Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday Reflections: Comfort


I feel like this past week had a theme. Maybe God is trying to tell me something?

I've been reminded in numerous ways that God does not call us to a life of comfort. He calls us to take risks. He calls us to do things that we couldn't possible do on our own human strength.

I have to ask myself, "Am I really living in God's strength, or can I do most things on my own strength?" Because if I'm doing them on my own, something's not right.

I would tell you that I want a life of adventure, a life that has a story. But then I know that the lives with the best stories are the ones that have gotten out of their comfort zones and allowed God to do crazy things. Our comfort zones are so comforting, aren't they?

“‎We will miss the greatest adventures of our calling if we remain compelled by comfort. We will be bored stiff and wonder why God never called us to anything. How willing are we to just flat out GO for God? And it is important to remember that in order to go anywhere, we first have to leave someplace else (usually that means our safe place, our comfort zone). If we choose comfort to motivate us we will risk our callings… because this I can promise you- your calling will always be WAY outside your comfort. God is a whole lot more interested in your calling than your comfort.” -Beth Moore (found via Compelled)

linking up with Jami & Casey

Friday, January 27, 2012

Persecution

Hi friends! I have a video to share with you today. I hope you will take the time to watch it. It really makes you stop and think what some Christians in the world are going through on behalf of Christ, and how fortunate we are to have freedom of speech and worship. I wonder how many of us would be willing to suffer as these believer's are.

"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (2 Timothy 3:12)


Persecution in India: Francis' Response from Cornerstone Church on Vimeo.

If you are interested in supporting one of these Indian missionaries financially, you can visit gfa.org/sponsor.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tips for Staying Creatively Inspired

It's inevitable that we will have times when we feel stuck and uninspired. I wanted to share some ways that I have found help me to stay creatively inspired!


1. GET OUTSIDE: One of my favorite daily activities for feeling inspired is to get outside in nature. I try to go on a walk every day (with Buster, of course, unless he's being stubborn), and it really helps me to brainstorm new ideas. I'm very fortunate to have access to woods + paths + trees, but if you don't, I would recommend finding them somewhere. Fresh air is good for the mind.
2. RELAX: I don't know about you, but when I feel stressed, my creative brain shuts down. I think it's so important to find ways to relax (walking helps with this, too). Maybe it's taking a bubble bath, listening to your favorite music, or going for a drive. Whatever helps YOU to relax, make sure you make time for it because it's important for your overall health, too.


3. KEEP AN IDEA JOURNAL: I have found that if I don't write things down right when they come to me, they will leave. Get a notebook (or several) and always keep it close by. You never know when inspiration might strike.

4. TAKE TIME TO DREAM: This is one of my favorites! I have decided that Saturdays can be my "dreaming days." I let myself browse the internet, read my favorite blogs, page through magazines- whatever I want to do. (Pinterest, anyone?) Of course you shouldn't be doing more dreaming then doing, but taking the time to dream + look for inspiration is very important to the working process.


5. DO SOMETHING NEW: Try a new recipe, meet new people, listen to new music (pandora is great for this!), or try your hand at a new craft- just do something new. It's easy to get stuck in a rut of doing the same things every day. New is the spice of life!

5. PRAY: I know this might not be up every one's alley, but honestly, one of the biggest ways I find inspiration is to take time for the most important relationship in my life. Sometimes when I'm alone with God, I get up to grab my notebook (remember, keep it close by!) because it's like He drops me new ideas. :) I think God speaks to our hearts if we take the time to listen. What better source of inspiration could one have then the Creator of the universe?

Share with us: What are your favorite ways for staying creatively inspired? xo

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter Walk


This past weekend, we got quite a bit of snow. It's all melted by now with temperatures near 50°, but we enjoyed it while we could. My aunt got Buster his red sweater a while back, so we put it on him when it's extra cold outside. I think he looks silly and sweet when he wears it!


Buster absolutely adores snowballs. He loves to chase and eat them. hehe :)


Do you get snow where you live?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sunday Reflections: Grace


I've really been struck with the idea of grace this weekend. (starting with this post from Rachel)
Pure love when I am least deserving. When I'm at my ugliest.

Prideful.

Argumentative.

Selfish.

Ungrateful.

When I don't deserve love or forgiveness. 
Christ took all of that upon himself, dying for my ugliness, so that I can freely stand before the throne of God. Forgiven. And made new.

"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" (Revelation 5:12)


Thursday, January 19, 2012

In The Studio


Hi friends! I'm still alive over here! My computer stopped working the end of last week, so I decided that it would be a good excuse to take a little blogging break, but I've missed it so much! I really feel behind and out-of-the-loop with everything and everyone, but I guess it doesn't hurt to get away once in a while. The one positive thing through all of this is that I was really able to get a lot of creating done in the studio.


I even bought a bird cage for a jewelry display. :)


I'm looking forward to getting back to regular blogging next week! Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How I Eat

If we're going to be friends, it is time you know something about me- something that even some people who know me in real life don't know.

When it comes to what I eat, I'm kind of, well, "healthy."

Now I know what you're probably thinking. "Eww, she must eat nothing but cardboard and soy milk!"

Wrong. (this is why I hesitate for people to know... the "strange" connotation that comes along with the word)

So, how do I eat? I believe that our earthly bodies (while temporary) are our responsibility to care for while we are here on this earth. I think God wants us to take care of ourselves, while at the same time not becoming obsessed with our health (because anything that becomes more important than Him in our lives is sin). I try to eat fresh, whole foods. I'm a big fan of supporting local farmers and growing my own food. I am not a vegetarian. I believe fat (even saturated) is good. ((gasp!)) I try to avoid white flour/sugar, trans fats, and highly processed foods when possible. I do not eat soy (thank goodness I came to the conclusion that it's really not good for you). I am a big fan of Jordan Rubin's Maker's Diet and the Nourishing Gourmet.


Did I grow up like this? No!

I was the girl who ate a chocolate donut with chocolate icing and sprinkles every Saturday morning for like 8 years of my life.
The girl who ate the same thing in my lunch at school every day.
The girl who ate deep-fried chicken patty sandwiches every other night because I didn't like what my mom made for supper.
(Mom's of picky children, there is hope.)

I'm not sure what it was, but something in me wanted to take food seriously when I was about 12 years old. I guess I came to realize that food is the way we give our bodies what they need to live and thrive on a daily basis, and I've never looked back since. Just because people are health-conscious, does not mean they don't enjoy what they eat. Believe me. I love food just as much, probably more, than the next person (just ask my family!) I'm the kind that is usually thinking about what I'm going to eat for lunch while I am eating breakfast. Don't judge me. And please, DO NOT THINK THAT I JUDGE YOU because I don't. And yes, I would love to go out to eat with you.


If you noticed over on my sidebar, I've added some new tabs to categorize my posts better, and I've added a recipe index. I really want to post more recipes on here, and when I do, I'll add them to the recipe index so you have easy access at any time. Right now there aren't many recipes, but as I add more, I may divide them into categories for easier searching.

So... tell me. Do you have any "different" eating habits? (I'm sure we're all different in our own ways!)

If anyone has any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them in the comments or write a post on them!

Enjoy your food today! (And make wise choices!) *wink*

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blogger Meet-up


Last Friday, I had the pleasure of meeting my super sweet blog friend Michelle in person. We "met" online last summer (from Gussy's Inspiration Workshop), and our friendship has grown from there. With so much in common, our day was not short on conversation (lucky for me because I'm naturally very quiet). Three hours later, I felt like I had a brand new real-life friend.

Six months ago, I never would have imagined myself getting together with someone that I only "knew" online. The internet is pretty cool like that.

Here's to hoping that 2012 is the year for meeting more amazing women and forming real-life friendships! (I know there are more Ohio bloggers out there!)

Have you ever met any online friends in real life?
If not, would you want to?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sunday Reflections: Purpose


I feel like my heart is so full right now. Very rarely do I write my "Sunday Reflections" posts on Sunday afternoon. I usually have to wait a while before I process anything, but today is a different story.

I've been reminded why I am here.

I say I believe it, but do I really live like it?

Do I really live because my purpose in life is to make Him famous, not myself? To reach others for Him, and not my business?

I just read this post from Danielle, and it really made me stop and think.

What am I doing with my life?

I heard Robert Rogers share his life story, and if you don't know who he is, he lost his wife and four children eight years ago while driving home from a wedding. Their vehicle got caught in a flash flood, and he was the only survivor.

Imagine having virtually everything you hold dear in life swept away in an instant. How would you cope?

Would you fall apart?

Would you be able to stand and declare the goodness of the Lord?

Do you believe He is all you really need?

I think the thing that sticks out to me most in hearing his story is actually seeing his life now. Forget college education and what you've been "trained" to do. He's traveling the world. Writing. Appearing on national television. Speaking. But his story is not about himself, it's all about Christ.

I wonder how many of us have stories.

Personal stories that we could be sharing that would display the vast power and love of our God. Why aren't we sharing them? I think we all have the opportunity in one way or another to share what God has done.

Who are we living for?

"Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation." ((Psalm 95:1))




Friday, January 6, 2012

Freedom: Guest Post with Jennifer

Today my friend Jennifer is sharing with us about her time in Ethiopia. I hope you will be blessed by her words because we really have so much to be thankful for.


I just want to say thank you to Natalie for having me over here to talk about my experience in Ethiopia. I went on a mission trip to there back in October, but those people are still as much on my heart as ever. What I saw there has changed me forever, especially the Red Light district. It was incredibly hard for me to put into words what I experienced, and still is really. It took weeks for me to process the heartache and the injustice. I am still sickened to my stomach just writing about it. I know this isn't the best thing you've read today, but I believe with all my heart that is is so important. I did a lot during those 10 days, but what sticks out more than anything is working with victims of sex trafficking

The Red Light District in Ethiopia known world-wide for sex trafficking. The area is so huge. It cost almost nothing to use one of those girls for a while, so thousands and thousands of men do. The girls are pretty normal. They look like anyone you would see out on the street. One thing is different though - shame. Those girls wear it like a coat. It covers them. Most of the girls are not to blame for getting into that life. More often than not they were tricked or forced, yet they stay because they believe there is no way out. The bondage is so great.



It was so overwhelming going into a place with so much desperate need. I knew that we could not bring them freedom by giving them money or food. They have to want to change their lives. They have to want freedom. They have to want Christ. He is the only one who can break the chains of sin that is so strong in that place.


I want to share a song with you that I wrote with a friend of mine. This is what we wanted to speak over the girls in the Red Light District and what I want to speak over you all today. I'm not going to pretend that we don't have bondage in our lives too. We cannot help someone else find freedom if we are not free ourselves.


FREEDOM
There is freedom. Freedom from this life you live
There is healing. Healing from the scars within
There is one who hears your cries
In the darkness of the night
Jesus, the One who breaks the chains with His love
Jesus, the One who paid the price with His blood
Come and see, the One who sets us free
There is freedom in Jesus
There is freedom. Freedom from the name you wear
There is healing, Healing from the shame you bear
There is one who hears your cries
In the darkness of the night
Jesus, the One who breaks the chains with His love
Jesus, the One who paid the price with His blood
Come and see, the One who sets us free
There is freedom in Jesus
He heals the broken
The weak are His chosen
Come let Him take away your fears
Come let Him change you
Let Him rename you
Come let Him wipe away your tears
Jesus, the One who breaks the chains with His love
Jesus, the One who paid the price with His blood
Come and see, the One who sets us free
There is freedom in Jesus
There is freedom in Jesus

If you are interested in helping these girls get out of sex trafficking, please check out www.crisisaid.org.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Packaging Inspiration


source: oh, hello friend
I have come to realize that the way you present your products to your buyer is super important, to the point that I've been a little obsessed with it this past week. Since the beginning of my shop a year and a half ago, I've been packaging jewelry in little white boxes tied with baker's twine and have felt like it is so boring and not how I want my pieces to be presented. That being said, I am just about out of my boring white boxes (hallelujah!- I stocked up too much) and have some brown kraft boxes to spruce up, so I've been searching around for cute ideas! I want my packaging to represent the quality that is inside, while also not being over-the-top because I don't want to raise prices just because of what's on the outside. Here are some photos that have my creativity flowing. You will see that most of them are from oh, hello friend- love, love, love this girl and her blog!
source: etsy blog
source: oh, hello friend
How cute are these little bags?! I'm in love.
source: oh, hello friend
source: olive manna
source: oh, hello friend
source: oh, hello friend
I'm not packaging cupcakes, but I'm in love with this wrapper! (silly, I know)
I love the brand stamp + texture of the fluffy cupcake underneath.

source: Pizzazzerie

Shop owners: What are your favorite packaging materials and where do you like to shop for them?
Buyers: How important is the packaging on an item you purchase?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

NEW X-Large Rings


My new x-large rings are available now in the shop! I was going to list them before Christmas, and then I decided that I didn't want them to get lost in all the busyness of the season, so here they are now!


My cousin (who is amazing!) took these photos a few weeks ago, and I am so happy with how they turned out! (Thanks, Meg!)


The rings measure 1 1/8 inches in diameter- just big enough to really make a statement while not being overly huge.


You can view them in the shop here. If you don't see one of these in the shop, it's because it's already found a home! (but don't worry, I'll be making more!)


Happy Wednesday!