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The year of LISTEN (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

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Coloring sheet gifted to me by Irene as part of the Poetry Friday summer poem swap. (I plan to spend a few more hours in quiet contemplation working on this in the days ahead.)

My one-little-word for 2017—LISTEN—has served me well… so well, I’m sad that the year is almost done.

As I went through 2017 it helped me make a habit of listening to others, especially when in conversation. Countless times through this year when the urge to interrupt came over me, I would hear in my mind: “Listen.” That reminder brought relaxation and a certain peacefulness as I continued tuning into what the other person was saying.

I’ve become alert to the wisdom of others about listening. Here’s something I read just a couple of days ago that sums up listening to others better than I could say it:

“Listening is more than being quiet while the other person speaks until you can say what you have to say … Generous listening is powered by curiosity, a virtue we can invite and nurture in ourselves to render it instinctive. It involves a kind of vulnerability—a willingness to be surprised, to let go of assumptions and take in ambiguity. The listener wants to understand the humanity behind the words of the other, and patiently summons one’s own best self and one’s own best words and questions” – Krista Tippett in Becoming Wise (p. 29) quoted by Melissa Moore in Entrusted p. 153.

“Generous listening is a revolutionary act of kindness in a world of screaming and competing voices” – Melissa Moore, Entrusted, p. 153.

I have also practiced listening to God through Bible reading, prayer, paying attention to the lyrics of praise and worship music, tuning in to podcasts, and more. One of the practices I’ve begun this year is Bible journaling. It was such fun to create visual memories in my Bible in response to Bible verses about listening. I’ll leave you with a short slide show of some of my listening signposts.

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sjt-2017-graphicThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey First Thursday, hosted today by our wonderful coordinator and cheerleader Irene Latham at her blog Live Your Poem.

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New beginnings (SJfT)

I begin lots of things. It’s the continuations that I’m concerned about! Three new beginnings that have become a part of my daily life are captured in the photo and poem below:

A favourite time of day

A Favorite Time of Day

Laptop tucked away
housework keeps till tomorrow.
Now is time to pray

to process joy and sorrow
line-captured while music plays

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

My three new 2017 beginnings:

1. Bible Art Journaling
Earlier this spring I discovered Bible art journaling. You could say it was love at first sight.

Doodling, drawing, and lettering in my special journaling Bible has become part of my routine. Several times a week, in the evening when the jobs of the day have been put to bed, I get out my Bible, pens, and supplies, tune in to one of my Spotify play lists (favourites are Audrey Assad , Fernando Ortega, and Andrew Peterson) and meditate / create.

They say that when you work in an area of strength, the activity energizes you. That’s what I find happens when I do this. The day’s fatigue falls away and I am often still going at 10:30 – 11:00—pretty good for someone who wakes up without an alarm just after 5:00 a.m. (though I do often take a daytime nap).

Here’s the project I was working on in the photo (prompted by a Rebekah R. Jones Bible Art Challenge video).

2. Taking a photo a day
My camera has been my walking companion since I got my first digital in 2006. Earlier this year I found a website (Capture Your 365 – #CY365) that provides a daily photo prompt. I’ve been snapping photos challenged by those prompts since mid-May. The photo above was prompted by the July 3rd challenge: “A Favorite Time of Day.”

3. Summer Shorts poems
On the first day of summer this year I met with a local poet friend. Among other things, we discussed summer poem-writing. I told her about American Sentences, and she decided to embark on writing “Summer Sentences.” Her decision encouraged me to work on a summer poem project that seemed like it would fit into my life—writing short poems prompted by the daily photos I take. I call my project “Summer Shorts” and the tanka above is one of those.

There you have it—three activities that I’ve not only begun but continued, and that have added much spiritual richness to my 2017!

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sjt-2017-graphicThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday, hosted today by Julieanne Harmatz at her blog To Read, To Write, To Be.

 

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Springtime of a new habit (SJfT)

Hi, and welcome to my blog this Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday of April. I’m your host today.

Have you ever experienced things coming together in your life in surprising yet seemingly meant-to-be kinds of ways? That has just happened to me.

Late last year I felt the urge to again pursue an old love of sketching and drawing. My son gave me a sketchbook and set of drawing pencils for Christmas and I have since spent many hours making pencil sketches from photographs.

Then, a few weeks ago, I got an email from the publicist at Fox Chapel Publishing, asking if I’d be interested reviewing a book they’ve recently published—Complete Guide to Bible Journaling.

I had seen journaling Bibles for sale but was never sure how they were meant to be used. This might be a good opportunity to find out, I thought. And any kind of how-to combining journaling and the Bible into perhaps some kind of spiritual practice or discipline interested me, so I said, yes, I’d review the book.

61dwrZAkbaLIt arrived about two weeks ago. On opening it, I was immediately smitten. For I quickly discovered that Bible journaling is a movement (and you might all know this, but it was news to me) that is not concerned with just writing reflections, thoughts, sermon or lecture notes in the roomy margins of specially designed journaling Bibles, but drawing, sketching, illuminating, decorating, lettering, scrapbooking, and even painting in one’s Bible!

“In its simplest definition, Bible journaling is a way to express your faith creatively. Putting pen to paper is a great way to remember and record biblical concepts that are meaningful and relevant to your life” Complete Guide to Bible Journaling, p. 8.

The guidebook is helpful and beautiful with sections on what Bible journaling is, tips, tools and techniques, eleven profiles of Bible journaling artists, a gallery of amazing Bible journal pages, and a bonus section of stickers, line art objects to copy, and many pages of traceable banners, borders, flowers, animals, words, etc.

I promptly looked through my bookshelf and found an old wide-margined notebook New Testament from my student days. Though I have since ordered a complete journaling Bible, while I wait for it to arrive I’m already experiencing the springtime of a new-to-me spiritual practice.

And it does seem like a set-up from our loving Heavenly Father! For here is a very meaningful and fun way for me to put my enjoyment of the graphic arts to use in Bible reading, meditation and worship.

Here are a couple of my early efforts. Explanation of my thought process is in purple.

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My first Bible journaling effort–my OLW “Listen.”

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Phil. 4:6,7 is my life verse. I had to illustrate that next.

I have often imagined taking off  worries and concerns in prayer as taking off a backpack and leaving that pack loaded with my cares with the Lord. In this illustration, I pictured that as leaving them at the cross.

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Detail 1 of previous page.

The thought of leaving cares at the cross brought to mind a snippet of a verse that talks about that. Google to the rescue and I soon had the verse’s reference–from Isaiah.

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Detail 2 of previous page.

On further reflection, I realized that one doesn’t go from prayer with a merely lightened load, but with new clothes! Another verse from Isaiah speaks of that. (In my sketch, I didn’t want to draw a person or a robe, so chose to illustrate this idea with an empty box–just tissue paper left.)

And now I’m eager to find out what spiritual adventures you’ve been having.  Please leave the links to your Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday posts with Mr. Linky—and thanks so much for joining in!


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