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    Lent: Remember

    Lent: Remember

    Friends, Helen Brooks here. Throughout the next month, our team will be sharing what God is teaching us as we journey through Lent. We are so excited and expectant to dive into the Lenten Season with you!

    Our prayer is that as you use the All Good Things Lent experience and as you utilize these writings, you’ll experience the power and presence of Jesus in quiet and meaningful moments.

    Today, I wanted to share with you what God has put on my heart during the first week of Lent.

    When I began to pray about giving up or picking up something new for Lent, God led me to the feast of unleavened bread, in which the Israelites were instructed by God to eat bread without yeast for 7 days.  They were also told to search every nook and cranny of their homes, removing any trace of yeast from within them. Removing the leaven was a physical illustration of what God was calling them to do with their hearts. The feast was a time to search the heart for sin, and a time to ask God to purge that sin and cleanse them from it.  

    They were not only instructed to lay down the leavened bread but they were also instructed to consume something new, the unleavened bread.   They replaced one habit with another healthier habit, one that reminded them of their deliverance from Egypt.  I have recently been asking God to cleanse me of my tendency to judge others, especially on the other side of feeling hurt or rejected.  I have been asking Him how to get free from it, and what I feel like I heard, was “It’s habitual.  Replace it with another habit.”  

    As I have prayed about what that new habit should look like,  God led me to the word “remembrance” which is a word that has relentlessly chased me since the day of my salvation.   God once again reminded me that the tendency to judge stems from forgetfulness.  It’s simply an outward sign that I have forgotten the depth of the sin in my own heart and the wrath that God has so freely delivered me from.  

    As I move through this Lenten season, I feel God calling me to come away with Him to simply remember what He has done in my life.  I tend to need a visual to carry with me, so I often remember Christ by expressing it through art and writing, and I plan to make those a daily discipline as I move through Lent.   We often need tools to help us stay in remembrance.  Our Lent calendar was designed with this very thing in mind!  Thank you to all of you have joined us and please know we are praying earnestly for you as you remember, repent, and walk in anticipation of all the good things that Christ has stored up for you.

    Grace + Peace to you,

    Helen + the All Good Things Team!

    Behind the Art: Katie Schermbeck

    Behind the Art: Katie Schermbeck

    Here at All Good Things, we are not only obsessed with Art, but the people behind it. 

    We first connected with Katie a few months ago when she contributed to our 2018 Lent Experience. We instantly became smitten with her big brush strokes + bold colors. Katie currently lives in North Carolina with her sweet husband, and their fluffy pup, Truman.  She is a freelance, self-taught painter with a love for big skies, brunch, and list making. 

    This month, we got to chat with Katie about her heart behind her art, and we wanted to share it with you! We are continually inspired by the artists + friends that we get to work with, and we hope you are too! ENJOY! 

    Q: How did you get started as an artist?
    A: In truth, I feel as though painting was an escape route & an act of desperation to be creative again. I sang in choirs & acapella groups growing up and through college and when I graduated, lost that constant connection to others through music. I fell in love with painting, because at the time that I found it, I was learning to find myself again. In that way, painting was a way for me to rediscover things that I enjoyed about my personality, with a new way to express them.

    I've always been a creative soul & will find any reason to make something with my hands, however, I began painting more seriously about 4 years ago.  I had a very humble start - including craft store paint & my kitchen table. I'm still finding my footing as an artist & won't pretend to have it all together. I love to create & I love it when what I create allows others to connect & to feel.

    I don't know color theory & I don't have a fancy art degree (although, I really wish I did and hope to one day!) - I'm VERY self-taught, but believe in the tenacity of starting small & learning through experience.

    Q: How does your art and your faith intersect?
    A: I absolutely love the sky. I know that might sound juvenile or uninspired, but I am completely & continually captivated by the vastness of the sky. Each time I look up, I am reminded of my Creator & immediately feel enveloped. Many of my works have lighter hues toward the top of the piece often mimicking a traditional landscape – I like to think of this as a gentle nod to a sunrise.

    Q: How would you describe your style of art?
    A: “Being an artist means forever healing your own wounds and at the same time, endlessly exposing them.” – Annette Messager 
    With each piece that I create, I seek to tell either an untold or unknown story; either of my own or someone else. In these pieces, I seek to explore the landscape of the human experience particularly as it relates to memories & past experiences. All works are guided in bright blends of color but are underpinned by seemingly chaotic mark making that typically sweeps at the base of a piece – signifying amid turmoil, we are ultimately still held together by the One who knitted us. 
    The majority of my work pursues the inter-connectivity of the human experience and our shared stories. Our sameness, our introspective nature as humans allows us to connect like no other and is the tie that binds all of our narratives. We are also bound by our inevitable finite earthly existence paired with a longing to be infinite – which is why we relish in memories of ourselves, others, and those of the past. 
    However, when depicting these memories, I seek to “repaint” them in a way that allows the viewer to interpret the experience in a way that restores them. Often our memories are negative because we end the story at a negative point – therefore my work seeks to extend the story so that the experience can be remembered at a different point in the narrative, thus reshaping the past, by filing the experience differently. 
    The tones within my work are overwhelmingly joyful, however, the experiences that have informed them are not often so – yet, it is not about the genesis of the feeling, but about how it is later felt. I want to echo the point that we are not defined at our lowest or highest but in how we react to each end of the spectrum and by how they are remembered. My work seeks to push past dark moments so that the creator’s & viewer’s story continues. 

    Q: As an artist, how do you stay creative?
    A: Inspiration truly is everywhere. From a conversation with an old friend to the colors of the produce in the grocery store. I stay creative by seeking for inspiration in ordinary & everyday places and by simply believing that it DOES exist everywhere.

    Practically, I carry my sketchbook and a couple of oil pastel sticks wherever I go & also don’t shy away from using my camera. If the floor I’m standing on has a great pattern, the color of a chair strikes me, or the sun just shines my way, I snap an amateur picture & refer back to it when I’ve got time at my easel.
    Also, I am of course very inspired by fellow artists as well. However, I find that following the work of artists with very different styles than my own keeps me feeling rejuvenated by their perspective, rather than falling into the trap of comparison & trying to imitate anything.

    Q: How do you think art + community intersect? 
    A: I believe art has limitless functions. However, one of its most special abilities is to create a shared experience between people. I believe that art can create the starting point for forming a new opinion, seeing a new perspective, building a new connection.
    Ultimately, my hope for the viewer is that they are invited to reshape their own experiences and to enter into the constant reshaping of their own memories so that they are uplifted by their own narrative & able to express it in a way that heals. I hope this then sparks conversation & shared reflection to allow this process to occur in community rather than alone.


    For more from Katie, make sure to check out her website (katieschermbeck.com) + follow along via social media at @kathryn.schermbeck!



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