Author Archives: Julie

By Faith

Faith is the confidence that whawe hope for will actually happen.
It gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

By Faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command.
That what we see now did not come from anything that can be seen.
Hebrews 11:3 (NLT)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Hebrews 12:1

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.
Mark our a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall
but become strong.
Hebrews 12:12,13 (NLT)

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
Hebrews 12:15

This morning’s reading in Hebrews 11-13 met me in a deep place with its themes of faith, persistance, and watching for roots of bitterness.

I journaled my thoughts in pink, purple, brown, and orange. This was curious, and I decided to use only those colors to create the image that began to come to mind.

It is a straight path symbolizing the road I am walking. It goes from here into eternity which is symbolized by the gold ball at the top, or end, of the path. Along the way are glimpses of gold, but it is not fully golden until the end. The word By is placed about where I am on my journey ~ the wide bottom is the beginning, and I am halfway or a little beyond.

Radiating in gold at the top are the witnesses that surround us and the feeling of encouragement and mystery that evokes.

It’s also interesting to me that the picture can reflect these verses, also, if the path is looked at as a mountain, instead. It has the shape.

You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.” No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.
Hebrews 12:18-24 (NLT)

I can’t end this post without music today, as this song has been in my head all day.

Blessings, Dear Ones!

Spirit

Today started in the dark driving to feed a friend’s cats and ended in the dark driving home from helping with SVMI. In between, the sky was a brilliant shade of blue with puffy gray and white clouds floating about. It was a beautiful day to be outside.

The sky inspired today’s painted art journal page prompt, Spirit. There were several references to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5-6, but, honestly, it’s my spirit that I was trying to capture. It felt like the sky looked.

Ominous and heavy, at times. Light and airy at others. Living in the moment is a challenge with so much bearing down. I am weary.

I used paint accented with silver glitter glue. Here is an image of my spirit and all that it holds today.

Goodnight, Friends!

Owl

I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl. Micah 1:8b

Today I read the book of Micah which is one of my favorites. The owl jumped right out at me seeing that it is a bird and it holds meaning. I also could use the Washi tape from Kim on the facing page of the paints.

I had grand ideas but limited time. This is a theme. Today’s work involved a lot of baking and food preparation for an all-day band event tomorrow. It was also an early-release day for my kids. Reality dictated a quick finish.

Paint was replaced with large pictures glued in place starting with this owl.

Next came some trees.

Here is a little filling in.

Now to add washi tape at the sides and top. If you look closely the ones along the sides are leaves.

Finally, add the title.

The owl represents my engagement with people.

I see them. I can sense struggle and inner conflict. I can feel when the winds of change are blowing and when things are off with a person.

I do not claim to be 100% correct, but my intuition is strong and often accurate. Not only do I see, but I pursue. I step, or swoop down, into another’s world with questions, even when it feels risky.

It is often risky, yet when I sense a need, I pursue. I believe it is important for people to know that they are not alone.

The owl also represents wisdom which is one of my deepest longings.

I received positive feedback on showing the open journal with completed facing pages, so here is what this one looks like. I love that they both feature birds and are made using supplies gifted by a dear friend.

I hope you are able to find space to create this weekend. Mine promises to be full, but I plan to grab time to see what comes next in my journal.

Happy Friday, Friends!

 

 

Joy

The man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father. . . Proverbs 29:3
Evil people are trapped by sin, but the righteous escape, shouting for joy. Proverbs 29:6

There is much ambivalence surrounding today’s word. I feel weary, not joyful. I am not doing well at slowing down and living in the moment, though this journey with my art journal is helping.

As much as I tried to find a different prompt, joy stuck. It helped that I knew the image I was going to use for the title. It also helped that I planned to use only the paint colors gifted to me by my friend, Kim, during Certificate 2 training.

I looked up some former posts on joy to stir my heart or at least help me remember. I set off on an early dog walk, hoping to beat the rain in the forecast and gather some inspiration to create something when I returned.

While walking, Kim came to mind, so I called her, expecting to leave a voicemail. Instead she picked up, informing me that she was preparing to teach a college class. I fought back the feeling that I was interrupting something, because she chose to answer and has good boundaries surrounding her phone.

She wanted to say hi and had her students say hello to me over speaker phone. That made me smile and brought joy. I told them they were lucky to be sitting in her class, and I wished I could be there.

Continuing on, I entered the community garden to see if any butterflies were resting on the flowers. There was a monarch, and I stood and watched her for awhile. I soaked in the stillness.

Returning home, I pulled out the folders that hold my pre-cut images. I found the word Joy along with a picture of a bird. It was perfect.

I began with a layer of green. Then I went to the kitchen to bake chocolate chip cookies while it dried. That is how today’s page was created. Work a little, paint a little, work some more, glue a little, finish.

My favorite metallic gold went on next.

 Yes, that paint is from Kim. It’s so perfect.

I arranged the cut out pictures over the dried page and glued them on.

 I began adding color to the page. This is a palette with all four colors ~ turquoise, green, brown, and metallic. There are also several rolls of washi tape that I will use another time.

 This is the final result. I love that it is a picture of a bird, that it has a saying that touches my heart in a deep place, and that I worked turquoise into the color scheme in an artistic way! That was my biggest doubt about today’s intention to use all of the colors, the turquoise.This process has brought some joy, but honestly, right now I have a tightness in my chest that I know as tears. I will sit with them for awhile.

Shield

You are my refuge and my shieldYour word is my source of hope. Psalm 119:113

As a final assignment for the Certificate 1 training that I took in 2016-2017, I was instructed to create a coat of arms, or shield, depicting my calling. The assignment could be completed any way I chose. When I read the above verse I immediately thought of this shield and knew what to do.

I  would recreate it in a new way in my art journal.

Here is the blank beginning.

I struck gold when I found these pages of dahlias for background paper.

Strips of gray glued together create the shield.

I made the title and began placing words on the shield. This was a broken-up day where I was in and out of the house for appointments and errands and had to work in small chunks of time. I came back from one of my excursions to this. Something seemed a bit alien about it.

Did I mention that these appointments involved some of my offspring?

This is the final page.

I had to work hard today to accept that the result is good enough when it is not exactly as I would like it. This page holds deep meaning for me, and that is what matters.

For the curious, here is my original coat of arms.

And for the double curious, here is what my art journal looks like when it is open to this page.

What stirs in you, Dear Readers? What are you curious about? What would you like to share about what this process stirs in you? Do tell in the comments or in a message!

Fire

So Asa died in the 41st year of his reign. He was buried in the tomb he had carved for himself in the city of David. He was laid on a bed perfumed with sweet spices and fragrant ointments and the people built a huge funeral fire in his honor.
2 Chronicles 16: 13-14

I was intrigued by the theme of death and burial in these verses and by the huge funeral fire built in honor of a long-reigning king. I had been wanting to do a torn paper collage and was encouraged by my friend who sends me inspiration.

Immediately a torn-paper fire came to mind. That’s the word. Fire.

I have an ambivalent relationship with fire. My daughter captures it in writing here. Seriously. Click and read her words and then come back. I’ll wait. You’ll be glad you did if only for the picture.

There’s a fire pit in the backyard that we sit around sometimes. Fall is a perfect season for this. Often antics begin that have me on the edge of my seat with anxiety. Now that there is no danger of littles accidentally tripping into the fire or toppling over, there are reckless bigs who live dangerously with marshmallow torches and cries of watch this!

I have been known to excuse myself to the house when it gets to be too much.

Today I searched through magazines for the colors I wanted to use and began tearing paper and laying out the design. Sky took shape.

Ground and fire followed.

Finally, letters were torn and added to create the title.

Here is the finished page.

It was a fun, messy task. Tearing paper is not for the perfectionist or the impatient. I still have far to go with technique, but with what I hoped to accomplish today, I am pleased.

This journey of creating a page a day in October has been enlightening and life-giving. It is the thing that I want to do all the time and that I hate to finish and put away. I am learning much about myself in the process. How about you, Dear Reader?

What is the thing you enjoy? Where are you in your creative process? What activities feel natural and life-giving and cause you to go Aha! Yes! This IS me! ? I would love to know.

Journey

Today I finished the book of Numbers.  Chapter 33 records the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan. Today also is day 2 of Journey week at Maranatha on the shore of Lake Michigan.

The Journey holds a special place in my heart as recorded here.

Reflecting on the gift I was given seven years ago and in honor of a friend who is there this week, I designed a page around The Journey.

My goal was to use only pictures and words that were already cut out, since today was full with limited time to create. I easily get lost in the hunt and fail to get started.

I worked in silence, home alone for a rare 45 minutes. No music, no podcast, no radio, just silence.

It was glorious.

Here is the result.

What has been your journey? What words would you choose to describe the process? What pictures? Where are you on the path?

You are invited to consider these questions and to be curious about where you have been and where you are going.

Shadow

Sunday readings come from the EpistlesHebrews 8 speaks of the duties of the high priests and contains the words, They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven in verse 5. Chapter 10 begins, The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. 

I was drawn to the prompt shadow and began searching for pictures to illustrate the light and dark. As I worked, the song Shadows by Amy Grant ran through my head for teenage me. This was from Lead Me On, a soundtrack during a difficult season.

Also Audry Assad Carry Me, from a more current time.

Here is today’s page.

I love how the light was shining through the window when I took the pictures.

In the shadow of the question is from here.

What are you drawn to in the picture? What does shadow stir?

Stone

Saturday is reading in the Gospels and Acts. Today was Acts 4 and 5, prompting the word stone in 4:11.

“For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures where it says, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”

I love rocks and stones. My Zen garden, pictured above, has become a conglomeration of meaningful items, many of which are stones. So this theme was a fun one for me today.

I did a basic collage from images cut from National Geographic and silver glitter glue. This is another picture prettier in real life due to the shimmery effects.

It just needed one thing more.

Perfect.

Fish

Friday’s readings come from the prophets. Today was the book of Jonah, so how could the prompt not be fish? Cliche? Maybe. It’s not the first time that word has been assigned to me, so I don’t mind. That story is for another time, though.

This morning I began the process of creating water from blue streamers and ModPodge. I asked one of my children to guess the day’s prompt.

Drowning my hopes and dreams? No. A whirlpool that sucks all my happiness? No.

Clearly my children are on to me, and I laugh at how well they know me. I actually laugh out loud as I am reminded that their job is not to affirm me. Somehow these responses are oddly affirming.

After creating the background I cut fish from a National Geographic magazine found in the stash of magazines gifted me by a friend. I arranged them in the water, reminding myself that I could put them wherever I wanted, and that I was not actually illustrating the story of Jonah.

Blue crepe paper streamers bleed dye all over when they get wet, and the ModPodge was making a mess. Even more of a mess was me choosing to pour small amounts from the container directly onto the page rather than into a small dish or cup to brush on from there.

The final pour was a miscalculation, coating the entire page with a thick glob of white. Blotting and wiping, I eventually had to stop and leave it alone. The area was a mess, my hands were blue, I couldn’t see the images, and a teasing voice across the room was giving me a life lesson.

Five days into the month, and there is much I am learning through this process that has nothing to do with the finished product.

  • It’s not about the word but the process of choosing the word. This touches on the not already knowing piece of my story. I have to trust that each day I will receive just what I need.
  • It’s not about getting it right. I am not receiving a grade or assessment for this. While others may appreciate or enjoy the final product with me, their opinion does not equal or negate success.
  • I can trust my instincts. I can believe that I know what goes where on each page and that whatever I do is the right thing.
  • I can make messes and mistakes and still create something with stunning beauty.
  • Creating beauty takes time.

This is a page that actually looks so much better in person with its glossy effect. I love the final result.