The Wind Blows Where it Pleases

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Sunday past, Pastor Dave taught us from John 3. Millions of people are familiar with what is probably the most famous verse in the bible, John 3: 16. But, it was the 8th verse in that chapter that caught my mind.

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When I was in college, about 200 years ago, I choreographed a dance for the annual Concert of Dance, using this verse as my inspiration. Later, I realized, I really did not know what that verse was talking about. It made a lovely piece. Lynne, Paulie, and Pam were strapped to elastic cords on which were strung a LOT of clear drinking straws. The piece had no music. The straws made interesting, ethereal, shushing sounds as they moved around the stage.

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(taken when you actually had to remove the film from the camera and take it to the drugstore to be developed)

Seeing that this verse and I have a long-standing history, I wanted to be sure I understood it and then not forget it. I borrowed my own straw idea and made a quick wind chime. Right now, it is hanging in the hallway. When windows are open, the hallway gets a nice breeze. I can also bump it with my hand when I walk past it. The straws make a soft noise, and bring the Holy Spirit, and the ways He works within me, to mind.

Dave reminded us that often in scripture, the Holy Spirit is referred to as the wind or a breath. He described what is being taught us in the verse: The wind blows as it pleases, there is nothing we can do to change it or control it. So is the will of God. Salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit is His idea, not ours. Salvation and forgiveness of sin is His sovereign act.

We can see the result of the wind, whether it is a soft breeze or a tornado. People can see the result of the Holy Spirit in us, as well. We cannot control the Holy Spirit, but we. and others, can see and feel the effects of being born of the Spirit.

Salvation and the Holy Spirit are gifts of God’s choosing, given to us for no other reason that that. Amen!

To make a straw wind chime like mine, follow along. You could opt to hang anything to  make your chime: pieces from an old broken wind chime, silverware, keys, who knows… Check Pinterest for ideas! I only chose straws because……

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I used plastic straws, the inner ring of a 4″ embroidery hoop (you might have something cooler in the junk drawer or the garage to use), and black crochet thread (which is string). I also needed some black paint and a brush, scissors and a darning needle. It is possible you could find most of this at home already and the rest at the dollar store.

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Paint the hoop. Let it dry.

I used a 2 yard piece of thread on my needle. String a straw on the needle, up near the top of the straw. Wrap the thread around the hoop twice.  Repeat with as many straws as you want. 2 yards of thread got me halfway around. I tied off the end and started another 2 yards.

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To hang it up, I knotted three pieces of thread to the hoop, held them together to form a loop and hung it from the loop. This can go outside later when the weather is nicer.

Walk in obedience to all He commands, Jeremiah 7:23.

2016Owl

 

 

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Walking in Good Works

 

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We know that acts or deeds do not bring us salvation. But through salvation, Jesus created the me (and the you) that wants to serve. It is God’s plan that salvation results in acts of service. We were not saved only for our own benefit, but to serve and to build up the church.

During word study, I found the following definitions:

created: an act of God, only God can make what was not there before, pleasing to God

works: actions, behaviors, deeds

beforehand: decreed by God

walk: conduct my life, walk about without argument

Using the definitions, I might say, or pray this back to God:

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Don’t you love the thought that God decreed before You existed that good works would be a part of your life? Also, did you notice that the verse does not say so that we could walk in them, but so that we would walk in them?

I made wearable art to remind myself of this. This green shirt was an amazing bargain at Salvation Army for $1.50. If you have a plain t-shirt and a bleach pen, you can do this project in under an hour.

You will need:

t-shirt

board (I used a foam board from the Dollar Store)

Bleach Pen

stick of chalk

tape

rag or paper towel

paring knife

 

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Print the pattern. Feel free to grow or shrink it if you like.

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Put the shirt on the board. Tape it down so the fabric will not move. Tape the sleeves to the backside so they can’t flip forward into your wet bleach gel.

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To transfer the pattern to the shirt, I used a piece of white chalk. With a paring knife, I whittled one end into a point. It makes it easier to trace the pattern lines.

Lay your printed pattern on your work surface. Trace all of the lines with your chalk. Turn the paper chalk side down on the center, top of the shirt. Using just your hands, rub over the back of the paper.

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This transfers the pattern lines.

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Shake your bleach pen. Squeeze some onto the paper towel. If the bleach is not coming out like a white gel, shake it until it does. Trace all of the chalk lines with the bleach gel. The bleach will absorb the chalk. I work as quickly as I can without making a mess. Then I let my shirt sit for no longer than 20 minutes. If you let the bleach sit longer on your shirt, it will eat the fibers of the fabric and you will have holes after a couple washings.

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After 20 minutes, remove the tape. Carefully slide the shirt off the board. Rinse all of the gel off the shirt.

Challenge! Here is a challenge for you. I did not do this, but am going to try it. Print the verse on the back of the t-shirt with your bleach pen!

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. (Philippians 2:4)

2016Owl

 

Being Pruned

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This geranium is on my daily walking path. In the early summer, it was blooming like crazy, lush and in gorgeous color. It is sitting by the fence and it has not been taken care of. At all. It never gets watered unless it rains, and it has never been pruned. Gardeners know that pruning off the dead blossoms allows the plant to make new blossoms. When I walk by each day, it makes me sad. And I wonder if the owner would care if I deadheaded the blossoms when I walk by.

Even though it is sad that it can’t bloom well, it reminds me every day that My Father, the Vinedresser, prunes things from my life in order for new and beautiful things to blossom. I cannot be sad about that. Why would I want to hang on to things that are done?

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As a reminder of why it is good to have things in our lives pruned, I offer you a drawing of a geranium in bloom. I have been reading lately about how adult coloring books are the thing. Publishers cannot keep them in stock. Doesn’t it sound relaxing to sit and color while watching TV, or while waiting for your Dr. appointment? They say that coloring can take care of your stress and anxiety. Check them out on Amazon. They have a pretty decent collection.

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Print out the geraniums. Grab your crayons or colored pencils, or print it on watercolor paper, and use your watercolor pencils to color it in. No stress, just chillin’. I painted mine with watercolor cakes. It was fun.

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Burst out in songs of thanksgiving, Psalm 28:7 (NLT)

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Decoupage Book Cover

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This is my 2015 Planner that I am working in for Documented Faith. It is a plain black moleskine planner. As you can see, I covered it with fabric, decoupaged it on.  If you have never decoupaged, or have never had a successful decoupage experience, see this decoupage tutorial for tips.

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First thing I did, was cut off the elastic band on the planner.

Because my planner is black and my fabric has a lot of white, I painted the planner white before I decoupaged. If I had not done that, the color of my fabric would have been dull when it dried.

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Put waxed paper pieces inside the front and back covers to keep the pages from getting wet. Brush Mod Podge over the cover, press the fabric over it and smooth it out. Brush at least 3 coats of Mod Podge on top of the fabric. When it is all dry, trim off the extra fabric around the edges.

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I am planning for my planner (haha) to grow fat and full of everything I do and see in 2015, Without the elastic that I cut off, I am not sure I can hold it together. So, I glued a ribbon inside each cover. When I tie a bow, it becomes a nice, neat package.

This is a simple and colorful book covering technique that you can do on any book, hard or soft cover.

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This is a soft cover Bible with two fabrics on it. The polk dot is layered over the floral.

Colors and styles of fabric are infinite, find one you like and give it a try!

Let your light shine before others (Matthew 5:16),
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Bible Journaling: God’s Designer Label

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I do a good amount of journaling of bible studies and scripture, but how did I never think about doing it right in my Bible? I even own a bible with wide side margins that is perfect for it. Imagine pulling out your favorite or the most meaningful verses to you, and drawing them right on the page. Talk about bringing the scriptures to life!

And since this is a spiritual endeavor more than an art project, it doesn’t matter if my printing is straight or the paint bleeds on the paper. The journalling is just to help me remember.

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I started with something with a literal visual, so it would be easier for my first one.

IMG_1132Research turned up a lot of materials that will work on the thin pages of a bible, but in the end, I just used what I had. Inexpensive cake watercolors worked great with the water brush.

 

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Watercolor pencils worked great too. That is what I used for Colossians 3: 12-14. Go to the watercolor pencil tutorial to learn how to use them.

IMG_1138Here is the water brush I used. And I used a Micron pen to outline everything. The Micron pen does not run with water, and it come in colors and different diameters.

 

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To see examples of bible journalling, follow the Art from the Word Pinterest page. Or join the Journaling Bible immunity on Facebook.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart (Colossians 3:15),

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countingmyblessings

Prayer Flags

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Prayer flags are fascinating to me. They come in all shapes and sizes. They can be stitched or painted, made of paper or fabric. They can be triangles or rectangles. They can be anything you design from your unique perspective or creative brain. You can get tons of inspiring prayer flag ideas on this blog.

Prayer flags have a long history. They were first just colorful pieces of cloth, hung on the mountain tops in the Himalayas. Then words were written on them and they were taken into battle. For early Buddhists, the colors symbolized different things, and Tibetans believe hanging them make their prayers one with the universe.

For me prayer flags are simply a visual reminder and a record. When I see them hanging there, they remind me to pray for whatever is written on them. When God answers those prayers I can take them down or exchange them with new prayers. They are also pretty, especially if they are hung outside where they have movement in the wind.

It is a great idea to do in a class. Each person writes out her prayers and everyone can see them each week.

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To make some like mine, you need: fabric, batting, ribbon scraps, safety pins, straight pins, scissors, permanent marker, and a sewing machine.

1. Make yourself a paper pattern of a triangle or rectangle. Trace it on the fabric and batting. For each flag, you need two triangles of fabric and one of batting. I cut mine out with pinking shears.

2. Layer the three pieces. Pin them together. Pin two pieces of ribbon (folded in half) at the top so you have something to string the rope through. Stitch around the outside, holding everything together.

3. Cut a smaller piece of a light color fabric. Write your prayer on this, using permanent marker. Safety pin the small triangle to the front of the flag. String all of your flags across your rope.

4. Commence praying! Write words on them and take them into battle!

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In all your ways acknowledge Him. (Proverbs 3:6),

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A Bottle Washed Up Into My Mailbox

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I got a message in a bottle this week. In my mailbox! It was from the creative and daring Women’s Ministries Director at church.

Did you know you can mail stuff like this? It costs a bit more and takes a little longer because it can’t go through the canceling machine, but yes, you can mail just about anything. Once, I mailed flip flops with invitations on them.

 

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This is what was inside my bottle. It is the closest I have gotten to a beach all summer. The scroll is a listing of fall classes and ministry opportunities for women.

By now, you know how I feel about visual helps. To me, this mailer says, “Meet us in class and we will have a fun and creative semester!” Works for me!

Walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8),

Kim