Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Friendship



This is what I know... We have to have friends, good friends, friends that know and love us no matter what. Friends that will pray with us and for us. Who will laugh with us, not at us.


For years I believed the lie, "You can't trust women." That is so false and because of that lie I have missed out on a lot of wonderful opportunities to form relationship's with women. That has been the enemy not letting me move past old wounds.

You know what, when you get to be my age you start looking back at your life and if you're lucky you have grown pass the hurt and are looking at your life with a fresh prospective. Not to say I don't get visited by old hurts from time to time. However, I have learned how to stand against the negative and move on. In that victory, I have come to embrace women. Thank you Lord, Ha lay lu ya! I Love women, if you are a women who has been in my life and you felt like I was cold or not interested in being your friend, I am truly sorry. It was not you, that is all on me and is my great loss.


I have had and do have amazing women in my life but, not as many as I could have. Because of a huge opaque wall that I could not see through and was afraid to climb over. I missed out ladies. Friends I don't want you to miss out. My friends are very special and wonderful ladies that have loved me through some pretty hard stuff and laughed with me in the good times. What a blessing! I want you to be blessed by women too. Let's bless women together.


We can start by being open. Of course that does not mean spill your beans to the first person you meet. Oh ya, has anyone ever done that before? If you do, it just might come back to bite your butt.


 Do open the door to kindness. Disclaimer here, I am the last person that should be giving friendship advice. I just want to encourage you to be wise in your friendships with other women but, also give them a chance. Most of us have a lot more to us then the outside shell.


 One more little note, friends come in all shapes and sizes. Some of my friends are older and wiser some are younger and wiser, funny but true. Times are changing. For example, I don't understand a lot of the new ways of doing things... tech stuff can be a little over whelming at times but, my grandchildren seem to have that well in hand. Thank goodness, Rachel enjoys and is good at the social media side of things. We all have unique gifts and talents to give and to share. Love each other, value one another. Just like Christ loves us, so are we to love our friends.

Photo taken by Ginny Amesler

"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with sisterly love, in honor giving preference to one another." Romans 12:9-10 NKJV

I want to encourage you to be wise in your friendships but please don't believe in the lie, "That all women can not be trusted."

"The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these ."
                                                                                                                    Mark 12: 31

 In the Bible we are told eight times to love our neighbor. This is one of the Bibles most requested commands. Friendship takes love and kindness, it is not selfish, it is selfless.  I believe the Lord is asking us to love, make friends, be a friend, tear down the walls and start building strong bridges.

You go girls, you got this!




Saturday, April 20, 2019

Ascension



 Good Morning! My friends. Tomorrow we will celebrate the resurrection of our great king!
Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus! Our King, our savior!


 We give God the glory, thank you Heavenly Father. How did you do it? The pain had to have been unbearable. Yet you watched your son die a sinners death so we could have life. So we, me, could rest knowing we are forgiven. There has never been a greater gift given. Thank you Father.


"He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the Angels of God were ascending and descending on it. " Genesis 28:12 NIV


 Jesus, can you see the angels like in Jacob did in his dream? Are they dancing in the clouds? They must be singing Hallelujah with trumpets, flutes, harps and tambourines playing a magnificent melody.


 Your crown no longer a crown of thorns but now a crown of glory. What it must be like to see the glory of the Lord.


 Are my loved ones dancing with you today? Their shadows no more reflecting on the walls yet the memories of them forever in our hearts.


 "a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance" Ecclesiastes 3:4 NIV


"The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my father and his angels." Revelations 3:5 NIV

 Rachel and I wish you, your family and friends a wonderful Easter. May we all rest in the truth of His resurrection. 


 This sculpture is called Ascension by ginny Taylor.
It is now on display at the Art Center Manatee in Bradenton Florida. I hope you have the opportunity  to see it person.

Friday, April 19, 2019

This is what I saw



Attending church on a Sunday morning just like each week before, standing in a row, one of many, in a room of hundreds. God spoke to me. It had been just a week or so but it seems to feel like an eternity when you just can't feel the presence of God. When you worship and fall to your knees in prayer yet you don't even hear a gentle whisper back. Then after seeking His face, He did not reveal His own. But rather, in a quick flash He says," This is what I saw" with a picture as clear in mind as if it was on my Instagram feed. Jude my first born, my son, with a sharp piercing crown of thorns set on top of his head. I was wrecked and a few tears slipped down my cheek.

Jesus was a man, he had flesh that bled, scared and ached. He was a friend, brother, son and a first born child. The suffering and death of Jesus has been depicted in movies and reenacted yearly by millions of churches. Sometimes these movies and plays can draw emotion or even a tear or two. But, it should wreck you just reading it in black and white. I admit, I have been desensitized to the gospel for years. Until my Heavenly Father made it real to me, that He put His son on that cross. The son he watched say his first word and cheered on as he took his first steps. The son he watched become a great teacher and friend. The son that wept when he saw his friends hurting and healed many others in pain. The son that prayed so anxiously in the garden that his sweat turned to blood. A good Father, set this in motion, for his first born son to die a gruesome, prolonged and painful death. Good Friday, good, holy, Friday. He was whipped 39 times with ropes adorned with lead and bone that would grab at his flesh ripping and bruising with every lash. Bound to a post and stripped of his clothing.

A dad sat and watched his little boy being tortured mercilessly to show you mercy, to show me mercy. A dad watched his first born son dripping in blood aching with every step carrying a cross to "the place of the skull". There a mother waited, watched and whaled as nails were driven into her little boys hands and feet. A mother and a Father looked upon there child's face, seeing him as the little boy whom they "lost" in Jerusalem, the carpenter, the teacher. A mother and Father looked upon their child's face as he said, "It is finished". See, with every blow of that whip, with every mock of the tongue, with every swing of the hammer, God wasn't just watching His Son, He was looking at us saying, you, you are worth it, this is how much I. LOVE. YOU.


"When his parents found him, they were amazed. His mother said, "Son why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been very worried, and we have been searching for you!" Jesus answered, "Why did you have to look for me? Didn't you know that I would be at my Fathers house?""
Luke 2: 48-49 CEV

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Easter Baskets

Easter baskets, are they supposed to be Christmas stockings for the spring, just a basket to hold the eggs you find or is it something in between?

Normally, I know just what to put in my children's Easter baskets. They always have gotten a chocolate bunny for each of them to bite the ears off of. I would throw some toys or a stuffed bunny in there along with some jelly beans. My kids have gotten bunny ears in their baskets, because lets face it, they're just adorable. However, this year I have been struggling quite a bit. Of course the stores are packed with items I could purchase, then in about a day or so it will be eaten, broken, lost or forgotten. 

Starting this blog made me dig deeper with Christ and it made me focus on fact checking. This is all for His glory and my intention is to never stray from that. Each week that goes by on this new journey there are new challenges, new revelations and a lot more intentionality. That's were these silly Easter baskets have tripped me up. This day is about Christ conquering death. What am I choosing to teach my kids on this holy of holy days, or rather what am I choosing to focus on most. 

I was running out of time, frankly I still am. But, I did need a basket or bag no matter what I decided to put inside. 

I was given a Cricut for Christmas this past year and it has already paid for itself due to my obsession with personalizing everything. Being able to monogram, label and create myself has proven to be beneficial. So, I picked a font, printed out names and a cute bunny, then simply ironed them on. Adding a bow and some cotton tales and I had the kiddos bags already to go hunting. However, I still wasn't so sure if that Easter bunny was going to show up or not.



I finally started getting some ideas based on the thought, "what do we spend the most time doing, what would they really use that points back to Christ?" Well then it was a no brainer, the car! It seems as if we are always in the car. We are fortunate enough to have a minivan with the DVD player so the first item to go in their new bag, a DVD. Now, I frequent Goodwill and happen to know ahead of time that the one in my neighborhood always seems to have Veggie Tales or Hermie and Friends on their shelves, that helped keep me on a budget.



Once I got started stuffing the baskets the ideas were flowing. Next, to buy some eggs so that we could "egg our neighbors". We live in a great neighbor and have wonderful relationships with several of our neighbors. We also live in a community that is growing rapidly and changing with that growth. What a better way to show our neighbors we love them and to welcome the new ones than to "egg them"? And by egg them, I mean surprise them with a stuffed egg on Easter morning. I have stuffed two eggs for each kid, that makes a total of eight eggs in this house. Which in turn will be eight homes my children will disciple to. The eggs have been stuffed with a simple note, "Jesus Loves You" along with little treat. On Easter morning before heading out to church, each kid will take their two eggs and set them at two different door steps. My children love to knock our neighbors door and they love being sneaky so I am pretty confident they are going to love this.



I enjoy watching my kids hunt for eggs. The toddlers get so excited and proud of themselves. While the older two ask for hints or if they are "getting warmer" as they look for their eggs that are a little trickier to find. This is a tradition I want to keep alive.

However, my kids get too much candy as it is. Money, change, we all have it laying around. In the cup holder of our car, in our junk drawer or under the couch cushions. This called for a scavenger hunt. Once I found what I thought was enough, I stuffed the eggs with the coins. I chose to pick one color for each kid to find, that way I could divide up the money equally and it would avoid any arguments later. This way they each had a certain number of eggs to find and we wouldn't be discovering them months down the road. 

There is a lesson to why I chose to put the coins into the eggs. There are two actually, first, it's a conversation starter. Shake the egg and let the kids do the same. This can easily lead you into " did you know that the soldiers cast lots for Jesus' clothes while He was hanging on the cross?"

The second lesson it this, a tithe. The tithe is something that we as adults can struggle with. Why not teach our children while they are young that it holds importance and help them to make it a habit in their youth. We do not have allowance in our home. I saw this as an opportunity to show our children that with any increase we get, we give ten percent to our church. My hope is that this will also bring up more conversation about church, money or Christ.


I want my kids to know that Easter is a celebration. Friday is they day to focus on the cross and Sunday is they day to focus on the resurrection. I mean Christ conquered death! He rose from the dead! When I saw these confetti eggs it was an easy buy. I found them at Walgreens for only a couple of bucks. Sunday morning you will find us blasting some praise and worship while throwing confetti!


Now that I have the gospel pretty well covered and the focus starts on the true reason we will be celebrating all day with friends and family. A little treat may have snuck its way into my shopping cart. I picked out one toy that each child is intrigued by currently and a chocolate bunny to eat the ears off, it is tradition after all. Plus Mom gets to eat the left over bunny bodies!


If you have been struggling with what to put in your baskets this year or have just simply been procrastinating, I hope this helps. 

Have a wonderful Holy week and check back with us Friday for a special Good Friday word!

Rachel Batey


Monday, April 8, 2019

Comparisons



Comparisons

What we cannot see when we compare ourselves to others!
I’ve been doing an art craft gathering with a group of ladies once a month or so. My beautiful friend who is an extraordinarily gifted artist has opened her studio for these craft classes where we make something...we create something. She supplies the materials and instructions and we craft...
Last night we made these interesting Easter eggs...it required use of a hot glue gun to make the pattern we wanted to make and lots of layers of paint and then removing of said paint by wiping it off and adding more...
Let’s just say that my eggs were the least attractive eggs when finished! I’ve decided I’m not a hot glue gun expert...I have a fear of hot glue when recently I burnt myself with the stuff, it involved my lip and my finger...don't ask!
Anyway, as at the end of each of our craft nights... we look at our finished work...
I’m looking at all the beautiful hot glue designs and colors of these exquisite eggs around the table and honestly I’m thinking that my grandchildren could have done a better job than I had done!
I even had the thought when I got home, I’m just going to throw them away...I also thought to myself, you aren’t an artist Julie, why do you even go to craft night???

I know that this will sound silly but I asked Jesus if I should throw away my eggs? I think He said, wait and sleep on it!
So I said, okay!

Guess what...this morning I was looking at my ugly eggs and I had this thought...
I’m pretty sure it was my friend Jesus asking me this question, “So, what do you see now? Don’t think about the other eggs you saw last night, just look at your own eggs...”
I thought, well they look a little like something a child might have made but I kind of like them...hey, I do kind of like them... I like my ugly eggs...they don’t look so great when I compared them to the more artistic eggs of last night but by themselves I think they are pretty neat...

I think I heard Jesus say...now you’re getting there ❤️
Thanks Jesus for teaching me that comparisons are costly and don’t teach us to see beauty as you see it...

"He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attractct us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." Isaiah 53:2

- Julie DeSear

PS I don't recommend you get a manicure right before craft night...haha


Julie DeSear

Thank you, Julie for sharing a word that God gave you, it was very relateable and refreshing. 

God speaks to us in the most unexpected ways. Sometimes those ways are bold and obvious other times they are quite and simple. Sharing what God speaks to us can be shared in the same way. We can be bold as we are called to be at times or we can choose to share the gospel working in us in a less obvious and more quite way. 

The women's craft night that Julie was refering to is a night of fellowship and crafting that my mother and I put together once a month. These nights have turned into a beautiful bridge between generations. In these few hours together we are able to talk about our different walks of life and get sound advice from many perspectives. 


I am going to share the craft step by step for the month of April. If you would like to join our group or feel led to host your own women's craft night, please contact us and we will get you set up and connected. 


First you will need eggs. We chose to use a solid wooden egg.  

After you chose the eggs also grab the following supplies:
1. Viberent colored acrylic paints 
2. 2 or more metalic acrylic paints
3. Black acrylic paint
4. Hot glue gun and glue sticks
5. Paint brushes
6. Paper towels
* you may also want a canvas as a fun option, read to the end to found out why.

To get started, paint the eggs with the viberent color of your choice, you can use the picture above or below for color reference. 


Acrylic Paint drys fairly quick and once it does start using the glue gun. With it make swurls of glue around the egg trying not to lift the glue gun off of the egg as much as possible. 


Lifting the glue gun will inevinably cause these small spider web like glue stands, you will need to pick them off and may need to use a pair of tweezers to do so. This step needs to be done before moving on to the next step or the web looking glue will become a perminate part of the egg. 


The next step is to paint the entire egg with the black acrylic paint. This part made me a little nervous at first due to all of the work that was already put in and the viberent colors were so pretty. So, take a deep breath, paint the eggs one at time. Immediatly after painting each egg wipe off the paint gently using a paper towel. This will expose the glue and the beautiful color underneth.


Now, for the really fun and pretty messy part. Get ready for some more paint on those fingers as you pull out the metalic paint. 

Paint the entire egg again with one of the metalic colors you have chosen. Wipe off the paint with a paper towel and repeat the step as many times as you would like layering the different metalic paints. 



Let the metalic layer dry for a few minutes, after doing so use some purple or teal paint to make accents or pops of color. The picture below is a great example of the impact this step can make.


In contrast the following picture does not have as much accent paint and therefor not as much demintion. 


Both examples look wonderful, it's up to the creator to chose what look they are going for.  

Let the accent paint dry and the craft is complete.








Juanita Larson

This is were the canvas comes in. You may have some left over paint in your trays as we did during our craft night. Don't let it go to waste. Grab a canvas and dump that paint all over it, use those dirty paint brushes and messy hands and create as a group. Making something as unique as each women in that room and the group they make together.




Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Planting Memories of Love

When ever you plant love in a child
it will stay with them for a lifetime.
ginny T.


  Early morning memories take me back to a time when I was just a young child. 

  Sitting on the white sandy bank of the Myakka River as a young towheaded little girl. My grandfather, a kind, tall, strong and handsome man was looking down at me with a smile.

  He was making a fishing pole out of cane. I looked on in amazement as he cut the cane and then stuck the pole into the sand saying, "Now we need to make one for you." 
You can only imagine my delight as I watched my very own fishing pole being made. There was not a whole lot of talking going on at the time, just watching. 

  My grandfather put his rugged hand into his pocket and pulled out a spool of line. He proceeded to tie a piece of line onto the top of each of the poles he had just made. Then he looked at me again with an even bigger smile than before as he reached into his pocket a second time. This time he pulled out a tiny tin box. In it there were lead weights and small fish hooks. Watching quietly, he pinched the lead weights onto each fishing line and then tied the small hooks onto the ends of the lines.

  Two cane poles stuck out of the sand one thick and long the other short and thin.
Two quiet souls enjoying time without words. That was me and my Grandfather in this moment.

  Looking at each other with big smiles, my grandfather pulled my pole out of the sand. He showed me how to put a worm on my hook. (That fascinated me and I could not wait to put my own worm onto the hook.)  Then he placed the clear line into the brackish water and handed the pole to me. As I sat very quietly holding my very own fishing pole my grandfather began teaching me how to hold my pole with one hand while playing with the line with the other hand. It was not long before I felt a tiny tug on the end of my line and I pulled back. "I caught one! I got a fish!"

  My grandfather smiling with a small chuckle exclaimed,"Good one!" He then placed his index finger to his lips and said," quiet now, we have more fish to catch. We don't want to scare them away." My grandfather and I sat for hours quietly watching each other, listening to the sounds around us, enjoying the quiet, enjoying just being, enjoying the time together.

  My Grandfather and I caught many fish that day. They were a small white meat, boney fish called a bream. I watched my grandfather clean all the fish and fry them up in an iron skillet. 
When the fish were cooked we sat around a table with family and eat as my grandfather and I shared our fishing story. 

  I've always remembered this time with my grandfather as very special. As I was writing this story from my childhood prospective and then reread it, I began to see my grandfathers heart, the heart of a grandparent. 

  My grandfather planted a seed of gentleness and love that day. I did not know it at the time and maybe I did not fully understand just how import this day was until now.

  You see my younger brother had recently died in a freak car accident. He was just seven years old and I was the older sister at age nine. Time has a way of showing us things when we least expect it. Now a grandparent myself I am able to see this story with a brand new perspective.
A gentle man who's heart had to be bleeding for his daughter and her family, reached out in a simple yet perfect way. By giving rest to the weary and comfort to the lost, he gave unconditional love with out a word or expection.

Council Smith

                         To all those grandparents out there, Thank you for loving us so well.

  




  

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Someday



Have you ever spent hours even days on a project?
Have you ever felt like God was asking you to do something?
Have you ever felt God's calling?
Have you ever obeyed him & spent hours doing what he asks of you?
What happens when you are almost finished and he says,
"delete"?


This is a photograph of the beginning of the second sculpture I ever made. I had taken no classes on sculpting at the time. I had however, read a couple books on the topic.
The Lord brought this sculpture to my mind this morning as he was telling me very loudly, " delete everything you wrote on the blog yesterday." Of course my reaction was," What! You had me up all night speaking to me and the next day I spent all day researching and writing our next post." The Lord told me again. "Delete it, do not save it, delete it." This morning I obeyed and deleted the whole thing.

"Finally, brothers and sisters whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things." Philippians 4:8

Do you ever find yourself questioning God and asking him why?
Perhaps, like me, God is teaching you. All that work that I deleted this morning was for my knowledge, it was God teaching me, molding me.

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16-17
spoke to my heart and here I am a day later with a memory to share with you.


Several years ago, I had the desire to sculpt. I bought some clay and began. What an incredible experience. My hands moved over the clay as if God was moving them. The feel, the touch, the solid wet malleable' substance within and beneath my hands, were moving as if magic.


When I am creating most often I am praying. I feel God's presence while I work. I also know that if it were not but by his grace there would be no works by Ginny Taylor.


This sculpture was to be of my son in law Josh. After Josh had seen my first sculpture he was very kind and encouraging, he asked me if I would sculpt him. I cannot tell you how flattered I was that he really thought I could do that. I did not have that same confidence.  Like God says," All things are possible to those who trust me." So trust I did. Without hesitation I jumped right in and started the process of sculpting Josh. The first step was to study Josh's face, to take measurements and a lot photos. He was a real trooper though all of that. Once I had the photos developed and on hand I brought out the clay. I started pushing clay and praying to the Lord, "Move my hands Lord, may I be a vessel, will you do your work through me Lord? " We moved clay together. I never felt alone. With each push of the clay feeling God's presence, we would add clay and take pieces of clay away. Just like he did with me the night before last, giving me a word and yesterday, asking me to delete them and again today as I share a piece of myself with you. The lord is always moving in our lives and shaping us into the person he wants us to be.


When my sculpture was finish I could not believe it, it really did look a lot like Josh.
I thanked God for how this sculpture turned out. I knew I could not have made this sculpture without His hands guiding me.


It took several hours over many days to create this sculpture and I loved every minute of the process. It was a time of refection, learning and molding of myself. I felt God was showing me how he works, his process of molding us. This was important to me because I learn by touch. You could tell me one hundred times how God molds us, reveals scripture after scripture and I might not fully understand. While going through the process of actually shaping, molding and creating something has given me a whole new level of understanding.


I will have to say when it was time to show my family I was nervous. That thing called self, crept in, scared of failure, disappointment, self doubt. I started questioning.,"Would they like it?  Did it really resemble Josh?" After the wonderful process I had just been through "self" had to jump in and try to still my joy. This time I did not let it, thank goodness.  


Josh seemed pretty happy with the outcome, he even let me take photos of him with the sculpture. All was good. I was overjoyed with what God had created through me.


Then the unthinkable thing happened. While showing the rest of the family the sculpture I turned my easel and the sculpture fell to the floor. All of my hard work was squashed. Everyone's mouth fell open as they watched the sculpture hit the floor. I was in shock. I simply looked down and then walked out of the room. Everyone was saying things like," Oh Ginny we are so sorry." I said, " It's OK, it's not your fault, it was mine. I was not aware that could happen. I'm just learning sculpting, I should have been more careful." At that moment I told the family I would be right back. 
I then turned and went back into the studio. The Lord told me to pick up the sculpture, saying
"Just like I am not finished with you, you are not finished with this sculpture." I picked up the sculpture, placed it on back on the easel and I spent the rest of the evening being loved by family.


After my family had left that evening I thought about the squished sculpture on the floor and was reminded of how much God had thought me. 
The next morning I revisited that sculpture. It was not the sculpture I thought I had created for Josh anymore. It was the sculpture God used in teaching me. All that time I spent sculpting thinking that I was making a sculpture for someone else, while God was molding me, showing me He loves me, He can use me and that He created me just like I created that sculpture. 
As I looked at the squished face on the sculpture I began a new process, of taking away the old so it could one day be made new again.
I saved as much of the face us I could. Then I let the sculpture dry for a few days. Once it was dry enough I hollowed the sculpture out. This is done so that the sculpture can dry properly and hopefully will not blow up when fired. A couple months later I took it to the art center and had it fired twice. Then this sculpture sat untouched for three years. I would walk by it from time to time and wonder how God would have me make this sculpture whole again?


While waiting, I was in a wonderful book club/bible study with some fabulous women, learning more about God's word. In this time of study I was journaling more than normal, after all, writing words and drawing pictures is a tactile process of learning. It was a wonderful experience. I saved this journal not knowing it would be used in a future sculpture.


During the waiting time I was also collecting things. Collecting is not unusual for me, I'm always collecting pieces for a future project. 


The time had come, to bring out the broken sculpture and make it whole again.


First, I needed to paint him flesh color. Then he needed a platform, next came the hair. Remember, this sculpture was missing half of his head.


I believe God was making room for those words and pictures I took down while journaling in my book club/bible study. I placed some of those pages inside of the sculpture's head.


All of the pieces came next. One by one they were connected, each one having it's purpose.
When all was said and done the sculpture had no name. I felt each person should be allowed to form their own interpretation.
Looking on it now I wonder if I should have called it "Complete? Yet I think not, for are any of Gods creations ever complete?"

"Until now you have not asked anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete". John 16:24

'No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.' 1 John 4:12