Thursday, 31 March 2016

The mess in the middle

In one of my trips to the library I picked up a set of five tiny books at 20c each. They are in Mandarin, which I don't read, but each page has an illustration and what I imagine is a short quote or 'thought for the day'. This one set me thinking.

Before you start to sculpt a piece of rock you can see what it is - a rock. It has its natural planes and fissures. It has its own beauty.

The sculptor has in his head what he wants the finished piece to look like. A different beauty.

But in the middle - well, that's a big hot mess. Not quite what it was, and not yet what it will be.

And that's what most of life is like. Because transformation takes time. You have to hang in there because eventually the rock will start to look like something recognisable. The pain of the chipping away and the messy middle are worth it, because of the hope of the new beauty that will be revealed.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Feeling out of whack

Sometimes it isn't until you get to the end of a page that you see what it's all about. Before the journalling went on here, I saw that the yellow stripe I'd put on wasn't lined up. I hadn't deliberately decided to put on a stripe - I just enhanced the bits of yellow that were already there from the gelli-prints in the background. But the slightly disjointed stripe ended up exposing how I was feeling.

Easter was very busy and now I'm feeling a bit listless. A few days of rest and I should be back to normal. But for now, I'm slightly out of whack.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Is it worth it?

One of the best questions to ask before investing energy in something is is it worth it?

When you're annoyed about something you can't change - is it worth it? Is it worth investing all that energy in being angry? In impatience? In frustration and annoyance?

There are many things that it is worth getting angry about, but the little things? Let them go. 

Choose instead to invest in kindness, generosity, gentleness, patience - the attitudes that will bear worthy fruit. 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Continue is my word for the year.

Sometimes continuing feels like treading water, just keeping your head up enough to breathe when you're out of your depth.

Sometimes continuing feels as if you're not getting anywhere.

Sometimes continuing means just keeping on when you haven't a clue what's happening.

I'm sure the disciples, on this Good Friday, felt like that. For them 'continue' had to be applied to just breathing, existing, getting through the day. And the next day. And the next.

Sometimes you have to continue with hope that there is something incredible around the corner. 

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

What's important?

It is easy to get bogged down in little things that are not of real importance. Sometimes we need to take a step back and ask ourselves whether it is worth making a fuss about or not from a 'big picture' perspective. It is too easy to invest energy in something that isn't worth it.

Don't lose sight of what's important. Pick your battles well and don't invest energy in the small things that you should really let go of.

Ask yourself whether it's worth fighting for.

Don't lose sight of what's important.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Sometimes we rush around so much that we lose sight of the 'common' marvels of the world. We miss the beautiful beetles crossing our paths; the heady scent of flowers; the lift of heart as a bird flies by overhead; the jewels of dew on the grass; the dizzying height of the trees; the rustle of dry leaves in the autumn; the feel of the sun on your face and the wind in your hair.

When's the last time you stopped for five minutes to take in these things and be thankful for them?

Thursday, 17 March 2016


It's funny how a step forward for one person can look the same as a step back for someone else. When you only see a snapshot of a life it can be difficult to tell the difference. When you're in community with people, it is much easier to understand how far someone has come and where to celebrate the victories, no matter how small they may seem to others.

We can all be too quick to judge, especially if we don't know the person's journey. Let's be a little kinder in future.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

State of heart

The reading at church on Sunday was on the woman who anointed the feet of Jesus with costly perfume (John 12:1-8). We were asked to imagine ourselves in the scene, so I shut my eyes and listened to a modernised version of the reading. As we thought about how the woman showed her love by breaking the perfume jar at Jesus' feet, I began to think of my heart as being the perfume jar.

In this season of Lent, it is good to reflect on the state of our hearts. If I broke my heart at Jesus' feet, would it be full, overflowing? Or a dried up and empty shell? Would it be sweet-smelling, beautiful to breathe in? Or would the stench make Him hold his nose?

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Being shaped

Once the two big broken circles went on to this page, I couldn't see anything except giant wheels. They reminded me of a mill I used for flattening metal when I took a silversmithing class. The mill could also be used for putting a pattern on the metal. If you put the silver through with a piece of lace, the wheels would press the two together so hard that the pattern of the lace would be imprinted on the metal.

It's funny to think that something as fragile (relatively speaking) as lace could make any impression whatsoever on a piece of metal. But out the metal would come with a perfect imprint.

What are you pressing closely to?
What do you want to be imprinted on you?
Are you being pressed so tightly that small things are making a big impression on you?

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Loving the body you're in

This page took a sharp turn when I flicked through a magazine and found the headline. It just cried out to go on this page.

As a 47 year old, I have grown accustomed to my body. I no longer pay it that much attention apart from feeding it properly (most of the time!) and exercising it. It does not consume my thoughts. I am comfortable in my own skin.

But I'm in a spiritual body as well - the Body of Christ, and particularly, my local church. How do I love that body? It's not always easy. As with any group of people, there are always some that you find difficult, you rub each other the wrong way, you differ in opinion.

But we are called to unity.

We are called to community.

When we look for the things that we have in common rather than our differences, when we build up care for each other because we can see the value in each other, then we start to love the body we're in.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Set your gaze

This girl appeared on my page and she seemed to have a steady gaze, not wavering but certain. Once a decision has been made, it is time to fix your gaze. Time to look ahead and not be distracted by what is behind. To plough a straight furrow one needs to focus on a fixed target and not be pulled away from it.

Each decision necessarily means that other choices are set aside.

They may not be bad choices, but we must choose for the best.

Fix your gaze and determine to move forward towards the goal.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

The fog clears

Finally the fog is beginning to clear. After making several pages where there was so much noise and just a small piece with a clear way through, I feel I've made a breakthrough. A decision has been made, the fog has lifted, and my brain feels a bit clearer now.

What a relief!

This page makes me happy. I like the colours - an unusual combo for me - and I like the elements, shapes, and doodling.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Looking for a way through

This page started with a layer of gelli-printed labels. They add a quick layer of colour and texture. I added in more colour with a colour shaper - like a paintbrush but where the bristles would be is a piece of solid rubber. It gave the page a grungy look that I liked. The lines were added with the edge of a plastic card. A few splashes of white ink added to the whole look.

I liked the page - the colours, shapes, texture - but what were the words to go with it?

As I contemplated, I saw that the page was 'noisy' but there was a quiet place off to the right - a way through the noise that seems to be clouding my thoughts .

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Silencing the noise

I recently spent a few days in Hobart and was surprised by the amount of white noise that there was when sitting on the balcony of the apartment we stayed in. The balcony looked out over Sullivan's Cove, but on the other side was a main road into the city centre. The level of traffic noise was a lot higher than I'm used to, even though I live just off a main road and within spitting distance of the central business district of Adelaide. There I was, trying to have a bit of quiet time first thing in the morning, and the ambient noise level was interfering.

It made me think about how we tune out the noises we're used to. My studio isn't silent - there is birdsong, traffic, the high-pressure washers of the car dealers opposite - but I'm used to those noises and don't really hear them anymore unless they are unusually loud. The noises in Hobart, however, were of another level, and I was finding it really hard to silence them in my own head.

How often do we tune out something we should actually be listening to? Many times God speaks in a still small voice. How often am I not tuned in, because I'm working so hard at tuning some things out? I need to learn what is just noise and what is important, cut through the distractions and listen!