Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Give Love a Chance

I look at the world and feel depressed.  There is so much anger and cruelty.  Middle school girls stab each other in the back over and over again.  Gang members constantly battle one another.  Families fall apart, people divorce and fall outs happen.  Friends leave you high and dry, the church fails and lovers break hearts.

It seems as though there is no one trustworthy but God.  So why do we put our trust in other people?  Why do we try so hard to love others, only to be let down, rejected and alone?

My heart yearns for this earth to be covered in love and happiness.  My head is in a fairytale place; it sees the ideal instead of the real.  This is as much a blessing as it is a curse.  The cruel realities of the world are forever breaking my heart.  People treat others in horrible ways, sometimes without even knowing it.  We are a broken, angry, and hurt world.  The only way out is heaven.  But what do we do until then?

Inevitably we will experience pain.  But if there were no pain we would not be truly living.  Are we fully feeling life if we only experience the good parts?

Give love a chance.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


What if life is not about what we think it's about?  What if the money and the madness and the fame are all just an illusion Satan places before us in order to trick us into thinking we're happy.  What if your educational platform and the number of hours you work, the people you know and the things you force yourself to do were of no actual importance?
"Stevie" 2014. Oil, Acrylic, Glitter.  Haley Hoover

One of my biggest creative role models is none other than Stephanie Lynn Nicks, of Fleetwood Mac.  I find her mysterious and vulnerable poetry an absolute joy, and I am grateful that she has the courage to release it into the world; healing hearts as she does so.

A thought that totally captivates me with her life is that Stevie actually never finished High School.  Her and Buckingham dropped out in pursuit of a musical career.

On first thought I was a bit offended that my inspiration was a drop-out.  The world teaches us to frown upon such things.  On second thought though, I was proud.  I was proud to hear of such brave acts from a young woman.  Sometimes it's the natural skills and passions that need to be tapped into, yet we run in the opposite direction in search of anything and everything that will promise us a secure and meaningful life.  Of course, those things can't be promised (nor bought) and yet we feed into the lie anyways.

I'm sure some would argue that it was a different time back then and school was not pushed as a priority for young students as much as it is now.  I would agree with that perspective.  But what if Stevie were growing up in today's age, an age where school is not an option for the student, but mandated by parents, society and even the government.   College is expected and a Bachelor's Degree is the standard.  Life without these things can result in fear, confusion and rejection by those around you.  If Stevie were growing up in the age of all this would she have still found the courage to spread her wings and fly into her God-given purpose?  Perhaps she would go to college instead and major in Creative Writing; joining the jazz band as an extra curricular activity and all the while stressing about juggling these things plus a job and boyfriend.  What would have happened?

On the flip side, what would the world look like if more of us were courageous and true to our hearts?  Would we spend more time writing poetic lyrics and playing beautiful harmonies?  Would we use our time creating joyous things for others rather than serving the man?

The say about young people who have a good career and a place of their own: "He's really got his life together now."  He is perfectly packaged and wears a suit everyday.  His friends are proud to know him and his parents just gained a lot of connections and respect.  He has ladies falling for him left and right and the world is at his finger tips.


Is he happy?

I wonder if "having your life together" is a synonym for "fall in line, settle down and don't rock the boat."  Are the wanderers and adventurous incorrectly perceived as the hopeless rebels of society?  Or are they the only ones who live and experience enough to call their life full and exciting.

I think there is nothing wrong with living a simple life.  Most of my family has settled in at an early age and moved very little distances.  I see contentedness and satisfaction in their wrinkles.  That's sweet to see.  I love the idea of this, but maybe God created each of us in such a profoundly unique way, and everyones destiny is much more varied than our cultural specs allow us to see.

Perhaps I am young and naive to think that one could survive off of an artistic career.  But then again, is now not the age to try all the theories?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"3 Feet"

Adventure in the heart
adrenaline pumping veins
fill up your soul
or function through the plains

Ocean waves surround her now
Sun shines freely
shake it all off
become who you see in the distance

Pray for your soul, darling
Pray for your soul.
See that if finds it's route
Don't let it hydroplane.
Life has to be lived.

The air beneath your wings
nothing stops a sailor.
Keep on fishing
don't drop anchor.
Carry on through the deep
carry on through the depths
Rise again to see the beauty of it all.

Pray for your soul, darling
Pray for your soul.
See that if finds it's route
Don't let it hydroplane.
Life has to be loved.

The lights are behind you now.
The chains are gone.
Let your skin release
and find your home.

No metal
no more
no high buzz
sit and see
what all it was

Pray for your soul, darling
Pray for your soul.
See that if finds it's route
Don't let it hydroplane.
Life has to be lived.
Life has to be loved.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Slow Fade

Have you ever noticed how everything fades?  Nothing of God is stark in contrast and harsh on the eyes.  Everything he touches has a subtle glory to it that gradually changes from light to dark or dark to light.  Take the sunrise and the sunset for instance.  It doesn't instantly change from harsh bright light to pitch black darkness.  Although that would be more practical and God could easily choose to do that, he doesn't.  He chooses to start and end each day with a breathtaking 20 minute light show.  First the navy fades to a lighter blue, then gradually it turns into a baby blue hue.  Eventually the blues turn into light pinks and the pinks produce orange and the orange hits its zenith when it produces the crop of a bright yellow sun blazing forth in all its glory and light.

There is a Casting Crown song called "It's a Slow Fade" that also talks about this process--except in people.

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paidWhen you give yourself awayPeople never crumble in a dayIt's a slow fade, it's a slow fade
                     --It's a Slow Fade, Casting Crowns

Even the life of people changing from dark to light and light to dark is a slow fading one.  Again illustrating the fact that God makes everything beautiful in its time.  He does not rush any process, but draws it out as long or as short as he needs to in order to see the most beautiful part of his will done.  
"Sorrowful Flower" 2014. Oil Paint. Haley Hoover

In painting I often hear instructors talk about the gradual fading of the background of a painting.  While it is easy to paint the background one solid color, pile the composition on top of it and then call it done, it is the fading and blending of the background that brings depth and interest to the eye.  For some reason I seem to struggle with this.  I either want a plain solid background, or a background with bright, bold patterns.  Neither of these options are subtle or blending, and that often leaves my work with a lack of depth.  However, in the few times I have listened to my instructors and taken the time to go the extra mile and create an interesting, light to dark or dark to light fading background, I typically find myself amazed with my work and proud of myself for taking the road less traveled by.

Music is the same way.  When listening to a great song it doesn't start up in full swing, it begins with a tempo then builds from there.  The song has it's rising and falling through the melody and lyrics, but it is always a gradual rise and fall--producing something breathtakingly beautiful.  The words crescendo and decrescendo come to mind.  On the other hand, the song might begin full swing and then fade back to a slower, deeper tempo, and end on an up again.  The whole process is creative, but the point is that the beauty, the desire, the passion that lures you--it comes from a wonderful process of slow building up and tearing down.

Take a look around at all the beautiful things in life.  They are all slow fading processes.  The instant-gratification series is not part of the list of valued things in life.  A baby turning into a man, a seed turning into a bulging vegetable, an athlete's body changing from scrawny to meaty, a full course meal that starts with herbs, spices and onions--everything is made beautiful in its time.  Nothing wonderful happens in an instant.  

Nothing that is, except technology.  Technology is instant and it makes our lives better.  We should love technology and the instantaneous joy it brings us.  It completely illuminates the need for waiting or patience or process.  I think this is our way out of beauty.  It's our gift to ourselves.  We give each other permission to skip the design and go straight to the results.   

(That was sarcasm.)

Look at your relationships.  The best of friends are slowly made over time.  A woman and a man build the healthiest of marriages when they slowly get to know each other from strangers to lovers.  And in God, we love him more with each passing day spent in his presence.  We aren't instantly lovers with the Lord.  We start as servants and humbly grow closer and closer with him until we are his lovers and his is ours.  Don't be discouraged by the "status" of your walk.  It's a slow fade, like all things beautiful.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Vulnerable Beauty in a Perfect World

I often ponder how God would like the world to be.  I mean he knows we are imperfect and he never expects that but "in a perfect world" what would he like that to look like?

I think we were designed to live in nature.  God created beautiful mountains and trees and rivers--all for our enjoyment, yet we spend 90% of our time indoors looking at a screen or a wall.

He created us to eat from the dirt we come from and will return too.  All those nutrient rich foods come straight out of the ground and they take lots of hard work and tending in order to mature to perfection.  God didn't create cardboard burgers and wax-infused candy.  He created the good stuff.  The stuff a man can live on.
"Poncho Love" Haley Hoover, 2014

I think he designed us to be married young.  The natural inclination of body maturity, hormones and emotional growth make sense to cling to a spouse around the late teens age.  I think society and careers and other such goals get in the way of this.

I also believe He would want us all to live vulnerably through creating and being.

Everyone would dance.  How many verses in the Bible do you see people "dancing before the Lord"?  People don't dance because they are embarrassed or afraid of what others will think.  Yet dancing, it every form, is a most intimate form of communication.  It is an outward reflection of the heart.  When the Spirit really gets a hold of you, there is no more natural thing than to let go of the fear of the world and set your spirit moving throughout the body.

Like dancing, singing would feel the earth.  Singing is also an act of vulnerability.  I believe we can all sing beautifully, but again it is fear that holds us back.  Fear holds us back from singing beautiful songs all day long as we go about our work.  Many years ago they sang while they worked in the fields.  But who would ever sing passionate worship songs in the middle of the office or at the plant?

All of these man made things have stripped us of our sensitivity and ability to sincerely communicate with God and with each other.  I've written before about the theory that we are all creators in some way or another.  Everyone was born with a passion and everyone can use that passion to create a beautiful contribution for the world.  Wether its painting, woodworking, singing, cooking, teaching, or anything else that is creative, all of those things come from a heart eager to give love to others.

Perhaps we are all full of beautiful talents and just don't know it.  We let the shame of others keep us from living out of our deepest depths.  Maybe we all have secret lives where we do what we would rather do all day long.  Maybe we hide our beauty because it threatens a broken world.  Beauty is vulnerable.  Beauty is captivating.  It heals, creates change and demands love in the deepest parts of our souls.

Yes, I think we all have the ability to share love.  I think God would have us all sing, dance, pray, write, cook, love, eat, care and build in a perfect world.  Perhaps each of us are better at intimacy in our own specific love language to the world.  But then, maybe we were meant to embrace all forms for the sake of a wonderful Father.

Love the world today.  Show them how you share your passion.
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