Lettering the Psalms Day 3

posted in: Bible | 1

I was just listening to a podcast by Anne Bogel What Should I Read Next.  She was talking with her guest about the tone of a book.  What tone did she like to read?  Did it matter what tone the book took?  The guest went on to talk about her likes and dislikes with different tones of books.

Psalm 9 is a divided psalm.  Part of it is praise for the ways that God has worked.  Part of it is seeking God to ask him to act again.

But listen to the first verse: read it aloud, read it over and over.  Doesn’t it set the tone for the entire psalm?

As a mom, I have an obligation to my home.  Yes, to my house, to make it warm and hospitable and clean and functioning.  But, more to my home.  I get the opportunity to set the tone of our home.  I can set a tone of joyfulness or of grumbling.  I can set a tone of peace or of striving.  I can set a tone of prayerfulness or worry, of praise or of complaint.

What tone do you want to set in your home?  In your quiet time?  In your walk with God?

Tools: Pentel Sign Pen, Tuscan sun from Artistic Isle Watercolor


Lettering the Psalms Day 2

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Prayer is not the easiest thing I do in my life.  Is it for you?

I once heard a pastor say that no one in the church would raise their hands if he asked if anyone had the prayer life they always wanted.

My prayer life currently is very much in the moment.  If someone asks me to pray, I do it right then.  I pray when I need help with parenting.  I pray as I read things.  I pray in the car when a song comes on that reminds me to pray about something.

And really, Psalm 6, is not about prayer.  Not really.  Its about confession.  Its about seeking the God who is able and willing to show mercy on us and forgive all our sins.

David, in his agony and turmoil, maybe in a depression, maybe feeling totally away from God, appeals to His character.  God’s faithfulness, His acts of redemption, His leading and mercy and grace.  These are the things that David knows God to be.  And even when David can’t feel God or even when David thinks he has nothing to bring and God shouldn’t answer Him, he calls out for mercy.

And God answers.

More Scripture to read: Psalm 51, 1 John 4, Romans 5

Tools: Artistic Isle Watercolor and Pentel Sign Brush in gray

Lettering the Psalms Day 1

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Spring is a great time to try something new.  Just like January 1, right?  The days get longer, the weather gets warmer, the flowers are blooming!

Lettering is definitely not new to me, but I do like to do different things with it to keep me fresh and also practice.  When my custom order list is long, I warm up with lettering challenges that I find by different letterers on Instagram.

This March I’ll be sharing with you those letterings and my devotional thoughts.  I’m using James Montgomery Boice’s incredible commentary on Psalms to walk me through these each day.  And I’ll also be talking about my favorite lettering resources, too.

By the end of the challenge, I hope to take all of the ombre brushlettered cards and make them into a Psalms memory ring!

Day 1 (I was going to post this last night but my mister needed the computer, and I wanted to go to bed).  Psalm 3:3

I’ve loved this Psalm for about 15 years since I sung it as part of a choir at a church in NC.  This is one of my favorites.  I love this version by Brooklyn Tab.  My mister will be singing it this spring as part of a choir tour – encouraging pastors and church members.

The Psalm is written by David.  To say the least David is having a rough go of it.  His life is in danger – by his son.  When I’m anxious about anything I can tell you I don’t sleep very well.  It is a fitful night of tossing and turning.  And yet David says he woke up because the Lord was with him.  That says he was very calm.

When we are being pressed in, have people that are after us, or accusing us, or being mean to us (yes, bullying happens as adults too), or we just are having a rough time, we can look at this verse and know the same God who rescued David is the same God who shepherds and rescues us.

He is a shield.

He lifts your head.

He is a near God who protects you.

“When a believer gazes too long at his enemies, the force arrayed against him seems to grow in size until it appears to be overwhelming.  But when he turns his thoughts to God, God is seen in his true, great stature, and the enemies shrink to unimaginable proportions.” (JB Psalm 3)

Tools: Artistic Isle Watercolor, watercolor paper 140lb, large round brush (I get mine at Target), Crossway Psalter

For any custom lettering, comment here or head over to my instagram page.

Day 2: Psalm 6

Day 3: Psalm 9

Tuning Your Heart to Worship

posted in: Books, Worship | 0

Is worship easy for you?  Let me rephrase that – it worship of God easy for you?

Six years ago my life changed.  I went from being single in control of my mornings, time to myself, pick the church I want to being married (to a then worship pastor, now someone still involved in worship ministries) and a mom to two littles who don’t always let me run my mornings or my days like I would like.

And Sunday mornings – we all know what Sunday mornings are like.  They are crazy.  My mister leaves before the the rest of us to rehearse for the morning service.  Usually by the time I drop the kids off at church preschool ministries they’ve disobeyed, needed discipline, and I’m not in a “good frame of mind” to worship God.

And we’ve changed churches so much in the last 7 years.  So, community and preaching and worship styles and kids ministries and women’s ministries – they all affect my ability to worship on Sunday mornings.

And I’m still working on it. Some Sunday mornings I’m in a better worship mode than others.  Some, its just rough from the get-go!

Can any mom relate?

But, of course, worship is not a Sunday morning thing – not exclusively.  Being in the Word, singing praise songs, working, cooking dinner, playing with our kids, dating your spouse – all of these can be acts of worship.  Tuning Your Heart to Worship is a new book by Lavon Gray (New Hope Publishers) that will help you focus some time in the Psalms.  The Psalms is sort of the worship guidebook for the Bible.  The psalmists, under direct breath of God, experienced so many of the emotions and daily things that we face.  Yet they worshiped.

In this book, there are 100 passages from the Psalms.  100 days for you to spend time in the psalms, reading them, and hearing about worship songs, ministry insights, and application points.  The author encourages you to read the whole psalm not just the 1-2 verses that he highlights.  The Word of God is living and active.  The Word through the power of the Holy Spirit can and will change your heart of worship.

This is also a book full of application.  You will be encouraged to think and process as you read through the devotion each day, but you will also be encouraged to do something next.  Journal, pray, write, think, share.

I do agree with the author that this is not an academic devotional.  It is more personal and one that you might use with a more academic commentary if that is something you desire.

Thank you New Hope Publishers for the book.  All opinions are my own.

Lavish Hospitality 30

posted in: 31days, lavish hospitality | 0

Here it is.  The last day of Write31!

Thanks for joining me on this journey and I look forward to writing more about this in the coming months.

But, to end well – what kind of hospitality should I talk about?

As I’m typing this, I’m about to head into a doctor’s appointment to talk more about my newly diagnosed autoimmune disorder and how it is not cool with my body. I’m tired.  Food plays a huge part in the way I feel. I’m getting use to taking medication every day – and for the rest of my life too.

And yall, I don’t like being sick.  I’ve been super healthy until I got married.  I had a hard first pregnancy, an easy second one.  Then I had more stomach issues (which I thought was all over since I had my gallbladder out many years ago).  I had a cyst in my knee which I had to get removed.  Now, autoimmune.

It makes me think about death.  It makes me think about what is important and what isn’t important.  It makes me quote the truths of Scripture that I’ve known so many years and say them over and over to my soul.

God the Father through Christ is the most amazing example of hospitality to us.  He created us, we rebelled against him, and through Jesus, those who believe in him will spend eternity sitting at his table, eating the King’s fare.  Being wrapped in love and in his glory.

My mothering verses come from Psalm 90-91.  Here is just a portion of how hospitalilty Jesus is to us.

I hope you have enjoyed this series.  Thanks for reading!


Lavish Hospitality 17

As a mom of two preschoolers, two things I think about the most of anything is my children’s safety and their eternal life.  One I can do something about and one I can only point them in the right direction.

Its funny, this week my 4 year old had 5 shots and 1 toe prick to draw some blood.  All routine for a 4 yo check up.  As I was holding his arms across his chest as they were sticking the needles in his thighs, I watched him scream over and over again.  I didn’t feel like I was providing much safety for him.  And after the pricks were over, he was calling for Daddy – all he wanted to do was go see Daddy.  To have Daddy hold him.

Now, if something happens when Daddy is around, then he calls out for me.  So the kid can’t make up his mind.

And now thinking back, I think of me, holding his arms down, covering his face to he couldn’t see the needles being put into his legs, closing my eyes in tears as he screamed, wondering if he would ever trust me again.

Isn’t that often how God is.  We are safely in his arms.  Being held in the palms of his hands, nothing can take us out of his grip.  But, how often does his face cover our screams?  How often do you think that God cries and longs for our hearts when we are hurting?

On this earth, I think we are to be “little Christs”.  So, we are to be Jesus with skin on.  Being hospitable to people may be holding them in their pain, letting them cry, catching their tears.  My husband often does this.  And I think of the safety I feel in his arms.  And it makes me long for the Savior – who will never hurt me but was hurt for me.  So that I may rest secure in Him.

Quote taken from a new book by Lavon Gray (thanks New Hope Publishers) Tuning Your Heart to Worship

31 Days : The God Who is Speaks

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The God Who Speaks

In a digital world, we are capable of hearing anyone speak from anywhere in the world anytime we care to.

But, I feel there is more to the “talk” when its live.  I remember the first time I heard Louie Giglio, John Piper, and David Platt live.  I remember hearing pastors week in and week out  – those who were not only brilliant but also passionate and engaging and pastoral.

I can tell you that sitting with a friend, talking while sipping on chai, is much better than communicating via text (though if that’s all you have its awesome).

Also, when my husband travels for his work and we have to rely on calls, texts, or emails – it is a joy to hear him say hello in person when he returns.

Some people in the Bible got to have audible conversations with God.  They also had people called prophets who were mouthpieces for God – communicating truth to the hearers.

David knew, as he was confessing his sin to a holy and just God – that the Creator would be justified in whatever he said, even if he chose not to respond.  Truth that would be fitting to the situation.

Today, we have the voice of God in written form.  It may not be quite the same as hearing God audibly, but the Word is living, active and purely true.  We can stake our life on it.  We can accept it.  We need to cherish it.  And I know I need to know it and love it more.  And I will eagerly look forward to the day when I hear the voice of God – live in his presence.

Psalm 51:4

Others: 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Psalm 19

31 Days : The God Who is Just

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The God Who is Just

In our world, I don’t know if there are many things that are out there that really help us capture what true justice is.  There are ministries out there who are helping recapture what justice is – fighting for the lowly, the outcast, the hurting.

Our great God has great justice for those.  He is also JUST.  He is right.  He is perfect.  Everything He does is perfectly set in that truth.  There is no injustice in Him.

That is why King David knows that no matter what the Lord says in response to David’s sin, confession, and praise – God is completely right in any response He would give – even if that was no response at all.

This is absolutely helpful to know in our world brimming with injustice.  Every time we watch the news, get on social media, discipline our children (that’s not fair), we are faced with injustice.  Isn’t it time we look to God and know his complete perfectness and rest in that?  We can come to him with all the injustice that we see and know that He is working.  He is working in the world.  He is working in our lives to root out injustice and entitlement in us.  He is working to see His justice in the world.

Psalm 51.4

31 Days: The God Who Listens

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The God Who Listens

If I’m honest, sometimes I tune out the constant chatter of my boys.  Either I’m trying to concentrate on driving through the city of Atlanta with getting us injured, or trying to follow a recipe, or I can’t understand what they are saying anyway.

I’m so glad to know that God never tunes out our humble repentant, constant, loud (or whispered), silent prayers to Him.  His ears are always open.

The other night while putting our three year old to bed I was reminded again of how God – the Almighty Creator – listens and attends our prayers.  The little was still wired and it was already past his bedtime.  He wasn’t wanting to read and get settled in for the night.  I finally just put him in bed and said let’s pray.  I took his little hand and started to pray aloud even in my rushed and impatient state.  About three sentences into the prayer of help and patience and need, my soul was quieted and my son was more still.

I can imagine the psalmist David praying this psalm aloud – maybe on his knees, maybe saying it all out the window as Nathan stood with him, or maybe it was after Nathan had left that he laid on his bed and cried these words to the God he knew so well.  I can also imagine him experiencing the quick answer and favor of the Lord – the restoration and joy that he so deeply desires later in the psalm.

God listens to a repentant heart.  He is not one to continue to play spiteful games when his children have requests the pure joy of his presence again.  He doesn’t hold us at arms length when we seek restoration.

And for me, as a daughter of the King, that is so reassuring that he bids me come and also it helps me see my sin when I don’t readily respond to my husband and children when they seek restoration.

I often still hold contempt or make them work for my community again.  I need to remember the sweet mercy of God – how he attends my prayers.  I need to love to see that in my own life and relationships.

Other reads: 1 John 5:14, Psalm 66.19-20, Hebrews 4.15-16


31 Days: The God Who Is

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31 Days of Adoration

Its always a struggle for me to think of one topic that I want to write about for 31 days – that I also think will be a benefit to others.  I mean, I could talk about how I love my mister and our two sons, I could tell you 31 things to do in ATL with children (you get the drift) – but those are very specific topics.  I usually like to choose something that will be both edifying to me as I write each day and edifying to the reader.

The past two times I’ve read through Psalm 51 I’ve written down all the characteristics that the psalmist David says about God – the God who forgives him of his great and infamous sin with Bathsheba.  Most people today think of that chapter in the Bible as a how-to for repentance or asking forgiveness.  It is that.  But, I don’t think it has that one idea as its main theme.  I think its main theme is the God who does the forgiving.

So, I’ve read through and written down 31 characteristics that the Bible (God, the author) tells us about Himself in those 19 verses.  I hope you will join along on my journey.