Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Beauty For Ashes

Beauty For Ashes

This quote comes from one of my most favorite and comforting scriptures ever. Isaiah 61 - 

This little painting is one of my new favorites. 
I'm keeping her. She’s going in my room.

Isaiah is speaking about some of the things Christ will do. "he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives....To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..."

This is my reminder that when we feel like our life is in ashes...when we feel like nothing will ever be ok again...when all we can see are the ashes of our burned up hopes and dreams. - That Christ can take our ashes and turn them into something beautiful. He can make our life beautiful again. 

I feel Him doing this for me. 

And I know that He can do this for everyone.

Isaiah 61: 1-3

1.The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
 2 .To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
 3. To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Trust Him

I’ve had these exact words on a giant chalk board 
in my room for the past five years. 

TRUST HIM.  You can do this.  p.s. You ARE doing this.

I needed to read them every morning 
and I needed to read them every night.  
Half the time I was bawling when I read them, 
but they still always helped.

I decided to create a painting that would be a little prettier and more permanent than my chalk board. {and I discovered a new palette that I love!}

This one is for anyone who needs to see these words daily as a reminder that they are already doing what they thought they could never do. 

And that when we trust Him... 
everything will always be ok. 
Actually, not just ok, but good. 

Even if we can’t imagine it right now.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Love Always Wins { My Widow Motto }

Love Always Wins
{my widow motto}

Something in her eyes told you she had known unimaginable loss...
but those eyes also told you she has known unimaginable love.
Overwhelmingly beautiful, empowering love.
and love is bigger than loss.
LOVE Always WINS. 

I wrote these words sometime in the first year after Brad died. I wanted to remember them . I needed to read them. Reading them helped me focus on the good.  I do know that love is bigger than loss, and that love will always win...  but I needed a reminder often. 

When I started painting a few years ago, I painted two paintings for my daughters, and then I decided to start on a painting for me. I knew I needed to give those words a home. A place that I would see often and read and re-read on hard days. This painting was an attempt to give those words a pretty backdrop. One that would be colorful and joyful. But mostly, I just needed to get those words out of my notebook and up, because they helped me. It was like I could feel Brad right there when I read them... reminding me that he was not far away and that our love is still stronger than anything that can physically happen to us. 
This painting will probably always be my favorite.  

Something happened when I was working on this painting. There are lots of tears on her.. but many of those were happy tears. While I worked on her I discovered that painting made me unbelievably happy and that this was what I was supposed to do. This was what I needed to do. So I love this girl. 
She brought a happy passion into my life that I am so grateful for. 

And I also love that she talks about the love Brad and I share. 

This print is for anyone who knows what loss feels like... 
knows the emptiness and the ache and the fear...
 and needs to be reminded that their love really can can carry them through.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Operation Serve To Heal - THANK YOU


Thank you for spreading the word about Operation Serve to Heal.
Thank you for joining in.
Thank you for your kind words on social media and for your love and support.

I wanted to give people the option of joining us on this day for a few reasons.

First, I wanted my little girls to see that people love and respect their daddy for his life and for his service to our country. I wanted them to see that people haven't forgotten him... and that they haven't forgotten them.  - That there are people from all over who stop on May 1st. They think of Brad and think of his family.  I know this. and I feel it.  and I am SO grateful for it.  {I wanted them to know it too.} I tell them. but this year they had a chance to SEE it on their own.

The girls were so little when Brad was killed. So they don't remember the outpouring of love. We no longer live near any of our Air Force friends. With the exception of family, everyone the girls know did not get the opportunity to know their Daddy.  So my hope for this day was first and foremost - these little girls. Helping them feel loved on this worst of all days.

When we did our day of service last year I was amazed at how those small little actions completely changed the way I view this day.  I realized that I don't need to feel like this day holds me hostage. That, no matter what happened on this day... I have a choice about how it will be from now on. I get to write the story for all the rest of my May 1st's.    That first year of service, I learned that this day could be bearable. That we could choose to focus on the blessing that Brad's life was instead of what we all lost that day. To be honest, we always try to focus on the blessings. but somehow adding an element of service, making it NOT about us... that was what changed it.

This year, because of all of you, we learned that not only can this day be bearable.... but it can be one of joy and gratitude.  I just want you to know that every single share and post about this day was noticed and appreciated.

The morning of May 1st I still found it a little hard to get up and face the day. I was laying in bed talking to the girls and just... revisiting in my head.  Watching the clock for the time his jet went down. the time they came and knocked on my door....telling Ty... all the heartbreaks of that day. I still don't know how to keep those thoughts at bay...   But my phone lit up and I saw a tag on Instagram of a daring girl and her friend with their #operationservetoheal tags in hand, ready to serve.   It brought me to tears and helped me get out of bed.

That happened all day.
{the gratitude, and the tears}
Happy tears on May 1st are welcome.

My beautiful friends surprised me and cleaned and organized my kitchen {yikes! That is love!}

I got to watch my girls run happily to clean up trash in the community.  Loved ones joined in and served in honor of Brad. Others served in honor of someone they loved. Complete strangers joined in. And we were overwhelmed.

Our beautiful Hermana Funk is experiencing the joy of service every day as she serves the people of Mexico.

I can't even put into words the gift you gave our family that day.

You helped us change the worst day of our lives into something with a sacred purpose.

We are so grateful.    {thank you again}