Sunday, January 1, 2017

Strength in My Blue Haven (One Word)

"So what is your word for 2017? Inquiring minds want to know."

My sister Barb asked me this via FB message a few weeks ago. I hadn't thought about a "one word" for the new year yet, so we joked around a bit about it. Bacon?

Then she wrote, "I've had 'Great is Thy Faithfulness' running through my head this morning and I'm stuck on one word. I guess I could just Google the lyrics. I've got 'something for today and bright hope for tomorrow.'"

That was a no-brainer fill-in-the-blank question for me since I used to sing the hymn as a lullaby for my children and still sing it to myself. 

I replied with the missing word: "Strength. That's my 2017 word. Thank you."

So I had my word, but why did she want to know it?

A felted bowl. She was making me a felted bowl for Christmas, and wanted to know what words to embroider onto it. So, STRENGTH for today and bright HOPE for tomorrow. (It's a reversible bowl.) I should note here that my sister is pretty much housebound with chronic migraines (pretty much every day for a decade). She tenaciously knits through the pain.

And there it is now, on my desk.

Do you see it there on the shelf above my computer?

So that was the start of my "one word" for the year.

Here's what came next:

I've had the frame for a while. Yesterday I decided to look up eleven Scripture verses about strength and print them out on blue paper in a pretty font. Here's one.

Next? A step stool. I've been learning how to use a wood burning tool (made a bunch of Christmas presents!), and I finally found the right kind of wood dyes. I bought the stool and more dye colors and other cool stuff with a Michael's Crafts gift card that three of my adult children gave me for Christmas. 

I bought the electric sander at Walmart today for less than $15. It made the stool much smoother than I could have done by hand, and much faster. Easier on the arthritis, too. Speaking of power tools, last month I bought a cordless screwdriver and drill combo to fix stuff around the house. I'm learning bit by bit, strengthening my practical skills and my confidence!

This is an electric wood burning tool from Jo-Ann Crafts. I stenciled the letters in pencil first.

The stool is actually more of a deep turquoise color. I couldn't get the shade to come out right in the photo.

I store the wood dyes along with my paints and brushes (that my kids may NOT borrow!) in a flip top box in my closet. I have a whole stash of art and craft supplies in there!

My other big creative endeavor this past month was creating photo calendars on-line with Snapfish to give to some of my family members. It even has all of the birth dates and anniversaries printed in it. The theme? I took an amazing eleven day trip to Switzerland and France with of my daughters in October. We went to Geneva, Lauterbrunnen in the Alps, and Paris! I chose several photos for each page.

This is one of my Geneva pages.

While in Geneva, I had wanted to buy a Huguenot cross in honor of my French Protestant refugee ancestors, Andre and Suzanne Lamoureux. They showed great spiritual strength through their compassion and courage as they smuggled persecuted Huguenots out of France. I found some of the crosses at the Reformation museum in Geneva, but they didn't take the debit card I had on hand that day. Another adult daughter ordered this cloisonne one for my Christmas present instead. I love it! It didn't come with a chain, so I'm using white ribbon from my craft supply stash. The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the source of spiritual strength.

I bought the wood cube with prayers in French at Basilique de Sacré-Cœur in Paris. There's a prayer on each of the six sides. Here's one on strength... 

According to the translation on my phone, it means, "Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may keep what is holy." Such a lovely prayer for my strength quest!

My eleven year old daughter made this encouraging sign for my Christmas present.

It's right next to my dish of word stones on a book shelf. Yes, I have a STRENGTH stone. And it's blue. Of course.

One of my goals is to build physical strength. I don't know how I could have done so much walking and climbing in Europe if I hadn't worked out on the elliptical machine I got for free from a neighbor. I should have done it much more often! Now I need to get back in the groove again. (The curtain is actually a flat sheet from the turquoise sheet sets I finally found at Walmart to match the comforter.)

And spiritual strength. I need a core of courage and fortitude. I haven't exactly been ultra faithful at daily Bible reading lately. So here's what I'm doing to get back on track there. 

I chose a plan to read through the New Testament this year, and put the bookmarks in my Bible. Each night, I am putting my Bible on this small tilting desk in front of my recliner, opened to the passage for the next morning. I also put a journal there for my study notes or verses I want to copy. And I put a small "to do" list pad there. I'll get to that in a minute.

Verses on strength in my journal from several days ago...

Here's my To Do list page. Yes, I still use the gTasks app on my phone, and it beeps at me at strategic times. However, I find that I also need a hand written list of top priority tasks specific to just that day.

I have two new devotional books. One is Savor, a daily book by Shauna Niequist, and the other is Earth Psalms, a weekly photographic book by Francine Rivers.

I opened to the first devotional in Earth Psalms, and what did I see? That lovely old phrase: "Great is his faithfulness"!

God is faithful. He makes me bold and gives me strength in my soul.

Strength in my blue haven, and wherever else I go.

I know this has been a really LONG blog post, but I've got some related links (some of them from my other blogs) to share!

Blue Haven:
Europe Travel Photos:
For the Spirit:
Happy New Year, friends!

Virginia Knowles

P.S. Here are all of the verses from my STRENGTH frame.

The joy of the Lord  is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

The Lord my God is my strength and my song. Isaiah 12:2

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. Isaiah 40:31

I can do all things through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

In quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.  Psalm 84:5

The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts in him and he helps me. Psalm 28:7

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

She is clothed with strength and dignity. She can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being. Ephesians 3:16

May the Lord encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

No comments:

Post a Comment