Monday, May 30, 2011

Grab the Promised Hope

Belinda Kersey 1/25/09

God’s Word
We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It's an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us Hebrews 6:18-20 The Message

The Song
“Our Hope Endures” by Natalie Grant

My Thoughts “How do we comprehend peace within pain” are words from a song that speak to every person who has ever experienced pain of any kind.  Unfortunately, in this world there are so many ways to experience pain- pain of loss, pain of sickness, pain of despair.  But God has provided one way to experience utter peace in any pain, to “endure the worst of conditions”, to have hope in the very center of the hopeless situation and that is to know that Emmanuel-our God is with us and that he is the rock we can hold onto in  every trial we face.
When our bodies are racked by disease but we can say that “our hope is unchanged” we have reached the point where God is our all sufficient one.  When “the sun stays hidden for years” and our hope still endures then we have come to the place where we know beyond all doubt that God is truly our Emmanuel-He is with us and He is enough.
Some say that I have a positive outlook because I have joy even in the face of an incurable disease.  In fact, before returning to the work force, I had a psychological evaluation to determine my best skills and my ability to reenter the workforce.  The psychologist determined that I took the life outlook test “defensively”, that I intentionally chose the answers that would show me as the most positive possible.  Well, what that man did not know about me is, despite the circumstances, I do have a hope and I do believe that my situation is positive because I know the Creator of my body, mind and soul.  That Creator has promised me wholeness and has promised me that He is with me every moment and I stand firm on those promises.

I did not have to be “defensive” in my test taking to show myself in the best light-no, I took the test with God’s light shining through me!  “It’s more than (my) optimism!.”  It is Christ in me, it is El Shaddai who is more than sufficient in ALL areas of my life.

It is the resolve that Job had when he told his wife “Why do I go out on a limb like this and take my life in my hands? Because even if he killed me, I'd keep on hoping.”  This is the resounding hope I have grabbed with both hands and we will never let go. “We never walk alone, this is our hope.  Our hope endures the worst of conditions. It's more than our optimism, let the earth quake our hope is unchanged!”

Your Response
Look to the heavens from where your hope comes.  Thank your Creator for walking beside you in this storm.  Thank Him for the hope that is found in Him.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Inspired Stamps is in the process of selecting their first Design Team.  I am applying and hoping that I am selected.  Antoinette's stamps are all scripture/scripture related stamps.  I really enjoy using the scriptures in my cards and layouts. This is one of the 1st cards I made using one of the scripture stamps.  It  is one of my fave scriptures and one I've repeated often to my boys through the years.  In fact, my youth pastor son had a cross and Phil. 4:13 tattooed on his back when he became an adult!  I wan't happy about the tat but couldn't argue with the design!

Anyhoo-I used all Close To MY Heart card stock in colors that complemented the rose pattern paper (can't remember who makes it).  I also used Hollyhock ribbon and ink from CTMH.  The bow is a piece of leftover CTMH rose ribbon that I cut and manipulated into a bow.  Button from CTMH and rhinestone from my stash.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Family Canvas

I have been doing my best to "use what I have" and I have a bunch!  So, when announced an ABC Challenge (anything but a card) it gave me the push I needed to use up my canvases I've been "saving". 

This is the one I made for the challenge using my Wings papers from Close To My Heart.  This is one of the most versatile packs of paper we have because of the diversity of patterns and colors.  You may have to click on the top photo to see all the details but I matted the photo of my parents, me and my siblings on 3 different stacked mats from the Wings papers to give it importance.  The banner conveys my feelings of what I feel to have both of my parents and 4 siblings alive and living nearby.  Love them all so much!

I made the flowers using our 2"scalloped circle punch.  I just slit the circles every 3rd scallop to create the petals and then stacked 3 together and pierced with a button brad.  Then I fluffed them until I was happy with the look. This project did not use a lot of supplies but I think it packs a punch with the colors and embellies I chose.

Supply list from Close To My Heart
Wings B & T Paper
Button brads
Pleated Juniper Ribbon
Juniper and Black ink
Sophia Stamps
Circle of Love stamps

black lace-Michaels
hat pins-stash
Banner chipboard-Maya Rd
Silver paint-stash
Baker's Twine-Crafty Scrapper

Monday, May 23, 2011

Still Standing

Belinda Kersey 2/25/08

God’s Word

Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

The Song

“Still Standing” by Israel Houghton and Cindy Cruse Ratcliff

As we were learning this song in choir rehearsal, I was taken back to that same date six years before.   I had been lying in a bed at Harris Methodist Southwest Hospital on that Wednesday night in 2002.  My church was earnestly praying for me because they had received word that my kidneys had shut down and that I would not be walking again.  The reality was that my bladder was not functioning, I couldn’t walk, my hands were extremely numb and not working well, my eyesight was blurred. Basically, I was completely helpless.

I had entered the hospital on Monday after suffering through a weekend of pain following a fall on Friday.  I had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis just a short 3 months before.  The progression of my disease was overwhelmingly fast and very rare.  Tell-tale lesions had been discovered on my brain in November 2001 but were not on my spine.  Now, 3 months later they were appearing on my spine as well, thus explaining the rapid deterioration of my mobility.

Hubby Jeff, had been asked by my neurologist if our legal affairs were in order.   Those words were more devastating to him than any of the facts from my MRI.  Needless to say, things looked pretty bleak for me.  Death was not suggested or expected but a life of extreme disability seemed to lay ahead of me.  Oh, as if all of this was not enough, there was a shake-up going on at Jeff’s job and he wasn’t sure if he’d be employed at the end of the week.  In fact, it was suggested that he better limit the time he took off work to be with me at the hospital.

You see, apparently Satan was intent on knocking us down and keeping us there.  He wanted us to believe that God's plans for us were to harm us!  That’s why this song brought back all of that to me.  It declares “I’m still standing, but by the grace of God.”  Now, my story would be awesome if that prayer service my church had that Wednesday had resulted in my walking out of the hospital completely healed.  

As you know, it didn’t happen that way.  However through it all God “gave courage to believe that all (His ) goodness I would see.”  My friend, Wendy, came to see me the day after that prayer service.  She told me she had been so mad at what was happening to me that she “gave God a good talking to”.  She then went on to relate that God listened and then told her to settle down because her friend was going to be just fine.  You know what, she heard right!  Even though I wasn’t healed then and haven’t seen my complete healing yet, I’m just fine.  We’ve had much more to go through over the last several years but we know that “if not for (His) goodness, if not for (His) grace, (we) don’t know where (we) would be today...if not for (His) mercy, if not for (His) love, (we) most likely would have given up.  If not for (His) favor (we) could never say,  I’m still standing.”

As Steve Bryant, our music minister, said-we are like a Bozo the Clown toy that gets punched and then pops back up again.  The enemy has taken many shots at us over the last six years but here we are- still standing!  Despite the circumstances, Jeff was one of TWO people out of fifteen who were “still standing” with their jobs at the end of the shake-up.  Despite the loss of my ability to walk, I am stronger now, I can see clearly (except for being old and needing reading specs!), the lesions on my spine have been gone since 2004 and I can take care of all of my own physical needs.  And, as of February 2008 I have returned to work part-time!  So, “to (Him) I lift my offering, and set my heart on higher things.  For if it had not been for (Him) standing on my side, where would I be?”

Thank God that he is not going to leave you where you are at this very moment.  Make a bold statement that by the grace of God, no matter what the circumstances, you are still here and you are still standing.

Monday, May 16, 2011

May Stamp of the Month-Chair, Chair!

The May Stamp of the Month ( which you can get at a discount or free) at Close To My Heart is "Chairs To You" and as the title suggests, it is full of adorable chair images and related sentiments.  These are the first 2 cards I have done with the set.  I am  submitting the them to the technique challenge at  I don't have a favorite technique...I like to keep  things new and fresh and try all of them-most of the time I use several on a project:-)  However, for this challenge I am highlighting "selective coloring" and "popping" ( at least that's my name for them!)

For the selective coloring, I simply started with a  black ink impression of the chair.  After it dried, I selectively colored in 1 element of the chair-the cushion.  It kinda gives it the look of a wrought iron chair this way.  Then to enhance it even more, I stamped the heart and colored it in with a marker then cut it out and used foam adhesive to "pop" it off the back of the chair.  This technique adds great dimension to the card.

On the bottom card, I used my markers to color in 2 of the chairs in brown and then the other in lavender. I hope you can see the shading and approve-I am working very hard to figure out that technique! Another technique on this card is to use a stamp or 2 to create my own background paper-in this instance, both the cardbase and mat are stamped.  I kept it simple to keep the lavender chair as my focus.

CTMH Supplies used on pink card:
Baby pink and White Daisy cardstock
Sophia B & T papers
Chairs To You stamps
Black and Hollyhock ink
Scallop punch
Other: Copic markers, Baker's Twine

CTMH supplies for purple card:
Scallop punch
Chairs to You stamps
Tea Time Stamps
You and Me Stamps
Chocolate and Gypsy Inks
Baker's Twine
Copic Markers

Just Around the Corner

Belinda Kersey  9/22/09

God’s Word

“I press on I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

The Song
Press On by Selah

My Thoughts
I’ve often wondered how the Israelites felt when they finally realized that their promised land, their destination was “just around the corner” all the time they were wandering in the desert.  Instead of focusing on the goal and believing beyond all doubt that God’s promise was true, they chose to bicker, complain, and do their own thing.  Many of them never got to see the glory just around the corner.  All God asked of them was obedience and trust and to press on in His name.  

The Message interprets 1 Peter 4:12-13 this way:  “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.”  

How exciting is that?  If we don’t give up and we press on then glory is just around the corner! Whose glory?  God’s glory!  My friend, we must push on, we can’t give up, the victory is just over the hill!  I can say with James in James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” We can say with confidence  “When the valley is deep, when the spirit is weak, when  the body is weary, when we stumble and fall...In Jesus name, we press on.”

Perseverance is only developed when we are pushing through a wall or struggling against difficulty.  Do you remember your biology lessons regarding butterflies?  If someone opens the butterfly’s cocoon for them so that it does not have to struggle to get out then it will quickly die after emerging.  Their struggling to break out of the cocoon that binds them, strengthens their wings and allows them to emerge majestic and beautiful, glorious and ready to fly.

God is so good to give us examples like that in nature to show us the end result of perseverance.  We have many other reminders around us; the runner never wins a race if they do not persevere.  The mountain climber never reaches the peak without perseverance.  Parents must persevere through the teen years to see their child become a mature adult. They can all say “dear Lord, with the prize, clear before our eyes, we find the strength, to press on”.

When you persevere through your struggle, you will emerge on the other side in glorious victory.  I don’t know how long it will be before God heals my body but I do know that Jeff and I can say “when we’ve given our all, in Jesus name  we press on!”

Your Response 

If you physically can, raise your hands to heaven and declare that God’s glorious victory is just around the corner.  Thank God that He has already intervened in your situation and that He is on the job in your behalf.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Inspired Stamps Giveaways

Go check out the awesome Scripture stamps at Inspired Stamps.  She is having lots of giveaways and new releases this week.  The giveaways are on her blog at:
When you comment, please tell her I sent you!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Magnifique Scrapbook Frame

This project started as a kit I purchased from The Crafty Scrapper in Waxahachie (an AMAZING store). The original design was by one of their teachers- Annette Prudhomme.  Once I got it home though, I decided I really didn't like the paper and some of the embellies that came with it so I turned to my stash and decided the Close To My Heart Level 1 Magnifique papers I have been hoarding would be perfect.  I really love how it turned out with my changes and it is a great addition to my dining room.  Since I added buttons, I am submitting this project to the Button challenge at

I loved her technique for the denim and cream felt flower.  You simply take a 1 1/2 x 12 strip of the fabric.  Fold it in half lengthwise and sew or glue the open edge closed. Once dry, cut the folded side at short intervals and then roll and glue the fabric on itself until you are happy with your flower.  The booklet is just 2 pieces of cardstock cut to fit the opening of the frame, I used waxy flax tied around the center to hold them together and then adhered the back cover to the glass with a tape runner.  For the Peacock, I used a resist technique by stamping it in Versamark and embossing it with white emb. powder.  I then used the 3 shades of ink and sponged it over the cardstock and embossed image.

Close To My Heart products used
Level 1 Magnifique paper
Colonial White and Pacifica Cardstock
Circle of Love Stamp Set
Crystal Blue, Heavenly Blue and Pacifica Inks
Prisma Glitter
Liquid Glass
spray pen using pearl paint, water and dutch blue reinker
Colonial White Waxy Flax
White embossing powder and Versamark

Products from kit
denim for flower
felt for flower
organza flowers
velvet flowers
stamped wings
hanging beads

From my stash: Brown ribbon and mod podge

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Miracle Paper-Dreams Card

I considered submitting this to a magazine because I like it so much but then they announced it was "Miracle" month at so I changed my mind and I'll share it over there.  If you've never visited Big Red Scraps, take a moment to check out all the gorgeous Close To My Heart creations.

 There's a lot going on with this card but it still gives me a serene feeling.  The main stamp set I used was the Sophia WOTG set.  LOVE these birds and related stamps.  The music stamp is from the Universal Background stamp set.  To make the bird cage stand out, I stamped it directly over the background in Black
Archival ink, then I used clear glass all over the cage to give it dimension.  The main bird was stamped with 3 ink colors and cut out then popped up with foam adhesive. 

Close To My Heart products:
Cardstock: Colonial and White Daisy
Ink: Chocolate, Moonlight, Crystal Blue, Heavenly Blue
Stamp Sets: Sophia WOTG, Universal Backgrounds
Foam Adhesive

Other Supplies:
Blue rhinestones
White gel pen

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Musing-Run To Him!

Belinda Kersey  9/22/09
God’s Word
Psalm 121:1-2 I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?    No, my strength comes from God,  who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

The Song
Lord I Run to You by Tommy Walker

My Thoughts

Who do you immediately call when trouble comes your way?  When I was told it was likely I had MS, I immediately called my husband, then my mother, then my sisters.  When distressing news assails me, that is my normal pattern.  But lately I have thought of the words to this song “Lord I run to you.  No one else will do. Lord in troubled times I will run straight to you”.  My friend, that is exactly what we should do.  Our friends and family can offer us words, prayer or hugs when we face trials, but our heavenly Father offers us an “ever-present-help and a tower of strength.” 

Yes, a human support system is very important to have, but our help comes from “the maker of earth and heaven and there is nothing that’s too hard for Him”.  The scripture says he “guards your very life.”  I know my husband wants to guard me, but he can not guard my very life.  My mother can not “guard me from every evil.”  My sisters can not guard me when I “leave and when I return for now and always.” 

When I face trouble, pain and fear as the Lord said I would, my first response should be to cry out to Him, to ask for His help in my need.  Yes, I can then call my loved ones but after crying out to God, I can come to my family with more peace about the situation because I know  God has overcome the world. 

So often we put too much of a burden on our family and friends to lift us out of our despair.  We want them to make it all better.  We forget they are as frail as we are.  Our Lord stands at the ready, he never sleeps!  When I would call my poor husband or son in the wee hours of the morning from my hospital bed, they were not ready to comfort me.  They were deep in slumber.  They loved me but they were not happy to be awakened and they weren’t able to help me.

My Jesus is alert and ready to shield, comfort and guard me at every hour of the day or night.  I just need to remember to run to him first.

 Your Response
Read Psalm 121 (from The Message) out loud.  Make it your prayer and declaration.
1-2 I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?    No, my strength comes from God,  who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.  3-4 He won't let me stumble,   my Guardian God won't fall asleep.  Not on your life! Israel's  Guardian will never doze or sleep.  5-6 God's my Guardian,   right at my side to protect me—   Shielding me from sunstroke,  sheltering me from moon stroke.  7-8 God guards me from every evil,   he guards my very life.   He guards me when I leave and when I return,   he guards me now, he guards me always.”

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tea for Mom

This week at, it is all about Moms.  This card is one that will remind my Mom of her recent 84 bday celebration at a local tea room.  I am so thankful to God that both of my parents are still living and on their own.  They are relatively healthy for their ages and such a blessing to our family.

Products used:
CTMH cardstock
CTMH Hollyhock, Grey Wool and Pear inks
CTMH pink crochet ribbon
CTMH Sophia journaling tag
CTMH Tea Time Stamp Set
From my stash: flower, pearl and doily

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Shepherd

Belinda Kersey 7/9/07
God’s Word
Psalm 23

My Thoughts

Sometimes I think it is a pity that the original music to the Psalms are not included in the Bible. I would love to know how the music director interpreted the music to the words of the Psalmist. However, in God’s wisdom, He knew all music does not transcend the generations but it is His Word that will stand for all time.

One Psalm that is precious to every believer is Psalm 23. I have heard it sung in many styles but one version has become meaningful to me. Juanita Bynum speaks the words in a way that embeds them in my soul. I’ve learned to personalize the words for any situation I find myself in as she speaks and sings them. The Psalm will truly dwell in you when you do the same.

Many years ago the song became a prayer I cried out to the Lord. My husband, Jeff, was going through a particularly shaky time at work. I know the following words were heard and answered by the Lord. The Lord is Jeff’s shepherd, he shall not want-because you provide for him. He makes Jeff lie down in green pastures, He leads Jeff beside still waters, and He restores Jeff’s soul-even though there is turmoil surrounding him. He guides Jeff in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake -even though he is one of the few to stand for an ethical workplace. Even though Jeff walks in the valley of the shadow of death-of his job, Jeff will fear no evil-or firing, for you are with Jeff, your rod and your staff comfort Jeff. You prepare a table before Jeff in the presence of his enemies-his profane & corrupt boss. You anoint Jeff’s head with oil, and his cup overflows-you will restore to him his raise. Surely goodness and mercy-and your favor Lord-will follow Jeff all the days of his life and he will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. AMEN!

It took many months, but God answered the cries of my heart. The corrupt boss was fired, Jeff retained his position and received a retroactive pay raise. God is faithful and just-pray this Psalm to Him with your situation in mind, whether you are faced with disease, danger or other need, He will answer the call of His children.

Your Response
Take time to write out Psalm 23 and insert your name, needs and prayer just as I did Jeff’s. Read it out loud to our wonderful Shepherd.