Held to the Flame

Skip Mathews flame painting a copper bracelet, Ozark Folk Center, Mountain View, AR.

Being held to the flame during times of trial or testing is no picnic. But what about having an oxyacetylene torch heated to around five thousand degrees Fahrenheit to pull hidden beauty from a piece of copper?

During a visit to the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas last spring, I was fascinated to watch as Skip Mathews, (no I didn’t spell his name incorrectly) copper colorist extraordinaire explained his flame painting technique.

Flame painting captures colors, shapes, and tone using only the very hot flame from the torch. It’s not how hot the flame is that creates the colors, it’s how hot the metal is.

As the copper heats, cool downs, heats up again, it goes through multiple color changes depending on the number of times it is held to the flame, how long the heat is applied, and whatever happens to be in the air that day.

The Bible tells us God purifies those who belong to him through trials and testing in our life, much like a refiner passes precious metal through the flame to remove the impurities that hide its beauty.

Similar to flame painting, being held to the flame draws out our true colors.

The Master Artist knows how long to hold us to the flame. He knows when to remove the flame and let us cool down. He also knows when to reapply heat. And God knows how many times to go over the same area to bring about the result he wants.

There are no surprises with God. He knows what pattern he’ll end up with; what unique, one of a kind creation we will become.

Depending on the intensity of the flame, and the number of times we’re held to it, some of us will hold more turquoise in our final product. Some more orange. Some more green or brown. Others will be in the red to pink range. Each life is distinct, fashioned and flame painted by the Master Colorist’s hand.

Have any of you seen a copper colorist in action? If you get the opportunity, why not stop by Skip and Racheal Mathews’ shop at the Craft Village in the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas?

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I will bring the third that remain through the fire and make them pure, as gold and silver are refined and purified by fire. They will call upon my name and I will hear them; I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’” Zechariah 13:9 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Skip and Racheal Mathews are flame painting copper colorists who live in Mountain View, Arkansas working at the Ozark Folk Center. Using an oxyacetylene torch, they use a skilled control of the flame to create shapes and colors with intentional design and composition. The end result is art. Check our their website and YouTube video.

Pause for Poetry I am Refreshed

courtesy unsplashWelcome to Pause for Poetry, featuring a poem, I Am Refreshed, written by my writer-friend, Frances Gregory Pasch.

I Am Refreshed

 

I am refreshed, dear Jesus,

By the little things you do.

You speak to me in different ways

And let me know it’s You.

Today I heard a serenade

When I awoke at dawn,

And I still felt Your presence

When all the birds were gone.

You often send me rainbows

When sun reflects on glass.

In troubling times, they speak to me,

“This too, My Child, shall pass.”

Sometimes a word pops off the page

While spending time with You.

It gives direction to my soul…

Confirms what I’m to do.

You always know what’s best for me

It’s all part of your plan.

I’m blessed that You’re my Shepherd,

The Awesome, Great I AM.

 

©Frances Gregory Pasch

Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published hundreds of times in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Her book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry is available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991 and makes her own holiday greeting cards incorporating her poetry. She and her husband, Jim, have been married since 1958. They have five sons and nine grandchildren. Contact her at http://www.francesgregorypasch.com.

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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Successful Mission

Fifty years ago this month the Apollo 11 lunar landing completed a successful mission to the moon. As Neil Armstrong said, one giant leap. Perhaps like me you watched the historic event on a black and white television.

Recently, I watched a real-time successful Space X launch on my phone. Quite a change from a black and white tv, wouldn’t you say?

In this successful Space X mission sixty satellites launched from a Falcon Heavy rocket into the blackness of space. The satellites left the rocket in a pack. Then one by one, dispersed on their individual mission. Fascinated, I watched as each of those tiny spots of light left the rocket and floated off into darkness.

While I watched those sixty satellites head out on their pre-determined mission, I thought of the words Christ spoke to his eleven remaining disciples before he returned to heaven following his resurrection.

The eleven received their commission together. Then one by one each Bearer of Light dispersed on his individual mission to spread the Good News throughout the whole world.

I’d have to say they completed a successful mission, wouldn’t you?

As Bearers of the Light of Jesus, followers of Christ are given the same mission today.  I wonder, how are we doing with that?

Did you watch Apollo 11 launch or see Neil Armstrong walk on the moon? Pilot’s dad was part of the Apollo launch team that day. Pilot and his family watched the launch first hand.

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Jesus drew near and said to them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Gluten-free Chicken Pizzarella Recipe

This tasty gluten-free Chicken Pizzarella recipe is one of the first recipes Pie made when he was in elementary school.

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • pepper to taste
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 8 oz sliced Mozzarella cheese
  • 16 oz cooked gluten-free spaghetti noodles

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small saucepan heat oil. Add onion, garlic, and oregano. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until onion is soft.

Stir in tomato sauce and pepper.

Place chicken in a 2-qt baking dish. Cover with sauce and bake uncovered 35 minutes.

Place Mozzarella on top and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese bubbles.

Serve over cooked gluten-free spaghetti noodles.

Enjoy!

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Just the Way We Are

We are woven and spun, knit together by a magnificent Creator God who made each of us just the way we are. No two people are exactly alike.

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, it might not come as any surprise Psalm 139; the psalm that talks about being woven and spun, knit together in our mother’s womb, is one of my favorite psalms.

We are masterpieces created by a loving God who knows exactly what he’s doing. A God who put the parts and pieces of who we are in place. A God who makes no mistakes.

Like me, perhaps the vision you held of yourself growing up is not exactly who you are at this point in time. Perhaps you’ve wished you were someone you aren’t. Perhaps you’ve wished you possessed abilities and talents you lack.

Perhaps you’ve been a little discontent with what God put inside you and what you feel he left out.

Sometimes, I believe, it takes a lot of acceptance to love ourselves the way God made us. Especially on those days we feel lesser-than. We may wonder what God was thinking when he created us the way he did instead of the way we think he should have created us.

It takes courage to grow up and be who we really are.

e .e. cummings

Like poet e. e. cummings wrote it takes courage to grow up and be who we really are. To be who God made us to be.

It takes courage for us to complete the tasks we were made to complete.

It takes loving ourselves enough to agree with God he knew what he was doing when he made us just the way we are.

Each of us is knit together, woven and spun, by the Master. Created with different textures, colors, and patterns which blend together to glorify the Creator in a unique way.

And aren’t we glad?

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For You shaped me, inside and out. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath. I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. Psalm 139:13-14 (VOICE)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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