Blog, God + Spirituality, Personal Growth + Wholeness

Patient Trust (In The Slow Work of God)

This poem has been an encouragement to me over the past few very difficult, but necessary years. I am only beginning to understand the depths of the words contained in this poem, words that both devastate me and comfort me all at the same time.

Patient Trust (In The Slow Work of God)

— By Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

Art + Design, Blog

Create all the things.

Hey blog world! I’ve been alive and well on social media this past year… and pretty darn silent in the blog world. Let’s just say I hibernated from the blog world for a while.

But I’m here, guys (at least for this blog post). I can’t make any promises. But I thought I’d make an appearance. This blog didn’t die. It just slept for a while. My life has been all over the place this past year and I haven’t really made sense of it all; all I could do was just live it out and hope for the best… and, well, I’m still here, so that’s gotta count for something.

Anyway, my blog post title is a play on a satirical “vlog” (aka video log, like a video blog…) where this British guy named Adrian Bliss ends his vlog (Vlogvember) with something inspirational to say; he says, “Always remember, keep on believing, make ALL the things, and have fun during the day.” and then signs off with a floppy dolphin hand motion straight into the lens of the camera. I laugh every time. His vlog is a joke, making good fun of other vlogger friends of his who come up with some catchy phrase to say at the end of every video.

I just had to laugh because “make all the things” is so generic, but somehow it’s stuck with me.

Create_OneWord365_2016_ColouredSquares_square

This year, my “one word” is “CREATE”. Choosing one word replaces the need to make many new year’s resolutions, and allows you to have something simple to inspire you for the year. I chose the word “CREATE” because I wanted something to encourage me to put my hand to the plow, so to speak, and make things. Make anything, just make things. Create art, create food concoctions, create letters to send others, create my future, create good times, create new friendships, create good conversation, create dialogue, create colourful colouring book pages. Create anything, really. As Adrian Bliss says, “Make all the things”. So I don’t need to focus on any of those things being particularly wonderful or perfect. Just make things. Focus on creating and producing things, rather than waiting until I have the perfect idea, the perfect vision, the perfect game plan, the perfect supplies and materials, the perfect skill and talent.

JUST FRICKIN’ MAKE THINGS, ALI!!

Somehow, this encourages me.

So far, this January, I’ve made a bunch of home made cards and fridge cards (which is a normal card you’ve made and then put dollar store magnet tape on it which is a magnet that has sticky adhesive on one side) and, voila, you have a “fridge card”. I’ve also coloured in some adult colouring books. I’m going to say that counts. I’m colouring! And that’s creating a more colourful world! I’m cooking and that’s creating. I’m organizing and simplifying and sorting and tidying (that’s creating order). I’m creating fun times with friends and family. I’m coming up with some future ideas. I’m creating conversation with many people that I meet as I do my volunteer driving job, which in turn creates new and varied relationships. No matter how small it is, if it’s somehow ‘making something’, then I’m going to say it counts. I’m creating!

I’d also really like to get some wool and get back to crocheting. I haven’t done that in quite a few years. Some friends of mine are posting their crochet creations online and it’s inspiring me.

And here I am creating a blog post, after a long hiatus.

Here’s my logo for the year, which I’ve posted on social media outlets. It just further inspires me to “Make all the things”.

So, I’m not really going to edit this, because I have a problem with waiting until things seem perfectly ready before I publish them, and then I often keep them in unpublished draft form for weeks, which turn into months, and now I’ve got a bunch sitting there from a year ago, unpublished and now seemingly out of date.

So, BOOM, I’m pressing PUBLISH!

Here’s to a year of “creating all the things” and creating my future, creating my life one day at a time… one moment at a time…

If you want to come up with a word, here’s the website that could inspire you and I’m happy to create a logo for you if you contact me on the Contact page or comment below.

Blog, God + Spirituality, Worship + Prayer

God Is Shakin’ His Reverent Booty

Uptown Funk is one of the most funky, creative, original songs I’ve heard in a long time. Here’s a fantastic performance of the song starring Bruno Mars and his crew:

I had a bit of a revelation (aha! moment) while groovin’ along to the song…

I couldn’t help but think about how creative and funky these guys were, in their musical abilities, not only in song writing, but in their innate ‘groove’ as they performed.

And I couldn’t help but think about how those musical gifts didn’t just appear out of nowhere.

They can write and sing and play and perform like this, because they applied the gifts that their Creator God gave them. Whether they believe in God or not is not the point. Whether their lifestyle lines up with what we would deem ‘holy’ is also not the point.

The point is that they didn’t give themselves these creative gifts. They didn’t create themselves. Their Creator created them, and deposited a seed of creativity and musicality within them, and they have taken the seed and watered it and let it grow into something pretty cool.

Now, this part may be hard to swallow for some, and easier for others.

If we hear a song like this and CAN’T picture God dancing and groovin’ along to it and shakin’ His booty like these dudes do, I think our view of God is still too small.

Way too small.

THESE GUYS ARE ONLY REFLECTIONS OF SOMEONE GREATER.

They did not initiate this sound. It came from somewhere beyond them. Isn’t that what makes us human? This innate ability to hear the echo of something so deep and profound inside our hearts that calls us to an infinite place beyond this finite reality!

If these gifted, talented people are created reflections of the Creator, then it must mean that God has those very same creative abilities, funky creativity and innate grooviness in the centre of His being, YET IN EVEN GREATER CAPACITY!!!

Children are not greater than their Father!

The created are not greater than their Creator!

I don’t think we can even imagine what eternity will be like as the Father of all Creation invites us into the grooviest, funkiest, musical celebration!

reverentbooty

Ya, there’ll be organs and a cappella choirs and orchestral numbers in the Father’s presence (which is really cool too), but there will be GROOVE and FUNK as well! The Father’s gonna shake His booty, in all His reverent glory! And if you can’t accept that, just you wait, one day He will step out of the clouds, with gold curlers in His hair,  and He will turn and face you, reach out His hand and invite you to shake your booty with Him.

Until then, let’s break out of our limited, finite boxes and shake what the good Lord gave us!


[Photo Credit: akida_ via photopin cc // Edits by: Alison Lam] 

Art + Design, Blog, Personal Growth + Wholeness

The Creative Encouragement Project

Recently, I was speaking to a friend on Skype about the state of my life and my heart (not exactly a stellar state, let’s just say). She challenged me to make a ‘creative gratitude journal’ to lift up my heart and soul through this challenging season.

After we ended our call, I sat there on my bed pondering her words. And within moments, I decided to take her challenge seriously. This wasn’t the time to just sit down and wallow in a puddle of self-pity. This was the time for positive action and creative encouragement.

Soooo…. I decided since I love editing photos, writing and collecting inspiring quotes, why not make it a creative online design project? And why not share it with the world?

#2 – “GIVE THANKS” Today you have been given a certain combination of ingredients to work with. Don’t throw them away. Embrace them. If you’d been given the choice, you probably wouldn’t have chosen any of it, but with a little hope and a little creativity, there’s potential for a surprising concoction. Take a moment, courageously accept what you’ve been given, give thanks for it, and then go get your hands dirty. Make something of the life you have today. At the end of the day, you might discover you’ve made something possibly delicious. [Photo Credit: Rein -e- Art via photopin cc Text Edits: Alison Lam]

What is ‘The Creative Encouragement Project’?

To embrace each new day and multiply gratitude within it, I am creating photographic quotes to encourage the soul into joy and wonder again. Everybody needs a little encouragement to survive thrive every day! I’d like to think of this project as a creative infusion of courage for the soul.

This ongoing project is  a way of (regularly) reminding myself (and others) of what is good, true and life-giving. This is my way of picking up the sword and kicking the ickiness out of my daily life (and maybe it’ll spur others on into joy as well which is an added bonus)!

So, without further adieu, click the button below to:

Check Out TCEP

[CHECK OUT ‘THE CREATIVE ENCOURAGEMENT PROJECT’]

If you “LIKE” it on Facebook, you’ll be notified when I’ve posted a new creative photo with a short encouraging paragraph to give you courage for the day!

That’s all for now, folks! Enjoy!

Sincerely,

Alison

Blog, Personal Growth + Wholeness

The Ambiguous Side Roads of Life

I would describe my life these days as rather ambiguous. I can’t seem to find a clear, concrete definition for this season. I wish I liked the ambiguity a little more. I bought this card earlier this year while I was visiting a friend in the States, and I have it displayed on my desk to try and convince myself of the supposed ‘deliciousness’ of this completely frustrating season of uncertainty.

Delicious Ambiguity
[Photo Credit: Quotable Cards – Gilda Radner quote]
Even though I have gone over my priority list a million times already, showing me why I have chosen to do what I’m now doing (living and working in my childhood hometown), it doesn’t make the ‘living-it-out’ part any easier. Not knowing how long I’ll be here and why I’m truly here is a tad torturous for this organizer-planner gal.

Most of the time, this ‘delicious ambiguity’  feels more like ‘distasteful yuckiness’, if I’m completely honest.

Life is about not knowing.

That involves trusting an unseen divine hand upon my life, a trust that I resist with everything in my being. A trust that involves all the unknowns and uncertainties that live just around the corner. I can’t see that far. I hate corners. They’re killin’ me.

Life is about having to change.

I used to think that I was fairly ‘okay’ with change. But these changes over the past couple years? Nope. I’ve kicked, screamed and stuck my head in the sand like a ridiculous ostrich trying to avoid the inevitable, refusing to accept that I have to change my way of thinking, my perspective on my life, and my approach to challenging people and circumstances. I’ve fought the reality that change is often counter-intuitive, goes against the grain of my natural flow, and seems to stubbornly violate everything my heart holds dear. I have had my share of grown-up temper tantrums, crying about how life is not going the way I thought it should. My life is not going according to plan! The plot has jumped off the grid, and I’m faltering. Reality is setting in that life is rarely easy or fair and not always enjoyable. Sometimes, it’s just damn hard. So, in those times, to get fresh hope and joy to navigate forward in life, we must change. It’s the only way to progress in life. If we refuse to accept the changes, we’ll get stuck on the road and life will pass us by. Ugh, I don’t want life to pass me by…

Life is about taking the moment and making the best of it.

So the ingredients in my current life don’t feel like they will combine together to form anything remotely delicious or tasty, but this is what I’ve been given to work with in this season of my life. Can I accept it and then make the best of it? Sigh. I’m trying…

Life is about not knowing what’s going to happen next.

So, I guess this means I must give up control of the plot, and give up my demand that life tell me what’s around the corner. I must give up my wishful thinking that everything in life will be ‘easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy’ as my little niece loves to cutely declare. No, life is definitely not easy-peasy, and nothing about it is certain or unchanging. Life is more about giving up the illusion that it never changes and accepting the inevitable uncertainty of it all.

So, here I am, staring at this little card on my desk. It tells me that life is a story that doesn’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. At first, it breaks my heart, but the more I have thought about it these days (and the reason I have even kept it on my desk) the more I realize how much hope it has given me. It has shown me that even though the story called “My Life” feels so ambiguous at times, when I take the courageous steps to “change the things I can change” and “accept the things I cannot change”, I discover that the plot really is moving forward. This is all going somewhere. And maybe, just maybe, I can catch a whiff of something possibly delicious coming around the corner. And, as this other card below has encouraged me lately,

“Sometimes your journey will take you off of your path. It’s all part of the same trip.”

Side Roads
[Photo Credit: CurlyGirlDesign.com]
Life is full of side roads. Side roads that often don’t make any sense at all. Life is not one straight path forward. It is a woven tapestry of multi-layered paths, unexpected intersections, devastating detours, challenging roadblocks, fascinating views and surprising encounters along the way.

This is the delicious, ambiguous life!