Liz Lemon Swindle began her painting career in first grade. Her first exhibitions were on the refrigerator, encouraged by her father. In the early 1980s she tutored under renowned wildlife artist, Nancy Glazier. In 1992, Liz began painting a subject matter she had long desired to approach: her faith. Her paintings are now held in corporate and private collections around the world and have been published in countless magazines and books. Liz and her husband Jon have five children and eighteen grandchildren.
This 12 painting series will teach and inspire your family and provide an opportunity for Dinner Table discussions that promote principles of integrity and core values. No matter what the age of your family members, each painting creates an atmosphere for conversation, questions and thoughtful ideas.
Every Month you will have the opportunity to replace last month's image with a new matted image that will create new interests, new ideas and fresh conversation. Each painting comes with several topics of discussion that correlate with the print.
What you will receive in your "Return to the Family " 2011 LIMITED Collectors Edition
• 12 8X10 Prints Matted to 11 X 14. • One frame with bendable clips for easy change of image. • "Dinner Table" discussion on how to teach, inspire and cultivate meaningful conversation
The Bible has been widely accepted by people all over the world as the word of God. Found within the pages of the Old Testament are prophecies surrounding the birth of Christ. The New Testament also contains prophecies as well as an account of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. This is His story as written in the King James version of the Holy Bible.
From our family to yours, we invite you to enjoy this booklet as part of your Christmas Eve tradition or as personal reading to remember the reason we celebrate Christmas.
Released in the fall or 2012 these ornaments have been well received. In our first showing at a recent event we sold 56 set in just 3 days! These ornaments are little pieces of fine art. They are Giclée prints on paper with an ultra-violet resistant coating to protect them for years to come.
Each ornament comes with a new teaching, (The Twelve Days of Christmas) to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas. As a set they provide a means of teaching each of the twelve days of Christmas with a story to be read and a new ornament to hang on the Christmas tree each of the twelve days before Christmas.
Buy them individually or save buy purchasing them as a set.
When I began this painting in April 2008, I paid little attention to the stock market or the world at large. Who could have imagined then that we would witness the implosion of the world’s economic systems, the collapse of century-old institutions, and the loss of millions of people’s life savings. It seemed everything we put our confidence in was taken away – literally overnight. Surely these are the times Jesus spoke of when He said, “Men’s hearts [will] fail them.” – Luke 21:26.
Each day as bad news piled up, I found myself longing to be one of those disciples in the painting. To walk with Jesus and feel the peace and joy as they did. One particularly difficult day a thought came to me. I didn’t need to go to the shores of Galilee to walk with the Savior and find His peace, none of us do. We can each feel it right here and right now, no matter how uncertain these times become. Did He not promise us?
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid… ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” – John 14:27; 16:24
Sometimes when callings come to us in the Church we are tempted to wonder how we can find the time. We are either raising young families, busy with careers, or caught up in the myriad of good things that take our time.
When the Lord gave Emma the assignment to compile a hymnbook for the church she was busy raising her family and had difficult duties as the wife of the Prophet. How did Emma manage to accomplish all that was asked of her? The answer lies in humble prayer and the desire to accomplish righteousness.
When we look at the good her work has done in bringing music and the Spirit to millions we see that there is no sacrifice in building the Kingdom that is too great when it is given with all of our heart to the Lord.
Driving through a parking lot, I saw a boy and his father coming out of a store. The boy was imagining himself as a mighty hero, but he looked at his father with more admiration than any hero is likely to receive. Right then, I knew I had to paint "Even Superman Needs a Dad."
This father took an interest in everything his son had to say. Every moment seemed magical. While this little boy looked a bit out of place dressed in a Superman cape and red cowboy boots, his father could not have looked prouder. Who was the real Hero? Who was more in awe of whom?
When I look around at the thousands of Supermen who play alone each day it breaks my heart. Looking at these two I remember a wonderful father who took the time to be there for me, who taught me by example what a father should be.
I enjoy watching someone look at the painting for the first time. Their gradual smile tells me they understand the feeling that brought about this painting. For a brief moment they forget there are bills to pay and work to do. They forget their worries and remember for a moment that life is wonderful. That is the joy in painting.
Sometimes I look at my grandchildren and remember being a young mother with five little people. I remember waking up to tiny voices after another sleepless night. I remember sitting down in a mountain of laundry and crying because I felt so overwhelmed and so alone.
At those moments our prayers take on a new intensity. Receiving answers matters. And when we pray in faith He sends the Comforter to remind us that the work we do is His work and our children deserve every sacrifice we can make. This painting reminds me that among the tears and trials of motherhood are moments of wonderful laughter, and that every mother is first a daughter with a Father who still catches her when she leaps.
In the parable of the Lost Sheep the Lord compares Himself to a Good Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine to look for the one sheep who is lost.
It is easy for me to become distracted with things that seem important at the time, only to find that I have wandered away from the Lord and become lost. At those moments I take solace in His words:
"And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost." (Luke 15:5-6)
The gift of life is our most precious gift. The privilege to co-create with our spouse and our Heavenly Father is a sacred trust.
After losing a son, Joseph and Emma knew tragedy again in Kirtland, Ohio, when their newly born twins died within hours of birth. Losing children a second time was almost more than they could bear.
A few miles away, tragedy also struck the Murdock family. After bearing twins, Julia Murdock died, leaving her husband not only with the newborn twins, but five other children as well.
Brother Murdock heard of the Smiths’ great loss and called the prophet to his home. There, out of grief and selfless love much like that of our Heavenly Father’s, Brother Murdock asked Joseph to take the twins and raise them as his own.
With difficulty and humble gratitude, Joseph carried the twins back home and placed them in the arms of his weak and grieving wife Emma.
A Father’s Gift portrays the love of three fathers. Our heavenly Father entrusted the twins to John & Julia Murdock. Brother Murdock entrusted them to Joseph, who brought them to Emma. Joseph and Emma loved and raised the twins as if they were their own.
In each of our lives we are faced with confusion. Decisions can be difficult when the answers are unclear. At fourteen years old, Joseph Smith was faced with a country torn be religious revivalism. Preachers of all sects clamored for converts in a battle for men`s very souls. Joseph recounts the following:
"So great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong."
Joseph continued to search for answers to his confusion. One evening, Joseph was reading the family Bible in the book of James, first chapter and fifth verse: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberaly, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
Joseph arrived at the conclusion that he must either remain in darkness, or ask God which of all the chruches was God`s church. His humble prayer was answered on a beautiful morning, early in the sping of 1820. God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to the young boy Joseph Smith in a quiet grove of trees.
This began the restoration of the Lord`s kingdom upon the earth. God had spoken to men again, and the silence of the heavens was shattered. This event confirms the reality of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, for Joseph saw Him standing on the right hand of God. This remarkable vision provides the answer for the honest in heart who seek to know God`s truth.
The widow of Robert Thompson wrote of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s kindness to her daughter:
"I can never forget the tender sympathy and brotherly kindness [Joseph] ever showed toward me and my fatherless child. When riding with him and his wife Emma in their carriage I have known him to alight and gather prairie flowers for my little girl." - History of Joseph Smith, p. 225.
I loved the image of the Prophet taking a moment to "stop and pick the roses." He was always so willing to lift another despite the trials he bore. It gives me courage that when things seem dark the best medicine to look outside myself and love another.
Forget not to be patient with yourself: “Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others,” he added. “Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself.”
Forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice: “Dedicating some of our time to studying the scriptures or preparing to teach a lesson is a good sacrifice. Spending many hours stitching the title of the lesson into homemade potholders for each member of your class may not be.”
Forget not to be happy now: “The lesson here, is that if we spend our days waiting for fabulous roses, we could miss the beauty and wonder of the tiny forget-me-nots that are all around us.”
Forget not the “why” of the gospel: “We sometimes see the gospel as a long list of tasks that we must add to our already impossibly long “to do” lists. We focus on what the Lord wants us to do and how we might do it, but we sometimes forget why.”
Forget not that the Lord loves you: “Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time. You may at times feel a little like the forget-me-not—insignificant, small, or tiny in comparison with others,” he said, noting: “I hope (the forget-me-not) will be a symbol of the little things that make your lives joyful and sweet.” — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Our spouses can bring us more joy and strength than any other relationship on earth. I think this was the case with Joseph and Emma. They were driven from town to town, rarely had a home of their own, and suffered mercilessly at the hands of mobs and devils, many times left with little else but each other.
After the death of Joseph, the Saints began to prepare for the trek west. Over the coming years as the saints came through Nauvoo, I could imagine Emma going to the bank of the river and watching them cross.
I can see her watching the endless wagon trains and handcarts bound for the city and faith that Joseph founded. Knowing she was not going west, I can imagine her whispering as she watched them disappear, "Forgive Me, Joseph."
As a little girl, I remember my mother and her friends sitting around a quilt while I lay underneath. I would watch their hands cast shadows across the different color swatches, their needles bobbing up and down. I felt safe listening to their laughter float through the room.
As a young woman, I waited with anticipation for the time when I would be allowed to take my place at the quilt. I remember my mother patiently showing me how to stitch and tie. I watched in amazement as her hands glided across the fabric and I longed for the day when I could do what she did.
As a mother, I sat listening to the women wander effortlessly through years of shared memories and took comfort in knowing I was not alone. As time passed, I noticed my mother’s hands growing old and I realized for the first time that her worries, her tears, and her laughter were tied into her quilts.
As a grandmother, I move a little slower and see a little further. I remember those friends who have gone on before. I appreciate the simple joys in life. I smile as I watch my own daughter noticing my wrinkled hands and I understand that quilting is more than just stitching fabric together. It is stitching hearts together. Looking back, I see that the most important lesson I learned was not how to quilt… but how to love.
Joseph recorded the experience of meeting the Angel Moroni as he was given a part of his mission on earth:
“On the evening of the…twenty-first of September 1823…I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God. While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room… When a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air…
“He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues…”
One need only enter “Joseph Smith” into any internet search engine to see the fulfillment of this prophecy. Truly the world has used Joseph’s name for good and evil. How blessed we are that he was true to the faith to his last breath.
The greatest message of hope is not found in the crucifixion but in the empty tomb. When Mary arrived on that first Easter morning she found the stone rolled away and two angels standing inside. One turned to her and said, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen” - Luke 24:5-6
Like Mary, each of us will face the loss of a loved one. One does not live long without experiencing the sorrow that comes with death and the longing for a glorious reunion. The miracle of the empty tomb is not just that He rose, but that because He did we will too. Each of us will leave our own empty tombs and be reunited with those we love.
It is the promise and hope of our own glorious resurrections that we hear in those angelic words, “He… is risen.”
As the Lord suffered in darkness in the Garden of Gethsemane, “…there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” (Luke 22:43)
Though nothing like the Savior’s sacrifice, there are moments in each of our lives when our suffering seems insurmountable, our burdens unbearable, and our anguish overwhelming. In these dark moments, we too can find strength from heaven.
Jesus has promised us He will not leave us alone. His miracles did not end with the tomb. He is still giving sight to the sightless, hope to the hopeless, and love to those who feel lost and alone. He is still carrying us through our darkest hours and in His love we are encircled about in Heaven’s Arms.
This project required us to photograph many situations with Joseph and children. Several accounts in early church history demonstrate that Joseph loved children and took many opportunities to foster his relationship with them. He was known to have wrestled, participated in snowball fights, pulled sticks, played ball and fished with the youth. Many children and especially the LDS boys, recorded looking to Joseph as a hero, a role model. I cannot imagine a better role model for children than the prophet Joseph Smith.
It strikes me that you cannot truly follow someone you truly do not know. When I think of my own relationship with my Savior, it becomes clear to me that when He said “Come follow me,” He was inviting me to know Him. I am convinced that He loves each of us in such a personal way that he is overjoyed when we come to know Him and sorrows when we make him a stranger. Joseph is an example of someone who knew the Savior and followed Him.
Heroes: Like Nephi of Old began in the summer of 1991. My original idea was a picture of a father and his young son reading The Book of Mormon. I asked a young boy, Nathan, to model for the painting. Before we started, we talked about his favorite Book of Mormon characters and Nathan told me about Nephi. When Nathan spoke of him, he talked as if Nephi lived next door. The longer I listened, the more I came to understand that Nathan truly knew Nephi. Heroes: Like Nephi of Old emerged from this experience. Listening to Nathan started me thinking about how close the heroes of the past are to those who listen. As I look around I am reminded that we clearly live in a world where righteousness is seldom the standard by which heroes are measured. Nathan reminded me that heroes are only heroes if they give more than they take, if they lift more than they hinder and love more than they hurt. Nathan taught me that our greatest heroes never emerge from the pages of a comic book, but are found in our past.