Thursday, November 27, 2014

Are You Listening

Recently, in my Disciple 5 class we were studying the kingdom sayings of Jesus Christ. The class is focused on painting a picture of who Jesus is and for us to have a better understanding of his ministry. To that end, we not only read about Jesus in the New Testament, we also read the Old Testament, which pointed towards Jesus' coming and what his ministry would be about.

As I was reflecting about the kingdom sayings, the following scripture kept playing over and over in my mind, "And he said, “Go and say to this people: ‘Keep listening, but do not comprehend; keep looking, but do not understand.’ (Isaiah 6:9, NRSV).  This scripture was referenced by Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels as well: "You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive".  (Matthew 13:14, NRSV).

This scripture intrigues me because I hear some folk saying they don't understand a certain sermon or don't like the style of preaching of a pastor, or they comprehend because of the way someone speaks (it could be the person's accent or intonation).  It got me to thinking, "are they listening?, are they really paying attention?, "Are they even trying?" 

I feel revelation is given to some and others, as stated in the above scripture, will listen, and not comprehend, will look and not understand.  Some folk are not where they need to be in their Christian walk. As stated by the Apostle Paul, they may be on milk and not meat ("I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready1 Corinthians 3:2). Jesus' Disciples certainly didn't get it immediately. They didn't understand when he spoke in parables. Jesus had to die on the cross for his words, his kingdom sayings, his actions to be understood by his Disciples. The cross became the symbol of the price Jesus paid for (their) our salvation. When Jesus died on the cross, and was resurrected, his words became real; understanding and revelation was like a switch being turned on for his Disciples and those who followed him.

Some people have to endure trials and tribulations: the loss of a job, or sickness; the death of a loved one; falling into addiction of some sort and feeling as though there is no way out. These are all crosses some must bear and it is in the carrying of the cross that we experience what it means to lean on Jesus. It is in the carrying of our cross that we cry out to God for help, for release, for strength. When we reach a breaking point in our struggle and surrender completely to God and invite him into our lives; when we seek him through his Word, and develop a relationship with him, it is then that revelation and understanding will slowly begin. It is not instant. It is day-by-day. It is constantly seeking and doing his will. It is following in his footsteps: loving the unlovable, seeking the unreachable, by our witness to God's grace and mercy in our lives.

The recent decision of the Grand Jury in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri is one such example of what it means to live as Jesus did. Despite our anger and unbelief at the injustice carried out against our black men (and boys) and the rampant racism that still exists in America, Jesus is calling us to do things his way. To turn the other cheek, to not allow anger to take hold of us and lead us into sin, to love and pray for those who persecute us, yes, even officer Darren Wilson.

Today, on a day when most Americans celebrate a day of giving thanks, it is my hope that the words Jesus spoke, which are recorded in scripture, will come to life in your mind and you will experience the revelation of being able to listen and comprehend what Jesus is calling us to do.

I pray that as you celebrate this day, you will remember the one who paid the price for our freedom from sin. Blessings for a Happy Thanksgiving!

video


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Vulnerablity

The cry of the Israelites has now come to me;
Exodus 3:9 NRSV

To be vulnerable is to open ourselves up to hurt. Yes, hurt. You ask, why would I want to be hurt by anyone or anything? Trust me, it is not easy to be vulnerable; it is not easy to expose our innermost feelings to others! We won’t take that risk! Revealing vulnerability to others is showing weakness. Better yet, it makes us seem like children. Yes, children. We hear words like, “You baby”, “cry, cry baby”, or “act your age”.

When I was young, I never wanted others to see me cry when they hurt me with their words. Why? Because in our culture, crying meant you were a baby. Instead, I hid behind an angry face and would lash out at my tormentors. That is, until my older sister took hold of me and started speaking words of wisdom to me. She would say to me not to become angry at people’s words, to remember that, “sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words would never hurt me”. Those words formed me in a way I cannot describe. They were a reminder to me that it did not matter what people said to me or about me; what mattered is how I handled the situation. Do I lash out or ignore? Many times, ignoring meant crying tears of hurt, which allowed others to see me in a new light, no longer hiding behind a face of anger or an attitude of “don’tcarishness” (an “I don’t care what you say about me!” attitude).

When we become vulnerable, we allow others to see our hearts. We allow them to enter into the most private space in our hearts, that space occupied by ourselves and by God alone. We become, in fact, like children, open to the wonders of being carefree and innocent. When we become like children we are dependent on others to take care of us, i.e., our parents. Without a father or mother, we cannot survive as children.

In Exodus, when Moses saw the burning bush and heard God’s voice, he hid his face for fear of looking at God (Exodus 3:6). But God had work for Moses to do, for he saw the vulnerability of his people, the Israelites, and Moses would be the tool he would use to deliver them from Egypt. 


The Israelites’ childlike quality or vulnerability is what called to God.

Carol Kent and her husband Gene, in “A New Kind of Normal,” allowed their vulnerability to shine for the world to see when they allowed the cameras of Dateline NBC into their lives and into their story. What happened next was a surprise for them – the outpouring of love and support they received from friends and people who they did not know was an encouragement to them during their darkest moments. That is what happens when we open up and become vulnerable, when we invite God into our innermost thoughts (which he already knows) and cry out to him for help. He sees our need for him, for his love and protection.

On another note, this blog is mainly for me to showcase my cards and art, however, oftentimes I get so busy with my work and ministry that I neglect to update you readers with what I have been up to. On occasion, I make cards or art work and forget to take photos (yikes!).  Since my last post I made these three cards and all of them were for special persons or events.  Enjoy!

For a Sistah in Christ battling Breast Cancer

A couple at church who celebrated 29 years of wedded bliss!


This is a couple getting married next month.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Why You Should Share Your Story

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,
and by the word of their testimony; 
Revelation 12:11 KJV

In the Small Group that I facilitate on Monday evenings at my church we are reading the book, "A New Kind of Normal, by Carol Kent. Today we were on Chapter 5, the title of which is, "My Heartache Is None of Your Business!"

The title of this week’s reading really got to me. We tend to want to keep our heartaches to ourselves for we are afraid to let others into our private lives; we’re afraid to be vulnerable and to be perceived as weak.

What if, instead of thinking of how we are being looked upon, we take the focus off ourselves and instead try to use our situation as an example for others not to experience and go through what we have gone through?  For example, if we share our situation as a means of empowering others; as an example of what not to do.

That is what having and sharing a testimony is all about.  Carol Kent makes it clear that “revealing our weaknesses helps others feel connected to us.”

It is important for us to share our testimonies because it allows others to feel connected to us.  When you are going through something, you never know who you are sharing a similar situation with.  It also makes you more approachable, more human.  People might see you and know of you, but not know your story.  When people know your testimony, it makes you appear less perfect and as having something in common with others.

Sharing your testimony promotes trust with others.  It allows people to come to you and open up about what they are going through because they will feel they have someone who they can empathize with, someone who can and will encourage them.

Your testimony offers hope to others.  It allows people to know that no matter what they may be facing there is hope of them coming through it.  It will give people the power they need to face their situation and confront what they are going through with courage and conviction.
 
Remember, the enemy of our souls wants to keep us down.  He wants to keep us in darkness.  However, when we keep our experiences to ourselves, we are empowering the enemy, who will use what we are going or gone through to keep us in shackles; he wants to keep us focused on our mistakes and our pain.  But, we need to remember that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. In other words, tell the enemy to shut his mouth when you open yours!

Here are some of the work I have done since my last post, I hope you enjoy just looking. I'm too tired tonight to give a description on how I put it all together.  That will have to wait for another post. G'night!

I created this piece for my sister's birthday.













Friday, August 29, 2014

Shake Well Before Using

I was listening to a sermon preached by Pastor Tim Dilena this past Sunday at the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York. The sermon is entitled "My Pain Needs a Word".  In it he gives an analogy about reading the label on a medicine bottle, which says "shake well before using".  He went on to say, and I paraphrase, "sometimes God needs to shake us a little bit so he can use us".  What does he mean by this, you ask? I'll tell you what it means for me. 

November 2014 will mark the 10th anniversary of my being shaken up by God.  I went through a very painful situation that changed my life and shook me to the very core of my being. At the time I was left without a safety net and felt as though my whole world was crumbling. I had no way to turn and was desperately grasping at straws. I felt as if I was drowning -- literally. 

Though I was involved in church, I had just a fleeting knowledge of God and his Word. I knew I loved him; I knew I needed to follow his commands and live a life devoted to doing his will, but that was it, only knowledge. I had no feeling for his Word and no desire to do his will. That is, until November 2004. 

When I could turn neither left nor right, I only had one option: to turn to God and his Word. I grasped his Word and began the slow process of rising out of my pain and despair.  The more I read the Bible, the more I held on for dear life. His Word became my lifeline and I began to devour it to keep me floating.  I started listening to teachings on his Word; I joined a Disciple Bible Study class to learn his Word. I was already singing in a choir, however, it took on a new meaning as the words we sung spoke to my fragile heart and gave me hope that I would come through what I was going through.

God shook me up to get my attention and he succeeded. That experience could have broken me; it could have derailed my future and put a stop to my dreams.  But he wanted me to know the way I was living my life was not what he wanted from me. He had to pull the rug from under me so I would turn to him and not depend on myself or others, but solely on him.

Pastor Dilena used the following Psalms in giving his sermon and they really spoke to my heart.  Psalm 119:67, 71, and 92 state, "Before I was humbled I went astray, but now I keep your word... It is good for me that I was humbled, so that I might learn your statutes...If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my misery."  God had to shake my world and turn it upside down so I could learn his ways and follow his laws! 

Through my pain and the uncertainty of my future, I drew closer to God and learned to trust him for all my needs. I learned to call on his name in my darkest hour and watch as he came (comes) to my rescue; I learned to submit to his will for my life and allow him to use me to accomplish it; and more than anything, I learned to listen and to these words: "be still and know that I am God".

God wants to use us in mighty ways to bring glory to his name.  We are his ears, his eyes, his feet, and his pocket. We have been placed on this earth for a specific reason and he will have his way, even if it means to "shake well before using".


One of the ways God uses me is by utilizing the talents and gifts he's given me.  I love making greeting cards and I allow the Holy Spirit to inspire me to make cards that speak to those receiving them.  Today I will share a card I made for a church member who recently celebrated her 103rd birthday. I used MTC to cut the cover created by Bird from www.birdscard.com,  The background digital glitter paper is called Autumn Splendor Gold Rush and it  is from Scrapbookgraphics.com.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Some Cards

This week I was in a creative mood, which got me working and produced a few cards (though I'm only posting three right now; I'll blog about the others in another post).

This first card was inspired from a tutorial here. I had this digital image pre-printed and stored in a binder I have for work I want to do, but haven't got around to. I thought it would fit perfectly inside the frame of the card. I colored the flowers and vase using Copic markers and added Stickles to give the appearance of water. 

The second card was inspired by some coasters I purchased last December. These coasters have all types of quotes and I thought they would make nice gifts, however, because I went out of state for the holidays, I didn't get around to giving them to anyone.  Here are some of them. Aren't they cute?

I took the coaster and attached it to the back of a frame I die cut with my Cuttlebug. I then attached that to a cardstock from my stash of patterned stocks and papers. Here is a front and side view of the card.

The last card was truly an inspiration.
I was checking out the SVG files on the Pazzles Craftroom and found this file.
I downloaded and printed it in layers using MTC and my Silhouette Cameo. The afrocentric pattern of the dress was paper pierced. I had to cut a neckline so the dress didn't go up to her neck, lol! I created the backgroud using Mixed Media technique combining watercolors, stamps (chevron pattern), and stenciling.  I found the frame
here (along with some other ethnic themed SVGs).  


What I enjoyed most about this card was coming up with the right sentiment. I took inspiration from Matthew 11:28-30: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (KJV)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The God Who Is Everything

Why do we say (or think) we are lonely? Why do we feel the need to seek out things (or people) that gives us temporary pleasure (satisfaction) and after satisfying our need, we feel a void in our lives?

We search and cannot find true happiness because we believe happiness lies in the hands of another, in our relationship with someone other than ourselves, in buying or owning material things, not realizing that to be truly happy we must learn to love ourselves; we must learn to surrender our lives to the real lover of our soul, Jesus Christ.

Who knows us better than we know ourselves? God does. The psalmist writes, "You have searched me, Lordand you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar." (Psalm 139:1-2, NIV).  There is nothing about us that God does not know. He knows our every thought. Every word we speak is known to him even before it is formed in our minds.  This knowledge of God speaks of relationship to me. It may be one-sided (on God's part) but can become a whole connection if we give ourselves over to him and invite him into our lives.

I am not alone, though it may appear that way because of my lack of a physical partner.  I am not lonely - God is with me every step of the way.  He is my companion when I feel lonely, he's my comforter when I'm in pain; when I need someone to confide in, he's my confidante; he is my BFF (best friend forever) and my BFL (best friend for life); he dries my tears when I'm crying; he heals me when I'm sick; he watches over me everywhere I go; he's my guide, my one and only, he's my everything. God is so much more than a fleeting thought; he's foundation, he's solid rock; he's strength; he's light; he's happiness; he's joy. He is everything we are looking for.

When you feel that yearning, that feeling you cannot describe; that lack of satisfaction, that emptiness inside, it is Jesus knocking at the door of your heart. Stop looking for that elusive lover. Stop searching for temporary pleasures. Instead, open the doors of your heart to receive Jesus and enter into relationship with the one who knows everything about you, for he knew you before you were formed in your mother's womb (Jeremiah 1:5).  When you open those doors, you will find fulfillment in every area of your life and loneliness will be no more. 

Today's card features a Julie Nutting digital stamp. I stamped the image on white cardstock and colored it using Copic markers. I stamped it again, but this time I did it on a zebra pattern paper I had in my stash (the skirt) and yellow glitter paper (the hem of the skirt).
I paper-pierced both of these and glued them to the stamped image. I then used Stickles (yellow) to glitz up the blouse and head band on the image.  The background yellow/black paper is from here. The layered glitter paper is from a stash I've had lying around. I stamped Ecclesiastes 3:11, "He has made all things beautiful in its time" from Verve Stamps onto a white cardstock and die cut it using Spellbinders Nestabilities Labels 4 and Labels 25 (black background). 
finished the card by adding some embellishments from my stash.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Letting Go

Fear, anger, worries… these are all things we cling to.  We fear that which is unknown; we get angry when we feel we are wronged, or slighted, or misunderstood; we worry about everything… how we look in the eyes of others, how we live, what we eat or wear, we even worry about what others may say about us.  All of these come from some place in us that refuses to let go: let go of the fear that we don’t know or can’t see; of the anger we feel against those we feel have wronged us; of worrying about how we will make it or how we will survive.

A card I made for a friend diagnosed with cancer of the lungs.
I recently re-read one of my favorite books, “When I lay my Isaac Down” by Carol Kent.  Carol and her husband had to surrender their only son to the prison system after he committed the unthinkable crime: murder of another human being.  With that one act, their son, Jason Paul, or J.P. for short, had turned the family’s whole world upside down.  Throughout that whole ordeal, the Kents had to learn to surrender all – their hope for their son’s future, their living as it had been up until then to the Lord. They had to trust God to bring them out of the wilderness of anger, pain, fear, and worry, to a place where they could hope for the future and the future of their only son, who is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Today’s devotion in the Upper Room Disciplines 2014, deals with letting go of our Ishmaels (read Genesis 21:8-21); having the courage to release our grasp on that which we hold dear and to cling tightly to God and trust him with our future.   How can we do this, we wonder? I suggest that we start by building a relationship with God; one that will allow us to trust that when we stumble and fall, he’ll be there to catch or pick us up.  I’m not saying this will be easy, but once we invite God into our private space and begin giving him our fears, worries, pain, and anger, we will find the courage to surrender all of these to him and he will show us the way out of our wilderness.

I recently heard a song that spoke to my spirit, “I Will Follow” by Jon Guerra.  The lyrics to this song moved me to tears and it validated my trust in this God who loves me despite my faults and my failures. Despite my problems, my fears, and insecurities, I will follow him; I won’t turn back, I’ll keep moving forward.

I leave you with the video and lyrics to the song:



I Will Follow
Worship Leader: Jon Guerra
(Jon Guerra, Jacob Sooter)

When the sea is calm and all is right
When I feel Your favor flood my life
Even in the good, I'll follow You
Even in the good, I'll follow You

When the boat is tossed upon the waves
When I wonder if You'll keep me safe
Even in the storms, I'll follow You
Even in the storms, I'll follow You

I believe everything that You say You are
I believe that I have seen Your unchanging heart
In the good things and in the hardest part
I believe and I will follow You
I believe and I will follow You

When I see the wicked prospering
When I feel I have no voice to sing
Even in the want, I'll follow You
Even in the want, I'll follow You

When I find myself so far from home
And You lead me somewhere I don't wanna go
Even in my death, I'll follow You
Even in my death, I'll follow You

When I come to end this race I've run
And I receive the prize that Christ has won
I will be with You in Paradise
I will be with You in Paradise

Monday, June 9, 2014

Be Ready in Season or out of Season

2 Timothy 4:2 states, "preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season;" Well, I am literally living that scripture.  The past few weeks have seen its share of sickness, hospitalization, and sudden deaths in my circle. There have been joyous occasions like birthdays and graduations.

I say all that to say this: It pays to be ready.  Last night I stayed up and put together 5 cards. One was this sympathy card. I used the Anna Griffin embossing folder to emboss the card with my Cuttlebug, then adhered gray ribbon (Stampin' Up Basic Gray) and embellished with dot pearls.  This was a quick and easy card.  


The next card was a Get Well card for a friend. She actually is getting two cards as she just celebrated a birthday. For the Get Well card, I attempted to do the spotlight technique using the background paper. I didn't have all of the circle punches I needed to cut several sizes, so I contented myself with just the two I cut out. I used Copic Markers to make the flowers pop and finished off by adding crystals to embellish the card. This other card was made by using a Robert Jackson's digital stamp and Copic Markers to color in the hair and skin. I used Gimp to add pattern to the dress and finished embellishing with a Doily I had in my stash.

The next card is for a young lady who lost her mother last November.  It is really a card of encouragement for her as she faces life without her mother.  I made the background using watercolor paper and following the Die Cut Stencils technique HERE.



 

And the last card is a thank you card for a gentleman. I don't know about you card makers out there, but I find myself lost when it comes to designing cards for men. Oftentimes, I have to get inspired by other works. This card, however, I had to visualize and do on my own. I used a scallop punch to cut one end of the light blue cardstock, then embossed a scrap of the blue cardstock and used a 1" hole punch to punch out the circles to attach to the light blue paper. I then cut some arrows from MTC using my Silhouette machine, and finished by attaching a Thank You sentiment.

 Making these cards relate to the scripture above. I need to be ready because I never know when I'm going to have to send cards to those who are in need, hurting or celebrating. It's best if I'm ready and just reach for a card, address it and mail it off.  What do you think?




Friday, June 6, 2014

Framed Art

One of my passions is card making. I love to make handcrafted cards. I also love working with graphics. As I was wondering how I could really combine these into one artistic form, I was inspired to use scripture in creating framed art I could give as gifts. I've blogged about this in the past (see post dated September 13, 2013).

Here is one of those inspirations:

How do these come together? I pick the digital stamp I want to work with from my collection. This digital stamp is from Robert Jackson. Once I've selected the stamp, I research the scripture I want to use.

Now this is where I get my inspiration. Most of the scriptures I use tend to fit the digital stamp I choose (see below). I sometimes print these on watercolor paper (if I'm using different mediums to color). In the case of the photo above, I printed the scripture on regular card stock (I created the file in MS Word) because all I did was use Copic Markers to color in the stamped image. I printed another copy and cut-out the blouse, then attached it to the Cheetah print cardstock from my stash (I did it this way as opposed to printing on the cardstock because of the glitter in the paper) then paper pierced that section and pasted it on the digi stamp.

To finish off embellishing the piece, I used Stickles glitter to add dimension and pop the necklace and earrings. I finished the piece by adding rhinestone ribbon, then attaching it to a mat for framing.

Here is another sample:



and others:



I have a few more surprises in store for you, so sit tight until my next post.

Ciao!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Party Planning

I know you have seen my work in terms of creating cards and invitations. One of my other passions is baking and just putting together a good party. I recently blogged about some invitations for a tropical wedding.  Well, last month I was asked to make the invitations for the bridal shower, a party banner and some favors.

I made the invitations solely from my computer.  Microsoft Word is the medium I use for my invitations, though I use Gimp for my graphics.  The theme for this invitation was the same as the wedding - tropical. Because I knew the color scheme, I was able to work very quickly on creating the background for the invites. This is what it looked like (minus the smudges):

I used Gimp to create the background and purchased my stock images from www.123rf.com. 

The party banner borrowed the same title from the invitation: "From Miss to Mrs."  Using the bride's favorite colors, yellow and orange, I used my Silhouette machine to create the following banner:


I got the template for the banner template from www.birdscards.com and opened it in MTC, resized it, added the letters and cut it using my Silhouette.  The card stock I used for the banner background was leftover paper from the bride's invitations I made a few months back.  I cut out the letters and added pop-up glue dots to give dimension to the letters (see below).



Finally, the favors I made were Oreo cookies dipped in Almond Bark (milk and white chocolate). I followed this recipe in order to put them together. Here's the final product:

If you haven't done so yet, I recommend you visit or join Pinterest. I find a lot of creative ideas for baking, card making and anything else I find myself inclined to want to try. 

This is all for today. Be on the lookout for another posting from me soon. I've been in a creative mode and have lots I want to share.

Ciao!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Julie Nutting Stamps

I ran into Julie Nutting stamps while browsing a few card making blogs and fell instantly in love with them. I immediately purchased a whole collection on Amazon. I love the infinite possibilities of being able to create beautiful cards with these stamps.

My first creation was a farewell card for the organist of my choir who was leaving.  Knowing her love of fashion, I immediately made a card she could identify with and which spoke to who she was.  Here it is:

This stamp is called Megan. I stamped and colored her using Copic markers then paper pierced the skirt and top with card stock from my stash.  I then used Stickles to embellish the hem of the top and her boots. I layered the cut-out on a fancy frame and placed it over a colored burlap to match the colors in the skirt. The background paper is from the Animal Prints digital paper by Digi Diva.

The second card I made was for a 50th birthday party. This card started out with me creating a checkerboard flooring technique (tutorial is found here). Once I made the floor, I thought a Julie Nutting stamp would go just right with it. I Gessoed the card stock paper and used watercolor and reinkers to create the background. I then attached the flooring I made to the card stock.  I stamped the Doll with Swing Dress rubber stamp, cut-out the doll, colored with Copics.
I then paper pierced the skirt, again using Animal Prints by Digi Diva and embellished the skirt and blouse hem, and shoes (as well as added earrings and a bracelet) with Stickles. I cut out a dance hall ball, used Stickles to give it some dimension, and added some gold thread to give the appearance of a Disco ball hanging from a dance floor.  I finished the card by adding a Happy Birthday tag.

My third creation is a framed art using Julie Nutting's Lorena rubber stamp. For this I used watercolor paper to make the background. I used a mixture of pinks with a tinge of orange watercolor and swirled it on the background. Once dry, I stamped the rubber stamped image to the background and colored it with Copics. I placed the card stock in my printer and printed the scripture to the right of the stamped image (Genesis 1:31). I then used a double-sided card stock by Beyond the Page. I stamped the image again on the card stock and paper pierced the top and hem of the skirt with the black and white polka dot pattern (on one side), and the skirt with the pink Damask pattern (on the other). I attached these to the stamped image using glue stick, then embellished with rhinestones in pink and black. Once done, I glued these to an Cheetah print card stock from my stash, then attached that to the pink Damask paper used on the skirt. I then framed and embellished the finished art piece.

Here is a larger view of the art work and below that, the finished product.





Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"We're Humbled" Lyric Video - New Single

"We're Humbled" Lyric Video - New Single by Kevin Henderson and Redefined. Kevin is a friend of mine and former choir director.

"We're Humbled" Lyric Video - New Single

"We're Humbled" Lyric Video - New Single by Kevin Henderson and Redefined. Kevin is a friend of mine and former choir director.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Being Fit and Focused for God's Kingdom

The fight has already been won. I know how the story ends. These sentences serve as a reminder that the struggles I face in the natural are only that - struggles. They are stumbling blocks to my faith and my growth in Christ. However, every time I think of the price Jesus paid on the cross, I am given impetus to move forward, to persevere and run the race marked out for me by God.

This year, my Lenten journey includes taking care of my temple, the body that God gave me. The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Lifestyle by Pastor Rick Warren.   The plan incorporates five essential elements: Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends.  I'm finding myself mixing up these elements, not just paying attention to any particular area, as you'll see as follows.

Fitness and Focus
I have always been physically active, whether it is playing volleyball, walking, jogging, or going to the gym, I was always moving. As I've grown older, I've had to curtail some of these activities. In more recent years, my being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease has cut down drastically on my workout activities.  Hence, I've put on weight due to being placed on steroids to counteract the inflammation caused by the disease. This, however, is as far as I'm concerned, another obstacle to my spiritual journey.  So, this is where I am right now; I know that in order for me to have the victory I must keep my mind and focus on Jesus.  The Bible states, "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." Isaiah 26:3 (NIV).

I have found a wonderful way of keeping my focus. I've been walking on the beach.  It is the most amazing experience I could have undertaken.  I've been out at 4:00 in the morning when, apart from my walking companion, the only sound I hear is the waves of the ocean as the tide comes in, strong, frothy and just beautiful; and the sight of the moon, bright white and strongly illuminating the sky, lighting a path for me to see
The moon painting a path right where I was standing.
where I'm going. I feel blessed to be able to experience God's creation in this way.  There are so many things we take for granted in this world, especially here in the U.S. - our freedom to choose, to speak, to go where and when we please, without worrying about being held back or restricted, and most importantly, our freedom to enjoy God's nature.  There are so many people who don't have that privilege: those who are incarcerated, hospitalized or suffering with a physical handicap that makes them unable to see, hear or smell what Mother Nature offers. 


My choosing to take control of my body is a step towards enjoying the freedom that being healthy and fit offers. It is also allowing myself the pleasure of communing with God through His creation and being thankful that I am able to do so.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Finished Invitation & RSVP

Hey blog friends,

Last week I shared with you a draft of a beach invitation I was in the process of making.  Today I can gladly say, IT IS FINISHED!  Here are photos of the finalized invitations.  I hope you like them.
Just a few photos of finished cards

I used MTC to cut these flip flops to my Cameo Silhouette

Embossed with Quickutz Tide embossing folder

RSVP card


Voilá


Here are both together

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chalkboards Galore!


I have been AWOL since my last post because I have been working in overdrive mode to make a few invitations for family members. My cousin is turning 70 in March and wanted me to come up with a cute invite to celebrate this milestone. After thinking about it for a while, I came up with the concept of a chalkboard invitation.  I surfed the Internet for ideas and found what I was looking for at one of my favorite go-to places for graphic art, www.mygrafico.com. I purchased the Chalkboard Invites from Blackleaf Studios and got to work. Here is the finished product, all print work. The font I used is called Pastel and I found that on www.dafont.com.  I paired the invitation with brown paper bag envelopes to give it the look/feel of a chalkboard.

My next invitation is still a work in progress, but I can show you a sample of what I'm making.  It is a wedding and it will take place on a beach at dusk.  All I had for inspiration was the above information, as well as the colors yellow and orange.  Again, inspired to use the chalkboard theme, I decided on a palm tree, beach chairs, and sand background.  I love to work with graphics and my program of choice, believe it or not, is always Microsoft Word. I began by looking for a palm tree image (I found one I liked in MS Word clipart), I then searched for a sand graphic that would work well on a dark chalkboard background, as well as beach chairs with the color scheme the bride-to-be requested.  I found them both here.  Below is a sample of what I've come up with so far.  I will post the finalized invitation once I'm done putting it all together.