Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.  Isaiah 7:14

Immanuel. God with us.

God with us. You and me. This world. Your neighbor. Our children. Us. 

God loves the world. (John 3:16) There isn’t anyone too far away from the love of God. When Immanuel is defined as God being with us, it means He’s available for all of us.

God with us. Alongside us. Always near. Never out of reach. With. 

When Jesus tells His disciples that He is leaving, He reassures them not to worry because He was sending a Helper to be with us. From then until He returns, we have Holy Spirit alongside us. (John 14:16-17)

God with us. God...the God of the universe. God the creator. God the Father. God the son. God the Holy Spirit. God.

It amazes, humbles, delights, thrills, and a million other emotions, that God is with us. He is not an unknown far off God. He wants to be with us. He tells us over and over again in His Word that we can know Him. My favorite passage is Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Do you know Him today? Have you asked Immanuel to be with you? Seek Him. He’s waiting for you.

Art behind the story:

The Sweet ‘n Sassy StampO Holy Night set was the perfect silhouette for this page. I used the Rebecca Script Alpha to create the word “Immanuel”, with the exception of the letter “I”, which I hand lettered.

Like I do often, I used Distress Oxides for the color on the page. The color was applied with a makeup brush. While the background may look random, it has several elements in it that mean a lot to me. 

There is a dove (Doves of Peace) stamped several times to represent the Peace that comes from knowing God. I used the Wood Backgrounds set and stamped partial images to look like a fingerprint. God’s fingerprints are all over creation. 

There are some music notes (Texture Tiles 1) mingled throughout because knowing Jesus makes my heart sing. Also, there is some text (Typewriter Text) stamped to remind me that He has the words of life. Lastly, I used the hearts from Grunge Elements 2 to show His love.

This is my last blog before Christmas. I wish each of you the sweetest time with family and friends as you celebrate the birth of Jesus!

Merry Christmas,

Patio Ponderings

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Hello My Name Is

Advent. (n) the coming or second coming of Christ. 

My prayer during this advent season is that I would spend my time celebrating the birth of Jesus and having great expectancy that He is coming again. As I’ve been reading and studying, my heart has just been filled to overflowing with great joy!

A familiar passage came up in my study the other day, and this time, it leapt off the page in a new way and I was compelled to journal it.

Isaiah 9:6 reads “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” 

Often, I get so caught up in the first part of that verse, that I don’t focus enough on the ending. That baby, that tiny baby, that was born in Bethlehem in a stable was going to be cal
led Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. What? How in the world was a baby going to be all that? Well, it’s because He wasn’t just any baby...He was, and is, the Son of God!

Wonderful Counselor
When I need someone to talk with, and I need advice, there is no one better than going straight to Jesus. He is always there and ready to listen. He’s even got an entire book of advice for me on any given situation. 

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭33:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Mighty God
Our God is not just any God. He is the mightiest warrior that ever walked. There is no one or no thing that can defeat Him. And the best part, we don’t have to even do anything but stand still. He fights our battles for us.

“You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.' Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you."”
‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭20:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Everlasting Father
To know that there is nothing that God separate us from the love of God is amazing. My God allows me to run straight in to His arms and called him Daddy. I am the child of the everlasting Father. The one who runs to me with open arms, and embraces me, and kisses me is my Daddy God.

“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Prince of Peace
Peace is the thing in the world that I believe everyone is looking for. Peace from the busyness of life. Peace from the stress of day to day. Peace from the million things tugging at our hearts and minds. Peace. Deep peace. He is our Peace. When we choose to think on the right things instead of the things of the world, Peace is ours.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

During this time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and wait with great hope for His second coming, I encourage you to celebrate all that we have because of who He is.

Hello, my name is “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!” 

Art behind the story:

The Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps set Hello My Name Is was the perfect set for this page. I stamped the tags on cardstock and fussy cut them. My sweet team mate, Colleen (stirthesoul on IG), gave me the suggestion for the background. I used gray watercolor and made a light wash. Then I pulled out all types of stamps (I’ll list them below) from several of our sets to add visual depth and interest to the background. Lastly, I splattered brighter watercolors on it. Then I glued the tags down, added a bit of washi, and did my journaling.

My prayer for all of you is that this page will encourage you to dig in, study about the birth of Jesus and the prophecies surrounding Him. Also, that you’ll be waiting with great hope and expectancy. He is coming again!!

Much love,
Patio Ponderings

close up of background textures

 Doves of Peace

 Texture Tiles 1

Texture Tiles 3
Texture Tiles 3

Grunge Elements 2
Grunge Elements 2

Sunday, November 11, 2018


Merriam Webster’s dictionary has this to say about “forgive”:

"Transitive verb. To cease to feel resentment against an offender. To give up resentment of or claim to requital."

Because it’s a verb, it is an action, or a choice. In this case, it is a transition from unforgiven to forgiven. It’s going from holding on to that resentment to giving it up. It’s choosing to say, “I no longer will hold this against you.” It is not saying I agree with what you did, or said, or caused. It’s just an heart attitude shift towards healing.

Many years ago, I was in a very painful situation. One where I wasn’t sure even how to forgive the other person. A very wise person shared with me that the same blood that covered all of my offenses covered the other person’s as well. We both were on equal ground...at the foot of the cross.

Wow! What an eye opener for me. There was no offense worse than any other. Christ’s blood covered them all...equally.

As I’m writing this, the song Reckless Love by Cory Asbury is playing. Those lyrics...Oh the overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God!!

That’s what His forgiveness is...it’s love. And He gave it freely. For me. For you. For the one who hurt me. For the one who hurt you. For those who are on equal ground with us at the foot of the cross.

Choose to forgive. Christ did.

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love...Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:2, 31-32‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Art behind the story:

We are celebrating our 11th Birthday here at Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps, so we all chose done of our past favorites to feature. Hello My Name Is is what I used for the name tag on this page. The background is done with Typewriter Text and Give Thanks. To achieve the subtle background, I inked the words and leaves, and stamped them once on another piece of paper. Then, without inking again, I stamped them directly on the page. 

We are having LIVE demos on our Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps retail page on Facebook, as well as specials each week through out the month of November.  Be sure to be signed up for the Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps email newsletter to stay up to date on all the happenings!

Grab a cup of warm cocoa, browse the store, and celebrate with us.

See you soon,

Patio Ponderings

Editor's Note:  This blog is being simultaneously published on the Creative Worship Blog of Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps.

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 create...in 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.