Fabric Wrapped Candy Canes

 I got this idea from an Instagram feed I follow @amandarydell You can also follow me @gracefullhome

I have an ever growing list of people in my life I wish I could give a gift to. Like all of the support staff at my kids’ school, the librarians that faithfully and patiently read to my children each week, the mail carrier, the paper boy, the grocer at the store where my kids spill a slushy weekly…. but these people just don’t fit into our gift giving budget and I wouldn’t really know what to buy for them because I don’t know them personally. I just want to let them know that what they do does not go unnoticed and I appreciate them. So this year we are passing out candy canes wrapped in festive fabric and extra little trimmings.

These cost me next to nothing to make because I quite a bit of craft supplies at home already. If you had to start from scratch (like, you don’t own a glue gun), it would cost a bit more. But still not much.

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For all you mommy readers out there, I have a gift for you! This book is compiled from a series of blog posts from desiringgod.org from the past several years. All of the contributing writers are moms with a passion for sharing how the gospel impacts their parenting. Two of them have impacted me as a mom personally. I haven’t been able to put it down since I started reading it. There is so much encouragement in these pages it makes my heart swell.

You can download the book for free at http://www.desiringgod.org/books/mom-enough

Merry Christmas!!

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Small Business Saturday!

Happy Small business Saturday to you! Today is a great day to out (or online) and support the local business owners who work hard, pay close attention to details, and know you by name! Today I’m sharing some of my favorite small businesses, both local and online!

 

Local

Smith’s Market

Located on South Main street in Hutchinson, this market has all the small town charm you could ever want! My kids love the jellybean wall, and I always find lots of goodies for myself too!

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Brewed Awakening

This newly relocated coffee shop is also on South Main street. It was a lot of space and has a calming atmosphere and exceptional coffee.

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Seredipity Cupcakes

Cupcakes and polka dots. Need I say more? My fave is the espresso cupcake, obviously.

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Renu

This shop opened this year on Main Street and immediately called my name. The owners have a knack for refinishing furniture and collectables in the most appealing ways. And there is a “junk” room upstairs where you can find your own treasures to put a diy touch on!

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Online

Gracelaced the shoppe

Ruth Simons is a mom of 6(!!!) boys and has an incredible heart of her Savior which pours out into her beautiful watercolor paintings. She does custom family crests that will take your breath away and always offers treasures of grace along with her paint offerings.

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I went to high school and college with Leslie for a bit. Her shop inspires me and her outlook always makes me smile. She has some really cool calendars available in her shop right now. And right now through Monday you can get 25% off her shop with code HOLIDAYDEALS

 

I hope you enjoy shopping today and giving some love to some small businesses!

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And remember, you can get 25% off my shop gracefullhome AND buy two get two FREE until midnight tonight (CST)!! Use code grace25 at checkout and leave a note letting me which free prints you would like!

 

 

Imperishable

“Then I wish I was never alive.” My 5 year old’s response to the fact that getting shots is a part of life. “So you think it would be better to have never been alive at all than to experience a very short amount of pain?” I asked somewhat shocked. “Yes.” His answer definitive, unwavering. I tried to explain to my little boy a deep and complex truth. I’m not sure it went very well as he moved on to asking for ice cream at the first sign that mom was done talking. But it served a purpose in speaking to my own heart because, while I may be a little less dramatic or vocal about it, I do try to avoid pain at all costs.

The pain of disappointing someone I love.

The pain of being rejected.

The pain of being losing something I hold dear.

“Sure, shots hurt buddy. But only for a little bit. And they aren’t even something bad that is happening to you. In fact, they are something good  because they are protecting you from something potentially much worse.” Was my reply, which I’m sure sounded more like the mom from Charlie Brown the second the word ‘potentially’ exited my lips.

We moved on and the conversation was filed away in the distant, foggy memory part of my day until I was about to go to bed and I went in to kiss him goodnight. I began to think, if he truly believes that he would be better off never alive than face hardship, what does that say about his belief system? I think it means that feeling pain is absolutely the worst thing he can imagine. He wants to be pain free all the time. He is a little feel-good seeker. And as his mother, I want this for him. Naturally I don’t relish in the thought of him experiencing the unpleasant things in life, whether physical or emotional. But I only know of one place where that is possible. There is only one place pain free and only one way to get there. The believer in Christ is promised this place, but to get there they must experience pain on some level. Now I know some people die in their sleep and some people die suddenly, and then there were those just taken up in a whirlwind, but to a certain degree I would argue that every death experience has an amount of pain associated with it.

I believe God to be sovereign over all. ALL. Perhaps he uses the pain to point us to him, to help us to be thankful for the times we are not in pain, to minister to those suffering alongside us. But tonight I was struck by another thought. Would I get very excited about a place where there is no pain if I never experienced pain myself? Would I cherish the man who will wipe every tear from my eyes is I had never cried about anything? No, of course not. It would be like telling a child who has never tasted a pea that they are moving to a town where they will never have to eat peas again. “Big deal, I don’t have to eat them now,” they would think, “and by the way, what’s a pea?”

 

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Imperishable seed

This week I completed the first custom order for my shop. A print of 1 Peter 1:23. In Christ I am not an imperishable seed. What makes this verse mean something to me? The fact that I feel and experience my perishable-ness every day.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

I feel my perishable-ness and I don’t like it. I am a big feel-good seeker. I envy success, my motives are often out of whack and reveal a heart that wanders quickly. But I am told that I am an imperishable seed. And by the word of God through his son I know that one day I will not envy or seek my own good, and I will always have perfect motives! This perishable feeling is temporary! I can be joyful because I know the pain, and I know it will someday be over. What I glorious day that will be! I to think, I could have missed it all if I had never been alive.

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Follow your dreams. Seems harmless enough, right? After all, a dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep….

I have been pursuing my dream of opening an Etsy shop to sell some of my artwork. And I got to see that dream come to reality when my shop, gracefullhome, opened on Monday!  I have been sketching and using it as a means to connect with people since I can remember. I recall drawing a picture for my best friend in first grade and giving it to her as a gift. I remember feeling like it was a special sentiment because it expressed without words how I felt about her, I liked her very much!

In middle school I spent my time (probably time I was supposed to be studying history) doodling and sketching on my book covers and notebooks. One particular sketch caught my dad’s eye and quickly made it to the fridge. He said, “You have a knack for lettering.” And to this day he still talks about that picture.

Mostly what I sketch is what is on my heart. Verses, songs, quotes… many themes are from my childhood and teen years, but mostly I pour onto paper what God is stirring in my heart at that moment. Sketching has become a way or me to linger with the Lord and take pleasure in the lesson and truths he is teaching me. It is a form of worship for me, and I have been praying over the last few months as this dream started to materialize that this shop would point to him, my first love, and that my heart would not tend toward another love as soon as the dream was realized. This is something I still need to pray. Now more than ever as I fight the temptation to check the shop every half hour!

 

I also do custom things that people order. For example, my pastor had me put together this for a mother’s day gift to every lady in our church this year.

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And this one was made especially for my friend’s son.

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Last night I started a new custom order. The job is to sketch the word “Dreamer”. But I had to stop at Dream.

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This little project of mine is exiting for me. It’s a whole lot of fun, and it hopefully blessing others as well. But what is the real dream?

The real dream is that every knee would bow and every tongue would praise the name of Christ Jesus. (Romans 14:11)

The real dream is that he will come again, and when he does he will find his children holding fast to the faith. (Hebrews 10:23)

The real dream is preaching the gospel to ourselves every day and actually believing it. (Romans 5:8)

The real dream is not only being hearers of the word, but doers. That we can be his hands and feet here. (James 1:22-24)

Maybe words sketched on paper can help accomplish that in some hearts as they hang on a wall. That is the dream.

 

 

For another great post about dreaming big – but keeping your first love visit HERE.

 

Thanks for reading and coming alongside me in this journey! I hope you are blessed!

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she did what she could

So…. I’m assuming you came back for the big news that I teased you with yesterday. Well, let me just start by saying thank you for being interested!

gracefullhome will be on Etsy on November 10th

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If you have been readying along for very long, you probably have noticed a sketch here and there. About a year ago I started converting my sketches into digital art so that I could do things like animate them.

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Well, that little project turned into a new hobby for me. I have always been drawn to graphic lettering and writing styles and interesting prints that showcase meaningful phrases. As I began to sketch more and more I began to realize that sketching verses that are meaningful to me and song lyrics that move me can be a form of worship. So I began to pray that God would take this worship and be blessed by it.

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A few months later I asked the Dude what he thought about us opening an Etsy shop with my art. His reply was, “I’m not saying no, I’m just saying not yet.” Boy, am I grateful for that man’s wisdom. Although I didn’t know why or completely agree with the “not yet” answer, I went with it because things always work out better under the submission of my husband.

Turns out, God had a lot of things to deal with in my heart before I was ready for this step. Things like:

Why do I want to make this art public? Is it for me or for Him? Is it for my glory and fame or His?

What are these feelings of inadequacies in my heart? Why am I discouraged when I look at other people’s artwork? Why am I always comparing myself to others and coming up short?

What is my goal with this online business? What will the money be for? What does that reveal about my motives to open a shop?

 

All of these questions were brought up and dealt with in the most merciful and gentle ways by the Father. Through a Bible Study session at church, a conversation with a friend, and in the quiet morning moments with it is just me and my coffee. He is gentle in his reproving of me, and I am thankful. Now I can honestly say:

It doesn’t have to be perfect, or the best, or anything special in anyone’s eyes because it is for You. You are the creative Creator, you have given me the ability that I have, no more, no less, so I will give it back to You. I will do what I can right now to worship You with all You have given me.

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And that is what my art is, a form of worship. Extremely enjoyable and exciting worship. Most of what you see will be verses or songs that have stuck in my heart for one reason or another and my natural inclination is to draw them out. Sketching helps me think as I ponder whatever is circling through my mind. I’m thrilled to be able to share this part of myself with you. A part that was fearfully and wonderfully made and knit together just for me. The gracefullhome shop opens on Etsy on November 10th. I would be honored if you will stop by! {I’ll add a link on that day to make to easy on you!}

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