It’s Time To Sign Up Again!

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Art classes are starting back up the second week of September!

For new students, we will be offering a Beginning Drawing class Monday evenings from 5:45-6:45, and Tuesday afternoons from 3:30-4:30. The cost is $100 for an eight-week course with all supplies included. We teach ages nine to adult. If interested, please contact us as soon as possible to reserve your spot in the class.

Here are a few pictures from last year’s classes.

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Check out some of our students’ work below! (Sorry, but they did such a great job, we have to brag a little.)

They’re pretty awesome, aren’t they?!

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We are so excited to watch this year as our returning students continue to grow and improve, and we can’t wait to see the potential in our beginning students! We would love to have you join us!!!

~Elisabeth and Hannah~

Our Desert In Bloom

Well, it’s a bit late, but I just can’t resist sharing some of our photos from the wildflowers. (And for those of you who don’t live in Southern California, you won’t know the difference anyway!)

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This year has been amazing! Not only is the amount of flowers overwhelming (in a good way), but also the length of time that they have been in bloom is incredible. I don’t think I can remember a year like this before.

These are the kind of fire-fields I love! Photo credit Hannah Macy

These are the kind of fire-fields I love! Photo credit Hannah Macy

We went out twice to see the poppy fields and both times it was incredibly windy. (I know, shocking in the A.V., right?) But despite the wind, the poppies still opened up, and the beauty was breathtaking.

These little bursts of color carpet the ground and create goldfields. Photo credit Hannah Macy

These little bursts of color carpet the ground and create goldfields. Photo credit Hannah Macy

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Photo credit Hannah Macy

Photo credit Hannah Macy

Every once in a while, we come across a pale, almost white poppy.

Every once in a while, we come across a pale, almost white poppy.

I am always amazed by the variety of wild flowers as well as the difference that just a few miles make. In Rosamond, we don’t get the fire-fields, but we did still have lots of purple and yellow.

We had fields of these just down the road from us. Photo credit Hannah Macy

We had fields of these just down the road from us. Photo credit Hannah Macy

One day, we crossed the railroad tracks and went for a “walk”. In reality, we were on a treasure hunt! There were so many different flowers out there! But you never would have seen most of them if you hadn’t been looking. Unfortunately, we didn’t have our real cameras with us, so we had to make do with a cellphone.

We almost missed these.

We almost missed these.

I don’t remember seeing this bush before, but I love it!

I don’t remember seeing this bush before, but I love it!

As our goldfields started to fade, the desert dandelions began to make their appearance.

As our goldfields started to fade, the desert dandelions began to make their appearance.

And then, driving to and from Tehachapi, we saw some beautiful blue fields! We weren’t able to get a good photo of the fields, but we did find a small patch that we could pull over by and snap a few pictures.

Photo credit Hannah Macy

Photo credit Hannah Macy

We also found these cute white ones. Photo credit Hannah Macy

We also found these cute white ones. Photo credit Hannah Macy

I love wildflowers anywhere we find them, but I have to admit, I am partial to our desert flowers. There is something amazing about how much beauty can spring up out of nowhere.

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And the way the landscape is transformed by vivid, almost blinding colors is incredible!

This was taken from the car window while we were driving. Notice the blur?

This was taken from the car window while we were driving. Notice the blur?

In some places, it looked as though a giant paintbrush had been used to add color to the hills. In others, it seemed as though someone had splashed paint out of a can, or even just decided to pour it over everything, letting the various colors soak into the ground and run into each other.

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I am always amazed by the color combinations and the perfect balance and harmonization produced by the randomness of these flowers. Have you ever noticed though, that when we attempt something similar with man-made objects, it doesn’t usually work that well? It may be fun, playful, and eye-catching, but not beautiful. And yet in nature it is breathtaking! It kind of makes you think that maybe there actually is a Master Artist painting the earth every spring, doesn’t it?

~Elisabeth~

Unplanned: Not What I Expected

I know that this doesn’t have anything to do with our family’s art, but it is something I feel strongly about. This is not an argument for or against abortion, it is simply where I stand and how this movie impacted me.

I just watched Unplanned on April 2nd. It was not what I expected.

You have to understand, I am extremely pro-life. I can’t remember not knowing what an abortion is. My entire life, from the moment I was able to form an opinion for myself (which, knowing me, was probably before I was born), I have felt strongly that every life is precious and begins at conception. I grieved horribly when my Mom miscarried at about 10-12 weeks along because that baby was already a person that I loved. I still grieve and miss that baby even though it was twelve years ago in Feb. And, although I tell people that I am one of ten kids, I really consider myself one of eleven.

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The sanctity of life issue is very personal for me. I always knew that I had been a surprise; it is a part of my birth story that I hear every year. One day though, it suddenly occurred to me how I could have easily not been born. You see, my Dad wanted two, maybe three, and my Mom wanted four, but I am number five. They already had their family. They were content. They were happy. And to be quite frank, they really couldn’t afford another child. I was not a part of their plans. As I thought about it, I realized that if my parents had not been so passionately pro-life themselves, I might have never been born. That realization has deeply impacted my life. It is impossible to take your life for granted when you are forced to acknowledge that if circumstances had been slightly different you, too, could have been one of those nameless babies whose lives here on earth were ended before they could truly begin. The thought of never seeing the blue sky, feeling the warmth of the sun against my face, or having the comfort of my Mom’s arms around me is sobering. But knowing that that is the reality for many is devastating.

Hannah and I were both unplanned

Hannah and I were both unplanned

This is a topic that I have given a lot of thought to and feel strongly about, so when I heard about Unplanned I knew that I needed to go.

I wasn’t expecting it to be an enjoyable, lighthearted movie. I knew it would be difficult and painful to watch, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make it through without tears. I have seen pictures of aborted babies. I have heard the process described. I have seen timelines of an unborn baby’s development, when their heart starts beating, and when they can feel pain. And I am familiar with Abby Johnson’s story. Really, there was nothing in that movie that I didn’t already know. I should have been prepared. And I guess I was, in one sense. But I wasn’t prepared for what would actually break my heart.

It wasn’t the blood and the graphic abortion scenes. It was the pain of the women involved. It was the girl who was pushed into having an abortion by her dad, a dad who obviously loved her and thought he was doing what was best for her. It was the mom pleading with her daughter to not go through with it. It was the uncertainty, the fear, the vulnerability, and the grief on the faces of the young women who felt they had nowhere else to turn. It was the confusion as Abby fought to justify to herself what she was doing. And later, it was the weight of guilt as she realized the magnitude of what she had been a part of.

I was prepared for the pain of watching an unborn baby’s life destroyed, but I wasn’t prepared for the pain of seeing a young mother’s heart crushed. I wasn’t prepared for the agony of watching a grandma desperate to save a grandchild’s life. And although I was aware of the story, I wasn’t prepared for the devastation of watching an abortion provider struggle with the guilt of doing what she had thought was right.

I went into that movie theater expecting to grieve the unborn who will never be able to tell their own story. I left grieving for the women who felt they had no choice, for the family members who are helpless to protect the child that they already love, and for the abortion providers who truly want to help women and don’t know what else to do. And yes, I grieved for the aborted babies too. But that night, I found myself thanking God that those babies are now safe with Him and that their pain is over, and praying for those lives that have been impacted by abortion and who now live every day with the devastation of that decision. That is what I wasn’t prepared for- the overwhelming pain I felt for those women, those girls. It wasn’t what I expected.

~Elisabeth~

I would love to hear your opinion on this movie, what touched you, or even what you disagreed with. If you haven’t watched Unplanned yet, I would encourage you to do so, even if you are not pro-life. I think this movie can help us each to see where the other side is coming from, even if it doesn’t change our minds. And for those concerned about the rating, I don’t think it deserved an R rating. I have watched many PG13 movies that are more graphic and have way more language than Unplanned.

From Start to Finish

Have you ever wondered about the process that goes into a piece of art? Well, whether you have or not, I am going to tell you a little about it.

This is a commission that Hannah just finished and delivered.

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It’s a nice picture, isn’t it? Sweet, simple, and straight forward. Except that it wasn’t so simple and straight forward.

First, Hannah and I did a photo shoot of these two. Seventy two photos later, we had what we needed, or so we hoped. Here is what taking pictures of two dogs looks like.

First thing you want to do is become friends with the dog. Although we had already succeeded in that without bribes, a little treat never hurts anything.

First thing you want to do is become friends with the dog. Although we had already succeeded in that without bribes, a little treat never hurts anything.

After meeting the dogs and interacting with them for a bit, we discovered that Ellie is terrified of the camera (or at least of Hannah’s camera), and Yesha is practically blind and doesn’t always know which way you are trying to get him to look, (but he was still so sweet). Ellie would only pose for the camera if I was holding her and telling her what a good girl she was (which, by the way, was true, she is a very good girl). Yesha, on the other hand, would have stayed in the same place for hours with Hannah snapping pictures as long as I was petting him and talking to him. Unfortunately, if I was holding Ellie, Yesha would wander off. And if I was petting Yesha, Ellie would go off and hide. All that to say, we couldn’t get a photo of them together. So instead, Hannah chose the best one of each and put them together.

Ellie, feeling much happier in my arms

Ellie, feeling much happier in my arms

Yesha, trying to climb into my lap

Yesha, trying to climb into my lap

Here are a few photos that didn’t make the cut.

Yesha was getting very comfortable

Yesha was getting very comfortable

A little too comfortable

A little too comfortable

Ellie refusing to look at the camera

Ellie refusing to look at the camera

Still not sure if she should trust that camera

Still not sure if she should trust that camera

Next, Hannah had to try to accurately size the pictures while drawing them, (which was hard because we didn’t have the actual dogs with us and had to go off of memory). They are close in size, but Ellie is a little bigger than Yesha, and Hannah wanted to get it right. I think she did great!

And then came the best part, bringing the drawing to life! Check out the progression below as Hannah worked on this piece. (And yes, she did use all of those colors.)

Did you notice what else Hannah had to do to this piece? She removed their halters. It wasn’t as challenging to do Yesha because of his short, straight hair, but Ellie was a bit more difficult. Her halter was bigger, and a large section of her pretty curly hair had to be created from nothing. I think Hannah did a pretty good job, don’t you?

Well, that is it in a nutshell. (Of course there is also the process of drawing, and shading, choosing the right colors, accomplishing the correct textures,…) Simple, right?

~Elisabeth~

Art Classes!

I am excited to announce that we will be offering art lessons starting this September!

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For several years now, we have been asked why we aren't teaching. The answer was very simple, there was already an incredible art instructor in the valley.

Alicia Garver doing an art demonstration at the A.V. Fair.

Alicia Garver doing an art demonstration at the A.V. Fair.

I was fifteen and working on my first watercolor when this picture was taken.

I was fifteen and working on my first watercolor when this picture was taken.

I first began taking art lessons from Mrs. Garver at the age of twelve and continued on through my senior year of High School. Over the next few years, Caleb, Melissa, and Hannah also began taking lessons, and also fell in love with art. Although I never dreamed I could actually be an artist, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn.

At the age of fifteen, after winning numerous awards at the A.V. Fair as well as several A.V. Press art contests, I was shocked to find myself the over all winner of the Congressional Art Contest.

Alicia Garver, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, and me with my winning piece, Friends in Denim.

Alicia Garver, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, and me with my winning piece, Friends in Denim.

As my confidence grew, I began teaching my younger siblings the lessons my teacher had taught me.

Soon, we became known as a family of artists.

We have had our art on display in the U.S. Capitol, the State Capitol, and numerous private collections in multiple countries. And a year ago, we had our first solo art exhibit!

Caleb won the Congressional Art Contest the year after I did. His piece is titled Weathered But Not Beaten.

Caleb won the Congressional Art Contest the year after I did. His piece is titled Weathered But Not Beaten.

Melissa took second place with her watercolor painting Desert Beauty in the Lakes and Valleys Art Guild juried art show!

Melissa took second place with her watercolor painting Desert Beauty in the Lakes and Valleys Art Guild juried art show!

Christiana won the Congressional Art Contest with her colored pencil drawing Lost in Thought.

Christiana won the Congressional Art Contest with her colored pencil drawing Lost in Thought.

Hannah's colored pencil drawing A Quiet Moment Took first, best of division, and best of show at the A.V. Fair. Later, it would also take second place in the Generations juried art show.

Hannah's colored pencil drawing A Quiet Moment Took first, best of division, and best of show at the A.V. Fair. Later, it would also take second place in the Generations juried art show.

We still had no immediate plans to teach though. But then, last year, Alicia Garver approached us with the possibility of taking over her Tehachapi classes at the beginning of this school year. And so, after giving it much thought, we now find ourselves offering classes at Slice of Life Enrichment School in Tehachapi, and at our house in Rosamond! If interested, please contact us through our website by clicking here, message us on Facebook, or email us at ourpeculiarfamily@hotmail.com, and we will be more than happy to get you information about the classes.

~Elisabeth~

Elise

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Elise promised that it would be an easy three or four mile hike. No problem! So, why was I in so much pain?  

Most of us after the hike (Melissa was behind the camera). We still look pretty happy! Lily at almost nine was the youngest person with us that day, and she was amazing (though I am not sure if she ever volunteered for another hike after that).

Most of us after the hike (Melissa was behind the camera). We still look pretty happy! Lily at almost nine was the youngest person with us that day, and she was amazing (though I am not sure if she ever volunteered for another hike after that).

When Elise first mentioned the idea of a hike, I thought it would be great. After all, I liked spending time with the Kallemeyn girls, and I thought it would be wonderful to enjoy nature with people who loved beauty as much as I did. But somewhere into the second half of the hike, I began to realize that I didn't really care about beauty anymore; I just wanted to make it back to the van in one piece. It was all I could do to remember to breathe and take the next step forward. Forget about taking pictures! I wasn't the only one struggling either, but somehow, we all managed to make it back to the van, and the Kallemeyns were nice enough to pretend not to notice how tired everyone else was. We found out the next day that our "short hike" ended up being about eight miles long, not three. That’s when I realized that "short" and "easy" are relative terms. I also decided then that, although I trusted Elise's judgment in art, I no longer trusted her choice of hiking trails.  

Some confusion as to directions might have played a part in why the hike was longer than we had planned.

Some confusion as to directions might have played a part in why the hike was longer than we had planned.

One of Elise's art times

One of Elise's art times

Elise was frequently planning things to do. Art days, movie nights, project times, girls camping trips, day hikes, and backpacking trips... These activities weren't just for her friends either. She would often extend an invitation to any of the younger siblings who wanted to come, too. Age wasn't an issue for Elise. It never bothered her to have little kids tagging along. In fact, I am pretty sure she enjoyed it. She would always help the younger kids with their projects, making sure they felt included and wanted. And she did her best to pick hikes that everyone going could manage and enjoy. (Of course, there was that one time...) She also was very good at making things fun. Even on backpacking trips, she had been known to bring along glow-sticks and bubbles.

Ready for backpacking! Six of this group had never backpacked before, but Elise was the perfect person to teach them. Notice the wide age range?

Ready for backpacking! Six of this group had never backpacked before, but Elise was the perfect person to teach them. Notice the wide age range?

Elise loved her sisters

Elise loved her sisters

My first memories of Elise are from about age seven. I didn't actually interact with her much for the next few years though, because honestly, I was extremely intimidated by her. She was tall, beautiful, and very grown up. (I think she was probably thirteen or fourteen when I first met her.) However, I did get to know her in other ways. As Hannah and I would play with her younger sisters, Giselle and Christiana, we would often hear the words "Elise made this." Whether it was fairy dolls dressed in flowers, a tree made out of felt with numerous hidden openings to house woodland creatures, or beautiful doll dresses hot-glued together (because she didn't like to sew), it seemed that there was nothing Elise could not do. Somewhere along the way, I realized what an incredible artist Elise was. My awe of her only grew. 

Not long after I began taking art lessons at age twelve, I found myself in direct contact with Elise as she intentionally came alongside and encouraged me. I really wasn't sure what to do. It was hard for me to believe that someone like Elise would not only notice my existence but would actually take an interest in helping me. At times, I honestly was scared. I knew I would never be able to meet her standards, but for some reason, she never seemed to realize that. Elise had more confidence in my artistic ability than I did. She was often pushing me to try something new, and she made sure that I didn't have any excuses. If I needed a ride, she would drive out of her way to pick me up, or if I didn't have the right supplies she would just happen to have extra that I could use. I never did figure out how to tell Elise "no". Usually though, I would discover that I had found a new art medium that I loved. Elise never appeared to be surprised if I succeeded with my art, even if I was.  

A quick piece Elise did while on a girls camping trip

A quick piece Elise did while on a girls camping trip

I never completely outgrew feeling intimidated by Elise. Everything she did seemed to be perfect. Among our friends, it was often said that Elise had a magic touch. Under her hands, a pile of random plant clippings would become a beautiful centerpiece. She would scribble on a napkin and everyone wanted to frame it. A cake she decorated was such a masterpiece that some of us almost felt guilty eating it. I never saw Elise do anything half-way. We were planning a baby shower, and Elise asked if she could help. Although we really didn't want to add anything more to her plate, we told her that if she was able to put together a small centerpiece it would be a blessing. Elise showed up at our door the night before the baby shower with her arms full. She asked if anyone was available to help her unload her car. It took multiple trips. The "centerpiece" she brought ended up decorating the whole room as well as some of the kitchen and even the bathroom. And of course, everything was beautiful. 

I learned a lot from Elise, and not just about drawing or painting. Most of what I learned though wasn't through verbal instruction; it was primarily from observation and quite a bit of hands-on experience. Elise had a habit of giving me a few vague instructions and then leaving me to figure out what she was expecting. When I was finished, I would ask her if I had done it the way she wanted. I usually received one of three answers. "Yes, that's perfect", "yeah... but maybe add a little bit more here" or "I honestly didn't have anything in mind when I told you that. But I love how it turned out!" I don't know if Elise realized how often she pushed me out of my comfort zone, but each time she did it, I had a choice to make. The first option was to accept the challenge and choose to grow, while the second was to say 'no' and shrink even further into myself. Somehow, the second choice never really seemed to be an option when I was with Elise. Besides, I didn't want her to find out that her confidence in my ability was misplaced. With time though, I began to realize that I had my own opinions. I had developed my own taste, and I could make some decisions for myself without always relying on someone else's judgment. I really believe that a lot of that came from Elise's "vague instructions".  

Elise was always looking for and finding beauty everywhere.

Elise was always looking for and finding beauty everywhere.

In the fall of 2015, Elise told our family that she had cancer. We were devastated. As we watched helplessly, she fought for health the same way she approached everything else in life, wholeheartedly. Daily, we prayed that she would be healed, and on March 12, 2018, God answered our prayers, just not the way we were hoping. Selfishly, we wanted to hold onto her longer, but we are grateful to know that our separation is temporary and that we will see her again.

I doubt Elise knew the impact she had on those around her. If she were here, she would probably brush aside everything I am saying and instead claim to have done nothing. She would most likely say she had enjoyed it, that it had provided her with excuses to work on projects, or any number of other things. But the truth is Elise gave me an incredible gift. It wasn't all the frames and art supplies that she "really didn't need any more". It wasn't the advice or knowledge she passed on. And it wasn't including me in the different events and activities she had planned. All of that was wonderful, but the real gift she gave me was something much more. She saw me. She didn't see the me that I saw, or that most people saw, instead she looked past that Elisabeth Macy and focused on what I was capable of doing and who I could be. And she didn't wait for me to invite her into my life (because I would never have dared to do that), instead, she pulled me into hers. I know that Elise was only human and that it was really God working through her, but she was a willing tool in His hands that He used to impact my life as well as countless others. I will miss Elise more than I can say and more than she would ever have guessed. She has left a hole that no one will ever be able to fill. A hole that will never disappear, but instead will be a constant reminder of the beautiful life that touched so many. I take comfort in knowing that she is in the arms of her Savior, perfectly whole and strong, without any pain. She is in the presence of the Master Artist, surrounded by beauty beyond what she could have ever imagined. Although I rejoice for Elise, I grieve for our loss. I wouldn't wish her back, but I do look forward to one day joining her there.

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~Elisabeth~

Gold, Frankincense, and Cough Syrup

This year, Christmas seems to have come quicker than ever. We are all scrambling, trying to get everything ready, knowing the whole time that we won't actually succeed. As I attempt to refocus on what is really important this season, I am reminded of another Christmas we celebrated where everything went wrong, and yet it is one of my favorite Christmas memories. I wrote this several years ago, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. Merry Christmas!

~Elisabeth~

This picture is actually from 2011, not 2012, but it is my favorite Christmas photo we ever sent out!

This picture is actually from 2011, not 2012, but it is my favorite Christmas photo we ever sent out!

Gold, Frankincense, and Cough Syrup

Christmas 2012  

The night before Christmas is a time of excitement and anticipation, at least it should be. This year was different for the Macy family. There was no excitement, and all we were anticipating was cough syrup and tissues. Sometime during the season of giving, someone gave us the flu. For days we held out hope that the approach of Christmas would magically chase our fevers away, (because Christmas is a time of miracles, you know). But on Christmas Eve, things weren’t looking so good. Mom and Dad decided that we would postpone Christmas until everyone felt better. It was completely logical... but extremely disappointing. So after assuring each other that it was fine and that it really didn’t matter, we crawled into bed and coughed ourselves to sleep. 

Morning came and it sure didn’t look like Christmas. The house was a disaster and people were cranky. Glancing around, I began to wonder how we were going to eat. The table had disappeared under a mountain of miscellaneous projects, projects that were supposed to be completed before Christmas. Well, something had to be done. Maybe we couldn’t have Christmas, but we would still eat breakfast as a family. Clearing the table seemed like such a simple job, (it’s not like I was trying to clean the whole house or anything, just the table). Still, I found myself moving at a snail’s pace. Every few minutes, I would sink into a chair, usually without realizing it. Coughing out orders, I began to enlist my siblings' help. “Daniel, take the dishes to the sink. Susanna put the scissors in the drawer. Christiana, help me with these papers…” Even with Mom’s help, it was an hour long process. 

Mom was wearing a pretty red sweater and even put on jewelry. She looked very festive and not a bit sick. I decided it wouldn’t take too much effort to change from my old, worn out sweatshirt into a nice (but comfy) sweater. I skipped the jewelry, though. We weren’t the only ones who dressed up. Daniel came out in one of his typical Christmas outfits, a bright green long-sleeved button-up shirt, red swim trunks, and a big goofy grin. He was obviously feeling better. 

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Some things just aren’t fair. Daniel was the one teasing everyone else as they fell sick, singing, “I’ll be sick for Christmas, you can count on me…” We all felt it was only right that Daniel joined the ranks of the sick two days before Christmas. It’s not that we really wanted him to be miserable, we just thought it was appropriate. But he was the first one back to normal. It wasn’t fair. 

For breakfast, Jonathan and Nathan prepared scrambled eggs and turkey bacon. We opened a bottle of juice and a can of pineapple chunks as well. Mom pulled out a red tablecloth and made tea. Although it wasn’t the most elaborate meal, it was delicious. Most of us were feeling slightly better, but we weren’t sure if Josiah would be up to eating. We shouldn’t have worried, even a fever couldn’t diminish his appetite. 

After breakfast, we recited Luke chapter two and Susanna completed the nativity scene by placing baby Jesus between Mary and Joseph. Mom wanted to sing Christmas carols, so Jonathan sang while others croaked along. I remained silent because my only other options were attempting to sing, or laughing at the attempts of everyone else. Both hurt too much. We have decided to record a holiday album titled “Christmas Coughs”.  

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Although we were not planning to exchange presents until later, Jonathan and Nathan decided to hand out theirs anyway. Jonathan’s were wrapped and ready, but Nathan’s had to come out in a pillow-case and a trash bag. We really were excited about our gifts but you would never have known by watching us.  I guess Dad felt bad about not having our presents ready, because he offered to give us each something out of our stockings. It was very sweet of him, but we all thought we would prefer to wait for the complete package rather than receive it bit by bit. Well, Mom decided that there was one item that would be very much appreciated right away. So Mom and Dad presented us each with our very own pocket Kleenex packs. I hate to say it, but by the end of the day, we truly were grateful.  

While Josiah voluntarily headed for the shower (miracles do happen), the guys decided to try out their gift from Nathan, a poker set. Meanwhile, the girls and Dad opted for Christmas movies. Susanna and I tried to dig out our old musicals, but somehow the boxes in the garage had mysteriously tripled in weight. I soon gave up and we settled for It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s a great movie and everyone was enjoying it... until the VHS stopped working. We were left in suspense! Would George Bailey stay with the Building and Loan, or would he throw aside everything his father had lived and died for and work for Mr. Potter instead? Thankfully we weren’t too concerned as we practically have the movie memorized. Still, it would have been nice to finish it. 

Turns out the guys' poker game was far more entertaining anyway. Jonathan and Caleb were already out of the game, and Nathan was close behind. Almost hidden from view behind a mountain of poker chips, Daniel wore a puzzled expression on his face. Thirty seconds later, he won. I guess there is such a thing as “beginner’s luck”.  

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As most of us weren’t very interested in food, we decided to keep it simple for dinner, baked potatoes, and leftover chili. I threw some potatoes in the dishwasher (without soap) and headed for the den to join everyone in watching McHale’s Navy and Mr. Ed on the computer. The picture was jumpy and the sound was out of sync, but other than that it was great. 

Using a dishwasher to clean potatoes may sound weird, but it works wonderfully... most of the time. This just happened to be a time when it didn’t. Mom and I quickly scrubbed the potatoes and popped them in the oven. Meanwhile, Caleb was doctoring up the chili with leftover steak that Nathan had prepared for our Christmas Eve dinner. Although it may not have been a traditional Christmas dinner, I enjoyed it and I think everyone else did as well. It is an amazing thing though when a family our size has leftover leftovers. 

We all went to bed early that night, (everyone was exhausted from our exciting day). We finally opened presents on December 30th, and on New Year’s Eve, we were given our stockings (minus the Kleenex packs). I guess it was our version of the twelve days of Christmas. Anyway, the wise men didn’t give their gifts either until a little after the birth of Jesus. Maybe this will become a new family tradition (just don’t tell my siblings that I suggested it). Really though, I believe that we truly had a wonderful Christmas full of memories, laughter (although somewhat painful), and miracles.  

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Now, I know many people don’t believe in miracles, but I am convinced that miracles occur often and come in a multitude of shapes and sizes. For instance, Mr. Kreiger fixing our dryer right before we got sick so we wouldn’t need to borrow our neighbor’s clothesline anymore was a miracle. Nana being understanding and sweet when Mom told her that we couldn’t have her over for Christmas was a miracle. Our stove burner actually working on Christmas day was a miracle. Not running out of toilet paper until the morning after Christmas was a miracle. Josiah voluntarily taking a shower was a definite miracle. But the real miracle was that Christmas happened anyway. Although we didn’t celebrate in a traditional way, it was still Christmas day. There were no stockings, few gifts, we didn’t have a feast or visit with family and friends, and we couldn’t even watch It’s a Wonderful Life, but somehow Christmas came without all that.  

When I stop and think about it, I realize that the first Christmas wasn’t how any of us would have planned it either. Far from home and in a stable with animals is probably not how any young mother wants to welcome her son into the world, especially when he is the King of kings, and yet Christmas still happened. Jesus still came to earth in the form of a baby. The angels still announced His birth. The shepherds still praised God. The wise men still followed the star. And Mary was still amazed at the miracle of God’s love. Christmas still came. 

Our Grand Adventure

So... ever wonder what it's like to take a trip with a large family? Well, today I am going to give you a peek into the lives of the Macy Family and let you tag along on our trip to the Grand Canyon.

Desert View

Desert View

First, did I mention it was the GRAND CANYON we went to?! None of us had ever been before, except Mom, and that was in the fourth grade. This is a trip that we had always planned on taking, but never actually got around to... (I am sure we aren't the only family that does that, right?) Well, this year it finally happened! And it was perfect! Except for the part where it got below freezing at night when we weren't exactly prepared for that (not fun in tents)... or the fact that Daniel and Hannah came down with the flu... But other than that, it was perfect! 

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Before I get any further into our vacation, I should give you an idea of what it is like to travel with nine people, and their gear, in one vehicle. Actually, it is a lot of fun! Yes, it is a bit tighter now that we don't have any little kids, but we also have fewer bathroom stops and less crying! There are pros and cons to everything. (Although, honestly, I do miss having the younger ages in the family.) We still play some of those road trip games though, even with teenagers and adults, and we found license plates from almost all fifty states! Where were the visitors from West Virginia, North Dakota, Louisiana, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Delaware? That was our biggest disappointment of the weekend. By the way, if you ever happen to see someone in a big blue van watching cars through a camera, don't worry. It's not some creep taking pictures of random people, it's just Josiah trying to zoom in on a license plate that went by too fast. Confession time, there were a few times when someone (or several someones) asked/begged Dad to speed so we could catch up to a car and see their license plate. There is only so much a camera can do. Please, if you have an out of state license plate, do everyone a favor and drive slow! You have no idea how much joy you might add to someone's life.

Thankfully, our family doesn't mind being in close quarters, usually.

Thankfully, our family doesn't mind being in close quarters, usually.

Melissa does an awesome job of packing the van (a trait she inherited from Dad), and we managed to stay pretty comfortable on the eight-hour drive.

As I said earlier, it was colder the first night than we had expected. Everyone got up the next morning and compared how many layers of clothes they had put on throughout the night, and how little they had slept. We realized something was wrong when Daniel told us how hot he had been, and that he even had to take off his shirt and unzip his sleeping bag! Then Josiah told us that he actually had been warm and comfortable. Turns out, Daniel had quite the fever that night and acted as a heater for the guys' tent.  But he still wanted to go see the Grand Canyon, so after breakfast everyone loaded into the van and we were off!

Susanna trying to stay warm while eating breakfast.

Susanna trying to stay warm while eating breakfast.

Our first view of the Grand Canyon! Photo credit Josiah Macy

Our first view of the Grand Canyon! Photo credit Josiah Macy

Unfortunately, Daniel was only able to handle the first half of the day on his feet. After that, he slept in the van while we continued to go. There are definitely benefits to having a large van, one of which is there is more space to stretch out.

Daniel resting while everyone else enjoyed lunch.

Daniel resting while everyone else enjoyed lunch.

We were hoping that Daniel would get better without sharing with anyone else... Well, he felt better the next day and was able to keep up with us, but Hannah started to go down. Thankfully, she held it at bay until the last day, but the trip home was pretty miserable. They both would say that the trip was still worth it, though. And we would all agree!

Susanna had fun taking pictures this year too!

Susanna had fun taking pictures this year too!

Although we only had two full days at the Grand Canyon, we made the most of it! From Hermit's Rest to Desert View, we traveled the South Rim and saw almost everything in between. We managed to view both a sunset and a sunrise while there, and even though we missed part of one, and smoke obscured some of the other, it was definitely worth it! We met people from around the world (just not from West Virginia, North Dakota, Louisiana, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Delaware), saw wildlife up close, and just enjoyed being together!

Even though she felt horrible, Hannah still managed to catch the sunrise with us.

Even though she felt horrible, Hannah still managed to catch the sunrise with us.

As far as experiencing the Grand Canyon itself...

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I know everyone says this, but it is true, you cannot capture the Grand Canyon with a camera. And there aren't words to describe it! Grand is not an accurate name. It is so much more than that. How do you even begin to put words to what you are seeing? The colors, the lines, the shadows, the textures... As an artist, you can not help but feel overwhelmed by the amazing beauty surrounding you.

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I have heard people say that the Grand Canyon makes them feel small, or insignificant, but it didn't have that effect on me. In fact, I don't remember thinking about myself at all, or really, anything else for that matter. It was all I could do to just see and feel.

Even the little details surrounding us were beautiful.

Even the little details surrounding us were beautiful.

Our family is probably different that way, we love to see. Long car rides are full of talking and laughter, but also hours of contentedly watching out the windows as the world goes by. It's not uncommon for someone to say "Do you see that rock formation?" "Look at that old barn." "The light on those bushes is beautiful!" But sometimes, you can't even say what it is you are seeing because you are feeling it too deeply to put it into words. All you can do is just breathe in the beauty surrounding you. That was the Grand Canyon. Amazingly indescribable.

Photo credit Hannah Macy

Photo credit Hannah Macy

One thing I can tell you after visiting the Grand Canyon, there is not a painting or photo that can compare with being there in person. God truly is the Master Artist.

And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
— Hebrews 1:10

~Elisabeth~

Two Shows, Four Winners!

Over the past few weeks, our family has had the privilege of participating in two different art exhibits. Here is a quick update on how that went.

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Last week, several of us attended a reception for the juried art show hosted by the Lakes and Valleys Art Guild. We were delighted to hear Melissa's name announced as the second place winner! Her watercolor painting of a cactus flower is absolutely beautiful, and we are thrilled to see it recognized!

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On September 22, we attended the Generations juried art show in Palmdale and came home with three ribbons! Hannah received Second and Caleb Honorable Mention, both in the 18 to 54 years age category.

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Susanna's piece won Third in the 17 and under category!

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And, there was incredible music! Josiah performed with a jazz group, and Daniel was part of a string quartet. (Unfortunately, we didn't get a picture of Daniel's group, Augmented Fourth, but they still sounded great!) Overall, it was a wonderful night!

Although the receptions have already passed, we would still encourage you to make time to enjoy both shows before they come to an end. The Lakes and Valleys exhibit is on display at Graphic Experience, located on the Lancaster Boulevard, through November 11. The Generations art show is continuing through November 6, and is displayed at both the Palmdale Playhouse and the Legacy Commons. There are a number of extremely talented artists who participated in both exhibits and we thoroughly enjoyed viewing their art! Hopefully, you will too!

It's Not That I Don't Like the Beach...

It's not that I don't like the beach, but the beach doesn't like me.

Actually, I love the beach! I just don't have any desire to go into the water above my knees. If I can search for rocks and shells while listening to the waves crashing against the shore and watching seagulls circle over head, I am more than content. There is something incredibly peaceful about the sounds and sights of the ocean. The colors, as the sun glistens off the water creating every imaginable combination of bright blues and cool greens, both invigorates and calms. And the rhythm of the waves beating against the sand, paired with the cries of birds floating through the air, can easily lull one to sleep. Add to that the joy of finding a one of a kind treasure in the shape of a shell or rock, and you have an absolute paradise! But, as I said, the beach doesn't like me.

This guy let us walk right up to him!

This guy let us walk right up to him!

You see, I have this problem, I burn... horribly! I think I could probably get a burn from a full moon! And no, I don't tan, I just burn, peel, and repeat. So, although I was beach camping last weekend, I think I was only on the beach for a total of two hours. But, two hours, spread over three days, with a hat, sunscreen, and long sleeves, was still too long. After not being able to sleep the first night because of the pain from my burnt legs, I even went to wearing pants instead of shorts, but I still managed to keep burning!

The best time of day to walk on the beach is when the sun is going down.

The best time of day to walk on the beach is when the sun is going down.

So, I decided that as I couldn't go to the beach, I would bring the beach to our campsite. I spent most of one day drawing and painting some of the shells and rocks that we had collected. And the truth is, I think I enjoyed that as much as if I had spent the day on the beach.

A quick graphite sketch at the picnic table

A quick graphite sketch at the picnic table

Although they were quicker, looser drawings, they still forced me to take time to notice the little details. Maybe I wasn't able to see the vibrant colors of the ocean from our campsite, but instead, I picked out the subtle blues, greens, and yellows in a striped rock that would have at first been passed off as being gray. And, although I couldn't continue my treasure hunt on the beach, I began a new type of treasure hunt, right there at a picnic table under the shade of a tree. Instead of finding new shells and rocks, I was rediscovering the ones I had already found. Shapes, colors, and textures that had caught my eye the day before were now thoroughly examined and appreciated. Each one was unique and beautiful, a work of art. I wish I could have done them justice.

I love my travel watercolor set!

I love my travel watercolor set!

Looking back at how I spent my time, I could be disappointed that I was confined to the shade all weekend, while others enjoyed the sun... Or I could count my time at the beach as a huge mistake because it ended in a lot of pain... Instead, I am going to chose to remember the beauty that I experienced. So often, we look at the hardships in our lives and see only the inconvenience, but if we would only look a little closer we would see a hidden blessing behind the pain. I wish I could say that I would have taken the time to slow down and enjoy the small details without getting burnt, but the truth is, I probably would have put it off until I got home, and then I would have most likely been too busy and put it off again. But God didn't exactly give me a choice, and strangely enough, I am actually grateful. I came home exhausted and with second degree sunburns, yes, but I also returned with a reminder of how incredibly big our God is. He is always faithful to weave beauty through our lives, down to the tiniest detail. I just need to choose to look for it. And, hopefully, next time, it won't take a sunburn to force me.

~Elisabeth~

Life of an Artist

Early in May, we received the news that Christiana had won the Congressional Art Competition for the 23rd district. Our family is so proud of Christiana and her piece, Life of an Artist. We have asked her to share a little bit about her art, as well as her trip to Washington D.C. to attend the art reception honoring all of the winners from around the nation.

Congressional Art Competition 2017

Life of an Artist

Life of an Artist

Before I get started on all the amazing things we did on our trip, I should probably tell you a little bit about the piece that made this trip possible... Life of an Artist is a colored pencil drawing of Susanna, my little sister, waiting alone on stage with her cello. Now, you're probably wondering, of all the names out there why did I chose Life of an Artist? Well, whenever you put forth a new piece of art, you have opened up part of yourself, and in a way, walked onto a stage to be viewed by the world. Honestly, it can be a bit scary, and it is easy to feel alone. You wonder if people will understand what you are trying to tell them. Or if they will even appreciate the work and effort you put into making something beautiful. Ultimately, it shouldn't matter if people approve of your efforts. For me, as a Christian, the most important thing is that I use the gifts God has given me to bring honor and glory to Him.

Congressman McCarthy and Christiana in front of her piece at the Bakersfield reception.

Congressman McCarthy and Christiana in front of her piece at the Bakersfield reception.

It was a great privilege to be at the Bakersfield Congressional Art Competition reception. Congressman McCarthy's staff did an amazing job of putting it all together. They really put a lot of effort into honoring all of the winners!

Then it was off to D.C.!

The Jefferson Memorial

The Jefferson Memorial

Daniel, Congressman McCarthy, Christiana, Carol, and Mike

Daniel, Congressman McCarthy, Christiana, Carol, and Mike

Congressman McCarthy and his D.C. staff did a wonderful job of making our trip extra special, including VIP tours of the Capitol and Library of Congress!

On display in D.C.!

On display in D.C.!

I had fun meeting other artists at the Congressional Art Competition reception, all the way from Florida and Kentucky to Arizona. My favorite part of the reception was getting to view the other winners' art!

Some of the other winning pieces.

Some of the other winning pieces.

This trip was all about art, of course...

And history...

Overlooking Gettysburg

Overlooking Gettysburg

With just a touch of music to keep Daniel happy!

The highlight of Daniel's trip was getting to see the Library of Congress' collection of violins, including several Stradivarius!

The highlight of Daniel's trip was getting to see the Library of Congress' collection of violins, including several Stradivarius!

At the end of the trip, this is how we all felt...exhausted but satisfied!

~Christiana

Unexpected Beauty

The desert is full of surprises! One of those is the amazing beauty that bursts forth from an extremely painful plant.

Unexpected Beauty is currently in Sacramento at the State Capitol as a part of the California Contemporary Art Collection exhibit. It will be on display for the next eighteen months.

Unexpected Beauty is currently in Sacramento at the State Capitol as a part of the California Contemporary Art Collection exhibit. It will be on display for the next eighteen months.

A cactus and its flowers are full of contradictions. The cactus itself is a dull and earthy color, but the blossoms are vibrant and happy. The prickles (on this particular plant) are long and sturdy, and inflict plenty of pain, yet the paper thin petals of the flowers are delicate and easily damaged. I am not overly fond of the many cacti surrounding our house (I have had a few too many run-ins with them), but I am hesitant when my family talks about ripping them all out. Although they only bloom for a short season, the flowers almost erase the memory of the pain.

It's strange, isn't it? How can one small flower transform a large cactus from being something of an eyesore into the source of a hidden treasure? How can something that is the cause of so much pain produce so much beauty? How is it even possible that pain and beauty can be so closely connected?

As I worked on this painting, I was reminded of God's faithfulness to bring beauty into every situation. Especially where you least expect it.

...and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
— Isaiah 35:1b

For those who enjoy seeing the process our art goes through, here are some photos of the painting in progress. Unfortunately, the lighting wasn't always the best, so the coloring may be a bit off in some of these. Sorry!

~Elisabeth~

Happy Mother's Day!

This is just a quick post to say how grateful I am for my Mom. There is so much I could write about the many lessons I have learned from her. Or all the wonderful memories we have together. Or the countless sacrifices she has made, not just for me but for all of our family. But it would be impossible to limit it to a few paragraphs in a blog post, and as I want to actually spend some time with my Mom today rather than in front of the computer, I am just going to say that I am incredibly blessed to have such an amazing Mom. I love you Mom!

Three wonderful mothers

Three wonderful mothers

~Elisabeth~

Our Family's Seder

Our family LOVES Passover! Some may think it is strange for a Christian family to observe a Jewish holiday, but we can't imagine a year without Passover. It would be like skipping Christmas. Besides, we do have some Jewish ancestry on Mom's side (you have to go way back, but we are proud to claim any Jewish heritage).

For Passover, we pull out Mom's wedding china, the crystal, and even the nice (matching) silverware! We always put on a white tablecloth and have fresh flowers for a centerpiece. This year, Melissa's irises were blooming in time!

This was the best horseradish, (or worst, depending on whether or not you like the burn,) that Mom has ever made. You know that it is going to be good when the smell from across the kitchen makes you cry!

Caleb thought that each bite would get easier.... We are just grateful his head didn't explode! Notice the tears? That means it is good!

Taking turns reading from the Haggadah.

Taking turns reading from the Haggadah.

This is hands down our family's favorite dinner of the year! We have our traditional dishes that we only make for Passover, and yes, they rival all the Thanksgiving dishes (though our Dad does make a good turkey).

We don't have any "little kids" anymore, but the three youngest still enjoy searching for the afikomen.

Dad needs to work on his hiding skills, Daniel found it way too fast!

Dad needs to work on his hiding skills, Daniel found it way too fast!

Christiana and Susanna aren't sure it was by fair means.

Christiana and Susanna aren't sure it was by fair means.

After much haggling on Daniel's part, (Dad was enjoying his dinner,) the afikomen was ransomed back, and we were able to continue with the ceremony.

After much haggling on Daniel's part, (Dad was enjoying his dinner,) the afikomen was ransomed back, and we were able to continue with the ceremony.

We always end the evening by singing some of our favorite Passover songs and enjoying a dessert of homemade chocolate macaroons (which have to be wonderful, because I made them.)

If you have never celebrated Passover, I would highly recommend it. Passover is a time to remember the goodness of God as He brought the children of Israel out of bondage, and to recognize His hand of protection on our lives today. Whether Jewish or Christian, I think we can all use that reminder.

Next year in Jerusalem!

 

~Elisabeth~

What A Night!

We survived! Not only that, but we also enjoyed ourselves! Thank you to everyone who came and made our first solo art reception such a wonderful experience. For those of you who were unable to attend, here are a few snapshots from last night. 

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The string quartet, Augmented Fourth, was amazing! Thank you, Daniel, Sydney, Amy, and Elektra for adding so much to the evening!

The string quartet, Augmented Fourth, was amazing! Thank you, Daniel, Sydney, Amy, and Elektra for adding so much to the evening!

We are exhausted after last night, but extremely blessed by the love and encouragement we received. Our hope is that those who came also left feeling blessed. Thank you again to everyone who made last night a success!

Getting Ready for a Show!

We have our very own art show, starting tomorrow! This is our family's first solo art show and we are very excited. It has been a lot of fun preparing for it, but it has also been exhausting. I thought I would share some of the behind-the-scenes of getting ready.

Step One: Creating Art

This is by far the best part! Yes, this table looks messy, but remember, there are five artists working at this table in three different mediums.

Our family doesn't limit ourselves, we will work anywhere, with or without a dog for company.

Dickens and Christiana

Dickens and Christiana

Step Two: Frames

Once we have the art, we have to find frames. The best place to shop is in our garage and every single thrift store in our valley. I wouldn't recommend looking there for frames at the moment, though, because we did a pretty good job of buying up all the best ones.

Of course, these frames weren't all looking their finest, so we had to give some of them a little help. Black spray paint covers a multitude of sins!

Before...

Before...

and After!

and After!

Step Three: Mat Boards

Mat boards. They are so necessary but so aggravating! I love it when I can do a simple black or white double mat, and call it good. But there are times when a color is needed and we pull out every mat board we have (no matter the size) and the hunt begins.

This is a small sample of our stash

This is a small sample of our stash

After finding the perfect combination (or at least something we don't hate), I pull out the mat cutter, (I am SO grateful for that wonderful piece of equipment!), and begin to torture myself. To be fair, it could be much worse, but I HATE numbers and math. I don't measure twice and cut once, I measure at least THREE times, and I still manage to mess up occasionally. There is nothing worse than cutting the last piece of a certain color of mat board only to discover that the opening is too big for the artwork. It is devastating! 

Step Three: Assembling the Frames

This is my least favorite step, and yet it is very satisfying. After the art is finished, the frames prepared, and the mats cut, it is time to put it all together. First, we have to sign the art. Yes, technically that should have been done earlier, but no one in our family enjoys signing their art. I don't know if other artists struggle with it the same way we do, but it almost feels like graffiti!

Then comes the worst part of the entire process, cleaning the glass. It doesn't seem to matter how long I work on it, there are always more streaks. Sometimes I wonder if the glass cleaner is actually helping, or if it is only adding to the problem. And to top it all off, I have a special talent for cutting myself even when the glass has perfectly smooth edges. (I also manage to cut myself on mat board, but not with the blade that is actually sharp.) Some of the family prefer cleaning glass in pairs, one on each side. It can be a bit humorous watching two people facing each other with a piece of glass between them, staring intently at the streaks on the glass, but not seeing the person on the other side.

It is also very important to make sure that the art is secure and won't fall off the wall

It is also very important to make sure that the art is secure and won't fall off the wall

It is all worth it, though, when you hold up the complete package of a beautifully framed (and matted) piece of art.

Yesterday, we packed up 68 pieces of beautifully framed art and sent them off to the Palmdale Playhouse. Tomorrow evening, we will be there from 6:30-8:30, and we would love to have you join us! The reception is free, the people wonderful, and there will be an excellent string quartet providing music (Daniel is a part of it, so it must be excellent), and of course, there is the art. All very good reasons to show up tomorrow night! Hope to see you there!

~Elisabeth~

My Family "Does Art"

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My family “does art.” That’s a phrase that frequently you will hear me or some other members of my family use. What exactly does that mean, though? Is it tantamount to a diversion or hobby? For some that might be the case; it may just be a fun past time or creative outlet. For my family, though, it’s something entirely different. It’s a lifestyle, and more than that, it’s a form of speech that conveys messages we otherwise would not have known how to express. It somehow is a medium that allows the shy to shine and the silent to shout.

Many people who know me are probably scratching their heads, since to most I don’t seem reserved or quiet. However, like the rest of my family, there are many things I’m not able to express or to put into words. For many years that was a major source of frustration for me that that I would try to assuage with outbursts of anger and rebellion. Through all this, I was an incredibly creative person who saw the world very differently than most do and loved to repurpose things. Sometimes that was good. Sometimes that involved taking apart perfectly good, useful stuff and transforming it into a hunk of junk. In spite of my activity level and many trying qualities, my mom would encourage me that God had given me the ability to see the world differently and to use it as a way to bless others. Then she would add, “...and I pray I live to see that day!”

When I was 15 I decided to try art lessons. My younger sister Elisabeth had already started taking them and was enjoying them immensely! Even though I was sure, like so many other things in life, I would fail and just be a misfit; something inside me had to try. At this point you’re probably expecting me to say that it just clicked and that I knew I was meant to be an artist. That wasn’t the case. My first artwork, (if you can call it that,) was less than impressive. In fact, compared to my sister’s work, some might have said I should just quit. But even with that, I had found something immensely more valuable than nicely executed and rendered artwork. I had found a voice, a place where my odd view of the world fit right in. Art also turned into an excellent form of therapy. When I was frustrated I could grab my pencils and scribble, and amazingly, things would get better.

I did art, enjoying it and the process until I was 18, with each piece improving upon the one before it. At 18 I entered college and decided that now I needed to focus on more important things like school, and my career and life direction. Art would have to be something I did when I had time. Not surprisingly, I never had the time, and the years started to pass by in the pursuit of normal and responsible.

When I was twenty I was working for an Ambulance Company as an EMT. Through some circumstances that I won’t go into, I was fired. This was a very hard and devastating thing for me and sent me spinning into massive depression. Emotionally out of control, I was headed in a bad direction. My mom, a much wiser and cooler headed individual than myself, strongly encouraged me to start working on art. Reluctantly and only to get her off my back, I agreed.

I grabbed a photo of a very skeptical, and some might say angry looking Hispanic boy, and started scribbling. When I say scribbling, that is truly what I was doing, grabbing pencils with barely a regard for color and just laying down wax with a ferocity that would make most artists shudder! However, as I was scribbling something started to change. I started taking more care with my color selection and was more focused and pointed with my rendering. Amazingly, a very cool portrait of a little boy started to emerge from my scribbles. As he emerged from my pencil strokes, a better and more balanced perspective toward life emerged for me, as well. Did my drawing solve my problems? No, it didn’t. I still had many battles to fight and lies to refute. What it did do was give me a safe outlet in which to pour all the hurt, anger and mistrust I was feeling towards myself, the world and God. Art gave me a way to scream things I previously had no way to frame into speech. If you ever see this piece in person, take a closer glance at the skepticism and anger in his face. Those were the exact emotions and feelings that were going through me. Maybe it’s because of the story and our journey together, but this roughly rendered drawing is and will always be one of my favorite pieces.

I hope you understand now that when I say my family “does art,” that little innocuous phrase has so much more meaning than at first glance. Each piece we do has a story and is intricately woven into the tapestry of our lives. Some of the stories we can tell. Some we can’t, but each one is so much more than wax or paint on paper. My family will continue to do art and express ourselves through that medium because that is who we are and what we do. Each of us was created perfectly by a Master Artist who doesn’t make a single mistake with His brush. You may not draw or paint, but each of us has a talent or gift, a way to express ourselves and let our secret voices out. No matter where you may find yourself, no matter what your stage in life may be, dare to find your voice today!

~Caleb L. Macy