Tuesday, 29 December 2015

New Things - by Sharon King

Hi, it's Sharon here with some encouragement and a challenge for 2016!

At the end of 2015, as you look back on the year, what do you feel that you have achieved, can you see how God has been working out His plan for you? 

At the beginning of 2015, I was led to discover a word that would be my 'word' for 2015, after a lot of thought and prayer I decided it should be the word 'plan'  this came about through the verse in Jeremiah 29: 11

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

This was to be a significant word for me, for during this year I received a change of appointment within the Salvation Army. After 4 years in Stanford le Hope as Church Leader I was to move to Waltham Abbey to be Church Leader there. A new town, a new challenge, what was God's plan for me in all this change?

After my first visit to Wlatham Abbey I made the following entry in my journal.

In the months between February and July there certainly was a lot of planning, a lot of cleaning!!!! And a lot of preparation and praying. I have now been here for 5 months and I am excited to see the plans God has for me and the congregation at Waltham Abbey Salvation Army, there are still many of God's plans to be discovered including how we can work in our community.

At the beginning of 2015 I started a journal in a very basic notebook, which has proved to be invaluable in helping me to discover how God is working in my life. Allow me to share a few entries with you....

I enjoy journalling,  I may not be able to draw, but I love using words, colours, shapes, stickers and stamps.  If you think you are not able to journal because of limited drawing skills can I encourage you to experiment in whatever way you are comfortable, allow God to speak to you as you journal. Remember what is important is your relationship with God, not how beautiful it looks to others, because if you enter into journalling with a heart of love, your offering to God will be beautiful in His sight.

So the challenge for 2016, why not start a journal, I am sure you will be blessed and encouraged in the process, spending time with the Lord, and then at the end of 2016 taking time to reflect on what you have learnt from God as you review your journal, and the journey you have shared with your loving Heavenly Father.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

wonderfully created by Deborah Gregg

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas, full of the blessings of family and friends

with love from all of us at  Bible Art Journaling UK 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Comfort for God's People - by Sarah Anderson

As I was pondering what to share in today's blog post I found out that my Dad had had to go to A and E after passing out again (it happened yesterday too) for no apparent reason.  I've just heard that all is good and the tests all came back normal so he is home.  :)

 I am so grateful that my first reaction on hearing news like this is praying to my Father God who loves and listens.  I am also grateful for all my praying friends who can immediately (due to the wonders of modern technology and social media)  pray with me.

What also came to mind was this verse that I journaled in my bible last month:

"those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength"
Isaiah 40 v 31

and the knowledge, remembering the feather, that God covers me, and my Dad, with His wings (Psalm 91:4)

 Worry is very draining but God asks us to trust Him and through Him, putting worry aside, we are strengthened.  So today I added some further stamping to this page, emphasising the words 'hope' and 'strength'.  These stamps are from Clarity Stamps' Word Chains 6 and 12.

He is my hope and my strength, no matter what life throws at me, and my Dad's hope and strength too!

I started this page back in November after sketching out a feather shape and carving myself a stamp.  I stamped the feather with black ink that came out quite grey but this allowed me space to doodle or 'barntangle' (see Deborah's post here if you'd like to know more!).  It's what the lovely Carolyn Dube would call an 'oops' - "outstanding opportunity presenting suddenly"!!

 I then added patches of watercolour around the feather before writing the verse out around the image.  Spending time with a verse creatively like this is what makes it stay in my mind - plus it sends me on another adventure  - I'm on a hunt now for more references to wings/feathers in the bible!!

So I pray that you will know God's hope and strength over this festive season.  Christmas doesn't stop people being ill or sad or homeless, but because of the reason we celebrate Christmas  we can feel the love of God in both difficult and happy times, and share His love with others.

Happy Christmas from all of us at Bible Art Journaling UK

Sarah xx

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Jesus our Emmanuel - by Deborah Gregg

Hi everyone! I thought I'd share a little something in keeping with the 'reason for the season', as we are so close to Christmas!

For me there are two aspects of Christmas that I find particularly helpful to remember at this time of year: that Jesus is the light of the World, and that He is our Emmanuel - God with us. Whatever we have walked through this past year, or are walking through now, and whatever lies ahead in the next year - He is our Emmanuel. Our God with us. Shining light into darkness.

So to start with, here's a double spread Faith Art Journal page I created a couple of years ago now:

To create this page, I painted red and green stripes in acrylic paint, which then looked much too bright and glaring, so I toned it down by scraping some white acrylic paint over the top with an old store card (my favourite acrylic paint technique!).

It was after our church Carols by Candlelight service (which I absolutely love and can't wait for this coming Sunday!) so I cut up my used carol sheet and basically mixed up some of the lyrics from my favourite Christmas carols and glued them onto the pages, randomly. (Feel free to play a quick game of 'name that carol' if you want to!)

Across the top of the page, I used a Calligraphy marker pen to write, 'Jesus, our Emmanuel' and highlighted the text with a silver pen.

It's a simple page, nothing fancy, but to me is full of meaning. I just love the name Emmanuel.
GOD with us! 
God WITH us! 
God with US!  
I also came across this Godfrey Rust poem, which I have added into my Faith Art journal (black roller ball pen over acrylic painted stripes, little manger scene in gold pen, copied from a Christmas card!).

It's such a mystery, that the LORD God Almighty - our Creator, holy and awesome in power and might, should be God With Us.

Son of God and Son of Man. The Word became flesh.

He brings us all hope. He brings us all the love of God. And His presence brings Light in our darkness.

And that we can have a personal relationship with Our Father God through Jesus, our precious Saviour - that's worth celebrating!

And to finish here's a little challenge /encouragement for you: over this Christmas time, in the middle of all the busy, try to prioritise some time alone with God. Just rest in His presence and in His grace. Read His Word. Pray. Sing. Create in your Journal or Journaling Bible if you want to, enjoy being creative and expressing your love for Him.

Quote from Ann Voskamp

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Barns and Barntangles! - by Deborah Gregg

Hi everyone, it's Deborah again this week. I thought I'd just share a little bit about 'Barntangles' today, as they are such a lot of fun and are great to incorporate into Bible Art Journaling!

For those who might not already know about this, Barntangles are simply doodles and patterns, like in the header at the top of this blog and the Bible Art Journaling UK Facebook Group page. They are usually done in black ink on white background but really, there are no rules, so feel free to use colours and whatever pens or other art and craft mediums you like! Some patterns are very easy, others more intricate, but they are usually easy to learn and really fun to do.

So why do some of us call them 'Barntangles'? They are fashionably and more commonly known as Zentangles (TM). However - I personally don't like the restrictions and 'rules' around official Zentangles (TM). And as a Christian I'm wary of anything 'zen' due to Buddhist and Far Eastern philosophy connotations. But doodling - well I'm afraid I can't see how anyone can trademark that! People have been doodling and drawing patterns since cave paintings and pyramids...

So, it was at the very first Bible Art Journaling for Beginners Workshop that I ran from my home, that I asked my lovely bunch of new Journalers for ideas of what we could call it, when a group of Christians get together to Bible Art Journal together? As a scrapbooker, I would sometimes go along to a 'Crop' to meet up and craft with friends, and I thought that 'Bible Art Journaling Gathering' just wasn't punchy enough!
The group chose the name 'BARN', and the acronym stands for: 
I love that so much! Isn't that exactly what Bible Art Journaling is all about, reflective nourishment of our souls, along with relaxation of our minds and bodies, and encouragement in our spirits, especially as we share with one another. So we can go along to a BARN event. If there isn't already a group near you, why not invite a friend over and BARN together, and start a little BARN group?

*Please feel free not to use 'BARN' if you prefer another name! I just wanted to explain what it is, and where it comes from and what it means, in case you hear some of us talking about BARNs or Barntangles*

So to finally get to the point (thank you if you are still reading....!) - that's why some of us like to call our Zentangle style doodles when used in Bible Art Journaling: 'Barntangles'.

And here's some Barntangles I drew at a BARN!

I find that they can be a great way to think about a verse, as you doodle while praying and dwelling on something that God has shown you from His Word, it really helps you to relax and reflect on the passage. It sinks in.

You can learn Barntangle patterns from the internet, sites like Pinterest or www.tanglepatterns.com have hundreds of patterns and step by step instructions to try them out. By the way, the official patterns all have funny names (like Mooka and Cadent!), it doesn't really matter but it can sometimes help you to find them. I have a little notebook with squared paper, that I use to practice new patterns and copy out the instructions, then I can refer to this when Barntangling a verse or page in my journal or Journaling Bible.

Be free to create however you like. It can be great to Barntangle the backgrounds around lettering, like in the group header 'JESUS', which is one of my journal pages.

Or you could Barntangle the letters themselves, like this page:

Or shapes and line drawings can be filled with Barntangle patterns to use as decorations.

I personally like the black on white or coloured background, but I have seen beautiful artwork from some of you using coloured pens in your Barntangling - please just have a go however you want to, and post pictures in the group!

I'll close with a challenge:
If anyone feels inspired, please try to come up with some 'Christian/Bible themed' Barntangle patterns and post instructions on how to draw them in the group! I know that would really bless us in our Bible Art Journaling, as we spend time reflecting and being nourished by God's Word.

Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Love in Christ,

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Simply Faith - by Jane Butcher

Hi, Jane here. One of the delights of my early morning routine is seeing all the beautiful and varied posts on the Bible Journaling Community pages, UK and international. Some are nothing short of masterpieces, the work of true artists, amazing drawings, paintings, multi media pictures; some (like mine) are simple, with limited artistic skill. What is important is the heart from which we all work in our Bibles; there are no "levels" of skill, just the desire to spend time with our Heavenly Father and in His Word.

Psalm 51 in my Journaling Bible

I can often be guilty of looking at some of the art work shared and feeling a bit pathetic in comparison. I have to remind myself of the first scribbles or paint daubs of a toddler, when they give them to us we are filled with delight and joy, we praise them and show them to family and friends, we see beyond the limited skills into the heart to please and share.
I once spent a wonderful weekend at a women’s conference where we were constantly reminded of how much God cherishes us, the image we were given was of a baby or toddler coming into our presence, our response is to smile, to say aaaah, to want to reach out and cuddle them; that is God’s response to us when we come into His presence, we are His cherished, beloved children.
He melts when we reach out to Him.
My son Ben - loves to worship God!
Wherever we fall on the scale of artistic ability, 0 – 100 God isn’t going to grade our efforts, He sees our hearts, filled with the desire to know Him more deeply, to walk more closely with Him.

Some people post their Bible/Journal pages very regularly, some not so much, some call themselves “lurkers”, simply enjoying seeing the offerings of others. Once again I think there is a need keep it simple; it’s not for any of us to judge or second guess the motivation behind anyone else’s sharing, though we share publicly our art and our thoughts, at the heart of every post is an intensely private moment between us and our personal Lord and Saviour.

At the end of the day Jesus Himself said we should have a childlike faith, the faith of a child, or an adult such as my son Ben is simple, but, such simple faith is paradoxically also the most profound!

Ben and Claire love to do Bible Art Journaling!

One of Ben's colourful pages about Abraham

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Created in God's Image - by Martin Brocklebank

Today's blog post is written for us by Martin Brocklebank.
Martin is a writer, creative artist and an encourager, as you might have noticed from his posts in the group! 
Oh, and he also happens to be Deborah's Dad and next door neighbour! Here, he shares with us all some of his thoughts about Bible Art Journaling.

       “God is the creator. He made the whole universe,
the sun and planets, moon and stars. He made the
earth and He made you and me.”
        “Yeah, yeah I know all that.”
        “He made you and me in His image. So if God is
the Creator and we are made in the image of God,
that means we should be creative.”
        “But I’m not creative.”
        “Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy.”
        “But I can’t draw and I can’t paint. If I try they
come out like matchstick men.”
        “Oh, like L S Lowry?”
        “I never thought of that.”
        “You probably never thought that Lowry or Van
Gough started out knowing nothing about painting.
But they practiced and practiced and practiced. In fact
Van Gough painted over 300 paintings of sunflowers.
        So when you nervously take pen to paper in your
new Journaling Bible remember it’s in your GGDNA
(God Given DNA) to be creative. All we have to do is try,
try and try again.
        So let’s hear no more ”It’s not very good.” Instead
let’s hear “I’m enjoying being creative, as God intended,
and I’m getting better!”

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

What if I make a mistake? - by Michaela Turpin

What if I make a mistake?
Hi, I am Michaela, I am a joyful wife and mum of 7 children, 5 of whom are at home and I also home educate and I am also a recovering perfectionist (you will learn the significance of this statement shortly). Today I am delighted to be a guest blogger for the Bible Art Journaling UK blog and I am going to be answering the question which often gets asked, usually a bit like this – “I would love to do Bible Journaling, but I’m really worried about drawing and writing in my Bible – what if I make a mistake?”

I love to keep things real, so I’d like to begin this blog post by rephrasing that question in the way we should ask it – what happens ‘when’ I make a mistake?! I would so love to be perfect, but we live in a world that is marred by sin and perfection is currently unattainable. So, first of all we all need to let go of that unreal expectation that we are ever going to create something that is perfect– maybe you find that easy, but I still don’t. However, I take great comfort from Philippians 1:6 – “Being confident in this that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. “ In the meantime, we can aim for excellence – excellence is achievable, with practice and perseverance.

Once we choose this starting point, it already makes things easier. We can be relaxed, free and have more fun because we know that we are going to make mistakes and that we can use those mistakes to learn and take us further on that path to excellence. Also, there are some techniques and tips that can help us in making changes or adaptations, so we can still create something in the present moment that we find pleasing and brings us joy. The best bit is that in time we will get to look back on some of our past efforts and see how far we have come in our creativity and in our walk with God.

My Top tips for Dealing with Mistakes:
  1. Silence the inner critic: Yup, we all have one and we have to learn to silence and ignore it. This is a time when we need to take those thoughts captive to Christ. Try and look at what you are creating as if you were going to help a friend improve their journaling. You would point out what you loved and liked best, and maybe if they pressed you, you might suggest a little something they could do differently next time… in a kind way! So remember to pick something you love and something you can learn from for next time. It is rare to have a total disaster with nothing you like, but if that happens, don’t worry, read on and we can fix even that…

  1. Try starting off by Barntangling on pages: I love the concept of Barntangling (zentangling or doodling, but using a Bible verse to meditate) because there can be no mistakes. Even if you do something unintended it is an element of the process of meditating on the scripture and it forms part of the piece. What is not to love about that?!

  1. Pencil and paper rock: The pencil is a most important piece of equipment, as it can be used to make sweeping strokes and sketch out our ideas, before we commit with pen and we can also use an eraser to rub it out too*. Press lightly and don’t be in too much of a hurry to rub out. It can be helpful to leave a crooked line in, to show where the proper line should be. Also, be careful with rubbing out on Bible pages, as it can be easy to crease the page (but creases smooth out, anyway, so no worries).

If something goes terribly wrong and you really hate it, or you have done a painting or pen design which has bled through, then you can cut a piece of paper to size and simply cover it up! This is also another way of journaling. Prepare your artwork and then stick it in. Obviously, you need to be careful not to stick your pages together and careful not to get glue on your journaling ￿

  1. Embrace the mistake and make it part of the piece or do a mini cover up: You can just leave the mistake, if you want to and it works ok (see Sarah’s blog post on how she used a bleed-through as the beginning of her next piece). And, remember that you don’t have to point it out to anyone or apologise for it either. Alternatively, I have covered up bloops with little flowers or hearts, added words in creative ways – put a sticker over something unwanted, changed a letter into another letter etc. Remember, we are not aiming for perfect we are aiming for pleasing – for us. We don’t have to show it to anyone if we don’t want to. It’s great if you share your work to encourage others, but you don’t have to. Sometimes if I feel less than happy with a piece I’ve done, I just close up the Bible and leave it be. Most often, when I come back to look at it later, I can appreciate it much more and even start to like it. After all, for me, Bible Journaling is about the verse I’ve illustrated or written out and my ultimate goal is to deepen my walk with God, although it is pleasing to create a little bit of beauty to behold.

  1. Practice builds confidence: I really would encourage you just to have a go in your Bible and use your actual journaling as your practice for improving. However, I came across a really neat idea recently whilst learning knitting and I thought it would translate well for Bible journaling. I have been doing a DVD knitting tutorial by Lucy Neatby and as part of that we actually DELIBERATELY make mistakes and practice correcting them. One of my big fears in knitting was dropping stitches. Well, when I started deliberately dropping them and practising picking them back up again, I realised that dropped stitches were no big deal. Most Bibles have a few spare pages, well why not make some deliberate mistakes and practice correcting them? Hopefully that will give you the confidence, that it really is no big deal to make a mistake.

I hope that I have given you confidence to have a go at Bible journaling and to find joy in creating and even in making mistakes! Just like in life, sometimes we can get our best learning from our errors and embracing our brokenness. Papa God has endless grace for us, which enables us to live guilt-free and ultimately joy-filled lives. My hope is that you can apply that concept of grace and mercy to your own creative process and enjoy having fun with your Bible.

Be encouraged

*NB: if you are going to do a design with coloured pencils you have 2 choices –1) go over the graphite pencil with pen and then rub out the pencil outline before you use colouring pencils or alternatively, 2) use a light coloured colour pencil to sketch in the first place. If you use a light colour with light pressure, you can usually rub out the line. Unfortunately, graphite and coloured pencils don’t mix well together, I think it’s something to do with the different leads.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Greetings all, this week I'm coming to you in my role of roving reporter!

Saturday November 7th saw our second Bible Journaling get together at Winsford salvation Army. You always hope that your numbers will go up and I'm delighted to report that our numbers did indeed increase! We were delighted to welcome Jean, Sarah, Yvonne, Cynthia and Jacky to our ranks.

We are blessed by the diversity of our group; our youngest member Hannah is just eleven, we have ben and Claire who have Downs Syndrome and the rest of us range in age, artistic background, experience and talent!

Our time together began with Ben opening in prayer, followed by a thought for the day from Jo Boardman. Her challenge for us all was to find the courage to step outside our comfort zones.

Her challenge was soon put to the test! Sarah Anderson generously shared her time, talents, inspiration and encouragement and led those who wished to in an excursion into "play". We let go of our feelings of inadequacy, perfectionism and lack of imagination and had fun using gelli plates, brayers (a roller by any other name!) acrylic paints, stencils and leaves.

Our tentative first foray into releasing our creativity led to all achieving a final piece of art which we were satisfied with.

What I find most exciting about these opportunities to journal together is hearing the chatter and laughter as people who may have only met face to face that morning share their lives; hopes, worries, words of encouragement and support.

Though the lives we return to may be very different we come together as friends, united by our shared faith, our love of the Lord, our love for His Word and our hearts to know Him more.
What is just as exciting to know is that these groups are now meeting together all around the world. Whether in a large group, a small group, couples or even alone I suspect that someone somewhere is worshipping God through Bible Journaling every second of every twenty four hours.

Ben spoke of revival in his prayer and in many ways I believe that Bible Journaling has indeed brought revival in the hearts and lives of all those who have found this way to pressing in closer to God. Bible Journaling is the epitome of inclusivity; young children, teenagers; boys, girls; men, women; artist, writers; people with special needs, all languages, all denominations. All are welcome, all have something precious to share.

For anyone contemplating setting up a group, to quote Nike, "just do it!" Don't get caught up in over planning and worrying; take that step out of your comfort zone. You don't have to be an expert, you don't have to be the greatest artist; you just have to trust and take that step of faith.
                          Where two or three are gathered...
And finally, our journaling for the day, and of course food for the body!