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How do we handle all this inspiration?

Where did 2009 go? Or maybe I should ask, “How did 2009 go?” If you could define the year in a couple of words, what would you say? I always feel good about wrapping up the year before I move into the next year. Two words come to me, settled and peaceful.

I surely didn’t start the year settled and peaceful.

I had a series of paintings on my mind, “The human spirit speaks.” I painted 20 large oil paintings of beautiful women, depicting the different factors of the human spirit, and then the “Message Trees Series.”

There were several series in between; then I ended the year with a whole new line of hand-painted T-shirts and a boutique line.

So, what did we do with all that inspiration we had in 2009? Is it in a publisher’s hand, under the bed, behind the sofa, in a gallery; or has it moved on to its intended owner who needs it, loves it and can’t live without it?

Or, by chance, maybe inspiration is still in our minds, lodged between, I need to do it and maybe someday.

One way or the other we see evidence around us that says: We are creatures of inspiration.

We do not determine inspiration, it comes upon us. Good news for those who are inspired to create. Inspiration is God breathed and lives outside of time and space. If this is a true definition, which I believe it is, as artists we create out of our spirits. The spirited ideas come and we put them in some kind of material form.

Since inspiration works outside of time, paintings do not get old, they are just waiting for that person who will come along and say, “I’ve got to have this one. It speaks to me. You must have painted it for me.”

I always say, “Yes, I sure did.” I’m not lying, even though I just met that person; I am talking in the realm of spirit. The Book of Wisdom says that eternity has been put into the heart of man. To me that means there is more than just the time frame of my existence on this earth. I am not created for time alone, but eternity. Time (our lifetime on earth) provides the opportunity to develop our character for the future.

Our present time is to mold and shape us for future usefulness on earth and in eternity. If we live for time, our past will shape us because we will base it on what we know. If we live for eternity our future will shape us because we hope that the works of our hands will be established.

An example is this: We create today, if we understand inspiration has no time or space, we are content to paint and write and let it happen and let the life of our work surprise us. Once I recognized the value of this truth, it has taken the frustration out of the stockpile of works that doesn’t seem to go anywhere. I tell myself that I’m on a long-term plan, I can wait.

I chuckled at a statement A. W. Tozer made as he writes in the forward of “The Knowledge of The Holy.” This book was copyrighted in 1961 and he writes, “It is my hope that this small book my contribution somewhat to the promotion of personal heart religion among us, and should a few persons by reading it be encouraged … of that will more than repay the labor required to produce it.”

It is said more than 500,000 copies of Tozer’s book have been sold. Tozer did not know the impact when he wrote it; he was happy to have a few people read it. His words are as true and fresh today as when he wrote them, because he wrote from his spirit. Thousands of readers have been touched by this book beyond his time. His work is inspired and lives outside of time and space.

So how do we handle all this inspiration that we had in 2009? God’s eternity is long and our years on earth are few. We are not responsible for what we do not know but for what has been given to us and the ability to create.

I am looking forward to a great year. It will be interesting to see where it goes and how it goes as we live it.

I am so thankful I have a place to share and express all this inspiration. It is so rewarding when you stop me on the street and say, “I read your article.” That’s what every writer wants to hear. As far as the art goes, the pieces that have found their way into homes, there is a peaceful and settled feeling that they have been established.

Final brushstroke: Continue to be inspired, paint and write it. Let the work be established in its time.

Comments from readers

Dear Betty:

On your article on Magic and Wonderment, I think you are right, Betty. Children never understand the sacrifices their parents made, until they grow up and become parents themselves. The key words are grow up because it seems some children grow older but not necessarily up and they usually aren’t willing to sacrifice for their children or anyone else. But most of us do make sacrifices for our kids. It took me many years to realize that my Dad found me a pony when I was five, they had no money, don’t know how they paid for Polly but that pony was a living example that Daddy loved me. And for years, I thought he didn’t. I wish I could tell him how sorry I am for the anger years. But maybe that’s the flip side of sacrifice.

Lauraine Snelling

Tehachapi, Calif.

Hi Betty:

On Magic and Wonderment, so enjoyed your story. And it’s sooo true. May we all approach this Christmas with a childlike faith and experience the joy of giving that comes only from The One who is the reason for the season!

B. Lukow

Farmington, N.M .

Artist’s quote

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet.