{God-sized Dreaming} Play Date

{God-sized Dreaming} Play Date

“I need something to make me feel better,” says my three-year-old.

He usually means a cookie, and it’s often because he’s tired, or bored, or upset.

He typically starts rummaging in the pantry for his fix of sweet crunch at a wildly inappropriate time {such as before breakfast}, and he’s totally unconvinced by my insisting that now is not the time for a cookie.

It strikes me how much I default to “something to make me feel better” too — an extra cup of coffee in the afternoon that will probably keep me awake too late tonight, along with yet more leftover Easter candy I don’t really need. An extra round of Scrabble on Facebook, another obsessive combing through of emails to let me know just how behind I am on paying the last installment of the dance recital costume, responding to a friend about a get-together, or checking out the latest coupons for something I may or may not want — and almost certainly don’t need.

A grown-up play date, on the other hand, shines forth as the antithesis of eating too much, sitting around on the computer, or being obsessive. It’s fun, engaging, refreshing. It often gets me outside {something I’ve gotten into the habit of doing far too little of since becoming a mom always attached to the latest meal/pile of dishes in the kitchen}. And — perhaps most importantly — it helps refresh my tapped creative resources.

It’s also just what the doctor ordered to make me feel better — especially when I’m tired, bored, upset, uninspired, or just in the doldrums.

What is a grown-up play date? you might ask.

I’m so glad you asked.

Author and creativity guru Julia Cameron describes the artist date, a.k.a., play date for grown-ups, in her book The Artist’s Way:

An artist date is a block of time especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist. In its most primary form, the artist date is an excursion, a play date that you pre-plan and defend against all interlopers. … Spending time in solitude is essential to self-nurturing.

Julia goes on to liken our inner artist to a child — a fun-loving kid that’s always stuck with a boring adult who’s all work and no play. {Sound familiar, anyone?} Listen to your inner artist-child, she counsels. But, most importantly, have fun.

So, I’ve been giving it a go. And, I’ve learned that play is surprisingly hard work.

{I wrote about my first artist date on fellow God-sized Dreamer Kristin Hill Taylor’s blog, here. And, Tweetspeak Poetry has weekly posts/linkups on artist dates here.}

I’ll sit down to read in the sun and feel ancy and get up 15 minutes later to do something else. I’ll go for a walk by myself and take a huge backpack-full — my DSLR camera, Bible, journals, notes, and more. {Sounds more like an expedition than a play date, right?}

I’m finding out how much I have to learn about play — true play. I’m learning about loosing hold on my constantly scheming, planning, thinking brain and just doing, experiencing — without judgement or worry or expectations.


Healthy, creative play is something I aspire to, and realize a need for in my life, even before Holley prompted us this week.

Take this “do what you can” step for your God-sized dream…Take some time to play. Do something creative. Snap a picture. Build a Pinterest board. Make a craft. Read a book. Bake a treat. Wrestle with your kids. Whatever energizes you. It can be related to your God-sized Dream in some way or totally different. Sometimes along the way to our dreams we just need a little time to play. It helps us keep going and reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously.

So when I read our assignment, I was more than happy to combine my third artist date with Holley’s task. I hadn’t been to yoga class in ages, so once I dropped my three-year-old at my friend’s house {we trade babysitting duties two mornings a week}, I hustled my spandex right on over the studio.

When the instructor asked if we wanted to have a more technical class or a “fun, flowy” class, we all voted fun. {My inner artist-child liked that.} Afterward, I headed to Starbucks for a frozen mocha-y concoction, because everyone knows kids like treats. I didn’t have a lot of time left — probably about an hour, so I decided to window shop at a few nearby antique malls. My mom and sister and I used to haunt estate sales and auctions when Nikki and I were newly married and trying to furnish our first homes, so I have a weak spot for antiquing, and it may have been a good year or more since I’d been out antiquing.

My first plan was to buy something cool for $10 or under — something cute or kitschy or meaningful —  but few things were purchase-worthy when I considered our house, already bursting with too much stuff.

So, I looked. I laughed to find Hawaiian Punch game pieces for sale for $2 each {and wondered if my mom still has the complete game}; I flipped through yellowed stereoscope cards of exotic locales; I fingered old lace and saw handmade child’s dresses; I looked at old writing lap desks — compact wooden boxes with velvet-covered insides and small drawers and compartments, and one still with the glass ink bottle, empty.

I browsed, with no particular purpose or agenda, and, while I felt the urging of my brain to make connections, find meaning, purchase something — do something useful! I think my brain must have screamed at me five times — in the end, I aimed to be aimless.

And, I succeeded.

I walked away in the sun, to retrieve my son for lunch. And as I adjusted my straw to suck the very last bits of icy coffee and whipped cream from my cup, my eyes swam with collaged images of these lives long past — soft-worn leather girls’ shoes, oak barrister’s bookcases, tiny glass bottles stoppered with corks, a grand old Victorian rocking horse, jars of marbles, a framed cross-stitch pattern, crocks, old metal toy trucks.

And, I’d like to be able to tell you what these all mean and how they tie us all together in some awesome, spiritual, cosmic way — but I’ve consulted my inner child, and she informs me that’s boring.

This post was shared gladly with  Laura’s Playdates with God at The Wellspring, Jen’s Soli Deo Gloria at Finding Heaven Today, and Holley Gerth’s God-sized Dream Team:

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you click through the link and make a purchase, I will earn a small percentage. It’s clicks like these that help keep this site up and running, so thanks!

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  1. I love it…sounds wonderful! (And I think you and I would totally love hanging out together. I’m hoping that will happen someday! Blessings on your day, sweet friend. 🙂
    Mel recently posted..My God-Sized Dream: The Play(ing)My Profile

  2. Yay for yoga and frozen treats! I find it hard to make myself sit down and play, as though I need to use the precious time I have to get stuff done. Yet, when I make time, it refreshes me every time:) This glimpse into your play date was so fun!
    Mandy recently posted..Playing {In Pictures–Mostly}My Profile

  3. And so. There was more aim than you see at first glance, right? I love how play restores me. It sounds like it worked for you too, my friend! A beautiful playdate :). Makes me want to do some antiquing of my own.
    laura recently posted..Playdates with God: How to Hold the World TogetherMy Profile

  4. It’s amazing what a little time to ourselves can do for us! Replenishes through and through. Good for you for getting out and trying something new and spending the morning on you. I’m not brave enough to try those yoga poses in public 🙂
    Alecia recently posted..What Do You Do, When You Need To Breathe?My Profile

  5. Sounds like fun! Call me next time–I’d be happy to accompany you on grownup playdate!

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