Sunday, October 30, 2016

Chalkboard art ideas and benefits of sketching

Vintage windows repurposed into chalkboard art

Before children, teachers, educators and business people used iPads and computers…

… before markers on whiteboards were popular: in school classrooms and at home, chalkboards or blackboards were commonly used for education and creative, artistic play.

9-pane window found at an estate sale with chalk art
My son Nathan found this 9-pane window at an estate sale. It was repurposed with chalkboard paint by my husband Stan. He asked me to write something on it and hopes to sell it at Mudcreek Antiques in Abilene, Kansas.

Chalk as an art medium on chalkboard is trending decor

  • boutique signage
  • kitchen and family rooms in homes
  • deli, bar and restaurant menus
  • wedding and other events
  • dorm lounge
  • daycare
  • school and church classrooms

chalkboard window panels with Bible verse Ephesians 4:32
I used the bottom 3 panels to do chalk lettering of the Bible verse “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Chalkboard art ideas

Chalkboard art: It is not happy people who are grateful, it is grateful people who are happy
It is not happy people who are grateful, it is grateful people who are happy.

How to use old windows to make chalkboard art

  1. find old window at estate sale or salvage yard
  2. wash it
  3. let it dry
  4. mask frame with tape or remove the panes
  5. lightly sand off chunks and flakes
  6. paint frame or…
  7. leave vintage patina and spray with satin clear
  8. replace broken panes with new glass or…
  9. …cut new material (cement board was used in the image shown)
  10. paint panes with chalkboard spray paint
  11. insert and secure prepared panes (replacements) into window frame
  12. sketch ideas, thumbnail size, with pencil on paper
  13. re-draw thumbnail sketches using chalk on actual panes

chalkboard art 1 Corintinians 16:14
“Let all that you do be done in love”
I Corinthians 16:14

Ideas for organizing and splitting the workload

Families take turns doing certain chores around home. Utilize a chalkboard to mark out whose turn it is to wash dishes, sort socks and fold underwear. Each week jot down important dates such as a parent-teacher conference, dental appointment and wedding anniversary.

Change it weekly and make celebratory notes!
Organize all kinds of things in your household for
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Memorize Bible verses on a chalkboard

Christians strive to grow in faith and share it with others. I’m so thankful my grandma inspired me and blessed many people throughout her entire life. Even after she lost her eye sight, she was always thankful, optimistic and shared her rich knowledge of the scripture she’d memorized.

love bible verse quote on chalkboard
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant”
1 Corinthians 13:4

Keep love fresh and healthy with the help of a chalkboard for Spiritual tips.

I love you and flower sketch on chalkboard
I love you and a flower sketch can brighten a mood like a fresh bouquet, hug and kind voice.

Benefits of sketching

Drawing in a sketchbook or on a chalkboard is well worth the time spent!
  • visual thinking tools
  • temporary, erasable
  • method of expression
  • form of communication
  • promotes discussion
  • extends memory
  • creative and design development
  • share ideas
  • aids problem-solving
  • learn about art and other subjects
  • explore variations
  • enhances concentration
  • generate ideas quickly
  • develop motor skills
  • play games like hangman or tic-tac-toe
  • encourages planning
  • builds ability to organize
  • distracts from difficult situations
  • pleasure — fun pastime

Sketching makes a wide variety of subjects interesting…

The Bible Project provides an illustrated video for every book of the Bible that outlines its structure and design and how it fits into the entire biblical story.

Many people, like me, are more teachable with pictures and demonstrations. We often sketch and take notes during
  • classes
  • seminars
  • symposiums
  • meetings

be awesome today chalkboard quote
Be awesome today is an encouraging statement! Our God is an awesome God! His grace and the power of His Spirit lives within all who believe and trust in Jesus Christ.
Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:5

Thanks for reading my blog. You may always share!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Election, Lutherans, and the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

Voting falls in line with Christian worship, education, and evangelic ministry. 

This election, many Christians will vote to hold onto religious freedom for the good of all people. 

God already knows the outcome of the election. He knows your heart and mine (I’ll be voting Republican). Read more on a Lutheran view of church and state.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6: 10-11
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 ESV
As a Christian businesswoman, wife, and mother, my focus is on important political issues that allow for freedom to be faithful. I believe children in the womb have a right to live and in God’s perfect plan for marriage.
    Don't Be Hating (video) explains the Fifth Commandment. I look to a candidate who will make better choices on Supreme Court Justices.

    Tuesday With Luther (video) discusses the Sixth Commandment. I favor a party who respects my right to live my faith in making business decisions that include when and for whom I do creative and artistic work.

    Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.
    Read more at:

    Please vote and pray for our nation and world.

    First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

    Discernment and forgiveness of sins is for all who humbly confess, repent, turn around and receive Christ’s grace.
    Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! Psalm 40:4
    I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. Isaiah 44:22 ESV 
    On the Last Day the Truth will be known.
    …so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2: 10-11

    Meditating upon our Creator’s masterpiece at the Minnesota North Shore on Lake Superior with my sister and daughter. “Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.” Martin Luther
    Until that Last Day, let’s trust our Sovereign Lord and make every effort to vote for politicians who (and support ministries which) aren’t wooed by activists with itching ears.
    I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
    2 Timothy 4: 1-8 ESV
    Speaking of ministry…

    Lutherans Celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, October 31, 2017 

    Martin Luther stood up for the truths of God’s Word. Read more about the 500th Anniversary of Reformation.

    Let’s pray for all Lutherans
    • Thank you, Christ, for keeping faithful Lutherans in pure Biblical doctrine and undiluted theology
    • Thank you, Spirit, for inspiring Bible teachers who don’t distort your Word
    • Thank you, Father, for pastors who lead divine worship, preaching sermons you inspire without veering into unauthorized territory
    • Dear God, close itching ears and redirect activist Lutherans who have lost their way and corrupted your Good News 
    • Oh, Holy Spirit, encourage the apathetic, protect ignorant members, and exhort leaders of the erring Lutheran denomination

    God’s hand was in the timing of Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press and Martin Luther’s Bible translation which lead to the worldwide distribution of God’s Word. Read more.

    To mark the reformation milestone, I created printable art for my Christian (LCMS) friends:

    Faith, Word, Grace, Truth Luther’s Rose, It’s all about Jesus: Lutheran art
    Faith, Word, Grace, Truth Luther’s Rose, It’s all about Jesus: Lutheran art is a fresh look at the historical symbol which Martin Luther shared in good friendship.

    About the Art of Martin Luther’s Seal with my Design Rendition

    Martin Luther personally oversaw the creation of the Luther Rose which is a timeless visual summary of the Christian faith. Luther explained the meaning:
    “First, there is a black cross in a heart that remains its natural color. This is to remind me that it is faith in the Crucified One that saves us. Anyone who believes from the heart will be justified (Romans 10:10). It is a black cross, which mortifies and causes pain, but it leaves the heart its natural color. It doesn’t destroy nature, that is to say, it does not kill us but keeps us alive, for the just shall live by faith in the Crucified One (Romans 1:17). The heart should stand in the middle of a white rose. This is to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace—it puts the believer into a white, joyous rose. Faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives (John 14:27). This is why the rose must be white, not red. White is the color of the spirits and angels (cf. Matthew 28:3; John 20:12). This rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that a joyful spirit and faith is a beginning of heavenly, future joy, which begins now, but is grasped in hope, not yet fully revealed. Around the field of blue is a golden ring to symbolize that blessedness in heaven lasts forever and has no end. Heavenly blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and better than any possessions, just as gold is the most valuable and precious metal.” — Letter from Martin Luther to Lazarus Spengler, July 8, 1530 [WA Br 5:445]; tr. P. T. McCain
    Using Adobe Illustrator, I created my own rendition of Luther’s concept covered by a purple banner, “It's all about Jesus”. This is to emphasize the Biblical doctrine that “nothing we do” achieves salvation which is only in Christ. The traditional role of purple used by liturgical congregations during Lent reminds Christians of their daily need to humbly seek to live a life of repentance. “And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him.”—Mark 15:17 ESV. Four words in the gold ring explain Martin Luther’s teaching. Read more about Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture (Word) alone, Jesus (Truth) alone.

    My favorite ideas to use the art: Baptism Onesies and Coloring Pages for Sunday School!

    Luther Rose coloring page art
    Line art for printing solid 1-color items and Sunday School coloring pages.

    Lutheran clip art to print various products
    Lutheran clip art to create printed gifts that celebrate Baptism and the Reformation.

    Luther Rose art available in color, grayscale and black and white.
    Luther Rose clip art available in color, grayscale and black and white.

    Thanks for reading my post. Seek the Lord who will bless you in the peace of Christ!

    Saturday, August 6, 2016

    Smiles, surprises and daily blessings

    Funny carrot person is one of the simple things in life that brings joy!

    My gardener husband Stan pulled a surprise out of the ground yesterday. As he washed off the soil, he recognized the funny carrot person shown below! Later, I was putting away the groceries and was delighted to find her relaxing in a bowl of veggies. Comically entertained, I grabbed the camera to share this whimsical moment. I posed her on a zucchini bench by my vintage blender.
    God is in the details. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
    funny carrotman
    Funny carrotman relaxing on zucchini bench at Hamilton Beach

    The electric mixer in the background of this picture reminds me of the day I wandered into a thrift shop during my lunch break. I found this vintage Hamilton Beach® blender which is exactly like the one Mom had! Memories rushed back to me of kitchen time spent with her and my sisters.

    Stan and I keep and use some of the old items we find, others are available at Mud Creek Antique Mall in Abilene, Kansas; and I offer some worldwide at FreshRetroGallery.

    Dad and Mom added a couple rooms and remodeled the house the year I was born. Dad built the kitchen cabinets. Their design included a special drawer dedicated to cake; and the mixer was on a spring-loaded retractable shelf that popped up out of a cupboard which hid it when it was’t in use.

    Those were good times together in the farm home in Hegbert Township where I grew up in a family of eight.

    Count 20 of God’s blessings

    1. beauty in nature
    2. humor in imagination
    3. kindness in friendship
    4. accomplishment in work
    5. strength in trials
    6. expertise in professionals
    7. wisdom in elders
    8. unity in family
    9. inspiration in the arts: visual, performing, music
    10. courage in creativity
    11. enjoyment in entertainment
    12. exploration in travel
    13. talent and skill in practice
    14. health in exercise
    15. flavor and nutrition in foods
    16. meditation in quiet times
    17. knowledge in books
    18. rest in sleep
    19. harmony in love
    20. humility to renounce sin; forgiveness and peace in Jesus

    Focusing on positive things allows you to realize the blessing list goes on and on. Shake off sad. Get rid of mad. Be glad for life itself, today and everyday with thanksgiving!

    This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
    This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
    Psalm 118:24

    Thanks for reading this blog post. Have a great day!

    Saturday, March 19, 2016

    What is your favorite season: spring summer, autumn (fall) or winter?

    Blessed by the spring robin and faith in Jesus

    Blessed Spring Robin by Elizabeth Knaus using Adobe Illustrator software.

    The calendar is marked and the climate changes with seasons. God’s creation instinctively knows what to do in order to survive and thrive. 

    He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. Psalm 104:19 ESV
    In one year, four distinctive three-month seasons each bring something different: occasional snow in winter, pleasant temperatures in spring/fall, and intense heat during summer. This fluctuation occurs in Kansas where I live; yet, near the equator temperatures remain steady and seasons are marked by the amount of precipitation that is received.

    We live during the season of grace on earth before Jesus Christ returns on the Last Day.

    “Every generation should expect Christ’s return as they see the signs of the end times. … God wants all people to come to believe and trust in His Son for their salvation and to lead holy lives in service to Him, eagerly awaiting with patience and perseverance His return on the last day.” Excerpt from pdf “What About . . .The New Millenniumby Dr. A.L. Barry, past President of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod
    We know there will be an end, yet in sin we often:
    • slip up on good intentions
    • procrastinate
    • reject opportunities to receive His gifts of Word and Sacrament
    • ignore chances to honor Him through caring and sharing with others
    • worship and praise Him less or not at all
    • become selfish with time, talent and money
    • separate ourselves from Him
    • apathetically, become complacent toward churches who support false teachers that twist His truth or flat-out reject it
    • claim we don’t need Him/His forgiveness (are blind to our own sin)
    • are lazy
    • the list goes on as we think and act in ways that are against His commandments
    There is no getting around it. We sin without even knowing it!
    They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’ Jeremiah 5:24 ESV
    God loves us and hates sin. The Spirit provides faith, desire and ability to repent and turn away from sin. His command for us is to put Him above all our “small-g” gods and look to His Son whose virgin birth, perfect life, suffering, death and bodily resurrection took away the punishment we deserve. Only in Christ we receive forgiveness. Wisdom, courage and power is ours when we hear and read His Word. Out of thanksgiving, we strive to honor Him by making an effort to do great things and share His love.

    Lovely sights in nature draw me to my Creator. 

    I grew up in Minnesota where a robin sighting marks the beginning of spring. We enjoyed ice skating and building snowmen, but winters started early and were long-lasting. Whoever happened to see the first robin was somewhat of a hero who brought a little joy into the day! After I moved over 500 miles south, I learned that Kansans see robins two months before Minnesotans do and the warmer climate allows us to grow different plants. With the help of God we: confess/repent/recieve forgiveness of sin; watch our diet and exercise to improve our health; keep up property landscape aesthetics. We must clean the yard, prune pampas grass, physically and spiritually clean up our act. Spring is a season to start fresh growth.

    Today I went for a walk and saw the largest flock of robins I’d ever seen; a rough estimate is over 50 of them! Repeatedly, they were taking-off and landing in the grass ditch near the Solomon River. I enjoy observing the mysterious lives of birds and imagining dreamy things like the ability to fly. I’m not alone—the birding hobby soars in popularity across North America. It is an art and science.
    My parents enjoyed watching birds. They kept this pair of antique binoculars by the back door window. The vintage globe sat on the filing cabinet in the room we called den. Now they’re displayed on a stacking bookcase I inherited from my maternal grandmother. The cherished handiwork of my mother, Hardanger embroidery or “Hardangersøm”, was a Christmas gift which must have taken many hours to create. The green vase holds April plant clippings from my back yard including purple iris and viburnum alleghany.

    Dad’s favorite bird species inspired him and Mom to study their patterns. 

    Dad built fancy hotels for purple martins. To track migration patterns, Mom went online at the library to check sighting data which she reported back to Dad. Together, they anticipated the arrival of when their martins would check in. I imagine their bird watching hobby was sparked by their interest in the weather which had been an important aspect of their occupational livelihood as seed crop farmers before retirement.

    In their lives I remember that in everything — the good and hard times — they studied the Word, gave thanks, and trusted His will to be done through Jesus Christ. They had peace.
    “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:25-26

    In the seasons of a Christian’s life,

    … we walk by faith, not by sight. … 2 Corinthians 5
    No matter what we face, in God’s Word we can start each day fresh. His forgiveness is always there for us to receive when we pray and remember our baptism in Jesus Christ who suffered for us so by His pure grace we can live. He knows our challenges and pain. He comforts us and celebrates our joys — right here, right now — until the day we die and eternal life with Him is ours.
    For everything there is a season,
    and a time for every matter under heaven: 
    a time to be born, and a time to die;
    a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
    a time to kill, and a time to heal;
    a time to break down, and a time to build up;
    a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
    a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
    a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
    a time to seek, and a time to lose;
    a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
    a time to tear, and a time to sew;
    a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
    a time to love, and a time to hate;
    a time for war, and a time for peace.
    Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV

    Antique binoculars, Ephesians 3:20-21
    Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
    Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV
    If you have heard of the following terms…
    • Ash Wednesday
    • Season of Lent
    • Holy Week
    • Maundy Thursday
    • Good Friday
    • Easter
    …but you don’t know what it’s all about and want more information, please call and ask a pastor at a church near you.

    Wednesday, March 2, 2016

    I have cancer?! How do I tell others? Help me, God. What’s next?

    Life is short or long; nobody knows.


    Physicians and Ministers are intersecting occupations which I honor and respect; they’re arts of science and spirit.

    Dr. Merle Hodges, Sr. delivered my precious baby boy several years ago. Two years later, his son Dr. Merle (Boo) Hodges, Jr. delivered my beautiful baby girl. This very important man in my life, last month, diagnosed me with Grade 1 Endometrial Cancer. I am thankful, not that I wanted cancer—it was tough news for him to deliver, but for his knowledge of it and his advice which led to life-saving action.

    It’s difficult to tell people you have cancer. Suddenly, there’s this sense of sadness as we realize how short life can be; how much we love and will miss each other someday. We connect on a new emotional level. We humbly wonder what the future holds. It’s out of our hands. We pray.

    Within two days of my cancer diagnosis, I met my new gynecologic oncologist Dr. Jed Delmore and he performed a robotic hysterectomy that same week. To God be the glory for skilled physicians and medical teams as well as for modern technology of the healthcare industry in Salina and Wichita, Kansas!

    Through the process I saw God’s hand in everything. 

    My pastor came to Wesley Medical Center to pray with me and sit by my husband on the day of my surgery. I imagine that God wanted many other people to see a man wearing clerical collar in the hospital, too. My fellow church members prayed for me in a phone-prayer-chain and also in regular worship services. Awesome is the blessing of having family and friends near me who share the faith! I was encouraged with hugs, kind words, cards, Facebook messages, calls and personal visits.

    Surgery removed all of the known cancer!

    No cancer was found in the other “extra parts” and fluids removed during surgery to be tested. It had only been in the endometria which they’d already determined from the initial D&C/hysterscopy. I was happy to get a call from nurse Lindsay with news that pathology testing reported that it was stage 1A, an early diagnosis.

    During my 3-week follow-up the doctor mentioned that Grade-1, Stage-1A was the best possible outcome and, statistically, my chances for this cancer to return somewhere else are 3 to 5% for the first two years after surgery. If I pass two years in good health, the prognosis is lowered; it becomes only one-half of a percent. Well, that allows for some optimism!

    Thankfully, I am in recovery mode now and won’t need further treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy. I know how difficult this is by remembrance of my husband’s journey with esophageal cancer.

    I pray, God-willing, frequent follow-up check-ups during the next couple years will have good results and I may live a long life. I thank the Lord for spiritual care my Minister offers each week in his sermons and worship services that include The Lord’s Supper; plus, the privilege to pray and be in His Word everyday.

    Yet, even if long life is not to be, I have comfort for whenever the Last Day arrives.

    I know God is always by my side and has gone before me. Our Father in Heaven loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to live as God-Man with us. In His birth, perfect life, suffering, death, burial, descent to hell, bodily resurrection, and ascension, Jesus claimed victory over death for everyone! He hears believers repentant prayers, forgives sins, crushes boastful pride, encourages/teaches humility/love; and, finally, He awards heaven as the prize for all who receive the one true faith which the Spirit freely offers (in baptism and the Word). Through Christ, believers trust the promise we will live forever in Paradise when death takes our earthly body.

    Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. Mark 13:31-33 ESV

    God provides food, drink, work skills and everything to enjoy life.

    I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 ESV
    A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. Proverbs 15:13

    Today in my quest for making good use of my time and finding enjoyment, I discovered a tutorial How to Prepare an Old Book for Altering or Art Journaling on Pinterest. Experimenting in creating art journals has been on my bucket list. God has blessed me with a creative spirit. I hope to use this gift more often for enjoyment to the glory of God.
    And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 ESV

    My body was designed with the miraculous ability to become pregnant and give birth. I am Pro-Life; I do not support Pro-Choice-to-End-Life by abortion or human euthanasia.

    I praise the Lord for creating me with a healthy uterus to protect and nurture my unborn children during those months of my youth. I thank Him for blessing me with a faithful daughter and a theologically-devoted son who takes time to read and talk with me and others about God’s Word. Just yesterday we discussed Colossians 3.
    and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” Matthew 21:16 ESV
    Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3 ESV

    Life is full of wonderful surprises and it also jolts us with shocking challenges we must be prepared to face. 

    Like a cancer diagnosis which leads to death, ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, we’ve been diagnosed with sin which leads to death. Physical symptoms warn us to take medical actions; similarly, the Ten Commandments act like a mirror to help us see our sin. Symptoms of cancer don’t just fade away. Sin doesn’t go away in God’s eyes unless faith washes them away, whiter than snow, by Jesus blood (Psalm 51). This faith points us to want to follow God’s instructions for living and loving in this life He’s given us. Surgery may remove cancer, temporarily saving life on this earth; but, for sure, Jesus saves believers who inherit eternity in Heaven with Him. This is far better than to reject the gift of faith, leading to everlasting-punishment-without-God which is Hell!

    I pray that you seek to read/hear His Word (the Bible) and receive the Spirit’s help so you, also, are confident that nothing will be able to separate you from His love. If you live near me and don’t go to church, please, will you join me at mine (Faith Lutheran Church)? If you live in another area, here’s a link to help you find one that shares my faith. I want you to be blessed by Christian fellowship and grow strong in the gift of faith in Christ which promises peace that passes human understanding.

    Do you have questions? Comments? Please post them below. I review them and it may take up to a day for them to show publicly, so please check back. I will do my best to respond as soon as possible.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2015

    How to care for feet, prevent blisters and what to do with the extra, pairless half of lost socks

    Do walking shoes and socks matter? How do blisters have anything to do with a book?

    Good shoes are important to enjoy long walks in the countryside. 

    My favorite walking route is a five-mile-round-trip south of Solomon, in Dickinson County, Kansas. I cross the bridge where tributary Solomon River joins Smoky Hill River.

    As I walk, I try to let go of concerns I dream-up, like: aging may cause me to develop knee pain and what if I become unable to walk? I contemplate future events, like: I may move away from this area someday.

    All this thinking spoke: I want to remember this beautiful farm/river landscape! So, I brought my camera along one day to shoot some photos. Inspiration comes naturally in God’s creation while I’m soaking-in my environment, imagining and praying.

    As an artist in need of a creative outlet, I became curious about experimenting in publishing. I authored words to go with the images I shot and designed an inspirational/spiritual, art/photography book for adults, similar in format to children’s books. It’s a quick, easy-read about my stomping grounds and the Word of God.

    5 Miles Round Trip for Exercise and Inspiration
    Read more about 5 Miles Round Trip for Exercise and Inspiration pdf Ebook Edition at my gallery. I published my 6x9" trade-size paperback book via print-on-demand (POD) at Blurb, Inc. who handles the sale of it through online booksellers. You may find the Print Edition at Amazon or by searching ISBN 9781320458795. Consider giving the book as a gift. You may scroll over to the right column on this blog to find a preview of the entire book which can be viewed full-screen.

    Why are two feet of the same person slightly different sizes? 

    Our Creator designed humans with internal asymmetry. By paying careful attention, we notice that our external features are asymmetric as well. For example, the left side of our face is not an exact mirror reflection of the right side. The sizes of the left and right feet are often slightly different.

    I don’t go to the trouble of ordering custom-made shoes; so I buy hiking/walking shoes to fit my bigger foot. The smaller foot heel slips and rubs against the inside, causing the heel area of the shoe to wear out. The rubbing forms a blister on my heel—ouch! If I buy to fit the smaller foot best, the larger feels squished, cramped and tires-out easily.

    Listen to advice about what to do and what not to do on important matters of life; also the trivial matters such as when one foot is a little bigger than the other.

    I visited a shoe store, looking for stick-in-back-of-heel-cushions. The manager knew what I was asking for, but he told me, “that’s not the best way to resolve the problem because it causes the foot to push forward and can actually cause more rubbing on the heel; depending on the type of shoe, a professional repair can be done; it works best on shoes that have a removable insole”. Well, I didn’t have my shoes along to discuss it any further. My impatience lead me to Target where I found the heel-pads. I bought them despite what he said. When I gave them a try, I didn’t like the way they felt. I should have listened to the shoe salesman.

    The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
    Proverbs 12:15 ESV

    Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Proverbs 19:20 ESV

    Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. James 5:7 ESV

    flexible foam soles wear out and catch pebbles
    I bought this pair of shoes while Stan was going through daily radiation treatments for six weeks. During that time, one day a week he was receiving chemotherapy for several hours. Upon completion, six weeks later, he spent 10 days in the hospital for his esophageal cancer surgery. There are times in life that things are new and go well, but the worn shoes represent that physical bodies wear out in this world. Memory foam insoles are a comfy feature of these Skechers®, but their lightweight foam outsoles didn’t hold up well over many miles of pavement and the cracks that offer flexibility catch pebbles and nature debris. Shoes in use won’t last forever and aren’t designed to perform on all terrains. After this pair, my mission became “find the perfect shoe and keep walking” or better yet: “The Perfect Christ has found me! I thank and praise Him that He keeps walking with me and He carries me when I am weak.”

    There’s a tough carbon rubber outsole in these Eddie Bauer® shoes, but size issues caused friction and a big blister on my heel. What appears to be wonderful on the outside…

    hole worn in heel of shoe
    …may hurt on the inside. My foot rubbed the upper back lining until it wore a hole through the fabric. What do I do when people rub me the wrong way? …

    how to patch hole in heel of shoe lining
    …try to do everything that can be done to fix things (pray that God’s will be done) and with the help of the Holy Spirit, forgive others as I have been forgiven. I cut a piece of 2-inch bias tape and used Krylon® spray adhesive to apply it as a patch to smooth out the hole in the shoe heel lining.

    spray adhesive upside down while spraying for 4 seconds to clean the nozzle
    Remember to hold spray adhesive upside down while spraying for 4 seconds to clean the nozzle after using it. Read number 18 [below] for the moral here :-)

    My favorite shoes for hot weather and perfect fit—these Ecco® sandals have adjustable Velcro® straps across the ball, ankle and heel. Open toe and flexible heel strap eliminates pressure in those areas. They aren’t the sexiest footwear on the market, but, oh… my feet love them! I used these shoes for long walks while my bandaged blister was healing.

    finding the best sneakers
    Trying again for tough-sole and perfect-fit sneakers, I found
    ECCO Women's Biom Train Core Training Shoes.
     One of them is too big for one of my feet. I conclude…

    The best solution for miss-matched feet size is to double-up on one foot by using pairless socks.


    what do do with extra miss-matched or pairless socks
    On top of a normal pair of socks, I use an extra sock on the small foot to prevent my heel from rubbing a hole in the shoe and a blister on my foot. This is an excellent use for extra miss-matched pairless socks. I look at the three socks in similarity to the Holy Trinity: Father/Son/Holy Spirit by Grace/Faith/Word—even though I don’t deserve it, they’ve got me covered.

    Water blister on heel—to pop or not to pop? 

    My unbroken blister was the diameter of a quarter coin puffed up about 1/8th inch. I Googled what to do for blisters and skimmed all kinds of advice including to leave them alone (don’t pop them) and also that it’s okay to do so if it’s a big blister. I didn’t weigh it out extensively. For lack of patience, I let my instincts trump. After washing well with soap and water, I sterilized a needle, poked a few holes on one edge, gently squeezed it and watched the fluid squirt into a Kleenex®. I smothered it in Neosporin®, left it open when barefoot around home, covered it when out-and-about in the elements, and the blister was completely healed in about a week. Later, when I got another blister, I used the same method the second time, it became infected and took longer to heal.

    So, the moral of the story is:

      1. Ask for help.
      2. Listen to advice.
      3. Accept instruction.
      4. Wait patiently for the Lord.
      5. Take proper action—persevere.
      6. You screw up—just admit it.
      7. When big pride puffs you up, clean up your act and pop your bubble.
      8. Learn by experience.
      9. Strive to avoid making the same mistake twice.
      10. Use God’s gifts of creativity and wisdom to try to fix things.
      11. Realize those in darkness hide from the Light and resist wisdom that can be found in the Word. 
      12. Pray.
      13. Remember baptism: Christ has already done it for you.
      14. Look to Jesus when you’re rubbed the wrong way and experience friction.
      15. Cover your pain in the comfort of prayer.
      16. Reach for the healing balm of Holy Scripture.
      17. Healing comes in God’s time, through hearing His Word (in church).
      18. Bend over backwards, keep your head clear and nozzle clean in order to be prepared for and prevent sticky situations.
      19. Trust God in the race of life—the prize He already has won is for all people.
      20. Believe the mystery—the power of His promises/invitation/forgiveness—as you receive Him in the Lord’s Supper.
      21. Live a thankful life.

        Word from the Greatest Book Ever Inspired:

        The Whole Armor of God  >  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:10–20 ESV
        Final Greetings  >  Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. Ephesians 6:23-24 ESV
        Were you inspired by this story? Feel free to share by commenting.

        Thursday, July 30, 2015

        How does your workspace inspire you?

        Etsy shop workspaces: FreshRetroGallery interior design

        Drawing room, photography studio, storage/shipping: places I work to design, create, list and send handmade, art supply, vintage items worldwide.

        The search for inspiration on how to layout a creative workplace can be found in the spaces of Etsy sellers. Etsy Success blog asked a question, “Where do you go to design and make? Share your creative space—invite us in by posting a photo on your favorite social media channel with the hashtag #inspiringworkspaces.”

        Artists have a way about seeing beauty in everything. 

        My inspiration comes from exploring nature, exercise, reading, music, surfing the net, traveling, worship and other life experiences. My children Nathan and Laura inspire me. I collect sentimental things from my family as well as found objects for someday when I’ll make mixed media art. My creative mind works overtime and I often wake up dreaming about something to improve, do, draw or write about. My husband Stan is artistic, too, and also a vintage treasure hunter. He likes to clean up old things.

        There’s a story behind almost everything in my home, so I’ll add a few to explain the pictures. In two of the photos, look for the beautiful Jesus with a flock of sheep picture by Giovanni titled Der Gute Hirte (German for The Good Shepherd). You might notice the cross in more than one photo because there’s one in almost every room in my home to remind me and everyone who comes here of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection—God’s grace by this sacrifice to atone for my sin. By the Holy Spirit’s gift of faith through baptism and hearing the Word, He comforts, guides and protects me and all who believe and, ultimately, promises eternal life.

        I didn’t spend time cleaning, rearranging or staging this series of images, so things aren’t picture perfect. I could have made an attempt, but time is precious. Enjoy the tour. Welcome to my Etsy shop space!

        rubber stamp wall cabinet and drafting table
        Here’s my drafting table and chair draped with a soft, fuzzy fur Nathan gave me—besides art, this is where I pay the bills and balance the books. We went out for lunch Mother’s Day to Panda Kitchen Chinese Restaurant and the waitress gave me the big pink paper flower. Notice the giant red pencil sticking out of a roto tray cabinet? I collect pencils. I designed and built the oak wall cabinet with sliding glass doors at an adult woodworking class to display my rubber stamps.
        Drawing room iMac desk is an antique courtroom table found at an auction in Abilene, Kansas.
        The drawing room iMac desk is an antique courtroom table found at an auction in Abilene, Kansas. My dad made the iron plant holder on the wall which I use to hold some of my good junk. You might notice the wire racks holding all kinds of keepsakes including an “Uff da!” napkin I’ve had for a long time. Far left, you can see a sliver of an oak chifforobe wardrobe closet. I keep my cross country ski boots in one of the drawers and a lot of paper and art supplies on the shelves in that cabinet.
        wood file cabinets and rubber stamps
        I inherited my mom’s rubber stamps, displayed on shelves Nathan built below the covered fuse box. Stan refinished two antique wood file cabinets which work great to store and organize many things. Do you wonder what is in one of the drawers? Visit the post How to organize an artist file system, upcycle cards and reap benefits of a creative life. The bark cloth draped over the cabinet is a curtain from early days of childhood. I stack up the stuff… a Pepsi bottle full of sand collected from the Pacific Northwest, a funny Dilbert cartoon, a flexible lamp for extra light, framed quotes, gifts, photos and another miniature 2-drawer file cabinet on top of the legal 5-drawer.
        wall storage and shelving under the stairway
        A friend Scott built this wall and shelving under the stairway. Stan and I built the decorative shelf with iron hooks which hold my hand bags, totes and purses. We offer hook racks in the Gallery. On the table in the foreground, the little yellow crib toy saved from childhood, re-purposed as a container for gel pens. Wow, this image needs work—what a clutter mess!

        Etsy photo studio with manniquin
        Here’s my Etsy photo studio with an old mannequin. Stan did body work plastic surgery, gave her a spray tan and I painted her face. A friend Kathy had a wig for her. I hope to add more vintage clothing pieces and accessories to the shop soon. Stan made the hinged rod hardware which allows for the curtains I made to swivel open and shut. Our neighbor Ginger, a professional drapery designer/maker, gave me the idea. It works well for windows that open inward at the top and also like a door, for safety, to get out in case of fire. Sometimes I stand on the upside-down plastic crate to get a higher angle on the photography. To get a bird’s eye view, I climb the stool or stand on a chair.
        photography light box and manikin
        On the left is my photography light box on top of an old kitchen table. I made this white container out of large sheets of tag board paper stock which originally was packaging to protect printing plates during transportation. The manikin lady is good company. She never questions my ideas of how to do things and doesn’t rush or demand too much of me.
        photography light box set up to shoot vintage and handmade Etsy items
        In the upper right area of this photo, you see a decorative iron porch or carport post which holds one of three light strips. The yellow stand is from a halogen light Stan wasn’t using in the garage. Since halogen lights are hot, we replaced it with a daylight florescent bulb strip. The other light strip on the tripod in the foreground gets moved around quite often. The three fixtures hold a total of 10 bulbs. When timing is perfect, I can use natural daylight from the window.
        The antique iron bed frame came out of storage in a barn from a farm nearby. I found the cotton crocheted rug at a garage sale. See the vintage mint green box fan tucked behind the stool? It’s handy to have in case of an AC malfunction. A few items waiting to be shot sit on the extra old chairs. Formerly Laura’s room, this now doubles as a second guest room. Big sheets of white tag board and thin packing material are tucked underneath the bed.
        boom box, portable TV, oak school desk chair, Victorian dresser
        Some of Laura’s artwork and memorabilia decorates the walls. My 1980s boom box rests on the Victorian walnut dresser we bought at an auction. A vintage portable TV sits on an oak school desk chair. Beyond the door on the wall hangs a beautiful antique quilt I found at a flea market.
        apothecary cabinet with glass front drawers
        At left is shelving for boxes I recycle to send orders. The old treadmill never gets used because it’s covered with vintage items waiting to be photographed. There’s a map of the United States on the wall and Kansas is smack dab in the center. Stacks of old catalogs, books, hats, clocks and you name it will eventually make it to the store front. Stan refinished the antique apothecary cabinet with glass front drawers that came from friends Robert and Robin.
        Antique boots, typewriter, paper cutter, butter mold, framed lithograph art
        A sneak peek at vintage items to be photographed, described and added to the gallery, now rest on the old treadmill. Antique boots, typewriter, paper cutter, butter mold, framed lithograph art, and more.
        Cameras, frames, pottery and other vintage items in storage on top of an old cherry wood dresser.
        old frames and brass metal art
        Stacks of old frames waiting to be filled with new art are stored in front and on top of the partially hidden coffee table Nathan built. You can’t see them well, but I use old wooden auditorium foldable seating for shelving which lines part of two walls in this room. Some of our wine bottle metal art pieces are shown here. A collection of vintage children’s picture books are in the shelving in the background.
        Here’s a box of my 19" x 13" family tree charts waiting to find new homes.
        My sewing machine served its first purpose years ago when I created many garments documented for 4-H projects. The wonderful creative tool taught me about design—choosing patterns/fabrics—and how to custom tailor my own garments. On the wall is a clock Laura made with her dad’s help, using markers, silver paint and the lid of a number 10 envelope box. My family tree chart is hung with miscellaneous keepsakes and a couple original paintings titled Resurrection and Peaceful Energy available in the shop.
        family tree chart on sewing machine
        Family tree charts are ready to be rolled with patch paper, tag; inserted into a tube, labeled and shipped. The workspace is an oak sewing machine cabinet that belonged to Stan’s grandma.
        Here you can see my antique retail store glass counter case cabinet complete with Pictionary, two barrels full of monkeys, Jenga and many other games and puzzles. It’s the perfect surface for a large paper cutter I use to make the gift tags that go with each item I send out. It’s space for stereo equipment, a few of my dad’s horseshoe trophies and an antique fan to keep me cool. Against the wall is a cabinet for fabric and craft supplies with a globe, some cobalt blue glass pieces and a vintage goose-neck desk lamp. In front of the cabinet is my NordicTrack stepper where I workout, read, and listen to music. The rough looking furniture hasn’t been touched yet by Stan’s skillful refinishing capabilities.

        We’ve lived in this home since 1987. We added-on in 1996 (the addition doesn’t show in this photo—it’s behind the original house you see here). All of the images in this post are taken in the basement where working in a chaotic atmosphere makes sense. We are careful to keep the main floor living space tastefully calm—decorated in eclectic style with an artistic flair. The young tree in the foreground is a cutleaf weeping birch. The shrubs are overgrown—time to do some major trimming!

        Monday–Friday, FreshRetroGallery packages are picked up by our USPS mailman when he makes deliveries at our jumbo-large-huge mailbox. I sketched the design for Stan to build this structure out of a salvaged decorative porch post. After painting the faux vintage patina grunge texture, I hand lettered and embellished it with sign paint before he installed it.
        Thank you for visiting my workspace.
        I look forward to listing some wonderful new items soon.
        Please click in to browse in my Etsy storefront!

        Note: Many of these photos are obsolete as of 2017. I’ve updated, organized with new shelving, painted paneling, and trimmed the shrubbery! Improving efficiency and aesthetics of my work and living spaces is an enjoyable aspect of my job. Change is good!