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  • Beauty Journaling and How it Helps You on the Hard Days...

    I have notes written all over the place - words scattered across my worktable, thoughts to return to when my hands aren't busy with scissors, photographs, or paint. I looked up for a second as I was cutting a photo to size and saw the words around a piece of paper but not together, and then the thought came to me - Beauty Journaling. I have been doing it all these years, but I didn't have a name for it. It's not scrapbooking or junk journaling. It's not a planning journal or even a place to spill every detail of my life. I can say with certainty that it is where I gather the beauty I see and experience through photography, creativity, and faith. It is where ideas develop, prayers and praise are written, creativity is fun and freely expressed, thoughts are documented, soulful words are written across the papers, and my photos have a home outside of a screen or hard drive. It is where I spend time with God and lean into the creativity He has planted within my soul. Yay!! Beauty Journaling isn't a specific size or type of journal either - it is the intentionality of the content and the process that makes it so. Beauty isn't necessarily in the end project or outcome. Yes, that's certainly a possible bonus. The Beauty is in honoring and trusting God with #life in all of its good and hard and allow the process to draw you near to Jesus and His love for you. In this process, your heart is touched by Glory and your mind is renewed in truth. You can sign up for the FREE CLASS by clicking here! The class also has a printable kit that you can purchase to use with the class. Use my images and kit or use your own. Once you sign up, all future videos that I create with this particular journal will be FREE for my online community right here on MelanieFaganArt.com. We have a private group and everything! See you on the inside! :)

  • Art & Antiquing Video 001 - Let's Have Some Fun!

    I had a super fun idea today. After a trip to the thrift store, I realized how fun it would be to share the process with you. Since I'm just getting started, this is my FIRST video out into the world. Originally, I was only going to share it with my Facebook group, after all, it was very impromptu. However, this is me on any given day in a comfy hoody, so I thought I'd just put it out there. As for my Art & Antiquing Series, I'm excited to see what goodies we'll find and how it will inspire you to make YOUR art with found treasures. I could not resist this mini cat plate! Be on the lookout for my next video in the series! I'm not sure yet if I will share a process video or take you on a treasure hunt with me. :) Subscribe below so you don't miss it and for special offerings, updates, and inspiration to your inbox! This blog post is part of a series. To see more of my adventures click here!

  • Chronic Pain & Chronic Illness Mentoring - Live A Beautiful Life Beyond the Hard.

    Hi there, friend.  I'm happy to meet here in this little corner of my website.  While most everything you find on this site is related to art, faith, and creativity, I would be remiss to not share the why of what you see here today within all of the pages, classes, and posts. You may have read that I have walked this path for over 25 years.  I understand the ins and outs of life with chronic pain, chronic illness, and #life...not only for myself but for others I love too.  With the Lord's help, I've taken my experiences and turned them into something for good, for hope, for joy.  While I do not make light of anything any one of us deals with, I point to faith, hope, peace, and Beauty beyond the hard.   If you need a friend who can offer you insight and direction on how to best navigate this journey of life with chronic illness and chronic pain, I have tons of reading material, just click here to go and browse. Please take some time and browse the collections of material curated to offer hope and peace beyond the hard. If you need a friend and guide who will also help you navigate ways in which to live your best life even with chronic illness and chronic pain, I'm here for you.  I'm available for personal mentoring sessions that will help you move through your days with more ease, purpose, and peace.   It would be my honor to come alongside you and help you navigate how to make the best of this one precious life, day by day, one moment at a time.  While I can't guarantee change and success, I will give you the best that I have to offer in guidance, wisdom, and encouragement.  Click the button below to reserve your session today.  I can't wait to meet with you.

  • Grow your Creative Business with One Hour Creative Business Consulting Sessions with me!

    Are you looking to start or grow your creative business? Are you unsure of what your creative gifts may be and are looking for how to best discern, embrace, and use them? Are you unsure of your next steps or do you feel you just haven't found your groove yet? Would you like some direction on how to best embrace your one precious life and allow your God-given creativity to influence your life, and those of your customers, in the most beautiful of ways? Are you ready to honor your creative calling and embrace your creativity so that it can change your life and business? If so, booking a Creative Business Consulting Session with me will help you get clarity and direction.

  • Honor your Creative Callings with Creative Consulting

    Are you looking for guidance to grow as an artist and creative person? Are you unsure of what your creative gifts may be and are looking for how to best discern and embrace them? Are the questions of what to do first or next keeping you stuck or have you  just not found your groove yet? Would you like some direction on how to best embrace your one precious life and allow your God-given creativity to influence your life in the most beautiful ways? Are you ready to honor your creative calling and embrace your creativity in soul-honoring ways that change your life? If so, booking a creative session with me will help you get clarity and direction on what you need to fully embrace and move through your creativity with ease and purpose.

  • Photography as Healing - Embracing Beauty - An Introduction to Meditative Prayerful Photography.

    When I picked up a camera in 2014 everything changed in how I see and experience the world around me. I realized that it was possible to be met with Beauty, love, and grace in the moments I seek it. In 2017, I wrote a little memoir, Awakening to Beauty in Our Midst, on how God and Beauty have influenced my life since 1997. I discovered how creativity and faith helped me through some challenging times in my life and I wrote about those experiences. Embracing Beauty - An Introduction to Meditative & Prayerful Photography is the next in the series, I guess. I didn't set out to create a series, but here we are. :) In Embracing Beauty, I help you become more comfortable and confident in your photography. You'll begin to see things in new ways and compose images in ways that are soulful and meaningful to you. I share an in-depth look at using your camera outside of automatic mode. You can also use your cell phone or whatever camera you have. What's most important is that you get out there and experience the Beauty and take the images. In addition, I share prayerfully meditative approaches that you can add to your photography experiences. They are meant to deepen your faith, nurture your soul, and Embrace the Beauty God shares, just for you in those moments. To learn more about the book you can read this post here with more info. If you're ready peek inside the book and purchase your copy today: Disclaimer Please note that I'm not a licensed therapist or mental health expert. I'm sharing what has helped me walk through some of the most difficult times in my life so that it may encourage you on your journey. I pray that Beauty will captivate your heart and nurture your soul in ways that only God can.

  • Welcome to Journal Wallpaper

    *****{CLICK HERE FOR YOUR FREE SAMPLE SET}***** I've rediscovered my love for writing. I spent a few years somewhat recoiled by all things life; sometimes the words are hard to find in the midst of the storms. One thing I always go back to... where I find a deeper connection or a better understanding of myself, of living this one precious life well, of understanding matters of faith and Who's I am... it is pouring words out onto the page. This practice frees the mind up of a little bandwidth and causes me to get out of my head. We look for titles all of the time; it's how we make sense of our world, people, and places. In all honesty, not one of us is defined by just one title. Thank God! For me, as far as how I want to show up in the world and share parts of my story to help you fully embrace yours, I need to not try and stuff myself into a lane that isn't fully my own. I think as creatives we all do this to a point, until we don't. Eventually, what makes us come alive and excited to get out of bed in the morning and create will find its way to us. It's been right in front of me all along... I am a photographer, an artist, and a writer. In order to feel fully alive and to honor the various parts of my creativity in genuine and authentic ways I need to allow all three access to my soul. One of the ways I've embraced my love for writing is by adding 'wallpaper' to my journals. I have thousands if not tens of thousands of photographs on hard drives. As with any art form, there are the images that are just gorgeous and there are the images that I took along the way before I found that amazing shot. They deserve to be shared as well...put out into the world to inspire, to hold meaningful and beautiful words, prayers, and creativity. I'm super excited to share with you my Journal Wallpaper. Here are some of the ways you can use the images: Adhere them in your journal before or after writing on them Use them as special pages to hold your prayers, praise, beautiful words, scripture, and quotes. Use different color inks such as white or gel pens. They are excellent for collage and journal fodder. Use them to decorate part of your page and add other elements to the pages as well such as your own photographs, stickers, dried flowers, or other embellishments. They would make for some pretty junk journals. There is a facet of journaling called junk journaling (just in case you're new to all things journaling). I personally have a hard time calling it that, but I get where the term came from. It's when you take various forms of paper media and repurpose them. Things such as junk mail, cereal boxes, old books, lace, fabric, etc. You then add your own creativity to the journal. Most of the time the creations are just beautiful! They are made from junk or items that could be pitched and are given a new life through creativity. Use them as backgrounds for scrapbooking. I know not too many people actually scrapbook anymore with the digital world being what it is today. However, if you're one of those old souls (term of endearment) that love to create books and add your memories and photographs to the pages, my journal wallpaper will add a special touch of beauty. Most of all, enjoy, have fun and let the words and prayers flow! *****{CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW FOR YOUR FREE SAMPLE SET}***** Visit my store for complete and current listings of journal wallpaper options.

  • Photography as Healing - Embracing Beauty - An Introduction to Meditative Prayerful Photography.

    When I picked up a camera in 2014 everything changed in how I see and experience the world around me. I realized that it was possible to be met with Beauty, love, and grace in the moments I seek it. In 2017, I wrote a little memoir, Awakening to Beauty in Our Midst, on how God and Beauty have influenced my life since 1997. I discovered how creativity and faith helped me through some challenging times in my life and I wrote about those experiences. Embracing Beauty - An Introduction to Meditative & Prayerful Photography is the next in the series, I guess. I didn't set out to create a series, but here we are. :) In Embracing Beauty, I help you become more comfortable and confident in your photography. You'll begin to see things in new ways and compose images in ways that are soulful and meaningful to you. I share an in-depth look at using your camera outside of automatic mode. You can also use your cell phone or whatever camera you have. What's most important is that you get out there and experience the Beauty and take the images. In addition, I share prayerfully meditative approaches that you can add to your photography experiences. They are meant to deepen your faith, nurture your soul, and Embrace the Beauty God shares, just for you in those moments. To learn more about the book you can read this post here with more info. If you're ready peek inside the book and purchase your copy today: Disclaimer Please note that I'm not a licensed therapist or mental health expert. I'm sharing what has helped me walk through some of the most difficult times in my life so that it may encourage you on your journey. I pray that Beauty will captivate your heart and nurture your soul in ways that only God can.

  • How to Choose and Get the Most out of your Word for the Year...

    Over the past week or so, I've been giving a lot of thought to my word for the year. I posted the idea to a couple of my Facebook groups and we had some pretty great conversations on the subject. This got me thinking too. What were some ways to expand the concept and strengthen the possible results? I then sat down and came up with over 35 ideas to keep our words for the year at the forefront of our minds. The ideas include Bible study, photography, and mixed media art. Whether choosing a word for the year is new to you, or you’ve been at it for a while, I think you might find a few ideas to embrace your creativity as well as nurture your faith. First off, let me share with you a little of my process over the past few years. It really hasn't been all that extravagant. From 2018 – 2022 I chose how I wanted my year ahead to go. I would pick a word and tie it to hope. Add in some intention on my part, combine it with prayer and I was on my way. I would say that most years, when I looked back at the end of the year, I could see God honoring those prayers as well as my word weaving throughout my life. To be sure that I am walking in faith and trusting in God, I always commit it to the Lord, whatever the word may be. Your word of choice has a lot to do with how you want the year to feel and how you want to go about experiencing your life. I’ve found that sometimes the opposite of the word I choose tends to try and monopolize my days. For example, in 2022 my word was DREAM. Looking back, 2022 was one of my most difficult years personally, in recent years. Yet, by God’s grace, a few amazing DREAMS also came true, and they overshadowed the hard in a way that only God could orchestrate. How awesome is that? God honestly loves delighting you. He wants to bring you joy, hope, peace, and share more of Himself with you, drawing you closer to Him. Your word for the year is a double invitation. The first one is that you make a conscious effort to think of Him more frequently in your day-to-day thoughts and actions as go about your life; all the while keeping the word on the surface of your thoughts in prayer and petition to God. The second one is an invitation to self, making conscience (and as you’ll discover even subconscious) choices that reflect the love and the beauty He shares to nurture and empower you for Glory. Download your copy of the workbook by clicking the images below to continue reading. :) Enjoy! *** Update for 2024. I'm still deciding my word for 2024. I had one idea...healing - yet, surrender keeps popping up. More importantly, Surrender to Glory. I think that phrase may be the winner.

  • Embracing Beauty Workbook & Guide-An Introduction to Prayerfully Meditative Photography

    Imagine taking photographs that speak to your soul and express the Beauty and joy that you experience in these sacred, precious moments. What would it feel like to embrace this Beauty and allow it to nurture your soul and help you navigate through the hard (#life)? Would you like to deepen your faith and invite God into more of your day-to-day? What about in your creativity and the way you bless and share Beauty with others? If you take a look around my website you will see that photography is my first creative love language. It is how I add beauty and joy to my days beyond the hard. As we journey into 2024, it is my honor to share some of my deepest and most personal beliefs on this form of photography. I would love for you to experience similar outcomes by allowing your faith to inform your creativity as you compose photographs that are meaningful and soul-nurturing for you, first and foremost. Earlier this year, I began creating an online class Embracing Beauty - An Introduction to Meditative Prayerful Photography.  I soon realized that I wanted to create a workbook and guide that you could access and use easily no matter where you are and not need a device to watch, but a book to show you the way.  It is a piece of my heart, a piece of my soul that I am releasing out into the world, hoping and praying that the inspiration within blesses your life in the ways it has mine. The processes I share are personal and they are ultimately between you, God, and the Beauty He shares with you.  They offer healing, solace, joy, and wonder.  Living life from this perspective has filled my days with beauty, joy, and peace beyond the hard.  It also has helped me embrace other forms of creativity I didn't realize I would enjoy such as writing and art, which are fun bonuses. In the workbook, you have everything you need to begin Embracing Beauty in the same way including helpful worksheets, prompt cards, viewfinders, and checklists. Whether you have a DSLR camera or use your Smartphone, you will gain confidence in how you see and take meaningful and soulful photographs.  I pray that the book blesses and encourages your walk with the Lord as well as share the joy that is photography. To learn more and see additional Sneak Peek pages from inside the book just click the image below. #embracingbeauty #embracingbeautyjourney #embracingbeauyintheeveryday

  • The One About Feeling Fulfilled as an Artist...

    Do you often find yourself feeling unfulfilled or uncertain when you create? Maybe you feel the need to create something new and different, maybe even something exciting and new ("Come aboard, we're expecting you".... - The Love Boat theme song) - Ok, I'm sorry, I just couldn't help myself. Who else watched The Love Boat? In all seriousness, this was and at times still is me. I have to remind myself of the following... The artists I follow and admire dearly all say " just start making and creating....just start". I honestly had the hardest time with this. I would start and create art that I saw others making. I would measure my success as an artist by what they were making. Was it close, how did it compare? At first, I focused solely on my skills. Was I good enough? Don't. Do. This. Instead, pay attention to how you feel as you're making and creating. What about the process brings you joy? What ignites your curiosity? What do you love about the process? Is the process sparking new ideas? What comes easy to you? When do you feel that spark of excitement? Is there something here you want to maybe take in a different direction? Pay attention to these things, and make note of them. Why you might ask? Because as time progressed I realized I wasn't feeling fulfilled as an artist. Yes, I was super happy that my skills were improving to the point where I felt I could make the things I was learning from others. But, I wasn't feeling fulfilled. Why else would we put ourselves through imposter syndrome or resistance if we weren't searching for something more? We want to feel fulfilled and know that what we are doing matters if not for anyone else other than ourselves. We need to embrace that expression and the beauty that fuels it as well as the beauty that comes from it. I believe we all go through these steps in the evolution of our creativity. The need to feel that you must create something new and never seen before simply means you have yet to find what excites you. When you experience joy, curiosity, happiness, and peace; when you listen to the whispers from deep within, you'll know you're creating something new and never seen before. Because it comes directly from you. You may take various techniques you've learned and mix them together in a way that is meaningful, soulful, and exciting to you. Or you may discover a process all your own. How do you get to this point? Yes, you have to start, and then you also have to take note of the thoughts mentioned above, as well as your own emotions. The good feelings, the happy feelings, the excitement of possibility feelings, etc... By starting I mean actually playing, creating, discovering, and asking yourself the what-if questions. Our brains need the actual process of making, creating, and listening to our soul's stories through the physicality and expression of art. This will lead to making your very own art in whatever medium and fashion that may be. I will say this though - there is nothing new under the sun - it's all been done in one way or another, so take that pressure off of yourself and create from you, just for you. There is peace and possibility in taking a step back from the scrolling world and listening to your own intuition and guidance. It is in these moments that you will begin to see that God does indeed care about your creativity. The insight and possibilities that just appear are from somewhere within but also beyond yourself. For me, this is actually the ultimate fulfillment as an artist; I become quite giddy. As I am typing this out I'm realizing I need to remember this over everything else. There is so much to get wrapped up in. We have so much information coming at us always, in life and in the art world. Do it for the process and what that teaches you about yourself as well as God's unfailing love and care for you. Then, you will find true fulfillment as an artist and maybe even in life. ;)

  • The Why Behind My Journal & Prayer Cards - May it Encourage Your Creative Journey

    {FREE DOWNLOAD EXPRESS PASS :) - CLICK HERE}} I'm creating a series of prayer and journal cards. As a lot of you know, I love taking and sharing photographs. I realized something a few weeks ago when talking with friends... (that is how things happen you know, just talk with your friends). They help you to see things you may otherwise miss, sometimes without saying a word, but just by listening. Thank you to my beautiful friends!! <3 Angels Among Us Ok - anyways, back to photography - what I realized was that in the back of my mind, I knew my images (and my art) have a purpose beyond sitting on hard drives or not being shared. I want them to inspire you towards Beauty. Towards faith, hope, and the love of Jesus. This is how I have made it through so much stuff and by the grace of God, I will continue to do so. By Embracing the Beauty of small moments, the gifts, the blessings, the creativity, and allowing them to inform the tapestry of my life in the smallest of ways... well, this is the journey I am on. Praise God!! This is where you come in... I have SO MANY images - like tens of thousands over the past ten years! Not everyone is a work of art or has the feel that I LOVE to share. However, the ones that do - I need to release out into the world. I have plans for them, big plans. Things of Beauty, of Jesus, of creativity. May they encourage your faith journey as well as your creativity. Download your FREE download by clicking on the image below.

  • My "Embracing Beauty" Handmade Leather Journal - Deckled Edge Watercolor Paper - Swoon!

    My Embracing Beauty Handmade Leather Journal is like a hug to hold all of the beauty and creativity God shares. In collaboration with my dear friend and fellow artist Jeanie Dickinson, I have a beautiful offering for you this Holiday Season. About the Journal Jeanie created the leather journal and engraved the wording Embracing Beauty on the cover for me. I then sourced beautiful handmade virgin cotton deckled edge watercolor/mixed media (150 GSM) in white. Watercolors, pastels, and gel pens love this paper. It is my joy and honor to share such a beautiful journal created with you in mind. The page sizes are perfect for holding your photographs, art, and soulful words. It is known as a Traveler's Notebook style allowing you to choose or create your own inserts or signatures to suit your needs. This way you're able to use the same journal for years to come, just change out your inserts or add new paper. Your order includes two unbound signatures totaling fifteen pieces of paper which equates to 60 journal pages. This way, you may incorporate other papers into your signatures. You may also use them just as they are. Loose paper allows you to pull them out and create in whatever way you'd like. Can we say image transfers, acrylics, full-page spreads, or whatever your heart desires?! Size Insert sizes measure approximately 7.5" H x 5.75" W. Unfolded papers measure approximately 7.5" H X 11.5" W. The finished size of the journal when closed measures approximately 7.75" H x 6" W. Options Black Leather with White Deckled Edge Watercolor Paper (150gsm) Brown Leather with White Deckled Edge Watercolor Paper (150gsm) Brown Leather with Vintage Deckled Edge Watercolor Paper (150gsm) Beauty Bonus Inside In addition, I've added two vellum envelopes for visual pockets of inspiration as well as four pages of tissue paper. I LOVE vellum and there is something so beautiful and inspiring when your images and art are delicately revealed through the vellum or tissue paper; inviting creativity and journaling. The tissue paper makes a great barrier between pages if you need that or they are awesome to journal on too, especially with a white pen. Note The paper is not intended for use with fine nib calligraphy pens. The paper has a good amount of tooth, therefore do take care in what pens and markers you use on the page. You could still use your calligraphy pens within the journal, just add your own paper.

  • Encaustic Leaf Dipping for Decorations & Intro into Encaustic Medium

    Last year while camping on Lake Superior in mid-October, I collected and pressed a few gorgeous maple leaves. Once home, I decided to dip them in encaustic medium to see how they would hold their color over time. I'm happy to say that when I brought them out at the beginning of October this year, they looked just as beautiful as they did last fall. Well, this made me want to collect more leaves and create a garland or other fall and Thanksgiving decorations. Here is a quick little video where I share a basic encaustic setup that also works well for this project. Know that you could do this with just the beeswax, but that the resin acts as a mild hardener and also increases the melting or softening point of the wax. So if for example, you want to display these in your window where the sunlight hits them, you'll want to use encaustic instead of just the beeswax. Have fun!! Suggested Supplies Encaustic Medium Beeswax in place of Encaustic Medium Electric Skillet Electric Fan for window ventilation Stainless Steel Tweezers Craft Heat Gun Surface Thermometer This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click and make purchases I must inform you that I may or may not receive a small commission from your purchases. This in no way increases your costs and in some cases, you may receive discount pricing, which you will know ahead of time. Thank you for helping to support my small business through these links.

  • Exquisite Lavender in Clay Handmade Christmas Ornaments Workshop & Open House

    Photo courtesy of New Life Lavender & Cherry Farm New Life Lavender & Cherry Farm E10766 County Rd W, Baraboo, WI 53913 When: November 18, 2023 9:45am - 12:00pm (Class will start promptly at 10:00am) Christmas Open House 12:00pm - 2:00pm Did you know, Baraboo's Christmas Lighting will happen this evening as well? Come and spend a magical day with us in Baraboo! Come join me for a morning of creativity, fun, and beauty. New Life Lavender & Cherry Farm is one of our area's most beautiful places to visit. While the growing season may be over, the shop is a place of pure beauty and renewal. I'm so honored and excited to share this experience with you, your family, and your friends. Our Project: Exquisite Custom Handmade Lavender in Clay Ornaments The designs were made specifically for this event with lavender from the farm. No matter your 'skill level' - everyone will have beautifully painted keepsake ornaments. They honestly feel and look like mini pieces of art. 2 ornaments per person - these make excellent gifts and keepsakes! Mediums Used: Clay (premade designs for you to choose from), Encaustic (beeswax), Watercolors, Acrylics, Gesso, Ribbon, Embellishments, Christmas Charms, Twine What else is included? Not only are we creating art, memories, and having fun, your purchase also includes: Private & Exclusive First Look at the Farm's Christmas Open House being held after class! Laura's Delicious Lavender Teas and Specially-Made Treats! Come and join us!! $66.80.00 per person Be sure to act quickly as space is limited! I look forward to seeing you on Nov 18th!

  • The One About Making Time for Creativity...

    I often have people share with me that they just don't have the time to create. They would like to, but for various reasons, the time to create is limited. #1 - Make it Easy & Accessible - Have items together and ready to go. Whenever you see a moment in your day ahead or the next day, make sure to have a few things set up and in place… inviting you to come and play. #2 - Create Visual Inspiration - Have images of what inspires you out in front of your eyes. Printed. Up on an inspiration board. Stick them to your wall. Put mini collages next to the kitchen sink so that you see them while doing your other daily demands. Having these items in the actual physical world and off of a screen makes all of the difference for creativity to become a reality. #3 - Limiting Beliefs - We all have them in one way or another. I've learned quite a bit about these pesky little thought processes over the past couple of years. To be candid, if we think we never have the time to create, then we won't. If we can begin to think a little differently about our creativity, new thoughts such as : I need to make time for this part of myself, for my soul. I need to create for healing and joy. I need to create because I would hate to get to the end of my life and realize I didn't use up every bit of the goodness God has given me. (Harsh but true. Cancer twice in 18 months quickly puts it all into perspective. Don't wait. ) I want to honor God with my creativity, I want it to be more of a form of prayer and worship. I am worthy of this time for myself, I really am. We have a Facebook Live on Friday!! Now's your chance to send me questions, thoughts, and suggestions on the things you'd like me to share. Would you like to discuss cameras? Photography? Art making? Specific mediums you'd like me to demonstrate? Did I mention I've spent years collecting supplies, photos, and camera gear? ;) You can always reach me by email with any questions, comments, or suggestions. I'm always here to help you discover, create, and flourish in your authenticity and joy as an artist. Why is this so important? I believe our creative path is a sacred one, a gift, an invitation to embrace something fundamental within. Creativity opens our souls to honor and delight in the art that is longing for discovery and expression. It truly is a gift and a blessing to cultivate these whispers and experience the healing and joy that they offer along the way. I'd love to know... Did you find today's email insightful or encouraging in some way? Do you have any questions or thoughts? I'd love to hear. GOT QUESTIONS? WANT TO SAY HELLO? Send me an Email... REPLY HERE…

  • Beauty Journaling with Photographs - Facebook Live Invite & Free Download

    I have notes written all over the place - words scattered across my worktable, thoughts to return to when my hands aren't busy with scissors, photographs, or paint. I looked up for a second as I was cutting a photo to size and saw the words around a piece of paper but not together, and then the thought came to me - Beauty Journaling. I have been doing it all these years, but I didn't have a name for it. It's not scrapbooking or junk journaling. It's not a planning journal or even a place to spill the details of my life. I can say with certainty that it is where I gather the beauty I see and experience in my life through photography, creativity, and faith. It is where ideas develop, prayers and praise are written, creativity is fun and freely expressed, thoughts are documented, soulful words are written across the pages, and my photos have a home outside of a screen or hard drive. It is where I spend time with God and lean into the creativity He has planted within my soul. Yay!! Beauty Journaling isn't a specific size or type of journal either - it is the intentionality of the contents that makes it so. More on this to come in the near future. :) I'm hosting a Facebook Live this Friday, October 13, 2023 @ 12:30 pm Central. (If you come upon this blog post after that date, you can still watch the replay and receive the download. Just sign up below.) I will share with you how to take a photograph and turn it into a mini Beauty Journal. You can use the image download I'm sharing with you, or you may use your own. Join my Facebook Creative Community by clicking the image below. Download your Free Images and Subscribe to my Email Community by clicking the image below. Excited to see you in the Live!!

  • Embracing Beauty Fall Challenge Mid-Week, Week One

    Good Morning. Today's email is on the art of photography with a fun little assignment. Also, I'm hosting another FB Live on Friday, (more on that below). Hopefully, this time I will make the video straight and not sideways. #happiness #magicallight Photography Tip Number One Photography is Art Maybe it's just me, but I feel as if there is this unspoken and maybe unrealized space between the art world of paintbrushes and mediums to that of cameras, lenses, and camera settings. In some ways, it feels as if photography is thought of as an easy art form. If you think about it, almost everyone has a camera on their person at all times. Not true with paintbrushes. Imagine a world where this was also the case! Both art forms require you to see, think, and feel in new ways. That you live new experiences and keep filling that cup of life with beauty and expression. Yes, this is pretty easy with a camera. However, just as it takes practice and many attempts to get a painting to the point of being finished on a canvas… it also takes many hours of practice and steps to learn how to make your camera capture and express that which you see and want others to see. #nature #lateautumnleaves #lateautumnberries #centerfocalpoint Embrace your photography as an art form. Play with it. Learn from it. Allow it to fill your life with a tapestry of beauty that only you can create. Just as in any art form, there is learning, there is the ugly art stage, and there is pushing through to a point where you are happy with what you've created. This is one of the biggest reasons I created this challenge. So we could have fun, play, and learn. Give yourself permission to try new things and to see things in new ways. When you photograph something today, try taking five different photos of the same subject. Move your body and the camera to different angles and perspectives. Allow for varying light and see how that looks and feels. If you'd like, share them in the group. #sameimage-differentfocalpoint #differentfeeling Join Me LIVE on Friday! Facebook LIVE Friday, October 13th, 12:30 pm Central. I'm making a very simple journal that is rooted in the various ways to embrace and experience the beauty in your world through photography, art, and beautiful, soulful words. #collage #meanderingjournal #colorplay #thisisgoingtobefun! I will share supplies in the live. This way you are able to make any changes that best suit your own ideas from what I share. :)

  • Embracing Beauty Fall Challenge - The One About Imposter's Syndrome...

    I did not plan to check two more boxes on the challenge when I made my cup of yum. It just sort of happened that way. Beauty has a tendency to just show up when you're paying attention. I could have rushed through my Saturday morning but I decided to pause… and there it was. The coffee, the fall colors, and part of the story of our challenge serendipitously appeared right in front of me. This moment made me smile. Week One - Happy Monday! Hello Friends! I hope your weekend was one of rest. As I shared in the group, fall temps have certainly set in here in Wisconsin. I enjoyed that first cup of warm coffee on a cool autumn morning. That first sip was so delightful, it nourished my soul. Such a simple thing to be thankful for; it was a reminder for me of God's provisions. To make things easy, I'm posting the link to the page on my website where you can access the download as well as any emails and blog posts you may miss along the way. Bookmark the page or save this email for future reference. https://www.melaniefaganart.com/embracing-beauty-fall-challenge Have you heard of Imposter's Syndrome? It's this gnawing voice or collection of thoughts that play in the background of your mind. Making you think things like - “who do you think you are to create anything? You're not a real artist, photographer, writer, musician, etc… who are trying to fool?” Believe me when I tell you everyone experiences this. It's actually a subconscious defense mechanism that speaks in untruths. I also think it keeps us from actually embracing all of the beauty in this life that God has for us. I don't know about you, but I honestly don't want to miss everything He has for me by doubting. The amount of time I've wasted questioning my value and worth as a creative, well, it's ridiculous. It's also a joy robber. I truly want to help you through this aspect of a creative life. Tip # 2 - Don't listen to the doubt and the fear. Trust the stirrings within your soul and embrace what He shares as beautiful with you. It has purpose. Overcoming Imposter Syndrom I think as long as we create and make and reach for those new horizons within our souls, this unwanted guest is always going to try and steal our joy. Take away its power like you would with any other fear. Pray for guidance, truth, and light to guide you. Not only in your creativity but in all areas of your life. It overflows from one area to the next, I promise. Secondly, give it a name… something silly to you. Then when you start having those thoughts… call them out by name… “Hey there Gretchen, not today, I've got too many awesome things going. I'm not listening.” Imagine yourself in a schoolyard verbal back and forth - then you decide to turn and walk away with all of your art friends. Creating our art... the art of our life as well as the art of our hands is an emotional connection to something deeper within. It is a connection to the Spirit of God within us. Engaging with this beauty is what makes us fully alive. We must choose what we listen to. What's Happening this Week? I have homework for you. ;) 1) Continue to take photos and/or create art that brings you joy. 2) Print out your photos. Take photos of your art and print those out too. Pick your top three to five photos so far. 3) Your next email will be on Wednesday with a supply list for our FB Live on Friday. We'll be making a very simple journal together that is rooted in the various ways to embrace the beauty in your world. See you in the group! Not part of the challenge or community yet? What are you waiting for? Join the fun today! Join the challenge at any time - full access to all emails and FB Lives when you join. You can always reach me by email with any questions, comments, or suggestions. I'm always here to help you discover, create, and flourish in your authenticity and joy as an artist. Why is this so important? I believe our creative path is a sacred one, a gift, an invitation to embrace something fundamental within. Creativity opens our souls to honor and delight in the art that is longing for discovery and expression. It truly is a gift and a blessing to cultivate these whispers and experience the healing and joy that they offer along the way.

  • Embracing Beauty Fall Challenge Day One

    Today is the day our journey officially begins! If you have yet to print the challenge or you simply want a screenshot, I have a revised printable with less text and straight to the good stuff. Just click the image above. Tip Number One! Set yourself up for success. Don't feel as if you're going to master the challenge every single day. Realistically, there are going to be days when you're just not able to grab your camera and take a few pictures or spend time creating. Obviously, it is better for you if you can, but don't let it be an area of stress or feelings of lack. Don't feel as if you're falling behind. Simply embrace this beautiful time with yourself and your creativity. Another thought is that you could acquire more than one prompt in an outing. Remember, you're gathering this inspiration to nurture your soul and your creativity with the beauty only you can see. A perfect example would be a day out in nature taking photographs sketching, watercolors, etc., either one of these or all three. Maybe you're at a lake and you catch the morning fog over the water as well as some wildflowers and reflections. Sounds heavenly doesn't it? Soulful Inspiration Seeking and Embracing Beauty is how we Engage with our Lives. I believe wholeheartedly that we are born with this beauty adventure inherently formed within our DNA. It's an invitation to experience the Goodness of God as well as a slow, life-long revealing of who He is within each one of us individually. Yes, our creativity is for ourselves, but it is also meant to share beauty, goodness, and joy with our world. Embracing beauty is all about a conscious effort to slow and pause for a moment. For example, it's like when you start wearing a certain style of hat, and all of a sudden you see those hats all over the place. Your consciousness is now aware because it means something to you. I have had moments in my life where there was no doubt what I just experienced was a gift from a loving God. Maybe it's the honey bee through my lens, gracefully going about its way in the lavender field, or the encouragement from a janitor as I wait in a hospital wing for answers. Give yourself the opportunity to pause and also be approachable by Glory. Not a Fall image, but one to adequately share my message above. Side Story - I was literally lying on my stomach in the lavender field to get this image. I am so glad that I did, as it's one of my all-time favorites! You can always reach me by email with any questions, comments, or suggestions. I'm always here to help you discover, create, and flourish in your authenticity and joy as an artist. Why is this so important? I believe our creative path is a sacred one, a gift, an invitation to embrace something fundamental within. Creativity opens our souls to honor and delight in the art that is longing for discovery and expression. It truly is a gift and a blessing to cultivate these whispers and experience the healing and joy that they offer along the way. I'd love to know... Did you find today's email insightful or encouraging in some way? Do you have any questions or thoughts? I'd love to hear. GOT QUESTIONS? WANT TO SAY HELLO? Send me an Email... REPLY HERE…

  • My Work was Published in Somerset Magazine's August - October 2023 Issue!

    What's New with me? Well... My work was PUBLISHED!! It just goes to show, you never know until you try! Back in March, I submitted a concertina journal that I created to Somerset Studios. In August, I had to run to Joann Fabrics for a few items and since I hadn't heard from the magazine I figured I wasn't published. However, I was excited to see if either of my friends who submitted were published. To my absolute surprise, in the middle of the Joann checkout line, I saw my images on the pages of the magazine! I kind of Eeekked out! Click the image to purchase your digital copy today! Since taking the photos above, I have discovered two other places within this issue where they used my art and photography. One of which is a pull-out journal page for you to create on! How cool is that?! I'm doing a Facebook Live this Friday, October 6th @ 12:30 pm Central. In this live, I will be sharing my journal that I just received back today as well as other images from the magazine. More on the FB Live below! I will also share tips on what I did that may have helped me get published.

  • I'm Hosting an Embracing Beauty Fall Photography & Art Challenge & Workshop - Join the Fun!!

    There is something nostalgic about leaning into this season of change. The beautiful earth tones almost everywhere you look, I think it subconsciously grounds us as humans. It's a metaphor for life condensed into a few short months every year. Embrace the beauty of the moment, live it, honor it, and enjoy it. One way that I LOVE to do this is through photography, art, and journaling. I'm excited to invite you along on my journey this fall of Embracing Beauty in the Everyday through these creative endeavors. Here are the details: All you have to do is sign up and subscribe below. From October 5th - November 3rd, 2023, I will send exclusive emails and host weekly Embracing Beauty Creative Sessions on FB Live. Once signed up you'll receive: Your printable download with challenge prompts. (If needed or use your own). An invite link to my Facebook Community where I will host weekly LIVE Embracing Beauty Creative Sessions. You're also then subscribed to the challenge's exclusive emails that will help you discover, create, and flourish in your authenticity and joy as an artist and/or photographer. { Side Note - Photography is art too. At least the way I see it. ;) } Why am I doing this you may ask? Well, I want to build a community of creative souls (ps- we all are creative souls in one way or another) that want to Embrace Beauty in their day-to-day and invite it to inform their art, creativity, life. What I have discovered over the course of my life's seasons of ups and downs is that honoring this Beauty shapes your life into something only God can. You see, the Beauty is actually God in your midst, it is Jesus calling. I promise you, leaning into and honoring the beauty in your midst is where you find peace and hope. Expressing these moments creatively is healing. Below is my list of challenge prompts. As I stated above, you may use these or they may inspire you to create something on your own. Click the image to download the printable version and join in the fun! See you on the inside! :)

  • Soul Listening 001... A Brave & Daring Thought...

    Soul Listening 001… When was the last time you had a brave and daring thought? You know, the ‘What if I actually did the thing my soul keeps prompting me to do?' …kind of thought? What invites the butterflies to visit your stomach or makes you giddy with joy over the possibilities? At the moment, let’s just chat about what that might look like. Take away the thoughts of sharing whatever these things may be with the rest of the world. For now, this is just for you. Stop here for a moment and give these ideas a little of your time. Sit with them, and make some space for them. Next, write them down or put them in the notes on your phone. Pay attention to the things that bring you joy. What makes you happy, what excites you to get out of bed in the morning to go and do, what makes you feel more alive? This is a friendly reminder to do more of those things. It is where your purpose and passion collide and become the creativity that is in your DNA. When we honor this, we discover the creative sanctuary that’s within our souls. More on this tomorrow, but for today, just pay attention to ALL of the things that bring you joy. This is more than art supplies. Consider all of the things such as photography, cooking, baking, gardening, painting, pottery, journaling, birds, cats, dogs, flowers, trees, rocks, nature, the ocean, the sea, etc….. What are those things for you? What will allow you to live your one wild and precious life with the beauty of intention and really listen to what stirs your heart and soul? #melaniefaganart #melaniefaganphotography #melaniefaganjournals #mixedmediaartist #photographer #author #journaler #journaling #photography #flowers #cosmos #flowerphotography #staitionary #journalpages #write #writes #journalingtoheal #creativityheals #faith

  • Welcome to Journal Wallpaper

    *****{CLICK HERE FOR YOUR FREE SAMPLE SET}***** I've rediscovered my love for writing. I spent a few years somewhat recoiled by all things life; sometimes the words are hard to find in the midst of the storms. One thing I always go back to... where I find a deeper connection or a better understanding of myself, of living this one precious life well, of understanding matters of faith and Who's I am... it is pouring words out onto the page. This practice frees the mind up of a little bandwidth and causes me to get out of my head. We look for titles all of the time; it's how we make sense of our world, people, and places. In all honesty, not one of us is defined by just one title. Thank God! For me, as far as how I want to show up in the world and share parts of my story to help you fully embrace yours, I need to not try and stuff myself into a lane that isn't fully my own. I think as creatives we all do this to a point, until we don't. Eventually, what makes us come alive and excited to get out of bed in the morning and create will find its way to us. It's been right in front of me all along... I am a photographer, an artist, and a writer. In order to feel fully alive and to honor the various parts of my creativity in genuine and authentic ways I need to allow all three access to my soul. One of the ways I've embraced my love for writing is by adding 'wallpaper' to my journals. I have thousands if not tens of thousands of photographs on hard drives. As with any art form, there are the images that are just gorgeous and there are the images that I took along the way before I found that amazing shot. They deserve to be shared as well...put out into the world to inspire, to hold meaningful and beautiful words, prayers, and creativity. I'm super excited to share with you my Journal Wallpaper. Here are some of the ways you can use the images: Adhere them in your journal before or after writing on them Use them as special pages to hold your prayers, praise, beautiful words, scripture, and quotes. Use different color inks such as white or gel pens. They are excellent for collage and journal fodder. Use them to decorate part of your page and add other elements to the pages as well such as your own photographs, stickers, dried flowers, or other embellishments. They would make for some pretty junk journals. There is a facet of journaling called junk journaling (just in case you're new to all things journaling). I personally have a hard time calling it that, but I get where the term came from. It's when you take various forms of paper media and repurpose them. Things such as junk mail, cereal boxes, old books, lace, fabric, etc. You then add your own creativity to the journal. Most of the time the creations are just beautiful! They are made from junk or items that could be pitched and are given a new life through creativity. Use them as backgrounds for scrapbooking. I know not too many people actually scrapbook anymore with the digital world being what it is today. However, if you're one of those old souls (term of endearment) that love to create books and add your memories and photographs to the pages, my journal wallpaper will add a special touch of beauty. Most of all, enjoy, have fun and let the words and prayers flow! *****{CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW FOR YOUR FREE SAMPLE SET}***** Visit my store for complete and current listings of journal wallpaper options.

  • Awakening to Beauty in Our Midst - 02 - Chapter One - True Beauty & the Art of Noticing

    Chapter One - True Beauty 0 The Art of Noticing. “They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.”Psalm 77:12 As I stood at the sink washing dishes, a few droplets of water landed on my left leg. It felt as if a bee was stinging me. Upon further examination, I realized there was no swelling or entry wound. What in the world was happening? I would soon discover that this moment was the beginning of a condition known as RSD as well as a severe bout of depression. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is a pain syndrome and one I struggled with for many, many years. I suffered a debilitating injury from a car accident to my left leg which went for more than a year without answers. The doctors continually gave me the runaround. Finally, after meeting with a neurologist, I had some guidance. Because of the trauma to my leg and knee, my brain wouldn’t stop sending pain signals. It simply didn’t know how to turn it off. My personal relationship with Jesus was in its infancy, and I longed for understanding. Through the heartache and pain, prayer was a constant need. Eventually, my heart began to crave anything of meaning. One afternoon, I remember purposefully taking our four-year-old daughter out in the backyard for a picnic, under the apple trees. As we lay there on the rose print blanket gazing at a sky full of cloud creatures, something inside of me awoke. Just a few days before, my burdened body and brain became overwhelmed with pain. If this was something I had to endure for the rest of my life, I didn’t know how to continue. There was no desire, no drive to keep going. Exhaustion and despair attempted to claim me emotionally, physically, and even spiritually. I was lost, or so I thought. As we giggled at the whale floating above our heads, thankfulness began to fill my heart with grace and small joy. It was in that moment of experiencing the beauty in the blossoms, the hummingbirds buzzing, and my daughter’s laughter... I noticed for the first time what I call, true beauty. “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 True Beauty is more than just seen. It is felt as an experience that awakens us to the presence of God in our immediate moments. Noticing this majestic beauty is unique to each one of us. I believe this is no accident. God creates everything as an invitation. He is welcoming us to notice and love Him every second. Experiencing a glimpse of His love through an incredible sunset, a gorgeous flower, a fantastic meal, or even a simple smile from a friend or stranger depends on our observation. Will we rush through and miss it or will we begin to notice grace in the details? What we find beautiful, we love. God is love; therefore He is in the beauty we seek to fill our souls. To live an authentically beautiful life is to awaken to the art of possibility. A glimpse of love, hope, tranquility, or joy does wonders for our fatigued lives. Is it possible that the Lord is sharing some of Himself with me, with each of us, in these moments of grace-filled beauty? I believe that He does. Awakening to authenticity is a choice we make each day, each moment. I believe in the Holy Spirit and the incredible power and love offered to us through this gift from God. Now, let’s remember God is the Creator of everything. Would you say He has an amazing creative spirit? I certainly would, and we’re created in His image. Guess what? Even if you think there isn’t an artistic bone in your body, you’re still creatively gifted in some way. Our creative spirit feeds our soul the beauty and the glimpses of grace we inherently and uniquely crave. Oh, how I wish never to miss these opportunities with my choices. “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.” Psalm 145:5 I’m going to ask you to stop reading for a moment and pray, asking God to reveal His presence and glory in your life. Next, surround yourself with beautiful things and images that inspire awe and majesty. Some of us may have a hard time knowing what that is. Accept the challenge not to be limited by the familiar and pursue what sparks your interests. Drive or walk a different route, just for the fun of it. Explore the possibilities. Commit this pursuit of moving past the mundane to prayer, asking the Lord for guidance. We are created to have companionship and fellowship with Him on every level. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing which means to include God in every aspect of our daily lives. Realizing the beauty of God moment by moment transforms our days, faith, and lives for His Glory. “And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Also, he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty, I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” Revelations 21:5-7 Let us use our God-given senses to train our minds and observe the things that uplift the spirit. Mentally frame the snapshots captured by the camera of the mind, listen to the harmonious melodies, breathe in deep the magnificent aromas, tantalize the taste buds, touch the textures of life, and experience color everywhere. Nurture these small moments and allow them to stir your soul. Because of God's love for us, beauty is tangible; it’s something we can see and experience. Noticing true beauty awakens something within that only God can harness. Experiencing this unique divinity in our midst is to love God in our everyday moments. When this occurs, our relationship with Jesus deepens and a beauty-filled life unfolds. None of this is by chance. Each of us is here for a purpose and at least one reason. I firmly believe God reveals some aspirations, one glimpse at a time. We are a work of art; our faith is a journey with Jesus and our life is His canvas. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 That afternoon at the kitchen sink was the result of the car accident months before. Little did I know that the pain would eventually lead to me noticing abundant Glory in my life! As I apply paint to this figurative canvas of my life, I’m sure there are some muddy mixtures from this time and many others. Envisioning this metaphorical painting makes me wonder if my splatters of mud could at times ruin the whole thing. Thankfully, Grace abounds with focus. Noticing and permitting Grace as it shines through even in the hardest and darkest moments will splash more beauty on that canvas than we could ever imagine. “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” John 15:6 --- Now, it's your turn. One of the biggest changes in my situation was to invite gratitude into my days. To make a conscious effort and document the big and little things that I was thankful for. At first, I started by writing down at least three items a day, and soon my daily count of thankfulness was between five and ten easily. Gratitude is like that. It fundamentally changes how our minds work and influences healing on many levels. If you would love to invite a little more beauty, peace, and thankfulness into your days, but you're not sure how to do that creatively, I have a very easy and doable solution for you. Print out a few beautiful images and add them to your gratitude journaling. I promise beauty and gratitude are two things we can always have more of in our lives. The following collection of four 3.5"x5" lavender images is available in my shop for your creative enjoyment. :) --- Awakening to Beauty in Our Midst is a book I wrote and self-published in 2017. It is a mini-memoir from the previous ten years. I share how God took the hard and helped me see and live the beauty - no matter how hard the days became. Little did I know what was ahead of me in just one year. May it encourage and bless your journey to seek and embrace beauty in the midst of the hard. My hope is that you then allow those experiences to shape and inform your days into purpose and meaning beyond the hard. If you'd like to read the rest of Awakening to Beauty in Our Midst now, click on the button below. Awakening to Beauty in Our Midst - Melanie Fagan (C) 2017 - 2023

  • Collage Art 01 - Breathtaking Simplicity

    I find myself drawn more and more to the art of collage. The possibilities of incorporating endless layers of personal meaning really speaks to me. Also, it’s a great way to incorporate and play with my photos in new and creative ways. This page is from a new square journal I created over the weekend titled - Breathtaking Simplicity. It’s a reminder, a guide, a place to land and rest from the chaos that tries to steal my day. There could probably always be some form of chaos, and there can also be breathtaking simplicity. Thankfully, we, for the most part, get to choose.

  • Sunset in the Garden Encaustic Necklace

    As you can probably tell when you browse this site, this is one of my favorite images. One evening, after a beautiful family meal with friends that became family, I headed out into their garden with my camera. I distinctly remember my breath being taken away as I saw that amazing light from the sun setting behind the vintage windows. As I walked closer to get a good view, I could not believe the beauty I was witnessing. Not only was the evening beautiful - but as I took this image I began to realize the purpose of my camera. It's not just to take photographs or to create pretty images. Yes, these are great, and on one level that is exactly what I do. However, its purpose is to share beauty and joy as well as peace and hope through photographs and creativity. I love encaustic medium and I enjoy combining it with my photographs. I had this idea to create these sweet little necklaces with this image, encaustic medium, and an antique bronze chain and bezel (what the image is sitting in). I'm so excited to share that I have a limited quantity available in my shop. Click the link below for all the details. :)

  • My Top 11 Ways to Nurture Yourself & The Artist Within

    Creativity comes from a place of wonder and inspiration. I believe we also have a quiet and deep desire for purpose and beauty in our daily lives. None of this can be forced. It must be nurtured - creativity, purpose, beauty, you, and the artist within. When I speak of nurturing, I’m referring to the ways you invite peace, joy, calm, relaxation, and inspiration, (just to name a few) into your presence. In order for your creativity to come from that authentic place within, you need to allow yourself the grace in which you are able to experience and nurture that creative soul discerning her way to the forefront of your being. This is important because if you don’t, then you struggle with feelings of inadequacy and perfectionism. Those two are going to show up no matter what. However, what I want more than anything is for that part of your journey to be the least of your focus right now. Taking care of you and supporting the artist within is a sacred calling. It’s one we’ve all been given in one way or another. Beautiful things begin to happen when you follow the wonder and inspiration. To continue reading, download your free guide below.

  • Where is Beauty? Printable

    I'm creating a project that requires a workbook and guide. I can't wait to share more of it with you in the coming days. I'm waiting on a few items to arrive in the mail before I can fully share all of the details! However, this is one page within the workbook. I quickly typed out the list and left for an appointment. When returned home and opened my computer - my heart skipped a beat, really. Then it was as if butterflies were stirring in the depths of my soul. I did not intentionally make this list look like a cross. That was all Him, my friends. So to answer the big question, where is beauty? The serendipitous answer through graphic design is - it's in the cross and every single thing that represents. While my list is not by any means all-inclusive, my hope is that it helps you begin to see and embrace Beauty as a guiding force in your life. It changes everything. God is in the details my friends, even the smallest parts of your creativity... how words just so happen to appear on a page. May the printout bless and encourage you this very sacred week of Easter. {CLICK TO DOWNLOAD & PRINT}

  • Awakening to Beauty in Our Midst 01 - Introduction

    Introduction “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 On a beautiful April morning in 1999, my life changed forever. As I drove along a scenic country road heading towards the interstate, an oncoming car turned left in front of me. The accident totaled my car; thankfully it did not harm my four-year-old daughter. As for me, I had quite a few injuries which led to knee surgery, shoulder surgery, TMJ, and pain, unlike anything I had experienced in my life prior. Conventional medicine lacked in some areas which made the misery even more unbearable. Finding alternative ways to allow my body to heal and calm the pain became my purpose. Through massage therapy, essential oils, and prayer, a journey began. In 1999 the internet was young, but it still offered some valuable insight. Somewhere, I read that being creative or artistic can reduce pain by giving your mind something else to think about. In my case, this proved to be true. As I created an 8 ½ X 11 baby scrapbook, joy began flickering within my soul. Unbeknownst to me, each day these creative projects fostered new connections within my brain, allowing growth and new ways of thinking. {1} As I crafted the pages I began to focus on the blessings of life instead of just the heartaches. It was peaceful therapy and a gift from the Lord I didn’t ask for specifically. He quietly led the way and answered a prayer for help. In these moments, I began to awaken… Only two years earlier, I had asked Jesus to forgive my sins as I placed my life into His hands. When I was a child, going to church or loving the Lord was not the focus in our home. I did, however, believe there was a God. My husband and I married in a Catholic church, and that was the extent of my faith. Up until the point when I gave my life to Jesus, I always felt God was a distant, all-powerful, all-knowing Oz, so to speak. As I began to live my life for Jesus, childhood memories of my sweet Grandmother praying and sharing God’s love with me sparked. Due to my parent’s divorce, those influences weren’t a part of my life for ten years. Yet, I know over those years, she continued to pray. Her planted seeds eventually helped me to remember this precious time from my youth. I wanted to know more about our Savior. Over the past twenty-four years, pain and strife have certainly tried to take hold of my life. A debilitating fall left me with chronic back pain, a hip injury, and an injury to each knee. The hip and knee injuries required surgery. Type I Diabetes, Gastroparesis, Hypothyroid, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, two breast cancer diagnoses in 18 months, and many food allergies try to steal any form of beauty from my consciousness. My husband has endured multiple hospital stays for a blood clotting disorder, as well as two brain surgeries to eliminate the horrific pain from Trigeminal Neuralgia. How and where does one find beauty in all of this? Imagine strolling along a garden path when all of a sudden you round the corner and you’re in the middle of an immense lilac garden. The fragrance of heaven and the infinite amount of blooms takes your breath away. This is a true story by the way. It’s in these moments that I have no doubt God is offering a glimpse of His love through beauty. Looking back, I can see where God has revealed insight and beauty into my life every step of the way. While living through these trials and struggling to make some sense of it all, it’s difficult to focus. In recent years, I strive to seek Jesus, trust God, and allow the Spirit to lead me into peace and beauty. “Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around.” 2 Kings 6:17 Elisha prayed for his servant to be able to open his eyes in the midst of the battle and see God’s glory coming to the rescue in a time of great need. That morning of the car accident, as I laid on the backboard in the ambulance, my scared four-year-old clinched a stuffed monkey given to her by a fireman. As Daddy drove up and came to our little girl’s rescue, I will never forget the sheer joy in her eyes and the squeal of delight. Can we, as God’s children have these same moments of adoration in our lives, simply by opening our eyes? What if we then responded to this amazing beauty and grace? To embrace this conscious connection with God is how we awaken to the authentically beautiful life. On the following pages/posts, I share mini-memoirs of trials, faith, and God’s goodness in the midst of everyday life. This journey, this awakening, never really ends, and I’m humbled and thankful for that truth. As we continually live out the instruction to love Him, we must always seek Him and delight in His Glory, even in the hard times, especially in the hard times. In doing so, He alters our paths into glimpses of Glory. Prayer Father, I come to you today with a heart full of so many issues and blessings. Please help me to seek you and to love you with all of my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength. Your word states this is your greatest command for me. May I begin to notice you even in the smallest fragments of beauty and grace in my life. May my heart overflow with love for you as we grow in communion together. I pray my mind will be renewed with your truth and perfect will for my life. In my weakness you are strong. I pray for your love and strength to fill my life and help me overcome and conquer whatever obstacles may appear. Please help me to remain focused on you, God, and the beauty in my midst. Amen. {1}{http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/the-real-neuroscience-of-creativity/} Scott Barry Kaufman © 2013 --- If you'd like to read the rest of Awakening to Beauty in Our Midst, click on the button below. Awakening to Beauty in Our Midst - Melanie Fagan (C) 2017 - 2023

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