August 12, 2011

Life is full of uncertainties, but abounds with blessings

"In this life ye shall have tribulations." Never has this seemed more true than now. It seems they are all around. Were it not for faith in my Maker that He holds all things in His hands and by Him all things are done, life would definitely feel full of despair. The other night I was watching a very impressive light show on my way home from an event, and was amazed at the fierce lightning. Our lives can be like that at times. Surrounded by the flashes and booms of lightning and thunder. Lightning dancing all around, and at any moment feel as though we could be struck down. Yet in the midst of all that God shields us from danger in the same way a mother hen shields her chicks under the shelter of her wings. The songwriter once wrote "Life is a tangle of toil and care; doubts and dark fears so hard to bear", and life has certainly been that way for a while. It seems there are fears all around whether it be economy, political implications, children, weather, and just plain life circumstances. When we focus on those fears, though, is when the despair comes and takes our joy. Focusing on those fears is the same as removing our focus from God. So if we just turn our heads away and seek His face, peace will reign in our souls while the winds howl and the lightning flashes. Then in the midst of the storm we can hear Him softly whisper "Peace be still". Whether it be for our spirits or the storms around us, there will be peace when those words are spoken.

March 29, 2011

Life is all about change---and having faith in the One who brings it...

So many things in this life are really uncertain each day. We are never guaranteed our next breath and every moment is precious. So why do I waste so much of my time on things that are unimportant? Life has changed so much here over the past months that I cannot begin to understand why they had to happen the way they did. One thing I know for certain is that there is a lot of change going on inside of myself. Mostly introspection (is that even a word?) I never would have thought that having cable and seeing things like Hoarders and What not to Wear (I know it's crazy) could bring about some positive personal changes and painful realizations, but nonetheless here we are. Looking around me I see so much of the way my own negativity has been very destructive to my family and to myself. A couple of months ago I would have told you that my only purpose in this life is to mother my child and be a good wife. While both of those are true, they were also discounting who I am as a person and what my capabilities really are. Just thinking in such a manner can lead to stereotypical duties and my own free spirit just wanted to strike back and rebel at those things. However, I have to accept that those are a part of who I am not a whole of who I am. I discovered that the things I buy and the the things I wear were reflecting my need to find something more in life. I love my family and will gladly and willingly lay down my life for them regardless of the situation. But I found that poorly managing my time and attitudes with little regard for God's word and constant control of my life were contributing to my feeling so very much alone in the midst of all my friends and family. God is working a big change in me and purging me from the inside. He is pushing me to limits and possibilities I never thought possible. In essence, I am growing up a little more. Next school year will bring about one of the biggest changes and uncertainties I have ever experienced. My plan to homeschool my child is something I know God requires of me, and I pray that I have the faith in Him to make it through each day one day at a time. So many battles and struggles are fought each day inside and out that I have to take life one day at a time and pray that God will see me through it. I pray that my very good friends, of whom I count my husband first and foremost, will always be there, but most of all I know that God is there and in control. He will calm that storm that rages inside of me through all these changes. Scott Krippayne said "sometimes He calms the storm. Sometimes He calms His child." Lately Casting Crowns song "That's what Faith can Do" has had a huge impact on my life as well. Here are the lyrics for you. I love them and daily sing them...

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You do have a chance
(That’s what faith can do)
When the world says you can’t
It’ll tell you that you can!

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do
That's what faith can do!
Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise

February 08, 2011

Favorite things...

One of my favorite movies is the Sound of Music and that song about her favorite things. When we really stop and think about it, our favorite things really aren't things at all.  Rather they are moments, sights, sounds, smells, nothing we can really put our hands on. So I got to thinking about this some.  Here are some of my favorite things...

Puppies because, well, who doesn't love them. But more specifically their curiosity and energy about life. The feel of their soft hair and the smell of their sweet breath. I could live without the destructive side of puppies, but I digress.

A child sleeping. They are so peaceful and look so innocent and calm. I just want to scoop them up and hold them while they sleep to absorb some of their peace and contentment. It must lower the blood pressure a few points to hold or watch a sleeping child.

The sound of falling snow. yes, it is a sound. It's a peaceful quiet that's like no other.

Voices raised in singing God's praise is a melody all its own. It's beautiful without other instruments.

Children singing. I love to hear a child sing. They are so honest in their song and uninhibited.

The smell of paper in a book; the feel of a rubber stamp in my hand; the uninhibited love of a child; the love of my husband who puts up with a whole lot from me; the smell of fresh cut grass. Anything about nature is amazing to me. There are just so many of my favorite things that I could go on and on.  Like the song says, when things are a little uncertain, just remember your favorite things. Even better, remember that God gave you your favorite things and thank Him for them.

February 07, 2011

A little organization

well, those who know me know how excited I am to actually have a defined craft space. It's very small, but I'll take what I can get. So I spent a lot of time working on how to fit things in.  First, I took over my husband's computer desk and gave him my old smaller desk. :D Then I went to work sorting out bins of accessories and stuff.  Whew! We stampers use a ton of stuff!!!! Well, after I got it all sorted in to some bins with drawers from Walmart, I realized it looked cluttered. So then, after having seen someone do this on HGTV, I thought it would be nice to take paper and make inserts in the fronts of the drawers to dress them up. I took some retired DSP that matches the decor I'm using and cut rectangles to fit inside the drawers. So now we see pretty DSP instead of a hodgepodge of this and that.  I think it turned out pretty and it was pretty inexpensive to do. The cute little pails you see at the top, I found at Michaels in their dollar bins. Perfect tool and pen holders. still a lot of work to do on this area, but this gave me quite a boost. Now to figure out a good system for stamps. Anyone?

Challenge! via local demo group

I love a good challenge. There is nothing that expands creativity more than to be restricted to meet certain criteria that someone else establishes. That may sound counter productive, but it's really not because it forces the mind to focus on a set of rules that you have to fit creativity within.  That can be challenging since we typically all do the same things over and over. So here are a few challenge cards that we did recently as part of a group challenge.

the first one is a Valentine card that uses "out of the box" colors melon mambo, pacific point, daffodil delight and one neutral. The challenge didn't require a Valentine card, but that was my additional restriction. So I have this wheel I made out of scrap pieces of rubber I've been wanting to use and it reminds me of bricks so I made a house with a round window and a window box of heart flowers.  It was really fun to make.

the second one was an inspiration challenge. When presented with a photo, the card was made by what inspired us in the photo.  My inspiration was color, naturals and a soft touch. So I chose to use cajun craze, pear pizazz, early espresso accents and very vanilla. The stamp set is Always, one of my personal favorites that I don't use near enough. The heart and the bird were stamped with early espresso ink and embossed with clear embossing powder. then I used markers and did a little watercoloring and emboss resist with the heart and the bird to get the flowers colored in. To make the very vanilla paper look like old parchment, I tore the edges and the sponged all over it with early espresso and soft suede inks.  Use a very light touch since a little goes a long way with this technique.

The last one is my personal favorite. It uses another of my favorites, Friends 24-7. This one was a sketch challenge. For the background I stamped in white craft ink and then embossed with white powder the image.  The rest is pretty straight forward. Not at all a very complex card, but a big pop for sure.

February 05, 2011

I'm back again!

It seems I disappear from here on a pretty regular basis for extended periods of time. Life can be like that.  Sometimes it's just random. Well, it's been a very long and exhausting couple of months. Life has changed so much here in such a short time. It has truly been mixtures of joy and sorrow.

We now have a place to call our own. It's a wonderful place. We all have our own space now and can enjoy each other. There are still boxes around and pictures to hang, but it all comes in time. Sadly, though, we had to say goodbye to a precious member of the family. Our dog got sick shortly before we moved and within a week he was bad enough we had to say goodbye to him. It was very hard and we still miss him a lot. It's amazing how much a pet can become like a person in your family. One day soon, though we will get another dog.

I was able to set up a space in our home office area to put my crafting/stamping stuff and it's so nice to have a mostly dedicated space for that stuff. I've even started stamping again. So that means more cards and things to share with you all.

Well, it's time to wrap it up, and hopefully it won't be 2 more months before I'm back again.  Stay warm and safe and enjoy your family and all the precious moments you have with each of them.