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.

‘Tis the Season

A few weeks ago I was thinking about how holidays can be pretty painful for many and last night our Community group touched on the topic again and it brought me back to this post where God has been sitting… and waiting… the October thru December is a time where many focus on thanksgiving. This year I was presented with Ann Voskamp’s one thousand gifts – a study to embrace gratitude and allow God to weave it into the fabric of our daily lifestyle.

As I’ve shared before, for me I’d much rather focus on the blessing of cancer instead of the hard parts… but the thing is, it’s the hard parts that I believe bring about the blessings… which begs the question, ‘if cancer was easy, would I be as grateful?’ – good question, right?

And that thought brought me back to those whose “grief bucket” may be overflowing this time of year and Ann’s FaceBook live video that touches on gratitude and grief (around the 14min mark) Ann Voskamp – one thousand gifts

Are you desperately missing a loved one this season? Is this time of year a stark reminder of who or what you don’t have? Most likely. Ann suggests writing out traits of or experiences with that special someone that brings a smile to our hearts…. and in doing so, perhaps the bitter will become sweeter.

Last year my stepdad passed away the day after Thanksgiving. And even though the head knows a heavenly promotion is coming, rarely is the heart ready. Grief during holiday season last year was sidestepped by the busyness of an upcoming move. This year? Not so much. I watch my mom in her silent sadness and my heart breaks for her – there is nothing I can do that will take away her pain. Only God can fill the void in her heart, but I can do as Ann suggests… counter pain and sadness with sweet, precious memories.

Is there someone in your life struggling this season? Or perhaps you find your heart overwhelmed with grief or sadness? I encourage you to seek God and reach out – it doesn’t have to be some grand gesture – a simple “I see you” can do more than you imagine!

Blessing y’all!

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!

Fence FaithArt

I love my little cottage, but I have to admit, the view out the front left something to be desired! Originally, I looked for the large garden flags – unfortunately, they can really put a dent in the budget and the Texas sun is pretty brutal on fabric. Thanks to my brilliant sister, I’ve now filled that once bland space with wonderful reminders to praise God. She suggested I use some of the FaithArt I created and convert it to a banner – pretty smart, huh?

Etsy Store

Granted, I had no prior banner making experience, but Vistaprint was running a special so I took a gamble, created a design & ordered away. I was so pleasantly surprised by the quality and clarity of the end product, it wasn’t long until I added another… and another!

The video below is far from professional and my Texas twang is overly obvious when I’m excited 🤪

Since I’ve finally opened the Etsy shop, I’m kinda thinkin’ perhaps others might enjoy outdoor art too… let me know what you think!

#write31days – Day 26

imageFor those that don’t follow my blog, let me introduce you to Lucille – my camper!  Silly as it may seem, I even have a blog dedicated to her restoration / facelift.  I purchased her in late 2012 and planned to have her settled in the country by mid-2013… well, if you’ve been following the #write31days, 2013 didn’t exactly lend itself to “me” time let alone getting a camper moved!  So here’s the link to Lucille’s story… My Someday Getaway [click HERE] – you can also get there by clicking on the “Jesus makes me a happy camper” photo in the sidebar below.

Ladies group - writing Scripture before new flooring - literally STANDING on His Word! Ladies group – writing Scripture before new flooring – literally STANDING on His Word!

Lucille and I have a unique relationship – and yes, I’m quite aware of how odd that sounds, but it’s true!  My purpose in purchasing Lucille was to have a place where I could truly be still with God – away from the dailies of life – a place where I could rest in Him, and open myself to the words He scribed on my heart.  But it wasn’t just for me… little did I know she would become a place of rest for weary souls…as you step over the threshold, all who enter are literally surrounded and standing on God’s Word.

And don’t let the enemy fool you…Lucille didn’t need to be in the country or finished to be a sanctuary for this weary soul.  During 2013 and most of 2014, Lucille was parked at a storage facility…behind a Chinese restaurant with an often overflowing dumpster and beside other campers… not exactly what one would describe as serene, huh? Oh but it was!

I guess you could say Lucille is my WAR ROOM – and if you haven’t seen the movie, you’re missing out!  I can immediately shut my mind off to the noise of life and zero in my focus to God.  Everyone needs a Lucille – a war room – a space where distractions stay at the door and you enter into His Presence

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#write31days – Day 17

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Short ‘n sweet on the commentary tonite! As you’ve read, 2014 was far from uneventful, but I kept plugging along… determined to persevere… determined to meet expectations on all fronts… determined not to faulter…

Let me tell ya from experience… determination is only one piece of the puzzle.  Determination, or as I often claimed perseverance, will only get you so far if you’re trying to do things on your own…if you leave God on the sidelines instead of letting Him lead the way.  Most often you will find yourself worn thin, discouraged, & desolate. There’s a reason why Jesus said,

“Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.”  Matthew 11:28

We were not made to carry these burdens on our own – we so desperately need a savior!

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The Bridge of Faith

We’ve all heard the phrase, “riding coattails” and in some form or fashion we’ve all been there…relying on someone to bridge the gap in a relationship – a very common scenario is between a parent and child…the mom (or dad) is consistently the one to bridge the gap in communication.

While the Mom/Dad may initially have the best motives to bond the two parties, ultimately she/he is in the way and no true bond ever forms – there is no “bridge” – only a barrier.

Now let’s take this example and apply it to our relationship with our Heavenly Father…have you found yourself using another person as a go-between in your relationship with Him?  Perhaps you don’t even realize it – I certainly didn’t.

Yes, we all need teachers, coaches, mentors, and the like to share perspectives – but there is a very fine line between facilitating from the side line and getting in the middle.  There is only ONE bridge in our relationship with God – and that bridge is the cross.

One of the studies my group went through last summer was the Bridge Illustration – I’m sure there are many studies using this method for presenting the gospel – the one we studied was Bearing Fruit in God’s Family (Session 7).  When we went through the study the principles all made sense, but like so much of our walk, there are phases of revelation.   In a performance oriented world, I struggled for some time to accept there was NOTHING I could do to earn salvation or God’s love – in a You Can Do It! culture, it’s difficult to accept we can’t get there on our own – salvation is God’s gift to us!  Once we embrace His love and grace, it opens the door to so much more…

 “8 For it is by grace you have been saved,   through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works,   so that no one can boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

Receiving God’s gift of salvation is our open invitation into a personal one-on-one relationship with Him.  Christ’s death on the cross is the bridge!

8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NIV)

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross tore the veil inviting us into a direct relationship with God.  I recently read a deovotional on John 14:6 that wove the pieces together – it was definitely one of those ah-ha moments and fits so perfectly into this message.  Author Susy Medeski discusses the meaning behind John 14:6:

“There are 3 gates or doorways in the tabernacle. The first was on the east side of the compound, the only way in, and took people and priests alike into the courtyard where the brazen altar was located. This entrance was called “deherej – Way.” The second doorway was the entrance to the Holy Place, which could only be entered by the priests, and was called “emet – Truth.” Finally, there was a veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place and could only be entered once a year by the high priest and it was called “chayah – Life.” Boy, doesn’t that shed some light on Yeshua’s words!”

How wonderful is that?  Like I said, an ah-ha moment…  As we progress in our walk, we have to earnestly ask God to search our heart and reveal any roadblocks in our relationship with Him.  Like any new and undeveloped relationship, conversation at first can seem a bit awkward.  Take these words of encouragement and press on! Unlike other relationships, this is one where you will never be disappointed.