Painting a Picture of Thankfulness
Some of you might remember that I chose Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts as one of my books to read and that I loved it. In the book, Ann talk about practicing thankfulness and decides to write down things she’s thankful for until she reaches 1,000. And then she keeps going.
Growing up, there was a close friend of my family’s that I called “Aunt Ina” who wrote down things she was thankful for and kept them in a teapot. Then, on Thanksgiving, she’d pull them all out and read them. As and adult, I have two dear friends who keep an “Ebenezer,” a notebook in which they write things that the Lord has blessed them with. It’s such a beautiful testament to the goodness of the Father and for years I’ve thought I should probably keep one too. But again, sometimes you need something specific to spur you to do things you’ve long been intending to, and so it wasn’t until I read Ann’s book that I decided I was finally going to start my written record of the Lord’s kindness and favor and of all the things, little or big, that I was grateful for.
It started as a jar that I would fill with tiny scraps of paper.
A few months ago, several events happened in rapid succession. My husband attended a retreat for work and at the retreat, an artist handed out tiny scraps of paper. I’m not sure what the exact direction was, but each person was instructed to write something on the paper and then they were all collected and the artist announced she was going to incorporate each paper into a large painting. Keith had told me all about it, but I never saw the painting. Then the next night, we attended a dinner and were seated across from a girl and her husband and I found out she was an artist as we talked over our meal. I never put two and two together that she was the artist from the retreat, but really liked her as a person and enjoyed hearing about her work. Another few days later, I was in one of my favorite local coffee shops to meet a friend and was drawn to the fantastic paintings displayed on the walls. (this particular coffee shop also doubles as sort of a gallery and displays a different artist or photographer’s work each month.) I didn’t notice the artist’s name at the time, but imagine my surprise when a few days later a large envelope arrived at our house containing a print of a painting that was clearly the work of the artist from the coffee shop exhibit. When I asked Keith about it, he said it was a print of the paining from his work retreat…..they had promised to send a copy to each person who had attended. Then it came full circle that the artist who did the painting at the retreat was the artist we’d eaten dinner with was the artist whose work was on display at the coffee shop and I said I’d really love to own one of her pieces.
A few days later Keith popped his head in our front room where I spend most of my time during the day if I’m blogging or reading or working and said he had an idea. A way to celebrate the thankfulness I’d been practicing and to acquire some original art for our home (we’ve talked since even before we were married about how we’d love to have original art in our home and are always on the lookout for pieces we love that we could afford.) He suggested that I contact Laura Amstutz Weibezahn, the artist from the retreat/dinner/coffeeshop/print and see if I could commission a painting using the papers I’d written my thankfulness on. So I Googled her, found her website and sent her an email. And she was super excited and super up for it. (and if you’re looking for some great art for your house or for a gift, might I suggest you check out her online gallery? Some of the pieces have been sold, but some are still up for grabs, and the prices and sizes are listed.)
We met and she passed off some special craft pens and some special papers she uses in her paintings, cut in the shape of paisleys and I set to work transferring all my gratitude to the new paper and then adding more things along the way. And then on August 1st, I took the baggie of pens and paisleys back to her so she can begin working her “creative spillage” with my gratitude on paper. My Eucaristeo.
So the painting part is in her hands now which means I’m considering the list item completed. But, my attitude of gratitude isn’t over. Today for instance, I’m thankful that:
*I got to see out of town friends this weekend and catch up with in-town friends I rarely see.
*Keith comes home tonight.
*I got a new computer yesterday!
*My muscles are sore from working out….which means I’m getting stronger and healthier every day.
I thought you might like to see the paisleys, so I took a shot of all of them before they went into the painting. Somewhere, on one of them, I’d been thankful for Mary-Hall and for our friendship. Not many people meet at age 11 and are still blogging together at age 29. I’m glad the Lord decided we should be that sort of friends.
and don’t worry…..whenever the painting is finished and hung in our home….I’ll post a photo of it for all to see. 🙂
What are you thankful for today?