The Cup is Half…? Some Positive Thoughts in a Negative World

I used to live life with expectancy. Not the good kind; I was waiting for the next bad thing to happen. I figured if I prepared mentally for it, it wouldn’t take me by surprise and wouldn’t hurt as much. That didn’t work. Not only did I still hurt just as much when bad things happened, I lived every day with the weight of the question, “What’s going to happen next?” and fearing a dreadful answer. 

Then, I read something that changed everything. I had read it many times before, but this time, it flipped everything upside down (or, I should say, right side up). “…From glory to glory”. Not from valley to valley, but from mountaintop to mountaintop. The Bible verse talks about the transformation we are going through to look and be more like Him. Some versions say “ever-increasing glory”, which is even more exciting!

God sees what’s around the corner. He will be with you through the valley of the shadow of death, but He leads you to green, life-filled pastures. He knows there are bumps in the road, but He also knows the destination will blow your mind with amazingness. No matter if your cup is half-full, empty, or whatever it may be, He is pouring of Himself into it until you’re overflowing if you allow Him to. Get your hopes up, because His plan for your life is one of ever-increasing glory!

Artsy Party!

My adorable niece is the creative kind and always looking for a next project to work on. It’s amazing to see what she will do next! In honor of her birthday, I gathered some ideas for an arts & crafts party. Check it out!
INVITE 

Purchase thick-handled paint brushes (thrift store finds would work). Print out sticker labels with all the information, and stick them on the handles. Another option is to get paintbrushes with dark handles and use a gold or silver metallic pen to write brief party info on one line (example: Amberlys b-day 8/20 @ 2pm). It will be a memorable invitation!


SMOCKS FOR DAYS

You can alert guests to B.Y.O.S. (Bring Your Own Smock) but even better would be to provide a bin of smocks for guests at the entrance to the party. You can go to the fabric store and get washable knit fabric in fun colors. Add a tie on to it by doubling an inch thick piece and sewing it together at the length. Make it into a craft time project for each guest to decorate their own smocks. Provide fabric paints, iron on designs, and appliques. Cute party souvenir!


PAINT AWAY!

As guests begin to arrive, you want to get them in creative mode right away. A hands-on project would break the normal tension of the beginning of a party and get everyone involved while you wait for guests to arrive. 

Arrange a painting area where you can tape up large sheets of paper. Provide paint so kids can come up and make creations. It can be a finger paint project or you can provide paintbrushes as well. 

You can also fill eggshells with different paints and have guests throw it at the paper to create a fun masterpiece!

CHALK IT UP

Sidewalk chalk can be a bit pricey, so why not use flour for some sidewalk art? Provide flour in mini paperbags or ziplock baggies. You can also give stencils to fuel creativity.


FASHIONABLE

Prepare these popsicle stick arm cuffs beforehand and have items for guests to decorate theirs with on hand! Check out the full tutorial here.
SPIDEY ART

For the more active guests, arrange tape across an above corner and provide magazines and newspapers guests can get pages from, crumple, and throw up. This will combine into an abstract art like no other!


STARVING ARTIST

Check out how to make these cool paint brush treats here!

Find out how to arrange these fun snacks here!


THE CAKE

Making this cake palette cake looks super easy! Click here to see the tutorial!
Get your Pollock on when you make this cake! Check it out here
HAVE FUN!!!

Hope you have an awesome party! Let me know how it turns out 😊

Adventure Time

My sister and her husband are the adventurous kind. No feat is too big, no task is too great, no car is too small. This time was no different. They packed up and began a spontaneous cross-country road trip from Florida to California. Their two daughters, who were preteens at the time, were not too excited about this adventure.

After days of endless roads, they pulled up to the Grand Canyon. My sister stood in silence with her husband, in awe of its majestic beauty. Closing her eyes, she breathed the fresh air in, completely enraptured in the moment. The colors, the great expanse, the grandness of it all was almost overwhelming.

“Come and see,” she called to her daughters who had stayed in the car. “It’s the Grand Canyon!”

The youngest looked up and replied, “Boooriiing!

Now a funny story we embarrass her with, this reminds me of how we can be sometimes in this game of life. We miss once-in-a-lifetime moments right in front of us because we want to stay in our comfort zones. There is risk in the unknown. Maybe what is out there is simply not appealing, though you hear the call to just come and see. We don’t realize where one simple step outside of the world we know will take us. So we watch while someone else goes out and enjoys the opportunity.

It’s time to step out of that comfortable car. It’s time to not only hear the voice that’s calling, but also obey it. You might be called to aseemingly huge task. Maybe you will be called to rest. Maybe you’ll be led to leave something, somewhere, someone. It may be difficult, but whatever lies ahead is a beauty you will be completely enraptured in. Trust God the way He leads you. He never fails.

What’s Wrong with Beautiful?

image

Last week, I met with an editor to go over a manuscript for a book I have in the works. We started with lighthearted conversation while I braced myself for the worst of critiques. But I did not expect what I heard.

“I hate the word beautiful,” she said. “You used it again and again in the book.” Fifty-eight times to be exact. Yup, she counted. Being that it’s a book about fashion as used by God in the Bible, yes, a main focus is to demonstrate what true beauty is. But, in speaking with the editor, I began to understood her disdain for the word.

“Beautiful” means something different to me than it does to you. This is a trait that makes me love the word even more, while piquing the annoyance of the editor. She explained that if you’re describing something to a blind person and say it’s beautiful, you’re not saying much. It’s an adjective that doesn’t give much adje to the tive Since then, I have caught myself avoiding the word, as well, though for a different reason.

Sometimes, the use of the word “beautiful” is fitting, while at other times, it can be a bit of a cop-out. Just think about it. Ladies, would you rather your man simply say you’re beautiful, or describe everything he sees in you that’s beautiful? By the way, both are wins, and I don’t mean to bring any tension for you men, just proving a point.😀

King Solomon had this skill perfected. Check out some verbiage from Song of Solomon Chapter 4:

Look at you! You are beautiful, my darling.
Look at you! You are so beautiful.
Your eyes behind your veil are doves,
your hair is like a flock of goats
coming down from Mt. Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep about to be sheared,
who are coming up from being washed.
All of them are twins,
not one has lost her young.
Your lips are like a scarlet thread,
and your mouth is lovely.
Behind your veil,
your temple is like a slice of pomegranate.
Your neck is like the tower of David,
built with rows of stones.
A thousand shields are hung upon it,
all the shields of the warriors.
Your two breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle grazing among the lilies.

…and so on and so forth.

So, what’s wrong with “beautiful”? Absolutely nothing. But, make sure you personalize it and describe what makes it beautiful to you. Your words are paintbrushes in the minds of your readers. Use them wisely. ^.~

image

God in the Silence

image

Heaven, earth, and everything that is in them were created by the voice of God. But man? God created him with a silent breath, and woman by His artistic, sculpting hand. His silent creativity roared humanity into existence.

In broadcasting, silence is seen as a bad thing. The last thing you want is “dead air”. Society has trained us likewise to think that silence is uncomfortable and awkward. However, we know that only 30% of communication is actually verbal. Have we learned the language of silence, or simply shunned it into a dusty corner? Even artists are trained to know that the silent space speaks as loudly as the painted.

Sometimes, the best prayers are those you don’t have the words for. Those have been the kinds of prayers I’ve had for the past year. Life has been hard, and I don’t have words to say. So I simply sit there in the presence of God, knowing that His Spirit is interceding on my behalf. And He strengthens me to keep on standing. These have in turn become some of the best, most shaping, moments in my life.

Some of the best moments are wrapped in a warm blanket of silence. We get lost in the moment, enraptured with the presence of a loved one, an introspective thought, in scents and tastes, in raw emotions, with no need for words at all.

I’m willing to get lost in the silence of God. I know He is still speaking mightily through it. I take on the hat of disciplined student to learn His language. I know every single word is worth it.

At night, I fall asleep
Talking to You.
In the morning,
I wait
Until the day must begin.
I wait to hear Your voice
And I’ll wait as long as it takes.
Morning and night,
I wait for You in silence.
But if silence is
Your language of choice,
Then in silence, I will love You.

Dealing with Rejection as an Adult

image

I dealt with a lot of rejection growing up. I was a super shy and quiet child with 6 brothers and sisters, some of who took a greater portion of my parent’s time. In school and church, a lot of kids didn’t stick around long enough to see me step out of my shell and get to know me. I did manage to have a loyal group of friends though, and we formed a crew called the Rejex.

The Rejex were the undercover “cool” crew. We loved not having to go with the popular vote or feeling as if we had to fit in. We would not change who we were created to be to please another because we were each unique, and that’s what made us awesome.

As we grew up, we became more organized. Our parties turned into Christmas charity costume events still talked about to this day. In more private gatherings, we would seek out people who might’ve been feeling rejected and made them feel welcomed, instead. Many of them would end up soaring in popularity and we would end up a bit forgotten, but that was ok — we’re the Rejex.

It’s funny how this whole “popular” or not thing is so high school, but can leak into adulthood. It happened when one of us was having a house party and was pressured to uninvite a few guests that some “popular” guests did not approve of. And to our dismay, the deed was done. We all have our days; we all make mistakes. But since then, the Rejex basically dissipated.

What is it that makes us want to belong so bad? What is this longing that is so strong that we go against our very nature and what we know to be right? It’s why kids laugh in the playground when the bully is picking on a kid, and it’s why we make sure to follow the same things those we admire do. We don’t want to be rejected; we want to belong. At least, I know I do.

I value the people in my life. And yes, I would love to be valued by them, as well. But at times, I feel rejection. This could be my skewed perception because of what I went through as a child, or it could just be a matter of difference in personality. And yes, friendships take time, communication, and pursuit in order for it to grow. But what I have found in dealing with this is that if I focus so much on those rejecting me, I don’t have much left for those who highly value me and are pursuing my friendship and my time. When my attention focuses on those people instead, I breathe easier, my heart is flying, and I don’t feel the need for acceptance as much from others, because I know that I am loved and valued.

This is how I have learned to deal with social rejection as an adult. How about you?