Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Advent Week 4

This week we move into the last week of Advent culminating on Christmas Day with the birth of Jesus Christ. Yesterday we posted our last Advent devotion and playlist on our church site

Today I am posting the devotion I wrote for the Advent devotion project at His Kingdom Come. Each day a different author has written a devotion based on an Advent or Christmas song.

Worship Video: Born That We May Have Life by Chris Tomlin 

No reputation, no stately bearing 
No palace bed for royalty 
But a star in the Heavens, a sign full of wonder 
Announcing the coming of the King of kings 

Rejoice, o world, your Savior has come 
Through the love of a virgin's womb 
Son of God, Son of man, born that we may have life 
You were born that we may have life 

A throne in a manger, the cross in a cradle 
The hidden revealing this glorious plan 
Of a Child who would suffer, a Child who would conquer 
The sin of every woman, the sin of every man 

Rejoice, o world, your Savior has come 
Through the love of a virgin's womb 
Son of God, son of man, born that we may have life 
You were born that we may have life 

Rejoice, o world, rejoice 
Rejoice, o world, 
Hallelujah, the Savior has come 
Rejoice, o world, join with the angels 
Rejoice, o world, rejoice 

Rejoice, o world, for the King of kings 
And the Lord of lords 
Rejoice, o world, a Savior is born 
Who brings us life and brings peace 

Born that we may have life 
You were born that we may have life 
You were born that we may have life 

For centuries before Jesus’ birth, the Israelites were expecting the Messiah to come as a strong, mighty, conquering King; a King who would rescue them from slavery and oppression and who would crush their enemies. But the King of kings came not as they had expected but, as this song says, with “No reputation, no stately bearing, no palace bed for royalty”. Jesus came into our world in a humble manner, as a baby born in a manger. Yet in this baby lay the hope of the world. 

The Magi saw this when they followed the star to the manger. When they saw the child they “bowed down and worshiped him”. (Matthew 2:11) 

The shepherds saw this when they were led to the manger by an angel of the Lord who declared to them, “In the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) 

Simeon saw this when the baby Jesus was taken to the temple in Jerusalem by his parents to be presented to the Lord. Simeon had been waiting for the “consolation of Israel” as promised by the Holy Spirit. He saw this promise fulfilled in that temple. Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms “and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:25-32) 

A prophetess named Anna saw this when she too saw the baby Jesus in the temple, calling him the “redemption of Jerusalem”. (Luke 2:38) 

All recognized this humble baby boy as the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Savior of the world! In this baby was God, humbling Himself to dwell with man. In this baby was the glory of the Lord! 

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) 

In this baby we have life! 

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” (John 1:4) 
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) 
For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life.” (John 6:40) 
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) 
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;” (John 11:25) 
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) 
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) 

Rejoice, o world, your Savior has come 
Through the love of a virgin's womb 
Son of God, Son of man, born that we may have life 
You were born that we may have life!

Here are a few more Advent Rolodex art cards:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Advent Rolodex Art Cards Catch-up

I have fallen behind in the past week on posting my daily Advent Rolodex art cards and the other Advent projects I am participating in.

Here is the art I made for yesterday's Advent devotion I wrote for the His Kingdom Come community. You can read the devotion here if you'd like.

At our church we use some of the pre-made background slides that come with our presentation software for the song lyric projection on Sunday mornings. There is a slide that is a concrete block wall with the blocks forming a cross done in a contrasting color. That slide was the inspiration for this art page.

I am also working on an Advent project for my church website. A new devotion with a playlist for this week (week 3) and daily Advent Scripture readings can be found here.

It is a busy time of year with Christmas celebrations at school and getting ready for family celebrations. It's good to have Advent devotions and readings to help slow down the season some and focus on the real reason we celebrate Christmas - the birth of Christ the Lord!

I hope you are finding ways to slow down and participate in Advent this year. :)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Change and Advent Day 9

For the past year I have been a part of the foundation team for the His Kingdom Come faith art community. Helping to start this community has been a great experience and I have gained many wonderful friends all over the world. I discovered through coordinating the weekly devotional studies for the Take Me Deeper group that I really enjoy writing. However, in the past few months my job responsibilities in  my full time ministry job have changed and require more creative energy. One thing that I have found to be true of myself over the past few years is that, while I totally love being creative, it requires energy. Energy that I can't dig down and manufacture when I get overly tired and stressed out. So I have had to make the hard decision to step back from a few things in order to maintain that creative energy and keep myself from burnout. As you can imagine keeping up the weekly devotions and other duties I have for HKC, along with trying to maintain my own blog and Etsy shop, along with a full time job in ministry that generally will go far beyond a standard work week, has been difficult to juggle. My new responsibilities at my job will require creativity and writing as I take on keeping our church website and blog up-to-date. I have made the hard decision to step down from the HKC foundation team in order to be able to devote more time and energy on my own blog and shop and on the church blog and website. 

In all honesty, I went into the HKC foundation team with some hesitation. Only because I know from past experience that when a hobby becomes work it can be difficult to continue to enjoy the hobby. I managed a cross-stitch and quilt shop for 8 years and when I left that job to go into ministry I stopped both of those hobbies and never picked them up again. I enjoy art journaling and mixed media art too much to let this happen again. They have become more than hobbies to me and finding art journaling when I did was used by God as a tool for healing when I was dealing with issues of burnout. So it seems that spending one year helping the HKC community get started has been a good thing without it becoming something I don't want it to become. 

Today I sent off the last week of Advent devotions for the community and that ends my official responsibilities with HKC for 2015. Change is always bittersweet. There is sadness in leaving something you have put so much time and energy into. There is some melancholy in having relationships that have been daily and weekly experiences change. But there is also excitement and anticipation over the new adventures and opportunities that lay ahead. 

I have selected my word for the year for 2016 as is my tradition over the past few years. This year my word was RENEW as I felt there were areas in my life that needed renewal and restoration. In many ways that has taken place in 2015 and I will write more about that in the weeks ahead. Over the past few years as I have become more connected with the realities of being an introvert, I have partaken in activities of silence and solitude before the Lord. These are activities and practices I want to spend more time in next year. At first I thought that solitude would be my word next year, but after more thought and prayer, it seems that the word REST encompasses so much more of what I am after. And it includes solitude. I don't mean rest as in needing sleep or a break from activity. I am looking at REST more in terms of Sabbath rest, spiritual rest, being still and resting in the Lord. Again, I'll explore that more and write about it in the weeks and months ahead. 

Needless-to-say, my decision to step down from the HKC foundation team is tied up in this also. Next year I have a few art groups I will be participating in and exploring more areas of art and I will stay a participant in the HKC community. But I intend to slow things down as much is possible and explore what it means to REST - body, mind and soul. I will remain open, as always, to going after whatever opportunities that God places on my path. Life is a journey and I am enjoying the process!

My Advent Rolodex art card for day 9:

Today's Advent devotion for the HKC community can be found here
30 Day Blogging Challenge day 21.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Praise the God of Grace and Glory - Advent Day 8

Below is the Advent devotional I wrote for today for the His Kingdom Come community Advent project. This devotion is based on the song "Praise the God of Grace and Glory".

Worship Video: Praise the God of Grace and Glory by Judy Gresham 

Praise the God of grace and glory 
for the wonders of his love; 
angels tell of his great mercy 
in giving us his Son. 

Through the Holy Spirit's power, 
Christ our saviour comes to birth, 
bringing glory to the Father 
and hope to all the earth. 

Glory to God in the highest heaven, 
peace on earth, mercy for all! 
See how the gift of love is given: 
Christ the Lord is born for us. 

God is veiled in human weakness, 
born to bear our grief and sin. 
Grace and truth draw near to save us 
in Christ the humble King. 

Praise the God of restoration 
for the gift of Christ our King 
Join the angels' celebration, 
come, worship him and sing: 
Glory to God, glory to God 
Glory to God, glory to God. 

I love the story of Jesus’ birth told in Luke’s gospel, and in listening to today’s song, I felt a connection to the part of Luke’s story about the shepherds receiving the news that a Savior had been born. “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:8-14 

Back in the day of first century Israel, it was common to keep the sheep from multiple farms together in a field or a pen and share the responsibility of watching over them at night. Imagine it is your night to stand watch over the sheep. It’s probably a pretty mundane job with just the sounds of the sheep and the view of the night sky to occupy your time. Yet one must keep alert to protect the sheep from wolves or thieves. 

On this night, the Bible says, an angel appeared to them and “the glory of the Lord shone around them”. I imagine that God’s glory illuminated the night sky, such as it is described by John in Revelation 21:10-11, “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.” 

The sight of this angel and the glory of the Lord shining around them produced fear in the shepherds, but the angel reassures them: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” (verse 10) That good news that will cause great joy for all people is the proclamation that Christ the Lord, our Savior has been born! At the proclamation of this good news a “great company of the heavenly hosts appeared with the angel, praising God and saying” 
 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
 and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 
Imagine the glorious sound the angels singing made! Charles Spurgeon called this song the choir of angels sang “the first Christmas carol”. The good news was so glorious it caused the angels to overflow with joy and burst out in song and praise to God. This event, the birth of the Savior, the Incarnation of God coming to earth in human form, the Messiah now here to bring salvation; this event that will bring God’s peace – His Shalom – to men on earth; this event is God’s greatest act of love for mankind – the gift of His Son, who will eventually take our sins upon Himself. He is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) How fitting that at the birth of the Messiah, the Lamb of God, God chose to make His birth announcement to the Shepherds. They go on to visit the baby Jesus in the manger and then, they too, join the heavenly host, sharing the good news of the Messiah’s arrival!

My Advent Rolodex art card for today:

My Advent Rolodex art cards for the first week of Advent;

A devotional and Advent playlist for week 2 is on our church website today.

30 Day Blogging Challenge day 20.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Advent Devotion Day 7

During the Advent season the His Kingdom Come community is posting a daily devotion from a variety of authors. We are using music to usher us into the Advent season and draw us deeper into the journey from Advent to Christmas. 

The Apostle Paul instructed the Colossians, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Col. 3: 16-17). Music has a way of connecting us with God; "Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day”. (Psalm 96:1–2) Music connects with our emotions. It calms; it excites; it inspires. Somehow it communicates with our hearts more deeply than other avenues do. And music has a way of connecting us to the heart of worshiping God.

Below is the devotion I wrote for the HKC community today based on the song "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus".

Worship Video: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus by Marcy Priest 

Come, Thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free; 
from our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee. 

Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art; 
dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart. 

Born Thy people to deliver, born a child, and yet a King, 
born to reign in us forever, now Thy gracious kingdom bring. 

By Thine own eternal Spirit rule in all our hearts alone; 
by Thine own sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne. 

This Advent song was written by Charles Wesley in the 1700’s for a collection he titled “Hymns on The Nativity of Our Lord”. As you read through or listen to this hymn you see how Wesley brings together the Old Testament promise of the Messiah, “Israel’s strength and consolation”, and the New Testament story of the baby who was also a king and “the hope of all the earth”. Because so many of the songs we are looking at during this Advent season focus on the fulfillment of the Messianic promises found in Christ, I thought I would focus on the repetition we find in this song which shows us Jesus’ purpose and mission. 

Throughout this song the word “born” reveals what the incarnation of Jesus was for: 
Born to set thy people free… 
Born thy people to deliver, 
Born a child, and yet a king, 
Born to reign in us forever… 

Isaiah beautifully paints a picture of the coming Messiah: 
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”Isaiah 9:6-7 

In Matthew we are told this Messiah, this King who would rule “with Justice and righteousness”, was found in Bethlehem: “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2 

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus came “to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20”28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6) The Israelites expected that the Messiah would free them from slavery, bondage and oppression. 

But God had a greater plan; The Messiah would free men from the bondage of sin and death. “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” Hebrews 9:15 

Paul explains this even more in Galatians: “So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” Galatians 4:3-7 

Jesus Christ, The Messiah, would also fulfill the promise of the New Covenant: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.” Ezekiel 36:26-28 

In Christ this promise extends beyond the Israelites to include the Gentiles: “I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:25-27 

Jesus Christ, The Messiah, The King of glory was born “to reign in us forever.” This hymn connects us personally to the joy of the season. We see in it that in Christ we experience freedom from fear and sin, we find our rest in Him, He is our strength and consolation, our hope and our joy.

My Advent Rolodex art card for today:

30 Day Blogging Challenge Day 19

Friday, December 4, 2015

Bits and Pieces for a Friday

In the news today: Coldplay released their seventh album, A Head Full of Dreams today! 

Why, you may ask, is that news on my blog? In all honesty, I didn't know who Coldplay was until last spring when I received an email from a guy named Phil Harvey. He happens to be the manager for the British band Coldplay. I was floored when he told me he had stumbled on a piece of my art journaling online. This one:

I was in shock when he asked me if I would consider submitting a piece of art for consideration in collaborating on their new album cover art. My first response: I called my daughter to find out who they were. My second response: I Googled Phil to make sure he was who he said he was. Well, over the summer months we communicated a few times and I submitted a piece of art. My art was not selected and I am so fine with that. It was such an incredible honor to be asked and a very cool experience. We tend to forget that when we put our art out there online just about anyone can see it! This has been how I have gotten involved in some cool experiences over the past few years. Things like being published in Somerset's Art Journaling magazine twice and joining the foundation team for the His Kingdom Come community. I have found that I don't need to seek these things out, but just enjoy making art and taking the risk of putting my art online in the many communities I am involved in, and the opportunities come my way occasionally. It's been a lot of fun!

Today is the 6th day of Advent. A devotion is up on the His Kingdom Come site. Here is my Advent Rolodex art card for today:

I'm so proud of my sis! She has been committed to making time for creativity. Here is here latest Rolodex art card:

We are both enjoying working on a small scale.

30 Day Blogging Challenge Day 18.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Advent Day 5

We are moving right along in the month of December! Today is the 5th day of Advent. I missed a post yesterday so I'll post that card as well. If you are interested in the Advent devotions at His Kingdom Come, this link will take you there. Each day during Advent there is a devotion written by different authors from within the HKC community. Here are my Advent Rolodex art cards for yesterday and today:

30 Day Blogging Challenge day 17.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Advent Day 3

Today is day 3 of Advent. You can find today;s His Kingdom Come Advent devotion here. I made a playlist for the first week of Advent for our church website. You can check it out on You Tube here. I hope you enjoy listening to it. 

My My Advent Rolodex art card for today:

30 Day Blogging Challenge Day 17.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Advent Day 2

Day 2 of the Advent devotion project at His Kingdom Come was written by Alicia Feaster. You can find her blog here. If you are looking for additional Advent resources, I put together a list for our church website here.

I'm participating this year with art on Rolodex cards. I'm keeping it small and simple to better ensure that I can actually complete the project in this busy season! Here is my Rolodex art card for day 2:

I used up a few scraps form the background of the page I made for the HKC devotion yesterday. I love using up scraps! I also liked how the navy paint worked on my Gelli plate.

I hope you are finding ways to slow down and engage in Advent practices this year to help you prepare for the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Please feel free to share what you are doing for Advent in the comment section below.

30 Days of Blogging Challenge day 16.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Advent Day 1

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. The theme this week is hope. At His Kingdom Come you will find the first of our daily Advent devotions. If you are looking for Advent resources check out this post for a list  I put together for our church website.

My art journal page for today's HKC devotion:

"And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”
Isaiah 25:9

My Rolodex art journal card for Advent day 1:

30 Day Blogging Challenge day 15.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Advent Season

Tomorrow begins the Advent season and our journey toward Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Jesus - Savior, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel...

I'm participating in a number of ways this year:

    1. In the His Kingdom Come community there will be a daily Take Me Deeper Advent devotion. For the past year we have had a weekly devotion which our members have used as a prompt for making art in the medium of their choice. One does not need to make art to participate and so we will be posting the devotions on the home page so anyone can participate without having to sign up to become a member - though it is free to join! I will be posting a link to the devotion each day from my blog as well. I have been very busy this past month writing devotions, editing and coordinating our schedule of devotion writers, and getting everything in place for this Advent project. I think you will enjoy the variety of talented authors and artists!
    2. I am also coordinating a weekly devotion with my friend Jean for our church site. Each Sunday during Advent we will post a devotional, an Advent playlist and Scripture readings that lead us through the Advent story. We began today with an introduction and an Advent resource guide.
    3. To keep things simple this year I am using cards from my Rolodex art journal and intend to fill the "A" slot with an Advent art card per day. With the busyness of my schedule these past few weeks and again in the weeks ahead I needed something quick and easy. I can make a card or two per day since they are only 3 x 5. My Advent divider card is here:

How will you participate in Advent this year?

There are a few hours left for Small Business Saturday and a sale in my Etsy shop runs through Midnight tonight.

30 Day Blogging Challenge day 14.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Small Business Saturday November 28

In honor of Small Business Saturday all purchases receive a 15% discount in my Etsy shop Found on Brighton all day Saturday, November 28. Please support small businesses this weekend online and locally.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Joys of Online Classes

With so many artists offering online classes it is possible to learn any art technique and one should find it difficult to find themselves with nothing to art journal about. I have enjoyed taking online classes over the past few years and have learned so much from so many talented artists. One of my favorite benefits I have found about online classes is that, although they make take place during a certain time period, most of the teachers offer long term access to the class content. This is so beneficial for one who goes through periods of busyness when not much art time can be found. Case in point: My latest art desire is to learn how to paint/draw/sketch with watercolors. I am so drawn to art journals and nature journals with watercolor sketches of the things one saw while out in nature. I have also been drawn to the watercolor sketch art of Junelle Jacobsen. So when she announced that she was starting a new series called "Art of Pilgrimage: Wild Faith & Wild Art" I wanted to jump on-board. The problem was, the series was beginning the first week of November and I knew my schedule was full with outreach events and prep for the HKC Advent project. Here is where the benefit comes in...I could sign up, even peek into the classroom and the class Facebook page from time to time, and then dig in once I got past my busyness!

I got a little bit of a start a few weeks ago but this weekend I finally got a chance to dig in and get my feet wet with the class and watercolor sketching. From watching Junelle paint I found out the key really is to paint and not fuss too much with it but then let the ink pen add the detail and form to your object.

We had our first snow of the season overnight. It was a beautiful morning with the snow sticking to the branches of the trees and sparkling in the sunlight.

This weekend is almost over and I have my sights set on next weekend already. I'm so ready for a four-day weekend!

30 Day Blogging Challenge 13.