Friday, October 28, 2011

Fresh Hope for the Journey

Good morning, today's devotional from Girlfriends in God has such a strong message about where many of us find ourselves, I wanted to take a moment to share it with you. May you feel God's love and blessings this day!

October 28, 2011
Fresh Hope for the Journey
Part 1
Today's Truth
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. (Psalm 40:1-3, NIV).
Friend to Friend
I had almost forgotten what it felt like to wake up at the bottom of that deep, ugly pit called clinical depression. The darkness has been an all too familiar companion for most of my life. Over the years, I tried just about everything to soothe the pain in my heart and mind - things like success in ministry, the approval of others, perfectionism, doing good things, and food - to name a few.
In 1995, the bottom fell out of my life and I spent two long years climbing out of that pit of darkness. I even wrote a book, "Hope in the Midst of Depression" that describes the painful but healing journey that totally and completely changed who I was and what I would become in the years ahead. God absolutely "re-defined" me and gave me a "new song" to sing as He opened doors for me speak to women across the world about how to find hope in the midst of depression. I have often said, "I would go through that pit experience again tomorrow because of what God has done in my life through it." I really meant those words. I just didn't think that "tomorrow" would come. But it has. So what do I do now?
I go back to the place where it all began - to the place of complete brokenness - and remember. Evidently, I have forgotten some of truths God taught me in the darkness. I have surrendered right priorities to the wrong plan and failed to hear God's voice above all others.  
Depression may not be the problem you are facing, but the hard times will come and the darkness will find each one of us. At some point in life, we all will face some kind of pit. It may be a pit that we have dug with our own hands of wrong choices or it could be a pit that has been uniquely designed for us by the enemy. But a pit is a pit - a place of paralyzing fear and numbing doubt that is constantly fed by our human frailty and desperate attempts to escape the darkness.
Over the next two days, we will explore four steps we can take in order to find fresh hope and new freedom from the darkness. Let's get started!
Step 1:  Identify the purpose of the pit.
I recently underwent what I thought was going to be a simple medical procedure, but when I woke up in recovery, I knew I was in trouble. According to the doctor, the surgery went great but she had not expected to find so much scar tissue and repair work to do and I certainly had not expected to experience the level of pain, soreness and inability to function that overwhelmed me. I was basically helpless. I had given myself a whole ten days to recuperate but it was brutally obvious that recuperation was going to be a long time coming. In fact, those ten days I had so generously carved out of my schedule turned into months of painful and slow recovery. I could feel myself sliding into that familiar pit of darkness.
You see, I have a problem with pride. It has always been extremely hard for me to accept help. I was raised to be strong and independent. When anyone asked what they could do to help out during my recovery, I automatically responded with, "I am fine. I will let you know if I need anything." Fortunately, my family and friends ignored that absurd assertion and stepped right over my pride as they brought meals, cleaned house, did laundry, assumed my teaching and speaking responsibilities and kept our infant grandson while our daughter attended school three days a week. I could not even get out of bed or go downstairs without help - and I did not like it one bit! In fact, I was furious!
Just like a tiny flame can turn into a raging fire, unresolved anger can turn into depression. As I began to work through my own anger and frustration, one purpose of this particular pit quickly emerged as God reminded me of a truth I often share but fail to practice.  We were created to need God and each other. It is so easy to slide into a pattern of thinking much like the prideful toddler who announces, "I do it myself!"
We can't! And the good news is that we don't have to! Lay down your pride, girlfriend, and let fresh hope fill your life.
Let's Pray
Father, I cannot deal with the darkness and climb out of this pit in my own strength. I recognize my human frailty. I am desperate without You and I choose to trust You and rest in Your sufficiency. Make me more like Jesus and teach me the truths You have for me in this pit.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
Pits can bring life to a screeching halt, demanding that we change our perspective of living and examine our priorities in light of that new perspective. Read 1 Peter 1:6. Compare your perspective to the one described in this verse.
Pits make us face and admit our weaknesses and come to the conclusion that we cannot live life in our own strength. Read 2 Corinthians 12:10. Make a list of your weaknesses and struggles and thank God for each one. Celebrate the power of God's grace in your life.
Pits can strengthen our faith if we allow them to. Read 2 Corinthians 12:9. How has God's power helped you face and deal with the darkness?
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Saturday, October 22, 2011

CDAC Progressive Challenge

I have a couple of cards to share today which are for phase 5 of the CDAC Progressive Challenge. The images are delightful and so much fun to work with. The theme this go round is Festive and Fancy!. You can get all the information about entering, getting your images and posting at the CDAC Progressive challenge site.

My first card is using an image from Sew Many Cards, just look at this precious turkey! What a guy!! First, I will show you the card, then the inside, a close up of the verse inside and finally the envelope.

The second card is made using an image from SSBS, she is such a sweetie, delivering gingerbread men for the holidays. Inside is a recipe for gingerbread! First the card, then the inside:

Thanks for coming by, I look forward to your comments! I hope you will go HERE and get all the info on how to get these images and participate in the challenge!! 

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Love it When a Plan Comes Together!

Today's devotional hit me right between the eyes. I couldn't wait to share it here! Be Blessed!

October 20, 2011
I Love it When a Plan Comes Together!
Today's Truth
Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare (Psalm 40:5, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Family vacations always begin with "the plan." Before packing one sock or booking one hotel room, the Southerland family is summoned to a family meeting with one item on the agenda - a discussion of the vacation plan. Everyone has the opportunity to make suggestions and share ideas. My husband Dan and I then pool those ideas and make a final decision. Once the destination is chosen, Dan goes to work, charting every stop, logging the number of miles between stops, booking hotel rooms when we can't take any more stops and locating favorite restaurants along the way. When our children were young and still living at home, we fell into a lovely rut as far as vacation spots go. Our favorite vacation spot tended to be nestled somewhere in the smoky mountains of North Carolina. Dan couldn't wait to pack up our faithful old van, plug in the country music and hit the road! He claimed that just this side of the North Carolina state line he could actually begin to smell those mountains.
Over the years, every family member discovered a different reason for loving North Carolina. I was drawn to the quaint little towns filled with antique stores and smiling people. Dan loved the winding mountain roads and slower pace of life while our two children clamored to stop and play in the icy mountain water of every stream or creek they saw. However, their all-time favorite spot was Sliding Rock, a gigantic boulder that has been transformed into a huge water slide by the powerful falls above it.
Our first experience at Sliding Rock - when our son, Jered, was five and our daughter, Danna, was two - proved to be quite an event. Wiggling out of my arms, Jered ran straight to the rock, hurriedly plopped down,  squealing with delight as the chilly rushing water carried him over the frozen slab and into the icy pool at the bottom. Danna just watched; her big brown eyes wide with questioning fear as she witnessed her brother's disappearance down the mountain. When Jered's curly head popped out of the water, Danna's face flooded with relief as she clapped and cheered for "Bubba." Dan was next, whooping and hollering Texas style as he catapulted down the watery slide. Coming up for air he held out his arms and shouted, "Danna! Come with me!"
Now my daughter did not fully comprehend what was being asked of her but she undoubtedly did recognize who was asking - her daddy. To my amazement our usually tentative and fearful daughter rushed into the outstretched and familiar arms of her father, tightly clutching his neck as he positioned her in his frozen lap. Down they went!  I waited and wondered at the outcome. When they popped up out of the frigid pool, Danna was laughing and sputtering and begging, "We do it again, Daddy! We do it again!" Danna did not understand the plan but she knew and trusted the "plan maker". 
We can do the same.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT).
God has a unique plan for each one of us that is beyond human understanding or expectation. It is called His will. God has been making His will known from the very beginning of time. In the Garden of Eden, God revealed to Adam and Eve His will or plan for their lives. It is important to note that with the revealed plan He also gave them the choice to obey because He is a loving Father and a gracious God. Knowing that His way was right, God still allowed Adam and Eve to choose the wrong way. They blew it by making the wrong choice - but He still loved them and forgave them. He will do the same for you.
The Bible promises that God's plan is the best plan; the one for which we were created.  Psalm 32:8 "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life." God agrees to not only show us the plan, but He promises to provide all of the strength and resources needed to carry out that plan. His sufficient and constant power is unleashed by our choice to accept and follow His blueprint for victorious living.
We were created by the One who knows us best and loves us most. There are no accidents with God. He never has to say, "Oops!" Before we were ever conceived in the heart and mind of man we were conceived in the heart and mind of God - wanted, loved and planned since before the world began. He had a plan in mind and lovingly, purposefully created us in response to that plan. 
I know that there are days when the will of God seems completely wrong and we simply do not understand. Every moment is pregnant with darkness and our hearts are numb, paralyzed by fear and doubt. We are treading water in the storm tossed sea of life, desperately longing to see Him walking on the treacherous waves toward us, rescue in His hand. It is in those shadowed moments that we must choose to trust the Plan Maker even though our faith is small and we cannot understand the plan. His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. And one day, every one of our question marks will be yanked into exclamation points as we see that high plan as He sees it - perfect!
Girlfriend, set aside your meager agenda. Lay down your limited life arrangement and look for God to meet you at the point of surrender - power and victory in His hands.  Now that is a great plan!
Let's Pray
Lord, I want everything you have for me in this life! I don't want to settle for anything less than Your best. Teach me how to seek and follow You with my whole heart and how to fully trust You to direct my steps. Thank You for Your love and grace that completes me and fills my life with hope.
In Jesus' name,
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday is MMSC126 Day......Join us!!

This weeks's "YOUR PICK" Make it fancy, clean and simple, or somewhere in-between. "YOUR CHOICE"
Sketch created by Jen this week :)
Enter one style or both this week.
Just have fun and come play with us :)
I am using Priscilla's Flowering Tree digital stamp this week which of course you can find at Priscilla's store! It was meant for spring but I thought it would make a lovely fall tree. Since I didn't have the correct colors of flower soft to use I made some of my own. CDAC has a tutorial by Shelly Schmidt on how to do this and it worked like a charm!! Thanks Shelly!! What do you think?
I was thrilled with the way the flower soft turned out and how well Priscilla's trees lent themselves to becoming an Autumn beauty! It just shows how versatile her images can be if you will allow your imagination to pull you along. :)  As you can see, I used the image twice, the larger of the two in the foreground and the smaller mirrored and in the background for some depth. I really like the way this turned out. Prisma pencils were used for the trunk, grass and sky. This card is going to my cousin in Texas, I hope she enjoys it!

and one more :)

Thank you for dropping in today, I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments. Please play along with us and share your creations!!

Bows and Berries -color challenge #12
Get Hippity with Ippity-Fall Colors
Make it Monday-Anything Goes

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

CDAC Progressive Challenge - PHASE 5

  The fifteenth of the month marks a change over in phases and images for the Progressive Challenge being played at CDAC! If you are not participating you can buy in for a $1.00 and get the images for this new phase. If you are participating you will be getting your new images free to play along.  Let's create!!

I am showcasing the image from Just Some Lines called Angelic Teddy. Isn't he just adorable?!!  He is one of the free images this 5th phase of the challenge, there are others you will love just as much as this one. Be sure to check out the design teams cards here, and join in the fun!  I can't wait to see what you will be doing with your images!!

Thanks for stopping in, I look forward to reading your comments and seeing your creations! 

Craft Challenge-#124 recipe
The Paper Shelter-Animals

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

....and He Shall be Called

I made this for my cousin who we will be staying with on our visit to Texas. I copied the names from a hanging we have in our adult classroom at church then entered them into the computer.  The border is from Graphics Fairy which was colored with watercolor markers. Handmade paper was moistened and rolled on the inside edges and used as a mat. In real life this is really pretty!

Thanks for dropping by.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

MMSC 124

Midnight Madness Sketch Challenge #124 (MMSC124)

This weeks's "YOUR PICK" Make it fancy, clean and simple, or somewhere in-between. Remember to click on the sneak peek button on the side bar for the following weeks sketch each Friday.
Enter one style or both this week.
Just have fun and come play with us :)
Our MMSC123 Gold Star Award goes to...
 6. Loz 
 Our Remarkables Awards this week go to...
 2. Kathy Bradley   10. mocca22  
 22. Julia 
Please grab your award logos from the side bar and display them proudly :)
Our MMSC123 Weekly Bonus Winner is...
 22. Julia 
Here are your random numbers:22
Timestamp: 2011-10-04 03:33:29 UTC
Our Sept Monthly Bonus Winner is....
  27. Rene 
1-Here are your random numbers:27
Timestamp: 2011-10-04 03:38:16 UTC
Please contact me with your info to claim your Prizes!!! :) 
Our MMSC124 Weekly Bonus Sponsor is..

D'Amour Allure was formed as a result of a love for papercrafting and rubber stamps. Our stamps include vintage styles to character art. Please browse the collections at our exclusive retailer,
Check out the awesome MMSC124 Bonus Prize!
 Complete Prize is..
Valentine Collection Stamps Set
4 – 12x12 Sheets of Kaisercraft Valentine Paper Collection
12 Prima Fairytale Roses
What a great prize..thank you so much Jen!

Our October Monthly sponsor info....
Due to circumstances beyond my control, there will be no monthly sponsor for Oct.
Thank you for understanding.

I am using Priscilla's new image called "Fall Ice Skates" this week. I hope you enjoy my card, find some inspiration and will visit the other team members to see their creations. Please play along with us this week and share your creations!
the image of the children skating on the inside and on the envelope is from Graphics Fairy.

 Thank you for your visit and your comments, I look forward to seeing your entries for this week! Many Blessings!!

Anything Goes-Dies, Punches or Both
Sweet Stamps-Anything Goes
Bows and Berries-Inspiration Photo
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