December 08, 2014

Advent - Day 7

Admittedly, I have fallen way behind on my advent study ... but still aim to get as much of it done as possible.  I have been so busy this Christmas season ... but also enjoying every minute if it ... and also enjoying every moment I spend with Christ.  But I know from past studies that I am the type that digs deep and it takes me 2-3 days to process when I do this.  And the time I have invested in this study is so worth it!

The day 7 lesson is about control ... what we let God control ... what we don't give over to Him.  I haven't thought about what I do or don't  let God control for a while.  I had to make a conscious effort every day when I first started walking with Him.  I think my focus now is more on obedience ... rather than letting fear set in by thinking about control I am relinquishing.  There are times He asks me to do things that frighten me ... but my desire to be obedient and my trust in Him has been outweighing the fear, so I take that as a sign of progress :)

I did a pretty simple journal page for this one.  I made a gelli print of  large snowflake cut-out and I doodled a scripture from my lesson.

December 05, 2014

Egyptian Mail Art Swap

I really missed exchanging art with fellow inline artists while I have been in school, so I decided to host a mail art swap this fall.  We altered the front and back of 6x9" envelopes and made tags to insert in the envelopes.  These can be bound into an art book or tipped into an existing art journal or altered book.

We did an Egyptian theme.  This has been one of my favorite themes since I started doing altered art and it was cool to use some of the images and rubberstamps that have been collecting dust.  But I am a technique and texture junkie, as evidenced by my pages LOL

Here are my contributions to the swap:

Fiber Art - Bohemian Dream Catchers

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I got to spend fun time with family ... and we spent a few days working on Bohemian Dream Catchers!  I found so many inspiring photos on pinterest and I wanted to try one and see how I do.  I don't think of myself as a fabric artist really ... but it was so fun!

I got to use up some of the fabric scraps I have been collecting ... and showcased a $3 doily I got at the thrift store.

November 23, 2014

Advent - Day 6

The focus on Day 6 of my advent study is putting in the right clothes ... but being authentic; changing from the inside out.  This is one of those things I have prayed without ceasing since the day I became a child of the King.  

I try to always be authentic ... to be true to who I am ... but in all honesty I still struggle in these efforts.  I have spent most of my life living in darkness and time and time again, I find I am more than willing to put on the clothes of darkness; it is the clothes of Light I often struggle with.  My change is real, but I feel like my brain often lags behind my heart.  It takes a while for me to trust in transformation.  

Life is hard and during times of hardship, I used to sit in darkness for weeks and months at a time.  It is what I have always known.  Lately, I find that my spirit bounces back from things that would have once been crushing blows much more quickly.  Except my brain hasn't quite caught up yet.  My heart says I am ready to forgive ... accept ... and to love ... but I try to trust in who I used to be ... not who I am today ... and I linger in darkness for a while before realizing that is not who I am anymore.  

I think of a puppy at that awkward stage ... when his enthusiasm and gait is big ... but his legs are still growing.  He topples into somersaults.  That is often me.

The theme of this study was change and a desire to wear the clothes of Christ in authenticity.  It reminded me of a favorite theme sing we always sing at Young Life camp.  I found a cool video with the lyrics and this was the inspiration behind my accompanying journal page.
Beautiful Things

November 16, 2014

Advent - Day 5

Seems I have lost  quite  few days working on other things, but I will strive to get more on track over the next 2 weeks.  I loved day 5 of this study.  It painted a picture of us waiting on death row hoping for a pardon, but fearful of a death that seems certain and justified.  A Savior coming meant freedom from the penalty of sin, freedom from death, and freedom from so much more.

I look at spiritual life in terms of the way things make me feel; this is just how I am wired.  When freedom from any kind of bondage comes, I feel a lightness of heart ... my load has been lightened for sure.  But the picture this study painted was one of me sitting behind bars before my walk with Christ, so I focused on that imagery for my page.  The amount of bondage I have experienced in my life can only be described as massive, so I cherish every bit of freedom Christ has given me.

I started this page with a scrapbooking paper designed to be a calendar page, but I mostly liked the grid layout with the flowers and fruit.  I added a few colored red and green squares to bring in more of a Christmas feel and some red speckling.  This seems very appropriate, because my freedom was paid for by the blood of Christ.  

I altered a hexagon shaped overlay with inks and glittery embossing powder.  This is meant to represent the prison bars I have lived behind ... but the glitter adds a Christmas touch.  This part of my process was intriguing.  If this weren't a Christmas journal, I would never think to make prison bars pretty.  If you go to a prison, there is nothing pretty about prison bars, but I think we choose many prisons for ourselves that masquerade as pretty things ... appealing things.  I think about the hours I used to spend in front of a mirror as a youth perfecting make-up ... a pretty prison in which to hide ... or escape from who I really am.

It also makes me think of my house.  I have worked so hard to transform it into a beautiful thing -- a 180 degree change from its former life.  But I must be cautious not to let it become a prison of a different kind.  Part of me wants to put off opening my home to others ... to make sure everything looks beautifully maintained when guests arrive.  There is a fine line between having a home pleasing to God ... and letting it become a pretty idol ... or an excuse to keep people away.  I am trying to open my home every 2 weeks ... but this study has revealed potential pitfalls I believe God wants me to be wary of.

November 09, 2014

Advent - Day 4

So far it seems it is taking me about 2 days per page ... with all the activities I have going on, but I am living the process of this advent study and my journal pages in response to Him.

This particular lesson focused on Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem prior to His crucifixion.  This passage is always meaningful to me, because it was the first passages I read that painted a good picture pf Him as King.  Prior to that I always read about His heart for the unsaved ... He was a friend ... a Counselor ... a Healer.  It still baffles me to think about the Creator and King of the universe wanting an intimate relationship with me.

I used a piece of grungy blueprint paper where I have been wiping my brushes for the past month or so on various projects.  The colors make me think of His royalty and all the imperfections speak of the messy, messy world He came down to save.

November 07, 2014

Advent Study - Day 3

Running a little bit behind in my study already ... but hoping to get caught up (or close to caught up) soon.  Day 3 focuses on God's strength and how He is glorified more as we admit our weakness and let Him work through our weaknesses.  Oh how I sometimes wish I didn't give Him so many areas of weakness to work with LOL  It is still difficult for me to rejoice in my weakness knowing that it will glorify Him, but will keep working on that.

This lesson also focused on Isaiah 11:1-10 ... a prophecy that the line of Christ would come from the branch of Jesse.  I just love this passage, but the book of Isaiah in general has become one of my favorites; I find it so full of hope.

I collaged a variety of text pages down for my background and added a thin layer of gesso to mute them.  I drew a tree stump and a branch shooting out in charcoal.  Then I added a wash to the background using dye re-inkers ... loving those more and more these days!  I am having to get creative to find a way to use my Christmas stamps in these pages, but oh so fun!

November 04, 2014

Advent Study - Day 2

I just finished day 2 of my advent study and it spoke of God's promises ... especially His promises to Israel and Judah ... despite disobedience and unbelief.  The point to ponder is what promises God has made to me and kept.  There are many biblical promises He has kept certainly, but my heart always goes back to the promises He made me when I was little ... when I was unable to defend myself in a cruel world.  Before I was even in kindergarten, He told me He would protect me from the worst ... that nothing I experienced would cost me my life ... and that one day He would save me.  I didn't know exactly what that meant, but I knew it would be a day of celebration.  Reflecting on that, I see a chain of broken promises from imperfect people ... and a chain of fulfilled promises from a perfect God.

I focused on the advent prompt for my journal page.  I scanned and enlarged an old Polaroid of me from that time.  I got gobs of pixellation, so I painted the image, but it is still a bit blurry.  I added a red ribbon to highlight Isaiah 9:2.  My eyes look haunted ... a reminder of all that God has brought me through ... and a reminder of what my own spiritual death looked like.  I felt like my mouth needed to be covered ... a reminder that I grew up with a social handicap and that God is my voice when I let Him :)

My life is full of life.  I could not always say that, but walking with Christ, I can say that.  He remembers His people ... and He is Truth ... and He fulfills His promises.

November 02, 2014

Advent Season and a New Journal

Well, I have been terrible at blogging the last few years, but hoping I can be a little more consistent over the holiday season.  I started a new art journal to record my artistic responses to an advent study I am doing over at Pause, Ponder & Prepare.  I am still embellishing the cover, but started on the study part.  Many of us are starting on the study in November and will go back through our study, journals, etc and reflect more in the month of December.  I am not likely to get this done in a month, so hopefully I can finish up in December.

I don't know that I am going down the path the study writer intended ... but God is leading me somewhere with this study :)  I used the word prepare on my page, because the real meaning of the word is starting to resonate with me.  If Christ came back tomorrow, I would be excited and also disappointed in myself.  God chose the word "persevere" for me this year and I have persevered through much for sure ... but my first instinct usually is to run.  I want my heart to be ready for Him when He returns ... and all the hard stuff He has asked me to persevere through this year is meant to prepare me for Him.  I have to keep reminding myself of Jeremiah 29:11 ... that God has plans to prosper me and not to harm me.

The scripture at the bottom is from 1 John 1:5.  This scripture has came up 3 times in different places over the past month, so God is speaking to me.  Most of my life -- especially childhood was filled with a darkness I did not understand.  My heart was heavy and without hope ... without light.  Only through Him have I dared to live in the light ... and had reasons to hope.

Here is to a God who loves ... never tires ... and will continue preparing my heart ... rooting darkness out of my heart, so that there will be more room for Him.

February 21, 2014

Starting a Mural ...

I am so excited to that I get the opportunity to paint another mural!  I am doing this in the ministry center for my church.  It is probably on the small side for murals, but it feels big to me after working in altered books and journals for so many years :)  It isn't much to look at yet ... just a big squarish shape with some gesso ... but work will continue :)

January 01, 2014

A New Year of Journaling

I can't believe it is already January 1 ... of 2014.  Like about 2000+ other people, I am participating in The Documented Life Project ... and I love it!  My book is combining the idea of a planner, art journal, altered scrapbook, and whatever else I can manage to throw in!  I am also including work from another online class, so mine is not  real planner per se, but I am adding some planner pages as I go along.  I didn't get a real good photo of my cover, but here it is:

I am not much into paint brushes these days, so I brayered on several acrylic colors onto an old binder and I added rub-ons and layers of napkins to blend and change up the look.  The tabs were a free printable from the web that I enhanced with circle punches.  Persevere is my word for the year and I am plastering it everywhere I can.  Much of my journal work this year will hit n that topic.

The first challenge for The Documented Life Project was to take a photo of our front door or entry way as a reminder that we are opening the door to 2014 and all it holds.  This assignment hit home on so many levels.  It is not well known, but my home has been a place of bondage for me many years. I did not own my home; it owned me.  Years of abuse left me with the disease of hoarding ... and more shame than I could carry.  I locked my house up.  I did not let in friend, foe, or plumber.  

My life changed in October 2004 when I invited Christ into my life.  I was incapable of clearing away decades of junk and dirt apart from Him.  146 weeks ago, I started clearing away junk and literally gutting my home while I was living in it and i did it through His strength ... while I was pursing a new career ... while I was attending college ... while I was dedicating time to outreach ministries.  I am not done ... but God has equipped me with perseverance and strength and friends to love me and support me and and on occasion pick up a hammer or paintbrush.  

I still have 2 rooms left that need to be overhauled and the rest of the house is disorderly, because all my art studio furniture and supplies are in my living room while the art room is being gutted and painted ... but still ... my house is a miracle.  There has been a huge transformation inside.  But I am tired and most weeks, this feels like a project that will never end, so my word for 2014 is persevere.  I need perseverance ... a lot.  So this assignment has made me emotional about God.  Last year I painted my front door an outrageous color.  It is a really bad paint job (my first attempt at an artsy door LOL), but it is a symbol of transformation and revival ... of me and my home.  And I hear God encouraging me and assuring me that He will build perseverance in me ... and that I (and my house) are both a work in progress ... and He has not forgotten us.  I won't give up before the miracle.  Doors are going to swing wide open in 2014 :)