Welcome to our blog!

We write reflections about our explorations in the arts, creativity, prayer, retreats, and spirituality.

We would love to be in dialog with you. Share your thoughts on these topics or respond to what we have written.

We are also available to lead arts & spirituality workshops and retreats. Visit our website for more details: www.DrawingNearer.com
Blessings, Suzanne & Wanda

Moment by Moment

Moment by Moment
Spiral Mandala, oringinal artwork by Suzanne Halstead

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Book available in Print!

Wanda & I are pleased to announce that our book is now available in print!

Drawing Nearer: Devotional Workbook of Creative Prayer

You can order it through our website: www.DrawingNearer.com
You can also sign up for our e-newsletter, retreats, workshops and visit the new Drawing Nearer Studio in Pottstown, PA

We wish you all a Happy Advent Season full of prayerful and creative anticipation to the wonders of the Light & Love of Christmas! Blessings, Suzanne & Wanda

Thursday, August 26, 2010

More Pendle Hill

A Healing Retreat

Suzanne and I attended the Creative Spirit retreat at Pendle Hill lead by Melanie Weidner. It was fantastic!!! If you are in the area and she is speaking, don't hesitate - just go. You will be blessed.

At this retreat, we prayed and created and prayed while creating. "Juicy" poetry stimulated our spirits to dig deep and express ourselves with paint, collage, boxes, altered books.... Oh what bliss!!!!

There were 16 of us. We began as strangers and ended with a hug-fest, with promises to see each other next year. When I got home, there was already an email thread connecting us and a round robin project developing between us.

As I write this, a week has past and I am still spiritually high and blissful. The peace that comes after turning monster fears into angel blessings on paper and in the heart is true healing.

On a side note but not connected to our retreat, I came upon an article on how art can aid healing from trauma and the resultant PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). It is from a trusted source and you may be interested in seeing it: http://www.ptsdspirituality.com/2010/08/22/ptsd-spirituality-art-and-craft-can-heal-ptsd-soul-wounds/

It's amazing what God can do with paper, brushes, scraps, and a willing heart.
Blessings on your journey, W

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Drawing Nearer this weekend

Ok - this is going to be chatty - no deep thoughts or inspiring words or even profound imagery. Just me and my thoughts and maybe you reading them. So hear goes.

Ever see on your calendar a few days in a row that are ::gasp:: empty. I mean - nothing written on them - really. Not a single 'have to' or 'should' (well - there are always shoulds). No appointments, no deadlines - just little empty white squares with nothin' in 'um.

For me - this is dangerous. Especially when I see them a month or so in advance. I take a moment to think hard on this amazing reality - really Suzanne? Really blank? If the internal answer, based on external circumstances, comes back "yes" well - that's when my normally controlled and under-active creative energies go - "Oh Yea, Let's Party!"

And that is just what has happened this Memorial Day weekend - yes weekend. All day Friday, Saturday, Sunday AND Monday. Four - count them 4 whole days to....to...?

First thoughts were, "Great, I'll go away, go on an adventure - camping, canoeing, or do the City - art museums, see a show, or go visit friends and family, etc..." After checking in with the loving spouse my initial "go & do" bubble burst - I may have 4 blank days - in a row - but he does not. "Rats" as the beloved Peanuts character, Charlie Brown, used to say.

Besides, God had other plans for these open spaces - in fact, it was the vision that I had (really Divinely inspired) when we first moved into our house 5 years ago. You see the previous owners had a vision of their own that was only partially realized - a large above ground aluminum framed swimming pool with attached deck. We know this because they left behind a flat area dug out of an all slopping yard and a 4' x 21' cider block wall (to hold the hillside back) and all the pieces and parts of this pool meant to be assembled.

Since our children were up and out in their mid-tewnties and we had just finished taking care of an in-ground pool we had at our last house, we weren't to eager to go that route again. Besides, the many pieces and parts came without instructions so it all became scrape metal for income towards the next project - make that projects!

Fast forward to this weekend. We are, God bless my husband, filling this wonderful open days with a vision FULL of outdoor projects: The flat area was calling to be become a labyrinth - a walking pathway in a scared circle for meditation, contemplation, centering prayer and time with the Holy in a lovely tree surrounded, bird song setting. The wall was calling to become a beautiful mural - a place for visual inspiration and creative expression, a focal point to enhance the walker experience. The space begs for a waterfall - soothing sounds that surround you, light sparkling on the water both providing a sense of peace.

As these projects are in the making not only by me but also with the loving assistance of dear friends and family members, a deep longing id fulfilled, awesome creative energies are explored, a sense of accomplishment is felt and a vision is realized. Most importantly, the results of these four days will provide a place for people to come and participate in a drawing nearer experience with God.

So God, please bless all our hands and this place as we offer it back to you. Call all souls who you know need a place of rest and inspiration to come. So be it.
Yahoo!! Suzanne

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wonder -ring

I'm wonder-ring this morning...
For me, that's letting my wonder ring - as in ringing true. It's like opening a big space inside myself and letting the sound of me ring around. The more I am open to wonder ring the more the internal sounds echo, linger, create harmonies.

I wonder if God wondered - you know wondered us and all of creation into being. In the beginning was the Word - the sound - we are spoken - rung into existence. Vibrations of sound waves creating patterns, colors - even light itself. And it was good - yes very good!

Try it - try wonder-ring. Create an open space inside yourself where sound - the Word - can reverberate beautiful harmonies within you. Then -- watch light sparkling on water, listen to the wind in the trees, soak in the colors of a flower, touch the softness of the skin of someone you love, taste your favorite fruit and let your self - wonder.

Enjoy this day,

Sunday, March 28, 2010


death to life
sleep to awake
chrysalis to butterfly
seed to flower
winter to spring
sorrow to joy
cross to resurrection
darkness to light
old to new
frozen to flowing
never to always
somber to song
closed to open
________ to _________

Monday, March 22, 2010

Welcome Spring!

Happy Spring to one and all!
I am enjoying the beautiful warm sunny weather these past few day. Daffodils are blooming and the smell of spring is everywhere. It does refresh my spirit. Wanda and I have been busy doing Drawing Nearer workshops and presentations in our area. Please check out our website for a listing of the workshops and retreat options we offer. And our book is available for personal download through PayPal. www.drawingnearer.com

We wish you the joys of this holy Easter season. May your hearts be filled with a renewed spirit of creativity~!


Friday, February 26, 2010

Winter - Still

Yes, it's still winter. The snow fell and the wind blew. The shovel scraped along the l-o-n-g driveway once more. A thousand piece puzzle was assembled. Emails were written. And then - what - what to do -now?

Be still - its still winter.
Be still - hold still, breathe, rest.
Be still - know that I am and that You are.
Be still - know that I AM God.
Be still - pray, breathe, rest - its OK - really.
Be still - just be, become, come and be still.
Be still - its still winter.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010


I hate paying bills! There is never enough cash to clean the slate every month. I keep thinking there has to be a better way to do this, to not feel so frustrated and anxious every two weeks. So, I wondered, is there a way to turn bill paying into a spiritual practice that would contribute toward shaping me in a contemplative way?

Jesus taught that we should not be anxious as to what we will eat, what we will wear, or where we will lay our heads, because our loving God is aware that we need all these things and has provided us with abundant resources. I do have all those things and so much, much more. As I look around my place I see the vestiges of the materialistic society I have bought into. Maybe there are things here I do not need that drain my resources in maintaining them.

Also, the priniciples of simplicity and generosity come into play. We are not to squander our resources to the point that we can not share our abundance with others who are in need, who have less than we do. I believe God gives some people an abundance of resources in order to cultivate compassion in them to share with those who have much less. There are materials in my craft room which I could make into gifts, an extra table and gently used clothes I could donate to a charity resale shop.

Then there is gratitude. My grandmother always told me to count my blessings. In fact she loved to play a hymn about it on her organ. She survived the Great Depression and the World Wars by relying on and thanking God for everything she did have – which wasn’t much.The disciple of gratitude keeps our minds on the blessings that we do have instead of moaning over the things we do not have. This will clue me in to the abundance provided to me by a generous God, much of which I don’t stop to notice.

So, back to the bills. I think if I look at each bill and contemplate how that service or item benefited me (or those I blessed with gifts purchased), then gratitude would swell instead of anxiety. Thanks, God, for providing enough for that dental bill, and for guiding me to a gentle, compassion and skillful dentist. Thank you for the roof over my head and for a place where my family feels safe and cared for. Thank you for the abundance of food available to me every day.

And while I’m at it, I could write a check to my church or favorite charity who uses the resources to help others who need the basic elements of life which I take for granted.

Maybe if I consider these principles while paying my bills, it won’t be such an onerous chore!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New this week!

Greetings everyone!
Wanda and I are so pleased to offer a free sample of our Book Drawing Nearer on our website Drawingnearer.com. Check out our website for more information on the workshops we offer and insights on retreating, praying and creating.

Coming very soon you will be able to down load the whole book! We are completing the final edits and have set up a PayPal account for your convenience.

When Wanda & I first started leading art & prayer programs and workshops together two years ago we had no idea God would be calling us to create a whole book on the process of these workshops - a real labor of love! We feel so blessed to be able to offer this book to you as a resource for your personal devotion or retreat time with encouragement to spend time each day praying and creating.

We look forward to hearing from you! Try out the sample page for free and let us know how your experience went. You may comment here on our blog or email us at drawingnearercc@gmail.com

Creatively yours,

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

"Grace" by Suzanne Halstead, is a hand printed image
of white silkscreen ink on black paper.

Monday, January 25, 2010

More Insights on Play and Creativity

On 1/16 Wanda shared about how her desire to be creative got waylaid by a need to make a list first; to research all her related craft books, go over all her many project ideas and inventory all her art supplies. Becoming paralyzed by all these items and choices that she felt she should accomplish before actually doing any creating! (read the full entry to know how she 'broke through' at last :-)

I can relate.

I have many self-imposed 'shoulds' to do today - this blog entry being one of them. Some of these shoulds are for work, some are for this adventure, Wanda and I have called, "Drawing Nearer" and some are to actually create artwork for an art show I'm in next week.

So I dutifully made my list and set forth to conquer all that needs to be accomplished before I can go to sleep again this evening. However, when I sit at the computer to get started, my attention is drawn to the scene out the window. One of a very swollen and fast moving stream due to all the rain - its raining now - hard! I remember I need to put mail in the box at the end of our driveway, so I get the mail, slip on my outdoor shoes, grab an umbrella and venture outside in the rain, in my pajamas.

The driveway is long and covered with downed limbs and branches from all the wind. I kick them to the stream side of the yard in a variety of fancy footing (this was fun!) I reach the end of the driveway and a steady flow of water cascades down the hill from around our neighbor's house across our driveway into leaves, sticks and undergrowth and eventually pours over the edge of the road into the stream below. This activity transfixes me and I pick up a stick to brush away some of the leaves and twigs which are creating little dams, pooling up the water, impeding its flow.

With umbrella repositioned, I crouch down and used a nearby stick to break-up some of the jams, instantly delighted by the reinvigorated flow of the water. Time stops - I'm not sure how long I was out there playing with the water, in the rain, in my pajamas, but it was totally satisfying!

I was creating flow-paths, patterns, releasing energy and was 'lost' in the moment - in essence, on my own spontaneous mini-retreat. While walking back up the driveway, I realized how rejuvenated I felt. My own inner-energies were flowing in a way that making a list didn't do - and really never will.

All this is to say - go ahead and play! Do something silly or child like. Break up those creative dams and jams. Let your energies flow and see what becomes of it!

Peace, Suzanne

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Walking a Labyrinth

Just found a wonderful article on walking the Labyrinth as contemplative prayer.
Check it out!
Ancient labyrinths enjoying a resurgence
Fans tout their spiritually calming influence
By Electa Draper
The Denver Post


Saturday, January 16, 2010


I made a promise to myself today…no work, just creative play. But as I sat down for lunch I found myself making a list of artsy things I wanted to accomplish. A list… Really??? When I make a list, I drive myself to complete everything on it and feel guilty for the things I missed. Then fun becomes a chore. I don’t need the stress of making a list for playtime.

Then I thought about the wonderful craft and mixed-media books I’ve bought and browsed through. I’ve waded into them at some point and put them aside for when I have more time to work with them. Should I choose one of them? Which one? Where am I in the book and do I need to accomplish the next step before moving deeper between the book covers? But again I found myself wanting to follow its list, a list of things that someone else thinks I need to be doing. Fun things to experiment with, yes, but with the goal of working toward an end product or a certain technique the author wants me to try. As a writer I am aware that exercises are created with an end result in mind – what is it that I hope my reader will learn or take-away from the experience? When I’m the reader, there are times like this when I feel confined by the author’s parameters.

Instead, I want to play with no goal in mind like I did as a child. All I had to do was gaze at all the goodies and gadgets and what-not I’ve collected and mix them up until something felt right. I had a drawer full of yarn ends, a well-used paint box, Barbie shoes, clothes pins, beads, bells and buttons, tokens missing their game board, and various odds and ends. Remember your play days? What were the things you collected as a child?

Today my drawer has morphed into an entire room with adult treasures: bubble wrap, cigar boxes, scrap papers, charms, a rainbow of pastels and paints, sculpy clay, bits of lace and metallic threads. The possibilities are endless!

So – what are we waiting for? The last one to the craft room is a hardened lump of glue!...


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Full Moon Rises; A New Year Begins

Shell Mountain

A new year is here
And goals I try
To see if they are reach - able

This blog is one
Praying through Art another
Especially when words fail me

As the spiral rises
The torch I carry
Mountain top experience obtained

But down on the ground
Is where I am found

Artwork & Poem by Suzanne

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Still Singing?

After hearing canned Christmas music in stores and restaurants since October, adnausium, most of us are sick and tired of it. The day after the big one, we race to pack away our CDs and decorations until next year.

In church, though, the four weeks leading up to the big birthday, we don’t sing the joyous hymns. We wait until the Eve to celebrate in full voice. I have found that because of this I don’t get tired of rejoicing so quickly.

Officially, according to the church calendar, the Christmas season is not officially over until Epiphany. This year that occurs on Jan 6. And that’s a good thing, because those beautiful hymns are still running through my brain.

I forget who said it, but I love the quote, “One who sings prayers twice.” That is so true for me. I love the old hymns throughout the year because the melodies are haunting and the lyrics poetic. I was amazed growing up that as I learned new things in the Bible and new concepts of faith, I was often surprised to find them within the words we sang. And I love those melodies still.

I wonder, if a church decides to favor contemporary praise music over those old hymns, will the lyrics be as moving? Will we still be praying as we sing? I’d like to believe many styles of music can lift our hearts to God no matter the genre.

When did you pack away your holiday tunes?

Are there lyrics that sink deep into your soul and draw you ever nearer to God?