Category Archives: blessings

Family Scrabble Tiles

Since things are changing around in my family room with the addition of new furniture, I am finally decorating how I have always wanted it.  My thought?  Make it warm and cozy — and pretty!  One idea that had been floating around in my head for a while is doing a Scrabble Wall.

I want the family room to be just about that — FAMILY.  So it was either going to be a family tree on the wall, or family scrabble tiles.  I opted for the latter.

I printed out some graph paper, and started to plop our family names onto the grid. You can erase and redo until you come up with a configuration that you like.  It took me about 4 tries to come up with something I liked!

Once I knew the layout, I figured out how big I wanted the tiles to be.  You don’t want the wall over powered, but you don’t want them dinky either. Finding the right balance is key to this project.  Based on our wall, I decided on 5″ tiles.  So now it was time to put handy hubby to work 🙂

He cut out 30 tiles out of so oak boards he had laying around.

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Then I had to decide on coloring.  Since we were using oak, I really wanted to be able to see the wood grain come through, but stain the wood dark.  For this project, I used a dark walnut stain.

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Now, as a focal point, i decided to make our last name painted in my accent color, which is teal {if you haven’t figured out already, I LOVE LOVE teal and dark brown together}.  So I made 5 tiles teal and left the rest dark brown with stain.

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For the vinyl lettering, I looked long and hard to find a company that would do the lettering for a reasonable price.  I went with www.doityourselflettering.com – I actually emailed the owner explaining my project and gave him dimensions for the lettering and the font I liked.  Since my tiles were 5″, I didn’t want my lettering to be any more than 4″.  He gave me a great deal and they shipped fast.  The other reason I liked using this company, is that they guarantee the lettering.  If you mess up, they will replace it for you for free.

Take a look on how the lettering went on:

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The lettering went on like butter.  So smooth!  Thirty tiles later, they were ready to go on the wall!

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Here is the FINAL PRODUCT!!!

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This is on a focal wall in our family room.  We see it literally every time we sit on the couch.  And every time I look at it, I love it even more.  Seeing everyone’s names on the wall reminds me of just how blessed I am to have these sweet people as part of my family.

Is there a way you can remind yourself of all of your blessings daily?

Praise, God from whom all blessings flow, (James 1:17)
Praise Him all creatures here below; (Psalm 145:21)
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host; (Rev 5:11-14)
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Matt 28:19)

Unconditional Love

 

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My heart is very full dear friends.  Tonight, my little Maggie (age 5) climbed up on my lap, threw her arms around my neck and said in her soft sweet voice, “I am so so glad you are my mommy!”  I wish I had a magic wand to stop time.  To freeze moments like those so they can stay fresh in my memory.  I need to remember those sweet times because let’s face it — life is hard and cruel.  And we can so very easily get wrapped up in the hard and cruel of life.   But there is a side of life beyond that — a side that is full of joy, peace, hopefulness, and love.  

I truly believe that God gave me children to help me understand the concept of Unconditional Love.  Man, I would do anything for these kids of mine.  Really, I would.  Until my dying day I will love them with every part of my soul.  They are beautifully and wonderfully made.  Why is it so easy to think and know that about my kids, but sometimes, I can’t believe that same feeling exists between God and me.  It is so easy to cut ourselves down with the “Not Good Enough” thoughts.  You know the ones I mean — not patient enough, not skinny enough, not loving enough, not tolerant enough, not helpful enough, not thoughtful enough — I mean really, the list can go on and on.  And this list can wreck us.  

But God loves us ALL of the time.  Not just sometimes, or when He’s in a good mood.  Not just when He’s gotten enough sleep, or when all the bills are paid.  Not just when the weather is perfect and there is nothing on the “to do” list.  ALL THE TIME.  You see, He doesn’t put any parameters or conditions on His love.  He loves us through the good, bad and ugly — through the times we don’t feel very lovable.  

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Nothing.  Nadda.  Zippo.  Zilch.  Zero.  

Now that is peace I can rest in.  That is the kind of love that I want to have in my life.  And God, my heavenly Father is the one who can provide it — and DOES.  He loves all of us so very much, with that never-ending kind of love.  He loves us so much that he sent His child to die for US.  Just let that sink in.  I don’t know if I could survive giving one of my children up to be a sacrifice, especially if their life was going to pay the price for someone else’s sin.  That would be beyond difficult to do.  But God did it for YOU and for ME.  

So I pray for you all friends, that during Easter, you remember what this day of celebration is really about — God’s unfailing LOVE for you.  Ask Him into your heart.  Let Him take away all the garbage and damage and ugly — He will instead replace it with that peace, joy, hopefulness and love.  The feeling of Him coming into your heart will be like nothing you have ever experienced.  I promise.  Let Him lead you and love you — for who you are right now is good enough.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made by a Creator who loves you to the moon.  

 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge— that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  Ephesians 3:17-19

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Rely on God

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Rely on God. Rely on God. Rely on God. This saying resonates deep within my soul. You see, 12 years ago, I was a Special Education Teacher. I had taught for seven wonderful years. I loved my job and the families that I worked with so very much. My career was making a difference in the world, and it felt so good, so fulfilling. But God was calling me away from it and I didn’t even have a clue.

My husband and I were expecting our first child in October of 2004 and we were over the moon excited about the baby’s arrival! I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but financially I doubted that it would ever happen for me. God had plans that I didn’t know about! And His plans are so much better than anything I could have come up with!

When it came time to make a decision about going back to teaching the following school year, I thought working part-time would work out best for us financially. I would bring in some income for the family, and still get half days at home with my new baby. That door shut pretty fast, though, because the school district could not find someone qualified enough to take the other half of my position.

So my husband and I were at a crossroads. What were we supposed to do here, God? I really didn’t want to teach full-time and miss out on invaluable time with my precious new baby. But on the flip side, I was completely convinced that living on only one income would not cut the mustard.

Have you ever taken a leap of faith? Well, we did. We had to. When weighing out the options, staying home was the right choice and I knew that deep within me.   I was so wrecked emotionally with the thought of leaving my baby. God knew my heart, and He knew that the only way I would be able to be at peace, was if I was home my children.

Well, what were we going to do to make up the 50% drop in income (not to mention benefits!)? On the way to my parents camper one weekend, my husband and I made a list of all the ways we could earn extra money. A three-hour car ride produced quite a big list! We filled a few pages with thoughts and ideas to explore. But do you know what? God had other plans for us. In the end, not one of those ideas on the paper offered us the income we needed.

Out of the blue one day, I got a message from my Creative Memories consultant (who also worked as a Dietician at the nearby hospital), whom I see maybe twice a year. She knew we were looking for ways to earn some extra money. From an email that was sent out to the whole hospital staff requesting help, it was evident that this was a family who needed some assistance. They had just moved back to the United States from Germany. Both parents were doctors who had very demanding schedules and they had two young children. They knew no one in the area, and were searching for someone flexible, trustworthy, and reliable to be a family aide to them.

What the world was a family aide? Well over the years I wore many hats! It was cleaning, laundry, childcare, running kids to activities, grocery shopping, watching the house during vacations, getting their mail, letting delivery people into the home, and in the end, packing the house to move to another state. (Sidenote: This family is still extremely dear to me and I hold them in very high regard, even though they live 1221.4 miles away from me now. I miss them.)

I guess you could say that this situation was a win-win! I ended up working for them for 8 years! In that time, I had three more babies, and I was allowed to bring my children to their home with me anytime I needed to. This is a great example of how unbelievable God is – I never had to leave my children, our income issue was taken care of, I was able to be a second mom to their precious family, and I found a plethora of new things that I was good at!

Rely on God.

That is the biggest lesson I learned during that season of my life. Truthfully, I am still perfecting that one! But God is faithful to us in all circumstances and I trust in that truth. I rely on God’s truth and faithfulness to me, and for all those around me.

So for all you Mommas out there who think it is impossible to quit your job and stay home with your babies, think again. God will provide so many opportunities and will cover and protect you financially. This season of child-rearing is short and quick, and before you know it you will be able to go back to work. But in the meantime, rock those precious children. Play with them. Take them to the park or a museum. Go for a picnic. Snuggle on the couch and watch a movie together. Read books (lots and lots of books!). And allow God to wrap His loving arms around you and your sweeties and take care of everything. God is:

  • just
  • righteous
  • faithful
  • gracious
  • loving
  • protective
  • extraordinary

And you can RELY ON HIM. I promise.

Moving Forward From Regret

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Countless times I have worried, stressed out, or lost sleep over something that already happened.  And a lot of times, it did no good.  Today I was hit in the heart by a my devotional on this very topic.  We are so good at looking back and blaming ourselves.  Looking back and wondering what could have been.  Looking back and being mad at ourselves for situations, words, or people that we have either hurt or wronged, or been wronged by.

We run away when things get too hard.  We settle into the comfortable.  We try to dodge the difficult things in life instead of persevering or staying the course.  We try to reroute ourselves to something easier, nicer, or calmer and turn our back on the “hard” in life.

Well those hard times, challenging times, stressful times are not all bad!  We have a Savior that can be trusted — NO MATTER WHAT!  Did you hear that?  No matter what we did, said, or forgot to do, He still is with us — He won’t forsake us — He won’t leave us.  He just continually wraps His loving arms around us because we are HIS children.

The current devotional I’m reading is called Jesus Calling (click here for a link to it).  It has brought me such great reminders of Christ’s love!  Here is an excerpt:

“Instead of running away from these challenges, embrace them, eager to gain all the blessings I have hidden in the difficulties.  ….. Don’t waste energy regretting the way things are or thinking about what might have been.  Start at the present moment — accepting things exactly as they are — and search for My way in the midst of those circumstances.” (page 23)

I don’t know about you, but when I’m in the midst of difficulty, it is so hard to find the blessings!  But friends, they are there.  God has intertwined blessings into difficulty!  The best ever example is His time on the cross!  Terrible and difficult, and yet full of blessings for you and me.

Take time to let those words soak into your soul.  Find the blessings in the “hard parts” of life.  And be sure to thank God for them.

Daily Blessings

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Being thankful and grateful go hand in hand.  But sometimes, life is just so overwhelming that it is hard to look past the bad, inconvenient, overwhelming, unpleasant, and daunting.

This year, as many of you know, my goal is to CHOOSE LOVE {read here for a recap on that post}.  And yes, I’ve been really doing it!  By God’s grace, those two words have been transforming my attitude!  I am usually a pretty positive person, but it is so easy to get pulled onto the road of negativity.  But by consciously choosing love, it is easy to turn away from darkness, and forge ahead into the light.

This year I am going through the Jesus Calling devotional.  I read it daily, study it, and look up the scripture references that goes along with it.  I love what the message from yesterday was and would like to share it with you:

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Isn’t that great news that we don’t have to worry about anything — that God has it all covered?!  All we have to do is come to Him in prayer and allow Him to lead us!  This is scripture that I stenciled and painted on my dining room wall about a year ago.  I love how Jesus gives us these precious directions as a blueprint to get through life.  {1 Thessalonians 16-18}.  Pretty fitting!

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I think we can handle those instructions!  Another piece to my devotion time is to write in my blessings journal titled Choose Gratitude.  This journal allows you to write down one blessing per day.  It gives you ample space to write down one idea or incident where you felt blessed or chose gratitude.  I use the “extra spots” in the colored sections to write out verses that particularly touch my soul.  This practice of writing down your many blessings allows you to fill your mind with the good that life has to offer ~ to focus on the positive.  We could all use a little bit of that.  I’m excited to fill it up as the year goes on!

{Sidenote:  This devotional is written by Crystal Paine, founder of moneysavingmom.com.  She’s got a great Periscope, Blog, and Website.  Check her out!}

 

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So, get out there, friends!  Choose Love!  Choose Gratitude!  I promise your life will be richer and full of abundant blessings if you do!  Comment below with what you do to keep up your positive attitudes throughout the day — I’d love to hear!

Blessings Time!

BLESSINGS

Time for a heart check everyone.  I wanted to let you know what the Lord’s been putting on my heart today.  He has been speaking in profound ways in a variety of areas of my life.

In a few months, I will be turning the big 4-0.  It really doesn’t bother me to be entering into the next decade of my life, but it does make me want to reflect more about life and where things are at for me as a mom, wife, and Christian.  I told my husband that I really want to go away for my birthday – not to run from it, but to recharge because of it.  

At first Mark thought I was joking about going away by myself, but now, I think he understands that I am serious!  Now, I would love to go away with him, too — so after much thought, I asked him if he wanted to come with me somewhere.  Of course he agreed!  So we did tons of research on Punta Cana, Cancun, San Diego, Florida Keys, Arizona, Alabama…..But guess what?!  The more  we looked into going away together, the more God kept stopping that from happening and closing doors to that idea all over the place.  I have to respect those closed doors!   As much as I really, really want to go away with my husband!

I think overall, we are all really good at ignoring those doors closing all around us {I’m raising my hand to this because I am very guilty of it!}.  We want to do it anyway.  Do things our way. Chose our own destiny rather than heeding God’s word. But God’s way is ALWAYS better.  Not some of the time, but ALWAYS.  The Bible says, 

““For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55: 8-9 (NIV)

So friends, I encourage you this week to be vigilant and watch for closed doors.   Pray about your decisions and God will open your eyes to His way, which is truly the BEST way.  As for me, I am going to pray about going away on my own for a weekend to recharge for my 40th.  I will see what God’s lead is on that.  

May blessings be abundant for you this week!  Remember, blessing others is a great way to bless yourself!