Friday, January 29, 2021

2021 Vision Board


2021 Vision Board

One of my favorite activities each year is to make a vision board for my word of the year. A vision board is a way of visualizing your intentions. I make my vision boards on wrapped artist canvas so that I can hang them, having a constant visual reminder of how I am going to journey with my word through the year.

The process begins with going through the magazine pages and clippings I have collected through the year. Whenever I weed out old magazines to go to the recycling bin, I first go through them and tear out any images or pages with interesting words. This gives me a supply of images and words to go through when I do projects.

I then take the images and words that fit with my intentions and my vision for my word and I begin to play with the layout and the groupings of words. This is a process of elimination time as I always have more words and images than I need. It is a form of meditation as you go through the words and arrange them. I am usually surprised with what I finally end up with. I tend to do this process on a large piece of cardboard or poster board so I can play with it for a few days.

The next part of my process is to cover the edges of my canvas with torn text from old books. 

I glue the pieces of paper around the edge to the backside, folding it on the corners in the same manner as I do to the sheets on the corners of my bed. 

Once I have all the sides covered I will apply a thin layer of gesso to make the text a subtle neutral background. I can then hang the canvas on my wall without framing it as the book text gives the sides a finished look.

Here is my final product.

January has been a good month of digging into the meaning of our word, setting intentions and a vision for it, and finally, making a vision board. These are all foundational practices for living out our word of the year.

For February I'm going to look at different ways of digging into God's Word with our word of the year. I hope you'll join me! You can follow along and share what you do with your word in the Words Art & Faith group on Facebook or on Instagram. Use #wordsartandfaithgroup and #wordoftheyear2021so I can easily find your posts.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Rhythms of Daily Life January 25th Edition


Rhythms of Daily Life January 25th Edition

I'm finding it hard to believe that we are in the last week of January already. The month has flown right by. But today I land on the day we celebrate the birth of my daughter, Jamie. Happy Birthday, Jamie! 41 today. That time has flown by also, and I honestly don't know how I got to be as old as I am. I sure don't feel like it in my mind. LOL!

So far, I like the flow of my art/creative projects this year. Capturing the things in my week that I want to remember in a visual commonplace book is going well. It's a good pace that enables me to make a little art each day. Here are my weekly spreads for weeks 3 and 4:

My 100 Day Project

This collage corner with the bird on it inspired me to do the 100 Day Project this year. I wasn't sure if I was going to participate this year as it is beginning January 31st, which is two months earlier than normal. But that little bit of inspiration got me excited, so beginning on the 31st I will do 100 days of bird art - mainly collage, of course. I made a junk journal with 100 pages to put my daily pieces of bird art in.

My Word of the Year: Rhythm

Each year I make it a habit to select a Bible verse or passage to use as a theme with my word of the year. This year I chose Matthew 11:28-30. I made a page with the passage to go into my journal.

That's all for now. Have a good week!

Friday, January 22, 2021

Setting Intentions For My Word

Setting Intentions For My Word

Over the years it has been my practice to set intentions for my word of the year. If my word of the year is a lens through which I will view life, then setting intentions are the practices through which that word will become a practice in my life. In other words, how I intend to live it out. 

I am often asked what the difference is between intentions and goals. I think the main difference between goals and intentions is in how you view them. Goals are usually specific in nature and are future oriented. I want to save 100.00 each month or I want to lose 20 pounds. Intentions are usually focused more on daily living in the present moment and lean toward habit forming and lifestyle. Both play a role. In fact intentions can help us meet goals. But I tend to prefer intentions because I think they help create a lifestyle or mindset instead of just completing tasks. Intentions can help us become the type of person we want to be. So instead of simply setting a goal of how many pounds I want to lose, instead my intention is to eat healthier for my overall health. As I work on that I may or may not lose the pounds but will gain so many other health benefits. If I simply have a goal of losing ten pounds then every time the scale doesn't change I feel like I have failed.

Here is a brief, basic rundown of goals and intentions from various definitions I found online:

Future oriented
Present oriented
Concrete, tangible, specific
Aspirational, values-based characteristics
Action oriented
Way of being
Usually have a fixed outcome
Often ebb and flow as you grow
Generally more outwardly focused
Generally more inwardly focused
Usually focused on an end result
More focused on day-to-day living

I think both goals and intentions are valuable. However, I do tend to lean more toward using intentions, and here is the main reason why. To me, setting intentions is about making choices in my daily living that focus on who I want to be more so than on what I want to get done. And this is based on one of my personal core values: Doing flows out of being. Who I am is more important than what I do, and I want what I do to flow out of who I am. Who I am is about my character and my heart. I can change behaviors or habits and still have no change in my character or outlook. Because I also value authenticity - I want what I do to reflect who I am, or put another way - I want my actions to reflect my heart. And my heart is continually being transformed as I intentionally seek to be formed in the image of Christ. I wrote about having a set of personal core values last week. You can read it here.

So, I focus on intentions when looking at how I want to live out my word of the year. And I keep my values before me as I set those intentions. Then setting goals can help me put action to my intentions. But all of it is determined by my "why" - the values that guide my life. 

My word this year is rhythm. As I said last week, my vision for this word is to study and know the rhythms of Christ's life and to examine the rhythms of my own, tweaking and developing the daily and weekly rhythms that help me stay focused on my values for becoming who I want to be.

    My intentions are divided into the categories I want to focus on this year: 

  • The Rhythms of Christ's life - studying His words and His ways in the Gospels, studying my theme passage this year Matthew 11:28-30, and studying how the New Testament calls us to be Christlike.
  • Unforced Rhythms of Grace - this is from Matthew 11:29 in the Message Bible. This is about practicing spiritual disciplines and setting a rhythm for my spiritual life that helps me focus on how I live it out. 
  • Rhythms of Daily Life - I'm making weekly page spreads in a visual commonplace book this year to help me connect more with the moments of my days that are significant to me. The rhythms of my daily life is focused mainly on my creative life and participating in creative groups and projects. This year that includes my Words Art and Faith Group, Life Documented 2021, the One Little Word class with Ali Edwards and the 100 Day Project, plus whatever comes along later in the year.
  • Healthy Rhythms - I am on a continual journey to improve the way I eat and the way I live. I will begin my 6th decade this year and I want to fully enjoy the decades ahead of me and remain active, so I need to continue to make changes and choices that support that desire. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
What are your hopes for your word this year?

What intentions would help you live out your word n a manner that would help you be who you want to be? Do they align with your personal core values?

What goals will help you move toward your intentions?

Feel free to share in the comment section below or in the Words Art & Faith Group on Facebook.

Next Friday I will look at making a vision board for my word. So start collecting your magazine words and pictures.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Journaling the Rhythms of My Life


Journaling the Rhythms of My Life

I'm getting into a rhythm with my visual commonplace book weekly spreads. Documenting this way is keeping me present to the smaller moments in my life. The moments that may just slip by in the hustle and bustle of life. Here is my January cover page and my 2021 week 2 page spread.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Using Personal Values To Determine Vision


Using Personal Values To Determine Vision

I'm digging into the work of exploring my word of the year this month and laying out plans for how to live it out through the year. Typically, once I have decided on my word of the year I will begin a planning process that looks something like this:
  • Research the word's meaning - using multiple dictionaries, finding synonyms, quotes, etc.
  • What is my reason for choosing this word? What is my 'why'? 
  • Based on my personal values and my "why", what is my vision for the year ahead with my word?
  • What are the intentions I need to set in order to see that vision become a reality in my life this year?
Determining your  personal values is probably one of the most important things you can do. Even if you have not taken the time to determine them, you are probably already living by them without realizing it. Some of us live by the values we were raised with. They may not have been articulated, but as children we tend to 'catch' them as we grow. Good or bad, our values are often shaped by the environment of our family life. As adults, then, we have the choice to keep those values or determine and shape our own. I have held onto some of the values I was raised with - such as good work ethics. But in my childhood the environment of my family was shaped by alcoholism, dysfunction and emotional instability leading me on a journey through my adult life of healing, faith and becoming healthy. That journey has also included replacing many of the unhealthy values I held onto from my childhood with ones that I have determined to be healthy to guide my decisions and plans.

Values are the things that matter the most to you, the things you believe are most important for the way you live your life. Values serve the purpose of defining our 'why'. They help us set our life purpose and make decisions. Values are like a behavioral compass; they can help us react to different situations and can help guide our actions. Let me share my core values and then give some examples of how they work.

My core values are:
  • Faith first. For me, that means using the words and ways of Jesus as my guidelines for life. Matthew 6:33 "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness" has long been a guiding verse for me. 
  • Doing flows out of being. Who I am guides what I do. Character matters in how I live my life. The Apostle Paul gives us this example in how he lays out many his letters; he gives a theological foundation for who we are in Christ before he gives us instructions on how we are to live. 
  • Wholeness is the goal - seeking health in spirit, mind, body, emotions (Luke 10:27). Over the past few years I have used each of these areas as a guide to set my intentions.
  • Authenticity. I highly value honesty and being real. I want the outside to match the inside. I want congruence in my life - that what I say and what I do are the same. It may not always be pretty, but it is character shaping.
  • Life long learning. Especially in the pursuit of spiritual formation, but other areas too. I dig in and research everything to fully understand things and compare them with how they line up with the truth of God's Word. I am always curious!

I have others but these are the core ones, the ones that shape what I do and how I do them. So, for example, because I value life-long learning it means I am always digging deeper. One of the main reasons I have selected rhythm as my word for 2021 is because I want to explore more deeply the rhythms of Christ - His words and His way of living. Honestly, in this past year that was full of division and hatred in the midst of a major crisis, I continually found myself thinking of how Christ would react. How would He handle the hate filled words and actions that flood social media? How would He address the constant finger pointing and fighting? How would He act in the midst of so many people dying, being sick, mourning loss, losing jobs, going hungry, feeling that they live with injustice? So I want to study His rhythm of life through the gospels and described by the writers of the New Testament letters. With core values of faith first and authenticity, I want to respond to the things going on in the world around me based on Christ's ways - not by the ways of the culture, or the ways of any particular political party, or any other outside influence. I made a decision over 30 years ago that my life would be rooted and grounded in Christ and that His ways would guide my ways. It is a life long process of learning.

Here's my main why for selecting my word for this year, my vision for what I would like to see in my life with my word: To study and know the rhythms of Christ's life and to examine the rhythms of my own, tweaking and developing the daily and weekly rhythms that help me stay focused on my values for becoming who I want to be.

"Are you a reflection of your values?" ~Sarah Jeffrey

Now, in order for my life to be impacted by my word and my vision for my year, I need to set intentions that will help me live out my word as well as my core values. I read the following quote the other day but could not find a reference for who said it, but it's an important one to note.

"It's one thing to have values, it's another thing to actually live then out."

We can say we have values, but if we don't actually live them out they are only intended or inspirational values. My personal value of authenticity and congruence motivates me to set intentions that can be lived out and shape who I am. Next week we'll look deeper into setting intentions and what the difference is between intentions and goals.

So, do you have personal values that help define who you are and why you live as you do?

Do you use your personal values to help determine your vision for the year?

If not, why not spend a little time in the next week and think about what those things are that are most important to your life? What drives why you live the way you live? What are the things you believe in the most? 

What is the reason you chose the word you did for this year? What is your vision for your life as you live out this word?

Feel free to share in the comment section below or in the Words Art & Faith Group on Facebook.



Saturday, January 9, 2021

2021 Journaling Q & A

2021 Journaling Q & A

Over the past few weeks I have received a number of questions about my journaling plans and journals for 2021. I thought I would take some time to share and answer those questions. Links for any supplies mentioned will be at the end of the post.

About my journals:

Q: What Journal are you using?

A: For my Rhythms of Life weekly spreads I am continuing to fill up the Leuchtturm 1917 journal I used last year. It is an A-5 with grid paper. 

A. For my word of the year/One Little Word 2021 I am using a Moleskine Art Japanese Album with black pages. The pages fold out accordion style.

Q: What are you doing for your weekly spreads?

A. I wanted to reconnect with doing weekly page spreads much like I did back in 2013-14 with the Documented Life Project. But I also wanted to tailor my weekly spreads to fit my style and include the things that make up the rhythm of my daily life. I made a sample layout listing the various things I might focus on each week.

I practiced with it in December (See this post) to see if it was a fit. Which is was! And now have my first weekly spread for the new year.

Q: There were a number of questions about my weekly spreads: Do I lay out the spreads in advance and then go back and fill out the pages? Do I complete my spreads all at once as a weekly review or do I record them as I go? Do my spread topics change each week?

A: I don't lay out the spreads in advance. At least, I haven't started out that way. I may add some of the topic titles to the page in advance, but for the most part I wait and see what happens throughout my week. I usually start filling in my page spread on Friday and Saturday looking back at my week. I am starting to make notes through the week of things I want to remember. Which has lent an added bonus of making me more present with the little moments and events of my days. Some weeks the topics may remain the same and some weeks they change. It all depends on what is going on in my week.

Q: What kinds of pens do you use?

A: For lettering I like black Sakura Pigma Micron pens, mainly sizes .01 and .03. For colors I use Staedtler Triplus Fineliners. They have a great variety of colors and are thin enough to put color between the lines of my letters.

Q: I receive a lot of questions about my hand lettering. Years ago I took a lettering class by Hope Wallace because I liked that she used hand lettering that wasn't calligraphy. You can check out her website The Soul of Hope, although she no longer offers the class. I practiced and practiced and eventually it morphed into my own style of hand lettering. Here is the one tip I can give you about my lettering: I write the letter and then go over it a second time so that the imperfections actually become a part of the lettering. Easy peasy. Practice a lot and eventually you come up with your own style. You can print a pdf of the photo below if you like here.

Q: What is a commonplace book?
I first came across the term 'commonplace book' from my friend, Jean, about ten years ago. When I looked up what they were I realized I had been doing the practice for all of my adult life. A commonplace book is simply:
  • A book into which notable extracts from other works are copied for personal use.
  • A notebook in which you enter memorabilia.
  • The recording of words and ideas in a common place.
A visual commonplace book simply adds a visual element to it. Keeping commonplace books have been a practice for centuries, especially before the invention of the typewriter and the computer. I have always written passages from books I'm reading in my written journal. When I began art journaling I carried this practice over to my art journals as well, creating a visual commonplace book. I'm doing more of this practice this year with my weekly page spreads.

Q: What is the Words Art & Faith Group and what is a Words Challenge?

A:  In the Words Art & Faith Group we are talking about anything that has to do with words, our faith and art. God's Word is the central focus and how we interact with The Word creatively. This month we are focusing on coming up with a word of the year and the different ways to explore and research it. There will be ongoing conversations through the year about that. Because I have a great love for digging deeper in Bible study I often will share tips and techniques. And then the group for members to share their creativity, their prayer requests, and their responses to Words Challenges.

A: Words Challenges are month long art and faith challenges I began a few years ago with Advent Words. There is a daily word with a few passages of Scripture to accompany the word. Then I usually will write a Bible study devotion to go with the word along with how I responded to it creatively. Advent Words is an annual challenge. For two years I have done a summer Words Challenge where we go through a book of the Bible using 30 significant words found in that book as creative prompts. Those words are also accompanied with a daily Bible study devotion. These challenges offer us ways to do creative bible study. I only have time to do two full Words Challenges through the year, but I may find a way to add in some shorter challenges.

Q: Where do you find all the vintage papers and office supplies you use in your art journals?

A: I love the hunt for vintage paper and books and, especially, vintage office supplies. Nothing excites me quite like a stack of vintage ledgers or graph papers! My husband likes to do wood working with vintage hand tools. So a number of years ago we started going to estate sales and flea markets. We have a great time hunting down the vintage things we enjoy n our hobbies. Here is the problem: When I find something vintage I like I can't resist buying it, even if I don't need it for myself. That dilemma led me to open an Etsy shop seven years ago, so I can buy those special finds and share them with others who love vintage as well! There is a link to my shop, Found on Brighton @Etsy, in the right hand sidebar. And this leads to the final question for today:

Q: Where did your name, Found on Brighton, come from?

A: When I made the decision to start my Etsy shop I was brainstorming ideas for what to call it. There is a great antique and gift store I love to visit up in Ann Arbor, MI called Found. I have always loved the name and it really fits what I am doing - finding vintage items I love. The street I live on is Brighton Avenue, so it morphed into Found on Brighton from that day of brainstorming. So here on my blog you can read about the things I find to make art with, the treasures I find in God's Word, and the insights I find in life and the world around me. Oh, and visit the shop to see what I found at estate sales over the weekend!

I hope I've answered your questions. If not, feel free to ask more in the comments below or in the Words Art & Faith Group.

You can follow a few of my hashtags on Instagram to keep up with what I'm doing: #wordsart&faithgroup, #foundonbrighton, #wordoftheyear2021, #rhythmsofdailylife 

Finally, I have linked to a few of the products I use on Amazon. Full disclosure: I make a small percentage off sales purchased through the links on my blog. They help keep the lights on in my online world. :)

My current journals:


My favorite pens: 

My favorite paper for gelli printing:

Currently reading:

Friday, January 8, 2021

Exploring My Word of the Year


Exploring My Word of the Year

Last week I mentioned that my word for 2021 is rhythm. At the start of a new year with a new word I generally go through the process of researching my word. I love doing research so I really enjoy this part of the journey with my word. This year, however, is not going as planned. My word came to me late so it hasn't had a lot of time to steep within me. My week between the holidays did not have the slow rhythm I had wanted (and needed) due to my mom getting the coronavirus and being hospitalized for six days. Thankfully she is home now and recovering. 

What does my word research look like?
  • It always begins with the basics of looking up the word's definition in a variety of dictionaries. I follow that with finding synonyms.
  • Next I start the process of looking for a Bible verse that will serve as an anchor/guide for the year. It may or may not contain my word.
  • I then begin looking for quotes to use with my word.
  • I also try to find a book or two (or five) that support what motivated me to pick my word. These will serve to help me grow in the direction I want to go for the year.
  • From there the work of defining a vision for the year (the why) and determining intentions for my word (the how) begins.  We will explore these more throughout this month

In the book of Matthew we are told:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

This is my theme passage this year. In Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of the Bible, The Message, he puts Jesus' words in verse 29 like this:

"Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace."

This is what I want to be about this year, learning from Jesus.  Practicing sacred rhythms - the spiritual practices that help us grow in our faith and position us for the Spirit's work of transforming us to become like Jesus. I want to study His life and words and learn His rhythm of life. 

The word rhythm brings so much to mind for me: the natural rhythm of the seasons; the rhythmic flow of waves; the rhythm of the calendar year; the rhythms in nature, such as bird migration; rhythms of rest and work; the rhythms of faith seasons such as Advent, Lent and Easter. There's a lot to explore through the year. What I focus on will get narrowed down in the weeks ahead as I go through the practice of setting intentions for my word for the year ahead.

This word gives me the opportunity to re-read a favorite book, Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton.
"I cannot transform myself...What I can do is create the conditions in which spiritual transformation can take place, by developing and maintaining a rhythm of spiritual practices that keep me open and available to God." ~Ruth Haley Barton


Sacred Rhythms along with some of the art books I want to work through this year.

That's my exploration into my word of the year so far. How do you start the year with your word? What are you exploring?

We're having conversations about our word of the year and other word related practices in my Words Art & Faith Group on Facebook. Join us! 

Next week we'll look at the difference between intentions and goals. I also hope to have another post this week answering some of the journaling questions I have been asked recently.


Saturday, January 2, 2021

Rhythms of Life


Happy New Year and welcome 2021! Nothing has changed from Thursday to today except the year on the calendar. Yet somehow just saying 2021 brings a sigh of relief. 2020 is done. It will be a year we remember and talk about for a long time into the future.

My word of the year for 2021 came to me quite a bit later than it has in past years. I have only been living with this new word for a week now and have not spent as much time with it as I would have liked to before jumping into the new year. 

My word for 2021 is "rhythm". This past year has been one where the rhythms of daily life have been in continual change. For months during the pandemic lockdown our normal rhythms stopped. For weeks back in March I found myself devouring the news and trying to learn as much as I could about the virus. I struggled to focus on reading or making art or the other things I usually did. I finally stopped and realized I needed refocus. I needed to get back to some of my regular habits at the beginning of the day. Those early morning rhythms - time spent reading God's Word, journaling, studying, praying - ground me. This past month connecting with the familiar rhythm of Advent reminded me that rhythms in life are the things we do to keep ourselves grounded. This year I need to connect with new rhythms and keep focused on the one that are familiar and healthy for me.

My plans this year center around words:
  • My word of the year.
  • Words faith and art challenges.
  • Capturing the daily rhythms of my life through weekly spreads in a commonplace book.

For my word of the year practice I'm going to post what I'm doing with some of the methods I use and invite others to join me. I'm also joining Ali Edward's One Little Word as this year is the tenth anniversary. Ali's One Little Word got me started on selecting a word each year. Combining it with spiritual practices has made it a transformative practice each year.

My January weekly posts will focus on:
1/8 Researching my word of the year.
1/15 Setting intentions for my word. Looking at the difference between goals and intentions, and basing my intentions on personal values.
1/22 Setting a vision for my word and my year.
1/29 Making a vision board.

For the Words challenges we will take some time to practice word studies, some utilizing our word of the year. As much as I would like to do the full month-long words challenges more often, they are quite time consuming. I may fit some smaller challenges in at some point this year. I really enjoy using a book of the Bible for a summer Words challenge and plan to do so again this summer. I'm really drawn to 2 Corinthians right now. We'll  see if I stick with that by the time summer comes along.

As I wrote in my last post, I have re-connected with a practice of doing a weekly spread capturing the rhythms of my daily life in a commonplace book. And I have re-connected with the Life Documented group which spun off the original Documented Life project.

I invite you to join me in exploring words in many forms this year. You can participate and share in my Words Art & Faith Group on Facebook or on Instagram #wordsart&faithgroup.

You can find out more about Life Documented here.
Find out more about Ali Edwards One Little Word here.

I also encourage you to visit my co-leaders from the Living Your Word group and see what they have planned for 2021. The Living Your Word group is now archived.
Visit Bernice Hopper at her blog 
Visit Valerie Sjodin at her website