Misc. Wednesday: Embrace, Part 3

The past two nights I have sat at my dining room table/craft room table surrounded by my scissors, double sided tape, magazines, catalogues and more. It was like a scene from a project I would have done in elementary school or something.

The March creative prompt for my One Little Word project is to create a vision board or pages actually, as they were going into my book and not on a large piece of canvas. A vision board is essentially a collage. Magazine and catalogue clippings of pictures or words I find interesting, in theory connected to my word. Ali Edwards invited us to do 4 pages, to tell a sort of story with our vision pages.

I did 6.

I created 6 – 6×8 page inserts because I had all of these fantastic photos and words that I simply had to put into my book. The great and wonderful thing with the OLW project – There are no rules. Ali gives ideas and creative prompts and guidance but for the most part, she leaves assembling your book and pages all to you.

I stressed about this project too. I hadn’t done something like this since elementary school and I don’t read magazines. I forgot to ask Mom for left over magazines from her office and I really didn’t want to go to like Half Price Books or something to purchase used magazines, even if I was going to cut them up.

Instead, I found inspiration from the few magazines Mom had at home, mostly about food. And to my surprise an IKEA and Crate & Barrel catalogues had a wealth of pictures and words. Who knew? Goes to show that when the Spirit of Creativity moves, it shows up in strange places.

Are my pages perfect? No. Did the collage turn out to be what I wanted? Nope. Are there spaces of white from the background paper showing because whatever images or words I had didn’t cover the whole page? Yep (and it bugs me and I’m embracing letting it go).

One thing I’ve learned through this whole One Little Word process is that this doesn’t have to be perfect. My book needs to reflect me and I’m certainly not perfect. I tend to try and be perfect but I’m not. I’ve learned to “let it go” and try to be the best self I can be. Same is true of my OLW book. It’s my own personal reflection of my word, Embrace. It’s my own and yes, I want it to look nice and pretty but it’s not going to be and I’m embracing that. It’s a difficult embrace for someone like me who likes straight edges and smooth corners but I’m trying.

So, what else did I learn from this vision page exercise?

I learned I love to cut up things from magazines and catalogues. I found this incredible sense of magic, play and child-likeness in my 2 nights of cutting and taping (not gluing – gluing is messy).

I learned that creativity is something I crave and I need to embrace it more. I need to spend more time in the act of creating, whatever that might look like.

I learned that God shows up in strange and wonderful ways, which I always knew. However, when I flipped through random catalogues and magazines for inspiration and ended up with 6 pages worth of stuff, I say that’s a God moment.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll make more of these vision pages over the year, perhaps using images from Pinterest or Google. Either way, I love embracing my creative side and feeling God’s presence as I craft.



Sabbath Monday: Practice & Lent

Practice of any sort is good for us; it makes us better at whatever it is we are learning. The same is true for a spiritual practice or discipline. Spiritual practices or disciplines come in all shapes and sizes, mostly because they adapt into what fits best for our individual lives. From daily prayer and devotion to walking to meditation, spiritual practices are different for everyone.

During Lent many of us practice the art of giving up something, such as meat or soda. Or perhaps we take on a Bible study or group study at church as a way to practice and deepen our faith. Or we do mission projects or attend church more. Or we write notes to people or take photos of where we see God in our world.

In February my One Little Word group invited the participants to take on a practice, something small and easy to obtain, though also challenging for us. I decided to embrace (my word) rest and renewal. Being a night-owl, I’m usually up really late and mornings tend to be difficult. I make up for it by drinking coffee and taking the occasional afternoon nap like I did in kindergarten. However, it’s a bad habit and something I hope to squish in 2017.

I haven’t been all that successful in my daily practice, a new spiritual discipline as much of my One Little Word project has become. Sickness set me back a bit, though I was in bed early, rising in the morning was hard when you’re not feeling too great and the bed so warm. However, I don’t feel defeated.

For Lent, I hope to continue my daily picture taking as I did last year but I also hope to continue my practice of rest and renewal. I hope to embrace a sense of Sabbath beyond my other self-care moments. It won’t be easy (and possibly not fun) but I also find that I not only function as a better human with sleep (like us all) but that I’m more connected to my faith. It’s strange and hard to explain but true.

Whatever your spiritual practice or discipline is this Lent, I pray it challenges you and allows you to grow closer to the Holy. And if you don’t have one, embrace a spiritual practice! Perhaps it’s something small like drinking more water or walking around the block. Often times it’s the little things that connect us even more to God when we don’t realize it. And often times it’s the things we don’t think will connect us to God that really do.

May God surround you all on your Lenten journeys.

Peace, Pastor Amanda

(from the March 2017 church newsletter)