Colorful Journey · Inspirational Thoughts

The Joy of Gifts Given and Received

I’ve been thinking a lot about gifts this morning. There are many kinds of gifts. The most important are the gifts we receive from God. Those gifts are gifts that should be shared for building the Kingdom. I have struggled for years with whether I’m using my gifts to honor and bring glory to God or whether I’m using them selfishly. I suppose I have cultured a belief through the years that I am inadequate and can never be enough. Looking back I can see the times when my soul was injured and I have continued to hold on to and believe the lies. But the Bible tells me I am who God says I am. He never tells me I’m not good enough. He does challenge me, gives me new grace every day, and lets me know I can do all things through Christ. Breaking the stronghold the lies have in my mind is done through affirming God’s truth through His Word.

But on to other gifts. My daughter gave me a mug for my birthday which shows a back view of me sitting with my three cats and our names are included. After losing Charlotte, this mug became even more dear to me. My daughter gave it with love knowing how I would love it. This morning, my fingers failed me and I dropped a glass into the sink which hit the handle of the mug and broke it off. The glass also broke. Since the pieces were large, it was easy to clean the debris from the sink, but it made me so sad that this favored mug was now imperfect. I had to remember that nothing had changed except my view. The joy from the gift still remained. It is not perfect but neither am I. I, too, have been damaged through the years, but God still sees me through eyes of love. I still see the mug through eyes of love. And the joy of knowing my daughter received joy in the gifting as I received joy in the receiving remains a beautiful memory indeliably etched on my heart.

I look around my home and see it filled with gifts given and received with love. And I know I am truly blessed. My life isn’t perfect, but I choose to look at the positive in daily happenings. My mug might be broken, but it didn’t shatter and my hands weren’t cut. The gift continues to give.

Though last week was busier than usual with appointments, I still managed to find joy in coloring. Here are the results of my efforts:

Another mandala from the Jade Summer Rose Windows book.

 

Book: Colouring Heaven Burlesque Special Issue 69.
Illustrator: Neil Kendall

 

Book: Fairies
Illustrated by Ruth Sanderson Colored with pastel pencils

 

Also from book: Fairies
Illustrated by Ruth Sanderson Also done with pastel pencils

 

Book: Enchanted Forest
Illustrated by: Johanna Basford

 

Colorful Journey · Inspirational Thoughts

What God Revealed to Me About Hope

As the new year ended, and the new year dawned, I was still praying for God to share my word for this year. The theme for me to live out in 2021 revealed by God was “hope.” I wondered about this word because I feel I always have hope. Hope that things will get better, that God will bring goodness out of a bad decision, out of illness, out of pain. So I thought about what God wanted me to see in hope…how I could use this to bring glory to Him…and how to encourage others to embrace hope.

And as I read chapter 9 of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp this morning, I began to wonder if she had a website with more info on seeing gifts. The website led me to read her blog and I found this wonderful blog about hope from December 21, 2020. Click here to read it, please! I know you will not be disappointed. I’m so delighted to have found this blog and intend stay connected.

Why have I never thought of hope as an action before? I’ve thought of it as something I have, but not as something I do! God is so patient with me. I’m still a work in progress.

The verse to supplement my living out hope is: “I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on Him. I have put my hope in His Word.” Psalm 130:5 NLT

As I move into setting up my planner with a vision board that I hope brings glory to God, I’m not only feeling hope, but anticipating living out this wonderful word. A word that will strengthen my faith and build my trust in God. And, so friends, I end my brief discourse on hope and turn to share the colors I’ve immersed myself in during this past week of deep gray skies.

This first picture I colored with Black Widow pencils and gel pens. My pencil sharpener decided to roll over and die and I barely finished the bright orange colored suit. So for the rest of the week, I resorted to other media until a new sharpener arrived. LOL!

Steampunk Special Issue 47 by Colouring Heaven
Illustrator: Hannah Lynn

This next one I colored with alcohol markers. I just love coloring in this book and seeing the beautiful results of a stained glass window.

Rose Windows by Creative Heaven

This picture is the one I completed the first week of December but couldn’t reveal until the end of the month. It was so much fun to see how my two daughters colored the same picture. One did a beautiful pink dragon, and one did a very scary looking green dragon. I used markers, pastels, and stickles glitter on this one.

Fairy Companions Book Picture: Dragon Skies Illustrated by: Selena Fenech

This picture I completed with the Gelly Roll Stardust glitter pens. It is the first picture in the same book as the Dragon Skies above.

This is from the Fairy Companions book illustrated by Selena Fenech.

And lastly, I worked on my diamond painting. This one is Fireside Christmas purchased from Diamond Art Club. It is a 22 inch by 22 inch (56cm by 56 cm) painting. For those who diamond paint, you’ll understand what I mean when I say it is nearly all confetti! I am not officially half-finished. Maybe I can actually hang it on the wall next Christmas.

Fireside Christmas
purchased from Diamond Art Club

And that is all my completed works for this past week. As 2021 unfolds, I wish you all the joy and peace that comes from living in hope! Until next week…keep believing.

Colorful Journey · Inspirational Thoughts

A Visitor with a Message of Hope

 

I believe this is a heron. Could be an egret.

There he sat, perched at the peak of my neighbor’s roof. My mouth opened in awe. A sight never seen before. I watched as he sat motionless on one leg. Like a statue. The grungy sky appeared to be pressing on him, yet as a breeze ruffled his feathers, he kept his balance. I couldn’t stop looking at him, nor did I want to, as a message became clear. A reminder to keep my balance no matter how dirty or grungy the world around me might be. A reminder that beyond the darkness lies hope eternal. Then, mission accomplished, he flew away. And I whispered, “Thank You, Lord.”

The past week held more worry and tears. I still miss my sweet Charlotte, and the thought that at any time, her siblings might also cross rainbow bridge, remains close in my thoughts. After all, they are now the equivalent of 88 human years. Older now than me. On Wednesday, my Templeton, didn’t quite complete a jump to the sofa beside me and it caused his hip to go out on him. I snatched him up, holding him close and telling him over and over that it was all right. That I had him. At 2:30 the next afternoon, I handed his carrier over to the vet tech. I sat in the car waiting to hear, dreading to hear, the results of x-rays. I prayed a lot. I cried a lot. God is good. Templeton is doing well on cosequin for felines and seems to be his old self again.

Still, my world’s colors have faded somewhat. No sunshine to lift my spirits. I cling tightly to knowing God loves me and this is only my temporary home. All I want for Christmas is for my family to be healthy and happy. Tangible things mean little. I would love to see healing and a cure across the world from COVID. I would love to see peace around the world. These are things I know God can fix, but in His big plan, only He knows why and what the outcome will be. We must endure the storm, and never lose sight of praising Him for the free gift of eternal life.

And so, as I end this weekly post, I leave you with my prayers, my love, and my wish for each of you to never, ever let go of hope.

Here are the few pictures I colored this week.

From Chibi Girls by Jade Summer
From Rose Windows by Creative Haven

 

From grayscale Fairies, grayscale coloring book by Ruth Sanderson
Colorful Journey · Inspirational Thoughts

Where is God?

The trees in my view are glowing this morning! A vivid reddish orange against a blue sky with green, green grass below. I smile as I welcome the day and the gift God has given me. I see Him in the beautiful colors outside my office window. I soak in the warmth of the colors His hands have created.

Some might ask where God is in this chaotic world. I don’t question. I see Him wherever I look. In the beauty of colors of autumn, the beauty in colors of skin, the beauty in the smiles and laughter of children, in the smile of the couple (the husband pushing his wife in a wheelchair) as I assist them into the elevator, the light-hearted conversation we share on the two floor ride upward. I see God in the birth of new babies, and in the deaths of those who are suffering when God calls them to heaven. God is beside me, inside me, behind me, in front of me. He is with me.

And so I bask in the beauty of God’s gifts this morning. I am warmed. I am blessed.

It has been a rather busy week, but one that included a nice lunch with good conversation and laughter with two of my favorite friends. I have to explain that my eyes are ultra sensitive to light, so in bright sunshine, I cannot see or even open my eyes. Thus the completely ridiculous expression on my face! LOL!

 

And now here are the colors I used to create picures this week!

Artist: Alena Lazareva Book: Christmas Time
Book: Jade Summer Chibi Girls Grayscale

 

Book: Colouring Heaven Sarah Kay Collection

And now I lift my cup of tea with a smile and wish you all a beautiful day and a beautiful week. Please remember to be kind to yourself and to others. God bless! Until next time…

Colorful Journey · Inspirational Thoughts

The Secret to Living a Colorful Life

Missed my weekend post because I got all caught up in celebrating my birthday! Another one bites the dust! I marked the number 77 off the books now and am officially in my 78th year. There was a time when my age bothered me and I worried about getting “old.” Now I realize even though the body slows down, God gave me a mind for eternity. I don’t worry about age. It’s just a number.

Three of my daughters took me to our favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch on Saturday. Haven’t laughed so hard in a long time! When we get together we always have a fun time. So happy our waiter added to the joviality. Phone calls from loved ones, cards, gifts….a lovely day of celebration.

One of my gifts was the book “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. I just finished reading chapter 2, and I highly recommend this book. I try to live my life giving thanks and seeing the positives instead of the negatives. In reading Chapter 2, I found clarification in how joy is found in thankfulness. Presenting our offering of thanksgiving to God is the key to joy and to our true salvation.

My daughter made me a journal to go along with this book, and I am looking forward to beginning a year of journaling on the joy I find in the gifts God provides every single day. On the back of every “tag” and insert in the journal is a space to write, and in addition there are 40 blank pages on which to write. I love the vintage look. Also sharing the one picture I colored from a book last week!

I’m learning that the secret for living a fulfilled and colorful life requires being thankful in all things. Never forget that Jesus broke bread and gave to each of the disciples, giving thanks just hours before he knew he was going to die a horrible death…for you and for me!

Until next time, remember to be kind, and find thankfulness in the gift of each new day! Happy November!!

Artist: Alena Lazareva
Book: Magical Autumn

 

 

 

 

Inspirational Thoughts

Conform or Be Transformed?

Church sermon today was part 2 of Unshakeable, following the story of Daniel. The big question to ponder after is: Will I conform to the world, or let my mind be transformed by God?

I’d like to say when confronted with choices such as Daniel was, I would remain strong and true to Christian values and morals. But would I?

If I look at Lot’s wife, she became conformed to the world after her family left Abraham and settled in Sodom. What a strong difference between that culture and the way they had been following with Abraham in their travels.

Did she easily conform? Was it a culture shock? I wonder if she found it easier to follow the crowd than to stand alone amid such sin.

Those decisions are part of my everyday life here in America where the general public seems to be against everything the Bible says. The ten commandments are ignored. Murder has extended to  innocent unborn children. Marriage is not always between a man and a woman. Sleeping together outside of marriage is acceptable. Sigh. But we see this as commonplace in the television shows, movies and even advertisements that we and our children view daily. Murdering others in video games is a sport children participate in with parental approval.

Everyone is doing it. So does that make these things acceptable to God as well as the world? Or have we filtered God our of our daily living activities? Have we begun to succumb to the world and then attend church on Sunday and believe we are living as Christians?

When Lot was told to leave Sodom before the city was punished, he did so, but bargained with where he would live next. And Lot’s wife…she was still being pulled by the Sodom world, she could not help looking back. Was she longing to stay?

How about us? Do we feel so comfortable conforming to the world, that we don’t want to change? When did we stop thinking about eternity and exchange it for current pleasure?

These are the thoughts running through my mind today as I self-analyze my own life and actions. I know I want to be transformed. In order to do that, I cannot conform. What changes will I need to make? What about you?

Inspirational Thoughts

Another Long and Quiet Sunday and I Miss…

Sunday. Some Sundays tug at the deepest emptiness in my heart. Not every Sunday. But when those long and quiet Sundays drag on, I can feel the tears building behind my eyes. That’s the me I hide behind a smile when I am with others. I’ve perfected the smile as part of the widow’s mask.

It has been 7 years, 3 months and 15 days since my hubby’s soul went to heaven. Not a day, hour, or minute goes by that I don’t miss him. Most days I keep busy and bury the sad thoughts with happy activities. I am blessed to have family and good friends. Jesus is my daily companion. So, why this long and quiet Sunday?

Ah, those good old Sundays when hubby and I would have brunch after church and then head to a little fish joint to enjoy a senior dinner together where we met new friends and often reunited with old ones. Life was fuller then. We had each other for company. We shared hugs. We kissed. We loved. And then he was gone.

The reality of living alone settled on me and oh, how I struggled to find a new normal. I’m not sure I’ve found it yet. What my days consist of are hours of keeping hands and mind busy so the absence of voices isn’t the loudest thing in my home.

Perhaps the blessing is that I’ve always been a bit of an introvert. Never enjoyed the party scene or being in a crowd of acquaintances and strangers. I much prefer a smaller, intimate group of friends. With the pandemic, it has been a plus that I’m used to living alone. But, those long, quiet Sundays emphasize I’m alone with my thoughts.

I miss my family. The impromptu drop-ins, the conversations, the smiles, the hugs, the love. Have you ever felt alone in the midst of family? Have you ever hurried to pick up your mobile phone when you hear a text come through hoping it is a contact from a family member? Have you ever tried to explain you don’t mind living alone, but miss the company of others? Sigh.

But God…

When I’m feeling Satan tap on the lonely part of my heart, I can find comfort from God. I pick up my Bible and read. I pray. I shed tears.

And I blog . . . because it is a long, quiet Sunday and I miss . . . voices.