Friday, August 31, 2018

Portals of Prayer- Tiny Scripture Doodles

Sharing the experiment of  
combining Tiny Scripture doodles 
with the daily readings of the 
Portals of Prayer devotions by
 Concordia Publishing House.
I grew up with Portals of Prayers 
as part of our family devotions.
I have found a process
 that has drawn me back.
I printed off the August calendar
 from the CPH blog.
But, the dilemma was how to tackle 
keeping this format in an on the go,
 in the car and airplane lifestyle.
I decided to try adapting the format
 to fit my Traveler's Journal.
(American Crafts- Michael's
May have to find this online.)
I set it up by cutting it 3 column, 
2 column, 2 column.
Picked 4 colored pencils 
to use through the month.
I added it to a graph paper insert.
Any style would work.
I have to flip it to get to the end of the week.
I usually like to see the Whole Month Story
 at a glance,
 but just knew that that would be hard 
to make happen in this season of life.
So for each day I read the devotions 
and pray that the Holy Spirit lifts up the phrase,
  word, or thought for my "take-away."
It becomes my "mini-bulletin board" 
that shapes prayer thoughts throughout the day.
 I have moved to the large print version
 of Portals of Prayer.
Enough said. 
It fits right in the back of my journal,
 so it goes right along on the way.

The grace place for this practice ?
Get behind a couple of days?
It is simple to catch up.

Many of our Lutheran Churches 
offer these devotions to 
members and visitors each quarter. 
(There is also an app on your phone-$9.99 a year.)

I have September ready to go for tomorrow.
  One of the things we talk about in our 
spiritual formation process-
be ready.
These will be offered quarterly by CPH
 and I will set up my journal- 
one quarter at a time.
The calendars will also be added to the Files section
 for all of the 
Visual Faith Communities on Facebook.
Easy to find and print.
Here is one of the 22 groups-
Visual Faith Ministry

Why don't you join us?
Follow along-
  and add your photos on Instagram
 with these hashtags-

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Oh Momma.....When You Miss Those Conversations

14 years....
 14 years ago today I
 lost my sweet little momma.
I always called her my "little momma," 
because she was well, little.
I always felt like an Amazon women 
standing next to her.
And this had nothing to do with 
ordering and shipping.
I have probably posted this very photo 
 because it is my favorite photo of us together.
She was visiting in our home in Virginia-
in a time of my life of busy motherhood
 and care-giving.
Though she was tiny in stature,
 she was giant in her spiritual life.
I was always puzzled
 by her choice of reading material-
St. Augustine,
Luther's Works-(yes, she had read all of them),
Thomas A Kempis,
old master's poetry,
and anything about Katie Luther.
After her death,
 we sorted and sorted books. 
We wondered what to do with her books.
We couldn't part with them, 
but all of her children rolled their eyes,
 knowing we would never read them.

So we packed them in boxes.
Then the Kingdom moved.
The Lord opened up in me a deep hunger
 for a different kind of reading.
A different kind of nurture.
Other things fell away.
Though it may not, as yet,
 be her exact list of authors,
her gentle encouragement 
spans across the here and after.
Discipling is usually WITH the ones we walk, 
spend time and share.
But, do NOT discount the legacy 
of a Faith-filled life that spans across time.
The visual cues that sprinkled our time together
 or blessed our conversations runs deep.
She left a legacy that we could find and follow.
The Holy Spirit has much to work 
with in this mentoring of momma and daughter.
And even though I dearly miss our chats and laughs,
  gentle words of whispered encouragement or written letters-
speak truth and bring hope.
And I thank God for this gift of grace in my life-
dear, little momma.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Enduring Word Bible- Be Changed

Enduring Word Bible- #24

A Living Sacrifice
 Romans 12:1-2

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, 
by the mercies of God to present 
your bodies as a living sacrifice, 
holy and acceptable to God, 
which is your spiritual worship.
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."
Transformed not conformed.
by the renewal of my mind.
Thinking about this ongoing, never finished,
Learning to know more and more 
about discerning, discovering, the will of God.
His will is good and perfect,.
He desires for me to be a living,
 breathing sacrifice
to bring Him honor.
And we live day in and day out-

Colored pencils
Washi tape
Illustrated Faith- hearts stamp

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Here and About- Branson, Missouri

The water shoreline
 of Table Rock Lake-
Branson, Missouri.
Table Rock Lake is an artificial lake 
or reservoir in the Ozarks 
of southwestern Missouri 
and northwestern  Arkansas.
The lake is impounded by Table Rock Dam
  constructed from 1954 to 1958 
on the White River 
by the  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
View from the Chateau on the Lake Resort
in Branson, Missouri.
Branson is an Ozark town known 
as a family vacation destination.
It once hosted mostly country
 music performers but now has a 
diverse entertainment lineup.
This hotel actually sits on a pretty dramatic hill.
I had heard we were going to Branson 
but I thought it was a St. Louis suburb.
 It is a 4 hour car drive from the St. Louis airport.
We were gathered here for a Grace Place Wellness retreat-
 with the new LCMS District Presidents
 elected this past year.
 It was a wonderful respite time for 
people in a stressful ministry life.
THANK YOU to Grace Place Wellness.
A mural painted on a building 
in historic downtown.
The fountains downtown Branson-
that "play" to music playing.
  We went to see the 
Sight and Sound of Samson.
 It was very well done.

Prayer Notes from our Grace Place session.
Here is a bit more info-
A lovely hibiscus 
on a walk.
Some beautiful things
 in a downtown store.
On the drive back to St. Louis we found
 some fun antique shops in Ozark, Missouri.
 Here and about-
mid-West style.


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Faithfully Connected- Book Review

Faithfully Connected-
 Integrating Biblical Principles in a Digital World
 by Ben Boche and Jake Hollatz.

I have been waiting for such a clearly written
 and user-friendly book on spiritual eformation
 for our homes, churches and classrooms.
Concordia Publishing House 
teams up with Dr. Ben Boche-a former
Professor of Education 
at Concordia University - Chicago. Ben is now
at the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh 
as an assistant professor of education
 in the Dept. of Literary and Language.
 Co-author Dr. Jake Hollatzz is the 
Principal of St. John Lutheran School
 in Orange, California.
This duo delivers a timely and useable resource.
They frame their outline of digital citizenship
 with the responsible use of technology. 
Boche and Hollatz weave in foundational 
Biblical principles with a Catechism focus.
They give a framework 
for both parents and educators
 as we all navigate learning 
in this rapidly changing digital world.
  Included in their book are classroom lesson plans
 with essential questions, standards or goals, 
assessment and a list of instructional materials.
Digital topics included in their book include:
access, commerce, communication,
 literary, etiquette, law, 
rights and responsibilities, 
health and wellness, and security.
This educator team are on track 
for helping us facilitate
 the faith journey in the digital world
 from citizens to leaders.
A great tool for family life educators
 in the church and school setting.
A wonderful resource to help parents
 have meaningful conversations 
with their digital native children.
Thanks to Ben and Jake for this timely tool
to help foster important conversations
 about we will live faithfully 
in this trans-media generation.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Enduring Word Bible- The Samson Series- 6

Enduring Word Bible- #23
Judges 16
The Death of Samson
Things continue to spiral down 
for Samson as the lords of the Philistines
 gather to sacrifice to Dagon.
They finally have Samson.
They call him out of the prison
 to entertain them.
Then Samson asks the young man
 that holds his hand to lead him
to the pillars that hold up the house.
There are about 3000 men and women
 in the building and on the roof.
Then Samson calls out to the Lord-
"remember me and strengthen me
 this once, O God."
With a great display of strength-
 Samson brings down the building-
 killing all the people, including himself.
At this one event Samson killed more
 at his death than in all of his life.
His brothers and family came 
and took him to bury him
 with his father, Manoah.
The Lord used a flawed man
 to work His plan.
Samson certainly is a reminder to each of us, 
strong and weak, 
that we are vessels the Lord 
can use to fulfill His Kingdom purpose.

Acrylic block
Assorted Alphas
Heidi Swapp arrow

One of the amazing things of this past week
 was the God Moment at our
 Grace Pace Wellness retreat.
As we drove into Branson, Mo, 
I couldn't believe the billboards 
and all the signs for the 
2018 Sight and Sound Show- Samson. 
I had finished reading and meditating
 on the story of Samson, 
  in the two weeks before we left for our trip.
The margins were done 
and set to post during our week in Branson.
What a wonderful experience 
to see the Samson show.
It was very well done.
Just another sign of how clearly 
our Lord can fine- tune our lives.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Enduring Word Bible- The Samson Series-5

Enduring Word Bible- #22

Judges 16
Samson and Delilah

We have seen that Samson 
had a habit of not always 
making God-pleasing decisions.
Chapter 16 starts out with Samson
 going to a prostitute in Gaza.
His presence becomes known 
to the people there and they plan 
to ambush him at dawn.
At midnight he goes out to the city gates
 and pulls up the doors and two posts with bars.
 He carries them on his shoulders
 to the top of the hill in Hebron. 
The Enduring Word commentary says:

Despite his sin, God still gave Samson supernatural strength
 to escape from the Philistines.
 God did this because God’s purpose was bigger
 than Samson himself,
 and because God used Samson 
despite Samson’s sin, not because of it.

It may have been over 20 miles to the hill
 that Samson carried the doors to the gate.
Once again, 
Samson is saved for a greater purpose.
He then falls in love with Delilah,
 a woman in the Valley of Sorek.
The lords of the Philistines find out 
and come to Delilah with the bribe
 of 1,100 pieces of silver 
from each of them if she finds out
 where Samson's strength lies.
A series of of pleas and false answers
 challenges their relationship.
Finally Samson is "vexed to death"
 and he tells Delilah.
Samson falls asleep on her knees 
and she calls a man to shave off
 the seven locks of his head.
When the Philistines arrive, 
he plans to go out 
and get free as in the past scenarios.
But, Samson 
"did not know that the Lord had left him."
The Philistines grab him
 and gouge out his eyes 
and bind him in shackles.
He spends his time in prison
 grinding at the mill.
Samson certainly placed his obedience
 to God in compartments.
He struggled with the knowledge
 that the Lord wanted all of his heart.
He failed often.
We see that for Samson and also for us:
we have nothing good- apart from God.
It is the central fact in God's goodness to us,
and why He sent His son.

Watercolor pencils,
 Micron pen
Washi tape

Friday, August 17, 2018

Enduring Word Bible- The Samson Series-4

Enduring Word Bible- #21

Judges 15
The Lord Provides

After a few days,
 Samson goes back to visit his wife, 
and her dad says- No way.  
Thinking Samson was so mad he would never return, 
she was given to Samson's best friend.
He then offers his young daughter.
Samson vows revenge 
 this time as goes off to catch 300 foxes.
He turned them tail to tail 
with a torch between each pair of tails
 and sets fire to the torches.
Samson turns them loose in the grain fields.
 the grain reserves and the orchards.
The enraged Philistines find out it was Samson.
 They go and burn up his wife and her father.
Samson them retaliates and strikes them down.
He leaves to stay in the cleft rock of Etam.
Then the Philistines come 
and camp in Judah and raid Lehi.
Then want Samson.
Then 3000 men of Judah come to Etam
 to bind up Samson 
and turn him over to the Philistines.
Samson wants to make sure 
they won't kill him 
and then they bind him with 2 new ropes.
As they meet,
the Spirit of the Lord rushes upon him,
and the ropes melt off.
With a jawbone of a donkey 
he strikes down 1000 men.
After this battle he is very thirsty,
 and calls upon God for help.
"God spilt open the hollow place
 that is at Lehi,
 and water came out from it."
Samson is revived. 
Seems like it really was a 
trust issue for Samson.
He then judges Israel in the days
 of the Philistines for 20 years.
We don't know how Samson lives out
his relationships during these years.
But, God was still doing grace-gifting
 right into Samson's days.

Napkin bottom layer
Computer-printed words for phrase tabs
Scrapbook paper
 Washi tape
Watercolor pencils
Micron pen
Double-Sided tab

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Enduring Word Bible- The Samson Series- 3

Enduring Word Bible- #20

Judges 14
The Spirit of the Lord Rushed Upon Him

This chapter has Samson 
seeing a girl in Timnah among the Philistines
 and seeking her as his wife.
His parents are challenged to bless this union,
not seeing the hand of God in it.
Dating is a bit hard,
 as Samson encounters a lion 
when he heads to the vineyards
 of Timnah with his parents.
Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him.
He tears the lion to pieces,
 but doesn't tell his parents.
He returns later and sees honey
 in the body of the carcass of the lion.
There is the wedding celebration 
and 30 companions to celebrate with Samson.
A test is put forth of a riddle 
with a significant payout by the loser.
They can't solve the riddle 
and they ask his wife to "get it" from Samson.
She wears Samson down 
and finally he tells her.
She then tells the men of the city
 on the seventh day.
And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him.
Samson goes down to Ashkelon, 
strikes down 30 men 
and takes their garments to pay his debt.
In hot anger, Samson returns to his father's house.
  His wife is given to his companion, 
who had been his best man.
 Not exactly a picture perfect honeymoon.
But, the story unfolds as the favor
 of the Lord rests upon Samson.

Bubble wrap on a toilet paper roll.
Paint acrylic paint on a section 
of the roll and dab into the margin.
 Dry with heat gun.
Added the theme words 
for this section with a 
micron brush pen 
and outline with a .005 Micron pen.
Watercolor pencils
Strength tag and riddle tab
Washi tape

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Enduring Word Bible- The Samson Series-2

Enduring Word Bible - #19

God Answers Prayer
Judges 13-
The Manoah story continues with 
God listening to the voice of Manoah.
His wife is sitting in the field 
and the angel of the Lord comes to her again. 
She runs to find Manoah
 and he follows her back to "the man."
Manoah wants to know if this is the same guy.
"I am."
"Now when your words come true, 
what is to the be child's manner of life, 
and what is his mission?"
The angel of the Lord gives specific direction
 for his wife to follow the same diet
 as stated for the child.
Manoah wants to honor the man with a goat meal.
The angel tells him to prepare a burnt offering
  and offer that to the Lord.
He wants the name of the man so he can honor him.
The angel of the Lord says:
 "Why do you ask my name, 
seeing it is wonderful?"
Manoah offers a sacrifice 
to the one who works wonders.
 When the flame goes up to heaven,
 the angel of the LORD went up
 in the flame of the altar.
Manoah and his wife fall to the ground
  fearing for their life 
because they had seen God.
The woman bears a son and they call him Samson.
The LORD blesses him and the 
Spirit of the LORD began to stir him. 
Used Reeves watercolor pencils on this page,
added a bit of water after coloring.
Washi tape
Micron pen

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Enduring Word Bible- The Samson Series -1

Enduring Word Bible-#18

God of Promise Somehow I landed in Judges 13
 reading the Samson story.
So that begins a Samson series.
 I don't remember the 
amazing announcement of the 
angel of the Lord to the wife of Manoah.
This Danite couple were childless, 
and they got life-changing news.
There were also some specific directions:
no wine or strong drink, unclean food, 
or hair cutting.
"For the child shall be a Nazrite 
from the womb and he 
shall begin to save Israel 
from the hand of the Philistines."
When Monoah's wife tells him the story,
he just needs a bit of confirmation.
He prayed to God and the Lord
 sent the angel again to the wife of Manoah.
And then.....(the next post)
A bit of the page in process.
Paint colors for this page.
Acrylic paint base-
 added with an old hotel room key
Q- Tip for dabs of Orange paint
Alpha letters
Black swirl and arrow sticker
Colored pencil

Anniversary Noted

We celebrated an Anniversary 
blessing in the past week.
36 years.
We headed downtown to Cafe du Parc-
 Washington DC.
A lovely buffet.
Food for the whole day.
Lovely flowers in the lobby.
A painting in a seating area lends
 a nod to the history of the Willard Hotel.

"American author Nathaniel Hawthorne observed in the 1860s that "the Willard Hotel more justly could be called the center of Washington than either the Capitol or the White House or the State Department." From 1847 when the enterprising Willard brothers, Henry and Edwin, first set up as innkeepers on the corner of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, the Willard has occupied a unique niche in the history of Washington and the nation. The site upon which the Willard stands was originally part of the farm of David Burnes. In 1816 John Tayloe built a row of six two-story-and-attic houses as an investment . By 1818 the corner was being used as a hotel. In 1847 Benjamin Ogle Tayloe leased the establishment to Henry A. Willard and his brother, Edwin. Edwin withdrew from the management, to be replaced by his brother Joseph C.Willard in 1849. In 1853 the brothers purchased the entire row of houses from Tayloe's heirs, uniting the buildings architecturally in a major remodeling. In 1858 the Willards expanded again, purchasing the property of Col. James Kearney on the southwest corner of 14th and F Streets. They demolished the Kearney Mansion and built a six-story addition to the hotel. Next an adjoining Presbyterian Church on F Street was acquired and converted to an auditorium known as Willard Hall. In succeeding years, as business increased, the roofs of the conglomerate hotel were raised to allow for vertical expansion. Finally, at the turn of the century, the Willard underwent a massive transformation.

The new Willard, designed by New York architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh and erected by the George A. Fuller Company, was hailed at its opening as Washington's first skyscraper. Completed in 1904, the new building saw an addition of 100 rooms in 1925, broadening the F Street facade by about 49 feet. The property remained in the Willard family until 1946, closed in 1968, and underwent extensive renovation, again opening its doors in 1986.

Presidents Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, Lincoln, Grant, Taft, Wilson, Coolidge and Harding stayed at the Willard. Other notable guests have included Charles Dickens, Buffalo Bill, David Lloyd George, P.T. Barnum, Lord and Lady Napper and countless others. Walt Whitman included the Willard in his verses and Mark Twain wrote two books there in the early 1900s. It was Vice President Thomas R. Marshall, irritated at the Willard's high prices, who there coined the phrase "What this country needs is a good 5-cent cigar." (

It is a bit mind-boggling to think about this hotel
 serving the folks during the Civil War.
  This photo show the beauty of the lobby
 and documents we were there.

 This photos shows we don't mind
 standing close to each other.
 This photos shows that the concierge
 taking the photo really
 wanted the flower arrangement to show
 and wanted us to stand  apart.
 This photos shows it has been a
 blessed 36 year journey
 and we are ready to go the distance for the future.
I love you, John!