Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fall Flavor

So I know we're all thinking about Christmas decorations now (at least I am) but I thought before I take them down, I would show you my Fall decorations.

We set aside a small amount of money to make our house cozy for Fall and I put my cheap frugal self to work using pinterest and creativity.

Here are a few things I ended up with...The quality is not blog-worthy because they are all taken from my iphone....the camera is now missing, what can I say? :-)

 I came up with this on my own. I Had the glass vase (from our wedding) and got the rocks at Wal-mart for cheap. I had bought the twine for other projects so I simply put in rocks and twine until I reached the top and tied a bow around it...easy.
 This is not a great picture of our mantel, but it's my favorite Fall spot in our house. My mom bought me the lanterns at Garden Ridge. Love!) and I had the Autumn leaves garland already. Probably bought it at Target. I got the blessings sign in the middle at Hobby Lobby for half off and the plates at Wal-mart for $2.50. I spray painted them cream as well as the pumpkins.
Here is a close-up of the pumpkins. I got the candlesticks at the Public Market for like 2 dollars a piece. Best. find. ever. I LOVE them!
 I got this sweet thing from my mom at Garden Ridge, but I think it would be totally easy to reproduce. Flower pot, fake Fall flowers, burlap, and twine. Done.
 I got this awesome rustic little basket at TJ Maxx for 7 dollars. I took some of my old paperback books, tied them together with twine and put a flower on top. SO EASY and Cheap!

 It's hard to see, but I took a frame and put Burlap in it. Then I wrote on the glass with a wipe-off marker "love is patient" This is fun because I can change out what it says whenever I want!

 Probably my least favorite. I already had the pumpkin candlesticks and the tray. I took pinecones from our yard and spray-painted them cream...
I had a lot of fun making my little Fall banner! I bought burlap and cut it into triangles. Used brown yarn to sew it to a piece of twine. I used stencils to paint the letters on the burlap. Then added the bows! I love the way it turned out!

Those are my modest Fall decorations, all fairly easy and all cheap! I hoep you like them!  I can't wait to start making things for Christmas!

Happy Fall y'all!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"The streets are not for you..."

I am taking a small break from my submission talks because I just have to share this experience.

I had the privilege of attending the Reach Them to Teach Them event on Tuesday night. Hundreds of teachers gathered to together for a night of encouragement and hope. You can read about it here.

We heard from the one and only Scott Cagle, Hallerin Hilton Hill, and Manuel Scott.

The words of all three of these men were wonderful and touched me deeply.

I was extremely moved by Manuel Scott. If you've ever seen the movie, Freedom Writers, you know part of his story. He was one of the original freedom writers in Ms. Erin Gruwell's class. His story starts off as one of pain and despair, but through people in his life, his faith, and the encouraging words of a teacher, he now has a masters degree and is working on his doctorate!

There's so much I could say about this man. I was so moved by his story. But there's something big that I took from his presentation that I will share with you.

 Just a few highlights of Mr. Scott's childhood included a father who was in jail, a stepfather who was addicted to drugs and was abusive, sexual abuse, never knowing where he would sleep, never knowing what he would eat, and gang violence all around him. This is what he carried with him as a young child.
The turning point in Mr. Scott's life came sitting on a park bench when he was 15 years old. A man who, himself had been lifted from the streets and given hope sat down next to him one day. He did not know him, but he stopped and shared his faith with him. He told him that "the streets weren't for him" He told him he was better than that. One man spoke truth into his life and it changed him forever. From that point on, things improved. he went back to school and a teacher gave him more hope. He graduated and went to college and now is a successful family man.

I can't tell you how much this moved me. All it took to get him on the right track was one person speaking the truth to him. One person!

I think of these babies that grow up with parents who don't love, provide for, or protect them. I think of these children who only know poverty and the streets. I think of sweet babies that don't get loved and see things that most of us will never see. They are not thousands of miles away. They are not hiding or difficult to find. They are right under our nose. 

My heart longs for them. What will it take for them? Who will say to them that the streets aren't for you? You are better than this! There is a God who loves you and knew you before you were born! He made you for more than jail or abuse or poverty! He made you for so much more than that! Who is going to tell them?! I pray everyday that I could speak into even one child's life that way. That I could give one person hope for the future. Just one would be enough.

So how does this apply to you? 2 ways.
1) Who around you needs to hear the truth? how can you change one person's life today? Pray that God will show you someone in your life that needs to hear this today. "The streets aren't for're better than that."

2) You don't have to be an impoverished, abused child to need hope. Maybe you need some encouragement today. What muck and mire are you engulfed in? What is it that is dragging you down and stealing your hope?

Do you tell yourself that you're not good enough because you're not like her/him? Do you tell yourself that you'll never be a good enough wife/husband or mother/father or friend or Christian? Do you think you will never be released from the pain you feel? What is it that's keeping you in the streets? 

Because I can tell you right now, you are better than that. Whatever lies the world and the enemy bombard you with, they are just that, lies. You were made for more than that! The Creator of the universe knew you before you were born! He lovingly made you with a purpose! You are better than the muck and the mire and the lies! Hear me when I tell you, "The streets are not for you." Get yourself out of the streets and walk in the life God has for you.