As a child I was encouraged to be creative……sort of encouraged. My mom was a creative person, but her way of encouraging me was to have me watch John Gnagy, our version of Bob Ross. She bought pads and pencils and I was left to figure out if I was able to draw or not. That didn’t last long. I learned to sew and knit very basic. I learned to bake and cook and listen to music while singing my heart out in my room. No verbal encouragement came so I gave up very easily.
But you cannot throw away the creative juices that lie within you. They may lay dormant but they are always there waiting to spring forth when given just a hint of watering and sunlight.
So I have blossomed into a rather good crocheter and baker. But I get antsy. I recently couldn’t ignore the voice that kept gently bidding me to jump in deeper to the creativity. Then, through people I highly respect, I answered with a big YES.
Being a person who just loves my friendship with Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit, I felt a strong tug to paint. But not paint precise images (thank God) but to paint colours. I just love colours. I am drawn to colourful things and they speak to me and actually bring out feelings and senses that otherwise just stay hidden.
So now begins a new journey. I started painting in a freeform-type of artistry. Whatever happens with this journey will definitely be a learning experience. At first I absolutely hated what I produced. But I kept them and am moving forward. I figure I will be the first one to get anything out my art simply because I need to see it in a new perspective – as God sees it. I think He likes what I produce, therefore, I need to like it too.
I even show my pieces to people. That is a new thing for me. I often ask why I couldn’t just crochet and give it away (I still crochet and bake – try and stop me!) But I know that this is the medium I am to do now. So here ya go, Dear Readers, a glimpse of my new thing…….
The last fews days have taken me into remembering. Remembering times of community with great people. Times where you feel like your family grew to Walton-size or Osmond-size.
Times when you felt like you belonged to a family that you always wanted yours to be.
Accepted. Loved. Known.
The first memory was triggered by a dear friend, J, who sends me a text every morning before I even open my eyes. Her encouraging words come over the ocean and into The Middle from Puerto Rico. They are missed some days since the hurricane hit them. But the latest word is that they expect electricity within the week!
A couple of days ago she wrote of a lady she met about thirty years ago and how they walked the sandy barrens of the Jersey Shore together talking of anything that popped into their head.
That was ME. Me and J walking and talking. We did it as often as we could. Then other times she would come over and we’d talk some more. Then, she would come over with her husband or we would go to their home and talk some more and EAT. Oh the rice with the pigeon peas and whatever was in the fridge and her rice pudding!!!
We are family. We moved and then she moved to Puerto Rico.
I remembered another time in a small-is town in San Diego County, California. It was higher up than sea level and pushed against Palomar Mountain. A great town.
We attended a church in that town that understood community. We all didn’t think alike or dress alike or look alike. But we loved well. We would have parties where we brought tons of food and played innocent games that brought laughter and joy.
We prayed for each other when life hit hard on our families. We dropped off surprise gifts at door steps and continued to love each other.
We let each other be who we were.
Acceptance. Loved. Known.
I’ve lived several places since then and have felt loved on different levels. But I haven’t had a J to walk with me and talk with me out in nature. A J to know my heart and thoughts and accept me for who I am, flaws and all. A J to tell me I can do it as she looks into my eyes or tells me that the blow that just hit sucks but offers me her hand to get me back up.
True, deep friendship.
I do have close friends. My husband is one. There are a couple of other “Js” in my life. But none live physically near me. I feel them but none can look me in the eye and see me and walk in the woods with me. Most of that is due to work schedules. More women work these days than they did thirty years ago. I get that. And I don’t expect gals to come knocking on my door tomorrow to go for a walk.
The “Js” in my life came about unexpectedly. I didn’t see them coming or ask for them. God set me up. He’s good at that.
Some of my blogging friends are “Js”. I’ve got one in California that I look forward to seeing someday and one in Pakistan that I know we would have a blast walking and talking.
I guess what this post is about is my reflections and a bit of hope for you all. Have you made room for friendships and family that goes deep into your heart and soul? In this age of social media we tend to not look into each other’s eyes. We see words on a page that are hard to interpret.
Take the time for friendships. Deep friendships. Be a friend.
These remembrances make me feel warm and cozy. Priceless.
It’s been almost a year since I last posted on the topic of writing . My goals, etc. The book I started and started again and thought I finished……..almost.
Sigh. I cannot compare myself to others. That is unwise – even the bible tells us that.
But I do it anyway until I catch myself. So many of my peers write on their blog often. Sometimes several times a day. Me? Oh, perhaps once a week or two. Good grief. I guess there are no tight rules on this but I may be forgotten if I don’t write something!
I decided to wrap up a booklet I wanted to publish. Good time to do it – now. So I progressed rapidly this week. Even asked two authors I know to write an endorsement for the front. Sigh, again. After I sent the “manuscript” out to a friend to read first, I realized that the requirements of the publisher was to have at least fifty pages. WHAT?!?!?! I have just over half that.
Time for fetal position. I dread going back in and adding to what I thought was alright. Ugh. Double ugh.
I do believe I can write. But why such dread? Why do I feel defeated before I even start? I don’t normally write such gut revealing words on here – but this is how I feel today.
I know me enough to know that I will pick myself up and dust myself off and face this project. Sooner, I hope, rather than later.
I am open for advice and encouragement – but not criticism. I do not believe that criticizing artistic abilities is a thing. We are all individuals with individual tastes.
Thank you for letting me spill to you……
😀 Cate B
I was struck deeply one day by a story I heard from a friend of mine. It was about worship.
I’m not talking about the act of worship, which I’m sure has different meanings to many of us. Some think of the music portion of a church service or perhaps music that moves you deeply when alone with God. That’s what I always thought of it as. And there is nothing wrong with any of our perspectives of worship. But I found a deeper worship after I heard his story.
It went something like this:
My friend was in a country in Africa. A small village. A group of people who worked hard physically and also held a deep love of God in their hearts.
One day my friend was helping to shovel sand/dirt into or out of a truck. He worked alongside a man he was growing a close relationship with. The African man was able to shovel hard and fast. My friend, quite physically competitive by nature, saw it as a competition. The harder his African friend worked, he worked harder, and harder. Faster and faster. He realized that no matter how fast he shoveled his friend got more accomplished.
This frustrated my friend. So much that he stopped shoveling and grabbed his friend and tossed him on the ground. He asked the African how he can shovel so much more than him?
The lovely man from the village took my friend up a hill nearby that overlooked a field. There, below them, was a man plowing a field with his beast in tow. He simply told my friend to look at the man working the field. That is his worship. The shoveling I do is my worship to God.
That simple act of doing what you do. Very possible doing what you were created to do……. that is your Worship to God.
I thought long and hard and deep on this one. I’ve been a worship leader, guitar in hand, etc. But when this story penetrated my heart I realized that there is more to worship than I was taught or shown.
I realized that this journey with God that I have been on has been my worship. The molding and shaping He is doing in me and the revealing of my true self and who He created me to be – the talents, the personality, the gifts, the skills, the whatever – this is my worship to Him.
This is by far one of the most freeing experiences I have ever come to realize. And I don’t feel that I’ve totally grasped the deepest meaning. I am so caught up in my discontents in what He has me doing at this point in my life that I do believe I miss the wonderful, loving, truly joyful act of worship with Him – my life that He gave to me.
Find your worship, Dear Reader. I guarantee that you will find peace and love and joy when you do.
(also posted on https://churchsetfree.wordpress.com/category/cate-b/ )
A simple song by Misty Edwards:
I am honored to have become friends with a diverse group of bloggers that I would like you to meet. We have been Skype-ing together weekly for a bit and creating a blog together.
Here is the “About” page and the link in the title so you can get an idea of who we are and what we are about:
“Church Set Free” is a community of Christian Bloggers and others, from various backgrounds and locations who are here to build up and encourage anyone and everyone in the greatest adventure imaginable…. We have considerable diversity of views, backgrounds and traditions, but we have one very important thing in common: We believe that in spite of our differing views and ideas, we can all work together to build the community of our Lord Jesus Christ, as a unified group of disciples in spite of any differences we may have. We all agree that love is more important than fighting among ourselves, that His purpose is greater than always doing the same old thing, and that seeing someone come to a new relationship with Christ is more important than having our own way.
So then, how is “Church” to be “Set Free”?
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
“Church” is set free when we love each other as Christ loved us. We hope to build Church Set Free into a safe place where Christians of all viewpoints can discuss, explore and grow, where there is no “wrong” question, and where mutual love and respect are the only “rules”, and this is why all are welcome here.
If you are not a Christian, but are curious, there’s a place here for you too, to ask questions, read several points of view and see what our community is like. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a place here with us.
We are glad you have decided to visit our blog today, and we hope that you feel welcome. Please feel free to have a look around, to ask questions, and leave comments; we would love to hear your thoughts!
Check it out if it interests you and feel free to follow, like, pass on the link.
I chose to be a stay-at-home mom many years ago. I have never regretted that decision. I loved it. Yes, there are sacrifices. Yes, there is less money to live on. And yes, creativity comes to play in more ways than you can imagine.
I feel that my children benefited from this decision. Would they have benefited as much if I chose a career also? YES – I believe so. Because mothering and fathering is in the heart first of all.
I use to wonder, when I was a very young mother, why women I knew wanted to go to work and leave the kids in another’s care. I quickly got over that. I realized, as I watched and listened to them, that some of us humans are bent a different way. It doesn’t mean they are less of a parent. I honor their decisions.
Some parents have no choice. I honor them also. And yes, some perhaps need to get their act together and their priorities straight. But they still love their children.
I find myself, in this time of life, caring for young children again. I’ve talked about this is previous posts. I wouldn’t have it any other way. After raising my kids – and I did have small jobs now and then as they got older – I went full time into the work force. It was an amazing experience. It was a position that I knew nothing about and yet was able to tap deep inside me and see that I could do it!
So, why is the job that women were created to do, physically and emotionally, still so scrutinized in this world today? Why do so many women feel that “just being a mom” isn’t enough? Why do mom’s, and probably dad’s who care for the kids, feel they are a bit useless? Perhaps not intelligent enough for career minded people? Simply, why is mothering so looked down upon?
Do you know how hard it is to convince a tiny human being that “they are kind, they smart, they are important”? Quote taken from The Help. It’s a constant battle. It takes just a few minutes to tell “Siri” what to say and what to do in comparison to telling a baby, then a child, then a pre-teen, then a teen, then a young adult…. and so on. We are constantly facing things we cannot control that knock us down. Lies are always coming against us. Sometimes from actual people and sometimes in our heads. Programming a computor is that – it is done. But loving a human through the stages of life – is just that. Life long.
Then the same question – why is parenthood so looked down upon? Why is it such a struggle to feel you are doing something amazing?
You are. You parents, whether you are working outside the home or staying home with your kids, are amazing. You are doing an incredible thing. It never stops. It is continual.
You are doing a great thing! Do not let others tell you or imply otherwise. Do not second guess yourself.
You are amazing! Tell a parent today that they are amazing.
Three years ago a lovely little baby joined our family. Our first grand daughter and fourth grand child. From the start you could see a confidence in this little one that was astounding. Her mom was attending a University at the time of her birth and her dad was making a career change to also go to school.
They needed me. I wasn’t working at the time so I decided I could care for this little one. I was challenged. She wasn’t sure she really liked me. She hated having her diaper changed. After a few months we began to get along better. I really think she associated me with the fact that when her parents left her with me, that meant they were leaving. Her intelligence frightened me a little. But those big blue eyes (eyes of which I never experienced from my own brown/hazel eyed kids) fascinated me and kept winning me over, no matter how mad she was at me. She made me laugh.
We just celebrated her third birthday and she also has a little sister now who is six months old. As I have watched her grow into an amazing little girl – it causes me to reflect on my childhood. On my personality. I see similarities between her and I. I see a stubbornness that is familiar to me. I see an attitude that convicts my heart to soften my attitude towards others without giving up the strong person I have become.
For her birthday, I posted a picture on Facebook, along with a little conversation we had recently:
Me: Hey Lucy, let’s get dressed and I’ll take you out to ride your bike.
Me: Come on, don’t you want to ride your bike? Get your helmet.
Lu: No ride bike. Can I ride a horse (with big smile)?
Me: Horse? Well, how about a bike ride?
Lu: No bike – I want to ride a horse.
We share the same love of horses – but as a child I only experienced riding my bike – often (once I learned to ride it) – she has ridden a horse at least twice now in her young life. And she fell in love.
A good friend said of this little one: “It’s easy to imagine you as a child Cate!” I liked that my friend said that. But the truth is, I wasn’t that way as a child. I had different parents and different home life. I didn’t have some of the advantages that this little one has. Simply because it was a very different upbringing.
I had the imagination and an imaginary horse. I loved that horse. But I greatly lacked in the confidence this little shows at such a young age. As many arguments that we have (and yes, you can argue with a two year old) and the many time – outs she receives, I cannot help but love her so much that it makes me cry – good tears. I take it very seriously the task I have been handed to help care for and raise this little one.
I had no idea that when I accepted the challenge of caring for this lovely that I would be smitten. That, like the Grinch whose heart was two sizes too small, mine grew that day. It grew more and more at each argument – “Calm down, Mammy, just calm down” – and other similar occasions.
This little one taught me about love and encouragement and hope. Not only for her, but for myself and others. I can see that she travels to the beat of a different drum, so to speak. And that will be a challenge for her as she matures and goes off to school and other places where some may not understand her beat. I know this because I go through this. I did as a little child, and I was gently pushed into the corral and told to just obey and do as you’re told. I made it through childhood :D.
Parents, we have to know our children. It’s a day to day process as they grow into a child. We have to take the time to know their personality. You can have four children ad each one will be diversely different. We cannot grow them the same way. It’s work.
And grand parents, we can bring hope and love and encouragement to them like no other can. They aren’t ours to raise completely. but our wisdom and cookies can go a long way.
I thank God for my five grand children. Some I am closer to than others, but the love I have for them each is huge. I pray often for ways I can show them. Ways that I can help them.
I cannot walk in their shoes, but I can encourage them to find their own beat and walk in it!
Enjoy – one of my favorite singers –