About Natalie: Natalie is a member of the Coral Springs Artists Guild. Her work has recently appeared at Sugar Sand Gallery in Boca Raton. She is an Oakton Foundation award winner (honorable mention), an annual competition for best original painting or sketch that communicates a moral truth with excellence to a wide audience. Her hope is that all persons dwell in the richness of love and comfort that continually surrounds us all in three essential places; in our hearts, in others, and in nature.
Natalie's personal bio: Where and how Natalie's love for all persons began and how she found great consolation in the kindness of creation.
Natalie grew up on a hilltop in western Pa. From her backyard she could see the jail in the valley below. As a young girl of about seven years old she went to the jail for a class field trip. She was chilled to the bone at the realization that there were human beings locked away and without hope.
Around the same time there was a very old building that was once a poor house within walking distance. A poor house was a place where disabled persons and homeless people could be dropped off. Natalie was equally chilled to see the grave markers in the back of the poor house that had no names only numbers.
Natalie related to the prisoners and those without hope because she was living in domestic violence. However, she experienced God's loving respite while at her grandmother's house which was also within walking distance. Natalie first experienced the peace-filled characteristics of monastic life while observing her plain, freckled, Polish, apron donning grandmother and a retired elderly man named Joe who lived with his wife on the second floor of her grandmother's home. Natalie first felt the calm order of simple living by assisting her grandmother while she hung up the laundry on the backyard clothesline, picked berries with her in the woods, watched her sew clothes with her foot-pedal powered sewing machine and bake cakes left on the back porch to cool.
Natalie was first introduced to our capacity to create peace-filled order as she sat on the lawn watching Joe. Joe was a simple laborer. He was a man of average height and thin build who often wore bib overalls. With fatherly care he made sure there was always fresh water in the birdbath and new paint on the big white birdhouse and fencing. At dusk he nurtured the flourishing vegetable garden. Joe worked in total silence but it wasn't an awkward silence. By the action of his calm overseeing he spoke. He was united with all that was on the property. He belonged. At his very core he seemed to fit into the surroundings as Adam and Eve fit into the garden. By Joe's silent hospitality Natalie felt that she fit too as his inquisitive companion. These were Natalie's first realizations that people could truly recapture the peace and union with God in creation as first enjoyed in the Garden of Eden (Matthew 6:10). These were the beginning of her formation in "monk" life as in "one with God". She shares how to develop monastic practices in her paintings, books, and other works.