Day 21: Hand-drawn Christmas Cards!

31 days of Enjoy squareBack in August, I hinted at some exciting things happening this autumn…

And now, you’ve seen some of those things! I shared three new digital autumn prints and one hand-lettered-James-Whitcomb-Riley-quote-pumpkin print with you already, (oh, and that one that was a free printable… it’s really for any time of year) and now I want to proudly announce that I’m adding a new line of hand-drawn Christmas cards to my etsy shop, Ebenezer Designs! I’m calling it the “Send a Story” line, because I think that’s what you do when you send something beautiful in the mail.

Day 21 EDITI am SO. RIDICULOUSLY. EXCITED. about these cards, and it’s been positively everything I could do not to share them sooner… So, without further ado, here they are!!!

EDIT Cards and Garland

Each package of cards contains 4 designs!

Love Hans

Can’t you relate to Hans? I can.

Comfort and Joy

Aren’t those the sorts of tidings you want to send to someone at Christmas?

A Beautiful Sight

If I could sew/crotchet/knit/etc. I would make these mittens for myself. (However, I can’t. So I just drew them instead.)

Rejoice Wreath

These little birds make me so happy! (They make me feel like… rejoicing. Haaaa…)

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As I mentioned, I cannot contain my excitement over these!! They are $10 per package, and you get one of each design as well as envelopes! They’d make a great gift, or a lovely embellishment to make a gift a little extra-special.

I’ve often been hesitant and wary of asking others to share my work with their own circles of friends and family, because I wondered if it was selfish or wouldn’t communicate what I intended. But I’ve been encouraged lately to share unabashedly, and not to be afraid to ask other people to share my work.

EDIT Four 4 packs

So… would you? Could you? I’d love it if you’d share either the link to this post or the link to the shop- or both! And if you want some lovely Christmas cards that tell a little story, you can find them on my shop here(Btw, I’ve already had one order, and have limited supply, so if you want ’em, get your order in asap!)

Day 20: When You Don't Have a Mantle {Or a Porch}

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Sometimes, I positively long for a beautiful mantle or front porch to make even more beautiful during seasons like fall. (Ok. Really like, 75% for fall, and the rest for Christmas.) It’s easy to look through the seemingly infinite pictures of Pinterest mantles and magazine porches out there… like these:

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…and think- oh, woe and alas! for I- the saddest of beings lacking such a mantle, such a porch!!!! in a dramatic voice with a British accent.

But we aren’t in a season of mantles and porches and all the accoutrements thereof. We are in a season of a 3rd floor apartment and a toddler, whose wonder basically paints the whole world as one giant, gorgeous mantle and/or front porch. (I mean, at the covered bridge festival, all she did while we ate lunch was pick up a million different gravel rocks and bring them all to us- she even got upset when we made her put them back on the ground…) And if she can delight in so much around her, then I can too.

Wow. Learning how to enjoy life from your kids. I don’t think anyone’s ever thought of that before…

Anyway, I hope that if you have a mantle {or porch} you are just enjoying the awesomeness out of it! And if you don’t, I hope you are still celebrating all the corners of beauty in and and around us, this beautiful October!

Day 19: Covered Bridge Festival!!!

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It FINALLY happened. We FINALLY got to go to the fabulous covered bridge festival I love so very much!!! This past weekend, we headed over to my parents house a couple hours away, and go to spend a couple lovely days with them (including a simple, restful Saturday), and Friday was the day of covered bridge wonderfulness.

Husby Selfie EDIT

This is called an I-forced-husband-to-selfie-with-me-because-of-my-overabundance-of-excitement Selfie. (We were in the car… not even to the festival yet.) 

Bens Pretzels

Of course, about 50- eh, maybe 75%- of the wonderfulness of this covered bridge festival is due to Ben’s Pretzels. YOU GUYS. They are the biggest, softest, warmest, most delicious pretzels to ever pretzel. If there were such things as autumn carols, there would be one devoted specifically to these pretzels. So, obviously, we bought them promptly after our arrival… followed within 10 minutes by the consumption of a bag of mini fried doughnuts which were so good they basically just melted in your mouth. (Because that’s what you DO when you are at the covered bridge festival, friends. If you’re not eating at least 2-3 kinds of baked/fried bread and/or meat/cheese/butter, then you’re not doing it right.)

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Mimi showing Lucy around one of the super cute booths.Mimi and Lucy 2

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Fake berry garlands? Of course I want to visit this booth!

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Lucy and her grandpa!
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Was it too much to ask Lucy to smile into direct sunlight?? Possibly.IMG_3460

Hubs contemplating the rustic brands of cream soda and root beer available at the old mill. (Isn’t he handsome???)

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I love this pumpkin patch area. (I mean, it’s obviously not an actual pumpkin patch, but it’s the designated pumpkin area, so what do you want from me?) This picturesque spot may have been featured last year, too.IMG_3458

I love these boots. Getting to wear them on a chilly day is a small thing, but a lovely thing. IMG_0419

Um. It’s a metal lawn-ornament minion family. How could I not take a picture of them? I have never had a desire for lawn ornaments (in part because I live in an apartment, people), but these almost tempt me. Almost. IMG_0416 IMG_0413

My girl. Inspecting all the pumpkins, presumably to make sure they measure up to her high pumpkin standards. (She’s very thorough.) 

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I just love that sweet face!

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One of my top 5 favorite days of the year. Easy. (Until next time, pretzels. Next time…)

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I think Lucy had fun… She certainly took a good nap afterwards. (She’s cuddling her new Pinky Pie, purchased for her by Grandpa, of course. I don’t think it took much to convince him. Basically, I set her down and she ran right over to the My Little Ponies exclaiming, “Pie! Pie!” So… that was the cutest thing ever.)

Any special wonderful fall places you love visiting with your people this October?

Day 18: Some Depth on a Sunday

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There are some really beautiful, deep, articulate singer-songwriters out there. And I think a lot of people don’t know about them. So, I wanted to share with you some depth, some beauty, some words that pull the shadows away a little and sometimes a lot.

Whether they are your cup of tea or not, enjoy a snapshot of excellence, bravely created and shared with the world by these kingdom artists.

I can barely talk about Andrew Peterson, which is to say, I can’t stop talking about him. Which is to say that whenever I try to talk about him, his music, his work, his books… I just end up stammering about beauty and shadows and heavenly heartache, and C.S. Lewis and Tolkien and story and how I want to be basically a girl version of him when I grow up. (When is that, again?) And I gesticulate a lot (Aka flailing).

Josh Garrels. Why aren’t more people talking about him?! He’s exceedingly unique, but just as deep as Peterson. I’m always surprised by something with each listen of his music. He is a word-weaver for sure, and I get the sense of watching something beautiful and complex unfolding. Maybe you will, too.

And then this girl. Friends, I just feel like singing harmony around a piano with Kelly Rae Burton. Her lyrics speak right to me, her melodies draw me in, and her voice makes me want to sing, too. (Those seem like accurate indicators that she’s good. In my professional opinion.)

Please share these links! Please share these artists. Please share their work. (And go get your hands… or computers… or whatever… on their music ASAP! Garrels and Peterson both just released new albums recently!!!)

Day 17: How to Enjoy a Simple Saturday.

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  1. Sleep in- check.
  2. Play outside with my almost 19-month-old (who doesn’t understand that it’s 40 degrees outside) in grandma and grandpa’s backyard- check.IMG_3466
  3. Wear the fabulous hat and scarf from the covered bridge festival (which y’all will hear about next week) while outside with almost 19-month-old- check.IMG_3469
  4. Eat cinnamon raisin toast, apples, and a piece of an eclair (because Dad insisted upon it- that’s my story anyway). With coffee (obviously)- check.IMG_3467
  5. Stay in PJ’s the entire time- check.

Mission Accomplished.

Day 16: What the Bible Says About "Enjoy" {Part 1}

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This post could also be titled “How We Enjoy God” or “Delight=Enjoy” or something like that. Because the word delight is a synonym for it, and because it’s in the Bible a whole lot of times (precisely). 
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So today, we’re looking at this whole enjoying, delighting thing from our perspective. Let me clarify: we’re looking at it from the perspective of someone who glorifies God and enjoys Him forever.
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IMG_3390What does is mean to “enjoy God”? How do we even do that? I think the most crucial place to start is with the Word, followed closely by asking the Holy Spirit to unlock and reveal what God tells us through it.
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So find somewhere lovely to sit, and let’s find out what the man after God’s own heart delighted in (and also Paul, but I’m only using one verse of his today).
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Psalm 119:16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
Psalm 119:24 Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.
Psalm 119:35  Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.
Psalm 119:47  for I delight in your commands because I love them.
Psalm 119:70  Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law.
Psalm 119:77  Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.
Psalm 119:92  If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
Psalm 119:143  Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.
Psalm 119:174  I long for your salvation, Lord, and your law gives me delight.
And what does Paul say in the New Testament? Well, in Romans, he says the following:

For in my inner being I delight in God’s law

So, what do we take away from these verses? That God’s law gives delight. Perfect. We are so smart.

But seriously, what does that even mean??? How can a law be delightful? Isn’t the law on it’s own all about rules and punishment for breaking them? I don’t think so.

I posit that the law- God’s way of doing things- is of God, meaning, it’s life-giving. I don’t know that I was aware of this until I got older. God doesn’t just make up rules because he’s a control freak and an ego maniac who wants to force others to his will. (If he were, I don’t think we’d have free will to begin with.) The law is- if anything- evidence of his desire for a true relationship with us. The law brings us an awareness of sin, a knowledge of the things that tear our lives apart.

IMG_3388But also, the law is relational. I mean, look at the ten commandments. They are all about relating to God and to others. If that’s not an indicator that God desires a relationship with us, I don’t know what is.

It’s a law of love. It’s a law that brings wholeness and peace.

So we don’t have to live in a place of shame or legalism, or feel like God is just trying to lord our brokenness over us. He intends for us to delight in him, and in his law. It’s something we can enjoy.

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If you are like me and don’t always connect the dots of enjoying the law of love through God’s Word, I encourage you to spend some time in it today, and ask the Holy Spirit to draw near and reveal what God is saying to you. Trust that he does intend for you to live in joy, in delight!

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Day 15: Rejoice! (Free Printable. Not for Mrs. Trunchbull)

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You know, for all this focus on enjoying, I can still really get off track.

And a couple days this week, I did. I let myself get caught up in the little mini-maelstroms that a Monday or Tuesday and all of their relentless minutiae can bring. It wasn’t even anything life-altering. But it was mind-numbing and chaotic.

In the moment, did I remind myself of God’s grace? Did I remember the joy he offers- no- promises? Nope. Instead, I tend to shame myself. I tell myself things like, “You know, think of circumstances other people are enduring that are a TON worse than yours. You should be grateful.” And I am. But I realize that the voice saying those things to me? It’s like some toxic old lady who never has any fun, never wants anyone else to either, and doesn’t really give or receive love.

It begs the question, why did I let her into my head in the first place?! I vacillate between seeing her as an old lady (who lives in a literal black and white world) or Mrs. Trunchbull from Matilda.

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(Did you just realize this too?? Also, I don’t know why they spelled it “realise.” That might be a British thing. Regardless, it still blows my mind that she plays Aunt Marge…)

Anyway. I think it’s a lot easier to be mind-numbed and beseiged by chaos than it is to stop. Take a deep breath. And rejoice in the Lord… Always.

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So just remember. Rejoice! And forget all that nonsense weird old lady/Mrs. Trunchbull slings at you.

If hanging this free printable in your house helps, then go for it! Here’s the printable itself:

Rejoice in the Lord

Just click it, save it, print it.

(This is up on the shop, too! I mention it because you can order the digital print in other colors! Shmancy, right?)

Day 14: When You Need to Laugh (Really. Really. Hard.)

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Do you ever just need to laugh? I mean like- desperately need to laugh? I found myself needing that, and I didn’t even know it until my husband was showing me funny things on the internet. So, I thought it extremely appropriate to share some of my most laugh-worthy pins on my Pinterest board. Enjoy!

First, hipster Santa.

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Deep stuff.

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Man. I know she’s sarcastic and abrasive, but I just love her.

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If you are a nerd in any capacity, your brain will probably explode after reading this.

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I LOVE THIS ONE. DON’T YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY WHEN PEOPLE WRITE IN ALL CAPS?!?! (I mean, do they think it could sound like anything less than visual yelling??? Maybe visual isn’t the best word… but you know what I mean, right?)

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This is just awesome.

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I couldn’t help but include this one. If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, you just won’t get it. (Sorry not sorry.)

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I think I laugh out loud every time I read this one… Because it’s EXACTLY how I feel about math.

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Equally true is this one:

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Ron Swanson is just my favorite. So I had to include one of him.27555a7750dd9f5b767a9faff6f0a211

And of course,  I couldn’t create a post about funny stuff without this one:

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You’re. Welcome.

Day 13: How to Paint Leaves (And Other Awesome Things)

31 days of Enjoy squareToday, I wanted to share some of my favorite youtubes of people teaching techniques or demonstrating watercolor products! These have really helped either inspire or teach me as I’ve been working on watercolor and hand-lettered projects for the shop!

This is another great video of hers:

Now admittedly, this artist has an extremely intricate, realistic style, so if you’re watching them having a panic attack, join the club. Then, if you’re exactly like me, you can take a deep breath and remember that it’s ok to not paint just like her! But she’s clearly masterfully good at it, and I wouldn’t say no to learning from her manifold wisdom. (I think the last time I remember someone using the word “manifold” was Mr. Collins. Don’t hold it against me.) 

Here’s another great video!

I LOVE the smoothness of her style, as well as the warmth of the finished illustration.

I like this video, especially for beginners, because it shows how to create some basic structure to hand-lettered pieces, and for me, structure isn’t the most obvious go-to. (My brain is like, “You mean I can’t just make swirly doodles around everything and expect it to be polished and desirable?!” No, brain. No you cannot… or I cannot. Whatever.)

I enjoy these videos because they spur me on and inspire me to be excellent. Excellence is something crucial to seek as a disciple of Christ, and as an artist. Ultimately, it won’t come from copious amounts of youtube-watching, it’ll come from practice. Perhaps very smudgey practice.

But if you need some inspiration and some great teachers to watch, start with these!

Day 12: The Frost is on the Pumpkin

31 days of Enjoy squareWell, maybe the frost isn’t technically on the pumpkin quite yet. Not really. But still! I couldn’t help but add this to the shop this weekend, to further celebrate general autumn wonderfulness.

Frost

If you want to purchase, click either pic to see the listing itself!

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My mom used to read James Whitcomb Riley’s poetry to me when I was little. Especially that one and Little Orphan Annie (which actually is little creepy… when you’re 5, I mean). Also, if you’re concerned, yes I do know that it’s technically “punkin” in the poem.

I hope you enjoy it like I enjoyed making it! Please feel encouraged to share this and the shop in general if you are a fan!