I began painting three dimensional objects, like napkin holders and trinket boxes in about 2002, after a desire to paint took shape in my heart over several months. I then learned some faux finish techniques, at one point, trying to figure out what “this painting thing” was supposed to be. I really had no idea why I had this desire to paint, or where it was supposed to go, but I kept experimenting with different things trying to figure it out. In 2005 we began attending a church that was very encouraging of creativity, and that if we had a desire to do something, God had a reason for it, so we should pursue it and see where He wanted to take it. So, I did, and have been ever since. I began hearing in my heart to “go get a canvas.” I resisted that because I really had no idea what I would do with one. After all, they were for “real artists” who knew what they were doing, and I definitely did not! But over several weeks, the feeling got stronger and stronger, until I could not resist any more. I went to Target on a Sunday night, since that’s the only place that was open, and got a few small poster boards and a couple of foam boards. The next day, while my son was at school, I laid out on his trampoline and asked God what in the world I was supposed to do with those materials. As I lay there waiting for an answer, I noticed how the branches of the tree above me came out from the trunk and over the yard. I thought it was so beautiful. It dawned on me that I could probably paint a tree branch like that, I mean, trees aren’t perfect, they are pretty forgiving of an amateur artist. So, that’s what I did. I painted a few trees, then moved into other things like a vase of flowers and a landscape. I did this at home, by myself, and didn’t really talk about it much, for several months. One day I took a couple of pieces to show my pastor, and just told him that this is what God had been having me do at home. He said “Great! Do you think you could do that during worship?” I was stunned! I had only heard of people painting during worship a few times, I’d never seen it done, and now I had the opportunity to do it! I thought about it for a bit, and agreed to give it a try. I was very nervous at first, but I set up my things in the back corner of the sanctuary, and began to paint during services. I had no idea that 10 years later I’d still be doing it! I have grown so, so much since those early days, and I am grateful for the time I had to just be in that back corner, exploring where this gift from God might take me. I have been blessed, and in awe, to have painted encouraging words from God, and had other people see beautiful things in pieces I’ve done. I continue to grow, as this creative path unfolds before me. I’m excited to see where it goes next! Come along with me!