"Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education." ~ Charlotte Mason

Monday, February 9, 2015

"Layers" DLP2015 Week 6

February's Theme for The Documented Life Project is:  Layers You Will Love!    The art challenge for February 7th was: When Not to Stop!, The journal prompt was Don't Stop Till You Get Enough!

I followed the prompt as best I could.  I didn't have the tools they used so I need to improvise.  I layered acrylic paints in layers starting with the blue followed by tan, green and white.  I used a baby wipe and my fingers to do some blending.  Once I was done I thought it looked a lot like how our earth looks from the International Space Station, so I decided to make some moons in their various stages, the sun and a couple planets.  I then used a stencil I made and added some of the stars in whichever way struck my fancy.  I went over some of them with a fine black pen, and added some squiggly lines here and there near the other more linear star patterns.

I am not super crazy about how it turned out but it certainly is a lot of layers!  It also gave me an idea of how to put some layers on and then add some mixed media techniques on top.  I tried to use layers and shading to make my space theme look more 3D.  I enjoyed that very much! :)  I love blending techniques and mixing colours.

Space theme for "Layers"

Words with Friends: DLP2015 Week Four

Continuing on with the January theme of The Blank Page and how to face it the prompt for week four of The Documented Life Project was Writing, the journal prompt was Words with Friends.  The idea was to use your writing in combination with art.  I find it very interesting how everyone interprets the prompts.  There is so much creativity expressed through each person's unique perspective.  I love looking through them on the Facebook page.

I decided I wanted to learn how to do a sunset and then drop some silhouettes onto the page.  I choose birds and did some free hand sketching with them.  They were each doing their own thing but flying together.  It reminds me of my friends, all so unique and different, on their own paths but still together!  I put a little girl with her puppy, it reminded me of Miley, who I have often walk in the sun with, whether it is early morning or at dusk.

I noticed a fair amount of people did the writing right on their pictures but I wasn't keen on doing that with this particular piece.  I left some room on the side to write some quotes in cursive (I enjoy cursive writing).  I coated it with some yellow water colour and then took a fine tipped black pen to add my quotes in.  I pulled from various sources.  I had most of them in my commonplace notebook so I looked them up and copied from there.    I love C.S. Lewis quotes so most of them are from him, along with Helen Keller and Martin Luther King Junior.

I am pleased with the way this turned out!  It's one of my favorites so far.
I let it dry before I put a wash on it to 'set' the picture back and make it look hazy.

Finished it off with the water colour and quotes.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Struggle with Insomnia

I have always had some difficulty sleeping, ever since I can remember.  But the last few years a noticeable pattern has begun to emerge.  The winter is particularly difficult for me, during these months I experience severe bouts of insomnia.  It's the type of insomnia that makes it hard to even function.  I really thought about this as the summer turned into fall.   So I decided this year, I would be proactive and take steps to take care of myself during this time.  I tend to be the type of person who just copes and gets on with life.  There is still school to be done, meals to make, programs to attend, chores to be done - so I just do them.  My children notice me short on the patience but all in all, I just do what needs to be done.  Most often I suffer in silence, I didn't want to approach it that way this year.  I wanted to look at it holistically - not just from the physical side.

Don't misunderstand - I realize I must do what I can physically.  Here are some of the things I am doing:

- 2000 iu of vitamin D per day
- on a good fish oil
- on some  magnesium
- a jaunt outside, particularly when the sun is shinning
- lots and lots of water; lemon water is best
- epsom salt baths
- deep breathing techniques before bed
- limit screen time before bed

These are good things to do, combined all together, they appear to be helping.  I added a couple as the season has progressed.  December was especially brutal for the insomnia.  It was just so bad and I was thankful for my husband being home for most of that month.

When you loose sleep, it is not only physically exhausting but it's mentally debilitating too.  In all the sources of information, I have come across, I haven't seen a whole lot about that.  The information tends to be more about how to alleviate the physical part of the problem.  Honestly, though, there is no quick fix for insomnia.  It's not easily solved.  I have struggled with it long enough to understand - it's a very long walk.  As I considered this more, I knew I had to approach this time of struggle in a far different way emotionally.

I prayed a lot about it.  I prayed for it to be taken from me but so far, it hasn't happened. :) So I feel a bit like Paul, it's that thorn, it's that time when Christ becomes more and He is truly my strength.  I prayed God would help me find a way through it then.

In a society where everything is so quick, so readily available, I knew that the temptation would be to just spend time online, with social media outlets.  When I am so tired it would be easy to indulge.  I needed something peaceful, something to still my mind not agitate it or fill it with loads upon loads of information.  :) I also needed to give myself permission to take special care of myself during this time.   So with those things in mind this is what I have done to take care of myself during this time.

- spend quiet time reading/praying in the morning
- drink my tea or coffee (while it's hot!)
- indulge in the past time of letter writing (this also helps me keep in contact with people when I don't feel like I can handle conversations on the phone or a social networking site)
- write in my common place notebook
- read poetry and other beautiful things
- take lovely pictures of good moments
- limit the amount of activities I have going.  This was essential, I struggled last year with doing other things because I was exhausted, making driving or participation in these activities difficult to cope with.
- do something I find very enjoyable.  For me this has been art.  I am not fantastic at it but I sure love creating and enjoy learning how to do different techniques.  I am taking an art class, and am also taking part in The Documented Life Project.   This is essentially a year long art project in the form of a journal.  I look forward to this every week. :)

These things have helped me more then I can express.  I may not be getting stellar sleep but I am learning to find enjoyment and rest through other means.  I have also learned to be gentle with myself.   I can't be all things right now, it has been okay to take a step back and sow seeds of rest.  I have come to think of this time as one in which I am hibernating, still growing but in different ways. :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Colour Wheel: DLP2015 Week 3

I have really looked forward to this each week.  Working with the theme for January: "The blank page and how to face it", the art challenge for the Documented Life Project was:  "The Colour Wheel".   The journal prompt was a quote by Gerogia O'Keeffe "I found I could say things with colour and shape that I couldn't say any other way."  My heart resonates with this quote.  I feel like art gives voice to my soul to express my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions, my passions and all those things I love and hold dear.

I wanted to do something bright and colourful.  In keeping with my goal to learn new art techniques, I again, used a tutorial to help me create this flower across my page.  I just love the colours and background.  Most of all, I loved that I learned how to create something new.
A vibrant flower to bring colour and cheer to my day.
I decided to catalogue my water colours on the other half of my page.  I have to say, I enjoyed this very much.  It was nice to see how all the colours looked on paper.  It gave me a good idea about pigment as well sampling how to work with them a little bit.  It is so bright and cheerful too!  I will journal over top of them throughout the week in some sort of fashion.  Not sure how yet.

Loving this time of learning and settling in.

Water colour palates.

Working with Gesso! DLP2015 Week 2

I am behind on blogging about my Documented Life Prompts!  I have two to do today.  I think I will need to put them in their own section on my blog though.  I will have fun going back at the end of the year to see the progression.  January's theme for the DLP 2015 is "The blank page, and how to face it!"  The art prompt was gesso and the journal prompt:  "The beginning is always today" ~ Mary Shelley.

I used gesso to give texture to my background, mixed it with some light blue and hues of pink while working it into the page.  I used a tutorial to create my branches and bird.  I like the way it turned out!  I absolutely love painting birds.  They are my favorite nature selection to work with.

My little cardinal sitting on his branch.

I added in quotes that spoke to me.  I used the other half of the first page of this lay out to journal in throughout the week.  I enjoyed opening my page each morning to see him waiting there! :)

Morning coffee with some reading and writing. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Peaceful Retreat, Times of Refreshing. (Hibernation Week One)

This past week has been an amazing time of peaceful learning and moments of quiet reflection.

At the end of November my friend asked me if I wanted to sign up for an on line retreat called Hibernation through Beauty that Moves.  The site was offering the opportunity to split the cost of this retreat between two people.  At first, I wondered if it was wise to add something else to my days.  After I read through the description though, I knew it was something I needed to add to my winter season.  I consider myself truly blessed to be able to take part in this retreat.  I am grateful my friend suggested it to me.

The retreat is essentially a series of prompts centered around the ideas of nourish, gather, renew, create and rest.  Every day I have looked forward to these emails and the time I have spent in the online FB group with like minded people.  All of us striving to chase the winter blues away, while creating new, healthy habits that refresh the soul.

This week I have created my own little nook in a corner filled with my books, beautiful candles, my crochet tucked away beside my chair, a warm inviting hot water bottle made anew with my own hands, and a visual collage that reminds me of my winter wellness recipe.

My little nook is what has thrilled me the most.  I can begin and end the day in it, spend time in prayer, write in my journal, read, crochet, or have a tea.  I honestly can not find words to express how much doing this has meant to me.  It invites me to sit down a while, to find comfort in relaxing and joy in the moments of surrendering my soul to the quiet.  I am a busy Mama, to three wonderful children and wife to an amazing man.  My days and sometimes evenings are filled with much activity.  I have come to understand that slowing down, creating my own space for myself helps me to recenter and become 'me' again.  That will only improve the atmosphere in our home.  I am grateful for this past week, the gentle reminder that these things are important.  This has felt like a time of freedom for me.  I have loved every second.

My own little nook

The hot water bottle I crocheted a cozy for.

Remembering what is important.

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Winter Wellness Recipe

For the next four weeks I will be taking part in an online retreat called:  Hibernation by Beauty that Moves. It's a time to gather yourself and renew, viewing winter as a season to refresh rather then one of drudgery and boredom.  The lady, Heather, who designed this lovely place of retreat encouraged us to come up with our own Hibernation Wellness Plan.  I had already put some thought into this as my word, sow, for the year had me thinking about this concept of hibernation and how I would encapsulate my word throughout this winter season.  A while ago I came across this quote by Ralph Ellison, "Hibernation is a covert preparation for a more overt action."  That sums up this time for me.  A time of preparation and restoration, a quietness of the soul to reflect and prepare.

I carved out the time in the morning to make myself a cup of tea, sit down in solitude and journal my wellness formula into my commonplace notebook.  It was simple, and I needed it to be that way.  I really feel like this time of refreshing shouldn't be about strict goals and impossible solutions but simple and full of times of refreshing.   So here it is; simple, uncomplicated.  I may not get it in every thing on my list every day, and that's okay too.

~ drink plenty of lemon water throughout the day
~ Walk our lab for 30-60 minutes a day
~ go to bed early
~ quiet reading time in the morning
~ make time for art
~ eat nourishing foods
~ enjoy writing

My Winter Wellness Formula and commonplace notebook

Lemon water and nourishing food.

Spend time walking with this sweet girl.

take time for art and writing

Quiet Reading.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Advent to Lent

Advent was truly incredible this year.  We have done advent readings for many years now, but there was something about it this time around that went deeper.  I was overcome with the richness of these peoples lives as they learned to walk with the Lord in spirit and truth.  They lived, they loved, they grieved, they sinned, they confessed, they learned to walk in faith.  I felt like I identified with their lives in a way I hadn't before.  It sunk deeper and more fully into my soul.  This was literally the best part of the season for me.

The kids love advent too -- all the things we did in this season were meaningful as we learned to serve together.  These moments were precious, ordained and sweet, they weren't perfect, by any means but they were real.  We missed a couple days here and there due to illness but that's okay.  The days weren't perfect either, but that's when we learn to reach for more of Jesus and less of us.  That's where the meaning of advent and Christmas lies.  Reaching for more of HIM.

I like to use the time after advent to the arrival of Easter  to study the Life of Christ.  The family reading plan: The Life of Christ by Intoxicated on Life is an excellent reading plan, we have read through it once already.   We also use parts of The Jesus Encyclopedia to compliment this study.  We haven't read through the whole book as of yet.  I pull bits and pieces as I see fit to read to the kids throughout the next several weeks.  It's interesting as it is full of information from artifacts from the period to information about towns/villages to knowledge about people groups.  A good read.

I am looking forward to this season of preparation from now before lent.  As we study God's word, He will be faithful to reveal Himself. :)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sow Truth

It's amazing to see how The Lord gives exactly what is needed when it is needed.   While working on The Documented Life Project I noticed there were some who were combining a couple of other journaling techniques into what resulted in a year long focus to walk out their relationships with The Lord in a unique, powerful and profoundly concrete way.  This appealed to me, for I have come to learn something important about the way I am put together: I am a visual and kinesthetic learner.  I love to be active in my learning, it helps me reflect and remember; it provides both a focus and an outlet for me.  In understanding this about myself, I realized that Documented Faith and Illustrated Faith were something I could easily combine with what I was doing with The Documented Life Project.

Documented Faith is similar to The Documented Life in that a prompt is offered but it is built around a word of focus each month, scripture is given each week to encourage and focus on. The word for January is: truth.  I am amazed by how this way of approaching my month went so well with my word for this year: sow.  I have chosen to take the word from Documented Faith for the first week of each month and create a page in my journal to illustrate that word. In tandem with this I will begin the month with a day of fasting devoted solely to pray specifically about how The Lord will use this month to sow that particular word into my life.  Fasting has come up so often in my personal Bible study and through other various means that I could not ignore its call of obedience in my walk with the Lord.  The following weeks will be more of a journal format as I write thoughts and/or prayers.

Illustrated Faith is built around a journal Bible.  I have had my eye on the ESV Single Column Journalling Bible for a while now but wasn't sure how I would use it.  One went on sale this week at Christian Book Distributing for 63% off and it is in my favorite colour too! :) I will use my journaling Bible to read from and emphasis a particular theme or passage of scripture The Lord is revealing to me throughout the week.

I am thankful for how God is working in this year of sowing.  I can see Him moving, providing and speaking to bring all these things together for me.  This is the first time I have done anything like this, it will stretch me in different areas and provide an intentional season of sowing.  I am so thankful for how He is working it all out. It honestly feels like a balm to this thirsty soul of mine.  He knows what I need this year, what I am looking and longing for. This soul has needed this, in so many ways.

Below is the page for January.  The elements of this page all hold meaning for me.  I used an old hymnal as the book paper for the back drop of my page.  The hymn is: The Old Rugged Cross, I love this hymn, it is one of my favourites.  I painted in bright colours and then added the verses I wanted to begin the year off in.  I am just posting the initial page prompt for the month the rest of the journal will be private. :)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Working with Book Paper DLP2015 Week 1

The Documented Life Project started up today!  The first prompt was to create a goal page for 2015 using mixed media techniques.  I have never done mixed media art so I watched the tutorial from one of the artist's on the site, see Roben-Marie Smith's tutorial here.   It was very interesting! I had often wondered how people created some of the effects I had observed on the Facebook page for The Documented Life Project.

The prompt was to gather 'book paper' and glue them to the page.  I used an envelope, a part of an old dress pattern, an old falling apart hymnal, a piece of a calendar from the year 1994, a memo from my school days and a typed riddle sheet someone gave me ages ago.  I glued them all on the page with a glue stick.
You can see them all there, glued on.
Once the paper was on, I covered it with gesso, and let it dry, then I took my water colours and spread them all over in whichever way I saw fit.  I used some white acrylic paint to blend in the colour here and there.  I took a brown pastel pencil to make some shapes under the paint.
My 'book paper' covered with gesso and water colours.
I then made the 'book mark' to cover my goals for 2015. I did the water colours as the back drop, and then some free hand painting with acrylics to form my flower.  I made the little embellishment with more book paper and card stock, ending it with the ribbon.

It was very neat seeing the effect of mixed media come together as I worked on it.  Now, I just need to decide what I would like to do on the opposite page.  I am leaning towards the days of the week along with some art on half the page.  Looking forward to doing more!
I need to put some washi tape on the top so I can fold it up and down.  My goals are under there though. :)