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.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
I chose this book based on a brief description:
Once he rode for gold-buckle dreams. Now ride with Lucas McCade as he scouts the back trails over the rolling hills of Oklahoma and encounters the paths of the powers of darkness. It promises to be the ride of a lifetime!
I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but figured it would be a good Christian fiction read. As it turns out, it was a good read, but not at all what I expected. Rather than simply a story about Lucas McCade and his experiences as a new believer in Christ, this book also brings to light Satanic forces that are at work as they attempt to destroy a large church that Lucas and his family have recently begun to attend. The first look at the church made me smile because it portrayed a "typical" large church with lots of small group activities, no altar calls or spiritual growth, and a pastor more concerned about offending someone than preaching the Word.
This book is definitely not for everyone as there are scenes that involve a human sacrifice, casting out demons in the name of Jesus Christ, Satanic power being demonstrated (by stopping a moving bullet), and angelic warriors arriving in response to prayer. I, however, truly enjoyed the book as it reminds me of the spiritual warfare that is going on around us at all times.
Here's a thought provoking quote from one of the occult members in the book:
Let's just say that evil can sit right beside them on those church pews, and they don't even know it. Everybody is so distracted with things in the world, and honestly, most people can't even comprehend why their God would love them anyway. Most churchgoers are more worried about where they're going to eat Sunday dinner than they are about the things of your God.
Wow - I never want to be one of those Christians who gets so distracted with the things of the world that I worry more about what's for lunch than growing in my relationship with the Lord.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Barbara Bush's Memoir is the second memoir/autobiography of a First Lady that I've read. (The first was Laura Bush's Spoken from the Heart, which I reviewed here.) This book chronicles Barbara Bush's life from birth through 1993, the year after President George H. W. Bush's last year in office. It's truly a fascinating story and incorporates so much history. George H. W. Bush served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, then spent several years in college and business during the early years of the Bush's marriage. He began serving in the House of Representatives in the mid-1960s, then went on to serve in the Nixon administration (as Ambassador to the United Nations), the Ford administration (as Chief of the US Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China & Director of Central Intelligence), and the Reagan administration (as Vice-President of the United States). He was elected as the 41st President of the United States and served from 1989 -1992. Barbara Bush was by his side through it all and was fortunate to travel around the world, meet many individuals from all walks of life, and enjoy what she calls "a life of privilege and happiness." Mrs. Bush wrote this memoir herself and it's like sitting down to listen to her tell the stories of her life. She claims practically everyone as a "dear friend" and always mentions what an honor it is to be invited into someone's home. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, however they had so many experiences over the years that it almost became redundant - another trip overseas, more dinners with heads of state, another reception or ball, more literacy events, another graduation speech, more games of tennis. The only time her comments took on a negative tone was when someone unjustly criticized her husband and when she mentions the numerous times that the press distorted stories. She ends the book with this thought - "...the things that matter are faith, family, and friends. We have been inordinately blessed, and we know that."
Texas Stories by Craig Savoye when our local bookstore was going out of business last year. I originally thought it might be a good candidate for Pass the Book: Year Two, however it got lost in the To-Read pile and just resurfaced as I was pulling books to read this month. This non-fiction book is a collection of stories about cowboys, ranchers, and other assorted characters in Texas. It actually reads like a book of tall tales as the author relates the stories in cowboy vernacular. The author interviewed numerous people for the stories in this book, so this is considered non-fiction as everyone related their stories (or stories about their friends & acquaintances) as they remembered (and possible embellished) them. His goal was to preserve the stories for future generations. I enjoyed the stories, however by the end of the book I was getting a little tired. While each chapter was a unique story, there were similarities among them and I tired of the families "with a long history in Texas" and another cowpuncher who was the best at what he did. I would recommend this as a book to read one chapter at a time, now and then, rather than a straight read-through.
Little Bee by Chris Cleave was one of the books considered for the library book club that I attended for five years, however it was never one of the books chosen for our monthly discussions. I wasn't really sure what to expect as I had not read any reviews about this book; I had simply picked up a copy somewhere and added it to my To-Read pile. I was pleasantly surprised that this was a can't-put-it-down type of story. This book is fiction and relates the story of two women - Little Bee, a Nigerian refuge, and Sarah, a mother/wife/magazine editor living in the suburbs of London. The two women have a chance meeting on a beach in Nigerian, a meeting that lasts maybe 30 minutes or less but has life-changing results. The story revolves around their meeting again two years later. There were a few "negative" elements to the book, like Sarah's extramarital affair and the rather risque articles published by the magazine Sarah edits, however overall it is definitely a book worth reading. I had hoped for a happier ending, but the ending as written was really much more realistic. The overall theme is one of survival, and I love this quote from the book: A scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived. (This book was originally published in the UK as The Other Hand.)
I've started on the last book on my list for this month and hope to have a review of it for you before the end of the month along with my list for February. How are you doing on your reading for the year? Have you read any of the books I reviewed today?
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Do you ever slow down with taking photos after the holiday season? Is your 2013 scrapping off to a good start?
Sunday, January 20, 2013
My goal this year is to utilize the inspiration from classes that I've taken over the past three years (as opposed to signing up for new classes). Teaching part-time and coaching in the Finding Photo Freedom workshop will keep me pretty busy the next four months, so I know I will not have time to keep up with a live class right now. However, there's lots of inspiration in the forever-access classes I have from Big Picture Classes, Shimelle, Jessica Sprague, and Masterful Scrapbook Design. What are your plans for online classes this year?
Friday, January 18, 2013
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I've seen some interesting reading challenges in the blogosphere (like this one that Susanne posted about) and was very tempted to join in with one two, however with the new job and my
These two books provided a wonderful start to my 2013 reading! Have you completed a book this year? Are you setting a reading goal for the year?
Friday, January 11, 2013
All these years later I hold a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a Master of Business Administration degree, both with a major in Management. I also hold a Texas Teaching Certification in Secondary Composite Business. I've taught everything from middle school technology classes to university level business courses, from Children's Church to the Young-at-Heart (elderly) Sunday School. I've integrated curriculum for 8th grade Careers and Technology courses. I've written and taught a Bible study on the books of I, II & III John. I've lead teacher training sessions and Biblical financial courses. (This list could go on and on, but y'all get the picture.)
We are barely into the new year and I am busy putting those teaching skills to work in several areas:
Finding Photo Freedom workshop that starts on February 7 at Big Picture Classes. This 10-week class walks participants step-by-step through the process of setting up a Library of Memories system (photo organization, digital workflow, inspirational scrapbooking). As one of the coaches, I answer questions on the message boards, contribute to an classroom blog, and share how my system helps me stay organized and scrap when inspired.
(4) And, of course, I continue to monitor the Library of Memories Community classroom, answering questions and sharing ideas with others who use the Library of Memories system.
As you can see from this list, my schedule will be pretty busy for awhile, particularly as I adjust to working outside the home three days a week. However, I am excited about all these opportunities to use my teaching skills in such a variety of ways! Mama was definitely right - I love being a teacher!
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Mail Art - I created my own envelope from a take-out menu.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Back in June of last year, I enjoyed the Lift Me Up! workshop taught by Mou Saha at BPC and created a memory jar. The basic idea was to take a discarded glass jar and turn it into a memory capsule. I called my jar Melissa's Mementos, and I believe it will be the perfect start to my Pick Your Precious stories for 2013.
I chose an empty jar from the few I had on a shelf in the garage. I then put several mementos from my childhood & teenage years in the jar, along with a note about what each item is and where I got it. I decorated the top of the jar and added a tag. The items I chose for the jar had been stored in a box with other items in my closet, but now this Memory Jar sits on a shelf in my craft room where I can enjoy them & the memories the evoke.
The mementos in this jar have traveled with me for many years and remind me of snippets of my childhood & teenage years.
1. Red "M" - hung from the rear view mirror of my first car.
2. TJ pin - one of many spirit pins worn to football games.
3. Leo shell - can't remember where this came from but it always had a place on one of the shelves in my room.
4. Ten Commandments in pink ViewFinder - another item I've had so long I can't remember where it came from or not having it.
5. Indian headband & necklace - from visit to Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation.
6. Red Puppy Dog charm was from a necklace I had.
7. Ice Skater Pin from our trip to see the IceScapades.
Melissa June 2012