Friday, April 27, 2012


This is my design for Father's Day this year. It is called "Anchored" and is 8x8 inches, framed in zinc, and has rings soldered on for hanging purposes. You can order one on my Facebook page, A Glimpse of Grace, or you can email me at They are $35.00, plus tax and shipping (if needed).

This is one of those designs which came to me in its entirety, complete. I was actually trying to design a piece for Mother's Day when I woke up one night with this design in my head. I love how it turned out! I struggled in taking photos of "Anchored" because the cross just didn't show up well. With or without a flash, the glass just didn't photograph clearly. When you combine the two shots I've posted here, you can begin to sense how the piece looks.

The obvious question is: Does OUR anchor show in our lives?  That's a good question, and deserves to be answered. But I think the more basic question is essential: WHAT are we anchored in?

What is it that holds me firmly in place? What keeps me solidly connected? What keeps me from drifting away? It's NOT the cross I wear around my neck, or the bumper sticker that I see on lots of cars. It's not saying I belong to a church congregation or even attending church regularly. Some of these things might indicate I am anchored; some of these might actually help me stay anchored.

I think what anchors us in our Christian life are the disciplines of being Christian. Disciplines that I'm not always very good at. Things like: Reading the Bible; Praying for Enlightenment; Practicing Devotions; Praying for Others; Worshiping; Praising God; Praying.

I find that I am most anchored when I habitually practice the disciplines of a Christian life. I might not experience instantaneous intimacy with God each time I pray, praise, or worship, but if I make these things habits of life, my walk with God becomes more intimate over time. Sometimes God surprises me with a moment of closeness in the glory of His natural world or a masterpiece of art or music, and I love that! But building a relationship with God takes time and attention, just like building a relationship with anyone.

When I find myself drifting away on the sea of life, I rededicate myself to prayer, worship, reading the Bible, praise and devotional practices. Soon I am anchored anew by God's grace and love. It's a good place to be.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lost and Found

Today we sang "Great is Thy Faithfulness" in church. This song was pivotal in my life, believe it or not! I was very involved in my church as a high school student; faith was part of my very being. For many reasons, and like many college students, I fell away from church involvement as a college student. This was the beginning of many years of being lost to the faith of my youth.

"To Every Thing" seems an appropriate piece to feature here as I discuss the  seasons of my faith. It is displayed at the Little Swan Lake Winery in NW Iowa.
That lost time was ruled by fears, instead of faith. I spent some time totally away from religion, then tried to find a church that was inclusive enough that my agnostic (atheistic?) husband would attend. After several years in a Unitarian Universalist Society congregation (full of great people, btw!), I really felt the pull of the church of my childhood: Disciples of Christ.

It seemed to me that I was totally out of place in a Christian church, but that's where I wanted to be. I didn't take communion, fearing that my faith was not enough and God would be offended. There were songs I wouldn't sing because I just wasn't sure I believed them. I felt led to attend every week, and I did, but I always doubted that my faith was up to par. Then one day, we sang "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and it hit me like a ton of bricks: The song's title was "Great is THY Faithfulness," not "Great is MY Faithfulness!" It wasn't up to ME to be faithful enough; Faithfulness was GOD'S job.

Since then, I've continually been found, instead of lost. God has found me; He has pursued me; He has captured me with His grace. He has taken away my fears and filled me with love and grace and joy. All my efforts through those years left me still fearful and anxious and uncertain; now God's grace has filled my life to overflowing!

This is not to say I don't have moments of doubt or uncertainty. I do. But today, when we sang "Great is Thy Faithfulness" I remembered upon whose faith I depend. I can make a lengthy list of what God's faithfulness has provided me: Peace, which surpasses all understanding; Love, which surrounds me and fills my spirit; Joy, which follows me as closely as a tag-along five-year-old; Beauty, which God has gifted me to make in my glass work; and so much more. I am blessed beyond measure in this season of my life, and I am absolutely convinced that this season is a season of eternity. Thank God!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Necessary Losses

The first thing I have to say today is that I "stole" the title for this blog entry from Judith Viorst, who wrote a book with this title. I have read the book, and I would recommend it to those struggling with grief of any kind.

I've had my share of grief in my life, just like everyone else. Infertility has marked my life. Divorces have punctuated my days. Death has visited. Betrayal made its home in my home for many years. And still I stand, as do you. I stand by the grace of God, unscarred by the events above, but not unchanged. And life continues to bring grief, as it will until God's Kingdom comes.

My family moved last week, an event that sometimes creates grief. We moved from the home we have shared since before our youngest child came to us through adoption. It was our family home. We sold it in an act of faith, trusting that God will call my husband to a church as a pastor. We are now living in a rental home, which suits our needs just fine.

One of the things we left behind in the move was an octagonal glass piece in our front bathroom window. Someone asked me if this bothered me. I replied that I have left glass pieces installed in the last three homes I lived in, and my family members have done so as well. They were all pieces I liked and that looked good in the windows. As far as I know, they are all still present in those homes.
Does this bother me? I consider the question today as I unpack more boxes and settle in a little more. And no, it doesn't. I think of the pieces left behind as blessings for the next owner of the home. Perhaps they will see a glimpse of God in them. A little grace for their own lives.

I doubt I will craft a glass piece to remain in our rental home, although it's a possibility! More likely, I will design and create a piece for the parsonage we move to, with God's grace, eventually. Either way, the glass I leave behind will not be mourned, but left with expectation of creating joy for the next occupants. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bright Shadows

Tonight at dinner, my five-year-old says (out of the blue, as usual!), "The shadows are really bright tonight!" I'd never thought of shadows being bright, just dark, but it struck me as a wonderful understanding of my work in glass. When I choose a color and type of glass to be a "shadow" in a glass design, the light comes through it just as brightly as the next piece. It just shows up differently on the other side.

Isn't that Good Friday? It's a bright shadow! On Good Friday, we are in remembrance of a dark time, so dark that God even took away the SUN for part of it. But hidden behind the darkness, an AMAZING light is shining through because "Sunday's coming!"

In the space between Good Friday and Easter Morning, Jesus' friends, family, and disciples mourned. They grieved the loss of their friend, and of their dream: Jesus ruling as King here on Earth. They didn't know that the shadow they were in, was in the impossibly bright light of Resurrection Coming.

But we do! We remember Good Friday and the sacrifice Jesus made for us. But we remember it knowing full well that Resurrection follows agony. I find myself tingling with the anticipation of celebrating the Resurrection tomorrow morning.  I pray that you find yourself rejoicing in the promise of forgiveness and grace, of brightness and glory, because "Sunday's coming!"  And I pray that my young child can perceive some of the true reason for Easter behind the Easter Egg Hunt, the Easter Basket, and the excitement of pancakes at church.

Happy Easter!!