day 19::answering the call

art is when you hear a knocking from your soul, and you answer.  ~terri guillemets

for the past couple of years i have planted sweet peas in my vegetable garden.  they are one of the first things to to plant in early spring, and what’s even better is they are one of the first things to emerge from the still cold earth.

it’s amazing to me how seeds know how to sprout and grow.  how they know which way is up, so to speak.  because i am a total nerd, one day i decided to look it up.  and it turns out that it is due to what is known as ‘gravitropism’.

2013 03 24_1916_blog

without boring you completely to tears with a botany lesson, basically gravitropism is a living organism’s response to gravitational pull. in the case of plants, there are specialized cells and chemicals in the roots that sense the pull of gravity and therefore grow and divide in that direction.  the same holds true in the stems of plant only in reverse.  it’s like seeds have an inner GPS.  roots grow down, shoots grow towards the light.

IMG_4885_blog

i often think of my life like this. because i believe that God created us with a sort of spiritual GPS.  a direction for our lives….an inner calling.

our purpose on earth of course, is to glorify God.  the inner pull to know and love Him, that is God calling.  and how we hear and respond to God’s call, well I believe that is our Art.

if you are anything like me, the word ‘calling’ can be extremely intimidating.  doing the work that God put me here on earth to do…glorifying Him with my life???  no pressure right?  and what has been even more frustrating for me has been trying to figure out what exactly my calling is.  i mean honestly…if i had a dollar for every time i’ve asked myself this question, i would be writing this blog post from a beach chair on the island of st. john instead of sitting hunched over my laptop on a barstool at my kitchen island….i’m just sayin’.

IMG_1552_blog

it would so much easier if God would just call me on my cell phone.  or send me a text.  an email even.

but that’s not how a calling works.  a calling is not something that come from the outside, it’s something that comes from the inside.  a calling is often disguised as a stirring in your heart.  something that moves you.  you might not even know why…it doesn’t matter.  your calling is a tiny voice from your soul that wants to express your God-given creativity.

IMG_2002_web_blog

a calling can be many things.  it can be the desire to make what we commonly call art – painting, drawing, architecture, music, etc. but a calling can also be a desire to do something entirely different like start a business, fly a plane, plow a field, go to medical school, raise a child.  for some, a calling can also be ‘real job’ and that’s wonderful.  but rest assured…our response to God’s call does not have to come with a w-2 at the end of the year.

our calling is whatever moves us toward the light.

God created us.  God loves us.  God infused his creative spirit in us.  God calls us each individually, according to the gifts and talents He bestowed on us.  our calling is written is our DNA.  and as we draw closer and closer toward him, listen to His call, this is how we make Art with our lives.

if you are anything like me and unsure of your calling, pay attention to what you pay attention to…it’s like a road map to that place in your soul.  but don’t worry if you don’t have it all figured out…it’s a lifelong process.  all that matters is that you answer the call.

IMG_0608_blog

here i am, Lord isaiah 6:8

only i could overthink something so profoundly.  but after all these years of searching, i should have just listened to my heart…it was there all along.  because my calling is my belief that there is joy to be found in ordinary life. this is what moves me.  motivates me.  inspires me.   some days it smacks you upside the head, and some days you have to dig deep.  but joy is there for eyes that wish to see.

IMG_1303_blog

31-days-blog-button2thank you so much for joining me on my 31 day writing challenge. to see all of the posts in this series, please click here. and if you would like to receive future posts via email, you can subscribe here.
Posted in 31 days | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

day 18::when it’s time to let go

all the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. ~henry ellis

it’s one of the hardest things for me…when to hang on and when to let go.  how do i know when it’s time to let go?

IMG_6687_blog

for me, one thing i’ve found to be helpful is to ask myself who’s driving the bus.  because if fear is driving, it is going sounds a lot like this.

  • i’m afraid to change jobs because what if i hate it?  what if i’m jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
  • i’m afraid to let go of my girl because motherhood is such a wonderful source of joy and inspiration.  what if i am empty?  what if there’s nothing left for me?
  • i’m afraid of trying new things because what if i’m not that good?  what if i fail?

IMG_6675_blog

holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future. ~daphne rose kingma

so now, anytime part of my decision making process involves the phrase “i’m afraid….because….what if the bad thing i don’t want to happen happens” that’s a red flag. and a sure sign that it is probably time to let go.

time to let go of fear.

time to let go of the fear of change…. let go of the fear of failing.

IMG_6696_blog

because the better choice is to hold on to faith.  hold on to trust.  hold on to hope.

for you, o Lord, are my hope, my trust…. ~psalm 71:5

31-days-blog-button2thank you so much for joining me on my 31 day writing challenge. to see all of the posts in this series, please click here. and if you would like to receive future posts via email, you can subscribe here.

 

Posted in 31 days | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

day 17::the dangers of playing it safe

change always comes bearing gifts. ~price pritchett

be careful.  drive safely.  take care.

IMG_4844_blog

i can’t tell you how many times i’ve spoken these same words to my daughter…often in the same conversation.  because that’s what we do right?  as a mom i want her to be safe…protect her from danger.  keep her from getting hurt.

i wonder sometimes if i say these things to her because this i what i want too….a life free of pain.

recently i was faced with a big decision regarding my ‘real’ job.  an opportunity presented itself to me and i forced to make a decision between playing it safe – staying with what was familiar even if it wasn’t making me happy– and doing something a little different…rocking the boat.

for the record, i don’t thing there is anything wrong with playing it safe.  i very much believe there is a case for not rocking the boat.  when life is good, to sit quiet and still in the boat and soak up the peace, enjoy the sunset reflected in the calm water…

IMG_5320_blog

but about in stormy seas? when the boat is already rocking?  well i’m starting to think that sitting in the boat scared and afraid is quite possibly the worst course of action.

for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. ~2 timothy 1:7

i made a big decision this year.  i got out of the boat.  i stepped out in faith.  and it has been one of the best decisions i have made.

i’ll be honest though…although i do not regret making the decision in the slightest, the past couple of months have had their share of frustration.  i have become reacquainted with my distaste for the learning curve. and there are days when i have felt unsettled and out of my element.  but it’s also been exciting to feel myself rise to the challenge. to live in that uncomfortable yet exhilarating space of doing new things.  of seeing myself in a new light.

creativity takes courage.  ~henri matisse

the past few days, i have been sharing how lessons from my (a)rt have influenced by (A)rt.  but i think this is a case where the reverse is true.  and going forward, i hope to tap into this strength and courage.  to step out in faith and believe in my abilities.

IMG_5046_365

i know that i will never be a ziplining, skydiving, adrenaline junkie…that’s just not in my nature. and i do not believe there is one thing wrong with being cautious or careful.  but this i know…whether it’s in my life or in my art, even it means that i might crash and burn a little, i am done with letting fear make my decisions for me.

31-days-blog-button2thank you so much for joining me on my 31 day writing challenge. to see all of the posts in this series, please click here. and if you would like to receive future posts via email, you can subscribe here.

 

Posted in 31 days | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

day 16::because i am a perfectionist

it’s what I call the haute couture, high-end version of fear… perfectionism. it’s just fear in really good shoes. but it’s still fear. ~elizabeth gilbert

because i am a perfectionist, i use a scoop when i make blueberry muffins.

IMG_6648_blog

because i am a perfectionist, i took four different pictures of that above mentioned scoop.

because i am a perfectionist, i redid my front porch pots a couple of times before i got them just right.

IMG_6652_blog

because i am a perfectionist, i have tweaked this post about four times.

because i am a perfectionist, i pay attention to details.

because i am a perfectionist, i work hard.

because i am a perfectionist, i am an overachiever.

because i am a perfectionist, i have high expectations.

because i am a perfectionist, i get frustrated when i can’t meet them.

because i am a perfectionist, i have a hard time making decisions.

because i am a perfectionist, i try too hard.

because i am a perfectionist, i make things harder than they need to be.

because i am a perfectionist, i worry about what others think.

because i am a perfectionist, i miss out.

because i am a perfectionist, i am an imperfect, flawed soul.

because i am a perfectionist, i am desperately in need of God’s grace.

IMG_6587_365

because i am a perfectionist, there is hope for me.

perfect love drives out fear. ~1 john 4:18

31-days-blog-button2thank you so much for joining me on my 31 day writing challenge. to see all of the posts in this series, please click here. and if you would like to receive future posts via email, you can subscribe here.

 

Posted in 31 days | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

day 15::the art of saying no

half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough. ~josh billings

it’s only taken me 46 1/2 years but i have finally figured something out – i cannot do everything.

trust me…no one was more surprised than me to learn this.

i have a special gift for making things harder than they need to be.  and most of the time, it is due to my inability to say no.  it sounds so simple….but it’s not easy.

it’s hard to say no to things i love do – baking, gardening, crafting, photography – they all bring me so much happiness.  but between my ‘real’ job and my home, my family…sometimes there just are not enough hours in the day.  and on those occasions where i do try to do everything?   well i just end up making everyone i love miserable…including myself.

why is saying no hard for me?  i think sometimes it’s because i have these ridiculous unrealistic, self-imposed ideas of the way things should be.  perfectionist tendencies that unconsciously drive me to do way more than is necessary.  sometimes it’s the fear of missing out.  and then my own personal kryptonite…fear of letting others down.

so what is a perfectionist, overachiever to do?  well i think a good place to start is by giving myself a break…there is no shame in taking the easy way out from time to time.  there is also {gulp} no shame in asking for help.   and finally, God help me, i could try to delegate a little more or pay someone else to do the things i don’t enjoy doing.

i can do all this through him who gives me strength. ~phil 4:13

i wish i had some awesome insight to share or nice, tidy bow with which to wrap up this blog post.  clearly i still have a lot of work to do in this regard.  however my hope is that in learning to say no to things that are driven by fear, it will create time and space for the things that bring me joy and inspire me.

IMG_6668_blog

so if you’ll excuse me, i’m going to start looking for a housekeeper.

31-days-blog-button2thank you so much for joining me on my 31 day writing challenge. to see all of the posts in this series, please click here. and if you would like to receive future posts via email, you can subscribe here.

 

Posted in 31 days | Tagged , , | 3 Comments