Painting a Bigger Life Box

Feb. 28, 2015

Psalm 57:9-10

I’m thanking you, God, out loud in the streets, singing your praises in town and country. The deeper your love, the higher it goes; every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness.

Sometimes, it’s good to make our boxes a little bigger.

I am NOT an artist. The last time I picked up a paintbrush, other than for painting a wall or a piece of furniture, was probably in 3rd or 4th grade art class. Wanting to “add in” some things this Lent, I convinced three friends to go to a Paint Nite.

Paint Nite’s basic concept is for a bunch of women to come together, have a glass of something you enjoy, and paint. (I give the one man kudos for making a deposit into his wife’s love bank and joining in!) In two hours, the “teacher” leads participants step-by-step through the process of releasing a person’s inner Van Gough or Monet and creating their own painting. While the teacher has an example to follow, no finished products looked like the sample. Participants are encouraged to deviate and make their painting reflect themselves.

I sat down with my three friends, also self-declared non-painters. Tina cracked everyone up when she stated her husband doesn’t even trust her to paint a wall! We mixed paints, applied them to our blank canvases and oohed as each person’s painting developed. A woman behind us mixed really cool colors and took her canvas to a different level. I declared that she must have had previous painting classes. She shyly admitted with $20,000 spent on an art degree, she should be able to paint.

I had so many thoughts while painting. I thought of how each of us starts out as a blank canvas in God’s eyes. How we are each painted with different strokes and colors so no two are exactly alike. I thought of how therapeutic this time was; being with great people and doing something uncomfortable, yet discovering something new about ourselves. I thought of my good friend Bonnie Mohr who is a painter. While I have always admired her work, I have a much deeper appreciation for her skill.

Am I going to purchase a bunch of blank canvases and paints and continue painting? I’m not so sure. Will I sign up for a series of paint classes? Rick has encouraged me! It was so good to “add in” something that brought me great joy, if just a couple hours. When guided by the Spirit, we can do many great things initially outside of our normal boxes. For this, I give thanks.

It becomes so easy for us to do the predictable. But Lord, you challenge us to dig deeper. To discover new ways you have created goodness within us. Lord, may we be challenged to tap into something new this Lent. Help us discover something new about ourselves this day. 

Blessings –


Our finished products! From left to right, Dianne Van Gogh Vielhuber, Tina Matisse Williams, Kendra Monet Kravik and Kris Rembrandt Kravik (as named by the resident Matisse).
Starting with blank canvases …

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2015 Lenten Calendar

2015 Lenten CalendarFeb. 18, 2015


Isaiah 58:9

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer. You shall cry for help and he will say, “Here I am.”


Today begins a 40-spiritual journey for many Christians. Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Lent precedes Easter by 40 days (not counting Sundays) and is a time for Christians to ponder their lives. Are we living as God would desire? Are there ways we can implement ways to walk closer with God?


For some people, Lent is a time to make personal sacrifices; to “give up” something which may keep us from fully focusing on God. Meat, sweets, soda, social media – lots of possibilities. While I often make sacrifices during Lent, I also like to “add in” ways which help me to serve God’s kingdom throughout Lent.


This Lent, I put together a calendar with ideas of ways we can “give up” as well as “add in” things. My intention was to create opportunities every day to have some moments we dedicate to God’s kingdom. I encourage you to print off this 2015 Lenten Calendar and strive to cross off something from the list every day. If you aren’t able to do something on a particular day, pick a different day and cross this one off instead. My prayer is that this Lenten Calendar will make it a little easier to follow work doable Lenten practices into the next 40 days.


Lord God, as we begin the Lenten season, may we dedicate time each day of Lent to serve your kingdom. May these experiences only draw us closer to you. Amen.

Blessings –


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