Sandi Hester

Paintings by Sandi Hester

Category: Other

Missing Molly…

A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal. Proverbs 12:10

Our little girl of 7 years is no longer with us – she has left a huge hole in our hearts and home. She filled a bigger spot than Grady and I realized. Most of you know that we can’t have children – the Lord has closed my womb, for whatever reason He has called us, for now, to be childless and to have spiritual children instead. The Lord blessed us for 7 sweet years to have Molly to some what fill the need (in me especially) of holding and caring for a little one – she was our “baby”. Even though she wasn’t fond of kisses or being held she “put up” with me covering her in sugars and holding her as often as I could. She eventually loved being snuggled with and that was something I loved doing with her – we both kept each other warm.

Molly is a stone making machine – a bladder stone making machine that is. Schnauzers are prone to bladder stones but Molly created them WAY too quickly. A few weeks ago she had to have surgery to remove 8 stones and 2 of them were severely blocked and stuck. Two surgeons had to work very hard on her to get them removed – it was an intense surgery. Unfortunately there were complications after her surgery – she wasn’t getting better – she was getting worse. After MANY visits to the vet they found out that there were serious complications and she wasn’t going to recover from them. We had to make the very hard decision of putting her down. We spent one last long and heart wrenching night with her to say our goodbyes. She was in such pain I was glad she wasn’t suffering any more but man oh man was it hard to say goodbye to that cute little thing. She was a great dog and she was a precious gift to us for those 7 years. I’m thankful to the Lord that He gave her to us. Ok, at this point I can’t see the screen because of the tears… I think I’ll get on to the pictures – a little tribute to Molly.

These next two are my all time favorite because we should have named her Bissell or Hoover or some vacuum name because she cleaned our floors – she worked like a little mop with that beard of hers. These two are shots I got of her after cleaning the floor and ending up with a dorito chip on her nose :).

This is Molly with her best doggy friend – her cousin Madison. Neither one of them were fond of other dogs but strangely they loved each other.


These were her two favorite places to be – snuggled up with her daddy or snuggled up in her bed.

 And lastly, me and Molly the first week we got her. You sure are missed Miss Molly – we loved you dearly!

He STILL Sets The Captives Free…


The painting above has nothing to do with this post – it’s just there because this is a painting blog. There’s no way around it – this is going to be a long one. Go get a cup of coffee and sit down and let me tell you about what my Jesus did today and please forgive the many typos my proofer is busy. All I can say is that my cup overflowith. I got an e-mail from a friend with a list of opportunities to serve in the community last week. There were two that stood out to me and I responded to the easier of the two. I’ve been praying and looking for ways to look outward and serve instead of inward lately. So since this door opened I thought I would see if the Lord had anything “inside” for me. The opportunity was to go to an assisted living facility and paint nails – easy enough. So I e-mailed the contact person (Gayle) and told her I was interested in helping. Her reply was that she already had enough help. I went back and forth on if I should tell her I was interested in the second option. The second option was a call for a “special person” (sooooo not me!) to sit and read and talk to some Alzheimer’s patients in their final stages of Alzheimers. The patients are in the basement of this facility behind locked doors. Ugghh – not sure if this is for me or not – were my first thoughts – this may be too much for me – can I do this??? After praying I responded that I was interested in helping her on Fridays. She sent me a pretty detailed e-mail about what it consisted of and told me it was a position for someone who was called to do this. We e-mailed some more and decided I would meet her up there today and “test the waters”. I’ll be honest – I was nervous. I wasn’t sure if I was up for it or not. But the door was still open and I thought I would go in and see if the Lord wanted me to stay. Gayle told me she spends a lot of time in prayer before she goes so that let me know I needed to do some serious praying before I went today too. For some reason this morning I wasn’t nervous at all. My prayers consisted of asking the Lord to give me His love for these people, to help me not turn back because of my flesh, and to be with me when I went into the “dungeon” (that’s what I was imaging it to be like). My first blessing was in the parking lot meeting Gayle. I knew this had to be a special lady if she was doing something like this. Come to find out she is Tina’s (the one who first sent me the e-mail) mother-in-law. As soon as I met her I knew I was going to like her – there was a kindred spirit. After we were led down the elevator and taken behind locked doors we met some of the ladies. We sat down and the only way I can describe what happened next is that the Spirit showed up. My throat started closing up, a large lump grew in my throat and my eyes turned into living wells. I lost it. For those who know me know this is not a normal thing for me – I’m not a weepy person. I got myself together quickly but I immediately loved these women. My heart hurt for them and went out to them. I couldn’t wait to love on them for this short hour (which turned into longer than that because we were having so much fun with them). It’s been a while since I’ve laughed so much. Our time with them started by Gayle pulling out her big bag of stuff she’d brought for us to do with them. Sarah (aka the resident thief – you’ll see why in a minute) shouted when Gayle pulled the bag out – she said something to the effects of – “there’s my bag! I knew it was somewhere” – she basically accused Gayle of stealing her bag. When Gayle proceeded to pull play-dough out of the bag Sarah said, “my bag had that in it too!!!” I guess to affirm that that was HER bag. Gayle then asked one of the ladies (I can’t remember her name but she was quite unforgettable) if she wanted to play with play-dough. The elderly lady shot Gayle a horrible look and said, “Did you just tell me to go to hell? Well you can go to hell too!” I lost it!!!! Gayle said, “no I didn’t say that!” One of the ladies walking by told her to not talk like that. She wanted to know why and I told her that can hurt people’s feelings when you talk to them like that. Gayle told her it also hurt Jesus’ heart. The lady replied with, “Did He tell you that?” Gayle said, “Why yes He did.” “Hmpph” was all the elderly lady replied. I knew the day was going to be interesting after that. The whole time was filled with one conversation after another like that. These ladies were a hoot! We had the best time with them. Irene was one of the ladies sitting by me. My heart is still hurting for her. She is bound up by fear. She’s like a scared little bird who jumps at everything. At one point she started to eat the play-dough and Gayle and I both told her NO at the same time. I considered going “in” after it but thought to myself that I was pretty sure you wouldn’t die from eating play-dough, well next thing I know Gayle IS GOING IN!!! I just knew she was going to loose a finger! She came out with all her fingers in tact thank goodness. If this post wasn’t so long I would tell you the funny stories about the baby doll Gayle brought and many other funny things. Well, the hour and a half flew by and it was time to clean-up and go home. Marianne (the sweetest and cutest little thing) couldn’t find her glasses so we started looking for them. Earlier Sarah had stolen them and we had to make her give them back – so I figured Sarah had taken them again. I went to Sarah and told her she needed to give Marianne’s glasses back. That didn’t work so Gayle told her we needed her help to find Marianne’s glasses. Next thing we know she was pulling them out of her pocket and gave them to Marianne. Sarah comes over to me and tells me she really doesn’t need them that much any ways and doesn’t it feel good when you can help someone who’s in need J. It was all too abundantly good. I am going to miss those sweet ladies until I see them next week. In an hour and a half my Father gave me His love for these sweet ladies and “set the captive free” if only for an hour and a half. These ladies were first held captive by the walls of their minds and now are held behind walls of brick and mortar. Only my Jesus can set them free from both and bring Light into the dark places. I can’t wait to meet with Him again next week in the “dungeon” – a place of forgotten captives who my Savior dearly loves and wants to bring joy into their dark world.

Loosey Goosey

… at least that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. This house stuff has been a roller coaster full of ups and downs. We couldn’t find a house fast enough (well, actually we put contracts on two houses but they both fell through after the inspection) so we were down to two weeks before we had to be out of our house and finally found a rental. We had to sign a year’s lease but that should be fine since we are trying to find some land to build on. We’ll be leaving most everything packed until we move into our permanent home. I’m only unpacking the absolute necessities.  It may feel a little like camping while we’re there. I may also start doing commission paintings just to get me out of the house. I still plan on doing a post about my visit to the zoo, but I just thought I would give you an update on our move first. We close on our house Monday.

This is another painting I did from Bea’s blog – you can find this little guy in this post  – I loved him as soon as I saw him and couldn’t wait to get to my paints. I also painted the rooster in those pictures – I’ll post him soon. Back to packing…goose

Getting Ready For The Zoo

Three weeks from today we close on our house and we STILL don’t have a place to move into – to say the least, things have been CRAZY around here. We are frantically trying to find a place to rent. So in the midst of all the boxes, packing, looking at houses and rentals things are feeling like a zoo around here – so I thought I would take a break from this zoo and visit the real zoo :). One of my painting students and I are heading to the zoo tomorrow to paint/sketch! I don’t do this type of thing often (neither does Monica) but we’re feeling adventurous – really I just need a break from house stuff. I’m looking forward to the distraction. I hope I have some great paintings and pictures to share with you. It may take me a while to get them posted because we are in the thick of packing around here – and it seems like trying to find a place to live has turned into a full time job. Below is a sketch I did in my cigar journal. I painted him from a blog I follow that has GREAT photos! I contacted Bea about her blog and her pictures to see if I could use them as references to paint from – she gave me the go ahead – YIPPY!!!!! This post is where I painted the sheep from (see if you can find him) – I also painted the rooster and goose – pictures of those little guys will be coming soon – even sooner if I don’t have anything to show you from my zoo outing. Bea, thanks again for letting me use your photos – they are AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL! As always, you can click on the photo below to see it larger. No time for proofing…


Nile – A River And A Son – Both In Africa

…at least for now – the son will be coming home soon… some dear friends of ours will be bringing home their baby son, Nile, from Africa soon! You can read about their journey here. They had a baby shower and this is what I made for them. The picture is not Nile – it’s another African baby I got from a friend’s website – but I wanted something in the picture part. I LOVE the name they picked out for their precious little boy. I used my antique hand carved letterpress letters to do his name. I wanted his name to look “watery” and I think it turned out like that. You can click on the pictures to see them larger. We can’t wait to meet little Nile, Clay and Tracy!

On another note, I’d like to point out a new feature on my blog. At the top you’ll notice I’ve added new pages where you go see certain groups of paintings together. For instance if you’d like to see all my Africa paintings you can now go to the ‘missions’ page and scroll through and see all those paintings. You can also click on any of the paintings and it will take you to that post so you can read about the particular painting and see the scripture that goes with it.


close-up nile

Unexpected Finds

What do Africa, cigars, packing, and bugs have to do with each other? Probably not what you think. You can probably figure out the packing part – that’s what I’ve been doing lately, but what do the others have to do with packing – well I’ll explain. I was clearing out a bookshelf and I came across this unused cigar journal (yes, Grady used to smoke cigars – not any more though) and I was going to put it in the thrift store pile but after I opened it I really liked the paper in it and the little boxes at the top (I think that’s where you’re suppose to put the cigar wrapper or something). I thought that would be a perfect place to do a little sketch and thought I would hold onto it to use as a sketch book. I even like all the little places to put info. about your cigars – or in my case my sketches. I’ve really liked how the paint responds to the paper too. Ok, so here’s how Africa and bugs come into play. We took some books we were getting rid of to a local used book store and while I was there found a great kids book on insects and I bought it to sketch/paint from. I LOVE sketching bugs for some reason. The first bug I sketched was a beetle from Africa – which I thought was appropriate because my mind and heart and prayers have been in and for Africa after a friend sent me a blog that has been rocking my world since I first started reading it. You will be blessed from reading anything on it – but here are a couple that will make you wonder who does this? It’s a blog started by a young lady who now lives in Africa (she’s from Brentwood) and has around 14 kids and feeds and cares for 400 more. She went when she was 18 – she’s 20 or 21 now. You won’t believe what she’s done with her life. Read here and here and here to get a taste of this young girls servant life for Christ. Her posts are long but more than worth the time. It’s truly rocked my world. I have been addicted to her blog lately and can’t stop reading it! Our dinner time consists of me giving Grady the latest on Katie – Grady says he doesn’t have to read her blog because I’m telling him all about it :). Ok so was this post random or what???

green beetle

beeclose-up bee

pink butterflyclose-up butterfly


Summer Produce

summer produce

This week in class I’m going to teach my students how to do contour drawing and how to measure to get the right scale of things. We’ll be doing this by painting from a simple still life set up so I’ve been sketching several still lifes lately. Since I’ve moved my “art studio” to the bonus room (because I had to make the breakfast room back into a breakfast room for the sake of selling our house) I’ve had a lot more room to spread out. I have a table I’ve set up with a light source and I’ve been doing little fruit and veggie still lifes – I’ve really been enjoying it. I can just paint whatever I buy from the grocery that week. Sketches are so much fun to do because you’re not worried about painting a master piece – the point is to just have fun practicing your painting skills and enjoy the paint flowing on the paper. AND if the painting turns out resembling what you are painting then that’s just a plus in my book.

summer fruit

I chose a verse you might not expect for this post, but it deals with food so I think it’s appropriate. It’s found in Proverbs 31 which describes the wife of noble character. There’s much about this women I love and long to be, but there’s one particular verse that jumps out to me because a dear friend and mentor (Terry Franklin) pointed something beautiful out to me one day during bible study. Verse 15 says, “She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.” Terry pointed out that this woman was a servant to her servants. That hit me like a ton of bricks. What a beautiful picture that is – this godly woman gets up extra early (“she gets up while it is still dark”) not just to take care of her family, but to graciously make breakfast for the very people who were probably hired to get up early to make the very food they are being served. Who does that – who takes the servants place – who does the servants job? It’s such a perfect picture, and sort of prophecy, of what Jesus came to do. He picked up the servants towel and served the servants and then called us to do the same. Do we do that? DO I DO THAT? I can answer pretty quickly – no. Oh how I want to be more like that though!

balsamic lemons

I have to tell you a funny story. At the bible study where Terry was teaching on this verse a lady responded that if the Lord would give her a servant she would happily serve her! Do we think about the people who are hired to do the things we don’t want to do – do you think about your trash man and go the extra mile to make his job easier? What if we cleaned up a little extra in the public bathroom instead of making a mess for someone else to clean up. What would tomorrow look like if we looked around for “servant towels” to “pick up”… we may need to get up a little earlier to do so.

Calling all Walkers And Runners

For those of you who like to get out and walk or run I wanted to let you know about something exciting coming up this month – the 3rd Annual Hendersonville Classic.  This event supports the Cumberland Crisis Pregnancy Center which we are HUGE fans of.  It’s a great ministry that is making a big difference in our community and for the Kingdom!  Grady and I are very involved in this ministry – it’s near and dear to our hearts.  You can find out all the information about the race here.  They commission a local artist each year to do the art work that will go on the t-shirts and on the posters for the sponsors.  They asked me to do it this year!!!  Below is the picture that will be on the shirts :).  If you’ve participated in this run/race in the past leave a comment about your experience in the race.

H-vill classic fish

God Sends The Rain

He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5:45

It was like a monsoon this weekend!  Grady was on a fishing trip all weekend so I was home alone during the soggy weekend.  I did a little painting here and there in between working on the house.  I did another painting for Different Strokes (a blog that posts one picture and artists paint their version of that photo) this weekend.  It seemed appropriate to do a wet scene with all the rain this weekend.  I did two versions and posted the first one on the site.  Grady had a great time on his fishing trip.  I was so thankful they didn’t get all the rain we did – they had great fishing weather.  I know this is a painting blog but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to brag on my husband – check out one of the whopper fish he caught :).


Sketches – Coffee Cups

Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup.  Psalm 16:5

My cup overflows.  Psalm 23:5

This is my third, last, and favorite painting of Aaron Lifferth’s that I painted.  I thought since there were two cups in the painting I would give you two scriptures about cups.  Here is Aaron’s original I painted from (just thought I would say again that Aaron gave me permission to post these).

If you’ve been checking the blog for pictures or paintings from our ski trip I’m sorry there haven’t been any – and there won’t be any until we get home.  Our lap top crashed on us the first day here.  I’m posting this from a computer here in our hotel.  We are having a blast though!!!  We’ve had a TON of snow here and have just really been enjoying each other, the snow, and the Lord.  I don’t ski as much as Grady because I just don’t have the strength to ski all day like Grady does, so I spend a lot of time in the room reading and painting.  This time I’ve done a lot more reading and just quiet time with the Lord than painting.  I’m not sure what the deal is, but it seems like my painting is just gone for right now – the Lord seems to give it at times and He takes it at times.  I’m kind of glad though – instead of painting I’ve spent some much needed time with the Lord on this trip – it’s been very refreshing – I do feel like my cup is overflowing -I needed this fill-up.  Isn’t it strange how sometimes you can be bone dry and not even know it – well, you may know it but when you’re dry you don’t tend to do much about it. I’m thankful the Lord made me do something about it – He made me be still and drink from His river – I love how tenderly He tends His sheep – His dumb needy sheep – that’s what I am and I’m not afraid to say it!  This dumb, needy, thirsty sheep is enjoying her time with her Shepherd.  Grady’s out on the slopes right now – going down some slopes I wouldn’t even be able to scoot down on my behind they’re so steep – and he’s probably singing his head off with his ipod on – he has some great worship time out there on those mountains.  If you see a lot of typos it’s because my proofer is out worshiping his Creator :).