09 December 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness; Days 6 & 7

DAY #6

"God thunders marvelously with His voice;
He does great things which we cannot comprehend.
For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’;
Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength.
He seals the hand of every man,
That all men may know His work."
~Job 37:5-7
                               Cara took this picture outside our apartment

Lake effect dumped a foot or more of snow on Cleveland, making it an adventure getting home.  Traffic was gridlocked and many commuters sat in standstill traffic for hours trying to make it home. Most of the agencies in the Federal Building (except mine) began sending workers home at 1pm.  As I looked out the window at the MESS on the roads, I knew I didn't want to be a part of THAT, so I was happy to stay in and work.  By 5:30 the snow had not let up and the traffic was still standing. Long story short - I made my way to Tower City where I picked up a couple of calendars at Borders and hopped onto the Rapid Transit.  I ended up only arriving home about an hour or so later than I normally would have. 

I am thankful for the snow!
Yes, I know - people in Cleveland seem to hate snow - and they certainly don't seem to know how to drive in it (I've always wondered why they didn't pull up roots and move somewhere south!)
If you don't have to drive in or shovel snow, you can find it to be most beautiful.  As my bus headed up the tree-lined hill, I couldn't help but smile at how beautiful all of the trees were with their snow-laden branches.
The real challenge was navigating the snow on foot.  I had to walk in the street until I came to the front of my building. I reached out for the fire hydrant and climbed through a foot and a half of snow to the unshovelled steps, trying to feel where each step began and ended through the deep deep carpet of snow.
And then,
at last...
The door opens
Cara laughs at my snowy appearance
as the warmth of the apartment hits my frozen face
and I am finally...
DAY #7
I am thankful for my big clunky boots and my long, heavy coat!
And my nice warm apartment.
And a cup of hot chocolate with mini marshmallows.

She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
~Proverbs 31:21

~thank you Lord!

07 December 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness Day #5

DAY #5

"Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
And our tongue with singing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
~Psalm 126:2

I'm thankful for 2 crazy daughters  who make me laugh..

Last night, Cara and I decorated the Christmas tree.  Christmas tree decorating isn't complete without turning on the traditional Christmas Carols - Nat King Cole, 13 versions of O Holy night and some Chipmunks mixed in. 

Not last night.

Cara had her own "playlist" of let's say, NON-conventional Christmas songs.  "Santa Claus is Thumbing to Town" by Reliant K, Family Force Five's rap-version of "Twas the Night Before Christmas", a Scream-O version of Jingle Bell Rock by Thousand Foot Crutch and my favorite, Pumpkin Jack singing "Making Christmas" from the movie "Nightmare Before Christmas".  We had a ball rockin' out while putting the ornaments on the tree.

And we ended the evening with a cup of hot chocolate. With marshmallows!

06 December 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness Day#4

"This is the day the LORD has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it. "
~ Psalm 118:24

Day #4


That's right - TGIM - Thank God It's Monday!!
Why wait 'til Friday to thank Him?

Each day is a gift from Him.  And if Monday for you means up early and off to work for the start of a new week, you have an extra measure of thanks to give - because you are one of the 88% or so US citizens who HAVE a job to go to!

I do thank the Lord for the job I have.  I remember 10 years ago, I had been working temporary jobs for a couple of years and had finally landed an entry level mail room job in the government.  The pay was sooo looooww, I cried when I saw my first paycheck after deductions.  How was I going to send my daughter to college when my gross salary for one year was less than her tuition and room and board? 

But the Lord provided a way. Not only did Tiana attend and graduate from college, but so did her brother and sister right after her.

Soon after I began my entry level job (with benefits!), I landed a job with another branch of the government that was more suited to my skill level and I was able to more than double my income in a very short time.  It all started when I missed my bus one day and was late for work.  On the later bus, I met a fellow bus patron who I hadn't seen for a few years and we chatted.  She told me she had applied for this job and they were still taking applications.  In fact, that day was the deadline to apply for the civil service test.  She just "happened" to have a copy of the flyer with her.  I jotted down the phone number and the rest is history.  I sincerely love my job, even with the challenges (read - frustrations and stress) that come with it. If I hadn't missed my bus that day 9 years ago, I wouldn't be where I am now.  Tell me MY God doesn't work things out for the better to those who trust in Him! 

When people are curious as to why I love my job, I tell them it beats the unemployment line, and at least I work for the U.S. Government and don't have to be paid to carry a gun and have people shooting at me in a foreign land!  Most of all, it was, and continues to be, a gift from God!


(Lord,  help me to appreciate the Mondays as well as the Fridays, Sundays and all the days in between!)

05 December 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness Day #3

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,  And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name."
~Psalm 100:4

DAY #3

I am thankful for the freedom of Worship.

I had a wonderful worship and praise time at church today.  From the brisk walk to church, to the sweet prayer time and diving into God's Word with my Sunday School class,  the Children's Choir, the Praise Team, Pastor's message and generally being in the presence of my church family as we worshiped Jesus Christ as LORD gives me much cause  to be thankful for that freedom.

An international publication - "Voice of the Martyrs" cited there were more Christians persecuted for their faith in the 20th Century than the past 2000 years combined since Christ walked the earth. On a Sunday such as this, there are many, many Christians who are forced to worship Jesus in secret.  Being "discovered" with even the possession of a Bible can, and does, result in everything from ostracization from family, bodily harm, arrest and imprisonment, loss of job, home and even loss of life.  Fellow believers meet "underground" in Iraq, Iran, China, Indonesia, Turkey, India, and many, many other places.

I am very thankful for the freedom of religion this country affords, that I can own many Bibles and attend church and speak the name of Christ without fear.

Lord, help me to appreciate the freedoms I've been given and the opportunities to worship all Your works  and Your name. That I am allowed to approach Your throne at any time and You are alway available to me. Never let me take that for granted.  Also, keep a burden on my heart to pray for fellow believers around the world who make up the "Church" -universal who are being persecuted. 

04 December 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness Day#2

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.                                                                                                                                                                           
~Colossians 3:15

The well-know theologian Matthew Henry (1662 - 1714) was robbed on his way home one night and he wrote the following in his journal as to why he was thankful in that situation:

He wrote he was thankful because...

"1) This was the 1st time I had been robbed.

2) My money was taken but not my life!

3) The robber took all of my money - and it wasn't much.

4) I was the one being robbed, and not the one doing the robbing."

I am in the habit each morning when I get up, I jump out of my bed and raise my arms and say,
"Good Morning, Lord!!" 

I will add "Thank you, Lord!!" 
 as I remember all of His goodness.  The fact that He allowed me  to wake up another day is enough reason to give thanks. 

I have another reason to give thanks in particular.  I have had acute Rheumatoid Arthritis for the past 20 plus years.  I had to use a cane for 18 years and was told at the age of 32 that I'd be wheelchair bound by 40.  (I have a 32 year old son - so I've far surpassed that milestone ;-) )  As RA treatments became more and more advanced around the turn of century, I was able to function fairly normally, but mornings, especially during extreme seasonal changes as we have in Cleveland, were extremely painful.  Some days I literally could not get out of bed for the pain.

But, God went even further.  3 years ago I had a knee replacement and within a few months I was able to walk fairly normal and put away my cane!  Praise the Lord!  Thank you Jesus!!!

"Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, 'I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.' Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. " ~Luke 5:23-25

Not a day goes by that I don't catch myself walking (sometimes even jogging) here and there, and I think to myself "how amazing is THAT!"

Yes, I tend to live a little more thankfully than most, but I could never thank the Lord enough for what He has done in my life.

Lord, help me to live a life with such a sense of thankfulness, like that of Matthew Henry.

03 December 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness Day#1

"in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

DAY #1

I've decided to live a thankful life.
Now, I generally live thankfully. There are many things - so many things in my life that I have to be thankful for. I am thankful for friends - whether I know them in person, or if they are my cyber-friends. Relyn and Sharon both expressed their concern for me when I didn't blog for months. It's nice to be missed!

I am thankful for the change in seasons in Cleveland. Yesterday was the first day I felt I needed to wear boots and my "big" coat. It didn't really snow then, but today we had a little more snow that covered the grassy areas. I don't know why it is, but snow - at this time of year - makes me smile. I was on Public Square at 6:45 am this morning taking pictures of the Christmas lights as the snow came down. I was thankful for the new gloves I bought yesterday that have the fingers cut off of them and a retractable "flap" so I can do things with my hands (like snap pictures in the snow) and keep them warm at the same time.

What better time to reflect on things to be thankful for then the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's. You are welcomed to join me on this adventurous journey!

19 May 2010

My Portable Junque Journal

Last month, I began an "altered" notebook to record my thoughts, ideas, art info and other items of interest, that I could carry around with me everywhere I went.
Over the past few weeks I've been altering pages and adding to it.
I learned the "technical" name is "Junque Journal".
Here are a few of the pages I have completed:

A black velvet embroidered strap holds the journal and writing tools together

Bits of ephemera (junque) and scrapbook paper

pages are crinkled and inked for an interesting background.

Water soluble crayons (Caren d'Ache) are washed with water brush.

more water color crayon treatment

watercolor backgrounds make beautiful pages to jot notes.

Beautiful scrapbook paper (Mariposa DCWV)

watercolor, old book pages and gesso make a funky background...
Just be careful not to "rip" page when wet..
but then again, it adds to the "distressed" look I like!

An image of my blog ... for my "Blog" section

.... and my Blog ideas!!

More pretty, pretty watercolors!

Notes to myself, interesting signage, phrases

Preparation for the Art & Soul retreat

These "supply" lists come in handy when I'm in JoAnn's
with a coupon in hand,
and not sure exactly what it was I needed!

Great image for the back cover of my journal!!

04 May 2010

3 Things That Made Me Happy Today!!!

Yes, I am Proud to be a Clevelander!

Earlier today, as I was surfing YouTube during my lunch break, I ran across a video about doing art on the run by an artist from Chicago.  As I watched the video, I suddenly recognized clues to the fact that he was in Cleveland while he drew!   
I was elated!  Yay!  That's my city... 
Terminal Tower (AKA Tower City) -
Westside Market - RTA-
Public Square 

Then, after work I went to Curves to work out.  Afterward I had 45 minutes to kill before my bus came, so I had to make a decision..

Starbucks..... or
Whole Foods?
I chose Whole Foods (because it was closer)
and walk into a cooking demostration with delicious bean salad, hummas and vegetarian wraps!
Yum!  Healthy - tasty - and free!

Ahhh ... Flash Mobs....
I think flash mobs are great! 
(despite what my daughters' say ;-))
...And it's a special treat when it takes place in the land of the Buckeyes - Ohio State U
All and all a great day!!!

21 April 2010

50 Things I Like About Spring...

You may ask,
"Why are you writing about Spring
a month after the fact.

Well, in Cleveland,
March 21 is sort of a "pre-spring"
Springtime Eve
By April 21, we're pretty much out of the woods when it comes to Blizzards and such..
so here goes...

50 Things I Like About

Heavy coats to the rear of the closet - light jackets to the front!
open windows for fresh air
strawberries are in season

sitting outside for lunch
neighbors emerge from hibernation
My Birthday!
linen jackets
fresh salads

tiny buds peeking out of the soil
Memorial Day
flowering trees

bright blue skies
my first sign of tanning
people on bikes
my hair blowing in the breeze
Mother's Day
a tall glass of water with a slice of lemon
people-watching while waiting for the bus
colorful gardens
farmer's open-air markets
iced tea
new neighbors
billowing curtains
getting in shape
sitting on the stoop of my apartment
bird's songs
fresh fruit
the scent of lilac bushes
moms with strollers
the unexpected snow storm ;-)
taking walks
spring cleaning
bouquets of daffodils
runners and walkers
floral body sprays
my cloth slouch bag
Robin red-breasts
driving with the windows down
the end of tax season!!

12 April 2010

Whirlwind weekend

My grandson, Alex came to visit me this weekend from out of town.  Oh, and he brought his parents too.  It is so fun to hang out with a 3 year old.  He is so full of energy, and so curious about EVERYTHING! And sometimes a little stubborn too! We went to the Science Center Saturday.
everything is such a wonder!

Erica, Alex and Mike

My daughter Cara tried to take a picture of Alex giving me a good-bye kiss.  He likes those big "smack" kisses that are so hard to catch on camera.  After about 15 tries (yeah, he fired away 15 in a row!)  our camera battery died.  This was the best of the bunch!

My Art Idea Notebook!

Last week, spent an afternoon at one of my favorite places - JoAnn's.
In their clearance isle, I found a notebook regularly $2.00 marked down 75% to 50cents!
The notebook is 4"x6" and is the perfect size to stash in my bag. 
Orange/pink with black tectured "felt"
and NO LINES!!  YAY!!!

I divided the notebook into 6 sections; 
Ideas for Art Journal
Ideas for Art Projects
Ideas for my Blog  ;-)
Miscellaneous Ideas
Supplies (needed and craved!)
and finally, Health and Exercse - which I'm seriously thinking about keeping a separate notebook for. 
(my first entries under Miscellaneous Art Projects)
I "repurposed" some used index tabs I had at work.
I'll post my progress on this project!

Keep Creating!!

07 April 2010

How Big is God?

 "Of old You laid the foundation of the earth,

And the heavens are the work of Your hands."
~Psalm 102:25

"But God made the earth by his power;

he founded the world by his wisdom
and stretched out the heavens by his understanding."
~Jeremiah 10:12

God is so big... He created ALL this and MORE!!!
He loved you and me so much ...
He sent His only Son to die
for our sins on the cross...

Here's to contemplating the Universe..

05 April 2010

Under Pressure

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
~ John14:27 

The last week or so has been very challenging.  A week ago Saturday, I worked, leaving me with no weekend.  This time of year is extremely hectic and it is very possible to become overwhelmed.  On top of that, I had an atc swap that was overdue so I was up way too late Tuesday and Wednesday as I scrambled to create "quality" pieces for the artists as promised.

Thursday, (April Fool's day) as I was sitting in an extremely boring meeting, a sudden feeling swept over me - a feeling that something definitely wasn't ok.  My left hand went numb, and then my left arm and my palms were wet with persperation. I thought to myself, "am I having a heart attack or a stroke?"  I had a co-worker walk me to the nurse's office, where I discovered my blood pressure had climbed extremely high.  Long story short - 911 was called and when they paramedics arrived my blood pressure had risen another 40 points!  Off to the hospital I went, ambulence sirens wailing and all!

As I lay there in the ambulence - by now I was feeling a tightening in my chest - the thought occurred to me that I could see the Lord face to face - even this very day.  A strange thing happened.  I had such a peace come over me.  I was ready - if it were His will.  I'd always thought that when faced with death, I would have a laundry list of things I'd regret never doing - travelling - watching my grandson grow up- seeing my new grandchild etc etc.  But no, at the end of the day (literally!) those things didn't concern me.  I was ready to leave this earth to spend eternity with Jesus. And I knew He would take good care of my children in my absence, even through their mourning.

Well, I was kept overnight for observation and a barage of tests.   I went home the next day with a "clean bill of health" and a renewed motivation to begin living a healthier lifestyle Praise God!!!

I returned home on Good Friday to meditate on my Savior who cares for me and died for my sins and defeated death 3 days later by arising in victory!!!

Happy Easter!

24 March 2010

Missing in Activity

It's been a while since I've posted - so much so, it's seem to some I've been MIA.  
In the past month, we've hosted Felicia, one of the Gospel singers from Cedarville University, for a weekend as the "One Voice" Gospel Choir sang at our church for a concert in February.

  Me, Felicia, Cara and Tiana

I signed up for an on-line Art Journalling class through ArtTrader.
Here are the front and back covers I made for my journal.

(I love the dangle -y ribbons off the back!!)

Here are some of the pages I've completed;

Above -  the layered background
Below - the finished product

Above - the watercolor background
Below - the painted and journalled finished product

I've also done some rolos:

I also strung up some ATC's over my "create-space"

~ and considering this is the peak time of the year for me at work.....
It's no wonder I've been MIA (Missing in Activity)!!!