This cold January day calls for a bit of extra coffee and patience. Patience quickly yields to an abrupt halt in my steps and then a deliberate focus on His wisdom.
Today was my first day back on the potter’s wheel for 2020. Excited to play with the wheel, customer orders to fill and always more on my list that I can accomplish. I am admitting a workaholic. I use to think that title was terrible. I would go even as far as saying it was a “bad” word. Saying that I love my work is a serious understatement. I am confident that I am working for my Lord and I am an excited to play my part in His master plan.
I wake up most every morning excited to see what the day will bring. Today I was ready only to quickly get the realization of patience and humbling in my art. The clay that was prepared last evening was stiff. Even though I know better, I chose to work with the clay only to hit a level of frustration when the clay would not do as I instructed.
I have made thousands of pots and have taught hundreds of lessons. I have cried so many tears learning this art. All with a deeper understanding that I am the clay and He is the true potter. With the stiff clay on the wheel I pressed on only to fail. I needed a fresh perspective. The settling of wisdom came. It was sincere and pure. I am keenly aware that there is always something new to learn. I recouped my frustration, realized my mistakes, took the wisdom and then walked away.
I cleaned my hands and went to warm up the collard greens I brought for lunch. I made a fresh pot of coffee and sat down.
I stared at that 3 pots that were causing me issues. I allowed myself to refocus on the art of the creation, took a few deep breaths, enjoyed my lunch, and rested my hands. All while hoping that tonight’s karate lesson would not involve any wrist work. I knew I would begin again and that I will be mindful of how this break may or may not change today’s pottery outcome.
After about 30 minutes, I began again. So what happened after my break? I’d love to say I nailed it but sadly that was not the case. After cleaning up after lunch, I entered back into the studio only to see one pot on the floor and the other with a huge stress crack! Oh my goodness. I revisited the pot on the wheel and after many attempts at finishing this struggling 11″ crock it finally gave way to my skill. Or so I thought… It looked almost perfect and then it didn’t. It collapsed. I even went as far as to try a fourth pot. This one met its demise when I smashed it with my hand.
So was today a good day of throwing? Well my immediate answer would be softly spoken “no” however, the answer is deeper than a simple close-ended statement. Production wise today sucked. Lesson wise today rocked.
I did not meet my production goal but, I was reminded of the humbleness I try to maintain in my studio and my work. An acquaintance of mine once told me that I should not use the word “humble” when I write. They felt is showed meekness or weakness when used to often. I disagree. I am always humbled my craft and by the work being done at my studio. I am humbled knowing that I must always try to do my best. I believe the more humble I can be, the more I will rely on His direction and wisdom. I am grateful for today and even for the clay in my hair.
James 3:17, (NLT) But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.
Driving and circling, driving and circling, driving and circling… I did just this for many months from fall 2010 to January 2011. It did not matter the vehicle, if I was by myself, with my family, if it was nice out, raining, or even snowing… I would drive and circle before I got on with my day.
The small voice told me the path. My calling was getting louder. It was to big for me to fully understand so I did the only thing I knew to always be effective. I prayed.
Throughout my life my faith walk has been speckled with pauses and surges. I have grown in Christ. At this point in my life, I was learning to be a better listener. For years, I had told my husband that we would own the weird shaped building down the street. But to be completely honest, I did not know why. The purchase became a running joke until the summer of 2010.
Pottery had entered back into my life around 2009. In 2010, we officially opened Under The Horizon. I had my basic pottery supplies, an old kiln, and a used wheel that my husband drove to New Jersey to pick-up. I could not have been happier in my mini-studio. I would hold classes in the conference room in my husband’s office complex and teach myself more and more about the awesome skill of pottery.
I quickly outgrew the space so my husband and I began looking for a place to house all of my goodies as well as a place that I could grow into. We looked and looked… Was this the right time to talk about purchasing the weird abandoned building down the street? After much discussion, we chose to move forward.
We set-up a time to check out the property. It was a cold day in the fall. In fact, it was a snowy day in late October. While hubby looked at the property lines and other details that did not interest me, I stood outback of the building with our 3 children. As one point, I has my eyes closed. Our 7 year old daughter hugged me and and said “it is perfect isn’t it mommy!” I opened my eyes and agreed. I was so overwhelmed that I needed to leave the property. It was more than perfect – it was part of His master plan.
We choose to make an offer. We knew the condition of the property and how long it had been mostly abandoned. We went through the normal purchasing hoops. We waited 2 long weeks, just to get a call telling us that the abandoned property that did not have any type of county postings, had already been sold! I was devastated. How could this be! There were so many questions.
The next day, I was standing outside of our home near our wood pile. After many conversations with my husband, after the shock wore off and after deep prayer my now calm heart choose to take the matter into my own hands.
I am sure we all have a story about a person whom we ran across that made a huge impression on us. Maybe it was an odd interaction, something magical or just plain crazy. Well on this day, I am fairly certain that I became that person for the lady at the local courthouse. I called the courthouse with the hopes of understanding how this property could have been sold. The lady was kind and we shared many laughs when I came right out and told her that the property could not have been sold as it was too be ours and that I know this because God told me so. She humored me and helped me find out who purchased the property.
We came to the conclusion that the property was sold in September! What! On November 15, 2010 I laid my heart in a letter to the new owner. I explained who were were, what had happened, why we wanted to property, and made an offer to purchase. We heard back only a few short weeks later on December 3, 2010.
I continued with drive and circle. So what was I doing? I would not drive past the property without circling the building and praying over her. This was a daily endeavor as I poured my heart out into God’s plan. I continually said “yes” to His direction.
On this very day 9 years ago, our sweet daughter and I drove and circled once more. The next day would be settlement.
The challenges over the property were immense. I am grateful for a husband who can fix anything and for a mom and dad who believed in me. We worked night and day for 9 months just to get her to a point where we could begin to move in. We opened to the public on November 5, 2011 and welcomed over 150 people.
What have I learned these past 9 years? A LOT! I did not know all of the pieces then and to be completely honest I still don’t. I belived, my faith has grown, and I belive now more that ever before.
With my family by our side, we were able to grow her into the beauty she is today. I like to think of her as a beacon of faith-in-action. Under The Horizon is here to serve and I could not be more humbled to have been chosen as her mommy.
- I can hardly believe that I have not posted in a little over 2 months. My head has been spinning although I have found myself much more reflective and meditative in prayer. Now, I cannot seem to type fast enough. I am not a writer. I am a heartfelt servant. Here goes my bla bla bla…. <3 As with many recent adventures at Under The Horizon, due to an established business platform, I accomplish the front work and then I have the birds-eye-view of watching the pieces fall into place. Over the last few months I have watched how the work of the last 9 years has brought community members together in numerous ways. Before I go on, let’s talk a little background and structure first… As an outreach based studio, our goal is to serve. (Warning – detailed sentence ahead – LOL) We use our creative talents to create pieces and provide creative services in order to generate funds to provide outreach programs. That is a mouthful! My education is in business. I earned my Masters of Management in 2006 and have had many years of experience in all types of business environments. I really love business, art, community and I have incredible faith. Recently, I had a wonderful conversation with a new customer who came in to the studio to paint ceramics with her son. My daughter was tending to them when a conversation began. She told my daughter that upon research she gathered that we are ran by a group of churches and that we are a non-profit. My daughter explained that I was the sole owner and that I choose to serve. I love my daughter’s response. She knows the studio and I am grateful for her help and advocacy. I had the opportunity to check in on the lady and her son. We had a wonderful follow-up conversation. She explained to me what my daughter had told her. The conversation then went deeper and she asked me a few questions and when I told her about my education she made the best comment. She said “Oh! I was going to say something… So that is how this works! So many people have great ideas but cannot make them last. I love this!” I was so grateful that someone noticed and openly recognized the business end to a not-so-easy business structure. The Under The Horizon business structure is simple but not common. In fact, I have only every found 1 other business that operates they way we do. We are a for-profit business. Yes, I like to help provide for my family and put a few pennies away for a rainy day. LOL. We are also a ministry/outreach business. Yes, we openly choose to use profit to serve the community. No, we cannot apply for grants. I am okay with that 🙂 We have never wanted to anything – God’s grace baby! However, we have received what I call push-through grants where a non-profit received a grant and then they hire us to fulfill the work. We have incredible community partners! From individuals to companies – we are blessed and could not do this without them. I work hard to make this unusual type of business work. I could not do this without the grace of God, my incredible family, my amazing best friend, close friends, and the support of community. Most of my job is administrative but that is okay – I do love it. I am slowly finding the balance between the love of business and the love of clay simply because one cannot happen without the other. So all of this brings me to “making Him matter.” For the last few months I have watched the community both near and far support our efforts. From random donations received via an Amazon box, to food sitting by the front door, to walking sticks cut from a local farm, to yarn donations from near and far, to time, to random craft supply donations, to hand sewn grocery bags for our food program, on and on…. We saw how so many wanted to help and that they were helping as they were inspired too help. This is powerful! There are so many opportunities to help and spread love and kindness. A few weeks back I found myself just sitting in our large teaching room in awe. God’s plan has been unfolding and I have been blessed to witness it. Incredible is not a strong enough word. God is so faithful and you all are AMAZING! A few weeks ago the plan that has had me being reflective and meditative in prayer and the plan that had me not blogging was starting to become vocal. I wanted to find a way to allow our community to serve at their pace and within their desire. There needed to be way to address these people to meet their needs and wants while also meeting the needs and wants of the studio and our outreach programs. I had been collecting volunteer information, building community relationships, and storing all my notes in a beat-up blue folder. We reached out to the community to help name this “group” of community members. There were many name suggestions but, it was a young student of mine who knocked-it-out-of-the-park. I’m sure you will agree. She shared with me a quote that always makes her feel better. She said “some think God doesn’t matter, so make Him matter.” We are pleased to announce “making Him matter” A community-based program spreading love and kindness one gift at a time. The goal of this database is to offer those opportunities to all that are interested. This will allow each person an opportunity to spreading love and kindness as they see fit. We currently have lots of names on the database. All info is kept private – no worries from us 🙂. The database will be emailed on the 15th of each month, beginning in October, listing opportunities to spread love and kindness. It will contain a list of outreach needs and wants. As we are growing to spread love everywhere, outreach opportunity are needed beyond the local backyard community of Biglerville and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It doesn’t matter where you live. You can be included <3 If you are interested in being part of these incredible movement, please email (Cathleen@underthehorizon.net) us your name, phone number and email address. Thank you! God Bless you and this awesome union! If you want to see what we accomplished in 2018 click here.
July 3, 2019
I LOVE pumpkins! I am not fond of pumpkin spice which seems to be everywhere come fall. I like pumpkin pie but food allergies will not let me eat it anymore. More specifically, I LOVE carving pumpkins.
I have been actively carving pumpkins for the last few years. It was by happenstance that I went from the typical jack-o-lantern cutting to loving the art of carving. Check out some of my creations here.
So why in the world would I choose a hot summer day to write about pumpkins? That is easy… have you ever truly looked at the beauty of their leaves? Pumpkin leaves are thick and hardy. Their veins are tough and detailed. They have a protective coating on the underneath of the leaves and they make AMAZING pottery creations.
Before, I get too far ahead of myself, we need to go back to fall 2014. In the fall of 2014, my sister placed a rotting pumpkin into the dirt of a hanging basket. I am not sure why she put it there but she did never the less. From this planting, I received a basket full of baby pumpkins in the spring of 2015. She was so exited to give these to our mom to deliver to me. The day I received this gift, I was thrilled. They needed to be planted quickly and I did not have a place prepared so I planted the baby pumpkins in a garden at the studio.
Fall arrived and 3 baby small pumpkins had flourished in the garden. One was given to a student of mine and the other two were taken home with me. We used these small pumpkins as a decoration in our home.
Come the evening of Saturday, November 11, 2016 (if you have read any of my other blog entries, I am good with dates – LOL.) Our decorative and recently carved pumpkins were on their last leg so around 8:30 pm I got the tractor, filled up the bucket, and dumped the pumpkins into our target shooting range.
There are some moments that stick with you forever. This night was one of this times. I specifically remember gathering the pumpkins that my sister gave me, thinking about her, and sending her my heart-love.
That same evening one of our son’s, who was 9, could not fall asleep. He told me he was so worried that there was going to be a big fire. I calmed him and he fell fast asleep. The next morning we found out that my sister died in a fire around 1:30 am…………
Now, I could get off onto an entirely different direction detailing her death, her murder, and the court case. I won’t… Let’s keep going.
2017 came and went. Summer 2018, I remember walking our property and visiting the shooting range. I was blown away by what I saw. I think my heart was healing and my eyes were more open because I saw a beautiful site. In the shooting range, my sister’s pumpkins had flourished and had taken over. Pumpkins were everywhere. Some with leaves 15″ wide!
For days my dog Hannah and I would walk to the pumpkin patch and gather leaves. Most days she thought it was hilarious to grab them from my hands and run away.
Some of the biggest leaves made it to the studio where I made some of the most amazing pumpkin leaf bowls.
Starting in the Fall of 2018, we began hosting a 3rd annual ceramic painting event. We added a ceramic pumpkin painting event to our schedule. As with our other annual painting events (ceramic Easter egg paint and ceramic ornament paint) the event always benefits some outreach organization. The annual ceramic pumpkin painting benefits victims of domestic violence. Please read between the lines – my sister and the benefiting program…
This awesome event packed the house and we raise lots of funds!
Fast forward to just a few weeks ago. Once again walking our property and I came upon some new baby pumpkin leaves. We now have 2 pumpkin patches. What an incredible blessing.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 34:18 that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” The Lord walks with us and carries us during our hardest times. Where my sister’s life on earth is over, her spirit lives on, her pumpkins live on, and her legacy will always be present. Thank you Lord for the blessings of these pumpkins. You give life to all and show your blessing daily. Amen.
June 8, 2019
There is beauty in brokenness and purposefulness in a mis-matched set. Think about it, you cannot use an egg unless it is broken. Likewise, a pair of mis-matched socks can still keep your feet warm.
I took the below picture about a week ago. God told me it would be part of an upcoming blog and then He was quiet. I am always amazed at how He weaves the parts of our lives together… I will detail the picture at the end 🙂
As a professional artist/potter, a few of the main things I notice while instructing new students, is their struggle to achieve perfection, stopping before they even get started, or giving up too easily. One of my favorite quotes concerning this was written by Marilyn Monroe. She quoted “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
I remember this struggle well. The transition from being a person who played with clay to allowing myself to be referred to as a professional artist/potter was hard. So what changed? I gave myself permission to be human, to allow my work to show my humanness, and built up the fortitude to keep going when I screwed up. I accepted the fact that I am not a computer. I embraced the differences in pieces, celebrated small accomplishments, and learned from my mistakes. God gave me this wonderful gift to create art from earth, so who am I to question His authority or disregard this gift. I stopped letting my human eyes convince me that my mistakes were a reason to stop. I allowed the growth and allow myself to accept new and different challenges. I began creating for Him.
Mya Angelou said “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” Success really is that simple. Some students struggle forever to love their work. They will not let their walls down to be human. Others begin to allow themselves to see progress. When this happens they blossom as artists. I remember once such student who has been with me for at least 3 years. She is a special needs young lady, over 50% of my students have a special need, and she had some concerns about her ability to control the wheel. It took about 3 months of encouragement before she made the leap. She has cerebral palsy so having to work with her hands and feet at the same time may have presented as a challenge. We took away the challenge of her feet, allowing her to concentrate on her hands, but using a static pedal that would maintain its speed once it was set. Her smile was truly ear-to-ear! The cause for concern was gone. She allowed herself to grow wings. I have since watched her bloom in skills set and creativity and I am proud to call her my student.
So back to the picture… I have often gotten asked about the wares I have at home. I am sure many thing that my home would be or should be overflowing with pottery. Truth be told, it is a rare occasion that I make myself anything. I usually take home the misfits or gifts from my students. I am also the luckiest momma, as I get pottery from my own children. The picture is a snapshot of my ware cabinet at home. It is full of mis-matched items, broken handled mugs, chipped bowls, and more. Just in the picture alone, I know of 3 mugs without handles, 2 chipped bowls, and at least 8 gifts. Guess what?! They are all perfect! They are, without a doubt, mis-matched and broken but they are full of love, memories, and they feed myself and my family just fine.
God loves to use broken vessels. In a recent posting I read of Joyce Myers, she wrote “Matthew 26:26 (AMP) says, “Jesus took bread and, praising God, gave thanks and asked Him to bless it to their use, and when He had broken it, He gave it to the disciples and said, Take, eat; this is My body.” It’s interesting to see here that Jesus blessed the bread, broke it, and then gave it to the disciples. We usually refer to this scripture when we have communion to remind us of the sacrifice He made for us. And just as He gave His life and was broken for us, we must be broken so we can live for Him.” WOW! Amen!
God never looks at us a broken and useless. He values the brokenness and the mis-matched characteristics simply because they are used to live for Him. I love my mis-matched and broken pottery. I am grateful for all of the memories they offer and for all of the meals they have served.
What is your favorite broken mis-matched item?
May 15, 2019
If you had the opportunity to read my first entry, you will know that God has been calling my heart into writing for a long time. I finally said “yes” and I must admit that I am loving the process! There are so many of His lessons that I am excited to share through my specific lens of being a potter in an outreach based business.
Today, brings you a video back from 2014. A simple lesson on the wobbles in life. Before watching this short video, please understand that it is not an accident that there is so much imagery in the Bible about clay. In fact, clay or a reference to clay is mentioned 34 times! Watch the wobble, watch the love, watch the control, watch the perfect imperfection. We would love to hear about your wobbles and how they are part of your beauty.
If you have never had the opportunity to work with clay, especially on the potters wheel, I highly encourage you to find a place to take a lesson. If you are local to the studio, I have an amazing opportunity for you to experience Christ’s love through the art of throwing clay. Details about this unique experience can be found at the bottom of this entry.
Join us for a special pottery session to experience God’s love in a unique setting and activity. This 2 hour lesson, will involve play, creation, reclaim and glazing. Of course, as an outreach based studio, your purchase and gratuity go much further than just the register. Learn about our outreach efforts here.
This experience will be offered in June and July on select days and times. Only 2 seats available per session. This event is best for those ages 10 and older. If you are interested and cannot make it or you would like to consider a similar opportunity for a larger group, please message find us at www.underthehorizon.net
May 7, 2019
Yesterday’s message, The January 21st Nut Shell, was long and full of details. I pray that today’s message is short and sweet. I also hope that it gently pushes you to identify and appreciate your own unique seasoning.
It is during the quiet times at Under The Horizon where I feel God’s presence most.
Sunny Day Office View – No Window Needed
Lunch Time View
It is in this hush that I can best sense His message, His guidance, and my next steps.
Late afternoons, evenings, and many Saturday’s the studio is streaming with activity. I have been told on numerous occasions that I always seem so calm. I am grateful that I come across that way as my insides are a flurry of activity trying to keep-up and work-the-plan. I could not do any of this without my amazing team! We aim for excellence and too show faith-in-action in all of our work. I personally try to always look my students directly in the eye, to capture their essence, so I can best guide them in their work.
It has been said that you must die a little to live a little. I never understood this statement until I began to get seasoned. I have been seasoned in life, in grief, in love, in friendship, in work… I have watched my seasoning develop like an old cast iron pot. I never understand the purpose of this seasoning until I get faced with an opportunity to call upon it.
Here is a video made back in May 2017. Seasoning only makes cast iron pots better. What does it do to you?
To see the process and finished clay projects that I talk about at the end of the video click here.
Until next time… And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. -1 Peter 5:10
May 6, 2019
God’s plans are laid out so beautifully in our lives. Some of His plans go completely unnoticed, others are misunderstood, and there are those plans that stop us dead in our tracks marveling in His amazement. Here is a story of one such 4 part blessing. I hope to expand on these areas in future blog entries as they could easily be a book all by themselves. 🙂
January 21, 1930 was an incredible day. Granted I was not there but I know of the blessing nevertheless. On this day a very special baby was born. He was born in a row-home in Baltimore City. Present at his birth, was the doctor, a nurse and the grandmother. He was to be a twin; however, God had other plans. The first baby was still-born. Medicine was much different back then so the doctor told the nurse that when the second baby was delivered, throw it in mustard-water, as it is going to die anyway. The 12 pound 10.5 ounce baby boy was forcefully delivered and placed into mustard-water. The grandmother noticed that he was alive. She pulled him from the mustard-water, cleaned out his mouth and nose, and breathed life into him. Much like how God molds and shapes us, this amazing woman used her hands to reshape his head. This baby was my dad. <3
The winter of 1999 was a start of a new season for me. I was fresh out of a very bad relationship and making slow yet steady progress on my personal healing journey. I was not ready for anything new much less a man. Then there he was!
I had first seen this amazing man a week before my 22nd birthday. He was DJing at the restaurant where my friend and I went for dinner. There was something about him… During one announcement, he mentioned that he would be back for a Christmas Eve Eve party. My girlfriend said “Well, I guess we will be back to celebrate your birthday.”
A short week later, my parents, a friend and I celebrated my birthday. After dinner, my friend and I went off to the same restaurant to continue the celebration. He as there. The place was packed that evening. Toward the end of the evening, I made a song request for the specific purpose of talking to him.
Fast forward to our first date on January 21, 2000. My adult faith was new, I was broken, and very distrusting. I felt much like a new puppy who was growing into it’s body. I was unsure of myself and very unsure of any relationship. I was falling head-over-heels and I was petrified. At the risk of sounding completely sappy, I can truly say it was love at first sight.
Our first date got off to a bit of a rocky start. After a long day, I came home to my apartment where I found all my water pipes had frozen. I was not happy. How in the world was I going to get ready? I called him and explained what had happened and wanted to know if I could meet him somewhere. He told me “no”, to do what I needed to and that he would pick me up at 5:30. I was grateful, a bit panic stricken, and amazed at his calm and patient demeanor. I called the landlord to explain the issue, went to my parents for a quick shower, and then back to my apartment to get dressed. My parents followed me back to my apartment to meet and then stay with the repair man. I got ready. My mother kept me calm and tried to keep my dad from bothering the repair man who was under the kitchen sink with a hair dryer. What a fun way for my dad to celebrate his birthday.
There was a knock on the door… now remember I said I was fresh out of a bad relationship…. my parents are amazing and very protective. My father answered the door, looked at the guy standing there and said “What do you want?” My mother glared at my date and I thought “Oh my, this is interesting.” I thanked my parents for their love and patience and off we went on to our first date.
On the way to dinner, he told me that he had something for me to listen to. He said “I do not normally record my DJing; however, the night we met I was recording.” He put the tape into the cassette player. I could hear his voice and then mine. He had recorded our very first meeting. It was incredible. The weight of the day just disappeared.
We have been together for 19 years now and married for 17. My parents slowly let down their guard. My mom considers him a son and my father and he were like best friends.
We purchased our first home in 2001. My husband and I would drive past this incredibly unusual rhombus shaped building on a regular basis. I would always tell him that one day we would own that building. He would laugh and ask “What are we going to do with it?” I would quickly respond “I do not know.”
As the years went by, our family grew to have 3 amazing children. I earned my master degree in business and my husband opened his own business. We would still drive by that same building, now abandoned, and we would have the same conversation.
As the children got a bit older and more independent, my calling was starting to get louder. Although I was not exactly sure how to listen, I knew I was on the right track. Pottery entered back into my life. My husband and I began looking for a place to house my newish and very messy hobby. After much discussion, we chose to look at the unusual rhombus shaped building. How we obtained the building is a story all of it’s own. The challenges over the property were immense and I look forward to sharing all of the joys and trials that came with this part of the journey. What I will say now, is that there was not a day that went by that I did not pray over the property. Every time we would drive by, we would circle the building and pray over her. We settled on the Under The Horizon studio on January 21, 2011.
As a child, I used to think that things happened by chance. As I have matured, some circumstances were just too unbelievable to be left to chance. In the summer of 2015, a woman contacted me to make arrangements for her and her mother to take a pottery lesson. She lived in Delaware and her mom lived in Pennsylvania a few hours away from the studio. They were visiting Gettysburg.
Their lesson was during the day so the studio was quiet. It was a beautiful day, the large studio doors were open, and there was a nice breeze. After a short introduction and a tour, I set them up to play and create on the potter’s wheel. I can remember the giggles.
They were gracious enough to write me these letters: Reference Letter #1 and Reference Letter #2 I was blessed to have them visit once again on August 11, 2016. I remember the date well as it was only a short 4 months since my father had passed away. Seeing them was just what I needed. Our friendship continued to blossom over the years. Both are such big supporters of my work, and the daughter was always willing to help me grow. One day I received an amazing offer. She had thought about it, dreamt about it, and invited me to preach at her church. Guess what day it was?! You guessed it – January 21, 2018!
My team and I made the almost 4 hour drive. We had beautiful accommodations by my friend and her amazing wife, and had the privilege to share His word to over 700 people in the visible and tangible way of using the potter’s wheel. You can see the sermon here. We can be found at the 32 minute mark.
January 21st has offered many visible blessings in my life. The birth of my amazing father, my first date with my husband, settling on my dream property, and sharing God’s word through the love of clay. This date holds a very special place in my heart. I am a bit more observant of God’s love and how beautiful His plan is weaved together.
April 30, 2019
I have LOVED mud for as long as I can remember. I was blessed to grow up on a small hilly-farm in Maryland. There was a dirt road adjacent to one of our fields. This road contained a childhood treasure – a pothole the length of a small car. After a rainstorm, it was my go-to-place. I remember playing in this amazing, ankle deep mud puddle. The mud finding it’s way into every crease in my clothing, matting my hair, and packing firmly under my fingernails.
I could hear my mom calling from the house, telling me it was time to come home. My dad always seemed to know exactly how dirty I would be. As I walked back to the house, I would see him waving his hand high in the air and then pointing to the left. I would meet him down the bottom, where the barns and the animals were kept. He would say to me “Let me get you hosed off before your mother sees.” I would sheepishly smile so grateful that I was not in trouble.
Being a mom now, I am confidant that my mom knew exactly what I was up to. My dad was protecting me from the potential trouble that would come from dragging mud through the house. He washed me clean.
As an adult, my love for mud is the same. Now I use clay to make a living, serve the community and to be a blessing to others. When giving pottery field trips, I often joke with the children that I am still that same mud-puddle kid who never quite grew up.
Recently my family went to Colonial Williamsburg for long weekend. This trip had been long awaited but, due to some family issues and the a few stressful work months the trip was less planned than what it should have been. We had reservations, we knew how to get to the attraction but, did not really know what to expect. Imagine my surprise when I found out that they had a clay pit where they make their own clay bricks! I was elated to say the least!
Upon entering the brick making area, the brick makers welcomed us and invited us into the clay pit to help mix the clay. My children and I gladly accepted the invitation, took off our shoes and socks and began to step around the pit mixing the dirt and water into clay. I was in heaven! The malleable clay was dark tan in color, soft on our feet, and slightly gritty upon closer inspection. When our legs were getting tired of the heavy-stepping we exited the pit and made our way to the washing basins. One of my son’s handed me an empty water bottle and told me to fill it with the clay. The clay that was stuck to our feet and the clay that was stuck to the wooden washing basins was valuable. By chance, this clay didn’t make the cut. It was not chosen to be made into a brick. It was stuck to my feet, my children’s feet, or someone else’s feet and ended up as “trash.” I gathered that clay and took it with me. I washed myself clean. The clay sits on a pottery ware shelf waiting to be made into a beautiful piece of Williamsburg pottery.
Running a small business can be tricky. I am grateful for the love and support of my family and friends. Under The Horizon has been lovingly embraced by the community. Some days there is much more work than time. I try to find and maintain the precious balance between life and work. At a recent memorial service, I heard Pastor Lush explain, that sometimes we leak. I am filled with faith and I do my best to operate the studio on the basis of faith-in-action. The faith of my work not in my work. The story that God has so lovingly wrote on my heart so many year’s ago. But sometimes my faith leaks. I need rebuilt. My faith needs to be refreshed. I need to be washed clean.
On one such work day, one of my son’s noticed the stress. He was outside playing and experimenting with cardboard. He said to me, “Mom, take off your shoes and come out to the puddle.” He wanted to show me what he had learned. He has a huge heart and I knew he was trying to take care of me and protect me from the stress. I immediately said “No, I am so busy.” He acknowledged my statement and went on his way. I stopped in my tracks, realizing what was happening, and changed directions. I followed him out the door, took off my shoes, and stood in that fresh puddle. The puddle was in a pothole in studio’s black-topped drive way. It was not overly muddy, and the ankle-deep water was clear, cool, and refreshing.
I snapped a picture of my boy. Look at those eyes! I could feel the stress melt-away and I cannot help but tear up remembering this special time with him. He was loving on me, helping me, and even through he was not aware of it, he reminded me to be a kid again. He washed me clean.
Throughout my life, I have been washed repeatedly. Whether it was the car-sized mud puddle and the washing from my dad, the clay pit with the unwanted clay stuck to my feet which was washed by me or even the washing away of stress by my son. All washings were acts of love and guidance. Isn’t that what God does for us. Psalms 51:7 states “Cleanse me and I will be clean, wash me and I will be whiter than snow.” God doesn’t just wash us clean… He makes us brand new. His grace and love are immeasurable. I have been made new, refreshed, and my leaks once again repaired. I am better prepared to help prevent future leaks but I am grateful that my God loves me enough to recreate me once again.
Are you in need of a washing?