Blooming Pencil: Something New

IMG_0734   Here in Michigan, we are right in the middle of spring. Some things have bloomed, but we still have lots of plants and trees in the bud stage.

Weirdly, it reminds me how much I like fall. Fall sometimes feels like a metaphor for the changes God is planning in my life. The leaves are beautiful, I have enjoyed them for many months, but they are falling off the trees. I always remind myself that there will not be room for anything new until the old is gone. The landscape eventually turns to winter bleakness, and I wait it out….till the time when the bright, shiny new buds start popping out.

You can count on new leaves and flowers every spring, just like you can count on God bringing you new relationships, jobs, kids, homes, lessons, passions, and even challenges. It is easier to allow the old to fade away if I remember that the exciting and long awaited new will be here soon.

So, it is spring, and the new is here. Pay attention to what is brings to you….

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Here, God promises to bring His children out of Babylon. Not only did He bring them out, but He made a way for them through the wilderness, and gave them what they needed to survive the journey.

To remind myself that He will do something new in my life when I feel Him taking things away from me, I made a pencil with a spring bud that turns into a full bloom. Each time I use it, I remember that God not only brings new things into my life, He makes the way for me, and gives me what I need to get where He is asking me to go.

Here is what you need:

  • pencil with eraser
  • 5″ circle of fabric for the bud/bloom (I traced a soup mug and cut out the circle)
  • 1 yard 1 1/4″ wide green ribbon
  • 1 quilt pin (use wire cutters to cut the pin to about 1/2″)
  • hot glue gun and glue
  • scissors
  • pencil

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What you do:

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1. Glue the fabric circle to the top of the pencil, in 4 spots (think north, south, east, west).

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2. Fold or pleat the rest of the fabric, glueing it around the top of the pencil.  There is your spring flower bud.

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3. Cut a square of ribbon, and glue it into a point. This will be a leaf. Make two.

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4. Glue the end of the ribbon to the pencil, so it covers the bottom edge of your bud.

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5. Wrap the ribbon tightly around the pencil, moving it downward, and glueing every other wrap, to hold it in place. As you work downward, glue a leaf to the pencil, and wrap/glue the ribbon over it. Glue both leaves to the pencil/stem.

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6. Cut the ribbon when you want to stop wrapping. I stopped a couple inches above the point, so I could sharpen it and use it for awhile. Fold the end of the ribbon under and glue it. Then glue the end of the ribbon to the pencil.

Spring bud: IMG_0733

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7. When you want your bud to bloom, press the bud flat. Stick your short pin through the fabric into the pencil eraser. This will hold the blossom open and make it look like a flower.

“Be joyful in hope,” Romans 12:12

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The Lord’s Prayer

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Several weeks ago, my job was relocated to New Jersey. Without me. Unemployment does not suit me, for many reasons, but I know that my God is the God who provides.

Today, feeling like my conversations lately with God are mostly about me asking for His help, I asked for some guidance. Immediately, He gave me the Lord’s Prayer. As I started praying through it, I realized, though I had heard it and had spoken it a zillion times, I was finding it the perfect prayer for my current trial.

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Not only did I think about what the prayer means, I made a quick tag book of it, to remind me when I need reminding.

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Here is what you need for a tag book like this:

  • 5 white paper tags, mine are 5 1/4″ x 2 5/8″
  • 3 watercolor pencils, colors of your choice. I used lime green, teal, and blue
  • a couple baby wipes (you don’t need great ones with baby oil, just get them at the dollar store), or a damp sponge
  • 12″ piece of ribbon
  • fine point black permanent marker
  • pencil and white eraser

Here is what you do:

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1. Color in one side of the tag, using the watercolor pencils. Perfection is not needed! Do all 5 tags.

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2. Rub the color with a baby wipe or damp sponge. How cool is that? This technique makes great backgrounds and is so easy. Do all 5 tags.

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3. Using the marker, write or print a verse on each tag, 9-13.  If it helps, write the verse in pencil before tracing with the marker. Do all 5 tags.

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4. String the ribbon through all 5 holes, and knot above the tags.

The backs of the tags are blank. On them, you can write specific prayers or notes that you want to remember.

My thoughts on this prayer and how it relates to me, and how it is perfect for my current situation:

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v.9

  • I am praying to my Father, who lovingly and personally, listens to my prayers. Even when I ask for a job every single day.
  • He surpasses everything on earth. Giving me a job is not hard for him.
  • A study of the word “hallowed” (hagiazo), tells us the name of God is the opposite of common. It is made holy. His name is set apart.

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v. 10

  • May His perfect will be done here on earth and in my life, as it is done in Heaven. That is exactly what I want… His perfect will, not my imperfect will.

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v.11

  • I must trust Him every day.
  • I will ask Him to give me what I need for today, just like He gave the Israelites manna in the wilderness each day. I don’t need to have today, what I will need tomorrow. And I will trust Him to provide each day, in His perfect timing. My new job will come on the day of His planning.
  • I will be growing my faith in His provision, and not worrying. He is my sustainer and provider.

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v.12

  • Father, help me not to be selfish, to remember that what You forgive of mine is greater than anything You ask me to forgive of others.

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v.13

  • A word study of the word “temptation” (peirasmos) shows us Jesus was talking about a trial with a beneficial purpose or effect, a trial from God. That is exactly where I am right now.
  • I need to depend on God for deliverance from the evil one and his lies. It is not true that nobody wants to hire me, that I will never find a job that is right for me, that I am worthless.

Out of frustration, I found comfort in the Lord’s Prayer today. I hope you do too. Does the Lord’s Prayer fit your current situation?

 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12,

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