Hello 2020!

Happy New Year y’all! A new year and a new decade lies ahead…what victories and challenges will you face in the coming days and months? Time always tells.

While 2019 was filled with valleys for many, I am so thankful it was a pretty good year for this ole gal (OG!) – God led me through a journey towards healthier eating habits and cancer didn’t reveal any new challenges🙌🏻 Those small victories enabled me to be more supportive both physically and emotionally…. and I want more of that!

Over the past few years, I’ve participated in choosing my One Word – for 2020, my one word is gather – that word seems a bit odd, but also on the money! Towards the end of 2019, I did a few new things – after several years of procrastinating, I finally opened an Etsy shop to share FaithArt God lays on my heart, I contributed FaithArt to a longtime FB friend as an accompaniment to her Bible Studies, and I connected with another beautiful soul that I am oh so eager to meet face to face and see how God unfolds our story

What One Word has God laid on your heart this year? I’ve included a freebie for you to print or save for digital use ➡️ https://celetac.com/creative-hearts-paper-studio/ My prayer this year is for each of us to live a life of intentional love, gratitude, grace, and surrender.

The Jesus Bible – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Product reviews are nothing new… but for me to be asked to review something? …especially a Bible? Wowzer! Truly, I was so honored when Bible Gateway Blogger Grid reached out with the opportunity to review Zondervan’s Jesus Bible at no cost – I eagerly responded with an emphatic ‘YES!’ – not really considering the fact that I’ve never formally reviewed anything… no time like the present, right?

As God would have it, I’d been searching for a new Bible… not that I needed a new Bible, I was simply yearning for a Bible that offered commentary or devotionals in the Bible itself… it’s the way I retain information – a picture of sorts. So when this opportunity presented itself, I was a bit more than simply intrigued!

I’m no scholar, nor would I consider myself well-versed in God’s Word… but I have developed a deeper love for my Lord by spending time in His Word. Often I’ve thought about reading the Bible cover to cover, but it just hasn’t happened… enter The Jesus Bible… you see, God always knows exactly what we need and when we need it! He orchestrated the collaboration of several gifted authors to weave His Story from one Book to the next – showing us Jesus taking the lead from Genesis to Revelation.

The Jesus Bible I received is the artist edition. I must admit, originally I thought it was also a journaling Bible – it isn’t per se; the pages are thin, and most pages have notations; however, I believe there is always room for FaithArt! This is definitely a Bible that I want to keep fully readable – no cover ups for me in this one…

For whatever reason, for this particular season, I’m drawn to this Bible like I would a favorite bedtime story… eager to discover what happens next. Odd? Perhaps. But I am captivated to dive into this journey with new lighting.

The Jesus Bible features:         

  • Introduction by Louie Giglio
  • 66 book introductions highlight the story of Jesus in every book
  • Seven compelling essays on the grand narrative of Scripture by Louie Giglio, Max Lucado, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, and Randy Alcorn guide you to treasure Jesus and encourage you to faithfully follow him as you participate in his story
  • Over 300 full-page articles and nearly 700 sidebar articles reveal Jesus throughout all of Scripture
  • Single-column text of the most widely read modern-English Bible—the New International Version (NIV)
  • A beautiful special edition featuring the art of Atlanta-based artist Britt Bass
  • Room for notes and journaling throughout
  • NIV dictionary-concordance
  • Two ribbon markers
  • Exclusive Zondervan NIV Comfort Print® typeface
  • 9.5-point print size

The Jesus Bible debuted almost 2 years ago and yet I’d never heard of it! Maybe that’s you too? For more information, check out the article on Bible Gateway’s Blogger Grid (https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2017/01/the-jesus-bible-debuts-at-passion-2017-conference/)

If you are in the market for a new Bible…. oh heck….even if you aren’t… check out The Jesus Bible…. I give it five sparkling stars!

I’m a Thriver!

It’s been a month filled with celebrations! It’s not lost on me just how blessed I am that my body has responded so well to cancer treatment when so.many.don’t. and this side of Heaven, I won’t have those answers… what I do know is that I can make the most of this time to praise God with all that I have!

As I approached 5 years since my diagnosis of stage IV breast cancer, a lot has happened….a lot of life has happened… I survived a bunch of medical stuff…intense chemo, palliative radiation, shingles, blood clots, pulmonary embolism, and lung complications from meds… all my hair came out and it came back curly as ever!

but there has been far more good….. my heart practically burst with joy as my daughter walked down the aisle to embark on the adventure of marriage. I discovered a love of FaithArt and a greater love to share art with others…from bookmarks to a Bible study to an Etsy store… God has continued to grow me by leaps and bounds!

This past year I’ve been pursuing better lifestyle choices – that started with a study called The Wellness Revelation, which led me to Whole30, another fast, and finally a more mindful approach to food as fuel vs comfort.

The timing is perfect to build on my appreciation for how far God has brought me with Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts study starting Nov 18th. My prayer is that I truly commit mind and spirit to this study – although I’m already pretty darn appreciative of daily blessings, I know God has even more He wants to teach me and I’m eager to learn.

What will the next year bring? That’s a great question! I’m perfectly content to take it one day at a time ☺️

Finding Your Rhythm

Last year when the new Illustrating Bible became available, I promised myself that I wouldn’t spend the money on something I didn’t need…. then a fellow journaler shared a special purchase price… I still didn’t need a new Bible, but boy oh boy did I want it!

For the past year I have been diligent in prayers for my daughter and her family. As newlyweds they face the typical struggles, and layered onto that, they now live 6hrs from our hometown…away from mama, family, and lifelong friends. And yes, mama still struggles missing her girl!

So….I justified the purchase to purposely journal thoughts and prayers in the new Bible specifically for my daughter and family… a living legacy Bible of sorts….

And then I began to suffer from ‘new Journaling Bible’ syndrome….. the purpose was overwhelmingly shadowed by thoughts of exactly what tone the art would take…. yes, TOTALLY missing the original purpose! What to do?

Pray. Wait. Trust.

Finally, this past weekend God showed me that it didn’t need to be one or the other…. simply keep my focus on Him! okay……but what does that picture look like? For me, it is now two God experiences…. art time and then Scripture/Prayer time.

For now, I plan to create digital artwork beforehand that I can print and then it will be ready for my prayer time over family…. it’s only been a few days, but thankfully it finally feels right! And even better, by creating the art digitally, I can easily share with others! Click on the link here —> Freebiesvalentine freebie
How we find our rhythm with God is just as unique each journey. What’s your rhythm? I’d love to hear from you!

Rise up!

Oh my goodness! Why I didn’t publish this post TWO years ago, I have no idea… but I stumbled across it this evening and it fits in perfectly with My Love Dare with God

Not so long ago, I posted on Facebook that I received my new Inspire journaling Bible & discovered something new….the line art included with the Bible actually draws me into scripture – pretty cool, right?

So now I’m learning to take it a step further, which is actually bringing faith art full circle….beyond coloring (first)….beyond reading….to writing & a bit more coloring!

This morning as I was working in my Documented Faith binder – I’ve revised mine a bit to focus on words of the month vs months (that way I don’t feel “behind” – yeah, the comparison stick, but let’s leave that subject for another day!) – anyway, my eyes landed on love – so many verses on love, right?  So I began flipping through my Bible and landed in Judges – admittedly not a book of the Bible I’ve spent much time studying or even reading…the line art was simple, but it grabbed my attention all the same…Judges 5:31

May those who love You rise like the sun in all its power.

Immediately I thought of sunrises. I love them! Everything is usually still & quiet….life is still a bit blurry-eyed and the brain isn’t driving at supersonic speeds…the promise of a new day….new opportunities and yes, new challenges…. But it’s a time to set our paths straight again – to keep our eyes & focus upward.

The first sunrise that came to mind was at Surfside beach – yes…I had to head out from home pretty early, and even though the ocean usually doesn’t call my name, it did that day…so off I went.  The beach was deserted and quite frankly, I didn’t have much of a clue as to where I was going! I’d only been there once before in recent years, and since I’m not exactly the spontaneous type, I’d definitely call it a God thing.  Alone with the waves rushing in, sand in my toes and coffee in hand, I sat and watched as the sun sparkled across the water – such power! such promise! Oh…. if only I showed my love for God like a sunrise!

I went in search of pictures I took that morning – not on my phone, not on my old phone, not on my Mac….darn! They must be on that hard drive buried behind boxes…what I discovered though were other sunrises…and you know what? The feelings were practically the same! All the others were woodsy type (that’s my favorite place!)…the difference? Anticipation. On the water, there is nothing to block your view – in a wooded area, you get glimpses at first….it takes a bit more patience, but maybe that’s a good thing….it’s an opportunity to “get still” first….to lean in and hear God whisper to my heart.

What is God whispering to you today? Did you miss it? Did you rush off in a flurry of to-dos today? Take a few moments – walk outside….take your phone with you & snap a picture of the sun…is your view clear? cloudy? dark?  Now close your eyes and imagine….only the sun…feel the warmth of it on your face and let it sink in. God’s love for us is infinitely more powerful than the sun and even though there may be obstacles blocking our view, He is still there….loving us and wanting nothing more than for us to rise up and love in return.

May those who love You rise like the sun in all its power.

Further Reading 

After I found the verse, I put the spectacles in reverse to see what in the world they were actually talking about! Go figure….it was a song! The Song of Deborah….whoops back up….Deborah who? Yeah….I’ve got a LOT to learn! The less than abbreviated version (i.e. I’ve got much more reading to do!)….Deborah was a prophet (surprise to me) and a judge….anyway, her song was praising God for defeating Canaanite King Jabin.  Happy Reading!

My “Mess” is My Message

Today I received my copy of Stephanie Ackerman’s latest book Faith Journaling for the Inspired Artist. Did I need another book on Journaling or Art? Well, apparently I did! Not five pages in, the photo to the left smacked me upside the head…kinda crazy, right? Stephanie, among other wonderful women, have encouraged me from afar with their zest for art, an insane love for God, and the desire to intertwine the two.

For the past month, God has really been working on me & my obedience factor… at the forefront has been a host of new cancer challenges…. but those challenges have been the catalyst to realizing I haven’t consistently been giving God my best.  I’ve been giving what’s easy and through numerous experiences… sermons especially ….(thanks Pastor Jim!), I’ve been convicted as to how I’m living my life I’m for God.

Stage IV Cancer, like so many other chronic diseases, is HARD.  It doesn’t go away.period. and more often than not, you get new challenges… like wonky lungs, blood clots, and such.  I am very thankful though – just think if God allowed cancer to hit you with everything all at once? No bueno!

While I thought I’d learned my new normal, I was still entirely too focused holding tightly onto the things I could still do.  Like grocery shopping, housekeeping, or walking the dog… yeah, call it what it is….PRIDE.  Don’t get me wrong, staying active is essential, but holding too tightly onto things is a slippery slope and sets you…me… up for missing great God opportunities.

As it is today, I’m in a season where those types of activities aren’t necessarily adding value to my days. Instead, little things, like going out to the grocery store, have the potential to set me back vs propel me forward.  So I’m learning to choose more wisely and it’s definitely a process!

My 2018 goal (starting now!) is to be more mindful and dig deeper in my relationship with God.  While cancer isn’t exactly what I may have chosen, it has given me the opportunity to focus more time on Him by not trying to balance a demanding and stressful full time job….HE is my full time job…and that is pretty darn amazing – not many get that opportunity!

If you’ve read my blog, the consistent thread has been my lack of consistency in writing. And writing is a big part of my relationship with God…to be vulnerable and transparent, and to share how He leads me daily to walk closer with Him.

If I had to choose ONE thing that propelled me into deepening my relationship with God, it was a little book you may be familiar with called The Love Dare by Alex and Stephen Kendrick. It is a 40-day Christian devotional designed to strengthen marriages.  No, I’m not married – I’m not even dating or in a relationship.  God brought me the book as a dare to strengthen my relationship with Him.  Weird? Odd? Perhaps.  But I hope you will follow me as I share, and possibly help,  precious readers do the same… coming soon… My Love Dare with God.

signature1

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

God’s Guiding Hand

It’s still mind boggling to me to think back ten years ago….to a time when God was barely on my radar – thankfully, He never lost sight of me!  And I f you asked me five years ago how I expressed my faith, art was the last thing that would’ve come to mind – and yet, here I am today…thriving spiritually by creating and sharing faith art!

As a child (and adult!) I loved to color – it provides such a calming effect – the cares & concerns of everyday life melt away allowing my spirit to quiet and open the door to hearing God.  What started as an effort to help me relax and remain positive through chemotherapy, quickly developed into an untapped passion. Today, I combine my love of God’s Word with fun art supplies like watercolors, markers, gel pens, and my trusty iPad Pro.  

But as much as I enjoy the process of creating faithart, it’s sharing that really makes my heart smile!  I’m so blessed to share God’s promises through both social media and homemade items like bookmarks and small cards.  What does tomorrow hold? Only He knows, and my confidence lies in His Word as I  open myself to learning new ways to share God’s love.