Tearing it Down

One of my biggest weaknesses is allowing myself to be vulnerable. I’ve gotten pretty darn good at building walls, at guarding myself. I do it without even recognizing that I’m doing it. It’s debilitating and honestly, it’s no way to live. Vulnerabilities may open ourselves up to pain, but building walls will close the door on a lot of joy.

But building walls is my achilles heel. And I did it again.

I wrote about our heartache with miscarriage here. And almost exactly one year later, we experienced another loss. This journey to expanding our family is a long story for another day but in short, I have always wanted more kids. That yearning just wouldn’t go away, no matter how hard I tried. But after that second loss, I came to terms with not having any more biological children. I was convinced that between my age and my diabetes we had waited too long, my body could no longer do what it once could. And I came to peace with that. Finally. At least I thought I did.

But the story didn’t end where I thought it would. Before we had a chance for a little procedure to close that door for good, we found out we were pregnant again. And I built a wall.

I truly didn’t think I would be able to carry this baby past 13 weeks. And I told myself I was ok with that. It was probably for the best………

What I didn’t even realize until later is that I was doing that wall-building thing again. With the first loss, I was at my 12-week appointment when they told me there was no longer a heartbeat. The baby was measuring 9 weeks. So this time around when I went in for a sonogram at 9 weeks I was most definitely guarded. I didn’t expect good news. But as soon as I heard that thump, thump on the monitor, before the technician could say a word about the heartbeat, I burst into tears. Tears of relief. So much fear and hesitation I didn’t even know I was holding in. But despite realizing just how relieved I was, I remained guarded. I had 4 weeks to go if I was going to make it to the second trimester. A little hope was starting to peek through, the wall was weak, but it was still there.

I nearly lost it in church one day as a song reminded me of a moment in the months following the first loss. I thought that pregnancy had been an answer to a prayer, in my confusion of what now? What was that supposed to mean? Why do I still have this longing if this is it…….in the midst of all my confusion and uncertainty I closed my eyes and surrendered it to God. In my mind’s eye, I literally gathered up my longing to bear another child and handed it over to a God who tenderly took all that longing and brokenness in His own hands. Here it is Jesus. Take it from me and do with it what you will.

We had another sonogram at my 12-week appointment…..and there was still a heartbeat And a very active little baby wiggling around like crazy. That moment right there was when she flooded my heart with a love so big, no wall stood a chance. Of course I still wanted another baby. God had put that longing in my heart for a reason. It was never really gone, my pain just didn’t allow it to surface anymore. But the wall was finally down.


And it was in that place that this piece came from. The opening up to the hope and vulnerability of carrying another child. The surrendering that came with handing it over. So here I am, completely open to the vulnerability of deeply wanting this child, hoping for a healthy baby. Content that the Lord holds my brokenness with tender hands. When I created this I had made it past 13 weeks, but we hadn’t told many people outside of family. The vulnerability was still raw, I was reluctant to make any announcements. But my faith, and this long-awaited heart’s desire is in His hands and I have complete trust in that.



“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her.”  – Luke 1:45


A Stolen Moment

As the recent frigid temperatures kept us bundled up tight I find myself reminiscing of our family vacation last summer, that warm glistening sun on my skin, the sounds of seagulls and waves, and the sand between my toes. On our last night of vacation we took the kids, grabbed some flashlights and went searching for sand crabs after dark. I stole just a minute to stop and take it all in. Just stand there watching and listening to the waves come crashing in by moonlight, the wind in my hair.

As a visual person with an eye for details, it’s safe to say that I see beauty everywhere in nature. I look for it. I take it all in. I see nature as glimpses of heaven, as God revealing himself to us. I take it in with my eyes. By moonlight the ocean is still a sight to behold, but this time it was my other senses that were being heightened. The sound of the waves and the wind on my face were not something I could ignore.

And as I stood there I couldn’t help but think of the majesty of the God that created this wonder before me. At night the wind was a little fiercer, the waves a little rougher. I thought about how powerful those waters are, how standing in them you almost lose control of your body as the tide pushes you in and pulls you back out. As I stood there in awe at the power in those waters I realized how small I sometimes tend to make God. How, in the day-to-day, I’ve taken for granted the power of the God that still commands those waves. I thought of how I have tried to put God into a box of neat and tidy lines with black and white rules. Rules that tell us to act this way, dress this way, talk this way, study this way………but boxes are exhausting. Over the years I’ve found it impossible to stay inside them.

But watching those waves come in, they were clearly not made by a God who fits inside a box. If nothing else the vastness of the ocean clearly disproves that God is in a box. Each crashing wave does not conform to the waves before it or beside it. If you are looking for neat and tidy lines you’re in the wrong place. Watching them ripple out onto the shore, the marks they leave in the sand start to look a little messy and haphazard. They don’t appear to be following any rules. But there is one thing those salty waters are following; the command of their maker.

For the most part I don’t get caught up in rules and I never have. But lately I think I’ve become a little complacent, I’ve become a little comfortable in the safe zone, just trying to follow the rules and coast along. I’ve forgotten my own mantra of reckless faith. If I was once reckless to break the rules and push the boundaries, let me be reckless now for God. Bold and reckless, not like an empty seashell getting thrown on the beach and sucked back in with the tides, or snatched up to sit pretty on a shelf. No, I want to be a part of the waves, listening and obeying to only one voice…….rippling out only as far as I’m lead.

“And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.”
– Mark 4:39

“You rule the raging of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them.”
-Psalm 89:9

“When He assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command.”
– Proverbs 8:29

“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and He brought them to their desired haven.”
– Psalm 107:28-30




The Art of Showing Up

I wrote this last June during summer break after an especially busy day and never hit publish. I have a lot in my unpublished que. I’ve let fear, resistance and uncertainty rule over this little space. But once again, I gear up to start a new year with intentions of writing and sharing more about art and about this journey. This year is also gearing up to be quite different with a whole new set of challenges, so we’ll see where these intentions on writing get me. When it comes down to painting or writing, painting wins. And though I’ve taken a break for a few months (for good reasons) and haven’t been showing up a whole lot, this was a good reminder to myself as I start making plans for 2018.

It’s 6:30 p.m. I’ve been running errands and dropping kids off and picking kids up and running by the grocery store and cooking meals all day. After the dishes are done and the counters are wiped I walk into my studio to paint. It takes discipline. More so during the summer because with the kids home, I don’t have the quiet “working hours” I keep during the school year. I take the time to go to the pool with them, to take them hiking and biking and to just enjoy summer with them while I can. While they’ll let me. I have a feeling that will be short-lived with my soon to be 14 year old.

I love to paint, it’s one of the few things I could never grow tired of. It challenges me and pushes me. It makes me think about color theory and techniques and highlights and shadows and color-play. It makes me think of life and meaning and translations. It’s mentally exhausting some days. But I love it. And still, it takes discipline to come downstairs to my studio space, in an unfinished room in the back corner off our finished area. I am tired from the running, I am mentally tired from having a teenager and a pre-teenager with me all day. I have already today explained what exactly a lover is and why it’s rude to take selfies when someone hands you their camera and asks you to take their picture, I’ve explained why we can’t buy all the clothes and have to make choices from the heaping pile of wants. And as a side, apparently I’m a failure at explaining budgets and making choices and saving some of our money and why all of that is important because my teenager saw the “fancy” black pepper (aka a grinder vs already ground pepper) on the counter and asked “since when can we afford this kind of pepper?” *sigh* I give up. Obviously, since I don’t think it’s the best use of our money to spend $135 on a new pair of shoes you’ll out-grow in 6 months, I shouldn’t be buying the “fancy” pepper.  What I’d really love is to sit and stare at the TV or to kick my feet up on the deck with a book and a glass of wine

But I chose this. I chose to say yes. To be more available to my family and, with the spaces in between, to see what else was in store. I believe from the depths of my soul that this is the craft, the talent God gave me to use. And, if I want to uncover it, I have to continue to show up. Even when it feels pointless. And so I walk downstairs and I turn on the music and I get in the zone, hoping tonight I come a little closer to figuring something out. How to paint better, how to translate better, where exactly the worth is in all of this. Some days I see it, some days I don’t. But most days, whether I see it or not, I show up. Because showing up really is half the battle right?


Abstract Beaches

This series is something a little different for me. I’ve been playing around in abstract with different mediums for a while now and decided my beach series needed to be a reflection of that. I drew on the colors, sounds, textures and movements of the ocean landscape as I laid brush to paper for this series. I was compelled by the stark contrast of the soothing calm of the ocean waves and the powerful ferocity it can bring, playful splashes and a smooth, calm dance of waves.



As soothing and calming as the ocean can be, it has an undeniably powerful ferocity to it. Subtle at times, it gently pulls you out and pushes you back to shore, ever so slightly as you lose your footing and gently roll with the waves.


On a recent beach vacation myself, I stole a moment by moonlight to gaze on the vast, deep blue and listen to the waves crashing in. So calming to listen to yet I couldn’t stop thinking about how powerful those waves were. The seemingly wild and untamed waves, each one dancing to their own rhythm and fading out onto the shore in uneven, jagged lines.

kiss from a wave2

This series has truly been a labor of love. I have poured so much creative energy into this, not just the paintings themselves, but how they were presented.

Oceans Deep

Initially, I wanted them ready about a month ago, but I really wanted something a little different as far as presentation and it just took a little time to work it out. They somehow didn’t feel like they wanted to be popped into a frame.

Dancing Waves

So after careful consideration the bigger pieces were mounted to a gesso board slightly bigger than the painting itself as sort of a non-traditional frame.

By The Shore

As for the slightly smaller pieces, I wanted them to stand out a little more. I finally decided to mount them to a canvas panel (for stability) and attach a small piece of drift-wood between the painting and the gesso board, adding another dimension. It really adds some weight, literally and figuratively, and I love the statement it makes.



Dancing waves, playful dolphins, searching for seashells, unwinding your mind, the glow of an evening sunset, the vast, deep, mysterious, powerful, playful and tranquil blue waters.





You can find them all on my website under mixed media originals at  www.recklessfaithart.com

Solar Eclipse 2017

In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard……there is a total solar eclipse that’s about to go down in just under 2 weeks in select areas across the US. National Geographic noted that it will be one of the biggest astronomical events in ages. We haven’t experienced a total eclipse since 1918 and we are not expected to have another astronomical phenomenon of its kind until 2054. The last time the moon took over the sun for total darkness in Missouri was in 1869, and that one only clipped the northeast corner of the state. The U.S. hasn’t seen one in 38 years and, according to our local News Tribune, the last time a total eclipse could be viewed from what is now Jefferson City, MO was in the year 1257. To put it mildly, this is kind of a big deal. NASA is said to be sending scientists to only a handful of cities to study this marvel in the sky and our little city is one of them. If you’re visiting, you can even buy tickets to have lunch with a real live – not an actor – astronaut.

At 1:13 on Aug. 21, we will experience 2 minutes and 29 seconds of totality. During that time the sun will be completely overtaken, or so it will seem, by the moon. In actuality the sun’s diameter is 400 times wider than the moon, but it is also 400 times farther away, giving the illusion that they are the same size. So from our vantage point 238,900 miles below, the moon will appear to completely blocks the suns light. It will be as dark as twilight, the brightest planets and stars will become visible, animals become quiet, birds roost and we will feel a notable drop in temperature. The eclipse starts in the Pacific and ends in the Atlantic, passing over land only in the U.S. with Jefferson City among the top cities to view the event.

So, naturally, there are all kinds of area artists in Jefferson City and surrounding cities just as artistically intrigued as the scientists and enthusiasts. If you’re here, you’ll find a plethora of events planned the weekend preceding the eclipse. You can get information about those events here. I’ll be hanging around at the Total Eclipse of the Park with the artwork below. You can also find these originals, postcards size prints and metal panel prints at my website recklessfaithart.com.

I hope to see you there! And if you can’t make it and aren’t near a city experiencing the total eclipse, find me on Facebook here, I’ll be doing a live video.



solar eclipse IIA2

How a Photo of Flowers Turned Into A Cacti Painting…..or Is It Seaweed?

Yes that’s right, I took a photo of a flower bush, a big, beautiful, luscious flower bush. A photo I took myself – right here in Missouri, where there’s not a cactus growing for hundreds of miles. And I translated that photograph into a painting of cacti. Don’t you just look at this – especially that ombre flower – and think cacti?


It would probably be fair to say that my brain was speaking a language that my hands didn’t understand that day, because I certainly didn’t see a cactus in my minds eye. The translation got lost before the brush hit the paper.

To be fair, I wasn’t looking directly at the photo and trying to paint it, I was recalling the photo from memory and attempting to use the colors and shapes for inspiration for an abstract. And I’ve been experimenting with watercolors lately, which is a new medium for me. As evidenced by the outcome, I haven’t quite mastered the nuances of watercolor.


So as my abstract strokes started to take on shapes, other than those in my head, I just went with the flow. Some of my favorite paintings have actually come about this way, just making marks and seeing what I can see out of them to create something. This time, as I was looking at my marks I saw a cactus. So naturally I decided to paint cacti, and then the background started turning into something of a sunset. Now the ways of watercolor and blending of watercolor are completely different from acrylics and it’s obviously not mastered here, I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece. It was more of a “do it for the process” painting.

BUT, I have to admit, I was a little pleased with myself that I painted a cactus landscape (of sorts) without ever having been to the desert AND without a reference photo of said cacti.

And then not only my husband, but my son commented on the little seaweed painting I did. Seaweed!?!?!?

So I’m not sure, I either painted a scene from one of the driest places on earth, or the wettest.

But the little seaweed cactus spurred me to get out the photo and actually look at it while I painted – I love the natural ombre in those flowers.


ombre bush

edit 2

That was a little too literal of an interpretation for me so I put the photo away and went with something a little more my style.

flower bush

And then one more, for fun, a little more whimsy, a little more intentional randomness. I kinda like how this one turned out.


So the little watercolor sunset over seaweed painting unintentionally started a quick little study on interpretation, just going to show that even the paintings that don’t come out beautiful can have a success story. And even our stories, our day to day, our struggles and endeavors that don’t turn out just the way we think they should? They can have a success story too. Even a good painting starts out a little messy. Don’t let a little seaweed/cacti confusion discourage you.


Running For My Sanity


I managed 2 miles last night, no walking! Woohoo! It’s been slow getting back into it,  but that was the first run THAT FELT GOOD in a long time.

To be honest it’s a little depressing to celebrate a 2 mile run considering a little over a year ago I ran a half marathon. In March of last year, deep in the throes of training for the half, my running partner and I ran a solid 10 mile run (I think we might have walked up 2 of the hills in the last couple miles, but it was pretty solid), in the rain. It was my most memorable run ever. Literally the most fun I have ever had running, despite the fact that after about 7 miles everything, including the insides of my coat pockets, was soaked. If all runs could feel that good I don’t know why I would ever quit. That was the last time I actually felt good running.


Race day was April 2, 2016. About a month before the race I found out I was pregnant. I was sicker than I had been with any other pregnancy but, per Dr approval, I kept up with training as much as I could, slowed down some, walked some. As race day approached I wasn’t sure if I would run, depending on the level of morning sickness that day. I woke up race day and after losing my eggs on the porcelain throne, I actually felt pretty darn good, almost normal. I took that as an answer to my prayer – if it’s really okay to run this race God, let me feel good race day, otherwise I’ll know I need to stay in bed. I walked about half of the race and went at a slower pace for the rest, but I made it!

After the race I quit running altogether because I was just too sick to try and keep it up. I thought maybe once the morning sickness passed I would start again with walking. I was 8 weeks pregnant when I ran the half. Somewhere between 9-10 weeks our baby stopped growing, though we didn’t know it until my 13 week appointment.

Even after I found peace with things (which I wrote about here) I struggled for a long time with blaming myself. I still sometimes catch myself inching toward that rabbit hole of what if’s. For a long time I was certain running must have been the culprit. Really, I just needed something to blame. We will never truly know what happened, but most likely running had nothing to do with it. Even so, I blamed myself and I quit running. I quit running like I was punishing the running. I was angry, and just like that, like a thief in the night, blame took hold and stole the joy out of running.

The anger finally subsided but I never quite got back into running consistently.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

And now, little more than a month after my  second miscarriage, I have worked my way back up to 2 miles. I’m doing this. I’m doing this for me. For endorphins, for getting back in shape, for keeping my sanity (despite what you may think I do have my sanity some days 😉 . I’m doing this because I like running (you know, once I get past the burning sensation and am able to run and breath at the same time).

I am doing this because something magical happens when I run and my brain shuts off and I have the best conversations with God. I’m doing this because running is not to blame, and whatever happens – another pregnancy or not – I will not be afraid of running.

IMG_9028(That’s my hubby running with me)

Also……peaceful trails like these make all the difference. The farther in you get, the prettier it gets, the less people you see, it’s just you and the trees and the trail……and maybe some squirrels and once in a while a deer. Nothing else. Going back to this trail provides the motivation to go further and push harder. To work up to the mileage that will take you further down the trail. More time to quiet myself and listen.

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint” Isaiah 40:31

Firm Roots

A few years ago we were vacationing in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. As we drove through Cade’s Cove we stopped at this country church.

Photo Aug 08, 1 40 24 PM

Isn’t she a beauty? I took this picture thinking the kids aren’t going to care to have this picture in their scrapbook, why am I even taking this? What am I ever going to do with it? It’s just going to clutter up my computer.

About a month later I was scrolling through social media and came upon another artist showing her art hung in her own home. It stopped me in my scroll and I thought hmmmm…..I don’t have any of my own art hanging in my house. Would I even hang any of my own art? Dissapointingly the answer was no. There was one painting of mine I would’ve considered hanging, but I didn’t really have a spot where it seemed to fit. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the others, but I wouldn’t hang them in my own house. It didn’t quite speak my style. So I got to thinking what would I hang in my house? If I expect people to purchase my art for their home, shouldn’t I be painting things I would hang in my own house? What do I need to change to make my art hangable? So I went back to my little studio and painted that church from the TN vacation on a little 12×12 canvas.

I loosened my grip on the palette knife and painted a little less literally. I embraced imperfection, impressionism and blurred lines. That’s what I love about the palette knife and why I prefer to paint with it verses a brush – other than the added texture, it forces me to loosen up  my hand and be less literal. That was how the first church painting (of mine) was born. It’s been one of my favorite things to paint since then so I thought it was time for a little church series. I’m calling it “Firm Roots”

2holly's test print2“Joy Unspeakable”

2amys church test print“Faith Unshakable”

Church Bells2“Grace Abounds”

I love these old churches. Just think if the walls of these churches could talk, the stories they’d tell. Stories of redemption, of love, of loss, of grace and mercy. Memories from church chior, of our Sunday best and holding Daddy’s hand, and please tell me I’m not the only one who got a new Easter hat every year? And oh the stories they hold from those quilt groups ladies……I’m sure some of those ladies are glad the walls can’t talk. 🙂

Then Sings My Soulredo2“Then Sings My Soul”

I sat in the pew inside that old church in Tennessee, in awe of it all. Imagining a bride walking down the isle, a new believer being baptized. Families coming together to celebrate in fellowship, to grieve together.

Amazing Grace1“Amazing Grace”

005“Love Never Fails”

And we can’t forget their gorgeous stained glass windows.

Faith Without Borders1a“Faith Without Borders”

Let Me Feel You Shine2“Let Me Feel You Shine”

Salt and Light“Salt and Light”

I hope you find a painting that reminds you of your special church building, and not just the wood beams and bell chimes, but of the church that happened inside. Of fellowship and Sunday brunch and bingo nights, of vows spoken and hearts surrendered. Of sweet beginnings and tender good-byes. Of new life and second birth. Of The One worthy of our worship hands held high.

And if you made it to the end of this then you get some inside information. I saved it just for you, for scrolling all the way to the end. 🙂 There is an active coupon code in my etsy shop for the release of these churches (I’ll share another secret, the code works on ALL the paintings in my etsy shop). Code is FIRMROOTS for 20% off until June9.

He Paid It All

As we approached the week of Easter, there were words I wanted to say about this. But the right words just didn’t seem to come.

And then I realized I didn’t need words, I had already painted my words. I hope you can see what I do. A vision of what it may have looked like to stand on Calvary, looking up at that wonderful cross, the crown of thorns. It silences me.



There are no words. So I sit and I stare as a reverence comes over me while I soak it all in. The cost for my life, for my sins. Freely given so that I may live in eternal peace.


And then a reel starts playing and I think Kari Jobe says it best anyway:

The moon and stars they wept
The morning sun was dead
The Saviour of the world was fallen
His body on the cross
His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse upon Him

One final breath He gave
As heaven looked away
The son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken

The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting?
Our resurrected King
Has rendered you defeated

Forever He is glorified
Forever He is lifted high
Forever He is risen
He is alive, He is alive!

The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting?
Our resurrected King
Has rendered you defeated

Forever He is glorified
Forever He is lifted high
Forever He is risen
He is alive, He is alive!

We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
The Lamb has overcome

We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
The Lamb has overcome

We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
The Lamb has overcome!

February Special!

Oh happy day! I’ve decided to run a monthly special! Of course, I had planned on running it for the month of February buuuuttttt……….I got behind. But the day after Valentine’s Day seems like a good day to kick it off anyway.

I’m not sure how often I’ll do it just yet, but I do hope to periodically run a monthly special based on whatever I’m working on at the moment. With the warmer temps and the anticipation of spring, the theme for this month will be florals.


This one is not available, it was a custom painting for a Christmas gift but I do love it!

Here’s how this special is going to work: all current floral paintings in my shop will be reduced to $100 for the month  (smaller florals that were already under $100 will be discounted as well) and I am going to open up a limited number of spots for your own custom floral  for $100! There will be 3 size options. 12×16, 18×24 or 20×20. I wanted to give you options to fit your space but because of the special pricing, all three sizes will be the same price. It is a reduced price for all of those sizes, but obviously the bigger size is the bigger bargain. Pssst……I like working on bigger canvas’s anyway so pick the big one for your custom! 😉

Here’s a look-see at some of my most recent florals available for the special. I use a mixed media to create texture and make the flowers pop. It’s hard to capture the texture in photographs, I wish you could see it in person. The texture really is my favorite part.





Click on the shop section above to go to my Etsy shop and see what is available or to order your own custom drippy, textured floral! This special pricing will be good until March 8. The custom order will have a limited number of listings, once they’re filled I won’t be offering any more customs.

What floral will you have me paint?