Monday, April 14, 2014

Glory Charms

I set a goal the first of this year to make my gifts for Christmas. My family and friends already have all the knitted sweaters and scarves they want from what I've made before, so I didn't know where to begin. I thought I'd follow my own advice and start with a run through Hobby Lobby. I bought some beautiful beads and chains to make necklaces and bracelets. John gave me all the tools I'd needed from making fishing lures.

Blue Witness Charm Bracelet
What fun! I had no idea I would enjoy this new hobby so much. After writing for a few hours, I get out my beads and make jewelry. Amazing how the creative juices flow between the two crafts. 

My friend, Betty, and I shopped at Jo-Ann's--more beautiful beads and chains. John and I shopped at Michael's and Walmart--even more. I shopped for beads on Amazon. Whoa! I was surprised--and more surprised when emails from the stores announced sales events and included coupons. Even though beads became a big part of my world, I have been able to keep my article submission goals. 

My love for crafting jewelry caused a big portion of our living room to fill with inventory.

"What are you doing?" asked John.

Purple Wild Kingdom

"I'm making Christmas gifts."

"I think you have enough gifts for a few Christmases. Have you thought about selling your jewelry?" He sparked an idea. I checked out how to market my beaded treasures on Etsy. They made it so easy to set up my business, but I didn't know what to call it. I looked at all my pieces and found a common theme. Crosses, hearts, fish and animal charms. Images of love, redemption and creation. That was the birth of Glory Charms, my store on Etsy. 

You're invited to come and look around. And when you need a gift, come again. Since I shop sales on the supplies I use, I can pass the savings on to you. Thank you in advance for visiting often.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I've been wondering how I could make Advent Conspiracy work all year: spend less, give more (of myself), worship God and love all. I don't want to get caught in meaningless Christmas shopping at the end of the year, so John and I went shopping at Hobby Lobby today, searching for craft projects we can work on during the year. I enjoy giving gifts I make so I think Hobby Lobby will be a place I shop this year and the years to come. The selection of yarn and crafts is endless. Like a kid in a candy store, I could spend hours looking for the perfect gifts to make.

Visit the Hobby Lobby closest to you or shop online. You can even sign up for email newsletters and savings coupons. The newsletters are filled with ideas for new crafts to pursue.

What ideas do you have for joining the Advent Conspiracy? Are you crafting gifts? spending more time with family members? I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Perfect Gift

Shopping for the perfect gift? Have you found yourself in crowded stores buying gifts with money you don't have for gifts that are here today and gone tomorrow? Our culture has led us to believe that money is love so at Christmas we spend more than any other time during the year.  Retailers receive billions of dollars on this kind of marketing. We buy meaningless gifts that get thrown away, returned or donated to charity. Where does it end?

A view of a few Black Friday shopping videos makes me not want to get out of my house on the Friday after Thanksgiving, a day when we think of all the blessings for which we have to be thankful. People searching for the perfect gift end up victims of pushing, shoving, trampling, fighting, stun guns, pepper spray, arrests and even patients in ambulances. Stores announce super sales--deep discounts. Yet, we still find deep discounts later in the holiday season. What's the sense of it all?

Each year I ask myself how can I avoid the shopping chaos and meaningless gift giving. When I watched the video above, tears filled my eyes. I can't imagine what the heart of God felt in every episode. He sent His only Son into this world to bring love and meaning and purpose to our lives. He sent the perfect gift, the gift of light and peace and hope. But we still look for something else that satisfies. We fail to realize that when God created us, He left a void in us that only He can fill. We can try to fill the void with money, possessions, food, drink, relationships or drugs, but they will not satisfy.

The love of God is all that satisfies. The love of God changes hearts and lives. I know, because it changed my heart and my life. This year, even though my shopping is done, I'm starting to think differently about the future. At first I thought it was too late, but it's never too late. I'm going through a series at church titled Advent Conspiracy. I hope you will go to the website, watch the video and click on some of the resources. Let me know what you think. Is it better to worship fully, spend less, give more and love all? It might mean a different kind of Christmas for your family and friends. Will you stand up to their scrutiny? Jesus did. He didn't get caught up in the culture chaos of His time. I'm thinking I don't want to any more. What about you?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mary's Song

Mary's Song is recorded in Luke 1:46-56. It is beautiful worship, expressing joy in God our Savior. He knew well Mary's humble heart and He knows each of us who love and serve Him. God's shows His mercy to all generations and performs [His] mighty works, which may seem upside down to our world. Check this out:
"He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty" (Luke 1:50-53 NIV).
Mary knew Scripture. She knew the character of her God and even as a young woman, she experienced a loving and worshipful relationship with Him.

We may strive for importance, but this is the person God chose to give birth to His Son so He could live among us and show us how to love God and live for Him. When the disciples asked who was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, unless you change [from wanting to be important] and become like children [He meant childlike-not childish-innocent and trusting], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:1-5 NIV). 

This picture of Mary shows me the innocence, humility and faith that Jesus talked about. I hope this season you will look at Christmas in a new way, through Mary's eyes to experience true worship, the first step in Advent Conspiracy. God bless you.