2: Music box

Do you wonder why there’s carols and so much singing associated with Christmas? Around this time, and for pretty much the rest of the year, you will hear many wonderful Christmas songs playing in stores, homes, gatherings, on TV or from any of the forms of music boxes (phones, computers, home audio systems). I believe the many songs we love to sing and hear reflect the spirit of the song which characterizes Christmas and that is why my second toy is a gramophone (P.S. I also wanted to draw something vintage, ha ha).

Chances are if I take a poll in a room, I’ll find that the majority of people like music. Experiences of awe and joyful surprise interrupting the mundane often lead to singing. Many of the characters of the Christmas story — the angels, shepherds, Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon, and Anna showed us this.

The angels sang, announcing the majesty of God. The shepherds sang — in utter amazement of their divine visitation. Zechariah sang — when he received the fulfillment of a promise in his old age. Mary and Elizabeth sang — having found favor and been chosen to birth greatness. Simeon and Anna sang — acknowledging the privilege to witness to the coming of the Savior.

They sang because they were so enraptured by the visitation of the divine in their mundane lives.

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“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14

Do you consider your life mundane?
At the verge of despair?
Is the Christmas miracle lost on you?

Now, rejoice, the promise is fulfilled. Your king is here. Jesus is born. And this means —

You will sing a new song.

Tomorrow’s toy is: Manger

1: Star

What’s a Christmas tree without a star at the peak?
What’s our universe without stars?

Stars keep planets in place. Nested in constellations, they provide energy in form of light and heat. Look at the sun, a really big star, around which our solar system revolves. What will we do without the sun?

Stars shine bright.

They remind us of what we want to be — bright, seen and valued. I start my toy collection with a star, because that’s how the astrologers of Jesus’ day found him. Shining bright in the eastern sky, it led them to where baby Jesus lay. They sought him, saw him and worshiped.

Why is it important to me?

Life can get pretty complicated, pretty fast especially when a lot of things aren’t in place. Let me remind you today that there is a star who keeps everything in place. Jesus provides light, energy, strength, purpose and a whole lot more to any one who seeks him. If you let him light your heart, you find that you are bright, seen and valued. He becomes your sun and shield, giving you favor and honor (Psalm 84:11).

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As I keep up this Star at the peak of the tree that is in my heart, let me ask you — does this Star have your attention?

“ — For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2

Tomorrow’s toy is: Gramophone

the 12 Toys of Christmas

Hello Friends and Readers,

I am so excited to present to you, my personal passion project with which I will wrap up 2019!

A couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me to explore the Christmas story, find objects that would pass for Christmas tree decorations and explore them deeper.

Christmas Toys?

Yes! I know you probably haven’t thought twice about the toys and ornaments you mount on your Christmas tree.

In the days leading to Christmas, I will share my list of the 12 toys I came up with. To add an interesting twist, I will present them as the icons on a deck of playing cards.

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Longitudinal

I wish that you will follow my journey and as you enjoy my writing and illustrations, my hope is that, somewhere along this playful but meaningful exploration of mine, you will find meaning and hope in what they represent.

I invite you to explore with me, the 12 Toys of Christmas.

Toluwanimi

List of Toys (updated daily):

Star
Music box
Manger
Crook
Gift
Shield
Crown

Who will I say sent me?

Do you remember what people say when you want to do something great? What do they say when you mess up?

They say “can you do it?” who sent you in the first place?” “who asked you to do it?”

Moses knew that so well: he wanted to do something great. But he had messed up and was told “who made you a judge over us?” So he ran away. For 40 years!

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Wanna know something?

God sent you.

Now if your dreams are selfish and ego-driven, you will be up against a brick wall. Real hard brick wall. If you follow self-conjured imaginations or ambitions, you will meet a dead end. You will fail miserably or succeed more miserably.

But, if God has placed a vision in your heart and nudged you to make a difference —maybe He prompted you to start writing, pursue a particular career, start that project or join that mission trip — you will be unstoppable. If He’s saying “speak to Mica about this,” don’t be afraid. Even if you messed up the first time. Or second, or… however many times, you can pick yourself up.

People and situations will ask you “Who sent you?” and it will be more of mocking than questioning.

But you can confidently say to them, “God sent me.”

God is “I AM.” That means He’s ever present: He’s not an outdated God. He’s not in the past. He’s with you, leading you every step of the way into your great future!

He sent you!

What do you see?

There’s this story of an intern prophet, who wouldn’t stop fussing about the enemy. He kept on going to his superior, “They’re coming… they’ve surrounded us… they’re drawing their weapons, they are…”

The veteran prophet, however, wasn’t a bit disturbed because he saw something and knew something. So he said, “Lord, open his eyes to see…” Then he saw fiery horses and chariots, around them, ready to defeat the enemy.

What do you easily see?

It’s easy to see the obvious. Our history and experiences have often trained us to see with Limitation-colored lenses. We know what’s difficult, we see what’s at stake if we fail, we see what it looks like if we don’t make the cut, we have vivid imagination of what sets us back. Challenges can be so overwhelming that you lose sight of the victuals you already have in you to overcome them.

Seeing the obvious is easy and safe. But it’s not all there is.

So here’s my challenge:

Open your eyes!

Open your eyes to see the power available in the name of Jesus. Open your eyes to see your unique gifts and opportunities you can leverage for positive change.

If you open your eyes,

You will see beyond the wisdom of this world. You will see opportunities in challenges and hope in disappointment. You will see sources of provision in times of scarcity. You will see love, truth, justice, and mercy in the moment of guilt, pain, evil and offense. You will see truth bud in the proliferation of falsehood. You will see hope and strength in the wake of turmoil.

The people that have achieved anything great have done so because they saw beyond what is in front of them and broke forth beyond the limitations of the obvious into the realm of possibilities. They saw what is around us, and in us — the virtue of the divine influence in our world.

Open your eyes, what do you see?

For your perusal, story referenced can be found in 2 Kings 6:11-17 of the Bible.

The artwork above, inspired by this post can be purchased here

Life isn’t perfect but…

Life isn’t perfect.

Never has been, never will be.

Whatever good life gives you, there’s always going to be a twist of imperfection in it.

You’re happy you got a new job, but there’s a horrible boss waiting. You’re happy you finally got the money, but the house you wanted to buy just got off the market. You’re happy you’re married, but there’s a terrible in-law. You’re happy you got a new friend, but you just discovered he has got haunting skeletons.

And so on…

Life isn’t perfect. God is.

And if you let Him, He will breathe in you hope and strength to go on. He will help you make glory out of imperfection. And joy will be your mantra.

Let Him. Everyday.

#muse

My Inktober Story

A couple of months ago, I purchased a couple of sketchbooks, a set of pencils, pens, and brushes – all I needed to create art. For some reason, the pens and brushes have sat on my desk for months, like many wonderful unfinished ideas, begging to be completed. But it’s time to go, so I’m finally joining the Inktober challenge. I’m telling you this so you can hold me accountable. After this post, I’ll stop talking about it and just do it.

My goal is not perfection, but completion, because after 31 inked sketches, I will become a better artist. After a complete first draft, I will have a completed body of work ready for the next round of editing. After a finished video, I will have one more in my portfolio. After a completed project, I will have the experience and the motivation to do more while improve on the last.

The mantra is “finished, not perfect.” When I’m done, I will fill my creative bank account with the testament of the practice of diligence and consistency.

This is my Inktober story. Join me as I’ll be sharing my 31 day journey on my Instagram @Studio1352

Cheers!

The propeller muse

I am immensely fascinated by what my drone does. As it soars high and reduces every intimidating landscape into the grand scheme of things, I appreciate how beautiful my world is.

But I am more fascinated by how it works. I’ll tell you why.

It was a few months ago I realized that the propellers were very pertinent to an aircraft flying. I did a little experiment – my drone with its engine and motors powered up and running would not fly until I attached and tightened the propellers.

I got an insight from that.

Propellers are not the biggest part of an aircraft but they are very functional. A propeller is like a “spinning wing” that produces thrust – the force that lifts an aircraft in a forward direction.

Usually, the engine motors power the propellers for it to spin, so you’d say that without the engine, the propeller and by extension, the aircraft, can’t work.

Now, I’d say even with the engine running and motors powered on, the aircraft won’t fly without the propellers.

Here’s the learning point.

If your dream, goal or a certain project is an aircraft, passion, talent, knowledge or skill builds you an engine but each ounce of diligence and consistency poured into your work produces the force that intentionally lifts your project up and forwards towards completion.

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Without this, your dream will remain full of potential to fly but will not leave the ground For any sustained time.

If you want your dream or project to fly beyond mere talent and potential, you must attach and tighten the propellers of diligence and consistency.

Cheers!

UNCHARTED: Part One

uncharted

 

Growing up, I always loved to draw, paint and make crafts, but I did those as a hobby. The journey towards being paid for doing what I love started in 2005. It was during my pre-senior secondary school break that I first used a computer for design during a month-long stint at a graphic design company. Since then, I have logged in hours of personal/online training, as well as individual and collaborative professional work in the more than 11 years that have followed.

Why am I saying this in the middle of August? It’s not as if this day or month marks any special anniversary (though this month, I registered studio13:52 at the DBA as well as opened shop on Upwork).

Well, you will figure out the answer on your own.

It’s said that you need at least 10,000 hours of practicing a craft to become an expert of some significance. That’s about ten years (if you practice three hours daily). Though I am a professional graphic designer with 11 plus years behind, I perceive myself to be only starting.

As I take contracts in my local county, from my home country or across continents on Upwork, I realize that many years behind me does not nullify the need to continue to learn with the right tools and make the right connections in the ever-evolving creative world. The next challenge after establishing basics is to keep evolving to stay on top of my game.

While Studio 13:52 moves into an uncharted territory (you will hear soon), with the horizon promising endless possibilities, one thing is certain – I am committed to delivering inspired imaginations (That’s some marketing there!).

Am I good? Maybe a little bit.

Do I know all there is to design? Absolutely not!

So to practice and evolve, I must – today, tomorrow and the day after.

Even so, it’s not ten thousand hours of energy in all directions. It’s focused, repetitive, coordinated practice in the direction of a meaningful passion. With an assurance of God’s blessing on my endeavor (key point!), time and concerted effort is needed.

Interestingly, this pretty much applies to my faith, writing, relationships, career, vocation, ministry, family life and every other thing in-between.

Maybe yours too, if you think about this.

I’ll write more soon.

Cheers,

Toluwanimi