Saturday, December 30, 2017

2018 Everyday Journal Set-up

I announced this past week (here) that I am co-leading a group with my friends Bernice and Valerie about using an Everyday Journal. After some great discussion in our Facebook group about how we are going to use our journals, I thought I would share my journal set-up and how intend to use it - or rather, them, as I have two! I started using a Traveler's Notebook last year and I am hooked! So in addition to using one for my calendar and life and work/ministry planning, I am also going to use one for my creative life this year.

The Traveler's Notebook system was designed by Midori in Japan and is composed of using a variety of inserts held in place by elastic bands that are attached to the spine of the notebook. I am using the standard size which has inserts that are 4.24 x 8.25". My current set-up in my Everyday Journal has 3 inserts - one with blank stationary paper where I am keeping track of notes and ideas for my art journaling. I ALWAYS need an insert for dumping notes and ideas in. Sometimes they spark like fireworks in my head and I just have to get them down on paper for future reference.

The other two inserts in my Everyday Journal are made with a heavy sketch paper. It's about the weigh of cardstock. I have a third which is the one I am working in currently. This is another feature I like about the Traveler's Notebook - you can take the inserts out which makes it easier to do art in.

Here is my plan for my Everyday Journal:
  • I like blank pages because I don't like to plan too far ahead. I do art as the mood strikes and I don't want to be hemmed in with pre-printed and ordered pages. I use the sketch paper insert or, sometimes, a watercolor paper insert because I don't like white pages. Although I am drawn to the pages with white backgrounds I see on Instagram and Pinterest, in the end I usually cover my pages with painted paper or ephemera, so I need the heavier weigh paper to hold it all.
  • I am going to do a hodge-podge of thing in my Everyday Journal: art journaling, memory keeping, nature journal, travel journal, commonplace book. I am going to keep notes and progress on my word for the year (flow), notes about spiritual formation and soul care, Bible study notes, quotes from books I'm reading, etc. What you won't find in my Everyday Journal is a calendar. That is what my other Traveler's Notebook is for. More on that later.
  • It will be eclectic in style. As I've said before, I have creative ADHD. I like a variety of creative mediums and I go with the flow! In it you will see: lettering, art journaling, mixed media art, lists, collage, paint, photography, and on and on. 
That's pretty much how I will use my Everyday Journal. Not too structured - I save that for the other journal. In my other Traveler's Notebook I have four inserts: a monthly calendar insert.

A commonplace insert where I write down notes from various places - things that are significant and that I don't want to forget.

Then I have an insert for details. I keep track of what needs to go on our church website, my blog, details for my Etsy shop, etc. I have these great little stick on, writable tabs that I found at the office supply store. They keep my notebooks organized!

And finally I have the workhorse insert. This is an insert with a page spread per week where I jot down the details of what needs to get done each week. This is mainly for my job/ministry. This insert has taken the place of all the post-it notes I used to keep so I wouldn't forget things!

That's my set-up for life and work. It's highly organized and helps me juggle all of the balls I have up in the air in my busy ministry job. My two notebooks are a contrast of my personality! I am an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs Type. In my work world I function quite a bit out of the J (judging) - I like things orderly and structured. I like that at home also but because I am an Introvert and I work in a people heavy job, I restore my energy with things like art, where I can be creative and by myself. And I have found over the years that when I play I don't want to be as structured - although quite a bit of structure still exists by my nature! 

Later in the week I will post about my word for 2018 and my intentions with it.

Here are some of the products I use:

I get my calendar inserts and some other inserts from Yellow Paper House on Etsy.  Other products can be found on Amazon:

A note about Amazon links on my blog:

I am giving Amazon affiliation a try, which means I receive a small percentage off slals made through clicking on the Amazon links found on my blog. There is no additional cost to you.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the New Year

This week I am slowing down. Intentionally. This past month did not go as planned, with my hopes of slowing down and enjoying the Advent season with an art challenge. Too much life got in the way. But now we are past Advent, school is out for a few weeks, and my job at the church is on a sabbatical for a week. So I begin my annual habit of looking back over the past year. 

This practice for me over the past few years has produced an important motto for my life: Looking back in order to move forward. I try to make it a habit every few months to re-read my journals for the year and look for patterns of growth and areas that may require attention. This practice keeps me aware, and awareness is key for spiritual formation. We need to stay aware of the condition of our heart, mind and soul in order to be open to God's shaping work in our lives. 

A month ago I wrote this post about how I was going to use a phrase, Sacred Time, for my word for the year in 2018. I intend to follow the church calendar in 2018 and study it's history and theology. I want to join the flow of the church calendar from Advent through Pentecost. And so I thought my word for the year was settled. But as I began re-reading my journals from the past year a word kept popping up. It grew out of the workings of God in my life over this past year. It grew out of a deeper awareness of the Spirit's role in my life through my church's journey through the book of Galatians in the first half of the year.

I treasure this week of the year between Christmas and New Year's Day. The time of the year that author Shelly Miller calls "the Sabbath margin - a sacred stretch of time between what was and what is yet to be". I enjoy looking back over the past year and looking ahead to the freshness the new year. So, as I was doing this over the past few days my word for the year was revealed: flow. My intention now is to live with this word, flow, through the year in the midst of the theme of Sacred Time as I journey with the church calendar. And I intend to do all of this in community ~  here on my blog, on Instagram, and in a new group that has formed on Facebook called Everyday Journals - Living Your Word for the Year. I'm joining my friends Bernice Hopper and Valerie Sjodin this year on an adventure in using an Everyday Journal with my word for the year and everything else! I'm using a Traveler's Notebook again this year and plan to fill it with a variety of art mediums - a little bit art journal/bullet journal/planner/travel journal/memory keeper/nature journal, etc.

Below is a bit of information about the new Facebook group.

Do you choose a word for the year? Or does it choose you? When we ask God for a word for the year he gives us something that he wants us to work on, to include more of during the year? Do you know what your word for 2018 is yet?

Have you tried planners, bullet journals and diaries and found they don’t suit your lifestyle? Do you want a simple, completely personalized, no pressure way of journal keeping? Do you have lots of scraps of papers with your ideas written down but often lost in the detritus on your desk? Or do you file all your thoughts in your head and become overwhelmed with all the ideas and no place to flesh them out?

Would you like a more creative way to organize your word, your ideas, thoughts, prayers, events, or your projects all in one place? Let us introduce you to an Everyday Calendar Journal.

Through 2018, Valerie Sjodin, Bernice Hopper, and Mary Brack will be sharing insights through blog posts for keeping an Everyday Calendar Journal. We will be using the journal to record events, experiences and relationships; to explore our word’s meaning in visual and fun ways. It is our hope that you will make your journal your own, personalizing it to make it a beautifully useful and valuable tool.

Join us in our private Facebook group to find encouragement and support as we journal through 2018.

We are using the following hashtags: #livingyourword2018 and #everydayjournals2018.

Join us!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Our Advent journey is done. Today we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! May you know His Presence and His blessings to day and in the year ahead. May Christ be alive in your heart and in your life in fresh and new ways in the coming year. 

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Advent Day 22 ~ Love

Today's word is Love.

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
1 John 4:9-10

I should have included verse 8 when I set up the daily Scripture readings because verse 8 gives us our foundation: "God is love." 

Love is not simply a characteristic of God or somethings He does. Love is who God is. It is His very nature and being, just as holiness is. God is holy and God is love. All that He is and all that He does is holy and loving. His most holy and loving act was in the Incarnation. He sent His Son into the world for us as the ultimate act love. We did nothing to earn or gain this loving act. In fact, the Bible tells us that there is nothing we can do, no act worthy of gaining God's love. Why? Because of sin. Sin entered this world through the act of man in the beginning and separated us from God's favor. But God had a plan to restore His favor on us. Paul says it this way in the book of Romans:

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:6-8

And again Paul describes it  in the book of Titus:

"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life."
Titus 3:4-7

We were powerless to earn His love. We did nothing. We were separated from God because of sin; yet this did not stop a loving God from repairing the breach that stood between us. "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." ~ 1 John 4:10

This is love ~ the Incarnation. God sent his one and only Son into the world.
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine,
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
~Poem by Christina Rossetti, 1885

Advent is a celebration of waiting and preparing for the love God sent into the world in the birth of His Son and our Savior at Christmas. 

Officially, Advent ends today on Christmas Eve, yet I'll post one last time tomorrow. Today, however, I want to thank all of you for joining me this year on this Advent journey. It has been great fun interacting with everyone through Instagram and the FaceBook group. It has been a thrill for me to share the art and creativity of those who joined in! As I said in the beginning, I am going to study the Christian calendar in 2018 and Advent is actually the beginning of the Christian year. So I invite you to stick around as I explore the "Sacred Time" known as the Christian Year. 

My art journal pages for today:

I have one page left for tomorrow, Christmas day, but other than that my journal is complete!

The Advent Words 2017 prompts and Scripture reading calendar can be found in this post or in the Facebook group.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Advent Day 21 ~ Glory

Today's word is glory.

"The sun will no more be your light by day,
    nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
    and your God will be your glory."
Isaiah 60:19

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
John 1:14

God is our glory! We see God's glory most brilliantly in His Son, Jesus Christ. The Incaration -God with us - reveals God to us.

Glory to God in the highest
Glory to God evermore
Good news, great joy for all
Melody breaks through the silence
Christ, the Savior is born!
Jesus, the love song of God!
Christ Tomlin - Midnight Clear (Love Song)

My art journal pages for today:

This is the last Saturday in Advent and I wanted to make sure art was highlighted for everyone who participated. If you posted art in the FaceBook group or on Instagram using #adventwords2017 and I did not post your art, I apologize for the oversight and ask you to email me or message me on IG or FB. Previous posts that highlighted art from the group were Advent Day 7 and Advent Day 14.

More art from group participants:
Autumn Clark has been lettering her Advent pages. Find Autumn on Instagram @sewpaperpaint.

Christina Farnell Post wrote that she has been loving the opportunity to meditate on Scripture during Advent.

Fiona Kennedy is keeping it simple to make art and manage her time through Advent.

Merri Dennis is doing paper collage in her Advent art journal. Find Merri on Instagram @merridennis.

Pamm Moore-Haley is filling her Advent art pages with painted backgrounds and lettering the Scriptures.

Robin Jeree is doing mixed media art for her Advent pages. Find Robin on Instagram @robinjeree.

Robin Laroue Nichols-Meshelle is mixing art journaling and images on her Advent art pages. Find Robin on Instagram @cajuarobin.

Susan Nickolson is lettering and drawing on her pages as she reflects on the Scripture passages.

Victoria Guyadeen is mixing photography and digital art for her Advent art.

I have been so amazed and impressed by the wide range of creativity and talent in the group that has participated in the Advent art challenge. It has inspired me so much to see your art on Instagram and in the Facebook group! 

The Advent Words 2017 prompts and Scripture reading calendar can be found in this post or in the Facebook group.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Advent Day 20 ~ Messiah

Today's word is Messiah.

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn." 
Isaiah 61:1-2

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
John 20:31

In Isaiah 61:1-2, the prophet Isaiah speaks of the Messiah that is to come. In Hebrew the word Messiah means "anointed one". This word is not used of items, but specifically of a person. In Greek, this same word is translated "Christos" - Messiah, anointed one, Christ.

Isaiah says of the Messiah that the Lord has anointed Him and sent Him. To anoint someone is to set them apart for special service for God, and through that anointing of the Lord that person receives empowerment for that service. Thus Isaiah says, "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on" the Messiah. The Messiah is filled with the Spirit, enabled and sent specifically to:
  • Proclaim good news
  • Bind up the brokenhearted
  • Proclaim freedom for the captive
  • Release from darkness
  • Proclaim the year of the Lord's favor
  • Comfort all who mourn
Early in His earthly ministry Jesus will stand in the synagogue, read these words written by Isaiah, and announce that He is the One who fulfills these scriptures - He is the Messiah. (Luke 4:16-21)

Chris Tomlin, in his song "He Shall Reign Forevermore", captures the significance of the Messiah's arrival at Christmas"

Here within a manger lies
The One who made the starry skies
This baby born for sacrifice
Christ the Messiah

Into our hopes, into our fears
The Savior of the world appears
The promise of eternal years
Christ the Messiah

At Christmas we celebrate the arrival of the long-awaited Messiah - The Savior!

My art journal pages for today:

The Advent Words 2017 prompts and Scripture reading calendar can be found in this post or in the Facebook group.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Advent Day 19 ~ Word

Today's word is Word.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind."
John 1:1-4

More than the Christmas story told in Matthew and Luke's gospels, my favorite Christmas passage is John's prologue in John 1:1-18. In this section of his gospel John shows us Christ incarnate - God in flesh. In these first four verses John reveals so much truth about who Jesus is. He is God, the Word, Creator, life, and the light of all mankind.

I stumbled on the blog of pastor Tim Deatrick ( I like how he describes the incarnation:

"The eternal, pre-existent Christ stepped out of the splendor of heaven, limited His glory, and became like us. During His brief time on earth, Jesus revealed God to us. His claim was, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father” (John 14:7-11). He was the “icon” of God, revealing God to each of us. He helped us know who God is and what He is like.

Not only did Jesus reveal God, He also communicated God to us. John’s gospel account begins with this affirmation, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God” (John 1:1). What is a “word,” other than a means of communication. Jesus was God’s megaphone to the world that He had and continues to have something to say to creation.

Finally, Jesus came expressing the nearness of God’s presence. One of the names of Jesus ascribed through his advent was Emmanuel, meaning “God is with us” (Matthew 1:23). He tangibly represented the presence of God in the world, and did so through his words and deeds."

Jesus reveals God to us...

"The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word."
Hebrews 1:3

My art journal pages for today:

The Advent Words 2017 prompts and Scripture reading calendar can be found in this post or in the Facebook group.