My 15 Minutes of Fame

Hi there. Just wanted to share some exciting news with you all today... I've been published!

Well, sort of.

An interview I did a while back for the blog, "My Creative Peace," was published in a collection of artists' interviews by the blog's author, Robin Norgren, and the book is now available on Kindle. I'm planning on downloading it myself because I'd like to see what the other artists had to say in their interviews, and also because - hey - I'm in it!
If you shop through the link above, I'll earn a little something (supposedly) as an Amazon Associate, and I thank you.
Hope you're having a lovely week!


The List that Never Ends: # 571-580

When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs? 

~G.K. Chesterton

Today, I am thanking God...

# 571. ... for legs in my stockings.
# 572. ... for a fun new bird feeding station that will hopefully give me some glimpses of God's creativity.
# 573. ... for a sweet husband who set up a birding blind in the woods for me (in the middle of a torrential downpour, no less).
# 574. ... for a random wild turkey that showed up in my friends' back yard.
# 575. ... for a huge order on the horizon.
# 576. ... for reaching the halfway mark on a project I've had in the works for a while...
# 577. ... for spaghetti squash with tasty red pepper meat sauce.
# 578. ... for some gorgeous roses from a friend.
# 579. ... for some cute nephews who are always making me smile.
# 580. ... for some encouraging things happening.

Joining Ann today...


I Need Thee Every Hour

Good morning.

Last night I put the finishing touches on the latest in my collaged hymn series, and I thought I'd share it with you today.... Here it is:

"I Need Thee Every Hour"
by Beth Stone
Digital, watercolor, acrylic ink, and ephemera collage on Arches 140lb CP 100% Cotton Rag

This is Josh's favorite hymn, and the original is a late birthday gift for him.
Have you heard this hymn before? I'll share the lyrics with you in case you haven't:

"I Need Thee Every Hour"
Lyrics by Annie S. Hawks
Music by Robert Lowry

I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine can peace afford.
I need thee, O I need thee;
every hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.

 I need thee every hour; stay thou nearby;
temptations lose their power when thou art nigh.

I need thee every hour, in joy or pain;
come quickly and abide, or life is vain.

I need thee every hour; teach me thy will;
and thy rich promises in me fulfill.

I need thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me thine indeed, thou blessed Son.

Here's a nice version of the song by Fernando Ortega:

If you're interested in purchasing prints or greeting cards featuring this collage, I now have them available in my Etsy shop. I will also be making necklaces featuring this piece in the near future which will also be available - I'll let you know when they're ready.
Thanks for stopping by! Hope you're having a lovely week.


The List that Never Ends: # 561-570

Thank God every morning when you get up,
that you have something to do that day which must be done…
~Charles Kingsley
Thanking God today...

#561. ... for encouragement from family, friends, and strangers (thank you!).

# 562. ... for a lot of progress made on a new collage.

# 563. ... for the opportunity to help someone.

# 564. ... that my niece Emma no longer has to wear her helmet and hasn't had any complications from her surgery (she was born with fused sutures in her skull and had surgery to open them back up to allow for normal growth).

# 565. ... for the variety of birds He created.

# 566. ... for a safe trip for Josh and his Dad when they went to visit his grandmother last week.

# 567. ... for a lovely wedding of some friends yesterday, followed by dinner & hanging out with other friends.

# 568. ... for a giant bunch of snowballs on my counter.

# 569. ... for the daily grind of simple, ordinary tasks.
# 570. ... that He never changes.

Joining Ann today:


The Weekend Gallery of Miscellany

1. Well, inspired by my fancy pedicure with my Mom last week and an idea I found on Pinterest, I painted my fingernails for the first time in years this week. Here's the result:

To get the newsprint effect, you paint a base coat of a bone-colored nail polish, allow it to dry, then dip each nail in alcohol for about five seconds and press a pre-cut piece of newspaper against the nail. Peel it off slowly, and voilĂ !, there it is... Seal with a clear top coat.

Mine managed to last about three days before chipping, which is some kind of record for me. I am pretty hard on my nails, which is why I never paint them. It was fun though. While it's a little more trouble than I would take for my normal nail routine (which is pretty much "cut-and-file-the-rough-edges-and-get-rid-of-hangnails-and-that's-it"), I think this would be fun to do for a book club meeting or if you were the editor of a newspaper or something (female, of course). Anyway. There it is.

Don't look at my cuticles.

You looked, didn't you?
2. I started another blog dedicated to birding. After watching "The Big Year" (which I told you about in the last gallery), my husband, father-in-law, and I decided to do our own Not-So-Big Year. We're competing to see who can spot and photograph the most birds over the course of the next year. I started a blog to keep up with my species and photos, and I'll be sharing them with anyone who's interested. Feel free to stop by and check it out, and you can even join in on our Not-So-Big Year if you'd like! Just send me the link to your blog or photo album, and I'll add it to my sidebar... The rules are simple, spot as many species of bird (in the wild, of course) between now and April 12, 2013 as you can, and TAKE A PHOTO to share of each species. Upload it to a blog or photo sharing site, and send me the link. It'll be fun...

By the way, none of us are expert or even very good amateur birders, so you really don't have to know what you're doing to join in. Just get a field guide and a camera and come along.... There's a cool app for your smart phone called iBird that has a field guide, slide shows with bird calls, and neat search features. It's easier than toting around a bulky field guide, and you can use your camera phone to make it an all-in-one tool. So feel free to join us!

3. Speaking of cool apps, have you heard of "Draw Something"? It's basically Pictionary that you can play on your phone with your friends. Your friend sends you a picture, which you get to watch them draw in real time and attempt to guess what it is with some random letters they give you. Then you draw a picture to send back (choosing from three options they give you). Your friend gets to watch your attempt at guessing his or her drawing, then guess your drawing, then draw another picture for you. There's no real way to win, you just see how many rounds you can go without missing one. It's a lot of fun... and quite challenging at times, since you're drawing on a two inch screen with your stubby fingertip. Here are some examples ("Medusa," "Wardrobe," and "Paris" - Please excuse the stripes on my French flag... I had the colors right, but the orientation wrong. My apologies to the French.)

4. Here's a dumb little video I made:

That's all I've got! Have a good weekend!


Quotables: George MacDonald

With every morn my life afresh must break
The crust of self, gathered about me fresh;
That thy wind-spirit may rush in and shake
The darkness out of me, and rend the mesh
The spider-devils spin out of the flesh—
Eager to net the soul before it wake,
That it may slumberous lie, and listen to the snake.

- George MacDonald, A Book of Strife in the Form of The Diary of an Old Soul


The List that Never Ends: # 551-560

Be like the bird, who
Halting in his flight
On limb too slight
Feels it give way beneath him,
Yet sings
Knowing he hath wings.
- Victor Hugo 

I have to say, I'm feeling pretty discouraged about a number of things today, and frankly, writing a Pollyanna-esque post about how all is light and sunshine isn't my first impulse at the moment...
....and yet...
...we are supposed to give thanks in ALL circumstances, even the discouraging ones.

I am a firm believer in the fact that, while I can't control the people or circumstances around me, I can control the way I react to those people and circumstances, and I determine my own attitude. So, in spite of my inclinations, I'm going to continue counting my blessings, knowing that doing so will be a good reminder that I AM greatly blessed in so many ways, and that God is always good.
So here we go.

Today, I am thanking God...

# 551. ... that He is "El Roi," the God who sees. He sees everything, He sees me, He sees the injustice in the world, He sees the pain of those who are suffering, and He cares.
# 552. ... that in addition to seeing and caring about all of those things, He will also make them all right one day, and use what people intended for evil for good.
# 553. ... that we serve a RISEN Savior, that the tomb was empty, that we have the hope of eternal life with the one who conquered sin and death. Yes.

# 554. ... for beautiful spring days and the opportunity to break out ol' Louis (my bicycle) and go for some rides again.
# 555. ... for insulated coffee mugs (to keep my coffee piping hot, just the way I like it).
# 556. ... for the chance to go on a couple of fun outings with my parents last week. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)
# 557. ... for peace about a tough decision.
# 558. ... for hope.
# 559. ... for some good news about possible duty stations for next year.
# 560. ... that God will meet all of my needs.

Joining Ann today:

First image:
"This is My Father's World" by Beth Stone,
Prints available in my Etsy shop.


The Weekend Gallery of Miscellany

1. OK, I'm breaking form here to give you a little movie recommendation. Have you seen "The Big Year"?  It's a pretty low-key movie about birdwatching birding starring Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson. With that trio, you'd think it would be a slap-stick comedy, but it's really not. It has a few "chuckle" spots, but overall, it's just a mellow, feel-good movie about birdwatching.
{photo source}

I can't really pinpoint why I liked it so much exactly, but I've watched it 3 times in the past two weeks (which is unusual for me). I think it must be because I took a class in college called "Vertebrate Field Biology," which was basically a glorified birdwatching class. We spent hours tramping through fields and forests with our binoculars and field guides, dutifully adding new species of bird to our life lists. It was fun sometimes (strolling through the woods on warm, sunny days looking at songbirds) and miserable at other times (trudging through the mud in blizzards looking for waterfowl at the crack of dawn), but overall, I have fond memories of it. I think that's why I liked the movie so much... the characters reminded me of my professor, Dr. Wallace, who took his birding very seriously and was a complete riot to listen to - he used to give a running narrative of what each bird we were looking at was thinking/saying to itself. It was a hilarious.... Good times. Anyway, it's a good movie... and now I'm thinking about digging out my old life list and getting back to work on it.

2. Josh found a baby bunny in the yard last weekend. We kept it for a few hours, during which it was petrified and hardly moved, then we decided its chances were better back in the wild. Josh called it "Charleston" while we had it. Here's a very blurry picture of it... (taken before we transferred him to a cozy nest in a box and then back to the back yard). Isn't it the cutest? I hope little Charleston is making it out in the wild...

3. Speaking of bunnies, I'm not into the whole Easter bunny/egg thing (it's got pagan roots and takes the focus off of Jesus), but if you just can't give up hunting eggs entirely (which, I'll admit, is a lot of fun when you're a kid), then this is a great way to keep it Christ-centered: a neat little product called "Resurrection Eggs."

Each of the eggs in the set contains a little token representing part of the Easter story (a cup representing the Last Supper, a crown of thorns like Jesus wore, dice to represent the soldiers casting lots for Jesus' coat, etc.). It also comes with a little booklet that helps you easily relate the entire Easter story to your kids.

My Mom gave me a set of these a few years ago, and I set them out in a basket last year as part of my spring/Easter decor. They were a HUGE hit with one of my nieces and a few of my nephews who came over during that time. I must have repeated the Easter story (i.e., the Gospel) to them at least 10 times that week. So the eggs wound up being a great teaching tool, and the kids loved opening the eggs one by one to discover what was inside. So if you are going to do the egg thing, at least use it as an opportunity to share the Gospel with your kids - they'll love it. (By the way, if you click through the Amazon link above and buy the eggs there, I earn about 1/1000th of a cent or something - I haven't seen a check yet, but hey, we can always dream. Consider that my Amazon Associate disclaimer.) If you don't want to purchase the egg set, you could make your own pretty easily with a little creativity.

Want some more neat ideas for celebrating the Resurrection this weekend (or any day)? Check out my Pinterest board: "He Is Risen."

4. OK, I just have to show you this picture.... How awesome is my Mamaw???

That's all I've got! Hope you're having a lovely weekend... 


Quotables: C. S. Lewis

"Love's As Warm as Tears"
by C. S. Lewis

Love's as warm as tears,
Love is tears:
Pressure within the brain,
Tension at the throat,
Deluge, weeks of rain,
Haystacks afloat,
Featureless seas between
Hedges, where once was green.
Love's as fierce as fire,
Love is fire:
All sorts--Infernal heat
Clinkered with greed and pride,
Lyric desire, sharp-sweet,
Laughing, even when denied,
And that empyreal flame
Whence all loves came.  

 Love's as fresh as spring,
Love is spring:
Bird-song in the air,
Cool smells in a wood,
Whispering "Dare! Dare!"
To sap, to blood,
Telling "Ease, safety, rest,
Are good; not best."

Love's as hard as nails,
Love is nails:
Blunt, thick, hammered through
The medial nerves of One
Who, having made us, knew
The thing He had done,
Seeing (what all that is)
Our cross, and His.


Gifts Ideas for the Ungifted Shopper

Hi there. Today I thought I'd share with you a little gift idea I came up with over the weekend in honor of my nephew's 13th birthday (whoa! 13! When did he get that old???).

As many of you know, I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 21 nephews and nieces, if my last calculations were correct. It's hard to keep up with.... :o)

While I pretty much have a handle on buying birthday gifts for the girls or the artsy-craftsy types among the nephews, I start drawing blanks when it comes to shopping for teenage boys. Did you ever watch the episode of Monk when he stresses over buying a present for Benji's birthday and winds up buying him a rock polisher, and then Benji tries to mask his disappointment at getting such a lame present at his party? That's about where I'm at. I'd be the loser to show up with a rock polisher.

So, in order to avoid that awkward situation, I've started giving cash to the older nephews in lieu of birthday gifts. It saves me the stress of trying to think of something that 13+ year-old boys would like, and it saves them the trouble of having to return rock polishers.

However, as much as they might prefer the cash so they can go buy the latest paintballwhozamawhatzit, I still feel that the presentation of cash in a card is a little.....dull. So, thanks to an idea sparked by Pinterest, I decided to jazz things up a bit this time. Here is the result, which I wrapped in a shirt box:

I had seen some money origami on Pinterest a while back, and thanks to YouTube, I found all of the tutorials to make the pieces you see here. Here are the links if you'd like to make some yourself:

Lincoln in a baseball cap
Shirt and tie
Ring - there are a number of these on Youtube - just search for "money origami ring." I learned how to make these at camp years ago and made mine from memory...
F-18 - just to warn you, this one takes FOR-EV-ER and might make you crazy! It's a good tutorial though.

YouTube has a ton of other tutorials - these were just some of my favorites. They have a money origami koi fish that is really cool but looks extremely complicated. I'd like to try it sometime.... and who knows? - they may even have a money origami rock polisher... :o)

Happy Folding!


The List that Never Ends: # 541-550

"You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink."
- G. K. Chesterton

Yes, why not?

Thanking God today...
# 541. ... for a husband who loves kids and keeps them (and me) entertained...
# 542. ... for some little schnauzer puppies who came to visit Harvey Saturday.
# 543. ... for my nephew Benjamin who just celebrated his 13th birthday, and a fun day of paintball for the guys and hanging out with puppies and kids for the gals.
# 544. ... for a newly-cleaned-out-and-organized studio closet and a pile of unneeded stuff ready for a yard sale - ahhh, it warms the heart.
# 545. ... for indoor (non-leaking) plumbing.
# 546. ... for comfy shoes.
# 547. ... for feeling good again after two months of allergy/sinus problems.
# 548. ... for fresh-cut lilacs from my parents' house - wow, what a smell....
# 549. ... for living in a small town - I didn't realize how much I appreciated this until now.
# 550. ... that He is so amazing and creative.
Linking up at:


How to Be a Fool: 10 Easy Techniques

  1. Become an atheist, agnostic, or any other person who rejects the existence and authority of the God who created you. Be flippant and cavalier in your attitude towards God and the pursuit of wisdom. "The fool hath said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." - Psalm 14:1  "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. - Proverbs 1:7

  2. Never take advice, counsel, or correction from anyone. Firmly believe that you have all the answers and are never, ever wrong. Follow your heart, dude.  "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise." - Proverbs 12:15 "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered." - Proverbs 28:26

  3. Become a liar and a slanderer. Gossip about other people. Spread rumors. Make yourself look good by talking about how bad everyone around you is (who cares if it's true or not?). "He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool." - Proverbs 10:18

  4. Surround yourself with other fools. Hang out with people who encourage you in your vices or introduce you to new ones. Find your friends in low places. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." - Proverbs 13:20

  5. Tear down your safety net, brick by brick. Push your spouse, parents, or other family members away. Treat them badly. Reject the role God assigned to you. Be negative, unsubmissive, and disrespectful. "Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." - Proverbs 14:1

  6. Take sin very lightly. Laugh about it. Mock the "goody-goodies" who won't participate in your vices. Revel in your freedom to choose. Keep going back for more. "Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour." - Proverbs 14:9  "As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly." - Proverbs 26:11

  7. Have a quick temper. Keep a chip on your shoulder, and get in people's faces immediately when they knock it off. Scream, yell, and get violent. Pick fights, stir up drama, and go looking for trouble. Meddle in other people's business. "He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated." - Proverbs 14:17 " A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes." - Proverbs 18:6 "It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling." - Proverbs 20:3

  8. Reject the authority figures God has placed in your life. You're so much smarter than them anyway. "A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent." - Proverbs 15:5 "A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother." - Proverbs 15:20

  9. Say whatever is on your mind, and don't worry about the consequences. Get if off your chest. Be quick to speak and slow to listen. Assert your expertise into every conversation, even if you have no idea what's going on. Be heard. Love the sound of your own voice. It's musical, man. "A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards." - Proverbs 29:11 "Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him." - Proverbs 29:20

  10. Live for today. Never contemplate death, eternity, or the state of your soul. Avoid the issue of the Cross. Have fun. Do whatever you want, and don't worry about what happens to you when you die. Party on, dude. "The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth." - Ecclesiastes 7:4 "For the preaching of the cross is to them that are perishing foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. - I Corinthians 1:18 "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and to fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up to vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. 
Well, there you have it. Follow this foolproof guaranteed system, and you will be well on your way to becoming a legitimate fool. Good luck, and happy trails! 


I feel compelled to add this little disclaimer for all of the extreme literalists out there. This has been a tongue-in-cheek, Screwtape-esque bit of very, very bad advice: my version of an April Fool's post, since I'm really not into the more traditional pranks. I do, however, enjoy satire, which is what the bold "advice" in the points above has been. The scriptures, obviously, are what I'm REALLY advising you to do. I'm sure most of you caught that, but I've learned the hard way that satire can be rather lost on some people, so I thought I should spell it out here at the end.... Please don't send me hate mail. I do NOT want you to become a fool!