My Inner Artist

I was invited into a creative exploration of My Inner Artist by Chirstine Valters Paintner in her book Illuminating the Way.  The idea being that we all have an Inner Artist;  that we were created by The Creator to create.  So it is just a matter of uncovering our inner creativity and letting it speak, or sing, or write, or dance, or paint, etc.  This exercise asks a series of questions about your Inner Artist like “What does your Inner Artist look like?  What does your Inner Artist see?  Where was your Inner Artist born?  What must your Inner Artist speak aloud?  Why does your Inner Artist exist?”  And then you take the answers and weave them into a poem about your Inner Artist.  Here is mine:

My Inner Artist

Fun, adventurous, eclectic me,

voyager, pilgrim, backpack ready

With roots in Maine, and sprouts in Texas,

my heart tethered as I journey to see

God’s beautiful creation,

to stand in awe,

in unity,

in communion

To shed the imposter,

to drop my cloak,

to Become

And then returning to Tell the Story,

the Truths I have learned,

the God I have seen

It is good, it is very good


My Prayer

Dear Loving and Faithful God, my Majestic Creator – 

Thank you for my Inner Artist.  I pray that I always have the courage to let her create as you call her to.

In Jesus’ holy name I pray.



God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good…

~ Genesis 1:31


Creative “Punishment”

I have two tween-age daughters.  We’ll call the 10 year old Twirly, and the 12 year old Booky (soon to be 13 year old when she will be referred to as the Bratty Teenager.)  Booky, as practice for her soon to come bratty teenage years, has picked up a new favorite saying:   “I don’t like it.”  She says this all the time.

Me:  Have some breakfast.

Her:  I don’t like it.

Me:  Here, try this tea.

Her:  I don’t like it.

Me:  Here’s a million dollars.

Her:  I don’t like it.

You get my point.  And her younger sister, Twirly, who is always trying to be like her big sister, has picked up on it too.

It makes me crazy, because I tend to be somewhat of an optimist and an adventurist, always looking on the bright side and up for trying something new.  That is probably exactly why they say it, because they know it makes me crazy!  I have tried to get them to stop.  But since it is a somewhat trivial offense, I didn’t believe my tried and true form of punishment (like taking away their screens) was appropriate.  So I had to get creative.

My girls are both writers.  They are both very creative and artistic.  In fact, it was their interest and dedication to writing that inspired me to give it a try too.  So this gave me an idea.  Let’s try some “Creative Punishment”.

So, I started with Booky, the biggest offender.  I told her that every time she said, “I don’t like it”, she had to write something for me.  And I get to pick the format and the topic.  She had just finished writing a Shakespearean Sonnet for a school assignment, so I threatened that to get her attention.

True to form, we were having our normal after school chat about what we had planned for the evening, and she says, “I don’t like it.”  And then her eyes get big and she cries, “Nooooo, not the Sonnet.”  I grin, but decide to start smaller to convince her to play along.

I say, “So, you owe me a poem…about…a dinosaur.”  She protested, “What?!  No!  I don’t want to write a story about a dinosaur!”  Then I added, “It must take up the entire page, so choose your page wisely.”

So Booky is a bit of an over-acheiver…when not at home, that is.  She gets mad when she doesn’t get 100% on her school assignments.  When she comes home from mission trips, the adults are always commenting on what a hard worker she is.  But at home she tends to try to get by with the absolute bare minimum amount of effort.  So when searching for her “page” for her dinosaur story, she chose an index card.  An index card.  This is the girl who complains when there is a page limit on her written assignments because she always wants to write more.  I call her Booky, not only for the number of books she reads, but also for the number of books she is attempting to write (currently working on two fantasy novels, yes two).  She writes parodies in her spare time, for fun, over 15 so far.  But I get an index card.


So for the next offense I requested a Haiku.


Clever.  But on the third offense, it really got fun.  I asked for a story about an orange…and a hedgehog.  I was really interested to see what Booky would come up with.  Leave it to her, a Hufflepuff through and through, to turn it into a Harry Potter story…

Harry stared at the hedgehog.  He knew the incantation, he knew the movement, but he couldn’t do it.  But he had to.  This would decide whether he passed 5th year.  He raised his wand and took a big breath.  “Orangeocallyous!” he exclaimed.  POOF!  On his desk now sat an orange.  He picked it up.  He had done it!  He would move on to 6th year.  He tossed it up in the air and caught it.  “Squeak!” it cried in protest.  Wait.  Oranges don’t squeak.  He looked down at it and sticking out from the side was a little hedgehog face.  “Noooooooo!”

Cute!  And then, I asked Twirly to help clean up her room.  “I don’t like it.”  Busted!  I requested a story about a baby chinchilla (we were once big Diego fans).  Here’s her story…

One day there was a chinchilla named Rebecca. Rebecca had a cookie. She loved cookies, there was something about this cookie that disgusted her. She stared at it with a curled nose and a snarl. Suddenly there was a sound coming from in the bushes just below Rebecca’s tree house. She put the cookie down on the table, ran outside and studied the ground. There was no sign of a predator or her mom, who she had been waiting for to come home from Seattle. Then as she opened the spruce wood door to return to her home she saw her cookie hop off the table and out the door… TO BE CONTINUED WITH MY NEXT PUNISHMENT!

Love it!  Leave it to Twirly to already be planning for the next offense.

So the “I don’t like its” have decreased.  But my husband caught Booky in one more, and he pulled out the big guns…a Sonnet…about a chocolate malt.  This may end up being my favorite form of “punishment”!

My husband got his sonnet, and we haven’t heard the “I don’t like it” since.  I’ll have to apply it to another annoying bad habit (like “Your face”!  Middleschoolers have the weirdest expressions.), so we can get more fun stories.  Stay tuned….

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  

~ Psalm 51:10

Drip, Drip, Drip


like a faucet dripping

my thoughts


not a complete flow

Just drip…..drip…..drip

the pattern draws me to sleepiness and heavy eyelids

that same pattern bobs me awake


I cannot help but be annoyed

And then the puppy comes in with her fluffy fur and wet kisses.  Just enough weight on my lap to help me feel grounded.  And the annoying drip has stopped.


I love creative practices and spiritual practices.  So last year, I was drawn to the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  And, as with many of my good books, I only made it through the Introduction.  The book is a 12-week study, or really a 12-week practice, to help release your inner creativity.  But I never made it to Week 1.  But not because I didn’t love the book, but because I so loved the very first tool explained in the Introduction, The Morning Pages (or mind dump as I like to call it).  It is “three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness”.  The book further explains, “Pages are meant to be, simply, the act of moving the hand across the page and writing down whatever comes to mind.  Nothing is too petty, too silly, too stupid, or too weird to be included.”

It’s a mind dump.  To get all the junk out.  Just putting pen to paper and letting it all flow (or drip) out.

So as I continue my morning “mind dumps”, I won’t apologize for what ends up on my pages, but I will apologize now for what may end up here shared with you.

Thank you for coming on the journey with me…stumbles and all.

p.s.  If you want to work through The Artist’s Way with me, I would love that!  And it will be easy for you to catch up, because I am still only on the Introduction!

My Prayer

Dear Loving and Faithful God – 

Thank you for minds and words and pen and paper.  Thank you for fluffy dogs and wet puppy kisses.  Thank you for connection with You and with others.  I pray that I always find You in my Morning Pages and everywhere else I spend time today.



You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  

~Jeremiah 29:13







I have been wrestling with this ‘writing’ thing.  I have been writing everyday, just not posting everyday.  I am unsure of what to share.  So today I have decided just to share my truth, because that is all any of us really have to share.  Here is yesterday’s journal entry…

February 6, 2017

I am curious about the ‘writing’ thing.  My hand, my mind, my heart, my soul want to write, but what to write?  Just my journal for now.  It seems purposeless, wasteful, but it’s what I love.  It seems like a waste of paper, of ink, of plastic pens, of time.  But it is my favorite part of the day.  It’s my communion with You, Lord.  It’s how I ‘hear’ You.  It’s how I release the clutter from my mind and my heart and my soul.  It’s how I dream.  It’s how I catch glimpses of me…of who I was, of who I am, of who I am becoming, of who I crave to be, of who You created me to be.

My orange pen spills across the page with so many words.  What to do with all of these words?  Do they have purpose?  Do they need to have purpose?  Is the purpose for me?  Is the purpose for You, Lord?   For others?  Why are there so many words?  Not even thoughts or ideas really.  Just words…flying around like the key scene in Harry Potter.  Words with wings all flying around.  Seems like chaos, but gentler.   Feels like love, and enlightenment, and joy, and relationship.

I love words, and the emotions and feelings and connections they are.  They are these things for me.  Why does this seem so new and foreign, yet so old and familiar at the same time?  Of me, but not of me?

I really like the orange ink on the page.  I can taste the refreshing orange as I write.  The orange is not as dark and jarring as the other contrasting colors I usually use.  Fun and springy.  And juicy.


My mind is slowing and the Peace settles in.  The unknowing is still there, but it is peaceful, not frenetic.  It lets me know that I can handle the unknowing.  I can move forward without all the answers.  I can breathe and I can see what is right in front of me.  I can’t see everything, but just right in front of me.  And that is enough for now.  Enough to be able to smile and say, “Okay God, what’s next?”

The words slow and I can just Be, and Listen, and hopefully Hear.



But the Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  

~ 2 Corinthians 12:9a