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Iris Carignan in art studio
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Erasing the Crayon

My iPhone lit up with a call from a friend who I’d recently re-connected with. I listened as she bubbled over with excitement and a proposal for me. Somehow it seemed to relate to something my mind had been ruminating on for a few weeks.

Recently I’d heard someone say “you can’t erase crayon.” Since then, and much like the medium itself, a thought I had wouldn’t erase from my mind. I kept thinking about how it was a good metaphor for things that get embedded into our hearts—good things and not so good things, colorful things and dark terrible things that never seem to go away. Especially the things that can be colored onto a young child’s heart. As an artist, of course, I also thought about throwing a few strokes of crayon onto a painting.

Knowing something about the properties of crayon, I knew it would have to be placed on the canvas early in the process to work. I also knew that after it was on the canvas (or paper), any other medium like oil paint, pastel or watercolor would be repelled by its waxiness. Then I thought about how life is so like that at times. We may have some new colorful and joyful thing currently happening in our life, but the waxy injuries of some experiences stubbornly resist going away—refuse to be covered up or erased. No, they continue to bleed through even the brightest spots.

Many people struggle for years from emotional and physical pain inflicted when they were very young. Some of the pain continues to plague their hearts and lives, resisting to fully embrace the good when it does come their way. Thankfully my life has mostly been beautiful and blessed, so, why was I still thinking about this paradox three weeks later? Why was a gal like me, (one with a relatively easy life compared to so many), still thinking about not being able to erase crayon? More importantly, was God placing it in my heart for His good purposes?  I wondered.

Then that call came in. She said I’d come to her mind as someone who might be interested in teaching an art class to some struggling young women at a transitional home. Little did she know, I’d been seeking God’s leading to find a ministry where I could use my maturity as a Christian woman as well as my talents, to minister to young women. I also thought about how painting takes me to a different emotional place of peace and beauty.

Bingo! There it was—the metaphor. I was being given the opportunity to teach art to women who had lots of waxy, hurtful experiences that were hard to erase from their life. Those painful strokes on the canvas of their hearts had led them into tough trials and struggles they were still dealing with.

God was leading me to a new way of painting beauty into the life of others. He was going to let me help these dear ladies find a beautiful way to erase crayon. 

Moriah's Gift
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WRITING – THE GREAT REVEALER

As an author, I have learned that writing is a most revealing craft, not just to the reader, but also for the author. Consuming the message of a story may fill the reader with insights for their own life, but you may also find yourself peering into the heart of the author’s own soul. 

If that sounds a little backwards, it probably is. But, for me, writing has always been an overflow of my own experiences, impressions, and soul searching. Thus, my old wounds, early impressions, hopes and dreams can float to the surface of a text. Perhaps that is why my latest book Moriah’s Wings, though a short and simple story, reflects so much of my own seasoning.  For example, while writing Moriah’s Wings, I drew upon my experience as a teenager and my babysitting days. Quite often while sitting with little girls, they would ask to brush my long hair. I was always accommodating to that request because their gentle brush strokes tickled my scalp and helped me relax. So, when I created a scene in the story that could explain how Moriah had the opportunity to learn about her Mistress’s worries, I wrote that Moriah asked if she could brush Priscilla’s hair. And of course it worked: “each gentle gesture seemed to massage her mistress’ troubled spirit and relax her slumped shoulders.” Soon Priscilla began unloading her worry about her husband Naaman’s leprosy. And just as she finishes, Naaman walkes in and Moriah boldly suggests he go see the prophet Elisha to be healed.

Another surprising thing I have learned is how often my own words can be a lesson or comfort to my own soul. Just recently, I was struggling with some new tasks and responsibilities that just didn’t seem to be taking shape in a timely fashion. Frustration overflowed as all my best efforts continued to fail. Then I picked up my book, “Fresh Eyes: Seeing God in the Unexpected,” and began reading one of my own stories. There, shouting from the pages of my own hand, lay wisdom, inspiration and a reminder of God’s solution to my dilemma. The title of the story, “Keeping the Goal in Sight,” was all about how we can reach our goals when we harness the power and strength of the Lord and the example it used  was the powerful racehorse, Secretariat in comparison to his jockey. 

It read: “I considered how the rider must feel as he becomes one with the horse, experiencing its power, strength, and exhilarating force flow through his spirit. I imagine that for the rider, each thrilling moment is fulfilling God’s purpose for his life.” The story went on to remind me that, we are only powerful when we learn to harness God’s power and we become one with the Lord in purpose and goal.  And like a jockey whose horse takes him to the finish line, only through His might and strength, will we run the race He has set before us.”

So, there it was all laid-out before me. Clear as day. Words of wisdom speaking back into my own soul. The irony wasn’t lost on me. In fact it continued to speak to my spirit further as it brought to mind other times when I’d learned to rely on God’s power and spirit, instead of my own, to get through something. So, I guess it’s safe to say that sometimes a writer might send a reminder to themself that’s hiding in the plain site of their own words.

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FRAGRANT MOMENTS AND MEMORIES

Did ya ever have a moment of curious inspiration and wonder—wonder that asks if it was your imagination, or if there’s a logical explanation for what happened? Well, just yesterday morning I had one of those. I was out on my patio spending some time in prayer, when it happened. A sweet fragrance suddenly wafted by. Funny, it wasn’t there when I first came out. I sat relishing the intoxicating perfumed air, inhaling as much as I could of the aroma similar to gardenias or jasmine. But, curiously, I noted, there aren’t any fragrant flowers currently blooming in our back yard at all, nor many in the front. And I wasn’t aware of any like that in nearby properties. 

So, how was it, I could smell that sweet fragrance? Could it be God was sending me a beautiful message of hope and courage? I’d been feeling weighed down lately after a barrage of troubles had continued to batter my husband and I for several months. It seemed that every time we’d get past one, another would come our way. My husband had suffered the most with everything including two different medical events that took him to the emergency hospital. By themselves, most of the trials weren’t earth shaking and our faith continued to get us through, but with wave after wave we barely had a chance to catch our breath between each one.  

So, I wondered, does God ever make Himself known in that way? I don’t know. But shortly after my unique aromatic experience, a distant memory drifted in too. I remembered an amazing woman I’d met thirty or forty years ago, named Bilquis Sheikh. She had spoken at our church telling her miraculous story of an encounter with God and how it led her out of her Muslim beliefs and into Christianity. In one part of her book, “I Dared to Call Him Father,” I recalled Madame Bilquis telling of a moment when an inexplicable sweet fragrance surrounded her. That sign, along with others, led her to a great change of faith. 

Ironically, the very fact that I remembered Madame Bilquis Sheikh’s name—and how to spell it, after all these years, was, in itself, a miracle for me—in my senior years I’m lucky to remember my own name sometimes. Yet, I do know that smell and memory are very attached to one another. Perhaps that’s why the story of Mary Magdalene washing the feet of Jesus with the  Oil of Spikenard to prepare Him for burial, also came to mind. In John 12:1-7 the account mentions the fragrance and how it “filled the room.” But the account that stands out most for me is the one in Matthew 26:13 that says “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will be told as a memorial to her.” I.O.W. people would remember it, like, forever. 

Whether or not it was a miraculous manifestation of my Lord, or He caused the fragrance to catch a breeze and drift my way, or it just happened to find its way to me from afar, it was just what I needed that morning. And as I sat soaking it all in, a poem came to me, so I’d like to share it as my Easter gift to all of you.

A SWEET FRAGRANCE

You come to me in sweet fragrance, carried on a breeze, 

blowing softly from afar, you enter inside with ease.

Into the deep places within,

that store my pain and sin.

Infusing sweet perfume,

and a healing balm of love.

Like a candle in a room and a sweet fragrance from above. 

Springtime flowers fresh in bloom,

carry your message 

Resurrected from a tomb,

Bursting through the soil 

That held them down,

They too, raise up 

With new life found.  

Sheep beside English Church 2012
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THE RIGHT VOICE


Don’t know about you, but with all the voices in our world that are clamoring for our attention these days, I’m finding it harder and harder to find my way through the din of noise. Even the joy of singing in my church choir was getting drowned out by all the Covid 19 restriction noise——”Wear a mask, keep your distance and only sing virtually, blared in my head above the beauty of the music and experience for me. So, when a friend asked if I’d seen the “peaceful” goats grazing near her home, I took pause. “Yes” I said, “and they are a beautiful sight to see.” Unfortunately, it had been on the way to the emergency hospital with my ailing husband, so of course we hadn’t been able to enjoy the sight.

Later that week, however, while pondering my friend’s observance, memories came to mind of my own experiences with goats and sheep. Many years back, we lived near a large patch of empty land. Often times sheep would graze there and we were able to observe them from across the street. Then, a few years after moving to a new house, an artist friend invited me to go with her to photograph some sheep in a nearby town. She’d gotten permission from the shepherd for us to walk among the sheep at lambing time as they grazed on the hillsides. My friend was doing research on a painting project of Jesus as the Good Shepherd and she needed some good photo references of lambs. As it turned out, I also gained some eye-opening, or should I say ear-opening information that day too.

Walking close beside the sheep brought a new revelation as I heard their bleating calls. It struck me that each sheep had a different voice much the same as people do. Some sheep had higher pitched voices (like sopranos) and others had low, or alto/base voices. And when one of the adult sheep, a mama sheep no doubt, started bleating over and over, her little lamb recognized its mother’s voice and went running up the hill to have lunch (nurse). That is when it truly sunk-in as to what Jesus was talking about when he said: “My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow me,” (John 10:27). I realized, then, that sheep do recognize different voices, because they too have unique voices.

So, as I reflect back on that experience and apply its principal today, it seems the best thing I can do is keep my ears tuned to my Shepherd’s voice (Jesus) and not let the clamoring noise of many other voices gain my attention. Not let those voices “kill, steal and destroy” my joy.

Iris Carignan

Road to Tyrella
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The Joy of Creation

The joy I receive every time I create something is an amazing gift that I cherish. When we create beauty through art, music or any other medium, we get to use our hands, hearts, souls, and spirits to honor the great creator who placed that particle of DNA within us. Likewise, when we destroy beautiful creations of art, literature, or music, we are vandalizing evidence of God’s creative hand in man. And it really doesn’t matter what reason someone may give for destroying creations, it is a crime against the creator. 

Even more heinous, though, is the act of destroying one of God’s children. When we destroy another human being by intentionally killing them, whether they are adults, children, or preborn babies, we are committing the most serious of crimes against our creator. And that is because in doing so, we are stopping a beautiful creation of God from continuing in creation themselves. We are preventing them from carrying out their purposes and gifts that they could contribute, including any art they would have made. Murder of a human being is therefore the epitome of hate, disrespect, and violation of human rights towards females and males.  

In looking at the hundreds of pieces of art, songs, poems, writings and various other forms of artistic creation that I’ve had the joy of creating, there are three particular ones that stand above all— my children and grandchildren (that came from them). Nothing in my life compares to the joyous fulfillment of creation like the miracle of giving birth.

The Joy of Creation

By Iris Carignan, 2/3/19

When God created the heavens and earth,
What joy the Father must have had,
with this birth.

How awesome and amazing,
This miracle came to be.
Each particle spoken,
Creation out of nothing,
The universe to see.

Along the way,
He stopped to say,
He saw that it was good,

But when man, 
And woman came 
On Heaven’s throne He stood
And it was then 
That He proclaimed
It was very, very good. 

Made in His image.

We get to create too,
We get to see beauty 
in what we do.
We get to use hand
And in small ways, 
continue His plan.

Oh, what a privilege 
Oh, what a joy,
To know of this gift
To partake,
and employ,

The power of creation
He placed inside of us.
Creation to creation 
Continues,

    For it must!

Vibrant Colors Aglow
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Six Steps to Painting a Picture

As an art teacher I’ve had the opportunity to help others learn how to paint and my favorite subject is landscapes. It occurred to me that the process of painting a landscape is also a good metaphor for a believer’s journey. Most artists who strive to become better in their craft usually seek a teacher or master artist to help them learn to paint well. They listen and study the teacher’s methods and then try to put them into practice. Likewise, as believers we not only come to the Lord as our Savior, but as our master and teacher and try to apply His instructions to our life. And much the same as art, the process of living-out God’s word, often includes mistakes and failed attempts. But, through perseverance, and practice, artists and believers alike will begin to see success as they “paint” their way through life. 

Looking at a step-by-step process for doing a landscape painting, I found the instructions apply equally well to both artistic and spiritual goals. Although you will likely need more than I have laid out here, I have simplified this into only 6 steps. 

#1.  Consider where you place the horizon line. Before you lay it in, you need to decide what part of the painting you want to be the most important in the composition. Do you want the sky, or heavenly part, to be predominant, or do you want everything that is below the horizon to be the most important.? Whatever you want to be the most important should be the largest area. So be sure to set the line at the right place. Similarly, in the grand scheme of your life, do you see your time here on earth as the biggest portion of our days and thus the most important, or do you see eternal life as an extravagant and boundless expanse that should be considered more important?Therefore, do you aim your efforts towards earthly things or heavenly things? So let the master of your life draw that line from the start.

#2. Lay in your big shapes and general colors. What are the big spiritual goals you have and how might they shape your actions for the strokes of each day ahead? 

#3. In planning your painting decide early what and where the focal point of it will be. Likewise, in your life, what one thing should stand out to others when they look at the picture of your life?  Keep in mind that all the contrasting dark times of trouble next to the bright spots of His light draws the most attentionSo let your light shine brightly during your trials and remember to keep your focus on Him.

#4. Stand back and look at what you have so far. Look to see if the overall design and composition is good. Make any changes you need to make before getting too committed to the wrong course. Whatever stage of life we are at, its always a good idea to step back and look at what we are doing. Examine from a godly perspective as to whether or not we are on the right course. Ask yourself, have I strayed off course in some way? Do I need to make any changes in my life before getting too invested in something that is wrong?

#5. Check your reference frequently throughout the painting process and look closely so you don’t miss important details or make the wrong assumptions about what is there. If you look at it often enough, you’ll probably see things you didn’t notice before. You may need to correct something that you painted wrong too.  As a believer, you should continue to read God’s word. Look for new revelations, watch for His corrections and then make the adjustments in your life’s picture at each juncture where needed. 

#6. Paint the details, especially in the important things and put in the accents of extra color or brightness where they best serve a purpose. Leave out some details where they aren’t necessary. The things closest in the picture usually need more detail and attention. Make sure you pay attention to the details of life that are most important. Too often we get so caughtup with other distractions in life that we ignore the best things including those who are closest to us. Let God’s Spirit guide and direct how you paint each day and let Him make the brushstrokes.

Now sign it! You’re done. Enjoy your accomplishment. Do you feel good about the work before your eyes? Make sure you aren’t comparing your work to another artist’s work when you evaluate its beauty. Remember there will always be another artist who is better in some way. Be glad you finished the work. Make sure you don’t compare yourself to others when evaluating your worth before God. Remember, God loves youThank God for working His purposes together in your life to create a beautiful painting of His love. Think of all the times He added things, took things away, pulled things together, allowed darkness to show you His light and brought color in your life. And when your life’s work is done, others will see God was the main focal point of your life and your master will say to you: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Mathew 25: 23

His eye is on the sparrow
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His Eye On The Sparrow

You’ll never believe what a little bird told me just a few days ago. Have you ever gazed up at a flock of birds sailing across the sky? Or do you listen to their lilting songs letting the music lift your spirit? It’s something I do often especially during this season of Coved-19 lockdown. Observing them blesses me and reminds me of God’s awesome and infinite love for His creation. But lately, I confess, watching their gift of flight has brought out a little covetousness in me. I want to fly away from all the troubles our world is going through—disease, death, riotous anarchy, political strife.

So, naturally, when we discovered a bird’s nest under the eaves of our backyard patio, it caught my interest.  After a few weeks the high-pitched tweeting of little baby birds and the sight of their parents swooping in and out of the area, kept my interest going. One of the parents, the male no doubt, had a reddish color on its head and the female was an all brown mixture, like a sparrow would be. A quick Google told me they were house finches. 

But my heart took pause one day, when I discovered that all three baby birds had fallen out of the nest and sadly only one had survived the fall. The surviving little chick sat quivering and weak on top of a counter near our kitchen window. Not knowing what to do, I felt helpless, so said a quick prayer for it.  As I prayed, a verse in Matthew 10:29 came to me. The scripture talks about the value God places even on a little sparrow and that He knows when “one of them falls to the ground.”

It all happened the same morning as my art class, so I needed to hurry into my studio and get ready for my students. With the Corona Virus restrictions and pre-cautions in place, my usual 6 to 8 students had been pared down to only 3 at a time. And, during all the disappointing cancellations and shutdowns, I was glad to be able to do that much. Continuing the classes seemed to encourage them, especially our breaktimes when I would give an inspirational reading or thought for the day. For many, art class was the highlight of their week and for some, our inspiration time was the only spiritual food they would get. 

Pretty ironic, I thought, that I have 3 students to feed just like the mother bird did. 

After class was over, I quickly rushed to the backyard to check on the baby chick. The last time I’d checked on the little bird its eyes were shut and head bent down as if it might keel over any moment. Now it was on the ground and I figured it had tipped over and fell off the counter. The parents were still nowhere in sight. So, I called our neighborhood animal whisperer. She was a nice gal, named Senchal, who had a natural way with wild animals and critters of all kinds. She came over immediately. 

We were both concerned that the baby wasn’t getting fed frequently enough and we still hadn’t seen any sign of the parents. The wildlife rescue she called advised bringing the bird into their place, but it was a long drive and neither of us wanted to venture it. Besides, we knew the best thing would be for the parents to return and care for it. 

“Let’s move a good distance away from the bird so we won’t scare the parents away if they return.” She suggested then added, “and cross our fingers they do.”

I agreed we should move but suggested that prayer would be better than crossing our fingers. 

“Yes” she agreed. “You’re right.”

After placing the chick in a shoe box with some soft nesting grasses, we sat under a tree far enough away, yet close enough to see if they came back. Half an hour later, we were seriously considering the drive. By then we knew it had been at least 4 hours since the little chick had eaten and baby birds need to eat frequently— 5 to 6 times a day for newly hatched and 3 to 4 times for older chicks.  As we sat under the shady tree worrying for the bird’s survival, I reminded my friend that God’s word says He cares for the sparrow that falls to the ground and that He directed the animals to Noah for the ark. 

“So,” I said, “God can direct those parents back. We just need to trust in His love.” Then, I bowed my head to pray out loud this time, and asked God to lead the baby’s parents back to help it.

Miraculously, after about fifteen more minutes, I saw the mother bird fly to a nearby light post. Shortly after, the male parent arrived too. We were thrilled and watched anxiously to see what they would do. Scooting back into the house where we could watch safely from the windows, we were happy to see them fly down next to their baby.

A short while later my friend waived good-bye and asked me to keep her posted on the baby bird. “Keep your fingers crossed.” She said again. 

Arresting her departure with a reminder, I asked. “Now, didn’t you learn what really makes a difference?” 

“Oh, yeah.” She said. “Prayer!” She smiled and waved good-bye promising to keep in touch too. 

Later that day the baby bird had taken flight and left. The next day, while glancing out my kitchen window, I saw the baby bird fly into my yard. His flying skills needed some honing as he darted around erratically, but it was as if he was showing me that he was doing all right. Adding further irony to it all, that next evening I learned about a song that was going to be sung at church that very weekend— “His Eye is on The Sparrow.” As it turned out, the whole message that following Sunday was built around the message of God caring for his creation, including the sparrow, and even more so for us, and therefore we should be comforted during this time of Covid-19 lockdowns and riotous anarchy in the streets, because God cares about us, the dangers we’re in and what we’re feeling. 

So, guess you could say a little bird told me that and apparently whispered the same message to our pastor too.

Iris Carignan, 8/5/2020

Moriah's Wings Book
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Book Signing & Donation

Iris will be signing her new children’s book “Moriah’s Wings” at the $5 BOOKSTORE at: 2880 A Cochran Street, Simi Valley on Saturday December 21st from 2—5PM. Stop by and get one as a gift or bring one you’ve purchased online, so she can sign it. She will also have some of her other books, “Fresh Eyes: Seeing God in the Unexpected” on hand to sign.

Also, if you haven’t yet heard, Iris is offering a donation match for every Moriah’s Wings purchased online by December 16th. Buy one for yourself or a family member as a gift and Iris will donate another one to an orphan at Miracle House in Kenya, Africa. This makes a win win gift this Christmas season. Simply go to Amazon or to www.iriscarignan.com and find Moriah’s Wings by Iris Carignan, order one or more paperback copies and Iris will do the rest.

God bless you this Christmas and in the new year.

Morrow Bay Pastel
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THE BEST PRESERVATIVE

Have you ever purchased a loaf of bread that didn’t stay fresh for more than a day or two? If so, there’s a good chance it’s because it didn’t have any preservatives in it. It occurs to me that sometimes our faith can be like that too. Our enthusiasm may get a little stale. We may walk for years with strong unwavering faith, then suddenly something happens that causes us to fall into a puddle of doubts or even worse, we just feel dry.

I don’t know about you, but in my walk of faith, I’ve found that doubts can either become a yeast of puffed up vanity, or drive us to God. But through His word, our wandering (and wondering) minds can be cleansed and our faith preserved. Dr. Hugh Ross, once said: “Doubt asks the questions & unbelief won’t hear the answers.” His ministry, Reasons to Believe, is all about answering questions from doubting minds. But doubt isn’t necessarily a bad thing. No, it can be good. Admit it first, then let it drive you to Him for the answers. Clarifying exactly what your question or doubt is, can also be helpful. It might help to write your question down. Just saying we doubt something without being specific is a lazy and dangerous approach to finding the truth. After all, if you can’t articulate your question, then how will you know if you’ve found the answer?  

We all struggle with the deceitful malady of doubts, lies and vanity and our culture continually encourages it. We “eat up” the lies that our world feeds us through social media, movies, television; even friends. We tend to let those voices tell us what is important or true. Using a character in her novel, “the Scarlet Thread,” Francine Rivers states: “people hear what they want to hear.” So true isn’t it? We’ve probably all done that many times over and didn’t even realize it. Recognizing that our culture’s “soul food” is an illegitimate and temporary filling is a good start though. It can’t last because it doesn’t contain the eternal preservative of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible refers to Jesus in many symbolic ways and one that comes to mind in this regard, is that He is our “manna (or bread) from heaven.” While our world bombards us with all kinds of ways to satisfy our hunger, Jesus says: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matt. 5:6).

Another wise approach to our inquiring minds is to pray about our doubts. Don’t think you can hide your doubts from God. You’re just fooling yourself. He already knows. The key to asking Him, in an honoring way, is to come with an open heart, truly listen, and then obey.

Remember, if Jesus really is within you, He is the only preservative who can give you eternal life. Jesus also said: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever,” (John 6:51)

Heavens in South Dakota
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CONTINUOUS CREATION

Was God’s creation of the universe a stagnant unchanging event? I think not. Evidence clearly points to an ever-changing creation of all things. Scientists marvel at the ongoing changes and evolutions of creation and the universe as they observe and examine it. Yet even their own theories and statements of “fact” are a voluminously changing field of speculations and findings. The more they discover, the more it changes, and many times their new discoveries actually line-up with what believers have said all along. It may be a new archaeological find or the Big Bang theory or some other new “exciting” find. Yet they seem to mostly stay on a course of agnosticism or atheism. One of the most brilliant scientists of all time—Einstein, however, stood out as unusual in that he often spoke from a position of faith in a creator. Today’s science continues to verify many of his famous theories as truth.

No, creation is not a stagnant singular event that only happened millions of years ago, anymore than our evolving culture and knowledge is. But let me be clear regarding evolution. I do not adhere to the full explanation of the evolutionary theory held by most scientists. I don’t believe that humans evolved from apes and that all life started as amoebas. I do believe there has been some evolution within species over time not giant jumps between them. In fact, what I’m talking about is that God’s creation itself begets creation. In other words, every life form that He created can also create in some way. Scientists know that the stars are born and die in the universe. And while we may not consider it a creating process when speaking about nature changing in form, haven’t we all spent at least a few minutes observing the movement and changes of the clouds in the sky? And, while all animals, insects and fishes etc. can reproduce, only humans can use their intellect to intentionally create something else besides other humans. For me as an artist, seeing a painting in progress is much like watching the clouds in the sky change and morph into a masterpiece.

One of my favorite things to paint, happens to be clouds. I find that as I start the process of painting clouds, it quickly becomes obvious that they will change over and over until they look and feel the way I want them to. Their shapes and colors will change and the sky colors around them will also change considerably as the painting progresses. Then as I work further on the rest of the painting and its subjects, the sky and clouds may change some more. That is because everything in the painting needs to work together in a cohesive way to compliment one another and form a good outcome or impressive impact on the viewer. If the completed painting fails to pull together all of its elements, it may not present the message the artist desires to bring. Therefore, the artist needs to continue to make changes and adjustments along the way in order to create the effect he or she is trying to accomplish.

In much the same way that an artist works a painting by changing it as needed, our great creator works his creation to its best fulfillment. Psalm 8:3 says “When I consider Your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained, What is man that you are mindful of him, And the son of man that you visit him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honor.”

To even consider all the major and minor creations and recreations of the plants, animals, and the cosmos, is to find His creative hand still at work. Consider, for instance, the crumbling of great mountains and the deepness of canyons or craters. These monumental creations continue to display God’s ever-changing earth. We may not have the longevity to observe their progress, but anyone who has children and have watched them grow, mature and change can easily testify to the ongoing nature of creation. And in much the same way that we have the honor of creating other human beings and seeing them grow, we also have the capacity to create things. We can create art or inventions, or new songs or new ways to do things. We can create beautiful things or we can make ugly dark things. We have the ability and the choice to do either. Oh, what a privilege we have. We have the innate, created ability to create as no other creature can. We are God’s most prized and beloved creation and as we continue to create, we can honor Him and assist Him in bringing forth the ultimate fulfillment or purpose of His initial creation.

When we create beauty through art, music or any other medium, we get to use our hands, hearts, souls and spirits to honor the great creator who placed that particle of DNA within us. Likewise, when we destroy beautiful creations of art, literature, or music, we are also vandalizing evidence of God’s creative hand in us. Even more heinous though, is the act of destroying one of God’s children. When we destroy another human being by intentionally killing them, whether they are children, adults or unborn babies, we are committing the most serious of crimes against our creator. We are then stopping a beautiful creation of God from continuing in creation themselves. We are preventing them from carrying out their purposes and gifts in His plan. And by our actions, we not only show our hate or disrespect towards another human being, we demonstrate hate towards our creator.

The joy I receive most every time I create something with my hands is an amazing gift that I cherish. Even greater, the day of birth for each of my children was the most miraculous fulfillment of creation I have experienced and nothing compares to that moment of realization.

The Joy of Creation, by Iris Carignan 2/3/2019

When God created the heavens and earth,
What joy the Father must have had
with this birth.

How awesome and amazing,
This miracle that came to be.
Each particle spoken,
Creation out of nothing,
The universe to see.

Along the way,
He stopped to say,
He saw that it was good,

But when man,
And woman came
On Heaven’s throne He stood
And it was then
That He proclaimed
It was very, very good.

Made in His image.

We get to create too,
We get to see beauty
in what we do.
We get to use hand
And in small ways
continue His plan.

Oh what a privilege
Oh what a joy,
To know of this gift
To partake,
and employ,

The power of creation
He placed inside of us.
Creation to creation,
Continues,

For it must!