Green Pastures and Still Waters…

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside still waters.
~Psalm 23:1-2~

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We live a pretty low key life at this point.

Home, and family, and church, and friends, and a few weekly appointments and activities that go along with raising kids. Our weeks usually feel rather normal and routine. I like the feeling of knowing what happens on specific days of the week. Sometimes, though, it does feel like the days and weeks run right smack into each other, without much of a real “stop what you’re doing and lie down” sort of rest. We had one of those this past week or so.

The Tummy Bug hit.

Hard.

Mom was the first victim, getting sick on a Sunday night, completely out of the blue. I spent Monday on the couch. Nana and Pop-Pop swooped away the active Toddler Boy, leaving me with just a Tiny Boy that stayed right next to me in the Pack ‘N Play or swing. As long as there were bottles and diapers and snuggles, he was happy. Hubby had to work, but he ran the errands and brought home ice pops, diapers, Gatorade, and a rotisserie chicken.

The next morning I felt a little better, but we called off Tuesday’s Tot School with the grands just to play it safe. Wednesday, Tyler was acting mildly sick and wouldn’t eat much, so we decided we’d better stay home from church and not spread any germs. And thank goodness we did… Hubby woke up at midnight with the same hard-hitting yuck that attacked me three days earlier. Tyler’s version was mild, so we kept watching him like he was a time bomb, waiting to explode at any moment. Thankfully, he didn’t, although he barely ate anything all week and was very droopy and tired.

The “yuck’ part of this lasted only a short while, but the “wiped out” part lasted for days. Every day I woke up feeling slightly better, but ended up needing to sit still after cooking something or washing some dishes or folding a bit of laundry. On Friday night, I turned the remnants of the rotisserie chicken into soup. By Saturday, I was feeling energized enough to go to the grocery store, but when I got back I slept all afternoon. We took one more day to rest on Sunday and then I began slowly pulling the house back together on Monday. The parents of the grands were still boycotting any potential germs, so Tuesday’s Tot School was cancelled again.

Ten Days of Rest.

Rest that interrupted our plans of fellowship, family
activities, and work, but evidently was much needed.

It made me think of how the Good Shepherd had to MAKE his sheep lie down and rest in the cool, green pastures. How He had to LEAD them to drink the cold, still waters. I wonder what those sheep were trying to do or where they were trying to go? Were they so busy doing sheep stuff that they forgot to rest and be still for a little while? Sometimes we all need a few days of forced rest.

Also… Isn’t it interesting that the prescription for
getting over illness is plenty of rest and lots of fluids?

Green pastures and still waters.

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March Art Journaling Page!

March came in like a lion here in Delaware!

How about where you live?

Today was much nicer, though there was quite a nip in the air. I got to head outside for a few minutes, and found a nice little bunch of daffodils along the ditch bank. So of course they needed to come inside… Daffodils are my absolute favorite “First Sign of Spring.” I’d love to have them blooming everywhere on our little homestead!

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One even got its portrait drawn in my art journal…

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I got a little vibrant with the color… Let’s call it “artistic license.”
I used watercolor pencils on this page… They are great to work with in art journals, since you can color your drawings “dry,” and add just a dab of water later to make a watercolor wash. You can also touch a wet brush to the pencil tip and use that concentrated paint to add details to your sketches.

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Looking for “First Signs of Spring” is one of the journaling ideas for March!

Click on the image below for a printable version
of the March Art Journaling page!

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What’s that in your hand?

Moses had a stick.

The widow had a small jar of oil.

David had a slingshot and five little stones.

A young boy had five little loaves and a couple of small fishes.

God was able to use those small things in mighty ways.

Choosing my “One Word” for 2017 took a little while. It was a bit jumbled up in my head… and even on paper… until I realized that “Stewardship” best summed up all my random thoughts.

To me, “Stewardship” means taking care of what I have… keeping it, managing it, organizing it, saving it. But more importantly, it means USING IT. Enjoying it. Finishing what I’ve started. Filling it up and not letting it sit idle and empty. Creating and building with it. Spending it down to the last bit if it will bring about something good and useful. Taking a risk with it rather than squirreling it away. Redeeming it and giving it back to the Lord with interest, like the two faithful servants Jesus spoke of in the Parable of the Talents.

It might seem as if there’s not much you can do as a homemaker on
a tight budget with lots of little people hanging on your legs.

Or as a working Mama with barely a minute to spare.

Or as an emptier nester whose chicks have flown off.

But what’s that in your hand?

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A well-stocked pantry? A dining room table? Unfinished projects? Tons of craft supplies? Your home? An empty bedroom? A few spare hours? The nest egg you’re saving for a rainy day? Talents you’ve set aside during the busy and demanding years of life?

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That’s the question I’m asking myself this year…

How would the Lord have me use what is in my hand?

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Warm and woolly…

How is your January going?

Ours has been quietly eventful.

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We had snow last weekend. A nice quiet snow.

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Quite a bit of it, which happens only once in a while around here,
making it somewhat of an event..

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And in the midst of the snowstorm, a new little person
arrived in the world, and came to stay with us for a while.
A newborn in the house means lots of quiet naps…
and sometimes not so quiet moments, as Tyler and Nana are experiencing.

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We’ve had the snowy sort of quiet,
along with the newborn sort of “quiet.”

All that has kept me quite busy, but has also afforded a few minutes here and
there for journaling. I started working on my title page for January.

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Warm and wooly mittens and snowflakes seemed to be a good choice.
And a perfect chance to practice adding a bit of texture to my drawing!

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I pulled out a pair of hand knit mittens my daughter Kate made for me so I could have a visual reference. Warm woolly knitted mittens seems to have little “v’s” all lined up in rows.

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Tiny knit stitches were started with an icy blue marker.
I tried to follow the contour of the mitten as I dabbed them in.

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An ultra-fine black pen, along with a medium point
blue marker helped define the texture a bit.

Adding texture to a drawing takes a LOT of patience.

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It’s getting there. It’s not perfect, and I can already see some things I wish I had done differently. But that’s what art journaling is all about… learning and experimenting!

Art Supplies Used:
Copic Sketch marker B00 Frost Blue (Knit stitches)
Prismacolor Premier Marker Cool Grey 30% (Shading)
PaperMate Flair Medium Marker (Dark aqua details)
Pigma Micron 01 & Pima Brush Pen (Outlining)

A year to be glad in…

The New Year

A year to be glad in,
Not to be sad in,
A year to live in,

To gain in and give in;
A year for trying,
And not for sighing,
A year for striving,

And hearty thriving;
A bright New Year,
Oh, hold it dear;
For God Who sendeth,
He only lendeth.

Happy 2017!

I absolutely LOVE a brand new year, don’t you?

I think it’s that “fresh slate” thing.

Nothing like a new planner, a new calendar, or a new sketchbook to get me “up and doing.” And a new old project to bring to completion.

Or maybe “completion” isn’t the best word to use?

Since art journaling is kind of a lifelong project?

It’s basically a “get you started” project that I’m finishing up.

Anyway, the long-awaited, updated and revised, packed neatly into a printable PDF, Art Journaling Through the Seasons book is on its way!

Each month’s page will be posted at the beginning of the month (I’m shooting for the first Monday of the month!), along with some posts that will elaborate on the monthly activities.  The printable PDF will be available by the end of January, along with a Facebook group you can join if you’d like to share what’s happening in your (or your kids’!) art journals.

Speaking of kids… theses pages were originally created for homeschooled children, but kids of all sort have enjoyed them. And many moms are keeping art journals now too! They’re also created to be a springboard for your own journaling adventure… feel free to add your own ideas, search for poems or quotes that touch your heart or stir your senses, and draw whatever catches your eye! Permission granted to hop down any bunny trails that look fun!

And without further ado…

(Click on the image below for a printable page!)

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Art Journaling… Making a Start

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing;
Learn to labor and to wait.
~ Longfellow~

Getting started with journaling can be a little intimidating. There you sit, with all those white, blank pages staring at you, and with no ideas whatsoever about what to put on them. So what’s the cure for artist’s block?

Just begin.

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I think I said that before about art journaling, but it’s really, truly the place to start! If the first few pages are too scary, then open up to somewhere in the middle, and sketch something, even if it’s just your coffee mug and the lines are wiggly because you’ve not consumed enough caffeine yet. Then, the journal is no longer perfect, and you no longer have that for an excuse!

I just pulled out an empty sketchbook, and thought about what it felt like to start art journaling for the first time. I tried to think of some activities that might help ease the stress. So. here goes…

Create a cover! Some journals, like the Bare Books Plus (Great starter journals for kids!) have blank covers, just waiting for you to add some art. Here are a couple of my old art journal covers…

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If don’t have a journal that has a blank cover, make a Title Page! This gives you a chance to tackle one of those white pages with a purpose… be sure to include contact information so your journal makes it back to you if you leave it somewhere!

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And if the markers you use bleed through to the
other side of the page, make the best of it!

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 As you can see, this is not museum quality artwork. Just a bunch of doodles. I drew a very light oval as a guideline, and then began sketching very simple flowers and leaves. Tasha Tudor, one of my favorite artists, often draws lush borders around her pictures, so I borrowed that idea for the title page.

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On this old journal, “Through the Seasons” brought thoughts of different activities and celebrations around the year, so I sort of went with a “Tasha style” monthly theme around the oval. If you enlarge the picture, you’ll see that none of the sketches are anything really grand. The greenery (which sort of looks like rosemary or short pine) is really just a bunch of little lines coming off a main branch all in the same direction. Really not hard at all to draw!

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Finish your cover or title page by adding some color it, using markers, colored pencils, or even watercolor pencils and a dab of water!

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