Practice makes perfect!
About a month ago, I received a call from a customer at the Farmer's Market. She told me she had purchased one of my apple gourd birdhouses earlier this summer. She was already thinking about her Christmas shopping list and had decided that she was going to give birdhouses as Christmas gifts this year. Many people like to receive handmade/homemade gifts because they are unique and are not mass produced - a gift from the heart and made especially for them! I believe this lady has many special friends and loved ones that she feels would appreciate a "gift from the heart."
She asked me if I could paint seven birdhouses like the one she had purchased earlier in the year. She described the gourd but I was still unsure about the colors and just how I had arranged the flowers on it. We agreed on a time and place to meet to "refresh my memory" as to its design. When I saw it, I immediately remembered it. I had a particularly hard time drawing the flowers and then painting them. I was satisfied when I finished it that I had done the best job I could. We agreed that I would paint seven apple gourd birdhouses in the colors and style of the one she had bought. I told her that they would be ready in time for Christmas gift-giving. I had to get to work! I dug through baskets of dried gourds to find "perfectly shaped" ones for the project. When I found them, I brought them back from the farm to my house and filled my kitchen sink with soap suds and soaked the gourds for a while to make the cleaning process easier. Cleaning gourds take patience and a lot of "elbow grease". When I had sufficiently scrubbed them, I put them out on the deck to dry. Next came the process of drilling the entrance holes and cleaning out the seed. Another job that requires patience and "elbow grease!"
With the gourds prepared, I sat down to paint. Painting the background colors were not that hard, but the flowers were a different story! I began by drawing the flower on the gourd with a pencil. I'm glad they make ERASERS, because I used it a lot! When the flowers were finished, I began to paint them. Talk about tedious, it was! I don't know how many times I took the gourd over to the sink and completely washed the flower off and started again. I couldn't seem to get the shape of the flower petal just right nor could I get the shading right either.
To my amazement, I found the more flowers I painted, the better I got at it! As I practiced . . . . and practiced . . . . and practiced, I got better at shading and the flowers began to ACTUALLY look like flowers! By the time I finished the last one, I had learned to paint flowers! Yipee!!!
Practice makes perfect! Striving to be better at any task takes practice. As I strive to be better in my Christian walk, I must continually practice by studying the Word, applying the Word to my life, praying and by fellowshipping with other believers. As I practice these things, I am confident that the Holy Spirit will be there guiding me as I "paint" the flowers of a life for the Great Master!