Monday, December 15, 2014

Illustrated Faith | Jann Gray

Happy Monday! It's pouring here and I LOVE it!! I hope you are doing well where you are. So imagine I am sitting in my car doing my grocery shopping listening to one of my favorite podcasts Scrap Gals and my two favorite gals had Jann on their show as a guest. I love love love both Tracie & Tiffany like to a million pieces and was EXCITED to meet one of their friends Jann! Everything she said just sat on my heart and made me smile! I LOVE her approach to being a creative person. So as any NORMAL person would do... I stalked her. Yep.. it's true... I went on instagram and commented on all her lovely photos... it was only when  I looked up and saw that the photo I was commenting on was 54 weeks old that I might be scaring her. Okay, now I might be scaring you.. all I mean to say is she is AWESOME and I am so excited she is here.. please welcome Jann!!

I just knew that I had found a “kindred spirit” when I first discovered Shanna’s blog and saw that her masthead said, “to live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong!” Yes!!!! I mean “YES!” Like the throw your hands up in the air and shout “Yes…of COURSE!” kind of yes…only to discover that the people sipping coffee next to you in Starbucks are not as appreciative of your “eureka” moment as perhaps they should be! Smile

But I get ahead of myself! Hi, I’m Jann and it is an honor to get to share a couple of thoughts with you today on Shanna’s blog.  I came to work in the creative arts world in a bit more roundabout manner than most. For more than 25 years, I was a missionary working with the Josh McDowell Ministry here in the United States and abroad in Russia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East!  I helped Josh with his publishing, radio and tv shows, youth rallies and the humanitarian aid division of his ministry called Operation Carelift. I was a single gal who loved the Lord and loved to travel…and working with Josh was as close to a dream job as I thought it could get!

That is, until I met Royce and his son, Weston! Yeah…I knew I was sunk the first time I met Royce. He loved Jesus, he loved his son, and…he loved me! I left the Josh McDowell Ministry and moved to Nashville, TN to start the second grand adventure of a lifetime with Royce and Weston! 

If you’ve been a missionary for most of your life, your resume is filled with an interesting mixture of skills and abilities.  Who DOESN’T need someone who has climbed down into sewers in St. Petersburg, Russia to interview the street kids where they lived? What organization isn’t searching for someone that knows how to take 600 people into Cuba and fly “under the radar?” Everyone needs someone that can tell stories of being pulled off a plane in Israel because they found something “suspicious” in their luggage? No? Well, maybe not those specific skills – but all the things I learned from those situations had prepared me to do all kinds of fun things when I moved to Nashville. I have helped Royce with his businesses, taught public speaking at Cumberland University, been the ghost writer for a couple of books and hosted a weekly TV show called “What You Make It.”

Jann on set of What You Make It 

One of the most fun things I have gotten to do is teaching all forms of paper crafting for the past 10 years in stores, conferences, retreats, YouTube and in online classrooms

No matter where I am or what I am teaching, the theme of my message is simple. YouCan! Create! Fearlessly!

Somewhere between when we were five years old and we thought everything we created was refrigerator worthy and now…we became fearful! Fearful of it not being perfect. Fearful of mistakes. Fearful that others won’t like it…fear, fear, fear, afraid, afraid, afraid!!!!! 

And being afraid stifles our creativity. I want to share just two thoughts with you today…

First, regardless of your skill level, YOU ARE AN ARTIST! And secondly, “whatever you do, do all for the glory of God!”

In every class I teach, I begin with a pledge…I ask them to pick up their scissors or a ruler and repeat after me…

I am an Artist. For the next few hours, I pledge to forget about perfection and focus on having fun! I can spill paint, smear ink and tear my paper…and I will STILL be an ARTIST!

I’m not worried about making a mistake. It is ALL fixable. And when I am done, I will have a work of art, because I AM AN ARTIST!

I find people have a hard time calling themselves an artist! Do you? See, I think that we believe that the term artist is a “quantitative measurement” – not a word that describes what we do.  And most of us don’t see what we do as “good ENOUGH.” 

In Genesis 1:27, the Bible tells us that “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” As imperfect as we are, we have built into us a creativity that is there because God made us in His image. It isn’t about being “creative enough.” We just are creative because God made us that way. And the beauty of it is that He allows each of us to create in our own special way. My hearts desire is to help everyone who attends one of my classes or retreats to take that part of themselves that holds up the art that they create and compare it to another artists’ work and “drop it like its hot!” 

So let me say to you, dear blog reader, “You Are An Artist!”  I would love it if you would say it out loud – try it on – and see how it sounds. (Unless you are sitting in Starbucks and don’t want to start a conversation with those sitting next to you).

And very briefly – I want to share my second thought.

As an artist, and particularly when I am creating art in my Journaling Bible, I want to keep sharpening my skills. I want to get better – not because where I am is not good enough, but because I want everything I do to be done for the Glory of God! (1 Cor 10:31) Right now, I am working on lettering…I want to have a better grasp on how the written words enhance the art that I make. I’m taking classes. I’m practicing. And while I am doing all this “learning” – I’m still an artist, creating art to Glorify God. I don’t stop until I get “better” – I give the best I can – today…and maybe tomorrow the gift I bring will show that I have learned to use the gifts God gave me to a greater degree. I would pray that as you create in your Journaling Bible that you will give the BEST gift you have to give to God, today. And then, practice, try new things, and continue giving it back to God.

It has been a joy sharing with you today. I’ve created some tabs for you to print and use in your Bible/Journal art if you would like.  I designed them to work with the Jenni Bowlin punch but I have also created a cut file if you use the Silhouette. Here is a PDF that you can print and use the punch with – or hand cut if you like!


I look forward to seeing what you create over on the Journaling Bible Community. I am working on creating some fun new resources on my website in the YouCan! Classroom and if you would like to try out some new techniques, please visit my YouTube channel to find more than 200 tutorials covering all kinds of projects and techniques!

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite pages from my Bible

Blessings! - Jann

See, I told you she is one of the most amazing women you will ever meet! I want to squeeze her to a million pieces WHEN I meet her in person!!! Have the most wonderful day!

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