Monday, April 30, 2012

Blog Spotlight: Jones Design Company

My amazing friend Leslie just sent me a link to the blog Jones Design Company, and it is awesome!

About JDC:
"Jones Design Company began as a small stationery design business in 2001. As my family has grown and my creative interests have expanded JDC has taken on a new identity as a lifestyle blog. This has become a delightful place to document projects, share ideas, offer my designs and hopefully make you smile along the way. You will find many free printable downloads, tutorials for simple and inexpensive projects, as well as my musings on family, faith, motherhood, design and the randomness that is my life."
This is Emily, the author and designer of Jones Design Company:

She wrote this note on the bottom of her blog:

"I love sharing my life on the blog - my thoughts, my struggles, my successes and those moments in between. My hope is that you will leave here feeling inspired and encouraged and perhaps like we're friends, even if we've never met. Please come back to visit soon!"
I had fun browsing her blog, reading some of her writing, and checking out her tutorials.  Suddenly I realized that I have been on her site before to see her Painted Wallpaper Tutorial!

I really really like her style.  I love her use of modern patterns, colors, and fonts.  

I'm a font junkie, not that you would know since I haven't figured out how to incorporate different fonts on my blog.  In the JDC shop I found two fantastic fonts that Emily has created.

Guess what else I found in her shop...

Does that verse sound familiar?  It's part of the section of Philippians that follows me wherever I go.

I've been working on photos to share with you from my birthday party.  And for the first time ever, I will post a picture of myself on my blog.  Stay tuned!


Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Reality of Heaven

Today was part 3 of 3 in our pastor's series called "Trusting God in Hard Times."  Today's message was entitled "The Reality of Heaven."

Grasping the reality of heaven changes our perspective on life.  This is exactly what God has already been revealing to me in the last week or two.  How awesome to know that He wants me to understand it, and He weaves the same message through different parts of my life (my personal Bible reading, my blog reading, my prayer time, my pastor's sermon, and even my Sunday school lesson).  

Here are my sermon notes:

The Reality of Heaven

Trusting God in hard times means:
  • To allow God to do something in my life without fearing the outcome.
    • "The Lord has his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet."  Nahum 1:3 (NKJV)
    • "In God I trust, I will not be afraid."  Psalm 56:11 (NIV)
  • To run into a shelter or hiding place; to seek refuge in God.
    • "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'"  Psalm 91:1-2 (NIV)
    • "In you my soul takes refuge.  I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed."  Psalm 57:1 (NIV) 
  • To lean the weight of your soul on the faithfulness, reliability, integrity or friendship of our God!  (Pastor Brock compared this to leaning a ladder against a wall and trusting the wall to hold the ladder while you climb on.)
    • "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."  Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)
  • To get a new perspective.
    • "We do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)  Some of my favorite verses!
    • "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."  2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)  Pastor kept pointing out the comma ("perplexed COMMA but not in despair") and then he asked which side of the comma we live on.
    • "I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven."  Philippians 3:14 (NLT)
    • "I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward--to Jesus.  I'm off and running and I'm not turning back.  So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us."  Philippians 3:12-15 (Message)
Here it is...

I.  Where is Heaven?
  •  Heaven is up.
    • "Lord, I look up to You, up to heaven, where You rule."  Psalm 123:1
    • "Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and asked God's blessing on the food."  Mark 6:41 (NLT)
    • The point is that heaven is above all of the daily, earthly things that we see.  
  • Heaven is home.
    • "But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland."  Hebrews 11:16 (NLT)
    • "But our homeland is in heaven..."  Philippians 3:20 (NIV)
    • "You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand."  Psalm 16:11 (NIV)
    • This is not all there is!
II.  How does knowing heaven is real make a difference now?
  • It removes your doubt about going to heaven.
    • "This is what God told us:  God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  Whoever has the Son has life, but whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life."  1 John 5:11-12 (NCV)
    • "I mean that you have been saved by grace through believing.  You did not save yourselves, it was a gift from God.  It was not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it."  Ephesians 2:8-9
  • It replaces your anxieties with thoughts of heaven.
    • 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV) (see above under "To get a new perspective.")
    • "Let heaven fill your thoughts, don't spend your time worrying about things down here."  Colossians 3:1-2
    • There will always be troubles and stuff to worry about, but we can focus our attention toward heaven.
  • It refocuses your energies on treasures in heaven.
    • "... store your treasures in heaven where they cannot be destroyed by moths or rust and where thieves cannot break in and steal them.  Your heart will be where your treasure is."  Matthew 6:19-21
    • "He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.  He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new.'"  Revelation 21:4-5 (NIV)
We closed with the hymn "When We See Christ."  You can view the lyrics here.

The song that spoke the most to me was one we sang at the beginning of the service.  It's "Desert Song" by Hillsong United.  I love it!

The end of the last verse says:

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow 

This is where I am.  I am filled.  Things are going so well that I have feared what's about to fall through.  But God's Word says that there will be troubles as long as I'm on earth.  So I can stop worrying that something troubling is about to come--because it's guaranteed that something bad will eventually happen!  But there's no room for fear when I'm trusting God.  

I've been emptied before.  And God was there.  He brought me to this place of being filled again.  "The seed I've received I will sow" means I accept that the circumstances in my life are in God's hands and I choose to let Him grow my character in the midst of it.  

I hope this little sermon series has been as encouraging to you as it has been to me!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Teacher Appreciation

The next major holiday is Mother's Day, but I can't really blog about my Mother's Day ideas since many of the moms in my life read my blog. :)

Did you know that May 7-11 is Teacher Appreciation Week?  Since Nolan has the best kindergarten teacher ever, I really want to do something to let her know what a wonderful job she's doing.  I haven't decided exactly what to do yet, but I've been bookmarking tons of ideas.

Click on the words below each picture to visit the original website.



This is a great way to find out what your teacher really wants!  I wish it had a spot for favorite color.
I hope this helps you show your appreciation to the teachers in your life.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

When You Don't Feel Like Trusting

In light of what I just shared about God teaching me to trust him (see here), can you guess what this past Sunday's sermon was on?  Trust!

This is part 2 of 3 for this sermon series, Trusting God in Hard Times.

This sermon is entitled When You Don't Feel Like Trusting.  Here are my sermon notes:

"Trust in God at all times, my people.  Pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge."  Psalm 62:8 (NIV)

1.  Remember that trust is not an emotion.
     It's an action!  It's a choice!

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me."  John 14:1 (NIV)

When we feel off, it could be a physical problem, an emotional problem, or a spiritual problem.
First check the physical.  (Do you need sleep?  Is there a medical issue needing attention?  Do you need food, drink, etc.?)
Then check the emotional.  (Do you need to repair relationships?)
Then check the spiritual. 
2.  Set your heart on God's love for you.
     God's love is the same all the time!

"And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him.  May your roots go down deep into the soul of God's marvelous love.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is."  Ephesians 3:17-18 (NLT)

3.  Set your mind on things that will last.
     What you feel isn't always what's real!

"Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God's right hand in the place of honor and power."  Colossians 3:1 (NLT)

4.  Don't face it alone.

"Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone.  A rope made of three cords is hard to break."  Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV)

  • Trust when you are anxious and worried.
    • "Don't fret or worry.  Instead of worrying, pray.  Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.  Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.  It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."  Philippians 4:6-7 (Message) *These are the verses that show up everywhere in my life!
  • Trust when you are afraid.
    • What Moses said:  "Don't be afraid.  Just stand where you are and watch the Lord rescue you."  Exodus 14:13 (NLT)
    • What God said:  "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Why are you crying out to me?  Tell the people to get moving!'"  Exodus 14:15 (NLT)
    • Move in the direction that God is leading.  Don't stand paralyzed.  Don't try to move in your own direction.  These verses are from when the Israelites were running from the Egyptians, and they came to the Red Sea.  Can you imagine if they had tried to swim across themselves instead of waiting for God to part the water?
  • Trust when you are stubborn (stiff-necked, hard-hearted, etc.).
    • Read the story of Naman in 2 Kings
    • "Naaman's servants went to him and said, "My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?  How much more, then, when he tells you, 'Wash and be cleansed'!"  2 Kings 5:13 (NIV)
    • "If you hear God's voice today, don't be stubborn!"  Hebrews 3:7b-8a (Contemporary English Version)
    • God is more interested in changing our character than changing our circumstances.
  • Trust when you are tired and worn out.
    • "I have given up all hope, and I feel numb all over."  Psalm 143:4 (CEV) *Read the rest of the chapter
    • "Then Jesus said, 'Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.'"  Matthew 11:28 (NLT)
    • God never fixes my outside so I can be better on the inside.  It's actually exactly the opposite!
I hope you're encouraged!



I did it.  I let go.  I released the last string of a burden I have carried every minute of every day for 4 1/2 years.

I previously shared about my friend Megan who was killed October 12, 2007.  You can read that post here

I wrote about how God has been patient with me and helped me to process this horrible loss.  He stuck around as I spat angry questions at him.  He held me while I cried, even when I didn't want him to.  Over time, God and I have rebuilt our relationship.  

I also admitted that I still occasionally struggle a little with the issue of trusting God when I felt that he hadn't protected Megan.  

But God has continued to work even since I wrote that post.

I tend to compose my blog posts in my mind during my regular daily life.  Then when I have a moment, I sit down and type out what I remember.  As I wrote that post ("Fear"), God spoke to me and gave me new words to say.  The whole section about death not looking the same from Heaven as it does from Earth was straight from him.  I had never had that thought before.  And he wanted to keep talking to me about that.

On an ordinary day later that week, my life changed.  Sometimes I'll have a thought or idea that seems to just pop into my mind, and I know it's God who whispers the thought into my mind.  That's what happened on this regular day.  God spoke clearly, and kindly, with one of those divine thoughts:
"What if Megan's death didn't happen how I thought it did."
It wasn't even a question.  It was spoken more as a truth.  And then the thought went further:  What if I held my grudge against God for the rest of my life and then discovered that I had been wrong?

This didn't have anything to do with her murder.  It was about her loving Father cradling her in the moment she needed him most.  I wasn't there.  But God was.  And I believe that now.  

So I took God off probation.

I moved out of the judge's seat and released my grudge.

And I feel lighter than losing weight could ever make me feel.  In the last couple weeks, I have heard God speak more, seen him move more, and loved his Word more.  

I trust God again.

Tomorrow is Megan's birthday.  She would have been 30.  This will be the first time since her death that I feel free to simply celebrate Megan's life.  

My sincere hope is that anyone who reads this blog will be encouraged to discover God's love, see how he has already worked in your life, and to know the incredible feeling of trusting him completely.


Monday, April 23, 2012


This past weekend I attended the most beautiful birthday party I've ever seen.  And it was for me!

My husband and my sister collaborated to plan my perfect party, and they executed it so well with help from some of my loved ones.  It's been two days since the party and I'm still thinking about it.  It was amazing.

I want to share some of my favorite details from the party.  My sister took pictures at the party, and I don't really want to nag her for the pictures when she just helped throw me the party of the century.  So, I'll share more party details when I have the pictures.

The party was full of my favorite things, including centerpieces with my very favorite flowers:  ranunculus.  

I love ranunculus.  I think they're amazing.  I love how many, many layers of petals each flower has.  I wanted them for our wedding flowers (nearly 8 years ago), but since we got married in July they were not in season (we went with Peonies instead, also one of my favorites).

After the party I got to take all the flowers home.  Have I mentioned that they're gorgeous??

I wanted to take some pictures of them before they started wilting.  I took lots of pictures.  And I have a hard time choosing favorites, so there are still lots.  Don't worry.  If you want to just scroll down past all the pictures, I'll never know.  :) 

I thought it looked like these two flowers were snuggling.

See?  I warned you there were lots of pictures.  I can't help it.  I just think these flowers are beautiful.

I can't wait to share more party pictures with you.  Plus I have a list of blog posts I'd like to write soon.  I hope your week is off to a great start!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fabric Covered Shoes

For my 30th birthday party, I chose to wear a fun yellow dress.  I couldn't figure out how to accessorize a ruffly yellow dress.  While I love the look of high heels, I simply adore the style and comfort of fun flats.  I like flats in all colors, especially prints.

Even though it seems like a yellow dress doesn't need more color, I really wanted shoes with a colorful print.  I did some internet browsing and just couldn't find what I was looking for.  So, I decided to make my own!

I was inspired by this tutorial here

Here's a sneak peek at the finished shoes:

And here's how I made them...

Modge Podge
Sponge brush 
Sharp scissors
Pins (optional)
Fabri-Tac (depending on your shoe style; see how I used it)

I used a pair of shoes that I had purchased on clearance at Walmart a couple of months ago.  You know, they were cheap and ugly and I just figured I could do something with them.  I lucked out because I wear a size 9.5 but these size 9 shoes fit me.  I don't remember the exact price I paid, but I'm sure it was $5 or less.

I also picked up some Modge Podge from Hobby Lobby using my 40% off coupon (did you know you can just show it to them on your phone instead of printing the coupon?).  I chose the matte finish.

I had a few fabric options that I liked with the yellow dress.

I love this fabric, and it's flowery and springy, but I have already used it on a project I keep meaning to share with you:

This fabric is amazing, and it was recently given to me by a friend.  But the print is such a large scale that I wasn't sure how to place the design on the shoes:

So, I decided on this fabric:

I LOVE the flowers on it, and I think the color scheme is fantastic:  dark chocolate background with flowers of yellow, red, and light blue. 

I started by untying the bows on the shoes.

I cut most of the strings off and got out my handy-dandy Fabri-Tac.

I glued down the ends of the strings in the little opening where the strings originally came out.

I stuffed two grocery bags into the toes of each shoe to help them hold their shape and not collapse as I worked on them.

I played around with the fabric placement on the shoes until I figured out where I wanted the fabric designs to end up on the shoes.  Then I cut two pieces of fabric, each larger than a shoe.

I knew I wanted a big yellow flower on the front of each shoe and a red and blue flower on the outer side of each shoe.  So I stuck a pin in each flower to keep the fabric lined up how I wanted it. 

Then I made a cut starting at the back of the fabric and ending about 1/2 inch from the front opening of the shoe.

Then I started adhering the fabric to the shoe.  I applied a generous coat of Modge Podge to the front of one shoe using a sponge brush.

I pressed the fabric over the front of the shoe, smoothing it as much as possible.  

I continued spreading Modge Podge and smoothing fabric down one side of the shoe.

Then I did the same thing on the other side of the shoe.

The back of the shoe has a little folded over seam.  I glued down the fabric from one side of the shoe, cutting the fabric right on the seam line.  Then I trimmed the other piece of fabric so I could fold it over and glue it down over the first piece of fabric (did that make any sense?).

Next I had to trim the bottom of the fabric so it just met the sole of the shoe.  This was a little tricky.  I found it easiest to run my fingernail along the shoe/sole seam to create a crease in the fabric.  Then I cut right along the crease.  I don't think there's any way to get this part perfect {gasp!}, so just do your best.  Be sure to apply Modge Podge along the edge to adhere your newly trimmed fabric edge near the sole.

By this point, my hands were so covered in Modge Podge that it was difficult to take pictures!

Next I trimmed the top of the fabric so there was 1/2-1 inch above the top of the shoe.

You can see the grocery bags in the toes of the shoe to keep it from collapsing while I applied the fabric.  At this point I removed the bags for the next step.

I also cut slits in the fabric near the curve of the shoe, making sure not to cut all the way up to the edge of the shoe.

Then I applied Modge Podge to the inside of the fabric along the sides and back.

Then I pressed the fabric to the inside of the shoe (along the sides and back).

Then I applied Modge Podge to the back side of the fabric near the curve (with the slits in it) and pressed this fabric to the inside of the shoe.  

I could see that the fabric wasn't sticking completely inside the shoe, so I used clips to hold all the fabric in place while it dried.

Lucky for me, I have an obsession with office supplies, so I had plenty of clips to go around where I needed them.

I let this shoe dry overnight (I don't think it needed that long...I just couldn't get back to it until the next day!).  I used all the same steps to cover the other shoe with fabric.

Let me interject a little note here.  The first shoe took a long time, was very messy, and was a little frustrating.  I was a feeling discouraged.  But the second shoe went much more quickly and more smoothly.  I had a better idea of what I was doing, and I learned that I needed to use more Modge Podge than I thought I should.

After the first shoe was dry, I tried it on.  Ouch.
The back of the shoe was pressing into my heel so bad that I knew I'd never be able to walk around in these beauties.  It was past the point of the pain I'll endure for fashion.

I was thinking I had done all this work for nothing.  And I was back to not having cute shoes to wear with my yellow dress.  But I had an idea.  I figured it wouldn't hurt to try this.

So I pried off the folded over piece of fabric from the back of the shoe.  Then I used heavy duty scissors to cut a slit in the back of the shoe.

Sorry for the photo switch-up.  My phone was just closer than my camera at this point. :)

I replaced the folded fabric (moved over slightly) with some Modge Podge.  Now the top edge of the back of the shoe was a little wider.  I tried it on to test the fit.

Ahhh.  That's better.  If the shoe fits...wear it to a birthday party with a fantastic yellow dress!

To finish off the shoes, I applied a coat of Modge Podge over the entire fabric surface.  Yes, that is a glob of Modge Podge on my thumb.

Don't worry:  it goes on white but dries clear.  I'm not crazy about the slight sheen of the finished shoe, but I know this top coat is necessary to seal the shoes.

As I walked around my house in the finished shoes, the top coat cracked a little making white marks in the clear coat.  Sigh.  So many imperfections to embrace.

Here are the final shoes:

Yes, that is a bright pink princess chair in the background.  No, I didn't take the time to edit it out. :)
I have bookmarked a few other shoe redo tutorials that I want to eventually try:

So grab some old worn out shoes or snag some cheap ones, and make something you love!