All posts by lisa evola

Lisa is a wife, mother, grandmother and writer. Creative expression has always been a part of life and is the way she connects with the supreme Creator, and she hopes to live each day in obedience to His call. Lisa is content moderator for a beautiful life and is currently working on her first novel.

Eglantine – a short story

Here is a short story inspired by this beautiful picture taken by a photographer friend, Paul Militaru.  An eglantine is a sweet briar rose. The word was mainly used in medieval England.

To me this picture is both beautiful and haunting, like the story. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

thanks for reading!

Eglantine

Fragrant perfume filled the air as my fingers stroked the leaves of the row of eglantine that grew beside the trail. I walked along its path, unconsciously caressing the twigs and occasionally catching my sleeves and fingers on the tiny thorns that lined its branches. The wild rose’s blooms had long since disappeared, leaving in their place the swelling of rose hips, bright in their promise.
My mother and I often collected them. Our days were often filled with brimming baskets of petals and herbs, roots and leaves, that served to restore those who came to receive her gift of healing. Ironic that they now lined the path leading to the monument of her death.
The last two days had been a blur, and realization was only now dawning as I walked the ever widening path that led to the clearing of sorrow, as they called it. It was a place of mournful repose, one that most in our village at one time or another had visited.

Especially recently.

Sickness had entered and spread at an alarming rate among the residents. My mother, being a gifted healer,tended to their wounds and fevers. But even with all of her gifts and knowledge of herbs, she was not immune to its ravages.
Mother had always been careful not to bring remnants of the illnesses she encountered into our cott, often choosing to sleep in the shed with our meager collection of livestock. Most often her ministrations were limited to farm accidents, new babies, and the occasional skin infection. But since the arrival of our new schoolmaster, one by one the residents bloomed with fever and sores. Some had been cured, due to careful tending from my mother. But many died. “A most horrible end”, she had said sadly, refusing to elaborate upon what she had seen.
Then her move to the shed became permanent. She spoke to me through the window of the cott, explaining that most in the village were now sick, and since I was not yet showing signs of exposure, she would not take the chance of spreading the infection to me. That was three days ago.
The next morning she woke with the fever, and the door to the shed was barred from the inside. Refusing my help, she asked only for water, a pot and a few herbal remedies that had already been prepared. I left them beside the door along with some bread and broth. Both remained untouched.
The eglantine bushes for which I was named, now served as a reminder of my young life – of fragrant experiences mingled with pain, and of the sweet love of my mother. The pain and uncertainty that her death would bring was almost unbearable. I was now completely alone, left to follow in her footsteps, or not.
Sweet Brier Rose. She named me this because when I was born, my skin was the color and texture of the soft pink petals that bloomed in early summer. Mother most often called me by my full name and I loved the way it rolled off her tongue; a most beloved term of endearment, especially now.

But everyone else called me Brie.
The path opened up, and I stepped into the clearing among the throng of people gathered there. Downcast faces, each bearing their own pain, rose to mine as I passed. They offered their silent prayers of peace: for mother, her eternal soul, and too, for my days hereafter. I was much to young to stay at the cott alone. 16 was the age of majority, and I had not yet reached it, would not for some years to come.

They would not let me stay there alone, regardless of how much they respected my mother. The elders would take control of our home, and pass it to a family that needed it. Of course I could stay with them, strangers in my own home, but it would be hard. My choices were limited, but I would not  ponder them as I could not yet get past my grief. I knew I  would be allowed a couple of days to gather my few belongings.
I did not know my father. He had gone missing just after I was born. He left with the rest of the men of the village on a hunt and never returned. Mother and I had always managed pretty well, as her skill was renown. We were not well off by any stretch of the imagination, but we always had food and enough wood to keep us warm throughout the winter months; the villagers made sure of it. And really, what else did we need?

But I knew not one other soul attached to my family by blood. And now I would most likely have to leave the only home I knew. There had been offers of a bed among a few of the villagers, but I knew that the offers were made mostly as a kindness. Most cotts were filled to bursting with families and children, and even with so many gone from the illness, the fields had been left largely untended. Food had become scarce.
My steps ended at the pyre that she had been placed upon. There were 6 of varying sizes, and each held a loved one that had succumbed to fever. Most often bodies of the dead were buried beneath a monument to their lives, but fear had driven the elders to proclaim that the diseased would be burned, leaving no remains of what had infiltrated our lives. I reasoned that when my mother was gone, there would be nothing left to hold me here but memories, and those would always be with me no matter where I was.
I walked to the base of her funeral pyre and placed an armful of flowers and herbs that I had gathered from our garden; all of her favorites. The roses that she had always so carefully tended, pink and yellow, and the white ones that she had told me once represented purity and the eternal light that death would ultimately lead to.

They seemed appropriate now.

Rosemary and thyme, barberry and blessed thistle bunched around them, infusing the air with the fragrant blossoms. As I stepped away to my place among the gathered crowd, the scent lingered and I breathed deeply, memorizing its heady aroma. “I will never forget” my soul cried out to hers. And the tears began to brim.
One of the men from among the throng stepped forward with a lit torch. After a slight nod to the families surrounding the beacon, he touched its lit end to the dried grasses that waited beneath. The flame caught and spread, quickly moving up the post toward those who waited. I watched as the fire encapsulated her body, separating it forever from mine.
It was then that I saw him.

Beyond the balefire stood a man who I did not know, whom it did not appear that anyone knew. He faced the ravaging flames with a solemn countenance, and I saw the wet upon his face. His grief puzzled me. Who among these did he weep for? As I pondered this, he looked away from the rite, and directly into my eyes. His eyes bore through me, the same icy blue as those that I possessed. My mother had always said they were the color of a clear sky in winter, unhindered by the clouds, and through them you could see forever. Now, even at this distance, I seemed to be looking into eternity, into what the future held.
Recognition passed between us, and cold fear gripped my heart, my mind refusing to accept what my heart innately knew. It knew this man. How? I let my eyes drop from his piercing stare, and I turned back toward the path of eglantine, back toward all that I had ever known. I had not take but a step or two, when a hand gripped my arm, insistent but gentle. And I heard my name. “Sweet Brier Rose?” The sound of it pierced my soul, and it pulled my eyes back to his.
“Brie?” A cold chill passed through me, as though his voice were a ghost.

”I am your father.”

_____________

I hope you enjoyed this little story! I also have a post running to day on Creative Faith featuring 5 flowers that are “blooming” in my garden right now. It has been a very creative week indeed! Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear your thoughts on the story – leave a comment if you wish!  Thanks!

~lisa

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Creating Reminders of Love

 

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When I consider what Christmas is all about, what all of the running around and stressing out over gifts, and food, and lost time, I realize when it comes down to the nitty gritty – it’s all about LOVE.

It began with the unconditional and sacrificial love of God and continued into what we “practice” today. Yes, Christmas has become quite commercialized and many don’t recognize any longer where it all began, but one thing that hasn’t been lost is that it is still rooted in love.

Why do we do what we do every Christmas season?

Because of love.

I’m particularly drawn to creating things that are both functional and beautiful as well as show my love for the recipients of my gifts. This year I took on this amazing project that came into my life at my last birthday. I was amazed at just how much I use this great little hot pad – who woulda thunk it? Thanks Lucy!

So, I took it and made it my own by choosing fabric I love and creating a little reminder of the gift that they have already received. Shhh, don’t tell my family!  It’s a secret!

Would you like to see how this project was made?  Today on Creative Faith, I have a post on the process with a printable  project page. Hop on over and check it out!

-lisa

Creative Faith

The Blank Page Syndrome

 

Have you ever felt frozen in place? You know what you want to do but you have absolutely no idea where to begin?

That is called the blank page syndrome.

This is very common to writers and artists, but I think that it can be something that occurs with just about everyone. –You need to start getting things together for the holidays, but you have no idea where to begin. The job seems insurmountable and taking that first step improbable, if not impossible. The task feels beyond what you are capable of, or even simply what you want to be capable of. After all, who relishes all of that dusting and washing of floors, let alone shopping for both gifts, and the fabulous banquet you promised your family? Ugh.

Like an artist staring at a white canvas, you simply don’t know where to begin.

Like I tell my students, you simply need to put brush to canvas. Do anything. Start anywhere. Make a mark, dot, word, stroke, or even paint the entire background one color…but definitely, make it a color you like.

This translates to just about every task you can think of. Even grocery shopping. Do you like eating desserts? Start at the bakery making a list of things you would like to serve at your meal. Even if you plan on making everything yourself, you can find a plethora of ideas there. And it is always fun trying out the samplesJ. Once you get started, the ideas will start rolling in, and before you know it the job is done, or well on its way at least.

The blank page syndrome is often linked to a fear of making a mistake.

Most artists and writers want perfection. They focus so deeply on having the perfect words or the perfect picture that they sit frozen in place just deciding what that is. Like all of us, they want to take the fewest steps to the best outcome.  Honestly, I can’t blame them.  But what would happen if we let go of perfect and just let the canvas surprise us?

Words can be edited.

Pictures can be painted over.

Desserts can be eaten and remade – yes!

The flow of creativity usually begins once you are in motion. When I sit down to create something, whether it is a picture, a story, or a post, I rarely know what that is going to look like.  I may have a vague impression or a word or idea that has been floating around, but it isn’t until I start tapping the keyboard or dipping my brush in the paint that my muse decides to show up.

I don’t know what your canvas is today, be it cleaning the house, or starting an art journal, but do yourself a favor and let go of perfect. Dip your brush in something colorful. Write the first sentence, even if you will ultimately change it. Pick up that dust rag and get to work. I guarantee once you begin, your muse will not want to be left out of the process and will show up with a yawn and a stretch.

Something is waiting to be created in your life today. Won’t you listen to it?

Today on Creative Faith I am featuring a post on mastering the blank page. I will be showing you 3 techniques to get you started on your art journal pages. Even if you have never done that kind of journaling, stop by and check it out…

it might be exactly the push you need to get started.

How to Live as a Kingdom Creative

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Creativity always has been and always will be a huge part of my life.

I began recognizing how I was made by the time I reached five, and I never looked back. I may not have understood what that would ultimately mean for my life or how the “artist” would manifest itself, but I never gave up trying. When I would play dolls with friends, it was all about setting up the house and dressing the dolls. What typically comes after was not something I was especially interested in.  I liked the act of creating a reality for the “characters” we played with. Of forming pleasant surroundings for them to do life. Their setting and how it would affect them was primary to my thought process, and once the stage was set, the remainder of the activity ceased to be attractive. I just wanted to create.

Have you ever dreamed of being creative, but just didn’t know where to start?

Have you looked at a blank canvas, and the surging images that once flowed through your mind simply disappear in a flash of gesso-ed white?

This is the story of most creatives – even the working ones, at times. Our muse decides to take a vacation, and we are left holding the brush so to speak. But it doesn’t have to be like this.

We were all, every one of us, made to be Kingdom Creatives. The ability to manifest reality has been implanted in our DNA. We each simply have a different artistic gift. Discovering what yours is can be as simple as picking up a pen to jot what has appeared in your heart and mind or dipping a brush into a colorful array of paint on a palette.

Or you may instead struggle to understand its reality.

Seeing God in the laundry can be a challenge – but maybe you have managed to form a routine that transcends the everyday. I don’t know what your creative reality looks like, but I am sure that you have one.

When I first sat down to draw the pictures that would eventually become “31 Days of Coloring HOPE”, I did not have any ambitions to publish a coloring book.  But something happened in the midst of the sketching: the Holy Spirit showed up. Words began to manifest within the pictures. Words of hope and life. Words that encourage the reader to look just a little bit deeper. It became an expression of God’s love and Hope to those whom He wanted to reach.

God manifests Himself in the world in infinite ways. He is the air we breathe and the food we eat. He is in trees that grow beside the road, and in the very ground we walk upon. He is all and everywhere, therefore it could be argued that everything we do and are, contains His creative Spirit.

When Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit in scripture, he referred to it as the helper. Acts 1:8- Here’s the knowledge you need: you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. And you will be My witnesses, first here….then beyond.

The Holy Spirit is there to help and to empower you to be that creative you were always meant to be.  To go beyond the common and into the divine. To step out and shine God’s light in the world through powerful means. The things you are unable to do on your own? The Holy Spirit will empower you. {He} will give you the ideas and the abilities required to shine that light into the world around you.  Maybe that means through the use of art, maybe not.  Possibly you will be the conduit to share another’s art, and through it, encourage hope and abundant life.

Yes, you were made to be a Kingdom Creative

Even if you do not aspire to craft great works of art that doesn’t  mean that you can’t impart some of the beauty that the creator endowed you with, each day as you lean into it. Keep a journal, doodle a flower, sing a song. Be a part of the incredible world that God has formed around you.

Engage with it

Learn from it

Embrace it

And aspire to love your art – no matter what that means for you

 

creative-faith-logoComing Dec. 1st, 2016:  A new website filled with inspiration, tutorials, encouragement and classes. Step into the pages of scripture and be the Kingdom Creative you were always meant to be.

  • Learn to shine your light in more creative ways
  • Engage in artful practices that will take even the non-artist to a new level of creativity
  • Be encouraged to see the beauty in your surroundings
  • Experience an artist’s journey through tales of true life faith-filled art.

Sign up now so you don’t miss a thing!

cf-signup

Updates on the unveiling of this new site  will come right to your inbox as they become available.  As a free bonus for signing up, you will receive a 31 Days of Coloring HOPE pdf to download, color, and share with others around you.  Thank you for your interest in  becoming a conduit of light for the Kingdom!

Moving forward

write-31-days-buttonWhen I originally sat down to start drawing the pictures that eventually became 31 days of coloring HOPE, I had no idea it would become a book. The process of creating has always been just something that I did in the extra moments of my day. But as the pictures began to appear on the page, and the words with them, I knew that it would not be something that I could keep to myself.

This world needs HOPE

It needs to see that even in the midst of the chaos that is increasingly the norm, there is something there that can be a foundation for us to hold to, that no matter what, that foundation will remain steady while everything around it moves, and changes, and crumbles. That constant is God. He always has been, and always will be. There isn’t anything that will ever change that. And I don’t know about you, but I find that to be a comforting thought. It brings me hope that there is something immovable that loves me –and that too will never change.

Sharing the hope we have, is like giving life to a dying world.

Moving forward in the days to come, I would love to explore with you the ways that we can share this hope, how we might change the world around us with all of the creative things that we have been equipped with.

Now that October is over, and Write31 Days completed, we are back to a more laid back posting experience. Monday’s will bring new thoughts, experiences, and maybe even a couple of giveaways. I hope that you enjoyed the last 31 days of exploring and coloring words of HOPE.

If you are interested in sharing  hope, please visit the book page to purchase a physical copy as well as downloads, bookmarks, postcards or a boxed set of cards to color.

Now for the big winner!  I promised to give away the whole set of cards that were colored for this series of posts by the author – me 🙂

Congratulations: Virginia Cradlebaugh! Thank you for all of your awesome comments and for spending time with me this month. I hope that you will stick around and explore the creative side of faith with us beginning next Monday. You will receive an email from me shortly to set up where to send your cards.

Thank you all for your presence over the last month.  It was an honor to share with you:)

-lisa

3 Attributes of the Truly Wealthy – Write 31:Day 31

generousclick on this picture to download the free pdf

A Generous heart will yield infinitely greater riches than those given. The gift you will receive is far more valuable than anything you could ever desire. {Ecclesiastes 11:1}

I want to be rich

You too?  I thought so. Who doesn’t?

Did you know that you have everything you need to become very wealthy? You came equipped with all that is necessary, a never ending supply of exactly what you need.

Reaching for that goal only requires these 3 things:

a Heart for others

Time to give of yourself

Words of encouragement 

How, you may ask, will those 3 things make me rich, and what do you mean I have a never ending supply?

The kind of wealthy that I am talking about is not the type that fills your pockets and bank accounts with unlimited resources, although that is sometimes a by-product. I am talking about the kind of generosity that is so immensely fulfilling that you can’t help but feel as though you have been given everything you could ever want.

Truly Rich

If you asked anyone who knows me, they would probably tell you that I am generous; with time, talents and even sometimes my resources.  But I often wonder if I am being lavish with the type of open-handedness that God offers? Or instead, am I expecting something in return? A payback maybe?

  • Praise?
  • Recognition?
  • A donation receipt?

It’s not that I think these things are bad. There is nothing wrong with someone being grateful for a ride that you have offered them, or with receiving recognition for going the extra mile at church.  And having those extra deductions at the end of the year? -Definitely helps to our bottom line.

But is that all there is?

Has the receiving become something expected?

I often wonder if my motives are as pure as I would like them to be.  There are almost always kudos as a result of giving, but it all comes down to the expectations that we hold in our hearts as we take up the call to give generously.

Cultivating a generous life takes us from self, and gives us to others. It reminds us of the joy that we can impart and as a result grow the joy within our own hearts. It is the difference between living a full life, and living life full.

Generous living shows the immense love that God has – for us and them. His love becomes real as we offer hope in their circumstance. They see His heart when we speak encouraging words into their life. They will know of His provision when we offer a portion of our own.

The result? For us and them…

Lavish love

Abundant blessing

And a heart teeming with life

You can’t out give God.

I won’t promise that your bank account will grow as your giving does, but I can promise you the abundant wealth of joy, love and all the riches of a life of GENEROSITY.

2generousDid you like this post? Please consider sharing it with a friend.  Post it on your facebook page, twitter feed, pinterest, or post your colored picture on instagram…where ever you think someone can use a little HOPE.

As a little added bonus: All comments on the write 31 days posts will be entered to win all of the colored cards for this series. These are colored by hand (by me :)and ready to give. The winner will be announced in November. Good luck 🙂

Don’t forget to click on the picture at the top of the page to download the pdf version of the GENEROUS picture.  Color it and share, or enjoy for yourself.

God bless your day!

 

 

The Wisdom of the Elves – Write 31:Day 30

listenclick on picture to download the free pdf

If you Listen closely, you can hear the whisper of your soul. That is the voice of God speaking to you. Pay attention – His words are life! {Deuteronomy 13:4}

The world is changed

I feel it in the water

I feel it in the earth

I smell it in the air

Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.

Okay – my geek is showing 🙂 I just returned from a Lord of the Rings Marathon, and I am filled with the melodies of its amazing soundtracks. As I thought this morning about what I was going to write for the word LISTEN, Galadriel came most readily to mind. Her prologue into this amazing story is not only haunting, but intuitive., and full of wisdom. (watch the short video clip above if you don’t know what I am talking about – all of you who have managed to avoid the power of the one ring 😉 She listens to the sounds of the earth and the reverberations of her spirit. She listens closely – and therefore sees and hears and feels what many others do not.

Are you listening?

If you listen closely you can hear the whisper of your soul – the murmur of your spirit.

The “voice” of God can manifest itself in so many ways. It can be through the words of a friend or scripture, a particularly memorable dream, or even a great movie or song.

God chooses His delivery creatively through the means that most speak to you.  I am particularly alert in the midst of story and music.  I love to find the deeper meanings hidden within them, draw parallels to my own life and experiences. They are a conduit for me to hear, especially with music, because it is then that my inner ear is most tuned to something beyond the noise happening around me. Sometimes when I need to quiet the talking within, I don some headphones and plug into meaningful music, preferably something without lyrics so that God’s words can enter in between the notes, full and gentle. Caressing my mind and filling my soul.

The prophet Elijah knew this intimately. He was a man prone to highs and lows. Experiencing the presence of God one moment, only to be plunged into fear the next. Does that sound familiar to you at all?  It does me.

There are days that I am so certain of His presence, so sure of His anointing. The highs climb to unfathomable heights. But it doesn’t take much for the enemy to plant a little seed of doubt within me. And sometimes I listen to those as well.

But when I hear the faint whisperings in my heart, like a gentle wind on a mountain top,  I stop and LISTEN. Like Elijah, I look for the presence of God, and when I  hear His whispers, His words of love and presence, HOPE finds a place in my heart.

2listenDid you like this post? Please consider sharing it with a friend.  Post it on your facebook page, twitter feed, pinterest, or post your colored picture on instagram…where ever you think someone can use a little HOPE.

As a little added bonus: All comments on the write 31 days posts will be entered to win all of the colored cards for this series. These are colored by hand (by me :)and ready to give. The winner will be announced in November. Good luck 🙂

Don’t forget to click on the picture at the top of the page to download the pdf version of the LISTEN picture.  Color it and share, or enjoy for yourself.

God bless your day!