Friday, February 5, 2016

Perspective and Other Wise Words

At a recent Non Instructional Day at our school, the presenter had some really good words of wisdom. I thought I would share some of them with you.

First, here is a new twist on the old 'glass half empty/half full' routine. I found this one really made me stop and think.

You are standing in a line at a bank. There are about fifty people around. A robber enters and fires his weapon. You get shot in the arm, but no one else is hurt. Would you consider yourself lucky or unlucky?

Here are a few other words of wisdom:

Let go of the things you can't control; look after the things you can. 

You can't raise the roof by lowering the floor.

Thank s to fellow staff member Stephanie Davies for these and many other good ideas presented during her mental health workshop.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

No Offence But You Can't Please Everyone

Have you ever heard the saying 'You can't please everyone'? This is absolutely true, especially within a Christian context. Some believers have very strict black and white boundaries about many issues that become the seeds for offence when others don't agree. The scriptures tell us to consider others above ourselves, but this doesn't always mean we are going to agree in every situation.

We are currently studying John Bevere's book BAIT OF SATAN in our Wednesday evening Bible Study. Learning to avoid the trap of offence is tricky stuff.

One of my early passions was working as a printmaker, specifically using the 'Intaglio' techniques invented during the Renaissance. Albrecht Durer, a personal favorite, was an early perfecter of this art form. In layman's terms, this is 'etching', although this word doesn't really encompass all the subtleties of the art. Although primarily a 'black and white' technique, Intaglio prints are anything but. Rich and subtle shades of gray give each piece life and depth. Durer's 'Praying Hands' is possibly his most famous. 

A 'black and white' portrayal of life, although sometimes compelling, eliminates all the other subtle shades in between. I'm not talking about compromise. There are certain truths that must be upheld, such as the deity of Christ or His statement that He is 'the way, the truth and the life'.

What I am talking about are all the other 'in-betweens'. Things that Christians argue over and end up splitting churches over that really have little or no eternal value. There is room for more than one opinion on these matters. As just one example, I'm thinking about certain content in some Christian fiction. Some want it squeaky clean while others prefer their fiction with a bit more realism. Who is right? 

The problem I see are with the people who choose to take offence on one side or the other. Everyone should have the right to choose what they read, watch, and other wise expose themselves to, but please don't get on a soap box and try to convince everyone else that you somehow have an exclusive on God's will. Not everyone likes 'Bonnet' romance and not everyone likes dystopian fiction. But they both have an audience, and dare I say, a place within the larger genre of Christian fiction.

I could go on to talk about musical styles, the length of the church service, prophesying in church ... It can get messy. My advice? Writers keep on writing. Keep on praying. Keep on doing what you feel God has called you to do. Not everyone is going to like it, but that's okay. In the end, we all have to answer to one and only one - the Almighty Himself.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Origins of 'Expression Express'

It's been six plus years since I started blogging at 'Expression Express'. In that time I've written some good examples of what not to do (a.k.a. terrible posts), but there have also been a lot of good ones. As I explained in last Wednesday's post, I have started a new project, compiling the posts that I think are worth saving into one Scrivener document. Who knows? It might become a book someday. In the meantime, I've dug up some interesting articles. Today I'd like to share one that explains the origins of the name for this blog. Enjoy.

When I first decided to start this blog, I was right in the middle of a series of paintings based on a song my mother used to sing called 'The Sleepy Town Express'. It's an old song from the 30's written by the same songwriter that wrote 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town'.

The song itself has become almost iconic in my family. My mother sang it to me and all my siblings as well as her nieces, and then, of course, to her grandchildren and great grandchildren. In order to fully understand where I am going, you need to know that my mom was truly an eccentric. We lovingly called her artsy ways 'The Doreen Method - a joke, but also a very serious compliment if you knew her the way I did.

Anyway, when my mother was on her death bed (she had dementia for a number of years before her death) I had just arrived to take over my 'watch' during the night. I live quite some distance away, so while the rest of the family had been keeping vigil for several days, I had not seen her for several months. I offered to stay up that first night so the others could go home and get some rest. Some time during the night, as I sat by her bed just holding her hand, I began singing the familiar song.  It was during the singing of this lullaby that my mother passed on into heaven.

When I recounted later what had happened, both of my sisters and my two female cousins reported that they had awakened at that exact moment 'dreaming' the song. Talk about one of those strange, unexplainable moments. Perhaps my mother's way of saying good-by.

In any case, I decided it was time to fulfill a long time dream, which was to illustrate a children's book based on 'The Sleepy Town Express'. I began a series of paintings and it was at that time that I decided to start my blog. I guess I had 'Trains on the Brain', plus, it does express my passion for all things creative. The tagline at the top of this page says "the creative process from a Christian perspective' and that's really what I'm all about. I love the arts, I love to express myself through the arts, and I also love God. For me, the two go together for He is the ultimate Creator. I suppose you could say I am my mother's daughter - and proud of it!

*Since this post originally went live several years ago, The Sleepytown Express has become a reality and can be purchased at Amazon and elsewhere. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Lists, Snowballs, and Brain Dumps - January 2016 Links

Here are some links to the places where I have been mentioned on the web, or where I post regularly on other blogs.

On January 15, my 'Inscribe Writers Online' post went up called "Making a List and Leaving It". It is about letting God be in control of your goals this year.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm really making progress toward my writing goals... On January 27, at 'Canadian Writers Who Are Christian', I wrote a post entitled The Snow Ball Effect. (The Word Guild's blog) 

Finally, here is a post about a very simple yet useful method - the 'Brain Dump'. Read about it at the Inscribe professional blog. The Brain Dump was posted on January 29.