The "Welcome" series is straight from my heart. I love life in the country. The first day we moved from the city to the country we finished moving in and then stepped out onto the back porch that evening and felt totally different - like we were our own people - we weren't following others any more. It took some adjustments for sure, the conveniences of town were missed for the first couple of months. I think we went into town at least once every day, but soon we learned how to manage that part of this new life and we set out to build our dream. Now don't get me wrong, life in the country isn't a dream, it was just our dream. The work load of the demands of animals and land weighs a bit, but it offered me something to do with my boys that we needed and it served us well. We found out, though, that all our friends (who had come by our city home daily) didn't want to make the trip out to our new place in the country and we missed the folks that would often drop by to visit. So much so, did I miss it, that I invited the UPS guy in for coffee on occasion. So with this idealic setting in the Smokey Mountains, I did a "no no" and left the gate open so you would feel the longing of your presence and the invitation for your company. I hope this open gate expresses your hearts desire for others to "enter in". The company of accepting friends and neighbors is the richest of blessings, Hope - I sincerely hope you have this wealth.
Welcome Spring - A time for RenewalThe seasons of life ebb and flow in a way that teaches us to be patient and wait. Sometimes we have lean - dry times and other times we have vibrant growing times. It doesn't mean that something is wrong or that we have been forgotten, or that we are doing it all right and are the "blessed" ones. For the Lord rains down on the just and the unjust alike. He cares for everyone alike and he longs to see them find fullness and renewal in their lives. In Welcome Spring, I've depicted the exciting time of life when the fragrance of life is wonderful, too much to contain, and the beauty spills over for all to see. The excitement of new birth and buds awaken the senses and make us feel alive, and give us the promise that the cold winters of our lives will not always be. There is such hope and expectation in the spring and I hope this painting stirs up that longing in your heart to see things grow and blossom. Go ahead and plant the seeds of acceptance with your estranged son, or wayward daughter; dig up the weeds of resentment and jealousy with someone you have grown to dislike and replace them with the fragrant flowers of forgiveness and love. It is a time for renewal.~ Mark Keathley