Chasing Joy

"I am guiding you on the way of wisdom and I am leading you on the right path." Proverbs 4:11

Category: art (page 3 of 3)

Starting anew

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shortly after the Barn Event came the 31 days challenge and i’ve been immersed in the concept of prayer.

today there has been some churning within.  i turn on Pandora and Christa’s Frame the Clouds is first.  because of course it is.

and so i’m taken back to that Barn and all the tending of my soul that was done there.  i’m being led to a new place of trust with my Guide-always a new place of trust.

Christa takes the depths of my being and crafts words and music around it and the result is this; have a listen.

 

that’s all this space is really, simply my attempt to “frame the clouds”

Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

Composition|reflections from my time at The Writer’s Barn

i arrive earlier than i’d like to; my preference when attending something alone is to arrive not early, not late, but in the middle.  i don’t like having all the seat options to choose from-i am aware of the way picking a seat has the potential to paralyze me because i’m feeling a bit unsure of myself.  but i was told i could leave my insecurities behind and i remind myself of this as i sit down and breathe a prayer to the One who is in charge of Providential connections.

 i Release it

i sit there, a recipient of Myquillyn’s art.  personally i lack the skill and know nothing about the composition of a room.  but she does.  and her art creates a framework for what is becoming within my soul.

 i Receive it

the time together begins and Traci keeps us on schedule and informed about the important details.  personally i lack the skill and know nothing about the composition of the details surrounding an event.  and her art builds on that framework for what is becoming within my soul.

 i Rest secure in it

Emily Freeman and Christa Wells spend the beginning hours taking us through the craft of writing.  Principles and truths that i will chew on and apply for years to come i am sure. i am paying attention.  We are given a break for dinner and then we return for an evening of story and song.  i can’t even.  These hearts that are traversing the very land of writing-they are so generous in their sharing.

i Take it all in

this is the very thing i need.  i know nothing about the composition of notes that make up a song.  i do know there is a deep place within my soul where things are becoming.  and music-especially the piano-have always been a most effective way for that becoming to transpire.   i am learning about the composition of words, but before this event i didn’t fully understand the composition that makes up a writer.  the frustrations and tendencies and nuances of “doing homework for a living” as Emily so aptly put it.  These two beautiful women have placed their brushstrokes within the framework for what is becoming within my soul.

i am changed by it

Composition is the “State or quality of being put together, The art or practice of so combining the parts of a work of art as to produce a harmonious whole.”*  The Master Artist brought together each and every part necessary; all that i’ve mentioned above combined with the people i met, the hands that prepared the snacks, the families behind it all; He has so combined all the parts that became this Writer’s Barn….and produced a harmonious whole to be sure.

He created a Masterpiece

and i delighted in it.

(As you can see there are no pictures with this post.  i just couldn’t take any and i’m not completely sure why.  But you can go here and here to see some.)

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(I will be joining the 31 days writing challenge hosted by The Nester.  unless something else comes to me before tomorrow prayer will be my topic.)

*Webster’s 1946 edition

breathing among the papyrus reeds

Then [Moses’ mother] placed the child among the papyrus reeds along the bank of the Nile.  His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe.  She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it.   -exodus 2

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at the last minute we decide to walk to school.  i place a ball cap on my head, grab my phone and off we go.  i decide that walking is nicer than driving and we talk more than when on the bike.  i walk him all the way to the playground give him a hug and off he bounds for another day of 4th grade.

i see a friend that i can’t recall ever seeing in the morning before school.  she looks at me and says;

i know why you are here.  God brought you here on purpose.  He knew exactly what i needed today.

on a fluke, she had walked around the building with her 4th grader too.

did you catch there what i did?  i called it a fluke.  but it was no fluke.

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all the disciplines have been a fight lately.  i fight to pray.  i sit with my Bible in my lap and my eyes blur and the words are still and dead and stagnate.  so i talk with Him about it.  and i ask for help.  but day after day i find it the same.  one day last week the words became alive again and in my joy i shared it all here.  i thought maybe the dry season had ended and the rainy season had begun.  but the fight returned and it’s been more of the same.

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we sip tea together and talk of the deep heart issues.  His Word springs forth and quenches as only It can. and i am left to marvel at the words that come and the Truths that we embrace together.  i share a little of this marveling especially in relation to how things have felt this summer.  and she says;

it’s because it’s in you.  His Word is in you.

i’m entering a different place of trust here….always another place of trust.

what she said is true in its way.  He has promised that just as the rain waters the earth, so do His Words that go out from His mouth, accomplishing what He intended.  He has also said that streams of living water will overflow from within those who are His.

But there is more.  i remember Joseph’s words;

and God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this place…

and i remember how Pharaoh’s daughter happened upon that little baby in the basket.  and i acknowledge that it is no less a miracle that my friend and i happened upon each other.  And what i so enjoy about the whole thing is that i didn’t have to have showered or dressed for the occasion.  i didn’t’ have to have any profound revelation.  i didn’t even have to know to show up.  i just had to be breathing.  all the rest?

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was God surely coming to our very aid.

heading back to N. Carolina to spend time in a Barn

Last year i went to N. Carolina to attend an afternoon At The Barn

as a family we’d been impacted by a fire in 2011, another one in 2012, living in town 5 of us crammed into a 2 bedroom 800 sq ft house, and many battles for hope.

personally, i’d turned 40 and found myself walking blindly through a fog of decisions that included leaving a ministry i’d been a part of for 15 years, clueless as to where the Lord was taking my heart and my life but following step by step and clinging to Isaiah 42:16 and 50:10-11

in the middle of a flood, i pressed the button to reserve my ticket for The Barn Event.

on the plane i finished up the last chapters of Emily’s book; A Million Little Ways, and waited in anticipation for all that the Lord would do during this much needed weekend away. then there were no words for all that transpired between the airport and the actual event.  but i carved out a few anyway-The Lord, my Shepherd .

worn and weary i headed out on the road towards somewhere, NC and that glorious Barn.

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and i began to breathe 

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And for an afternoon i was refreshed, inspired, seen.  and i was so very glad i went.  

and i learned a thing or two about rest.  that rest not a place, rest is a Person.  yes He can use a place to draw me into deeper rest in Him-What Emily said about hope applies here too.  sometimes rest finds you on the Beach, while other times you have to dig for it among the bugs.

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lately i’ve been growing in taking my writing more seriously.  by that i mean, actually telling people; “i’m writing”  i tried it out the other day at the vet’s when i got to see our actual vet whom i’ve known for years but rarely get.  the question came; “how have you been, what have you been doing?” and i updated him about the ages of my kids and then i said; “i’ve been writing.”  the vet was a safe place to try it out, it’s less risky because the odds of him actually asking to read anything is very slim.  

but the saying it out loud to someone else means i am giving it value.   

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home alone, i was on Emily’s blog the other day and i saw the link to another barn event.  this time specifically for writers.  my heart skipped a beat and i payed attention.  i allowed myself to go there.  that meant clicking the link to the event and checking out the details.  then  looking around online at flights and hotels and what would it cost?  then seeing the cost and knowing it was not doable and sitting back in my chair and grieving.  then getting out the map and seeing what’s nearby. and then checking flights to nearby places.

it is cheap to fly to Atlanta.  i tuck the knowledge away

jeremy and the kids come home and there is all the telling about their time and i listen and we go about life.  amidst all the noise and moving about together, i mention it. softly and timidly, i mention it.  “there is another barn event, this time focused on writing.  it’s in Midland, 4 hours from Atlanta.”  

and he listens.

and sits down and pulls out his phone (because, the calendar).  this summer things shifted for him at work and he’s been traveling every month. to Atlanta.

“when is it?”
“i think that’s when my next Atlanta trip is…..yep it is.”
“i think you should do it. go ahead and buy the ticket and then we will work out all the details.”

i hesitate a bit.  then move toward the idea.  we talk about taking a weekend away together.  he mentions the places he’s been that we can now see together.  he doesn’t mind me spending part of our time at a writing event.  even though he’ll be dropping me off 4 hours from our hotel?  he says he’ll be fine finding something to do.  i’ll return home on Monday, and he’ll stay behind for work.

i buy the ticket. 

This time, i’m not necessarily going for rest (tho i’ll take it whenever it comes!)

no, this time, i’m going to Atlanta for the romance. 

and to the Barn Event?  i’m going for my heart. 

An Unexpected Journey-looking back

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i take the time to ponder my surprising response to those who deemed my choices foolish.  and i realize the gift the broken car and sick child and sick me gave.  all of that shifted my perspective very quickly to the reality that i have no control over anything.  and the natural stress and fatigue that they brought with them shifted my energy. no longer did i have energy to spend self-editing, self-doubting, self-focusing.

i marvel at the One who takes the bad and creates something good from it.  satan’s plans are thwarted.  God is still glorified, light shines in dark places, and i become more free.  and i have nothing to do with any of it.  all there is to do is soak in the Wonder.

there is so much joy in freedom.

there is so much freedom in understanding who i am and Whose i am and Who He Is.

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looking back i see the beautiful work of a Father, moving this daughter into the world and creating Art with the way:

i keep talking even tho my words aren’t being understood
i keep deciding even tho i don’t have all the information
i reject analysis of my time with the car and with family. i let Him fight for me and once strengthened i join the fight for hope. i rest in the truth that Christ is in me-and He will come out. it is the hope of glory. it is glory’s only hope.

i take the risk and go on the hike. i speak honestly my frustration about being left behind without food and water, but don’t condemn. i listen to the journey my husband and son took with interest and share in their joy.

i pay attention to the fact that the words don’t stick. i marvel at the way fatigue and stress and sickness remove my ability to absorb another’s opinions. i recognize that not only is joy worth the fight, but avoidance of pain is not worth the absence of joy.

once we return from all the travels, i breathe deep the days of sleeping in and stop apologizing to the people in my imagination about the laundry not started and the groceries yet to get.

i accept the new definitions (travel mercies; regretless days).  i move forward looking at the last two weeks as defining moments in becoming more fully at rest with who i am and Whose i am.

i show up here and write it all down

“Perhaps the most beautiful work you can do today is to begin to accept your creative inheritance from God and learn to become yourself in the presence of others, moving into the world as the person you fully are no matter where you are, who you’re with, or what’s gone wrong.”

-The Art of Your Work by Emily P. Freeman

 

it is for freedom
that Christ as set us free.

Stand firm, then,
and do not let yourselves be burdened again
by a yoke of slavery.

galatians 5:1

An Unexpected Journey-prologue

“Perhaps the most beautiful work you can do today is to begin to accept your creative inheritance from God and learn to become yourself in the presence of others, moving into the world as the person you fully are no matter where you are, who you’re with, or what’s gone wrong.”

-The Art of Your Work by Emily P. Freeman

 

i didn’t intend to take a blogging break this summer.  and i didn’t see the light posts and potholes along the path of moving into the world in this way that Emily describes.  but light posts and potholes they were, and as i found myself unexpectedly spending a week without internet or phone but with my laptop and time, i began to see it.  i began to see the unexpected journey i was being taken on and the threads of freedom that would weave themselves into that ‘beautiful work of accepting my creative inheritance and learning to become myself in the presence of others.’

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and so at hand is the challenging task of putting it all into words that make sense for a reader who is not me, written by a writer who is me.   i’ll be back here with those words on Monday, August 4th.   till then, may the journey you find yourself on be full of unexpected joys along the way.

 

asking

Rembrandt Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee

Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee

a knock on my window.

and i rise

from my place before the alter.
      where i sat.
          preaching the gospel to myself.

i open the door

and fix two cups of tea. 
         knowing without asking
to make hers green and mine black.

and we sit

next to each other

the immoral and moral.
      the one who has striven to be lord and master of her life by breaking all the rules.
            the one who has striven to be lord and master of her life by keeping them.

and is it true?

both the same in their need for a Savior?

both the same in their value to Him?
really?  is it?

both with a chasm that we must see.

a chasm that we cannot cross

that keeps us altogether separate,
without God and without  hope
 in this land we traverse.

And both of our hands
Are equally skilled
At doing evil
Equally skilled
At bribing the judges
Equally skilled
At perverting justice
Both of our hands
Both of our hands      -jon foreman

but God

But God has provided

and we must see
       we must see the provision

              for the joy to come in and take up residence in these hearts traversing this land.

God’s love which satisfied His own justice.

And both of His hands
Are equally skilled
At ruining evil
Equally skilled
At judging the judges
Equally skilled
At administering justice

Both of His hands
Both of His hands

Are equally skilled
At showing mercy

Equally skilled
At loving the loveless

Equally skilled
At administering justice

Both of His hands
Both of His hands    -jon foreman

and so

this is why i keep asking.

because we both need….. we all need

desperately need his skilled hands

to give us the very thing this day requires

Spirit of wisdom to know Him better
eyes of our hearts enlightened to know the hope and riches of inheritance and power for us who believe.
richness of His mercy that gives life
power to grasp the vastness of His love
strength in Him and His might to take our stand against the devil?s schemes.

help in the struggle.

help in the struggle.
     and hope…..
          and joy in spite of the struggle.

and both of His hands are equally skilled.
at providing the solution
and showing us mercy
and loving us well
and restoring
oh the skill of His hands to restore.

 

to draw further in ephesians-all 6 chapters

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