Welcome! I'm Melissa Gross, a dynamic and interactive teacher and speaker called to lead and encourage Christian women in their walk with the Lord through classes, workshops and retreats incorporating Bible study, devotionals, illustrated Bible journaling, paper crafting and mixed media projects that merge faith and art bringing God’s Word to life so you can find renewed excitement to dive into the Word, use your creative gifts, and apply the Truth as you draw closer to the Lord and serve Him in your everyday life. This site is where I share my everyday adventures, Bible Journaling pages, scrapbook layouts, handmade cards, and other crafty projects, as well as information on my upcoming workshops and events. I also post photos, ramble about books I'm reading, stuff I'm organizing, and other FUN bits & pieces of my wonderful life.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Scrapbooking 2016

Do you ever just need a day off - a day to spend in your craft room, scrapbooking memories, gluing pretty pieces of paper together, listening to country music, and ignoring your to-do list? Yesterday was that kind of day for me. . . and it was very productive! 

I scrapped quite a few pages last year with memories from the year, so now I'm working back through those 2016 chronological albums, filling in missing photos and stories (excluding our vacations, which I'll start on once I finish these album reviews.) Here's a look at the pages that complete the first half of 2016.









Have you taken a day off to scrapbook lately?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday's Mail Memo - A Very ACTIVE Seven Weeks

Once again it seems like time is flying by - seven weeks since my last Monday catch-up! There's been a little happy mail, and lots of ACTIVE and FUN days this summer! (Warning - this post is long & has lots of photos!)

HAPPY MAIL
I received the latest Sweet To The Soul Bible Study & Bible Journaling Kit from my friend Jana Kennedy- Spicer and a happy card from Tonya Hamilton of Messy Bible during the month of July.


And one day a large flat box arrived! It contained the new table I ordered for my craft room. Robbie put it together that evening & now I have double the work space!!

 
TWIN VISITS
Our 12-year-old twin nieces each spent a week with us this summer, and we had so much FUN! As is the tradition before a visit, they each made a list of the things of things to do.


I taught each of them to ice skate (and even scrapped about it already!). There was a morning of swimming with each one, too. During Laurie's visit, we also enjoyed a minor league baseball game, checked out and read several library books, watched movies, played a couple of games of Life, and worked many crossword puzzles. She even participated in a couple of local karate classes to see how they were different from her regular classes. During Paige's visit, we spent lots of time doing illustrated Bible journaling, painted mini-canvases, read several library books, played games, and worked a couple of jigsaw puzzles. She also attended my Christmas in July Card Class. (Yes, we checked everything off their lists!)


WORKSHOPS & EVENTS
I've been very ACTIVE teaching these past several weeks. I taught a small class for residents at a local assisted living facility, sharing how to use gelatos to decorate a hymnal page.

On July 1, I had a huge surprise when my sister and two of my nieces showed up to take my Intro to Bible Journaling Workshop at Scrappin' Goodtime! (I thought they would be arriving around noon to pick up Laurie, but they drove in the day before so they could attend my class!) It was a great class, followed by lunch with Robbie, my sister, brother-in-law, and three nieces (plus one boyfriend!). That afternoon I taught the scripture frame class and the ladies did a fabulous job on these happy frames!


Then there was the Christmas in July Card Class at Personal Scrapbook.


The last Saturday in July, I taught a Bible journaling mini-retreat for a church in Durant, Oklahoma. There were 25 ladies there, and we had a FUN day diving into the Word and trying lots of illustrated journaling techniques.


This past weekend, I co-taught two Creative Lettering Bible Journaling workshops with Jana Kennedy-Spicer at Scrappin' Goodtime. I love seeing everyone giving creative lettering a try!


In other teaching news, there was the launch of the Alive in Christ ~ A Weekend Renewal event. I created a website for the event, and Kelley Raetzsch and I recorded a video to announce the opening of registration. The weekend is already half-full! I also began a free four-part Bible journaling devotional series on the Proverbs 31 Woman for my email list this week. (Click HERE to sign up to receive illustrated Bible journaling INSPIRATION and information on my upcoming workshops & events.)

FUN OUTINGS
One weekend, Robbie and I headed to a trading card show here in the Dallas area. Former Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Ed "Too Tall" Jones was there signing autographs, and I couldn't resist asking to have a FUN photo taken with him!


We also enjoyed a stroll around the Lufkin zoo with my sister and her family during one of our meet-ups for the twins' visits. It was an overcast day, which was perfect because it kept the temperatures bearable!


48th BIRTHDAY
I celebrated my birthday a couple of weeks ago. It was a beautiful sunshiny day, and (as always) Robbie spoiled me with breakfast in bed, lots of gifts, a gorgeous cake, and a made-to-order home-cooked supper!


Well, I think that catches me up to this week, which I'll be spending doing household chores and taking care of car maintenance and catching up on some blog reading! What have you been up to lately?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

August Bible Journaling Workshops at Personal Scrapbook



Each class will begin with a teaching from the books of 1, 2 & 3 John, followed by illustrated Bible journaling tips and techniques. There will be a variety of Bible journaling supplies for you to try out and time to illustrate your faith in the margins (or across the whole page) of your Bible. 

In the first workshop, we'll explore the theme of love that is prevalent in these books. The second workshop will focus on other themes within these books, including truth, working together, and writing letters. Each workshop will include ideas and time to illustrate the important lessons we learn in these three short books.

We will be working in a Journaling Bible, but feel free to bring any Bible and/or a journal to work in. Also, bring your favorite Bible journaling supplies to class & don’t forget a journaling pen!

Call Personal Scrapbook today (972.351.8717) to reserve your spot and join Melissa Gross for these workshops merging art and faith!

The Curious Christian - book review

I was intrigued and excited when I read the title and subtitle of the latest book I received free from B&H Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The Curious Christian: How Discovering Wonder Enriches Every Part of Life sounded so interesting, however, it was a little disappointing.

It starts out by reminding us that we all need curiosity, something that is prevalent in kids but seems to wane as we age into adulthood. The book talks about being curious in all areas of our lives. The disappointing fact is that the author makes snide "hidden" remarks at times that detracted from the book's message - obviously he doesn't like hunting or rednecks or Southern Baptist preachers or a myriad of other things.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1433691922/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1433691922&linkCode=as2&tag=dalibipi-20&linkId=2ddec8b2ac118359f5a3cdbd7533019d


There were, however, several quote worthy ideas: 

A library that is unused is simply shelf upon shelf of wasted paper, and our unexercised knowledge is no better.

Nothing is out of bounds so long as our curiosity honors God and loves others.

Our knowledge is as trite or meaningful as what we do with it for the love of others and God's glory.

The book did spark my curiosity as I wondered what the Bible has to say about it. I didn't find the word curiosity in the Bible, although one particular scripture came up in all my searches.

He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in his own authority. ~Acts 1:7

Thursday, July 27, 2017

One Little Word - June & July

I'm excited to be caught up with the prompts in the One Little Word 2017 class! For June, there was a printout with questions to help us evaluate where we are with our word mid-way through the year. I printed the questions on pink paper and wrote my answers in purple ink in keeping with the color scheme I chose at the beginning of the year. I added washi tape to the top and the bottom of the page and also created a transparency to go in my binder before the printout.


Reflecting on my word, I have to admit that I've felt a little disconnected to my word, despite the fact that I've had a very ACTIVE year. I've enjoyed catching up on these prompts because it's given me time to reconnect with the goals I set at the beginning of the year.

The May prompt was a creative meditation where we designed mixed media encouragement cards to add to our binders. I pulled a four-pocket page and cut white cardstock into 4x6 pieces. I wanted to follow along with many of the steps that Ali demonstrated as she created her cards this month, so I pulled a variety of products - paint, stencils, stamps, ink, etc. I enjoyed working through this step-by-step process.


I started with the Tim Holtz star stencil and used white acrylic paint to create the first layer on my cards.


Then I added a layer of light purple paint - it covered a little more the stars than I wanted on the first card, so I made sure to just put a thin layer on the others.


The pink ink and lined stamp I used as the next layer was very light and actually ended up not showing up much on the final cards, however I think that is often the case with mixed media projects. We build layers and some things will be covered up along the way, but the process is extremely therapeutic.


I felt like these light colored cards needed a border, so I chalked the edges with Midnight Confession Powder Puff chalking ink.


I used black StazOn ink and letter stamps to add the encouragement messages I need to remember as I continue my ACTIVE year.


One of my border stamps makes a great arrow stencil, so I used that and the white acrylic paint to point to these messages.


I used a circle stencil and speech bubble rub-ons on the cards to include additional white elements. Word stickers reinforce and add to the messages on each card.


And, finally, I wanted to bring in some pink to go with the colors in my binder, so I searched through my small embellishments drawer and add glittery stars to each card.


As I look forward to the rest of this ACTIVE year, I will Just Move, Have FUN, and Choose Joy, knowing that It's All Good!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Be Still & Know

I have a large post-it note inside the front cover of my journaling Bible with a list of scriptures. Each item on this list represents a page where I began an illustration that is not yet complete. Some of these illustrations I began during a class I was taking, others I started on a day that got busy before I the page was complete, and a few include items I added as part of a demonstration in a workshop I was teaching.


The purpose of illustrated Bible journaling is to illustrate and journal what we are learning in the Word, the messages God is speaking to our hearts, and our prayers to Him. This part of the process is very personal and often requires some time of quiet reflection. This week I've been working through my list, taking time to read and reflect on the scriptures as I complete these pages.

Over a year ago, I took a class at The Little Blue House in Keller, Texas, and Tracy Pounds shared a photo that she'd printed on clear sticker paper. The picture shows an old wooden sign with these words on it: BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. During the class, I adhered the photo in my bible next to Psalm 46.


Psalm 46 is a reminder that God is our refuge, and I used one of my favorite journaling techniques (rewriting and personalizing scriptures) and a Micron pen to add journaling to this page.


Then I took time to outline the scripture and add letter stickers and embellishments to reinforce this reminder to be still and remember that He is my God!


The final step for me is adding the date with a date stamp (which I did after snapping the photo).

When you take a Bible journaling workshop, do you always complete the project or "assignment" during the class? Or, like me, do you leave having tried a new technique or product on a page that needs to be finished?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

First Time Ice Skating

When I had the opportunity to teach  my oldest niece Nichole to ice skate on our trip to New York in 2007, I had no idea that I would eventually teach all my nieces. Honestly, I'm not really all that good of an ice skater myself. I was 30-years-old the first time I tried ice skating at an outdoor rink in Beaver Creek, Colorado. It was wonderful! It snowed and my skates made little tracks through the snow while I was skating around. I remember thinking how it was very similar to roller skating (which I'd been doing all my life), yet different because the blade was so narrow and the ice was really slick!

Back in 2010, I created a layout about that first ice skating adventure.


Over the past ten years, I've had the chance to teach all four of my nieces to ice skate. In fact, one of the ACTIVE things I've been up to over the past month was taking each of the twins on their first ice skating adventure. When I saw the asymmetrical sketch and layout assignment in Week One of Cathy Zielske's new workshop, Design Your Life 2.0, I knew this was the story I wanted to tell.


I printed a photo of me with each of the girls and absolutely love the way this layout turned out. It just makes me so happy to have this connections story scrapped!


It's been a couple of months since I've created a layout, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time in my craft room with pretty paper and FUN photos! What story have you scrapbooked lately?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

One Little Word - April & May

When I chose ACTIVE as my word for 2017, my desire was to take a look at a variety of areas of my life and make improvements and changes to create a better balance overall. I wanted to invite more ACTIVITY into my weekly routine and to be ACTIVELY involved in things that add value and joy to my everyday life. While I'm not sure that I've necessarily put in the work to engage with my word, I have definitely been ACTIVE this year!

This weekend, I'm catching up with the prompts in the One Little Word 2017 class. The April prompt suggested putting sticky notes with questions (about my word) around the house where I'd see them throughout the month. I didn't actually do this, but I did write some questions & my reflections a couple of months ago. I created three cards that I slipped into the back of the page protector I used for the February prompt.


For May, Ali encouraged us to choose photos depicting how our word was working in our lives. Since one of my ACTIVE goals is to be intentional about investing time in relationships that add value and joy to my life, I chose photos from January through May that represent this goal in action. I printed nine photos so that I could add them to the back of the page protector I used in January. I added a label sticker, a handwritten description, and a puffy heart sticker to each photo.


I'm excited to have made some progress on these prompts and hope to complete the June reflections and July creative prompt shortly!

Have you been ACTIVELY engaging with your word this year? What photos would you use to show your word in action?