liluga - love isn't love until given away

"Loving God means doing what he tells us to do, and really, that isn't hard at all." 1 John 5:3 NLT

Monday, December 16, 2013


Cold, snowy days are a good for making me stay inside and work on projects I normally tend to never get to.  Today, it's in the teens and it snowed, again. It's as good a time as any to write on my blog. It has been a while.

The word "obedience" has been on my heart lately and scripture that refers to obedience has been jumping out at me as I read my Bible.

In Matthew chapter four, Satan is tempting Jesus in the desert. Verse four says
"But Jesus told him (Satan), "No! For the scripture tells us that bread won't feed
men's souls; obedience to every word of God is what we need." (The Living Bible)

So, according to this verse, obedience to God's word is what feeds our souls. We can know God's word, but if we don't do what it says, then it's fruitless. Without obedience, we'll starve. I guess you could take a look at the culture around us and say it looks like it is dying from a lack of nutrition. Obedience to God's word is like Biblical nutrition. It's the best diet around. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Woolly Days

 What do you do when someone gives you a huge bag of felted wool sweater scraps?  Get busy sewing, of course. 

I made a little liluga, some pin cushions, a few heart ornaments and a whole bunch of other stuff. So far, I've barely made a dent in my wool stash.

It's been so much fun creating all these things. Good thing Christmas is around the corner because I need to give all this woolly stuff away.

Friday, May 31, 2013


Imagine a world where EVERYONE obeyed the teachings in the Bible, especially the teachings of Christ. That every thought and action would be lined up against the word.

Oh, that would be heaven.

I’ve always thought that if we all behaved biblically, we wouldn’t have all the problems we have in this world. The problem, even Christians don’t want to behave Biblically. How about behaving Biblically without acknowledging where our teaching comes from?

A while back, while my brother was going through some marital problems, I gave him some sound advice, straight from the Bible. Being that he is not a Christian, I did not tell him where the advice came from. When we were done talking, he said “that’s the best advice I’ve heard of yet, where did you learn that from?” I told him it was all taught in the Bible.

It is the best advice out there. Why don’t more people follow it? Good question.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Don't Worry

I was born with the worry gene. My grandma had it, my mother has it, my sister has it, my daughter has it and even my dog has it. It has been with me through all of my growing years. It entered into adulthood with me, accompanied me through the early years of marriage and child-raising, and is settling into the mid-life years with me. I don’t like worry, but it sure likes me.

When I was young, my mother worried about everything. We had to wear undershirts year round because mom worried we might catch a cold. We had to keep our bedrooms clean, cause she worried that her friends would think she was an unfit mother if we didn’t. I myself grew up worrying about the friends I had and if I was well liked. I worried about my looks and getting that 80’s hairstyle just right. I worried if I’d ever have a boyfriend, much less ever get married. After college graduation, I worried about my job. I worried that people wouldn’t like me if I didn’t perform well. After getting married and having children, I worried about my kid’s  health, their growth, and the food I fed them. I worried about my marriage and the problems I was having. Today, I am worried that the mistakes I made will have lasting effects on my children. I worry that I worry too much and it is having an effect on my health.

Worrying is not what God has intended for us, and if you look in the Bible, you’ll find that Jesus had a lot to say about worry: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you? O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)

So why do I go on worrying, when God’s word is so clear? The answer to that question worries me. As a Christian, I should have shed the worry gene a long time ago, yet I seem to hold on tightly to it. It’s like a monkey on my back. I try to shake it off, but it always jumps back on.

Actually, I really have come a long way in my walk with worry. I grew up without faith, reading scripture and prayer. I was ignorant to God’s teaching on the subject. As a young mother of two children, the Lord found me and I became a Christian. Over the years, as I have studied the Bible and have learned to surrender my struggles to God, I have shed many of my worries. However, it’s as if the monkey only lost weight, not disappeared entirely.

But I am continually learning and growing. As long as I am reading my Bible and meditating on the truth of what scripture has to say about worry, I do ok. And prayer. Prayer is where I can release my worries to God.  So, be gone monkey, I don’t need you anymore!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Waiting on God

Did you ever hear the saying that at 20, your life goes about 20 miles an hour, at 30 it goes about 30 miles an hour, at 40 it goes 40, and so on? That would mean I'm moving along at 49 miles per hour now. That's pretty fast.

Since life is going so fast, I want to make sure I am living my days out for Christ, and not for myself. This is tough to do in this culture. I want to do so many things that would bring ME happiness, fame, fortune and the admiration from others.

But what about doing things that bring the glory to God instead? Hmmm, I want to do that. But I get so distracted.

I get distracted by all my big sewing ideas that I think will bring in oodles of money. I get distracted reading all the wonderful blogs and wishing I could write as well or have as many followers. I get distracted by  all the different ministries out there and thinking I'd love to participate in each one, only to be overwhelmed and do nothing. I get distracted trying to figure out what kind of job I should look for. I can hardly hear the Holy Spirit tell me anything.

This past month I felt led to let go of these distractions that I think are going to bring me this happiness, fame and fortune. I am slowing down and just listening for the Holy Spirit. Fifteen days into doing nothing other than what's necessary, and I am just beginning to hear bits and pieces. 

Today I read Ephesians 2:10 in my Living Bible. "It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives helping others."

I think I knew this all along. But I love the reminder. Also, I have noticed that since I have given up these distractions, I have more patience and time for my kids. I am happier. And for that I give all glory to God.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Loving My Husband, Loving God

Last week Ismael and I celebrated our third anniversary. He is a wonderful husband and he lets me publish goofy pictures of him. (I doctored-up this photo on He inspired me to write this a couple years ago:

I Love You More Than Cranberries

My husband likes to ask “Why do you love me?”  several times a day.  I come up with all kinds of fun answers, such as “because you drink coffee with me” or “because you don’t snore.”

Tonight at dinner he asked “how much do you love me?” As I was dipping a piece of chicken in my homemade cranberry sauce and savoring the flavor, I answered “I love you almost as much as I love cranberries.” 

I really do love cranberries, and being that fresh cranberries are only available seasonally, it makes them all the more special.  I really do love my husband, and he is available all four seasons, which makes him not as special as cranberries.  Just kidding!

If God were to say to me “Jamie, how much do you love me?”  Would I answer the same way I answered my husband?  “I love you almost as much as I love surfing the internet? Or shopping? Or reading novels?”  When I think of the things I put before spending time with God, the list could be endless. 

“Jamie, how much do you love me?”  I love you Lord more than all things, and I will show that to you by my actions and how I live out my life.

And to my husband, yes, I love you more than cranberries!

So he answered and said “’You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind’, and, ‘ your neighbor as yourself.’”
And (Jesus) said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”  Luke 10:27-28

Friday, February 8, 2013

My Heart's Desire

I am thinking a lot lately. Thinking of what are my true heart's desires. The Bible tells me that if I delight myself in the Lord, he will give me the desires of my heart. But, what really are these desires?

1. To love the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind.
2. To love myself.
3. To love others as Jesus loves others.

4. To raise my children to love the Lord and live Godly lives.
5. That my children will be happy and successful and content.
6. That my daily life would be one of service to others.
7. That my marriage remain strong and rooted in Christ.

Ok, those are my true heart's desires concerning my faith and my family. But what about beyond that, what do I want for myself as I live this life here on earth?  I ponder what God's will is for me beyond the above.

So I continue my list....
8. I want to be financially stable, yet I want to rely wholly on God for my provisions. 

I'll stop here. It is hard not to dream of success and making money and buying the things I want. But then would I really be depending on God?
Where do I draw that line? 

God has given me talents, like sewing, and (hopefully) writing. I write on this blog, not knowing where it is going, but hoping it will go somewhere. I am always dreaming up things to sew and sell (however, selling is not one of my talents).

I believe God gave me these talents and the desire to use them. I just want to make sure my desire for success and recognition doesn't take over. 


That said, I have started making scarves. It's been fun and they seem to be all the rage right now.  I would like to sell them, but not sure yet how I'll start.
For now I will keep my hands busy at work and pray God will lead me in the right direction.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Card Writing Ministry

As a busy working mom with a large family, I often feel overwhelmed by the commitments of my daily life and feel that I do not reach out to others in ministry as much as I would like to. I took this concern to the Lord in prayer. It went something like this - “Dear God, you know how busy and crazy my life is (or at least I perceive it to be), and that I really want to be part of a ministry to serve others. What can I do that won’t pull me away from my responsibilities to my family, but will allow me to minister to others in a tangible way?”
The answer I received was to use my talents (writing/card making) to start a “card writing ministry,” sending notes of encouragement to those in need.
This answer resonated deep in my heart because years ago I was going through a very difficult season in my life. I needed a lot of encouragement just to get through the day. During this time, I received in the mail several hand written notes from friends and acquaintances.  These cards were written just to encourage me and let me know I was being thought of and prayed for. They brought a smile to my face and somehow my struggles didn’t seem as heavy anymore. I have saved these precious cards and often pull them out and reread them. My heart is always touched that someone cared enough to take the time to find a nice card, write a personal note, and then send it to me.
As I was touched and blessed by the cards sent to me, I want to bless others in the same way. God has now given me a direction to do so.
The wonderful thing about starting a card writing ministry is that you can do it anytime, from anywhere. You do not have to abandon your family and it is actually a good example to have your children witness this and learn to do likewise. But most importantly, it is needed. The Bible teaches, in Hebrews 3:13 (NIV), “But encourage one another other DAILY, as long as it is called TODAY...” I want to be obedient to God’s word.
An added benefit to this ministry? I believe it is great therapy for the writer. When I send someone a card, I have so much fun either picking it out or creating it. It takes my mind off my problems as I think about the joy it will bring to the recipient. Plus it gets me into scripture, as I look for verses to include in my cards.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s get started.
The most important step of all is this: Pray. Ask God to place someone on your heart. Just start with one person. When God gives you a name, you will know it. I often will sit in church on a Sunday and I’ll see someone and I will sense the Holy Spirit tell me they could use an encouraging word. Sometimes it is someone I know well; often it is someone I am only acquainted with.
However, do not be limited to those in your church. God has recently put someone on my heart who is not a Christian. I admit it’s easier to reach out to those like us, but far more challenging to reach out to those outside our circles. I do not believe that a kind word sent out in love is ever a bad thing.
My favorite thing about writing cards is picking them out or making them. I can entertain myself for hours at the card shop reading all the cards. I also love being creative and can spend hours creating my own cards.  Some I will make on the computer, using my own photographs, others I make using fun papers or fabric and thread.
Whether you prefer to purchase your cards or make them, think about the person you are sending the card to. What is their personality? Are they funny or serious? If they are really serious, send them a funny card! I love funny cards, and I am a very serious person. I think a funny card will bring a smile to the recipients face and lighten their mood. Then you can write something serious. To me, this is better than sending a serious card and then trying to say something funny yourself. When in doubt, be conservative. Most times, a pretty note card will do just fine.
Once you have your card, you’re half-way there! Now comes the hard part for most of us. What to say? My advice, pray first for the right words and then start writing. People want to hear from your heart, not something generic.
Always begin with addressing the person by name - “Dear Alice…”. Then follow with your message. You do not have to write a lot, but do write enough to show it’s personal and that you care. It can be as simple as “I am thinking of you and believing in you”, or as long as you wish. Write like you are talking to the person. Acknowledge the struggle they are going through and include a prayer for them. I personally like to add a scripture to the card that speaks to their situation, but remember, this is not a place to get preachy.
The last part of the writing is the sign-off.  This is always a little challenging for me. Do I  use “love” or “from” or “sincerely”? How about going to scripture for some inspiration? The apostle Paul always closed his letters with a blessing. For example, his closing in the book of Philemon says “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (NIV). Go ahead, be endearing and sign-off with a blessing.
 Now for the easy part: Put the card in the envelope, address it, put a stamp on it (let’s support the US Postal Office!) and send it on its way. 
Congratulations, you have just begun your own card writing ministry! I pray God will bless you as you minister to others.
A Final Note
When sending cards to people don’t expect a response back from them. You may desire to hear that they received it and were touched and that your efforts were appreciated. Or you want them to write back and do likewise for you. That usually doesn’t happen. But that is OK, because you are doing this out of love to encourage someone. You are giving a gift that needs no reciprocation.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Silly Little Bookmark

One of my favorite memories of growing up was our family’s frequent trips to the public  library to check out books. Whether we went by car with my dad or on our bikes, my sister and I  always came home with a stack of books to read. I am still an avid reader and now my kids and I are the ones making several trips a week to the library. For me, there is nothing better than a good book to read. 
I also love to sew and hand embroider, and I am totally into using recycled wool for my projects. One day I combined my love of reading with my love of sewing and came up with this fun and silly little bookmark. I named him Norman and put him up for sale at my web-store.  My intention was to sell them to adults, however, a friend of mine was visiting my store and her son saw the picture of Norman and said he wanted it. So I wrapped it up and gave Norman to him for his birthday.  My own son, who’s twelve, saw it and wanted one also.  So I made him one named Charles.  My brother’s stepdaughter saw the bookmark and wanted one, too. She named him Wilson. Not only do kids love them, they are simple enough for them to make themselves.
Winter is a perfect time to start making these woolly bookmarks to use when cuddling up with a good book. With a stash of  recycled wool scraps, some old buttons and embroidery threads you will be ready to make a silly little bookmark. 

Felted Wool Scraps from sweaters or scarves (the tighter the weave, the better)
Two buttons, about 1/8”-1/4” in diameter
Embroidery Threads in different colors
Scraps of Fringed Trim
Embroidery Needle
Large Paper Clip
Hot Glue Gun

1. Make a pattern out of paper in the shape you want your bookmark to be. I made mine in the shape of an egg with the top cut off.  The size should be approximately 1-1/2” wide by 2” tall.

2. Pin the pattern to the wool and cut out a front and a back.

3. Position the buttons on the right-side front for the eyes and sew them in place with the embroidery thread.
4. Stitch a mouth with the embroidery thread.

5. Choose a fun piece of trim to use as the hair and baste it in place on the inside of the front at the top.

6. Using the hot glue gun, place a small amount of glue on the inside of the front and press the top of the paper clip in place to secure it.

7. Position the back to the front and pin together.

8. With the embroidery thread, stitch a running stitch around the whole bookmark, finishing the ends securely.

9. Give your bookmark a fun name and start reading!
Tips and Hints: 
©  Have fun! 
© These aren’t meant to be perfect.  Experiment with different wools, shapes, threads, etc. 
© Make a “memory” bookmark from a child’s or loved one’s clothing.
© Make a bunch and give them away!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Be Calm

“Be calm, no matter what befall you. Rest in Me. Be patient, and let patience have her perfect work. Never think things overwhelming. How can you be overwhelmed when I am with you?

“Do not feel the strain of life. There is no strain for My children. Do you not see I am a Master Instrument-maker? Have I not fashioned each part? Do I not know just what it can bear without a strain? Would I, the Maker of so delicate an instrument, ask of it anything that could destroy or strain?

“No! The strain is only when you are serving another master, the world, fame, the good opinion of men - or carrying two days burden on the one day.

“Remember that it must not be.”

This was yesterdays devotion from the book “God Calling” by A.J. Russell. 

I woke up this morning feeling very overwhelmed by all that I think I need to accomplish to make my life easier. Easier financially, emotionally and relation-ally. Do you know what? The worry of it all has not made my life any easier, only harder, especially on myself. It’s hard to accomplish anything when you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

The truth is, who am I serving? A quick look at my life and it would appear I am serving the world and man.  And not just carrying two days burden, I feel like I am carrying all of 2013 (and then some) in just one day.

Deep in my heart, I want to serve only God, but it’s hard to not feel overwhelmed by life and its challenges. Therefore, I have to make a choice, daily, that  no matter what today or any day brings, I will trust Him, rest in Him and wait patiently on Him.  Praise God that we have this choice!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A New Day

I just took the dog for a walk and snapped this picture of my street. Today the sky is overcast and everything looks a little gloomy; perhaps tomorrow the sun will be shining. Thankfully, each day is new and different.

"Great is his faithfulness, his loving kindness begins afresh each day." Lamentations 3:23 (The Living Bible)

As I begin not only a new day, but a new year, I need to remind myself of the truth that this verse speaks.   When we humble ourselves before the Lord and seek him daily, it doesn't matter what happened yesterday or any other day in the past. Each new day is a fresh new start with God. His mercies are NEW each day, and he is faithful to forgive us of all our mistakes and failures. What a wonderful way to start a new year!