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Signs of hope, love, and… resilience?

Still seeking signs of hope, love, and… (perhaps the word of the year) resilience?

It’s a difficult time – for some it’s almost impossible, for others it’s unimaginable, for many it’s just cancellations, restrictions, and extreme limitations… life on pause?

However, the recent newsletter from the kids’ school was packed with great ideas, enthusiasm and vibrant activity! Lots of people are doing a great job! Relaying that to the teenagers is another matter, but there’s a lot of work being done and positive energy being shared by many people at this difficult time.

I recently pondered ideas for a ‘print project’ touching on Spring/Easter/Lent and the coming festival time of year. By ‘print project‘ I mean a printed visual design, that can be shared with others to engage thoughts and feelings; a tactile card that can be placed on the fridge, mantelpiece, desktop… it’s what I do.

What’s so important, valuable or helpful about the coming Spring/Easter/Lent festival/tradition? Daffodils, bunnies, eggs, and traditional rituals… humm…?

As might be expected, talking about ‘hope’ recently, the Arch Bish of Cantaloop suggested ‘resurrection’. Within the horrors of our world, after death and emptiness, eventually we return to life. He suggested that signs of that eternal life is to be found all around us; shared and passed on given away by people every day. With this hope comes an energy to be and do things better. Though real, awful and debilitating “grief and death lies to us, and says there is no future…”, but a spirit of good resides…

In response to cancellations, restrictions, and extreme limitations, a good friend of mine said recently “Hope and Grace explode through time and space…”

Back to the a possible word of the year: resilience…

The dictionary says of the noun resilience, meaning ‘the act of rebounding’, from the Latin ‘resilire’, ‘to recoil or rebound’, ‘to jump again’ to ‘spring’. First recorded in the 1600s, the usage and meaning of the word has evolved, to describe being resistant or not susceptible to something. So it infers strength. The dictionary defines the word as “the ability to quickly become healthy, happy or strong again after an illness, disappointment or other problem. Or, something able to return to its original shape after being bent, stretched or pressed.” However not always a return. At the Stockholm Resilience Center, Director Lisen Schultz describes resilience as “a capacity to persist, adapt or transform in the face of change.” To adapt, transform and spring forward.

I wonder if the idea of ‘strength’ is unhelpful. An integral strength in humanity… perhaps not a ‘strength’, but an integral ‘spirit’ which is so much more than ‘strength’, that enables us to rebound. Yes, ‘spirit’ is a controversial term, so an integral ‘breath’ in humanity that enables movement. We breathe, we sigh, we shout, we cry out, we moan, we sing, we laugh, we talk – with an ongoing integral breath. Whether we feel strong or not, beyond culture, beyond language, beyond our understanding, we have an integral resilience.

So what does Spring/Easter/Lent look like in the light of lockdown, death, limitation and disease?

I hope that alongside impossible, unimaginable, cancellations, restrictions, and extreme limitations… we are able to breathe and find a recoil, a rebound, an unfurling, an opening-up where Hope and Grace might explode, and jump again!

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Five mindful mins…

‘Five Mindful Minutes’ bookmarks… #printables

Here’s a reminder of the bookmark design I revamped last year.

The bookmarks were originally created to be left in public places like airports, railway stations, waiting rooms etc.  They can be given out, or made available, where people might benefit from ‘taking time out’ of their busy lives.

These new down-loadable bookmarks are now designed so that it can be easily printed at home on your desk-top home printer.

They are designed without bleed, so you can simply print on A4 paper (or preferably card), and then cut it into five bookmarks.

These new bookmarks read:

  • Sit down comfortably, feet flat on the floor.
  • For one minute, just be still: Deep breath in… slow exhale… Relax your muscles, calm your breathing… listen…
  • For one minute, remember something you are grateful for. Say thank you for it, and know that gratitude is good.
  • For one minute, remember something you regret. Say sorry for it, and know that you are forgiven.
  • For one minute, think of some good things you would like for another person. Be hopeful for that person.
  • For one minute, think of some good things you would like for yourself. Ask how will this help you?…and listen for an answer.
  • For a bonus minute, pause again, and be still… Deep breath in… slow exhale… Relax your muscles, calm your breathing… …try a smile.

 

Feel free to download the #printable PDF from here: Downloadable PDF ‘five mindful minutes’

If you need them changed for your purpose – logos added etc. just get in touch.

I can also arrange bookmarks to be printed professionally in larger quantities if required. Just contact me…

I first produced a ‘God-based’ version of this back in 2014, you can see this here.

If you’re interested in these or perhaps something similar – just get in touch…

 

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A covenant…

An agreement between people to do or not do something specific.

I’m currently reading ‘Logging Off’ by Nick Spalding, where midlife man ‘Andy’ starts a sixty-day digital detox. Andy sort of makes a covenant with himself to do stuff differently. It’s amusing, I’ll let you know if it’s life changing.

But, it’s the subject of renewing a Covenant, that Methodist people entertain once a year, usually in January.

I recently produced some postcards for the Borders Circuit of the Meth Church, an idea from Rev. Pete Taylor.

The postcards show a reminder of the traditional Methodist Covenant Prayer on one side and a revised newer version on t’other.

If you can make use of some, I’d be happy to edit the artwork with your details/logo etc and supply a cost effective print quote. Or I could send you the artwork if you’d like to print them yourself. Just send me a message.

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Decembral Distractions

In the midnight you awake with a chest ache, with dark dreams, worry and fear, a black dog feeds…

A walk on New Year’s Eve

Alas, Decembral distractions: Hazel Prior’s Antarctic Penguins, The Bagnold’s suburbia, Mandalorian sci-corn, Home Alone capers, Billy Elliot’s passion, Spiderman’s kingdom’s, various BBC Sounds’ dreamscapes, Grayson Perry’s acute observations, Simon Cross’s Theotokos Nativity, Scott Mariani’s excessive adventures…  From Snowpiercing sci-fi, to grounding Octopus Teachers…

For us this year there’s been no December theatre trip. But, this holyday season I’ve again spent time, perhaps vicariously, with a few novels, films, songs, radio shows, musicals, TV dramas…  It’s amazing where you can travel with a clever combination of words, a hearty chorus, some great characters and some dramatic lighting and effect. To quote a superhero “…it’s about what you believe”.

“…it’s about what you believe”

A superhero

If you are lucky to have ‘time-off’, mid-Christmas, there is a hiatus, a Pinteresque pause… …(a rejection of perfection in favour of realism?) This ‘space’ between the jingle of Christmas and the expectations of a new year…

It’s a bit like the interval in a theatre show. You remember the theatre interval? The lights go up, and the buzz is suspended. The energy of the dramatic stories that have just enchanted you is… exhaled. The house lights reveal you in a row of burgundy velour seats. The people around you stir, flip their seats and jostle to the ice-creams, or the bar, real people, real faces, sharing real place(s). There is a tangible hopeful expectation of the next act…

This ‘space’ between the jingle of Christmas and the expectations of a new year… can be a tense time… Outside the window the light is bright, but low… shadows glint… dusk silhouettes stand silent… But, Hark, the…

In this pause between excitement and expectation we might find a realism…
Do the stars still burn? Yes.
Are there still glad sounds? Yes.
Wasn’t it great to chat with a friend outside of Tesco’s? Yes.
Take an impromptu walk round the block with like-minded friends…
In essence, is humanity still a wonderful thing… ?
To quote Joe Gardner in Soul “just regular old living” … there is still lots to celebrate.

“…just regular old living”

Joe Gardner, Soul

So above the ache of disease, outside of the dark dreams, beyond the worry of responsibility, away from the fear of blame, afore Horace’s dusky dog… 

Perhaps reality is more about just regular old believing.

Perhaps it’s more about just regular old believing.

julesprichards

Image creation – it’s what I do… https://julesprichards.wordpress.com/2020/04/23/image-creation-its-what-i-do/
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Delights Innumerable

Happy Christmas 2020

We wish you innumerable delights and best hopes for 2021…

Back in Octoberafter another Government imposed stint of self-isolation, I shared a random compilation of images from my Instagram feed – minus the inevitable shots of pets, food & drink of course.

I very often find the vibrancy and intensity of the world around me so strong I have to stop and acknowledge or notice it… I tend to share some of the images I capture, and inevitably, as a certified visual artist, I like to play with images, I can’t help it… ‘scamper’.

As I say, sometimes I find the stuff around me resonating so strongly that I have to stop. I learnt to do this as part of relearning a lot of things during a period of transition a few years back. It’s an ongoing work-in-progress.

The strength of our thoughts and feelings can be helpful, it can also be confusing, perhaps intoxicating, enchanting or perhaps frightening… but if we might find a way to truly slow down… Stop. Pause… breathe

…to quote Ezra Bayda “What happens when we slow down and pay attention?  Everything! Innumerable delights are right at hand.” 

This reflective and celebratory ‘end of the year’ season we sincerely wish you innumerable delights and best hopes for 2021.

Image creation – It’s what I do.

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MS Publisher for bespoke items.

Match-cards, revision-cards, flashcards… Yes, it’s easy to use the default Microsoft Word†, add boxed text etc and trim-out cards. But it’s not very tidy or economical and to be honest there’s an easier, tidier and more economical way.

Our old friend Microsoft Publisher*. If you have MS Office then it’s there. Often underused it’s a great tool of creating multiple odd sized cards, tags, stickers etc.

It’s easy to make the bespoke page size to fit on A4.

I given examples of this before, ‘Save Paper, Time & Money’ here.

So, we set one Publisher page at the desired size. You could have any size card, as long as it multiples into an A4 page.

Duplicate a master, and create your different pages (or mail-merge your data/text into a master). With Publisher we can then print this on A4 as a set (multiple pages per sheet) or as a stack of sets (multiple copies per sheet). These can be easily electronically guillotined and banded. 

It’s versatile, can look great, and it saves time and paper**.

*Horror, Yes, Publisher! When I first was prompted to use publisher, because the situation didn’t warrant the cost of the more professional options, I was horrified. My preconceptions about Microsoft turned out to be a tad misplaced. It initially looks like you’re using a child’s toy. But get over it! It’s a very versatile tool for simple multiple-page publishing needs – you can create print-impositions for press that InDesign can’t do! Projects can even look qood, if you use design elements created in Photoshop and Illustrator etc.

Uneconomical unproductivity can be easily sorted – saving money, with zero paper wastage, more print per sheet, and easy guillotining and set sorting – and we can make it look good! In the long-term, planning economically and productively can save an institution £1000s

†Word is a word processing program. PowerPoint is for creating screen presentations. 

‘Save Paper, Time & Money’ here.

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Yet when planted, it grows…

Over the last few weeks I’ve been part of a ‘lockdown’ project from the Facebook Group ‘Create!‘, part of Northampton District Methodist Church.

The project aims to raise awareness of the Christian conviction that nobody should be ‘locked down’ because of who they are.
The Methodist Church is “committed to sharing, with all, the refuge and shelter God offers to each one of us” – Psalm 46.

The birds can perch in its shade.

People were asked to send in their drawings, paintings or creations of birds.

As might have been expected, these came in reflecting a vibrant mix of characters and colours…

Birds created by members and friends of the ‘Create!’ Facebook Group December 2020

Illustration from the Book of Daniel Beatus von Liebana

The group were initially inspired by this illustration ‘Book of Daniel – Beatus of Liébana, and were thinking about growth and the diversity… and the story of the mustard seed.

The story of the Mustard Seed 

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it?  It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth.  Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

Mark 4: 30 – 32
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Many thanks go to Mission Enabler Jill Marsh at Create! for her direction and insight.

Grateful thanks goes to Victoria Holdridge for the dedicated illustration of our tree.

Once the tree was realised, the birds were able to ‘…perch in its shade’.

‘The birds can perch in its shade’ – Facebook Group Create! Northampton District Methodist Church

This composite image of the birds in the tree will be available to buy printed as folded A5 greetings cards and A6 postcards.

If you’d like to buy A5 greetings cards or A6 postcards contact Jill at Create! HERE -or myself, HERE.

The project is also available as a package of press-ready artwork*, that can be downloaded from here;

Artwork*: The birds can perch in its shade.

*Please credit us if downloading and using or sharing this resource. And, please do let us know if you use it in any form. It’s good to talk.

*Credit: ‘The birds can perch in its shade’ – Facebook Group Create! Northampton District Methodist Church.

 

 

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Birds can perch in its shade…

‘The birds can perch in its shade’ – Facebook Group Create! Northampton District Methodist Church

You can more read about this project here:  “…when planted it grows…

This is a ‘lockdown’ project from the Facebook Group ‘Create!‘, part of Northampton District Methodist Church. You can more read about this project here:  “…when planted, it grows

The project aims to raise awareness of the Christian conviction that nobody should be ‘locked down’ because of who they are.
The Methodist Church is “committed to sharing, with all, the refuge and shelter God offers to each one of us” – Psalm 46.

But below shows the final creation and where you can download artwork or order printed merchandise.

‘The birds can perch in its shade’ – Facebook Group Create! Northampton District Methodist Church

The composite image of the birds in the tree, are available to buy printed as folded A5 greetings cards and A6 postcards (while stocks last).

If you’d like to buy A5 greetings cards or A6 postcards contact Jill at Create! HERE -or myself, HERE.

The project is also available as a package of FREE to use press-ready artwork*, that can be downloaded from here, Artwork*: The birds can perch in its shade.

*Please credit us if downloading and using or sharing this resource. And, please do let us know if you use it in any form. It’s good to talk.

*Credit: ‘The birds can perch in its shade’ – Facebook Group Create! Northampton District Methodist Church.

 


Other forms of merchandise can be ordered through this Online Merchandise Store:

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Easy Lemon Drizzle Cake

Easy Lemon Drizzle Cake:

Cream together:
4ozs marg
6ozs sugar

Mix into the above:
2 eggs
6 ozs SR flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 tablespoons milk
rind of one lemon – (need lemon juice later)

Line small loaf tin* with drop of oil then greaseproof paper

Bake ’bout 45mins at about 180 degC

While cake’s still hot, make a syrup of lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of icing or caster sugar (or any sugar to be honest – dark brown is also great).
Pour over cake while hot and still in tin.

Take out of tin after 10-15mins.
(Can be topped with melted chocolate!!)

Yuuuuummmm!

*For the cake pictured I doubled the recipe, used a big round tin and cooked it for about an hour (cover with foil if it starts to burn)

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Advent Project – An extraordinary story…

Ordinary people, in an ordinary place… an extraordinary story…

A few years back, I helped produce a project that portrayed people from a local village, relating them to characters in ‘The Christmas Story’.

‘Ordinary’ people in their ‘ordinary’ place – we are perhaps all part of an ‘extraordinary’ story. 

Recently, Jill Marsh the District Mission Enabler for Northampton Methodist District commented on the project and suggested we might help produce similar for others. It’s a simple idea that could perhaps resonate in YOUR community…

A local church chose nine nativity characters and nine corresponding pictures of people from their village life. You can see the original project here: Ordinary People. The project was printed as posters and displayed in a local shop window for shoppers and passers by to see. 

You could do similar in your community!

If you like the idea, I’d be happy to artwork and supply graphic poster images for you*. I can arrange cost-effective printing and delivery of A2 posters for you to display, and/or supply your images for online social/media use. *For a small donation to cover my time.

Using your images of the people around your community, it perhaps could help people think about what the nativity story means today. 

All you’d need to supply is nine quality images with captions, (it’s important to obtain consent for them to be used), and supply any local / logo and details etc. 

Images used previously were:

  • ‘Guiding Star’ – Guiding eg. a crossing patrol person
  • ‘Choir of Angels’ – Singing eg. playgroup school class
  • ‘Shepherds’ – Working eg. work men/women
  • ‘Mary’ – Expecting eg. mother to be
  • ‘Magi’ – Bringing eg. visitors
  • ‘Bethlehem’ – Waiting eg. village sign population
  • ‘Census Officials’ – Organising eg. parish council officers
  • ‘Inn Keeper’ – Hosting eg. barman/lady
  • ‘Angel Gabriel’ – Messenger eg. post-person

Let me know if you are interested, and if I can help. Contact me here Jules Richards 

 

Or do it all yourself…