Friday, January 21, 2022

Keeping Busy with Watercolor Birds

These are crazy days. The pandemic still rages, although I do believe (not an original thought with me) the widespread, contagious nature of the Omicron variant will likely spell the end of the pandemic—everyone will pretty much have already gotten it. 

It is the most highly contagious disease I have never witnessed. And though the symptoms seem much milder than with the original Covid and the Delta variant, there are some who have gotten very sick with it. And it doesn’t seem to matter the vaccination (and/or boosted) status.

All that to say, for me, I have been staying in a lot lately. Not because someone mandated it. Because it makes common sense to me. People are contagious without knowing it. I don’t want to get it, nor do I want to be the cause of someone else getting it. My own common sense, when it comes to my personal health care management, has served me well for MANY years. Right now it is telling me to avoid unnecessary contact. 

So, I don’t mind so much staying in a lot, since (1) it’s MY decision and not a mandate; (2) it’s raining every day here in Washington anyway!

I’m enjoying doing some more watercolor practice, and for some reason, I am “drawn” to painting birds. I’m especially fond of birds that are found in Missouri. We had a lot of cardinals on our five acres there (before we sold out and relocated full-time to Washington state). I always loved watching them. I have painted several, and for this one (as well as the bird below it), I “loosely” followed a tutorial by my art teacher from Australia, Louise De Masi (who has been extremely ill with Covid, complicated by her asthma). Interesting that she painted these two birds that are “Missouri birds” to me.

Cardinal (not found in Washington but MANY of them visited our woods in Missouri)

Barn Owl

This is a Barn Owl. I didn’t see one of these in Missouri, as they are of course nocturnal. I researched it some and learned that there are seven owls in Missouri:  
Barn Owl

Screech Owl

Long-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl

Great Horned Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Barred Owl

This was the reference photo that Louise used:

I also found this information about Barn Owls (from

With their heart-shaped face, Barn Owls are one of the most adorable owl species in North America. These birds do not belong to the true owl family and are the lone species of their genus.

These birds have irregularly placed ears, with the left one slightly above and the right one slightly below the eyes. Because of their irregular ears, they have the strongest hearing capabilities among all owl species and can pinpoint the exact location of their prey.

Louise De Masi sometimes paints in a fairly realistic style (the cardinal might be an example of that), and at other times, in a fairly loose style (as is the case with this barn owl). So, if a professional artist can switch around with painting styles, I suppose it’s okay for me to do that, as well.

On my art table for soon: more birds!

#watercolorpractice #watercolor #watercolorbarnowl #watercolorcardinal #LouiseDeMasi #BirdsofMissouri

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

The Sparrow and Me

This is a sparrow. My art teacher from Australia, whose tutorial I followed to paint him, said “It’s a sparrow.” I researched, and apparently, looking at the “cheek patch” as an identifying characteristic, it is a Eurasian Sparrow, to be precise.

I like the reference(s) to the sparrow in the Bible, and I also like the OLD song about how God watches over the sparrow, so how much more does he watch over his child (ME)!

"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:29–31).

His Eye is on the Sparrow (Lyrics by Civilla D. Martin)

  1. Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
    Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
    When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
    • Refrain:
      I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
      For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
  2. “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
    And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
    Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
  3. Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
    When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
    I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

#watercolorsparrow #HisEyeisontheSparrow #EurasianSparrow #watercolorpractice #LouiseDeMasi

Monday, January 3, 2022

Trees and Fruit and Generations

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the passing of time, and what that means. I’ve always had an extraordinary sense of “eras” and “seasons;” intentional remembering has always been important to me.

Probably because we now live full-time in the same town as our son/wife and grandson/wife/their babies, I am acutely aware of “the generations.” (There are four now.)

My husband and myself with our son and daughter-in-law (far left) and our grandson and his wife and their son and daughter.

My husband with our daughter (2 days out from hip replacement!) and her husband and son.

(Not able to celebrate in-person Christmas with us this year, our granddaughter who is a missionary in Mexico and another granddaughter and her husband.)

Yes, we are so multi-generational now. How did this happen so quickly? See what I mean about the passing of time? Even for someone who is constantly aware of it, it’s still shocking how fast we got here!!

As a Christ-follower, I think about what these things mean for me— phrases come to mind, like…
Aging gracefully
Finishing well
Successful aging
Bearing fruit
Teaching the next generation
My Legacy

In today’s Bible study, I was looking at some relevant verses.

From Psalm 92:12-15:

12 The righteous thrive like a palm tree

and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon.
13 Planted in the house of the Lord,

they thrive in the courts of our God.

14 They will still bear fruit in old age,

healthy and green,

15 to declare, “The Lord is just;

he is my rock,
and there is no unrighteousness in him.”

Then when I queried for the passage about “generations,” this came up in my search. After the passage is an article about that passage.

Psalm 78:1-8
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
    incline your ears to the words of my mouth!

I will open my mouth in a parable;
    I will utter dark sayings from of old,

things that we have heard and known,
    that our fathers have told us.

We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.

He established a testimony in Jacob
    and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
    to teach to their children,

that the next generation might know them,
    the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,

    so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
    but keep his commandments;
 and that they should not be like their fathers,
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast
 whose spirit was not faithful to God.



June 5, 2017 by Mike Livingstone (Lifeway editor)

In Psalm 78 Asaph addresses the importance of the home and the vital role of parents and grandparents in leading the next generation to know, love and serve God.  The psalm answers four critical questions regarding our responsibility to future generations: who, what, why, and how?


Who’s responsible for teaching the next generation? Take a look at verses 5-6: “He [God] commanded our fathers to teach … their children so that a future generation—children yet to be born—might know. They were to rise and tell their children.” Notice at least three, possibly four generations are mentioned in these verses—fathers, their children, the children yet to be born, their children.

From the time God established His covenant with Israel, He commanded parents (dads are to take the lead) to teach their children, who in turn would teach their children, who then would teach their children. The “command” to which the psalmist was referring in verse 5 is likely Deuteronomy 6:6-7. The same command is found in the New Testament, “bring [your children] up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). The responsibility to disciple children falls squarely on the shoulders of parents, and this requires a strong intentionality on our part.


What must we teach the next generation? Again, the answer is in verse 5: “He established a testimony in Jacob and set up a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children.” The first two lines of verse 5 are parallel, meaning “testimony” (or “statutes,” “decrees”) is synonymous with “the law.” The word testimony is sometimes used in the Old Testament to refer to the tablets of stone on which the Ten Commandments were written (Ex. 25:16). This word relates to what God has required of His people. The word for law here is torah and means “instruction. In this context, it refers to the commandments in the Mosaic law. The emphasis in verse 5 is clear: it is God’s inspired and authoritative Word we must teach to our children.


Psalm 78 also answers the “why” question. “So that” in verses 6-7 means “to the end that” and points to the desired outcome of an action.

  • So that they “might know” God through His Word (v. 6)
  • So that they might trust Him (“put their confidence in God,” v. 7)
  • So that they would obey Him (“keep his commands,” v. 7).

We teach so that the next generation will know, trust, and obey God. This desired outcome goes beyond just hoping our kids will stay out of trouble. For us, it means we seek to raise up faithful and passionate followers of Jesus Christ.



 How are we to teach the next generation? Again, Psalm 78 provides answers.

  • Tell the stories of things God has done (“the praiseworthy acts of the Lord, his might, and the wondrous works he has performed,” v. 4).
  • Teach what God requires of us (v. 5, “a testimony … a law”).
  • Warn against sinfulness (v. 8)

All of the above requires that we be intentional about our responsibility to make disciples of the next generation.


Volumes could be/have been written on this topic. These are just my thoughts today.

#generations #aginggracefully #successfulaging #finishingwell #bearingfruit #legacy