Sunday, December 27, 2020

Star Light, Star Bright

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11

Merry Christmas, Friends!

I hope your Christmas was filled with Christ. Before Christmas day this year, many of us were looking up into the night sky to see the "Christmas star." Jupiter and Saturn aligned which produced what looked to us as a bright star. While this alignment of planets was beautiful, I don't think it was anything like the star of Bethlehem. There are many theories as to what that star was- a meteor, a comet, a nova or supernova, or an alignment of planets. That's the most likely scientific explanation. In fact, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn did indeed align in 6 BC. We humans seem to want a scientific explanation. Something that backs up what the Bible says. And there's nothing inherently wrong with that. It's cool when we find scientific evidence that backs up what the Bible says. But here's the thing-

GOD DOESN'T NEED SCIENCE TO BACK HIM UP! Our God is so amazing that He can make nature do anything He wants. This is the Creator God who created everything out of nothing. Creating one star would have been nothing to Him. And, He's a God of miracles. By definition, miracles defy scientific explanation. Sure, He could have used the alignment of planets to guide the wise men. But He could have just as easily created a special star for the specific purpose of guiding them to the King of kings, the Light of the world. No, I don't believe that star was a rare, natural occurrence. I believe that star was a one-time-only, supernatural miracle created by our great God to guide the wise men to His Son.

Hubert J. Bernhard was a lecturer at the San Francisco Morrison Planetarium in the 1960s who spoke on the star of Bethlehem. Near the end of his lecture, he said this, "If you accept the story told in the Bible as the literal truth, then the Christmas Star could not have been a natural apparition. Its movements in the sky and its ability to stand above and mark a single building; these would indicate that it was not a normal phenomenon, but a supernatural sign. One given from on high and one that science will never be able to explain."

Page Details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: I AM, Shine Your Light, Marker Alpha, and the baby Jesus is from a retired Christmas set. I started the page by stamping baby Jesus. Then I drew the star and the stained glass lines. I used distress oxides to color the background. I used washi tape to mask each stained glass area and then used a sponge dauber to apply the inks. After the background was colored, I stamped the words. I stamped "star" onto sticker paper to make it stand out a little. I also stamped "light" on sticker paper and cut out the letters to make it stand out for "Light of the world." I used a white pen to accent "light" and "world" as well. It was a fun page to do while meditating on Christ's birth.

As we move into the New Year, I pray that we may be like the wise men- focused on Jesus and worshiping Him each and every day. Let Him be your Light!

Have a blessed week! Andrea

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Christ is Born

Hello, friends & Merry Christmas!!!

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Let's talk about why we celebrate Christmas.  The true meaning of Christmas is certainly not found in the over-commercialized holiday that every ad on tv throws at you.  It's not Santa.  It's not found in the presents and food.  The true peace and joy of Christmas is not found in anything earthly.  

The true meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ, our Messiah.  The Son of God, who swapped his celestial seat for a meager manger.  So, why was the Savior and King born in a stable?  And why was he placed in the animals' trough?  Certainly, God's Son was worthy of a high-profile birth, surrounded by elegance.  Instead, though, God's Son made His appearance on earth in the lowliest of circumstances.  His humble birth sends an amazing message to us:  The all-knowing, all-powerful God came down to us to meet us where we are.  He didn't come as a pampered, privileged ruler.  Jesus was born to humble parents, in meager surroundings to show that He is approachable, accessible and available to all of us.  He longs for a relationship with us and that is where you will find true hope and joy. 

This is why we celebrate Christmas.  I pray that we all keep Jesus at the center of our hearts and homes, not only at Christmas time, but always.  I pray each of you have a Christ-filled Christmas, no matter what the season looks like for you this year.  I pray you are each safe & healthy and filled with peace.  Amen.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!  


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Save Your Fork


Romans 8:18
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing 
with the glory that is going to be reveled to us. "

Romans 8:25
"Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience."


It's a powerful word isn't it?! Today, the human race seems to be running on nothing but Faith and Hope at the moment. When you feel like you have lost everything, there's nothing else left, you still have Hope. God has hardwired us to hope. We were given this hope when we were saved. (Romans 8:24)

There are some people that seem to think if you're a Christian, and you live like a Christian, pray, do good for others, that life should always be easy for you. But that couldn't be further from the truth. God promised us that life would not be easy and that we would have trouble sometimes. 

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. 
But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

When times are great and living is easy, we don't have to hope for as much. But goodness, when times are hard and hope is all you have, you lean into it as hard as you can. God gives us so much hope! We know that he works everything out for our good, sometimes we just need to be patient, pray and wait. Romans 8:18 reminds us that what we may be suffering through now will be nothing in comparison  to the glory that God will reveal to us later!! Wow! We can't even wrap our heads around what is waiting for us after this life. But till them, he can wait patiently and hope for the things he has promised us!

Our pastor shared a story recently that I've heard a couple times before and it was just so powerful I knew I wanted to document the thought in my bible. Here is the story for you below:


A woman was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given three months to live. She asked her pastor to come to her home to discuss her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at her funeral, and what scriptures to read, and which outfit she wanted to be buried in.

Then she said, "One more thing. I want to be buried with a fork in my hand."

The pastor was surprised. The woman explained, "In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, `Keep your fork.' It was my favorite time, because I knew something better was coming, like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie -- something wonderful. So, I want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and wonder, 'What's with the fork?' Then, I want you to tell them, `Keep your fork, because the best is yet to come."'

The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he bid the woman goodbye. He realized that she had a better grasp of heaven than he did, and knew something better was coming.

At the funeral, when people asked him why she was holding a fork, the pastor told them of the conversation he'd had with the woman before she died. He said he could not stop thinking about the fork, and knew they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it, either. He was right.

Keep your fork. The best is yet to come.

Stephanie Gammon

With Love Alpha

Old Fashioned Alpha

Marker Alpha

Inspirational Word Art 2

Scripture Crosses

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Love God More

But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Then tell her to help me." Luke 10:40

Dear Friends,
Look at the verse above. Can you relate to Martha? I sure can. In fact, one Thanksgiving comes to mind. We hosted Thanksgiving that year. My husband's brother and his family were with us. The family time was great. The meal was enjoyable. And then came the clean up, and I found myself all alone in the kitchen. Everyone else was in the living room enjoying each other. And I can remember thinking, "Seriously?! Is no one else going to help?!" Yes, I can certainly relate to Martha. Let's get the whole story from Luke 10:38-42:
As they went, He entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Then tell her to help me." Jesus answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed. And Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her."
You see, Martha had invited Christ in. She welcomed Him. And she wanted to serve Him. She probably wanted everything just perfect. And before she realized it, all her focus was on what she was doing and not on Him. And the work was too much. She was frustrated that she had no help. So, she went to Jesus, expecting Him to tell Mary to help her. But that's not what He said. First He pointed out the fact that she had let her service to Him make her anxious and troubled. And then, He told her that only one thing was needed. One thing- Him. Jesus is the only thing that we need! So, service is good. But our focus needs to remain on Jesus, spend time with Him. We shouldn't let service or busyness of life drown out Jesus. Martha invited Jesus in, but she didn't take the time to sit at His feet. Instead, she immediately jumped into serving. When we serve... as we live, we need to sit at Jesus' feet FIRST. And then go back to Him time and time again. Martha wasn't wrong in what she did. But, we need to fill up on Jesus before we serve Him and others. He must always be the focus and the priority. So if we find ourselves busy, busy, busy with life and service but we feel far from Jesus, then we need to stop what we're doing and sit with Him. Jesus is the good part. We need Him.

Page Details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Prayer Time, Much Love, Consider the Wildflowers, and Gear Up. Prayer Time and Much Love are part of the December release. You can get Much Love for free with a $75 purchase! This is a super simple page! I just stamped the images and colored the centers of the flowers with Prismacolor pencils.

Have a blessed week, friends! Don't let the busyness of Christmas cause you to forget Jesus, the reason for Christmas. Spend time with Him every day, throughout the day. Remember, Jesus is the good part!

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Good News


Hello and Happy Advent, friends! 

Advent means "Coming" in Latin.  We are celebrating the upcoming birth of Jesus, but not only that.  We also should be in hopeful anticipation of His second coming in to this world.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Oh, the thrill of hope, the shepherds must have felt as they traveled to Bethlehem.  

I don't know about you, but after the year 2020 has been, we could use some hope, huh?  But the truth is, we do!!!  Jesus is coming again!   We should be living with the hopeful anticipation of our Messiah's return.  

To create this page, I used my Cricut to cut out some masks for the shepherds, their flock and the angel.  I blended distress oxides on the page to create the meadow and night sky.  I stamped some grass at the bottom of the page using Scene Silhouettes: Tall Grasses.  I stamped my title with Script Alpha and Mini Grunge Type Alpha.  I added some stars from the Way Maker set and some white paint splatters to finish off the page and to mark my verses.  

Until next time, 



Monday, December 7, 2020

Rooted in Love


"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." - Ephesians 3:14-19

The book of Ephesians is packed full of rich, vibrant truth and teaching and this passage in chapter 3 has been on my heart and mind in recent weeks. I've been thinking a lot about love, what love means, and how I can better love the people in my life. If I'm honest, it's difficult for me to love and show love to others, so this passage in Ephesians has been teaching me: in order for me to love others, I need to be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ.

Matthew Henry, in his eloquent wisdom, has this to say:
The fixing of pious and devout affections in the soul: That you being rooted and grounded in love, steadfastly fixed in your love to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to all the saints, the beloved of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many have some love to God and to his servants, but it is a flash, like the crackling of thorns under a pot, it makes a great noise, but is gone presently. We should earnestly desire that good affections may be fixed in us, that we may be rooted and grounded in love. Some understand it of their being settled and established in the sense of God's love to them, which would inspire them with great ardours of holy love to him, and to one another. And how very desirable is it to have a settled fixed sense of the love of God and Christ to our souls, so as to be able to say with the apostle at all times, He has loved me! Now the best way to attain this is to be careful that we maintain a constant love to God in our souls; this will be the evidence of the love of God to use. We love him, because he first loved us. In order to this [Paul] prays for their experimental acquaintance with the love of Jesus Christ. The more intimate acquaintance we have with Christ's love to us, the more our love will be drawn out to him and to others (emphasis mine)."

Page Details

The idea behind this page, of a tree roots being grounded in hearts, came to me quite awhile ago - I just needed the right supplies and stamp sets to put it together. The Bible talks quite a bit about the fruit of a person's life, but a tree cannot be full and fruitful if it doesn't have good soil. The imagery is meant to convey the importance of being rooted and grounded in the soil of love in order to grow strong and produce good, loving fruit for Christ. I had actually journaled in this page two years ago at a Christian family camp, and my notes from that message in July 2018 were still relevant to my life today. I simply illustrated the tree over the notes I had already written. 

Two things things have the power to destroy a family: 1) words and 2) anger. Of course, two of the biggest things I struggle with daily! 😳 But there are things that can help overcome these destructive tendencies: speaking the truth in love, and learning to love and show grace and forgiveness. I'm 36 years old and have been a mom and partner for 20 years and I'm still at this spot: learning to show grace and love to my husband and children, learning to be sympathetic, learning to practice forgiveness. I'm not naturally good at any of it, but by God's grace through me, I can learn and put into practice these characteristics so that I may build my family up instead of tear it down. The only way I can do this is by Christ dwelling in me and being rooted and grounded in His amazing love. 

I used Distress Oxides, watercolors, a Zig Writer pen, and the below stamp sets to create this page. 💜 



The great thing about this page is that it could be illustrated in so many different ways, using really any kind of medium. I'd love to see your creative take on this verse! Take a minute to read this passage, pray, illustrate, and then tag me so I can see. I'm @journalingjoy on Instagram. 😊

Much love in Christ, 

Janelle 🎕

Sunday, November 29, 2020

There is No Other

 Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth;

for I am God, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:22

Hi Friends!
Today we are in Isaiah 45 where through Isaiah, God pleads for the earth to turn to Him for salvation. As we begin celebrating our Savior's birth, let's focus on why He came. His purpose in becoming man was to lead a sinless life and sacrifice Himself so that we might be redeemed. He came solely to save us. Jesus didn't have to leave heaven. He didn't have to become human. He didn't have to leave His glory. He chose to because He loves us that much. Let me say that again- HE CHOSE to leave His rightful place with the Father to become what He had created just so He could save us. Imagine that love. So when God called the earth to salvation, He knew that salvation would be found in Jesus. When He said repeatedly that He is God and there is no other, He means that He is the only God, the true God, and there is no one like Him. And Jesus is Him incarnate. Jesus is the only God, the one true God. He is the way to the Father.

Page Details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: I Am, All in All, and Marker Alpha. I had fun with this background! I colored the page with watercolor crayons. I just randomly colored different sections with different colors. Then I spritzed the page with water, and began painting over the colors with a wet brush. After the paint dried, I took a stencil and with a baby wipe, I wiped away some of the paint through the stencil. That's how I got the dots. Then I used another stencil and embossing paste to add more accents to the page. It was fun doing something different with my watercolor crayons. :) 

 Have a blessed week! Andrea

Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Eye is a Lamp...

Hi friends,

In Luke 11:33-36, Jesus teaches his disciples using the metaphor of a lamp. He starts with the familiar teaching about not hiding a lamp under a bowl, but rather putting it on a stand so that all can see its light. He then speaks about the eye as the lamp of the body. If the eyes are healthy, then the body is full of light. But if the eyes are unhealthy then the whole body is full of darkness. This of course could be a way of explaining the effect of blindness on the human body - if the eyes don't work or are unhealthy, then the whole body is in darkness. But Jesus is talking about more than the physical body. He goes on to say that it is possible for the light in us to be darkness (which makes no sense when talking about literal light).

When meditating on this passage of scripture I was struck by how what we let in through our eyes can bring either light or darkness into our body. In particular, I'm thinking about what we look at on screens - both large and small. What we consume through social media, news sites, television programs and movies brings either light or darkness into our lives. The question is, are we aware of whether we are letting in light or darkness? I know for me, it is far too easy to spend time looking at my phone unthinkingly, not being careful to pay attention to whether what I'm letting into my life is light or darkness. The only way to truly know the difference between light and darkness is to draw near to the source of light: Jesus Christ. When we draw near to him through prayer, reading of Scripture, and listening to the body of Christ, we are more able to see darkness for what it is and reject its influence in our lives. By opening our eyes to the light of Christ, our whole lives are filled with light.

I painted the background of this page with acrylic paints, sponging a little white paint over the top and adding some stencilling with Nuvo mousse. The lamp from Shine Your Light was stamped on watercolour card, watercoloured, cut out and glued to the page. The text was stamped with a combination of Art Deco Alpha and Happy Alpha, and I added a piece of Faith Wordfetti at the bottom. Here are the sets I used:

Let's pay attention to what is entering our body through our eyes - are we letting in light or darkness? Let's choose light. Let's choose to open our eyes to God's word and let his word flood our lives with light.

Be blessed...
x Amy x