Thursday, March 26, 2015

Finding Time for You {Why You MUST Do It}

A Modern Quilt
No, I haven't forgotten about it. My New Year's Resolution to be as creative as possible is materializing as I look on with amazement. It's so exciting how everything is coming together with the word I also received for this year, uphold. I figured out that 2015 is the time for me to uphold what is important to me, and I weigh my choices intentionally against this word. First, I took an intro class on art journaling at Michael's, then I spent a Saturday with a friend who gave me a crash course in art journaling 101 techniques by taking me through her gorgeous journals, and next I came across an online book club on The Fringe Hours, the most inspiring book about finding time to pursue your passions. In between all of this, I spent a lovely afternoon with a fellow single mom friend gaping over the most beautiful quilts at a local exhibit, thinking about how women who didn't even have electricity could make time for their passions, then so could I.

Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore and that I'll never be the same again after this year because I've discovered what makes me tick. And I am finally prioritizing the time to do it. 

Let these words from The Fringe Hours give you permission to make room in your life for what is truly important and give you the courage to focus on your passions: "Without creative expression, a part of you will atrophy, which means to waste away . . . No matter how busy you are, you must make time for yourself and your passions." 




Quilted Strawberries . . . I love it! 


This is my favorite block. 

The curator mentioned this quilt was the crowd favorite. 


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Victory for the Single Parent

“Let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us.” ~Hebrews 12:1

Passages like these are especially motivating for single parents, who can certainly feel like a typical day is one big marathon. Despite lack of time and continual stress in a single parent’s life, it is imperative to keep the main goal at the forefront of your mind for inspiration when things get tough. Ask yourself how you can run in such a way that you give it your all today, striving to be the best single parent you can starting now. Even if you have messed up in the past (and ALL parents have made mistakes because we aren’t perfect), it’s not too late to get in the game and run the race God has for you as a single mom or dad. It’s time to push aside the excuses and let go of hindrances because God’s Word supplies the way to “Run in such a way that you may win” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).

When your children are raised, do you want to look back on your single parenting years with regret? If you are a single parent, your top priority is your children. The race you are running is clear: to do your best in raising your children according to God’s plan. Successful single parenting God’s way requires you to focus on this, allowing it to determine your day-to-day choices. According to Hebrews 12:2, “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” In other words, let nothing detract you from focusing on Christ first and then being the best parent for your children, including releasing a relationship that may not be God’s best or His timing for your life. The truth is that you will have to make sacrifices in order to be available for your children, but God will use those circumstances to mature you.

What does it look like to run in such a way that you strive to do your best each day as a single parent? The answer is simple, but not easy . . . By depending on God to supply strength, direction, and wisdom. This means trying your best each day, taking the next step God reveals to you, keeping your eyes on Him, and trusting that He has a plan even if things are difficult. Create positive habits such as the following to maintain your connection to God:
  • Praying throughout each day
  • Reading your Bible at morning or night
  • Looking frequently at a 3x5 card of your favorite Scripture
  • Journaling your thoughts, feelings, and worries to God
  • Writing a daily list of at least 3 things you are grateful for
  • Attending church weekly and participating in worship
  • Fellowshipping with other believers and unloading your burdens

Single parenting God’s way also involves sacrifices, selflessness, and suffering. You will face many trials, but the key factor is how you respond to them. Will you rely on Him through your trials? If so, your trials will bring you closer to Him and when you are dependent upon Him, He will use your struggles to strengthen you and build your character. By following God’s plan and not your own way, you will raise your children and be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). The Christian life—including single parents—was meant to win, and you CAN win if you lean on God to lead you to victory!

“You belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” ~1 John 4:4


Sunday, March 15, 2015

How You Can Say Goodbye to Perfection for Good

Relief.
Freedom.
Refreshment.

While reading Holley’s newest book, You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect, I experienced these three transformative stages and I, too, am certifiably breaking up with perfection. Oh, I know it will come creeping back in. Yes, perfection is so ingrained in me that it will sneak around the corner and hide behind bushes when I least expect it. But this time, I can turn to Holley’s uplifting words—because she writes like an old friend who is speaking directly to my soul—and find not only comfort, but also practical strategies for standing up my Perfection Bully.

As Holley so graciously points out, the truth is that many women these days hide behind a cape of perfection, aiming for unrealistic superpowers that obstruct our relationship with God. She lovingly shows her reader the reality of perfection, but also brings hope: “The pursuit of perfection can keep us from discovering God’s purpose for our lives. It can distort who he created us to be, and then the world misses out on the gifts only we have to offer. Here’s the reality: you’re not supposed to be perfect.” Even in the book’s first few pages and chapters, I began to feel transformed as though Holley pulled back the cloak of perfection that I hide behind, looked into my eyes, and said it was okay for me to take it off and come out as the real me.

Grab a cup of coffee and check
out Holley Gerth's new book!
You, too, have permission to stop chasing perfection and start living as the real you. With self-assessment quizzes, journal questions at the end of each chapter, and a “Go Deeper” Book Study Guide for groups and individuals at the end of the book that is also available here as free printable version Go Deeper Guide , You’re Loved No Matter What will enable you to peel off the layers of perfection and discover God’s love and freedom that is underneath, already there, and waiting for you.

Whether you read the book in a group or individually, you are not alone. Holley’s words will cheer you on as you take your first step to let go of perfection: “You don’t have to feel as if you’re never enough. Today can be a new beginning. Right here. Right now.” Begin letting go of perfection—and really living—staring today.

Click here to purchase You're Loved No Matter What

For more inspiration, check out Holley Gerth and Jennifer Lee's motivational video "Breaking Up with Perfection"
Linking to Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Art Journal I Made {to Inspire Creativity}

Since my main resolution this year is to be as creative as possible, I thought it would be important to make some reminders for myself. The other night, I took an art journal class and created this cover to inspire me each time I look at it. The image is from a book club based on The Fringe Hours, a new book about finding time to do what you love. Although the year has rushed by so far, I actually have weaved in some time here and there to do what makes me happy, and I hope you are doing that, too!!!

Linking to Fringe Friday at The Mom CreativeThe Fringe Hours Link-up

The YUMMIEST Peanut Butter Banana Bread Cake!!!

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Cake Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp all spice or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla coffee creamer
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • Chocolate peanut butter spread for top (or Nutella)




Instructions:

  1. Cream butter, peanut butter and sugar together
  2. Add eggs and vanilla mix
  3. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, then spices and mix together 
  4. Add mashed bananas and milk, then mix
  5. Fold in walnuts 
  6. Spread into greased 13x9 pan 
  7. Melt chocolate peanut butter spread or Nutella and drizzle over top
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 min







Friday, February 13, 2015

3 Sweet Treats for Your Valentines



Fill jars with discount store candy
to create an easy V-day candy station.

Even if you don't have a significant other, you can turn holidays like Valentine's Day into something extra special for your loved ones (and even yourself!). After all, we need treats here and there (does every day fall under that category?!), and the good news is that doing so does not need to cost a lot or take up much of your time. Be creative with items you already have around the home and let your imagination take over. Quick last-minute ideas can be a simple as organizing a candy station for the kids (left), creating a paper heart wreath (middle) to cheer up a single friend's home, or making a flower power LOVE craft for Mom (bottom). These 3 sweet treats that will surely stir up your own Valentine's Day inspiration: 

A paper heart wreath adds cheer to any room in the house. 
                                                         For instructions, check out: How to Make a Paper Heart Wreath

Mom will feel so loved when you give her this homemade V-day craft. 
                                           For craft steps, check out: How to Make a Flower Power Love Craft

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Our Valentine's Day CRAFTernoon

The cookie exchange party I hosted prior to Christmas with all of my fun and spunky girlfriends from work prompted a future get together. Since 2015 is my gun-ho year of creativity, I suggested a CRAFTernoon (of course). The day finally came. We met last Saturday with the kids and got crafty with Valentine's wreaths made of various scrapbook papers. It was so neat to see how unique each of our wreaths turned out, but we all admitted that it wasn't about the craft--or the tasty snacks and tea. The bottom line is we were thrilled to come together for the companionship and camaraderie. After all, what could be better than escaping into the creative zone . . . with friends?! That's why I encourage ladies everywhere to organize crafternoons and make a habit of gathering their girlfriends together for some good times. Here's what we did (and you can easily do it, too!):

We used stencils to create hearts on the 
scrapbook paper . , . 
 and then we cut out the hearts . .
(That sounds bad, like something from Indiana Jones. Hehe.) 
To form easy DYI paper wreaths!!!
How cute the wreaths are with the hearts facing outward . . . 
Look at what each of my craft buddies did. 
We called this one the "teacher" wreath since there are apples on the hearts. 
I couldn't resist myself and made a few V-day cards
(with scrapbook paper and stickers) for my family, too. 
This one's for my sis. Luv u, Annie! 

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