Sunday, April 25, 2010

Remember My Tears... based on Psalm 56:8b...



There are seasons of tears that seem too heavy to bear. There are days that seem to never end in their grieving and pain. But I can attest, by personal experience, that God is faithful. He said that He will never give us more than we can bear in His strength, and that He will provide "a way of escape." (Read 1 Corinthians 10:13 for more on that verse. And, if you are not sure how to use a Bible, email me, and it would be a pleasure to clarify on that.)

I was recently reminded of a verse in the Bible that refers to a request by King David to God. David suffered a lot in his life, but he always sought to live for God and please Him in spite of his many mistakes and bad decisions. He was called a "friend" of God because of his willingness to be humble, open, and accept God's discipline.

The verse occurs in the middle of a conversation David is having with God, actually a request for relief from tormentors, which at the time of this prayer, were many. He is overwhelmed with grief, distressed, and he says in Psalm 56:8b...

"You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?"


I was struck by the image of tears flowing into a bottle to be stored away. God sees our tears. May God help you, to turn your heart to Him, so that He can bring you, me, us, relief in our hard times. May He help us to surrender our hearts, wills, minds to Him so that He can work good things in us, and teach us to trust, love, follow, and serve Him with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

Trust in, cling to, rely on, and believe in Him, for He cares for you...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Framed And Ready To Hang...





My sister-in-law received the papercuts from our relative, and the whole family loved them. She went out a couple of days after to find frames to suit her decor and the cuts. I think she did a great job.

Here they are, including one I had a hard time downloading...

"Crazy... By Marriage!" is a private joke between her and I. hahahahah!!!

One is missing (the "M"- because my niece took it to hang in her locker at school. It will be returned home early next week for safe keeping. hahaha...).

I am so glad they liked their gifts. Makes my heart glad!!

(Click on the images to view them larger...)

E, M, S, and A Initial Gifts...




























I am blessed with eight nieces all together. These gifts are for 4 of them. They are the daughters of my husband's brother. A relative left on Thursday to visit the States, and I prepared these as belated, current, or early birthday gifts for them. Even across the miles, we must be a part of their lives. They are such fun, intelligent, and wonderful girls. I miss them greatly, and this is one way that I can show them that.


E, M, S, and A, Sending lots of hugs and numerous thoughts your way!! Love all of us!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

For My Two Favorite V's...


V is for Violet... Violet's V










V is for Vivienne... Vivienne's V









First, whoever may know whom my two favorite V's are... Please do not mention this post, as I hope these cuts will be a surprise for them and their parents. :-) Thank you.

Now... March was a very special month for our family. My twin nieces were born and easily melted our hearts. Even across so many miles, I am smitten.

I have wanted to make a special gift for them and just came up with what I would deem a perfect gift for each of them. It is timeless and is personal. It is sweet and full of whimsy. And, more importantly, it is from my heart.

So, my dear sweet V's. Titi sends lots of love and a sweet kiss for your brows. I cannot wait to meet you and to pour all kinds of love on you. Hopefully soon...

sigh...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April 11, 2010 Giulia G. 1st Birthday Card...


La Rondine... The Swallowtail







This is a card I made today for a friend's daughter's first birthday card. I was pleased with how it turned out. The colors worked well, and the image turned out so nicely. I really like how the border brought out the colors in the cut (not seen by scan). The dark purple that you see had little leaves cut into the edges and then I placed another red border behind that one.

Hope you enjoy it.

Cara, Giulia... Buon Compleanno! Ti vogliamo tanto bene!!

Dear, Giulia... Happy Birthday! We love you!!!

Click the image to view in larger form.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Your Gift Is Spiritual...


(A cut I did last year- September 7, 2009)









I found this post and just had to share...

The post is called "Yes Your Gift is Spiritual So Give it to God". It can be found in its entirety at this link...

http://amokarts.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/yes-your-gift-is-spiritual-so-give-it-to-god/#comment-36

Please feel free to browse around, as I know it will bless your heart and inspire you to create.

I was really blessed by what Dave says in this part...

The guiding verse of AMOKArts is 1 Peter 4:10 each one should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others faithfully administering God’s grace in it’s various forms. That’s what we are trying to do here, to help you to use your creative, artistic gifts to serve others and serve the Lord. Some people would say that your artistic abilities are talents and not Spiritual gifts. I would point them to Exodus 35 and 36:

30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers. 1 So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded.”

Bezalel and Oholiab and the other craftsmen were specifically gifted by God to be artists and it says they received these gifts when they were filled with the Spirit. Where I come from that makes them Spiritual gifts. In the same way I believe God has gifted you with your gifts and talents. Please note the las few words of verse one as they are key. “…to do the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.” We are to use our gifts he way God intended for the furtherance of His Kingdom.


I hope it blesses your heart as much as it has blessed mine...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter... Happy Resurrection Day!!!


2010 Easter Papercut...






Oh, my heart is just overwhelmed. I try to make Easter special every year. Living in a different country where the traditions are not what I have been used to in the past, I have tried to make my own traditions- even wracked my brain trying to come up with ideas to make new, special things to do or create to make the days/events even more special.

This year I managed to do some neat things for Christmas, and I thought that FOR SURE I would be able to come up with some things for Easter as well. But, you know what, Easter snuck up on me... even though I have been counting the weeks and days of its arrival. I still have arrived to the day before, and I still don't know how I want to add some extra spice to the moments I have with my family to make another great memory together.

I ache over it, but, I think that I am also coming to terms with something. It does not matter how I choose to add spice to the day. IT IS IMPORTANT ENOUGH ALL ON ITS OWN!

Woh! Did I really just say that? Yes, I did. You see, we DO want to add so many special details to life, to add glimmer, sparkle, shinyness. It is fun, but, it is also extra. In the end, a day like Christmas or Easter is important because of the REASON why we celebrate it, not because of HOW we celebrate it. (though I am the first to want to add food, decor, or games!!!)

I made this papercut this year for a trade with a blogging friend who asked me to make him one for Easter. When I had completed it, I marvelled. What if I had been one of those women? What would that have been like?

*************************************************************************************

After days of grieving, weeping, and fear... Deciding to go to the tomb to finish preparing the body of my beloved Jesus. Dead! Truly Dead! How could it be? Tears, so many tears.

The walk to the tomb is a long one. Almost numb with an aching heart, swollen eyes, and tired. Just plain tired. So much to look forward to before, or so I had thought. And it all came crashing down when my Jesus- "the Messiah King"- DIED. Oh, the groan of despair... I don't understand.

Finally, I reach the tomb. And the women who are with me stand bewildered, gaping mouths saying nothing. I glance up to see... an Angel confirming with real words that Jesus is not within the dark space. Rather, He is risen just has He said He would.

Oh, the feelings that threaten to succumb my heart. Belief? Disbelief? Fear? Amazed joy?

Is it a dream? Can it be so?

Then a realization... All the words that He shared before seem illuminated in my mind, in my heart, in my soul. He HAD said that He would rise again on the third day. He had said and restated over and over how He would have the victory, and that we could have that victory through Him. We had not understood; but it was coming to pass.

I drop to the dirt and put my hands over my eyes, tears streaming through them, releasing the grief and filling my heart once again with hope AND FAITH. My dear friend calls to me, "Come, we must tell the others!" I just kneel there, stunned and so relieved. Then she reaches behind her to take my hand to prompt me to my feet.

Still pondering what has just happened I hurry away with her, anxious to say the words to another, even just to confirm them to my wary heart. But, I am most anxious to see my Jesus again, for He is alive, we are His friends, He WILL come.

*************************************************************************************

I am still working on the plans for games or a craft to do with my kids. I DO really want it to be fun and memorable for them, in a very sense appealing way. I Do want to eat good food, and just enjoy the day in an extra ordinary way. But, more than anything else, I pray that we may all be anxious to see Jesus! For He is ALIVE!!! Just as He said!!! We must surrender to Him, live for Him, and be His friends, so that one day- not too far away- we CAN see Him again.


(click image to view in larger form)

Friday, April 2, 2010

9th Birthday Card For a Friend's Son...










My oldest son is currently at a birthday party for his friend, Andrea. Here in Italy, it is pronounced as On-dre-a, and it is a boy's name. Andrea is nine now! What a great age!!

Buon compleanno, Andrea. Ti vogliamo tanto bene. Grazie per essere parte della nostra vita! :-)

Happy Birthday, Andrea. We love you very much. Thank you for being a part of our lives! :-)

Labours Of Love...

(One of my early cuts, and still one of my favorites...)







It is time... I sit and prepare my tools: paper, scissors, xacto knife, glue, cutting mat, cutting board, pencil, ruler... I breathe and gather my thoughts, ready to concentrate on the task at hand. Seat pulled in to the approprate distance from the table, my hand picks up the pencil and sketches out an image. When satisfied, I begin to cut, carefully, as precisely as possible. My eyes, thoughts, and hands work together to create.

As the forms become more pronounced, my heart leaps with joy, ready to see the birthed images that have come from my concentrated hand. Bit by bit, lines become firm figures, that, when completed, will wait for one more step. Color. As, they glance nakedly and hollowly, their form pleases my eyes because they are mine, but... they are not ready.

Again, one section of space at a time, I select the ideal colors to shroud the bareness. Pushing myself to be patient, I go on, anxious heart beating in anticipation.

A slide of glue to hold the snips in place, layers overlapping layers, and tediously I persevere. Every so often, I take a peak at the object as a whole, hoping it is coming as I envisioned in my mind. Breathing again, I resume my work.

After what seems like a long daydream, I pick up the multi-colored square and scan its every inch. Success!!

There is such pleasure and joy in watching a work of art take form and to see the completed work as a whole... It is even more wonderful to be satisfied that it is perfect for its own existence. Meaning... each piece of original art, is just that, original. It is perfect by its own standards. It requires a clean slate, different from the mentalities that were required for other works. Otherwise it will not be so original.

In the end it is a labour of love, effort, and creative interest.

*************************************************************************************
I have been dwelling on this recently... in regards to my children.

My kids are each individual works of art. They are created, just as we all are, in the image of God, but with a specific purpose that is all their own on this earth.

Sometimes, I lump each of them into one pile and try to train them, nurture them, discipline them in the same way. I am noticing that that is not working so well.

I am seeing that some of my little ones require extra hugs to keep them content, or some extra creative time, or an extra bit of understimulated quiet time. Each requires just a slightly different mixture of care, firmness, and space to be creative to blossom. Some of them would prefer stacking blocks to reading a book, painting to working with playdoh, listening to music to watching tv. Some relish studying mathematics and other dread it and prefer languages. They are an odd combination, and sometimes it is very challenging to get myself in tune with their needs. But... it is not impossible.

I am trying my hardest. There are days when I am just too tired, a bit discouraged, or restless. On these days, this work of being mommy just seems too complicated and rather heavy for me to bear. But then there are days when my kids themselves fill me with just that extra bit of loving care to make me KNOW that everything will be alright. It is when I am having my Quiet Time with Jesus, that does not always come first in my days, that I actually feel so confident that I CAN do it all. It is when I rededicate every moment to my faithful Jesus, that I see that I am NOT alone, that He is faithful to fill me with His strength, hope, creativity, and wisdom.

It is a work that I am very willing to take on, because I love my family. I am grateful to have my five chickadees. And I am blessed to be called their mom. If I focus only on the hard moments, I will miss out on their childhood. If I only have my pity parties and dwell only how how little energy I have, then I will only take my days for the little I feel that they are worth in that moment.

I want to Relax and Enjoy my family... before my little ones are old enough NOT to want me to cuddle with them, read to them, or help them with their homework. I want to love on them and cherish them before they move on to working in jobs, having girlfriends, or so many other things that will naturally become distraction to my time with them.

The days sometimes drag along, especially during desert challenge days, but... looking at the grand picture, TIME IS FLYING BY. I miss my days. My babies are no longer babies. They are miniature men and a petite little lady learning to be themselves.

I want to take pleasure in them for who they are. They are the color of my days. What inspiration will I have for my art once they are gone? For they have soaked into so much of who I am and what I do.

All I know.. is that I want them to remember my efforts, my time, my love for them, with pleasure and joy. I want to be remembered as their mommy who loved to add spice to their days, who tried her best to just love them the best I possibly could.

Being a mommy is a labour of love... Sometimes these little works of art, hurt me, make me feel underappreciated, or sometimes not appreciated at all. Sometimes I feel that way about my whole world, but... I am learning this: my responsibility is to nurture, teach, create, love, care, hold, hug, kiss, play, etc... with all my heart. I literally am helping to form a new piece of art. I am not their creator, but I am here to teach these created about their Creator. I am here to direct their little hearts to the One who will fill their days with color and lead them on their journey into life.

I am to take each day, and the moments scattered within, and glue them together with memories that I hope will last for the rest of their lives. I am to help to cut out that behaviour that can harmful to them and encourage them to do right. I am to take them by the hand, lead them through childhood; into tween-hood, teenage-hood and then, finally, to release them into adulthood.

They are works of art, my labours of love.