Category Archives: Faith & Inspiration

Catching Up!

I thought I would share a little since it’s been so ridiculously long since I posted here.  I do have a good excuse – we have moved!  I thought I would also share bits and pieces of my new studio as it’s coming together.  I always enjoy seeing where my artist friends work and thought you might enjoy a sneak peek as well.  My color palette in the studio is a little retro.  The wall color is from Martha Stewart’s paints “Smokey Aqua” it’s an aqua that pushes almost to the green.  It’s sunny and bright and goes really well with my totally fun red glitter vinyl 50’s stool we got from Target about 10 years ago.   I have a mix of some great chintz fabrics, the window chintz is butter yellow with tan, pink, burgundy and a touch of red.  I’ll show more of that later when we get the tools out of the way so I can do the important stuff – ie DECORATE!

As we are nearing the end of our family’s move I realize, I hate moving, but am loving it now that we’re almost done.  We moved half an hour closer to town though still very much in the country.  We have another fabulous (though different) view, are near friends and church and enjoy an almost non-stop summer breeze.  There are still boxes in the corners of several rooms, but almost everything now has a place and I’m actually starting to REMEMBER where that place is, LOL!

My sweet husband worked until 1 o’clock this morning getting my art studio nearer to completion.  He has created a corner work space repurposing items that have been in almost every art studio I’ve used for the past 30 years and yet he’s making them new and wonderful.  You would have loved watching him carefully “distressing” my newly painted but repurposed shelves.  He’s mister anal-retentive and he actually very carefully “randomly” distressed them while I just grab a piece of sand paper and go at it.  It made us laugh so much looking at how different we are from each other and yet how well we work together.  I have a couple of in process pictures today and I’ll post things as they get set up and finished.  Any suggestions you might have are greatly welcomed!

It’s been fun rethinking how I do my work and getting a chance to reorganize my work areas.  I’ve thrown and thrown and thrown away some more.  I’ve donated things I realize I’ll never use (like my wooden mannequins for drawing) since I just don’t paint people!

My computer/office work area is public as part of the great central area of the house.  No chance to hide my mess any more so I’ve actually been doing better at keeping it organized.  Wonder how long that will last, LOL!?

I’ve discovered new ways to organize that are working really well with my own natural bent.  Costco has great plastic “shoe box’ sized stacking boxes that are 100% transparent so you can see what’s in them.  I was able to condense all of my crafting supplies into a single shelf in my studio closet and will only need to bring out the box when I’m working on a project.  Soooo easy!  I was amazed at just how much fits into one of those boxes and how sturdy they are when stacked.  Living in the country, lids are VERY necessary as dust is everywhere at all times.  My tools got dirty and dusty in the open drawer system I had before.

The view out my window goes all the way to the high sierra, snow-capped peaks which you can’t see here.  I have a beautiful pastoral view close in and my beloved mountains as well.  The flowers in the window are my window boxes that line the front of the house and patio.  I loved where we were before and I love where I am now.  I am learning with the Apostle Paul -to be content in any state that I find myself.

All of this brings me to today’s devotional thought – sometimes God wants to move us whether we like it or not!  Being comfortable isn’t very high on His list of priorities for us.  In fact, in my experience He’s pretty happy when I’m UNCOMFORTABLE enough to let Him change what He needs to in my heart.  Has that been your experience as well?

I’ve also learned that “Father truly always does know best!”  His plans for me are always for my good and he imagines so much more for me than I would have ever thought for myself.  I’m learning every day to trust him more and to delight more in His surprises.  One of my favorite things about our new location is that I get drop-in guests now.  We were soooooo far up in the mountains that nobody came by unless they had really good reason or time to waste, LOL!  Now friends pop in on a whim and we love it.

Ps 40:3-5
3 He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be astounded.
They will put their trust in the LORD.

4 Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD,
who have no confidence in the proud,
or in those who worship idols.
5 O LORD my God, you have done many miracles for us.
Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
I would never come to the end of them.
NLT

 

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Celebrate Spring! FREE Easter Gift Tags

Vintage tulip, elegant design FREE for your own personal use!

Some of us have heard rumors that it’s Spring, others are deeply enjoying the warmth of the sun and the most welcomed harbinger of spring – Tulips and other bulbs.  To celebrate spring I’ve created a FREE tag set that you can pick up on my Facebook page

You can also click on the picture to go to my Facebook page, you’ll go to a “Welcome” page first, where you’ll have an opportunity to sign up for my newsletter that I’ll be producing soon on a somewhat monthly basis 🙂  You’ll also have a chance to “like” my page which will give you access to special coupon codes listed on a separate page under “For Fans Only”

FREE Shaped Gift Tags for Easter or other uses!

There are several digital clip art kits available in this design in my Etsy store.  The complete art kit runs $7.95 and has 27 pieces in the kit. 3, 12″ square papers, 2, shaped tags, 14 art pieces, 1 word art, 2 intricate borders, 4 frames and 1 card front. Created from vintage botanical illustrations and highly designed, layered and textured, then mixed with original watercolor art by Audrey Jeanne.

Vintage Red and Yellow tulips, swirls and butterflies

You can click on the picture to go to the kit at Etsy or use this link: ANTIQUE TULIPS ART KIT There will be several more kits coming over the next few weeks, including jewelry making collages, compact mirrors, coasters and more.

Beautiful for card making, scrapbooking and other craft uses

After having a foot of snow two weeks ago we finally had a marvelous weekend – just in time for the outdoor wedding of a very special young couple that are dear friends from our church.  It was a magnificent day for them and we were so excited to be a part of their lives and to be a part of helping them as a married couple in the years ahead.  Congratulations Andrew and Monica!

“This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!”  One of my favorite verses and one I try to meditate on frequently – whether the day is beautiful like today, or stormy, it’s a day that God has given me to rejoice and delight in.  When I greet the storms with rejoicing in the Lord they pass more easily and disturb me less.  When I greet the beautiful days with gratitude in my heart they are all the more enhanced!  Everything goes better in my life when I rejoice in my Lord!  Have a great Spring day.

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Does the Season Find you Weary and Heavy Laden?

In thinking over this past year, I have found that it has exhausted me in many ways.  A mixture of amazingly good and very challenging issues made for a very busy and tiring year.  A lot of what we experienced were even wonderful blessings – but they still can tire a person out.  Some of the events of our year were frustrating, painful or seemingly without a positive conclusion.  Some were things we hoped we would never face, such as dealing with a debilitating injury to my husband’s back that has kept him out of work for eighteen months.  Some of the most exhausting things we experienced this year were just the plain, old boring day-to-day affairs of life!  In other words, we experienced pretty much the same year that you probably did!

Do you ever get tired of doing the right thing when it doesn’t seem to make a difference?  Do you get tired of being consistent in doing what is right no matter how those around you respond?  Do you work at being diligent and yet still feel like the pile of undone tasks only grows? Life can feel more toil than joy sometimes – and that affects the joy we’re capable of feeling during the holidays.

Finding myself in this place, the Lord spoke a scripture reference directly to my heart this week.  I had  no idea what it was going to be, but when I turned to it, I found a wonderful heart-lifting scripture.   It so beautifully addresses this issue I thought I would share it with you.

“Ecclesiastes 3:9-14

What does the worker gain from his toil?  I have seen the burden God has laid on men.  He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.  That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God.  I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.  God does it so that men will revere Him.”

If life is feeling a little more like a toil than a joy, remember that if you ask Him, God is working through your toil to accomplish His purposes whether you see it or not. Your exhaustion and experience of “toil” might be at a job, career or ministry.  Your toil might be in relationships – both family and friends.  Your toil might be in a difficult marriage.  Perhaps your toil is financial stress or health issues.  Just know that every bit of it can be made beautiful through his loving touch.  Have you asked Him to make these things into things of beauty?  Have you asked Him to take them and work His purposes through them so that they will become eternal blessings that will last forever?

Everything God does through you will last forever.  Everything God does in you will be made beautiful in His time.  If you are waiting to see results from a lifetime of praying, loving, sharing, being diligent at your career or being a good wife and mother and are feeling a little blue about the visible results…  Remember this verse!  It is God that does the work.  We can’t add to it or take away from it.  We merely need to be faithful to what we know is right, do the good that we are capable of doing, ask Him to work through us and leave the results in His hands.

PRAYER:  Lord, I’m feeling pretty harried and exhausted at this moment with all of the preparations for Christmas, family, and friends.  I’m finding the joy of the season is a little be lost in all the toil of the season.  Help me to find your joy in the midst of the work.

In the year ahead, help me to find joy in the work you’ve given me to do.  You made man for work, and that work is to bring joy to his/her soul.  Help me to find joy in the tasks that are mine to do.  Refresh my strength.  Refresh my vision and my hope.  Give me energy for the tasks at hand and more.  Renew the joy of my salvation and my life!  AMEN

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“Wisdom”

Another installment of “101 Prayers and Promises for Busy Women”

SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY: Prov 2:1-8
My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,
3 and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds victory in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
NIV

Do you hear the word “wisdom” used much in day-to-day conversations?  I don’t hear it as much as I would like to.  The book of Proverbs is a book filled with portraits of both wisdom and foolishness.  The Hebrew style was to use illustrations of both good and evil, to teach from.  We need to be able to recognize both wisdom and foolishness in order to be successful in leading the life God wants us to have.  Sadly, much of what passes in our world today as “wisdom” could be better classified as foolishness!

God is wisdom.  God loves wisdom and loves to share His wisdom with us.  In fact He tells us in James 1:5-6  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him (or her!) NIV

He has built a world that functions around principles that cannot be violated without consequence.  Those principles are wise.  Following those principles lead to wise decisions that in turn lead to a successful life.  Ignoring those principles can often lead to great heartache and pain.  When we make foolish decisions we complicate our lives and make everything more difficult.  Can you think of one or two foolish decisions that you wish you could make all over again?  I sure can!

Rather than giving in to regret and depression when you think of them, try talking to God about them and asking Him to set you free from their consequences and restore wisdom to its rightful place in your life.  You might be AMAZED at how eager the Lord is to answer that prayer.

Thinking about your past decisions is a great place to begin if you are crying out for a lifting of your burden of busy-ness.  Usually there are decisions at the core of life’s getting out of control.  Cry out to the Lord for wisdom.  Tell him honestly where you have been foolish and made foolish decisions.  Ask Him to show you any area in your life that you aren’t aware of but that is being governed by foolishness and not wisdom.  He will not lecture you, nor will He “chastise” you.  You will find that He has great compassion and understanding for your circumstances — He’ll also make a way out of them for you if you ask!

PRAYER:  Lord, when I look back on my life, too often I have chosen what seemed to be the easier way only to find that it was a foolish choice.  I have rushed into decisions without considering what the wise course of action would be.  That choice has led to pain, difficulty and a life filled with busy-ness.  Please give me a love and a hunger for your wisdom.  Teach me your ways.  Fill me with your wisdom and show me the wise way to change my life.

Show me any areas where I am blind to my own foolishness and give me the courage to do something about it.  Lead me.  Teach me.  Give me wisdom liberally and abundantly that in all my choices I might honor you.  AMEN

If the Senate were to use the reconciliation process top pass health care reform, this would set a dangerous precedent. Reconciliation is a process that is primarily concerned about getting budgets into line, not a tool to pass major pieces of legislation.  In 1993, President Clinton attempted to use the reconciliation process to pass his version of health care reform, but this maneuver was roundly rejected by senior Senator Robert Byrd, who said that this Clinton strategy amounted to a “prostitution of the process” by pushing through “a very complex, very expensive, very little understood piece of legislation.” Last year, Senator Byrd, stood by his view that reconciliation was “a process intended for deficit reduction,” and using it for health reform and cap and trade “is an outrage that must be resisted.” Many Democrats claim that President Bush used reconciliation on numerous occasions to pass proposals, including tax cuts. This line of argument is inaccurate, however, as the metric for whether reconciliation can be used is whether it passes “the Byrd Rule prohibition that no reconciliation bill can make the deficit worse outside the budgetary window.”
Prov 1:7

7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

NIV

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Prayers and Promises for Busy Women

“Prayers and Promises for Busy Women.”  I have written a great deal on this subject in my journal over the past few years.  Much has been written out of my own searching for a life that is in balance — one that is eternally productive without being exhausting and draining.  Perhaps one day I’ll put it all together in a book, but in the meantime I thought that I would share some of what I’ve written with all of you.

I hear from many of you who have found the pace of life accelerating and the joy and satisfaction of life diminishing.  We share the same dilemma.  Life is overwhelming and we know we need to make some changes, we just aren’t sure what those changes should be. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE what I do.  There are parts of my life where I know I am absolutely in the center of God’s will.  In those places there is such joy and satisfaction, that I’m realizing every area of my life could potentially produce the same results if they were all given over to Him.

Over the years I have found only one thing to be truly helpful in the process of getting control in my life.   I have to slow down enough to spend time with the Lord and His word.  Then I need to pray, asking God for his wisdom and direction for my life.  Every time I do, He is so faithful to answer.  But then the harder part begins — doing the things the Lord speaks to my heart in answer to my prayers.  The first step is pretty easy, the second?  Not so much!

I am excited at the prospect of giving the Lord the areas of my life He wants to change.  I really do trust that He wants to make my burden light and my yoke easy.  Did you know that God delights in helping us find joy and satisfaction in life?  Jesus said that He came that we might have life and that more abundantly!  His goal is that I have more time, energy and emotional strength to be a blessing to my family, friends and community.  Do you believe he wants the same for you?  If so, perhaps together we can discover a new way of living that will leave us filled up rather than constantly tired and drained!

SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY:  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:6 NIV  Show me Your ways, O Lord, guide me in Your truth.  Ps. 25:4-5 NIV

DEVOTION:

A lot of our busy-ness comes as the result of wrong decisions we have made in our past.  Wrong decisions often lead to pain, chaos, confusion, over-commitment and exhaustion.  Where one wrong decision can quickly lead us far afield, returning sanity to our lives often takes a long, consistent series of right decisions.   Are you ready to make that long series of right decisions and trust God for His help in making your path straight?  I sure am!

How can I know what God wants me to do?  When life presents me with a myriad of choices to  make, how do I know which is the right path to follow?  It is easy to race off on a wrong path that looks easy and attractive.  Only God knows which path will lead to a rich and full life, and which will lead to heartache.  I’m learning to trust that He really does want the best for me.

PRAYER:  Lord, some of my busy-ness is a natural part of life, but I have to confess that a large part of it is because I’ve taken some wrong turns along the way.  I bring my situation to you and ask for your leading, your correction and your direction in the next steps I take on the path ahead. Please show me how to get back on your path in every area of my life — large and small.

Please show me the mistakes I’ve made along the way.  Make plain to me the way you want to me to go to overcome those mistakes.  Give me the courage to seek out your direction and then to consistently follow it day-by-day.  Help me to realize that a life that has become out of control over the span of years won’t be brought into control in just days or weeks or even months.  Help me to trust that you will be faithful to restore unto me the joy of my salvation and renew my joy in life!  AMEN.

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After the Wedding!

ajr-page-paisley-bgb-29ajr-page-paisley-bgb-28ajr-page-paisley-bgb-32b2Life in the ajr-page-paisley-bgb-32bRobert’s household  has returned to “normal,” AKA busy but manageable!  We had a wonderful time with family and friends, celebrating the marriage of our youngest daughter. The preparations were overwhelming (note: anyone considering an outdoor wedding, they’re wonderful but if you’re setting the location up yourself its about 10 times as much work as a normal wedding!)  There were many tears of joy shared that day.

My girls and I had so much fun that last week.  I took the week off and Jacqui threatened my computer with a hammer if she caught me working on it, LOL!  Being of course an artsy-craftsy family we made all the goodies ourselves — we dressed the bubbles, created dangling “tree mobiles” that we hung all around the site, made the centerpieces and table decorations and wrapped up 190 after dinner mints.  All of it was done together, laughing, talking and sharing our hearts.  It was so much more fun than had we simply ordered things made on the internet.

The digital revolution has made these kinds of activities so much easier and less expensive.  Nine years ago when our older daughter got married we didn’t have nearly as much capability to do the decorations ourselves.

Weddings are such a precious part of life.  Exhausting, but so rewarding.  Preparing for a new wedding made me think back to those we had celebrated in the past including our own.  I remember looking at our wedding album a year or so ago and thinking back to how wonderful were the memories of having most of the people you loved all in one place at one time.  When we look at the pictures now, sadly, more than a few of the people who celebrated that day are no longer with us.

As we’re heading into the season of so many family celebrations, take time to enjoy each person in your life.  Slow down a little and enjoy the preparations instead of being overwhelmed by all the tasks.  As you prepare for Thanksgiving or Christmas, think about how you can make memories — not impress your guests, and you will add a richness that money can’t buy.

SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY: Ps 145:4-7
4 One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.
5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
NIV

DEVOTION:  I found 53 references to the word “Celebrate” in the scripture today and most of them were a command.  God tells us to party!  He tells us to rejoice!  He wants us to have joyful celebrations.  When we make him the center of those celebrations rather than partying for no lasting reason, those celebrations have a great and lasting joy to them.

Are you tired and weary?  Is life challenging?  Has there been a loss or a hard time in your past year?  Celebrating can be difficult in those times, but it can also be healing as well.  Celebrate the good things in your life with those you love the most.  Remember your blessings.  Treasure the memories of the past and create new memories to treasure out of th e opportunity the next family celebration affords you.

Honor God’s role in preserving your family, your home, your love and celebrate before Him with all your might and a deep and abiding joy will fill your heart.

PRAYER:  Lord, as I prepare for the seasons of Thanksgiving and Celebration ahead, help me to keep in perspective why I am celebrating and remember that you delight in our celebrating and feasting together as a family.  Help me to enjoy the process, enjoy the people, enjoy the preparations and relax and especially enjoy the relationship I have with you that is at the core of each joy in my life.  Thank you for all you are and all you mean to me.  Help me to have a spirit of celebration with me all this season long.  AMEN

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Catching Up!

BY THE WAY, before I begin, I will be out of town for my niece’s wedding this weekend, so if there are any problems with any store purchases I won’t be able to attend to them until I get back.  I will not have internet access.

Well, I’m not really catching up with anything work-wise, as I continue to be blessed with more work than I can at times comfortably handle.  However, I thought I would “catch you up” on what’s been happening around here.

I am going to my Niece’s wedding and will get to see my sweet grandson this weekend.  Next week I am committed to creating a new art kit for digital clip art here at the blog store and at Aimee Asher Elite www.aimeeasher.com.  I have been quite neglectful of you all but I think of you and of writing often.  I think I will work up the “Deja Brew” collection as a digital kit for those who have been so patiently waiting for it!

I have signed licenses with five manufacturers that are new to me and in totally new categories.  Next year I will have 4 new table top/kitchen collections coming out.  It’s too early to tell you or show you the specifics but I’ll let you know.  I’m very excited at how the designs have turned out and look forward to seeing them actually made into products.  In addition, I have a very large scrapbooking and card crafting collection with a UK manufacturer.  It will only be available in Europe and other parts of the world, so my US customers won’t see it here, but many of you are in the UK so I’ll let you know where to look for it and what it is when it’s ready.

I continue to have a fabulous relationship with Studio E Fabrics.  We partner together to bring my fabric visions to life and do so with incredible attention to detail and quality.  We’re working on a new collection that’s about 80% finished.  I think that I will release the art from that collection soon after it goes to production.  It could be quite fun to do printable fabric designs to go with the fabrics and so many of you have both sewing and digital crafting passions!

I’m afraid my husband’s back is not improving.  For those of you that pray, please lift him up for healing and restoration.  It’s so hard to see such a physical, energetic man become so down and in so much pain.  The doctor has ordered an MRI so we’ll see what that indicates.

SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY:  Rom 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  NIV

COMMENTARY:  The world promises us “hope” in a lot of things.  Most recently an entire political campaign was based on that word.  We hunger for hope.  We need hope as much as we need the air that we breathe.  But have you ever had your hopes dashed?  What was your hope based in?  If it is in a politician or a political party — no matter which one, your hope will be oh-so-easily dashed.  Is your hope in your retirement account ?  Boy, that can be riding pretty low at the moment!

What is your hope?  Is it in things?  Is it in people?  Is it in your dreams?  My hope is in “The God of hope,” the one that fills me with all joy and peace as I’m learning to trust more and more in Him.  I so love the verse for today.  Do you want to be so filled with joy and peace as you learn to trust in him, that you OVERFLOW WITH HOPE by the POWER of the Holy Spirit?!  I sure do!

Sometimes my God of Hope prepares me for tough times by asking me a simple question.  When it is in advance of a time of trouble, it lets me know He’s on top of the situation and taking care of things.  As many of you know, we went on a wonderful church camping trip July 4th weekend.  I walked around the camp one afternoon and heard the still small voice of the Holy Spirit whisper to my heart, “Will you trust me?”  Four words out of nowhere.  To be honest it triggered a small panic attack, because I’ve walked with the Lord long enough to know that a question like that can be leading to a time of great trial.  However, a lifetime of trusting Him made it easy to give the “correct” answer, “of course Lord, I’ll trust you,” though I can’t say I was at great peace about it.

My husband’s back was pretty sore at that point, but he figured a time of rest would help him over it.  Within two weeks he was at the doctors and in the process of trying to figure out how to get better — and out of work.  I won’t go into all the details, but to say that suddenly huge problems and issues cropped up almost everywhere in our lives would be a gross understatement.  I shared my “word from the Lord” with my family and we keep reminding ourselves “Will we trust Him?”

For those that do, the promise is the God of Hope will cause you to overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Hang in there!  In the midst of your fear, stop look up at heaven and declare out loud “Lord, I choose to trust you no matter what things look like.”  He will not fail you!

PRAYER:  Lord, if I have placed my hope anywhere but in you, please show me where it needs to be placed.  I pray that you would make today’s verse alive and real and working in my heart.  Fill me with your joy and peace.  Teach me deeper levels of trust in you and let the power of your Holy Spirit cause me to overflow with hope for my future.

I do trust you Lord.  I do place all of my hope in you.  Give me your vision for my future and show me that which you desire me to “hope for,” I truly want your will for my life.  AMEN

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Grace Made Perfect in Weakness

Once again it has been much longer than planned between posts and especially between posting digital clip art kits for you guys.  I have had my wonderful, adorable, too-darn-cute-for-words grandson (and of course his Mommy) here for almost a month.  For those of you unacquainted with life with a toddler, lets just say that they tend to take over a home and utterly alter its routine!  I have some wonderful photos that I’m unable download off of my digital camera because I can’t find the cord and OF COURSE it’s the only cord like it in the house.  When I find it you can expect some cute ones.

What a treasured time it has been however.  My absolutely favorite part of the visit has been seeing the “little boy” that was hiding in his grandpa-pa!!!  My sweetie is just adorable with his grandson.  I haven’t laughed so much in a long time.

Life is rich even when circumstances are challenging.  We’re going through some tremendously difficult struggles.  My husband injured his back and it isn’t healing so he’s out of work.  If you’ve ever dealt with the California Worker’s Compensation system you have some idea of what we are going through. In addition we have family members that are suffering deep pain and we hurt with them.  And yet in the midst of the struggles there are events of tremendous joy.

Are you in the same place?  Is life overwhelming you? Does it feel like life has thrown you a curve ball, or two or three, maybe you’ve even been hit by an out-of-control pitch?!  If not I rejoice with you!  If so, today’s verse and devotion was written with you in mind.

SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY: 2 Cor 12:7-10
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  NIV
DEVOTION:  This morning in my quiet time I read the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians.  He always helps me to put my “smaller” struggles in context, LOL!  I say “smaller” in that I have yet to be beaten and left for dead, imprisoned or chased from city-to-city by an angry mob.  However, at the same time, I have learned that God doesn’t grade on a curve, allowing only so many to pass the test — His grace and His empowering is abundantly available to all of us in our trials. God doesn’t look at you or me in our trials and say, “Buck up there, Susie’s going through much more than you, you should be ashamed of your pitiful faith!”

Instead God’s grace is always there for us and never more so than in our weakness.  When am I weak?  I am weakest when I have absolutely no power to change my circumstances, when the financial/emotional/physical need is so much greater than my ability to bear.  I am weakest when I am worn down by surprise after surprise, and disaster after disaster.  It feels like my faith is hanging by a thread and my courage ran out the back door!  You know what God says to you in that time?  It isn’t “I’m disappointed in you, get a hold of yourself,” it’s “Call out to me in your weakness and I will pour out my power into you and through you.  Give me a chance to show you how much I care and how powerful I am!”  There is no greater comforting arms to run into than the comforting arms of our heavenly Father.

PRAYER:  Lord, I’m pretty much at wit’s end.  Wave after wave of circumstances have hit me and my strength — such as it was, is gone.  I feel like I can barely hold my head above water and I’ve been ashamed to come to you in my weakness.  I haven’t even shared with those close to me how very empty and weak I feel.  Yet you tell my that your grace is made perfect in weakness.  Show me your grace.  Show me your power.  Show me how to hold on to you as I am storm-tossed and am feeling powerless to rise above the waves.

Lead me in your strength.  Bring good out of circumstances that were brought about by evil.  Give me your hand to hold onto and help me to become a better person for having gone through these difficult times.  AMEN

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A Graduation Freebie Bookmark

smajr-bookmark-blue-butterfly-collage1I promised that I would do a freebie for those of you that were so patient during my loooooong break in posting.  I also got a request for a butterfly bookmark for a Women’s retreat so I decided to combine their request with the upcoming graduation season and provide a bookmark for you to include as a package topper, or to add inside your graduation card envelope.

You can print them on card stock and laminate as a basic bookmark or cut out the butterflies that are included and make them 3 dimensional.  Use foam double stick tape to attach your butterflies and perhaps a little glitter or jewels and you will have a very special little gift!

LINK TO FREEBIE DOWNLOAD HERE

This is made out of the Winged Jewels Clip Art Kits which I am going to be uploading this weekend to this site.

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Well… I’ll Try to be Better About Writing Now that the Shows are Over!

Thanks to each for the sweet emails about missing me and my writing.  It has been a long, exhausting sprint with the Surtex Show preparations and The Licensing Show that occurred last weekend.

I have to say I have been, VERY, VERY blessed with the results of these shows thus far.  My “to do list” just keeps growing instead of shrinking but in this economic period of time I’m thrilled to be working hard and enjoying my work.

I’m going to try to pull together a new art kit “We Celebrate You!”  Which is based around whimsical cupcakes and a birthday theme.  Perhaps I’ll even throw together a little “freebie” as a thank you for all of your patience.

SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY:

Ps 18:32-36
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great.
36 You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn.
NIV
Strength… it has been a cry of my heart in prayer these last few months.  “God, give me the strength to get through this day, week, month….”  There are times when small bursts of energy are required to make it through and then there are times where the demands of the day totally outpace your natural ability to cope.  I’ve been living through the later.

Even with the most disciplined of behaviors and not a moment of wasted time my tasks have been virtually un-doable.  And lets be honest here, I’m pretty darn diligent,  I gave up the luxury of procrastination years ago, but still I am not even close to being perfect in this area.  So how do you make it through a list that is impossible?  By starting and ending your day sitting at God’s feet.  By taking some of that precious time to study His word and gain the knowledge you need to carry you through the day.  Sometimes you may need to give a tithe of your time to someone else in need and ask God to multiply your effectiveness for the remaining time.

I had an experience this week.  A dear woman who is not a believer, asked me some very poignant and searching questions about Christianity.  I had a deadline to get two brand new art collections (art that had to be created and then formatted for product) done for a presentation that had to go out to Target.   It was a hard choice, but one that seemed very clear to me.  The eternal is much more important to my heart than the temporal so I chose to spend whatever time I needed to, to answer the questions and then asked the Lord to multiply my time by giving me the vision for the product and enabling me to capture the essence of what the Target buyer was looking for.  I won’t know for a while if I will have my designs selected — but I will say that the art came amazingly easily and it had a fresh and exciting feel to it.  If it isn’t placed at Target I know it will be placed somewhere else down the line.

Perhaps you routinely tithe of your money, but have you ever thought of tithing of your time?  I challenge you this week.   Perhaps your finances are in such a difficult place that you aren’t even able to tithe financially.  I have been there.  I remember vividly one Sunday writing on a scrap piece of paper a note to the Pastor that said something like “I don’t have a dollar to spare right now, but I will give a tithe of what I have and that is time.  I will commit to pray for you, your family and the fruitfulness of this church this week.” Somehow, like the widow’s two pennies, I think God enjoys this gift from the heart more than the wealth of the nations placed at His feet.

If you have been struggling with your work load or all that is required of you, ask God to show you a way you could tithe of your time to bless others and then ask Him boldly to enable you to accomplish all that He’s set before you as well.  I promise you, it’s an adventure in the making!

PRAYER:  Lord, the hurrieder I go the behinder I get!!! My list keeps growing and my sense of failure grows with it.  Please help me this week to accomplish the tasks that you have set before me, weed out the tasks you HAVEN’T set before me and find a way to tithe of my time to help meet the needs of others.  I ask you boldly to teach me something very new about how to live my life in this time and to make the time I sow into other’s lives bring increased eternal fruitfulness and productivity into my own.  AMEN

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“Happy Easter” Digital Clip Art and Crafting Kits

LINK TO HAPPY EASTER CLIP ART KIT IN STORE  $4.98

A couple of new kits to debut today!  I got some painting time in last week and created some brand new Easter art for children (naaah, my grandson had absolutely NOTHING to do with my motivation, LOL!)  There are 4-5 more kits in this collection coming over the next few weeks.  I hope you’ll enjoy them.

LINK TO ABIGAIL SCOTT’ S HOPPY EASTER TREAT BAG KIT IN STORE  $3.98

Also I’m reviving our “Abigail Scott DESIGN Studio” brand of printable digital crafting kits.  There’s a new kit using the “Happy Easter” art.  This is a fun kit that is very, very quick to assemble making it perfect for  doing treat bags for a classroom full of kids, a few kids in the neighborhood or perhaps for your own children or grandchildren.

I have also uploaded two of my previously released fonts to the store.  I have a couple more that I hope to get up soon as well.  Thanks for your patience!

SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY:  Job 4:4-6
Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees.
But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed.   Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope?  NIV

Eph 3:12-19
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.  I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

For this reason I kneel before the Father,  from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. NIV

DEVOTIONAL:  I’m continuing with our theme of understanding why our hearts become dry and shriveled spiritually.  When we experience dryness, how can we overcome it?  I’m tackling one of the most common reasons I have seen people pull away from God and that is their disappointment with Him over unanswered prayer or unexpected suffering.

All of us decide in our heart just how God “should” respond to our prayers or  circumstances, whether we realize it or not.  If God “fails” to perform as we wished, it is very easy to get discouraged, disappointed or even angry with Him.  When someone we love suffers and God doesn’t seem to be in the situation or someone that is dear to us is not healed but instead passes away, when the job we believe is perfect for us goes to a less worthy candidate, we can begin to harden our heart towards the Lord.

There are two different responses to suffering in the verses above.  One is from the book of Job and is a comment from one of Job’s friends who is observing him going through terrible suffering, with no apparent reason.  He believes that if Job is as righteous as he claims he wouldn’t be suffering.

The other is Paul encouraging others not to be discouraged at Paul’s own suffering on their behalf, but to be built up, filled with God’s love, encouraged and even empowered by it!

You will suffer at some point in your life.  You will be disappointed in God.  You will be disappointed in others.  You will become discouraged or saddened when the innocent suffer and the guilty appear to go free.  Life isn’t fair.  Life doesnt’ treat those we love fairly.  Will you pull away from God at this point or run toward Him?

I share with you the counsel of a wise saint of God who encouraged me early in my walk with the Lord.  She said, “A God you can control and manipulate isn’t much of a God my dear.  When life doesn’t go as planned, when God doesn’t do what you want — that’s when you have to decide ‘Who is God?’  Are you going to become your own God or will you let Him be?  Will you trust that He understands more than you and is working His purposes or will you pull away?”

Sometimes we will see in our lifetime the “Why” answered.  The job we wanted disappeared a year after we would have gotten it.  The home we were so sure was perfect for us sold before we could buy it, and a better one appeared soon thereafter.  But most often, like Job, we will never see the amazing plan of God, hidden in our suffering and the power of what He accomplishes through it.  Do you think Job might have gone through his suffering differently if he realized that multiplied billions of people would know his story and be encouraged by it?

If you don’t understand, praise God anyway.  If you’re hurting, choose to hand that hurt to Him and ask Him to use it to bless you and others.  If life is unfair — and it is, turn to the one who is perfect and who loves you perfectly.  If you’re angry with Him, tell Him that — He’s big enough to handle your temper tantrums.  The bible tells us that there are only two “gods,” the true God, our loving heavenly father and the false “god” of this world, Satan.  When you reject God as being “unfair” and turn away from Him you turn toward the “god” of this world… do you think he’s going to be fairer?!  Of course not, he wants to steal, kill and destroy you and everybody and everything you love.  But God loves you, trust Him in the middle of your pain and ask Him to help you through it.

PRAYER:  Lord, I am discouraged and weary.  Life isn’t going as I hoped or planned.  It seems like you are so far away from me and uncaring.  I know that isn’t true, but it feels like it.  Help me to praise you in the middle of the pain.  Help me to trust you when all I trusted in seems to be failing.

Restore my trust in You where I have allowed doubts and anger to destroy it.  Show me that you truly are God, You are real, You are powerful and You are sovereign over my life.  Please show me where my assumptions about You as God are off and teach me who You really are.  Please God, help my suffering to not be in vain but to be used to build me up and strengthen me that I might in turn strengthen others.

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Spring Fever?! Sick of Winter?

LINK TO GARDENER’S BENCH CLIP ART KIT IN STORE  $4.98

Are you ready to head out into your garden (or wishing that you could?!)   Aren’t we all?  Well, this morning I put together this “Gardener’s Bench” Digital Clip Art kit that will bring a little sunshine indoors for you.

This is a BRAND NEW art kit that is hand water colored.  A beautiful painting of a gardener’s bench was the start of the collection.  There is a 4″ x 10″ painting image suitable for a card front or other uses as well as a smaller, rectangular composition from the same painting.

It was my desire that this kit would help bring a little sunshine indoors for you. There are 18 pieces in this kit, 2 card fronts, 4 borders, 1 tag, 7 art pieces and 4 coordinating papers.  The artwork is extremely detailed and life-like.  It can be used to create your own cards, craft with or for scrapbooking.

SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY:  1 John 1:5-10  This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.   NIV

DEVOTIONAL:  Continuing our theme of overcoming spiritual dryness and feeling far from God, I’m going to address the issue of sin.  Sin is considered by many to be an “old fashioned” kind of a word, something our culture has “grown past” and “evolved beyond.”  But guess what?  We all sin.  EVERYBODY sins, and everybody can be forgiven of those sins, but they have to humble themselves before God in order to have those sins forgiven.

Sin keeps us separated from God.  It builds a wall that cannot be breached, it must be removed and there is only one way to do that and that is by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.  Again, and “old fashioned” concept, but one that has never lost its power to change lives!

The word sin, means among other things to “miss the mark” as in an archer shooting at the target.  I miss the mark every day.  I start each day with the desire to live it perfectly before the Lord, but guess what?  I miss the mark — over and over and over again.  Some days I barely miss and other days I miss it by a mile — whether by little or by much it is still sin.  I strive to live according to his instructions but lack the power on my own to accomplish this goal.  Here’s where I can begin to feel dry and pull away from Him.

If I’m going to “sin” (and I will) how do I keep that wall from building between the Lord and I?  I need to walk towards Him and his light each and every day.  I need to seek Him out, starting by confessing my sin and seeking His power to overcome that sin.  I constantly ask the Lord to show me where I am sinning.  I need Him to show me where I am “missing the mark,” as I’ve discovered that I am pretty blind to my biggest flaws.  I need His help to show them to me so that I can ask Him to help me change and grow.

Sometimes it is great sins that separate us from God — like King David who sinned with Baathsheba and had her husband killed.  Great sins can sometimes begin with a small disobedience where we have walked away from something God required us to do and headed in the wrong direction.  When we do this we walk straight into darkness and our heart begins to harden against the Lord.

Sometimes small series of repetitive sins begin to build the wall between us.  It can be as simple as being too busy to seek His will before making decisions, or telling little lies, or gossiping about someone you know or …  A great wall can be built up of very small stones.  We need to treat all sin equally and be quick to confess those sins and seek God’s forgiveness.  A clean heart is a heart that is free to come to our Heavenly Father with joy and abandon.

PRAYER:  Lord, I think that I have allowed sin to begin building a wall between you and I.  I want to live in your light and I ask you to show me any darkness that is lurking in my heart.  Help me to see sin like you do.  Show me my sins and show me why it is that you hate sin.  You hate the consequences of those sins in my life and the damage that I do to others and you hate sins because they separate me from you.

Thank you that you have promised in advance that if I confess my sins you will forgive them and PURIFY me from them!  Purify me Lord, make my heart clean and give me the power to live a pure life.  Help me to draw more closely to you each day.  AMEN

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Elegant Easter Egg Favor Boxes and Pillow Box Purse Set

CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO EASTER EGG FAVOR BOXES IN STORE  $4.98

While I’m working on kits I got on a roll this morning!  These Elegant Easter Egg Favor Boxes are just adorable!  They’re the perfect size to fill with a few Hershey’s Kisses or other Easter candies.  The three eggs work beautifully together and can add an elegant touch to place settings at a family dinner, a women’s Easter brunch or other Easter gathering.  Add your own tags to them for place settings or to add all of the children’s names in a classroom.

There are photographic instructions included so it’s very easy to figure out how to put these together and even an older child could do these.  Cutting and scoring are at a medium difficulty skill level.

SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY:  Matt 11:28-30   “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  NIV

DEVOTIONAL:  Continuing on yesterday’s theme — when we are spiritually dry there are a few common reasons.  Sometimes we are in sin, sometimes we are disappointed with God or our perception of God’s “fairness,” sometimes we are caught up in the world around us and sometimes we’re caught up in worrying.  I’ll go over each of these in successive devotionals, but today I’m going to talk about the most common reason we get spiritually dry and that is we grow weary.

Weary, tired, exhausted, overwhelmed — these are the most common words I hear in my daily life when I ask people how they’re doing.  I bet you hear it/say it too.  We’re all doing too much, in too little time with little or no rest to restore ourselves.

Did you notice the “rest” in “restore.”  There is no restoration of energy without rest and there’s no shortcut to being refreshed.  Unfortunately you can’t plug yourself in like an electric car when you go to sleep at night to recharge in a few hours — it takes many consistent nights of adequate sleep to restore our bodies and with it our souls.

Jesus understands our weariness.  He wants us to come to Him, give him our weariness and burdens and find His rest.  I’ve discovered over time that His rest isn’t a magical formula, it’s a dramatic change about the way we approach all of life.  Are the tasks/assignments that you are stressing over, actually coming from the Lord or have you taken them upon yourself?  If the latter, His rest might come as you let go of the commitment.

Jesus pulled away from the crowds and sought communion with His Heavenly Father — even when it meant leaving the hurting masses.  Do you “leave” your family from time to time to go away and spend time with the Lord?  Most of us can’t physically get away, but we can go into our rooms each day and spend time seeking the Lord AND LEARN FROM HIM HOW TO FIND REST.

Start your time with Him with a simple prayer and ask Him to help you find out the root reason that you are weary and discouraged.  Then ask Him to lead you to the scriptures that will speak to your need.  It can be as simple as looking up “weary” in a good concordance and following the trail of scriptures.  Then I find that “pray-reading” the scripture is a great way to take it into my own heart and give the Lord permission to do the work necessary to change my heart.  The prayer at the end today is an example of how I like to “pray-read” the word.

If you are dry, or maybe you’re even in a long season of drought, you won’t feel restored over night.  You probably won’t feel different at all for quite a while, but I promise you, if you continue seeking His rest you will find it.  And with it you’ll find the refreshing rains of his living waters.  You’ll find the rains that bring forth the spring flowers.

PRAYER: Lord, you have commanded me to come to you when I grow weary and burdened.  I am so weary and dry right now.  I am so exhausted with carrying my burdens that I have come to you to find your rest.  Please show me what I need to do in my life.

You have told me that if I take your yoke upon my shoulders it will be a comforable and restful yoke.  My work will be less painfu, be more easily accomplished and lead to rest.  Help me to learn from you.  Teach me about where my life is out of balance and headed in a wrong direction and teach me what needs to be changed and perhaps more importantly, how to change it.

Thank you that you aren’t angry with my weakness, you understand.  You’re gentle and understanding and have a desire to lead me into your rest.  AMEN.

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The New Year and Seasons of Change

I have a special love for New Year’s.  Throughout my life I have spent the time between Christmas and New Year’s thinking about what was good in the past year, what wasn’t, where I can improve and turning my eyes towards the New Year ahead.  I love New Year’s so much that my beloved husband and I were married on New Year’s Eve!  It’s quite amazing, everywhere we go they are throwing a party for us, LOL!

This New Year finds me with some very substantial changes afoot.  My beloved agent Mark Timm and his wife Angela have made some wonderful changes for their company “Cottage Garden Collections” and have merged with Roman, Inc.  This merger has already done some amazing things for Cottage Garden with much more to come.  However, one of the changes that this merger brought, is that Mark ceased to represent me as my agent so that he can spend 100% of his time working with Cottage Garden.

After five years of working together, playing together (our trip to the Bahamas comes immediately to mind!) and growing deeply as friends and “family” it’s hard to let go and move on.  We’ve gone through thick and thin together.  Fortunately, I still work very heavily with Mark and Angela because of my wonderful connection to Cottage Garden Collections (oh boy are there some really awesome new things in the works there!!!!)  They will continue to be an important part of my life.

So there is a very special NEW in my NEW YEAR and it is my new licensing agency, MHS LIcensing.  I debated for several months which direction I wanted to go.  I have many licensing relationships that are already established and I could have made the step towards representing myself, but I always keep this one thought in mind when making plans for my career.  “Does this decision give me more or less time to paint and create?”  There is no doubt in my mind that I will have the freedom to design and create much more by being represented by as solid and reputable organization as MHS Licensing!

I decided on approaching them after talking to several of my manufacturers.  I asked them who they most liked working with.  Which agency handled things in the most professional manner and had the best artists?  The unanimous feedback I received was in support of MHS Licensing.  I am so enjoying getting to know all three of the agents I will be working with there and am looking forward to a long, fruitful and FUN relationship!

You can take a peak at the beginnings of my portfolio there at: LINK TO ARTIST’S PAGES I am the 7th artist down the page.  We’re feverishly working to get my portfolio up in time for the 2009 show season.

For those of you who are my digital clip art customers, you’ll see lots of things that won’t be available for quite a while yet, so it will be a bit of a tease.  However, you’ll see these designs in lots of other products in the years ahead so I  hope you’ll enjoy the preview.

NEW YEAR’S MESSAGE:  Do you leave 2008 with some painful regrets?  Have there been tough seasons in this past year?  Are there areas that you feel you have failed or where the year has not lived up to your expectations?  I’ve observed that the people in my life that who have the greatest difficulty around this time of year seem to be those that have the most regrets, or those that struggle with shame and/or a fear of failure.  The answer to each of these struggles can be found in the following passage:

SCRIPTURE:  2 Cor 5:17-6:1  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  NIV

COMMENTS:  Many of us are separated from those we love due to unforgiveness, disappointment, hurtful experiences and painful histories.  Some of us have been those that have been the “hurt” parties and others of us have been the ones that failed and perhaps caused the hurts.  To be reconciled to each other and to God can seem to be a huge, if not impossible task to accomplish.  It can also be one of the great longings of the human heart.

The world often feels that God wants to push “sinners” away, He does NOT!!!  He longs to gather us all in and has made a way for us to be reconciled to Him.  His part is done, He is already willing, you don’t have to guess whether or not He will accept you — IT IS ALREADY GUARANTEED THAT HE DOES.  He has reconciled to you — all that waits is if you would be reconciled to Him.

For those of us who seek to be found “In Christ” it is an instantaneous process.  We become new creations in him, all things become new, the old passes away and our sins are forgiven.  The longer, transformation part of the process then begins.  God loves reconciliation.  He reconciles us to Himself, then he begins to reconcile our past and restore the relationships that have failed.  On top of that, he gives US the ministry of reconciliation that we might bring others both to Him and to reconcile with each other. Isn’t this an exciting way to begin a new year?

Can you let go?  Can you let go of past hurts?  Can you let go of your failures?  Can you turn your face upwards to the Father above and ask him to reconcile all the loose ends of your life?  The New Year is a great time to let go of New Year’s Resolutions and instead ask God for New Year’s Transformations.  When HE changes you from the inside out, the changes last longer than a week or two!!!!

PRAYER:  Lord, I’ve approached New Year’s Day often with a long list of things I know need to be changed.  I start out with great intentions and reach the stage of failure by the second or third week.  This year I want my life to be fully reconciled to you and your ways.  Give me the power to truly become a New Creation in Christ.  Give me the ability to be fully reconciled with You and to grow into the ministry of reconciling others to you as well.  Make this New Year my best ever, Lord!  AMEN

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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The Christmas Story #7

If you were following the link for the freebie it’s on the post below this one.  We’re reading the Christmas Story together to keep our focus for Christmas you’re welcome to join along or skip down a post for the giftie.

THE CHRISTMAS STORY: Luke 2:13-20
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
NIV

COMMENTS:  Can you just imagine this scene?  Stop for a moment and just imagine the sky filled with the glowing light of the heavenly angels singing in what must have been an unearthly and beautiful sound.  These angels weren’t little babies with harps or feminine wispy things like we tend to draw and portray them, they were mighty, powerful, huge and awesome creatures who’s sole existence was to glorify God.

What must the shepherds have thought?  They were so excited and filled with joy they had to run and tell people!  They went and saw the child with their own eyes and then told everyone they met that Christ the Savior was born.  This is the whole purpose of Christmas.  Are you excited that Christ was born?  Do you know that he was born for you and me?  Does that bring as much joy to your heart as to those simple shepherds 2,000 years ago?!  Then SING!!!!  Rejoice!  Glorify God!  These are the best presents we can give Him during this Christmas season.  Fill your home with hymns and SING!!!!  Even if you squawk a rather unmelodious song, God loves to hear our praises and delights in us even as we delight in hearing little children sing (he doesn’t need professional quality, just heart)

PRAYER:  Lord, Oh how I wish I could be transported to that night in the hills of Bethlehem.  What magnificent sights and sounds were brought forth to announce the birth of MY SAVIOUR.  I so rejoice that you loved me enough to send Jesus to live a sinless life and be the sacrifice necessary for MY SINS.  Wow!  When I stop to think of it it overwhelms me.  Help me to sing with joy this season and to contemplate the reason for the season with every activity I do.

And Lord, tell Deb that we’re singing with her as she sits by your side and sings her wonderfully healed lungs out!  AMEN

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