Friday, December 30, 2011

Answered Prayers

So, I don't have a new portrait, but I do have some AMAZING NEWS!  Do you remember Donnie?

Donnie is no longer homeless!!!  He has recently gotten his own apartment!!!  How amazing is it that his was the first portrait I worked on, and he now has a place to call his own!?  CAN YOU FEEL MY EXCITEMENT!?
     This morning I went down to get signed up to volunteer at Heartside Ministry in the Art Studio.  It was a rainy morning, I was low on gas, and I started to wonder if I should come back another time.  I got to Grand Rapids and started to see people standing around out in the cold, wet rain and realized I just needed to suck it up and get on with it.  So I parked the van, and walked 2 1/2 blocks to the building.  When I got there, I realized that not only was this place an art studio, it was shelter for these men and women from the rain.  I was pretty glad I kept going.  The person I needed to talk to was actually in a meeting, but I left my information and was hoping to hear back soon....I really want to start next week :) By the time I got home, I had an email waiting, so I replied and sent her to check out this blog.  You can imagine my IMMENSE joy and surprise after reading her response that not only did she know a few people I have already painted, but Donnie has just moved into his own place!  Now I would be foolish to think that I had anything to do with that, but I kind of do anyway!  Prayer is amazing :)  I have prayed for these beautiful souls a lot since meeting them, and I believe that you all have as well!  God listens to us!
     As you may have surmised by now, I am a reader.  I just finished the book "Under the Overpass" that was lent to me by a good friend.  It is all about two college students who decided to live out their faith by living as Homeless men for almost a year.  I am humbled by their faith, and in awe of the courage that it took to do that!  They really learned a lot in a short amount of time.  I am not saying that we should all do that, we are not all called to do that.  What I am saying is we should listen to what we are being called to do and act on it!!!  Who knows what could happen if we all did!
     Starting next week I will be back to my two a week goal (sooner if time permits).  I hope that you will all continue to watch this project unfold, sign up to be a follower if you are lurking (I am hoping that this will help as I search out a venue when the time comes), and KEEP THOSE PRAYERS COMING!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Out Live Your Life

     I am reading a book called "Out Live Your Life" by Max Lucado and am LOVING it!  It is really speaking to me as I go through this journey to ArtPrize!  For the last few years my prayers have always been in the same vein.....I am willing to follow you God, but I am not sure where you are leading me to go.  I have been praying for God to SHOUT out his plans to me, so that I do not miss His desires.  What I am that He doesn't need to shout, I need to BE QUIET and listen!
     As I was walking around downtown this year, seeing ArtPrize, God whispered into my heart, and I was willing to hear what He had to say!  People have asked me why I haven't done anything for ArtPrize yet, and the truth is, I never really felt I had anything to add to the "conversation".  I didn't want to do a piece just to do something, it needed to mean something.  Well, as I walked around this year, it was different.  I started to notice that while all of these people were roaming around Grand Rapids, they just walked right past all of the Homeless people without a second glance.  It was almost as if they were invisible.  I want my piece to speak out to them that they are worth seeing.  I want them to know that they are beautiful!  That is my wish for this project!
     At the end of each chapter of the book, there is a prayer....this one is resonating with me:
"O Lord, what an amazing opportunity you have spread our before me-a chance to make a difference for you in a desperately hurting world.  Help me to see the needs you want me to see, to react in a way that honors you, and to bless others by serving them gladly with practical expressions of your love.  Help me be Jesus' hands and feet, and through your Spirit give me the strength and wisdom I need to fulfill your plan for me in my own generation.  In Jesus' name I pray, amen"  I couldn't have said that better myself Mr. Lucado!  With that, I give you Robert.  Robert, I am praying for you today!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Short and Sweet

     Still on track with the goal of two portraits a week, here is Earl.  The color isn't coming through all that great, but it is actually an olive green that was used.  It matches his eyes :)  Sorry this is so short, but it is late and work is oh so early tomorrow.  Please say a prayer for Earl, and all of the homeless tonight.  The last few days have been pretty rainy, and as I look at these pictures while painting, I wonder how you stay warm when you are wet and have nowhere to go and no dry clothes to change into.  I am looking forward to the first of the year when it is possible to start volunteering downtown.  I hope to get a better understanding of what it is like for these people.  Goodnight Earl, I am praying for you tonight!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Samira was one of only seven women photographed for this project.  I am pretty excited for the year to end, so I can start the next step of the project.  My goal, after I have freed up some time, is to go down to Heartside Ministry to the art studio to volunteer.  I have Friday off from work, and I am hoping to volunteer there and perhaps run into some of the people I have "met" through this endeavor.  I am really upset about not having any background stories about the people I am "spending so much time with" during the painting process.  I really want to make a more personal connection through this, and cannot wait to be able to spend some time down there!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Give Thanks

     Thanksgiving is one of my favorite Holidays!  I hope that your holiday was as wonderful as mine was.  I worked in the morning and came home to the wonderful smells of a lovingly prepared dinner cooking away in the oven.  On top of that, I had a slumber party with my mom and sister's to look forward to that evening.  This week as I was preparing to give thanks, I thought of all that I have to be thankful for this year and was overwhelmed with the amount of things I came up with!  This project has really brought perspective into my heart!  My hope is that as these portraits progress, people will feel something inside of them that stirs them into action.  If anyone is looking for ways to help these beautiful people, please look into volunteering at any of the shelters downtown.  They are always in need of help.  Let's make a difference!  We have so much to be thankful for, what can we give to share a little bit of that with others?  This week I would like to introduce you to Victor and Scott.  Please feel free to leave a comment :)




Friday, November 18, 2011


So I am on track this week with the second portrait.  This is Tim.  I chose to use green for him because he has the most beautiful green eyes!!  I cannot believe that the first two pics I chose to do both had facial hair.  That isn't the easiest thing for me to portray, but I think that they turned out pretty good nonetheless.  I am so excited for this project I cannot even say.  Everyday that I have to go to my "real job" I cannot think of anything except getting home to start painting :)  I hope that everyone who has contact with me hasn't gotten tired of hearing me talk about this, because I will admit it is at the forefront of my mind.  Thanks for the excitement you have all shown, it is awesome to hear how interested everyone is in this!  I had one person give me some contact information for a group in Grand Rapids that focuses on getting the Homeless back into homes.  I am going to be doing more research into this group and encourage anyone who is interested to do the same.  Here is their website
Check them out!  Anyway, here is Tim.  Tim with the beautiful green eyes.  I will say a prayer for you today Tim!  God bless you and help you to find your way!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Well, here he is.....DONNIE!  I have officially started the painting process for ArtPrize!!!!  My goal is to finish two paintings per week, and I am well on my way this week.  I debated on the size to do....I couldn't go too large because of the sheer number of portraits, but they had to be large enough for the details of their faces to come through!  I settled on cutting a piece of my watercolor paper in half and let that be it :)  Here is the first portrait, of Donnie!  Please say a prayer for him as you look at him!  I know I did as I was painting.  I feel as though I am going to get lost in wondering what brought him to this point of his life.  I wish that we would have had more time to get to know everyone's story.  One thing I do know is that he is at a point in his life where he is experiencing a rough patch, and could use your prayer.  I hope that you will remember Donnie tonight as you cuddle up in your warm beds.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Here Goes Nothing :)

     As many of you know, I have decided to enter a piece into Art Prize next year. In coming to this decision, I realized that I only want to do a piece if it will make some sort of a difference in someone's life. To that end, my piece will be about the Homeless in Grand Rapids. It will contain the lyrics to the song "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera, accompanied by 52 watercolor portraits of the Homeless in Grand Rapids (one to represent each week of the year). I took a mission trip to Africa a few years ago, and while that was life changing for me, I have been searching for a way to serve a little closer to home. There are people right in our back yard who are hurting and struggling. I want to be able to use this gift of art that God has given to me to be able to serve them, even if it is just to let them know, publicly, that they are beautiful to God.
      After much thought, I came up with the plan to collect donations for Blessing Bags.  The donations were collected in the span of about two weeks, and put together during a Girl's Shopping Trip.  I would like to once again publicly thank EVERYONE who helped with donating items and assembling the bags!

     After a few unsuccessful attempts to contact the Homeless Missions downtown, yesterday arrived with beautiful weather.  I couldn't wait any longer!  Gayle and I set out to hand out some blessings!!!  We loaded up her car with the Blessing Bags and headed downtown.  Sara suggested a park, and so that is where we started.  I have to admit I was a little nervous at approaching people, but there was no need for that!  We introduced ourselves to two gentlemen on a bench, and explained that I am an artist doing a piece for ArtPrize next year.  We then explained the piece and asked permission to take their photos.  As soon as we did, we got their names and handed them the bags as thanks.  It created quite the buzz, and before we knew it, a line had formed :)  It was an amazing experience, one I will not soon forget!  I was worried that we wouldn't be able to find enough people to meet my goal of 52, sadly that wasn't the case.  Since leaving there yesterday, my heart has been so very full, words cannot describe it!  

     I now have the photos I need to get started on the actual piece, and I am bursting with excitement to get started on it!!!  I wanted to put together this blog so people can follow my progress!  Feel free to leave comments, and to share this with anyone who might be interested in this project!