March 2018, Word from the WORD

Reflections

Reflections by Sharon Furrate Bailey

Sharon Furrate Bailey has worked in the fields of marketing, sales and public relations since 1996.  She is a gifted artist who earned a B. A. in English Literature from LSU.  She attends Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church.

BRCL Sharon Furrate Bailey

Have you ever wondered why there are so many books on yoga, meditation, and finding your Zen? Maybe this market has exploded lately because of the stress in our lives and the voices in our heads that say things like, “Did you go to the bank; register your son for soccer; fold the laundry, blow out the candles; brush your teeth, answer the 80-plus emails you have waiting in your inbox for a response … and the voices go on and on. Have you ever felt like you are too accessible due to social media and cell phones? Have you ever felt a tinge of guilt if a text message or phone call isn’t returned within five minutes. We have allowed the noise to invade our lives, which disrupts our thoughts and hinders us from time to unwind or relax from the day. There is no time for reflection unless we make time.

What does it mean to reflect? At its simplest, reflection is about careful thought — a time when one looks inwardly and considers one’s actions and beliefs for the primary purpose of learning. Reflection requires us to be still, to retreat to a quiet place, to examine our hearts, to pray and to listen. God may be trying to reach us, but the noise around us is too loud. And honestly, it may even be a bit scary to sit in silence and reflect on our lives because we may not like what we see or what we have done, but Christ makes all things new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Jesus is a wonderful example of what it means to reflect. There are several accounts in Scripture of times that Jesus walked away from the crowd to be with God. In the Book of James (5:16) it says, But the news about Jesus spread all the more, and great crowds came to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet He frequently withdrew to the wilderness to pray.” Another good reminder of Jesus’ time alone with God is found in the Gospel of Mark. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus withdrew to a solitary place to be alone with God and pray.” (Mark 1:35)

Jesus sought time to be alone with God the Father. Can you imagine being alone in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights? Yikes, right?  During this season, Jesus had no contact with a human being except for the presence of Satan who tormented him. And yet, the angels strengthened him during this time. It was during this alone time, that Jesus overcame Satan and sin.

Imagine what you might overcome if you learn to reflect on God’s Word in silence and truly think about the words you are reading. You may receive answers to questions you have had lingering in your mind.

Reflection, as you can see, is much deeper than merely looking in a mirror at ourselves. It goes beyond the outward appearance, and it touches upon our hearts, minds and souls if we make time to walk away to be alone. Mother Angelica, an American Franciscan nun who had a television ministry for many years, said, “I am a mirror to my neighbor, and in that mirror, he must see a reflection of Jesus. If that mirror is cloudy or distorted, Jesus’ reflection will be so vague it will hardly be seen.”

What do you wish to reflect to those you around you?

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Creative LIFE, July 2017

God’s Ways are Much Higher than Our Own

God’s Ways are Much Higher than Our Own

Jacob Zumo prepares to study at sacred Art school in italy

by Sharon Furrate Bailey

photos by Jacob Zumo

Q:  When did you first discover you were an artist? 

A: Well, I remember I loved drawing on the class carpet in kindergarten and doodling under my bunk bed as a child, so maybe that was when it all began for me in terms of enjoying art. However, my high school art teacher, Carol Hackler, really taught me to appreciate art. I took art at Dunham thinking it was an easy A, like most tend to think, but I realized then it was a constructive way to release any tension or anxiety I may have had inside me. Carol was without a doubt our artistic psychiatrist. Through her direction and encouragement, my art oozed out of me. The more I look back at my career, I see that my paintings are created due to the emotions housed inside me. This can be a downfall and a blessing! Anyway, aside from art, I was a college basketball player, but my coach did not believe I had room for both art and basketball. Due to ongoing nagging injuries that year, I returned home and completed my marketing degree. I also started dabbling in art again and several years later, I was driven by celebrity art. It has allowed me to travel the world and that is a true blessing.

Q:What would you say is your artist statement, why you create?

A: In a world of spiritually, politically, racially driven differences, I try to create a platter of things anyone can understand. Most people walking by my art may not be spiritual people, but molding pop culture/everyday situations into a spiritual underlining is my goal. For the most part I’ve gotten the two down separately. It’s a matter of coinciding them in a subtle way that some may not see at first but connect to a piece that they notice.

Q:  Do you feel painting is a spiritual gift? 

A: Absolutely. Being able to create for a living is the most special gift God has given me. Being able to create as he did. He spoke the world into existence — the ultimate Creator — and I feel he has given me a gift of expression. I like to think I follow in His footsteps in some way. Our world and the society we live in needs beauty. Beauty and love will save the world. To me, it seems that the art world has gone from completely Christian driven to today’s view of a secular art being the only ‘good’ art. This is something I plan to change. I have truly seen how much of a sense of humor God has and how fruit comes from skill, prayer, and loved ones, but also how quickly he can humble me in the process of creating. Art is a very emotional and spiritual battle. Through prayer and discernment of his grace and mercy, great work is made. God gets all the glory. The church and our world today is in desperate need of spiritual sacred artists. Da Vinci, Donatello, Michelangelo, Botticelli and Caravaggio … just look at their work and you will see a glimpse of heaven. These are a few of the Renaissance artists I admire. 

Q:  Do you have a favorite book of the Bible or scripture that you have always enjoyed or reflected on?

A: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, His love is everlasting … His Mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 118: 1-2)

Q:  You have been selected to go to sacred Art school of Firenze in Florence which is quite an honor. Please share how this all came about for you?

A: Norman, my future brother-in-law, was talking about this opportunity. Norman’s work is specifically “sacred art” and I felt he was a shoo-in to this program. On the other hand, I did not think I would get accepted. My works range from rappers to weddings and spiritual themes. God had other plans for me. “His ways are much higher than our ways.” I prayed about it for over a month and decided He wanted me to go learn in Florence. This would give me an opportunity to not only learn art for the first time, but become more spiritually sound in my everyday life and career. We had to submit a portfolio of our art and write an essay of why we wanted to attend the school. Well, I was ecstatic to receive notification that I was one of 12 accepted into this program.

Q:  Share anything you would like our readers to know about your journey:

A: To be able to fully engulf myself in the program, I will not be able to work as a full-time artist. I am seeking donations to help with the load of living costs and school tuition. Donations will be tax deductible. Please visit my website, artbyjzumo.com, and if you are led to give to help me on this “sacred” journey, I will never forget your generosity or kindness.

Sharon Bailey

Sharon Furrate Bailey grew up in Alexandria, La., and moved to Baton Rouge to attend LSU. She earned a B.A. in English Literature in 1990. She attends Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church. Sharon has been in the field of marketing, sales and public relations since 1996. She is a gifted artist and has been a columnist since 2005. She can be reached at sharon@brclm.com.

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Creative LIFE, March 2018

Bruce Boyet Singer/Songwriter

Bruce Boyet

Singer/Songwriter

by Sharon Furrate Bailey

(Psalm 98:1) “Sing to the LORD a new song … for he has done marvelous things.”

BRCL Bruce Boyet

Kirk Andres Wilson Band  / Bruce Boyet 
Album Release Concert
Saturday, March 3, 6:30 p.m.
Manship Theatre
For tickets, visit manshiptheatre.org or brsounds.com.

Q: Talk about your journey as a musician. When did you realize you wanted to pursue music?

A: In 6th grade, my Uncle Kenny came to live with my family after serving in the Marines. I looked up to him as a young boy and he taught me how to play the guitar. His vast library of music exposed me to some awesome musicians. I got a taste of Neil Young, the band Rush and other musicians who helped me “cut my teeth” or rather “work my fingers to the bone” as I practiced the guitar.

Q: Your music is described as Christian folk rock. Did you ever play in the secular realm?

A: Since I began playing the guitar at a young age, it allowed me to really delve into my craft and become a better musician over time. With that progression into music, the next step naturally was to play in a band. So throughout high school, I played in bands and continued playing in college. Around my sophomore year in college, my Uncle Kenny dedicated his life to the Lord and his lifestyle began to change. He sat me down one evening and led me in the Lord’s prayer … and at 19, I accepted the Lord into my life. The vision, purpose and direction of my life took on a different meaning after I accepted Christ and the urge to write music became very important to me. I had tinkered with writing music prior to this time, but it became easier and more effortless because I felt inspired by the Holy Spirit when I sat down to write. It was like the Spirit breathed the words into my heart and mind and helped craft my songwriting skills.

Q: Your CD, titled Live the Life, was launched in January 2018. What are some of your favorite songs on Live the Life?

A:  Live the Life is a project that I started over a year and a half ago, and I am very pleased with the outcome. Most songs were written a year or two before they were recorded, but one or two of the cuts are from many years ago. Different songs are written to different audiences. Some are addressed directly to God — like House and Cars — the chorus says, “All I need is you Lord, All I need is your peace, All I need is your grace to help in time of need, All I need is your mercy. Cause when all said and done, I realize all I need is you.”

In the song Rest, God is saying to the listener, “I’m listening, and I hear you, and I’m moving you’ll see, It’s okay now – to say now – that I am free. Because there’s not one hair that’s not numbered … No need to worry, because I’m in no hurry … just put all your trust in me. You will find rest … rest into my arms … you can rest.”

Gonna Make It is about the trials and valleys of our lives. And the title cut, Live the Life, is about the choices we make in life. (Download the title cut at bruceboyet.com.)

BRCLM Image Bruce Boyet1
Bruce Boyet’s song carry a message of hope and redemption.

Q: Your best friend is Kirk Andres Wilson. How did you meet and become friends?

A:  Kirk and I go way back. We worked together at a church for 10 years and during this time we played music together weekly. We remained friends even after he moved to Los Angeles in 2007 to pursue his music career. He is an absolutely amazing piano player and jazz guitarist as well as a vocalist. We are both performing on March 3 at the Manship Theatre in downtown Baton Rouge. Kirk is bringing some of his band members from Los Angeles and will do his regular show. I will be performing songs from Live the Life with my band. However, we have not decided if we will perform together.

Q: It’s quite an honor to perform at the Manship Theatre. How did this come about?

A: Yes, it will be a big night for us. Back in 2016, Kirk was scheduled to do a release concert but unfortunately, the show was canceled due to the flooding in Baton Rouge. In 2017, I began searching out venues to perform songs from my new CD. Kirk and I talked and decided to schedule a date that worked for both of our schedules. I will be performing an hour set followed by an intermission. Kirk will perform afterward. It will be an incredible night and no matter what type of music one likes, there is something for everyone in our song line-up. We want to really glorify God and put on a great show.

Q: What is your favorite scripture and why?

A: Ecclesiastes 9:11 has always been one of my absolute favorite Scripture passages — “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” This scripture has so much meaning to me in that I don’t have to be fastest, strongest, wisest or the most skilled, but time and chance happen to us all. Time and chance are in God’s hands. I am called to trust the Lord daily because he holds the power to make things happen. The Lord can lift me up or make me wait, but in time, I truly believe by leaning on Him, all good things come to those who wait. 

Bruce Boyet’s songs focus on self-enrichment and redemption. There is always hope and a chance to live again despite the barriers that tend to blind us. The messages in his songs are positive and may reignite a flame in your spirit that has been burning low. It’s possible to LIVE, truly live, life again.

For more information, go to www.bruceboyet.com or facebook.com/bruceboyet. To book Bruce’s band, send an email to etcsolutions11@gmail.com

Sharon Bailey

Sharon Furrate Bailey grew up in Alexandria, La., and moved to Baton Rouge to attend LSU. She earned a B.A. in English Literature in 1990. She attends Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church. Sharon has been in the field of marketing, sales and public relations since 1996. She is a gifted artist and has been a columnist since 2005. She can be reached at sharon@brclm.com.