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God’s Girls Warrior Princess Party!

Princess Di

I don’t know about you, but I love parties – food, fun, & fellowship – I’m all about it.  The crazier the theme, the greater the fun!  Because I like to celebrate so much, I don’t wait for a reason to party to fall into my proverbial lap.  Instead, I put my genius to the test and create one.

That’s actually the easiest part.  Most of us can think of at least one reason to party:  Somebody is getting married.  Having a baby or a 50th Wedding Anniversary.  There are many, many reasons to whoop it up.  Some of you are well-versed in these.  First-times are great reasons to party-hearty. First birthday, first tooth, first haircut. Then there are traditional celebrations such as birthdays, dedications, graduations, and coming of age.  But surely there are more good reasons to celebrate.  And a seemingly infinite way to celebrate each one.

I’ve celebrated some crazy things in my life, like the twinkling of sunlight on the morning dew or a new haircut.  I’ve celebrated not getting my hair cut.  Ma and I make merry on grocery shopping day.  I’ve even celebrated when my kitty peed on the waterproof pad instead of the chair.

Sometimes I celebrate clearing off my desk or cleaning the house.  I always celebrate a new purse, clothes that fit, and a day away from home.  No matter what I’m celebrating, hands down, the best celebration is with family and friends.  Food, fun, and fellowship.

More than anything else, we have the greatest reason of all to party:  Jesus.  Remember that song?  “Celebrate Jesus! Celebrate!  He is risen.  He is risen.  And He lives forevermore.”

So here’s a reason to party:  The first day of a new Bible study.  Oh yeah!  What a great tradition of celebration!  Next week we are going to party, party, party.  We shall be studying the book of Ephesians in the New Testament.  God has so much to reveal to us!  It is going to be a great study.

And what’s a party without a playful theme?  We’re having a God’s Girls Warrior Princess Party.  Oh yeah.  You read it right.  I’m making the coolest Jesus princess hats (or should I say, helmets), swords, and shields.  Not too sure where to find a couple of mighty steeds (my budget is zero), but I do have several old broomsticks and a bit of yarn.  Then again, folks might think we’re playing witches and that won’t do.  Any ideas?

Groucho Mama

Swords and shields.  Hmmm.  Better buy some aluminum foil.  Need cardboard too.  No palm tree this time around.  Perhaps a jungle vine.

I’m torn between wearing a ball gown (with my waistline, that’s probably a very bad idea) or dressing in some kind of an all-black panther-like outfit. Maybe with a colorful toga over it. What does a princess wear under her warrior gear?  What do you think?

No, I do not make everybody else dress up!  Fortunately, I recognize that it is possible to party without all the accoutrements.  Dignity aside, dressing the part is like a visual portrait of the Bible message.  And it’s just plain fun.  After all, “whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).  Okay, that was slightly out of context.  How about this:

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4, 5).  How’s that for a reason to celebrate?

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Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Adventures in Christ

 

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My Favorite Forms of Creative Expression

Jewels For Brains, Altered Doll Head

 

My creativity is expressed in several ways. As an artist, there is nothing so fun as combining acrylic paint and ephemera to create dreamy collage art on canvas, gesso board, cigar boxes, and in art journals. I love paint. If it weren’t toxic, I’d smear it all over me and roll around in it on the floor. Sometimes it looks as though I did that very thing because I’m kind of messy when I’m making art.

I also like to alter things.  At left is an example.  It’s one of a series of altered doll heads in which I explored the theme of “stuff for brains”.  Professor Higgins would be disappointed to find that none of them were full of feathers, hay, or rags.

Words are another favorite creative medium. I’m very careful to get my 10,000 words out every day. Get me in a group with my favorite people and it’s hard to shut me up. But I really love writing. I’m not terribly prolific because writing is slow work for me. It must be accompanied by buckets of really good coffee, a comfy recliner, and all the paraphernalia usually required such as a MobiCam so I can keep an eye on my Alzheimama while I work, glasses so I can peer across the room, laptop, pens, pencils, paper, dictionary, Bible, etcetera, etcetera.

I’ve been known to write a bit of bad poetry now and then and am rather fond of making lists. In fact, I take great pleasure in checking things off, crumpling up the list and then making a new one altogether.

Know where else I express creativity? Visual vignettes. I love designing little vignettes for special gatherings like our annual Hallelujah Party – surf’s up! I have bunches of small, found objects and inexpensive vintage items gathered together in little groups at home. You know, doll heads and rusty keys, figurines and miniature rib cages, etcetera.

I’m pretty creative with our budget, too, although my follow-through is somewhat lacking. It’s been said that once in a while I can actually get blood from a turnip. Lastly, I think I’m pretty creative at hiding that extra 10 pounds. After all, whenever I ask someone if I look like I’ve gained weight, they always say no.

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Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Adventures in Christ

 

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Faith Is Being Sure

Have you ever received a calling of God, yet nothing in your life seems to lead you in that direction?  Have you heard His voice, but what He said would happen hasn’t at all?  Have you found yourself worrying that what you labeled as being from God is really only from your own selfish desires?  Well, join the club.  Sometimes I think I could win the gold medal for second-guessing God and myself.

I have wondered for a long time now whether or not God has truly called me to a speaking ministry.  Some days I think He has; other days I’m not so sure.   Sometimes I wonder if I merely made it up in order to feel important.  Current circumstances certainly preclude a speaking ministry:  I care full-time for my mom who has Alzheimer’s and even with a few hours off a week, I accomplish little more than teaching a Bible study, which is, by the way, a great joy for me.

And then I worry that maybe this is pride trying to garner me some of the Christian world’s applause.  After all, what do I have to say that someone else cannot say better?  And why should anyone listen to me in the first place?  A kind stranger reminded me recently that it’s not me from whom people wish to hear; it’s God.  And He can use anyone in any way at any time in any place.  That’s a freeing statement.   After all, it is His Spirit who does the actual work in people’s hearts anyway.  We’re just the messengers.  🙂

Many years ago, God showed me a picture or vision if you will.  I saw myself standing on the cliff of a high mountain overlooking a large, green valley filled with people.  My hair was short, my figure slim, the opposite of what I looked like at the time, and yes, this gave me a great deal of pleasure!  I wore a kilt of red and blue plaid, signifying family.  In my hand was a golden trumpet, which I raised to my lips and blew.   As I looked at myself standing firmly on the edge of that cliff, I understood that I was announcing what God had done in me and my [spiritual] family.   In fact, I was sharing my testimony.  I knew that God was telling me I would someday share this testimony of God’s grace, mercy, and sufficiency before crowds of people.  I had no idea how this might come about; I only knew God was telling me it would be so.  That was about 16-17 years ago.  It hasn’t happened.  And yet, despite the occasional worries, I persist in believing it will be so someday.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).  My hair is quite short nowadays, but I am far from slim and trim.  I suppose that means the time has not yet come.  LOL.

That’s probably not too far from the truth, weight excluded.  I’ve learned that God sometimes gives us an assignment well before the day it becomes due.  I believe it is because He wants us to study [His word] hard and practice, practice, practice.  And I don’t mean to merely practice my speaking ability.  I’m talking about character formation.  God takes time to build our character to match the assignment, as Henry Blackaby says.  We cannot do God’s will in the strength of the natural man.  God must cultivate within us a Christ-likeness and this takes time.  Had I tried to force a speaking career back then, it would have failed.  My character lacked maturity and Christ-centeredness.   I may have been eager, but enthusiasm is not a substitute for preparation.

I have spoken in front of groups of people in the past and looking back it’s easy to see that it was usually about me, not God.  Most of the time, I was just trying to be somebody special.  I’m glad those days ended fairly quickly.  I needed time to grow up.

Even now I cannot call myself a Christian speaker.  I do teach a Bible study and this is a cherished time to be led by the Spirit and talk about God.  My blog is certainly another opportunity.  It’s true that I’m not standing before crowds of people speaking about what God has done, but with these rich opportunities in my hand right now, I am more than willing to wait on God for the latter.   For the first time in my life, I truly understand what it means to be patient and wait on the Lord.  It is not about sitting around eating bonbons and watching soaps.  No, it is about participating with God as He forms our character into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I’ve stumbled around in the dark a bit, but I’m confident that “He who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6) .

And so I choose to wait patiently on God for the fulfillment of that long ago vision.  And as God continues to prepare my heart and my mind, I am becoming more and more sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see.  And even if I am wrong about becoming a Christian speaker, at least I will not have wasted these years of preparation for whatever it is the Lord will bring into my life.  And to God be the glory!  Amen.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2010 in Adventures in Christ

 

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Isaiah 26:3 and Me

“You will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because [s]he trusts in You.”

This verse in the book of Isaiah is a part of a song of salvation that “will be sung in the land of Judah in that day” (26:1), a time referring to the last days. According to study notes in the New Spirit-Filled Life Bible (Executive Editor Jack W. Hayford, Litt.D, Thomas Nelson Inc.), “Perfect peace is expressed in Hebrew by ‘shalom, shalom,’ a Hebrew method of putting great emphasis on a word. ‘You will keep in’ everything the word shalom implies: health, happiness, well-being, peace. The word translated mind is not the usual Hebrew word, but rather is a word meaning ‘creative imagination.’ Isaiah’s thought is that he whose creative imagination, the seat of plans and ideas, is firmly founded on the eternal Lord, will enjoy shalom in all its implications.”

For someone like me who is madly in love with the creative process, this is certainly good news! It’s so easy  to spend hours and hours dreaming up ideas for art, ministry, and other creative outlets like diane-izing my home.  Assessing, researching, brainstorming, thinking, dreaming, and imagining are some of my brain’s favorite activities.  And making lists.  I love lists.

This love of planning and preparing is one of the more important tools I bring to ministry. That’s why Isaiah 26:3 is such a bright light in my brain’s studio, because by keeping my eyes on Jesus and my mind stayed on Him, I am assured that what follows is creativity shaped and molded by the Creator himself.  Just as rocks in a streambed are smoothed and shaped by the water which flows, so are my plans and ideas.   “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9, NKJV).  That’s a good thing.

Does that mean that every idea I have is a good idea?  Of course not.  God didn’t give us brains and  then expect us not to think things through.  A mind that is stayed on God is a mind attuned to the still, small voice of His Spirit, whose focus and identity is in Christ;  a mind that prayerfully considers all things carefully.  It is a mind molded by faith, faith by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17, NKJV).  Does that mean I never make mistakes or get in the way of what God is doing?  Does it mean I will never stumble and generally make a fool of myself?  Au contrare.

Like you, I’m in the process of being perfected, aka matured.  I am not a done deal.  God is not through with me yet.  Therein lies peace. And such a peace it is!  Perfect peace as I dream and think and plan, because it is in God I trust.  And the peace that transcends all understanding will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

 

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