A Better Gift
Christmas cookies were big in my house growing up. As a young sweets lover I loved to bake, or do anything in the kitchen with Mom. I’m not sure which was better – the act of baking itself or the pleasure of eating the treats!
Cupcakes, birthday cakes, cookies—they were all so much fun to make! In our family each child got to choose what flavor or style his birthday cake would be each year. Biiiiig stuff! We enjoyed a variety of Christmas cookies, but decorated sugar cookies were Mom’s favorite. She joyfully told the story that when she was a little girl, they inadvertently misplaced a box of sugar cookies and found them at Easter time-- It was like finding GOLD! Knowing she loved these also made gift giving easy, because they were such a treat for her. As she grew older and couldn’t bake anymore, ANY holiday was a good time for her favorites!
Toymakers made children’s dreams come true when they introduced the Easy Bake Oven in the 1960s. One Christmas, my seven or eight year-old self circled and highlighted it in our Sears Christmas Catalog for my wish list. This was my kind of toy! MUST HAVE Easy Bake Oven! Think of all the treats I could make, and eat!
Mom said, “No, it’s too dangerous.” TOO DANGEROUS?!! What was she talking about?? I still remember my deep disappointment.
Instead, my thoughtful and caring mother gave me a shoebox filled with little Washington cake mixes, frosting mixes, a pair of hot mitts, a few mixing tools, and the promise that she would help me with my baking endeavors. Wow, thanks, Mom. (Womp, womp)
But it was a great decision on her part. Not only did I not just bake treats for myself and possibly get injured with a “too dangerous” oven, but I got to spend time with Mom, baking like a big girl. She instilled in me a confidence that “I can do this” with baking. This continues to be a blessing as I still enjoy experimenting and trying new baking projects, not just for myself, but to share with others.
Mom loved my poem, “Cookies In Heaven”. I wonder now, this Christmas, if she’s enjoying decorated sugar cookies heaven? And if so, what they must taste like??
As an adult I’ve thought of buying myself an Easy Bake Oven, but the luster is gone. But oh, what I would give to bake with Mom again.
In June I completed several new pieces responding to "Call for Art" for Atlanticare Foundation's Healing Arts Program, Egg Harbor Township, NJ. They needed artwork for their new Maternity/OB Ward. I'm delighted and honored to share that they purchased three of my pieces-- two collages and a painting! (below) Evan and I drove six hours to deliver them Friday. Thank you, Lord, and keep the blessings flowing!! Chery Broschard, the Development & Cultural Project Manager, is always looking for new art. To be added to her mailing list, contact her at email@example.com
If you want to know why this was such a breakthrough for me, drop me a line and I'll tell you more of the story!
I was incredibly honored last month to win my third award for Transformation, a 24" x 50" oil painting I created in college when I was 21 years-old. It came in Third Place ($200) in the Oakton Foundation Spring 2019 Visual Arts Competition. I'd like to share the original sketch as well as some insight behind the painting.
Like many, depression runs in my family. As a teenager I was caught in a downward spiral of anxiety and depression, and after a life-threatening crisis at age 16, I was briefly hospitalized and started getting treatment.
A few years later on my first day of college I met Sarabeth, a born-again Christian, who invited me to the Christian Fellowship group on campus. I went on and off, but mostly did my own thing for the next few years. But I became good friends with her and had many other Christians reach out to me. Even though I had been raised in church, it took me a long time to believe that the Heavenly Father really loved me and that all my sins were forgiven through the work of His Son, Jesus. It was difficult for me to grasp that Jesus bore the punishment for my sins, wanted to wash me clean with His blood and make “all things new” in my life. It seemed too good to be true! But in 1984 I cried out to the Lord and received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me, and a journey that I look forward to continuing for all eternity!
(To learn more about God's gift of salvation, click here.)
This painting reflects the transformation that took place in me. He brought me out of a dark place into his marvelous love. Colossians 1: 13 AMPC, "[The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love."
A book I'm currently reading which addresses healing in our hearts and I highly recommend is, Unlocking the Heart of the Artist by Matt Tommey.
When Evan got home from a walk this morning, he saw what he thought was a worm crawling in our front yard.
Upon closer inspection, it was hundreds of what we've come to identify as a "swarming mass of larvae." Ewwwwww!!!!! (Click here for more info) By the time I took this video, they were crawling into the dirt.
A Visual Diary