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The past two weeks have been filled with many memorable events.  It's been hard to find time to write and, even more so, show-up to what is (I plan on writing more on this topic soon).  Although this month has been packed, I did find a moment to move on to my new art journal.  I started art journaling in 2007 and just finished my first journal at the beginning of this month.

Sure there were a few pages left in it and the perfectionist in me thought for a hot second, "You need to go all the way to the end."  But then the recovery voice showed up and gently spoke, "Those pages can stay empty.  It's a new season; time to start the journal you've been staring at for five months."

This is the journal:

(sabrina ward harrison's "make believe" journal from papaya art)

It was a gift for my birthday in June.  And since I wasn't ready to begin it quite yet, it sat quietly on a shelf in my office reminding me that a new start was just around the corner.  Part of me wanted to grab it at times and repeat the pattern of my youth of starting 12 prayer journals in row, never finishing one of them. I liked the idea of a pretty journal over and over again and not so much the process of sticking with something.  But I learned in that, so for 3 years, I used the same journal.... sometimes begrudgingly, but other times it was better than a conversation with an old friend -- it became a friend.  But I wasn't quite ready for a new friendship yet.  It wasn't time to rip off the plastic casing or to open the thick, white pages.  The thought of starting something new in June seemed daunting, paralyzing even, as I just received the first copy of A Beautiful Mess.  I needed an in-between; a pause of sorts; a hibernation. 

I continued to use my old journal (my old friend) for times of processing and venting.  It holds so many dreams, thoughts and worries.  It is a treasure chest that has been weathered, beaten up and longed for and sometimes I did need a map to get back to it.  And as treasure chests do, it served its purpose for a season and now it will become a cherished relic in the archive of my life.  As I looked at the hundred plus pages I had filled, there was no longer a need to place magazine tear-outs or ink in the last 15 pages.  I looked through it one more time and then closed it.

It's hard to begin again.  To look at that blank page and not want to mess it up, is something that has terrorized the literal and figurative parts of my life for so long.  But life goes on.  You will leave marks no matter what and I would rather want to TRY doing something I love than tiptoe around not trying for the rest of my life.  So I opened the book.

Cheesy I know (and this picture took effort to get right!).  But I wanted to show you the perfect clean blank pages.  The untarnished beauty and reverence that I give to paper!!  And with a deep breathe I sorted through the tattered envelop of magazine tear-outs I have collected and selected a few pieces to begin this new book and this new season.

"Inspired irreverence" made the first page - a similar saying to A Beautiful Mess, yet loaded with different meaning, marked by new colors and with memories of a workshop gone by.  I want to live in the life I've created, not long for someone else's version of what I "should" be doing.  And that is why I art journal - not to get it published or because I'm some genius art journaler.... I do it because tearing paper and sloshing stamp pads around a page breathes life into the paper and into my soul with an irreverent peace that calms my spirit.  I do it because when I see pictures and sayings like this:

I am reminded that art journaling will not make me a better person, but being true to the self that God created, means being wholesome.  Life is so much of a juxtaposition between a shiny strong statue and the sword that divides us from the chaotic plush toy... we live somewhere between the middle, so this picture reached out and grabbed me because I exist in it.  We all do, that is the beauty of letting different creative energies speak into the blank page.

So I am entering the new blank season of my life... the unknown... the dreaming... the grieving... the planning... and all I know to do right now is breathe and trust and live in the now because no matter the plan, all I have is now (and a glue stick.)


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A recovering perfectionist that asks questions about life, art, the Spirit and this imperfect culture we live in, I help women tap into their true self in Jesus through creative means and spiritual direction.