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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Journal With Impact: Nature Inform

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“Hunting, fishing, drawing, and music occupied my every moment. Cares I knew not, and cared naught about them.”                                      John James Audubon

We began this journal section saying, “Art, music, and imagery can become a separate language of communication. So too does nature. It is a language that speaks to us, by personally touching our hearts and souls with meaning, and also by allowing us to share across time and culture with others. Nature as reflection builds a bridge of communication that gives us soul-to-soul threads of understanding.”
With whom do you want to share your discoveries? What age? What method: art, writing, music, comic books, maps, photos, or…? What will be your bridge? Sharing builds communication. It’s like the excitement of watching a gift being opened for a special reason.

We may not have every moment to pour ourselves in, as did Audubon, but because of his commitment he still continues to inspire others because of his nature discoveries that have been passed down through information and art.

And the bonus is the memories continue to be fresh with each encounter. Nature is ever present and ever changing. Share both the ordinary and the unexpected.

Action Steps:

1. Ask yourself, ‘What are three parts of nature that I find the most interesting, intriguing, confusing, symbolic?’ Other categories? Make your own lists.

2. Then ask yourself, ‘What could they be springboards to?’ If as a writer perhaps a new setting for a scene or novel, a vocabulary for metaphors, a source of study, or perhaps a preparation for essays, or articles or devotions.

3. Or a hands-on project for yourself or your neighbors or city? What might that look like? With whom might you be able to share insights to fuel creativity and action?

4. Start a reading list to dig deeper into your territory.

Share: What is your dream? What is your first step?

Read deep, marcy


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Journal With Impact: Nature Interact

“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.”                     John James Audubon

John James Audubon was both a scientist and an artist. He dove into his passion and has left an amazing legacy not only of his own work, but the inspiration he passed on to others. What action from your journal last week has built up your desire to combine your own practical and creative abilities into an ongoing interaction?

Or, where would you like to investigate more? What time can you carve out? Has anything surprised you in your journal so far that is changing your perspective? The possibilities are endless in nature so to interact means to listen to your heartbeat for your passion.

Several years ago Geary Mandrapilias shared her story in Nature’s Garden that she had begun gardening as an outdoor activity while her children played in the yard. “I was definitely collecting plants but…I certainly did not know I was making a habitat.” Her passion grew and when a fellow Master Gardener suggested she become a wildlife rehabilitator, another one of her interests blended in. She built a chain of three small ponds into her yard that became a habitat for turtles. Later an “assortment of birds, rabbits, squirrels, lizards, and other wildlife” also came.  (Nature’s Garden Magazine Summer 2007)

Sometimes taking our first step of interaction can begin a surprising journey.

In a recent visit to Milwaukie, Oregon, I spotted a few Wildlife signs near driveways during a walk. When I took a closer look I saw they were certifications for backyard habitats. The Portland Audubon society has a program to assist homeowners to interact and help preserve local habitats. Their five program elements include: “removal of aggressive weeds, naturescaping with native plants, pesticides reduction, stormwater management and wildlife stewardship. Two of their concerns under wildlife stewardship include providing water and shelter, and decreasing hazards to wildlife.

Journal ideas of how you would like to interact with nature. Then write out other interests and daydream how they might merge—either in concrete physical action and/or art. 

Action Steps:

1.     Look up the Audubon websites and resources in your own geographic home and see what stewardship or habitat possibilities you might be able to incorporate, even if in a crowded city.

2.     What actions will best combine your personal factual science and your art lean together?

3.     Plan your project.

Share: What is one simple action you discovered for your location?

Read deep, marcy

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Journal With Impact: Nature Interest

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“The act of recording a life, in healthy solitude and active connection to loved terrain, is also the act of creating a life.”                                    Hannah Hinchman

How to find that creative interest? Begin from your own home habitat.

Like any other journal, the nature journal also extends from the five minute quick write such as ‘what did I see in nature today that affected me’ to a deep detailed scientific analysis. Sometimes the more we connect the more we want to explore. Our interest is not satisfied with a passing glance.

However there are also so many possibilities to explore that we’re not always sure exactly where we’d like to dig deep. Here are some suggestions to try out a day at a time, or a week at a time, or for long-term studies a month. When you find your journal responses producing more and more questions and ideas, then follow that curiosity.

1. Take a different route for a walk each time. Look for anything that surprises you.

2. Or look for a specific feature: type of tree, animals you see, smells and shapes.

3. Keep a log of the weather patterns or the sunrise, sunset for a month.

4. Choose one spot and look at it morning noon and night. What stays the same? What is different?

5. Choose a particular study such as the moon, or tides, or seasons and watch the changes over a long period of time.

6. Or, on the same idea, watch a nest of birds for their entire cycle while taking daily readings. Mark the day-by-day different changes.

7. If you are keeping a more scientific study create a template page where you can mark dates or time of day, notes pertinent to your study and sketches or photos.

8. Keep a sketch journal only. Or, if unable to draw, take photographs and make it a visual journal.

9. Collect leaves or seeds or stones if allowed. Draw or trace them.

Once, when I first moved to a city that had a different skyline than any I had ever seen I spent every Sunday evening over the next two months describing the colors in the sky. Not one was a replica.

The main idea is to enjoy the beauty and mystery and astounding creation that too often we can take for granted in our busy lives.

Action Steps:

1. Which of the above caught your interest or led you to your own version? Why?

2. Design a study plan that fits your life so you look forward to each week’s    discovery.

Share: What would you like to watch for in nature over the next week or month?

Read deep, marcy

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Journal With Impact: Nature Identify

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“Journaling from the events of daily life does not mean simply keeping a log or diary of who we saw and what we did each day. It means, rather, writing down the experiences that have affected our soul in a particular way.”   Anne Broyles

Identify what inspires you through nature.

Here is one view—one day—one experience—that had the ability to capture a whole inspiration as Rainer Maria Rilke offers up a prayer from the land that carries across the centuries of time.


            “The leaves are falling, falling as if from far off,
            as if in the distance heavens gardens withered;
they fall with gestures that say, ‘no.’           

And in the nights the heavy earth falls
from all the stars into aloneness.

We are all falling. This hand is falling.
And look at the others: it is in them all.

And yet there is One who holds this falling
with infinite softness in his hands.”

Just as a reflective journal helps connect you to your daily life from a variety of views, so too can a nature journal be approached either randomly, or while trying to study a particular concept, and then go deeper into certain aspects.

One creative writing exercise, often known as the index or table of contents, works well with nature journals to grasp an initial overview to start from. The idea is to make a list of about 20 to 30 ideas or subjects of your choice. A list of potential titles works well too. Do it quickly under a timer to help keep your critical thinking set aside. Try five or ten minutes. One time after I put together a mock index of things I’d like to read/write/study I discovered to my great surprise that 22 out of 25 topics were all nature related.

Below are some headings Hannah Hinchman used in A Trail Through Leaves.
Feeling It In Your Bones
The Power of the Ordinary
The Flow Of Attention
Seeing Order Seeing Chaos
Unmeasureable Phenomena

Action Steps:

1. Make a table of contents list from one particular season and write down as many nature memories you can think of. It can be in a specific season one year or a general overview of memories over the years.

2. Then expand each one with concrete details. For example: Did it rain one whole week? What did it sound like—list all the other characteristics you remember as well.

3. Now go back to the description exercise and choose five episodes from your list above that affected you either positively or negatively. Now write them up in descriptive detail.

Share: Which season most captured your heart?

Read deep, marcy

Saturday, September 29, 2018

New Workbook Launch! Twelve Basic Concepts to Influence Your Story

New Workbook Launch! 

Wondering how to link your stories to timeless connections?

In Twelve Basic Concepts to Influence Your Story, we’ll learn how to strengthen our stories by digging deep into concepts and definitions that enable us to examine timeless precepts. When we can make connections to enduring and universal themes, plots, characters, and settings, we stir emotional motifs that resonate with readers regardless of genre. We’ll examine tools that enable us to write with impact, read with intent, and watch with insight to nourish seeds of creative exploration and focused imagination.

Build Your Story:  Where do you want to dig deeper?

Write with Impact workshops are a compilation of techniques, exercises, and observations gleaned from mentors, students, authors, and writing communities. It might be said that there is nothing new under the sun, but the slant in which we perceive our writing can make a difference.

What exactly does it mean to Write with Impact? When we go deeper into our stories with heart-to-heart connections and associations, we can write with impact.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Journal With Impact: Nature Perspective Inspire

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord had done this?” Job 12:7-9

Scripture often reminds us of the power of creation in our lives and inspires us to see through a new lens, or another different perspective. One summer I shared some inspiration I found after some investigation regarding the unique characteristics of birds as a family devotional. Here’s an example.

“Bird Struck! Woodpecker

Family Devotional

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it” Psalm 139:14.

Although they differ in length, all woodpeckers have a straight chisel-like self-sharpening bill and straight stiff tail feathers, which help them to lean against tree trunks.

They are like living electric drills similar to the jackhammers workers use to break up sidewalks for repair. The woodpecker can pound up to twenty some blows a second on a tree. That’s a lot of hard battering.

At the back of their lower jaw is a muscular pad that acts as a shock absorber. They are specially designed for the work they do.

Not only do they drill into branches and trees to eat insects and grubs, but the holes they excavate often become nests for other smaller birds such as nuthatches, wrens, and elf owls.

Jesus tells us that God knows when each sparrow falls and how many hairs are on his head. We are each unique to Him—a one-of-a-kind design that has specific abilities for special tasks.

Sometimes He has a very special job He asks us to do. If another bird tried to imitate the woodpecker, he would be badly hurt without the shock absorber. So it’s important not to imitate other people but be our unique selves.

When we follow Jesus, He Himself protects us and becomes our shock absorber. Then we can freely live our lives in His protection doing the work he asks us to do.

What are some special things you know how to do? How can you help someone else with your abilities?”

What have you been reading, or seeing, recently in nature in your investigations that inspires you to see through a new lens and a fresh perspective whether land or sea or sky or animals. What insight have you discovered to share and how do you want to share it?

Action Steps:

1.     Take a walk in a familiar setting such as a walk around a few blocks or a nearby park, or a trail you jog or walk whenever possible.

2.     Deliberately choose a characteristic to look for or listen for: foliage, or animal, or wind and concentrate on that specific detail.

3.     What do you notice that you have not noticed before?

Share: What is your fresh insight that inspires you?

Read deep, marcy

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Journal With Impact: Nature Perspective Investigate

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“Material objects are used to express spiritual truths and reveal that nature is more than it seems. Nature is book of symbols…….’This empty world which we do see is an exact picture and pattern of the spiritual and heavenly  world which we do not see.’”
                                                                                                                           Herbert Lockyer

With an expanded language to push us out of our comfort zone consider what symbols are the most representative to your habitat. Begin with the familiar ones that speak across languages and cultures. For example, we all can relate to symbols we see daily such as the sun, moon, and stars.

And yet at the same time we may see each from a different perspective depending on where we live. Extended summer sun may be experienced as a joy of longer days, or, for those for whom the sun lasts long hours in the summer, it can mean sleep deprivation. For example, in Fairbanks, Alaska, the summer sun means twenty-two hours of daylight.

Once you have your list of symbols investigate their meanings. Which are positive or negative to you specifically. Are they different from what others might perceive them? Why? Which sensory connections have the most impact for you physically, mentally, or spiritually?

When you have investigated the top few symbols that you relate to write up a brief letter to yourself as to why they capture you. Then consider how you would like to share in some form of art, whether or not you have the skills to do so.

Why would that symbol in that presentation best express a truth you have discovered?

Action Steps:

“In a parable, there is nothing contrary to the truth of Nature.” Herbert Lockyer

1. Now make a list of potential symbols that fit your spiritual truth you recognize in your habitat.

2. What truths do they best represent—both positive and negative?

3. Which one do you think best fits a parable? How can you share it in a creative format, whether as a short story or a song or another form of visible art?

Share: What symbol best fits your perspective truth?

Read deep, marcy

"The Seeker" Rachel Marks | Content Copyright Marcy Weydemuller | Site by Eagle Designs
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