The Opposite of Writer’s Block

An old preaching professor of mine was fond of saying that, if you couldn’t say it in 12 minutes, it was more than one sermon and you should save some for next week.

Personally, I used to run an average of about 17 or 18 minutes which, while longer than Wade might have liked, was pretty brief compared to lots of preachers.

Blog writing works in similar ways. And today, I suspect Wade would be turning purple. You see, I feel overwhelmed by things jumping up and down to be said. Or, to put it another way, I feel like I’ve been noticing at warp speed.

It seemed to start on Saturday with the dogs which, in my universe, is not all that surprising. Bill and I were headed off to calm my food variety cravings with some really excellent raw oysters. Well, for me, at least.

But first, the beasties needed a brief break out back, lest we return home to flood conditions.

I was on the deck, reveling in the sunshine and encouraging Phoebe to actually go down the steps. (Let’s just say she’ll be glad to see her dear friend the chiropractor on Tuesday!)

Just as she made it all the way down, I noticed the siren in the distance. Phoebe noticed, too. And started howling, as is her habit.

Explaining to her that Newfs are not known for howling has not, thus far, convinced her to stop. And just behind our yard is a very busy road that runs straight to the Perimeter which translates into lots of traffic.

As the ambulance came into view, my lips began to move in an old, old habit from my nursing days, “God go with you.”

Just then, Luther joined in. Head back, nose to the sky, ear-splitting bass howl in counterpoint to Phoebe’s soprano.

It was the first time I’d ever heard him howl! (He didn’t start barking until a few months ago.)

The therapist in me celebrates this wondrous being finding his voice after early years of huge abuse. The urban neighbor with very sensitive hearing in me wishes that voice was a bit less loud and harsh.

The mythical Hounds of the Baskervilles came to mind. And Kenzie’s wolf painting!


And then, much to my surprise, I was flooded with a torrent of all the things in our world that make me want to howl just like that.

And then, in the midst of the torrent, a memory of some words I read just this morning. Words from someone I’ve never met. A guy named Karl Moore, introduced as a guest in the part of my world known as Learning Strategies.

Karl was writing about stories. The kind of stories we tell about ourselves. And the punch line was that we are not our stories. He even went so far as to explain that when those stories hold us back, we can actually loosen our grip on them and let them go. (Stay tuned for more about my version of how!)

And, right on the heels of that thought, another. You see, I’ve signed up for a long distance pet healing session with my Qigong friends.

Some of you are probably laughing. And others of you, shaking your heads. I’m okay with that. You see, Phoebe’s hips are hurting. And I believe — in fact I know — that putting hopeful energy about healing into the world shifts some of the negative stuff that feels so overwhelming.

It’s a lot like making prayer dots. And Physics.

Which brings us to my current Legend painting, also known as Oracle & Ally. In, through, and under what is visible to the observer is a story of my own, almost as deep and powerful as Phoebe and Luther howling, which has needed quite a bit of processing. That part will have to wait for another day.

For today, my version of a treasure I’ve learned from many, many teachers through the years:

Moving toward that which we most desire is far more empowering than resisting that which we fear, for that which we resist persists. 

Which, as I think of it, isn’t a bad motto for International Women’s Day! I was delighted to participate in a brunch hosted by Refuge Coffee Co. in near-by Clarkston, GA which exists to serve the global community. Fabulous art and food and new friends, along with an Intentional Creativity sister!


We Interrupt this Wednesday…

Yes, it’s Wednesday. Today, that means two things which are different from the usual around here.

One, it’s the Legendary Husband’s birthday!!! Steak for dinner. Favorite tiny chocolate cakes to follow. (The chocolate came yesterday… we still need some cream!)

Two, instead of our customary #WIP Wednesday, which stands for work in progress, I’m declaring this particular day to be world in progress Wednesday. And, yes, I’m still recovering from Super Tuesday!

Since the chilly rain is not conducive to easy movement around here today, I’ve spent a bit of time staring at the painting (above) and doing my prayer knitting thing. As 24 stitches divides by 3 as well as by 4, the prayer that showed up for today is inspired by Anne Lamott and the workshop called Holy Polka Dots which began yesterday.

Chosen. Safe. Loved…. 

Or, as one of my wise paint sisters posted just now:


These words feel, to me, like a reminder many, many of us could use about now. The rhythm isn’t quite right, though, for knitting and praying, so I’m sticking with

Chosen. Safe. Loved….

The painting, by the way, will be named, What the World Needs Now. This is one of the ones that was something else before, and something else before that, but has finally found her voice sharing love. And, yes, you are seeing lots and lots of prayer dots! (Her face and hair still need some work!)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m working hard for my guy. And I’m definitely going to vote even though I’ll have to vote early in order to be there for the 2nd part of Holy Polka Dots.

Prayer and voting are decidedly NOT mutually exclusive activities!

Especially if you think a notion like  Chosen. Safe. Loved…. applies to everybody. And, yes, it took me about three attempts to get “everybody” into that sentence. My inner editor desperately wants to insert something along the lines of “almost”. And I’d let her if it was all about me.

It’s not.

In this moment, though, Phoebe is way more interested in the Canine Fine Dining event so I’ll go do that. It’s nice to be able to make something better right now in the midst of all the waiting for change.

And, no, the 4-footed kids wouldn’t turn you down if you wanted to come feed them, too!

If we’re not learning anything…

Tuesday will be day one of the 2020 version of an Intentional Creativity® workshop for Columbia Seminary students. Like last year, our experience will be called Holy Polka Dots.

We will, of course, be deep into the practice of prayer dots.

If it’s anything like last year, this will be a new adventure for some of the brave folks who show up.

It’s a new adventure for me, too. First, I’m in a different place than I was a year ago. I’ve had new experiences and found some new truths. I’ve also made A LOT more dots!!!

I, however, am not the only thing that will be different. There’s been a big change in time, and therefore structure. Instead of about 3 hours on a single day, our current plan is for just over an hour on three different days.

And, if that weren’t complicated enough, there’s no guarantee that the same folks will be there each day.

Hence the voice of my dear friend, Robby Carroll, muttering in my ear.

Robby, who happens to be a Columbia grad from a bit further back in the day, was my teacher and partner in a pastoral counseling practice for a great many wonderful years.

One of my favorite Robby-isms is the certainty, proclaimed with a bit more southern accent than usual, that, “If we’re not learning anything there’s no chance they are!”

I find this especially comforting just now as I am, indeed, learning a lot.

It’s one thing to plan an event around time for paint to dry. It’s another to figure out which very cool bits of philosophy and background and stories need to be left out in order to have time to paint at all!

Between us, I have just started on my here’s one version of where we might be heading canvas for the third time. And, yes, I’m writing while the paint dries!

It reminds me a lot of the days when Saturday nights meant sermon prep. Well, theoretically, Saturday nights were supposed to be sermon polishing but, since we’re being real, sometimes it was more like wrestling with the 17 reasons that what I had planned was not going to work, and coming up with something that might, preferably with the title already printed in the bulletin!

I have a plan. Again. And I’m grateful that prayer dots work just as well when they’re demo dots! My prayer at this moment is that, with abounding grace, this project will come elegantly together, in the sense that elegant means pared down to exactly that which is essential.

For now, the drips which come before the dots are dry and it is time for me to see what comes next.

Probably with some help from my Hallelujah mix on YouTube. (And more than a bit of imagining how I might explain all this for my girls!)

Check back for pictures from day one… Oh, and if you’re of a mind, whisper a prayer that the video fairies will be in a helpful mood!


Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach