"Holy Spirit, think through me till your ideas are my ideas." ~Amy Carmichael

" Holy Spirit, think through me till your ideas are my ideas.”

~ Amy Carmichael

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fixing Lettering Mistakes (sigh)

After I posted my last post, my husband nicely pointed out a misspelling in it. While I was doing it, I felt very emotional, so I'm not surprised. It wasn't the only spelling error I made while lettering that foot, but it was one I didn't catch. It happens sometimes. But then what? Here's the image with the mistake. Can you find it?

Here's it is circled:

Sometimes I correct a spelling error using a permanent paint pen or white out pen. In this case I used gesso. Here below is a photo of it after one coat of gesso. I gave it a total of three coats, allowing it to dry in between coats:

For the text, I  used a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pen, Sanguine, size "S". It was waterproof when I wrote directly on the paper, but on top of the gesso it smeared when I painted the light wash of Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold on top. So what I did was add more water with my brush and blot off the inky water. It came off pretty easily leaving a ghost image of the new letters. Then I painted the quinacridone gold wash. Allowed it to dry, and went over the ghost letters again with the pen. It's not perfect, a bit funky since I had a small horizontal space to add a letter, but goodness is complete. This is where mixing up upper and lower case letters come in handy :)

If you are interested in more lettering tips as well as inspiring step-by-step lessons, 
check out my new online class: 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Walking in the Valley of Shadows

The birds are singing. The promise of new life springing up around me. Then I read the newspaper. Grieved by the horrific story of a mother abusing and killing her child, cruelty of the worst kind. I cry out to God. The joy seems sucked out of the world. I feel naive, unaware of the incredible evil in my home town. With a sense of helplessness, hopelessness settles in my heart.  What should a person do? What should I do?

I allow myself to grieve. Someone should grieve for the little toddler who was killed by someone who should have loved and protected him. But I cannot stay in that place of grief and outrage. In reality, I cannot change those people's lives. I pray, believing prayer changes things, but I don't know them and can't make sense of it. These situations remind me of World War II and the unimaginable atrocities committed by people to other human beings. Things like that are still happening today. Sadness.

How to cope? A few authors who have "been there" bring words of wisdom and hope:

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” 
― Viktor E. FranklMan's Search for Meaning

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.” 
― Viktor E. FranklMan's Search for Meaning

One of my favorite quotes that often comes to mind is:

“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy." along with that,
"I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains."     
- Anne Frank

Considering Anne Frank's quote, I realize it connects with what I planned to work on next,  a guest post for Bernice Hopper's next online Art Journaling Challenge in May. After a blustery rain, the sun began to shine and I go for a walk, noticing and photographing the beauty at my feet, the kind of beauty that is easily passed by.  Pouring out my heart in prayer as I walk, I can't help but feel a twinge of wonder sneaking back in as I drink in the beauty of the flowering bulbs. Life after death. Spring following winter. I pass other walkers, greeting, commenting on the beauty of the much appreciated Pacific Northwest sunshine. I am reminded there are still people who love and do good things, making a difference for the better in the world. Hope begins to rise.

The next day I revisit my photos and the theme of "Walk" in my journal page. I am thankful for the time to work on it. Along with my feet, and the quotes Bernice provided, I include some painting of the smallest flowers on my walk. I leave room for more quotes and whatever else asks to go on my journal page later.

Throughout these days I am constantly reminded that the key is love. It's the only possible solution to our problems. I ask God for help. I feel like curling up like a potato bug. But in faith I step out with more intention; Bringing a meal to a friend who is ill, writing a comfort card, making a phone call to tell someone I love them. Making space for quietness, for listening to God, and taking time to love myself.

“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.” 
― Viktor E. FranklMan's Search for Meaning

God loves each of us with the kind of love Viktor talks about in the above quote. During this season of Lent, I am reminded of how much God loves us. He became a human like us, experiencing the full range of human life, even with unjust suffering inflicted by others and hideous death. He did it for us. And then came His Resurrection, triumphing over sin and death. Hope, love, forgiveness, and the freedom to choose life. Jesus came that we may have life and live it abundantly. He says,

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."    - John 10:9-11 NAS

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."    - Psalm 23:4 NAS

"Oh God, Your love transcends and transforms! 
Do your loving work in my heart today!"

- Valerie Sjodin

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

NEW WORKSHOP ONLINE - Lettering and Doodling Hope!

Lettering & Doodling HOPE is the heart of the Hope Journal. It is a journaling journey that shares the inspiration of the content as well as the step-by-step processes of doodling and lettering pages, designing layout with quotes in mind, using meaningful text, drawing & painting illuminating letters, creatively using your own handwriting, doodling and painting a frame border, how to make a found image your own style and more! I share many of my secrets of art journaling. This class has over 30 videos, and is full of helpful, doodling and lettering tips.

The doodles in this image are part of the how-to demonstrations in the class.

Doodling the butterfly and painted letters demonstrated in this class.

You are invited to join me in 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

IDENTITY Journal ~ Heaven's Ambassador

This simple but profound revelation struck me while reading a book I highly recommend, Filming God
The revelation is: 

God loves me so much He wants to doodle with me.
God loves you too!

Here are the final pages of the IDENTITY journal:

If you've been following my blog recently, you know I've been doing a journal study on IDENTITY and the book of Ephesians. Honestly, I've been wrestling this week with the inconsistency of who God says I am and the person I see I am. I don't always look, feel, think or behave like the person God made me to be. I get frustrated and ask, "WHAT NOW?" The answer came:

"...let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes..."

The word let got my attention flashing in my head with color: Do this! Let the Spirit! A kind of relief really. I can't do it. On my own I'm simply not good enough. Some people say relying on Jesus or trusting in God is a crutch. No, not a crutch... so much more. For me -  it's everything. I am humbled and open, knowing I cannot do life without Jesus. Even with the angst of this week I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude right now. 

"let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 
Put on your new nature, 
created to be like God
 - truly righteous and holy... 
be kind to each other, tenderhearted, 
forgiving one another, 
just as God through 
Christ has forgiven you."

- Ephesians 4:24,32 NLT

Last left page of the IDENTITY Journal with flap from previous page open
Detail of Ambassador of Heaven with flap from previous page closed

As I read Ephesians 6:10-20, I was reminded that the Apostle Paul was writing while confined and accompanied by a roman soldier. He used the metaphor of armor to describe the spiritual strength we have access to and need through Christ (listed above the board). A number of years ago, I researched what the armor may have looked like and did a drawing of it. For this journal, I reduced the drawing of the armor, cut it out and glued it on the background with matte medium. As Rob Davey points out in his podcast, the instruction to "stand" is given the most. Also, our only offensive weapon is the sword, God's word for the significant moment.

"A final word: 
Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 
Therefore, put on every piece of Gods armor s
o you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. 
Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 
Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth 
and the body armor of God's righteousness. 
For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News 
so that you will be fully prepared. 
In addition to all of these hold up the shield of faith 
to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 
Put on salvation as your helmet, 
and take the sword of the Spirit, 
which is the word of God. 

- Ephesians 6:10, 13-17 NLT

Above all, the key is love. It begins with knowing God loves each individual as if they were the only one. I'm still trying to grasp that. One of my very favorite verses needed to be included on this page:

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, 
nor anything else in all creation
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

- Romans 8:38-39

If you would like more information about this study on Identity please visit:

To listen to the Identity podcasts on iTunes by Rob Davey from Jubilee Church please visit:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

IDENTITY Journal - Heaven's Citizen

"Together, we are his house, 
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. 
And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 
We are carefully joined together in him, 
becoming a holy temple for the Lord."
- Ephesians 2:19-20 NLT

Except for the Envelope, this spread is all doodles and text. I just love to get in the flow of doodling and writing words that are meaningful to me, embellishing with pattern. Feeling blessed as I ponder the meaning of what it means to have a God who loves me and grateful I belong in His family.

"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, 
you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, 
humility, gentleness, and patience...
forgive others...clothe yourselves with love, 
which binds us all together in perfect harmony....
let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts... 
and always be thankful"
- Colossians 3:12, 13, NLT

"...Lead a life worthy of your calling, 
for you have been called by God. 
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, 
making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. 
Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, 
binding yourselves together with peace. 
For there is one body and one Spirit, 
just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, 
who is over all and in all and living through all. 
However, he has given each one of us a special gift 
through the generosity of Christ."
~ Ephesians 4:1-7 NLT

If you would like more information about this study on Identity please visit:

To listen to the Identity podcasts on iTunes by Rob Davey from Jubilee Church please visit:

Friday, March 7, 2014

IDENTITY Art Journal - Me Royalty?!

I'm absolutely loving studying the Bible and worshiping and praying this way, through the medium of Art Journaling, and connecting with others through the Identity Study facilitated by Bernice Hopper. In this spread, it is easily integrating into the other pages, an added happy surprise, so that when certain flaps are folded and unfolded, the focus shifts to a greater discovery of  God and and realization of our identity.

"Because of Christ, and our faith in him, 
we can now come boldly and confidently into God's presence."  
- Ephesians 3:12 NLT

When I think of all this, 
I fall on my knees and pray to the Father, 
the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources 
he will empower me with inner strength through his Spirit. 
Then Christ will make his home in my heart as I trust in him. 
My roots will grow down into God's love 
and keep me strong.
- personalized from Ephesians 3:14-17

During this journey through Ephesians I am really trying to grasp what God says about each of us, and to really know how He sees me, who He has made me to be, and ask myself, "How do I respond to to God and what he is saying about me?" The podcast on Royalty by Rob Davey from Jubilee Church in the UK has given me a much better idea what being royalty means. It is a position of power and privilege. As an American, it is beyond my scope of experience to know what being royalty might mean. The idea is relegated to fairy tales (which I love). In the culture of growing up and living in the Pacific Northwest,  a high value is placed on individualism, doing your own thing. Here, the idea of royalty and the responsibilities and privileges that go with it seem absurd. My paradigm is shifting...

- Rob Davey

And may I have the power to understand, as all God's people should, 
how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 
May I experience the love of Christ though it is too great to understand fully. 
Then I will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 
Now all the glory to God, who is able through his mighty power at work within us 
to accomplish infinitely ore than we might ask or think. 
Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus 
through all generations forever and ever! 
-personalized from Ephesians 3:14-17

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Thoughts on joining an Online Art Journaling Group

Here's a page with closed flap of my Documented Life Journal
Currently I am participating in two online art journaling groups. The Documented Life Project and Identity: A Study in Ephesians. I have been posting about them, and will continue for a bit, back and forth. If you haven't ever been a part of an online art journaling group, I thought it might be helpful to know why people do it and how they decide which ones to join.

Some of the benefits of being in an online art journaling group are: 

  • Connecting with a community of likeminded people.
  • Inspiration from other participants
  • Opening up of one's imagination to new ways of looking at things and doing things.
  • It's fun to see all the different interpretations of a prompt or technique.
  • A defined focus that creates a loose sense of accountability
  • Being able to share your artwork and get encouraging feedback
  • At the end, there is a finished journal :0)

I am not much of a rule person, mostly some guidelines and even more outside the box freedom, especially regarding art and journaling. But there a few rules I hold myself to when joining an online Art Journaling group.  If the spirit of the group does not agree with these, I don't join. Art journaling should be fun, fresh, and encourage the journey I am on and/or want to be on. So here are the rules I set for myself when joining, or considering joining, an online art journaling group:

Before joining I ask myself:
  1. Does the spirit of group feel comfortable to me? Are these "my people"? Does it feel "safe"?
  2. Does how the group approach art journaling inspire me and work with my schedule and lifestyle?
  3. Am I interested in the content?

Once I join here are my two rules:
  1. DO NOT "Should" on myself. If I start thinking, "Oh I should do..." or "I need to catch up," I stop and ask myself why I am feeling that way. Then I consciously take the pressure off and do something else until I can come back to it without the pressure "to do" 
  2. NO COMPARISON ALLOWED. It robs the joy and any focus on creative possibilities.
Below is the open spread of the closed flap shown in the image above. The prompt that inspired the silhouette part of it is: be inspired by one of the artists from one of your boards on Pinterest, giving the artist credit for the inspiration (of course). I use a lot of silhouettes in my work so I'm always noticing them. I admire the figurative work of Jeanne Bessette. Her inspirational image is shown below the journal page with a link to her site.

Inspired by:
No Boundries by Jeanne Bessette. http://bessetteart.com
Actually, another prompt was also fulfilled with the page - repeating a shape and adding color. So, since I started a bit late, I feel good I got a two for one deal. Not that I am thinking I "should" do all the prompts. After all, that is not allowed :)

I like how when the flap is open, the pages preceding it show it to the right. For me, I made it my own by the message of us all being connected. It was important to me that the figures were touching each other to make that point. Then with the word "connected" I am reminded that throughout our days we really are connected to one another and make a difference in each other's lives.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

IDENTITY Art Journal - Recreated!

Here, above, is spread two of the IDENTITY art journal. The flap is closed. When opened, as shown below, the left portion illustrates Jesus' sacrifice, life before the cross and life after, being recreated to be more like Jesus. The rest of the page is about that.

I listen to the podcasts by Rob Davey from Jubilee Church Solihull that Bernice Hopper has based the Identity Journal Study on. They are insightful and inspirational,  a pleasure to listen to and flow with as I journal. 

Cross Detail

I often need a perspective adjustment. What if I really understood what God says about me, about others? I feel like I'm just beginning to awaken to what that might mean:

"Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people - free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth."  -
Ephesians 1:7-10 The Message
What an amazing thing that God loves us so much, He included us in His plans and delights in giving us abundant freedom!   

Focus & Perspective Detail

Abundantly Free Detail

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

IDENTITY Art Journal - I've been Adopted


The certificate above was made in Photoshop and printed on parchment paper. I had made "stamps" as photoshop brushes a few years ago, and they were perfect for this application. Then I doodled the border with a Pitt pen, cut it out and glued it down into the journal, using matte medium.  After the matte medium was dry, I painted the doodles and water drops with fluid acrylic paint.

Making the Adoption certificate based on Ephesians 1 drove the truth home that I have been adopted into God's family. I am so grateful! 

"It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. 
Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, 
he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, 
part of the overall purpose he is working out 
in everything and everyone."

- Ephesians 1:11-2 in The Message

I had painted an icon of Jesus a couple years ago and made a small print of it to put in the journal. Above the certificate I wrote the verses Ephesians 1:7-8 NLT:

He is so rich in kindness and grace 
that he purchased our freedom 
with the blood of his Son 
and forgave our sins. 
He has showered his kindness on us, 
along with all wisdom 
and understanding.

Here above is the first full page spread of my Identity Journal with the flap open. 
The right hand "Pray" page is a prayer from Ephesians 1:13-21. It is a beautiful prayer to pray for oneself or for someone else, putting their name in it.

Here a a couple of looks at the details of the page.

I listen to the podcasts by Rob Davey from Church Solihull that Bernice Hopper has based the  IDENTITY art journal onThey are insightful and inspirational,  a pleasure to listen to and flow with as I journal. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

IDENTITY Art Journal and Study in Ephesians

Last year the Scripture chapter theme was Ephesians 1. I needed it because I wrestled hard with Identity and who I was made to be. The learning curve was very steep and it wasn't until the end of the year that I was able to measure growth. Now, at a new place, in a new season, I am so grateful. Grateful for the things learned last year, and grateful I'm not in the same place I was.

When I learned Bernice Hopper was setting up an online art journaling group with the title of Identity: A Study in Ephesians, I knew I wanted to participate. I've really enjoyed her groups, and this one was speaking my language: Art, Scripture, Community and Encouragement, and Identity as a theme. This time they include podcasts from Rob Davey, pastor at Bernice's church. They are so insightful. Working in my journal while listening to the messages has enhanced the spiritual journey.

I admit, I am one of those people who jump in and then tend to do my own thing. So I don't always follow the prompts or do things in the suggested order etc., but this group is understanding and we are free to journey through in our own way. I like that. It's also a safe and kind group to connect with.

Here is the standing front cover and flap with the "identity" journal title. 

I marbled the front cover using one of the techniques taught in the Marbling & More online workshop. Then I used a stencil I had made from a photo of my shadow for the elongated figure shape. When that was dry, I wrote some verses from Ephesians in the shape and outlined it with pen and gold paint. The snowflake shapes are actually cut from a napkin I had. I separated all the paper layers of the napkin. Then carefully cut out the shapes and glued them on the cover with acrylic medium.

The open flap is the back of the identity title shown here where I personalized Ephesians 1:3-6 from the New Living Translation. Sometimes I will write out a portion of Scripture, making it my own, by putting my name and/or "I" in place of "we"or "you", as in, "... God decided in advance to adopt me into his own family..." This helps me take the message into my heart, mulling over the deep meaning in my mind. 

the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed me with every spiritual blessing
in the heavenly realms because
I am united with Christ.
Even before he made the world,
God loved me and chose me in Christ
to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
God decided in advance to adopt me into his own family
by bringing me to himself through Jesus Christ.
This is what he wanted to do,
and it gave him great pleasure.
So I praise God for his glorious grace
he has poured out on me 
who belongs to his dear Son.

- personalized from Ephesians 1:3-6