Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Musings - Faith Can Move Mountains

Faith - a simple, five-letter word that holds so much meaning and potential in our lives. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." So, we must have hope and we must believe in things we cannot see to realize the full potential our faith!

Faith has so much power that in Matthew 17:20 Jesus says, "for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."

It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Just hope and believe the Lord for things that can't be seen. Just a little bit of faith, the size of a mustard seed will be enough to move mountains. And, yet, it's almost incomprehensible for us to imagine telling a mountain to move from one place to another.

However, we face many "mountains" in our lives, and it's faith that will help us move them! Are you facing any seemingly insurmountable mountains? Have faith - hope in the Lord and believe in the answer you cannot yet see - and watch as that mountain moves out of your way!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday's Mail Memo - Travel Planning

Airline tickets have been purchased, hotels have been books, and these exciting pocket guides showed up in the mail today!

So excited to be planning an upcoming vacation! Please share your tips and not-to-be missed attractions, eateries, and/or activities for these three locations in the comments.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday Musings - Step Boldly Into God's Plan

In Joshua, chapter 3, we read about the Israelites crossing over the Jordan river. It was during the time of harvest, and the river was overflowing its banks. Yet, they walked across on dry land!

God outlined the plan to Joshua, which began with Joshua commanding the priests who carried the ark of the covenant saying, "When you have come to the edge of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand in the Jordan." Then "the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap." And, finally, all the people would cross over the Jordan on dry ground.

It's important to note here that the waters would not be cut off (or stop flowing or be backed up in a heap) until after the priests stood in the Jordan! The priests had to walk boldly into the water FIRST - then, and only then, would God stop the waters.

Because the priests followed Joshua's instructions from the Lord, they witnessed a mighty miracle. I wonder what would have happened if they had not stepped into the water? I know God would have still fulfilled His promise to the Israelites. They would have still been given the promised land, yet it might have been that they had to wander in the desert a little longer.

This is a lesson that we can each apply. When God instructs us to move forward, do we step out boldly? Or do we wait for God to perform a miracle first? Would we wait for the waters to stop flowing before we stepped into a river at flood stage? Or would we boldly put our feet in the water, confident that He would bring us to the other side?

Oh, Lord, help me to step boldly in the direction You have for my life, that I may see Your miracles manifested!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Happy World Card Making Day!

I haven't had time to make any cards to celebrate World Card Making Day today, however I have a few cards I created earlier this year to share for INSPIRATION. These first two were created using paper scraps, washi tape, and a stamped sentiment.

These next cards were created during a class on using watercolors for card making. The cat and dogs were all stamped images that I painted with distress inks or watercolors (and sometimes finished with colored pencils).

I used Authentique papers and a sentiment cut from the barcode strip of one of the papers for this final card.

Did you make any cards to celebrate World Card Making Day?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Fiction Book Reviews

The library book club started up again last month, and we began with an interesting discussion of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. In chapter one of this story about Ove, a man in Sweden living in a row house, Ove is at a computer store buying an ipad. The next chapter goes back three weeks earlier and continues chronologically as it tells the story of how he tries to kill himself multiple times. However, something always keeps him from "success" - new neighbors driving into his mailbox, old neighbors stopping by with problems, a frayed rope, etc. Ove is a very unique character, and everything in his life is black and white, it's either right or wrong, there are no gray areas according to his philosophy.

It turns out that Ove's wife had passed away several months before and he had recently been "retired" from the company he'd worked at since he was a teenager. Every day he goes to visit his wife's grave, bringing her flowers and discussing recent events. This was a fairly good story, however it was a very (very!) slow read. Since I already knew that his suicide attempts were not successful (because of chapter one), I was simply curious whether he was buying the computer for himself or the young family that recently moved to the neighborhood. There are several interesting characters in the book, but it honestly didn't hold my attention. The story has been made into a movie, which several ladies in the book club said they enjoyed.

This month we read The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis. Like many recent novels, this one is set in two different time periods - 1952 and 2016; however, both stories take place in New York City and focus on life in the Barbizon Hotel. The older story centers around Darby, a recent arrival to the hotel, and the friendship she enjoys with the hotel maid, Esme. While Darby tries to succeed at secretarial school and avoid the mean antics of the Ford models living at the hotel, Esme encourages her to get out and enjoy the jazz scene and even perform as a backup singer at one point. The modern story centers around Rose, a journalist researching and writing a story about the accident that occurred at the hotel in 1952 when one of the women fell to her death from the rooftop balcony.

This was an easy-to-read story. I found it enjoyable, however, most of us at the book club agreed that these were not characters that we became really invested in because they each seem so helpless in her own way and don't seem to grow or mature as the story goes forward. We also agreed that the ending was satisfactory, but it was all wrapped up so quickly and in a rather unbelievable way.

I especially enjoyed learning about The Barbizon Hotel as the author did a lot of research about life at the hotel (before it was turned into the very expensive condos housed there today). Here's a link to a great article about the hotel and some of its more famous occupants through the years. It's interesting to note that there are still ten women living in rent-controlled apartments on one of the floors. These women have lived there many years, and the author interviewed them as part of her research for the book. (One of the great things about our book club leader is that she always finds author interviews and other interesting articles like this one that relate to the books we're reading!) Here's a link to one of the author interviews.

I actually first heard about Ready Player One at one of the Stay Calm & Read On events at the library last year. This story is set in the year 2044, a time when everyone spends most of their waking hours in a virtual reality game because the real world is an ugly place. The main character is Wade Watts, a teenager living with his aunt in the "stacks" - scaffolding like contraptions that allow trailers and campers to be stored (and lived in) on top of each other.

When the creator of this all-consuming virtual reality game dies, his will specifies that the person who wins the final game (full of puzzles with allusions to the 1980s pop culture the creator was obsessed with) would inherit massive power and fortune and the rights to the game. Wade is the first one to stumble onto the first clue, and then the competition heats up as others in the virtual world begin to close in on the ultimate prize. I did find it extremely disturbing that the virtual world was more important to many of the characters than their lives in the real world.

This was a very interesting read with a nice conclusion. I enjoyed the pop culture references, although there were many that were lost on me as I wasn't into many video games during that time and never owned one of the (then) new home game systems. I put this book in Robbie's to-read pile, so we'll be all ready for the movie when it premiers next spring.

Have you read any of these books? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

October 5 in 5 - It's Fall Y'all

Here in Texas, fall is often referred to as second summer. The weather's really not all that much different - the sun's still shining most days, the temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, grass is still green, and most of the trees are holding tight to their leaves.

All except one of the trees in our front yard. I'm not sure exactly what kind of tree it is, but there are several in the neighborhood, and they are always the first to lose their leaves! 

These leaves don't even have the decency to provide beautiful colors before turning brown seemingly overnight.

They just drop from the tree and collect in little piles throughout the yard, around the porch, and ...

... along the sidewalk.

I snapped these photos this morning in order to capture this "fall activity" before the lawn service arrives later today. The leaves will be blown out of the beds and off the sidewalk and mulched into the grass, erasing all signs that fall has arrived.

Joining in with this month's 5 in 5 photography meme hosted by Sandi. What have you taken 5 minutes to snap photos of lately?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Symmetry & Repetition

Although I did not complete Cathy Zielske's Design Your Life 2.0 workshop this summer, I did create a few layouts using some of the digital templates provided with the class (along with some digital papers and embellishments from my stash).

This asymmetrical layout has the same design as the First Time Ice Skating layout I shared previously. I love how the digital format allowed me to use a photo for the background. And, of course, the memories from our glamping adventure make me smile!

For the symmetrical layout, I chose to highlight then and now photos from our wedding day and our 15th anniversary. The original template had the photos and journaling switched, however I wanted us to be looking into the layout and felt pretty accomplished that I got it all turned around correctly.

Repetition is what makes this next layout stand out - all those layered hearts draw the eye to the photos from National Scrapbook Day earlier this year. I added an extra border around this layout as well as the border strip at the bottom. Finally, I'm learning how to modify templates and add a little of my own touches.

Did you participate in DYL 2.0? Have you created any digital layouts lately?