March 6, 2014 § Leave a comment
I challenged myself to draw something each day about 3 days ago. I succeeded in two of those days… Well one sitting and another short sitting. My goal is not to create a new drawing each day, but to put pen/pencil to paper for at least one sitting a day. It’s about exercising my drawing muscles and trying to keep myself trained until the next time I have proper instruction. It’s not spectacular but it’s progress, and I’m happy that I’ve committed so far. Crappy lighting=crappy photos, but hey it’s not about the glamour.
March 2, 2014 § Leave a comment
Two weeks have passed. Flown. I can hardly believe how fast my time in Amsterdam went. I originally thought I would have time to sit and reflect each day on what I learned, write all my thoughts down here and just be internal with it all. But I am so glad it wasn’t like that. Every day was different, every day was new, and I was so busy enjoying the city and my new friends that I didn’t even think twice about trying to document every moment. It seems a bit silly to say, but these last two weeks will remain an example to me on how to just live life. The point is I was too busy enjoying being where I was, doing what I was doing, to feel the need to compensate for anything by trying to immortalize a moment by writing it down or taking a photo of it.
But I did take a lot of pictures. The point is, I didn’t feel like I had to in order to validate my time. All of it was so intensely enjoyable that I was just busy living in it.
God wrote heaps of new things onto my heart. He showed me that I am an artist. As simple as that sounds, it was a huge step for me to accept that. Art was always just something that people told me I was good at. Art was something I enjoyed doing because I could see that the things I produced were generally praised by others. But I had never let myself believe that I was an artist. Because if I was an artist, then I would have the responsibilities of an artist. It’s a scary thing to suddenly feel accountable to something bigger than myself. And I didn’t fully understand what those responsibilities entailed.
A responsibility to God to become the best artist I could be and never hide what He is doing in and through me.
A responsibility to myself to lay down everything that distracts me from that goal.
And many more that I’m sure I’ll gain revelation of down the road.
But above all that, I realized that nothing is worth doing without Jesus piloting me, guiding me. Writing this down, it all seems so simple. But there is a huge difference between knowing it in my head and understanding it in my heart. Maybe I’m not an experienced enough writer to be able to transcribe my thoughts into words, but what I’m feeling is new, scary, exciting, hopeful, hungry… God give me grace. How does a single person feel all these things at once? I’m shocked nothing has physically exploded inside of me yet. Bursting out in tears is as close to exploding as I’ve come.
Willem said something hugely profound to me. He said, “Every step you take away from Jesus you have to retrace at some point.” Mind. Blown. I love and hate how the simplest statements mean the most. Why can’t I just take the steps Jesus wants me to? I feel like I am, but then I get to a certain point and I find myself off track again. I need to remember to just sit back, take my hands off the project in front of me and let Him do all the work. It’s so much easier that way, and the result is that much more beautiful.
Wow, just had a revelation. No wonder I said earlier that I couldn’t help but feel close to God while drawing using these methods used in the workshop. A relationship with Jesus is just like an art lesson. He gives me the paper and tells me to draw what’s in front of me. I begin, He steps away. He comes back and corrects the lines going the wrong angle, and gives me back the pencil. I go back to it, He steps away. He comes back, erases the unimportant bits, the mistakes, makes corrective marks, then hands me the pencil and tells me to keep going. I draw what I think looks right for a while. He comes back, erases the unimportant things, makes corrective marks, instructs me on how my next decisions can be better, hands me the pencil and the eraser, and steps away. This goes on and on. Even though the corrective process happens over and over, it looks different each time because the drawing is constantly progressing. At some point, I’ve learned how to use the pencil and eraser to make progress. Learning how to build up the shape with additive and subtractive methods. Learning how to make the decisions on what to emphasize and what to give less attention to. Look at that, making relations all over the place.
I loved being a student again. But this time, what I was learning felt real. It felt like it mattered. It didn’t feel like I was trying to grab air with my hands, like it did in university. God’s up to something big in Amsterdam with the arts. I believe the whole world is going to be shaken and realize it needs to head back to tradition, specifically with art.
I’m just so deeply thankful for everything I saw and everyone I met in Amsterdam. Jesus, take me back soon.
February 16, 2014 § 1 Comment
Man… Turns out writing here everyday isn’t as simple as I had hoped. I mean… It could be simple, but life gets in the way. But I am okay with that! Because SO much has happend in the last 10 days. I still can’t even believe it.
I am writing from my cozy guest room at De Poort, YWAM Amsterdam. Today is February 16. On January 30, I sent out my newsletter talking about this two-week portraiture workshop in Amsterdam that I wanted to attend from February 18-28. Eleven minutes after I sent out that update, I received all the money I needed to go to the workshop. Travel, housing, food and course fees were all covered. Guys, The Lord provides. Simple as that. On February 10, I sent in my application to the Russian Art Academy to attend their workshop and confirmed my stay with housing at De Poort. On February 11 I got my acceptance, booked my overnight hostel in Dresden, and bought my train ticket to Amsterdam. On February 14, I left Herrnhut and stayed the night in Dresden. On February 15, I took a train from Dresden to Berlin and from Berlin to Amsterdam.
My mom was the one who provided for me to be able to come here. I am so encouraged that she believes in me and wants the best for me and for me to grow to my potential as an artist. She has believed in my talents and invested in growing my skills since I was a little girl. She has pushed me to go further even when I had given up on myself. I owe to her all of my art education and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without her.
And I just want to comment on finances. I hope I never lose sight of this truth: Provision is provision. It doesn’t matter who it comes from in order for it to be miraculous because all the wealth in this world belongs to The Lord. He just distributes it and trusts each of us with some of it. He gives more to some than others and hopes that those with more will see others’ needs and be the answer to those needs. I see many people disregard money provided by parents or relatives as some kind of substandard donation. But the truth is that your family doesn’t HAVE to give you anything. They give because they love, just like God. To demean a family member’s giving, no matter the amount, is demeaning God’s generosity. I love that I get to see my parents and family still providing for me financially for years well beyond the culturally accepted time frame. I know they don’t have any obligation to give and that anything they sacrifice on my behalf is such a special thing.
This trip has been one of many firsts. It was my first time travelling totally alone from one country to another. It was my first time booking a mitfahrgelegenheit alone and taking that ride alone. It was my first time staying in a hostel alone. It was my first time navigating through many train stations alone. Going into it all, I knew that this would be a pivotal experience for me. I had a lot of fear about traveling to break through. I was afraid and anxious, but I also knew that God had set up this entire venture for me in order for me to be able to have this new experience. And I am so thankful that he did.
The trip was not without it’s minor inconveniences. My mitfahrgelegenheit person dropped me off in Neustadt instead of HBF like it said online. Having been in Neustadt many times, I was comfortable taking the train to HBF. It’s only one stop away. But I have no idea how I messed that up. I double checked the track and time time but I still got on the train going the opposite direction. Annoyed and confused, I got off at Mitte and found the track back to HBF. Still confused with my sense of direction totally off, I missed the train because I thought it was heading in the wrong direction again. About three second after the train took off, I turned around and saw that ugly pink and white mosque behind me that the train passes on the right side and realized I had just missed the correct train. One more time, I found the correct track, oriented myself and waited for correct train. I got on and order was restored. I still don’t understand how I confused the first train. In my mind it all made sense, and it wasn’t like I had never been there before. Now I’m convinced that the enemy was trying to screw with me. But I’m in Amsterdam now, so guess who won.
I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather for a few days now, but I am not going to let that get in the way of enjoying my time here. Willam, and Australian and a colleague of Nadia, is working to establish the Russian Academy of Art here in Amsterdam and is already becoming a buddy. We’ve got plans to tour the city a bit and visit an art store. I’ve also already sat down with a lot of different people at the base: DTS students, master’s class students and just a couple staff. It’s funny coming into a new base as a guest. I’ve already seen that the DTS students are very shy, as most of them have only been here at the base themselves for about a week. I ate dinner with a few of them and the conversation was very sparse and very observational. But this morning, I sat down at breakfast with some of the master’s class students, an older bunch of people, and got far more conversation out of them than with the DTS students. As small as a revelation as it is, it’s become real to me just this morning: the older generation has so much to offer in the light of wisdom and experience. You can just feel their confidence as they speak, and it’s contagious. I’m sure it looked kind of funny: me, a 23 year old American girl, asking to sit down next to a table full of ladies at least 35-55 years old. They looked surprised but were so much more friendly and showed way more interest than the DTS students. I’m not here to mess around and I love how “old” people can get to the point.
Just these two meals at this base have motivated me to be more engaging with the guests that visit our base in Herrnhut. These people have come from far places, have stories to share, have a purpose to their travels, and they shouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable or weird in our little castle. We have so many people with the gift of hospitality at our base but I think we still need to step it up, especially as staff. Not to say I haven’t experienced hospitality here at De Poort. The base leaders have been more than welcoming and so generous. I am looking very forward to these next 13 days!
February 5, 2014 § Leave a comment
I talked to more people today than I normally would on any given day. I think that would usually drain me. So I am surprised that I was totally fine in my head today. I was patient and at peace. The things Haley prayed over me really unfolded throughout the day without me realizing it at the time. God has so much grace for me. He gives me more than I need. He makes potentially stressful days a joy to live through. He delivers results compassionately. I am thankful for this day.
February 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
I went for my first run today since it started snowing. It was freezing cold and incredibly windy. But the sun was out and the sky was blue!
As I was walking home earlier, I felt that familiar feeling of changing seasons. It felt like fall but it smelled like spring. I was refreshed after hearing the wind whir through the firs. And while I was on my run later, I was warmed by hearing the wind buzz through the dead reeds along the side of the road.
The tiny details make life so exciting. It brought me a lot of joy to recognize that the wind speaks differently through different plants. The world is such a musical place.
February 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
There’s just not enough time in the day to remember everything. And there’s not enough time in the day to do everything I wanted to do. I feel like all I do is eat. With the weather so crappy what else is there to do? It’s a terrible cycle. Eat, work, sleep. And eat in between.
February 2, 2014 § Leave a comment
I wish I had a good excuse for not writing these last five days. The truth is that I set my priorities on other things. I remembered that I should write something the first couple days that I didn’t. But then, the last three days, I completely forgot about this. Kevin had to remind me! Haha what the heck. How do I forget about something I had been doing for four weeks everyday and then after a couple days of not doing it, completely forget about it?
It’s funny how faulty my brain is. I can be rational about something one minute, and something cracks and then my mind searches in circles for every other possible solution. That’s one thing. I’ve been dealing with a lot of anxiety this last week. Maybe forgetting to blog was my brain’s way of helping me make space to work through some things.
I just scanned through my blog and saw that on day 23 I had been struggling with anxiety already. It’s kind of nice to be able to look back and see what exactly triggered some anxiousness. I’m happy to say that some of that stuff I was dealing with that day is now settled in my head and I don’t necessarily have so much angst over it all. But there had been new things this last week that sort of put me back in that spot.
However, I decided to try to combat some anxiety in practical ways. On day 18, I pointed out that coffee was making me crazy. Well, I wasn’t exactly faithful in keeping with my ‘no more coffee’ rule. I honestly think that drinking coffee has a lot to do with that extra anxiousness. So now I’m seriously cutting coffee out. Green tea is now officially my go-to. It’s not only the caffeine that puts me on edge. It’s the coffee level caffeine that does it. A little mellow tea caffeine will be good to help with the migraines and keep me focused, but not make my heart race and my eyes bug out.
Alcohol is another thing that I’m cutting out completely, for a long while. I make rash decisions and judgements when I drink any amount of alcohol, so it’s just best to stop. And why do that to myself? Get on the high of caffeine all day and then drop it way down low with a beer at night. That’s just asking for it.
Anyway, I’m glad I had this time away to clear my head a bit. I feel like I have a little more room up there to breathe.