~ Tangled Motivation

tangled-motivation

I was talking to a writer the other day who said this, “I’ll have to see if I can find some motivation.”

I wanted to scream. I have news for those who are still in the dream world of “finding motivation.”

Motivation can’t be found. Unlike lost keys, or even the coin of great worth, motivation can’t be found. It’s not lost. Motivation is made.

It’s not made from feelings, or emotions, or delivered by a muse, or even from on high. Motivation can only be formed by rational, deliberate, intentional decisions.

God Himself can’t and won’t motivate you. Not that He’s not all-powerful, but because His first priority is to give us the complete freedom of CHOICE. He made a plan before time began. Every nuance of history and the future was woven before the first man was formed. There are no tangled threads in God’s tapestry.

We, however, are overwhelmed with choices and decisions to make. Therein lies the problem. We let the overwhelmingness of our days keep us from being intentional. We take the easy and lazy way out. We deceive ourselves into believing that it’s all too much. But it’s not too much. God doesn’t leave us hopeless and helpless. He put within every believer His Spirit to guide us into all wisdom.

We make thousands of decisions every single day. What percentage of them do we make after asking for His help? “Pray without ceasing” takes on a whole new light, doesn’t it?

Do you want to get things accomplished? Reach your goals? Work on the real priorities, instead of being sabotaged by the subterfuge of instant gratification?

Make some real decisions! Motivation will follow.

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~ New Beginnings

Crocuses

In preparing for our upcoming art show, “New Beginnings” the thought occurred to me that I might have other artwork lying around that could be used besides the paintings I’m preparing  just for this exhibit. So I took a little tour around the house and came across this early painting. The subject was perfect ~ what says new beginning like the first adorable flowers of spring? Unfortunately, the paper was covered in foxing ~ those little or not-so-little rust colored specks that go right through the paper. It was polka-dotted with the ugly things.

I got on the internet and looked up foxing and what to do to get it out of the paper. It all looked so complicated, and the only thing I had on hand was the bleach which was only one step in the process. Would just that first step do it? How much of the watercolor would fade? Was I willing to risk it for this one show? I certainly didn’t have time to get it back from a conservator before Friday. It was one of only two early watercolors I have left, and I’ve always been fond of it ~ it would grieve me to lose it.

After the agony of deliberation, I decided to give it a try. After all, it was ruined as it was, and by the time I got it to a conservator, it might be too late to save it anyway. The foxing was already all the way through the paper.

So I did it ~ I took the plunge. I prepared a pan of water with a small amount of bleach and submersed my darling little painting. After soaking for almost two hours, the stains were still there, so I left the studio for lunch, telling myself not to stay too long. At that point the colors were still strong.

Of course you know I got involved in a book and forgot all about my little painting sitting in the tub of bleach solution. When I got back to the studio, the first thing that I saw were my little crocuses, just starting to bleed out purple. I rushed the painting to the sink and dumped the water from the pan, rinsing it while holding the painting, worrying about the bleeding watercolor. It was only a tiny amount, but it was clearly starting to run. I filled the pan with rinse water and gently floated the painting, flipping it over. I did it twice more with fresh pans of water. At that point the bleeding had rinsed away. How much of the color would remain once the painting dried? The drying process was accomplished with less stress, thankfully.

You can see the result. The colors are once again as bright as when it was freshly painted, and the paper is truly white. There is no purple even though that’s how the photo appears. I’m not sure the camera knew what to do with those intensely purple flowers.

I think you’ll agree that this painting has experienced its own New Beginning.

One day we’ll be wearing white, and our true colors will shine. Until then, we take it by faith that our stains have been washed away. We have value and beauty and serve a purpose ~ each of us designed by the hands of the one who created us for his good pleasure.

 

Time and Priority Apps Recommendations

PLAN, PRIORITIZE, and TRACK your New Year!
Want great apps to help prioritize and plan your new year? (I wish I could benefit from these recommendations.)
The app is called Priority Matrix. I have it synced on my phone and tablet. (Free there, but costs on the computer.) Put in a master list, a weekly list, and a today list. Divide the master list into Urgent, Important, Obligations, and Eventually. (Keep in mind that only if the item is important to you and a true obligation does it belong in urgent, unless it’s unavoidable, like taking your kid to the ER) This also helps you resist volunteering yourself for things you can’t really do. The This Week and Today lists are divided into whatever categories your life takes. Right now mine is journals, home, art & writing, nonprofit & church.
Hours Tracker logo
Another great time management tool is an app called Hours Tracker. Great for tracking the time you spend on projects. Very versatile. Keeps me focused when I know I’m on the clock, and helps tremendously with putting a value on my time.

~ A Box of Joy

2015-09-02 15.21.58

This is my tiny box of joy, perfection in miniature.

If you were to make your own tiny box of joy, what would you put in it? I’ll show you the inside of mine next week.

Think about what makes you happy, gives you pleasure and delight. If you could carry it around in a box, would you embellish that box to honor the contents?

Think about your own box of joy. What are you thankful for? Give it a special place of honor so that each time you see it, you remember to thank God for the gift of delight.

I hope this inspires some creativity! I’d love to hear from you if you’ve done something similar or if this causes you to start something new.

~ Inside the Box

2015-09-02 15.26.13 Last week I asked what you might have in a box of joy, and told you I’d show you the inside of the little box of joy that I made for myself

This box just happens to be my travel watercolor kit. I searched and researched and am thrilled with my choices of supplies. In fact, this works so well that I seldom use my large watercolor palette or even my expensive Kolinsky brushes. Simply squeezing more water into the tip of a Sakura brush is faster and wastes less paint.

The purchased watercolor kit within my kit isn’t the most expensive, in fact it’s one of the least expensive on the market. The great thing is that the watercolors are standard half-pan size, so when I want to replace a color, I can buy just one of any number of brands. The whole kit is a tiny bit of perfection.

No matter what you do for work or for fun, you understand the joy of having the right tools for the job. No struggling to make do, no wishing you could have the top of the line because what you have is already the best for you, even if it’s not the most expensive or the most popular.

Every single time my eyes land on my little box of joy, I smile. For me, it’s perfect.

What things in your life are you perfectly happy with? This little box of joy reminds me that God perfectly and precisely fits me with the things I need to do his work, even if they don’t always seem like it to someone else (or me, when I’m in ungrateful mode.)

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6

God Glimpses #21 – Why can’t Artists Read?

The-Raising-of-Lazarus-xx-Benjamin-Gerritsz-Cuyp

How many of you hate it when the book cover is all wrong? Two pages into the book and the main character is described as freckled with brown hair. You flip back to the cover and she’s blonde, What’s with that?

The children’s lesson today was on Lazarus. You know, the guy Jesus raised from the dead by shouting–from outside the tomb. And Lazarus came out. He was bound hand and feet, wrapped in grave clothes and had a napkin over his face. Says it right there in the Bible.

Could I find one correct picture out of hundreds that artists have painted over the centuries? Noooooo. Apparently, they all thought that the comedic thought of Lazarus doing the bunny hop out of that tomb was a tad too lighthearted for their serious talent.

I dunno, I suppose the correct cartoon versions were thrown in the trash by overzealous moms.

So, what’s a teacher to do? We played “What’s wrong with this picture” after reading the story. The kids got it right.

Those of us old enough to know better keep wanting to change God’s story, to make it meld with our sensibilities. We don’t want to think about the maggots in the grave clothes. We don’t want to let the Word stand on its own.

God Glimpses #18 – Hope Deferred

snow on flower pots

The Bible says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” All winter long I’ve been ignoring these flower pots on my back porch, pretending the watering can doesn’t exist, pushing down dreams of spring green.

This morning, (after not one flake of predicted snow fell from the so-called snow storm earlier in the week,) I woke to find this not-so-sugar coating still falling from a sky that should have been blue.

(Shoot the weather men and women, please!)

We have no control over the weather. We can justifiably feel sick at the thought of another cold day with even the emerging crocuses looking frozen and miserable.

But do we defer our own hope? What dreams and goals do you have that could be achieved if you would just DO instead of dream . . . or wish . . . or pretend to hope. I don’t know about you, but I’m great at setting goals, not so great at remembering to look at them by mid-week.

DOers get things done. It’s that simple. Spend less time planning, and more time DOing. That’s my God Glimpse for today, folks. He sprinkled frosting on my misery and reminded me to look up (. . . and then go DO.)

God Glimpses #15 – Sticking with it.

IMG-20120921-00797

We pulled up to a traffic light next to this artist, who was using his steering wheel as an easel.What struck me was the dedication. The painting was incredibly good, and the van was pretty grubby. (looks pretty good in the photo compared to reality)

This guy  is obviously not getting rich with his talent, but he’s not letting that stop him. God created him to create, and he’s creating. That’s sticking with it.

God Glimpses #4 ~ A Bowl of Dirt

green ceramic bowlJust gazing at this empty bowl fills me with joy,knowing that the clay to make the bowl and the complex mixtures of minerals that make up the glazes are all mined directly from God’s diverse earth. No two handmade bowls are ever the same, each is a unique creation, and yet directly linked to Him who made every ingredient of the recipes involved. Occasionally I actually put something in this bowl, but I always feel as if I’ve defiled its beauty, and long for the moment when the last treat is gone.