Thursday, I was in the car traveling back from an assembly meeting in Oklahoma, so I had time to read a little in my new book The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin and write two blog posts.  I received a blessing from the church services I was in at the assembly meeting, and I would like to share my notes on one of the messages I heard.  (An audio recording of the message may be posted on churchofgodpreaching.com soon).

Bro. Leslie Busbee preached on waiting on the Lord.  First, he read a remarkable collection of scriptures that illustrated different elements of waiting on the Lord.

Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
(Psa 27:11-14)

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
(Psa 37:1-8)

Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
(Psa 37:34)

And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
(Isa 25:9)

And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.
(Isa 30:18)

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
(Isa 40:31)

And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity. And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
(Lam 3:17-27)

Many Biblical Characters are inspiring examples of one that trusted and waited on God.  First, there is Noah.  One hundred years passed between the time God told him to build the ark and the time God sent the rain.  Imagining the faith that would have taken, I was encouraged to have patience and faith while doing what God has told me to do.  Abraham also had to wait on the Lord for the son promised to him.  All of God’s promises are true, and it is impossible for him to break even the smallest one.  We can expect he will fulfill his word, but we must wait patiently for his timing.  Joseph is another example in waiting on the Lord.  God gave him dreams that foretold the position he would have, but I am sure that did not look very likely after his own brothers sold him into slavery and he was forgotten in a prison for two years.  Thirteen long years passed in slavery before he was remembered and placed second to Pharaoh, King of Egypt.  God had a purpose through all of it though, and Joseph’s persisting faith in God was very admirable.  Then David, who was anointed King when he was young, did not have the throne until he was thirty, and for many of those years he was running for his life.   His story—and many others—show that God has a plan for our lives, but many times we are not able to see how he is working through our current experiences to get us to that place.  It is easy for us to get discouraged and think life is getting in the way of God’s purpose.  Just remember that nothing can limit God.  Have faith and wait.   We also need to wait on the Lord for guidance.  Paul, in his missionary travels, often had to wait on God to lead him to the place God wanted him.  The story of his journey to Philippi is one such example. (Act 16:6-15)  If Paul had not waited for the direction of the Lord and gone instead where he thought best, Lydia, “the seller of purple”, would not have been blessed as she was, and many others may not have been saved.  This story is a challenge to wait on the Lord act when he speaks.

It pleases God when we wait on him, accept his timing, and follow his leading.  He is honored by our trust in him, and we will be rewarded for our faith.



Surface Inspiration

Lately, it seems like the potter’s wheel has been calling me.  Yesterday, as I played volleyball, I was lamenting my inability in sports and felt like throwing something. (pun intended)  No matter how many times I mess up on the wheel, it is still so rewarding.
I was in Hobby Lobby today and picked up some inspiration:

Wouldn't it be so classic to do something like this in under glazes?  I think this effect could be accomplished by applying a base coat of white under glaze, and then carefully painting a design in blue (for a classic look) or another color such as lime green (for a chick look).

Then I saw this vase and was interested in the texture.  I think they must have used wax resist on some of the raised areas.  I love the distressed look, and I want to try it sometime.

Two other surface techniques I can’t wait to experiment with is slip trailing [using a brush or a syringe to apply slip in intricate designs] and Sgraffito [scratching through one under engobe to reveal the layer beneath].  I only read about them in my ceramics class, but now I’m thinking of all the possibilities they open up.

This is a pitcher I found on Pintrest, and I wondered if I could do that--or something similar--with slip trails.

Sgraffito is an ancient technique, but I think it can have a modern look too.



Texture Layers

Today, I'm going to share another edited photo and its journey.

This is the original picture my sister took.

I first edited it in Picasa 3 by adding a colored tint and preserving a little of the color. (this may not make sense unless you have the program, but, hey, it's free!)  Then I added a glow effect and adjusted the setting until it reminded me of an old picture.

I could have stopped there, but I remembered this awesome website that has free textures, so I headed over there and grabbed a couple.  I was going to look for a winter-y looking one, but I got distracted with all the cool "grunges".  I used Paint.net to open the picture and the texture.  I copied the texture and pasted it in another layer on the picture.  Then I changed the blending mode and the opacity.

[click image for larger view]

This is the second texture with two examples of blending modes.

I think I'm going to enjoy all the textures Shadowhouse creates.  They look so good!


You Are More Than a Friend

Neosho, Mo
Sept. 5, 1943

Dear Mac,

Will write some to you this Sunday evening. We had quite a lot of company today, and they all just left a little while ago. So I thought I would have a little time to do some writing before time to go to the night service.
 This evening finds me with a strong determination to keep following the Lord. In following Christ, we never know just where He might choose to lead us, or what kind of experience He will lead we though. But I'm sure of this, that so long as we follow Him we will be safe from every danger. Sometime He chooses to lead us thro' some rough places, but if we just fearlessly follow on, with our confidence fixed in Him, then we can enjoy the blessings that come afterward. The Lord wants a people who are not afraid to suffer. Those who become afraid don't get the blessings. For my part, I like to be blessed, so I would rather be willing to bear hardships for a while, & then enjoy the sunshine.

We sure had a good meeting this morning. Bro Strech preached. His text was Ps. 16:11. I received many good thoughts. It was very encouraging.

We also had a good Sun. School lesson. I am taking the Junior class now. No one else seems to think they can teach it, since they don't have any literature to teach from.  So I gave the Primary class over to another Sister. I feel quite at "home" when I'm teaching children, but it was like hard work trying to teach the young people's class there in Langdon.

My Mother, my oldest sister & her family were her today for dinner. Also my Uncle and Aunt from Pitcher , Okla. We enjoyed the day very much. My sister lives about 30 miles from here. She is two years older than I am. We are pretty close pals, & love to be together.

I received you welcome & encouraging letter yesterday.  And I must say that I enjoyed it.  And many, many thanks for the picture. I was very glad to get it.  No I can see you, even though you are not here in person. Yes, I will remember to send you one of my pictures when I have some made. It is so hard to get any made in Neosho any more since the Army Camp is here. The town is so crowded & it's hard to get anything done. But I will see about it in a few days, & if I don't get to have any mad, I’ll try to find one among my old ones to send you, but they are not very good.

Mac, I will say again that I enjoyed your letter. I could feel the fellowship of the Spirit of God, like I could the short time we were together. I am glad to know of your earnestness to please the Lord in every way you can. And I have confidence in your life.

I had wondered if you would be back in Ala. when I heard from you again. I'm sure the Lord knows where He can use you best, & that He will lead you & let you know His will. It is a wonderful privilege that we have of committing our way unto the Lord, & letting Him guide us. As Bro. Strech often says that he has nothing to worry about since he belongs to the Lord, for he doesn't have to plan or decide what he should do in the future. Instead of that he just moves when the Lord says so, & lets Him do the planning of His life. So I think that is a happy way to live. We don't have to worry about how things will work out, but all we need to know is God's will from day to day, & then obey Him as He leads us.

Yes, it will be alright with me for you to come and see me. I have no objections at all. I would be very glad if we could talk face to face again as I believe we could better understand each other, & also I think it would be easier for us to understand what the Lord would have us to do. What I mean is that if we could talk over our leadings & what our burdens are concerning the Lord's work, we could know better as to whether our work would blend together. It seems to me that the only way two could prosper for the Lord would be that they would both be interested in the same line of work. If we were that way, and united our efforts, surely we could be a help to each other, and could be stronger in His service. Is that the way you see it? There are many things I would like to talk about, but would take too long to write it. --Probably you feel the same way.

I sure appreciate the way you feel about wanting the Lord to lead us. If you didn't feel that way about it, I'm sure that I couldn't feel free to consider your question. But as it is, I believe we are both agreed that we want the Lord to have His way in the matter.

And in answer to another question--yes Mac, I do think more of you than just a friend. and I can say this, that if the Lord should lead us to be together that I wouldn't need to do like the woman you mentioned that said she had to pray for the Lord to put love in her heart. Although I hesitate to think too much about that until I first know the Lord's will. For I think it would be harder to give up for the Lord to have His way if I should. I hope you understand my thought. I think we learn many things by experience. And I have learned to be rather slow & let the Lord work first. Maybe you have had the same experience. But what I want to say is this. I we first know God's will in the matter and then if He wills it that we should be together, and we always keep Him between us, our love will be more sweeter & more lasting. And as you said, when the Lord leads two that way, they continue to be a greater blessing to each other as time goes on. And I'll say this, I've never seen anyone that I have felt as much fellowship with as I have with you.

Well I'm in a hurry now. I guess you can tell that by the mistakes I've been making in my writing. I don't know if I have explained my thought so you can understand me or not, but if not, just be free to let me know it. When I try to hurry I get mixed up & can't say what I want to.

Well I must bring this to a close. Continue to remember me in your prayers, & I will do the same for you.

Yours in Christ,
Carrie Wyatt.


In Remembrance, On Her Birthday

She loved us, and we loved her.

She loved spending time with her family, and she would do anything to make us happy.


Abalone Shell Ocarina

When I came into ceramics class this semester, I knew nothing about clay.  Our first assignment was to make an ocarina.  Ancient cultures had made these whistles ages ago, and we were instructed to make our own.

Our ocarina was supposed to be a natural object, and while shopping in Michael's, I found my inspiration: an abalone shell.

I began with two pinch-pots formed into the basic shape I was wanting.  Once I had both pieces formed and matching up, I scored the edges, painted on slip, and pressed the two pieces together.  Then I scored the seam and blended it.  Now it was one piece of clay instead of two.  I carved the seam of the shell, but before I added too much detail, I made the mouth piece and the aperture.  It took lots of testing and adjusting, and we joked about walking out of the studio unaware of brown smudges on our mouths from the raw clay.
Carving the textures and designs took a lot of time.  I'm glad now that I took that time because I love the feel of the surface.  After the little thing was bisque fired, I painted it with under-glazes and fired it again.
Overall, the form is a little exaggerated and stylized, and I think the earthy and cool pallet worked well with it.



The Word of the King

Ecclesiastes 8:4  Where the word of a king is, there is power:  and who may say unto him, What doest thou?

When God speaks to one of his children, his word has the highest authority.  Whether others scoff or praise, only God's opinion  truly matters.  Have faith and obey.



Air Mail

Little messages to those I want to thank...

...and a special "Thinking of you" card.

I drew the bird on an old book page (with a reed pen) and scanned it to print it out on card stock. I used a bit of cheap eye shadow on the bird for a tint of color and some shimmer.  I found a vintage postcard online and added my "Thank You" message.  To finish the printed postcards, I glued patterned paper to the back and ink-brushed the edges (one picture shows the difference that made).  For the "Thinking of you" I sent the bird with some cheery music notes and added my message with stamps.  Now--to send out my little messenger birds...


Ceramics Christmas

Today was a happy day--almost as good as Christmas.  I walked into the ceramics studio and most of the students were gathered around the glaze shelf.  Our projects were out of the glaze firing!  It was my first time to hold in my hands a finished ceramic piece knowing that I was the artist that had formed it.  The semester is coming to a close, and projects are getting completed.  That means more art posts are coming. :)

Introducing my mug and bowl set!  This has been such a new and exciting experience for me.  Throwing.  Trimming.  Pulling handles.  Carving.  Glazing.  I enjoyed every bit of this project.  I can't say that about every project.  Some can give me quite the headache!  On this set, I chose a simple design that I knew I would like.    It is decorative and flowing.  Before glazing it with "Turquoise Magic", I brushed on some iron oxide around the detail.  The result: a feminine, antique appearance.


I Was Glad to Receive Your First Letter

Guthrie Okla.
920 W. Manrur ave.
Sept. 2, 1943
Dear Carrie,
It is with much pleasure that I write to you again.
I received you very welcomed and interesting letter last Tue.  We went over to D--- camp-meeting Tue. morning, and when we got back there were two letters waiting for me, one from you and one from my Mother.  I was really glad to get my first letter from you.  I am glad that you and Mildred had a safe trip home, although I am sorry that you had to wait so long and the didn't have a very comfortable ride, but I am glad that I know you had a comforter within your soul, which, when we have, makes the roads not seem so hard as they do to others who have no comforter.
Well this finds me still saved and happy in the Lord.  I am truly thankful that God made a way that all man-kind might be saved, not only be saved, but that he has fixed a way so that we can stay saved.  Truly he has fixed the way.  (not man)  I often think of that song where it says "Had I the choosing of my pathway, In blindness I should go astray, And wander far away in darkness, Nor reach that land of endless day."  I am thankful that God loves us so much to deal with us in his many ways.  I am sure he lets us suffer some time to keep us from going astray, such dealings with us is only God's mercy, yet I don't want to presume up-on the mercy of God, but as you said in your letter, I want to live very close to God that I might prove faithful in all things that I have to do with.  I am glad that God saved me, so I can help others to find rest too.
Carrie, I am sure you don't know how much I appreciated your letter.  It seemed to be with such sincerity and with truth.  I am very glad that you are taking my questions in consideration and that you are praying about the matter.
Truly this is a matter that needs to be considered very carefully with much prayer, and then waiting upon the Lord for his leadings.  I know he will lead us right.  The Bible says, "The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry." Pro 34:15.  (I only want the will of God to be done.)
Bro. Gibson and Family were down here last week and so he did the preaching down at the chapel Sun. morn. and Sun. night.  In one of his sermons (I forget which one) he mentioned about when he was first saved and that he met the saints about then (This was before he was married)  He said that he wanted a wife but that he felt unworthy of getting married to any of the saint girls.  Well I said that to say this, that I too feel unworthy of asking you to be my wife.  I wasn't asking you because I felt worthy but because I felt it was God's will.  You can be sure that I would not ask you to do such a thing unless I thought it was his will.  I have to much respect for you and for God to do such a thing.  I wouldn't want to ask any one to do any thing that I thought would be a hindrance to them in serving the Lord.  If two people were to marry out of the order of the Lord I know life wouldn't be near so happy or useful had they let the Lord lead them.  So if I were to be wrong in my request it would only be through ignorance, but even at this (at my sincerity) I am just glad to commend you to pray about the matter, and then do as you know God wants you to do.
Carrie, I still say that you have won a place in my heart that no other girl has ever won.  I really enjoyed being with you better than any other girl that I have been with.  The fellowship was more sweeter with you than with any other.
Carrie can you say that you love me more than just a christian friend,  I can say that about you, although I am sure that even divine love can be increased toward one another.  I heard one Sis. say that she had to pray for God to put love in her heart for the man he had shown her to marry.  I heard another Sis. say that she thought her and Husband loved one another to the fullest extent before they were married, but now the have been married over nine years and she said that their love was continually increasing.  ( They are saints.)  I believe when 2 Christian people unite in holy matrimony that their life continues to be a greater blessing to each other as each day of their life flows by.
You spoke in your letter about wondering what I was doing while you was writing (Sun).  Well I was probably up here in my room reading or writing  some.  I write quite-a-few letters and also read quite-a-little bit.  I was reading in a book entitled "Birth of a Reformation: Life and Labor of D.S. Warner".  This was Published by Gospel Trumpet quite a little while after they compromised and thereby some of it didn't seem to be as interesting as it should have been.
Yes Carrie I would love to been able to have went along with you to church, I am sure I would have enjoyed your company and I am also sure I would have enjoyed the meeting.  I have gotten much good out of all the sermons that I have heard you preach.
If I should be able to make a visit up to Neosho some time would it be alright with you for me to come and see you?  I am still waiting for the leadings of the Lord concerning me leaving here and to know just where he would have me to go.  So I was just thinking that if I went back to Ala. I would love to see you before I left, if it was God's will.
Manuel Mitchell in leaving for La. (his home) to morrow and Dorthy Byers is leaving for New Mexico to morrow.  She is going down to Clovis N. Mexico where she expects to be in a revival meeting with her Sis. and with other saints there.  She doesn't know just how long she will be gone.  I might be the Lord's will for me to stay on here a while longer.  If it is I will gladly do so.   I thought I would have already been gone but the Lord hasn't made me feel clear to leave yet.
Well it is getting time to bring your letter to a close for this time.
May the God bless you and comfort your heart is my prayer.
           T. V. McMillian

P.S. I am sending you a picture that I had made last winter.  Don't forget I still want one of you when you get it, please!

More About My Grandparents

I realized that about three pages of grandpa's first letter somehow got deleted.  If you have already read it and wondered about the odd sequence, it is worth it to go back and read the part I added (pages 8-10).
As I read these letters, I started wondering a little more about some of the things not fully explained in the letters (e.g. their ages).  I'll share a short summary of what I learned.

This is how I remember them, but it is fun to imagine what they were like at my age.
From their obituaries, I learned that Thomas Vada McMilliam (Mc) was born in 1923, and Carrie Elizabeth Wyatt was born in 1919.  This made great grandpa twenty and great grandma twenty-four at the year of their first letters.  My dad said that grandma had started preaching at age eighteen, and my mother agreed that it was not uncommon back then.  Also, as alluded to in grandma's letter, her parents were not together.  I believe her mother left when she was still very young.  Grandpa met grandma at a meeting (I suppose the one that both mentioned in their letters) and apparently he wasted no time in asking her to marry him.  Thus, the letters began.


I Will Pray About The Matter

Neosho, Mo.
Aug. 27,1943
Dear Mc,
I received you letter yesterday.  Was very glad to know you had a safe trip back to Guthrie, and that the Lord blessed you on the way.
Mildred and I had a safe trip too, but part of it wasn't so pleasant.  We rode on the Streamliner to Kansas City.  It was alright that far.  Then we had to wait there six hours for the next train.We went out and hunted a cafe and ate our dinner.  Then we waited the rest of the time in the depot.  When we got on the nexte train, it was really crowded.  We thought we were going to have to stand up, but two men got up and gave us their seat.  It was a real old train, and wasn't very comfortable to ride on.  We got to Joplin that night at 11:30.  So we got a cab and went to Mother's house to stay until the next day.  Joplin is 19 miles from Neosho.  Mildred went to her home from there, and I rode a bus on home Tuesday evening.  Well I feel like I have so much to praise the dear Lord for.  He has been blessing me in so many ways the past few weeks.  Mildred and I were talking while we were on our way home about how much God has been doing for me.  I told her I didn't feel like I deserved the many good things.  She said, "I guess the Lord knows how many blessing he can trust you with."  I guess that is right, but I sure don't feel worthy of them all.  But the desire of my heart is to keep very close to the Lord, and do all I can for Him.  I know I could never do enough to repay Him for what He does for me, but I will at least try to do all I can for Him in helping others, and be ready to do more when He calls on me.
It truly is a happy and contented life to serve the Lord.  The world is in trouble, and people are going here and there seeking for pleasure, and yet are not satisfied.  But thank God, we have found something that satisfies every longing of our heart.  There is no thirsting for the pleasures of the world, but all we are hungering and thirsting after is more of God and His righteousness.  And what I like so well about that, is that the Lord never turns us away, but gives us everything we need, so that we can know how to serve Him better.  I surely want to learn more about this great salvation.  We only get a taste of it when we are first saved, and as we draw nearer to God, it becomes more precious to our souls.  Truly I value this salvation above everything else in the world.  It makes us happy here, and also prepares us for our next home where our joys will have no end.  So it is worth striving for, isn't it?  And worth suffering for, too.
Well it seemed good to get back home after my trip.  I enjoy being out in the Lord's service, but I'm always glad to get home after the meetings are over.  The help and encouragement I received at Langdon in those good meetings will never be forgotten.  I feel that I got more strength, and so I want to be more able to do more for the Lord by the help I got.
I can say that the talks I had with you were very encouraging to me.  I was glad to see your earnestness to please the Lord.  That helped me to want to be more careful to do my best for Him.
The few hours we spent together werea pleasure to me.  I enjoyed the fellowshp, and talking of our work for God.  That is a subject I love to talk about, because my heart is in this work.  And I could tell that you were interested in the same thing, so I enjoyed your presence.
I will now try to answer some of the things you asked me about.  I hardly know just what I should say yet about our future, as to whether the Lord would have us to spend our lives together in His service or not.  But I'll say that I will consider it, and pray over the matter.  I surely want the Lord to be our guide, and to let us know His will.  For when the Lord leads us, He always leads us right.  I know that within myself I wouldn't know what would be best.  But when we let the Lord have His way in our lives, we can always feel satisfied.  So however He can use us best in His service, that is the way I want it to be.
Then you told of how you felt more burdened to work among unsaved people.  And you asked if I felt burdened for that kind of work.  Yes, I can say that I have for quite a while.  I have enjoyed working in new places more than anywhere.
Although I haven't had an opportunity to work in those kind of places very often, but I enjoy it.  That is one reason I enjoyed the meeting so much at Langdon.  Yet I have never knew just where the Lord would have me to go.  There are 6 or 7 ministers here at Neosho, and I have said many times that I didn't know just why the Lord would call me to preach when there are already so many here.  But I have felt like it has been good for me to be here to get a good start, and become established.  Bro. Strech has been so much help to me.  But my future is in the Lord's hands, and I want to be a useful servant for Him wherever He leads.
Mc [pronounced Mac], if you feel that the Lord wants you to wait until you become more established before  you do much preaching that is alright.  you do whatever you feel that He wants you to do.  It that is the way He is leading you, just wait on Him.  Then as He leads you out, you can feel more free and more bold for Him.  You know yourself what the Lord wants you to do better than anyone could tell you.  When we are patient and willing for God to have full control of your life, then we can go forth with boldness to do his will.
Mc, I don't have a very good picture of myself now, but I have been intending to have some made, so if they are any good, I will send you one.  And I would be very glad to have one of you.
Will I must be closing for this time.  Keep encouraged, and God bless you.
Your Sister in Christ,
Carrie Wyatt.
Well here it is Sunday afternoon.  I wrote this letter Friday night, and thought I would mail it Sat. but was too late getting it to the mail box.  We live 1/4 mi. from the box, and I thought Dad was going to town so I was going to let him mail it there.  And when I found out he wasn't going, it was too late to catch the mail man.  I thought I would write a little more since I didn't get it mailed, and also explain so woul wouldn't think I just didn't want to write sooner.
Well I wonder where you are today.  I hope you are enjoying yourself.  We had a good meeting this morning.  Bro. Strech was gone to visit some folks, so we missed him a lot.  I guess he will be there for the night service.
I still had som more exercise for the Lord today, as I had to preach again this morning.  I felt so weak withing myself.  But I didn't want to fail the Lord, and then He didn't fail to help me.
Anna and her husband and baby came home with us today for dinner.  We have enjoyed ourselves together.  We always have company on Sunday, unless we go somewhere.  It wouldn't hardly seem like Sunday if we didn't have someone else with us.
Well it is time to start getting ready to go to meeting, so I must hurry.  Wish you were here to go along with us.
Goodbye for this time,