Studio Sneak Peek: Different Cages, Different Stories

Waiting Cage

Every morning I ride my purple bicycle to German school, my backpack in the big basket on front. Even in summer the early morning air is a bit chilly, but by the time I pedal my heavy Fahrrad the three miles to my destination I will be out of breath and sweating in my short-sleeve t-shirt.

The Hamburg air is dense, heavy with moisture and with something else that I can't put my finger on . . . no matter the temperature, the damp settles into your clothes, into your entire being. But here I am, out in the open, spreading my wings and filling my lungs:

finally unafraid to leave my little apartment and to test my growing vocabulary; 
bravely navigating the winding cobbled roads of our northern town;
accepting the gift of alone-time, recharging a bit so I can be a good mommy to my sweet girls;
laughing with my new friends at school as we carefully articulate the cumbersome words.

bird preview

I am so very very blessed. But adjusting to living in Germany and trying my best to feel "at home" here has been a bigger challenge than I expected. I've spent lots of time cooped up, waiting for spring, waiting for more confidence, waiting for friendships to blossom, waiting for everything to just . . . make more sense.

But during the past 8 months God has also placed in my path a number of people with stories full of challenges, hardships and pain that I can't even imagine coping with. And it seems that my troubles pale in comparison.

Has this ever happened to you? You see others struggling, and feel almost embarrassed at your own season of relative peace.  Or maybe it's the other way around: you are the one carrying a heavy burden, and you wonder, "when will my load become lighter?!!"  I think most of us have been on both sides of this feeling . . . I know I sometimes feel both things at the same time!

bird with cageOur "cages" can take many forms.  Some are the tedious "waiting rooms" in life, when you feel like you're standing still and you wish your life could simply move forward into a season of greater freedom and fruitfulness.  Other cages are oppressive prisons: depression, addiction, sickness, poverty, slavery, abuse . . . 

Of course, none of our troubles are exactly the same.  But the thing is that your story is just that: it's YOUR story and no one else's.  No one else can feel the exact same things you feel, walk the exact same path you have take.  Rocky ravines or grassy meadows (and most likely, a mixture of both), no one can take our stories away from us.  

This is my HOPE, and the message I want my art to convey: 

That with every challenge our wings would be built up with strength.
That we would have the strength to wait when we must
and the strength to flee our cages in victory.
That our stories would be an encouragement to others
and even a way to rescue those struggling under oppression.

These are all the things I've been thinking about lately as I've been working with cage imagery in my artwork--I have several works-in-progress and I hope to share the finished works later this summer in a re-opening of my Etsy shop.

This week was finally the beginning of the *official* German summertime . . . I hope you all get a chance to "fly the coop" this weekend and enjoy summer wherever you are! Check out what's going on in the studios of other soulful, creative ladies at Studio JRU!


  1. Your art is AMAZING as is your writing! And yes, I've totally been on both sides of that coin.

  2. Your art is beautiful.Thanks for sharing. via Studio JRU

  3. What a great post. Weve been trying to get out in the fresh air more too. No matter what is going on, good or bad, hearing the birds singing and the wind blowing on my being does seem to calm my spirit. The grief is getting better.... it just take time. I tried the saran wrap technique and hope to try it again some. I will share the paintings Ive gotten done since last week. I cant thank the ladies in the group enough for all the encouragement. Have a blessed weekend.

  4. Fantastic post! I've recently escaped my own cage after a shoulder dislocation in a car accident, two shoulder surgeries and an arm broken in several places. My art is my refuge, as yours appears to be. During particularly dark times, I take solace in knowing that there is a reason God has put me in the that place. I don't usually get to know that reason for some time, but when I do, I am thankful for my times of difficulties as they always seem to let me help another. Hang in there my friend!!! You can do it!

  5. WOW! Amazing art...love the post! So nice to meet you...thanks for popping by my blog! Have a wonderful and creative weekend!

  6. Beautiful art. I so love the colors! I love your message in this post. I couldn't agree more, I think our stories can be a wonderful source of encouragement to others. And a way to help us look at our own story in a different way at times. So happy to hear you say you are spreading your wings! :)

  7. Thank you Sadee...I really needed to read your thoughts today and view your artwork. I won't go into details, but thank you.

  8. Sadee, thank you so much for visiting my blog - how fun to meet you. I hope that you will feel more comfortable in Germany and start to love my country (I read your entire blog this evening). The first year is the hardest, and even after that there are always moments when you wonder "And why again did I come to live here?". It's a normal process, I think. I'm sure it will also get better with deeper knowledge of the language, it does help a lot. Here in our family, we also speak "Denglish", only we call it "Germish". BTW, you carry my maiden name...

  9. wow, i LOVE your space here, friend! i'm so glad you stopped by my place so i could find yours. your art is phenomenal. and your heart, so tender. bless you.

  10. Beautiful work and beautiful words (coming in from Studio JRU) - loving the bent and broken cage and the idea of the strength of our "wings"...

  11. Great image...really love the cage and the bird flying "free" and you description of our own sometimes "imagined" cages. We are all free and have the ability to be and go where we want...we just don't always realize it or act upon it. Lovely post ;) Hope you have a wonderful week. Fondly, Roberta

  12. Thank you all for your comments and encouragement! I'm humbled that my "cage" ponderings and artwork resonated with some of you. I've been playing around with these images for a couple of months and now I feel inspired to get some paintings completed so you can see the finished pieces! Thank you again for joining me here on my blog...

  13. Sadee... your words are so powerful, as are your artistic cage imagery. I so appreciate reading your post. Goodness- I feel a book coming on...between your writing and illustration, I am imagining a fabulous book of encouragement. :D enjoy summertime!

  14. I could feel my life last year passing before my eyes as I read your words. I spent 7 months there and never quite got the hang of it as you are revealing it so BRILLIANTLY here. BRAVO TO YOU!

  15. Valerie--thank you so much for your encouragement. You know, what you said about a "fabulolus book of encouragement" is probably one of the sweetest, most encouraging things anyone could say to me! It's definitely something that is on my heart...and only time will tell!

    Robin--it' hard here, isn't it? I'm interested to hear more of your story. Thanks for visiting me here!

  16. Beautiful pictures..but your writing truly touched my heart and filled it with encouragement. Love it!


Thank you for being kind with your words and generous with your time!