Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Folded Book Photo Display

A few weekends ago, my sister and I went "treasure hunting"...also known as shopping in antique stores and home decor places.  We bought a few things and gathered lots of ideas. Its the best place to find inspiration and ignite my creativity.

Beside the cash register at one of these stores was the cutest little folded book where business cards were adorably displayed.

As soon as I saw it, my mind started thinking of how I could recreate it.

This morning, I grabbed one of my favorite books to re-purpose...I love the colorful cover that I will use for another project. I love that the pages are a little discolored, thanks to their age. I love the size. And I love that it came from the free box at a local used book store. Give me all the Readers Digest Condensed Books. ha.

But any book with this same thickness will do.

It doesn't even need to be a hard backed book, because the first step is to remove the cover.

Then, I started folding. I folded each page in half. (Perfect movie-watching activity)

And if I came across a page that had an illustration, I just adjusted which way I folded the page to hide the picture. In the end, it didn't matter which way each page was folded.

Instead of business cards, mine will display photos or cards received. (Snail Mail Forever!!)

I've been wanting to host another Crafternoon...this may just be a featured project. It was easy, cheap and the end result was rewarding.

Who would be interested in a future Crafternoon...I'll come up with the projects, you'll pay a small supply fee, and we will all craft together!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

changing our attitude...

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Your glory is higher than the heavens.
You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.
When I look at the night sky and see the works of your fingers -- 
the moon and the starts you set in place --
what are mere mortals that you should think about them, 
human beings that you should care for them?
Yet you made them only a little lower than God 
and crowned them with glory and honor. 
You gave them charge of everything you made,
putting all things under their authority -- 
the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals,
the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, 
and everything that swims the ocean currents.

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! 
Psalm 8, NLT

I know that the Word of God is alive and active and powerful (Hebrews 4:12). I know that God is omniscient. And I know that He orders our steps and directs our days. But it still continues to amaze me how His Word can be so in tune with my day! 

The kids are now in bed, the day is almost over, I am just now getting to have my time in the Word.  As I read Psalm 8, the passage mentioned in my Bible Study, I couldn't stop smiling, knowing that the Lord intended for me to meditate on this exact chapter at the end of this exact day. 

The morning seem to start before I was ready for it to begin. The day was full of wiping noses, filling juice cups and building train tracks. We had some adventures. We looked at some NASA pictures (Hudson's favorite thing)    

vs. 3  When I look at the night sky and see the works of your fingers -- 
the moon and the starts You set in place --

We did a little cleaning. We counted the robins in the yard and marveled at how God made them to know where to dig for worms. 

vs. 6-9   the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals,
the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, 
and everything that swims the ocean currents.

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! 

By dinner time, our home probably seemed like all other homes with small children. Dinner to bedtime is often a struggle. It's not impossible...but everyone is tired, today my kids weren't feeling well, its dark so early this time of year...I hate to admit, but I am often just counting down the hours until we begin the bedtime routine.

I scrambled some eggs for dinner, realizing that I needed an attitude adjustment for myself. I started to play some worship music. Music has always had such a powerful influence on my life. So, I started telling the Lord that I wanted Him to be the King of my Heart. It changes my whole day just to declare His goodness.

vs. 1  O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

Less than 30 seconds into this first song, the kids were right there singing with me, twirling around the kitchen. Nora even had some silverware to use as her microphone.

We then praised the name of Jesus.

vs. 1  O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

And at this point, the kids were asking for some of "their worship songs." As I finished dinner, I loved hearing their voices sing along.

vs. 2  You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.

The kids were happy. Our focus was on the Lord. It was amazing what some spontaneous worship did to change our evening.

vs. 2  You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.

Lord, You are worthy of all our praise. Your name leads me to worship. Thank you that your creation points to how great you are. Thank you that children's worship matters. I love that YOU are the One who has taught them to tell and sing of Your strength. 

Kid's worship matters. Focusing on Jesus changes everything. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

In the Mess and Chaos...

Yesterday, like many days, I felt that I was failing at all areas of life...as a housekeeper, as a mom, as a wife, as a grocery shopper, as a small business owner...Our pastor spoke Sunday about Martha's heart condition and busyness being her downfall. I've pondered over the importance of having margin in my life so that I have room (and time) to say "yes" when the Lord prompts.

Interestingly enough, I started a new Bible study today...the topic is prayer...and I must admit, this is another area where I am a failure. I'm not very good, or very consistent with my prayer life. I know how powerful prayer is. I know how vital it is. But somehow, it seems to always end up on the bottom of my priority list. I was excited about a new study...but also nervous - not wanting to admit my past forgetfulness in this area. Not wanting to admit that I needed a little help.


But I was reminded of the story of Susanna Wesley - a mother of nineteen children in the 17th century. I can only imagine her to-do list each day. Historians tell us that she was known for putting her apron over her head to signal to her children that she had entered her prayer time. "Susanna Wesley knew that she couldn't make it through the day without recognizing her weakness and her need for God's strength. She communed with Him in the mess and the chaos. She knew that it was better to meet with the Lord under an apron than not to meet with Him at all." (Well Watered Women, BREATHE - 40 Days of Prayer)

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 
But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. 
They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. 
But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. 
They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
Sinners will have no place among the godly. 
For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction. 

That first chapter in the book of Psalms talks of the importance of delighting in God's Word, meditating on it day and night, and choosing the right people to influence us. I do want to bear fruit. I do want to be on the "path of the godly." And I do need to admit the importance of stopping to meditate on God's Word and commune with Him. It doesn't matter how busy my day is. It doesn't matter what the world tells me is most important. It doesn't matter if I feel like a failure. I must remember that time with Him is vital to "prosper" (vs. 3).

As I read those familiar words, I also thought of the godly influencers in my life. I thought of a 5th grade Sunday School teacher who motivated me to memorize this first chapter in Psalms. Team mates on Encounter who lived out their love for Jesus and taught me to love Bible study. Mentors and professors in college. Friends. People I've served with at church. And even some people that I've never met but their written words resonate well with me, leaving me yearning for more of Jesus.

The right influencers. The right priorities. The right Book (the Word). The right perspective of prayer. The right margins in my life. This is how to succeed in God's eyes.

And, I've decided I may need to start wearing an apron, or at least hanging one in my kitchen...to remind me of Susanna Wesley and her realization that she could "commune with Him in the mess and the chaos.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Read with Me

All these cold days have created the perfect environment to catch up on some reading...a hot cup of coffee, a snugly blankly and chair, and a new book...

After reading the Magnolia Story, I was excited to also read Capital Gaines. Written in the same style as Chip and Joanna's first book, Chip retells his story..what brought him to the successful place they are today.  His encouragement to enjoy and celebrate the journey along the way is refreshing and encouraging. I love the simple format, the vivid stories and the life lessons mixed throughout.

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Picturing Heaven - 40 hope-filled devotions with coloring pages is a beautifully illustrated coloring book written by Randy Alcorn. Scripture is spread throughout the book as well. The pages are thick, What a beautiful gift book and what an encouraging message.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.

Simonetta Carr's Irenaeus of Lyon is a beautifully illustrated and extremely informative biography written for young readers. Even as an adult, I found myself immediately drawn to the story and timeline, following the illustrated maps and pictures provided within the text. What a perfect way to introduce and educate young readers with Christian biographies. I will be looking for more books in this series.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

I don't typically venture much further than hand lettering, but I did find Everyday Watercolor interesting and encouraging to try out a few techniques. The instructions seem easy to follow and I love that the pages aren't over complicated with intricate steps.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

The Parables of Jesus' author was unfamiliar to me, but the simple retelling of these stories from the Gospels would be a perfect companion to an in depth Bible study. Each chapter begins with the Scripture references for the parable. It was easy to read and informative.

I received this book from Moody Press in exchange for an honest review.

I love a creative looking book - this book, A Field Guide for Every Mission looks and feels like a regular field manual. The pages are thick, the book has creative graphics and the information is laid out in an easy-to-digest way. Believers need the encouragement to view their current situation as a mission field. It is so easy to think that we are so far removed from a mission opportunity, dismissing Jesus' commands and instructions. This book is filled with practical ideas and ways to demonstrate the Gospel where you living currently.

I received this book from Moody Press in exchange for an honest review.

I am a big fan of these "God Bless My..." books. God Bless My Family was a fun addition to our collection. I received the book the same day we were headed to visit my sister and her family. It was perfect to read it with all the cousins, naming our family members mentioned.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, mom, dad, siblings, cousins. The illustrations were adorable. We love these rhyming board books. This would also be a fun way to help small children pray for family members.

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

I must admit that I snatch up all Biblical resources I can find to help my children as they mature and grow into the adults that God wants them to be. Secret Keeper Girl: the Power of Modesty for Tweens is an excellent addition to my arsenal. The book is easily held in your hands, colorful and illustrated in an attractive way for tween girls. It's filled with illustrations and key phrases to catch their eye. And it is full of truth and Scripture.

The Secret Keeper Girl: Mom - Daughter Devos with Coloring Experience is a perfect book for us to plan to work through together. Seven weeks of 5 days each - the devotions seem to be a great time length, appropriate for girl's attention span at this age. Again, it is full of Scripture and truth. What a great way for a mom to share with her daughter what God's plan is.

I received this book and companion devo from Moody Press in exchange for an honest review.

We love cute rhyming books. Ten Little Night Stars creatively adds a star with each turn of the page. With each star added, another part of the bedtime routine takes place. The illustrations are so adorable, the pages are thick and child-proof, and the story is a perfect bedtime tale.

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Word Before World...they are never too young!

As many do, I have prayed for a phrase to focus on this year.  I've resolved to clean up the house at night because I love the fresh start in the morning. I don't mean clean base boards...I just mean dishes and toys.

A "picked up" house in the morning is magical, but I also wanted a goal that would stir my affections for Jesus. Well Watered Women pitched the idea of WORD BEFORE WORLD. I am loving the idea of training myself to reach for the Word before I reach for my phone. Not just first thing in the morning, but also throughout the day.

Our mornings are pretty normal here...after I get the kids breakfast, I help them start a cartoon or get out an activity for them so that I can read my Bible. While they are occupied, I have my time with Jesus. I believe that it is super important for them to see me in the Word and to see that Jesus is a vital part of my day...but is that enough?

I read the sweetest article this morning about Word Before World for Little Ones... So many resources. So many concepts to ponder. It made me immediately realize they are not too little for Word Before World.

Routine, schedule, planned activities...everyone seems to function better in this household when they know what is expected. When my babies were very small, we established a bedtime routine. It helped them to wind down and know what was coming next. Even to this day, we follow a version of that same routine every night. Sure, it changes as they grow and mature, but the routine helps us all.

Why would a routine time with Jesus be any different?

After reading that article (you really should read it!!), I paused my time in the Word, turned off the TV and told the kids to meet me on the couch. I grabbed a new Bible story book and told them that we were going to start our mornings with some Jesus time.

We read. We talked. I answered and asked questions. We prayed. We thanked God for sending Jesus to help our sin problem and asked Him to help us to act like Jesus today. We prayed for sick friends. And then started listening to some kid's Jesus songs...

The time was sweet. The time was quick (probably less than 10 minutes). But it felt so right.

Even now, the kids are singing and playing together in the living room (so glad I picked it up last night !!!). And sure, some may say that's just a coincidence...But I am choosing to believe that Jesus makes the difference.

I pray my kids start to see our Jesus time as a regular part of their day. I've asked the Lord to give me the discipline to cultivate this habit in their lives.

It does matter. They aren't too young. Jesus makes the difference.

Word before World.