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.


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Be the Light!

You are the light of the world. 
A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.   
Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, 
but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  
 In the same way, let your light shine before others, 
so that they may see your good works 
and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  
Matthew 5: 14-16

Christ stands on a hill by the Sea of Galilee and delivers what we know as the Sermon on the Mount.  He just finished the Beatitudes...a list of blessings for those who choose to follow the Way.  I love the way Jesus taught. He has the perfect blend of encouragement and challenge in his teaching.  Verses 13-16 are sometimes referred to as the Similitudes...and these two compelling comparisons have beautiful literary expression.  We are to be salt and light.  Salt both flavors and preserves.  And light pierces through the darkness.

Have you ever noticed how little light it takes to dispel darkness?  A room can be engulfed in a blanket of black and a spark of light, just a pin point, opens a way through the dark abyss.  We are that light in our world darkened by sin.  We may think our light is insignificantly small.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Our purpose is to shine our light.  

Someone once asked me about the command to shine your light so others would see your good works.  They thought the verse encouraged self service, or self glorification.  To clarify, we have to remember we are not the source of the light we shine.  All our good works are to point to Christ.  That's why ministry must be more than humanitarian effort.  Help may come from caring gestures, but no light emanates from works that simply serve to help others.  While these efforts are good and kind, unless we shine the light of Christ, people may walk away with all our help and step right back into the darkness of their world.  Feeding the hungry may fill stomachs, but unless we shine the LIGHT into the dismal world of the needy, they will hunger and thirst again.  We may build shelters for the homeless, but unless we shine the LIGHT into their hearts, their habitats remain cold and dark.   

Let your light shine...
the light inside you is the living Christ.
Shine the light of his grace-filled gospel 
and truly lead others out of their darkness. 
In this way, you give glory to God. 

Design Details:  This simple page took minutes to design.  The wreath is printed on clear, matte sticker paper and adhered to the page.  The fun lettering from an alpha stamp lends color while helping to focus on the simply but powerful message of the text.  The passage is highlighted with yellow watercolor paint, and with a simple page like this, the eye is drawn to the message.   

Product Used:

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

God's Foundation

"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." (2 Timothy 2:19)

Today is the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  Who doesn't remember those exact moments when you heard about the terrorist attacks, or the planes crashing into the Towers or the Pentagon, or when the Towers fell to the ground, or the plane crashing in the field in Pennsylvania?  I was shopping at Wal-Mart at the time, and I first heard about it at the checkout.  People were gathered around in the electronics section watching the news on the TVs.  I hurried home with my three year old and six month old boys, and remained glued to the TV for most of the day--as much as I could while trying to shield my little ones from my emotions and the chaotic scenes on the television.

How our world was forever changed on that dreadful day.  Lives were lost, reality was upended, and for many, it was a time of reflection on what was truly important in our lives.  The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center came crashing down upon themselves, revealing not only weaknesses in building design, but vulnerabilities in security.  The towers' frame could not hold the flaming infernos, so the buildings and their very foundations gave way.  As two towers of dust and smoke replaced the once gleaming towers of steel, our own social, cultural and emotional foundations gave way as well.  We each realized our weakness.  We each realized our mortality.

The tragedy of that day will forever be burned in our minds and hearts.  But to the believer, and to many who began searching for answers, the tragedy caused us to grasp the truth of God's sure foundation.  Money and power will fail, but God's security is firm and forever.  He has redeemed us by the blood of Christ, and we are sealed and secure.  We can choose to remain in Him, and to depart from iniquity (sin); or we can choose to depart from Him, and remain in iniquity.  

We have a firm and sure foundation in Christ, one that will never falter.  On that truth we can build our lives.  

For this entry, I began by spritzing some Shimmerz Vibez ("Don't Rain on My Parade") and then spreading it around with a wet paint brush.  I dried that with my heat tool, and then stamped the words and tower from the Mighty Fortress stamp set.  I added some texture to the tower's blocks by painting with my aquabrush and more of that Vibez spritz.  I then splattered some of the Vibez and some black paint around the page.  I stamped a little bit of brick texture with a stamp from Texture Tiles 2.  I added some washi tape, a tab and a bow, and some journaling to complete the page.  

I pray that you find your firm and strong foundation in Jesus today, rather than in the things of this world.  Build your life, your future, your eternity, on His sure foundation!


Monday, September 10, 2018

Where is your Hiding Place?

Hi friends,

When I received the amazing new Mighty Fortress stamp set, I knew I wanted to create a page using the theme of 'hiding place.' I love the song You are my hiding place and as I was preparing this page in Psalm 119:114 I began to think about all the different 'hiding places' we run to when times get tough...

A hiding place is a place we run to when thinsg get too much, when we are wounded, angry, overwhelmed, exhausted or afraid. Some people hide in alcohol, some in television, some in relationships, some in food, some in exercise, some in career achievement... Where, or who do you run to?

The writer of Psalm 119 declares that God is his/her hiding place and shield. When life gets rough, he/she runs to God. What a beautiful example for us to meditate upon and imitate! Instead of running to things that give us immediate comfort or distraction, let us run to our Almighty God, who comforts, protects and hides us in the shadow of his wings. The comfort he gives is far greater and longer lasting than chocolate or alcohol, the protection he gives is far stronger than any human can give, and he is a far better, nurturing, healing hiding place than television (or anything else!).

I created this page in my ESV Journaling Psalter, which has a blank page next to every page of printed text, which is great for Bible journaling. The lovely poinsettia flowers from Christmas Poinsettia were stamped one at a time, masking one stamped image then stamping the next one slightly overlapping, so there is the effect of having some flower behind others. This stamp set is Sweet 'n Sassy's Stamp of the Month during September, which means you can get it for free with a purchase of $75 or more! The images were coloured with watercolours. I also used Girl Power, and the new Armor of God and Mighty Fortress to stamp the text.

Can I encourage you to examine the hiding places you run to in your life? If, like me, you discover you've been hiding in the wrong places, I want to invite you to run to the BEST hiding place in heaven or earth: God. His love and salvation are your shield no matter storms may be brewing around you.

x Amy x

Saturday, September 8, 2018

My Rock and Fortress Forever

Hey guys!  

Deeds here, with a bit of journaling in my "Christian Life Hymnal!!" 
Let me tell you how timely the Lord is in His mercies and favor!  JUST RECENTLY (like yesterday and today, recently) I've been touched and moved by the surrounding forces of His might and power.  His promise is to never leave; to never forsake.  BUT, my friend, He does more than just stand by our side - He's in the every decision, every situation, every rise and fall, every dark and darker. 

Can I share with you about "dark?" 
There is a piece of home - my home - where darkness grows up along the walls.  It's damp.  It's dangerous.  It's terrifying. 
Yesterday, my heart sank into a whirlwind of thoughts - estranged from faith as they may be - of what could happen in this situation.  There's something vicious about mold; something unforgiving; something treacherous.  And as I looked on it, I truly believed it to transcend to my heart, blackening it; suffocating it.  Does the phrase, "impending doom," ring a bell?
So what am I talking about??  "Surrounding forces of God's might and power??" 

Oh, fellow struggling, hurting, broken friends…

The joy of the Lord is not in the comforts and ease of life - it's in the holes and broken pieces of our minds; even in the snares set out for us by the enemy of our soul. 
We are not fully capable of understanding the joy of the Lord without first experiencing grief.
We don't get the gamut of victory without first fighting the battles.
We cannot fathom safety, refuge, protection and provision without having first gone through dangers, toils, snares, and want.
Psalm 46:7 says, "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Fortress!"

God has given me meaning and value in my present circumstances, so I hope to be as clearly and authentically bold for His name: HE IS MY ROCK and FORTRESS!

When the earth shakes and quakes, the waters flood and frighten, the fires rage and threaten - when mold rears its taunting face - He's my Rock. 
When it feels that the darkness prevails and the enemy is gaining ground on my "untroubled" turf, He's my Fortress. 
He is high and lifted up, and as a child of the One True King, I am lifted with Him.  I am able to see the battles rage from His perspective, His vantage point. And though I be engrossed in mildew and moss in my soul, He guards my heart and preserves me for His name's sake.

I'm not above problems; but, God is. 
I'm not immune to emotional, irrational, fearful behavior; but, God knows that.

In areas of life where we are most vulnerable and (sadly) susceptible to falling, failing in faith, the enemy WILL strike.  He will strike, and he will strike hard.  But, "get excited," as my friend, Korin would put it.   It's in these areas of attack where God is using even the enemy's "blows" to make us stronger. 
We are not born strong and able; God makes us so.
We are not inherently bold and brave; God makes us so.
We are not innately trusting and faithful; God makes us so.

And this makes the enemy powerless.  HALLELUJAH!

I pray that today, you have found God as your Rock and Fortress.  Forever He is with us.  Forever He is faithful.  Forever He is strong.  Forever.

Much love,

**Process is done using watercolor crayons from Lyra, and "Mighty Fortress" stamps from Sweet 'n' Sassy Stamps.