GROW Weeks 1 and 2 – Reflections on a New Beginning

Last year was a huge struggle in many ways and by October I was ill, exhausted and felt very distant from my faith. I want  2014 to be different, but had a dawning realisation that  I had to change some things about myself and how I respond to other people and difficult situations. I also knew that I couldn’t do that alone.

I had been asking God for guidance as I was given a vision for the future of my creativity and business just over a year ago but last year’s events totally overtook me. …although I do have sketches and ideas dotted around that I plan to develop creatively this year. One result of seeking guidance was discovering The GROW programme developed by Artistic Hands of Faith on Facebook.  During the year you take part in a series of themed bible studies and the current theme “A New Beginning”, was just what I needed.  Each week we memorise and meditate on a  bible verse which we also read in context whilst journalling our responses.

Week 1 – 2 Corinthians 5 v 17

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Having taken time talking this verse and its setting through with God I realised that although I know what the verse means, there is a gulf between knowing and doing! I ‘know’ that being born again and baptised helps us to lose the undesirable aspects of our old self and understand that this isn’t instant, but a journey. However I quickly realised that if I wanted to control the process, then I was blocking any work God wants to do in me, so for things to change I need to be willing to let go of them and give them to God.

So  having realised and accepted this essential truth,  the heart of my personal prayer life, needs to be an act of surrender, if I want to change the way I live life for the better. And with those changes I will be freer and more able to talk about God and what He is doing for me and live my life in a way that glorifies and reverences him.

This was echoed in this Sunday’s church service – when we treat God with reverence, ask for forgiveness and let go, he can do works of renewal in us. I’m hearing this message so often I know I need to listen and act upon it!

Week 2 – Isiah 43: 18-19

This complemented the previous week well, stressing the importance of letting go of the past. It reminded me of John’s description of God as a gardener, able to grow and improve any soil, bringing rain and nourishment to the land. I see “us” as plants that He tends carefully, pruning away the dead wood that impedes growth and allowing healthy new shoots to grow, bloom and bear fruit. But He can only do this with my agreement, if I don’t allow Him through the garden gate then I immediately block him from achieving anything in me.

The crazy thing is I know how well this works. I had a very deep seated grief and pain caused by the death of my mother as a child. It was massively affecting my ability to function as an adult and talking therapies hadn’t worked. But as I came to know God better I “talked” to Him by journalling and boy did He take me on a journey. I finally let the pain out, cried, wrote reams, talked honestly with people about it and at the Christmas Service that year understood I was healed – I had a beautiful childhood memory of my Mum for the first time in years.

So I’m now facing the challenge of exploring why I still hold on to other stuff that is hurting me or holding me back.

I’ve discovered the following verses seem really relevant to this next part of my journey and have something to teach me:

Isiah 43v2 Love Is

Handmade Monday 107 – From Water to Crosses

This week’s post is going to be a bit on the eclectic side… but before I get side tracked please remember to pop over to Handmade Harbour and visit all the lovely crafty blogs that join this event.

Water Water Everywhere….

I think the mixture started with this week’s #Creative Beings Challenge – Water. I have been a water baby all my life – I love water, its journey, its energy, its peace and stillness, its moodiness And when I’m in water many of the constraints of my disability disappear – I can walk further without falling and if I do fall I don’t hurt myself. Swimming and water physio played a huge role in getting me back on my feet a little bit, so I think I love it even more now!

Freeform and Flowing

Water  Water centreOceanI started a Freeform piece for the challenge celebrating the journey from raindrop to the Ocean. However once I’d made and joined up the crochet scrumbles for the river and estuary I wasn’t sure what to do about the sea. A chat with my lovely friend Elaine helped as we discussed whether knitting could also be freeform. The yarn I wanted to use for sea was really unusual, very thin and thready with chunky slubs. I spent most of the week pondering – well avoiding and procrastinating –  and finally picked a pair of needles at random last night and started knitting a sea. I used a variety of  ripple and wave form patterns , chopping and changing and interspersing them with blocks of garter stitch and stocking stitch. Working odd rows withleft over bits of dk acrylic yarn helped create the varying moods of the sea. I discovered doubling the number of stitches and working a random row of spider stitch – anything up to 4 wraps, then switching back to an acrylic and halving the stitch count created a lovely row of “breakers” forming.  I finished off with a bit more pattern and then a final “row” of knitting lengths and loops at randon using a mixture of short row shaping and I cords. Once I got adventurous there was no stopping me! I now want to gather up a selection of random sea coloured yarns and take the adventure further and make a scarf using random waveform patterns – so watch this space!

Hope, Crosses and Water

As reguRainbow edged heartlar readers know I’ also creating a range of gifts that bring hope – this week I’ve been looking into symbolism (please visit the post and vote in the poll!) and using my creative journal to explore the links between faith, hope and water. I’ve been designing and making some little crosses for book marks for a while and got to thinking about the relationship between water, baptism and the cross – washing away sins and came up with the little blue cross  in denim shades of embroidery threads, accented with crocheted in pearl beads. Its a sort of contained free form! I’ve also made other crosses to practice techniques and work out patterns for larger pieces – hence the centres of the white and the rainbow cross, where I was practising bullion stitches and trying out different ways to make hearts.

Hewlett-PackardDenim Patchwork bullion flower

Finally Fish!

Fishers of Men pendant for blogOf course my mind didn’t stop wandering there and whilst doodling in church and listening to the sermon – I do listen honest – the doodling often becomes inspiration for my makes – I started drawing fish- not sure what that had to do with Moses in the Bullrushes but never mind! And then an old Sunday school song started looping in the back of my mind about Fishers of Men……… so a pendant design was born. Its still a wip and is  being written up as a pattern with photo tutorial. I’ve experimented with  DMC light effects thread and like the effect, even if the sewing in is a bit of a challenge. I’m also thinking of making some fish earrings too! The net is made from gold Gutterman sewing thread which is very fine.

The photography was challenging for this piece – but in the end, just like shoe shopping I chose the first one I took….. but in honour of creativity and crafting as you can see Bagpuss made a sacrifice………. “and twas all for nowt” as they say

humour for blog

Handmade Monday 100 – Experimentally Cross

Welcome to Handmade Monday 100 –  Wendy has some special treats over at Handmade Harbour, so please feel free to take a look and maybe even join us!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m embarking on a design series based around the theme of hope, which will run alongside a series of blog posts that will detail my journey  – the first one was posted on Thursday and I’m looking for guest bloggers and people who want to share experiences of hope who might be interested in contributing.

I’m starting to research symbols that signify hope for a later post and also to help me with the design process and the most obvious to me and it seems many others, even those without a faith, is a cross. I want to make portable gifts that symbolise hope and the cross suggested itself as a good place to start.

I also feel really drawn to experimenting with wire and beads when crocheting small symbolic items – things that will make pendants, charms and key rings for example. So yesterday morning I duly dug out my reel of silver beading wire – previously rewound and detangled  – and my pot of random beads – mostly picked up from the floor when my crafting table collapsed!

I started off with a centre circle with a bead inside and built the cross up around it. I’d been doodling crosses before, and having recently read a novel about anglo saxon life which included the early church, noticed there were some celtic and early Christian influences creeping in. I placed one seed bead per stitch and basically let the cross form itself and this is the result:

Hewlett-Packard

I need to do a bit of work on trying to get the stitches more even and the beads to sit better. Once I’ve solved that then the big challenge will be photography! I got some great advice from lots of facebook friends which meant I ended up with an image that I could show, so am very grateful to them 🙂