Friday, February 14, 2020

Playing With Lettering My Word


Playing With Lettering My Word

One way I explore my word of the year is by reading books that will help me live out my intentions for my word. At the end of last year as I was exploring my choice for my 2020 word, fruit, I ran across an article that quoted Dallas Willard. As I looked up the Dallas Willard quote in one of his books, I realized that he had a lot to say about the areas I'm trying to further explore and grow in. So I decided that I would re-read, or finish reading, a few of his books this year. So, for me, this is the year of Dallas Willard! I am starting with his book "Renovation of the Heart", which is all about how we grow spiritually and what spiritual transformation looks like. I highly recommend it!


One way to keep what I'm reading in my mind is to slow down and write quotes from the books in both my writing journal and in my art journal. I used a few quotes to play with some of my lettering styles this past week in preparation for this week's challenge in our Living Your Word group, which is to letter your word and to think of a color that reflects your word.


Cutting letters out of painted papers is one of my favorite ways to make words. Green seems to be the color I am gravitating to for my word this year, as green is a color that symbolizes growth. On my page spread I used painted paper cut letters and then I lettered my quotes with my hand lettering and filled it with color.




Since I was thinking about my lettering styles, I played around throughout the week writing one of my theme verses for the year in a variety of the lettering styles I use. It was a great way to play this week!


Pop over to our Living Your Word Facebook group and join us in exploring ways to live out your word of the year. There has been a lot of great conversations and examples form group members of how they are living out their word. Valerie Sjodin has also written a blog post today about lettering your word of the year. Read it here.

Living Your Word 2020 Opportunity!
My friends Bernice Hopper, and Valerie Sjodin, and I share insights through blog posts for creatively living a word of the year. In our Facebook group, we encourage one another by posting questions and prompts to inspire living out a word focus, keeping a journal etc. It is a safe place to ask for prayer and support. If you would like to connect with others in creative ways about living your word, you can ask to join our Living Your Word of the Year 2020 by clicking on the link below.

Hashtag for Instagram:  #livingyourword2020

Check out their blogs:






Sunday, February 2, 2020

Bullet Journal and Art Journal

Bullet Journal and Art Journal

This year I decided to return to a journaling format I used a few years back to record daily life as well as to keep a record of my word of the year. I am also intrigued with many of the aspects of bullet journaling as a means of documenting life and tracking some of your habits. As I said at the beginning of the year, I'm using a Leuchtturm 1917 journal with grid pages. My post about why I chose this journal is here.


In this journal this year I am working through how to live out my word of the year, fruit. Previous posts over the past few weeks have highlighted how I chose this word, how I do a word study for my word, doing a mind map for my intentions for my word, and then, this past Friday, about the difference between intentions and goals. You can access all of these posts by clicking on January in the blog archive column on the right side of this page.

Some of the other ways I'm using this journal is to record events through weekly page spreads:




I"m also tracking a few things this year:
My non-fiction reading list

Birds I spot on my walks and in my backyard 

And finally, I'm adding in pages as things happen or as I am inspired. Such as a page remembering our weekend in Traverse City, MI to celebrate my daughters 40th birthday with a girls road trip.


Then there is a page of some of the little phrases I say a lot. These little sayings or mantras tend to reflect what we value or things we've learned over time. They tend to reflect who we are and can serve as reminders when we need encouragement or motivation. This page also gave me an opportunity to play with the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pen set I recently purchased.



So far, I am enjoying the Leuchtturm 1917 journal. At first I was concerned with shadowing - seeing the shadow of what your writing or the items you glued on the following page. But as I have gone along it hasn't bothered me too much. I love the grid paper and its a nice sturdy journal. But because I like making journals and binding books, and because I like a variety of journal and art styles, I have a second journal going. I made a junk journal out of an old book and I'm using it to play in and to do pages for different art challenges or groups I participate in.













#livingyourword2020 #junkjournaljanuary, #getmessyartjournal, #gmseasonofhome, #jan202020creativechallenge

If you choose a word of the year and are looking for ways to live it out through the year, I am a part of a faith-based Facebook Group: Living Your Word of the Year 2020. Join us!



Some of the art supplies used in this post:



Vintage paper packs, Dennison red border labels and tags can be found at Found On Brighton Etsy.


Disclosure:A note about Amazon links on my blog:
I am giving Amazon affiliation a try, which means I may receive a small percentage off sales made through clicking on the Amazon links found on my blog. There is no additional cost to you.








Friday, January 31, 2020

Intentions or goals? What's the Difference and Why Does It Matter?


Intentions or goals? What's the Difference and Why Does It Matter?

I have never been one who put much stock in setting New Year resolutions. Setting them never made much of an impact on my life, or took me very far into the year. Yet, I have been one who has continually sought change in my life. Not change for the sake of change itself, but rather a continual desire to become who God desires me to be. To me this is at the heart of spiritual formation. Over the years the practice of choosing a word to guide me through the year has been a significant tool to help with the goal of "Christ being formed" in me. (Galatians 4:19)

In conjunction with using a word as a lens on life through the year, has been the practice of setting intentions. A few weeks ago my friend, Bernice Hopper, asked me what I thought was the difference between intentions and goals. Here was my answer to her:
"I think the main difference between goals and intentions is in how you view them. Goals are usually specific in nature and are future oriented. I want to save 100.00 each month or I want to lose 20 pounds. Intentions are usually focused more on daily living in the present moment and lean toward habit forming and lifestyle. Both play a role. In fact intentions can help us meet goals. But I tend to prefer intentions because I think they help create a lifestyle or mindset instead of just completing tasks. Intentions can help us become the type of person we want to be. So instead of simply setting a goal of how many pounds I want to lose, instead my intentions are to eat healthier for my overall health. As I work on that I may or may not lose the pounds but will gain so many other health benefits. If I simply have a goal of losing ten pounds then every time the scale doesn't change I feel like I have failed."
Today I would like to expand on my answer to Bernice and explore a bit deeper into the topic. Here is a brief, basic rundown of goals and intentions from various definitions I found online:

Goals
Intentions
Future oriented
Present oriented
Concrete, tangible, specific
Aspirational, values-based characteristics
Action oriented
Way of being
Usually have a fixed outcome
Often ebb and flow as you grow
Generally more outwardly focused
Generally more inwardly focused
Usually focused on an end result
More focused on day-to-day living



I think both goals and intentions are valuable. However, I do tend to lean more toward using intentions, and here is the main reason why. To me, setting intentions is about making choices in my daily living that focus on who I want to be, more so than on what I want to get done. And this is based on a value for me: Doing flows out of being. Who I am is more important than what I do, and I want what I do to flow out of who I am. Who I am is about my character and my heart. I can change behaviors or habits and still have no change in my character or outlook. Because I also value authenticity - I want what I do to reflect who I am, or put another way - I want my actions to reflect my heart. And my heart is continually being transformed as I intentionally seek to be formed in the image of Christ.

So, I focus on intentions when looking at how I want to live out my word of the year. And I keep my values before me as I set those intentions. Then setting goals can help me put action to my intentions. But all of it is determined by my "why" - the values that guide my life. 

Some of my core values are:
  • Faith first. Matthew 6:33 "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness" has long been a guiding verse for me. 
  • Doing flows out of being. Who I am guides what I do. You see this principle laid out in many of Paul's letters in the Bible. He gives a doctrinal foundation of who we are in Christ before he goes into instructions on how we are to live.
  • Wholeness is the goal - seeking health in spirit, mind, body, emotions (Luke 10:27). Over the past few years I have used each of these areas as a guide to set my intentions.
  • Authenticity. I highly value honesty and being real. I want the outside to match the inside. It may not always be pretty, but it is character shaping.
  • Life long learning. Especially in the pursuit of spiritual formation, but other areas too. I am always curious!
So, then, each year when I have chosen a word through reflection and prayer, I set intentions for my word to be lived out through the year using my values as a guideline. I shared my mind map for my word a few weeks ago.


In keeping with the theme of my word, fruit, I used agricultural words to head each of my areas of focus. And my areas of focus are divided into the four areas of life that make us whole beings. 

Spiritual: This is a big focus for me this year. Since fruit is not something we can produce ourselves, my desire is to focus on being more dependent on the Holy Spirit. It is He who produces the fruit of Christ in our lives. I continually battle my stubborn, independent, I-can-do-it-myself personality, so I need to continually be intentional about leaning into and living by the Spirit. 


Mind: For me, much of soul care is about the continual effort of training the mind, thoughts, and heart to the mind of Christ. Last year I made great strides in overcoming my doubt that I could memorize Scripture passages and am going to expand in that practice this year. Other spiritual practices such as prayer, journal writing, and reading help train my heart and mind as well.


Body: I really just added this category over the past few years as I have learned more about the body being an active part of our spiritual life. So areas of healthier eating and building exercise habits can help me grow healthier and stronger physically, and, I believe, aid the other areas as well. 


Finally emotions: Emotional and mental energy are so important to me. The more I understand my personality and being an introvert, the more I have learned to make time for self-care - the things that restore my energy and help me have a healthy outlook.


From here, setting intentions that are driven by my values, I can then go on and develop goals - action steps that will help me live out these intentions. Things such as reviewing my daily schedule and rearranging things or removing things to make time for walking at the park, which actually helps me build my exercise habit and has the added benefit of being out in nature, which I have learned is something that helps my emotional and mental outlook. I can now go through each area of focus and spend time planning steps that will help me live out my intentions and see healthy fruit produced as a result of following the Spirit's leading in each area.

Here are some questions that show the process in a nutshell:

Your values help determine your why: What are the values that guide your life? 


What are your hopes for your word this year? 

Intentions help determine your how: What intentions would help you live out your word in a manner that help you be who you want to be? Do they align with your values?


Goals help determine your what: What goals will help you move toward your intentions?


Valerie Sjodin will be also have a post today about intentions on her blog: valeriesjodin.com 

Living Your Word 2020 Opportunity!
My friends Bernice Hopper, and Valerie Sjodin, and I share insights through blog posts for creatively living a word of the year. In our Facebook group, we encourage one another by posting questions and prompts to inspire living out a word focus, keeping a journal etc. It is a safe place to ask for prayer and support. If you would like to connect with others in creative ways about living your word, you can ask to join our Living Your Word of the Year 2020 by clicking on the link below.

Hashtag for Instagram:  #livingyourword2020
Check out their blogs:




Friday, January 17, 2020

Using A Mind Map With My Word


Using a Mind Map With My Word

The challenge with using a word to guide you through the year is how to keep that word present throughout the whole year. We all start strong in January when everyone's focus is on fresh starts and setting goals, but the energy and motivation can often start to fizzle a early as February. This is where our Living Your Word of the Year group comes in. We share ways to engage with and practice your word of the year all year long.

So far I have looked at how I chose my word for the year and about my journal here. Last week I shared a video and a worksheet on how to do a word study in the Bible for your word, as did Valerie Sjodin. Bernice Hopper shared last week about how her word of the year changed to a new word. Information about joining our group can be found at the bottom of this post. 

This week we are focusing on using a Mind Map with your word. A Mind Map is a way of visually brainstorming. I am a visual person so it often helps me to use a Mind Map when I am trying to get clarity or to organize my thoughts. At litemind.com they describe a Mind Map like this:
"A Mind Map is a visual tool that helps structure information. A graphical way to represent ideas and concepts."
I used a Mind Map to organize and visualize how I want to live out my word this year. My word is fruit and I've decided to use an agricultural metaphor with my word this year, much like Scripture does. So I researched some verbs that are agricultural and have set up my intentions based on these words. By the way, I will be talking about the difference between goals and intentions in the next few weeks.


Another way I'll use a Mind Map is to try to sort through and organize things I am studying. Here is one I did for Galatians 5:22-23, where my word for the year, fruit, is found. I found some great articles and grammatical information and I was trying to sort it all out in my head. Mapping it out really helped as it gave me a visual.






I don't think there is a right way or a wrong way to do Mind Maps, but I do think they are a great tool!

Living Your Word 2020 Opportunity!
My friends Bernice Hopper, and Valerie Sjodin, and I share insights through blog posts for creatively living a word of the year. In our Facebook group, we encourage one another by posting questions and prompts to inspire living out a word focus, keeping a journal etc. It is a safe place to ask for prayer and support. If you would like to connect with others in creative ways about living your word, you can ask to join our Living Your Word of the Year 2020 by clicking on the link below.

Hashtag for Instagram:  #livingyourword2020

Check out their blogs:

Friday, January 10, 2020

Using A Word Study To Connect With Your Word


This month in our Living Your Word group we are exploring some of the ways we can get to know more about the word we have selected for the year. One of the first things I do once I know what my word will be is to do a word study to see the extent of how my word is used in the Bible. 

I enjoy doing Bible word studies and have included them in my Bible Study Tools classes over the years. When connected with my word of the year, a word study can often help me further set my intentions for my word.  When I spend time studying the verses and passages that I find through the word study, and combine that with prayer, I often gain direction from God for how He wants this word to be lived out in my life.

So, let's get into how I do a word study. I have two tools to help. First is a worksheet that will give you all my steps to dig deeper into the understanding of your word using online Bible study tools. You can download the worksheet here.

When I teach how to do a word study in a class or Bible study group, the most asked questions have  to do with how to use the actual websites. So I made a brief video walking through the main websites I use.





After I have completed my initial word study, I will then spend time throughout the year studying the verses in greater context. Expanding my studies to dig into the passages and books that contain the verses helps me dig deeper into a fuller meaning of the Biblical use of my word. It also helps me dig deeper into God's use of that word in my own life.

I hope you will grow to love word studies as much as I do! Please feel free to ask questions in the comment section below, in our Living Your Word Facebook group (link below), or feel free to email me marybrack@gmail.com. 

You can also check out Valerie Sjodin's blog post today which will feature tips on how she does a word study. The link to Valerie's website is below.

If you are using a word of the year and would like to have a place where you can get ideas, have conversations, and share your journal, join us in the Living Your Word of the Year Facebook group. We post tips, tutorials, or reflection questions each week.

Living Your Word 2020 Opportunity!

My friends Bernice Hopper, and Valerie Sjodin, and I share insights through blog posts for creatively living a word of the year. In our Facebook group, we encourage one another by posting questions and prompts to inspire living out a word focus, keeping a journal etc. It is a safe place to ask for prayer and support. If you would like to connect with others in creative ways about living your word, you can ask to join our Living Your Word of the Year 2020 by clicking on the link below.

Hashtag for Instagram:  #livingyourword2020
Check out their blogs: