Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Illuminated Journaling: Avoiding the Miry Bog

One of the things that I love the MOST about journaling in my Bible is that the Word is always freshly applied to my heart.

I was studying Psalms 40 a few weeks ago - and so totally identified with the Psalmist when he said, "I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog and set my feet upon a rock making my steps secure."

When I was first working through these verses, I was so very grateful that God hears my cry...and that He acts on my behalf...He draws me up...out of the miry bog! Have you ever found yourself in a miry bog?

My face still gets twisted up remembering the SMELL of a miry bog that I found myself in as a child. I wandered a bit too deep into the woods near a family friend's farm...chasing butterflies with their hound dog. The hound dog had enough sense to not keep going when the ground got squishy...I however, did not! That place STUNK to high heaven (as my grandmother used to say). It was filled with rotted vegetation and it seemed to grab my feet and hold them in place. The more I struggled to free myself - the higher the mud and the muck oozed up my legs.

And the friendly hound dog? Oh he ran off - either continuing after the butterflies or just AWAY from the stinky, muddy, miry bog.

I wanted OUT! But I wasn't gonna get out on my own! I can't say that I exercised patience and "waited" upon my rescue. If I recall correctly - I pitched a fit...that no one was there to witness - but I pitched it none the less. Eventually, someone noticed that I was gone...and came in search...and while I was never in serious danger...it certainly caused me to be much more cautious in my future adventures - always seeking out firm ground and forever wary of finding myself in a miry bog.

So - while I learned a lesson about avoiding squishy, stinking ground in the woods...I have to confess that I have found myself in a few spiritual miry bogs in my life. They were just as stinky as the real thing. And in most cases, I had NO ABILITY to get myself out of them. The truth is - most of those spiritual miry bogs grabbed me when I was chasing after some illusive "thing" that caught all of my attention and I totally forgot to keep my eye out for "squishy" ground and my feet firmly planted on the solid ground of the Word and the guidance of my Heavenly Father.

This whole reflection caused me to want to create a journal post to remind me of those times that He has rescued me...and put my feet back on the firm path of His will for me.

And yesterday, I finally got around to working on that post. I was sitting in an airport waiting for ANOTHER delayed/cancelled flight - and decided to pull out my bible and sketch out my post...I must admit it was an act of my will to focus on the Word rather than my irritation at yet another inconvenient delay on a trip filled with all kinds of crazy travel dilemmas.

And that is when it hit me...a fresh application of this scripture. I can AVOID miry bogs by waiting patiently upon the Lord. He can save me from even getting NEAR to them. By stopping and inclining my heart to HIM - He picked me up out of the path that was headed to the bog (I was so close to being pouty, irritated, ungrateful and frustrated)..and by pulling out my water brush and watercolor pencils, my feet moved off the squishy ground and by the time my flight was called - I was standing firmly on ground that was blessed and even had a bit of an attitude of gratitude! I could never have gotten THERE by myself. Thank You God!

Supplies: Watercolors, Pitt and Micron Pens, Prismacolor Pencils, Distress Ink (used as watercolors for the background).


I've gotten several emails from folks asking if it is too late to participate in my Illuminated Journaling Workshops...and the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT! They are self paced, and you can begin whenever is convenient for you - and continue working through them for as long as you like. I have also set up a  Facebook Group called Illuminated Journaling Workshop Community. It is a closed group - but when you sign up for one of my Workshops, I will send you an invitation. It is another way for us to interact while you are working through your class - AND you can interact with other students and get inspiration and encouragement from them too!

I have some fun things to share this week...so hopefully, I will be back soon. Hope you are having a blessed week!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Illuminated Journaling: Love Signs

When I was in high school I had an opportunity to take a class in sign language. It changed the course of my Senior year...as I ended up having a group of girlfriends that were deaf. They graciously shared their world with me...and my world was expanded beyond anything that I could have imagined.

You haven't lived until you attend a dance where the music is too loud even for your teenage ears...but everyone can dance because they can feel the rumble of the bass! One of my favorite memories from high school.

It has been a long time since I have needed to sign...but there are certain words/signs that are still present in my memory. "I Love You" is one of those! I almost can't hear the words without seeing the sign.

When I first visualized this page, I was just going to do a finger with a string on it...but when I sat down to draw - I kept seeing the sign for I love you! I ended up thinking it was more appropriate than just the finger with the string...1 Corinthians 13 is about remembering what love is...patient, kind, does not envy or boast, is not arrogant or rude, does not insist on it's own way. With Valentines Day just around the corner...it is good to remember what God says love is really all about!

I've joked in the past, that every hand that I draw has a strangely masculine form to them! I've been practicing - and I feel like this hand doesn't look totally manly...see practice does help! I am glad it doesn't look too "guy-ish" - but know that I can see the resemblance to ET's long bulbous finger! LOL  Ok...a bit more practice is in order.

I colored the hand with just colored pencils...and have included it in the sessions in my Illuminated Journaling Workshop: 101 Techniques. It is all about layering...and I would love to share with you what I learned in the process.  There is still time to pre-register for either or both of my Workshops...it saves you a little money - and you will be ready to go on the 15th!  Here is a link:


Click Here To Learn More

Supplies: Prismacolored Pencils/Gamsol, Distress Ink, Micron and Pitt Pens, Signo White Gel Pen

Hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day!



Here are the basic tools and supplies I use when I journal:


Friday, February 06, 2015

Illuminated Journaling: Toe Tapping Praise


When I began thinking about how I wanted to document Isaiah 66:1 where God declares, "Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool" I totally saw this pair of chucks in my mind...and even though I kept trying to find another option...there just was none...so I thought I would take that image and the inspiration from the style of another Bible Journaler, Lisa Rutherford-Montgomery and go with it!

I was teaching at a worship conference several years ago and one of the other teachers was talking about worshiping in the midst of our difficult times. He said, "Praise in the hard times is one of the purest ways we can tell God we trust Him." "Praise in the hard times reminds our hearts that our future is in God's hands, not ours." and "Praise in the hard times, makes God's heart glad!"

Great teaching, right!?!?! And then he told a story...and I have remembered the image that he created with that story ever since. He said, "God told us in Isaiah 66, that heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool...and I recently made a connection between that and another scripture found in Acts 16. This is the story of Paul and Silas singing hymns of praise at midnight after they had been thrown into prison. As they were singing and praising God, there was an earthquake...!!!"
And then the teacher said, "Now I don't know if this is true or not - because the Bible doesn't tell us...but I couldn't help but think that when God heard the praises of Paul and Silas - His toe began to tap...and the more they sang in joyful abandon - the gladder His heart got and the faster His toe tapped...to the point that the earth began to shake beneath His feet resting on it as His footstool!"

Now don't get me wrong...I'm not sharing this story because I think it is where the earthquake came from...I'm sharing it because it has become a visual memory that reminds me when I find myself in a difficult place that the very best thing I can do is PRAISE GOD. Circumstances should not dictate my praise.


Perhaps that is why I couldn't imagine another illustration for this verse other than the "chucks" - they just seemed like the kind of shoes that would be "tapping" along with a song of praise. One of the things that I love the most about journaling in my Bible is that the visuals are tied to my study of His Word, and when I see the picture - I remember the TRUTH that He taught me when we met on the pages of His Word. Our minds think in pictures...and the pictures and words and images we add to the pages of our Bibles reinforce our memories...and I bet THAT makes God's toe tap a bit too!


Illuminated Journaling Workshops

I'm excited to tell you that I have developed a series of workshops that focus on Illuminated Journaling. You can pre-register for them now (and save a few $$). To learn more you can click here: Illuminated Journaling Workshops.





The tools and supplies I used:

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Illuminated Journaling: Paper Piecing and Giveaway!

I have loved the Julie Nutting mixed media dolls since I laid eyes on the first one! I'm sure it is the little girl in me that LOVE playing dress up with her paper dolls...but I could serious use one of her dolls on a project a week and not get tired of them...so you gotta know that I was a bit giddy to find a way to use Zoe on one of my pages in my journaling Bible!

I have been working on the content for a College and Career Women's Retreat that I will be teaching in a few weeks. I am excited that we will be doing an interesting combination of in-depth Bible study times and then Illuminated Journaling times inter-mixed. My own journaling comes out of my study times - so will LOVE seeing how God meets with these precious ladies on the pages of their Bibles.

But I digress...As I was saying, I have been working on the messages I will be sharing during the study time - and found myself focusing on what it means to have Biblical humility. As a younger woman - I think this is one area of my Christian walk that I struggled with the most...and not for the reasons you might think! LOL

I can't point to any one teaching that led me down this path - but, I KNOW that I firmly believed that being humble meant not thinking highly of myself...specifically, I thought it meant thinking that I was unworthy. But somewhere along the way I took this perspective to a point of some "stinkin' thinkin'."  It was a strange combination of the Dana Carvey/Mike Meyers' in Wayne's World chanting "we're not worthy" and Robin William's quote in Dead Poet's Society "we're all food for worms, lads!"

I no longer define biblical humility this way.

Don't get me wrong! I KNOW I am a sinner. I KNOW I received a gift of unmerited Grace when Jesus died for my sins...in that sense I am NOT WORTHY. But by His death for ME...for YOU - Jesus said "I love you so much that I was willing to take your place!" Wow...tears on my face.

But as I came to terms with the fact that Jesus said, "I've made you worthy," I knew I needed to dig into the Word and find out what GOD says about humility...what He desires from us...how HE says we should view ourselves. I found perhaps my FAVORITE verse on humility in Romans 12:3.

"For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned."

Ahh....there is the key...we shouldn't think more highly of ourselves "than we OUGHT to think." When we see ourselves as GOD sees us - we know that our gifts are from Him...our ability to do right, comes from Him; our strength, wisdom and compassion, come from Him. But that doesn't make me no better than a worm...it makes me BLESSED!

I began to use this phrase: "Do not think less of yourself, rather - think of yourself less!" I believe that true Biblical humility challenges me to use the good gifts God has given me for HIS glory - not mine.  To help others - not just myself. To make a difference in this - not just a splash.

As I was working in Isaiah 66,  I read:

"Thus says the Lord:
Heaven is my throne and earth is my footstool; 
what is the house that you would build for me, 
and what is the place of my rest.

"All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the LORD.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word."




So many things to love in those two verses...the picture of God in His Heaven and earth as His footstool!?!?! So love that image...and I have already sketched some ideas based on this visual...and therein lies the HILARITY of this whole post.

While these verses in Isaiah do address humility to some extent, I intended to use my quote on a journal entry on Romans 12...but just as I was FINISHING this page, I realized I had done the whole thing on the page in Isaiah! Hmmmm! Not off by a page...a chapter....or book...oh no, I'm not even in the NEW TESTAMENT!



Not gonna sweat it! Will just move my footstool image over to the other side of the page...and move on! I got the benefit of my studying time...and I like the whole page...so I'm happy it is done and I refuse to give it a second thought - but thought you might want to know things don't always go as planned.

Here is the tutorial/process video I did to share how I used these cute Julie Nutting stamps and dies to paper piece this cute Zoe girl.



I am super excited that I have an extra set to share with one lucky winner! To enter - head over to my website on the Giveaways page for Illuminated Journaling....and enter! I'm using Rafflecopter to manage all the entries so that's why I need you to hop over there....thanks for helping me out with this little experiment. I will draw a winner on February 15th. Good luck!




Click here to enter!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Yesterday Ended Last Night


Don't you love it when the pastor says something  almost "in passing" that hits you like a TON of bricks! It wasn't even his main point! But it was definitely the point the God intended me to hear...and just maybe...He might like for it to cross your ears too!

It referenced Philippians 3:13-18, you know where Paul is talking and says, "Forgetting what lies behind, I press on to the race set before me!" And then he said it..."Yesterday ended last night!"

Ummmm yeah! I waste so much energy and time thinking and rethinking things that happened "yesterday!" And isn't it just like God to reinforce His message within the first 24 hours. I was talking this evening to a young mom - a single mother of three while we both waited for our take out dinners to be packed up - and we were watching a large group of people who came in after us....and they just COULD NOT make up their minds what to order...and my new friend and I were laughing just a little bit, because we both walked in telling them what we wanted! No muss...no fuss!

And this sweet little Mama says..."oh yeah...during the day, I am a drill sergeant...do this; I want that; No, the BLUE one; Yes I'll be happy to help with that! But when I get in bed and am still for a minute my brain explodes! I replay conversations and analyze what I wish I had said. Or I ponder choices I need to make for my kiddos and am SOOO wishy washy! Before I know it, its morning and I feel like I haven't figured anything out!" Her words could have been mine!

Boy oh boy! I am a "processor." And I haven't really thought about the fact that all of that "processing" is keeping part of my mind and heart rooted and grounded in the past!

I'm sure the rest of the sermon was good...but God had my attention and I didn't want to miss a thing that He had to say to me....so I pulled a pad of paper out and just listened to Him speak to my heart...and quickly jotted notes so I could remember.

Here are three of the things that spoke to me about this simple phrase" "Yesterday ended last night!

1. This isn't a "free pass" on unconfessed sin. If there is something that has happened and I haven't made it right - first with confession and repentance and then by doing whatever is appropriate to the situation - then what is going on in my head is CONVICTION and doesn't end with the setting of the sun...it is the Holy Spirit lovingly calling me to repentance...and the quicker I step into obedience, the quicker the sun can go down on my sins of yesterday.

2. All the energy I put into thinking and rethinking ROBS me of energy that I should be expending on the "road before me." I know you've heard this - "Delayed obedience is DISOBEDIENCE." Perhaps for the first time, I realized that focusing on the path BEHIND me instead of the one BEFORE me is just flat out disobedience. And that is just unacceptable!!!!!

3. And the one that caught me off guard is this: When I insist on analyzing things that have happened in the past in order to determine a solution, I am displacing God's role in our relationship. I'm, in effect, saying to Him..."I don't need your help....I've got this!" Wow...that is arrogance and pride all rolled up in the blanket of idiocy! Do I REALLY think that I can come up with a better solution than God?!?!?! Of course, when asked in that straight forward manner I would fall all over myself denying that I would EVER think that...much less give it voice! But my actions speak louder than words...in fact they just SCREAM that I think that God needs my help. Yeah...that is the EXACT moment when that ton of bricks fell on my THICK HEAD!

Ouch! Enough to give a girl a headache!

Here is my illustration that I will use to remind myself of just how futile and silly it is for me to live in "Yesterday rather than TODAY!"

I chose the sunrise over the mountains because of a couple of scriptures:

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:23-24

When I let "Yesterday End Last Night," I gain His fresh and new mercies  in full measure in the morning which is EXACTLY what I need. And,

 "I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?" Psalm 121:1

I don't want to be arrogant...I want to be grateful.
I don't want to divide my attention...I want to be laser focused on God's plan.
I don't want to hinder God's mercies...I want to be the recipient of EVERY blessing God wants to bestow on me.

How about you?

I have created a free printable if you would like to create your own version of this page.... You can find it on my website here: Printables

I have also created two new Illuminated Journaling Workshops...and am launching a whole area on my website dedicated to Illuminated Journaling... You can learn more here.

Thanks for sticking with me on this one - I wanted to share it with you while it was still fresh in my mind.