The One Resolution You Should Make This New Year's Eve....

I haven't looked at any other blogs yet today, but I can imagine that there are a lot of posts going up that are full of goals and resolutions for the upcoming year. While there's certainly nothing wrong with setting goals and aiming to do better, our track records in keeping New Year's resolutions are pretty sad, to say the least.

If you don't believe me, look at the parking lot at the gym on February 1st compared with January 1st....

Robert Burns put it this way:

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley...

Or, in American English:

The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry...

Although people undoubtedly have the best of intentions when they make their resolutions, our own personal histories demonstrate that we often have trouble following through.

I read THIS ARTICLE by Paul Tripp this morning, and it was a good reminder to me that personal growth is a slow, gradual process. Change happens in the small, daily decisions to do what is right, not in the big, dramatic, once-a-year resolutions we make. If you don't read Tripp's entire article (which you should), here's an excerpt that sort of sums it up:

Most of us won't be written up in history books. Most of us only make three or four momentous decisions in our lives, and several decades after we die, the people we leave behind will struggle to remember the events of our lives. You and I live in little moments, and if God doesn't rule our little moments and doesn't work to recreate us in the middle of them, then there is no hope for us, because that's where you and I live.
 So if you're bound and determined to set some resolutions for the upcoming year, let this be the one thing you stick with: commit to reading through the Bible in 2013, and as you're reading, pray that the Holy Spirit would speak to you and change you in the areas where you need it. Let it be a daily process, because that's where real change will happen. As God's Word speaks to you and transforms you, chances are, you will notice transformation spilling over into other areas of your life...
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much... - Luke 16:10a

God's Word has the power to transform you, much more than any grandiose commitment you impulsively make because the date is December 31st. So dig in!

If you'd like some help keeping track of your reading, here are some resources to get you started:

THIS is the reading plan I used in 2012, and it's been one of my favorites so far. It takes you through the Bible chronologically, but it also gives you daily readings in both the Old and New Testaments. It also gives you a few "make up" days each month, in case you get behind...

THIS website has a whole list of Bible reading plans, some of which allow you to read at your own pace or spread out your readings over up to three years (although reading through in one year is very doable).

Feeling ambitious? HERE's a plan that will take you through the Bible in 90 days.

Want to get crazy? HERE's a plan for reading the Bible in 1 month!

There are a number of reading plans online, so if you don't see one you like here, do a Google search for "Bible Reading Plans." Or simply read as much as you can wherever you want, every day. You can also listen to audio versions while driving in your car or working around the house... The point is to immerse yourself in God's Word, and there's no wrong way to do that....

Happy New Year!


Some December Highlights....

December was a busy month for us, and in the midst of all the hooplah, I forgot to share two highlights with you....

Some Crazy- Good Artistic Culinary Skills

We celebrated our 9th Anniversary by going to see the gingerbread competition at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. Here are some of the amazing entries that were on display. Check out the details!

This was the Best in Show winning entry - the detail was amazing...

My personal favorite, this was the winner of the teen category - A Muppets' Christmas. Amazing!

It's hard to believe these things were made of FOOD!

This was the winner of the children's division: how cute is this scene from Winnie the Pooh?

This was called "Not a Creature Was Stirring," I think, and it was a collection of tiny mice asleep after pigging out on candy. The "glass" Mason jars fascinated me - I think they were made from sugar! Such detail....

Whoville! So cute and cheery....

Again, the details on these things were amazing - look at those bricks!

This was a fun one - the Twelve Days of Christmas - each of the gifts is included....

Some of these houses were huge - like 2-3' tall!

I love Charles Dickens, so this was another favorite....

'Twas the Night Before Christmas - I loved the candy "glass" panes in the windows....

Puss in Boots

Anyway, we had a nice, relaxing day at the Inn, then came home for some dinner and a movie.


Another milestone was Josh's graduation from PA school! We celebrated with family and friends in Knoxville, and it was the first time Josh had appeared in his Navy uniform!

Doesn't he look good in it?

And of course, we've also spent a lot of time with both of our families, which has been nice. Since we probably won't be in Tennessee next Christmas, we've been trying to soak it all in....

I hope you and your family had a nice Christmas, and have a happy 2013!


Merry Christmas

As you celebrate tonight and tomorrow with your family and friends,
here's Linus with a little reminder of what it's really all about, Charlie Brown.

(If you can't watch this video here, you may have to click through and watch it on Youtube.)
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
- John 3:17
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
- II Corinthians 9:15
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas....


When Sorrows Like Sea Billows Roll...

I wanted to take a moment to extend my deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the victims of last Friday's horrible event in Connecticut. I can't even imagine what you must be going through. I am praying that God will give you comfort, and a peace that passes understanding in the midst of this terrible loss.
The above collage was inspired by the hymn "It Is Well With My Soul."
It was written by a man who also lost his children in a tragic event....
I hope the words bring you some comfort...
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.


{Home} It's Coming on Christmas...

Once again I'm linking up at The Inspired Room and the Cottage Magpie, as well as with the Nester for their annual Christmas tours of homes! It's always so fun to see how other people decorate for the season.

This is what I do....

First, start with something festive on the door....


....which includes a wreath I make myself....


...next up, bag that most iconic of Christmas decorations...a tree.....


...take it home and deck it out with lights and special ornaments....

Photobucket Photobucket

...add some festively wrapped gifts underneath.... (I had a blast making snowflakes to replace bows on some of the packages...)


...jazz up the mantle and coffee table too.....


....find some honkin' big pine cones to bring a little nature in..... (I was so excited to have this pine tree near our house when we were in VA earlier this year - I gathered up a bag of cones and brought them home to use for Christmas!)...


....complete the mantle with another homemade wreath....


....add some lights with bows and greenery to the windows....


....and bring in some childhood traditions - a "Williamsburg" apple tree...


...break out the Christmas dishes....


...try to keep the birdies away from the berries....


....light up the orbs, yet again.... (they just keep coming in handy!) ....


.... pretend we've got snow in this crazy-warm December weather by adding some crocheted snowflakes made by a special friend to the window....


....add in a wooden nativity that I carved when I was in junior high....


...and my childhood Christmas village.... Photobucket

...and don't forget to add reminders of the REAL Reason for the Season....


The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined...
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.
Isaiah 9: 2, 6-7a

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas...


Need to buy a few last minute gifts?
My Etsy shop will be open until December 20th.


A little Christmas gift for you:
use the coupon code GIVETHANKS when checking out to save 10%!


9 Years....

I'd do it again.
Happy Anniversary to us. :o)
Love you, Josh. 


Just a Reminder...

You have until December 20th to place your final orders in my Etsy Shop before I close down for Christmas and our move to Spain. I'm not sure how long it will take me to reopen once we're settled in (which will be in March), so if there's anything you'd like to purchase, now is the time to do it!


The good news is, you can still get a discount. My Thanksgiving SALE is still on, because giving thanks shouldn't end in November...

To save 10% on your order, simply enter the coupon code GIVETHANKS when you're checking out.

I have a bunch of necklaces, brooches, and magnets left over from my last show that I haven't had a chance to list on Etsy yet. If there's a piece you'd like but can't find in the shop, send me a message - chances are, I do have that item available. I can set up a special reserved listing just for you...

If you're looking for last-minute Christmas gifts, this is a great place to do it.... ;o)

Click HERE to start shopping!


{Art} Needle Felted Ant and Bee

Several weeks ago I was contacted by someone with a request for a custom item. She had seen my needle felted animals on Etsy and asked if I could do a set from her favorite childhood storybooks: the Ant and Bee series, by Angela Banner.
Here's the reference photo she sent me: 
And here's my needle-felted version:

I used jewelry wire to create the armatures, legs, antennae, and mustache, and I used polymer clay (Sculpey brand) to make the feet and hands. After baking them, I used super glue to attach them to the wires (I made little holes in the clay where the wires were going to go before baking), then painted them with black epoxy.

You can learn more about the art of needle felting here, here, or here.
In other news, today is my friend Carrie's birthday! If you get a chance, stop by her blog and send her some birthday love! {Happy Birthday, Carrie!}


The People that Walked In Darkness Have Seen a Great Light...


Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying,
I am the light of the world:
he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,
but shall have the light of life.
- John 8:12