Sabbath Cards

I spent some of my Sabbath time this weekend making cards. Not quick and simple cards–those are the ones I make out of necessity–when I need a card ASAP. These are Sabbath cards–made for people I love without regard for how long it takes to make each one. These luxurious expanses of creative time are so very good for my spirit.

I pray that you will find some Sabbath time in your week to do whatever it is that nourishes your spirit and connects you more deeply with the Creator.

For my nephew, who loves Star Wars. And–full confession–whose birthday was this past Saturday.

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For my friend, LaVonne, to send to her baby granddaughter (when she is born next month)!

Thoughts on 30 Days

I’ll be honest. I signed up for 30 Days of Creativity on a whim. A total whim. Because it sounded like fun. And because I could–I’m on sabbatical.

The 30 Days website says, “Your brain is like a muscle. When you exercise it, it gets stronger.” One of their signs says, “Through creativity, we can all make the world a better place.”

Those are lovely sentiments. But I did not sign on to exercise my brain or to make the world a better place. I just wanted an excuse to play in my craft room every day.

This is my primary craft table. (Yes, that indicates it is not my only craft table. I am spoiled.)

Here’s the thing, though. After only five days, this little project has become more than just a fun diversion. It has made creativity a conscious part of my life. In the morning I think, “What will I create today?” (And extra “responsible grown-up” points for people who print off the planning calendar and plot their projects!) Whatever else the day holds, I know I will get to make something new!

This project has made me aware that I create more things than I realize. A prayer. An outfit. A blog post. A meal. There are so many ways that creativity flows through my day.

And I notice all of the things that the people around me create. Today Grace had to choose which of her creations we would post for the project. She has probably been creating at least one thing almost every day for the past year or more–I just didn’t always pay attention.

And I notice the work of the Creator. Both for its own sake and for the inspiration it might be for my own meager creations. The perfectly shaped leaf. The deep electric blue of an almost-night sky. The hundred shades of green in the woods.

My intentional efforts toward creativity lead me to wonder what else I might focus on for 30 days.

Imagine 30 Days of Gratitude. Writing a thank you note every day. Saying a prayer of thanksgiving every night.

30 Days of Love. Finding a way to show love to someone each day. Paying attention to the people who love me.

30 Days of Listening. Having conversations with new people. Reading articles by people who are different from me: different race, class, nationality, political party, religion.

30 Days of Kindness. 30 Days of the Sermon on the Mount. 30 Days of Generosity. 30 Days of Chocolate!

The possibilities are endless.

And it’s only day 5. So we’ll see how I feel on day 29. I’m thinking, though, that this 30 days thing could be a helpful spiritual practice for me from time to time.

If you were going to be intentional about doing something every day for 30 days, what would it be?

What Happens when I Wake Up Too Early

Last Saturday I was awake at 5 a.m. I didn’t want to get up, so I stayed warm under my covers and started thinking. I began making a mental outline of the sermon that I needed to write that morning. Then I started thinking about possible crafts for the February craft kit. And back and forth my mind went from the problems of sin and punishment to ideas involving tissue paper and ribbons.

This happens to me a lot. I love the spiritual creativity of being a pastor and a preacher; I love the hands-on creativity of making cards and craft kits. Sometimes, though, my brain hardly knows which direction to go.

So then I started thinking, what if I combined my passions for ministry and creative arts? Are there other people out there who, like me, find a deeper awareness of the Creator when they are being creative? Others who like to read scripture, think about God, and play with art supplies? Others who zone out during contemplative prayer but focus if you put a colored pencil in their hand?

How might I be able to help people connect spiritual practices and creative practices in a meaningful way?

From this early morning musing has emerged a creative arts retreat for Lent. The retreat material can be used by individuals or small groups and is based on the scriptures from the Revised Common Lectionary. Each of the ten sessions incorporates both visual and written creative practices. We will also have a private Facebook group where retreat participants can share their insights—and their artwork!

I am really excited to offer this resource! And I must say that I am looking forward to Lent more than usual this year. I hope that some of you will use the retreat for your personal Lenten discipline or with a small group.  I would love to journey with you.

You can find more details on the “Lenten Retreat” page.  Feel free to contact me with any questions.