There’s a seed of awakening bravely growing and persevering in my heart since I was a very young tomboy — it still is!
Happy anticipation awaited a young girl on a painted horse in the free-roaming hills where I grew up… where adventure was in the familiar, and in the daring — completely worth spurning the rules of sewing and piano lessons my mother insisted upon. Oh, how those sewing skills made up for lost time later in my life! The piano lessons — not so much. Later, I became smitten with photography when my Grandmother would let me borrow her Kodak box-style camera. I loved seeing the world through a photographic lens. I still do. And in those picture-perfect, childhood days, there grew an insistent seedling within that would patiently abide, and lead me to discover the Art I was born to live.
Excited and eager, I’m still ready to saddle up on the open range of adventure and explore creativity in this life. I’m so very grateful God’s grace broke the hard walls and confining definitions — the sharp-edged bricks of perfection that weighed me down with disappointment and stole the joy, saying, “you’re not very good at this.” Mercy! Thankful, I am learning more about who, why and how I was created to be, living confident as His Art — from each stroke of paint, brush and pen, to every glad stitch and hope-filled click of a shutter — and the words I use to teach, write and speak with.
And — I press on! To listen. Grow. Know. My prayer is that I will first be a teacher in the Art of Grace; with myself, and others. It’s not about perfection, but the joyful pursuit of excellence — living in the gift of incandescent joy, assured I am truly — “God’s Art.” My life’s verse says it best:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” 2 Cor 5:17
Mercy, what a gift. Oh Yes. And Amen.
Leslie McNeil, native Montanan, grew up in the sagebrush cattle country of Central Montana, and the windy prairies and wheat fields near the Sweetgrass Hills of Northern Montana. She majored in business and art education at college. She pursued excellence in a legal career with the Federal Court for twenty eight years. Now retired, Leslie enjoys teaching, working and living art full time, with her husband Brian. They also enjoy having time with their five children, grandchildren, and two very active, fun-loving collie dogs.