Hope

 

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"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure..." Hebrews 6:19

When I was pregnant with my daughter, 28 years ago, there was a moment in time when no one thought that she would survive.  Doctors shook their head sadly as they relayed the heartbreaking news that I would probably lose this baby.  One doctor tried unsuccessfully to make an appointment for an abortion.

As I sat there in the silent hospital room with only the breeze from a nearby vent blowing on my face I looked out of the window at the snow covered mountains in Vancouver.  Suddenly in the midst of this heart crushing news I got a picture.  It was as clear as if someone showed me a photograph,  I saw a picture of me standing in front of my church with my husband, my son and my little baby - the baby I carried  inside of me.  I shook my head.  I felt like I was going crazy that right then at that time when I needed all my wits about me,  my mind was failing.

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Home

 

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It was a horrible dream.  I had flown somewhere.  I was somewhere unknown and unfamiliar to me and we landed in a devastating storm.  I remember peering out the windows of the airplane and I gasped sharply as I saw the airplane was submerged under the water and we would have to swim to shore.  What's more,  I wasn’t a strong swimmer.

As I studied the murky, ugly waters, I gasped again - this time in sheer horror,  my breath caught in my throat almost cutting off the circulation from the rest of my body.  To my utter disbelief, I saw crocodiles and poisonous snakes meandering and surrounding our plane - some of them looked ominously agitated and hungry. 

I tried to scream - tell everyone to stay on the plane but no words would come out.  As the people calmly began exiting the plane and casually swimming to a building,  I had no choice but to fight the wildlife that was finding it’s way into the plane, struggling to swim to safety and hope that my prayers would be answered this time.

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I Wear Jewellery Every Day

 

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Her name was Lorna.  She was full of vitality and  lived life with abandonment.   She was beautiful,  grace-filled   and  loved her family relentlessly.   Bold, fierce,  passionate, soft and incredibly humble.  Lorna was teeny tiny in stature but a  grande giant in character.

 

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It's Okay If It's Not Okay

 

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I believe in living a life of gratitude.  I absolutely know that it’s important to look around you and to be thankful for the things that you have.


But this is what I am learning these days in my life.  I am learning that it’s important not to ignore the dark places,  in place of the words “I should be thankful for...” 

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What Does Colouring
Look Like In Your Life ?

 

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I have been intrigued by conversations that I have had as of late with friends who have bought my colouring book.  Many people are so excited and start colouring right away.  Some have bought one or more books from me and tucked them away for a later date or for gifts.  But still others, open my book, stare at the page and get instantly overwhelmed by all the decisions that they have to make in order to make this page beautiful.  I am sure that colouring says a lot about our personalities.  In the future,  I will definitely research this but for now I have included a few tips to help you enjoy the whole experience of colouring.

1.  Let go of perfectionism.

Imagine you have a box. Open the box slowly,  hold it carefully in your hands and stare at it for awhile.  Then reach deep inside of your soul and grab your perfectionism.  It's very slippery and quite devious so it might try to get away.  Once you have grasped it,  hang on tightly and then quickly place it in the box.  In ONE swoop of a motion,  slam the box shut.  Then very carefully,  place the box behind your back where you can't see it bouncing about trying to escape.

Now you can open your colouring book and begin colouring.

The best way to enjoy colouring,  is to let your perfectionism go.  I know that's easier said than done.  I realize that.  It's like telling me to let the clutter behind the stairs in our classroom  go (right co-workers?) and I just can't let that go; no matter how many times I try.

I know.  You don't want to make a mistake.  You don't want to mess up your colouring page.  You don't want to make a decision and then decide that you didn't like the decision that you made after you put marker/pencil on it.  I get it.

There are a couple of things to consider here.  I have 39 layouts to colour in my book.  If you do one you are not happy with,  you have 38 more.

Some of my biggest mistakes have actually become my biggest accomplishments because as I fixed it,  I liked it better than originally planned.   So if you make a "mistake"  decide what you could do to make it better.  Think outside of your perfectionist box.  Remember, you placed that box behind your back, right.?

To be honest,  I struggle with indecision and perfectionism as well.  Often,  I will hold up a page to my husband and say,  "Will those lines look better with blue or pink."  He looks up from his ipad with eyes glazed over and  a 'I simply don't care' look on his face.  Then he says with all the mustered up sweetness he can find,  "Do what feels right, Faith."  Hhhhmmm.  Not helpful.  Then I do just that.   I do what feels right.  That's it.

The point is, we all suffer from perfectionism at one level or another.  However with this, as in all of life,  we just have to move PAST it in order to colour our pages and enjoy the experience.   Perfectionism is the fastest way to kill your adventure, your creativity and your dreams.  Don't let this happen to you.

2.   Relax.

The idea of colouring is supposed to be relaxing. Do you remember when you were a little child and you were at a table, head bent down feverishly colouring your elephant?  When you looked up,  your head was spinny, you were concentrating so hard.  But as you stare at your rainbow coloured elephant with polka dotted ears,  you heart swells up with pride because you have created this masterpiece.  This is yours.  We need to grab that little child inside of us that loves what we do; that makes provision for art and relaxation.

Put some soft music on after the kids go to bed or after a hard day at work.  Put a candle on the table on the other side of the room, and some healthy dark chocolate on the table beside you and allow yourself to relax.

When my father in law was very sick a few years ago,  we didn't have a chance to go on vacation that summer.  So my son and I created mini vacations.  We got canvasses and splashed colour on them when we had a spare minute.  Many times, we would come home from a visit and Sean would exclaim, "Do we have time for a mini vacation?"  I carved time out of my very busy, very emotional days to make this a priority.  It was important to me that I didn't let the summer go by without any escapes and it ended up being a point of healing for both of us.   At the end of the summer,  we had three beautiful paintings that we will cherish forever.     Sometimes we need to create small pockets of time in order to have a mini vacation.

What can you do to create a relaxing space?  Often I like to either colour or create colouring pages in front of the TV.   Some people would hate that.  Sometimes,  I like to know that I am doing something other than watching TV - it feels more productive and then it's more fulfilling to me

The other thing that helps me to relax is to have a clean and tidy room in which to colour.  When my room is in disarray,  it's difficult for me to relax.  So often,  I will take 5 or 10 minutes just to tidy and then I can sit down and indulge.   For you, that might not be the case at all.  But figure out how to best create that relaxing atmosphere so that you can get the most out of this exercise.

3.  Have FUN!!!

In my little school, that I work at we have chapel every Tuesday. At the beginning of the time we have together,  they always go through all four rules carefully.  The last rule is "Have fun!"  The children know it and the teacher always says,  "Have.....?" and then the children scream,  "FUN!"  Then they repeat it,  Each time the children get louder and louder until the last time it's an earsplitting, head pounding scream that swallows you up in its moment.  I always think that I would like to have head phones just for that three minutes of time.

This is what you need to know.  There are a million ways to colour EACH page.  There are million ways to use this book.   No one is telling you to do it in the conventional way.  Maybe you need to add lace to the girl page, or ribbon to the angel page.  Or maybe you would like to tear around the edges and make a cool border.   Or add blush to the girls face or pen marks to any of my doodles.  Add birds to my branch or stick beautiful 3D butterfly stickers to one of the pages.  When I first started doodling,  I didn't add any colour at all.  I love the stark contrast between the black and white and it's lovely without colour.

Do you use markers or pencil crayons?  I use both on the same page!  Am I supposed to do that?  I really don't know as I have never googled the proper way to colour doodles.   Is that a wrong thing - sort of like wearing black and navy together (I do this too.  gasp.)    But it works for me.  Sometimes I love the look of a soft pencil crayon in the background and the bold marker in the little spots. 

I use Sharpie markers and Staedtler triplus fineliner markers and my pencil crayons are Laurentian or Artists Loft.   Really experiment with what makes you comfortable and what you like. 

I have also used a marker set that I got for $3 at the dollar store.  They worked just fine but I was happy that I practiced on another sheet because they bled a little so I couldn't do fine spaces with them.  I could however do a tiny bit bigger spaces and get exactly the desired colour.

I do have some friends that do this.  They have bought two from me.  One to not touch and the other to colour.  It helps them to relax and let loose and give themselves permission to make a mistake or wreck the page.    Am I trying to sell more of my books?  Absolutely.  You bet I am.  But it's true too.  Even I have two in my coffee table- one I am colouring and one I am not going to touch.

Now, pick up your delicious colours, and colour a page!

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Begin Again

BeginAgain

The weird thing about publishing my first book (You can buy it here.)  and shutting down my church in the same week, is that it feels like the doctor gave me an arm I have been waiting  my entire life for but in the same breath told me that he had to cut off my leg.  It's a crazy mixed up way of living and feeling.  I feel that I am in the midst of sorting my feelings into little boxes so that they don't spill out into my everyday world in a big jumbled mess.

 Shock.
Disbelief.
Elation.
Joy.
Devastation.
Gratification.
Wonder.

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