Saturday, August 5, 2017

Blogging a Book #7 - Chapter 2 Blogging

We could go on for the rest of the year with art journal activities, but I want you to take it and run with it.  Now we are going to add to the documenting of our journey.  We are moving on to Chapter Two of Blogging a Book - Blogging.

You do have a story to tell and a journey to share.  Blogging can be a great way to record your journey, and God can use your words to inspire others.  I have found the more I focus on my problems and myself, the deeper I sink into the muck.  However, when I focus on God and how He uses me for His glory when I help someone else, the muck disappears.  Pretty amazing.  I can’t explain how it works, but I am a living testament that it does.

You are familiar with the blog world, or you wouldn’t be here.  You might even have a blog of your own.  You might not think anyone would want to read your story, but you would be surprised.  God can use your words to inspire others in ways you may never realize.  

So how do you start?  There are many platforms where you can set up a free blog.  I use Blogger, but I am not saying it is better than other hosting sites.  It just happens to be free and easy to use.  Hey, I’m a teacher...I like those qualities in a product!

Why blog?  It opens another door for you to experience God’s beauty and share it with others.  The tools for this exercise in creative art are simple.  You will need a camera and a computer.  You’re probably holding both in your pocket.  I blogged for an entire month using only my iPhone as my creative tool.  I searched for camera and photo apps, Googled some tips on photography with an iPhone, and set off to capture God’s beauty each day for 30 days.  I set some rules for myself just to make it a challenge.  I could only photograph and edit on my phone - no expensive lenses or Photoshop editing.  I have to say I was amazed at the shots I took.  Not because of my expertise, but because of the things I noticed through the lens.  I wanted to capture God’s color palette - the beauty we take for granted so often.  I made it my mission to share God’s amazing creations with others and to challenge others to do the same.

Now I am passing on that challenge to you.  Get your camera and be purposeful - not stressed about it - purposeful.  Take time to look around you.  You might even be thinking this is not an art project.  Oh, but yes, it is!

Your assignment is simple.  Get a blog up and running.  This can take as little as 10 minutes, and there are plenty of tutorials out there.  Don’t worry about all of the gadgets and gizmos for now unless you just want to play with them.  I think  there’s power in the written word and power in journaling through your battle, but blogging may not be your thing.  So… share it on your social media of choice.  

Now here’s your first task, as well as your task for the next 30 days.  Go out and snap a picture of God’s amazing beauty.  While I had fun challenging myself to use only my phone, you can use any camera and editing tools you like.  What do you photograph?  Sunrises, sunsets, birds, insects, flowers, trees, clouds, grass, storms, animals, people, rivers… get the picture?  Ha, sorry for the bad pun.  

Think about your angle of the shot.  Zoom in and fill your lens.  Try some super closeups of things you’ve always considered ordinary.

Ok, so you’re saying, “I’m sick, and you want me to crawl around in the dirt?”  Yes, I do.  Whether you are going through treatments for cancer or recovering from something else, you don’t need to sit and dwell on it.  Get up, even if only for a few moments.  Go to the window if you must, but take a picture.

Now here’s where the fun begins!  Use the picture just as it is, or use an editing app to change it up.  Always save the original photo and make as many different versions as suits you.

Once you have some photos you like, it’s time to post.  One of the reasons I challenged myself to use only my iPhone is because, with the Blogger app, it is so easy to post directly to my blog while I’m standing in a field or driving down the road.  Well, not while driving.  You’ll need to pull over to the side of the road!  I’ve done that more than once to catch the sunrise on my way to work.  

Share some thoughts or some scripture with your photo, or let the picture speak for itself.  Again I’m going to share a secret about dealing with your sickness, whether it be physical or emotional.  The more purpose you have in something, the more time you spend making connections with God, and the less time you spend thinking about how bad your situation is, the quicker you will begin to heal.
God’s word tells us to be doers of the word.  Not hearers only.  If you spend some time looking for scriptures that relate to your photo, God will show you one you need to hear.  I find God brings just the right words to the surface every time - words I need to hear.  

You will find other things to discuss on your blog, but the photo challenge will get you connected with God’s handiwork.  It helps to know He takes such great care with even the smallest of creations.  Imagine what He does for you.

Before you know it, you will be in the habit of posting on a regular basis, and you are likely to be sharing things that touch others’ hearts.  Now get busy!  You have a story to tell!

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