Thursday, January 06, 2011

A word for the year...


Many of my blog friends have pondered what word they will concentrate on for the next year.  I assume it doesn't say anything about me that I have clung to the SAME word for the last few years.  It even sits atop a Scrabble "log" with the word written out in Scrabble tiles on my breadbox... H O P E.  For that is what I have needed these past years, lots and lots of hope.  :)

But one must eventually think on new words and it so happens there have been images floating around my mind, just waiting to all come together in some cohesive sentence... or in this case... word.  What replaces a word so deeply ingrained in my thinking that it has been there for years?  That word is... and it surprised me... CREATIVITY.

I've been thinking for some time now about what is missing in my life and the more I pondered, I realized I was missing the creative aspect which used to be quite central.  I suppose the dam in the creek which blocked creative doing (other than decorating and blogging) was two fold--- chronic illness and living at the poverty line.  Neither of which I thought would be a part of life at this age but both facts of life one works around... everyone has some thorn in the flesh they deal with and these are two on my path.

I think we can look at childhood and the early teen years to see the seeds of our creative gifts.  I remember "cooking" and trying out new culinary creations on my mother and father when I was very young (my father passed away when I was ten so it had to be long before then).  I have always loved to cook and bake and read recipe books but it has been awhile since I have wanted to try anything really new.

The other side of creativity which has been lacking for a long time is in the area of needlework.  Starting in my teens, I enjoyed embroidery and cross stitch.  Later I quilted and made various forms of folk art, including bears and theologically incorrect angels.  (I cannot call myself a quilter as I never tried anything big or complicated.)  But all went by the wayside as life became too hard and energy was lacking.

When there is anything in our life that constantly demands attention... our own illness, that of a loved one, loss of income, moving, a new baby, adopting a child, having someone come to live with us, or any change in our life requiring getting used to something new... and as you can tell from the list, the change can be good as well as challenging... our thoughts and energies all go to that or them

Much like when one is lost outside in the snow far too long, blood starts flowing to the major organs to protect them, causing a dangerous lack to the feet and hands... as the body must go into survival mode.  We tend to do that in our lives when walking through severe stress. 

We continue on with what we can almost do in our sleep... for me that is blogging (I love to write and I love you) and basic homemaking and basic cooking... and set aside that which requires more thought for sometimes we don't have enough energy left from getting through the day to think about anything other than brushing teeth and snuggling between flannel sheets.

But in the last few months, I've felt a tug at my heart... a longing for that which has been overlooked far too long.  I need to go beyond the every day gotta do's to create something tangible.  I also need to dig deeper into the well of our Lord's Word and those who have walked before me in the faith... more than the daily reading of a few verses and even more than my beloved devotionals. 

I need to bathe in His Word and in biography.  I need to get to the point I feel the sand of the Holy Land beneath my feet and smell the sea air off Galilee and sense the excitement of the early church.  I find myself craving that feeling one gets in the midst of a creative project and the Eureka moment when I realize that which I have planned in my mind is now coming together in my hands.

There must be a toppling over of walls of fear and fatigue which keep one from expanding their horizons.

I've mentioned so often the need to be surrounded by beauty at home, especially as the outside world seems so out of our control.  I've been thinking lately about beauty and liturgy and how we are created in the image of a creative God.  How beauty is a need in our life, far more than just a desire.

I often think of a woman I met only once or twice soon after I married, the mother of a large brood of children whose family my husband rather adopted (or they adopted him?) around his late teenage years.  He talked about this family so often through the years, I felt I knew them.  They were quite opposite than the home he grew up in, which could be very cold and critical.

The image I recall from the day I visited their home was a mother and children of various ages (the older children in their late teens) all laughing around a long table as they were working on some form of sewing and crafting together.  The very atmosphere of their home was joy and creativity.

Every Easter holiday (until my mother-in-law passed away) would find my family traveling to my husband's home town and attending the Lutheran church which he knew from his infancy.  The beautiful liturgical wall hangings displayed in the church would always make me reflect on the mother of this large family.  For within the daily must do's of raising a family, she created Glory to God with her hands.

I want to be that and do that this next year.  I want to create more, to laugh more, to thank Him more, to look past circumstances and find that which brings joy.  I want to read about saints and sinners saved by grace, to learn what they learned and walk as they walked whether recent or centuries past... in the midst of that which is day to day living.  I want to create...

27 comments:

Susan said...

I love your word. I look forward to reading about your year of creativity.

My word last year was Trust. This year: Open. Open Hands, Open Heart. Open to receive and then in turn give out.

I love your blog - thank you for the beauty that you create here with your words.

Vee said...

Can feel the excitement rising in my own soul from reading your words. May it be so for you and all of us.

Anonymous said...

creativity - a wise word to chose. There is within me, the NEED to feed my creative side. I feel like God made me this way - with the desire to create and I feel much happiness and joy when I do.

Carolyn said...

Thank you for your words about creativity. This past year I have been thinking about creativity and our longing for beauty, as part of our being created in His image and our longing for God and for heaven. So I was relating to your blog posting. Thank you.

I know you love to read, so I wanted to suggest a book to you, something I read last fall. It is Nancy Leigh DeMoss's latest book, Choosing Gratitude-your journey to joy. It is challenging and encouraging. I highly recommend it. God bless.

Scrappy quilter said...

I firmly believe God has given us each the gift of creativity. It's in us...it just has to come out. You have such a way with writing, I'm surprised you haven't written a book. I can' wait to see what this year will bring as you stretch yourself and find all God has for you in the realm of creativity. Hugs

Carolyn said...

Thank you for your wise words about creativity. I too have been thinking about creativity, as we are created in God's image, and as we long for beauty, which is our longing for God and for heaven.

I wanted to recommend a book to you, I thought of it as I was reading your blog posting. Nancy Leigh DeMoss's latest book, Choosing Gratitude-Your Journey to Joy. It is challening and encouraging.

Thank you and God bless.

Jayne said...

I'm looking forward to reading about the ways the Lord takes you deeper into Himself this year. The fact that this is your desire is absolute proof that God is already beginning this work in your heart. I am mentioning you in my next blog post, as I love your cosy book suggestions. Thank you x

Plain and Joyful Living said...

What a beautiful post... we can never lose hope because we have God's love.

Sandra said...

I haven't left a comment here for a long time but just had to thank you for this post. I read your blog often but this post really touched me. I've never thought of having a word for the year...love that idea! I especially enjoyed the last paragraph.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and life with us. You've given me lots to think about today.

Anonymous said...

Loved this! Thank you for putting some of my own thoughts and feelings into words.

Can't wait to see how the year unfolds!

In Him,
Lori

Jayne said...

Hmmm, a word for the year...I haven't decided yet. Last year my word was concentration, because I tend to do too many things at a time. So I tried to do one thing at a time, read one book at a time etc. I might stick with the same word again.

I've put a link to your lovely blog on my posting today, as I love your cosy book suggestions!

Mrs.Rabe said...

Beautiful! I am so looking forward to your creativity shining through this year!

I must think of a word...I really like this idea of focusing on a word and allowing the Lord to use it in my life for the year or two or three!
I'll have to pray on it!

Anonymous said...

In a way, being short of cash and energy has made you a very creative problem solver by necessity. I think you are a very creative person already, but if you are looking for a craft, have you tried making mini quilts? They apparently take a lot less fabric and time to make than regular full size ones and they make lovely wall hangings.

Marie said...

Brenda, I look forward to your creativity. My year will be filled with Hope and Prayer. We are anticipating the birth this year of our son's first child. I have prayed that I would live to see this. I guess I will also be using my creativity in making some things for the baby. Our daughter-in-law picked out some thread and patterns while they were home for Christmas. I have started my Grandmother's journal for this baby. I had a journal with the other grandchildren as soon as my daughter had called and shared that she was pregnant. Those grandchildren who are now 14, 13, 12 enjoyed reading this when they were at home.
Brenda, I wish you and yours a wonderful New Year.
Love ya!
Marie

Lena said...

Hi Brenda, well you know me, always hoping! I think hope shows an optimistic spirit, so that's a good thing, I keep telling myself.

I like your choice of the word creativity. It brings me so much peace, and pleasure to make things. I think fewer monetary resources makes for more creativity. Many of my artist friends repurpose clothes into fabric for their projects and other things as well. I love the character that results from that.

My words are still, trust/risk, but I'm trying to include creativity this year too. It's an important part of who I am, and we have to fill that well, I think, to have more to give to others.

Penny Ann said...

Oh Brenda! I so understand both the laughter and the need to create. I've started the year with one art project and am ready to go on to start the next one...

I've had such a time over the last couple of years that even my writing time has suffered greatly, but this year, this year, I want to create more, write more once again and own the talent God so generously gave me.

Which explains why I looked longingly at the piano at church last weekend and at the keyboards in Target today...

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I think this creativity is beginning to bubble up in your soul as water just before it boils. I think you will find many inspirations to creativity this year, Brenda! I think my word this year may be hope, but I need to think about this a little longer......

John'aLee said...

Love your post. I think true creativity really comes when we don't have much to work with. That is when we have to dig deep. And I always love to think that God is the greatest Creator of all. Sometimes we forget that. I was talking to my hubby just the other day about how can anyone doubt that there is a God even if you just think of this one thing...everybody's DNA being totally different and billions of people on earth.
Good luck with your quest. And keep the Hope!

Malinda said...

What a wonderful and thought-provoking post Brenda! I appreciate your transparency of joys and challenges in your life.

I had just put two of the scrabble ledgers up: one above my kitchen sink, the other in our front room where I like to snuggle up and read. Mine say: BE HERE & DISCIPLE
for that is my life right now: a brood of children, preschool through highschool, homeschooling and welcoming college students & young mothers into our home.
In my weariness, I find myself looking ahead too much and forgetting that this time will quickly vanish; memories made & seeds planted. I want to really be intentional and aborb it all deeply.
I enjoy your blog so very much (one of my favorites!) & appreciate you!

carla said...

My husband and I are hoping that he can retire this next November and we Hope to be mostly out of debt by then, so... this year will be a year of serious Thrift for us. I'm not sure Scrabble letters will be big enough to remind me; maybe I can use some Creativity to make a banner. :-) Seriously though, creativity and thrifty creativity at that, has been a part of my life for a long time, but this year it took a hit. Major surgery and (all too brief) custody of our grandsons took time and focus away from any projects, but now I need something to take my mind off of circumstances, so I'm thinking about projects again. And am trying to get back to regular blogging.

I enjoy your blog so much.

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee


What a great post. We've struggled this past year and still facing some major struggles...but regardless we know Jesus holds our future. We are attempting to hold on to the word "grace" this coming year and verbalize to each other how we experience His grace each day. AND to thank Him for it. Again, thanks for a great post -- you writing is always a balm to my fretting mind!

Vicki in UT said...

Brenda, I firmly believe we have an inner need to be creative. When I get bogged down in the day-to-day chores for a long time, and then get a chance to create something at a group meeting (why do we feel we need an excuse to create?), it amazes me how much it feeds my soul. I am trying to spend more time creating, because it refreshes me and makes me more effective at my other chores.

Karen Twombly said...

I really love this idea of having one word. I think my word (like Susan) would be "trust". Our first born is about to "go" out into the world. I need to "trust" the Lord truly with him and lean not on my own understanding!! Thank you for sharing. :)

Mama Squirrel said...

I like this post!--and I've linked.

Anonymous said...

Oh I soooo know what you mean. I have been just itching to get back to applique work and such. I used to do so many creative things in needllework and around our home. Through the last years so much of it has fallen by the way side and I have been so yearning to get back to it. Arthritis may have gotten my hands but I tried recently and I can still use a needle even if it feels awkward and the work is slow. So worth it though! :) I need to stop dreaming and get to doing! :) Sarah

Cheryl (Copper's Wife) said...

A beautiful post, Brenda! Creativity is a necessary element in our lives. We are made in His image and He is creative beyond understanding. I hope you'll share some of the ways you are finding to feed those creative hunger pangs you're having. Doing so on a limited budget is also creative, no?

Heather L. said...

Loved this post. Creativity is a wonderful thing. I hope you will find many opportunities this year.... my words for 2011: Less is More, and to make it one word: Less. We'll see how that pans out.