Silent Night

A family member recently shared a website that focuses on the awareness and rescue of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. This cause certainly requires a collective voice to speak up. As I checked out the site further, I was drawn to a seemingly opposite topic, the case for silence. There in the blog tab was an entry from June 9, The Gift of Silence.

Why silence? And what makes it a gift? I have recognized that particularly as an artist, my need to retreat into solitude—often in complete silence—rises up on a regular basis. With all the usual and often wonderful daily demands, pulling away can seem impossible as the author shares. It’s not impossible, but it is essential.

Although I don’t go on a noise sabbatical nearly as often as I’d like, I have learned to incorporate this discipline as a part of the creative process, especially with painting. When I retreat to my studio to paint, I often do so in silence. I find it increases my sensitivity to God. It calms me. It becomes prayer. I emerge (hours later) refreshed, inspired, productive—and joyful. Simply put, I’m at my best. There may be such a discipline for you … one that is linked to your passion—one that becomes prayer.

Consider this question, an excerpt from the above-mentioned blog:

Can those who do not know silence ever attain truth, beauty, or love? Do not wisdom, artistic vision, and devotion spring from silence, where the voice of God is heard in the depth of the human heart?

Resistance and Self-Doubt

Have you ever connected with a book in such a way that when you were introduced to its pages, you knew that it was the right thing, at the right time? Then the excitement for the potential loaded in the pages turned to denial as the book sat ... and sat? I just picked up such a book—again. I can only say that it must now be the perfect timing for The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. The director of the department where I work brought it back from an inspirational creative conference and shared it with our team as a resource. I jumped at the opportunity to read it.

As I have been preparing for my upcoming MASSIVE opportunity to participate in the Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival in April, I swooped off the high of such an endorsement to the low of self-doubt. The question remained poised in my consciousness, even as I have been going about creating: Do I really have what it takes?

Well, I’ll cut to the punchline: Yes. After the winning combination of a good night’s sleep and a long and cathartic journaling session yesterday, the reinforcements arrived this morning. It arrived out of this book by author Steven Pressfield, in a short chapter entitled Resistance and Self-Doubt.

Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist? chances are you are.

The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.

Paint on …



I Love Horses!

Most pre-teen girls go through the horse-love stage on their way to adulthood. For me, that love has never waned. As a young girl, I was fascinated with horses and would be thrilled for any opportunity to even catch a glance of a horse pasture from our moving station wagon. When we moved from Orange County to Redlands, California as a pre-teen, I was able to put that love into action. Our neighbors around our canyon property all owned horses. I would regularly petition them to care for their horses in exchange for "exercising" them. There was one neighbor who took me up on my offer, and ended up being one of the most positive influences in my life at that age, Mrs. Bailey. Early every Sunday morning, I'd meet her at the stables behind her house, and help her feed and groom the horses, "muck" the stalls. I eventually earned the honor of training on her gorgeous Quarter Horse "Rusty" in both Western and English style riding. The friendship that grew out of this arrangement is one of my best childhood memories. To this day, I still have the dream of owning my own horses, and admire their beauty and majesty.


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