100 Days Project – Day 3

When collecting verses for this project, a friend gave me Proverbs 5:6 or something about trusting God… but when I looked it up, this was the result. Taken completely out of context… and I mean really out of context, it reminds me that we don’t always see the path God intends… trusting is difficult! (see what I did there? I looped back to the intended encouragement).

Comment with ideas on naming this tangle please!

100 Day Project – Day 2

Today’s verse is a pretty well-known and often quoted within Christian circles as an encouragement. Here it is with the two versus around it (my journaling Bible is ESV version):
10 For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

The first thing I noticed was “I” – 5 times… and after “says the Lord”, it reminded me to pay attention to what the Lord is saying…

The second thing I noticed was seventy years of exile in Babylon…

Here is my paraphrase – the Lord is saying, after you have lived outside of what you expected or what you were promised for a very long time, then I will visit. While visiting, I will fulfill the promise made because I know more than you do about things. I know what true welfare is and I am future and hope. Knowing this about me, let’s talk – I will listen.

Context makes a difference for sure and I can imagine that I would need to go outside of Jeremiah 29 and even Jeremiah as a book to explore full context. Either way, I am challenged by God speaking. I can think of a handful of times where I was oblivious to God and He did some rather unique things to get my attention.

So… for today’s tangle, I’m calling “Ii” I starting with the capital I and added another and another always branding off the first. Then I added the small i intermingled. This represents God first, me second… but also to be immersed in Him and what He is saying. Additionally, since I was given a list of scripture and colours associated, I intentionally used only black and blue and below is the context for those colours – I highlighted what I thought of for the verses.

I hope that when I hear/read/see/feel “the Lord says”, I am able to take it in and respond with prayer… and that He may speak to you also – moment by moment.

Just Be… Good Enough

When the shapes aren’t touching, I prayed for boundaries. When they are, I prayed for family. When they switch colours, I prayed to be encouraged. I chose a tangle I struggle with to pray that I would remember the experiences God has given to prepare me for each day and that I would trust Him with tomorrow.

Maybe you as a reader need to read today that you are good enough already. No need to prove it… just be.

100 Day Project – Day 1

Today marks the first day of a #100daysproject with my cousin-in-law Jacquelyn. I thought it would be a great way for each of us to use our own unique approach to art to intentionally create.

100 Days of Verses Tangled

For awhile I have been thinking about how to incorporate faith and tangling together. To that end, I am using the 100 days to explore the possibility of finding tangles out of versus from the Bible. If I get really creatively stumped, I will use an existing tangle and try to re-imagine it or do what is called a tangleation.

I was very surprised to see how fast a tangle came for day one when I read Psalm 91:1
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I started thinking through and was very drawn to the heading of the psalm at first – as shown in the image below. But soon, I started reflecting on an art class I had with @JessicaRupp this afternoon on positive and negative space and how it relates to how the Father sees us. Shadow can often be seen as dark, but when used on a hot day, it represents shade, or shelter from the draining nature of the sun. Additionally, when I think of Psalm 139:12 and how David says that “even the darkness will not be dark to you”, I remember that God is in the shadow too, not just the light.

I hope to reflect further on what God might be enlightening me to in terms of positive and negative space, refuge and fortress, passive and aggressive… and resting/abiding in His shadow.

If you use the new tangle, let me know and please do comment with some more verses I can use – I only have 5 more ready to go out of 100. 🙂

Exploring Alcohol Markers

I needed to buy some alcohol markers in the gray scale for a Zentangle class in April…little did I know that it would open the door to a lot of exploration!

The first thing I had to do, yes had to, was organize the set I ordered into their numerical order. I may not put things back where I get them from but I love alphabetical and numerical ordering. It feels secure and safe. I had to get over that numbers were missing… And eventually I did.

I have since jumped in with two feet and am doing a Skillshare class to learn how to use these markers to their fullest. The image below is me trying to tackle the most difficult of the three shapes that were demonstrated – the sphere. Since my 4YO loves space and was sitting beside me, it was easy to figure out what to attempt. He was my art director with choosing colours and making sure I had every detail captured for the different planets and dwarf planets.

Stay tuned for more of my journey as an artist. I would love it of you commented on projects you have done using alcohol markers or a new media to you!

Learning How to Teach

One of the most interesting aspects of being a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) is that you get to learn in order to teach. The journey of exploring Zentangle techniques is a wonder in itself… but as a CZT, I CAN translate my exploration into classes for others. Sometimes it works and sometimes it really does not.

One of the first group classes I taught, I had far too many tangles to teach in the time allotted, I was not at a strong level with the technology I was using, and I found myself impacted by the facial expressions of my students. It was not ideal, but the learning experience of it was exactly what I needed. From this experience, I learned that I do better with a whiteboard demonstration, adventurous students, and a flow-style class. I also learned that I need to set my students up for success by being confident, clear, and by sharing my heart and mind intentions. That brings me to the most recent class experience I wanted to share about – Maptangling with Fragments.

Class prep and demonstration pieces

You are allowed to say “Thank You”

I started by sharing my hopes for the time together, my appreciation for each student, and my rule. Golden Rule of a Tangled Artist Class: “You are allowed to say thank you. You are not allowed to put down your work.” I remind students that we often hear a compliment and our gut reaction is “But I could have… ” or “I should have this…” or “I wish it was…” Like in the scene from Wayne’s World shown below. Terry tells people he loves them all through the movie… Garth knows best – “Just say, ‘thank you'”.

210 WAYNE`S WORLD by Sullivan ideas | wayne, wayne's world, world

Terry – “I love you man.”
Russel (Driver) – “I love you.”
Terry – “No you don’t man. I LOVE you man!”
Garth – “Just say ‘thank you.'”
Terry – “I love you man”
Russel (Driver) – “Thank you.”

Terry hugs Russel

For the record, I am the Terry in the above scene. During the pandemic, I have told more people that I love them than I have in my entire life! What I add to my golden rule is that the students can trust that I am genuine and honest with what I say. I will not compliment someone’s tangling or drawing in a fake way. In order to do this though, I need to treat myself the same way (the well-known golden rule).

From the rule and intentions I move into what they can expect from our time together in terms of instruction, technology, and learning outcome. This sounds dry but I have seen rest come over the student’s faces as I share what journey they are on with me. It also gives me a nudge to follow my schedule.

When you “just be” as an artist, beauty is found….

In this class I recently did, each student asked for what they needed throughout the time, I did multiple demonstrations on the whiteboard so they could choose their own colours and approach. As you can see below, the results were beautiful!

I had no idea while I was teaching what splash each student started with or what colours they were going to choose. For supplies I only encouraged that the pen choice be a darker version of the splash laid down.

The top image shows a student playing with three partnering colours on the wheel: yellow, green, blue

The bottom image shows a student letting the splash dictate what pen they chose to ensure that the original background colour choice was not lost.

Both show how unique each of us are and how beauty is created when we take a leap and “just be” as artists.

Consider taking a look at my class offerings and sign up here! Your leap towards seeing what beauty appears will be worth it!

Back to Journaling… transforming my mental health.

Just completed my first journal entry from the prompts I received from @chrissiemurphydesigns  through her Expressive List challege.

Transformation led to trauma which led to me looking up some verses which led to @youversion verse of the day which reminded me that God has been with me through every transformative trauma… as a place of safety in times of trouble. Psalm 59:16.

Woah. That was a lot to take in for me… but I’m grateful for the stone thrown into the pond of my mind and heart and the grace to see the ripples of pursuit.

I hope to continue journaling and need to remind myself that each time does not need to go deep, but it can. Below is a transcription in case you have trouble reading my writing

Transformation means becoming something or someone else at the end of the journey. It doesn’t have to be physical… it can be spiritual, emotional, or social. It means there is a clear difference. I find trauma to be one of the biggest triggers to transformation. I can’t be the same person I was before the trauma… I have been through something that transformed my world view, my self view, my God view… No matter how I long to go back, I can’t. I carry the experience forward and it is part of me… sometimes it hurts the new me, sometimes it blesses.
Romans 12:2b… “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”
1 Corinthians 13:12 “for now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully, but as I also have been fully known”

Hospitality – June 13, 2021

When hearing some of the definitions of hospitality this morning… “to pursue…” and “befriending strangers”, I realized that these are some of the philosophies that shape me as a Certified Zentangle Teacher and ultimately who I am as a person.

It was in my college days when a friend told me I was a “pursuer”. She gave a word to fit the boldness that seemed to flow through me as I continuously got to know anyone who would make eye contact with me. Sometimes the pursuit would be reciprocated, but either way I pressed forward whether rejection was in my path or not.

This month is a minefield for me in terms of grief triggers. June captures the anniversary of when my father passed away, his birthday, and Father’s Day. This year, I am trying to intentionally remember good things and joyful rippling effects of my Dad’s life as a way to fill my tank for the possible onslaught of grief in the coming weeks.

This “befriending strangers” concept put my Dad’s face and life on my mind – I believe for a reason. He modeled for me regularly the same patterns I see in myself of talking to strangers with no fear of rejection and how to treat people. He treated anyone serving him as if they were the most important person in that moment. This is something I have done from a young age also and is something that has made Covid-19 restrictions difficult to walk through. Lately, I have been grateful that my husband and I have gone into grocery stores versus curbside pick-up so I can talk to cashiers and thank them for working so I could get what I needed. I had an awesome conversation with someone the other day about how the store was supporting McMaster Children’s hospital and why I wanted to donate. She was amazingly receptive to my chatter and even shared a small amount of her journey. Being honest, I stuttered as I am still re-learning how to talk to people outside of screen, but seeing the smile in her eyes and hearing her amusment, made the momentary pursuit absolutely worth it.

In the realm of teaching Zentangle, I think of the pursuit part as putting classes out into the world and seeing who needs them and then taking that opportunity to help people befriend strangers. Recently, I was able to teach my first “Broken Fragements” class with a completely random set of people. It was great to see what they had in common as we learned and tangled together. Though spread across the ocean and North America, we were united for 2 hours in the joy of each other’s company, individual inspiration, and the awareness that we may not have ever met if not for the pandemic pushing things to a virtual state.

I hope I can continue to see much more joy and rest in showing hospitality as a Certified Zentangle Teacher while continuing to see who is placed in my path as a person.

40 Days of Writing Round 2: Day 1 – A little more conversation…

There is something about inter-generational learning that fascinates me, especially when it comes out of conversation. As a child, I never shied away from talking and interacting with those older or younger than me one-on-one. I think it comes from a deep desire to learn from other people and to encourage others through life.

Have you ever left a conversation feeling like you can take on the world or get through the next few moments? Have you ever started a conversation with no intention of depth only to finish it feeling like you never want to do small talk again?

I have learned to see when to sneak in depth into every day life and let people join or stay close to the surface…but mostly I have learned to listen. It never ceases to amaze me what wisdom and truth and love and grace can be found by engaging others in conversation.

My Dad taught me that boldness matched with talking is an amazing platform to meet people and be changed by them. As I sometimes rode along in his cab as a kid, I witnessed his ability to change what could be a mundane trip across the city into an adventure by asking that right question or sharing that particular story.

So, the next time you’re in line or waiting for the muffler to be fixed or sitting in the caf at lunch, why not strike up a conversation with someone? Why not ask that person what they think about life, the universe and everything? If they only say 42, you’ll have an excellent segway into figuring out if they really do speak nerd…but you’ll learn something.