Thursday, July 29, 2010

Creativity For Creative Sake





I hear people say they're not creative or not crafty or not into that kind of thing. But it's because they've let that negative inner voice tell them so. I really believe we all have a desire to create in some way or another. How can't we? We were made by a creative God who has made us in his likeness. So by nature we've been made to create things.

It's how you look at creativity. It can be anything where you take something empty or blank or that didn't exist before and make it into something new. It doesn't have to be relegated to typical 'art' things. Someone who has a knack for putting a cute outfit together, or organizing a room, or cooking a delicious meal, taking a great photograph, writing, singing, acting, putting together a great party. It all takes creativity.

Yesterday we went to the Skirball Center Noah's ark exhibit and the "Monsters and Miracles" exhibit. The "Monsters and Miracles" exhibit was amazing. It was all about illustrated books connected to Jewish history and Jewish artists/authors. I loved all the displays and interactive things for kids to do. I wish so much we had gone earlier in the spring so we could have visited it more. The exhibit leaves this Sunday. But I'm glad we caught it while it was there. I would have loved to show pictures, but I only had my cell phone on me and it died early on. :(

Each week they rotate a different craft for the kids to do in the Noah's Ark exhibit. This week was a repurposed craft that you didn't take home. You created something using what they had and you left it there to decorate an Ark. The thing that threw us at first and I noticed it threw quite a few people. No scissors and no glue. So you really had to use your mind when designing and connecting and creating.


I sat down with my girls and we all just played for playing sake. And it was fun and therapeutic and relaxing. I get lost when I do things like this and I find my spirit is lighter. I'm happy. There was no point to it and you didn't take it home. We were creative for creative sake. And look at how proud they are of their creations.

Don't you just love that feeling. Even in the simplest thing like creating new order out of a closet or a drawer. That feeling where you want to stare at it a little while longer and share it with someone?

God gets it too... "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.". Genesis 1:31

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Forgiveness


I have been struck in the past year about how important true forgiveness is in keeping the peaceful life Jesus intended for us. We're all sinners. Jesus is the only perfect being to ever live on earth.

From the smallest things like someone cutting you off on the freeway to the biggest things like someone stealing from you or betraying you. We are called to forgive because we are forgiven.

It's easy to know this, sometimes harder to put into practice. But when we do and we trust that the Lord not only will handle things, but will turn them into good there is something freeing in that. And a peacefulness grows. In that a closer relationship to Christ blossoms and faith is strengthened.

It's the little steps each day. It's the decisions in the moment that create a life of obedience. This obedience leads us closer to Christ and to being more like him every day.

So much strife comes from holding onto anger. It's sheer poison for relationships and for ourselves.

Teaching my children to say they're sorry and to seek forgiveness is an almost daily occurrence in our home. They play so well together and then they fight so well too.

But each time I see them follow through and say "I'm sorry" and I hear "I forgive you" my heart melts. When it's heartfelt I know they're getting it and they're practicing this very important principle. To let go because He has let go of all of our transgressions.

In many ways they're better at letting go and moving on that we are as adults. They know they need each other and they're invested in each other's lives. I hope these moments will help create a foundation for seeking forgiveness and granting it as they grow into adults.

Most importantly I hope they hold onto the enormity of the forgiveness they've received through the cross.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Perspective


I have been thinking a lot about perspective lately. I'm in awe of some of the women whose blogs I read where they are so postive through such life changing circumstances. Their perspective is one of choosing to remain positive and to rely on God's strength through the trials.

I'm also currently re-reading "Battlefield of the Mind" as a bible study with a friend. When we sat down to talk about what we should do together I said that I really believe most things come down to how we think about them. How I look at things and what I allow to ruminate in my mind can completely affect my perspective.

When I get caught up with something I think is wrong or try to figure out something that I can't wrap my mind around, or feel like a failure at something I often times wind up going down a slippery slope that doesn't lead to truth. It's filled with those darts that immobilize me. The key is realizing they're darts that come from the enemy, to resist them and replace them with what is true. It takes practice. And sometimes it isn't easy, it's a constant reframing. But when I do it, my perspective is back on track.

In terms of creativity perspective is important too. It's important for balance and for alignment. In this case being detailed and seeing the minute is important.

But I've realized zooming in on the problem or what is off in my life too much or for too long generally isn't good. Too often it means I'm not going to God and releasing it to him. I'm trying to figure it out in my mind.

It's interesting to me how something that can be a blessing in one area, can be a curse in another. I think it's all about staying balanced. Knowing when to let it go. In the last year I've been forced to practice the letting go and trusting God in new ways. I think I'm finally really getting it. My perspective is one of looking up instead of looking in.

"But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head." Psalm 3:3

Friday, July 23, 2010

That My Heart May Sing



That my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God I will give you thanks forever. Psalm 30:12.

Probably about a year and a half ago the Lord planted in my heart a desire to do drawings like this inspired with scripture. Scenes that I'd want to hang in my daughter's room, or the bathroom or even my room for that matter. Oh and I have ideas for boy's rooms too.

But then I got sick and started having weird symptoms that included joint pain, fatigue and hair loss. I didn't know what it was for months and months. But last September I finally had a diagnosis. It was lupus.

The lupus derailed me from pursuing this dream for awhile. But praise God I am being healed. I still have flares where I can't draw due to my knuckles hurting, but I feel better more than I feel bad.

It has been a long road of confusion and depression and learning to lean into God in a way that I never had before. I'll admit all last spring and summer I was struggling just to get through the day. I had to put this dream on hold in a big way.

But in the process of being brought to a point where I needed God desperately He has taught me so much. So much I wouldn't have learned if getting here had been easy.

We pray at night for all kinds of things with our kids. My husband asks each child what they'd like to pray for. One of the constants in our prayers is for wisdom, godly wisdom.

One day months ago my three year old said, "Lupus is kind of like wisdom." Sometimes she says the most profound things without even realizing it.

Because she is so right. I have gained so much wisdom through this experience. Wisdom about my health, about eating really well, about the need to listen to my body, to treat it as the temple for the Holy Spirit that it is, about drawing close to God. My faith life has grown by leaps and bounds. I've gained a spiritual wisdom that I wouldn't trade. And even in that I know I have so far to go. But I praise God for where he has brought me to this point, even if it was hard.

I'm so grateful for the blessings that have come out of it and I'm believing the Lord is healing me.

This piece was inspired by friends of ours who just baptized their 8 year old daughter. He is a pastor and they did it at a beautiful home in the backyard pool. She is adopted from Korea and wants to be a marine biologist. I wanted to give her a special gift for her baptism.

Finding time to draw sometimes can be hard with three small children, but again the Lord just opened doors that week. I had the inspiration, we were at the Huntington Library in the Chinese garden and my kids were playing so nicely by the stream that I sat down and drew. I was able to finish it in that little window of time.

Then that night, I'll admit I stayed up a bit too late to get it done, but as I did the digital painting I got lost in the time. Her mom said her eyes brightened when she saw that the girl looked like her and was riding a dolphin. I'm so glad it will be a memory of her special day of committing her life to the Lord.

And that it'll remind her to sing to the Lord, to not be silent, and to give him thanks forever!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Because My Daddy Says So


My daughters take a ballet class together. When I get them dressed and ready and do their hair they instantly hold themselves higher.

They parade around the house and glow with confidence. I love seeing this in them. I want to nurture it and help them always keep this self assurance because too many things in the world try to destroy it.

This week they went to look at themselves in the mirror on my closet doors and began twirling and singing and dancing.

My three year old is in a very big princess stage as well and is always wearing costumes. She especially likes to speak in a musical theatre sort of way. She and my five year old were singing, 'I am beautiful, and I love you' over and over again with great bravado as they stared at themselves in the mirror. And they meant it.

My three year old also promptly told the teacher when she got to class, "You know I'm a beautiful princess because my daddy says so." Her teacher said, "You have a very smart daddy."

It made me wonder, when does that change? When do we stop telling ourselves we're beautiful and wonderfully made. Because we are. Our daddy says so. All throughout the bible He has written us love notes, words of encouragement.

We just need to read, to listen, to let it soak in and resonate with us. We need to let that truth speak louder than the darts the enemy can throw at us. I know I spent years not really getting that. I'd let doubt and fear and insecurity echo louder than the bible. I can't go back, but I can focus on now and help my daughters know the strength they have in the Lord. I can help them hold onto this confidence they innately have.

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful," Psalm 139:14

I do want them to be filled with humility and I don't want them to become obsessed with beauty in the way the world is.

But I so want them to see themselves as God sees them, to see the beauty that he created in them, to know that their identity is in Christ alone. I wish for all women to hold onto that feeling of nobility and knowing you are a princess of the mighty King. He is enthralled with YOUR beauty! Nothing the world says matters.

The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. Psalm 45:11

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Inspiration


I find inspiration in the simplest of things.

In the words of a song.

In a bird sitting in a tree outside my window.

In a moment of time while my kids play.

I see a picture.

I usually run for the camera so I can remember the image in clearer detail. Later that scene, altered here and there will become the starting point for a drawing.

Or often times scripture will bring to mind a picture. I'll think of how I can bring it to life, in my own style.

I think of something that I'd want to wake up and see first thing in the morning to inspire me to live a better life and to stay focused on God. So many little things can do this for me.

I love being open to them and then pondering them in my heart and mind. The idea for the art is usually a lesson for my soul. It helps me focus on the scripture that day and focus on the Creator who brought the scripture to me for a reason.

I love the connectedness I feel to the scripture as I work on the picture. I love the lessons God is teaching me as I simply draw and let go of any little worries bogging down my mind.

I think we all can find these moments in doing simple acts that cause you to let go and get lost in the moment. Folding laundry, ironing, making dinner, doing dishes, sewing, putting away toys, exercising, drawing or creating.

The little repetitive motions that allow us to escape usually open me up to hear from God. So the next time you're thinking about something as mundane, think of it as more than that, as an opportunity to quiet your mind and hear His gentle whispers.


"Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind.

After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.

And after the fire came a gentle whisper".
1 King 19:11-12