Sunday, October 30, 2011

Desperate for God

Not long ago I was listening to the praise and worship song, "This Is The Air I Breathe" (Desperate for You) by Michael W. Smith.  It started me thinking that I haven't been as desperate for God lately as I used to be.  Have you ever been in that place where you come to the realization that, spiritually speaking, things aren't quite the same for you anymore?  I think we sometimes get so busy with all the distractions around us and with all we have going on in our lives that we become burned out and weary to the point that we just begin to go through the motions of our daily biblical disciplines without giving them our undivided attention.

I caught myself up this past week and realized that I need to spend some real alone time with my heavenly Father.  I love to minister to people in any way I can and by any means - telephone, Internet or face to face, but I feel that I have been giving out more than I've been taking in.  We all know that this never works; if we don't spend time in the Word, in prayer and in listening for His still, small voice we can end up running on empty.  I think my spiritual life has become depleted in the past few weeks, maybe months.  I lost my sister Ellen to cancer in July, there have been changes at my beloved church (we've been without a senior pastor for a year now), and Craig and I are in the process of planning for a future move:  I've been involved in trying to sort, give away and discard 22+ years worth of "stuff" we've accumulated where we currently live. 

However, this morning during praise and worship at church, I began to feel the Lord dealing with my heart.  I sensed Him telling me that I need to let some things go and spend more time with Him.  I knew I was being wooed by Jesus to come and rest in Him so that He can bring restoration to every area of my life where needed, so this afternoon I grabbed my Bible and began reading in John 6:50-51 where it says, "This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” While Jesus was speaking of the time when he would soon lay down His life as a sacrifice for our sins and that when we partake of this bread we are saved, I believe we can also apply it to mean that whenever we taste of this same Bread we will be strengthened, renewed and refreshed in Him.  And how hungry I am for this Living Bread!  Sometimes we don't realize just how hungry we are until we begin eating.   And nothing can satisfy us like God's Word. 

I'm taking inventory this week and planning to cut out those things in my life that have become unnecessary distractions and time consuming habits.  I want to be so desperate for Jesus that no matter how satisfied I am in Him, I will always want more.  I want to be filled to overflowing, only to keep returning to the well for more of the Living Water.  I want to wake up with praise and thanksgiving on my lips and have it continue throughout the day.  And I want strangers to be so blown away by the anointing of the Lord resting on me, that they approach me and want to know what's different about me and how they can get it.  Come and drink freely, friends!


Good morning, faithful readers and thank you for all the positive and encouraging comments and emails you've been leaving me.  I can't tell you how much each one means to me and how they help to confirm  this new venture the Lord has opened up for me.  I'm enjoying it and feel inspired to keep on keepin' on! 

I'm trying a new tea this morning ~ Bigelow's Cinnamon Stick.  So good and what a delicious aroma! It would go great with a big cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting from our local bakery, but alas I'll have to enjoy the tea without it.  I try to comfort myself by saying I'll save a few calories, but somehow that doesn't quite make it!  Sigh...

I am thinking about Sundays this morning, not surprisingly because it is Sunday!  But I am remembering Sundays from my past, during my growing up years.  Back then, (this is where I slip into my old geezer mode!) Sunday really was much more of a day of rest.  I can remember when I was in my teens that Missouri had a blue law.  This meant that most items such as clothing couldn't be sold on Sunday.  The stores would rope off those areas where you weren't allowed to shop.  Sundays were generally quiet and it was unthinkable that our family wouldn't attend church.  Sunday afternoons were lazy and I remember visiting friends or just hanging around the house.  We always had a delicious Sunday dinner and then we'd get ready to go to our church's evening service. 

Fast forward...I moved to Los Angeles when I was 22 years old.  Until I rededicated my life to Him in 1995, I had wandered away from God for many years.  During most of those years, Sundays were just another day, a day off from work and a day to sleep in or do whatever I felt like doing.  I often thought about my relationship with God and going back to church again, but didn't want to surrender my will to His.  I was too busy having fun, or so I thought.  But Jesus was doing a work in me through those years.  I'm sure the heartfelt prayers of my mother had a lot to do with Him keeping His hand of mercy and grace upon me.  The power of a praying mother can't be overestimated.  In May of 1995 I was back in Springdale, AR with my mom, visiting my aunts.  My Aunt Joy popped in a Gaither video for us to watch and that was the beginning of my return to the Lord.  Something began to stir in me and the music affected me in ways I would never have imagined!  I felt as though I had completely run dry when suddenly a fountain opened up before me and Jesus stood there offering me a drink of living water for my thirsty soul.  I wanted to cry.  This began a journey that I'm still on.  Not long after this I returned home and began to search for a church.  I could write another blog about my wonderful church, but I'll save that for another time.  Suffice it to say that it's been a journey I wouldn't trade for anything, and each day grows sweeter and sweeter with Jesus.  During the bad times and the good times, He is there.  He is my Rock, my Shelter and my Strong Tower.  Amen.

As the card says, I'm thankful for you!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Prayer Walking

The above photo is the walking trail in the park in our apt. community where I walk 5 days per week.  Many of you know that I love to pray while I walk. This is my time to talk to our Lord and bring my needs, my concerns and prayer requests before Him.  Afterward, I love to praise Him and tell Him just how much I love Him and thank Him in advance for His answers to prayer.  Since I walk Monday through Friday when most of the residents are at work, it's quiet in the park with only a few mothers  pushing strollers or taking their children out to play and just a smattering of people having coffee at the Curson Cafe (more on that shortly). 

I love walking by this fountain:

I love the soothing sound of the "water fall".  We are blessed with so many sunny days here in Southern California.  I love to spend time outdoors and take in the beautiful sights and sounds of God's creation. 

This is the Curson Cafe:

It's located in the far western corner of the park.  It's a great place to have a cup of coffee or tea and spend some time "people watching."  In addition to the cafe (and free WiFi), there's a gym and community center located here.  Sometimes Craig and I come here on a Saturday morning, sit with our hot drinks and check out all the activity around us.  Sometimes we just like to listen to the little birds chirping in the nearby trees.  I'm always reminded of the Lord's love and care for us.  After all, doesn't Matthew 6:26-27 tell us, "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?"  I am thankful that God has blessed us with such a beautiful and safe place to live.  And thank you for "touring" with me.  You're in my prayers!

Here's my card offering for today.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Full Armor of God

Do you prepare yourself each morning to face the day by putting on the full armor of God?  I like to visualize each piece as I put it on.  In fact, I wouldn't think of ending my morning prayer time without being fully dressed!  Here's how I do it: 

Dear Lord, I put on the Belt of Truth, for You are the way, the truth and the life. Surround me in your truth, let me not be deceived in any way by the evil one and give me wisdom, knowledge and discernment in all things. Thank You, Lord.

I put on the Breastplate of Righteousness, for You are righteous. Thank You, Papa God for seeing me as righteous because of what Your son, Jesus Christ, did for me on the cross. Please protect my heart and my emotions.

I place the Shoes Shod for the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace on my feet. Dear Lord, should I stumble, please pick me up and continue to lead me forward, upholding me with Your righteous right hand. Keep me on the straight and narrow pathway. Every where my feel shall tread, I claim for You.

I lift up the Shield of Faith to prevent the fiery darts of the evil one from striking me and Craig, as I stand in the gap for him. Save him very soon Lord, I pray.

I place the Helmet of Salvation on my head, Lord. Please protect my mind as I await Your final salvation, when You return to take Your children home.

I wield the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, using it offensively and defensively against the spiritual forces of darkness. Thank You, Lord for going ahead of me to prepare the way and for being my rear guard. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Once I have put on my armor, I know I am ready to begin my day, being fully equipped by the Holy Spirit. 

Christmas is coming!  Here's a Christmas card I made this week. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Have You Prayed About It?

I came across the above graphic and thought how true ~ how often do we talk about our problems to everyone but Jesus; we bring our concerns, our worries and our anxieties to Him only after we've discussed them with our friends.  I've been guilty of this more times than I'd care to admit!  It's good to share our prayer requests with close friends and family, but they should be brought first of all to the One who has the only answer, the One who knows us best and loves us with an unconditional love.  He sees the big picture and if we ask Him for the answer, doubting not, He'll provide it.  Let's be encouraged by knowing how much our heavenly Father cares and that He is always waiting and eager to hear from us.  I Peter 5:7 says, "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."

Today I'm sharing a couple of Thanksgiving cards I recently made.  The pictures on the front of both cards are copies of vintage Thanksgiving postcards.

Setting Changed

Dear Friends,

I just found out that I had the wrong setting enabled, not allowing anyone to post comments here unless they had a google account.  I have changed that to allow anyone to post.  If you would be so kind as to let me know your thoughts about what I have written (or select a particular entry to comment on), I would greatly appreciate it.  Thank you!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


As I was working on a friendship card this afternoon, I began thinking about all the many friends God has given me.  Each one is a true blessing and provides a special and unique enrichment to my life.  I don't want to "name names", as I'm sure to leave someone out and I don't want to do that.  If you're reading this, just know how important you are to me and that I love every one of you.  I am reminded of that verse of Scripture from Eccl. 4:9-10: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up..." (NIV)   Love it!

Here is the card:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I've talked about tea, I've talked about friendships and I've shared cards, but one other element in this blogspot is more important to me than friendships, tea or cards and that's family. 

I am privileged to have been born into a family who cares deeply for each other .  We aren't a perfect family by any means, but there is love and it has been the underpining of my life.  Next to my relationship with Jesus Christ, my family's love for me has been my security and has helped to make me all that I am.  This love came from not only my immediate family, but from my large extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins and my beloved maternal grandmother.  I am the oldest of 6 children (one now deceased).   During my growing up years, I had a tendency to take this love for granted.  In fact, there were times during my teenage years when I openly rebelled at the strict guidelines and rules I was made to follow.  Looking back, I know those boundaries were put in place for my protection and best interests, but at the time I had my share of having pity parties and feeling sorry for myself!

Now that the fall season is upon us and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I've been thinking about our family get-togethers when I was growing up.  How we loved to visit my grandmother at her home in Fayetteville, AR.  The majority of my extended family lived in the Springdale-Fayertteville area.  We lived in Joplin, MO located in the SW corner of the state, not far from the state borders of Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.  Fayetteville was 87 miles from Joplin, so we could drive there in about an hour and a half.  I remember being so excited when I thought about seeing all the relatives and sharing a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with the whole family.  Afterward, there was a lot of catching up and visiting to do.  We usually stayed one or two nights before traveling back to Joplin.  I enjoyed those visits and the times I spent just talking and sharing with my grandmother.  She always encouraged me in my endeavors (whatever those happened to be at the time!) and was interested in hearing about my life at school, my friends and all other aspects of my life.  She was a godly woman who loved the Lord and the joy of that love for Him shone in her face.  She was content with life and had such trust in Jesus that I never saw her worried or fearful. 

One time an intruder broke into her home with the obvious intent to do her harm, but instead of panicing she calmly began to quote Bible scriptures to him!  He left and she later heard he had attacked an older lady not far from where she lived.  I'm sure she was unnerved, to say the least, but God protected her and kept her from harm.  She died in 1984 and I miss her very much; I think of her often and wish she was here, but I take comfort in knowing I'll see her again.  In my own personal relationship with Jesus, I have taken examples from her own life and applied them to mine.  We each have to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12), but I'm thankful for the women in my family who modeled this for me.  I will do other family profiles from time to time, but as I had my grandma on my heart and mind today, I thought I would start with her.  Here is an old photo of her opening presents many Christmases ago:

My grandmother, Mary Pennington McCurley

Acappella Praise Medley

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Are We Making a Difference?

This morning I ran into my friend Trish at church.  I hadn't seen her in several weeks and now that she's working, she is no longer able to attend our Tuesday morning Beth Moore Bible Study class (fortunately, she is able make it to the evening session).  She was telling me about her new job and how a co-worker (who is also a Believer in our Lord Jesus Christ) told her that she could tell that there was something "different" about Trish.  She could see it in her attitude at work and when talking to clients.  Trish was elated that people could see the difference in her.  Since this was the first job she's had since rededicating her life to Jesus, she wanted others to see that knowing Him does make a difference in her life; Trish wants the light of Jesus to so shine through her that there will be no doubt Who she loves and Who she serves.  I told her that I wasn't surprised that others could see her enthusiam and love for our Lord as it is clearly evident! 

She doesn't know it, but Trish gave me food for thought and greatly encouraged me this morning.  There are times I've wondered if people can see the difference in me.  I have a tendency to focus more on what I lack instead of what God in His great mercy and great grace has given me - and what He enables me to do.  Part of that is the faith to trust Him and lean on Him when I'm unable to do whatever it is on my own.  Sometimes I'm impatient and too quick to say something before thinking it through.  Then I become frustrated and regretful.  I have to ask the Lord to forgive me and help me to pause and pray before I speak!  And as I've always found to be true, just as soon as I stop trying to do things in my own "power" and begin to depend upon Him to work through me, that is when I become a powerful witness for Jesus and an instrument for His use. 

So I'm just saying all this to say be encouraged in your daily walk with the Lord.  If you have a heart for God, love Him, trust Him and live a life of daily obedience to Him, you'll find that you are making a difference. Simple?  Yes it can be, but oftentimes I need a reminder from a friend like Trish.  Thank you, Trish.  May the Lord continue to use you and minister through you at work and at home.  I'm praying for you.

Here is my little Penguin Christmas card I'm working on.  The front is complete, but I need to finish the inside:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

More Cards!

Not surprisingly, my favorite cards to make are vintage ones.  I could probably make these exclusively, but I know I need to stretch and test my skills by making other kinds of cards, too.  I really do enjoy the challenge of seeing what kind and variety of cards I can make!  Here are a couple of vintage cards I've made.  I try to take photos of all my cards so I can see what progress I've made since doing my first cards back in March of this year.  Most of my cards are stored in Kodak Easy Share on the computer, so I will be checking them out and seeing what others I can share with you here. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Chai Tea Time

Well, here it is Friday afternoon and I'm taking time to have a cup of  Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea, a blend of vanilla flavor and spices.  This is the first time I've tried this particular flavor of tea and it's delicious!  I've added a dollop of milk to give it that creamy taste.  Mmmm...  I was first introduced to chai tea a few years ago when we were visiting my mother-in-law in Northern California and my sister-in-law brought me a cup of chai tea from Peet's Coffee and Tea.  I've been hooked since! 
Since this blog is one about friendships, I'd like to tell you about my friend, Janet who I met several years ago (has it been 7 already?) when she came to visit my church.  Talk about a God thing!  She asked if the seat next to me was taken, I said no and invited her to join me and that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, as the old saying goes!  Janet and her husband Glenn live in England.  If memory serves me correctly, they've visited L.A. every year since we first met and we've been blessed to spend time together, meeting at my church and afterward having lunch and a long and lovely visit.  Our friendship has grown through the years and we've become close friends.  We stay in touch by email and phone and she was a strong support for me during the recent loss of my sister, Ellen.  I just had a wonderful visit with her by telephone today and it was a joy to share our hearts and get caught up with each others' lives.  Love you, Janet!

I thought I would show you a couple of cards I've made in recent months.  Here are two Thanksgiving cards:

I'm working on BD and Christmas cards right now.  I hope all of you will have a great weekend.  Saying that makes me smile because as I'm writing this, I haven't invited anyone to join my blog yet, but I'll be doing so very soon.  Autumn blessings!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tea, Friendship and Cards?

Hello, friends and welcome to my new blog - Tea, Friendship and the Fine Art of Card Making!  I've always had a thing for tea - tea cups, tea pots, tea rooms; it all has such a romantic aura about it, so feminine and dainty.  I sometimes think I should have lived during the Victorian era of ladies wearing afternoon tea gowns and flamboyant hats, sipping tea and having wonderful conversations with friends.  I can almost hear the sound of friends laughing together and sharing secrets.  There is something so elegant about the art of drinking tea and all it encompasses; something rather sophisticated and fun!

I wanted to combine the theme of tea and friendships with my love for card making, thus the name for this blog.  I know it's somewhat of a stretch combining the three of them, but I think it will work once I get everything together.  In the meantime, please join me for a cup of virtual tea and lots of good conversation.  God bless you and thank you for being here!