Friday Finds: Etsy Edition

etsy finds

I so enjoy personal, handmade gifts. . . especially if I don’t have to be the one to make them. That’s where Etsy comes in. Without Etsy (an online handmade/creative store) my house might just be cream painted walls and some photos in frames. Slowly but surely the artwork from Etsy is adding personality to our space. I have a few different shops that I work with frequently, so I thought I would share the beautiful craftsmanship with you for the next few Fridays.

I’ve been planning on using Peter Rabbit as a jumping off point for a girl nursery for years. When I was really little my grandparents gave me a Wedgwood set of Peter Rabbit dishes from their months spent in England. I didn’t want giant decals on the wall, just a base for colors and a unifying theme. As you will see below, we ended up with soft blue walls, green bedding, and pale prints. My goal was crisp, clean, and feminine. I’m so pleased with the results.

crib

I have to mention the bunting in the pic! With the help of my mother-in-law, sis-in-law, and the sewing machine and genes from my own mom – I made them! This was my first big sewing project since being in costume practicum in college. The basics came back after we finally figured out how to load the bobbin on my machine. I picked up the inspiration for this mobile of sorts from Pinterest. Here’s the blog post that ultimately gave me a direction for the project.

prints

The three prints you can see in the photos above are all from a fabulous little shop on Etsy: Printable Wisdom. I love that I found a native Texan who was so willing to work with our changes and ideas. She was super speedy, affordable, and talented. I highly recommend this shop!

My husband spied this quote and fell in love with it,
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”– Emilie Buchwald.
We hunted through pages on Etsy trying to find a print of the quote that we liked, to no avail. So, we turned to Ashley at Printable Wisdom again and she custom created yet another design for us. We found another piece she had made with books and just went from there. D is so pleased with the result!

 

books

We finished off the room with a name print that she customized to our color and print needs.

photo-10

 

There you go. Kudos to Ashley at Printable Wisdom. Now get yourself over to her shop!

Happy Friday!

Ginger

p.s. Any shops you frequent?!

Thursday Tips: Ask for Wisdom

hope

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, 
   his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning. 
   How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). 
   He’s all I’ve got left.

 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits
   to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope, 
   quietly hope for help from God.

Lamentations 3:22-26, MSG

Today I’m sharing a retro video post because I feel like the lessons from last spring are just as applicable to this current season. I still find myself looking for answers: waiting, seeking, and hoping. I hope you are encouraged by God’s promises for your situation today!

Thursday Tips: Silence from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

I’m still learning to apply those three things to my situation.

1. Passionately wait.

2. Diligently seek.

3. Quietly hope.

And I would add to that list:

4. Keep walking by faith.

Sometimes I forget to continue moving while I’m waiting, seeking and hoping. Jesus demonstrated leaving the throngs of people and going off on a mountain to pray… but after a few hours he came back down and kept loving those very people.

So how do I face the unknown future?

I walk in the truth that I know, I claim God’s good promises, and I confidently acknowledge that He will guide the life I have entrusted to Him.

Still learning,
Ginger

The life we were meant for

“Scripture breathes wisdom like we breathe oxygen. It can’t not. Through Scripture, God reveals himself. This wisdom cannot be captured, let alone contained, on a neon bumper sticker or rubber bracelet. Wisdom itself invites us to go deeper- right into a relationship with God himself. 

Through wisdom, we learn to love God and love what he loves. We find rich counsel on the life we were meant for- in our families, communities, and world. We discover our personal responsibilities to others. And we unearth how to put love into action.” -Margaret Feinberg, The Organic God

Question: When was the last time you asked the One who created relationships to give you wisdom as you interact with your family?  This week we are heading right to the center of conflict, drama, and hope: loving our families.  I hope you’ll jump in on the conversation.

Following,
Ginger

Time is Ticking Away

“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4:14 (NLT)

I feel like so many of the messages I heard as a teenager were built around reminding me that life is short.  The sentiment, while completely true, tended to fall upon deaf ears.  Even now as I approach the big 3-0 in the coming year, I am still thinking of my life in terms of “I’m still on this side of the hill.”  I’m still on the side where I should have plenty of time for all of the things I’ve been called to do and all of the things that I want to do.

But as we discussed yesterday, there’s no way of predicting what’s coming our way in the future.  So that means… (drumroll, please) … I have to carefully choose how I spend my time.  Rather than spending it like pennies, I should weigh my hours like hundred dollar bills.  Perhaps this would keep the T.V. off more and the eternal perspective at the ready.

Did you know that 9 years of the avgerage life is spent watching T.V.?  NINE YEARS!  While television and other forms of entertainment can certainly be entertaining; it can also diminish and change our desires.  I’m not saying that watching is going to drive us to make really bad choices, but I do think it can dull us into believing that lattes, sports teams, and new placemats are a goal worth striving for.

“Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” –Tim Kizziar

Living for God is more than just avoiding badness and getting good grades.  Life for millions of people is a movie here, hanging out with friends, video games, swimming, buying stuff at the mall, going to a pool, making it to church.  And that’s it.  Anything inherently wrong with those things?  Nope.

But…

We were created for more, far more.

No one on their dying bed is going to regret not spending enough time at the mall or watching movies.  When you are asked what you did with this brief moment – what will you say?  I played basketball and made an A in History?

What are you doing with your life?

The world says, “You’re young, have fun!” It tells us to “obey your thirst” and “just do it.” Or it tells us, “You’re great! You don’t need to exert yourself.” But those kinds of mindsets sabotage character and competence.  Doing the jobs no one wants, doing them well, living well… it’s how we build character and competence.

Don’t let a life of entertainment, leisure, and comfort stuff deter you from the reality that this life is short and that there is much work to be done!

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24 (NIV)

“Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ.”  Philippians 3:8 (CEV)

“Here’s the truth about telling stories with your life.  It’s going to sound like a great idea, and you are going to get excited about it, and then when it comes time to do the work, you’re not going to want to do it.  It’s like that with writing books, and it’s like that with life.  People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen.  But joy costs pain.”

“The ambitions we have will become the stories we live.  If you want to know what a person’s story is about, just ask them what they want.  If we don’t want anything, we are living boring stories, and if we want a Roomba vacuum cleaner, we are living stupid stories.  If it won’t work in a story, it won’t work in life.” –Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Following,
Ginger

Good Choice/Bad Choice

Have you ever made a bad choice?

I feel like my friends with kids are always challenging them to make wise or good choices.  I love it when the kids understand the concept and then challenge their own parents with the same advice.  My friend Chad wrote something on his hand at work in order to remember to pay a bill when he returned home.  Jack, his three year-old son, was quick to point out that “Daddy made a bad choice!”

Getting a perm in 1992 when I was in 3rd grade was excusable.  However, getting a perm in 2002 when I was 21 was what we will call NOT a good choice.

Super "Awesome" Perm. (Also, Whitney don't hate me.)

You choose your friends, your hobbies, your attitude, your college, your major, how to dress, how to decorate, what you say, and how to spend your time.  And for obvious reasons, some choices hold a lot more weight than others.  Have you ever made a bad choice and had your parents ask you WHY you made such a choice?  Have you ever answered that question with an “I don’t know”?  That’s a big deal because our choices indicate a lot about who we are.

How you choose to fill your day is how you live your life.  Your choices matter – and the choices that you make give us a direct insight into your character.

You will have countless voices to listen to in your lifetime when it comes to making choices.  WHO you listen to makes all the difference.

Last week we covered making big decisions, but this week I want to talk about some specific choices that we all make every day.

How we respond to challenges/trials.
How we spend our time.
How we spend our talent.
And how we spend our treasure.

I believe that how we respond to these questions will tell us a lot about our hearts and our character.  I hope you’ll stop by every day and jump in on the conversation. 

“I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”  Deuteronomy 30:19-20, The Message

Following,
Ginger

Beneficial Wisdom

Howdy Friends!  We started answering J’s question yesterday regarding how to make decisions when all of the options seem viable and beneficial.

First off today I want to hone in on that last word: beneficial.  Reminds me of a verse in 1 Corinthians.  Check it:

“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23

That’s a key point in this argument.  Just because we “can” do something doesn’t always mean it’s the best option.  I can choose to go out to lunch everyday.  This wouldn’t be beneficial to our bank account or my skinny jeans.

So check your options and see if the end result of all the choices would make for a beneficial and constructive outcome.

If all of the options pass that initial test, I believe the next step is to seek some wise counsel.

“Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice.” Proverbs 12:15, The Message

“Take good counsel and accept correction— that’s the way to live wisely and well.” Proverbs 19:20, The Message

So how would an advisor help us with difficult choices?

  1. They see our blind spots.
  2. They encourage us to do what is best.

“Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed.” Proverbs 15:22, The Message

So who is actually qualified to be our advisor?

  1. Someone who knows God.
  2. Someone who is actively making decisions that honor God.
  3. Someone who is wise.
  4. Someone who is older than you.  (Hear me out!  I think we can glean advice from our peers.  Some of my go-to advice givers are my friends.  But I also need the presence of some people who are a few steps ahead of me in life.)
  5. Someone who knows you.

Yesterday I talked about how I approached a trusted professor to gain advice.  I had spent a significant amount of time with her both in and out of the classroom.  She was mom to three grown kids of her own.  But more than any of these qualifiers I knew she would provide Godly wisdom because of the love she had for God and His Word.

In the end God’s voice is the one we listen for, but He has also poured out wisdom on His people.  You don’t have to enter the decision making process alone.  Link up and seek counsel!

Following,
Ginger

(P.S. I picked up most of these thoughts on seeking counsel from a SOMA North sermon in January of 2009.  Contact me if you’d like more info.)

Choosing

Dear Ginger,

How do I make a decision when it looks like both decisions are good options?  I’m weighing both choices and I don’t think either of them are a “bad” or “disobedient” way to go.  I’m trying to listen, but what if I don’t feel like I hear God? -J

Dear J- thanks for taking the time to send in your question!  I am smiling just thinking about how much I identify with you.  I don’t like choosing when I don’t feel confident.  I’m the person that doesn’t even like picking the restaurant.  My husband will quickly tell you that he tires of hearing me respond, “Wherever you want to go is fine with me.”  I’m not indecisive I just don’t want to make the WRONG choice.  I want everyone to be happy, and that includes my Heavenly Father.

So what happens when the choices become weightier than picking Italian food?  Think about the importance of the sort of questions listed below.

What do I do with my summers?
How do I pick a school?
What should I major in?
What do I do with THE REST OF MY LIFE?
Should I move or stay?
Is this guy THE guy?
Do I stay in this job or look for another one?
Should I buy this house?

Each of these moments held (at least for me) a healthy dose of trepidation and a desire to know God’s Will.  I was desperate to know EXACTLY what He wanted me to do.  I want to get it right.

My senior year of college I was tied up in worry knots.  I kept asking that God would show me exactly what to do after graduation.  I felt like I had endless options, but I only wanted one… His best.  So I made a plan.  I wasn’t hearing God audibly, so I decided to take a lesson from Elijah.  In 1 Kings 19 Elijah expects to find God in the storm, in the fire, and in the earthquake.  Instead, God reveals Himself in a gentle whisper.

I wanted to hear that whisper so I did the only thing I knew to do.  I quieted myself.  I tried driving my car out into the middle of a field, opening the sunroof and gazing at the stars.  I only heard the crickets and the sound of distant cars rumbling by on the highway.  I tried going in my closet, opening my Bible, closing my eyes and pointing at random verses… but I didn’t really get an answer.

I even went to the building known as “The Quiet Place” on campus and locked myself in a room.  I laid on the floor and tried to even quiet my breathing… but I only heard students working on a group project.  I felt desperate.  I had tears rolling down my face as I begged, “GOD, JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO!

I finally went and made an appointment with one of my favorite professors.  Through tears I explained to her my deep desire to know Gods will for my future.  I listed all the reasons why He should tell me exactly which job to take: I could obey Him quickly, I could stop worrying about this, I could spend more time praying about other things, etc.  When I finally stopped talking she met my gaze and asked “But what takes more faith – an arrow that says “go right here” or taking steps each day to draw closer to Him?  Your desire is to honor God with your heart, gifts, and talents.  Where can you possibly end up in this world and not be able to do that?”

My tears stopped and my head cleared.  Hebrews 11:1 became my mantra each day.  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Is God able to tell us exactly where and when to go?  Absolutely?  He does this countless times in Scripture and even does so audibly.  But does that mean He will speak to each of us that way in every situation?  Probably not.

If your heart is attune to Your Father and His given commands in the Bible, then step forward in faith even when you can’t see or hear his answer.  You have the Holy Spirit inside of you and His Word to guide you: make a decision and go.

Is it alright if we continue this question for the next couple of days?  I have a few more thoughts and stories that I think would directly and aptly apply.

Praying for you J – that you would have the faith to go in confidence.

Following,
Ginger

P.S. Check out the story of Jonathan and his armor bearer in 1 Samuel 14:1-23.