Category Archives: Musings on Life and Beauty

30 Days of Bible lettering: Days 1-7

I recently started a little creative project just for fun.  I came across a challenge on Instagram called 30 Days of Bible lettering and decided to try it out.

Each day there is a new verse to letter in some way.  I gave myself some rules because I knew I would quickly judge my efforts as not good enough and the perfectionist in me would ruin all the fun.  My rule is that I get just one try – no starting over, and I have just 5 minutes to do it.  My goal is for it to be a brief creative warm-up of sorts.

I have always enjoyed writing and as a girl spent many hours practicing my handwriting, so it’s no surprise that this exercise attracts me.  I hope, after 30 days, to be a little more confident, a little better at spacing and composition, a little less shaky, and a little better in general.

Of course, the best part is the time I spend pondering the verse as I write it.  I find myself thinking about its application in my life today, about my Savior Jesus Christ, and gratitude always follows.  After all, how can you read words like “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” or “thy comforts delight my soul” without feeling more confident in Him?

So many of these verses are also a call to action:  love in deed and in truth, pray without ceasing, let us not be weary in well doing!  With all that is going on in our world I find these messages particularly compelling.  Pray and serve and never quit – doesn’t that sound like a great way to live?

I broke my rule on the “pray without ceasing” one because I decided to learn to draw a wreath – something I’ve never tried before.  So of course I got out a scratch paper and fiddled with it and made mistakes and then got interrupted and all of a sudden I was 4 days behind!  I came back to the challenge, took a deep breath and just did my best.  So many mistakes, but I like it.

I mentioned life has been overly full lately.  I am grateful for all we have going on but I do sometimes wonder and fear when I look too far down the road – so much needs doing!  I loved being reminded that my part is to not be weary from all of it, but to joyfully do my best and trust that it will all work out.

Bible lettering has reminded me that much of the overload is a result of that more abundant life that Jesus promised.  I marvel at the blessings being poured out on us and while I sometimes shake at the responsibility they bring, my heart runs towards them, thrilled to be living a life with the meaning and direction Jesus Christ offers.

I am currently behind again on this project, but hope to catch up.  I’m posting them on my personal Instagram account, @jenniferSharrison, if you want to follow along.  Better yet, grab a pencil or pen and join in yourself!  I might do a second round of bible lettering, using my personal favorites.  This could become a really fun habit!

A beginning

Nothing feels more like a beginning than a clean stack of paper and a freshly sharpened pencil.

I love the fresh start afforded by the beginning of a new school year.  It brings a craziness (and needs a budget) all its own, makes everyone tired, and lengthens all the to-do lists considerably – but it’s so good to start again!  August felt like a big month for our family:  we sent our oldest daughter off to college, another daughter turned 13, we celebrated our wedding anniversary, our youngest turned 8, we got our first taste of watching our daughter play college soccer, our high school athletes survived tryouts and made their teams, school started, homework has begun, and sports schedules now reign.  Life is good.

My #1 focus right now is routines – creating systems that will support our family throughout the school year, and meet needs without thinking about it once they’re habits.  Every year this process is a little bit different as our children grow, change, and move from one school to another.  I am doing the same with my personal time – developing more efficient systems to assist me in reaching my goals and supporting my family.  It’s exciting and challenging, a time for questions and careful listening, and LOTS of revising.

Much as I love that clean stack of paper, a real beginning requires putting the pencil to work, knowing mistakes will come and bring true learning with them.  I’ve never had a good relationship with mistakes; I’ve used them to sling criticism at myself and let them drag me down.  I’m trying to change that, to quit fearing failure and welcome opportunity no matter the learning curve, and to make peace with the past.   I have a great deal to learn, and I’m excited to be working.

 

Learning from my flowers: Bent but Blooming

There is nothing quite like the beauty of a flower in bloom.  Every stage is a wonder to observe.

I watch the weight of the flower head and how the stem handles it.  Some, like my purple allium, stand straight and tall, the flower symmetrical, the long stalks so beautiful as they effortlessly hold the flower upright.

Peonies are different.  Their stalks are strong but the weight of the flower so great that slowly they bend beneath the strain until eventually the gorgeous blooms nearly touch the ground.  I find it touching that in their moment of greatest glory, they bow, unable to keep the enormous bloom upright.

I look around at my children and see so many good things happening in their hearts and in their lives.  The older they get the more amazed I am by them – not because they’re turning out just how I thought they would, but because they are becoming more and more THEM, the person they were meant to be.  I’m learning that person has very little to do with me.  They have attributes I didn’t teach them, talents I didn’t plant, struggles all their own, and potential far beyond any I have power to bestow.  They are sons and daughters of God, entrusted to me for a time, but very much who they were before I got them.

Lately I feel like a peony bush – growth and welcome blessings on stems that bow under the weight of it all.  I remember how I smiled with compassion at my lovely bushes, dangling their flowers in the lavender and at the edge of the lawn, grateful for that low-hanging beauty.  I think that perhaps my Heavenly Father smiles in compassion at me, too, struggling to hold everything upright in a new season of motherhood, blessings nearly brushing the ground.

I’m reminded of a favorite hymn:

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

I’ve been thinking about the words, “to bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed.”  I am grateful to be in an intense learning phase of my life, to be both blessed and challenged by my responsibilities.  The bowing and bending encourage me in prayer and remind me to look to my Savior.  I suppose it’s the only way to truly “come ’round right.”

-Jennifer

 

 

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