"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

Thursday, August 25, 2016

On One Hand... and On the Other Hand...

It is one of those seasons, on one hand being blessed beyond what I imagined, and on the other, difficulty and doubt in a number of areas. I've gone back and forth whether to share more vulnerably about "the other hand."

On one hand Keith and I had a wonderful time together vacationing in the canyons and then four days at our favorite local beach celebrating our anniversary. I am truly grateful. On the other hand, when we are home we are working hard, often into the evenings. We are both risking quite a bit in this season.

On one hand I am pleased to have two articles published in Somerset's Coloring Studio magazine. The publication really is beautiful, and I am happy to have a part in it.

On the other hand, the "fly in the ointment" is that some information on the supply list was incorrectly changed in the first article (on flowing with my word of the year) without contacting me. It is disappointing. Please note the correction: The coloring page used is from the book titled: Colorful Blessings, not the other one listed. Colorful Blessings is the first coloring book of mine Taunton Press published earlier this year (see sidebar). The second article (shown below) with the little houses includes a page from the second book, Colorful Blessings~Celebrating Everyday Wonders.

On one hand, my website is being redone and looking beautiful. I've learned new and exciting things about video and look forward to them going live soon. On the other hand, I'm struggling to write a meaningful blog post. There are more "on the other hands" but I'll stop there.

Really, my life has never been better, and yet I have been struggling with depression and doubt. It also has to do with the season I'm in physically. I have had a menstrual period six times this summer. All the other women I know my age have already gone through menopause and here I am going on and on and on... The past year has been extra rough. My emotional capacity seems small. In the past week I felt like I "fell of the wagon" into a ditch of "desolation," to use a spiritual direction term.  I needed to do something about it. But what? First, I wrote down how I was feeling, getting it out. Aware of my brokenness, I prayed a desperate prayer for help. I brought both hands full of sorrows and blessings to God, thanking God for the blessings and pouring my heart out with all the sorrows, losses, flaws and unforgiveness to be exchanged for peace, forgiveness, freedom and joy. The apostle Paul's plea in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 came to mind:

"I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." - NLT

Honestly, I'm not quite at the taking pleasure stage yet with this. To my natural mind, it makes no sense. Yesterday, still feeling a bit lost, realizing I need a transforming of my mind, I listened to some of Graham Cooke's YouTube messages as I worked around the house and studio. I went to tea with a friend and we shared openly and deeply, encouraging one another. Today I am choosing to be thankful and focus on the one hand rather than the other, to give myself grace and be more gracious to others, and above all to place both my hands, full of it all, in God's hands and let it go.

Friday, August 5, 2016

What's going on behind the scenes?

Today I'm sharing, heart to heart, what's been going on with me behind the scenes (online presence), things that influence my online friendships.  I realize, I haven't been as consistent or communicating as often I usually do, or would like to. I haven't forgotten about you! There has been a lot going on behind the scenes, and because I feel connected with you in this online journey, I want to share these new things with you. The development of an exciting new online class, an upgraded new website, and a new book that combines coloring, doodling, and connecting with God.  There are some wonderful people working with me, and more than ever I appreciate the benefits of working together on a team. Here is a bit more of the scoop:

The new e-course is an artful and spiritual journey of discovering and creatively activating your Word of the year. This development continues to be an exciting process for me, with improving video content and presentation, and having a more meaningful and interactive classroom experience.  I look forward to sharing with you about it soon, and hope you will join me in this artful and spiritual journey.

Graphic designer and dear friend Anneli is upgrading the new website. I am very excited about the new look and function of the site. The presentation of artwork and story involves more video, updated imagery, and user friendliness. The focus of the new site is connecting with God through creative expression, inspiration, and artistic growth. Spiritual Direction and a new Shop will be introduced over the next few months too.

The new book, Prayerful Doodling, is represented by an amazing literary agent and is in process. Prayerful Doodling will help people activate and increase people's creative ability to express themselves and expand their visual language while experiencing new ways of communicating with God .  I have taught the material in mini workshops over the years, and early in 2015 taught an 8-week class at my church, along with my friend Linda Eld. One year ago, while in the middle of working on the Prayerful Doodling book material,  I got a call from Taunton Press and the coloring book projects began. Prayerful Doodling was set aside until this past spring. But the time is now...

All that to say, that's why I haven't been posting online as much. My hope is to share the launching and development of these things with you in September. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What Are You Doing Today?

"What are you doing today?"

That is what the chiropractor asked me when I went in for an adjustment this morning. I heard myself say, “I’m working.” It sounded flat, true and not accurate at the same time.

As he adjusted my spine, Dr. Rueben said, “Hmmm, is what I do work? It doesn’t seem like it. It's more like fulfilling my purpose. And it gives provision for more purpose in other areas of my life.”

I responded, “I like that. Sometimes I feel that, as an artist, people don’t think I work and I justify my efforts with, ‘I’m working.’”

He chuckled, “So they don’t think you just play with crayons all day.”

“Yeah. I need to find another word. "Work" doesn’t say it well. Any ideas?”

We threw some ideas back and forth:
 "Answering the call on my life, walking out my destiny, fulfilling my purpose."

I think they sound a bit lofty for an answer to the question, “What are you doing today?” In reality, they are true. Every day, each choice made, an action taken can be a step to answer life's call, fulfill a purpose, and realize destiny. I believe it is not often what we do, but why we do it that can lead to the meaningful “what.” The why also informs the "how."

“Put your heart and soul into every activity you do,
as though you are doing it for the Lord Himself ...”

Colossians 3:23
The Passion Translation

Dr. Rueben knows his why.

Maybe I will start asking people, “Why are you doing what you’re doing today?” That would be a conversation starter, don’t you think?

As I was leaving the chiropractor, he asked, “So what are you doing today?”

I answered, “I am finishing an article to submit for publishing that is due.”

He said, “So you’re working then.”

We exchanged knowing smiles.

The funny thing is, the next person I saw asked me, "Are you working today?"...

“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
- St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

From Travel Brochures to Art Journal - How-to Video

During our trip, the travel information and maps gathered at the national parks were extremely helpful. Now that we're home, I don't want to store the paper stack of info, but I don't want to just throw it away either. Solution: make a spontaneous art journal (of course :-)

Below is a video I made showing how I made a journal page spread using collage pieces from our travel brochures, some personal photos, writing and a little bit of paint. The techniques used can be used in any journal that can withstand mixed media such as matte medium, collage, and a little bit of paint.

The best part of this trip with so many transitions and activities, the best part for me is after traveling together for nearly 3 weeks, we aren't tired of each other. It wasn't always like that. It has been quite a journey indeed! We get to come home to our life together. Home sweet home.

Whether we can travel far, or stay at home, my lesson for the day is in the acronym:

Today, may you be blessed with rest, no matter what you are doing.

The supply list and links for the travel brochure are listed below. The supply list for the watercolor travel journal is listed in the two previous blog posts.

Supplies used:
  • Matte medium or fluid matte medium
  • Black gesso
  • White gesso
  • Paint: transparent red iron oxide
  • Fabercastell Pitt pen or No-Bleed Sharpie
  • White Gelly Roll pen
  • Fabriano Artisico Hotpress 140 lb watercolor paper or art journal that takes mixed media
  • Stencils from http://craftersworkshop.com/ : TCW321, TCW363, TCW290S
  • Cosmetic wedge sponge
  • Paint brushes

Blog Affiliate Disclosure
To make the products I talk about in this blog and videos more accessible and to answer product questions, I've affiliated with Amazon.com. I do not get paid for using any of the products and only share products I use often, and am pleased to recommend them. I get a number of questions regarding the products I use. I thought this would be the win/win opportunity for you and I. If you click on any of the Amazon product links above and purchase the product, I receive a small percentage, like a tip. It does not cost you anything.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Dream Realized in My Moleskine journal

Dreams realized are sweet to the soul!

My visit to the Grand Canyon was a dream come true! It was on my bucket list and everything I hoped for. Keith was a great sport too. He does not like heights, but went along, delighted and cringing at my joy of feeling on top of the world. 

The little Moleskine watercolor journal offered me various ways to include photos, write, paint etc.

Some pages were title pages such as this page below. Here is a photo that shows the process: painted with a fine pointed tipped waterbrush using the watercolor kit, and then outlined in black:

Here is the page finished:

And in the spread with a photo of me at the entrance of the canyon. It was fun to take our photos at the national park signs. We often took photos of other groups and they took ours, a place of pleasant connection with those on a similar journey.

You may have noticed, I've outlined the photos with a wobbly fine line (XS Pitt pen) to tie in the hand done feel of the book, linking the photos with hand written text and watercolor painting. 

Usually, it is not practical for me to paint on locations when we travel, so I take photos and then airdrop them onto my mini iPad and paint a little painting from that. I try and paint it as soon as possible after I took the photo. There were opportunities in the heat of some of the days when we were resting in the comfort of air conditioning. This spread shows the photo and the painting. When I paint, I try and capture the feeling I felt when being there. No pressure to replicate the place. After all, I have the photo, right?

Sometimes I write around the photos too:

One thing I really like is when my travel companion is willing to write in my journal. It is good to get other perspectives and handwriting in my travel journals:

If my favorite part was standing on the heights, Keith's was hiking at the base of a canyon wall, in water. Here at Zion National Park, his dream was realized. I love that!

At Zion, along the Virgin River, we hiked (along with many other people) along the beautiful river bed, such as the photo below on the left. On the right I drew and painted a stack of stone cairns people had left on a big rock in the river. Keith ventured out to take a photo of them. It reminded me of the lesson I looked for each day on our trip. The lesson for that day was that each person's desire and dream is important. We lived it as we made choices and took action during our visits to the Grand Canyon And Zion national parks. 

We go farther, deeper, and higher with each other than on our own. I am so thankful!

  • Moleskine Journal - 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" watercolor journal
  • Koi Water Colors Pocket Field Sketch Box, by Sakura (It comes with one Medium/small tip waterbrush)
  • Yasutomo Niji Waterbrush, Small
  • Prismacolor pencil sharpener
  • Kneaded eraser
  • White eraser (The one in the link below is not the one in the photo, but I have used it and it works well)
  • 2 HB pencils
  • Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens: size XS, S and C (Calligraphy) Note: I did have a Sharpie no-bleed pen on hand, but if the Faber-Castell Pitt fineliner pen set is purchased (a better deal in the link below), the Sharpie is not needed. 
Amazon Links to Supplies:

Blog Affiliate Disclosure: To make the products I talk about in this blog and videos more accessible and to answer product questions, I've affiliated with Amazon.com. I do not get paid for using any of the products and only share products I use often, and am pleased to recommend them. I get a number of questions regarding the products I use. I thought this would be the win/win opportunity for you and I. If you click on any of the Amazon product links above and purchase the product, I receive a small percentage, like a tip. It does not cost you anything.