All posts tagged: writing

The Beauty of Blinders: Taking Sight of Your Own Creativity

BLINDERS: something that obscures vision: something that prevents clear vision or understanding 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 creativity, the first definition of the word for ‘blinders’ is very negative. Being creative after all is about giving vision and making the obscure more understandable. But as creative people, there are times where blinders are a necessary tool that we should employ within our journeys, and actually, blinders become a great blessing when we employ them in our faith journeys as well. “True creativity 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. …

Artful Aggression: How We Abuse Our Creative Work & Why We Shouldn’t

Have you ever watched a movie, sat in horror or just sheer irritation as you witness one character (generally a parent or a lover) verbally abuse their child or partner? And as you are watching you begin to judge that character thinking, “Gosh, they are wrong. I would  never talk to my child like that.” The scene ends, the couple or family members come to some peaceful ground, and then the movie ends. “We cruelly victimize our art. Art’s greatest victimizer is often the one who created it.” The movie ends but the hypocrisy continues. In the Book of Matthew 7:5, Jesus says “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.“ You are probably wondering, what in the world does a scene from a movie and teaching from Jesus have to do with art. They have everything to do with art, even if indirectly. We as artist and writers  have a tendency to look at our creations the …

Words…Use Them Wisely

Life is more than words, but words do make up our lives. Have you ever considered how the simplest of words can change a person’s attitude either for the good or bad? Even the words spoken without verbalization have such great power. Consider a person who feels utterly alone, ignored and unseen. Let a stranger smile at them, genuinely smile at them, and that non-verbal interaction, those ‘words’ spelled out without sound, can push away the dark clouds in the recipient’s day. “Life is more than words, but words do make up our lives.”   God created the whole of creation with just His Words (Genesis 1). He spoke and it came to be. Our Lord Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1). He too spoke and things happened. He spoke to the fig tree and it died (Mark 11:12-25). He spoke to Lazarus and he was resurrected from the dead (John 11: 38-44). Being a person of faith I am compelled not to take language and words lightly even though I often stumble, …

Taking Hold of Greatness: Being Willing to Take Steps Backward

“Sometimes doing great work requires taking several steps backward.”         ~CANDICE COATES I don’t know of a single human being throughout the span of time who has not desired some level of success and greatness. I am not talking about the greatness that world conquers sought, the empty success that only leaves you with an insatiable high for more in all the wrong ways, the kind that leaves victims wounded, and bloodied in your wake. I am talking about the great work of authentic meaning and self-expression. I am talking about that work that comes from an honest and sincere heart, that one that you can whisper to God with a smile and say, “We did good, eh?” Be it your art, your writing, your marriage, your conquering of the daily grind whereas you force yourself to say, “This is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it! I will do well today no matter the odds, no matter the discomfort.” This is the great work I …

The Almighty Quarter: 3 Ways to Make Creative Time in a Busy Day

Quarters are amazing! You can do so many activities with quarters. You can do laundry, you can play a game at an arcade with enough quarters (are those even a thing in today’s world?). You can purchase a cheap, hot cup of liquid motivation on your way to work with quarters. Once upon a time, you could make a phone call in a phone booth with a quarter. Packs of chewing gum used to be a quarter! I mean I could go on and on about how great quarters are! My favorite quarters, however, are those within a day, made up of minutes and seconds. In a single day, you have twenty-four hours, forty-eight half hours and ninety-six  QUARTERS! Nintey-six! Now, you are probably thinking, “What is the big deal?” “Time does not play fair. It plays mind tricks. More often than not, it will rob you, trick you and leave you frustrated…if you let it.” Here it is, as creative beings, who have full-time commitments away from our crafts, finding the time to cultivate …

Seeing Through the Fog of Fear

*Revised from January 6, 2014 “If you are willing to go where God leads, He will see you through the journey.” ~PASTOR JESSE DUPLANTIS Writing is what I love. Sharing is what I love. Creating is what I love. However even in the face of things we love there can at times be a cloud of fog that blinds our direction. We start off heading one way with excitement and hope, and somewhere down the road, we end up choking on the fog of fear. For many years I battled with the foggy fear of failure. I knew that I was capable as a writer and storyteller. I knew I had many great stories to tell, but I had stumbled on the stones that said, “What if you don’t tell the story right?” or “What if you mess up that really expensive piece of cotton rag artist paper you just purchased?” The fear was paralyzing. It kept me still and inactive in my creativity for far too many years. I wished I had pushed through …

Fire Through The Window: The Season of Preparation

  The Fall By Candice Coates, written September 28, 2015 The world looked like fire from the view of her bedroom window. The leaves on the trees had been set ablaze by the match called Fall. Life as she had known it, of thin layers and barefoot days, was slowly burning to smoke, leaving behind ashes of leather boots, sweaters and the scent of earth in the air. “I love the fall,” she said. “There is something lovely about it. It reminds me of the perfect kiss; sweet and intimate, zestful with the shock of chilled lips that slowly ebb into a warmth that leaves you hypnotized, never wanting to let go.” She closed her eyes to the warm caress of the sun’s rays sliding over her eyelids like the softest silk before she pushed away from the window. She wrapped herself within her own arms and smiled brightly. No one was there with her, no one except God, the One who had created the Fall with her in mind and heart. The Beginning. THE BLESSING …

Renewing Your Vision

*Revised from April 15, 2016 “Worse than being blind is to see and have no vision” ~HELEN KELLER Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no VISION the people PERISH…” (Emphasis mine) To be able to see is one thing, to have a vision is another. Vision is the driving force that calls us to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Vision is the crown that causes us to press even in the face of repeated failure because it’s given you hope for the future. To be a person who has lived and not simply existed, you must have a vision–a goal. Although vision and sight are different, they are not mutually exclusive. To maintain your vision you must keep it ever before you (Habakkuk 2:2) Put it down in the simplest of words as a reminder of what you are aiming for. It is very easy to allow the challenges of life to stifle our vision. In faith, in Christ Jesus, we are called to ‘renew’ or minds, that we not be conformed to the …

Why The Bird Sings: Faith for Creatives

*Revised from August 3, 2015 “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” ~Maya Angelou We, as the artist and writers, the dreamers of the world, creative beings, fashioned in the likeness of our loving God and Father, share a beautiful thread of comradery with the birds who so sweetly sing. We write because we have a story to tell. We create because we have a vision. We dream because we have been blessed with a hope so gloriously written by Christ’s hands that we know it will not disappoint (ROM. 5:5). We don’t need to have the answers for every step we are led to take or the exact ins and outs that lead to our future goals in order to share something beautiful. We just need willing hearts to follow His lead and our voices ready to sing in the symphony of song that He has orchestrated for us! Lift up your voice, lift up your faith, and sing. “He has given me a new …

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. The deception of that ideology is one that plagues many of us, I am sure; being still means you have wasted a moment. I am so grateful that this thought process is not based on the truth. Years ago, I was presented with the converse of that false ideology. I learned that there can be great wisdom in resting… or 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 …