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Where a Creative’s Journey Begins

By Jenny Fulton

It begins deep within the heart of the artist.

There is a whisper, an idea; it stems from the spiritual depth of a being.

It is a voice yearning to be expressed.

-Jenny Fulton

For as long as I can remember, storytelling has been a part of me. When I was no more than four-years-old, I would draw pictures that had very detailed storylines.

“Come hewoo, Mommy,” I’d say. “Look at my pictoow. Look at what’s happening!”

A Child’s Story

Mommy would come, pencil in hand, ready to patiently dictate the story she knew I was about to tell her.

“The smoke is puffing up. The lightening is flashing. A tornado came up and make the smoke even higher. A flash of lightening filled the sky. The little girl was in her playhouse. She was frightened. Then she benembold [remembered] that Jesus was taking care of her. She knew that Jesus was by her even though she could not see Him. Then the storm went away because Jesus, said, ‘Quiet down storm, the little girl is frightened.’ So the storm quieted down and so the little girl smiled. The little girl’s name was Jenny.”

My head was full of words and stories that couldn’t seem to be contained, whether that release came by means of paper and pencil, or through playing pretend.

I certainly wasn’t the only creative in our house.

Some form of cross-stitch would usually be lying within reach of my mom’s hand. Sometimes she’d get out her autoharp and sing. She taught us to sing and harmonize with her.

My dad would often be working on some craft or other. Sometimes it was a piece of wood or leather that he chiseled and worked designs into. Sometimes it was beadwork or jewelry that took shape under his artisan hands. My favorite times were when he’d get out his banjo or guitar and play away in answer to some melody that danced through his heart and flowed out through his spirit by means of the notes played upon strings.

I loved those times of singing or listening to the music, loved how my soul seemed to soar and connect in joy with God.

As I grew older, my love for both music and writing grew. I learned how to play the guitar so I could sing and enjoy its sound anytime I wanted.

I wrote because, I couldn’t keep from doing so.

Thoughts unknown

Words unspoken

A universe waiting to be explored but lacking a vehicle to take me there

Until my fingers picked up the pen and unlocked my unspoken soul

I was known, throughout my school days, as the quiet one.  Parent-teacher conferences would generally include some version of, “Jenny is a great student, but I just wish she would speak up more in class.”

At some point, I realized that I didn’t want to speak up unless I knew exactly what I was going to say and how I was going to say it.  Socially, I was the same way.  My mind would play out a million options for the conversation and analyze each possibility, along with the potential outcomes.  By the time it settled on one it deemed “safe,” the real conversation had already moved on.

Everything was different when I was alone and could pick up a beautiful, blank sheet of paper.  My fingers would reach down, pick up the pen, and say for me on paper what I could never seem to say in person.  Thoughts that were too numerous and too complicated to understand suddenly came pouring out through my fingers.   Things that didn’t make sense in my brain suddenly made sense on paper.  My spirit was given full, unhindered access as it raced through the pen and revealed itself in visible words.

In these moments, I was free.

My thoughts were known.

My spirit was given a voice.

I have believed in and followed God since I was very young – at least 5-years-old, if not younger, if my early stories are any indication. As I grew, I did the things good Christians are told to do: I prayed and read my Bible regularly. While those practices are good and they helped me grow in my relationship with and knowledge of God, it was those moments of immersing myself in music or writing that made me feel the most connected to Him.

As Laura Bartnick writes in her book, Welcome to the Shivoo,

In the beginning, God revealed Himself by creating. Apparently, this was His heart’s desire.

When I create, when we create from a Heart that loved us, we connect to this Heart in a strong, almost tangible way, as two beings whose camaraderie is strengthened by partaking in the joy of creation. We call this creativity, this similar activity. And, God’s Word says He created humanity in His own image. We are creatives because He is the Creative.

Like all other creatives, this is where my journey as a creative began. In the beginning, created in the image of God.

Little did I know where or how God would use my gifts in the future.

Psalm 45:1

My heart overflows with a good theme;

I address my verses to the King;

My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.[1]

 

Psalm 33:1-2

Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming to the upright.

Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;

Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.[2

Indian woman an angel and a child
Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Goodbye, children’s book

[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ps 45:1.

[2] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ps 33:1–2.

polished beach glass rough and tumble
book review, memoir, op-ed, resurrection, Tonya Jewel Blessing, Using color

Primary and Secondary Colors

” Just like numbers have significance in Scripture, so do colors.”

Primary Colors and Biblical Meanings

In nature, there are three primary colors, red, yellow, and blue. These cannot be formed by mixing any other colors. These colors come from Earth itself.

In the Bible, the Hebrew word for red actually means red clay. It is the root word for mankind. The second primary color is yellow. Yellow is associated with fire and the purification process. Blue is the third primary color. It spiritually signifies the healing power of God.

Secondary Colors and Biblical Meanings

Green is obtained by mixing yellow (trials) with blue (Word of God). Therefore, the biblical meaning of the color green is growth.  The idea of immortality even through the heat of the sun and the fire of trials is embodied because of the root of the word (The leaf shall not wither – Psalm 1:3). Green is also symbolic of resurrection, though we are dead, yet we shall live.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” –  John 11:25

Purple is obtained by mixing red (flesh) and blue (word of God). The resultant color is purple meaning in the Bible royalty or priesthood. Orange is obtained by mixing red (flesh) and yellow (trials) and means deliverance. Learn more about the meaning of colors in Jacob Olesen’s article, https://www.color-meanings.com/biblical-meaning

My great-nephew, who is in first grade, recently gave me a lesson on the differences between primary and secondary colors. While he was sharing his teacher’s thoughts, I began to think about the words primary and secondary and how they relate to my spiritual life.
 
When I first arrived in South Africa, I was a primary color. I was in the forefront blazing trails with others following behind. It came with the job of pioneering a ministry. As Strong Cross Ministries developed, I became a secondary color. Others came alongside and unique colors and hues were created.
 
Both primary and secondary colors are beautiful in their own right. God created these colors and in the colors of a rainbow, we see them blended in splendor and excellence by Him. I prefer the obscure and divinely different colors that appear when God works with nature and people and when people work together combining their efforts for the Kingdom of God.

Every author at Capture Books has a unique voice.  God has called each of us to write with uniquely colorful purposes. Together, I think we make a fabulous publishing group, leading in primary ways, and helping each other succeed.

An experienced blogger and writer is about to have her first children’s title published by Capture Books. In an instant, she will graduate from being a fine blogger to being an amazing author!  She will be holding her dream in her hands. I understand the emotion when the rainbow of promise becomes reality. Her picture book is full of the colors of the Navajo Nation, skillfully depicted by a watercolor artist, Indra Grace Hunter. The story itself shines in my mind as ethereal and green for the resurrection. You shouldn’t miss this wonderful story. Be on the lookout for the picture book, Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Good-bye by Jenny Fulton.
 
We are living in unusual times. Whether our writing in this season is depicted in the nature of a primary color, secondary color, or a unique indescribable shade, use your colors for strength and joy in our Creative God.  You know what? Colors may feel blurred. We need to remind ourselves that the God who created color has purpose and clarity.

Tonya Jewel Blessing

Soothing Rain is a devotional written by Tonya Blessing and Sue Summers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonya is the co-founder/director of Strong Cross Ministries (SCM).

She and her husband currently reside in South Africa, where they assist local leaders in helping their communities. She is also an author of two novels and the co-author of a resource book for women in Christian leadership. Tonya is a national and international speaker. She is especially passionate about helping women grow in Christ.

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Tonya Jewel Blessing
2270 Jolly Oak Rd, Suite 2
Okemos, MI 48864

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Psalm 1 lyric excerpt sung to the hymn tune, This Is My Father’s World: Like a little tree will thrive Planted by the water’s side, In season it will yield its fruit, How green its leaves abide! See how these roots take hold, Set against the roots that fail, Swept up like chaff upon the wind, The withered roots shall sail.

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Writer Loses Job; Keeps Pen – Matthew’s Story

How important is taking a moment to listen? Can listening help you reinvent yourself?

One story about these subjects, for me, is told about a worker who lost his tax collecting job. Everything was gone: his income, his years of education, his sense of purpose. He’d been a well-known businessman. Some would say formidable.

The one thing he took away from that career was his pen.

That pen? This guy repurposed it for writing stories that he learned by listening and watching.  His work would be published and passed down to generations of readers.

By all accounts, this author did not make money from his stories.

Something of greater value emerged: his legacy.

The stories became powerful influencers for good: affirmations, encouragement, purpose-filled texts to uplift, to sustain.

I’ve always liked this story. It is timeless. Relatable. Unique yet universal.
We are all repurposing our gifts, just like this writer dude from ancient times.

What is Your Next Must-Read?

It’s amazing, really, this human capacity to listen, adapt, and redirect our energy;

  • To release what we’d planned on and embrace what is, a busy person will lean down to a little person.
  • To be grateful we have paychecks and share a bit while others are still waiting for help.
  • To shift our perspective from Planning as normal to Adapting to what is needed now.
  • To walk away from everything familiar and step into the Unknown.

Perhaps, in a way, we are plying our pens – writing our own stories for our children to read and re-read. Like the apostle Matthew did.

My next book is also my first children’s story. It’s a picture book about listening.  It is also about the sweet lingering ability of dogs and their humans.  It has been released on Kindle, and will soon be accompanied by a paperback version and hopefully, the entire hardcover series because I’m reinventing myself.

Some childhood stories stick with you like bright, bobbing buoys in uncharted seas. They serve as vivid markers as we navigate our days. If you would like to know more about how to share your stories with others, or how to listen closely, please contact me or read my new book.

Kathy Joy, author/blogger/event speaker

Children’s book author of Will You Hold My Story? A Story about Listening for Children and Adults

Click through to Amazon’s Learn More page here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RLV59WH/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What is Your Next Must-Read?

©2020 Capture Books and its authors are happily represented by the publicity of Books for Bonding Hearts where you will find novels, memoirs, gift books, and several children’s books of high literary quality.

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Home-Baked-Abstinence

The last time I remember baking a dessert from scratch was three years into marriage, now 26 years ago.

I’d invited the whole family over for Thanksgiving.  The sun was pouring through the windows, the feast was complete with smiling expectant faces for the promising desserts, when I brought out the traditional pies plus one.  The South African milk tart had become my favorite having lived and worked in that country a few years earlier, and I was eager to share it with everyone I loved back home.

In the midst of preparing everything needed for our Thanksgiving party, I’d singed the milk needed for the tart.  “Oh, well,” I thought, “it won’t hurt much.”  Quickly pouring it out of the over-heated pan, into the crust, I finished the milk tart.

But, it did matter. Quite a lot. Sampling the tart, the nervous hostess, who was me, was forced to alert everyone else to avoid it.

For some reason, this bitter fail colored all of my future baking interests.  Oh, I’ve made meal after meal over my thirty years of marriage, but I never brought out the sugar and softened butter, the vanilla, or any of my other favorite ingredients.  Besides, I was always on the plump side, and I hoped the discipline of avoiding home-cooked yummies would help the situation.

About two years ago, I found an interesting cookie cutter rolling pin at a Goodwill store and it inspired me to try to bake the sugar cookies that just can’t be imitated by store purchases. Maybe it was for candy cutting. Either way, it would be fun, I decided. When we cleaned out the house last year, my husband tried to toss these kinds of things he’d never seen me use, but he’d never seen my yearning for home-baked cookies either.

I salvaged the cookie cutter

Inside, stood my defiant self sticking out my tongue at the multi-billion weight-loss industry. I was going to bake something yummy.

Still, it wasn’t until two weeks before Christmas, when looking through the cupboards, that I rediscovered the quirky cookie cutter. It was the day before my husband’s birthday. I wanted to spoil him because his special day often gets swallowed up in the holidays.

Google came in handy as I looked up my favorite cookie recipes.  I started with peanut butter kisses and substituted the chocolate kisses for miniature healthy peanut butter cups pressed into the middle.

Then, I went on to soft, traditional oatmeal raisin cookies. The writer of this recipe assumed I knew how much sugar and butter to whip together, how many eggs to add, how much cinnamon, vanilla and baking soda to use. Reaching deep into memories of girlish baking, I put the basics back together and decided to trust my intuition.

Thankfully, I still had some hard chunks of brown sugar in a bag at the top of the cupboard. I also found an inch of molasses left in a bottle.

The recipe that I invented included a few new essentials

  1. A magnifying glass to read the ingredients and the recipe
  2. An ice-cream scoop to pound the brown sugar lumps to smithereens
  3. Hope.

No fancy Kitchenaid mixer gets any credit

My hand-me-down, hand-held beaters worked fine after I softened our frozen butter in the microwave. Mixing my made-up portions of oats, eggs, vanilla, flour, butter and sugar together, butter and sugar first, of course, I threw in some old raisins.  Raisins keep forever – just about. No harm done there.

Dipping into the oven, I traded the pan of hot peanut butter kiss cookies for a sheet of the oatmeal raisin drops.

Then, I went to look up the recipe for the highlight of the season, sugar cookies!

In the meantime, I found a recipe for Oatmeal raisin cookies with the proper amounts listed for the ingredients, so I added a little more flour and butter and sugar and oatmeal, and I decided to add a banana and walnuts to the last half of the dough. I lowered the oven temperature on those already baking.

Back to the sugar cookie recipe, it soon became clear that I needed to roll out the dough, let it sit in the refrigerator, then use the cookie cutter and finally, decorate the little images with icing or colored sugar.

My heart sank at the traditional rolling pin that would be needed. The last time I recalled seeing a rolling pin, I put it somewhere the-sun-don’t-shine that would insure I’d never happen upon it again.

The ingredients called for a bit of almond flavoring.  My favorite. But, nope, I had removed the temptation of almond paste and almond flavoring from my kitchen long ago.

Sugar cookies were going to need a real baker.  I mixed up the sugar and butter, measured out the flour and set it all aside.

The oatmeal raisin cookies were smelling a bit pungent. I swung open the oven and removed the pan of cookies now black around the edges.  Quickly, I used the old-fashioned metal spatula to swoop up the cookies from the heated sheet and deposit them onto the cooling sheet.

A familiar bitterness taunted

Just then, my dog started barking alerting me to the fact that my husband was home from work.  I opened the door to greet the birthday boy and I gave him a kiss wondering how long it would take for him to notice the air-filled sweetness. Would he ask about today’s kitchen episodes?

“Umm, what smells so good?”

“Come, see!”

“You made cookies?!”

“Yep. For you.”

“For me?”

“For your birthday.”

His hand started moving toward the cooling sheet. I steered it to the peanut butter kiss cookie adaption that I’d enjoyed tasting earlier.  “You’ll probably like these better, Hon.”

He munched and smiled and said a few crazy nuthins as he pulled me close.

“What are the others?”

“Um, not your favorite.  Oatmeal raisin.”

What is Your Next Must-Read?

He gathered up a couple and began munching again as he reported on the occurrences in his day. Then, to my pleasure he was too distracted to continue. “Umm, these are great, Honey!”

“They are?”

“I love ‘em.”

“But, they’re a little burnt.” My admission colors the air.

“You know how you loved burnt toast when you were a kid?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, my favorite was having a bit of a burn on my oatmeal raisin cookies. That’s why I’m not fond of the regular kind.  These are wonderful!”

Oh, gosh, his pre-birthday surprise is an unexpected win!

“You know what I want to do tomorrow on my birthday?  I want to grab a stack of these with a cup of coffee and have them for breakfast. That’s all I really want. Well—and I want a little time to cuddle with you. That’d be my perfect birthday.”

I’ve never lost my cuddly appearance, even with the years of home baked abstinence. The older I get, the rounder I have become, but that just doesn’t seem to matter to the one who loves me.

It will be a fun experiment to try to make sugar cookies for Christmas since Santa himself is a jolly ol’ elf.

It will also be a great to try out the Goodwill roller cutter on something else, whether it be little pastries, or mini Swiss chocolates, or maybe some mint cream cheese sweets.  That’s my sweet New Year’s resolution.

Lynn Byk, author of Mister B: Living with a 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist

 

Lynn Byk is a memoir author with Capture Books. She is available to speak at book clubs or women’s events about practical ways to care for the elderly in one’s life.

She and her Father-in-law co-wrote the book, “Mister B: Living With a 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist“.

 

What is Your Next Must-Read?

Artistic development of a children's book, National Children's Grief Awareness Day, op-ed, Will You Hold My Story?

A Picture Book to be Aware of a Child’s Grief

traipsing home from school
Artist’s Sketch Meggi Beth in different perspectives

Busy woman in title Will You Hold My Story
Choosing the color scheme for the busy woman in Will You Hold My Story? picture book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The late Mister Rogers is quoted as saying, “It’s ok to not be ok.”

November includes the National Children’s Grief Awareness Day, a day to honor kids who are grieving – in any season – and particularly as we journey into the holidays.

Children need to feel safe inside the space of their sorrow.

They need to tell about their story and tell about it to someone who is safe and available to hear it.

For Meggi Beth, it’s been hard lately to carry the weight of her story, which you may sense is a story of grief. In the picture book, “Will You Hold My Story?”, (artistry by Brianna Osaseri), this lovable little girl is patiently waiting for someone else to ease her burden. An endearing children’s book is one that carries meaning for both children and grownups.

Meggi Beth discovers two things along the way: a secret and a story-bearer who becomes a treasured friend. Settle in and get acquainted with the delightful characters who stop by to comfort Meggi Beth.

You may even recognize yourself in the story.

Scene from Will You Hold My Story
Artist’s Sketch Old Man Passing By Meggi Beth

Meggi Beth and old man in Will You Hold My Story? by Kathy Joy

Will You Hold My Story
Artist’s sketch Old Man Pats Meggi Beth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sketch Will You Hold My Story
Artist’s Sketch Old Man’s Face Closeup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sign up here for a special pre-order bonus! https://myfreebookgift.com/558/will_you_hold_my_story_landing_page/index.html

“Will You Hold My Story?” by Kathy Joy, to be released in February 2021.