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, July 31, 2014
Our trip started in Edmonton, which provided the perfect opportunity to meet Ginger!
Ginger and her husband Marvin treated us to brunch at The Highlevel Diner. The food was fabulous (especially the huge cinnamon rolls we took with us for a snack later that day) and we all hit it off immediately. Of course, I already felt like I knew Ginger from her blog, so our time together was like meeting up with old friends we haven't seen in a while, catching up on our lives, and enjoying a great meal.
When my blueberry pancakes arrived, I knew immediately there was no way I could eat such a huge meal . . . so I took it with us and Robbie & I enjoyed it for breakfast another day! Ginger had also brought me a wonderful gift (which you can see on her blog here) and handmade card. Thanks Ginger for a lovely gift & the perfect start to our vacation - it was so much FUN to meet you in person!
After brunch, Robbie and I walked across one of the bridges spanning the Saskatchewan River, taking lots of photos, including this one for #3 - Birds on a Wire. (I'm sure there's a wire inside this light post!)
We spent the rest of our week in Banff in the Canadian Rockies. On the drive to Banff, I captured my second submission for #7 - A Rural Landscape. I'm sure many of you can guess why I like these fields of canola!
This was our sixth trip to Banff (including our first trip when we were married there in December of 2001), and we had FUN eating at our favorite restaurants, browsing the shops on Banff Avenue, hiking (which I'll be sharing more about in an upcoming post), and relaxing in our condo at the Douglas Fir Resort.
I snapped this next photo for #20 - A Bus with a Picture Painted on its Sides right outside our resort.
In fact we spotted quite a few buses on this trip. I especially like the one that was parked outside the Edmonton airport that read "The Every Day Way To Houston."
We had no trouble finding #4 - A Group of Tourists as they were everywhere, especially congregated waiting to cross the streets along Banff Avenue.
It was also easy to find #16 - A Sign in a language other than English because many of the signs (like the one below at the trail head of our first hike) are in English and French.
We had rainy weather one morning, so we decided it was the perfect time to visit the Buffalo Nations Luxon Museum.
I had a bit of FUN sticking my head into this photo (which I'm offering as my second submission for #10 - A Photo Bomb).
We also visited Cascade Gardens, which works for #19 - A Public Garden.
We saw more wildlife on this trip than we ever have, some of it as close as our balcony or alongside the road where we were walking!
This was definitely a FUN summer trip and the perfect way to celebrate my 45th birthday! The best part of it was getting to spend nine uninterrupted days with my sweetheart!
I hope you've all had a chance to travel and have some FUN this summer!
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
However, the layouts I'm sharing today all started five months ago. Here's a look at the timeline:
March - pulled photos, papers (from a kit that my friend Amy gave me in February) & embellishments to create page kits to take to a crop in April.
April - completed quite a few layouts at the crop, but not the three I'm sharing today.
May - added sketches from the BPC Sketch Solutions workshop & took the kits to Ellyn's Crafty Tuesday and put three layouts together, however I didn't include journaling & needed a few additional embellishments.
June - added journaling & additional embellishments to complete the layouts. Took photos and edited them for the blog.
July - finally sharing them here on the blog!
These photos were taken on a FUN day in 2012, so I guess these layouts have actually been "in the works" for a couple of years! So excited to add them to our 2012 album!
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014
Robbie's hometown is Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The city is named after the Cuyahoga River and the series of waterfalls that run along the southern boundary of the city, so I knew it would be the perfect place to find #18 - A Waterfall.
One of Robbie's favorite desserts is Italian Cream Cake, and he often enjoyed one from Vincent's Bakery for his birthdays growing up. We drove by Vincent's to capture this shot for #9 - A Bakery.
We spent a beautiful evening boating on Portage Lakes with Robbie's brother, sister-in-law and 2 nephews.
When Thomas was snapping a photo of me & Robbie, he also captured #10 - A Photo Bomb (see Jacob down in the bottom left corner!).
I even got in some skipping with Kathy and Jacob! (It was late evening & the sun was going down & Jacob hasn't yet mastered the art of holding the camera steady, so these are not the best pictures . . . but they do show that I'm still skipping along this year!)
As a special treat, we took our nephews to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here's a reflection photo of the four of us with this year's Vince Lombardy Trophy behind us.
Before we left Ohio on our drive home, I also captured #7 - A Rural Landscape.
On the way home, we added 120 miles and a few extra hours so we could dip down into Alabama to visit my nephew Trey and meet his sweet wife Pam.
We returned home six days after we left, mourning the loss of a friend yet refreshed by the opportunity to visit with family we don't get to see often enough!
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Despite the sad turn of events in this story of Santiago, an old fisherman who catches the largest fish of his time (after an 85-day dry spell) just to have it eaten by sharks before he could sail back to land with it, this is a fantastic story of courage, triumph, perseverance, acceptance, and determination. The book is extremely well-written (it is Hemingway after all!), and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Have any of you read this book? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Amazing Grace is a tradition favorite that always stirs my soul. I can't keep my feet from tapping and hands from clapping when I hear the Happy Goodmans singing I'm Too Near My Home. During difficult times, I've been known to sing I Am Determined To Hold Out To The End over and over again. (Always when I'm alone, just me & the Lord, who hears the "joyful noise" my singing creates!) I love to listen to Daddy pick the guitar and sing The Greatest Love Story of All. A recent favorite is Mandisa's Overcomer. I even have a CD by Crystal Lyons with some popular country songs with the words changed to Christian lyrics (When I Die, I Know I'll Go To Heaven is my favorite!) My list could go on and on . . .
. . . however, if I have to choose one song that moves me and lifts me up every time I hear it, I would choose How Great Thou Art. This is a powerful hymn that's been a part of my life as long as I can remember. It's been sung in many churches that I've attended, it was sung at my Grandma's funeral, I can belt it out when I'm driving down the road (all alone in the car), and it always reminds me of the greatest of the Lord! Of course, my favorite memory (as with so many songs) is listening to Daddy sing this song as a special during church services or while hanging out with the family or driving down the road.
[I had hoped to go through my CDs of Daddy singing and see if any of them contained this song, however Robbie and I had to travel unexpectedly to Ohio for the funeral of his best friend since 1st grade.] Instead, here's a great rendition I found on YouTube.
I also wanted to share a FUNny story from lunch that day.
Journaling reads: After a couple of hours of walking & shopping, we were ready for lunch. I was surprised that a coke cost $29 . . . until the waiter explained that the prices were in Pesos!
This next page showcases a couple of photos we snapped as we were pulling up to the dock.
And finally, I used the front and back of a divided page protector for photos of Cozumel taken from the ship and those taken as we shopped & strolled along the waterfront.
I love working with these photos because each time it brings back all the great memories from that trip, our first cruise and the celebration of ten years together!
Sunday, July 13, 2014
With the addition of a few items from my stash, I used these pieces to create a collage background.
I liked this look but wanted to tie the pieces together more, so I used watered down gesso over the entire page.
Once that was dry, I added some spray mist, paint, and clock faces to the background. I must admit that I think this is the best background I've ever created and I let it sit for a couple of weeks before completing the page.
I used markers to add a title.
And wrote out the scripture around the edge of the page.
I'm thrilled with the final result and am excited about trying the collage background again soon.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
This phenomena occurred a couple of weeks ago when Robbie and I took a Friday evening drive up to Sanger (about an hour away) to enjoy a fried chicken dinner at Babe's Chicken Dinner House. I was on the look out for items on this year's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt, and I did find one item that would be my second submission for #1 - a sign welcoming people to a nearby town.
However, I also found quite a few interesting things that weren't on the list - a giant rooster . . .
stools made from old tractor seats . . .
Darth Vader, Spock, Captain Kirk, Clint Eastwood, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe (be sure to click on the photo for a larger version that will allow you to read the talk bubbles) . . .
singing waitresses . . .
a warning sign . . .
a great quote . . .
and a pick-up truck literally sitting on the ground.
Thanks Rinda for hosting this FUN summer event and helping me be more observant!