Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Pine Cone Garland

Last month, our crafty girl at Mom's group collected enough pine cones for each mom to make the cutest garland. It was a simple craft that could easily transition for the upcoming holiday months.

I love using natural elements in my decorations - and they are often free! A walk through your back yard and a little twine can help you decorate your home for several seasons!  

Monday, November 13, 2017

His Faithful Love Endures Forever

During the Holiday season, it is so easy for me to feel overwhelmed. My to-do list is long. and I seem to be short on time and patience. 

Last night, Well Watered Women posted an Elisabeth Elliot quote on Instagram that resonated well with me.

If worries and anxiety consume my thoughts, I am not at my best. I may be functioning, but I may also be missing other things that the Lord has for me to see. 

I decided after reading that post that I needed to leave my worries in His hands and focus on His goodness. After all, November is a month when we are reminded to "give thanks," 

I started flipping through my notebook of written out passages on Thanksgiving. I'm not sure how many of you accepted the challenge to write out some of these passages. I will tell you that I haven't completed the list...but I plan to! It's not too late to join in! (Even if you just read the passages). With this recent confession at the front of my brain to leave my worries with the Lord, passage after passage spoke to me and ministered to me. Truth matters. Truth changes us. Truth replaces lies. 

I remember when it came time to write out Psalm 136, I looked at that repeating phrase "His faithful love endures forever". It seemed so redundant. I even considered just making hash marks or "ditto" instead of writing out the phrase 12-15 times. The Psalmist had written "His faithful love endures forever" after each statement for a reason...so, I decided to go ahead and copy the passage exactly. As I wrote out that phrase, over and over again, it no longer seemed unnecessary. It seem to be an anthem or a cheer...His Faithful Love endures FOREVER! 

It was as if the Psalmist was writing out the things that he saw (moon, stars, waters, etc) and it all reminded him of how good our God is.  It was the psalmist's thankful list. 

And so, I challenged my mom's group to make a list of their own. They were each given a "turkey ticket" a three foot roll of paper tied up with a little string. 

Between now and Thanksgiving, I'm planning to take some time to write out the good things our God has done for me and around me. I challenged my family members coming for Thanksgiving to do the same - I mailed them each their own "turkey ticket," hoping that they would also take the time to write down a thankful list. Kids can draw pictures. You could write on both sides of the paper if you list grew longer. And that list can be turned in for turkey on Thanksgiving day. 

This list can prepare my thankful heart for the holiday season. This list will help me put my eyes on the Lord. This list won't lead to stressful headaches. 

I will still need to make my to-do list and my menu and my grocery list...but not a worry list. 

His faithful love endures forever. Thank you, Lord, for all you do for me. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

DIY Tassel Earrings

Here's a fun project we completed in my MOMS Group a few weeks ago. They would make great Christmas gifts...and I want them in multiple colors!

suede lace, earring hooks, jump rings, earring rubber stoppers, index cards.

Tools: scissors, needlenose pliers, hot glue gun, small hole punch.

Before the meeting, we cut the leather cord into 5 inch strips, cutting each piece at an angle.  We also cut enough 1.5 inch pieces to bind the leather strips - one per earring.

Tip: when opening the earring loop, the smaller the opening, the easier we found it to close.

The earrings are cute and lightweight.

For variations, you could use different colors of suede or cut the strips to be different lengths.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Read with Me

Gobi is the cutest story of "a little dog with a big heart." This true story is beautifully illustrated and contains little action/sound phrases throughout that kept my children entertained.

The story of determination and perseverance were inspiring. And the developing friendship was fun to watch unfold. We loved this book!

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

I have learned so much from Carol Kent's writings and her testimony in the past. I was excited to receive this devotional for review: He Holds my Hand, Experiencing God's Presence and Protection.

The compact, hard backed book holds one years worth of daily thoughts. Each entry starts with a quote, has a few paragraphs from Carol Kent, and ends with Scripture. It's a treasure.

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

Gracelaced and A Gracelaced Journal are the most beautifully illustrated books I own. Ruth Chou Simons hand letters Scripture in the most amazing way. The book follows the four seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall) as it lays out devotional thoughts, journal prompts and Scripture. I love the dig deeper Scripture lists too. The journal is adorable with full illustrated pages of Simons' art and plenty of pages to make my own.

Many of the illustrated Scripture verses could also be framed. These books are beautiful and an immediate favorite.

I received these books in exchange for an honest review.

Sally Clarkson has delivered another well-written book inviting us to invite others into our lives. The Life Giving Table focuses on nurturing faith through feasting, one meal at a time.
The quotes, Scripture and tips are inspirational and challenging.

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

Even though hand-lettering is my art form of choice, I enjoy looking through other art technique books. Colored Pencil Painting Portraits was a book full of technical tips and examples. Those wishing to perfect their portrait skills would benefit greatly from this glossy paged book.

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

30 Days to Joy - a one month creative journal is a perfect gift to pass along to an artistic friend. The book is filled with inspirational quotes and journaling/drawing prompts.

It's a handy size, perfect to stick into a purse or handbag. The cover is attractive. The ink on the inside pages is a calming burgundy tone.

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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Write it out

I'm a paper and pen kind of girl. I will forever have a real paper calendar. I love lists. I function best when I can physically write things down. I remember them better. I feel accomplished. Pen and paper work for me.

And so, it's no surprise that what works best in my day-to-day life also is effective for my spiritual growth. At our kickoff Moms Group meeting (read more about that here) we gave each mom a plain composition book. (We found the jewel toned covers at Walmart).

The moms decorated their journals as our kickoff craft.

And I'm sure some of those moms decorated their book while thinking, "What in the world am I going to do with a notebook?"

They could take meeting notes in it. Record the contact info for moms they meet. Remember table prayer requests. Doodle. Whatever.

I took mine on vacation last week. I am not even sure why I grabbed it instead of my regular journal. I love to write out my prayers, take sermon notes, etc.

As I sat in a different church (our vacation church), listening to a different pastor, taking notes, my mind started to wander. And I began to panic. I still had a week left of days on the beach, but I was already becoming anxious about my to-do list when I got back home.

The longer I worried, the longer my to-do list seemed to grow. I started thinking about our next mom group meeting, other ministries at church, my house, my laundry....And in the midst of my panicked thoughts, the Holy Spirit seemed to tap me on the shoulder and say, "Are you listening to the passage this pastor is reading from?"

"On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,  Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you," When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord, Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you," And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
John 20:19-22, NLT

The pastor was encouraging this group of believers to take ownership of the mission that Jesus was passing on to His disciples. He was encouraging them to take the Gospel to those around them. And He was reassuring them and giving them confidence when He said "Peace...

I scribbled down a few other references to look into more later. And started praying that the Lord would help me to remember the peace He has already promised me. In that moment...I calmed down.

Later that night, after I had put the kids to bed, I pulled out this notebook. I wrote out the Scripture references I had listed that morning in church. And this one in particular resonated well with me.

"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you."
Isaiah 26:3

When I write out Scripture, the words seem to come alive to me. I am more focused. More involved. And somehow more receptive to the Holy Spirit's prompting.

I then, wrote out my to-do list. I wrote names of people I needed to contact. Things I needed to check on. I wrote it all out. And I prayed over that list.

"Lord, You have called me to be a wife, mom, caretaker of my home, and a girl who shares Jesus with others. Help me to remember the peace that you have promised me. Thank you for the Holy Spirit and His involvement in my life. "

As I looked back over that to-do list, the tasks didn't seem so daunting. Ideas popped into my head about ways that it would all get accomplished when it needed to be accomplished. The Lord was in control of my emotions, my anxiety and my to-do list.

I don't know how you may use journals - but I have found that my spiritual life and my day-to-day life must intersect. And I have found that the tools that work for my day also work in my relationship with the Lord.

I encouraged my mom friends to use their journal to write out some Scripture. To use their journal to write out some prayers. We prayed over those journals, and I know that the Lord has ways that He wants to work.

I passed around this Scripture Writing Plan geared towards Thanksgiving. If you'd like to join in on the challenge, let me know how it goes for you!

And just think...a few generations from now...someone may stumble across one of these journals written by a mom who loved Jesus. They may read of struggles and victories. They may see the good things our Lord has done.