God’s Little Reminder, Along The Path

Messages from God can come from anywhere. I was walking home one August morning after walking my kids to daycare and was startled to look down and find an amazing little miracle: two sticks which had fallen across each other in the most perfect way.

Had someone been walking by there earlier that morning and decided to leave some other passerby a message?

Or was it truly a small miracle – that two sticks had fallen together to form this perfect cross?

Within a couple weeks, my husband found a new position within his company. A month later, after my severance pay ended (October 1, ’08), I finally received my first freelance assignment — I’ve been busy with work ever since with two different clients.
Message received. Thanks God! Call again, please — I’m listening.
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Elizabeth Alexander’s “Praise Song” – Reflections on an Hour of Love and Unity

Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander

The most inspiring part of today’s historical inauguration (for me) was Elizabeth Alexander‘s “Praise Song” poem, an original work created for this day. I’m happy I videotaped the inauguration and was able to rewind and hear it again.

The phrases which spoke strongest to me:

“… We walk into that which we cannot yet see…”

“… Sing the names of the dead who brought us here…”

“… What if the mightiest word is Love? … Love that casts a widening pool of light…”

“… Praise song for walking forward in that light.”

I was most impressed by the love and hope expressed in the many words spoken at today’s inauguration. Words like these may have been spoken at such events in the past, but I believe — I HOPE — for the first time people are taking them to heart. By watching the Inauguration I felt something I didn’t expect… a sense of peace and unity and US pride enveloping ALL which I have not witnessed since the after-days of 9-11.

I hope and pray to God that the words of love and hope and unity stay in the hearts and minds of everyone to help our nation become one united strong spirit again.

We may not agree when it comes to policies and politics, but let us at least raise our fists in the air and, united, shout “I am proud to be an American!”

Glenn Beck’s “Christmas Sweater” – Stepping Out From The Cornfield

The Cornfield

The Cornfield

I was one of the lucky people who got to see Glenn Beck give his performance of The Christmas Sweater in at the Playhouse Theater in downtown Cleveland. At the climax of the story, his message hit me — thunderbolt to the chest. It was one of those moments when you hear words that grab your heart and you feel God saying, “Pay attention, now. This message is for you.” I get that moment quite often when I listen in church to sermons, but not as often in the outside world. Luckily my husband gave me a signed copy of Glenn Beck’s book, The Christmas Sweater, and I flipped through the pages to find my favorite part. There it was. Chapter fifteen, at the top of page 246. I opened the book at just the right spot, barely spending any time searching for it…

Eddie, the main character, is having a dream — apparently a dream Glenn had in real life — and he is speaking with a mentor character named Russel.

Russell: Don’t fear the storm, Eddie. Fear the cornfield. The cornfield may feel safe, but there is only cold and darkness there… Now face the storm.

Eddie: I can’t Russell. It’s too big.

Russell: You’re bigger… You may not yet know who you are, Eddie, but I do. And I know that you are meant to walk through this storm. You weren’t created to stand here in this cornfield. There’s so much more waiting for you, and you’re worthy of every ounce of it.

Eddie: I can’t, Russell, I’ll just wait until it passes. I’m safe here,

Russell: … This storm will never pass. It can’t. It’s yours. Besides, life is not meant to be safe. It’s only in our mistakes, our errors, and our faults that we grow and truly live. (He points toward the storm) … That is the way home. It’s the only way home. But you will make it. Trust in me. Trust in who you really are.

My gosh, talk about thunderbolts!! Even as I retype these words, I’m actually trembling. When I put myself into Eddie’s shoes, this is what these words mean to me:

Russell is a metaphor for God. The cornfield (dare I print this?) is my previous job – a place which kept me safe from financial distress, but as the years passed I knew God wanted me somewhere else (the storm). The storm is the big, scary unknown. And the “other side” of the storm represents all my original dreams, my life as a freelancer, and my hopes to launch a series of soulful creative retreats for women — and/or whatever else God has planned for me (again, unknown). God booted me out of that cornfield, all right, because I refused to step out. HOWEVER… when I look back on the months before I was let go, I see clearly the steps God made to prepare me for the storm. He pushed me out, but He held my hand as I faced the storm — even held me in His sweet arms to protect me from dismay and fear.

What an incredible, inspiring story – and I thank Glenn Beck for writing this book and sharing his dream with everyone.

Brian Froud’s Dark Crystal

Jen - sketch for The Dark Crystal - Brian Froud

Jen - sketch for The Dark Crystal - Brian Froud

Landstriders sketch for The Dark Crystal - Brian Froud

Landstriders sketch for The Dark Crystal - Brian Froud

My husband and I spent some time after New Years browsing in bookstores, searching for inspiring art styles. I’ve been looking more and more at a book that’s been collecting dust on my shelf for a long time: Brian Froud – The World of The Dark Crystal. I was mystified by the film when I first saw it as a child, and the more I see the film, th e more I appreciate the rich creativity that went into making the film. This book is so inspiring to me. I first saw it whe my Illustration professor, Dominic Scibilia, at CIA brought it in – I gasped. As a writer I am in awe of the concept of how we can create something real in someone’s mind — even entire worlds — using only words on a page. What amazed me most about Brian Froud’s work was how he created a new world with his pencil, right down to its very basic design elements.