Hello! I’m still here…

January? Seriously? I’ve been pretty lackluster in consistency before, but this year? Dang! Little did I know on Jan 1st all that might follow…. thankfully, I’ve been present enough to see God on the move…. unfortunately, I haven’t been present enough to share beyond my innermost circle.

NO TIME LIKE TODAY, RIGHT?

January-March

Before COVID-19 transfixed the globe in its unfathomable horror of devastation, in my own little world devastation was front and center as 2020 was in its infancy. Never ever did I anticipate all that might unfold in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Probably one of the top five things a parent prays for is the health of their children’s marriages…. anyone who is, or has been married, knows that marriage is hard work and all too often (speaking to self here!), the reality of allowing life to dictate your path hits you square between the eyes….and heart. I was a child of divorce and as I’ve written before, the one thing I never wanted was my child to experience the pain of divorce. Often that meant putting on my ‘big-girl’ panties & setting pride aside. Granted, I had many failed attempts, but God, family, and friends consistently nudged me in the best direction.

While many were making plans for 2020, my daughter was on the brink of life-changing events and this mama’s heart was breaking for her shattered dreams. The thing is though, as painful as that season might have been, I also found a resounding strength in knowing God would see her through. I had no idea what that picture looked like, but still I was certain God would be there to walk alongside each of us as she/we passed through the storm.

No, I won’t be sharing the details of her story, but I will share mine….the story of a mama crying out to her God – the LORD of her life – for wisdom, discernment, strength, and the ability to be supportive with the knowledge that she (that would be me) could not fix any of it. Kinda hard, right? Well, it was. BUT during that season, God afforded me the physical strength and stamina to be there…. to pack, to move, to nurse, to encourage, and to provide physical shelter from a storm.

Little did I know in the months following, I would be in my own storm. That story is for another day. Just remember this: Through pain, change, heartbreak, illness…..you fill in the blank…

GOD IS THERE

Lauren Daigle is one of my favorite artists, and “Rescue” quickly became an anthem of sorts…..a beautiful reminder that no matter what, God is there

He will not abandon you

He will make beauty from ashes!


‘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!

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 ☺️

Join me for 1000 Gifts

Goodness me….it’s been a few years, but I remember being introduced to Ann’s 1000 Gifts during the Christmas season…. I printed the freebies and shared with friends, but I never ‘dove in’ to the heart of her message…. the other day I found a remnant card and thought to myself, “I need to look at that again” and then POOF! the thought floated away as quickly as it grabbed my attention…. well, well, well…here we are again!

Times like these are generally my clue that God is really wanting to teach me something… and slowly, but surely, I’ve improved on picking up on His nudges…

Sure, I have lots of ‘things’ going on… and especially entering the holidays…. but I have a hunch God has something exciting in store….

Wanna join? The study starts November 18th….all you need is the book and study guide – $20ish bucks – that’s a handful of coffees or a couple of lunches… point? Aren’t you the least bit curious what God wants to show you? Maybe….just maybe…. it will transform your holiday season!

Check out the info: 1000 Gifts online study info

Goodness me…. life is fleeting – that is one thing I’ve definitely learned on this cancer journey… now let’s see how God can teach us to slow down and soak in His gifts that fill each day

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!

Pray Anyway

Creative Hearts Paper Studio

How many times have you found yourself in a situation and at a total loss for words? Prayer can be the same way! The great thing is that God doesn’t need an eloquent prayer to meet our needs… He knows our heart and only wants us to trust Him enough to turn to Him with our hopes, our dreams, our cares, and our scares.

A couple years ago my daughter and I began talks of opening an Etsy shop – she had dreams of custom paper designs – invitations, party designs and such. I had thoughts of sharing Faith art… like many plans, life pushed those ideas to the back burner….

I still had a desire to share Faith art and chose to create projects with one of our church outreach ministries, art for the children’s program, and a few other projects here and there. But I was never brave enough to pursue the Etsy shop on my own… truth be told, I was afraid…. afraid of rejection – now isn’t that silly?

I so easily bypassed all the truths I knew and jumped straight to failure. Once again, I stuffed God on the shelf and decided, albeit unconsciously, to sit out on a dream instead of trusting God to do what was best for me.

Thankfully, God is ever patient! He coaxes me closer and closer showing me time and again that He is trustworthy. He is faithful. The success of the Etsy shop has nothing to do with acceptance, rejection, or sales. The success is about sharing God’s Word – His Truths – His Love. My job? It’s simple: obedience.

And so I’ve taken the first step! I opened the Etsy store yesterday and shared a few pieces of art…stay tuned to see what God does with a little obedience.

What’s on your heart? What have you put off praying about and trusting God for? You don’t need the perfect words or plan. All you need to start is an open heart willing to share and trust in Him.

Celebrate!

five years….FIVE years….60 months….260 weeks…1,820 days ago….I heard the words no one wants to hear…. “Ms Carr, You have cancer and it’s stage IV”

honestly, that feels like a lifetime ago and yet sometimes it’s at the forefront of my attention….

those close to me have heard me say more than once how cancer has been a blessing… crazy, right? how can there be ANYTHING good about cancer??????

oh, but there is! I am a living testimony that God will truly take every single situation…even the really sucky situations….use it all for good and I’m blessed to be a witness to His goodness.

don’t get me wrong, if I’d had a choice, I doubt I would’ve said, “sure! I’ll take on cancer!” but the choice wasn’t mine and here’s just some of the good:

  • I am confident God will deliver me!
  • grow my relationship with God deeper than I ever could’ve imagined
  • the medical community has advanced to target and treat my specific cancer
  • retired at age 55 vs 65 or 70
  • discovered a love for faith art and grew to share it with others
  • be available to take regular trips to see ‘my girl’ and extended family
  • write and share a Bible study

yeah….so I’m an optimist….I choose not to focus on the hard parts of cancer… and that’s not always heathy or easy… I also discovered its a huge part of being authentic…. it’s just as important to share the hard parts…

  • cancer is hard – really hard
  • cancer is painful….almost every.single.day.
  • cancer causes physical limitations you never dreamed of
  • cancer is relentless and certainly doesn’t care about your hopes and dreams
  • cancer is just.plain.mean

BUT GOD….

  • God provides a WAY when there seems no way!
  • God provides PEACE in a seemingly never ending storm…..
  • God provides COMFORT when the pain feels unbearable
  • God provides WISDOM and DISCERNMENT when you’re on information overload
  • God provides STRENGTH …spiritual – emotional – physical when you are tapped out
  • God provides HOPE and assurance of VICTORY that He will deliver me

bottom line? there are no guarantees in life…except one…to know and accept the salvation offered by my loving unchanging LORD and Savior 💖

10 Ways to Love

A couple years ago, Stephanie Ackerman of Documented Faith shared a post about Love…. not really anything new, right? But there was something new about it – at least to me! She took ten verses about Love and condensed each into 3 words and they remain on my fridge as a daily reminder about what Love is and isn’t. Click on the image to the right —->
to go to Stephanie’s original post and words of inspiration.

I last wrote about finding my rhythm Journaling in my daughter’s Bible and as I began creating art for this week’s entries, Stephanie’s 10 Ways to Love came to mind. Sure, it would’ve been easier to simply resize & print the art I created back then, but for me, that sort of negates the purpose of the art. For me, writing (or drawing!) helps connect my head and heart…a way of anchoring God’s Word in my soul.

So that’s how I’ve spent my Monday morning… using Stephanie’s 10 Ways to Love as a launchpad for the week ahead!

10 ways to love

 

How do these verses speak to you? As I was printing these to paste into my Bible, something struck me… and it may be obvious, but I realized I can’t really love this way without one common thread…. surrender.  Hmmmmm…sounds like another blog post to me!

Of course, I can’t talk about new art without sharing! Enjoy my take on 10 Ways to Love

 

 

My Love Dare with God – Week 12

wk 12

Can it really be the last week??????  For some, you may be thinking, “FINALLY!” — but can I share something really incredible?  After this week, you will have the gift of seeing this particular piece of the puzzle…. a bag full of tools that can help you seize more opportunities to love…. to boldly go thru doors and let God’s love be known to others in a powerful way.  This is Living My Love Dare with God… but first things first…. let’s work through Week 12

Dare days 38 – 40  – we continue with topics that are a deeper, as they directly focus on our relationship with God

This week we take a look at how Love

  •  Fulfills Dreams – seeking God for direction  and leaning on God to open your heart to the beauty of dreams
  • Endures – the no matter what kind of love
  • is a Covenant – not a contract and so much more than a promise

 

My Love Dare with God – Week 12

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My Love Dare with God – Week 11

wk 11Week 11 – Dare days 35 – 37  – we are on the home stretch!  And although the topics are a deeper, they directly focus on our relationship with God

This week we take a look at how Love

  •  is Accountable – the impact and importance of godly women/men in our lives
  • is God’s Word – the many tools available to us that help bring God’s Word to life and help us apply it to our daily walk
  • Agrees in Prayer – the power of prayer with others

 

My Love Dare with God – Week 11

 

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