Tuesday, August 25, 2020

July Bible Journaling Pages

Last month I started reading the book of Psalms.  It's a very long book, so one month later, I am still reading the book of Psalms.  But I'm loving every minute of it and soaking it all in!  Being in the book of Psalms at this time in history has been extraordinary eye opening for me and comforting.  I can so relate to so many of the experiences of the psalmists.  

One theme I am constantly seeing in the book of Psalms is how David looked to God as a refuge, and as a place of safety from his enemies.  As I've watched our society break down the past few months, I too have had to learn to trust God to keep me and my family safe.  I live in the country so I don't have too much to worry about until I travel, but both of my children live in suburbs of large cities so I worry about their safety a lot.  God has been teaching me to trust in Him to protect me and my family from all the civil unrest I continually keep seeing on the news.

This is a pre-printed page that I colored in using Prismacolor Pencils for the large areas and gel pens for the smaller spots.

Here  is a page I created myself.  I colored the background with craft paint then used stamps for all the images.  I wrote the verse with my own handwriting.  I have tried so hard to duplicate the beautiful calligraphies I see in most Bible Journaling pages on the Internet, but I am just not very good at it.  My daughter even purchased a book for me, but unfortunately it didn't help me.  I finally determined not to worry about it and just write in my Bible with my very own handwriting, because that's what makes it me!  Everyone's handwriting is unique, so whey should copy some fancy calligraphy when I can use my own?

I used a yellow pencil to color in the letters of this pre-printed image then I colored everything else with gel pens.

One of my favorite verses, and favorite songs to sing!   This is all done with gel pens.

I decided to make this pre-printed image as joyful as the word "joy" itself by coloring it with bright, happy colors.

Since Covid19 has affected mine and everyone else's life so much this year, I wanted to do one page in my Bible to document it.  Now, I've never really had any fear of getting the disease (Frankly, I'm one of "those people" who questions if this really is a dangerous disease or if were all being played.  But that's a topic for another day!). If I had any fear at all, it is for my husband who tends to be very susceptible to respiratory illnesses and also I fear all the repercussions the lockdowns have done to our economy and our civil liberties,  but when I read Psalm 91 it hit me like a ton of bricks:  it sounded like exactly the times we are living in.  So I claimed Psalm 91 for my home and family and committed the first verse to memory "Those who live in the shelter of the most high will find rest in the shadow of the almighty".  The important parts to pay notice in this chapter are the words "IF" which is used twice, and "Those Who LIVE in the shelter".  If we live a life in communion with God, we can have security of mind at all times.  We can live without the fear that torments our sleep,  because God is our shelter, our refuge, our protector.

Many of the psalms have the similar theme of God as a fortress, a shelter, a protector.  When I did this page, I once again thought of all the 2020 riots and rioters.  As I write this post, I am thinking of the most recent rioting done in my own home state last night in Kenosha. Every day seems to bring a new tragedy.   The world just seems out-of-control right now.   I highlighted verses 6 and 7 and wrote "2020 rioters" right next to it, because it so perfectly describes everything I'm witnessing in today's culture.  It's all just so sad.  

I created the page by coloring the background with gelatos then using stamps for the butterfly and castle images.   The words were created with a mix of washi tape, stamps, and my own hand writing.

This page, which once again deals with fear and putting our trust in God, was created by first painting the background yellow with craft paint.  I then stamped the butterfly images and used a collection of stickers and my own hand writing for the verses.   Finally, I wrote a few notes of my thoughts as I reflected on these verses.  The most important thing I have gleaned from this passage is from the verse "What can mere mortals do to me?"  Matthew 10:28 says " Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."  If I trust in God, why should I be afraid of man for my eternal soul is secure?

As a lover of birds, I love how many times the Bible speaks of birds, and specifically how often the wings of birds are used as imagery as an example of how God shelters his children.  For this page I painted the background then used bird stamps for the top and bottom.  The verse is a mix of stamps and my own handwriting.  I added a bit of washi tape at the top to theme the page.

One of the things that has saddened me deeply the past six months, or even the past decade, has been seeing believers fall prey to many movements and beliefs in popular culture.  I think that happens when believers are not reading their Bible or spending more time on social media than they are in the word of God.  Their mind and thinking become influenced by the world instead of shaped by Biblical principles.  Christians can go to protests and rallies with the best intentions, but did you know God is a God of Peace?  The Bible says He wants us to "Search for Peace and Work to maintain it".  So when one screams "No Justice No Peace" it's actually antithetical to the word of God.  Does that mean we are not to fight against injustice?  Of course not.  But gathering in large angry mobs in the street is not the answer.  What does it accomplish?  More often than not it results in innocent people being hurt.  There are many non violent, peaceful options.  We are called to live a "peaceful and quiet life trusting in God to defend us".  

We will never see true justice on this earth until Jesus comes back.  Only then will the suffering stop and the wicked will be punished.  Did you know that all of creation will celebrate the Lord's Return?  

Using craft paint I "tried" to create a natural background simulating the sky, mountains, and river".  Then I hand wrote the verse, stamped a globe on the page, and added some hand-written thoughts.

This cute page was created with paint, stamps, and stickers.  I first painted the background using blue for the sky and green for the ground.  The verse is a mix of my own hand-writing with stickers and stamps.  I added some washi tape for emphasis on the key theme of the verse.  The sheep are stamps that I cut on a separate piece of card stock and then glued to my page.

Here are a couple of pre-printed pages I simply colored in with pencils and gel pens.

I love this cheerful, colorful, happy page.

And the last page I have to show I created because when I read the verses I was reminded of the Third Day song based on these verses.  So I created a sky with craft paint, then wrote the lyrics to the song on top.  I used some stickers to highlight certain words, and I stretched out letters to emphasize the words "reaches" and "stretches".  Musical note stamps were then added to further connect the psalm to the song.


If you never heard of the the Third Day song "Your Love, Oh Lord" I found it for you on YouTube.

As I close this page, I pray that you will spend less time this week on social media, less time watching the news, and more time in prayer and the Word of God.  Let God's word fill you, not the words of the world.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Plant A Tiny Seed And Watch It Grow

Well, it's almost the end of the gardening season and I know I've been promising for months to show garden photos, but I have been so busy in my garden, I have barely had time to take pictures yet alone blog about it.  This year was unusually busy because in addition to renovating a very large garden that had completely gone to weed, we also put in a vegetable garden.   So to make up for my lack of garden posts, I'm going to do a little wrap up of most of the garden year for you.  Unfortunately, I did not take any midsummer pictures, so I separated the post into four categories:  spring, late summer, the vegetable garden, and the fruit of my labor.


This spring the gardens were gorgeous.  The laminum was the star of the garden this spring.  My daughter was still living with us at the time it was in bloom and asked what the beautiful purple flower was in bloom all over the yard.  She really loved it.

The peonies did very well this year too.  Below is the common pink peony followed by a beautiful burgundy version.

The Foxglove was not as showy this year as it has been in previously years.  It needs to reseed every year, and last year I renovated this garden so I'm sure I disturbed the seedlings.

                            Late Summer

Black Eyed Susans are the star of my late summer garden.  It reseeds everywhere, and I don't mind one bit.  It is such a low maintenance eye-catching plant.  I just love it.

This is the top of the garden I just renovated looking down into my yard at the other side of the garden shed.  When I finished renovating this garden, after I removed all the weeds, there was nothing left!  So I sprinkled some Zinnia seeds that I picked up from the Dollar Store onto the ground and racked them in.  I had no idea they would turn into these gorgeous beauties!

Here is a side view of the newly renovated garden.  I left plenty of growing space so I don't have to do this  again in a year.  Perennials grow so fast, leave them plenty of room to grow.

                      The Vegetable Garden

And now for my vegetable garden.  This is the view from inside the garden looking down at the shed.

Jackson has been enjoying his time in his "Catio".  He's like a little puppy dog.  Every morning he runs down the steps and stands by the door till I let him out.  His usual routine is to spend all morning outside, then he comes in for lunch and his afternoon nap, then back outside he goes till dark.  I hardly ever see the little guy anymore, he always wants to be outside.  One night he came to the door with a mouse in his mouth.  He was so proud of his catch he had to show him to us.

His favorite spot in the garden is in the cool shade underneath the tomato plants.

The garden has grown beyond my wildest dreams.  Everything is so huge and lush, when people visit they are truly amazed and keep asking me what I did for they never saw such large and healthy plants before.  My response is "Nothing!  I simply planted a tiny seed and watched it grow".  I will have to give all the glory to God because we ordered top soil from a local truck driver and what we ended up getting was pure clay.  We were so devastated.  When it rained, it hardened like cement.  I lamented to my husband that "Nothing will grow in that soil!".  My poor hubby spent weeks trying to amend the soil with sand, peat moss, and wood ash, but still, it was so bad.  But I went ahead and planted my seeds anyway, and for awhile, things looks pretty sad, so I said a prayer over my garden asking God to bless it and make it fruitful for my family, and lo and behold....He did!  I have more food than we can possibly consume ourselves.  Every morning I go out to the garden and harvest a bushel full of produce, sometimes two, then I spend the afternoon canning/freezing the produce.  Our brand new freezer is almost full to the brim already!  God is good!

In the picture below the squash and watermelon vines got so big, they grew onto the porch!

This picture was taken a month ago, and when I look at it now I can't believe how much things have grown since this photo was taken.  The garden on the left is so full now, you can't even see the dirt.

I thought I'd include this picture so you could see where the garden is in relation to the house.  It is right off our sunroom so it's almost as if the vegetable garden is an extension of the sunroom.  There is a door underneath the wreath on the right, that leads to the porch and the rest of the vegetable garden.

                       The Fruit Of My Labor

And finally, I wanted to show you the fruit of my labor.  I actually think "labor" isn't even the right word.  My husband did most of the hard labor of hauling the dirt and amending the soil, I just planted the seeds and laid down the cocoa bean mulch.  Once the mulch was laid, there was very little labor involved until harvest season.  Now I spend about an hour or two every day picking beans, tomatoes, cukes, summer squash, and Zucchini .  I also look for bugs, and hand pick those off as well.  I did use a little Sevin dust when the plants were young to ward off the cucumber beetles, but once the flowers bloom and the plant starts producing fruit, you can't use the dust anymore....hence the hand-picking!

In the picture below I'm pointing to my Spaghetti Squash.  I have never seen such huge spaghetti squash before in my life, have you?  It grew up the fence on its own and I let it.  So far, only one has fallen off.  I have so much spaghetti squash growing on the ground, I don't mind losing a few.

I planted one row of radishes this year and they were incredible...better than any I've bought in a store.  I was hoping to plant another row this fall, but I don't have any room!  Everything filled in so much, I don't have a row available to plant more.

The bush green beans were incredible.  I could not believe how easy bush beans are to plant and grow.  If you don't think you have a green thumb, at least try beans.  If you have small children, they would love to plant bean seeds with you as their seeds are nice and big and easy for little fingers to handle.

Now, just so you know, you are seeing a rare photograph of me without makeup.  I hesitated posting this photo because I have no make up on but I get questions/comments all the time like "You're always so well put together, it makes me wonder what you look like when you're just at home".  Well, this is what I look like:  no make-up, my hair pulled back in a pony tail or messy bun, and a t-shirt and jeans or  jean shorts.

What I'm holding is a bowl full of kale.  Kale is such an easy plant to grow.  It grows so prolifically that I could harvest a bowl this large every single day.  I've been freezing some of it, but really run out of time in a day to freeze as much as I should, so I fear a lot is going to waste.

I planted one cherry tomato and one grape tomato bush.  They have both been provided me all summer long with more fruit than I possibly need.

I've mostly been canning pickles and tomatoes, but I plan on canning salsa starting today.  I was waiting for my hot peppers to start producing to do the salsa.  The beans, summer squash, and zucchini I have been freezing.  I don't really care for canned beans, that's why I've been freezing them.

I planted a few herbs:  basil, oregano, parsley, and cilantro.  Pictured below is basil before I harvested some.

Here you can see what it looks like after I harvest it, don't worry, it grows back bigger and better than before.  I filled an entire colander with basil and then dried it.

There are many different ways to dry basil.  I oven dried mine.  My first batch I left the leaves whole and then put in a canning jar.  I read if you leave the leaves whole and crunch them as you need them, it produces more flavor.  My second batch, I actually crunched the leaves and then put them in the jar.  Sometimes I'm in a huge hurry and I don't have time to crunch the leaves and prefer to have them pre-crunched so I can just sprinkle them on.  

Once the basil is dried it really shrinks down.  My fresh basil leaves filled two cookie sheets, yet when they were dried they filled one quart size canning jar.

I only planted two zucchini plants and three yellow squash, yet they produce so much fruit it's ridiculous.  Next year I think I will only plant one of each as I seriously don't know what to do with this much zucchini.  I have made just about every dish I can think of at this point.  

Even though I check my garden every single day, zucchini can really get hidden underneath the large leaves.  This one grew so big by the time I saw it I wondered if it was still edible, but it was!  I think I got three dishes out of this one large zucchini.

The picture below would be a typical days harvest in July.  Now, it's probably double that since the cucumbers and peppers are also ready to harvest.

I've never grown summer squash before.  My husband picked up the seeds and I actually had no idea what they were.  I planted them in the ground and I was so surprised by the results.  And the yellow squash is a lot easier to spot in the garden than the zucchini.

And finally I leave you with a picture of one of our little forest friends who visited my garden a few evenings ago.  He/she saw me taking pictures of him/her through the window, and was not afraid at all.  I let him/her nibble on a few things as it's so late in the year it really doesn't matter anymore.  I just love seeing wildlife in my yard.  But, now you know why we have to have our vegetable garden fenced in.  Before we had it completely fenced in, a woodchuck got in and did some serious damage.  We would not have a vegetable garden if it wasn't fenced in as we have a lot of wildlife in our yard.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Day Four Of Our Wisconsin Staycation: Wyalusing State Park

Like many people this year, due to Covid we had to cancel our big vacation plans and take smaller ones closer to home.  One of the things we did was take a "Staycation" in our home state of Wisconsin.  Most of our activities involved just a day trip (see these posts HERE and HERE) but we also did one overnight trip so we could go kayaking on the Kickapoo River, and then visit Wyalusing State Park the next morning. 

Wyalusing State Park is one of Wisconsin's oldest state parks.  It encompasses 2700 acres with amazing overlooks of the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. It has 14 miles of hiking trails, and we had plans to hike a lot of those trails, but it ended up being such a hot and humid day we were quite miserable.  So, we hiked only one loop and called it good, planning to come back in the fall when it is cooler to see the colors.  It ended up being a good thing we left early because we had to take quite a long detour home as a major road was closed.

After looking at a map, we decided to do a loop and take the Old Wagon Road Trail to Bluff Trail, and then back to the parking lot.

Wyalusing is located on the very bottom west of our state.  We are rarely in this area, so we really wanted to make it a point to see this park.  It's a shame we couldn't stay longer to explore.

The Old Wagon Trail was originally built to carry wagons from the bluff tops to Walnut Eddy.  It is a very forested trail.  Most of the trail looks like the top two pictures.  We did cross a little stream at one point, and when you near the end of the trail you are actually walking along the side of the bluff and can see pretty views like this through the trees.  I would imagine in the fall/winter when the tree foliage is gone, the scenic views will be much more grand.

Once we neared the end of the Old Wagon Road Trail we hooked into the Bluff Trail, which was an absolutely incredible experience.  It's a series of steps surrounding massive rocks leading to a small cave and another scenic view.

Most of this trail is fenced off for safety.

As always, my eye was drawn to all the moss covered rocks and ferns growing everywhere.

It's always fun to see how far you've climbed.

This little space between the rocks is part of the trail.  What a fun place to explore!

Here is hubby on the other side.

This steep staircase leads to "Treasure Cave" a small limestone cave.

I was a little nervous getting too close to the cave fearing bats would suddenly fly out.

Coming down the staircase was a little more difficult than climbing up.  Hubby suggested I turn around and climb down as if I were on a ladder.  That worked much better!

This little side excursion off the trail is called "The Knob".  It suddenly comes to a complete stop, so we had to turn around back the way we came.

At the end of Bluff Trail is another scenic overlook.  Picture time!

If you're wondering what that is around my neck, it's a waterproof IPhone case.  I used it the day before kayaking, and actually found it quite handy for hiking because I didn't have to hold my phone the whole time.  

Because we were so hot and dripping wet from the heat and humidity, we decided not to hike anymore trails.  We did however drive through the park to check out their campsites (which are amazing, because they are high on top of a bluff, so all the campers have amazing views) and the boat landing.

People fish off this pier, but most people come here to get their boats, kayaks, and canoes in the water.  Wyalusing State Park actually has a six mile canoe trail that takes you through the Mississippi backwaters to the main channel.  You can rent canoes at the park concession stand.

And that concludes our Wisconsin Staycation!  We do have other plans this summer/fall, so you will be seeing more travel posts soon!

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!