A Manifesto for the Creative

A Manifesto for the Create-ive (1)For the one who must create or die. For the maker of art, poetry, word, perspective, imagination and life. For the inventor of a new idea right on the tip of your tongue, bubbling up to birth a need, a question, an answer.

You create because this is what you were made to do. A natural gifting to form something from nothing. A way of seeing the world and responding in kind with what we need more of: light. Contrast. Truth. A shift in thinking. A fresh way of living.

This is a manifesto for the untethered heart.

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I will create with my need in mind, because that is what connects me to the world.

I will make something better: to entertain, inspire, provoke, and change.

I will startle the world with the beauty I’ve gathered, a bouquet.

I will create for courage, truth, and grace. All else is falsehood.

I will form life, not death. It will breathe oxygen into dry bones and make them leap again.

I will forge a path to fight evil with such honesty, that it will make the onlooker cry.

I will create to make sense of pain and to ease suffering.

I will make to be transparent so and that one person will know they are not alone.

I will infuse meaning into void.

I will design because tomorrow is not guaranteed, art gets stolen, and beauty gets suffocated.

I will shape substance to change the world.

I will leave a mark, unforgettable, fierce, and full of love.

Frederic Chopin said, “I shall create a new world for myself.” I disagree on this account:

I will create not only for myself, but also for you.//

Be Creative with Us

Fridays I hang with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday community in a totally creative rush of typing as we write on one word. If you create, join us. (// indicates the start and stop of five minutes.)

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The Glorious Wooing: How God’s Beauty Wins Human Hearts

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God is terribly selfish. He creates a vibrant, beating heart of a world, puts people on it, and says, “Love me.” God’s beauty is not only for our good, but for his. Revolutionary.

This is the last week of Beauty Rewrites. Say what? It’s been bold, tender, and absolutely beautiful. Ludavia Harvey, Emily Conrad, and I have opened our hearts to you. We’ve shared honestly about the flab of post-baby bodies, bravely baring our faces au natural to the world, and being a beauty queen is not all its cracked up to be. I’ve dug deep into my own story and learned from these bold women that God’s beauty is so far beyond anything I’ve ever imagined.

If you missed a post, catch up here.

Today Emily closes out the series with how God draws us straight to himself. Maybe its selfish, but I think its love. That’s always pretty crazy.

God’s Beauty is a Stunning Idea

God is in the business of winning us to his heart and turning our idea of beauty right on its head. Emily says,

If the stunningly beautiful and glorious God of the universe woos us to Himself not with the beauty of his appearance but instead with the beauty of who He is, his steadfast love, his mercy, his grace, isn’t it silly of us to try to attract the world with long eyelashes and skinny waists?

Follow me to Emily’s blog to read the rest.

Beauty Rewrites

Beauty Rewrites is a body image series for women to help us get on good terms with our bodies. Writers include Ludavia Harvey at NiftyBetty.com, Emily Conrad, and Christina Hubbard at Creative and Free. We hope this series inspires us all to stop pursuing perfection and learn to embrace what’s true and sacredly beautiful about ourselves. Forget ideal. Embrace the real.Copy of Beauty Rewrites (1)

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Why I’m Not Afraid of Aging Anymore

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I got my first gray hair at 27. Yes, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. I was playing on my parents’ deck with my daughter who was not even 2. That day I was horrified with the wiry reality sticking out from my crown like it was a bug antennae: I was aging.

In the back of my mind, I always knew someday I’d get varicose veins like everyone else in the family and crows’ feet around my eyes. But those were always some days.

Many of us attack our hair monthly with a plastic bottle of dye and gloves and smooth on creams to combat the sag and the crinklies. Time is marching forward, the world is changing, but we are doing everything in our power to freeze ourselves, hopelessly.

It’s a law of nature, and still, we fight it.

We know it, but we don’t KNOW it. Part of growing older is facing reality, gracing in wisdom, and embracing the future. (Easier said than done in a culture obsessed with the sexy kind of beauty.)

In recent years, I’ve befriended many strong older women. Their beauty and strength takes my breath away. They wear their gray hair boldly, love their families fiercely, and bring grace and strength to the world around them. These women are gritty and glorious! They teach me to care less about the world and more about what matters. They have endured cancer, grief, and heartache and have come out swinging. They know age spots and stretch marks are well-earned battle scars, each a story of God’s provision.

Once, I thought an older woman had to hide her imperfections and getting older was all grays, cellulite, flab, age spots, losing bone density, and shriveling up into oblivion. Strong grace-filled women have show me aging is the art of becoming the best kind of beautiful.

Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.

–Betty Friedan

A well-aged woman is like a bottle of fine wine, to be savored and revered. Her life has strength and influence, a beauty that makes you remember who you want to be, and that is nothing to be afraid of.

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Beauty Rewrites

Beauty Rewrites is a body image series for women to help us get on good terms with our bodies. Join us her every Tuesday through July with stories from Ludavia Harvey at NiftyBetty.com, Emily Conrad, and Christina Hubbard at Creative and Free. We hope this series inspires us all to stop pursuing perfection and learn to embrace what’s true and sacredly beautiful about ourselves. Forget ideal. Embrace the real.

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Love Your Bod for Its Amazing Job

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“Eat it or wear it,” is a phrase a family member used on his kids. The implication was clear: consume the food set before you or be adorned with the contents of your plate. Unfortunate if pea soup was on the dinner menu. We don’t get the same choice with our bodies. We have to wear the skin we’ve been given. (What we eat is another matter entirely.) Love your body or hate it.

Our bodies aren’t a bowl or a plate we can push away in disgust. As we stretch and shrink, lose and gain, firm up or get more flabby, we can easily get disheartened when we don’t look like our ideal body or our younger, fitter selves.

How to Love Your Body

Ludavia Harvey offers an simple mindset: remember why you have a body and what it was made to do.

The exercising and eating right isn’t just for losing weight; it’s for a higher purpose.

Are you a mom? You give up your body for the team: enduring extra pounds for a little bambino and perhaps the marathon of nursing too. Are you a wife? You love your husband by getting your hot bod in fabulous shape. Are you a friend, a mentor, a daughter? You give service and love to the world so you eat greens like a mean veggie-lovin’ machine.

It’s for love. You can eat pea soup or wear it, but your body is yours as long as you live. As I’ve said to my own kids at dinner time, “Be thankful for what you’ve been given.”

Read Ludavia’s full post here.

Beauty Rewrites

Beauty Rewrites is a body image series for women to help us get on good terms with our bodies. Join us her every Tuesday through July with stories from Ludavia Harvey at NiftyBetty.com, Emily Conrad, and Christina Hubbard at Creative and Free. We hope this series inspires us all to stop pursuing perfection and learn to embrace what’s true and sacredly beautiful about ourselves. Forget ideal. Embrace the real.

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Build a Strong Faith Story One Block at a Time

This week I’m on the Throwing Pinecones podcast with Dusty Hegge talking about finding purpose, balance, and community. I share about experiencing God in the midst of struggle, falling in love with my husband, and reclaiming identity in motherhood. Take a listen.

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Summer is almost halfway done: time to soak up every bit of sun and life with our tribe. If you want a gameplan to make the most of the summer days while going deeper with God, check out my ebook: Five Ways to Love Like You Mean It. Subscribe to my Friday newsletter for a free copy or get it on Amazon.

It’s also time for Five Minute Friday (albeit a day late). Our word is BUILD. 

//When we tell our stories through words, written or spoken, we change the way we see ourselves. The reflection and reframing of situations and struggles are rebuilt, like a tower of plastic blocks. We build something new each time.

Recently my son Kyle and I stacked colorful Tetris-like shapes one on top of another in a game of Jenga. Each piece has a different composition of squares: some L-shaped, rectangular, square, and one is the formation of the letter 4. It’s challenging to pile them carefully, but the kicker is: once the tower is built, it’s time to start pulling out pieces to see if the tower will stand. Each piece removed reveals where the weakness and strength of the tower resides.//

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Telling stories of life and faith is like that. We pull pieces out and see what is holding us up: where our core strength comes from, what needs to be built better next time, and how God’s light still shines when we’ve got holes in our foundation. Of course, we’re going to crash. Like my son begs after each tower that tumbles, “Again! Again!” Let’s pick them up and start building something new.

To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, “A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God.” –Brennan Manning

Five Minute Friday

Every Friday I join Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday community in a flash-mob of creative composition. We write for five minutes on one word. If you’re an aspiring writer, I hope you’ll join us. (// indicates the start and stop of five minutes.)

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How to Declare Independence from Sexy Beauty (by Emily Conrad)

it seems modesty is a dying art, but when we believe in our own true beauty and value, we don’t have to flaunt everything we’ve got.Go to the mall or the grocery store, or simply check the mailbox. You’ll see what none of us escape, on ads, signs, magazines, and catalogs: sexy beauty sells. It entices, captures our attention, and informs how we spend our money. Is it possible to declare our independence from this pressure?

Even as a wife and mom, sometimes I feel like dressing in a revealing way will help me accomplish something I couldn’t get by being myself. Other times, spending money on anti-cellulite cream seems like it will make me like myself more.

Emily Conrad gives a compelling argument as to why we should free ourselves from this cultural norm: for our girls, our boys, our men, and ourselves.

“If we don’t live like there’s more to a woman than how she looks, why should they? The world needs more men who treat women (and their bodies) with real love and respect.”

Yes, we can change a sexually-saturated society.

Emily suggests fabulous ways to make a lasting, marked difference for ourselves and those around us. It starts with a conversation with our kids and families: complimenting real beauty. How we dress, where we shop, and the way we carry ourselves are all equally important. Then there’s the spiritual side of sexy beauty: how does God want me to judge others less and hold myself more responsible? If that’s not convicting, I don’t know what is.

I love what she says, “Modesty is a dying art…We don’t have to flaunt everything we’ve got.”

Join the conversation and read the rest here.

Beauty Rewrites

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Beauty Rewrites is a body image series for women to help us get on good terms with our bodies. Join us every Tuesday with stories from Ludavia Harvey at NiftyBetty.com, Emily Conrad, and Christina Hubbard at Creative and Free. We hope this series inspires us all to stop pursuing perfection and learn to embrace what’s true and sacredly beautiful about ourselves.

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5 Ways To Love Like You Mean It