Thursday, April 12, 2018

Potted Moss Topiary

The Lord has blessed our mom's group with the best team of servant-hearted ladies! My talented craft-minded friend has come up with the cutest and easiest projects for our moms to work on! And I view our craft time as more than just busy work. It's amazing to me that when hands are busy (hot-gluing or stringing beads), conversation happens. I also love watching the moms leave feeling a sense of accomplishment and empowerment.  That little craft may be the only thing truly completed that week (because we all know the dishes and laundry are never ending), but I pray that it helps those moms feel that what they do is important and does eventually have results.

 Using Dollar Tree items, these topiaries were the perfect nudge towards spring decor. 

 In fact, I picked up a few bags of the moss to make a wreath as well with this same technique. 

For this craft we used:
To help contain the mossy mess, we laid out plastic tablecloths at the hot glue stations. 

The strofoam cones would make adorable Christmas trees. A wreath form would work perfectly. And you could always purchase larger balls and pots for a larger topiary. I even thought about using a bamboo skewer to add another sphere or two on top of the potted one, for a stacked topiary look.  

It was easy. It was fun. And any time I can add some natural green to my home, I feel refreshed! 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Spiritual Confetti

The Word of God is so precious to me. Lately, I have been loving how personally the Lord uses His Word to change and encourage me. As I have been studying Priscilla Shirer's Armor of God Bible study, I have loved her emphasis on the belt of truth. The Word of God is our source of truth in which every part of our lives can be based.

"Your Word is truth."   John 17:17

"And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

There is great freedom in knowing that the Bible is my guide, my answer, and my measuring stick. It sure takes a lot of pressure off me. 

But the Word of God is more than just a rule to govern my life by - it is full of comfort and encouragement as well. 

We know the power of encouraging each other (Hebrews 10:24-25). And when I think of encouragement, I love this quote:  

"Encouragement is to friendship what confetti is to a party. It's light, refreshing, and fun,
and you always end up finding little pieces of it stuck on you later. " Nicole Johnson

If you have ever been around a little girl in a glittery dress, you have experienced the sticking power of glitter. It lingers on family members and furniture for DAYS!

And I can't think of confetti without remembering the hand fulls that "friends" placed in the air vents of our car on our wedding day. 

Still, 8 years later, on certain days when the air is on full blast, a sequined piece of colorful paper will fly out at our faces, reminding us that confetti has a powerful tendency to hang around. 

"What wonders a bit of encouragement can do! It's one of the most awesome treasures
God has given us -- the ability to inspire, motivate, and reassure others."  Barbara Johnson

But what about those lonely days or those times when you aren't able to share your difficult circumstances with everyone, but you are still in need of some encouragement? 

That's where the Word of God steps in! 

"I weep with sorry; encourage me by your Word."  Ps. 119:28

"Such things were written in Scriptures long ago to teach us. 
And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises
to be fulfilled."  Romans 15:5

"As soon as I pray, you answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength." Ps. 138:3

Just as parents at a kid's sporting event cheer for their children...."You can do it!"  "You've got this!" "I'm so proud of you!" "Keep going!"  "Yeah!!!" there are so many instances when God has cheered for me, His child,  with His Word.  

And when He does that in your life, journal it, memorize that verse, highlight it, cover the margin in washi tape, underline it, put it in your house somewhere...let the Word of God continue to change, guide and encourage you. Let that spiritual confetti stick around. 

Today at Mom's group, a friend shared of the struggle in motherhood to grumble, complain and worry. It's not that we hate our lives, its just easier to focus on the hard parts of the day. Easier to feel alone. Easier to just grumble. And that affects our children, our's not good. 

She told of the power of the Word of God and how it has changed her attitude...

"Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again -- rejoice!
Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. 
Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. 
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:4-7

After some praising, confessing and praying took place, her perspective changed. She saw how God was at work and how He was helping her. And He did guard her heart and mind! The Word of God is that powerful. 

I gave the moms some little index cards to write out some spiritual confetti of their own. Verses that the Lord specifically led them to. Verses He had used or was using to encourage and point them back in right direction. And it was so powerful to hear the verses discussed at my table - the way that God's Word had done exactly what God promised it would do! 

His Word is the answer. It is truth. It can change us. It can encourage us. We just have to dig into it! 

What are some verses that the Lord has used in your life? What's some of your spiritual confetti? 

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 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 remind me of Susanna Wesley and her realization that she could "commune with Him in the mess and the chaos.