Wednesday, April 20

True Confessions + Sketchbook Inspiration + a Challenge

#1: True confessions: 

I've been binging on Fixer Upper on Netflix
and feeling a little sick to my stomach.
All I want are some chickens and shiplap and 
a 100 year old house in Waco, Texas.
And Jojo's thighs. I'd like to have her 
thighs-that-don't-touch, while I'm at it.
You too?

Seriously. There's nothing like looking at 
other people's stuff to make you feel miserable. 
Greedy. Gross. Bratty, really.

Here's the thing...
I have a beautiful home.
In a beautiful place.
With a beautiful family.
I am blessed far beyond 
and I know this in my head, 
but Jojo makes me discontent with it all.

Okay, so maybe it's not entirely Jojo's fault. It's not just Fixer Upper. 
It's time in front of the computer overdosing on beautiful things, 
but not making anything in real life.
It's empty calories. Toxic. 

I have to repeat to myself over and over: 
It's not real life. It's all pretend. 
This is NOT what you were made for.

This is one of my favorite posts of all time from Glennon.
She always says it so well.

And our real life is the beauty.
The lego creations and dishes in the sink mean we live real life here.
We hunt down every single plastic toy we own and create an enormous... um... creation in the middle of the living room because cousin Chloe is coming from Texas and this is the only way to truly express our love explosion for her. 

This is the beautiful, REAL life that I get to live.
What in the world? How did I win the lottery?
I was meant for this real life, full of mess and interruption
because it is REAL. and real is messy. and real is mine.
Thank you Lord. 

#2: The Challenge

You know what helps me see the beauty 
in the real life that's right in front of my face?
Play and paint and making in the midst of the mess.
Time to make. I always come back to this. 

Playing and doodling whatever I feeling like doodling
with no purpose at all makes me feel like me. 
It turns my resentment into gratitude for 
this life I have created for myself.
And it's free. 

So I have vowed to turn off the TV and 
set a little playdate with my sketchbook.
And I feel better. You might too.

 I found this fun challenge on instagram this morning.


Wanna join me?

Just post your doodles or knitting or gardening 
or whatever it is you do to feel like you.

My goal: Notice the beauty that 
surrounds me every single day.

My hashtag: #100daysofnoticingbeauty

Noticing beauty around me. 
Finding little things that make me happy. 
Plants and food and dishes and textures and color combinations 
that make my heart sing. 

Day 1:

What you need 

Watercolor paper

A really thin brush

Speedball ink 

Water jar

Watercolors of any kind

Paper towels

Step 1: Find beauty around you. 

In your kitchen. In your closet. 
In your yard. In your laundry pile.
Notice it. Study it. 
*Record it. *

Step 2: Doodle it.

Dip the thinnest brush you have into 
this luscious ink and start doodling. 

***Remember: This is all about the process.***. 
Put on some headphones and music you love
and play and play and play. 
with line and and paper. water and color.

Buy cheap paper. Fill it up. 
Then do it again. and again. and again. 
This is not about perfection. 
It's not even about product. 

This is about showing up for your creative self.
This is about playing, experimenting, and making mistakes.
Big, beautiful mistakes. All over the place. 

It is in the freedom of making mistakes
{lots of little mistakes
big messy mistakes} 
that you will find freedom.
space. passion. 

There is no life under the tyranny of perfection, 
only paralysis. 
But I digress... 

My whole point is this: 
Doodle your beauty.

Step 3: Color it.

(Wait until the ink dries.)
Use whatever you have. 
I used a combination of inexpensive cake watercolor sets
in order to get the colors I wanted. 

Here are some easy, inexpensive options:

Crayola (yes, Crayola!)
These are so juicy and vibrant.

Loew Cornell
There are 40 colors in this little gem of a set.

Sakura Field Sketch Set 
I love this compact little travel set 

and this is the set I am saving my pennies to get this set:

Kuretake Gansai Tambi 36 Color Set
I have heard great things about these 
& they have gold! so fun.

Step 4: Share it

Remember: It's not about perfection 
{or even competence!}
This is about feeding your creative self 
and sharing it with us. 
Because when you do that, 
you inspire us to do the same.

And we say, 
"Oh. If she did that, maybe I can do that, too. 
Or maybe I can make time to do this other creative thing 
I've wanted to do for so long that will feed my creative soul. " 

As I said up there at the top
I'll be sharing here on my IG account
with the hashtag 


and joining everyone else with the hashtag


See you there!

Monday, February 8

He has done great things for us. Psalm 126. Free printable.

 I finally made some time to be creative and spread out my paper and paint and 
supplies. I started going crazy again with paint and paper.
I feel alive when I paint. 
The hardest part is always getting started.

I made this for us, because it's where I'm at right now.
And it makes me happy. And I need to remember this.

You too? {Print a 5 x 7 here.}
Or make a little notecard {Print here} and send it to a friend.

Friday, January 8

Faith Art Friday: Start Faith Art Journaling for under $20. Today.

Each Friday Melissa and I invite you to join us on our blogs to play and explore our faith + creativity. We post a faith art journaling prompt and our response, along with a few tips, tricks, and ideas. Then *and this is the best part* we meet to share our journals and responses in our private Facebook group. This group is such an encouragement to us.  Everyone is welcome here, simply request access, and we will invite you to join.
Come learn, create, and share with us.

Welcome back.I loved seeing all of your words and hopes and dreams for the year in our Facebook group. If you haven't shared yet, please do. We love seeing what you are making and what God is doing in your life. 

I keep hearing from you that supplies are the biggest barrier to getting started creating. I get it. When I go into the craft store, or browse through Amazon, the sheer volume of supplies for art journaling can be overwhelming, and so can the cost. 

I have a little secret to tell you, that took me years of trips to the craft store and lots of money to learn.  And I hate to be the one to break this to you, but...

Better supplies won't make you a better artist. 

They really won't. Spending more money on supplies will not make your time creating more rich or satisfying or any better. I know cause I've tried and I have boxes and bins of stuff I've never used as proof. Supplies are simply a tool to get to the making part. Don't let supplies stop you! 

This is for you. Today. {Not tomorrow.} 
Because you were made to make stuff.

I created today's tutorial, Faith Art Journaling for under $20, to encourage you to create with whatever you have. I want to make this simple, accessible, affordable {and fun} for everyone. That includes you. and your kids. and your neighbor down the street. 

It doesn't have to be this big huge commitment of time and space. If you could hear my video, you would hear my 4 year asking me for a snack and me stopping to get him one, and then stopping to break up a fight between them, and then my 7 year old getting out the markers and making right beside me. 

So let's talk materials first, and then we'll start on today's prompt. The materials this week are the exact same as last week for one addition: white ink.


1. A Piece of Paper

I use this journal: 

I like it because the pages are thick.

This one is good, too:

And this one:

Use what you have and what you like best. You can use watercolor paper, 
or card stock, or copy paper. I encourage you to experiment with 
different weights and brands of paper to see what you like. 

2. Water 

3. A small, a medium, and a large sized brush

You don't need fancy brushes for playing and experimenting.
This is a nice little set:

4. A paper towel

5. An Extra Fine Tip Sharpie

You can get them pretty much anywhere, or order them by the dozen here: 

Yes, 24 colors for $3.99! Like I said, you don't need fancy supplies to make art. You just need to use what you have and show up. These are about the cheapest you can go.

These are a fun, inexpensive pack, too:

And I also love these: 

I'm using Crayola today because I want to 
show you that you don't need fancy stuff to create.

Now that we have our supplies, let's start. I love today's prompt. Don't let it scare you, this doesn't have to be a big, life-changing event. It can be something that you are thankful for, a verse that you keep coming back to, or what your word (or verse) for the year means and looks like in real life.

For me, my word was uncomfortable. I've been working hard to be really comfortable these last few years. I've had small kids. My husband has been in school and working full time.  It's been a stressful season of life. and I think I've kind of hunkered down and done what I've had to do during those times. 

But as I read the gospels and look at the life of Jesus and his best friends, he was constantly calling them into awkward, unknown, uncomfortable situations. The kind of situations I avoid. And I know that LIFE in Him begins at the end of my comfort zone.

I'm standing right in the middle of my comfort zone. It is very clearly marked with a circle in the sand. Jesus is standing just beyond my circle. And if I want to follow Him, and really experience the LIFE that he promises, the life that is real LIFE, I have to make a choice.
I can't stay comfortable AND follow him. Like the rich young ruler, like James & John who left their comfortable nets. 

When I was a Young Life leader in college, my leader used to tell me to get uncomfortable every day. Talk to someone new, do something you don't want to do, listen to the still small voice and follow it. The best advice for living life. ever.

The more I walk with Jesus, the more I think that following Him has less to do with being nice and following rules, and more to do with my willingness to be uncomfortable. 
to step outside of myself for Him.

I'm tempted to call it brave, but brave makes me think of David and Goliath, when Jesus may just want me to knock on my neighbor's door to say hello, or engage in a conversation that's not on my self-centered agenda, or dare to talk to God about the places in my heart that seem dead.

I just know that uncomfortable will look completely different from the plans I have.
Uncomfortable and unknown are the only place I am aware of my need for Him. 
Of course I always need Him, but I forget so quickly as soon as I get comfortable. 

I chose this verse today:

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, 
and no mind has imagined what 
God has prepared for those who love him.

1 Corinthians 2:9

I love this verse. It's in reference to Jesus coming to Earth, how everyone was expecting an earthly king to rule and reign on earth, and they missed it. They missed God, right before their very eyes, because He looked different than their expectations.

This verse so applicable to us today. To me. My eyes haven't seen, my ears haven't heard, my mind can't even imagine what God has for me. And it is guaranteed to be different than what I expect or imagine. If I'm not careful, if I'm not willing to get uncomfortable, I will miss it too. When it's right in front of my face.

Father God give us eyes to see you. Give us ears to hear you. Give us hearts and minds that are willing to let go of OUR expectations, to get uncomfortable, so that we can know you, Jesus. Amen.

So, I made a video. It's awkward. It was really hard. But, the more I make these tutorials, the more dumb it seems to use photos, when I can just communicate so much better with video. I can talk to you. And I like to talk. And I don't like to write. 

Here is my first video. I started it 5 years ago, when I was young and naive. I hope you like it. My main point... Just get started. Just make something already. And come and share with us okay? Okay. Here goes...

Now share with us right here. 


Friday, January 1

Faith Art Friday: January 1, One Little Word Watercolor Tutorial

Happy New Year!
Welcome to our very first Faith Art Friday of the year.
I'm so glad you showed up.

Each Friday Melissa and I will meet on our blogs to post our journaling responses, along with a few tips, tricks, and ideas. 

Then *and this is the best part* we'll meet (that means you too) with our journals and responses in our private Facebook group. This group is such an encouragement.  
Learn, create, share with us.

I've prepared a really fun, simple tutorial for us today, 
with very basic, inexpensive supplies.*

*Side note: 
I'm starting here because I know that supplies can be roadblock to actually creating. I keep hearing this from you over and over again.  I want to scale that wall to get you making and creating and playing, without the distraction and expense of fancy supplies.

My joy is play. I love to play with color, line, texture, shape.
Honestly, something unexplainable awakens inside of me when I make time to play. When I just. show. up.
So simple. So hard. Right?

And it is fun by myself, but it is way more fun with you. 
As soon as I start to play, I just want to invite everyone I know to come out to play with mebecause that's even more fun. Let's get started.

Wednesday, December 30

Faith Art Friday in 2016

For our new friends who have recently joined, start here.

Last summer Melissa and I started a free Faith Art Journaling Workshop we called Journaling by Heart. Each week we took turns meeting on our blogs to provide a tutorial and an assignment. Then our members (that's you) met us here in the closed Facebook Group to share your creations, your art, your faith and your heart. Even more than that, you showed up to encourage and cheer for each other. 

It is a beautiful thing. It's exactly what we were hoping for and praying for. 
The theme of our workshop was grace. That we might know the grace that Jesus has for us, that we would give ourselves that grace and extend that grace to each other.

Monday, December 28

What's on my Kitchen Table + a simple way to display your 2016 Scripture Art Calendar

I love this week between Christmas and New Year's.
I feel like it's a a free ticket to get cozy and drink too much coffee and snuggle up by the fire
and let my boys play video games while I paint and paint and paint. 
{Please overlook the run-on sentences. I'm on break.}

I've been kind of obsessed with black ink lately. Doodling and drawing and writing with it. 
This is what my kitchen table looks like right now. Bliss.

Friday, November 27

Faith Art Friday

Happy Friday-after-Thanksgiving, friends! I guess this means that the Christmas season has begun.I've never really been into the crazy Black Friday shopping thing. For my boys the Friday after Thanksgiving means one thing and one thing one only: Christmas boxes come down & decorating begins.

My seven year old has been pining over the Christmas boxes in the garage since we packed everything away last January. I've been putting him off all year by telling him that we can decorate the day after Thanksgiving. I felt a little poke in the shoulder this morning around 3 AM.
Mom, is it time?
It's still night, go back to sleep. 

5 AM
Mom is it time? 
It's very early, go back to sleep.

I held him off until about 5:30, when I had reached my poking limit, and his excitement could not be contained. Explosive, is the only word to describe it. A little bit scary, but mainly pure joy. So I grabbed my coffee, stumbled into the garage, pulled down the bins,  and gave the boys free reign over Christmas. So, Christmas has officially thrown-up all over the house. Jack's decorating aesthetic: more is more. is more is more. is more.

And just when I start to hyperventillate because the red and green walls seem to be caving in with Christmas stuff, I have to remind myself to be thankful. So very thankful. Thankful for our home, for 4 and 7, these sweet ages of my boys, for the magic that Christmas is for them. Thankful for every little part. I know it is but a breath. 

Whether you are digging out Christmas decorations, or waiting in line for a bargain, it is time for Faith Art Friday. In case you are new here...

Each Friday Melissa and I meet on our blogs with a Faith Art Journaling Prompt for us all to respond to together. We'll post our journaling responses, along with a few tips, tricks, and ideas. Then *and this is the best part* we'll meet (that means you too) with our journals and responses in our private Facebook group. This group is such an encouragement to us! We hope you'll join us.

“Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how He had mercy on you.”  -Mark 5:19
 This Week's Prompt
Document a favorite testimony from your life or that of someone you care about.  It can be a testimony of salvation, healing, forgiveness, anything that impacted you and that you would like to remember.

There's no artwork today while I'm managing Christmas explosions with my boys and Melissa is enjoying Thanksgiving with her family. BUT,  Melissa has a great video to share to get you started & inspired. And, of course, we'd LOVE to see what you create here.


In case you hadn't heard, I'm having a shop sale through Monday:

I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family!