This happens to me all the time . . . . . I get an idea, then have all the plans in my head, even talk about it and / or blog about it . . . . then weeks go by before I actually get a chance to work on it. That is sometimes very annoying. But, of course, I do have a few other projects I am working on these days, including finishing up the May / June issue of Ruby for Women. Well, that, along with taking care of my home and family.
Today we had sore throats all around, but no fever, so we didn't get much accomplished - but I did hear that this 24-hour bug has been going around the neighborhood. The girls seem to be feeling better now, because they have been playing outside for about an hour - it's almost time for them to come in and get a bath, have story time, and get tucked in, so I thought I'd take a minute and get this project started. I can work on it after they go to bed, but sometimes I'm so exhausted that I can barely keep my eyes open long enough to tuck myself in!
This is a project that I actually worked on a couple of years ago, while we were still in Colorado and I was really struggling with health issues. Fortunately we discovered that all of my headaches and general "yucky" feeling for many months could easily be taken care of by coming down out of the mountains. We miss our kids and grandbabies who still live there, but I definitely have been healthier back down here in the Heartland of America.
As I have been writing articles for Ruby for Women, as well as a couple of other websites, one of the things that seems to be impressed on my heart is the need for encouragement when we are walking through the dark places in life. We all go there occasionally, sometimes by our own choices, but often as a result of nothing that we have done. Completely taken by surprise, shocked, grieving, sometimes completely alone, frequently for extended periods of time . . . . . we wonder "Why?" and "When will this be over?" and "How could this happen to ME?"
Now, partly because I watched my Mama allow anger, grief, and bitterness to break her heart and debilitate her emotionally right up to the very last day of her life, I have had many years to ponder the results of our attitude toward the struggles that we all encounter on our journey through life. And, partly as a result of meeting my dear friend Fern, who was wearing her dancing shoes and playing honky-tonk piano nearly up to her last breath, I have concluded that our attitude towards pain and brokenness make a HUGE difference in how our life plays out.
So, one of my lifetime projects is to work on my Gratitude Journal. And I want to chronicle my journey through journaling the hard stuff, the sad stuff, the broken places, and the shattered dreams . . . . and prove to myself that if I choose to be grateful for even the stuff that one would NEVER ask for in life, God can take it all (the junk and the tragedy, and everything in between) and create something amazing with it. Now that is not to suggest that we would ever be jumping for joy when disaster or tragedy strike our family or anyone else's. But the reality is that we WILL encounter those places that bring us to our knees and on our faces before God. So I'm thinking that if I can lift my eyes beyond the broken pieces of my life that lay scattered on the ground, to the gift of God's grace . . . . . and trust that somehow He is able to bring greater joy IN SPITE of the tragedy, and not necessarily BECAUSE of it.
God is not the author of chaos and disaster, but it is a reality of our life because of sin in the world. Even if we have chosen to walk with Him and sought His face every day of our lives (which of course we all fail at occasionally!), in the real world there is much pain. So when we find ourselves in one of those scary places, we need to try to remember that He will take this scar, our wounded heart, and make something beautiful in it's place. Hard to believe, I know, but it is true. So here is the beginning of my journey as I chroncle some of the "junk" that has come my way, and my musings on how God has, and continues to, use it all to make something bigger and more beautiful than anything I could have ever imagined.
STEP ONE - I started with a simple sketch book / inexpensive scrap book that I found at Walmart. The covers were black with a black spiral binding. I didn't want to start with black ;o) so I painted the entire cover, front and back, with an ivory acrylic craft paint. I gave it a bit of a texture by bouncing my brush all over it, and then going over it a second or third time. I wanted to make sure that none of the black showed through, and I kind of like the textured appearance.
STEP TWO - Then I did the same thing to the inside of the front cover and the front of the first page. That way I will have a great beginning place to post images or some of my writing, poetry, photos, or whatever I decide to put in my Journal of Gratitude.
That's as far as I've gotten so far, but it is a good beginning. I hope that tomorrow I can work on a couple of pages. I'll post pictures as soon as I can! If you are working on a Journal of Gratitude, I would love to hear about it and see pictures of your work. Next time I'll share with you ideas for finding images and making collage pages for your art journal. This is actually kind of a combination art journal and a writing journal. Words and art together is a powerful expression of who you are, so get out any old book you might have around your house and start painting those pages so we can get busy working on our Journal of Gratitude!