As a writer and poet I am daily looking for inspiration. Sometimes, inspiration comes in those unexpected moments of seeing a perfectly rounded drop of dew making a prism on a flower petal. You may only catch a glimpse out of the corner of your eye as you are rushing out the door to a high pressure meeting. It is the Creator’s way of saying slow down, savor the moment, I am here, I am with you. You are loved beyond measure. You walk in my favor.
At other times, inspiration comes tethered to a tiny fragment of conversation overheard in the corner of your favorite coffee shop as you are hovering over a frothy pumpkin latte. At such a time, you frantically search your pockets for any scrap of paper to scribble down and capture the perfection of the phasing before it escapes you and disappears as quickly as the steam suspended over your latte.
Finally, inspiration arrives like a freight train, that knocks you down and takes your breath away merely by the percussion of it. Like the drenched hiker who took the inspiring photo I posted, while he was plodding up a trail. He rounded a corner at the pristine moment in time when a rainbow was once again proclaiming its covenant, relentlessly brilliant against the backdrop of granite crags.
March is a month of transitions and contrasts. Spring doesn’t officially arrive until the 20th, but, you can feel the struggle for transition early on, both externally in nature and internally in your soul. Winter blusters in protest while Spring relentlessly awakens. Change is coming, it is inevitable. For our peace we must embrace it with a sweet anticipation of something good.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning,
but, you can start where you are and change
the ending—” C. S. Lewis
Harmony in Contrast
Brown crackle leaves
litter the ground,
Remnants of Winter
Lavender lilacs bloom
with the audacity
of an artful lover,
Perfuming the breeze
with the fragrance of
Spring whispers inspiration at every turn. The bloom of each flower gives promise of
One of the most important components to success is perseverance. Don’t stop! Winston Churchill said: “If you are going through hell, keep going!” One author I knew submitted his manuscript 49 times, on the 50th submission his manuscript was accepted. He just had to find the right moment and the right fit.
Dare to pause, breathe deeply, and grab a divinely inspired dream!
Winter Poem M. June Yates
In too late Winter a purple crocus peeps forth beneath a gossamer blanket of snow to proclaim undaunted the coming of Spring.
Location! Location! It’s not just of upmost importance in the world of real estate. When your creativity and problem solving ability are at an all time low, try a change in location. One such location that helps me summon my Muse is a local coffeehouse that oozes with charm. I often make a point of stopping there when I am in town or when I get stuck creatively. It’s a great find! It meets several of my personal criteria. It is clean, the food is fresh, and the decor is a fascinating assortment of repurposed objects that would be the envy of any trendy interior decorating firm. (The decorators in this case are a mother/daughter team that see ingenious possibilities in “found objects”.) The staff is friendly and accommodating (they even decorate my hot beverages). It’s social without being intrusive. I now know several of the people who frequent there. But, most importantly, the coffee is delicious, they allow me to run a tab, settle into a cozy, out of the way table and get into the zone. The zone, is what I call that mysterious place in a person’s head where creative juices are flowing and the imagination is unfettered. The background noise is a nice balance between white noise and interesting fragments of conversation. I relax, and soon hear the scratch of my pencil across the page. I am unstuck!
When you are in a dry place, try a change of location. It may be that special place in a park, coffeehouse or even under a shade tree in your backyard. When you arrive there you will know it!
If you are questioning the best use of your time in what may be the Big Blizzard of 2021, I found some interesting answers. Aside from keeping warm and cozy by a crackling fire in the evening we may have to choose between randomly searching the television or un-shelving a book. The following research may sway you.
Only 6 minutes of reading reduces stress by 68 per cent according to researchers at Sussex University. Reading beat out other relaxing activities, including listening to music, having a spot of tea, and taking a walk. In addition to calming the nerves, reading increases focus and concentration. Alzheimer is 2.5x less likely to appear in people who read while watching TV was seen as a risk factor. A long term study in Japan of 276 children found that the more hours of TV watched, the lower the verbal and reasoning skills became. Marked changes in developing young brains occurred coupled with more aggressive behavior. These negative effects were shown regardless of gender or economic background.
Television is designed to be passive. You just sit back and watch everything unfold without effort on your part.
Television is fast moving. You are less likely to stop and reflect.
Many popular program scripts use short simple sentences of 4th grade level.
Watching television only requires short bursts of concentration that result in poor focus and lower IQ.
Provides mental stimulation that slows down memory loss.
Readers have to concentrate on what is being said and think through concepts in a book.
We are forced to use our imagination to fill in the gaps.
Increases vocabulary which translates to better writing skills.
Apparently, a study from Emory University even found reading novels created heightened connectivity in the brain which made you smarter over time, more interesting, and attractive!
In search of inspiration for a writing assignment I found myself on a road that is seldom traveled these days. The assignment was to write a poem about a school. In my search, I encountered a gray haired old man with his grandson. The old man pointed with a brown, weathered hand to go a little further down the road as a look of nostalgia crossed his face. “You can’t miss it!” he said. Although, I drove past it twice. Finally, I found a new, expensive looking road sign by the road that paid homage to a school that was long past its glory, hidden in a tangle of overgrown trees and weeds. I wondered what the ideals and world experiences had been for the children who had attended this school. As they had learned the 3 R’s and read stories of bravery, God, and patriotism, children across the sea were being taught something quite different. Little did they know that they were headed for a clash of ideas that became WWII.
Greene Township School (1925-1967)
The pride of Greene Township in 1924, Made sturdy and tall with brick and varnished oak, Freshly washed faces, young with hope, Chant with hands on their hearts, The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, Heads bowed in morning prayer, Reading stories intertwined, with honor and valor, It will serve them well. For brown- shirted boys and Frauleins across the ocean, Are chanting too. As yet the Nazi war machine is only a dream, The Sleeping Giant not yet awakened, Pearl Harbor yet holds ships on a tranquil sea. Today these stoic bricks testify of their courage, While weeds and scrub trees work to forget. But, a memory lives on, in the hearts of their children.
If you listen to media at all, you know that stress is a killer. It is detrimental to our health and psyche. Stress opens the door to diseases that can shorten our lives. Our Creator wants us to consider the lily. Metaphorically speaking, the lily doesn’t worry! It is grounded, provided for and nourished by the soil. It is refreshed by the rain and rejoices in the sun that its Creator lavishes upon it. It has a glorious appearance that it grew into with no particular striving or toil of its own, yet the end result is glorious!
There are benefits to taking a more lighthearted approach to life. Trust that if you jump a net will be there to catch you. Michael Powell states in his book, How to Boost Your Brain, that laughter really is good medicine. Not only does laughter reduce stress, boost your immune system, improve your relationships, and give you a sense of well-being. It can actually grow brain cells and increase your life expectancy.
Surprisingly, according to the Michigan Neurosurgical Institute the body really can’t tell the difference between a fake side- splitting laugh and a real one. The body still takes this cue to release dopamine (the feel good chemical) and grow your hippocampus (that part of our brain we need to grow to prevent dementia). Dr. Avery Jackson, in his book The God Prescription states that as an added benefit when laughter is coupled with just 30 minutes of walking or other form of exercise, pain levels are reduced comparable to taking a pill.
The next time you have a flat tire, pray no one is looking, then laugh good and loud at the whole situation that is trying to steal your joy, before you roll up your sleeves.
(Please Note: This was previously posted under the title “Consider the Lily; Laugh and Move.”)
When a bowl or treasured object falls and breaks into pieces, the human tendency is to throw it away angrily coupled with a tinge of hopelessness. Regret and self- condemnation soon attach itself to each shattered shard as it gets tossed into the trash. It is now worthless and without value. Sometimes, we feel it is the same way about our negative life experiences.
Yet, there is an alternative, consider “the art of the precious scars.” It is a Japanese practice that highlights and enhances each break. Thus, adding value and beauty to each broken piece. It is called Kinsugi, literally, golden (“kin”) and repair (“sugi”) The Japanese art teaches that broken vessels are not something to hide [in shame] but, rather to display in pride. Repaired with gold, the flaw is seen as a unique piece of the object’s history, which only adds to its beauty.
This can serve as a beautiful example of how to handle traumatic events in our own lives. Kinsugi is the essence of resilience. We become stronger. It makes each person more unique and valuable. It is the “art of the precious scars.” Consider this in your quiet time when you feel broken. Your Creator will give a new, more beautiful purpose to your pain.
As we begin to look with hope toward the new year and formulate resolutions as to how we might grow in a positive way, research shows that a good habit can be established in 21 days. A bad habit can be eradicated in the same amount of time. In other words, you are only 21 days away from an inspired future.
Interestingly, experts say the best way to spot counterfeit currency is not to study the markings of a worthless imitation, but to imprint the image of the authentic bill in your brain. With this example in mind, I started to wonder how the habits of successful people compared to the habits of unsuccessful ones. The following list is what I found. Perhaps you can incorporate these successful habits into your lifestyle in the coming year. Remember that “Best friends are there for every new beginning”.
One of the rituals I do that speaks of the Christmas season to my heart is when I take down one of my favorite tea sets from my china cabinet. I have other china sets that are ornate and gilded in gold that belonged to generations past. But, this one is decorated simply with holly leaves so in my mind it is reserved for the winter. It isn’t a family heir loom, it is just a set that I had admired for a long time and then one day I stepped out and purchased it for the pure joy of it! It reflects my taste because it has the beauty of function and simplicity. As the years pass, it brings back fond memories of sipping my favorite tea (Teavana white chocolate peppermint or DAVIDsTEA Candy Cane Crush) by the warmth of a crackling fireplace while being transported to another era though the pages of a well-written Gothic novel. At other times, this tea set brings back remembrance of lively conversations in a room filled with laughter as I served tea and holiday treats to others.
Be inspired to create some new traditions along with treasured possessions that reflect your own very special memories. Merry Christmas!
(Note: Originally posted under the title “Create Your Own Christmas Traditions.”)
Hundreds of shooting stars will burst across the night sky this week before the heavenly phenomenon when Saturn and Jupiter “kiss” on December 21, creating the first Christmas Star in 800 years. At midnight on December 21, the two stars will look like they have become one.
The occurrence of the Christmas Star is so rare that astronomers say it won’t be seen again for 60 years, making it a once in a lifetime event for star gazers and lovers.
Look up and be inspired and awestruck by the wonder of Creation.