Category: arts & crafts

Time enough

wood, wire and paint sculpture of a chrysalis and butterfly

‘The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
— Rabindranath Tagore, Indian writer (1861-1941)

I’ve been thinking about butterflies lately. My neighbor has created a butterfly garden in a clearing in the woods between our houses. For her birthday this past winter, I created a sculpture based on a concept that I’ve continued to refine. I’ve just completed the latest version (pictured above) for a Richmond area benefit auction for We Heart Harlie and Friends. This charity does the noble work of helping with expenses for the care of 10 year old Harlie and several other children, each with serious medical issues. Read their stories at weheartharlieandfriends.org. They remind me that butterflies aren’t the only fragile ones in God’s creation.

The quote above, from Indian writer Rabindranath Tagore, is insightful. Butterflies truly do live in the moment, don’t they? And yet they are among the most beautiful and elegant of God’s creatures. Ecclesiastes 3:11 begins with this declaration: “He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time.” From an easy-to-overlook chrysalis to the impossible-to-miss flitting butterfly, the Creator has His own designs and timetables for His world.

And as I’ve developed this piece over these past winter and early spring weeks, this truth has begun to dawn on me: As short-lived as the butterfly’s life may be, it does, indeed, have “time enough.” It has time enough to simply be what God created it to be — a beautiful butterfly. That’s all it has to do — and be — and there is enough time for that.

I’m old enough now to realize that I’ll not live long enough to read all the books I want to read. Or create all the art for which I have ideas. Or spend the time I want to spend with the people I love. But that’s my agenda. God has made me for a purpose — to glorify Him, enjoy a deep relationship with Him and serve Him by serving others. And if I’m attending to those things, like the butterfly, I’ll have time enough.

Jesus had just 33 short years on earth and only three years of actual formal recorded ministry, yet He didn’t spend time regretting yesterday or worrying about tomorrow. He lived in the moments and had time enough — to love, to worship, to teach, to be a friend. And time enough to bring healing.

My life, and yours, may last for many more years or may soon come to an end. But there’s time enough — in God’s time — to be a friend and to help in the healing of children like Harlie.

We Heart Harlie and Friends invites everyone to join them for We Heart Harlie Day 2017 this Saturday, April 29, from 8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Events include a 5k and a kids mile run, a raffle, music and more. Visit http://weheartharlieandfriends.org/events/we-heart-harlie-day-2017-5k-and-kids-mile/ to learn more.

A New Year

In Christ sculpture in progress

Picture God at your birthday party singing louder than any of your friends or family. Is that hard to imagine?

Welcome to 2017. ‘Tis the season of resolutions. Someone once said, “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” I’m not a fan of making resolutions, but if I were, I’d likely adopt the two that eighteenth century pastor and theologian, Jonathan Edwards, made: “Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.”

But I prefer goals to resolutions. And one of my goals this year is to create art that keeps Scripture front and center in my life and in the life of those who see it. My wife jokes (sort of) that I can’t find anything in a cabinet or the fridge if it’s behind any other item. To a large extent, she’s right. I’m the type of person who works better with everything laid out where I can see it — be it sketches I’m working on or tools in my studio — seeing it all helps me remember that it’s going to be needed — that it’s part of the workflow.

The same is true for God’s Word. Seeing verses from the Bible as I move through my day helps keep God’s truth at the center of my life, reminding me of His loving presence, His promises, and His power.

I’m reminded that God’s loving presence is guaranteed. After His resurrection from the dead, Matthew records Jesus speaking to His followers before He ascended into heaven: “… and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” I won’t face any trials that come my way in this new year by myself. And Psalm 138.8 encourages with these confident words: “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of Your hands.”

God’s promises are comforting. In the book of Jeremiah, 29:11, we read, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” I love that verse, especially when considered in light of another one in Romans, 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. No matter what 2017 brings, I can trust that God is in control and is working things out for my good if I place my trust in Him and align my life with His purposes.

God’s power is absolute. There is nothing He cannot do. The gospel of Matthew, 19:26, records Jesus describing the power of God the Father: “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” And I love the vivid language of Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” That’s quite a statement, that last line. Picture God at your birthday party singing louder than any of your friends or family. Is that hard to imagine? Why? God created you and He loves you more than you can imagine.

An anonymous pundit said, “Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.” We might chuckle at that, but it takes intentional effort not to do just that. During 2017 I’ll be aiming to create more art to help me visually weave Scripture into my everyday life. Do you find that to be helpful in your own life? If so, what are some ways you’ve helped yourself focus on God’s truth throughout your day? Feel free to leave a comment below. And happy New Year!

Authentic Thanksgiving

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” —A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

A few thousand years before Milne wrote this observation about Pooh’s dearest friend, Psalm 50 records The Lord’s declaration to the whole earth on the nature of acceptable worship. God is pointing out that He does not want to be worshipped through outward displays — mere empty religious rituals. Unless we truly worship in our hearts, all the religious sacrifices and services are in vain. After all, The Lord says, what sacrifice does He need from any person? He owns it all. As verses 10-11 state, “For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.” [ESV]
The only thing we can truly offer to the Creator of the universe is a thankful heart and our obedience. Psalm 50:14: “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High …”
A heart full of gratitude and thanksgiving will naturally lead to outward expressions of worship, but they won’t be empty. They’ll be genuine and very pleasing to our Heavenly Father.
May your Thanksgiving this year be authentically from your heart, whatever size yours is because it turns out, Piglet had it just right.

Thank you

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who helped Hanover Handmade help those in need right in our own community! Together with all our old friends and new ones who visited our October show, we raised $700 for MCEF plus a several boxes of canned goods for their food pantry. We’re working on plans for the next year so stay tuned for more details.

Hanover Handmade artists and crafters

The makers of Hanover Handmade close out their first show with a gift of $700 to Mechanicsville Churches Emergency Functions (MCEF).