February 28, 2021

Keith Hampshire: "Big Time Operator" by Bruce Atchison

I was in high school when this song was in rotation on Canadian rock radio stations. It resonated with me because I had a dream of being a radio and TV repair man. After much resistance from counsellors, I was able to enrol in an electronics course.

Check out Keith Hampshire's hit here:

One career I never believed I'd end up having is writing. Back in the seventies, nobody had personal computers with screen readers to speak what was on the monitor. Neither were there electronic magnifying devices like the one I have now. In fact, I began that decade using two weak magnifying glasses held together to read with.

My dream of repairing electronic equipment fell through when the course had us work on televisions. The voltages inside them were far too dangerous for me to touch the components. That was the first of many course corrections I had to make.

God certainly had different plans for his people throughout the Bible. Noah doubtless never thought of building an ark before God called on him. Neither did Moses figure he could go back to Egypt and free his people. Jonah hated the Ninevites and never expected the Lord would send him to preach repentance to them.

My job history wasn't nearly as expansive as the man in Keith Hampshire's song but it did have a few surprises. I never figured I'd be a security guard. Neither did I expect to work for the Government of Canada.

When I was laid off in 1995, a career counsellor suggested I become a freelance writer. Though I didn't succeed at that, and my memoirs didn't sell, I'm glad I followed that man's advice.

Now I look forward to retirement and to enjoying all the bounty the Lord has given me. I might still write but I'll have no more pressure from disability counsellors to find paying work.







February 27, 2021

Required Flexibility by Lorilee Guenter

 


Our first major trip as a couple involved flying to Florida for a work gathering. We looked forward to meeting co-workers and exploring a new location. Plans started changing as soon as we arrived at the airport. Our flight was delayed long enough we would miss our connecting flight. The airline gave us two options. We took the option that would get us part way to our destination. It included an overnight layover before the last leg of our journey. The difficulties continued including getting lost finding our hotel and a full day delay coming home because of mechanical problems with the aircraft. Flexibility and adaptability became necessary. I won't paper over the frustration we felt, however even in the middle of being lost we found things to smile about. We found some hidden gems that our guide book did not list.  Since that trip we have become lost in many other locations, even with maps and GPS to guide us. This happens so many times we now expect to get lost at least once per trip to anywhere we have not yet been. The frustration has mostly subsided when this happens. Each time we look for the what we would otherwise have missed. Flexibility is required.

Many times in my art and writing the plans start changing as soon as I pick up a pencil (or paintbrush). I have the choice to give in to the frustration that bubbles up or embrace the change and see where it leads. I still struggle to embrace the change when I have a clear picture of where I think I want to go. With time, I am learning writing detour like travel hold treasure I would miss if I stubbornly clung to my plans. Flexibility and adaptability become necessary.

Some benefits found in writing detours are curiosities discovered while researching. I am in the middle of editing my first novel. I needed to verify some terminology but also stumbled on some unusual clauses people have included in their wills. For the curious this side trip is one of those gems. It has become part of my ideas file that I can pull from as needed. Even the act of writing the novel involved adaptation as I moved from the mindset of not being a writer to writing essays to trying something new and different. Flexibility was required.

Each piece of writing takes me on a journey through my interests and experiences. Writing helps me make connections. The need to slow down and observe the new and unexpected territory allows me to find treasure I would otherwise overlook. Now I look forward to the journey and even take some "wrong" turns on purpose so I can see where they lead me. One day I will be able to leave the frustration behind as I start looking for those gems right away.

I know the Master Map Maker and True Navigator. His word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105). When I remember this fact there is no lost. There is only here and now and the lessons of this moment. Therefore I look forward to what the journey brings including the unexpected.  Flexibility is required.

May your journey be filled with the expected and unexpected treasure that comes from following God's leading.


February 25, 2021

Creative Adaptability by Sharon Heagy

 


Adapting. It’s in our DNA. Put there by the Creator Himself.  It’s one of the gifts He gives us to survive.  If life is anything, it is ever changing and at times unpredictable. We need the ability to embrace life and shift with its ever-changing flow, ‘a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.’ (Ecclesiastes 3:1) When we pour into the creative river within us and allow that river to freefall down the mountain, it not only aids in our writing, painting, sculpting etc. but it helps us to find creative solutions to situations in our daily life. If the river becomes dammed, algae blooms begin to grow and we start to stagnate. Our creativity wanes. It is up to us to figure out a way to poke a hole, to move one log and then kick the whole dam apart and WHOOSH, we are rushing, bubbling, twisting and turning our way back down the mountain. So how do we do that? How do we break through?

In 2Timothy1, Paul reminds Timothy to fan into flame the spiritual gift of God within him and in the same way we need to be reminded that it is up to us to stoke the fire, or in this case, to bust the dam wide open. We need to find a way to adapt. Below I offer a few dam busting solutions that have worked for me.

1. Always number one in my books – pray. Pray for help, for inspiration, for your eyes to be open then wait expectantly for answers. He will answer because He called you. Of course, if you are like me you need to remember to listen.

 2. Try a different medium. Switch to a pen or pencil if you use a computer and vice versa.

 3. Write about your frustrations. It gets the thing out of your head and may lead you to discover the real source of your frustration, which may be surprising.  A new concept may plunk itself down in your gray cells. You may go boldly to where your brain has never gone before. (Apologies to Star Trek)

 4. Turn off social media and other unnecessary screens. Nothing numbs creativity faster than extended hours of mindless activity.

 5. Go outside. A few minutes to a few hours outdoors can be amazingly refreshing. The fresh air clears our heads and can give us a new perspective. His creation is a grand source of clarity. Time spent there clears the cobwebs and the clutter.  If you are unable to go outside open a window and let the air in. Listen to sounds. Hear the wind. Listen to the birds. If that isn’t possible, perhaps a recording of nature would be more accessible. Close your eyes and allow God to minister to you.

 6. Have a nap. Studies have shown increased productivity in people who have a 20-minute snooze at some point during the day.

 7. Try a different genre or a different medium. Write a poem, prose, or non-fiction. Paint a picture, model some clay, doodle. Sing, dance make music. Do something other than your norm to kick start the creative engine of adaptability.

 8. Talk to other writers. (So thankful for Inscribe) They will have a plethora of ideas that work for them and you may just find the one that works best for you.

 9. Have courage and never give up.

 10. Tell Sharon to re-read this post on a regular basis as she forgets all the methods that have worked in the past and tell her there are a myriad more ways of provoking creativity because we serve an infinitely creative God.

 11. Have a blessed day and thanks for reading this rambling list. May you find encouragement and may your river never cease to cascade down the mountain.


February 24, 2021

Emergence ~ Valerie Ronald

I am intrigued by time-lapse nature photography, a technique that speeds up a process which normally appears subtle and slow to the human eye. When a blooming flower is captured at one film frame per second, then played back at 30 frames per second, the opening of the blossom appears 30 times faster. It is fascinating to watch a flower grow and bloom in accelerated time.

Adaptive creativity reminds me of time-lapse photography. When I review a piece of my writing, it is like seeing a flower bloom in just a few seconds. The creative process takes its own time. A completed project, once edited, revised, honed — becomes a time-lapse of all those frames of creative time opening in the reader’s mind like a blossoming flower. I consider my writing as more of an organic emergence than a technique-driven process. From idea inception to finished manuscript, the emergence occurs through interactions with God. Prayer by prayer, one soul conversation building on another, they string together like a necklace of words to grace the throat of my Savior.

Prayer is the birth channel for all I write. Whether by assignment or to express my own thoughts, the nebulous seed of a new project starts in the womb of prayer. Scripture-informed prayer influences, directs and speaks God’s voice into my writing. I seek His guidance and advice, especially when beginning. I don’t know where my own thoughts end and God’s voice begins, but I have no doubt when it is Him speaking. Sometimes insistent, often subtle, the idea grows in the creative corner of my brain until I am ready to give it life on the page.

 So is this adaptive creativity? Maybe not in the traditional sense. Certainly I have enough experience and knowledge to adapt one style of writing to another or change it to meet the requirements of a different market. Original creativity, however, keeps pace with life’s changing phases by adjusting to the climate of my days.

 Some time ago, during a long period of struggle and trials, I filled pages of journals with the pain of a betrayed marriage and a broken body. Those bleeding words were not intended for any other eyes except God’s. Yet now that I am whole and healthy again, He has called me to adapt those private words for a public readership so those who are experiencing similar grief can learn from them. Like most change, it requires vulnerability to put my heart out there for others to see. I have done much wrestling with this assignment in my private conversations with God, but I cannot escape His gentle insistence. I must believe that on the other side of obedience there is blessing.

No map exists of the adaptation of my writing journey over the years. It has gone through many transitions, each with a lesson learned and a step toward the next phase. It began as the seed of a love for words planted in a child’s heart, then gradually blossomed into acceptance as a published author. Frame by frame, prayer by prayer, God planted the seeds of what He wanted written in my voice. He gives such joy and satisfaction in the process, as He adapts the words and the writer to fulfill His perfect purposes. 

                


 

Valerie's devotionals can be read on her blog https://scriptordeus.wordpress.com




February 23, 2021

PIVOT by Joylene M. Bailey

 

If I had been an athlete, I think I would have played basketball. Sadly, I'm the farthest thing from an athlete but I do enjoy watching.

Two of my brothers played basketball, as did all three of my daughters. So it's fair to say, I've watched A LOT of basketball games.

There is one principle of basketball that I've always found intriguing, and is something that is difficult for a beginning player to learn: The pivot foot. 


In the simplest terms possible, the pivot foot is the foot that remains in contact with the floor while a player controls the ball while stopped.

The player may spin or otherwise change position so long as their pivot foot does not move from its initial position or lose contact with the floor.                            Basketball for Coaches

Basketball players need to be adaptive and creative, as they experience the nuances of the game. With every move from their opponents and even their own teammates, they spin and twist, looking for an opening, a way to their ultimate goal - to get the ball into the hoop. That's creative adaptability.

~~~~~

A few weeks before Christmas 2020, I put aside the memoir I was working on to prepare for Christmas. We were looking forward to the joyful chaos that a house full of kids, and especially grandkids, would bring. 

We'd been hoping the restrictions would hold off but, alas, the restrictions came down in full force and we knew there would be no little visitors from provinces away. I was down and discouraged.

One day as I sat in the living room commiserating with myself, my eyes fell on the long legged snowman my hubby had given me days before.

Suddenly, my mind opened up to new possibilities. My grandchildren couldn't come to me, but I could go to them with daily stories, complete with staged photographs, about a long legged snowman who got into innocent mischief. 

Pivot.

That's how Jubal's Adventures was born. Soon he had a pet reindeer named Reggie, and a very nervous friend called Beverly Mouse. I've written about some of his adventures here

The days leading up to Christmas passed swiftly with Jubal getting into new shenanigans every day. What joy he brought, to my grandkids and to me!

~~~~~

Just like pivoting in basketball allows the player with the ball to find an opening to take a shot, so pivoting in our expectations allows creatives to create in new ways.

Pivot.

~~~~~




Joy, Jubal, Reggie, and Beverly Mouse live in Edmonton with The Cowboy and Babe-soon-to-be-married. Find more of her joy-infused view of the world at Scraps of Joy.