Sunday, November 15, 2015

Christmas Watercolor Giveaway

Hello again!
I am hosting my Christmas Kickoff Sale over at my Etsy shop, with a sale and a giveaway!

You can save $3 on a purchase of $15 or more - which is 20% savings! Yay!
Go to my Etsy shop and use code ChristmasKickoff2015 at checkout.

I'll be giving away this watercolor Christmas print trio - one of my favorites, by the way. It is a $25 value and makes a great gift, especially for the person you don't really know what to buy for them.

Here's how to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Carpe Diem

Carpe diem is a Latin phrase, usually translated "seize the day”. This painting, along with its series, was inspired by a recent loss in our family. We so often forget to slow down and live the today that we are given. To enjoy our loved ones. To sit and savor. To linger a little longer around the table after a meal. To love.

Some of the verses that echoed around my heart in the weeks surrounding our loved one’s death are these, all speaking of the brevity of life. Our life is but a vapor, and we do not know if we will have tomorrow. Let’s enjoy each other while we can. We are only given the gift of right now.

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 1Pe 1:24

Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah. Psa 39:5

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. Jas 4:14

The rest of this series employs coffee ring art, because most of the time we linger together, it involves a hot cup of coffee which encourages us to sit and sip, instead of gulp and go.

This particular painting is unique, and dedicated to the memory of my father in law. It features tea rings, because his hot drink of choice was tea. Winter days would often find him with a cup of this or that variation of tea in a mug. His open Bible would likely not be far away.
He will be greatly missed, and we long for Heaven when we will see him again. For we will, with certainty, see him there.

If you would like to learn how you can be forgiven, and have the same certainty of life after death in heaven, please message me and it would be my pleasure to introduce you to Jesus.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Faith Spoken Of: Stay

Faith Spoken Of: Stay: It’s hard to fully express what I felt God working in my heart last night when my husband was reading the Jesus Calling Bible Storybook to our kids.

Visit the link to read the full story.
I will likely be adding new devotional-type posts over at Faith Spoken Of, and keeping this blog to more personal/family posts, and of course DIY and recipe posts.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Let There Be Light

The first thing God created was light.

Because light gives life.

Because by light we may see His works.

Even from the beginning of creation, He was revealing Himself to us.

And then He brought another kind of light.

Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;
He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
Psalm 112:4 NKJV

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:4-5 NIV

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6 NKJV

They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Revelation 22:5 ESV

And so He bookends His precious words to us.


His desire to reveal Himself to us.

Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Romans 1:19-20 NIV

And then He becomes not only light to us, but He becomes our fullness. Our sufficiency. That we need no lamp or sun.

God’s very first recorded words were
“Let there be light.”

And there was light.

Gen 1:3

And from the beginning, His powerful words came true.
From the beginning, the whole of creation is influenced by Him. Unchangeably marked.
And without Him, the earth was not formed.

It was a void.

And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
Genesis 1:4 NKJV

…The light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
2 Corinthians 4:4b KJV

 Yes it should.

Let there be Light.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Doing Away With Tissues and Using Our Sleeves

We're a cloth diaper family. I don't really do it because I care about the environment, although I agree that is important.
Mainly I'm cheap and hate buying disposable things.

We make our own baby wipes for the same reason. While, yes, they are disposable, they are cheaper, and I know what's in them.

When I can, I make our own spices, as well, such as pumpkin pie spice, ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning mix. Partly for health reasons, but mainly because 1) they taste better, and 2) CHEAP!

I am cheap frugal when I can be. Allergy season had me cringing over the amount of Kleenex boxes we were going through. And sometimes (okay, you have permission to announce "how cheap! those poor kids!") I would let my toddler's nose run just a bit longer before he was old enough to blow his nose, just because I didn't want to waste a whole kleenex if I was just going to wipe it again in another minute and a half. (I know, I know...)

So I got an idea.



Not original with me.

But here's the thing. I don't know how they did it back when Kleenexes weren't a thing, and tissues were... especially with a cold, or allergies. The same ol' hankie all day long??

This is what has stopped me from trying it sooner.

But then somehow I got the idea to use some old t-shirt sleeves we had in the scrap bin. (I think these are left from the t-shirt quilt I have cut out but never sewn together.)

I cut off any seams, since those wouldn't feel good on a sore nose, and cut each sleeve into two pieces. If you want larger, just use the whole thing. I cut out a bunch! I knew we'd need several to keep us stocked while they cycle through the laundry.

I kept an empty tissue box to stuff them into. (Which by now looks a bit too beat up for a blog pic, since my two-year-old found it and decided it was a toy, or something to jump on, or who knows what, so you get a pic of what we're using right now, which is an empty diaper-liner box which is working nicely) Then after a bit of blowing our nose and running to the laundry room to discard the used hanky, I decided we needed a handy place to put them.
Hence, the little blue basket in the pic.

And again, my boy decided this was a toy, and commandeered it, and guests didn't know what they were for either, so I labeled it.
I used just a scrap piece of cardstock and punched holes in it, and tied it with some cute twine left from the goody-bag from my niece's 1st birthday.

And there we go! It's been a pretty easy transition for my family. It has taken a bit longer to get guests to love the idea, so we still have Kleenex boxes around, but we've totally saved money so far!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Toy Spice Container DIY Tutorial

My funny little niece received a beautiful play kitchen from my sister and her hubby this year for Christmas. My sister asked for the other gifts from the family to go with it. Play dishes, food, etc.

In the midst of making dinner (and consequently, a grocery list…) I emptied a few spice containers. Thought about washing them to use for herbs from this year’s garden, and then realized I really have enough. So I thought about tossing them.
And then I remembered Christmas.
I did wash them.
And here’s what else I did with them.

I could’ve left them as-is, and it would have been fine, but I just can’t help myself sometimes. So I got out the construction paper, mod podge, marker, stencil, and a couple other fun things.

I had asked my sister whether her daughter would have fun with little things to shake in the spice containers (I’ll never forget the little toy salt and pepper she and I had growing up- they had little plastic bits you could see shaking around as you “salted” you play-food. It was delightful.), or whether she’d be frustrated at a glued-shut lid. My sister replied that her daughter loves to open things and would probably either get frustrated that it wouldn’t open, or break it open, one of the two.
Since I wanted neither to happen, I came up with a compromise, as you’ll see below.

First, I have a very technical way to measure the paper.

Lay the container next to it, make a little mark where I want to cut. Then roll it around to see how big it should be to go all the way around, and make another mark. Cut accordingly.

Told you it was technical. Ha.

When I had all the papers cut, I wrote on them. I used the Tupperware alphabet stencil I found at a garage sale. It made such adorable letters! I could have freehanded it, but I was happy enough with the stencil that I decided to go the easy route and stencil it.
I went for “Sugar”, “Spice”, and “Everything Nice”… because that’s what little girls are made of.

Not that she’ll be cooking up little girls any time soon…

I hope.

For the pepper container, since it wasn’t round, I looked at the faint folds in the paper from when I wrapped it around to see where I ought to write the words. And I wrote it on both sides. You can do yours however.

I mod-podged them on (See my newsprint tray tutorial for tips on mod podge if you’ve never done it before, so you don’t end up with wrinkly labels on your play-kitchen spices.) and then added some little paper-punch stars. I used a scrapbooking star punch, and punched various colors. I even used the construction paper packaging from the store (The one that is on the top, like the label for the pack of paper. “250 sheets! 8 colors!” or whatever… Yep I saved that.) to punch stars with. It made some of them have a fun color pattern. (I must not have gotten any pictures of that part.)

I modpodged the stars on as I did my second coat of mod podge. By the time I got to the fourth spice thing, the first was dry enough for me to add a third coat. I have no idea if it really needed that much mod-podge but I thought more is probably better when it’s going to be a toddler toy. More durable that way.

So about the shaking/opening dilemma. I really really wanted to put something in there to shake around, but wanted to honor my sisters request to just leave them all openable. Here’s my compromise.

The two “Spice” containers and the “Pepper” container I left openable and empty. They weren’t really see-through enough to warrant shaky little pieces inside anyway.

But the more clear one (from parsley or something?) also had the two-way lid (pour and shake) so the lid opened with a flip top, instead of just the screw-off. With me so far? After punching a decent amount of fun-foam confetti and putting it inside (actually I gave up on using the hole-punch and just cut little tiny pieces with scissors. It was faster)  I cut a circle in the fun-foam the same size as the lid and superglued it inside. Then I superglued the lid onto the container over that. So you can still open the shaker, but no pieces come out.

And that’s all I did! You can go easier or more complicated- totally up to you. You could do more writing on it, or cut out some pictures from magazines to mod-podge on there, or whatever!
I’d love to see pics or hear your ideas of what you did.

Friday, January 2, 2015

What I’m collecting this year

For the last few years I’ve tried to pick a word for the New Year in lieu of making any resolutions. The idea is to be able to focus on forming new habits or traits and not being overwhelmed with a list of hard-to-achieve goals. I’m all for goals, don’t get me wrong, but finding a single word to work toward makes it a lot easier to focus.

Here’s the way puts it:
The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD.
 This process provides clarity by taking all your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single focus. Just one word that centers on your character and creates a vision for your future.”

In the fall, through some excellent studies I’d been participating in, one theme kept sticking out to me in the verses I would read.
Wait on the Lord.

But my soul kept asking me, ‘what does that really even mean?’

So my word this year is wait.

And it will become a matter of deeper study and reflection for me as I discover what God meant when He tells us, yes, urges us, to wait on Him.

From time to time you’ll see a post here delving into some of those reflections and discoveries- like today! What better way to start the new year than to be in God’s word?

Today, as often happens, I went on a daisy-chain search through the Bible, finding what I wasn’t really looking for. I was looking up the cross-reference listed in my Bible to one of the Jesus Calling daily devotional verses for today. (I highly recommend Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, by the way! You'll probably see me reference it a lot in times to come.) When I arrived at the cross-reference verse, I started looking at all the verses on that two-page-spread that I’d marked or underlined. And that’s when I landed on this verse:

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Psalm 27:14 NKJV

 And I cried. God does know His children.

He knows me.

I decided to look up the word wait in Strong's and was very blessed. I think you will be too.

To wait, look for, expect
Waiting (participle)
To linger for
To collect

What if I linger a little longer, and my collections were God – could I gain more enjoyment from collecting God than any other thing collected?

I linger at the window when my husband goes to work.
I linger a little longer in the coffee aisle at the grocery store than the other aisles.
I linger at the doorway when I lay my sleeping sons in their beds.
I linger to witness the sunset, sunrise, clear stars or breathtaking sky.

Would I linger at God’s word and allow Him to offer me strength in return? Will I linger in prayer a little longer instead of becoming distracted with my to do list for the day? Would I linger in an attitude of worship before moving on to the next thing?

And what if God was my favorite collection?
And why do we collect things in the first place?

Because we really like them.
Because we can’t get enough.
Because looking at them makes us happy.
Because we like finding them at all the places we visit.
Because there are so many varieties and we just love all the different kinds.

And aren’t these all great reasons to collect God?

Let’s develop insatiable appetites for Him! Let’s take joy at looking at our collection. Let’s look for Him everywhere we visit. Let’s be in awe at all the different marvelous facets of Him.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission for anything you order through them, but the price will be the same for you either way. Thank you for helping to support this blog!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Forty-Five | And a Giveaway

45. That’s the speed limit on a particular road near my house. Has been 45 for as long as I can remember. There’s not much on that road- no businesses really, no houses. It’s just a road from here to there.

But for some reason I have trouble going past 30 on that road.

I don’t know why. I’m not a speed demon by any means. Kindof a self-proclaimed granny driver normally. But typically I try to drive at *just* the speed limit. If there’s a place I feel wont to speed, I put it on cruise control so that I don’t accidentally do so.

Rules are nice. So are speed limits.

So why on that particular road do I always have trouble?

I don’t have an insightful answer for you, but it does provide a great illustration for a bit of soul searching I’ve been doing as a result of our recent Bible study at church (Beth Moore’s Breaking Free).

There are some areas that for one reason or another, I refuse to let go, and be free in God. I am held back. And it’s not pretty. It’s frustrating for everyone around me. And my Authority is telling me, “You can go faster… It’s okay. You’ll reach your goal sooner.”

But there are areas where I have allowed my pain to define me, and my fear to keep me back. And it has made me slow in growing, slow in my faith growing and altogether captive. But just in those areas. I have not been held back completely; in other areas I’ve grown and matured, even felt like ‘speeding’ (to stay with my illustration).

It is possible to have split captivity and freedom.

But I desire to just floor it and go! Just throw the top down, crank up the worship music and just thrive in Jesus!

Jesus, help me. It’s 45! This vehicle was made to go faster than I’m letting it. Anyone in the car with me – my kids or my husband, or friends and family – are also held back when they’re on the ride with me.

Not only do I hold up others, and take longer to reach my destination than I ought to have, and frustrate those around me, but I’m wasting precious time! Remember I said there’s nothing on that road. It’s just a journey. So then opportunities could be lost for my wasting the allotted minutes of my life on dawdling. On fear, or bondage of any kind. It is such a waste of my life to stay in it.

Let’s go! It’s 45.
I have reached a measure of healing. I am by no means where I ought to be, but definitely farther than I was.

That’s all I have to say. Nothing terribly profound- just thoughts. If any of this resonates with you, though, I would strongly urge you to read the book or participate in the study or both.

Also- I want to let you know about a giveaway I am blessed to sponsor! It is over at Created to Glorify and there’s only a few days left to enter. Here’s the link:

It features words from one of the memory verses from Breaking Free, Isaiah 61:3, with which I’ll close.

“…and provide for those who grieve in Zion
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.”

Isaiah 61:3 NIV

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My Prince

Continuing our writing challenge for October, and I'd like to share a little bit about my prince.

I have always been his princess, and so he is my prince. He works so hard for our family.
I just love his chocolate brown eyes, and wavy brown hair. And though I tease him about them, I love his short fingers. His hands are perfect.

He is the oldest of 7, and their family is comprised of mostly boys. He has all the firstborn tendencies about protecting and providing and being true to his word.

When I first started falling for him, it wasn't because I was attracted to his looks. I was attracted to him. The  funny things he would say, the deep way he would feel, and his honesty and trustworthiness.

We met over a door. Well, kindof. We were on a mission trip with our church and he and I got assigned to the same team (yay!) so we were at the same location all week. One of the project days he and I were working on sanding down the same door for a house we were working on, and we had a nice chance to just talk. Visit, laugh, learn about each other, all while doing hard work in ministry.

I love that our relationship started with ministry. And while doing hard work.

The hard work has not stopped.

This has been a banner year for home-repair for us! My poor husband has not only had to deal with something constantly being wrong with the house/car/computers, but usually more than one thing at once. (Currently it's the car doing weird things and the garage door being broken.) These have at times displaced us from our home and caused us major inconvenience and stress. But he has kept truckin' through it all, and I love him dearly for it.

I love seeing him father our children. He backs me up when I ask him, and when he doesn't, he explains to me why not. And I typically see his wisdom and agree.

He prays for our family and for our children. And every night, even if he's so tired he's falling asleep between sentences, he reads from the Jesus Storybook Bible and sometimes also the actual Bible verses to our boys. Even when we were in the NICU with our firstborn, he read.

I just really could go on bragging on him all day but I promised to keep things short.
He is my prince.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Writing Challenge

So... I missed the beginning of the month for the 31 day writing challenge, but I'd still like to do it, and the Adrian Monk in me is going to backdate posts til I get caught up.
Sometimes I write deep, sometimes I write candidly, as thoughts enter my mind. There will likely be a mixture of both.

We're supposed to pick a theme to write about for 31 days, starting Oct. 1. I am choosing a rather generic theme "My Life at Home".

I am married, and the mom of two boys, and work from home. I love coffee, Bible study, music, art and working with my hands. You'll get to delve into some of those topics a little deeper with me as we go, but for today we'll stick to a short overview.

I grew up the second oldest in a house with 10 children. My youngest sister was born a couple months before my high-school graduation, and my oldest sister is just 15 months older than I.

I'm no stranger to hard work, though there are days (not unlike this one) where all motivation is squelched by lack of energy. I should have gone to bed earlier last night instead of working on the canning. More on that later. Coffee is in the microwave. It'll probably get warmed up -again- at least three times before I finish the cup. It's not even that big of a cup today.

I love to learn. I think I have a longer bucket list of things I'd like to learn than things I'd like to do. Anything from learning more languages to learning instruments to learning how to make that cool leaf in your coffee.

Oh yeah. My coffee....

I don't have all that great of style. I think I used to, and then I don't rightly know when it happened that I lost it. I just have me-style, and that's gotta be good enough. I do love that free-spirited boho look that's light loose and comfy. My mom says I was born in the wrong decade and should've been a 70s child. She's probably right, except that then I wouldn't have my Ian, and my mom would've probably been my big sister instead of my mom... and a whole lot of other 'excepts'. But back to style. Sometimes what I love and what I actually wear are two very different things- yoga pants just easier some days, you know?

I love about any kind of food. Usually I really really love the sortof ethnic fusion or mashup kinds of meals. Or the pseudo-ethnic versions that Pinterest is full of (and pseudo is completely okay!) but I do love some comfort food now and again, like pot roast, or white bean soup, and yes (of course!) mac-n-cheese.

I will close before this gets too terribly long, but there you go. A little about me that you maybe didn't know before. Let's do this thing! I love the idea of writing for 31 days. I do wish I remembered the two or three more creative topics that I thought of on October 1st (the real one) when I first saw the challenge, but maybe I'll do another one later on?

Now, coffee.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Put your stuff down so I can change you

Put your stuff down so I can change you.

This is what I told to my toddler. He’s always got something he’s carrying around. This week it’s either his cars or a couple of flashlights. Or both. From the moment he wakes up, pretty much until we put him to bed at night, he’s got something in his hands.

This morning was no different. Before breakfast, when I was changing his diaper and preparing to get him dressed, he’d found some treasures to hold.

When it came time for me to change his shirt, however, the items were too big to fit through the arm-holes, and this is what I said,
“Put your stuff down so I can change you.”

And it stopped me cold.

Yesterday at our church, we started the Bible study Breaking Free by Beth Moore. I haven’t even tapped into the homework yet, but I know it’s going to be a life-changer. I have also been going through So Long, Insecurity, also by Beth Moore, and it is already changing my life, and changing how I look at things.

Put your stuff down…

Don’t we all have our ‘stuff’? Our treasures, yes. Our hurts too? Most certainly. And we’ve been called to lay it down. Just let go of it.

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” NKJV emphasis mine

Repeat after me:
“It’s not worth it!”

If it’s going to keep us from being changed, it’s not worth it. If it’s going to keep us from growing in Christ, it’s not worth it. If it’s going to keep us from living abundant life, the life that He gave His very life to ensure that we could live, it’s not worth it!

Put your stuff down so I can change you.

Ephesians 4:22-24 “22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

The parallel deepened for me, as I pulled his little chubby arms through the sleeves, and gave him a clean shirt to wear. Clean. New. And it was even the one with the firecrackers on it; the one I bought for him because it was representative of his surprise (quite early!) July birth. “Little Firecracker” it says on the front. And he wears it today.
What are we wearing today? No, I don’t mean which cute shirt are you wearing, or whether you’re in slacks or sweatpants. I mean what is the image – whose image – are we representing?

Are we wearing our hurts?
I am abused.
I am neglected.
I am forgotten.
I am not good enough.
I am ______________?

Or are we wearing Christ?
We are not only called to put off our old self, but also to put on our new nature. Live as one created in righteousness and truth.

Friends, let’s be changed. And let’s let God do the changing.

Put your stuff down so I can change you.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


I'm not gonna lie. Life is hard. SO hard. But I'm remembering to be thankful. I'm remembering to savor. Because even if life is hard, it is my life. My only life. These day-to-days even when I accomplish nothing other than keeping my little boys alive and fed, these are my life. We're in the thick of it. We're smack in the middle (and at the beginning, depending on perspective) of doing the thing, and we get one shot at it.

I'm extraordinarily hard on myself. I am realizing more and more how many people are hard on themselves and I am no exception. I didn't really think of myself as a perfectionist, but perhaps there is a bit of that in me. It could just be plain ol' insecurity. It could be a lot of things. (By the way, I'm going through Beth Moore's So Long Insecurity with four precious daughters of God, and it is like a fresh glass of iced tea in July. Every person on the planet could benefit from that book and I strongly recommend you get a copy!)

But I'm easing up a bit.

I am a week behind on my scripture memory. Or a year plus a week, depending how you look at it. I started the Romans Project last year and drifted away from the habit around the end of July or August. Life happens, and I allowed it to get in the way. So I started back with it this year in the middle of July, and am behind.
I was beating myself up about this. This and a host of other 'started but unfinished' projects... like the laundry for example.

But there is grace. God offers grace abundant, and we've only but to receive it.

And I am behind on my scripture memory, but, God graciously reminded me, at least I'm doing it. God's precious words, while maybe not in the quantity or at the pace I would have liked, are still being trained into my heart. Little is better than none at all; praise Jesus.

We took a walk yesterday. The dinner dishes weren't washed. My son may have still had a bit of pizza sauce on his face.
But we laughed together.

My hair is graying and I'm not even 30.
But I have hair.

My best girlfriend is states away.
But I have a precious friend.

The sink is full of dishes and the diapers need washed.
But I have a family to clean up after.

My back aches and my arms and neck are sore.
But these are all likely from caring for and carrying my kids.

These are hard eucharisteo and gifts only from God.
Every good and perfect gift comes from God. Our father.
I have a Father.
I have gifts from that Good Father.
I am thankful.

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