Thursday, October 31, 2013

Speaking of Leaves

I might be slightly obsessed with leaves at the moment.

It all started with me seeing this awesomeness in a cup.

 
Then I went on a nature walk.
 
 
 
Here is a view of some Halloweenish things I found along the way. 
 

 
 
The best find on my walk? This little tree. Symbolizes hope and new life.


Leaves, leaves, leaves!


 


My favorite leaf, I kept it as a momento.
 
 
Happy 31 days! To celebrate leaving the series of adventures (this time around), I thought that everything in my life would just have to include leaves of some sort. Leaves on the ground. Leaves in real life --  which would happen on October 31, like so many other significant things. I don't understand this phenomenon, but true story. These creative adventures have taught me there are times you have to let the free fall happen.
 
Last adventure (for now)...

Can you find the one falling leaf?
 
Sometimes I feel like this. Do you?
 
The wind pulled the leaf from its once comfortable home, 
BUT it'll find a new place to land.
AND for this moment in time,

I t  w i l l  f r e e  f a l l.

. . . .

adventure?

Where you see crisis, He may bring creativity.


Art -- and the Artist -- are in our dreams. In what we love. In our disappointments. In the moments of catastrophe. In our leaves.

He is in all.
 *thank you to my neighbor as she encouraged all my leaves-talk and her daughter, who gave me her Halloween candy.

Linking with Emily Freeman
click here to track back with the rest of the series on creative adventures.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Like it or Love It? October Version

I'm sitting in Italy, it's 2005. I keep thinking it's 2006 but it's not. It's probably October (if it is, I'll laugh, because everything crazy/interesting/weird happens in October). I never thought I'd be in Italy. Eating pizza, real pizza, that would forever wreck me from eating fake pizza, which is what I call pizza in America. It's kind of like going to see a tribute band, which is something I've done. I went to see fake Dave Mathews Band, which closely resembles real Dave Mathews, but if you look hard, no, they are not the same people.

But, I digress.

Pizza. Italy. 2005. October?

My friend and Europe adventurer Mandy loved to gauge how we were doing when it came to trying new food in new countries.

So she'd ask us if we liked the food or loved it.


Swiss rosti, like it or love it?

Swiss chocolate, like it or love it (answer is always love it)?

Spaghetti (real spaghetti, similar to real pizza), like it or love it?

French crepes, like it or love it?

Maybe this experience overseas spoiled me forever on eating good food and the way I shop for groceries the European way, but other than my palate improving, something else that stuck out was the way my friend questioned us.

I don't ever remember her asking, "so, do you dislike it or like it?" But it was something like this: "Oh, you don't like it? You must LOVE it." That's Mandy for you.

It was Europe, what's not to like?! But really, I think there were a few times we didn't know what we were ordering and of course, could not read the menu (silly Americans!). These were few and far between because we lived adventure so...we reoriented our minds that we might never be back here again, so it was a like/love experience, not a love/hate experience.

I don't remember everything about that October. It was probably filled with challenges as much as it was with Swiss chocolate happiness and mountains to overlook. Actually, I know it was.

Every year when I do a series in October, I bring this up. Any stay overseas, even in the most beautiful country in the world, changes you.

This was one of my most favorite adventures. It taught me how to adventure.

I know I missed home. I know our neighbors got mad at us because we didn't do things the Swiss way. I know I about broke my feet from so much walking and got lost and missed trains and got locked in a school (yes, it happened).

yet.

We chose to like it.  We knew when to love it.

Sure, the beautiful mountains helped.

Every day wasn't easy, beautiful mountains aside. There were moments when I thought, what am I doing? I can't communicate with anyone from home unless we stand a mile from our flat at a pay phone and pay a billion Swiss francs, and I don't speak their language (s). Do you know Switzerland has four languages? A gold star to anyone who can name all of them.

 

Here is some food for thought from Shauna Niequist. If you don't know already, she's one of my most faves and I had to get her in the series somewhere.

"We all know people who are miserable on mountaintops, and we all know people who are brimming with contentedness even when bills are going unpaid or health problems loom. It’s about the insides..."

It is about the insides. Drat!

The whole article is good. She talks about finding lightness and soul again.

She talks about what happens when you don't let yourself say that you want to live differently, when you don't say that you are tired or forgetting how it feels to experience life. What if you say those things but you fail to do anything about them?

October always seems to include change and lots of effort. I can't believe I'm saying this, but this here marks 7 years I've lived in North Carolina. Right now -- 7 years! My Halloween anniversary. Scary stuff! Just kidding.

This year, I'm going to try the like it or love it scale with all the uncertainty I'm facing (umm...I like it?), and the once again changes October brings (I love it...?).
I'm still not sure about it. I think I need to go back to Switzerland to test the theory. My hypothesis is that it's a good idea to use the like it or love it scale but I think I'd know better with some Italian pizza in my hand.

Adventure time.

So, I wonder, what kind of adventure has October been for you?

What's the most surprising thing you've found this month that you like, that you love?


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Eat the Mystery?

Here are some basic truths about me: I like to record funny things that happen (a running record of sorts: humor is good). I like creative things.

I've enjoyed talking about some of my favorite things this month. And talking about funnies that have come up in life. This is medicine for my soul.

But I read an article by Jon Bloom that was convicting this weekend and it helped reinforce that the point of all this gabbing about creativity and paint isn't to make you fall more in love with art. It's to help you and me see that it all this good stuff like music, writing, painting, our adventure-full lives, they point back to God. The point is to see the Artist behind it all.

It sounds simple but translation from head to heart is hard for me at times.

In the end, all my activities, my time reading blogs (and writing them!) cannot replace truth and the life giving word that needs to penetrate my heart every day. How it is so easy for me to live my life thinking I can make it on my own sustenance. I know it's not possible, yet I try.

I can either choose to live in the grace he supplies for today -- to eat the manna he gives -- or I can search out my own way.

The gifts I pour out, what I can do, my life, is nothing apart from him.

Everything about this series still hinges on remaining connected to the one who gives life.

Jesus plus nothing still equals everything. Do I believe this? Is he all I need for today, and the next day and every day I breathe life?

If not, there is nothing left to pour out. I need to eat the manna, the mystery -- even when I don't understand, even when I'm curious about grace for tomorrow. His grace for today is sufficient. I need to trust the Giver who gives me all of life and from whom all good gifts come.

Search my heart, Lord. This is my adventure for today. 

Psalm 139:23-24

I pray you find your own unique adventure for where you are today....

Monday, October 28, 2013

On Adventures

Sometimes this feels like my life, at least my work life:
 


Current life status -- I'm all adventured out.

Correction -- I'm all complicated adventured out.

Problem is, adventure is complicated.

Wikipedia (reputable source that it is) characterizes adventure as "an exciting OR unusual experience, a bold USUALLY risky undertaking, with an UNCERTAIN outcome."


I still want to choose...
exciting
bold
certain

When it seems unusual, risky, uncertain is who I meet. A lot.

Tis' life though. We choose whether to make all an adventure, even the messy, complicated parts.

Essentially I am forever writing about these topics in one way or another, about what happens when life interrupts and you get to choose what to do with it.  Last year I wrote about inviting the uninvited, this year creative adventures. You say tomato...

I've gotten better with the chaos in my work life and know it comes with the nature of the job, but finding balance is KEY. It's hard but it's needed. I am starting to say no more.

No No No No No.

It's a work in progress. I'm thankful for the journey.

These days, I'm making peace when the answer to some things has to be no.

No often makes space for what's needed, for where God has placed or is calling you and me.


Need an adventure? I'd like one of yours, please! Send me one that doesn't involve hitting, biting or anything else. Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Good paintbrushes open all doors."

There is a quote by Thomas Fuller:

"Good clothes open all doors."

Don't ask me why I remember this, but my sweet friend (who I got to see recently in Ohio -- horray!) used this quote in college. I have a funky memory sometimes. My friend Melinda says maybe I could write a memoir. Partly, I just like writing down interesting/funny things people say. As in, quote unquote "you could write a memoir." -Melinda. See?

The point of this story is that if good clothes can open doors, good paintbrushes can open even more. Try it.

I bought an assortment of what I consider good paintbrushes to use with my kiddos. I'd never had 'good' paintbrushes before, so I've been having fun with them myself. I'm sure the kids don't mind...

I'm not a visual artist, not a design person. I paint because its freeing and I like experimenting with color. It's a way to recharge. To respond to God as I put down my own agenda and pick up the paintbrush, as I follow alongside the beat of music. Painting is another freeing way to let go of the chaos and make space for God in a world and in a soul that is too noisy.

attempts at capturing life around the 'art table'

I've always known some of the best ways God gets through to me is with art, I just didn't know that He was inviting me to be part of that process. It's not just me hearing music, not just me writing because it's something I do. God shows me through art, through music, through His creation, through His Word, His love never fails.  Feet may fail, Christ's love never fails.

Let us praise Him! We're in a good adventure.

How is Christ working in you? = Adventure.

Want to be part of my memoir? = Adventure (ha ha!)

Like messy painting sessions? = Adventure.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Paint Your Pet

I am sorry, I find this funny.
 
 
Painting your pet, is that a thing? I did not know.
 
I learn something new every day.
 
Art astounds me.
 
Art is great, even when it includes pet painting, whether I think it makes a whole of sense or not.
 
I used to think abstract art was the kind of art that didn't make sense, but that is not true.
 
Your art is not going to make sense to people, necessarily.
 
I am sure my art will not make total sense to you all the time. I don't have to wonder, I am sure. It still works out.

I don't know how many times I've said it on here, but I disliked art with passion growing up.
 
The kind of passion that draws people to draw or paint or sculpt, yeah, I had that kind of passion to avoid art and the art room.
 
Art phobia?
 
If there is such a thing, it's gone. I think 99 percent.
 
I like art....

Okay, there's still a tiny part of me who wonders even after 31 days of talking about creativity and adventures and throwing some art talk in there, if I've done any 'art.'
 
But I believe people who talk about the act of making art with life and I see it showing up everywhere and I start to believe God when there is a unique way He made me with interests and ways that art can spill out.
 
AND I look at the paint-a-pet and how it was someone's unique idea and their interests and definite love of pets is getting to spill out in a way I am sure people love, too.
 
So there.

Need an adventure?*
(Taken from Room to Write): What do you fear (with art)? Write about it.

"...describe it in concrete and specific detail."

For all you non-writing folk or those attempting to play with other art forms (like me!), remember you can be creative with almost any prompt.
 
 
* I had other ideas but then I started talking about art phobia...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Wrong Way

The fair has been in town and no, I did not go. I secretly like to pretend I'm very busy the week it's in town and apparently this year it worked because the excitement and the crazy for this week has been vast.

Word to the wise: do not declare to the world you want to make a month all about creative adventures because then you might get tested on every side and then it seems like there's no excuse but to say "well, that was an adventure."

No, sometimes you take a long, long journey and end up at the same hair salon/gas station in the pitch black twice.

GPS, you are no longer my friend.

I typed in an address and I ended up in what felt like Halloween come to life on a windy, dark country road that was not where I was supposed to be.

I think I ended up at the nexus of the universe, which I repeat, is a hair salon/gas station. I think in broad daylight it might not be so bad, but currently the whole experience did not feel like an adventure. And I woke up today with a flat tire.

It's okay, this is not a complaint. There is a point to this story.

The WEIRD thing about this whole incident is that earlier that day I had been thinking about something that happened to me when I was driving in a not so great neighborhood about a year ago, just doing my job...a little too late at night, so it was again pitch black (are we seeing a trend?). All of a sudden, about 10 (I say ten but maybe it was about 6) bigger guys who were in the street started swarming toward my car, getting super close and shouting. I couldn't make out what they were saying and I was a little bewildered. I am trying to drive through this here street, I was thinking. But they wouldn't let me! What in the world?! Finally, I heard what they were saying. They were shouting "wrong way."

Apparently, I was on a one way street. Going the wrong way. 

Thanks guys. I had no idea.



This leads me to today's adventure. I am not sure if anyone NEEDS an adventure today or anything, but I am sure one is going to come to you regardless.

So, I have some questions for you.

When have you been going the wrong way? Did anyone stop you? Did ten people stop you? Have you ever stopped anyone from going the wrong way? Do you work in a hair salon/gas station? I am not knocking it, I just kind of want to visit on a good day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What I Learned About Gladness and Hunger

First, a video for you, via Relevant.



And this just reconfirmed that one of my dream jobs is working in a children's hospital. I'm in love.

I have a lot of 'dream jobs,' or better yet, things I can envision myself doing. But they are all related to kids (or writing, and/or writing children's books). I used to think that was kind of silly, but now I don't. Kids are great, and if I need my adult fix, well, adults are everywhere. I can't get away from them since they are my peer group. I just love kids though, because if I were to choose the people with the most life around me, it's them. Do you ever see adults dancing a video to Katy Perry's "Roar" like this? Well, the staff in the video don't count -- surely, the kids made them do it.

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet. ― Frederick Buechner 

I watch this video a couple more times and think about where God is calling me to at this next stage of life.

This quote has long been a source of encouragement but also haunted me.

The two sided coin. Gladness. Hunger.

Those two are often not friends in my book. I don't know that they always meet, even in the 'place God calls you to,' and when they do meet, it's kind of awkward.

Let me explain.

Gladness =

This video reminds me of my love for all things medical and bringing hope to those in dark places. I've never actually worked in the medical field although I feel like I have through personal experiences. Sometimes this feels like an 'idealized' gladness. But I know it makes my heart jump a little.

Hunger =

Seeing kids struggle in rougher neighborhoods and in their homes and have to fight to get by. And then there's putting a face with the drop out rate and literal hunger.

I've long struggled with how to find 'deep gladness' in the work I do. I find parts of it comedic, because of the people I've worked with who have lightened the load, but other elements are not so funny. Think Awake by Noel Yeatts.

There's not much to be glad about in these types of situations, right?

But something started to change when I began to apply this quote not just to my work life but all of life and what God had created me for and who He was calling me to be.

Guess what?

There's a hunger, not just out there, but also in me.

The kind that can barely keep up when life gets confusing. And then I play this song by Ingrid Michaelson because it's on my favorite mixed CD and Ingrid is awesome.
There's a hunger that my body remembers and I do the hard work to keep myself full -- on food and in the Spirit.

There's a gladness inside me, too, that doesn't have to be an idealized anything, because that's not what God calls me to. He calls me to see life as it is and know that there will be trouble -- but He has overcome the world. I can REJOICE in that!

This deep gladness comes from not letting the deep hunger take over.

It comes from seeing it for what it is and seeing that an awkward meeting is better than no meeting at all and that slowly, God allows the two to come together and make friends and this is good. All of life, not just work life, God calls me to remember this.

linking with emily today

Need an adventure? Tell me one place gladness and hunger meet in your life.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kids Know Best?!

Need an adventure? Listen to some kids talk love. Then go do love.

Be amazed by the ones who say what they mean and tell the truth, unashamedly.

The ones who are some of the most creative beings.

Because this is tied together and somewhere down the line if we're not careful we start to lose this.




love is...

"when people like each other and do good things for each other and help out."

"love is when you love your nana."

"love is when you love a...crayon?"

Monday, October 21, 2013

I've Always Wanted to...

This week is the week to try new things. 

I still want to curl up on my cozy couch because it was nice to take a creative break. You can do that when you write for 31 days on creative adventures and one of your adventures is to do just that. It's possible I might do it again within the context of these 31 days, sorry and I know I'm lame but that's the way it is, adventurers. Adventuring takes energy so I need some time to rest.

But, you're in luck, because today I got some junk email you're going to love. You can thank me later for subscribing to Meetup Groups once in order to find some people to play tennis with and now I get their endless emails for 'Motorcycle Riders' and "Line Dancing Addicts' and the like. Meetup groups, if you don't know about them, only confirm that there are people meeting out there in the world for everything you've possibly ever heard of in life.

I should really just unsubscribe to these emails, but they are quite entertaining at times and beneath my typical junk mail I finally found gold (this is becoming a theme):

The "I've Always Wanted to Try That Group! (with exclamation mark)"

I kept reading.

I will share with you some of what I found, 5 of my favorite legitimate events, courtesy of Meetup group, all rights reserved.

5. "I've Always Wanted to be in a Kick-Butt Djembe (African) Drum Circle!"

4.  "I've Always Wanted to Race in the Grand Prix at Rush Hour (Go) Karting!"

3. "Time for some Sushi" (this felt a bit out of context).

2. "I've Always Wanted to VOLUNTEER to Bake @ Ronald McDonald House"

1. "I Always Wanted to Play Hooky From Life and Go Snow Tubing for a Day!"

This makes me happy. Apparently, I've never done any of these things. Except I've had sushi but it still creeps me out most of the time, and I have been to the Ronald McDonald house to visit and really love what they do. I like how for every event no matter what it is these Meetup group people are so excited with their language. See word VOLUNTEER in all caps. I read it as GET EXCITED.

Do I get excited about new things, even small things? I don't see volunteering as an adventure, but it is. I mean 'playing hooky from life and going snow tubing for a day' sounds great, but what about other things?

There were smaller things on their event list that didn't make mine, trying Laotian food and going to First Friday downtown where there's a gallery walk of art exhibits.

I like big adventures. Truth be told, I'm not much for hang gliding or zip lining. I say this nonchalantly as if I do it all the time. But even if I don't do those things, I still like big adventures.

When I see the words "I've always wanted to try that!" I get excited, I think that for once I might be brave and play hooky from life and go snow tubing for a day (although this actually sounds terrible because I'd probably rather do an activity on water). Or I propose that I might follow through with my traveling-spirit, dreamer-heart and move out of my apartment or put my stuff in storage for a few months and go somewhere new.


I talked with a new friend the other day and she reminded me that God gives a spirit of adventure as a gift.

We can use it as such or we can abuse it, by leaning too far into our impulses or by squishing it all together.

It's good to dream, but today I'm asking God to reign in my dreams for His purposes.

Need an adventure? Make your own event list of things you want to try, big or little. Don't squash your lovely, unique, adventurous self, but remember to ask God to use your endeavors for His glory.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

New

Currently, God is again teaching me that there's a certain beauty in imperfect creating and that He is doing something new -- not just in what I choose to create -- but more than that, in me.

Need an adventure? Ask God to create in you again.




Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone. The new is here!
-2 Corinthians 5:17

linking with emily today for imperfect prose

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Life as a Jukebox

When I'm really tired and don't have a lot of poetic things to say to the world, apparently I talk in song lyrics.

I unashamedly love 80's music. This appears to be the decade for my walking jukebox, as I found out last night.

What's yours?

Need an adventure? Talk only in song lyrics.

Have a creative day, friends.

P.S. Don't stop believing.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Laughter and Lauren Graham Talks Q and A

Need an adventure? Laugh. An adventure so easy to have, it's crazy.

Here's a fun fact I found for you all:

It's been said that children laugh about 300 times a day, while adults laugh on average only 15 to 100 times a day.


And while we're on the subject of kids, I came across this today. Fellow adults, don't be taking away their books, now. Reading and imaginations are important.

From there, I somehow managed to find Lauren Graham's awesome Q and A about writing her first book (this excites me!) and her eclectic commercial history. 

I hope you enjoyed the bloggy train I was on from laughter to Lauren Graham, which somehow came full circle. Whether you are a Gilmore Girls fan or not (if not, we might need to have a talk), Lauren's antics are sure to brighten your day.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What Other People Said

Need an adventure? 

Me too. I've gotten used to this adventure thing.

See below.

Instead of reading my words, check out what Emily Freeman is up to in her series (and her new book!) on how to live art with your life. Apparently, I am subconsciously influenced by my favorite writers. But her sis, Nester, says that everyone's topics are 'different' because they come from your own point of view. I guess that is only reinforced by the vision behind Emily's book. Releasing the art you were made to make. To live. It's freeing that the process of creating can somehow bring out the person you were created to be. And that it's all about giving God the glory in that. Thanks, Emily! I can't wait to read A Million Little Ways.





Monday, October 14, 2013

On Sponges and Creative Breaks

Creativity and adventure often come in unexpected places.

Like friendship.

Yesterday (the same day I wrote about life in twitter-land), it happened to work out that I got to hang with friend after friend most of the day long. This is what happens when you have friends from different walks of life...you see them one at a time. 

Still, it's my favorite kind of a day.

 
Sometimes I need to remember why I write. Being with people causes me to remember this. I write to tell stories of mercy and grace because God is good. And I write because of what I find out there. Not what I find in here. Even though it's easy to find good things here, too, to connect to people and to keep up with organizations.

"Certainly, I'm not going to sit on the Internet all day and read what Sam from Iowa is saying about me. But I'm a sponge. I've always been a sponge."
-Emminem

I still choose newspapers over newsfeeds, real live friends over Facebook. Even though perhaps like Emminem, I've always been a sponge, too.

But what good is a sponge if all the water remains trapped inside it?

Creative-ness is like that, too.

I thought I would spend use this week for less blogging and more intentional time for creating and being with people, the usual and unusual suspects.
 
Need an adventure? Be like a sponge. Or don't. Spend some time with your unlikely friends and enjoy the creative adventure.
 


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Funny Videos

I've been talking about some heavier things for a little while, so I thought today I would talk about rats and twitter. Turn away now if you don't like a bit of the light side.

Here are a couple of places I'm finding laughs recently:

Ratatouille: I love this movie. That's basically it. It makes me laugh every time. Creativity at work!



My friend Amy's blog as she shares fun with twitter. You might have seen the video she posts there, but another thing we can learn other than Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake are funny (true story) is that twitter can bring to light others-centered organizations while looking all #silly and #usinghashtagsforeverything.

Need an adventure? #makeeverythingintoahashtag.

Want to join me on twitter and see some more #hashtagsilliness there? Oh, don't let me stop you.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Girl Meets World {part 2} : A Few Favorites and Freedom

Yesterday, we adventured into thinking about some things that disturb us (perhaps?). This causes me to go into some unfriendly territory if I'm honest with myself.

I don't always know how to trace the hand of God but I know that my job is to trust. That He weaves together beauty from pain, how sometimes joy and grief are sidekicks in a story we don't always understand. 
 
My place is to trust.
 
And share the voice He's given me.
 
Here are a few other voices and songs I've heard lately that have been ringing in my ear as a call to live fully awake.

--Sara Bareilles, "Chasing the Sun"
 


"It’s a really old city
Stuck between the dead and the living
So I thought to myself, sitting on a graveyard shelf
And the gift of my heartbeat sounds like a symphony
Played by a cemetery in the center of Queens


...more than that, it's to dare us to move..."


--Sara Groves

She's been one of my favorites ever since her debut release of "Conversations" (how could I not love that?). She uses her voice for those who can't share their own or who have been silenced by oppression. Thankful to Sara and others who use their gifts to bring light to dark places.
 
--This video (thank you Storyline blog).

This girl is amazing and I would have never thought about painting on x-rays. I can't tell you how many x-rays and other medical tests I have had over the years for my spine. I still have them stored away in case someday, someone is able to make sense of them.
 
She shines light on dark places, and reminds us that it's okay -- actually beautiful -- when we see 'a picture of pain.'  As she says, "I don't think that should be hidden."
 
 
Need an adventure? Speak up..your voice matters.

Have you found freedom in bringing to light the places that have lived in the dark? I'd love to hear about it.

Want to check back on the rest of the series? Go 
here.
Don't forget to see what other 31 day friends are up to!



Friday, October 11, 2013

Girl Meets World {part 1}

I'm reading the book Awake by Noel Yeatts right now. It's a great book. I love this author and this might be my favorite sentence so far:

"Do they not know that 16.6 million children have been orphaned by AIDS? Do they not know that an entire continent is wasting away while we are playing baseball?" *

I'm constantly reminded that this is a broken world with broken systems. I should not be surprised when it's tough to keep a reliable job to help kids who are struggling, not in Africa, but in our backyards, because of the broken systems.

Noel says there will come a point when something in this world is going to disturb you, and not in a I'm-disturbed-because-I-am-not-getting-what-I-want kind of way.

But when you find out what thing (s) disturbs you, it will be a wonderful thing. Because then you will live with eyes wide open.

Injustice bothers me. Wreckage of families bothers me. A child without a home bothers me. Kids who don't know they are loved and cared about and thought about bothers me...by people and mostly by the Creator of the Universe.

I used to live a comfortable life. Sometimes I still do, because there are times I'm away from it all, and I admit, it's easier to focus on me and my beyond blessed self.

Why? Because it's easier. If you are a young male who is rebelling against life, I probably don't have much in common with you, except basketball, and even then you will likely beat me. I do a little better with the girls, but they still might roll their eyes when they see me.

It's the honest truth. My job is not easy. No one's job is easy if it is doing something that disturbs you. I know that is a weird way to look at it. Maybe it's not your job, but something, somewhere in your life, are you a bit uncomfortable?

My story was Ohio cornfields, small town, two stop light college town.

Brokenness exists there, too. In this world, you get your choice of brokenness. It's everywhere. As for me, it's currently on the streets.

Here's the thing. I'm not sure I'm more creative because of the work I do (maybe?), but God has certainly created something in me with these last few years. One thing it's taught me: I know that I continue to need renewal and refreshment for the journey all the time. His grace.

What I'm doing, I see clearly that it all might change tomorrow. I have to be ready for that. But I'm thankful I know a few more things that disturb me and have woken me up.

Need an adventure? Figure out what disturbs you (if you don't already know).

*disclaimer: There's nothing inherently wrong with baseball. My favorite team is the Cleveland Indians.

linking with emily for imperfect prose.




Thursday, October 10, 2013

31 Days Stories and Fuzzy Concepts

In essence I feel like my writing always involves story (and fuzzy concepts).

Last two 31 days: Loving the Middle Space = fuzzy concept 1
Inviting the Uninvited = fuzzy concept 2

This year= Creativity. Fuzzy concept 3? Here's a link to the story I've been working on so far.

Know what story I really like? Yours.

I love writing for 31 days (most days). But every year I'm reminded that I can hardly keep up with everyone else's stories, the ones that are posted all over for the month of October. I am amazed by all you sophisticated bloggers who can do it all and also have your laundry done at the same time. Maybe it's a fa├žade, I'm not sure.
Nevertheless, I've decided in an effort to have more days to read your story, next year may be dedicated to 31 days of Silence.

Need an adventure? If you are doing a 31 day journey, leave a comment with a link so I can find your story! Ha, see how slick I am? If you're not a 31 dayer, you can also leave a comment because I love you, too.



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

5 Little Words

Tonight I'm thinking about the fact that God can still do much more than we can think or ask or imagine. He is the Creator, before I am a creator.

He has the ability to make something beautiful from anything, to make something new from garbage, light from darkness, beauty from ashes.



This past week I went to an annual benefit dinner for a ministry I love, who brings hope and healing to hurting teenage girls. This is their mission, this is what is behind much of their work.

....to comfort all who mourn
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes
the oil of gladness instead of mourning
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.

That they may be called oaks of righteousness
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. - Isaiah 62:8

Everywhere within this organization you just see HOPE. Hope, knowing that what is going on in our circumstances is temporary.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed in us." -Romans 8:18

We cannot look only at the present, only at the sufferings now. I talked with a good friend of mine today, three little kids jumping in the air like grasshoppers, her sweet girl giving herself a makeover with markers, and me, in a different season of life but struggling to hang on to a steady job.
 

We both decided we would not know where we would be without hope. Without Christ as an anchor for hope.

We are not without hope.


5 little words that make all the difference.

It doesn't mean we don't want to pull our hair out sometimes. It doesn't mean there aren't days we cry or scream or want to run away.

But when the world sends me garbage,

I can look for a way to send back music.

I can look for what God is doing.

It's never as far as I think.

Father God, I pray that I will be reminded more and more that the hope found in you is much greater than what the world provides. May I recognize that you can take even garbage and make something new with it, that you have the ability to make all things new.
Thank you for not discarding your children when our lives stink because we are living in a landfill without knowing it. May we learn to rest in the hope found in you and let music spill out with our lives.

Need an adventure? Listen to a song that brings you hope.

Need a suggestion? Here's one of my faves. It's in the title.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I'd Rather be Sailing

The sign on my door currently says "Gone Sailing."

Just kidding, but it's a nice thought.

I'm still in the midst of resting.

When it's decent weather and I need to 'rest,' I will go hang by the water. The other day, I spent time at the pond next to where I live and one of our local North Carolina lakes. A far cry from the Great Lakes but still water.

My love for anything water started early but usually consisted of sun bathing on the beach or shoreline swimming. I was a teenager before I truly discovered how much I like boats.

Sailboats suit me. I like the peace and calm of the sailboat over motorboats. But there are times I think sailboats need to just get moving already! I remember being in the middle of a lake convinced I would be stuck out there all day. Sailing is often a waiting game.

I grew up without any knowledge of sailing and because I've only been out a few times with my friend Jodi, I still can only tell you few things about it. I knew when to duck my head and that falling over was likely.

I remember two things about sailing: the calm of the lake and tipping over.

I was helpless on the water. I had no idea what I was doing. Without my friend's help, I may still be out there on that lake.

 
Sailing reminds me that pausing to stand still isn't always bad. All that waiting requires steady patience, something that sailing -- and life -- has its unique way of teaching me again and again.

Need an adventure? Go sailing and take me with you...no, really.

 


Okay, if you can't go sailing, practice patience today. I will do the same.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Have a Dream

Today was gloomy and rainy. A day made for a nap. Some days will be nap days instead of creative days.

Creativity often wakes up again after a little rest. I want this series to be authentic, so I'm trying to follow along with the adventures, too.

After a weekend states away with beloved college friends, my current transition-filled life is in full swing again. This can be good, I think, even though I may or may not have attempted to hop a new return flight yesterday. Cayman Islands, anyone?

I'm back to reality today, and I know that as the dust settles, I begin to see the joy in everyday moments. Even though the adventure of the airport was one to remember.

I give myself a few minutes to dream.

Need an adventure? Take a nap. Have some dreams. (courtesy of my dear friend, Ashley).

Where have your adventures taken you lately? Here's some of my recent faves.



 
 



 
 
 
-life is good
 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Yellow Spot

What is art to you?

To me art is wild, colorful, messy expression. 

I like wild, creative stuff. I can like art.


Except that art was not always this way for me.

Art class. Not being good enough. Fear of being laughed at for not knowing how to draw anything (I still prefer to draw stick people thank you very much).

Somewhere down the line, art changed and it became the wild, creative stuff. Not the stuff of art class that I was afraid of.

A couple years ago, I attended a conference that used a lot of art journaling and creativity with colors and collages and my favorite, paint.

And I started working with the kiddos. 

They change the way I see art.

Our passions and gifts are not to be pursued because we are perfect at them but because they come from the Giver.

And we don't all have to love and be good at everything, but I think I like art. Except something was holding me back for years.

“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun. ” -Pablo Picasso




Maybe my artwork looks a little more like the yellow spot sometimes, maybe you can't distinguish it from the kiddos, but I've started to love art. I can't believe it. Me. And Love. And Art (not an Avett Brothers song).

Need an adventure? Explore color. Try out colors you don't normally use with whatever you have on hand: paint, magic marker, mix it up with your clothes.

Linking with she loves magazine for a create link up. Yes, everybody now..share your create story.

Friday, October 4, 2013

On Friends and Jumping for Joy

As I write this, I'm sitting at a pizza shop, in between work and the next event.  I was supposed to go to improv, but sometimes life becomes improv and you have to be flexible. Sometimes you have approximately five minutes to write a post because it feels like the pre scripted ones just won’t do.
 
So I had to post about what I'm doing right now.

 
This weekend I get to see some of my long-ago friends. And celebrate the wedding of one of them!
 
I’m linking up with emily today for imperfect prose, where people like you and me get together to talk about redemption.

Friends are part of my redemption story.

Not everyone gets to keep up with long-ago friends. It's been a gift.
I am not sure what all this all this has to do with creativity, but I know that the people in my life have had an influence on the calling on my life -- one of which is to write. People are important to include in our passions.

I've never felt like a lone writer. Maybe I include people a little too much in my writing (a.k.a. any friends from church I would like to interview because you are crafty and I am not).

Read this article for more.

Everywhere around you are the people who have shaped you and are shaping you. Some say you are an average of the five people you are with the most (source).  This might scare some of you...


But if you’re lucky, they’ll be a few along your way who are always your cheerleaders and you get to be in their lives and visit their homes and go to their weddings even after years and miles away.

Need adventure? Call a friend or two today. Be reminded of their awesomeness.

Also liking with Lisa-Jo and others today where the prompt is Write.