Posts in Category "Thoughts"

Inspiration: Jim Henson’s “The StoryTeller”

As an artist (and as a human being, because who isn’t?), I love being inspired in surprising ways. Something out of the blue will your turn your head just a bit. And like a gemstone catching the light, you see a new color in the world. What shouldn’t be actually surprising is the great Jim Henson’s too short-lived fairy tale series has struck such a chord. I’ve just finished watching the series on Amazon Prime, and ready to rewatch with a sketchbook in hand. And so here is my gushy little meditation.

*cue the intro music*

Jim Henson’s The StoryTeller has been a recent delight to me. The music, the weirdly wonderful creatures, the old world tales, etc. (I think it was the talented Benjamin Schipper who first mentioned it to me.) Then whilst hunting down clips on YouTube, it hit me that I had actually seen an episode or two when I was 5 or 6. Something about its had always stuck with me that I was still curious about, and had finally tripped over it in broad daylight.

Jim Henson’s vision and execution was magical. And Anthony Minghella’s screenplay, incredible. The fact that so much was hand built gave warmth and charm to the spectacle. Of course hand-built creatures and prosthetics would play a major role because we’re talking about the greatest puppeteer and animatronics.

“Jim was enchanted by the idea of a television series that remained true to the subtlety and metaphoric richness of ancient stories. He and Lisa brainstormed the concept of the series, basing all of the episodes on authentic folk tales. The result of a strong literary research team joined with the magical visual effects and animatronics produced by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, The StoryTeller is a rare combination of ancient tradition and modern technology artistry.” (Muppet Fandom Wiki)

Wowing people with Hollywood grandiosity wasn’t the point and I love that!

Telling a story with hands-on craftsmanship —that down to earth essence— was what captured me and probably all its other fans. And this was all amplified by my slightly haunted childhood memories (I say that in only the best way), making it completely enchanting to rediscover as an adult. (Also very fun to recognize several British actors throughout.)

Not every episode is my favorite, and I wouldn’t recommend them to your children without you looking into the content for your own family’s standards. It’s not for everyone. Yeah, they’re often weird. The trolls kinda terrified me as a kid (and, honestly kind of as an adult?) BUT. I have found some living fairytales, and if you get some of the fun out of them that I did, please let me know. I’d love to fangirl with you.

As an example of the writing, there’s this one line from “Hans My Hedgehog”, that runs through my head and I just have to share: “He was well on the way when he heard a sound that was a bitter sound and a sweet sound all at once, a music that began like hello and ended like goodbye.” With writing like that, and in John Hurt’s storytelling voice too, who could resist? That there are only 9 fairytales is unfortunate. I wish it hadn’t been cancelled when it was, but that makes them all that more special.

I’ve not seen anything like it before, and I wish I could see more. It’s got my creative juice bubbling, and boy am I thanking the Lord for Jim Henson and his crew!

A little reminder


Some days I need a little reminder from my friend, Mani:
“Perfection is the enemy of completion.”

Sometimes we creatives want to finish a piece and make it “presentable.” Knowing that other people are going to see our work somehow puts pressure on us. What we end up doing is wasting time “improving” something that was most beautiful at it’s first blush. That sketch? It already has a life of it’s own.

Learn to stop the fuss and step away. You’re done. You’re welcome.

Book recommendation: This summer I read Austin Kleon’s “Steal Like an Artist” and “Show Your Work“—I highly encourage you to read them both. If you’re looking for ways to improve your creative side and share what you’ve been making, these are for you!

Lately in the Studio…

What a busy time we’ve been having in the studio!  There’s always a story brewing in the background, orchestrated by the Lord . . . and lately He’s given me the opportunity to be involved a very special children’s book.  I first learned about it three months ago, but it really started about five years ago.  I’ll tell you about it (very soon!), but until then, I’d like to show you a bit of what I’m using in the studio these days. . .

I keep my paints and brushes and palette to the right of my table easel.  Everything on the table is laid out to be easily reached for whenever they’re needed.  I’m currently loving the synthetic and real squirrel hair brushes.  For rough drawing, I tend to use cheap pencils like the plain wood one in the photo above.

While paints are kept right of the easel, the pencils are currently attempting to stay to the left.  Pencil shavings can end up in a bowl or a saucer, but whatever the case, always use a hand-held sharpener.  Wall mounts or electric pencil sharpeners can be time savers…until your lead breaks up and jams the system.  The small hand-held sharpeners are always the way to go.

For finer drawing pencils, I like Derwent the most, but there are a few other nice brands that do just as well.

Tea is also a staple.

We have a tradition of blaring Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” whenever we complete a big project.  Emily Rose snapped this as we savored the almost-last moments of wrapping up that book I’ll be telling you about.

This was a makeshift spread sheet to keep track of the illustrations as I worked on them.  I can’t wait to tell you more about the illustrations, and even more about the story and the author herself.  But that will come in time, very soon!

I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful
and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink
and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
–Ecclesiastes 3:12-13–



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?

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.

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

“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


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.

Aching for black and white

Lucy and Tumnus by Pauline Baynes

May I say that I simply love black and white art work?  Especially Pauline Baynes’ pen-and-ink style.  Pauline Baynes (the illustrator for the original Chronicles of Narnia) has such a wonderful style; there’s much I could learn from her—not to copy, mind you, but to enhance my own style.

In this piece by Pauline Baynes I can see she has already slightly influenced my work; my “Tree House” comes to mind.  What I love most about her style I can’t say.  For starters, I love the fluidity and liveliness of it.  Her lines are living and breathing.   I can hear the clinks of the crude tableware, and smell the aromas of the earthy fare.

Secondly, you can tell the characters are her personal friends: they, too, are alive.  Thirdly, every detail is taken into account and utilized for the overall composition and aesthetic environment.   Fourthly, her cross-hatching.  I simply can’t get enough of her cross-hatching! It may have been this signature element of her work that first caught my eye and snagged my heart.

Even with color added, her work is simply wonderful.  After I’m finished working on my *current projects,* I will hopefully get to experiment with pen and ink again, of course with Pauline Baynes by my side.

crunch, crunch, crunch

The Invisible Hope Chest

I was recently discussing with some dear friends the subject of stay-at-home-daughters and time.  We talked about all the things we hope to learn and skills we want to have before entering marriage.  Beyond the basic skills of cleaning the home, caring for children, sewing, cooking wholesome meals and decorating cakes, there is a vast world of other useful skills that stay-at-home-daughters have time to learn.

As young women not yet married, we have the responsibility to become as well-rounded and useful as we can be.  Right now you probably don’t have the full care of running the home—this is an excellent opportunity to prepare yourself for the rest of your life.  The more helpful skills we acquire, the more useful, the more of a blessing we will be to our future husbands and families.

Think of these skills as an Invisible Hope Chest.

Your husband could have any kind of job: mechanic, business owner, economics professor, etc.—are you studied in many areas to be able to help him in whatever his calling may be?  Your family may someday have special diet issues—would you know enough about nutrition to accommodate those needs?  Could you start a homestead or home business from scratch and live self-sufficiently?  Do you plan to home-educate your children?  Are you collecting excellent books for them to read?  How do you plan to raise them to become God-fearing and useful men and women?

There is a host of other things to learn as well.  Systematic theology (there’s enough there to keep you constantly in awe for the rest of your life!), finances and banking, how to keep everything in the home running smoothly together, history, English, a foreign language, herbal medicine, science, home birth, and even some carpentry skills will be found quite useful.  And how are your communication skills?

An addendum (March 2012): I heartily endorse physical hope chests, and believe that they can be valuable assets. What they contain should be useful and beautiful; if anything, practical. But collecting physical items is easy when compared to building character, cultivating useful skills, and working on our relationships with the Lord and our families. These should always take higher priority.

How are you filling your invisible hope chest?  Perhaps you haven’t started on it yet, but what would you like to fill it with?

The truth about "Randomosity"

You hear the word a lot, don’t you? “Random this, random that…” It’s so fun to read “one million random things” about online friends, and randomly search the web. And it so aptly expresses our inner feelings and spurts of humor, that it’s used almost mindlessly.

But then, that shouldn’t be such a surprise, should it? “Random” means mindless, unintentional, unproductive, unchecked; without direction, order, or purpose. Being random is pretty meaningless and empty.

In contrast, we as Christians have hope, purpose and direction. God created each of us with a plan, bought us with a price, and has given us His word to follow. Instead of promoting the “over millions of years through random processes” view of life, we need to be good and faithful servants with the short time we’re given.

Resist the urge to be less than you were created to be. Live with purpose.