Monday, December 1, 2008

A New Game of encouragement

Handmade gift idea # 1
This week I hope to post handmade gift ideas, one each day. Handmade is almost always better, and usually more appreciated! Sooooooooo, here we go with gift idea number 1!
Letter pillows
My friend Monica and I recently got together for a girls crafting day, and we had so much fun! One of the projects we made were these painted "pillows". She was recreating a candy cane pillow we had seen together in a store. I decided to branch out and try to spell something out in letters. The process was very simple.
1) Cut out shapes (one for the front, one for the back) for each letter or object you wish to create. We used pinking shears.
2) Sew around shapes leaving a 3/8's or 1/2 inch edge. Remember to leave an opening so you can stuff it.
3) Paint the pillow however you choose. They wouldn't have to be Christmas. Monica used natural canvas, which worked really well. I wanted white, but couldn't find white canvas so I substituted white twill. I painted the background white to make up for the loss in stiffness. The stiffness is needed so the letters keep their shape.
4) Stuff, and close up the opening. Easier then PIE!!!
Other ideas might be,
- baby shower gift using the letters of the baby's name
- Wedding gift, of the couples name or initials, or maybe a heart with the wedding date printed on it.
- Paint a simple outline of an animal lovers favorite pet.
- We also saw some painted shell pillows, at the same store, done in pale pinks and corals...very pretty.
The possibilities are endless...try it!

On another note,

I really, really, enjoyed the Thankful Game that we played here on a snip of goodness, for the month of November, and even though only a few played along, it was incredibly encouraging to me. I think some enjoyed participating, and others were possibly stirred to consider counting their blessings right along with us.

It is a new month now, and the last month of 2008! In January I read several blogs that were encouraging readers to choose a word for the year, a word that would inspire them throughout 2009. I thought about what my word would be, if I chose to participate, and at the time I was on a kick about how much Christian women need to be encouraging to one another. I chose the word encouragement, with the desire to make a concerted effort to encourage others in the new year. As most of you know, it turned out to be a very challenging year for me, and instead of being the giver of encouragement, I believe I was much more the recipient!

For the month of December, this last month of 2008, I propose that we all find ways to encourage others, and share those stories here, on a snip of goodness. Big ones, little ones, moving, simple, all kinds of encouragement! I think we will all find it very encouraging! I think people everywhere need a word of encouragement, and it is so very simple to give, and Oh, so rewarding! Perhaps we can share ways in which we have been encouraged ourselves also. Sooooooo,....lets go out there and determine to encourage someone during our everyday, and come back together to share, you never know how the Lord is going to bless you in return! This game is going to be a bit more challenging, because we have to actually act on it. More challenge, means more reward. Do you think you can encourage someone every day for the month of December? Are you up for the challenge? You aren't going to leave me out here to encourage alone are you? Now I'm feeling insecure, like I'm having a party, but no one is coming.....ever feel like that? Hey your first one can be me....encourage me by taking on the challenge of encouragement. Howabout it???

Because this is my first day on this mission, I will share a story from my past of how someone encouraged me:

When my boys were small, monthly haircuts became a ritual for us. We often went to a family owned barber on Hilton Head Island to get it done. The family all worked there, a father, mother, son, and daughter, and I believe an uncle. They had cool sharks teeth, and alligator heads, in the display cases, and even a tarantula spider, that the boys loved to look at while waiting their turn. On one particular visit, it came to be Kartwright's turn to sit still in the chair, and get a cut, and he began to act out. I remember feeling embarrassed, and frazzled, and ill equipped for the task at hand. He refused to get in the chair! I calmly took him outside, where I gave him a firm talk, and we discussed what the consequences would be for him not getting in the chair pleasantly, and sitting still for his haircut, I believe he was about 31/2 because I think Crockett was just a tiny baby. We then went back in the shop, and things went much more smoothly. Kartwright was terrifically compliant! The boys were clean cut, and left happily with lolly pops in hand. I went on about my frazzled ill equipped way. later that evening the phone rang, and I heard the voice of the mom barber on the other end. She just called to tell me how impressed she was with how I had handled my boys that morning, and how I had been able to deal with Kartwright's apprehension like a pro. She went on to say what a great Mom I was being to my boys, and how I was a good example to other young Moms. "I just wanted to encourage you" she said.

OOOOOOH doggies, and did she ever. I can share that story now, because I know looking back, that what I did was nothing special, but it was a more seasoned and mature Mom, that saw a struggling frazzled overwhelmed Mom, that needed someone to tell her that she was doing OK. It made my day! That was over 12 years ago, but I can remember it like it was yesterday. Because someone cared enough to pick up the phone and speak a word of encouragement, I was on cloud nine, and it built confidence in me, that maybe I could do that thing called mothering after all.

So, there's my story of encouragement, what's yours?


Mette said...

Great gift idea, Amy

Mette said...

Great gift idea, Amy

Danielle said...

I like the new game;-)

I was encouraged once by the dentist! Five boys for two hours in a little room...Yikes! I took snacks and books and toys and we played silly games while the dentist worked on one child. We got the normal "your kids are so well behaved" and then the receptionist said to me..."so many people claim to be christians but we know you are because you really live like it." Awe! The ultimate compliment! I lived on that encouragment for weeks!

Meredith said...

Our small group was recently able to encourage a family that lost their young son last year. As it goes with encouraging others, however, we were blessed far more than we blessed. Our group is closer and has a new, greater passion to serve together.

Here is the blog post the family wrote about their experience

I love your blog and am so encouraged by YOU!


The Encouragement Foundation said...

Dear Friend,

I came across your blog and just wanted to drop in and say on behalf of The Encouragement Foundation that we love what you have to say and especially love this month’s challenge.

We are a not-for-profit organisation that has just begun in Queensland, Australia. We are always interested in connecting with like minded people like yourself and offering our website to you as a source of encouragement. We have a vision to grow our membership base and in turn grow the number of active encourager,s throughout the world.

I really loved your story of encouragement but what stood out for me the most was the fact that 12 years on you are still benefiting from a small gesture from one thoughtful lady, it is truly amazing how such a simple act of encouragement can have such a huge impact.

We thank you for your wisdom, kindness and thoughtfulness and would love to join in with your challenge for this month and will support you in spreading encouragement as far and as wide as possible.

Please feel free to visit our site for encouraging stories that we have been collecting, hints and tips on how to encourage and if you would also like to help us spread the word we would love you to become one of our treasured members.

All the best in your wonderful quest for the month.


Lisar said...

Love the fabric letters...and love the encouragement struggling to recall any instances of times I have been encouraged off the top of my head...but will endeavour to recall also having a trying day at work so my brain is feeling overwhelmed...I will read others encouragement stories and be encouraged by them. Lisa

Ginger said...

Basically, I would not get through a day at work without being encouraged. I am the ELA teacher on a four person team in the 6th grade. We have to encourage each other on a daily basis because in the long run, we are all we have. Specifically, about a week and a half ago, I was passing through the cafeteria after lunch with my team leader. Sitting there was our 6th grade Assistant Principal. Now, this man is a proclaimed christian and the recipient of much of our collective grievances, simply because no one can go to the Principal. I stopped and told him our problems are not with him, and I told him we appreciate him. I am sure he rarely, if ever, hears that.

Dawn said...

Well, today I was able to get Michael's truck property taxes reduced, even though the last day for reduction was Nov 30th. The office was closed on Friday, so they extended the deadline to today.That saved my son $32.00, and that was a blessing to me!

thehomespunheart said...

Oooh - love your super cutie letters! You'll be linked tomorrow! :)

Encouragement: this is the first thing that came to mind -

When I first moved to the south, I thought my parents were very disappointed in me. Basically because I did not live close to them anymore and had the nerve to move away!

Anyway, when I was in a new state, new home, with new HUGE flying bugs in my new home, etc... and was feeling low and discouraged, I started finding little notes that my mom had hidden around my new little home when she had helped me move in.

The one I remember was the one in the bathroom - it said, "we are proud of you" and I burst into tears because I had feared the opposite. It was a precious encouragement to me!

Fun game!

shopannies said...

Love this idea I believe I saw something like this at my grandmothers house before she was always making something. I love it and now that I am getting older believe that I may want to try my hand at a few items like this or that.

Paige said...

My second son Samuel is the encourager in our family. He not only lifts up his brothers and friends, but he lifts us up as well. Last week I had an especially nasty outburts towards the boys, and had to repent and tearfully apologize to them. I said "I am so sorry, I got crazy, I was sinning, please forgive me. I don't want to be a crazy momma" and Sam hugged my neck and very sweetly said "mom, I think all momma's get a little crazy sometimes."
What an encouragement. Forgiveness, and a gentle reminder that we are still in this flesh and still trying to shut down the old behaviours one day at a time.

Ruth said...

I just came over from Monica's blog. I love the JOY candy cane pillows. Such a nice idea.
I love the thought of finding someone to encourage everyday in December. Your story was wonderful.

Elise said...

Just came from Monica's also. LOVE your pillows!! I was on a JOY kick last year, making wood letters. Your pillows are adorable!!
Um, encouragement...I feel like I get undeserved encouragement sometimes, if that makes sense. I feel very ill-equipped to be a mom somedays and I really feel it shows a lot. I love how you took your boy out and talked firmly to him. I don't know if I could have been so gracious in my frazzled state. I do pray that God will help me-I love Proverbs-I always glean some insight from that book.

gail said...

oh what a great encouraging story. it brought tears to my eyes. i love picking a word for each year and yes, often its something that you end up needing during that year, rather than you giving to others. God knows what we need.

love the pillows too. came over here from monica's blog.