The season of love

If Bible chapters were months of the year, 1 Corinthians chapter 13 would be February. It's often called the "love" chapter, and for good reason, as you see here. In the middle of the chapter is the apostle Paul's elegant description of true love, where he writes the familiar words, "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but...

Fire in the jungle

This week, Patti is introducing a new piece in the Inspiring Handmade shop called Fire in the Jungle. It's a work full of energy, conflict, passion, and respite—a little bit like life. The name of the piece reflects the tension inherent in its bold colors fighting for your attention. A fire in a jungle evokes imagery of devastation amongst lush green vegetation—death and destruction encroaching on areas teeming with life, but kept at bay, maybe, by a river or a stream, or a drenching afternoon rain. Such a...

A cold winter’s sky

One of my favorite things about winter is the clear night sky. While it's more comfortable temperature-wise to skywatch in the summer, the winter sky seems clearer and sharper. Colder air is often less hazy, so it feels like I can see farther into the depths of space. And there are no bugs. The next time you're outside on a crisp winter's evening, turn your gaze skyward fo a minute or two and consider that, while some of those tiny points of light are single stars, like our...

What’s your whale?

In the familiar account of Jonah in The Bible, we read that God assigned Jonah the unenviable task of traveling to Ninevah (modern-day Mosul in Iraq), to tell the Assyrians that they were about to be judged and obliterated by God unless they repented and turned from their wicked ways. Instead of obeying God and delivering the unpopular message to a vicious nation that many historians say was among the first superpowers of the ancient world, Jonah likely saw his assignment as a suicide mission. So he...

New Song sculpture by Stephen Rountree

A new song

A new year. A new decade. 100 years ago, our nation was entering what became known as the "Roaring Twenties." It was a time of economic and cultural growth and prosperity. As we ease into the 2020s, I'm wondering if these will be the "Roaring Twenties" for me creatively and spiritually. Will I see new growth in those areas of my life this year? I'd like to. Maybe you would, too. A vision for 2020 Lately, I've been meditating on Psalm 96. It's short—just 13 verses—but it's packed with big ideas...

Wood and wire sculpture

Walking on water in 2020?

What do you want to do or become in 2020? For those who like to set goals, the new year inevitably brings with it the talk of resolutions. Some folks aim to lose weight, eat better, or get in shape. Others will strive to read more, or start—or finish—that book they want to write. You're reading Inspiring Handmade (thank you!), so perhaps you have a creative project in mind. Will 2020 be the year you try a new type of art? Or take what you've learned in the...

Christmas card cartoon

Perfect love at Christmas

We've come to the final week of the Advent season. If you've missed the previous posts, you can check them out now. I've written about hope, peace, and joy in the past three weeks. This last week focuses on love. I'm sharing one more cartoon from my Christmas card archives. The one shown above pokes a little fun at all the trouble we go to in the name of love for our friends and family. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things just don't work out as planned. And...

Christmas card cartoon

Perfect love at Christmas

We've come to the final week of the Advent season. If you've missed the previous posts, you can check them out now. I've written about hope, peace, and joy in the past three weeks. This last week focuses on love. I'm sharing one more cartoon from my Christmas card archives. The one shown above pokes a little fun at all the trouble we go to in the name of love for our friends and family. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things just don't work out as planned. And...

cartoon of a traveling snowman

What would you give for true joy?

This week is the third in the season of Advent. My last two posts have looked at the hope and peace of Advent. This week, the theme is joy and I’m sharing another Christmas card from my archives. I did this one in 2006, before there was TSA Precheck. If you travel by air at all, it’s a safe bet you don’t associate airport security with joy. But at least you don't have to remove your eyes and nose. Yet. When we think of that original Christmas journey...

Snowman family at dinner

Plastic peace?

Artificial, plastic trees. Artificial icicles and artificial snow. Maybe even artificial smiles amid the stress of the holiday season? And all of it with the goal of somehow generating genuine peace. But all the plastic, and glitter, and presents in the world can't conjure up peace at our dinner tables or in our own homes, much less for the whole earth. There is someone, though, who is able to bring real peace. Angles announced His birth more than 2,000 years ago with the proclamation, "Glory to...