Saturday, September 22, 2018

Don't Fight Naked

I may be dating myself by referencing this, but I remember a "Fight Naked" t-shirt trend.  I wouldn't go so far as to say they were popular, at least not among my high school crowd.  Neither me nor my friends would ever wear one--we thought they were more of a joke.  I'm not sure when or why the trend started.  Some clever person, however, took that theme and applied it to Ephesians 6, where the Bible talks about the armor of God, and make t-shirts with the phrase, "Don't fight naked!  Put on the Armor of God!"  Now that's a t-shirt I would wear!  So I knew I had to journal this phrase in my Bible using the Armor of God stamp set. 
 Armor of God

We are fighting spiritual battles everyday, and unless we put on God's full armor--the Shoes of the gospel of peace, the Breastplate of righteousness, the Shield of faith, the Sword of the Spirit, the Helmet of salvation, and the Belt of truth--we are indeed fighting naked.  Without God's spiritual weapons to help us, we are powerless against Satan's flaming darts and wiles.  So get dressed, brothers and sisters!  Don't fight naked!

I created this collage page in my interleaved Bible with Distress oxides and stamps.  I began by stamping each of the images onto sticky notes and cutting them out to be used as masks.  I then used the colors Worn Lipstick, Tumbled Glass, and Mustard Seed to stamp the various images onto the page.  I masked each image as I sponged around them in varying colors, overlapping the colors in places.  Next, I stamped the words in the same colors.  I used some water on the background to give the distress oxides a distressed, layered effect, then dried it with my heat tool.  Black texture is always good to add, so I splattered some paint and used Texture Tiles 1 to stamp some grid texture.  I used Lowercase Chunky Alpha for the title, and added detailing with a white gel pen.  I finished by drawing lines around the edges of the page with a black pen, stamping the date, and journaling a prayer.  I also created a tag using the same process, that I could clip to the opposite page. 

Don't leave your house naked!  Make sure to dress yourself in the armor of God!  

God bless--


Friday, September 21, 2018

The Armour of God...

Hi friends,

I don't know about you, but when I get up in the morning and look at my wardrobe to decide what to wear for the day, I don't think about reaching for my helmet or shield! I think about the weather, the occasion I'm dressing for and what is clean and ready in front of me. In Ephesians 6:13-17 Paul writes to the church in Ephesus and tells them that they need to suit up with a different kind of outfit: the armor of God.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God...

I was thinking about the parts of the armor and how each one is vital to our spiritual protection. Just like we wouldn't (hopefully!) forget to put on clothing each morning, we need to get into the habit of dressing in this armor regularly and intentionally so that we are ready for any weather and any occasion. I find it interesting that of the six parts of the armor, only one is an offensive (attacking) weapon and that is the sword of the Spirit: the word of God. When things come against us, how do we respond? Do we hide in fear? Do we run to others for help (there is definitely a place for that!)? Or do we reach for our sword? How often is our first response to pick up the sword of the Spirit and begin to fight using the word of God in our hands and our mouths? I know for me, this is not my first response as often as I want it to be.

I want to encourage you to meditate on each piece of this armor that we have been given and ask God what it means for you to put on and use each of these things. He is faithful to teach and train us to use and walk in the gifts he has given us.

I absolutely love the fact that the new Armor of God stamp set has all the words and pictures necessary to journal this Scripture - and there are SO many ways you could do that. I chose to base my page in my Interleaved Bible around hexagons, because there are six pieces of armor and so a hexagon with six sides will help me to remember that! I cut out a hexagon shape using a set of dies, then drew around it over and over to create the pattern. Then I stamped the text and images into each, sometimes needing to overlap and use another hexagon below so everything would fit in. I used a combination of watercolours and metallic paint to colour the page in. Here's the whole stamp set I used:

The next time you stare at your wardrobe wondering what you will wear that day, remember that God has given us this armor and has told us to put it on. So let's be intentional about wearing our defensive clothes and using our offensive weapon!

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Thursday, September 20, 2018

"She Will Bear a Son" Bookmark

Happy Thursday, lovelies!!
It's Deeds, and I'm here with a bit of something different.  I don't usually have a knack for things that involve tons of creativity.  However, given a challenge is something I'm up for, especially if it means that my creative journey is becoming brighter and more colorful!  (pun intended)

This month's release is one of those that gives me a lot to think about; a lot to mull over; a lot to try; a lot to experiment with, etc.  ALL the Christmas stamps are beautiful as you've probably seen, and ALL have such a sweet heart behind them.  The themes of them cause me to reflect even more on why I am who I am; why I love what I love, and WHO I love.  Things that draw me deeper into fellowship with God are absolutely worth my time and creative juices!

I'm using the stamp set called, "O, Holy Night."  It's just one of many wonderful sets released for the getting ready for the Christmas season.  I have always been passionate about the time of Advent.  I have always loved how the Christmas season begins earlier every year - the sooner the better in my mind, as it gears me up even sooner to meditate on my Lord and Savior, who came to the world to save people from their sins.  I'm not alone in this I know it! ;D

THE GOSPEL is by far the most important theme of Christmas.  I know I like to think about trees, food, songs, winter dresses, parties, gift exchanges and so on.  These are all good, but mean nothing without the attachment of Jesus Christ, whom we celebrate! 
It's why I love the stamp I used on the bookmark today.  It speaks of the gospel so clearly; it underlines the most important event in human history; it brings to light the contrast between Jesus (God in the flesh, born of a virgin) and the world in need of a Redeemer!

"You will call His name Jesus for He will save His people from their sins."  (Matthew 1:21)
The stamp is in the shape of a tree which helped as
inspiration for color and texture placement.

The cost and value of this Life in exchange for mine is not understandable, let alone for the whole world.  It's something that only God will understand ever.  A son.  A perfect life.  A perfect obedience.  A perfect Spirit.  A perfect Man.  A perfect Sacrifice.  A perfect Salvation.

Jesus is the reason for this season, and He's the reason for all seasons beyond!  We celebrate Christmas once a year - God celebrates every day and heaven's hosts sing "Hallelujah!" to the King, born in a lowly stable, dying the sinner's death, now living at the right hand of God!  Praises to His name!

I have a video tutorial up on my Youtube channel as to how I formed and fashioned this.  I've truly enjoyed the process behind making something I can use as a token of love for another.  I'll be making more of these for gifts for the holidays.  

Much love,

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Carolina Strong... In HIM!!

Zechariah 9:14
"Then the Lord will appear over them, 
and His arrow will go forth like lightning; 
the Lord God will sound the trumpet 
and will march forth in the whirlwinds of the south."

As many of you know, we in North and South Carolina have been battered by Hurricane Florence this past week. For over a week we were staring straight down the barrel at an unavoidable Category 4 hurricane. This was the SLOWEST moving hurricane I have ever experienced and the anticipation of it hitting was so worrisome. Everyone was scrambling to get all the home supplies they could, all the groceries they might need, and expecting to be without power for weeks! The more days that went by where I saw everyone stressing out about this storm, the more worried I got myself. We live southeast of Raleigh, NC so I felt like we wouldn't be in too much trouble being 2 hours from the coast, but some reports made me feel less confident. 

As the storm drew closer and closer; I worried, I prepared, and I prayed. Unfortunately, I did things in that order for too long. I then realized that worrying got me nowhere. All we could really do was prepare and pray!

A friend shared this verse with me and it really just blew me away. 

"Then the Lord will appear over them, 
and His arrow will go forth like lightning; 
the Lord God will sound the trumpet 
and will march forth in the whirlwinds of the south."

Wow! If that doesn't perfectly describe what we were going through at that exact moment I don't know what does! And the even crazier part is this is Zechariah 9:14..... Hurricane Florence made landfall on September 14th, 9/14 ! That's one of those Wow God moments right?!? God is always in control! We all lose sight of that sometimes, especially when times are uncertain and scary. It's easy to get swept up in our fears and worries and forget to put our trust in the only one in control, our God!  He controls the winds and the waves, and he can calm the sailor during the storm. 

We all endured this storm for days on end. It hovered over the east coast for so long and moved so slowly that the rain seemed like it would never end. Luckily for my family, we were extremely blessed since the hurricane's path shifted and the strength of the storm weakened. We managed to never lose power with minimal flooding in our area. However, many of the Carolina coast were not so lucky. Everyone is now assessing damage and starting to clean up and rebuild. God was always with them in the storm and he still is as they put their lives back together. We must all continue to pray for and help those that were greatly impacted by Hurricane Florence. Thank you for reading my post and I will continue to keep all of those families in my prayers! Thank you Lord for your courage, strength, and peace during the storm!

p.s.- This page turned out way different than I had originally planned. Full of mishaps and accidents that I just had to roll with. Sometimes I love this page and sometimes I feel like it's a total mess, much like a hurricane! So I went with it and trusted that this page would turn out as it was intended to. HE is in control, always. 

Stephanie Gammon 

Armor of God 

Teeny Alpha 

Monday, September 17, 2018

No Place I'd Rather Be

Being on my patio in the evenings and getting to watch my favorite Artist create the most glorious sunset paintings is definitely one of my favorite places to be. Watching as He pulls out colors my eyes have never even seen before is mind boggling to me. It definitely makes this girl ponder Him.

Even better than sunsets from my patio, are sunsets on the beach. It’s the place where the sun just seems to melt into the water. The place where the colors of the sun and the colors of the ocean just seem to dance. I definitely love pondering about my Creator God at the beach.

As much as I enjoy these happy places, they don’t even compare to what being Him will be like.

“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God...A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!”
‭‭Psalm 84:1-2, 10a‬ ‭NLT‬‬

With each passing day and the older I get, I long to go home. Truly home. My hearts gets homesick some days...especially when I miss loved ones. Better than even being reunited with loved ones, is the thought of being fully in the presence of my Lord. 

One day, I can just imagine sitting with my God and Him pulling out all those colors that He uses to paint with and watching Him person. 

Where is your favorite place to ponder Him? Share with me in the comments.

May you long for home.

Art behind the story:

The Home for the Holidays set this month is fast becoming one of my favorite Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets. I stamped the doorway on the bottom of the page. The letters are stamped with Sunshine Girl Alpha. On the top of the page, the sentiment and the tab are from the Home for the Holidays set too. I used Derwent Inktense pencils to color the doorway. The background colors are a mixture of Distress Oxides that I applied with a soft makeup brush. There are several great colors of the oxides for sale now on our website.  

Have fun shopping all the new releases, creating, and praising the Lord with your creativity!!

Until next time,

Patio Ponderings

Saturday, September 15, 2018

God's House

Lord, I love the house where You live, the place where Your glory dwells. 
Psalm 26:8

Hello Sweet 'n Sassy Friends!
Where do you love to hang out? David loved to hang out with God. If I'm honest, I can't say that my most favorite place to be is with God. It should be! I want to say that! But, looking at my life, I let too many things take my attention- work, family, the TV, shopping, etc. Sometimes, unfortunately, God is an afterthought. I want to be more like David! I need to put God first and focus on His presence with me through all the things I do. I need to use some of my time better. I want to get to a point where I'm glorifying God and He is my priority in all I do and say and how I live.  We are fortunate in that God now indwells believers in a way that He didn't in David's time. His glory is with us always. We just need to focus on it!

For the page, I used one of the newly released sets from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps called Home for the Holidays. I absolutely LOVE this door stamp!! But, it has a lot of great images and it's a versatile set- not just for Christmas! I also used the following sets: Love Your Neighbor, Sing Loud, and The Good News. I used watercolor crayons too, and a white pen to highlight.

There's no other place we should want to be than hanging out with God! Praying we all spend some focused time with Him this week!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Back to the basics

"But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you."
Psalms 5:7 ESV

Sometimes we just need to get back to the basics. I love art and bible journaling. I find myself easily throwing color on the pages, pouring my heart into it. I don't spend hours critiquing my pages, I just do them and move on to the next. Some days it's a verse that I've been thinking about or saved from a sermon I heard recently. Some times its just a verse to help feature a stamp set. Some times its created out of heartache and pain. Other times it's in absolute praise for who God is. But sometimes I just feel a little lost in it.

But isnt this true in so many areas? In whatever ministry God has placed you in, It's so easy to do what you have trained and studied to do. To do the things God created you for. To use your gifts and talents, to love it, for it to become easy...

and yet it's so easy to get lost and lose yourself in it.

Ya see, when it's easy, when you are in your element, serving in the very area you were created for... you can so quickly forget to ask for Gods wisdom and guidance. You just start doing the motions....

And then your cups runs out. You're left feeling empty. You're left feeling uncertain of yourself, of your next move. Your heart changes a bit.

It's the loneliest place... to be in ministry and have your cup run out, have nothing left to give, and admit to others or even yourself that you're feeling empty. We start drowning when we are trying to do it all ourselves, plan the future and forget how important our one on one time with the Lord is. How our hearts desperately need to bow down before Him, sit in His presence, soak in His word, listen for His direction.

But I know that He is enough, friends. He will fill your cup, he will restore your soul. He will give you the strength to keep going strong in your ministry but you must go to Him regularly. Don't let the easy take over, don't lose sight of your vertical time.

I write this today knowing that I'm feeling empty. Knowing my cup is running dry. Knowing that my heart aches to be filled with Gods wisdom and direction. And it's in the simple that I created this page and found myself saying you are My God, I fall on my knees before you... I'm here, I'm listening, I need you...

For the background I used distress Oxides and smushed them on my Kraft Mat and then sprayed with water and smeared the bible page in that. I did a layer, dried, did another layer, dried it. I then stamped the words and added washi and the wire spiral thing. I just happened to find that in my stash and thought it matched well. Happy creating.