Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Moving Forward


"The only unique contribution that we will make in this world will be born of creativity."
                                                                                             ~Brene Brown

I have struggled since last spring with what to do with this space. The thought has crossed my mind a time or ten, that maybe it was time to shut this blog down, and move forward with other projects. I felt like everything that I was writing was pointless. If you know anything about me by now, you know that I thrive on inspiring others, especially other creative women. My lack of inspiration seemed be contained to the writing arena. I was thriving in photographic inspiration, but to put together a worthy blog post it is helpful if the photos and the words inspire.


At the beginning of August, I started my temporary 365 self-portrait project. I could feel myself pulling farther and farther away from blogging. I was posting my daily photo on Instagram, and thoroughly enjoying having my project there. The community on Instagram is outstanding.

Shortly into the temporary 365, I found myself developing a character, and started writing in the third person, a style of writing I had never explored before. I found writing in the third person so extremely freeing. Throughout the month of August "She" continued to develop. The project was becoming about a glimpse into "Her" daily life, adventures, thoughts, and fears through small vignettes. Slowly the joy of writing was returning.


At the end of August, I re-evaluated my 365 project. I felt I had finally found the perfect way to combine my photography and my writing, something that I have long been searching for.  But I also knew, to truly the develop the stories I wanted to write, I could not be in the photo everyday for 365 days. At the beginning of September my permanent 365 project was born "Her Life in Vignettes".

Throughout September the words continued to come, and writing was bringing me joy again. But while I was having success writing stories as my character, there were still no words coming for the real me.

photo credit: Mallory Huizenga

At the beginning of October, one small, simple moment changed my writing life. My daughter, Mallory, was away for a weekend of creative time up north in our family's favorite place, the Leelanau Peninsula. She posted a picture on Instagram her first day there, of the view out the window of the airbnb studio she had rented for the weekend. Accompanying that photo was this verse: Galations 6:4-5 "Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life." 


The words of those two verses moved me in an unexplainable way. I do realize, that it was this particular wording taken from The Message Bible that made all the difference. Most of the Bibles in our house are the NIV version, which are definitely not geared towards the creative mind. I dug out my NIV Bible and here are the verses in that translation. "Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load." Definitely not as inspiring as The Message translation.

I let those verses sink into me for a few days, then on Tuesday, October 6, I began what I am calling Creative Meditation Journaling. Three pages of journaling each morning using Galations 6:4-5 as my meditation spark.


I realized I had stopped making an exploration of myself. I had stopped seeking inspiration to fuel me that I could then in turn process and share with others. The journaling is helping me explore what I am doing, what I want to do, and the plans I have for moving forward in my creative life.

I started seeking inspiration in the form of some long unplayed podcasts, books, and articles I had saved in my "articles to read" folder on my computer but had never taken the time to read. It is amazing what you find once you start exploring.


The journaling is helping me form ideas for new blog posts. I feel inspired and refreshed. I feel that I can be a source of inspiration for others once again, which, as I make a careful exploration of myself, is one of the things that still matters the most to me.



25 comments:

  1. So lovely to read your blog again and to rediscover your joy in writing. I'm looking forward to visiting you again soon.

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  2. Oh my GOSH! These verses! Whoa........I read them above and before moving forward in your post, I KNEW it was The Message! But I quickly pulled up Biblegateway and compared translations, journaling at least 3 while doing so, before allowing myself to read on!
    These verses are speaking to my heart deeply this morning Sarah - thank YOU for sharing them. My heart & mind have been exploring more & more as of late and I truly feel God led me to this post at this time to clear the cobwebs in my mind/heart & soul.
    Thank you girl!

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  3. Beautiful spirit in introspection . . .
    The Message Bible verse in Galatians is perfect. . .
    You certainly are . . . GIFT . . .

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  4. I love your photography and writing..You have always been a source of inspiration to me from the time I first found your blog :-)

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  5. Sarah, you've really pieced it all together with the Message verse! I need a copy of that because it always makes so much more sense. Love your thoughts, and the image from Mallory is so perfect, but I especially love you and your binoculars up top!! Thank you so much for sharing.

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  6. Wow. That first photo is completely out of focus, full of flare and glare and spots. Yet it's gorgeous - perfect - and I love it! I also love the gate, the wooden fence posts, and that last one - the simplicity and peace of it makes me want to just sit and stare at it, imagining myself there. Sarah, it's been such a joy to watch you grow over this year, as you've struggled to find your way forward. Both your photography and your writing have developed so much! Your efforts in both fields have developed your skills in a way that is really allowing your creative gifts to shine. You are a continual inspiration to me and, I'm sure, to others as well.

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  7. What can I say but, Yea for you! I may have to print out a poster of that particular verse for myself. Very timely.

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  8. Sarah, welcome back! I love this. Your writing is so amazing. I've missed the coffee shop chronicles and your insight of the people there. Mallory is a beautiful wonder. Thanks.

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  9. I too can relate to the Galations verse. And to your journey of late. And to the image of you with the binoculars. I also love how you put it: "striving to find the balance between intention and discovery…" Your blog is always a great source of inspiration Sarah!

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  10. Thank you for sharing this, especially the verse from Galatians. I needed those words today...and your images. Blessings to you

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  11. Your images have such a golden fall feel today, gorgeous. What a wonderful verse. I have never heard that verse from The Message Bible...wow. You have definitely inspired me today. :)

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  12. I always find your photos inspiring - words or no words. The verses are a wonderful base from which to launch a creative project as well.

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  13. I have The Message but don't pull it out as I do my ESV. That verse in Galatians needs further pondering on...I'm such a processor. Your blog has ALWAYS been rich with photographs and prose. Glad to have seen your post today. xo

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  14. Oh, goodness. . . . I needed this today. I struggled all day to be creative, but I think Creativity moved to Australia with Alexander (of "The Terrible, Horrible, No-good, Very Bad Day"). I think I need to work on the journaling more, too. I wonder how I can use this in my series on contemplative photography.

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  15. You never fail to inspire me with your beautiful photography and your words that always make me do some extra thinking! So glad to see you, I've missed you, as I don't do Instagram! I, too, like the translation of these verses. Once again, you've given me lots to think about and beauties to look at! Love the first one!

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  16. See... everyone is happy to see you blog again. I am glad you have found new inspiration.

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  17. It's obvious many of us needed that verse today, myself included. Your photos are always thoughtful and your words inspiring so we need you in blogland. You share your passion and God will do the rest.....

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  18. Creativity is a constant balancing act between satisfying yourself and receiving affirmation from others. As always, I find your photography, array of photography/writing projects, and especially blog posts both inspiring and engaging. Glad you have found some fortification for your journey.

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  19. I certainly can relate to this post. I've dropped off--and come back to--the blogosphere so many times in the last three years. I'm not at the ah-ha moment yet for total inspiration but our recent move, I do believe, is the beginning to some needed time to heal and re-group. I'm encouraged by your post and look forward to returning here in future.

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  20. there must be something in the air...seems that you (and me) aren't the only ones struggling with blogging...but I love the third person series you have been creating...it makes me want to know so much more about her life and what she is doing...I look forward to future posts...

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  21. Your blog post spoke to me because I have been struggling for some time about my blog. Just two days ago I was inspired to get back to it and focus in a different way. The Galations verse is now in my special book of quotations that inspire me. Thank you.

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  22. Sarah this was a wonderful post. - I found your photos to be extremely inspiring here today. One doesn't always need "words" in which to inspire someone else. The photo of the Fence just under your daughter's photo took my breath away. I do believe that Scripture can also inspire a person and I'm so glad you've found joy again in your writing, blogging and photography. Keep on sharing as it truly is inspiring.

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  23. Great and INSPIRING POST Sarah. I journal all of the time and it is amazing all of the creativity that can come out of this process. so many things that have happened in my life have been birthed in my journals. Love hearing about all of your projects so keep on blogging!

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  24. Wonderful post Sarah! You keep it up...write when you wish, of what you wish, of who you wish...but always write FOR yourself! As your true self evolves, words will come, photos will continue to inspire your writings...and we will all continue to be blessed with your presence here. Aloha

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  25. Sarah, you continue to be a source of inspiration to me, both your photography and your writing. I've kept a journal since I was 21, and sometimes it's a struggle to find a meaningful way to record each day. This post is genius... being creative is intensely personal, and the approach that works for one, might not work for another. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that, and this post does just that. Keep writing... I love reading your blog.

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Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)