Project 16/50 is a creative project to help me consider the threshold of turning 50 years old. 15 friends joined with me, so there were a total of 16 considering the creative prompt: Old Growth Reaching, New Growth Rooting (See Feeling Fifty – for a more complete explanation)
In this sixth post I will highlight two more participants, Violet and Grace.
1. Poet and Writer, Violet Nesdoly turned to a different medium to respond to the prompt. She has recently developed an interest in Bible Journaling.
Here’s what she wrote about her process: The theme Laurel chose for this birthday fête immediately brought to my mind a tree and Psalm 1. I decided to celebrate Laurel, not in my customary way with a poem, but in a new art form I’m enjoying—Bible journaling.
I think you’ll recognize the individuals in the tree. If you don’t catch the significance of the red kite, a recent post on Laurel’s blog, Four Parts Hope, will explain.
The eggs the tree has laid (oops, no, they’re supposed to represent drops of underground flow) are what nourish this tree to new growth. The detail shot of the bottom makes them more legible—along with a scripture verse for each.
The cloud at the top was an afterthought, inspired as I read a little further down in the psalm. The words “The Lord knows the way” snagged my attention. I did the lettering, then felt the message needed to be blended into the scene somehow. A cloud! After I drew it, I made the connection with the cloud that directed the Israelites through the wilderness. Laurel has often expressed how they don’t know what is ahead for them and the kids. As I contemplated this visual and connected it to God’s stop-and-go cloud of Israel’s, I felt an assurance that God has the way of the Archer’s very much in mind.
NKJV Journal the Word Bible – large print
Psalm 1 Journal drawing by Violet Nesdoly
© 2017 – All rights reserved
2. Visual Artist, Grace West
Grace Write about her process in completing a work she had set aside in response to the prompt:
This prompt immediately made me think of Jeremiah 17:7-8, which talks about one who has properly put his secure trust in the Lord, and is like a tree that never fails to bear fruit because it is rooted properly. The more I wrestled with the old growth, new growth concept, though, I thought of a parent holding, and guiding a child. I decided to pick up a piece of artwork I began a year ago, that was begun as a way to visually journal my mother’s passing three years ago, and the passing of two of her sisters who I was close too. I used this prompt as a push to begin to finish it. Since originally the idea of finishing this felt painful, and uncertain, I put it aside.
It is a collage comprised of my grandmother’s scribbled notes for how to organize her home, a sketch of my grandmother holding an aunt as a baby, and song sheets from Psalm 121, Psalm 23, and the hymn, ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’.
It is a small memory of God’s faithfulness, the desire to be held as a child, and the reminder of God’s faithful care throughout generations.
I explored old growth, through the ‘faith’ foundations laid by family, and the grace God gives us in the roots of that spiritual foundation. The new growth is represented with the image of my grandmother and aunt as a baby. The tree coming from old hymn and Psalm pages represents the heritage of being rooted in faith. I think those Psalms, and hymn speak to the way the Lord has kept you, Laurel, and also how you have continually sought the Lord as helper. The family task lists represent the ways we sometimes successfully, and other times not, attempt to maintain order. There is no roof on what could be a house made of the square task notes, because sometimes those task lists can be stifling, but also limiting to new growth. The hymn, ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’ has the words, “Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide, Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow…”, and they echo Julie’s song about Emmanuel being with us now and ahead of us. How comforting to know this, and I offer the reminder, too, here on your birthday.
© 2017 – Grace West (all rights reserved)
The featured photo ( Raindrops in the water of a lake by which a tree grows) was taken while visiting my mother for Mother’s Day recently. She is 90 now, another portrait of faithfulness, like these. Faithfulness is a discipline of the long journey and I am grateful I have real examples in my life that personify the reality of Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17: 7-8. These pieces are illustrations about how faithfulness is passed along and into another generation. I’m still exercising my faithfulness chops, but there is no shortage of opportunities and no shortage of promises of God’s help along the way.
Thank you Violet and Grace for sharing these gifts of wisdom,