Thursday, 31 May 2012

Break free!

I love the face in this. It is from a postcard and is by Mark Angus, a detail of 'Red Face' (2008) mouth-blown glass with enamelling and etching.

I put the words 'imagine' and 'believe' on this and wondered where it was going to go. I thought about imagination and belief and how they can let you think about things that are not yet... but could be.

I tend to hang back and do things behind the scenes rather than up front. I need to be bolder and break free from my own timidity. Imagine where I could go and what I could do if I took more risks and moved out of my comfort zone...

What do you need to break free from?

Monday, 28 May 2012

Autumn (in this part of the world, anyway)

Here we are again in the autumn. As a Brit living in Australia, I still can't get my head around the reversed seasons. Here I am in May, and my body and mind are telling me that Christmas is coming as the days shorten and I get up in the dark. Lots of the trees keep their leaves, so it doesn't even feel like autumn to me.

The colours on this page reminded me of the autumns I'm used to, as the greens fade into yellows, oranges, reds, and rich browns. It set me thinking about what happens to a tree in autumn. All the old, unnecessary things are discarded. Resources are pulled in and centralised, waiting for a new season of growth.

In these days of rain, darkness, and sitting at home cosy and warm, I look forward to the new season of growth as the old is put away, the unfruitful is cut off, and I prepare for a new start, whatever it might be...

Saturday, 26 May 2012


This background page has been sitting in my journal for a little while. I went back to look at it the other day and pictured the word 'family' in the middle of it. I put it down and waited to see where it led.

I started to think about the definition of the word. For most people it is your immediate relatives - parents, brothers, sisters. Then there is the extended family - grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins. And sometimes we add friends into that mix, especially when there are so many 'blended families' and broken families.

And then there is the church family.

We don't choose our family in the way that we can choose our friends, but there is a bond of blood. But with church family there is no choice. The Bible tells us that other believers are our brothers and sisters. We should be rooting for each other, mourning and rejoicing together, pulling together to get things done. And when there are fights and disagreements, we need to reconcile and forgive so we can move forward in the right way again.

So who in your life do you root for? Who do you rejoice and mourn with? Who do you fight with and then hug while you cry together?

Who is your family?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


I found the postcard with the little girl holding on to her mother's ears and saying, 'Listen,' in my box of miscellaneous things. I thought it was great. It made me think about those times when someone has to really fight for your attention because you are lost in something else.

When a baby cries, a mother is tuned in to hear it. My husband tells me that there was one night when foxes were yowling and screeching outside our bedroom window. They had woken him, but I slept through the racket. However, our daughter called out quietly and I was immediately awake.

Does God have to sit you down, grab hold of your ears, and make you listen? Or are you tuned in to His every whisper?

What are you tuned in to?

What gains your attention in the hubbub of life?

Monday, 21 May 2012

All you need is love...

I seem to have a bit of a graffiti theme going in my journal at the moment. I think it is just that all my backgrounds have been a bit messy lately : )


Such a small word for such powerful feelings.

We can give it.

We can receive it.

But to be well-balanced, we need to be able to do both.

There are some people who seem to suck everything out of you. They know how to receive love, but they haven't sussed out how to give it.

Others seem able to give and give, but find it hard to believe that someone might give love to them. They haven't learned to receive.

Where do you fall on this scale? Do you find it easy to give love but not receive it? Or are you struggling with how to show love to others? Or are you that blessed individual who loves and is loved in equal measure?

I hope you are the latter.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Leaving your mark

It's a bit difficult to read the words from this photo. It says 'The places you've been and the people you've spent time with all leave their mark'.

The page background was built up with the torn-off paper technique along with graffiti tissue and several glazes. It made me think about the little bits of themselves that people leave stuck to you when you have interacted together.

We don't always realise how much of an influence (for good or bad) we have on the people we spend time with. As a family we have had the privilege of sharing the lives of several groups of young people, and it is a pleasure to see them move on in their faith and accomplish great things. We received a letter from one person that said, 'You won't understand, until you get to heaven, how much you have done for me.' And I must admit, I have no idea what he is talking about! We just sat around and chatted, studied the Bible, all the usual things you do in a small group.

Remember that people are watching you, even if you aren't aware of it. They will be taking lessons from your actions. So what are you building in the lives of others? What are you planting? What little piece of you are you leaving with them?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The good old days

When I had done the background and flowers for this it looked chintzy to me. This made me think of nostalgia - curtains from my childhood and the like. This led me to the words 'the good old days'.

How often do we look back on things that happened in the past and wish we were living them still? This especially can come up when we are going through a difficult patch. It seems that it would be good to be doing those things we did before, when things looked more rosy.

There is nothing wrong with remembering times past with fondness, but we have to be careful not to try to keep living in them. We have moved on.  The good old days have been part of the growing process and we shouldn't downplay what they contributed to our present make-up. But we are not the same people we were five, ten, or twenty years ago.

The ploughman cannot look back when he is ploughing, otherwise he will plough a very wiggly furrow. We, too, should look to the future and all that it holds, boldly moving forwards, not trying to live in the past.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Art Journal Challenge

This page came from a challenge on an art journalling social network that I joined recently. They have a new challenge every two weeks. This one was to draw your face while looking in a mirror and not looking at what you were drawing except to put your pencil down in a new place. You were then to colour this impressionist-style drawing in your favourite colour of wax crayon.

Well, anyone who knows me will know that this doesn't look like me, but I kinda like the slightly skewed style. My favourite colour is red, but colouring in all my features in shades of red didn't really appeal, so I just did eyes, lips, and eyebrows in red and shifted either side on the colour wheel, going with oranges and purples.

What I see on the page looks nothing like what I see in the mirror, and it set me thinking about how others see us. How often are you praised for something you've done when you know deep down inside that you did it begrudgingly? And what about the things we see in ourselves that we don't like, whether in how we look or how we behave or think? Others don't always see us in the same way as we see ourselves.

Are you your own worst critic? Or do you look at yourself through rose-tinted glasses?

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

It's all a question of perspective

I was mowing the lawn yesterday - not my favourite job, but no-one else seems to notice if the grass reaches your knees, so it falls to me. I was thinking back to a week where two people saw our garden and had completely different reactions to it. One had never seen it before, and her focus was on all the things that still need doing - the places at the edges where the grass is that little bit too long to simply mow so needs a bit more work. The other had seen it before and commented on how good it was looking and how well we were doing with it. (I have dug out several large vegetable beds and tamed borders that were three feet deep with waist high grass and weeds.)

The same snapshot of the garden and two opposite reactions.

I figured it was a question of perspective. The one knew the history of the garden and could see how far we have come. The other only saw how far there was still to go. One sees the work that has already been done, the other what is left still to do.

How often do we react to people, or judge them even, on where they are now without ever knowing how far they have come? Yes, we need to keep going, but we also need to celebrate the small victories along the way. We need both sorts of people in our lives - those who cheer us for the journey so far, and those who spur us on to greater things.

Next time you find yourself picking up on the negative in someone, remember that they might already have come a great distance.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Broken taps and habits

Today we finally had the taps fixed at our kitchen sink. They have been broken for a while - one turning round and round without switching on at all (a result, we found, of the inside being round instead of square) and the other not switching off properly, leaving us with a constant dripping.

Now that they are working again, I find myself behaving as if they were still broken. It made me think about times when we have something fixed in our lives. Sometimes we still act and react as if we are broken. Like favouring a leg that has been broken even though it is now better. We learn habits to cope with the brokenness and have to relearn how to be whole.

I was thinking that this was going to be just a written entry, but when I looked back at my journalling for the week I found this page:

The blobs were going to be stars, but when I added the thin black lines, they looked more like neurones to  me, so I gave them synapses and they became connections in a brain. This led me to journal about habits and how they are formed when we repeatedly perform tasks or behaviours.

Fits in quite nicely:)

Friday, 4 May 2012

When it all gets too much...

Do you ever have days where everything seems to get on top of you? Things just build up until the smallest thing can seem like the last straw? I had a day like that. The last straw for me was when a cyclist mounted the pavement and nearly knocked me over while I was waiting for the lights to change at a pedestrian crossing. I just wanted to burst into tears.

This is the page that resulted as I worked out my frustrations later that day. The background was already done. I added the clouds, tortoise, and wording.

The tortoise seemed to be the best symbol - I just wanted to stop, pull in my head, and wait for everything to go away. What I do in reality is withdraw from the world around me and pray. Then I feel strengthened to return to deal with the black clouds. And they don't feel half so oppressive as they did before.

What do you do when it all gets too much?

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Team spirit

I was having fun playing about with this page, not having to do anything to do with a particular letter (hurrah! The A to Z challenge is over). I was using glazes over foreign language and music paper collaged on to an old children's book. Then I fossicked around in a drawer and found this photo that my husband picked up at the Op-Shop at church. It is an Australian football team from 1917 (Don't ask me which one. It just says IJFC on the ball).

The photo seemed to fit well on the background, so I stuck it down and started to mull over it. The word 'team' seemed to be appropriate. A team is really a community, something I have been thinking about a lot lately. A team has to work together like a body. They all need to be playing the same tune and speaking the same language, otherwise there is a cacophony and miscommunication.

What 'teams' are you on?

What are the common goals?

Are you all on the same page, with the same tune and the same language?