Monday, July 9


This is going to be a sort of random post I think.   I'm gonna try to control my tangents... promise.

As you can tell by the fact that I keep a blog, I am a fan of self-expression.  In addition to my blog, I also have a twitter (see the right margin for a link) and I journal a lot.  Usually I write in these nifty moleskine notebooks.  I really like the 'squared' variety... the pages basically look like graph paper.  I use these to make lists, keep contact information, passwords, record sermon notes at church, write quotes etc.  The list could go on for a while.  

Anyway, thanks to the magic of pinterest I discovered a cool new concept called art journaling.  I am really enjoying it, so I thought I'd share. An art diaryart journal or visual journal is a daily journal kept by artists, often containing both words and sketches, and occasionally including Mixed media elements such as collages. Such books will frequently contain rough workings, in cartoon form, of ideas later to appear in finished works, as well as acting as a normal diary, by allowing the artist to record their day-to-day activities and emotions.  

Of course I dont consider myself an artist, but I do like to draw, color, write my feelings, collage, save mementos etc, so this has become a really cool way to do those fun, relaxing things and also keep journaling about my feelings and such.

Below I'm compiling information from a couple web pages (ask if you'd like the links) and from my own head... These are just some things that I find/found interesting or helpful with relation to art journals.

1. Start with a basic supply of materials. Art journalists use a lot of different materials. You can start with just a few inexpensive materials and you can use free things like maps, catalogs and supermarket lists. You can find eveyrthing you'll need at a craft or art supply store. When you are starting out, you can try inexpensive materials and if you have fun with art journaling, you can invest money. 

2. Make the journal your own. At the very least, lay claim to it by writing your name (phone number is good, too, in case you misplace it) in it or on it. You could alsodecorate the cover, recover it, add color, or attach interesting objects to it.  (I covered mine in zebra print OF COURSE)

Don't get anything too fancy if you're just beginning drawing. "Too fancy" is anything that makes you feel guilty about writing in it, or worry that you might mess up and ruin the journal. On the other hand, if you prefer to draw or paint, choose a paper quality, texture, and thickness that are suitable for your preferred medium.

There are pocket journals, for when inspiration hits, or for when something happens and you must draw it right away. Choose the paper size you prefer. There are suitable books of normal size paper, poster size, and miniature size.

Check whether the book you choose will stay open by itself. It's no fun to try to draw or write when the book is flopping closed under you.

Some people prefer spiral bound sketchbooks because they lay flat. Others dislike them because the spiral gets in the way when they draw. This is completely a personal preference thing, so choose what works best for you. (mine is spiral)

Notice what's involved in getting a page out of your chosen book, especially if you think you might ever want to take a work out and display it

3. Start putting stuff in it. Don't spend too long worrying about exactly what to do. Just start doodling or doing whatever's on your mind. You may find that some of your best work happens almost accidentally. Leave the first page blank if you're not sure you can draw well enough yet, or if you'd like to make an index as you go. If you do the first page last, your art skills will have improved by the finish and you'll give it a gorgeous introduction.

4. Turn off the filters and the inner critic. Don't hesitate to experiment in it or make mistakes. This isyour journal. Put in it what you want. If that's strictly drawings, fine. If that's a mixture of drawings, paintings, writing, collage, and pasted-in prints of your favorite photographs, that's fine, too. Doodle aimlessly on a few pages or try out a new medium or technique. Your artistic journey might not even happen all in one book.

5. Put your ideas on paper as soon as they form, or as soon as you can. Perhaps you made what you thought was a funny joke during school or at work, but no one laughed. You can draw that many different ways. You can draw it like a comic book, complete with the joke and the awkward silence where no one laughed, just one picture with the punchline that didn't work. Or you can split the page into halves or fourths with the key points of what happened. It doesn't matter, so long as you create your impression of it.

6. Review your older entries occasionally. You might find new inspiration in old pieces, things to try drawing again or varying, or simply memories. You may also see a pattern of your work progressing through different interests and moods, or of your techniques evolving and improving.

Anyway, give some of this a try... I'm not the most talented artist, but I have a lot of fun with this and its also nice to get things off my chest.  Some of my favorite things to put in my journal are quotes and lyrics. I relate a lot to music.  I record lyrics that I connect with and then illustrate the line or how I feel about it.  Its a pretty fun hobby... 

If youre into art or journaling I'd love to hear about your experiences!

    "The artist must possess
    the courageous soul 
    that dares and defies."
    ~Kate Chopin

    Thursday, July 5


    Hello all. I'm back. MY life has been crazy for a while now. Admittedly I stopped doing some of the things that I used to love. I let school, work, life get in the way of me having MY time. I used to take plenty of time to keep up my blog. It was where I expressed my thoughts, where I celebrated triumphs, where I sought advice, or wrote out advice for others (which was really for myself most of the time.) Anyway, I just got bogged down in life. I've been stressed and depressed. Anyway, its time for me to do some things for me again... as such I'm back. I know what you're thinking... I've said that before. Its ok... I know that actions speak louder than words, so in five or ten posts I'll say I told you so.

     Anyway, something I really struggle with is worry. I'm sure i've posted about this before... but its an ongoing thing, so I'm discussing it again. My bff Kiley and I are always talking about how much we worry. We are always texting or calling to ask the others interpretation of a comment, action, event. I can look objectively at her world and she at mine, but when it comes to our own situations we get all paranoid. So today i started reading about worry. I really liked this quote that I found.

     “I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened” - Mark Twain

     This describes me totally. I worry about things that never happen. I'm butchering the pig, but nobody wants bacon. It occurred to me today that worry is a behavior. As such I choose to do it. I'm of the opinion that every behavior we choose serves a purpose or meets a need (thats related to my theory of counseling, but you probably don't care about that... unless your one of my classmates in which case refer to choice theory for my basis there haha). Anyway, if this is a behavior (habitual as it may be) I can choose to STOP that behavior. Easier said than done... but following are some ways I intend to accomplish this goal.

    First though I found some interesting statistics about worry (yes, from reliable sources). I'm not gonna lie, some of these made me feel stupid for worrying all the time. When it comes to worry, studies have shown the following statistics:

    40% never happens – so in essence we are wasting our time by worrying.

    30% of what we worry about has already happened. Learn to “let go” and forgive yourself and others. You cannot change the past – no one can. Accept it for what it is and go on.

    12% are needless worries, such as what someone else thinks about us.

    10% are petty and unimportant such as we worry about what’s for dinner, we worry about being late, we worry about what to wear.

    8% of what we worry about actually happens. Of this percentage…

    4% of our worries that happen are beyond our control. We cannot change the outcome. These worries may include our health, the death of a loved one or an impending natural disaster. Often times the reality of these events are more bearable than the worry.

    4% of what we worry about we have some if not all control over the results. Basically I think this is the consequences of our actions or inaction on the problems and challenges we face.

    Given these statistics, you may find it worthwhile asking the following questions: How many times do we work ourselves into frenzy over a situation that is beyond our control? Why do we allow worry to stress us out so much that we become ill? (this is my downfall seriously) Why do we waste our mental energy with worry?

     So what can we do? Here's what Ive come up with from a little reading. I'm seriously going to be taking these things into practice ASAP... this worry drains me.

     1. Prepare for the worst – Hope for the best. This comes right from the advice of Dale Carnegie in “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”. Accept the worst possible outcome and then take action to improve upon the worst.

     2. Get Busy. When you find yourself beginning to worry – get busy on your to-do list. If you don’t have a list – then write one. List your goals and the action steps required to meet them. One of the benefits of your to-do list is you will stop worrying about forgetting something important.

     3. Distract Yourself. Call a friend. Read a good book. Watch a funny movie. Take the kids to the park. Take a walk. There’s dozens of things you can do.

     4. Get Support. Friends and family can be an excellent source of support. Especially if they will tell you how they see things. Sometimes just talking things out, helps the worry go away.

     5. Make a Decision. If you’re worrying about an unresolved personal or business issue – then it’s time to make a decision. Once you decide what to do, you can begin taking steps for the best possible outcome.

     6. Confront the Problem Head-On. It’s usually not the problem itself that is causing your worry. It’s usually the anticipation of the problem. How will others be affected or react? Deal with the problem as soon as possible.

     7. Practice Relaxing. It is important that you take time to totally relax. Close your eyes take long deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. With each breath tell yourself to relax. It just takes a couple of minutes of this exercise for the tension to leave your body.

     8. Listen to CDs. This can be your favorite music, brainwave CDs or behavior modification tapes that are designed to dissolve worry and anxiety. (These do not have to be self-hypnotizing or subliminal – but of course you can choose these types of tapes.)

     9. Journal. After writing down everything they are worried about in a journal, most people feel a sense of relief. In writing you may have discovered what you are really afraid of, and then you can objectively work on improving the situation.

     10. Take Care of Yourself. Get plenty of rest. Eat a healthy diet and exercise. When you nurture your body and mind, it’s easier to put things in perspective. It’s easier to cope with the unexpected.

     11. Count Your Blessings. You have a lot to be thankful for. Look around you … We live in a beautiful world. You can be thankful for your health, your family, your mind, your country, your house, your job, your TV or even your microwave!

     12. Monitor Your Thoughts. Be aware of your thoughts and be ready to replace worries with positive thoughts. Be prepared with a positive thought or quote, such as “Calmness is the cradle of power” (Josiah Gilbert Holland).

     There are many techniques you can use to stop worrying. The important thing is to consistently use them until the new behavior becomes a habit.If this is a struggle for you like it is for me, I hope it gets better. If you've got something else that helps calm your worry post it in a comment... I know I need all the help I can get.