Worth

A few weeks ago I entered a local art and advertising competition with six of my and my departments’  best works from 2015. I am very proud of the work we have done and expected to earn several awards.  My department has won at least one award for the past five years.  However, I believe God had in mind to show me something different this year.

Emails went out on Monday to the award winners…. and I didn’t get an email.

And neither did any of my colleagues.

It appears that none of us (representing FIVE of the largest departments on campus) were selected as winners.

Cue “bad angel on my shoulder”: Fine then! See if we enter your stupid competition next year!

and then…

God reminded me that my worth as an artist, and much more, as a person, is not tied up in subjective minds of these judges.

THANK YOU, FATHER GOD!

But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 10:30-32 ESV

Furthermore, my husband, and my two precious children, are my real trophies!  Raising my children to know the Lord is my best work!

ArthurFam2015-2

 

Hope you’re having a blessed week!

signature

Personal Reflections Going into 2016

Once upon a time, there was a girl who grew up loving to draw and write stories. She tried on many occasions to make something amazing; whether a drawing, a book, or a new invention. After many failed attempts, I think she gave up on amazing and settled for good enough. All her life thereafter she of course strived to do her best, knowing that her best was never going to be amazing. In college she even won Best of Show in an art show, but she discounted the award because it was just a student show.

About five years after graduation, she tried her hand at having her own business. Thankfully she kept her day job because she was never highly successful. Just average results again. No raving happy customers bringing in masses of more happy customers. She finally decided she’d had enough of that when it came to the point that she realized she hated getting orders. because she didn’t have time to complete them.

Speed up to 2015:

Now I (yes, that story above was me) just graduated with an Interdisciplinary Masters Degree in December. (Hooray!) It took me four and a half long years to complete the degree, whilst I worked full-time, in addition to the full-time jobs of wife, mother, and housekeeper.  There was a lot on my plate!  I’m so happy to be finished!


Everyone keeps asking me what I’m going to do with “all my new free time.”  I’ve been telling people the basic answers like, oh, I’m not sure yet, or maybe I will start teaching Bible class again, or something like that.

But do you want to know my real answer?

I want to be a better wife and mother.

I want to be the wife my husband needs. I want to be the mother God created me to be. I want to have patience and understanding, wisdom to know the best route of discipline for my children.

These are my goals. I don’t have high career aspirations to use my degree, I just want to be the best person I can be to the people that mean the most to me.

And before you start thinking that I took four years to finish a degree I’ll never use, know that my degree was designed to fit my full-time job and I have no immediate plans to discontinue my employment.

Happy New Year!

autumnjoy

Merry Christmas! (plus, a freebie!)

All the hustle and bustle of the season has arrived in full force!  [Note to self, shopping early will not actually save you any time or peace of mind.]  I shopped early this year and then my oldest changed his mind on what he wanted from Santa….. and I still found myself in Walmart yesterday and Target today getting last minute gifts for my dad and brother-in-law and husband….!  However, I really hope to bring CHRIST into our home the next two days, in between all the family gatherings.  Not that He isn’t always with us, and in our home, but I want to drive the point of Christmas home (no pun intended) to my kids.  That being said, I will not be reciting Luke 2 to you all, because I found this quote that I love and decided to put together a printable for the blog.  Enjoy!  And please do read Luke 2 this Christmas.

ChristmasFreebie-01

Click the image or here to download PDF.

Graphics from creativemarket.com

Love and blessings on this Christmas,

signature

Shoebox Gifts

Somehow, something has caused me to have a mind shift this past year. Now, I do believe I have always been tender-hearted, but now I have a boldness and an urgency to reach out and help others that wasn’t there before. I hope it continues to grow!

For the first time ever, I have packed a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child! I actually did one box in honor of each of my two children. So I packed one box for a young boy and one box for a toddler girl. 

It was so much fun to put the boxes together! I did find that my children aren’t too keen on buying things they want just to give it away, So I did all the shopping myself. Maybe next year they will help me!

  

There is POWER (FREE Download!)

Oh my goodness, things have been so busy.  I really am trying to slow down and enjoy this time.  I really hope 2016 will be amazing because once I finish this grad degree, I feel like I will finally be able to relax!  And do crafts!  And take pictures!  And play with my kids!  And read books!

Sigh.  Well I grabbed five minutes today and put on paper the song/phrase that’s been going on in my head – thank you Lincoln Brewster and Klove!

Power in Jesus

Click here for PDF download!

Hope you all are having a great week, and again, sorry I’ve been away so long!

Peace & Blessings,

signature

Worries are like Pacifiers (Free Print!)

Adults have pacifiers too.
Those of you who, like me, tend to worry over things might enjoy this print. A pacifier is mostly used to pacify a baby, but oftentimes the baby grows into a toddler who really doesn’t need it anymore. But, it’s a comfort to them, so they keep using it and wanting it closeby. Right now this describes my two-year-old! She can go all day, even napping, without it when at daycare, but as soon as we pull into the driveway, she yells “My boppy here!” The pacifier is her comfort item. A lot of times, our worries become comfort items – our pacifier.  This verse really called out to me this week: 

Ph4_7-8x8print
Most people pick up on the verse right before: “Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have.” (Philippians 4:6). While I agree wholeheartedly that verse 6 is important and we should all heed such advice, verse 7 is what really got my attention as I was doing my First 5 Bible Study a few nights ago.  The very thought that God is standing guard over my thoughts is humbling. And His peace will cover – even erase – our negative, worrisome, and anxious thoughts and feelings. If only we will let him! 

So, here is Freebie #2, an 8×8 inch print of Philippians 4:7, using graphics by Callie Hegstrom of Make Media Co.

Click on the image to view the full size PDF!
Have you heard about the First 5 App? We’re studying Genesis this month and one of the things I love is that the ladies at Proverbs 31 who write these studies tie in verses from all over the Bible! This is just the 2nd month of First 5 App and I have already learned of so many Bible verses that I had previously not read, or now look at through a different lens. Also check out their accompanying Experience Guide – it really helps you think about what you’re reading!
Thanks for stopping by today! What is your latest “ah-ha!” Bible verse?

Aye-yi-yi, 10 days past due!

Well the Part Two of the First Day of School w/ Poop Involved will just have to keep waiting. All in all, in the end, everyone got their bodies and their stuff where they needed to be and I was only an hour and 15 minutes late to work! whew!

Now, on to this:


(Just ignore all that mess in the background – DIY room update in progress!)

This.  I love when this happens.

This (last night) was Bubba’s first time doing homework – ever. He literally cried when we told him he had homework. But Hubby said he would help and so this happened.

I LOVE when Hubs volunteers to help out with one of the kids.  It just melts my heart!

So, the homework got done and no further homework tears were shed.

The End.

autumnjoy

A First Day of School Story… (Warning: Poop is Involved!)

It’s not what you think. 

So, the morning started out a little different – Sis got up at the same time I did, which threw everything else off because I usually have about 10 minutes to do my morning thing and start my daily Bible time before the kids get up. Well, since Sis was up, I got her started on breakfast and turned on the TV for her. Bad idea, I know. 

Next, Bubba got up and needed help getting dressed. We figured out the clothes and then I got him started on breakfast, while he watched TV with Sis. 

Sometime in there I got ready for work and made my lunch, while Hubby got ready and left for work. 

I get Sis dressed at 7:30 (the same time as my targeted time of leaving!)

I grab the camera and take a few photos of the school boy and it’s 7:45 already! Okay, I think to myself, now I’ll have to drop Bubba off first then Sis, but he will still be on time. 

Then, right as we are about to grab our stuff and head out the door…

Wait for it….

Sis announces “I go poop!” 

What!?! Now?? It’s now 7:50 am. Bubba is supposed to be at school at 7:55. Oh dear. 

Bubba and I waited very impatiently for Sis to take care of business and we finally got in the car, heading down the road at 8:00.  All the while I was in the bathroom with Sis, my phone was silently ringing in my purse, and I had no idea until…

(Insert phone ringing). Hubby @ Work is calling. 

Me: “Hello?”

Hubby: “Can you bring me my phone?”

Me: “Are you kidding me!?!”

Yeah, perfect timing. 

I didn’t turn around. After all, Bubba was already late to school!

We get close to the school – thank goodness it’s only 7 minutes from the house – and according to Bubba, it was his lucky paper airplane that got us a lucky front row parking space (I said “Thank You, Lord!”). I jump out of the car, grab Sis and Bubba’s hand, and we cross the street, saying Hello and Good morning to the crosswalk guard and the local policeman and head into the school. I think half the town was in there dropping off kids! Parents and families were everywhere!

We made a beeline (well, as fast as the herd of parents would allow) for his classroom and I notice almost all of the kids are already there. I quickly grabbed Bubba’s backpack and let him hand his teacher the small gift we’d put together last night. Of course, she gushed over it and gave him a hug. Then I handed her his lunch money and hurriedly said “Good-bye!” to my boy. The teacher grabbed a paper off his table spot and handed it to me. “This is something for you, Mom, to read when you get back to your car.” she said. Oh no, I thought, this will be the thing that makes me cry…

Stay tuned for part two tomorrow… 

  
Adorable sign courtesy of Fab ‘n Free!

Transition 

Last week the kids began at their new daycare center. This is the first time either of my children have been enrolled in a traditional daycare, and though I am not a fan of these businesses, this is the only daycare in our community and so far the transition has been great! 

Bubba LOVES it. He can’t wait to go back. He said they get to run around and play with whatever they want.  

Sister also likes the new place, although she did have a small cry on days 2 & 3, but I got tons of compliments on her speech and behavior and tomorrow she starts in a larger class of all two-year-olds! 

Tomorrow, Bubba starts KINDERGARTEN. I’m saying I won’t cry, and I don’t feel like I will, but I also know myself pretty well. I won’t be surprised if I start crying on my way to work! He is excited, and I am excited for him. I know he will love school as much as I did. Kindergarten is no day in the park anymore – they teach the kids to read and how to do math! And no naps! But still, he’s going to do great and he will love all he is learning!

Photo to come!

Hope you all have a blessed school year!

-Autumn Joy

Footprints on my heart

She took in our son when we had nowhere to take him. 

We were broke and left without a babysitter. She must have heard the desperation in my voice, because she said she would call me back. She did and said she could take him. 

A year later, we announced baby #2 would be coming and she welcomed her with open arms. 

She has worked with our sometimes crazy schedule, keeping the kids late, or accepting late drop-offs, early pick-ups, and more. She is so good with all of the children in her care; teaching manners, how to follow directions and rules, even potty-training! 

We have been so blessed to have our son and daughter in her talented, capable, patient, tender-loving care for the past three years!  She gave great advice – as a parent that raised four children of her own, she knows a thing or two!

Today we gave hugs and said our good-byes. Our son starts Kindergarten in a week, so we are having to change daycare to one that offers after-school care. We will miss her greatly, but I am storing the memories in my heart!

  

Do you have anyone you’ve had to leave behind?

Love,

Autumn Joy