Welcome to our blog!

We write reflections about our explorations in the arts, creativity, prayer, retreats, and spirituality.

We would love to be in dialog with you. Share your thoughts on these topics or respond to what we have written.

We are also available to lead arts & spirituality workshops and retreats. Visit our website for more details: www.DrawingNearer.com
Blessings, Suzanne & Wanda

Moment by Moment

Moment by Moment
Spiral Mandala, oringinal artwork by Suzanne Halstead

Monday, February 18, 2013

First Sunday in Lent

You can't tell from this photo, but self-control is now in 2 pieces.  Yes, broken.
And not between self & control (that would have been ok, at least).
No, it split between self-co // ntrol

 We are using our beautiful glass mosaic signs created by artist friends Margaret Almon & Wayne Stratz during the six Sundays in Lent.  The 1st Sunday being - self-control - which is one of the Fruits of the Spirit.  It did not escape me, the irony that of all the 9 fruits - peace, joy, love, patients, kindness, goodness, gentleness and faithfulness - it would be self-control that breaks!  Now "self-co" is separated from "ntrol"...  I'm sure, if I pondered on this long enough, I would come up with some pithy saying or deep insight into what that might mean.  Alas, not as of yet.

However, what I do wish to reflect upon is how come 'self-control' is a fruit of the Spirit in the first place? Control of self is often dismissed as 'too hard' or 'not much fun' and only for those who are naturally disciplined like Olympic athletes or world class musicians.  Perhaps its really more about interpersonal & intrapersonal freedom through self-control. How we think and then act as if we "loved our neighbor as our self."  Would self-control come more naturally, if we did love God with all our heart, mind, soul & strength?  Would then this evasive (at time troublesome) Fruit be born in us through the Spirit?  It is often said one reaches self-control through gratitude....what do you think?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A new year begins...

"Grace" A silkscreen print by Suzanne Halstead and mosaic frame by Margaret Almon

We are indeed drawing nearer to 2013, only a few days hence... 

This past year has been full of joys and sorrows and many changes too -  in location, jobs, leaving friends and making new ones.  Most recently adding a rescue cat into our lives while mourning the tragic loss of life in CT & NY and frankly, around the globe.
Grace, God's Grace is needed now more then ever as we wrestle the realities of climate change, gun control and health care - to mention a few...
Grace is a tough word to comprehend.  We say, "grace" at meals, we sing, "...God shed his grace on thee..." We wonder at how grace happens through communion, through prayer and even with the phrase, "grace under firer..." We notice when someone is being graceful, or may intone the words, "Hail Mary, full of grace."  How do we become grace-full and grace-filled in a world that seems "out of control" right now?  So much pain, so much sadness, so much need! The cries come in the mail box, on Facebook, or from concerned friends each day - worthy causes, organizations and institutions each trying in their own way to stem the tide of suffering for men, women, children, animals and the earth itself.  Its overwhelming.  It can lead to depression or anger, despondency or ambivalence.
"Where is God in all this?" - we may ask.  Emmanuel!  God is with us.  Gracing us always with the passion and compassion that moves us to be aware, to care and then to share. Grace is love in action.
If we allow God to fill us up with Grace, then to be grace-filled is to overflow with the action of loving others as ourselves.  I pray that this new year each of us will be filled to overflowing with the individual passion of our hearts and that compassion will live out in this world to bring the hope, peace, joy and love that is so needed now and always.  So be it!  Welcome Yule!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Adventures in Art & Prayer

Greetings from Ohio! (more on that shortly)
Wanda and I have been a bit remiss in contributing to our Drawing Nearer blog lately – lately as in almost a year!  So I thought, since much has changed in my life, that I would take a stab at catching the blog up to the present (at least from my perspective).

OK – here goes.  First and foremost, I must say a heartfelt “Thank you” to all my dear friends and family who have seen me through this transition of leaving my beloved labyrinth and home in Pottstown, PA for new adventures in Berea, OH.  Husband Gary received a call from a wonderful church there and we felt the Spirit confirming that, “Yes” we did need to move AGAIN and be in ministry on the west side of Cleveland.

What happened to the 9 Fruit of Spirit stain glass mosaics? 
"Fruits of the Spirit" next to labyrinth
They came with us of course!  But first we had a spirit-filled dedication for these beautifully crafted word-art pieces as we walked the labyrinth with two-dozen artists and friends on October 1, 2011.  Artists Margaret Almon, mosaics and Wayne Stratz, stain glass are know together as Nutmeg Designs and collaborated to create the 9 “Fruits” with myself as mosaic border maker, grouter and sealer of each piece.  Joy, Love, Peace, Patients, Kindness, Self-Control, Goodness, Gentleness, & Faithfulness graced our Yarnall Road home & studio till January 2012 when we packed them up and moved to our new Elmwood Drive home & studio.

What about the ministry of Drawing Nearer?
Wanda Schwandt and I continue to maintain our website and to offer our printed resources, retreats and workshops using our Drawing Nearer process of prayer experiences blended with creative activities.  Of course it is more difficult to do our jointly led workshops & retreats since we are now 7 hours apart! However this also gives us the opportunity to reach out to communities both in southeast PA and northeast OH.  We are delighted that more and more folks are using our resources to delve deeper into their personal spiritual journey and also with groups large & small.  

 If you would like to learn more about our process, please visit our website www.drawingnearer.com or email us at drawingnearercc@gmail.com.   One or the other of us will respond as soon as we are able.

What’s new in the way of creative expression and artworks?
During the process of working together on the “Fruits” project, Margaret Almon and I came up with the idea of creating new collaborative artworks using my expressive oil pastels and her mosaic design expertise.  This turned into a series of truly unique artworks we call our Marzanne Collection(Margaret + Suzanne). To see more of these inspirational works like "Orange Nautilus" (on the banner), visit Margaret's Etsy Shop where they can be seen and purchased: http://www.etsy.com/shop/nutmegdesigns

"Worship" by Suzanne Halstead
The artwork used in our book, Drawing Nearer: Devotional Workbook of Creative Prayer continues to be available on our website.  Some of the original oil pastels are already sold, however you may still purchase a quality giclee print of any of the 48 images.  If you are interested in these pieces or the artwork in our Advent Angels booklet, please contact Suzanne directly: shalstead@wowway.com to purchase the artwork or for any other information about the artwork.

To learn more about how my passion of art making came to be and also the story of how it came to be used in the Drawing Nearer book, you may be interested in reading this 2-part interview:

Well, I think that’s it for now, 
Blessings, Suzanne

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Labyrinth & The Wall

Last year the Labyrinth was built!

This year the Wall will be adorned!

It is a joy to work with two dear friends on this massive project -
Mosaic artist Margaret Almon and
Stain-glass artist Wayne Stratz
Together they are known as Nutmeg Designs and are collaborating on 9 signs using the "fruit of the spirit" from Galatians 5:22&23.

The refereed to Wall is cinder block, 4 feet high x 22 feet long. The nine Fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patients, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Wayne will be designing the letters and cutting them out of stain-glass, each word a different color. Margaret will then mosaic in and around each word with contrasting colors. Then I will be expanding the mosaic with shells, stones and tiles to fill out the 1 foot by 4 foot substrate on which the words are adhered.

I am so excited as Wayne has already started on the longest word in orange - faithfulness!
Stay tuned as this project progresses!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Passion Week

Passion Week
In a Word - Love
The Word
The Logos
The Christ
There is no other greater...
Then to lay down one's life...
Palms, Trial, Cross, Tomb,
Sorrow, Emptiness
Death Defeated
So Be It

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Earth & Spirit Art Show

Earth & Spirit
March 18 - April 24
Special Openings & Meet the Artists on Fridays March 18 & April 1, 5-9 pm
~~refreshments, live music, book signing~~
Water Gallery is in the Dresher Arcade #5
319 Main Street Lansdale, PA 19446

Pastels by Suzanne Halstead
Jewelry by Bette Conway

Art Show & Book Signing April 1st (no fooling!)

Greetings from Drawing Nearer!
We are excited to announce that our newly self-published book
Drawing Nearer: Devotional Workbook of Creative Prayer will be available for sale at the Water Gallery in Lansdale during the exhibition Earth & Spirit March 18 - April 24, 2011. Come visit us on Lansdales's First Friday night April 1st between 5 - 9 pm when we will both be present and signing our books. We would love to see you then!

Also that evening will be refreshments and live music by singer/songwriter Joel Halstead with guest jazz singer Emilia Halstead. In addition there will be live Traditional Irish and Folk Music being played by Bette Conway and other guest musicians throughout the evening. The opening evening of Earth & Spirit is Friday March 18, 5-9 pm when a full evening of Irish and folk music will be performed. Come celebrate with us either or BOTH nights.

The Water Gallery is located in the Dresher Arcade #5, 319 Main Street Lansdale, PA
wwww.watergallerylansdale.com - 215.393.7180