Archives For creative

A Merry Heart

September 5, 2018
"Angelo Rules" by Team TO and Cake Entertainment

“Angelo Rules” by Team TO and Cake Entertainment

 

One of the things I’m grateful for is a “merry,” or cheerful heart. My wife woke up one morning to this scripture she shared with me … Proverbs 17:22 …

A merry heart does good, like medicine. But a broken spirit dries the bones.

Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)

It has been days since Rachel and I read that scripture and discussed it in length. We know that there’s a lot going on in the world, our culture, our own life and our family and it can be kind of tough to actually be “cheerful” or “merry.”

It has actually been really nice that she’s been reminding me of how cheerful I always tend to be. In fact, the running joke is that I don’t really need too much more caffeine because of how cheerful I am most days.

Usually you have to wait for the holidays for that, right? A dozen or more genuine “Merry” Christmas responses should do it, right?

But, what if it was a choice.

What if we chose to see the blessings that God has given us. I woke up that morning because the Lord so willed for me to be up and alive that morning. I have a sound mind. I have a portion of health and strength. But, more importantly, I know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. And that’s enough to be cheerful about.

But, note the wording in the scripture. “A merry heart does good, like medicine….”

The world is full of things in front of us by which we can medicate ourselves. But, the end result will only be an artificial cheerfulness, an artificial and temporary “merry” state, a temporary happiness.

“A broken spirit,” sadness and desperation is draining. It is completely opposite of being cheerful. As the text says, it “dries the bones.”

But, when we find ourselves in God’s Word, spending time in prayer and consistently focusing on Christ in our circumstances, the real medication for our ailment of sinfulness, we can have a “merry” heart, which does good like medicine.

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Message: Keep Creating

January 22, 2018

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On a cold, winter day, my wife and I ventured off to Northpark Mall in Dallas, Texas for an art event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King.

While there, I had the opportunity to share advice on the creative process and what it took to get my webcomic started:

Do Not Stop Creating

Keep creating the art that you create. Why!? Because, in this day and time, our lives depends on it.

So much is going on and people should express themselves and share their story through art and creativity.

Step Outside of Your Box of Influence

Learn and grow and do something different and challenging. Learn from other groups, other people and other cultures.

As you learn and grow, you’ll find your work influenced. But, also, you’ll find your work get better and better.

I could never have created the webcomic that tells the story of middle school students had I not worked in Youth Ministry or had I not worked around young people who are in the process of growing up.

Keep Telling Your Story

It is so important, now more than ever, to tell your story.

My story is of the kid who was “different” and struggled to fit in. But, I’m in a different place now and I’m a better person in spite of the struggles I’ve been through.

Telling your story could inspire and encourage someone else whose either hesitant or going through really deep and difficult challenges.

Remember Those Before Us

Because of Dr. King, we were able to share with one another and celebrate the freedom we have because of the fight for Civil Rights.

There are countless others throughout history that we should remember and recognize who have made a difference for the rights of women, minorities and people from various backgrounds.

I create what I create in an effort to exercise the appreciation I have for those who went before me. I create because I know I have a story to tell and I’m blessed to be able to do so. I create because I know someone else needs it.

It’s fun for me, but it may be therapeutic for someone else too.

newbullying theology

If you have never been in the place where it seemed like more was against you than it was for you, then, as older folks have told me, “keep living!”

When it seems like debts, disasters and decisions tend to be the thing that’s holding your dream hostage, it is an easy feeling to just blow off whatever that’s in your heart that’s good to do and just go on with your life.

Because of issues in our lives, many of us have simply stopped writing, blogging, drawing, speaking, teaching, preaching and much more.

And people suffer as a result of that.

I have 3 reasons that I can pull from the top of my head on why giving up is just not an option:

My Family Can’t Afford It!

No…seriously…as a husband, as a man…I can’t afford to just “give up!” It’s okay to take a break and really reflect, but, after you’ve prayed and cried, you have to have faith and go forward.

You have to make the choice to stand up even when you feel like sitting down.

Someone Is Watching!

Somewhere out there, I can imagine a young me, sitting somewhere on a computer or playing with their smartphone and running into a drawing on Instagram I did or an article I wrote.

Perhaps that kid is lonely, lost and filled with anxiety. This is the kid that needs to know that they are not alone and that they too can be encouraged to not “give up.”

And it’s not just kids…it’s adults too.

This is one of many reasons why I keep writing, drawing and creating stuff!

“Somebody is always watching” I’ve been told. That’s not to be taken as creepy. Fact is, you’re an example and an influence to somebody.

The Calling on My Life

When I don’t write or draw or create, it really, really bugs me. Even at my worst, there’s still something that just burns in me that says “yeah, I still want to do this! I must be a special kind of crazy!”

But, that’s awesome!

I believe that the Lord called me to the work that I do and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m learning more and more about what I’m here on this planet for and it is amazing. It’s humbling.


What Do I Do To Get My Groove Back

On days that I just feel a sense of failure and wanting to throw in the towel, it is usually because I have not properly taken care of myself.

If I haven’t taken time to pray, read my Bible, rest and relax or even journal a little, I get a little cranky…spiritually, mentally and physically. These are my must have things to do FIRST to survive and accomplish anything and everything that needs to be done.

I also look at my schedule book, reviewing what needs to be done and what can wait.

And there’s something about just “DOING” something! Even if it is to go outside and get fresh air and take walks, the momentum of exercise really helps get things going.

Tuesday, I was reading a devotional on my Bible app and it got things for me going. I then passed on the lesson to my wife. Turns out, she needed a Word as much as I did.

Because of not giving up, I was able to be a blessing to somebody else!

And even if being a blessing to somebody else was all that was accomplished that day…then that was a pretty big accomplishment!

 

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Lately, I’ve been watching, repetitively, a 20-year-old cartoon series that used to run on ABC Saturday Morning’s, “Nightmare Ned.”

Based off a video game, “Nightmare Ned” follows a bespectacled 10-year-old boy named Ned Needlemeyer whose nightmares are used to face his fears. Most times he comes out on top, but, other times his endings are not so good and he wakes up only to realize it was only a dream.

Finding this show was difficult, and I barely remember it being on the air. I was in middle school, 7th grade to be exact, when this show was on. I recall catching the intro and watching a clip or two. And no wonder, the show aired at 11am Central Time on our ABC affiliate here in Dallas. And usually around that time I was already out and about.

ned in a milk cow suit

The show is quite creative and brilliant in its own crazy way. After 20 years, the show still holds up.

I’ve also studied the art style and it has helped me grow my drawing skills. Hence, Ned in cow pajamas from the episode, “Abduction.” 

Ned is relatable, especially if you were the boy who grew up facing bullies, your own personal anxieties and parents who didn’t quite get where you were coming from in perspective.

Because of “Nightmare Ned,” I’m reminded why I write what I write and how my personal experiences from boyhood are able to properly translate. I’m also reminded of my time growing up, slipping in and out of constant daydreams and having an overactive imagination and even wild dreams and nightmares.

I am reminded how some things growing up were tough, but, how things were not always that way.

I’m reminded to be OKAY with the past and write for the future, the future of other Ned Needlemeyer’s and Kendall Lyons’ out there whose experiences growing up were a bit unorthodox.

I’ve found myself writing my characters in my comic strips and in my books in such a way that they are truly “kids!” They’ve become more real because I’ve been reminded of how important it is to get real but still be funny and creative at the same time.