Saturday, September 19, 2015

Finding Joy

As I read today's entry in one of my devotionals, God Calling: by Two Listeners, I was led to write the following in my journal: "Finding joy in doing my will means listening obediently for your call to step out on faith. It means reaching out to those in need even if you don't know how you're called to help them; it means speaking truth even if that truth hurts; it means hugging and loving the unlovable. Finding joy in your life can only happen when you find joy in me".

God does not call us to find joy in our own self-serving efforts, but in reaching out to others and building a relationship based on the love that he is calling us to offer the world (even those who hurt and persecute us). Remember John 3:16? Yes, that is the kind of love the God of love is calling us to give: sacrificial, limitless, brimming over -- love for the unlovable, the marginalized, the broken, the sick... the list goes on.

How do we carry out His will to love as he loved? By finding joy in doing all he has called us to do for all, even those we think are not worthy of love. How can this be achieved? When we spend time in His presence loving and listening; allowing him to cleanse us from the inside out, showing us who we are in him, and healing from our past sins, from the chains that have kept us bound and chained to our past and the lie the enemy wants us to keep believing. Once we own up and accept our past for what it is -- the past -- and we discover who and whose we are, God will use us and guide us into obedience, and once we obey, we will be willing (and able) to act. Abiding in God's presence will lead us on a path to finding joy in our lives.

Embossed With Sympathy message on metallic cardstock

Monday, September 7, 2015

We Must Go to War!

Today I went to see War Room with some of the women in a faith formation group I facilitate at my church. All summer we have been watching movies and discussing them afterwards. Most of the movies have been faith-based true stories, and some of them have been Hollywood blockbusters with story lines worthy of dissecting from a faith point of view.

War Room is a faith-based movie with a bang -- one that hits home with content so powerful it is an example to what we, as Christians ought to be doing in terms of fighting the spiritual battle for our lives, our families, and this world.

Ephesians 6:12 states, "Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places." (ERV). War Room is a reminder of the fight we are supposed to be fighting. We ought to be strategizing and setting up our plan of attack on the spiritual forces that are reared up against us. We have to declare war on the enemy and arm ourselves with the tools for our warfare. What tools? The tools God has given us to fight this battle - God's armor.  Ephesians 6:13 tells us, "That is why you need to get God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil, you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing." (ERV). 

God did not leave us defenseless, he has given us weapons with which to fight this war. These weapons are found in his Word, The Bible. Ephesians 6 lists those tools: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the most important tool of them all, the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:14-17).

We, as Christians, are reminded that we are not alone in this fight -- God is with us every step of the way. So we ought to take up our weapons and allow our General, God, to direct our steps in this battle. Strategize and plan your line of attack! That means you should call out your enemy and set the battle lines! Let him know you are ready to go to war, let him see you equipped and wearing your armor, and remind him that the battle was won by Jesus, who defeated him when he rose from the dead!

As I always do, I love to add some visuals to my posts. I don't always have time to sit down and blog, nor do I often have time to post some of the cards I create, but when I do blog, I love to post photos for you to view. So, here are just a few cards I made in the past few weeks. Enjoy!

Mixed-Media Background w/ die-cut cover and  words

Mixed-Media background w/ die cut cover

Wedding Card

Embossed and Distress inked tree

Wedding Card

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Resurrection Day!

It is Easter Sunday, a day of celebration for Christians all over the world, as we go to church and give glory and thanks to God for Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who was crucified and paid the price for our sins, then defeated death just three days after his crucifixion. Hallelujah indeed!!

On Easter Sunday most of us gather together after attending church as family, either at our mothers', grandmas', aunts' or even at restaurants to have special family time; or we cook dinner, have Easter egg hunts for the children, and most importantly, show off our new clothes. After all, what good is Easter if we don't get to dress up, right?

This year my family didn't do any of the above. No one planned anything to celebrate the day, so I decided that going to church was all I would do. Though I miss getting together with family, I feel a sense of accomplishment and revelation as I spent time with my other family, my church family. Some of us arrived before 6:00 am for Sunrise service; others for the 8:00 am service; and still others for the 11:00 am service. Many, like me, did all three. Too much, you think? Not at all! Each service brought different messages that fed my soul; each had something different to offer, and that's where my sense of accomplishment and revelation comes from.

For 40 days I observed Lent trying to experience what Jesus went through in the wilderness; I prayed, I fasted, I served, but none of these things brought me any closer to experiencing what Jesus did. In fact, though Jesus withstood temptation, I failed at it. There were times when I said I'd fast for 24 hours and at the end of 12 I couldn't resist the hunger pangs. I admitted to myself what I've known for a while but failed to accept: I cannot do it; I don't have the strength or will power to do it on my own, I need Jesus! I am weak and he is strong! Only he can fortify me and lead me out of the wilderness; only he!

That is why today I'm holding on to the blessings I received at the Easter services at church, for I know that because he lives, I have the strength to carry on; because he lives, I can live on the Bread of Life only he can offer, I can drink the water that quenches my thirst, I have hope for a new life, a new beginning, and I can tap into the endless possibilities open to me because of his Resurrection.

Jesus' resurrection means I don't have to do things as usual; it means I can "flip the  script" and do something new, something that allows me to step out of the box I have traced for myself and paint new lines that have no boundaries, and give wings to my vision and embrace the calling God has placed on my life.

So to you I say, resurrect your dream, expand your horizon and step outside your comfort zone to the possibilities that await you. Happy Resurrection Day!

Though I didn't cook, I did one thing I usually do for Easter Sunday -- I baked a cake and guess what, it was a first for me: a Key Lime Cake with Coconut frosting.  Talk about doing something new! Mind you, this was no ordinary cake, for if you knew me you'd know I make all my cakes from scratch, so it's not a walk in the park, as I have to experiment with new ingredients and adjust measurements, lol!

I leave you with this photo and the recipe. Feel free to try it!

Key Lime Cake


1 lb. butter ( I prefer salted or unsalted, no sweet cream)
2 cups sugar ( I use sugar cane, not white sugar)
6 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 taps. baking powder
1 package Key Lime gelatin
1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 stick butter
1 package cream cheese
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tbs. fresh lime juice
1 package flaked coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients (except gelatin) and set aside. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy; add eggs one at a time until well mixed; add Key Lime gelatin; add flour mixture until all mixed, then finally add the orange juice.

This batter will make enough for three layers baked in 8" round pans or two layers in a 9" round pan. Because I was making it to give away, I just did two layers.

Bake cake for 35-40 until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Set cakes aside to cool (15-20 mins.) then transfer to a rack for complete cooling.

Mix butter and cream cheese until fluffy; add powdered sugar and lime juice. You can also add green food coloring to frosting if you want to color the frosting the same color of the cake, but that's up to you. Once the cakes are cooled, cover with frosting, then top with coconut flakes, and voilĂ , your cake is ready to share.


Monday, March 9, 2015

No way to avoid being inspired

I've been missing in action for a few months, but it's not because I've not been working on creating. In fact, the reason why I haven't been posting anything is due to the opposite: I've been very busy creating!

I have been in demand making art work for others and the creative flow has been non-stop; no time for writing or posting, lol.  Here are a few of the pieces I have put together. Most of my recent work have included working with mixed media techniques that include watercolor, markers, fabric, cut files, digi artwork, and of course, my Make-the-Cut and my Silhouette Cameo.

Back in September I shared the first piece I was inspired to make. I made this and gifted it to my sister, a fellow lover of art and an artist in her own right (though she won't admit it, lol). I used cork board to make the woman cut out and colored it with a Copic marker.  I bought the fabric from Jo-Ann's and cut it by hand (this was my first attempt and though I don't sew, I tried my best).  The accessories were cut with my Cameo via Make-the-Cut and were from the Lettering Delights collection Create-a-Face-Bling.

This other one on the left was my second attempt at making my own artwork. I used a combination of files to put this together including the Create-a-Face and Create-a-Face Bling collections by Lettering Delight. I cut this one from brown cardstock from Gina K Designs. Again, I purchased the fabric from Jo-Ann's for $1.00.

From these two pieces I was asked to make pieces to give out as recognition awards to men/women in my church congregation and/or the community.  For some of these I simply used the person's photograph and created a silhouette I cut with my Cameo from Make-the-Cut and embellished with fabric, etc.

Digi art courtesy of Robert Jackson

Birthday gift for an 80 year old

Award for Cynthia Davis. The doll is a mini replica of her "Dolls of Hope" 
This last award was celebrating the leadership of the Organist/Choir Director of the Holman Choir, the senior choir at my church, in commemoration of its 55th  Concert of Negro Spirituals, held on February 22, 2015. Again, the digi art is from Robert Jackson. I used Gimp to alter the body of the digital file and painted the body with a musical notes pattern.
Prior to finished/framed work
Finished product put together by my sister Joni

I am giving full credit for inspiring me to God. Most of these pieces are followed by or include scripture and these usually come to me once I've finished the piece or based on information pertaining to  the recipient. 

I have other pieces to share and will do so at a latter date.  In the meantime, enjoy!