Sunday, January 30, 2011


Wanda put up her Art Challenge  last week and since I hadn't done any drawing for a week, I just had to get down to it right away.  Her topic was people. Ugh!  Too hard. Well, I side stepped it a little and did more of a portrait:

 I call her Miss Modesty.

Then I felt a little guilty for not doing PEOPLE, so I next did this one:

The Proposal

I really didn't spend enough time on this.  It needs a better finish to it. Kind of messy.

But before I did either of these,  I did this one of Abe's Baby Rabbit -- not for Wanda's Art Challenge, but because I liked it, and of course I like it the best: 

I did this based on a photograph courtesy of Abe Lincoln who can be found at 
You have to scroll all the way down to January 18th to see the original.
I'm much more animal oriented than people oriented.

All of these are done in Prisma Color pencils on smooth Bristol board.

Next up ABC Wednesday.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Moth and I were flicking through travel magazines the other week.  He was trying to figure out what his next cruise would be!  But then he stopped and did a double take; then he passed the magazine for me to see what caught his attention.  This is what he saw:
Photo in magazine.

This is what we thought we saw!

The give away is the earrings.  I never wear earrings.  No reason.  Just don't.

Do I have a double out there?  I guess the koala does.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Will my dog (cat, horse,...fill in the blank) go to heaven?

Now there's an interesting and controversial question.  

I remember a friend of mine saying quite determinedly, "Well if old Blue (his dog) won't be in heaven, I don't want to go there".  This man was an MIT graduate, a highly intelligent man in his late thirties who had worked on top secret projects for the government, but when it came down to it, Old Blue was his dearest possession and companion. And oh, how I identified with him! I'm a passionate animal lover and I understood completely how he felt.

So did I have some wise, compassionate answer to his comment?    No.

My answer to the question above is simply, I don't know.
There are thousands of people out there who are absolutely convinced that they will see their pets in heaven.  I wish I could join their ranks and say with conviction, I will see my cat, Bailey again. I really want to! But I have to have something on which to base my conviction.  It can't be just my opinion otherwise anybody else's opinion is as good as mine.

My convictions and beliefs are based on the Bible and the Bible doesn't tell me that any particular animal that I have loved will be there in heaven with me.  Now don't misunderstand me, the Bible does seem to say there will be animals in heaven.  "The lion shall lie down with the lamb" is one such indication.  Since we are told there will be a new heaven and a new earth and a new creation, I think that is enough to say I do believe there will be animals in heaven.  But specific animals I have known?  I don't know.  There are some complicated theological questions about this subject, such as, 'do animals have a soul?'.  But I am not going there today! 

So why didn't God tell us about this in the Bible?

Because the Bible is a book specifically about humans written to humans.  It's not a history book or a science book. What happens to animals just simply is not on the topic. The Bible is a spiritual Guidebook for human beings. It holds the light of Truth and Knowledge. Things we desperately need to function well in this world. We have to worry if we are going to heaven before we start to worry if our pets are.  It's first things first. If we as humans learn to trust and believe God, then we know from the Bible that He wants us to be happy and will give us more than just our needs, but our desires also.  We can't imagine being separated from our beloved pets forever, yet what if God has something even better in store for us?  Something which we cannot even imagine right now, but which would be way beyond our feelings for our pets. I can't imagine what that would be but I do know that God is greater and more loving and concerned about me in a way that is more than I can imagine.

My husband jokingly calls me a crazy cat lady and I say I go to the animal shelter to get my 'kitty-fix'.  Animals touch me very deeply -- not just cats.  But God knows that, because He made me and He made me  - and you, - in His image. So although I can't find the answer in the Bible, I can find the One who does know the answer and He knows my needs.
It is a great relief to know that.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I am just entering my 5th year of blogging.

Last week I was asked to speak for 5-6 minutes about  my blog.  It was a couples club at church and the program was for about 10 people to display their hobbies.  I was specifically asked to talk about my blog.  This was quite a challenge believe me because although there were 130 people there almost all of them were retired.  When I asked how many people know what a blog is, maybe 25% of them raised their hand.

So to try to explain the concept of the internet and blogging in 5 or 6 minutes to the majority of people who know very little about computers was more than a challenge -- never mind getting down to what I do on my blog.

I decided to go for the simplest, though not too accurate an  explanation and that was to describe the internet as being like an enormous magazine with thousands upon thousands of pages.  Then I said that blogs were like a large section of pages within the magazine.  Then I told them that I own one page and that's my blog.  I also told them a bit about the kinds of things I put on my blog.  Many had no idea you could put pictures on a blog.

They asked me to tell why I blog.  I explained that I originally started because I wanted to keep my writing skills sharp.  Most of the people there know I have written several books, so they could identify with that.  But there are much larger answers to that question now, although I didn't have time to go into them then.

But I did have these to demonstrate:  My Blog Books!

My Blogs 2007

My Blogs 2008

My Blogs 2009

COMING SOON  --                                MY BLOGS 2010

That certainly made a difference.  Many people looked at my blog books.  I'm wondering how many of them wanted to see what the Pastor's wife had been up to for the past few years  :) !!

Each year I have the past year's blogs made up into a book through BLOG2PRINT.  It is my husband who is urging me to do this.  He likes my writing and my photographs.
When I was a teenager I kept a diary every day for 8 years.  Now my Blog Books are like an illustrated journal.
For me as a pastor's wife, who can't sing and can't play the piano, isn't a good cook and isn't very comfortable in social situations, (the usual requirements),  it is some comfort to know that I CAN write.
I don't mean to infer that I am a brilliant writer, but I can usually make myself understood.

So now I just have to get down to ordering my 2010 Blog Book before my computer crashes.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I picked out Junie from the animal shelter where I volunteer, for my friends Mike and Evelyn who were looking for a silver tabby.  They named her that because she was born in June. This is the painting (Prisma colors) I did from a photo of her soon after she was adopted. That was about three or four months ago.

I went to visit her last week, to see how she was getting along.  I don't visit people I visit cats :)  She is my grandkit!
Now look at her!

She is a bundle of energy and struts her stuff like she owns the place -- which I think she does.  She is so beautiful, with lovely soft, sleek fur.  Her favorite thing is to chase the feather wand and do somersaults.

Now here are some other photos of other cats I took at the shelter last week.  These have not been named yet, but they are all love bugs.

This tuxie is about 3 months old.  Just look at that paw! I've been quite worried about her because there were three kittens that came in around the same time, just after Christmas. Unfortunately one of them had some kind of contagious disease and so the other two were put into quarantine for several weeks. I had managed to visit them just before they were quarantined so I knew they were really nice natured kittens.  The other one that was left was a ginger tabby and was adopted immediately the quarantine was lifted.  This poor kitten is still waiting.  She will make an excellent pet.  Intelligent and sweet. Doesn't bite, doesn't scratch.

This tortie is about 3 years old as I remember.  Very gentle and sweet lap cat.  I always make sure I go in and give her 10 minutes of cuddling when I'm there.

Finally, is this going to be another 'Junie' I wonder?  I tried to get a photo of her sitting in her condo, but I couldn't keep her there, she just wanted to be in my arms all the time. Below is the result.  It is very hard to take a photo with one hand and scratch ears with the other!

So I had help.  But she's quite a wriggler.  Younger than the tuxie.

If you are local, these cats and many others just as sweet are available at the North San Diego County Animal Shelter, Palomar Airport Road -- and I'm sure at your local animal shelter too.

Thursday, January 20, 2011



A basic tenet of Biblical Christianity is that man is born inherently sinful.

This is not exactly something we like to admit to.  I know that I'm not perfect and I don't know anyone who is.  I know some good people maybe, or people who are good for the most part -- but perfect?  I don't think so.  It's funny how most of us would agree that we are not perfect, but how many of us want to hear that we are sinful?  We try to change the definition of what is evil, so we say we are pretty good or as good as the next person.  None of us wants to think that we have the potential for evil in us.

Yet that one fact shifts our perspective on the world, history and politics.  Some would say that that is a very negative or pessimistic view of life.  For a Christian it is a realistic view of life.  According to the Bible it explains a lot of things that have happened and are happening in this world of ours.  From that realistic viewpoint, greed, lust, anger, envy, hatred, jealousy, lack of self control, all these are more understandable -- though not acceptable. Why does sin always seem to win?

In fact, from this viewpoint I am less pessimistic because I know that the evil things that happen are the way of this world.  I am all the  more optimistic because I know that one day all that evil will be done away with and the goodness and perfection that we so yearn for will be ours -- not pie in the sky when we die,-- but in the New Heaven and New Earth...just as we sing in "Messiah":

          " Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be made low;
           The crooked places shall be made straight, and the rough places smooth;
           The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together;
           For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." Isaiah 40:4

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Three islands beginning with  A...

Ancapa Islands about 12 miles off Los Angeles

They are a part of the Channel Islands  that are quite easy to reach by boat or you can take a ferry, usually from Santa Barbara. Anacapa is quite high as local islands go, with a large flat, grassy area, great views and TONS of birds.  No one lives on the islands except the Ranger.  We visited there many years ago with our two sons.  The cliffs are spectacular.  You have to pack everything in -- and out.  Be sure to take a hat, not only for the obvious reasons with so many birds wheeling about, but they can also be a bit snappish especially in the spring, dive-bombing you to take a piece of your scalp.  They're only being protective.

The Abacos in the Bahamas.

 Beautiful green, warm water and sandy beaches.  The perfect vacation place.  There is at least one small town, Hope, which boasts a snazzy looking lighthouse.  You remember the youngster on the west coast who last year stole a plane and flew out to the Bahamas?  I think he crash-landed in the water as I remember.  They called him the Barefoot Bandit.  This was where he ended up having been on the run for two years before being taken off to jail for stealing planes, boats and cars and breaking and entering.

Then there's Alcatraz  in the San Francisco Bay.

Once notorious as a prison and featured in some movies. It is only 1.5 miles from shore, surrounded by cold and often rough waters, which would discourage prison breaks -- even if you could swim 1.5 miles. Today, it is a park and offers tours and a ferry service.  I've never been there, not as a visitor or a prisoner!

THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF A NEW SEASON OF ABC WEDNESDAY, INITIATED BY MRS. NESBITT who, incidentally lives not many miles north of my beloved Flamborough in Yorkshire, UK. My new banner photo is of some of the caves at Flamborough.

Click on the widget in the side bar or here to see the many more entries in this fun project which is now entering its EIGHTH round.

Monday, January 17, 2011

More Art Work this Weekend

Poppies and Forget-Me-Nots
From a photograph taken in Norway last year.

Now. ...What to do Next?

( I said in my last blog that these poppies were to be found in Goathland, North Yorkshire.  It's true there were some beautiful poppies there, but later I remembered these with the Forget-Me-Nots were taken in Norway.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wanda's Art Challenge.

Finally managed to find a bit of time to do Wanda's Art Challenge.  They are fun to do and take me about an evening  of my time.

Prisma Color Pencils, 4 1/2 x 6 on Bristol smooth

I started another picture last night.  This one is going to take me quite a bit longer.  I've spent two evenings on it so far.  It's not much larger than the one above but it has quite a bit of detail.  It's of some beautiful scarlet poppies, from a photograph taken in the UK ,  at the Goathland Railway Station on the North Yorkshire Moors.
Will try to post it tomorrow night ( late -- I'm a night owl).

Friday, January 14, 2011


What do California Seagulls do in the winter time?

Enjoy the beach!

 Watch the sunset.

What do California pigeons do in the winter?

Same as they always do -- hang out with their friends.

What do California gardens look like in the winter time?

Found these is full bloom down by the beach.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


The tongue is like a blazing fire.

When all is said and done,  it seems to me that there should be a lot less said than done by most of us. Murmurings and complaining was what kept the Children of Israel in the wilderness for forty years. Almost within months of the beginnings of the Christian church in Jerusalem, there were murmurings and complaining because the Greek Jews were not getting their fair share of the donations for the poor.  None of us knows why that was happening.  Were the Greek Jews being greedy -- over sensitive? Were the Hebrew Jews showing discrimination? Or was it merely an oversight? We only know that the problem was immediately brought to the attention of the Apostles, who dealt with it, by first letting everyone know what the problem was and then dealing with it by appointing seven men to oversee the distribution to the needy.

 When I was on our cruise last November, I went for a cream tea one afternoon and because I was by myself I was asked to join two other ladies.  They seemed pleased enough and I didn't mind.  But then after a few pleasantries the two of them started complaining about the service, the food, the horrible new decor of the ship, the re-organisation of the cabins, the poor entertainment, the old, old movies offered, the color of the carpet in the dining room, the silverware was tarnished and on and on they went.  My cream tea went down in lumps.  At first I was going to say something pointed like weren't we fortunate to be eating delicacies in a beautiful dining room with a fabulous view and our every need attended to.  But I didn't.  In fact I sat there a full twenty-five minutes listening to this grumbling without saying a word.  Finally, I simply got up, said goodbye and left. Maybe I made a point, I don't know. But I do know that their attitude and conversation left me irritated and as grumpy as they were for several days.

Grumbling and complaining is a like a contagious disease and can eventually be fatal. The Bible says, "Let all things be done without murmuring and disputing".  "The tongue is like a raging fire.... out of the same mouth comes blessing and cursing.  Brethren these things ought not to be so."  

My resolution is to think before I speak and to learn to discipline my idle comments.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Z is for ...

Z is for...


I have been waiting for several months to post "Zeppo"  keeping him for that difficult letter Z on ABC Wednesday.  Zeppo is my friend Charlene's beloved pet -- part chihuaua.  She loves him so much.  Sadly he cannot see out of one eye, but I didn't draw it that way, and it doesn't seem to bother him at all.  
To see more 'z's click on ABC Wednesday.

So let's hear it for Zeppo!

Friday, January 7, 2011


Half the fun of going on vacation is being able to go back and look at the photographs at a later date.

Here is one that I really like and haven't shown before:

We dropped anchor off shore from Panama City.  I took several photos of this scene because it was so spectacular to see the buildings rising out of the sea.  As the sun moved the sky line looked different.  I really liked how the sun was catching the buildings and lighting them up in front of the dark sky behind. there were many ships anchored off shore in this bay, all waiting their turn to go through the Panama Canal.  Our ship didn't do that, but since we had already done it once before, we didn't mind.

My very comfortable resting place where I did most of my paintings and drawings while on the trip.  Those are my pencils etc. on the foot stool.  Had to turn my back to the window so that the sun could come over my shoulder and give me good light.

Do you like tuna?  We watched as a ship close by off loaded huge loads of tuna into truck after truck after truck ALL day long.  The 'smoke' you see here is from the ice in the refrigerated trucks.  There must have been 25 - 30 truckloads at least.

It's always nice to come home -- but to this??? It took another week to to go through all this mail.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Spring is coming and with it, new life.

This almost became Wednesday's Word on Friday, because blogger would not cooperate.  But here we are up and running.

I have one little piece more to say about Handel's Messiah, continuing on from  last week's word.

Jennens, the man who compiled the Scripture verses for "Messiah" and submitted them to Handel for music, didn't choose his verses unthinkingly.  Apparently he was highly concerned about the rise  and popularity of Deism that had percolated through the church during the time that we call The Enlightenment.  This was a time when the Age of Reason flourished and anything supernatural or miraculous was discarded as merely superstition and Science became the new 'God'.  Deists state that man is in charge of his own fate and God has no interest in intervening in the affairs of men.

Hmm.  Interesting.  The more things change, the more they stay the same!  Most of academia today is either deist or downright atheist.  They have the right to choose their own beliefs of course, but I personally can't  think that it is 'reasonable' to trust science as having the answers to everything.  Science changes its mind too often and often reverses itself.  Of course science is in a state of flux because a tenet of science is to discover truth and for the scientist more 'truth' is always waiting to be discovered.  "ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth"  2 Tim 3:7

But TRUTH, if it be truth, does not change.  Jesus said "I am the TRUTH..."

As Jennens would say,   He is "the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace..."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Y is for

Y is for...

That's what last year's lambs are about now...YEARLINGS, fat and chubby, no longer able to gambol and play as they did last year.  This year they will make delicious lamb chops!  Oh dear, I love lambs and I love lamb chops too.  What's a person to do?

This morning I saw this strange yellow stuff all over my wet patio and coming through my kitchen window.  Whatever is it?

Oh, now I remember!  It's sunshine!

After two days of drenching rain and for two weeks before that, the rain just never stopped.  There are small mud slides all over town -- and some larger ones not far away. Trees with shallow root systems are coming down. The ground is so sodden that I'm looking anxiously at our 50 foot fir tree that is growing on a slight bank just off the patio. Moth planted it there many years ago when it was barely a foot high.Question is, will it stay there?

To continue with my 'Y's , there's Yikes!  Yowl! and Yippee! all great onomatapoeias (see, I did learn something in high school) but not easy to photograph.  That's OK with me, because my printer which would accept my camera memory card and transfer the photos onto the computer, will no longer do so.  I have to find a couple of hours to find another way to go direct from the camera to the computer.  I'm sure it's quite simple.  But things which are quite simple on computers usually end up consuming all my day for me. Since our computer is now over 75% full and keeps threatening to shut down but then still keeps on working, I'm having to tread delicately .

I foresee a new computer in the works for us this year -- and maybe a new printer.  Oh dear!  It will break the bank!

The letter Y is brought to you on behalf of Mrs. Nesbitt's ABC WEDNESDAY.  Visit this link to see just how many bloggers participate in this.

Monday, January 3, 2011

And so it goes...

Throughout all this rain we have been having --yes, it's STILL raining -- our Jade Bushes having been blooming their little hearts out -- and so have our Hibiscus bushes.  The latter has been full of buds and blooms. Apparently we are going to have a few dry days this week but the ground is going to take a long while to dry out.

These are my latest paintings, done in the last week of December.  "Rajah' was done for Wanda's Art Challenge and the other one, "A Street in Mexico"  I took from a fridge magnet which was quite a bit smaller than my rendition and SO neatly and precisely painted.

Both of these were done in Prisma Color pencils.

 The original of this is done on Bristol Board and is 4" X 4"

"A Street in Mexico"  4" X 2 1/2"

I have updated my blog Chris J Art Gallery with the last 6 months of my art work.  You can follow the link highlighted above if you wish to see more.

I saw Peg-Leg (our California Towhee) about 2 weeks ago, but haven't seen him since.  He had a tail feather drooping, so I'm not sure he is still OK, but he has lasted for over a year, even with only one leg.

See you tomorrow!