Collage Day 24: Eight Women and an Unseen Guest

Eight women came together last weekend.

Eight women in a monastery guest house, down a country road from the monastery proper, each assigned her own separate room. They shared a dinner, then gathered for worship and information, and then they entered…

…Silence.

For thirty-six hours thereafter, they maintained and lived and soaked up that silence, solitary in their rooms or in and out of each other’s presence, giving a nod or a little wave of the hand and a smile, no one intruding in anyone’s way.

Some sat and read, some wandered the grounds, some hiked the woods and the river path. Some sat with Bible and notebook or journal spread on the desk in the hall or the picnic table outside. Some colored or doodled or painted. One or two plugged ear buds into their hearing and listened to calming, soothing music. Another few listened to breezes and bird-sounds out in the beautiful autumn weather and watched in a sort of reverie as golden leaves cascaded from tall trees, catching light as they fell, while in the blue background long v’s of geese flapped and honked their hearts out, on the first lap of their long journey toward winter warmth and light.

Eight women shared a kitchen and a dining room, various sitting areas in parlors and sunrooms and porches, and odd bath and shower and “powder” rooms through the house. Each cooked her soup or toasted her bread or brewed her tea or assembled her sandwich without a spoken word.

And it was good. Good to be free from the tyranny of the urgent, the strings of the internet, the interrupting ring of the telephone which must be answered if your business is at home and you live in it and “never go home from work.” Good to be guarded from all intrusion and disruption of sweet and solitary communion with God, even in the company of others.

So, it was enough, just that, and something to be grateful for when we came together for worship and sharing just before noon on the last morning.

But then God…

broke it all wide open!

And hearts were moved, and tears flowed and choked up testimonies, and the Kleenex box got passed around, and eyes blinking tears shown through with joy, and new bonds formed that will not easily be broken. And eight women requested an email list…

To share more words

born out of wordlessness

with Him who is The Word.

 

Women shared their darkness that day—and how their Light broke through. How appropriate, then, the collage for today.

    Mini Collage #20 Light in Darkness            cSylvia Robertson, 2017

And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.  -John 1:5     

**

Bible verses shared together that day:

Genesis 16:13

Genesis 28:16

Psalm 139:3

Psalm 139:5

Psalm 139:7-10

Acts 17:24

Acts 17:27

Isaiah 57:15

***

The theme word for the weekend was “Omniscient.”

He is with you.

He knows.

He cares.

****

PS. He also works all things together in astounding ways. I said at this post’s beginning that eight women came together. But it wasn’t really that simple. The last two only ended up there by strange and wacky happenings, coincidences, last minute opportunities, and, clearly, the intervening and provisioning hand of God. And without the presence of those two attendees, none of the “breaking open” would have happened. Further evidence to support the truth of the cited scripture verses above. A phenomenal weekend!

*****

Previous posts in this series:

Day 1 Mini Collage and 31-Days Introduction

Day 2 Collage: Nothing-But-Junk Fish

Day 3 Collage: What Grabs Your Heart?

Day 4 Collage: Why I Chose to do this 31 Days–Really

Day 5 Collages: On Being Transparent

Day 6 Collage: Salute to Birds and Dragonflies

Day 7 Collage: Got it Made in the Shade

Collage Day 8: Three Good Children’s Books to Inform Our Lives

Day 9 Collage: Smiles, Smiles (What Makes You Smile?)

Day 10 Collage: Which Way is Out?

Day 11 Collage: Rugged Rocks or Rugs?

Day 12 (non-junk-mail)  Collage: “Be Like the Bird…”

Lovelights and Blues (Day 13 Collage)

Day 14 Collage: “Fleur de Free” (Extended Cut Shape Technique)

Day 15 Collage: The Beauty of Serenity

Day 16: Two Collages, Just for the Enjoyment

Day 17 Collage Talk: “Only Words”

Day 18 Collage: Broken Hearts Can Soar

Day 19 Collage: Collage as Therapy? (Plus Cut-and-Fold-Back Technique)

Day 20 Collage: A Beautiful Ride

Day 21 Collage: Birds in Lush Growth

Day 22 Collage: Hope

Day 23 Collage: Start Something New Before Finishing the Now

Collage Day 23: Start Something New Before Finishing the Now

Today in addition to the collage of the day,

I want to show you the book I’ve already started altering for my next collage series—

For two reasons:

 1- Some parts of the above collage came out of this very book (at least one of the quotes, and the leaf pictures—probably tea leaves, because the book now called “Taking Time” was formerly “Taking Time for Tea.” I included the other collage pictures from elsewhere because they seem to fit with the Thoreau quote, representing varied “regions,” or even worlds.

Since I plan to use mixed media in this volume, I needed to remove pages to give room for the extra bulk that will create. As I did, words and images attracted my attention and told me they’d make good “stash” for future projects.

2- I want to get another project going BEFORE I finish the one I’m actively engaged in.

Does that sound like a “crazy idea”? Stick with me. There’s purpose in this madness.

It’s true that starting several projects when you’re already doing one, or trying to carry on ten or fifteen already-begun projects at the same time can just end you up in a cluttered, chaotic workspace and confused state of mind—with maybe nothing getting finished! Yet a dismal thing often happens if you don’t line up some new creative effort before you finish the old.

Writers often report that the completion of a book they’ve been working on for months or years feels strangely like “a kind of death.” What often confronts them, instead of a feeling of freedom to start fresh on something new, is a great, big mental chasm with a formidable barrier labeled, “Dead End!”

A similar thing happens to artists. Once the project or series is finished, suddenly the mind seems to go as blank as the new canvas or page in front of the face and the artist feels lost and without purpose.

Some clever creatives have figured out a preventive to use before reaching that point:

Start thinking ahead:

Just take time now and then to brainstorm ideas and note them in a notebook or file, or write short prompt cards and place them in some handy receptacle.

Daydream, like Thoreau says in the collage above: “Direct your mind inward, and you’ll find a thousand regions of your mind, yet undiscovered. Travel them.”

Go through junk mail or magazines and tear or cut out “new” tidbits that catch your fancy: faces, objects, words, colors, textures, whatever. Separate the ones that “grab you” most, to consider further in the near future.

Rifle through the stash you already have and see what “grabs your heart” there.

“Break” a blank page or two by slapping some gesso or paint or random scraps of texture on them, as I did in the former “tea” book.

From all of the ideas this activity has conjured, select one, definite or vague, and gather materials and components into a container specifically for that.

 

Some creatives (wisely) like to do the above in two phases,

1) the brainstorming or idea gathering preliminary, and

2) starting some initial “work” (play) in the narrowed-down project.

All this helps prevent the great blank page or canvas, and writer’s block or artist’s dead end. I think it could be very helpful in just about any area of human endeavor.

*****

Previous posts in this series:

Day 1 Mini Collage and 31-Days Introduction

Day 2 Collage: Nothing-But-Junk Fish

Day 3 Collage: What Grabs Your Heart?

Day 4 Collage: Why I Chose to do this 31 Days–Really

Day 5 Collages: On Being Transparent

Day 6 Collage: Salute to Birds and Dragonflies

Day 7 Collage: Got it Made in the Shade

Collage Day 8: Three Good Children’s Books to Inform Our Lives

Day 9 Collage: Smiles, Smiles (What Makes You Smile?)

Day 10 Collage: Which Way is Out?

Day 11 Collage: Rugged Rocks or Rugs?

Day 12 (non-junk-mail)  Collage: “Be Like the Bird…”

Lovelights and Blues (Day 13 Collage)

Day 14 Collage: “Fleur de Free” (Extended Cut Shape Technique)

Day 15 Collage: The Beauty of Serenity

Day 16: Two Collages, Just for the Enjoyment

Day 17 Collage Talk: “Only Words”

Day 18 Collage: Broken Hearts Can Soar

Day 19 Collage: Collage as Therapy? (Plus Cut-and-Fold-Back Technique)

Day 20 Collage: A Beautiful Ride

Day 21 Collage: Birds in Lush Growth

Day 22 Collage: Hope

Day 22 Collage: Hope

Just this today:

Mini Collage #17:      Hope       cSylvia Robertson, 2017

There is hope.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
-Romans 15:13

Day 21 Collage: Birds in Lush Growth

Bluebirds have always captivated me—one of my favorite birds. But ever since that “down” day a couple years ago, when I asked God for “a sign for good,” they have held a very special place in my heart.

That’s why I cut out these two birds, placed them on lush woodland background, and set those vibrant flowers in the foreground. Though one of them isn’t really a bluebird, at first glance it looks like it is, and “two is better than one,” especially in the light of the story I’m going to link you to.

It’s the post I wrote about how God gave me sign upon sign to cheer me up when I asked for one. If you need cheering up today, may it do the same for you. If you’re already cheery, may it help you celebrate the kind of things God sometimes does for His discouraged children. Go to…

Signs for Good, Blue

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Previous posts in this series:

Day 1 Mini Collage and 31-Days Introduction (A duplicate of this page)

Day 2 Collage: Nothing-But-Junk Fish

Day 3 Collage: What Grabs Your Heart?

Day 4 Collage: Why I Chose to do this 31 Days–Really

Day 5 Collages: On Being Transparent

Day 6 Collage: Salute to Birds and Dragonflies

Day 7 Collage: Got it Made in the Shade

Collage Day 8: Three Good Children’s Books to Inform Our Lives

Day 9 Collage: Smiles, Smiles (What Makes You Smile?)

Day 10 Collage: Which Way is Out?

Day 11 Collage: Rugged Rocks or Rugs?

Day 12 (non-junk-mail)  Collage: “Be Like the Bird…”

Lovelights and Blues (Day 13 Collage)

Day 14 Collage: “Fleur de Free” (Extended Cut Shape Technique)

Day 15 Collage: The Beauty of Serenity

Day 16: Two Collages, Just for the Enjoyment

Day 17 Collage Talk: “Only Words”

Day 18 Collage: Broken Hearts Can Soar

Day 19 Collage: Collage as Therapy? (Plus Cut-and-Fold-Back Technique)

Day 20 Collage: A Beautiful Ride

*****

Day 20 Collage: A Beautiful Ride

Today I set out on what I hope will be a beautiful ride.

        Mini Collage #15 A Beautiful Ride      cSylvia Robertson, 2017

No, not on a bicycle, in a comfortable car.

True, this year’s autumn color peak has come and gone. Even while here, it was only a “peek.” The weather didn’t cooperate. But there are still spots of brilliance out there, and as I travel toward the Lakes more of it may remain, because the water bodies temper the temperature.

I’m going off-line for the rest of today, then all of tomorrow and Sonday, at least till I get home that evening. I’m blessed to be able to attend a second silent retreat, my only one ever besides last January. This weekend’s retreat is in a totally different venue, and has a very different set-up and approach. So it will be interesting to compare. (I hope the travel will be less adventuresome than January’s!) But the main thing is the focus, which is the same for both: time with God, in rest and silence, alone with Him while in the company of others desiring the same communion.

After pouring out all these words, I really look forward to that. To me it seems there’s some insanity in purposing to write-and-post for 31 days straight, and so I made exceptions of Sondays, though still aiming for 31 posts with 31 collages. What you’ll see this weekend (and today, actually) will appear automatically, as I “scheduled” them for their particular dates and times.

Getting this post done ahead of time (it’s actually Wednesday as I write) makes my tense shoulders relax and my breath come more slowly and deeply.

I look forward to more of that, and hope you have a “beautiful ride” through your weekend, wherever that may take you, whatever your plans may be.

May we all be able to slip into God’s slipstream,* and enjoy His presence in it!

***

*slipstream n … an area of reduced air pressure and forward suction immediately behind a rapidly moving vehicle (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)

*****

Previous Posts in this Series:

Day 1 Mini Collage and 31-Days Introduction (A duplicate of this page)

Day 2 Collage: Nothing-But-Junk Fish

Day 3 Collage: What Grabs Your Heart?

Day 4 Collage: Why I Chose to do this 31 Days–Really

Day 5 Collages: On Being Transparent

Day 6 Collage: Salute to Birds and Dragonflies

Day 7 Collage: Got it Made in the Shade

Collage Day 8: Three Good Children’s Books to Inform Our Lives

Day 9 Collage: Smiles, Smiles (What Makes You Smile?)

Day 10 Collage: Which Way is Out?

Day 11 Collage: Rugged Rocks or Rugs?

Day 12 (non-junk-mail)  Collage: “Be Like the Bird…”

Lovelights and Blues (Day 13 Collage)

Day 14 Collage: “Fleur de Free” (Extended Cut Shape Technique)

Day 15 Collage: The Beauty of Serenity

Day 16: Two Collages, Just for the Enjoyment

Day 17 Collage Talk: “Only Words”

Day 18 Collage: Broken Hearts Can Soar

Day 19 Collage: Collage as Therapy? (Plus Cut-and-Fold-Back Technique)