Springtime Re-do

Somewhere around the first of January I chose my One Little Word for 2015. I was stoked when Create whispered to my heart.

I chose the word create because that is an area in my life I felt I had neglected for some time.

I busied myself with collecting supplies, making a small space to create, pinning my heart away of creative project ideas to-do, organizing half-started quilts that are begging to be finished, even signing up for an art class on Craftsy (which is as far as I’ve gotten)…I had big, big plans.

Ah, plans. They have a funny way of not going as planned.

Re-do

How about you? Have you kicked butt and taken names this year? Me, not so much. After a strong start this year, I have slowed to a halt this month. I call it the procrastination flu.

It’s like I have been waiting for the perfect time to create something. Maybe when I have more time. Or, when I am not so tired. Or, when the kids are at school. Or, my mood to be perfect.

I’ve been waiting for the creative bug to strike…

To creative pretty things even if nobody cares but me.

To create for the joy of creating.

To create art. Create words. Create change.

I’ve done some creative things in these three short months (organizing fabric doesn’t count), but I have faltered too. But no more.

The daffodils are poking their heads out of the ground, all to make anew. It’s a new season. Change is in the air, as they say. I am looking for a fresh start. An energizing restart. A kick in the pants kind of restart.

It’s time for a springtime re-do.

There is nothing magical about January 1st. Choosing a OLW/resolution on January 1st, or April 1st, makes no difference. Either date is a just one day in 365 days.

So, I hereby declare April 1st as the new January 1st. It’s my blog, I can do that here.

Don’t be a ‘fool’…If you need a re-do, like me, then let’s do it today, April 1st. Restart your OLW/resolution, or scrap your word all together and start over. It doesn’t matter. Just start something.

Okay, that was a little corny, but I am serious, people. Now, excuse me, I have have to go create something.

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While at IKEA with friends I found a little black and white tulip print as inspiration. This weekend I created this little ditty:

IKEA HACK

Linking up today at Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart. Also, check out her new book, You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect.

Marriage is…

If you are a Sex in the City fan, like me, you might remember the little episode where Carrie has writer’s block. She is so desperate for a story that she contemplates writing a comparison between French fries and men.

That episode reminds me of where I am right now. I am deep into writer’s block and actually wrote a post about my quest for a new can opener that actually works. That is what we call ‘First World Problems’, people. Fortunately for you (and me), I wrote that one in my head and not in pixels.

Instead, below is a a post that I first wrote in 2010. It may be old but it is still relevant today. And, it’s one of my most popular posts entitled Marriage Is…

Marriage is

Marriage is…grocery shopping together to save a buck
Marriage is…vacuuming the carpet
Marriage is…emptying the dishwasher, then refilling it
Marriage is…taking turns cooking dinner
Marriage is…putting the kids to bed, tag-team style
Marriage is…balancing the checkbook and paying bills
Marriage is…respecting each others requests
Marriage is…when the dryer dies and the mini van needs brakes
Marriage is…sharing your hopes and dreams with someone
Marriage is…sharing in the homework chore with the kids
Marriage is…putting your money together for the common good
Marriage is…listening when the other person talks
Marriage is…really listening
Marriage is…hanging out on the front porch on the swing
Marriage is…running to the store to pick up milk, late at night
Marriage is…watching your kids play, together
Marriage is…sharing in the disciple of the kids
Marriage is…faith in the future
Marriage is…growing old together
Marriage is…changing and growing together
Marriage is…emotionally supporting of another person
Marriage is…having someone to let off steam to
Marriage is...loving someone, even when they are not at their best
Marriage is…having someone to kiss everyday
Marriage is…we, not I

Marriage is…not always pretty and romantic. It’s not what you imagined. It’s not always happy days and passionate nights. It ebbs and flows with life. It’s valleys and hills. It’s a roller coaster ride…with laughing, crying and some screaming. Don’t disrespect it. Don’t take it for granted. Celebrate it. Enjoy it.

* * * * * *

Some great additions from reader comments:

  • Love is a choice
  • Marriage is a choice
  • Great understanding makes a great marriage
  • Great sex doesn’t hurt
  • Marriage is not all bliss, all the time

Whether you are married or not, what would you add to the list? After almost 20 years of marriage I would add, marriage is a marathon. Pace yourself. You will get exhausted and want to quit, but you have to push on to find your stride.

*Aqua wedding cake photo: StockVault.

 

World Water Day | March 22

One of my pet peeves is when I see someone (cue a certain member of may family who will remain nameless) leave the water running for no apparent reason. I get it, we take fresh, clean water for granted. With a quick turn of a handle, it’s right there.

In an age where clean water is so easily accessible for us, there are still millions who can only get water from a filthy pond. And, walk several miles per day to collect that water.

Today is World Water Day. Millions in Asia are without clean water.

  • 3.4 million people die each year from water-related diseases.
    That’s almost the entire city of Los Angeles, CA.
  • Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death among children under five in the world. Around 1.5 million deaths a year, nearly one in five, are caused by diarrhea, which kills more children than malaria, AIDS, and measles combined.
  • Globally, women spend 200 million hours a day collecting water. This is equivalent to building 28 Empire State Buildings each day.

THIRSTY FOR CHANGE? | Read how you can help provide clean water to villages in Asia and share Christ with them through Gospel for Asia. Be a part of bringing clean water to villagers in Asia by donating to the Jesus Well Project, or purchasing BioSand Filters that provide 98% clean, filtered water today.

DONATE NOW

Small Seeds Doing Good | The Prom Dress Project

This post comes from my friend and co-worker. She is a Small Seed doing good works.

In one of the most under-served areas of the Denver metro area, Liz is on a mission to make a difference in young people’s lives. To show them there is a better life for them, there is someone who truly cares what kind of adult them grow up to be.

They are not just a statistic.

Their story matters.

One of her many projects is The Prom Dress Project at Aurora Central High School. This event brings stylist, low cost (really low cost) prom dresses to those who can’t afford a fancy, high-priced dress. All this to make girls feel like Princesses for one night.

She is one person doing good things right where she is. She is making a difference.Tentatively, round two of The Prom Dress Project is scheduled for April 1st.

• • • • • • •

With a Humble Heart…

Today was Day ONE of The Prom Dress Project 2015.  The amazing women of Friends of Aurora Central High School Alumni Association showed up.  In grand fashion.  With a humble heart, I’m happy to say that we helped prom become a reality for seventeen young women.  I didn’t know what to expect, and honestly, I am the type of person that is really outcome oriented.  I see black and white, so very little gray… just ask my husband.  This is what I know. Seventeen young women had the opportunity to experience what it is to have someone come alongside you and show kindness, to know that we’re all a part of the same tribe.

The women in my cohort, oh my dear gracious, there just isn’t enough that I can say about a group of women that just “get it.”  From those who donated their time, to those who donated their talent with a few stitches here and there (you know who you are girlfriend), to those who offered their treasures… It just didn’t get better than today.

I didn’t sleep well last night, nerves I suppose.  Wondering if this little event would be successful.  We were expecting the local media coverage from our community newspaper, would we have a story to tell?  Today is a day we have a story to tell, about young women that deserve our best, an interested adult who is invested in their story, their future.  Today we had a story about women who make a difference, and I am grateful they are mine.  With a humble heart…thank you, to the young ladies that we served and to the ladies that I had the pleasure of serving with.

By the way… We’re hoping for Day TWO on April 1, 2015.  No Foolin. #alwaysatrojan

*You can check out Liz’s blog here. Or, if you want to know more about The Prom Dress Project, connect with her on Facebook.

For Strong Women Everywhere

This post is dedicated to strong women everywhere…and one in particular…my mom. She is many things, including caring, strong and beautiful, but possibly her greatest trait is her deep spiritual relationship and trust she puts in the Lord. When the day comes that she meets Jesus, he will have her wings ready and waiting for her.

…29 Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all. 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. 31 Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.” Proverbs 31:29-31

In this world it is easy to become enslaved to upholding worldly appearances of fame, fortune, and beauty. We work hard to make our outsides look more beautiful while our insides rot away with sin. Outwardly beauty and charm will only get you so far in this life, and this life is like “a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” [James 4:14]

My friends, our days are numbered here on earth, each one is a blessing. Find joy and kindness in your days. Once we are gone from this earth, it is not the end; there is an eternity waiting for us.

How we prepare for it during our time here on earth will determine what kind of eternity we enjoy.

Ladies, you are strong and amazing and beautiful. Seek the One that matters most, and your inner strength and beauty will radiate outward; this cannot be matched by fame, fortune, or physical beauty.

Work to develop your character and relationship with the Lord. This matters much more than anything material of this earth. Have a blessed weekend.

LINKING UP | Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart and Faith Barista’s WhiteSpace. Please check out these amazing women who are sharing their heart and love for Jesus on their blogs.

The Truth of Unhappy People

Unhappy quote

Unhappy people will never be happy with anything you say or do. Really. It’s a truth of unhappy people.

No matter how hard you try, unhappy people will criticize your weight, labeling you fat, thin, too thin. Unhappy people will find fault with your parenting choices. Unhappy people won’t like the outfit you are wearing today.

Unhappy people will call you uncool, a geek, a slut, a snob, or a {insert word here}. Unhappy people will find the positive quote that you post on Instagram anything but positive. And they’ll let you know they are unhappy about it.

In an attempt to make themselves feel better, unhappy people will take to Facebook, ranting and spreading lies about you. As they say, misery loves company.

ANOTHER TRUTH: Unhappy people are happy being unhappy. Unhappy people are incapable of seeing the brighter side of life…therefore, they are unhappy.

So, take a page from Kelly Clarkson when she was confronted with one unhappy bully, and say, “Screw them!”

Be happy. Be you. Be happy with your life, right where you are. You can’t change unhappy people, you are only in control of your happiness.

So, go. Be happy. Live a good life. Let them keep their unhappiness. You don’t need it anyway. You’ve got things to do.

Nothing but Positive Things to Think About

Now that I have given up social media (FB, Twitter and Google+) cold turkey I needed a little something to satisfy my mindless surfing and some positive things to think about. I can’t quit the internet all at once, ya know.

I am tiny house obsessed. Maybe it’s the purging instincts in me. And, if it weren’t for my 2 kids, husband, poodle, black lab and the abundance of crap we have, it would be totally doable. Until the kids move out I will have to settle for living vicariously through Livin’ Lightly. This family of three sold mostly everything they owned and moved into an Airstream trailer and are now in search of a simple and intentional life. Plus, also, their baby is named Paisley! Seriously cute.

This is one example of why I quite Twitter.  Curt Schilling is a former baseball player for the Red Sox. He blogs as 38Pitches. He works to raise awareness for ALS and Malignant Melanoma. And, this week he got caught in the crosshairs of some Trolls when he tweeted a seemingly innocent congratulations to his daughter. He fought back…hard! I don’t know much about baseball, but I know this dad hit it out of the park with his post against cyberbullies! Seriously, read Schilling’s response in defense of his daughter.

Thor

Totally random photo of my black lab, Thor. He loves the snow.

The Hip Paris Blog. I know it’s a total cliché to romanticize Paris but still…the Eiffel Tower. And Brie. And espresso. That’s all. (Again, living vicariously.)

And because I love squirrels…especially these red Russians squirrels. Bored Panda is a little place on the blogashere I just discovered. It’s just a fun place to waste a lot of time looking at beautiful photographs.

My Jesus Project. Have you heard about what Christian Piatt is doing? Well, I’ll let him explain, “For the next year, I’m doing a sort of “human experiment” project in which I try to figure out what it really means to follow Jesus in the 21st century western world.” In this project, Piatt is asking the important question, “What does it mean to really follow Jesus?” Which, I think, all Christians are on that journey. We are figuring it out as we go. Our Church, Christian speakers, faith books, and religious blogs try to tell us what that means. But, in this modern, tech-obsessed world, do any of us really-really know what it means anymore? The journey starts here.

Icicles

Another totally random photo. The huge icicles hanging off the house this week.

 I just finished reading the book “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon. It actually didn’t take long to read…it’s only 140 pages. The reason I bought the book was, not so I could learn to steal art, because of this quote:

steal like an artist quote

So, there’s that.

Guarding Your Heart Against Social Media

To grow my blog, I must network using social media. Or, so I am told.  But, is using social media bad for your health? Are you guarding your heart against social media?

Social Media Break Up

I’ve had a Twitter account for a few years, but really didn’t use this social media as it is intended. I am a natural introvert, which is the opposite of ‘social’ media.

Mostly, Twitter was linked to my blog. A tweet was posted when a new blog post was published. That’s about all I did. After a few years I had total of 62 followers. 

In social media terms that is LOL, literally.

Six months ago, I started a little Twitter experiment. I used, engaged, tweeted, retweeted, and commented on Twitter to gain followers, and ultimately blog readers. In six months I went from a lonely 62 followers to 350 followers. Still, laughable, but it was an improvement.

In the beginning, I found inspirational tweeps out there. (Tweeps, that’s what we call followers.) But, the more I used it, the more useless chatter filled my brain. 

Also. People can be really nasty when hiding behind a keyboard. The kind of stuff that makes my heart race.

The million dollar question? Did I gain more traffic to my blog from Twitter? The simple answer is no, although it’s a little more complicated than that.

Not only did the traffic to my blog not increase from Twitter, but I wrote less because I spent so much time listening to the chatter, drama queens, haters and trolls. (Trolls are what we call bullies and not-so-nice people who pick fights.)

I know some who say Twitter is dying; I don’t think that is so. There are a whole lot of people who still use it, and use it well. I am sure there are companies who have great success with it too. 

Right now, for the health of my heart, I am breaking up with social media.

Why for my heart? Our heart is at the center of who we are.

In Hebrew the word “heart” means “the essence of our inner-self, the totality of our thoughts, feelings and will”. According to Solomon, we live out of our heart.

Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) is a plea from a father to his son to guard his heart from evil influences and wrongdoing.

It’s easy to justify having to have social media links on my blog…everyone’s doing it, that is how people connect nowadays, or that’s how you grow your readership.

The justifications I make for not guarding my heart against social media really don’t pass for good reasons. We must filter what goes into our hearts. The decisions we make every day must deepen our relationship with Christ. Whether it’s what we read, how we speak to others or what we post online because “…it determines the rest of your life.”

Social media is not good for my heart, so I am taking a hiatus. I might be back some day, and if that day comes, I will be more careful about the chatter I listen to and follow.

A social media hiatus for me means Twitter, is gone. Facebook, is gone. Google+, is gone. Instagram, will remain private. Pinterest, will remain public.

It’s almost unheard of to say ‘no’ to social media, but it’s what I feel I need to do, for now.

How are you guarding your heart against social media these days?

Author’s note: I am not saying social media is evil and will be the downfall of human-kind or anything. So, if you love Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatever, keep doing it. And, of course, if you like to share this post on social media, you still can with the buttons below. I am just saying it’s not working for me right now. And, remember, what you post online never really goes away. Ever. Images: The heart graphic above was created by using images found at Vecteezy.

LINKING UP | With Holley Gerth, Coffee for Your Heart. Read amazing women blogging and linking up there!

To Live a Creative Life

Words have power. Words can uplift or destroy. Words inspire me to live a creative life.

This quote is the perfect inspiration for my One Word, Create, so I designed this fun print available in my shop. Also, this design is available on coffee mugs, throw pillows, phone cases, and tote bags. Add a little creativity and inspiring words to your home decor today.

The Power of Prayer is Real

Have you ever prayed for something that you wanted/needed badly? Have you ever prayed for healing, whether for yourself or a loved one? Were those prayers answered? I have, so I know the power of prayer is real.

It’s not to say those prayers were answered just the way I wanted, because God answers prayers, and sometimes the answer is “No”. But there is always an answer.

Which brings me to ask, “How’s your prayer-life?” My hubby says he has trouble praying for himself because he already has so much more than others. So, he prays for others. Lifting up others in prayer is a great thing.

Let me introduce you to someone who knows personally the power of prayer. Her name is Sister Mary.

power of prayer

For years, Sister Mary suffered from painful stomach aches. Doctors couldn’t help her. The pain was so great, one night she made the decision to take her own life. On that night she meet someone who would change that decision, and her life forever.

His name was Jesus.

Since meeting Jesus in a vision ten years ago, Sister Mary has used the power of prayer to help the sick and suffering in her small village. She has prayed for thousands, transforming their lives and hers. Jesus has a way of doing that.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12

As followers of Christ we are called to pray for others. Prayer is one of the best ways to strengthen our relationship with Him.  By the way, He wants us to ask for help, when we need it, too.

So, maybe you are like my hubby, and don’t want to pray for yourself, but want to pray for others. He can change the lives of others through your prayers.

Power of prayer

Here are some ways you can put your prayer life into action:

Pray for Widows. The treatment of widows in South Asia is unimaginably horrific.
Pray for Abandoned Children. Countless children in Asia have been discarded, aborted, and abused, but they are not forgotten.
Pray for Asia’s Youth. Did you know that 40 percent of India’s 1 billion people are under the age of 18?
Pray for Missionaries. Everyday missionaries in South Asia risk their lives as they share the love of Christ with others.

Watch this inspirational video entitled “When Sister Mary Prays”. Then, humbly lift up Sister Mary in prayer.

You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting, so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He may give to you.” John 16:15

Do not doubt the power of prayer.

* * * * * *

*I am a Gospel for Asia blogger. I am not paid for my posts. I feel blessed to share inspirational stories like this one with my readers. GFA is a Small Seed. Photos courtesy of GFA. You can learn more about GFA here.

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