Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What Faith Journaling Taught Me In 2014

Last year, I added a really important element of faith journaling to my crafting time. It was a creative way to combine the things in my head with the things in my heart. I found that I could really pour my heart out in prayer, while at the same time letting my creativity flow. Writing, doodling, coloring, praying. It was a unique form of meditation.

The best part of faith journaling is that it provides a written record of the amazing ways that God worked in my life in those twelve months. I could look back and see so many prayers answered. The big ways, the little ways. God's yeses, God's nos, God's "not just yet"s. God's "soon"s. God's "piece of cake"s. God's "I've got this one covered"s.

I found that it is so important, not just to myself, but to my family. After all, what good is our testimony if we're not sharing it? I can look back at the pages and tell my kids...

"Remember when John did not have an internship when the school year ended, and then God provided one?"

"Remember when we didn't have a church home, and then God told us to travel a little farther, and we found one?"

"Remember how nervous you were about camp, and yet God made it a great experience for you?"

"Remember how sad we were when Shirley Ann broke her hip, and yet God brought her healing just as we'd prayed for?"

As my family prepares for a lot of changes in 2015, I can use my faith journal to say "Fear not! God's got this one covered!"

We have an unknown future. But today, we can trust it to a known God.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Because The World Needs Comfort and Joy

Through a strange set of circumstances, I found myself working at a retail store during the holiday season.

It started with a bible study, where Beth Moore chided me (we're BFFs, Beth and I) that I needed to get out into the world and make an impact and stop hiding in my holy huddle of like-minded churchy people.

And then there was a sermon (see? churchy people!) reminding me of "the quiet dignity of doing my vocation", and to be faithful to use my talents for God's glory.

I could hear God's gentle whisper to get out and minister to His people.

But how? And where? And when?

The present seemed as good a time as any. And seeing as I was in the earliest stages of the holiday season, I thought that retail might be a place to start. Which is completely crazy, when you consider that my husband already works in retail. Would I be adding to the chaos of our holiday season?

I quickly found a job working in women's boutique clothing. And just as quickly (day one!), I realized that it was not where God wanted me to be. I needed to reach a broader spectrum of people. Men, women, young, old.

And just as quickly, I found a new job with a major retailer who's goal is to get people enjoying the spiritual experience of the outdoors.

And thus I began this new mission and ministry.

Wait. What? Ministry? How can retail be ministry? Ministry is serving on some charitable committee or heading up some class. And mission? Mission is going to an impoverished country to feed orphans. Right? Mission and ministry is big and important. 

Well, that's the funny thing about mission and ministry. When God is your employer, the whole world becomes the mission field.

Through small acts of love, I serve each work day. I serve my coworkers when I am cheerful and helpful. I serve my boss when I work joyfully. And I serve the world that comes through those doors each day. I serve the man looking for easy cotton sweaters for his wife with early onset Alzheimer's.  I serve the harried mom looking for a hat that her fussy boy will actually want to wear. I serve the worried daughter looking for teeny tiny pants to fit her ninety-five year old mother who seems to be wasting away. 

It is simple, really. I show up for work and I serve. I serve with comfort and joy.

It isn't glamorous, and it isn't earth shattering. But being a servant never is.

It also changed my heart about blogging. I want to be a real barrista, serving you, the reader.

Today, I am offering up a warm mug of comfort and joy.

{Today's Brew: Heartfelt Holiday and Merry and Bright stamp sets (wplus9), inks and card stock (Papertrey Ink), washi tape (Target), tag die, silver twine (SU)}

Thanks for stopping by the cafe today!

Monday, January 26, 2015

I've Missed You!

It seems that just about the time I felt the blog had run its course and I had nothing else to say, that was the time when all sorts of things happened in life...and I couldn't share them with you!

Doesn't that just figure?

I think my friends and family were getting tired of some of my texts.

You found something awesome at the Target dollar spot? Yawn.

You made a card? Well, big deal!

You invented a new soup? Whatever.

You had an amazing insight after a sermon? Fine.


It was as if I was blogging without the blog. On more of a one-to-one basis. And truthfully, a lot gets lost in translation this way.

Don't get me wrong. That was one of the reasons I stopped blogging...more personal relationship building. That is still an important goal for me. Less technological disconnect, more relational connect. Less impersonal, more personal.

But I am starting to see that there can be a time and place for both to exist, in balance, in my life. I'm not always the best at the balance part, but I am learning. And I am using some new tools to help me with this.

So what did I learn after closing the cafe?

Well, I learned that I missed the writing. Sure, I could put it all in a journal. But what's the fun in that? If I can't share with you the pretty stamps and washi tape I put in the journal with the words, then it loses some of its fun for me. I am, by my own admission, guilty of the overshare.

I also found that my crafting has taken a serious blow. I make an occasional card, but nothing like I did when I shared them with you. I am SO behind on card making that it's not even funny. Babies, birthdays, funerals, get wells, I love yous...I need them all, like, yesterday! I am so belated with so many card occasions that I'm afraid my family is about to disown me  .

The truth is, you inspire me. You inspire me when you leave comments, and you inspire me when you don't. You inspire me to become a better writer, a better crafter, a better person. You inspire me to more introspective thoughts.

And I hope, in some small way, I might still have something left that will inspire you. Because if I'm not serving you, then what's the point of being a creative cafe barrista?

So get ready! I am frothing up the milk, heating up the espresso machine, and ready to brew some lattes!

I've been involved in some exciting things that I can't wait to share! Art journalling, Bible journalling. Planners and home organization. Cards and crafts. And that's just the tip of the iceberg! I have major life changes taking place with my family, along with events that have happened in recent months that have shaped me and helped me grow in some pretty profound ways.

Grab a mug and let's catch up! Tell me...what has happened in your life since I've been gone? Can I pray for you today? How can I serve you at this blog cafe? Let's do some sharing.

Bless you, friend!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Why I am so thankful for my super smart 2013 self!

As October came to a close, I flipped the calendar to a new month and found this. A note! A note from my 2013 self. And here is what it said:

You see, my 2013 self was very smart. She knew a few things about herself. For starters, she knew that she was prone to selective amnesia regarding certain events. This plays out in thoughts like this: Surely the turkey wasn't that bad. The meal couldn't possibly have taken that many days to prepare. It wasn't really that expensive, was it?

Yes. Yes to all of the above. I just had to look in my financial book to see that I spent $75 on a dry, tasteless bird last year. Apparently, free range organic turkey equates to dry and nasty. It's all of those preservatives and artificial ingredients that make that Butterball turkey so delicious.

And so I listened to 2013 Mary Rose and I ordered the Bob Evans thanksgiving entire meal for the price that I paid for the aforementioned nasty bird.  And it was delicious! I served it up on my fancy Spode turkey plates and Longaberger dishes, and we enjoyed it just as if it had cost me $300 and a week of preparation.

So what did I do with all of that free time on Thanksgiving Day? I enjoyed the guests that came for dinner.

It was a lovely day!

I am pretty sure there is a message waiting for me for the month of December...which is Monday, my friends. Aack! It's time to buy a new calendar for 2015! May I make a suggestion? Leave your future self a few notes on that calendar. You will be one year older and one year wiser for the effort.

Hope your Thanksgiving was full of blessings!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sharing What I Learned From Pinterest

So I have these Levi's blue jeans that I love, but they just seemed to be getting smaller with each wash. I swear, they were shrinking. I wasn't growing. Honest. Uh huh.

I am the queen of laundry in this house, and I am normally so careful with the wash. But once or twice, these probably got thrown into the dryer instead of being hung to dry. Boo hoo!

What to do?

Pinterest to the rescue!

I found a pin on Pinterest for how to un shrink clothing.

Step one: Soak item in luke warm water with a capful of baby wash. Let it soak for a while to soften and loosen the fibers in the fabric.

Step two: Remove clothing but do not rinse. Squeeze out excess water.

Step three: Roll the jeans in a towel to remove excess water.

Step four: Place the jeans on a clean dry towel. Now gently pull on the jeans in all directions to reshape. Allow to lay flat to dry.

And when they are dry, voila! Your favorite jeans, back to the shape they were when you first bought them! This works for sweaters, too.

My jeans are finally comfy again, and I no longer feel like a stuffed turkey when I try to put them on.

Tuck this useful knowledge away for after Thanksgiving Day feasting. Trust me. You will thank me later.

And just tell yourself "It's not me. It's the jeans."

Blessings and thanksgiving, friends!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Never Make A Major Announcement

What happens when you make a major announcement in a public profession-kind of way?

The universe instantly conspires against you to make certain that the thing you announced you would do is exactly the thing you will look back on and see that you, indeed, have not done.

It's a conspiracy.

It has been two months since I last reported here on the blog that I would be taking a break to write! write! write! until my stubby little Hobbit-sized fingers were sore from the writing.

Guess who has not been writing.

{insert woman sheepishly raising hand in shame here!}

Which begs the question...what in the world have I been doing for the past two months?

It might be easier to tell you what I have NOT been doing.

I haven't crafted a card in over two months. Not even one.

I haven't been house fluffing.

I haven't been entertaining out-of-town guests.

I haven't been to bible study with my group.

I haven't even added a single word to my novel.

Well, now that THAT list is out in the open, what about the other list? The "What I did on my two months of blogging vacation" list?

I spent my twenty-fifth anniversary with the love of my life in California.

I drank wine.

I hiked in the redwood forests.

I crossed the Golden Gate bridge.

I dipped my toes into the Pacific ocean.

I ate amazing food at vineyards too beautiful for words.

I got a job.

And then I quit that job and got another job.

I crafted a collage-style painting.

I visited the women in my family.

I cut my bangs...myself.

I made delicious pies and soups.

I cared for sick boys and old dogs.

I went to church.

I heard a sermon on being faithful using our talents for God's glory.

I felt that familiar conviction of the Holy Spirit.

And so I came here to say... major announcement.

Just a "Hello, friends!"

It is well with my soul.

Hope it is well with yours, too!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pursuing a God-Sized Passion

Thank you, dear cafe friends, for your understanding and encouragement! After reading so many of your kind comments, I found a theme that became quite evident.

I like paper crafts, but it is not my passion.

I like needle art, but it is not my passion.

I like house and home fluffing, but it is not my passion.

Words. Words are my passion.

You, dear readers, identified with the words. And that makes me so happy!

You see, for quite some time I've been working on a novel. Yep. A novel! It's a pretty ambitious thing, I'll grant you that. It's a story that just won't leave me alone. I've been known to put it down for months at a time, and when I pick it up again, my first thought is "You know, this is pretty good. Why did I stop?"

Recently, God has been whispering to me "Why not now? Let's get this thing finished now."

And the timing just feels right.

I am laying down the blog so that I can pick up this writing pursuit. I need to give it more attention and discipline than I have been doing thus far. It's a big God-sized dream that seems impossible, which is exactly why it now seems so plausible.

By the way, the protagonist of the story may or may not be a crafter. Just sayin'. ;)

I may pop in here periodically to tell you all how I'm doing. Actually, I hope you will hold me accountable to keep this momentum going!

You, sweet friends, have blessed me this week. I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me!