Wreck this Journal

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Have you heard of the Wreck this Journal book?

Me either, until my granddaughter Aubrey introduced me to it. This creative kid ordered the book for herself and couldn’t wait to show me this unique twist on journaling.

Not only did Aubrey want to share her journal-in-progress with me, she felt sure I’d enjoy owning such a book myself. I loved the idea of working through our journals together. To encourage our Yaya/grandchild adventure, Greg purchased the book for me!

Aubrey is right. This is not your typical journal. It breaks the rules and pushes us beyond our comfort zones in the process. And, it is extraordinarily fun!

Wreck This Journal Title Meme

About Wreck this Journal

Created by conceptual artist and author Keri Smith, this paperback book is part journal, part sketch pad and part scrapbook. On each page a suggestion offers ideas on how to use the book.

“Document your dinner. Rub, smear, splatter your food. Use this page as a napkin.”

“Poke holes in this page, using a pencil.”

“Write or draw with your left hand.”

“Hide this page in your neighbor’s yard.”

“Tear this page out. Put it in your pocket. Put it through the wash. Stick it back in.”

The idea is to free up creativity by doing things that may at first induce a bit of discomfort, especially for adults. As children, we are not taught to wreck books, and of course this journal is not teaching disrespect. Instead, it encourages free thinking, expressiveness and outside the box activities.

Wreck This Journal Dinner Page

Wreck This Journal Dirt Page

Wreck This Journal, Express Creativity

There are pages in the Wreck This Journal book for doodling and drawing. Colored pencils, markers, crayons and watercolor paints are perfect for completing these pages. One page encourages the use of lots of tape. Many pages come with instructions to tear out the page or rip or poke or cut through the paper. Others urge the owner to get messy….with food, liquids or dirt.

Beyond the simple instructions on each page, the book owner is free to carry out the mission in any way that she or he chooses. Part of the fun of this journal is letting the imagination run wild and being clever in completing the activities.

If you need inspiration there are a ton of YouTube videos and photos online in which journal owners share their own creative ideas. Aubrey and I enjoy doing some pages together and having FaceTime chats on our phones where we show each other what pages we’ve completed that day. We discuss ideas too or come up with some outrageous way to accomplish a wacky activity.

Wreck This Journal Stickers

Wrecfk This Journal Pressed Page

Wreck This Journal and Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

I love that Wreck This Journal teaches the idea of going beyond, on several levels.

It encourages creativity, trying new experiences and getting out of our comfort zones. I know, from personal experience, that doing those three things opens up perspectives and broadens the mind. Expressing creativity is an invitation for inspiration to show up, with a continual stream of fresh ideas.

This journal delights me because as one who has always treated books with the upmost care, it’s very freeing to toss this one around and deliberately mess it up. I welcome activities that shake up old beliefs and ways of doing things. I’m enjoying the process of messy creation.

My intention is to carry Wreck This Journal to Scotland with me next week…and see what adventures I can have with it there.

My favorite thing about the journal, however, is that my granddaughter knows me so well that she knew I’d be intrigued with this book. Although I’m sure the author had kids and pre-teens in mind when she created the book, the journal is actually suitable for all creatives of all ages. I love the cleverness of it, and Aubrey knew that I would.

Wreck this Journal Aubreys Page 1

 Aubreys Page 2

Pick Up a Copy of Wreck This Journal

I’m grateful for my granddaughter’s recommendation and for the fun we’ve already had, sharing this experience of wrecking a journal, together. Looking for a unique gift for a creative child, teen or adult? Or are you feeling the urge to express creativity in fresh new ways? Aubrey and I highly recommend Wreck This Journal.


Order your copy of Wreck This Journal by clicking on photo above. And enjoy!

Looking for a great inspirational read for this summer? Check out We Carry Kevan.

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

More fun books by Keri Smith:


We Carry Kevan Book Review

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details

Thank you to SMITH PUBLICITY, INC for sending me this book, We Carry Kevan, for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

 

Image developing, at age 29,  the intense desire to travel and explore the world with close friends.

And imagine, after a year of planning, fund raising and making arrangements in France, England and Ireland, seeing that dream become reality.

A group of seven friends parked their van at the airport and gathered up their gear, ready to depart on the adventure of a lifetime. One item they deliberately left behind…a wheelchair belonging to Kevan Chandler.

We Carry Kevan Book Review

 

Kevan Chandler

Born with a degenerative neuromuscular disease, Kevan is the youngest of three children born to Peter and Diana Chandler. And, he’s the second in his family with spinal muscular atrophy, a rare form of muscular dystrophy.

His muscles grow weaker, as he ages, and he has very limited use of his arms and legs. However, Kevan is not limited in the way he lives his life. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in counseling and he is an avid writer and storyteller.

Kevan’s compassionate  heart and big personality draw people to him.  He  often joins friends for dinners, road trips or spur of the moment parties.

And Kevan dreams big dreams. One wistful idea, of traveling in Europe, met with encouragement and enthusiasm from his friends. In the summer of 2016 Kevan spent three weeks fulfilling his dream by vising three countries with six friends, without the aid of his motorized wheelchair.

Riding in a custom made backpack, Kevan’s friends carried him everywhere they went, including to the peak of an island mountain in Ireland. We Carry Kevan is the story of a shared adventure, yes. However, it is primarily a story of faith, trust and incredible friendship.

We Carry Kevan Book ReviewParis, France. Photo from We Carry Kevan book.

We Carry Kevan in Paris France

The friends arrived in Paris, France on June 20, 2016 in time for summer solstice celebrations the next night. They quickly discovered that the people of Paris go all out when they celebrate, with music and singing and dancing in the streets.

And music is what drew Kevan to Paris in the first place. His desire to visit the home of jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt became reality when the group attended a festival honoring the musician.

Kevan feels a connection to the guitarist, who lost the use of his ring and pinky fingers on his left hand after an accident. And yet that didn’t stop the musical genius from adapting. He emerged stronger and better, becoming one of the greatest known guitarists.

We Carry Kevan Book ReviewLondon, England. Photo from We Carry Kevan book.

We Carry Kevan in London

London offered the opportunity for Kevan and his friends, Ben, Tom, Phillip, Luke, Robbie and Mr. Hill, to meet up with online friends.

As the group planned their trip, people from the countries they intended to visit provided places to stay and acted as tour guides. From the small town of Oxted, the friends returned to London to mark Kensington Gardens off the “must visit” list.

While in London, Kevan seized the opportunity to stop by the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and view the Peter Pan statue in Kensington. Author J.M. Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan and made contributions to the children’s hospital, inspires the storyteller within Kevan. Standing where the author once stood, as he perched on the back of a friend, Kevan considered the great legacy Barrie left behind, and pondered what his own might be.

We Carry Kevan Book ReviewSkellig Michael, Ireland. Photo from We Carry Kevan book.

We Carry Kevan in Ireland

Finally the friends explored Ireland. Although they traveled throughout the country, their ultimate destination was Skellig Michael, a craggy island in County Kerry. Known for its rugged and stark beauty, Skellig Michael is the tip of a mountain jutting up from the ocean. An ancient monastery rests at the peak, which is accessible by climbing 600 stone steps.

Scaling the island mountain marked the pinnacle, literally, of the trip and presented the greatest challenge for those carrying Kevan on their backs. And yet, the men trained and prepared themselves, physically and mentally, for this very challenge. Up the mountain they went, to the very top. Taking turns carrying Kevan as they climbed, they ascended and descended, to the applause of others visiting the site.

Here is where the love of his traveling companions shone so brilliantly. About the unconditional love of friends, Kevan wrote:

“They were driven unexplainably to carry me, literally, through the impossible. Not because I’m cool or because I’m an inspiration to them, but because of a true love beyond themselves, beyond any of us. And this put us on a wonderful adventure across the known world.”

Be Inspired

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Authored by Kevan, the story moves expertly through the grand adventure shared by this amazing group of friends. He writes honesty and openly about his disabilities, with a style that is imaginative and compelling.

I felt humbled by all that these young men accomplished and deeply moved by the compassion and trust that the group shares. Kevan requires assistance for everything…bathing, brushing his teeth, using the bathroom, getting dressed. And yet, he is definitely not a burden. Kevan is a courageous and bright adventurer with extraordinary friends who care for him and offer their very best…and their backs…to make his dreams come true.

Together they saw the world, says Kevan, as we all are meant to see it…big and beautiful and full of life. After their first trip, Kevan  started a nonprofit organization to redefine accessibility and to assist other disabled people in fulfilling their adventures. Check it out HERE.

I’m inspired to continue my travels, and see the world the way Kevan sees it. I feel renewed gratitude for my left knee. Although it sometimes falters, my knee does the very best that it can, to take me where I desire to go. And, I see what Kevan does, moving beyond his comfort zone, on so many levels, to manifest his dreams.  I know I can do the same.

Grab this book and settle into your favorite chair, with a cup of herbal tea. And prepare to be inspired as well.

We Carry Kevan Book Review

Order your copy of We Carry Kevan by clicking on photo link below:

 


 

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Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Family secrets…we all have them. Within even the healthiest and most stable of families there are a few dark tales or stories that no one talks about.

What about dysfunctional families or those that endure soul wrenching challenges or those riddled with abuse and addiction? The secrets buried within those families go far beyond a few skeletons in the closet. They carry with them deep shame and soul numbing detachment.

I met local artist Steve Head several years ago. You can read about our first encounter here. Standing in a coffee shop in downtown Joplin, studying Steve’s incredibly moving art upon the walls, a long buried piece of my heart shifted and opened. His unique depictions, full of symbolism and old photos, tell powerful stories.

More than imaginative works, these pieces are snapshots from Steve’s life, lived within a large family whose history includes poverty, alcoholism and mental illness. It’s a natural progression, to bring some of Steve’s art together in book form. Rather than strolling through a gallery, one can sit with the book,  which offers narrative to accompany the art pieces…and time to study each work, so that its story can be properly shared.

This is Family Secrets, the Storytelling Art of Steve Head.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

Why Share These Stories?

Steve answers this question at the beginning of this oversized, coffee table style book.

Several family members suffered with mental illnesses and alcoholism. Physical, sexual, mental, emotional and even spiritual abuse threads its way throughout the fabric of his family’s history. Add in poverty and dysfunction, and the enormity of it all took an emotional and spiritual toll on nearly everyone connected to this family.

As a result, Steve carried a huge void in his heart, where love and nurturing should have been. He also carried shame for who he thought he was and for all that happened to him during his childhood. Later in life he learned that redemption and healing can only come when that shame is acknowledged and overcome.

Steve’s art brings the pain and dysfunction into the light, exposing it while boldly proclaiming:

“None of what happened in my family was MY fault. And I don’t need to carry this SHAME any longer.”

By sharing his art work, Steve offers an invitation to others to talk about their own shame and secrets and begin to heal.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art BookSteve’s first mixed media piece, “Coke Dealers”, from Family Secrets the Storytelling Art of Steve Head.

A Visual Tour with Compelling Stories

Family Secrets showcases Steve’s art while sharing the family stories behind each piece. He uses mixed media and collage to create one of a kind works of art.

In “Lost and Found, The Redemption of Mary Louisa McBroom”, we learn the sad story about Steve’s grandmother, who spent ten years in the Central Oklahoma State Hospital, and died there. No one in the family spoke of this woman who lived during the Great Depression and birthed twelve children. However, her 50 year old hospital records provided horrific details about the final decade of her life. Steve created art that moved Mary Louisa from obscurity to being known. Her life has value and meaning, even if we can’t fully comprehend all that she bore.

Family Secrets is full of page after page of beautiful, haunting art…and the stories that inspired each piece. I love knowing the process behind the works. Studying each work of art I can interpret some symbols. Steve fills in the deeper truths. Abandoned buildings represent emptiness. A bicycle tossed into a murky pond symbolizes lost childhood opportunities and stolen joy.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

The Essence of the Human Spirit

This is a book that one can spend time with and learn from. And on some level, all of us can relate to the stories told by Steve’s art. We’ve all been hurt. Most of us carry scars from painful encounters with life, with family, with those who should have loved us.

Steve’s art cracks open a door in any heart that is willing to let go of old pain. As sorrowful as many of his stories are, he does not leave us without hope. His is a life that healed. His is a heart that became whole. He’s allowed the secrets and the shame to burn away and transform into a source of compassion and strength.

I love Steve’s Artist Statement, included in the book:

“The essence of every human being is his or her inward spirit. I believe that who we are as a person is the compilation of every thought, memory and human interaction we have ever experienced. My goal, as an artist, is to create visual expressions of those unseen places of the heart, of the child within, and of those shared experiences that connect our hearts to those around us.”

The boy who thought he lacked artistic talent, the boy who endured hardships that no child should have to experience, the young man who struggled with his own addictions, became the artist who now touches other hearts and sets them free.

Sitting with Family Secrets, you may shed hot tears. Old memories may surface from the shadows. And healing may begin, if you will allow it to. As Steve says, we all have untold stories. It’s time to tell yours.

Order Your Copy of Family Secrets

Order Family Secrets The Storytelling Art of Steve Head HERE. And check out The Art and Photography of Steve & Cindy Head Facebook Page HERE.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you