Friday, December 30, 2011

Pretty Little Owl

Made with free-for-personal-use digital scrapbook paper.
Insert daughter's name, birthdate, and birth info (weight, etc.) in the bottom part in a fancy font, and there you have the perfect little piece of art!

Will update with her name and info when she is born!

Monday, December 26, 2011

It's A . . .


We are so excited to meet our little princess in just under five months! I am feeling her moving around a lot lately, and Daddy even got to feel her move once. She is growing and developing well, even with Mommy being so sick and on so much medicine. We are so thankful for the Lord's protection of her little life and that He is giving Mommy grace to make it through the pregnancy. The morning sickness (all-the-time-sickness) is not so bad anymore, and only comes and goes when I try to do too much. So I am still taking it easy and trying to rest as much as I can. Elias is already an amazing daddy and has picked up so many of the household responsibilities in order to let me rest and keep my strength for the baby. I could not do it without him!

We have settled on a name, but we have decided not to share it with the world until our pumpkin makes her official we are still trying to find a spelling we agree on and a middle name too!

I finally returned to my pre-pregnancy weight at 20 weeks exactly! I had lost so much weight during the first three months since I was so sick and dehydrated all the time, so it is good to finally be able to eat (and keep things down), and now I feel like I am eating all the time! Food is just so yummy right now! I get really full really quickly though because the baby takes up so much room in my belly!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Am I (Are You) Robbing God?

Recently I was reading Malachi and I really enjoyed each chapter. I studied the book in depth during grad school, but hadn't really come back to it since then, so it was time to return and remember and learn some new stuff too.

The entire book is full of God making statements to the children of Israel, and then getting a question thrown back in His face regarding that statement, such as God: "I have loved you" Israel: "How have you loved us?"; God: "Your priests show contempt for my name" Israel: "How have our priests shown contempt for your name?"; God: "You defiled my altar" Israel: "How have we defiled your altar" OVER and OVER and they just can't believe that God would call them out on, "prove it, God" -- it's so arrogant as you read through the book.

Chapter 3 has a section of verses that start out with God affirming His unchanging nature, how He remains true, and how Israel has gone away from Him. But yet because He is true, He does not wipe Israel out, even though they do not honor Him or their covenant with Him. He pleads for Israel to return to Him. True to form, they question how they can return. God responds by saying, "Will a mortal man rob God? Yet you rob me." And of course, they ask, "How do we rob you?"

God reveals it is through their tithes and offerings (or maybe, lack thereof); He also states that they are under a curse and the reason for the curse is because they are keeping back what He has required of them. He encourages them to abandon this manipulation of their finances and bring to Him what He desires. He knows it will be an act of faith, because He says, "Prove me in this and see if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." It is a test they can give God! He promises He will pass the test--with bonus points! He says He will bless their crops and vineyards to protect the produce and food so that they have what they need. And the end result will be that all the nations will see and called Israel "blessed."

How does this apply today? Trusting God enough to not manipulate my circumstances in order for ME to be comfortable, but placing myself in the hands of my Creator and allowing Him the opportunity to prove His glory. This could be in the realm of finances, but it could be in a lot of other areas too. It could be a "gray" area that if I interpret Scripture one way I can proceed in comfort, telling myself it's okay to manipulate my own comfort because it's a gray area, whereas if I am really honest I might have to do some hard things or go through some hurtful things or give up something that I really want in order to really be true to Scripture, but if I do that, I throw myself into God's merciful care, and the He has the opportunity to do something so wonderful i can't even contain it! How much better HIS best is for me (even though at the moment it might be unknown) than my best ATTEMPT at what what I THINK is good for me. God wants to be able to glorify Himself to a magnitude that is impossible if I manipulate Scripture or circumstances in order to have an easier time, or less pain, or whatever it is that I want to get out of.

Is there a clear command in Scripture that I (or you, or we) are trying to rationalize away in order that we can have what we want? Or are we willing to suspend our handle on things and allow God the opportunity to blow us away with His greatness?

How To: Love in America

Maybe you have seen those ultra cool decor items on Pinterest where the crafty crafter cuts out the shape of her home state and the shape of his home state and "adds" them together with hearts on the approximate place they lived before starting their lives together...kinda like this...

Well, I didn't cut mine out of paper and I thought I'd share how YOU can do it too!

1. Download some free digital scrapbook paper (I got mine from Shabby Princess).

2. Open a free online photo editor like Pixlr. I will be using Pixlr as my example, but you can achieve similar results with Photoshop and other editors like that.

3. Click "Open image from computer." Open whatever background digi-scrap paper that you want as your background.

4. Double click the box for the "background" layer to change it from the lock symbol to being a checked box. Now you can manipulate this layer. Change the image size to whatever size you want. For our purposes we will do a 300 dpi image in a 5"x7" size, so go to IMAGE --> IMAGE SIZE. Uncheck the "constrain proportions" selection. Input 2100 for width and 1500 for height. This will give you a high resolution image that will be printed at a 5x7 size.

5. Search Google (or your preferred search engine!) for an outline of his/her home states. Make sure they are copyright free if you are planning to sell these images (and make sure your digital scrapbook paper is also copyright free if you are selling--Shabby Princess does NOT release rights to sell items made with their paper). Save a copy of the state outlines to your computer.

6. Open a new image from your computer (do this twice--once for each state you have). Using the magic wand tool (3rd down on the left side of the toolbar in Pixlr), select the area outside the state outline. DELETE so that you have only the state showing, with transparency all around it. Go to EDIT --> INVERT SELECTION. This should select only the state. If there are words or anything else around your state you will need to erase them before selecting the state. COPY (Ctrl+C) this selection.

7. Go back to your scrapbook paper background image (via the down arrow under "Login/Sign Up" in the top right corner). PASTE the state selection into this image (Ctrl+V). It will create a new layer automatically. REPEAT with other state.

8. Position each state where you want them. If the size needs to be adjusted, go to EDIT --> FREE TRANSFORM. This will not keep your proportions, so check to make sure you don't totally skew your (or his!) state out of whack! Be sure to leave a little room in between for the plus sign. :)

9. Fill each state with the paint color of your choice. (Or if you want a design like my example, continue through the rest of the "9" steps.)

9a. Open another scrapbook paper with a strong design (with good contrast of lights and darks). I prefer just a design without a lot of extra colors, but you pick what you like! Doubleclick the background layer to make it "manipulatable."

9b. Select your entire paper (Ctrl+A) or use the selection tool (the blue square 2nd from the top left on the toolbar) to select whatever part of the design you want. Define it as a brush (EDIT --> DEFINE BRUSH or Ctrl+K).

9c. Return to your original scrap background page and select the layer with your state. Using the MAGIC WAND tool, select the white interior of your state.

9d. Select the BRUSH tool and pick whatever color you want. Go to the dropdown brush menu (the top light gray tool bar and scroll down through the brush options to the end, where your new creations will be. Select your brush and use it as is, or resize it smaller. Click one time over the white interior of the state. Voila! There is a super cool background on just your state! (Ctrl+Z will undo and you can change color/etc. if you want to adjust it.) REPEAT from 9c for the other state.

10. ADD a layer on top of everything else. On the layer toolbar, the square with a turned up corner next to the recyling can will add a layer. Move the layer to the top.

11. Select the BRUSH tool. Go to the drop down menu for brushes and click MORE. Click the drop down menu and select MISC, then click HEARTS. Select ADD to add all the heart brushes to your brush selection.

12. Select whichever heart brush you like best. I have found the darker looking ones show up better. Resize your heart brush to whatever size you like.

13. Using a contrasting color, click your heart brush once (or twice if it is not dark enough) over the approximate area where you grew up in your state. REPEAT for his state.

14. Using the brush tool with a darker/contrasting color from your background, draw a "plus" sign in between your states. Or, you can do it the hard way by finding a plus sign online and creating a brush like in step 9b. Just delete any white part (you may have to turn up the "tolerance" to get it really good) you want to be transparent, then Ctrl+K to define the brush.

15. Save your image as a jpg and then send it to the store to print!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oregon + Wisconsin = Love (via Pinterest)

Of course, mine is digital, not cut out of paper, but I plan to print it out (5x7 size) and frame it for our home!