Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bird Sanctuary

We live about 35 minutes from one of the most incredible bird watching area's. Thousands of people come from all over the world each May to catch sight of the many varieties of birds that rest here on their migration journey before crossing Lake Erie. Since my mom moved here a few years ago we have made it a tradition to go to the bird sanctuary each spring. We go the week after bird week to avoid the major crowds. The bird sanctuary at Magee Marsh has a beautiful board walk that meanders under the tree canopy and is a great place for capturing photos of the birds. I have been eyeing a zoom lens for my camera for some time and this year my husband bought the lens for my birthday. It arrived just a few days before our bird watching adventure.

Besides birds, the other thing I thought of there was our theme this month in Take Me Deeper about self care and sanctuary. Being in nature is a place of sanctuary for me. Experiencing God's creation always connects me with His power and His majesty. And being in nature and walking with a camera in hand is definitely something that feeds my soul and brings me energy and joy.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Collage Therapy

There has not been much time for making art over the past ten days or so. The end of the school year has kept me very busy with the school our church has adopted. An exciting thing that happened last week was that our public school system held a meeting pulling their faith based partners together. We adopted a public school ten years ago and have long had a dream of seeing a church connected with each of the 40 elementary schools. Our new superintendent has been very open to this and we are now halfway to our goal. It was a great half-day event hearing the stories of the many different ways the partner churches are serving the schools. As much as I love networking and being at events such as this, as an introvert, I find that once the adrenaline wears off my energy just drains from my mind and my body and leaks out through my toes. The hard part about this past week was that after having events during the day each day, I then had events in the evenings. Not much time or energy left for creativity! 

I have had an idea floating around in my head for quite some time that I finally started putting to paper before this 10 day stretch of activity. So each day I tried to sit down for 10 or 15 or 30 minutes and do a little work on my page. I love collage and taking pieces of paper and making a design with them. I have taken magazine paper or painted papers and made sunburst designs to serve as backgrounds.

I even collaged circles inside a sunburst.

I have collaged strips of paper to fill a page or to simply make borders.

I have used pieces of paper to make objects, such as the nest on this page.

And of course I have collaged circles.

The idea that has been in my head for quite a while is to use paper to collage a mosaic or stained glass effect. So in the little bits of time this past week I cut small pieces of painted papers and glued them into a design...

And that became my page for this week's Take Me Deeper devotion.

Now, I realize that this may seem tedious and a lot of work for an art journal page background, but it is amazing to me how therapeutic cutting and gluing little pieces of paper can be. So throughout this busy stretch those bits of time were like being on an oasis during a long desert journey. Those bits of time each day would refresh me. Those bits of time in the evening combined with time in prayer and the Bible each morning restored the energy I need to keep the busy pace of a long stretch of high activity. And now that I finally got that idea out of my head, I'm quite pleased with it and looking forward to doing more. 

Last weekend the His Kingdom Come Foundation Team launched a collaborative class that we did together while on our retreat last month in Florida. The class is called The Zigzag Postcard Book and we each taught the others how to do a technique which then became five postcards and the basis for the book. I taught the other ladies how to do a paper collage sunburst - big surprise, huh?! Here are some glimpses of the book I put together. I used Psalm 51 as a theme for my book. What was really fun was how different all five books ended up.

If you would like to participate in the class you can pop over to the His Kingdom Come website. You will need to join the site, which is free, in order to sign up for the class. And while you're there consider joining our weekly devotion and faithart challenge, Take Me Deeper. We offer a weekly devotion with Bible study ideas and challenge our group to express what they read and studied through their favorite creative medium. Shameless plugs, I know!

Enjoy your holiday today!

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Creative Call Book Club ~ Week 1

On Monday the His Kingdom Come community began its first book club. We are reading The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer. Over the past 11 years our staff team at the church where I work had done regular book studies together.It has been a very formative time for us as a team and many of the books we have studied have helped form some of our values as a church. I have loved our book studies over the years and I wasn't sure how well it would work doing one in an online community. I am pleased to say that so far it has been a good experience.There are a lot of conversations going on in the book club chat page on the site. I'm also really enjoying the book. Last month I made a notebook to use for the book study, you can read about it here. I am using my notebook as a commonplace art journal where I can creatively record the quotes that are significant to me as I read.

Here are my selections from the introduction:

It's not too late to join us in the book club. Just visit the HKC site, join the site and join the book club.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

His Kingdom Come Book Club ~ The Creative Call

We are hosting our first book club in the His Kingdom Come community. Beginning tomorrow we will read The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer. We will read a chapter a week and share our thoughts and art for each chapter in a special book club group on the HKC website. If you are not already a member of HKC it is free to join the community and the book club.

In conjunction with the book club one of our members, Narda Poe, has created a coloring book of the Bible verses used at the beginning of each chapter.

The book comes in the form of a  downloadable PDF which means you can choose the type of paper you would like to print it on. It's available to purchase in the HKC shop for just $9.00. Color with crayons, colored pencils or even watercolor paints! It's well worth buying even if you're not doing the book club. And it's not too late to join the book club. 

A quote from the introduction:
"Our gifts are not from God to us, but from God through us to the world..."To whom much is given, from him much will be required.' (Luke 12:48) If God has given us the gift of creativity, 'much is required' in the way of our using it to his glory.

I'm really looking forward to art journaling through this book. Join us!

Friday, May 1, 2015


Do you ever experience times where information comes at you in multiple ways as though life were trying to give you a message? Times where it feels as though a billboard is repeatedly placed in the path of your journey at every turn? Over the many years I have been following Christ I have come to recognize these times - these billboard signs plopped down in my path - as ways God uses to try to get my attention to some message that He has deemed important and vital to my journey. You see, I am an independent, I-can-do-things-myself kind of a woman, and I trudge along thinking "I got this", when in reality I don't. And God must use billboards, repeatedly plopped down in my path, to get my attention so that I pay attention to what He is trying to tell me and to where He is trying to lead me. Is it any wonder that I deal with issues of burnout! Over the past few months God has been trying to get my attention.

So our Take Me Deeper theme for the month of May in the His Kingdom Come community is called Sanctuary. (This will all connect,I promise!) The content of this month's devotions are topics that have been ruminating in my heart and soul for the past few years in my journey of self-discovery and dealing with burnout. I have touched on many of these topics in my blog posts, as beginning this blog was one of the ways for me to formulate and organize my thoughts during this journey. Writing the devotions for May really helped me pull it all together in an organized manner. I tend to grasp at the many threads that float in my mind and the discipline of writing a month of themed devotions has become so beneficial for me in pulling all my loose threads together. The theme of Sanctuary is about finding the places in our lives where we experience refuge, rest and respite in God's presence and making habits of dwelling in our place of sanctuary so that we live holy and healthy lives - healthy emotionally, spiritually and physically. I have to admit, that for me, the physical part has taken longer for me to be convicted about. And in the month since I wrote those devotions I realize that I did not touch on that area much in those writings. It is in this area - physical health - that God has been placing billboards in my path. It is in my place of sanctuary and the times of dwelling in God's presence that the threads all come together.

The billboards:
  • This past fall I started looking at  my personality type in relationship to the issues that are brought about by stress and crisis-like circumstances. In the Myers-Briggs personality type world how you respond to stress and crisis-like circumstances is referred to as "in the grip". Being in the grip causes you to respond in manners that are not compatible with your personality type. In other words you may respond in a manner that  doesn't feel like you are being yourself. I read a few articles that helped me see this and that gave suggestions, based  on your personality type, for getting balance back. I read that INFJ's benefit from engaging in regular exercise and that it can be effective for regulating mood, quieting the mind and calming emotions. In addition, being outside and engaging your senses are also helpful in regulating mood and calming emotions.
  • About that time I also stumbled on a quote that is credited to Augustine: "Solvitur Ambuland = It is solved by walking."
  • This winter I began reading "How to Beat Burnout" by Minirth & Meier. They advocate making changes in the physical areas of one's life first. "Just feeling better physically often begins to change a person's burned out emotions and gives them the strength to begin other changes - physical, emotional, and spiritual."
  • Recently I picked up a book I had stopped reading, "Invitation to Solitude and Silence" by Ruth Haley Barton. She says that our "spiritual journey is taken in a physical body, and there is a very real connection between caring for our body and deepening our relationship with God." She goes on to say that, "Learning to rest into God in times of solitude begins with the body."
When I prayed about and chose my word for this year, renew, I know that one area of my life that needed to be renewed was my physical health. These different billboards are convincing me that the importance here is more than just simply losing some weight - that hasn't motivated me enough in the past. The importance is that physical health is beneficial to my emotional and spiritual health. Dealing with issues of burnout have made me look closely at the importance of my emotional health and energy. Much of what I have been reading indicates that good emotional health really benefits from good physical health. I have much to explore as I dig into Scripture and look at how God views our physical body in relationship to our spiritual life and growing in spiritual maturity. 

My first art journal page for May's theme:

I didn't post much last month, so here are my art journal pages from the last three weeks of April's theme, The Resurrection Life:

From Death to Life

Power For Living

Living Hope
We have quite a community growing at His Kingdom Come and it's great seeing how everyone expresses the devotions in so many different creative mediums. There is so much talent in this group! Check out our community at His Kingdom Come.