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!

WOW Days

Don’t you just love the days when God shows off just how divinely he plans??? Accurately describing this divine appointment is a bit challenging to me so of course I deferred to visual aids! This is a story of two different women, in two different states….both with a passion for God…. these two women follow a blog by artist Sue Carroll (1Arthouse – Doodle 101) and on this certain day, Celeta read Sue’s latest post…. Kathy saw Sue’s post and decided to search FB for her art…. Sue has been a great long distance art teacher to Celeta (me!) and often posts about her on Creative Hearts Paper Studio FB page….

Kathy’s search landed her on Creative Hearts and as she scrolled thru the posts, she saw me reference Revelation Wellness…. Kathy followed God’s prompting and reached out to me…

A conversation that started around Revelation Wellness, quickly expanded to the sharing of a dream God planted…. a grand dream that ‘lil ole me might be a part of!

I gotta tell ya’…. I was on a JOY high most of the day! God started stirring something in me that I can’t quite describe or explain, but it’s something special…that much I’m pretty certain!

Stay tuned for updates! I’m diligently slowin’ my roll so God can lead without me getting in the way 😉

The Journey Between Knowing and Believing

Sometimes it’s a short trip….and others? Well, the Bible doesn’t tell us about the Israelites spending 40 years in the wilderness for nothing…

I’ve always seen the journey as my head-heart connection. I knew the Bible told me over and over how much God loves me…. I desperately wanted to believe that truth. But somewhere deep, deep inside, a part of me found it too good to be true. Life told me love was earned and performance was everything.

What changed you ask? Of all things, a long weekend where His love was poured over me… again…. and again…. and again. A weekend of women selflessly serving and sharing His Word – His Truths – His Love. A weekend with ZERO distractions. A beautiful weekend of bridging the gap between knowing and believing.

That weekend? It’s called The Walk to Emmaus

“The walk to Emmaus is an experience of Christian spiritual renewal and formation that begins with a three-day short course in Christianity. It is an opportunity to meet Jesus Christ in a new way as God’s grace and love is revealed to you through other believers.”

For more information, reach out to fellow members of your church or visit The Upper Room

As with all things, there’s so much more! It’s been seven years since that pivotal weekend…and in that weekend, I began a true relationship with God. His timing is so impeccable! The year after I was diagnosed with cancer, I challenged myself to #write31days in an effort to recap the mighty ways in which God has moved in my life. Journaling has been an integral part of my faith journey and sharing those thoughts with readers is just a small part of my commitment to glorify God and share His goodness.

Where are you? One thing I know (and believe!) is that regardless of “where” you are…. God is still there! A relationship with Him, and more importantly, His love is never ever based on how good you are… you get His unconditional love no matter what…. and a relationship with Him only requires your willingness to allow Him in. I read a great article from CBN on the Promised Land and the possible why’s for when we find ourselves in the wilderness.

As we enter this season of thanksgiving, my prayer is that you can slow down, avoid distractions, and enjoy the rhythms of God’s Love and Grace.

Happy Mother’s Day

Of the many roles I’ve experienced in my life, being a mom has truly been the most transformative and definitely the most rewarding! It’s a blessing of love so great…words cannot begin to capture… and I can’t help but attempt to draw a parallel to our Heavenly Father’s love for us…a love so deep…a love in the shape of a cross.  How fitting is it to have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day follow the celebration of Resurrection Sunday?

The thing is, we don’t need a designated day to celebrate the sacrifices of the moms & dads in our lives….one day a year is hardly sufficient to express gratitude – so maybe this Mother’s Day will be day one of many days to show our love and appreciation to the women who give so selflessly for the benefit of others.

MothersDayThis Mother’s Day I wanted to create a small token of love for the many women in my circle of influence with a bookmark – perhaps not the most elaborate of gifts, but definitely one that is a labor of love!  As I was working on them last night, I wanted to share on a broader scale – if you’d like to share with the incredible women in your life, just click on the link below to download a PDF file ready to print!  MothersDay2017

 

May your day be filled with joy as you share with women in your path

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Faith in Action

I’ve slowly grown to realize a sermon strikes the target of my soul when it lingers in my thoughts throughout the day (and often many days afterwards!) as it travels from my head to my heart.  This time last year our church pastor preached on the I Am Second series….thankfully, they are taped because I missed too many.  I’m especially thankful God prodded my lazy behind and got me moving that particular Sunday!  The sign out front should’ve read, “Hey Celeta! This message is for YOU!” And boy, howdy….was it ever!

My “one word” last year was surrender and here’s an honest moment for ya…I haven’t exactly made a vast effort to even think if my thoughts & actions reflect such a thing.  Ouch.  You see….this is why I write. Or don’t write.  God is so merciful to help keep me from writing just for the sake of writing.  The thing is, when I do write, it’s raw…it’s vulnerable…it’s authentic.

And just in case you missed it…for me, surrender leads to vulnerability and vulnerability results in faith in action aka writing.  What’s your faith in action? What gets you to your faith in action? I think it’s different for everyone and rarely one thing – isn’t it simply wonderful how uniquely different God made us?IMG_0187

Back to the sermon….it was awesome! The key scripture was Proverbs 3:5-6 and our pastor used the analogy of a trapeze act.  There are two roles: the flyer and the catcher.  As our pastor described, “Faith in Jesus can be compared to a trapeze flyer being caught by the catcher. I am like the flyer. God is like the catcher. MY PART is to trust, surrender, give up my life. GOD’S PART is to catch, to hold, to do in me and for me what I can’t do for myself. That’s what surrender looks like!”  And there we are….back full circle to surrender.

When I get in my head too much, I fall back on wanting to “do a good job” for God…in some form leaning on my abilities versus leaning on Him to provide …for Him to do in and through me what I cannot do for myself.

So here’s to letting go of the trapeze bar…surrendering to my Catcher…God.

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Check out messages from Parkgate Community Church – click here

Practice – Practice – Practice

IMG_1063I started following along with Stepahnie Ackerman’s Documented Faith in late June.  I love the concept!  I know I’ve shared I for before, but here’s my take: it’s an effort to focus on God’s Word in manageable, bite-sized chunks…one word each month accompanied by weekly scripture relating to that word.  Simple, manageable, memorable.

So I’ve been practicing… practicing by writing consistently… something I haven’t been successful with in the past.  And writing in bite-size pieces versus the entire buffet of my life.  When I committed to #write31days, something I wasn’t aware of was that I limited myself to two handwritten pages per day…bite-sized pieces…manageable vulnerability.  Usually I make things more complicated, but it seems this decision is actually turning out well!

My focus is on God and how He is consistently working in my life, through me…to reveal Himself to me.  When I slow down to take one step at a time, the mountain isn’t so big, the task at hand isn’t so overwhelming and Matthew 6:32-34 takes on a deeper meaning.

32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Shattered

So often when I visualize the impact of witnessing, I see shattered glass. I find myself mesmerized by the beauty and intricacy of the design….how one act can have such a far-reaching impact.

 

Picture with me:

  • Zoom in – our perfect model is Christ’s sacrifice for our sins…His crucifixion, burial and resurrection is at the center; you can literally see the impact of those closest to Him!
  • Zoom out – not only can you can see impact from the initial act of sacrifice, look at how every one and every thing is connected…even the furthest shard (person) is connected to another shard (person) and yet still connected to the center (Christ)! I envision the bursts as willing vessels allowing God to work thru them to reach others…can you just imagine Paul?????

Now…picture your life….what kind of glass does it represent? Regular run of the mill glass that shatters with minimal pressure or heavy duty safety glass?  With Christ, we have security.  Although broken, we are held steady at the center…the Holy Spirit in us…with the ability to work thru us to reach others. The thing is, for God to work thru us, we have to act! Does it have to be some grand gesture? Absolutely not.  Every little act of faith exercised has a far reaching impact when used by the Holy Spirit.

What holds you back from exercising faith?  We all have struggles of one sort or another.  Me? I’ve often struggled with validation – acceptance – whatever you want to call it….doubt creeps in….ususally when I’m trying really hard to carry out God’s call on my life to share a journey of faith through writing.  My head knows Truth, but pieces of my heart faulter and stumble.  In retrospect it’s also clear to see that’s when I’m relying on my own strength – see how easily the glass can shatter without Christ as the center?! Thankfully God is so merciful to provide encouragement when confidence wanes by sharing a glimpse of how authentic obedience can impact another life.  The thing is, we rarely get to see how God uses our acts of obedience.  What to do? Choose to rest in His Word for guidance, assurance and affirmation

5 I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. 7 My salvation and my honor come from God alone.  – Psalm 62:5-7

What about God’s call on your life? The big and small – how do you choose to respond?

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Pick up Your Cross

Courtesy posting by my boomerang gal and all-time AWESOME sister – I couldn’t have written it better!

IMG_0224Today as I sit drinking my coffee and reflecting today is Good Friday and what that means to me as a Christian, I see the crosses which decorate a wall in our living room. I wonder what a non-Christian thinks when they see those crosses and then I thought about what it should mean to me. It should be a reminder as a Christian that I die daily to myself (my selfish thoughts and wants) to follow a risen Savior who died for my sins. And truthfully, I fail….again and again. I chastise myself, but I press on.

For I’m encouraged to pick up His cross again because I serve a risen Christ who is loving and forgiving. I am an imperfect person following a perfect loving Christ striving to be more like Him.

Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for my sins!

 

It’s all about the Pace…

Lookie what I found!!! A post I started almost SEVEN months ago!

As I’ve been focused on Embracing a New Norm and now reading back over the draft, I’m not sure what I thought needed to change…maybe it was me…maybe I wasn’t ready (or willing) to pace myself and enjoy this new norm!

There’s a popular song out…not sure of the exact name or the artist, but the chorus goes something like, “it’s all about the bass, ’bout the bass…” – while I may be naïve to the meaning of the lyrics, they are catchy and the phrasing stuck with me.

image found on Google - since I'm not sure who owns image I kept the link!

image found on Google – since I’m not sure who owns image I kept the link!

 Contrary to my plan, the first round of chemo (4 2-week cycles) from late October to early December knocked me for a loop and landed me in the hospital, so the second round was postponed to allow my system time to recover. Pride and lack of patience tends to get the best of me far too often! I wanted to drive myself places… I wanted to go grocery shopping by myself… I wanted to change the linens myself!  The list of wants were stacked high and perceived accomplishments were non-existent. The problem? Unrealistic expectations.

And like a boomerang, the words I’d spoken a gazillion times to my daughter and others were being echoed back to me from every direction: pace yourself.  

 I was so focused on what I wanted…when I wanted it…sound familiar?

The thing is…our spiritual journeys aren’t so different…at least that’s been my experience.  Again pride and a lack of patience gets the best of me…being patient with God’s timing…not just knowing His timing is perfect, but believing God knows what He’s doing and not allowing doubt and fear to creep in while I’m waiting… oh, and then there’s the dilemma  of not getting so caught up in the doing that pride rears its ugly head and the once clear sight of true motives get muddled.  So what does pace have to do with it? Everything.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Finding balance through consistency…a spiritual pace where I’m not running so far ahead focused on my plans and goals – and not frozen in fear to the point I do nothing at all. You see, both tend to have the same result: God gets squeezed out of the equation. 

 So exactly how do I do that? Well, for me it starts with simple obedience…start by ending my day with God.  Ideally, I’d do that through prayer and/or journaling….but since I’m really getting back to basics, I’ve made it even simpler! I go to bed with a pocket cross – I absolutely adore this cross! It’s small and smooth and comforting…God naturally comes to mind and my spirit is soothed in a way that’s difficult for me to explain.  Once I settle down (that still thing again!), I’m drawn to pray, read devotionals, and jot thoughts.  Since I’m still dealing with a good bit of bone pain, I usually awake during the night – the cross is still in my hand…I chat with God a bit and off to sleep I go.  When I wake up in the morning, the cross is still in my hand! As I rub my fingertips across the smooth surface, I can’t help but think of Christ on the cross…dying for me…encouraging me to begin my day with prayers of thanksgiving.

For me, it’s a pocket cross….for you, it may be something totally different.  I encourage you to find something tangible that draws you into a quiet place to enjoy God’s presence – perhaps scripture cards by your bed, going to sleep & waking to instrumental Christian/gospel music – whatever works for you…just keep it simple….and remember….it’s all about the pace.