"Big Bend National Park is the highlight attraction of the entire region. It is at the same time an 1100 square mile playground and classroom. The 800,000-acre national park contains three basic habitats: river, desert, and mountains. Big Bend National Park encompasses the largest protected area of the Chihuahuan Desert in the United States. It is roughly the size of Rhode Island."
Oh, I can't describe to you these past weeks as I was notified that I received the 2015 Artist in Residence with Big Bend National Park for the month of November! Our house was in (and continues to be) melee as we are scrambling to work out schedules and all the little things that make a household run. The generous gift of a non-profit called the National Park Artist Foundation heads up the residency's. I cannot thank them enough for such a blessing.
My Husband has been a strength and support that I can only keep thanking God for. He was the one who took my hand and prayed with me about it. He also took it upon himself to reach out to teachers and principals so that the girls could come down a week early to be with me for TWO weeks instead of one. God has been clearing the way, making straight the paths in the wilderness. He has been drawing me out and I will obey with joy even though I am trembling.
Kendrick and I plan to backpack some of the area as we hike over this wild place rich in rock, earth and sky.
Getting ready! Everything AND the kitchen sink!
So what do you do in a residency? I've been asked that several times. I plan to paint, paint, paint! I will also be teaching a class every week about plein air painting and color theory. Mostly, I expect to be overwhelmed by the landscape and to not be able to truly make sense (i.e. facts) of it but to slowly sink into its mystery and beauty. Pray for me friends, to listen well and receive into my heart the love that God has given me. As a friend said to me, "He is inviting you to dance. Then dance!" If you know me you know I am not a dancer. In fact, I don't know how to dance. But I figure that's an even better analogy as I go into His arms, safe, sure, wild and full of joy.
Gold Tier Night Skies
Big Bend is rated as a Gold Tier in night skies. That means it is one of the darkest skies in North America. As my Pastor's wife said, "It's like God dumped His glitter bottle out right in front of your face." Oh, the wonder of those lights. I can't wait to sleep under that dome with my husband and girls. I can't wait to be drenched in sky.
How many times are we allowed the time and space to truly SEE?
As I was listening to some talks given by Esther Meeks this past week she shared how the Magi launched out to the not yet known as God was saying, "Come find Me." They simply trusted that they would find something out there in the mystery of it all. She went on to share that "knowledge is rooted in what we trust." Just as the Magi trusted not for answers or explanations but in this overwhelming, wonderful, wild God.
I'm taking some of Lilias Trotters writings with me. I can't seem to leave home without her. I'd like to leave this quote with you all and just say again how thankful I am for your prayers and thoughts and kindness. I am thankful to the National Park Artist Foundation and the National Park Service for this privilege. May God call you out to your desert and to the deepening beauty that makes you tremble.
"We were up and out early, and went down to the riverbed. Looking back every crack and line of the hills lay reflected in a pool. Looking on and on, the desert stretched away like a great sea, broken only by an island of palms here and there, away and away to the Touaregs and Sudan beyond. I shall never forget the feeling of that first sight of it. The sense of rest and silence that lies in the immensity of it grows day by day."