Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Trail of Windows

Do you ever think about leaving a trail behind you?  For me, the trail is scattered with
windows -  "stained glass mosaic windows."   As an artist (of sorts) I love the idea that 
my work will live on long after I'm gone.    I really like that.

I learned how to handle, score and cut glass in a traditional stained glass class here in
Greenwood.    Although I love to look at traditional stained glass -- I didn't really "take"
to  the actual doing it.    It was very restrictive and precise.   That's not me....especially '
when it comes to "creating" art.

Of all places, I actually saw the technique of making "stained glass mosaics" on HGTV.   
(all good things really DO come from HGTV, you know.)  Mosaics are are more free 
flowing and less restrictive to create. That appealed much more to me.   Very soon, I 
started picking up old single pane windows from salvage businesses and started creating.

My technique has improved through the years.   I hope its evidenced from my first tree 
below (made in 2005) to the one directly under it (I made just a few months ago.)  I've 
also gotten much faster.  I can complete a window now in two-three days (if I can steady
work on it)  instead of a couple of weeks.

I've kept a log - and I've now created 47 windows since  2005.    I've given most of 
them away to friends......and family.....only a few have I actually sold or done 
on commission.

My inspiration comes from lots of things.   My favorite subject is probably trees.  I've 
done a lot of those.

this was my very first tree made in 2005 - and the first one I ever entered into a Juried Art Show.

this one I made a few months ago - i've used my glass to fund my last two trips to Kenya.
this piece was raffled on facebook over the course of two months & earned over
$2000 for my traveling costs.   not too shabby.

And I've done many other trees:

this one was done for my friend, Jana & her husband.
I raffled this tree to help pay for a mission trip to Kenya in 2011.

Many of my trees have been given as wedding gifts.  This one
was given to Jennings & Ryan with the inscription at the base of the
tree "Let Love Rest Here"
this one was a wedding gift to Kelly, with her married initial "B" added at the base.

this one was a wedding gift to Hannah & Traylor.

other trees were given for special occasions - Kate's graduation from PT school.

a house warming gift for a co-worker.

Sun's are also a favorite subject for my glass:

I tried my hand at lettering on a couple of pieces:
This was a special memorial window for a friend.
a friend's initials.

And others:


this one a surprise gift for a friend's mom -- four season runner.

a fun piece for a high flying friend.

growing vines for a friend's growing children.

a special birthday gift for someone that loves lighthouses.

And a wide variety of others:

a friend asked for a mosaic that depicted the Holy Spirit -- tough concept to capture!

Other pieces related to faith:

Other's were taken from unusual/fun sources for inspiration:

this graphic idea came from a Christmas gift bag.

this one from a Pier One coffee mug.

this one from a flower garden.
this one from Taylor's love for owls.

I've had a number of people express an interest in learning how to do mosaics.   Watch 
for a future blog on how to make them - start to finish.   It's not hard at all.   

My hope?  that my mosaics get handed down for a generation or two in the families of 
my friends.....hanging in windows or on porches long after I'm gone.   

That would be pretty cool.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tears of a Woman Named Agnes

I've been thinking about sharing this story on my blog since I arrived home from Kenya
about six weeks ago.

It's Agnes's story - a shy, young Masai woman that lives in an isolated area of Kenya
called Mbogonia.

It was our last afternoon working in the area.   Our team divided up into three groups and
headed off in opposite directions to do a home visit.    As God would have it, my group
trekked off on a footpath to Agnes's hut - a short distance away.  I was about to have an
encounter I don't think I'll ever be able to forget.

We brought some tea, and sugar and a bible printed in Agnes's language as a
welcoming gift.  She  was shy and a little guarded with us at first.  When I think about
it though --how strange we must have seemed to Agnes.   Six Americans.....bounding
toward her home.   I'm sure it was quite an experience for her too.

Our plan that afternoon was to build a relationship.  We came to meet Agnes and her
family and to help her with household chores.   It was clear right away that she was
there alone with her children.   Unlike the outgoing kids we had been playing with and
loving on all week, Agnes's children seemed much more withdrawn.    They remained a
good distance away, at the back of their home while we were there.

Agnes has a family dog -- and some chicks.  Her place is neat and well kept.

Agnes shared tea with our group and made us feel very welcome. With the help of our
interpreter, she soon shared with us that she was a believer.    As we asked if there
was anything we could pray for her about, she told us about her abusive husband.

He was gone for long periods of time, so the responsibility of running her home,
taking care of her children and all the animals fell on her.  Agnes has five children.
Her husband won't allow any of the children to go to school -- and he forbids Agnes
from going to church.

As she opened up more, she shared that the last time she was able to attend
church was last Christmas Eve.   She went to a special service at a nearby church.
When her husband learned she was there, he drug her out of the church building
in front of all it's members -- and stoned her.

Agnes said that her husband was once a believer too, but had hardened his heart
toward God and toward her.   She asked that we pray that God would soften
his heart again - and that she would be able to return to church.

We prayed over Agnes.  I was sitting on a low wooden bench beside
her when the prayers began.   Our interpreter repeated our prayers in Agnes's
language so she could understand.   Almost immediately, Agnes buried her face
in the young baby she carried on her hip - and began to sob her heart out.

The memory of her sobs that afternoon is something I don't think I'll ever forget.

As the prayer finished, we were all crying with her.

That afternoon, we shoveled cow dung around Agnes's hut and drank chai tea out of
her tin cups.  Scott told me later it was the most satisfying day of work he had ever

Before we left an hour or so later, we prayed with her again -- this
time joining hands with her in a circle.   As she held our hands - her tears dropped onto
the ground below -- like rain.

What difference did we make there that afternoon?  I believe Agnes was encouraged
that we cared.  She believed we were sent by God to her -- and I saw a smile on
her face before we left.    The Bible that we brought had to come back with us.
She said she couldn't keep it.   Her husband would never allow it.

If there was a difference made that day, it was made in each of us.  We were impacted
by Agnes.   By her plight in this world and her burden.

Do this for me if you will.    If you've read this blog and have seen Agnes's face,
would you commit to pray for her?    Pray for her to be encouraged.   Pray that God
will work in her husband's life.  That He would change her husband's heart.  that
the children would be allowed to attend school -- and that Agnes and her children
can return to church.

She's a real person in a very hard circumstance.

I bet if Agnes knew that believers on the other side of the world were praying for her
right now, that smile would return to her face -- and she would look up to God in that
HUGE African sky -- and cry to Him in thanks.

Pray.     And remember her story.      It's staying with me.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Starting the New Year With Beth Moore

If any of my Greenwood area blog friends would like to participate in a Beth Moore
Bible Study of  "James: Mercy Triumphs" - I'll be leading it at my home on Monday
nights (for 8 weeks) beginning January 28th from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Here's a youtube video clip:

We'll kick off our shoes, enjoy a cup of hot tea, comfie sofas & the fellowship of other
women and hear an excellent word from this DVD series.    

Respond with a comment below if you'd like to come.   We have room for about
12 women.

Happy New Year!