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Friday, February 27, 2015

Anatomy of a Bible art journal page

2015-02-27 19.12.41A lot of people ask me about my art journaling practice, especially as it relates to my Bible reading. I’ve always been the sort of person who likes to write in my Bible. I like to highlight passages that mean a lot to me, and I like to write notes in the margins. However, when I discovered art journaling, I found that I had a new avenue for worshipping God.

Have you ever read something in your Bible that made you so thankful to God? Something that made you want to worship God in a deeper way? Art journaling gives me the ability to have that deeper worship.

When I read something impactful in my Bible, I love being able to respond in a creative way. More importantly, I love being able to have that worship written right in my Bible. It’s a wonderful experience to thumb through my Bible and remember all the beautiful moments I’ve shared with God. Having the colors and images pop out at me bring back the experience in much fuller detail than if I’d simply underlined a passage. More importantly, the time I take to create the art in my Bible has me meditating on that piece of Scripture longer. Rather than highlighting and moving on, I spend a lot more time, doodling and soaking it in.

As an example of how my process works, I’m going to take you through the creation of one of my pages. I have a daily reading plan (which, in all fairness, does not always happen daily!) and I try to follow it as best as I can. The day I created this page, my reading was Psalm 136.

One of my favorite phrases in the Bible is, “give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever.” It’s mentioned several times in the Bible, and I even have a little tune I mentally sing this phrase to, because it’s such a beautiful reminder of God’s love. As I read this Psalm, even though I have probably read it dozens of times, I realized that every other line was my favorite phrase. With one exception. The word “steadfast” is added.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that addition to the phrase. To me, steadfast love is a much more powerful image than plain old love. I ended up highlighting the entire Psalm. When I have something that hits me that powerfully, that’s when I pull out my colorful pens and journal. I go through different phases with my Bible art journal, and I love word art. I wrote the phrase I loved and made it pretty and colorful.

Then, because the word “steadfast” was so important to me in this time, I looked it up, and I wrote definitions of it in the margin. I thought about each definition and how it fit God’s love. Finally, at the bottom, I wrote two summaries of what that time had meant to me. What I wanted to remember.

Don’t take this as a “this is how you should always do it” bible art journal guide. Each entry in my Bible has a different component, or a different order. Sometimes, I skip the full reading plan, because just one verse sticks out to me in a powerful way. What remains the same and consistent through each one, is that it was done in response when I felt a particular reading speak to me. My art journaling Bible isn’t perfect. You’ll find mistakes, splotches, smudges, and other weird things. But I think it’s beautiful to God, who sees my response to him and loves it.

If you’re thinking about trying art journaling, or even putting some art in your Bible, I highly encourage you to do so.

It’s really wonderful to have these mementos of my time with God. You can purchase a journaling Bible or a notetaking Bible so you have more room to make art than you would with a regular Bible. I use the ESV journaling Bible by Crossway. Pen-wise, for this page, I used some glitter gel pens from the Write Dudes. Basically, the ones you get at Target. Nothing fancy you have to buy at an art supply store. I also used a regular pen for the rest. Other pages, I’ve used colored pencils, watercolors, and Sharpies (which bleed).

Do you art journal in your Bible? What tools do you use? I’d love to hear about your process. And if you don’t art journal in your Bible, but want to try it, let me know that too!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Owning your value as a writer

You are SO valuable!I've had a couple of conversations lately and I wanted to share the gist of them, because I'm seeing a trend in a lot of friends, especially writers, and it bothers me. We are not seeing and claiming our value! As writers, what we do is so valuable. Think about the books that have changed your life. Most people, especially readers can name a book that impacted their lives. What price do you put on that?

You might say, "well, Danica, I'm not a Hemingway, or Dickens, or whoever, and therefore, I'm not in that category." And you know what I say to that? BALONEY. Actually, I'd use a stronger word here, but I might get in trouble with the internet police, so I won't. :) You don't have to be great to be valuable. You just have to be you.

The trouble with owning your value is that it's scary to step out there and do it.

Yesterday, I talked to a friend who said that she was afraid of sounding too prideful or getting too big of a head if she started sharing all the reasons why she was valuable. And I understand that. We've all met the jerks who think too much of themselves. In fact, this friend and I have a pact that if we ever turn into writing super stars, we will keep each other in check to not become jerks. But there is a difference between saying I am a great writer and what I do is valuable, and saying, I'm too cool for you because I'm a great writer.

God gave us each these fabulous talents and abilities. So when we downplay them and say that we're not as awesome as God made us to be because we're afraid of people thinking our heads are too big, we're denying God. We're not letting God's gifts shine through us. We've dimmed the light, and frankly, I think that's offensive to God. He gave us our gifts and talents to USE them.

How do you start owning your value?

First of all, recognize it! Have you thought of all the ways that you are valuable? The things that make you valuable? Seriously. Take a minute and write a few down. I'll give you a few examples.
1. I am a great encourager.
2. My friends know that I will tell them the truth, even if it's uncomfortable.
3. I have a variety of life experiences to draw upon.
4. I'm a good writer.
5. People like my books.
6. I am a good mother.
7. I love chickens!!
8. I seek to understand other points of view.
9. I love to try new things and have new experiences.
10. I am persistent.

Now think about the kind of person who is all of those things. Put in your head what kind of person that is. That's a pretty awesome person, right? And guess what? That person is ME!! Your list of all of your awesome things? That's YOU!!

What does this have to do with owning your value as a writer?

Everything. If you aren't owning your personal value, then you can't own who you are as a writer. All of those wonderful things about me? I bring that to my writing. I have those gifts that add value to the words I write. Are my words autobiographical? No. But they are flavored with those beautiful and not so beautiful things about me. And yes, I do believe the ugly things, our scars, our flaws, those add value too. But too often we focus on the negative and the reasons why we can't, and we don't see the wonderful things we bring to the table with our writing.

The friend I spoke with the other day, she is a fantastic writer. People love her books. But she's had a lot of things happen lately that have discouraged her and she's feeling not so valuable. She's afraid to put herself out there and shine. What if the negatives are right? What if she's being too bold in saying that she is a great writer? What if she's not as great as she thinks she might be?

All of those things are lies. She, like so many of us, get trapped into believing them because we're conditioned to think that way instead of owning our value. I'm not saying any of this to pick on her, by the way. I'm just as guilty, and perhaps that's why I can recognize it in her. I've been there.

Why does owning your value matter so much?

When you don't have confidence in your value, it shows. Who wants to have a surgeon with a shaky hand perform surgery on them? But that's exactly what you're doing when you fail to claim your value and stand securely in it.

Being valuable doesn't mean being perfect. I can say I'm a good mom and be confident in that, but also know that I am not a perfect mom. I got a little competitive playing on the Wii with my daughter yesterday and a swear word popped out. Oops! That one mistake doesn't negate the fact that I'm doing a great job raising my kids. And guess what? I admitted my mistake, apologized to them, and turned it into a teaching moment to demonstrate that I am not a perfect mom, but I am a mom willing to acknowledge my shortcomings. My mistake helped build character in my kids. That's valuable.

On the writing side, if I sit at my computer, filled with fear and insecurity, it shows in my writing. If I'm second-guessing myself because I have no confidence in myself and my abilities,  I make mistakes that I wouldn't have made otherwise. Last night, if I'd spent the time beating myself up for that swear word, I wouldn't have had the precious giggle and snuggle with my girls. When we fail to acknowledge our value as writers, we're locking up the beautiful moments like giggles and snuggles, and keeping them off the page, and out of the hands of readers who could be blessed by it.

Take some time today and think about the things that make you valuable! I'd love for you to post some of the items on your list, and if you're brave enough to share, I'll tell you something I see in you that's valuable!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Booksigning! Meet Danica!

Hi Everyone! Still busy with the house situation. Our house will be on the market tomorrow! But what I want to share is that Saturday, I have a booksigning.

Would love to see you there!

Rocky Mountain Dreams booksigning