When joy comes

Some days “delighting in the Lord” is easier than other days. But most of the time it’s rather simple.

“Margaret Gretchen Strong” by Frank Weston Benson, 1909

Today could have become one of those “other” days — it’s overcast and nothing exciting is on the schedule. Summer’s ending and it feels like I have done the same thing a hundred times. But as I stood in the kitchen, doing what I’ve done a hundred times and then some, I had a bubbling thought —

There’s so much to adore about the Lord!

Finding Joy can be as simple as accepting His love toward me in spite of myself. I have to take my eyes off all my yuckiness that He’s already begun clearing away, and look up at Him in adoration. (I will often need to ask for His help to even get started.) Why get trapped in all my depressing introspection when there’s all this beauty and wonder and glory and soul-satisfying truth right in front of me?

So I decided to delight myself in the Lord.

That’s when joy comes.

Summer Sweetness, part 2

‘Bout time for part two, eh?
Here’s a look at our garden over the summer —

Raised beds have been working well for us. They are so easy to weed!

Earlier in the summer we had lettuce for salads. More vegetables have been coming on — onions, squash, pumpkins, tomatoes. We have yet to see how the Brussels sprouts and cabbage will end up. The green beans and zucchini didn’t do well, but everything else has been a lovely addition to our diet.

These little dears are trying as hard as they can to get on, and brave they are! The cosmos towered beside them but didn’t bloom very much, so I think we come up with a way to set things right. ; )

And the spaghetti squash has been a bit over-eager and seems to really like our lavender. (The lavender has since been set free.)

Thanks for stopping by our garden! God has blessed us with good earth, plenty of sunshine, and rain,. Part three will be a snippet of the beautiful sky, our beloved expanse above what we call home.

Summer Sweetness, part 1

One of the things I love about drawing children “from my head” is not only imagining them up, but putting the first simple strokes on paper and finally getting to “meet” them. Seeing that their little personalities are really real. At least to me. ; ) These two rosy-cheeked dears make my heart go pitter pat — meet Georgie and Henry.

 

What's the place of Journal-Keeping?

https://breezytulip.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/quote-journal.png

Life is such a patchwork, I can’t believe I wanted to record it all in journal!

Do you keep a journal? I have for years now, but recently I’ve been rethinking the place of journal-keeping in my life.

Looking back, I wish I could tell my fourteen-year-old self, “Just go share your heart with Mom. No matter how silly it seems, get her godly counsel on how to respond to these emotions. Then come back and share the things you want to remember and pass on to your children. Embrace joy.” If I could do it again, I would put more effort into recording the truly good memories and lessons learned from a more sanctified perspective. I probably would have matured much faster.

Girls, this is my advice to you. Don’t dwell on your “complex” emotions and romanticism. Don’t dwell on yourself — life is so much more fascinating and joyful when we focus our attention on Christ and the life He’s given us to live abundantly. It’s good to evaluate your soul and root out sin in your life. But if you’re keeping a journal, let it be a place of praise and thanksgiving. This is something I’ll be working on. Will you journal-keepers join me?

More articulate and wise people have much more to say on this subject of keeping a journal and maturing into a godly adult, so I wanted to share their posts with you–

“Journal-Keeping” by Nancy Ann at Femina (Great follow-up posts here and here.)
Over the past decade or two, journal-keeping has been viewed in some quarters as a spiritual exercise, right up there with Bible reading and prayer. I realize that keeping a journal can be very positive, just like gardening or exercise or baking cookies, but it is not a spiritual duty or the key to super-spirituality. In fact, it may very well be a snare. . . .
continue reading

After you’ve rethought the role of journal-keeping in your life, read John Piper’s post:

“Letter to an Incomplete, Insecure Teenager”, on the Desiring God blog.
Introspection must give way to amazement at glory. When it does, becoming happens. If there is any key to maturity it is that. Behold your God in Jesus Christ. Then you will make progress from tadpole to frog. That was a great discovery. . . . continue reading

I hope this gives you a fresh perspective on handling emotions and maturing into a wise, godly woman. I look forward to traveling with you on this path of outward-, upward-focused joyful living.

Q. What materials do you use?

A. My art table is populated by a band of time-tested classic art supplies, and has been recently expanded to include a few newfangled tools. The specific materials vary from project to project, but here’s a general list of resources and materials I’m currently blessed to use:

Art Tools

– kneaded erasers, pencil sharpener

– Sketch books, drawing paper (I really like Canson)

– Derwent and Prismacolor Drawing pencils

(always look for sales or coupons when buying nice pencils!)

– Arches watercolor paper, 140lb cold press

– large votive glasses for water

– books ends (to prop up books and, well, props)

– stacks of books to raise the work surface

– paper towels

– wooden boards for support, lap work, etc.

– Winsor & Newton Watercolors

– masking tape

– an assortment of brushes (I like medium rounds and flats)

– 15″ MacBook Pro, Photoshop (CS5)

– Wacom Bamboo tablet for drawing in PS

– Nikon D60 for reference photos

Finally jumping into Photoshop!

I always imagined myself being a traditionalist, never working outside of real, physical paints. But here I am, finally painting in Photoshop!

Winter Fox

This fox is one of my first experiments in Photoshop. I’m still getting used to working with layers, brushes, etc. but I’m really liking it so far! I plan to continue working in traditional mediums, but stretching my virtuosity will open up doors for new types of projects.

A Day in the Life of a Stay-at-Home Daughter, and Response

http://raisinghomemakers.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/7-Loading-Dishes.jpg

“Many of you are young mothers who one day hope to see your daughters joyfully living the life of a homemaker, even in your own home before they marry. But some of you may be apprehensively wondering, “What will that look like?”

Having a visual of what your daughter could one day be doing takes a lot of the “scariness” out of it. I’d like to give you a peek into my life as a “stay-at-home daughter,” but since I can’t have you in our home, I thought I’d illustrate it for you!”

Continue reading at Raising Homemakers

After I posted “A Day in the Life” at Raising Homemakers, I received a comment, inquisitive about “stay-at-home daughters”. I thought I’d share on my blog my response:

Dear ‘Daughter of the King,’

Thank you for commenting. I’d love to answer your questions, and I’ll start with the last: basically, Do we have any Biblical support for the “stay-at-home daughter” lifestyle? In short, yes, we do. :) You are right in saying that being a wife and mother is [one of] the most important and beautiful jobs. (See Psalm 128, Proverbs 31, Titus 2:3-5)

We would be taking the importance of the family and home far too lightly if we simply assumed that running a household was easy. It’s a gigantic mission to create a nurturing, biblical home, to disciple and educate your children, all the while helping your husband in his vision. Proverbs 31 shows that home life is more than solitary confinement with baking, knitting, and cleaning as the only permissible inmate activities. :) The home can be a beehive of economy, a fortress of the Gospel and Christian culture. Most of the women in the Bible were married and bore children—marriage and motherhood for women is the Biblical norm, and we ought to wisely prepare for this honorable position.

Ask any woman who was not raised to be a homemaker and worked outside the home—it’s not an easy transition from career to homemaker, let alone balancing the two.

“Why can’t they get a college education, a job, a place of their own?” Good question. We certainly believe that a young woman is fully capable of earning —and in some situations may actually need— a college-level education. But that education need not be solely obtained on a campus (a campus that, I believe, isolates people from real life). There are many avenues whereby we can further our education, through apprenticeships, taking online classes, and teaching ourselves. The culture has programmed us to think that a young person must leave their parents to discover themselves, their independent life calling, their freedom, and the world. But as a Christian, we can only find true life, success, and freedom in Christ and the order in which He designed family, church, and state to function for His glory.

In God’s design for the family, the husband is the head of the wife, and therefore the rightful provider and protector for the wife as well as the daughters in that family. If a young woman leaves her family before marriage, she is in an unprotected position. Sometimes this cannot be avoided, but it’s not the Biblical ideal. However, this doesn’t mean a young woman cannot work while she’s also learning to become a homemaker. The home (as well as working under her father) is the best place for a young woman to develop her talents, use her skills, and bless her family, church, and community in countless ways (and earn money, too). :)

If a woman finds herself single, those homemaking skills will still come in handy! God doesn’t leave out any of His children in His tapestry. There are many ways for her to labor beside her family (or church family if she has no family, Psalm 68:6), showing hospitality, helping young mothers, caring for the needy, etc.. We can trust that when we obey His Words, He will fulfill His promise to provide for us. There’s a good article by some friends of mine if you’re interested in learning more about this issue: “But What If…?”

You also mentioned Deborah who was a wise (and married) woman raised up by God for a specific time in Israel’s history. I honestly don’t know enough about the situation to tell you why this was so, but we do know from the rest of Scripture that Deborah’s position is not given as a normative example for women. We have many other examples to look to, like Sarah, Abigail, Rebecca, Naomi, Ruth, and Mary—and Deborah, too, inspiring us in sturdy womanhood.

I hope this has helped you gain a better perspective of what “stay-at-home daughters” are about. Basically, we’re young women dedicated to becoming godly women, preparing ourselves to be well-equipped for whatever God sends our way, His way, even when it’s bizarrely counter-cultural. :) Thank you for asking!

Blessings In Christ,
Breezy Brookshire

Waiting for Spring

At a snail’s pace spring is . . . slowly . . . creeping . . . into view. It came and then it went, and now it’s coming back, veiled in fog and mystery. When will it really come to stay? I keep telling myself it’ll be here soon enough and I’ll fondly think on winter, perhaps even with with a wistful sigh. (After writing a few posts on contentment you’d think I’d have this whole patience thing down pat, right?) While I’ve been waiting for spring to arrive, you’ve probably guessed we’ve been busy. Here’s an update on what we’ve been up to:

New Prints—I have some new prints in my shop! “Adventure Awaits” and “Story-time with Mama” stretched me a bit.

Daisy and Rose

Watercolor should be light and more free-flowing. I err on the side of being too dense, so that’s definitely something I want to work on. I also over-planned them both, but “Daisy and Rose” was very spontaneous and I think I like it more than the other two combined.

Painting—After a few years of neglect, it was time to break out the water-soluble oils. I love how small and detailed watercolor can be, but I’m becoming quickly fascinated by the bold, impressionistic brush strokes of water-soluble oils.  I also appreciate that they clean up with water!

I’m cooking up some ideas for more prints, and I’m curious—what are your thoughts on black and white? I love working with black and white because it not only frees me from my color theory insecurities, but allows me to focus on line and value. Think E. H. Shepard and Doré.

Also, I’d like to write more about art and aesthetics . . . but we’ll see.

Robe á l’Anglaise a la Polonaise—Several weeks ago when we started planning to attend Liberty Day, we thought it’d be a great excuse to finally start building our historical wardrobe. Emily Rose and I settled on J.P. Ryan’s Robe á l’Anglaise pattern. (Hopefully there will be pictures soon.) I was happily surprised at how easy the patterns were to follow. We spent about two weeks sewing and finished the hems and ruffles in the car on the way to Illinois where we attended. . .

Liberty Day—We attended Liberty Day (March 35-36), and wow, was that not a wonderful event?? The whole week was filled with sweet fellowship. The music, the meeting of new friends and catching up with old friends, and the talks and dramas and dancing made for a fabulous weekend.

Dr. Joe Morecraft and Phillip G. Kayser gave several excellent talks on the decline of America after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Some of the frayed edges of my history gaps joined into a more comprehensive understanding of America’s philosophical and religious history. Exactly what I’ve needed, and I can’t wait to learn more.

Quilts—Years ago I started a very basic quilt, but I’m just now finally putting it together. I’m discovering that I don’t know as much about quilting as I thought I did! There are worlds of detailed knowledge I didn’t even realize existed, but I’m very blessed to have an Aunt who is an experienced quilter.

Quiet winter days

I delight in the quiet winter days. January, February, even March, have a unique sweetness to them. Slow-paced and reflective. Miraculous in complexity. Poetic in simplicity.

Last evening Bently wanted to go for a walk, a walk that would require more than just standing at the back door, singing to keep warm until he was ready to come back. Yes, a good long walk to let out both of our pent-up energy, boots and all. We walked down the sidewalk, skirted a snowdrift, passed the barn and woodpile, wove around the cyprus hedge chasing two sparrows, under the oak tree, and to the garden.

Once we reached the garden, Bently began to stiffly prance, then stopped short. He balanced his frozen front paws above the snow and begged to be rescued. I scooped him up and carried him the short distance to the back door where we shook off the snow and were welcomed into the warmth of the kitchen.

Winter is the season I hear people begrudge the most. As a little girl I loved it—snow angels, snow men, snow sculptures; everything snow. We would send “notes” to airplanes by writing gigantic messages with our tracks in the snow-laden back field. Adventures of crafting the pristine snow into works of child art were the epitome of winter joy, the coziness afterwards you could enjoy only if you braved the elements and returned victorious.

But as I’ve grown to realize the inconvenience of it all (you know, the icy roads, shoveling driveways, layering in static-y sweaters. . .) it’s become very easy to complain. I don’t particularly care to get my socks soaked from endless hours of snow-moving, plus lots of other people seemed bothered by it all, so why don’t I just join in and complain, too?

But I try to resist. I weakly (and pridefully and humbly) resist complaining. Pridefully because it’s my birth season: akin to heritage, you would never hear an American disown that he was part Irish. Humbly because just look at it: the Creator of the universe made every snowflake and blanketed every woodland scene and city scape, offering you a look at the world in a new way. It’s beautiful, it’s gloriously breath-taking, He made it for us, and I dare not complain.

Will another Winter slip before I take time to appreciate it’s splendor? On my deathbed I don’t want to remember life as standing at the back door complaining about the weather and then turning indoors to breathe stale, dead air. If you knew there was a letter from a  dear friend waiting for you in the mailbox but you had to journey through the snowdrifts to get it, would you venture out into the cold? Well, each and every snowflake is a letter, a teeny-tiny letter of your Savior’s love for you that proclaims His glory and creativity.

So on this quiet winter day, I think I’ll go on another walk with Bently. And I’ll carry him home as we breathe in the bracing cold air . . . and revel in the sparkling, wispy drifts of snow made for His glory, and for us.

Motivation

I often ask myself—when I need clarity, when I need to reevaluate, when I need to once again find that spot on the horizon—I ask, “What do I really want?” or rather, “What does God want?”

What are my motives? Do they honor God? Are they fine things to desire, but not the best? What “best” does God want me to pursue?

Oh, what life. How full, and yet how short. What do I want?

I will shove aside all peripheral desires and point at the One Thing that only matters:

It is the Lord, my Salvation. His glory, to glorify Him. In Him is the fullness we desire. Only He will satisfy the cravings of the empty soul, only He can mend the broken heart, only He can give a reason—the strength—to live. He is the reward for those who love Him and serve Him. And only He could love us so much and be so patient, and slowly woo us as His Bride.

What a glorious God He is! And How I love Him!

It truly amazes me—it baffles and confounds my flesh-bound wisdom—when I think about all the riches we have in Christ, and that He chose us to give them to. What love! Everything I am, everything I have is from Him—and I ought to give to Him!

You may think, “Living and dying for this may be a romantic idea, but what does this look like? Are you going to become a stiff Puritan and become blind to the ‘real life’ outside your imagination?”

My friend, if you think there is anything real outside of the reality God has created, you know not reality. To live is Christ, and to die is gain.