Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Modern-Day Christmas Story in a Small-town Gallery

It's been quite a while since I've posted.  I can assure you it's been due to painting alot and getting paintings finished in time for Christmas.  I hope you are ready too!
Here is it is Christmas Eve, and I want to share with you a true blessing I received yesterday in my gallery.  This is an excerpt from my journal that I wrote this morning--7 pages to describe the event!  So sit back and enjoy, what I think, is a real, true Christmas story that happened in my art gallery. It starts:

Christmas Eve

Glory, glory glory!  I sit this beautiful morning, cozy warm, cappuccino in hand, Christmas festivity all around in this den and NOW the big face of Jesus painting we brought home last night on the wall where I had planned for it to be.  And I'm reflecting on the beautiful gift I was a part of yesterday in my gallery over my Jesus paintings.  It still amazes me each time I reflect on it:

December 23rd was my last day to have the gallery open before Christmas.  The stress and hustle to get paintings finished, to clean up the building, to prepare invoices for clients coming to pick up paintings was ALL done.  I even dressed up a little, knowing I could simply enjoy the day, not risking getting paint on me and relish in the energy outside of shoppers going from place to place, hearing the Christmas music playing outside my front door.  I even caught sight of a little boy stopping to listen and begin dancing! I loved it!  Not accustomed to having little to do, a thought crept into my mind hinting that it would probably be an uneventful day.  Hmm.  I'm not used to having such thoughts...

But just as the thought began to sadden me, a couple of ladies walked into the gallery.  I stood from my desk to tell them a little about the art in the gallery and sort of concluded they wanted to be left to browse on their own.  I went back to what I was doing on the computer.  It seemed as though they weren't interested in buying, but they lingered long and appreciated so much of the art.  That was nice. It is so awesome, whether someone buys or not, they they are moved by what they see! And so it was, that were indeed moved, when they approached the grand archway in the gallery where my 5ft Face of Jesus is.

As the ladies stepped slowly around the gallery, I thought they were making their way to the door until one of them did something I couldn't believe.  My original 16x20 Jesus that I painted was propped up displayed on the top of my shelf leaning against a tall vase.  Behind that painting was another smaller 10x10 Jesus I had painted, but wasn't particularly content with.  That's why it was "hiding."  The lady walked right to the larger painting and moved it to pick up the smaller one!  How did she know that was there??? I sprung up from my chair, I began to tell them about the series of paintings I had done this year of Jesus.  And about my Facing Jesus Painting Tour as well.  After I did, the one lady said she really liked the small one and asked the price. As I looked down at it in her hands, I stumbled for words, talking about how I had begun these paintings as a ministry that I had not completely figured out HOW I would use my paintings, put prices on them--even sign them or not, etc. (How do you put a price on a depiction of our Savior?) I went on to talk about how in some way, somehow, I had hoped to realize a person in such need and actually GIVE one.  Perhaps, one painting per year. But there were so many questions as to how to do that?  And that is where I would stop in my thinking, not knowing how to determine that person, etc.  At times this year, I've felt like I was "falling down on the job" at completely working out this ministry that I knew God had led me to.  But I still didn't know how to follow through further.

As I talked to the ladies I showed them the details of the how the 5ft Jesus came to be--all the sessions of underpainting with vibrant color that provides great texture and, what I call, "visual excitement" to the finished piece--the bright red in the bottom right corner, the kelly-green in His lower lip, the painting hanging so stately, so serenely, but captivatingly right there showcased through the arch in the gallery.

The two were marveling at the painting when the one lady, out of the blue said. "I am seeking Jesus.  I am desperately trying to find Him.  I've been reading in my Bible from the book of Pro-Verbs (that's how she pronounced it) about Wisdom--I wanna find that Wisdom.  I am in AA and a recovering alcoholic, and I am so very much searching for Jesus! I want to have a strong faith. As bad as they were, I am strangely thankful for my 2 DUIs in my past that got my attention and am so thankful I didn't hurt anyone!"

Hearing the longing in her voice and the pain and guilt in her face, I assured her she would find Jesus.  That reading her Bible, she will find faith that she needs to be strong.  In listening, I learned the 2 ladies were sisters and that the one "searching" lady was visiting from North Carolina.  Our conversation had moved me to such compassion and love for this woman for having such a desire for her Savior!  In my heart and soul I asked "Oh God, what more could You want from one of Your own???"

Ignoring the ringing phone and another person who had walked into the gallery, we continued talking and sharing in the Lord.  This was too amazing, I thought.

After a minute, it took no more thought but to walk back to the small Jesus painting that Sheila had miraculously found hiding behind the larger Jesus painting, and say to her, "With all that you've shared with me, how would this painting fit in your home in North Carolina?" She quickly began to find words to politely decline as she thought I was tying to sell the painting to her, but I quickly interrupted her and said, "I am GIVING this Jesus painting to you!" She stopped dead in her tracks stunned.  Her big blue eyes began to fill with tears.  And I had a couple of moments on my own, signing the painting, overwhelmed by God saying to me, "Carole, all I have ever asked you to do is use the gift of painting that I have given you to My glory, and I will finish the rest."  This was the answer to my prayer--completing my ministry!  Finally, it was clear to me.  As usual, it was in God's timing. ;)

We all received a blessing yesterday--a day that the devil tried to convince me would be uneventful but turned overwhelmingly eventful!  To be an instrument of God and be able to echo the majesty and mystery of the gift of Jesus Christ right there in a small downtown art gallery with a small painting that little ole' me painted, truly made my Christmas--feeling God's presence right there in the midst of it all.

Are you in doubt that God can use YOU?  Do you doubt for a minute that He orchestrates circumstances?  All He asks of us is to have faith--a strong one, and notice opportunities to show Him in our lives--just show and share.  That's all!  God will do the rest.  He is truly amazing like that!  I stand in awe of Him and praise Him for the ultimate gift of Jesus here at Christmas-time.  I pray that  each of you will have the most wonderful, Jesus-filled Christmas ever!

~Merry Christmas!

Enjoy these beautiful Christmas Images from other artists I found on the web!



Sunday, December 20, 2009

With Me At All Times!

When "Facing Jesus" was with me in my car.
(Look for a new post soon from the latest Pilgrim)

As I go through my days, it is a great comfort to feel Christ's presence with me--no matter where I go or if my circumstances are difficult or pleasant. We are called to be faithful at all times like that! I am thankful that this year has sparked a huge growth in my relationship with Jesus, and I feel Him as though we were looking eye to eye, face to face and most of all, heart to heart! It's the greatest feeling I've ever known! It's the greatest relationship I've ever known, and it shapes all of my other earthly relationships as well. I praise God for sending His Son as the greatest gift in all the world.

As we approach Christmas, know more than ever that He is the most awesome gift, better than any gift under your tree.  I pray that you will experience the most Spirit-filled, loving, joyful and peaceful Christmas ever. For the new year, I will looking forward to knowing an ever-present, ever-loving, ever-merciful Jesus in my life, and I pray that you will too!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Time with Starr

The past 2 weeks, Facing Jesus has been with Starr. Starr is a high school teacher who teaches many grades Spanish. A very creative person, she is--Starr is also an artist and author of great books about creativity. Here is where Facing Jesus spent the past 2 weeks:

There are seven clocks lining the back wall of my classroom showing the time in different parts of the Spanish-speaking world. I discreetly replaced the center clock with the face of Jesus and waited for the students to notice. I dodged their questions about the painting and listened to their responses. One student said, "His eyes look as though they are looking straight through me and into my soul." I never told the students who our mysterious visitor was or why he was here, but one thing is for certain: Everyone recognized him and felt his steady gaze.

- Starr


Monday, October 19, 2009

Next Stop: Allison

It has been a while since I've posted.  We have gotten a little off-track, but that's okay since the painting is meant to be a ministry for all of us, but especially to the wonderful Pilgrims who committed to this project.  I appreciate every one of you!  See the beautiful words from the latest, Allison:

I placed the painting in the most trafficked room in our home, the dining room. In our 
home you have to pass through the dining room to go to bed each night and then to the kitchen each morning. I thought having the painting in this room would help me keep Jesus top of mind. And it did. I found myself more frequently putting my basket in his hands; however, I wonder, did I make a mistake? I put the painting in a room we "pass though" but we rarely settle in. I wonder if that acts as metaphor for my faith. I can't answer this today; but I know I need to make some changes.
Thanks for allowing me to be a Pilgrim.



Sunday, August 16, 2009

Words From Pilgrim Allison

I received this note from Allison on Friday--the last day of a trying and busy week. And though, I love this ministry, sometimes I forget about it until I receive a note like this, and I just felt so awesome knowing that "I' am still reaching out to people as my painting reaches its new destination every couple of weeks. That is how God works! Read Allison's account:

So I was having an especially trying day yesterday, lots on my mind; honestly while I looked pulled together and with it on the outside, I was anything but on the inside.

All day my mind had been racing, "what am I gonna do? how will I deal with all of this? Am I making the right decisions?" and so on...

All of this is still racing through my mind as I walk in at the end of the day and find a package from Minnesota. I look at the address and cannot figure out where it is from. Dad lives in Rochester but this is a St. Paul address and as far as I can remember all my friends and family no longer live in that area. Who on earth can this be from? And what is it???

Upon opening the package I discover I do have a friend in St. Paul and I have recieve the answers to all my questions that have been racing through my head that day.

You know "what I am gonna do?" I am gonna pray about it and put in all in God's hands.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Time With Claire

My twin sister is one of the Pilgrims who wished to participate in having Facing Jesus in St. Paul, MN.  That's the farthest it's been yet.  Read about her experience:

I have loved having this Jesus painting around me in my daily living the last 2 weeks!  It is a constant reminder of his presence with us at all times even in the mundane of our daily living.  This image of him is so moving with a hint of his crown of thorns and the intensity portrayed in his gentle eyes.  My family has relished in having the painting in the kitchen most of the two weeks.  I took it outside and propped it on the porch ledge in front of me while having my quiet time and devotion each morning. Somehow, it made Jesus feel even more real to me!  Thanks, Carole, for starting this wonderful ministry that we can each share in and pass this great painting on to the next person giving us all a feeling of connectedness.  It's WONDERFUL!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Pilgrim Jennifer Morrison had just returned from a mission trip and had this to say about her experience with "Facing Jesus":

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be a part of the Facing Jesus tour. As you know, I got to spend some time in Ecuador the week prior to receiving the was perfect timing! In my quiet time during the two weeks with the painting and throughout my days since, I have spent much time reflecting on my experiences there in Ecuador and meshing that with my life here. I placed the painting of Jesus' face in my kitchen/family room area where I spend most of my time and do my daily "quiet time" . What kept resounding to me was just how freeing my personal relationship with the Lord is. No matter how this world and our culture tries to lull us into a state of complacency, comfort and even apathy in the routines of religion, I have complete peace in knowing that my Jesus is real. There is more to Him than our routines and rituals that we sometimes equate with being a Christian. The life He has called us to is not one made up of a list of do's and dont's filled with condemnation, but one of freedom, peace and true joy. He wants a personal relationship with each of us and loves us so much. This time has given me an even greater longing to see Him face to face and to do what He has called me to do while I remain on this earth. I pray that everyone who reads this will search their hearts and lives and if they don't know Him personally, they will call out to Him today. Thanks again for a wonderful opportunity. Jennifer Morrison

Monday, June 8, 2009

2nd Tour Stop!

Kelly Cain and her family had "Facing Jesus" this past couple of weeks, and I'm thrilled to share with you what she said about her experience with the painting.  I have been so thrilled about this ministry, and I want it to grow and spread to more and more people as each new Pilgrim has the painting.  Please share with people and encourage them to "follow" the blog as it will be a ministry to everyone in some way!  Thank you in advance for doing that!  Here are words from Kelly and her precious family:

Once again thank you so much for doing this ministry, this has been a wonderful blessing for my family and has put us a step in the direction that I have prayed that it would. With our family being so busy with two working parents, three school aged kids, and the activities we weren't putting God in our daily lives. Having the "Facing Jesus" painting in our home has definately brought my relationship with God so much closer than it has ever been. I chose to place the painting on our foyer table because we are in and out so much and that table is what we see when we arrive home and when we are leaving,  the table is also in our living room, where, when we have the time to sit, the painting is in our viewing area. Being a pilgrim on the "Facing Jesus" tour has done for me and my family exactly as I had hoped it would, even though we aren't 100% there, it has given us the foundation to grow on to become a healthy christian family. We have Faced Jesus every day for the past few weeks, the presence has brought Jesus into our daily lives reminding us to always try to live by his word, praise Him everyday and know that we are wealthy of all of God's love.

Gratefully Yours,

Kelly Cain & Family


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The First Tour Stop

"Facing Jesus" has finished its first stop!  I had the pleasure of allowing the first Pilgrims to be my friends Angela & David McKenzie.  David had just come home from his Emmaus Walk the night before I delivered the painting.  It was such a blessing to me to hear all about his Walk experience and to also know that he would get to spend his next days with a yet another unique presence of Jesus.  Here are their thoughts:


 Thank you so much for letting our family participate in the ‘Jesus’ painting.   I have been so fortunately blessed with an awesome family and to have this painting as part of our ‘family’ room for the past two weeks has really brought focus to our lives on not only why we are blessed but particularly by whom. The painting has been comforting in times of quiet meditation, reflection and prayer – as Angela has mentioned, Jesus’ eyes burst with an openness that seems to transcend the everyday world.

Again, we are grateful for you sharing this painting – we hope the journey is as wonderful for others as it has been for us.

Thanks again,



Sunday, April 26, 2009

All 20 Pilgrims!

Here is the final list of Pilgrims.  The last one volunteered today, and now we're set.  I've enjoyed the painting in my own home where I read in the mornings.  To glance over at Jesus' face during prayer was quite an experience.  Thoughts of the song "I Can Only Imagine" came to mind as to "what it would be like" to literally see His face.  Oh, when that day comes, I'll be so happy!  The veil will be lifted literally.  Who know the hour?  The tour continues! Congratulations to these wonderful people who have been called to this experience!  May God bless you as He reveals a little more of Himself to you through this painting.  This painting that was done for this purpose that He put on my heart to do.  I wish you all the best.

  1. Angela & David McKenzie, Athens, AL
  2. Kelly Cain, Athens, AL
  3. Jan Jeffreys, Athens, AL
  4. Tina Swindell, Athens, AL
  5. DeAnna McNeill, Athens, AL
  6. Jennifer Morrison, Athens, AL
  7. Allison Caputo, Huntsville, AL
  8. Julie Haught, Huntsville, AL
  9. Sabrina Query, Zurich, Switzerland
  10. Starr DeGraffenried, Athens, AL
  11. Karen Smith, Huntsville, AL
  12. Melissa Wright, Athens, AL
  13. Lisa Wallace, Florence, AL
  14. Andrea Pope, Huntsville, AL
  15. Regina Wood, Athens, AL
  16. Cathie Mayne, Huntsville, AL
  17. Carroll Lane Parsons, Columbus, MS
  18. Glinda Clardy, Huntsville, AL
  19. Dara Barwick, Boston, GA
  20. Claire Kayser, St. Paul, MN


Friday, April 24, 2009

Ready to go!

"Facing Jesus" has been in my home for the past 2 weeks.  I've loved having a visual presence of His face next to where I sit and read, pray and have coffee in the mornings.  It's an icon of strength, tenderness, love, comfort and mercy right there.  It is ready to be sent to the next Pilgrim!  The actual TOUR begins!  Thank you to all of you who have agreed to be Pilgrims the next year.  This is going to be an amazing ministry!  You will be blessed....


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Calling One Last Pilgrim!

Here is the final list without the last one!
One perk to being last is that you will have this painting during the season of Lent in 2010!

Claire Kayser, St. Paul, MN
Kelly Cain, Athens, AL
Jan Jeffreys, Athens, AL
Tina Swindell, Athens, AL
DeAnna McNeill, Athens, AL
Jennifer Morrison, Athens, AL
Allison Caputo, Huntsville, AL
Julie Haught, Huntsville, AL
Sabrina Query, Zurich, Switzerland
Starr DeGraffenried, Athens, AL
Karen Smith, Huntsville, AL
Melissa Wright, Athens, AL
Lisa Wallace, Florence, AL
Andrea Pope, Huntsville, AL
Regina Wood, Athens, AL
Cathie Mayne, Huntsville, AL
Carroll Lane Parsons, Columbus, MS
Glinda Clardy, Huntsville, AL
Dara Barwick, Boston, GA


Friday, April 10, 2009

Pilgrim List!

Oh, I am so excited about the Facing Jesus Painting Tour! So far, I have 11 Pilgrims who have agreed to take part. I will take up to 20, so keep that in mind and let me know if YOU would like to be one. The list so far includes these awesome people:

Kelly Cain, Athens, AL
Claire Kayser, St. Paul, MN
Jan Jeffreys, Athens, AL
Tina Swindell, Athens, AL
DeAnna McNeill, Athens, AL
Jennifer Morrison, Athens, AL
Allison Caputo, Huntsville, AL
Julie Haught, Huntsville, AL
Sabrina Query, Zurich, Switzerland
Starr DeGraffenried, Athens, AL
Karen Smith, Huntsville, AL
Melissa Wright, Athens, AL
Lisa Wallace, Florence, AL


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Calling 20 Pilgrims!

Please email me to let me know if YOU are interested in being one of the 20.  If you want, you can let me know why you chose to be a part, but it's not required.  ANYONE is invited to be one.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

To be one of the 20 Pilgrims, email me on Sunday, April 5th!  In your email, please say in a short sentence why this experience seems to be "for you."  If you simply want to volunteer, that is fine too. But please include your name and address.  I will only show your city/state/country.  Read all about the experience in the previous post and agree to all the terms.  It is my wish that this be an artful, spiritual experience for each Pilgrim who wishes to participate.  Please become a FOLLOWER in the sidebar to keep up with all the events that the painting experiences!

This experience is open to anyone, anywhere and of any faith!  

Peace & blessings,
Carole Foret


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Facing Jesus Tour Announced!

A Face of Jesus
(not "Facing Jesus")

Details of the Facing Jesus Tour will be announced April 5th, 2009 Palm Sunday with the "unveiling" here on the blog of the actual painting.  It will be size 8x8 on canvas.
"Facing Jesus" will be shipped to arrive at first Recipient’s address by April 12th, 2009 Easter Sunday.  Details of the Tour will be featured on Facing Jesus Blog ( will be updated as much as possible or at least weekly.  "Facing Jesus" will be auctioned at the end of the Tour--only to the Pilgrim Group!

While in the possession of each Pilgrim:

The painting is yours for 14 days to enjoy and be a ministry to you. I look forward to reading what the painting meant to you in 150 words or less. This paragraph should be submitted by email within 1 week of releasing the painting to the next Pilgrim. I will want to see a couple of photographs of the painting in your environment and want to have you email them so that I may use them on the Facing Jesus Blog. Each Pilgrim will be allowed to sign his/her name on the back of the painting. When your time with the painting is up, you will ship it to the next Pilgrim, sharing in the ministry and furthering it on to others who wish to feel Jesus’ presence more fully!

At the end of the Facing Jesus Tour, the painting with every Pilgrim's signature will go up for auction among the Pilgrim group and be awarded to the highest bidder where the painting will be that Pilgrim's forever!

 Pilgrim Agreement:
  • Must agree to all terms of the Tour
  • Must give your Name and Town/State/Country
  • Must not alter, change, add to, damage painting in any way.
  • Must write a short paragraph about experience having the painting for 14 days and submit it to by the 21st day of receiving it.
  • Must photograph the painting in it’s environment and submit it via email by the 15th day of receiving it.
  • Must add signature to the back of the painting.
  • Must agree to pay for and ship the painting to the next recipient. Approximate cost in U.S. dollars: $10
  • Must ship the painting by the 15th day.
  • Must notify Carole immediately with notification that any part of this agreement cannot be met.
Become a follower over on the Sidebar, and be one of the first to know when requests can be made to become a Pilgrim!