2018: A Year For Hope (Watercolor Reveal)

I had trouble sleeping last night. Or maybe I just woke super early. In any case, as soon as it became obvious I wasn’t going back to sleep anytime soon, I decided to get up and try a little painting.

When I started working on the word picture for this blog series, I had a vision in my head/heart of what I wanted it to look like. It was to be a reflection of not only of what a dear loved one spoke over me, but also of my own heart as related to season I’ve been going through.

And over the many attempts, the word picture began to take shape … to the point that I started sharing it in this blog series. But I still wasn’t very happy with it.

So this morning, instead of trying to finish the existing watercolor, I decided to try something new.
This is the “work in process”, begun January 2018.

untitled, PHTW, 1/15/18

And this is what I painted today. It just flowed so easily. I am really pleased with it and feel that it represents exactly what I wanted to put on paper.

The Perfume Bottle, PuttingHopeToWork.com, 03/15/18

In my next blog post, I’ll write about the inspiration and what it means to me. And then I’ll start working on my next word-picture, which is already being birthed in my imagination!

In the mean time, I’d love to hear what this word picture speaks to your heart. Please feel free to comment below.

All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

2018: A Year For Hope (Week 11)

I recently shared a dream I had a few weeks back. If you haven’t read it, you might want to take a moment to do so (here) so that you have the background for this quote.

“Don’t smell another man’s offerings.”

I’ve been thinking about that phrase a lot. Of course, that first morning I just scratched my head in confusion as if to say : “Seriously Lord? What in the world is that supposed to mean?”

But over the next few days, I began to get some clarity.

“My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry, for human anger is never a legitimate tool to promote God’s righteous purpose. So this is why we abandon everything morally impure and all forms of wicked conduct. Instead, with a sensitive spirit we absorb God’s Word, which has been implanted within our nature, for the Word of Life has power to continually deliver us. Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let this Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! If you listen to the Word and don’t live out the message you hear, you become like the person who looks in the mirror of the Word to discover the reflection of his face in the beginning. You perceive how God sees you in the mirror of the Word, but then you go out and forget your divine origin.” James 1:23-25 (Passion)

I recently discussed with friends how God will use Scripture to mirror back to us the reflection of who we are … both in compliment to, but also in contrast to what the Bible says we are to be as Christ-followers. And sure enough, my time in the Word began to challenge my internal thoughts, and I recognized that without intention I’d been walking around with my nose up in the air!

I may have looked freshly groomed on the outside, but on the inside my face was dirt-smudged from entertaining thoughts like:

  • Are they really doing that for God, or do they have ulterior motives? (sniff, sniff, sniff!)
  • Their heart is in the right place, but I think I could have done a better job at that. (sniff, sniff, sniff!)
  • Doesn’t the Bible say that we are not supposed to do that? (sniff, sniff, sniff!)
  • If that were me, I would have done it differently. (sniff, sniff, sniff!)

Sometimes I really DISLIKE looking in the mirror because what I see is … well …. it is ugly! Jealousy. Pride. Envy. Contempt. Pettiness. Fear. And the list goes on.

(pausing in case you want to “unsubscribe” from this blog, now that you know the kind of junk I deal with on a regular basis).

And over the course of the next several days, with tremendous love and tenderness, the Lord revealed that I had allowed seeds of jealousy to take root towards my co-laborers. Instead of celebrating them and their successes, I was examining them under the microscope to determine if I approved of their methods or not. But who was I to judge the methods and intensions of another of God’s children! In other words, “Don’t sniff another man’s offering.”

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.” Romans 14:4

Not only was my internal mindset not reflective of God’s heart, but my unloving and judgmental attitudes were interfering with my prayer life!! Oh, I was still praying. Earnestly. But since FAITH works by LOVE (Galatians 5:6, read more here), cultivating an unloving behavior in my spirit was gradually eating away at the integrity of my FAITH in God’s Word.

How could I have Bible-HOPE believing God for provision for my needs when I was also cultivating an attitude of jealousy over God’s meeting the needs of another!

Or how could I practice Bible-HOPE (confident trust and expectation) for God to honor my sincere desire to be used by Him to bless and encourage others (i.e. you!) in their Christian walk when I was at the same time critiquing the ministry of my brothers and sisters in Christ.


But oh, what a loving Father we have! If we will just spend some time with Him, He will graciously point out when we have spinach in our teeth and schmutz all over our face. And then He will help clean us up so that He can send us back out to represent His radiant beauty to a watching world!

untitled, PHTW, 1/15/18

I’d love to hear your comments on this subject … even if just to say you’re not going to un-subscribe. 🙂

Be blessed!


Does God ever speak to you in word-pictures? My prayer is that the humble paintings contained in my blog posts will speak something unique to your heart/spirit. I would be honored to know how they move or impact you.

All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

Vincent D’Onofrio preached a good sermon!

A few weeks ago I had the strangest dream. As best as I can remember it (because it was rather weird … you know, one of those dreams that seems to jump around a lot but “bits and pieces” remain with you upon waking. Yea, one of those.

In my dream, Vincent D’Onofrio was what some might call or think of as a Pentecostal preacher. Like his famous Law and Order character, he was animated in speech and a little on the quirky side.

He swayed while he preached. Or more accurately, he “flowed” around the pulpit, as though moving with the ebb and flow, rise and fall of the Holy Spirit speaking through Him.

Most of what he preached I don’t remember, but I recall the feeling of agreement. He was preaching the Bible.

Then unexpectedly he paused, looked right at me from the pulpit, and said “Don’t smell another man’s offering.”

A few minutes later, he asked me what that (all of what he had just preached) meant to me.

I thought for a moment, took a deep breath to answer, and … woke up.


I have been thinking about this ever since. What do you think this means? Do any Scriptures come to mind?

Morning Sips

2018: A Year For Hope (Week 10)

She is so very tired. Another weekend ends just like the 102 weekends proceeding. Slamming doors, wounding words, accusations and allegations, and tears. The tears are hers, and she wonders when the day will come that she has no more of them to offer. Her friends tell her to pray, to “Let go and Let God.” Geez, hasn’t that been what she has been doing? Others tell her to cut him off, that the boys high-risk lifestyle will likely kill him one day, and if she doesn’t take protective action, she risks going down with him.

Truth be told, there are days she wishes she could. That she could just say; “You can’t be a part of my life until you confront your addictions and clean up your life.” Just write him off as a bad seed, cry tears of closure, and move on. But then she remembers the vision God gave her when he was 9 years old; the promise that one day her son would be called into the ministry and that many lives would be changed because of his testimony. And so she prays again.

Last week, I wrote about the The Wait of Faith. That uncomfortable waiting period between the time we pray about something to the time the answer manifests in the natural world … when our eyes can see it, our arms can wrap themselves around it, and our lips can shout praises to God for His faithfulness to hear and to do!

These are my most common responses when my prayers aren’t answered within the time I’ve allocated to God for their manifestation.

• I get impatient, frustrated, even downright angry with God.
• I resign myself to the situation – often out of fatigue, or by concluding (this, it) must be part of God’s will.
• I doubt God’s willingness and/or His ability to perform.

And I’m not alone, for the Bible is full of people daily wrestling with the same responses while they lived in the tension (sometimes hundreds of years long) between the promise given and the possession of that promise.

“The Lord Said: Ezekiel, son of many, you’ve heard the people in Israel use the saying, “Time passes, and the prophets are proved wrong.” Now tell the people that I, the Lord, am going to prove that saying wrong. No one will ever be able to use it again in Israel, because very soon everything I have said will come true!” Ezekiel 12:21-23

I am reading Draw The Circle by Mark Batterson and throughout the book he paints a number of word pictures that really speak to me. But perhaps my favorite (at least so far) is this:

“Faith is what keeps those dreams alive, even when it seems as though they are dead and buried. But that is the very nature of seeds. They go underground. They disappear. And while it may seem like they are dead, they are not. They’re just germinating beneath the surface!” ~Mark Batterson, Draw The Circle, Day 12: Sow a Seed

That really speaks to me.

I don’t know about you, but my spiritual backyard is littered with tomb stones of hopes and dream-seeds I’ve buried over the years. Some graves I visit periodically to mourn over their loss. Some I have so completely forgotten about that I must kneel down and read the headstone just to remember what they were. And when God brings one of those long dead dream-seeds back to life … Wow, there is absolutely nothing like it! I’ve had it happen more than once and I am currently living it out now in my small business. Something I counted dead decades ago – in fact so deeply forgotten about that it was my sister who reminded me I used to talk about doing this someday – mysteriously emerges from the ground as a seedling and beckons to be cared for, re-invigorating soul and spirit with the majesty and faithfulness of God!!

Still there are other dream-seeds of things to be (or you could call them prayers, promises, or visions) that won’t stay underground no matter how hard I try to bury them. They won’t stay underground, but neither do they appear to be growing. In fact, sometimes they sprout, die, and then sprout and die again. Over time, repeated disappointment combined with deep emotional fatigue beg me to just give up, dig up the seed, toss it in the compost pile and move on! But I just can’t bring myself to do it! Using Mark’s analogy, my FAITH in the promise of God (in His willingness to fulfill His Word) has planted seeds of HOPE in my spirit, and those seeds of HOPE are germinating.

And just like no farmer would ever plant just one seed of corn at a time, neither does Daddy God plant just one seed of HOPE at a time. He plants redundant seed, so that if one accidentally gets stepped on or plucked up, there is more dream-seed at work just beneath the surface, to bring the dream into manifestation just at the right time.

“Have faith in God! If you have faith in God and don’t doubt you can tell this mountain to get up and jump into the sea, and it will. Everything you ask for in prayer will be yours, if only you have faith. Whenever you stand up to pray, you must forgive what others have done to you. Then your Father in heaven will forgive your sins.” Mark 11:22-25 (CEV)

“Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (AMP)


Lord, I thank you that you are the ultimate HOPE-giver, and that You (by your own Holy script, Isaiah 55:11) have declared that no promise of God ever goes without fulfillment!

untitled, PHTW, 1/15/18

When we get impatient, comfort us with the knowledge that Your timing is always perfect and give us peace to wait in faith. When fatigue and disappointment beckon us to give up and accept things as they are, stir up in us a hunger to see heavenly justice and help us persevere in faith. And when doubt whispers that You are not able, or unwilling … let us be quick to cast down those faulty imaginations – recognizing them for what they are, lies straight from the pit of hell. Help us to stay grounded in our trust in Your willingness and ability to fulfill every promise and every Word spoken. If You said it, You will do it!


Have you ever been in a Wait of Faith?   How did God keep you encouraged, or refresh your weariness, during the waiting period.  Please feel free to share below – your own experience might be just what someone else needs to hear today!

Does God ever speak to you in word-pictures?  My prayer is that the humble paintings contained in my blog posts will speak something unique to your heart/spirit.  I would be honored to know how they move or impact you.

All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

2018: A Year For Hope (Week 9)

She prayed. She believed. She spoke in agreement with the promise. And she is still waiting and praying.
He found the scriptures. He stood on them. He was genuinely surprised when everything fell apart anyways.
The little boy whispered, “God, are you still there? Are you listening?”

Many of my posts have to do with the subject of HOPE and FAITH.

HOPE; the confident trust and expectation in the promise of God. FAITH; the best buddy of HOPE that is grounded and established on the immutable Word of God. There is a natural tension between the two … a mystery to be walked out by those who would claim to have believing faith for something they don’t yet have or possess or see in the natural.

“You can’t have FAITH without HOPE;
and hope without faith is just a wish.” ~unknown

“Hope is a divine inner image. It’s a dream birthed by The WORD of God
in the soul of man. It’s the blueprint of our faith.” ~Kenneth Copeland

For the next few weeks or so, I am going to try to tackle the subject of something I wrestle with on a regular basis. Like the imaginary people above, I’ve prayed for specific needs. I’ve researched the scriptures for the promise related to those needs and laid claim to them. I’ve gotten my mouth working in agreement with the Word. I’ve locked the door to fear. I’ve stood my ground before the enemy of doubt and ….


I call this period, this process, this slow-as-molasses season …… the wait of Faith.

If I’m being completely honest, for me it’s one thing when I have a practical need. Maybe I need finances for car repairs, or I need a new wardrobe because I lost 33 lbs on Weight Watchers. (a little shout out to my WW group! Whazzup my friends!!) I have His promise, I know it’s His will (because it’s in His Word), and so basically, I just need to keep my eyes looking upward and trust He will bring it to pass in His timing.

But (again, being completely honest), it is a much harder deal when you are praying as an intercessor. Like when you’re praying for healing for your child, grandchild, or spouse. Or praying for someone to be delivered from drugs, alcohol, or pornography. You see the lives impacted. You see the pain, doubt, and fear. And you can’t do anything to fix it but pray and believe, and pray some more! This is where the Wait of Faith takes on a whole new meaning, for not only are you affected by the pain and doubt and wreckage you see happening in the life of the one you are interceding for, but your own pain and doubts need to be managed.

“She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.” So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, “Look! There’s the Shunammite! Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?’” “Everything is all right,” she said.”
2 Kings 4:24-26

It’s not that the Shunammite woman (whose child had just died btw) wasn’t experiencing a torrent of emotions. She was! BUT … she held them in check (didn’t give them full reign), and purposefully determined in her will and spirit to trust to the spiritual authority of the Prophet as higher (of ranking priority) than her own emotions. Let me say that again but in a slightly different way.

She made a conscious determination and willful choice to put her trust in the authority of the Prophet (the OT representation of Jesus Christ) as greater than the torrent of her own emotions and thoughts and fears.

And that is ultimately what saved her sons life!!!

Let us also purposefully determine during our own Wait of Faith, to give our confidence and trust (our HOPE) to the promises, power and authority of matchless Name of Jesus which is higher than whatever is facing us today.  If He said it, He will do it!!

untitled – a work in progress, PHTW 1.15.18
If you have been following along, above is the initial sketch for the word picture along with it’s progression to the current state in the larger picture. There are components of this piece that are going to be revealed as this blog series continues, so please keep coming back to watch the image in my head/heart come to life on paper.
What do you think would be a good name or caption for this particular word picture?
Also, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about any of the word pictures in this blog series, or any other of my posts. My prayer is that they will speak something unique to your heart/spirit, and I would be honored to know how they move or impact you.
All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

I'm on a journey to better understand the intertwining of FAITH & HOPE.