Sunday, March 2, 2008


Nature has always been a part of my life. As a child I remember singing songs like

“All Things Bright and Beautiful’,

“He Owns The Cattle On the Thousand Hills”

“Fairest Lord Jesus”

“For The Beauty Of The Earth”

“ How Great Thou Art”

These are just a few and I remember these because these are hymns as a student that we had to illustrate for a Bible class. Sometimes we were given magazines to help us illustrate. Our penmanship was important to in the booklets we made. It was a form of what some call copy work.

As a child we traveled a lot and we stayed in National and State Parks and campgrounds and listened to the Rangers share. Each year we went as a family to what was called the ”Audubon Screen Tours” at a college in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Since we Mennonites did not have TV’s or go to the movies this was a very special advent each month for me. I loved going to all the wildlife habitats.

My goal was to be able to paint. I could see nature, feel nature, take pictures of nature but artistic with drawing and painting I was not. Wildlife artists were so amazing to me and still are. When my kids were quite small a friend talked me into going an hour and half away to take an oil painting class with an up and coming Wildlife artist. His name was Robert Butler. We took 8 weeks I think and oil paint was hard for me. It is so easy to make mud from the colors. But this man is so patient. We were required to do a morning sky picture, stormy sky and sunset canvas. The neat part was what I learned in simply looking at nature. The shades of green, the browns and blues and how important they are to get on canvas. I will say this….I see them in my mind but painting is not for me. I would rather paint with my threads!
Robert and I became friends and he had a gallery in my craft shop several years later. He would paint and I would watch and with each minute he taught me something new. He had three sons that came with him at times and they were artists also. Robert has a large family and they all are artistic. He and John have become friends also and this now world-renowned artist is a joy to both of us.

Nature is God’s gift to you and me. If you watch ants work you see how they are always busy. God tells us about that in Proverbs 6:6. They each have work to do and get it done.

The eagles are mentioned in the Bible 38 times I once read.
"But those who trust in the LORD will receive new strength. They will fly as high as eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not grow weak."
Isaiah 40:31 or Deuteronomy 32:11
like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them aloft.

God speaks to me through nature…storms, the ocean, critters and birds…all I have to do is be still and watch and apply it to life. I treasure times in nature! Now that I live in the city I miss what I once took for granted. I firmly believe that as Christians we are to care for the world God created for us. It is up to you and I to do our part and teach our children to care for nature around us.

Back to the painting…Robert coached me through all three. This one I gave to mom and dad. It is far from perfect but it was a real learning experience for me. I have never tried to paint again but I sure do recommend everyone to try it. Robert is now known as the “Historian with a Paintbrush” and is also a Florida Highwayman and if you want to see how my fiend paints…. Look here:
His story.
watch him and hear him…..

My husband and I are proud to call him friend.

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