Imagination, Creativity and Flying like a Bird

What do you think it’s like to be a bird?

I think it must be thrilling.

Just once I’d like to feel the rush of flying, of spreading the wings and gliding on the wisp of the wind.  If I were to be a bird, though, I can’t decide where I’d like to rest my feathers.  Would I be a mountain bird, coasting from mountain top to mountain top, the valleys and peaks soaring below in harmonious rhythm?  If I were to be a mountain bird, I’d like to be one in Austria for I don’t think you will find more beautiful formations in all the world.


Hallstatt, Austria where one year ago today we stood atop this mountain and I longed for the freedom of flight.

But, I fear the frigid winter air would be too much for me…even as a mountain bird.  So perhaps I would be better suited as an island bird.  What must it be to glide above the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean, the warm, salty air whipping over me as I coast left to right.  If I were to be an island bird, I’d like to reside over Spanish Wells, Bahamas.  Because I think that God shines His Grace upon that island in extra measures.

These are things I think about.

There are some days…many days…when I wish I could unplug from it all.  I dream of a secret garden where I could escape and get lost in the dreams of my mind.  I would wander the twisted flowers and gnarled tree trunks with only the soft padding of my feet in the grass as company.  I would lose myself in the romance of the soft setting, dreaming up far off lands where anything is possible.  My imagination would no longer be dictated and diluted but would be free to run, to fly.

I would be the bird, the free spirit who never grows up, the romantic who throws her arms around her sweaty man with abandon.

These are things I think about.

This week, the kids and I are telling stories – making them up.  We are digging into the recesses of our minds where imagination waits to be stirred.  Robots come to life and trees dance in the breeze.  The grass is purple and streams are made of chocolate.  Grand adventures lie around every corner and over every bridge.  Sometimes, when the oldest is telling his story, Bigfoot makes an appearance.  And tornados.  It’s very exciting.

When the girl tells her stories, they almost always involve a talking unicorn.  It is magical.

When the youngest tells his stories they almost always include the words “booty” and “toot.”  It’s hysterical.

Imagination is the best way to see one of the greatest traits of God Himself – creativity. For inside the mind’s eye, the creativity of the Creator indwells each one of us with the ability to see a little beyond that which is before us.  Mathematicians see formulas that take us to the moon.  Scientists see developments that allow us to see life from a different spectrum.  Poets allow us to hear nature through the fluidity of their pens.  Musicians discover harmonies that speak to our souls and take us beyond the present.

Imagination is where the Creator left His greatest imprint on us…His Image Bearers.

It is inside the recesses of our minds that God gave us a grand bit of Himself.  After all, He had the greatest imagination of them all.  And when we open kids up to this process of creativity, we let them truly come alive.  The challenge is to quiet the Earth around us.  And what a challenge it is.

Would that I could lose myself inside imagination every day where life is not confined to only that which I know but is instead wide open, limitless in reach.  Technology has dulled my imagination, and even that of my children.  But it’s always there, imagination, waiting to be tapped and used.  Imagination leads us into some place new and unknown.

Where I can fly.

These are things I think about.

Sneak Peek

I’ve mentioned before that I’m working on a novel.  In actuality I have been working on this book for a decade.  I have started and stopped more times than I can count.  I got 230 pages in the last time I worked on it, but it just didn’t feel right.  I was getting close, but I wasn’t there yet.

In the last few weeks, as I’ve stepped back a bit and gathered my thoughts, something exciting happened:

My characters found their voices.

I felt it all beginning to bubble shortly after the holidays.  Inspiration, confidence, desire and excitement.  All of these formed and gelled and moved into a rhythm that allowed me to sit down and type and suddenly things fell into place.  I’ve known these characters for a long time, but I haven’t truly discovered them.

This week, as I’ve stepped away from the computer, I’ve been inspired.  How could you not be inspired by these views:



I still have a long way to go on this little book of mine and it will be slow going as my opportunities to write often appear in short bursts.  But I feel like I’m finally on the right track (dare I say the “Write” track? *groan*).  Here is a sneak peek at what I’ve been working on while I was away.

The setting: It’s June 22, 1941.  The Soviet Union was just surprise attacked by the Germans.  Each of my characters is loosely based on a true story as I am compiling the stories I heard when I spent a month in Ukraine interviewing veterans.  This character, Luda, has elements of truth mixed with elements of imagination. 


I stood in my small bedroom and glanced into my mother’s hand mirror.  It was the only piece of her I had left.  My father had gotten rid of everything else when she died.  I don’t remember anything about her.  I don’t know what she looked like, or how she smelled.  I don’t know if her laugh sounded like a thousand bells or a babbling brook.  I have imagined her so many times.  I have no photographs to create her image.  There are no grandparents to tell me stories.  So I’m left to my imagination.  I see her as tall and pretty.  Her eyes dance when she talks and her delicate hands feel like silk when she holds me.  In my mind, she is the very picture of love.  In my mind, she sings softly to me each night as I drift to sleep.  In my mind, her voice is a melody and her movements a beat.

But it is only in my mind.

I was two when she died.  I don’t even know what happened.  Father won’t tell me.  The only time he mentions her name is when the vodka bottle is half empty.  My father, at half empty, is pleasant, relaxed, almost happy.  When the bottle is empty he is sad, mournful and wants only to be alone.  Most of my nights are spent wrapping a blanket around the shaking shoulders of my empty bottled father.

My father with a full bottle of vodka is frightening.  This means he’s sober and my full bottled father is filled with dashed dreams and self loathing.  He is the father I fear most.  The full bottled papa is why I keep pouring.


I jump and look in the mirror again.  Is this the same reflection she saw when she looked in it?  Large brown eyes, thick brown hair and a small red mouth?  Today I don’t have time to wonder.  I quickly hide my precious mirror, protecting it from a potential rage of the full bottled father.  Rushing out the door, I smooth my tattered skirt.  My father stands by the front door of our flat, his hand wrapped around a nearly empty bottle of cheap vodka.

I haven’t eaten for two days so he could have his poison.

©Kelli Stuart 2011

Thanks for taking this journey into my imagination with me.  I’m really excited to share it with you all.  Happy Monday!

Some kids want ponies…

We’re driving down the road in the (smokin’ hot) minivan when we pass it.  As we drive by, Sloan’s head whips around so far and so fast that I wonder briefly if he might be part owl given his ability to crane his neck to ungodly angles.

“Oh. my. gosh.  Mom.  Did you just see that?  Did you seeeeeee that?!  Wow!” he exclaims (and when I say exclaims I mean screeches to the point that my ears start to bleed).  He’s now all but sitting on his knees staring out the back window.

“What?” I ask.

“That yellow car.  Did you see it?”

I rack my brain.  I vaguely remember us just passing a yellow sports car.  “Yeah, I saw it,” I said.  “What about it?”

“I saw a Transformer head peek out the top.  It looked right at me!”

“Oh really?” I ask, highly amused.

“Mom – it was Bumblebee!  It really was mom.  I saw his head stick up out of the front of the car and he looked at me.  That was totally Bumblebee.  Totally Awesooooome.”

Upon arriving home, he sat in front of his bedroom window for a solid thiry minutes, “just in case Bumblebee comes to our house.”  And for days afterward, he reminded us that somewhere in the greater St. Louis area, a real life Bumblebee was on the loose.  “I wonder if Optimus Prime and Star Scream are in our city too?” he asked on more than one occasion.

A few days after the momentous Transformer sighting, Sloan came tearing into our bedroom where I was folding clothes laying down for a few minutes.  He had the phone in his hand and wanted to call his dad, who was out shopping for a new car. 

“Mom, can I puh-leeze call daddy and tell him to buy that yellow car we saw the other day.”

“Honey, I don’t think daddy is looking for a little yellow car – he needs a bigger car.”

“Aaawww…I really want him to bring that car home.  That way I could have my very own for real Transformer.”  And with his head hanging low, he moped out of the room.

Some kids want their parents to buy them ponies…mine – he wants an honest to God Transformer – and we won’t give it to him.

We’re so mean.