MU Staff Arts & Crafts Showcase 2015

My crochet display with beloved friends at the 2015 Showcase

2015 was the best Showcase opening ever!

I was thrilled to see more than two dozen friends from Mizzou, my church and my Toastmasters club at the grand opening. I also appreciated the kind notes of support and prayers from those who couldn’t make it. I felt you there in spirit.

I’m thankful for all of you! It was a day of joy celebrating the retro 1970s crochet glory that is my hobby!

The Showcase will continue until Thursday, 3 p.m., in Stotler Lounge in Memorial Union. We have seven new artists displaying for the first time this year. It’s definitely worth the walk to Memorial Union—you’ll see many fascinating types of art: costumes, leather work, paper, hooked rugs and baskets.

I made a little something for our Chancellor, who is famous for his bow ties.


Photos from the show

My thanks to Natalie Meighan and Michelle Hall for the photos.

Bonus: Campus Authors reception

The schmoozing continued at the Campus Authors reception I attended in the afternoon, complete with amazing food (note the tiny tasty tartlettes in my paw) and classical music in the rotunda. They told me my book sold out.

I love how this photo (courtesy of Laura Foley) makes me look like a rock star with my shades on. Do you think it’s because my Transitions lenses are slow to change back…or it is because the future is so bright…
Genevieve A. Howard, MU Campus Authors reception


I appreciate these good times and look forward to more. God bless you today and all days!

Light in my life: Drew Backues

During February and March, I’m featuring artist-friends who bring light to my life.

I met Drew while living in Missouri. The contrast between his easy-going nature and competitive side fascinates me. I’m always impressed by his talent and desire to improve, whether in Photoshop, bowling or pumpkin chucking. He masters anything he puts his mind to.

Funny, low-key and loyal, I consider him a true friend.

You can see more of Drew’s photography on his Flickr page

What brings light into your life?

Besides my Lord and savior, family/friends and the freedom I have in this wonderful country… I would have to say nature.

From a walk in the woods, to a float trip down the river or a night under the stars, it’s natures vast beauty and wildlife that brings light to my life. It helps me get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and unwinds me.

More people need to get out there and bathe in its therapeutic wonder.


Light in my life: Stephanie Hibbert

During February and March, I’m featuring artist-friends who bring light to my life.

I met Stephanie while living in California. She has always had a star presence and a creative touch. I was her housemate in Santa Cruz. At that time, she was a painter. I enjoyed sitting in her basement room/studio, watching paint splash over huge canvases while I drank coffee out of a bowl. She entertained me with her stories about being a child actor on the shows I grew up watching like Dukes of Hazzard.

She encouraged me as a poet when I felt like a nobody and put my poems in her zines. When I was sad over a breakup with a boy, she told me I was too much woman for him anyway. Bold, loving and fascinating, she has a zest for life that energizes everyone who knows her.

Now she is a food-artist. You can find out more about her and her food-art at: Chef Stephanie

What brings light into your life?

Gratitude, taking the time everyday to see and feel the world through a positive, hopeful, grateful, humble and trusting perspective.

10944965_10205548338205195_1401499496_o 10967453_10205548337045166_311258368_o (1) 10967573_10205548339005215_1369432523_o

Light in my life: Roger Wing

carved swans

During February and March, I’m featuring artist-friends who bring light to my life.

I met Roger while living in California. We were taking the bus to the Lompico mountains and both of us sat in the back. We struck up a conversation. I learned he was an art student at UCSC working on a Buddha carved from wood. He invited me to his A-frame cabin on a lake to see the Buddha and have green tea and oranges. As I was living in an old school bus on the dark side of the mountain without a semi-carved Buddha, oranges or an easy way to make tea, I welcomed the invitation. From that moment on, I have found him fascinating.

Roger is a rare person in that his mind is truly his own. He respects the source of all his choices, whether it’s ethical coffee or a piece of wood for carving. He stays aware of how our world is interdependent. He seeks the good and voices his heartbreak over the malicious or apathetic.

To find out more about Roger and his art, visit Roger Wing

What brings light into your life?

I have always felt the power and magic of Art. Since childhood I have been drawn to and sought to channel that mysterious force myself. I feel a rush of energy from looking at an artwork or an inspiring show. When I give myself over to my own creative impulses I can lose all track of time and work ceaselessly without tiring.



balanced wood


carved swans

Light in my life: Jenny McGee

During February and March, I’m featuring artist-friends who bring light to my life.

I met Jenny while living in Missouri. I saw her speak before I met her. She talked about a tree and made me cry. Not from sadness, but from longing to be like the tree in her painting, rooted in something deeper than itself.

Jenny is one of those impossibly charming and beautiful people who doesn’t know how charming and beautiful she really is. This lack of pretense only adds to the effect. She is both vulnerable and tough. With an honest heart, she is brave enough to submerse her whole being in the world of feeling and spirit. I know she will continue to bless everyone who meets her.

You can find out more about Jenny and her art at Azul by Jenny McGee

What brings light into your life?

For me it’s looking backward and recognizing the presence of God through the circumstances in my life. It helps fill me with light when I realize that I was never alone.

Light Of the world

Light Of the World

Light in my life: Belinda Davis

Back of the artwork

During February and March, I’m featuring artist-friends who bring light to my life.

I met Belinda while living in Missouri. She is around five feet tall while I am six feet tall. What is wonderful about our friendship is that we have a foot of difference between our sizes but no difference in our hearts! In fact, her heart might be bigger than mine.

She is unlimited in how she expresses herself and her love for God, for others and for life. She surrounds herself with the holy, even making a labyrinth in her yard. Every corner of her home shows a treasure she has made or found, whether it’s a painted gourd she grew or a piece she crocheted. When you enter her house, it smells of fresh scones and she is quick to offer a cup of tea (perfect for me!).

What brings light into your life?

The photos are of a counted cross-stitch I did on black linen. I took progressive photos as I worked it. When I finished I felt it important to photograph the back side before it was framed.

L'innocence (Innocence) - William-Adolphe Bouguereau - www.bouguereau.orgL’innocence (Innocence)

It spoke to me of the front being the “front” side that the world sees, but God sees both the front and back. The beauty of the finished side and the hard work of the back side that is unseen.

The picture is from a painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (November 30, 1825 – August 19, 1905)
As I stitched I prayed and those prayer seemed very random, much like the back side.  However, when I finished the piece, I realized the prayers had a common theme; relationships.
So one word for what brings light into my life is this:  Relationships.
The back
Back of the artwork

The front

Front of the artwork

Light in my life: Michelle Oman-Gilkey

During February and March, I’m featuring artist-friends who bring light to my life.

Michelle Oman-GilkeyI met Michelle while living in California. I appreciate her loving and giving nature. She knows my heart. Worldly without being snobbish, she can turn the ordinary into an amusing story even if it’s if just taking the trash down the driveway. I can’t help laughing every time I talk to her because of her wry wit and insight into humanity.

Find our more about Michelle and her food-art at: Indie Culinary

What brings light into your life?

So many things bring light into my life, but to stay on topic—Introducing others to the vast and delightful world of culinary education and experimentation brings light into my life.

Chocolate strawberry shortbread tart from Indie Culinary
Chocolate strawberry shortbread tart from Indie Culinary
Fried chicken roasted veg polenta from Indie Culinary
Fried chicken roasted veg polenta from Indie Culinary

Light in my life: Shanna Seyer

During February and March, I’m featuring artist-friends who bring light to my life.

I met Shanna while living in Missouri. She knows scripture better than anyone else I have ever met. She has the heart of a seeker. Seeing her devotion and hearing her questions has deepened my faith. She is unafraid to give it all to God, even her doubts and disappointments. She is a great sister in Christ to me.

She made the painting and verse for me. I keep it next to my bowl of prayer beads. She also made me a devotional I treasure, all handwritten verses in a book of birds. I included some images of the book.

What brings light into your life?

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy…Psalms 43:4. ESV

The beginning of this psalm, the writer laments to God about how his enemies had been given the upper hand over him. He laments how he felt abandoned by God. In his frustration, he asks God to reveal Himself.
He asks for God to bring His light and truth. He asks God to lead him with this light and truth. As he trusts this leading, he feels compelled to go to the altar of God. He then boldly proclaims God is his exceeding joy.
Much like the psalmist, despite circumstances and feelings, God and only God brings real light (and truth) into my life.
I can rest in God and feel God’s light and truth as he leads me, as he showers me with good and perfect gifts from above. God is truly my exceeding joy….and brings light into my life.



Bird Devotional

red birds
orange bird cardinal

In the news: red scarf and book launch

red scarf detail
I finished the six-foot red scarf!

What a pleasure to celebrate our book this week! I felt honored that so many friends and fans chose to come to our book launch party. Despite the rain, we had a full house. Thank you for braving the downpour! You are my people! I loved seeing all of you.

Many of you who couldn’t make it were there with us in spirit. I’ll have photos and videos, stories and moments to share with you in an upcoming post.

My friend Robyn asked me how it feels to be a “celebrity author.”

I will tell you. It feels strange!

It reminds me of a year ago when I cut my hair short. I had many long hair habits I wasn’t aware of, including the pillow habit. When I put my head down on the pillow, I used to flip my hair up to the top of the pillow. For a solid six weeks, my hand went to my head to brush my hair up when I laid down.

Night after night, how surprised I was. No hair!

Then the night came when I put my head directly on the pillow without needing to sort out my hair first. I had no hair to tangle.

I learned how to be a person with short hair.

Now I am learning to be a person who lets her words live in public.

It’s tempting to protect my words. Keep them safe inside.

But how would I have adventures like this week?

I’m grateful to you for making a home for my words in your minds and hearts. Your encouragement keeps me going, keeps me writing. God bless you.


Lord, you are strength
when we are bruised, torn and questioning.
You are comfort
when loss crushes us and
we can’t stop the bleeding.
You are love
always seeking us even when
we can’t look up.

In the rain, in the night,
you are love, strength and comfort.

Always seeking us.
Always seeing us.

Tell me your thoughts!

Who is an author you think I should read to help me grow spiritually or as a writer?

Kitchen sink altar

Kitchen sink altar

Kitchen sink altarThere is a wonderful Zen story about a monk—new to the monastery—who asks the master what he should do. The master asks if he’s eaten his rice. The new monk says yes, he has eaten. The master says, “Then wash your bowl.”

It was a story I heard growing up. It’s meant to be meditated on, but a simple lesson from it is to focus on the now and take care of each mess as you make it. What an honorable quest! What an admirable lifestyle!

Then there is me and my reality. Rather than the “dirty a bowl, wash a bowl” style, our family subscribes to the “let the sink collect dirty bowls until it’s overfull.” I love to cook and seem to use as many bowls as they do on cooking shows. My teenage son prefers to get a fresh dish for each bowl of cereal, and he’s been known to go through a box of cereal in a day.

If you do the math on our bowl use, you can see my spiritual aspiration is in conflict with my reality. We bought a new dishwasher this week.

It will free up at least a half-hour a day of washing. We will be glad to have the machine’s help. I hope I still wash by hand once in a while. It does me good.

From mundane to devotional

My hands plunge in the warm, soapy water; I restore the dirty to clean. A mess of dishes becomes a rack of organized utensils. Cups stand proud next to one another. Forks mingle with spoons like a friendly cocktail hour. Plates look like railings on the deck, even and upright.

As I wash, I look at the sill above the sink. It is a three-inch altar. I keep my treasures there. I have a rock that says Love Much from my friend, B., a souvenir from a morning when we watched Who Does She Think She Is, a documentary on women artists. It reminds me to love much and be strong in my art!

Another rock on the sill from a summertime trip with my childhood friend, A., encourages, Shine!

The star of the sill is the aloe plant. My aloe was from a church member, C., who brings in batches of the babies to share with us at church. She was in a small group with Susie, the original grower of the aloe. Although Susie has gone to glory, her bright spirit, her generosity and her plants—Susie’s babies—live on through her friends. The plant now reminds me of friendship and how friendships thrive with close personal care just like plants. My aloe has outgrown its pot. It needs to be split and repotted. I will be able to pass on one of Susie’s babies.

Next to the green aloe stands the red Dala horse. My parents got it for me during their trip to the factory in Sweden. Similar to my live red horse outside the kitchen window, it cheers me up with its pert ears and neat style.

A crystal and a cross hang in the window. My mom always hung crystals in all her kitchens to make rainbows. When the sun shines, we have rainbows the size of thumbnails sprinkled through the kitchen.

A little kitschy—a lot fun—I recently added a little apron to our soap bottle. I’m happy to see that we don’t take our decor too seriously! Each time I use the soap, the well-dressed bottle charms me.

It can be a troubling world with intense pressures, needs from family members and news of shootings. You can make the places you frequent in your home into safe havens. Add reminders of people you love and say blessings for them. With visible reminders of faith, you can feel protected as you face daily tasks.

We can’t change our chores. We will eat and make dirty dishes, sometimes by the dozens! But we can change our space to amuse and support our spirit while we tackle our tasks.

As Brother Lawrence says, “We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”


Lord, keep us in small ways: a cozy home
with all the comforts of ordinary days.
Let us remember a safe home
with nourishing meals and hot water
are bigger blessings that we realize.
When we see dirty dishes,
remind us you are with us in our daily chores and repeated tasks.

You reveal what is real in soapy water and kitchen sink meditations.

Tell me your thoughts!

Do you have a place where you already feel peaceful and protected? Where else in your home—maybe the laundry room or a bathroom sinkcould be a place to add reminders to pray or praise God? Which items can you find that would link you to happy memories or positive relationships? What would bring you a smile?

Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered in a drawing to win one of my handmade soap bottle aprons! I will draw on Friday (Jan. 17, 2014) afternoon. Good luck! 😀

***Thanks to everybody who left a comment! I appreciated reading them all. This contest has concluded. I’ve tagged the winner in the comments below!***