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

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?