Sunday 29 September 2013

Wind - Creating in Faith

Wind - Creating in Faith

Creating in Faith bookmark holder

I am like the gentle breeze blowing the dandelion stalks
taking them to their new destination and home. 
I move through the trees rustling melodies each singing their own song,
I gently tug at the clinging leaves, ochre, reds and golden browns.

I am the icy winds rushing through the roof tops,
it’s time to rest a while, dream my dreams of tomorrow,
wrapped up warm, there is a different crew, time for the layers
and don’t forget your ear muffs and snow boots!

I blow away the fallen leaves, time for a spring clean,
can you hear my new song of fresh beginnings whistling
as I breathe new life, whisperings of new growth. 

We dance again among the palm trees swaying as I greet you on the beaches,
warm currents carefully caressing your skin,
winter long forgotten enjoying the harvest.

But I am unpredictable
I can soar across the oceans
and bring tales of devastation to everything in my path,
bringing the thrashing waves
while I spread the forest fires, blazing in defiance. 
I can uproot trees and send buildings to their destination of rubble. 
I come by many names, breeze, wind, gale, tornado and hurricane
each variation in degree,
in its season,
in and out of harmony with the earth.

 Yes I can bring much pain in the flash of a moment and in the next
I remind you of summers filled with aromas, perfumed flowers and
 tomorrows that have yet to come
new growth, new life, new grace.

 © Amanda Trought

He who dwells in the shelter of the most High 
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty...Psalm 91:1

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind James 1:6

I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart Psalm 40:8

Friday 27 September 2013

Sometimes I Write Poetry..

Sometimes I write poetry.........
when I cannot find the words I am seeking I let them flow from a place that has not yet been hit by the critic, via the back door where the meaning can be felt, when the mood takes me and the murmerings of my heart want to be heard from a different place. Where the soul and the spirit is illuminated and can just be......

I hope you enjoy my offerings when they come...

Didn’t realise until it started, 
out of the blue, 
dissatisfaction ebbed its way in
then came the sadness and the loneliness.
Despair had crept in through the back door.
Now there is the longing yearning at my heart
Reminding me of what has not been said,
those missed intimacies,
now two strangers,
glances exchanged
will my life ever be the same?
What is it?
the longing
weighs me down
Where is it,
where does it live,
I try to identify make sense of it
My heart,
I hear a faint cry,
my heart is crying out to be heard,
I thought I knew what I wanted
I sigh,
my heart was never involved
only thought it was,
made practical decisions at the time
No one was supposed to get hurt

Amanda Trought

Gratitude and Celebration Journal - Week 12 - Brave

Gratitude and Celebration Journal - Week 12 
You are Braver than you think you are

Would you ever consider yourself to be brave? when you look back at your life and experiences have there been clear examples that you can think of?  There are people all round the world who do brave things that go unnoticed, whether it is speaking up against injustices and standing up for your beliefs to making a difference in your community and being a helping hand.  This page is a reminder to me how far I have actually come.  There are so many things that we dream of doing, and each and every day can be a challenge.  We have to be clear about where we would like to go then pick ourselves up and take another step.  Boldness in my work and confidence to share has been something that I have been working on, especially when it comes to the journal work.  It is in our braveness that we pave the way for someone else to shine their light. I celebrate and am grateful for the many opportunities to come.

Gratitudes and Celebration Journal - You are Brave!
As this week draws to a close can you think of examples where you have had to be brave?  Remeber if you made it through that day then you can make it through many others.  Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Cereal Bag Art Journal - Recycled Projects

Art Journaling – Upcycled Cereal bag journal
My Cereal Bag Journal with tags
 I was inspired by Kristen Robinsons work who appeared in Cloth Paper Scissors Pages magazine Summer 2013.  She had made an upcycled Cereal bag journal, and I thought I would give it a try and  to make my own.  I am in a Journal making phase and will share with you some of the others that I have been trying my hand at.

I had always wanted to try and be more creative with recycled material and here was the perfect opportunity..  My journal measures 4 x 6 inches and is a working journal.  I have written some prompts and encouragements around the theme of time and there is still room to add more journaling when the mood takes me.

Love - she did it anyway - Cereal Bag Journal
Time is something that we all are given the same amount but it is how we choose to use it.  As I get older it feels as if time is moving faster, we are not sure how long we really have.  For my brother Robert he lived for 45 years of his life, my mother has lived for 90 years and is still going strong.  I increasing feel that I need to make sure that I utilise my time wisely as we have no promises of seeing tomorrow. 
postcards, travel and time - Cereal Bag Journal
My journal is about how we treasure the time, with the things we do for ourselves and to the relationships we have with those both near and far, some separated by land others by sea, and this is symbolised with the mini tag postcards, the images of clocks and the reminder to cherish the time we have.
Cherish the time - Cereal Bag Journal
We can often put of until tomorrow those things we know we have to do today and I soon found yesterday when I made the effort to complete an important piece of work only to find the next day my computer played up and wouldn't allow me to access any of the files, reminding me if I had waited I would have missed the deadline. I remind myself in the journal that time will not wait for us, so we have to act when the opportunity comes along, and then we can look back on our lives and truely feel that we lived a life worth living

A life worth living - Cereal Bag Journal
I also made some tags from the cereal bags that have sentiments of family, travel – postcard and a reminder of what love is taken from 1 Corinthians 13:4-9

Tags - Cereal Bag Journal
We have to be gentle yet firm with ourselves, there are so many who are encouraged by those things that you do, the ideas you come up with and share.  Who would have thought that out of something that served its purpose as a cereal bag and would have been discarded can lead to something that with a little bit of imagination and a dose of creativity produce something so meaningful.   I do hope you have a blessed day. 

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Recycled Projects - Saturdays

Each week I will be sharing with you the recycled projects that I have made over the weeks. Here is a list of all the Recycled Projects, click on the image to take you to the post.


Teabag Treasure Box

Teabag Treasures

Quinoa A6 Journal

Handmade Stamps

Recycled Directory Journal

Capturing Moments Mini Journal

Cereal Bag Journal

Toilet Roll Journal

Monday 23 September 2013

Gratitude's and Celebration Journal Week 11 - Change

Gratitude's and Celebration Journal week 11


I know I should have posted this on Friday but a dark cloud decided to dwell and hinder my posting, but it is better late than never.  There were a few things that had cropped up and we have to use wisdom to get through all the little pits and hills that come our way.  One thing I came out of last week feeling is the need to have change in my life and see the evidence of things moving.  I am currently reading a book by Susan Rae Baker called Defining Moments - A gathering of women's Journeys.  It is filled with the stories of women who have been through so much and yet have turned situations in their lives and tragedies round to set themselves on the path that enables them to see their lives as whole.  I've just started the book but it has put a new perspective on so many things, it also reminds me as I care for my mother that I am not alone and there are so many people who experience caring for a parent with dementia. It has been particularly hard last week and I constantly ask myself in some of the more challenging moments how mum must feel.  I also had news of another friend with suspected Myeloma that claimed my brothers life, and it brought home that we are now in a generation where we will know more and more who loose their life, and we will probably be attending more funerals than weddings. 

This is not to dwell on all that is wrong with the world, but being grateful and celebrating life.  I decided that I will slightly change these posts and they will still have the journal page with a reflection, but I will write the things that I am grateful for within the post, and look forward to seeing what you are grateful for.  

The page reads - It is time to make a change.......

We all have those things that impact on our lives and can see us go in totally different directions.   I would like to be open to make a change from those things in my life that are currently hindering progress, stepping out and stepping up. I am grateful that I can still make changes, there is no time limit, you can be who you were called to be!   I celebrate my relationship with my mother and the one I had with my brother, through the loss and the pain it really makes me appreciate what I have and those relationships with loved ones - family and friends who are still here.  I hope you have a blessed week as you to look at areas of your life that might need to change.

Sunday 22 September 2013

How does your Garden grow? - Creating in Faith

Cordyline Australis - Palm like tree!

For close to 16 years I have been working on my garden which turned it from just a patch of grass with a fence either side, to an established space that can whisk you (in your mind) to far off destinations – if you use your imagination.  My garden also reflects the amount of work that has been lovingly put into it over the years and is full of palm trees, scented flowers, evergreens and a plum tree.  I wouldn’t say that I am an expert, but over the years I have gained much knowledge in how to look after  plants to get the best out of them. My garden is about  40% brought  as small plants 20% from seeds and 10% as gifts from the birds and 30% grown from cuttings I have received from family and friends.
We need balance in our lives

We grew up in an apartment/flat as children and my mother had many houseplants dotted around the house that she would tend to.  I would see her lovingly water and clean the plants on a daily basis and this action promoted their growth and in turn she would then propagate the plants.  I was always amazed that from one plant many generations could flourish.  When I moved out of my parents and into my own flat mum would give me plants that she had been growing and I in turn developed a love for plants, and went out and got my own.   I was amazed at how the right conditions could make a big difference to a plant that grew and blossomed to one that failed to thrive and died.  Back in those days the houseplants of choice were the Swiss cheese plant, the Rubber plant and the Spider plant which are all easy enough to look after yet give some spectacular results.

Graduating to a Garden

When I started a family of my own I was faced with a 100 foot garden, Sekani who was then just 2 years and determined to be my helper and my houseplant experience to lean on.  I was overwhelmed at first with the size and the job at hand but knew that if I had a plan of what I wanted, read up about how to go about it, I could make the garden become what I wanted over time. Some of the main things I wanted in the garden was colour, scent, birds and trees and a way to provide privacy from the neighbours each side.  Once I knew what I wanted shaping the garden to how I wanted it to look became the adventure and I was always up for the challenge of trying something new. 

Tools for the job

Each year of tending to the garden brought different challenges and blessings.  My very first plants that I grew from seed were sunflowers.  These plants are the most gratifying and a very easy to grow. With their big heads of flowers I was able to grow 9 foot specimens, and provided much food in the winter months for the visiting birds. I experimented over the years with different plant combinations, learnt to understand the soil and what was necessary to promote growth.  I decided quite early on that I didn’t want to have one of those gardens where you had to bring plants in for the winter months or dig up bulbs, but that whatever the season with the right care the plants were able to handle themselves despite the elements.  
Scented roses at the back of the garden

I have shared in posts on my blog the many presents the birds have brought in the form of seeds that turned into a wide variety of flowering plants and trees, and I have either allowed them to grow where they have fallen or relocated them to a more suitable place within the garden

Putting your back into it!

I find being in the garden to be a really relaxing experience, but you have to work hard to get it to where you want it to be so that you can enjoy it.  I find maintaining  the garden an enjoyable experience,  many a time I come out it is to either relocate, plant or take a cutting, some much needed weeding and general tidying up, or just to sit with a book and enjoy the sound of the birds.  
Down side of the Cordyline  - it sheds its leaves

The weeds and fallen leaves are something that are always going to be there so you need to make sure you keep on top of them and put things in place to make it easier on yourself.  For me the weeds are a natural part of the cycle and there comes a time in our lives when we have to look at what we are doing that really doesn’t add anything to our lives, but instead like the weeds choke progress and development.  We have to work hard for our dreams, spending time on a regular basis to see them come to pass.  The soil also needs to be nourished and you have to take notice of those times when a plant needs that extra special boost.

plants now established

As I talk about my time spent in the garden, I realise that I have to remind myself to spend time ‘looking after’ myself. As the winter approaches we loose the sunlight and the much needed vitamin D production that would normally take place and so we need to ensure that our bodies are in tip top form and have all the nourishment that it needs.   In the same way that I would have a clear out of the garden, looking to see which weeds were trying to find a home amongst the plants I need to spend time in my own life seeing what activities I am involved with or practises that need to be stopped because they are not adding any benefits to my overall health and well being.   


Plum tree bearing fruit each year
We have to make sure we are doing those things that will enable us to be fruitful in all that we do.  The bible tells us that God is the vine and we are the branches and every now and then we have to prune that which is not being productive or bearing fruit.  We can all think of activities that are a waste our time and an ineffective use of our time, so what are you going to do about it?  Take time this week to think about not only what jobs need to be done in the garden, but what maintenance jobs you can do in your own life to get things ready for the autumn and winter months and stay blessed!

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  John 15:1

..He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things...Acts 17:25

Saturday 14 September 2013

Revelation - Creating in Faith

Revelation - Book mark prayer holder

Over the past few weeks I had been trying to push myself for change.  There are many things I want to accomplish and many changes that have to be made so that these things can come into fruition.  I shared in my post yesterday about staring fear in the face and acknowledging your feelings, and that is exactly what I have been trying to do!.  I am not and would never say that it is an easy feat, it isn't, it is not an overnight thing either.  There are somethings that I find easier to do than others.  When it comes to the practical sides of planning and sorting out others I find this much easier to deal with than if I were to do the same thing for myself.  

We can constantly be fighting to change how we think about ourselves and then out of the blue some random person says something and that opens a door up to our understanding.  Every now and again I do compare myself to those in my field asking myself "what do I think I am doing?".  I want to add value to my work and for it to be of quality, speaking to the hearts of others, yet as I type these words I am reminded that I first need to value myself and not sell myself short, embracing all that I am, all that I was and all that I am yet to be.  

This 'perfect', 'got it all together' person doesn't and will never exist.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and at some point we will all have a moment when we release an offering in the world that might be less than perfect - so what - we pick ourselves up, we have taken that important step, we learn from it and then we move on.  This is so much better than to not have tried at all and be asking yourself "what if".

As we delve into getting to know and understand ourselves better, we need to give ourselves a fighting chance and we will reveal the hidden treasures that are waiting to come out.  We all have treasure within, it's whether or not you feel your worth the time. My encouragement today is to spend the time searching, seeking, asking those difficult questions,  and most of all you learn to turn down the volume of your mouth and open up both of your ears to hear,  your brain will process the information and your understanding will increase.  Sometimes it will feel uncomfortable, but the benefits that will reveal themselves to you will far outweigh anything that you think you are going through .......

God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change His mind.  Does He speak and then not act?  Does He promise and not fulfil? Numbers 23:19

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, Ephesians 6:14 

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me  Revelations 3:20

Feeling upbeat and Inspired?

What do you do when you’re feeling upbeat and inspired and your checking out other artists work, leaving encouraging comments on their site and then you start feeling a tinge of doubt about your own work creep in.  It feels like nothing you do is right, then the only voice you can hear is the one telling you ‘you’re not good enough’?  How have you dealt with the self doubt and the under currents of anxiety that dismisses your accomplishments or efforts and leaves you insecure and wanting to climb into bed with the covers over your head.  How have your dealt with the opinions of others that appear to come from way ‘off base’ and while feeling hurt you try and explain but your not given a chance to give your point of view and you ask yourself ‘just what have I been doing all these years?

I think that we all at sometime feel these things or hear the quiet murmurings of ‘really’ or ‘you call that art’ or the niggling ‘whatever it is you do your never going to be as good as that person down the road.....’  In fact I know we do, the difference is how we deal with it and whether we allow ourselves to be paralysed. 

I am not one of these people that go around waiting for the next tragedy to strike and I normally deal with challenges looking at all the positive things, making the necessary adjustments and seeing how it can turn it round for good.  I looked at the problem and try and see how we can make some lemonade out of the selection of lemons and limes in my midst. That being said there are sometimes where you can’t stop yourself from being paralysed in the moment and my 'take' on it is that you do have to embrace the fear/doubt/discouragement and the rest, really sit down with them and allow them to voice their opinions.  It’s not a ‘let’s throw a pity party’ that last for days but let’s sit down over coffee’ or in my case ‘spice tea’ and let’s hear what you have got to say about my life and the things I want to achieve. 

As I get older, I am learning to use a variety of tools to enable me to stop myself from sinking into the 'doubt spiral' but I accept that it will come.  It can be that thing that either carries us down with it or allows us to step up and over and make the next achievement. My spiral of down though didn’t come after a series of unfortunate events - through there have been several that were standing in line waiting for their moment in the spotlight.  It actually came as I was in the throes of planning and organising my work. I am taking part in The Challenge and one of the questions last week was to list 20 people you admire in your particular field, so I did and I will share them with you in another post. As I spent time with the list and revisiting their sites I began to feel a passing cloud, very subtle, but distinctly filled with a series of questions that started with... ‘you’ll never...’  I was admiring all these artists work and there I was feeling bad about myself and my abilities. Calling a general emergency meeting, I called on 'Current' and 'Past' achievements.  I allowed 'Doubt' to state its’ case and it seemed that as I was being encouraged connecting with different artists and making plans of my own it had been met with some resistance.  'The Critic' in its' efforts to protect me from the world was unsure how these so called positive changes would be perceived by others.  'Vulnerability' wanted things to stay the same and 'Insecurity' was by no means shy at stating what a bad idea change could be. I know change can bring up a whole range of issues that need to be addressed and it can either be supported through the process or hijacked.  

I called on Achievement to do a ‘past and present and potential futures’ presentation.  This was met with some trepidation and murmuring as they tried to allow Comparison the floor space. Needing to have the final word I had been taking notes of the proceedings and began to remind myself of all the things I had achieved, both big and small.  Like Marmite - not everyone will want to hear your story or experience that you have to offer but you know that there is at least one person somewhere around the world who wants to hear what you have to say, or would love to play your videos, take your courses and buy your art work.  I had to remind myself that I had come a long way in the last 5 years, and that Comparison does not play on a level field.  

When someone presents their work, you don’t usually see the trials they have been through to get to that point.  The technique videos they made before you saw the ones you were inspired by.  Other artists continue to share their vulnerability but they too have to fight and work hard to get to where they are despite how they feel. 

So despite how I feel in the moment I can still encourage, I can still look for the gems hidden by the dirt and the dust, I can still feel the rays of sun on my skin or feel the breeze and hear the chattering of the birds or the rain on the window and be inspired.  Despite how I feel there are still things I can do to get where I want to go -  from learn a new skill – take a course.  Despite how I feel I am still going to try my hand at those technique videos, write and illustrate those stories, complete those large paintings I started over a year ago.  Despite how I feel, I am still going to write those posts and hit publish cause I know I am not alone in the way I sometimes feel.....  

I will remind myself of my previous achievement both large and small and keep moving and share my story with the world.  I remind myself and would like to remind you if you get this far in the post that what you have within you is a gift that the world deserves to be part of.  Each thing that you create, be it art, a poem, a song, whatever it is, was not meant for you to hide.  You were meant to shine your light!  

Everything you create out of love is meant for a home and someone somewhere in the world is praying for the miracles that are coming out of the creative gifts that you are supposed to share in whatever form that it takes. Alongside the reminder of what I have done or what I can do, the gratitude’s and celebration journal has kept me grounded and whilst the spirals of doubt will come, finding the tools and using them appropriately is the key.  Yes you know you have gifts, talents and abilities, but what are you going to do when out of the blue doubt and his friends show up? Here are some examples of things to try: 

  • Acknowledge how you feel 
  • Try and identify where it is coming from, 
  • Identify what your needs are – do you need to learn a skill or get support in stepping out.  
  • Find someone you trust to share your feelings. 
  • Acknowledge where you are  
  • Look back on how far you have come, identify the triumphs amidst the trials, look at the changes that have been made, look at the challenges you have faced and that you have come out the other end with a story to share. 
  • Acknowledge what you really want;
  • Be truthful about where do you what to go, what support systems need to be put in place, and most importantly what steps can you make today? 

Recycled 'cereal bag' journal

Get yourself a journal or create something, that you can be honest in and write or draw about how you feel and look for the solutions.  When the fears and doubt come take a step back, hear what it is that they have to say, note it down, but once you have addressed them move on.  I would love to hear your comments of how you deal with your critic and the doubt spiral and what creative activities do you enlist to support the process.
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