Memorial Day: Remembrance

“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.” – Lee Greenwood

Today we are honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. arm forces. It is important to recognize and respect their dedication and sacrifices for our freedoms that we hold dear as a Nation and to not lose sight of those freedoms fought for us.

Let us take a moment of pause and reflect on the true meaning of this day. God bless America and God bless our soldiers who have fought bravely and died to preserve our freedoms and protect the lives of Americans and others around the world. We thank you for your service and sacrifice. -Stephanie Hopkins 

What is Your Purpose in Life?

Art by Stephanie Hopkins

While I have been creating a lot of art this past week, I have had a lot on my mind. Okay, who are we kidding here. I always have a lot on my mind! As I have been crafting, I’ve been thinking about the younger generations and how much hopelessness, pain and anger there is out in the world. And what the younger generations are witnessing and experiencing through these trouble times. Like everyone else, I’ve also witnessed the good, the bad and ugly of technology and main-stream media. I’m not going to mince words here, as a society, we are going in the wrong direction in more ways than one. We have been for a while now. That said, take heart. there is a lot of good in this world.

This year I will be in my mid-forties (yikes) and I have seen a lot, heard a lot, experienced a lot, learned a lot and-heck-still have a lot to learn. No one is perfect. No one is blameless. No one knows everything but what we do with what we’ve learned makes all the difference in the world.

If someone were to ask me what advice I would give to people in the age of technology, propaganda and the cancel culture, my words might surprise them..

I read, write, study and create art every chance I get. Through those mediums alone, I’ve come to understand adversity, life circumstances and etc. This is not even mentioning my own life experiences but I don’t need to go into all that to share my advice to the younger generations.

Ask yourself, what is your purpose? What should it be? How can YOU make it happen? What would others say and would you heed their approval? Do you really need approval from complete strangers (like on-line) or from people that barely know you and who don’t encourage or lift you up? Are you just another sheep among the herd? Are you trapped in a soulless, never-ending cycle of anger, blaming, hopelessness, shouting to the masses, or to anyone, endlessly about things-in truth-you’re not really certain about? Like what you see and hear from the news media, strangers on social media, government, the education system, or your circle of friends you hang with. Or even the neighbor next door. All the while, deep down you’re asking yourself, “Where is this getting me?” Nowhere.

Never be a victim of mindset or traumatized by cultural differences. Don’t cancel history, diverse opinions, beliefs, or encourage lawlessness because you don’t like something or have been told you should cancel them. Stop being offended. Educate yourself every single day, read a lot, have meaningful conversations, don’t talk at people but with people and learn how to think objectively AKA be of open mind. That is when you bring honest and real conversation to the table of productivity and healing. The continual silencing, shouting, slandering, negative drama, disorder and lawlessness leads to disregard for society as a whole, a break down in moral conduct and from sustaining a civil life.

Surround yourself with positive people and be a person of faith. Be of strong mind and, my goodness, sheep not and herd not. Be an individual in life decisions, stop seeking others for validation because you ARE a person with a mind. Use it. If you need advice, or are uncertain about the path you’re considering or have chosen, seek God first then those people whose advice is worth receiving.

Resist propaganda and the echo chamber. It is everywhere and right smack front and center in your sphere. Don’t believe everything you see on social media or the news. Think first-don’t assume something is real- before reacting. Get off your phone, Facebook, main-stream media and Netflix. If you’re on your smartphone, watching shows or on social media longer than you sleep, at school or work in a day, you’re on it way too much! It is slowing down your brain power, attention span and your critical thinking is fading away…You’re becoming an indoctrinated zombie. Who wants to live like that? I know I don’t. It isn’t even living for Pete sake. I know you know what I’m talking about.

Stop looking for a hand-out, pick yourself up and leave idleness behind. Work hard. Never stop learning. Never give up. Be creative. Try something new and often. Be a doer with the right tools. Be evolving. Be kind and generous. Be a good listener. Be a good friend. Even if you don’t agree with a person’s opinion, defend their right to say it. Stop expecting people to make you happy. Serve God and others. Live intentionally with purpose in this life. There will always be bumps in the road, but you can do it because you matter.

Peace, I’m out.

Stephanie Hopkins

Image of the Month: Spring

Photo by Stephanie Hopkins

Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again. – Gustav Mahler

I love the colors and new blooms that spring brings and how they present new beginnings. I’m blessed to live in a beautiful neighborhood that has walking trails. There are so many beautiful sceneries and it’s wonderful to see so many people enjoy the neighborhood as well. You often see people walking their dogs, kids riding their bikes, fishing at the pond, feeding the ducks and families walking together. Looking forward to the weather warming up even more to get outdoors more often. -Stephanie Hopkins

February’s Image of the Month: Dante Gabriel Rossetti – Proserpine

Be sure to take a look at January’s Image of the Month: By the Water’s Edge. I include half of a poem I have written.

Check out my art journey on Instagram and at my Mixed Media Art gallery here at Layered Pages! My wish is for you to be inspired and encouraged.

Awareness Within Ourselves

Good morning, afternoon and evening depending where you are in the world! This year has brought so many changes in the world, including social media. With the lockdowns, people are utilizing the net in increasing rates, I believe. I know that is a no-brainer but lately is has me thinking about how one uses time and mindfulness. What is important, what content one puts out there and the influences it creates. Whether they are positive or negative influences.

I guess the point I’m getting at is that it is important to create a habit of mindfulness in all aspects of our lives. In everything we do and say. That extends to social media as well. Awareness and self-control are a powerful state of being. Is there a feeling, emotion, or thought process you would like to change? Everyone has them. Most time we get so caught up in them, we don’t realize how it is affecting us and those around us.

More thoughts to share on this topic next week.

Stephanie Hopkins

Happy 4th of July

USA FLAG

“This flag, which we honor and under which we serve, is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation. It has no other character than that which we give it from generation to generation. The choices are ours. It floats in majestic silence above the hosts that execute those choices, whether in peace or in war. And yet, though silent, it speaks to us — speaks to us of the past, or the men and women who went before us, and of the records they wrote upon it.”-President Woodrow Wilson, 1917

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The essence of America—that which really unites us—is not ethnicity, or nationality, or religion. It is an idea—and what an idea it is: that you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. That it doesn’t matter where you came from, but where you are going.- Condoleezza Rice

Be Brave, Believe in Yourself

A You Be Brave Mixed Media Page IIYou Be Brave

“I am my own biggest critic. Before anyone else has criticized me, I have already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going to be with me and I don’t want to spend my life with someone who is always critical. So I am going to stop being my own critic. It’s high time that I accept all the great things about me.”
― C. JoyBell C.

This page I created is to remind myself to continue to be brave. Never give up. Have courage. Be strong always. Believe in yourself because you are loved. -Stephanie Hopkins

 

(Images may be subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work, photos and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

Cherish the Moments

A cherish the moments pageThis is an art page from my art journal that I created this past Saturday. I was in a mood for cool colors and a simple layout. Yet it expresses cherishing moments in our everyday lives and brought me to mind of a quote by John Adams.

“Let us tenderly and kindly cherish therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.”

This quote is so fitting to the moment of creating this piece and for my love of reading and journaling.

Also, I took the time to look out the window and enjoyed the beauty of the day that the season of spring brings us. It is a symbol of new beginnings and reflection, in my view. We are seeing trouble times in our world at present and I hope with the social distancing we are experiencing gives us time to take a step back and think on what is important to us and if there is a change we need to make in our lives that going forward will bring that change.

I’m praying for us all and praying for the families and friends of the people we have lost due to the virus. My heart and thoughts go out to you all. Please be safe and God be with you all. -Stephanie Hopkins

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(Images may be subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work, photos and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

 

The Road Less Traveled

The road less traveledLast night I created this piece for a journal page and thought to put it in my Smash Book. I was super tired and it had been a long day. I thought to myself that I just need to go to bed but instead I sat at my desk and created. This piece is a reflection on how I felt yesterday. The windows are crooked and the doors look like they have seen better days. I was frustrated, tired, unsteady and had so many different thoughts running through my mind. I wanted to cover the page up and start over again. I posted this art page in The Paper Outpost Facebook Group I’m a member of and have had all sorts of different reactions from it. I wanted to their opinions before making a final decision. I needed some clarity one might say.

The members of the group are amazing and so encouraging. They lift each other up and all share the same passion of Junk Journaling. Many people don’t understand the term or premise to Junk Journaling and I’ve seen people criticize the past time. Not this group. I feel at home with them and our fearless leader, Pam is an extraordinary lady. The group also reminds me that art isn’t about being perfect all the time. Its a self-reflection, expression and that not everyday goes the according to plan, just like our creations. That is a big part of what makes creating so special. We learn, we grow and we inspire. My decision to share to the group was the right one and I’m glad I did.

 

Judy, one of the members, made a comment saying, “If you want my humble opinion, this turned out really well. It reminds me of a street in St. John’s Newfoundland (brightly coloured houses.) And the woman in the foreground is remembering…” I quickly googled search St. John Newfoundland and wow, wow! She was right and she opened the door for more inspiration! I want to go there and explore! I’m adding St. John Newfoundland to my bucket list. Meanwhile, I’m going to be doing some features and inspirational art based on this discovery.

Judy also said, “The woman in your picture was such a contrast. Newfoundlanders are resilient people. She could represent their stamina and determination.”

Other inspirational comments about the piece:

“Keep it. it’s cool. Plus, if you look at any museum, they have all kinds of art that isn’t perfect. That’s the beauty of it. I like it. I vote to keep.”

“It’s abstract.”

“I think your houses have charm. Get some rest and start fresh tomorrow.”

“I think you should add it. It’s a reflection of how you got your daily art in despite being tired, thereby winning. And besides, I think it’s quite charming.”

“Keep it! Shows you don’t have to be perfect to do beautiful work. By the way, I think it’s fab!!!!”

“I like how the figure stands out in the foreground as though she represents that she is bigger than all of it!”

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To further add, there are a couple lines in The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost that reminded me last night of what I was working on.

“Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way…”

A big thank you to Judy and to everyone who commented about the picture. Your take on the piece and compliment put me back in the right frame of mind. Love to you all.

~Stephanie

(Images may be subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

Art of The Restful Collage

Nightly Art III

I added a bottle cap and metal from a tin can for the flower..

There are times my collages aren’t ready to tell their story and they need a rest. I patiently and gently put this piece aside and would often look the design, not knowing what story lay ahead. What is it, I asked myself? What story will be told?

On Saturday February 1st, in the late afternoon, I was looking at a gauzy textile scrap with strings attached to the fabric that had a familiar shape. A kite, I thought. Then the memories came flooding back and I knew what story this collage was to tell.

In the 1980’s-early 90’s, my parents were on staff at Clearwater Baptist Church in Clearwater Florida. My parent’s ministry there was memorable and my mother was the Children’s Director and held many events for the children. There have been many changes to the church over the course of its history and the original building is no longer there. I felt deep sorrow when I heard the Old Building was torn down. Anyhow, my mother would contact the city to use Coachman Park that was near the church down by the water front for events. One of the events was, “Come Fly with Me”. We made our own kites and would fly them down at the park and have picnics.

Those were the best times and I remember the feeling of much joy and carefree. How the air smelled of salt from the ocean, the breeze carrying our kites up and up in the sky, soaring to and from. The sounds of laughter and happy chatter from everyone. The kids running around back and forth to their parents and friends, sharing their adventures. Happy times, indeed.

Kite Textile Collage

This textile collage represents that amazing time in my childhood. All is left for the finishing touches are to sew thread through the buttons and to bond the fabrics together with fabric adhesive and cotton thread. -Stephanie

Saturday Sunday: Weekend Vibes

tea cup image

Photo by Stephanie Hopkins

I want to thank you all for your support and visiting Layered Pages. Have a bless weekend. See you on Monday!

“We always have to choose to live our lives to the fullest.  No one is better or worse than anyone else.  We are different and beautiful.” ~ Mattie Stepanek