Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Blogging a Book #6 - Chapter 1 Art Project #3...Too Many Miserable Christians

Do you realize how many miserable Christians there are in the world?  No wonder lost people don't have any interest in knowing Jesus.  He didn't die for us to sit around with a somber face trying just to hang on until He calls us home.  He came that we might have life - full and overflowing.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
John 10:10

Not full of stuff, mind you.  Full of joy, love, peace, and well-being.  You might be wondering how this relates to our journal page today.  God gave us a creative spirit to enjoy.  

For years I tried to work an angle on how I was supposed to use the creative gift God has given me to make an income, to work for Him, to make a difference in the world - all without success.  One day I asked God why He'd given me a gift of creativity if I couldn't use it for some life-changing thing.  His answer was simple and direct.  "I gave it to you for you to enjoy."  For those of you that are wondering, I didn't hear His voice while standing in the shower, but He spoke clearly to my heart.  God loves us enough that He gave His only Son to die in our place.  Wow.  That, alone, should be enough to make our hearts sing!  Why would you think He wants you walking around miserable then?

Today's art journal page is just about enjoying the creative process.  Every journal entry does not need to be a deep, emotion-ridden piece of work.  Find something light-hearted and fun to create.  I like to paint cute girls that make my heart feel warm and fuzzy.  I create them and add scripture to them to remind myself of the heart-warming promises God has written to me.

Dig into your Bible and find scriptures about joy, love, peace, hope... Look at the words Jesus spoke about the reasons He came.  Find those promises.  I'm not going to do it for you.  This is your journey.  Now create something fun - just for you.  Paint something that makes you smile, whether that is a cute character, flowers, landscape...the image doesn't matter.  Just let go of the stresses of the world and enjoy the creative trip.

Here's my creative journey for the day.

Now are you ready for the true secret to life - full and overflowing?  Use that little piece of fun art to make someone else smile.  You don't have to rip it our of your journal.  Scan it and share it with someone.  Leave it on a table in a restaurant.  Think of yourself as a secret agent for God!  Check out what Jesus had to say -
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.  This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
John 15:10-12

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Blogging a Book #5 - Chapter 1 Art Project #2

I hope you found several promises in scripture that ring in your heart.  There are endless ways to art journal, but I want to help you in your journey to cope and to heal.  I want this to be your book of thanksgiving, a record of the blessings in your life - of gratitude with attitude!  When you really start to look for God's blessings, you find they are sprinkled throughout your day.  I find it much more powerful to journal the positives in my life rather than the problems.  I know there are people who will disagree with me, but I can only share what has helped me.  It's OK to say, "God, I'm struggling here!" but don't leave it at that.  Finish off with something like, "...but I know You are answering my prayers, and I am so thankful!"

Find things you've taken for granted - sunrises and sunsets, sounds in nature, and those little things you wrote off as a happy coincidence (which I don't believe in, by the way).  If you are child in God's family, it is no coincidence!  God's word says He shows favor to his children.

For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

                                       Psalm 5:12

What about that line that opened at the checkout just as you got there?  Or the person that saw you drop something and returned it?  And don't forget those little jolts to your memory that remind you where you left your keys, your purse, your phone...  Get the picture?

Spend some time Googling art journaling and soak up the ideas that inspire you.  If you haven't decided on a journal, yet, you might want to try making some individual pages with watercolor paper.  I use it for my acylics pages, too.  It can take quite a bit of abuse!  If you are creating your own journal, it can be as simple as a binder with your pages or as fancy as a book you've bound yourself.  

Find one thing, no matter how small, that you are thankful for and make it the focus of your next journal page.  Find a scripture that relates to your art.  Why?  Two reasons, it gets you into God's word for a purpose, and it helps you to make those words your own.

Next, sketch out a drawing that represents your one thing.  It should shout joy and thankfulness, or whisper peacefulness.  Don't fuss over the drawing.  Get it on the paper and start adding paint!

When I first started this writing journey, I made a few videos to go along with the book. Much of this post is echoed in this video.  The page is done in acrylics, but watercolors, markers, or colored pencils would work just as well.  

(Organizational update for those who like to know what's plans to post three times a week were too lofty.  Life has other plans.  I have the text, but I need time to create the art, so posts will likely appear once a week.)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Blogging a Book #4 - Chapter 1 Art Project #1

Start your journey with God's promises.  If you are working in a large journal, you may want to add color to the page and add several of God's promises to the single page.  I chose to work on 3.5 x 5 inch paper, and I will add them to a larger journal page - either by making a pocket or attaching them to the page.

Choose a favorite color or two from the watercolor crayons or paints and add them with a wet brush to the paper.  Don't worry about color wheels, perfect paint, or anything else.  Just add some color you love!

Cover the entire paper.

Let your paper dry and add one of God's promises.  You can certainly paint the scripture onto the card, but I like the speed of a permanent marker!  Add squiggles, hearts, flowers, Prayertangles, etc.  I have written about my Prayertangles in an earlier blog.  Zentangles have become very popular, but they are all about finding your inner being and focusing on yourself.  I can tell you from experience, any time I focus on myself, I am going to wreck!  Instead, focus on prayer, on God's grace and mercy, and on His blessings.

What promises are you going to stand on through this journey?  Dig into your Bible, Google them if you need to, and share them with us in the comments below!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Blogging a Book #3 - Chapter 1

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

That is much easier said than done, but it is possible when you keep your eyes focused on God.  I can't answer tough theological questions about why things happen the way they do, but I know God's Word is true.  He has shown me that again and again.  If you were to line me up with the apostles, I would have been huddled there with Thomas.  God has never given up on me, though, and He has guided me step after step in revealing the truths in scripture.  Battles come.  That's a fact.  He tells us trials will come, but hang on to your britches because He has overcome the world.  Whether it's cancer, loss of a loved one, depression, crippling disease, or any other mountain in your path, there is another side.  

Don't sit and stare at the battle worrying when it will overtake you.  Meet it head-on!  You could sit and wallow in self-pity and paint your sorrows, or you can follow the Lord's advice.  Make no mistake, I have wallowed more times than I'd like to admit.  The night I came home with a cancer diagnosis, I broke down and cried when Gayland asked me what the doctor said.  I laid on the couch sobbing, and something in my soul said, "Ok, that's enough."  And it was.  I can't properly put into words the rest of the journey, but God had been preparing me without me even knowing.

When You said, “Seek My face,”

My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”  Psalm 27:8

I suggest you start your journey with an art journal.  There are thousands to choose from, or you can make your own.  
Things to consider:
  • the medium you choose - watercolors, pencils, acrylics, markers, mixed media, etc.
  • budget
  • amount of flexibility you want
  • to travel or not to travel...that is the question...(ok, I know I'm a nerd!)
I create art on a budget (my YouTube tagline: On a shoestring, a wing, and a prayer!), so I look for supplies that are inexpensive but still make me happy when I create with them.  You may want to start with a ready-made journal.  I like to paint with both watercolors and acrylics, and I use 140 lb. watercolor paper for both.  I have gotten accustomed to using the cold press paper, which has a rougher texture than hot press, because it was the only paper our local Hobby Lobby carried for a long time.  Hot press watercolor paper has a smoother finish, so it is a style choice you'll have to make.

I have journaled in one form or another all my life.  I've used everything from yellow legal pads to sketch books.  It's less about the journal, and more about getting thoughts, prayers, and promises onto something concrete.  When I really started art journaling, I figured out I needed to make my own book to control the pages of my story.  It removed the need to "get it right", so I wouldn't mess up the book.  I work on loose pages and bind them when I feel like it.

For the first pages, let's start simple.

You need:
watercolor paper/journal
watercolor crayons (or paints)
water brush or watercolor brushes
white and flesh-tone acrylic paints (optional, but I like to have them)
black permanent marker (optional)

Buying Tip:  Be sure to use the 40% coupon on the Hobby Lobby app!

Now gather up a few supplies, and meet me back here on Saturday for our first art project!

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Psalms 46:1 

(Organizational update for those who like to know what's plans to post three times a week were too lofty.  Life has other plans.  I have the text, but I need time to create the art, so posts will likely appear once a week.  I'm am working out a way to keep posts from being ridiculously long.  I will be breaking chapters into sub-sections.  I am also considering adding video.  Who says it can't be a multi-media book?  Sign up on the side-bar to receive the post feed, so you know when a new piece of our journey is posted!)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Blogging a Book #2 ~ Introduction Healing Through God's Word and Art

Cancer.  It's a word no one wants to hear; yet, it's a word over 1.5 million people hear each year.  It is a word I heard eleven years ago.

If you are like me, you could not imagine anyone in her right mind being thankful for having cancer - thankful for surviving, yes - but for being diagnosed with cancer, no.  Well, I've never claimed to be in my right mind, but I can say, without a doubt, I am thankful I had cancer.
You see, it was a turning point in my life.  A point where God reconnected with me.  A cross-roads, if you will, where I chose the path to life  because God loved me enough to keep at it and to intervene in my life again and again.

God has blessed me so incredibly in the past eleven years that I could never put it into words for you.  I can share Him with you, though.  Whatever your battle is that you are facing, I want you to know God is bigger.

Maybe you're asking why art then?  Why pair God's word and art?  What's the connection?  God put creativity deep within my soul and spirit.  It's always been there, and I have always had a need to get it out.  I hear so many people say, "I wish I were creative..." or, "I just don't have any talent for that."  Hogwash! (I just like to say that!)  Look at children.  God creates them with a burning desire to build, to draw, to sing, and to dance.  As adults, we bury that for fear of what others think.  As a teacher, I’ve seen it hundreds of times.  Kindergartners beam with excitement to show you their art - to parade their creative genius.  My fifth graders, on the other hand, had already learned the lingo of doubt.

...I can't...I wish I knew how to do that...I'm not good at this...Don't look at it...
This list goes on. Why would we hide a gift from God and suffocate that desire to create? I have thoughts on it, but that will have to wait because I am here to help you let your creative spirit out of the dungeon!

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Let that sink in for a minute. The Great Creator. Wow. And He formed us in His image. Take some time to look around at all that God created for us. His handiwork isn't just about function. If you aren't in the habit of admiring God's canvas on a daily basis, stop reading and take a trip outside. As an artist, I can only dream of having God's color palette on my worktable!

Creativity is God’s gift to you.  What you do with it is your gift to God. 
-Bob Moawad, Author of Whatever It Takes

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Blogging a Book ~ Let the Adventure Begin! #1

Several years ago I starting writing chapters for a book on healing through God's word and art.  Art can be so therapeutic, but nothing takes the place of the true Healer.  I'm a member of the online art world, and I see and hear the hurting in so many artists through their art and their words.  I can only think they are missing a true relationship with Christ.  Because of Him, I can see the light in the darkness.  I can know it will all work out without a doubt.

The chapters are sitting in a drawer doing nobody any good, so I've decided to blog the book.  Whether it ever makes it to print or not is irrelevant.  What's important is helping others along the way.  Not that I have any special ability or words of wisdom, but I have been down the road, and I know the Healer.

So grab your Bible, some paints, a cup of tea, and some cookies for the adventure, and let the healing begin!  


Friday, March 17, 2017

Blooming is in God's Plan

My previous post on God's amazing attention to detail set my little art wheels in motion!  

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I Serve an Amazing God

Wow.  Do you ever stop and wonder about all the little things in your life?  Things like God knew I would love a dog over diamonds any day,

that I would love dirt more than lace,

and how the smell of algerita blooms in the spring would trump rose petals and perfumes.

 That loving on a mule would be better therapy than any doctor could prescribe.

 Rather than that old saying, " Bloom where you're planted", God made sure to plant me where I'd bloom.  Thank you, Lord.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd

Nope.  You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd.  Those are some profound words God spoke to my heart recently.  Really!  For those of you who have a close, personal relationship with God, you get it.  For those of you that don't, yet, God does have a sense of humor, and He is in the every day goings on of your life if you let Him.

So...I try not to sweat the small stuff most of the time, but every once in awhile I let my guard down and the devil tries to stir me up.  Several weeks ago, I was having one of those mornings.  I don't even remember all of the little things that piled up, but the final straw fell on the pile while I was driving down a road full of chug holes, bumps, and dips trying to get a drink of coffee from my coffee cup.  Really??  Yep, coffee ran down my chin, sloshed up my nose, and dripped down my shirt, and I was nuts enough to get mad...  Again, really??  Instantly the song "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd" popped into my head.  I had to laugh out loud.  Ok, God, I get it, and thanks!  I went on to work laughing and singing!

It's a handy phrase to remind yourself when you can't force things to go your way.  You can borrow it if you want to!  If you've never heard the song, take a listen HERE.

By the way, God is amazing!