The Art Making


When I have a chance to paint, it’s rare these days. Sometimes that backs up on me and I feel sad. I know, though, that one day my life will be much slower. I won’t have three kids to dominate all of my time and energy. It’ll be Joel and I, in an empty house, ready to take on the world. Then, I’ll be able to paint for hours on end and no one will interrupt. Unless Joel has an adventure planned, then I will gladly drop the brush and go!

My Tessa is closer to 7 than 6. I am not super proud of the last portrait I painted of her. I long for a weekend where she’s gone, and I redo the whole thing. In a frenzy of desire to paint, I knocked out this portrait of Tessa. The greens of the early spring are evident. Come April, the Green Canopy takes over our piece of the woods. Tessa gets tired of getting her picture taken, and then she runs. Her arms and legs are strong and lanky. I know she will be different from her sister in many ways.


Tessa is busy. She loves being physical and experiential, a lot like her brother. She has a a hilarious sense of humor and she snuggles so well. She loves our kitty, Natasha, but the kitty usually runs or growls when she’s around. Someday, the love between the two will be reciprocated.


I love where I live. It’s full of every kind of light, and every color. Much like the Impressionists, I work in a frenzy to capture the light and feeling. I was not expecting to do anything in particular with this piece, but now that it is a Tessa portrait, it’s mine.


Then, I took a piece that was a few years old, and I cropped it. What good is a big painting if no one likes it? So I cropped it, and made two paintings.



 These nuggets of Stockholm in the winter, are on my wall now. They shouldn’t be, they don’t match what is hanging next to them. So, someone needs to buy them! They are in my etsy shop.  They look good together, and also on their own!

I am working on some woodland creature paintings that will be ready for Christmas shopping.

Make someone’s Christmas merry!


He loves you more

I want a do- over.  #mamaselfie #vscocam
There have been a lot of things I have had to do in my life lately. Many, many tasks that seem never ending and impossible to keep up with. All I want is for somebody to help me. But what does that help look like? I must admit, I shift back and forth between passive-agressive, super emotional lady, to flailing my arms around, shouting, insane lady. Neither one of these things get me any help. Go figure. The silent treatment, crying yelling, stomping off in a huff. It don’t work. What am I? On an episode of The Real World? (<–seriously clink on this link for a nostalgic laugh!)

Sometimes I take the high road and I keep working and I ask for help nicely, just like I tell my children to do. I do get help, but it never seems like quite enough. You see I’m looking for help that also acknowledges my struggle and pain. I’m looking for human beings to fill places inside of me that they can’t fill. It’s impossible.

We are all selfish, none of us can live for someone else the way Jesus did. I don’t care how long you have been married, or how romantic your husband is, or even how wonderful of a man he is, he will never love you the way you truly need to be loved. I have had way too many discussions with my husband about how I feel neglected sometimes over this past 15 years. These conversations, although they might have some benefit in the short term, are not the answer. My husband is a really good man, he treats me very well. He is an awesome Papa. He loves Jesus. I have nothing to complain about.

Papa's home. Time to play #mtnhome #JK #vscocam

Honestly ladies. Our men work all day, they feel unfulfilled in their work (many of them), they come home from being absent from us all day to the epicenter of stress in the home which is dinner time! I don’t want to complain to my husband as soon as he walks in the door. It might feel good to vent, but its also really mean! I want to bless my husband and give him a place of peace to come home to. But that, is a completely different blog post. 

Today, I just want to encourage a different way of thinking. All those empty places and longings, desires for your life to change, those will never be filled by people. Your loving Heavenly Father knows how to love you. Only Jesus who came for his bride knows how to truly fill your lonely places. When I feel empty, and WOW have I felt empty these past few months, I go and talk to the only person who really hears me. He gives me hope, He helps me keep running toward my goal. He reminds me that I am lovable and beautiful. That I am a blessing to the people around me. Only Jesus will do that. And, BTW, He is totally perfect and awesome.

So when I’m feeling needy, I like to turn on some worship music, put in my earbuds and remind myself how amazing my Savior is. It only takes a short while. Filling my ears and heart with worship to realize that I have a wonderful life. Jesus gave it to me. He loves me so well that He saved my life. He loves me so well that He gave me a good man for a husband. He gave me three beautiful children who I get to stay home and educate. And I am learning. He shows me that He gave me an important purpose. He is beginning to teach me how to rest even when I’m very busy and tired. He is showing me that He is my best friend. I have a lot to learn, and I have a lot of healing to do. There’s a lot of things I have stopped hoping for. I have stopped dreaming about things. I know that Jesus, my best friend, will teach me how to do that again. His world is so vast and His love is so big and His knowledge of me is so deep, that how could I not?!

Super Moon from Cravens #vscocam

Yesterday I was filled with sadness. I felt like a failure. I felt that others had failed me. I was mad. Things just weren’t turning out the way I wanted them to. I cried and cried. That deep weeping of complete exhaustion, frustration and helplessness. But you know what, I can’t always get what I want, but I can always have Jesus. He is making me less and less. It sucks. But you know what, if I have Jesus, I will have joy. My family will be blessed. And my sacrifice, is worship. 

I have also been reading a book (shocker!) by Dutch Sheets called The Power of Hope. It has been the kind of book that is food for the soul, but also the poison for self-pity. Even though the book focuses on your personal struggle, it just keeps bringing it back to Jesus. It’s hard to read sometimes when I want to be selfish. But it is a salve for my hurts and my weariness. Dutch wrote about how God knows what you need to hear, just when you need to hear it. 

And then today…

I was just reminded by a complete stranger on Instagram that I’m fighting a good fight. Homeschooling has been tough these first weeks, and she gave me that bit of hope.

“I am a homeschool grad and I want to encourage you that it’s been a tremendous gift to me from my parents! You can do it! #WayToGoMama”

How am I to deny this love? How am I to decide that I can’t keep going. I am so perfectly loved and cared for. I want all the answers, but I will trust and hope in the One who always gives me what I need. See what He has for you.

Back to school at @thecamphouse ! Same day different books #kinderfirst #almondmilklatte #vscocam



I am bored. I want so badly to have a conversation that doesn’t involve the well being of children and their thoughts. I want to be involved in a conversation that is about something else. Anything else. NPR doesn’t talk back, it just tells me bad news. Movies and TV are fiction. Text messages are vague and interrupt my rhythm. I want to talk to adults. 

I have a lot to do. I teach all day Monday. I have to be ready to do that which means “mom teacher” hat goes off and “art teacher” hat gets put on. And that happens only when my children have their school work done. That is Friday, when everyone is looking forward to the weekend, I get to do my other job. I have signed up to teach another class on Fridays. It is good. We need the money. I work from the moment I wake up until late skimming materials, packing bags, hole-punching things.

Maintain. Be on time. Prepare food. Buy food. Clean up after. Clean clothes. Fold clothes. Instruct children. Organize children’s books and work. Direct children to help with food, clothes, cleaning up after. Try not to get impatient. Stay composed.

Keep breathing. There are fires to put out. There are fears and anxieties. Breathe in, breathe out. One foot in front of the other. Do not worry about tomorrow, today has enough trouble of it’s own. Be prepared to have everything stop, or go in reverse, or explode. Take in those moments when things are so good. Peace, calm, laughter, breakthrough, prayer. God times. Instagram it. 

Hope for the future. Things change. These children will grow. They will be gone. My time with the hustle-bustle will be over soon. It will be too quiet. The world is full of trouble. Violence, disease, war, hate. I feel the weight. Lord, we need you. He will come and make things new. I will reach out for opportunities and they will reach back. I will hold my husbands hand, and we will walk together. New places, new adventures.

New mercies every morning. Sunshine. Children’s faces, freckled and smooth. Hugs. Coffee. Morning. Strong body to do the work. Sharp eyes to see what is ahead. Love from those at arms reach, and beyond. They reach back. Anxieties disappear.

Run the race. Is my race important? What good am I doing, this Hermit of a Homeschooling Housewife? There is more I want. I want more than to live for the responsibility. I want to live to see joy never-ceasing. I want to run for expectation. Lord, make my heart expect great things.

Be thankful. Always something. Thank you, Lord, for the computer and wi-fi so I can get my blog-therapy.

I am blessed. So very, very, much. Time to shut up and rest in the blessing. 

Are You Lonely Too?


Most nights I am home. I am doing dishes, cleaning house, doing laundry. Joel and I put the kids to bed, give hugs and kisses and then we exhale and, hopefully, I get to sit on the couch and watch something fun on TV before I fall asleep. Joel usually falls asleep half an hour or more before I do. Most nights, it’s totally relaxing. It’s normal and it decompresses my day. But then, my extroverted side gets board some days.

Since I homeschool my kids now, seeing other adults can be a challenge. At work, we are all busy managing other children. Other homeschooling moms have all their own schedules and older or younger children to manage. I mean, really, all moms, no matter how we school our children, we are all busy. Soccer, drama, choir, girl scouts, doctor’s appointments, naps, church, family. It’s exhausting. I have made a personal choice to limit those things. I also have very little family in town. I get lonely. Are you lonely too? I see my mom twice a week. I am fulfilled by my job. But I get lonely. There’s something wrong when I have so many women whom I love to be with, and I’m pretty confident that they like to be with me too. Why don’t we see each other? Why aren’t we desperate to be with our friends? I run through all the things that we are in charge of and the many different things we go to, and I’m not surprised. It doesn’t help the fact that I’m lonely sometimes.


I have been saying that I need to “be the friend I want to have”. This method should bring friends closer to me, or help me make new ones. Right? This motto backed up on me last week. I was letting the loneliness take over my will to reach out. I became tired of reaching out. I mean, why isn’t anyone else reaching out? There are many reasons and it would make this post too long. But nevertheless, I must keep reaching out. Someone has to do it. Everyone needs that life line to make you realize, “Yes, I am lonely, and I will battle my dirty house another time. I will drink some tea and wake myself up so I can spend another 2 hours awake and with friends. I will gamble with my awkwardness, my blabber-mouth (or painful silence), my inadequacies to be with people. To be with people that I love and that God loves. It is important. Stop being selfish y’all! It is so easy to do the normal stuff, do something different!

I believe that God gave us our mountain home so that we can have people over more. I take that to heart. I will invite people over, again and again. Every time I feel lonely I will decide to reach out. It’s really hard. But there are plenty of evenings when I can curl up and troll Pinterest or read one of my goofy graphic novels. Netflix will not disappear. I have lots of cute clothes I hardly ever wear because I don’t GO OUT! Let’s go out, friends. Let’s invite others out. Send me a text, I’m probably, almost always, available.

Happy 10th birthday New Eyes!

Today is my tenth blogiversary. I knew it was coming up, and I am in awe. Blogging has been a struggle as lots of other things take the place of. Those of us that love to write have found comfort in our blog. I love to look back and remember. I laugh at all the ordinary things I used to blog about, and the silliness that took up my time.
I also see how I would reflect on my very small children. I used my blog to fight loneliness and isolation. I found friends. There are some friends I have now that I met through the blog first! How crazy is that! Friends like, Jennifer Ross and Kelly Wilkes. Now I meet people through Instagram.
I see photos of pieces of art I forgot I made. I see trials that I went through. I see my reflections on going back to school as a mom of two.
I regret a lot of things too. I wish I had a pretty blog, I’ve always struggled to make it look the way I want it too because I don’t know code. And I’m cheap. I wish I had promoted myself, used my blog to make money, given it more of a uniform vision.
But honestly, the fact that I am a painter, a wife, a mother, a lover of Jesus, an emotional creature, I know that these things could not be separated. For ten years, I have had my life, and my children’s lives, online. It all started with a stomach virus that kept me trapped in my house with a one year old Josiah and I wanted to jump on this bandwagon. So simple, and yet such a great discipline. If you don’t write, you should. And if you blog, whatever it is, good for you. Your blog is for you first, and when people find you and relate to you without meeting you, there is something fun about that.
Thanks for reading New Eyes, y’all. I hope to be a bit better at adding to it as the frustration with Facebook, twitter, and other modes of quick communication fail. Keep on truckin’.

See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:19

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Revelation 21:5


Portrait of Gideon, originally uploaded by katiek2.

Thinking of this little guy today. He is almost 11 now. Praying for him to get better, and better, and better.
My mama heart beats heavy when I hear of his suffering and struggle. My mama heart hurts when I think of my friend Lynn and what she has to do every day to take care of all her boys. My mind goes haywire thinking of all the things that have to fall into place.
And then I remember that our lives rest in the unchanging hands of God. Where ever we may squirm and fight, or however our bodies may fail to keep up, we are in the hands of God. We can’t fall, we cannot be separate, we are there. Even if life is shorter that we wish, God has not left us, He is there, we are in His hands. My hands are far away from helping, my mind gets too distracted, and my resources are small, but God’s hands are BIG.
Gideon, Mighty Warrior, has an unfailing support. The Lord.

Josiah’s 11





He is wonderful. He is challenging. He is my boy. 11 is officially a big kid and it’s really hard to admit that when there are so many things I feel I “have to” help him with. I’m his mama, he’s my boy. He doesn’t act like anything has changed much since he was 6. I guess I should love that as long as I can. I know that him growing up brings me a lot of peace, I love seeing all my kids get older, honestly. I love seeing Josiah express himself, even when it is so full of goofy tween-ager-ness that I wanna scream. He’s my boy. He’s a gift. He challenges me and forces me to change, just as he did when his 9#12 self came out of my body. Lord, you knew that this young man was so important. Important for me, and Joel and the world. Happy Birthday buddy.