Gone till September: ICFTS Creative Sabbatical

Hello, Fellow Creatives!

June is here and with it comes the start of ICFTS’s three-month creative sabbatical. If you are new to this creative space, no worries. The site will still be up and available or you to browse through and find the creative encouragement you need to grasp your vision, voice, and the courage to do what it takes to see the dream in you come to life!

beach blue car combi
Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) on Pexels.com

As it is the start of summer months, I imagine all of us will be taking time away to regroup, refocus, and just rejoice! God has blessed us immensely and through Christ, we are able to enjoy life to the fullest measure.

Take these months to explore, to reconnect, to try new things.

I will be doing all of those things, as well as building up my author page platform. My debut novel, NEXUS GATE 4037: THE ANIMAL, will be out soon so be sure to follow my author page or connect via Facebook or Instagram.

Thank you for continuing with me on our creative journey of creative growth, faith, and discovery.

See you in September with new content and new gusto!

In Him Always,

Candice Coates

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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Pausing in the Moment: Faith for Creatives

 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He (Jesus) went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. ~MARK 1:35

Our Savior and God, Jesus Christ, did not just come to the world to save us from our sins, but He also came to give us life to the fullest, and in so doing, be our example for how to live our best life.

As our example, He shows us how to be in the ‘moment’ with others, to be available to their needs, to do our work in delight, but He also shows us when to pause…and to surrender our hearts to Him in quiet seclusion, just as He did with the Father.

Whenever our Savior did this, even with great multitudes at His heels, He was able to return to them empowered, enriched, and able to give of Himself.

Being Creatives, we often struggle with the idea of being still especially when we want to keep going. But we have to realize that ‘burnout’ is real and when there is no rest we forfeit the option of being our very best.

Remember to take the time in your schedule, in your doing, to rest, to pause and allow your mind and spirit to be renewed so that the Father can fill you with greatness for your next step and level.

If the God of all creation made time to be still, then we should joyously, and guiltlessly follow His loving lead!

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

The Art of Stillness: Creative Motivation

 Sometimes using your time well or wisely is really just a matter of  being still.” ~Candice Coates via the Lord Jesus

I, by nature, am a woman given to hard work. I have an inherent urge and drive to be productive, to seize the moment and bear fruits from my labor. Being still, not producing, often leaves me with an anxious feeling that I have wasted my time, time that I will never get back.

"Rest at Harvest" by William-Adolphe Bouquereau c. 1865
“Rest at Harvest” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau c. 1865

The deception of that ideology is one that plagues many of us, I am sure; being still means you have wasted a moment.

Years ago, I was presented with the converse of that ideology. I learned that there can be great wisdom in resting…simply being still.

All too often we confuse stillness with the lack of productivity. We in the west have been conditioned to believe that if there is no movement then nothing has been done.

This is actually an enemy of faith. Faith, as the Bible puts it in Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the substance of things NOT seen, the evidence of things hoped for.” Going a step further with faith, I am reminded of the beauty that comes from stillness especially in the face of my unfinished projects and art.

I have found that when I rest, when I am still and quiet, my creativity flourishes in a way that it does not when I am “trying to work” it out. In the hush of the still moments, the moments that logic says I should be moving, I find that the rivers of creativity flow, the sound of the stories play as music in my ears, and the colors of the art waiting to be made dance within my imagination with a clarity far more real than the world I live in.

I want so very much to produce without a break in the moment but these breaks, if treated right, if embraced with the full commitment of rest, produce such wonderful and delicious fruit.

It is in the stillness that I am able to take hold of the bouquet of roses without pricking my hands with the thorns of forced efforts…which ultimately equal wasted efforts. Wouldn’t you agree with me, that it is indeed a waste of time to force your efforts only to find that hours later you end up trashing everything you squeezed out of you? You end up far more stressed afterward when you do this.

Forcing the moment is akin to squeezing the blood from turnips.

Those years ago, as I sat on my bed, warm buttery sunlight pouring through my window and onto my face, I heard the voice of the Lord Jesus say, “Sometimes using your time well or wisely is really just a matter of  being still.” And this is the truth.

Being still in body and even in the mind allows your creativity to speak without all the commotion. Clarity comes, the vision is brought into greater focus. Strength for the next steps is also given.

I still have to be reminded of this truth. I have to keep myself from straining to “hear,” but to simply allow myself to hear when the time comes.

I want so very much to produce without a break in the moment but these breaks, if treated right, if embraced with the full commitment of rest, produce such wonderful and delicious fruit.

When I look at William-Adolphe Bouquereau’s painting, “Rest at Harvest,” I see the truth yet again. The woman reclines with sublime peace at a time when she should be gathering in the grain.

Had she done the logical thing, she would have missed out on the joy she so clearly was filled with by simply being still and I would reckon (using my imagination here) that when she finally did go to gather the harvest she was much more efficient.

This is what I want to be. Actually, in writing this article and looking for the perfect image to express my words I was made to really take a deeper look at Bouguereau, and I have to say I have fallen in love.

My prayer is that in the seasons to come, I will continue to authentically produce works that are worth posting and worth your time reading. Do bear with me, as I do not want to rush them only to have to backtrack later.

I humbly thank you all, all of you who have journeyed with me thus far in Following this creative platform,  those of you who have Liked the postings, and those of you who have participated in the writing prompts and have taken the time to leave feedback and comments. I can’t say thank you enough.

*Revised from July 14, 2014

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

This One Thing: Faith for Creatives

I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind…The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man.”~ECCLESIASTES 1:14;12:13

The book of Ecclesiastes was inspired by the Living Spirit of God and written by not only the wisest man to ever live, besides our Savior, Jesus Christ, but the wealthiest man of all creation; King Solomon.

In his lifetime, he had tasted of every indulgence he could, wealth was in abundance, of women he did not lack. There was nothing under the sun that was denied him.

And yet, after running around the mountain of indulgence and want, whether of Godly pursuit or in the attempt to appease the longings of his own flesh and desires; he came to the simple and yet profound conclusion, that nothing, NOTHING else was of true value, all was as chasing the wind, except loving God.

The word “fear” used in the scripture in regard to the Holy God of creation, is not that of being afraid and cowering, but one of awe and reverence. To be totally stricken silent by the glorious wonder of the One you are beholding. At the end of it all, King Solomon had found his One thing. God was his one thing.

Some may be thinking, “Well, that’s all well and good for him, but I live in the real world and I have real problems and cares.” So did Solomon. Whether at your greatest height or your lowest low, there is nothing so sweet as the embrace of Christ Jesus but you can only experience that by giving Him permission to take you in His arms.

Christ Jesus longs to love you and be loved by you. He died for you as His greatest expression of His love because YOU are HIS ONE THING.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.~ ROMANS 5:8

I encourage you to listen to the song again, read the words and maybe even sing along. Allow yourself to be enraptured by the truth that you are His One thing and His desire is to be close to you. And allow Him to be your One thing, for in Him are all things and you will lack for no good thing! (Matthew 6:24-34)

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”~REVELATION 3:20

*Revised from November 18, 2015

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

Taking the Scenic Route: Moments of Creative Clarity

“…The race is not given to the swift…” ~Ecclesiastes 9:11

I am, by nature, a person who is all about using every second of every day to my advantage, constantly working out in my mind how to squeeze as much into a moment of productivity as I possibly can.

I like to map things out in order to ensure that I have taken the shortest route but achieved the greatest return. I especially held this way of thinking in the world of my fiction writing.

So when I set out for the third time in my writing career to complete the writing of a novel in thirty days, the first thought, besides what I would write about, was in how many words would I need to produce in a day.

If you do not know, what makes a novel an official novel is the word count. This is the same with Novellas, Short Stories, etcetera. To have a novel, your manuscript must be made up of 50,000 words or more.

Trusting God often means taking the scenic route.

When I sat down on June 1st, 2014, I felt my nerves pinching away at me, screaming for me to make 3,000 words. Why? So that by the end of June I would not only have achieved novel status, but I would be finished the story I was working on in totality.

It sounded like a good plan, great plan if I am honest. But what I have realized is that rushing and counting does not for a strong storyline make. Actually, by focusing more on the word count goal and not the actual creative process, I felt my lines of creativity constricting under the unnecessary pressure I was applying.

Being a person redeemed by the blood of Christ, I often pray, and turn my movements over to Him and rest in His favor as a result. So from the beginning of that writing process, I could hear His voice saying, “Don’t force it. The story will come to you.”

My writing of  Ascension Graveyard (my still current WIP) ended up revealing to me that TRUST is a VERY large part of the creative process, and trusting God often means taking the scenic route.

My rushing was hindering me from allowing this story to truly tell itself. Cutting corners and cramming in masses of words for word’s sake was only making a mess. My rushing toward the goal was getting me nowhere fast.

Since then,  I have slowed down.  Ascension Graveyard has truly taken me on a scenic route, so much so that it is doing more brewing in my imagination than pouring through my fingers onto a keyboard.

I do not have the “desired” word count (yet) but what I do have is a solid plot that I am proud of. I can finally see the characters, get to know them and empathize with them in a way rushing would not have allowed.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because this is what the Creative process is all about. It’s not punching a clock, not compiling data, not reaching a status just so you can say you have one. Rather it is about basking in the picturesque natural beauty of what comes from within when you take your time and create something from your heart.

I have learned that this is indeed true. My art, my writing, is indeed witness to this and I have the Lord Jesus Christ to thank for that.

*Revised from June 2014

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: May 14, 2018

 

OPENING LINE(S): “I’m not going to let you drown,” he said, spitting out salted water. His/Her/My limbs felt like sinking lead in the water but the stranger’s grip on his/her/my collar was more than enough to keep them/us afloat. Solid ground was just in the distance promising safety, explaining why they’d/ I’d jumped in the water in the first place was another problem in and of itself. 

RULES: 

  • Using the above line and the picture provided, (Or a line of your own choosing) create a story (or even a poem) within up to 20 minutes.
  • Once you have finished your super awesome masterpiece, add a link in the comments section of THIS POST to your story for others to read, as well as a link on your page back to this original post for others to follow along and write with as well. In your “tags” section, add the tag “MondayMuse.”
  • To get the Above Image follow this LINK

If you do not have a blog of your own, leave me a comment and send me an email to icameforthesoup@gmail.com and I will post your lovely words here on my blog.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS SITE WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU.)

*Originally posted on June 13, 2016

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Courage Through Peace: Faith for Creatives

And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.…” ~MATTHEW 18:2-4

Often times in our lives, no matter our age, no matter our victories or triumphs, we find ourselves in a place of uncertainty. Forces in the atmosphere have a way of coming at us out of nowhere, with the sole design to catch us off guard and to knock us off our axis.

I thank Christ Jesus for His Word, that He instructs us to have child-like faith because as His child I have no need of shame when I come to Him for affirmation. A child, no matter their age, is always welcome into their Father’s arms. And it is in those instances when we lift our hands to Him and allow Him to draw us up into the safety of His arms that our courage renews.

We come to Him as children, rest in the gentleness of the Lamb, and are empowered by the Lion of Judah. For in our weakness HE is strong in Power. (II Corinthians 12:9)

I can’t tell you how beautiful it is to find courage through His peace. That is something that you have to experience all on your own.

Be encouraged, no matter what. The Great I AM is HERE and He loves you! If you feel troubled, if you have lost your peace, let Him be I AM.

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

Future Plans Ahead!: Summer Schedule for ICFTS

Hello, Friends and Fellow Creatives.

I wanted to take the time and interrupt our weekly schedule, this month of May and give you all the scheduling information for ICFTS for the Summer months.

As it stands, ICFTS has weekly postings on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. These posting consist of Creative Motivations, Monday’s Muse Writing Prompts, Writing Prompt Results, and Faith for Creatives.

With the summer months approaching, so too, do plans for vacations and more outdoor activities not only for myself but for my fellow creatives. With this in mind, a break from regularly scheduled posting is a must and will be something done annually with ICFTS.

WHEN IS THE BREAK?

ICFTS will be on posting sabbatical for the months of JUNE, JULY, and, AUGUST. We will return to posting articles on MONDAY SEPTEMBER 3, 2018, with fresh new content, and prayerfully new voices and topics to grow us all along our creative adventures.

WHY THE BREAK?

As stated, many Creatives will be off on vacations, spending time outdoors with family, regrouping and connecting with friends. Family and relationships are key to healthy creativity and is encouraged. This break will ensure that you don’t miss a beat here on ICFTS, giving you the time to focus on those closest to you.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN DURING THE BREAK?

During the break, I will be working on new topics and content for ICFTS, working on my writing, as well as focusing on creative rest as well. THERE WILL STILL BE MOTIVATIONAL POSTINGS ON OUR INSTAGRAM PAGE SO FOLLOW US THERE TOO!

ADDITIONAL NEWS

In addition to the break, specific tabs under MY JOURNAL will be removed from the ICFTS platform but will have links that will lead to my AUTHOR SITE. These tabs are ART and FICTION.

My goal in moving these tabs is to make ICFTS more streamlined and focused on helping others to grow in their creativity rather than showcasing my own. After all, ICFTS is my creativity and faith in action.

While Monday’s Muse Writing Prompts will still be created on ICFTS, my results, as well as my other fiction pieces, and any created visual art will be posted on my author site.

Thank you so much for continuing the journey with me and ICFTS and exploring your creativity in the summer sun to come!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER! 

Out to Abundance: Faith for Creatives

we went through fire and water, but you brought us out to abundance.” ~PSALM 66:12

Another translation of this portion of scripture says, “We went through the fire and through the water, but You brought us out to rich fulfillment.”

Here is what we as Creatives and People of Faith have to take note of:

THERE IS ‘PROCESS’ BEFORE ‘POSSESSION’.

Before we are able to take hold of and step into the new level that God has for us, we must be prepared for it. Who we are before the process is not who we will be on the other side of it when we take possession of what the Lord has promised and called us to.

Fire. Consider the occurrences of forest fires, not the ones that are caused by human negligence, but those that take place as a part of the circle of creation.

These fires are natural. They may cause great devastation, but, they bring greater enrichment to the ecosystem.

Water. Water, rain, are necessary for the nutrients to be able to get into the soil for the new abundance to spring forth from the newly enriched ground.

Sometimes it seems that we go from one trial straight into another. I will not say that this isn’t a difficult thing to endure, but we can endure it through and with Christ Jesus.

Now this is what the Lord says—the one who created you, Jacob, and the one who formed you, Israel—“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. I will be with you when you pass through the waters,
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you…Because you are precious in my sight and honored, and I love you, I will give people in exchange for you and nations instead of your life. Do not fear, for I am with you…” ~ISAIAH 43:1-2,4-5a CSB

Because the Lord has loved us and has called and created us for a purpose, we can be assured, even as we go through our trials on the way to our possession that:

  1. He will be with us
  2. He will protect us from harm
  3. He will bring us out into abundance
  4. We do not have to be afraid
  5. We are LOVED

Remember, gold without fire is never purified and faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted. Allow the faith within you to be enriched by the process of the fires, sated by the waters, and mature in trusting His word as you receive the abundance that is yours.

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

Dinner Plans: Short Story by Candice Coates

Dinner Plans

She sat perched on the edge of the table, the tight fold of her interwoven fingers expressed the nervousness that had been concealed in the even tone of her voice and the placid look on her face. Turning fully towards her, he paid closer attention to what she was saying. 

For a brief second he hoped he’d heard her incorrectly, but gazing into her eyes he knew he hadn’t been mistaken. “Hannah, you didn’t.” He, unlike Hannah, didn’t try to hide his nerves, they flashed in the pale grey of his eyes and radiated clear to the tip of the butcher knife in his hand.

“Dad, the knife. The knife!” Hannah hoped off the table and pried it from his hands placing the parsley coated blade on the chopping block. Tanner wondered by her sudden stillness if she felt as if she were on the chopping block. He was certain she did. He had asked her to be at her best tonight, nagged really, and had been doing so for weeks.

It had been eight years since Claire, Hannah’s adoptive mother, died. He and  Claire had only been married for a little over three years. They’d dated for two. When he’d first met Claire he hadn’t thought he was ready to be a father, but Hannah warmed to him so quickly and got into his pores like the best of anointing oils. He loved the girl on sight as if she were his own flesh and blood.

Now she was barely twenty and he felt as if she were his whole life, his precious little girl…his precious little girl who’d gone against his wishes and had been secretly meeting with her birth mother.

He rubbed his suddenly damp forehead with the back of his hand. His gut felt as if it were filled with gravel. He was already extremely nervous about introducing Hannah to the new woman in his life. He needed Hannah to like her. He’d already purchased an engagement ring even in the face of awkwardness.

Hannah had made it clear she had no desire for a new mother and had not been a fan of his dating someone. He suddenly wondered if her going against his wishes and finding her birth mother was a simple act of rebellion. He also wondered if his hopefully soon-to-be financee was having similar problems of her own.

She had mentioned that she had been estranged from her daughter for years but they were making headway into a healthy relationship. She too had wondered how her daughter would react to him.

“I can’t believe you did this, Hannah.” Tanner whispered.

“Dad, why is it such a horrible thing that I want to know my own mother?”

“Your birth mother.” He corrected, suddenly feeling as if he needed to defend Claire’s right-hood to the title ‘Mom’. Hannah rolled her eyes. He touched her shoulder. “Honey, I am not trying to make this a difficult thing for you, I am just worried is all. She may not be good for you.”

“Us, you mean. You’re afraid that she will wreck your plans for a new family, aren’t you?”

He couldn’t resist frowning. “And I suppose that is why you not only contacted her, but then invited her to dinner tonight when you know how important today is for me, for us.” He wiped his brow again. He was already nervous, now he was just petrified.

What if the strange woman showed up at the door, right when his new love did? “Lord help me. Hannah, I love her. And I want you to at least give her a chance. I just want things to go smoothly tonight and if she shows up-”

Hannah took a bite of parsley. “It doesn’t matter anyway Dad. I invited her and she said she couldn’t make it, said she had a date or something.”

“Well, that is a relief that that person won’t be coming,” Why had he suddenly turned so territorial, defensive? He’d seen this behavior in characters in movies, but never thought it would happen to him; jealous of his daughter’s birth mother.

Hannah scowled. “Her name is–”

Ding dong! The front door rang, bringing the conversation to a halt. Again, Hannah rolled her eyes. It was going to be a long night.

“Going to get it, Dad? Wouldn’t want to keep your beloved waiting.” Hannah’s tone was laced with sarcasm and void of the former nervousness that had ruled her demeanor just moments ago.

He gave her a warning gaze before pulling the door open. Right then Hannah continued her previous statement, her tone shifting to shock that laced over Tanner’s joy right as his beloved passed the threshold and entered the apartment. “Her name is…Beatrix?”

Hannah’s face bloomed with a smile as she rushed forward and took hold of her birth-mother’s hands, jerking Beatrix’s delighted gaze away from Michael’s. “I thought you said you couldn’t make it tonight! I thought…you said you had,” Hannah’s gaze shifted between the ashen expression on Beatrix’s face to the even more stricken look on her Dad’s. “…a date…”

THE END…AT LEAST FOR US

I hope you enjoyed what came of this story and the twist at the end. I wish I could have sharpened it up a bit more, but alas we do have a time restraint. I do however wish Dad, Hannah and Beatrix the best of joy and a happy future 🙂 These are my results from MONDAY’S MUSE WRITING PROMPT APRIL 30, 2018.

*Revised post from October 22, 2015.

~Dream. Image. Believe. Do. CONQUER!