Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Writing and Drawing

I would describe myself as an artist, specifically a writer. I love to draw, but to be perfectly honest, I'm not very good at it. I'm not sure why, I've just never really taken the time to get good at it I suppose. But for some reason, it is writing that makes sense to me, even if my words don't always make sense.

photo credit

I've been practicing my artwork, specifically drawing and painting. I find that I'm better at painting simply because I blur the lines and colors together easier. It is also easier to create layers. I'm learning how to draw more by practicing more and more.

Nonetheless, it is writing that comes naturally. I figured it out, at least in part, recently. I can sit down with a blank piece of paper and be inspired to fill it with words. Even if those words don't connect or flow, I can still create them to make some sort of pattern. However, when I sit down to a blank paper with the intention of drawing, my mind goes blank. I have the stirrings of a panic attack and don't know where to start. I can't unload my mind using drawing like I can with words. Even right now, I know what these words look like on a paper, but I am clueless as to how to transform this emotion into artwork. One day I hope that changes, that I can sit down and draw my emotions. However, until then I will continue to practice my drawing and my painting and fall back to words to make life make sense.

This is an example of pouring my heart out on paper,
just trying to make sense of my world.

That's all we need right, to create order and understanding even if the method is chaotic and messy. Even if the words don't make sense, it creates sense for me. That is all art is...emotions for all to see and hopefully experience in their own way. Art is something that can never die because with it ends all human understanding. That would be a sad day indeed. For now I will write nonsense and some stories and continue to practice other forms of art. Maybe one day the world will make sense. Until then, just enjoy the journey.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

What's in a name?

photo credit

It's interesting what inspires you creatively. My biggest creative outlet is my writing, thus this blog. Songs inspire me often, which is why I post so many of them. However, it seems any insignificant moment or word will do the trick.  The best part is, this random inspiration usually happens when I am at a point when it feels impossible for me to even put two words to paper. Like now. So I'm glad for a least this moment, this glimpse of what is to come.

The thing that has inspired me lately is something that hasn't ever before...that is names. For some unbeknownst reason, two specific names have inspired me to create a story around them. The first is Quentin and the second is Celeste. One is a male and the second is a female. I'm not sure what the setting is or even exactly what the characters suppose to do, but that is their names. I am excited about this actually because you never know what will inspire you, it is what you do with that moment that makes the difference. I can't wait to sit down with a block of time and find out who Quentin is. He is a character that will reveal himself to me if I will only listen.

The fun part about writing is this idea that I create a character and a story. However, that is often not the case. Most of the time it is an abstract thought that finds me and demands to be written down. It is not my imagination at all that creates this story, but an idea that comes and demands to be developed and doesn't let me rest until that happens.

I hear the same concept comes with the creation of music or any type of art. There is something slightly off in the minds of those who create things. Perhaps it is simply part of being human. I don't know about other creative minds, but I am happy to be part of the process.

I sit at my computer now as I write this thought and get so excited about taking the next step and allowing this character to live and this story to be written. Someone somewhere needs to hear what this character thinks, even if that person isn't me. It is a wonderful concept to imagine that a word, a phrase, a concept can change the life of a person. It is a great responsibility and a great honor.

I am excited about the creative process, no matter how irrational it is. I am excited to bring life to these characters and ideas that make the minds of people spin and grow. I am excited to grow myself with the characters as they tell their story through my words. One day I will meet Quentin and find out who he is and what he has to tell me. The same with Celeste. That will be a good day.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

{Life's Archives} Moving to Seattle!

I've been reading a lot of things I've written days, months and even years ago...in some cases over a decade ago. It is interesting to see who I was then and who I became over time (both in short and long term). I am interesting in keeping these thoughts and sharing some of them. I am calling this series "Life's Archives" because it is a place where I can revisit thoughts I've had in the past, even if they contradict thoughts I hold now.

The first one I found is actually not that old. This is what I wrote about our move to Seattle almost 8 months ago. I was so excited about our move.

Written on June 8, 2014

It is official, Stephen has accepted a job with Amazon! That means we will be moving to Seattle in just a few short weeks. I am so excited and I can't believe it is happening all at the same time.

First of all, just the fact that this move is exciting and not terrifying is a magnificent testament to God working in my life. I have been fearful to try new things and go new places for as long as I can remember. God has transformed me in the past couple years into someone who can be brave. That has been my mantra this year, to do something brave everyday. The year isn't even halfway over yet and it has already accumulated into something huge! A change that I really do need bravery for, not only for myself, but for my whole family.

This really is huge because I have never been to the west coast. I have not been further west than Treasure Island, FL, where we were married. We looked it up, that is technically further west than Johnson City, TN where we have family, which is the other western most point I have been. However, I am not afraid. I see it as a wonderful adventure where I get to learn a new city and explore a whole new part of the country.

The only truly sad part is leaving my friends behind. I've made some amazing friends here and I will miss them greatly.


It's simple and beautiful and still true. I'm not sure I ever finished my thought, but it is fun to look back on the anticipation of moving and smile. Needless to say, everything worked out wonderfully. My family loves this city, I absolutely do. I have changed so much in many ways since I moved here. It feels like a positive direction...at least I have joy, peace and confidence in a way I hadn't before. I do miss my friends still. Honestly, I hope I always will.

I believe it is a good experiment to look back at who you were to realize how far you have come. 

I look forward to revisiting more thoughts like this one - time will tell.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Believe in the Truth

A man named Brandon Stanton followed a passion that led him to take portraits of people in New York City. He has now published two books and maintains over 10 million followers on Facebook. You can check out his website [HERE].

I tell you this to say that I am a huge fan of his work. Not only because he has followed his dream and created a passionate body of work, but also for the interactions he has with such a diverse group of people. I love that he brings out people's personality and sometimes how they feel or what they are thinking in that particular moment.

I love that idea...feeling the moment.

This was posted on the "Humans of New York" Facebook page some time ago, but this particular quotation really made me think and I want to share it with you:

"Going through life without God is like being an astronaut tumbling out of control in outer space. You grab on to this, but it breaks, and you tumble some more. Every time you lose something that you tried to hold on to-- your marriage, your job, your mom-- you start tumbling even faster. So you've got to stay close. You can't cut your umbilical cord. But you don't have to go to church. God is everywhere. God is that blade of grass trying to come up through the concrete. So many people go to church, and leave church, not even realizing that they are the church. You just need to make a determination in your mind that you want to find and believe in the truth."
Brandon Stanton, "Humans of New York"
photo credit

Throughout my life my idea of God has evolved and matured. I experienced another significant change after moving out of the "Bible-belt" South to Seattle. God is not often a household tradition here like it is in the south. There are so many different types of people here that believe in all different religions. Yet somehow, they all manage to live together peacefully and respectfully just as the Bible preaches. It is a beautiful thing to witness.

This change in religious mentality got me thinking about truth. The gentleman above says that we try to hold on to things, I infer to keep us grounded. Often we lose those things or become so afraid of losing them (things and people alike) that it changes us and not for the better. It makes us dependent and needy, neither of which are attractive qualities or even ones that the Bible encourages.

I understand that "tumbling out of control" he speaks of. I describe it as a downward spiral. Especially if several things are going on at once, it is easy to get angry, depressed and anxious. Honestly, this happens to me all the time. However, I am now beginning to practice this idea of believing in truth and it has been a fun journey to find it.

Truth is defined in the dictionary as "the true or actual state of matter," "conformity with fact or reality," and "an obvious or accepted fact." It is interesting to me that the definition of truth is relative to what you (or society) believes. I can state a truth that is accurate in one part of the world but not in another because within that area it is considered "accepted fact."

I've never believed much in the brick and mortar of church. It is just fact that when a large group of people come together and organize into a hierarchy and receive funding from others it is inevitable it will be corrupted on some level. It happens in every aspect of life (i.e. business, government and yes also in church). But the people within that organization are so much more. They can depend on each other and lift each other up. And that is a beautiful thing.

God is everywhere. That is what I believe as well. This is why this gentleman's quotation means so much to me. Pretty much all my life I have said that nature is my church...it still is. There is nothing more peaceful and connecting than escaping into the sanctuary of God's creation. I don't need to go to church to experience God, I am the church. God lives in me. Because I believe in God, I believe in myself. I can do it. I can succeed. I will not fail, but simply learn from my mistakes. I am enough and I am worthy of the things (of integrity) that I want.

This has been a great shift in perspective for me. "You just need to make a determination in your mind that you want to find and believe in the truth." I am learning to believe in myself...and that is making all the difference.