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Book Recommendation: Day One

My dear Facebook friend, Kerry Scherer, suggested that I do 7 days of book recommendations. I had every intention of starting this on Monday, but my son came home from school on Monday with a migraine, and well, Tuesday was Tuesday, and then Wednesday flew by in a blur, and here we are on Thursday and finally my first book recommendation.

I can be an incredibly anxious person. I believe a lot of that anxiety stems from the belief that I have to do everything on my own. And, maybe some of it stems from wanting to do everything on my own, too. Another part of it stems from wanting to control things that are completely out of my control. I developed a very warped sense of myself and the world as a child due to severe mental and physical abuse and all in the name of an invisible man in the sky. So, I tried to be good. Tried to be very, very good. Developed the belief that if I could just do things perfectly, everything would be okay. The belief instilled in me was that everything bad that happened to me was because I did something wrong, and even if that wasn’t the case, it didn’t matter because there was something inside me that was inherently wrong, and as such, I deserved what I got. I have carried that with me since childhood, and judging from the emotions I feel right now typing it, I am still carrying it with me now. Why do I mention all of this? Because I’ve come to realize, as I look over my favorite books, that they almost all have something to do with finding an alternate way to believe in a power greater than my human self. I have come to realize that, despite all the difficulties I have experienced in my life, I am still a seeker, and this revelation brought back one of very few memories from childhood.

I remember standing on the half-moon drive that ran in front of our house and two others. I was surrounded by pine trees that seemed to pierce right through the sky. There was a moment while standing there, at maybe age seven or eight, when I just knew I was more than the circumstances I was living in. I knew that I was destined for more than what was happening around me. To adult me, it feels like a moment when an angel came down and whispered in my ear and said:

“This moment you are in is not you. You are so much more than this. Look beyond your circumstances.”

There have been more instances since then when I have heard the little whisper, and other times when I’ve been in such despair and there was nothing but silence. But, in 2011, I had a near death experience during surgery that shifted everything for me. The need to understand that experience (which I’m still trying to do) has definitely influenced what books I choose to read, and what books have the most impact on my life.

As I think more about the books I have read, I am fascinated by how they carry our memories with them. I can see a certain book on my shelf, and the memory of what I was going through at the time I was reading it comes into clear focus in my mind. Books are little storage units for our emotional and physical experiences. How powerful is that?

downloadMy first book recommendation is Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead by Tosha Silver. It is a book I turn to again and again when I am afraid, when my life circumstances feel out of control, or when I am fighting the need to try to control every little aspect along with the outcome of every situation in my life. This book is my cure for anxiety. It is a reminder that we can surrender everything, and let that mysterious power greater than ourselves do what it needs to do to bring us through whatever it is we are experiencing. What I love about this book is Tosha Silver doesn’t just say, “Let it all go,” she says, “Look for the signs of the Divine. They are everywhere.” And when you start to look for them, you realize she is right, there are little messages everywhere. It is a reminder of the magic of this Universe that none of us truly understand. All we can do is look for the little breadcrumbs that have been dropped along the way that say to us:

“This moment you are in is not you. You are so much more than this. Look beyond your current circumstances and you will see there is magic everywhere.”

Check out Tosha’s website, Facebook, and Instagram account. She is always posting amazing change me prayers along with insights and proof from her own life that you can let the Divine take the lead, let go of control, and things will work out better than you could have ever imagined. I believe all of us need to hear that message again and again and again.

 

art journal, Daily Art Devotion

Daily Art Devotions: Day 40

I did it! I completed the 40-day #DailyArtDevotions Art Journal Journey with Elizabeth Foley. I have enjoyed expanding my creativity with the daily prompts. I really enjoy flipping through the journal and looking at everything I’ve created. I do still have to paste into the journal some of the entries that I created on separate paper. Along with those I’m going to add some other pieces I’ve created these last forty days, and I believe those together will fill up the entire book. Yay!

So, what’s next? Well, I’ve made a commitment to once again return to finishing my novel. I’ve joined a six-week writing program that offers support, structure, accountability, and fear busting so that I can fulfill my one main goal this year: having a polished first draft of my novel completed by 12/31/18. This novel continues to call to me no matter what I’ve done over the last seven years to avoid writing it. It’s clearly a story that must be told.

I don’t know how much art I will be doing over the next six weeks, but I am considering doing a short blog post each day to share my favorite line from that days writing. I realized today, as I was speaking with Elizabeth Foley, that I love art so much because of the connections I’ve made. Writing is a lonely process and there isn’t a beautiful piece of art to share at the end of each day. Connections get lost, and since I’m already fairly isolated, losing those connections is difficult for me. So, I will have to come up with a creative way to connect even while dedicating myself to completing my novel.

For the final day of this art journal journey, my page represents the gift of gratitude. I put gesso on the page first. Then I filled the entire page with what I’m grateful for in turquoise ink. I then added more gesso and some gold acrylic paint and used a brayer to spread them both across the page. I then added some Brusho Crystals in red and violet and sprayed them with water. Once the background was complete, I added my present made with cardstock with an embossed mandala (which is the first time I’ve embossed anything! Woohoo!). I then added a bow on the top with gold ribbon. And my gift of gratitude is complete as is this special journey ❤️

art journal, Daily Art Devotion

Daily Art Devotions: Day 39

For Day 39 of#DailyArtDevotions (only one day left!!!) we created a representation of “the sands of time.” I decided to go a little wild with my page. I wanted to try out new things so I used my new Daniel Smith watercolors and new Brusho Crystals. I used molding paste over a clock stencil for the clock. I used resist for some of the water, and then painted over it to add variations in water color. I used a script stamp with gold archival ink underneath the sand to add variation in sand color. I am pleased with how most everything turned out except the perspective. It is off so it looks like the whole world is weighing down on the clock, which now that I think about it, is pretty accurate!

art journal, Daily Art Devotion

Daily Art Devotions: Day 38

For Day 38 of #DailyArtDevotions, I created a sketch that represents how I feel about being in nature…well, when it’s not thirty degrees outside. We went from very warm summer temperatures right into very cold winter temperatures skipping right over my favorite season: fall. Maybe I will have to create fall on the page!

Also, I started adding color to my latest mermaid sketch. I used acrylic paints and acrylic pens for her scales and my new Daniel Smith watercolors for her tale and the rock. Then I added shimmering color to her tale with a sparkling brush pen. I will keep adding color as the colors come to me. Each day I sit with her to see what comes to me.

art journal, Daily Art Devotion

Daily Art Devotions: Day 37

For Day 37 of #DailyArtDevotions we were to create an intuitive doodle with our eyes closed and then open our eyes and color in what we saw. I decided to draw my intuitive doodle with my non-dominant hand.

Very quickly, after opening my eyes, I saw eyes and then a face emerged. But as I began to add color, the image transformed several times. Originally, the swirl with the circle was the mouth, then it was the heart, and finally I realized that it was something hidden within the large heart.

After coloring the image, I then wrote down phrases that kept coming to me throughout the process.

art journal, Daily Art Devotion

Daily Art Devotions: Days 35 and 36

I have almost completed the 40-day #DailyArtDevotions #artjournal journey with Elizabeth Foley. I have learned so much about my creative practice over the last several weeks. Most importantly is that I create cyclically, and sometimes it’s important to take a few days off to fill myself up with other activities so that I can return to creating with a refreshed mindset.

For Day 35, I revisited the mermaid sketch I created as part of this practice. I wanted to see if I could scan the sketch and print it on watercolor paper. I’m often afraid to add color to sketches that I really love, so figuring this out would allow me to keep an original sketch. Though it is not exactly what I had wanted because of sizing issues, I was able to scan in my sketch and then print it on hot pressed watercolor paper. I am now waiting for the Daniel Smith watercolors I ordered with my birthday money to arrive so that I can add color to the printed sketch. I like the way it printed on the page leaving a lot of space at the bottom so now I can add some water below the rock she is sitting on.

For Day 36, I added a special red thread closure to my journal to remind me of the connection between us all. I then added a “just breathe” medallion to help me remember that stopping and taking the time to breathe is the best way for me to reconnect with the Divine.

art journal, Daily Art Devotion

Daily Art Devotions: Days 32 through 34

For Day 32 of #DailyArtDevotions I created an art journal page inspired by candles and flame. I decided to use my favorite stencil over a page I had previously washed with watercolor. I used black and gold acrylic paint and then used a yellow Posca pen to add the light to the lanterns. I’ve always loved glowing lanterns and this page reminds me of all the light in my life.

My Day 33 #artjournal page is dedicated to Georgia O’Keeffe. I recreated The Lawrence Tree in watercolor.

For Day 34, I created sprouts that represent some of my biggest dreams. I added little blooms to represent hope for their fulfillment. And each one has a word that describes its essence.