Friday, October 7, 2016

The Lord Will Provide

Oh, my!  I cannot believe how long it's been since I've posted here.  It was just after my last post, that a series of unforeseen events led to our decision to sell our house, downsize and rent.  

I'm still not fully functional in my craft room at our new house, but I have been able to get back to some simple Bible art-journaling. Some of you know this was a particularly challenging move for me. First, I'd been settled in our home for 20 years. Many times throughout those years, I'd pull into the drive praising God for the home I loved. Sorting, relinquishing and packing were wearing physically and emotionally. If I could sit down with you over a cup of coffee, I could share for hours how God provided for me, how He sustained, and drew very close to me. 

Our new place is a miracle, pure and simple. We'd already invested in a tiny apartment with the prospect of moving to a duplex at the end of several months. So not only was I looking at a hard move, I couldn't really settle for a long while. God's Spirit worked in my heart so I wanted to surrender everything to Him. On the two days we showed our home for sale, I walked through the house, tearfully surrendering each room to God. I asked Him to bless my surrender and give me joy and to bless those who would walk into our home. I asked that He stay there to welcome them so they would feel His presence.

We sold our home within 72 hours of putting in on the market and we received full asking price. Then God moved in incredible ways to provide the home we are renting now, to transition us from a tiny apartment to a sprawling acreage with a gorgeous view from every window. I have meditated many times about how God brought seemingly unrelated events together to put us where we are...and where God moved in our lives to bring healing, hope and refreshment. We needed this place. I needed this place. I needed the openness of creation to feel God absolutely surrounding me.

The passage in Genesis of Abraham's surrender is a poignant picture of how God asks us to completely yield to His will, whether or not we understand. We are to shape our wills to His. That act of surrender is a transforming process. Our surrender puts us in the right position under God's authority, then it opens wide the door of His blessing. Once our hearts are fully surrendered He lavishes us with His grace and provision. Sometimes the provision is at a deep spiritual-heart level. But it can be tangible blessing as well. God gave to me the lamb in the thicket. He granted me an exchange...from heartache to overflowing joy. He once again proved to me that my surrender is not a giving up, but a gain.

 I chose to do a very simple art design and added some cut outs from Illustrated Faith. Most of my time was spent not on the artwork, but in praising God, and tearfully remembering the many ways He has been a good Father to me, providing miracle after miracle to bless my undeserving heart.

When God provides, His provision is often quite miraculous, doing what is impossible for man so we know that our circumstances are straight from the heart of God.

Sometimes our circumstances look dismal, but God makes no mistakes....ever. God Himself WILL provide even if we have to wait our short life time, He has us in His grasp.

God's ways are higher, His reach knows no end. He plucks the treasures of heaven and bestows them on the children He holds dear. He is always working for our good...even in the hard and painful times of our journey to heaven's gate. He is with us, He is for us.

He even blessed me with a sun room. David and I had talked for years about adding one to our house, but money and the architectural structure of our house limited that possibility. I think I literally gasped when I walked out to the sun room of our new house. It was as though God took my list of all the things that would delight my heart and said, "Diane, would you like me to check this one for you?" Sun room....check!

Our God is faithful and He will provide for you. But we have to lay what we hold dear on the altar of sacrifice with a willingness....a sincere, genuine willingness to give it all to Him. It is safe with Him, it is better with Him. 

It's good to be back to blogging, sharing God's Word through wee bits of "art" and a whole lot from my heart.  Thanks for being here! 


Sunday, May 15, 2016

In Grace We Stand

Romans 5:1-2 is one of those brief passages that I've read many, many times but one small treasure gleamed and caught my eye on another reading.  I've just focused on other parts of the verse. But look at this..."Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

What struck me this time was the essence of grace in the life of the believer.  Grace isn't just something God dispenses as we repent.  We STAND IN GRACE.  Grace is a position we hold as a child of God.  Grace will not be withheld from the believer.  We are IN it...forever.  That is why His grace is sufficient.  His grace has covered everything necessary for our salvation.  I saw this as such a powerful part of the verse.  In grace we can stand and seize all God's treasures--life with Him forever, peace now in life and with God.  We don't have to come begging like a pauper.  We are already completely covered by His grace and that gives us the power to stand as victors!  I love it when Bible/Art journaling offers those beautiful moments when scripture comes alive all over again.


This is how my page started. I used my new jars of Distress Paints.  Oh, my! They are like melted butter.  LOVE them.  Then I did a little stenciling to add some texture.  Then I got out my Sweet 'n Sassy stash to see what I could find to help me share this amazing passage of scripture.

The verse is expressed in both stamped words/letters and hand-lettering.  All the stamps I used are listed below.

 I had a blast going back to some of my mixed media techiques to do this girl.  She is all from cut papers.  I didn't sketch it out...just started cutting so I'd get this totally casual artsy look to her.  Her hair is painted as is some of the light shading on her skin.  I used a Prisma pen to outline her last. The papers for her clothes are some from my stash.  Her flowers are stamped on painted paper then cut out.  The white outlining is the white sharpie paint pen also available through SNSS.

I can remember my preacher-daddy being so incredulous that people would actually resist God's grace.  My whole family soaked it up like a sponge and often needed more.  We caught a glimpse of how needy we were, how lost--were it not for grace. When we say "YES" to His amazing grace, we are at peace with God, reconciled and secure.  And that fact gives us peace in the here and now.

I hope this little nugget in scripture has given you a fresh look at grace and I hope my mixed media antics will give you some fun inspiration to try in your own art journals or Bibles.

Stamp sets from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps:
 All of Me Alpha and Amazing God
 Choose Faith

 Message of Hope, He is Worthy, and Note This
 Seek Him

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Second Chances

How often we need another chance! Sometimes I wish I could have another chance at parenting my boys (amazing men now), or I think about something I've said or done and just wish I could wipe the slate clean and try all over again, do it right, do it better. So often we simply cannot get that second chance. How very grateful I am that our God offers second chances...sometimes third, fourth...and amazingly more. He is forgiving and forbearing far beyond what we deserve. He is a merciful God of second chances.  I know because I've been forgiven!

You've probably heard me say before that Hosea is one of my favorite books of the Bible. It is a story of matchless love and incomprehensible forgiveness. In so many ways it's my story...and your story. While the details of our lives may not mirror the particular waywardness of Gomer, Hosea's unfaithful wife, still we have wandered away on various paths from a God who loves us. Will He take us back? Read Hosea!

"And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord... I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, 'You are my People' and he shall say, 'You are my God'." (Hosea 2:19-22)

Look carefully in those verses to find the depth and reach of God's forgiveness and redemption. The wayward Israelites, represented by Gomer, had sinned so deeply they were branded "No Mercy." God's beloved, chosen people turned their back on Him and lost their favored standing. God in mercy offers them another chance. When His children fail Him, He will receive His repentant prodigals with open arms. Amazing grace, unfailing love!

God shows us through the drama of Hosea and his grossly unfaithful wife the lengths He is willing to go to bring back those He redeemed.  Gomer is synonymous with unfaithful Israel, and Hosea is a picture of our redeeming God, whose atoning work was finished on the cross of Christ.  Make no mistake, God will chastise His errant children whether by just letting them reap the consequences of their sin (alienation, destruction, pain) or by His direct hand of discipline (Moses not being able to enter the promised land for his arrogance before the Lord).  Though merciful, God NEVER overlooks sin.  Thankfully He offers restoration when we repent and come back to him even if we have to enter His presence tattered, dirty, broken and undone.  His only criterion is a submissive, repentant heart.

I've had to come back to Him many times while growing as a believer.  I had to learn wisdom and discernment before choosing unwisely.  When I failed, He lovingly and tenderly picked me up, cleaned my heart (of doubt, worry, rebellion, negligence...) and set my feet upon a right path again.  Each and every time I sincerely told God I was sorry, I was quickly forgiven. 

For the second time I tried heat embossing in my Bible.  I like it except it is an opaque finish so it covers up scripture.  I don't want to do that very much, but I don't really study out of my journaling Bible, so I will reference my other ones when I want to read the passage for study. 

Page techniques/supplies: Dylusions spray inks, VersaMark ink /white embossing powder, stamps from Sween 'n Sassy stamps (God is Good, Long-Stemmed Silhouettes, Perfect in Faith) and Our Daily Bread (frame), Stampin' Up! ink pad, washi tape, Sharpie Colored pens,hand-decorated tag.

Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps Used: (Go HERE to find them all)

 Long-Stemmed Silhouettes (center flower)

 God is Good (God)

 Perfect Faith (Forgiven on the tag)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hope, Pray...and WAIT!

All my life my family has used the phrase, "hope and pray" when looking for the best in every situation.  I'd hear something akin to, "I just hope and pray you don't catch a cold," or "Let's hope and pray everything turns out ok," to "I hope and pray I shut the garage door."  We uttered the phrase rather casually not knowing for years that it is a God-breathed word of encouragement and instruction in scripture!  Romans 12:12 says, "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."

The hope we have as believers is not a whimsical wish as the world views hope.  Websters dictionary defines it, "to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true."  The Bible says if this is the only kind of hope we have, we are to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:19). The Christians hope far surpasses that.  1 Peter 1:3 describes a living hope, rooted in the certainty of our resurrection.  In other words, our hope is focused on heaven, not earth.

 I chose the verse in Romans to celebrate our certain hope, which helps us wait on God when we are in trials--difficult circumstances.  The hoping and praying--those are the easy parts of the formula!  It's the patience...the WAITING that gets hard.

Patient in tribulation?  Waiting is harder than we sometimes imagine.  And the more serious our circumstances the harder it is to wait.  So I came up with an acrostic for to help me remember what my time of waiting should look like.

W=Worship God for who He is in my life.
A = Advance in obedience to revealed truth
I = Imitate Christ before a watching world
T = Thank God in the midst of my need 

If we wait upon God, He has an amazing blessing in store for us.  We will be filled with joy and peace, and the Holy Spirit Himself will fill us with abundant, certain, unfailing hope.  I think that IS awesome!

I used acrylic paints on the left page and paper pieced words from the Seek Him set, and used water-based inks on the right page.  Here are the Sweet 'n Sassy stamp sets I used....all EIGHT of them!  You can find them all right HERE.

Fill Me Up

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Don't we need more of it? Who doesn't need an extra dose of wisdom from God when dealing with life's big and little issues? God has a formula for gaining wisdom. Proverbs is replete with passages that extol the virtue of wisdom and how it can enhance our lives. James tells us that if we lack wisdom and need it, we can simply ask God who has a treasure trove of wisdom at His disposal.

I selected a passage from Proverbs 3 to illustrate some powerful principles about gaining wisdom, but you can start reading at the very beginning of Proverbs for a feast on the topic. You can glean some real treasures here no matter what your age or stage in life, regardless of your circumstances. A little heavenly wisdom and divine discernment is always good.

If I didn't mention it before, my art-journaling Bibles will one day be passed down to my sons and their families. I'm hoping it will be a meaningful thing to have my thoughts and favorite verses illustrated. And what mother could resist an opportunity for a little fun teaching? So I added a bit of humor to the sidebar. 

To color, I used my Stampin' Up! watercolor crayons and Tim Holtz Distress Crayons (LOVE). 

The tree and owl are from one of my digital stamp designs.  I just printed it out and used it to trace the image on the page where I wanted it.  So digi stamps make great traceables!

God's wisdom is accessible to His children...but we do have to listen. What wisdom has He recently dispensed to you?

Thanks for visiting and being a blessing in my day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

As For Me and My Household

When I journal and create in my Bible, I do it as an expression of time spent with God. The designs emanate from worship. I think often about the legacy of faith I want to leave my children and grandchildren. My Dad left such a powerful one for us, and I want people to say of me too that my faith endured to the end and that praise for Jesus rested on my dying lips.

 When I think of a legacy of faith, I definitely think of Joshua's farewell address to the Israelite leaders in Joshua 23 and 24. I relate so well to his intense desire to make sure those who would come after him really got it...that they not only understood the imperative for remaining faithful to God, but that they desired God as much as he did. I love the story of Joshua's life. One of the most well known verses is Joshua 24:15, "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” It's a choice we all make whether consciously or not. Because God has presented the choice in His Word, we are accountable for the choice whether or not we are people of faith.

As for me and my family...we will serve the Lord. My family is blessed with a legacy of faith. My immediate and extended family claim Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives. I'm the wife, daughter, sister, mother and daughter-in-law to men who have committed their lives and service to the Gospel. What a powerful legacy that is. I'm thrilled that my grandsons have that behind them to shape what lies before them. I pray that my sons will always faithfully love and serve God. It is their calling...I pray it will be their highest joy always.

My pages were done entirely with Prismacolor pencils. I LOVE those things. They are creamy and rich, vibrant in color and add a soft luster to the page. The stamped "serve your God" comes from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps set, Worship the Lord. I doodled the frame around it. The house and tree are from Market Street Stamps, now closed. The rest is hand-lettered and hand drawn.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Rise and Shine!

I've missed Bible art-journaling for several days in a row and really needed the therapy and time in God's Word.  I wanted to use a new set I received from Sweet 'n Sassy stamps as a Creative Worship design team member.  So I've posted two of my projects today. 

The light of the righteous shines brightly,
    but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.
Proverbs 13:9

Have you met people who exuded the joy of Jesus in their heart that there countenance glowed?  I have and I really want to be that kind of person.  I want to wake up each morning with a fresh look on my life, my purpose and all my blessings.  I want to be so in love with Jesus that it is contagious.  

The new set in Sweet 'n Sassy stamps is perfect for bringing on a "rise and shine" attitude in life.  I'm a coffee lover anyway, so I knew this set would be mine the minute I put eyes on it.  And I love it.  It has the most fun sayings and two adorable cups with accessories.  I decided to paper piece my cup and the band.   

I doodled a sun and used both sponging and Distress crayons to color the son and the rays.  If we walk in the righteousness of Christ, we cannot hide that light under the cover of indifference.  We have to let the light out and share Christ with everyone we know.  

Here's a close up of the paper pieced cup.  Fun, fun.  I love paper piecing.  See that fun chunky glitter?  That came in the mail from a lady who is in a "happy mail" facebook group with me.  I was working on this project when hubby brought the mail to me.  She also sent the washi tape at the bottom of the page.  Perfect colors for the project.  The two images from above are from the set, Fill Me Up.  The rest is hand-lettered and hand-doodling. 

I wanted to make my page as bright and happy as I feel in my heart. I love my Jesus and I love talking about Him.  He has done so much to prove His love again and again.  How could I not share that? Him?  Hope this brought a smile to your heart too and that you will think of someone's life who needs a little light.  Go share Jesus with them!
 Fill Me Up by talented Rebecca Rios