Creative Suicide: A Postscript to M.L. Candelario’s ‘On Creativity’

Monstrous waves break and flatten, meteors trail on only momentarily through the atmosphere, and all things die, decay, or are wrought out of an historical situation that can no longer be genuinely identified with. This is creative suicide: the tendency of all things beautiful to annihilate themselves. Therefore, I find it ironic when people hope to preserve beautiful things from decay. Of course, this idea that beauty is able to be bottled up—or cryogenically maintained through the ages—is a concept ignited by embers of Platonic thinking: the Beautiful is trans- or ahistorical.

Bullshit.

In fact, this is probably my greatest issue with photography. Of all the scenes and people and instants captured by the camera, all of her claims to beauty are contrived. Its moments are torn from their temporal span and stilled. I’m not saying that I’m calloused to appreciating captured instants, but I think you can see my point. An outing with friends and lively conversation (usually instigated further by the pint) inevitably leads to an evening of camera flashes. Sometimes upon reviewing those images I’ll see one that I find to be a particularly striking representation of friend. Maybe it was also angled well and additionally adorned with flattering lighting. But that image lacks a temporal context. The facial expression being made lacks reference to the ones preceding and following it. The instant captured may be nice, the picture even pretty, but the beauty of it—tied inextricably with the historical span—died with the passing of the existential moment.

The creators also struggle throughout all of this. Some devote their lives to a creative task, while others make do with the precious minutes they can sneak out of a day. People with a creative lust, though, have a tendency to wrestle out their work with the inner demons nagging at their soul (maybe much like Jacob wrestled his new name from—an angel of?—God).suicide

In fact, I struggle. It’s (not so?) readily known that my creative angst is inextricably tied up with abstract philosophizing and the foundations/justifications of Christian belief. However, it’s easy for me to drown out my thought-life in an alcoholic blur. I believe creators can relate to this. From my own disciplines I can summon Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein. Christian history is replete with moody theologians, found most evidently with the book of Job and the prophets of Hebrew Scripture. Michael, as a writer, certainly knows of Hemingway (who killed himself), Huxley (who was most conspicuous about his drug use), David Foster Wallace (who also killed himself), and Hunter S. Thompson (who also found life better unlived). And musicians… do I really need to say more here?

The lure of the creative (and the beauty bound up with it) is its tendency to self-destruct. That tendency (maybe not so ironically) follows the creator’s as well. The things we most want to value—and the people who want to create them—are torn asunder. I agree with Michael about all the things creativity does for the soul; however, it must be admitted that creativity (and the creative) bear a dark side: it wants to be released and acknowledged, and, paradoxically, freed from your acknowledgment.

See if Bible Reading Influenced My Art

I decided to do it. I took some pictures.

I like to think of my strengths are more along the video editing and screenwriting lines, but in order to break out of a funk I decided to go to downtown Winston-Salem to shoot a few photographs. Now this isn’t totally unusual. During my college years I ran around everywhere taking pictures of everyone and everything. I settled into a philosophy of shooting “life-as-is” and leave the staging for the birds. I also found that I really enjoyed shooting people.  I find that their faces better tell a story than any of my framing or lighting can. So in order to challenge myself, I only shot inanimate objects. 

Here’s something else I decided to do: I read the bible.

I have yet to find any artist, except for maybe this guy, who does this.  I was totally unsure of how it would effect me or the pictures to be taken. But I had a hunch it would do something. I’ll let you decide. I read Matthew 1:18-3:16. Key ideas – 1. The initial grace of Joseph. 2. The use of dreams. 3. The humility of John the Baptist.

Do you see these passages influencing me?

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AFTERTHOUGHTS: Interestingly enough, I did see at least a consistency throughout my photos. Lots of walls and floors, plays on isolation and contrast. 

When Words Fall Short: How Musical Form Contributes to a Song’s Meaning

by Christopher Harrison Brown

A few months ago, my rector introduced me to the work of Ken Myers, host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal, contributing editor for Christianity Today, and former producer and editor for NPR.[1]  An excellent journalist, blessed with what he jokingly calls a “spiritual gift for bibliography,” Myers is well read on a variety of issues pertaining to Christianity and contemporary society.  The subject that has been most pertinent for him in recent years, however, has been the failure of many evangelical Christians to examine their thoughts regarding music, its nature, and its purpose.  This, of course, is a mighty topic and one that I could not begin to grapple with to any extent within the course of a short article.  If you wish to hear Ken Myers do adequate justice to this subject, I would highly recommend looking at his four-part lecture series “Ears to Hear: The Possibilities of Musical Meaning,” a link to which will be provided below.[2

One of the most significant points Myers addresses in this series is the misguided sense of dualism many people have regarding form and content in music.  It seems that, for most modern Westerners, it is either the form (the structure or genre of the music itself) that is of predominant importance or its content (often referring to the words sung within a tune).  When it comes to modern tastes in music, we see that people inhabit both categories.  On the one hand, so many of our youth are more than happy to ignore the explicit lyrics and the perverse worldviews glorified in much of popular music just to indulge in the form of the music. (Myers and I would probably both argue that we should not consider much of modern music to consist of proper form more so than catchy hooks and cascades of sensory overload, but that is an argument for another day.)  On the other end, there are those who hold the words of a song or hymn as being the most significant, even if the music’s form or structure is lackluster.  Indeed, some seem to believe that a song’s music is nothing more than a vehicle for its lyrics.

In recent years, it seems that many Christians in the West have taken up this latter stance, insisting on the intelligibility of the lyrics over the intelligibility of the music that accompanies it.  We will gladly listen to a bland pop tune on K-Love if the artist conveys an understanding of the Gospel and of Christ through (indeed, in spite of!) the blandness.  We find this sort of sentiment expressed in the works and ministry of such groups as Indelible Grace, a group dedicated to setting new music to the lyrics of traditional hymns.[3]  While their work is done with a love and respect for the hymn tradition, one still notices within it this dichotomy between the lyrics and its musical setting.  The lyrics, to them, are the lasting connection to our church predecessors and worthy of preservation.   The music, however, is somewhat antiquated and should, and perhaps needs to be, traded for something more contemporary.  Even Rick Warren, noted author senior pastor of Saddleback Church, has dared to state, “Music is nothing more than an arrangement of notes and rhythms; it’s the words that make a song spiritual.”[4]

In spite of my serious disagreements with this sentiment, I do believe that, for Christians, this dichotomy has a laudable origin.  We, of course, are people of the Word.  Our faith is one that is based on a professed Truth: that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One, who was wounded and died for our transgressions on Calvary and was raised again on the Third Day, thereby reconciling us to the Father. Furthermore, we, who are born anew through His death, resurrection, and ascension, are called to speak this Truth to the whole world (Mk. 16:15) and, in so doing, make disciples of the nations (Mt. 28:19). Indeed, Scripture even proclaims Christ himself as the Logos, the Word of God by whom and through whom all things came into existence (Jn. 1: 1-5)!  This in mind, we are a people who rightly care about the proclamation and reception of Truth.

All of this being said, however, I fear that, in emphasizing the verbal and written proclamation of Truth, we ignore the myriad other means by which we interact with the Divine Realities.  We forget that, for the early Christians, the mind meant something more than the mechanical definition we have inherited from post-Enlightenment Western thought.  The nous, about which the Apostle Paul frequently speaks, entails more than just intellectual cognition, more than just neurons firing properly in the brain.  It speaks, rather, to the intuition that enables us to grasp all of that which is true or real.

We can, indeed, receive and know Truth through rational thought and empirical sciences, but we can also grasp Truth through the intelligibility of the cosmos that God, in His Providence, so rightly ordered and through the senses with which He has blessed us.  And the realities that we know and experience daily as beings of mind and matter, of spirit and flesh, often transcend that which can be spoken or rationally understood.

Music has the capacity to touch on those realities and meanings that cannot be spoken.  Myers, at one point, responds to Rick Warren’s comment about music with a quote from philosopher and literary critic George Steiner, saying, quote, “Music is brimful of meanings which cannot be translated into logical structures or verbal expression.”[5]  When effectively wielded and used in the context of a song, it can envelop the lyrics with added layers of meaning and significance that the lyrics themselves cannot articulate.  Indeed, the finest hymns I know can encapsulate the message of its lyrics through its accompaniment alone.  Think, for instance, of “It is Well with My Soul.”  While I love the sense of triumph in Christ over suffering expressed in Horatio Spafford’s lyrics, I can perceive this same sense, in some ways more profoundly, just by hearing Phillip Bliss’ accompaniment.  I would encourage the reader to listen to several great hymns in his or her spare time today.  Hopefully, if the hymns are well composed, the reader will hear how the music itself conveys the message of the hymn’s lyrics and, to an extent, can carry the message of the tune on its own.  With all due love and respect for my brothers and sisters in Christ who serve His Kingdom through music, I would question whether this can be said for most of contemporary Christian music.  If we were to strip many popular Christian tunes of their words, would they still convey the same degree of meaning?  Or would we simply perceive from them a vague aurora of happy or sad, depending upon the music’s context?

Having lauded Myers’ work throughout this article, I would like to leave the reader with a quote from his “Ears to Hear” lecture series, one that, I believe, does more justice to this subject than I have managed to over the course of this whole article.  In the third part of his lecture, which addresses the significance of musical form, he states:

“…meaning is bigger than verbal content.  Flowers left by a bedside in a hospital room are meaningful.  A cross burned in someone’s front yard is meaningful.  A child running to greet her father returning home means something different from a child sitting coolly on a porch step until he arrives…

“…Words, rationally perceived, are necessary for stating and defending Truth, and we as Christians care about Truth, but we care about more than Truth.  We care about realities that can only be partially described by words.  We care about joy and sorrow, about hope and frustration, about fidelity and fear, about love and justice, and all of these abstractions are known by us as embodied creatures living in space and time.  Sorrow and fear, or hope, aren’t abstractions when you experience them, and what you experience can only be put partially into words, and many works of art, forms of imaginative expression, are suited better than analytic language of expressing what living through and within such realities means.”[6]

Once we, as Christians, can grasp hold of the fullness of our human experience in Christ, with all of its ways of knowing and understanding, perhaps then we can cease to perceive musical form as something inconsequential to its meaning and begin to see how the form can often speak Truth when words fall short.

 

 

[1] https://marshillaudio.org/people/ken-myers

[2] http://www.canonwired.com/epiphany-lectures/

[3] http://www.igracemusic.com/

[4] Ken Myers. “Epiphany Lecture 3: Form, Meaning, and Listening.”  YouTube video, 1:12:31, posted by Canon Wired, Feb. 19, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgOpTf3aJgc.

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

Worship Looks Reverent

My wife and I were invited to a long-time friend’s home. I, however, did not know this friend’s husband very well. I was a bit anxious about getting to know him as I’m not the greatest at small talk. I was expecting to work on a house project with him or chop wood or something, whatever men do. The ladies were going to do some sort of Mary Kay thing, so I was trapped. I was nervous.

But It turned out to be wonderful.

He’s such a gentle man. Always smiling, eager to laugh, enthusiastic about the small things, loving.  His family has no t.v. in the living room. Instead, he has set up an open window with a hummingbird feeder hanging in front of it.

I was, and still am, fascinated at this unconventional living area setup.  
I’m not a hummingbird enthusiast per se, but gosh are they fun to watch. Within five minutes we saw two hummingbirds fighting over the feeder. And for the next two hours, we sat, watched hummingbirds, and talked about where worship comes from.

My new friend told me of how he worships through being isolated, where his thoughts are uninhibited. He told me that he sees God in creation, in music, and most of all – you guessed it – hummingbirds.

He said these birds have always been around him when he’s been praying, during difficult times in his life, or when he’s simply taking in the glory around him.  He told me that he knows that God is always around and that he knows that these creatures are just birds, but, he said, they bring about a sense of wonder and reverence.

And that’s what stuck with me. This is truth. Worship is reverence. It’s humility. It’s allowing circumstances, or creation, or truth to overtake us and point us to a powerful and wonderful God. Yes. This is worship.

So we sat, watching hummingbirds, until our time together drew to a close. We shook hands, said our goodbye’s and laughed at the housewarming gift we happened to give them: A pound of Starbucks coffee with a picture of what else on it? A hummingbird.

ON CREATIVITY AND WHAT IT DOES TO THE HUMAN SOUL

Engaging in the hard work of creativity is one of the most enlightening and edifying things a person can do with this life. It is, at the most fundamental level, the act of gathering together the detritus of this world—the raw materials of words/colors/sounds/physical objects/etc.—and transforming those things into something other. A song or a novel. A painting. A statue. The architectural plans for a house. A game of Dungeons and Dragons. Anything.

It is by our creativity, really, that we are set apart from the other animals on this planet. Are some of the monkeys and dolphins creative? Sure. Do they use tools to achieve end-goals? Yes. But humans are exponentially more creative than anything else on this planet. As one of my writer friends once told me, we humans are so creative that we’ve built artificial legs to jump to the moon! But the question I’ve been asked to tackle in this essay is: what does all this creativity do to us as people? How does it change us? With that in mind, I’ve come up with four key areas of life in which creativity improves our souls.

 

  1.  Creativity Helps Us Retain Our Sense of Wonder

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

– Pablo Picasso

 

“The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.”

– William Faulkner

I write. That’s my main avenue for creativity. But I used to play percussion (I took band from middle school up through college), and I’ve tried my hand (unsuccessfully) at drawing and painting. And every time I’ve ever tried to do anything even remotely creative, I’ve experienced two simultaneous emotions: disappointment and exhilaration. Disappointment because the end product is virtually never what I was aiming for. Exhilaration because I almost always create something unexpected in the process. Characters develop in ways I hadn’t planned. Freestyles on my drumpad end up going off the rails and landing on pleasing combinations of rhythms I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. I’ve heard the experience is much the same with painters and sculptors and all other types of artist. It’s why Bob Ross used to say that artists never make mistakes, but rather “happy” accidents.

Spend any time in a college writing workshop and you will hear this idea repeated over and over, usually translated into some form of “trust the process.” I’ve heard about writers starting to work on a novel with nothing more than a feeling to guide them, nothing more than a color or a single image that they want to write about. But they aren’t worried, really, about the outcome. Because they have been doing this long enough to “trust the process.” They know that the point of art is to keep reaching, and you can’t keep reaching if you ever grasp onto what you’re reaching for. The point is to strive for perfection and then see the happy accidents that happen along the way. And as you strive, you continually perfect what you’re making. These authors end up writing brilliant, incredible works of literature based on a specific color or a single image of a vase. The process does this—it isn’t anything they could have done if they weren’t comfortable getting uncomfortable.

And this is the profound lesson that creativity gives us. Because, let’s face it: shit is going to happen in our lives. We live in a world full of horrors. But in being creative we learn to see the journey in a more positive light. We learn that we don’t have any control over anything, really, and so we shouldn’t expect everything to be perfect. The important thing is to keep reaching.

 

  1. Creativity Encourages Us to Pay Attention

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.”

– Orson Scott Card

 

“What counts most is finding new ways to get the world down in paint on my own terms.”

– Georg Baselitz

 

There are other mantras I can tell you from my time in college writing workshops. “Write what you know.” “By the time you turn 10, you’ve had enough memories to write stories about them for the rest of your life.” Etc. I’m sure that there are similar sayings in art and music classes. The gist, basically, is that making art (in whatever medium) is about seeing what’s around you and getting it down. Many of my stories start with images from my life. Ditto for my poems, which are really just stories in distilled form. And because of this simple fact, creativity forces us to pay attention. If I didn’t really engage in the business of life—if I chose instead to wall myself off in my home, to never talk to or observe other humans, I would have nothing of import to say about… anything.

Most of us live in a sort of oblivious malaise for most of our lives. We wake up, get dressed, go about our daily work, drive along the same routes, eat basically the same foods, and then fall asleep to start all over again the next day. Granted, some of this is necessary. Our world driven by money, so we have to work even if the only jobs we can get are ones we dislike. Routine ones. Stagnant ones. But write one story, paint one picture, or create one song on the instrument of your choice, and I can guarantee you that your daily routinewill suddenly have a couple moments in it that you find inspirational. It will be small at first, probably. But go home, write about that inspiration, and the next day will have a couple more. Soon you’ll find yourself obsessed with seeing the potential for art in everyday life. Creativity infects us with the drive to observe our world, to understand it and deal with it. As Baselitz said: to get it down “on [our] own terms.”

 

  1. Creativity Combats Our Loneliness

“Many people need desperately to receive this message: ‘I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.”

– Kurt Vonnegut

 

“Remember the first time you went to a show and saw your favorite band. You wore their shirt and sang every word. You didn’t know anything about scene politics, haircuts, or what was cool. All you knew was that this music made you feel different from anyone you shared a locker with. Someone finally understood you. This is what music is all about.”

– Gerard Way

 

Our lot as finite, subjective beings is to be utterly and complete alone. I cannot access your thoughts directly. I cannot enter your mind. We are born alone and we will, someday hopefully far in the future, die alone—even if there are lots of people around us. But art allows us to connect with other people in a way that almost nothing else does. Reading someone else’s story, listening to her song, or admiring her painting evokes certain feelings in our very souls—feelings that we were certain we were the only ones familiar with.

I am beginning to suspect that this is what people mean when they say “so-and-so is my favorite author/painter/musician/band/etc.” What they mean, a lot of the time, is that so-and-so “gets” them. I am this way about David Foster Wallace. I read Infinite Jest and blabbed on and on about it for years to anyone who would listen because it struck a certain chord in me that nothing else did. I felt like DFW was writing specifically to me. For me. And once I started writing my own stuff, I realized that this sort of connection goes both ways. I wrote a novel, self-published it, and then was shocked at the way people received it. Some of my readers told me that they were very absorbed in the world I’d built; some told me that they connected strongly to my characters (which, really, aren’t all our characters just extensions of parts of ourselves as writers?). So this little science fiction story went out into the world and came back to me dragging behind it people that it had affected. Everywhere you turn in the world of creativity, people are connecting. They are realizing that they are not alone. And this is one of the most important things for us to realize in this life. We are not alone.

 

  1. Creativity Heals Our Existential Wounds

“The act of painting is about one heart telling another heart where he found salvation.”

– Francisco Goya

 

“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”

– Billy Joel

 

Make no mistake about it: creativity is a kind of escape. And that isn’t a bad thing. This world often needs escaping from. As I said earlier, it is full of horrors. A look at the Middle East or Darfur or a cursory glance at history will be enough to show you that. What’s interesting to me, though, is that creativity isn’t just an escape from this hell that we humans sometimes find ourselves in. It’s also a kind of sign pointing the way for others.

I am confident that virtually any romp through an art museum will reveal a healthy percentage of work fraught with terrifying imagery. Why is that, do you think? Quite simply, it’s because the artist went through those things and was trying to deal with those experiences. Now, I’m not trying to say that art cures our wounds completely. It doesn’t. Making a nice painting won’t erase the fact that you were raped, or that your father just passed away, or that your house burned down unexpectedly and you are now homeless and bankrupt. It doesn’t fix the things that happen to us. But what it can do is help us deal with those things in a constructive way. I suspect that creativity’s ability to do this is tied up significantly with #3. Because part of what happens when we write a story about our troubles and tragedies (or make any other art with these events as a theme) is that others read it and connect with us. We realize that others have been where we are. Or at the very least that they sympathize. We realize that help is all around us, in some form or another.

Creating art is perhaps the most successful avenue for dealing with our problems. As humans, we have this gift/curse of having to process things. Science is built upon the idea of processing things—of taking the raw data of our world and filtering it through rigorous testing to see if it holds up to scrutiny. But we also do this with our hurts. Being creative often allows us to sift through these experiences and get our emotions out. In doing so, we grow. And it is growth, fundamentally, that is the essence of creativity.

So those are my four thoughts on why being creative is good for us as humans. Do you agree? Do you have any other points you’d like to make? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Repurpose: The List of Endless Doing

There are so many questions that fly through my mind on a daily basis, it’s hard to find time to sit down and grapple with them. I have all these ideas, all these questions, all these avenues and doorways that open up during the course of a day, ways that I want to explore and flesh out and turn into a story, a painting, or a poem.

What if there was this one…

I wonder if I could wrap this ribbon around…

Could I write this on…

How about…

It’s an endless stream of thought. Funny thing is, there are plenty of other endless things that exist within my day. Things that are not particular to my own experience that many other artists/writers/poets/creatives have had to and are still attempting to overcome. I like to call this the List of Endless Doing. Mine reads something like this:

  • Get up with the husband and pack sandwiches for lunch.
  • Make coffee.
  • Journal/art journal/read a book for leisure.
  • Get started on homework

OR

  • Get the laundry going/dust/clean bathrooms.
  • Feed the children.
  • Fold laundry from the day before.
  • Chase the baby.
  • Feed the baby.
  • Chase some more.
  • Read a book to the toddler.
  • Lunch.
  • Clean the kitchen.
  • NAPS.
  • Put away clothes, fold more.
  • Make coffee.
  • Browse social media. Think about writing/painting.
  • Naptime’s over.
  • Errands?!
  • Wash more things.
  • Wrestle with kids.

And it so it goes. I’m sure there are a good many lists that look similar for many stay at home parents. It’s not all bad, either. We love our kids. We love to play and read and chase and wrestle. The housework isn’t even all bad. Sometimes the methodical soaping and suds-ing of dishwater and bath times, or the texture of clothes and blankets folding into neat little piles, can be grounding and relaxing. Traditions become a safeguard of sorts, a way in which the melody of the day re-centers itself.Repurpose

This is all well and good, and sometimes I just get the intense need to clean out cupboards or under beds. Hidden clutter – and visible clutter, for that matter – is not conducive to a creative flow. It is conducive to creative thought. Hence all my ideas. In the course of a day, I probably have at least twenty or so ideas that do not get jotted down or come into fruition until many, many weeks later, if at all.

But the home work and the homework are all good, right? This is where I get to live my art, right? Raising my kids is going to be my greatest masterpiece, right? These are the reminders I get from generations of church-goers and Christ followers who believe the ultimate completion of the soul is done in the work, work, work. The cooking, the cleaning, the nurturing, the bread winning. You know, daily life.

Well, yes and no.

The truth of it is, these parts of life need to receive the overflow. They need to receive the bounty and harvest of what is sown and cultivated in the soil of a creative. What happens most of the time is the exact opposite. I look at my List of Endless Doing, and feel immediately overwhelmed. Time is not on my side. I cannot possibly get done all that I have to do, let alone feel validated in taking time to sit in the mess and uncompleted tasks and create yet another thing. So, my days end up wrapped up in the completion (or not) and the achievements (or not). I dwell in the land of Endless Doing, running and going until all my energy is spent and I have barely enough strength to crack open a book or pick up a pen.

So lately I’ve decided to reframe the way I look at my List of Endless Doing, and redefine what it is I actually do. Yes, there are things that come with the territory of motherhood. But I’m finding those things to be a lot less and a lot simpler than the constant laundry, washing, instructing, and organizing that the namesake seems to inspire upon the arrival of the first squalling little bundle of joy. Motherhood is not a name I bear casually. But I must wear it differently if it’s going to fit properly. I am changing the definition just as much as the name changes me.

I need it to be this way. My children need to be this way. My husband needs it to be this way. My art needs it to be this way. My community needs it to be this way. I am designed to redesign. Consider me the Artificial Intelligence of Creative Life. I assist and incorporate from my own wealth of information and abilities. These are God-given, for such a time as this. The perspective I can bring to my family is needed, and it is desired. I focus on my craft, and the overflow colors my family with joy and ability, creating a harmony of the different parts we all add to it. If I make my art a priority, the time I do have seems to develop with a focused clarity, and I am able to reach an appreciation for relationships and research that has until this point been a wayward rudder in my life.

That’s what this is about, really. Claiming a creative life. Motherhood fits into that. It’s so hard to remember this in a world that values productivity and order and progress and completion. It’s hard to convince others that focusing on my creativity is the most productive, orderly, form of progress I can muster. It looks different. It’s new. But that’s okay with me, because that means my life is, well… Alive.

So here’s my New List of Endless Doing:

  • Enjoy the morning.
  • Enjoy the afternoon.
  • Enjoy the evening.
  • Enjoy the night.
  • Give thanks.
  • Repeat.

I will let my creative calling overflow and nourish every other aspect of life. Today, that looks like laundry heaped on the couch and a floor that needs vacuumed. But I have ideas to paint, books to read, and a classroom to participate in. This is my one life. I will make an example of it. I will embody it, and I will not meet expectations. This is acceptable to me, because I know there is room in the love of God for me to claim these promises. I’m experiencing this firsthand. And I know these promises will inspire my children to go exploring for where God has hidden promises specifically for them. Watching their delight in learning His love and purpose is the highest gift I could receive from motherhood. Giving them the space to do so, celebrating when they find it, and sharing the experience of finding our promises is the best I can give to my children, or anyone.

So, before the evening gets away from me, know that God has promises for you as well. He’s hidden them well, mischievously even, but he’s left clues. Walk on in the faith that His promises are good, and your brand of creativity is a gift, for you before it is for anyone else. Collect your clues, and make sure you’re wearing a comfortable pair of shoes.