August 04, 2020

Right Now by Susan Barclay

Right Now

Right now my world seems small

I am daughter
I am mother
I am wife

I hold my mother's hand
Hold my breath
Hold onto love

I make meals
Do laundry
Wash dishes

Rinse, dry, repeat

I go online
And connect 

My friends are patient
My husband understanding

I work
And sometimes work is rest
A respite

I write, a little
It's not what I intended
But it is good

I pray
Read the Word
Reflect, respond

I am God's child
Christ's bride
Part of the body

This is a season
Of boundaries but not bondage
I am learning as I live

I am standing on the edge of the universe 

c. Susan Barclay, August 2020 

 You can find out more about Susan Barclay's writing at

August 03, 2020

Teddy Bear Discoveries by Lynn J Simpson

Meet Teddy One.

Teddy was a gift to my teenage daughter. That daughter is now thirty-years-old, and today Teddy is dressed, videoed, and dragged to every sleep-over by her young daughter. 

Now meet Teddy Two.

Teddy Two is a perfect teddy. Perfect brown eyes, round white belly, and soft to the touch. 

Teddy One is bug-eyed, prickly, and skinny. Often his narrow neck is ringed with plastic bracelets and a skirt hides his short legs. Sometimes he is wrapped in baby face-cloths and a pink blanket. 

When you look at the two Teddy’s which Teddy peaks your curiosity, maybe to the point that you are hovering over the magnifying tool on your keyboard ? Is it perfect Teddy Two or wildly different Teddy One? 

I don’t want to make an assumption but….I’d bet on Teddy One ‘cause he’s just so…interesting! Interesting in his imperfections.

Maybe it is just that perfect Teddy Two is not dressed up that makes one be more curious about Teddy One? 

Nah. Even dressed up, Teddy Two is cute yet his perfection still shines through like a shined up coffee table. Nice, pleasing to the eye, but your eyes would not linger long. 

Non-traditional teddy bear, Teddy One, with his crooked smile and bald spots captured my granddaughter's attention breaking the assumptions of what I saw as loveable teddy bear traits. Digging deeper, I realized assumptions can hinder creativity, blocking new ideas and new ways to see our everyday lives. Our experiences can become a collection of stereotypes instead of new discoveries driven from curiosity and open observation. Conforming to standardization, we may even become biased in the way creativity should be expressed instead of trusting in our God nudges that take us into unique territories of creative expressions.  

Trust those nudges. Stay open. Embark on the journey to unexpected results. Break the mundane with child-like curiosity. 

Recently my grandson brightened up my day wearing rubber sandals with a green sock on one foot and a yellow sock on the other.  

My back toward him, he started giggling, “Grandma, owl on your back!” I had been wondering why my t-shirt’s neckline seemed high on my throat. That owl image is the front of the t-shirt. We had a good laugh. A family story that may never be lost created from our imperfections. 

Let’s also not let perfection become like a stop sign on our creativity roadway. Instead, let’s allow our imperfection to lead us to somewhere unexpected. Let’s be open to get outside our comfort zone, discover new things about ourselves, walk in shorts and sandals with a mismatched pair of socks, or our t-shirt on backwards. Let’s foster our creativity by not fearing the messiness of imperfection. 

Let’s refresh our creativity with a childlike sense of wonder. 

How will you refresh your creativity today? 

And said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

You can read more of Lynn's curious adventures at Keeping It Real

August 01, 2020

Unleash Your Writing Dreams by Sandi Somers

Image by rawpixel in Unsplash
Do you have a dream of what your writing/published works could be? Lynn Simpson inspired this month’s theme with an earlier blog post:

I challenge myself and all of us,
to take a chance to unleash our writing
beyond the boundaries that may be tying up our creativity. 
And in celebration,
live out our lives as the masterpiece we are created to be.

Visioning Our Best Writing Selves

My most recent reset to unleash writing goals came this winter and spring. Our local writing group has been studying Julia Cameron’s Right to Write. In one exercise, she asked us to list things we wished we could do. I wanted my writers to take that exercise to the next levels, and so we spent a few minutes listing our writing wishes. 

To emphasize how imagination spurs us to accomplish our dreams, I read a blog post by Jack Popjes, part of which I've included here:

"We have the amazing God-given talent to picture in our mind
something that doesn't yet exist,
to mentally create situations that have not happened.
 Over time, we tend to accomplish the things we think about imaginatively.
The stronger and more emotionally we respond to our focused thinking and visualizing,
the surer the eventual outcome will match our mental picture."

 Knowing also that “a goal without a plan is just a wish,” I introduced the concept of “Visioning Our Best Writing Selves.” I asked each writer to list her wishes as accomplishments using this prompt: "By December of this year, I will have..." We were planning for specific success.

This was a powerful exercise and I recognized the amazing potential in each of our writers. It also put feet to my own desires and anchored me in working towards more concrete, achievable goals.

I continued writing wishes, journalling “dialogues” with God. I wanted to submit more articles, some on new topics and for new publications—and a number of ideas came to mind. Doing so meant I needed to be more consistent in my output. The author Mark Buchanan suggested completing 1,000 words of finished copy a week, something I have often accomplished since then.

Another major area that came into focus was clearer planning on a daily, weekly, short-term, and long-term basis. Both the book The 12 Week Year and our own Ellen Hooge’s Writer’s Planit have given me strategies to better organize my time and keep track of my progress. It's a step-by-step process.

One morning after I had written these and other dreams, I awoke to the Spirit’s voice: “Now give your desires to Me.” He will accomplish what I cannot do on my own. I just need to be faithful to His calling.

Now more than ever, God continues to encourage me with insight, wisdom, and strategies for my next steps. He promises to release my potential and the potential of my group of writers. And that promise is one I pray He will do for all of us:

Is there yet any seed left in the barn?
Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree
have not borne fruit. "From this day on I will bless you."
~Haggai 2:19~

~ ~ ~

How is God nudging you (or has nudged you)
to make your writing dreams a reality?
What are small or large steps you can take now?
This week? This month?
What advice would you give to those struggling to accomplish their dreams?