social spark Aisling Beatha


Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy your stay, however short, and find something that interests and blesses you.

The tabs just below will take you to posts of particular topics. So if you are looking for my posts on food, fitness or creativity, you will find them there. You will also find my posts on thankfulness or other more contemplative posts, as well as a set of posts with traditional blessings from a number of different cultures.

You can find posts with labels not included in that list via the labels list over in the sidebar.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Art Journal Book Study - Part 3

Yesterday I shared with you, the next few pages in my summer art journal to record my thoughts on the books I am reading/studying this summer.  Most of them are connected in some way with my work and so, strictly speaking this is Continuing Professional Development as well as fun and helpful for me.  Hmmmmm, I wonder if that means I can claim the hours for this on my time sheet?  heeheeeeee

And so on to this set of pages with my notes from the book Naked Spirituality by Brian D McLaren.  We are still in Springtime, the season of simplicity, but now, we have a new word, and two new pages for you.

Summer Reading Art Journal

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Chapter 6 - THANKS - the happiness of appreciation.  The author talks about Gratitude as the greatest secret to happiness but also as something that raises it's fist in the face of consumerism and says "NO MORE!, there is a different way, there is a better way.

Then he talks about reminding ourselves of all the things we have to be thankful for, beginning with our toes, and moving upward and eventually outward from ourselves expanding ever outward, until we have a list that covers the whole world!

Summer Reading Art Journal

Chapter 7 keeps us on the same word, Thanks.  There are two chapters for each "word" or "spiritual practice" in this book.  In this chapter the author talks of the insulation we have in our modern lives from any kind of true dependence on God, like the Israelites had, and how that makes it far more difficult and therefore far more important for us to practise gratitude.

He talks of ways to regularly include being thankful in our lives and he goes on to discuss how to keep practising gratitude even in the face of despair even if it feels like everything is being taken away from you, like Job.

He introduces 3 other words that can be used alongside Thanks.  AGAIN - yes, there are things we have to keep saying thank you for, things that will come up in our lists again and again, day after day even, and we can still practise gratitude without it becoming stale, because AGAIN Lord I will thank you for this, and AGAIN I will celebrate.

The next word is THIS.  It goes along side the thoughts from Again, about keeping those things we always have, those things God continues to give us, in our minds when we are being thankful.  Thank You Lord for This breath, thank You Lord for this time to spend with you, thank You Lord for this taste of whatever it is we are eating.

Finally the word DAYENU, which comes from Hebrew.  It's from a song that has been sung at the time of Passover for centuries.  It brings in the idea of "It would have been enough".  So if God had ONLY brought us out of Egypt, it would have been enough, Dayenu, but He did  . . . . . as well.  And if that was all he had done, it would have been enough, Dayenu, and so on.  God has blessed us over and above anything we could have imagined at times and Dayenu is the perfect word to use at times like those, DAYENU, it would have been enough!

It might be a few days before I have any more pages to share with you, as our printer is still kaput.  It certainly won't be fixed before the weekend, so I will probably have to sort out some images I want to use and send them to Staples to be printed.

You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Monday, July 28, 2014

It's Not Meant to be OK

Last night a friend of mine lost her husband after a 2 year battle with Colon Cancer.  He died, leaving his wife and 4 children behind.  And all day as I have prayed and thought and cried and held them in my heart and before God and gone about my daily business and smiled at other things, and even laughed, all day I have had one phrase in my mind.

"It's OK, because it's not OK"

It's OK to be sad, it's OK to be angry, it's OK to laugh, it's OK to cry, it's OK to be exhausted, it's OK to be relieved it's over, it's OK to be mad at God, it's OK to feel whatever it is any of us (involved at the heart of this or holding distant friends in our hearts) are feeling over this, and you know why?

Because what happened is NOT OK.  It's not OK for 4 children to be without their daddy tonight, it's NOT OK for a wife to be without the husband of her restored marriage tonight.  This is not OK, because this is not how it should be.

And if I could be there in person this is what I would say, What has happened is not OK and I will never tell you it is or it will be one day or anything like that and whatever you are feeling in response, that IS OK, that is acceptable, that is not wrong, it is merely what it is, your response to this situation, plain and simple, it just is!

Summer Art Journal Book Study - Part 2

Last week I shared with you the making of a new art journal ready for recording the books I am reading/studying this summer.  I took a journal I had already made and put something of colour on every page to prevent the dreaded Fear of the Blank Page.  Then I shared with you, my first few finished pages as I worked through the first chapters of the book I am currently reading, Naked Spirituality by Brian D McLaren.

Today I have some more pages to share with you.  You had to wait because our printer packed up.  Apparently the print head is stuffed and it is going to take a while to get a new one, so I had to get my printing (of images I wanted for the pages) done at Staples and find time to go pick them up.

Summer Reading Art Journal

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The springtime simplicity of faith is very black and white, everything is simple, clear cut, we know what we need to do, we know who and what we believe, it's easy, there are no questions or complications to bother us.  But we cannot stay in springtime for ever and if we don't move on it can sour.

Summer Reading Art Journal

So with which "word" or "spiritual practice" do we begin our journey in simplicity?  HERE!  We show up, we respond to God, we choose to relate to him in the here and now reality.

Summer Reading Art Journal

As we move on in Here, we begin to want to move from describing God by title, He is GOD, to describing him by name, but how can mere human words ever hope to do justice to who He really is?  And so we ask Who.  Who are you?  And I did not have enough space to put everything I wanted to include on this page, so with a bit of washi tape to the side, I made that journal spot at the bottom into a tip in flap.

Summer Reading Art Journal

And so we have come to the end of the first word  out of the 12 that make up the bulk of this book.  Later I shall show you more.

You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Reading List

A couple of days ago I showed you my journal for my summer reading, and I promised you in that post a list of what I am hoping to read during that time.  Whooops, I forgot to include that list.  So here it is for you now.

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I began with "Thrashing with God, finding Faith on the Other Side of Everything by Mandy Steward.  Finished that, LOVED it, totally fits with where God has me at the moment, awesome book if you are struggling with faith and church etc.

Thrashing About with God: Finding Faith on the Other Side of Everything

Now I'm into Naked Spirituality by Brian D McLaren which I began a couple of months ago.  It breaks the faith journey down into 4 seasons with 3 "words" or "practices" for each season.  I admit to reading the intro and then jumping right into the section on autumn when I began reading, as that totally fits with where I am at and also with the first book, above.

Naked Spirituality

Now the ones I have yet to start: and honestly I don't see how I will get through them all before the end of August, but I don't even own two of them yet so I might skip those. 

First the ones I do have copies of: 
Born to Create - Stepping Into Your Supernatural Destiny by Theresa Dedmon.  From the Amazon description: 
Creatively Supernatural!
There is a connection between creativity, your identity, the Church, and the world—and it is an important connection. Creativity is tied to all believers’ identity, all who are made in the image of the Creator, all who are born to create!
Overflowing with many thrilling, modern-day testimonies, Born to Create emphasizes the magnitude of both craft—practice and excellence—as well as anointing. Many who have been freed to embrace their creative ideas and passions, whether in the art fields, business, or education, share their amazing stories with you. Their freedom allowed them to powerfully release healing, the prophetic, and the knowledge of God’s love into the marketplace.

Born to Create: Stepping Into Your Supernatural Destiny

Next: An Army Arising - Why Artists Are At The Frontline Of The Next Move of God by Christ John Otto.  From the Amazon Description: 
An Army Arising is about this moment in history, and God's secret weapon to change the world. Today is the moment of the story, and artists are the best equipped to seize this moment.
In the past seven years there has been an emerging renaissance movement in the church. God is raising up arts ministries and artists in a new way.
An Army Arising includes a study of the artist in the Bible, a review of how Christian doctrine impacts the arts, and practical tools for artists and creative people to be warrior artists.

An Army Arising: Why Artists are on the Frontline of the Next Move of God

Saying Yes - Accepting God's Invitation to Artist's and The Church by Cindy West.  From the Amazon description:
What will you do with the powerful gift of art?

It's a question for every artist. It's also a question for the church. And while both groups might come up with different answers, God offers a remarkable invitation that encompasses both and enriches the Kingdom at the same time. Life is filled with the creativity of God. From the rich colors of sunset to the evocative sounds of music, our world displays His infinite imagination. As God's children, our Creator offers us a remarkable invitation:
(c) to enrich His Kingdom through our talents.
(d) a divine collaboration with Him to enrich the church through creativity.

Yet often the desire to merge ministry with the arts seems to inspire more questions than creativity. Do I have talents to offer? Can God use my specific gifts? Is there even room for the arts in today's church?
Cindy West presents an inspiring challenge for artists and the church to collaborate for His glory. As the director of worship arts at Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado, Cindy draws from her rich experience as an innovator in connecting artistry with ministry. Inside you'll find insights on
Discovering and nurturing your unique talents
Finding your role in creative ministry
Developing a worship arts program in your church
Most of all, you'll be encouraged to say yes to the creative collaboration of a lifetime.

Now one I only managed to buy a few weeks ago when I found a second hand copy somewhere.  Anam Cara - Spiritual Wisdom From the Celtic World byJohn O'Donohue.  I have been wanting to read this for a while and may jump it up the queue to read next.

 From the Amazon Description: 
When St Patrick came to Ireland in the 5th century AD, he encountered the Celtic people and a flourishing spiritual tradition that had already existed for thousands of years. He also discovered that where the Christians worshipped one God, the Celts had many and found divinity all around them: in the rivers, hills, sea and sky. The ancient Celtic reverence for the spirit in all things survives today - a vibrant legacy of mystical wisdom that is unique in the Western world.

Now, in this exquisite book, Irish poet and schollar John O'Donohue shares with us the secrets of this ancient world. Using authentic Irish prayers and blessings, he reveals the treasures that lie hidden within your own soul and the 'secret divinity' in your relationships. As he traces the cycles of life and nature, he draws from the holy waters of Ireland's spiritual heritage to lead you to a place where your heart can be healed and nourished. It is a place wher you will disocer your own anam cara, your true 'soul friend'.

Anam Cara: Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World

FINALLY, the two I have yet to obtain, so if anyone is looking to buy me a special treat anytime soon, this is what to get - (HEY, there's no harm in hint dropping right, who knows, I might get blessed by someone) -

Walking on Water - Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L'Engle.
From the Amazon Description:
In this classic book, Madeleine L'Engle addresses the questions, What makes art Christian? What does it mean to be a Christian artist? What is the relationship between faith and art? Through L'Engle's beautiful and insightful essay, readers will find themselves called to what the author views as the prime tasks of an artist: to listen, to remain aware, and to respond to creation through one's own art.

And the final book is because I keep coming across quotes from the original author (this is a translation, he was German) in all sorts of different places and would be interested to read more.

Sermons, Writings and Sayings from Meister Eckhart - From Whom God Hid Nothing
From the Amazon Description:
That Meister Eckhart is among the most important of Christian mystics is beyond dispute, so any collection that makes his work accessible to a wider audience is welcome. This new collection assembles material from existing translations along with a foreword by an important contemporary Benedictine mystic. The material is organized with an eye toward easing readers into Eckhart, beginning with short quotations then moving to table talk, sermons, and other longer pieces.

You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer Art Journal Book Study

So here it is, the beginning of the summer book study. Check out yesterday's post to see how I prepared all the pages with colour so that I won't have to face a blank page at any point.

I also made these cool journaling spots, by printing onto paper with a home made gel plate and then cutting them up and drawing borders and printing journaling lines with a home made stamp.

Summer Reading Art Journal

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I'm leaving the front of the front cover flap blank until the end, I will put an index on there to show what is included.  When you open up that flap, I will put a summary of the first book, across the spread that is created by the back of the cover and the back of the flap, although I have already put an introduction to the book on the pocket that holds the journal spots.

Summer Reading Art Journal

Summer Reading Art Journal

Summer Reading Art Journal

I did some reading yesterday morning and then made 3 pages after lunch.

Summer Reading Art Journal

Chapter 1 for me was about the ongoing ordinary, day in day out spiritual experience as opposed to the big dramatic spiritual experiences. With that quote about the layers of religion I couldn't resist including the Shrek picture, especially since the page was already green.  And I also made layers over a heart made from two thumb prints to emphasis the layers point.

Summer Reading Art Journal

Chapter 2 began with the point about people who say they are not religious but they are spiritual and asking them what they really mean by that and summarising their answers.   The author makes the point that actually all these things are at the heart of what true religion was meant to be and all the reasons they don't want to be considered to be religious are the man made structures etc that make up what he calls de-ligion, i.e. something that separates as opposed to re-ligion, something that unites and brings together.

I chose to focus my page on a later part of the chapter about the woman at the well.

Summer Reading Art Journal

Finally, chapter 3, about the 12 simple words that this book breaks the faith journey down into, 12 simple ways of engaging with God, which then break down into 4 sections, or "seasons".

Summer Reading Art Journal

There is a lot less "art" in this art journal than in my usual ones, but I wanted it to be quicker, and easier so that I would be more likely to get it done.  I have a lot of reading to get through this summer and I want to properly engage with it.  Consider it "CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT" if you will.

You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.
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