Sunday, September 15, 2019

Upcoming Class | A Thankful Heart Gratitude Journaling Event (Allen, TX)

I'm excited to announce that registration is open for my next all-day event - check out all the details below!

Join me for a BRAND NEW ALL-DAY EVENT as we discuss gratitude and having a thankful heart every day of the year! We will dive into the Word, learn and practice illustrated journaling techniques, create a gratitude journal, and enjoy lots of fun and fellowship as we spend the day MERGING FAITH AND ART in a way that allows us to worship and draw closer to the Lord!

A Thankful Heart Gratitude Journaling Event
Saturday, October 26, 2019
10am - 6pm
Hyatt Place, Allen TX

*Do you want to cultivate a thankful heart and discover what the Word says about gratitude?

*Would you like to try illustrated Bible journaling but you’re not yet sure where to start?

*Do you already enjoy illustrated Bible journaling and want to try new techniques and spend a day with other women who enjoy diving into the Word and using their creativity to draw closer to the Lord?

*Would you enjoy creating a journal to record gratitude scriptures and journal your thanks to the Lord?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this event is for you!

Our purpose throughout the day will be to worship the Lord through the times of learning, discussion and creativity. No artistic skill is necessary for this event!

Your registration fee includes:

*Four Sessions incorporating devotional teachings, discussion, crafting & illustrated journaling demonstrations, and creative time.

*Gratitude Journal Kit that includes a freestanding album, pocket page protectors, stickers, papers, washi tape & more!

*Goody Bag filled with surprises.

*Additional Supplies provided for you to try and use during the event.

*Bottled Water & Snacks provided in the event room.

*Three feet of table space for your creative workspace throughout the day.

*Two extra hours after the event to work on your own journaling projects.

Additional details for the gratitude journaling event:

*You will create a gratitude journal; however, you are encouraged to bring your journaling Bible, a hymnal, or a worship journal to work in as well.

*Along with the gratitude journal kit you will receive, I will have supplies available for you to use in your journaling. You are welcome to bring along some of your favorite supplies as well - there will be ample opportunity for using your creativity throughout the day!

*I will have snacks for us to enjoy. You are welcome to bring your own snacks or a snack to share if you like (completely optional).

*Bottled water will be provided. If a hot beverage or ice cold soda enhances your Bible journaling & crafting time, please feel free to bring that along with you. (There are options to purchase food and beverages at the hotel as well.)

*Lunch is not provided. We will take a break for lunch, so you'll have time to grab something at the hotel or head to one of the nearby restaurants. You may also bring a lunch with you to enjoy in the meeting room during the lunch break.

*There are only 22 spaces available for this fun and meaningful event, so register today to reserve your spot. Within 48 hours of payment, you will receive a confirmation email, and a detailed timeline for the day will be emailed mid-October.

Are you ready to get away and have a full day for using your creativity to worship and draw closer to the Lord?

*If you are registered and unable to attend, please let me know before October 12 for a full refund or transfer of fees to a future class. Cancellations after October 11 are nonrefundable; however, I will be happy to mail you the event kit and goody bag.

*If you receive a notification that the event is sold out & would like to be added to the waiting list, please email me.

*Registration does not include hotel accommodations, which can be booked separately at the hotel’s website HERE! If you would like a roommate, please let me know & I will try to set that up (although there's no guarantee). 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Sunday Musings - Consider the Lilies

There are several instances in the New Testament when Jesus reminds his disciples (and all future Christians) not to worry because He will provide all our needs. In Luke 12:27, He says, "Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."

This scripture gives us a simple way to remember the promise of His provision - just look at some beautiful flowers! 

So, next time worry is consuming your thoughts, notice the flowers around you - whether's it a field of wildflowers you're driving by or the blooms in the flowerbed outside your window or a single bud in the vase on your desk or the arrangement in the painting hanging on the wall (or even the ones you take time to draw and color yourself). Let those flowers remind you that the Lord is your provider!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Book Reviews | Non-Fiction

The sub-title to The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks is Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level. The premise of this book is that our biggest obstacle is the Upper Limit Problem, which basically means that we sabotage our own efforts because we feel unworthy or flawed or that we shouldn't outshine others. We set our own upper limit! The author asserts that when we stop limiting ourselves, we can have more love, abundance, and creativity. He also suggests that all time comes from ourselves and that we control the time, it doesn't control us - a restatement of making sure we take time to enjoy the moment. Honestly, I was not very impressed with this book or its recommendations. I read it in spurts because I did not find it overly engaging.

George & Barbara Bush: A Great American Love Story by (their granddaughter) Ellie LeBlond Sosa and (writer) Kelly Anne Chase. I saw this book at the library and picked it up because I previously enjoyed Barbara Bush's memoir and President George HW Bush's letters. I thought this book would offer additional insights into their lives through the eyes of their granddaughter. However, I really didn't find anything new; there were lots of quotes from Barbara's memoir and HW's letters with just a few short memories from Ellie. This was more a retelling of their life story rather than additional specific things that made it the "great American love story" ... probably because their life together was a great love story.

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

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Book Review | Empowered

Empowered: How God Shaped 11 Women's Lives (And Can Shape Yours Too) by Catherine Parks is geared toward teens and tweens. Each chapter tells the story of a woman used by God.

There were quite a few women I already knew a good bit about, including Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie ten Boom, Joni Aereckson Tada, Fanny Crosby, and Elizabeth Elliot. There were others who were new to me - Esther Ahn Kim, Sophie Scholl, Pandita Ramabai, Phillis Wheatley, Charlotte Forten Grimke, and Annie Armstrong.

Each woman's story illustrates a characteristic that helped her stand strong in her faith despite trying circumstances - loving others, expressing gratitude, fearing God, being obedient, using our talents for God's glory, living with adversity, being kind, etc. The chapters end with questions and scriptures to help the reader apply the lesson to her own life. This is a good book to introduce girls to some wonderful Christian women and share examples of how anyone can be used for His glory.

Note: I received this book free from B&H Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

50 Things To Do Before I'm 50 | Reflections

I began working on my list of 50 Things To Do Before I'm 50 on my 45th birthday in 2014. Can y'all believe it's been five years already!?! I turned 50 a couple of weeks ago, and I'm thrilled to report that I completed 31 of the items on my list!!!

I've learned several lessons by having this list of goals over the past five years.

A list of goals provides inspiration and motivation.
Several of the items on my list are ones that I've thought about doing for years. When I put them on the list, I moved past the thinking stage and began researching and planning and actually doing them. 

Without the inspiration and motivation of working toward checking items off my list, I might still be just talking about hiking in the Grand Canyon, taking piano lessons, learning to ride a horse, dyeing Easter eggs again, or finally carving a pumpkin.

It's ok if some things don't get completed. 
It would have been amazing to report today that I had completed every item on my list; however, in reality, there are 19 items that I did not check off. There was nothing on the list that was mandatory; it was simply something FUN I came up with to enjoy on my way to 50.

While I did read all the Pulitzer prize winners in fiction, I did not re-read all my children's/young adult books ... and that's perfectly ok. I didn't make a quilt; however, I completed 10+ scrapbook projects and reviewed all my paid for scrapbook classes. I didn't grow my own vegetables, but I did make Mama's biscuits and take a macaron cooking class.

Our desires/circumstances/goals can change in five years.
While I truly desired to lose down to a healthy weight and take a boot camp class and hold a one-minute plank, the past couple of years have held a good bit of trauma and emotional upheaval which I allowed to derail my goal of getting fit! Of course, we have made some adjustments to our eating and exercise plans, which have also ebbed and flowed throughout this time. I'm not as healthy or fit as I'd like to be (but I did complete a 10k walk in less than three hours at the beginning of summer). I was, however, more successful with my emotional and spiritual health goals as I kept a daily gratitude journal for one yearread through the Bible again, and completed a 3-day fast

I also chose not to earn a doctorate after considering and researching this option as I didn't feel it was the right direction for me at this point in our lives. And Robbie and I decided it was not quite time (yet) for us to buy a camper.

Sometimes I'm overly optimistic with what can be accomplished in a certain time period!
If you look closely at the list, you'll notice that there were quite a few travel items. Considering the fact that we typically take two vacations a years, we could have gone to all those places. But then we would have missed out on the family vacations and last minute trips and other things that caught our attention over the years. 

I feel so grateful and blessed that we were able to tour the Anne Frank House and visit Corrie ten Boom's home, travel to Paris, visit Harry Potter World in Florida, see New York from the top of the Empire State Building, have an Alaskan Adventure, travel on a train, see Niagara Falls, catch some holiday fireworks, and go glamping.  We even hiked to the top of a mountain in the Canadian Rockies and I rode in a helium balloon. So, it's hard to be disappointed that I didn't go snow skiing again or take a mission trip or visit Washington DC and tour the White House.

Some things are out of my control.
I knew when I put lead someone to Christ on my list that it was a stretch goal because it's not actually up to me whether or not it happens. While I strive to be a witness for the Lord in my daily life and I started my own ministry/business teaching classes that merge faith and art, I've never actually been the person who prayed with someone as they gave their life to the Lord. My giftings are in teaching and administration, not evangelism.  The Bible says that some plant, others water, but it's God that gives the increase. However, I put this item on the list to remind me to be aware of opportunities to witness to others and share about Christ. In fact, I did have several opportunities to talk with others (individually and in classes I've taught) about the way to eternal life. I feel great about the seeds I've planted and watered and weeded over the years and glad I included this reminder to myself to always be open to share the plan of salvation.

Sometimes I'm not willing (or able) to devote time to something new.
For example, I'd really like to learn to speak basic conversational Spanishtake swimming lessons and dance lessons and private singing lessons, and even learn to French braid my own hair. While I chose to focus on other things these past few years (like having something publishedrevising our wills, improving my photography and photo editing skillswatching many of the movies in our collection, and using a flower guide), I may find/make time in the coming years for these non-completed well as playing all the games in our collection and going fishing again.

All in all, I've thoroughly enjoyed working on my list of 50 Things To Do Before I'm 50 over the past five years. And now I'm setting new goals and looking forward to all the things I'll do While I'm 50

What will you be doing over the next 12 months?