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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Winter Wonderland


I live in Florida. We never have a winter wonderland unless it's created with fake snow at the zoo and downtown.  But in honor of the people who are already experiencing the wonders of real snow, I decided to join the SIP Color Challenge and create a winter card.  The colors represented are Pool, Copper and white.

Cardstock:
Stampin' Up Pool Party and Whisper White with Recollections Holiday Shimmer Pack for the copper.
Stamp sets:
Stampin' Up: Dasher, Bright Christmas, Christmas Greetings and Lovely as a Tree.
Ink:
Stampin' Up Pool Party and Baked Brown Sugar



Traci

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Parenting a Prodigal: Part Three

 This is part three of a three part series: Part one and Part two



"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, 
Christ died for us."—Romans 5:8.


When Piano Man was born my mom bought me the book Love You Forever because it is about a mother's love for her son.  My children call this book the stalker mom book because throughout the little boy's life the mom is always there. At one point in the book when the boy is a man the mom climbs into his window while he is sleeping.  I have always told my children that I am that stalker mom, no matter what they do or where they go I will love them and track them down to get them back on track if I have to. The reason I have always loved this book so much is the phrase the writer uses over and over through the book:
I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always
As long as I'm living my baby you'll be.
When Writer Girl told me that she is an atheist, it was really the first time I had put action into those words.  A few people asked me early on if I was going to quit doing things for Writer Girl because at the time we were still helping support her at college, they asked if I was going to quit visiting monthly, etc.  I told them I was going to keep doing what I have always done for her and that's be her mom.  

I do tell her that I do not agree with her choice to deny God.  I told her that she will have to answer to Him even in her disbelief if she died.  I told her that I love her and will pray for her regularly.  What I did not and do not do is "preach" at her.  I do not send her messages with scripture or debate with her about the existence of God because I know that I cannot change her heart.  ONLY GOD CAN DO THAT.  I feel like it is my job as her mom to be consistent in who I have always been: I pray when we are together, I have not changed any expectations that we had for her before she decided to become an atheist.  Those things are the same and will remain because I feel that this is the Christ she will see in me. That I love her in spite of  her choice just as Christ loved me while I was in sin.

Have a good day!
Traci

Monday, February 1, 2016

Fifth Ave. Revisited


I made a card using this layout and stamp set for a project I am doing last week. When my husband saw the card he wanted to use it as a thank you card for one of his clients.  Because the original card had been stamped with a stamp that read "You're Priceless" on the back, he did not think it was appropriate to give it to a female business associate.  I decided to make a new card for him to write his thank you without the back stamp. 

I decided to change it up a bit by using different colors.  I choose my papers then realized that somehow I neglected buying the ink that matches the card stock.  I am not sure how that happened and I am hoping I can find the ink pad but I am pretty sure it has been discontinued.  I think the colors worked together anyway.

I stamped the back group using the Stampin' Up! Fifth Ave Floral rose in Tempting Turquoise Ink, then embossed it with white embossing powder on contrasting paper.  With a peek of So Saffron card stock.  There is a hint of glitter on the background where I used a small amount of stickles because I love a bit of bling on my cards.

Have a great Monday!
Traci

Friday, January 29, 2016

Tilda with a Bear Card


Do you ever have a day that you just want to stay in bed?  That is me today, I just cannot seem to get moving this morning.  I have about a thousand things to do and I just don't feel like doing even one of them. I know I could skip them but then I'll just have to do everything tomorrow.  So, here I am trying to motivate myself instead of curing up with a book and my coffee.

I was motivated to make a card earlier this week.  I have had this Magnolia Stamps image on my craft table for months.  I do not color my Maggie's because I am just not that good at coloring with Copics.  Fortunately, I have an awesome husband that is really good with his Copics.  He colored this Maggie for me before the holiday's and I just set her aside.  He was really happy to finally see her on a card.

Hope you have an awesome Friday and weekend.

Traci

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Parenting a Prodigal: Part Two


This is the second post in a series. You can read the first post here if you would like.

Photo from Pinterest.com  
If you were a Christian parent in the 1990's, you had an arsenal of VeggieTales in your cabinet for your children to watch during TV time.  Veggie Tales was so popular at our church library that there were waiting lists sometimes weeks long to check out newly released videos.  As a parent I loved that Veggie Tales was interesting to my toddlers but also taught a biblical lesson.  Recently, I read an article about Veggie Tales creator Phil Vishcer regretting not making the popular Christian series less about morality and more about the gospel.  As a parent, when I read this a light bulb went off in my head.  I realized that while I brought my children to church, I prayed with them and I taught them to be "good" people.  I don't think I taught them how to translate that into how to live a life for Christ. 

If you had asked me what my parenting goals were when my kids were little I would have answered, to have them godly contributing members of society.  If you had asked how I was going to achieve this, I would have said by praying with them, teaching them the bible, making church and education a priority in our home.  This is what we did and we certainly thought we were on the right track because if not we would have changed course.  

All of my children were in church from the time they were little babies until they headed off to college.  We even went to visit churches while on vacation, there was rarely a time that we did not go to church at least three times a week; sometimes more.  They were in Mission Friends, Children's Choirs, Youth Group and even the College/Careers classes.  What we missed in all of this was teaching our prodigal who God was to her.  Like the VeggieTales videos, we taught a moral compass and about God but not who He was in their life.  If I had to do it again there are a few things I would change in how I parented. 

I would focus less on sound-byte scripture memorization and more on reading the Word in context.  As a parent, I spent a lot of time teaching my kids how to memorize scripture.  They got sound-bytes instead of learning the Word of God as a whole.  I think this type of teaching missed the mark.  Writer Girl can throw out bible verses as well as the next person.  As a matter of fact she even has a trophy from Bible Drill, what she doesn't have is a knowledge of what that scripture means.  She doesn't know the whole story so to speak.  This was/is a stumbling block to her now that she is out in the "real" world of academia where her peers and professors seem to have the answers for all of their arguments against Christianity.

I would try to remember that God gave my children to me because I was the right parent for them.  I think I failed my daughter a bit when she was young because I was not sure I knew how to parent.  I looked to others for advice instead of to the Lord.  Now that the kids are older and I am a tiny bit wiser, I realize that the best place I can go for answers about how to parent is to the Lord.  I can do this through prayer or through searching the Word.  I did not do this nearly enough when my kids were young because I felt inadequate as a young Christian.  I thought I did not know enough to ensure that my kids were getting a godly upbringing.  What I realize now is that God doesn't make mistakes.  He choose me to be their mother not the other moms.  This means that if we seek God for answers about struggles and parenting our children, He will be faithful to answer and guide.

I would focus less on education and extracurricular activities. This one is hard. My husband and I feel like an educated Christian is very powerful in the current world.  We believe that education is important to the point that we have driven a twenty-five minute drive one way to the school we feel is best for our children.  So, please hear me when I say that education is important but it is not as important as knowing that your child is spiritually sound.  I am not going to bash public schools because we have had great experiences with public school as much as we've had horrible experiences with Christian schools.  But I will say this looking back, the biggest mistake I made in educating my children was letting Writer Girl go to an International Baccalaureate program.  I believed the good education outweighed the worldliness of the program and that her faith in Christ was strong enough to get her through unscathed.  It wasn't.  Sadly, I didn't know until it was too late.

When I was searching for more insight into how to raise a child that is secure in their faith. I came across this article about raising godly children..  As I said before no one can parent your child as well as you can but it's nice to have a few resources that might help lead your to scripture for answers. 


Traci




Monday, January 25, 2016

Stampin' Up Fifth Avenue Floral


Last week my husband and I went out to dinner with one of his clients.  While these dinners are nice, I am always a bit apprehensive about them.  I am a happy stay at home mom but I know that sometimes in the corporate world the fact that I choose not to work is looked down upon.   The conversation took to what the people at the table do as a hobby, most of the people were musicians and I was asked if I play anything. I don't and really have no musical ability at all.  The client said, "I know what your talented is you make beautiful cards.  I got rid of all of my Christmas cards but the one you made is still on my table."  My crafty heart was blessed and relaxed quite a bit.  

This is a thank you card for another one of my husband's clients who sent us a very nice gift basket during the holidays.  I stamped the background then stamped the contrasting flower on colored card stock and embossed it with white embossing powder.

Have a Happy Monday,
Traci



Products Used:
Stampin' Up Fifth Avenue Floral
Stampin' Up Card stock: Basic Black, Slate Grey and Coastal Cabana
Stampin' Up Ribbon

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Parenting a Prodigal: Part One


Before I start left me say to you: I don't have all the answers and each one of us have a different story.  I have been dealing with this issue for a little over a year and sometimes I feel like I am all alone in it.  Especially, when I am at church when I am seeing all the families with their "perfect" children.  I know the reality is the only perfect child was Christ himself but when you are struggling with an issue no matter what that issue is you only see through the eyes of your struggle.  When a person is struggling to have a baby; it seems everyone around them is pregnant.  When a person is struggling to find a job; it seems everyone around them has a great job, etc. It is my prayer that sharing my story will help someone.

There are many phone calls that you do not want to receive from your child who is a four and a half hour drive away from home at college.  I have received two calls from my Writer Girl* that I would be happy to never have received.  The first happened about two months into her college career and I believe it was the catalyst for the second which began like this: Mom there's something I have to tell you but I cannot tell you over the phone.  Can you come visit next weekend?  That call began one of the most difficult weeks of my life.  I wish I could say I was prepared for our conversation but I wasn't.   Five long days later, she told me two things: she had failed half of her classes and she no longer believed there was a God.  This began my journey into parenting a prodigal.

As I sat across the table from my daughter, I prayed before I opened my mouth.  This is the single most important thing I have done during this journey.  I prayed for the right words that would not push her further away but also for the words I knew I had to say.  As parents my husband and I had set rules for our children about their college education very early.  We sacrificed some pleasures while we were young in order to build college funds for them.  We had told them that their college would be paid for as long as they were passing their classes but if they failed a class then we expected them to repay us for the money we'd given them. This was the first thing I addressed with Writer Girl.  She took this reminder well. 

Then I dealt with the elephant in the room: how could she "all of sudden" decide there was no God.  I couldn't wrap my brain around how a girl that wanted to be a missionary after college would go so far away from her faith. She argued that it wasn't all of sudden, she'd always felt that way etc.  I started to argue with her but I felt like God was telling me to stop talking.   So, I stopped talking.  I stopped trying to convince her that she was just angry at God, that it was a phase or that she just needed to find the right church to get back on track.  I feel that God gave me the strength to stop talking. So that I could hear Him.  Instead of all the arguments, I gently said cannot force you to believe in God, I cannot change your heart.  Only God can do that. But I am going to pray that God will bring you back to him sooner rather than later.  I love you regardless and will always be here for you.  Then I took her to dinner because everything is always a bit better over food.

If you are in this place with me: 
-Pray for your prodigal not just once but every single time you think of them.  
-Pray that God will give you the strength to not try to berate them into salvation.  Because that never works.
-Be there for them when it is appropriate.  But do not rescue them.

My pastor preached a sermon series called Family Strong, in that series he touched on this topic.  If you would like to hear his sermon on the Prodigal it's the third one on the list at the link above.  

Thank you for dropping by,
Traci




*I have decided not to use my children's names on the blog but instead will refer to them as Writer Girl, Piano Man, Angel Baby and the Photographer.  People who know them will get the references but I feel like I need to protect their privacy a bit as they have gotten older.