This blog was formerly titled "Sentiments and Scrapbooks."

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pray~Pause~Praise

Because praying is something I do every day, like everything that is “routine,” it is easy to get into a rut. Sometimes the pizzazz fizzles from my prayer life. Today’s devotional from Wendy Pope at Proverbs31.org (my favorite daily devotional--comes to my inbox!), just really hit home.

Wendy said that during her prayer time, after uttering a couple of “thank you’s” to God, she jumped right into her requests (my hand is waving—that’s me!). As she prayed, she felt like God was telling her to stop praying for what He was already doing. Wow. Notice He wasn’t telling her to stop praying, but to realize that He already was at work in those areas, and in fact had already answered, or was in the process of answering, several of those prayers, in ways that she should be able to see, or at least to believe in faith that He was accomplishing. The Holy Spirit was nudging Wendy to remember what He had done/was doing, and to praise Him for it.

I do not believe this is to say that we shouldn’t feel the need to pray, if we have faith that God will answer. I believe that God DOES want us to pray, in faith, but He also wants us to recognize His work and pause to give thanks to Him.

For me personally, I get so wrapped up in my request list, and the responsibility I feel to bring this all before God, because it is something I need to do (and that’s okay—I think part of praying IS for me, to remind myself of my reliance on God). But I OFTEN move on to the next item for prayer without stopping to tell God, “Oh, yes, and the things I was praying about last month—thank You for answering those prayers.” Rather than just wiping my brow in relief that I no longer need to pray about THAT item, I should be taking the time to praise Him that He DID take care of it—that it is because of HIM that I can mark that item off my “pray hard about this” list.

Somewhere between my relief and moving on to the next part of the list, there should be a Pause—a time for “I praise You, for Who You are, AND for what You have done!”

Since I can’t say it any better, I am directly presenting here portions of Wendy’s writing today.

I remembered 2 Peter 1:3, "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." It all became clear. If God is providing, then I needed to stop asking and start praising.

My prayers had indeed become tired and mechanical. I often wondered if God even heard my prayers.

God was challenging me to examine my prayer list to find ways He was already working, and then praise Him! Praise Him for how He is already providing for my friends' and loved ones' needs.

Taking God up on this challenge has given me confidence in my prayer life. I know my prayers are being heard and answered.

What if we paused to examine our requests to see how God is already working, then praised Him for what He is already doing? It's a radical thought. It might mean readjusting our usual prayer time to make room for His whispers. He may ask us to talk less and listen more so we can be more intentional with our prayers.

Maybe God wants to interrupt your prayers, too. He doesn't want you to stop praying, but instead be faithful to press pause and start praising.

Dear Lord, help me examine each situation I am currently praying about, so I can praise You for what You are already doing. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing." (ESV)

James 5:16b, "The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with." (MSG)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Be of Good Courage {Art Journal}

courageous creative girl

I sketched this little creative girl while taking a class with Danielle Donaldson. Today I decided to give her some meaning, by making her a brave and courageous girl (prompt from Journal52: Week 24). I used watercolors to respond to the prompt for Week One of Summer of Color Four.

There are times for each of us, I think, that we need to summon more courage and bravery than we think we have within us. For me, that’s a reminder to call on God.

His Word says:

“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” – Psalm 31:24

That’s me. I hope in the Lord. So, I am to be of good courage. I am to be brave.

“God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1

Summer of Color 4 Week Six {Collage}

SOC4 Week Six

This week’s color prompt at Summer of Color 4 Week Six is:

Raspberry & Tangerine with a Smudge, Splash or Pop of Lemon

While I sometimes use collage elements in a mixed media piece, this may be my first ever JUST magazine collage. The change-up was fun.

Smash Journal Pages {Long-distance Family}

For now, I live quite some distance from all my family, so sometimes I rely on pictures from them for smashing and scrapbooking.

garden guy smash

I am so proud of my daughter, taking care of this large yard and garden, being a single mom and working hard at her job, all at the same time. Wish I lived close enough to benefit from some of this beautiful produce! When I saw these pretty pictures posted on Google Plus, I knew they needed to be “smashed!”

smash Tory and Shannon

These are pictures that my granddaughter posted on Instagram, winter, spring and summer. She and her friend are both beautiful young ladies.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Disconnect Sometimes {Art Journal}

journal52 Week 28 Technology

As to the techniques used on this page, this is WAY out of the box for me. I’ve joined a couple of challenge blogs, rather “late to the party,” so I’m combining prompts where possible. This page is my response to the Journal52 Prompt for Week 28: Technology, as well as Week Three of Summer of Color Four: Lavender and Gray with a Splash of Plum.

As to the topic of this piece, most everyone agrees that it is a good idea to disconnect from technology now and again. I recently disconnected from twitter, because it is too much of an enigma for me: on the one hand, it feels like you are “connecting” (at least with your “followers”) on a regular basis. But the truth is, I wonder how many people actually read tweets from others, unless it includes a direct reference to that person. So, it’s like fooling yourself. You believe you are being heard, when in reality, you may be the only one listening. I don’t like games very much.

Again I repeat my mantra: as communication gets more and more technologically advanced, there is less and less of it.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Watercolor Tulips

Journal52 Week 25 Nature Inspired

Participating in some prompt challenges, I sketched and watercolored this art journal page.

Journal52, Week 25, Nature Inspired

Summer of Color 4, Pink and Apple Green with a Pop of Dark Green.

Art Journal Journey, Flower Power.

Also linking to Artist’s Play Room and Dion Dior’s Friday Sketches and Paint Party Friday.

Update: Cool! My painting was randomly selected to be featured at Paint Party Friday this week.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

To the Depths of the Sea {Art Journal}

journal52 week 26 under the sea

Working on the challenges at Journal52, this project is for Week 26: Under the Sea.

Rather than working in a bound art journal for these projects, I am doing each project on a 140# watercolor paper and then keeping them in a 3-ring binder. The plan for this project came to my head as soon as I saw the challenge prompt, but I didn’t bargain for how much time it would take.

I used bleeding art tissue paper for all the layers, using strips of blues for the ocean, pieces of oranges and yellows for the fish, and shades of green for the seaweed. I sketched the fish and seaweed after adhering the tissue paper to heavy watercolor paper, and then cut out with scissors.

The words to a couple of praise songs came to my mind (Starfield “Filled With Your Glory” and Tomlin “Indescribable.” I decided to go with the latter.

The height and depth of God’s majesty, and of love for me is truly indescribable.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Art Journal Collage: Nostalgia

journal52 week 27 nostalgia

I discovered a challenge blog that gives art journal prompts for each week of the year. It’s already midyear (this is Week 27), and I don’t like being behind, but I do like the idea. I’ll do these projects as a single page and then put them in a binder. This week’s prompt at Journal52 is “Nostalgia.”

Someone in the group mentioned that she is such a forward-thinking person that it is hard for her to think of anything for the “nostalgia” prompt. I wanted to say, “Honey, when you’ve lived a few more years, it will not be difficult at all. Being forward-thinking doesn’t mean you can’t have (and savor) memories.”

In fact, I have always maintained that memory-keeping and memory-recalling are such life-enrichers.

One of my many, many favorite memories is from my early childhood, my first experiences at “school.” I have always loved school. Sometimes it seems that, in my memory, I was either in school or playing school until I became a teacher. I admit that my favorite thing about school was buying school supplies and getting everything ready to “do my homework.”

This collage is attached to a 140# watercolor paper so that it is sturdy for putting in the binder. Most of my art journal work is mixed media, mainly painting, so this collage is quite different. But it was really fun.

(Yes, that is my first grade school picture, from only 60 years ago. My school did not have kindergarten. And yes, my first reader was Dick and Jane.)

Most of the materials for this collage were left-overs from a minibook I created about our primary school years (my husband and myself). If you would like to see this album, I blogged about it here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Random Art Journal Page

dreams

This page started as a place to use up the blue and red paint I had been using on another project. I just kept adding things until I called it done!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Beautiful and Bright {Mixed Media Art Journal}

bright colors

I have been doing a lot of sketching and watercolor painting lately, and I was in the mood to do another “crazy, messy” art journal page for a change. I recently learned of a new product called High Flow Acrylic, and I was intrigued by the fluidity of the medium, without it being “watered down.” So I decided I could get the same effect by mixing acrylic paint with acrylic ink. I painted sections on my pages and then sprayed with water and let it run. Then I randomly added bleeding art tissue paper pieces with decoupage, sprayed with more water and let it run some more. The last layer is just random stamps (using Archival Jet Black).

These bright colors are cheery, and it was a simple but fun page.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How Can I Say Thanks {To God Be the Glory}

My Tribute Primitive Girl Art Journal Page

(click image to enlarge)

{Stillman & Birn Beta Journal, hardbound, pages collaged with vintage papers, little girl’s face has vintage Simplicity pattern paper for dimension, all painted with acrylics.}

Two years ago my husband’s mother passed away. The next month, my mother received a terminal cancer diagnosis. A year later, our son’s family (we are very close to them) moved a 32-hour drive away. A month after they left, my mother passed away, a little over a year ago now. Both our mothers were strong women of faith, and they are absolutely rejoicing in heaven right now.

Although I usually consider myself a person of strong faith, I have had some very sad days in the last couple of years. I realize that others might like to tell me of their experiences, to make me realize that I really have no reason to feel sad, in comparison. And I would agree.

Don’t misunderstand, there have been many joyous occasions and causes for wonderful celebrations during the last two years. I have documented those, and I truly praise God for those times.

Still, now and then, like today, I am sad. I am sad, not because I don’t know Who holds the future; not because I don’t have faith that all will “work together for good;” not because I am not assured of my eternity in heaven; not because I don’t have a strong supportive and loving family. I am sad because I miss those who are not here. I am sad because everything is “not right with the world.” I am sad because of family situations that fill me with sorrow. I am sad because of the brevity of life and the passing of time.

During those days when I feel down, God almost always brings to mind a praise song, usually one that I heard recently. Last Sunday, we sang a song that I had not heard or sung for many years. It was what I needed to hear, and to sing, that day. And today.

 

How can I say thanks,
for the things You have done for me?
Things so undeserved, yet you give
To prove your love for me.


The voices of a million angels
Could not express my gratitude
All that I am, and ever hope to be
I owe it all to thee.


To God be the glory,
to God be the glory
To God be the glory
for the things He has done.
With his blood he has saved me,
With his power he has raised me.
To God be the glory,
for the things he has done.


Just let me live my life,
Let it be pleasing Lord to thee.
And if I gain any praise,
let it go to Calvary.

With his blood he has saved me,
With his power he has raised me.
To God be the glory
for the things he has done.

~”My Tribute,” Andrae Crouch

Because I am human and still live on this earth, there will be sad days. But God can take care of me in my sadness as well as in my joy. For that I am thankful.

My little grateful primitive girl is reminding me that, even on sad days, God is in control. He does make everything okay. With His blood He has saved me. With His power He has raised me. To God be the glory. For the things He has done.

And for the things He will do.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.
I Peter 5:7

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Confident Girl {Watercolor Sketch}

confident girl

Inspired by one of my classes, I sketched this little creative girl and then used watercolor pencils (Inktense) to paint her.