Saturday, July 19, 2014

July Art Journaling

In July I have been playing catch-up in my Documented Life Project journal.



Week 19 challenge: A random act of kindness









Once my June pages were finished my DLP journal could hold no more! With July's pages I began a DLP volume 2 journal for the second half of the year.



And in my everyday art journal this month:



Stencil Girl Products hosted a blog hop last week for the Documented Life Project and I won one of their stencils! It was fun opening the mail yesterday to see which stencil was inside. So, today, I'd like to share that anticipation and excitement with one of my blog followers. Simply leave a comment on this blog post by next Friday (7.26.14) and then on Saturday 7.27 I will draw a name from the comments and that person will receive a lovely package of vintage papers and ephemera. Enjoy your weekend!





Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pause

For the past 5 months I have been immersed in studying and reading about Sabbath. I have been a part of a team who studied Sabbath in preparation of developing a theology of Sabbath for our church community.

We (our church congregation) spent six weeks in May and June on a theological journey through the Bible, and a little history, and discovered what it means to keep a Sabbath Day according to God's design. Sabbath is not something we hear a lot about in the Christian community. It has mainly been relegated to denominations such as Seventh Day Adventists or Seventh Day Baptists, or as a Jewish tradition. What we learned in our journey is that Sabbath is a practice modeled by God in the recording of Creation in Genesis 2:1-3. As beings created in His image, God's people model God. Sabbath is a gift from God where we can pause from work and find rest in Him. The other important thing we came away with from our time of study is that we cannot regulate Sabbath observance and practices for others, thus making it legalistic. Jesus had much to say about man regulating and legalizing practices of the heart in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7). Sabbath practices will look different for each of us. For example, yard work would be tiresome and dreadful work for me, but to my husband it is recreation and relaxation, and even a way in which he spends time connecting with God. Sabbath observance may happen on different days. Being in full-time ministry and working half the day on Sundays, I have practiced Sabbath on Friday for years. In response to our study, our congregation is going to stop scheduling meetings and classes after church on Sundays to free people up to practice Sabbath and spend time with their families.

For me, the thing that has spoken to my heart the most is that of leaning into God to create a rhythm of Sabbath throughout the week. The idea of taking mini Sabbaths each day with an extended Sabbath day once a week fits well with my practice over the years of keeping white space in my calendar. I really connect with the idea of receiving God's gift of Sabbath and pausing my day and my week to connect more with Him and to accept His gifts of rest, love, enjoyment, and refreshment.

We have a practice of ending each series with a Sunday devoted to celebrating what God has done in that series. I led our service that morning and below have included my call to worship that morning.

"Today is a day of celebration.
Over the past 6 weeks we have slowly unwrapped a gift –
A gift that helps us pause and take in the glory and the grace of God.
We are busy people.
We live in a culture that values busy-ness.
There are always things to get done – in our jobs, in our homes, our lists at times seem never ending.
But today is a day that has been set apart by God where we can pause-
We break the rhythm of everyday life.
Let’s practice that right now-
Everyone sit still for a moment, breathe in deeply. Let it out slowly.
We have paused the week,
we have stopped the hurry and the running around, the focus on worries,
The busyness of everyday life.
This morning we have gathered together,
In the tradition of our people,
And we enter into the rhythm God has for us, His people.
We breathe is His love.
We come together to celebrate who God is
And to celebrate who we are in Him.
We come together to worship Him.
We come together to enter into His rhythm.
We offer up to him all that we are.
We offer up to him the heavy loads of busyness, responsibilities, trials and suffering, the hassles of everyday life.
And today we receive from Him the gift-
 to pause, to breathe, to celebrate, and to remember who God is and who we are.
Sabbath is a gift from God and today we celebrate what we have heard through this series on Sabbath."

Monday, July 14, 2014

Around Here Recently

I have been absent from this little blog for too long - almost a month.I have so many things rolling around in my head that it's hard to focus. You see, this little blog has become one of my tools for getting out the many thoughts and ideas that float around in my head, my heart, and my soul. In combination with journaling prayer and art journaling, this little blog helps me collect those thoughts and put flesh to them, make them concrete. So now, after an absence that was much too long, I find myself overwhelmed by the many things that are going on inside of me. I think that is what has kept me from writing on this little blog over the past week - I couldn't narrow down my thoughts in a cohesive enough manner to write one single blog post. Last week I received an email note via Facebook from a follower of this little blog. (Thank you Pamm.) She simply asked if I was okay and that she missed my blog posts. I appreciated that note of encouragement.

So, in an attempt to collect my thoughts and get re-connected with this little blog and all of you, here is a little collection of what has gone on around here recently.

1. The last week in June our first group of kids went up to Youth Haven Ranch in Jackson, MI for summer camp. Youth Haven is a wonderful Christian ministry to disadvantaged children. Their staff is incredible at showing the kids God's love and making sure they have a great time at camp. It is a tradition that when Toledo kids are there for the week, we go up on Thursday night and serve ice cream sundaes to the staff and kids - 120 of them! We stay overnight, join them at chapel and then drive the kids back to Toledo on Friday afternoon. I love this drive home. I love to hear about what the kids learned about God during the week and about their favorite experiences at camp.

2. We were blessed the weekend after the kids went to camp with a visit from some of the camp staff. My ministry partner, Rox, and I and our husbands shared dinner with the team and hung out with them Saturday night. Then after church on Sunday we held a lunch for them and all of our kids who attend camp, plus all the volunteer drivers. Our kids had a blast having the Youth Haven team at church! I loved it too, but was exhausted! The team ranges in age from 19 to 24 and they have much more energy then I do!


3.The next week my daughter flew in on Wednesday night and we traveled to my sister's house for my nephew's wedding on July 4th. It was a great weekend with family. It was also a lot of work as they held the wedding and reception in my sister's backyard. It was a perfect setting for a wedding and the weather cooperated wonderfully!


After the weekend I had to take my daughter back to the airport in Detroit. I have been putting her on planes since she was about 8 when her dad moved to Florida. It isn't any easier now that she is 34. I miss having her live close to me.

4. The next weekend was an 80th birthday celebration for my father-in-law at our local AAA baseball team's stadium ~ the Mud Hens. My father-in-law loves baseball so whole family gathered there for dinner and the ball game. Then the next day there was a bridal shower for my sister-in-law. Good times with family! Plus I had to squeeze in a fishing rodeo the church sponsors with the City of Toledo. Busy weekend!




So, that has been my life recently. A lot of activity and celebrations with family in addition to the everyday goings-on in work, ministry and life. My next post will catch up on art and my creative life.

How has your summer been filled so far?


Friday, June 20, 2014

Introducing a New Tutorial

It's finally done! Part 2 of the Altered Book Journal Tutorial for making background pages in the style I use most often. I find that I enjoy making tutorials. I have always enjoyed breaking projects or tasks down into step by step instructions. I've done it a lot over the years I have been on staff at the church, making Bible Study in the inductive study method easy to follow. My job before the church was as a manager at a cross stitch and quilting store. I taught a lot of classes there. My favorite ones to teach were the classes that I developed to turn a quilting project ,such as a wall hanging, into an easy project for people with limited sewing skills using iron on adhesive and hand sewing. So it just seems like a natural progression for my art journaling practice to move into sharing how I do things. I have been surprised, however, at how much time it takes ~ photographing every step, editing the photos, then typing it all out and putting together a layout. But I'm enjoying it and hope you are as well! Here is the link or you can also click on the page above. Tutorial

My next project will be a class combining faith, identity and art. Look for it to appear here before the end of the summer. Art journaling has been such a transformative part of my  faith journey in recent years and has become a spiritual practice or discipline for me. 

Well, I am trying to squeeze the last few pages for June into my bursting Documented Life Journal. My new altered book binder journal is ready to go for the second half of the year. This project is really a lot of fun - it combines using a planner to record the highlights of your week with weekly art challenges. It's not too late to join in! The Documented Life Project
Doc Life Journal for second half of the year


I'm on a roll making journals for my Etsy shop.These two were made with books I found last week at the book sales. They have great art journaling titles and are going in the shop this weekend.


Tomorrow we are heading out to a huge flea market in Tiffin! Hoping to find lots of goodies! I hope you enjoy your weekend. :)




Monday, June 16, 2014

More Art Journaling Today

I started a new altered book art journal earlier this year, but I found as I got further into it that the pages were just too thin, so I'm not too happy with how they hold up under paint and glue. I'll have to cut out the pages I have done and add them to another journal.


I mainly have been plugging along keeping up with my journal for the Documented Life Project. Here are the pages I finished this weekend as I work to catch up. The challenge for week 23 was to practice gratitude and write what we were grateful for each day. So, for week 23 I combined the challenge with my planner pages. And had some fun with cut-out letters!  I find cut-out letters to be a relaxing activity and I'm always pleased with the results.


In April I made a new altered book binder journal so I could take step-by-step pictures for the tutorial I made. I have been working on a few pages here and there in that journal as well. 


A quote from a book I am reading:
The Artisan Soul, by Erwin McManus
This was a page I never posted from May's Gratitude Challenge
I love working in the binder style of altered book journals, but I found this past week that I missed working in the other style of altered book journal, especially when it comes to making double page spreads. So I started altering one of the books I picked up at the book sales I attended last Thursday. I haven't taken any pictures yet, but they'll come soon. :)

Tomorrow I go back to the office and meetings after a 10 day break. It was a good period of rest and renewing my energy....I could go for another week! If all goes well through the week I intend to have part 2 of the Altered Book Journal tutorial done and posted by the weekend.

Hoping you all have a good week and that you are able to make some white space in each day to make a little art. :)