Thursday, May 27, 2010

super soaker kid's craft


is it really almost june? wow!! time just keeps flying right by, doesn't it?

i have been a horrible blogger lately, but that's okay. :) today, i thought i'd share a cute, quick, on the cheap kid's craft. i made this a couple of years ago for that website i used to write craft articles for. (**sidenote: i'm pretty sure i'm not supposed to end a sentence with "for", but when have i ever been one to be rammatically correct on here?) i call this a "water bomb".



supplies needed:
sponges
scissors
rubber band or twist ties

basically, take a sponge and cut it into about four strips. take eight strips (two sponges) and rubber band them together in the middle. you could also use twist ties i think. then, soak them in water and let the kids have a blast throwing them at each other! of course, be mindful of giving someone a black eye. haha. they are still pretty light, but when soaked with water they do get heavier. my daughter had a blast making these and she plays with them all the time in the pool.

enjoy!

**p.s. courtney brought to my attention that not only am i not grammatically correct...i can't spell either. lol!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

so excited!


april emailed and told me that my published project is out in the stores now. i'm not sure what page it's on because i haven't seen the book yet. so excited! i haven't had anything published in a while. of course, i haven't been submitting anything either. haha i guess i can't just wait for them to come to me now can i?

thanks for letting me share my happy news. :)

p.s. happy birthday today, april! you are an awesome friend and i love your creative spirit! go have some cake...and a diet coke. :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

finding something beautiful.

my deepest desire is for God to use me for His glory.

to take my hands and use them for His purposes. to take my heart and use it for His purposes. to take my words and use them to bring glory to Him.

i feel that this blog is a good platform for me to share the story of my faith. i began this new blog because i wanted to take the focus off of "me" and i wanted to share more of Him. i still want to post crafts and scrapbooking ideas and funny stories and random "don't hates". i still have no regard for the rules of punctuation. those things aren't changing. but, i can tell you this...i am changing. and i feel very much like sharing that with you. occassionally, i will talk about faith through this blog. today, i am going to be very honest about my story and share my testimony with you. i know that today's church is looked upon as a bunch of bible thumping judgers. i hope none of you read that here from me today. i am not here to judge anybody. if you read further into my testimony, i think you'll see that. i think that most of my friends and readers of this blog know my faith, but let me say this if it makes you uncomfortable to read about Christianity or Jesus, you can stop reading now. i will still post crafts and cute stuff and funny stories, but i feel very lead to share my faith on this blog and that is what i'm going to do sometimes. i'm not going to apologize for speaking Truth. some of what i say may offend some people, and i hope i don't do that.  my desire is to share my heart.

my deepest desire is for God to use me for His glory.

i named this blog "all things sunshiney" because of my testimony. because of my story. a story that is still unfolding. i chose that phrase specifically from Psalm 139. a passage that speaks to me over and over again in so many ways. the entire psalm reads (NIV):

1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD
5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.
19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

this is such a powerful passage to me. in the next few weeks, i will start to share more of my "fearfully and wonderfully made" journal, which is a place that i am using to go through this passage, word by word, line by line. i drew "all things sunshiney" from verses 11 - 12:

"if i say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you. the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you."

my salvation experience:

when i was nine, i stayed with my grannie and poppie for the summer. we had just gotten home from church camp in tishomingo, oklahoma and i remember one night before i went to bed i said to my grannie, "i want Jesus to save me. what do i have to do?" and she asked me if i understood what it meant to be saved and i said "yes", in all of my nine year old wisdom. and so we prayed. i asked Jesus to come live in my heart. i remember that night vividly. i remember the way my grannie smelled. the color of her night gown as she knelt down beside me. the feel of her hand on top of my little hands. the way her voice sounded when she gave me the words to pray. the feeling i had when i knew i had asked Jesus to come live inside my heart. it is such a sweet memory.  and that is my salvation experience.

but, that's not really my story.

i want to give my testimony. my sanctification experience. i am not going to bore you all with the details of salvation and sanctification, but there is a difference. asking Jesus to forgive you and live in your heart is one thing. the transformation process of what that looks like is something entirely different. i will dare to say that the beginning of my sanctification experience began only a few years ago, but i feel as if the full force of that began happening in my life within the past two years. some of you remember when my baby went to kindergarten and it seemed that i kind of fell off of the face of the earth or something. i was sad, melancholy, depressed. i'm not going to sugar coat it. of course, i have a million things in my life to be thankful and happy for, but i was in such a dark, sad place that i couldn't see past all of that. i was living verse 11 and 12 of psalm 139. i was there. and i couldn't figure out why. i couldn't quite put my finger on what exactly was wrong. everything seemed to be great. on the outside. but on the inside, i was a complete and utter mess. if i had taken a bulldozer to my heart, soul and mind, it could not have been a bigger mess. i was in a place of deep and utter pain. pain from wounds that go back to infancy. i was feeling the burden of all that pain.

and i didn't want to deal with it. i didn't want to deal with it at all. i wanted to just put it all in that closet we all have. that extra room we all have in our house where everything gets thrown when company is about to come over. you know what i'm talking about. the room that the door is always closed to. the room that when you walk into it, it is almost overwhelming because it is so chaotic and unorganized. so i was avoiding it. i just kept walking past that door. maybe opening it and throwing a few more things on top of all the junk that was already in there, but i was just avoiding it.

and it was eating away at me.

i remember at that time praying earnestly this psalm and the feeling of....dread...i felt when i prayed verses 23 and 24.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

well....there it was. i asked for it. i asked Him to search me, test me, know me and lead me. and i wasn't asking for a beautiful day in the park. and i knew it. that's why i felt dreadful. i knew the walls were closing in and sooner or later, i was going to have to deal with everything that i had been running from for my entire life. you can only run and avoid things for so long before God finds a way to block you into that room, the place that you've been stuffing all the junk, turning the lights on (as bright as they can be, by the way) and giving you no way out except through a door that is behind and underneath all that junk.

and so you are left there, in this room and the lights are on and you can see the reality of everything you've been running from. you can see exactly how much work has to be done in order to find your way out of that room.

and it sucks.

i'm not going to lie. i'm not going to sugar coat it for you. it sucks to deal with that stuff. and it hurts. i thought i was already hurting.

i had no idea.

i had no idea how deep the source of all that hurt was. i probably still have no idea, because honestly, i'm not done dealing with it. i don't think we ever get done dealing with it. i think that is part of the process. my desire is to be transformed. to be completely changed. to be made to look more like my Father. my perfect, loving Father. and i will NEVER be perfect. there will always be a need for transformation within me. that is why i say i don't think we ever get done dealing with it.

for several months, i have been doing a study on spiritual warefare. it has seriously changed me in a way i never thought possible. the bible tells us in Ephesians 6:12, "for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." i highly recommend this study or a study on spiritual warefare. it will completley open your eyes. i see it everywhere now, and i can see in my life the ways that satan, the evil one, has been attacking me. oh my gosh. it gives him great pleasure to attack us. because he wants to do everything he can to keep us from having an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

the good news is, we can be prepared for these attacks. and we can be ready for battle. because it is a battle. it is not called warefare just to sound fancy. it is honest to goodness, BATTLE.

just recently i studied the chapter on the principality of rejection. this was a big one for me, for SO many reasons. i think i highlighted almost every word in this chapter. i know that satan has used the principality of rejection to attack me most of my life. i will not share specific details because i don't feel that doing that is beneficial. i will say that i have felt rejected, unloved, etc. in many areas of my life. it is easy to fall into the pit of "oh, poor pitiful me. look at what so and so did or said, or didn't do or didn't say to me. they hurt me. they are wrong. they, they, they." don't read me wrong here. of course people say and do hurtful things to us. and it hurts. i'm not discounting anyone's feelings, but i'm going to share some Truth.

there is a section in this study that talks about receiving rejection and how receiving rejection is idolatry. "we can not prevent people from rejecting us, but we can control how we respond. if we have responded by receiving the hurt and pain, we have fallen into idolatry. it is idolatry because we have allowed more importance to their words or actions than we have to God's....we have believed their words as truth and have allowed that pain to block us from God's Truth."

"we must learn to remember who we are in the eyes of God, not man. when we are whole and secure in who we are in god, we will be able to minister to others when they reject us instead of being hurt and offended."

this really struck a chord with me because i can see how often i have chosen to be hurt and offended (and live in that hurt and offense). of course, when people reject us, we are hurt. of course. but the Truth is that we are FULLY ACCEPTED by Christ. this is where satan uses the darts of shame, fear, bitterness, etc. to further attack us in rejection. to further prove his case that we are not loved. he'll say things like, "remember what you did when you were a teenager? remember how you acted? remember when you hurt so and so?" he'll remind you of things that you've done and asked forgiveness for and lie to you and make you believe that you are still the shameful, sinful, unlovable person and that this is why you are being rejected...because you deserve it.

i can't believe how long i have believed those lies. how long i have believed those lies over God's Truth in my life. i have spent a huge chunk of my life feeling unloved. unlovable. not worthy of love and completely undeserving of love. THIS COULD NOT BE A BIGGER LIE. but, i have believed it. it is embarrassing for me to say that, but i am being honest.

circumstances and events in my childhood conditioned me to be this "rejected, unloved" person. not believing that i could ever be fully loved. i never felt security and never knew how to feel secure, because i never knew God's love for me. or if i "knew it", it didn't mean i felt it or trusted it. of course i know that God loves me. it says it as plain as day, in black and white. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us. so, of course i "knew" it. but, unfortunately, i never trusted it...until recently.

unfortunately, i have spent all my time believing satan's lies..."Julie, i know you think God loves you and forgives you...but you've not exactly been an innocent person have you? when you were a teenager didn't you seek unhealthy ways to receive love? didn't you feel so unloved at home because no one was there for you that you gave away pieces of yourself to different boys that came along? you did all of that and they still didn't love you. because you don't deserve love. and no amount of anything can ever wash that stain away. you are not loved!  and you don't deserve it, so don't ever get to thinking that you are 'washed by the Blood of the Lamb' because you'll never be as white as snow, Julie. no one loves you FOR REAL. no one. when people see the real you, they are not going to love you. they are only going to reject you. because you are unlovable."

in the past, there would be no way i would ever admit those things about myself because i was never secure in the fact that i was actually FORGIVEN AND LOVED by my Father. satan would have attacked me and said, see...you shared all of that about yourself and now people are going to judge you. they are going to judge you and talk about you and talk about what you said on your blog. and they are going to reject you, Julie. because you don't deserve to be loved, just like i've been telling you all along. and satan loved that. he ate it up and he just had a field day with me. and i just let him. i believed him.

do you hear what i'm saying? i believed him and made that the truth instead of believing the Truth of my Father.

it makes me sick to say that. i just never realized that that is what i was doing. i had been so hurt. had such deep hurts (soul wounds i call them) that i could never get past the hurt. i was not looking at it clearly. and it was easy for me to fall into that "victim" state of being hurt. of saying...look at what so and so did to me. my friend said such and such about me. i heard them, they were judging me. goodness, doesn't anybody mind their own business anymore? i see them over there talking, i'm sure they are talking about me and how horrible i am. i would put other people's opinions of me and what they thought of me up on a pedestal and try to change myself so that they would like me, or not say something mean about me...because i cared more about what THEY thought of me, than what my King thought of me. i was worshipping other people's opinions of me and allowing that to define me.

oh yes, i'm speaking truth aren't i?

it was easier for me to say, look at what they are doing. look at how they've hurt me. why don't they love me? let me change something about myself so they will.....but God put a big mirror in front of my face and said, "Child. Sweet, sweet Child. Don't you see that I LOVE YOU? Don't you see that I unconditionally love you? There is NOTHING in this world you can do to ever "earn" my love. I give it to you. Just let me give it to you and stop putting conditions on it. stop trying to earn it. stop believing that you have to be a certain way in order to 'gain' my love. stop believing that I don't love you...BECAUSE I DO!"

this is a hard concept for people to understand...because humans do put conditions on their love for you. humans say, i love you as long as you act and behave in a certain way. but Jesus loves us right where we are. if we ask Him for forgiveness, He forgives us. it seems so simple, yet i have never understood that. and i'm sure that i'm still going to learn the significance of that in my life. it is one thing to "know" you are forgiven. it is another thing to completely claim that forgiveness in your life and walk in that forgiveness. are we perfect? no. only Jesus is. but are we forgiven? yes. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." after we confess our sins to Him and seek Him, we fall into an intimate relationship with Him and have freedom from shame and rejection.

2 Timothy 2:21 says, "If a man cleanse himself from the latter (sins), he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work."

when we claim Christ's forgiveness for our lives, we can stare down satan's fiery darts that accuse us with shame, fear, etc. and say to him, "excuse me, satan, but would you go walk up to the throne of my heavenly Father and tell Him what you are telling me in my head right now and see what He has to say about it? my Father has completely and fully forgiven me, because i have asked Him to and i have forgiven myself. my Father is not a liar, but you definitely are."

have you ever experienced a time in your life when satan has fired those darts at you? when he's just slammed you into the ground with the memories of things you've done, or things that have happened in your life? let me encourage you to stand up to him. there are many ways that satan attacks us (not just through rejection...he also does it through fear, jealousy and envy, bitterness and self bitterness, etc.), but here is the Truth: we are fully loved and accepted by Christ. His blood covers all of our sins. He desires a relationship with us. unfortunatley, satan will do everything he can to prevent us from having that kind of a relationship with Christ. satan will slam us in ways we don't even see coming. but we don't have to be dismayed. God has us. And He has wonderful, glorious plans for us. we just have to put on the armor of God and get prepared for battle!! it is not easy. i'm not going to lie to you and say it is easy, but you can do it.

trust me, if a messed up, insecure-thought she was completely unlovable and unworthy girl (me) can stand up to satan and walk in peace with God during difficult times...so can you.

this is where healing begins for me. this is some of my story. God is healing me and He is changing me. and i will forever praise His name.

i am loved. and i am worthy. because the author and creator of the universe calls me by name and knows my story. He knows my heart. and He wants a relationship with me. He will never reject me. He will ALWAYS love me. He will always protect me.

He will do those things for you as well.

it is time to stop believing the lies and believe the Truth.

it is time for something beautiful. and i know i've found it.