Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Practising Gratitude featured in a magazine


Hello lovely people.

I'm so excited to tell you about being featured in heART Journal magazine: a monthly subscription online magazine.    But you can read this month's edition for free.  Just follow the instructions.






To celebrate heART Journal Magazine has a given me a free issue bonus code to share with others.

Get your free issue of heART Journal Magazine today! 

Simply download the app on iTunes https://bit.ly/heARTMag or Google Play http://bit.ly/Heartjournal
Then on your device follow these directions using subscriber code : heartsharing (case sensitive)
  • Install the App on your device
  • Launch the Magazine
  • On the Home Page, click on the Yellow subscribe button
  • Tap on the Current Subscriber Button
  • Enter this: heartsharing (case sensitive)


You will now be able to download a free issue to heART Journal Magazine.  Remember, the code is case sensitive.   Please show heART Journal Magazine some love by giving them a rating (there is an easy to use rating link inside the magazine) For help with the coupon code, email heartjournalmag@gmail.com

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Thank you

Thank you so much to everyone who has followed along with this blog and those who have taken part in making a gratitude journal.

Here's my completed one.




The next challenge blog is called A Culture of Honour - a study in 1 Corinthians.  I would love it if you would like to join.  To be sure of getting all the information nip over to the blog A Culture of Honour and sign up for the emails.  The sign-up box is at the bottom of the page.

Hope to see you there.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Day 21: Give thanks

Quotes
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.    Melody Beattie

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.    G. K. Chesterton

Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.    The Hausa of Nigeria

Bible Verse
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.     Psalm 95:2

Inspiration
Give Thanks and Praises Bob Marley
)

Gratitude Link
The Gratitude Experiment

Journaling
Have you kept up with the 21 days of this blog?
Do you have a complete or nearly complete journal?
Will you continue to keep a gratitude journal?
Do you feel you have not just a different attitude now from when we started but are practising gratitude?
Today take some time to reflect on the last month.  What have you learned?
What are you most thankful for?

Technique
Use your favourite technique from the past 20 days.

Action
Make a gratitude jar.  Find a large jar which you can decorate if you wish.  Cut up strips of paper and put these and a pen by the side of the jar.  Each time you are grateful for something that happens write it down and put the paper in the jar.  At the end of the year take them all out and read them.  Stick the papers into your gratitude journal.

Have you finished adding to your gratitude list that you started in Day 1?   Remember, each day this month add something to this list that you are thankful for.  You could take a photo each day.  Or tweet using #21daysinMay2014

And finally
Here is today's PDF.   Don't forget to share your work by adding a link to your page, flickr or blog using the linky.   Or tweet using #21daysinMay2014

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Walk: Guest Post

Today we welcome Valerie Sjodin.  Valerie produces amazing journals and you can learn how to do it yourself by going to her website and signing up for her workshops.

Here's Valerie: 
When Bernice asked me to be a guest artist for the Practice of Gratitude, I got excited. Then we got to ask for a specific theme, and I asked for “Walk”. Walking is a precious thing to me. I used to love to walk as my form of exercise and a time to talk with God. Two years ago I developed bone spurs and arthritis in the big toe joints of my feet and walking became painful. Walking even two miles required me to put my feet up, often with ice. About a year and a half ago I had surgery to remove the spurs on my left foot, but it did not take care of the pain. Actually, that foot hurts worse than the other one. I was pretty discouraged, not to mention some weight gain. Sigh.


Just before Bernice sent the list of topics out, we had a special service at our church and we were praising and praying. I started to jump. Something I hadn’t done in two years. A friend in a wheelchair for 39 years, stood up and walked with help around the large room. Progress is slow for both of us, but the pain is lessened and I’m enjoying walking again. Walking by faith.

On the day I planned to work on the journal page for this challenge, I read some horrific news in our local paper. I was grieved beyond words. That is another story in a blog post “Walking in the Valley of Shadows” at http://visualblessings.blogspot.com/2014/04/walking-in-valley-of-shadows.html
If you want to check it out. It also includes some images of this page.

As far as answering the journaling questions:

How much attention do you pay to the little things in life? Or are they ignored in the bustle of life? How could you become more aware of the everyday?  

To be honest, I’ve always been one of those people who notice little ordinary things and am often filled with wonder. I usually like being that way, although sometimes it’s inconvenient, especially when trying to find my way around. I would likely be able to tell someone the kind of flowers on the side of the road, but have no idea how to get to the destination.



What am I most thankful for in my life?

That is a harder question to answer. I don’t know if I can pick just one thing. The love of God, light, sight, beauty in nature, people to love and share life with, health. Those are the things that first come to mind.



On making the journal page:

After a blustery rain, the sun began to shine and I went for a walk as the prompt suggests, noticing and photographing the beauty at my feet, the kind of beauty that is easily passed by.  Pouring out my heart in prayer as I walked, I couldn't help but feel a twinge of wonder sneak back in as I drank in the beauty of the flowering bulbs. Life after death. Spring following winter. I passed other walkers, greeting, commenting on the beauty of the much appreciated Pacific Northwest sunshine. I was reminded there are still people who love and do good things, who make a difference for the better in the world. Hope began to rise.



The next day I revisited my photos and the theme of "Walk" in my journal page. Grateful for the time to work on it, I jumped in. Along with my feet, and the quotes Bernice provided, I included some painting of the smallest flowers on my walk. You’ll notice I left some room for more text and an image or two for some of the other prompts J



Here are the steps for painting and putting text on my journal page WALK:



1.    Tracing around my feet lightly with pencil on the journal page.


2.    Sketching/writing a quote and a verse in pencil to make sure they’d fit in the feet.


3.    Painting supplies ready: fluid acrylics, water, brushes, paper towel and cling wrap


4.    Cling wrap technique used for this challenge, and allow to dry


5.    Cling wrap lifted off dried paper


6.    Refering to the photos from my walk on my phone. Sketching plants: hens and chicks with a pencil


7.    Drawing over the pencil with a permanent FaberCastell Pitt pen


8.    Painting hens and chicks


9.    Finding next flowers to paint from reference photos on phone. Painting grape hyacinth shapes with gesso first so they will stand out against the background. Allow to dry.


10. Painting grape hyacinths, grass, and add dark to background near base


11. Adding pen outline to flowers and some of the leaves, grasses, and stems


12. Lettering with Pitt Sanguine Pen and using Sepia Pitt pen for the lines between the letters of the quotes in the feet. 


13. Shade with Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold paint.




After I posted the page on my blog, I realized there is a type in my lettering. So I wrote another post about how I fixed the spelling mistake. That is found in the post.






Throughout these days I am constantly reminded that the key is love. It's the only possible solution to our problems. I ask God for help. For about two days I felt like curling up like a potato bug. Instead, I stepped out in faith with more intention; Bringing a meal to a friend who is ill, writing a comfort card, making a phone call to tell someone I love them. Making space for quietness, for listening to God, and taking time to refill, to love myself.

Thank you so much Valerie for this guest post.  Such an inspiring page.










Day 20: Walk

Quotes
The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.     Henry Miller

Each moment of the year has its own beauty… a picture which was never seen before and shall never be seen again.      Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bible Verse
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Inspiration
The Lord’s my Shepherd
)

Walking on Sunshine
)

Gratitude Link
Gratitude
 )


Journaling
How much attention do you pay to the little things in life? Or are they ignored in the bustle of life? How could you become more aware of the everyday? What are you most thankful for in your life?

Technique
Watercolour and salt, watercolour and clingfilm – use whichever technique you didn’t use on day 1
)

Action
Walk around your neighbourhood for 30 minutes. Make a mental list, a real list or take photos of each thing you see or hear that you are thankful for.

Guest Post
Today we have a guest post on this topic from Valerie Sjodin.

And finally
Here is today's PDF.   Don't forget to share your work by adding a link to your page, flickr or blog using the linky.  Or tweet using #21daysinMay2014


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Day 19: Love

Quote
Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life. Christiane Northrup

Bible Verses
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11

Inspiration
Thank You for Loving Me Bon Jovi
)

Love Story
)

RAK

Gratitude Link
Pay It Forward

Journaling
Do you consider yourself to be an emotional person? We often concentrate on our negative emotions. Today let’s concentrate on our positive emotions such as love, compassion, enthusiasm, joy, happiness, desire, wonder. Which of these (or any other positive emotions) are you thankful are part of your personality?

Technique
Dylusions and Liquid Pearls.  If you don't have any liquid pearls you could use modelling paste or gesso to get a 3D effect.
 )

Action
Say thank you (and mean it) when the people close to you (including children) do the menial tasks of everyday life.

And finally
Here is today's PDF.   Don't forget to share your work by adding a link to your page, flickr or blog using the linky.  Or tweet using #21daysinMay2014


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Laugh: Guest Post

It's great today to be able to introduce you to Bev Hodgson.


Laugh, laughter, laughing

Starting point
– What makes us laugh?


I guess we all laugh at different things. I will always try to find something to laugh
about. Laughter lightens my burdens and helps me get through difficult times.
Perhaps that’s my medical background, where laughter provided a release in trying
circumstances. It’s also infectious: how often does one person’s laughter set another
off – and in the end you forget what you’re laughing at? I know that a good laugh lifts
me, and the effect is positive and lasts a long time.


Laughter crosses all boundaries – is infectious – and can bring us together.


Quote – Laughter is the action or sound of laughing.

Over the Easter holidays, I was working (playing?) in my craft room with the window
open. The two young children opposite us were playing in their garden and their
laughing and giggling really brightened each day. I loved hearing them; they brought
a smile to my face. I miss them now that they are back at school.


Bible Verse – Job 8 v 21: He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with
shouts of joy.


My journal page
The bubbles reflect how laughter bubbles up inside us and how it can be difficult to
hold our laughter in. The circles show how laughter can surround us and spread from
person to person. I have used bright colours on the flowers and background because
when we laugh we can feel brighter.


 Inside the pocket are things that make me laugh –
water fights, playing with bubbles, daft jokes.
Give thanks for the gift of laughter.

Thanks Bev.  Such a bright and happy journal page.

Day 18: Laugh

Quote
I love people who make me laugh.  I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh.  It cures a multitude of ills.  It's probably the most important thing in a person. Audrey Hepburn

Bible Verses
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.   She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.    Proverbs 31:25-26

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.      Job 8:21

Inspiration
Four Candles
)

My blackberry’s not working
)

Gratitude Link
10 benefits

Journaling
What things make you laugh?
When has laughter defused a situation?

Technique
Paper Napkins
 )

Action
Write a note to your church leader or your boss thanking them for the work they do.

And finally
Here is today's PDF.   Don't forget to share your work by adding a link to your page, flickr or blog using the linky.   Or tweet using #21daysinMay2014


Monday, 26 May 2014

Day 17: Welcome mornings

Quotes
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.    William Arthur Ward

As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world.     Adabella Radici

Bible Verse
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

Inspiration
Thankfulness in the everyday

Gratitude Link
7 singers choose songs

Journaling
Do you struggle to get up in the morning? Do you start each day with a spring in your step or are you weary? How can you be more thankful for each day? In the stressful world we live in, where time seems to fly by at an extraordinary rate, how can you make more of the moment? How can you become more mindful of the things that are important in your life?

Technique
Stamping into your stencil
)

Action
Before you get out of bed each morning be thankful for at least one thing.

Have you added to your gratitude list that you started in Day 1?   Remember, each day this month add something to this list that you are thankful for.  You could take a photo each day.  Or tweet using #21daysinMay2014

And finally
Here is today's PDF.   Don't forget to share your work by adding a link to your page, flickr or blog using the linky.   Or tweet using #21daysinMay2014


Friday, 23 May 2014

Day 16: Show appreciation

Quotes
Make it a habit to tell people thank you.  To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return.  Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you.  Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it.   Ralph Marston

Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it’s important to pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level.  We need to literally “count our blessings,” give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have. Shakti Gawain

(Some people) have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy.    A.H. Maslow

Bible Verse
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

Inspiration
The power of appreciation
)

Humpback Whale
 

Gratitude Link
42 Ways

Journaling
What or who do you most appreciate?
How can you show more appreciation of others?

Technique
An altered book tutorial with a rubber stamp and a stencil
)

Action
Give thanks and appreciation to yourself.  Reflect on the things that you like and love: your qualities, your achievements and any healthy changes you are making.

And finally
Here is today's PDF.   Don't forget to share your work by adding a link to your page, flickr or blog using the linky.  Or tweet using #21daysinMay2014


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Day 15: Give generously

Quote
Blessed are those that can give without remembering and receive without forgetting.    Author Unknown

Two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we take; the larger kind we feel for what we give.”    Edwin Arlington Robinson

Bible Verse
Learn to do right; seek justice.   Defend the oppressed.  Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.    Isaiah 1:17

Inspiration
Homeless Lottery Winner

Scandal of Grace
)

Gratitude Link
The Practice of Gratitude

Journaling
In what way are you generous? Are there other ways in which you could be generous? Have you ever done something for someone without them knowing who it was? What act of generosity shown to you are you most thankful for?

Technique
Art Journaling with stencils
)

Action
Donate canned food and other necessities to the local food bank.

And finally
Here is today's PDF.   Don't forget to share your work by adding a link to your page, flickr or blog using the linky.   Or tweet using #21daysinMay2014

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Day 14: Jump for joy

Quote
There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.   Ralph H. Blum

Bible Verse
Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.   Psalm 47:1

Inspiration
I will dance

 )

Funny Ballet
)

Springboks
 )

Gratitude Link
6 ways

Journaling
What gives you joy? What things do you do that bring joy to other people? Do you differentiate between joy and happiness?

Technique
Using watercolours with a stencil
)

Action
Leave post-it notes with inspirational messages in random places such as a supermarket shelf, a library shelf or the mirror in a public toilet (restroom).

And finally
Here is today's PDF.   Don't forget to share your work by adding a link to your page, flickr or blog using the linky.   Or tweet using #21daysinMay2014

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Day 13: Make memories

Quote
Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.      Lionel Hampton

Every single day do something that makes your heart sing.     Marcia Wieder

Bible Verse
I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever. Psalm 45:17

(I'm very sorry this Bible Verse is missing from the PDF provided at the beginning of May)

Inspiration
Thanks for the Memory Ella Fitzgerald
)

Spoof Video
)

Gratitude Link
A practical guide to gratitude

Journaling
What memories are you most thankful for? Looking back on memories of hurtful times, what lessons have you learned that you can be thankful for?

Technique
Letting go of control with a stencil and spray inks
)

Action
Out of the blue, send some flowers to a friend.

And finally
Here is today's PDF.   Don't forget to share your work by adding a link to your page, flickr or blog using the linky.   Or tweet using #21daysinMay2014


Monday, 19 May 2014

Day 12: Pay compliments

Quote
I will be generous with my love today. I will sprinkle compliments and uplifting words everywhere I go. I will do this knowing that my words are like seeds and when they fall on fertile soil, a reflection of those seeds will grow into something greater. Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Bible Verse
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3

Inspiration
Thank You for Being a Friend Andrew Gold
)

Gratitude Link
10 Practices

Journaling
How do you deal with people paying you compliments? Do you pay people compliments? To your friends? To total strangers?

Technique
Inktense Pencils and stencils
)

Action
Make a positive comment on a website or a blog.

Have you added to your gratitude list that you started in Day 1?   Remember, each day this month add something to this list that you are thankful for.  You could take a photo each day.  Or tweet using #21daysinMay2014

And finally
Here is today's PDF.   Don't forget to share your work by adding a link to your page, flickr or blog using the linky.  Or tweet using #21daysinMay2014

Friday, 16 May 2014

Be a Blessing: Guest Post

Today I'm delighted to introduce you to Mary Brack.



In my faith community/church we have a saying that came out of an extensive study we made through the Bible exploring God’s call on His people:

“Blessed to Be a Blessing”


As we journeyed through Scripture over many months we saw from beginning to end that God has always had a plan for His people to be a blessing to others.


In Genesis 12:2-3 it starts with God’s words to Abram (Abraham):

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
 
  will be blessed through you.”


Throughout this journey this saying began to develop a theology in us.  A theology, put in simple terms, is the doctrine or belief that forms your faith about something.  So the theology that began to develop for us was that God has blessed us for a greater purpose than just making us happy.  He has blessed us so that we will in turn bless other people.  God’s heart is for people.  He loves us and He loves to bless His people.  Blessing is His nature, and we are called to imitate and take on His nature.





I appreciated the comments by Brene Brown that Bernice shared with us in her introductory post on April 24.  She spoke of how simply having an attitude about something (in this case gratitude) does not make it an active practice in our lives.  I agree that simply having an attitude will not make something an action, but attitude is a very important part.  

Our attitude is formed by our theology, our belief about what we believe to be true, and our practice or actions flow out of what we believe ~ they flow out of our attitude.  So understanding and believing that God has called me to use the blessings He has given me to bless others will guide how I approach how I live and minister.  So rather than praying “Lord, bless me”, my prayer becomes “Lord, make me a blessing today.  Bless someone through me today”   Over time, then, my attitude and my actions begin to change as I am open to and look for ways to be a blessing to others.   It also changes how we view our stuff, our money, our time, our lives – all blessings from God, but like tithing, we are simply managers or stewards of the blessing God has given us.   Our time, our money, our stuff, our very lives, all belong to God and He has called us to use them in the way that pleases Him – use them to bless others.


Let’s make this real practical. What are blessings in your life that you can bless others with? And who can you bless? Some ideas:

Bless others with your:

  • Money
  • Time
  • Gifts
  • Talents
  • Compassion
  •  Love
  • Stuff

Bless:

  • your family
  • your neighbors
  • people in your church
  • people in your school or job
  • people you know
  • people you don’t know
  • the poor
  • the needy
  • people in crisis

The really incredible thing is that when we start to live life looking for ways to bless others, we find that we experience God’s blessings in new ways as well.

 Thank you so much Mary.  I love your take on the prompts.