Gifts
Previous month:
August 2008
Next month:
October 2008

September 2008

Lead Me and Teach Me

Apple for the Teacher  Show me Your ways, O Lord. Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me. For You are the God Who saves me. ~Psalm 25:4-5

Well, here's my latest illustration.  I hope you like it.  I've been meaning to do an illustration for Briana's teachers since kindergarten (and now it's 4th grade).  I still have to do one to honor bus drivers, though.

I love back-to-school.  Yeah, I know what you're thinking, but I've ALWAYS loved back to school.  Of course it's my birthday time of year too.  But I just plain like school.  I loved notebooks and pencils and book covers when I was in school, and I still love that stuff - and oh, those seasonal bulletin boards!  I just liked learning.  I'm what you might call a perpetual student.  I don't recommend that, but I do feel more comfortable in a classroom than almost anywhere else.  I nearly became a teacher on a few occasions, and may still in the future.  I volunteer at school, too.  And I have a lot of respect and appreciation for teachers.  How they get our children to behave and focus when it's so hard at home, is still a mystery to me.  One of the blessings of moving in with Mom, is that we moved into an incredible school district.  I just wanted something better than the city, but what we got is one of the nation's top 5% high schools, and one of the best, highest scoring elementary schools in the country.  And still, Bri scored higher than most of the kids at her school, in the county and in the state.  I don't mean to brag, but you gotta be happy about that!  Anyway, even in our school district, teaching isn't easy, and I know that all over the country teachers are putting out their time and their money to help our children achieve success...in school, as citizens, and in life.  I just want to say 'thanks!'

The one area where I WOULD recommend being a perpetual student is where it comes to God.  The Bible has so much to teach us, and it never reads the same way twice.  In his infinite wisdom, God is able to enlighten us about His desires for us and about our areas for improvement or encouragement using the same book for everyone over millennia.  That's miraculous right there!  I remember trying to read the Gospels when I was an unbeliever, and it just made no sense to me.  Now, when I read it, I feel it's wisdom unlocking.  And when I look at my notes in the margin, I see how even my own understanding has changed over the years.  And yet, I still pray like the psalmist 'lead me in your truth and teach me.'  I have very far to go, and sometimes I feel like I've lost my way, but I know God will lead me and teach me.  Some lessons have been hard to learn.  Some paths I needed to be dragged down.  As a Christian I often feel more like a kindergartner than a college student.  And a big lesson I've learned is that wisdom is no substitute for faith.  Look at Solomon, look at learned Pharisee, Paul.  They had plenty of wisdom, but they let their faith slip, and it nearly ruined them.  And that wisdom can really get in the way of faith.  Wisdom can lead to pride and make us think we know better than God, it might make it easier to live without God for a time.  I've been there.  But I've also learned that 'the more I know, the more I know I don't know'.  In all of the wisdom of man, there is plenty of room for God.

Dear Lord, please bless all of the teachers in the world, and bless their work in training up children (and adults).  Help us to be teachers, as your son was, in sharing the gospel.  And as students of your Word and your Ways, teach us follow your path and know your truth so that we may accomplish your work here on earth.  Amen.


SnapTotes Across America

    Submission ME   Submission MI Submission CTSnaptoteSeptember 2008 091

SnapTotes, the company that turns your favorite photos (or in my case, favorite artwork) into fashionable and practical purses, had a contest this summer.  They challenged customers to take photos of their purses at 50 sites across the country.  Theyhave special prizes for the best overall photo, most creative photo, and the funniest story. In addition to the grand prize drawing for a $1000 Amex gift card, every qualified entrant will receive a free clutch from SnapTotes for their first entry.  And if you take photos at 5 sites, you win a free bucket bag.  Well, as you can see, I did it!  From Marshall Point Lighthouse in Maine, to Mystic Seaport, CT, to The Henry Ford in Michigan, to Rehoboth Beach, DE and hometown site, Oriole Park in Maryland we criss-crossed the country this summer with my bag in tow, snapping pics.  It certainly did require the cooperation of my hubby and kids, and their patience as well!  But we did see some sites we would have overlooked otherwise.  The contest officially ends on September 15th, but I got to order my free bucket bag today!  I won't even cross my fingers for any other prizes (though that $1000 would be sweet) because I'm just so happy to have won this much.

I used to say 'I never win anything,' but by now I guess I better change my tune to 'I'm pretty lucky!'

God bless you all!


September Giveaway

Tile fruit of the spirit

New month, new giveaway!  This month the prize is a decorative ceramic tile with stand featuring my illustration, 'Fruit of the Spirit'.  If you've just got to have one before the end of September, you can find it in my web store on sale this month for just $15.70.

It's super-easy to sign up for the giveaway -- just visit www.visionsandverses.com and fill in your email in the box in the upper right corner!  You'll automatically be entered in all the upcoming giveaways, and you'll receive my periodic newsletter about new products or specials.

The winners of the August Giveaway will be receiving an email shortly to let them know they won.

I really do enjoy giving these gifts, so please do sign up today!


You Can't Have a Rainbow without Some Rain

September 2008 086 

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. ~Genesis 9:13

Tropical Storm Hannah blew through our area and left behind some broken branches, leaves, and this glorious double rainbow.  Although you can't tell from the photo, we had a view of the whole rainbow from start to end.  My daughter ran off to find the pot of gold, but came home empty handed.  I feel very blessed that the storm left behind a lot of rain but very little damage, at least in our area.  Maryland is lucky to escape most natural disasters.  Few earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, wildfires, blizzards, hurricanes.  We get an occasional one here or there, but not on the scale other areas seem to.  We do have our emergency rations and evacuation plan in place just in case, but so far we haven't come close to needing it.

As I gazed in awe at our glowing rainbow, I did think about God's covenant.  Not just that first one, but the ones that came after too.  His covenant with Abraham to make him a mighty nation, and of course His covenant through Jesus of salvation by grace through faith.  In particular, I was reminded of and encouraged by Jesus' promise that He would never leave us, nor forsake us, even to the end of the age.  I found this very reassuring considering so much of the news in the world today.  I find much of what is on CNN and Fox News to be very troubling, from reports on the shallow lives of starlets to the increasing aggression of Russia and Iran, from the greed of businessmen and politicians, to environment disasters around the world, and most of all, the depths of man's inhumanity to man, which has exceeded what I ever could have imagined possible.  Nearly every day, my hubby has to remind me that God is in control and His will be done.  So it was good to see that rainbow and remember that promise that Jesus will be with us through it all.  Anyone who has read the last chapter of 'The Book' knows that things on earth are going to get much worse before they get better. (If you haven't read that last chapter, you ought to!)  Even if we aren't in the 'end times', it is still so heartening to realize that we have a God who cares, and who will stand by us through whatever life brings our way.  The hurricanes will blow, but God promises us a rainbow afterward!