Thursday, November 29, 2007

Flashes of Inspiration

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I love dreaming new ideas. This morning, in that lovely drift between sleep and wakefulness, I had a flash of inspiration.


Yes, tapestry. Yesterday, while out shopping for Christmas gifts, I happened upon a display of tapestry fabrics. Since our days in Belgium, I've had a fondness for all things tapestry. Specifically Belgian, of course. I love the designs, the muted colors, the sense of history from a piece of tapestry. And tapestry is not ever frou-frou. I'm rarely a frou-frou person. (My mother tried.)

The collection I saw yesterday didn't qualify as the expensive Belgian stuff, but I pondered whether I could make a new Bible cover from one of the designs. (Which would mean taking apart the cover I currently have in order to use it as a pattern.) Because it is the Christmas season, I passed on buying any, but must have tucked the thought into my mind. This morning I woke to realize how perfect some of that tapestry fabric would look as window treatments in our living room.

I could see them as clear as I see this computer screen. Just the right weight for the space. Good colors. The project is still going to have to wait until the Christmas season winds down,! It was fun to have that flash.

I've done that writing, too. Waking up and knowing something new about my characters or plot.

Or an entirely new story.

It has occasionally happened with photography and business decisions, as well. It's enough to make your heart race or skin sizzle.

Try going to sleep with a project in mind for the next few days. See if your mind comes up with something fresh and amazing while you snooze. At the very least, lay quiet and thoughtful in those first waking moments to see what wisps of inspiration linger from your mind's night's work. Maybe nothing useful, but it is good to practice listening to your heart. Capture any worthy thoughts in your notebook for further consideration. Then, on a day when you feel creatively dry, page through your notebook for ideas.

I hope your days (and nights) are filled with flashes of inspiration and and lightning bolts of creativity.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Jen at The Cottage Nest passed along a challenge to post a photo of ourselves. She did an admirable job of photoing herself and also of describing herself in an frank and funny way.

I thought it curious that I chose this week to post not one, but two photos of myself here. The one in my profile was taken in Gemunden, Germany at the Bible camp where we occasionally cook. The wooden bench is an almost sacred place to me. When I'm there I enjoy the sunshine from this bench and usually spend time praying for my family, specifically my sisters-in-law. I love speaking their names to the Father in that wonderful German air. Very cool for a west Texas girl.

The second was the group of my sisters-in-law at a much loved niece's wedding in Sept. 2006 featured in the previous post.

But the photo, or at least one, doesn't quite capture me. Just like with you, it would take a collage of images. Horses, dogs, flowers, my boys, my husband, extended family, my love for canyon country and for the sights of Paris, my passion for both chocolate and Stargate SG1, my obsession with books, reading and writing them, my love of visual arts, and my total loathing of anything resembling housecleaning would have have a place in the collage. The center and the framework of the piece would be God.

What would be in yours? That might be a terrific project for after the holidays. A collage of images of who I am.

When my mother died, we pulled a bunch of photos together. Some lovely friends with a video production company put them to music for her funeral. I love that we chose images from her childhood and throughout the rest of her life. Lots of funny hairdos and eyeglasses, but lots and lots of brilliant smiles. Too brief, but deeply moving. A snapshot of a life.

In my days as a professional photographer I heard a theory of why we don't like photos of ourselves. Since we see ourselves in mirrors (and backwards because of it) photos look 'off' to us.

True or not, its something to think about as you brush your teeth in the mornings.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Every year my sisters in law and I give each other small personal gifts for Christmas. The items are usually not expensive, but rather sweet, personal, and often home-made. In the last few years, I've gotten in the habit of buying something rather than making it. Usually, I kick myself later.
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I love these women, my sisters. To make this photo more poignant, one of our sisters has gone to be with the Lord since last Christmas. The empty space she leaves in my heart is immense.

This year, I decided I wanted to do something special for them. They deserve something I've created, don't you think? I've had the idea of making notecards out of my flower photos for a long while. Today, I did it. Designed what I wanted, uploaded the photos, and typed in text. Then, I punched order.


Okay, so technically, I'm not *making* these with my own two hands. But I did create the images and put everything together. That's creativity. I'll add some pretty ribbon to wrap them in....or maybe I'll wrap them in raffia in keeping with the natural theme. Next year, I'll learn to do hand-made cards to which to attach the photos.

Back in my days as a professional photographer, an order like this would have taken weeks to complete. And Oh, the expense! Ka-ching.

I'm LIKING the digital age. I'll post photos as soon as I have my greedy little hands on the cards.

My creative soul got fed a treat today. Now feed yours. Go do something visual and artsy today. Even if it is coloring with crayons or markers or playing with holiday ribbon.

Have some fun!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I tried a few new-to-me plants in the garden in the past two years. Some of them worked so well, I'm planning bucket loads of them next year.

Butterflies love the pentas. I love the bright red color even through the heat.
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Datura-Belle Blanc All parts of this pretty flower and plant are poisonous, but completely beautiful.
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Profusion Zinnas Tough, bright, and beautiful.
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There's more, but then for a gardener, there's always more.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Whispers, Echoes, Ideas

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Busy-ness kills creativity.

My life is full of responsibilities right now. Too many responsibilities, it seems, but they are mine to deal with. So I do. I rush from one meeting to the next, from home to a class to the store and back again. At home, I scurry to cross things off my to-do list and make sure N is crossing things off his school to-do list. Everything I do involves an element of creativity and flair, but not in an overt way. Some days I feel very productive and some days I feel like a gerbil in an exercise wheel. Lots of effort with little travel. Drained. Stagnant.

In the rush to get things done, we lose the chance to savor, reflect, and enjoy quiet moments. It is in the quiet moments that I hear myself think and creativity is born.

Whispers of wishes.

Echoes of dreams.

Threads of ideas.

If those whispers aren't heard, if the echoes fade away, and if the threads aren't stitched together I begin to feel frazzled. Empty. Dissatisfied.


A friend once called this feeling a crisis of creativity. When life and responsibilities overwhelm me causing the artistic part of my soul to suffer. Projects I want to complete reproach me as I pass them. Projects I want to start sit impatiently waiting their turn. Time and busy-ness are my enemy. I sigh when I see the holidays approaching because I know my schedule will get worse before it gets better.

Usually clearing my calendar for a few days and a shopping trip to a favorite raw materials store (craft store, an art shop, a fabric store, a garden center, a bookstore) cures me of creatius crisisus. A day or two indulging in hands on work or intense concentration fulfills me.

When I can't clear an entire day or weekend, I try to work in a little bit of creative thought every day. Just now, I spent an hour in the my favorite part of the garden on the pretense of watering pansies. (Check mark the to-do list.) But, as I sat in the swing and listened to the leaves fall, I relaxed. In that moment, I enjoyed the beauty of the little garden we've created. The last of the rose blossoms. The cheerful faces of the white and purple pansies. Birdsong. I savored the mellow sunlight through the thinning trees.

And whispers, echoes, and ideas stirred in my heart.

I'll get to the repainting the shabby garden swing (not the purple one) and I'll get to the quilt I want to make. I'll get to the porch wreath that wants to be redone. I'll get back to the book I'm writing, as well as the photography fine prints I want to do. It'll come.

For the moment, it was nice to take a breather, commune with the Creator, and know that my creativity shimmers within me....a reflection of His.....waiting for the opportunity to burst forth.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Martian Child

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The Pilot Guy and I went to see 'The Martian Child' last night.

If you've ever loved a child, or anyone, who is a little bit *different*, you'll enjoy this movie. If adoption is close to your heart, you'll be touched by this movie. If you've ever tried your hand at writing, you'll get a kick out of the dialogue.

I'm not a big fan of John Cusack, but he was perfectly *wonderful* in this movie as a widowed writer seeking to adopt and getting more than he bargained for. The child actor, Bobby Coleman, was terrific as a lost soul.

'The Martian Child' is not a fast paced thriller, but your heart will be touched. If you are anything like me, you'll be challenged to accept differences in others more. Perhaps you'll be challenged to love more. Not a wimpy 'hearts and flowers' kind of love, but a love with muscle and strength and grit. The kind that never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never quits.

I think Winston Churchill said that.

All good things, if you ask me.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

For the Love of Language

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Want to fall in love with words?

Lyrical, magical, and often laugh out loud funny.

Try Shakespeare.

Until lately, I'd never known how much fun old Will could be. In those long ago days when I was in school, we only studied his darker works. "Romeo and Juliet" and "Julius Caesar" are the only two I remember. A neighbor invited me to join them in a viewing of the remake of Macbeth which gave me shivers and nightmares for weeks. Older son loved Hamlet and read him early and often. Unfortunately, it appealed to him because of its dark, depressing story. Not a good thing for that young man. You can imagine my opinion of the bard's works.

A couple of years ago, I channel-surfed my way into Kenneth Branagh's production of "Much Ado About Nothing." After just a few minutes, I'd caught the rhythm of the language and fell into the story.

And enjoyed it.


Sometime later, I found a showing of 'The Merchant of Venice." The same. I enjoyed it. Hmmmm, maybe the Will dude could write after all. I put potential Shakespeare studies on the backburner of my mind. This summer, when Nathan expressed an interest in studying a different sort of literature, the backburner turned to a full boil. Shakespeare fits the historical time period he is studying. Check. A semester long study would teach him necessary literary requirements. Check. Curriculums available. Check.

I found a curriculum, Lightning Literature, which gave us the choice of either comedies or tragedies. Of course, I ordered the comedies because I wanted Nathan's the taste of Shakespeare to be sweeter than mine had been.

What a hoot! We started with the very fun 'Twelfth Night." How many books and movies are written about mistaken identity? About love at first sight? About tricks and deceptions? What a laugh when Nathan said, there's a movie with this story, 'She's The Man.' Sure enough, 'She's The Man' is a modern day, teen-take, on 'Twelfth Night.' Kinda silly, but fun for us to recognize.

Then came 'As You Like It.' Didn't care much for that one. But then, 'A Mid-Summer Night's Dream'......


To study Shakespeare, we start with a reading of the play. Thanks to we are able to find and download full, dramatized versions of the plays. We read along as we listen. We get the rhythm of the language, proper emphasis and expression, and, best of all, we don't have to struggle with pronouncing unfamiliar words. I can't tell you how much this process has helped our comprehension and enjoyment.

Later, we find a version or two on to watch. Interesting and intriguing to see how different directors interpret the same text.

After reading, then watching, 'A Mid-Summer Night's Dream' the other day, I went about the rest of my day in iambic pentameter. The rhythm was in my head and heart like a song without words. Imagine--not only does Will Shakespeare tell a story with plot twists and turns--he does much of the storytelling in rhythm and rhyme with sly puns and cleverly disguised digs included.


My newest favorite author is William Shakespeare. Try him. You might like him, too.