The True Sign of Peace

Peace Dove on Sapphire Blue Round OrnamentYou know that peace sign? The one with the broken arms pointing downward on either side of a vertical line centered in the middle of an empty circle? Yes, that one! I don’t LIKE that peace sign!

A close friend and I had that conversation again just the other day. I asked her if she knew what that symbol was a representation of, but she didn’t know. I’m guessing that you don’t know either, so I’m going to tell you.

That “peace sign” is a stylized representation of a Russian (Communist) peasant facing a firing squad. That isn’t peace you’re looking at–it’s the representation of utter futility and hopelessness! The hopelessness we’re all supposed to feel in the face of the onslaught of “peaceful” Communism!

When my friend heard what I had to say, she choked and gagged on it! She realized she didn’t like that peace sign either!

I am not a Communist. You can’t even call me a socialist, or, more and more synonomous with communism and all it stands for, an American liberal or progressive, because I am NOT in agreement with their ideals of violent revolution, of violently dispossessing ordinary people of their hard-earned wealth to give it to people who aren’t willing to put their backs into it and work for that wealth themselves!

So that peace sign is NOT and will never ever be MY peace sign!

If you want to know my peace sign–look up! See that beautiful, snow white dove carrying an olive branch against a sky blue background? That dove is my peace sign!

The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, who comes to bring us peace in our hearts no matter what kind of storms are raging outside us. He carries an olive branch, the symbol of healing and restoration between us and God, and our fellow humans. Blue is the color of Heaven, from whence the Holy Spirit descends to calm our inner turmoil and conflicts.

Until we have peace in our own hearts and peace with God, we are INCAPABLE of experiencing peace with anyone else!

God’s peace is not the futile resignation of an angry abused hopeless person.

God’s peace doesn’t only exist when all the peasants or all the intelligentsia, or all of the bureaucrats or politicians, or all of any other group you can possibly name are dead! God’s peace most especially doesn’t exist when they are all slaughtered and gone. God’s peace isn’t a state born of hatred and striving, but an offering created by ultimate love.

God offers us peace in the now; peace with those we are at odds with, no matter where we find them. God offers us His peace to offer to them. And most incredibly, He offers us that peace with Him, and with our own flawed, continually failing and guilty human hearts!

I turned this design into a Christmas ornament because the way God made for us to find His peace is through His Son, Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate each year at Christmas. Every tree ought to have a reminder of God’s peace somewhere on it. If you don’t have one already, I offer you this one in the hopes that it might bless you.

It is my Christmas wish for you this season, that you will find God’s peace smoothing the troubled waters of your heart and your relationships.

May God bless you with His peace.

Something New

Black and Chrome Clock Face low-res There are NEVER enough hours in my day.

I don’t know about you, but I always feel like I have so much I need to get done, and I never get to it all. When will I find time (or the focus and inspiration) to write more books? What should I write about? What about the new software I’ve invested in? There’s quite a lot of it–and I haven’t had time to learn how to properly use it…

I’m not saying this to complain, just to be honest about the struggles I face, that I suspect other people face too.

Do you face difficulties too in juggling your to-do list? What are your priorities? Do you feel like you’re making progress and really getting somewhere, or do you feel, like I do sometimes, that you’ve found the hamster-wheel of life and can’t get off?

Some days, I find that hamster wheel a real challenge!

  • I’m driving two hours 5 days/week to deliver a child to school and return home again
  • There are 3 meals daily that must be prepared or bought, or eaten somewhere/somehow, and produce in the fridge (and oh no, leftovers!) that must be used up or it will all spoil
  • There’s laundry to wash, cleaning to be done, vacuuming, dusting, mopping–
  • And then, because I’m in business for myself, there are all those business tasks; commissions to deliver on; new designs to create and post, and promote; books to write, promote, and publish (which I’m not getting to right now); blog posts to write and post, and promote…
  • Time for God? Oh…that’s a challenge. I make it, but am I really devoting my full attention to Him when I do?

That promoting thing–I try and try to do a good job with this, but I often feel like such a failure at it. Is what I’m doing really working? What should I do differently? How can I improve my marketing so that the books and artwork that I create really sell? I have so many questions about this, and I search and search for answers. Sometimes I even find answers, but–I don’t alway really understand them! It’s difficult trying to implement concepts I don’t understand. Do you feel like that too?

There are days that it seems I run out of hours while frantically trying to get it all done, and other days where the hours crawl because I’ve misplaced my “muse” and can’t seem to pull it together.

Buccaneer Table Topper low-resMy daughter says that she knows when I’m not getting the artwork and writing done. She says she’s noticed that if I don’t have time to be creative, I become crabby! LOL (she’s probably right about this)

I know I don’t have all the answers, but I figure there will always be more things to tackle in a day than I can reasonably expect to get to. Instead of trying to face it all at once and become totally overwhelmed, I’ve given myself an assignment: no matter what else happens, or the chaos or real life “plot twists” that get thrown into my day, every day, I have to learn something new. It doesn’t matter how big or how small it is, as long as it’s something I didn’t know before that helps me to make a little bit more sense of what I’m trying to do.

It may be a new technique for creating artwork on the computer. It may be something I didn’t know before about marketing, or something I learn about my daughter, or effectively raising teens in a mixed-up world, or–a new insight into my walk with God. It could even be a new song I’ve never heard before or a confidence a friend shares that gives me insight into our relationship and makes it richer than it was–

Whatever it is, I’m committed to learning it. What about you?

You can check out the new artwork I’ve created this week here and here

Art and Story

Horses & Heraldry I tend to create artwork, at least some of the time, that alludes to or has significance derived from my writing. The artwork shown here, for instance, is one such piece, because horses and heraldry play supporting roles in the fantasy novels I’ve been writing.

In A Shadow On The Land, horses are used as transportation, and are highly valued. Bjorn Horsa has a special bond with his horse Caprice that makes the horse a significant part of the story.

Heraldry or emblems of heraldry appear on everything: banners, coinage, clothing… Especially men’s over-tunics and cloaks. Heraldry refers to designs and colors associated with a particular feudal lord or office.

Bjorn’s famous blue cloak is a form of heraldry, as it has been dyed “Horsa blue.” The running horse is the heraldic emblem or symbol of the Horsas, and is traditionally embroidered using metallic threads on a ground of Horsa blue. While Bjorn’s men in my stories (so far) aren’t shown wearing his colors, Bjorn can delegate his authority by lending one of his men his cloak, as he mentions doing for Sir Kyle in one of the later books.

Some other mentions of heraldry in my books:

Olaf Kinson’s heraldic emblem is a serpent guarding a crown on a field of crimson. (A Shadow On The Land)

The firebird constellation design from the flag of Astarkand–which Bjorn has embroidered onto a tunic and wears to breakfast in an early scene to remind Olaf that he is the rightful king. (A Shadow On The Land)

Olaf’s crimson and gold tent. (King’s Ride)

The page’s tabards that Bjorn’s man trims with blue ribbon. (Eiathan’s Heir)

This artwork is available for sale on Society 6 on a wide range of products from tees, throw pillow covers and duvet covers to shower curtains, tote bags, and computer skins and iPhone cases.