Bumps In The Road

Journal Entry for Friday, December 1, 2017

Well, I was so happy and content two days ago. Lol. But yesterday, we drove to Vidalia, Louisiana and were greeted by a huge mess when we opened the camper. The cabinet above the couch broke all apart, pulled down from the ceiling, doors broke off and fell to the floor and the cabinet contents were strewn everywhere.

The cabinet is destroyed. Now we have to get warranty work done while living in the unit. I knew the time would come when we would have to figure this out. And we both handled it pretty well. We know God will work this out too. Just as He has done SO MANY times in the past. But we have had several things lately, including the hard drive on Matt’s computer frying. He can’t even make 3D printed items. We sent his hard drive to a company hoping they can recover his files. His many important files.

These are just two of the many bumps in the road we have experienced. Frustrating things. Upsetting problems. I know I mostly write about the fun we are having because that is what I like to focus on! But there are always bumps, big obnoxious ones. Not all fun and games here.

I have had to remind myself that no matter how much I may desire it and strive for it, this life will never be perfect, stress free and problem free. NEVER.

There are, however, wonderful moments between the stress points and somehow, I need to truly turn things over to God so that I can enter in to those moments with joy. Rather than stewing and feeling my blood pressure rise. LORD, I am learning, but it’s a struggle! There will always be bumps in the road.

But God is with me through them, working the situation out to be good, giving me wisdom, training me for future bumps and using me somehow for His glory. Do I like the bumps? No, I do not. And I probably never will. Everything in my being longs for beauty and perfection.

I think that means that I am longing for God. Only He will satisfy my longings, my deep desires for love, comfort, peace, purpose and for things to generally be right. That’s why it is so good to have the blessed hope of eternity with Him. Pure, beautiful, good, painless eternity. ETERNITY. I can’t grasp it, really. But it is truth. God’s beautiful truth that sustains me through the bumps in the road.

In My Camper, Along the River

Journal Entry for Wednesday, November 29, 2017

It’s amazing to think of what my life is now and of my journey to get to this point. Here I am in a beautiful camper sitting along the Mississippi River watching the swift current as I bask in the lovely warm sun and drink tea from a handmade mug from my favorite spot in Florida.

I remember being in the throes of motherhood – dishes, diapers, runny noses, dirty floors, constant school work to grade, mounds of laundry- all the while feeling ill and wondering if I would ever get through. There were joy-filled moments, but because of my illnesses, I was often depressed and just hanging on. My being was filled with unexpressed creativity with no time to release it. I saw people travel to interesting places, but we always visited family, not only because we wanted to see them, but also because it was affordable. In my spare moments, I escaped through Christian novels to things new and exotic. The older mothers told me to cherish those times because they go so quickly and you long for them later. I really thought I might drown in overwhelming exhaustion before I would get to that point.

But here I am. My beautiful, energetic boys have grown to handsome, successful men. They have grown and flown. Our nest is empty. I admit to having struggled for a time without my boys. And still at times missing them startles me with sudden waves of pain. I have, however, made it through the mid life transition. I almost felt like I had to free myself of “the homeschool mom” mentality by getting rid of all our homeschooling materials and the bookcase after bookcase filled with books. And ultimately, I needed to sell the house in order to move on. I couldn’t figure out who I was in that house without homeschooling. And the boys I had trained to clean it weren’t there to help anymore! Lol.

So the books have found new homes. The home has found new occupants. And I have found a new identity: Traveling Artist. Creativity has always wanted to pour from within me. And new places have beckoned me to “come, explore.” So, here I am in my camper, watching the barges traverse the rapid waters and clinging to God in this new phase of life. The life after little kids. The life that doesn’t seem to have quite as much purpose as raising the next generation, and yet is filled with time. Time to rest and rejuvenate. Time to heal my body. Time to meet people, look them in the eye and listen to their stories. Time to see my husband as more than a life-line that shows up after a day away at work when I am at my rope’s end. Time to learn how to reign in my thoughts and enter in to joy.

And time to draw ever closer to the one who made me to be the creative person that I am – my Father – THE Creator and Lover of my soul. He has blessed. There is Hope. There is Joy. I will enter in. I will embrace this new phase of life and live it with abandon, with the excited expectation of God using me again, even if my life is so very different than it was or even than other women my age. And that’s okay. I am right where I am supposed to be. Along the river. In my camper.

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.

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

My Birthday, Creativity and Gasparilla State Park

Some friends tell me that they don’t want to hear about our adventures here in Florida while they are freezing back at home. But I know there are a few that love to look at photos of a warmer place during the winter. Plus, please know that I really just wish you were all down here with me! That said, I had a lovely birthday here in Sarasota. My parents treated Matt and me to the circus. At the circus

The entire show was amazing, but my favorite was watching the Wallendas perform. You may know of Nik Wallenda, the famous tight rope artist that has crossed Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. But he is part of the Flying Wallendas, an incredible family of acrobats.Wallendas

Before the circus started and during the break, videos were shown about the Wallendas including one of them performing a seven-person chair pyramid in 1962. As we watched the video, we saw one of the Wallendas falter and the whole pyramid collapse. Three people died and two were severely injured in this fall since they perform with no nets. These videos certainly had us all prepared to watch this talented family! I must admit, it was thrilling and yet utterly frightening to see them perform the seven-person chair pyramid for us. Nik’s mother, Delilah, is the one standing on the chair. That woman must be at least  in her 50’s! They asked that everyone be quiet while the Wallendas performed the pyramid and I’m sure I held my breath the whole time.The Flying Wallendas seven-person chair pyramid

The circus was a few days before my actual birthday, so my hubby took me out for dinner at Marina Jack’s. Oh, how lovely to watch the sunset over the water, birds fly and dive for fish, and dolphins swimming. And the scallop dinner was scrumptious!Marina Jack's

Most of the time we’ve been here it has been cold and rainy, but last weekend’s weather was finally the kind we came down for. It started out with a lovely sunset on Friday night which included an unusual conjunction of the moon, Venus and Mars. Mars is a bit difficult to see in the photo, but it is there just up and to the right of Venus.Conjunction of the moon, Venus and Mars

While searching for a new place to ride bikes, I came across Gasparilla State Park. It was an hour drive away, but so worth it!DSC_1182

We have never seen a beach with so many shells.DSC_1187

Matt went out into the water and found this shell. It was still housing a creature, so we threw it back.DSC_1181

I took a break from the treasure hunt on a bed of shells.DSC_1196

We had come here for a bike ride and so far I had been completely distracted by the shells! We did ride for 6 miles and found a geocache at the range light.DSC_1202 DSC_1203

Our trusty bikes waited for us under a palm.Our bikes

We were set to go on an adventure with my folks the next day back to Fort DeSoto. But I was in love with Gasparilla State Park! So the next day, we took Mom, Dad and our friends, Ray and Nita, back to the island. We hadn’t gotten to see the light house, but we did this time.DSC_1219

You know I love lighthouses! Well, even though this one is quite squatty, it still offered a wonderful view.DSC_1211

We all had fun shelling. Here is just a part of my treasure. I’m contemplating what crafty thing to do with them.My shells

And speaking of creativity, I’ve been busy, as usual. There was a craft/art show here in the RV park. My jewelry was well received as well as Matt and Dad’s 3D printed projects.Art show at the RV park

I finished the punch needle owl project. After looking for a frame, I ended up buying a canvas, ribbon and push pins. Instead of a $30 frame, I spent $6 and like it a whole lot better.punch needle project

After deciding NOT to bring my rug hooking materials with me on this trip, that’s all I wanted to do! So, here is a new rug project I’m working on.rug project

Finally, I’ve been loving doing the Bible Art Challenge. What a wonderful way to spend time with God and contemplate his goodness. This one is for John 3:16. I wanted to illustrate that God’s great love for all mankind led to his sacrifice for us.John 3:16

Then we studied I Corinthians 13. Here I focused on the words about true love.Love never ends

I John speaks a lot about love, especially God’s perfect love for us and how we should love each other. I have watched bluebirds and they look out for one another in such a tender way. Perfect love

So, I think we are all caught up! Today, I might make yet another trip to the craft store. I’m filled with ideas for those shells! Hope you all stay warm and happy wherever you are and remember God loves you more than you’ll ever know!  Please leave me a comment! 🙂