Below is a link to a blog I wrote for the Craftie Ladies of Romance. What are the three things you need for a successful year? What about embracing failure, creating community and resilience? Hit the link below and read more about it.
Wow – Looking back on the year and finding my highlights I was amazed at the wonderful people that have been brought into my life. Some long term and had no choice, family is family, others have come in and guided me and came with so much love I have a hard time believing it. Thank you.
Why do we carve designs into pumpkins? Did you know it has Christian roots?
The tradition of Jack-O-Lanterns came to the USA from the way of our Irish immigrants. Did you know that the original Jack-O-Lanterns were carved into beets, turnips & potatoes?
Like most traditions it starts with a myth, a story created to warn children to behave or you’ll end up like poor “Stingy Jack”.
“Stingy Jack” was an Irish man that loved playing tricks on people and thought he could outsmart the devil. It all started when he invited Mr. Satan to sit next to him and have a drink. Being the stingy guy he was, he talked the devil into paying for the drinks.
He challenged Satan to turn himself into a coin that Jack would use to pay for the drinks, Coin in hand Jack left the bar tab unpaid and put the coin in his pocket, next to a silver cross. This of course trapped the Devil from changing back.
Jack laughed at his joke. He thought he was so smart for tricking the Devil. Making a deal, he finally allowed the Devil free of the coin, with a vow that the Devil could not claim his soul.
A year later, just to prove how smart he was, Jack tricked the Devil into climbing a tree for a piece of fruit on one of the highest branches. The Devil’s pride once again had him falling for Jack’s ploy. While Satan reached for the fruit, Jack carved a cross into the trunk, trapping the Devil once again.
This time he made the Devil promise not to bother him for ten years. Before the decade was up though, Jake died.
Now the story tells of Jake’s true fate. God, not pleased with how Jack had chosen to spend his life, would not allow him into heaven. If he wanted to play with the Devil than the Devil could have him.
Of course the Devil had vowed not to claim Jack’s soul, so he was left with no where to go. Sent out into the darkness with nothing but a lump of burning coal that he carried in a carved out turnip. Jack wondered the earth looking for someone to play a trick on.
The Irish refer to him as “Jack of the Lantern” of course being Irish, it became Jack O’Lantern. Throughout Ireland and Scotland families started making their own versions of Jack-O-Lanterns by carving spooky designs into turnips and beets.
They placed them on window edges and next to doors in order to keep bad spirits away.
When the immigrants arrived to the shores of the new country they shared their stories and traditions. Soon they discovered that the native fruit, pumpkin, made a perfect canvas for the artistic carvings.
Any good story told has a moral, a lesson to learn, so next time you see a Jack-O-Lantern remember that pride will get you in trouble and never try to outsmart the devil. It will always lead to misfortune.
Do you have a family story that is told as a warning?
With age, you see people fail more. You see yourself fail more. How do you keep that fearlessness of a kid? You keep going. Luckily, I’m not afraid to make a fool of myself. – Hugh Jackman
In the A to Z blogging challange we have arrived to the letter J….uhmm…what do you think comes to mind? I know an actor that has the last name of Jackman.
Another J that brings me joy is Jackson Pollock – “I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own.”
If you have never “dripped painted” before, you should try it…it really is a joyful experience.
Now that I think about it – the person that brings me the most joy is Fred, his real name is Jesus. Yes, ironic because that makes me think of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who I give joyful thanks for everything in my life. The word teaches us to live a life without fear.
2 Timothy 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
The writer Peter De Vries said, “I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at 9:00 am every morning.”
We are all born with a creative brain. If you don’t believe that, hang out with some four or five year olds. The impulse control is underdeveloped. The filters of acceptable behavior and fears of rejection aren’t there yet in the young mind. This is why the creative genius, Picasso, said: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
So how do we redevelop our creativity?
In the mid 1800s there was a movement that changed how the world would forever look at and judge art. Impressionism was incubated at Café Guebois. How did a small group of people accomplish this fete? By meeting together regularly, they challenged and debated the idea of art. They had heated disagreements over the “rules” of art. Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne and Degas were a widely diverse group of artists, but their creative energy paved the way for generations of modern artists. Steve Jobs said collaboration works best when ideas are met with brutal honesty and are forced to explore a deeper purpose. Sound like good critique to me.
Four years ago, I found SARA (San Antonio Romance Authors), and my writing has greatly improved because of their questioning, pushing and tough critique. They introduced me to other writers that changed my life.
In June, for the last two years I have made my way to West Texas A&M to a writers week organized by the amazing Jodi Thomas and Tim Lewis.
The people above are superstars. For five days, we meet about five hours a day in a class led by Alexandra Sokoloff. This year bordered on magical. A full week of brainstorming, being pushed by this small group to find that twist in your story. The ideas are there, buried deep in your brain.
Side benefit? Lifelong friends that “get me” in a way no one else ever will.
If you want to be creative, you can’t let fear of rejection or ridicule hold you back.
Find people that help push past your first superficial idea and get to the imaginative workings of your brain. Whatever it is- art, writing, computer, finance, or building things- We are beings created to create, find that group of liked passions and discuss how to make your dreams come true.
Do you have a group that challenges your creative mind?
Is seems we are always in a rush. Get the kids to school, get to work, get the kids to practice, get the groceries, get dinner because you don’t have time to cook the groceries you bought, find time for your husband, your kids and oh yeah don’t forget to take care of yourself. How can you feed your creativity in this busy crazy life. I’m so blessed and love my full life but this year I have to find some balance. How do you balance all the demands with the inner peace?