Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Living Your Word of the Year Letters U & V


In the Living Your Word of the Year group we have spent this past year working through the alphabet using the letters to pick words that support our word of the year. Four more letters left and we close the year and the decade. 

For U, I chose the word unfailing. To live a sacred life, I believe, means we need to have a strong connection with God's unfailing love. On this page I enjoyed clipping painted papers for a little collage.



For the letter V, I chose the word voice. For quite some time I have felt a strong connection with the call found in Proverbs 31:8-9, to be a voice for those whose voices tend to get drowned out by society - the poor, single moms, children -  the list could go on and on.



Wherever you live, I hope you are enjoying the change in season. I spent some time walking at the park yesterday. The sun was not out but everything glowed from the yellow and gold leaves on the trees. This is absolutely my favorite time of year. Despite the weather turning cold, there is just so much beauty to see as the leaves change color.





I am pulling together the word list for  Advent Words 2019. I will publish more details about the Advent Words project in the weeks ahead. 

May you take time to slow down and enjoy the beauty around you this week!


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

S & T for Living Your Word of the Year


As I contemplated what to do for my art journal pages for the letters S and T, I decided to just play with some of my favorite art techniques. I am still being plagued with this on-again, off-again creative slump I have been battling since March. So play seems to be the best remedy right now!

My word for S is Sabbath. No matter how busy life gets I try hard to protect Friday as my Sabbath day. It gets hard at times, especially when I am busy. This Sabbath discipline has been a much needed lifeline to rest, to re-energizing, and to staying connected to God over the years.

For my page I cut letters out of painted papers. It's such a relaxing activity!



For the letter T I chose the word thankful. And for my page I did some collage with squares of painted papers in a grid pattern. Another very relaxing activity!



There are only 6 more letters and then our A-Z challenge and 2019 will be over. I am currently one letter behind and hope to get caught up by the time the next letter appears on the calendar. This has been a fun way to keep my focus on my word of the year and my goals for it.

Join Our Inspirational Facebook Group: Living Your Word of the Year
Bernice Hopper, Valerie Sjodin and I facilitate a Facebook group about Living your Word of the Year. In it we share insights through blog posts and connect with other like-hearted and like-minded people who want to live out a word focus throughout the year. We offer participants a bi-weekly A-Z Inspiration to help prompt reflection and creativity. as well as other inspirational ways to connect with your word of the year. If you would like to connect with others in creative ways about living your word throughout the year, explore new ideas, record thoughts, prayers, and events, you are invited to join our Facebook group.

Please use #livingyourword2019 on social media.

Check out the other blogs:
Bernice: www.newlycreative.com
Valerie: 
www.valeriesjodin.com/blog


Saturday, September 21, 2019

R is for Restore


R is for Restore


And just like that, with the blink of an eye, it is the middle of September. School is back in session and this past week we welcomed the teachers back to the School Supply Pantry at our church for the first time this school year. This portion of our outreach ministry is truly a labor of love for me, and has become my passion and calling. The School Supply Pantry began in 2008  when we learned that the teachers at the school we had adopted purchased a good portion of the supplies for their students out of their personal finances. We then found out that this is an issue almost everywhere as schools face mounting budgets and have to make cuts to finances in order to continue to operate. So, as we began to pray for ways to serve the teachers and students of our adopted school, a supply pantry was the answer. Now, a little over 10 years later, our little pantry has grown to include six schools supported by seven churches. Through two unused classrooms in our church, we serve 217 teachers representing almost 2400 students, once a month through the school year. It is such an honor and a blessing to bless these teachers who pour out their hearts and souls to their students every day. Our city schools serve a large number of children living at or close to the poverty level. In this ministry we are able to at least relieve some of the burden the teachers face in meeting the needs of their students.




I hadn't planned on beginning my blog post this way, but I guess this is what has been on my heart and mind lately. Now on to our previously scheduled show....

In our Living Your Word group we are exploring our word of the year with an A-Z inspirational challenge. My word of the year is sacred, which I chose because I wanted to explore what it means and looks like for our bodies to be seen as an active part of our spiritual life - for the whole self to be on the journey of living a sacred life for Christ. My exploration of this topic has combined with exploring the impact of inflammation on my body and the role certain foods play in this. I suffer from two health issues that are auto-immune diseases and I would really like to avoid treating them with a list of medications with side effects longer than my arm! I have had Psoriasis my entire adult life and only learned in the past year that it is considered an auto-immune disease. I also have arthritis throughout my body that began giving me issues in my early 40's, and now has been deemed to be Psoriatic Arthritis. This whole year has been an exploration of changing my eating habits, and I have made some big changes! Some have had an impact on my health issues and some have not.

For my R word I chose the word restore. While I cannot undo all of the damage that eating in unhealthy ways and a lack of good exercise has done over the past five plus decades, I can begin to make choices that help restore my health and improve my body's functioning. My mind nor my will-power is slowing down, so I don't want my body to hinder the kind of life I want to live.

Throughout this journey I find that as I make healthier choices in the area of eating and exercise, it also impacts me in mental, emotional and spiritual ways. In other words, making better choices in one area leads to making better choices in all areas. Discipline is discipline, and when we grow in one area all areas benefit.

When asked which commandment was the most important one, Jesus answered:
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ " Mark 12:29-30
There it is, our whole self - heart, soul, mind and strength (body). All operating as God designed, to live as God has called us. And so, my prayer has been:





Join Our Inspirational Facebook Group: Living Your Word of the Year
Bernice Hopper, Valerie Sjodin and I facilitate a Facebook group about Living your Word of the Year. In it we share insights through blog posts and connect with other like-hearted and like-minded people who want to live out a word focus throughout the year. We offer participants a bi-weekly A-Z Inspiration to help prompt reflection and creativity. as well as other inspirational ways to connect with your word of the year. If you would like to connect with others in creative ways about living your word throughout the year, explore new ideas, record thoughts, prayers, and events, you are invited to join our Facebook group.

Please use #livingyourword2019 on social media.

Check out the other blogs:
Bernice: www.newlycreative.com
Valerie: 
www.valeriesjodin.com/blog

Friday, September 6, 2019

Q is for Quiet


Q is for Quiet

In our Living Your Word group we are exploring our word of the year with an A-Z inspirational challenge. For Q I chose the word quiet. I enjoy solitude and quiet, whether I'm in my studio room making art or doing Bible study or out walking in nature. Here in the Midwest we have been experiencing fall-like weather, cool nights and mornings with warm days. Without the heat of summer I have been drawn outside and last week I went to one of my favorite parks along the Maumee River. It felt so good to be outside walking with my camera, enjoying the quiet  of God's creation, interrupted only by the sounds of birds.
 






The picture is not very good because the bird was so far away, but I stopped along the trail when I heard a bird I did not recognize. So I spent time searching and listening until it made itself know. Cedar Waxwings!


There is a small lake off the trail. In the distance I could see Egrets and Cormorants sitting high up in the trees.




I stopped for a while and watched this young Downy Woodpecker eating berries and hopping around in this tree.



My Q page has one of my favorite verses. Isaiah 30:15.

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength."



Join Our Inspirational Facebook Group: Living Your Word of the Year
Bernice Hopper, Valerie Sjodin and I facilitate a Facebook group about Living your Word of the Year. In it we share insights through blog posts and connect with other like-hearted and like-minded people who want to live out a word focus throughout the year. We offer participants a bi-weekly A-Z Inspiration to help prompt reflection and creativity. as well as other inspirational ways to connect with your word of the year. If you would like to connect with others in creative ways about living your word throughout the year, explore new ideas, record thoughts, prayers, and events, you are invited to join our Facebook group.

Please use #livingyourword2019 on social media.

Check out the other blogs:
Bernice: www.newlycreative.com
Valerie: 
www.valeriesjodin.com/blog


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

P is for Prayer, Philippians and Preaching


This summer I ended up taking some unplanned sabbatical time in a few areas of my life. This blog ended up being one of those areas. It was unintentional, as were the other areas I took a break from, but all of them were good. As summer draws to a close and school starts, I find I have a good energy.


This year has been a year of ups and downs creatively, and it feels like there is change on the horizon. The problem is that I don't know what it looks like yet. What I do know is I simply need to be patient and trust in God. He will lead me and reveal what is ahead in His perfect timing.

Taking these unintended sabbaticals freed up time for a few things I had not planned on and ended up enjoying. All summer I have met weekly with a friend who wants to learn inductive style Bible study in order to lead women's studies in this manner. It's been quite a while since I have taught Bible study skills and I have been reminded of how much I enjoy teaching these skills to others. That may be a part of the change that is coming. I'm thinking about ways to incorporate some of these Bible study lessons in my blogging.


Our Living Your Word Facebook group is doing an A-Z Inspirational Challenge this year as a way to stay connected with our word for the year. My word for 2019 is sacred. Throughout this year I am exploring what it means to live a sacred life as God calls us to in His Word.

For N I chose nature, as any time spent outside enjoying what God has created always nurtures my soul.


For O I chose obedience and then came across a quote that Kathy Shaull had posted on Instagram. It fit this word perfectly!




For the letter P I selected prayer. There has been a passage in the book of Philippians that I have been memorizing and studying over the past six months. After I made this page for P I realized I had used the same passage on my J page back in early June. But then I have been on a journey with it so it makes sense that it would continually pop up!


 Immersing myself in memorizing and studying this Philippians passage opened up an opportunity for me to share my journey this past Sunday at my church. We are in a series on prayer and my pastor gave me the privilege of preaching through this passage and sharing about the experience of memorizing it and how that has changed my prayer life. If you are interested you can listen to me here.

I have had a few adventures over the summer, but those will wait for another post. My sabbaticals are over and school began this week. This school year is the start of my 14th year leading our church's ministry in adopting a public school. My passion for this ministry has not waned. There have been seasons of burn-out over that time, but my passion for it has increased. Last year we added the high school in our neighborhood to our ministry and this year we increase the number of schools that are served through our school supply pantry to seven. God has taken what a few churches began and He has created a  movement in this city of churches adopting public schools and serving the community with His love. We ended last school year with 33 of our 53 public schools having church partners. I am so blessed to be a part of it!

So, as I end my sabbatical from blogging and look ahead at how it may change in the coming months, I welcome feedback in the comment section below from those of you who have followed this blog. Would the addition of Bible study tool/skills posts be a benefit to you? If so, what are some skills you would be interested in reading/learning more about? 


Join Our Inspirational Facebook Group: Living Your Word of the Year
Bernice Hopper, Valerie Sjodin and I facilitate a Facebook group about Living your Word of the Year. In it we share insights through blog posts and connect with other like-hearted and like-minded people who want to live out a word focus throughout the year. We offer participants a bi-weekly A-Z Inspiration to help prompt reflection and creativity. as well as other inspirational ways to connect with your word of the year. If you would like to connect with others in creative ways about living your word throughout the year, explore new ideas, record thoughts, prayers, and events, you are invited to join our Facebook group.

Please use #livingyourword2019 on social media.

Check out the other blogs:
Bernice: www.newlycreative.com
Valerie: www.valeriesjodin.com/blog



Thursday, July 4, 2019

July Art Journaling


Happy 4th of July ~ Independence Day!

Other than the heat, which I don't like, I love July. This is my slow-down month of the year. The church I work at intentionally leaves the calendar very light in July and we, the staff, keep our projects limited as well. And lo and behold, I am already beginning to feel refreshed! 

The hubby and I are taking off tomorrow for a long weekend in Michigan. We are just going to meander. There are 33 Frank Lloyd Wright houses in the state, with 12 of them in a 60 mile radius in the Lansing/Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo area. So we have booked a little Airbnb apartment in a secluded area and we will do some driving tours of the houses, hit some flea markets, shops and parks along the way. We'll visit with some family, and on Sunday
 tour the Meyer May House in Grand Rapids. A leisurely weekend away.

It seems my creative juices have finally been refreshed this past week as well. I am finally feeling like ideas are coming into my mind more frequently and with some energy! Here is what I am working on and playing with in the month of July:

My M word for my word of the year and our Living Your Word A-Z challenge is "Make". I'm not a fan of the term, "find some time to...". If we want time to be creative or read or garden or whatever it is we want to do, we need to make the time. We need to be intentional about carving out time for rest and hobbies and self-care. Yes, there are seasons of life when this is more difficult, but overall it tends to come down to making choices with how we spend out time. And I am intentional about making sure I make time for the things that feed my soul and the things that refresh my heart and mind. So make is my word right now.



I'm participating in Elyssa Nalani's Scripture writing community called Club 119. We are working through Psalm 119, writing out the Scripture passages and adding creative elements. I'm enjoying digging into this familiar Psalm once again. I'm using a Fabriano notebook with grid paper for my journal.




(I ended up getting my s backwards! I decided to leave it be.)

First stanza, vs 1-8


Second stanza, vs 9-16

I'm also participating in a junk journaling challenge on Instagram called Junk Journal July. It has some great prompts for quick pages. You can check out #junkjournaljuly on Instagram.

Day 1 was to be an introduction but I simply did some collage.

Day 2: Make a collage

Day 3: Use a tag

Day 4: Very vintage




It feels great to have my creative energy flowing again and I'm looking forward to playing throughout the month of July. 



Join Our Inspirational Facebook Group: Living Your Word of the Year
Bernice Hopper, Valerie Sjodin and I facilitate a Facebook group about Living your Word of the Year. In it we share insights through blog posts and connect with other like-hearted and like-minded people who want to live out a word focus throughout the year. We offer participants a bi-weekly A-Z Inspiration to help prompt reflection and creativity. as well as other inspirational ways to connect with your word of the year. If you would like to connect with others in creative ways about living your word throughout the year, explore new ideas, record thoughts, prayers, and events, you are invited to join our Facebook group.

Please use #livingyourword2019 on social media.

Check out the other blogs:
Bernice: www.newlycreative.com
Valerie: 
www.valeriesjodin.com/blog