Catching Up

mary poppins inspired
This is a Mary Poppins-inspired page I did for Second Corinthians to remind me that, as believers, we have a mission and purpose in this world — and God will equip us to accomplish it!

Hello again, dear reader! Thank you for spending a few minutes with me online. I just realized that my last blog post said, “Christmas is not over!” Well, it is January 28. Might be time to update my blog, haha. I kicked off my New Year by starting the Daughter of Promise Bible Journaling Challenge with Amanda from Move the Mountains. It has been excellent. Even though I am a few days behind, I am catching up. I listen to her videos while I am driving to work, and they’re a pep talk for my day as a school teacher. Later, I go back and read the accompanying scripture and then do the Bible Journaling prompt. This is my first month-long challenge, and I figured the New Year would be a good time to start it. The focus of the challenge was using hand-lettering and claiming the promises that Christ has made to us as his loved daughters in faith. Amanda is not inviting new people into the challenge, but I plan to show you a lot of what I did this month in an upcoming post. Lots of other people have shared their work on Facebook and Instagram using hashtags that you can find on Amanda’s site. I was so moved by what she was providing for free that I decided to go buck wild on her site and spend about $60, which is a lot by this frugal gal’s standards — but I wanted to bless her, and the supplies she sells are pretty awesome. I got Stubby highlighter pencils that I am excited to use, and I also bought a few pens to use for another hand-lettering course that she offers. On a personal note, I have started singing in a praise band. For this shy gal, those are words I never thought I would string together in a sentence. It still amazes me that I am a teacher and get in front of students all day when I am very shy at my core. Yet, I felt the Holy Spirit give me that “nudge” to say I want to sing. Wow, I am smiling and shaking my head. It makes me happy. I have come to realize that God is not going to let me use shyness or anxiousness as an excuse! Of course, how I am doing this blog itself is a bit on the shy, anonymous side — but he can use it however he wants to as well. The biggest thing I have been claiming in my life as I have walked though Amanda’s challenge this month is the reminder that the same Spirit that raised Jesus is the Spirit that lives in us as believers. We are not given a Spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. I like a little quote that was shared during the challenge too: “I do my best and let God do the rest.” I have been watching the awesome PBS series of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (yes, the one with Collin Firth!), and I keep thinking how my shyness (and creative, contemplative nature) creates some “Darcy moments” in my own life. Who thought I would be identifying with Mark Darcy as I’m watching Pride and Prejudice (lol)? Who thought I would be singing with a praise band? I’m pretty sure God has been getting me ready for this. I don’t know where it will lead and how long He’s calling me to do this, but it is pretty cool. I just have to shake off my natural inclination to be the one in the back of the room.

 

78baa27e6d5902c9eabdb35c2dd4bb87Is anyone else doing Amanda’s challenge this month? Let me know! Before I go, I want to share one more neat thing I stumbled across this month: the idea of writing a letter to yourself. You can even use a site like Future Me to deliver the email to your inbox at a future time you can pick. I am going to use this idea with my students on the 100th day of school, coming up on Friday for my school district. Until next time, do your best and let God do the rest!

Advertisements

Christmas is not over!

advent candles

If you are feeling the after-Christmas let-down, it’s okay to keep singing the carols, looking at the lights, and watching the Hallmark movies (haha). According to the liturgical calendar that is used in many Christian churches, Christmas is really celebrated until epiphany on January 6. That’s the day that commemorates the wise men visiting Jesus. Even though I never grew up with the liturgical calendar myself (I have always gone to independent churches), I have enjoyed observing the holiday season that way this year.

I ordered my family a rustic candle holder from Germany on Etsy. When I say rustic, I mean rustic. It is wobbly, and someone could get a splinter from the bottom. I thought about sending it back because the workmanship was, ahem, poor. Then I decided to just put some candles in it and use it for Advent anyway. That wonky candle holder really grew on me as my family gathered around it each evening to light candles, read a small Bible passage, and say a prayer every evening of Advent, from December 2 to 24 this year. I used all white candles instead of the three purple and one pink that are more traditional. As Christmas approached, the candle holder started looking pretty to me. Then I realized: Jesus himself was placed in a manger when he was born. That was not fancy either, but it was just right in the grand design of things.

When it was getting close to bed time, we would have my son open a window on our German-style Advent calendar. I like to incorporate some German traditions into our celebrations since I have some German heritage. Then we would gather around the little wonky candle holder. My son would repeat back parts of the short prayer, and then he would do his favorite part: blow out the candles! Since he’s only five, observing Advent this way really helped my son understand when Christmas was going to arrive and what we would be celebrating. Honestly, it was something I looked forward to every evening myself. It made the season feel special, and it was a peaceful way to end each day.

Advent cardsWe are going to continue lighting the candles and saying a prayer until January 6. This a link to where we got our prayers and readings (the cards are sold out this year, but I would guess it will be available again next year). If you have never heard of this tradition of observing Advent and then celebrating Christmas for an extended time, it’s really not too late to get into it. We are going to celebrate Christmas for 12 days. We will sing carols, light the candles, say special prayers as a family, and really appreciate the decorations and the spirit of the season. I am still thinking about how I will commemorate this in my Journaling Bible. I definitely will do some kind of Bible Journaling about it because this really has been special for us.

Exploring the Christmas story this year, Elizabeth stood out to me in particular. She waited so long for something, prayed for it often, and then gave up — and that’s when God said it was not too late. His timing was different and unexpected, but the timing was right for John the Baptist (cousin of Jesus) to be born of Elizabeth. John prepared the way for Jesus. If you’ve never thought much about Elizabeth, check out this sermon about her. It is an excellent sermon!

On a lighter note (and going back to the Hallmark movies, lol) my favorite television Christmas movie was not even from Hallmark. It was from Lifetime. It was called A Very Nutty Christmas; it was hilarious and heart-warming. A nutcracker comes to life in time to help a bakery owner (Melissa Joan Hart) get into the holiday spirit. Check it out if you get a chance. My close second favorite television Christmas movie was A Shoe Addict’s Christmas. As with any Hallmark movie, the cheese factor was pretty high, but I love it.

plant and typewriter
This is a new decoration I added to my house this year. I can take the red ribbon off and use it year-round!

Merry Christmas, and God bless you!

Looking for Something That Will Renew Your Mindset?

I am going to be posting some more Bible Journaling soon, but I want to share a couple of resources that I really like. I am not affiliated with these resources in any way, but I do listen to them regularly. By the way, be sure to enter my Tori Kelly CD giveaway between now and Sept. 12.

Your Move with Andy Stanley

ymthumbI listen to this as a weekly podcast while I’m walking or driving, and it is very good. You can also watch the episodes online. Andy Stanley shares God-given wisdom for living. I have had a lot of “ah-ha” moments listening to him. He knows what it means to share God’s truth in a loving way.

Move The Mountains

This is a wonderful resource for Bible Journaling tutorials, challenges, and studies. Before I had ever even heard of Bible Journaling, Amanda posted a Journaling Bible giveaway online. She was just getting her website started. I entered and won a Journaling Bible. When I opened it, it was so pretty that I felt nervous about making art in it. The Bible I won from Amanda is the same Bible that I journal in for the site that you are reading right now. I don’t know Amanda personally, but I am glad I won that giveaway about two years ago!

Simple

The Simple podcast is thought-provoking. It challenges you to go beyond the mainstream. This is a podcast for anyone, Christian or not, who wants to live with more purpose and simplicity. Even though it is not a religion-based podcast, I think it appeals to many Christians who realize that we must go beyond the consumer mindset to live authentically in this life. This is a podcast for intelligent people who see through the status quo. It also gives a global perspective, which I enjoy.

God Centered Mom Podcast

This is a Christian podcast that I’ve found to be very encouraging when I’m walking, driving, or even cleaning the house. God’s truth is presented in a way that is powerful, insightful, and very approachable.

A Playlist

If you’re building a Spotify playlist of worship music, remember some Mandisa! I love her music and her testimony.

I encourage you to upgrade your week by checking out one of the resources I mentioned. All of the podcasts are on Stitcher and other podcast apps. The Andy Stanley broadcasts are also available as videos on his site, and Amanda is active on YouTube and Instagram. These free resources for life and faith will uplift and challenge you, I promise.

🙂 Teresa

 

 

Speaking of Delight

My One Word Resolution for 2018 is delight, so if you notice me Bible journaling about delight a lot, it’s not just a coincidence! Each year, I pray that God would place a word on my heart for me to focus on that year and that He would reveal more of Himself to me through that word. A lot of beautiful scriptures have come to my attention for “delight.” I first heard this particular scripture, Zephaniah 3:17, when I was listening to a podcast about a month ago. On these pages, I tried to capture how the verse makes me feel when I read it. The thought of God rejoicing over His people with singing is so amazing. I used gelatos, a silver sharpie, and ink, all sealed with Mod Podge (you have to use a light touch when you seal gelatos or they will smear like lipstick). As always, I value being able to see all of the scriptures underneath, so my gelatos are light enough for me to still read all of the words. I like the idea of writing “in you” across the girl’s forehead that is just peeking out in the picture. If you look really closely, you can see that I also wrote Isaiah 62:4 on the page because I feel like these two verses go well together.

full page 1

So, as I view this page, I will go ahead and say that God has been walking me through some pretty hard times lately. I went through something in my personal life that was tough two weeks ago, and I am also going through physical pain from a car accident (it was not a bad accident, but this pain has been hanging around for about a month). Looking back at the memoirs my grandmother wrote before she died in her 90s, I know that she went through the same thing that I experienced at one point as well. That brings me some comfort, even though it is still hard. I can’t stress the importance of memory-keeping and the power of our words enough; this next generation will need truth more than ever, just the way my grandmother’s words came back to me at the right moment, and the way the Holy Spirit seems to bring the right verses when I need them. Bible Journaling is a way to get the Word into your heart so that the Holy Spirit can bring the verses to your mind when you need them. This life is not easy; the scriptures are an anchor, an encouragement, a refuge, and a defense. It never ceases to amaze me how the Holy Spirit communicates, whether it’s through Charles Stanley or Andy Stanley (wow, both of them are amazing in their own ways!), through how nature itself works, through something my son says, through something my grandmother wrote, through the still small voice that sometimes comes during prayer, or through a scripture I hear in a podcast.

Today, I am choosing to focus on God’s promises for those who believe in Him. How else are we going to rise above worry, discouragement, criticism, and all the other things that are intended to hold us down? Despite of what’s going on around me, I know God is working.

rise-daystar-1024x480

P.S. I just watched the I Am Woman Conference this weekend, and the messages from Nicole Crank, DeeDee Freeman, and Lysa TerKeurst were so powerful. If this conference is ever on Daystar again or online in some form, I would definitely recommend checking it out! If you live near West Palm Beach (lucky you!!), the conference is coming to your area.

Bible Journaling Challenge #7: Think of a word you would like to explore through Bible Journaling. Some ideas are joy, hope, confident, or even delight. Look up Bible verses that have the word in them, and pick one that speaks to you the most. Look up the word from the verse in the original Hebrew or Greek. If you are a “word person,” this could be meaningful for you.

 

May Giveaway

 

cross-3080144_960_720Here comes the giveaway that I mentioned when Bible Journaling Journey launched last month. I am giving away a Journaling Bible or a gift card to a store of your choice. Simply follow my blog, and leave me a note on my contact page that includes your name and the best way to get in touch with you. Also let me know if you want the Journaling Bible or a gift card. I will draw a name on May 31. While you’re emailing me, I would love to hear about you and what you might be interested in learning about on Bible Journaling Journey. Even though Bible Journaling Journey is not on social media, I will give you extra entries if you let me know you’ve shared the site (or this giveaway) in some way online. Thanks for entering!

A Fun Faith Challenge for Creative Types Like Us

I thought there were some excellent ideas for worshipping God in this post that I’m sharing from Truly Beautiful. Even though it’s not a Bible Journaling post, I could definitely see these ideas as inspiration for us creative Christians. Check it out!creative-worship

For the month of May, I want to spend time intentionally seeking the Lord. Below is a rough outline of some things I am challenging myself to and I hope you’ll join me! Have a great day and happy May! ❤ M A Y. (1.) Wake up earlier than normal and spend time with the […]

via May Challenge // Intentionally Seeking Him Challenge. — Truly Beautiful