Watercolor fun

I entered my local NPR station’s pledge drive mug art contest this year.  Doing just a loose watercolor sketch was a fun way to communicate their theme, celebrating 65 years on the air.

This came in my email today:

“The Votes Are In!
We’re proud to announce the winner of this year’s UPR Art Mug Contest is…

Stephen Bevan

Congratulations to Stephen and his awesome design!

Stephen writes of his submission: ‘Since so many of us enjoy UPR while driving, a loose watercolor sketch of the road and mountains seemed applicable. It has been 65 great years and there is still a long road ahead.  Thank you to everyone who contributes to make UPR possible.’

Stephen’s winning design will be printed on this year’s UPR Mug, which will be available to all of you as a thank you gift during our Spring 2018 Pledge Drive, March 22-29. So if you are one of the many people who loved this design get ready to show your support for it and for Utah Public Radio by donating during the Pledge Drive.”

Thanks to everyone who voted.

A Good Neighbor

Last year I was home from work for a day and not feeling well at all.  My three year old daughter wanted to know if I would read to her.  After about 8 books I really just needed some time to rest.  So I hopped onto my video subscription website and went looking something for both of us to enjoy.  When I saw ‘Mister Rogers Neighborhood,’ in the list the choice was easy.  I laid there on the couch with my daughter and tuned into the very first episode Fred Rogers aired.  It was like a time machine taking me back to my own childhood.  My three year old LOVED it, and asked to watch a second one, which we did.

A few months later I found myself reading an article on Fred Rogers in the news. I found a book of some of his quotes.  I was again feeling inspired to be a better person because of this simple man and his quiet ministry.

 

These last few months have seemed turbulent.  We can make the world a better place.  We determine everyday through our actions what kind of a person we will become.  As I mentioned in an earlier post the most important step we can take is our next step.  Well neighbor, I hope we all choose to make our next step one of kindness.

Journeys

I read a wonderfully thought provoking quote today at the end of a book by Brandon Sanderson.  I thought it worth sharing:

“A journey will have pain and failure.  It is not only the steps forward that we must accept. It is the stumbles.  The trials.  The knowledge that we will fail.  That we will hurt those around us.

But if we stop, if we accept the person we are when we fall, the journey ends.  The failure becomes our destination.

To love the journey is to accept no such end.  I have found, through painful experience, that the most important step a person can take is always the next one.”

What will your next step be?

Pen and Paper

There is something magical that happens when pen and paper meet.  When it’s a story I am writing it is just fun to watch the characters develop and see what comes next.  When it is a picture I am drawing there is the anticipation of how it will look in the end.  If you haven’t used pen and paper to express something special to you in a while–I challenge you to try it.  I challenge you to send a letter, write a thank you note, write a story, or draw a picture.  See the magic of pen and paper.  Here is the start of a drawing I began at work today of a historic house I have seen many times.  The picture is nothing amazing but it was a magic way to spend 10 minutes.

#LightTheWorldWithBooks

Nominate your favorite #LightTheWorld participants to win good books! Every year the LDS church encourages us to focus on Christ by lighting our world with good works. This year, authors at Cedar Fort and other presses would like to say thank you to those candles on the hill. When you find a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter post that you think lights the world, please comment using the hashtag #LightTheWorldWithBooks.* Both YOU, the nominator, and YOUR FRIEND, the nominee, will automatically be entered to win one of 25 books, mailed right to the doorstep. For official rules and details on the prize books, visit nikkitrionfo.com. 

*PLEASE NOTE: If the original post is private (as many on FB and especially IG are), to guarantee we at Light The World With Books see the post, you may also share the post on our Light the World with Books Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LighttheWorldwithBooks/. A screenshot works; a share; a post that simply says who you are and who you nominated–any of that is fine. We don’t need to be technical; we just need to see you!

Christmas Gifts

When the weather starts to cool it seems there is just a natural tendency for me to break out my wood working tools.  Something about Christmas time makes me want to build something for those I love.

It has been this way since I was 12 years old.  I remember that Christmas very well.  All around me others were eagerly writing wish lists for Christmas of very expensive toys and gadgets.  I was right in there with them!  We were looking at glossy catalogs and cool stuff and each night my dreams were filled with new toys.  It’s hard not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle.  One Sunday a talk in church caused me to stop and look at my own behavior; I felt guilty and ashamed for my own  greed and avarice.

My first response is something I can’t say I am proud of—I made a colorful sign to hang in my window.  It was my own protest to the commercialism of the season.  The sign in fancy lettering read, “Bah Humbug.”  My siblings teased me and called me, “Mr. Scrooge.”  It wasn’t Christmas I was protesting with my sign, but rather the greed that had consumed me personally.  What brought me out of it was making a gift with my own two hands for someone else.
This time of year I often break out my tools to make a gift or two.  Something about the process of making a gift always brings me back to the meaning of it all.  Somehow it helps me put everything back into focus and put Christ right in the forefront of Christmas where he belongs.  Perhaps it helps me because Jesus was a carpenter.  Perhaps it’s simply the art of creation that reminds me of the creator of all things.
Last night my son came and told me of a gift he wanted to make for his sisters.  It would involve saws, nails, hammers etc.  It was the perfect way to get me back on track this season.  I am grateful for the chance to get back in touch with the master creator and make something for Christmas.
Feeling lost or frustrated this Christmas season….maybe you should try making a gift for someone you love?

Book Release and Events

I am excited to announce that my new book, “Quiet as a Church Mouse,” is officially out today!  You can find my book through my publisher Cedar Fort, or through Deseret Book, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

In addition we have three great events for this upcoming Saturday November 18th, 2017.  At 10:00 AM I will start the day at the Mendon City Library.  There will be live music, stories, art/drawing, and a Q&A opportunity.  At 1:00 PM we will be at the Hyrum City Library for a similar event.  Then at 4:00 PM we will have a party at The Book Table in Logan, Utah.  If you are in the area I hope to see you at one of these events.  If you won’t be able to make it to these events there are more coming-so hopefully we can see you next time.

Mondays

Like most people–Monday means it’s time to get back to work.

Camping trips with the scouts are done.  Hikes with the family are now pictures and fun memories.  Walks with the dog get a little shorter.  And the daily grind begins.

This morning, on a short break, I couldn’t help but make a little doodle about how I felt this morning.  I hope it makes your Monday a little better.

 

Patience-‘line upon line’

You know when I was a kid I remember going to the elementary school library.  I borrowed a book on drawing people.  The book started by having you draw a circle then add a few lines here or there.  But that circle didn’t look much like the end result a few pages later.  I didn’t want to ‘waste time’ drawing circles so I jumped right to the page with the finished picture. I did my best to draw that final picture with none of the construction lines or process.  I just jumped to the last page and gave it my all.  The end result– was a picture that looked pretty bad.  The proportions were all wrong.  The ears were next to the mouth and chin, and the legs were too long erc.  It didn’t look much like the final picture in the book.

It wasn’t the books fault, it was mine.  I chose not to tackle the project ‘line upon line.’  When we try to move too fast, when we skip the basics because we are not patient– eventually to paraphrase Isaiah, we realize we have fallen, we are broken, and we are caught up in the snare.  The trap of impatience led us to mistakes and a lot of wasted time.

On the other hand when we move slowly and with patience when we listen to those who have tread this path before, when we willing follow the best example, ‘line upon line,’ step by step we see successes.

Patience is a virtue we could all benefit from.  A virtue that could save us a lot of time snared in traps and replace it with a lot more joy.  Yet sometimes we all find ourselves skipping to the last page huh?

Perceptions

I once had a boss who told me there were three sides to every story; “your side, their side, and the truth.”  Sometimes our preconceptions or frustrations influence our perception of an experience.
A classic examples is visiting the local driver license office.  Sometimes as an outsider standing in line you see the license official acting kindly and professionally, but the person in front of you–who is yelling at the clerk, sees something very different.  I drew a simple cartoon to illustrate.

This sadly happens between friends, and family as well.  We perceive something very different from what happened when we get upset, or because we are afraid.
My friend Daniel and I went someplace together and we were turned away.  As we left and discussed what happened, his perception and mine were very different.  I was frustrated and he was quite content.  Once I looked at the situation again from his perspective I felt foolish–because he was right.
Give others a chance.  Choose not to get upset and not to demonize other people; for they too, are God’s children.