Friday, December 27, 2013

En Plein Air

Years ago, this was the view from the Patty garden in Englewood, Colorado.

Every summer, they worked the land and raised vegetables from this very spot. From their hard work and well-earned money, it was possible for each of the kids to go on a trip with their dad at different times as he visited missionaries around the world during the years he was general director of OCSC (now Cadence International).

Many a day, they all spent here, hoeing, tilling, weeding, harvesting...and making lots of memories and fun together.

Ten years ago, Joyce and her husband, David, got to build their home on this piece of land, and began making their memories there.

Now anyone who comes to their home, including our family, still gets the thrill of enjoying that spectacular view out to the Rockies!

Gathered in their living room this afternoon (as we're in the midst of our family reunion), we waited to hear from Uncle Steve who'd told us earlier that he had a surprise for everyone today.

He began by telling stories about the four kids' childhood and what it was like to spend the summers in this very spot. Oh how I wished I could go back in time to see them as kids there! What a crazy time they had working out there in the summers!

At last, after finishing the stories, he unveiled the surprise: paints, canvases and brushes. What?!!!

Steve said that he thought it'd be fun for all of us to sit out on the front porch to watch AND paint the sunset, looking at it as the four Patty kids used to each summer! 

While some of us are artistic, others of us are not! But he said this was not about artistic ability, but about capturing the sunset all together, yet in our own ways.

So off we went to get started on our 'en plein air' experience!

We filled the porch, all finding a spot from which to observe and paint. 

 Some began to sketch, while others just soaked in the view.

In the meantime, Uncle Steve got all the supplies ready for when we wanted to start painting. What an awesome brother/uncle to have prepared this for us all!

Soon, brushes were dipped into paint and the creative juices began flowing!

There was a quiet, happy hum out there on the porch as everyone, even our youngest family member (Luke, who's 7) began to create.

While we're all at different levels in our artistic abilities, ALL of us were artists this afternoon! In the midst of laughter and encouraging words, everyone took Uncle Steve's challenge seriously and enjoyably painted to our heart's content.

Side by side we worked...

...capturing the sunset through our eyes.

It was such a rich, happy, memorable experience to share with each other.

And there was something so sweet being out there sharing in such a meaningful time of capturing the beauty of God's creation in our own ways.

It was not only fun sharing in the experience together, but so great to see what people captured of the "Sunset View from the Garden"!

We were all looking at the same thing, and yet our individual interpretations are so unique and varied!



And the best part? Seeing them all together at the end!

We'll all remember this day of family reunion for a long time. Thank you Steve for giving us such a wonderful memory!


  1. Claire must have loved this! I like the way your painting turned out Connie. Great job coming from our un-artistic side of the family!

  2. Ahhh! I got teary reading this as I spent many an hour in the Big Garden myself if I wanted to play with any of the Patty kids. It was always work first. That land grew vegetables that fed the neighbors and enabled the Patty kids to see the world with their Dad planting in them a love for that world which they have all gone out into. And it continues to feed the neighbors, the community and the world as the Schroeder's open up their home and their lives to so many and that influence continues.