Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hallmark dreams

Who needs Hallmark? In highschool I dreamed of working for the monster greeting card company. A career counselor directed me towards getting a degree in printing and publishing. Upon graduation I applied at Hallmark, and was told they were looking not only for writers, but individuals who had gifts of both poetry and commercial art.

Back then we did not have the aid of computers and programs like PhotoShop to help those of us who are not gifted completely in visual art. If I were not so set in my roots, maybe today I would apply to Hallmark once again…but with graying hairs I think I will stay put.

Scrapbooking our family memories has a few side effects… one of which is a pile of scraps composed of pretty patterns, rich solids, and bits and pieces of ribbon and other embellishments. It doesn’t take long to create a few greeting cards with these scraps. I have learned to make use of my time wisely, and while creating one card I may as well see what is on hand, and produce the same design in a variety of colors.

The hallmark of my cards, so to speak, are the words inside. It may be a short poem, a quote… usually something that is specifically written for the recipient. Words have always been my gift…and soon I will have the opportunity to fulfill a dream.

Yesterday I ventured into the new Crossroads Coffeehouse in our town with a friend. I wanted to check out the rotating art gallery that I had seen advertised in the open house ad. For the past couple of years friends have been encouraging me to have prints made of my nature photography, to mat and sell them. When I asked Mary, the owner, about bringing in some of my prints to display she asked me if I made cards. I told her that I was a scrapbooker, and yes, I do make cards. As it turns out Mary wants to offer individual cards for sale to her customers.

I was excited, and immediately began thinking of designs, products I would use, and even incorporating some of my nature photos into my greeting cards. Another reason for my excitement is the possible opportunity this presents in helping my niece to provide funds for her mission trips to Haiti. Mary offers free trade coffee in the store, organic food products and is ecology-minded. To make greeting cards and have a percentage of the proceeds benefit a 6th world country seems to fit right in. I can’t wait to get started on my new greeting card venture. I don’t need to live in Kansas City and work for a huge greeting card guru - I can use my God given gifts right here in small town Wisconsin, and make an impact in the world.

Seems when we least expect it God opens doors – I plan to walk through this one and not look back!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Baby, it's cold outside!!

I love winter...but not the sub-zero temperatures we are getting. For one, it is too cold to scrapbook out in the unheated abyss of our unfinished basement. The kids don't seem to mind it...they can play down in the basement in their bare feet - even with these temperatures. Personally, I am spending the time in the warmth of the finished office, on the computer. In fact, I chose to play around in PhotoShop today to make a layout...the warmer scrapbooking alternative. The layout was created for a challenge at the scrapbook playground - all a part of their huge February event. The challenge was to be inspired by a favorite gum or candy wrapper. Not only was I inspired by the wrapper, but by the contents itself. Sorry to say, the models for this photo shoot did not live to see another day.

Jesse attended the "No Regrets" conference in Brookfield, Wisconsin today. He was out of the house before the rest of us awoke... so it was me and the kids. Kyle's basketball game was much better than last week. He was more relaxed and had fun. I hired a sitter for Abby, and I actually managed quite a few game photos today - hopefully some that will be scrapworthy.

After the game I stopped at the post office. Today was the day... I mailed off my Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame contest entry. I also had to mail some layouts off for the "doodling book". While that package was being processed, I kept looking at my HOF box, thinking I should take it back, open it up, and review everything again to be sure I hadn't forgotten anything. Paranoia... how quickly it can take hold. I had to mentally reassure myself that I already looked things over several times before, and to just "let it go".

I worked on it late into Friday night just to prepare it for submission, and free up the remainder of my weekend. I awoke this morning praying for my entry, and prayed several more times before it left my hands. I pray that God uses my Hall of Fame entry for His glory. Since our small town post office barely keeps Saturday hours, I had to go to the next larger town. So, no kissing the box good-bye, or chatting with the postal worker about its precious contents...just a regular ol' shipment as far as they're concerned. But I know better... a good portion of my waking hours of the past several months were in that box. Indeed... ideas that came to pass way back in October as soon as the assignments were released. I wasn't able to get all of my ideas done...but that's okay. Other contests ride the shirt tails of Hall of Fame!
This evening I attended a fund-raiser concert to help build an orphanage in Malawi, Africa. The musicians are all so talented, and I loved the praise and worship music. Unfortunately, my hip has been giving problems again, so I wasn't able to remain for the entire concert. It appeared that a lot of money had been donated in the free-will offering basket. It amazes me how far the American dollar will go in Africa. It would be such a blessing to have the new orphanage come to fruition as a result of this concert. I pray God's work continues...whether the journey is in the cold temperatures of Wisconsin, or in the sun warmed hills of Malawi. God's peace!

Friday, February 2, 2007

It's All About Love - Part 4

1 Corinthians 13:6 "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails."
"Christ does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” Christ always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Christ never fails."

I am amazed by the protection Christ’s love has given me. As a child I was protected by His strength through a traumatic experience. Of course I did know it at the time, but this came to me in a vision as an adult. There I was as a child, in the grip of harm – but Jesus was shown there with me. I knew then and there that His holy presence is what gave me the strength to break free. This was such an amazing revelation, that even today as I reflect upon it the image is so very clear.
The protection of the Holy Spirit was with me yet another time, as the driver’s side door of my car was about to be impacted by a large Mack truck. A voice in the car (I was alone) told me what to do, and in a very surreal state, I calmly went through the motion of backing up the car, so that only the fender was hit. Experiences such as these leave one in awe of God’s mighty power, and leaves no doubt of His living presence.
Christ has never failed me, even in my darkest hour His love has prevailed. When others fail us, we can count on Christ’s love. Even as He made His final journey to Calvary He did not fail us… He persevered. He walked up that hill. He carried that cross, our cross…our sins. He loved us so much that He died for us, so that we could be with Him for all eternity. There is no failure in Christ’s love – only victory in the Cross!

1 Corinthians:13 - "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
LOVE. All other spiritual gifts will disappear… whether it is the gift of healing, speaking in tongues, prophecy – we don’t take these gifts to heaven. Within the church body it does not matter which gift we are blessed with, as long as we have love. Once we get to heaven faith is unnecessary…for we are no longer believing in what we cannot see. We WILL SEE, with our very own being. (Wow! How COOL will that be!) Hope – hope will be no more. For what we have hoped for our entire life will be very real.
Our journey will have ended, and along with us for the journey is love. Love is so great we can take it to heaven. I can only imagine what that will be like… the body of Christ…the body of love...all in one heavenly place.