troop support

Horses, Patriotism and Art Therapy

***The featured image for this post is one of the paintings I donated in 2014 to help raise money for Take Aim At Human Trafficking.***

Five short years ago, I partnered with a wonderful woman in Pennsylvania to host an event to promote patriotism in the arts. Because I live in Georgia, this event did not become a annual project, but it still comes to mind on occasion. As I get ready to embark on a new partnership to use my art to help bring social change to my area (fighting the human trafficking industry), I thought it would be a good time to post an example of how art can be used in a public venue to promote good. The banners shown below will be available for purchase at my booth during the Family Outdoor Expo on July 11th in Gainesville, Georgia. Other items that will be available include: fine art, painted furniture and boxes, primitives, hand-printed cards, fine art prints, and work by guest artists who donated items for the fund raising auction.

For additional information, please contact Frances Byrd at 

Custom Banners

Please contact or 678-923-4999 to negotiate commission of banners. You will need to specify size and deadline when ordering custom work. Pricing will be determined on an individual basis according to deadline, size, complexity of composition and desired materials.

PPP 008 PPP PPP 010

This image is the property of MachinePolitick. Permission is required for any form of use.

The Patriot Pony Project

Performance Art Event

June 12th, 2010

Artist: Frances Byrd

Contributing Partners: Whispering Winds Horse Farm and Horses 4 Heroes

Farm Art 003

Claire's Barn2

Claire's Barn3

The Patriot Pony Project

The Patriot Pony Project is an equine based performance art exhibition. The project is a partnership between Frances Byrd of MachinePolitick and Claire LeJeune Kemp of Whispering Winds ; designed to promote patriotism and liberty through the utilization of a series of living canvases. The beautiful horses of Whispering Winds will be hand painted with non-toxic materials by Frances. Each painted horse will be a living manifestation of an original piece of art by the artist, designed specifically for this live event. There will be a short description of the project’s formation and the artist’s passion for Liberty and America as well as a description of her larger projects to promote those ideas through her art.

Claire LeJeune Kemp,  Certified Equine Specialist will give a demonstration on the objectives of the Patriot Pony Project. Fulfilling Connections newest workshop! The Patriot Pony is for children and families of our brave military.  Our staff and our horses, the facilitators, teach social skills through special training. Painting on them is just one of  many tasks students are assigned with their partner, the horse. The real power of the horse is “connection”!   Join us as we will be kicking off our Patriot Pony Workshop. Many of our military families are struggling with how to cope while their loved one is missing during their life  – causing trauma, especially to the children.  We will nurture healthy choices and work with families, schools,  and therapists in a positive,  and safe learning environment.

 The audience will then be invited to ask questions, tour the facilities at Whispering Winds, meet the staff, and view fine art in the horse barn.

For additional information, please contact Frances Byrd at




Dinner with Band of Mothers Founder Bev Perlson

One of the great honors I had at CPAC this year was to have dinner with Bev and some of our Wounded Warriors in DC. Below is the article she wrote about the evening:

The Band of Mothers attended CPAC this year and what we looked forward to most was the Friday evening event organized in conjunction with Col North’s organization, Freedom Alliance. The plan was to host several of our Wounded Warriors from Walter Reed and enable them a night out with truly appreciative Americans who love them for their courage and willingness to risk their lives to keep us safe.  We met at Shelly’s Back Room in DC and it was a wonderful night we won’t ever forget!  I think I speak for all of us who attended, there is no company we would rather be in than with the very brave Warriors who make our freedom and safety possible!    

 To Jeremy, Sgt David, Sgt Robert C, Marine David C, I know I speak for all of us who participated in our get-together at Shelly’s, we can NEVER THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE TO KEEP US SAFE!  To be in your company is to be in the company of the most noble and courageous Americans among us! Thank you for honoring us with your presence and for allowing us to show our appreciation to you for your service and sacrifice!

I want to thank the great Patriots who joined The Band of Mothers and made this a most memorable evening for these Heroes:  Katie, Jeannie and James , Chad , Phil and Heather, Chris, Frances, Brian and Justin!  Thank you all for making this a wonderful evening!  

Below is a great write-up of the evening by Pepper of Freedom Alliance with a link to photos included.  I really can’t thank him and Freedom Alliance enough for arranging this event and for all they do for our Troops.  Attached please find information on Freedom Alliance and please post and forward information about this wonderful organization!  When I was growing up, Col North’s name was honored in our home for the Hero that he was then and still is today!  Not many folks know all that he and his organization do for our Troops so please take the time to read the attached.  Consider a donation to Freedom Alliance for it is great Patriots like these that continue to honor our Troops and give back to them!

 I’ll never forget that Post Card I collected from Col North at my very first CPAC.   It read, “Dear Soldier, Soldier On!”  As we witnessed Friday night, that is what our Heroes do, no matter what obstacles are put in their path, they Soldier On!  We must follow their courageous example and Soldier On in our support of them and all they do to keep us safe and free! 

 May God Always Bless Our Heroes of The United States Military! 

 Beverly Perlson

The Band of Mothers


2013-03-15 Cigar Night in DC Summary

I met Beverly Perlson at CPAC in 2007.  I was approached by this fiery lady whose only wish was to get a postcard signed by Colonel North so she could ship it to her son, a soldier who was deployed to Iraq.  Since then, she has collected hundreds (if not thousands) of postcards from celebrities and the general public to send overseas in a show of support to our troops.  She has also compiled these postcards into several editions of books that not only show the gratitude for our troops, but shows the history of this war in a unique way.  Beverly and I have continued to see each other every year at CPAC.  This year, though, Beverly wanted to sponsor a dinner for a few troops from Walter Reed.  Tim was more than happy to coordinate with the troops and secure a reservation.    

On Friday night, March 15, I picked up Marine Jeremy Lattimer at his home in Arlington and we cruised into the city for what would be an entertaining night of good food, great company, and fine cigars.  “Latz” as he is known to us, has been on multiple Freedom Alliance events and outings.  We have been supporting his recovery for over a year.  We were introduced to him through Doc Fowler, Col North’s corpsman from Vietnam who now runs a TBI clinic at Walter Reed.  Latz has several deployments under his belt, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and a Marine Expeditionary Unit.  He was exposed to multiple IED blasts that resulted in a brain injury.

Arriving in the dim, smoky atmosphere of Shelly’s Backroom, one of the few cigar bars in our nation’s capital, we found the reserved section for Freedom Alliance and waited for the rest of the group to show.  Shortly thereafter, we saw the “high and tight” haircuts of two Marines approaching us – two staff members of the detachment at Walter Reed.  In an effort to gauge their familiarity with Freedom Alliance, I asked if they ever heard of us.  “Oh yes, I see your name on events all the time,” replied GySgt David, “you all are taking some of our Marines to Costa Rica, right?”  Word gets around.  GySgt David Hendin not only is a staff member of the detachment, but was also wounded in Iraq.  The other Gunnery Sergeant, Gunny Robert Cruz, had arrived at Walter Reed merely three weeks ago to join the staff, and has one more year before retirement. 

As we were getting to know each other, the kind-hearted and strongly devoted Beverly Perlson, along with a dozen or so of her friends, entered the area to fill the rest of the seats.  Among her guests were very patriotic folk that are staunch advocates of our military.  All were in DC for CPAC, but each admitted that this night was what they were truly looking forward to.  Several of Bev’s friends were veterans, including Chad, a veteran of the Iraq war who brightened to be in the company of fellow warriors.

As the night got started, Bev passed around fine Camacho and Pepin Garcia cigars for the troops to enjoy, selected by her husband Judd who is an expert connoisseur of all things tobacco.   At that moment, another guest arrived: Marine David Crouse, an Explosive Ordinance Disposal technician who lost a hand and an eye in a tragic training accident in Cambodia.  David and his friend Chris joined the banter. 

Jeremy and Gunny David started swapping war stories.  I watched as they joked back and forth about Iraq, then Jeremy turned to me saying, “The Gunny was in the same unit as me, at the same time, in Iraq…2d Battalion, 2d Marines!”  David nodded, adding, “Small Corps.”   I spoke at length to the new addition to the detachment staff, Gunny Robert Cruz, who said working at Walter Reed has been one of the most inspiring jobs of his life.  “These guys come to me talking about their accomplishment of the day, with big grins, about how they just completed this activity or that – guys without legs, wheeling down the hallway with a smile. Their character trumps the struggle of everyday life.”

Around 10pm we called it a night, hugging Beverly and her crew and thanking them for a fun evening.  I feel that this will become a cherished annual tradition for Beverly and Freedom Alliance.

Pictures can be found on SmugMug:


Mr. Pepper Ailor
| Director of Programs
22570 Markey Court, Ste. 240 | Dulles | VA | 20166
800-475-6620 | Fax: 703-444-9893 |
CFC #10780

Remembering 9/11 With Art

These pieces are by my friend Jimmy in L. A.

This is the main piece which is approximately 60″ x 120″. It is made of plywood, cardboard, burlap, metal and lots of paint. The flag in the center is the one which I put out front of my house on the morning of 9/11/2001 and kept it there proudly for one year straight/day & night. The image of the Twin Towers is one which I found on the Internet and used it because of the strong/old school/black & white quality to it.
This piece hangs over the window of my daughter’s room in the front of our home.
I’m planning on keeping the display up for 10 days (one day for each year since 9/11)
This photo is taken from the street. You can see the main piece and in the forefront a smaller piece which has the names of those who died on 9/11. It sits on the edge of our lawn just a few feet from the sidewalk.
A tighter photo which has the names of those who died on 9/11 on a piece made out of fence board approximately 32″ x 39″ and painted white. It is topped by 3 plants in white vases setting on 3 white bricks.

This article is also posted at Liberatchik.

Happy 4th of July, 2011

I just got back from Oxford, Georgia where I painted some horses for the parade today. I only have a few pictures right now because I forgot my camera, but the folks I worked with will be sending more soon.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday. Don’t forget the folks who keep us safe and free to celebrate our nation and enjoy time with our families. Also, take a moment to reflect on the historic significance of the holiday and the sacrifices that were made to declare independence for America; and more importantly, to preserve it.

Happy 4th all!

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Frances Byrd is the National Director of, a conservative political artist and blogger. Her art can be viewed at Frances will be representing Liberatchik at a booth at the Freedom Jamboree in Kansas City September 28 – October 2, 2011.

The Healing Waters Documentary Project

About this project

The Film

“Healing Waters” is the uplifting story of the resilient and inspirational recovering active duty military service members and veterans of Project Healing Waters. The film will provide an inside look at the organizations roots, profile the founder, participants and volunteers as well as document its astonishing growth and powerful results in transforming the hearts and lives of some of our Nations Finest.

Three years ago I was filming a television show in Virginia and attended a Project Healing Waters outing on the Rose River. That was the first time I saw these incredible soldiers taking part in this innovative program. I was fascinated as I watched these wounded warriors, some of which had just returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of them veterans of Viet Nam, as they made their way into the water on crutches, carried by volunteers, and even in wheelchairs to fish the Rose. There were amputees and many bearing the scars and the trauma of roadside IEDs using improvised devices to hold fly rods in place and even a young Sergeant who had lost his arm using his teeth to retrieve the line. I witnessed the positive change in their mood and demeanor as they lost themselves in Mother Nature. I was both moved and inspired…

Frances Byrd is the National Director of, a conservative political artist and blogger. Her art can be viewed at Frances will be representing Liberatchik at a booth at the Freedom Jamboree in Kansas City September 28 – October 2, 2011.

Purple Heart Anglers Spring Benefit BBQ Dinner

Purple Heart Anglers
Spring Benefit BBQ Dinner
Tri Tip, Chicken and the Fixn’s
Purple Heart Anglers
Disabled Veterans Hunting, Fishing and Other Outdoor Events
6-11pm SATURDAY, APRIL 2, 2011
MRPS Social Hall
133 North Grant Avenue, Manteca CA. 95336
DOOR PRIZE: Henry Golden Boy 22 LR Firearm

WWII T-6 Texan Fighter Plane ride. (Hold on)!
Korean War Spotter Plane ride. (Go on a spotter mission over Calif.)!
Custom fishing Equipment!
Hunting and fishing trips!

For the $1.00 Raffle
Hunting and Fishing Items

For the $25.00 Grand Prize Raffle
A Custom Purple Heart Anglers Weatherby Rifle

Level 1
Dinner Only
Level 2
Dinner and 50 $1.00 raffle tickets and 1 $25.00 ticket for the Grand Prize drawing
Level 3
Individual Sponsor
Dinner and 75 $1.00 raffle tickets, 3 $25.00 tickets for the Grand Prize drawing, and inclusion on all lists of Event sponsors either as a business or individual
Level 4
Table Sponsor
Dinner for eight (8) guests and a Sponsor’s name placard displayed as a centerpiece on the table. Each of the eight (8) guests will receive 100 $1.00 raffle tickets, 3 $25.00 tickets for the Grand Prize. The table sponsor will be included on all lists of Event sponsors either as a business or individual. Additionally, a Henry Golden Boy 22 LR firearm will be awarded to one of the eight guests at the sponsor’s table. Selection of this winner will be via random drawing among those eight guests.

Make Checks Payable and Mail to:
Purple Heart Anglers
PO Box 1621
El Granada CA. 94018
For More Information
Contact: Randy Houston (415) 370-9930

Troop Support at Walter Reed

A week from now I will be getting on the road to DC for CPAC. One of the things I plan to do while I am there is to attend the troop support rally at Walter Reed next Friday. I was present for the rally on 9/11 2009 when I went to DC for the first time. It was a very moving experience and I am looking forward to returning.

This week, I made a sign to thank our troops as they go by in the bus that takes them out for the evening. I am looking forward to meeting new people and showing support for those who have given so much to keep us free. If you’re planning to attend, keep an eye out for me.

This post was written for Liberatchik and Anystreet.

CPAC 2011 Artist: Irene Deely

As a full-time studio artist and gallery owner, I am delighted to be a part of Liberatchik’s effort to encourage artists who have been shut out from the blessing of traditional Academia through creative expressions that do not agree with a narrow political/social agenda. It is exciting to have a venue that champions talented artists who happen to be passionate about freedom and have the ability to verbally and visually express ideas in intelligent and thought provoking ways. This opportunity is a refreshing development after working for twenty years in the often hostile environments of established education and gallery systems. Liberatchik is serving as a much needed release valve for countless artists who have been forced underground or silenced all together.

In 2008, I began a one artist effort to inspire others to discover a voice for expressing freedom in their own unique creative ways. The method in doing this has continued to enjoy much public encouragement through “Liberty Let’s Roll! Tours. Using a larger-than-life three dimensional image that provokes dialogue on the subject of freedom, I am able to connect with people on a subject that inspires unity and passion . After three tours, LLR continues to grow while enjoying first hand experience with changed attitudes. More importantly, I have witnessed individuals who are inspired and committed to using visual art in their local communities as a powerful way to support conservative philosophical viewpoints. I will continue to invite a variety of artwork to accompany these tours as a way to expose it to a wider audience, provide a platform to communicate concepts of liberty and challenge state sanctioned opinions.

Irene Juliette Deely, Artist/Owner
Woman of Steel Gallery
3640 Chinden Blvd.
Garden City, Idaho 83714

This article was written for Liberatchik

Liberty Rising Tour – Liberty Let’s Roll is Heading for Montgomery

Dear Friends & Family,

As the RV’s generator purrs under me, we are parked outside a Synagogue in Jackson, Mississippi where Rabbi Yosef Lynn Boleware, a former Professional Bull Rider, race car driver and Bounty Hunter, welcomed us (sight unseen) into his congregation.  Earlier we were invited to join him, wife, daughter and mother-in-law  for their (my first ever) Sabbath feast where we  laughed, toasted and celebrated this ancient time of remembrance to rest in God’s work.  I was struck by the simple observance at sunset of lighting candles, their genuine  love  and hospitality shown toward strangers!

How can we ever forget Louisiana?! Embraced and pampered by a darling family in Baton Rouge with invitations to go out on their houseboat on the Mississippi River, it required steely focus to decline and get back on the road.  However, that was not before being treated to a delicious Cajun dinner compete with succulent gator appetizers, music by a banjo/accordian band and two step dancing.  Their extra special attention to caring for us also included luxurious bed’s to sleep on overnight.   Their darling and independent 14 year old daugther, a.k.a. One Shot because of her hunting prowess, left an encouraging note thanking the Liberty Tour’s inspirational artwork.  She was not the only one that was motivated to move in the direction of their creative dreams because of the variety of work we exhibit.  It is so gratifying to observe how this simple traveling exhibit is effecting people.  Even at gas stations and Walmart parking lots, when I am unable to haul out the work, just hearing about it and seeing the portfolio of artists is enough.  One such woman, a reporter out of a small town between Baton Rouge and Jackson, was deeply moved.  After her lengthy interview for their newspaper, I had the opportunity to ask about herself and what her dreams were.  After listening to her passion for fiber arts, she interjected “y’all came out here jus fer me! I needed to see what’s possible and how yewr following yer dream so  I won’t let mawn die”  Then she added,”When I git this story printed, y’all are going to have the entire town prayin’ fer yew”  She talked softly in a gentle manner that needed no exclamation points to feel her genuine passion and determination to follow through with the spark that was ingited.

How can I omit the mention of the mother of quadruplets with all four of’m in tow, who tracked us down for photos in a gas station parking lot while another man spontaneously embraced me with a big ole grin and a “Thank you!”  There is no doubt that we are traveling through some parts of the country where prejudice lingers so when we time and again see that wall come down it is so beautiful.  I wonder now looking back at how passerbies are affected at seeing the hugs and handshakes that cross culturally acceptable barriers.

The most dramatic interaction occurred on our seventh circuit around Baton Rouge’s Capitol building.  There was a group of highschool age kids playing soccer in the Capitol Park grounds.  They stopped playing as we passed by for the previous six (silently praying) circuits so that on the seventh when we laid on the horn with shouts of “liberty, freedom” as blaring music rose from the open windows of the RV, they  began running and leaping toward us in one huge pack!  After handing them post cards, brochures and  water they all clambored onto Liberty’s trailer for a slow, short ride down the street toward their bus where one young man informed us he was going to pass the information along to his teacher.  Revisiting that scene, one image strikes me.  With Beverly’s dark arm waving freedom from one side of the RV and my white one  raised for liberty, we are giving a picture to others of how our love of freedom can unite us.

We spent the night in D’Lo Waterpark just south of Jackson before taking off toward Montgomery, Alabama.  This was the result of accepting an invitation from the Rabbi to join their Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) celebrations.  They have been so unbelievably hospitable and invited me to give a presentation to their congregation and Beverly to sing at the close of their Sabbath service yesterday.  Afterwards, we were peppered with questions and expressions of gratitude.  One woman, who was especially encouraging shared, “Thank you for your encouragement,  you have bleseds me so much,  I want to weld but didn’t think a woman could do that”  Another gentlemen asked if he could have some women in their congregation make some Tzi Tzits (blue and white  braided cords) for the Liberty Trailer so that they could bless us and be a part of what we are doing.  Out in the parking lot the Rabbi and one of the elders climbed up on Liberty’s Trailer and blew the Shofar (Ram’s horn) and draped his prayer shawl over Liberty’s shoulders as another way to honor us (!).

The News Editor for The Magee Courier for Simpson County just left after taking copious notes from an in depth interview.  He informed us that we are parked along the section of river where the “siren” scene from O! Brother Where Art Thou was filmed.   We caught a frog in the ladies room last night that looked exactly like the horny toad from that scene.

We are now off to share lunch with our new friends, The Rabbi and his congregation before heading out for Montgomery, Alabama.  What awaits us here?

Love & Liberty,

Irene & Beverly
PS the latest photos from our experiences in Louisiana and Mississippi will be posted on Facebook soon.

Liberty Let’s Roll! Tour 2010
“Liberty Rising

Liberty Let’s Roll is Passing Through Louisiana

Here’s the latest on Liberty Let’s Roll 2010:
Because the itinerary is loosely constructed to allow for impromptu invitations (one of which occurred last night and we’re waiting for a call from the department head in the art department at McNeese State University) we are a bit behind schedule.  However, if things go at the pace we are making now we should arrive in Tallahasse on September 30 and Atlanta by Oct 2 or 3rd.  That’s the best I can tell you at the moment will keep you informed! Liberty or Bust!


…If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,
and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,
he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.
Henry David Thoreau

Liberty Unplugged

A profound appreciation for personal freedom continues to motivate the Liberty Let’s Roll Tours nine years after the artist’s original inspiration on 9/11.  It embarks on cross country exhibitions with the purpose to engage public dialogue about freedom. The provocative pose of this cast bronze sculpture communicates specific characteristics of freedom. Masculine legs and large feet are given to the female figure of  Lady Liberty to reveal the strength, courage and fierceness of a mother’s heart when called to protect her children.   Awakened to personal responsibility through the actions of Todd Beamer on UA flight 93, Deely has committed to honoring the life of men and women like him through art.  Her goal is to encourage others through visual mediums to embrace the freedom to pursue their own unique creative efforts in passing liberty to the next generation.  The 2010 tour, Liberty Rising includes the work of other artists inspired by freedom.  Deely plans to continue this effort as long as people yearn for liberty.

“You cannot build character and courage
by taking away people’s initiative and independence.”

Abraham Lincoln

Liberty Lets Roll
Liberty Rising Tour 2010

Tentative Tour Schedule.
Dates Still available for Public and Private Showings
For Booking Info:

Contact Cliff by e-mail by clicking here or call Cliff at 251-975-8480

Liberty Rising 2010
Southeastern Capitol Cities Tour

September 18– Oct 13

(San Antonio, TX – Washington, D.C.)

Sept. 18-22  (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi)

  • San Antonio, TX (Randolph AFB)
  • Austin, TX
  • Baton Rouge, LA
  • Jackson, MS

Sept 23-29 (Alabama, Florida)

  • Montgomery, AL
  • Pensacola, FL (Pensacola NAS)
  • Tallahasse, FL

Sept. 30-Oct 6 (Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina)

  • Atlanta GA
  • Columbia, SC
  • Charlotte to Myrtle Beach (Possible escort by American Legion Riders)
  • Raleigh, NC

Oct. 7-13  (Virginia,  Maryland, Delaware, Washington,DC)

  • Richmond, VA
  • Newport News/Virginia Beach (Norfolk NS Navy Station)
  • Annapolis, Maryland (Fort Meade)
  • Dover, DE (Dover AFB)
  • Washington DC

Oct. 1-5 (Northeastern route for return trip to Boise – no planned stops)

*italicized  state capitols above will include a motorcade circling the cities seven times with the seventh circuit accompanied by horn honking and joyfull shouts in celebration of freedom. Please watch for exact times and meeting points to be posted here or call Irene for more details:  208-703-6461


Liberty Sailing July 25 2008


Liberty & The Freedom Arch in St. Louis


Liberty in Washington D.C. 2008

A portion of art sales from this trip will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project in recognition and support of those who keep us free. Please consider donating or purchasing a piece of art on a stop along the Tour. Irene also has Liberty merchandise for sale to fund her efforts to spread support for Liberty through the arts.

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Look at Liberty Tour Photos!


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MachinePolitick is proud to be a participating artist on this year’s tour. I have contributed my Liberty 1886 painting for the exhibition.

Liberty Rising Tour – Austin

Dear Friends and Family following the Liberty Rising Tour,
Narrowly side swiping an economy pick-up as we almost missed our exit to Austin out of San Antonio, I seriously inquired of God, “Are You sure I should be doing this?!”  Bob had been following in a rental car to escort us as far as he could until his exit to the airport, witnessed the debacle.  The whole thing was ridiculous because I had just prayed that I would not do anything stupid before departing to make him worry.  Apparently God chooses cracked pots and wanted to make sure Bob would know exactly how to pray for us!
Honking our final farewell after answering a  brief call from my ever patient husband who reminded me  of driver safety, etiquette and rules of- the-road.  It took me a while to settle into driving the 28’ rig pulling an 18’, 4400 pound Liberty (she’s one big hunk of burning love!).  The trip from San Antonio to Austin was barely more than an hour and just another 20 minutes from the city center to The Austin Vineyard where we were invited to set up our art exhibition.  We arrived an hour before the appointed time which allowed some luxurious down time as we had committed to fasting and prayer on the eve on Yom Kippur.  I know  this sounds very strange but it was something both Beverly and I were led to do since it dove-tailed so coincidentally (?!) with the eve of Liberty’s mission…repentance, forgiveness and embracing the astounding freedom that only our Creator can orchestrate.
Pastor Jeff Newman, Austin Vineyard’s founder,  greeted us with a broad smile and little Ruby, a.k.a “The Rubester” (miniature Terrior?)  tucked under his big burly arms.  Shaking my hand enthusiastically through the window of the RV, Jeff invited us in to his church’s  welcoming foyer.   The  large spacious interior oozed “welcome” with comfy overstuffed leather couches, soft throw pillows and expansive windows that invited the oak trees from the 8 acre grounds  right-on-in with us.  It was the aromatic aromas of fresh brewed coffee that sealed his heartfelt hospitality.  Pastor Newman’s instant trust and invitation to help ourselves to whatever we needed gave us a sense of
complete acceptance – literally sight unseen – into his open-armed world.  Feeling loved, respected and honored, I set about setting up the art exhibition while Beverly prepared our first meal at the end of  our 24 hour fast.
While Jeff asked us to sit down to get acquainted a man an woman appeared at the door with camera dangling from the man’s neck.  Mark & Heidi Tucker had been alerted to our Arrival in Austin and had once lived in Boise, Idaho.  He was there to photograph our experience from start to finish.  But no only that they both stayed to help unload, unwrap, set up and rewrap load and escort us the next day around the Capitol building!
Later that evening after a quick trip to a local Walmart for supplies we hadn’t expected to need as I had not counted on an indoor exhibition, I headed into the Foyer for some uninterrupted space to organize the art work.
We had Lined the work up randomly against couches and over stuffed chairs and it was now my task to find some logical sequence to the 14 individual creations submitted for the Liberty Rising exhibition.  It was astounding  (I foresee that I will be in this constant state of amazement now that I’m walking into what this Tour is about)  how one artist’s work led into the other.  I had no idea how perfect the sequence was!  That can only be God!  It ministered to me…now would it speak to those we came for?….as I interlocked each work to zig zag across 26’ of white draped tables.
I locked the door as deep night set in and looked at the half moon over Austin – expectant and down right hungry!  Although, I must say, the time of denying my body of its usual pleasures had heightened my sensitivity to beauty of all kinds – most notably (in this instance) the wide expanse of stars that were now shining through the gnarly limbs of oak trees that tickled the eves of  the building which now  housed the expression of 14 gifted artists.
Yellow light from our RV  (parked conveniently close to the rear delivery doors of a strip mall where we were able to pirate ten cents worth of power to keep our little home cool through this early September  Texas night) glowed a celebratory invitation.   Weary from driving, maneuvering Liberty into place, hauling art work  back and forth from storage space to building and wondering what the heck I was doing, instantly evaporated when I opened the door  to our “home-on-the-go”.  A shimmering candle, chilled bottle of Champagne and elegant meal (prepared in a kitchen the size of  a broom closet) was spread out on a small drop-down table.   For an instant I connected with the strong men in my life (especially my gallant husband) who goes out every day to face whatever he must in order to provide not only the basics but the luxuries that he knew would make his bride happy.   It took my breath away.  While I hauled, unwrapped  and labeled artwork, Beverly had cooked the perfect meal to celebrate the love and freedom that had staked its claim on our lives.
Morning wedged thin beams onto my pillow early the next morning.  It  was a gentle awakening for the first day of this third Liberty Tour.  Peace and rest followed  during the last minute and somewhat harried preparations to exit our “bus” with some semblance of present-ability…then, the blessing began like drinking from a fire hydrant.
Hydrant #1: forgive me for the inability to remember names but what God has given me is the vivid memory of a person’s spirit (thank you!).  She rolled up to me on her chariot, delicate legs dangling exquisitely beautiful and perfect.  As she drew closer and her hands gripped the wheels of the chair she regally sat upon, the first thing I noticed was the intensity of her pale blue eyes contrasted against a halo of  coppery curls about her face.  She was inquiring  and engaged, albeit not instantly embracing the visual message we had brought.   That was okay – mission accomplished as we conversed openly and honestly from a place where the Spirit moves.
Hydrant #2:  Dark eyes, short, curly black hair….14 years old.  Questioning…open…”That’s nice”  responses to my  answers from his questions.  Vulnerable, searching, with wonderful youthful intensity.
Hydrant #3:  Sudden appearance out of a torrential  (and cleansing) rain that fell during the sixth circuit around the Austin State Capitol, a woman boarded the RV after her street side call “Are you Irene?”  She had walked the capitol seven times on her own when she heard what we were doing and had just completed the seventh when we arrived for our first.  We have dubbed her the “Praying  Lady”.  After inviting her onboard and a brief introduction, she asked if she could pray as we continued our seven circuits.  Her depth of passion in what we were undertaking was an enormous encouragement as she spoke effortlessly to the same God we serve….repentance for herself and for our nation and its people.
Hydrant #4:  Gifted photog and energetic wife….ready…willing to do the most menial of tasks…sending out press releases, tearing down, loading art work, escort to capitol….encouragement galore!
Hydrant #5  Jeff Newman, big heart,  trust in God’s work in individual hearts, nurturing, encouraging, generous…..affirming that our work is significant and effective.   God Bless his work and the people he shepherds.
For lack of time and space these are only five of the first that come to mind after an overwhelming day of stepping onto Liberty’s path.  There were many more!
As I sit here and attempt to take it all in, I find it impossible to relate the profound sense of grace that undergirds this effort….which is really no effort…it is my privilege and joy to follow the road  that is set before me.  I highly recommend following the dream implanted in your heart for it is in the process of reaching for it that an astounding intimacy with your Creator may be found.   It is there that true liberty is found.
There is so much more I could write about…the ministry that Beverly’s songs had to two people in particular who took away messages  that motivate them into action and all the others who touched us and were impacted personally through the art work.   Each work spoke in significant and meaningful ways to someone…it was so powerful!!  But it’s nearly one AM and tomorrow’s demands require me to sleep….it will be sweet!
Liberty Rising?
Oh yes it is… if you choose to embrace it!!
Irene& Beverly
PS  photos are posted on Facebook (liberty lets roll) of these first two days and more will follow of the exhibition.  We love to hear from you there!

Liberty Let’s Roll! Tour 2010
“Liberty Rising”