Monday, December 21, 2015

The Masterpiece {A creative use for old puzzles}

Every Christmas when I was growing up my super crafty mom would make us a gift.  We still got other gifts but this one was always so special to me because I never knew what it would be. I can remember almost every gift mom ever made me over the years. I can't, however, tell you many of the toys I received.  After seeing the impact this left on me I wanted to pass this tradition on to our kids.  The only problem is that I am not crafty.  I can be if you give me step by step instructions but even then I tend to have more pinterest fails then wins.  

As this Christmas season rolled around I decided I just wasn't going to make the kids anything.  It was too much time and effort.  But as I've watched my daughter, Ellie, work so hard over the last few weeks sewing and knitting gifts for people I knew I needed to make something.  It is her love language. So I started praying about what to make because God knows I need help in this area. :)

Earlier this week we discovered a local store called Scrap that has a ton of used craft supplies for really cheap.  I saw a tub of mismatched puzzle pieces for .25 cents a bag.  However, I remembered we have a TON of old puzzles the kids never use. When we got home I pulled out a few princess puzzles and got to looking on Pinterest for ideas on repurposing these puzzles.  I saw things like spray painting them and gluing them to a letter shape, or making a heart out of them on a canvas or gluing them around a picture frame.  While these things were cool they just weren't clicking with what I was looking for.  This might sound silly but I truly believe God dropped this idea on my heart of painting a piece for each of our family members that would connect together.  One thing lead to the next and before I know it I had created this masterpiece that I will cherish forever(and I hope my kids do too).

Here's what you need:

  • an old puzzle(just put it together first to make sure you paint the pieces that fit together)
  • paint & brushes(I just used what I had on hand but the color schemes, drawings & words are endless)
  • a word or image you want to be the central theme of your masterpiece

How to make it:

  • After you've determined the pieces you will use simply paint both sides a solid color. I did a brush but you could spray paint(I just didn't have any on hand)
  • Once that is dry paint whatever your design is on one side. 
  • On the other side write the names or initial of the people whose piece is part of the puzzle
  • Hole punch the top of those pieces and string them on a necklace(I used colored rope but any string would work)

I used 9 pieces because we have 5 people in our family(plus 1 baby who is in heaven). And I felt the Lord tell me to put God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the center.  The kids will each get a necklace with a puzzle piece(as shown in top 2 photos below). 

Here are the 2 key points the Holy Spirit lead me to discuss with my kids about this creation:

1. Our family is held together by God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Without the trinity working in our lives we will fall apart.  

2. We each look different and have different qualities and talents.  Yet the puzzle is not complete when one piece is missing.  We must all embrace who we are and know we are valued and loved.  

This project is super simple, cheap and fun.  I hope you try it out for your family!  I have a feeling my kids will want to do one of their own. :)  

Merry Christmas!  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Big Changes Coming...

Hi friends!  Wow, I have really missed blogging regularly and sharing my heart with you.  But as you know, God has taken me on quite a journey recently and I've been busy with new projects. In case you don't already know this about me, I've been teaching group fitness classes for almost 10 years and I have my Bachelors of Science in Health & Exercise Science.  Over the last 10 years God has brought me on quite a journey in my own health. I've had eating disorders, been overweight, underweight and just flat out hated myself(at times).  But God has set me free from all of that and I have a heart to see other women set free as well.  

With that said, God spoke very clearly to me about a fitness ministry I am to start called "First Fruit Fitness".  The story behind how God gave me the name and what it means will have to be its own blog post. But for now I want to share with you the direction God is taking me with this dream He has birthed in me.  Because it's a new name I feel I need a new site but am not quite ready to move on from Life Outside the Shell since my heart is still to see women set free and walk in all God has called them to be in every area of their life.  While this is not final, more than likely I will transition this to a new site under my name and there will be a tab for Life Outside the Shell posts and First Fruit Fitness posts.  

Now on to the exciting part.  Here is what I envision First Fruit Fitness will offer:

  • An At Home Workout membership library.  Each month you will receive new workouts(lead by me) and a new workout calendar written by me. 
  • Healthy Recipes & Nutrition tips
  • One on one coaching and/or accountability calls with me(this would be a separate fee depending on how often you want to do the calls).
  • Devotionals & Power Verses
  • Fitness games to play with your kids
  • and so much more...
I am not tech savvy at all.  Thus I must pay someone to help transition this site into something a little more functional and user friendly for all the things I feel God calling me to.  Will you please join me in prayer as I seek God about all of this?

I have to be honest, it would be so much easier to stay hidden in my shell(or should I say, tucked under my covers in bed) but I know God wants to use my personal testimony along with my experience and book knowledge of the body to help set people free.  Below is a short video on a few things I will be doing to raise funds to get these things up off the ground.  I would love your feedback on any and all of this so please don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have comments or questions!  

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

How to Walk in Your Season

New seasons in life come with many different emotions.  If you like the current season you are in you might feel sad or fearful to move to a different season. On the contrary, you might be delighted to move into a new season if you have been walking through a difficult time. 

My husband and I have gone through many different seasons in our 10 years of marriage. We went from being newly weds in college, to having babies and toddlers in the house, on to being business owners and now homeschooling our elementary age kids. With each new season comes new challenges as well as new and unexpected blessings.  Some seasons, like the baby phase, I was happy to move out of.  No more diapers or middle of the night feedings.  But while I'm not changing diapers I am figuring out how to homeschool my kids while still pursing other dreams God has planted in my heart. 

Here are a few lessons I have learned from each season of life I am in:

Embrace your season.

I remember when my kids were babies I would have older moms tell me to embrace the season.  It was so hard for me to receive that at the time because I was overwhelmed, tired and missed alone time with my husband.  But now that I am out of that season I see the many moments I took for granted. Never again will I nurse my children or be able to soothe them by rocking them to sleep.  But I do see how the seeds of love and nurture I planted in them in that season of their life are now blooming.  Because I took the time to nurture and grow them while they were young they are well adjusted children who are pursing their God given dreams and talents.  

Simply put, don't start decorating for Valentine's Day when we haven't yet celebrated Christmas. :) 

Practice patience & have faith.

I love reading about farmers and how they plant a crop then patiently wait for it to produce fruit. It takes a lot of faith for them to plant a tiny seed and believe it is going to grow into something so much bigger that can be used for many things. But I am certain with every year they do it the more patience and faith they have because they have seen it done before. This is why it is so immportan to read God's word and fill our minds with faith. As we read the stories in the Bible we fill ourselves with the truth that God is the same yesterday, today and forever and will continue to provide for His children.

I am currently in a season where I am doing a lot of planting and watering.  It is in these seasons that we must be patient and have faith that God will bring a harvest at the proper time if we don't give up(Galations 6:9).

Share the good news of your harvest.

When the season comes for you to harvest all the crops the Lord has given you, share it with others!  I love that God made plants and fruits to contain seeds that when planted produce more plants and fruits!  If you get fruit in your own life share it with others so it can build their faith and produce a harvest in their life as well.  

I recently received a book from Tommy Nelson Publishers to review called Parable Treasury. I was so excited to read it to my kids because it is exactly what the Lord has been speaking to me about seasons in our lives. I've already had to walk my kids through different seasons in life and this book gave simple yet biblical perspectives on new seasons in our lives. It reminds us that no matter what season we are in God is using it for a greater purpose.  We may not always see the why but God is always working overtime on every detail of our life. 

The book contains 4 different parable stories for each of the 4 seasons of the year. One of my favorite parts were the scriptures that were on the bottom of each page. My 6 & 9 year old girls love this book!  

Would you like to win a FREE copy of this book?  Simply comment below with your answer to this question to be entered:  What season is your favorite and why? 

(Please note: I am a member of the Tommy Nelson Mommies for Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a member of this group, I receive products for my use and to review at no charge to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my participation. All opinions are my own.)