Monday, September 1, 2014

The Proverbs 31 Woman - What She Is and Isn't

The Proverbs 31 Woman is part of a lesson taught to King Lemuel by his mother. In its original language, it was written so that each verse began with each consecutive letter of the alphabet, making it easier for a young child to memorize.

This wise mother was teaching her son what to look for in a wife, and it's an amazing example for us as Christian women to pattern our lives after.

The Proverbs 31 Woman is:
- trustworthy (v11)
- thoughtful (v12)
- willing (v13)
- diligent (v14)
- productive (v15)
- thrifty (v16)
- strong (v17)
- industrious (v18)
- crafty (v19)
- compassionate (v20)
- protective (v21)
- considerate (v22)
- an influence (v23)
- entrepreneurial (v24)
- honorable (v25)
- wise (v26)
- hard-working (v27)
- God-fearing (v30)

All of this seems like a heavy load for us, though. I don't know about you, but this list of expectations can be a bit overwhelming.We look at this list and think we could never measure up. But we also need to look at the things she isn't.

The Proverbs 31 is NOT:
- perfect
- tireless
- a robot
- going nonstop
- SuperWoman
- always ... anything

She is an example for you and me - something to strive for in our daily lives. We aren't expected to use her as a checklist to make sure we accomplish everything she would do every single day. That would be both exhausting and unnecessary.

Instead, as she has been included in the cannon of Scripture for our learning, we can look to her as God's pattern for a godly woman. I pray that you will read this passage of Scripture often and pray that the Lord will show you where you can grow to be like her and show you the ways you already are.

The Proverbs 31 Woman should be an encouragement to us that we can truly be the women God wants us to be.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Sketch

I've only done cards with "ribbons" on them a couple of times, but I really like they way the paper strip looks on this sketch. (Please don't mock my drawing this time - I'm not the best draw-er of ribbons in the world.)

On this sketch, you'll have a solid color as the background and a busier print pattern on top. The paper strip will have a notch cut out of the bottom to make it look like a ribbon and will be made from a lighter color so the phrase stands out.

Let your imagination run wild with the embellishments. You'll want them to be a little bigger than normal so they'll stand out against the busy patterned paper and the plain-ness of the paper strip.
For my card, I used a very neutral color for the background and a textured autumn decorator paper on top of it. The paper strip has some texture to it, too, and has a notch cut out of the bottom to make it look like ribbon. (Just cut a square of paper and use it as a template.)

I used vellum stickers for the greeting, so the paper had to be a little lighter for it to stand out. Then it's accented with several paper flowers, layered and attached with black metal brads.

This card, along with many other cards, paper crafts and wood gifts, can be found in our Etsy shop. Come visit us at www.stufffromtrees.etsy.com.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Weekend Of Much-Needed Rest

By the end of the day, most of us are beyond ready to sink into a nice, comfy bed. The pillows call your name, and thinking about wrapping up in warm, fluffy blankets sounds wonderful. Oh, sleep. What a lovely notion, right?

So why is it so difficult to sleep well? Do you feel as tired when you get up as you did when you went to bed? Do you have difficulty falling asleep and then even more difficulty waking up? Or do you find it difficult to make time for sleep at all?

Society has conditioned us to forget about rest. Do more. Have more. Be more. Think more. Plan more. Enjoy more. You can't do anything of these things if you're resting.

In the busyness of our lives, we neglect the one thing that will actually keep us going - rest. And not just a power nap, even though that sounds amazing right about now. You are actually craving the rest that covers mind, body and soul.

Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest. Exodus 34:21

Yes, this is a verse about keeping the Sabbath day holy, but the second portion speaks to you today and each day of your busy week. Even when there is work to be done, like the planting and harvest seasons, rest is necessary. It's hard to be productive or efficient when you're too tired to think. When it seems like there's more to do than hours to do it in, even then it's necessary to rest.

Rest is not evil, it's not lazy and it's definitely not just something else to add to your to-do list so you can cross it off. It's about recharging your internal batteries and spending some much-needed time in the arms of the Lord.

Make this a weekend of rest. True rest. Do whatever it takes for you personally to recuperate in all aspects of your life. Make time to restore your relationship with God. Reintroduce yourself to your family. Shut your mind off for just a little while. Wind your way through your Bible reading at a leisurely pace.

You'll find that rest can make all the difference in the world.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Before You Go Autumn Home Decor Shopping ... Read This!

 Many stores in our area have autumn home decor out now. Of course they also have Christmas decorations, too, but that's just wrong.

Before you go shopping for new home decor for fall, do what I did - go on a scavenger hunt in your own house. This morning I emptied a closet and boxes in the basement to see what I already had. Why spend good money on something when you probably have something similar already. It's weird how that works.


And goodness, did I hit the jackpot. In just two boxes, I found a table full of autumn home decor that i forgot I even had. There were miniature hay bales, lots of fall flowers, leave and moss, plus several baskets and candles.

 
I also found some scarecrows, flower pots, a Boyds bear and some vase fillers. My cornucopia was still mostly put together from last year, and I found a pumpkin with thanksgiving Scripture on it. It was like Christmas, only it was autumn and I already owned it. Even better!


So the scarecrows and vase filler went into glass candle holders in a basket in the bay window of the dining room. I showed you how to put together the coordinating flower arrangement next to it in a post last week.


On the dining room table is my cornucopia - one of my favorite pieces. I wrapped it in fall leaves garland and filled it with more garland, flowers cut from their stems, pine cones and battery-operated tea lights.


The mini hay bales are on the hi-fi with an apple candle in the candle warmer, a glass vase full of rocks and another tea light, plus some tree branches Danny made into chairs. You'll also notice baskets everywhere - some are filled with books while others have kindling and flowers.


You might be surprised at what you have tucked away in drawers and closets that you can use for home decor. Go on a scavenger hunt of your own before you head off to the store to get stocked up. You can save tons of money by reusing and repurposing the things you've used in years past.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

When People Show Their Anger

They're everywhere - people who are just plain mad. If you work any kind of job, you'll meet them every day. You did - or didn't - do something and now they're ready to tell you that.Strongly. In no uncertain terms.

So how do you deal with these people? Hang up on them? Yell back? Glare at them until they melt into the floor?

Hopefully you would never go to these extremes, but the feelings are very real. Here are five ways that you can diffuse the situation and find a more peaceful resolution.

1. Pray. Even if it's just a couple of words to ask for wisdom for yourself and peace in the other person's heart. Prayer should be the first resort in any situation, not the last. This small act will calm you down and keep you from acting in a way you'll regret later.

2. Be kind. Ultra-kind. Extra-kind. It's tempting to meet fire with fire, but that just creates more fire. Only you can control fire - choose your words carefully and watch your tone of voice. What comes out of your mouth at this moment can make all the difference in the lives of two people, you and them.

3. Learn something. What worked in the confrontation? Were you able to say something in particular that diffused the situation? Did your tone of voice change things? How did God answer your prayer and how does He want you to move on from here?

4. Breathe. When we're in a tense situation, we're not really paying attention to the little things. In the heat of the moment, we'll hold our breath until we know what's going to happen next. Unfortunately, that makes us even more tense because our body actually needs more oxygen to function in a difficult situation. So the first opportunity you have, breathe. In for four counts and out for six. Always breathe out the bad longer than you're breathing in the good. You'll automatically relax.

5. Clear your mind. Don't replay the conversation over and over again in your head. Don't play out scenarios of what you should have said or could still say after the fact. Control your thought life instead of constructing fantasies - which is all they are - about being smarter or quicker or wittier. You'll only work yourself up and feel worse in the process.

While we can't control someone else's anger, we can control how we react. It can be a scary, tense and frustrating experience when we're faced with anger, but we can strengthen our testimony by dealing with it in a godly way and not reacting in equal anger.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fall Paper Crafts For Upcoming Art Show

It's an exciting time around our house right now. We're going to have a booth at Walk On Art Street in mid-September, and we're crafting like crazy to have it fully stocked.

Danny's going to have his handmade pens along with lots of Christmas and other Christian-themed wood crafts. There are some gorgeous Christmas tree ornaments that will just knock your socks off.

And as you know, I'm in a fall frame of mind. And with the art show just before the first day of autumn, the timing works out perfectly.

So I've been putting together lots of pieces with a fall flair. These colors and textures are my favorites, so it's not like work at all. You'll recognize one of them from last weekend's sketch.

My favorite, though, is the first of several autumn notebooks. This one is a prayer journal, and there will also be praise journals and plain notebooks, each with some great Scriptures on the covers.

We'll have quite a variety of cards and gifts in the booth, but it will be nice to start off the fall season with something special.