10 Things I Have Learned From My Flower Garden

  1. Don’t trust other gardeners. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the yellow flowers my mom gave me, assuring me that they grow easily. They are beautiful, cheerful and lush. They are also TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL! I’ve had flowers given to me by other gardeners too. They are always given by lovely ladies with a big smile. But you need to watch out for the twinkle in their eyes meaning that actually they are giving you flowers that they want OUT OF THEIR GARDENS! Okay. Not really. I know my friends were only trying to help me get started. Just think twice when they offer you something that “won’t fail to grow.”

    This is my garden after being away for 2 months

    This is my garden after being away for 2 months

  2. Be ruthless. You know those lovely yellow flowers? Yep, I have to pull a LOT every year. It seems so awful to pull out gorgeous plants of cheer. But if I didn’t, they would choke out all the other pretty things that I’ve planted, especially those that I paid money for. Those plants never seem to grow easily or just take off. Hmmm… there must be a lesson there. Oh, and mint! Think twice before you start an herb garden. Those, too, seem to love growing in my garden. At least they smell yummy as I pull them… all summer.Butterfly in my garden
  3. Know when to stop planting. Okay, I haven’t learned this one yet. But it seems like a rule I may need to apply in the near future. It’s just difficult while walking around the gorgeous nursery in my home town. All those amazingly beautiful flowers calling my name…Butterfly in my garden
  4. Plants grow at different heights. My plants seem to grow much taller than what I’m told they’ll do. Are they trying to keep up with me? Do I exude height to my plants? Lol. I read the labels and listen to those grinning gardeners that give me plants. But, oy! My garden is simply not laid out as I envisioned. This leads to #5.Butterfly in my garden
  5. Decide if you want a manicured look or an artistic look. Yes, that’s what I’ll call it, artistic. This seems to be a reoccurring theme in our household. I love things to be artistic, asymmetrical and homey (also known as a bit out of control). But the other person in the house, who won’t be named but is extremely handsome, likes things to be organized and neat.  I look at my flower garden and see bright colorful flowers with butterflies flitting about. He sees the mismatched plant heights and the weeds. This has yet to be resolved.Butterfly in my garden
  6. Water is a must. Recently, I was having a conversation with my 5 year old granddaughter discussing the merits of water. She had a hard time believing me when I said we couldn’t live without it. But it’s true! Make sure you drink a lot of water while gardening. I know as you persistently weed and pull out that mint that the sweat falling off your face lands in the garden, but your flowers need water too. Lots of it. This may be a problem if you travel. You’ll have to make friends with other maniacal flower gardeners that are willing to water your jungle, I mean, garden oasis, while you gallivant.Butterfly in my garden
  7. If it grows abundantly, it’s a weed. This is one thing that still befuddles me. Of course, I’ve only been attempting this gardening thing for 3 years, but each spring I am totally confused as I stare into my garden. Which one of the green things growing is a flower that I want to keep and which is a mean old weed? I’m still trying to figure this one out. I suppose as I continue this project, I’ll get to know my plants. But, today as I tried to make sense of the mess that confronted me after being away for 2 months, I decided that if it looked like it was growing easily that it was most likely a weed. Either that or it was one of those plants from my lovely gardening friends. Butterfly in my garden
  8. Gardening gives you something to talk about. I think there is a secret bond between flower gardeners. We know that to those that don’t garden, we seem amazing. I mean, look at those beautiful flowers! So, when gardeners get together, secrets are shared: what’s growing this year, how to kill those bugs, and what the bunnies are eating. And when you are around non-gardeners, they admire your attempts and ask all sorts of questions you may or may not know how to answer. Either way, it’s a fun topic.Butterfly in my garden
  9. It’ll be messy, but worth it. I don’t like to get messy. I hate it when my hands are dirty. This makes being an artist interesting and I have to battle it all the time. So, with gardening I get the best gloves I can find, but I still get dirty hands. Ugh. Isn’t that how life is, though? It seems everything worth doing is messy. And gardening, dirt under my nails and sweat on my brow, yes, those flowers and butterflies are totally worth it.Butterfly in my garden by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com
  10. Don’t give up. This gardening thing is quite a teacher. I thought my mom had it completely figured out. Her amazing garden brings joy to all that see it and it is the complete inspiration for my efforts. Yet, every year she tells me new things that she is learning from her garden. So, I think I’ll keep plugging away at my messy, out of control, oasis of beauty. It has much more to teach me!

    This is my beautiful mom, Shirley Updyke, in her lovely garden. Check out her blog: www.shirlandyou.com

    This is my beautiful mom, Shirley Updyke, in her lovely garden. Check out her blog: www.shirlandyou.com

Hope you enjoyed all the photos of butterflies that I have taken in my garden. My garden looks a bit wild, but the butterflies love it! What has your garden taught you?

Bible Art: Connecting with God through Art

Isn’t it amazing how God knows exactly what each one of us needs to grow in our relationship with Him? But, of course he does! He created us with our unique needs and desires. Me… well, he made me with an intense desire to be creative just like him. A few months ago, I began seeing people posting photos of art they had done in their Bibles. Here is a post I wrote about my beginnings in Bible Art and another post that shows some of my Bible pages.  Now, it’s time to catch you up on some I’ve done recently!

Worry is something that I have struggled with throughout my life. Really, who doesn’t at one time or another? I suppose it comes down to the fact that we all want to be in control and we just aren’t. God is. And it’s hard to just leave it at that. Jesus knew we would struggle with trust and spoke about it in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 6:25-34 has always been a wonderful passage for me to think upon. Here it is:

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

We don’t need to worry! In fact, that is something that people without Jesus do. If I didn’t have Jesus, I would REALLY need to worry. But, I DO have Jesus. He loves me and will give me everything I need. Since these verse speak so loudly to me, I felt I needed to illustrate them. Flowers, birds….yes, this would be a fun page!Bible Art by Janine Broscious

I got inspiration from one of my favorite books, “The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady” by Edith Holden. This is a treasure that I found in a used book sale. In this book, Edith Holden kept a nature journal of beautiful watercolor illustrations which I have always admired. I was a bit intimidated by trying this painting, but I have found that you just have to jump in. First, I covered the Bible page with clear gesso from ArtBasics. I traced her painting, then used graphite paper to put the outline of the birds onto my Bible page. After that, I looked at her painting, but just did my own thing with the watercolor paints. I kept the flowers and leaves simple and without detail so they wouldn’t detract from the birds.Bible Art by Janine Broscious

Edith’s birds were gray. But I was having trouble getting the colors right. In fact, I was just having trouble keeping the birds and the tree branch from looking like one huge grayish brown blob on my page. Perseverance is often the key with art. I just kept plugging away until all of the sudden, sweet birds emerged. I still have a long way to go to learn about watercolor painting, but it is a thrill when something comes together. I did have to use brown ink to bring out details. It’s a challenge to do these pages and yet still read through them.Bible Art by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Now, when I flip through my Bible, I can see these birds as a reminder of God’s provision. He takes care of the birds and the flowers. He makes them beautiful and gives them purpose. He will take care of me… and you too!Bible Art by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

My page was inspired by Edith Holden’s work, and yet is so different. Just like all of us. We are made in God’s image and yet with different needs…that He will meet.Bible Art by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Here is a gallery of other pages I have done lately. I hope they will inspire you to dig into God’s love letter to you, the Bible.

Bible Art Janine Broscious JoyfulWonder.com

This is a reminder that God made me and he only makes things that are good.

Bible Art Janine Broscious JoyfulWonder.com

Our faith is tested by trials.

Bible Art Janine Broscious JoyfulWonder.com

In our darkest times, we need to remember who God is and what he has done.

Bible Art Janine Broscious JoyfulWonder.com

If we come to Jesus and acknowledge that we need him to cleanse us, he will! Here I show the same page side by side to illustrate the effect of metallic ink.

Bible Art Janine Broscious JoyfulWonder.com

If we approach life as a child, we will have complete trust in God, our father.

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Kids, Caves and Camper Catastrophe

Lots has happened in the last month or so. I had fun coming up with a title. It could have also been Children, Chattanooga and Challenge. Or Baby, Bliss and Blowout. It all started when we went to our son and daughter-in-law’s house in Illinois to be there for the birth of our grandson, Aaron Matthew. What a beautiful baby! I suppose I should say handsome since he’s a boy. Isn’t that a sweet little face over PopPop’s shoulder?Aaron Matthew

We were still with them for Matt’s birthday so we all ventured out to see some history. Illinois is famous for President Lincoln and we visited what was nearby, his parents’ home.Lincoln's parents' home

It almost felt like we were back in our homeschooling days. So fun to watch Beth and Emily learn about wool and spinning.wool carding

Our time with family always goes too quickly. Soon we were off on more adventures. Our first stop was to see the longest cave in the world, Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.Mammoth Cave

We went on a two hour tour of the cave and learned about the various explorers that mapped out over 400 miles. It was a bit startling to realize that so much of the above ground places in the area had these massive holes under them! Such an interesting and impressive place. My photos didn’t turn out so well, but I did better at our next cave. It was fun seeing this “Stay in a Teepee” motel along our travels.Teepee motel

In our quest to visit and get a geocache in every state, we determined to stop in Tennessee. At first the plan was to go to Nashville. But we seemed to struggle with that plan. I keep telling myself that we need to learn how to enjoy cities, but that’s not us! We headed towards Chattanooga instead. It’s a beautiful place right along the Tennessee River.Chattanooga

We enjoyed another cave, that was actually part of our campground, Raccoon Mountain. I wasn’t thrilled about spending more time in a dark cave, but Matt really wanted to so underground we went.Raccoon Mountain Cavern

Even though Mammoth cave was, well, so BIG, Raccoon Mountain Cavern had more interesting formations. And cave crickets that had never seen light.Cave Cricket

We rushed around over the weekend to see all of Chattanooga that we could possibly fit in since we would be leaving on Monday to continue our trek towards Florida. Matt was due there in a week to do some work. We visited Rock City where supposedly on a clear day you can see seven states. I’ve heard that it’s not true, but it was still a wonderful view.See Seven States

We were glad not to be crushed by Balanced Rock.Balanced Rock

I often refer to TripAdvisor to figure out what to see when we go places. One of the top activities listed for Chattanooga was to walk over a bridge. So, of course we had to experience Walnut Street Bridge for ourselves.Walnut Street bridge

As far as cities go, I was beginning to appreciate this one. There were sculptures and other artistic expressions all over the place.1-DSC_2406 5-DSC_2222 2

And then we visited the Hunter Art Museum. I had just completed my first self portrait and had struggled with trying to paint a face. So, we had fun looking at all the art and analyzing all the faces. We noticed that some of the paintings looked like quite a bit of work was done in the face area. Some of them even looked like the artist had had to cover up parts and redo them. The end result was great, but it became apparent that painting a human face is a challenge for even the best artist. I had fun looking at this face, Il Mostro, by Tony Scherman.Il Mostro by Tony Scherman

It was so large!Il Mostro

I have so many more photos from Chattanooga that I’d love to share, but I don’t want the post to get too long. I had really enjoyed the area but it was time to head to Florida. We packed it all up and started on our way, with me driving as usual. Twenty miles out of Chattanooga, we heard a strange sound and I felt like suddenly we were on ice. I pulled over and we found that a tread had blown off one of the tires. Matt went about the difficult task of changing a tire on a camper next to a highway. He’s awesome!Matt changing the tire.

Then he realized there was more than just a tire problem. He suggested that I take a look inside the camper under the kitchen sink. Yeah, definitely a problem.camper damage

It looked a bit better cleaned up some…maybe. The tread had exploded into the camper creating more damage than first realized. camper damage

We had to head back to Chattanooga to an RV place for repairs. We were so thankful that we were not hurt! And also for Allstate Insurance and Camping World. Even though the damage was extensive, we were back on the road in 5 days! Our camper, “The Palace”, looks good as new.  And, while Matt worked those days in a hotel room, I had more time to explore Chattanooga. You never know what a day will hold. Life is always an adventure and a puzzle.Matt and Janine

 

Art Along the Way

This crazy life of mine has kept me traveling a lot lately. I’m thankful that art supplies don’t take up much room. I just “art” along the way. This flower doodle was fun, but I wonder if it’s too bright?Flower doodle bright by Janine Broscious JoyfulWonder.com

So, I did another and took a pic before I colored it in case of wanting to do it another way. Flower doodle #2!

Flower doodle by Janine Broscious. www.joyfulwonder.com

Flower doodle by Janine Broscious. www.joyfulwonder.com

This time I used pastel markers, They are Faber Castell PITT artist pens. You’ll have to let me know which you prefer: bright or pastel.Flower doodle colored. Janine Broscious of JoyfulWonder.com

I decided to try another one with a word in it. Rejoice in the Lord always!Rejoice by Janine Broscious JoyfulWonder.com

It was wonderful to spend time with my grandchildren who live 12 hours away from us. These sweet girls kept asking if we would be “arting”each day. I had no problem complying!Beth and Emily "arting"

Our oldest granddaughter, Beth, was really watching as I drew flowers. She helped me decide what colors to paint these roses. I’m always relearning to trust God…no matter what. I used InkTense pencils on this one.Trust by Janine Broscious of JoyfulWonder.com

The girls say such sweet encouraging words to each other while arting. Both of them loved on each flower as I did this “Be Still” page.Be Still by Janine Broscious of JoyfulWonder.com

Beth surprised me by showing me her page the next day.Beth's artwork

We had a lovely time discussing what it meant to “Be Still.” I explained that we need to get quiet with God and learn about Him and trust Him. At times it means to take a deep breath, stop what we are doing and remember that He is in control. We don’t have to worry! I don’t know if she understood it all, but I think she got some of it. And she loves looking at her page which I know will not only be a reminder of our time together, but also of God. What a thrill to be able to have a conversation like that with her…and all because of art!

Just had to add one more pic of my lovely fellow artists!My fellow artists