A snowman stared back at me today while I made some gf peanut butter cookies. The snowman was made by my now 21-year old daughter, currently eating a quesadilla in the breakfast nook, having just awoken from a ‘winter break’ slumber. She had been in Kindergarten when she painted the craft, a tiny pot white decorated with snowman (snowperson?) attributes. It was a class project to make a bevy winter art projects that we parents purchased at a ‘fair night’, the proceeds funding a field trip or some such outing I’m sure I chaperoned.

The snowman pot now holds an ornament, crafted by the same artist a few years later, and sits on the mantle above my kitchen sink along with other Christmas and holiday bric-a-brac holding varying levels of personal meaning.

To some it may seem a fairly ugly decoration that no one other than a parent would purchase. But it’s not the handiwork I see when I look at the snowman, it’s the artist. I see a little girl in a bright red sweater bouncing around the house with pigtails that she haphazardly cut off one day. My heart lives in that tiny creature who grew into the woman-child now texting at my table.

That’s the way it is with God: I look at the handiwork and I see the artist. His fingerprints adorn everything in this world from a quark to a galaxy. Some of this world is so beautiful we need to capture it images and stories, and others, like my snowman, are beautiful only because of the artist. Take the proboscis monkey for instance. (That’s the one with the Squidward nose.) You can say a male peacock is lovely to look upon and maybe not even consider the artist. But, the proboscis monkey? Oooh, a face only a mama can love. It’s the artist I love there.

That’s the way it is with writing inspiration. We see an object, maybe one we’ve taken out of the cupboard each Christmas for years without a thought, and then one day it hits us. An inspiration for a blog post or a novel pops into our heads, and we have no choice but to write it, not necessarily because of the story, but because of the meaning behind story as told through the object.

Pay attention to the small things around you that might inspire a great thought or a great story. Inspiration can come from the oddest of places, even a Kindergartener’s handiwork.