Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bliss...

Hubby and I so enjoyed a couple of days up to Boyne Mountain… it was just what we needed... I didn’t see how much until I was there.  Thank You Lord for this time!  I could not believe how relaxed I was… just being and not doing… how precious that was!  My life really is not super stressful, but it is just very busy and being able to take a step back for a couple days was a breath of fresh air!

In honor of the beautiful sunshine and my relaxing couple days I am sharing a card... no it is not a Christmas card... I really need to get going on some Christmas projects!

Now to change gears a little... Seventy years ago today the bombing at Pearl Harbor happened.  I am taking time to remember the sacrifice that was made on that day, but I also need to remember the sacrifice God made through His Son everyday.

The dictionary says: Remember - keep something in memory; keep somebody in mind; give somebody a gift; commemorate somebody or something. 

With reverence and thanksgiving I honor past action to give purpose to my present service to You, Lord.

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November... flying by!

I cannot believe November is half over already!!! It has been an interesting few weeks... I finally got my car back after Luke hit the deer... it only took 5 weeks, but I survived!  Yesterday was opening day for firearm deer hunting in Michigan, so my hubby was out before the crack of dawn... he shot a buck, but it ran and he tracked it for hours until the blood-trail disappeared.  I felt bad for him, but he takes it all in stride.  I had prayed that he would get a deer the first morning so he could be done for the season... I guess I should have added that he would also bring it home for us to eat!!! *Ü*

We have had a beautiful fall and only a bit of snow last Friday, but it was gone pretty quickly.  In northern Michigan we know the snow will soon be hip high before long, so it is a little nice for me this year, not to have to deal with it quite yet.

For a few weeks now I have been feeling like something is going on with me... like Papa is preparing my heart for something BIG... it is exciting, but a lil' scary too!  I just keep moving ahead, searching His Word, praying for clarity, believing His promises, and trusting Him every step of the way... none of which comes easy for me!!! Just being honest!

I did have a breath-taking moment last night with the sunset Papa painted for me, so I thought today I would share it with you.  Just when you think you are at your wits end... He gives you a reason to look up and know He is in control... to know He loves you so much and He only wants good for you... to believe He has great things in store for you and He will be with you every step of the way!

Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD! Psalms 27:14

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Friday, November 4, 2011

Reflect the Light...

I was thinking this morning about the warmth of the sun and the warmth of the Son.  We had a very frosty morning at our house this morning, but what was so cool was as the sun was rising and warming things up… the frost started to disappear.  Although where the bushes were still casting shade on the ground, the frost was still remaining.  It looked really neat. It made me think of how when things are left in the shadows and the light cannot shine on it… life stays cold and hard.  As the light from the sun got warmer and higher in the sky, the light covered and warmed up everything.

I was reminded that even when circumstances leave me feeling in the shadows… the Son is still shining on me from within.  I cannot let my light be hid under the shadow of circumstances.  “No one lights a lamp and hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, everyone who lights a lamp puts it on a lamp stand so that those who come in will see its light.” Luke 11:33

The same way the sun reflects off the crystal-like frost… I pray I let the Son of God reflect His glorious light off me and through me.  I am so grateFUL for Papa's love and comfort, no matter the circumstances.

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Monday, October 31, 2011

Love... Obey... Serve...

I have been thinking a lot lately about serving the Lord... why some people do it without hesitation and other people feel like it is not worth their time.  Ok, maybe that is not why they are not serving, but that is my impression.  I had a conversation the other day with a man who said he was not serving in the church because he "serves" with his checkbook.  I could not believe that he actually said that!  I was flabbergasted for a couple reasons... first of all tithing is not serving, it is just giving back to God a part of what He has blessed us with.  Secondly, God doesn't want our money... He wants our hearts, completely!  You cannot buy God's blessings. The only response I had for this man was that I hoped he would do whatever the Lord laid on his heart... frankly, that was my "nice" answer, but I truly hope only good for him.

This maybe a little simplistic but this is how I see it... You can stand there and look like a follower of Christ or you can walk out your faith through service and be a follower of Christ. Do you love God?… then obey Him… Do you obey God?... then serve Him… it is as easy as that!
"Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves servants to obey, you are that one’s servants whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?" Romans 6:16

I have a little gift idea to share with you today... I made these tile coasters for a gift.  The Medallion stamp from SU is one of my favorites!  I just received my SU order from my party I had a week ago, so it is time to sort through the boxes!  It is almost like Christmas!

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Thursday, October 13, 2011

He Gives Strength...

We have had gorgeous weather in northern Michigan that last few weeks! We really could not ask for a more beautiful fall... thank You, God!  The colors in the trees are starting to fade in spots or the wind has blown them away.  The weather people are saying it is going to get cooler, but what do they know??? Although I know this sweet weather cannot last forever.   :(

I am 46 years old and I am dealing with a fluctuation in hormones... there are 1 or 2 days a month when all I want to do is cry! It is crazy! Granted, I tend to be a weeper anyway, but not like this.  I was having an influx starting yesterday... I just feel so tired, alone and isolated.  That is not like me at all, normally.  I had been praying and told God I feel so weak... I said to Him I am tired of trying to be strong... it is really hard to admit that, even to God who knows everything!  I opened my Bible to do my quiet-time and I read in Isaiah 40:26-31.  Verse 31 is one of my favorite verses, but it was verse 29 that spoke to my heart...

He gives strength to those who grow tired and increases the strength of those who are weak. Isaiah 40:29

Papa God is my strength... I just need to let Him be.  I don't understand what is in me that thinks I can be strong on my own!  The struggle between the flesh and the spirit... hmmm... that I am sure is my problem.  I want to say I am thankful for great Christian women that helped me through the day too! God has blessed me... big time!
We have had a lot of weddings lately, so I have another wedding card to share with you.

Okay, I guess I am done with all my random thoughts... my hubby is gone for the week, so I have to share my thoughts somewhere... thanks for listening!

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Spiritual Children...

I know it has been so long since I have posted... life has been so good and so busy! Fall is moving into northern Michigan... hope it does not go too fast! The colors are just starting to look so beautiful!

A close friend of ours just gave birth to a precious baby girl.  Her name is Quinn Ivory... all babies are great, but baby girls hold a special place in my heart... maybe it is because I am a girly girl.  Here is the card I created for her:
A happy hello Baby Quinn!

I just have another thought to share... I just saw a famous person on TV talking about IVF and infertility.  What she said was that giving birth to a child is the greatest opportunity to truly touch another human's life.  I guess I understand what she means, but it made me think... as a follower of Christ I have an opportunity to truly touch another human's life... if I follow God's calling and share Christ with those I have in my life.  This verse came to mind as I was contemplating this:

God makes the childless woman to be a homemaker and a joyful mother of spiritual children.
Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! Psalm 113:9

It has not always been easy to here statements like that, but because I know who I am in Christ Jesus there is freedom from any pain that use to cause me! I praise Him for what He has done in and through me and for what He is going to do!

with a grateFUL HEART, carin


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Comfort and Peace...

Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in trouble; my eye wastes away with grief,
         Yes, my soul and my body! Psalm 31:9

 Remembering the loss... grateFUL for God's mercy to give comfort and peace in our troubled hearts!

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Monday, August 29, 2011

Simple Summer... (part 6)

I see my simple summer slipping away!!! We have had such a great summer... very busy, but so good! I have a simple summer pic to share with you today.  This is my sweet hubby taken on a fishing trip... we went with some friends on Friday night.  First of all, I don't really fish, but I love to socialize... secondly, they were fishing for salmon and no this is not a salmon in the pic!!! LOL
I need to show that man more affection I guess!!! *Ü*

I also have a card I want to share... we have so many weddings we are invited to in the next short while and this is the card I made for a wedding we went to last week. I saw a card on SCS that inspired me because the wedding was done in the vintage look, but I cannot remember whose card it was, sorry.
Lastly, I want to share this verse with you... it really encouraged me this morning.  Sometimes I just need to be reminded that God is my defender.  Some days it is only His peace that gets me through.

  “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.” Exodus 14:14

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mess into Masterpiece...

I know that God created me perfect in His eyes before I ever took my first breath, but life and sad choices marred His perfect vessel. In Jeremiah 18 it shows me that He, the Potter, takes the messed up vessel and makes something beautiful out of it again.  All it takes is confession and my willingness to let the Master remold me into a new “work of art.”  I am so grateFUL that no matter the mess I have made out of my life… Papa can take those pieces and make something that is great in His eyes!
 To give them beauty for ashes,
      The oil of joy for mourning,
      The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
      That they may be called trees of righteousness,
      The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. Isaiah 61:3 

It is wedding day for some friends of ours and here is the card I created for their special day:
Hope they like it!

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Lesson 21 Years in the Making...

Twenty-one years ago today I married the love of my life! So I have some thoughts on our marriage I want to share with you... if that is okay.  It is just me speaking honestly to you my blogger friends.
I have had many times in my marriage where I thought it just can’t get any better than this! But there have also been a few times where I said to myself… is this as good as it will ever be? The latter of those two thoughts are in the times when I have become lazy, stubborn and selfish… yes, I admit it… SELFISH!  I quit putting effort into daily married life.  I thought more about my needs/wants than the needs of the other person in this relationship. In those times, I stopped living through Christ’s strength and started trying to do it all on my own. When I said, “I will,” 21 years ago… I had no idea what that really meant!  In our couple’s devotional it has been talking a lot lately about unconditional love.  I knew this is the kind of love God has for me, but I never even grasped an inkling of what that means in everyday life.

I can see now how I spent so much of my married life not loving my sweet hubby unconditionally. I loved him as my possession… he was here for my “amusement” to be at my beacon call.  It was not in an intentional way, that is just how I thought it should be, I guess. But as I look back I see that was how I treated him so many times.  I am so sorry for wasting so much of our time together in that way!  I know past hurts led me to hang onto Luke with both hands, like a kid squeezing the daylights out of a new puppy! I loved him because of how it made me feel to have him; I didn’t love him for the sake of just loving him. My concern was not how my love made him feel, but how I felt by “loving” him.

During Heart Quest I realized I loved him too much… not a good love… it had turned into an idolatry-type love.  Because a person had treated me so awful in my past, and then Luke treated me so wonderful, I put him up on a pedestal.  I put him before God so many times… not because that was what Luke desired, but because I could love someone that I could actually see and touch.  I was putting demands on Luke that I had no right to. God showed me how I had to back up and let go of my destructive, “loving” ways with my husband! I gave my marriage to God for real this time… I let go of my possessive “love” for Luke.  It was very scary for me after almost 20 years of marriage!  How could I stop loving Luke as much as I did, so I could love God more?

In that very moment I gave it all up to God… that very second I told God, “I will love You with my whole heart before anyone else,” that He showed me that it was because I was willing to do that, He in return would teach me how to love my husband in a new way. I could see my fear came from the idea of having to love Luke less so I could love God more, but what really happened was because I chose to love God more, in return that left more room to love Luke even more than before.  It makes no sense but that is what has happened! Looking back at the work God has done on me in this area of my life is so overwhelming… my heart feels like it is overflowing and of course it is flowing from my eyes.  Our marriage has never been better! I don't say that to brag, but to give God the glory for the work He continues to do in our marriage of three.

I just realized that unconditional love has no capacity amount… it is as big as we are willing to let it be! Wow!  When I stopped putting a limit on my love for God then that just took the limits off my love in all areas of my life! Why do I not let God be as big as He wants to be in my life?  He wants to be my “everything” and I hold Him back to being my “something” so many times! I am still a work in progress, but I am so grateFUL for where Papa has brought me and where He is going to take me.

Happy Anniversary to my sweet, loving, adorable husband! Luke I love you beyond measure! ;) 

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things...  And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:5-7, 13

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hopscotch...

I was reading in Joshua 1 a couple days ago, and while I read this verse where God was talking to Joshua,Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.” (1:3)  I was seeing how God allows every step I take.  He has promised to be with me every step of the way… just like He promised Joshua and the children of Israel.
“Be happy with what you have because God has said, “I will never abandon you or leave you.” Hebrews 13:5b 
Am I really aware of that fact at all times? Do I take that promise for granted?  I liked to play Hopscotch when I was a kid… I would toss the stone on the Hopscotch area to see what spot it would land on… that would determine where I could hop and where I couldn’t hop.  I wonder, do I “play” my life out like a game of Hopscotch at times? Do I carelessly pitch a “stone” out there in my life and wait to see where it will land to determine where I will or will not go?  Is that living my life with strength and courage (Deuteronomy31:6)?  Is that living my life with purpose?
When you make a mistake or you forget to do something important… do you ever say, “I didn’t do it on purpose”?  Of course you didn’t do it on purpose, but did you do it with purpose?   God has given us a gift of life and an even greater Gift of eternal life through Christ… am I doing my best with what He has given me?  I pray for guidance from God to live my life with purpose on purpose! 
A good life can just happen, but a GREAT life must be lived on purpose!
Simple Summer moment... big ole' frog taking a dip in our pond.
with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Friday, July 29, 2011

Simple Summer... (part 5)

We went blue berry picking last week... what fun!  It was early in the morning but very warm and humid... I lasted 1 1/2 hours before I decided it was time to go! My hubby and I had about 11 pounds of those plump, delicious berries, not to mention all that went into our mouths while we picked!  That was a fun "Simple Summer" moment for me. Here is me in my blue berry picking beauty!!! *Ü*
Have a good Simple Summer day!

“I will never forget your guiding principles, because you gave me a new life through them.” Psalm 119:93

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Friday, July 22, 2011

Simple Summer... (part 4)

It is cherry harvest time in Michigan... luv those Traverse City cherries!  So I am sharing a "tasteful" simple summer shot of this yummy fruit!
Heading to the Thumb for the weekend... new nephew, Levi, will be baptized this Sunday. We are also hoping to pick blue berries while over on the other side of Michigan.

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Simple Summer... (part 3)

On this very hot, humid, summer day I was privileged to spend a small part of my day handing out food to people for "Feed America."  It was an honor to be part of this!  BTW I sweat my butt off, but it was worth every drop of sweat!

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Simple Summer... (part 2)

Beautiful, sunny Saturday morning here in northern Michigan! Love mornings like this... the windows are open... the sound of the fountain in our pond... breakfast served to me in bed before hubby left for work... ahhhh, yes simple summer morning!  But that can change quickly... they say the humidity will be moving in and I have a few errands to run to get ready for our Usher/Greeter picnic, which is tomorrow.

Sharing the gorgeous sunset we were blessed with last night as we sat with our neighbors around the fire-pit and roasted marshmallows... simple summer s'mores... yum!


"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind," Ephesians 4:23

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Friday, July 15, 2011

Simple Summer...

I know it has been sooo long since I posted last, but no matter how hard I try my summer has been so busy. I am devoting the rest of my summer to be a "simple summer."  Simple joys that make up a great summer.

Today is my daddy's 71st birthday... Happy Birthday Dad! I am grateFUL to have been blessed with such a good daddy!

Also, we had a new member added to the Orth side of the family... Levi Luke Daniel Anderson was born July 7 to my hubby's baby sister, Anne, and her husband Wayne... congratulations to them! Levi has a 13 year old sister and a 4 year old brother too. Can't wait to get my hands on this precious bundle!  So my simple summer picture is of our new nephew, Levi!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17

with a grateFUL HEART, carin 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Why?

“Why do I love God?”  That is a question I came across as I was reading the other day. Have you ever thought about it? Do I love Him for what He does for me or gives me? Or do I love Him because of who He is?  I think of the verse, "We love Him because He first loved us.” I John 4:19 … He gave His love first… how can I not love Him just for that alone???  When I think about His love I actually feel my heart start to bubble over… it feels like something bubbles up out of my heart, up through my throat… making me want to shout for joy and filling my eyes with tears of joy.  The mere mention of God’s love or the name of Jesus has that effect on me… how amazing is that… how amazing is He???  I can trust that no matter the circumstance He will always do what is right!  I can know that if I focus on Him then any circumstance in my life will not be my main concern.  So why do you love God?

Have a bridal shower card to share today... I used the "center step card" method on this one... I liked how it turned out and that I was able to make it so personal for the bride to be... that is a picture of the couple on the day he proposed.
with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What Really Matters...

What really matters to you? Do you have your priorities in line? I can say that I do... I can even believe that I do, but do I really??? Are there days when you just try to squeeze one more thing into your plans, but what does that do for you? When I have a day like that or even many days it usually leaves me weary. In those times it is so easy to lose track of what really matters.

I know for myself the first thing I need to do is to rest in God's presence. It is a busy world but if you take just a moment or two to read a verse, talk with Him... let Him know how much you adore Him... how thankful you are for how He has blessed you... how He loves you.  It is true God knows everything there is to know about us, yet He desires to spend time with us.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. Psalm 130:5

I have a graduation card to share with you today… I had to add a little sparkle… I just had to.

I would love it if you would share with me what really matters to you.
with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Basking in His Beauty...

God's wonder... last night we had a gorgeous sunset here in northern Michigan.  I am so amazed how every sunset is so unique... with every stroke of His paintbrush He creates a new masterpiece.  It can be from one minute to the next... as you can see in these 3 pics that were shot one right after the other.

I love that He shares His beauty with us even in the everyday things! Have you taken the time lately just to bask in the beauty of His nature???  It seemed like a long winter for us and that spring would never get here, but the anticipation has only made me more grateFUL for it now that it is here. How about you... share one precious spring moment with me... the colors, the fragrance, the sounds.

We have a 17 year old house guest for the next 10 days... should be interesting, but in a good way.  It is quite an adjustment, especially for me, having a teenage boy living in our house.  I can get stuck in my routine (in case you didn't know that) and for the next 10 days I will be stepping out of the boat when it comes to normal day life! Stretch me Lord!

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Have Patience...

The moments in life when patience is needed but you just don’t want to give them.  You can pray about something and then wait for an answer.  Sometimes there is no answer right away and in those times you may be asked to be proactive in the matter or sometimes you may be told to just wait.  Lord, give me patience to be patient!

I was reading in Numbers 20 this morning about Moses losing patience with the children of Israel, when they came to him once again complaining about the lack of water.  Out of Moses’ frustration he didn’t listen close enough to what God told him.  Instead of speaking to the rock as God told him to do, he hit the rock.  God still gave the water but Moses had consequences to pay for disobedience.

For the past few months I had been going through a difficult circumstance.  When I would pray on it the answer I kept hearing was, “not now, wait.”  It was hard for me to do that… I wanted so badly to make things seem “normal” again, but what I had to do was just be patient.  I cried many times… I was frustrated many times… but I knew that through this trying time, if I was just patient it would be so worth it.  Just over a week ago, God showed me that it was time, and I reached out to turn things around.  The waiting period was so hard, but the end of that waiting period is so sweet.  Now that I am on the other side of this and onto a new improved chapter… it has taught me not only patience, but that the people in my life mean more to me now than ever before.  God, I thank You for putting wonderful women in my life and I thank You for strengthening me through the waiting.

"The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit." Ecclesiastes 7:8

A couple little bookmarks to share with you, sorry the picture isn't the best. Of course, they have butterflies and Stickles!

It is rainy here in northern Michigan, but it could change any minute!!! Have a great Memorial Day weekend and take time to remember those that have gone on before.

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Share the Comfort...

Life has seemed a little hurried and harried lately... not sure what that means but that is just how it feels to me!!! *Ü*  There have been a few changes in my life with friends, family, and me.  I have felt off emotionally/physically lately... plain and simple it is a hormone thing.  I just keep hoping it gets better... my husband is an incredible angel for keeping up with my changing emotions.  From 40 to 45 has been great years and I really hope for that to continue.  Sorry, don't mean to be whining!

What I do know is that when I struggle... Holy Spirit is always here to comfort me.  And through the comfort He gives me, I will be able to pass that comfort on to some one.  "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." II Corinthians 1:4  I have a note written in my Bible next to this verse... My suffering can never outweigh God's comforting!

That is what I am holding onto today! How about you?

I actually have a card to share with you today.  This card was created for my niece, Morgan, on her confirmation.
 with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Father knows...

Can't believe it has been almost 2 weeks since I posted on grateFUL HEART.  It has been a busy couple of weeks!  There are some changes going on and it takes me a little time to get into the groove of change. Also I started a new blog directed at our ladies ministry at church... it is called "Coffee Cup Corner"... which is funny because I can't stand coffee, please check it out.

I was able to get away last week for a couple days with 3 great ladies... it was so refreshing to go to the condo at Boyne Mt. and just relax, laugh, talk, cry, eat and do nothing we didn't want to do!

This week has brought a whole new "opportunity" for change... we found out 3 weeks ago that our kitty, Lollipop, had diabetes.  We tried treating her with pills, but she continued to lose weight... she went from 10 pounds down to 5 in the last 6 weeks or so.  My wonderful hubby wanted to do whatever I was ready to do and finally this morning I let her go.  I didn't want to see her suffer anymore or get worse.  The vet was very sympathetic and Lolli went to sleep very gently.  I feel relieved it is done but I am gonna miss my little kitty so much.  She was my constant sleep companion... Luke on my right and Lolli on my left.  When she was really little she use to sleep across my throat at night. 

I am sorry I don't mean to be such a downer, this is just where my heart is today.  I am very grateFUL for the time she was here with us.

Aren't two sparrows sold for only a penny? But your Father knows when any one of them falls to the ground. Matthew 10:29 

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Saturday, April 23, 2011

It is Finished...

"When He had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit." John 19:30

It is finished… my Savior paid the price for my eternal life when He drew His last breath on the cross. He covered my sin with His blood… He loved me with His life. He rose from the grave and conquered death. Now His Spirit lives in me so I can finish the work I have been called to do. His power is mine to use… His keys to freedom are now mine to share… His grace is my gift to receive. All regret or guilt is gone and new life has come, because it is finished. If there is ever a doubt of how much I am loved, I can look at the cross. It is finished… but it is not over… I will finish strong because of Him.

I pray you always remember the Cross, but the victory came in the resurrection… have a great Resurrection Sunday!



With a grateFUL HEART, carin

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Past... Present... Future...

Is it really April 20??? We got piled on with snow last night, but I choose to keep praising my Creator even with this white "stuff" all over the ground.  It really doesn't look like Easter is only 4 days away!!!

Have another birthday card to share with you.  This is the card I made for my sister, Renee.  If you are one of her blog followers you may have seen that she posted it on there.


Past… Present… Future. To some people those words can stand for… Regret… Frustration… Worry.
After reading in Ephesians 5 I see it this way: Past ~ the love that God gave through Christ to redeem me (v. 25) … Present ~ in love He is sanctifying me (v. 26)… Future ~ by His sacrifice and love He will present me to His Father in flawless perfection (v. 27).

No need for me to stress… I have decided to let it all go and let Him have the control.

Feeling blessed and highly favored today! God is so good! How about you?

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Destroying Walls...

We are getting snow here in northern Michigan... actually it is thunder snowing right now as I write this.  Let me see April 19th and we have had over 4 inches of snow this week... interesting!  So I am sharing a Springy looking card today...

Also, I was reading in Ephesians 2 & 4… in 2:14-22 it is talking about the walls being broken down between the Jews and the Gentiles… that by the sacrifice of Christ the walls that divided us were torn down. “For He is [Himself] our peace (our bond of unity and harmony). He has made us both [Jew and Gentile] one [body], and has broken down (destroyed, abolished) the hostile dividing wall between us,” (v. 14 - Amplified)

Then in Ephesians 4:1-3, Paul is begging us as Believers to walk worthy of what God has called us to. Live with meekness, long-suffering, bearing with one another in love (Fruit of the Spirit). In verse 3 it says, “Endeavoring (being eager with effort) to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The sacrifice of Christ brought the wall of division down and we are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Eph. 2:22)… He is here with us right now so that we may live in the spirit of unity to fulfill God’s plan.

Another thought I had was if Christ died to bring down the walls between Jews and Gentiles, why is it that Believers are re-erecting the walls between each other??? If we have a union with Christ, then how can we not live in unity with each other… isn’t He what unites us??? Lack of unity will always hinder God’s work… if I will not live in unity with other Believers then I better just get out of His way. Lord, don’t let me be a hindrance to Your work.

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Friday, April 15, 2011

His Peace...

Fabulous, fantastic Friday to all of you! Going for a quick trip to Traverse City with the hubby for some word related things, but I am hoping for a short stop at a store I want to go to too!

Just a quick post... I have been coming across so many verses about “peace” the last few days. In Isaiah 26:3 ~ You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

And Psalm 29:11 ~ The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.

So I looked up the definition of Peace ~ freedom from war: tranquillity: a calm and quiet state, free from disturbances or noise; mental calm: a state of mental calm and serenity, with no anxiety; harmony: freedom from conflict or disagreement among people or groups of people.

Now that is the way I want my life to be... the answer is right there for me... keep my mind on the Lord... lay all my burdens at His feet.

Also a card to share... it is kink of funny that I would show you such a busy card when my post is about "peace", but I find doing these Zentangle cards to very relaxing to me. I made this one for my niece's birthday.


with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bliss...

I want to share something I shared a couple weeks ago with our "unity prayer circle" we have before Sunday morning service. But first I want to share a card with you...

Living a life in "Bliss" with my Heavenly Father.

I have been really praying for clarity in my life... in regards to relational battles. I really never thought of conflicts with friends or family as relational battles, but it was made so clear to me. I feel like this is something all of us might deal with, but probably women more than men. I think we care way more than we should about being accepted by our peers... we can be our own worst enemy. Am I wrong about this???

Anyway, what was revealed to me, more or less, was why do I waste my breath defending myself or proving my point when it is just a distraction and a waste of time, not to mention it zaps my strength that could be used for God's glory. I can see now that if I stop trying to be “right” and choose to live righteous then God will give me perfect peace.

It is true that trying to defend myself from blame will only leave me with bitterness. It is also true that no matter what anyone says about me or does to me will never stop God’s perfect plan and promises in my life… I have to remember… it is His business… He is my Defender. It is NOW that I will walk away from relational war and wrath and into a life filled with peace. I am determining to fight for the things worth fighting for… winning souls for God’s Kingdom.

In Romans 12:18-19 it says …If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

I pray God will give us the wisdom to steer away from relational traps set by the enemy to distract us. I pray for the Holy Spirit to rise up in us and take control, giving us the words to speak when we may be faced with a relational war. I pray we never again exhaust ourselves with useless arguments. I pray that we will keep our eyes focused on God’s big picture and push past any relationship that can hinder us from being all God has called us to be. I pray God will fill us with His grace and love and boldness to deal with any difficult relationships we may encounter. In Jesus’ name.

The whole chapter of II Samuel 22 is so great, but verse 24 fits so well with this thought of relational battles… I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin.

Remember there is no relationship in this world that is worth more than your relationship with the King of Kings.

No matter what the conflict or with who the conflict may be I have the choice of how I will handle it. If it takes at least two people to have a relational war, and I am not going to battle, then there will be no war. “A soft answer turns away wrath.” Proverbs 15:1… the battle will stop with me because I choose to be blameless in God’s eyes. I have no control over what anyone else will choose to do, at this point it is all about my heart being in tune with God’s heart.

An after thought:  Sometimes I need to bite my tongue to keep my tongue from biting others.

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Friendship...

I was thinking about friendships. I am blessed to have great friendships in my life.  The thought of having a "forever friend" is such a comforting thought, but can that always be the case??? I understand the thing of “loyalty” in friendship, but if a time comes that a friendship is stopping you from doing what God has called you to do… what then?

These are some questions God has laid on my heart to ask myself… Is a friendship putting up road-blocks? Is a friendship causing me to step away from serving? Is a friend’s offense becoming my offense? Is this friendship hindering the Lord’s work? Are there bad changes that have happened so subtly that I don’t even see it? Am I ignoring words of truth from other good friends?  Are things I am hearing and believing to be truth from this friend taking precedence over what is in God’s Word? Am I putting so much stock in a friendship and being a good friend that I have replaced God with that friendship? I guess the ultimate question for me when evaluating all this is… Is this friendship making me sharper for the Lord or is it dulling my edge?

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens
the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17

It is great to have good friendships, but I always need to remember that there is no relationship in this world that is worth keeping if the cost is a broken relationship with my Heavenly Father.

I pray for loving, encouraging friendships in your life.  I pray that God puts the people in your life that will keep you on the path He has planned for you.  I pray that you will seek God as your ultimate friend.  I pray that you will make the choices that are pleasing in God's eyes. In Jesus' name.

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bloomin' for His Glory...

I have been going through a little bit of a rough patch… at times I feel like I am losing my mind! *Ü* Some may be hormone related, some may be the enemy, but what I do know and believe is that through it all if I can keep looking to Jesus and keep praising God… I am on the right track. I may be praising Him through the tears, and that is okay at least I continue to praise Him.

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. I Peter 4:12-13

It is hard sometimes to realize when I am going through something painful, those are the times I can be growing the most in the Lord… those are the times when God’s glory can be revealed more through me… those are the turning points in my Christian walk. It is hard when people may not understand the choices I make… choices I know God has called me to. It is difficult to have people turn their back on you. I was reading this morning how when trials come it is like having the soil turned over in our “potted plants”… I need to let my soil be loosened up and weeds pulled out. God wants to loosen things that can choke our lives and stop us from radiating joy. And yes, unfortunately it may be those same people that have turned their backs on you that also could be choking out your joy.

It is not fun to go through painful or troubled times, but if stirring up my soil is what it takes to move me forward in my walk with the Lord… I look with anticipation for the joy and fruitfulness to come… it will be greater than I could ever imagine! It is not easy and sometimes can be lonely but I choose to surrender it all to God.

“Those who bless God in their trials will be blessed by God through their trials.”
with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Identity Crisis...

Life has been so busy lately... all with good things, but just VERY busy!  I haven't even taken the time to stamp lately... I need to get back to that.  I do realize that sometimes in the busyness I can lose track of myself.  I really felt like I needed to share this on our identity.

Everyday your identity is under attack. You are bombarded by the enemy’s lies… he wants you to feel worthless. Don’t look to things around you to find your worth. You are God’s, and He doesn’t want for you to go through an identity crisis… you are His Treasure.


“… out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession.” Deuteronomy 14:2b

Papa God is the only one to appraise your true value and worth. When you think about Him sending His Son to die on the cross for you… doesn’t that already prove how much you are worth to Him. At this very minute, embrace what you are – God’s treasured possession… His crown jewel… chosen one of the King. Our Heavenly Father is the only One who defines you!

Imagine how highly He thinks of you… you are loved and accepted by Him for who you are. Treat yourself as the precious jewel that you are, because that is what He wants for you. Don’t settle for anything less than your worth… see yourself through the loving eyes of your Creator. I pray you will never let anyone tell you who you are, accept for your Heavenly Father, He is the One that knows exactly who you are because He created you.

Praise His holy name because He has made you the wonderful woman you are… maybe not perfect on earth, but perfect in His eyes. Love yourself for who you are now, but love yourself enough to keep growing in the Lord… giving Him all the glory. He is right there with you ready to lead you from glory to glory… grab hold of His hand and don’t be afraid... He only wants the best for His best… let His light shine through you, my dear sisters.

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Beautifully broken...

Guess what... more snow in northern Michigan!!!  It is very white here, maybe I should go out and build a snowman.  Ok, maybe not!

Do you ever have those moments when something is said to you in a joking way, but to you it just feels mean?  Well, that happened to me... there was this "funny" incident that happened a few weeks ago... I laughed about it at the time, but it was one of those things that you say, "ha-ha, that's funny, now let's move on." If you know what I mean??? Well, someone that had nothing to do with this incident came up to me and told me they had a good laugh a couple days ago over this thing that had happened to me.  Let me tell you I was not in a great mood to begin with, plus I had a terrible headache... I don't have a problem laughing at myself when something is funny, but I didn't appreciate being laughed at, as I saw it. 

Luke and I had a discussion about it and I felt like he was just trivializing how bad this made me feel, so I told him I wasn't going to talk to him about it.  I know, probably not the best attitude but I was so frustrated and my head was just pounding so hard from the headache... I just dropped it, even though I was feeling old and ugly, hurt and misunderstood.

Okay, fast-forward to this morning... when I got up my hubby had left a marker in the “My Princess Warrior” book at the page entitled “Beautifully Broken, My Beautiful Warrior”. It talked about the weakest points in me are the places where God can shine the brightest. He wants to use my brokenness to make me beautiful for His glory. He will rebuild whatever is broken to become more beautiful than I can ever imagine. It talked about Esther and how God took her heartache and brokenness to be used for His glory and actually, if you read the book of Esther... she was used to save a nation.

Let me tell you these words in this book were just what I needed.  God has blessed me with the best hubby in the world... I love, love, love that Luke is the husband God has called him to be. Praise to You, oh Lord!

I want to share my prayer for spiritual beauty… I pray to see how beautiful God has created me and how He is turning my brokenness into greatness. I will believe Him when He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” I bring my weakness and brokenness to Him so that He can restore me and turn me into something more beautiful than I could ever be on my own. I pray that all of Heaven’s beauty will shine through me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

I have let this hurt go because I will not let the enemy have his way in this… I am beautiful in God’s sight… He is the only one that I need to validate who I am.

I hope that if you are feeling down or not too beautiful today... these words may be a help to you... let God's glory shine brightest where you feel the weakest.

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Potter's Hands...

I feel like life has been so busy the last couple of weeks. There has been a lot of really great things happening and going on, but there are also those things that I wish would not be part of my daily living. I am feeling like life is spinning out of control at times… I like to know exactly what I am doing… I like to have things organized and set to go, but I don’t see any of that going on right now. People have been so great… very encouraging.

Are you feeling under pressure from test or trials in your life?  Just remember those are the times that God can use to form us… those are the times when I am “pliable” to either let Him make me what He wants to make me or I can keep fighting against it which will leave me broken and more or less just a blob that He has to start over again to form.

And the vessel that the potter made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the LORD came, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the LORD. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand! Jeremiah 18:4-6


When I feel like my life may be spinning out of control that is the time the Potter’s wheel is spinning me to make me evenly formed into what the Potter has planned to make me into. The problem comes when I take my eyes off God and I focus on the circumstances or the mishaps in my life… that is when I become “dizzy”… that is when I let this journey through life get the best of me. I also realize the times when I feel like I may be under fire, both from people and the enemy… those are the times that God can fire the clay that He has formed. A masterpiece is never put into the kiln only once… in may be fired and then taken out and added to with more glaze to make it more beautiful. It is a process… it isn’t a quick process, but God, the Potter, has shown me that the masterpiece He is making me into is a slow and sometimes painful process… perfection will take a lifetime and that is okay because He has the plan for my life. He loves me just like He made me, but He also loves me so much that He doesn’t want me to remain where I am.

I know it seems totally insane in human thinking to be joyful in trials, but that too is a choice… how will I choose to handle when yucky things happen???

“My brother and sisters, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” I Peter 1:2-4

Just a thought... if you can’t praise God in the bad things then do you really mean it when you praise Him in the good???
Besides knowing are never alone in this life... a word of encouragement would be to stay in God’s Word… pray for His guidance… ask Him for patience and for His joy to bubble up in your heart… hold on to His peace, His is the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7)

with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Saturday, February 26, 2011

From Bondage to Redemption...

Things have been so busy for the last couple weeks... mostly good, but a few not so good things too... life is staying in balance, more or less.  Today I just need to share my heart, I don't really have anything crafty to share, but I hope you will read this post even though it is a little lengthy.

I was reading in Exodus about the children of Israel. Exodus 6:6 says, “Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”

I could see how that the children of Israel are like us today, in that they were in bondage to Egypt… Pharaoh was keeping them enslaved to Egypt… they saw their lives as having no choice of what anything in their lives would be… they seemed to just throw their hands in the air and surrender to being slaves for the rest of their lives.  Just like them so many of us today are living in bondage… bondage to our past, our circumstances, our defeats, our sin… we have thrown our hands in the air and said, “I surrender, life is just too hard and unfair.” But we have a choice, will we continue to live in bondage and let the enemy continue to tighten up the shackles we have on our hands and feet and our hearts or will we surrender to God who will rescue us from our bondage… He will redeem us… He is waiting with an outstretched hand to release those chains of bondage.

I am talking first about salvation… surrendering your life to Christ… asking for forgiveness of your sin and asking Him to be your Lord and Savior… that is the first step needed to remove the bondage of sin.  If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13

But I believe this is also talking about people who are Believers already... there are many times in a Believer's life that we let circumstances bring us so low it is hard to even look up. Not only can Satan deceive us but we can deceive ourselves… we can get so far off the path God has for us, we may not even look to His Word for help, comfort, or understanding… or in some cases we look to His Word for bits and pieces that we can construe to fit the way we are feeling and deceive ourselves into believing we have every right to feel the way we do and that everyone else must be wrong. Instead of dealing with the problems in our lives head-on we talk about it with others and if we can get others to agree with us and whatever the “injustice” is, then they can take on that offense with us and we can shackle them to us in this bondage. You know the old saying, “misery loves company,” well I believe that also could be said of bondage, “bondage loves company,” because it can get to be a very lonely road to travel.

Please understand this is coming from my heart, not from condemnation of these… I know what it is like because I have been there too. (Romans 8:1) My heart is sadden when I see people that are trudging along in the Christian life so unhappy they have anguish of spirit (Exodus 6:9 So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.) I pray I never let myself get bound to lies, deceit and sin again. I also pray for those Christian friends that seem to be spiraling downward from whatever hurts they have taken on… I pray they would look up and see God’s Truth… I pray they would confess, forgive, and let restoration begin in them so they can step out of bondage. There may not be any good answers or what we think are good answers, but we can continue in bondage or we can choose to just give it ALL up to God. I believe this is breaking God’s heart and it is also breaking mine, but I will not let others’ circumstances put shackles on my heart… I can’t.

Life can be tough enough, so why would anyone want to live a life in bondage if they know better. I am not saying I am perfect I just believe there is a difference between sinning and being bound to sin... I would rather die than go back to that bondage. We as Believers need to continuously be on guard… I Peter 5:8-11- Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

God impressed this so much on my heart... I knew I had to share it.  I don't know who might need it besides me, but my hope is that these words God has given me will be a help to someone reading this.  It was written with a spirit of love... believe that if you believe nothing else.

Blessings, with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Friday, February 18, 2011

Choices...

It has been a very busy week... the highlight being that my hubby and I are taking on the Usher/Greeter ministry at our church... we have over a hundred wonderful people serving in this ministry, but the thought of it can be overwhelming if I let it be. In my devotions today it talked about the choices we make in our life bringing us to where we are and who we become. Here is a great quote about that, “life is not made by the dreams I dream but by the choices I make,”… my life is summed up by the choices I have made. We don’t always choose the circumstances in our life but we can choose how we will react to the circumstances. Every moment of my life is a choice. The choice can be a wide-range from really bad choices, mediocre choices, choices that are good, or choices that are in the caliber of excellence.

“…that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,” Philippians 1:9-10

My pastor has been doing a series called, “Crossing Over”… when God is leading you to something new in your life will you choose to cross over to the place He wants you to be… not only cross over but cross over with excellence. Are you willing to fight every natural impulse and choose to do what God is asking you to do… even when your family and friends may not be joining in on your choice??? I desire for my life to be pure, blameless and fruitful for the cause of Christ. The idea of crossing over to something more, to another level, can be scary, but I believe that if God is calling me to something more… He will also equip me to do what He has called me to. All choices will have a ripple effect… don’t you want it to be a good ripple? I know I do… I am choosing to live a life filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Here is the anniversary card I made for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary that was the end of January.  Love, loyalty and God... that is the secret to a long marriage.  I am blessed to have parents that are still together.
Have a blessed day... with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Monday, February 14, 2011

Totally loved...

Today is Valentines Day… I have always loved this day.  From when I was little to being a "grown-up".  I loved making a box for my Valentines to be delivered to in each grade of elementary school... of course it had to be as pretty as I could make it... oh, how I wish I would have had Stickles back then!!! WOW! can you imagine the sparkles???

I really don’t remember being cynical about Valentine's Day, even when I was “alone” before I met my wonderful hubby.  If a person looks hard enough they can always find love in their life in many forms... friendship, family, showing kindness to strangers, and best of all the love of a Heavenly Father.  Share the love!

"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends." John 15:13

So I am wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day with this card I created for a friend...
with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stand fast...

I read in Acts this morning about Stephen and how he was stoned for preaching Christ. He was a man that was willing to do whatever in took for the cause of Christ. He was a man that was willing to take himself out of his comfort to lead people into the comfort of the Savior. If my life was threatened would I keep speaking up for Christ? My life is not in distress for my stand, but am I putting myself out of my comfort to lead others to His comforting arms?

If a Believer is finding opposition from a family member or friend what do they do??? Do they back down from what they believe or do they keep moving forward for Christ… even if it might cause them to lose family or friends??? When confronted with hostility we need to stand fast in the Lord… that is what will see us through when the pressure is on. “Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and yearn to see, my delight and crown, stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.” Philippians 4:1

Stephen was stoned… how much more physical pressure could there be??? Yet as he was nearing death he said, “Look! I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:56) His focus was still on Christ… he was being stoned to death and he still was focusing on Christ! How many times do I let the smallest things take my focus off Christ??? Waiting in line at the grocery store… the furnace quitting… the cat hacking up a hairball on my light-colored carpeting… the pastor saying something I didn’t agree with… I could go on, but I won’t. The enemy will throw all kinds of stuff at us to get our focus off the cause of Christ… don’t give him a foothold! And if you are standing fast in the Lord then there will be no room for the enemy to get a foothold either. Just remember, when you are facing opposition, maybe it shows that you are doing something that really counts for Christ… think about that!

I have another "Sassy Sak" to share with you today... I am making these fun and fashionable purses to sell at a local boutique, but I am willing to take orders too.
Thanks for stopping by today! with a grateFUL HEART, carin

Monday, February 7, 2011

Shaken to be stirred up...

Happy Monday! I use to not like Mondays but now it is not such a bad day.  How are you spending your Monday?


I was reading in Acts 16… the account of Paul and Silas being put in jail and how they sang praises to God... in jail singing praises!!!  An earthquake came that freed all the prisoners, but none of them ran away.  I remember learning about this story many times in Sunday School as a child, but my focus was always on Paul and Silas… I saw it was God that caused the earthquake to show His might and make the people see that they needed to let Paul and Silas go.  I now have seen it from a different perspective... I saw it from the point that it really didn’t have so much to do with Paul and Silas but with the jail-keeper.  He needed to be shaken awake to realize what he needed in his life. The bad circumstance that Paul and Silas were in was a way for this jail-keeper and his family to come to know the Lord.

So my question is… when bad things occur in our lives are we only focused on what the bad is or are we looking for how God can make His good out of it??? A hard lesson to learn is that it is not about me… it is all about God… when I say that and surrender to it my heart feels so much lighter… the weight of whatever is going on in my life is lifted. Whatever it takes... all for His glory!

One final thought on this… I can see sometimes Papa shakes me so I can see what He wants me to see and sometimes He shakes me so someone else will see what He wants them to see. Just a thought???

... the jailor rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household. Acts 16:34

I received a SU Big Shot for Christmas from my parents, along with the Bigz Lg. Scalloped Square die. So I have started to create what they call, "rag purses"... I like to call them, "Sassy Saks".

For you that may not know these saks are machine washable and reversible... that is why the 2 pics... the one on the right is the side that I think is a little more whimsical, and after you wash it it will get a more frayed look. You might notice too that I added a pocket on the side for your cell inside and out.

Hope you have a good Monday... with a grateFUL HEART, carin