Monday, September 15, 2014

Made

I am participating again this year in the Made Course. "Made is an e-course created by Christian creatives for Christian creatives, exploring what it means to be a person who makes things who believes she was, in turn, made by God." This year I won a spot in the course! For week 1 we looked at metaphors - symbols for how we view ourselves in relationship to God, how we view God, and how we view our journey with God.

Birds and circles are symbols that often appear on my art journaling pages. In Matthew 6:25-33, birds are a symbol of trust and dependence on God. They symbolize one who rests in the care and provision God lovingly provides for His created ones. Throughout the Psalms birds also symbolize God as one who shelters and protects His children ~ He shelters them in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 91:4).

Circles are an ancient symbol for God representing His eternal nature, perfection, completeness, being whole. They also stir up a desire to be made whole, representing God's transforming activity in our lives.

"Look at the birds, free and unfettered.. careless in the care of God. And you count far more to Him than birds." ~Matthew 6:26 The Message

I made an altered book journal to hold my Made Course art journal pages.



Monday, September 1, 2014

Summer's End

School has started. labor Day weekend is almost over. Summer has come to its end. It seemed to go by so fast! I, for one, enjoyed having a cooler summer. This weekend I re-organized and rearranged my office/studio and got caught up on some of my pages for the Documented Life Project. I am now only about a week behind. This summer ended up being busier than I had anticipated, but I intend to work hard at making white space in my calendar this fall. September brings the start of the 2014 Made Course and 30 Days of Lists. Fall is my favorite season and I hope to embrace it in all its colorful glory! Have a good week and make some white space on YOUR calendar this week!

Doc Life wk 32



Doc Life week 33



A collage page

Doc Life wk 36 challenge ~ Black & White



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Few Things

Today's post is going to serve as a few things all rolled up into one blog post. How's that for multitasking!

First, I finally decided to participate in the September 30 Days of Lists. I've hesitated because I have a tendency to involve myself in too many things. But I was looking through my previous 30 Days of Lists journals the other day, looking for a particular page, and that stirred up a desire to join in again. And let's face it, I just love making lists! So today they are doing a blog hop to get the challenge going.

We were challenged to go back to the March 2011 list and select a prompt, make a list, share it on our blog and then link up with other bloggers doing the same thing. I chose prompt #1 "A few things about yourself"...although I have a "few" more than a "few" things! (Ironically I labeled this post without even thinking about the title of the prompt!)


I actually just finished this page last night and loved how it fit with the list prompt. It is actually a page I made for a prompt I did with my art group. As I mentioned in my post last week (Read it here), In August a few ladies from my church got together with me and we formed an art group. One of the ideas I had with this group was to use ancient art forms and re-purpose them using paper and mixed media. Our prompt was to make a list of things about yourself starting with "I am" and/or "I am a/an". Then we made mosaics out of paper and put our lists on them. So the above page is the result of that prompt for me. All of my mosaic pieces were cut from magazine pages. Here are some details before and after I added the words:






I love it when I can kill two birds with one stone without even realizing it! If you are interested in participating in the September 2014 30 Days of Lists challenge you can learn more about it here. It's a fun challenge, especially if you love making lists! Even if you don't it helps you be present to things in your everyday life. There is also a Facebook page for today's blog post where you can view other bloggers lists  #30listsbloghop.

If you feel inspired you can make your own magazine mosaic and include a list of things about you. Don't forget to share it with me!









Friday, August 22, 2014

Something to Ponder

For a few weeks in August five ladies from my church got together with me to make art and listen to my ideas about being creative, our faith and identity in Christ, and self-care. It was fun introducing some of these ladies to art journaling. It was also a good exercise for me and testing my teaching voice. I have taught on various topics for different events at church, mainly in regards to Bible Study or mission, and I have used my voice here on this blog. But I have had a nudge in my heart and spirit to explore using my voice in other ways regarding faith and art. What I discovered over these weeks is that I have way too much inside me and it really needs more time to develop into something cohesive. But this time with these ladies also sparked some different creative ideas which I will share here on my blog in the months ahead as well as through some other projects I am going to be a part of in the near future.

In prep for our last get together to talk about self-care, I read a passage that is very familiar to me, and probably to many of you, but this time reading it brought to mind some different questions. Let me share:

The passage: "Jesus replied, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two verses." Matthew 22:37-40

Jesus had just been asked by one of the Pharisees in verse 36 which commandment is the greatest. The verse above give His answer. Not one, but two commandments are given as the greatest: loving God and loving your neighbor. Paul points to this last part, loving your neighbor, as a way of summing up all of the commandments in one (Romans 13:9) and as a way of fulfilling the entire Law (Galatians 5:14).

The part that brought about my questions was "Love your neighbor as yourself."

I think sometimes we view self-care as being selfish or self indulgent, but this verse makes an assumption: that you are already loving yourself in a manner that is healthy and good, and that out of that place you will love your neighbor/others in the same manner.To me loving yourself is about self-care. It's about taking care of yourself in ways that keep you healthy emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually so that you can be your best for others. Jesus modeled this when he withdrew and sought solitude, rest and time for prayer. He even did this at the expense of not serving others needs. He taught it and modeled it to His disciples. He was so in tune with His Father and the Father's will that he was able to discern when it was time for self-care and when it was time for caring for others.

So ponder these questions with me:

  • How well are you doing at loving yourself?
  • If you are not putting self-care/love practices into place that are healthy, then how well are you really loving others?
  • Are you loving others out of something unhealthy? Such as co-dependency? Dysfunction? Facades? Trying to get your own needs met? Selfishness - to get something in return?
  • Do you know yourself and your limits well enough to know how to fill your energy tank in the areas I listed above?
  • Do you regularly take time to examine your emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental health?
  • Do you regularly practice spiritual disciplines or habits that help shape you spiritually? Habits of rhythm such as rest, Sabbath, retreats that help energize you?
  • Or are you spiritually thirsty? Worn out? Running on empty or burned out?
These are just some of the questions this passage brought about for me. 
For me, self-care is a way of loving myself that is healthy, not selfish. In fact, Cloud and Townsend in their book "Boundaries" call self-care stewardship of the gifts God has given us. The end goal of self-care is what determines whether it is selfishness or stewardship: Am I doing this to make me better for God and others or just to make me better. The answer definitely requires soul searching and listening to God in prayer.

I encourage you to make self-care a priority. Pray through the questions above. You may even want to use this as a topic to explore for art journaling! I do quite often!

Earlier this week I got a surprise in the mail. Elissa, who I know through the Documented Life Project sent me an envelope full of "Happy Mail". Thanks Elissa! Here's a small sampling of what was in the envelope.


Last weekend I spent some time painting papers for one of the exercises our group did. I noticed I  reach for The circle templates, stencils and stamps a lot!







And a recent non-Documented Life art journal page. 


My Sabbath Day and art are big parts of self-care for me. What practices are significant to your self-care?




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer's End

Can someone please tell me where the summer has gone?! It seems like it has flown by so quickly. Today I stopped by the school and visited with some of the staff and teachers and that really makes it feel like summer is at its end.

Last week I took my last summer break. I took my little God-family to my sister's house on the lake for a few days. A few days at Bliss cottage was a real treat for us city folk being in the quiet relaxing atmosphere of the lake. The kids were water babies and in their glory!



The kids (and mama) had their first boat ride ever!


Maggie was sad to see us leave.
The kids gave her endless attention!
Documented Life Project catch up:
Week 31



Week 24 challenge
Challenge week 26
Challenge week 8
Each week in the Doc Life group we are offered a new challenge. I have not done them in order but instead have done them when inspiration hits.  In week 8 the challenge was to add a flap page. Week 24 was to use a book page. Since I already use book paper on most of my pages, I wanted to use it in a different way. Week 26 we were to use a favorite Bible verse. I combined all of these challenges into one page spread.

This weekend our church hosts our annual neighborhood picnic for the neighborhoods around the church and for the families of the school we have adopted. And school starts on Tuesday...I hope you're enjoying the last weeks of summer~!