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      Permanent Brush Strokes

      Celebration

      Celebration

      “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
      – Psalm 118:24
      “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”  – Abraham Lincoln

      February is my birth month and this year marks 47 years of living for this chick.

      47 Years. Holy cow!!

      Some of you are thinking:  ‘that’s so old!’ and others are thinking: ‘that’s young!’ (I only know this, because a few of you have told me so … you know who you are!) I'm discovering it’s just the right age: I may not easily stay up until 2 in the morning anymore, but I definitely have a broader perspective then when I was 25.

      I am learning, really learning what it means to be grateful for the precious gift each day brings and that possessions, although they may be fun and fabulous, are not as important as the people in my life and nurturing the relationships I’ve been given. This is cause for celebrating!! There’s a bit of a joke between my husband and I: the older I get, the longer the celebration continues. For the past decade, I’d say the average birthday celebration lasts about a week or three. A lunch or coffee date with a friend here, a dinner out with my man and some friends there, and – if I’m lucky, a meaningful birthday card received a week or two late by my Dad (it’s how we role)…you get the idea.

      You might think that’s being spoiled or self-serving, and maybe you’re right. But let me ask you this: Why is it wrong/bad/spoiled or self-serving to celebrate the precious life you’ve been given? I’m not trying to be trite, but the Bible tells us to rejoice always, and to give thanks in all circumstances, and although we are to live humble lives, does that mean we aren’t to celebrate the wonderful gift of each day? So, why not the day God gave us life?

      This year, the celebrating started early! Maybe not how you would define it, but it sure was a blessing to me. It came in the way of two commissions for artwork; both are first-time purchasers of my work: one client/collector in Oregon and one in South Carolina. I was floored when I received the requests! There is nothing I want more than to make a collector (new or repeat) pleased they choose me to provide a work of art for their home (or office, as the case is with one of my clients).

      So, ask me if I celebrated? You better believe I did!! I gave thanks to God for providing the work, and then I promptly went out and bought the canvases and paints I needed to start each project…as well as 25 more canvases of varying sizes for all the other paintings I want to do, but haven’t actually sold!! (I can hear financial guru, Dave Ramsey, sitting on my shoulder, scolding me as I type!) As an artist, there’s real pleasure (and fear) associated with a bunch of blank canvases in your studio/work space. But I tell you, I have embraced it whole-heartedly, even though I emptied my bank account to do it! WOOO HOOO - Happy Birthday, to me!! lol...

      Every day I'm in my studio creating on those canvases since that grand purchase, I am reminded of the gift of these collectors, and another mini-celebration happens right down to my core.

      It's now a couple of weeks later, and I recently returned from two days in Los Angeles with my love, attending the LA Art Show for modern and fine contemporary art, visiting museums and eating some fabulous food. I just loved every part of our little adventure! But you know what was the absolute best part of this get away? Time with my man – this is another gift to me that doesn’t require fancy dinners or extravagant nights on the town (but I will receive them graciously, my love). Yes, I missed my kids when we're away, but the time I spent with my husband: experiencing something new, laughing, talking, holding hands and being in awe at the talent and gifts of some amazing artists, was and is the best gift I could ever be given by a human being. He is my partner and best friend - truly an amazing gift! I was so thankful he was willing to invest in celebrating my birthday in a way that shows he knows me and my heart so well.

      Oh, so worth celebrating!

      On our way home, we made plans and talked about the next few weeks and months and were silly with each other. When we picked up our kids, the fun continued with dinner and a movie rental and conversation about all they did in our absence (although, I think they considered it a gift when we left them with their friends, too!). Yes, there were arguments about bedtime and such, but kissing those kids of ours, praying with them and tucking them in…best end-of-day-gift for this mama. Do you know what I’m saying?

      Again, totally worth celebrating!

      I'm not going to deny it, I like receiving gifts and flowers for my birthday. But connecting with a friend or my family over a meal or adventure?? That is my love language, people! Time invested, intentionality, face-to-face interaction...that is the best (but honey, I will still take the massage gift certificate you gave me! Thank you!! I love you...)!

      It’s another week later, and I still have a smile on my face from all the breakfasts, lunches and dinners I got to share with the very important people in my life celebrating the day the Lord brought me into this world. I am so richly blessed by these humans and the fact they wanted to celebrate with me, I'm overwhelmed! Each person, individually and collectively, sharpens me: on my Christian walk, as a wife, a mom, a friend and a person. They invest time in me, encourage me and sometimes correct me when I’m making poor choices. These beautiful people are all part of my inspiration every day, especially when I am in my studio painting and creating. They are a huge blessing in my life, even when they might not always be the easiest people to be with...but let’s face it, neither am I.

      I can be cranky, demanding, extremely opinionated, and on particularly bad days, rather judge-y. All pretty ugly character traits. (Do you ever act like that?) I’m embarrassed to admit these truths to you, but I would be lying if I professed otherwise. Praise God that my friends and family are so forgiving! Praise God that He forgives those behaviors when they’re directed at Him. Jesus, himself said he was here to seek and save the lost. And my friends, I was lost…but grateful I’m found. This doesn’t mean I’ve suddenly become perfect. On the contrary! Now, I’m just acutely aware of those behaviors and less accepting of them in myself, which causes me to rely more on my Savior for strength and wisdom and less on me. This truly is the greatest gift of all - His love and grace!

      So, my friends (new and old), let’s live this life to the fullest measure! Let’s love those people God has brought into our lives and find ways to be grateful, and celebrate; not for the parts of our relationships we feel may be lacking (which is something I’d like to address at a later date), but rejoice in the blessings we have been given! Even though they aren’t perfect, those humans in our lives are still a precious gift and our inspiration toward our unique creative outlets, thereby worthy of our investment and a cause for celebration. Can I get an AMEN??

      Seeking beauty in the every day with you,

      --Lyn

      Featured Artwork: “Blossom at Night” 2’ x 2’, acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas, available at lynhiner.com. Prints and giclees available in a variety of sizes. Please inquire, if interested.

       

      SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: I will now be offering limited release giclee's (a fancy name for a reproduction of an original work of art, on canvas, embellished with paint), and prints on high-quality, archival paper of some of my work, including the painting above, and some of the work below. If you are interested, please let me know which piece and what size, and I'll send you a quote...

      Anticipation

      Anticipation

      "One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent." – Acts 18:9


      2016 - What will it bring? I don't know, but I'm excited to discover it!
      One thing I will be adding to my bag-full-of-goodies is the monthly mental exercise of writing a blog post. With it, I will be stretching my capacity to articulate all those chaotic thoughts that roll around in my brain and strengthen my trust and faith in the Creator of life.  Why? Let me take you back to October 2012...

      Five months after being hospitalized for a freak incident that left me with 3rd degree burns on my legs and right hand, I found myself at our churches women's retreat. Every year, there is a small metal sculpture of a tree, and on it, are about 175 scripture verses. The organizers of the event ask attendees to prayerfully pick a verse from the tree, and this year was no different. But for me - it was so much more. I wasn't sure what my accident (with it's subsequent six surgeries and nine months of occupational therapy) was suppose to manifest in my life, but if I truly believed that "all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose," (which I do, Roman's 8:28) then I knew that this incident was, in fact, no accident.

      So what was the verse I picked? "One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent." --Acts 18:9  How did I interpret this to mean 'write a blog'? Well, I didn't, exactly. At first, I thought it meant I should speak to groups about how good God had been to me and my family through this incident. And I did have the opportunity, once or twice. But then, I kept being encouraged to write about my experiences, which seemed odd, because some very smart, highly intellectual family and friends used to mock me for my terrible writing skills. Still, the small voice in my head persisted, and in 2013, I attempted to write it all down, but found myself so overwhelmed with the emotion of it, I abandoned the notion.

      Fast forward to September 2014: I had been teaching art privately for the past few years, helped create an art program at my kids elementary school, and was busy with managing my family and studio, when my husband proposed that maybe with the kids in school more often, I should get a more structured job, part time.

      Well, after 15 years of being out of the "structured" work force, I was a little taken aback by the thought! Needless to say, I was resistant, but I prayed fervently about it for week. In hindsight, I've had a chance to consider that conversation from a new perspective, now I see, really see, all that our conversation created!

      It was at that moment, my voice, my artistic voice began to emerge. I began to "speak" in a way I had never done before! After I finished my first commission (received just weeks after the conversation with my man), I was inspired to paint all the time! In the decade preceding 2015, I may have created four or five paintings. But in 2015, I painted well over 100 original works of art! Some, I'm amazed they came from me and others are just meh, but I painted! And what's more incredible, lovely individuals bought some of them! My style has developed into something I am proud of, and the humbling thing is, I know that it isn't me, but my Creator working through me. I'm not that unique or special, but I did say: 'yes, Lord,' when I heard him call me to painting, and I'm using the voice God has given me to speak to you about who He is and what he does in a life. He has blessed me in ways I never expected, which has now led to this crazy idea of writing about all the ways God has guided me through the process of painting and life. Will you consider joining me?? I hope you will!

      So, goodbye 2015! You have been a year of tremendous growth and change for this chickadee! When I think of where I was on my journey one year ago, I can't help but feel overwhelmed - by God's grace and mercy, and by the hope and joy he gave to me. It takes courage to step into something new, which for me was painting and now writing. And although my life was precious and sweet before, there is an excitement and spark that is new and intense and filled with anticipation and expectation I haven't ever experienced.

      Painting has added layers of depth to my life and my trust in Jesus. This has been the voice I have been using to speak about His goodness and truth. Now I will add writing to my voice. And I won't be afraid, because I didn't dive into this without thought or consideration...it was covered in prayer and confirmed by some godly folks in my life. How grateful am I? There is no measurement.

      I genuinely don't know what 2016 will bring with it, but I am stepping into this new year with delight and a tickle of nervous excitement in my belly! My hope and prayer for you is your hope and trust are in the one who can do immeasurably more than you can hope or imagine, as well. Yes, I am full to overflowing with gratitude! There is SO much to be thankful for...even in the unexpected and difficulties of life. Honestly, if you had asked me at that women's retreat 3.5 years ago, if I thought I would be painting and writing a blog in response to that verse, I would have told you 'You're nuts!' Now look at me!! You really never know.

      Blessings to you and yours in 2016. Let's keep creating beauty (in our own unique ways), and inspiring each other to be better, love more and trust!

      --Lyn

      PS: Looking forward to chatting with you each month! If you've found this post helpful or inspiring, please leave me a note and let me know your thoughts, and please follow on Instagram for updates on future posts and new paintings I'm working on.

      Art Piece: "Poppies"  4' x 2', Acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas, original SOLD. Prints and giclees available in February