Sandi Hester

Paintings by Sandi Hester

Category: Scripture

I’m Full

I don’t have time to be writing a post right now – but I must – I must brag and show off my God. Ever been overflowing and you didn’t have time to boast about Him, but some how you HAD to make time because above all the important things the day calls me to do, boasting in Him must come first.

I’m full. Full of turkey and ham – well not really because I’m a vegetarian, but full from all the things that go with turkey and ham – like side dishes and family. Yes, I’m full from those things, but I’m talking about a different kind of fullness. The full I’m feeling is what Jesus spoke of in John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” I’ve been overflowing in His fullness for several weeks now. I hope to stay here, but I’m sure I won’t – the pull of this world and selfishness will certainly pull me back out of His fullness at some point – it always does. But for now I will cherish the fullness of the life He’s come to give me. I can pin point when the fullness started – it was the week I said yes to go volunteer with the Alzheimer’s patients. For some reason God’s word catches me off guard sometimes when it actually proves true. Jesus said in losing your life you’ll find it – it’s so true. I can’t stop thinking about, praying for, and loving those forgot men and women. Jesus has seared them on my soul. It’s amazing how giving up one morning for some forgotten people can place you in the fullness of God’s presence, but it does and it has for me and Gayle. We’re seeing God do some amazing things with these people. His presence is so real and thick there – I long to get back to it (and them) each week.

Last week we ended our time with them circled around the table holding hands and we prayed. I was a little nervous about what the workers would think or say but the two that were down there with us jumped in the circle and grabbed hands and bowed their heads right along with us – thank you Lord! I’m not sure how to describe the countenance on the faces in that room when we lifted our heads – it was sweet and there was peace. I’m quite sure it was a sweet fragrance rising and pleasing to the Lord. One funny… when Gayle and I were leaving, sweet Marion followed us to the door – the locked door that you need a code to get through. She had been quite unsettled that day – she was trying to find her son and needed a ride “home” to Pennsylvania. She came up to us as we were leaving and asked if we were going through “that door”. She then asked us if she could “escape” with us 🙂 – we told her we would get in a lot of trouble if we let her go through the door with us. I can’t remember her exact words but they were something to the effect that she understood and that it was ok she would just try again another day. She was the sweetest and kindest escape artist you’ve ever met!

I’m full from other things as well.  I look around at other things in my life that would normally have me unhappy and discontent. The house situation is one of those things. We’re still in our rental. Some people won’t understand this and others will – being here would normally make me unhappy. I’m a nester, a decorator, and a home body. I’ve been asking for God’s patience in waiting on Him to find us a more permanent home and guess what – He’s giving me His patience AND contentment…more fullness. When our flesh is not given what it wants and it’s not satisfied – we can do one of two things: 1. give in to our flesh and be unhappy, spoiled, and discontent or 2. we can find joy in denying our flesh and lean into Jesus and find our joy and contentment in Him. This is a sweet place to be.

There’s several other things I could mention where I’m finding His fullness. He is so good, so sweet to me, and I’m so undeserving of His gracious kindness. I am thankful this holiday season… and full.

I want to thank Jay Hoth for inspiring me with his photography and for letting me paint from some of his photographs. This painting and the last painting were painted using his photos as references. Please look past the many typos I’m sure are here – my man (proofer) is in his busy season at work.

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He STILL Sets The Captives Free…

windmill

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.

Blessings

I will bless those who bless you. Genesis 12:3

Well, we are all moved into our rental and getting settled in. We have felt overwhelmed by several who have abundantly blessed us during this move. I have learned how to better serve and bless others through this move – I’ll share more on that later. The day before we had the movers scheduled some dear friends came over with two (of their seven) kids and moved ALL of our boxes for us. You have no idea how this family served and blessed us. Their two youngest boys that helped didn’t complain one time and they worked constantly – hard work may I add. I didn’t pack my boxes for friends to move – I packed them for movers to move – do you know what I mean??? Some, if not many, were HEAVY!!! I just hated it every time they picked up a box labeled ‘books’ (there were way too many of those) or ‘china’ – I should have just labeled them ‘heavy’. To have friends who cared about our stuff and took great care in the way they handled our fragile stuff was such a blessing to me. My sister-in-law and my mom also blessed us with meals. This may seem small but you have NO idea what a blessing that was to us. We were TIRED and tired of eating fast food by the day of the real move. There were a couple of nights I would have just gone to bed hungry I was so tired – but for Grady that wasn’t on option :). I learned how huge a meal can be during something like this.

Here’s what I learned about being a blessing to someone who’s moving: meals are huge – even if they’re not home cooked meals – just to pick something up for someone so they don’t have to think about it or go in to a food place when they are dirty and stinky. I also learned that a meal a night or two before the big move day would be a huge blessing too because everything is packed up. Some are like my Mom and have the gift of making food and being hospitable – if you are like that and would like to bless a friend who is moving then take them a meal the day before the move. If you are like me (and another friend – Carrie are you out there???) – who find cooking for others stressful (not sure why I feel like this – I think I stress too much about what to make – will they like it? – how do I package it? – do I take it cold or already heated?) then just pick something up from Cracker Barrel or some other convenient food place – seriously, ANYTHING will be good to a starving, tired, dirty family who’s moving.

Thank you SOOOOOOO much to those who loved on us during that stressful time. I’m praying the above scripture for you.

The picture below has nothing to do with us moving. It’s just the only painting I have to share with you. It’s one I did before we moved. I’ve been painting in my prayer journal at times and this is a painting I did from another of Bea’s photos. I’m hoping to be back on here soon to share pictures from my visit to the zoo and some details about commissions I’m going to start doing.

rooster resized

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.

Skies and Landscapes

My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and My right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together. Isaiah 48:13

Where have I been? Well, I haven’t been home much since we put the house on the market because we’ve been showing it like crazy. The first full day we had it on the market we had an offer on it and we’ve been in negotiations for a week. We’re hoping to finalize things today!!! That’s really crazy in this market. The Lord has had crazy favor, mercy, and kindness on us through all this. I have been painting here and there over the last couple weeks and I’ve been doing lots of little 4×6 sketches of little landscapes and skies. I’ve been getting ready for tomorrows class where I’ll be teaching my students how to paint simple but dramatic skies and I’ll show them how to do these simple loose landscapes. I LOVE doing these little landscapes because you can really play around with color – you don’t have to just paint a blue sky and a green landscape – pink makes a great landscape too. It’s a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see what my students come up with! I know they will do great. Hopefully I’ll have some good news tomorrow about our house. Make sure you check out the scripture I put with this post – man alive, is that good stuff or what?! You can click on the pictures below to see them larger.

skiesred doorlavender skyblue skylandscape pinkcolorful skies

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 :).

different-strokes-city-1different-strokes-city-2p5010007

What Is Your House Built On?

A better question is Who is your house built on? Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  Matthew 7:24-25

I actually painted this one a while back.  I had this image in my mind right before we went on a trip and I had to get it on paper. I felt like I spewed it out of my brush one night as I was packing. I wish I had taken a little more time with it, but it was one of those that I had to get down on paper.  I’ve just now decided to bring it out of the archives because I have houses on my mind a lot lately.  We’ve been looking at houses for 3 1/2 years now – we take forever to find what we’re looking for – and it’s kind of a hobby for us.  We’ve been wanting to get Grady closer to work (Green Hills).  It’s been taking us a while to get the house ready to put on the market, but we’re hoping to have it on the market in the next month or so. We really want to downsize, minimize, and declutter everything we have. Life is too short and Christ too important to be caught up in things. I could easily sell everything in a yard sale tomorrow and go on the mission field… hopefully one day. It will have to be on the Lord’s timing – His calling – His plans.  For now our calling, as far as missions, is short term trips and supporting other missionaries on the field.  I’ll keep you updated on the house stuff – let me know if you’re interested in buying a house :)!

jesus-rock

detail-of-house

Hoot Hoot

Whhhhooooos signed up for the summer painting classes?

Well, I only left the house a couple times this week because I’ve been working non-stop on a project/paper for my hermeneutics class in seminary.  Man alive I will be really glad when I have it completed – writing papers is NOT my thing.  BOTH sides of my brain got a work out this week – one side more than the other – the side that doesn’t get used much :).  I would crank away at my paper for 2-3 hours and then go take a break and work on one of these cute little owls (and another project that I’ll tell you about in another post).  It was a nice balance all week because painting really gave the other side of my brain a refreshing break.

So, you may be wondering what a class on hermeneutics is – I was wondering the same thing before I took the class.  It’s a big word, but a simple concept.  Hermeneutics is simply the practice or discipline of interpreting the bible.  It’s basically studying the bible with the bible.  One of the best books you could ever read to understand how to read the bible is “A Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible” by Robert Stein.  It’s a book on hermeneutics and it’s on “pea brain” (that just means even if you have a brain the size of a pea like I do you can understand it) level – seriously – trust me on this one and it will transform the way you read and understand the bible.

You can read about the best hermeneutics that has ever been done right here (you can read the whole story in Mark 24:13-27)… “Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus…they were talking with each other about everything that had happened.  As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing Him.  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures conserning Himself.”  How amazing would that have been???  Jesus started at the beginning of the Bible and went through the whole thing explaining how it ALL was telling about Him!  It’s the best example of hermeneutics that’s ever been done! 

owlpink-owlgreen-owl

Vintage Letterpress

…the two shall become one… Ephesians 5:31

I’ve been working on a wedding gift all this week.  It’s for a dear friend’s daughter.  I tried some new things out on this art piece.  I was inspired by another artist I admire who is a bookbinder – she does amazing things with paper.  For this wedding gift I used the brides’ invitations for the focus of the art piece.  I made a library card pocket out of her shower invitation and I made the “library card” out of her wedding invitation – both are usally things a bride saves because they are special, so I thought I would use them in a way she could always display and be reminded of that day.  I added some texture by doing some hand sewing on both pieces.  I also got brave and used my vintage hand-carved letterpress letters (you can see the beautiful wooden letters in the picture) to stamp their name onto the mat and then I wrote one of my favorite marriage scriptures across their name.  I am really pleased with how it turned out and will be trying this again.  Speaking of weddings, Grady and I celebrated 11 years of marriage this weekend!  Praise the Lord!!!

elizabeths-wedding-gift

How I Hide His Word In My Heart

I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.  Psalm 119:11

Memorizing scripture has been part of my daily quiet time for years, but I have always struggled with retaining those scriptures long term.  For those of you who know my brain is the size of a pea I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you :).  I’ve had people tell me that you have to go back and review the scriptures you’ve memorized, but that always seemed so daunting and quite overwhelming.  A friend of mine shared a GREAT scripture memory method that I’ve been doing for several months now that I LOVE and it works!!!  For the last several months I’ve just had this written down on a sticky note in my bible (so don’t think you have to have a nice organized colorful card like mine – I’ve been using a sticky note for quite some time) and have been going back through old scriptures I’d memorized and adding some new ones.  It’s a really easy method so I hope I don’t complicate it or make it sound hard or confusing.

As you can see on the card at the top I have what’s labeled my “daily” scripture.  Let me share with you what I do with that daily scripture before I explain the review part of this method.  On the first day of my new verse(s) I read it out loud 10 times.  If I have more than one verse in that chunk of scripture I just work on one verse at a time in the chunk – sometimes I even break-up the verse if it’s really long.  So after I read it out loud 10 times I cover it up and try to say it out loud 10 times with out looking at it – of course you’ll most likely have to cheat a few times and look at it but that’s part of the process.  After I’ve read it 10 times and said it 10 times without looking at it I’m done for the day – it’s that easy.

The next day I try to say it 10 times without looking at it.  I do this for a couple of days until I have it pretty good and then I move on to the next verse of the chunk of scripture and read it 10 times and say it 10 times.  Each day you say out loud without looking the part you have completely memorized before you go on to your new part.

Once you’re completely done with that chunk or single verse and you know you know it well, you move it down to reviewing it three times a week.  If you’re using a sticky note just erase it from your “daily” slot and move it under your three times a week slot.  So once I have 1 Cor. 1:18-31 memorized I’ll move it down to the section marked “M W F” so I can review it three times a week.  Once I have a new chunk of scripture to go there I move the “M W F” verse to two times a week “T H” (that stands for Tuesday and Thursday) or “Sat/Sun”.  Then you move those verses to reviewing them one day a week and then to three times a month and so on.

It may sound like a lot but it really only takes me a few minutes each morning.  You will be surprised how quick it is.  So let me give you an example of what I worked on this morning.  I worked on my daily scripture (I Cor 1:18-31), then I reviewed  my scripture under “T H” since it is Thursday (Proverbs 10:19), and then I reviewed my scripture under “Thursday” (Romans 1:18-35), and lastly if I had something under the 19th for the month (which I don’t at the moment) I would have reviewed that.  I have been amazed at how well this method works.  I encourage you to try it – or at least some scripture memory method.  It’s one of the most important things we can do in the day – hide His Word in our hearts.  We live in a day that our Bibles are at our finger tips, but I don’t think it will always be like that in our country.  However, our Bible can easily be at our finger tips but never make it into our hearts where it needs to be.

scripture-memory-card