Disclaimer: this post is a combination of craft and raw emotion. You’ve been warned.
One creative thing I’ve always enjoyed doing (even before I started getting “crafty”) was painting.
I loved the idea of taking a blank canvas..or just plain paper..and creating something.
Although, I almost always take my inspiration from something else.
Well, on one such occasion it was a card.
Life is hard sometimes–crazy, mixed-up, messed up. And there you are, in the middle of it all, just doing your thing…being strong and brave and beautiful like it’s no big deal.
(Please bear with me because even as I write this tears come to my eyes.)
I found this card at the going out of business sale at my college‘s bookstore in June of last year. I was in the long line and happened to be perusing the cards as we passed them.
But let me tell you, girl, it is. Not everyone can do what you do. Not everyone can handle things the way you can. While you wonder sometimes if you’re doing OK…the rest of us are just watching in wonder.
Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24
I thought it was beautiful.
The image of the woman standing in the rain.
Looking strong and beautiful, but with the storm raging around her.
So I bought the card. Thinking that it was oh-so-pretty and having no idea of anyone to give it to.
Not even a week later the storm came.
I got a phone call in the middle of the night. It was about my friend, Kurt. He had been shot.
Kurt and I practically grew up together. He had been my best guy friend through every grade in school.
I considered him a brother.
He was also a deputy sheriff that had been called to a domestic dispute turned standoff in the middle of the night.
He was shot and killed in the line of duty.
He left behind a very young son and an amazing wife who went into labor with their baby girl
when she heard that he had been shot.
It has been over 7 months that he’s been gone. Still doesn’t feel real.
Many, many tears have been shed in his memory.
Yet, we rejoice with him because we know he’s in a better place.
He died serving his country and protecting others.
He is a true hero.
Lauren (his widow and my friend) has been the strongest, most beautiful woman in the middle of the storm.
I could not write a better card to tell her how much I appreciated and admired her.
So, with the card I also painted her a picture.
First, I painted a picture based off the card’s image. Which really helped with figuring out proportions and what parts I wanted to include or not include.
For instance, I learned the painting hands was NOT a strong suit.
Yes..I took the pictures outside in front of my porch. I couldn’t get lighting right inside.
I also experimented with using mixed media which I have always wanted to do.
I used a scrap of fabric for the “shirt”, a tiny button, and some yarn for a belt.
The umbrella also had mod podged paper polka dots.
There was some floral wire over the hands and up to the umbrella that I hot glued on for the umbrella handle,
but it wouldn’t stay on.
I tried painting a face I don’t know how many times and then painting back over it with white.
I decided she didn’t need a face.
This is the painting I made for Lauren using some of her favorite colors (blue and chocolate brown)
and the verse from inside the card.
I used a scrap of burlap for the shirt, some lacey ribbon for the belt, and I made the “necklace”.
I debated over charms for a while, but finally settled on these two. I really wanted to find a dog tag, but when I saw “HOPE” (which looks a little like a dog tag) I had to have it.
Kurt will always be remembered for the incredible, godly man and husband that he was.
But he leaves behind a legacy of hope.
An amazing wife and two beautiful children.
An incredible testimony of a life served for God and others.
Thanks for reading.
That was a hard post to get through.