Six Word Stories (20)

The presence of light has such power. It can illuminate or bind us.

Darkness shreds in the presence of even a single flame.

It sets a mood and tells a story.

It’s an element that shouts volumes, with just a whispered presence.

Light is energy. Without it, growth is impossible.

Nature has a way of reclaiming what man uses and then forgets.

It doesn’t see our castoffs as no longer needed, it knows that it’s all still a part of the matter making up this world.

We can’t separate it out.

As nature reclaims its own pieces from the aftermath of us, it has its own stories to tell us.

Will we take the time to read them?

Stones remember, even when understanding is lost and history is forgotten.

Stones remember.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photos sourced from unsplash.com

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Joy

Found in simple spaces
when lights have dimmed to ease
weariness of day from shoulders prone.

In the morning beams
where radiance sings
reserving stage for feathered accompaniment notes.

Shimmers in the shadows
like the fuzziness of heat,
but greats in bells that chime with chirping mirth.

Often hid amid
wide open space
blending with a magic you can not trace.

Given to the few
who look beyond circumstance
to find the lines God painted beneath.

Even when awash,
paying untold cost,
finding treasure hid and hold relief.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Keeping Creative in Isolation

We often overlook the power of quiet in our world. For many creatives, finding that quiet space can be difficult.

What do you do when the quiet finds you, and won’t leave?

We have been subjected to isolation few have known before. For some, this has created safe spaces to create, even given us a boost. We have taken stock and finish projects. It’s been thrilling!

But, It’s been over a year. How do you keep your creativity thriving when you can’t watch the hustle and bustle of everyday life from your favorite coffee shop window, when trips that feed your inspiration are discouraged? What do you do when it’s been weeks since your last conversation with another adult, and all you hear in your own brain is baby talk and cartoon theme songs? Or even just silence, and the silence is weighting on you, crushing your creativity.

Get basic.

It’s time to remember your ‘why’. What do I mean by that?

Every person engaging in their creativity has a why, an underlying reason they create. What’s yours?

For me, it’s not a choice. I must write or I get sick. It’s how my brain puts pieces together and manages stress. It’s how I entertain and am entertained. I dream, think, and live in a world of words. My why?

I write to understand myself and the word.

What is your why?

Whatever form your creativity takes, revisit your why. After you hold it in my mind and heart again, ask yourself, is it still enough? Has it changed this past year? Should it change?

I can’t answer those questions for you. I will trust you can find the answers. After you remember your why, it’s time to practice.

Practice? Yes, practice.

Sometimes creatives believe the lie that, “We always need to have a project going.” That is not true.

When you are tired, lonely, depressed, give your brain and heart a rest. Revisit things you know best like the beginning strokes of a painting, the simple forms of poetry you played with as a child.

Hop,
mop,
clop!

Let your brain wonder through small things.

What does your coffee smell like?

Is there a word to describe the wind chimes outside on the back porch?

If your art is more physical, return to the exercises your body knows. Muscle memory is powerful.

Pick up your guitar and play Mary Had A little lamb. Let your fingers roam over the strings, finding the notes your heart loves best, a favorite song. Just sing.

Then take a brake.

Put it down, walk away, play with the kids. Phone Mom! Send your girlfriend a hand-written letter.
Let creativity grow. Once you start something, it will call to you. Your heart and mind will tell you when to engage with creativity.

Do you hear her calling you?

When you do, it’s then that your heart is ready to learn from her again. This road of creativity in loneliness is difficult. But if you feed that flame inside, it won’t die. Be kind to yourself.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Stories (19)

Why is spring so fraught with rain?

Why does it pour and spatter and spit?

Dissolving snow and rinsing grime from my window pane, it’s like He knows the earth needs a good morning shower.

Or is it grief, a liquid love?

Does He weep for those who have fallen asleep in the cold shadow of winter’s rest?

Does He weep to awaken those who sleep in Gethsemane?

“Will you pray for me?”

The heavier the pour, the more of His tears I can hold to my heart.

I know He already prays for me.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photo’s sourced from unsplash.com

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Six Word Stories (18)

I used to sit in the field making wishes on dandelion fluff.

I once rolled through the tall grasses, collecting the white seeds on my clothes and dark curls. Helping them spread as I ran back to the house, arms outstretched.

“I can fly!” I would cry, and daydream of Peter Pan and Tinkebell.

It was my life’s spring.

Now I watch my own children wading through puddles. The freshness on their cheeks and sweaters always flavored with a hint of damp growth when coming home from an evenings play.

But I still dream of fairy wings and mermaid foam.

My sisters and I used to rub our cheeks yellow with dandelion buds, and weave tiny field daises in to wreathes for our head.

Now I watch my own girls pick wildflowers and supervise as all kinds of pretend soups are mixed in sandbox buckets with sticks that are just as much magic wands as they are spoons.

The right now is there spring.

The scent of fresh tree blossoms might hold different meanings for me then they once did. But it doesn’t matter what age you are, if you listen closely with your heart they will share wisdom with you.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photos sourced from unsplash.com

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Six Word Stories (17)

Tunnels, arches, trails, these things hold a fascination for me.

They beckon.

“Come explore, come and learn, come experience our adventure.”

But in adventure, there is always change.

Change of self, change of place, change of perspective.

Is it worth it, this stepping into the known?

Dare we?

If we don’t dare, we will never know what we have missed. But the question of what if will always hang there.

I don’t always dare. But sometimes I am lent a bravery not of myself and jump in feet first.

Sometimes I am swept away to places I never dreamed of. Places I never wanted to go. Places of pain.

Sometimes I land in the middle of tumultuous beauty and breath-taking experiences. I am still learning to be thankful for both.

When those experiences look arching waves, may God help me find the blessing beneath life’s crush.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photos sourced from unsplash.com

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Are You Scared of Creativity?

All humans have the spark of creativity. Some of us revel in it, and some of us hold it at arms’ length. Some of us even try to squelch it in our fists as if it was a bug we could squash, or a flame we could douse.

Have you ever done that?

I have.

Why do we do it?

Because creativity is not safe, and it scares us.

Why does creativity sometimes scare us? A few reasons may be fear of rejection, fear of inferiority, or fear of breaking rules.

When you share your creativity, there is always a risk that whoever you share it with, won’t get it or be able to appreciate it. It’s for each individual to decide if that risk is worth it.

We have a choice weather we hide our creativity from others. But that’s like placing a lit candle under a bucket. We should share creativity, at least with those who love us.

It is also a sacred thing. Creativity demands our energy. Inevitably, the creator will endow the project with a part of his or her self. It’s painful seeing our work rejected, as it’s painful being overlooked, or rejected as people. But I believe the risk is worth it.

Do you?

It’s also possible we are just not as gifted in our chosen art form as we wish to be. Other’s might outshine us. We may fail in front of the world.

I urge each of us not to let this fear stop us from practicing our creativity. Every great creative was once a beginner. Everyone will find someone more talented.

You know what? That’s okay.

Whether you gain great acclaim in your art, or not, your creativity has merit. Often, it’s the doing that blesses and not always the end product. We can bless others as they watch our progress, no matter how slow that progress may be. It can light the spark under their own creativity. Don’t stop doing what gives you wing just because you’re not the best at it.

Sometimes our creative takes us to places that push boundaries. We may have heard, “no you can’t do that, it’s not allowed.” Or been told that something makes us incapable of practicing this creativity. Be it cultural rules, religious rules, or something else, this can and is devastating. Dare we break those rules? Will we risk throwing the definition of norms out the window?

This is a personal choice. Are there moral reasons rules are there? Are these moral rules just? Honestly, human beings aren’t always fair with the rules we place on ourselves and others. It’s necessary to question rules and why they are in place, especially when they limit human creativity.

As we question these rules, and weigh the need to uphold, or brake them, I hope bravery, truth, and beauty prevail.

What will you do this week to practice creativity? Tell me about it!

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Stories (16)

In the age of information, I have been given the chance to write. The chance to tell my story in my own words. The chance to dream my dreams and share them. What a gift.

I always knew that I would be at least a closet writer. But I never dreamed my form of expression would touch poetry. It has only been three years since I have discovered this gift, within a gift.

Empty auditoriums, silent church buildings, and closed temples. Despite the shutdown, writing has never stopped. We still need the writer. The storyteller is ever vital.

We have again been shown the power of written words.

Be it fiction, poetry, memoir, or essay, written words have sustained many of us this past year. Did we take them for granted?

Today I thank God for this gift in all its forms.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Spring Thaw Collection

  • Once perfect white hills,
    trap particles in spring thaw.
    Speckled remnants glare.

  • Sweat from sun’s new glare.
    Chilled in shade’s guard dome.
    Canada’s spring sings.

  • Muddied crystals strewn,
    rippled ground tormented mix.
    Soon the soak will drain.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Our Need for Your Story

Did you know you have a story to tell?

It doesn’t matter how average you think you might be, you have a unique story all your own. No one has lived the same life or felt the same emotions. No one sees the world in quite the same way as YOU.

It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, nor your level of education. There is a story inside of you, and it’s important.

What’s your story?

It could be as simple as that casserole recipe your grandmother taught you how to make, and the things you both talked about while she taught you.

It could be your story is more of a question, something you long to know the answer to, and your quest to find it. Did you find it? Will you find it? Maybe, maybe not. That is a story.

Sure, not everyone may want to know your story. But for every story, there is an audience. Be it ever so small, it’s there.

Telling your story takes courage. It means being vulnerable. Are we brave enough to tell our stories? Not all stories are dark and painful, dramatic, or awe-inspiring. Some are quite ordinary.

Have you ever watched the movie, It’s a Wonderful life? I know many people who make it a tradition to watch this classic in the bright glow of a Christmas tree. It truly is a powerful story. But what makes it so powerful? Simple truth.

An ordinary life has reach and meaning beyond itself. We all touch others in ways we do not realize. We leave holes when we are gone, that we will never know about. There are stories behind our ordinary selves. Beautiful stories, stories worth hearing, reading, and seeing. Stories we can and should learn from.

What’s your story?

Don’t discount it and it’s power.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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