Wake up to the Art Revolution


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My maiden name is Darwin. Before I married, there was a two year season where cashiers everywhere exploded in curiosity—my debit card said I was a Darwin, yet a cross necklace hung around my neck.

“Are you related to Charles Darwin?” (Yes, indirectly)

“Did he really disprove his theories?” (I don’t think so, but he was aware his theories were unproven ideas as opposed to the stance of our modern educational system)

One of my acquaintances criticized my decision to write Christian Science Fiction. Baffled, I asked, “Why?”

“Because science and Christianity don’t mix”, he said.

I was happy to inform him that The Bible not only contained science, but his statement was a shockingly unsound stereotype.

Lesson number one: don’t be afraid to do your own research.

Despite the fact that some religions such as Christianity are quickly becoming taboo and misunderstood, people still search for the God of miracles. No matter how illegal, unpopular, hated, and stereotyped He becomes, there will always be longings within the deepest parts of us that will cry out for answers far beyond our knowledge. This is not ignorance–it’s a journey toward the extraordinary. One of the most powerful expressions of this journey is the arts—paintings, music, literature–those things that speak beyond the questions we don’t have answers for.

Picasso expressed his heart well in The Geurnica–his reaction to the devastation of the Basque town of Guernica when the Nazi’s targeted it for bombing practice during the Spanish Civil war.


I wouldn’t hang it on my wall, but I can certainly feel the anguish. I can read about the incident in the history books, but with Picasso’s painting, I get it.

Giacomo Cavedone shows us Stephan, the first man killed for following Christ. Here is the martyr’s last recorded moment:

54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:54-70


A man willing to die for Christ is a man who knows Christ. In his last moment, Stephan was able to exist here and beyond simultaneously. That’s a powerful bit of history I would hang on my wall. Waking up each day with a visual reminder that beyond is close enough to touch would make my steps a lot more purposeful.

But art can be dangerously powerful against those wishing to silence a people. What would happen if religion was outlawed? And then the expressive arts, because it encouraged rebellion? Sooner or later, history might “lose” documentation that would encourage people to rebel against these laws.

We would fall into forced ignorance…

But what would God do?

What if God decided to show a boxed in world how uncontainable He was? Who would He raise up to peel open the door to heaven?

What do you think would happen?

This is a story I’ll be bringing to you in my soon-to-be-released book, Wake, brought to you by the newly formed Darwin House Press. If you have any of your own theories, feel welcome to share them in the comments.

Snow and Fashion


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It’s a Snow Day. As you can see, there’s not much on the ground, but it’s Arizona. So school was delayed, my blog was delayed, and well…I’m going to have a guilt-free week off.


But before you go, who likes t-shirts? Who likes symbolic t-shirts? Rook Publishing (Faith Seekers) set this up on Zazzle. Go take a look, and have a GREAT week- before-Thanksgiving week!

P.S. This is my favorite:





Stumbling our Way There


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After two years of struggling with eyeglasses digging into my nose, I’m trying contacts again. The first thing I noticed: my feet look two sizes bigger. What’s up with that? I gained one vanity to lose another.

I’m not sure which is more accurate…do my eyeglasses flatter me into thinking my size 9’s are daintier than they are, or do my contact lenses give me the cold hard truth: I must have Goliath DNA to have feet this big. At least they get me where I need to go.

Have politics infiltrated the vision industry? Because my eye-wear predicament is a lot like watching the media binge over the Presidential candidates right now. Ben Carson is good. Ben Carson is bad. He looks like THIS from the front row at the debates, but like this judging from that last clip on the evening news.

Hilary’s charming her way into the Left’s hearts again.

And according to the media lens, Trump is one controversial comment away from 20150526_112129the comics.

How many people would vote for King David if he was alive today and running for President? He had an affair with Bathsheba, and killed her husband to get him out of the way. His son, Solomon was one of Israel’s greatest kings, yet his son Absalom brought waves of grief upon his family. Here comes the flip side. He’s known as the man after God’s own heart. He defeated Goliath as a youth—he stayed faithful to God when, for years, Saul hunted him like an animal. He led his people to victory after victory.

…Everywhere David went, the LORD helped him win battles. 1 Chronicles 18:6

An opthamologist might consider David’s life an astigmatism—too unbalanced to lead us down the right path.

But they’re all flawed. We are too—is there any point in analyzing someone to the last detail? If God Almighty forgave David, we should probably forgive our leaders too.

I’m just going with the one who I think will get us where we need to go. How about you?

On Walking Dogs and the Neighbors that Avoid You.


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Last week, I went to a neighbor’s house for an essential oil party. I really didn’t have time to go, and I know others who sell the product, but I went anyway. I’ve only met a few of our neighbors and a writer doesn’t have much to write about unless they step from behind their keyboard and live.

I was a little hesitant to attend because my dog tends to offend many of the local dog-walkers, even to the point where one lady turns around and goes the opposite direction when she sees us coming. Bella is a great family dog, but isn’t well socialized. Basically, she thinks other dogs are steak. The neighbors might not want to socialize with the owner of a steak-slaying dog.

You also never know about people—a few of locals are so reclusive, some only The-Burbs-tom-hanks-13565958-720-480come outside when getting their mail. In their cars. (Oh my gosh, we’re living in The ‘Burbs!)

Guess who was at the party? Lady who turns her small steak around at the speed of light when she sees us coming.

Surprisingly, we had a good time and I was able to apologize and tell her a bit about our rescue dog who doesn’t have any dog friends. I’ve noticed the words rescue dog tend to soften the hearts of otherwise dog elitists.

We all inhaled peppermint oil and amazingly my sinuses cleared for the first time in years, but that wasn’t the best part. We got to chat, find out the “quiet” neighbors aren’t hiding bodies in their basements (I don’t think, anyway), but they just like living quietly, that’s all.

While walking on opposite sides of the road a few days ago, the dog-walker greeted me kindly, and politely ignored Bella as I pinned her to the sidewalk. She even asked about my kids through the barks and growls. Her small steak is amazingly unfazed by Bella. And we’re friendly, now. Turns out she lives only a few houses down from us, and delighted in filling our kids Trick or Treat buckets this Halloween.

It’s good to be social—especially in person. Social media is great, but you can’t see the humanity in someone, or learn what’s beyond the firewall unless you know them up close—small steaks and all.

The Beauty of Lumps and Bumps


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Life drawing, or drawing nude people, was one of the most interesting of my college classes. To see where muscle and bone interact is important in learning to draw the human form. For example, if you want to paint a woman working in her garden, you need to know what her triceps are doing as she leans forward, lifting

We were timed on each piece. I think this was a two minute attempt.

We were timed on each piece. I think this was a two minute attempt.

her arm to water the roses. How do you capture the right proportions with her arm outstretched and quads flexed to keep her balance…how does her skin stretch across her knuckles as she grips the watering can?

It helps to know what’s underneath so you can accurately bring the action to the surface. Of course, you never know all that goes on underneath unless a person is completely nude, and you’ll just have to trust me on that one.

Some of our models were athletic, some were obviously sedentary, and several were in between. The body can speak volumes without a single spoken word. Beauty, however, is a little different in the art world. Outside the studio, it’s all about looking young, fit, and stylish. But inside the studio, we capture the essence of beauty. The eternal kind of beauty—the kind people will pay thousands to grace their walls with. It could be a stolen glance between lovers, a deeply-lined palm of hand, a belly ripe with new life.

We called him the "Jesus guy" because he looked like all the old paintings.

We called him the “Jesus guy” because he looked like all the old paintings.

To this day, I like to guess what someone’s feet look like by the wear of their shoes. I know my own look a little different after years of ballet and two pregnancies. They’ve widened and changed shape and my shoes do show their story.

Several years ago, the retirement place where I work hosted a dance every Tuesday evening. Outsiders were invited—a handful showed up on a regular basis. One woman, along with her husband, shuffled in with her feet stuffed into slim, low heels. The shoes were so tight, her skin muffined out of them, and her gait was more of a limp. With every step, I could feel her pain. I don’t know how she managed to dance that way—I suppose she thought dance shoes had to look sexy, even to the point of pain. But she just didn’t fit the mold anymore, and she heeded the world over The Sculptor.

I could have told her that she’d dance much more beautifully in her Grandma shoes. Grandma shoes are made to cushion years of sacrifice—they’re made to support years of children, grandchildren, and all kinds of battles.

They hug the bulges pushed out from Love, and make smooth the tread of eternally beautiful feet.

Eternally beautiful feet aren’t necessarily young, or fashionable, and only some of them are

Everybody's favorite model. She had a certain essence.

Everybody’s favorite model. She had a certain essence.


But we know The Sculptor has spent much more time and care on them than any sexy heel fashioned by the world.

I could have told the woman that The Sculptor would rather her wear Grandma shoes—that He would want her to celebrate freely all the things that made her feet change. But my words wouldn’t have mattered if she didn’t realize the value of all those hidden things.


Go boldly into this week, knowing you were made to shine through any kind of surface.

The Broken Paradigm


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During fall break I took my kids to my mom’s place. It’s nice out there with a few acres to run free. We followed Chickenpea’s (mom’s dog) trail along the fence line he carved to chase cars. It starts out nice and clear where only a few feet separate him from the road, but about thirty yards along the fence where the cat claw and desert brush thicken, the trail becomes spotty. We made a game of it, pushing our way through the weeds to find the driveway once again.

Along the way, we stumbled upon my old fort. A tilted monster stone pushed up against a hill fringed in thorn bushes made “headquarters” for me and my friend Mike. I even found the cactus he fell on when we pretended to run from bad guys. It looked small compared to the porcupine it made of Mike when he was about six years old. They both survived and thrived.

My daughter devoured my memories, pouring through the fort and my old yearbooks. She laughed at the photos of my “awkward” years, and oohed over the evidence that I was indeed a cheerleader for a season. I’m really not the cheerleader type, but at the time I enjoyed it and I’m glad for the experience. I

I'm on the bottom right. What was I thinking?

I’m on the bottom right. What was I thinking?

endured the try-outs (pretty tough for a wallflower), pulled on that stifling hot sweater at every basketball game and learned to kick higher and yell a little louder than I ever had. I even surprised myself.

Every Friday, my school gathered around the flagpole for the pledge of allegiance, to sing the school song (Go Bobcats!) and for announcements. Once, in eighth grade, my teacher called me up for making the honor role. I assumed it was a mistake and didn’t go forward. It wasn’t, and that surprised me too.

In fact, lots of things have surprised me which pretty much proves why it’s okay to leave the well-worn trail for the unknown. I followed art, but ran into writing. I prefer to hang in the background, but since my college days, find myself being ushered to the front. Sometimes I decline, but occasionally there’s this soft voice that says it’s time to get uncomfortable.

It’s okay when things don’t go exactly our way. It’s okay to point our feet toward God and His unknown heights, even when He seems too far away, because when we underestimate ourselves a little too often, He might surprise us by showing us what we can do.

Have you found yourself veering from your carefully plotted trail? Tell us in the comments.

The Lottery


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In college, I invited a few friends to my hometown. One of them, we’ll call him Nate, came from the city—a large city, with traffic lullabies and amazing theaters and bars full of clean and polished people. He was as Left as I was Right, but we both loved the arts and shopping, so our friendship blossomed enough to shade those conversations we tiptoed around. When he stepped a Birkenstock-wrapped foot onto my parent’s rural property, he grew quiet. And a little bit scared.

I suppose the sound of crickets…and not much else…was foreign to him. And of course, there were wide stretches of unoccupied land, a few neighbors with horses—it was somewhat like the contemporary westerns on TV. I suppose there were some bold ideas pounding on his head about small-town conservatives. You see, his lifestyle was controversial as well, but I had hoped our friendship was enough proof to show him that Jesus follower was the farthest thing from hater.

He eyed the saddle, the chaps, the fireplace—the only source of heat—and grew a IMG_0361bit pale, I kid you not.

The gun shop next to the house.

And when we began to pray over the meal, he looked as if we were about to pull out The Lottery box and sacrifice him to the gods of harvest.

Shirley Jackson wrote The Lottery in 1948. In the story, a small rural town participates in a lottery every year—the unlucky person to choose the paper marked with a black dot must be stoned to death in order to ensure a good harvest. Even children weren’t spared from participating. I had to read this story a few times in my early education, and each time I hated it a little more. What was the purpose of putting readers through that?

So Nate, familiar with only the stereotypical version of small town life, nearly fainted when the theater of his mind nearly caused him to miss the fact that we ate supper with progressives and even enjoyed their company.

I was as surprised to discover how backward Nick thought small-towners were as he was to realize we didn’t reject him for his opposing worldview—there were plenty of people who did, though—I remember the taunts he had to endure when  walking through the dorms at school.

After our trip to the sticks, we returned to campus and laughed about it because friendship has a way of pushing through the muck.

But a few mornings ago, when reading the myriad threads of political discussion on facebook, I realized that we are indeed living in The Lottery–in more ways than one. The comment that reminded me of that horror story went something like this: “We need to stand behind Planned Parenthood because if we don’t allow abortions, we’ll end up supporting more low-income kids.”

That seemed to be the majority opinion—to weed out the low-income kids as if that sacrifice would cause our monetary harvest to grow. There was also mention of deformed babies, as if they had no more value than a weed in a garden.

Nate and I didn’t discuss everything in depth, but maybe we should have—maybe if more Lefts and Rights learned how to sit down at supper together, we could talk rather than throw stones through the safety nets of cyberspace. It seems as if that’s all we do now–throw stones and target those who are different. I’ve read the Bible. Jesus loves the outcasts, the crippled, the hurting. He came for them.

So here we are friends, smack dab in the Real-Life Lottery. But unlike in 1948, when Shirley Jackson received hate mail for her story, we’re embracing this lottery system and calling it progressive.

A tiny heartbeat, no matter how poor or different, is not a weed, but a life in need of Love.

“Explaining just what I had hoped the story to say is very difficult. I suppose, I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village to shock the story’s readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives.” –Shirley Jackson



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Despite the whir of deadlines blowing in with fall, my dog still gets her morning walk. She naps until I return from taking the kids to school. Black licorice fur nestled into the couch with her floppy lips squished half-way to her nose, tail thump-thump-thumping a slap-happy rhythm. Walk now! Walk now! Walk now!

I remind her to get a drink of water because she’s a hyper puppy and will occasionally play until the froth of dehydration lines her mouth. It’s all about living in the moment.

She licks a few from her bowl then I strap my phone to my arm and off we go, walking along the weedless lawns of unoriginal-house-ville.

Usually, I take a big breath of fresh air and thank God for the town I live in because the mornings are always lovely, there are still a few patches of undeveloped land—and it amuses me that no matter how much sprucing of lawns20150928_084636 people do, dogs will pick the most beautifully manicured bush to pee on. All of them. It’s no wonder the more elite greenery is discolored.

Don’t get me wrong—I love seeing the neighbors caring for their lawn. I can literally see affection spilling from some of them—arms to watering cans, life to flowers—beautiful touches to otherwise drab rows of brown and brownish and somewhat-brown southwestern homes. And then there are those in industrial strength masks, and gloves that would make a welder proud, attacking their yards as if a single weed might engulf their pristine home.

But dogs don’t care. They just want to enjoy every moment. The moment, not the results.

Peeing on the most attractive bushes.

Dogs are so happy. They don’t care if the bush grew roots in the Finest Garden Center or if it was pilfered from the sticks. I’m convinced they’re put on this earth to remind us all to relax.


We like walking along the trail around the community too. There are weeds everywhere, but when the light hits them right, it looks like we’re surrounded in a sea of gold.

That’s what dogs see—gold around every corner. And that’s why Bella’s time comes before I sit down to work—so I remember the results are meaningless if I can’t laugh over the messes it took to get there, and the joy it is to just be.

The Hot Debates


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It’s been a while since I’ve given my ear to politics. With two small children, engaging in adult activities has been a neglected luxury, but now that my littlest one is in Kindergarten I have a few hours to listen. And breathe.

In AND out.

It’s nice being able to form a complete thought again–to be hugged by the calm of morning.  What surprised me most is this: a little chaos is actually a good thing.

The best example would be the presidential debates. Up until now, I’ve found bd86b164-3e87-407b-a0e6-aac08c725442them pointless. After watching presidential hopefuls running around questions like they’re participating in a dodge-ball tournament, I quit watching them. Nothing like a roomful of political correctness to stifle the truth of things.

But the mad scramble for the oval office right now is the most educational and entertaining thing on TV right now.


Absolutely! They’ve ( a few at least) thrown political correctness aside to finally get to the heart of matters. I suppose it took our current mess of things to do it, but the chaos is refreshing. Why?

People are getting Mad. Offended. INTERESTED. Donald Trump is so politically incorrect right now, that people are tuning in and CARING what each candidate has to say. Even the hot debate guy’s opinion is sought after. Do people take you more seriously if you look handsome while watching politics? Is this sophomoric?

Not if it gets people interested.

Hilary Clinton has garnered so much attention by her inaction that people see the importance of finally taking action.

It’s okay to state an unpopular opinion. Please do if you think it’s important. Complacency is quickly swallowing our country, so feel free to say something offensive if that’s what it takes to light the fires in America’s cold, revolutionary britches.

Go ‘Merica!


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