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.
Saturday, June 30, 2012
I exercised or was intentionally active at least 25 days this month by either riding the stationary bike for 30 minutes, completing a 30 minute strength training routine, enjoying time in the hotel pool and walking the mile to downtown on a weekend get-away, painting the walls (10 foot tall!) in my new craft room, or parking at the very end of the parking lot to force some extra walking while completing errands. (Robbie also rode the exercise bike every weekday morning before getting ready for work - I am so proud of him!)
And I must share this funny little side note about cookbooks. A couple of months ago, I decided it would be a good idea to read through a cookbook to get some ideas and inspiration as we strive to cook more and eat out less. I asked Robbie to pick a book from our collection and he handed me The Two Fat Ladies Full Throttle cookbook. I had never heard of The Two Fat Ladies, so I began reading through. Now I know that many of you have probably watched Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright cook on TV, but I truly had no idea who they were. To my dismay, I discovered that most of the recipes in the book are full of fat - seriously, one recipe starts with a pound of lard and many of them required a stick (or two!) of butter. Robbie enjoys cooking shows and knew that The Two Fat Ladies show was often shown in re-runs, so we watched a show one evening. I have to admit that it was very entertaining, but also confirmed my suspicisions that their recipes were not what I was looking for in my quest for healthier eating. These ladies may have been exceptional cooks, however they were definitely not living the healthy lifestyle I'm striving for - as evidenced by how winded they became walking a very short distance and then resting while one of them smoked a cigarette! While they did often use the freshest ingredients available, these recipes are definitely more suited for the occasional indulgence.
Unfortunately, as I have made better choices and am feeling good this month, the scale has not altered in its numbers. I am basically down 5 pounds from the beginning of the year. However, the good news is that it does appear I have halted the upward trend of the past four years and that fact alone makes me smile!
One of my other goals (in addition to exercising more and eating healthier) is to get outside more and enjoy the sunshine. I did a fairly good job of this early in the month, but as the temperatues have soared over 100 degrees lately, I am much more likely to be found organizing my new craft room. However, I do hope to continue to enjoy the outdoors and the beauty of nature throughout the summer.
On that note, I'll leave you with a layout I completed last month showcasing Robbie's grandmother's azalea bush in the late 1960s.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Your Life as Story is about writing your memoir in the form of story. The book contains a ton of good information & exercises to get you writing your own autobiography, however I have to admit that I was put off by the language at times and quite a few of the sample stories she shared were what I would consider inappropriate or immoral.
Room as part of the library book club I attend. The story is about a young woman who was abducted and locked in a shed for seven years. During that time she had a baby boy who also spent five years in that room. The book is written from the perspective of the 5-year-old boy, which makes for very tedious reading after a while because the mother has taught him that only things in the room are real and the things on TV are not real (like other people, "outside", etc). I think the story was told in a positive and realistic perspective for the most part, however it was a difficult read considering the subject matter (abduction, abuse, depression, deprivation).
The Harbinger: The ancient mystery that holds the secret of America's future centers around nine harbingers or foreshadowings of disaster based on Isaiah 9:10. This scripture was a prophecy about the nation of Israel and the events that would lead to its eventual destruction because the nation turned away from God. Israel was "unique among nations in that it was conceived and dedicated at its foundation for the purposes of God" . . . just like America. The author then shows how each of these harbingers are now being (or have already) played out in America as our nation continues to turn away from the God of our Founding Fathers. This is a very thought-provoking and discussion-inducing book. The downside is that it is written in the form of an interview, which involves endless dialogue that made for very slow reading. I highly recommend it for the information it presents, despite the tediousness of 250+ pages of dialogue.
The Blessed Life: The Simple Secret of Achieving Guaranteed Financial Results, so I (of course) wanted to read the book for myself. The book focuses on giving through tithing, offerings, and sacrificial giving, practices that I firmly believe in and practice in my everyday life. The author gives many examples of blessings from his own and other's lives, however many of the examples are extreme and leave the impression that if we give financially, our return blessings are always financial. While I know from personal experience that these things do happen, I think it's important to remember that there are many blessings that are not tied to our financial situation and that we give in obedience rather than to gain more financially.
For those of you who've made it this far, here's a little something creative to go along with this book review post - a layout about our visit to a used book store. (You can see my favorite photos from that visit here.)
Journaling reads: We read about this used book store in Texas Highways and knew it was time for a Saturday drive to Denton!!
Have you read any of the books I reviewed today? If so, I'd love to read your thoughts in the comments. (I'll be catching up with a few more reviews next week about some of the book series I've read.)
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Ruth wrote me such a lovely note inside the handmade card and those little round punched pieces were hiding scrumptious chocolates inside! I've seen quite a few posts with crafty creations and stories about celebrations in the UK over the past few months and now I feel like I can join in a little bit as I use my new towel, showcase this lovely card, and indulge in a few treats. Thanks Ruth for this fantastic surprise which definitely brightened my day!
Monday, June 25, 2012
8. Looking in a mirror
9. Something turquoise
10. Something prized
We'll be putting together our purchase this evening, and I'll be sharing all about it in an upcoming post. This is only the third time we've been to Ikea (because I only shop when I plan to buy something), but I have to admit that there were lots of other items that I just might "need" in the future! Do you have an Ikea store near you?
Saturday, June 23, 2012
30 cookies baked for the Pearls Spring Brunch & Agora
6 Avengers Superheros save the world in the latest Marvel movie
9 days into the month when another driver backed into Robbie's car
1st time for Jeff to visit Texas
5 BPC friends cropped together in Corsicana
4 hours Robbie & Jeff stood in line @ Dallas Comic Con to get Kevin Conroy's autograph
86-year-old Dick Van Dyke (& the Vantastix) performance enjoyed at the Winspear Opera House
$125 paid to repair dining room table
3 get-togethers for Melissa to crop with friends
19 layouts & 1 mini-album completed, 5 cards created, 17 blog posts published
Friday, June 22, 2012
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
If you'd like a chance to be the first recipient of Art Journaling, please leave a comment telling me whether or not you've ever purchased one of Somerset Studio's publications. I'll choose a winner on Monday and get this book on its way.
Remember to check out the Pass the Book:Year Two page for all the details and to see which other books are ready to be passed.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
Kim Cash Tate's book Hope Springs was a quick easy read. It's the story of two families, the Sanders and the Dillons, in the small town of Hope Springs, North Carolina. Grandma Geri, the matriarch of the Sanders family, is diagnosed with cancer as the families mourn the death of Jim Dillon, one of the town's beloved pastors. This Christian fiction book drew me in to the lives of the many family members as they struggled with issues of loss, deception, humility, hope, following God's call on their lives, love, and servanthood (to name a few). I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it as a great read.
The story also addresses the issue of race relations in a small southern town - the Sanders are a black family and the Dillons are white. These two families have been friends for many years and several generations, however they've always attended separate churches based on their race. When one of Grandma Geri's granddaughters approaches a white waitress at the town diner about starting a Saturday morning Bible study, ladies from both churches come together to meet and discuss God's Word. This small gathering begins a discussion among the two pastors that results in a once a month church service where both congregations meet together. Since the story is set in modern times (cell phones, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook all make an appearance), it may seem strange to some of you that this type of segregation and prejudice is an underlying theme in this story. Unfortunately, this book depicts a true picture of many small town (& city) churches today. I thought the author did a wonderful job of addressing this issue in a positive light and stressing (through the characters in the story) that all Christians are a part of the body of Christ.
[I downloaded this e-book free from BookSneeze, but as always this review contains my own thoughts, opinions and recommendations.]