One of the things that gives me joy is creating journals with a blend of words and pictures. As I never managed to finish my bookbinding course before the stroke hit in 2007 (I’d only attended the first class), I fill up handmade books others have made. My current favourites are made by Sara Jones – they are the right size (roughly 6″ x 8″), are sturdily made with hardback covers with lovely thick pages and the binding is just loose enough to accommodate images/photos, etc. She stamps every page with themed stamps, so every book is full of personality even before I add my own words and images 🙂
In this one, with a bee theme, I created ‘Reflections on Sisterhood’ (the section in Way of Belle Coeur that really struck a chord, and REFLECT is my Word for 2019). I shared the beginnings of the project here after I’d gathered photos of my dear friends (sisters to me, as I have no female siblings, just the one brother). I wrote about each friend in turn – rejoicing in the ones I still see, grieving over the ones I’ve lost contact with…
For the more recent friends, of whom I have no photos, I affixed images from magazines, junk mail, cards I’ve received over the years (I have drawers full of such papery goodness!). I also ponder the meaning of ‘sisterhood’ and why it is important to me, and the fact not all ‘sisters’ are human – I have special relationships with certain trees and animals, and the Moon…
Last week, it was my turn to lead the village book group – I’d chosen Ink and Honey 🙂 It’s not by design, but the group is all female, and instinctively gathers in a circle – I wrote about that, and people’s reactions to the book. It sparked much discussion, just as I had hoped! My previous choice – we take it in turns to choose a book for the month, very democratic! – had been The Handmaid’s Tale as it had just started airing on TV in England, and none of the group had read it before.
I end the journal with reflections of a dear, dear friend whose funeral was the day after book group. I enclosed the order of service, and wrote my own eulogy to Lilian, and all she meant to me. I only met her two and a half years ago, when we first moved to this village, but there was a deep recognition of soul sisterhood. She used to live in this house we now rent, we both loved Celtic prayer and we each wore a similar silver bangle (‘a good omen’ said Lilian, the first time I noticed it on her wrist 🙂 )
So here is a selection of pages from the journal, made into a slide show (the journal itself has over 100 pages), where I hope you’ll get a flavour of what I was trying to create – I’m afraid the photos aren’t great, despite my efforts in Picasa to brighten and sharpen them. As I shared here in June 2018, joining Soulful Scribes felt like I’d found my sisters, a home-coming; and the feeling has simply deepened through my Spiritual Formation… Such rich, rich blessings through the joys, and sadnesses, of sisterhood!!
And this poem by Stephen T Berg sums up perfectly what precious friends bring to our lives. Quoted with kind permission yesterday ❤ I plan to type it out and tuck it into the journal 🙂
There are people in your life (were they brought to you?)
who make you feel you were born at the right time
and in the right place.
People genuinely kind as to make you feel recklessly whole,
gentle as to make you welcome your imperfections
(which you know are many).
People who through the red wine of conversation
help you quit your habit of hedging moments of happiness
against their inevitable passing.
People with such soul-beauty as to give you the ability
to endure provocations, grievances, even betrayals.
People who’ve opened a window for you,
given you salve for your eyes,
led you to the edge of town above a river
where you paint things wrapped in light.
People that don’t invite praise or devotion,
just regular people living with their own troubles, griefs, fears,
things that piss them off,
but who are naked enough to help you shed
that self-referencing desire
and hear the living-hymn
within the grand human choir.