Monday, March 12, 2018

A Sweet Fragrance {Bible Art Journaling, This I Know}

Bible Art Fragrance 2Cor 2 15-16

“For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”
2 Corinthians 2:15 (CSB)

I wish I could always leave behind me the sweet fragrance of Christ.

That is one of my life goals—and one of the hardest to attain. By nature I am critical, harsh, and always ready with a response that may or may not be loving. So I have to go against what is my nature in order to be sweet and kind. But, that’s my desire.

Bible Art 2 Cor 2 15-16 Fragrance

When I was a young woman, our pastor asked, “You young ladies out there—do you want to know how to be a sweet old woman? … Be a sweet young woman.”

That’s one of my Life Lessons right there.

I want to be the sweet fragrance of Christ, “an aroma of life
leading to life.”

#BibleArtJournaling #WatercolorinmyBible #SweetFragrance #LifeLessons #ThisIKnow #IllustratedFaith #FaithArt #ScriptureArt

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Blessing Upon Blessing Upon Blessing{HeartStrings; My Family, My Heart}

Our first great grandchild, Leeland Carl Ford, was born at 6:07 PM (PST), March 10, 2018, in Vancouver, Washington, to our grandson Conner and his wife Caroline. Leeland’s paternal grandparents are our son Mark and his wife Kristy.

Stats: 6 pounds, 2 ounces, 19 1/2 inches

These pictures, from Mark and Kristy, are from Leeland’s first day. (We will be able to see him later this month…Washington is a long way from Missouri…sigh.)

Little Adorable Snuggle Bug

03-10-2018 Leeland's First Day (1)

03-10-2018 Leeland's First Day (3)

03-10-2018 Leeland's First Day (4)

03-10-2018 Leeland's First Day (5)

03-10-2018 Leeland's First Day (7)

03-10-2018 Leeland's First Day (10)

03-10-2018 Leeland's First Day (9)

As the keeper of the family history records, yesterday I input Leeland’s birth information into my family tree software. As I clicked on Mark and Kristy's record, and then next clicked on Conner and Caroline's record, and then clicked on "Add a son" under the record for Conner and Caroline Ford, that's when the obvious hit me.

In my family, Leeland is the first of a new generation.

He will always be our first great grandchild. He will always be Mark and Kristy's first grandchild. He will always be Conner and Caroline's firstborn.

Legacy is such a special thing.

We are blessed through these layers God has given us: our son and his wife, their son and his wife, and now their son. I think of the old hymn, “There Shall be Showers of Blessing.” For me, it is, “There Shall be LAYERS of Blessing.”

Welcome to our family, Precious One, Son of My Son's Son.

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
Luke 1:50 (NIV)

#FamilyLove #Legacy #LayersofBlessing #GreatGrandson #JesusLovesMe

Friday, March 9, 2018

This I Know {This I Know}

(photo taken out our kitchen window a couple of months ago)

“…but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31 (CSB)

I have been thinking lately about the messages I want to share through my blog. Although most folks just do not comment on blogs these days, I do know that I have at least some visitors (about 2,000/month), and maybe someone who visits needs to hear some little something I share.

Perhaps I am at the “season of life” (a term over-used by me here lately…hmmm…) when I want to feel like I have made a difference in some way. I don’t view that as a bad thing, as long as I allow God to direct me in the ways I should do that.

Oh, that wonderful verse about soaring like eagles, running and not being weary, walking and not being faint! I love the idea of soaring, even though I can’t physically fly, running without being tired (just as unlikely for me as flying, frankly), and I can personally relate to walking (hello Fitbit) without being “faint.”

I want to finish well.

My trust IS in the Lord.

So, that promise is mine!

I’m grabbing on to it!!

Members in our very special small group a few years ago commented to me that they appreciated the life lessons I often shared with them during our time together. It helped me realize that having lived a full (okay, a “long”) life as a Christ-follower has resulted in a storehouse of lessons learned.

Sometimes those lessons were learned from seeing others’ mistakes. Sometimes the lessons were directly taught to me by a spiritual mentor. But sometimes those lessons were learned the hard way—by personal experience, maybe even through heartache, pain and sorrow.

No matter the source of the lesson learned, I am realizing that I have a series of mini-sermons stored up (from those experiences), and I feel safe to share some of those here, because, after all, it is MY blog, and it is not required reading (ha).

A new category for my blog is now “This I Know.” I will use that “tag” when I post one of those “mini-sermons.”

#ThisIKnow #LessonsLearned #LifeLessons #GodistheBestTeacher #SharindMyHeart

Monday, March 5, 2018

Plurals, Possessives, and the Almighty Apostrophe {My Red Pen}


I am a self-confessed compulsive editor. I simply cannot help it. I do try to keep my mouth shut and only offer my suggested edits, corrections, and re-writes if/when asked.


Okay, so I don’t always succeed at that keeping-my-mouth-shut thing.

Communication on mobile devices has spread so rapidly that many things heretofore considered improper usage are now considered acceptable.


However, at least for now, there ARE some “rules” still in place.

(And, by the way, I’m the first to say I do not follow all the guidelines, especially those for formal writing--in my blog, for example. Sometimes formal writing can seem stilted and off-putting. So, you would absolutely be able to use YOUR red pen on much of my writing, I’m sure.)


You can find many references to correct usage on the internet. But, off the top of my head, here are a few of my thoughts on this topic.

A standard joke among English teachers is, “I wish I had a quarter for every apostrophe or incorrectly-used comma I have seen this week…” or today, even…

If I had to choose to be a written/typed “character,” I would choose to be the apostrophe. I say that because it is apparently the most-loved and certainly the most-used of all the characters, save the boring end punctuation marks. From my observation, so much that is written these days seems to be absolutely laced with apostrophes.

Basically, apostrophes should be used either (1) to show possession or (2) to represent a missing letter in a contraction. They are not to be used simply to indicate a plural (more than one).

It gets tricky when you have a plural and you want to also show possession:

Correct: “We are going over to the Fords’ house tonight.”

(“Fords” is plural, describing the Ford family, and the apostrophe is added after the plural “s” to show possession; the house belongs to the Fords.)

Also correct: “We are going over the Fords’ tonight.”

(“House” is implied, so this is implied possession.)

Not correct: “We are going over to the Ford’s tonight.”

Not correct: “We are going over to the Fords tonight.”

Correct: “We are going to invite the Fords over for dinner.”

A common incorrect usage is when a word that is intended as a plural is spelled with an apostrophe, such as “story’s” instead of “stories.” So, it is correct to say, “the story’s beginning” (meaning the beginning that belongs to the story), and it is correct to say, “I love reading your stories,” but it is not correct to say, “I love reading your story’s.”

A possessive pronoun already shows possession, by definition. Possessive pronouns are words like his, hers, yours, ours, theirs, its. The pronoun “its” already shows possession.


Following is my biggest pet peeve. It is without a doubt the usage error that I see the most often. And, strangely, the rule for correct usage on this one is the easiest to remember, because, unlike most “rules” of the English language, this one is set in concrete:

The only time the word “its” should contain an apostrophe is when used as a contraction of “it is.”

Hard and fast rule. Easy to remember.

So, one way to check yourself on this one: When you have finished your writing, do a search for it’s. Every time it’s comes up, it should be as a contraction for “it is.”

Repeating my disclaimer: My writing is not error-free; in fact, it is sometimes intentionally casual. Okay, maybe it is usually intentionally casual.

But I just see so much incorrect use of the language that sometimes I can relate to this:


(Note: Obviously these images were all obtained from the internet, and they are clearly labeled with the original source. However, since my blog is in no way a commercial enterprise, I am thinking I am not infringing.)

#EnglishUsage #EnglishTeacherForever #CompulsiveEditor #CannotReadWithoutEditing #MyRedPen

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Joy in the Lord {In the Word, Bible Art Journaling}

Bible Art Neh 8-10 Joy of the Lord

This is one of my favorite verses, but in honesty, the reason I love the verse is because it puts JOY and LORD and STRENGTH all in one powerful sentence. The actual meaning of the sentence itself is a little hard for me to put into words. I think of it more like “my joy in the Lord gives me strength” (that’s this verse according to Barbara—which has absolutely no authority).

I have been praying lately for more joy in my life. So, following my own explanation, that would imply that I need more of God in my life—that is, If I want more joy, I need to give priority to God’s place in my daily life. My joy comes from God. And because it comes from Him, it strengthens me.

Reading some commentaries on this passage, I found this: “This beautiful sentence is, literally, ‘delight in Jehovah is a strong refuge’.”

I like that.

This page is in my She Reads Truth CSB, and I prepped the page with clear gesso to keep the markers and the InkTense blocks (that I use as watercolor with a water brush) from bleeding through.

#BibleArtJournaling #BibleArt #BibleJournaling #InktenseBlocks #WaterColorinmyBible #IllustratedFaith  #FaithArt #JoyoftheLord #Joy #SheReadsTruthBible

Friday, March 2, 2018

New Ministry Opportunity {GraceNotes}

Bible Art Ps 34_18

God and I have been engaged in an ongoing conversation about this season in my life. I won’t be sharing most of it here, as some details might have a tendency to cast me in a not-so-attractive light. But God knows me (after all, He made me), so He is okay when I yell out my candid, sometimes-accusatory questions to Him. Like “So, what on earth am I supposed to do now?!!”

In fact, sometimes I think it makes Him smile. He smiles on me. Because He knows. He knows my capabilities. He knows my gifts (He gave them to me). He knows my strengths. But, oh, yeah, He also knows my weaknesses (they are legion). But, mainly, He knows my future. Oh, wait...He doesn’t just KNOW my future. He is the One who actually PLANNED my future. Whoa!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD . “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

So, He smiles at this little child, when I stamp my feet and cry, “What now?” He has answers. In His time...

When we left our beloved church, that we, alongside our son and his family, helped to plant, we also left behind our place(s) of service. While I may have sometimes complained through those twelve years, at all that needed to be done in my various roles including children’s ministry director (developing our first VBS about put me under!!), ministry assistant, hospitality team leader, keyboard player in the praise band, small group leader, prayer team coordinator, leader of the care team, and sometimes the bathroom cleaner (ha), it was meaningful service. It was rewarding and affirming, as our church grew and God brought more people into the Kingdom, which also meant more and more people to help with the work.

But the withdrawal—from that place of being needed—has been personally tough for me, especially coupled with the fact that I was also withdrawing from serving alongside my son and his family (as God called them to another work far away).

Bible Art Ps 34_18

That was a few years ago, and it has been a season in the desert for me, because I feel spiritually dry when I do not have a place of service. Within the last year, I have been able to be a part of a great praise band in our current church, and that has been awesome, and probably my “saving grace” from feeling totally parched!

But somehow I knew there was more for me. My wrestling times with God involved my questioning whether or not my work is done. Is there really nothing more for me to do? It doesn’t seem like that should be the case...I’m not even tired...but, if there is more, then what is it?

Through a series of, I believe, God-directed steps in the last few weeks, I have become acquainted with a special ministry organization that is in the beginning stages, off and running, with a wonderful start! I learned about this ministry when a Bible art journaling friend referenced a free Bible study that was being offered, “Worthy of the Calling,” a 31-day study on Ephesians, led by Sarah Koontz, founder (now the president) of I was so impressed with the study, its non-stressful content delivery, and the simple and yet profound thoughts in the studies each day. I spent quite a bit of time looking around the web site.

The organization is a not-for-profit organization and for now, what Sarah does is write Bible studies and makes them available for free. She believes that when women get in the Word, lives change. So, she offers opportunities for life change, by offering free Bible studies.

I researched their Statement of Faith and their Mission and Values and was very impressed. The site mentioned a need for volunteers to help as support in areas such as the Prayer Wall. I completed a Volunteer Application (thinking, I know I can pray) and shortly received a call for a phone interview. After the hour interview, I was offered the volunteer position of Prayer Wall Coordinator. Knowing it was an answer to my prayer for an opportunity to serve God’s kingdom, the next morning I accepted the position.

Living by Design Ministries - Free Online Bible Studies for Christian Women

(Click logo to see Sarah’s team)

Since I came on board three days ago, it has been a bit of a whirlwind, with lots to do, as Sarah is about to launch her next study, and I am not only on the Creative Team, but also on the Launch Team.

If you are a Christian woman and interested in participating in the launch of Wisdom Whispers, click the graphic here and sign up. The Facebook Team for the Launch group is so fun!

Sarah and the rest of the Creative Team have been so encouraging and welcoming. The women on this team, several of whom I have met in phone conversations and Google video meetings, are so talented and dedicated; it is such an honor to serve with them.

I am so excited to be a part of this vibrant ministry.

The mind of man plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 (NASB)

So, for now, God has given me a place to serve. I am grateful, and I feel a little sorry that I stamped my foot and behaved a bit like a petulant child. But, like I said, I think it’s okay with God. He is with me. He is for me.

#HeartStrings #GraceNotes #Ministry #livingbydesign #Godhasaplan

Monday, February 26, 2018

Great Bible Study {In the Word}

I just finished a wonderful Bible Study, “Worthy of the Calling,” by Sarah Kuntz at It is a 31-day study of the book of Ephesians. It is free and can be done any time. After you sign up, you get 31 days of daily emails, each taking only about 10-15 minutes. The studies are easy to understand and yet have a challenging depth.

As Sarah says, The beautiful truths of Ephesians will teach you…

  • How to Root your life in God’s Word
  • How to Access your Spiritual Wealth
  • How God’s Work Empowers your Walk
  • What it means to be Alive in Christ
  • How to Love because you are Loved
  • How to Pray with Perseverance
  • How to Foster your Spiritual Gifts


I loved everything about this study, and I highly recommend it. I’ve already signed up for another one with Sarah, on Psalm 119.

#BibleStudy #livingbydesign #Ephesians #worthyofthecalling

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Seven Months Ago Today: Redemption Story {HeartStrings, My Family, My Heart}

Wedding-158 ed cont15 midt20 resuzed smaller

Sometimes when an event is overwhelming in significance and emotion, I realize later that I did not include the “reporting” of the event in my blog. I don’t blog about every event in my life anyway (it is not meant to be a chronological life account—I have my “life story” that I have written/am writing, for that purpose). Still, I want my blog to include a “record” of this redemptive story of God’s grace.

Now, the details of the story are not mine to tell. The details belong to the main character, my daughter Sharida. But, as a mom, I can share a summary of my praise about it all!

Sharida came to faith in Christ as a young girl. Through a series of events in her life, some within her control, some not, she found herself in need of rescue in recent years. She allowed God to bring her back close to Him. As Sharida says it, “God saved me when I was 6, but he rescued me when I was 42.”

We all prayed for God to redeem what had happened in her life. God answered our prayers and brought a godly man into her life.

The wedding was seven months ago today.

The wedding, including praying over their new family as a part of the ceremony (led by Mark, our son, her brother, a pastor) was an incredible celebration of God’s redemptive story.

I thank God for this miracle, an answer to 46 years of praying by this mom.



Sharida’s nephew, our grandson Conner played and sang “The Day Before You” (Matthew West) as the processional.


Sharida’s daughter Alyssa was her Maid of Honor.


Sharida was escorted and given away by her dad and her son (incredibly sweet).








Recessional: “God of All My Days” (Casting Crowns)—played by Conner and sung by Conner and Mark.


Sharida and her dad (my hubby).



New Family: Sharida and Greg and their children, Alyssa, Dawson and Evan.


Sharida’s family in attendance (happy to have my sister and her husband—who happens to be my husband’s brother—as well as my brother and wife, along with our son Mark and his wife Kristy, and their son Conner and his wife Caroline). Missing piece of my heart: Tory (Mark and Kristy’s daughter) was on mission in Mexico and could not attend.



#ThankYouLord #RedemptionStory #GodsGrace #CountryWedding #GodAnswersPrayers

Monday, February 19, 2018

Praise the Lord! {Bible Art Journaling}

Bible Art Ps 150-6 IL Bible

This mixed media page in my Crossway Journaling Bible: Interleaved Edition (every other page is blank) took quite a bit of time, mainly due to drying times between the layers of paint and markers. I’m happy to be able to do art in this Bible without thinking about being careful to use transparent media over words.

This verse (Psalm 150:6) makes it very clear that every living thing is meant to Praise the Lord. Umm…that would include me. These are the last words of the book of Psalms.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord! – Ps 150:6

#BibleArtJournaling #InterleavedBible #FaithArt #AcrylicPaints #MixedMedia

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Birds and Me {Bible Art Journaling}

Bible Art Matt 6-36 ILBible

My new Crossway ESV Journaling Bible, Interleaved Edition, with a blank page between every page of text, allows plenty of room for art without it being “on” the page of text. In this case, I used mixed media (a combination of media, such as paints, stamps, decoupage), my “first love” of hobby art.

After prepping the page with clear gesso so that the paint would not bleed through, I sketched the bird and branch and then painted the image and the background with acrylic paints. After adding a couple of background stamps, I used decoupage to adhere the word strips.

Note: I was hesitant about the Interleaved Bible, but it is quickly becoming my favorite journaling Bible.

I love this simple truth: God cares for the birds. How much more, then, does He care for me.

Matthew 6:26 (ESV)

Bible Art Matt 6-36 ILBible

#BibleArtJournaling #InterleavedJournalingBible #MixedMedia #GodsCare #FaithArt

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Legacy of True Love {HeartStrings}


Today I posted pictures on Instagram of our Valentine’s Day lunch, at one of our favorite restaurants. I noted that this is 52+ years of celebrating Valentine’s Day together (we were sweethearts for 5 years before marriage and have been married for 52 1/2 years). Our granddaughter Tory responded to the post with ,“So much love to celebrate. A legacy to be proud of.” Her comment reminded me. It is true. Our love is a legacy that we happily pass on to our children, grandchildren, and soon-to-be great grandchildren.

It started when I was a very young lady, praying that I would know God’s will for my life, regarding a future husband. In my case, I know that God brought me together with Russell Ford, when my daddy was called to pastor a little church where Russell’s dad was a deacon. We met June 28, 1959, Daddy’s first Sunday as pastor there. I was only 12, but I fell in love that Sunday. We were engaged May 22, 1965, and married September 8, 1965. Through hours of prayer, God gave me the solid assurance that Russell was indeed the one.

When people ask me the “secret” to a happy marriage that has lasted so many years, I find it very difficult to answer in a way that most people would understand. The answer is, “I asked for God’s direction in bringing me together with the spouse He had planned for me. Then I prayed for His blessing and guidance all along the way through our relationship.”


So, yeah, we always celebrate Valentine’s Day, because it’s all above love, and it gives us an additional day of the year (along with our anniversary) to pause just a moment and be thankful for a profound love that can only be understood in light of the One who IS love.

1 John 4:8 – “God is love.”

IMG_1425IMG_3579 ed

#HeartStrings #LoveatFirstSight #LegacyofLove #ValentinesDay

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Spiritual Blessings {Bible Art Journaling, In the Word}

Bible Art Interleaved Eph 1-3

So, I have a new journaling Bible (my fourth). This one is rather large, but I’m okay with that, as I will not be taking it to church. It is called an Interleaved Bible and is only available in ESV. Every other page in this Bible is blank, to allow total freedom in art expression between the pages of the text. I knew I needed to get a page done right away so that I could get past the intimidation of such a large workspace!

I am doing a 31-day study of Ephesians, called “Worthy of the Calling,” with Sarah Koontz of Living by Design Ministries. I used a free printable (traced) by Jenna at ScribblingGrace.

I am not thrilled with my watercolor work on this design. I am enjoying the Ephesians study.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Who am I in Christ? I am blessed.

Bible Art Interleaved Eph 1-3

#BibleArtJournaling #IllustratedFaith #InterleavedESVBible #FaithArt #scribblinggrace #worthyofthecalling #LivingbyDesignMinistries #watercolorinmyBible

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

My Reading List {My Book Corner}

I have always loved to read, since I learned with Dick and Jane readers in the first grade (no kindergarten), starting in Blue Eye, Missouri, and then finishing first grade in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. I love to read, and I love books. One of my wild dreams has always been to own a book shop with a little corner coffee shop (combining two of my favorite things!).

At any given time, I have books that I just finished (and would recommend—because if I wouldn’t recommend a book, I don’t finish it), book/s that I am reading now, and books “on deck” that I have recently ordered or been given, that I will be reading next.

Just thought it would be fun to share those.


Recently Completed

These books I recently completed. I highly recommend all of them; they each made a difference in my Christian walk, and in some cases, in my life.

One Thousand Gifts Devotional by Ann Voskamp.

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and Draw a Circle (40-day Prayer Challenge) by Mark Batterson.

A Sudden Glory by Sharon Jaynes.


Reading Now and Loving It!

This is the book I am currently reading. I saw a post on Proverbs 31 ministries by Alli Worthington, and I immediately ordered the book, just released. It has the potential to absolutely change my life. I can hardly put it down. I firmly believe that God put this book into my hands for this time in my life. It combines wisdom from Scripture with real-life action steps to overcome fear, worry and anxiety.

Fierce Faith: A Woman’s Guide to Fighting Fear, Wrestling Worry, and Overcoming Anxiety


Up next:

Up Next
Looking forward to reading from this library of non-fiction books.

#MyBookCorner #GoodReading #WorldofBooks #ReadingNow #FierceFaith #AlliWorthington