SPEAK LIFE Restore A Soul


 It is always darkest just before the day dawneth.”

– Thomas Fuller-

It happened on a Sunday evening every three months, our Mama would pile us in the car with yummy lime sherbet punch and homemade cakes to head to the nearby Veterans Administration Hospital on Clairmont Road to serve the veterans who were staying there. Mom’s lady friends would bake the cakes and take them to the church nursery on Sunday morning. All of us kids were in charge of moving the cakes from the nursery to our vehicles, safely. As far as I know, I never dropped a single one. I still remember how the sick and injured men felt accepted, loved and embraced by our little ministry four times a year.

The poster for our podium to go with our theme for the evening: GROW

SPEAK LIFE is a song I keep hearing on my XM station and I just don’t feel like this is a coincidence. This past Saturday night, a group of girlfriends with giving hearts gathered for a Restoration Celebration to honor a group of women who are recovering from addiction and difficult circumstances. The ladies were treated to a delicious and hearty buffet of food prepared by these girlfriends. They were also given a gift bag filled with useful things such as lotion, chapstick, an artist notecard, and a handmade pair of beautiful earrings designed by Trapp Tischner. An artist, Holly Irwin, who has shown her work for the past three years at dk Gallery, in Marietta, Georgia, told her story of adversity to the ladies. Holly’s Artist Statement, which she read to us, was especially meaningful to all who were there:

Painting the figure is personal because understanding the figure means understanding myself. It’s a journey that goes on. There is a girl within. She is me. She is a friend. She might even be you or someone you know. She could be any age but she will always be young. She feels that life can be simple and uncomplicated. She’s perfect just the way she is. Her soul lives in my work. Her life breathes in my paintings. It seems that I am always searching for her, searching for ways to paint her feelings and emotions. I always come back to her. This is why I paint the figure.


I like to use texture just like our lives are layered and textured. I apply modeling paste, gel mediums, oil paint and acrylics with brushes, knives and rags to achieve depth and complexity. The finished effect of my mixed media paintings is an aged quality, like a fresco.

My work has been described as soulful and evocative. To me, they’re simply compositions from the heart.

Like the men in the VA Hospital back in the 1970’s, these ladies we spoke love to felt accepted, loved and embraced.

It seems that so many people feel invisible these days and a small deed done in love could be the very thing that turns their day around.

How can you and I speak life to someone in your path today?

 Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Leo BuscalgiaIMG_0256

3 thoughts on “SPEAK LIFE Restore A Soul

  1. Hi Joan,
    I was honored to be a part of Saturday night’s Restoration Celebration. All of the women there were an inspiration to me! Your loving ministry is changing lives and that makes me so proud to be your friend!

  2. Dear Anonymous, I am happy you found this post helpful and thank you for stopping by! And Holly, oh my, what a fantastic evening! All 50+ women present took nuggets of blessings and wisdom home with them…Love!

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