Wednesday, January 11

Guest Post from Amy at One Artsy Mama

I'm excited to introduce you to a new friend of mine today,
Amy from One Artsy Momma.

Hi there, Erin's friends and followers!
I'm so excited to be here today, especially because it means that in exchange, Erin is posting over at my blog and offering an aMAzing giveway - $50 credit to her Etsy shop full of absolutely gorgeous art.
When she approached me about doing a giveaway and I first saw her work, I was floored.  She is SO incredibly talented!
but you already knew that.

So who am I?
My name is Amy, aka One Artsy Mama.

Lover of books, art, music, photography, and all things creative.

Passionate about Jesus, ballroom & latin dance, Ravens football, and my family.
Married to my best friend and mama to our adorable 3 yr old son, my "Little Crafter".
Addicted to Starbucks.
Constantly striving to become all that God intends for me to be. Trusting His promises.

So, when Erin and I decided to blog swap, I had no idea what I was going to share with you.
Turns out that was because God had something in mind for me that I didn't even know about yet.
As the new year approached, I was evaluating the things in my life and the things I felt were missing, and I really felt an emptiness because I know I've got some gifts and talents, but I wasn't really using them to serve and to bless others, you know?  Especially since I'm not working outside the home right now, sometimes I feel like my influence is so small...I wanted to know if there was something I could be doing that would really make a difference.

So I started to pray.  Then, for Christmas I got some metal stamping supplies.
{Which I had wanted really badly and hinted about not-so-subtly!}

I've been making beaded and wire wrapped jewelry for about a year now, some of which I sell in my Etsy shop, but I wanted to branch out and try a new aspect so that I could create some really personalized things.
I was playing around to get some practice, and I decided to make myself this pendant.  I used the word COURAGE, because it's my word for 2012. {If you're curious why, never fear, I have a whole post about it here!}  Anyway, I made this and on a whim, posted a pic on my personal Facebook page.

About five minutes after I posted it, a friend of mine wrote this:
Cool idea, Amy. I'm thinking of cancer survivors who would like "courage" "hope" and "health" or something like that.
Shortly after that, my aunt commented,
Yeah and I would get one for my hero Shelly and my girlfriend Laura Rogers who is fighting the battle now.
Later, a former student of mine from back in my high school teaching days wrote:
I want a breast cancer one! I actually want to buy more than one. Let me know when you set a price.

Huh!  Maybe God was speaking
Maybe I could make these for folks dealing with cancer to encourage them in their struggles and help them celebrate their victories.  It's certainly a cause that's near and dear to my heart after losing two grandparents and two grandparents-in-law to cancer and watching my cousin win her battle.
So, I whipped up the ones my aunt requested, using beads to represent the awareness ribbons for the particular cancer types.  Lime green is for lymphoma; pearl is for lung cancer {which I mistakenly thought Laura had.  Turns out, it's melanoma, so I switched the pearl for a black bead later}.  Then, I took a break and went upstairs to call my mother-in-law about a Christmas gift we need to exchange.  While we were talking, she mentioned that my husband's cousin Caitee, whose husband is currently deployed with the Marines, is in town and wanted to come visit us on Thursday and introduce us to her little girl.  I found myself wishing I had a gift for her, something to encourage her as she waits for Austin to come home and complete their family.

I hung up, went downstairs, and found this comment from the same friend who made the first suggestion:
I have another idea... Semper Fi and a little heart bead for women who have a Marine deployed.

I didn't have a heart bead, but I did have a heart blank.  Here is the gift I will give Caitee when she visits.
I'd say it's more than coincidence, wouldn't you?

So how does it work?  Well, the best I could come up with for now is that I'm supposed to make myself available to create these pendants to support cancer fighters and their loved ones and encourage folks in the military and their loved ones.  I've listed these necklaces on Etsy where anyone who just likes them for whatever reason can purchase them at full price with any word they choose, but created special coupon codes for people who fall into those two categories:

Cancer patients/survivors and their loved ones: SURVIVE
Military families: SEMPERFI

These codes will take 55% off the listed price, making each necklace just $8.
$2.50 of that covers shipping, and the rest covers my supplies and packaging materials. 
I'm donating my time and labor.
Basically, the $8 just covers my expenses so that I don't go broke giving them away.
I'm not making a profit on these, just making them available, and hoping and praying they bless someone.
I didn't hear any audible voices, but I know in my heart it's what I'm supposed to do...and I'm excited.
Excited to help, to serve, and to hear the stories of how God uses my little gifts to touch lives of people I may never meet.

Thanks for the opportunity to share today, and thanks to Erin, both for hosting me and for guest posting on One Artsy Mama.  I hope you'll visit her there and while you're there, take a look at some of the fun things my Little Crafter and I have been up to lately.  I have free printables there for the new year as well as all kinds of craft tutorials and a fun Friday linky party.  Can't wait to "meet" you.

Monday, January 9

God-sized plans for me and you

It’s so true.
Noah, Mary, Paul.
They were real people.
With real dreams.
And I’m sure their dreams didn’t include:
Building an ark.
Giving birth to God.
Leading Gentiles to faith in Jesus.

But God had bigger plans for them.
God had God-sized plans for them.

My dreams and prayers are usually along the lines of:
Give me sleep. Please.
Help us pay our bills.
Make art.
Keep us safe.
Keep us healthy.
Teach me how to be married.
Teach me how to be a good momma.
And when I’m really dreaming big:
Please give us a long vacation.
And a 3 car garage.

Oh, and help me read my Bible.

I don’t know,
but I think God might have bigger plans.
God-sized plans for me.
And for you, too.

Now to Him who is able to do
exceedingly abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us,

Ephesians 3:20

Wednesday, January 4

What is your word?

Quick! You only have 361 days left.
my word was as clear as day.
It just came to me.
And over
And over again.

Painfully and purposely.
With help from the Lord.
And my counselor.
There was no mistaking my word.
But this year I’m kind of stuck.
There are plenty of words that I could choose.
But none of them feel right.
The first word that comes to mind is sleep.
{Please, please Lord, give me sleep this year.}
Simplify  comes to mind.
I feel overwhelmed and cluttered and out of control.
But doesn’t everyone choose simplify?
I like something along the lines of
courage or be brave
or uncomfortable.
but that seems overdone, too.
Full of Grace?
All of the above.
but I’m just not sold on one.
I'll tell you what I do want
and maybe you can tell me my word:
I liked the challenge of giving chex mix to my neighbors.
I liked how I felt after. I felt brave.
It was an old, familiar feeling. I used to be brave.
And it’s been a while since I’ve felt that way.
I don't know where that brave girl went.
 Life feels cluttered. Overwhelming.
I feel a little lost in the living of it all.
I want to
Be still.
And let the Lord change me and use me
And lead me as I surrender my will for His.
I want to let go of my dreams
So that I can discover His dreams for me.
{Always better than my own.}

I want to stop being so obsessed with myself.
I'm kind of getting sick of me.
I want to let God use me
and the gifts he's entrusted to me for his glory.
And to use my blog for good.

I want to trust that God will provide financially.
And just rest in peace of knowing He will.
He always does, and worrying about it,
trying to juggle everything to get ahead,
simply exhausts me.

I want to feel healthy and strong
and confidant and cute.

And I want to make a mobile.

So what is that word?
 I wrote what I want for this year.
I keep adding to it.
I’m joining up with One Word 365
Come with me.
Let's do this together.
Whatever you do,
 DON’T choose
humility or patience.
{God will provide in buckets.}
I saw a couple of those here and just cringed.
I wanted to scream
“Don’t do it.”


Monday, January 2

Hello 2012.

Hello new year.

Hello couldn't be any more politically incorrect,
but it always  makes me laugh.

Hello messy studio.
{I've missed you friend.}

Hello new blog banner.
{done in Picnik}

Hello new verse for the year.

Hello beginnings of a new journal.

Hello view from my ergo.
{I love this view.}

Hello sick kids for going on 2 weeks.

Hello sleep.
{Someone please, oh please make these babies sleep.}

Hello new episodes of Downton Abbey.
{6 days to go.}
{Season 2 starts on Sunday, Jan. 8, on PBS}
{If you missed the first season you can stream it from Netflix &
sit in front of your TV for 8 solid glorious hours.
You can thank me later.}

Hello new camera.

Hello new year.
It's gonna be a good one.
I can feel it.

What are you saying hello to in 2012?

{Linking with Lisa}