Archives for February 2013

Getting my Craft On

I love to craft.  I love my friends.  So what better way to enjoy both, than to host a craft day for my friends?

Untitled

A couple years ago I came up with this wipe-off calendar board project (above) to try and help our family better organize our day.  I came up with a format that I thought would work well and then measured and cut paper to design a layout.  I have it hanging up in our kitchen…and it actually works well when I remember to fill it out!  I have had several friends request that I teach them how to make a board for themselves.   I finally I got around to doing just that and invited some friends over for a craft day.

I went to my local Ikea beforehand and purchased 15 ¾ x 19 ¾ inch frames for everyone attending (they are 6 bucks each).  I then asked my guests to bring at least 5 sheets of 12 x 12 paper to use for their frames.  Everyone has different taste and styles, so this allowed them to customize their board.  My dear friend Kelly also sent over some amazing papers from her company Lawn Fawn (lawnfawn.com) for us to use (Thank you, Kelly!).  Each guest brought their own adhesive and cutting tools (and I had extras on hand in case they forgot…which they may have done).

Getting My Craft On_2

I had my board out for my friends to reference while doing the project.  Some used my same format, but others came up with different ideas.

Getting My Craft On_3

It was so fun helping each other decide on which patterns to use and to see what everyone came up with.  Each board was unique and they all turned out amazingly!

Getting My Craft On_4

I love crafting with friends.  There is something about working on a creative project while surrounded by friends that is so comforting and inviting.  Women share their hopes and dreams…and their struggles.  It creates an atmosphere of trust and bonds women together.  Kind of reminds me of a quilting bee!

Getting My Craft On_5

When I was new to California, my sweet friend Brianne hosted a craft night at her home and it was there that I met and made some of my dearest friends.  I met Tami (fellow Throne of Grace employee) the first time that night, and she quickly became one of my closest friends.  Even though we had just met, by the end of the evening we had shared some of our deepest struggles with each other…and I even got some scrapbooking done!

I believe God has given me a passion to be creative (some call it “being crafty”).  I have seen Him use this passion in my life.  It has provided me with so many dear friends that I wouldn’t have otherwise.   It also is an opportunity to reflect on God’s creative nature.  Oh yeah, it also helps when making Prayer Journal covers for Throne of Grace. 🙂

Getting My Craft On_6

Are you struggling to find friends who you can trust and open up to?  Or maybe there is a new girl in town that you could encourage.   Have you considered hosting a group of women in your home to do a time of crafting…or cooking…or whatever you like?  I would love to hear about it!deb

Prayer & Praise Monday – February 25th, 2013

Good morning and happy Monday! Thanks for joining us around the Throne of Grace today. What better way to start the week than laying our burdens at the feet of our Lord!

• Please pray for the safe and speedy delivery of 20 Blessing Bags on their way right now to the New Jersey Shore! (For more information on Blessing Bags, you can read HERE.) Our sister in Christ, Bonnie Jean, will be receiving these Blessing Bags and, along with others, will distribute them among the hardest hit areas of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction. Please pray that there will be no damage to the articles in transit. Pray for Bonnie Jean to have all the energy, time, and resources she needs to get these bags into the hands of their intended recipients. Bonnie Jean has suffered some infections and health complications as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Let’s pray that she will be blessed abundantly by the Lord for her partnership with us!

• Pray for Shane, a little guy among our church family, who suffered a broken arm this past week as a result of a bunk bed mishap! We praise God for Shane’s bravery and for the Lord’s provisions for healing.

• Thank you for the prayers for my family’s trip to the snow this past weekend! God was so good to us and we had a marvelous time giving our kids their first snow experience! No snow fell…but that gives us something to look forward to for the next trip! 🙂

Snowman

We praise God also for his protection over our safety as we sledded and hiked. Colin took a snow saucer in the neck (which potentially could have been a very serious injury had it hit his nose or eyes!). Thankfully the external look of it was way worse than it was!

Colin_Injury

• In light of the Oscar hoopla last night, I’ve been reminded to pray for Hollywood! It is much easier for my heart to go towards judgment of all the ungodliness we see in the media. Rather, it should be a call to prayer! There is so much emptiness and so many attempts to fill that emptiness with everything BUT the Lord! Pick one or two of your favorite actors (or the most notorious!) to pray for today. Pray also for the believers in the media. Pray that God would strengthen them and make them bold in their witness for Christ.

Have a great week! Please don’t hesitate to send us your prayer needs. We would be honored to pray for you! The deadline for submitting prayer requests or praises is Friday at noon, to be included in the Prayer & Praise Monday post the following week. You can leave us a comment here, or email us at:

info[at]throneofgrace[dot]com

Blessings in Christ,molly

Choosing Joy

It has been nearly two weeks since the Throne of Grace team got to be a part of the Choose Joy event, and I’m still in awe of the whole experience! It was quite honestly, one of the most incredible experiences of my life! I’m not being dramatic when I say it is right up there with my wedding, births of my children, and having the opportunity to be present at the adoption of my sweet niece.

In a way, the day did feel like a birth. It represented the birth of a dream that was conceived in the heart of my sister, Emmy. Here is Emmy (on the right) with her best friend, Megan, who flew all the way out from Denver for a week to help with Choose Joy.

Choose Joy_2

Emmy took what has been, to this point, the most painful experience of her life and asked God to bring something beautiful out of it. Emmy and my brother-in-law, Nathan, traversed the road of infertility for more than 8 years, including a miscarriage, countless fertility tests and procedures and a number of invasive, painful surgeries. If you are interested, you can read more about her story in a series of posts from her blog, Confessions of a Paper Freak, HERE.

Emmy’s story has an incredible ending – one I alluded to already – the adoption of her daughter, Penelope Susan. In my opinion, what is most amazing about my sister’s story is that even before Penelope joined the family, Emmy came to a point in her journey in which she had to choose joy in spite of her painful circumstances. In Emmy’s words, she had to choose to love the Lord and His plan for her life more than she loved her plan for her life.

So as Emmy struggled to come to grips with God’s purpose in her pain, she knew God wanted her to use her story to help others struggling through infertility. About a year ago, God gave her a dream for an event that would bring women (and their husbands!) together to share stories, gain resources, bring encouragement, and explore the option of adoption. She also had a dream of providing “seed” money to one special attendee to allow them to grow their family, either through adoption or through fertility treatments.

Saturday, February 9th, Emmy’s dream became a reality…

Choose Joy_1

Choose Joy_7

The day was a PERFECT model of how God takes the little that each can give and multiplies it into something way bigger than humanly possible!

Emmy had friends from EVERY stage of life give of their time and talents – friends from the church we grew up in from the time we were toddlers, junior high school friends, high school friends, college friends, neighborhood friends, out-of-state family members, and even social media and blog friends!

Willing hands showed up to plan, prep, and serve food for more than 100 guests. Look at the adorable menus at each place!

Choose Joy_4

Servant-minded friends gave hours to make sure every detail was hand-crafted with care and made special for attendees.

Centerpieces…

Choose Joy_3

Programs…

 DSC_8436

Desserts…Oh my goodness, the desserts! This picture isn’t even the tip of the iceberg! I was too busy gorging myself to stop and snap photos…

Choose Joy_5

And fabulous decor…

 DSC_8435

14 different speakers taught on topics such as Infant Loss & Miscarriage, When Adoption is Your First Choice, Waiting on God’s Timing through Infertility & Adoption, Open Adoption, International Adoption, Special Needs Adoption, and The Ethics of Infertility Treatments. The schedule included a special breakout session for men to share questions and concerns unique to the guys, as well as a very fun craft time to give guests the opportunity to connect and chat casually. Emmy knows women open up a lot more to each other when they are working with their hands! Unfortunately, I have NO pictures of the very cute craft (a wreath that said “Choose Joy”) because craft time was also the time during which vendors were open for business. And we were BUSY!

Dancing Upon Barren Land…

Choose Joy_6

Throne of Grace…

Choose Joy_8

Throne of Grace was blessed to have the opportunity to make and donate 20 sets of our brand-new scripture memorization cards, custom made for the event – “God’s Word for Choosing Joy”.

IMG_9671

On top of being able to gift these tools to 20 lucky winners, God allowed us to encourage and bless many of the guests through conversation and through Throne of Grace tools like our Legacy Prayer Journals, “How to Pray through Infertility”, “God’s Word for Challenging Times”, “How to Pray for a Birthmother”, etc.

The best part of the day was when my brother-in-law joined Emmy on stage and the winning raffle ticket was drawn. Then Nathan prayed for Kristi, the stunned winner.

Choose Joy_10

Choose Joy_14

As only God can orchestrate, it turns out Kristi and her husband are in the process of adopting their first child and the amount of cash raised in the raffle jar (over $2,700!) is exactly what they owed for their next payment in the adoption process! You can read Kristi’s story, in her own words, on the Choose Joy Event website HERE. (You will have to scroll down to the post from February 11, 2013.)

Truly, truly, a beautiful day and a beautiful event! I have a beautiful sister and my heart is swollen with pride! Not pride in what she did. Only God could do it. I’m proud of her for believing a dream God conceived in her heart and taking a huge leap of faith to walk with Him through the months of labor. Great job on the delivery, Emmy! You’ve birthed a beautiful baby and I pray that Choose Joy 2013 is just the beginning. There are many more hurting hearts to reach…

By His Grace and for His Glory,molly