Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Destination- growth

today i breathe.
living again feels 
like an open sky,
and i leave
contrails of 
glorious exhale
in my wake

Monday, January 27, 2014

What do they have to say?

I have become an antique store wanderer.

I have never before been one to love history, or genealogy, or old stuff in general.  I much prefer the present, or the possibilities of the future, to the past.  And yet a year or two ago, because of my love of collage and mixed media, I decided I should take a peek into our local antique store and see what paper materials I could find.

I got lost.  In the best way.

The closest antique store to us is a sprawling one story building with musty-smelling nooks and crannies leading into hallways, around corners, and through doorways.  It is an antique mall of sorts, with different small rooms belonging to different dealers, and each has its own color, personality, and mood.  One is packed with military paraphernalia, another with old children's books, and the one next door may have jewelry and vintage woman's magazines.

There are many things I pass by due to cost, and others I'm not interested in at all.  I am not a collector of things.  I do not have trinkets on my shelves, or many pictures on my walls.  I will not have ruby glass or Hummels or a set of nutcrackers to gift to my children when I am gone.

What I collect are stories.  Faces and photos and ledgers and workbooks.  Pieces of lives, handwritten correspondence, and memories of relationships.  I touch the sepia images, see the near non-existent smiles, and wonder at the seriousness of capturing a face in those times.  What do these treasures have to say?  I ask, and they speak, whispering as I create, knowing exactly where they want to be and which piece, which color will suit them best.

Often one of these pieces of long ago will strike me in the most profound way, touching something within me that I hadn't yet discovered, bringing emotions bubbling up to the surface and sharing a phrase or a word.  They may make it into my art journal, or a collage piece, or simply in the waiting space of memories I keep on my table.  I don't rush them.  And they never disappoint me.

I guess I've become a lover of antiques, although it's not really the dissolved past that attracts me.  It's more the essence of humanity that winds its way through time, much as I wind my way through the aisles, and the few dollars I spend on postcards, photos, and disintegrating books seems almost disrespectful to the memories held there.

Yet with reverence, I allow their stories to bloom with paint and pen and paper.  I try to honor with my time those that are long gone, and give them voice on the blank page.  My vision and my art come from the remembering of things I never experienced.  This is at once odd, and inevitable, I suppose.  And I do not take any of it for granted.

{Have you created with antique images?  If not I encourage you to sift through stories at your local antique store.  Purchase a few that capture you, take them home, make color copies, and see what they have to say.  I guarantee they will not be silent.}

Monday, January 20, 2014

It all belongs

What is the purpose in my creating?  As a believer, as a contemplative, do I have a formula that I must follow?  If my art is simply an overflow of who I am, of my inner life, is it appropriate to say that I am by nature creating in Spirit and in truth, or must I purpose to create explicitly Christian art?

As I prepare to lead upcoming sessions on spiritual art journaling, I have been reflecting on these questions.  My own spiritual journey has taken me on an amazing and shadowed path over the last few years, and deep, messy art has been an integral part of this soul travel.  Many of my pages are doubting, searching, and dark, reflecting the emotional lows that have been such foundational pieces of God's transforming work, or even the change in my faith from one of separation and judgement to one of grace and unity.

So much of Christian interaction today centers around changing behavior, with minimal head-nodding given to the inner soul and heart work.  We say that the transformation needs to be internal, but we judge based on the external, not often enough acknowledging that this inner healing and inner awakening takes time and goes completely unseen.  What if my outer skin, my habits and tendencies, don't change soon enough for the masses?  What if from the outside things look a bit odd and even sacrilegious as the soul work is happening?  How long is too long to wait for the inner work to become visible?  A month?  A year?  A decade?  And what if the visible end result doesn't look like you think it should?

I don't want to worry about the waiting.  I want to create in the interim, as the Spirit is stirring the waters of my soul, splashing about in the places that no earthly person sees.  I want to keep creating even as I discover again and again that I don't need to ask for God's presence, because I simply cannot get away from it.  And as I find that my spirit has been abiding in His all along and that I simply wasn't looking in the right place- the inner room where His Spirit already dwells.

So, with these truths, I realize that anything I create comes from a place of open-handed grace, and is at its core, sacred.  I don't need to put words of scripture in my pages just for their own sake.  I can do nothing but create in the Spirit because I live in Christ and He in me.   This abiding, it is a mystery that deserves thought but also deserves the respect of remaining mystery, without explanation, answers, or understanding.

In my art, it all belongs.  Every messy bit of it.  Maybe that's what I will share, and maybe this will be a gift of freedom for others as it has been for me.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Fertility {2014}

"Last year I abstained
this year I devour 

without guilt
which is also an art."
~Margaret Atwood~

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


The shop.  It's up.

I'll have more to add over the next
couple of weeks, but I'm celebrating this beginning!  

This is an exciting next step in my
evolution as an artist, and I'm so excited
to share it with you.

Keep dreaming.  It's worth it.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


I was a toddler when I first picked up a crayon.

I was six when I first picked up a violin.

I was eight when I was first in the newspaper for creating something. 

I was eleven when I first was told I couldn't make that because it was too hard.

I was also eleven when that too-hard piece of art was displayed in the front hall of the school.

I was in high school when I found my voice {literally} and decided to go into music for my career.

I was also in high school when I decided I was no longer an artist.

I was thirty-seven when I realized that my voice was no longer my main passion.

I was also thirty-seven when I uncovered my childhood love of visual art, long latent and waiting for revival.

It's never been a secret to me or anyone else that I thrive in creative pursuits.  What did come to a surprise to me is finding that once-closed door standing open.

It is never too late to pursue a path that lights us up, no matter how shadowed and overgrown that path seems to be at first glance.  Life is an ever-changing kaleidoscope of dreams, and I am discovering that age and experience offer the inspiration to chase them without fear.  

Monday, January 6, 2014

Auld lang syne {times long past}

2014 and I have this thing.

It was about this time last year that I decided to make 2013 a cocooning year.  I needed to heal- emotionally, spiritually- and I didn't think it was the time to add goals and resolutions to an already raw mind and spirit.  I needed to rest, to lower expectations in every part of my life- leadership, service, homeschooling, activities, and even my faith.  I needed to fight my way out of depression and anxiety by releasing the outer self I had relied upon for so long, and letting the grace God had planted within me see the light of day.

And now it's time to reboot.

I haven't been this excited about a new year's arrival in a long time.  I've always been one to set resolutions, and though they didn't always stick, I never found myself discouraged in the aftermath.  It's almost as if the simple fact of "beginning" gave me joy and inspiration.

While last year was a chapter of quiet, this year I'm jumping back into my own story.

Perhaps I'm even starting a new one.

I have always been a planner, loving the fresh new January page of the calendar, a newly opened composition book ready for my rambling thoughts, or an art journal that requires the binding to be broken before it accepts its first swipe of paint.  I love the accountability of a treasured companion walking beside me, or a community to create and inspire.  I love being inspired by other artist-planners as they create and dream and set intentions for their year.

And quite simply, I love feeling alive again.

My 2014 goals:

~run another half marathon
~begin a yoga practice
~learn and practice a life of contemplative prayer
~enjoy a life in the now
~open an Etsy shop
~learn to knit
~treat my body like the beautiful thing it is {healthy living}
~write more handwritten letters
~keep a regular creative practice
~serve, lead, live in the presence and love of the Holy Spirit

I'd love to know your intentions.  How will you make this year something worth remembering?