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.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Saturday, March 30, 2013
After reading Barbara Bush's Memoir earlier this year, I knew I would enjoy Reflections : Life After the White House, which chronicles her life from the end of George H. W. Bush's presidency in January of 1993 through the beginning of George W. Bush's presidency in January of 2001. Once again I was amazed at how much the Bushes accomplish as the book was filled with their many speaking engagements, lots of travel, and as much time with family as possible. It also seems that the Bushes have pretty much met every notable politician (domestic & foreign), entertainer, writer, business professional, and medical genius from the 1970s through the 2000s! Here are a few of my favorite quotes from this book:
*Communication is the biggest change in a world of big changes.
*One morning...I turned on the television and suddenly realized that...I knew every single person personally that I had seen on the tube during that hour. That's the life that George Bush has given me.
*I now have 15 paper back books I want to read. Why does that make me feel so good? It's like having money in the bank or a fully-stocked pantry.
*Energy seems to be a quality that is ever present in very successful people.
This book is actually the third book in a three-book Christian fiction series by Karen Kingsbury. I read the first two books last year, so here's a quick review of each one.
The series begins with One Tuesday Morning and the story of Jamie Bryan whose husband is a New York firefighter who responded to the tragedy at the World Trade Center on September 11. Jamie rushes to the hospital and finds Jake, who has no memory of anything before waking up in the hospital. [Warning - spoiler ahead!] In an effort to help Jake remember, Jamie begins reading his journal and discovers that her husband's greatest desire was for her to become a Christian through faith in Jesus Christ. It turns out that the man from the hospital was not Jake after all, but a businessman from California. He eventually regains his memory and returns to his family a changed man with a renewed commitment to Christ and his family (because of what he read in Jake's journal). I enjoyed the story but it was obvious this man wasn't Jake and I became frustrated waiting for Jamie to figure it out!
Beyond Tuesday Morningcontinues Jamie's story a couple of years later when she is spending all her time volunteering at St. Paul's, helping others who need to heal from the events of September 11. She meets a man who has come to New York during his vacation and they eventually fall in love. [Warning - another spoiler coming here!] It turns out the man, Clay, is the brother of Jake's look alike from California. This obviously creates a difficult situation, which they finally resolve and eventually they are married and Jamie moves to California where Clay is a police officer.
Jamie and Clay are important characters in the third book, Remember Tuesday Morning, however the story revolves around Alex who was a high school senior when the Twin Towers fell, killing his firefighter father. Alex has spent the past seven years willing himself not to feel and spends his time as a Los Angeles police officer. He is part of a K9 team and his dog, Bo, is the only important thing in his life . . . along with trying to rid the world of evil people so that others will not have to suffer the loss of a loved one like he did on September 11. The book also focuses on ecoterrorists who set fires to luxury housing developments that are being built on the hills around L.A. (Honestly I'd never heard of this happening, but I looked it up and there are groups who will commit acts of sabotage in order to bring attention to their cause of saving the environment!) Overall I enjoyed this series despite the unlikely coincidences that brought these characters together.
I have three books on my Kindle that I want to read in April, and I'm planning to read the other books that I didn't get to in the pile I pulled out for March. You can see the list of books I'm planning to read in the sidebar.
Friday, March 29, 2013
addicted to washi tape!).
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Monday, March 25, 2013
This first layout uses three pieces of the same colored cardstock and creates a dramatic look for these two photos taken of all the lounge chairs on deck during our 10th anniversary cruise. This is the first time I've ever just used one color of cardstock without any other colors or patterned papers. I really like the way this turned out and will definitely be using this technique again.
Friday, March 22, 2013
A Snippet From My First Blog Post
I've thought about this off and on for a little over a year now. Should I start a blog - a place where I can share what's happening in my life, post photos (including my latest scrapbooking pages), maybe even offer advice or inspire someone with my ramblings about books I've read or my latest organizing project? I don't know why today is THE DAY, but here goes . . . my very first blog post!
A Snippet From My First Blogiversary Post
I am so excited to celebrate my ONE YEAR BLOGIVERSARY today. I can hardly believe it's been a year since I published my first blog post. I really started out thinking this would be a little experiment to learn about blogging and to try something new, however I can't imagine my life without blogging now. I truly enjoy the regular exercise of writing and sharing my layouts, book reviews, and other bits and pieces of my life.
A Snippet From My Second Blogiversary Post
It's my TWO YEAR BLOGIVERSARY and today I'm celebrating the fact that I have not only been able to share bits & pieces of my life with each of you, but that I've also preserved memories and stories through that sharing. Each time I publish a post, I'm recording a little bit of what's happening in my life - whether it's showcasing my latest scrapbook layout or reviewing the books I've read or revealing new photos I've taken or discussing my latest organizing project or just simply chronicling the events of our latest adventure.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
These first two photos were inspired by Helena's Look Up Look Down photographic meme.
And here are my favorite architectural and shadow photos.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
. . . and changed it to look like an old fashioned photo.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Bon Voyage - a few layouts of us heading out from home & ready to board the ship
The Ship - layouts with photos of the ship and our stateroom
On Board - the various activities we enjoyed on board, including the fantastic food
At Sea - the view from the ship (sunrise, sunset, shorelines, other ships)
George Town, Grand Cayman
Reflections - final layouts with our reflections photos and journaling from each of us as we reflect on the cruise
This first ribbon layout will go in the Cozumel section. This layout is a scraplift from Prompt Three - I used a wide ribbon (folded in half) along the right side and created several "flowers" by covering glue dots with fiber.
Monday, March 18, 2013
It was the perfect day - sunshine, seventy degrees, a light breeze. I snapped 166 photos in two hours! However, one of my favorite photos was taken by Ellyn - she didn't realize it until she was scrolling through her photos later, but she perfectly captured our outing in this shot of me taking a photo with her shadow taking a photo, too.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Since I was off for my two-week spring break, I checked out a copy of Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt and attended this month's book club meeting at the library. It took a few chapters for me to really get into the book, however I ended up enjoying it. The story is about a middle-school boy, Doug, whose family moves to a small town in New York so his derelict father can find work. Doug finds solace in photos of Audubon's birds in a book in the local library, and he begins to draw the birds. I found it fascinating that the author wove the bird photos and the interpretation of what the birds are doing and how they are feeling into the story of what's happening in Doug's life.
I downloaded a copy of A Just Man by Helen Daniel to my Kindle (free from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review). This book was originally written as stories for kids, then later made into a novel, which I think is still more suited for children. It was a great story about a family during the Revolutionary War. It centers around how the many characters eventually come to know Jesus as their Savior. Honestly, the plot line moved very quickly and it was sometimes difficult to keep up with the ages of the kids and adults as the years flew by. I think this would be a great book to read aloud to elementary age kids because it could lead to discussions of the many Bible stories that are mentioned as well as discussions about salvation.
Simple Living - 30 days to less stuff and more life by Lorilee Lippincott was free in the Kindle store one day last month, so I downloaded it without any particular idea of when I would read it. However, several times over the past few weeks I've found myself waiting (in line, for someone, etc), so I pulled this book up on the Kindle app on my phone to read. It turned out to be an interesting read, with 30 days of prompts for moving toward more minimalistic living. Many of you know that I'm married to a collector (and have quite a few collection-type tendencies of my own), so we are not in the market to become minimalist. However, I did enjoy the tips for decluttering and living life more meaningfully that were included in the book.
Now, I really am working on reading those six books on my March reading list!
Friday, March 15, 2013
Monday I was reading and enjoying a recent Somerset Studio publication (The Art of Paper and Mixed Media), which is full of inspiring photos and articles. So, that evening I pulled out a few supplies and started playing around with creating an art journal page. I used some spray mist over an alphabet template, then colored in the background with colored pencils.
And since I had already been contemplating ways to use some of my old book pages, I ripped a page out of one of the books and cut out a dress. With the addition of some patterned paper scraps, that dress led to the creation of a girl (who you'll see turned up in all my pages this week).
Each day I played around with a few different supplies. Tuesday I tried some stamps, more patterned paper scraps, and markers.
Wednesday evening I was anticipating an outing the next day with a friend - a photography date at the Arboretum to enjoy the Dallas Blooms (photos coming soon!). So, of course, I had to use that great camera stamp I got last year and a couple of flower stamps.
After a day of sunshine, blossoms, photography, and friendship, I started my page Thursday evening by using a die cut and mist in the corners (then adhered the die cut piece in one corner).
And finally today I pulled out my Crazy Crayon Disks to create a bright background as the starting point for this page where I'm wondering what's next.
I've had fun pulling out some seldom used supplies this week as I've contemplated where I'm headed with my scrapbooking and blogging and writing and speaking and teaching and just life in general. I do believe this form of journaling could be addictive!