Monday, June 21, 2010

See-Saws, Circles and Tightropes OH MY!!!

Hello my poor, neglected blog. Lots of things have been going on lately and taking over my thoughts and time. But, I'm here, for another blog post that I hope will inspire you, lift you up and maybe make you think about God, Christianity and sin in a different way.

Growing up I lived in a see-saw kind of world with my Christianity. I felt that I was better than other people because I went to church and did good things, so that made me feel high off the ground. But I knew that I still sinned (Stealing a friend's Lisa Frank stickers [what? it was a big deal back then...].... Saying I had cleaned my room when everything was just crammed underneath my bed... ) and because of that I felt like I wasn't really a Christian and I felt very low. I struggled with my See-Saw Christianity for a long time. When I went to college I started learning more about mercy and grace and forgiveness, but it wasn't until I was about 21-23 that I actually understood it. And even now, I have days where I feel on top of the Christian world, and days where I feel I'm the scum of the secular world.


1 John 1:8-10 - "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves
&; the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins,
 He is faithful and just &; will forgive us our sins
 and purify us from all unrighteousness.
If we claim we have not sinned we make Him out to be a liar
 & His word has no place in our lives."

For a long time, I looked at Christianity as a tightrope. A very fine tightrope that I had to stay on to go to heaven. If I sinned, I fell off the tightrope and I was no longer a Christian. As long as I was perfect little Christian, I got to stay on the tightrope and knew I was okay. Like I said, I didn't learn much about mercy and grace until a few years ago and the truth is, I'm still learning, I'm still trying to comprehend, still trying to understand. It's a simple concept... when you look at it from God's viewpoint. But from my view, here on the tightrope, it's a balancing act that really seems impossible to understand. Me? Deserve grace? Deserve forgiveness? ME? Really?!!?!?


The truth is... I'm a sinner. I've sinned in the past, I'm going to sin in the future. I am, I will; you have, you will. But just because I sin, doesn't mean that I fall off the tightrope. In fact, there's not even a tightrope for me to fall off of! All those times, I was afraid... afraid of sinning and getting kicked out of God's circle. Have you felt like that too?

It's time to stop worrying about staying in the circle of not sinning. It's time to stop living in fear that we are eternally seperated from God for every sin we commit. We sin. It's not something we can hide from God; it's not a secret. In fact, in verse 8 - "If we claim to be without sin, we decieve ourselves." We have to acknowledge that we are going to make mistakes. We are going to slip up. We are going to step outside that circle. We are going to fall off that tightrope. But God isn't pushing us away.

Rom. 5:1 - "Therefore since we have been justified through faith,
 we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

We sin, but God will justify us through our faith. Please don't mistake me. I'm not saying you can run around committing all sorts of sins, expecting to just turn back to God and be a Christian... no, no my friend, I'm not saying that at all. There is a REAL difference between the person that slips up, makes a wrong decision, is misguided by their physical desires and errs, and the person that sets out willingly defiant, blatantly sinning, and not caring about the consequences of their actions and never feeling repentive of what they've done. For those kinds of people, this is not the message for them.

This message is for people, who like me, have felt... "not good enough." Who have felt like we've fallen off the tightrope and that we're now lost in the abyss below. For those of us who've felt this way, understand this:

Christianity is not a tightrope; it's a relationship.

Sin is horrible. It hurts God, us, other people in our lives. It is an ugly, nasty thing. But if we continue to turn towards God, seek His will FIRST in our lives, and repent of our sins, God will justify us and it will simply be... "what sin?"

-- Many Blessings --

Monday, June 14, 2010

And the winner is....


Many thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway last week!

And the winner is....



And the 16th comment was left by Sue of MySavior.

MYSAVIOR said...

The only thing that could cause a lull in my creativity would be a lack of energy. How can I be outside and not be inspired?
♥♥♥

Sue

June 10, 2010 8:05 PM
 
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Congrats Sue! Please contact Pam at the Electric Penguin to claim your prize! :D Thanks!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lady GooGoo - Faith like Hannah and Sarah

What a wonderful evening! I cooked a fabulous meal with a menu of: spaghetti, ciabatta bread with cheese, salad, green beans and brownies (yes, there are leftovers if any one wants to come over... ) and invited our preacher and his wife over for dinner. It was a lovely dinner filled with lovely conversations with lovely people.



At one point, the conversation took a more serious turn as the subject of having children came up. You see... I've been keeping a secret for a while. Some of the people from my Etsy TeamCAC know that my husband and I have been wanting children for a while but have had some difficulty with getting pregnant and all that. Well, the secret is... I'm barren. Okay... so I'm not completely barren. I could go through the really expensive infertility treatments and have a chance of getting pregnant OR I could be like Hannah and Sarah from the Bible and have miracle babies but when it comes down to me and Joey getting pregnant on our own, the likelihood of that happening is not very great. Sooo... I have to keep this mindset of being barren or I will literally be on a lifelong rollercoaster of hope and expectations followed by despair and depression.

I wanted to go through with the infertility treatments BUT... my insurance does not cover them and the initial consult with the specialist is $2000. And any treatment she does ranges from $5000-$7000 EACH! Here's a kicker though.... abortion is covered by my health insurance... but not infertility treatments. Sad... but true.



Okay... so the secret is out and truth be told, the preacher (whose name is Wayne) has known about all of this as it's progressed. Anyway... so at dinner we got to talking about having children and how we were looking at adoption. We've been looking at it for a while now, but always kept shutting the door on it because we just can't afford it. A regular adoption through a public agency ranges from $15,000-$20,000. Again, we can't afford that. But tonight, Wayne removed that door that we had been shutting. Tonight, Wayne told us to go ahead and whenever we're ready, start the paperwork for adoption and to NOT worry about the cost. He said the church will cover the costs or he'll give us his motorcycle.

SOOOOO.... I will be starting the adoption paperwork asap and I just ask for everyone's thoughts and prayers during this time. I'm so excited and scared and nervous and happy and just.... I don't know.




I've always wanted to be a mother and I've been so afraid that wouldn't happen and now.... well it's exciting that it will. I've just got to have faith like Hannah and Sarah and trust in God. I'm too excited to write anymore and I need to go do my daily Bible reading so I'm going to cut this short. But I had to share the good news and ask everyone for prayers. Just call me Lady GooGoo ;) haha.  

God bless and goodnight!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Drawing Inspiration Giveaway!



So... I went on this furlough where I didn't make anything new for a while. Part of the reason is that I was filling orders for others. Another part of the reason was because I was just busy with other things in my life. But another part of the reason is that I just wasn't inspired to create anything. That yearning deep in my soul to create, wasn't really there. Being a self-proclaimed artist, writer, poet, jewelry maker, etc., I understand lull in the creative process. I think many people try to fight against it and just tell themselves they gotta push through. I think that works for some people, but it doesn't work for me. If I fight against the lulls and just push through, I end up resenting whatever I make. The end project is not made from my overflow but instead from my stubbornness and determination. And honestly, it shows in the work.



I want my art, my jewelry, my crafting of other things, my poems, my writings to be an overflow from my soul. I want to be so filled with passion, creative desire, creativity, joy, happiness, and magic fairy dust that it spills out of me and I have to go create something right NOW. I've found that when that happens, the process is more fun, and the end result is well... better. So what did I do during my furlough of little to no creativity? Well... I blogged, I read books, I prayed, I spent time with my husband, in short... I worked on me. No, not one of the self-help books kind of work on me. Haha, no not like that at all. But I worked on me in a rejuvenating my soul kind of way. It's good for a person to rejuvenate and recharge if you will, so they can have room in their soul once again for inspiration to take hold. It's good to fill yourself back up with other things you love, and then when you're so full you're overflowing, you're ready to get back to whatever it is you like doing. And whatever that is, becomes more fun and the end result is always better. Thus rejuvenation leads to inspiration which leads to creation.



So... I have a new giveaway coming up today. YAY! Brought to you by a wonderful lady named Pam from the Etsy shop Electric Penguin. Pam has been making jewelry for a little over a year now but says she's always done crafting and art projects. You can read a great interview with her here. But for the purpose of my giveaway and this inspiration theme I keep coming back to, I asked Pam:

"From where do you draw your inspiration for your jewelry designs?"

Everywhere!! Nature, other designers, really boring work meetings, a trip to the bead store, or in the case of my Beer Beads - a really cool label!

 


Yes Pam, I too draw inspiration from everything, everywhere! It really doesn't take much for me. I hate admitting this, but I've even quickly reached for my notebook (I always keep one in my purse) during a sermon at church to sketch out a new design for a piece of jewelry that just popped into my head. But I've learned that when inspiration strikes, don't ignore it.


All of the photos you've seen so far in this post are from Pam's wonderful shop. She really has an uncanny ability to make jewelry that doesn't fit into the regular mold of jewelry. It's different, wonderful, beautiful, eclectic and just really delightful! It should have a category of it's own called "Statement Jewelry", because that's what it really does.

So are you ready for the giveaway part? Because looking at all this fabulous jewelry, you know it's going to be a fabulous giveaway. And yes, you would be correct. Pam is going to give one winner their choice from the following bracelets. The lucky winner will get to pick ONE of these bracelets to have as their very own.


Green Bracelet
.
.
.
Red Bracelet
.
.
.
Blue Bracelet
.
.
.

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HOW TO ENTER:

1) Go to Electric Penguin, find your favorite item (there's LOTS to choose from) and post the link here in a comment.

2) Leave a comment telling me from where you draw your inspiration.

3) Leave a comment telling me what you do when you experience a lull in your creativity.

[REMEMBER: There are THREE (3) ways to enter but your entries only count if they are left in seperate comments.]

The winner will be chosen at random and will be announced next Sunday.

The giveaway ends Saturday, June 12th, at midnight CST.

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GOOD LUCK TO ALL WHO ENTER! :D

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Life is a Whirlwind...

It's strange how some months seem so jam packed with events, obligations and responsibilities, while other months seem mundane and even boring! This year, May has been an absolute whirlwind! I had my Dad's birthday, Joey's birthday, my birthday, my uncle's birthday, at least 4 cousin's birthdays, my cousin's graduation, my little brother's graduation, my older brother's wedding, my little cousin's wedding, several wedding showers, weddings, and such, and I'm sure more stuff in there that I can't even think of right now. It's been insane! June isn't looking much calmer either... EEK! O.o Oh well... it's all worth it and I'd rather be too busy than too bored. Besides, I'm thankful I have the family I do. It's better that I have a loving, wonderful family than a family that doesn't bother sharing anything with anyone. So.... I'm okay with it all. In fact, I'm glad for it all.

Now... many of you know that I've been busy making bracelets for my Etsy friend and sister in Christ, Lindsay. Well... this weekend I should have the last of those done and sent off to her. For those of you who have been asking about them... I will be listing them in my this weekend or early next week... stay tuned for that. You can purchase them through my Etsy shop or my emailing me directly at vivatreginacrafts@yahoo.com. And just a little reminder of what these are for, you can read this. And just a little reminder of what they look like, here's a picture of one:



  
I can't guarantee you the blue beads will look exactly like this, but I can guarantee you that the red beads will look like this and the blue beads will be this style, just perhaps a different shade of blue.


Also... I've been making lots of fun and beautiful things for my brother's wedding. I made the bouquets, boutonneires, centerpieces and pom decorations. And when I got to the wedding I became the event decorator, cake decorator, wedding coordinator, gopher, photographer (at least with my Dad's camera), server and whatever else they needed me to do. Here's a few samples of my work: 


   
One of the bridesmaid bouquets. Their colors were purple and green and I have to say, I matched the purple flowers PERFECTLY to the bridesmaid dresses. *pats self on back* Yeah, I'm pretty proud of that.



This is an upclose shot of the bouquet. I made the little bouquet jewels that you see here. These are available in my shop now! Just look in the section, "I Do Customized". These little jewels really look awesome in ANY floral arrangement. Bouguets, boutonneires, centerpieces. You can even stick them on a cake, in cup cakes, the possibilities really are ENDLESS.
I'm starting it out just as a section in my shop and hope that one day,
it can be a shop of it's own when it grows up. ;)


One of the boutonneires I made. Very simple, very classy, very elegant. I'm considering making these and selling them out of my shop as well. I think they turned out WONDERFULLY and would love to be able to make some customized boutonneires for someone else's wedding. If anyone's interested, please email me at vivatreginacrafts@yahoo.com. :)

I'm kind of doing wedding coordinating on the side right now. Just helping out friends and family, but I would like to turn this into more of a business later on this year. I'm just praying about it and seeing what happens.

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Now, I FINALLY got my birthday presents in. YAY!!! And I couldn't wait to get pictures of them and get them up here to show you all! My hubby hasn't done the best job of picking out gifts as you can read about here. But this year, for my birthday, he did AWESOME!!! I've really been wanting a right-hand emerald ring so YIPPEE!!! And the watch is something I saw in a Christmas catalog but of course when you're travelling and buying for everyone else over the holidays, we don't get to spend too much on each other. So this was super nice... :)






Alrighty, I've got lots more to share with you, but you must wait until my next post. I know, I'm sorry... I'm just as impatient as you are. But trust me... after the kind of month May was, I need a little breather in between blogs. So take a break, fix some iced coffee (I made one today and it was scrum-diddly-umptious), and relax. Afterall... summer is almost upon us... ;)


So... I'm curious... what is YOUR most hectic month?