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...

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...

Wire crucified hand set in white pickling-washed salvaged barn wood with hand transferred text.

No greater love

The story is told of a little girl who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her five-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to fight it. As best he could, the doctor explained the situation to her brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. He hesitated for a long moment and then took a deep...

Finding forgiveness

What's the opposite of unforgiveness? Forgiveness? Well, grammatically, yes. But simply adding the "un" doesn't help us get at the core questions—and answers—about unforgiveness. Why do we harbor unforgiveness? Why do we struggle to forgive? Why is it sometimes so hard to genuinely let something go? Volumes have been written and preached on this topic. In practice, where actions, emotions, and life-altering events impact our present circumstances and potentially shape our futures—just as we impact others and shape their futures—it can seem complicated. The Secret of Gratitude salvaged wood,...

The Arc of the Summer Moon door topper is an original sculpture from salvaged 19th century oak barn wood. Acrylic paint, salvaged wood, cut wood.

Arc of the Summer Moon

In ancient times, the Israelite king, David, wrote, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” Created from salvaged 19th century oak barn wood and hardwood cut from the woods near the artist’s studio, The Arc of the Summer Moon door topper is an original sculpture capturing the peaceful twilight of a summer evening. The moon's low, lazy arc across the sky is a reminder of the...

In Christ sculpture in progress

A New Year

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