Monday, January 11, 2016

Art Journaling - A place to be imperfect

This is my question for this year, and what I want to focus on.
Too often I focus on what I'm not good at and what I need help with.  Like schedules or goal setting.  I don't organize and set goals and to-do lists like other people, but it doesn't mean I do these things poorly. 

Ask yourself - What do you do well?

Now how can you take that skill and use it in more areas of your life?

I think that if more people focused on these two questions then they would have more joy and peace in their days and possibly even be able to accomplish their goals more easily.

Another question I'm asking myself - Why is this goal important?

For instance, I'd like to exercise every day (and I don't have a great track record of doing this) but why is this important?  Is it to drop a dress size?  Sure, that might be great, but that's not important enough and too superficial to last long.  For me, it's because I want to have the energy and ability to do things that I enjoy doing - like ice skating! 
We can't afford to go ice skating even once a week, and we don't live in a place where I could hike every day or do other physical things that I love.  

But when those opportunities come I don't want to be so out of shape that I can't enjoy them!  So that is my "why" for this one thing.  Yours might be different.  It could be because you want to keep up with your kids or grandkids.  It could be because you actually love running (for some unfathomable reason that I can't understand.)  ;) 

The point is.  Find your "why" with your goals and use what you are good at to move forward to your goals.

 These thoughts have been brewing because I've been reading a lot of different books, blogs, and other helpful resources about these things and am doing this course called "make over your mornings" -- I am half way through now and it has been helpful as I take the advice and spin it into my own way of doing things.


Today, rather than talking about new ideas on how to organize (which I've talked about a lot before because I'm always trying to improve that!) or our random days and what we are into right now.  I thought I'd talk about Art Journaling.

First, It's a place to be imperfect. 

 Sometimes the art looks less than impressive.  Sometimes, I let my kids draw in my journals and then I write around it here and there.  Sometimes I dislike a page so much that I glue the pages together and start over.

The best thing I've learned in the last few years is how to do visual journaling and the first rule is that anything goes.  Even though I do share some of my pages with you all, it's really not something that needs or should be shared.  It's about the process more than the product!
 The picture above and to the right were both done with this duel handed simultaneous drawing exercise (draw with both hands like a mirror to each other) and then I colored them like it was a coloring page.
Sometimes it can turn into a colorful random shape blob like above and sometimes it can turn out neater than you were expecting.  But, the point isn't the product.  It's the process.

We are all artists because we are made in the image of the Creator God.
What are you good at?  It might not be drawing or coloring.  It could be baking, or decorating, or the ability to listen to others and make them feel special with your care.  Whatever you are good at, however God has gifted you, BE that this year!  
I'm currently reading this book called "A Million Little Ways" -Uncovering the art you were made to live and it's been a great place to ponder the question of "What do you do well" along with "what do you want to do well" what are the deep desires that God placed in your heart?

My newly turned 10 year old created this picture in my journal using the two handed exercise!  Then she colored it! 

All the different journals I have going right now.  A couple are almost done and one is brand new!

 As I was thinking of journaling and my own personal way of goal setting and organizing and all of that, I got to thinking how some people might appreciate seeing this sort of organized, messy, mindful, artistic, process that you all too could take ideas from and work them into your own way of doing things.

"The Idea Book" blog is just that.. it's ideas.  I love thinking that I could inspire people, but I hope this is never taken as "THE WAY" to do something, because I never think of it that way.  It's all ideas in process and is an imperfect mess. 

Anyway, on with some more ideas.  ;)

Maybe you don't get totally overwhelmed like I do when looking at pre-made planners and just might like to add in the "adult coloring book" type thing to what you are already doing.  If that is the case you might like my newest journal/coloring book that would be a great start to a visual journal type thing. 

I love all this authors books and this is one of her newest.
 This is my newest journal and I haven't started writing in it yet.  My old one (the big black one) and the yellow one (pictured above) are almost full and then I'll jump into this. 

It's a little tidier right now, but I might do the visual journal thing of bending pages and gluing stuff into it all over the place.  For some reason it makes me feel less stressed out if the pages are imperfect because then I know it's okay for me to be imperfect with-in the pages.

 Some pages in this book look like this and I'll color the pictures and write down quotes probably or just journal my thoughts to my invisible friends, or write down prayers. 

Second thing about visual journaling - I like knowing that I can do visual journaling in any order!  The journals don't have to be in chronological order and I can do any page at any point and fill in the gaps as I go till it's full. 

 This particular journal will work well with using any pages at any point because the beginning has pages like this with coloring pages.
 The middle of the book is mostly lined pages for lots of room to journal.  And the end of the book has unlined pages with something to color just in the corners.  It's a nice tidy variety of page types that would be great for a beginner journaler.

As adults we probably get to thinking too much that each page needs to be "finished" if we are going to start it and the truth is that it doesn't.  

Third note about visual journaling- That pressure is off and we can have something simply for enjoyment and reflection.

The middle of this book has a lot of lined pages for lots of journaling.  I might even choose to do some pencil sketches on these pages and then use a gel pen for the writing to change it up, but the point is that you can choose to do anything in visual journaling!  

Some of the coloring pages are tiny like the ones here with lots of detail to color in.  Also, some of these coloring pages are blank on the back side so you don't have to worry about a marker leaking through and ruining your other page HOWEVER, in visual journaling (Point Four) the leak through isn't a bad thing!  It all goes into the "imperfect" and "no rules" place that visual journaling is about. If a visual journal has corners hanging out or color bleeding through the pages then all the better!

And some of the coloring pages are small objects like this picture shows.  I might journal around these pictures as well in circle patters and upside down!  Because, hey, "no rules" means you can write upside down after all!

The back section of this book has blank pages rather than lined with something to color just in the corners.  With pages like this I might glue in a picture or two, or a recipe that I want to remember.  Why not right? 
 Or color, or doodle, or write in really LARGE letters?  Remember, this is all for the process.  Forget about being able to easily get to it later.

  Point Five about visual Journals -This is about being in the moment not about saving this moment for later.

"We have the capacity to reflect the relational glory of God no matter who we're with, what we're doing, or what's gone wrong. This is when art is a verb rather than a noun. It isn't some thing you point to, it's a way you live."

How I've used the January page so far in an imperfect way.
 Remember in a previous blog post where I showed off my calendar pages?  Well, here's how I use them.  General goals and thoughts are written down and my "to do" lists go on sticky notes that can be easily swapped or thrown away.  I've discovered that I don't like keeping to-do lists.  Better to start with a fresh slate and only keep the things that are truly meaningful and I need to remember!

 Today I decided to have a zoomed out version of this year and cut out the pictures from last years calendar to make it happen!  I might use these pages to write down what we DID do or I might write down some goals that I'd like to see happen.  I dislike planning too far in advance as spontaneity seems to be a happier mode for me, so it will probably end up more in the "This is what we did" sort of list.  Which actually is really helpful still because then I can think about what to do next.

 My old (almost full) visual journal that I started in the fall of 2013!  This is a page that I kept gluing art from my girls into.  They would give me a picture they made and it was so sweet and always a struggle to know what to do with their little offerings.  They were delighted when I asked if I could put it in my visual journal.  ;) 

Sometimes I ask if we can hang it on the fridge or if we can hang it on the wall and then later those pictures will end up in page protectors in their binders.  That is, only the pictures that they want to keep.  Any that they don't want in their binders will be thrown away with their permission.  It's been working for a while and doesn't really take very long to all do together.

This page is an example of a folded random page.  Also, in case you couldn't tell from the fact that I blog.... I tend to like to talk "out loud" to figure things out.  There isn't many people to hear me though so sometimes I write all the random "I can't keep my thoughts to myself" moments and in the picture to the left I wrote and wrote and wrote some more on top of my own words as I turned the page and changed colors of pens.  You can't read it afterwards, but I wasn't writing anything important anyway.  I wanted to show this page to show an idea of what you can do.  I'm trying to save (hopefully) more interesting things for this blog or Facebook or even talking to my husband, then all the random stuff that pops into my head that isn't important to anyone but me.
 This page is one that I used to organize some thoughts while doing a Jamberry party!  Then, I covered it all up later with the pictures of the wraps that were leaving for the "going going gone" last fall. 

Showing this just to give an idea of what you can do after you've used a page.  You might not need to keep the info, so why not play a bit and cut up an old magazine or catalog?  OR let a kid do this part!!! 

Last point about visual journaling-  Being IN the moment and fully experiencing wherever you are or what you are thinking about is the point for me.  

It's not about the product, it's the process.  It's being more mindful and finding rest.

Were you wondering what my previous calendar pages looked like after the blog the other day with 2016s all ready?

This one was one of the better ones that I made.  Some were covered in question marks and had no color at all.  And some I didn't finish till the month was almost over so ended up writing down what we did rather than what I wanted us to do.

It's all about being imperfect.  It's about baby steps.  
I'm slowly getting better at doing these things in my own way.  They won't look like other peoples way of staying organized and being mindful and using my time well.  It will be all my own, misspelled, messy, random, thoughtful, artistic life, that doesn't have to meet anyone elses ideas of what it "should" be.

 This coloring page is from the "Homeschooling Handbook for Moms" which I am still really enjoying.  I don't get to this every day, but that's beside the point.  We put too many burdens on ourselves of what HAS to get done and turn even enjoyable things into "have tos" - what if you sit by your child while they read out loud and you actually listen.  You rest and listen and color.  What if your little one wants to join you and you both sit at the table and color?

I want my own box of crayons.  ;)

 One of my most used pages in the handbook for Moms are these "reading time" pages.  I write down quotes from books and blogs that I read and want to remember.  Then I color some after writing down the quote so I can think about it. 

If you don't homeschool (or if you dislike owls,) but would like a journal like this I'd recommend the "Coffee Time Quiet Time" one as it is really similar.  I have that one too, but will finish this first before using it.  To see how the pages compare to each other you can look at the end of this blog post where I reviewed them together.


So, what do I do well?

I asked my husband what he thought I did well and ironically the things that I do well I seemed to always be trying to fight against instead of going with it.

 I was stressing myself out trying to get better at doing certain things in a way that fit other personalities which aren't my own.

How can I use my strengths well?

"Be with what is.  Let the day be the day without trying to run away from it."

"Our lives are at once ordinary and mythical. We live and die, age beautifully or full of wrinkles. We wake in the morning, buy yellow cheese, and hope we have enough money to pay for it. At the same instant we have these magnificent hearts that pump through all sorrow and all winters we are alive on the earth. We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded." (Quote from "Hands Free Life")


Whatever you are doing to record your life. Facebook, blog, instagram, scrapbook, pictures on your phone, journaling - keep doing it. Your life is valuable.

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