Finish Your Food, Adele

Probably the most frequent phrase I heard in my childhood was “Finish your food, Adele”. I had next to no appetite, except for tiny amounts of chocolate, peanut butter, waffles….that sort of thing. Nevertheless, I was more active and lively than my brother and sister combined and showed no signs of malnutrition; however, I was very, very skinny. I grew out of that particular problem and am totally grateful for and enjoy the food our Lord provides. He is ever-faithful.

During our early years of marriage, money was scarce. It wasn’t unusual to find a note on the bananas, “Hands off. These are for your lunch bags”, or in the refrigerator a note on little plastic dishes, “Nope! Stay away. This is for supper.” They soon learned to ask first.

Through the years our finances became less strained, but I never lost my appreciation and gratitude for our Lord’s generous supply for all our needs. I rarely fail to thank Him out loud for all the food we carry into the house after a visit to the grocery store. I’m truly grateful and know He is the One and Only provider.

“Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted.

He did the same with the fish.” 

___John 6:11

I remember how touched I was when I first comprehended that verse. The Lord and creator of the universe, (Colossians 1:15-16) was giving thanks to His Father for their food at that amazing picnic. What a rich blessing to know that grace and humility are natural characteristics of our Lord Jesus Christ and He never changes. He is so worthy of our praise, and gratitude. If He feels the need to give thanks for His food, I will thank Him for my food, before I eat, wherever I am….at a picnic for 5000, standing by a food truck, enjoying afternoon tea and a cookie, or waiting in line at McDonalds. I even thank the Lord for providing fast-food restaurants, with inexpensive food. It comforts me to know someone short on money can still buy lunch.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thanking Him more than ever. He has blessed us so far above our hopes. I’m grateful and praise Him for who He is, for what He has done, and for all He has in store for us.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

___Ephesians 3:20-21

‘Til He Shouts,

Adele

On Good Friday

O Sacred Head

O sacred head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, your only crown.
O sacred head, what glory
and blessing you have known!
Yet, though despised and gory,
I claim you as my own.

My Lord, what you did suffer
was all for sinner’s gain;
mine, mine was the transgression,
but yours the deadly pain.
So here I kneel, my Savior,
for I deserve your place;
look on me with thy favor
and save me by your grace.

What language shall I borrow
to thank you, dearest Friend,
for this, your dying sorrow,
your pity without end?
Lord, make me yours forever,
a loyal servant true,
and let me never, never
outlive my love to you.

“Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” John 19:30

The poem “O Sacred Head”, is attributed to Paul Gerhardt, 1656

‘Til He Shouts!

What’s Wrong With Online Classes

There are many things I’ve been interested in during my long years. One is art; another is the Holy Bible, then of course, there’s diet, nutrition ,exercise and overall health. I’ve studied most of these disciplines quite a lot.

I went to college, graduated from art school, attended untold numbers of Bible classes, and live art workshops, belonged to a local art group, participated in art shows locally and nationally. I’ve even written and illustrated four children’s books, (which were published) and written five Bible studies and taught each one to large groups of women. I enjoyed two or three years of regular public speaking to women’s groups at retreats, banquets, and luncheons. I loved it all.

My experience in teaching has been about 15 years with women’s Bible classes at church and at home. And I loved it, until the years caught up with my strength. Therefore, about 10 years ago I turned to online classes for more leaning and yes, I have learned quite a lot more.  I’ve had terrific teachers and instructors and always recommend them to others. But lately I’m becoming bored with being taught. I’m bored with listening to someone else teach their subject. I’m bored trying their methods and instructions. But, I’m still getting older and limited in extended activities, Teaching my own classes live is no longer possible.

I’ve pondered why I’m so bored studying something I love so much such as art and the Bible. I’ve talked about my concern for hours to my long-suffering husband. He simply offers encouragement to do whatever makes me happy. Meanwhile I continued to wish I knew what that was.

Then finally this morning I may have found the answer. I’m bored with being taught because I want to interact with the teacher and other students. I want to discuss what we are learning, ask questions from others, get real, sincere criticism, advice how to improve my work. Yes, I’ve also learned not everyone likes to talk about my interests only theirs.

What in the world took me so long to realize this obvious answer? I know my personality; I’m talkative, love people, want to be appreciated, and contribute. The word contribute is key here.  I love to talk with others about my art, their art, what I’ve recently learned from my own Bible studies. I love to share and to receive from others. 

There you have my random thoughts and complaints, but I  have offered no solution. If you have one, or more……..let me know.

Adele

“Faith isn’t faith…..until….”

“Faith isn’t faith….until…..”

I read a quote I’ve not forgotten. “Faith isn’t faith until it’s all you have to hang onto.”

At first I thought it was a profound statement, but later came to believe it was inadequate and only the beginning of a greater truth.

Faith is indeed important but it must have an object. Faith in what? Faith in whom? Isn’t it possible for faith with no object to become merely a work of our human ability? Honestly, I don’t have much faith or hope left in my own human ability. Do you?

Many years ago I put my faith and hope in the greatest foundation of all, the ever-faithful solid rock, our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of our true hope, the ultimate object of our faith.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

When darkness veils His lovely face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

(The Solid Rock___words by Edward Mote 1832)

‘Til He Shouts,

Adele

My Dream World

I Love Pretty Things: I love flowers, kitties, sunsets, moonlight, fireflies, great paintings, inspiring books and movies, perfume, sweet smelling soap, hot showers, a clean house (okay, at least orderly), rain (in reasonable amounts), nail polish, make-up, hand lotion on a cold, dry day, color…lots of color, faces, the smell of clothes hung outside on the clothesline to dry, freshly turned earth in the flower-beds, fragrant candles, waves hitting the beach, our Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren….on and on. These things are part of my dream world.

Snoozing Cat 7-9-15

Don’t Disturb my Dream World: While studying art in college, I  noticed the professors preferred we learn to paint subjects that were “socially relevant”. I wanted to paint landscapes, cats, pretty flowers, and an occasional smiling face. The closest I ever came to “socially relevant” was a series of three paintings about homeless people. I was pleased with my technique and skill, but depressed by the subject and concept. Not fun. I had to step out of my dream world to make a good grade.

My Personality: Maybe it is part of my personality. I’ve taken the tests, read many books on the subject, attended seminars, even taught the personalities, enough to finally know my own personality.  Notice, I did not say I like it nor that I understand it.

Personality Strengths:  Those of us with this same personality like fun, pretty things, laughter, friends, people, groups, and share a firm belief that everybody loves us. Don’t they? Maybe that should be in the Weaknesses column.

Personality weaknesses: There is a downside to my personality, as there is to all personalities. I don’t like an excess of rules and regulations, I don’t like silence so I talk (too much) to fill it in, I get bored easily (That’s why I change art mediums so often), I’m impulsive and quick to act before thinking it through (Remember I get bored easily), I’m easily disappointed with myself and others.  To me things are either absolutely fabulous or not worth my time.

Finding Answers in God’s Word: In my Bible study I’ve found several Scriptures speaking to me and to my personality. I guess I feel justified to be so happy and light-hearted.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely,

whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy

-think on these things”. Philippians 4:8

Who Knew? Trees, Mountains and Rivers Are Happy:

“Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy.” Psalm 98:8

“You will go out with joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12

Permission to Stay and Enjoy My Dream World:  We Christians have permission to be happy as a child confident in its father’s love and care. We can clap our hands, sing out loud, and smile….like a little girl playing in her play-house.

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

My Dream World Is Real!

‘Til He Shouts!

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Adele, U.S. Marshal

US Marshal (final art)

 A few years back, I spoke  to a Christian women’s event at a large church on the subject, “Dare to Dream”. It was a success; the ladies seemed to relate and understand the importance of dreaming.

I’m a dreamer and have always been a dreamer. My earliest dream that I can remember was to be a:

1.  Lovely Indian Maiden.Dressing the part was very important in all my dreaming. I put together an outfit most closely matching what I saw  the lovely Indian maidens wear  in the cowboy movie at the Saturday morning Fun Club. I made a teepee by throwing a blanket over a ladder. For fun (short-lived) I would sit on the edge of the little pond in our backyard and make Indian pottery out of the mud. I slept alone in that teepee….at night……once. With every dream comes a problem. Problem: I would wake up with very damp blankets and frizzy hair. I no longer looked like an Indian, especially a lovely one. NO fun.

The closest I ever came to fulfilling this dream was in junior high. Back in the day, we were called Indians and had an annual Pow Wow out on the baseball field. I had the honor of being voted the “Indian Princess” by my class. My Mother made my outfit; I was truly lovely….at least I thought so.

2. U.S. Marshal. I wore my cowboy hat (a perfect Christmas gift for a little Texas girl), a toy gun and holster, and a badge. I looked tough and cast fear into all my little friends. I would create play scenarios, eventually arrest each and every one, and lock them into a make-shift jail my parents let me put together. Problem: Soon there was no one left to play with or arrest. My playmates got tired of being arrested and went home.

3.  Housewife and Mother. My Father and Grandfather built a playhouse in our backyard for my sister and me. It was wonderful; it had a  main room, a loft with a ladder, and a kitchen with a wood-burning fire stove. It even had “running water”. Daddy hung a bucket outside the kitchen and ran a rubber tube through to the kitchen sink. All I had to do was siphon the water from the bucket into my kitchen….until one day an awful looking bug came through the tube along with the water.

I caught minnows from our little pond and fried them over that slow fire…too soggy or gross to eat. I had girlfriends over for sleepovers in my playhouse. I remember one night being awakened by a very strange noise and discovered it was coming from some kind of BIG bird walking right past the door to my playhouse, making a scary noise. I never knew what it was but the sound of the playhouse door slamming scared it away. Now I realize it was probably the hoot owl that lived in our woods. Problem: Scary noise and critters at night and too much work keeping the playhouse clean.

4.  Famous Broadway Star. When the musical “South Pacific” came to my attention, I became convinced I was a natural for the part of Nellie Forbush. My parents let me take dance lessons and took me to see touring musicals. Problem: I was told I would have to move to New York to pursue this dream.

5.  Artist. My Father was a professional illustrator and a fine art painter. He gave me private lessons and helped me get my first job in an art studio as a teenager. I thought this would stick and it has for many years….but I’m still dreaming.

Langston Hughes wrote:

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams, for when dreams go, life is a barren field, frozen with snow.”

____from Dreams

Paul, the great Apostle of Jesus Christ wrote:

  Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us,

he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

____Ephesians 3:20 The Holy Bible

‘Til He Shouts,

Your Personality and Everything Else

What does your personality have to do with your life? Does it matter if you understand yourself? Will understanding your Personality help your work, relationships with family, friends and parenting?

Of these few questions the only one I frequently asked myself is “Will understanding my personality help me with my work as an artist? When meeting someone new or a distant friend they would ask me what I do. “I’m an artist.” Oh really, that’s interesting. What medium to you use? Yikes! Here’s that darn question again to which I would always give a dumb answer, “It depends on what day or month it is.”

You can see I had worked on a perky answer to give just in case. When they would repeat the question or begin to walk away I would hang on to them and say “You see, I like acrylics, oils, watercolor, pen/ink, pencil, charcoal, art markers, even computer art.” I would continue “After using one medium for a day, or week, or month, I inevitably yearn to get back to one of the others.” If my questioner was also an artist, they would just shake their head and look for the exit. If they were not a fellow artist, they would look like they were sorry they had asked. No one ever stopped to give me counsel on my particular and strange problem, so it continued.

Little did I know that I would soon get an answer. One day more than a decade ago while going through my mail I came across a brochure advertising a seminar coming to Houston. It was about learning how to be a public speaker and a published author. Wow! How did they know I’ve always wanted to be a public speaker?

(This is how my dream looked. Out of humility, I won’t show the huge crowd laughing out loud, or clinging to my every word.)

I studied and worked very hard using all their advice and techniques. Meanwhile, they advertised yet another seminar teaching about our personalities…how to understand yourself as well as others. So, I registered for that seminar, also. Again, I attended, studied, wrote papers, read books, and worked hard, and gradually my questions began to be answered.

It wasn’t easy to determine my own personality, but I became “expert” in recognizing the personality of others……. or so I hoped! I finally learned that I had a Sanguine Personality. At first, I was happy about that, but as I learned about the weaknesses of that personality, I decided to call myself a “Recovering Sanguine.” To stick with the main question I posed in the opening paragraph of this blog, I learned that I am impulsive and very easily bored and find it difficult to stay with one thing until it is finished. There you have it. I was relieved. At least it explained my switching from one medium to the next. But I still do not have a coherent answer to the question that keeps coming up.

Since becoming a Certified Personality Trainer (CPT), I have spoken on The Personalities and other subjects to women’s groups such as weekend retreats, luncheons, Personality parties, 12-week courses covering all aspects, banquets, to professional groups and others. The more I study about the Personalities and teach others, the more I learn.

One Sanguine strength is loving to talk, but we were taught that a strength used to extreme becomes a weakness. Darn! I still work on that particular strength/weakness. Also, the Sanguine wants to be the center of attention at all times. Yeah! Not good. My favorite Sanguine strength is that I think everyone loves me; or is that a weakness? The Sanguine loves color, friends, showing-off, talking, all that sort of thing. Their worse nightmare is that they will only “blend in”.

Even now, years later I still cannot give a final answer, but I really enjoy my art…….oils, watercolors, charcoal, acrylics, pen/ink, etc. I’m sticking with them all.

adele-bower.pixels.com

The Scorpion and the Beetle

The Scorpion and the Beetle 12-16-15

A True Story!

While other women are totally occupied with plans for the summer holidays , shopping, or redecorating ……I’m sitting at the breakfast table (at 9:45 AM), sipping my hot tea and thinking about the time I killed a scorpion. Yes, I, not David, killed a household bug. I’m still proud.

It was a lot of years ago in Dallas and in the evening. David was at a meeting and all three kids were asleep in bed. Ahhhh! My time to enjoy a TV show of my choice.

However, my special time was interrupted when I noticed a big scorpion slowly walking across the living room floor directly in front of me. Horrors! For a few minutes I watched it make its slow progress. I knew that having my feet up on the sofa and ignoring it was not a solution. I had to kill it…..before it got away. Me? Double horrors! But I reasoned I had three little children, 4,2 and 1 to think about. What if the scorpion got away only to appear again among the Lincoln Logs as they played the next day?

After forever, I made my move. I rolled up a newspaper, slowly crept off the sofa, on the scorpion’s blind side, whacked it really hard, left the newspaper on top of it and jumped back on the sofa. Time passed as I fully expected it to come calmly walking out from under the newspaper, totally unhurt.

After another forever, I mustered the courage to move the newspaper. I had to know. Yay!  It was dead.  I had saved my children! I’m brave after all!

Finally I went back to enjoying my TV show when I noticed another movement on the floor in front of me near our fireplace. A big beetle was slowly walking across the floor right in front of me, heading toward the scorpion road-kill. He assessed the situation, then calmly broke off a piece of the scorpion, turned around and took it back to the fireplace where it had been hiding watching me being brave.

Over and over the beetle patiently walked to the scorpion, got a piece,and took it back to its lair. Back and forth, back and forth. I’ve often wondered if the beetle had planned the whole thing. I’ll never know. Now there was nothing left for David to clean up when he got home.

Good beetle!

P.S. I’ve been doing art things for a lot of years, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever sketched a scorpion or a beetle.

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I Love Christmas

…….and almost everything about Christmas. I’m blessed with a good memory, although my husband may not consider it a blessing all the time. I remember big and little things about my childhood.

For instance,

…….I loved to sit under our tree and laugh at how big my nose got when I looked into a shiny silver ornament.

……I remember my favorite Christmas gift of all time; a maroon and white Aggie Tee shirt and a Sarge pendant on a gold chain. It was a gift from my brother who was a Texas A & M Aggie.

…..I remember participating in our annual Christmas “pageant” created and directed by our big brother when I was about six years old. Our parents were instructed to sit on the sofa in the living room. When ready, my brother led the procession of three…each of us carrying a lighted candle and singing “Silent Night”. We processed from a back bedroom, down the hall and into the living room and paused in front of our parents. My sister and I, dressed in our little floor length nightgowns stood beside him as our brother gave the evening message. He grew up to become a Pastor serving over 50 years.

…..I remember early one Christmas morning Daddy showing us the “damage” the reindeer had done to our front lawn. I was captivated.

…..I remember learning all four verses (5 sometimes) of every Christmas carol at our church. I can still sing them all from memory.

…..I remember Christmas shopping for a gift for my Mother but don’t remember where I got the money. We did not get allowances. We shopped at Kaplans-Ben Hur, a very popular store in the Houston Heights area at the time.  I remember liking the sound I made walking across the old wooden floors at that store. I even remember what I chose to give Mama; a tiny plastic lapel pin shaped like a telephone. I was so proud.

……I remember getting up very early one Christmas morning and driving to Schulenburg, Texas to visit my Father’s family there. We had to take blankets to cover ourselves for the long, cold trip from Houston. At least, I thought it was long and cold.

…..I remember my paternal Grandfather singing “O Tannenbaum” in German, the only language he ever used. We didn’t chat much.

…I remember the little cardboard village my Father designed, crafted and placed under our tree every year. It had a little cabin, a tiny church, and even an iced over pond (a mirror surrounded by cotton snow) and a ceramic skater enjoying his day.

….I remember the fragrance of the real tree, the aroma of food cooking, and the taste of the cookies on the buffet.

Memories can be blessings beyond measure and I’m grateful. Maybe I’ll write another “I Love Christmas’ blog about Christmas with my husband and three children…..or Christmas with our Grandchildren, and now Christmas with our Great-grandchildren. It’s all so wonderful….and I remember.

I wish for each of you and your families a Christmas filled with memories worth writing about. May it be a Christmas filled with the joy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s His birthday!

Oh come let us adore Him!

‘Til He Shouts!

First written and published Dec. 18, 2018

YOU DO NOT WANT TO LEAVE ME TOO, DO YOU?”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is detail-2-of-old-north-fence-art-with-copyright.jpg

When I read this passage from John I sense our Lord Jesus Christ’s feelings and it makes me sad.

He {Jesus} went on to say, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.’ From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve.

Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’”_______John 6: 65-69

How utterly precious and moving are these words of our Lord Jesus Christ and Peter.

In these times of uncertainty, fear, and testing, this passage came to me and I wondered;

Do I want to leave our Lord, too? Of course not! I couldn’t if I wanted to do so. Salvation is eternal and not by my works. I can’t lose it because of my sin of unbelief or any other sin. Christ paid for ALL sin, not just a few and I fully accept and rejoice in that truth.

Then I wondered again; could I “leave Him” with my worry, my fear, my concern for tomorrow and what it may bring?

Yes. I “leave Him” when I fail to trust Him fully. I “leave” His peace and presence with me; I “leave” His joy and blessing; I “leave” my knowledge of His provision for my future; I “leave” the power of His Holy Spirit within me.

Along with Peter I say…….O Lord, to whom would I go? You have the words of life. You are the beginning and the end; you are my everything. You are my hope, my guarantee, and my eternal joy.

Thank you, Lord, that regardless of my faithless worry, you always remain faithful.

‘Til He Shouts,

Adele