Grandmama’s Teacups

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“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)

I love collecting pretty teacups.  My china cabinet is full of them.  Many of them I’ve found at thrift stores, or have been given to me as gifts (because others know I like teacups!).  They remind me of my grandmothers.  My mother’s mother also loved and collected teacups.  I remember eyeing and fingering her Blue Willow miniature collection as a child, until she would see and then scold me away.  Now it lovingly sits in my cabinet.  Teacups remind me of my father’s mother and grandmother for other reasons.  My great-grandmother Merle hand-painted china as a hobby when she was a young woman.  One project that she passed on to my grandmother was her tea-and-toast set.  It is a set of eight teacups and saucers, each one with a different flower delicately hand-painted as its design.  A tea-and-toast set is special because the saucer is offset, to allow room for little pastries and goodies (the “toast”) as well as the teacup.  My grandmother gave this special set to me as a wedding present, almost 10 years after my grandmother had passed away.  This was, by far, my most special gift, and I treasure it still.  It comes out for very special occasions, such as for William and Kate’s and Harry and Meghan’s weddings, and other small ladies’ gatherings.  You can see one of the teacups in the background of the below picture.

I chose to honor my grandmothers with this page in Proverbs 31.  I am truly thankful for the influence of godly women in my life.  They, along with my parents (and they were the ones who raised my parents!), became a powerful spiritual network for me, helping to guide me and prayerfully support me as I grew into the woman that I am.

I used several Sweet’n Sassy Stamps for this page.  The newly released Teacup Roses is the centerpiece.  I stamped it on cardstock and watercolored the rose with Shimmerz Inklingz–fittingly the color was called “A Rose by Any Other Name”.  I added some Nuvo Crystal Drops to give a dewdrop effect.  I stamped tiny roses in the band around the teacup using a rose stamp from Girl Power, and then painted the rest of the teacup with watercolors and acrylic paints.  I stamped the teacup and scripted sentiment, as well the music texture stamp from Texture Tiles 1, all around the page, and then sponged with Antique Linen Distress Ink to give the page an aged look.  I then added some paper pieces from a vintage hymnal, a doily and splattered the Inklingz around the page.  To top the page off, I stamped the rose again, colored it, and cut it out with my tab punch, then adhered it, along with  a little piece of the doily.  Of course, washi!  Some vintage-looking music-staff washi anchored the page on the top and bottom.  I had a matching bow clip, so I added that.  But something was missing, and I discovered this page wasn’t complete until I added the stamped “grace” from the new Life in Jesus set.  I stamped it directly onyo the torn hymnal page, painted it with the Inklingz, and then affixed it on my page.

To be honest, I put more effort into this page than I often do.  But it was worth it!  The whole time I was remembering my dear grandmamas, and praising God for the love and support they gave me.  This turned out to be one of my all-time favorite pages!  The kind you just look at for a long time after you’re finished with it.  It was truly an act of creative worship for me.

For those of you who still have your grandmothers, thank them for their support and influence in your life.  And for those of you whose grandmothers have passed on, don’t forget to say a prayer of thanks to God for all they added to your lives.

Thanks for stopping by!  I think I’ll go make a cup of tea in one of my pretty teacups…

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Just Breathe

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Do you ever count the breaths you take in a day? Of course not! It would become too tedious.  “The average person takes between 17,280 and 23,040 breaths a day.” (Brown, blog.epa.gov)  When you exercise, you breathe even more than that.  Anyone who has struggled with pneumonia, COPD, or other respiratory issues might be able to appreciate how precious those tens of thousands of breaths truly are.  Because without breath, there is no life.

Job 33:4 says, “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life,” (NIV).  It is God’s breath that gives me life.  It all began in the Garden of Eden, when God formed Adam by hand and breathed into him His breath:  “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Gen. 2:7)  Without God’s breath, there is no life.

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My son lifeguards during the summer, and, among other training, he needs to maintain his CPR certification.  Why? Those breaths that he might have to supply for someone else not breathing could actually save their life.  He would be providing the much-needed oxygen to their brain.  But breathing can also provide more than that.

My watch periodically notifies me to breathe.  (Any other Apple Watch wearers out there?) Not because I’m NOT breathing.  I’ve set this notification so that I can sometimes stop and JUST breathe.  When I actually pay attention to this notification I stop, and slowly and deeply breathe for one minute.  I pause from my busyness, focus in on my breathing for 60 seconds, and slowly breathe in and out.  This short process relaxes my tense muscles, calms my stress, and truly benefits whatever I’m working on at that moment because I’m better focused.  ACS_0228

 

What I’m starting to add to this process is a “thank-you” with each breath.  Thanking God for the 17,280-23,040 breaths He provides a day for me to live.  Thanking God for the life He’s given me.  Thanking God for the eternal life I have through Jesus.  Breathe… Thank you… Breathe… Thank you…

I encourage you to breathe sometimes.  Well, I encourage you to breathe ALL the time!  But I mean to “just” breathe.  To slow down, breathe deeply, and to thank Him for each breath.  Imagine His breath filling your lungs.  Friends, it is indeed the breath of God which gives you life.

Art talk:  I used three Sweet’n Sassy Stamps for this page:  Life in JesusBitty Minnie Alpha and  Texture Tiles 3 sets for this page.  I “smooshed” Faded Jeans and Broken China Distress Oxide Inks for the bluish background.  Some Documented Faith washi and Illustrated Faith tabs and wordfetti stickers topped the page.

Thanks for stopping by!

Free Indeed!

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) Version 2

This passage in the book of John is one of the most notable and powerful promises found in the Bible.  We are free indeed!  As we celebrate Independence Day today, and we celebrate the freedom we have in our great country–freedoms that many other countries do not have or enjoy–we remember the price that was paid for this freedom.  Many lives were given for us to be able to experience the freedom we have in the United States.  (For any readers in other countries, the same probably goes for you and the freedoms you have–nothing ever comes without a cost.)
But Jesus was not talking about political, social, or economic freedom.  He was talking about spiritual freedom.  Freedom from the bondage and slavery of sin.  When Adam and Eve chose their own way over God’s way in the Garden of Eden, and thereby rejecting His intimacy, they allowed Sin to take this world captive.  All humanity since has been  slave to sin, because “everyone who sins is a slave to sin…” (v. 34). However, Jesus took on humanity, lived a perfect, sinless life, and then died a perfect death, so we don’t have to continue to be slaves to sin.  He gave His life for our freedom.
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The gift of life is free.  It is a free choice.  We are free from sin and slavery IN and THROUGH Jesus.  We have but to accept it by faith, and allow Him to remove the sin from our daily lives.  He removed the burden of sin from our back.  However, we too often take it back again, and again, and again.  Jesus says we are free from the slavery and bondage of lust, of discontentment, of appetite, of worrying, of anger, and the list goes on.  But sometimes we are too comfortable being a slave.  The Israelites often grumbled after escaping from their slavery in Egypt, and longed to go back to their state of bondage!  That makes no sense to us, but we really are no different.  We might want to be free from our sins, but we don’t really want to give them up.
 
I’m not saying it’s an easy thing to do, to give sin up, to be free.  But it is simple.  Jesus has promised, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” (emphasis mine).  He adds the “indeed” to emphasize how sure of a freedom it is.  He has already made us free–but the reality of the freedom in our lives depends on our daily submission and surrender to Him.  Our freedom actually comes in surrender. It’s a paradox, but it’s a powerful paradox.
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I hope you have a blessed Independence Day, full of family, friends, fireworks, and freedom!  But brothers and sisters, don’t choose to go back into your bondage to sin.  Accept your freedom, and be free–INDEED!
(I created these two pages with a Sweet’n Sassy Stamps set called Free Indeed and Distress Oxide Inks. )
(I originally posted a version of this on the Creative Worship Blog on 6/2/6/18)

My Beautiful Love

“But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

(Ruth 1:16-17)

My husband and I chose this Bible verse to be read and sung at our wedding almost 23 years ago.  Although the context is Ruth, a daughter-in-law, speaking to Naomi, her mother-in-law, it is a perfect picture of loyalty and commitment in relationships.  The entire book of Ruth describes God’s redeeming love for His bride, the Church.  How fitting, then, for a scripture reading at a wedding!

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My husband is indeed “my beautiful love in Christ” and I’m so thankful for him!  It’s important to journal our gratitude in our Bibles, especially for our spouses.  It’s too easy to think about all the things that annoy us about our spouses, and the things that we would like to change.  But the more we focus on how grateful we are for who and what they ARE, rather than for what they are NOT, the more our love and appreciation grows for them.  I encourage you to journal your love and gratitude for your spouse and/or other loved ones.


I created this page using several Sweet’N Sassy stamp sets, distress oxide inks, watercolor pencils, and a doily and washi for embellishments.  I began with the Brotherly Love and Girl Power sets to create the images of my husband and me.  When using these sets, it is important to stamp and then mask the elements you want to appear on top so you don’t have intersecting lines.  Next, I created the rose frame around the bride and groom with the Itty Bitty Blossoms set, again masking the roses so it appears the greenery and rose stamps work together, rather than conflict with each other.  I stamped a few extra roses and fussy cut them out to use around the page.  I colored the stamped images, as well as sponged the page with distress oxide ink.  I then stamped the words “beautiful” and “love” using the Hello, My Name Is set.  (The stamp actually says “loved” but I masked off the “d”).  I added the doily in the corners, mainly to cover up where I accidentally DROPPED the “beautiful” stamp!  I added a bit of white detailing on the roses with a white gel pen.  Finally, I stamped the music staff texture stamp from Texture Tiles 1 and then I added some wordfetti and washi to complete the page.  

 

Thanks for joining me today! 


–Julie