Monday, April 28, 2014

The Meaning in Scrapbooking - Not Just a Hobby

If you are not convinced that scrapbooking is so much more than a hobby, watch this video presentation by Teresa Collins.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her message about how important, worthwhile, and meaningful it is to take photos, print your photos, put them in an album with some journaling to tell the story, all the while making it pretty, easy, and memorable.

I just got so excited to watch this video because everything she says is how I feel about scrapbooking - record the meaningful moments of life - everything - the good, the bad, & the ugly!!!  Thanks to Teresa Collins for sharing this message today!

New Online Journaling for Scrapbookers Class

Do you struggle with what to journal on your scrapbook pages or how to incorporate journaling into your layouts?  Are you looking to add more meaningful journaling to your scrapbook pages, but aren’t sure how? Do you want to move beyond the “5W’s” and journal from your heart? 

In this class, I share my tips for incorporating meaningful journaling into your scrapbook pages. Whether you want to document the good stuff – celebrations, blessings, or everyday love; the bad stuff – tough times, death of loved ones, or daily struggles; or the ugly – colicky babies, sick days, or bad haircuts, I have a journaling idea to share. 

While the focus of the class is on the journaling approach, I'll also share step-by-step instructions for 6 layouts along with 6 exclusive class sketches. All 3 lessons will be revealed on opening day.

Class includes:
  • 3 lessons: "Journaling the Good", "Journaling the Bad", and "Journaling the Ugly"
  • Full color PDF handouts with step-by-step instructions and photos for each lesson, totaling 6 layouts.
  • Video tutorial for each lesson, some featuring additional bonus layouts
  • Full page journaling prompts and layout suggestions for each lesson
  • Printable PDF featuring exclusive, easy to follow sketches for layouts featured in lessons
  • Message forums to share thoughts and discuss class materials
  • Gallery to share your work and view others'
  • Private e-mail access to Karen

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lenten Photo a Day Challenge - Day 45: Suffering

Fire can cause suffering, but it can bring great comfort as well. Today we remember Jesus' suffering, but all the while remembering the good that came about from his suffering as well.

TGIF!  Really. Thank God it's Friday! Good Friday. Thank you, God, for your forgiveness. Thank you, God, for your plan to redeem me and give me everlasting life.  Thank you, God, that this is a pure gift that I cannot earn.  Thank you, Jesus, for your suffering on my behalf.  Thank you, Jesus, for going to the cross for me, despite my unworthiness.  Thank you, Jesus, for dying for me and paying my debt.  May my life reflect my gratitude for your sacrifice.  May my life be pleasing to you, a living sacrifice in response to your love for me.  Thank God it's Friday - Good Friday, Holy Friday, Your Friday, My Friday.  Amen.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lenten Photo a Day Challenge - Day 44: Bread

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, 
saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, 
"This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 
Luke 22:19-20

Tonight we will gather at church to observe Maundy Thursday. Our pastor will speak the very words of Jesus before we come forward to receive the body and blood of our Savior. In this sacred sacrament we receive forgiveness and are strengthened in body and soul.  May our lives reflect the sacrifice and shine forth in living witness of all our God and Savior did and does for us.

Flower Vase Invite

Next week is Spring Break around here, so we are planning a little diversion.  A few friends are coming for tea and crafty goodness.  Hannah helped me create these quick and simple invites.  Wanna come and play?

Lenten Photo a Day Challenge - Day 43: Solemn

"Do you solemnly swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"
That's the phrase that first came to mind when I read today's photo challenge word, solemn.  When you make a "solemn" vow you make a serious promise.  When you are in a solemn mood, you are serious, contemplative, reflective.  As we approach this Holy Week, what mood are we in?  Do we solemnly consider what transpired this week in Jesus' life? In the book of Isaiah, we read, He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth, like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.  Our Savior, for us, willingly walked to his death, knowing fully the pain he would suffer physically and the anguish he would feel as he bore the sins of the world, my sins, your sins, because he and the Father loved us so.  It does put me in a solemn mood this week as I reflect on this.  But not for long.  I know the rest of the story.  I know that Sunday's coming.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lenten Photo a Day Challenge - Days 41 and 42: Quiet and Persevere

Day 41: Quiet
When you are quiet, you hear and see and generally notice the world around you better.  The other day I took a few minutes just to sit quietly on my front porch and enjoy the (finally) warm and sunny weather we were gifted with that day.  I was quietly thanking God for the things I noticed around me outside - the trees budding, the daffodils dancing, the grass greening, the sun on my toes.  As I sat on my porch I caught a glimpse of red and leaned over to see.  I was delighted to find a single tulip hiding behind a bush right off the porch.  Had I not taken a minute to be silent, I would never have seen this little beauty.  I had the chance to surprise my daughter by showing it to her later.  She "oohed" and "ahhed" just as I did and we both thanked God for the little surprise gift.  Even though life can get super busy and often chaotic, don't forget to slow down and even just for a moment, be silent.  You never know what God has to show or tell you in that moment.

Be still, and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in all the earth!  
Psalm 46:10

Day 42: Persevere
As the spring takes hold of the earth, plants of all sorts, most with names unknown to me, are sprouting forth. I've always been amazed by this - little miracles every spring.  As I figure out what is weed and what is a plant I wish to have growing in my yard, I am again amazed.  I am amazed at the perseverance of the weeds.  They seem to push everything else aside as they grow their roots deep and take nutrients from the "good" plants. They don't want to be plucked out and even when I think I have rid my garden beds of them, they return - again and again.  They persevere.  I'm usually tired of pulling weeds by mid summer and left to persevere, they overtake my beds by the end of the summer.  I am amazed also that many of these "weeds" are quite beautiful.  I wonder do they try to use their good looks to survive?  Okay, I know that plants do not think that way, but do we?  Do I persevere in the right soil and in the right frame of mind? I pray that I do and you do to.  Persevere in the word and may my appearance be that kind of beauty that comes from a heart that follows and is rooted in Christ. A prayer from 2 Thessalonians 3:5, May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. Amen

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lenten Photo A Day Challenge - Day 38: Symbol

Do you have a symbol in your home that indicates your faith?  Do you wear a symbol around your neck perhaps? Many Christians display a cross somewhere in their homes, like the one I photographed today. This one hangs above our front door.  Like any symbol, however, this cross above our door means much more than the shape carved into wood.  It reminds my family and guests of a great price paid for us.  It stands for a way of life and a renewed way of thinking and indicates what we as a family believe.  It reminds us what and who should be first in our lives - that God himself be the focus in our home.

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua 24:14-15

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lenten Photo A Day Challenge - Day 37: Fortitude

Merriam-Webster defines fortitude as "strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage." I picture fortitude as a brick wall of sorts - some source of strength that bears one up when faced with trials. It helps us stay upright and on our feet. In my mind (and photo) I imagine the brick wall, but in my heart I know that the best source of this kind of strength comes from our God. I love the promise that can be found in 1 Chronicles 28:20. Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished. What an awesome promise. God will not leave us. We need not be afraid for God is with us. We can be strong and courageous.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lenten Photo a Day Challenge - Day 36: Wait

Wait.  Never did like this word, but I have come to see the value in it.  Wait for the Lord, the Psalmist tells us in 27:14, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  Often that is easier said than done.  It isn't always easy to wait.  We waited for our baby for so long.  It was difficult and frustrating, but I knew in my heart that God was not telling us "No" to our family, He was telling us "Wait."  So during that time we waited (some days more gracefully than others) and trusted in God and in His timing.  But I trust in you, O Lord. I say, "You are my God."  My times are in your hands. Psalm 31:14-15.  While we waited, we kept the dialogue going with God.  We tried to use the time to draw closer to Him.  And, in His perfect timing and planning, He brought our baby to us and our family was born.  Is waiting today any easier?  No.  But while I wait I hope I wait a bit more patiently and with a bit more trust.  I pray that you do, too.  Show me your ways, O Lord; Teach me your paths.  Lead me in your truth and teach me For you are the God of my salvation; On you I wait all day.  Psalm 25:4-5

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lenten Photo a Day Challenge - Days 32, 34, & 35: Light, Family, Prayer

Playing a bit of catch up here on my Lenten Photo Challenge.

Day 32: Light

There's just something about that afternoon sun that comes shining through our front door.  Our pup loves to warm herself up and doze.  I love having the door open to that light.  Jesus told us that He is the way, the truth, and the light.  I pray we are always drawn to the light and willing to sit and bask in His presence.

Day 34: Family

I had a hard time trying to decide just what sort of photo would show "family."  Family can be complicated, messy, and wonderful.  So, I snapped this photo of my kitchen table because, when I looked around my home, I could picture my family at this table.  As shown, it's kind of messy right now.  But it has history.  It's beautiful underneath that big mess of "daily stuff."  It's a gorgeous oak table (and heavy, heavy, heavy) that my husband and I bought many years ago.  There are some scratches, dents, and blemishes, but we've established a relationship, if you will, with that table.  Lots of memories with family and friends and friends who've become family have been forged around that table.  Lots of laughing, serious discussions, prayers, and sometimes tears have been shared around that table.  For me, family is relationships.  For our family, we strive to prioritize our relationship with God as our most important relationship.

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."  Joshua 24:15

Day 35: Prayer

Philippians 4:6 encourages us to pray about everything and worry about nothing.  The ESV translation reads, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  I love this description of prayer.  It's an open invitation to come to God with anything and everything that's on our minds and in our hearts.  It's an invitation for friendship, counsel, a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, a place to bring our burdens, a place to find direction and wisdom and a grateful heart.  Sit down with a friend today.  With Jesus.  And simply pray.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

Spring Birthday Card

SRM is hosting a brand new challenge blog, HERE.  The first challenge is anything that CELEBRATES!  I have a few birthday cards that need to go out this month, so it was easy to play along - especially when SRM makes the perfect clear stickers for cards!  I also had fun digging into some of my new Inked Rose collection from We R Memory Keepers - perfectly spring-y.

I know Susan at SRM loves doilies (and so do I), so I used a small doilie on this card.  The butterfly is from the We R Inked Rose coordinating stickers.  The twine is American Crafts and the sentiment is, of course, SRM.  (It's from the Thinking of You Sticker Sentiment sheet.)

Make sure you check out SRM's blog for more great inspiration!

Lenten Photo a Day Challenge - Day 31: Sacrifice

Our 5 year old daughter drew this picture at church last Sunday.  It's Jesus on the cross, of course.  That's a bluebird flying up overhead and .... hmmmm, maybe the Easter bunny down below?  Love :)
Today's word is sacrifice.  While our Hannah clearly drew a picture of Jesus' beautiful sacrifice, we too are called to be a "living sacrifice."  Paul, in Romans 12:1-2 writes:  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  The idea is that our lives as Christians should be lives that daily reflect our love and devotion to God.  We are called to reflect His love and give of our time, talents, and treasures, which may be a sacrifice at times for sure.  But it shouldn't matter what we see others doing or not doing.  What matters is our relationship with our God who sacrificed so much, including bringing His only beloved Son to a horrible death on the cross, so that we may be restored to His Holy presence.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lenten Photo a Day Challenge - Day 30: Endurance


According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, to endure means to suffer (something painful or difficult) patiently.   So endurance is the ability to do so.  The many synonyms include: stamina, staying power, fortitude, perseverance, persistence, tenacity, doggedness, grit, resolution, determination.  None of us chooses to suffer painful or difficult circumstances indefinitely, but many times in our life we find ourselves enduring as best we can or perhaps even crying out for help when we feel we can endure no longer.  When trials come, God reminds us in scripture that we need not endure alone.  In Hebrews (see 12:1-2 below) we are reminded that we can endure any trial by looking to our Savior, Jesus.  He endured the cross for us.  He understands any pain, frustration, depression, and fear that might assail us.  He promises to never leave us alone.  Because he endured, we can also endure this life.  We look forward to the time we will no longer endure, but simply bask in the love and presence of our dear Jesus and Father God.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lenten Photo a Day Challenge - Day 29: Cross

I was driving around this morning on my way to here and there with the word of the day on my mind, watching for a photo opportunity (no, I wouldn't have taken one while driving).  I was looking for a cross to photograph and there was no shortage.  Have you ever noticed how many crosses are visible around us? Everywhere I looked, I saw a cross.  The intersection, the branches of trees, the utility pole, road signs, beams on houses.  I could have taken hundreds of different photos today of crosses - naturally occurring or man-made; intentional or unintentional.  I finally settled on a beautifully handcrafted wall hanging at my daughter's preschool, but the sheer number of crosses got me thinking and reflecting on God's great, immeasurable, beyond my understanding love for me (and you).
It is Lent and maybe I should be thinking about "taking up my cross" or the pain my Jesus suffered on the cross for me, but today the crosses remind me of love and hope and forgiveness and I am humbled that I am so surrounded by these great things.  They are priceless gifts to me and to you.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lenten Photo a Day Challenge - Day 28: Path

When we walk through the woods, my husband constantly points out deer and animal trails.  "Do you see that?"  he'll ask me, pointing towards the trees.  A good 85% of the time, I do not see what he sees.  He has a good eye for picking out the trampled leaves and immediately sees the winding path through the woods that deer or other animals take.  I have 2 tree stands that I feel comfortable walking out to find on my own during hunting season.  If any other location is suggested ("the one down below the big rock, to the left of the crooked tree, but before you get to the thorny patch"), I get a blank look on my face.  "Uh, you'll have to walk me out there," I respond.  When I'm in the woods, I rely on my husband's expertise.  
When navigating the paths of this life, I need to remind myself to rely on God.  He's the one with the keen eye.  He's the one who sees the path I need to take.  He's so, so eager to offer His expertise if only I would defer to His judgement a little more often. Psalm 16:11 reminds me to do just that.  It's a good prayer to pray.  Make known to me the path of life, Oh my Lord, that I may feel joy in your presence!