Friendly Strangers

Sometimes in life, the people who you cross paths with in the virtual world become very important and inspirational people in your life.  And I know I’m not alone in this.  So, I’m going to introduce you to one of those people….Sheila Atchley!

Let me start by telling you how I ‘met’ Sheila.  Do you remember me telling you about sending earrings down to Jeanne Oliver for her first ever workshop at their new home? { You can read about it HERE }  Sheila was there.  She was one of the ladies who received a pair and she reached out to thank me for them.  I got some beautiful messages from some of those ladies.

So, I started following Sheila’s art page on Facebook, which you can do HERE.  Her work spoke to me.  The women created on her easel touched my heart.  I saw myself, my friends, every woman on those canvases. I saw our hurts, our hopes and our potential.  And Sheila’s written words that accommodated her work truly struck a chord with me.

I think once you get to see the soul of the artist through their art and appreciate how much heart they put into it, the potential to be smitten with the artist is quite possible.  And from there, becoming friends is easy.

Sheila Atchley

Sheila’s art would show up in my FB feed regularly and one day, there popped up the most amazing painting of rose, done in shades of cream and grey { See above photo, which doesn’t do it justice at all! }  And the price was fantastic, so I quickly snatched that painting up.   And then I waited for it to arrive…..and I waited and I waited.  Finally, in my impatience, I sent a message to Sheila to see if she had heard anything about it.  Nope, nothing.  So she looked into it, and sure enough, the US Postal system lost it.  I’m not sure who was more broken-hearted over the lost painting, myself or Sheila.

And then, one day I got a slip in the mailbox that I had a parcel in at the post office.  I messaged Sheila right away – nope, she hadn’t heard anything but I promised to message her as soon as I picked up my package.  And lo and behold, it WAS the painting!  Arrived safe and sound and about 3 months after I ordered it.  And all wrapped up so beautifully, too!

Sheila Atchley

Let me tell you it was well worth the wait – it was even more stunning in person than the picture I saw on FB.  Presently, the painting is hanging in my kitchen.  I’m not sure if that’s where it’ll stay or not, but I love getting to see it everyday. { She sells originals and prints of her work, the link to the giclee of this one is HERE }

Following Sheila’s journey means getting to see what she is creating and is involved in, geography alone makes it interesting but she’s at a different stage of life than I am, too.  And frankly, that’s so interesting to see, too.  She is passionate and creative and that combination can manifest itself into amazing things….like, say, a self-published book!  But it isn’t just any book.  It’s a book filled with her art, it’s a book filled with stories of women from the bible who are linked to Jesus.  It is a book for advent, about advent, about the journey of these women.  { You can order a copy HERE }

sheila atchley

I wish I had unlimited funds, I would buy you all copy.  I would place it in your hands, I know you would enjoy it and soak up the words written between the covers.  I know the art would move you.  I know you would see the faces of the women in your lives, maybe you’ll find your face among the pages, hear your story told.  Maybe, just maybe, you’ll find a tiny baby who would come into this world, helpless.  But who would do miracles, touch lives, save us from ourselves.

This is the advent season.  This is the time to quiet our hearts.  This is the time of connecting.  I’m thankful for the people in my life, who I have crossed paths with, even if they are virtual paths, who inspire me and urge me along in my own journey.  Sheila is definitely one of these people.  This advent, I hope you find some friendly strangers along the way who encourage you, inspire you and connect with you.  Be open, be willing and be present.

To be continued,