Monday, September 17, 2018

Being on my patio in the evenings and getting to watch my favorite Artist create the most glorious sunset paintings is definitely one of my favorite places to be. Watching as He pulls out colors my eyes have never even seen before is mind boggling to me. It definitely makes this girl ponder Him.

Even better than sunsets from my patio, are sunsets on the beach. It’s the place where the sun just seems to melt into the water. The place where the colors of the sun and the colors of the ocean just seem to dance. I definitely love pondering about my Creator God at the beach.

As much as I enjoy these happy places, they don’t even compare to what being Him will be like.

“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God...A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!”
‭‭Psalm 84:1-2, 10a‬ ‭NLT‬‬

With each passing day and the older I get, I long to go home. Truly home. My hearts gets homesick some days...especially when I miss loved ones. Better than even being reunited with loved ones, is the thought of being fully in the presence of my Lord. 

One day, I can just imagine sitting with my God and Him pulling out all those colors that He uses to paint with and watching Him person. 

Where is your favorite place to ponder Him? Share with me in the comments.

May you long for home.

Until next time,


Editors note:  This blog post is being published simultaneously on the Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps Creative Worship blog.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


You know how those familiar things can evoke such calm and peace? My memories of growing up in a precious family are so sweet. Yes, I realize now more than ever how fortunate I was to grow up in a great family. Items from my childhood bring back certain pleasant memories.  

Daddy was in the Air Force, so he traveled all over and we had many keepsakes from different countries. We had woven ponchos from Panama, ceramic elephants from Thailand, and a big stuffed llama from Peru. When I see these things from my childhood, they bring such sweet peace and comfort to my heart.

Unfortunately for us, too, was the fact that Daddy’s travel also subjected his body to some horrible things as well. My dad served in Korea and Vietnam. And, as many of you know, Daddy suffered in his last days from lung cancer.

On one very dark night, I was called up to come sit with Daddy because his mind was out of control and he was hallucinating. No medicine or interventions they tried were working. When I got there, I found my dad sitting in a wheelchair...dressed in only a diaper and a T-shirt...and he was screaming out uncontrollably.

My heart was broken. My daddy...the strongest man I had ever known...was sitting there in a most pitiful state. My dad never raised his voice, was filled with a quiet reserve, and was very private. I. Was. Broken.

As I approached Daddy he called out “Gayle, we have to get out of here. The Viet Cong is attacking. Don’t you hear the air raid sirens?”
What was actually happening was that people’s IV’s were beeping and the nursing home staff were talking to each other over the loud speaker.  

But Daddy’s mind was so attacked by the side effects of cancer, that he was flashing back to all the air raids from his days in Vietnam. I had been praying on my my drive all the way over that God would give me directions on how to help my Daddy. 

I pulled Daddy over beside me and held his hand and began to talk to him. Me being there helped, but he was still so upset and saying we had to take cover...they were going to kill us.

In my purse, I had my Bible. I grabbed it out and began to read to Daddy. We started in Psalm 91 because that was his favorite.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:1-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“He will protect you from every deadly disease!” Yes! As I was reading, I was praying “God protect my Daddy from the ravages of this disease. Deliver him from the grips of this terror.”

“He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:4-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God was the protection for my Daddy. Daddy did not have to fear the terrors of the night. We didn’t have to fear this dreadful disease.

As I was reading, a calm began to come over Daddy. He body began to limber and the tension began to ease.

“If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.”
‭‭Psalm 91:9-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I’m sure it was God’s angels that were protecting Daddy’s mind at that point.

“The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:14-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

There is no doubt in my mind that God rescued Daddy that night. As I continued reading from the Word, it wasn’t long until Daddy was fast asleep and we were able to get him back in bed. I slept peacefully the rest of the night in the recliner beside him. We both woke up refreshed...and protected...and rescued in the Lord.

My friends...God’s Word is always the answer to it all.  Just like the sun will always rise in the morning, His mercies will always be new.  Lean in to Him.  

Art behind the story:

When I saw the Llama Love set, they brought such sweet memories of the stuffed llama we had from my childhood. I knew they had to go in my Bible with the story of deliverance from the Lord.

I stamped the mountains several times, and then watercolored and fussy cut them. The same is true for the llamas, the blankets and the cactus. I watercolored the background and then stamped the words using the Chunky Lowercase Alpha. I used Derwent Inktense pencils to shadow the letters. After gluing the fussy cut pieces on the page, I added more watercolor for highlights and then completed the page with the mountain clip.

There are several great new releases for August on the Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps website. If you use of them on social media, please tag me. I’d love to see what you do with them.

Until next time,
GayleIG: patioponderings

Editor's Note:  This post is also being posted simultaneously at the Creative Worship blog of Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Source of Hope

Who needs a bit of encouragement from time to time? I know I do. We live in such a busy, crazy time, with life spinning all around us. Sometimes, when we take our eyes off of Jesus and look at circumstances, things can get hopeless.

Several years ago, Chuck Swindoll said “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes.” Isn’t that true with hope as well? We can’t control all that is going on, but we can choose our responses. If we choose to trust in Him, the Bible tells us in Romans that we will “overflow with confident hope.”

All too often, we want to react to the situation instead of choosing to respond with what we know to do. Paul goes on to say in Romans chapter fifteen, that we already “know these things so well” and that we “can teach teach each other all about them.”

So, why if we know these things do we not do them? For me, it’s because I sometimes forget from who...and from where hope comes. Hope doesn’t come from the world around me, it comes directly from my Father...”the source of hope.”

Perhaps today, you or someone you know, might need this reminder as well.

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace,”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:13-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Art behind the story:

As I pondered this passage, I couldn’t think of a more joy filled representation of hope than a pot of spring flowers. We plant bulbs in the fall with the hope of blossoms in the spring!

I used Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps Spring Blossoms and stamped the tulips and daffodils on patterned card stock. I drew leaves and the flower pot on coordinating card stock. Then, the fun part...fussy cutting all the pieces and then designing the arrangement as I pondered this passage! Next, I stamped the word hope from the Choose Faith set. Lastly, I hand lettered the rest of the sentiment.


Editor's Note:  this blog was previously posted on the Creative Worship blog of Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps

The verse in Psalm 46 that says “be still, and know that I am God” is pretty familiar to many of us. In today's world of hurry hurry hurry, we often hear people say "just be still."

Sounds great. Doesn’t it? Just be still. Oh, but it’s not that easy. You see, I can let my body be still all right, but my heart and mind are a different story.

In fact, often when I’m still, my mind is anything but still. But, when I do stop, get still, and truly focus on knowing Him, that’s when I hear His soft sweet whispers.

“Hush, my child.”

“Stop striving.” 

“Trust me...even when it’s hard.”

Today as I was pondering this passage, a couple of songs began to play on repeat in my head. “In Christ Alone” has a beautiful part that says:

“when fears are stilled, and strivings cease
my comforter, my all in all
here in the love of Christ, I stand.”

Being still entails letting our fears be stilled and our strivings to cease. It means to turn off the racing in our mind...and truly know Him.

The other song that came to mind, was “It is Well”. How many of us can truly say “it is well with our soul?” When I am still, hush my mind, and experience the peace that only He can bring, I can say “it is well.”

What’s keeping you from being still today? Do you need to sit and listen for His whispers of “hush my child?”

“Be still, and know that I am God!”
‭‭Psalm 46:10‬a NLT‬‬

Art behind the story:

Today’s artwork is very simple as I wanted to keep the focus on the whispers I heard from my Daddy.

For the word “hush”, I used Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps Script Outline Alpha. It is colored in with Distess Oxide ink and a water brush. “My child” is stamped using Teeny Alpha. The background texture was enhanced with Texture Tiles 1 and Texture Tiles 2. On the tab I used Timeless Hymns

Take some time today to be still and listen for whispers from Daddy.



Editor's Note:  The journal used for these entries is titled "100 Days of Bible Promises" by Shanna Noel.  This blog is also being published simultaneously on the Creative Worship blog of Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps.  

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Have you ever found yourself in a place you didn’t want to be? Or in a scenario that you thought you’d never be? One of those situations where you thought “this won’t ever happen to us. That won’t be me. That just isn’t what I’d ever choose.”

If you’re like me, you can answer “yes”, if you’re really being honest. Several years ago, I was in a situation that I never thought would happen to me. It was the farthest thing from my mind, but it happened. There I was. In a pit.  

So what’s a person to do when you get in one of “those” places? Get mad? Pull yourself up by your own boot straps? Pout?  I had never been in "this" place before and I needed wisdom to know what to do.

I chose to wait on the Lord. Even though life was spinning around me, I knew God was still God and He was still in control. I didn’t know how it would all work out, or even when. But I knew God would be with me and carry me through.

His Word became my life.  Like never before, I poured myself in to it and it into me. I clung to the truths and promises it contained. I listened for His soft whispers of what to say and what to do. He directed me when to sit and just be still.  I waited on Him.  

One morning, several months later, I remember waking up feeling so refreshed and so full of life. I was leaving for work and was headed out the front door, when they caught my eye.

There right in front of me, I noticed the daffodils were blooming. Bright, cheery, sunshine colored daffodils. They were gently swaying in the breeze as if they were waving good morning to me.

It was then that I knew, He not only lifted me out of the pit of mud and mire, but He set my feet on solid ground. And the best part? He didn’t just leave me and send me on my way. “He steadied me as I walked along!”

You see, at that point I couldn’t even remember if the daffodils had bloomed the year before. It had been a long season of winter. But, oh, on that day...I knew they were blooming!

When He lifted me from that pit, and steadied me as we walked along, He also gave me a new song to sing. Today, when you see me and wonder why the smile on my face...know it’s because I’m singing His song of praise in my heart!!

Psalm 40:1-3
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.  He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.  He has given me a new song to sing,  a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see what He has done and be amazed.  They will put their trust in the Lord.

***Editor's Note:  This post was originally authored by me and published on the Creative Worship Blog of Sweet  'n Sassy Stamps on February 22, 2018.   It's a very personal story and I wanted to share it with all of you.   

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

I’m Already Behind

It's a new year. New plans. New goals. Lots of excitement. This year I'm going to do it. This is MY year. I can do it.

And then you miss a day of your reading. You don't sleep well the night before, so you don't get up when the alarm goes off. You say to yourself, "It's okay, I can catch up tomorrow."

Tomorrow comes and you don't get it done that day either. Before you know it, a week goes by and you haven't read your Bible plan at all. What do you do? Throw up your hands and say "Forget it. I knew I couldn't do it anyway! I'm already behind. I'll just do something else for my reading and try again another year."

Friends, that was me for the last several years. I've been a Jesus follower since I was 11 years old, but not once I have ever read the Bible through. I'm sure through the years I've read and studied all the books...even Leviticus...but not in any systematic approach.

Right before Christmas, my friend Julie was over. We talked about our goals and plans for the new year.  She mentioned continuing her chronological study and memorizing Scripture.  I was so convicted at that very moment. She is a new believer and she is on her fourth time through the Bible! It's not a comparison game, but I realized that I had never read through the Bible even once. The Lord put it on my heart to do just that.

Why do I tell you all this? To encourage you! To say "You can do it, and it's not too late to start." It doesn't matter if you start January 1, February 18, or August 25. Just start sometime...better yet, today!

It might actually take me two years to complete this plan. And that's okay. At least at the end of those two years I'll be closer to the Lord than I am today, because I will have spent quality time in His Word, meeting with Him.

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."  Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Maybe the Lord didn't put it on your heart to read the Bible through this year. Maybe it is to memorize His Word? Perhaps it is to be more intentional with reaching out to someone? What about being more faithful in prayer?  Ask Him to show you how He wants to grow you this year.

I'm not perfect. I'm sure there will be days that I don't get my reading done. But I know this:  I am going to be intentional to make it a priority.  If I miss a day, I'm going to pick it right back up.

This year is my year. Is it yours?

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him....Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ."
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:15-17‬, 23-24

Click here to download a copy of I'm Already Behind.

Editor's Note:  Get your own clip art and journaling card by Christina's Alive.  Be sure to visit Christina on Instagram to leave her a note of thanks!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Making Spirits Bright

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is to look at all the lights. Whether it's the lights of all the little alpine trees in my house, or lights in the neighborhood, it always brightens my heart.

Isn't that how time with those certain friends is? After you've been with them, you feel encouraged, challenged, and hopeful. Something about being with them brings a little joy to your life.

Read Luke 1:39-45 with me.

These are the verses right after Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel and learns she will be having a child. We are told that Mary goes quickly to visit her aunt Elizabeth, who is also expecting a child. I can only imagine it was a frightening time for Mary, and she sought out comfort from being with Elizabeth. While we don't know the exact conversations that took place, we do know that Elizabeth felt John leap within her womb the moment John heard Mary's voice. What joy that must have brought to both women!

2 Timothy 2:1-2 says, "You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also."

When we take the time to visit with others and intentionally invest in them, our lives begin to look a little different. Yes, it takes time and sacrifice on both parts. We may have to travel to their home like Mary did, or give up some "me" time.

Sometimes, like a string of Christmas lights, it can even get tangled up and a bit messy,'s worth it in the end when the lights get plugged in and they brighten up things around them. That's how it is with people's lives too. Once we take the time to learn from each His Word life together...we are then better equipped to shine His light to those around us.

Jesus was very intentional with those in which He spent His life. He chose to pour life into others. Who do you see around you in which you can speak life?

As a new year begins, ask God to show you how you can be intentionally involved in "making spirits bright"!

Editor's Note: Clipart in Bible illustrations are from Creative Faith & Company. Check out their blog here for a free printable that includes these and more!