Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Christmas to Remember

Tomorrow I will begin filling my first every December Daily Album!  All of my foundation pages are complete.  Each day, I'll choose either a story to tell, journal about something special, or just record the day.  I will also be using the Journal Your Christmas prompts from Shimelle.  I have all of my foundation pages ready to go.  For my album cover and back, I used some chipboard from the back of a pad of paper, cut it down to 6.5" x 8.5". All of my foundation pages are a combination of SU confetti and crumb cake cardstock.  I cut the foundation pages 6" x 8".  While I do dabble in digital scrapbooking, I wanted to do this album all paper.  I really liked Ali Edwards foundation page templates, but really didn't want to spend the extra cash for the download.  Instead, I free handed the pages.  This took some time, but I really like the way they turned out.  I divided either the top or bottom of the page at two inches, and then drew in a small box for the date.  For my numbers, I used Kerri Bradford's December Daily numbers.  Y'all, these were so worth downloading!  I cut the numbers out of SU chocolate chip cardstock, added the Studio AE 25 Moments stamp set "December" sentiment in Black Cherry Stazon.  I LOVE how the pages turned out!!!!  For the transparency pages in between, I bought a few at Hobby Lobby, and made a few myself.  I still haven't embellished all of those.  My plan is to work on those as I go along.  Now, all I need to do is remember to take pictures each day, journal and then - at some point - put everything together.  Here are the pics:
Cover made using Simple Stories 25 Days of Christmas Papers and KBS numbers
I stamped  on this Office Depot transparency with a circle stamp and white acrylic paint.
On this transparency, I used white Staz On ink and a snowflake stamp. Once dry, I added a dot of red Stickles in the center of each snowflake.  Once the photos are placed on the page behind the overlay, the snowflakes will pop right out!
Overlay embellished with Simple Stories 25 Days of Christmas cardstock stickers.
This transparency overlay is by the Paper Studio at Hobby Lobby.
I really like this Tim Holtz tissue tape!

One last closeup of the foundation pages. Some have the journaling boxes at the top and some at the bottom.  The colors of the pages alternate.

This year, I also made a countdown calendar for the kids. I purchased the calendar undecorated from Hobby Lobby.  It was so much fun to use some of my old Christmas paper stash and supplies to decorate this. I covered the front of each drawer with coordinating papers, distressed the edges, added the numbers and them embellished each box in some way.  Each day we will fill the box with a small paper with the daily advent scripture rolled up and tied with bakers twine. The kids will love opening the papers and reading the scripture together as a family.  With Advent being a time of anticipation of the coming Saviour, we will remember the anticipation and celebration of his birth while we look forward to His second coming.  (I will also be recording the daily scriptures in my album.)  We also plan to put some special tiny treat for each child in the box as an extra surprise.  I may even do a scavenger hunt with clues that lead to a bigger prize that may not fit in the tiny box.
Have a blessed start to your December!!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Scrapbook Starting Point

With the holidays approaching, creative juices and the need to craft start flowing!  I am currently working on an Advent Calendar for my kiddos and plan to do a December Daily album.  I'm going to do a combination of Ali Edwards style album with Journal Your Christmas prompts from Shimelle.  I've gathered my papers - Simple Stories 25 Days of Christmas and some cutting files from Kerrie Bradford. In the meantime, while I'm gathering my supplies and deciding on what album to use, I was inspired to do a scrapbook page using the Scrapbook Starting Point post from Shimelle.  Here is the starting point:
 And here is how my page turned out.

Thanks, Shimelle, for the inspiration!  Looking forward to my first Journal Your Christmas!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Some pages for the book

Back in August, I headed up to Charlotte, NC for a Creating Keepsakes scrapbook convention.  I went ALL ALONE, and it was wonderful.  I stayed in the Westin hotel right next door to the convention center.  The hotel was lavish, the food was fabulous and the time alone was so.very. needed.  I took classes all day, shopped in the vendor faire, and attended a crop in the evenings.  I met some really sweet ladies,  but it was so nice to go alone.

Each of the classes were loaded up with information and product, so I came home with almost 25 complete layouts and supplies to last forever!  I was introduced to some great new scrapbook companies, and some new techniques.  I can't wait to attend next year.  Maybe they will schedule one in Atlanta! Attending this event inspired me to get back to work preserving our family memories. It also reminded me just how much I love to get crafty and creative.  Here are some of my completed layouts from the convention and over past couple of months.  Be warned...I am not very good at photographing scrapbook pages. 

This page was inspired by a PageMaps sketch.  The patterned paper is from Creative Memories.
This is one of my FAVORITE pages from the convention.  The design is by Technique Tuesday using Ali Edwards stamps.  The title is Life if Beautiful with You.

A mix of papers and embellishments from my stash.

I just had to throw in a card.  :)

 Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Way God Sees It

God's Word tells us that there are some things God hates to see us do.

16There are six things that the LORD hates,
   seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
   and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
   and one who sows discord among brothers. 
                                                      Proverbs 6:16-19

How does God see me?  He knows my heart.  He sees me all of the time.  He made me.  God knows my weaknesses, strengths, pain, joy.  God loves us so much that he sent his Son to die for us.  He is the perfect Judge. Has your sin debt been paid?  Have you accepted Jesus as your Saviour?  Because He is the perfect Judge, he has to judge our sin.  What will your penalty be?  Death...because you turned Christ away?  Or Life eternal because you accepted Him.  While God loves us, and is so merciful, he HATES our sin.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Dynamic Education

When God called us to homeschool, we obeyed.  It was so hard to just step out on faith, but we did.  Everyday we reminded each other that God does not just call the equipped, but he equips the called.  For that, I am so thankful.  We began homeschooling in January of 2007.  Mary B was in her second half of kindergarten.  Emily was two.  Today, Mary B is a fourth grader, and Emily is 6 - teetering somewhere between 1st and 2nd grade.  John is two and learning so much each day.

Change.  Sometimes things need to change.  Once again, we sought out God's will for our family. Please bear with me while I share something from my heart.  Homeschool is HARD.  Being with your children 24/7 is HARD.  When you are with your children all day, they see you in every situation. They see you joyful, giving, patient, tenderhearted.  Sometimes...

They see the ugly, angry, sinful, tired, frustration, impatient side of Mommy.  Oh, that is so heart breaking.  My children need grace from me - the kind of grace that can only come from the Father.  He loves me, corrects me, teaches me, and still showers me with blessings when I don't deserve them.  What a lesson!  GRACE. 

For an entire school year, I felt like a failure.  Why, though? My girls were succeeding in school work - working ahead in grade level, and exceeding state standards with testing, but where were our hearts?  If we do something, but we do not love, we have done nothing. 
   If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:1-7

Marking a line between Mom and school teacher was so hard with Mary B and I .  Our relationship has been strained over the past 9 months.  Brett and I prayed fervently for God to make himself so real to us...that we would know what to do, and that there could be healing.  We had researched and toured some local small Christian schools, and found one that we liked and would be a good fit for Mary B.  After MUCH prayer, we both had a peace about enrolling her in the 4th grade class and continuing to homeschool Emily.  Mary B's first day of school was last Wednesday.
I cannot begin to tell you how much the Lord has worked in our family over the past week.  He has made himself so real to us, and for that I am so thankful.  There has been so much much peace.  I also know that I am not a failure.  My girls love the Lord,and they love their family, and love to learn.  God calls us to change.  We just have to seek his will so that we know what the change is.  Sometimes peace comes, and we trust and know what the change should be.  Sometimes we don't understand and just have to step out on faith and trust God to show us the way.  Whichever way change happens for you, keep God first. Seek Him, and He will direct your path.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6
Mary B is adjusting so well to school (except for raising her hand...but that is already improving tremendously), and Emily is excelling in her school work.  John Mason is just into everything and talking non need to say more.  I am so glad that God's word is perfect, true, and everlasting.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

People are Dynamic

dynamic:  marked by usually continuous and productive activity or change

Brett and I were in Walmart a couple of Friday nights know, date night, right? We ran into a lady from church.  The conversation went here and there, and we ended up talking about college kids.  When we mentioned how much we have changed in our spirituality, standards, and biblical views since college, she seemed truly shocked. You see, when you only know someone in a particular time in their life, it is easy to thing they have always been that way, or will always be that way. Brett and I were totally different people now that we were then.  The Lord has allowed us to grow together in grace and love in our marriage, and for that we are so thankful.  When we were headed home after our romantic date to Walmart, we talked about how hard it must be for spiritually healed people who once lived crazy, messed up lives to live without judgement for those who knew them when.  Or how about the devoted, church going Godly family, teaching the good news, and involved in church, totally giving it all up to the world for acceptance, lustly pleasures, affairs, and divorce.  Brett reminded me that people are dynamic. We are all changing.  Our experiences (good and bad), challenges, fears and joys of each day shape us, change us and make us dynamic.  Will your experiences lead you to enter the narrow gate, or will you pass through the easy, wide gate that leads to destruction? (Matthew 7:13)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Simply Dad

Ephesians 6:2-4 (NRSV) "Honor your father and mother"--this is the first commandment with a promise: {3} "so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." {4} And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Back when I was a kiddo, my dad told me that if the cows were laying down, then the fish weren't biting. Well, last Thursday evening, my Dad took me out fishing on his boat.  The evening summer storms had just rolled out.  I drove toward their house, passing a lot of the farmland in our county on the way.   Every pasture I passed, the cows were laying kidding.  I just laughed to myself.  The fish will look at my bait and laugh. Daddy and I had been planning our fishing trip for a while, so we were both excited.  As I got out of the car in his driveway, I expressed my concern that the cows were laying down.  I really wanted to catch a fish. He told me not to worry about it. I seriously cannot remember the last time I was fishing with Dad on the boat - at least 20 years.  We headed out to Lake Lanier.  The weather was beautiful.  Dad cruised around the lake with his high tech GPS thingy and found some of his favorite spots to fish.  We had a great time as he taught me how to cast certain types of baits, straightened out my line when it tangled, unhooked my bait from a rock....AND took the hook out of my 2.5 pound spotted bass' mouth!!!! 

For the record...I know how to swim.  Dad makes it a rule that you wear a life vest.  This particular model is very comfy.  It doesn't inflate unless you fall in the water.  Amazing.  I offered to test it out for him. He said it wasn't necessary. Here is a picture of Dad with his 2.3 pound spotted bass. 
We had such a good time. I am so thankful to have a wonderful Christian daddy.  Our lives were never perfect, but Daddy has always made time for me, listened to me, loved me and provided for me growing up.  Daddy took our whole family to church, taught me right from wrong, taught me to trust the Lord, and to listen to and follow the Lord's plan.  One of my favorite things Daddy said that has stuck with me all my life is, "Go with your gut."  If I ever felt unsure of a situation, I should go with my gut feeling.  We both knew that it was more than a gut feeling.  We both knew that it is the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking, guiding, and protecting. Thank you, Daddy, for being my teacher, my father, my friend. 

I have so many great family memories.  One of my favorites is Daddy grilling on our back deck over on Valley Brook Road.  I would watch him meticulously stack the pieces of charcoal into a pyramid, add some lighter fluid and start the coals.  I can still smell the charcoal, the meat grilling, and the smoke. 

This week, over at Stampin Sisters In Christ, the card challenge is a Father's Day card.  I chose to make one with a grill image. 

SSIC #93
I am so thankful for all of the wonderful times I have with my Daddy.  He is a wonderful Pappy to my children, too!

Supplies Used : Image from Michael's Recollections, All other supplies are Stampin' Up!


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

House Update

Things are really slow on the construction front.  September is no longer a reality, but I am hoping that we are moved in time to prepare for Thanksgiving.  We would love to have our entire family to come for the holiday.  Anyway, we are almost ready to sheetrock.  Right now, brick is finishing up, framing still has punch out to do, and we are preparing for final electrical inspections so that we can insulate.  Once we sheetrock, I am told that it takes anywhere from two to three months to finish.  We'll see.  Whatever the timing is, I know that it's God's timing and not ours.  We are so thankful that we are able to build this house to be used to bring glory to the kingdom of God.
Working on brick and rock.  No, the siding will not be yellow. That is just the primer color.

For all my crafty friends...THE CRAFT ROOM!!

Side view of house - garage.  The drive will come in this way somehow.  TBD.
Side rear view of house.  Drive will extend down to lower garage seen here. This portion of the house is steel construction to support the garage under garage.  Most places that are green in the picture are now brick.
View from rear of house.  The upper deck is now partially enclosed for a screen porch.
Formal living room
Formal Library/Music Room
Well, that's all for now...more updates later.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

A Sketch Challenge from Stampin Sisters

Ecclesiastes 3:14 "I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him."
This week's challenge from Stampin' Sisters in Christ, is a sketch challenge.  The devotion by Kris is wonderful, and I encourage you to head over there to read it.  God never changes.  He is the Alpha and Omega.  His WORD is perfect.  No words of man should be added to it, or God's words taken away from it.  The Bible is God's gift to us that we may know Him and know His purpose for our lives.

I had a really hard time coming up with my card.  I don't think I am very good at following sketches to a "T". Every now and then I'll do a MOJO challenge, but I'll always change a little something.  It seems like I never have the right stamp for the size of the paper elements.  Anyway, after an hour of playing around with different stamps, I settled on these.  All supplies are Stampin' Up.  Thanks for looking!

SSIC #91

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Time for a Challenge - SSIC #89

This weekend, I was contacted by Dawn at Faithfully Yours, to be a guest designer for her blog!  Dawn's website and blog provide a sweet ministry to Christians who love scrapbooking and papercrafting as a way to make and preserve family memories, express faith and uplift each other.  Faithfully Yours has several articles on faithbooking, scrapbooking and memory keeping as well as resources to get you started.  Every other Thursday, she'll be sharing one of my creations with you.  I'll be participating in a faith based paper crafting challenge.  I am so excited to get started!  This week, I am participating in the Stampin' Sister's in Christ Challenge #89.  The devotion is precious and there is a sweet story about a teacup.  It is a must read!  You will never look at a teacup the same way again!

Scripture: Psalm 121:2-4 “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip--he who watches over you will not slumber;  indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep."

The challenge is to use a teacup or teapot in your card.  I really enjoyed making a previous layout I had used with a teapot last month, so I though I would do the layout again (similar), but change up the colors, image, and finish the inside of the card - a first for me! The inspiration for this layout came from a back issue of Papercrafts Magazine.
Teapot Challenge
Card Inside
 Supplies Used: Rose Teapot digital stamp colored with Copics (I have searched for hours on the internet trying to find the source of this image.  This was a freebie stamp I downloaded two years ago.  If you know the artist, please feel free to contact me and I will note it in my supplies.) Praying For You sentiment from Stampin' Up, Scripture stamp from Our Daily Bread Designs, Patterned paper from large DCWV stack from Costco, Mulberry Roses from Wild Orchid Crafts, lace trim from Fancy Pants, pearls from Michael's

Thanks for looking!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Yard Sale Fodder

It's that time of the year...yard and garage sales are all over in our area.  We've been out for the past two weekends looking for furniture, toys for John Mason, and anything else that looks good. ;)

Around our community, there are a lot of neighborhoods, so it's great to check out Craigslist to find the sales in the area.  Brett has NEVER like yard sales, but last week, I took him along and we found a lot of great deals for about $80.  (There were more little things here and there, but this was the majority)
  • A dresser and mirror for one of the girl's rooms.  
  • A complete bedding set for Mary Blakely with a horse theme and rug to match.  (It's a surprise.) It is just what she wanted to decorate in the new house. 
  • Several books for the girls and John
  • Storage baskets with cloth liners for the playroom in the new house
This weekend, we headed over to a local neighborhood for their annual sale.  I'm always on the lookout for toys for John Mason.  He likes to play with little people, tractors, and Mr. Potato Head, but we don't have a lot of other "boy" things for his age.  I found a lady selling an entire collection of Rescue Hero toys for $10.  I offered her $5 and she took it!  Amazing.  Now, he has all of the action figures, the tower, boat, and car,  and we are STILL trying to figure out how all of the pieces work. :) Brett also lucked out on a bunch of tools, tool box, saws, and other stuff for his crews. I also purchased some used homeschool curriculum from a old friend in our old neighborhood.  Overall, we had a successful yard sale excursion.  I think I may have Brett hooked. ;)

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Sweet Sheep

This card was made for my sweet cousin Abby who is having her first baby - Emma.  We are so excited!!! She is due to arrive the end of this month.

I just love how this card turned out, so I thought I would share it with you. It was so much fun making this card.  The lamb is colored with SU ink and an aquapainter, then trimmed and mounted on punched cardstock. I punched holes in the wheels and added brads to change it up a bit.  Then I punched a tiny hole in the front of the pull toy and added some linen thread. The ribbons are layered on the card using scortape and then the image is added with stampin' dimensionals.
Sweet Sheep
Supplies:  SU cardstock, ribbon, and Everyday Occasions stamp set (retired)

Friday, April 08, 2011

Running and Fitness

I have made a commitment to God and to myself to keep my body healthy.  My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  He just made one body for me, so I am going to take better care of it.  Amen?!

We have been members at our local YMCA for a while so that the kids can participate in sports, camps, and of course, the pool.  I signed our family up for a full membership with the idea that I would take advantage of the the fitness classes and exercise equipment.  Now is the time to live up to it.  To just go...Make the effort. (Then not be able to walk normally for two days because I took a power sculpt class on my first day back.)   So far this week, I've walked, run on the treadmill, participated in a Power Sculpt class, and ran/walked 3 miles with Brett. I have never been a strong runner, so I would like to build up to running easily on our road - which is quite hilly.

One part of exercising that makes a world of difference to me is the music I listen to.  I need upbeat music that is not dirty!  I was searching and searching on itunes for some good tunes to run to, and the majority of what I found was dirty pop music remixed.  Not at all what I'm looking for!  THEN, I found a free podcast called Motion Traxx.  Each day, the fitness DJ guy creates a list of music based on BPM so that you can find a pace that works for you.  Several of the mixes include a trainer giving you intervals to run, walk, or do your workout.  I have only listened to a couple, but so far, it's all clean music with few lyrics.  You can check it out here...Motion Traxx.

Let's take care of our bodies and teach our children to be active!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Slipped Away

It's over. It's finished.  The sweet precious life slipped away to heaven.  I cry, and sometimes at the weirdest moments.  I thought I was over it, but  I don't think you can ever be over a loss. I think about all the mothers who have grown those sweet souls into bodies in the womb for so long. When the little souls pass away, the mother holds onto their earthly flesh. Tiny fingers, toes, eyes, ears....  I pray for them.  I lift them up in their mourning, even though I do not know their names or faces.  I pray and weep for the mothers with terminally ill children, mothers who have lost their babes, only to have them for such a short time.  I mourn and pray and weep for the parents who watch their children suffer, and die. Do I have the right to grieve? Do I have the right to mourn?  Well, yes, of course.  Does it feel fair, or right?  Well, no it doesn't..  God taught me so much through this loss, this trial. God is merciful. He IS mercy. My sweet one was still forming...had a heartbeat once, but not again.  When the flesh I held onto slipped away, there were no fingers or toes...eyes or ears yet, but it was a gift from the Giver of Life. Brett and I mourn our fourth baby, who will have a whole body....a glorified body with fingers wrapped around the face of Jesus.  When the Lion lies down with the Lamb.

I will lift my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away. (Casting Crowns)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Lion and The Lamb

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
   and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
   and a little child shall lead them.
Isaiah 11:6

I find incredible peace when I read this scripture from the prophet Isaiah.  It fortells of the mighty kingdom that Christ will restore. God's creation will be as He intended from The Beginning.  There will be no death, suffering, or loss.  I am so thankful for the promise of Peace.  There WILL be peace on Earth one day, but it will only come from the mercy, peace and promise of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This week's challenge over at Stampin' Sisters in Christ is to make a card that uses paper piecing.  I have a Cricut machine, and I have recently ordered a computer program that will allow me to cut anything I design on my Cricut with no cartridge.  The program isn't here, but I have downloaded a few files to use with the program.  These files also come with a PDF so that I can just trace the pieces and cut them out by hand.  That is just what I did.  I trimmed out each piece, inked or chalked the edges and then assembled the pattern.  For the sentiment, I used a marker to color part of the image. Paper piecing pattern The Lion and The Lamb from Little Scraps of Heaven Designs.

I will probably never send this card.  It is special to my heart, and I will keep it as a remembrance of God's promises and His perfect peace.

The Lion and The Lamb

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I just gotta say...It's Yummy!

I've been enjoying purchasing rotisserie chickens and freezing the meat for casseroles, soups, salads, and any other recipe that calls for cooked chicken.  As soon as I come home from the grocery, I pull all of the chicken off the bone.  It is MUCH easier to do this when the chicken is still warm.  The meat practically falls off.  I divide the meat and freeze in two separate bags.  So, I get two meals per chicken.  This is for a family of 5.  (One being a toddler.) I have purchased chickens at Costco and Kroger, and the Costco chickens are meatier and about $2 cheaper.  I pay about $5 for one chicken, and that will feed our family twice.

In the mornings, I can take out a bag of chicken and let it thaw for dinner.  The other night, I whipped up some Chicken Burritos.  I didn't use a recipe, so I was a little bit nervous about how it would turn out.  This dish was a hit, so I wanted to share.

Chicken Burritos

1 1/2 lb cooked chicken meat- shredded
8 oz sour cream
16 oz shredded cheddar -divided
1/2  tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder (more or less to taste)
7 or 8 flour tortillas
1 can enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with Pam. In a mixing bowl, combine chicken, sour cream, 8 oz of cheese, and spices.  Mix together well.  Spoon even amounts of chicken mixture into flour tortillas, roll, and place seam side down in dish.  You can put them close together to fit.  Pour enchilada sauce down the middle over the burritos.  Add remaining cheese on top of sauce.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Sauce and cheese will be bubbly.  Leftovers are amazing, too!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Accountability Part 1

There is no perfect church.  All churches are made up of imperfect people.  We are all sinners.
"Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5 ESV
I do believe that churches should hold their leaders accountable for their actions.  When someone is in a leadership position serving in the church, there should be standards by which they live, behave, and post on FacebookChildren, new believers, and the spiritually immature are so easily influenced. When they see a leader behaving a certain way, they WILL think it is okay to do those things and be able to serve God wholly.  We cannot serve God the way He intended when we live like the world.  We are to be a "peculiar people." (Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 2:9 KJV)
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 1 Peter 4:1-3 (ESV emphasis added)

First Peter was written to believers that were struggling in sin - to encourage them in their struggles and remind them of the true grace of God.  From Matthew Henry's commentary: When a man is truly converted, it is very grievous to him to think how the time past of his life has been spent. One sin draws on another. Six sins are here mentioned which have dependence one upon another. It is a Christian's duty, not only to keep from gross wickedness, but also from things that lead to sin, or appear evil. It is so very important that leaders set an exemplary example of the Christian life. How can we bring total honor and glory to God in our churches and programs when the leaders are not 100 percent sold out to God, striving to live a holy life?

Friday, February 25, 2011

31 Days of Power...Victory

This year, rather than making New Year's resolutions (which I never really do), I chose one word for the year.  I chose Victory.  I have been focusing on the victory that only Jesus Christ can give in every thing that He allows me to do - being a godly wife, raising my children, homeschooling, and more.

A couple of years ago, my Mom introduced me to a book written by Ruth Myers, 31 Days of Praise.  While I was reading this book and researching the author, I found another one of her titles, 31 Days of Power.  Now, it's not the 'fleshy' power that our humanness thinks of, but the power that is found only in Christ.  She writes love letters to God, based completely on scripture. Each paragraph sites the verses from where the reference is taken.  I read it for 9 days (that is where my bookmark was), and didn't finish.  This morning, as I was reflecting over this week, I felt discouraged.  I was not organized, feeling overwhelmed and just down right ungrateful.  Friends, that is not victory.  Along with reading scripture, I felt prompted to find the devotional book and begin again, reading it to my children at breakfast.

Day one of the book reminds us that we are in the middle of a spiritual war.  Our Father God has given us the  "powerful weapons of prayer and praise to help win victories over our spiritual enemies," and that "through prayer and praise I can help believers around me to be strong in their faith and bold in their witness even when Satan seeks to sift them as wheat."

31"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32but strengthen your brothers.  I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. Luke 22:31-32
9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then,  I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Today, I am thankful for my weakness. I want to see the Lord's power shine so bright in the dark of my weakness.  Victory!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Stampin Sisters in Christ Challenge 76 Second Entry

This is another a card I made for the weekly challenge over at Stampin Sisters in Christ.  I also used the Mojo Monday sketch for this week.
Birthday Turtle
This turtle image actually has a gift on its back, but I trimmed it off.  It looked a bit too busy in the opening.  Thanks for looking!

Supplies: SU Simply Circles (Sentiment), Whipper Snapper Turtle, SU cardstock and designer paper, SU markers and ribbon, Basic Grey button, ProvoCraft embossing folder, Nesties 


Stampin Sisters in Christ Challenge 76

I finally had time to make a card for the challenge over at Stampin' Sisters in Christ.  The devotion this week is from Exodus, and the challenge is to use green on your card.  I had to resist using some of my cute frog stamps.  I don't think the Egyptians thought the frogs were so cute when they were plagued with them.

Exodus 8:9-11 (English Standard Version)

9Moses said to Pharaoh, "Be pleased to command me when I am to plead for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be cut off from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile." 10And he said, "Tomorrow." Moses said, "Be it as you say, so that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God. 11The frogs shall go away from you and your houses and your servants and your people. They shall be left only in the Nile."

Friendly Butterflies
 Supplies: SU Canvas Background, Natural Beauty, PTI Spiral Bouquet, SU Natural Cardstock, Brocade Blue, Watercolor paper, SU Markers, Jolee's Swarovski Crystals, Aqua Painter

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sunshine, Thanks, and Time with Mom

I am thankful for...Warm sunshine.  Buds swollen with the expectancy of spring. A wonderful evening out for dinner with my sweet Mom. Clean laundry piled high, waiting to be folded.

We have enjoyed beautiful weather this week!  Mary Blakely had her first homeschool tennis lesson on Wednesday. Our county park offers homeschool sessions! Coach Lance is a great coach.  The group is small - 3 sweet girls - so there is a lot of one on one attention and instruction.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love homeschooling?  Emily is taking gymnastics on Monday afternoons.  The park also does a great job with this. She has sweet instructors and has a great time.

The new house construction has kept me busy this week - lots of questions to be answered.  The plumber, HVAC, framers, and roofers are all working at the same time.  The roof is just about finished, and I love how the shingles look.  Brett and I finally settled on a brick color, and the rock mason should be starting as soon as Brett smooths out some of the dirt mountains to bring the house to grade.

As always, schooling has kept us busy.  Emily has been working on her subtraction facts to twenty, learning how to write book titles, capitalize proper nouns, and the rule of adding "s" to verbs when the noun is singular.  Mary Blakely is finishing a response to literature. Her confidence in her own writing skills has improved greatly this year.  She is also learning equivalent fractions and common denominators.  Whew!  John Mason likes to learn along with us.  I sit him at the table and he colors while the girls do their work. I don't do this much, because he's so cute that it distracts the girls! :)

So for all my stamping friends, there was no time to craft or blog this week.  Brett has even commented a couple of times that I haven't blogged lately.  Does he read it? Over my shoulder for sure. ;) I have several projects that I would love to do.  My list is growing!

Here is a corner bookmark that I made last month for a swap on Splitcoast.  This was the first time I've made this style of bookmark, and I just love how they turned out!  I will be making more of these.  They would make great little gifts.
Corner Bookmark
Supplies:  Verve Stamp, October Afternoon designer paper, SU cardstock, Nesties, Making Memories border punch

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Speaking of Contests....YAY!

I am so super duper excited!  Last week I entered a card over at the Stampin Sister's in Christ Challenge Blog.
I sent this card to my dear friend Marie.  I thought is was simply perfect for her!  Well, back to my story...the ladies (Meisje and the Design Team) at the blog choose "Shining Stars" each week.  AND THEY CHOSE ME AS ONE OF THEM!!!!  What a blessing!  There were SO MANY beautiful cards. Thank you so very much.  This is such an honor and a great encouragement to me.  I look forward to doing more of these challenges and meeting more precious ladies.  (I get a cool new blinkie, too! ===> )

Sidenote:  My daughters (8 and 5) were squealing and cheering for me when I read them the announcement.  They are so excited, and they are such sweet encouragers.  When they were squealing and cheering, my 21 month old little boy had to get in the action, too!  My own cheering fun. I MUST add that to my 1000 gifts!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Mojo Monday 177

Here is my entry for the Mojo Monday 177 contest.  I like to encourage my girls to enter contests.  They are always nervous to enter.  Planning their projects, essays, or recipes get them excited for an entry.  They know they may not win, but they enjoy the process. They actually won a baking contest for our local fair this past October!  Lately, I've carved out 15 minutes every couple of days to do some scrapbooking and card making. While I encourage my girls to enter contests, I'll enter some myself.  :)  Just because the process is fun!
I am SO out of my comfort zone with this card. Collage designs are not really my "go to" layout. 
Supplies used:  
  • Stamps: SU Circle of Friendship, Nature Walk 
  • Cardstock: Crumb Cake, Chocolate Chip, SU DSP First Edition, SU DSP Botanical Gazette, Very Vanilla
  • Ink: Night of Navy, Chocolate Chip, Baja Breeze, Pear Pizazz, Tim Holtz Antique Linen
  • Basic Grey Brown Button, Mulberry Flower, SU Satin Ribbon Chocolate Chip, Linen Thread, MS Scalloped Circle Punch

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Blog Button Fun

After searching the net for the most straight forward blog badge/button tutorial, I found one here.  Two hours later....I have a blog button, a new header and a button for my DH business, Vertical Earth.  (The last one was just for fun and encouragement for my honey.  You can check it out if you want - lots of big construction jobs and equipment.)  It took me two hours because the first hour was spent designing my button in Photoshop and figuring out the "code."  The second hour was spent making my blog banner (because I wanted them to coordinate) and hubby's button. So whatdya think?

If you like to visit often...and I hope you can grab my blog button to make traveling easier.

Stampin' Sisters in Christ Challenge 74 - Second Entry

I took just a moment to make a couple of cards yesterday.  I am entering them in a contest for the Stampin' Sisters in Christ Challenge Blog.  How fun! Right?  A group of Christian women that enjoy crafting and sharing their work.

On this card, the stamp I used is supposed to have Easter eggs in her basket.  I didn't want this to be an Easter card, so I stamped the tree blossoms from the set onto white paper with blush blossom ink, cut out a few little flowers and glued them on the stamped image to cover the eggs.
Little Girl Blue

Supplies Used:
  • Stamps - SU Easter Blossoms
  • Cardstock - SU Bashful Blue, Certainly Celery, Whisper White, SU Designer Paper (Retired)
  • Ink - SU Bashful Blue, Blush Blossom, Whisper White
  • Bashful Blue organza ribbon, Cuttlebug embossing folder (dots), Jolee's Swarovski Crystals

Stampin' Sisters in Christ Challenge 74

I took just a moment to make a couple of cards yesterday.  I am entering them in a contest for the Stampin' Sisters in Christ Challenge Blog.  How fun! Right?  A group of Christian women that enjoy crafting and sharing their work.
My Friend

Supplies Used:  
  • Stamps - SU Blossoms Abound
  • Cardstock - SU Bashful Blue,Wild Wasabi, Whisper White
  • Ink - SU Bashful Blue,Wild Wasabi, Basic Black, Tim Holtz Antique Linen
  • SU Ribbon, Flat Pearls

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Found and Digital

I have spending some of my time in the evenings sorting and organizing photos in my Photoshop Elements Organizer. I found some pics of cards I have made over the past year.  I don't have the energy or time to figure out what I used to make these cards, but I thought I would share them anyway.  Thanks for looking!

When it comes to scrapbooking, for me, nothing beats those things that are palpable.  I love to touch and feel my card, crafts, and scrapbook pages.   That said...I also like the ease of digital scrapbooking - once I figure out all the ins and outs of the editing program, Photoshop Elements.  There are precious digital kits available at various online retailers.  Many even provide freebies, so I can get my feet wet in the digital world before making a lot of purchases.  Digital content can be used over and over, so you save money...not to mention space.  I signed up for a beginner's class at Jessica Sprague.  So far, I've learned a lot.  Here are a couple of EASY pages I made with a quick and easy page.  All I had to do was drop in pictures and add journaling.  Each lesson gets more advanced, so I'll post those when I'm done.