Monday, August 20, 2012

Time to Start "The Artist's Way" Again...

Twelve years ago, this book changed my life.  I go through it, usually have a flurry of creative activity, and then I believe a very convincing lie: "I should be able to create now without this thing."

I honestly think that at some point in my adulthood, I should be strong enough to able to do anything I want without any kind of validation or support.  As if inspiration, motivation, and honest compassion were trinkets I could keep or discard at a whim. 

The pattern has been, I work and try and work and try, then reach out for that support again when I feel totally drained and used up.  

I'm the child of alcoholics.  Explosive, disruptive, and unstable people shaped my thinking from infancy.  I will probably need a spiritual and mental chiropractic adjustment at regular intervals for the rest of my life.  And that's okay. 

So, it's time, among other things, to go through "The Artist's Way" again.  I'm looking forward to the beauty it brings into my soul. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Justin's Brilliant Baby-Sleep Idea:

Annabelle had fallen asleep on my chest, happy & content, when Justin said, "I know how to make sure she'll sleep through the night!  Go pump about a half an ounce of milk, and we'll dip the corner of her bunny blankie in it.  That way, when she wakes up, she can just suck on it and fall right back asleep!" 

I rolled my eyes and said, "Sure, and we'll name the bunny Douglas Adams just for kicks..." 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"Inspiration doesn't last..."

"...[and] neither does bathing. Which is why we recommend it daily."

That quote is attributed to Zig Ziglar, but I don't remember where I heard it. I do know that it's true.

Here's the inspiration I needed for today: Make Good Art.

Monday, August 6, 2012

James Continues to Kick My Butt...

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

I was trying to think of where verse 20 was in the Bible yesterday, and couldn't do it.  I've struggled more with anger in the past six months than I can ever remember doing in my life, so I wanted to find this verse as a touchstone to remind myself that anger alone does not resolve anything. 

Then, as I was cleaning out my bookshelf, I found a book called "Gap Creek" by Robert Morgan.  I'd heard him speak at Cornerstone over ten years ago, eagerly bought the book, then hated every page of it when I read it.  Disaster after disaster, people suffering so horribly (and then repeating the same mistakes that caused them to suffer in the first place) and intolerable supporting characters made me almost throw the book away at first.  I have no idea why I kept it.

 As I was considering whether to keep it or put it in the yard sale pile, I flipped through it, and landed on a chapter where the couple, Hank and Julie,  were struggling through a period of unemployment.  They had arguments, mis communications, times of pointing fingers and blaming, times of fiery intimacy.  Every line was injected with new meaning in my heart--we'd been there.  

Then, the couple has a baby, and it dies.  

My middle daughter hit me with a piece of paper, "Mommy, can I PLEASE have a drink of water???" and I woke up from my reverie.  I have no idea how long I was sitting there reading.  Justin looked at me, and told my little girl to come back in five minutes.  I broke down in tears, sobbing, hardly able to control my heart's outpouring.  The pain of losing four babies to miscarriage, and a ton of security to unemployment, had been dislodged from my heart by a story.  I'd covered it up with so much anger.  

That's when I learned the true meaning of verse 20: anger does not produce the righteous life God desires, because so often it's covering up something else.  Disappointment.  Hurt.  Shattered dreams.  Loss of control.  Mountains and oceans of grief.  Now, when anger rises up in my soul, I'm trying to be aware of what I'm really feeling, and not simply snarl at the first person who happens to wake it up.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Book of James is Kicking My Butt

Yeah, James does that sometimes.

I'm copying and pasting directly from, from the newest edition of the NIV.

James 1

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Trials and Temptations

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 

 I'd say that describing the last six months of our lives as "trials" would be accurate. We've fought more than we have in our entire marriage.  We're exhausted from the (completely normal) 24-hour-a-day responsibility that comes from a new baby.  Lots of hidden thoughts have come out into the light.  Worst of all, we've both seen how startlingly immature we can be in certain areas. 

Then James kicks my butt some more:

  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  

I almost feel like he's saying, "Don't worry, I have more bad news for you, but it will give you all the maturity you need for the next phase in your life."  It's like a doctor with a 5-foot-long needle saying, "This won't hurt a bit." :)

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

I've struggled so much in my life with wanting wealth, and this passage was a much-needed dose of reality.  Chasing money is like chasing tomorrow--as soon as you get to it, it moves further away.  

I've also carried a lot of faulty beliefs about money: "I can't really focus on a creative enterprise until my family is wealthy enough to justify my not working another job."  That's just dumb; the other day, my kids watched Fat Albert make band instruments out of  trash.  The Stomp phenomenon was born out of a bunch of people making music from .  Heck, I used trash to make my first mixed-media journal, and it got published!  It was my first published piece in an art magazine!  

So why do I carry around the belief that I have to be debt-free before I can make music?  

I have three new songs to learn for worship band this weekend, and I need to get on it. :)