June 10, 2017

I'm Thankful for Online Workshop Classes!

I am thankful for Stephanie Ackerman's online workshops as I don't drive and they are convenient for me to take! Here are some of the things I've made during the latest class I've taken. 

A card, a bookmark, and an artist trading card. The "thanks" and "love" sentiments are my own doodles and the chit-chat stickers came from Hobby Lobby. I refuse to cut or tear up book pages, so I used an old appliance paper as part of the first layer of the background and I also used decorative gift tissue paper. Whatever the printed decoration is stays on top, but the white tissue paper sorta "melts" into the glue which I really liked.  Another thing I like about Stephanie's online Documented Faith classes is being able to go back to another theme, other than the current month's and take a workshop. It is always good to review the lessons you've learned previously.  That's one of the things we PRACTICED in our Beginner's Sunday School class was reviewing last week's lessons. I was often amazed at how well my  3, 4 and 5 year old children remembered what we had studied the week before. 


I also art journaled this page. . . to insert into one of those page sleeves I saved for art journaling . .  . and I reread the DF scriptures I saved and doodled on and . . .


then PRACTICED hand-lettering the Documented Faith's theme word by doing it in the bullet-journal style . . .


And hand- stitched up Stephanie's heart that she designed! Ain't it cute? 💖


Just for your info: Stephanie said that the Etsy store will be closed from June 19 to August 1, 2017, so if you want to get in a workshop before she shuts it down for the summer holidays, you better hurry. I signed up today for the next one! 👍

June 06, 2017

I'm Thankful for my Faith Family!

Families who pray and play together, stay together.

Today, I realized, after emailing a friend, how thankful I am for childhood memories of the church I grew up in. We always celebrated Easter,Veteran's Day, 4th of July,  Thanksgiving, Christmas,  and tied each of those holidays into our faith because We Are One Nation Under God. Here's the Pledge of Allegiance that we said every morning before school began.


I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag
Of the United States of America,
And to the Republic for Which It Stands
One Nation Under God, Indivisible,
With Liberty and Justice for all.


Did you know that there is also a Bible pledge: 


I Pledge Allegiance to the Bible, God's Holy Word,
I Will Make it a Lamp Unto My Feet
And a Light Unto My Path
And Will Hide Its Words in My Heart
That I May Not Sin Against God.

and a Christian pledge?:

I Pledge Allegiance to the Christian Flag
And to the Savior for Whose Kingdom It Stands.
One Brotherhood, Uniting All Mankind
In Service and in Love.  




We also celebrated school milestones like graduation with Promotion Sunday when children and young people were given a certificate because they were moving up to different Sunday School classes based on their age and grade in school. There were also awards given for best attendance and recognition given to Sunday School classes that had grown the most during the year. I always looked forward to those kind of things because they were my own personal milestones during the year. I guess what has brought them to mind is after last month's posting, I received the news that one of my first Sunday School teachers has graduated to heaven. Her name was Mrs. Ardella Hale.


I wrote this poem when a church friend asked me to help her to compile our church history for a seminary school project.


Our Church Family Quilt: A Warm Treasure From Heaven By Dolores J. Rush. 2008.

Our church family is like a patchwork quilt,
Begun some fifty years ago and designed with love.
It is a godly pattern, rich in memories,
Sewn by the Creator above.

Patiently weaving the fabric of our lives,
He stitches us together with golden threads that endure,
While challenges have added strength
To make our inheritance secure.

God pieced hearts together into blocks
Surrounded by His grace and care
And tied it through the batting of his comfort
Into a cozy coverlet we share.

He embroidered glimmering threads across the top
And sewed on elegant lace; binding us into one.
One family, composed of created people,
Made beautiful by his Son.

Yes, a patchwork of people, related by faith
Women, children, and men.
Warm treasure from heaven, this family quilt --
A legacy from Him.



May 06, 2017

Fear Will NOT Overcome Me! I have VICTORY in God - AMEN?

I received my first online death threat. No, not here, but on another social media site that I frequent. One of my spiritual gifts is "service" and I try to leave helpful or encouraging notes, however, this comment was made so long ago, that I had forgotten all about it. In the note, I mentioned I was a former Sunday School teacher and homeschooler and I guess that's what sparked this person's rage. Since I have moderating experience under my belt (a defunct website's homeschool forum), I knew immediately what to do and they were reported. I also sent a prayer request to my Documented Faith BFF's and my pastor to pray for my protection, because you hear about freaky things happening to people all the time.

I read missionary stories of God's protection and provision at my grandma's as I grew up. (She had such a HEART and passion for missions. She made wedding cakes for people in the community and donated that money to the missionaries her church supported.)  Some of the mission stories involved threats made by natives jealous of the missionaries' status and position in the community and  when confronted later and asked why they didn't attack, PRAISE GOD! the natives claimed they saw strong-armed men surrounding them during the missionaries prayer-time as they crept around their houses causing them to either run away or leave them alone because they were afraid of tangling with the men only they saw! At home, I remember listening to missionaries stateside on furlough, who shared stories that occurred during scary times, such as this lady friend who was a missionary in Kenya for 20 years (click here). I remember reading about Apostle Paul in the Bible who had to make his escape after a whole town threatened his life.  To be on the safe side,  I wanted some of that protection too.

"After many days had gone the Jews conspired to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall." ~Acts 9:23-25.

Just before the praise and testimony time during our morning worship a couple of weeks ago, our leader stood up and began telling about something he had read during the week. He and his wife had been missionaries in Alaska for several years and he said that this verse had always helped him in difficult times.


"God, we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but OUR EYES ARE UPON YOU. All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, STOOD before the Lord. . . "Listen, this is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is NOT yours, but God's." ~ 2 Chronicles 20: 12-15.

Later on in the chapter, I read and discovered something!

"You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Oh Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. GO OUT to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you. . . Listen to me! Have FAITH in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have FAITH in his prophets and you will be successful. After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness . . . Give THANKS to the Lord, for his love endures forever! As they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah and they were DEFEATED!!!!" ~ 2 Chronicles 20: 17-22.

Did you see what I saw? The men of Judah praised God and gave thanks BEFORE the battle! Not after, but BEFORE it had occurred!

When our pastor stood up to preach, he said that God had prepared our testimony leader's verses in advance as his sermon meshed so well with that verse. 

[I've continued taking notes during the worship service, so I bring my Bible, a lapboard writing surface, a pen and my DF-book with blank paper. Here's how I divide my paper.


The top left is for the Worship Team and the Date. Below that are my sermon notes. At the top right, I pen-write in things I think of that I'm thankful for during the service. The next section is for the Bible text references such the one I wrote down above (2 Chronicles). And the last spot is my art spot where I write down words or phrases that come to mind or illustrations for cards or art journal pages or my DF divider pages such as I've shared a couple previously. You don't know how many times a pastor has used an illustration to make a point during his sermon and a card design popped into my head and I then had no paper to write it down on and I continued to think about that instead of listening to the rest of the sermon. This frees up my mind to continue listening to the sermon without the fear that I will forget that nifty idea! ]

My notes say: FEAR can become a PRISON. And when you have a David and Goliath experience facing you in life, TRUSTING in God combats that fear because TRUST (our DF theme word this month) is based on HOPE which is WAITING with EXPECTANCY on God. We should be STANDING on the Promises of God and his CROSS, not looking around at the things that causes us to be afraid, or listening to the evil one whispering in our ear, but LOOKING UP AT HIM, since we KNOW with CERTAINTY that God is FOR US, so who can be against us?

"When I am afraid, I will TRUST in you. In God, whose word I praise, IN GOD I TRUST; I WILL NOT be afraid, What can mortal man do to me? All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life. . . Then my enemies will turn back when I CALL for help. By this I will know that God is for me. . . IN GOD I TRUST; I WILL NOT be afraid. What can man do to me?" ~ Psalm 56:3-6, 9, 11.

and "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation, if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our HOPE for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our HEARTS we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might NOT rely on ourselves, but ON GOD who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and HE WILL DELIVER US, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give THANKS on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many." ~ 2 Corinthians 1: 3-11.


Stephanie will be traveling in the next few weeks. Join me in praying for traveling mercies, won't you?

If you are undergoing an anxious time, call together your faithful friends, ones you trust will pray for you (no lip service here) and then begin to THANK GOD for a battle WON. Keep hanging on, friend, just as I am doing. I KNOW who is in CONTROL and I'm going about my life in peace. PEACE to you too!

~~ <> @ <> ~~

April was my anniversary month for this particular blog. I want to thank those who have been faithful readers. You know who you are and please don't go away, just because I don't mention your country, however this time I'm going to CELEBRATE the countries with readers who have stopped in at least once during the year. Ten of them are: China, Finland,  India, Poland, Portugal,  South Korea, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Venezuela.  

May God provide you with what you need today. In Jesus' name, Amen!


April 24, 2017

A Tree

By LaVerne P. Larson.


Truly lovely gift from God,
Tower of charm and grace,
How very bare the earth would seem
Without your emerald lace.


You reach up toward the heavens,
As if in reverent prayer,
To welcome sun and rain
With faith beyond compare.


You shade the weary traveler
And beckon birds to nest;
The wind tells you its secrets
As the day is lulled to rest.


Boys often scale your lofty heights
To view the countryside;
You seem to like their company
And sway with gentle pride.


We thank Thee God for every tree
That towers up from earth,
That we may share its beauty
And know its wondrous worth.

~~ <> @ <> ~~

April 06, 2017

- - < @ Heart Gardening @ > - -

"Your mind is a garden,
Your thoughts are the seed
You can grow flowers
Or you can grow weeds."
 ~~ <> @ <> ~~

I was going to write something here about how I'm afraid I'm boring and tedious at times, but the Lord reminded me that I'm not supposed to be beating myself up with negative self-talk. HE LOVES ME! I'm supposed to be working on renewing my mind with his help and the devil would like nothing better than to get me to believe that I'm worth nothing, but hallelujah, I must be worth something, 'cause God CREATED me in his image and he doesn't make junk!



We are retired homeschoolers, but while we homeschooled, we had our son study the antonyms or the opposites of words in the Bible, namely the character traits that we are to aim for as holy people such as the Fruits of the Spirit.



"But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." ~ Galatians 5:22-23a. (NIV)



"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all of these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." ~ Colossians 3:12 - 15b. (NIV)


So for everything I think negatively, I must counteract that with something positive about myself because:

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. . ." Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)

Below are some things that have run through my head at times. Perhaps they have run through your head too! Ouch! Root out the weeds and replant flowers of life, then bask in the sonshine and grow!

Negative Self-Talk (Noxious Weeds):
1. I am boring, tedious and tiresome, therefore nobody will want to come back and read my blog posts. I must try harder to write amusing and thrilling blog posts to WOW my audience.

2. I am big, fat and ugly.

3. Everybody hates me.

4. I can't.

5.  It's my right to cut in this line if I want; I've got places to go and deadlines to meet!

6.  It's so boring around here.


Positive Self-Talk (Flowers): (As Stephanie says: "Things we forgot to remember!")
1. The truth is that it's hard work to be a good writer and we all go through slumps at times,  but remember I am a creative child of a creative God! Persevere! Be grateful for the ordinary!

2. I am a BIG BEAUTIFUL WOMAN (BBW)!

3.  Not everybody, because not everybody knows me. Besides my Daddy God loves me! He tells me in his word that he does. For example, one of my favorite verses says: "How great is the Love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God." ~ 1 John 3:1

4. I CAN, with the enabling of God! Hang on to God's hand and trust him, Dolores!
"For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1: 37.

5.  Remember your manners!
"through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him (Christ Jesus)." ~ 2 Corinthians 2:14b.

6.  Bloom where you are planted!

So today I'm thankful for reminders of things I forgot to remember and a new book I picked up at Michael's last night called the "Complete Guide to Bible Journaling: Creative Techniques to Express Your Faith." By Joanne Fink & Regina Yoder. Design Originals, 2017. Valerie Sjodin is one of the expert artists in this book. I featured her here on this blog in  December of 2014. I shall enjoy reading this book. I also am thankful for the little heart shaped cut-out I saw in the pavement today, in between doctor appointments, a reminder of God's love for me. I didn't have my camera with me or I would have taken a photo for you. Instead I came home and doodled another coloring page for a divider (dashboard) for my Faith-book and scanned it as an upload for this post.

HE IS RISEN!



March 28, 2017

Give Thanks for Healthy Teeth

I had two molars removed Friday.

I will be the first to admit it, I'm a wuss when it comes to going to the dentist -- I honestly don't like needles, but neither do I like teeth pain, so when it became necessary recently, I made an appointment with the dentist. However, I'm thankful I'm not allergic to all pain-medications or anesthetics, unlike my Uncle, who, when I was a little girl, went in for surgery and died on the operating table within ten minutes of being put under, because, unbeknownst to the anesthesiologist, he was highly allergic to it.

I'm also thankful for all the people who were praying for me and for the hand of Jesus I was hanging onto, to get past my fear. If you have healthy teeth, give thanks for them!!!





March 22, 2017

Taking Stock

I don't know what to blame it on. Was it lack of inspiration, playing dodge-ball, or was it procrastination? Maybe some of each, so I'm way behind in getting my Documented Faith-book for 2016 finished and taking stock on what worked and didn't and here it is at nearly the end of March.

As for my monthly dividers, I've got about five doodled coloring book type pictures so far with a faith-book theme as "Daughter of the King." My doodling/drawing skills aren't good enough yet to include details like faces and heads, so I looked through Pinterest to find images that wouldn't include those details and found Sunbonnet Sue and Sam. Remember those applique quilt patterns? (Note: I was going to scan and upload my first month's doodled divider here, but my scanner is on the blinky at the moment).
 
When I figured out what I wanted to continue with, I decided to use 5 worksheets altogether. I thought I was going to throw out the calendar, but like my friend, Karen said, it's nice to visualize the week and a list just doesn't cut it. Two months of going without convinced me.

I also knew I wanted to add some sort of pocket to my Faith-book for cards I received from my Documented Faith group, church friends, Christmas cards, and odds and ends, so began watching videos and scouting through Pinterest during my down time with my broken hand during December until my computer's battery pack went dead. I found an idea I liked and will make some pockets similar to this.

One of the things I've had trouble with the last two years is knowing how to arrange the pages in my faith-book, since I use my own 3-ring binder notebook. Thank God for creative people with great ideas;  I watched a Dyan Reavelry video. She's  a designer for Ranger Ink, and she was showing a new diary (artist journal) that is coming out in the stores this year. One page is a diary page and the other side of the two page spread is a art journal background that can be used as a starting point for an art journal page. Ah-ha, I could do that also, but I switched the order around, since I wanted to use the back of the divider as a quote/poem collection like last year, so I went through my faith-book, changing the order of my worksheets, so that a background was on the left side of the spread and a worksheet was on the right.

I also want to resurrect the paraphernalia idea after seeing a smash book spread on Pinterest. On one of the art journal pages, I would like to make a collection of things that pertains to my relationship with Jesus/Christian lifestyle each month, so after watching many, many videos on glue books for ideas,  I am gonna ask my Documented Faith buddies to do some scavenger hunting for me. I hope they will be able to find images or words that pertain to some of the  themes or categories below to send to me in happy mail that I can collage and glue down to some of the art pages each month. Many of the people who made the glue books, said they collected photos from travel brochures and the free catalogs that they picked up a tourist offices, restaurants, and museums' front doors and thrifted for other items like tickets, store receipts, crayon papers, postage stamps  and so forth. I was thinking Sunday School papers might yield some more. I'm going to collect all the bits and pieces, then glue down, but so I don't lose any of the bits, I'm going to save them in the proper document sleeves in my faith-book until I get enough to fill the page. (NOTE TO SELF: Label category in upper left-hand corner so I don't forget!)

By the way, many of the glue-book creators said it was very relaxing to sit and cut and glue, so this may be a meditative activity to do while reflecting on the goodness of God or listening to the audio Bible or instrumental hymns during quiet time! Good re-charging time!



After I got a few ideas from all the online sources, then went to my Eerdman's Handbook to the Bible where I got more.

Here's my list for some themed pages. I need at least twelve, one per month (I also included some for children as my brain leans towards teaching ideas, you know -- wink!):

Address Labels (Church Friends, Pastors, Ministries)
Angels
Animals of the Bible
Animal Symbols of Jesus (5)
Baptism
Bible-man (cartoon)
Bibles
Bugs of the Bible
Business cards (church friends, pastor, ministry)
Candy Canes
Church Art/Bells
Church Buildings
Church Signs
Christmas
Christian Acronyms
Christian Soldier/Armor of God (Eph. 6)
Circles (infinity)
Crafts of the Bible
Crowns
Coat of Many Colors (stripes)
Davey & Goliath (cartoon)
Dead Sea Scrolls
Dreidels
Ears
Easter
Eggs
Everything Egyptian
Family (physical/spiritual)
Feeding of the 5,000
Feet/Sandals (Good News!)
Festivals of the Bible
Fingerprint people
Food of the Bible
Flags of the Middle East
Flowers of the Bible
Fishermen/Fishers of Men/Fish of the Bible
Friendship Tea (envelopes, tags)
Garden of Eden
Hearts
Hebrew/Greek Fonts
Helping Hands
Heroes of the Faith
Honey Bees
Houses in the Holy Land
Inspirational poetry/quotes (handwritten/photocopied)
Kosher Food Labels
Labels/Logos/Price Stickers/Tags from Inspirational Products
Last Supper
Love Notes
Mary Engelbreit's Queen of Hearts (cartoon)
Menu's (Judeo-Christian owned restaurants)
Money of the Bible
Mountains
Musical Instruments of the Bible
My Name - Dolores or Nickname - Grace
Names of God/Jesus
Noah's Ark
Passion Play (inspirational dramas)
Patch the Pirate (cartoon)
Portraits of Jesus
Positive words
Postal Stamps from the Middle East/Postmarks
Praying Hands
Precious Moments (cartoon)
Psalty (cartoon)
Purple
Receipts from Christian Bookstores/Mail-order Companies
Recipes (hand-lettered, Stephanie's cookies, Scripture Cake, Church Friends, Jewish)
Romans
Rubbings of Things in a Church (1 1/2" x 1 1/2" square pieces of paper)
Saints of the Bible
Sand-dollar
Scarlet Threads
Scripture Garden
Seven
Shepherds/sheep
Stained Glass Windows
Symbols (ie. Jesse Tree)
The Robe (the film)
The Tomb (Christ's, gravestones, crypts of the Holy Land)
Things You Are Grateful For
Transportation of the Bible
Treasures/Bling/Boxes
Triangles (the 3-in-one; Trinity)
Tree of Life (Christmas trees/crosses/dogwood tree blossoms/Jesse tree)
Veggie-Tales (cartoon)
Water (Dead Sea, Jordan River, Ocean, Nile River, Sea of Galilee, wells)
White
Wise Men
(Wo)men of the Bible

Well that's enough to get me started anyway. Now the hard part -- CHOOSING at least  twelve and finding the parts. Smile!

Update: A couple people have asked what I meant by glue book pages, so here's two videos that show what I'm talking about:
1.  "Easter En Masse Collection Journal Page" by Karin de Graaff
2. "Hello, My Name Is" by Becky Gladhill

Update: Niece has a bruised collarbone from the seatbelt in an accident. Thank goodness she's okay otherwise!

5/1/2017 Update: My first glue-book page! The center piece "I Am Loved" was inspired by Stephanie Ackerman's artwork.


March 11, 2017

CHOOSE Peace and PRACTICE Gratitude!

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. . . there is a future for the man of peace." ~ Psalm 37:7a, 37b

My father-in-law says their tongues are hinged in the middle and flaps on both ends. We all know someone like that. You can leave the conversation on the phone for ten minutes and return and they never knew you had left. 
It takes a real effort these days to find a quiet spot, somewhere where it is so quiet you can hear a pin drop to the floor. There is traffic outside your door,  radios or television blaring somewhere, telephones beeping or ringing, babies crying, children playing, aircraft flying overhead, trains rumbling down tracks, etc..
Dr. Ketterman told us that we should schedule a twenty-minute quiet time into our day, everyday, when our son was growing up, to get him into the habit of it. He could read, he could study, he could draw, he could take a nap. The only noise allowed was "white" noise -- the hum of a fan or reflective mood-setting, stringed instrumental music such as a harp, violin or zither or the bubbling of running fountain water.   

"He must seek peace and pursue it." ~ 1 Peter 3:11b

In Genesis, chapter 24, verse 63, one quiet place that is mentioned is a field where Isaac went to meditate. David, as a shepherd, was led to quiet waters (Psalm 23:2,3) where God restored his soul.
It's not always possible to get out "in nature" to have a quiet time, so we had to create the next best place at home. Dr. Ketterman told us to pare down the toys in our son's bedroom and add furniture to store his other possessions out-of-sight. Bedrooms were originally intended for a bed to sleep in, not for other activities, but since we could not afford to add more rooms to our house, our bedrooms are multi-purpose rooms. However, over the years, I've learned there are ways to make a bedroom a quieter place. Add the  solid color blue or green somewhere. Add something plant-based. Put in sound absorbers such as fabric or sound barriers like "white" noise machines or ear plugs. 
Our son has always been a fidgeter. It was very hard for him to keep still. His body was in constant motion. My leg has a will of it's own -- it wiggles. We both learn best visually and hands on.

"The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest." ~ Isaiah 32: 17-18.

Kathy Racoosin, of the Daily Marker, says it's been proven that coloring for ten minutes a day will lower your blood pressure. Looking for something to keep my hands busy during quiet time, I've been looking at doodles at Pinterest and my niece sent me a chart to use during prayer time. Stephanie doodles flowers around her daily scriptures and her word in Documented Faith this month is CHOOSE.  To seek and pursue a quiet time, you must CHOOSE to do so.
The worksheet that my niece found online consisted of circles -- a large circle in the center of a page with arrows pointing to individual circles around the page to list prayer concerns or in this case, gratitude's. I saw a huge doodled sun at Pinterest with the rays as lines where gratitude's could be listed. I also saw a ring of decorated index cards, but since I like atc's (artist trading cards) or pocket letters, I could make one card each day to list a gratitude of the day. I also saw a photo album idea in which one side was dedicated to a journaled gratitude for the day and on the opposite side of the spread, a photo  of the person or thing I am grateful for. And then there are many sayings that correspond to being thankful as well. I have a whole Pinterest board of them.

"I will build you with stones of turquoise; your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children's peace." ~ Isaiah 54:17b-13.


Two of my girlfriends and I got together last week to craft. Karen was laminating a few of her dividers for her faith-book and she showed me the back of one which held a small calendar. She said it was helpful to have a calendar to view, so she could visualize the week. I had decided not to have a calendar in my faith-book this year because after 30 + years of training my husband to use the calendar on the kitchen wall to post his appointments and things he wanted to do, he was getting fussy about having to come look in my faith-book for mine, so I went back to using the one in the kitchen to keep the peace. I had replaced it though with a numbered Bible Reading Plan gleaned from Back to the Bible. I could go online and read everyday when I am in town, but I wanted a hard copy to put in my faith-book, to check off as I read my portion for the day, so I typed up a list on Microsoft Word, for each day of the month, and printed it out, however, I missed having the visual calendar in front of me, so decided to go back to it and add in my Bible chapters each day. I discovered, though, it is really hard for me to read and craft during the same period of time, so I thought I could set the timer for twenty minutes and listen to an audio version of the Bible and doodle create instead. I found an audio version of the Bible online here.

"She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. . . Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her." ~ Luke 10:39, 42b.




February 20, 2017

My Thanks for Others

By Margaret Rorke

O Lord, how very much I owe
To others whom You've let me know
And so from day to day --
The young, the old, the in-between
Who make an entrance in the scene
In which I'm called to play.

Another's sweet, approving smile
Can make my efforts seem worthwhile
And crown my will to try.
Encouragement another speaks
Is oft the spur my spirit seeks
Though not quite knowing why.

And, yes, I'm grateful too
For those who have a dimmer view
Of me and my poor part,
Because they challenge me to test
What's truly noble, pure, and best
Within my mind and heart.

I often wonder how I'd be
Without the folks surrounding me --
My vital, living hymn.
That's why I pause to give this prayer
To You it pleased to put them there.
I thank you, Lord, for them.

February 14, 2017

A Sweet Valentine from Daddy God!


Thank you, Daddy God, for your sweet, beautiful Valentine for me today,
to remind me how much you love me!

February 01, 2017

Heart-Stones

Just about the time I uploaded my last post, a tragic accident occurred in my husband's family. His cousin's 9 year old son was killed in a farming tractor accident. I could imagine Jesus and his grandmother joyously greeting him in heaven, but oh, the heartbreaking sorrow his daddy, mommy, brothers and grandpa Sam must be feeling.  Hug pile-up. . . . .

{{{{{ RUSH FAMILY}}}}}

Stephanie Ackerman has a collection of heart shaped stones. She had one or two that has been given to her by her boys and a friend but most of them she found along the way when she was needing help to get through some difficult situations.  She called them her love notes from God.

Then a friend invited her to join the Stone Collective which is a group of artists, who, based on the passage in 1 Samuel 7:12-14, create figurative "Ebenezer Rocks" as a monthly worship practice. Stephanie felt this was the perfect opportunity to creatively add to her collection of "heart stones" as she realized God was giving her symbols of his love and comfort when she needed it most.

"..Samuel took a single stone and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen.
He named it “Ebenezer” (Stone of Help), saying, “This marks the place where
God helped us.”~ 1 Samuel 7: 12-14

I shrunk from writing about this but one of Stephanie's verses this month says that many in the family of believers are undergoing the same kind of suffering -- actually the verse is: "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings." ~ 1 Peter 5:7-9 

That means you may be going through some difficult situations too like my husband's family. Maybe together we can find some hope and strength, when it's difficult to put one foot in front of the other --  "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles. . ." ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4a.

So while I was grieving and thinking about writing my blog post this week, God sent me a reminder of his love in the form of a heart-stone. A feller stopped by my History Nut blog to leave me a note and we have corresponded a little.  I bet Mr. Vonderlin who is a photographer and outsider folk artist with an interest in history didn't realize he was being used of God to remind me of His love, because he's got  a Flickr heart-stone photo album that he shared with me this week. I can't scientifically imagine what processes God uses to create a real heart-stone, but the ones that Mr. Vonderlin has photographed came from his scrounging at California beaches for art supplies.

I don't have a heart shaped stone photo to insert here, although I wish I did, but Stephanie is always saying to use what you have, so I mouse drew a little banner on my computer paint program to add a heart shape illustration to the bottom of this post. Thank you God for reminding me of that! 😊

January 18, 2017

Dodge-ball

Stephanie Ackerman has a saying:
"When it has to do with faith, the devil wants you to second guess yourself
and to think about it and feel unworthy, so if that is happening,
then know that something you are doing is in the right direction,
because the enemy doesn't want you to share. . ."

and my two cents, in addition to that, is the devil doesn't want you to be grateful for the good either, because goodness comes from God.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for fish, will give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! ~ Matthew 7:7-11

Since I last wrote, which apparently were battle lines drawn in the sand, we entered the fighting ring and the devil has been flinging arrow bolts our way which we have been trying to dodge with the help of God. Our theme word this month in Documented Faith is "MOVE" 😄. I'm not very good at moving quickly, but I have the shield of Faith ⛨. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." ~ Ephesians 6:10-11. 

I'm also moving behind God in his steps. "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." 1 Peter 2:21.  And, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galatians 5:25.

When I was little and we would go out to play in the snow, I learned quickly that my boots wouldn't fill up as quickly with cold wet snow if I stepped into the footsteps of others. Whew!

Since I was having some difficulty seeing the good, I made a two column list in a spiral notebook. One side was for the bad and the other was for the good. Yes, I really did! Our car and the husband's bank account were first in the list. The good that came out of it was a retired pastor at church came to our rescue with a Ford Taurus car he gave us to use until we could afford to get another and the bank put a stop on my husband's bank account to prevent the thieves from gaining access again and my husband received a new card!

But the devil wasn't done trying to steal our joy in God's goodness and several people made the comment that it seemed we were under attack. Yes, we were! The good gift from the pastor -- the starter quit one hour after my husband had the car inspected and we had to replace it, then the state said the car had been gifted once before and we had to pay the owner the blue book value of the car, and then after that, the car stopped, dead, on the highway when our son was driving it. God protected our son from injury! He also protected us when the clutch on my husband's father's pickup we borrowed went out on the highway as we were driving to join my husband's company's Christmas community service project. But we have the victory as the junkman bought the Ford Taurus and towed it away! And my husband found a Toyota Avalon to purchase in two days! I don't like it as well as the PT cruiser as it is difficult for me to get in and out of, but it is transportation!  

And then I fell on my way to bed one night and cut my eyebrow (it was glued together and I didn't lose my eye, thank goodness!), broke my glasses (thank goodness they were still under warranty and were replaced free of charge) and broke my right hand (do you know how difficult it is to type with a splint? 😉 Thank goodness for healthy hands and my husband who took over my chores of cooking and cleaning while I was incapacitated!). I've been sick twice with bronchitis and a sinus infection (thank goodness for urgent care and antibiotics). Have had several other instances of near falls (thank goodness for my CANE -- it's been keeping me upright!).

Next, the battery pack on my laptop quit, so I decided knock off some books from a reading list and discovered my library card had expired (thank goodness, for a Christmas gift of a new laptop, a new wide-margin Bible and a renewed card!).  We had our windows measured for new windows as an expected Christmas gift in October, but the window guys were dragging out the installation (thank goodness we now have them!) And then my last hair barrette disappeared and I couldn't find any replacements of the kind I like in any of the stores around here (thank goodness for a certain girlfriend who understood and found some for my birthday!).

And if that wasn't enough, $500 was used to purchase goodies from Nordstrom with our son's bank account by an unknown person. Then in the neighborhood where my guys work, an explosion occurred a half-mile away. Our son said it felt and sounded like an eighteen wheeler truck had hit the building he was in.  Thank goodness for caring family who called to see about us, who gave me rides to the doctor's and physical therapy, and friends who have prayed for us during our "game" of dodge ball!