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.

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Power of Prayer

Please continue to pray for all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey…. it is all so surreal it’s difficult to take in the devastation😞

Our God is mightiful & merciful! He will carry us through this storm. 
I am part of the minority – I am safe & dry, but so so many are not…literally THOUSANDS of boat rescues have taken place in Harris County over the past 48 hours
My heart aches for my fellow neighbors, but joyful to see those spared out helping – whether it’s offering boat rescues, food, shelter (yes! complete strangers opening their homes!), you name it, Texans rise above!

A part of me was frustrated that I couldn’t be one of them….boots on the ground per se, but what I CAN do???? PRAY! To some that may not seem like much, but I’m proof positive of the power of prayer! My body may not be able, but my spirit is STRONG and will prevail. 

Please share your prayer needs

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. 

Rejoice!

I’m so excited! Earlier this year I sold my home and moved into a small cottage style apartment – the challenge is that my view leaves a bit to be desired…an 8′ fence! I was talking to my sister for ideas, and she said, “why don’t you design a banner?” Pretty brilliant, right? So….that’s just what I did!  I was a little slow getting started, but once I got going, it was a breeze – AND I got a great deal through VistaPrint (50% off!!!!)

God’s Mighty Love

My goodness it’s been a busy crazy summer! So different from last year, yet equally insane.  

Last year I was feeling pretty lousy – cancer complications were problematic and I was coming off four weeks of intensive radiation, followed by a case of shingles that landed me in the hospital, all the while planning a wedding!

This year has truly been a great year cancer-wise – I’ve felt great & much more physically active. Over a period of six weeks I made multiple 6+ hr (one way) drives to visit my daughter & family tucked in between a super condensed 4-day trip to California to help pack my sister as she moves forward in her journey there. 

Somewhere in the mix, I overdid (yes, that’s a big DUH!) ….things were going so well… until they weren’t. All of a sudden I was constantly tired, sleeping more, and simple short walks weren’t so simple. A middle of the night trip to the ER revealed I had a blood clot that moved to my lungs – no bueno – especially when you have stage IV cancer. An ambulance ride, meds, days of extremely thorough doctor checks, and I was good to go….slowly!  

When I’m feeling good (aka not constantly reminded of physical limitations), I wanna be like the other kids! I wanna go for brisk walks, water aerobics, long trips, play time with my grandson….but, I’ve got to remember the pace… and be mindful what a blessing that I’m able to do those things! But maybe….just maybe, I do them in moderation so I decrease the risk of setbacks and increase the probability future fun. 

The absolute best part???? It’s so wonderful to feel well enough to spend time expressing faith through art again! Hands down, the Thrive Bible is my all-time favorite  – I love how God speaks to me through the devotions, causing me to often say to myself, “wow! I never thought about it that way!” and to continually be in awe of His Mighty Love for us

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