Well, its 2017 and we did it! Once again we have a chance to start fresh..thats what the conversation is all over the world today. So many didn’t make it , so many are grateful that the trauma of 2016 is a thing of the past.. but what is it going to take to make the future better? Is it really that simple? The calendar changes but what about you? A couple of questions to ponder…
1. Did you make a written plan? Habakkuk 2:2- basically write your vision, make it plain…
2. Is your plan just a statement or is it a statement with a plan of action? Example: I will get healthy… by doing what exactly?
3. Did you take the time to pray or meditate on it? Prayer and quiet time is tremendous for seeking answers.
4. Are you willing to sacrifice no matter how painful it can be to reach your goals? Giving up old habits sometimes leashes the very emotions/experiences we try to suppress….
I could ask a ton of other questions but I feel that sometimes , using myself as an example, we start these precious first days of the year with great intention but everything fizzles soon after. Maybe more concrete detailed planning, with some flexibility for human error, maybe more attainable, reasonable goals that can actually be achieved and done for permanent changes. And the need for intentional spiritual study and practices are the KEY! Whatever your belief system calls for , but definitely something higher than the self.
2017 is here, its an opportunity for your wildest dreams to manifest… EMBRACE IT!
As I always do, I overthink just about everything to a fault… Sometimes I can stay stuck in a situation because I’m still thinking it through…not a good trait of mine… Or so…
As I always do, I overthink just about everything to a fault… Sometimes I can stay stuck in a situation because I’m still thinking it through…not a good trait of mine… Or so I thought…But now since I am on this more focused and expanded spiritual journey, I find this trait to be an actual advantage for me. I find that it helps me to study my Bible with more focus and clarity. I now read and analyze scripture with more understanding as this “trait” comes in very useful.I am learning to take my time and really think about how scripture applies to me personally. To “overthink”… Now with all of that being said , my neighbor who is also an artist recently gave me a big bag of Keys..I was in heaven!!! They were all assorted sizes and shapes.. Some are even vintage…so my “trait” allowed me to ponder questions like , “Where has this key been, who did it belong to?”” It also allowed me to ask,” “What does this key unlock?”” Is it a suitcase or a trunk? “”A door that leads to…?” You get the idea… But what about a more personal question..”What Keys do I need to unlock my full potential?””Or even better,my spiritual purpose..?” In church all week that has been a question that I have been hearing and receiving over and over again…so I am paying attention. Now I am seeing the value in my” overthinking” trait.. I now choose to rename it “meditation”.. My”keys” will now become my Bible, my quiet time, and the continuance of service in any capacity that I am called to on God’s behalf….getting as close as possible to God is the Key to a fulfilling and purposeful life. It is the Key to being a help (not a hindrance)to the Kingdom.
I recently celebrated another birthday a week ago and I am very grateful for another year. There is an opportunity to create something new. An opportunity to shed all things that no longer work. An opportunity to pick up the pace on what’s good. It is currently fall and technically there are a few more months to this 2016 year , but I give myself permission to start fresh now. I am setting new goals, I am going to go head first into my passions, spend more time in prayer and meditation. And finally, I will get back into this writing. I have a story to tell and it’s time..This will not be any easy task but so necessary for my spiritual growth…I will dust off my notebook ( as I still write by hand) , sharpen my pencils and get to work. We are supposed to share our stories, they help others. Time to get published. I will continue to paint as I never stopped. But it’s time to exhibit…I will share my art journey via this blog.. I asked God to give me the opportunity to create without concerns of how to make ends meet. He did his part,so I must live up to my promises to him….. To be obedient …… I chose this picture from a recent garden I visited because it is symbolic of how seeds that are planted, nurtured, and maintained produce beautiful blooms over time. That’s me! That’s a goal.That’s all of us if we just continue to tend to our lives with the same amount of care… We can all produce beautiful blooms…
As a small child growing up in Chicago, one of my favorite things to do was to travel by public bus or train downtown to meet my mother after her days work. I loved this because on the way down I would pass lots of artwork. On the walls, on the floors, on the sidewalks. Some legitimately commissioned, some not. But the work was always there , visable and available to all. You didn’t need a special pass or an adult to walk you in. The colors , the intricate messages that the artist would intertwine in their work. The messages often echoed the concerns of the neighborhood it had been placed in.The messages sometimes ,I did not get , being a young kid and all… But this was my informal introduction to the art world and Oh, what a nice surprise when I would stumble upon something new. Museum visits would soon follow as I got older . The street artists were not necessarily famous or even locally known but were often very talented. Visionaries…. I am grateful that I had this type of early exposure. It truly gave me the inspiration to pursue art as a career. I learned that artists have messages that need to be heard and that visual art was an amazing vehicle to use to do this. Murals seemed impossible as their height and sizes were overwhelming yet the art was perfect in execution. Public art is available to all not just a selected few. Public artists level the playing field between the haves and the have nots. Take a look around you, it’s everywhere.No excuses , the inspiration is there for all. I love public art!
I was visiting South Africa a while ago. I was staying at a beautiful hotel in Pretoria. One of the most indulgent parts of staying in this hotel was the breakfast bar. Full of amazing and fresh eats, I loved the omelet station most of all. Not because I am especially fond of eggs but because I was especially intrigued with the omelet maker. She was an older black South African who had the most loving and pleasant eyes that I had ever seen. I surely thought that she must deserve a better job than this. How could someone so nurturing be stuck here making these eggs day after day so I thought. I was convinced that she must have been old enough to witness the brutality of apartheid. What atrocities must those eyes have witnessed ? What hardships must she have endured. How much loss had she endured?Surely no one could blame her if she was bitter or if her heart was cold. But that was not the spirit standing before me. I saw her carefully crack the eggs, taking special care not to rush the cooking process. Carefully scrutinizing her work the way an artist checks his masterpiece. Asking me daily, “How do you want your eggs today, Miss? Taking care of me in her own way with that brilliant smile and her gracious eyes. I was convinced that she knew first hand the power of God’s grace and mercy. Overcoming all things in her life. Taking great pride in performing the ” the simplest ” of jobs. It pleased her to give her best. To represent her creator , to bring honor. It was a lesson for me. No matter what God asks you to do , do it with all you have. Take pride no matter what. There are no small jobs. This lady often comes to mind , I am sure that she does not remember me, but I will never forget her wonderful omelette, her gracious smile, and most of all her amazing , loving eyes.
Moral: Take pride in the simplest jobs, you never know how you may touch someone’s life!
I had been slacking off in some parts of my life . I was feeling alone, detached ,unmotivated, and somewhat melancholy. I was not writing or creating art. I decided that it was time to shake these feelings. I could do better… So I started by cycling to work. I would see others speeding along. All shapes and all sizes of people. Young and old. So I researched types of bicycles hoping to find one that would fit my needs. I purchased one that I really liked, a sporty green foldable bike. Scared to start but not really scared, I took off. I was hooked from the start.I started feeling free and independent while navigating the traffic. I would come home tired but feeling really proud of my accomplishment. I just had to START! I would ride 4 – 5 days a week through all types of weather. I noticed from the beginning that I would sleep really well. This good quality sleep would translate into clearer thinking. This clearer thinking translated into better decisions about food and emotional stuff. This immediately translated into more energy. Wow! Who would have thought? I was getting so strong physically and now mentally. So as my clothes started fitting better and my health steadily improved, I decided to tackle other parts of my life that needed to be addressed. I decided that where I worked for a living was toxic. This toxicity was diminishing the quality of life that I was craving to have. I realized that this toxic environment was stunting my creative life. I had no energy to create the type of art that I wanted to create. The drama was taking up valuable space inside of my head. I started to pray more feverishly. I picked up my Bible. I try embrace the teachings and apply them the best way I know how into my life. After a while, the pieces started to come together, slowly the melancholy feelings started to disappear. I still ride my bike regularly. I have a great new social life with new friendships. I have a more active Christian life. I am going to leave my day job by the first of the year. I will fully immerse myself into an Art filled life. I realize that my Art is my connection to God. Before I had put these disciplines into place, I could not see this new life happening. I now know that if I see it , it will come. It’s gonna be alright. I am not going to let go of the practices that I have put into place. Happiness is a choice. It is up to each one of us to embrace it! It truly started with a bicycle ride……I just had to START!