Category Archives: artistry

“Peace Be Still” ~ a BellaMella Canvas Give-away

**CONTEST IS CLOSED! Thanks to everyone who took the time to peruse Melanie’s work. Amelia just drew the winner – SKOOTS 1 MOM. Congratulations, Skoots. Please shoot me your mailing address so that I can pass it along to Melanie.

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.  -Mark 4:39

Jesus spoke these words to the tempestuous waters that raged around his disciples on a night some 2000 years ago. He continues to speak these same words over us in our nights of troublesome sailing. 

Peace. Be still.

Peace. How desperate we are for God’s daily allowance to be ours! I cry out for it in times of personal struggle. I cry for it in your times of great tribulation … for God’s peace to be our portion regardless of the strains that come against us.

The good Father has never forsaken my prayers along these lines. While I’ve not always received the desired outcome of my specific prayers, I’ve never been denied the peace of Christ. It is possible to bear the seemingly unbearable when God is in the boat. Wherever God is, so is his peace.

Not long ago, my friend Melanie Dorsey began to paint her heart-words onto canvas. Bravely, she allowed the world a window-peek into her giftings to see, first hand, how God is moving her faith forward. How blessed I’ve been to watch this unfold – a new dimension to further develop her words of witness. I couldn’t be more inspired. So …

I asked Melanie if she would be willing to apply her creativity and her paint to this verse from Mark. This portrait is the finished product. And this, friends, will be given to one of you.

“Peace be still” is a mixed media, 11 x 14 canvas. The sides are painted and suitable to hang “as is” or framed. The canvas has a sealer for a finished look, and the character is cut from an actual hymn page, Wonderful Peace (belt displays hymn title).

I love it. I hate to part with it, but it’s been in my heart to do this for a few weeks now with the idea of sending one of you a little peace for your journey.

If you are interested in winning this treasure, take a moment to peruse some of Melanie’s other work at her webpage. In the comment section below this post, please tell me which ones are your favorites. Your name will then be entered into a random drawing for a chance to win this “Peace be still” canvas. For additional chances to win, please share this particular post link on your facebook and/or twitter pages. Indicate in the comments below your additional participation. This contest will close at noon on Friday, October 25th. A winner will be announced on Friday afternoon, and Melanie will send the canvas directly from her studio.

Now, for those of you unfamiliar with this beautiful hymn, Wonderful Peace, I’ve included a rendition of it sung by one of my favorites, Gary Chapman. Sing your way to worship, friends, and remember that our Jesus has not left the boat. He who superintends the waves is the Peace who superintends our hearts. Be not afraid. Peace … be still.

I love you dearly,

The Work of Our Hands

Today I have the privilege of creating words with my Creator over at The 7th Year blog. A few weeks ago, my mentor and friend, Alicia Chole, asked me a question. In The Work of Our Hands, I respond.

Both Alicia and I invite you to the table of grace today to add your voice to the conversation. While you’re there, you might take the time to explore The 7th Year, a 52-week, spiritual formation journey written by Alicia. Fuller still, “The 7th Year is a movement of souls who—weary of a spiritual diet of event-to-event experiences—are devoting a year of their lives to the intentional cultivation of life-long sustainable nearness with God.” (Alicia Chole, The 7th Year)

Click here to read more.

Peace for the journey,

when love makes sense . . .

Life is a journey; love is a dance.

So she sings to us as we snake our way down I-40, making the trek back home. I hold his hand as we mark those miles through Appalachia, knowing that he is my home—the place where I feel safe and where the embers still burn with hope. When nothing else makes sense, when the world goes crazy and loses its grip on reality, my husband’s still doing the dance. Still taking the lead. Still holding me close and releasing me just enough to allow me my twirl, only to pull me back in so that I wind up back in the place where I began. Where I belong. Safely in his arms.

Oh that all of life would feel as safe as this—a long, winding road filled with love and hope and twirls that land us safely and certainly back to the place of our belonging. All of life can feel like this . . . can be this—a love dance through the mountains. But every now and again, the dance is interrupted, drowned out by the cacophony of noises that slow the pace and cripple the stride.

Those are the times when we must pull away, friends, and gather love closely to us so that we might remember and know for certain that all has not been lost in the night.


Love remains. Dances are still possible, and all of life is a journey.

Through a mountain.

Marking the miles, one after the other, on the road toward home.

The embers still burn with hope. How I pray you feel their warmth this day. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

Gratefulness . . .

Morning gratefulness. I’m choosing it. Where do I begin?

With her and this post she wrote about her mother, Glory, four years ago. It was one of my first connections with LauraLee; her story and her Glory touched me deeply back then—a witness that reaches through to today to remind me about the enduring love and hope of Jesus that triumphs over trouble and that brings glory out of suffering.

Secondly, I am grateful for the skillful work of Jen from Blue Yonder Designs. My transition from Blogger to WordPress was not a smooth one. Since that time, I’ve experienced no less than a few headaches with trying to work out the kinks. Accordingly, some changes needed to be made to the design, and Jen has been with me every step of the way. Not only is she techno-wiz (she’s been renamed by my husband as “super-technology woman”), she’s a joy to work with . . . easy, laid-back, available, and kind. If you’re thinking about making the switch to WordPress or would like some help with your current design, please consider using Jen. She has my solid recommendation, along with my respect.

This morning, I’m also grateful for the ministry and outreach of Lisa Shaw. Have you had the opportunity to listen in to her radio program on Thursdays? If not, you can visit this link at anytime to take advantage of her archived shows. Not long ago, I received a box of goodies from Lisa which included a copy of her book, You are Beautiful in God’s Eyes, and a teaching CD, Prayers from the Heart. Both of them are powerful representations and demonstrations of the Holy Spirit’s work in Lisa’s life. Her teaching ministry has been God’s tool of sacred transformation in my heart and life these past several months. I am privileged to call her my friend, and I know that you’ll be blessed by joining her on the pilgrim road.

a sampling of Cindy’s work

Today, I’m giving away a copy of Lisa’s book and the teaching CD to one of you. In addition, I’m including a package of notecards from my favorite card designer, Cindy. You can visit her Etsy store by clicking on this link. Cindy’s creative eye never ceases to amaze me. She has a knack for getting it right, every single time. I adore her work and am also pleased to call her my friend.

All four women—LauraLee with her writing, Jen with her technology, Lisa with her teaching, and Cindy with her creativity—reaching out to bless the world through their giftings. I am grateful for each one of them and the role they play in my life and am honored to share their work with you. Nothing blesses me more than to see others operating out of their giftedness and applying their willingness and “want to” to the creative pulse placed inside of them by Father God.

He’s put that same creative pulse inside all of us. He can’t help himself. He’s the Creator, and you, friend, are made in his image. You’re not void of creativity. You’re filled with it. You may not consider yourself a creative individual, but there is within you an artistic, inspired bent for innovation.

Take some time today to consider your giftings, further still, to put them to good use . . . God’s use. You are never more effective for the kingdom than when you’re operating out of your giftedness and your willingness therein. God’s signature on you, in you, and through you blesses the world. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

What creative pulse resides within you? Leave a comment below to enter the give-away.

on quitting writing…

I quit writing yesterday. Quit. Put down the pen and said, “No more.”


Today, I’ve extended that deadline a bit. Why? Well, partly because of something I read last night and mostly because of something my daddy has told me time and again throughout the course of his preaching life.


“Elaine, I want to leave the ministry on Saturday nights before I preach. I re-enter the ministry every Sunday at noon.”


I get what my daddy’s saying. I feel the tension in my own life every time I’m asked to speak at an event and even, sometimes, when I’m writing a post. There’s something about the “front side” of creativity that stretches the soul, usually for the good, but sometimes so far stretched to not only “let out” the good, but also to “let in” the bad. The corrosive stuff that says, “Who are you kidding? You’re less than what you think you are. In the midst of the millions of words that will be written today . . . spoken today, yours won’t matter.”


That’s the stuff that stretches my soul and that threatens the livelihood of all “creatives” who risk sharing their work with others. Sometimes what we create—the songs we sing, the pictures we take, the words we write, the sermons we preach—is lost on our audiences. They don’t get it, and when they don’t get it (or at least when we think that they don’t get it), we struggle for understanding as well. And sometimes, that struggle is enough to make us want to quit. The anguish of our Saturday evenings (the night before we “launch”) stretches our faith and challenges our fortitude.


The front side of creative release is always the hardest side for me—doing the work, grinding it out, being disciplined enough and brave enough to put some words on paper and to do so against the backdrop of my faith. The backside of my creativity? The Sunday at noon? Well, more often than not, that’s the time when I willingly re-enter the ministry—when I draw the pen from my pocket, click it to “go,” and say to myself, “That wasn’t so bad. Let’s do it again. There just might be something to all of this.”


I don’t know where you are today. Maybe you’re living in the stress of your Saturday night—a time of preparation and feeling the strain of your creative pulse. You’re ready to launch, but your nerves and fear are getting the best of you.


Maybe you’ve arrived at your Sunday noon. You’ve delivered the goods and now you’re breathing in the beauty of the release. What you set your mind and heart to do has been done, and it’s been done well.


Maybe . . . you’re somewhere in between, maybe living your Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday—the days when nothing seems to be happening. Your creative life feels dull, desperate, and dead. Saturday and Sunday aren’t even on your radar because you’ve decided that Saturday’s angst and Sunday’s release are no longer worth the effort. All has not gone according to your plans, so why bother making any further ones?


I understand. All of it. Every single creative and non-creative day of the week. I’ve lived them all; celebrated most of them, cursed a few of them, and still carry a heavy question in my heart about how I’m going to walk through my remaining ones. I don’t know where my writing will take me in the days ahead. There have been some huge disappointments I’ve experienced along the way. I imagine you could say the same about your creativity. Still and yet, I know this as a certainty:


God has planted his creative pulse inside each one of us. You are not the one person who’s been denied this sacred endowment. Your creativity, my creativity, is a gift that should be invested into the soul of humanity—not wasted, not hoarded, not buried. It’s how we help to make this world complete, how we put God’s finishing touches on what he began in Eden. When we pick up the pen, the paintbrush, the guitar, the camera . . . whatever our creative edges . . . when we tend to them and give them room enough to grow and breathe, we grow and breathe as well. We become willing participants in our Mondays thru Saturdays, because we know that Sunday noon is not far in coming.


I want my Sunday noon. I want you to have yours as well, for all of us to get to the other side of the birthing process—to labor hard and to willingly carry the burden of our creativity through to the finish—so that we might see and feel the beauty of a new work. A new grace. A new creation to flourish inside an older one. A new day, a “Sunday,” to rest and to believe, again, in the goodness and rightness of such moments.


Yes, I quit writing yesterday. Today, I picked up the pen once more, and even though my calendar says “Wednesday,” it feels a whole lot more like Sunday noon to me. As always…


Peace for the journey,

Monday – Friday deliberations? Saturday angst? Sunday noon? Where is your creative pulse resting today? How are you feeling about your creativity?

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