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, August 30, 2015
Many of the popular journaling Bibles have been out of stock recently due to the popularity of the Illustrated Faith movement started by Shanna Noel last year. I looked online at the Bible that Robbie had picked out for me and noticed that they were back in stock. I was extremely fortunate to be able to request and receive a free copy of the NKJV Journaling Bible from the publisher (in exchange for an honest review). It is a very nice Bible!! I love the size, which is a approximately 7" x 8 1/2" (shown here with the new Micron Pen Set Robbie got me especially for journaling in my Bible).
I am using and prefer the New King James Version, however this lovely Bible is also available in the Holman Christian Standard and King James versions. This is a one-column Bible with a 1 3/4 inch lined margin for notes.
The first thing I did was simply take time to flip through this beautiful book, anticipating diving into the Word of God and illustrating the scriptures and lessons that speak to me.
There are several features that I really like in this Bible (a Daily Bible Reading Plan, concordance, and a few colored maps), but my favorite is a page near the very front of the Bible that shares God's plan for salvation. I personally have been going to church my entire life. (Seriously - I was born on a Friday and was in church on Sunday morning!) I've always known about Jesus and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior at a very young age. However, there are many people who spend their entire lives in church and never understand that being a Christian is simply a matter of believing in Jesus, confessing our sin, and accepting the gift of eternal life. This page very simply explains salvation, and I love that it's included here and can be used as a witnessing tool at any time!
I have to admit that although I write and highlight in my Bibles and have illustrated quite a few scriptures in my NISB Bible, I always find it difficult to get started in a new Bible! It's kind of like staring at the first blank page in a new journal and wanting everything to be perfect. So, I decided to start with the Presentation page, which looked like this.
I chose to use a patterned paper to cover the white portion of the page, adding my name and how I want to use this Bible. It doesn't really show up in the photo, but I used a clear Wink of Stella pen to add shimmer to the flowers on the background paper, too.
So far the only other thing I've done is to add a little strip of lace to the cover. Now I'm ready and excited to begin using my creative gifts to draw closer to the Lord and glorify Him in this new Bible.
(BTW - Here are the answers to the questions in yesterday's post - I was missing a white letter "S", however I solved the problem by using a "J" upside down & bending it around!)
Saturday, August 29, 2015
I had my title all picked out and chose a variety of alphabets to use, however I discovered that I was short one letter. Can you tell which one it was? And how I solved the problem?
Monday, August 24, 2015
Goals are defined as "the objects of a person's ambition or effort" or "things you are trying to achieve." Basically a Goal is "an end toward which effort is directed." Goals often provide the INSPIRATION to do or complete something.
I've always been a Goal-setter. As far back as I can remember, I kept lists of things to do and Goals I wanted to accomplish. When I was working on my Bachelor's degree in the early 1990s, my Goal was to graduate before I turned 25-years-old.
At the time, I was working as the office supervisor for a specialty chemical sales company and taking evening classes at the local university. After signing up for the available courses in the spring of 1994, I discovered that I needed one more course to be able to graduate that May (2 months before my 25th birthday). I convinced the department chair at the university to work with me on an independent study project, and I convinced my boss to schedule a sales meeting so that I could do a presentation on Goal setting as my project. I even created a booklet for all the attendees.
This booklet contains my research on goals, including the definitions of a Goal and illustrations on how our Goals overlap time-wise (long range, mid-range, and short range) as well as in all areas of our lives.
I included lists about what a Goal should be, the benefits of setting Goals, and hints for success.
There were also several worksheets for the participants to complete during the presentation, like this one specifically helping our sales reps set a sales Goal based on their desired income level.
For the research and two-hour presentation I completed, I earned credit for the final course I needed and was able to accomplish my Goal of graduating before I turned 25!
I recently read the book Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull, in which the author shares a Goal he set for himself - to make the first computer-animated movie. After college, he began working in the (new-at-the-time) computer industry, eventually becoming the president of Pixar, which in fact did produce the first computer-animated movie, Toy Story.
The sub-title of this book (Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration) is a good illustration of how Goals and INSPIRATION are interrelated. Once Catmull's dream of creating that first movie was fulfilled, he set about contemplating and defining the Goal of Pixar. Despite problems that will inevitably arise during the making of a movie and issues that develop in a company with numerous employees, Pixar continually strives to learn and grow as it maintains focus on the Goal - to make films of the highest quality. To accomplish this goal, Catmull and the management team at Pixar continually evaluate and make adjustments for the "unseen forces" that get it the way of INSPIRATION.
The book was a wonderful read as the author shared the story of Pixar and its growth. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to learn more about the computer-animation industry and those who want to improve their management and problem-solving skills. There's a wealth of knowledge in this book, as evidenced by these quotes regarding goals:
Don't confuse the process with the goal. Working on our processes to make them better, easier, and more efficient is an indispensable activity and something we should continually work on - but it is not the goal. Making the product great is the goal.
The healthiest organizations are made up of departments whose agendas differ but whose goals are interdependent.
The Goals that I'm focusing on currently are the items on my 50 Things To Do Before I'm 50 list. I prepared this list around my 45th birthday last year, so theoretically I need to complete 10 items per year to check them all off before my 50th birthday. If you check out my progress HERE, however, you'll see that so far (after a full year has passed) I've only checked off four items. I do have plans to check off one more of my travel Goals before the end of the year.
And in fact, I have actually made progress on several of the other Goals on my list as well. Here's an update on six of the Goals that require longer time commitments:
Read all the Pulitzer prize winners in Fiction
I've completed 12 of the 61 winners - click HERE to read my reviews of each one. Assuming a book is chosen for this prize in each of the next 3 years, I have 52 to go!
Re-read all my children’s/young adult books
After my bookshelf re-organizing, decluttering, and inventorying activities this past December, I am now able to track this Goal easily using the spreadsheet listing our books. We currently have 407 (!!) children's and young adult books in our collection. After highlighting the ones I've read in the past two years, I have 340 to go! (It's really not all that bad because about half of those are short picture storybooks, which I'll probably take an afternoon this fall to read through and enjoy.)
Complete 10 scrapbook projects
I've completed five projects (10th Anniversary Cruise albums, Summertime Scavenger Hunt photos, 2011 Visits Photo Album Scrapbook, Gross Family 2014 Vacations & Visits Photobook, and 2015 Texas Spring Break Vacation Photobook), and I'm working on two other projects that I'm hoping to have completed by the end of this year.
Review all paid for scrapbook classes
I'm doing well on this goal and recorded my progress HERE and HERE.
Watch all the movies in our collection
In a post earlier this month, I mentioned that I'd rearranged our collection of DVDs/Blu-Rays and updated our inventory spreadsheet along the way. I'm checking items off this list as a way to track this Goal. There are actually 700+ line items on this list because it contains all our movies, TV shows, documentaries, cartoons, etc . . . obviously my goal is not to watch everything on the list! I simply want to watch the majority of the movies we own, although I reserve the right to skip the zombie, monster, and horror movies that Robbie enjoys but that really do not appeal to me.
Read through the Bible again
I'm currently two-thirds of the way through this goal, so I'll be able to check this one off soon.
Before I end this discussion of Goals, I have to share the one thing that is essential in the accomplishment of a Goal. It's a single word that I included near the end of the booklet I created for that class so many years ago . . . action! Without action, a Goal is simply something written on a piece a paper or a thought that never comes to fruition.
In summary, Goals often provide the INSPIRATION needed to move toward (action!) the completion of those Goals, thus the two are intertwined.
What Goals are you working on right now? What action can you take this week to move you toward the completion of one of your Goals? Please share your thoughts on Goals and INSPIRATION in the comments.
Click HERE to see all my INSPIRATION A-Z posts, or click a letter below to see individual posts.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
I am excited to announce that in September I'll be teaching Intro to Bible Journaling Workshops at Scrappin' Goodtime (Sept. 10) in Corsicana, Texas, and Personal Scrapbook (Sept. 17) in Allen, Texas. (Check out my blog post on the Scrappin' Goodtime blog for more information about the classes there.)
As I prepare for these workshops, I have spent most of this past week in the Word - studying, praying and illustrating scriptures. I am currently using my New Inductive Study Bible (NASB) as my journaling Bible because it has wider margins than my other Bibles. It's not specifically a journaling Bible, but it is working well as I try different ways of illustrating the messages I want to remember.
As I prepare for the upcoming workshops, I suggested to the scrapbook store owners that it would be great to have a Bible with a variety of illustrated pages that could be on display at the store. Susie, the owner of Scrappin' Goodtime, purchased and sent me a very nice KJV Journaling Bible. The margins are lined and designed with lots of space for adding journaling.
I especially enjoyed getting to use some of the new Bella Blvd Illustrated Faith Genesis collection products in this Bible.
Candi and Patti, owners of Personal Scrapbook, purchased an NIV Note-Taker's Bible that I've also been adding illustrations to this past week.
This Bible has a decent sized side margin plus a wide bottom margin.
When I originally started illustrated Bible journaling in my New Inductive Study Bible (NASB), I thought I probably would not get a new Bible . . . but after working with these different Bibles, I changed my mind. So I'm just getting started in a new Bible that I'll tell y'all about in a future post! :)
However, I want to say that all of these Bibles work very well for illustrated journaling. The most important thing is simply spending time in the Word . . . and engaging our creativity along the way is just an added bonus to drawing closer to the Lord. I recommend simply finding a Bible in a version and format that you'll actually read and use and that fits within your current budget.
Are you adding any illustrated journaling to your Bible? What type of Bible are you using?
(Want more INSPIRATION for Bible Journaling? Check out the Illustrated Faith website where it all started!)
Saturday, August 15, 2015
And a combination layout - one 6x12 divided page and a full 12x12 page.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
After reading this book, I just had to pull out my Bible and reread the book of Hosea. And truly that's what I think Christian books should always do - create a desire in us to seek truth in The Word!
In order to receive my free copy of this book, I also had to pre-order another copy of the book to share. There was a glitch at Amazon, and I received that book early, too. I've already passed it on (with a pocket card gift tag attached, of course) to a friend who I know will enjoy it, too.
I am a huge fan of Jennifer Rothschild and have read several of her previous books (my favorites are Lessons I Learned in the Dark and Self Talk, Soul Talk), participated in and lead one of her Bible studies (Lessons I Learned in the Dark), attended one of her Fresh Grounded Faith events, and been a featured expert on her womensministry.net website. I definitely recommend Invisible: How You Feel Is Not Who You Are as well as her other books and Bible studies!
Saturday, August 8, 2015
Air-Conditioning - As the temperatures soar here in Texas, I am enjoying being indoors as much as possible!
30 Days of Creative Abandon - an e-course I won during a Cheeky Visionaries webinar last month. This course consists of a daily email with a topic that helps lay the ground for a lifestyle of creativity. The email includes a quote, short description and/or video, a challenge, and links to various posts on the day's topic. There's also a Facebook group for further discussion of the topics.
This is the first run (I think!) of this course that's going to be offered again on months with 31 days, so the next class will be in October. So far the topics are familiar ones, however I'm enjoying this fresh format and the curated list of additional readings each day.
Scrapbooking (of course) - finished another one of my April Top Five layouts earlier today! This was the fourth year Cheri and I have met up after meeting online through our blogs and the old BPC website, but it looks like it might be the first year we get to meet up twice as Robbie and I are planning another trip to Pennsylvania this fall!
The Motivated and Efficient Scrapbooker - free video and pdf lessons from Get It Scrapped designed to help us speed up our scrapbooking process. I'm only on Lesson Two of this six-lesson class, but I'm already enjoying the INSPIRATION provided in the videos, pdfs, checklists and quick guides!
Movies - I spent most of Thursday rearranging our very large inventory of DVDs/Blu-Rays. We store our collection in the drawers of an armoire and chest of drawers in the guest room. Several years ago, I created a spreadsheet database to keep track of what we own (so we don't purchase it again). However, as the collection has grown, it became extremely difficult to find a particular item. I reorganized them so that items in a series/ category (TV show seasons, movie trilogies, Marvel Universe movies, Superman, etc) are grouped together. All the rest are now stored in alphabetical order by title. Along the way I updated the spreadsheet that now has over 700 line items!
When Robbie arrived home, he was thrilled to see what I'd been working on. He helped me go through the list one more time to be sure I hadn't missed anything. I had found nine duplicates in our collection, mostly because we'd upgraded from DVD to Blu-Ray or purchased an entire series that contained something we had separate. (Those items will be passed on to family members who will enjoy them, so we got in a little decluttering, too!) Of course, the reward for all this hard work is taking time to watch a movie each evening!
What are you enjoying this weekend?
Thursday, August 6, 2015
I found a new sketch challenge site recently and was inspired to use this month's layout sketch as INSPIRATION for my page showcasing photos from my visit to LeAnne's back in April. I just had to record the story of those stubborn rub-ons LeAnne used on one of her layouts!
The sketch from Scrapping Everyday Miracles caught my eye because of the strip of arrow embellishments along the top right of the layout. It also included space for four photos, and, with a few adjustments to the photo sizes, this came together very quickly.
I had additional photos from my visit that I wanted to use, so I created a companion layout using the same background paper.
I freehand cut the banner pieces and used my sewing machine to stitch them together.
Slowly but steadily I'm making progress on my Monthly Top Five! How about you?
Saturday, August 1, 2015
1. March, April, May & June Top Five - I'm challenging myself to scrap my top five (photos or stories or events) from the previous month. I'm behind on this challenge, but I did complete four layouts toward catching up with this goal during July: 3000-Piece Puzzle, Huey UH1 Ride, Easter, Putting in the Crop.
Earlier today, I finished the final layout for my March list, which tells my favorite story from our Spring Break vacation with Robbie's brother and his family.
Journaling reads: We were on the road to Houston . . . there were a couple of conversations going on with six of us in the car, when Kathy suddenly blurted out, "I just saw a lemon!" There was a moment of silence, then we all burst out laughing uncontrollably. She had seen a lemonade stand being hauled down the road, but no one else saw it. This phrase became our favorite during the trip and we made sure Kathy got lots of lemons at every meal.
I found the INSPIRATION for this layout in Sian's blog post showcasing her layout using the Get It Scrapped Scrapbook Page Sketch #102. I used my sewing machine to add the lines radiating from the center of the layout. Once I completed the layout, I felt like it needed a border, so I drew in faux stitching around the edges.
2. Camp Scrap - The Camp Scrap 2015 class contained five different prompts with INSPIRATION for cards, layouts, mixed media projects, and techniques. So far I've only completed the materials for the first prompt, which inspired two of my layouts and one card. I'll be working through more of the materials this month.
3. Flow 30 Day Journal Project - I decided not to participate in this project in July.
4.Rinda's 2015 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt - Once again, I had a very successful month of hunting - I found 20 items, which I posted HERE.
5. Blog Series INSPIRATION A-Z - I started this blog series and shared the first six posts. I know many of you were traveling and/or had very busy months, so here are links to those posts in case there's a topic that you missed and would like to check out!
My July INSPIRATION resulted in 7 layouts, 3 cards, and the Christmas mini-album I completed during a class at Scrappin' Goodtime. I took a Bible Journaling workshop at another local scrapbook store, Personal Scrapbook, and attended a Faith Friends Bible Journaling meet-up at a (not-so) local scrapbook store, The Little Blue House. I also published 22 blog posts (+4 on the Scrappin' Goodtime blog).
I celebrated my birthday throughout the month, beginning with FUN gifts from my Crafty Tuesday friends early in the month. Robbie outdid himself (as usual) with lots more gifts, and Mama & Daddy arrived for lunch out at Babe's Chicken House with a large rectangular package that turned out to be four blank canvases!
For the month of August, I'll be exploring and acting on INSPIRATION in several ways:
1. July Top Five - I'm challenging myself to scrap my top five (photos or stories or events) from the previous month. Along with continuing to catch up with my April, May, and June Top Five, I'll be scrapping these stories from July: (1) Fourth of July, (2) LeAnne, Aiden & Logan's Visit, (3) Legoland, (4) July Scavenger Hunt Finds, and (5) My 46th Birthday.
2. Rinda's 2015 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt - I'm challenging myself to complete the Scavenger Hunt again during the month of August, with a FUN little twist . . . that I'll share when the photos are ready! :)
3. Blog Series INSPIRATION A-Z - I'll be working on the next series of posts for my blog series on INSPIRATION.
4. Reading for INSPIRATION - Robbie picked up several great books for my birthday that I'll be enjoying this month.