For engineers, writers, housewives, atheists, teachers, nurses, fire fighters, legislators…..

Everyone who is alive is creative. We create solutions to problems, we create answers to questions, we create decisions when faced with options, and on and on. No matter what title we give ourselves, we create.

So, with that in mind…

God could have created the universe all at once, in a timeless “poof!”
Genesis 1 shows God used a step-by-step process with pauses for evaluation and
time set aside to rest from creating. We can emulate His process, including the
rest. Doing so would probably be good (God) for us, who are made in His image.

Abandoned grain elevator, rendered in pastel, titled "Still Standing."

Abandoned grain elevator, rendered in pastel, titled “Still Standing.”

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Dancing in Church

Perichoresis (charcoal)

Perichoresis (charcoal)

Perichoresis is a Greek word describing the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In John 15:26, Jesus says, “But I will send you the Comforter – the Holy Spirit, the source of all truth. He will come to you from the Father and will tell you all about me.”

The power of the Holy Spirit is real. When I said “Yes” to Jesus, the Holy Spirit entered me immediately and rewired my mind. I do not behave, act or think the ways I did before. But I’m still me. Better me. The Holy Spirit continues to guide me.

My hope is that God uses “Perichoresis – Dance of Three” to touch someone in a way that moves them closer to God. It’s not necessary that I know if that happens or not.

I created many versions of the three dancers in an attempt to come up with a simple, elegant lyrical image. The image you see is the closest I’ve gotten so far…

The challenge with any work of art is expressing an emotion in two dimensions. The reward comes when a viewer is touched by the visual expression in a unique, personal way.

I’ve learned that just because I’m creating art for God’s Kingdom doesn’t make the execution easy. I still have to plan, practice, erase, re-do.

God is the creator of all. What a privilege that I get to create, too.

(After the Opening Reception for the art exhibit in which Perichoresis is included, a woman told me that her friend said, “Something about that piece speaks to me.” Thank you, Jesus. Another prayer answered. )

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Love? Ick!

EncourageMy art ministry leader says, “Your job description is to LOVE…Art ministry is about the church loving artists…” and other similar statements about loving people.

My inner voice objects: “But I don’t love people.”

Fortunately, the art ministry leader gave an example of what love means. “When Samantha works at the computer and schedules our event calendar, she’s loving people.”

I think it’s the culture’s portrayal of love as lace ‘n’ roses in fuzzy focus and gooey emotions that I resist. I need to remind myself that love is shown by my actions, not necessarily by emotions.

If the actions I do to help set people free count as love, then I’m in.

I’ve learned that when I do something that shows love to people, I do get a fuzzy, gooey feeling.

The act of love precedes feeling love.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thess. 5:11


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Almost Bailed…Glad I Didn’t

Wednesday night, I composed an email in my head that I planned to send to the leader of the local chapter of Dress for Success, a secular, nonprofit organization for women where I volunteer. Typically, we have guest speakers and information flows one way, from an expert to the audience of women. I wasn’t really needed, I figured.

Thursday morning I watched a video from Vinearts…and got stoked to serve Dress for Success that evening.

I didn’t send my bail-out email to the leader.

Thursday afternoon the leader emailed saying, “The guest speaker cancelled. Any ideas about what we can do tonight?”

I immediately replied with two ideas.

At the meeting I asked each woman to share one good thing that had happened in the past week. Wow! Women shared stories of hardships, challenges, grandchildren and affirmations, about following God’s timing and having faith in God’s plans.

Then I asked each woman to write down one thing she wanted to stop doing, one thing she wanted to keep doing and one thing she wanted to start doing.

If they wanted to they could share any of their ideas and ask each other for tips and resources that would help them achieve their start doing-keep doing-stop doing items.

God was mentioned again.

As we prepared to adjourn, the leader told everyone that she got goosebumps and that we should do this again. “This” meaning taking time to share, to be vulnerable in a safe and encouraging environment.

One of the women said to me, “I feel like a real person when I’m here.”

Another told me that she’d been thinking about making some changes in her life and the activity we did solidified her resolve. When she told me this, she was more animated than I’d ever seen her before.

The part of the video that especially juiced me up was the fact that having an impact one-to-one is as important to God as reaching a large group. That perspective took the pressure off me. If I can touch one person, that is good enough. That is enough for God.

The cool thing about being a conduit for the Spirit is that my self-consciousness (a derivative of self-importance) disappears.


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50 Years Later Childhood Pranks Still Sting

beth and brianWe’re at our family picnic, and for the millionth time my brother cracks an aside about how I tortured him when we were kids. And for the millionth time, there’s a pause and the conversation veers to another topic.

He almost always inserts this half-century-old childhood bugaboo into our adult conversations. I’m 59, my brother is four years younger than I. We see each other two or three times a year.

You’re wondering, no doubt, what sort of bully tactics I deployed during our Wonder Bread years.

Well, I jumped from behind a door and frightened him (and Grandma. Sorry, Grandma) so badly that he fell onto a throw rug, churned his legs furiously, causing him to spin like a pinwheel. (I laughed till my tummy hurt.)

One time I held my palm under his nose. “Smell this.” He inhaled black pepper, which does cause one to sneeze. A lot. There were more pranks. Those are the two doozies I remember.

I laughed at him when minor misfortunes beset him…such as the mosquito bites that swelled his hand into a balloon and the short-lived stuttering attack when our youngest brother was born. Stuff like that is hilarious when you’re nine and your little brother is five.

The day after the family picnic, I called him. “Will you forgive me for being mean to you when we were growing up?”

He cackles like a tropical bird. “You’re kidding, right?”

“No, I’m serious.”

“Oh, I’m just being funny,” he says.

“It’s not funny to me.”

“It doesn’t matter,” he says.

“It matters to me.” And obviously it matters to you or you wouldn’t bring it up every time we get together! That’s what I’m thinking. What I said is psycho-gobbledygook: “I want you to be able to not have my teasing from the past be part of your present.”

“OK. I forgive you.”

“Thank you.”

If he brings it up again, I’m gonna drop a mud-filled balloon on his head. (Just kidding!)

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Read, Believe, Act!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson

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Sit, Kneel, Roll Over: Prayer Body Language

girl-520347_1280Before you read How do you pray?, think about the different postures you assume when you pray in different venues (church, bedroom, dinner table, out of doors).

What posture do you assume for different kinds of prayers (petition, worship, intercessory).

When I’m at home by myself, I stand, raise my hands and face heavenward. And my voice quavers.

Can you find anything in the Bible about pressing palms together, bowing head and closing eyes to pray. I ALWAYS peek ;-)

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