Receptive Soil #BibleJournaling

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Jesus’ parables are full of artsy drawables. Yet, when I contemplated journaling the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:11-15), illustrations of the old fashioned process of sowing grain and it falling into the literal destinations named in the parable seemed like avoiding the issue somehow. And so I asked myself, what would examples of unfruitful and fruitful soil be in my life?

That’s what I tried to portray on this page. The gold oval-shaped image in the middle is a grain of wheat. Where will it find receptive soil? Social media; preoccupation with news; involvement in sports; focus on money; interaction with friends; attending church; the whirlwind of mental stress, worry, fear and anxiety; clothes and all they imply of absorption with personal appearance and image; Bible study?

Simplistic, I know, but the passage and trying to illustrate it made me think again of my day to day life and how much of it may be unreceptive soil.

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I prepared this page with gesso before doing the art work, then used brush markers and pencil crayons to do the coloring. The grain of wheat is colored with an acrylic marker (gold). The gesso worked great—there was no bleed through with the brush markers that usually seriously mark the back side of paper much thicker than Bible pages.

It Happened in Moscow (review)

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It-Happened-in-Moscow0001It Happened in Moscow: A Memoir of Discovery by Maureen Klassen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It Happened In Moscow begins with a surprise phone call to Herb and Maureen Klassen’s Moscow apartment in 1993. That call opened a Pandora’s box of secrets.

Herb’s parents (C.F. and Mary Klassen) had immigrated from Russia to Canada in 1928 in the nick of time, just before the doors to exit Stalin’s Communist Russia slammed shut. Though Mary’s children knew that she was a divorcée at the time she married C.F., she rarely spoke of her early life and never mentioned her 10-year first marriage. Even Harold (her son by that marriage) only found out about his birth father at his 16th birthday when C.F. and Mary sat him down to reveal the truth. Both C.F. and Mary had since died, so many questions about Mary remained unanswered.

Now the female voice on the other end of that phone call claimed she was Harold’s younger sister Erika.

If this was indeed so, could Erika hold answers to the mystery of Mary’s first marriage? Did she know what had happened to Mary’s first husband (and Harold’s father)? Could she shed light on how an entire generation of Russian Mennonites had fared during that period in Russia?

It Happened in Moscow is memoir—the unfolding of a fascinating family discovery through Maureen Klassen’s eyes. In 1993 Maureen and Herb Klassen were working for Mennonite organizations in Moscow and were fluent in Russian and German. These things made them the perfect recipients for the information that Erika had gleaned in her search for family. Via Erika, the family learned the fate of Jacob (Mary’s first husband) and thousands of Mennonites who were hindered from or chose not to immigrate from Soviet Russia.

Maureen Klassen’s charitable depiction of the two main players in this tale (Mary and Erika) make this an uplifting and pleasurable story to read. Historically, the way it shines a light on years of religious repression under the Communists makes it an integral piece of the Mennonite puzzle. It is also a testimony to God’s faithfulness through generations.

If you’re interested in Mennonite history or even just enjoy a well-crafted memoir with lots of human interest delivered in cultural detail with historical accuracy, you’ll love this book.

(My sister-in-law who, with my brother, lived for a time in Mary’s “glasshouse” in Clearbrook B.C., lent me this book.)

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The Ick Factor – #BibleJournaling

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I haven’t put up an art journal post for a couple of weeks, but I’m still drawing (and coloring and painting) in my Bible!

Today I’ll share a quote with you. It relates to a subject that’s been on my mind a lot since the internet has made it possible for anyone to blow their own horn about their own work and excellence and popularity and success.

As a member of several writing groups, I see such horn-blowing all the time and know how real is the temptation to broadcast every success, contest win, sale of a manuscript etc. I know too, how yucky I feel after I’ve done it.

Therefore, when I read the below quote in the workbook of the Beth Moore study I’m currently doing, I knew I wanted to save that quote in my Bible. I paired it with a verse from Proverbs that I’m trying my best to live by:

“Let another man praise you and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2.

 

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Bible art journal entry for Proverbs 27:2 (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

The quote (in case you can’t read it from the image):

“I ask God on a regular basis to give me swift and powerful conviction of sin when I’m crossing a line … The Ick Factor works effectively for me: when I’m self-promoting and self-serving, I want my insides to respond with a nauseated ‘Ick’” – Beth Moore, Entrusted Workbook, p. 85.

 

(The green colored glob is meant to represent slime. I used pencil crayon and black Pigma Micron pens for this.)

Faithful Paper Crafting (review)

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81E9c5Z2eWLFaithful Paper Crafting: Notecards, Gift Tags, Scrapbook Papers & More To Share The Blessing by Robin Pickens

With this colorful book you will have numerous crafted projects at your fingertips. There are dozens of full-color and black-and-white (suitable for coloring) cards (fifty large, eighteen mini), six full-color bookmarks, sixteen gift tags, two full-page illustrations suitable for framing, sixteen full pages of colorful double-sided papers along with two envelope templates (put these latter two together to make beautiful envelopes for all those cards, or use the papers in other ways suggested by the book’s introduction).

Messages on the cards are generic enough to be useful for many occasions (e.g.”Imagine,” and “You are my sunshine”) and faith-friendly (e.g.”Rejoice in the Lord,” “Pray,” “Let all you do be done in Love” etc.). As well, the large cards have Bible verses printed on the inside page with room for a personal message.

Detailed directions for how to assemble an envelope, finish a bookmark, and make a fridge magnet are found in the beginning of the book. All the cards, bookmarks, and tags are perforated for easy and tidy tear-out.

What a fun collection! I love the heavy, good quality paper on which the projects are printed, and the vibrant colors. I also like how some of the card backs incorporate the designs of the papers, making it possible to send cards in matching envelopes if you decide to make your own.

In addition to using the items as ready-mades, I’m hoping to get design ideas for Bible journaling from them, and maybe even add some pieces to my Bible as tip-ins.

I received Faithful Paper Crafting as a gift from the publisher, Design Originals (an imprint of Fox Chapel Publishing), for the purpose of writing a review.

Review on Goodreads.

 

 

Waves over me #BibleJournaling

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With the recent rains and cooler temperatures it feels like summer is over. But what a summer it’s been! In our little corner of earth it’s been unusually hot and dry with hundreds of wildfires burning in the hinterland of the province. Thousands have had to leave their fire-endangered homes to take refuge in temporary shelters till the threat passed.

In other places hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes have been the threats—threats that are ongoing for some.

Psalm 42 seems like an appropriate expression for so many people:

“My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
‘Where is your God?’” – Psalm 42:3.

and

“Deep calls unto deep at the noise of your waterfalls
All your waves and billows have gone over me” – Psalm 42:7.

Rebekah R. Jones tackled this psalm in her Original Bible Art Journal Challenge series, Week 20 blog post and video. Her interpretation was a double-page spread of stylized waves, rendered in brilliant Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens. So pretty!

I decided to go realistic instead and, using pencil and pencil crayon, journaled a wave with a person standing just below it, about to be swamped by its breaking force. I’m sure that’s how many people have felt as they’ve faced this summer’s natural (and other) disasters.

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Bible Art Journal entry for Psalm 42:7,8  (V. Nesdoly)

But God is still in the house, despite what it looks or feels like. With the Sons of Korah we can say:

“The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night, His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life” – Psalm 42:8.

 

(Note the sun rays peeking out behind the cloud and spray.)

May your “prayers to the God of my life” lead to “songs in the night,” whatever life is throwing at you.

We’re all works in progress #BibleJournaling

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If you love the Bible, I’m sure you have some favourite verses. I know I do. One of mine is Jeremiah 29:11.

Rebekah R. Jones’ Bible Art Journal project for this verse is HERE and gorgeous (as usual).

Limited by my supplies (also as usual), I cast about for some way to picture in my own way God working His thoughts and plans into life.

A page done by Karla Dornacher in the The Complete Guide to Bible Journaling gave me an idea. (It’s p. 61 in The Complete Guide, or you can view the graphic as a bookmark in Dornacher’s etsy shop HERE—second from the left.)

Here’s what I came up with:

 

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Bible Art Journal entry for Jeremiah 29:11-13  – V. Nesdoly

I combined the wording from two different Bible versions of Jeremiah 29:11. The NKJV speaks of God’s “thoughts” toward us, the NIV of God’s “plans.” I wanted both.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.'”- Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” – Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

God is not finished with me yet. That’s a comforting thought to me as I contemplate so much in my life that still needs work.

 

Promises for new beginnings #BibleJournaling

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The day after Labour Day (that would be today) always feels like an end and a beginning: summer vacation has officially ended, the new school year begins.

New brings excitement and anticipation. But it can also hold dread, worry, and anxiety, especially for students and their parents.

Two passages that have meant a lot to me when I face the future, worrisome or not, are from Isaiah 41 and Matthew 6.

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Bible art journal for Isaiah 41:10 (© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly)

“Fear not for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10.

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Bible art journal for Matthew 6:25-30 – (© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly)

“‘Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body what you will put on…

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them …

Consider the lilies of the field how they grow: they neither toil nor spin ….

Now if God so clothes the grass of the field… will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith’” – Jesus in Matthew 6:25-30.

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“teach me” poem tip-in (© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly)

And the tip-in poem:

teach me

the sweet leisureliness
of being a lily
the implicit trust
of my child-hand
in Yours
the unlikely joy
that sings sparrow-songs
even when I’m on the ground

VN – 2007

The lettering and doodles were done with pen, coloured with pencil crayons. I printed the tip-in poem on tracing paper and stuck in place with Washi tape.

Wishing all students and their parents a “God-with-you” first day of school!!

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Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.