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!

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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!

This Year: Music Interlude & Hope For 2016

“Don’t remember the former things, and don’t consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” ~Isaiah 43:18-19

The Apostle Paul said in (Philippians 3:13-14) that he had determined to forget what was behind him in order to obtain what was ahead of him, thus he pressed forward towards the goal of the high calling of his life. And if you are familiar with the life of Paul, then you know that he was responsible for many deaths and imprisonments of the first followers of Yeshua Jesus, only to be called into the glorious Light himself.

Could you imagine what life would have been like had Paul allowed his past mistakes, failures and disappointments to determine and even spoil his future? Think of all the humanitarians of the Faith who’ve come forward for good because Paul pressed forward leaving yesterday where it belongs…behind.

With the dawning of a new civil year, we too have the blessing of starting over, but not just the year but through Christ, every single day!

Yeshua Jesus promises that His mercies are new EVERY MORNING! not just ever 365 days (Lamentations 3:22-23.)  But there is still something so special about starting fresh for an entire year.

Behold, Yeshua Jesus is doing a NEW THING. That New Thing is available to any and everyone who will call upon His Name and trust in Him and His love for them. That New Thing is ready for all of us this year, should we choose to perceive it, or as Isaiah prophesied, “shall we know it?” The choice is ours to do so or not.

Let us all determine to have a paradigm shift. Let us see through faith and hope and love and victory.

Let’s take hold of the new thing and the new year of life gifted to us. Let’s march forward to greater things!

Happy 2016!

Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

The Joy Of A Spiritual Love Affair: Music Interlude & Word Of Faith

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” ~Psalm 84:10

To look upon the one you love and to say that one day with them, in their presence is better than 1,000 days put together is a mighty statement. These words are the embodiment of an incredible love and devotion.

Have you ever been in love? Have you ever felt so strongly for another soul? Whether you have or not the truth still remains that we all were created with the desire for such a great love.

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You are worth more than sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31)

The beauty, being made so, is that the first and greatest fulfillment of this love, one which never ceases but ever are we made aware of its intense sweetness, is the spiritual love that we all can have with God through trusting faith in His Only Son, Yeshua Jesus.

His righteous, unrelenting love will NEVER LEAVE US NOR FORSAKE US! (Hebrews 13:5)

The Song of Solomon is a grand reflection of intimate, romantic love and devotion expressed between the Groom and His Beloved, but more it is an allegory of the love Yeshua Jesus has for us. Out of all His creation, He loves you most and best!

Aren’t two sparrows sold for an assarion coin? Not one of them falls on the ground apart from your Father’s will, but the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore don’t be afraid, You are of more value than many sparrows.” ~Matthew 10:29-31

Consider how many sparrows fly throughout the earth. God knows each of them and cares for them. Yet God’s love, His admiration of you is so incredible that He knows even the number of hairs that are on your head! You would have to care a great deal about a person to even see the worth in knowing something so seemingly trivial, yet the God of the universe knows this about you because He is that much in love with you!

The greatest experience of Love is not only knowing that you are loved, but being able to receive that love while giving love in return.

This is what a spiritual Love Affair is all about. It is delighting in the presence of your Savior, receiving His love while loving Him, basking in His beauty and being refreshed by His presence.

Joy comes in His presence and their are Delights every more at His Right Hand! (Right Hand is Yeshua Jesus) (Psalm 16:11) (Romans 15:13)

His strength for all things comes through His joy for His joy is our strength and our joy is literally HIS JOY! (Nehemiah 8:10) (John 15:10-12)

What better way to show love than to give Joy?

I encourage you as you listen to the song above to really allow your heart to be enraptured by the love of God through Yeshua Jesus. I promise you you too will say like the Psalmist, better is one day with Him than 1,000!

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

The Secret of the Stars: A Quote And Message

No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new discovery for the human spirit.” ~Helen Keller

The only ingredients that you need to fail in this life are Fear, Doubt, and Pessimism. All three of these are the poison that sap out our creative power and imagination.

When Yeshua Jesus created the heavens and the earth, He did so by speaking. He spoke from His imagination. Proverbs 23:7 says as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs further goes on to warn us that we will live by the fruit of our lips and above all else, to guard our hearts for out of it flows the source of our lives. (PROVERBS 12:14, PROVERBS 18:21, PROVERBS 4:23)

When our hearts are filled with pessimism and doubt, we speak with negativity and bring forth the fruits of failure. But when we speak with faith, when we allow ourselves to dream, imagine, and do by faith, we are giving life to victory. We are positioning ourselves to conquer!

Yeshua Jesus also tells us that we can do all things through Him and that nothing is impossible to him who believes! He said according to your faith, be it unto you! (PHILIPPIANS 4:13, MARK 9:23, MARK 9:29)

What are you believing? What are you saying about yourself? There are no limits to them who believe. Nowhere in God’s word does he say “you can’t” but he does say that “you can!” What is your dream? Go and make it a reality. Slay your giants, for they will come, but remember you are more than a conqueror because you have faith and believe! Genesis 11:6, Matthew 17:20.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Faith is the key element that takes you on to live your big life. Your heavenly Father didn’t create you to live a life of mediocrity – you were created to live life in the FAITH LANE. The faith-lane is not to be mistaken  as the ‘fast lane’ because often it is just the opposite. Faith and Patience= The Promise. (Hebrews 6:12)”

~Pastor Brian Houston “Live love lead” Devotional (HEBREWS 6:9-12)

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Always Welcome: A Word & Musical Interlude

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Seeing then that we have a Great High Priest, that is passed into the Heavens, Jesus, The Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a High priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our weaknesses; but was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore COME BOLDLY unto THE THRONE OF GRACE, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

~Hebrews 4:14-16 NKJV

I want to encourage you today. I don’t care what is going on in your life, how you may have failed, what sin you may find yourself entangled in, I want you to know that if you have given your heart to Yeshua Jesus that He is not taken by surprise when you stumble, nor is He shaking His head in condemnation towards you (Romans 8:1).

What He is doing is waiting with His arms open wide, waiting for you, His beloved, redeemed child, to run into His open arms and allow Him to restore you.

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:16-17, Jeremiah 31:31-34

You see, the separation that we feel from Father God when we make a mistake and sin is not a separation caused by Him moving away from us. No. He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). His finished work on the cross was more than enough to wash all of that away; past present and future. When He said it was finished He meant everything through out time and eternity. (Hebrews 10:11-17) (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

You are completely and wholly forgiven.

The separation we experience is caused by our own moving away because of the lie of the enemy telling us that God is angry with us. But He has promised to NEVER be angry with us again (Isaiah 54:9).

There is therefore now, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1

When we allow satan’s lies to become a stronghold in our lives, we begin to turn away from God in shame. We move away from Him, but He waits for us and peruses us with open arms. There is nothing you can do to earn His favor. All you can do is receive it.

Yeshua Jesus, Your Loving Father, King, Savior and Friend, wants you to know you are COMPLETELY FORGIVEN, and COMPLETELY LOVED. Nothing can separate you from His love (Romans 8:37-39) and you are ALWAYS WELCOME!

Take the time and listen to these sisters, Mary and Martha (twins) minister to you this truth in song, “Always Welcome.”

~Poiema Poetry in Motion

Inevitable Change: A Quote Day 2 of 3 Day Quote Challenge

Change is inevitable, Growth is optional.”~Unknown (to me)

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Change. The only time that most people search out change and willingly run with it is when unsavory circumstances have begun to dim the light and joy form their life and they are desperate to get it back. Otherwise, change is seen as the unwelcome guest who showed up at your perfectly numbered dinner party, uninvited.

Change requires sacrifice, which generally goes hand and hand with discomfort and for some of us, discombobulation.

But change is necessary. It is going to happen whether we like it or not, whether we are prepared or not.

Think about an infant in their mother’s womb. Change comes and is without a doubt a straining shock to everything within the infant and around them. But what awaits them at the end of their travailing journey is something far greater.

Consider the caterpillar who crawls through life, knowing in the core of their being that they are meant for greater heights. They must burn with the urge to fly at some point.

But they, like us, must go through the “changes” that enable them to take flight or in the case of a baby, to feel the tender kiss of their mother and father.

What is required for both of them (and all of us) to experience the full glory of what change has to offer? Growth. How do we grow? With willing hearts.

This puts me in the mind of John 15: 1-2:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

There is something in these verses that a lot of people miss. Bearing fruit requires CHANGE and GROWTH, but whether the vine is willing to grow or not, it will still get CUT. Pruning is cutting. Being taken away is cutting. Cutting is change. Fruit is growth.

Life is filled with options but change is not one of them. Growth is always a choice that we are free to make.

To read the quote from Day 1 and to see who nominated me for this challenge and those who I have nominated, simply click HERE.

Cheers!

 

 

Trees: A Sketch & Meditation

Gnarly Trees

It has been a long while since I have sat down and drawn something out of nature. It has been a few weeks since I have drawn something at all, and I found that more than my fingers were itching to create visually, but also my heart.

Change groans for new creation.

I have always had an affinity for trees and their form, especially how they relate to us as humankind. Trees dance like we do. They go through seasons of change, but even in their barren seasons they continue to hold strong their roots because they recognize spring will come again. Their glory will come again.

There is so much we can learn from them, lessons of life, faith, love, new beginnings, growth and fortitude.

Job 14:7-9  For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.”*

At the scent of the Living Waters from Heaven, the Holy Spirit, given through faith in Christ Jesus, we too can live again. There is hope for us as well.

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

*Scripture taken fro the KJV bible