Thursday, January 22, 2015

Creativity Unleashed

You wouldn't know this by looking at me but I am constantly composing photographs and videos in my head from the day to day things happening around me. I have been driving down the road and the images I am seeing around me are so inspiring that they start to become a scene in a movie not yet written but playing in my mind. Or the light has been shining just perfectly off a man hunched over his book in a coffee shop and I snap the picture in my mind (or sneakily with my cell phone if it's handy), thinking of all the different angles and perspectives I could take that picture with. Or I see an advertisement and start to redesign the content, changing fonts and spacing and images. I can't help it. It's just how my mind works.  

I am a creative. 

It is a part of me that I ignored for a long time, so long in fact that it started pushing it's way out and into my day to day life. I ignored it for a long time because of fear - fear of not being good enough, fear of not having original ideas, basically fear of failure. For a long time that fear held me back and kept my creativity corralled.  

It took a long time to do it but I have finally stood up and looked that fear directly in the eye, declaring that no longer would it have a paralyzing hold over me. 

It's amazing what happens when you do that - look fear in the eye and challenge it's hold. It looses some of it's power over your life. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't like a one and done type of thing where I rose up and then it left. It is still a daily choice to not give in to it and put too much of my attention there. It's a daily choice to claim my inheritance as a child of the Creator of the universe and keep my eyes fixed above on the One who holds me close and walks this journey with me. 

But in it all I have found a freedom that has breathed new life and breath into my soul. In a lot of ways I feel more like me. The true me that God dreamed up as He knit me together. 

Might I still fail? Yes. But I know my failure will not take me out. If, or better yet when failure happens I will use it to grow and become better. I will pick myself up off the ground and keep moving forward because I know my loving Father is walking this journey with me and leading me one step at a time into His plans and purposes for my life. And there is freedom there. 

Friday, July 11, 2014 happened

3 weeks ago today I was at the Kaliko Beach Club, anticipating the long trek home and reflecting on the previous 10 days. We had been away from the Mephiboscheth House (M-House) for less than a day and I already missed all the kids. They have a way of working themselves into your heart!

Here's are some of the kids who impacted me the most:

Shelton: this little boy captured the biggest piece of my heart! I'm not sure if it was his gangly limbs, his mischievous, curious spirit or his quick smile but he is one of the ones I miss the most. He has CP-like symptoms that limit the use of his legs. He has worked up to being able to take a few steps before falling to the ground. He also can't speak but does a great job communicating with hand gestures and sounds.

This series of pictures captures pretty perfectly his mischievous side:

Kiki: This is the other guy who captured a big piece of my heart! Kiki lost his parents to the earthquake that rocked this small country in 2010. He also has CP-like symptoms which severely limit his mobility. He has one good hand and is great at hitting a ball around! He is very fun loving and is quick to smile. He does have a bit of a stubborn side...however, I think some of it is for show. :)

Here's a short video of Shelton and Kiki (the kids loved getting videotaped once they knew my camera could do that):

Nadege: this girl is the queen of dominoes and will beat you every time! I don't know how she does it. She is one of the sweetest girls around and her smile would light up the darkest room. She uses a walker to get around and has very little speech. By the end of the trip however, she would look at me, smile and softly say "Kari". It melted my heart. She has a really sweet spirit and radiates Christ.

Shelove: this sweet gal worked her way into my heart. Everytime she saw me she would come over and sit or stand by me and just smile in my direction. She saw something in me she liked and was often nearby. She can't speak, has a difficult time walking and seems to process things really slowly. It was fun to say things to her and then watch as she processed it. She has a heart wrenching story that includes being unwanted and abused. When she got to the M House she was really withdrawn and didn't like to be touched, and now she loves to just be near you, holding your hand. She is a really sweet girl.

Jovanie: this sweet girl drew me in. Her body is very stiff and she moves with very jerky, awkward movements. She can only get around with the help of a walker and doesn't speak very well, although sometimes she tries. She is another one with a smile that lights up a room. She seems to be a girl who knows what she wants and who marches to her own beat. She seems to have a crush on one of the little boys there as one time I caught her throwing him a big smile and flirty wave from across the room. We brought nail polish with us and one afternoon she spent about 15 minutes painstakingly painting 2 of my finger nails. It was a moment of true beauty for me and I nearly started crying while I was sitting there with her. Another of my favorite Jovanie moments was another afternoon when I was taking pictures of everyone watching the World Cup. She saw me doing this, walked into the shot, posed and smiled in my direction. You can see the picture below.

I could go on and on about all the kids at the M House but will save those for another time! For now, I will leave you with a video of the kids who have captured a piece of me and shown me Jesus in ways that I have never experienced.

Monday, April 28, 2014


I'm going to Haiti next month on a mission trip with teens from my church. We had a meeting yesterday and learned the history of that beautiful place. It is a sad history filled with exploitation and slavery. At one time it was the most profitable country in the world but because of exploitation it now sits near the bottom. What used to be a country rich in top soil and mahogany trees is now a country ravaged and partially destroyed.

We watched a video from the earthquake and my eyes leaked tears as I watched people in pain and suffering. I have no idea what it must have been like to experience a tragedy like that. I don't know how it feels to have the earth shake under you and everything you know ripped from you as building crumble on every side. My heart hurt for a people who have been pushed down and oppressed. People made in the image of an incredible Creator. People carrying pieces of Him within themselves. People loved dearly by that Creator. There were no words.

I don't know what the Lord has planned for us or for me in that place. But I know that I will feel things deeply. That I will bump up against really hard realities that I don't often see. That my heart will break in ways I didn't even know that it could. Through it all I just pray that the Lord would reveal His heart, His grace, His mercy, His love.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014



It's a funny thing. It can be deafening and so loud you can barely hear yourself think in one moment and in the next it can feel so calm and peaceful. It can feel like a warm embrace or it can feel like a cold grip that won't let go.

I have a love hate relationship with silence. Sometimes I crave it and wish I had a few moments to just be and think when life starts to swirl around me. In those moments I run to it like a long lost lover that I can't wait to be reunited with. But then I get there. And I breathe. And the silence closes in. And all the thoughts and feelings I was able to keep at bay when I was running around come crashing down around me. Suddenly, I want to run back to the busy. Back to the distraction. Because at least when I was distracted I didn't have to feel. Didn't have to feel things like sadness and pain and longing unfulfilled.

But what I really need to do in those moments is to sink in and stay. To sink in with that sadness, the pain, the longing. To embrace it like an old friend. To feel it wash over me. To acknowledge that it's there. That it is real. That it is a part of my story. That it hurts.

I have found that when I do that, the cold grip of silence becomes more like a warm embrace. I have found that when I acknowledge the hurting places inside they begin to be mended, ever so slowly. It's still not always pleasant or something I desire, but as I sit in the silence I am healed and grown and made free.

What is your relationship with silence?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Unleashing Creativity

One way I want to unleash my inner artist and work on creativity is through the book The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I was given this book as a gift about 4 years ago and have been meaning to do it ever since. And now I am. It is a 12 week program that "takes readers on an amazing twelve-week journey to discover the inextricable link between their spiritual and creative has inspired millions to overcome the limit beliefs and fears that can inhibit the creative process." I am entering into this 12-week journey with equal parts excitement and nervousness!

I started week 1 today and the first thing we had to do was to write down affirmations about our creativity and then record the negative thoughts, or Blurts, that came along with them. It was a really interesting process and good to record all of the negative thoughts that come into my mind as I try to embrace who God has made me to be. My Censor (the nasty internal critic who keeps up a running dialogue of subversive remarks that are masked as truth) has a field day when I start to pursue my creativity.

Here's slightly what he looks like...

In my head his suit is a lot more wrinkly, he has a raspy voice and he looks a little bit more like a mobster. Not sure where that image came from but that is what I picture when I think about my Censor. He will be the one I think I will come up against the most in this journey. Hopefully at the end of it all I will have learned how to silence his voice...or better yet, converted it to encouragement rather than criticism.

Each week of this journey consists of reading, some tasks to help my creativity and a check-in with myself. My other tasks for this week are to take myself on an artists date (2+ hour date doing something that will peak my imagination, this is a weekly occurrence), do Morning Pages (3 pages of stream-of-concisousness writing, also an every week task) that are done each day, and 3 other tasks that I need to choose from a list of 8 given in the book.

Let the unleashing begin...