Hope Depends on Divine Accompaniment

For many years, I accompanied soloists and choral groups with piano, organ or keyboard. It was a fun time and a growing experience in my musical journey.piano keys

The art of accompaniment includes several techniques:

  • The accompanist follows rather than leads.
  • A good accompanist adds to the performance and does not overshadow the soloist.
  • To accompany means to help, but it can also include a few embellishments, chord segues or arpeggios that add richness to the performance.
  • Good accompanists are a treasure. Soloists and choir directors seek out only the best.

In her best-selling book, “The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of Enough” Julia Cameron introduces the concept of divine accompaniment where God is so close, He goes with us on each journey and throughout our daily tasks.

I love this idea, because I spend so much time in the necessary aloneness of creativity. Sometimes I forget my Husband and Maker is right beside me.

But how does that divine accompaniment work, especially when the “star” of the show is not me but rather – the Divine One?

I like to think of God as walking beside me hand in hand. Together we combine our forces and gifts, the desires of the heart completely intertwined so that it is impossible to tell one from the other.

God adds a score, a lovely embellishment that completes the thought or action I have taken. I use the gifts he has given me to add richness and texture to our journey together.

Although the composition may sometimes feel or sound discordant — in the end, it resolves into a lovely sound that resembles a final Amen.

The Divine One accompanies my writing projects, the relationships I build with clients and friends, the very texture of my life.

And always the reminder within the music of each day: I am never alone. I am accompanied by the Creator of beauty who reverberates his sound within me.

The Divine Accompanist underscores hope and completes his theme with graceful beauty.

©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

The Divine Accompanist shows up in my book Hope Shines – now available in regular and large print.

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Hope Embraces Self-Care

A national magazine asked me to write an article about becoming emotionally overwhelmed. So I hammered out 1600+ words. Yet, even as I wrote, another reminder of self-care interrupted my busy life.Self-Care

It has taken me so many years to write this truth and believe it: Self-Care is a spiritual discipline.

Somehow we think if we completely wear out for Jesus, we are more spiritual. If we are exhausted, we have completed our journey and won the reward of the faithful.

Yet we cannot truly love others until we learn how to love ourselves. Check out this amazing article about the walking wounded.

Taking care of ourselves feels selfish, somehow “less than.” Then we wake up one day, completely overwhelmed from bearing the burdens of everyone else and ignoring our own needs.

But God never asks us to kill ourselves — even for the emotional health of others.

My therapist recently complimented me on a couple of choices I made. “Both of those are self-care,” she said.

I didn’t even realize I was taking care of myself. I just made some choices that seemed necessary to avoid overwhelming stress.

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way” underscores the importance of artist dates. These dates with ourselves aren’t necessarily doing something artsy.

They can be a visit to an arboretum, a late-night ice cream run or a stroll through the farmer’s market. Cameron also encourages the five-minute time out — just a few moments to stop the busyness and breathe.

After a couple of years of extreme stress, I’ve decided to do something entirely for self-care. The Creative Reboot is a writers conference in Santa Fe that focuses on refreshing the creative juices. Most of the presenters are new to me, except for Julia Cameron. I am beyond excited to meet her in person.

But I’m also taking a couple of extra days to walk the streets of Santa Fe, breathe the mountain air, remember five years ago when my friend Deb and I were there, feel the texture of turquoise jewelry and eat lots of meals that feature green chilies.

I hope to gain creative ideas and maybe the structure for my next novel. Mostly, I’ll refresh the perspective that taking care of myself is part of the entire health package.

And when I return, the week of self-care will result in a larger package of hope I can carry with me into the next months.

©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

Need a gift for someone who likes to read Large Print? Hope Shines is now available in Large Print.

Taking Myself on an Artist Date

In her book, “The Artist’s Way,” Julia Cameron encourages creatives to schedule a regular artist date. The idea is to do something creative that is not your usual medium so that you can return to your own art, refreshed and renewed.

It had been several weeks since my last artist date, so I looked forward to attending the Prairie Village Art Fair and reveling in the creative spirit of other artists.20140531_105757

As I roamed among the booths, I was astounded by the various ways to express art. Woodworking, ceramics, blown glass, water colors, oils, leather as well as the more unusual yard art and even sequins carefully nailed on boards to create portraits.

A few art forms made me wish I had about $2300 extra to purchase something special for my living room wall. Others I just passed by, not attracted to cartooning or jewelry made out of only black and white beads.

As I walked by some of the booths, I thought – how like writing. Just as I rejected certain art forms that didn’t appeal to me or fit my décor, so publishers sometimes reject my words because they don’t fit their needs. I didn’t reject these artists themselves, just their work.

I need to remember that nugget of truth the next time an editor writes those dreaded words, “Sorry, this story doesn’t fit our current needs.”

The art that attracted me most was a photograph of lily pads, caught within the warm colors of a sunset. “That photo helps me feel at peace,” I told the artist. He smiled.

Other art forms I liked included outdoor scenes, a photo of a barn door with an inlay of actual barn siding, a grove of trees with a few real twigs inserted. It was the art that represented nature that appealed most to me because it reminded me of the country, of the colors and textures I love most.

Then I realized an additional value of my artist date – to help me underscore how I worship God best – within the palettes of nature, the turquoise of a Kansas sky, the chestnut bark on my willow tree, the purple clematis that climbs my back fence. These are the pastels and oils of my life, these art forms that have been created to glorify the Almighty and give me joy.

So I left the art fair and drove home to sit on my deck and enjoy the art of God.

©2014 RJ Thesman – Finding Hope When Life Unravels – “Intermission for Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/1l4oGoo

The Artist’s Date

In her book, “The Artist’s Way” (http://amzn.to/1ajQmPn), Julia Cameron suggests that artists schedule an artist’s date. This includes any type of artist who desires to build on the relationship between her work and her soul. Potters, sculptors, painters and wordsmiths like me.

The artist takes a break from a current project and does something else creative – a stroll through an art gallery, a visit to a fabric store to feel the different textures, an afternoon with the journal in a quiet spot. When the artist returns to the current project, the creative juices are revived and ready to pour forth again.writing4502.jpg

I’ve tried the artist’s date, and I like it.

After several hours of wordsmithing about Alzheimer’s and dementia; my brain, my fingers and my inner voice grow a bit weary. Then I know it’s time for an artist’s date.

Last Friday, I took myself on a date. I wrote for a few hours in the morning, then met a friend for a leisurely lunch at Chipotle (love that vegetarian bowl with lots of guacamole!).

Then I took some of the books I have read and don’t want to reread over to Half-Price Books. I needed a new journal and found the perfect one with the wire binding and a colorful cover.

I browsed through the Clearance Section to find more wonderful books to read and added three to my vacation reading list, except I couldn’t wait and started reading one of them already: “Good Grief” by Lolly Winston. She is my new best friend, and her book was on sale for $1.00.

What a treasure! An artist’s date and a bargain on the same day.

After Half-Price Books, I needed a bit of refreshment. Once a week, I allow myself a small carb treat, so I drove over to Dairy Queen and ordered a mini-Blizzard™ – Georgia Mud Fudge – really chocolatey and really good. Then I sat at a table by myself, started reading “Good Grief” and slowly enjoyed my Blizzard™.

Then a brief stop at the grocery store to get the food that was not chocolately and filled with carbs but is much better for me. Then back home for more writing.

Sure enough, after my artist’s date, I was revved up and ready to write again. Either that, or my body was on a delicious sugar high.

If you’re an artist, aka a wordsmith, try the artist’s date once per week. It’s a great way to get away for a while and connect with your creative soul.

If you need company, I’m always available for a DQ Blizzard™.

©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/184haSS