"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

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Loving Out the Fear ... Making Me Brave

I've never thought of myself as brave, even though that is what my name means, valor. In the last post, fear being loved out was the theme. Abiding in God's love is what I am to AIM for, the cure for fear. AIM is my word for this year. In this journal page, I continue to express my word of the year and my spiritual journey through art. I love music that makes me see pictures, and also have a song for this year: "You Make Me Brave" by Amanda Cook. When I first heard it, I could see it and knew it was the song for this season.

If I were to pick an album for this year, it would be You Make Me Brave by Bethel Music. We bought the CD and DVD version. It it one of those where seeing it enhances the hearing of it. I highly recommend it! Here is Amanda Cook singing You Make Me Brave in the YouTube video below.

Abiding in God's loving presence is the key for me in life's journey.
It's sinking in deeper, that I am a child of God, and can be free from fear because God loves me. 

Below is a new song by Jonathan and Melissa Helser from the new Bethel Music, We Will Not Be Shaken. It is a powerful statement of being a child of God, no longer a slave to fear. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Love that Throws Fear Out ... Bible Art Journaling

What if I experienced God's love so fully that that there wasn't any room for fear? I wonder what that would be like?

Fear cannot just be thrown out, ignored, let go. I've tried, and know I cannot do away with fear on my own. I've tried to trust God, work hard, but so many times I have acted or reacted out of fear and self-preservation. The verse, found in 1 John 4:17, states,

"There is no fear in love, 
but perfect love casts out fear..."

For a number of weeks now, I have been contemplating the thought of perfect love casting out fear. Recently, the idea came to me in a new way through a sermon by Rob Davey in the series, the Father Heart of God: https://sites.google.com/site/jubileesolihull/home/podcasts. In his sermon, Rob Davey makes a point that helped me see the verse in a way that hit me profoundly:

Fear cannot just be cast out. Fear has to be loved out.

It is perfect love that throws fear out. It is only God's love that can give me the ability to truly let go of fear. This has led me to dig deeper into 1 John 4:15-19, longing for more love, more of God, no fear.

I am using the online Blue Letter Bible and Bible Gateway as my reference libraries for these verses.

In 1 John 4, the word "love" appears 27 times, 3 times in verse 18. Here, love is defined as "affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love." I looked up perfect. It refers to "wanting nothing necessary to completeness, mature." These definitions of "perfect love" tell me God's love for me is full of affection and feeling, lacking in nothing, complete.

Next I looked up "fear." It means, dread, terror, that which strikes terror."  Fear is the opposite of love.

The new revelation for me came when I looked up the meaning for "casts out,"  (G906 in Strong's concordance). It means to throw, to pour out, or "let go of a thing without caring where it falls; to give over to one's care, uncertain about the result." WOW! So does this actually mean that experiencing this perfect love would enable me to face the thing that strikes terror within, and entrust the fear of it to God to the extent that I no longer care or need to know the result, because I experience God's love for me so deeply, so completely? How is this possible?

I look further into the context of the passage. In verses 13-16 the word "abide" appears 6 times, referring to abiding in God and His love. It means "to remain, to continue to be present, to be held, kept continually, to remain as one, to wait for." I am literally taking that to mean:

I am to remain in the love of the Holy Trinity,
I am to continue to be present in God's love,
I am to be held in God's love,
I am kept continually in God's love,
I am to remain as one with God in His love,
I am to wait in God's love.

That is how: God's love for me, in me, abiding in me. Please may it be so God! This kind of love is experiential. 1 John 4:16  (NRSV) says,

"So we have known 
and believe the love 
that God has for us. 
God is love, 
and those who abide in love abide in God 
and God abides in them." 

The word "known" (or know in other versions) in the verse above means: to learn to know, feel, to become known, to understand, to become acquainted with, and to know intimately as a husband and wife. The word "believe" is an intellectual faith, to think to be true, to commit to, to place confidence in, to trust God is able. I have "believed" for many years, and now in recent years, I am beginning to "know." I want to know God more, to love more...

"We love because he first loved us."

-1 John 4:19

Bernice Hopper is leading a 5-session study based on the sermon series above that includes art journaling the Father Heart of God

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bible Art Journaling Deeper in Love

The past week I've been asking questions about the familiar passage of the greatest commandment:

"Love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength."

- Mark 12:30 HCSB

What does it mean to Love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? To be honest, to me it has always seemed unattainable, something to aim for, but knowing I would never hit the mark. Then I realized I probably needed a new perspective, so I set out to find out more and be open to change my thinking about the greatest commandment Jesus talks about in this verse, a cross reference to Matthew 22:37, the theme verse for last week's His Kingdom Come Community

I came across a free online Bible reference library that is a great tool for in-depth Bible study: blueletterbible.org. When I put the verse in the search box, and then clicked on the dropdown menu, the Strong's Concordance information is accessible, along with other resources and reference aids such as Vine's Dictionary etc. I am now adding this site to my bookmark bar alongside Bible Gateway.

First I looked up the word "Love," fitting for Valentine's Day week, "Agapao" in the Greek. Thayer's Greek Lexicon says when the word is used of the love of God, "it involves the idea of affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, grateful recognition of benefits received." That makes sense to me. 

The surprise for me came in the Bible usage section! I got an instant picture in my mind as I read about agapeo love: "to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly." There is a progression, like going into the home of someone's heart and life.  

1. "to welcome" - to invite someone to cross the threshold and to enter in
2. "to entertain" - to be prepared for a guest, to get to know her/him better such as over a meal or planned time together.
3. "to be fond of" - to hang out together, beyond the planned structure of entertaining in the front rooms, now extending into the kitchen, family room, garden etc.  The relationship has grown into friendship, wanting to be with the other, communicating often. 
4. "to love dearly" - to be intimate with one another, trust is established, nothing hidden, nothing held back. In essence, becoming a lover, one, which also includes all of the above. 

This is a great comfort to me. No matter where I am in receiving God's love and learning to love God, He is always there, inviting me into more of Him. He actually wants me to invite Him deeper into me too! I can love God because He loved me first, and I can learn to love Him better, inviting God into the depths of myself. It In doing that, I can love myself, and in turn, love my neighbor. 

Then I looked up heart, soul, mind, and strength. There was quite a bit of overlap, which reminds me not to compartmentalize myself too much. I am a whole person. The heart, soul, mind and strength include: 

"the center of all my physical and spiritual life, all my passions, desires, thoughts, affections, appetites purposes, endeavors, understanding, intelligence, will, character, breath, life, vital force, feelings, way of thinking, imagination, abilities, power, essence and spirit."

So basically, with everything I am,
I am to love God.


The pages in this post were sketched and written lightly in pencil, then Copic pens. Next, I carefully erased the pencil lines with a white pen eraser. Then colored with Prismacolor colored pencils.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bible Art Journaling Going Deeper into Transformation

Recently I ordered an ESV Journaling Bible (scroll a ways down sidebar for link.) I was excited to get it, but once it came, the pristine pages were intimidating. It sat for a few days. During that time, I was much encouraged by Rebekah R Jones and her Bible Art Journaling challenges and videos. Then I decided to join Rebekah's Bible Art Journaling Challenge Facebook group and the Journaling Bible Community Facebook group.

Being a "toe in the water first" kind of person, I approached art journaling in an actual Bible with the least risk possible, lightly with pencil to begin before I used pen etc. Since I've been spending time in 2 Corinthians 3, I decided to include two of the word studies for the text in the Bible margin, so it could be a reference for future use. Those word studies, I first wrote down in my everyday journal, are featured in the January 28, 2015 blog post. In the His Kingdom Come community, the theme for January was Transformation, also in a key verse, so I included the metamorphosis of a butterfly. I joined their Facebook group too.

The black pen/s used in this post are Copic fine nib inking pens. The color of the text (which I colored with Prismacolor colored pencils) coordinates with the imagery used. When I got to the end of chapter 3, I read on through the rest of the page.  The words are powerful and encouraging and I had space, so I knew I had to include some more imagery in the right margin.

For the God who said, 
"Let light shine out of darkness,"
has shone in our hearts
to give the light of knowledge
of the glory of God 
in the face of Jesus Christ.

- 2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, 
to show that the surpassing power 
belongs to God and not to us."

- 2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV

Just starting Bible Art Journaling, I am loving it! It seems so right for me to integrate the love of studying God's Word, my faith journey, and art journaling. I'm soooo excited!

Friday, February 6, 2015

What am I AIMing at?

I've been asking that question in light of the new year, my word for the year (AIM) and in light of my life. It is a working out, wrestling through, a process of seeking... finding... and being grateful for the journey. 

No matter what I aim at, or set out to do, Christ needs to be the center of my focus. That is what the big circle with the gold center is about. 

The most recent journal page is the one with the loose and doodled concentric circles, the same shape as a target. Concentric circles have become my shape of the year. They are simply circles that share the same center. 

I envision us, like stones of God being dropped into the center of His purpose. Each stone that drops, makes concentric rings, with the potential of radiating the Kingdom of God into the world. It is God who does the work, if I am willing to be dropped into his purpose. 

"There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind 
that the God who started this great work in you 
would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish 
on the very day Christ Jesus appears."

- Philippians 1:6 The Message Bible

This year, concentric circles illustrate how I relate to God, self and others. God is at the center, His bulls-eye, as Psalm 25:12 in the Message Bible says,

"...What are God-worshipers like?
... Arrows aimed at God's bulls-eye."

That it my desire: to be a "God-worshiper." To illustrate that, I put gold circles at the center of each "target." I know I can only do this if I take the time to listen, seek, step out in faith.... risk... giving myself grace to make mistakes... 

The concentric circles page has more layers of paint than any of the others in the journal so far. One would think it would be the easiest page, but for me, it wasn't. Layers upon layers of trying to get it right. The process of art journaling was once again reflecting life. I was unsure of myself, but just kept going until the circles seemed to fit in with the rest of the pages. It is a message for me in life as in art: Come back to Center. Trust God. Don't give up.

"My aim is to raise hopes by pointing the way to life without end. 
This is the life God promised long ago—
and he doesn’t break promises!" 

- from Titus 1:1-4 The Message Bible

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Art Journaling Deeper into Faith

As I go deeper, understanding tends to grows broader. When that "Aha" moment hits, like the word study in the last post, I want to express it through art in some way. Sometimes it's hard because the outcome doesn't express the idea very well, but I know that should not keep me from trying. This time I am trying to show, even in a small way, the seeking and finding that has been there all along in this passage of Scripture. For me it was like finding a lost treasure with new eyes to see.

After the word study published in the last post, I decided to take a look at the following Chapter of 2 Corinthians 4. The first verse resonated with me and seems to complete the thought of the end of chapter 3:17-18, since it starts with "Therefore..." The three verses together are:

"For the Lord is the Spirit, and 
wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, 
there is freedom. 
So all of us with that veil removed 
can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. 
And the Lord - who is the Spirit - 
makes us more and more like him 
as we are changed into his glorious image. 
Therefore, since God in his mercy
 has given us this new way, 
we never give up."

2 Corinthians 3:17-18, 4:1 NLT

My tendency is to feel inadequate and want to give up. 2 Corinthians 4:1 brought me back to the message of the 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 passage studied a few weeks ago, where the Lord is saying,

'"My grace is sufficient for you, 
for my power is made perfect in weakness.' 
Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly 
about my weaknesses, 
so that Christ's power may rest on me. 
That is why, for Christ's sake, 
I delight in weaknesses, in insults, 
in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. 
For when I am weak, then I am strong."

- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

The same day I went deeper into 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, I read the Jesus Calling entry for January 23. The last paragraph of the text (including the timely suggested reading of 2 Corinthians 12:7-9) helped give me more insight of how contemplating the glory of God, can become a part of me so that His strength can shine through my weakness and vulnerability.

"As you live in close contact with Me, 
the Light of My Presence 
filters through you to bless others. 
Your weakness and woundedness 
are the openings through which 
the Light of the knowledge of My Glory 
shines forth. 
My strength and power show themselves
 most effective in your weakness."

- Sarah Young 
Jesus Calling

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Going Deeper from Study to Experience

As you know, if you have been following my blog recently, I have joined the online community of His Kingdom Come. So far, the first two weeks featured verses and themes I have been already exploring. When I read the third week's verse, 2 Corinthians 3:18 I thought, "That sounds good, although hard to grasp, and not quite what I am focusing on right now." The past week, I've been focusing on two verses and themes. One theme that keeps coming up is Freedom, with the verse that says, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." What does that mean? I have a hard time remembering the reference of verses, so I looked up the phrase. You know what I found? It is the verse directly above the verse for week 3 in His Kingdom Come "Going Deeper." Really! Verse 18 starts with "And" so it is important to look above and see what the "And" is adding.

"Now the Lord is Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.
And we all who with unveiled faces 
contemplate the Lord's glory, 
are being transformed into his image
with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from the Lord,
who is the Spirit."

2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV

It is also good to look at the context of the verse, so I have decided to go deeper into the whole chapter of 2 Corinthians 3, focusing on verses 17-18. I looked up the verses in various translations of the Bible using Bible Gateway. One resource I am using is a book, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, which defines the original Greek or Hebrew word used in the text. I've also used various online dictionaries. Freedom means freedom, liberty (Strong's Concordance). Veil means covering. I also look for repeated words. The word "Spirit", referring to the Spirit of the Lord, is found three times and is the source of freedom, transformation, and glory.

 In the Strong's Concordance of the Bible (4151), the word Spirit is Pneuma, from a current of air, breath, blast, or breeze. The term is used to refer to a human spirit, a superhuman such as angel or demon, or as in this case, the divine who is God, Christ's Spirit and the Holy Spirit-ghost, life, spirit, mind.

I like doing word studies where the word, designed or illuminated is at the top of the page and then the definitions and sources are listed below. It gives me a good reference and the doodling/lettering part allows for pondering and meditation of the meaning of the word.

One of the word/s was different in the various translations, so it caught my attention in verse 18: contemplate, beholding, and reflect are all used as our interaction with the Spirit of the Lord.

I have been taught that the word contemplate means to study and meditate on. That is true, but that is too narrow a definition. It is so much more, extending to the mind, and reaching beyond to the heart of the spirit, and into life itself! Contemplate, behold, reflect are verbs, actions to participate in. Dictionaries help clarify and broaden my understanding of the word/s. The Strong's Concordance defines the term in 2 Corinthians 3:18 "beholding," in the King James version, as to mirror oneself; to see reflected.

Contemplate: to look thoughtfully for a long time at, to think profoundly, deeply, at length, meditate on, to view or consider with continued attention, to ponder

Behold: to gaze upon, observe, perceive through sight, to hold, to mirror oneself, to see reflected. Behold has the idea of gazing at someone or something extraordinarily good, such as a marvel, inspiration, miracle...

Reflect: to give back or show an image of; mirror, to reproduce; show, to throw or cast back; to give back or exhibit as an image, likeness such as the pulse reflects the condition of the heart, or the masterpiece reflects the artist's vision. To reflect means to give evidence of the character or quality of something. Reflecting can mean seeing something original in another form or image. It means to be bright by reflecting or casting light.

Clearly, contemplating, beholding, and reflecting mean more than studying. We study to know, and we know to experience. Studying is like reading the guidebook for an anticipated destination. It is very helpful to inform and help direct where to go and what to look for. But it is not the trip or adventure itself. That is found in the experience. In this case, in beholding the glory of the Lord. How do I behold the glory of the Lord?

The New Living Translation of 2 Corinthians 3:18 is easier for me to understand when talking about God's glory. It says,

"So all of us who have had that veil removed
can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.
And the Lord—who is the Spirit—
makes us more and more like him
as we are changed into his glorious image."

The Strong's Concordance says this word glory has a wide application. It means dignity, honour, praise, and worship. In the dictionaries I referenced, glory means magnificence, great beauty, honor won by notable achievements, a state of high honor, brilliant, and radiant light. By all of these definitions, and in light of 2 Corinthians 3:18, I am to come into the presence of the Lord with wonder and in awe of God's magnificence, light, and beauty of the Spirit of the Lord. In His presence, face to face, is where He changes me, my mind, my heart, my being and behavior, to be more and more like Him. I can't, He can.

"Dear God,
remove from me any veil, 
any filter, any assumption 
that gets in my way of seeing You.
It is You, Spirit of the Lord, only You,
who can transform me
more and more
to be like You Christ Jesus,
and reflect your glory,
and radiant beauty in
who You made me to be."

-Valerie Sjodin

Well, that was the word study. Like "ever-increasing glory," it is a process. I don't have to make it happen. That is God's part. My part is to come open to God, ready to listen and respond to Him in gratitude and worship.

What does this look like for me in real life now? The text suggests to me that I am to be with God to the extent that I see myself reflected in His eyes. This also has to extend to other people. It has made me aware that I have a hard time loving some people. I ask God what I should do, knowing I can't muster up the love needed. The Holy Spirit has to give it to me and I have to experience God's great love for me. The thought came, look for Jesus in each person. The next time, in the situation I was frustrated with, I was quiet and looked for Jesus in the person I was having a hard time with. I saw Him there. Peace. The Spirit of the Lord giving me the freedom to love.

"...the riches of the glory of this mystery, 
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory"

- Colossians 1:27 ESV

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Two of my Favorites...

"The Bible is the greatest source of poetry 
the world has ever known and 
the world’s greatest work of art....
If every life inevitably moves towards its end, 
we must during our own, 
color it with the colors of love and hope…. 
For me, perfection in Art and in life 
flows from the biblical spring. 
Without that spirit, the mechanics of 
logic and construction alone, 
in Art as in life, will not bear fruit.” 

- Marc Chagall

This quote by Marc Chagall is one of my favorites. I remember how my heart sang when I first read it. I agree with him wholeheartedly!

Romans 12:1-2 has been a favorite Scripture for decades. It is also a key verse for week 1 at His Kingdom Come Community of Faith. I have personalized the verse in the journal page below:

"I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, 
in view of Gods mercy,
 to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, 
holy and pleasing to God - 
this is your true and proper worship. 
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, 
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 
Then you will be able to test what will of God's will is - 
his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Romans 12:1-2 NIV

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Serendipity by Design

Do you have times when the same message, word, theme or idea come from various places? When they come my way from multiple sources, I take note and think of it as "serendipity by design." That has been the case with this journal and seeking the direction for 2015.

For quite awhile, I have struggled with something, wanting it to leave, to let go, to move onto something else, something I don't feel I have the capacity for. I asked God to take it away, and sensed Him saying, "No." The verse about God's grace being sufficient came to mind, but I resisted, tired of the struggle. At the same time, wanting to be open and be close to God, I prayed for ears to hear and eyes to see what God has for me.

Then at exercise class, the instructor said she felt she should share something with us, and wasn't sure why, but that someone needed to hear it. She read 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 from the NIV Bible:

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Clearly, I have not been at that place where I rejoice in such things. The thing I have been fighting and fearful of is rooted in vulnerability. I went home, wrote the verses down on a 3 x 5" card to meditate on and knew I would include them in my art journal. Then I looked up the definition of Grace. When the exercise instructor shared the verses, she made it a point to emphasize God's grace. It struck me in a new way, a way that focused on the positive of God's grace instead of the negative of my weaknesses. God's grace is given to me, and because of His great love, I can overcome, persevere, be more than I am, and more truly who I am.

 Grace in the Bible refers to God's freely given kindness, not based on any good thing we have done. It is "a state of freedom from sin enjoyed through divine grace." (wordcentral.com) We are saved by grace because of Jesus. Grace is "the influence or Spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them." (dictionary.com)

In the second week of the Faith Journaling group, His Kingdom Come, the "Take Me Deeper" verses are 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, AND the theme is vulnerability. "Are you kidding?" is what I said out loud when I read it. Again: Grace. "Serendipity by design". I conclude, if the same message comes to me from four places, there is a good chance God is speaking to me. I am listening.

Serendipity, defined by Merriam Webster is "the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for."  Then I looked up the meaning of Phenomenon: "A phenomenon is an observable, significant, and sometimes rare fact or event that is often difficult to understand or explain fully."

Another of those places that resonated with me recently is in the devotional by Sarah Young, Jesus Calling (see sidebar under "My Favorite Books"). The book is written to encourage intimacy with the God of the Bible, written from the perspective of Jesus talking to the reader. I find it often reinforces what I am reading in the Bible and encountering in life. There are also verses listed at the bottom of each day's entry. For example, while reading recently in Jesus Calling from the January 5th entry it says,

"You can achieve the victorious life through living in deep dependence on Me. People usually associate victory with success: not falling or stumbling, not making mistakes. But those who are successful in their own strength tend to go their own way, forgetting about Me. It is through problems and failure, weakness and neediness that you learn to rely on Me... It is a faith-walk, taken one step at a time, leaning on Me as much as you need. This is not a path of continual success but of multiple failures. However, each failure is followed by a growth spurt, nourished by increased reliance on Me. Enjoy the blessedness of a victorious life, through deepening your dependence on Me." 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Exploring the Meaning of my Word for 2015

I've done quite a bit of research about my word and images. This builds my understanding, enthusiasm and is a catalyst for courage. I google key words, symbols, and quotes, such as "archery quotes". I also look on Bible Gateway, typing key words into the search box and looking through the list of verses that come up. I usually look at various translations. This is where I found Isaiah 49:1-12. I read through the chapter, asking God to highlight the message/s I was to take away. I spent about a week in the passage, asking if/how it applied to me. Then I wrote out a personalized version in my journal. This was all before I received my word, having just the image. After I received the word Aim, I went back to Bible Gateway and found a verse in The Message Bible that is my key verse.

"What are God-worshipers like?"
"Arrows aimed at God's bulls-eye."

from Psalm 25:12
The Message Bible

I am asking God, "What is Your bulls-eye?" I imagine insight to that question will unfold as the year 2015 unfolds. I feel excited and grateful. It is clear to me that Jesus is to be my focus, the bulls-eye, taking time to be aware of and acknowledge God's presence with me. Out of that, I am hoping specific "bulls-eye's" will be revealed to me, along with the timing to aim, and how to aim - when to pull back, and when to let go.

So here we go! Onward and Forward into 2015

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Processing My Word for 2015 with My Favorite Pens

After getting such a clear but complicated image for 2015, I asked God for a word, a simple word with layered meaning to fit the image I believe He has given me. This is where the waiting comes in. Waiting and watching. Then in the quiet it came, bold and simple: AIM. A noun and a verb, even holding the "i am" in the letters themselves. At that moment my attitude began to change. 

Aim as a verb means to point or direct at a target, to align, line up, have the intention of achieving, work toward, aspire to, set one's sights on, attempt to reach a goal, try. As a noun, Aim is a purpose, intention, objective, design, desire, aspiration, target.

In the space made for the text, I asked. God what He was saying to me through the Scripture that speaks of the archery imagery, Isaiah 49:1-12. I wrote the personalized text there so I can revisit it throughout the year. 

The first thing I do is plan out the basic layout of the page and lightly draw it with pencil, erasing until I happy with the design. Then I go over the lines with a permanent black pen. I erase the pencil lines and the next step is to thicken some of the lines. Here is an example of the word with the letters partially done this way.

Here is what I learned about pens on this project. I used two sets of pens. Each has their strong points and they are both great sets to write, draw, and doodle with. I've started using Copic Fine Nib Inking Pens in the Multiliner set. The widths come in a variety, and the thin lines are wonderful, as well as the flow. It is what I used to do these pages on the untreated paper surface.

I apologize for the low quality of the two photos below showing the difference between the single line and the added width lines.

The next thing I did was to thicken some of the lines below. It really adds interest and emphasis.

After I was done with the basic drawing I brushed a coat of Matte Medium on the entire surface and let it dry. I painted using fluid acrylics. Then I added more pen. When I went to brush another coat of Matte Medium onto the surface, the ink from the Copic Marker smeared. I was surprised. I went back to using my old faithful Faber-Castell Pitt pens, the XS size, and it did not smear. So I've decided to continue to use both. The Copic for the paper surface with the very fine lines and for writing in my journals, and the Pitt pens for all the layers on top of the Matte Medium. I've also been trying the new DecoArt Media fluid acrylics. I don't have all the colors I normally use yet, so I am also using Golden brand which I have used for years. They are quality fine art paints and work together beautifully. I am pleased.

Here are the journal pages for 2015 so far. It's unfolding....

"Make new friends but keep the old.
One is silver and the other gold."