It came to me while unpacking my Christmas ornaments this year. I pulled a mini Starbucks mug ornament with the word Flourish from the box. It was still in its packaging. I remembered buying it on sale after Christmas last year and saving it for this year.
The ornament never made it out of its cardboard casing or onto the tree. Instead it stood on a shelf in my room inviting me to ponder the word Flourish and what it might mean for me in the new year.
Looking it up, the next step in the process, began to solidify my choice.
to grow luxuriantly, to achieve success, to be in a state of activity or production, to reach a height of development or influence, to make bold and sweeping gestures, an ornamental stroke in writing or printing, a decorative or finishing detail
All of these meanings, and more that were listed, felt true about what I long for in the new year.
Still pondering, I came across an online quiz related to figuring out your word of the year and decided to take it. The result was courage.
I always need that, and in this case, I think finding the courage to flourish is where I landed.
Here is my process in making this year’s art journal page along with the final result. I will keep it displayed to remind me of this year’s intentions.
All day I watched as I Voted posts filled my social media feeds. Friends shared selfies with circle or oval stickers pressed to their clothing. One picture showed Mom, Dad, Son, Daughter with stickers on their noses.
I planned to walk to my polling place and vote, but that did not happen. Morning rain cleared as I headed to the grocery store for much-needed provisions. Returning home I had less than an hour before another commitment that would continue past 7pm when the polls closed.
My daughter graciously unloaded and put away groceries as I drove to vote solo, a change from this year. I did not need any literature and quickly checked in, removing my ID from my wallet. Yearly pleasantries were exchanged with my favorite poll worker, as the man checking me in waited patiently then asked me to state my address.
I took the paper ballot and sat at a table behind a cardboard privacy shield. Looking over the ballot, I took deep breaths. Voting always reminds me of how not right everything is. I colored the ovals of my choices and walked to the scanner, which was sporadically spitting ballots back for retrys.
It’s been doing that all day.
Waiting for my ballot to scan I noticed that the exit poll worker’s hands were conspicuously empty, and that no one was getting a sticker.
Wait! Are there no stickers?
We’re all out. Someone left to go get more.
Inside my head I heard, Noooo! I really want a sticker! Tears stung my eyes, cluing me to the fact that I was experiencing feelings that were probably not about the sticker. I refrained from repeating the other words springing to mind.
I feel disenfranchised!
That would have been making light of a serious scenario, comparing myself to someone who was actually deprived of the right to vote. Though, in hindsight it feels a completely appropriate initial response, because these days if you vote and don’t get a sticker or post a selfie on social media, did you really vote?
Outside the polling place, I told one of the workers who held an armload of sample ballots, They were out of stickers! How can I prove that I actually voted?
She felt my pain and mentioned that people had been taking selfies in front of the signs.
Which I did.
Returning home, I expressed disappointment to my daughter who offered comfort in the form of suggesting I create an I Voted sign out of M&Ms. Which I did.
I left to fulfill my evening obligation. My husband voted, and daughter accompanied.
They brought me a sticker, which I made into a page in my Art Journal.
I am thankful for thoughtfulness, the ability to vote, laughter, M&Ms, a fun daughter, a conscientious husband, for scraps of paper and cardboard tissue boxes with designs on them and glue.
I am also thankful for a space to share my stories and for people who care to read them.
The wedding is over. There is much to process. It was a beautiful, perfect weekend. I do not use that phrase lightly. Those who know me understand this. Nothing is ever perfect, but this event came mighty close.
The time was amazing. The weather was kind. The leaves were glorious.
The morning after returning home I sat in my favorite spot, looking out the window at my favorite tree. Its branches were mostly bare. Only a few leaves were left clinging to the ends of its limbs.
It inspired this art journal page and poem.
I am glad I took time to look at the leaves While their glorious color was still on the trees
Before they began the descent to the ground To be raked up and piled up and blown all around.
I know it’s the season, they never can stay
They all end up down at the end of the day
They don’t wait for me to have things all lined up To sit with the perfect drink in my cup
They fall when they’re ready, when their time is here Seasons and cycles, year after year
And I get to watch and see what they do From green to orange to brilliantly blue
The scene out the window, it changes each day As more sky appears and the leaves go away
So I’m glad I took time to look at the leaves While their glorious color was still on the trees.
I am not an expert in hashtagging on social media. I am barely a novice. I am learning and figuring it out. One thing that I discovered last month while creating art journal pages and sharing them on Instagram is that #compostingtheheartjournal has the words art journal at the end.
How surprising and fun!
I began using that hashtag for the pages I posted and plan to continue with future ones. If you hang out over there, you can see my latest creations by following #compostingtheheartjournal. You can also use the tag to share your own art! I would love to see your work.
October has ended, but that does not mean I plan to end my artistic experiment. It means I am not madly creating something to post and share each day. Now I can slow down, go back, look over, process, add to, and engage my journal in a more relaxed fashion.
October found me creating beauty from words in the day’s Bible reading. I plan to focus on cultivating gratitude in November. I don’t know what that looks like, yet. There is no a clear intention or set of guidelines like last month. It is the beginning of an idea.
I do know that this new territory for me. Uncharted waters. We shall see what unfolds.
I also look forward to sharing pages created before the October experiment. Stay tuned. There is more to come!
For all of my kind, faithful readers, here is a bonus art journal page created last year on a piece of paper. I thought I might frame it, didn’t.
One of the reasons I bought myself a bound journal is because I have so many single pages falling out of books and piles everywhere, and I thought it would be fun to have them all collected in one space.
I taped it opposite today’s page in my art journal. That way I can take it out if I ever decide to do something else with it.
I have to say, I really love the way this looks together. I had no idea where I would be this year when I played with collage last fall. It is all just casting it on the waters and seeing what returns.
I love how this project began and ended with fall-themed scenes.
While the official month of creating is over, by no means am I finished creating. It has been such a fun joy to prioritize making art each day and sharing it with all of you. I have been humbled by your feedback and blessed by your encouragement.
I step into November with deep gratitude and much reflection. Stay tuned to see what’s up next!
Today’s reading in Deuteronomy had the word marryin it. It was in the context of what not to do in a list of regulations (7:3 for the curious), but it was there. Since it is wedding week, I find it kind to art journal marry.
The morning got off to a good start. Phone calls with two sisters, a birthday text and clothing text exchange with another, asking my daughter to take pictures of me in my wedding outfits to send to my fashion advisor. . .
A phonecall at 10:17 alerting me to the fact that I was missing a 10:00 appointment for my daughter. While asking her to snap pictures of me, time was ticking away past when I should have had her somewhere. Thankfully, we were able to redeem some of it as we rushed out the door.
That is what found me cutting and gluing in a waiting room.
Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly, not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 1 Peter 5:2 NLT
Here is today’s word and page. The verse says it all. This is truly where I am right now in life. Posting this from my phone and signing off to spend the evening with my love, after I read to a child, of course.