When I signed up for this blog hop, I had no idea I would be literally jumping from one thing to another. A true HOP. I knew God had said to pivot. But I wasn’t sure which way I would be pivoting. But today I learned. (Today is November 5, 2020. I won’t be posting until November 16th but want to remember this day.)
Meme from Good Words.
Follow the Gifts of Good Words Blog Hop taking place from November 4-18, 2020, and find quality Canadian Christian books for those on your Christmas list! Then on November 18th, join the Good Words Virtual Book Fair on Facebook:
I kept working on what I thought I needed to do and that was to publish my children’s books myself. Under the publishing name, Butterfly Beacons, I have published both Tadeo Turtleand The Kingdom of Thrim. The road seemed long and sometimes daunting. But I didn’t give up.
I learned how to use InDesign so I could successfully import my artwork and also publish both the Kindle and the paperback. I still have a few things (read: many) to learn about this program.
After that was done, I also thought I needed to make the extended activities which had been in a PDF form, into a book. Now Tadeo Turtle Extended Activities: For Home and School is available.
Today I learned what God has been saying.
Back in 2012, He led me to write Tadeo Turtle. What started as a poem in my journal turned into a popular children’s book. It won the Word Guild Awards for best children’s book in 2013. I was not a painter at the time. I had been taking watercolour courses and was enrolled in a course in our community in Arizona (we wintered there). Joann Matthews, my instructor, said, “Why don’t you illustrate your story?”
“Me?” I replied. “I am such a beginner.”
But she kept encouraging me and I started my pictures. Tadeo came first, then CAT and then SAM the squirrel. By the time I left Arizona, I had almost all the pictures finished.
Then I needed to find a publisher. At The World Guild’s, Write!Canada I found a publisher. After much discussion with my husband, I took the plunge and bought the package. It was a lot of money. Even after selling over 800 physical books, I haven’t made any money. When Word Alive would no longer keep my book active on Amazon, unless I paid a yearly fee, I knew I had to do something. Hence the push to learn how to self-publish.
Listen, O my people, to my teaching; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth [and be willing to learn]. (Psalm 78:1, AMP)
The “and be willing to learn.” Those words made an impact on me today.
How often do we read or hear God’s Word, but don’t let it affect our lives?
God’s Word is living and active. It can make a difference in our lives today.
I learned today the direction God wants me to take.
Psalm 78 – it took only one verse – but that verse said:
which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, (Psalm 78:5-6)
My study Bible
That opened my heart, my mind and my spirit. I had been given this scripture in 2005:
“Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15)
Today this Psalm speaks about our children. How will they know God unless we tell them? Are they the lambs God was speaking about so long ago?
I had taken another path after writing my children’s books. Besides blogging, I podcasted for Hope Stream Radio and I then wrote on another platform called Medium. I am sure those activities were for a reason. If I really followed the trail I would see the learning that has taken place to help me be ready for this next step.
Now God is telling me it’s time to return to my own history.
As a school teacher, I loved teaching. I loved watching kids learn, get excited and grow emotionally, physically and mentally. Now I can teach them to grow spiritually as well. I love creating – for kids.
We are the Redeemed and the Gathered. God gathered us from the east and west, north and south. God’s plan is to speak to us, to get our attention. His plan spreads all over the world – to those who hurt, souls that are empty, the angry, the sad and the lonely.
This is the story of Rahab and the spies. She swears an oath to save them and they will protect her. She must keep the secret and be faithful. She ties a scarlet cord on her window. This represents the Blood of the Lamb that was spread over doorposts to protect the Israelites. Jesus is the Lamb of God. He spilled His blood to save us.
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1, NIV)
Don’t the words make you want to cry out to God? David is in the desert and experiencing real thirst. In today’s world, we too are thirsty for His Presence.
In the Numbers passage,
We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them. (Numbers 13:33, NIV)
We see problems as huge but to God, they are not. We must give God the problems and He will take care of them.
From Matthew. What a confusing passage that is.
I think what I heard is the Jesus is the New Testament church. We are of His body. We want to live with the mind of Christ. We don’t need buildings, idols or listening to man. We need to listen to God. We have freedom because we are Sons of God (children of God).
From those readings came this poem.
Freedom to Live
Jesus is a newness A freshness A thirst-quenching Drink
The old of Man’s rules Has past
Following Jesus Gives us the Freedom to Listen to God Ourselves
Jesus helps us to Understand scripture To read between The Lines
No longer shackled No longer bound We can live full To follow Jesus
Let’s step out And do the work He has called us To do
Do you need to kick start your creativity? A few years ago I wrote this post. But right now I needed to read it again. Maybe you do too.
The last month has been one of change — in my thinking, in my reading, in my writing and most of all in my decision to try to spend more time with my creative side.
After running and organizing a small Vacation Bible School this summer for the 7th time, I finally realized that this is what I LOVE. Truly love. But I also realize that I am not as young as I used to be. Physically the week pushed me beyond my limits. Thankfully God is good and in His strength I excelled.
But it also rekindled my desire to work in the creative arts and also with children. For the first time in many years, this year, I walked into a public school to work with the kids. I was invited to be an artist with Artists in the Schools in our community and gave 7 separate workshops for children in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 (ages 4–8). And I felt elated. (Exhausted too.)
Where do I go from here?
My desire is not just for myself. I want others to join me to find their creative side — parents and children.
I have decided to restart my 33 dots challenge (inspired by Meg Konovska). This time I would love others to join me. Who is interested? Even if you don’t share your results, the experience is exciting.
I am going to try to do 33 dots for 33 pictures. But I don’t plan to do this in 33 days. I have a number of them already. But yesterday I started again. I will do 33. And I will share them too.
The Plan of 33 Dots – One way to stir creativity
Take any sheet of white paper, and put down 33 random dots. Don’t look. Then after that, take a look and draw connecting lines between the dots without crossing any lines. Then look at the result. Turn the paper around. See if you can “see” anything. If not, put it down and come back later.
Since I am a Christian, I love to do this with prayer. I pray first. Then look. Then decide what I see. I know sometimes I have had to put it away for a time and come back later.
Step One — the dots and connecting – on the way to creativity
Step Two — the drawing
This is the part where I need to “see”. What can I see with those shapes and lines?
Step Three — the colouring
This is the result. I used watercolour on 140-pound paper.
Step four — the interpretation
I have learned that listening to God helps me see what He wants me to see.
I have called this painting “Everyman — Perseverance”.
These are my thoughts. You may seem something entirely different.
I notice that his hands are out and facing up. To me, this is lifting everything to God. And I try to make that posture.
He is walking forward. He is looking straight ahead.
The background is colourful but very distracting.
Do we get distracted in our daily lives? I do.
This is all the stuff that is around me and why I am pitching more and more. What do I really need anyway?
His eyes show me excitement and exhilaration. He is happy and anticipating good things. He is moving step by step.
But I also see one leg is lagging — almost being pulled along. I know this from the way things distract me. I want to keep moving forward but I am held up sometimes. Thank goodness my leg is attached to the rest of my body. And even though I might be straining at times, I will move forward.
Heavenly Father, I know that you have given each of us gifts but I also know that you have created us and given us the ability to create — whether in words, in pictures, in cooking, in sewing etc. Open our eyes to see and our ears to hear what you would have us create. We know we are called for a purpose and we are to find joy in our experiences. Help us to follow you, Jesus. In Your precious name I pray. Amen.
A while ago I wrote this article on another platform. I thought you would enjoy it and learn what a little book can teach us. It’s amazing what lessons we can learn from children’s books.
This past weekend I had the delightful job to read to my 3-year-old granddaughter. She chose “The Little Engine That Could”. Not only do I remember reading this book to my children but I remember reading it as a child. And I remember reading to my grade ones when I taught school.
The history of the book goes through several versions until Arnold Munk with the pen name of Watty Piper, wrote and had it published in 1930. Lois Lenski did the first pictures. An updated version, published in 1954 had colourful illustrations by George and Doris Hauman. This is the version I remember and the one that is on the children’s bookshelf.
As I read the story to my granddaughter I got excited about how the story built up emotion and taught lessons on the way.
The story is about a little train who wants to bring presents over the hill to children in another town. They are patiently and excitedly awaiting their gifts. However, on the way to the town, the little engine breaks down. The toys are very upset and the funny little clown sets off to find another train to help them.
As they go to the different trains asking for help, I thought about all the things we put faith in here on earth instead of what God would want us to.
Four Faith Lessons from Four Trains
1.) The first train has a Shiny New Engine:
We put much status into buying new things. There is always a new widget or gizmo that we want to have. Cellphones and computers top the list for new innovations and the need to have the latest model.
This release of new gizmos is gaining momentum each year.
When I stop to think about it we purchased our first computer in 1989 — it was an amazing TI99 4/A. And we watched it on our TV. (Hubby and I are trying to remember all this.) I know we purchased a used Apple IIe after that. I think I did some early programming on that machine. It couldn’t do much but it fascinated me.
But ever since those first computers, things have moved swiftly forward. Newer and better.
Do we look down on things that aren’t perfect and shiny; that aren’t new?
Personally, I love refurbishing old things to make them new. I like things that are made of wood not plastic.
When we were younger we didn’t take a car loan. Instead, we bought used cars and saved our money. As long as the car ran that’s all that mattered. We still often buy used cars because the depreciation on a new vehicle is ridiculous. Check it out before you decide on your next vehicle.
But the shiny New Engine didn’t want to help the little toy train because he was too special — too proud. He looked down on the little train and said a resounding “NO”.
2.) Next comes a Big Engine:
We always think might is right and power makes things happen. But if we look throughout history we see the powerful fall from their towers. They topple down. They can’t keep up the illusion.
What out: Listen to what the Bible teaches us
“Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ “But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day (Deuteronomy 8:17–18, The Message).”
Bigger is better, right? Let’s look at the monster homes of this age.
Why do we need so much space? What’s the purpose?
When we downsized from our family home (the first time), we bought a small townhome. I enjoyed the two years we lived there. There was more time to get out and do things — not being tied to looking after a big home.
Bigger isn’t better. Look at your needs, not at your wants. Enjoy what you have now. Save for the future. Take experiences (playing in the park, walking somewhere new) instead of putting out big bucks for new and big items.
I thought about the Christian church — bigger is not always better. In fact when you get so many people joining how can you be sure that they are in fellowship with one another?
A couple of years ago I volunteered to run a VBS at our church. From the first day, I caught a really bad cold and cough. I didn’t know how I was going to keep going. I kept praying. And I kept going.
The minister set up a microphone system so I could talk softly into it and the kids could hear me. Actually, I found the entire week filled with peace. The kids sensed the need to work well and quietly. We had fun.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13, NIV).”
But the Rusty Old Engine sighed and said he could not. He was too tired and weary.
4.) Lastly comes the Little Blue Engine;
A Little Blue Engine comes chugging merrily along. The dolls and toys don’t have to ask this train for help, she asks them what’s wrong. She tells them she isn’t very big and has never been over the mountain.
Do you sometimes feel that a job is too big for you to handle?
Do you feel overwhelmed with the details and difficulty of the task?
Well, this little engine can teach us lessons.
She thought of what the kids would be missing if this little train didn’t bring the gifts to the boys and girls on the other side of the mountain.
And then she said: I think I can. I think I can. It was a supreme effort but she kept chugging along saying — I think I can.
If there are times you don’t think you can do something — ask Jesus. He is right there to give you the strength, courage or inspiration to get the job done.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might (Ephesians 6:10, NIV).”
If there are times you need to go somewhere or do something you have never attempted, remember from scripture:
“but the righteous are bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1, NIV).”
And the Little Blue Engine pulled that train up the mountain and down into the town to deliver the presents to the boys and girls.
These were my discoveries as I read this book to my granddaughter. Certainly, there are 4 good life lessons to get from this tiny book.
Don’t be swayed by new things.
Bigger is not necessarily better.
Even when you feel unable to do a task, Jesus can strengthen you.
We are many in Christ, each member belongs to all the others.
Use your gifts wisely.
Use your time wisely.
We can change the world if we join together.
Reading from the stories of Joseph and Moses
To be worthy we need to use the gifts given to us and be content where God puts us.
Remember Joseph — he did not fret while in jail. He used his time wisely. Eventually, he saved the Israelites from starvation.
Moses could have died shortly after birth, but he was saved by his mother and sister. He grew up in the palace. God was preparing him to lead His people.
God is gathering the world together, through the Internet. Let’s not rant and rave.
Let’s write to show others Who God is.
Reading Psalm 124
Praising God for His Help and getting us out of trouble.
Praise the Lord,
who did not let their teeth tear us apart!
We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap.
The trap is broken, and we are free! Our help is from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:6–8, NLT)
May I pray for you and me?
Lord, help us to use the time You give us — wisely. Help us to look to You for direction as our help is truly from the Lord. Guide us, prepare us, transform us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.