"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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Orchestrated by the Spirit"

A fitting description, by Pastor Ken Peters, of what happened this past weekend at Saanich Community Church in Victoria BC. 

Because of the difficulties the few weeks prior, we wondered if I was going to be able to go to Victoria BC to facilitate a Visual Prayer & Blessing Workshop and paint during the Sunday service.

Keith and I, selfie on the ferry
Ferry Terminal in Victoria BC - Such a beautiful harbour!
Fortunately we went, and as we arrived safely on the ferry, Keith and I were surprised by abundant blessing, community, and collaboration of the Spirit. The experience exceeded my hopes! We were so cared for. I am both humbled and grateful!
Beverley and I after Worship Painting Sunday morning
Beverley and I first met online through this blog, and then in person at our local Washington County Artists Open Studio Tour last October. That started a conversation that led to this past weekend, going up to their hometown in Victoria BC. Beverley, and her husband Ron, opened their home and hearts to Keith and I. She had arranged for the workshop and worship painting in their church. Because of their thoughtful preparation and God's blessing, the workshop flowed with joy and ease. Here are a few photos from the workshop:

Here are almost all of us. What an amazing and sweet group of women!
During the workshop time, Keith took some photos and joined in the loading of vegetables, as they harvested potatoes and picked other vegetables from the community garden for the food bank. Fun! We got the chance to share life stories, laugh, shed a few tears, and I believe, insight was received the whole way around. Win/win. I love that!

"Orchestrated by the Spirit" or "Spirit Orchestration" is what Pastor Ken Peters called what happened this past weekend. I agree! The visions we had individually for the message, the painting, even the song chosen to close the service was amazing. More than a coincidence.... a collaboration with Holy Spirit and one another! As Ken gave his message, I painted to the cadence of his voice, poetic and meaningful. When he finished, I painted the final strokes. Gratitude!

We ended our time together enriched by new friendships and encouragement to walk in our destinies!

New Friends! Worship Painting at Saanich Community Church, Victoria BC - Valerie Sjodin©
Keith and I finished our time in Victoria with celebration and joy. A wonderful dinner at the 10 Acres and heartfelt blessing with our server Willis. Yes, it is really all about relationships....


Good-bye Victoria! I hope to see you again soon!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Person to Person...Commission, Workshop, Friends

It's all about relationships. We say that a lot around our house. It's part of our values, our beliefs, our culture.

It was a privilege to paint a commission for my chiropractor, Dr. Brian Reuben, at Back to Basics. I love collaborating with like-minded people, bouncing ideas around, working on a "team" project. That's what the process of this painting was like. While I was painting I worshiped and was filled with joy. It flowed, and I love when that happens! This photo shows Dr. Reuben and I and the painting hanging in his office waiting area. My husband Keith took the photo. Great fun!

If you need a good chiropractor in the Beaverton-Hillsboro Oregon, USA area, check out Back to Basics at:
Here's the space before the hanging

Visual Prayer Workshop ~ August 16, 2014 in Victoria BC, Canada

If your like me, the person-to-person connection is the best. If you live or are in Victoria BC, on August 16th, I will be facilitating a Visual Prayer & Blessing Workshop. Here is the info:
Where: Saanich Community Church, lower hall
When: Saturday, August 16, 2014 9 am - 12:30 pm
Cost: $40 (includes refreshements)
To Register: contact Bev at  email: bev.teichrob@ymail.com or phone: 250-727-0807. Register by August 11, 2014
Supplies to Bring: pen for drawing/writing, colored pencils, Bible, optional pencil and eraser
I will also be worship painting on Sunday August 17, 11:00 am Morning Church service.

Another person to person highlight this summer was meeting Kathleen Sharp in my studio. We had previously met in my online classes and on social media. Thank you for blessing me Kathleen!

Sometimes it's hard for me to know what that should look like online. I have a lot of questions and concerns about that. In our technology driven world, we often forget there is another person to consider. I will likely post a bit less the next six to eight weeks. It is time to evaluate, pray, listen, go on a pilgrimage etc....

Many creative blessings to you today!


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Insight Walking the Labyrinth

On the last page of the journal shown in the last post, I made a simple labyrinth that can be followed with my finger much like the actual labyrinth I made a labyrinth in our yard from leftover bricks. It, and the writing next to it, reminds me of the insight displayed in the labyrinth. Here is a photo of the labyrinth outside the studio. 

For me, most often the labyrinth walking represents my faith and life journey. A maze and a labyrinth look very similar at first glance. The journey is even similar in some ways but also very different. A maze has many entrances and also dead ends. Getting lost or confused is a part of the journey and fear easily creeps in. It is doubtful if there is a center or if one is on the right path. My faith is more like a labyrinth. It has the twists and turns that seem like a maze, but while walking it, I am always journeying to or out from the center, even when facing the opposite direction. There is no need for fear because I know I will reach the center. What I experience in the center, I can take back out with me. When I turn from the center, back into the world, I can walk in confidence, knowing my Center. I know where I have come from and where I am going. Jesus is my center, and I believe he goes to the ends of the earth to meet a person is on the path they are on and to invite each one to journey with Him.

Here below is a photo of the labyrinth as a fire pit with Adirondack chairs around it:

The journal labyrinth page with the actual labyrinth/fire pit area in the background:

Here is the back cover of the journal as well as the back side of the labyrinth page:

This journal was started as a demo in my 2-day Art Journaling Workshop. The studio and covered area overlook the labyrinth seen above. Below shows the front of the journal where I demonstrated marbling, painting papers, and working with stencils.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Praying in Mystery and Search for Meaning

Sometimes I just don't know. That can apply to just about any area of life. I feel the uncertainty. I feel small, inadequate. I seek, but clear answers seem illusive. The more I know, the less I know. Paradox. Mystery. Search for meaning. 

The Circle Prayer is written in a spiral form here on the left page. 
At times like that I often turn to what Celtic Christianity calls Caim praying, a kind of prayer to pray when it's hard to focus  and praying is hard, when life, or death overwhelm. I usually start by envisioning God encircling me with His love and protection. 

"Circle (name), Lord.
Keep (comfort) near
and (discouragement) afar.
Keep (peace) within
and (turmoil) out. Amen."

- from Celtic Daily Prayer

I was introduced to this kind of prayer in the book, Celtic Daily Prayer. It is a collection of Prayers and Readings from the Northumbria Community, and has been an encouraging reference for me.  It has such a simple format and is adaptable to anyone and any need, by filling in the parenthesis with appropriate words and names.

As I meditated and prayed, feeling more peaceful, I doodled a mandala beginning with tracing around the center circle of a CD. I used a CD for a pattern for the inside pages of this journal.

"The compassing of God be upon you,
the compassing of God, of the God of life.

The compassing of Christ be upon you,
the compassing of the Christ of love.

The compassing of the Spirit be upon you,
the compassing of the Spirit of grace.

The compassing of the Sacred Three be upon you,
the compassing of the Sacred Three protect you,
the compassing of the Sacred Three preserve you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Journaling on Fire - The Rest of the Journal

Here's the rest of the Fire Journal:

"Fiery Spirit, source of all creative power,
kindle your Holy Spark within me,
Breathe into me your Sacred Passion,
Fill me with your Flame until I have become fire,
Offering warmth and light to the world."
- Christine Valters Paintner

"The whole world is charged with the glory of God,
and I fee fire and music under my feet."
- Thomas Merton

"Life is not the wick or the candle -
it is the burning."

"Holy Spirit,
Living Flame,
ignite my heart with Your passion -
burning brightly-
flowing freely -
in and through my spirit,
out into the world - 
ablaze with the 
fire of Your Love."
-Valerie Sjodin

Recommended reading for this type of journaling:
 Water, Wind, Earth & Fire, The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements 
by Christine Valters Paintner
You can check out Christine's website and books at: http://abbeyofthearts.com/

The Holy Bible
"It is You who light my lamp, the LORD, my God, lights up my darkness."
- Psalm 18:28

Friday, July 11, 2014

More Art Journaling on Fire

Here's a closer peek inside my fire journal. 

"Spirit of Refining Fire,
Help me to release what no longer serves me 
To make room for your light to fill me."
- Christine Valters Paintner

"Illumine my eyes with Your Light, O God"
- Zechariah 2:10

"Purify my heart with the fire of Your love O God."
- Valerie Sjodin

"Spirit of Fire,
You revealed yourself through the burning bush
And the fiery courage of Pentecost."
Christine Valters Paintner

Note: the quotes by Christine Valters Paintner
and the quote by Mechtild of Magdeburgare from her book, 
 Water, Wind, Earth & Fire, The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements 
You can check out Christine's website and books at: http://abbeyofthearts.com/

"See and taste the Flowing
Godhead through your being;
Feel the Holy Spirit
Moving and compelling
You within the Flowing
Fire and Light of God."
- Mechtild of Magdeburg

"For I declares the LORD, will be a wall of fire around her,
and I will be the glory in her midst."
- Zechariah 2:5 NASB

Recommended reading for this type of journaling:
 Water, Wind, Earth & Fire, The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements 
by Christine Valters Paintner
You can check out Christine's website and books at: http://abbeyofthearts.com/

The Holy Bible
"It is You who light my lamp, the LORD, my God, lights up my darkness."
- Psalm 18:28

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Art Journaling on Fire!

Fire, flame, Light, Spirit, illumination, passion... are words that are highlighted for me this season. So my usual response is to ask God about it, research, read, write, and make a journal...

close-up detail of the cover
The qualities of light and fire have repeatedly come to me through other people, things I've read etc. I revisited a book I read last year Water, Wind, Earth & Fire, The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements by Christine Valters Paintner. It is one of those books I keep close at hand to refer to. You can check out Christine's website and books at: http://abbeyofthearts.com/

Companion journals: Wind/Flow & Fire/Illumine
Many of the quotes used in these two journals are from her book, along with some from the Bible, one from Oswald Chambers (In the Flow/Wind journal), and then some I wrote reflecting my own spiritual journey. About a year ago I had made a little art journal as I studied about wind and the metaphor of the Holy Spirit with a prayer/art group.

It's so great to have friends that are kindred spirits. The kind that don't think you are totally off base by asking questions like: If you were an element, what would you be? or What color do you feel like today? That's one real benefit to having relationships with like minded creatives. Life's never dull, but full of possibilities with a new view. 

Wind & Fire Journals standing side by side
Here are the backs of the journals standing together
For the swirls, I used a large swirl stencil by craftersworkshop.com sprayed with acrylic paint spray. Then as you can see above I left a small portion with the white background showing and doodled with pen and acrylic paint in the rest of the swirls.

Detail of doodled swirls of Fire Journal cover
Here are the links to the Flow/Wind/Spirit Journal in chronological order in case you'd like to check it out.
1. http://visualblessings.blogspot.com/2013/07/flowing-with-spirit-weekend-journal.html
2. http://visualblessings.blogspot.com/2013/07/flowing-with-spirit-part-2.html
3. http://visualblessings.blogspot.com/2013/07/flowing-with-spirit-part-3.html

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Peek Inside Summer Studio Workshops

2-day Art Journaling Workshop in my studio  - photograph by Kim Baschak - 
May and June each brought a workshop a workshop in my studio: Lettering & Layout 1-day workshop in May and 2-day Art Journaling class in June. They were full of great fun and learning. There is nothing like the inspiration of being in-person, making art and sharing with other creative kindred spirits. For the 2-day workshop we were fortunate to have my friend and photographer Kim Baschak come by for a few hours to photograph.

Demonstrating Doodling  in the Journal - 2-Day Art Journaling - photograph by Kim Baschak
Gail in thoughtful consideration
photo - Kim Baschak
Like every person, each class has its dynamic or personality.
It's an odd thing, but I've found it to be pretty consistent.
Our 2-day Art Journaling group was VERY enthusiastic
about making the journals.

The unity, encouragement flowed freely and people hardly wanted to leave the work table to eat. It certainly had a retreat kind of atmosphere. After the first day, which is quite full of messy, painty play, each one took their journal home and worked on it. The next morning the buzz of excitement was palpable.
We all jumped in.

I felt so blessed by these amazing and creative women!

A particular highlight for me was having people come who I have only met online and have taken some of my online classes. One person came from Florida, and met her friend from California here. A new friend I had met at a The Creative Church Conference came with her friend from Idaho.

Women who live closer, but whom I've only met online or briefly also came. Blessing on blessing. Kindred Spirits.

Betsy and Sanny - our farthest travelers, full of great show-n-tell ideas. They send journals back and forth to each other
photograph by Kim Baschak
Idaho Art Friends Monica and Melisa
photograph by Kim Baschak
Annie & Michelle - new Art Friends and neighbors. You'll see them in both workshops :)
photograph by Kim Baschak
Beautiful Courageous Women: Kerry, Gail, Melisa, Mary, Sarah Annie, Sanny, Betsy, Michelle, Monica
photograph by Kim Baschak

The last day of May was the Lettering & Layout Workshop. It was a lovely day meeting connecting with my peeps and meeting new friends in the Lettering & Layout class in my studio! There was an instant bond with one another and I smiled as everyone gathered around the fire pit for lunch before heading back into the studio for more creativity! Cheers to you Beautiful Ladies! 

Lettering & Layout 1-Day Workshop -
 front row: Gwen, Elizabeth, Michelle,  Monica, Kalika, Kim, Kimberly, Meeta
Back Row: Annie, Suzanne, Barb, Sandy, Jennifer
(I'm taking the photograph here)
For workshop information and to see artwork visit website: www.valeriesjodin.com