Monday, January 12, 2015

Counting Our Blessings - Link Up

It's a new year and I am so hopeful about this year.

Now to start counting our blessings for the year of 2015!

1.  My wounds are staying sewn up and so far, so good. It's been a month since my last surgery and I'm starting to see the incisions healing up. Such a blessing - such a miracle of God to have my knee and calf sewn up. Praise God!

2.  One thing I've decided to do this year is to be more creative. With that in mind, I've joined an online art journaling group and it's been so great! I was really looking forward to doing this and it's been so good for me! This is my first pages - step by step - for the first week of January. The prompt was to use book paper or other printed papers as the base. I used a text book, some comics from the newspaper and some Japanese newspaper pages.


I then sprayed through a stencil doily with inks and smeared some more ink around the page. I did more than is shown here, but you'll see it on the next picture.

I added some elements here. A small tag with a January calendar on it, the word, "Hopeful" which is what I am going to be this year, a little pouch that has my goals tucked inside, and finally Jeremiah 29:11 written on gesso covered Japanese newspaper. I may add more elements later on, but right now, I'm really happy with it.

3.  These girls just brighten my days. Cookie and Mitzi continue to get along better, although, Cookie does have her times where Mitzi drives her nuts and she lets out a growl. Mitzi respects the growl and backs off. They play every day and have a lot of fun together.

Muffy is such a sweetheart and here I am with her having a little snuggle.

I hope your year is very blessed! Let's all be hopeful - looking to God for all His blessings and love!

Please link up with me and share your own blessings. You can grab my button off the "Grab My Button" page above. Thank you so much for coming by, leaving comments and participating in the link up!

Blessings - Julie

Book Review - Sketch, The Non-Artist's Guide to Inspiration, Technique and Drawing Daily Life


 Urban sketching--the process of sketching on the go as a regular practice--is a hot trend in the drawing world. In this aspirational guide, French artist France Belleville-Van Stone offers motivation to move beyond the comfort zone, as well as instruction on turning rough sketches into finished work. By sharing her own creative process, which includes sketching by hand and digitally, Belleville-Van Stone emboldens readers to craft a method of their own and devote more time to art, even if it's just 10 minutes a day. Sketch will inspire artists both established and aspiring to rethink their daily practice, sketch for the pure joy of it, and document their lives and the world around them.


What an incredibly fun book! I love how the author takes you through things and makes it seem so easy to sketch your environment. I have used a lot of the techniques in the book and they really do work and I was so happy with the improvement in my sketching abilities.

The author goes into many aspects of drawing with different mediums. He goes into drawing and sketching with pencils, pens and watercolors. I learned a lot about sketching that I didn't know. I also learned a lot about watercolors, even though I have used them for many years. There is so much great advice and technique in this book! It's one of the best books on sketching I've ever read.

If you enjoy sketching, or want to learn, I highly recommend this book. I have had a lot of fun with this book and have seen a great improvement in my sketching and drawing. I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars. 

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by Blogging for Books

Blessings - Julie

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book Review - Fight Back with Joy


Joy is stamped on coffee mugs, sewn onto decorative pillows, even displayed on dish soap. But what if there s a deeper power and purpose to this mighty virtue?
Through vulnerable storytelling, a difficult diagnosis, and a good dose of humor, Margaret Feinberg reveals how joy is more than whimsy. It s the weapon you can use to fight life's battles. Fight Back with Joy will help you:
  • Expand your joy threshold by awakening to God s fierce love for you
  • Escape fear and regret by applying biblical strategies to whatever crisis you re facing
  • Overcome depression as you reignite your imagination for laughter and celebration
  • Discover freedom from the past by learning how to turn mourning into joy
  • Rise above endless demands and become more winsome, cheerful, and thankful
No matter what your circumstances, you can practice defiant joy. When you do, you will embrace a life that s richer and fuller than you ve ever known before—a life radiant with joy.


A self-described "hot mess," Margaret Feinberg is a popular Bible teacher and speaker at churches and leading conferences such as Catalyst, Thrive, and Women of Joy. Her books, including The Organic God, The Sacred Echo, Scouting the Divine, and Wonderstruck and their corresponding Bible studies, have sold nearly one million copies and received critical acclaim and extensive national media coverage from CNN, the Associated Press, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and more.

She was recently named one of 50 women most shaping culture and the church today by Christianity Today, one of the 30 Voices who will help lead the church in the next decade by Charisma magazine and one of the '40 Under 40' who will shape Christian publishing by Christian Retailing magazine. Margaret lives in Morrison, Colorado, with her husband, Leif, and their superpup, Hershey. She believes some of the best days are spent in jammies, laughing, and being silly.

Now that you've read the official bio, here's the kick off your shoes and drink iced tea on the back porch version:

Margaret spends most mornings with her good friends Coffee and God. Without Coffee, mornings would be difficult. Without God, life would be impossible.

After a caffeine and God infusion, you'll often find Margaret (puppy-in-tow) adventuring outdoors--she enjoys hiking, river rafting, and scanning the night sky for the Northern Lights and shooting stars.

She boasts an exceptionally dry sense of humor that she attributes to her Jewish father. Little known secret: He was recently inducted into the Surfer's Hall of Fame, and her mom earned her captain's license for 60-ton ships. They're pretty amazing. You'd like them.

Married to Leif for almost a decade, Margaret's known for losing things like her sunglasses on her head, keys in her hand, or her phone for the 12th time in the same day. Luckily, Hershey hasn't been left anywhere... yet.

For being a writer, friends say she has a surprisingly narrow vocabulary and uses a lot of the same phrases including, "I'm game", "Whahhooo!" and "Oooh! Let's do it."

Always up for an adventure, Margaret is known to drive 50 miles to chase down a food truck and snag Groupons for skydiving on a whim. Some describe her as a bat out of hell behind the wheel. Steer clear. She prefers watching comedies and laughing until her tummy aches over doing sit ups. And if you touch her belly button she gets nauseous. So don't do it. 
You can find out more about Margaret at



"Fight Back with Joy" has been a life changing, thought changing book for me. Margaret shares her own story of getting cancer and what it has meant in her life. The ups and downs, but mostly, finding joy where ever she can through her faith in God.

The greatest thing about this book is how real and honest Margaret is. She shares her story honestly and you feel like you're sitting with her over coffee and getting to know her. I highlighted this book on almost every page. As I'm going through my own health issues, I found her book so helpful and encouraging! It really has helped me to have a new attitude about my struggles. One of my most favorite things she said is this:

     "The Great Give is parachuting people into your life to remind you that you are not alone. Perhaps you've been distracted by those who have vanished....(then she goes on to say later) Even if you feel alone, God has positioned people waiting in the wings to spring into action. They may not be the faces of those you expect, but if you keep your heart and eyes open you may be surprised by whom God uses."

It was almost as though she was reading my journal and my mind. I had been doing exactly that. Distracted by those who have vanished from my life,  however, I started to see I had a core group of people who have circled the wagons around me and have never left.

The whole book was like this for me. Beautiful pearls of wisdom and insight that have helped me to look at my situation in a whole new light and with joy! Whether you're going through a health issues, a family problem, or anything else, this book will show you how to find joy in your life, have greater faith, and understand that there is joy, even in those dark situation. It will also show you how to reach out to others with joy when they are going through those hard times.

In my opinion, this is a must-have book for everyone.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by Worthy Publishing

Blessings - Julie

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Beginnings!!

I am looking forward to the new year and new beginnings! I have hope that this year I will finally get my health issues more under control and that I will also learn to live with my new normal.

Remember this?

I was diligently working along on it and was ready to start the church to the right of that house with the green shutters when it occurred to me - with horror, I might add - that I didn't have enough fabric to even do the church, let alone the things to the right of the church! I counted and re-counted and it was true. I had started my project with the fabric going the wrong way. I had the fabric on a scroll bar and somehow in my mind, I thought it should go on the way I put it, but nope - it needed to go the other way. I can't tell you how upset I was. So much so, that I put away all my cross stitch and decided I didn't want to stitch again, ever! I think because I was so sick, this was just too much for me to deal with. I'm happy to report that I have picked up my needle again and am working on this

Here's my progress so far

Sorry the picture looks more yellow than it really is. I'm using a fabric very similar to the one in the packet. I haven't decided what to do about the Christmas village. The thought of picking out all those stitches makes me horribly sad. I'm not even sure I want to work on it again, but I've just set it aside for now and will decide at a later date. Has this ever happened to you?

Blessings - Julie

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014!

It's the end of 2014 and it's been a pretty tough year for me and my family. I'm not sorry to say goodbye to this year, at all! I am so hopeful for the new year and am praying for a better year all the way around.

When I look back over this year, there are so many sad moments. I lost little Holly

and sweet Sammy 

I've had 5 surgeries, countless infections, several hospitalizations, and new health issues. It has truly been one challenge after another.

I've learned a lot about people and about myself. I have weaknesses in areas I didn't realize I have and I have strengths I didn't know I have. I've learned that my husband is a tireless giver and care provider, who loves me beyond measure. I've learned that my children are selfless and caring even when I'm falling apart.

I've also had some really sweet and special moments. I have this new little girl who gives me such joy!

Miss Mitzi

I've been blessed with a core group of friends who have checked on me all the time and given me so much love and encouragement. You find when something like this happens that you'll have people who give of themselves tirelessly to love on you, and I have been so blessed by these women in my life. My family and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas and it did not ever leave my mind that I might not have been here to celebrate with my family.

Most of all, I have seen the hand of God in my life throughout this whole year. From the moment that the orthopedic surgeon cut my artery, God was there, with His mighty hand on me, orchestrating me to get to the best vascular surgeon in my state to have a bypass done, which in turn saved my leg and my life. I've also been blessed to have this same surgeon take care of me and help get me well.

Yes, 2014 has been a tough year in so many ways, but to see all that God has done for me and how He has worked in my life, was amazing and awesome. I am thankful to have been here for 2014 and I'm looking forward to all God has for me in 2015!

Happy New Year!!

Blessings - Julie