everything will be okay

The knowledge that everything is going to turn out fine makes all the difference. I am lying in bed wondering how I will make it through the next two weeks and come out on top. The thing is, I really won’t. I literally can’t, BUT I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And that allows me to breathe.
“I cried to the Lord and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4. That’s me right now. I am afraid of my failure to finish well. But the Psalm continues saying that those who turn to him for help are radiant with joy! I could use me some of that right about now! I’m really thankful that all this is promised to me. It shows me that everything will be okay. And I’m definitely okay with that! So that was a short non cohesive thought train which lifted my head more than anything else. 

stormy days

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Today there is quite the storm raging outside, but inside it is warm and peaceful.
In the wise words of my favourite alternative rock band, some days feel like razor blades. Some days the storm hits hard, and it hits fast, and I just want to float away. I find it almost impossible on those days to motivate and encourage myself, or allow someone else to.
My solution? Look back to what I wrote when the days were good, the sun was shining, and I was flourishing. And realizing that the sun always shines again, so it is possible for me to smile. Those things that I write are the things that remind me that things never stay the same. I will go through phases and stages, good and bad, happy and sad. But if I can remind myself of the good that is all around, despite my circumstances, every day can be a happy day. Every day can be a sunny day. Every day can be a thankful day. I am only just beginning to believe this is true, and that patience in affliction pays off. I don’t think that this means pushing away reality, I think it means finding beauty in reality. I think its the small things that count and my thankfulness towards them makes an impact.
I used to fear the ups and downs of life immensely. While the sun shone, I could always feel the dark clouds looming. It was a pessimistic way to be and it left me hopeless and fearful. That is not a way to truly live. I probably ended up speaking so much unnecessary storm into my life because of my mindset. Words really do create worlds.
I’m pretty sure that the key is thankfulness. Its like learning to dance in life’s rainstorms, instead of falling apart alongside it. I don’t know if I’m right, but I’m going to try this.

happy moments

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My heart is happy. After a weird two days that are kind of mashed in my brain, I feel I’m getting somewhere. I did some source book work this evening while Paige sat on my floor and wrote an essay for college. There is just something about sharing that time, listening to awesome music and feeding off each other’s creativity. This girl, she inspires me a whole bunch.
Above are random little sketches inspired by a piece I’m working on as my exam practical at the moment. Its pages like this that make me smile. Many layers, so much feeling and a speed that captures the moment in a way that meticulousness can’t. They may not be accurate, but they are me. These are the pictures that best show the world a little of who I am. If I explained my source book to anyone, they would probably know everything about me.

constructive relaxation

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Yesterday we went to the Clay Cafe in Hout Bay for a church ladies event. It was my first time going there, I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I absolutely loved it! I am so excited to get my items back and see how they have turned out.
It was so nice to sit there with those awesome women and just unwind after the intense week. But I must confess, I have this thing that I think when I’ve got a lot to do. I get it into my head that I’m not allowed to relax. At all. It gets dangerous and pushes me to the edge (and sometimes all the way into) the pit we call “burn out”. I just push and push and push some more, no stopping, no relaxing, no thinking. After repeating this unhealthy cycle many times I’ve come to a solution which I’m learning to implement. I call it constructive relaxation.
Yesterday was constructive relaxation, I spent time creating something and spending time with great people. If I had spent that time watching TV it would not have been constructive, it would have been destructive. For me the difference is how the activity leaves me feeling. Reading, creating, writing, exercising, having tea with loved ones and going out with my family all leave me feeling fulfilled, relaxed and calm. Whereas watching TV, spending hours online and reading rubbish magazines (that do not benefit me whatsoever) leave me feeling frustrated, short of time and more stressed than when I started. Do you see what I’m saying? All the things that I find to be “constructive relaxation” are things that gently stretch my understanding of the world, push my limits in a nonthreatening way, and shape my thoughts. They build me up and leave me with something to show of the time I spent doing them. The “destructive relaxation” does not leave me with these benefits. Watching TV does not stretch my mind, spending hours online switches me off to the real people I could be interacting with and reading magazines often leaves me feeling inadequate and discontent.
So really, those things that don’t benefit me, don’t really relax me either so they end up being pointless exercises that add to my feeling of pressure.
As I said, I’m still figuring these things out, but while writing this I have realized how much more I enjoy constructive relaxation than destructive relaxation. Here is to many more Clay Cafe days, books and blog posts that will aid me in my relaxation!

the drawing’s lesson

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This picture. I put a lot of me into this picture. It was hard work, intensely frustrating at some points, but the joy I felt as I saw it come together is indescribable. I poured my time and mind into this and it has given me great happiness in return. I didn’t know until I started this project that I could draw this way. It is honestly the biggest drawing project that I have ever undertaken to complete. At times I thought I should just give up, but yesterday’s due date was my master. I could hear the crack of it’s whip as I spent many hours building up those layers. Unfortunately, as an artist, I will never see my own work as finished. I should have, and could have, put so much more time and effort into this. I wish that I had, and I find it unfortunate that I have to spend my time doing things other than art.
So many people “ooh”ed and “aah”ed over this. Isn’t it funny how someone’s noises of appreciation can drive one to complacency? Yes, its “good enough” but is good enough ever enough? I never want other people’s words of praise allow me to get lazy. Just because I’m good at something, it doesn’t mean I should never strive to be better at it. I know my strengths, but I know there is someone out there who is stronger. I need to push myself to be as good as that person, and then the next, and the next. Because if I’m not pushing me to be the best I can be, who will?
I don’t mean that one should continue striving to the point of exhaustion and burn out, because that’s just awful. What I am saying is that I know that I need to get out of the mentality of being okay with where I’m at in certain areas of my life where I am perceived to have talent. That talent was not given to me to be wasted.
I don’t want to be like the third guy in this story. He was downright lazy. He was called “slothful”. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a sloth, but they are (to me) the epitome of lazy tree-dwelling animals. I want to be able to stand in the presence of my Master one day and show him what I have done with the talents he has given, and will give, me. I don’t want to have to hide my face in shame, saying that I have done nothing further with them, only buried them in the ground. I don’t want to say that I didn’t see how far I could take them, that they stayed where they were and never grew to anything more.
That’s why I’m doing things like joining the South African Society of Artists. I will be faithful with little, so that I will be entrusted with much. What are you doing to grow your talents?

hello and high expectations

Hello WordPress. I’m not new to this blogging thing, but this blog is new. I’ve been rolling the idea around in my mind of starting one again for a while and in a severe bout of procrastination, here I am.
I have spent a week being crushed under the weight of my textbooks and right now I am in the process of writing art essays and summaries until they come out of my ears. When I say crushed, I almost mean literally. The anxiety of deadlines, snatches of sleep and far too few hours in the day have taken their toll. My chest frequently feels as if knives are being pushed slowly into it.
It has made me think a lot about expectations. I believe it is good to set the bar high for yourself, and for teachers, parents and others to do this for you too. But I’m beginning to learn that I am in fact human! I know, it was a shock for me too. And since I am a limited and mortal human being, I probably shouldn’t set the bar in a place where I can literally never reach it. Oh, I’m getting the work done. But I still expect it to be quality. I still expect it to all stick in my brain. I still expect myself to stay in touch with people and have human contact. I still expect myself to think of things other than the to do list. I still expect myself to function well on less than 6 hours of sleep. I could go on, but I think you’re picking up what I’m putting down.
My biggest expectation of myself is to still passionately pursue relationship with God. People always say that as soon as you get busy, the first thing to go is your relationship with him. I know the truth of this, but I didn’t want this to become my truth. But the real truth of it is, I can’t expect that relationship to grow if I give him a few moments twice a day as I lie in bed. Its all or nothing, and I choose all. Because I know how nothing feels, and I don’t want to go there.
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
I believe these things include peace for my soul, rest for my mind and so much more than I can even comprehend. Abundance.
He comes first, its all for his glory.