Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Journaling Bible Challenge

Like many of you, I am new to journaling in my Bible.  I have loved to write in journals since I could lock my own diary.  Then a few years ago I began to make mixed media journals.  Then I saw all these pictures on Pinterest of Bible with writing, stickers, and coloring in them!
After reading a couple blog posts and searching for more and more I was hooked!  I had recently been challenged by a Bible study, that I was doing through church, to be into the Word every day.  I have always tried to make this a priority, but have fallen short many times.  Let me tell you, now I can't wait to get into my Bible and find something that moves me to create.
As mentioned in a previous post, I like to do the M'Cheyne daily Bible readings.  While I read through the daily scriptures, I note anything that stands out to me or highlight it on my e-Bible.  Then I go back, when time allows, to do a more in-depth study of what stood out and create what speaks to me.
Sometimes I can go a few days or even weeks without seeing anything new or art worthy.  That's when I am grateful for the weekly challenges that abound on the internet.  I had joined a group that creates art in various forms for a 52-week scripture study just before the new year.  At His Kingdom Come's website they create a weekly in depth study of a scripture through the Take Me Deeper group.  This group of amazingly creative people have made journal spreads, digital art, photographs, and dolls to reflect their interpretation of the scriptures. 

Journaling Bible art for Proverbs 28:1 with a watercolor lion.
My week 2 interpretation of Rebekah Jones's challenge
Rebekah Jones hosts her own challenge and usually includes a video of her process in her Bible.  Patter Cross of Triple The Scraps has a challenge of her own.  She has been doing a 26-week study that is bi-weekly through the year.  Patter challenges her followers to make whatever kind of paper crafting you love and display it on the facebook group.  Or you can be like Valerie Weiner and try to do a page a day!
There are several Google+ and facebook groups out there to join and share or to get inspired.  How will you challenge yourself this week.  Get into the Word and get into your crayon box!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Perfection only breeds headaches and yelling.

Bible reading and study while raising children isn't a chore.
Bible reading whenever it allows.
Recently I have been bombarded with messages of simplicity and minimalism.  This kind of constant reminding is usually a prompting from God, in my opinion.   I am not a hoarder, by any means.  However, because of the chaos that goes on with four kids and a dog, I am always looking for a way to control the chaos.  Let me tell you right now.  Don't try.  The only thing I have found that works and stays is getting rid of the chaos. 
Because three of my four children are challenged by their attention span and listening skills, I have to take charge of their surroundings.  Most of the time they don't even realize the small things I do to help keep them focused like removing all items from the homework area except our pencil caddy.  I keep all the electronics corralled in another room with the cords.  The TV isn't turned on when they come in, etc.
I say this because we have been working, as a family, to remove even more distractions.  Yesterday each child went through their shoes, clothes, and drawers to remove anything they don't like or don't wear.  We filled a large garbage bag and set it aside for the battered women's shelter.  I have only run into resistance if I try to steamroll over their choices and purge while they are at school.  Yes, it's harder and takes longer to do it with them.  But, so does any life skill that they need to learn by doing.
I got an twitter update today to let me know that Sarah Mae has a book out that is on sale and, guess what, it's about minimizing!  I tell you all this, because my schedule is already full and I have fallen behind on my Bible reading.  I hear some gasps.  I used to feel like this was a cardinal sin, myself.  However, as I grow as a mother and disciple, I realize that I can only do what I can do for that day.  My children need me.  My husband needs me.  Friends and family need me.  It goes without saying that God needs me.  God needs me to be there for these same people.  He knows I can't always get my Bible reading in on days when my children want to play outside on an unusually warm winter day.  He knows my reading comes at the end, or sometimes not at all, of a busy Friday of shopping, meetings, and play dates. 
I have a huge chunk missing from this past week's reading log.  Did you catch that in the picture up there?  But, you know what?  I'm kind of proud of that empty space.  "Be still and know that I am God," from Psalm 46:10, tells us that sometimes we are to just enjoy God, His creation, and His gifts.  He knows my heart.  And He knows my limits.  Perfection just brings out the yelling and headaches.  Not the calm and sweet.
Goals and schedules are okay.  You have to have a little guidance to help you through your day, but being a slave to it removes God from the picture.  The Bible reading becomes a duty instead of a time of worship and fellowship with God.  I like to try to follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan that takes you through the Bible in a year.  There is also a Bible study that my husband and I take part in during Sunday school at our church.  So, I do have some things that I try to follow, but I know there are times that life takes the chunk of my reading log instead of a list of scripture passages.  It's okay, for now.  One day, I will not have a house full of chaos and I will probably miss it.  Then is when I will be able to pour over my Bible and delve deeper in the Word.  Right now, I delve into my family and friends

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Even when devastation hits

My brother, Christopher Walsh, and the Chancellor of West Dean College inspecting a bass he had built.
My brother, Chris, with the chancellor
at West Dean College, UK. (1999)
On August 13th of 1999 my brother, Chris, decided he could no longer suffer the emotional heartache of depression.  He was a talented and ambitious young man of 22 years, who had just graduated from the prestigious West Dean College in Chichester, England.  Chris had studied there as a violin maker, a luthier.  He was facing many life changing decisions and was told, by his then girlfriend, that she would not move to America with him.
On a weekend while my parents where out of town, Chris was buying a gun and making plans for someone to check on him.  My husband and I suspected he was hurting and tried to invite him to our home while my parents were away, but he was an adult; he was allowed to make his own choices.  He chose to end his hurt by ending his life.   
My parents felt they could no longer live steps away from where my brother took his life.  They took all the tools and belongings my brother had shipped over from England to a new home.  The boxes sat for 14 more years in a barn.  After deciding to move again  they asked me to find a home for the tools, wood, and various luthier items that had once belonged to my brother.  During the latter part of 2014, I asked all my musician friends, charity organizations, and a local violin shop if they would want my brothers things.  No charge!   No one wanted them.  No one really seemed to care.  It was a little unsettling and sad.
My parents and I have come to a point where we can move along with life where the happy days out number the sad ones.  However, being people of faith, we have always wondered what God had planned when He knew this would happen.  Don't get me wrong.  We never blamed God.  My brother was a growing young Christian who wanted us to know he had made peace with God before this all took place.  But the whole tragedy left us wondering "why."   I imagine anyone in our circumstances has the same questions.  Many people struggle the rest of their lives with these sorts of questions and never feel peace.  We may not have gotten an answer, but I do feel like we have found some peace.  My brother's death allowed us to help friends and family who are dealing with the suicide of a loved one or friend.  But these tools in my garage just seemed wasted.  Then I got an email from my oldest daughter's orchestra teacher.
Shad Peters lost his entire business in a New Year's Eve fire.On December 31, 2014, a young father by the name of Shad Peters, of Peters Guitars, had a devastating fire in his shop.  Shad is, by my perception, a God-fearing talented artist who was being refined by this fire.  From the things I had read from his family and friends, his dreams and 10 years of hard work had, literally, gone up in smoke.  The insurance company told him that they would only be able to cover the costs of the garage structure and the personal property he had in the garage/shop; like his computer and stereo.  None of his tools, hand made instruments and accessories, power equipment, and hand-picked wood would be covered by the insurance.  The total estimation of replacement would total over $70,000!
There are fundraising efforts under way at Go Fund Me, but how will he replace all the time and struggle?  That's where we as fellow humans step in and take on some of the load.  God tells us to bear each other's burdens (Galatians 6:2).  Most of the time, it's not a burden to whoever takes on a little bit of someone else's load.  It's a blessing.  When I read about the plight of Shad's family I was grinning ear to ear and bouncing in my chair.  "This is it, this is it!" is all I could think.
I was able to contact Shad by email and find out if he would like my brother's wood, hand tools, forms, and other luthier items that had been stored for over 15 years (picture right).   He immediately sent back a message that he would love to come get them and would make arrangements to be here the next day!  He lives about 65 miles north and needed to borrow a truck to come get the crates and boxes that were still packed the way they were the day they left England. 
Let me just say; you should never invite a stranger to come to your house without some kind of plan.  I researched Shad's story and felt he was a reputable person, but I still let my neighbor and husband know the details of the event.  However, I think Shad was more nervous than I was.  Who wouldn't be?  I felt like I was on the blessing end of the deal.  He was probably feeling vulnerable and nervous going to someone's home and not knowing what would happen when the door opened.  Too many bad Craig's list stories where going through my mind (and probably his). 
After we introduced ourselves I showed him to the garage and opened each of the boxes.  There were lots of tools and wood to show him and lots of  questions about the things that were totally foreign to me.  I grabbed some drawings for a violin design out of the biggest crate before it was last on the truck. 
We talked for a moment about the way all this came together and I came away in total awe at how God planned it all!  I hope to one day be able to visit his new shop. My mother was glad to know that I had found the perfect home for all the beloved items she held tight for so many years. 
I believe that it helps the heart to heal when you can help someone else through your own pain.  We have to bear our souls sometimes.  It's a vulnerability that is totally scary, but so worth it!  Be blessed by being a blessing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Who said that worship has to involve singing or music.  It's an every day, every event, every thought, way of being with God.   As mothers, wives, daughters, caretakers, and more we don't have the time or energy to take on another task.  God doesn't see our lives like that.  We don't have to stop everything and pick the perfect song and memory verse to praise Him.  He tells the Romans through Paul that everything they do should be an act of worship.  I don't know about you, but my life doesn't always seem worshipful.

Journaling Bible page inspired by a challenge on Romans 12:1-2 with stickers and a magazine page.
Romans 12:1-2
The Take Me Deeper scripture prompt for this week was Romans 12:1-2.  In reflecting on this verse, while I created the journal and Bible pages, I realized that giving myself in worship is a
transformation.  God transforms us in tiny ways each day just like a potter with clay.  Slowly pushing and sculpting and removing the thick clay between His fingers. 

There are times when I realize God has been working on a certain area that I need to improve and then there are other times that I just fight the molding process with tooth and nail.  I am a much different person than I was 20 years ago.  Hopefully, for the better and only because of God's patience and grace.

My Take Me Deeper art journal spread for the "transformation" challenge.
My Take Me Deeper art journal
I want to intentionally let God lead me through every step of my day and with every word.  Therefore, my Logos 365 word for the year is "go" because I don't usually let God lead me where I need to go.

Little by little we make small adjustments to look, act,  and sound more like Christ.  In each thing you do today, worship Him.  Enjoy this little skit guys Worship video, to help bring it all together.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Treating your Bible pages to prevent bleeding.

There are so many wonderful types of medium to use in your art, but they don't all work on Bible pages.  I have ripped pages that were too wet and bled through stacks of pages with ink.  So I wondered what would happen if I treated the pages with gesso or matte gel medium.
I took our Family Scripture Keeper Bible (not a technical term, just our name) and treated two of the not-so-essential pages.  One with gesso and one with the gel medium.
White gesso and matte gel medium and art tools used to apply them to my journaling Bible.
 I decided on a few types of inks and paint that I frequently use and would like to use (below).  Then I also decided to add a drop of  acrylic ink and a drop of alcohol ink (not pictured).
Paints, sprays, and markers used in my journaling Bible
I applied them to the gessoed page (left) and the matte medium page (right). 
Testing paints, inks, and markers on gesso and gel medium covered pages.
 After a couple hours of drying time this is how the pages looked from the backside.  Below is the opposite side of the page that was coated with gesso.  The only thing that seemed to seep through was the alcohol ink.  The only reason I think it came through was because I only put a thin layer of gesso on the page.  I did this so that the page could still be, somewhat, legible.  I figured that if you are going to use this in a journaling Bible, then you would probably still want to read the page.  (Please avert your eyes from the washi tape.  The pages where ripped to begin with.)
The Back side of the Bible page treated with white gesso.
 The page with the matte gel medium has more leakage than the gesso page.  However, the only things that ran through where those that were of intense color, like the alcohol ink and acrylic ink.  You could see ghosts of the Pitt pen and watercolor, but not to the point of being a distraction on the backside of the page.
Back side of Bible page treated with matte gel medium and what soaked through.
Destruction of my Bible is not something I look forward to and you probably don't either!  Hopefully this will help you to know when you need to treat your pages before journaling and with which medium.  Please let me know if you have tried any other mediums to coat your pages and how it worked out.  Now go try something new today!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A peek into my week

As a follower of Christ, I don't just go to church on Sunday and then lay it all aside til next week.  My hope and ambition is to constantly be in communion with my Savior and Father.
Romans 8:15 tells us that God is our Father.   If I want to have a healthy and close relationship with "My Father" then I need to talk with Him, be with Him, and get to know Him.  In order to do this I need to invest some time and effort into the relationship with my Heavenly Father.
There are days that I worship or commune with God in different ways.  As you know, I love to journal.  In my Bible, in a notebook, in an altered journal, or anywhere.  Then there is music.  My family and I love all kinds of Christian music and podcasts.  Of course, we listen to sermons at church, as well as, sermon podcasts throughout the week.  We read the Word most days.  Lastly, we try to serve in any way we are called.
Visual notes on Sunday SermonWith this in mind, I want to introduce a method to my madness.  My blog posts will, hopefully, spotlight one of these areas of worship. 
It would only be fitting if Sunday were a day of "Sermons."  For instance, this week's sermon brought a picture into my mind about Jesus standing on all the "stuff" we let control our lives instead of Him.  God is in control of it all, not the stuff of this world.  I didn't take many notes, but I think the visual note taking really helped to cement Phillippians 3:7-16 into my mind.  That and my pastors passion in reaching us with the message.
I hope you are off to a great start with your new year and are pressing on toward a goal that will bring glory to God and fullness to your life.