What a treat!

As Arts in the Heart grew closer this year, so did my anticipation and excitement. I love having the opportunity to spend days basking in the glow of artisans who work with paint, clay, pottery and food. It is both energizing and inspiring for my soul. Joy and I made our way downtown for every day of the festival back in September.

We watched Pyroteque throw fire.

There were painters of every style …. watercolor and acrylic ….
polished with calligraphy as a staple

or folksy with simple wood, familiar phrases and found objects.
I find inspiration in each booth with each style represented.

This was one of the first years that I didn’t get a henna tattoo … but I certainly admired all of the beautiful spice-staining of skin
that walked the streets and visited the booths all weekend.

And food? Oh my ….

I also wrote about Arts in the Heart  here. 

Back in 2007, I admired the work of a potter who was at the festival. The following year, in ’08, I gave in to my longing for one of her pieces of work and used birthday money to satisfy my desire. In ’07, I looked at Elizabeth’s work … in ’08, I noticed her work had changed a bit so I talked to her. After a bit of conversing, I mentioned The Party Room (our mother-in-law suite) to her and offered that she stay in my home the following year. I could tell … she thought my offer kind … but she probably wouldn’t take me up on it.

Several years in a row, as the festival drew near, I sent her an email to say, “The offer still stands. I’d love for you to stay with me. Do you think you’ll come to Arts in the Heart this year?”
Just like me, she has worked through the exit of a husband since we first met. For several years, she did not come. But, this year, she emailed me to ask about local campgrounds. She has an awesome little camper and was looking for a place to park it for the weekend.

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. I wanted so much for her to stay IN my house …. in The Party Room. With a bit of coercion, she finally gave in. I was SO thankful! Elizabeth and her boyfriend, also a potter, spent most of their time at the festival, but I had a chance to get to know them a bit. I spent some time at their booth visiting, as well. I knew that I liked Elizabeth … but the more time I spend with her, the more similarities I see between us.

She is part of an artists’ group that has a spring and holiday show each year. She has invited me several times, but I’m frugal enough that I felt I couldn’t spend the money on gas to get there (an hour and a half drive) and THEN purchase artwork. But, this year, I asked if she would let me come and serve for her. Again, I felt like I had to convince her that I really wanted to help her. After some – let’s call it what it was – begging, she allowed me to permission to join them for more than just shopping.

So, this past weekend, I loaded up a little enthusiasm and excitement into my van
and drove to Madison, Georgia for the Broughton Artists Group’s  fall show.
I felt like I was in constant *swoon mode* while there.
Being in Elizabeth’s home felt like spending the weekend in a state park lodge.
It was earthy and simple, eclectic and extravagant all at once.

With an outdoor color palette brought right inside her home,
with wood all around
and tile and pottery all over

there was no distinction between the outdoors and the in.

This past weekend was a gift …
like the one before in the North Carolina mountains.

God gave me the opportunity to do what I love – serve – in multiple ways.
I met people and loved on them. A new friend told me that she didn’t want to be photographed,
and I shed tears as I told her how beautiful she is … because she is!  We snapped shots and …
I found in the end, that I had more gorgeous photos of her
than any other artist.
I washed dishes and kept the “buffet” relatively clean and full (when I wasn’t distracted by beauty
and torn away from the less important (food) by that which is most important (the people).
More than once, as I sudsed kiln-fired serving dishes, I thanked God for the opportunity
to spend three full days surrounded by people who live out their passion and gift
and … in doing so … bless others.
And I took photos of art work and artists. I talked to each person there so that I can craft a bio for each one.
I hope to spend some time shortly working on a new website for this wonderful group of creative spirits.

My strongest spiritual gift is encouragement followed closely by administration.
I was pampered this weekend to get to use those gifts to help others.
And my strongest creative gifts are photography, writing and presentation/composition.
I also got to flesh these out.

I yearn for this … to be able to use the gifts that I have been given
in a way that enriches the lives of others.
We all have gifts. And when we use them for good, we are a blessing.
Thank you, Elizabeth, for having me this weekend.
Your passion and drive to do what you do blesses me.
You are immensely talented and your work is so wonderfully diverse.
Watching you first hand gives me strength to try my own hand
in areas that others have made me feel were not worthy.
God has used you to give me courage! 

And thank you, Lord, for a wonderful encouraging weekend.
I was blessed to be able to use gifts that you have given me
to help others.
What a treat!

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