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Moving to a New House and a Song About Home

The blessings came in waves
and could be felt for days
O, how my bones still shake at your names
In sweat we set the stones
in blood we brick the roads
a holy breaking comes for every home

Give me your hand, we’ll climb up the balcony
Ditch the front row and sway with the symphony
Make as much noise and be as we want to be
Your voice in my voice and hands are the canopy
Feel the old rhythm play what’s inside of me

The fields are glories now, the fields are glories now
So guide your wild eyes down
The promise in the pain, the code that’s in the grain
We’ll move beneath the weight ‘til you raise


When I was a child, around this time of year on the orchard my dad would prune all the apples trees. I would help look for branches that were crossed, or growing in at strange angles. We would then clip off the offending branches and sometimes prop them with these little red supports to help them grow straight so that they could get the best light possible and eventually grow the best fruit.

Tim and I are moving to a new house in 10 days. We bought a “fixer upper” in the middle of town near a big park. It’s a MUCH bigger house in a nice quiet neighborhood. We weren’t really planning on moving yet, but then suddenly everything fell into line at the same time, like it does.

This whole moving thing is crazy… crazy exhausting, crazy nerve wracking, crazy exciting, and crazy scary.
Ten Years.
Ten years we have lived in this house I am sitting in right now.

I know where every light switch is and where to step over the crooked floor boards.
I know the name of every plant in the garden,
why there is a funny hole in the kitchen screen,
how to walk in the middle of the night so the squeaking floor doesn’t wake the children,
the funny trick to the bathroom door downstairs,
and the story behind most of the nail holes on the walls.

It’s where I found out I was pregnant for the first time and where I brought each of my four babies home to. It’s the place where we’ve had so many wonderful Christmases, Thanksgiving feasts, and simple, every day meals.
It’s where my children took their first steps, laughed their first laughs, and tried their first foods.

It’s also where Harriet broke her leg,
where the basement flooded too many times,
where I had my anxiety breakdown,
where Tim and I had our most difficult fights,
where we had belongings stolen off our front porch,
and had to call the cops on the neighbors so many times.

This house is old. It’s been around more than 100 years.
It really has seen its fair share of marital fights and make ups.
It’s flooded but it’s dried back out.
It’s been cold and drafty and also cozy and safe.

I hope it will be around for at least 100 more years. I hope it will be the same gift to the next residents as it has been to us. (Please take care of my planty’s!)

I am sure for this home, 10 years is just a blink. But it feels so significant to me. 

Somehow leaving this house feels much more substantial then leaving high school or leaving college. I suppose if you look at it that way, those were only four year institutions. This home has been ten of mine.
Ten years of themed birthday parties and late night hard conversations with friends sitting on the kitchen floor (the best place for those kinds of talks),
nights pacing back and forth with wakeful babies,
ten years of pinching pennies to patch the wear and tear of everyday life,
of having tea on the front porch,
hosting cooking clubs and wedding showers,
play dates,
years with miscarriages, mistakes, and misadventures.
All the rhythms of our days and what I know have been centered in this place for ten years.

You can hear it in my lists… It is breaking me to leave. It feels like a close friend.

Like family.

And I am scared.

Scared this new home won’t be me.
Scared I’ll hate it.
Scared something will happen to the kids and I’ll somehow blame this decision.
I am scared it will change me. Change us.

And yet it’s time.

Time to move on, time to adventure out, time to try something new, try our hand at starting with a blank canvas, try this new place out. It’s time to move.

Time passes so damn fast, doesn’t it?

My babies are getting bigger. It comes to the end of the day and I wonder. Wonder if I did it right, wonder if I could have played it out differently, wonder if this is it, wonder are we centering our lives on the right things? Wonder if we are making the right choice.

10 days. We are moving in 10 days.

So I’ve been obsessing over this new place. This new house.

It’s not the one I would have picked. I did not like it at first.
I love old and history and craftsmanship.
This is black shag carpet which was recently cleaned by Carpet Cleaning Hendersonville and popcorn ceilings. And florescent lights. And 80s. On a cul-de-sac.

So I have created every pinterest board, design mood board, photoshopped room, shopping budget, detailed plan I can possibly do with out actually living there.

And I am starting to see it.

See the lovely that could be revealed there.

I know I can make it beautiful.
I know WE will make it beautiful.
I think about how it’s only about a block from a huge green space,
and a pool,
and how I found rhubarb sprouting up near the fence,
and how this one room feels like the barn I grew up in,
and how the layout is perfect for us,
and how we will have room to spread out,
and be able to have people over more easily,
and host house concerts,
and how I want to give every room its own theme,
and how we are going to start off by pitching tents and camping in the great room,
and so many other new things.

It will be a challenge to start from a blank slate.
But we can’t wait. We are so excited.

And still, the packing and processing all the memories and moments sucks. It is such an emotionally wrecking experience. 

Is this pruning?

Pruning is painful but good. It helps us grow straight and true so we can bear more fruit.
The truth is that I am scared about not being able to find the light switches,
and whether I can hear the playroom from the kitchen,
and having to use a 1980’s electric stove for the next ten years,
and life on a cul-de-sac,
and even more that feeling of being exhausted and wanting to go home and not being able to.

But then I take that step back.
I am reminded of my white privilege and how we are going to be living in a mansion compared to the rest of the world, and how millions of refugees can’t ever go home again, and I feel stupid. Stupid white suburban mom. Ha.

You make it work and you make it beautiful and you invite people into the mess,
because it is NOT about it being beautiful.
And it is NOT about it being ugly.
And whether it is HERE or THERE doesn’t matter.

It is about WE. And US. And TOGETHER. And HOME. And LOVE in the best way we can.

And so, let’s adventure on family.

Greeley Wheelie

As part of Tim and my practice and process of “Balm” for February, we wanted to get involved with a local charity in Greeley. We have been helping Turnaround Bikes, an amazing organization in Greeley that refurbishes bikes for kids in need. Tonight is their fundraiser, called the Greeley Wheelie. It is going to be a blast. If you don’t already have plans, you should go. I take that back, even if you do have plans, change them. You won’t regret it. It’s going to be an epic night.

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One of my roles in the planning of the event was to gather artists to create Picasso inspired “bull’s head” art pieces.

Each artist was given an old bike seat and handlebars to transform. My friends and community never disappoint. The creativity, generosity, and innovation of these artists never ceases to amaze me. Check these out.

And, all of these works are being auctioned off tonight as part of the fundraiser. So, come down and take one home.IMG_3561

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Joni Lissak Wilson

Acrylic and Yarn on Bike Seat

 

Joni Lissak Wilson

Find her on:

Instagram: @jwilsak

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“July”

Betony Coons

Collage and Acrylic on Bike Seat

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Daniel (aka Billy Idol)”

Kathie Weise

Polymer clay on bike seat with handle bars

 

 

Kathie Weis studied at at Kent State University and lives and works in Greeley, CO. She loves to experiment with a large variety of techniques and mediums.

 

Find her on:

Facebook: Kathie Lockmyer Weise

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“Elevation”

Kelly Cook

Acrylic and Yarn on Bike Seat

 

Kelly Cook is a painter and illustrator in Greeley Colorado. She loves to do custom projects with people. Each piece of art starts as a story and idea.

 

Find her on:

Instagram: @kel.go.paint

Etsy: cookstah.etsy.com

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Aaron Best

Untitled

Acrylic and Spray Paint with Bike Seat

 

Aaron Best

Muralist/Iillustrator/Greeley, CO
Find him on:

Instagram: aarondavidbest

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“Oh Deer, I Adore You”

Kimberly Destree

Spray Paint, Yarn, and Acrylic on Bike Seat

 

Kimberly Destree lives in Greeley with her husband and three cats. She loves art that is whimsical and art that makes people smile.

You can find her adventures and creations on:

Instagram: @thriftarchives

Blog: thriftarchives.blogspot.com

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“Bloom”

Jourdan Albrechtson

Yarn, sharpie, and acrylic on bike seat

 

Born in Vancouver, WA, Jourdan Albrechtson has lived her life loving all variations and mediums of art. Currently she is a student at the University of Northern Colorado studying printmaking. Once she graduates, she hopes to move back to the rainy Northwest to pursue her dream of opening up her own personal business/gallery.

 

Find her on:

Instagram: @jrdnalbrchtsn

Tumblr: Jourdanalbrechtson.tumblr.com

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“Good Company” and “Solo Seat”

Danyelle Butler

Cast Clay and Wood with Bike Handlebars

 

Danyelle and her husband are clay artists that get muddy daily. They can’t stop creating! They are very thankful to have their studio in their backyard in beautiful Colorado. Danyelle tries to do her ceramics a little different, combining her own aesthetics with Most of her pieces are high-fired stoneware, but she is beginning to experiment with alternative firing methods. 

 

Find her on:

Instagram: arthausceramics

Etsy: arthausceramics.etsy.com

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“Riding Light”

Rick Destree

Bike Seat and Electrical Parts

 

Rick is an artist who lives in Greeley, CO. Most of his work is digital illustration, but he also loves to dabble in lamp/lighting design.

 

Find him on:

Website: drinkdecaf.com

Deviant Art: drinkdecaf.deviantart.com

Instagram: @drinkdecaf

 

Atlas Mural Process Photos

I just put the finishing touches on the Atlas mural this morning! This piece has been three years in the works and I am so excited to show you the finished project. Thank you so much to the City of Greeley for this opportunity and to the Atlas Theater and John Galt crews.

If you want to stop by and see it in person, it is at 709 16th Street in Greeley, CO.

BEFORE…
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Power washing that dirty wall

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My new “fade” expert

 

The background ombre almost done…

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Lots of filling in shapes

 

Painted using a mixture of spray paint and hand brushing

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Lots of late nights…

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Getting closer!

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Such adorable little helpers. And they are getting pretty good with paintbrushes!

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Almost done….

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and….AFTER!!

The finished piece.

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This mural was definitely a family effort!

 

Now on to Bellwether projects!

 

‘Middle C’ Mural in Greeley is Finished


I actually finished this mural at the end of last month, but I didn’t want to miss out on sharing some of the behind the scenes process pictures here. And actually, this morning I went and put the finishing piece on – the Middle C note right in the middle of the musical staff and finally signed the wall, so I suppose it wasn’t actually complete until today. This is the second large scale mural of I have painted for the city of Greeley – here is a picture of the first –
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Doing these pieces as silhouette worlds has been so enjoyable. (By the way, that is baby Beatrice in my tummy.)

My newest mural is part of the City of Greeley’s Art in Public places alleyway project. City officials hope to see the alley — which serves as a connection between walkways from the 8th and 9th street plazas — covered with music themed artwork. Their plan is to take an eye-sore and turn it into a public gallery of sorts. Isn’t that a lovely idea?
You can read more about the city of Greeley’s plans for the alleyway and the scope of the project here.

Here is the my alley way Wall BEFORE:
Dealing with those pipes and utility boxes was the biggest challenge…

Betony Coons downtown Greeley Mural www.giantsandpilgrims.com

And in progress pictures (scroll all the way through to see the finished wall)

Betony Coons downtown Greeley Mural www.giantsandpilgrims.com
Betony Coons downtown Greeley Mural www.giantsandpilgrims.com

Betony Coons downtown Greeley Mural www.giantsandpilgrims.com
Betony Coons downtown Greeley Mural www.giantsandpilgrims.com

Betony Coons downtown Greeley Mural www.giantsandpilgrims.com


Betony Coons downtown Greeley Mural www.giantsandpilgrims.com

Betony Coons downtown Greeley Mural www.giantsandpilgrims.com


And FINISHED! (This is a composite photo, the narrowness of the alley makes it tricky to get the whole wall in one photo)

Betony Coons downtown Greeley Mural www.giantsandpilgrims.com

Betony Coons downtown Greeley Mural www.giantsandpilgrims.com

 

Betony Coons downtown Greeley Mural

A Tribute to Atlas Church’s 10 Years

Atlas, our church and family community in Greeley, CO, that we helped start, turned 10 this last Sunday. As my friend Kelly put it, Atlas celebrated their 10th Anniversary – not birthday. Birthdays happen no matter what. Anniversaries are something you work hard for. You are celebrating work, blood, sweat, and tears. So, Happy Anniversary Atlas!

Since it’s very beginning, I have been in charge of the series artwork for the services. It’s one of those rewarding little side projects that can also drive me crazy. These were almost always put together at the last minute with little or no direction. Usually Jeff or Tim would send me the series title pretty late in the week I would kick myself for forgetting to be more on top of things and stay up late creating the graphics. Some of these are embarrassingly bad. Really I can’t believe I’m not just hiding them. And some, in my opinion, are still pretty lovely.
I thought about putting up all 10 years worth of art, but that was too much! But there are quite a few here. These are just some highlights (and low lights… ha). These are not in any particular order, so keep scrolling.

One of our very very first series was called 7 and was about the seven deadly sins. Each week I designed and printed these photo postcards and hand stamped and stuffed paper bags for every person. It was our first really successful series. I don’t have a slide graphic, because we didn’t have a screen back then.
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All sorts of Advent Series:
great hall slide
advent in luke advent_joy
incarnation slide
title_slide

I still really like the way this one looks:
Incarnation

the four loves copy


My favorite Easter series artwork. We also wheat pasted these giant flowers all over the walls of the building inside and out. It was pretty great. BBM slide
This one had a series of watercolors starting with a seed. Each weed the little sprout would grow. On easter morning it turned into a flower. I still don’t get the series title.
seed slide_week7Become_lantern series artwork beginnings in luke_option 2
gods series artwork_title_slidebless_series_artwork

I would really like to take off that bad vignette filter on this one…
Branches Broadcast changed
This was from a larger painting I made. I still really like this piece.city_slide
Another one from the very early days. Called “Elements.” Every program was a hand stamped block print. If I recall I think I printed them on watercolor paper and spent hours carefully tearing the edges of every sheet.
elements
Pretty sure I was working on our very first church directory when I made this one. Lots of people I love in those tiny photos. There are still 11 or so of us from the very early days.
Family_slide follow option2 front cover
Another one from one of my paintings. I totally forgot about this piece.
garden
If I remember correctly, I think I did this on Tim’s laptop while driving home from KS. I still like how it turned out.Insides
These are kind of hard to see here, but I loved this set of collages. This series was from the very beginning of Atlas when I was still young and crazy enough to make one original piece for each week instead of an entire series. These were a Lenten series. Each represents a chapter in John leading up to Easter- water to wine, washing feet, palm branches, black friday, etc. We printed them out tall and skinny. They looked really cool.
john programs1
john programs2
I still like this one. Grunge lives on!

letters
These two photos were from a series called Holy is Normal (I think…). I took a different photo for each week. This one with the names was about loving the street our church is on. I had the various business owners hold up signs with their names and took a photo of them.
Names
Slide_cathedrals
dependance
This is a more recent one. I really love it. It feels very “me”.
scattered_v2
Another one from the very early days:
new john
I can’t take credit for this one, but it was pretty cool. Two artists in our community – Brenton and Amy. Converted parables into graphic novel form. They did one for EACH week. it was crazy awesome.
parables
I this was from this last year. I still really like this minimal design.subtraction_v2
I LOVE this wood texture. I think for the Black Friday artwork I did an inverse of this so it was black with white highlights instead.
tangible slide
This is definitely still one of my favorite series and artwork. We had just gotten kicked out of our space. We spent several weeks meeting in the back yard of a house instead. It felt holy.Temple
This was for a Thanksgiving series. I think I printed cards out that people could write thank you notes to people on as well.THANKS Program
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Another oldie.
Philippians_2
This series ended in having a giant picnic in a park.porches title
I have no recollection of anything about these next couple…PulseRekindle
The only thing I ‘remember’ about this artwork was that I HATED it at the time but got so frustrated with it that I just sent it on anyway.Remember_series Art
This series was really fun. They had artists do live painting each week. The idea was about repainting the way we look at our faith.repainting copy
Whoa. This one looks SO outdated and cheesy now! I swear it was cool at the time. Hopefully…ha! I think this was our second or third series we did. Everyone had these really elaborate 3-ring binders that I made and added stuff to each week. It was so much work.
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I still really love the subtlety of this one. Reminder to self – use more neutral colors…
Signs and Wonders_v1right side up_cover
Some seriously bad filters on this one…
Romans
This one is kind of odd. It was one of those where they sent me the series title and I was like “What? Seriously?” Now what am I supposed to do with that…salt light city

Obviously from about 6 years ago. Not cool any more.
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I wish I cropped this one a little differently. I still like the color scheme though.
slide
I want to get rid of the secondary text on this one.
slide
Why oh why is that bird graphic pixelated? Really Betony? spirit_slide
I really love how the word here is slightly off kilter.spokes slide
I like how this background turned out. But that font is just way too much…Stars
Another one that looks so outdated now… 🙂
STORM

The diety formerly known as...these_three copy
tribes_slide
trust_slide 2
Another collage series that I still really like.
Week_1_slideWeek_2_slideWeek_3_slide
This was the original Atlas Logo and title slide, later switched to the current circle with triangles (designed by Kathryn Nash).atlas prayer request postcard_front
Thanks for indulging me 🙂

Happy 10th Anniversary Atlas!!

Documenting our Creative Process – A Photo Series

—This post is part of an ongoing series we post every couple of weeks, sharing our journey as working artists. Sometimes it is good to take the veil off of the creative process and showcase how we get from A to Z. See some of the other posts here.

A week ago, Tim had the opportunity to play at our downtown’s Friday Fest. He wrote a song called “My Unexpected Home” that was showcased as part of the kick off of our city’s “Greeley Unexpected” campaignIMG_4957

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He has also been busy tracking away with all sorts of amazing musicians on the new “Becoming” album – which is already sounding FABULOUS.
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Lucy has been perfecting the art of self portraiture

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I have been working on some of the smaller pieces for our Becoming series –

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The girls and I have been drawing on a bunch of sketches for a calendar we are designing! Hopefully to be released next month.

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I finished up this logo project for my Mom’s button business.


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And finally, I cleared out my studio of all my old series art pieces and have had a “Summer Clearing” show up at the Blue Mug at Margie’s coffee shop this month.

Betony Coons from www.giantsandpilgrims.com Summer Clearing art show