Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Sparrows and Tip-Ins - by Deborah Gregg

One of the beautiful things with Bible Art Journaling is that God can use it to remind us of words He has already spoken to us previously. Because God's Word is living and active, it still continues to speak to us, on an ongoing basis, no matter how long ago it was that we first heard...or journaled!

I wanted to share a little testimony with you, that I hope may encourage you! Earlier this week I asked Father to encourage me. Simple prayer. (If you need encouragement - try it - and wait to see how He answers!)

On Thursday morning, I felt God reminded me of this encouraging verse, which I'd put into some artwork a little while ago:
'So don't be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.' Matthew 10v31

I remembered that I'd also completed a little watercolour sketch of this other verse in my Bible Art Journal, some time ago:
I was then reminded of the lovely song 'Sparrows' by Jason Gray (look it up on YouTube!), which I hadn't heard for months but played on repeat on Thursday morning while getting ready, the song stayed with me all day!

God loves to surprise us, and delight us, and so many times He confirms His Word to us, out of His infinite goodness to us. 

On Friday evening, at our Come Closer ladies evening in MK, in her talk our lovely speaker shared this very same verse, and even played the song 'Sparrows' by Jason Gray! I was so incredibly blessed and encouraged! 

So I decided to quickly journal some of the lyrics to the song 'Sparrow', and add them as a tip-in to my old journal, which is a spiral bound A5 Sketch book. 
Note: A 'Tip-In' is an extra page, it could be a piece or scrap of paper, vellum, tracing paper, envelope etc that you attach to a page in your journal or Bible, usually anchored on one side only so that the page can be 'tipped' or flipped over. I'll put a few photos of examples of 'Tip-Ins' using Washi tape at the end of this blog post for you! :-)
These are the same A5 spiral bound journals that I use at Bible Art Journaling for Beginners Workshops, so there may be a few of you out there who might be interested to learn how to add in extra pages/cards/envelopes etc into your spiral-bound journals. It's a bit fiddly but quite straightforward when you know how! 

First I chose the paper I wanted to use as the tip-in. I decided to use a page from a retro 1980s notepad I still had lurking, and thought I'd keep it really simple and just write the lyrics using black Micron pens (05 and 02).

Then I placed it in position, and put small pencil marks next to the centre of each bit of wire spiral binding. I hope you can just about see the marks in this photo:
Then I punched a hole at every pencil mark, at the same depth. To do this I used a 'Crop-A-Dile' craft punch that I have. You can use an ordinary hole punch, though it may be a little bit trickier to see where you are punching (tip - try taking the back off, turn it upside down and punch one hole at a time!).
 Then I took a pair of scissors and carefully cut through each pencil line through to each punched circle:
(this was a tricky photo to take!)

Then I simply slipped the page into position, gently working the paper around each wire section of the spiral binding.
All done!

 And as you can see, it flips over easily to show the other side!
(Anyone else have retro notepaper like this?)
I hope this might be helpful to some of you. You can also use this technique to add pages, envelopes, cards, bookmarks, business cards, notes etc into a filofax, hole-punched binder, or spiral bound diary.

And of course, there's the more usual way of adding in tip-ins, using Washi tape! This is really versatile and with so many lovely Washi's available you can always find one to match your pages! 

You can always go back and add more, even to a 'finished' page, by using Tip-Ins. They are especially useful if you've already journaled a page in your Bible, but want to journal a different verse from the same page. 
After all, God always continues to speak through His living, active Word - we just need to pay attention and listen....
I've just added a few examples below of different types of Tip-Ins in my Bible, that may hopefully encourage and inspire you to have a go!

(cue 'Take Hart Gallery' music!)
Tip - In using Washi-tape, used to add an extra 'Psalm' into my Bible
Tip-In using Washi tape, attached a small pretty envelope

Tip-In using patterned Washi tape, to add this extra artwork I had prepared on some deli paper, with acrylic background and calligraphy pen & ink (that I'd never be able to use directly in my Bible due to bleed through!)
Different sort of Tip In, using a simple paperclip with a little piece of narrow ribbon attached. 

Tip-In attached with Washi tape, artwork is simple watercolours splodged on tracing paper, with Micron Pens to do the lettering
You might like to know that framed prints of my 'Sparrow' Picture (in the first photo) are available from www.faithtreasury.com  
And 'Sparrow' prints - mounted but without frames - are also available, but not yet on Etsy, so please message me for details if interested!  deborah@faithtreasury.com 

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Reflections on Grief - by Anita Harrison

Do you like to share with others? I do but usually only when I'm feeling confident in my own abilities, when everything feels right in the world; but what when it doesn't? That's the exact position I'm coming to you from today.

I recently lost a very dear friend and it's changed everything. It's changed me. The first few weeks of loss were hard but I sort of bumbled along in a numb haze. Now that feeling has worn off and reality has kicked in. This is my life now and there's such a pressure to give in or give up but I know that's just the grief talking.

I'd be happy to share about a difficult time in my life and how I got through it but in this case, in losing my wonderful friend, I'm still very much going through it and vulnerable.

This means that I don't have all the answers and I certainly don't know how things are going to work out. I have good days and bad days. However, I do know the man who holds the future.

A couple of practical things that I'm learning. Don't expect to feel normal or put a pressure on yourself to do so. Be kind to yourself. Grief is exhausting, so find time to rest. Take pleasure in God's creation; a gentle walk observing all God has designed can be so rewarding. Take time to just be.

A few years back I wrote this poem which is blessing me once again, as I seek to use it as a prayer.

Whatever you are going through right now, whatever troubles are crossing your mind, I pray that you will find all you need in our Heavenly Father. He loves and cares for us deeply. His grace is sufficient for us.

The Oceans song and its words inspired me to draw this picture recently. I believe it fits in well with what I've shared.

Note from the Bible Art Journaling UK Team - we'd especially like to thank Anita for sharing such a difficult and painful part of life, with such honesty and grace. We believe this is a timely word to many, as this is something that we all walk through at different times in our lives. If anyone would like prayer support from the Bible Art Journaling team, please send a private message to Deborah Gregg, Sarah Anderson, Claire Graham or Lyndsey Campbell, or contact someone you know, either in the Bible Art Journaling UK group, or of course a friend at your church family. The body of Christ is one family and we are here to support each other, so know that you are not alone. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

#31 days of adoration, Lettering a verse a day by Sarah Anderson

Last year I successfully completed the #100dayproject over on Instagram.  You choose to do something for 100 successive days and I chose to art journal everyday.  

I still can't believe I stuck to it as I'm not usually great at these things.  

I also tried #30daysofbiblelettering but only managed about a week.  

One of the big differences that affected the success and failure of these two challenges was that I always had the minimum amount of time to complete the art journal task - 10 mins, but not always the lettering, which would take at least 30mins.  I could choose to spend longer on the art journal but couldn't minimise the time on the lettering (bigger page as well as higher expectations of illustrating verse or spending significant time on fancy lettering).

This January I have challenged myself to art journal everyday.  I find it great for my emotional well-being and I feel so relaxed after doing it. I decided that I also wanted to have another go at lettering a verse a day.  This is partly because my journaling bible isn't with me at the moment (more on that next month) and I didn't really want to start a new one! I also wanted something from the bible to 'ponder' each day.

Two things have kept me on track so far.  I planned to just write out the verse in a diary, with a nice fountain pen.  This only takes a few minutes, so is achievable everyday, but if I have more time I can embellish the pages.  The challenge involves a lot of Psalms so I'm also reading the whole Psalm (usually in the Passion Translation) the verse is taken from.

The second thing keeping me on track is a few verses I read in The Passion Translation from 2 Peter 1 that have had a huge impact on my thinking.

God's Generous Grace
"Everything we could ever need for life and complete devotion to God has already
been deposited in us by His divine power.  For all this was lavished upon us through
the rich experience of knowing Him who has called us by name and invited us to
come to Him through a glorious manifestation of His goodness.  As a result of this, He
has given you magnificent promises that are beyond all price, so that through the power 
of these tremendous promises you can experience partnership with the divine nature,
by which you have escaped the corrupt desires that are of the world.

Faith's Ladder of Virtue
So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness,
and to goodness add understanding,
and to understanding add the strength of self-control (inner strength).
and to self-control add patient endurance,
and to patient endurance add godliness,
and to godliness  add..."
Since these virtues are already planted deep within, and you possess them
in abundant supply, they will keep you from being inactive or fruitless in
your pursuit of knowing Jesus Christ more intimately...."
2 Peter 1:3-8
[my emphasis]

I don't have to 'try hard' to have self control or self discipline, I already have it!!  God has already given me the strength I need to do the things I find hard but are good for me (like healthy eating!!).

So a combination of sensible expectations of how long I can spend on something to always ensure it happens in my day, and the knowledge that God has given me the inner strength to have the 'umph' to both art journal daily (for my emotional and mental well being) and read/write out part of the bible daily (for my spiritual/mental well being), is proving successful.

I really encourage you to take hold of these verses and know that you have all that you need to be who God made you to be, without striving, but resting in the truth.

I'm working in a passport sized traveler's notebook.   Just holding it gives me pleasure which means I want to work in it (another means of encouraging myself to write a verse a day).  For the month of January I am using Sara Hagerty's (from @everybitterthingissweet on Instagram) list of verses on adoration.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Share with Joy! by Tracy Southam

Comparison Is the Thief of Joy - Theodore Roosevelt
I have always enjoyed arts and crafts, excited by the new and keen to keep adding to my craft skills and abilities. As part of my journey I have been fortunate to meet some wonderful people who share their skills. I have also used my own gifts to teach and inspire others.  

At no point do I profess to be an expert in any of the crafts I enjoy and have no desire to use them to sell myself as such. I do what I do for relaxation, for enjoyment and usually to bless others with what I make.

As part of my craft journey I love to get inspiration from Pinterest, Facebook, craft pages, Blogs and other groups and love the creative buzz that occurs.  

It takes courage to share what you make and and create and the side that frustrates me with these creative spaces is the people who are frightened to share what they make as they feel it does not compare to others abilities. 

If God had made us all the same there would not be the wonder in the world he created and trust me most of the "expert" crafters don't always have successes with what they make and had to start somewhere.

"God made you exactly who he wants you to be. Seek him with all of your heart and become the best you" 1 Thessalonians

I felt driven to write this blog post after doing the following journal page called 'I Quit' which was an Illustrated Faith printable (www.illustratedfaith.com). This was inspired by Matthew 11:28 ESV:
 "Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."

I also created the following page from 1 Peter 5v7 "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you"

My wish for you all, friends, is to be proud of the you God created and to share the work you create for him with Joy (if you want to of course)! There may be people who don't like it but you are doing it for your time with God and for the occasional person who doesn't like it there will be another 2 who are inspired to do something new so........

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

A Word in season...Slow Journaling by Lindsey Campbell

During my journaling journey, I have tried lots of ways of connecting with God’s word and meditating through art, but sometimes we can get “bogged down” or even lose our creativity.
In these times, as well as leaning on the lovely work of other journalers (thank you, Bible Art Journaling UK!), many people turn to “quick journaling” – short pieces, taking five minutes or so, and often with limited space.

I’m also finding, though, that sometimes we need to focus on a message over a long time. Many of us adopt a word or verse for a whole year, or a “season” at least. This is not the place for quick journaling.

Instead, I have discovered “slow journaling” – that has helped me through a season of my life. Working on a single piece of Bible Art over several weeks, and having the unfinished piece on display to constantly remind me of the verse, has helped me to focus on the words – cling to them, apply them, pray about them.

I started with the “word” I needed to focus on and drafted it, wrote it and flooded it with colour – the beauty of this technique is that you can use very slow-drying media (such as Pebeo Prisme).

More words came later…..followed by the start of a background.

Another day, the background was smudged and watered…..

And a week later some fruity colour was printed using bubble wrap…..

The “season” is not yet over for this verse, as I adjust to my life changing direction, and so the piece is not complete.

Some more words have been added, but still the unfinished piece sits on display – an ongoing reminder that I am also a “work in progress”  but that God – the ultimate artist has not finished with me yet either.