#StillwaterStrong

#StillwaterStrong

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Latest posts by Toni D (see all)

I have lived long enough to see many tragedies…the Oklahoma City bombing, September 11, numerous school shootings, plane crashes, earthquakes, the Moore tornadoes.  Life seemed to stand still as we were all gripped by these tragic events as they were reported on television nonstop.  I had a family member who lost everything in the last Moore tornado. I volunteered in Bridge Creek after the May 3, 1999 tornado.  I was affected by all of them but none like the tragedy that unfolded recently in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

I know it seems small in comparison to some of the others but not to me.  For those of you who are from Oklahoma, let me start by saying, my blood does not bleed orange, it bleeds red (Boomer Sooner).  But all the rivalries aside, this affected all of us.  It seems to be such a senseless tragedy…no terrorism, no crazy person with a gun, no malfunction or pilot error, no natural disaster.

My oldest son is a freshman at Oklahoma State University (I know, we failed as parents) and was at the parade.  I was on the phone talking to a friend when I saw the crawler on the TV scrolling by with the headline “An incident has just occurred at the OSU Homecoming Parade.  Multiple agencies responding.”  My heart raced.  “Incident” could mean anything!  With all the school shootings lately, that was the first thing that went through my mind.   I could not call my son fast enough.  That was the longest 30 seconds of my life.  He answered on the second ring.  I was screaming and crying, “Are you okay; where are you?”  Luckily, he was not at the intersection where the tragedy occurred but he was close enough to know what had happened and was headed back to the dorm and was going to call me then. (Side note to any young person reading this, CALL YOUR MOM FIRST, WHEN YOU ARE IN A SAFE AREA.)  I could hear the anxiety in his voice.  We only spoke for a moment because I was trying to calm down and did not want him to know exactly how panicked I was.  His dad called him about an hour later to make sure he was all right.  He did later text me that he was at the game and his phone was nearly dead so he would not be answering any text messages or phone calls so I shouldn’t worry.  I think he realized how worried I was.  Another side note to young people – KEEP YOUR PHONE CHARGED!

I sat and watched the news as they released more information.  I checked online for any news.  I watched as the news showed helicopters landing at the trauma centers.  I was not into football that day! I could only think of the tragedy, the lives lost, and the lives forever changed.

Facebook has had so much posted about this – some good, some bad.   So many people have been so supportive of Stillwater.  I have been brought to tears as I see and read these…the flag at half-staff, the OSU flag carried at the OU game, the photos of the orange sky over Oklahoma that night, and of course the time of prayer at both OSU and OU before their games that day.  This tragedy has united us all.

As I write this, we do not know what the condition of this young 25-year-old woman was at the time of this tragedy.  All we know is that something was wrong with her at the time.  And now, her life is forever changed.

There were also about fifty other lives changed that day.  Changed.  That does not include the families of the victims.  Some will never see their loved ones again.  Some are still in the hospital fighting to survive.  The victims ranged in age from one to 76.  I cannot even fathom what these families are going through.

As people debate what happened, my focus turned to eternity.  Did these victims have a relationship with Christ?   I believe that the two-year-old baby, Nash Lucas, is in the arms of Jesus.  His parents donated his organs so that another child may live.  But, what of the other three?  One was a beloved, retired college professor, Marvin Stone and his wife, Bonnie Stone.  It was reported that she possibly gave her life to save a small child.  The last was a student from India, Nakita Prabhakar.  She was a student at the University of Central Oklahoma working on her Master’s degree.  Her family is half a world away.  Also, what about the ones still hospitalized?  Do they know Christ?  I pray that this tragedy brings opportunity–opportunity for Christians to witness.  I pray that the students that were there that day will see that they are not invincible.  One day, they will die, and where will they spend eternity?

#StillwaterStrong Photo credit - Connie Smith

#StillwaterStrong Photo credit – Connie Smith

And, what about Adacia Chambers and her family?   There is so much being said about her.  We do not know her condition at the time but this is something she and her family will have to live with the rest of her life.  What was going on in her life that led to this.  Does she have a relationship with Christ?   I know it might be difficult, but we should be praying for her and her family also.  She needs our prayers too.

Oklahoma as a state has banded together after this tragedy.  I pray that we continue to come together to pray and support all who were affected by this tragedy.  All I can say now is something I could not even say when I took my son for his college visit or his orientation: “GO POKES!”

Do you have a personal relationship with Christ? 

If you want to know that you will spend eternity in Heaven, all you have to do is ask Jesus into your heart.  It’s as easy as ABC.  Admit that you are a sinner.  Believe that Jesus is God’s Son and God raised him from the dead.  Confess with your mouth that Jesus died for your sins.  All you have to do is pray.  If you have questions or need help with this, please feel free to contact me.


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

John 3:16-18


Illustrated Faith: How It All Began

Illustrated Faith: How It All Began

Hello all!I am an Oklahoma girl, through and through!I was born here and after 5 years in Texas for college, I missed Oklahoma too much and just had to come back home with my Oklahoma husband to raise our Oklahoma babies! I met my husband in high school and fell we in love in college.We have 2 beautiful kids that are full of life and make me such a proud momma.I love to craft, journal, paint furniture, and decorate our Edmond home!See some of my creations at The Lettered Light www.etsy.com/shop/theletteredlight and IG:theletteredlight
Latest posts by McKenzie R (see all)

Shanna Noel is the owner of Illustrated Faith and encourages thousands of people to grow closer to God by focusing on his word through Bible Journaling.  It has been such an inspiration to us.  Her story of how God brought her to this point is awesome.

Be encouraged to listen to what God is putting on your heart as you read from Shanna how it all began!

1.  How did you even start Bible Journaling?

Since I became a Christian, I have always struggled reading my Bible.  One day, while browsing Pinterest, I saw an old standard Bible that was highlighted and underlined, it just looked LIVED in.  I WANTED that.  I was HUNGRY for the word.  I just wasn’t sure how to get there.  So I went on Amazon and picked up a “journaling Bible.” When I got it in the mail, I brought it over to my scrapbooking space and started journaling in the way I was comfortable, with was more of an “art journal” style.  I took the notes from that Sunday’s sermon and just allowed myself creative freedom.  It was a HUGE light bulb moment.  For the first time, I understood the word like NEVER before.  For the first time, I was left HUNGRY for more!

2.  Why did you start Illustrated Faith?

Illustrated Faith started after a conference called “Influence” and so many people came up to me and asked if I was doing “this” full time.  I was confused, doing what?  Coloring in my Bible?  :O) I felt God calling me during that conference to start this full time as a way to grow the community even more.

3.  What is your prayer for Illustrated Faith?

My prayer for Illustrated Faith is to be community for creative Christians.  A place where they can come, share and be inspired to illustrate their faith in a way that is meaningful to their relationship and walk with God.

4.  How has the response to Illustrated Faith demonstrated God’s handiwork?

It is 100% due to God’s handiwork.  If you would have told me 2 years ago that I would be traveling the world telling people it was ok to worship God in a way that was outside of the box and sharing my testimony, I would have just laughed.  That is how I know this is all God.  He has set every single stone to this path and I pray that I follow it as best as I can.

5.  What has been one or two of your biggest “ah ha!” moments since you began Bible Journaling?

The biggest “ah ha” moment was

YES!  It is OK to not only color in your Bible but it will make A HUGE difference not only in MY walk but those who join along side me.

It has been amazing to see this same “AH HA” moment for so many as they discover Illustrated Faith for the first time.

The second “ah ha” moment was leaving the Influence conference in 2014, knowing that God was telling me to close my other business and focus on this full time.  It was a huge leap of faith but one I know he is completely in control of.  I love that through this we can bring culturally relevant products to the market that can make illustrating your faith approachable!

6.  What advice would you tell someone who doesn’t want to mess up or doesn’t believe that she has the artistic talent to illustrate her faith?

The only thing I regret is not starting sooner!  I have messed up several times but you can always fix that or cover it up.  The truth is WE ARE ALL CREATIVE!  God is the ultimate creator and we are made from HIM!  Therefore, YOU are creative.  So many times we have decided “I am not creative.”  That is for my best friend or my husband.  “He” is the creative one, not me.  That is a lie my friends.  You have it in you!  Allow God to use it.

7.  You have several workshops going on right now.  What can one expect, if they attend?

During the workshop, I share my personal testimony on how we got to this point today, the way God has used me to share this with others.  We also cover some FAQs and answer any questions.  Then we listen to a short 15 minute sermon and after that we talk about how we are going to enter that into the margins of our Bible.  During work time, I walk around and answer any questions, hear beautiful stories of how God is working in the lives of those attending and just OOOH and AWEEEE over the beautiful pages.  At the end (my favorite part), the ladies share what God has done on their hearts through this experience as they share their pages.  I am always left feeling just in awe of what God does in these workshops and if you are in the area I would love to see you!

Check out a list of Shanna’s workshops. 

8.  How would you respond to someone that says your work is disrespecting God’s word?

I would encourage them to look closer.  There isn’t one bit that is disrespectful.  This is my love letter to God, one that I am constantly writing, praying and creating over.  This has me deeper in the word and closer to Him than I have ever been before.  I don’t think God is upset about that. :0)

9.  Would you mind sharing a few of your favorite Bible journaling pieces & share what they mean to you?

To be honest, my favorite page is always the last one I have created.  It is what God is currently whispering on my heart.  To stay up to date on my latest entries, make sure to follow me on Instagram at @shannanoel.

Doesn’t this just motivate you to open up your Bible and dig into God’s word in a new way?  

Do you Bible Journal already or are you finally ready to take the leap?

 

Signs of Heart Problems

Signs of Heart Problems

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Latest posts by Toni D (see all)

If you’ve been reading my previous posts, you know that my fifty-one-year-old husband recently suffered a massive heart attack.  Many people have asked if he was having any symptoms.  The answer is yes but we did not realize it.

Apparently, a toothache can be a symptom of heart issues.  He went to the dentist just sure there was a problem with an old filling.  The dentist could not find anything wrong.

He was tired all the time. At first, we thought it was that he worked full-time as a farmer and part-time as a teacher.  It became more than tiredness so the doctor ran lab work.  Everything came back normal.  He must have just been overworked.

Then he started having bad headaches, neck pain, and left arm pain and tingling.  Our primary care physician sent him for an MRI and that showed a bulging disk, degenerative disk disease, and a couple of other problems.  This diagnosis explained all the pain.  He was sent to a neck and back orthopedic specialist and he also went to a chiropractor.  He was started on a couple of different medications that did not help much.  The next course of treatment was epidural steroid injections.  At this point, he was willing to try anything because the pain was getting worse.

One hour after his last injection, he started having chest pains.  It was right in the middle of his chest, so obviously, he had developed an ulcer from the injections because we knew this was a possible side effect.  He then was sent to a gastroenterologist for a scope.  When the doctor called me in and told me he did not find an ulcer, I was shocked.  I knew he had made a mistake.  He said that it was probably his gallbladder and would send him for a CT scan.

The scan showed no gallstones but our primary care physician was sure that it was his gallbladder and that it was not functioning properly.  He wanted to do another scan and then send him to have it removed.  We decided to wait (which ultimately saved his life as he would not have survived the surgery).

The night before his heart attack, my husband was in such pain that he said, “That’s it!  Tomorrow, call the doctor and schedule the surgery.”  Well, the next day, he had the heart attack.  I told the cardiologist everything we had been through in the previous seven months, and he said all those problems were most likely his heart.  He is the one who mentioned the tooth.  I had put everything else together on the way to the hospital.  Our chiropractor even told us that it was probably more his heart than his neck when we told him about it.

All these doctors missed my husband’s heart problems because the symptoms could be attributed to other medical conditions.  We all missed the signs.

Let's not miss the signs

Our spiritual lives are like this.  We miss the signs that we are having spiritual heart problems because of all the other problems that get in our way.  Everyday life gets in the way and causes issues with our spiritual health.  

Have you lost your joy?  Are you short-tempered?  Do you feel lost?  These are some of the signs of heart problems.

What can be done?

Spend time with God!  Reading His Word first thing in the morning before the world has a chance to get in there.  This puts your heart in the right attitude to start your day.  “Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”  John 15:4 (NASB)

Pray!  Talking to God keeps us focused.  God wants to hear from us.  We have a two-way relationship with Him.  He does not just want to tell us what to do, He wants us to come to Him with all our problems, no matter how small.  He is our Father and wants to be with us through everything.  I Thessalonians 5:17-18 (NASB) says, “Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.”

Praise Him!  “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord!”  Psalms 150:6 (NASB)  Sing songs to Him.  I know that many of the younger generation like the newer “praise songs” but try singing some of the old hymns to Him.  So many of them were written in times of trials and tribulations.  You can also pray scripture to Him.

Do you have a heart problem?

What are some signs you have seen that let you know you have heart problems?

Have you ignored your heart problems in the past?

Lettered Light Giveaway

Lettered Light Giveaway

Hello all!I am an Oklahoma girl, through and through!I was born here and after 5 years in Texas for college, I missed Oklahoma too much and just had to come back home with my Oklahoma husband to raise our Oklahoma babies! I met my husband in high school and fell we in love in college.We have 2 beautiful kids that are full of life and make me such a proud momma.I love to craft, journal, paint furniture, and decorate our Edmond home!See some of my creations at The Lettered Light www.etsy.com/shop/theletteredlight and IG:theletteredlight
Latest posts by McKenzie R (see all)

Bible Journaling is interacting with God’s word in illustrated form and is such a creative way to put God’s word into our hearts!

McKenzie’s was inspired to delve into Bible Journaling and the results are so amazing!  I mean just look at them!

Anxiety TheLetteredLight

Based on Psalm 94:19

 

I Can Do All Things - TheLetteredLight

Based on Phillipians 4:13

God Make the Plans to Give Me Hope TheLetteredLight

Based on Jeremiah 29:11

Trust the Lord with All Your Heart - TheLetteredLight

Based on Proverbs 3:5

How It All Began

Her creativity has inspired many to try Bible Journaling.  Many have also requested that she create fantastic visuals for their favorite verses or thoughts and that is how The Lettered Light was born.

2015-06-27 21.27.49THE LETTERED LIGHT

A little shop filled with words! A place where inspired words meet art and the rest is up for interpretation. Ink, paint, watercolor, stamps, stickers, and words… lots of words! A shop filled with pieces that will put a smile on your face on a hard day, remind you of our ever present Father on a lonely day, fill you with peace in an anxious time, and wash over you with love on every day. The Lettered Light is a place where your inspiration is the right inspiration and where His words will continue to guide you.

You can find The Lettered Light on Etsy where she offers both custom designs or reprint. You can also interact with her on Instagram.

The Giveaway!

Today we have an extra special gift just for you.  Register below to enter for your chance to win an 8 x 10 Digital Colored Print of “She is Clothed with Dignity & Strength” from The Lettered Light Scripture Art collection. 

She is Clothed in Strength - TheLetteredLight

Based on Proverbs 31:25

 The Lettered Light Giveaway!

Open Your Bible: Let’s Get Started!

Open Your Bible: Let’s Get Started!

Hello all!I am an Oklahoma girl, through and through!I was born here and after 5 years in Texas for college, I missed Oklahoma too much and just had to come back home with my Oklahoma husband to raise our Oklahoma babies! I met my husband in high school and fell we in love in college.We have 2 beautiful kids that are full of life and make me such a proud momma.I love to craft, journal, paint furniture, and decorate our Edmond home!See some of my creations at The Lettered Light www.etsy.com/shop/theletteredlight and IG:theletteredlight
Latest posts by McKenzie R (see all)

Okay, has your interest been sparked?! Did you check out all the fun inspiration at IllustratedFaith.com? Are you ready to get started?! LET’S DO IT!

When I first started journaling in my bible, I didn’t have as many supplies as I have now. That is totally okay because I didn’t need much to get going. Just a Bible and a pen!

Screenshot_2015-07-06-09-32-54-1

{These are dollar store pens and a pencil from the Target Dollar Spot. You don’t even need a special Bible!}

Something I must remember, even now, is that what I love about Bible journaling cannot be all about the tools and supplies. I have seen all too often people so caught up in having the newest, coolest thing on the craft aisle that they seem to miss the opportunity for devotion. I have to keep myself in check with this, too. It is very tempting to pick up one more stamp, sticker set, or a new pen to try. Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with trying new things, it’s fun!

I want to remind us all that our focus is not the medium for our art but the WORDS that inspire the art.

20150706_092235

{This is an example of a simple entry using only pen. Seen here are my wide-margin journaling Bible and a regular margin Bible.}

When I sit down to start on a new scripture, I first write out the words in a sketchbook or on a scrap piece of paper. This is my meditation time. I literally write the same verse several times, if I need to. My goal here is for the words to speak to me. As soon as that begins to happen, certain words begin to feel more prominent and seem to speak loudly. I will start to write them bigger, and my verse will begin to take shape! Use this time to really concentrate on the words. Meditate on them and consider their impact on your life. What is the Lord wanting you to hear?

20150706_100110

{A sample page from my sketch book, showing my meditation process.}

Through this process, I start to get a feel for how I want my verse to look and the shape I want it to take! Once I feel good about that and how the words have led me, I move on to the artsy part in my Bible. Like I said before, even if you only have pens and a Bible you can still enjoy this form of worship! I choose to focus on the words because I have always been fascinated by lettering, but some people prefer to illustrate with actual people or boats or animals, whatever the text suggests. There are no wrong answers here. Freedom of your own interpretation and expression at its finest.

collage_20150712221813786

{Here are some examples of entries with minimal tools but maximum impact! These are made with pen and either colored pencil or marker – things your kids may have in their art supplies!}

Don’t be afraid to get started because the Lord is ready to speak to you! As you go along, pick up a fun stamp or sticker set here or there to keep you excited, and before you know it you will have a library of tools to use. But…

Remember this: the Lord doesn’t need all of this to speak to you.

20150706_091237_20150712224639404

He only needs YOUR open heart and HIS open word, so grab a pen!

What’s your favorite verse?

Why don’t you start your faith journaling journey by illustrating that verse?

(We would love to hear about your journaling journey!  Leave a message or tag us in your post.  Add the hashtag #creatingagreatday to your art.  We look forward to seeing how the Lord is moving through you!)
Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary!

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

Marriage is a wonderful gift from God and so we want to celebrate McKenzie and her husband’s 9th wedding anniversary.

Happy Anniversary!

“Today is my 9th wedding anniversary!  This Bible page is for just that, July 20, 2006!  Our wedding was orange and purple and I wore a white dress with pearls in my ears!  The verse on our programs was Phillipians 4:6-7.  This verse speaks just as strong as it did that day.  I love my hunky husband more today than I did 9 years ago, and I am so beyond thankful to walk beside him in life!  This page is a bit messy, because well, let’s be honest because marriage is HARD WORK and a bit messy at times!” ~McKenzie

Happy Anniversary!

Find more of McKenzie’s Bible Journaling creations at TheLetteredLight.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Phillipians 4:6-7

Lord we thank you for the gift of marriage.  You created it to be a blessing and something that makes us humble ourselves before you and our spouse daily.  May we honor you in all our relationships and hold marriage in a higher place of honor.  For those who are struggling in their marriage right now, we pray that they will guard theirs hearts and not allow the devil to take hold of it but to place it in your loving hands.  You have proven how great you are at reconciling wrongs and we pray for reconciliation of hearts.  We also just want to celebrate those who have held onto you and each other during the good and difficult times.  May all those moments make them stronger and more able to serve you!  In the One who created this gift~Amen!

How many anniversaries have you celebrated?

Pin It on Pinterest