"I have long dreaded the thought of getting to the end of life and regretting that I allowed my own timidity or other people's expectations to determine the course of my life. I decided that several of my beliefs should determine the course of my life...I believe that the Creator, has an epic script into which my minute presence has been written." - Steve Saint
(Sydney O'Leary is celebrating her 13th birthday today in Knoxville. Here's a special birthday gift for her from Ghana. We love you Sydney!)
Guest Blogger and Artist: Franklin, age 14
Happy 13th Birthday Sydney! These are some pictures of me drawing and painting a tree in the Feeding the Orphans house at City of Refuge. I call it "Tree of Hope" because the kids that are going to live in this house came from nothing, but are given hope for their future lives. I hope this tree will be a reminder of that.
Since art is kind of my hobby, I loved doing this project. It was my first mural I have ever done and one of the few paintings I have done. I usually sketch and draw but painting is much more interesting. In drawing if you mess up you can erase it, but in painting if you make a mistake you can't erase it, you have to make do.
I was very focused.
I had to make my own palette because I didn't have one. I put a piece of plastic around a board and used silly bands to hold the handle in place and also to hold the plastic down. It worked great!
Here, I had to be creative and use what was available.
The tree of hope is still being painted. It didn't take me just like a couple hours, it was a four day process.
I am getting the color brown just right for the tree.
I had some people watching me while I shaded the tree.
You can see it better in this picture where I am making it darker on one side.
Portia was avery good helper. She put the paint bottles away when I was done with the color. She helped me clean out my brushes and she helped clean up when I was done for the day. And if you know Portia, well, lets just say I had someone to talk to while I painted. I loved it.
These two boys will live in this home. Bismark and Moses were recently rescued from spending their lives as fishing slaves. It was fun to see them in front of the Tree of Hope.
Braden, Portia and Bismark.
Standing with my Dad in front of the tree. You can see how tall it is. My Dad is over 6 feet tall.
I asked my mom to send Sydney and Kristie O'Leary an email asking them what their favorite flowers were. Sydney likes colorful daisies and sunflowers. Mrs. O'Leary likes tulips and dogwood blossoms. Because Sydney and Mrs. O'Leary started Feeding the Orphans and they raised money to build this house, I wanted their favorite flowers to be on the wall. With some help from my mom, we added tulips, daisies, a sunflower and some dogwood blossoms on the tree branches. It was special to have a reminder of Sydney and Mrs. O'Leary in this FTO house at City of Refuge.
My mom painted in a different position than I did. I just think she was tired.
The flowers are almost done and I still have to do the dogwood blossoms on the tree.
I am putting the finishing touches on the sunflower. That was my favorite flower to paint.
Once I finished the tree, I had to have some fun climbing it!
The dogwood blossoms are fun to paint and I enjoyed doing them. They reminded me of Tennessee!
All I have left to paint is a few dogwood blossoms, then the Tree of Hope will be completely finished. Happy Birthday Sydney!
We are a family who loves Jesus. We have followed him to the faraway land of Ghana, West Africa. We know He led us here for His purpose - for His name to be great among the nations. (Psalm 46:10) We are here for His glory alone.
By sharing a glimpse into our lives through our posts we give this permanent disclaimer: Nothing written here is to exalt ourselves. We desire for everything we do, say, think, write, or share to be for God's glory alone. We know this life is not about us, and do not ever wish to make it so. We are not trying to share our "experience." We are not trying to pose for pictures. We are not trying to make you think we are doing something we are not. We are broken, imperfect people made complete through the grace of Christ. There is nothing special about us - except the Lord we follow. We want all glory, honor, and praise to go to whom it is due - Jesus.
Sometimes we may write things that are hard to read. It's not our purpose to offend anyone or impose guilt. Life in Ghana is vastly different from life in America. Sometimes when you read about the struggles of your fellow brother, we hope you are propelled to pray. This blog is our avenue to share how God is revealing more of His heart to us. In the process, God allows us to see deeper into our own. It gets ugly sometimes. We are humbled that He has allowed us to be hands and feet of His work. For this, we rejoice in God's boundless grace.
If you accept the terms of this blog - please feel free to read and enjoy. It's not about us.
"But as for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except for the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me through him, and I have been crucified to the world." - Galatians 6:14
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