Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fruit of the Spirit - PATIENCE Layout

When we were 5 months along in our first pregnancy, we got a post-ultrasound call from one of the gynecologists at our practice. 5:00 PM on a Friday afternoon... a message on our machine that was along the lines of, "Please call us about your ultrasound." Of course, at 5PM on a Friday, getting to actually connect with the doctor is nearly impossible so we spent a good few hours freaking out about possible problems with our baby. *sigh*

When we finally got a hold of the doctor, she mentioned that our ultrasound indicated that our child had "clubfeet." We had no idea what that meant at the time, but it was the start of our long, windy journey that would involve more ultrasounds, a meeting with a geneticist, and after the birth, plaster castings, heel-cord releases, and big surgeries. It would take a year's worth of patience before we would see beautifully straight feet walking towards us.

This is the subject of the next layout in my Fruit of the Spirit album:

A year after Jack's journey to straight feet, our 2nd son, Luke was born... with the identical condition!

Another year of serial castings, tendon-releases, and surgeries...
I guess God wanted us to practice our PATIENCE a little bit more!! :)

Initially, David and I were devastated that we had created a child with a birth defect. This was PRE-brain tumor in the timeline of our lives, so at this point, this was the biggest thing we had had to face. But, as we spend hours in the Ortho waiting rooms each week or month to get new casts, our attitude changed. Ortho-day at the Children's Hospital Outpatient Clinic was also OT/PT day. Week after week, we watched as severely handicapped, wheelchair-bound kids worked diligently with their physical or occupational therapists - just to be able to do basic movements. Jack and Luke were only hindered by their casts for one year each - a small price to pay for a lifetime of "magic feet" that would work perfectly. Instead of feeling all "woe is us," David and I began to feel grateful to God for keeping our children healthy and for aiding us in finding the right doctor to straighten their feet.

Our patience was rewarded... Today, I watch my Jack play baseball, flag football, and basketball. Luke will start T-ball this spring. They run, jump, play, ride bikes and scooters. The only evidence of their year's worth of "upgrades" are some tiny scars on their feet and some great scrapbook pages.

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
-James 1:12
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Karaoke Tuesday: "Britney" by Bebo Norman

Below is an excerpt from an interview with Bebo Norman on his song, Britney - copied from CCMagazine.

“Britney” is a song about what our culture says and does to young women these days. It’s a collective apology for the struggle girls face growing up too fast in today’s overly adult-oriented world. The song confesses, “I’m sorry for the lies we told… We took you into our arms then left you cold/I’m sorry for this cruel, cruel world… /We sell the beauty but destroy the girl.” It’s about the lies we tell them about fame and money and what’s beautiful and what will give them life. It’s an apology for those lies. But more than that, it’s an invitation to the truth about a God who is bigger than the pain this world so often leaves them in.
I was up late, couldn't sleep, watching some news channel, when yet another story about Britney Spears came on. My first instinct was to scoff and write it off, but then there was this freeze-frame shot of a look on her face of utter and absolute despair and confusion and brokenness—a look that I recognized. And I remember thinking “This girl is a child of God.” Suddenly, I saw her story not as something to mock, but as a real-life tragedy that is desperate for redemption and hope—a story not so different from any of our stories. Take away all the lights and cameras, and it’s really just a narrative of a girl so clearly in need of love, so clearly in need of the redeeming love of our God.

And suddenly, all I wanted to do was just apologize, over and over. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry...on behalf of this fallen world, on behalf of our consumerism that so consistently devours what it wants and leaves the remnants in the wake of the search for the next fix, on behalf of believers, like myself, who mock and hurl stones rather than scribbling a message in the sand.

I think that night I saw her through the eyes of Jesus for the first time. I imagined what Jesus would say to me in my darkest hour and realized that those are the words we should speak to this world, to this culture, and even to Britney Spears in their darkest hour. “I’m sorry. Hope is here.” –Bebo Norman

This song is amazing! I didn't even realize it was about Britney Spears at first - I was just struck by the lyrics themselves and how they can apply to so many people - even me. It's so easy to cast the stones... poking fun at someone else who looks different, smells different, dresses different, acts different, or speaks differently... talking about someone behind their back (or blatantly in front!)... judging others for their choices... There used to be that childhood saying that "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Sadly, we realize all too quickly that the quote is a falsehood. Sometimes, words hurt much more than a stone; the words we use have the potential to leave scars that can last a lifetime.

Currently, I have a subscription to People magazine - it was a gift last Christmas, and I've noticed more and more, how sad I feel for these celebrities when their personal garbage is strewn all over the newsstands for us to gape at. Easily, I can judge them - for their ridiculous choices and behaviors that have led them to whatever current mess that is written about. But this song reminds me to have a little more sympathy and a little less judgement. Because when you compound all of the millions of people in the world who witness a celebrity's mistakes and blunders every day via TV or magazines, you realize that it must be so frustrating to have all of your life (the good times and the bad) displayed for the masses just because of the line of work you chose.

I found a fantastic Fan Video on You Tube using this song... The song, itself, is about 4 minutes - but the last 2 minutes include some bonus footage that you wont want to miss. I hope you have time to watch it all.

Song: Britney
Artist: Bebo Norman
Album: Bebo Norman

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fruit of the Spirit - PEACE Layout

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
- Jeremiah 29:11

In teacher-speak, I am a "whole-to-part" person. When learning, I like to know the "big picture." Before I read a book or see a movie, I need to know the general plot. I need to know the final outcome of a puzzle before I can even start taking it apart. Expanding on that, in real life, I love to be in charge... to be in control. I like to know where I'm going and how to get there (something that is constantly thwarted because I am also navigationally stunted!). So imagine how NOT in control I felt when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. That was the focus of this week's layout on peace:

For those interested in not squinting at the screen, the story of my brain tumor was originally posted here.

Peace is when we can feel Christ's heart, even when we cannot discern his mind. Believing in Jesus does not mean that there won't be storms in our life, but it does mean that we can trust Jesus to hold on to us tightly in the midst of the fiercest storm. God is our strong, safe shelter, and that is the source of our peace.
See you next Thursday for the next layout.
:) Mags
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fruit of the Spirt - JOY Layout

You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don't see him, yet you trust him—
with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing,
you'll get what you're looking forward to: total salvation.
1 Peter 1:8-9 (The Message)

This week's lesson was on JOY... an emotion that should be an undercurrent in everything you do - because when you become a Christian, that question of "Where do I go after this life?" is settled for you. When you accept Jesus into your heart - when you make the conscious choice to believe - then you've just been granted your ticket to Heaven. This weight that is lifted off of your shoulders should allow for a JOY to permeate everything you say and do. Furthermore, this sure knowledge of where Christians go after death, should make the death of a loved one a bit easier.

Yeah... I just said that... easier.
And yet, whenever a loved one dies, we are overcome with grief. It's hard to be "joyful" when we are facing the loss of someone close to us. When my aunt died, I felt the pain, physically, in my gut... and I dreaded telling my then-4-year-old son the news. Great Annie had lived with my family for over 20 years - she was like a 2nd mother to me and a 2nd grandmother to my kids. But, Jack was able to find joy in her death - as evidenced by this layout:

I've blogged about this story before - that out of a child's mouth came true wisdom that day. That is the JOY the Bible is talking about. :)
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fruit of the Spirit - LOVE Layout

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.
1 Corinthians 13: 1-7 (The Message)

God = Love. He loves His masterpieces... His children... His creations. He gives us 10 Commandments to follow - and then adds two rules above and beyond those: To LOVE God, and to LOVE our neighbors. That is how important LOVE is to Him.

For our Scrapbooking Bible study, we discussed "sacrificial love" - loving others so much that you put your own wants and needs aside. This is hard, for sure - and often a daily struggle for all of us. Selfishness comes easily to humans... sacrifice is not a comfortable word.

For myself, I feel that on my very "best" parenting day, I am self-sacrificing... because when you bring a child into the world, suddenly it's not all about "ME" and ALL about them! Here is the layout I created for "LOVE:"

Papers and buttons by Jenna's Garden
Ribbon created by MagsGraphics (that's me!)
Love Wordart created by MagsGraphics (still me!)

Papers and buttons by Jenna's Garden
Ribbon created by MagsGraphics (that's me!)
Love Wordart created by MagsGraphics (still me!)

What do you love most about your family? Who in your life has been a model for Christ-like love? And who are YOU modeling sacrificial love to?
See you next Thursday for the next layout!
♥ Mags
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Worries...

I was hoping for some divine inspiration about what to post here on Election Day (besides Karaoke Tuesday). I wasn't zapped with an original idea to write about, but I was directed to an excellent post on a friend's blog...

I am a digital scrapbooker; one of the great things about digital scrappin' is that there are hundreds of digital kits offered for free every month. On my daily "shopping" round, I visited Lynn at her blog (
The Mathematician's Assistant) and read her thoughts on the Election. If you are concerned about today's outcome (and at the moment, I have not seen any news today, so I have no idea how it's going!), you might find her post comforting too!!

I know the waits are long (I waited an hour!), but I hope you will brave the line and cast your vote!

:) Mags

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Karaoke Tuesday: "If We Are The Body"

It is my husband's and my turn to teach 2nd grade Sunday School this month. Sunday's lesson was on the 6th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Seems easy enough... usually you can safely say that all of your students have this one taken care of - surely there isn't a murderer amongst the 7-year-old crowd, right?!

The lesson we presented used this Commandment in a broader sense: it included the idea of "killing one's spirit" as well as physical murder. Using the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), we were able to show the kids how one's words and actions (or lack thereof) can physically hurt another human being just as sharply as a sword or knife.

Our song today is If We Are The Body by Casting Crowns. Often, we hear in church that "we are the body of Christ" - but are unsure of what that means, exactly. This song and the fan video I've included below gives us a clear picture of what it means to BE part of Christ in our word and actions:

Fan Video by rayman71

So God has put the body together in such a way that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among it's members, so that all of the members care for each other equally. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. Now all of you together are Christ's body and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.
-1 Corinthians 12:24-27

It is our responsibility as Christians to extend the hand of friendship, generosity, kindness, and love to those around us - that's everyone around us... our friends, our foes... the popular ones... the "undesirables." Behaving "Christ-like" means being generous and loving - without restriction. Your small kindness can make a big impact on another... and just might be the very thing that brings them over the threshold to Christ.


Song: If We Are The Body
Artist: Casting Crowns

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