Sunday Sketchbook - Pink Flamingo

Sunday Sketchbook Pages by Jennifer Frith

Sunday Sketchbook pages in gouache. 

Gouache has the translucency, mixing capability, and water-solubility of watercolor but the creamy opaqueness of acrylic when it dries.  I'm starting to fall in love with it.

The verse is from Ephesians chapter 4.
It was written by the Apostle Paul while he was imprisoned:

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."

Ephesians 4:1-6

Sunday Sketchbook Pages by Jennifer Frith
Sunday Sketchbook Pages by Jennifer Frith
Sunday Sketchbook Pages by Jennifer Frith
Sunday Sketchbook Pages by Jennifer Frith

I hope you know your worth.  

Infinite worth.

Sunday Sketchbook - Strength and Stubborn Gladness

Sunday Sketches by Jennifer Frith

I grew up without a mom.

That's not true....   I grew up without the mom I thought I wanted.

My mom – gentle, poetic, and kind – battled debilitating mental illness for her entire life.

My memories include my little sister and me tucking her into bed during the middle of the day, wondering why our mom wasn't tucking us to sleep at night.

She was severely depressed.  I didn't know this until I was in my teens. 

I ached for a mom who was strong and independent.  I wanted a woman-figure to show me how to take care of myself, to believe in myself, and to be strong for myself.

In a roundabout way, she did. 

....This brings me back to my Sunday Sketchbook.

When I met a stranger named Emmanuel on my trip to Florida earlier this year (you can read about our encounter here.  I kept his business card and pasted it in my pages), he shared with me this bit of encouragement: 


"The joy of the Lord is our strength."

- Nehemiah 8:10 -


These words settled into my heart.

Strength, by definition, is the ability to carry a heavy load, to withstand a great amount of force or pressure.

The verse made me realize that sometimes strength can be the willingness/willfulness to smile....  when it hurts and it sucks, and everything in you wants to fall to your knees, throw in the towel, or pack up and walk out.

Maybe my mom wasn't "strong and independent" in the way that I wanted her to be.  But what if she was strong?  What if her gentleness was her own deep resolve to not let the weight of life crush her?   

What if she choosing to hold onto joy, even if the smallest of ways, is a measure of strength greater than we realize?

So these are my Sunday Sketches.

Sunday Sketches - Jennifer Frith
Sunday Sketches by Jennifer Frith

Strength, Joy, and "Stubborn Gladness" are things I value... for the reasons listed above.  If you can smile when life gets hard, you're someone I want to be around.

The pages were inspired by Josh Garrels song, "Farther Along".  You can watch the video here.

What does strength look like to you?

Sunday Sketchbook - Quiet Waters

I sat on the cotton-threaded couch, toes wiggling in my shoes, my hands nervously rubbing my pant legs.  

"So, how does this work?" I asked. "What will we be talking about first?  Will there be homework assignments and self-help books to read?  Are there things that I can check off a list?  How will I know that I am making progress?"

These were the very first words that flew out of my mouth during my first session with my therapist.

She looked at me and smiled with kindness and knowing eyes.  "No, that's not how this works."

I shared this conversation with my sister.  I told her that I realized for the first time in my life that I might have some anxiety and control issues.  She laughed and kidded, "You didn't know?" 

I shared it with my husband too.  He said the same thing.  Apparently everybody knew this about me except for me.

I deal with a lot of anxiety.  It *might* have something to do with all of the coffee that I drink, but it probably has more to do with having a big imagination and a ton of empathy feelings.  I notice and feel everything.  I am a highly functioning person with anxiety.  

I love that God creates people with different wiring.  Some, like Paul, are great debaters.  Some, like Peter, are headstrong and bold leaders.  Some, like Barnabas, are naturally gifted with making friends.  Others, like Luke the doctor, are whip-smart and analytical.  And some, like myself, are big-time feeling, compassionate people who like to check things off their checklists because accomplishments and checklists make them feel good and in control in a very uncertain world.

But sometimes checklists can't fix big problems and big heartaches because that's not how life works. 

"That's not how this works."

One thing this wise sage of a woman helped me to learn is just to *be* instead of *do*.

Really, to breathe.

Watercolor journal pages by Jennifer Frith - Quiet Waters

I love that God offers stillness and quietness to people of all different types of wiring, including those who are wound up tighter than a corkscrew... like me.

Quiet Waters come when I take time out of my day to meet with Him during my early morning routine.  When I come to Him with my burdens and anxious thoughts, I'm reminded that a life of peace often first comes by being, not doing. That's when all is calm in my heart, and all is in His control.  It's from there that I can tackle my to-do list (which I fondly call my "accomplishment list"), not the other way around.  Then I can face the world and all of its uncertainties from a place of health and peace.

Watercolor journal pages by Jennifer Frith - Quiet Waters
Watercolor Journal Pages by Jennifer Frith

How are you wired?

What do quiet waters look like to you?

Sunday sketches in my hardbound journal, with Schmincke watercolors.  Inspired by my fish, Chuck.