See the Dream to Seize it: Week 8 in Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream Free Creative Course #MondayMotivation #SeizetheDream

Your vision is your ability to see clearly . . . while your dream is what you are focusing your clarity upon.

Hello Creatives and welcome to Week 8 of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream 12-Week Creative Course.

This week’s module is designed to help you see the Dream that you are on the journey to make a reality.

You might be thinking, ‘hey, what is the difference between seeing my dream and capturing my vision?’. Here is the simple answer.

Your vision is your ability to see clearly the direction you want to go while your dream is what you are focusing your clarity upon.

In Module 4, we asked ourselves the questions that led us to clearer vision; why are we on this creative journey aiming for this creative goal. We created our “Vision Affirmations.”

In Module 5, we took things a step further by bringing focus to the direction we are headed. We looked up artists or writers, designers or athletes (whatever your creative goal dictated) and we made our “Creative Statement,” which is the voice or sound we what to share with others through our creativity.  (Stay tuned for my Creative Statment and the Artist that inspire me in a later article.)

Continuing with those you admire: “CREATIVE STATEMENT GUIDE”

  • Select 3 to 7 artist, writers, or people within the creative field you admire.
  • Describe the feeling that their work evokes in you.
  • Taking the list of descriptions, compile one, solid, creative statement.
  • Using this “Creative Statement,” Select one piece (be it a recipe, architectural rendering, short story, painting) that you think best embodies the statement you’ve created.

In Module 6, we took stock of what we had on hand and compiled our creative arsenal.

Now, if you haven’t created your “Creative Statement,” or found the piece that best embodies that, no worries. There is still time. Remember, to work this journey at the pace that is best suited for you. But do hold yourself accountable so you don’t lose momentum.

Also, if you find that there isn’t one piece of work that captures the statement you’ve complied, no worries there either. You can always create your own!

WHAT IS IT TO DREAM?

Dream: A dream is compiled of images, a state of mind, and a cherished ideal or aspiration.

In this creative course, vision is the lens and to dream is the beginning action.

ALLOW YOURSELF TO DREAM

Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry. ~Habakkuk 2:2-3

Dreaming requires concentrated thought. It requires you to take the time and allow your ‘vision’ to be seen in a way that is specific, so much so that you can repeat the dream over and over again.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his famous speech, said: “I have a dream.” What I believe about that statement is that he took the time to be specific about his dream, and then he took the time to meditate upon it over and over again. By so doing, he was able to bring that dream to pass.

The Prophet Habakkuk had been given a dream and with that dream, he was instructed to write it down.

We, too, have to take the ideal image that we have for our goal, meditate on it often, and by all means, write it down!

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION

  • Look at your Creative Statement from Module 4. Begin to see in your mind (Dream) the ideal expression of what that would. Example: Are you seeing a series of romantic novellas? Are you seeing a series of paintings? Whatever it is, allow that dream to grow and do not hinder it.
  • Now, whatever you are seeing, WRITE IT DOWN! (Especially if you are feeling timid about what you are dreaming up, you must write it down so that you don’t psych yourself out about it.)
  • Create a Vision Board if writing is not what you need to do, or do both.
  • Continue to study the Creatives that inspired your “Creative Statement”. Refine things as the need arrives. The more you dream that more clarity you will have.

SCRIPTURE FOCUS

ADDITIONAL READING

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS

  • What does it mean to dream to you?
  • Are there any dreams that you’ve had in the past that you’ve given up on? Why?
  • What do you think God has to say about your dream(s)? Why do you feel that way?
  • What advice about taking hold of your dream would you give to a friend or your younger self?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Paving the Way to Success Intro to DIBDC!: Week 7 of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream FREE CREATIVE COURSE #MondayMotivation #SeizetheDream #CreativeMotivation

Hello Creatives and welcome to Week 7 of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream 12-Week Creative Course.

I am super excited about this middle ground of our creative journey as it is the place where we start sowing the seeds that we have collected over the past six weeks.

If you are just now joining this creative course, no worries! Take your time, but I urge you to start from the beginning. Each step until now is crucial to the cultivation of your creativity.

INTRO: DIBDC!

This week we are going to prepare ourselves to really dig deep into DIBDC!. For over a year now, DIBDC! has been my closing salute for most of my post. For the following final five weeks of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream, we are going to dig into each point of DIBDC!, applying the principles we’ve learned from previous weeks.

WHAT IS DIBDC!: Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

  • DREAM: Taking the ‘Vision’ we have declared, we are going to streamline it even further, making it bigger, while keeping it uniquely fashioned for who we are as creatives.
  • IMAGINE: Pragmatically see the limitations that lay ahead and learn how to grow beyond them.
  • BELIEVE: Talk yourself into it! Learn how to apply your faith to the creative calling that you have.
  • DO: (This is different from the previous ‘Do’) Learn how to get your hand’s dirty and begin to sow!
  • CONQUER!: Learn the steps to not only initiate your vision and dream but to conquer your goals through planned follow-through.

IN PREPARATION: 

Again, if you haven’t already, take the time to go back and read the previous week’s modules and answer the questions. These will help you to bring your creative vision into focus. Links to each module are below:

Intro: Gearing Up for the Journey

Week 1: Divorcing Perfectionism

Week 2: Building Memorials

Week 3: Establishing: Vision, Voice, Doing Intro

Week 4: Capturing Your Vision

Week 5: Tuning Your Creative Voice

Week 6: Do The Groundwork

MUSIC INTERLUDE:

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS:

  • What have you learned over the previous weeks that has helped you most in your creative growth?
  • Why do you think that is?
  • What encouragement can you give to others on the path to creative success?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Doing the Groundwork: Week 6 in Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream Free Creative Course #MondayMotivation #SeizetheDream

Hello Creatives and welcome to Week 6 of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream 12-Week Creative Course.

This week’s module is designed to help you begin to do what it takes in order to bring life to your creative dream and vision.

In order to do anything, we must accept the fact that change is required. Many of us balk at the very word ‘change’ because it generally means that we are going to enter into a season of discomfort and the unknown, which requires a greater level of faith on our part.

Change in life requires decision making, which means we have to be decisive. If we want to live and seize our dream we have to make the necessary changes and stick with them.

In our creative process, and dare I say life in general, vision is where you take stock and figure out what it is what you want, the voice is the sound you want to make, the impact you want to create, the identity, if you will, of how you want to present this vision that you have.

TAKE HOLD

Doing, at this level is more pragmatic and mental than it is a physical action. Your ‘doing’ is not just found in the tools or the actions that you use to implement what you want to do. This level of doing begins first with:

  • Seeing what you want to do
  • Acknowledging what you have on hand or available to you (Your current tools)
  • And then determining what you need to let go of in order to obtain what it is that you have coming in your next level of creativity

LETTING GO

You need to determine what it is that is holding you back, and there are things that hold us back like weighing anchors. Here are some things that could be blocking you from taking hold of your God-given dream:

  • Relationships: You will only be as strong and capable as what you are connected to.  Being linked with people you’ve considered ‘friends’ whose aim is only to discourage instead of encourage, will always keep you down. We do ourselves a disservice when we allow others to constantly speak death over us and our dreams. Wisdom urges us to create distance from such relationships. (Proverbs 12:26)
  • Wrong Thinking: Wrong thinking which generally is the greatest culprit, will always keep us down. Yeshua Jesus tells us be it unto us as we believe, and His word further warns us that as we think in our heart so are we. What are you allowing your heart to say? (Matthew 9:28-29, 8:13; Proverbs 23:7)
  • Old Wounds: It could be that we are holding on to old wounds that we have not allowed the Lord to redeem in us.
  • Tangile Blockades: Or it could be something as tangible as living in clutter. Cluttered environments easily stifle our movement since we have limited space to move. Decluttering is a big part of letting go.

The root cause of many of these “blocks” tend to be the words of others. Hence why we must be diligent in guarding our dream. Everyone can’t be trusted with your treasure and some ‘friendships’ or romantic relationships could really be the toxins that are preventing your growth. We need to be willing to prune even if it hurts.

NOTE: I am not speaking about marriage, here. For goodness sake, do not leave your spouse in order to become a painter, or cut your mother completely off because she thinks being a writer is a waste of time. These relationships are sacred and require a completely different level of wisdom to work through. 

Simply put, you need to take stock and decide what or who it is that you need to let go of in order to take hold of what it is that I have in mind for my vision. This is the biggest part of doing. It is not easy but it is worth it!

As Tamara Lowe put it:

If people don’t respect what you bring to the table, let them dine alone.” ~Tamara Lowe

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION

Whatever medium or creative path you are embarking on, determine what you currently have available to you.

  • Artist: If you have paper, paint, ink, clay, etc, take stock of it
  • Writer: If you have an idea for a story, write it down
  • Begin to make a dedicated create space for the road ahead

Also prayerfully consider what is holding you back. If you need to distance yourself from relationships, receive healing, renew your mind, or declutter, now is the time to do so.

SCRIPTURE FOCUS

ADDITIONAL READING

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS

  • What have you found is the most difficult part about change?
  • Is making a decisive decision something that you struggle with especially when it means change will be a result. Why?
  • Out of the list of ‘blockers’ which do you think has been your greatest obstacle?
  • How can you begin to see Christ as being bigger than this obstacle, today?
  • What advice do you have for other creatives struggling with similar challenges of change and creative blockers?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Tuning Your Creative Voice: Week 5 in Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream Free Creative Course #SeizetheDream #Goals #MondayMotivation #CreativeMotivation

Voice: Even as I create with freedom, I want to do so with purpose. I want to discover the ‘voice’ of that purpose and speak it loud and clear. ~Candice Coates

Hello Creatives and welcome to Week 5 of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream 12-Week Creative Course.

This week’s module is designed to help you fine-tune the creative voice that you want others to hear from you. The foundation of that voice is revealed in what you discovered when establishing your vision.

Whether you have the vision to be a published author, a sculptor, a cook, or even a person who has a desire to be a polyglot (someone who is multilingual), establishing your voice can be crucial to your success.

Like conditioned clay, the more you work with your creative voice the more you will discover what it can do.

I remember years ago when I was in undergrad, sharing my art portfolio for that quarter’s review with my professors. The review was a success but each of my professors had come to a consensus about my work.

They couldn’t tell ‘who’ had done it because it was all so drastically different. My ‘voice’ was singing in several different keys at once.

It took me several years to realize that my creative voice is a ‘chorus’ all it’s own. Even now I am building my author site and writing career around the theme of being a ‘Genre Jumper.’  I don’t just write science fiction, but clean-read romance, thrillers, etc.

But even with excelling within different genre’s there is still an undertone to my work that makes my style uniquely mine and distinguishable in comparison to the works of others. My voice remains clear.

SOMETHING TO CONSIDER ABOUT YOUR VOICE

  • Your voice is inherently unique: In Psalm 139 we are told that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” The word fearfully denotes a level of reverence, care, and awe. Who you are as Creative is unique. You are special and have something precious to share within the symphony of creation.
  • Creativity matures within seasons and so does your Voice: What your body of work looks like today, will not be at all what it is a decade from now. Look at the works of Picasso, Matisse, and others. How they began as artists in their youth, drastically changed during their middle years of life, but the tone of their voice remained the same. Your voice will mature and change, and become more malleable with the passing of time. Like conditioned clay, the more you work with your creative voice the more you will discover what it can do.

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHILE YOU TUNE YOUR VOICE

  • Give yourself the freedom to try new things: Remember, this course is about the creative journey. Just like when you take a road trip with a final destination in mind you give yourself the chance to see sites and experiences along the way, so too do the same with your creativity. Try your hand at different things. Shed the techniques that don’t interest you, but figure out how to incorporate the ones that do into your overall voice.
  • In each Creative Season, aim for consistency: Whether you are writing, creative visual art, or baking, aim for a themed body of work. Doing so will help you set your tone. Unlike my undergraduate portfolio review, allow your body of work to be unique among each piece but clearly related as a ‘family’ of work. Examples could be a ten piece study of bodies of water, or ten recipes from appetizer to dessert course all focused around swiss cheese. Consistency and cohesion is key to creating tone.
  • Consider the works and processes of those who you admire: Studying the work of others you admire can help you discover what sets your creative bells ringing, thus streamlining your tone. There are millions of painters but which ones make you look at their work with awe? There are millions of writers, but which ones move you to read their work over and over again?

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION

Continuing with those you admire:

  • Select 3 to 7 artist, writers, or people within the creative field you admire.
  • Describe the feeling that their work evokes in you.
  • Taking the list of descriptions, compile one, solid, creative statement.
  • Using this “Creative Statement,” Select one piece (be it a recipe, architectural rendering, short story, painting) that you think best embodies the statement you’ve created. We will visit this later on in future modules.

SCRIPTURE FOCUS

ADDITIONAL READING

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS

  • Who are some creatives you’ve most admired and why?
  • What creative practices would you like to adopt in order to shape and train your creative voice?
  • What creative practices are you currently implementing that are helping you to better tune your creative voice at present?
  • What advice do you have for other creatives struggling with the ‘creative sound’ they would like to make?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Capturing Your Vision: Week 4 in Free Creative Course #SeizetheDream #Goals #MondayMotivation #CreativeMotivation

Welcome to Week 4 of Sow Seeds & Seize the Dream FREE 12-Week Creative Journey Course!

I hope you took the time to go over your journals, process and meditate over the answers that you gave to the previous week’s questions. Taking the occasional look in the rear-view mirrors of ours as we traverse our creative roads, enables us to stay fully engaged in the traveling process.

When we take the glance backward, we are able to be assured of our progress even as we move ahead. We are also reminded of why we set out in the first place.

Having little to no knowledge of your destination, flying by the seat of your pants, if you will, only leads to devastation at the most, and at the least, disappointment.

The week’s Module is all about harnessing your VISION. In order to go ‘somewhere,’ we have to have a destination in mind.

We’ve all heard the cliche story of having an open plan ticket, just being able to show up at the airport and just fly anywhere in the world. While that concept sounds great, the excitement and the thrill of the journey is minimized by the lack of ‘knowledge’ in regard to where you are headed.

Having little to no knowledge of your destination, flying by the seat of your pants, if you will, only leads to devastation at the most, and at the least, disappointment.

pexels-photo-352902But when we have taken the time to research our desired destination, make a plan/vision for the place we are headed, no matter the hiccups that may come along the way, we are still able to enjoy and get the most out of our journey’s because we prepared ourselves for the inevitable ‘what-ifs’ that come along in life. We are also able to avoid many pitfalls as well.

THE IMPORTANCE OF VISION AND KNOWLEDGE

To have KNOWLEDGE is to have a level of understanding and practical information about what you are about to do. It is a necessary item in your Creative Tool Box, used to best create a viable plan for your VISION which is the desired goal and destination for your journey.

The book of Proverbs gives us a very sobering warning about a world without vision. It tells us that people run unrestrained without vision. Some translations say the people perish. Think what happens when a river runs unrestrained. Devastation and sorrow are left in its wake. (Proverbs 29:18)

The Book of Hosea tells us the people perish for lack of knowledge as well (Hosea 4:6).

What this goes to show is that in order to be a success and to prosper in your life and goals you must have a vision and gainful knowledge.  You must take the time to use knowledge to set your course for your vision if you have any promise of achieving your desired destination (See Luke 14:28-32).

THE GIFT OF VISION

If you are wondering at this point if you even have a vision let alone the knowledge to pursue it, take heart! You absolutely do.

Proverbs 29:13 tells us that our Heavenly Father created all of us, rich and poor, with sight or vision. Ultimately, the choice to develop or discover our vision is up to us. But we all have them.

MAPPING OUT YOUR VISION

As mentioned in the Module titled Establishing (Read through the previous article for more detailed explanations of each step) there are 4 Ways steps we must take to map out our Vision and create a wise strategy for our creative journey.

  • Who we are: Before you set out, you must be confident in who you are. Obstacles will challenge you, try to push you into calling into question who you are and what you are doing. Being fully established in WHO you are will act as a shield against these assaults against your confidence.
  • Where we are: Acknowledging your current position, as well as the skills and tools you currently have on hand, will better prepare you for what you can begin to do now in order to start your creative process.
  • Where we are going: Having a destination in mind will enable you to properly prepare for what lies ahead. Don’t start out with an open ‘ticket’ and just dive without knowing how far you may have to fall. Set your course and plan accordingly. Do your research.
  • Declare WHY you are going to that destination in the first place: What is is that you are seeking in this place you have decided to journey? This is where you ‘declare’ your vision.
    • I am going _________________________ because I want ____________________________.

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION

(If you haven’t already answered these questions, now is a great time to do so)

  • What is it that you are seeking to do?/Why are you moved to do it?: WRITE THIS DOWN AND PLACE IT IN YOUR CREATIVE WORK SPACE.
  • Write down an affirmation about who you are using scriptures that resonate with you and build your confidence.
    • Keep this affirmation in your Creative Space
    • Read it out loud and Meditate on its truth daily

SCRIPTURE FOCUS

ADDITIONAL READING

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS

  • How has the process of trying to accomplish your goals without a clear vision or proper knowledge hindered you?
  • What have been some factors that have pushed you to start “building” your dream without the proper vision, knowledge or preparation?
  • What is your definition of Vision
  • What are some creative resources you have found that have helped you along your creative journey?
  • What are some things you would advise other Creatives to keep in mind while they are pursuing their Vision

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Intermission Week: Creative Catch-up Week #SeizetheDream #CreativeEncouragement #MotivationMonday

Hello there Creatives! I hope you have found the last few weeks of this course to be encouraging, introspective, as well as motivating.

This week I would like to give others who are new to this content the chance to catch up before we continue with the journey. Just like marathon runners, we all need a water break.

Take this Intermission Week to:

  • Look back on what you’ve learned and discovered thus far about your creativity
  • Gain a greater idea of where you want to take your creativity
  • Answer the course questions from previous weeks if you haven’t had the chance to already.

Previous Week’s Journal Questions:

INTRO WEEK: Gearing up for the Journey

  • What steps have you taken to walk into your creative dreams thus far?
  • What were/are some things that were/are holding you back?
  • What advice would you share with others who have struggled to take hold of or regain their footing in conquering their dreams and goals?

WEEK 1:  Divorcing Perfectionism

  • How have you defined perfection?
  • How has your definition affected your creativity?
  • What advice would you share with others who have struggled to take hold of or regain their footing in conquering their dreams and goals?

WEEK 2: Building Memorials

  • What memorials do you have that have helped you take the steps toward your Creative Dream & Vision?
  • How have past victories hindered or enabled you in your creative growth?
  • What advice would you share with others who have struggled to take hold of or regain their footing in conquering their dreams and goals?

WEEK 3: Establishing

Again, take this week to let your creative mind wind down, refresh, and focus. I will see you next week with the Creative Module for “Vision.”

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Establishing: Taking the Path to Vision, Voice, & Doing #SeizetheDream #MondayMotivation #CreativeEncouragment

*To see previous course encouragements see the Course Content Page.

Hello, again Friends! I am super excited to be diving into this part of the Sow Seeds & Seize the Dream Creative Course. My prayer is that the previous week’s assignments and questions have gotten your creative juices flowing as well as prompted you to take a deeper look into who you are as a Creative.

Discovering the courage to create, getting in touch with the core of our creative passion, requires us to go on a journey, not only through the mediums by which we choose to express our creativity, but also a continuous inward journey into our souls and identity.

One of the most important aspects of ‘travel’ preparation is to establish several things. To establish is to prove the truth of something by sound and certain facts.

pexels-photo-297755

If you plan to take a trip out of the country, you must establish by proof, your identity, your place of citizenship, and declare why you are traveling into the territory you are headed.

In this Creative Journey, we are establishing:

  • Who we are
  • Where we are
  • Where we are going
  • and declaring why we are going to that destination in the first place

In this next phase of this course, and over the next three weeks, we are going to Establish our way through Vision, Voice, & Doing.

With any new adventure, one must not only explore the lay of the land but also establish who they are before they take the first step forward.

WHO YOU ARE:

Before the Lord God Yeshua Jesus took His journey into the wilderness (the place of new adventure), before He began His three-year ministry that would change the world for all eternity, He was established by the affirming Words from Father God.

He was affirmed by God that He is His Beloved Son in Who He is well pleased. (Rough paraphrasing of Matthew 3:16,17. In Matthew 4:1 He is then led into the wilderness or steps into His adventure)

I am a firm believer that whenever you start something new you must always remember your beginning because if you miss a step, find yourself facing discouragement, or forget the original directions, you can always refer back to the beginning.

This is what establishing one’s self is all about, leaving a breadcrumb back home, remembering who you are, and what your purpose is. Yeshua, being tried in the wilderness under an oppressive hand of doubt HAD to remember the beginning in the face of His trying. Through it all, He was established in His place in God, that He is His Beloved in whom He is well pleased.

This beginning is remembering who you are. You are a Creative with a vision and a seed, worthy of sowing, worthy of tending, and full of worthy fruit!

WHERE YOU ARE:

Where you are is at the beginning of a worthy journey. You are not where you want to be, but you are positioned to get to that place if, and only if, you are willing to commit to the process.

In short, whether you’ve been creating for many years, or you’ve just decided to answer the call to a creative dream that has been in your soul for decades, you are beginning with a clean slate from this moment on.

Remember who you are, but put your foot at the starting line, with the expectation of gaining something new as your grow.

WHERE YOU ARE GOING:

This is a question that only you can answer, and it is a great time to grab your journal and really ponder the answer (Below I will give you an example of how I’ve answered the question of where I am going.) Where you are going can only be determined by what you want, what your ultimate goal and purpose is.

DECLARING THE PURPOSE IN OUR DESTINATION:

Again, why are you taking this creative journey? What creative seeds are you determined to plant at this level of your creative growth?

VISION, VOICE, & DOING:

For me, ICFTS began as a means to recapture and reawaken my creative voice and muse. In so doing, I wanted to encourage others to do the same.

Who I was is who I have always been–a creative person. Where I was was in a place of stifling stillness, but eagerness to create. Where I was going was in a place of creative vulnerability by stretching my wings and showing all my creative processes, messes and all. My purpose was to take back my creative light and encourage others to shine as well.

I was made better able to do both of these things by declaring (putting into words) my Vision, Voice, & Doing. 

  • Vision: My vision is to grow and take advantage of artistic freedom. As an artist, I would like to harness a new level of artistic expression. I want my writing to flow easily from my imagination into typed or written words, without hindrance, and over thinking. I mostly just want to have fun with the process in general. As I discover these things and sample different avenues of expression I will share.
  • Voice: Even as I create with freedom, I want to do so with purpose. I want to discover the ‘voice’ of that purpose and speak it loud and clear.
  • Doing: I want ICFTS and my creative journey to be the catalyst for the creative and spiritual journeys and discoveries of others. I want to inspire my readers and watchers to create and grow, and inspire others to create and grow. I want to discover more of me and I want others to be inspired to discover more of themselves.

I put into words my Vision, Voice, & Doing, two years ago, and from I have definitely seen the fruits of my declaration.

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION:

Now it is your turn. Next week we are going to dig deeper into declaring Vision. Until then, in your journal, try to define and refine your declared vision.

  • What is it that you are seeking to do?
  • Why are you moved to do it?

SCRIPTURE FOCUS:

ADDITIONAL READING:

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS:

  • Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Building Memorials for Creative Success: Week 2 #SeizetheDream #Goals #MondayMotivation #CreativeMotivation

*To see previous course encouragements see the Course Content Page.

Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” ~Joshua 4:4-7 NKJV Bible Gateway

Memorial. A memorial is something that we set up to remind ourselves of important events or happenings in our lives.

Wedding bands are memorials of covenant relationships with one’s spouse. Diplomas are memorials for academic achievement. Gravestones are memorials declaring the life and death of a loved one.

No matter the type of memorial, all of them have the same purpose, and that is to call us to remembrance.

Every memorial that is set up in our lives will either spur us on to a healthy and whole future, or they will hinder us from taking the necessary steps we need in order to truly walk in our desired creative success.

As creatives, and for those of us who are people of faith, we must be mindful of the kinds of memorials we are setting up in our lives. Are we establishing reminders for success, or stumbling blocks for failure?

As we walk into the second week of this creative journey here are 3 Memorials we need to investigate; Past, Present, and Future.

Past: Where You’ve Been

  • Learn to Forget

The memorial of the past consists of its fair share of victories as well as failures. The beauty of looking back at our past is that we get to acknowledge it for what it truly is–Our past.

Sometimes our past victories can become as crippling as our failures. Remembering the ‘good’ that we did in yesteryear can sometimes be the fading glory that prevents us from pressing into the present opportunity for ‘greatness’ in tomorrow.

We can become so intimidated by our past success that we feel as if we won’t be able to reach that former glory let alone exceed it.

In Philippians 3:13-14, the Apostle Pauls says:

13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

As creatives, seeking a greater dream, we must, like the Apostle Paul, realize that we may not be at the level of success we’d like but we cannot let yesterday keep us from aiming for that level either.

We must learn to forget those old failures as well as put our past victories in their proper perspective if we are going to take hold of our future success.

  • Learn to Remember

In the same token, we have to keep stock of the victories we attained especially when the odds were against us and it seemed as if we were not going to reach or goals.

In Psalm 23, King David says of the Lord that His rod and His staff comfort him (Psalm 23) Some text suggest that the staff that David carried and referred to was a patriarchal staff passed down from father to son. On this staff were the victories over trial, and the mighty works that God had done for His people.

Being able to look back and remember how in the toughest of times we still achieved our goal is a comfort and an encouragement that urges us forward into our next victory.

If we overcame yesterday, we can surely do so today!

Present: Where You Are

Many of us creatives have found ourselves having a desired destination in mind but finding several reasons today for why we cannot get there. This often comes from looking at what you have in comparison to what you think you need, and then counting yourself out.

When we begin to see our present as insufficient in light of what we what for our future, and thus determine that it would be useless to make steps to contradict the insufficiency, we position ourselves for failure.

This is obviously not the kind of memorial we want to build.

If you are a person of faith, you must believe that the God of Creation not only gave you your creative dream and vision but that He is also aware of where you are and what you have, even in the face of what you ‘think’ you need.

Hebrews 13:5 says,

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”~ NKJV

To be content with our present does not mean that we are ‘satisfied,’ nor that we are deciding to just lay day and allow life to happen at whim. Rather it means that we have taken stock of what we currently have in hand, and with the minds of faith, courage, and ingenuity we are trusting a power greater than us to bless our steps of faith.

When we learn to move with and beyond what we have, seeing opportunity instead of lack, that we grow in our creativity and ingenuity. Genius is born when we move in faith and courage where we are with what we have available to us.

  • Remember that presently you are___________/you have_____________but you shall______________because you have faith.

Future: Where You Are Going

Where you are going is determined by how you think and what you see in your imagination. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that as a man thinks in his heart so is he.

In order for you to sow seeds for creative success, you must:

  • Learn to see yourself as successful
  • Learn to see yourself victorious in your vision
  • Learn to see yourself beyond the current odds

Overcoming roadblocks build strength, faith, and endurance. Building proper memorials enables us to do that.

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION:

  • In your journal, take the time to write down your memorials. Using the principles outlined in today’s course write down:
  1. Where you’ve been
  2. Where you are
  3. Where you ARE going
  • Speak your success: Using an index card, write down five affirmations about the successful person you are. Example: I am a success. I am original. I am courageous. Speak these out loud to yourself especially when you are feeling discouraged.

SCRIPTURE FOCUS:

ADDITIONAL READING:

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS:

  • What memorials do you have that have helped you take the steps toward your Creative Dream & Vision?
  • How have past victories hindered or enabled you in your creative growth?
  • What advice would you share with others who have struggled to take hold of or regain their footing in conquering their dreams and goals?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

The Beauty of Blinders: Taking Sight of Your Own Creativity #CreativeEncouragement #Creativity #Individuality

BLINDERS:

  1. something that obscures vision: something that prevents clear vision or understanding
  2. eye covers for horse: a pair of flaps attached to a horse’s bridle, one beside each eye, to keep the horse looking straight ahead.Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2003. © 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

In terms of art and creativity, the first definition of the word for Blinders is very negative. Art, after all, is about giving vision and making the obscure more understandable.

But as an artist and as creative people, there are times where Blinders are a necessary tool that we should employ within our journeys.

Real art is not about competition it is about the newness of authenticity. Authentic creativity speaks not only for the artist, but to the artist as well as the audience, and comes from a place within.

Blinders that cover our eyes from distractions, things that keep us from our vision, and looking ahead, staying on the path, are very beautiful and worthwhile.

When you start creating, developing your motion, the thing that you do not want to do is to think, “How can I be different from the person next to me?” When you start your creative process with that mindset being your base or foundation, (and many of us have) you keep yourself from tapping into your true creativity.

What you are essentially doing is looking ‘outwardly’ at what the person next to you is doing, and you are taking what they have created, and have made that your foundation or base. You are putting icing on an already iced cake.

Your individuality begins from within it doesn’t take root from without…”

Digression. Spring-boarding off of the work of others, using their vision as a tool or muse, is one thing. It’s a means of learning. This is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about creative competition and anxiety which is the knife that cuts the throat of many of fantastically creative people.

People who run their creative race with the eyes on the competition never reach their fullest potential. They begin the race with a goal in mind and never reach the finish line because their eyes stayed on the ‘horse’ in the other lane. Ultimately, they ended up crashing and burning, trying to be like the one next to them but never becoming the best expression of themselves.

Real art is not about competition it is about the newness of authenticity. Authentic creativity speaks not only for the artist, but to the artist as well as the audience, and comes from a place within.

When you look ‘inwardly,’ which is a revelation (even if someone else’s work has led you to do so) and you get a new creative revelation that is authentic that speaks from the core of who you are, then at that point you can really  begin to glean from the creative wisdom of others.

From there you can take aspects and concepts of what others have created and from there say, “How can I use this expression and make it my own?” while still holding on to your own individuality.

You create your own lane and forge a new path of inspiration.

Your individuality begins from within, it doesn’t take root from without…if that makes sense. It requires taking an introspective glance into the dark places deep within ourselves and learning our own true voice and song.

Many do not dare dive that deep for fear of what they will find.

We as creatives shouldn’t look around and think “How can I be different?” Instead ask yourself “How can I continue to be me, learn who I am as an artist,  and continue to climb each rung of this ladder of creative enlightenment. How can I rise higher by getting a hand up by other artists and creatives by gleaning the wisdom that they have already produced?”

I hope my words were understood and have given a bit of encouragement to help you soar even higher.

Thanks for reading! And keep it Creative!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Divorcing Perfect: The First Step in Sowing Seeds for Creative Success #SeizetheDream #Goals #MondayMotivation

Welcome to Week 1 of “Sow the Seeds, Seize the Dream 12 Week Creative Course.” I have to say that more than anything I am super excited about embarking on this journey with you.

No matter what your creative goals are, I want to see you soar!

Taking the steps, harnessing the faith and courage to walk on the waters of our curious creativity, is a grand thing and certainly not one to be taken lightly.

This is a big deal. You, making the decision to find your creative voice, to try something outside of your comfort zone, but oh so impressed upon your heart with a million ‘what ifs’ is a big deal.

The reality is everything will be as good as it is meant to be in the stage of development that it is in.

Today we begin with a simple but necessary introduction to the path we are going to take. Like with any journey, it is important that one counts the cost and gets ready for the road ahead.

The biggest hurdle we as creatives must leap over (we as humans) is that of ‘Perfectionism.’

  • PERFECTIONISM: The inability to accept anything that is below the standard of perfection.

Today, I just want to talk to you about how crippling ‘perfectionism’ can be and give you a few steps to move beyond this so-called giant.

I remember for over a period of five years I had gathered a mouthwatering collection of art supply, from paints to pens, paper, canvases … you name it, I pretty much had it. All of it gathered to create glorious art, but all of it gathered little more than dust as the fear of making something less than perfect crippled my hands from moving.

For five years my creativity bottle-necked because I was afraid to mess up the cotton fibers of my papers. I was simply afraid, afraid my results would not match my original design, afraid I would fail, afraid I wouldn’t measure up to the expectations of others … simply afraid.

Can you relate to that?

Many of us have a dream but do nothing with it, not because we are careless, but because we have become overly careful. Many times this ‘care’ which is actually insecurity and worry is birthed the fear of not being good enough.

The reality is everything will be as good as it is meant to be in the stage of development that it is in.

As the book of Ecclesiastes 3:9-11 puts it: What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”

A five-year-old playing a mean tune of “Chopsticks” has done a fantastic job even though that song doesn’t compare in the minds of many to “Moonlight Sonata.” But if the five-year-old continues to try his or her hand at simplistic tunes until their muscles have learned to flow into something like “Jingle-Bells,” then there is hope that they will grow into pieces composed by Mozart and Beethoven.

This truth holds the same for ALL CREATIVES. We have to make peace with the truth that growing in our creativity is a messy business and will require some keys being played out of tune, some colors being poorly mixed, even some words being used out of context.

The mistakes are all a part of the growth process and actually, some things birthed out of imperfection have actually proven to be quite perfect. Here are a few examples:

  • Cream Cheese: Cream cheese was the IMPERFECT mistake made in 1872, created by American dairymen, William Lawrence of Chester, N.Y. In Mr. Lawrence’s attempt to create the French cheese called Neufchatel, he imperfectly, yet perfectly, created Cream Cheese which is a hit! I mean what is a bagel without cream cheese, and don’t get me started on cheesecake.
  • Ganache: I heard it on a Food show years ago that this chocolatey delight was created by a chef ‘accidentally’ and thusly, imperfectly knocking cream into some heated chocolate. In his attempt to create something else, this confection was invented.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies: In 1938 American Chefs,  Ruth Graves Wakefield and Sue Brides imperfectly yet perfectly came up with just about every cookie lover’s dream. Now, according to some, the chef’s were attempting to create a chocolate cookie, believing that the chocolate chips would melt in the batter only to find that the did not, but no one is complaining over that!

The point of these delicious examples is that there are people the world and time over who have stepped out of their comfort zones to attempt something new to them only to be blessed by the results of their imperfection. (I used food examples to whet your creative appetites.) They had a dream and vision for something and what they ended up with, although imperfect by some standards, ended up being better than they had imagined. They didn’t just set out to be perfect they set out to take hold of their creative dreams.

Today, we have the same opportunity as the folks mentioned. We can step out, divorcing the fear of perfectionism, but raising our expectation for something good to happen in us and through us creatively over the next 12 weeks.

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION:

  • Commit to a new definition of perfection. Find perfection in the ‘completion’ of each creative step required to get you from dream to vision, not in the flawless result of what you currently view as perfect. (For each person, this will be different. What is needed for an amateur make-up artist to complete is not the same as an aspiring author. )
  • Commit to attempting your creative endeavor while embracing the glory of imperfection. As Zig Ziglar put it, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly . . . until you can learn to do it well.” 
  • Commit to acknowledging the goodness in each effort you have made toward your dream and call it ‘good.’ As in the dawn of Creation, The Lord God, at the end of His daily efforts of Creation, He blessed His work and called it GOOD! Yes, He had a bigger picture in mind (end result) but He acknowledged the goodness in the steps He’d made toward that goal. We have to do the same.

SCRIPTURE FOCUS:

ADDITIONAL READING:

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS:

  • How have you defined perfection?
  • How has your definition affected your creativity?
  • What advice would you share with others who have struggled to take hold of or regain their footing in conquering their dreams and goals?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

(Also, get yourself a journal and write dow your thoughts. It will be great to see how far you’ve grown in the coming weeks!)

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!