Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Story to Share: The Prodigal Son

I chose to illustrate the story of the Prodigal Son this week.  It is so concise and so full of meaning.  I hope you enjoy my sketches.  The text is from the New International Version.

...Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 

The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country ...

...and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 

After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 

So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 

He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 

I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’   So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him... 

... he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’“

But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.  ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Thanks for stopping by to have a look.  Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!  And come back next week for a new story!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Consider it Joy

James 1:2 - 8 says, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
      But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."

On the outside, pursuing this dream to become and illustrator and author doesn't look like a trial.  It's not like I have experienced rejection yet, or broken a sweat or gone bankrupt.  I'm still in the infancy stages, building a presentable portfolio, developing a blog that displays my process, work and voice, finding my "style" and just keeping up with the schedule I have made for myself.  But it is change, even if it is only changing my mind.

Last week I joined a lovely group of people on Face Book to form a critique group.  We introduced ourselves and posted our respective sites so that each of us could look into the work of the others.  Each person told a little about themselves too.  

Well, I'm going to admit it.  I got intimidated.  It really has little to do with the people as much as it has to do with me talking to actual people and exposing who I am.  That dark inner critique, who used to grind me down, was attempting to rise up again and tell me "Give up!  What are you doing here?  You don't belong here!  You are out of your league."

So there is my trial.  The battle is inside my own head and it will continue to be fought there no matter if I find success or not.  So what do I do about it?

I have found my strength in scripture, God's word.  In the past I would try to just ignore those words of negativity.  But that was usually a sure fire way to lose.  I have lost with that tactic over and over.  It has never worked.  Over the years I have heard people talk about how God's word and presence have given them strength.  I knew the way to endurance is in the Bible along with the practice of prayer, but I have never been able to practice getting my strength from the Bible so my prayer life has been frustrating.  And going to God's word for your daily strength (or bread) is a practice.

I've also heard that courage is not the absence of fear, but it is doing what you need to do in spite of the fear.

I turn again to James 1:2 "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance."  What is this joy?  I don't feel like having a party when I am stressed or discouraged!  I don't believe it is excitement or happiness like when you just received a present for your birthday and it is something you have always wanted.  This joy is actually more like peace - knowing everything is going to be okay, no matter what happens.  Why would I have peace when I should feel stressed?  Because of what I know about God and I know him from scripture.  This is it: When you face trials, of all sorts, it is a test of faith - will you hold on and not give up or give in to discouragement and fear and anger?  Will you believe God is for you and not against you(Romans 8:31)?  Will you believe he has your best in mind (Jeremiah 29:11)?  Will you believe he is working all things for the good (Romans 8:29)?

Now I know that this dream and the pursuit of it is not earth shaking.  It will not change the world by overthrowing dictators or changing the minds of millions to embrace peace on earth - more than likely.  So I don't have a real burden on my shoulders for that.  I don't even need to look at this as the only way to make a living - it's not.  I believe God will provide for my family, one way or another.

But the pursuit of this dream is a trial I have chosen, to stretch myself beyond my comfort zone, to push myself harder, to accomplish something difficult rather than easy, to meet new people who in the past I would have felt too intimidated by to approach.  And in all of it to learn to trust God more deeply.  If I can keep myself centered on that and make it the goal, then I can begin in a small way to use this to bring glory to my Father in Heaven and his Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit who lives in me giving me wisdom and strength.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Little Stumble on the Road

I am finding it ironic as I sit to write this post about what I did to get myself closer to my goals, I actually failed to reach the goal of posting this on Friday!  I came down with a bad cold and a need to sleep that is still unsatisfied!  Non the less, I am posting it today because I am not going to throw up my hands over one little unmet goal!

When I first considered what I would write, I had a hard time coming up with a list as there were no great and notable things which I had done at the time I was brainstorming.  But then it occurred to me that I had managed to draw something everyday, kept up the blogging schedule (except for yesterday ), and had created some portfolio worthy art work.  So, it was the the keeping of commitments that got me a step closer.

Now that I confess that even as I kept some I fail to keep others, I can say that I do not feel discouraged because I am still committed.  Even sitting here for a few minutes to put this all down is if nothing else, simply me keeping me accountable.  I know the only way I will eventually reach my goals is to pursue it everyday, even if that pursuit only happens in my brain in the form of planning.

I couple of other things that I did was to receive a catalog from a publisher which I had requested last week so I can get better acquainted with the products they create and I really feel drawn to them.  I believe I have a work in progress that I can eventually send to them.  The other thing I did was to join a critique group on Face Book.  I had looked into a group meeting locally, but that didn't work out.  This group on FB seems to be a great place to get feedback and to ask questions and share ideas.  I am really excited to have people with a common interest to talk to.  Being a writer and illustrator is lonely.  Not too many of us congregating in groups, so to find a few folks to share with is very refreshing.

So, all in all, even though I am a day late with a post that is not all that well thought out, I feel like I kept moving forward.  I didn't go off in a ditch for a while or do any self-sabotaging.  That in an of itself is an accomplishment worth taking note of!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Review of The Land of Milk and Honey by Joyce Carol Thomas

It's Thursday and it's time to look into another picture book.  Can I just say I love picture books!  It's an art gallery for your lap, to leisurely gaze at beautiful pictures full of story and emotion.

I found these things in abundance along with lilting poetry that tells the story of a young girl with her family on their way to the Land of Milk and Honey.

The Land of Milk and Honey is written by Joyce Carol Thomas and illustrated by Floyd Cooper, both of whom are award winning in their crafts.

In this story, published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers in 2012, we go along on a journey with the author as a young girl, leaving Oklahoma for the far away place of California.  She dreams of this land of milk and honey, a place of promise and hope.

Ms. Thomas' voice is full of lovely poetic imagery like, "if you bite into a strawberry and taste heaven in your mouth" and "... I catch the desert dance of a coyote chasing a rabbit through tumbling sage bush."  Her words are pictures in themselves and Mr. Cooper's paintings, full of warm light, seem to be the words come to life before our eyes.

I love the faces of the children, full of playfulness and joy.  The mother is elegant and steadfast as she guides them on their way.  I feel the hope they feel as they arrive in this land of promise - as the title implies with biblical language.

This is a sweet, joyful story that expresses well the excitement and hope of the emigrant  whether from another country or another state.  New beginnings are full of promise and this delightfully told and illustrated book turns from any doubts about those beginnings and fully embraces the possibilities when a new journey starts.

Thanks for stopping by to read my review.  You can find The Land of Milk and Honey at Amazon or your local library.  I would love for you to leave a comment!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Sky is Falling!

This week's Illustration Friday theme was "Sky".  I thought of Chicken Little as a good illustration not only for a picture but because it is a fable told many time over and I decided to tell it too.  I posted my version of the story with sketches yesterday if you want to check it out.

I think my colored pencil drawings are actually improving so I feel pretty good about that.  I'd love a comment if you care to leave one.  Thanks for checking out my illustration!

Voices of Inspiration

As I am doing the work of art and crafting, I'm looking for inspiration, anything or anyone who can strengthen me and keep me motivated is part of the resources needed to be creative.

Last week I wrote about friends who encourage us in our creativity and who are open to sharing their creativity   Now I am thinking of mentors.

A mentor might be someone you know, but it also might be an author or artist or musician or some other form of creative person who inspires but whom you have not met in person.  I am so thankful there are generous people out there who are blogging or making videos or books or performing so that we can participate and also absorb and be inspired.

This week I felt inspired by Jeff Goins, a writer and blogger our of Tennessee who often talks about claiming your dream today rather than saying, "Some day I will be a ...."  He says his life changed when he started calling himself a writer rather than saying one day he would become a writer.

So I am calling myself an illustrator and writer.  I am not going to do it someday.  I am going it right now!  Maybe I'm not getting paid for it, but I don't get paid to be a mom and I am definitely a mom!!

Here is a link to Jeff's blog and a really cool interview about this topic.  So find someone you can emulate and draw inspiration from.  You don't have to know them, just watch them.  Then, start claiming your dream today!

Please leave a comment!  I'd love to know who inspires you in your dream.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Story to Share: Chicken Little

 I wrote a version of the Chicken Little story. I hope you like it.

This is Chicken Little.  Gravity is having its way with him, but since he never studied gravity he needs another explanation. 

"The sky is falling!" he cries after he regains consciousness, dusts himself off and examines the huge knot on his head.

What do you do after realizing something so earth shattering?  Tell a friend!

Chicken Little runs as fast as his little legs can carry him to the chicken yard and finds Henny Penny scratching for worms.

"The sky is falling!" he cries.

Henny Penny, simple soul that she is, can't imaging a child would make up a story and concludes it must be true and panic sets in.

What to do now that they share this awful burden?  Tell a friend!

Together they run to the pond at the edge of the barn yard and find Ducky Lucky paddling lazily in the water.

"The sky is falling!" they cry.

As if a piece of sky had bounced off of his head, Ducky splashes about, shielding himself from the next aerial assault, because he has never know Henny Penny to tell him anything that wasn't true...  as far as he knows...

 What to do with this terrible information?  Tell a friend!

The threesome flutters in a mad dash to the far end of the pond in search of someone with wisdom, because they now realize just telling a friend will not save their heads.  Since no one else is around, Goosey Loosey will have to do.

"The sky is falling!" they cry.

With a honk she wakes from her nap in the sun and asks them to repeat themselves, rather annoyed by the interruption to her leisure.  "The sky is falling!" they cry.  The gravity of the situation sinks in and she lets out another honk.  "Oh what shall we do?" asks Henny Penny.

Goosey ruffles her feathers and curls her neck to think, though her brains, which are quite small, buzz about in her head like angry bees.  "We should..." she said, searching for some kind of answer, "go to... the king of the forest...what's his name?...the lion!" she declares, feeling quite confident in her notions.

What to do when someone comes up with a plan? Do it quickly before anyone has time to think it over and maybe second guess the whole thing!

The now foursome race to the edge of the field, certain the trees of the forest will shield them from the next portion of the sky to fall.  In a cloud of feathers they arrive and startle Turkey Lurkey as she is about to head home to her nest.

Being a wild bird, she usually has more sense than this rabble of domesticated fowl and from the forest undergrowth, calls out, "What's all the fuss and hub-bub?"

The silly birds cry out in one voice, "The sky is falling!" And they go on to relate how Chicken Little has had a piece of sky fall on his head and that all of them have narrowly missed being crushed by other large chunks of shattered blue.

Turkey Lurkey can't help being swept away by their story, convincing as it is and begins to suspect some of the sky has indeed fallen.  Goosey then asks, "Do you know where the king of the forest, the lion, lives?  We must tell him.  He will know what to do!"

With a shake of her head, she says she hadn't even realized there was a king, let along a lion who lives in the woods, but perhaps she ought to find out.  "Let's go find him," she proposes, desiring very much now to see how all this turns out.

What to do when you have no idea how to get where you need to go?  Ask for directions!

The little party of five now heedlessly moves through the shadowy forest, the domesticated fowl making all sorts of racket, which attracts one Foxy Loxy from the darkness of his den which lays hidden behind a stump.  Without a sound, he appears in the path of the frightened birds and asks with a tone of great concern, "What is the trouble friends?"

To this they all cry, "The sky is falling!"  and go on to tell of their quest to find the king of the forest, the great wise lion who will know what to do in this great emergency.

Foxy Loxy, strokes his chin to hide his smile.  He can't help but lick his chops and tries to make it look like a thoughtful gesture.  "Well," he says, "This is a terrible revelation and you are in luck for I know the way to the king's home!" and he bows deeply in a posture of service.

All the birds quack, chirp, squawk and honk in relief and they clamour to know the way.

"The way is secret, for the king is careful about who visits him, but since I am a dear friend, a duke in fact, I know the route.  This way, friends, into this tunnel.  We will arrive at our journey's end soon!"  Foxy assures through sharp gleaming teeth.

One by one the birds enter the hole, the very one Foxy Loxy emerged from moments before.  Foxy licks his chops again as he follows his dinner into his very own den.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Am I Doing this for God or for me?

I think of all the things I am posting here, this will be the most difficult.  I think it is a struggle many Christians have; how do I do my work to bring glory to God?  Is that even possible?

In Colossians 3:23-24 Paul says, "In all the work you are doing, work the best you can.  Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people.  Remember that you will receive your reward from the Lord, which he promised to his people.  You are serving the Lord Christ." (NCV)

So how do I make art, make literature, make a profit (if there is one to be made) and still do it as if God is my employer, because he really is, providing all I need to live in his unseen way?  Do I only talk of Christ and make art that directly refers to him, or do I just practice my craft to the very best of my ability to make that which is beautiful because all beauty hearkens back to the Creator?

Even having this blog is questionable.  Am I glorifying God or am I seeking glory for myself?  Have I made something that bears witness to God's goodness or has it only shown off my own skills, which are simply gifts from God?  Have I done my best work, because if I am truly in the employ of the King of the Universe, my best work is required?  Am I trusting the Lord for my reward or am I seeking something that is not from him?

I do not know how much of what I do is really for God; maybe very little.  Much of what I do is probably a product of worry and ambition.  But every day is a day to draw near to Christ and seek God's face.  I depend on God's grace to cover my meager efforts and make my work worthy.

As I continue forward, stretching to do my best, I pray that what I do will be for God's glory and that I will trust him with the rest.

Perhaps you struggle to find meaning in your work.  Please leave a comment and share your struggle or perhaps you triumph.  You can be an encouragement to others.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Little Steps on a Long Journey

Last week I posted that I have a dream of becoming a published author/illustrator.  I know I need accountability and I am going to start posting weekly how I have taken new steps toward that goal.  I started this blog at the beginning of September and that has been such a huge move.  I have had so much positive feed back from these first endevours.   It feels like there are so many things coming together.  When I first got out of college, I had no idea how to go about becoming an illustrator other than the advice of a professor which was to move to New York.  My path didn't move in that direction at that time.  But I have had the chance to get some life experience, meet friends who love me enough to encourage me, and explore other avenues that were not there 20 years ago.

So, this week, I wrote my goals out.  I had done this before but this time it was in a more concise list.  I then posted it above my work space which itself was a big step in the direction of achieving my goal that I made back in August.  Now I can see that list every time I sit down to work and remind myself of what exactly I am looking forward to.

I also established a schedule for blogging.  Everything I am reading is insisting that having an online presence is vital to finding a door into the publishing world.  I am also recognizing that this is a wonderful format to practice the art of writing as well as a kind of gallery to show my art work and receive some feed back.  Being part of a community here online can only help me to grow as an artist, and I hope the journey I take along that path can help someone else to have hope and not give up like I did when I was younger.  Having said all of that, I intend to post Monday through Friday about art, goals, writing, inspiration and leaning on my Lord God through all of this.

Something I have been doing for a while, though with no real direction, is visiting the library and collecting books on the above topics.  Now I know that educating myself in a regular and purposeful way is necessary for me to have quality posts here but also for me to become a skillful illustrator and author.  I know I need to have knowledge about the industry and find ways to hone my craft.  I am not a college student anymore, with abundant free time and few responsibilities   I am a mother and wife, with a household to care for, two part time jobs and other commitments.  Over the years I have mistreated my talents and left them to atrophy with too many excuses.  Now I know that this is not only cheating myself, but my children as well because I want them to see that their mom has talent and vibrancy which they can be proud of, even if I never have the kind of success I dream of.  When all is said and done, I want to have at least TRIED.

These steps are not new or really particular to this past week, but I have had the opportunity to stop and say, yes I am  taking steps.  I am not doing nothing.  So to take an accounting of what I have done can only give me more strength to keep moving forward.  As I take these steps, I will continue to pray for wisdom and strength, because I don't know where the path will lead and I do know I do not have the strength on my own to climb this mountain, but I know the Lord will provide for me.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you will take a moment to comment.  I would love to know about your own journey toward your goals.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Book Review of Persephone, written by Sally Pomme Clayton

I found a lovely book this week at the library and decided to pick it up after speaking to my daughter's teacher.  They are discussing mythology and she had told the class the story of Persephone.  It was a happy coincidence that I found Persephone written by Sally Pomme Clayton and published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers prettily displayed on the new book shelf waiting for someone to pick it up.  I thought, what a splendid book to start my children off with an understanding of mythology.

Sally Pomme Clayton (link to her site) has retold the ancient story of the abduction of Demeter's daughter in an appealing and poetic way.  Sweet, innocent Persephone, plucking flowers in the spring meadows is herself plucked by the dark and mysterious and somehow dangerous Lord of the Underworld, Hades.

Virginia Lee (link to her site) is the talented illustrator whose soft paintings evoke a feeling of timeless eternity, perfect for this story of the changing seasons.  Demeter's distress and grief, Persephone's sadness and Hades mystery are delicately portrayed in the full spread illustrations.  I found myself swept away by the story and the magnificent artwork, lost in the soft earthen tones, delicate faces and intricate details which so poignantly add to Ms. Clayton's words.

My children enjoyed the story and I had an opportunity to talk to them about how Greek mythology has shaped our western literature and the commonality of the deities in many ancient religions.  We also discussed how the religious beliefs of ancient cultures compare and contrast to our own Christian beliefs.  And I found the brief synopsis of the significance of the myth at the end of the book a nice way to help children take a first step into these foundations of western literature.

Spend some time in the misty far away memories of an ancient culture  resurrected by Sally Pomme Clayton's lush prose and enlivened by Virginia Lee's gorgeous illustrations which draw us into that far away place of myth and story.  You can find Persephone at Amazon or your local library.  Other books by Ms. Clayton are Greek Myths: Stories of Sun, Stone and Sea, Tales Told in Tents: Stories from Central Asia and Rama and Sita: Path of Flame.

I would love for you to leave a comment about this review and let me know if it was helpful.  Also, please suggest other picture books that you have read.  I am always looking for beautiful books to share with my children!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Inspiration of Friendship

Since I began this blog, I've intended to talk about what inspires me, hoping I can inspire someone else.  For years I have used the excuses of being too tired, too busy, too burned out.  Sometimes you need SOMEONE to help you get out of that creative funk.

It is amazing how much a friend can inspire your creativity.  Around this person, you flourish and mature, growing under the light of their energy and love.

I have several people in my life who actively encourage me in my endevours and creative pursuits.  One friend advises me on how to overcome discouragement.  Another has listened for years to my dreams - some just fancies - but has always gently encouraged with gentle interest.  One friend suggested very earnestly that I start this blog!  I am so glad I took her advice!  Still another dear friend brags about me to other people.  And my inspiring friends are all creative in their own right.

Not everyone is so steadfast.  Some people are negative or jealous. But over the years, I have found friends who strengthen me and pray for me and share their wisdom and experience.  Being in the presence of these friends has given me the courage to step out and reach out.  Creativity is difficult in a vacuum.  If you want to be creative, find creative people who will let their own joy pour out on to you.

I would love for you to leave a comment and tell me about the people in your life who have inspired and encouraged you!  After all, dear commentator, you have the power to inspire others too!

In the Water

"Water" is the theme for this week at Illustration Friday.  Dogs love water, so I thought a swimming Labrador Retriever would fit nicely.  This is Max.  I've given him a little story to practice at matching a story to an illustration.

Max loved to swim in the lake.  His owner showed Max his favorite orange rubber ball and threw it across the lake with all his might.  Max jumped from the bank before the ball left his owner's hand, leaping high and far like he had wings.  With a huge splash, he landed in the cool water.  

He paddled and paddled, sure of the direction his ball had gone.  There it was!  Bright, wet and bobbing on the blue surface.  Max plunged toward it with excitement and energy.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

33 Ways To Stay Creative

I found this list on  33 Ways To Stay Creative is a list of things, many of which I guess I am already doing but only started recently.  The more I admire other creatives, the more creative I feel, the more I produce and create.  This all moves me to be more confident and centered.  The more creative I become, the closer I draw to God, because, I need help to be creative.  All of my past attempts were so forced and focused on what I HAD to do.  Now, I just do it because it grows out of me and what God made me to be.  The older I get, the less I know.  So I ask for wisdom to know the way and for strength to make the journey.  We are made to be makers.  Created to create.  I like this list.  I may print it out and frame it so I can see it and listen to good advice.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

In the Mirror

I started this drawing a long time ago after an evening of putting curlers in my hair and my daughter's hair.  We felt like twins and it was fun.  I imagined how it must have looked to an onlooker and it seemed like such a sweet moment.  I am submitting it as this week's entry for Illustration Friday's theme of "Mirror".  It was a good opportunity to practice with colored pencils, which I love.  Unfortunately, because I had never planned to scan this picture, it turns out it is too big for my scanner and I had to photograph it.  I did not have the best lighting so the colors are a little dim.  But, I really like the drawing.  I think it tells a story of the closeness between a mom and daughter, as well as the fascination of a child, discovering her own beauty in a private moment.

Thanks for checking out my work.  I'd love for you to leave a comment!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Story Teller

I want to write a book.  It has been my dream since I was a child.  I remember writing stories for my friends and reading it to them.  I recall there being bathroom humor involved...  But there was something about having the undivided attention of another human being, listening to your words and enjoying your illustrations.

When I started reading books to my children, I would get a little frustrated because babies just don't have attention spans that satisfy an adult's expectation.  But I kept reading because, you know, education people all say, "Read to your kids every day!"  Okay, so I want to be a good mom, so I am going to read.  Then as my son got older, I saw in him a growing delight over the stories I was reading to him.  I read the Chronicles of Narnia for the first time when he was only about 4 and a half.  By the time we got to the 7th book in the series, he was really engaged with the story and he was disappointed that it was over.  This is why I say first time I read it!  My daughter, who is 22 months younger was not quite there yet, but during that second reading of the series, she was becoming interested and captivated with the adventures as well.

A cartoon of my daughter.
My children like to ask me to draw for them.
They will never know how much
they have helped me get past myself to
become a freer, more creative person.
My children are my inspiration.  Life can be so practical and covered over with the to do lists and the bills that have to be paid.  Dreams get walked on like they paper wrappers from a sandwich.  They may have given you the steam to drive you to this place in your life where you can pay the bills and do the list, but since they were forgotten, despised or abandoned they are little more than trash to be tossed.  My children have opened my eyes to the world all over again as if I get a restart.  Watching them reach out into life and discover what i have become so familiar with, those ordinary things have become new to me also.  I notice a sunrise, new leaves, the force of the wind, the way people interact with each other.

Children are expected to have dreams.  We ask "What are you going to be when you grow up?"  Why do we stop asking that question of ourselves?  Even if the thing we wanted to be when we were a child is not what we want now, we can still ask the question.  What do I want to be, now that I am grown up?  A good mom, a faithful wife, a true friend, a loving daughter, a persevering follower of Christ... the list can go on.  So now I am remembering old dreams.  I wanted to write and illustrate books.  Funny because I think I can actually do it now.  When I was fresh out of school, I had not experienced anything but teenage frustration, anxiety and lust.  Not to say that those experiences are not story worthy, but I see now that I needed distance and new eyes to be able to tell the story.

Since I have been drawing pictures again recently and posting them on Illustration Friday, I am grateful for the encouragement from the folks who have taken the time to leave comments.  I have also been reading about the publishing industry and about the craft of illustration and writing.  I know it is no easy thing to undertake to become an author, but is anything worth doing ever easy?  Having children and building a family has been the most difficult thing I have or ever will do.  If God gives me the wisdom and strength to do this, will he not also give me the strength and wisdom to stretch myself and use my talents?  I believe he will even if the road is difficult and even discouraging at times.

Perhaps there is something you are dreaming of, a career change, a new home, a new community, a deeper relationship with someone you love, even God.  What can you do today to set your feet on a path that will draw you nearer to your dreams?  I would love for you to leave a comment.  Your story may inspire and strengthen me.  It may inspire and strengthen someone else too.  Sharing your dream may even be that first step you need to take.