The Need To Create

I find that particularly during the season of cold and ice, I need to find something to keep me busy that is productive but does not involve the structured planning side of my brain.

I need time everyday to just let my mind run wild, free from the constraints of schedule, housework, meetings, ministry and the needs of people.

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I find such time in prayer.

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Prayer for me is becoming an exercise in waiting on the Lord for inspiration. I do pray for people and things in my prayer time, but a vast amount of my time is spent sitting in the presence of the Lord listening to His Scripture and waiting on Him to tell me what He will. This I am coming to believe is the genesis of my creativity.

I also find the space of recreative freedom in reading.

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I am learning to break my reading into two categories….Story and Improvement.

Improvement reading is the reading I do for work: It includes leadership books, ministry manuals, reports etc. I love this type of reading but it is decidedly not something that sets my mind free. This kind of reading creates the structures I need to be successful at work. I am just starting a new book called, LEADING CHANGE.

Leading Change, With a New Preface by the Author by [John P. Kotter]

The type of reading that I need to do to set my mind to run wild and free is story. I have worked my way through several stories this year….

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And the one I am currently reading….

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But reading is not enough to truly set my mind free from the shackles the world creates for it.

Prayer leads me to creating something of my own from the depths of my own soul to offer the world.

Sometimes this comes out as sketches.

Sometimes it comes out as photography….

Most often it comes out as the written word, here in a blog or in a story or a poem of my own.

I heard from my editor this week and she said the edits for my upcoming book, PORK CHOPS WITH THE SENTINELS OF AZATAN are on target to be completed by early spring.

That book has been my creative outlet for several years and now it is about to enter the organization phase. I am sensing that as I subject this work to the publication process, I also have to prepare myself a new outlet for the creative side of my being.

I am already praying about it.

DO YOU EVER FEEL THE NEED TO LEAVE THE CONSTRAINTS OF YOUR ORGANIZED WORK WORLD? WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

2021 is Not Business As Usual

I know after the year we all just lived through many of us were hoping to get back to “business as usual” or at least business as it used to be. Maybe somewhere out there that is happening for someone, but that isn’t how it is for me.

And you know what? I am good with that!

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I have said to many of my friends that as frightening and difficult as 2020 was, it changed me in ways that I want to abide in for a while…maybe forever. I don’t want to go back to what was. I want to forge ahead into something new.

And 2021 seems to be delivering on the age old promise, “You can’t go back again.”: With my lead pastor leaving and the church looking for its next leader, I can’t go back again; With the birth of my second grand-daughter and the promise of a third by fall from these two….

I can’t go back again; With the upcoming publication of my first novel, Pork Chops With the Sentinels Of Azatan , I can’t go back again; With my sister finishing up her itineration and getting ready to head back to The Netherlands, I can’t go back again; With the Franklin family looking to relocate to this area, I can’t go back again;….

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Daniella trying to scope out a new house for Mom and Dad and her and Abigail.

I suppose as I think about it I could go back…..but I really don’t want to. I feel more ready for an adventure now than I ever have before. I feel more ready to move forward into something new than I ever have before. Somehow 2020 got me unstuck. I am no longer willing to settle for business as usual. I also feel less inclined to accept the status quo as it is set up by other people.

I know how I want to live my life now.

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I also feel strong enough to not let others tell me how to live it. I am ready to move forward and not to go back to what was.

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WHAT LESSONS HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU THAT YOU WILL TAKE WITH YOU INTO THE FUTURE?

Pastor Dan’s Final Night At the Wall

I am running a bit behind with my posting today. It has been a busy week with many distractions. Distractions are not good for me on the whole, but sometimes they cannot be avoided.

Anyway last night was Pastor Dan’s final night with us at The Wall Prayer meeting. He will preach his final sermon at Cornerstone on Sunday and then Amanda, Brenda and I will take the LEwiston’s out for a final dinner and they will be off to their new posting in Tennessee.

Here is the video of our final night together at The Wall. Next week I shall carry on with the teaching regarding the letters from Revelation 2 and 3.

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2021 At the Vicarage Week #6

Feb. 5th– I have wanted for a while to give everyone an update on my book, Pork Chops With the Sentinels of Azatan. After being released officially by my publisher, I contacted one of my former students who has started an editing business and I have entered into an agreement with her to do the final edits of the book. This time it is happening folks. I am going for the finish line.

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Feb. 6th– I was supposed to meet a men’s group for breakfast this morning, but I was so far behind on my morning chores I had to cancel with them. The importance of scheduling and not underestimating the time it takes to do things is going to be very important in the days ahead.

I have learned so much about scheduling and prioritizing over these last years and I sense a new challenge is on the horizon. I feel ready for this challenge.

Feb. 7th- Today was Pastor Dan’s next to last service…..

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I have enjoyed working with him and as this next week speeds by I am mindful of the fact that this is an end and beginning all at once.

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Feb. 8th- Today was a busy day. I started out by singing a funeral for a very dear woman who was once a member of our church.

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Harriet will be sorely missed, but we look forward to meeting with her again around the throne of our Great God and King!

After the funeral I went to do some work at home: lunch, laundry, prayer, and writing. I am working on my next book, The Remember Man. While I await the edits on my first book, Pork Chops With the Sentinels of Azatan.

The afternoon was a music lesson and then an impromptu visit with Pastor Dan and one of our deacons, John Russel. Then tonight I met via Zoom with a group of men engaged in study called Jesus Is Not Nice.

Feb. 9th– Final staff meeting with the Lewistons this morning. So much is about to change and my mind is just trying to race to catch up.

Feb. 10th – Tonight was The Wall and Pastor Dan and I shared the teaching space together one last time. I won’t lie there were some tears shed at the end.

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Feb. 11th– It was a busy morning. I am noticing that my schedule is experience an uptick in the busyness factor. I am going to have to watch that closely. Tonight I have worship rehearsal, but before that I have quite a bit of housework to do around the Vicarage. It is good I got my errands done this morning!

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How do you handle distractions?

What is your favorite household chore?

Share Your World 2-8-21

It is hard to believe how fast the weeks are going here in 2021! We are almost to Valentine’s Day. It is time once again to SHARE MY WORLD. This challenge involves answering four or five life sharing questions and then linking it to Melanie’s main page so we can all share our answers together. It is a great exercise in community. I CHALLENGE YOU TO GIVE IT A TRY!

Here are this week’s questions and my answers….

ValentineSYW

In your opinion, do May/December (older partner with much younger partner) romances ever work?

Sure! Mary and Joseph were probably a May December romance and they seemed to work out fine (at least as far as we know).

What physical action or gesture do you find romantic?

I think sitting quietly looking out over a panoramic view is very romantic…I admit I am a bit boring for most people’s taste but romance is a quiet thing for me. Then again romance is a part of my past. Everyday it becomes a bit more distant and to be honest I was not super good at it when I was an active participant.

What is your idea of a romantic dinner?

Italian. Then again I could eat Italian food literally everyday and be happy; So either I am super romantic or I do not know what I am talking about….I guess what you think about this answer probably modifies my answer to question #2.

Is ‘love’ a real ‘thing’ or merely a physical chemical response and brain activity pulling our emotional strings?

Love is a real thing. If the Bible is to be believed it is one of only three real things in the universe (See the last verse of 1 Corinthians 13).

How do you show your loved ones that you love them?

I try to be a help and a presence in their lives they can rely on.

CFFC: Fake Animals At the Vicarage

The Vicarage is an eclectic place with lots to explore and discover. We have plenty of live animals of course. 3 dogs and a cat. Flocks of birds gather in the twisting vines, shrubs and trees around the property and several families of squirrels live here as well ( I am afraid some have taken up residence in the back porch roof). But we also have lots of fake animals about in various forms.

This little guy really likes the daffodil garden…although right now I think he is living in my cellar.

Pooh is happy we found him (he was an old dog toy that got buried in the garden). He really likes living on our porch now. It’s better than being one foot under.

This cat lives in my sketch book with many other animals.My sketch book has been sadly neglected recently. I hope to get back to it sometime soon. “Good Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise”. Of course, it is coming toward spring and the crick always rises then ….sooooo.

Brenda helped decorate the extension beds to the catywhomnpus gardens last summer. She painted this bed as a pocket watch attached to the rabbit.

DO YOU DECORATE YOUR GARDENS WITH STATUARY? I AM THINKING OF BUYING A FEW LARGER PIECES IN THE SPRING.

DO YOU SKETCH OR PAINT? DO YOU DO ANIMALS OR SCENERY?

It Takes a Little Longer Now

Those of you who follow me closely know that at the beginning of this year I made some changes to my artistic and blogging priorities. Over that last few years I have really been consumed with the idea of building an audience.

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Someone told me that was important for the writing portion of my life. Platform Size! Platform Size! Platform Size!

For some reason I listened and it has taken God a while to break through that false word….

Last year I was posting at least four times a day and I was garnering several hundred hits a day….but it felt really empty. I was getting more hits than ever and loads of likes but I felt most of the time like I was running alone.

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In my prayer time at the end of 2020 God showed me that none of my work is done for the size of my audience. It is done for the glory of God and to build a community that brings honor to Him.

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Community does not depend on numbers or on likes. It depends on relationship, collaboaration and communication among other things.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE IMPORTANT BUILDING BLOCKS OF COMMUNITY IN YOUR MIND?

So I had to shift the way I blog, and that has further shifted the way I live. If it is about relationship, collaboration and communication then it cannot be about hits and likes. It has to be about conversations…. and sooooo……

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I have had to slow things down. I have had to post less, and post more conversationally. I have had to start reading more with the mindset of finding those posts I want to comment on.

It takes a little longer now to blog this way. I get less hits….fewer likes…..fewer bloggers are reading my work….but more of you who do read are commenting and I am entering into some interesting conversations and some have even begun to private message me to have side conversations over things we have discovered in common.

I am not saying the way I did it before was wrong and now I am doing it right. I am saying what I was focusing on before was not working FOR ME. What I am doing now is working FOR ME. In the end this is about ministry, artistry and community. I fell like I lost sight of that for a while.

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU ABOUT HOW YOUR BLOGGING HAS CHANGED OVER TIME.

Sudden Shifts, Big Problems and How God Helps Us Overcome Them All

This has been a year of seismic shifting for the whole world. It’s left all of us feeling a bit out of breath and a bit cracked. It’s left us reeling at the sudden shifts in culture and the big problems those shifts have seemingly caused.

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Here’s the thing….all of this is part of God’s plan and if we can accept it, it is happening for our blessing. Not that it is all a blessing but…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Sometimes I doubt that verse…DO YOU EVER DOUBT THE PROMISES OF SCRIPTURE?

Well when I find myself in doubt I have learned a few habits that help me regain my equilibrium. HERE ARE FOUR:

  1. I PULL MYSELF BACK, AND TAKE A BREAK UNTIL I CAN LOOK DOWN ON THE PROBLEM RATHER THAN LIVING IN THE PROBLEM.
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2. I REALIZE WHILE THE WORLD MOVES FAST I DON’T HAVE TOO. I SLOW DOWN AND TAKE THE TIME I NEED TO MAKE THE DECISIONS I NEED TO MAKE.

3. I REALIZE THAT SMALL SUCCESSFUL STEPS ARE BETTER THAN BIG MISSTEPS. SO I FIND A SMALL STEP I CAN TAKE.

4. PART OF MY PROBLEM SOLVING PROCESS IS TO REALIZE THAT SOME PROBLEMS ARE NOT MINE TO SOLVE. SO I FIGURE OUT WHICH PARTS OF THE PROBLEM CAN BE SOLVED BY MY GIFTS MIX AND WHICH PARTS I NEED TO ASK HELP FROM OUTSIDE.

There are other habits too, but for the sake of space we’ll stop here. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

2021 At the Vicarage Week #5

Jan. 29th– Final day of quarantine! Freedom lies before us…..It has always been within us.

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Jan. 30th– Today was our first day out of quarantine.

I did the grocery shopping which was very exciting for me. I love grocery shopping. Then Amanda and I had a meeting with our lead Pastor. He has felt the leading of the Lord to a new church in Tennessee. He will be leaving on Feb. 14th.

Once again I must consider whether the time has come for me to let my name stand for the position of lead pastor of Cornerstone.

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Jan. 31st.– Pastor Dan preached the final sermon of the 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer….Souls Saved and Lives Changed…..

Afterwards he resigned officially to the board in the presence of our Network Superintendent. I was asked to meet with Pastor Nick afterwards just to get to know him and to lay out a timeline for the move forward. This is a season of honoring the Lewiston family for their work among us and prayer to discover God’s plan for what is next.

I am sensing this is heading in a certain direction for me. The road before me is set by God who has ordained the path from the beginning. I will walk into His will.

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Feb. 1st– Big storm coming in today.

Feb. 2nd– The phone calls and FB Messages have begun picking up with people asking me what my intentions are as to Cornerstone Church. I am trusting myself to the process.

Ray Parker came to help us clean out our driveways……BIG SNOW!

Feb. 3rd– Pastor Dan and I hosted The Wall Prayer Meeting tonight.

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Afterward we talked until about 10 P.M. I am going to miss our conversations .

Feb. 4th– Music lessons this morning and then grocery shopping with a lady from church tonight.