Monday, March 28, 2016


Found on Brighton Vintage

For as long as I can remember I have always had a love for vintage – historic architecture, antique and vintage decorating, and now incorporating vintage into my art by making altered book art journals and using ephemera and vintage office supplies. It has long been a favorite pastime for my sister and me to drive through historic districts, take detours just to drive by an old house, and, of course, we have always combed antique stores, thrift stores and flea markets – and now our daughters enjoy it too! I have always used vintage items in my home decorating and renovating. For me, half of the fun is the thrill of the hunt! I’ll get an idea of an item or style I want and will hunt and hunt until I find it at a price I’m willing to spend, because I’m thrifty and budget conscious also. 

Back in the day we called vintage “country” or “primitive”. Now it’s shabby chic, urban or modern farmhouse, rustic, industrial, or flea market style. The latest revival of these styles combined with the trend for re-purposing, reusing and altering vintage items, I find my love of the hunt and collecting has been reignited. But what can one person do with all the bargains one might find? I only have room for so much and have really reduced the clutter over the years to a simpler style. But the thrill of the hunt remains! So I have decided to add vintage items to my current Etsy store, Found on Brighton,  which sells altered book art journals and vintage paper packs and ephemera. I am also starting a group on Facebook – Found on Brighton Vintage – where I will share the vintage items I list in my Etsy shop as well as sell them directly from the group to those who live in my area. In addition to a place to showcase what I find and sell I have a desire to share vintage resources - other online vintage sellers, vintage markets and shops in the Michigan and Ohio area, ideas for how to use vintage items in decorating and art, and a way to connect with others who enjoy vintage. You can also find ideas for how to use vintage décor on my Vintage Décor Inspiration Pinterest board and how to incorporate vintage items in art journaling or mixed media on my Found on Brighton Ideas Pinterest board. 

My sister and I recently took a road trip to Charleston, SC to visit my daughter. We have dreamed of taking a road trip for close to 25 years but were never able to get past day trips or weekend trips due to the demands of life with kids and jobs. But now we find ourselves in a new season of life and our Charleston road trip sparked in us plans to visit flea markets and vintage markets and meet up for day trips and weekends pursuing our love of all things vintage. Our finds and reviews and sharing resources along the way will be another feature, both on my blog and in the Facebook group. And my husband will also be a part of our adventure from time to time as he likes to dabble in re-purposing furniture and other items occasionally. (He also likes vintage architecture, décor and especially classic – aka vintage- cars.) So if you enjoy things that are vintage in your home decorating or art why not join the Facebook group and join the conversation.

I just listed the first batch of vintage home decor items in my Etsy shop.!
Vintage enamelware.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Little Art Journaling 2016

I am so glad I decided to participate in Ali Edward's One Little Word group this year. Over the years that I have selected a word to focus on I have gone up and down in my experience with it. Some years engaging in activities with my word has resulted in that word having a significant impact on my life. Other years have been lackluster and my interaction with my word has been sporadic, and thus the impact has not been great. This year I find I am fully engaged and experiencing change in my life as a result of it. Now, I'm not going to say that choosing a word changes one's life, like there's something magic in the process. But I will say that the process of focusing on a word that you then connect activities and introspection to help you set yourself up for improvement and change. This month our challenge was to create a vision board connected to our word and goals and to do this by cutting out words and phrases from magazines. This project started out slow for me. I started leafing through magazines and tearing out pages with words and phrases that spoke to me, but as my stack of pages grew things just didn't seem to connect with my intentions for the year. I pressed on and started adding background papers to my canvas and then images from magazines. Then I started cutting out the words and phrases and playing around with them. I cut out many more than I actually used and in the process I discovered that it was a part of the process. As I shuffled words and phrases around things just started falling into place and the result was a vision board that really seems to fit where I'm at right now and where I want to go. (I wrote some about my word and why I chose it here.)

The thing lately that has really been challenging me is getting out of my comfort zone and challenging myself to change habits and get healthy in different areas of my life. 

My favorite magazine is Art Journaling by Somerset Studios. I look forward every month to its arrival in my mailbox and I save every issue and comb through them again and again to gather inspiration. So when I received the new issue in the mail this week the only thing out of the ordinary was that its arrival was a little early. When I opened the plastic envelope, however, is when I got the surprise.

I've had the thrill and honor to be published in this magazine twice now, but both of those times I knew about it in advance. This time it was a total surprise! They have a feature in each issue called "The Written Word" where they highlight different ways artists use hand lettering on their art journal pages. It was in this section that they used one of my pages from a previous issue. It's so exciting seeing something I made in a magazine and something I never would have imagined would happen to me.

Around here the birds are starting to sing in the mornings. We see Robins and red-winged blackbirds...all signs that Spring is just around the corner. Spring is my favorite season. Everything is fresh and new and each day brings changes to the scenery. Happy first day of Spring!

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Battle Within

I am both a passionate person and a person who gets discouraged easily. At times it is very difficult to live with both of these qualities within me at the same time. They war within me, battling to see which one can keep the forefront of my mind. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? But you know what, I think you resonate with what I'm saying. We all have a battle within us between who God made us to be and who we struggle with being in our human reality. This is the nature of sin. This is the fallen world. Last week the discouraged me won out. I had some let-downs and I was still worn-out from the flu. To make matters worse, I let that voice of discouragement within me leak into the visible, audible world. I put that discouragement and doubt and disappointment to words - out loud.,I sometimes wonder if what I/we are doing in life and in ministry is worth it. I struggle sometimes with the loneliness that comes from people not getting involved in the world around them outside of their own family or their church friends. I struggle because when I read God's Word and see Jesus' examples I read and see a call to get outside of ourselves, outside of our comfort zones, and give ourselves away - radically and sacrificially to people who are not like us, to people who live in a world that is without God and without hope(Ephesians 2:12-13). And that's how I felt last week and that's how I ended up in discouragement; how I ended up in letting discouragement win out over the passion God has placed within me. And then yesterday God gave me a gift - He let me have some insight into the world He sees. 

I don't know why I haven't spoken much on this blog about the ministry work I am involved in. It is, after-all, my blog. And it dawned on me last night that I can write about whatever I want here. I may offend some, but then, hey, you the reader, can choose not to read it. You see, the purpose for me blogging is not for you the reader. (Sorry!) I blog because it is another creative outlet for me.. I blog because there is often a lot of things floating around up in my head and writing on my blog helps me formulate it all and make it cohesive. I blog for me. And so last night as I was pondering my day and my week I was struck with the thought that I want to blog about it.

I sat in church surrounded by a bunch of kids who I call my god-grandchildren, hugging them and loving on them. I looked around me and saw single moms and teachers and kids who all come to our church now because we stepped out of our comfort zone ten years ago and adopted a public school. They are a part of my family now because we heard God call us to get outside of ourselves and serve and love people who are different than us. I saw a young lady who is struggling with addiction and felt God compel me to tell her from Him that it is time for her to be free. And I did and we talked and hugged and cried together. I helped a young man with a homework project after church and shared my love for photography with him and taught him some things. When I took him home I saw one of the teens I haven't seen in a while and gave him a ride to his job. He shared how well he is doing in high school, being on the honor roll, doing well in his job, his plans for his life. I saw his mom who just got a part time job (I think her first) and has stopped drinking and is getting life together at last for both of them. All these things were a glimpse of God giving me encouragement that getting outside of yourself, beyond your own family, outside of your comfort zone is exactly what He has called His people to do - and it is worthwhile. God gave me a glimpse of the impact sacrificing and loving and serving has had on a group of moms and kids and school staff. He showed me that lives have been changed because we were obedient to His call and took the Kingdom of God to the world around us.

Jesus said:
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
If you call yourself a Christ-follower then this is your call: to follow the Jesus way, to embrace His truth and to live His life. How?
He also said: ",,and anyone who does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:38-39. Friends, we have to live as Jesus did, sacrificially giving our lives away for Him and for the sake of those who are far from Him. There is an economic principle at work in God's kingdom that doesn't make sense to those who don't follow God. When you give away your money, your time, yourself for God's work then He makes sure your family, your provision and your life are taken care of. So many people tell me they can't get involved in what God is calling us to because they have to take care of kids, homeschool, take care of people in the church family - It's all self-focused and self-centered. Sure we have to have things in place to take care of ourselves, our family and our church family, but that's not the end-run. God's ways are the end-run. When we do what God has called us to do then He provides what is needed to take care of His own. Step out of your comfort zone for God.

Because Jesus also said: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself." Mark 12:30-31
And He said: "As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35
How will "all people" know that we love one another and that we are Jesus' disciples if we never get outside of ourselves, our comfort zones, our families, our church family? How will they see it?

Well, that's the good, the bad, and the ugly of my life this weekend. I am so grateful that despite my struggle with discouragement and despite how often I fail at loving and forgiving those in my church family and in my biological family, that God graces me with a glimpse of how He is using my willingness to get outside myself to help Him impact and change the lives of others. I am blessed with His free gifts of love and grace.

If I have offended anyone reading my blog I apologize. It's my blog. If you don't like what I have to say then, by all means, close the screen. Don't read it. But if you are a Christ-follower then I ask you to read God's Word and pray about how He is calling you to give up your life, follow Him and His ways and get outside of your comfort zone. Serve the people around you who do not know Christ and allow Him to use YOU in their lives for God's glory.

And guess what? You'll see a lot more about ministry here in the future...along with art and photography, kids and birds.

Another gift this weekend was seeing an Eagle on my sunrise beach walk!

We had our staff retreat this weekend on Lake Erie. Saturday morning I went for a sunrise walk on the beach. Even though it was 33 degrees and brisk, the sky was clear and the sun was out and it was so refreshing! All photos in this post are from that walk.


Friday, March 11, 2016

My One Little Word 2016 ~ Rest

It's the middle of March already and I haven't really shared much about my word for 2016. Selecting a word to focus on has been a valued practice for me for a number of years now. Some years my word has really impacted my life and other years my word has just kind of been in the background not doing much. I made the decision that this year I would throw myself wholeheartedly into having this be a year where my word has a big impact on my life. This means I am taking my time and letting the prompts and exercises steep like a good cup of tea and I'm not being driven by the calendar.

Flip-side of my January divider page

A good quote to start the focus this year.

So, why did I choose REST as my word this year? There's a lot encompassed in this word for me. First, and foremost, it is about resting in God and trusting Him. I want to live wholeheartedly and that can only come as we walk in step with God and what He has for our lives. I'm resting in Him to focus on getting healthy this year - changing how I eat, exercising, looking at emotional and mental health, and keeping away from things and outlooks that cause burnout for me. This year I am intentionally slowing down in order to focus. In fact, I am focusing on four areas: spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. I'm setting goals in all of those areas. My focus this year is to try and change or add a new habit each month and then build on them for health. In January I focused on adding more servings of vegetables to our diet - I've gotten really creative with adding spinach to many dishes to increase the vegetable intake!

Definitions, synonyms and a Scripture verse to support my word.

There has been a lot happening surrounding my focus on Rest in the first few months of the year and it feels like a really good start.

February divider

Flip-side of Feb divider

My Intentions & Goals this year

Following along with Ali Edward's prompts and the OLW community help me stay focused and keep creative ~ creativity is one of my emotional ways of staying healthy! I highly recommend her class.

Tracking my February practice - eating more fruit
February begins the practice of Lent

Each year I embark on a journey, but this year the word "pilgrimage" seems to fit my direction better. A pilgrimage is a journey to a holy place ~ that holy place for me is called REST. What journey are you on this year?

New in my Etsy shop, {found on brighton}:

Have a good weekend. I am off to our staff retreat this evening and tomorrow.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sister's Road Trip ~ The Journal

The past week has been a miserable one around here. I was down for six days with the flu. I really hated losing a week of my life. The only things I felt up to, besides sleep, for most of that time was reading. Sunday my fever finally broke and with it there was finally a decrease in the body aches. So, I took advantage of that little bit of energy and finished up my travel journal from my recent vacation.

I really enjoy doing travel journals for my trips. While on the trip, thinking about how you want to capture memories helps you slow down and be more present to what you are experiencing. After the trip, it's like experiencing it all over again as you go through pictures and create your pages. Enjoy!