Blog, Guest Posts, Relationships

Loving Each Other’s Differences [Guest Post]

I’ve been given permission by a friend of mine to share these words below. Let’s call it an anonymous guest post! The topic came up during a discussion about how you don’t have to agree or be the same in order to be close. Differences between people are often what make these relationships diverse, beautiful and truly interesting! ~Alison


 

Garden Of The Gods
[Alison Lam photo, Garden of the Gods, Colorado 2014]
Sometimes it just makes me laugh when I think about how different we all are.

I have a friend who will be like, “Ohh! Look at that church over there. See how the colour in the stone changes with the light?!” and I’ll be like, “There’s a church over there?”

We do not all understand or find beauty in the same things, but isn’t that what makes us… I don’t know… interesting? We can have all these interesting and wonderful relationships even if we look through different lenses…

I remember having a discussion with a group of friends back in school. One of my dearest friends was proving a point and sharing with the third person that she doesn’t really want to go for walks with me, but she does it because she knows it means a lot to me and she wants to spend time with me.

My first instinct was shock.

Then the pouty lip wanted to come out, “You don’t like doing that?”

On one hand, it was kind of insulting, but on the other hand, I  felt an overwhelming sense of love and understanding. Someone chose to do something they didn’t want to do, just to be with me and they gave no hint that I was inconveniencing them.

That is friendship…

That is love.

I’m not saying that we should start doing things we hate, but I’m just saying that my friend’s small gesture spoke volumes to me — I felt desired.

We are never going to be able to understand everything another person does or thinks. It’s simply reality to admit that our own experiences, desires and needs will always be in the forefront of our thoughts, words, actions and opinions.

This week, some words by the Dalai Lama have really hit home to me,

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”

This is Counseling 101. One of the first things you’ll learn is to:

Shut up.

You will help far more by keeping your mouth shut.

By listening to and experiencing another’s heart and desires, we might find ourselves learning things we never knew existed.

We don’t have to be the same person to love each other.

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