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Pinterest is a daily companion of mine these days, a well-spring of inspiration and creativity. I didn’t’ start spending much time with it until I found out I was pregnant, and I wanted ideas for fun, colorful art, clothing, nursery and announcements for the love growing inside me. In the process, pinterest became one of those sites I would check when I woke up in the morning, and I would make sure I checked again before I turned in for the night….sometimes, it made for some sweet dreams and late night bursts of creativity.

Friday morning the book The Artisan Soul by Erwin McManus popped up in my pinterest feed. The cover of the book totally got me– yes I am one of those–and as I proceeded to investigate what was behind that colorful eye-catching cover I realized it was a book I needed to pick up as soon as the bookstore doors were unlocked. So I did.

Perfect timing… I had just finished the remarkable and wrenching memoir An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCraken, so I needed a new book to feast on. Reading specifically non-fiction literature, for my own gratification and edification, has become a daily companion of mine again. Though The Artisan Soul’s cover was what captured my attention, by the time I reached page 3 I knew my eyes had not failed me. This book was indeed right on time.

I read slowly through it most of friday and yesterday. Yum…so much goodness lines each page. I was thankful… extremely grateful to converse with another voice through this book, one that inspires freedom, authenticity and bravery. I have often been bound by fear of failure or fear of not being enough, all of which he brilliantly hits on within the first few pages. But not just his thoughts on fear, the pages were also filled with other other thoughts that have been stirring within my heart for months, so much so that when reading this book it felt like McManus and I had shared a number of conversations over coffee and he decided to put some of our mutual ponderings in a book .

His thoughts about the creative potential for the good and beautiful within each of us resonates so much with my soul, and is more days than not, the motivation that keeps me going. I do believe that everyone, no matter the particularities of one’s story, is an artist and holds within herself creative capabilities. Over the past three years, I have been working with others to create spaces where people are encouraged to tap into their artistic capabilities in an affirming and empowering community. I have seen the good, beauty and life that comes when our creative muscles are recognized first and then exercised. McManus is right when he writes, “If we want to create a better world, we had better start to unleash the creative potential inside each person to create all that is good and beautiful and true.”

Just as the body longs for food and thirsts for water, so does our soul long to create and thirsts for authentic encounters with beauty– a good that is not meant to be a figment of our imaginations, but a tangible, taste-and-see, feel-and-hear reality. To meet those longings and thirsts requires imagination and the courage to sometimes color outside of the lines.

We’re often socialized to conform. Yet over the past couple of months i have been paying attention to those counter-movements, lives of people and art that goes against the grain, that refuses to let tradition stifle its originality. I’ve begun to see through this reading that true artisans are those that add a certain zest to life by risking themselves through love and a commitment to change the world through their work. I’ve discovered that within each of us is a well-spring of creativity and imagination that begs us sometimes to do something different, to do the crazy thing you fear others may laugh at, to do that thing that you know that only YOU can do, given your experiences, circumstances and peculiar shaping and then watch as they call it a thing of wonder.

I want to color outside of the lines more. In the words of a poet I know, I want to do those hard to imagine but some how i did things.

In all of life, I want to be able to see the beauty that can come when I don’t allow lines or fear to hinder me from painting with Love. I do believe, so much life is to be found there.

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