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  • 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.

  • What's your Artist's Personality? Embrace your Creativity with my Fun Quiz and Guide.

    Quick Link: Guess what! Does anyone else make things and then forget about some of the awesome things you've done? You too? I'm glad to know I'm not alone. Let's go back a few years. (Wow, how was 2020 already three years ago.) Right before I went in for my second cancer diagnosis in 18 months and a unilateral mastectomy, I was busy creating a website and a place of encouragement, beauty, and hope for those of us with chronic illness and chronic pain. As part of that journey, I created a very simple online quiz to help you tap into those parts of yourself that are creative and sacred. I have found that God will meet us in our creativity for our healing, nurturing, and for His glory. Here is the link or the link is also in my bio. After you take the quiz you'll also get a free printable guide with your results and some creative suggestions. If you'd like, come back here and share your results with us. This should be fun. 😉

  • 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}{} 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

  • Let's Talk Creative Self-Care -001

    CREATIVE SELF-CARE - 001 Calling all my creative friends! Let's talk about the power of creativity in our lives. Whether you're an artist, writer, or photographer, creativity can bring immense joy and fulfillment to your daily routines. Today, I say, let's tap into our imaginations and harness our unique talents to create something truly inspiring. Remember, creative self-care is creativity that is just for you. No need for 'perfect art' or feeling any pressure to create a masterpiece. What form of creativity truly makes you happy? If you don't know yet, what form of creativity puts a twinkle in your eye or invites the butterflies of your soul to flutter? My happy place begins with my camera. From there, I tend to dip my toes into journaling with praise, beautiful words, and my photos. I find I am then inspired to embrace all things mixed media and encaustics. (Sidebar - with summer coming I have an entire yard of gardens to cultivate and plant. I have always dreamed of immense flower gardens. We shall see what that does for my creativity! ) In the comments below I'd love to hear what creative self-care looks like for you. How has it impacted your life? PS - Did you know I have an online Facebook Community? Come join us!

  • Welcome to Melanie Fagan Art

    {My FIRST Welcome video Circa 2020 - It is where I started and is paving the way for where we are going together! :) } The other day I was going through some old videos and I came across this little gem that I had yet to share anywhere. It's funny how life will steamroll your best intentions and dreams; hopefully not forever though. Yes, sometimes, obviously, the most important things need to take a second breast cancer diagnosis in 18 months and the subsequent surgery and loooong recovery. However, this deserves to be shared. My daughter filmed it as part of an assignment for her film class in March 2020. I added the audio and it is a tad quiet. Sorry. My editing skills and complete originality have improved since then. 😉 If I'm being 1000% honest, I am not the same person I was in this video. I am wiser, stronger, a little more tattered and worn, and more reliant than ever on Jesus. I'm beyond thankful that I STILL GET TO discover, embrace, capture, and create from the Beauty in it all. The month of April, Lord willing is going to be epic. I am currently finishing the filming of my first-ever online class. Eeeek!! More on that a little later. For now though I'd love to know dear friend, what is it that YOU STILL GET TO do? What brings you joy, hope, happiness, purpose, and passion? What is that THING you are here to do? PS - there is a cameo of my Moosey Babe at the end. PSS - If you don't know yet, I tend to collect rescue cats like art supplies. Well, close anyways. I was too heartbroken to share on all of the social media platforms, but last July my sweet Moosey crossed the rainbow bridge. He was fourteen years old and honestly was my soul cat. He was by my side through ALL of my surgeries and recoveries for breast cancer. Prior to that, he was my studio apprentice. He LOVED creating with me. When my art table was in the basement, he was allowed on that table. So, when we shot this video with all of the art supplies on the dining room table - we had to bend the rules if just for a few moments. I am so glad we did. It was an honor to love him.

  • Be a Companion - Collage Art Tag

    Here's a little fun collage tag from last night. I was cleaning up and getting ready to leave my desk for the night when I saw the tag on the floor. I stained it and added the drywall paste at least a year ago. After also noticing my Artist Almanac 2023 (full of collage fodder) on my shelf as I picked up the tag, it was meant to be. For me, this form of creativity is so much more about the process than the end project. There is curiosity, there is peace, there is joy within those layers of texture and story. PS - yes, I also spent some time this afternoon painting and staining mini spools just for that gold thread. There is a reason I collect the things I do, even if I don't know it at the time. Maybe this is partially why I love collage. In the comments below, I'd love to hear what you love about collage. :)

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