Saturday, January 19, 2013

OLW Journey to Gratitude

This year I want to be more intentional about putting into practice habits and goals that will enable my word for the year to result in a renewed mind and heart.  I want my life to be shaped by gratitude. I want to become more positive and more loving. I want my thoughts to be prompted by grace first, rather than criticism or cynicism ~ as embarrassing as that is to admit. I want to become even more aware of myself and how I am wired in order to prevent the "slow drift" from happening again and again.

I have selected a passage of scripture to go along with my word and journey for this year:

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This passage speaks to me of making the choice to rejoice, to pray and to give thanks. That I need to be intentional about doing things that will focus my mind and heart on God's ways and that the mindset shift I desire will result out of those choices and practices. In addition, the "for" is very important here because it points to a higher purpose than just my attitude or my heart condition ~ choosing to to do these things and make them a way of life and the focus of my heart and mind is God's will for His people. Here is an answer to the "What is God's will for my life?" questions! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

One Word for 2013

Over the years I have selected a word at the beginning of the year as a word to guide my thoughts and goals for the year. I spend time praying about it. I look over my journals for the past year looking for where God may be pressing in on me, areas that need attention, areas in my life that are ready for more spiritual transformation. So, this year my word is...

It's so easy in life to drift, to slowly allow things to effect us in ways that eventually change us, whether we're aware of it or not. For me, I've battled over the past few years with drifting into negative thinking. I don't know exactly how it happened or when it began. I think there's been a thread of it within me all my life, but recently I've noticed that it's become more dominant. I think in part it's a dark side to my nature. I'm a visionary thinker. I see pictures of how things in life should be. I get pretty passionate about affecting change, especially in my job in the church. Reality often is far from the vision of how things should be and it's often very hard being instruments for change. These battles tend to make me weary, and when I am weary I'm not as good at balancing my attitudes. I've been weary for a number of years and this is where I believe the drift toward a negative outlook has crept in. I have not enjoyed noticing this drift. I've always had a fairly positive outlook, even through many years in my life of facing difficult life situations and trials. It has been a tough battle for me over the past few years to try to figure out how to change this attitude/perspective drift. It has been a constant part of my prayer life and I've spent a lot of time looking at this with my pastor/mentor over the past few years. Some of the practices I've made a part of my life have come about as ways to try to keep the weariness at bay, as I have become aware of how much the weariness/burn-out tendencies feed this negative outlook. Practices such as art journaling, making "white space" in my week, self-discovery, balancing my schedule, and doing things that re-energize me on a regular basis help keep me from drifting into weariness.

Then a few months ago I started noticing that many times in Scripture prayer and thanksgiving are connected. For example: 
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
And this study led me to looking at making gratitude a practice. This practice of gratitude and its effects on changing my perspective is what I intend to explore throughout the year.

As a way of keeping me focused and on track through the year, I have joined Ali Edward's group/class "One Little Word". It is more scrapbook based, which I'm not into, so I have made a journal to art journal my journey with this word. Ali's first challenge for the month of January was to create a list of 12 intentions that fit our word to use as guidelines through the year. It was a good practice for focusing in on areas to concentrate on for the be intentional in creating a journey for growth.

The start of my Gratitude Journal ~ an altered book, of course!

First page.
The quote from Ali Edwards reads:
"A single word can be a powerful thing. It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything."

Gratitude definition and synonyms

My intentions for making gratitude a way of life.

The first few weeks of this month/year have started out very busy ~ hosted a baby shower, finishing and presenting the church budget, some draining issues to work through with some people ~ I'm ready to get back on track. Ready to re-connect with the very practices I spoke of above! 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Advent Journal

This year I did something a little different for my Advent art journal. I participated in Mandy Steward's Advent project which gave us 25 words to randomly select from and then journal about. Some completed pages:
4. Envision

5. Permit

6. Play

7, Eliminate

8. Invite

9 Read

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Reverb 12 Continued

More pages from my Reverb 12 Art Journal book. Getting caught up!
Day 17 side 1 ~ What was the bravest thing you did this year?
Day 17 side 2 
Day 18 ~ Did you visit any place that holds special meaning to you in 2012?
Day  21 ~ Do you remember any of your  goals and resolutions for 2012?
Day 22 ~ What was your most memorable trip in 2012?
Day 26 ~ How did you celebrate your birthday in 2012?
More to come. Working on finishing my two December projects and then start new for the new year!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year Odds & Ends

There's nothing more refreshing  than a week off with no agenda. I don't think I'm ready to get back into the swing of everyday life. But, it does begin tomorrow.

Friday I met my sister in Ann Arbor and we spent the day hanging out together and shopping. We poked around a few of our favorite shops such as Found (an awesome vintage shop) and Hollanders, a paper and bookbinding store. Then we went to an antique/thrift store and I found some great book finds. I got a huge U.S. Atlas book for $2.00! My Sis also brought me my dad's high school and college yearbooks that have been collecting dust (and mildew) in her basement. I'm going to take out the pages he is on and save them but use the rest of the books for art journal backgrounds.

We ate lunch near a Barnes & Noble bookstore so we popped in and look what I found on the newsstand a few days early!
It was very exciting seeing a magazine I am in on the newsstand. You can see it peeking out in the top row. I pulled this one out to purchase and photograph. My sister wanted to pull all of them out and spread them across the front row!
One of the bonuses I didn't anticipate from being published is an opportunity to build community with other artists. So far I have connected with two of the other artists in the magazine and love their work.
Kathy Zbrzezny
Mary Freeman
More Reverb 12 pages:
Day 10  side 1~ 10 things you were thankful for in 2012. 
Day 10 side 2

More art pages to come tomorrow. Happy New Year to everyone!