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My son joined me for a simple little tutorial today! One of my favorite paintings in the home is a watercolor sketch I did on a page from a book about blackbirds (pictured below). I thought this would be a fun project to share with you!

Full disclosure: I didn't plan on him joining me, but we rolled with it. He did so well, and even said he thought his painting was better than mine! 



You'll need the following:

  • jar of water (we reuse yogurt containers)
  • watercolor paints. We use something like this** in the video (ours came from Michael's).
  • your favorite brushes (I like one rounded brushes with tips like these**). The one I use in the video is a Master's Touch Round 14 from Hobby Lobby.
  • printed template (with trim lines for an 8x10" print) that you can download HERE. Watercolor paper like this** will hold the paint best, but I'm just using thick stationery paper in the video. FYI, the image is from the New York Public Library Digital Collections website, which is amazing!!
  • paper towel for blotting

Remember to have fun! Use your own color palette of favorite colors. We went bright and bold, but you can choose more muted colors. 

We'd love to see what you create! Send us a picture at mary@marydeandraws.com or tag us on Instagram @marydeandraws.

Here's the video!





*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, thank you (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. 

**affiliate link. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


               

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Paint with me Watercolor Tutorial with Vintage Bird Template

The Lord's Prayer Screensaver from Marydean Draws
I've been wanting to share a printable of the Lord's Prayer with you and with my own children for a while now, and here it is! It seems so very appropriate to share it now as we welcome a new year with all the hopes and fears it holds for us.

I don't claim to be an example of a prayerful woman. I'm more of a grasping the hem of His garment kind of a pray-er, so I share these things because I so desperately need the reminder!

Thankfully, I am Jesus' disciple, and He is a kind and good teacher. We have his ocean-deep sermon in Matthew 5-7 on the Kingdom of God, and right in the middle is this simple, but comprehensive model prayer. 

If you've followed me for a while, you know I shared a lot of thoughts from Dallas Willards's The Divine Conspiracy last year--a whole book on Jesus' sermon on the mount. Willard's explanation of what it mean to pray for God's Kingdom to come has stuck with me. 

Willard explains that praying for God's Kingdom to come doesn't mean we're asking for it to exist, because it already has and will exist forever and forever. Rather, it means that we pray for the (little "k") kingdoms of this world to come under God's rule. 

When we pray this we can think of two areas of application, explains Willard:

One is personal. Think of your sphere of influence, your corner of the world. Your neighborhood, school, workplace, home. The things you do, the activities you're involved in, the work you invest in. 

All of these are where God wants to act, rule, and reign, ushering in the peace of His kingdom! Willard writes, "We are therefore asking that, by means beyond our knowledge and the scope of our will, we be assisted to act within the flow of God's actions."

Jesus, Your Kingdom come, your will be done HERE with the people and places I love. Come work powerfully here this year.  

The second is more global. Here we think about bigger "structural or institutionalized evils that rule so much of the earth" (Willard). These are systems and cultural norms we get swept up in, sometimes seemingly beyond our control. 

Willard writes, "We therefore pray for our Father to break up these higher-level patterns of evil. And, among other things, we ask him to help us see the patterns we are involved in. We ask him to help us not cooperate with them, to cast light on them and act effectively to remove them."

This makes me think about institutional racism, something I've been writing and learning about over the last year. 

Jesus, Your Kingdom come, your will be done THERE too, in the places I can't see any way of fixing. Oh Father, come and powerfully bring Your peace. 

Let's pray these prayers over this year and see what God will do in us and the world around us!

I made two things for you this month:

1. A coloring page map through the Lord's prayer in English and Spanish. It has some fill-in-the-blank spaces where you can add your specifics to the prayer. For example, under "your kingdom come," you can add "in my school," "in my office," "in my sports team," etc. Under "daily bread," you can write in the things that you need.

You can download the pages by clicking on the images below.

2. A "your Kingdom come" phone screensaver image in English and Spanish. You can download the screensaver by clicking on the images below and saving to your phone.



Thank you for being here! I'm looking forward to sharing this year with you. Comment below and let me know what you think of the printables and how you use them! 



Matthew 6 Bible Verse Coloring Page in English and Spanish


Scripture is from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from LA BIBLIA DE LAS AMERICAS®, © Copyright 1986, 1995, 1997 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." (www.LBLA.com)

*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, thank you (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. 


               

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a prayer for the new year + The Lord's Prayer Coloring Page and Screensaver in English & Spanish



If you've been to my house or follow my Instagram feed, you probably know that having art on my walls is important to me. 

Art brings such joy to my home, so I'd love to share with you my best tips for framing your artwork!

1. Use a mat or a thick frame to showcase the art. This is a never-fail one. A mat always makes artwork look 10 times classier, especially with a thick mat. If you don't use a mat, try a thicker frame.

Matted painting (done by my son) in this Dick Blick frame  + thick frame 

Amazing Grace Print with a thick mat

pine Ikea frame with mat

2. Gallery wall it. My interior designer sister says gallery walls are classic and timeless! Group your gallery wall with a similar color that connects them, but use a mix of art styles, frames & sizes. Mix abstract art, photos, kids art, graphic styles, and typography. Mix wood and metal frames. Mix sizes, too, but be sure to have one or two bigger pieces to stand out and add visual weight to the collection.



Prints from the new collection in the shop
3. Thrift your frames. Frames can be expensive, so I always look for good frames at thrift stores. I love when I can reuse both the frame and the mat. 


Thrifted frames
+ Wendy Brightbill abstract painting (a favorite artist of mine!)
+ bird print from Printspiring
4. Think outside the frame! I found this wooden pants hanger at a thrift store and it makes a simple way to hang a piece of art and easily switch it out. Magnetic frames like these** are another fun frameless way to hang art. 



There you have it--my best tips for framing and displaying art! Is there anything else you'd like to know about art for the home?

If you're looking for frames to order/buy:


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, thank you (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. 

**affiliate link. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


               

If you like this, you can get these posts in your inbox by signing up HERE!


My four best tips for framing and displaying your artwork



Advent starts this coming Sunday, and friends, I'm not ready. My mind is in a million places.

But you know what? 

That is exactly why the church celebrates seasons--to prepare Him room. To orient our hearts back to eternal matters.

I need the month to prepare my heart to celebrate the momentous coming of our Immanuel. I need the month to settle my mind on Him in all His worthiness, joy, and glory. 

I won't do it perfectly or maybe even well, but I will try.

I've collected some favorite Advent resources if you need help like I do! Some of these I created and some are from other sources.

1. my 25 Days of Advent Joy coloring book

2. my 25 Days of Advent Joy printable set

3. The Jesus Storybook Bible** + free printable Advent Reading Plan
We love the way the Jesus Storybook Bible articulates the interwoven story of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. It's so good for both adults and children. 

4. Truth in the Tinsel: My friend Amanda created this Advent plan that combines a daily Scripture devotion + crafts for little ones. I did this with the girls when they were younger and we still have the ornaments. You can purchase the ebook and printable ornaments. 

5. I created this "the Greatest Gifts" printable box for under the tree a few years ago and we get it out every year now.

6. Printable Jesse Tree Ornaments & Advent Calendars from Visual Faith Ministry. The Visual Faith website has a wonderful collection of printables to help you observe advent: advent calendars, coloring pages, Bible journaling templates, and these beautifully colored Jesse Tree ornaments.

7. Printable Advent story cards from the Red Bird Blue blog.

8. The Names of Jesus printable ornaments from One Thing Alone Ministries


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, thank you (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. 

**affiliate link. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


               

If you like this, you can get these posts in your inbox by signing up HERE!


Prepare Him Room: Advent & Christmas Resources for your Family

 


This post is the third in a series I've been writing about things I never understood about racism. You can read the previous posts here and check out the anti-racism resource page for further learning.

I used to say that the first time I saw racism was when I moved from a diverse community of military families in Okinawa, Japan, to the coastal town of Jacksonville, NC as a Junior in high school. Overt forms of racism were easy to pick out there: the ugly racial epithet flung at my African American police officer neighbor, that racist joke I heard from white girls at a sleepover, the truck flying the confederate flag.


What I didn't understand then is that racism is much more than individual prejudice. Even if we all were kind to each other and worked really hard on resolving our personal prejudices (which we should!), racial inequities would still exist.

Inequities continue to be reproduced in our country because racism is systemic or institutional. Bear with me if this is new to you like it was to me.

Here's an example: A study by EdBuild released earlier this year found that "nonwhite school districts get $23 billion less than white districts despite serving the same number of students." Schools in the U.S. are funded by local property taxes. Think about your neighborhood. How diverse is it? Think about the wealth of the people in your city. How does it break down racially? Think, then, how this affects the funding of your local schools.

In the example of funding for education that I gave above, I doubt if any of us functioning in the educational system are intentionally wanting to disadvantage non-white schools and students. When we (speaking as a white person) buy homes in mostly white neighborhoods and pay taxes our properties, we're not intending that they go only to our white children in their mostly white schools. But, whether we intend it or not, the impact is that inequities will continue to exist and persist because the system is functioning in the way it was set up.

Sobering, right? (Journalist Nicole Hannah Jones has a lot of interesting things to say about racial inequities in education. I'll link to some of her work below in the resources section.*)

Here's a simple challenge. Take any area of interest to you, your family, your community, or the industry you work in and do a Google search for research into racial disparities in that area.

Here are some suggestions of things you can look up:
"disparities in health care." 
"disparities in infant mortality"
"disparities in maternal mortality"
"disparities in school funding"
"disparities in school discipline"
"disparities in life expectancy."
"disparities in arrests at school"
"disparities in hiring practices"
"disparities in military promotions"
"disparities in mortgage lending"
"disparities in sentencing or incarceration"
"disparities in farm loans"
"disparities in public transportation"
"disparities in income or generational wealth"

In all of these searches, I suspect you will find a similar pattern of disadvantage and advantage. Beverly Daniel Tatum writes that "every social indicator, from salary to life expectancy, reveals the advantages of being White" (Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria).

And there's a reason for this. It has nothing to do with anything inherently good or bad about the "races" (we are all equal in our humanity in all its complexity), and everything to do with how race was socially constructed in this country. The racist narrative that shaped the very founding of our country (see Part 1) also shaped the fabric of our society in such a way that it no longer needs active racism to work; it only requires passive cooperation with the status quo. 

Racism and racist ideas became a part of the way every system in our society functions--healthcare, banking, housing, education, law enforcement, incarceration, employment. Daniel Hill, in his book, White Awake,* on white cultural identity (yes, we have a culture), explains this well: 
When left unchallenged, the narrative of racial difference inflicts catastrophic damage on every level of society, starting at an individual level moving into communities of people before infecting the roots of our socials systems . . . A social system is made up of the elements that work together in towns and cities, such as schools, police departments, businesses and manufacturing, hospitals, grocery stores, housing, and other entities. Though these entities provide services or play certain roles, they also form what is often called a social system. Each element within a social system is supposed to serve people of all backgrounds equally, regardless of race or any other social marker. But the narrative of racial difference prevents that because it is built around a calculation of human value based on race, which reproduces inequalities.
Studies show that race alone impacts these disparities regardless of social status or other factors. According to a report called "The Groundwater Approach: building a practical understanding of structural racism" by Bayard Love and Deena Hayes-Greene of the Racial Equity Institute,* "in today's economy (even excluding the impacts of multi-generational wealth), one's racial designation is actually a causative factor in one's socioeconomic status."

For example, according to the Groundwater Approach report, "The most recent CDC data show racial disparity in infant mortality, even when we compare black and white mothers with the same level with the same level of education." Another study shows that "in K-12 education . . . while independent racial and income gaps exist, black and Latino students underperform white students at each income level."

The Groundwater study proposes that these disparities are not a "people problem," as we might be tempted to assume, but a "groundwater" problem, meaning that the underlying systems are functioning in a racist way, without anyone in that system even being intentionally racist.

I'll say it again: because we all function in systems that operate in racist ways, as long as we're cooperating with the status quo, it doesn't matter if we're individually actively racist or not; the results are the same.This idea of infected social systems is called systemic racism or institutional racism. The term white privilege is used to describe the resulting advantages of systemic racism for white people. 

Here are a couple of things that I find helpful in talking about systemic racism and white privilege:

1. This doesn't mean that all people benefit from or are disadvantaged by systemic racism equally. It's just a broad way of understanding the social fabric of our country. You'll find lots of variation in the individual threads (again--because we're human).

2. Generalizing about social-constructed concepts like White and Black are helpful terms for breaking down the system as it was constructed. We first have to acknowledge it and see it to change it. This does not, however, speak to anyone's worth or value. I know that we white people can feel called out when our race is even mentioned. This is not about your individual worth; it's about your social context.

In conclusion, it's complicated. It's weighty, and it's overwhelming to begin seeing something that was actually always right in front of me. These are hard, uncomfortable truths that must be grappled with.

Can I encourage you in this? There is so much grace and mercy for us as we come to God repentant and brokenhearted over these things. There is tremendous freedom for white people when the burden of white supremacy is lifted. There is beauty in understanding our shared humanity. There is much to be learned from those our society called "the least," the "minorities."

Here's something that gives me hope: this system was constructed, so it can also be deconstructed. I like this metaphor from Beverly Tatum, from her book, Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?:


That brings me to my calling as a Christian, a calling to be an ambassador of reconciliation, a royal priest, an image-bearer who reflects the beauty of God and His Kingdom.

I highly recommend Latasha Morrison's new book, Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation* if you want to look more into these issues of what racial reconciliation looks like for a believer and a church.

After each chapter of her book, Morrison provides prayers of lament and repentance. Here is one:
"We have not required justice, we have not loved others well, and we have not walked in humility in our brokenness."
Will you join me in lamenting and praying over these things?
"If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." (James 2:15-17 ESV)
"Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them." (Ecc 4:1 ESV)
"When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause." (Isa 1:15-17 ESV)
"Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Mat 6:10 ESV) 
I made this screensaver of Isaiah 1:17 for you to use this month to remind you of the actions you can take towards justice. You can download it in English or Spanish by clicking on one of the images below to save to your phone. I'd love for you to share this post if you've found it helpful.

   

*FOR FURTHER READING/LEARNING


ARTICLE/REPORT | The Groundwater Approach: building a practical understanding of structural racism by Bayard Love and Deena Hayes-Greene of The Racial Equity Institute





               

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Let's talk about anti-racism: four things I never understood about racism (Part 3)

There are moments when all of us feel alone and forsaken, burdened "beyond our ability to endure" (2 Corinthians 1:8). Life can feel like way too much fo us. We cry out with the Psalmist:
"Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help." (Psa 22:11 ESV)

In this Psalm, David goes on to vividly describe how he feels surrounded by attackers, how his "heart is like wax," and his strength is dried up "like a potsherd" as God lays him down in the "dust of death."

I recommend reading through this whole Psalm. As David laments, he cries out to God for help:
"But you, O LORD, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!" (Psalm 22:19 ESV)
As David experiences God's comfort in response to his cries, David's lament turns to praise:
"For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD! May your hearts live forever!" (Psa 22:24-26 ESV)
What do you do when you are so pressed you can hardly breathe? God provides the model right here in this Psalm and throughout Scripture:

lament > cry out > praise

God does not despise your suffering and demand you ignore it so you can praise Him. God hears your cries.

He delights to rescue you. In fact, He rescues you because He delights in you! (see Psalm 18:19)

You will be able to say to the next generation "that he has done it" (Psalm 22:31)

I have cried out many times recently, and God has shown up in so many ways.

I have seen His help in:
an encouraging Scripture
The balm to my soul of the Holy Spirit's presence
Meals from friends as I recover from surgery
A friend's encouraging words
A prompting to action helping me navigate a difficult situation
A friend who shared what she's been learning at work
A prayer app helping me with my practice of prayer

I am two weeks out from a successful surgery to remove endometriosis. Thank you all who prayed for me and checked in. I am doing well and slowly regaining my strength, but there have definitely been times of lament and crying out along the way.

Friends, praise Him, but lament what you need to lament. Cry out for the help you need. He will not despise it.

In turn, don't despise the lament of others around you. I am so thankful for all those who have entered into my suffering in such a Christ-like way.

I made this screensaver of Psalm 54:4 for you to use this month. You can download it in English or Spanish by clicking on one of the images below to save to your phone. And please share this post with a friend who might need some encouraging words!

Also, if you are looking for more ways to share Scriptures on this topic of God's help with friends, I have a whole set in the shop called "comfort and hope." It is full of Scriptures that are dear to my heart and have shaped the way I see God. You can purchase them as a printable, printed set, or in coloring book form.

 


 





*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, thank you (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. 


               

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The God who helps + Psalm 54:4 Phone Screensaver in English and Spanish