Tuesday, January 29, 2013

something new...small world blog hop!

On Fridays I take part in Sneak Peek Friday with Jennifer at Studio JRU.  She has started a new blog hop called "it's a small world" that will take place the last weekend of the month.

I was busy at a denominational meeting so I was unable to take part of the weekend, but am now.  I visited the links at the bottom and found these two great blogs in the midst many.

Brief visits to these spoke to my soul.  

Want to join in?  This from Jennifer:
it is a big world out there. it is a big blogging world out there!
this blog hop is about finding those wonderful moments when you come across a blog or blogger that makes you think that the world just got a bit smaller.that there are people who understand you. people with your same sense of humor. people that share your passions. people with whom you just connect.
welcome every to the first 'it's a small world blog hop'! all about discovering new blogs and new ideas and new inspiration. discovering connections and new friendships. and it is all about sharing your discovery!

step one.

 venture out… by way of my post comments. pick a comment that peeks your interest. click on that person. go to their blog. look around. explore. look at some of their post comments and commenters. click on one of them. go to that blog. look around. explore. discover.
the idea is to click and hop around a bit. some of the blogs you find, you will have little interest in. some of the blogs you find will be right up your alley. one may become your new best bloggy friend! those are the ones that makes this a small world!
when you have made your new, wonderful blog discovery…

step two.

leave a thoughtful comment for them with a compliment about their blog. let them know that you are sharing their blog… because you think it is so wonderful… with the
'small world blog hop at studiojru'!

step three.

come back and introduce us by linking up that blog to the linky for the rest of us to check out. maybe use something descriptive for the title/name so we know a little what the blog is about. (like… artsy, inspiring, photographer, faith, sewing, cooking)

there you have it. simple and fun.
anybody can join this blog hop. you don't have to create a blog post to link up. you don't even have to have a blog! you just have to enjoy discovering people and blogs that make your world just a bit happier. and if you find two, link up two!
linky will remain open for a week.

Monday, January 28, 2013

multitudes on monday

here are my gifts,
not that i want,
those i already have,
given by the giver of all...

61.  this inside...

62. a full day of nothing but art
63. brave words
64. calls to pray
65. sunny drives on a winter day
66. checking in with a sister
67. embellishments
 68. being with the wider church
69.  beds that are a foretaste of heaven
70.  having to many invitations for June
71.  seeing story tellers moving into the next chapter
72.  river views
73.  re-remembering how small the church is
74.  being filled to be sent again
75.  banner processions
76.  hearing Words that are new again
77.  pimento cheese made in love  (thank you KS)
78.  marching during Sunday School sing alongs 
79.  seeing a sister excited about being organized...in a Christmas morning kind of way
80.  citrus vanilla bought to free others

Friday, January 25, 2013

sneak peek friday

it's time for peeking into studios
yours, mine, and 
our friends at studio jru.

this week i found a great deal
on embellishments!
 as i wasn't feeling to creative
i added them to some
"finished" pieces...
this is a new piece that might be finished...

what happened in your studio this week?
share here or at studio jru.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

community coming near

community has been coming to me in new ways in the last year or so thanks to social media and some women who listen and respond to other women.

i have been blessed with the gift of two incredible groups of women that have become dear to me and allow me to see Jesus up close and personal.  i "found" these women while searching to connect on a deeper level with other women seeking after God.  we were brought together through the ministry of (in)courage.

just a few examples...

one night as i struggled to find words to share with others i spent some time doing research on Facebook.  while there one post led to another and i became intrigued by a link posted by a "friend."  the link led to a powerful You Tube video of an old hymn sung in a way that was unfamiliar to me.  that video led to the words i needed to share with others.

in the past when something like happened i would say a quick prayer of thanks and move on.  this time i took a risk and sent a message to the lady who posted the link thanking her for how much the post blessed me.  that evening we messaged back and forth and i now have a new friend i may never meet this side of heaven.

  • me:  Thank you for sharing. I so needed that this evening. It has been a rough day and now I have had church. To be so free in front of others in worship is a gift.  And the words are words to remember as I prepare to step into the pulpit tomorrow.  You have blessed me in ways you will never know C!
    C: well then go'on and preach, girl! Stand flat footed and deliver healing water to those thirsty in the desert. I want to hear all about it. 
    me:  you make my heart smile.  sweet dreams!
    C: a blessing upon your rest and your heart. Good night, sweet sister. Peace and good to you in Jesus' name

on another evening i realized a lady in one of the groups whose passion and love for her children had touched me had been on my heart all day (this is always a sign to me to pray for a person).  usually that would lead me to quietly praying and moving on.  this time i took yet another risk and send a note to her.  her response let me know the prayers were appreciated.  i don't know what i was praying for and don't need to know, but was glad to know reaching out helped a sister on the journey at the right time.

  • me:  Not sure why but God has placed you on my heart this afternoon. I took that as a call to pray for you and your family.  No need to share why, just wanted you to know I am praying.
    J: Thank you for that! I appreciate it more than you will ever know.  :)
    me: <3

    a high school friend recently connected with me in one of these groups and our relationship has grown in ways living in two different countries would not have allowed without social media.  while struggling through the crud recently i was unable to share in my super power of (in)couragement.  she noticed and posted words of prayer and healing which were affirmed by other ladies in the group.  they used their super powers to bring a smile to a sickie face.

M: Let's remember to pray for Julie today. I think I'm seeing that she's not feeling great today. You are LOVED dear friend! I'm sure I speak for the whole community here :-)

God is using social media to send people into my life in new ways and at just the right time for just the right purpose.   what started in each of these examples as one way communication became relationship.  relationship centered on Christ and rooted deeper as we trust in God to work out the details.

there are many women who are sharing their super power of (in)couraging others and social media is allowing us to live into being the body of Christ as we share our gifts to build one another up.  community and connection is happening in new ways.  creative ways.  ways this over 50 woman still doesn't always understand yet is coming to thank God for.

want to experience this incredible community for yourself?  stay tuned at (in)courage for the next round of groups for women beginning february 12th.  and join us april 26th and 27th for (in)RL 2013.

As you go, 
proclaim the good news, 
“The kingdom of heaven
has come near.”  
Matthew 10.7

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

this week's conversion

Truly I tell you, 
unless you 
and become 
like children, 
you will never enter 
the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18.3

new again

cartoon conversion:

conversion continues to be all around me in ways i had previously overlooked.  i see it in nature most easily yet in myself it is harder to see.  biggest "conversion" this week was being brave enough to use my voice when it would have been much easier to use safe words.

Monday, January 21, 2013

joy dare for january 21st

Here are my gifts...
not those i want,
 those i have,
given by the giver of all.

41. cuddling with Joshua Brayden beast while catching up on Downton Abbey.

42. chicken noodle soup and sprite brought by da bear.

43. women who say yes.
44.  rain on the roof of the church.

45. cleaning Holy space.

47. waiting for snowmagedon.

48. a great deal on buttons.

49. the explosion of fresh oranges on my tongue.

50. a sister who helps me find silliness in "stuff."

51. security for the boy and his family (so proud of him).

52. encouragement for using my voice.

53. red and gold going to the Big Easy.

54. doors.

55. becoming brave again after making brave girl cards.

56. unexpected packages that contain the reminder of community!
57. blooms two years in a row on a plant i normally kill.

58. holy glances.
59. remembering i can wait until i am ready.

60. Word(s) that feed me...always.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


This weekend may you know which doors to open...

And which to leave closed...

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;
   keep watch over the door of my lips.
Psalm 141.3

Friday, January 18, 2013

sneak peek friday return

finally ready to share from the studio again and to link up with jennifer and friends over at studio jru.

i made most of my gifts for christmas and didn't want to post until they were all given.  here it is the second half of january and some still sit waiting for their home...

this week i began preparing for a retreat i will soon take.  this is the third year i will attend and each year the four day retreat held at a nearby conference center gets better.  

it is a time of prayer, meditation led by someone wiser than i, and listening.  the hardest part?

it is silent.

those of you who know me well, know that being quiet around people is hard for me.  yet it is something that has become a part of my spiritual discipline as the time allows me a new way to experience community (meals the first morning will be rushed through as silence is hard with people you don't know well, yet our final morning meal will be leisurely as we enjoy being together).  

it is also a time to be still in a way i am unable to be at home.  i find myself writing more than normal when i am there.  last year i made a journal using a Moleskin journal, this year i created one...

the front cover is made using some scrapbook paper i have loved but was saving for something special, a little fancy trim, a tiny bow, and some letters that were a gift (a whole great big pad of punch out letters!):

the inside pages were "painted" with watered down acyrlic inks:

and the back cover used the same materials as the front with a piece of the trim to "hide" a seam:

i used two of the packages of 8" x 8" Zutter pages and a set of covers and put them all together with my Zutter (my best ever ebay buy!).

excited to see what fills the pages!

how did you create this week in your studio*? 

won't you share here and over at studio jru?

* a studio is any place you find yourself creating

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Conversion(s) this week

A few ways conversion (my word for 2013) spoke to me in the last week:

Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion - it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ”  ~Billy Graham

How are you "hearing" your word this week?

Monday, January 14, 2013

The gift of community....

Today is the DAY!!!!!
Registration for (in)RL 2013 is live!

(in)RL was born out of two years spent listening to women in the comments at (in)courage craving local, real life community. Derived from the social media acronym “IRL” or “in real life,” (in)RL is an invitation to share what we’ve learned about community and encourage women with stories and suggestions for connecting deeper in real life.

   Think of it as a FREE girl’s weekend away that doesn’t require packing or plane tickets, where women can kick off any expectation of perfect, set aside their fears, their shyness, their worry that they’re not good enough, and find some of Jesus’ words of rest woven into every video shared here.

Here are a few reasons you might want to register:

  Everyone who registers on the day registration opens (Monday Jan 14) gets a copy of our (in)courage 365 Daybrightener while supplies last (US residents only).

  Everyone gets a copy of our first eBook: “Best of the Beach House 2012.”

The webcast kicks off on Friday, April 26th and local meetups are on Saturday, April 27th.
The focus this year will be looking closer at what it takes to stay rooted in community when sometimes just walking away would be so much easier and tons more convenient.  

 Women share stories of how they've chosen to stay through hard marriages, challenging parenting, worthwhile friendships. How choosing to stay has freed them more fully and unexpectedly than if they'd cut and run.

Still not sure?
Watch this:

Have questions?  Be in touch with me or go to the (in)courage website.

Watch for details for a meetup right in your own community!

So go here now and register!  

speaking of gifts, here are mine:

those gifts i already have,
given by the giver of all...

21.  baby burros, llamas, and goats on a drive
22.  hearing God in the midst of the prayers of a sister
23.  untying knots
24.  holy meals after long meetings
25.  laughing over lunch
26.  finding one who was lost
27.  hiding under the covers with a cold
28.  seeing "that" movie and agreeing with the hype
29.  Greek food
30.  "a car full of Christian women"
31.  growing deeper with one another
32.  encouraging words in unexpected places
33.  hearing people i love say they are proud of me
34.  baptism practice
35.  the "real" baptism
36.  balcony people
37.  seeing tears as words of truth and hope are spoken
38.  Isaiah 43.1...really...really...knowing it IS true
39.  being together again for Java Jesus after too long of a break
40.  my "tribe" helping carry me through the waters as they rise and the fire when it burns

Friday, January 11, 2013

Let my people go!

 Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day.  Before you think it does not affect you consider:

  •  acceptable estimates (meaning those that statisticians say are based on good math and methodology) put the number of modern slaves at somewhere between 27,000,000 and 41,000,000 people.  People who had hopes, dreams, and a heartbeat.
  • 80% are female 50% are children
  •  In 2008, the CIA estimated that there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000,000 American citizens enslaved.

 That means there are more people enslaved today than there has been throughout history combined.

 Human Trafficking generates some $32 Billion in revenue, mostly for organized criminal elements

 In some years, slavery actually generates more revenue and income for organized crime than illegal gun running.

Some economic models predict that slavery will become the biggest source of revenue and income for organized crime by the end of this decade.

An estimated 30,000 victims die each year in the United States from abuse, torture, disease, and neglect.   Many of the unidentified dead bodies that are found are believed to be victims of human trafficking and may never be identified.  Their parents will never know what happened to them.  

Have your attention yet?  

If you are like me the statistics are overwhelming, frightening, and dark.  As Christians we are uniquely equipped to do something about this because we have been set free.  While we may never be in physical or emotional bondage we understand that central to our love story with God is being set free by the grace and mercy of God.  

Below are some links for specific resources.  If you do nothing else, please pray for the victims of human trafficking and consider how you and your community may bring light into the darkness to help set God's people free!

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me . . . He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives . . .” - Luke 4:16-30


And an amazing song to get you dancing if nothing else:

Thank you to St. Alban’s Davenport IA for the above information presented in an ECF webinar.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Joy Dare

It sounds trite to put it in writing like this but last year my life was truly impacted as I “happened” upon the book “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.  It led to lots of new things in my life and ministry and the book helped me develop to a new spiritual discipline, the JoyDare.   It is keeping track of my gifts.  Those found around me in the world.  Not those things I want, but those I have.  Those given by the Giver of all.

Did you know that people who keep a gratitude list:

1. Have a relative absence of stress and depression. (Woods et al., 2008)
2. Make progress towards important personal goals (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)
3. Report higher levels of determination and energy (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)
4. Feel closer in their relationships and desire to build stronger relationships (Algoe and Haidt, 2009)
5. Increase happiness by 25% —  (McCullough et al., 2002)

 Knowing all that is true is a bonus.  The reality in my life is that my list helps me to find joy in little things and see God’s presence in more ways than I thought possible.  I started a list late last year and found as this year began, so did a new list.  So watch here on Mondays as I share gifts from the previous week.  I am going to count, beginning at one and see where Gods leads.

1.       Welsh Rarebit for supper
2.      A word found

3.      Texting love at the stroke of midnight
4.      Wise words from an elder
5.      A dream realized
6.      Cards to send to brave girls

7.      Onion rings
8.      A job to return to
9.      Listening in on 98 years of history
10.  New loved ones who become encouragers
11.  Sad boys who cry for their mama in love
12.  Rain on a tin roof as we say goodbye to a much loved woman
13.  Cows that are named

14.  Words of a sister that bless at just the right time

15.  Wise ones who seek after stars
16.  Epiphany celebrations full of love, laughter, mistakes, grace, and God’s presence
17.  Being able to tell the epiphany story as a community and complete the crèche with little ones
18.  Excitement of a sweet little one about to be baptized
19.  God’s Word heard
20.  Holy sounds