Praise the Rain (CATALOG 5/6/2022)

My latest list of recent likes and favorite links…

  1. Poet laureate Joy Harjo poet describes poetry as “a tool to uncover the miraculous in the ordinary” and “a sense of play.” What a treat to hear her read “Praise the Rain” for National Poetry Month a couple weeks ago!

  2. I’ve relied on an old-fashioned spreadsheet to keep track of writing project progress and queries, but I’m tempted to give Kanban a whirl, specifically Trello.com, to make it more of a visual exercise.

  3. A couple years ago, I attended an encaustic painting workshop by artist Jodi Reeb. Wow, her landscape paintings really make my heart sing!

  4. From none other than Austin Kleon, learn how to make brush pens in any color!

  5. Being a knitter/crocheter, I love this video showing the Netflix bumper replicated with yarn. For more about the process, check out this extended version.

  6. My daughter and I, along with some friends, are signed up to volunteer with My Very Own Bed later this summer. We can’t wait to deliver and set up new beds and bedding for some kids in need of consistent and comfortable sleep!

  7. Have you seen the Oscar-winning movie “CODA” yet? I was so moved by the story and music—and can’t seem to get “Both Sides Now” out of my head.

  8. My hometown boasts a cool art and nature experience called Green Island. Poetry by yours truly will soon adorn the walking path!

  9. I became new to pickleball last summer and agree with Caryn Sullivan’s article deeming it “a model for a better life.”

  10. I would never describe my church as “uncool” or “boring,” but I really resonate with the “instead of” statements in this article celebrating church as I believe it should be.

On Reading FINDING DIVINE INSPIRATION

Just a couple weeks before 2019 came to a close, I finished reading Finding Divine Inspiration: Working with the Holy Spirit in Your Creativity by J. Scott McElroy. Much more than a book, it became the inspiration behind a deep spiritual assessment of why and how and with Whom I pursue all of my artistic and creative endeavors.

I know now that, if I truly want to make the most of my time and to produce anything of significance, I’m best to apply what I read in Finding Divine Inspiration. Here’s what that would mean—and here’s the challenge I set for myself in 2020 and beyond…

Why I create
I’ve mentioned it in previous posts: Making a living, making money, and making a name for myself are sure and certain temptations. But there’s so much more power in making for making’s sake—to revel in an idea, then the process. The end result should place a distant second to the truest heart of creativity: how and with Whom I create.

How I create
To be the person God created me to be, I need to discern and live into what He wants me to create for this world. In other words, creativity is a discipline. If indeed I believe I am a unique channel of the Holy Spirit and His purposes, then I should take that business to great heart. This is where my faith is tested, of course. A woman of true faith follows through with passion and energy, but I regret to admit that the Spirit’s leadings often fall on deaf ears and among a multitude of distractions. There is a different way—and I’m determined to find it. This year, I commit to take intentional steps in addressing the “how” of my creativity.

With Whom I create
It probably goes without saying, but part of my “how” is also to acknowledge the almighty “Who” right up front. In the companion journal of Finding Divine Inspiration, McElroy suggests a habit of dedication—to offer a routine prayer or to make some type of special mark on all pieces of art to acknowledge the creative process as a cooperative effort.

How easily I forget the constant presence and pursuit of God. How little I trust God—the Divine Inspiration who formed my passions and sparks my ideas—with an effort’s entire and ultimate purpose, be it personal time well spent with Him or a profound message to share with the world. As my church sings regularly in worship, “I will rest in the Father’s hands, leave the rest in the Father’s hands.”

Why? How? With Whom? These questions now shape the what of my creativity. Such enlightenment certainly doesn’t mean that my work is now ultra-theological or spiritual. In fact, I think my latest endeavors couldn’t be more rudimentary and secular. But, for me, they bear much more depth and meaning than many past projects simply because of the God-given purpose I now yearn to fulfill in my artistic time. Amen. May it be so.