Grace upon Grace

IMG_6130“For from his fullness, we have all received grace upon grace.”  John 1:16

Endless grace is something we as Christians hear about a lot.  We sing of amazing grace, but how often do we live our lives in a way that shows how lavishly God pours out grace and mercy?  Or, to say it conversely, how often to we live with feelings of defeat, inferiority, low esteem and being generally not good enough?  How often do we shy from an interaction because we think we’ll make a fool of ourselves?  How often do we not even take the first step at something because we don’t see the task succeeding or we think that someone else would be better suited?

What is so amazing about grace is that it’s poured out endlessly because we were never expected to be perfect.  God gives us a task or a situation so that we will walk out in faith and follow him, not to be a top performer.  “Success” is measured not in a flawless execution, but in willingness to obey every word from our Father, even when we are out of our comfort zone.

Owning my own business was never a dream of mine, but it’s the door that God opened to me.  On a daily basis I make blunders and waste time and selfishly try to do things my way, but grace covers it all.  Every day when I wake up, I feel a wave of relief knowing that my failures from the previous day don’t matter.  I get out of bed each morning asking for guidance, inspiration, and for God to use me in all the ways he has planned for this venture.

So be bold and courageous.  Follow where Christ leads, and do it in the comfort of knowing that the One we serve is full of grace and pours it out lavishly.

#createdtocreate

in response to this Relevant article:  http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/why-christians-should-create

Sometimes we can get bogged down in achieving a goal and forget the big picture; the overall purpose of our journey.  I started the Wanderer Creative print shop with the goal of making positive art with a Christian message.  From there, I quickly got sucked into the thought process of “what does Christian art look like” and pleasing the crowd over following my gut.  Like anyone, I wanted to be successful, and I assumed that meant following trends and creating things that I knew people would like.

After a while, I realized that I was just another designer putting hymn lyrics in watercolor.  There were so many other people doing the same thing, that I was definitely not filling a void.  I also noticed something kind of shocking– I wasn’t displaying my art in my own home.  If my work didn’t fulfill my own design wishes, how could I expect it to please anyone else?  That’s when I realized I desperately needed to take a step back and re-evaluate what I was doing.

You can read my previous post about how empowering it is to actually define your style.  That was the turning point for me and my work.  When I figured out what I wanted in my own home, I could channel that style to make art that people like me would want!

So first off, who am I?  I’m a twentysomething who loves to travel and is inspired by nature, and also art and cultures from all over the world.  On top of that, I am a devout Christian, and I strive daily to be a light to those around me.  As a lifelong reader/writer/collector of quotes, words are extremely important to me and I believe that having positive messages around you can impact your life.

I realized that to embrace my passions and focus on just these things, I would be doing myself, my business, and (hopefully) the world a service by creating art that maybe isn’t mainstream, but encourages and inspires people like me.

So my work may not look like what I see in the Southern Living catalogues strewn around my families’ homes, and the ladies at my church may not purchase my art for their homes, but the beautiful thing about the internet is that it brings people together.  Out of the masses that surf the web, maybe a few people will stumble on my work and realize that there IS Christian art that would fit their style.  That they can be inspired by positive words on a daily basis.  And maybe, just maybe, someone who didn’t already know God’s love will get a taste of it because of something I made.

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Liberty in Definition

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For most of my life, I’ve been all over the place when it comes to style and personal aesthetic preferences.  Maybe it’s because I grew up on a farm while having punk and preppy friends, and on top of all of that, listened to show tunes.  I’ve always been able to find the beauty in almost any given circumstance, but that’s a major downfall when trying to develop a cohesive look in my artistic endeavors or personal style.

You don’t have to know much about branding to know that a cohesive look is key to a brand’s recognition.  When working with clients, I can easily pick apart their current scheme and find ways to bring their branding to a more uniform place, but somehow I could never make myself do that with my personal brand or even more so, in my home decor!  That is, until I had a major epiphany during a fateful Pinterest binge.

One of the most liberating feelings is when you come across a term or statement that just DEFINES you.  You read it, and think, “This is me!  All along I thought I was alone, but there are people like ME and they are called THIS!”  As silly as it sounds, when I found the interior decor term “Modern Eclectic,” I had this feeling.  It was everything I wished my home would evoke, but I never knew what it was called or seen others’ take on it so as to make my own stab at it.  Just days after seeing these images of sprawling gallery walls and shamelessly odd paintings mixed with clean modern furniture and whatever else folks darn well feel like including, I felt better about my home and had clear direction as to what to do next!  No more wondering if my mom would approve or if it will look dated in 5 years…

When it boils down, all I needed was to give my style a name.  After I had a definition for my taste, there was no more wishy-washy dabbling in this line of thought or that, because I could say, “No!  That is off topic!  Stick to Modern Eclectic.”  Of course, rules are made to be broken and I am the master of my fate, so exceptions are made, but these decisions are infinitely easier to make.

So what are the areas of your life that you need to define in order to have a clearer vision of your path?  Once you actually understand what is is that you’re after, you have a name for it, you know what it means, you can come much closer to sticking to that path.  I’m just thrilled mine involves the excessive use of plants as decor 😀

My One Word for 2016

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The new rage in New Year’s resolutions is to, instead of making a list of goals, choose one word to focus on throughout the year and apply to every aspect of your life.

In thinking about what one word could describe all the ways that I want to grow in this new year, “abide” seems to encompass it all.

In the last two years, I’ve moved cities and merged onto a new career path out of necessity, and in the wake of all of that forced change I was left with the options to either be bitter about my circumstances as came naturally, or to change my outlook on almost every aspect of my life.

Changing one’s own worldview is easier said than done, and ultimately, it took surrendering my frustrations and uncertainty to God, and accepting the truth that he always provides. To go out on faith, following the unfamiliar path laid before me.

Now that I’ve come this far, I understand enough to know that this really is the right path for me, and I never would have chosen it if not for every other door being closed. And so now I want to have a fuller understanding. I want to be more committed. I want to be more disciplined. And I think that all of that and more can be accomplished through abiding with Christ.

I had to look the word up to make sure I understood the meaning: To stay; to continue in a place; to have one’s abode; to dwell; to sojourn; to wait; to pause; to delay; to remain stable or fixed in some state or condition; to continue; to remain; to be prepared for; to watch for; to endure; to submit to; to bear patiently; to tolerate; to stand the consequences of; to answer for; to suffer for.

I think that, to combine all of these descriptions into one coherent thought, “to abide” is to be joined with your object with such commitment that you stay with it, you wait on it, you endure for it, you submit to it, and even suffer for it—with pleasure.

I live in belief that God has ransomed my soul and counts me as his own. I know that he goes before me and stands behind me. Where my faith lacks is the day-to-day abiding in him. Pausing, remaining fixed in a state of communication with him, having a sustained relationship, bearing patiently the hard times and submitting when my ways differ from his. To dwell with him. For my gut reaction to be to turn to him in every circumstance: in praise, in hardship, in confusion, in concern; for him to be the source of my joy and the foundation of every aspect of my life.

This is what I want out of 2016.