Surviving the Work Week

Whatever day your Monday is, start it with class, aplomb, and encouragement. The New Hat, original oil painting by Steve Henderson.

Not everyone’s Monday is actually on Monday. But regardless of what day your week actually starts, it’s highly likely that it’s not a smooth transition from your day off to your day on.

This low point of our week, when we grab the last 45 seconds in bed before we really have to tumble out of it, is a time when we can punish ourselves with dispiriting, discouraging thoughts — ones that we have a lot of help coming up with because our society focuses on the wrong things.

As Christians, we don’t have to fall for misconceptions. Let’s look at three encouraging, truthful thoughts that will get us out of bed, and through the week:

Click on the image to see Live Happily on Less at Amazon.com.

Click on the image to see Live Happily on Less at Amazon.com.

Please click through to Three Encouraging Thoughts to Get You Through the Week at my blog, Commonsense Christianity at BeliefNet. As my regular readers know, I am only able to post a teaser at this site, and am eminently grateful when readers follow through the finish the whole post.

In today’s post, I am also providing you with a link to my book, Live Happily on Less because, no matter what you do, you probably feel that there is never enough money to live the way you want. Most people think the solution to this problem is to work more jobs or more hours, but if you change your way of looking at things, you can generally get by better than you think with what you have.

Live Happily on Less is a series of quick, easy to read bloggy essays that give you simple, reasonable ideas on how to make what you have, work better.

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Are You Tired of Living in Fear?

While we frequently associate Satan with goats, this is just a goat, and a very good one, because she looks out for the rest of the goats in the herd. Ironically, her name is Shai. Photo credit Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Fear is one of Satan’s best weapons, because it’s relatively inexpensive.

For a minimal outlay, Satan — who generally works through the assorted people on this planet who love him, worship him, or have sold themselves to him for whatever it costs to buy them — wields control over good people who fear the things that might happen, or could happen, but don’t necessarily have to happen.

That’s the beauty of it: in a small town or big city, the sheriff’s deputies or city police can burst into one home at  3 a.m., with all the noise and violence of a military commando operation launched against “the enemy,” — and this will frighten 10, 20, 50 times as many families into saying nothing, because nobody wants this to happen to them. For some reason, even when it turns out to be the “wrong house,” this doesn’t make things any better.

Jesus was a misfit in the religious society of His day. That says something about 1) the religious establishment and 2) following Jesus. Paperback and digital at Amazon.com.

The two most frightening things about 3 a.m. raids are that 1) they happen at all and 2) ordinary people, living ordinary lives, even consider the possibility that they could happen to them. When I was a child, we acknowledged this the norm in communist Russia, where people were oppressed and persecuted by their own government, even the most benign of individuals considered to be a potential enemy of the state.

In an earlier article, Afraid to Post on Facebook, I mentioned the number of Christians, especially in the United States, who are afraid of . . . just that — posting on Facebook, because they’ve heard that they’ll be put on a list of potential troublemakers — enemies of the state — for no more than expressing dissatisfaction with or distrust of their leadership (which is supposed to be serving the people, incidentally. Do we believe that?)

Please read the rest at Letting Satan Win, at my BeliefNet Blog, Commonsense Christianity.

This article is linked to Graced Simplicity, Shine Blog Hop, Jenni Mulllinix, Children Are a Blessing, All Things with a Purpose, Donna Reidland, Simple Moments Stick, Fellowship Friday, Essential Things, Family Fun Friday, Hungry Hippo, Jenny Evolution, A Look at the Book, Count My Blessings,

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Are We Afraid of Our Own Government?

Xena the Warrior Princess, whose outlook on life belies her name. Photo credit Steve Henderson Fine Art.

I have a cat named Xena the Warrior Princess, which is a diverting misnomer because she is one of the timidest animals alive.

Admittedly, as far as staying alive, running away from trouble is a successful stratagem for Xena, who spends her days concealed in the bushes, wide-eyed and paranoid. When she does venture out, she flat out runs, which invariably results in the dog hard on her heels. And then it’s back to the bushes.

As I say, it’s a successful stratagem for staying alive, but not necessarily for living.

So it is with many Christians, who are some of the timidest humans I run into. Not all of them, mind you — there are many, many believers persecuted and punished for living their lives with honor, grace, and truth, and too many of them we know nothing about because they are in prison or in poverty . . .

But in the United States, the country in which I was born and in which I live, while we are not yet at overtly complete totalitarian status, we’re definitely not free and swingin’ in the tropical isles, contentedly living our lives in liberty and without interference from the powers that be, which, theoretically, “serve” us.

The more awake you are as a Christian, the less you fit into the group. So why do we insist upon trying to fit in? Paperback and digital at amazon.com.

Even the densest insensate realizes that “stuff is going on.”

Please follow the link to Afraid to Post on Facebook — especially if this is a sentence that describes you — at my blog, Commonsense Christianity at BeliefNet. Also, you can hear this read on YouTube by Conrad Carriker, who picked it up from Google Plus. Thanks, Conrad!

This article is linked to Time Warp Wife, Titus Tuesday, Table for Seven, Kathe with an E, Handmade Tuesdays, The Shady Porch, A Peek into My Paradise, Wholehearted Home, Raising Homemakers, My Daily Walk in His Grace, A Wise Woman, We Are That Family, Ducks in a Row, The Life of Jennifer Dawn, I Love My Disorganized Life, Moonlight and Mason JarsGraced SimplicityShine Blog HopJenni MulllinixChildren Are a BlessingAll Things with a PurposeDonna ReidlandSimple Moments StickFellowship FridayEssential ThingsFamily Fun FridayHungry HippoJenny EvolutionA Look at the BookCount My Blessings

 

 

 

 

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Beachside Diversions: The Story of This Painting

Children are the world’s greatest natural resources, but society does not accord them the honor, and protection, that they deserve. Parents and family, as always, are their best and first teachers and protectors. Beachside Diversions, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas and Framed Canvas Art.

The story of the painting, Beachside Diversions by Steve Henderson, at Start Your Week with Steve.

There is a sense of nostalgia in Beachside Diversions, as an adult and a child interact, while each continues to reside in her own world, on the seashore.

The adult, as adults do, is caring for the child, adjusting the hat so that it is not blown away by the coastal breeze. She is calm, practical, gentle. Even that she stands between the child and the ocean is a physical expression of how adults — parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles and aunts and cousins (notice that these are all family relationships, because family is the first and best protecting force for vulnerable children) — are charged to care for children.

The child, as children do, puts up with, so to speak, what she considers the adult’s fussing. Looking off in the distance, the child is in a dream world that makes up her reality, because children have an intrinsic ability to fuse the two. It is as they grow older, trained in the adult world of reality, that they drop the world of dreams.

Is it possible to recapture the sense of wonder and awe that children possess?

Christianity, art, writing, living sustainably — since they’re all a part of our lives, they’re all subjects of books, or DVDs, that we — Steve and Carolyn Henderson — write or produce.

Yes, it is, but it takes a desire to do so, and the ability to watch, and learn from, children.

Money, precious gems, gold, oil — these are not the world’s greatest resources. Children are the world’s greatest resources, and more than any resource need to be treasured, protected, and valued, but most of the people in the world don’t realize this. If there are children anywhere in your life, make them a priority in your life.

Read the rest at Start Your Week with Steve.

Beachside Diversions, the  Original Oil Painting by Steve Henderson, is available for purchase through the website. The 30 x 36 painting is gallery wrapped, which means that it is ready to hang immediately upon your wall. Beachside Diversions is also available as a  Licensed Open Edition Print through Framed Canvas Art and Great Big Canvas.

Please contact Carolyn@SteveHendersonFineArt to inquire about any of Steve’s original oil and watercolor paintings or licensed open edition prints.

Shipping of original paintings, purchased through Steve Henderson Fine Art, is free to the U.S. and Canada. All other areas, contact us and we’ll figure out the shipping charges.

Check out Steve’s artwork at Steve Henderson Fine ArtOriginal paintings — licensed open edition prints — Santa and Holiday. Steve’s licensed work is available at Great Big CanvasiCanvasARTAmazon.comLight in the Box, and Framed Canvas Art.

If you are a manufacturer who would like to use Steve’s artwork on your products, please contact his agents, Matt Appelman (matt.appelman@artlicensing.com). You can see Steve’s Art Licensing page here.

Check out, also, Steve and Carolyn’s products at Amazon.com:

The Misfit Christian: Empowering the Believers and Seekers Who Don’t Fit into Contemporary Church (paperback and digital book)

Live Happily on Less: 52 Ways to Renovate Your Life and Lifestyle (paperback and digital book)

Grammar Despair: Quick, simple solutions to problems like, “Do I say Him and Me or He and I?” (paperback and digital book)

Step by Step Watercolor Success (digital DVD workshop designed for beginning to intermediate watercolor students and artists)

 

 

 

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Christianity’s Broken Promise — or Man’s?

In the Father’s house, we are beloved sons or daughters, and yet we often continue to act like slaves. Captain’s House, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, sold.

This weekend I enjoyed the company of three out of four of my adult children.

It is impossible for me to describe to you how much I love these four progeny of mine — whenever I talk to them, play cribbage with them, eat with them, or just spend time with them — even mentally — I delight in them.

Eldest Supreme had just washed her hair and was walking around the kitchen like a sultana with a towel around her head, bantering with the Son and Heir about the bread he was making. Tired of Being Youngest bustled in, checking on her cheesecake and ensuring that no one surreptitiously broke off a piece. From the sofa I watched in absolute delight, just loving them from across the room.

Being a misfit means you’re out of step with the majority, and it’s good to remember that the majority frequently isn’t right. Paperback and digital at amazon.com.

I delight in my children.

So does God, but in our clumsy attempts to figure Him out and please Him in ways that we do not — or should not — demand of our own children, we forget this:

To find out what we forget, please follow the link to the full story (which I am unable to reprint here in its entirety), Do You Long for the Love Christianity Promises? I know I did, and I wasn’t finding the answer in the pat answers and phrases other Christians were throwing back at me.

So I started reading Scripture for myself, as opposed to allowing others to interpret it for me, and I began to find this love. I also began to write about it in my column, Commonsense Christianity at BeliefNet. And then, when I figured out why I had never fit into contemporary church culture, I wrote The Misfit Christian, for other believers who wondered why, even though they loved and followed Jesus, they were out of the loop in the Christian establishment.

This article is linked to Modest Monday, Mama Moments, What Joy Is Mine, Mom Moments, Moms the Word, The Missional Woman, Thoughtful Spot, Motivation MondayTime Warp WifeTitus TuesdayTable for SevenKathe with an EWholehearted HomeRaising HomemakersMy Daily Walk in His GraceA Wise WomanWe Are That FamilyThe Life of Jennifer Dawn,

Posted in Art, blogging, children, Daily Life, devotional, Encouragement, Faith, Family, fine art, home, Lifestyle, Parenting, religion, spirituality | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

“Celebrating” the Anniversary of the Vietnam War

It would be nice to walk, or sail, away from the unpleasant things of life, but sometimes they follow us. Sailing on the Sound, original watercolor by Steve Henderson, sold.

Anniversaries are supposed to be celebratory things, generally of weddings, when a couple starts a whole new life together. How odd that we use the same word, “anniversary,” to acknowledge — surely not celebrate? — the unwanted introduction of the Vietnam War into all of our lives.

I was two years old when Lyndon B. Johnson sanctioned the forcible sending of young men into a conflict that, according to my U.S. History teacher years later, “was never intended to be won.” I was 13 when the debacle officially ended.

The more awake you become, the less that you will fit in. Learn how to be a successful misfit. Paperback and digital at amazon.com.

Only it didn’t end, because those soldiers who came back returned to a life that their mothers never envisioned when their sons were born. How many of us have seen men with alcohol, drug, and lifestyle problems and said,

“Oh, yeah. He was in the Vietnam War. He’s never been the same since”?

I know. War, and especially the Vietnam War, is not a popular subject. But as Christians we live in a world where war is imposed upon us, and we might want to develop an opinion about it. Please read the rest at Will We Ever Say Good-bye to the Legacy of the Vietnam War? at my Commonsense Christianity blog.

This article is linked to Graced Simplicity, This Sweet Life, I Choose Joy, Hope in Every Season, Jenni Mullinix, Shine Blog, Mom on Demand, Children Are a Blessing, Simple Moments Stick, Missional Woman, Christian Mom Blogger, Essential Things, Fellowship Friday, Family Fun Friday, Friendship Friday, Hungry Hippo, The Jenny Evolution, Love Bakes Good Cakes, A Look at the BookModest MondayMama MomentsWhat Joy Is Mine, Nourishing JoyMom MomentsMoms the WordThe Missional WomanThoughtful SpotMotivation Monday

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Frozen by Fear — What Do We Do?

As long as we’re walking, we’re not frozen in fear. So let’s wake up, and get walking. Cadence, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas, iCanvasART, and Framed Canvas Art.

The other day, I found myself in the middle of a church picnic.

It was totally unintentional, and I’ll tell you the story someday, but the upshot is, I was chatting with a safe woman from the group, when I tossed out my usual question to determine whether or not a person is awake:

“So, do you completely believe and unquestioningly accept the government’s official version about 9/11?”

“Oh, no,” she replied without hesitation, then stopped, troubled. “It’s disturbing to think about the ramifications.”

Well, that’s an understatement, but at least I could see that her eyes were open.

Christians are supposed to be misfits, but unfortunately, not among ourselves. The Misfit Christian, for the believer who feels like the odd man, or woman, out. Paperback and digital at Amazon.com.

But then she went on to a statement that I hear on a regular basis:

“There’s just so much going on, and we don’t seem to have any power to stop any of it. I don’t know what to do, and I don’t see any value of being awake.”

That’s a valid statement, and I sympathize with the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Please follow the link to Once You’re Awake — Now What? at my BeliefNet blog, Commonsense Christianity. Christians really can and do make a difference in the world, but when we focus on fear, discouragement, and the sheer size of the enemy camp, we freeze.

This does not have to be.

This article is linked to Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Paradise of Praise, Kathe with an E, Oh My Heartsie Girl, The Shady Porch, This Mommas Ramblings, The Life of Jennifer Dawn, My Daily Walk in His Grace, Wholehearted Home, We Are That Family, Homemaking Link Up, The Mom club, True Aim, My Disorganized Life, Moonlight and Mason JarsGraced SimplicityThis Sweet Life,  I Choose JoyHope in Every SeasonJenni MullinixShine BlogMom on DemandChildren Are a BlessingSimple Moments StickMissional Woman, Christian Mom BloggerEssential ThingsFellowship FridayFamily Fun FridayFriendship FridayHungry HippoLove Bakes Good CakesA Look at the Book

 

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Peace: The Story of This Painting

Solitude, reflection, meditation, beauty — such are the elements that make up peace. Original oil painting by Steve Henderson.

The story of the painting, Peace, by Steve Henderson at Start Your Week with Steve.

Wallowa Lake in Joseph, OR, is a place of quiet beauty and awe. In the 19th century, Young Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Indian tribe took his people there in summer to hunt, fish, and live. The mountains encircling the lake provide a sense of protection and majesty unparalleled in depth, emotion, and color.

Sadly, this ancient land was taken from the Nez Perce people and passed into other hands. In the 20th century, however, the Nez Perce were able to acquire land nearby — not with the lake but still with the mountains — and they graciously allow all people to walk through this sacred territory and feel its peace.

It is an experience. One walks slowly through a wending trail, conscious always of the peaks overhead. There is much silence, broken only by a breeze through the trees, or a songbird creating a sound that Chief Joseph and his people would have heard. Seldom are we able to walk on land that looks the way it always has, and connect with people who have gone before us.

Peace is also available as a multi-pieced theme, licensed wall array at Framed Canvas Art.

The painting Peace reminds us that quietude, stillness, reflection, and meditation are important elements to incorporate in our lives, and while we focus as a society on being busy and getting things done, an integral part of a healthy life is taking time to reflect, and to be embraced by Nature around us.

Chief Joseph was wise enough to know that the Wallowa Lake was not just an incredible hunting and fishing area. He recognized, and appreciated, that it was beautiful.

Peace, the  Original Oil Painting by Steve Henderson, is available for purchase through the website. The 20 x 40 painting is accompanied by a gold frame that is free with purchase. Peace is also available as a  Licensed Open Edition Print through Framed Canvas Art.

Please contact Carolyn@SteveHendersonFineArt to inquire about any of Steve’s original oil and watercolor paintings or licensed open edition prints.

Please read the rest of this newsletter at Start Your Week with Steve.

Check out Steve’s artwork at Steve Henderson Fine ArtOriginal paintings — licensed open edition prints — Santa and Holiday. Steve’s licensed work is available at Great Big CanvasiCanvasARTAmazon.comLight in the Box, and Framed Canvas Art.

If you are a manufacturer who would like to use Steve’s artwork on your products, please contact his agents, Matt Appelman (matt.appelman@artlicensing.com). You can see Steve’s Art Licensing page here.

Check out, also, Steve and Carolyn’s products at Amazon.com:

The Misfit Christian: Empowering the Believers and Seekers Who Don’t Fit into Contemporary Church (paperback and digital book)

Live Happily on Less: 52 Ways to Renovate Your Life and Lifestyle (paperback and digital book)

Grammar Despair: Quick, simple solutions to problems like, “Do I say Him and Me or He and I?” (paperback and digital book)

Step by Step Watercolor Success (digital DVD workshop designed for beginning to intermediate watercolor students and artists)

 

 

Posted in Art, Culture, decor, Faith, Family, fine art, home, interior decorating, Lifestyle, outdoors, painting, Style | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sleeping Christians

Awake, oh sleeper, awake and stretch! Girl in a Copper Dress 3, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas and iCanvasART.

The Bible talks a lot about being awake, and all Christians like to think that they are so:

“Oh, yes — I’m awake all right to the evils of the world around me!”

Quite honestly, as much as we would like to think that Christians, more than anyone, are awake to the evil of mankind and all of its systems, few of us are, my dear brothers and sisters.

“Now while (Jesus) was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.

“But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.” (John 2:  23-25)

Does this describe you? Do you know what is in a man?

Please read the rest at Are You Awake? at BeliefNet’s Commonsense Christianity. I am an ordinary Christian, not affiliated with any form of pastoral leadership at all, who speaks up because I believe that ordinary Christians are ignored, overlooked, and used by an increasingly corporate religious establishment.

How odd that Christians, who are misfits in the world of men, so frequently feel that way among other Christians. Paperback and digital at Amazon.com.

My goal in writing is to encourage other ordinary Christians, not affiliated with any form of pastoral leadership, to believe in God enough to actually trust Him, to read His Scripture for themselves, and to stop relying upon books, tapes, seminars, gurus, and large Christian business establishments to do their thinking for them.

This article is linked to A Mama’s Story, Nourishing Joy, Moms the Word, Thoughtful Spot, Motivation MondayTime Warp WifeCornerstone ConfessionsParadise of PraiseKathe with an EOh My Heartsie GirlThe Shady PorchThis Mommas RamblingsThe Life of Jennifer DawnMy Daily Walk in His GraceWholehearted HomeWe Are That FamilyHomemaking Link UpThe Mom clubTrue AimMy Disorganized LifeMoonlight and Mason Jars,

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Spiritual Abuse

The waves of life come crashing against us — we really don’t need someone pouring water over our head, in addition. Whitewater, original oil painting by Steve Henderson.

Years ago in my little town, there was a restaurant that was known not for the quality of its

food (above average), the ambiance of its surroundings (cheap chic), or the professionalism of its staff (non-existent). It was famous, and wildly successful, for the way it abused its clientele.

From one week to the next, customers never knew what they would be charged for — at the manager’s whim, butter pads cost 15 cents extra, and then they didn’t. Coffee refills were endless — oh no, that was last week; now it’s one refill, grudgingly allotted.

One customer, who frequented the place daily for more than 25 years, ordered two slices of toast every morning, sometimes being charged for butter and jam, other times just for the jam. Because the toast consisted of yesterday’s leftovers, every day’s breakfast looked different: one day her “two” slices of toast was one piece, cut in half. Frequently it was burnt.

To get it, she had to listen closely, because the staff yelled out, “Hey, Emily! Your toast is ready!”

Such was the business model, and judging by the way the mismatched tables and rickety chairs were filled to capacity, people loved it. The worse they were treated, the more they flocked in.

I can’t help but think of many churches when I remember this restaurant, now mercifully closed, and while I saw, and avoided, the flaws in the restaurant, I confess to spending all too long being abused on a spiritual level.

Please read the rest at Thriving on Spiritual Abuse, at my column, Commonsense Christianity at BeliefNet. As you know, I am unable to reprint the entire article, and I am grateful when you click through and finish the whole thing.

Not only am I willing to admit that I am a misfit, I am relieved to do so, because I no longer have to pretend I am someone, or something, that I am not. Paperback and digital at Amazon.com. Free borrowing on Amazon Prime.

I wrote my book, The Misfit Christian, for believers and seekers who feel out of place in their church or religious community. Oddly, rather than being spiritual failures, these people are generally dissatisfied because they are strong seekers of the truth, and when they can’t find it, they get frustrated.

Does this describe you? Please consider reading my book, The Misfit Christian. If you’re put off because you don’t know who I am, then please read the introduction, provided free at the Look Inside section on the Amazon page.

I have never held back that I am a nobody in the world’s eyes, an ordinary person with no Christian Lettered Credentials behind my name. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t learned much from the Big Guys, and they certainly don’t seem particularly willing to learn from, or listen to, us little people.

This article is linked to Serving Joyfully, 3D Lessons, Children Are a Blessing, Graced Simplicity, I Choose Joy, Jenny Mullinix, Shine Blog Hop, All Things with a Purpose, A Look at the Book, Friday Flash Blog, A little dash of diva, Love Bakes Good Cakes, Weekend Wind down, Fellowship Friday, Family Fun, Christian Mom Blogger, Essential Things, Missional womanA Mama’s StoryMoms the WordThoughtful SpotMotivation Monday

Posted in Art, blogging, Christian, devotional, Faith, Family, fine art, home, inspirational, Lifestyle, Relationships, religion, self-improvement, spirituality, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments