Restraint and self control are two of my big struggles right now. Though my struggle with them shows itself in several areas of my life, the main one is in the area of eating.
This past November, our pastor preached on this very thing and it caught my attention!
He called restraint a skill and self-control a fruit of the spirit. He reminded us that just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. (Galatians 5:13) He said we need to tell ourselves NO more often. At least these are the things I heard. (Sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks to us through a sermon in a way unintended by the pastors. I love when He does this!)
I needed to hear all these things, though. If restraint is a skill, that means that it is something that can be learned and grown. This takes work, but is possible! Second Peter 1:10 tells us that if we “practice these things (verse 6 lists self-control as one of the things), you will never fall.” Self-control is listed as a fruit of the Spirit, but this verse tells us we can also practice it to get better! And that we should!
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. ” Romans 12:1
To present my body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God as my spiritual worship. Sacrifice implies that I’m giving something up. Holy and acceptable to God implies that I’m living the way God would want me to. And it would all be something I’m presenting to God as worship.
Each time I tell myself no, I’m saying YES to God.
Do you need to tell yourself no in some area so that you can say yes to God?
Will you pin one of these images so you can share this message with others?
I mentioned the other day that if I were going to pick one word to focus on in the new year, it would be “transformation”. I choose this because there are so many areas of my life that need it… change I mean. I’ve let myself get into a series of bad habits over the last few years and something needs to change.
I want to be different and the only way to do that is to start by doing things differently.
First of all, a look at God’s Word.
Where does the Bible say we should start a transformation? Romans 12:2 says we will “be transformed by the renewal of our minds.” But what are we to renew our minds with?
There are so many things in this world that could help us to renew our minds. Many claim the power of “positive thinking” or “affirmations”. They say that telling ourselves we are enough, worthy, valuable… that these things will change us, but they aren’t the way the Bible tells us to renew our mind. The Bible tells us that we should be renewing our minds with “whatever is true… honorable… just… pure… lovely… commendable.” (Philippians 4:8) It goes on to say that, “if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
The truth is that, as much as we like to think we are, we aren’t enough, worthy, or valuable in and of ourselves. It is only Christ and his redemptive work on the Cross (i.e. that he gave His live that we may be forgiven for our sins) that make us anything. We are not enough… He is! We are not worthy… He is! We are not valuable, except that He thinks we are. Most of the affirmations out there don’t fulfill the Philippians 4:8 mandate, but there are so many truths in Scripture that do and can build us up if we will set our minds on them. I saw a need for these sorts of things out on the internet (shameless plug ahead) when I created my Encouraging Words and posted about them back in November, and my Christmas version last month (post here).
God’s Word is the truth we should be renewing our minds with! Buying little cards or making your own are a tool you can use to keep those truths in front of you, but they cannot take the place of regular, daily time spent reading, memorizing, and thinking about His Word- the Bible! If we want change in our lives: weight loss, anger management, self-control; we must start by renewing our minds with God’s Word.
I’m going to admit that I haven’t been making this a priority lately. Days are busy and start without me sometimes. I miss more days than I care to admit. It can happen to anyone. When we don’t make a point to spend time reading and studying, praying and worshiping, we won’t do it. We will fall away. And our minds will be renewed by the words of the world instead. We need to make God’s Word a habit. We need to renew our minds with His Word. Every other change starts with this one!
Sometimes we all need a little encouragement, and in His Word, God actually tells us encourage one another.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Sometimes it’s hard to find the words to encourage those around us. It can be hard, too, to find others to encourage us.
With this idea in mind, I’ve created cards to encourage you (my job) and to help you encourage yourselves and those around you.
Use them as daily reminders, tuck them in as a bookmark, leave them for others to find at work, school, or around the house. There are so many ways to use these. Use them as Bible study or journal prompts. Tuck the whole set of them in a Christmas stocking or wrap them as a gift. Print as many as you need! How would you use them? Let me know in the comments.
I’ll be working on some other styles for those of you who may like the idea of these, but not the look. Maybe a Christmas theme for the advent season? What do you think? I really love when you guys have ideas for me. 🙂
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This week I hosted a Winter Wonderland baby shower for a lady at our church. I specifically picked a January date because I really wanted to do this theme.
I placed my chalkboard sign at the entrance to the room with one of my family’s favorite winter decorations. At home we call him, “Mr. Man… Mr. Snow Man.” At any rate, I’m not sure what happened to his jacket. It seems he was messed with after I set him up (kid helpers!) and I didn’t notice for the picture. Oh well. (See, parties don’t have to be perfect to be a blessing!)
Those little snowmen on the right were Hallmark singing snowmen from 20 years ago. When I started having kids I took the batteries out (sanity preservation!) and changed them from red to blue for our January decor at home.
The jar is full of cotton balls and has a sign that says “Snowballs 5 cents”. I had it in my kitchen with black and white ribbon but switched it to blue for the baby shower.
I’ve been waiting for a chance to set up a hot cocoa bar for something and this was it. Can you see that sign on the wall? Wait…
Here it is closer. This is a chalkboard placemat that the kids got for Christmas. The link will take you to the product on Amazon (not an affiliate link, I get nothing for this). When the kids opened it Christmas day, I told my aunt (who sent them) that I was stealing the extras for me! 🙂 I wasn’t kidding. I love these! She sent them with these great chalk crayons too, which I cannot find on amazon yet. I’ll have to look for them some more because we’ll want to be able to get them again. (I may have to review these in a separate post… super cool!)
Anyway, back to the party. I used my chalk marker for this and was super happy with the way it turned out. Rolled up some scotch tape and taped it to the wall.
The shower was for a baby boy, so it was super easy to use blues in our decor. I love the way sprinkles, candies and Hershey kisses in blue really make the table pop!
I didn’t go out of control crazy on the food since cocoa is filling and sweet in itself. Instead I focused on cookies. This mama was dairy free, so I switched up some ingredients in my go to sugar cookies and added some meringue cookies to the mix. I also whipped up some dairy free dark chocolate for dipping the pretzels in. To add some gluten free options (in addition to the meringues, which are naturally gluten free) I also dipped some gluten free pretzels in the dark chocolate (I’m so glad I did as another mama and her little girl in attendance needed gluten free and dairy free treats!)
Mix up some dairy free cocoa with almond milk and you are all set!
I love these cups I picked up second hand (leftovers from a friend’s wedding). They were originally from Amazon (again, I get nothing from this link, just passing it on). The circle sticker was something I designed with my fun little snowflakes. Adding these little details to your parties makes them even more special! I’m planning to have those stickers in my Etsy shop for next winter!
I didn’t remember to get a picture of these big hanging snowflakes until after guests had begun arriving, so this is only half the room, but aren’t they fun?!? I found them here on Pinterest. I can’t tell you exactly how the process went because I asked a co-host to make them for me, but she said they were fun and easy. We also used the cheap white lunch bags from Walmart, so the whole things was just a couple dollars for big impact! We had 5 of them in the room.
I made this cute little snowman diaper cake for the gift table. You can see a super short video clip of it here if you want more angles. I used 72 size 2 diapers, white dot fabric to cover the rubber bands, 2 black buttons for eyes, felt to shape the nose and a cheap pacifier (cut off the mouth part) and hot glue it all on the fabric. The receiving blanket adds to the gift and makes it look more like a snow baby. I used 6, 8, and 10 inch cake pans to hold the diapers until I get them banded together.
And that’s it! I hope you found some little thing you can use in your own celebration or decorating and enjoy these last days of January!
Seriously, I do love when you guys hop over and purchase something I’ve created, but I also really appreciate when you guys share your encouragement and support right here on the blog, whether that is through a “like” or a comment! Thanks so much for being along for this creative adventure I find myself on!
I really love this card! It’s a cross between minimalist simplicity and colorful fun! It references again Matthew 5:16 and encourages us to live our lives for Jesus as brightly as possible.
You’ll find the verse on the back of the card, but as you can see here, I’ve made two versions, so the verse is optional.
This is one of my favorite original Christmas signs. I love to doodle Christmas lights with the cute spirals on the lights. I’ve used them to make cards and labels year after year. They take a simple plain card or slip of paper and really dress them up in a festive way. I’ve used markers and watercolor to make the lights (you just have to wait until the watercolor dries if you go that route!) Anything would work really!
The phrase under family has a double meaning for me. Obviously we are loving to shine our Christmas lights at Christmas time, but it is also a reference to Matthew 5:16 in the Bible:
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Jesus is talking here about the inner light Christians have in this world of darkness. We are to live our lives so that people can see Jesus (the true Light) in us.
I love to make Christmas cards with these lights and the words “Let your lights shine!” Hopefully they will be in my shop this fall (if I don’t get to it this month.) Let me know if those are something you would be interested in and I’ll move them up the priority list. 🙂
I’m new in this Etsy world, and as such, I’m still learning with each passing week. One of the ideas I’m trying to grasp is this idea of niche-ing down. I guess it’s supposed to help me with my SEO (another learning curve to be sure!) All that to say, “everyone” seems to encourage separate shops for separate types of product (since I wrote that, I did find one person who says it isn’t necessary, which is good since it’s super hard to do it all the way). I’ll be playing with this some in coming months (I’m a slow learner and, as I said in my last post, this is my busy season.) I suppose I’ll move some of the things I already listed in my shop to another shop that is more “niche-d down”, but in the mean time, I have indeed started a new shop.
I’ll be honest with you all. I’m figuring all this out as I go… or not. (Probably not!) I’m not one of those “made $2000 my first month on Etsy” types. (Wouldn’t that have been cool?!?) I’m excited that I’ve sold anything! Really, that some of you actually like some of what I do is very exciting to me! So in this first step of choosing a niche and sticking with it, I’m doing something “they” say not to do at the same time. I’m trying to sell wall art on Etsy.
Apparently it’s very competitive. I understand this concept. If there are thousands of other artists trying to share what they make on Etsy, how will I ever stand out? That’s the trick, though, isn’t it? Finding my niche in the wall art world. This new shop will focus on the decorating side of what I do. My first shop is off to a good start in the functional and practical side of my illustrating — like my Egg Counting Sheets, Bible Journal, and Bullet Journal Pages (more to come). This second shop will be the online presence of the decor side of mamasbrush. (As relavent listings in my first first shop expire, I’ll move them to this new shop.)
I have a small handful of items already listed with plans for many more. This is also the shop where I will sell my seasonal and holiday decor. (Christmas in July anyone?) If only there were more hours in the day. 🙂 But as it is, I’ll just keep picking away at them and add what I can when I can.
As Christians, most of us would agree that Bible reading is important…even if we don’t do it as often as we know we should. But for years, I didn’t understand the importance of Bible journaling.
This whole idea of Bible journaling has become popular in recent years and has come to mean different things. For some it’s art added to the margins of your Bibles, for others it’s a full page written about what you read each day. To be honest, I don’t have time for either of those and the weight of either leaves me doing nothing.
Years ago, my husband and I learned how to use “Reading Highlights” from Navigator’s 2:7 Bible discipleship course. With this system, we are encouraged to underline any verses in our daily reading (even just a chapter a day). Once the reading is done, we go back and look over anything we have marked, respond to them prayerfully, and pick one to write down.
But this post is supposed to be about the importance of Bible journaling, right? So why is it important?
I read a chapter in my Bible and talk to the Lord. I learn and I’m encouraged, but nothing sticks. It’s done until tomorrow when I do it all again. But when I take the time to choose a verse or two from my reading and to formulate my thoughts, even into a couple sentences, and put them on paper, I carry the lesson or encouragement further into my day. And when I want to remember during dinner to share with my family, it is easy to refer to my notes and pass that encouragement to others. Sometimes I end up choosing to memorize a verse or passage because of the time spent journaling, truly letting the “…Word of Christ dwell in [me] richly,” as Colossians 3:16 says!
Bible journaling is important because it is a tool to take the Word of God deeper into your heart and life. I had fallen out of this practice, but wanted to get back into it again. In doing so, I decided to make pretty journal pages for myself.
I’ve also listed them in my Etsy shop for any of you that are interested. Use them individually or print them front to back and bind them to make your own journal. I think I’ll put mine into a 3 ring binder, but you could take yours to a printer like Staples and have them bound. Perhaps I’ll do that someday, but I don’t get out much. 🙂
As always, I want you to have an opportunity to have them at a discount during their first week in my shop. Enter BIBLEJOURNAL33 as the coupon code for 33% off through the 22nd or use this link to have it taken automatically.
Pin the image below to save for later or share with your own followers! Thanks for your support!
Easter is often a much smaller affair than Christmas. This bothers me, yet, I struggle with how to make it different. Because everyone makes a big deal of Christmas for a whole month, maybe even because Christmas is so commercialized, it is easy to make the time for it… to spend the energy… to get carried away.
Every year I’ve said that I want to make a bigger deal of celebrating Easter… beyond the day. Some years we do more, some years it passes before we know what’s happening.
This year, having Christ centered artwork like this one and this one (shameless plug for my store) to decorate our home has helped me to anticipate the approach of Easter.
lI continue to work to figure out how to celebrate the sacrifice God made for us when He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins in meaningful, celebratory and deliberate ways. I strive again to make time for it as Holy Week begins.
Yesterday was Palm Sunday. Our pastor preached on the triumphal entry and I knew I wanted to spend some more time thinking about and meditating on it. I love Luke 19:40 where Jesus says that if the people were not praising Him, the rocks themselves would cry out in praise! What a great picture that is in my mind. Last night, I designed a sign to help us remember that this week and I wanted to share it with you.
Print it out and frame it or tack it up or put it on the fridge. Let it help you remember to praise Him this week as we remember what He did to save us from our sins! All we have to do is believe that He is who he says He is and that He did what he said He did and follow Him with our lives! I praise Him for that and I believe!
The verse is decorated with grasses, flowers and ladybugs. She loves ladybugs and adored this piece. Sometime in the last couple years the painting went missing and she was so upset. Her face just lit up tonight when I printed out this new version for her to hang next to her bed. The artwork has been reworked digitally for distribution and is ready to be downloaded and printed by your favorite printer or at home for immediate display or gifting!