Saturday, June 22, 2013

DIY Custom Wall Art- 10 Easy Steps

Once in a while I get all inspired and form crazy creative ideas of being talented and artistic. To be honest, my siblings are incredibly creative and clever. Me, not so much. However, I'm a pretty quick learner J

 So, I began my Saturday DIY living room photo project. And here begins the start of an ongoing living-room-kitchen-make-over. And isn't that what summer breaks are for?

Step 1-
Go to San Francisco and take too many photos of the Golden Gate Bridge than any person could ever use or want. Ok, you can skip this step, but we were there, so I utilized the opportunity.

Step 2-
Purchase/gather supplies:
Foam Insulation Board from either Lowes or Home Depot
Elmer's Spray Adhesive
Acrylic Paint (I used black) and Paint Brush
Duct Tape and Twine (for hanging)

Step 3-
Choose that perfect photo and turn it black & white. I use Adobe Photoshop Elements. Once you've cropped and edited, go to and choose Engineer Prints. (It's important to decide what size you want your finished print to be before the editing process.) My local Staples offers these prints in 18"x24", 24"x36", and 36"x48".  I chose 36"x48", downloaded my print, and picked it up just a few hours later.

Step 4-
Cut your foam board to fit your large print using a utility knife. I cut it slightly smaller than my print so I could wrap the print around the sides of the board, leaving crisp, clean edges.

Step 5-
Remove the sticker from the front of your foam board and spray, spray, spray. Use lots of spray glue to ensure a secure bond.

Step 6-
Now this is the tricky/difficult part. Carefully lay your print on your sticky foam board and press all bubbles and wrinkles out.

Step 7-
Spray the edges of your board and wrap each side, pulling as tightly as possible to get that crisp edge.  I then put Duct Tape around the edges to ensure years of security J

Step 8-
Using your acrylics, paint the edges of your photo. You can paint around the side edges only, or bring the paint to the front as well to give it a fun, less crisp look. I used black, but any color would add character to your photo.


Step 9-
After the paint is dry, flip your photo over. Now make your beautiful portrait ready to display by using your twine and duct tape. Use lots of tape so your twine doesn't slip out.

Step 10-
Flaunt your enormous wall hanging for all to enjoy J

This is the first one I made for display in my classroom. You can see I brought the black paint onto the front of the photo, giving it more character. 

These were made by printing color 8½" x 11" photos from my home printer.

This is next on the DIY list! The docks of San Francisco with Alcatraz in the background.

Do you have a DIY project to share? Would you leave your link here for us? Thanks for visiting!

Linking up with The Better Mom.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shedding Tears and Sin {Five Minute Friday}

Lisa-Jo offers the challenge week after week: take a measly five minutes and write. No over thinking, no backtracking, no ‘wait, that’s not spiritual enough, and I can’t share that in cyber city’ mentality. Only writing. Writing for five minutes and risking the outcome. {and don’t forget to spend some time commenting on the post of the person who linked up just before you.}

This week's prompt- Rhythm


It's been a week of exhaustion and exaltation. We've welcomed little ones and walked them right up to that cross. They drew a little picture, wrote their name on that print, and marched one after another. "Jesus is calling you by name." I tell her. She looks at me, eyes wide and full of wonder. "He loves you and He wants to wash away your sin. Put that sin right there on that cross. Right there where Jesus' blood poured out."

And I see the tears. This isn't a game to her. She knows she's a sinner and she knows Jesus is here. Now. I hug her and she walks away.

They come one after another. "Jesus loves you so much, and He's calling you by your name." I fear it's too repetitive, but I know the words are true. The first time and the hundredth time. And the words aren't my own but they are life and they come from the Life Giver.

One after another. Coming to the cross and shedding the tears and the sins and the life they lived this morning in their living rooms and at their kitchen tables with Mom and Dad and neighbors who watch from across the way.

It's more than words. It's the rhythm of a Savior and the power of the Holy Spirit working through the heart of servants.


It's been an emotional experience of Vacation Bible School at our church this week. Would you pray for God's little ones tomorrow? And for His big one's sharing Christ's love, forgiveness, and merciful grace? Their hearts are raw and ready. And Jesus is calling each one by name.

Now head over to The Gypsy Mama's site to visit other 'Five Minute Fridayers.' Be amazed at where one word can take a community of writers and Jesus lovers, and leave some encouraging feedback. Most importantly, it's your turn, go fall onto a chair, and let your thoughts fall into a keyboard. Then share them with us. 

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Fall {Five Minute Friday}

Lisa-Jo offers the challenge week after week: take a measly five minutes and write. No over thinking, no backtracking, no ‘wait, that’s not spiritual enough, and I can’t share that in cyber city’ mentality. Only writing. Writing for five minutes and risking the outcome. {and don’t forget to spend some time commenting on the post of the person who linked up just before you.}

This week's prompt- Fall

When I first glanced at the word, I was reminded of last fall. A handful of grown-ups all trying to heed God's call took in a school full of children. Children that loved Jesus, even in all their awkward worship and insecure prayers. Last fall we welcomed them. In nine months we fell head-over-heels for them. Yesterday we said goodbye. And next fall we'll start again, just a little more wise, and lot more like the Savior.

Then last night my son came in to hug me, and we marveled at just how God knit and fashioned us- to hug neck to neck, face tucked into shoulders, falling into one another just so. He's still eleven, and he never ceases to tell me he loves me more and offer remindful embraces. I'd fall in love with him over and over, this boy of mine.

Then there is the fall of course, and the only way to battle that dilemma is to fall head first in love with Jesus Himself, the one who fell to the ground and died that we might live. The One who lost His life and then took it up for eternal life. For yours and mine. The one who gave up all and became the Perfect Man, defeating death by his own.

And don't be ignorant concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. Because those who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. And I am reminded of Nancy. And of the family left behind, left to continue living this life. And I pray they too have fallen for the "only One worth living for," and are comforted by the God of all comfort and the Father of mercy. That they would see their loved one again. That they would not fall into temptation, but be delivered from the evil one.

Now head over to The Gypsy Mama's site to visit other 'Five Minute Fridayers.' Be amazed at where one word can take a community of writers, and leave some encouraging feedback. Most importantly, it's your turn, go fall onto a chair, and let your thoughts fall into a keyboard. Then share them with us. 

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The God of All Comfort

She started out as our neighbor; the woman with the big blonde hair and bright blue eye shadow dwelling across the street. It wasn't long before my sister made herself known and developed a new best friend. The woman with all that hair, living across the street, was no longer just a neighbor. She was my sister's best friend's mom. As typically happens, the years flew by and my sister was married. She became one with an annoying neighborhood kid. Not just any neighborhood kid, the brother to her very best friend; son to the woman with the big blonde hair. And this woman morphed into someone so much more; more than just a neighbor or a good friend's mom, she was now my sister's mother-in-law. She was now Nana to my niece and nephew. Our families were bound to be connected, we were destined to share lives.

And yesterday I had the opportunity to glimpse a little more into the life of this woman. She lived a bountiful one with three kids and four grandkids. And then she passed away. A few shared their stories of her. Some laughed, some cried, some simply sat, listening. It was her own sister, and then her preciously aged mother that broke my heart. It's the thing siblings and parents never anticipate- attending the funeral of a sister. A daughter. Everyone who ever lived has or will die. But we never expect it to happen to the ones we love so dearly.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

And then that pastor shared from the Word. His crazy passion for Jesus and zeal for the scriptures saturated that room and filled every heart. He exhorted us with God's comfort, and compelled us to live for Jesus, "the only One worth living for."

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

"You know, this word comfort…" He began to proclaim. "It's not just any comfort. This is an uninterrupted kind of comfort."

And he shared with this family. He spoke directly to my sister, to my brother-in-law, to my niece and nephew, and then to everyone in that church. He exhorted us, and he reminded us. Isn't that what funerals often do? Don't they frequently turn back the clock? Reminding us of times back when, and of lives we've left behind? We are forced to take a few steps back and evaluate this world. Our world. What am I doing with myself? And where is Jesus in all of it?

"You remember your baptism?" He was all wound up over this long ago memory. "Remember how badly your back hurt? Remember the pain? Oh yeah, I remember. And I remember you saying this 'There's nothing that will keep me from getting baptized.'"

We all left that place feeling like there was hope. And I think Nancy, the one I remember from the age of seven, the one with the fancy blue eye shadow and memorable blonde curls, would have wanted it that way.

"Because Nancy loved Jesus!" He reminded anyone who dare forget. "And we WILL see her again!"

Do you love Jesus? Are you comforted by Him with an uninterrupted kind of comfort? When you leave this life, as we all must, will you wake to find yourself in His presence? Will your loved ones find hope and consolation on that day, knowing you will spend eternity with the Savior? Because "He's the only One worth living for."

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Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Seat of Mercy {Bible Study}

Oh ladies, I'm so excited about this one! If you are one that stays as far away from the Old Testament books as possible, always flipping to the last three-quarters of the Word, you are not alone. Honestly, it's tiresome and tedious work- perusing through exhaustive genealogies, gruesome battles, endless laws, and difficult commands. It makes a girl grow weary. And goodness, don't we all want to open the Word and be inspired and encouraged.

Well, if that's what you are seeking- inspiration and encouragement- then you MUST turn to the book of Exodus. Yes, I realize it's an Old Testament writing full of stiff-necked broods, but you absolutely must go there! Treasures await you!!!

Please start by reading Exodus 25:18-22

We covered this a little in my last (and very first!) bible study on this blog, Dwelling Among Men {Bible Study}. If you haven't completed that one, then go there now. Otherwise press on, sisters! It's a long road, but I promise you, the result will be worth the tedious journey.

In Exodus 25, God is giving Moses precise instructions on constructing the tabernacle- specifically the Ark of the Covenant. God's purpose for this divine declaration was simple, yet profound: The God of eternity desired to dwell among sinful men of flesh. That's you and me, girls!

Let's look at a couple other arks in the scriptures. Read Genesis 6:17-19, and Exodus 1:22, 2:2-3. Now look again at Exodus 25:16. What were these three arks used for?

The arks were created to preserve and protect God's precious cargo. God established His covenant with Noah by preserving him, his family, and selected beasts of the earth from the destruction of floodwaters with the shelter of the ark. Jochebed fashioned an ark of bulrushes for her son, safeguarding him from Pharaoh's slaughter. Eventually the one sheltered in an ark would be given orders to assemble another kind of Ark; an Ark that would preserve and testify unlike anything else of its kind.

Moses wasn't instructed to build just another ark. In fact, the word for ark mentioned in Genesis 6:17-19 and Exodus 1:22, 2:2-3 is the Hebrew word tebah which simply means box or vessel. However, the word for Ark used for the Ark of the Testimony in Exodus 25:16 is an entirely different Hebrew word: arown.

Read Genesis 50:26. Read it a couple times if necessary to decipher how the Hebrew word arown is used in this passage.

You guessed it! It's used in reference to a coffin. In fact, this is the first usage of this specific word in the scriptures and refers to Joseph's coffin. The Ark of the Covenant was in actuality a coffin. In the King James Bible this Hebrew word is translated as coffin one time, chest six times, and Ark one hundred ninety-five times.  And this Ark always refers to the Ark of the Covenant.

According to Hebrews 9:3-5, what was eventually placed inside this coffin?

This ark or coffin contained some very specific and meaningful items: the golden pot of manna (Exodus 16:33-34), Aaron's rod that budded (Numbers 17:1-10), and the tablets of the covenant, also known as the ten commandments (Exodus 25:16).

Ladies, these items illustrate a glorious revelation of the work of Christ! Stay with me here. Don't quit now! We've only looked at the coffin and its contents. Let's not stay in this place of death. Flip back to Exodus chapter 25. 
According to verse 10, what were the measurements of the Ark of acacia wood? ___________________________________________________________________

What else did God command they make and what was its measurements according to verse 17? 

Through the Levitical Law, God gave Moses the purpose and instructions for the Mercy Seat. It was to be the exact same dimensions as the Ark, and was placed upon the Ark as a lid, or covering. The High Priest, the only one given divine permission to enter into the Most Holy Place, was to come before the Ark of the Covenant  on the Day of Atonement and sprinkle blood from a bull and a goat onto the Mercy Seat. This would make atonement for himself, for his household, and for all the assembly of God (Leviticus 16:17).

What do Colossians 2:16-17 and  Hebrews 10:1-4 teach us about these Old Testament laws and regulations?

Who does Luke 24:44 tell us the Law of Moses teaches about?

The writings of Moses, the Old Testament Law, and the tabernacle regulations and requirements all pointed to one gloriously magnificent Being- Jesus the Christ. The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. The One who was and is and is to come. The Almighty.

So what is this Mercy Seat? The more accurate question might be WHO is this Mercy Seat? Let's look more closely at the Hebrew word for Mercy Seat: kapporeth meaning covering. We've seen it as a lid placed on top of the coffin, or Ark, containing holy Old Testament items. However, the Mercy Seat represented much more than this. The Mercy Seat represented the coming Mercy Giver-Jesus Christ.

Open up to Hebrews 9:1-5 to find a New Testament reference to the Old Testament Mercy Seat. What were the cherubim overshadowing according to verse 5? 

Please read Romans 3:24-25.  What did God send Christ Jesus as, according to this passage?

Some translations use the words sacrifice of atonement or sacrifice for sin in verse 25, but most translate it as propitiation. Christ is the Propitiation. I can't help it. I have to go to the Greek definition again, and I think you're going to enjoy it as much as I did! Ready for it? This Greek word hilasterion means an atoning victim, or the lid of the Ark, or the Mercy Seat. Did you catch that? The word for Mercy Seat in Hebrew 9:5 and the word for propitiation in Romans 3:25 are identical. They are one and the same. Christ is our Mercy Seat.

The Old Testament coffin depicted a New Testament death. The covenant of death, the covenant that could save no man, the covenant that brought only condemnation- this covenant was placed into a coffin, sealed, and covered by the Mercy Seat. Over one-thousand years later, Jesus Christ, our Mercy Seat came to cover sin by conquering the death of the grave.

Let's close with one last magnificent Old Testament , New Testament correlation. I pray this leaves you just as awestruck as it has me.

Look closely at Exodus 25:18-20 and answer the following questions:
Where were the cherubim to be precisely placed?

What did these cherubim look like?

Verse 20 tells us specifically what direction they faced and exactly what they were to look upon. What was it?

Now turn to John 20:11-12.
Where is Mary looking in verse 11? ___________________________________________
What did Mary behold in verse 12? ___________________________________________
Where exactly where these angels seated? ______________________________________

Can you fathom it? I wonder if Mary envisioned the Mercy Seat at that very moment. I wonder if she imagined the implications of what had taken place, of what she was witnessing. Do you think she grasped the sum of it all? Certainly we cannot, as even the apostles couldn't speak in detail (Hebrews 9:5).  But put yourself there for just a moment and visualize those angelic beings. Can you imagine one at the head, and the other at the foot of the place where the perfect, yet crushed body of Christ lay? Wings outstretched above that Mercy Seat, touching one another and protecting the Propitiation with every ounce of authority bestowed upon them. Their eyes never left the Appointed One. And then He rose. They couldn't keep it to themselves, but shared with any who dared approach, "He is not here, He is risen!"

He's risen, ladies! The One who poured out blood and water, the One who lay in a tomb for three days, the one who showed His resurrected Self to over five-hundred at one time- He lives!  He's living as your Mercy Seat, covering your sins, making intercessions, having abolished death. This Man of Mercy is now seated at the right hand of the Father. Now it's your turn. Go spend time with the Giver of Life, Grace, and Mercy.

Write your prayer to Him here

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