a flower tie or flower sunglasses. It’s up to you. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want. I’ll probably take about 5 mins to draw and paint mine.

I can’t wait to see what you create.

I’ll post mine as soon as I do it. Happy creating!

It takes Courage

Waiting is not an easy thing.

Have you ever had a situation where you wished that time would speed up? I think we’ve all probably had situations of anticipation where you wished that time would hurry up already. It’s hard to wait when you’re hoping and praying and waiting for something.

I remember when I was pregnant. My pregnancies were not delightful. I was SO sick. I was so tired. It was uncomfortable and frankly, miserable. But…..I believed there was a beautiful ending and beginning. I hoped there was a beautiful ending and beginning and so, I waited.

I waited miserable, sick and exhausted. I tried to find the beautiful moments – like feeling the baby move inside me. It’s one of my most favourite moments in life. But mostly I just waited miserable, sick and exhausted. I was biding my time waiting for the end of my misery and the beginning of wonder.

I’m in another one of those times in life. I’m not pregnant. Not a chance. I’m way too old for those shenanigans. But I’m in a season that sometimes feels confusing and challenging. It’s a shifting season, a growth season, a rediscovery season and it’s frustrating.

In my devotions today, I said, “God I need something. I need a sign or a message or something to encourage me.

And then I read Psalms 27:14. (NLT)

Green watercolor eucalyptus border along the bottom of the image with the words Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous.  Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalms 27:14 overlayed on top of the image

Seriously! Wait. Wait??? Just wait.

But the words that really stood out to me were those words in the middle of the verse. Be brave and courageous. In another translation it says “Be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart.”

As I thought about those words today, it stuck with me that it takes courage to trust and wait. It takes strength of heart, determination and confidence to patiently wait when you don’t want to, when you feel impatient; especially, when you just want to rush in and make things happen.

And so, I wait. Hopefully with this reminder, I’ll be a little more patient and I’ll have a little more grace for myself and others. But I can also recognize that I am brave. I am strong. I am courageous. There is strength in waiting patiently and confidently. And so I wait.

Hurry Up and Wait

I woke up this morning from a sad dream. I’ll take those over nightmares any day but they are not my favourite kind of dream. I think the absolutely absurd ones are my favourite. Do you have a favourite kind of dream? Weird question, I know!

Anyway, back to my feelings! I felt sad and discouraged. It felt like my world was weighing so heavy on me.

I couldn’t easily shake the heaviness so I got up and got ready for the day. I grabbed a coffee and headed out to my garden. I watered a few plants, checked on my seedlings and then felt frustrated.

Some of my seeds sprouting

I was frustrated because I want them to be grown and mature plants producing beauty and nourishment.

I looked at my garden and felt irritated. You see, right now it’s in the beginning stages of growth. It looks an awful lot like “dirt”. The seeds are hidden and even the young plants are pretty sparse and gangly looking.

Cucumber seedling emerging

I know what it going’s to look like in a month from now. I planted healthy flower and vegetable seeds and it’s a certainty that at least some of them will grow. I also planted some more mature seedlings and provided that I tend to them and give them what they need, my backyard is going to be full of gorgeous greenery, flowers, veggies and herbs. There are going to be butterflies and bees flying around pollinating. Dragonflies will be zipping around and the ladybugs will be everywhere.

In less than a month, I’ll be harvesting salad and adding in herbs to my food. In 2 months, it will be even more stunning. I’ll have plants that reach over 6 feet tall and some that spread wide and it’s literally going to look like a garden oasis.

I can see it in my mind. I can picture myself drinking coffee in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening while I water plants or sit and relax.

But I’m impatient and I want it now. This all ties back to my dream. There are things I’m working toward and hope for that I don’t see the full fruition of and it’s easy to get discouraged if I get stuck in the here and now.

But I can trust that if I’m planting good seeds and tending to them; that the laws of sowing and reaping are as certain as the changing seasons. Even if I don’t know exactly how long the growth process is, I can trust and believe that at the right time, it will happen.

That’s easier said than done but I will keep reminding myself of this when I feel discouraged or frustrated. And I’ll try to remember that no amount of wishing or hoping or dreaming can make things happen any faster than they are supposed to.

Plant the seeds, nurture and tend to them until you see a harvest. It will happen.

A Glorious Cascade

Jon got me the most decadent hanging baskets for Mother’s Day. You know the HUGE ones that end up being the most glorious cascade of color and substance.

I’ve wanted some forever and it feels so extravagant but also so incredibly special. We’ve hung 2 in front of our driveway and one by our front porch and would you believe that I currently have no pictures of them. Crazy!

We also got a bunch of flowers and veggies, herbs, seeds and dirt this past weekend.

Lettuce, Rosemary and Cosmos

I have tried to start seeds twice this year already and have killed both attempts. I’m not typically so deadly when it comes to plants but I’m still in a weird season.

Last summer, I missed my garden terribly but I couldn’t even fathom attempting to tend to anything. Just existing was about all I could handle.

Obviously, the desire to nurture is there and I’m hoping that with a bit of a jump start, the follow through will kick in.

Wave Petunias

I managed to get all the plants we bought planted. It took until today but in a month, my back yard should be the most gorgeous, lush oasis.

Oregano

There is a fabulous mess of flowers, mixed in with veggies and herbs; tucked into pots and baskets and corners and even neatly lined up inside the greenhouse that Jon built for me last year.

Cucumbers starting from seeds

We should have fresh salad all summer long. And I’ve planted 4 zucchini plants and have started seeds for 6 more. I know that sounds crazy but I’ve only ever once had a zucchini plant go crazy and I shredded and froze zucchini in 1 and 2 cup portions and still managed to run out before the next summer. So I’m praying for an over abundant harvest.

Zucchini

I’m hoping that growing them in the greenhouse will help protect them from the powdery mildew that seems to be rampant in my neighbourhood. I’m also going to try growing some in planters in my front yard. It gets sun mostly all day.

Garlic chives

I still have a few things that I’d like to plant, like beans and carrots and radishes as well as Alyssum. But if I don’t get to it, that’s okay too.

Tomatoe and Basil

I’m tired and a little sad tonight. Just feeling a little melancholy. Do you have moments like that, sometimes? Times when life feels a little bit weightier than others. I’m sure it will pass.

Cosmos and Petunias

As I wait with anticipation for this season to wind down, I’m thankful for life. I’m thankful for joy. I’m thankful that I have enough. I’m ever so thankful for the warmth and glow of the sunshine. I’m thankful that I have the capacity to hold both the sadness and the gratitude at the same time.

Lemon Balm

This too shall pass and until then, (and most likely even after) you’ll probably find me in my garden.