I’m finally back after quite a long hiatus due to our drastic down-size move from one Western Chicago suburb to another, finalized 24 Aug 2012! There are many residual tasks still to complete, but writing is now clearly on the weekly schedule again!

No Matter How I May Starve or Kill It…

Creativity never dies of its own accord. If it is squelched, pushed away, suffocated even, it will find a way to resurrect. It is like God. He creates and He makes us makers too.

That spark in us that dreams, doodles, plays, crafts, designs, sings, dances, paints, constructs, arranges–loves–it’s essence is expressive creativity, energy, life.

That is undeniably from God and often is God.

It is us too. We are in what we express. We see God in His Creation. (Which includes us and all we have to give out again.)

It has all first been a gift from the ultimate Artist of all time. We are His poema, His craftsmanship, His beloved ones.

Live. Love. Create!

by Lois Freeman Easley

11 July 2012

West Chicago, Illinois USA

Besides those tried-and-sometimes-true standards we writer-types have always been taught,* when I approach the whole topic of creative writing from a biblical world view, I have another list:

Let your yes be yes, your no, no. (sincerity, truthfulness, clarity).
Focus on those things which are excellent, virtuous, praiseworthy.

Even though originality can draw in, be winsome, refreshing, needed,
the old,old story is still The Story.

I.e., Sacred Romance is echoed in our romances,
Cosmic Conflict in our smaller wars (and stories about them),
Divine Poema–His Workmanship–is the ultimate poem.

To say it concretely, we put words together because He put us together, we love because He loved us first, we have life because He won against death.

Alleluia!

*Show, don’t tell;
put your heart into it (but avoid sentimentality!);
go for the juglar–blood and guts, conflict, war, birth, death, tragedy, humor, gusto in all its forms;
the cardinal sin is to be dull;
use concrete sensory imagery, i.e., avoid abstraction;
a story has a beginning, middle and end,
and, always, "delete unnecessary words," a la Strunk & White’s Elements of Style.

Back to the Work-a-day World after a hugely social weekend is quite an adjustment for this empty-nester-turned full-house-again-for-summer mother of adults!

But I’m actually glad for some sense of normalcy after all the hoopla over the weekend. (Our "hoopla" is really pretty mundane, but it’s a lot different than Tuesday-morning-back-to-work!)

Much to reflect on, though, as my youngest has a serious steady (remember that word?) for the first time in his 19-year-old life. Serious as in now coming to family gatherings on a regular basis. My older son is explaining DNA molecules to me at the breakfast table–before my first cup of coffee! In fairness, I’m trying to explain "the abundant life" to him about the same time!

But I’m really glad to be re-learning about it (abundant life) myself.

If this is like DNA molecules to you, check out John 10:10 in the New Testament. If you are interested in discussing it further, I’m game! Comments, questions, interaction is most welcome!

Happy Tuesday!

Today we make the annual pilgrimage to my hometown and relatives. I’m glad we can afford to go, all of our immediate family even. Since the nest emptied out last fall (a first for us 50-something parents), we’ve been enjoying a couple weeks all back together already this summer.

Now we get to really be back together–in a Motel 6 room for 9 nights!! But we’ll not be there much–the family is all over that city and we’ll be with my 87-year-old mom a lot too. I’m struck by how the Lord provided a free house-sitter for us just at the last minute almost and without a lot of effort on my part!! There’s a mysterious connectedness in the Body of Christ and He’s okay with pulling us together from unexpected places at unexpected times–all for His great purposes. I’m glad, for example, that He chose to give a special break to myself and a friend (who’s about to move out-of-state to go to seminary) yesterday morning. We just sat and talked and enjoyed some tea together. It was a gift.

“Out-of-state friends” is getting to be a norm for me. This is the third one moving away in about a year! I need to call one who called me yesterday–also the one I talked with Wednesday early. Again, this connectedness is deeper than many because of our common rootedness in Christ. Proximity and mutual need, common interests, walking partners–all combine, but the biggest bond is knowing we’re eternally connected in the Lord of Glory.

Christ is risen indeed!!

Today is the Deep Chill after the Historic Blizzard. My husband went back to the office after working two days in the house (with some breaks to go shovel snow).

I had so much fun on the days I knew I had plenty of time. I took pictures of the snow. I went out in it–briefly! I enjoyed the day. I had hot chocolate and called my mother in Seattle. I wasn’t so obsessed with keeping on top of every e-mail message as I was again today. It’s not a great way to live–doing that all day long. But it seems to be expected now in many quarters. I suppose the pertinent point is that I expect it now. But is it worth it? Yes, some details get cared for in a very timely fashion and I like that. Efficiency is usually very helpful in our overloaded, over-busy, over-cluttered, over-hurried world. Snow days just have a way of reminding you that there’s a lot that’s really wonderful that has nothing to do with getting things done asap.

I’m being challenged to face up to what I really think about pain and God allowing it. An old subject, but one all of us face eventually–if we even dare to go there. The Psalms have many anguished cries to God about why He’s allowing so much to go wrong sometimes. His people suffered terribly–and they didn’t always deserve it either. Neither do we always deserve our sufferings. Bad, unfair things happen.

Some suffering seems so needless and yet the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, chooses to allow it again and again. He even allowed His beloved Son to suffer. This is so hard for us. We wince at the idea that there can be good purposes in suffering. Nothing about pain seems good to us–it hurts.

Yes, part of it, maybe most of it, is due to living in a fallen world. Adam and Eve sinned and a curse of death fell on the human race from then on–until the promised redemption we have in Christ becomes fully realized one day. All things truly will then be made new. The tears will be wiped away, death and sickness will actually end. There will be no more sin and suffering. The crooked will be made straight, the rough places made smooth, the lion will lie down with the lamb. We who are in Christ have these tremendous things to genuinely look forward to. Christus Victor!

But, in the meantime, each of us faces various degrees of pain in our lives, some quite severely. Hope in the love of Christ and His constant presence by the Spirit have carried many Christians through awful persecutions throughout the ages and across the globe. We in the Western Church may go through less obvious sufferings, but we do suffer too, sooner or later, one way or another. When we do, we have a choice to suffer well or not. Granted, it takes God’s mighty sustenance to suffer well. But some do.

I do trust the character of my loving heavenly Father. It’s easy to think that but falter when pain comes. He is with us in it–but the Enemy will try to convince us we’re alone–just adding to our suffering. It’s a lie. Our Lord never leaves us, never forsakes us. We’re never alone in Christ. We have His Word on that.

CS Lewis excerpts on the question, “Is Christianity hard or easy?” were especially helpful to me today.

The gist is that the Lord invites us for a complete overhaul, not just some half-hearted “I’m still really Lord of my own life” kind of Christianity, so-called.  We really need to take the trouble to understand, to “get it” rather than just memorize the right answers, a lazy option actually that could prove fatal one day.

He really has our true safety, love, joy, peace in mind–but it may not seem safe when we’re not trusting Him.  Letting go of being the boss is really a big relief.  He only is worthy of that radical kind of trust.

Thank You, Lord, for a snow day today.
Life slows down and we all stare out the windows more.
This is good.

(See Two weeks ’til Christmas short meditation/poem on Tuesday’s Slice of Bread blog by my friend E. in CA:)

Two Weeks to Christmas;
Plenty to do;
When will I have time
To rightly worship You?
Two weeks to Christmas;
Letters photos cards to send
Easy to be frantic
And miss what was already sent.
Two weeks to Christmas;
Who knows what Christmas means
Apart from spending money
On temporary gleams?
Two weeks to Christmas;
Father, let me really see
The breadth and depth and height
Of the gift from and for eternity.
(written December 11 2010 by Elizabeth E Knussman)

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