Tuesday, December 1, 2015


“Your life isn’t falling apart, it’s falling into place.” – God

I heard a song on the radio yesterday that had this line in it, though I may not have quoted it exactly. I attribute it to God because I feel like He was speaking those words directly to my heart at that moment. There have been many times when it seemed my life was starting to fall apart, or to unravel, that my forward progress was slipping away as I slid back into whatever I had come from, or maybe into something else entirely but just as unwelcome. Now I wonder if maybe it was the beginning of something good. Did I miss out because I was too blind to see it?

I’ve never seen God as vengeful or spiteful, hurting me on purpose or deciding to take back a blessing because I was too stubborn or selfish to receive it. But I do believe that we can miss out – the result of a natural consequence of sin, or of that same stubbornness or selfishness – but not because God changes His mind. We miss out on His blessings – I miss out on His blessings – because I don’t accept them. I imagine there have been times I’ve missed them completely, other times I’ve refused to open my eyes, my heart, my mind, my life to what He’s doing in and around me until much later. I find myself thinking about “when” this or that will happen, making plans and dreaming dreams. What if the “when” is really “now” and I’m too wrapped up in my sinfulness to see it?

There are probably many little things that God wants to do in our lives that we miss and we can’t get them back; I don’t believe the big things, the important life decisions, the major miracles and blessings, are the same way. I believe that since God knows the plans He has for me, to prosper me, to give me hope and a future, He will continue to open doors. If I close them, as soon as I turn around or take a step in a different direction, He will open another, or a window perhaps. He will never give up on me, never leave or forsake me. And the more I surrender my own selfish desires and plans to Him, the more blessings I will receive. I want to make a conscious effort to keep my mind and heart focused on Him, so that when I feel like I’m falling again, I can smile and say, “My life isn’t falling apart, it’s falling into place.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Idea Dice

09 adding ideas and prompts 

I finished a new project this weekend and I wanted to share it with you. These are my “idea dice” for various projects (mainly my art journals). When I want to add some extra elements, or don’t know what to do, I can just roll my dice and go! There are actually four of them, the other one will be in a later photo (it’s just colors, no words). This was a very simple and inexpensive project to make, so allow me to walk you briefly through the process.

01 wooden blocks
The first thing you will need are blocks – I bought four wooden blocks at Michaels, they’re approximately 1 7/8” (the sign said 2”), the other size choices being 1 1/2” and the regular game dice size.

                                   02 paper squares                                                                          03 light coat

The next step is to cut out your squares of paper to decorate the dice. I knew in advance that I would have three with different ideas, and one with just solid colors, so I first cut out six squares (one each of solid red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple) for the color block. I then decided to stick with this color scheme to make my selections easier – otherwise I probably would have spent much too long deciding which colors and patterns I liked best. I used scraps, which I have separated by color into ziploc bags; if you’re a paper crafter, I know you have tons of paper scraps that you insist on keeping, so this is a great way to use some of them. Each square is cut to 1 3/4” so there will be a frame around it of the natural wood. If you don’t want that border, just cut the paper to the size of your block.

After I had the squares cut out, I adhered them with mod podge (matte medium would also work, or mix glue and water, whatever you have on hand). Start with a light, thin layer across the entire square as shown above. Adhere your piece of paper and burnish gently but firmly with your finger to help it stick. If you have trouble getting the paper to stay down, you can try applying a thin layer of adhesive to the back side of the paper as well as the block, and/or letting the adhesive dry for about 10 seconds so it gets a little tacky, that will give it more tooth.

08 stamping ideas and prompts
After all of my paper was glued on, I used some small alphabet stamps and archival ink to write my ideas and prompts. I had three lists worked out ahead of time, each with six things. I tried to group similar prompts so I wouldn’t end up with three of the same thing when I use the dice – for example, one block has six different technique ideas – and didn’t worry about which one went on which color. For the background I simply cut “vanilla” cardstock (from JoAnn’s) into 1/2” strips.

04 color block 1 05 color block 2 06 covered blocks warm 07 covered blocks cool

Here are the blocks with just the paper on them, a photo with the completed blocks is at the top of this post. (It’s hard to tell, but the color block with the three warm colors has yellow on the left, orange on the right, and the one with the cool colors has purple on the top.) The ideas and prompts I used are as follows:
            Block 1:  no stamps, stickers, punch, stencil, just paper, spray ink
            Block 2:  add dimension, exactly six words, only three colors, attach an ATC (Artist Trading Card), stitch, tear paper
            Block 3:  vintage, book paper, wooden, tissue paper, metal, ribbon

There are several ways you can modify the parameters of this project to fit your individual needs and desires. For instance, you can make your own dice out of chipboard, cardstock, really any substrate you’d like. Also, you can use the dice for all sorts of things other than art – helping your kids pick chores, deciding what to have for dinner, choosing a movie genre… the possibilities are as limitless as your imagination. Another thing I thought about while I was making these is that instead of sealing the prompts on, you can attach them with a small piece of velcro, and make several more, allowing them to be interchangeable if you want more options. I think these will be enough for me for now, and if I decide I need more, I would probably just buy more blocks.

I hope this was a fun and interesting project idea! If you decide to make some of your own, and/or use this idea to make any kind of art, I would love it if you shared it with me in the comments or on Facebook! Happy crafting!

Friday, July 3, 2015

All Cats Have Asperger’s Syndrome 2006 by Kathy Hoopmann

I have mentioned in a few posts that I am trying to read through a list of 100 novels (put together by Time Magazine writers about ten years ago), and that I’ve set a goal of 100 books in 2015 through Goodreads.com. Last November I wrote about the first book  that I read from the Time list, and in January wrote one about my first book for this year. I had hoped at the time to be able to write a post about each of the 100 books as I finished them, but as usual, life got in the way. So here I begin again.

The second book I read this year, way back on February 5th, was called All Cats Have Asperger’s Syndrome. One of the substitute teachers I worked with while doing my student teaching at Troy Jr/Sr High let me borrow it, and I must say it was a fun read! I was familiar with it from a YouTube video called Asperger's Cats, but hadn’t read the book previously. Not only were the photos cute and well related to the facts, I found the writing to be very accurate as well. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone – no matter whether you have a cat, someone you care about on the Spectrum, or just need a fun book to brighten your day! And if you have a chance, check out the video (just click on the title, it’s a link), it will no doubt make you smile.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Halfway to the Middle at the Midpoint

I have set a goal for myself, as part of the Reading Challenge on Goodreads, to read 100 books in 2015. Well, today is the midpoint of the year (182 days both have passed, and will come to pass), and I am halfway to the middle of that goal – in other words, I’ve read 25 books so far:

1. The Shack, by William Paul Young
2. All Cats Have Asperger’s Syndrome, by Kathy Hoopmann
3. 1984, by George Orwell
4. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
5. What You Pawn, I Will Redeem, by Sherman Alexie
6. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
7. Skippyjon Jones in the Dog-House, by Judy Schachner
8. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
9. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
10. The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien

11. The Crying of Lot 49, by Thomas Pynchon
12. 11th Hour, by James Patterson
13. 12th of Never, by James Patterson
14. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, by J.K. Rowling
15. Unlucky 13, by James Patterson

16. The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling
17. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling
18. The Magician’s Nephew, by C.S. Lewis
19. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling
20. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

21. The Adventures of Peter Cottontail, by Thornton W. Burgess
22. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling
23. Grumbles from the Forest:  Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist, by Jane Yolen
24. Little Pea, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
25. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling

Within this list are books written by 17 different authors; books from four different series (three of which all the books have been written, and two of which I will hopefully finish this year); and 19 of the 25 I read for the first time. Techincally, two books (The Fellowship of the Ring and What You Pawn, I Will Redeem) aren’t books – the former is part one of a three part book called The Lord of the Rings, but the copy I have was broken up into three separate volumes; and the latter is actually a short story, but it counts on Goodreads as a book.

Also, I have decided to read Time Magazine's Top 100 Novels, thought without a time constraint imposed, so of these 25 books, seven are on that list (including The Fellowship of the Ring, as The Lord of the Rings counts as one book out of their 100). I also read a book from this list at the end of last year (To Kill A Mockingbird), and wrote a post about it, so I’m up to 8 out of 100 on that goal. Most of the books I’ve never even heard of, so I’m interested to see how it goes! So who else has a reading goal? I’d love to hear about it!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Thankful365 – Day 12: Baby Steps

As my time in this apartment draws to an end, I find myself feeling more and more reluctant to keep packing. I’m not sure if it’s lack of energy from not sleeping, or lack of motivation from stress, or maybe it’s just too overwhelming to see all of this stuff that needs to be done and not know where to start, which detail to focus on first.

Today I am thankful that I was able to spend a few hours sorting thru and packing my art space (which isn’t finished, but I made progress), taking baby steps ever closer to this newest life adventure. And while I was working on this project, I was reminded how thankful I am that I have the gift of creativity that allows me to use all of this art “stuff”!

Thankful365 – Day 11: Teacher Clothes

Today (well, yesterday, but day 11) I went on a field trip with Fred to buy some “teacher clothes” for my upcoming student teaching experience. She gave me two pairs of dress slacks that she no longer wanted (one brown, one black), and I found two sweaters – one was black, more of a cardigan-type that stays open; the other was a light blue pullover, lightweight and soft. The latter will look nice with several of my skirts.

I also went solo and got two button-down-the-front shirts (one was a pretty blue cotton, the other an orange and tan plaid flannel), and two more pullover sweaters (dark gray, brown). They will all look nice under a vest I’m sure. I didn’t really need more clothes, but they will be helpful. Now all that’s left is my first pair of boots!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Thankful365 – Day 10: Oh Canada

mark and kathy

I would like you to meet Uncle Forrest and Aunt Jen-naay. They are friends of mine who live in Canada. Yesterday was Uncle Forrest’s birthday, so I decided they are my thankful #10. I have been talking to Aunt Jen-naay online for about two and a half years, and I must say, it’s always nice to know someone is there, even if neither of us says anything. We also share photos, have story time, and watch movies together. And of course, their hamster baby is my niece!

073013 kristy 4    sweet summy    020814 close up

(This is Kristy, Summy, and Pumpkin)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Thankful365 – Day 9: Promises

“Have you ever wanted a certain answer from God so desperately that you consciously or subconsciously tried to ‘rig’ the results? Reading things into the answer that just weren’t there? Grabbing the first thing out of someone’s mouth as your answer? I think we all have.” – Beth Moore, Portraits of Devotion

i heart you

Let me start by saying, I love Beth Moore. I love the way she teaches, the way she writes; it is honestly life-changing watching her videos (she’s a very dynamic speaker!), and participating in her Bible studies! And now I have a copy of something else she wrote, Portraits of Devotion, a 366-day devotional.

The quote above is from today’s reading. The Scripture passage was 1 Samuel 6:1-12, and talks about the Philistines trying to keep the Ark of the Covenant from Israel and God winning out in the end. He not only made their idol (to some pagan god) fall down and worship Him, He literally followed them from town to town with a plague, and then ended up leading the cows they used to pull the Ark (knowing they wouldn’t actually obey of their own accord) right back to Israel.

In that quote, she goes on to say, “It’s easy to do, but it invariably leads to pain because we end up claiming a promise or position God never gave us.” How many times have I tried to “steal the Ark”, to claim something that God hasn’t really given to me? Too many to count! And it never works out in my favor! In the meantime, I’m missing out on the all the amazing promises and blessings that God actually did intend for my life. Because, as the photo illustrates, He loves me.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Shack 2007 William P. Young

“It would be like this bird, whose nature it is to fly, choosing only to walk
and remain grounded. He doesn’t stop being a bird,
but it does alter his experience of life significantly.”

This analogy was an explanation of Jesus becoming man, fully human, while also remaining fully God. I love the simple picture it paints of such a complex concept.

This book is one I’ve heard about for several years now, and I finally took time to read it this past week. I have to admit I wasn’t convinced I would like it, even after reading well into it, although I can’t really say why. I suppose all of the stress in my life right now has taken it’s toll on my ability to enjoy things I would normally spend a great deal of time on – like reading, creating, going for walks. But I’m very pleased to say that, by the end of the story, I reached the conclusion that it really is a great story, very well written, with interesting perceptions of how God may interact with us if we were given the opportunity Mack experienced.

I was also pleased to find that the theological issues that were raised were dealt with in very logical, easy-to-understand ways, and didn’t seem to go against anything I’ve learned or come to believe from my own relationship with God. In fact, I found the author’s ideas about just that – our relationship with God – were actually along the lines of what I’ve been figuring out in my own life, which was both comforting and amusing.

Overall, I would say I recommend this book to anyone who has time to read it; it takes a tragic story of loss, anger, confusion, and ultimately forgiveness, and weaves in a relatable, endearing encounter with our triune Creator that will leave you wanting to find something similar for yourself.

Thankful365 – Day 8: Walking in Clouds

06 power of a moment

Today was a very foggy day; it didn’t burn off as I expected it to, if anything it got denser as the afternoon progressed into evening. I love fog. I love how it hides the world, revealing it piece by piece. It makes everything seem so mysterious and creepy! In the best way.

I know this photo isn’t in fog, but it reminds me of the same idea, a life lesson we can all glean from walking in the midst of a cloud – that we need to let go of the past, let it fade away, and not try to shape the future before we get to it, just live in the moment, right here and now, in what we can see, hear, feel, touch….

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Thankful365 – Day 7: Goal Keeping

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

0107 be a goal keeper

Here is my documented life project journal for week one, at least as much as I have finished at the moment. Each black hexagon is a day of the first week of this year, just a few words about something I did (not really anything extraordinary). I also included my word for the year (explore) and my intention for January (possibilities – be a goal keeper). The next step will be to record some goals, I just haven’t quite narrowed down what they will be yet.

“Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”

There is much going on in my life just now, so it may be a few weeks before I really know for sure what goals I hope to plan for and tackle this year. But that’s ok with me; there are 51 weeks left to work on them. I don’t know what 2015 holds, but I know one thing for sure – it’s going to be great!

Thankful365 – Day 6: Two Steps Forward

Yesterday was day six – I was thankful for having the time and resources to take two small steps forward in the moving process. I have always been a great proponent of “baby steps” when it comes to just about everything; sometimes it seems that I take several baby steps in the right direction and end up taking a few monster-sized steps back. One thing that should never be doubted or forgotten, however, is that when those steps get too difficult to make – that, my friends, is when God carries us.

beach walking

Monday, January 5, 2015

Thankful365 – Day 5: Documented Life Project

Today I started working on the layout for week one of “The Documented Life Project:  The Journal.” (I’ll post the finished page Wednesday). I am thankful I found this online community that has the structure and inspiration I need to work on something gradually over this year without having to invent my own things. It will be a valuable asset when my life turns upside down in a few weeks – I’m going to need art more than usual to help fight back against the displacement!

0105 documented life project

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Thankful365 – Day 4: Winter

Will winter wonders never cease? I must admit, I have a love/hate relationship with this coldest and darkest of the seasons. I love watching the snow fall, the icicles hang from trees and houses, the way everything seems so quiet and peaceful and innocent under a fresh blanket of white.

At the same time, I hate driving in the dangerous, slippery, muddy slush that takes over the roadways, and how much the cold hurts my poor exposed fingers – the “bite” of frost when you scrape it from your car windows. Alas, there is a dark cloud to my silver (or should I say white?) lining of winter wonderlands….

IMG_0837             IMG_0838

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Thankful365 – Day 3: Small Comforts


IMG_0815            IMG_0816

Today I am thankful for some wonderful Christmas gifts from a very dear friend – fun mittens and super soft house slippers. Even more special is knowing that I have been blessed with such caring friends. Along with gifts, we were able to take some things to storage, a great step closer to moving out by the end of this month!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Thankful365 – Day 2: Bear Family Stone

Today I am thankful for the gift of creativity that God has blessed me with, and more specifically, an understanding of and enjoyment in crochet. I would like you to meet the Stone Family bears (and Beatrix the hedgehog), belated Christmas gifts for some very special friends.

0102 stone family bears 2

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Thankful365 – Day 1: Possibilities

“The only limits to the possibilities in your life tomorrow are the ‘buts’ you use today.” – Les Brown

Today I am thankful for the endless possibilities that are stretched out in front of me. Some are apparent, others are still veiled in fog; all should bring a mixture of excitement and apprehension and potential. It is these possibilities that keep us going from one day to the next, fueling curiosity and creativity. Here we go….
1225 christmas selfie