Saturday, September 30, 2017

Visual Faith Ministry

Visual Faith Ministry website launched today.
That is what the Overcoming Obstacles series
 has been talking about in my world lately.

A ton of hours has gone into this endeavor and we
are so thankful for our Webmaster- Diane Marra, 
who has made all of this come together.

We still are in format stage 
as we find the best way 
to bring resources to those in the 
Visual Faith Communities that we support.

Here is the website link:

Check us out- 
find a free resource to download and share.

We thank the Lord for His rich blessing.

Connie Denninger and Patricia Maier

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles Series- SEVEN- Worthiness

Overcoming Obstacles- SEVEN- Worthiness

There are days when everyone else seems to 
"have it going on"
except me.
Just plugging along- day in and day out.
 Things don't seem too different.
Dreams, goals and projects?
Why should things succeed for me?
Do I have enough education, 
knowledge, skill,
or experience?
There will always be many more
 with higher qualifications.
Seems like I can talk myself out
 of it before even starting.
Think it will just take experience and practice.
Knuckle down and get going.
Think Nike has had it right for a long time.
Just gonna sit right down 
and have a bit of "worthiness" talk with myself.
Coz- you remember where that starts from- right?
Our worthiness comes from the relationship
 with the ONE who makes us worthy.
 Not from anything we do or achieve, 
 plan and execute.
Our worthiness is pure gift.
For that we simply give HIM honor 
and follow His lead.

Bible centering:

And now, my daughter, do not fear. 
I will do for you all that you ask, 
for all my fellow townsmen know
 that you are a worthy woman.
Ruth 3:11

Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy 
of honor among God’s people. 
Help her in whatever she needs, 
for she has been helpful to many, 
and especially to me.
Romans 16:2

Thanks to Pat Rigsby for his article in Fit-Pro Summer 2017 
for the inspiration for this series.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles Series- SIX- More Research

Read another HOW TO- Book.
Google something else on the internet.
Ask many more questions.
Read ONE MORE blog.
Set up another conference call 
about best practices.
You get it, right?
Find another excuse and reason-
that allows you significant 
Yes, research is good 
and the bottom line
  about using the internet
 for whatever you are figuring out how to do- 
is that as soon as your read ALL
 the content on your subject area- 
well, more just hit the cloud. 

So there you have it....
When do you know enough to get started?
 What if there is a walloping big mistake 
that ends up blocking your plan 
because that was the one thing 
you never read up on?
Well. deal with it.
Move on. 
Get going.
Back when I finished up my Master's Work
 a couple of years ago, I had read SO MANY books
 about Christian Spiritual Formation for Women 
that I became frozen. 
I could not process, 
synthesize and start writing.
Any excuse to READ MORE  
allowed me to NOT DO 
the very thing I was tasked to do- WRITE.
 I am sure you have used this same method
 in your own life when there was a new endeavor
 looming on your horizon.

Well, maybe it is time to get going.
Write, publish, create,
craft, do, start or MAKE.
Then you will have added more 
material for the next person to read about-
because you have also learned something 
to share along the way.

Bible Verse Centering:

Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance.
Proverbs 1:5

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
Proverbs 9:9

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles Series- FIVE- Perfection

Got to get it right.
The first time.
What about on the tenth time?  
What about Never?
Does it even make sense
 to seek perfection?
How long does it take till "all of our ducks"
 are in a row?
What to do when something derails the plan?
OK, lots of questions.
Somehow we get it into our head
 that we need to know all the answers.
Before we start...
Perfection and the beginning of ANYTHING
 just don't go hand in hand.
New starts simply means a move from inertia.
There is the unexpected, 
the technology or scheduling glitches.
There is the failure of people to meet deadlines,
and they didn't understand your timeline.
Sometimes it is simply the best to extend
 your best effort-
with what you know and understand-
in the beginning.
You've got a starting point...
and the outline begins to form
 for stage 2 and plan B.
Sometimes we can only make improvements 
when we lay it all out on the line.
It also helps to remember that perfection
 is our Heavenly state.
That goal here on earth?
 We are just trying to be God.

Bible verse centering:

Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
 that by testing you may discern 
what is the will of God, 
what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

                          Out of Zion, the          
                           perfection of beauty,
                            God shines forth.
                          Psalm 50: 2


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles Series- FOUR- Comparison

Yes- The measuring stick.
There will always be those who are faster,
 better skilled,
gifted for crafting framework around ideas, 
more innovative,
widely recognized for their contributions...
the list goes on and on.
So it makes it easy to give up along the way...
even if we did manage to get started.
Sometimes it IS necessary to put 
"blinders on."
Asking questions to check on 
JUST our own growth.
Have we ourselves moved- forward?
Are we following our own calling?
Do we see our work as God-given vocation?
Do we understand that we need to seek
 the approval of ONLY our heavenly Father?

Seeking the approval of only the ONE?
How this is gift!
Especially when we focus on work
 of eternal consequence.

Bible verse meditations:

For what was glorious has no glory now
 in comparison with the surpassing glory. (NIV)
2 Corinthians 3:10

For this light momentary affliction
 is preparing
 for us an eternal weight of glory
 beyond all comparison, 
as we look to the things that are seen
 but to the things that are unseen. 
For the things that are seen are transient, 
but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (ESV)

For am I now seeking the approval
 of man, or of God? 
Or am I trying to please man? 
If I were still trying to please man,
 I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10 (ESV)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles Series- THREE- Comfort Zone Security

Comfort Zone Security-
yea- where we are known.
Our homes as fortress,
our workplace where we understand our job,
our places of worship 
and the familiar faces and practices.

I look at these leaves and just marvel. 
Our Lord God Creator-
did not move on the timid side.
Always exploring the possibilities for
unique combinations.
When exploring a new adventure-
that is the BIG MOVE.
It will ALL be out of our comfort zone.
And when we step outside that 
safe circle-
the first disappointment or hurdle 
can set us right back to first base.
Safe- before we have a chance to 
make a run.

Comfort is good because we rest in the 
God of Comfort.
But, he has blessed each of us 
with His good gifts 
to be used in the KINGDOM.
And in that- if we feel that the evil one
 lurks in the shadows-
we take a deep breath-
and rest in the security that 
Jesus gives.
For His Spirit does not makes us 

Bibe verse centering:

For the Spirit God gave us 
does not make us timid, 
but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

Friday, September 15, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles Series- TWO- Fear

Fill in the blank.
There are multiple answers here.
Obstacles like:
fear of not finishing.
fear of rejection.
fear of doing a poor job.
fear of finding many more folks better qualified.
fear of failure.
fear of "what if I never try."

I think that is what finally got to me.
In the end, would I me more sorry if I failed, 
or sorry that I never tried.
You know when you wait for God 
to confirm the directional path like sky-writing?
And you pray about it.
And talk yourself out of it.
And end up right where you started.
So then what?

There is a helpful piece in a leadership 
mentoring group that I was a part of 
about 10 years ago.

"Choose to do something 
so outrageously challenging
 that you know you can only
 do it with God's help."

And then move aside that fear of failure....
because in the end it is better to 
than to 

Some verses that have helped
 in this journey about fear.

Be strong and courageous. 
Do not fear or ben in dread of them,
for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. 
He will not leave you or forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6

It is the Lord who goes before you.
He will be with you;
he will not leave you or forsake you.
Do not fear or be dismayed.
Deuteronomy 31:8

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles Series-ONE-Feeling Overwhelmed

Moving through a BIG PROJECT 
in the past few months.
You- know- when you have an idea
 and then you keep shoving it back in the closet-
just hoping it will go away.
AND it just follows you around,
and around, and around.
While helping a daughter and family 
unpack from a move, 
I came across an article 
that has been helpful in the past month.
It was in a FITNESS magazine,
actually one for those IRONMAN athletes.
So I have been thinking about the
 7 suggestions and have found them helpful.
So decided to do this series- 
Overcoming Obstacles.
 Looking at the ideas- one by one.
Obstacle One-
Feeling Overwhelmed.

So this is when you don't 
even know where to start.
You take a deep breath,
and then another.
You can't map it all out.
It gets side-railed before you get started.
And that's the key- right?
Getting started.
The one thing to move you forward.
We have heard it multiple times-
"A journey of a thousand miles
 begins with a single step."
Lao Tzu
How to begin........
It is just that one action.
Take a single step.
As I work to build a framework
 for this new endeavor,
it is just that-
one step.

These verses have been part 
of my quiet, reflection time.

Psalm 17:5
My steps have held to your paths; 
my feet have not stumbled.
Psalm 37:23
The Lord makes firm the steps of the 
one who delights in him.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Bible Marginalia- Fix our Eyes on Jesus

Bible Marginalia Series- #264

Hebrews 12:1-2

So much packed in here.

The cloud of witnesses
 that surround us.
The weight of sin that clings so clearly.
Endurance for the race set before us
and seeing the finish line--
fixing our eyes on Jesus.
Looking to Jesus-
who looked at the joy set before him,
as he endured the cross and the shame,
 and sits at the right hand of the Father.
Winner. Finisher.
It is not easy to reach the goal.
There IS effort.
And prayer.
And focus.
Life happens.
 Schedules fluctuate.
 Priorities shift.
The eternal finish line seems out of focus
 when we get are so busy 
with the everyday "stuff."
It takes a community around us-
of encouragers.
It takes teamwork to stay on target.
What a blessing that our houses of faith 
provide that for each of us.
Training to reign.
Finish strong.
 On a day when we REMEMBER 9/11-
the best way to move forward?
Fix our eyes on Jesus.

Interleaved Bible
Tri- Art Clear Gesso
Washi Tape
Fine-point Sharpie pen
Magazine cut-out

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Bible Marginalia- Thirsty Soul

Bible Marginalia Series- #263

Psalm 63

How much we search 
for all the things to fill us up.
To bring happiness and contentment...
To make life real...
and then we still feel empty.
And then a hurricane looms 
and all the stuff becomes less important.
So we come full circle to give thanks-
Because YOUR Steadfast Love,
your lovingkindness is better than life.
Thus I will BLESS YOU while I live, 
and lift up my hands in praise.
 No matter what....
No matter what the future...
No matter my immediate present day.
As my soul thirsts for you-
I find refreshment.

Dear Lord, we pray for all in the path
 of Hurricane Irma and where the destruction
 has already been in the past few days.
We remember all those yet who struggle in Texas,
 and the Western fires, 
and the deluge of rain in India
 and surrounding lands.
There is great chaos in our world, Lord.
In the midst of all this- 
may we still see you as 
the protector and provider.

Tri- Art Acrylic Medium
Pearlescent watercolors
Micron pen
Bible verse stamp
Alpha letters

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Bible Marginalia- The Stronghold

Bible Marginalia Series- #262

Prayers in my church
 this past Sunday included 
 Nahum 1:7.
As I hear about the encroaching 
of another hurricane in the Atlantic, 
I have read and reread 
this first chapter of Nahum.
A book that starts out about 
God's wrath against Nineveh.
 And it feels a bit like God's wrath
 upon America.
And I wonder.....

so here in Nahum we read....

   v.3-4  "His way is in whirlwind and storm, 
and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
He rebukes the sea and makes it dry, 
he drives up all the rivers.
v. 5  The mountains quake before him;
 the hills melt; the earth heaves before him,
the world and all who dwell in it.
v. 7 The Lord is good, 
a stronghold in the day of trouble."
and as we wait and wait 
and watch the tracking of this next hurricane-
 we pray:

Lord, be merciful to all who are in the
 path of these strong winds and rains. 
Bring safety to your people, 
and help to those in need.
Keep safe the first responders 
and provide shelter and provision 
to those who must flee.
Be merciful, Lord.
Let our trust be in you-
 the one who rebukes the sea.

IF Tip-ins
IF Tabbies
Alpha letters  
Washi tape 
Prismacolor pencils
Tim Holtz label letters
Micron pen 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Bible Marginalia- Do Not Exploit

 Bible Marginalia Series- #261

Of course, Hurricane Harvey 
has been on our minds. 
It is overwhelming to think 
of the proportions of this disaster.
And now we hear about the scams,
 price gouging, 
and all the exploiting of the people
 who are "living in the pits."
I ended up coming across this section
 of Scripture where the Lord rails 
against Israel for their oppression of the poor, 
and crushing the needy.
Whether it is the hurting people of Texas
 or the thousands here in America with DACA--
the Lord has something to say about this.
DO NOT.....

Lord, give us hearts to be YOUR Witness
 in this world. 
That we may be the light and hope
 to a world that sits in darkness.

Envelope wrap
Alpha letters
Washi tape
Tim Holtz label letters
Sharpie fine-point non-bleeding pen

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Bible Marginalia-True Blessedness

 Bible Marginalia Series- #260

Luke 11
This section of Scripture starts 
with Jesus teaching them how to pray- 
the Lord's prayer.
Then the ask, seek, knock section.
Then it moves into demons and casting out spirits.
I always have to read this part a couple of times.
Just seems so unlike anything I know about.
Here we have- 
"whoever is not with me is against me."
Then the woman calls out to Jesus, 
speaking that his mother is blessed.
 His reply is- 
"Blessed rather are those who 
hear the word of God
 and Keep it."
Significant two-fold point here.
Yes- hearing the Word of God is important.
But- it demands a response.
Keeping the Word of God.
Doing what it says.
Here I used a piece of cardstock to cover a 
bleed-through issue on this page.
 It has spent about 2 years here.  
There was so much on this page- 
I couldn't decide which part 
was the significant part for ME.
This week it was verse 28.  
I love this part of Bible Journaling - 
that sometimes it takes a long time 
of looking at a section of Scripture
 till it falls in to place for what my heart
 needs to pay attention to.
That's a blessing.

Cardstock margin
Colored pencils
IF cabbie
Tim Holtz Label Letters
Black Sharpie
Fine-point Sharpie- non-bleeding