Getting out my watercolors to try my hand at
art journalling for the first time.
Today was one of those days where I didn't get anything done that I'd planned to do but got lots of things done that weren't on the original agenda.
For instance, Kirk and I got to talking about our financial plans. Yesterday I completed my exit interview for my grad school financial aid and learned the total balance of student loans I'll be paying back for a very long time to come. That's what happens when you've been in school for four years straight, I guess!
Anyway, that got us talking and thinking and planning around our financial picture, which led to the creation of a truly geeky budget spreadsheet, complete with color-coding and formulas and easy ways to track where we're going over budget or turning up "found money" in different areas every month.
If you're familiar with the language of Dave Ramsey, I'm ready to go "gazelle intense" on this, baby. :-)
My first watercolor, inspired by a revelation last night.
Next, I sat at my desk and stared at my to-do list for the day. On the facing page of my to-do list were three words I'd written last night after standing at my kitchen counter and having a lightbulb moment. Several different thought currents I've been mulling for a while collided at once, and I found God conversing with me about the work he's given me to do, the specific part I play in the body of Christ, and the way I'm to approach and do my work.
None of these realizations were anything new. I've known them about myself and my life path for quite some time. But there was something about these several different strands of thought coming together all at once that made me feel like it was a moment of revelation.
Seen and heard.
Those three little words mean so much to me. They speak of the way I want people to feel when they're around me. They remind me of my part in Christ's body as his eyes and ears. They reinforce the path I'm taking to do more and more of my life's work online, seeing what people write in these spaces and hearing the heart and perspective behind the words that are shared.
The next thing I knew, I had turned the page of my journal to a clean sheet and began pulling out my brand-new watercolor set. (I was inspired to purchase a few art supplies recently in order to give art journalling a try when revisiting Karen Walrond's words and images about her lovely journalling process.)
The image above was the first result. Seen and heard. I want to remember that.
It reads: Suffused with grace
When I finished the first watercolor painting, I got to thinking about the Gospel immersion experience I'm creating for the Still Forming community this summer. Earlier this week, I met with my spiritual director and talked with her for almost the whole session about my heart toward this online course. One of the things I prayed during our time together was that God would walk step-in-step with me through the creation process and then the execution of this course.
The second watercolor painting, pictured above, started out with the image of a blue spiral. I was thinking about the course and my prayer for God's help in its creation, and then I began to paint simple blue spirals all over the page in different sizes and shapes. After painting several of them all over the page, I noticed they all spiralled around in the same direction: clockwise. The next thing I knew, I was cleaning off my brush and dipping its tip into the red basin so I could paint red spiral after red spiral all over the page, too, in the opposite (counter-clockwise) direction.
I knew from the start that the blue clockwise spirals represented all those who will end up joining the course. They each have a different journey, story, experience that will bring with them into our time together. The red counter-clockwise spirals, conversely, were the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit interjecting and encountering each person there. (God always disrupts and disarms, doesn't he?)
Then I added some green bursts here and there to represent growth and new life springing forth. And then I washed a bright yellow sheen over the whole of it, suffusing the whole process with the light and grace of God.
All of it, all of it, God reminded me, will be suffused with grace.
The watercolors appear . . . yet again.
Later in the evening, after dinner, I sat at my desk once more and began brainstorming and planning for the Gospel immersion course. I turned to a clean sheet in my journal and listed out all the pieces of the process that need to be determined to make it go, such as the pacing of the material, the various media elements to include, the login and registration process, and even the course name.
I didn't concretely work through any of those items at this time, but that did get me thinking about what all this means to me. I'm moving toward greater and greater opportunities for meaningful work right now, for pouring my whole heart, mind, and self into what I do, for giving God the work of my hands as he then works through my hands to reach into the hearts and lives of others.
I'm moving toward my life's work now. I can feel it. And it feels so very vibrant and good and invigorating and challenging and engaging.
Reflecting on that started me on yet a whole new painting kick, which led to the creation of two more pieces in my journal. :-)
I'm not an artist by any means, but I am turning more toward the truth these days that I love and need images and beauty. They light me up, and they make up a great part of the way God and I communicate. Words are my greatest home and always will be, but color and image and shape and line speak into even greater depths of me sometimes. They set me free in new ways.
So that's the story of how my day turned out nothing like I thought it would. I am finding that to be a very good thing.