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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fireworks

I'm home from our "stay-cation" and jumping back into my craft room.  Today's card fulfills a bunch of different challenges:

CTMH H2H - Patriotic
365 Cards - Shades of Blue
Mojo Monday - #145


The words stamped at the bottom represent the things our soldiers do and are every day.  They deserve respect for their sacrifice, honor and commitment.  Happy Independence Day...every day!

Until next time,
Becca

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bushel of Apples

I have rediscovered Prismacolor pencils!!  After several years of working more with solid stamps and playing with techniques like rolling, kissing, and overstamping, I'm going back to the basics where the background paper is solid colored and the stamped images take center stage. 



I created my own textured paper by sponging edges and using a large background stamp.

Love it!

Until next time,
Becca

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Reunion

Last night my husband and I attended his high school reunion.  It was a small school, so they had classes which graduated between 1978-1983 in attendence.  For all intents and purposes, it was his 30th.  I was shocked at how many people hugged me...a woman they'd never even met but felt a warm connection to because they cared so much about my husband and had such fond memories of him.  And because it was a Christian school, there was that connection you automatically feel when you're in a room with "extended family."

Prior to attending the reunion, we visited my husband's "second family."  When he was in high school, he met their son at this Christian high school and they folded him into their home by adopting him with their love.  (I was much, much more nervous to pass inspection with them than with Nathan's parents when we were dating.  Luckily, they now love me as much as they love Nathan!) 

And we are currently staying with Nathan's sister.  His other sister is here, too, in order to spend some great quality time as a family before he deploys.  Amazingly enough, I consider my sisters-in-law as two of my closest friends, and I even like their husbands and kids!

All of this to say, watching the news and how our sin and rebellion is tearing the world apart juxtaposed against the joy of being with all our various forms of family makes me repeat over and over in my head this prayer, "The one who has spoken these things says, 'I am coming soon!'  So, Lord Jesus, please come soon!" (Rev. 22:20, CEV)

Amen

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lemon Kind of Day

This is an old set from CTMH which I rarely pull off the shelf...but every time I do, I LOVE the results.













Since purchasing a Cuttlebug, I'm finding more and more ways to have fun with it.

Until next time,
Becca

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Air Mail


I was playing around in my stamp room trying to come up with something quick and easy, but I never liked this card until I'd fussed with it so much it no longer qualified.  However, since Operation Write Home is always looking for masculine cards, I think this will work.  The stamps and paper are all from CTMH.

Until next time,
Becca

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sending Many Kinds of Love

Part of being in the Army is saying hello and goodbye a lot.  We even have a special name for it..."Hail and Farewell."  We often give gifts to both the incoming and outgoing folks.  I offered to make sets of note cards for our Chaplain Spouses group.  The other day I spent all day...and I do mean aaaallll daaaayy... working on three sets of 15 notecards each.  Since I was making so many, they had to be fairly quick and easy but still beautiful.  I also wanted there to be a variety of themes.  With fruit, flowers and small, cute animals, I think these fit the bill.


Until next time,
Becca

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Trifecta of Good Wishes

Today and tomorrow are a perfect trifecta of good wishes.  Today is Father's Day and my brother-in-law's birthday and tomorrow is my parent's 52nd wedding anniversary.  To celbrate, here are a few of the greeting cards being sent their way.

Lots of love all around!
Becca

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bling Love

Last night, I fell asleep on the couch in the basement waiting for the upstairs to cool down.  Who says you don't need air conditioning in Colorado?  Well...you guessed it...after heading up to bed at 2am, I couldn't sleep.  I came back down to the basement and checked my stamping sites.  Two current challenges seemed to combine well, the 365 Cards doing "Love - with a Twist" (untraditional wedding) and "Bring out Your Bling" (without using glitter) over at OWH's Stars and Stamps.  Here's what I came up with:


Please come back and check out all the posts I've scheduled over the next two weeks while Nathan and I are out of town visiting family before his deployment. 

I think I'll head back to bed and see if I can sleep now!

Until next time,
Becca

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

Nathan and I are getting ready to take a "stay-cation"...you know, the ones where you fly to see family and stay with them.  In preparation, I've been in my craft room making cards for various occasions like a mad woman. 

Here's the one for Mom and Dad's anniversary and is based off the 365 Card Challenge


Today's challenge is Stripes and Bold Colors with a Twist.  I hope Mom and Dad get a "kick" out of it!

While I'm away, I've scheduled several posts with the rest of my creations, so I hope you will come back and visit!

Until next time,
Becca

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Seeing Beyond

Gen. 40

In this chapter, Joseph has been in prison for "some time" when Pharaoh's baker and cupbearer are thrown into the same prison and Joseph is assigned to attend them.  After they have been there for "some time" (don't you just love how God isn't concerned with the time frame), they each have dreams.

Of course, Joseph interprets their dreams accurately and asks the cupbearer to "remember him" when he is released, which he doesn't until the next chapter...two full years later. 

Much is made of Joseph's dream interpretation skills, but today I'd like to focus on part of one short verse.  "When Joseph came to them the next morning (after their dreams), he saw that they were dejected. (v. 6)"

All of these men are prisoners and have been for "some time."  Certainly enough time has passed for the men to grow used to each other, calloused even.  But Joseph sees these men as more than disgraced prisoners, their label.  He sees men who are unusually distressed and takes the time to ask why.

I imagine Joseph's duties kept him extremely busy.  Remember from the last chapter that while he has been imprisoned, Joseph has worked with his usual high standards and has been promoted to running the joint.  But Joseph saw...which implies he was looking. 

How many of us are looking - really looking - at the people around us?  We often comment on the irony of church greetings which never go beyond, "Hi!  How are you?" - "Fine, and you?" - "Couldn't be better" which is a complete sham.  None of us are fine; all of us could be better.  But it takes time to see beyond, and most of us don't care enough to pause and really find out what's going on with people around us.  Now, to be fair, there are few people to whom I wish to divulge my secrets...and I don't want to do it in the church foyer.  However, all it would take for most of us is genuine concern before we'd bust wide open.

Men are notoriously closed.  Men in prison are even more so.  Joseph breaks through with a simple question.  Likely, he has paved the way with respectful, caring behavior ever since these men have been in his care.  If today is not your day to "see beyond" with someone, it can be the day to lay the groundwork.  As the saying goes, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Until next time,
Becca

Monday, June 14, 2010

Inspiration


Since deciding to make cards for Operation Write Home I have been blog hopping and drawing inspiration from a bunch of different sources.  Today's card is for the Mojo Monday 143 challenge using House Mouse stamps and CTMH papers.

Although this isn't technically the spotlight technique, it's pretty close.  Most House Mouse Images require lots of coloring, so using the spotlight technique allows you to only color one small part and let the rest of it just be.

To compliment the handstitched border, I decided to make french knots out of the same embroidery floss.

I love how the little mouse seems to be scolding the other mouse for picking the petals off the flower.  Hopefully, it brings a smile to your face and to the soldier who will eventually get it.

Until next time,
Becca

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Prayers

I Thes. 3:11-13

"May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for everyone else, just as ours does for you.  May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Fater when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones."

Amen

Friday, June 11, 2010

Operation Write Home

I just found an amazing site called Operation Write Home.  To date, they have sent 441,232 cards to service members deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Now I know what to do with all the cards I make just for the fun of it!  Like this one I made for the Mojo Monday card contest.



Here are the basic "rules" in a nutshell:  NO GLITTER (it's a safety hazard if it gets on uniforms), 4.25 x 5.5 size (no need to send envelopes), make sure the inside has a light colored writing surface, don't worry about buttons, bows and other bulky embellishments as service members can mail cards for free.  There is also a place on their website where you can check to see which mailing center needs what type of cards most and deadlines for shipping seasonal cards.

I hope you will visit their site and, even if you aren't a card maker, donate money to cover their shipping costs.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Weekend in Vail

Being in the Army has many stresses, but every once in a while there is a perk which makes the rest of it worthwile...almost.



My husband is an Army Chaplain and, as such, is responsible to put on Marriage Retreats for soldiers and their spouses.  The Army currently has a 75% divorce rate, largely because the soldiers getting married are way too young and marry a few months to a few weeks before a deployment simply so they have someone to miss them while they're gone.  Not good!  However, once they are married, the Army does all it can to support marriages.  One way is through the "Strong Bonds" seminars put on by Chaplains.

This weekend, the Army paid for us to host a seminar in Vail, CO.  Since it wasn't ski season, we missed the peak rates, but this is still one of the most beautiful spots on the earth.











If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend some time in this amazing place.

Until next time,
Becca

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Judge Not

I confess.  I am a Facebook addict.  I love keeping up with friends from the past and present, seeing pictures of their children and activities, and following links to see where their interests lie.  Today two of these links provided me with much food for thought regarding judging. 

***For those of you just here for the card, it's way at the bottom...waaaay down there.***

One of the links took me to an article written by a man who downloaded a new iPhone app. called "Offender Locator."  It allows you to check registered sexual offenders in the neighborhood complete with the offender's picture.  Curious, he checked his area and saw one of his neighbors was a registered offender.  A few days later, he saw the guy.  In his very thoughtful article, the man wonders how we would feel if our sins were broadcast over an iPhone app. and our pictures were posted with labels like gossip, glutton, adulterer, thief, liar and dead beat.  What if we were trying to make a new life, repentant for past sins, but could never get away from them?  Acknowledging that sexual predators rarely overcome their instincts, he admitted there was some benefit for parents to keep children safe; however, this app did not distinguish if the crime was a 20 yr. old with a 17 yr. old or a 49 yr. old with a 12 yr. old.  In the end, he deleted the app from his phone and, the next time he saw his registered offender neighbor out playing with his dog, he made a point of saying hello.  Comments left at the end of his posting varied widely.  One which stuck with me was a woman who intended to download the app. herself immediately.  As a "survivor" she landed on the side of keeping kids safe and chastised the author for "comparing the nearly irreparable damage of sexual abuse with having a parent who lies or gossips."  If she had been verbally over the top, I could have dismissed her, but she was also thoughtful and well-spoken.  And all I could think about after reading her comment was, "But that's the whole point of forgiveness."  We understand that there are no big sins and little sins, no gray sins vs. black sins, no special categories for Hitler, Stalin, terrorists and sexual offenders.  We all have sinned and done irreparable damage to ourselves and those around us.  Without understanding that, we stand in grave danger of judging and being judged which the Bible warns against in James 5:9.   I have witnessed the devastation of childhood sexual abuse; I am all for protecting children.  But, wow!  Someone needs to rewrite George Orwell's "1984" using iPhones.

The next link I followed was posted by a fellow military chaplain's spouse.  It concerned a letter written by retired military chaplains and the detrimental effect of repealing the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays in the military.  Addressed to the President and congress, it says, “We are deeply concerned that these changes would threaten the religious liberty of chaplains and Service members. Put simply, if the government normalizes homosexual behavior in the armed forces, many (if not most) chaplains will confront a profoundly difficult moral choice: whether they are to obey God or to obey men.”  The moral dilema is, of course, that the Bible clearly lables homosexuality as sin and, as such, should be fought against the same way we struggle to put away bitterness, anger, clamour, evil speaking and malice (Eph. 4:31).  Sin is sin, and we should fight with all we have to rid ourselves of it. Instead, those pushing the homosexual agenda equate themselves with those who needed to overcome racial discrimination.  "We are born this way," they say.  Well, I was born a glutton, but I still have a choice about what I put in my mouth the same way they have a choice who shares their bed.  I have a choice about sinning or not.  By using only parts of Biblical text they agree with, the verse homosexuals often use to keep opponents defensive is "Judge not lest you be judged (James 5:9)."

But "judge not" doesn't mean put your brain on hold, keep your mouth shut about sin you witness, and never make any decision about the morality of someone else's behavior.  Stealing, murder, adultery, and abuse of every form are all sins, and if someone does them, my judgement kicks right in and I will speak up to say they are wrong.  So will you.  Why else are we downloading "Offender Locator" apps to our iPhones?  Homosexuals, sexual offenders, liars, cheaters, gossips and gluttons are all sinners.   As followers of God, we acknowlege no sin as "worse" than any other, and we work against it both in our own lives and by coming to the aid of those who need help overcoming their sin.  No sin is more "hateful" than another; no person stands on higher moral ground than anyone else because we are all mired deep in the muck together.

James 5:9 does not mean turning a blind eye and deaf ear to sin.  It means I examine my own life and see what a wreck I've made of it and, when I look at others, judge them with the same compassion I would wish for myself.

The 365 Card "It's So You" challenge today is to make a card which is a reflection of me.  The outside is very pretty with flowers and lovely words.  The inside is black.



Until next time,
Becca

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Gift for Baby

Over the past several years, my specialty for baby showers has been a set of note cards the expectant mom can use as either thank you notes or birth announcements.



Today's post uses all CTMH products which have been discontinued.  However, they are still great stamps and papers.  This card is based on the sketch for the H2H Challenge.  It also uses the colors from Jeanette Lynton's Color Me Monday:  Bamboo, Desert Sand, Cocoa and Dutch Blue...perfect for a new baby boy.

Until next time,
Becca

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Imprisoned Trust

Gen. 39

I absolutely HATE this chapter of the Bible.  It screams injustice. 

Joseph has been sold as a slave, but he puts his nose to the grindstone and works diligently for his master.  After 13 years, Joseph is now the head servant in a very important house.

Potipher is the captain of the guards.  This is no small position...something akin to our Secretary of Defense.  However, in Joseph's time, the running of the household involved much more than just keeping the house clean.  His position would include things like making sure the crops were planted, harvested and sold for the appropriate price; managing servants and their disputes; overseeing the livestock used for both personal and commercial reasons; balancing the household finances and spending money for repairs; organizing social events; etc.  Given the status of Potipher's position, his household would have been enormous with numerous servants.  Like the CEO  of a major corporation, he did not do the work himself but made sure the people responsible for each task performed satisfactorily.  Joseph's job was to make sure Potipher had nothing to worry about at home so he could concentrate all his energy on running the Egyptian military.

He proves himself so trustworthy, Potipher has no problem granting Joseph complete control over everything from hiring, disciplining, and dismissing servants to literally having full access to all Potipher's finances.  The only thing Potipher had to worry about was which food to choose from the buffet spread before him at meal time.

This also means Potipher's wife has nothing to do at home except make trouble.  She solicits him to sleep with her...over and over and over again.  With Joseph in such a position of power over the lives of the servants, no one would have dared speak a word against him.  And they most certainly weren't going to speak against the wife!  The two of them could have carried on an affair for as long as they wanted and Potipher would never have known.  However, Joseph will not succumb.  Even after she arranges to get all the servants out of the house so she and Joseph can be completely alone (because the problem can't be he's not attracted to her so it must be his fear that word will somehow get back to her husband), he still will not.  Her humiliation is complete and she is furious.  She has thrown herself at a slave and he has refused.  Notice that Joseph's refusal has nothing to do with her looks, her feminine wiles, her age, nothing at all personal.  He simply will not, on moral grounds, sleep with the wife of the man who has trusted him with everything, has withheld nothing from him except his wife.

But when Potipher hears his wife say Joseph has tried to rape her, all that trust built over years flies out the window in a jealous rage and he throws Joseph in prison.  I wonder how long it took before Potipher figured out the truth.  How many other servants did the wife seduce?  Did she also sleep with his colleagues?  Did he ever find another servant who ran his household with such efficiency?  With Joseph gone, did his crops and livestock fail along with his finances?  Or did he continue to believe his wife blindly and go forward with the same prosperity as before?  We don't know.  One thing is certain, after publicly denouncing Joseph, Potipher would never recant his story and expose himself as his wife's dupe no matter what he learned later.

So Joseph rots in prison because he upheld his mater's trust.  If ever a man had reason to scream, "That's not FAIR!" it was Joseph.  And God doesn't do a thing about it.  None of Potipher's servants bear witness to Joseph's innocence, there is no last minute reprieve, no happy ending to reward Joseph's faithfulness.  And I hate it!  I know, I know, Joseph has not been abandoned by God and, because of his skills and trustworthiness, he eventually runs the prison, but excuse me for pointing out that he is still in prison.  I want justice now.  My attention span lasts about two to three hours these days...just long enough for a good movie.  I don't want Joseph rotting away for years on end.

But perhaps Joseph still had lessons to learn.  He was cocky and immature a couple chapters ago, he has risen to a place of prominence relatively quickly in his captivity, and God still needed to teach him a bit of humility and trust through unfair, difficult and trying circumstances.  Maybe the diplomatic skills necessary to run a country were not to be learned as the CEO of an important household but in the dungeon.  Or maybe Joseph just got the bum end of a rotten deal and God made the most of it.

Whatever the cause and effect, it still goes against my grain for God to allow such a clear case of injustice to stand regardless of the final outcome.  Then again, when we see Joseph as a sort of archetype for Jesus, it is of such benefit for me that God allowed the ultimate injustice and false accusations against Jesus to stand because the final outcome has saved me for all eternity. 

In the end, I can do all the right, moral, and trustworthy things and experience unjust consequences as a result.  I must trust, even while my soul screams out at the unfairness of it all, that God can work even this together for good (Rom. 8:28).  Maybe it won't be MY good, but it will still be for good.

Until next time,
Becca