Wednesday, 30 December 2015

'Cling' 2015

Last year I decided to pick a 'one word' for the year. I picked 'faithful'. Here's why.

I love the idea of having a 'one word' for the year instead of a bunch of resolutions. I think it's quite a cool idea. You are supposed to pick one word for the year and focus on that.

I've decided to do that this year instead of a resolution, just like I did last year. My word isn't really so much to do with a resolution. My word is more a reflection on my spiritual walk with God and a word to remember throughout the year and try to use to keep focused, I guess.

This year, my word is 'cling'.
hold on tightly to.
"she clung to Joe's arm"
Synonyms: hold on to, clutch, grip, clasp, attach oneself to, hang on to, hold tightly, clench, embrace...
I love those synonyms, don't you? Clutch, grip, clasp, attach oneself to, embrace, hold tightly! 

I want my relationship with God to be one where I am clinging on to Him. Where I am clutching, clasping, attaching myself to, embracing, holding tightly to Him. 

Hebrews 10:22-24 (emphasis mine)
....let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;  and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,…

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful. Let us not only hold fast to the confession of our hope, but hold fast to our hope itself! Let's cling to Jesus! 

He's strong and secure and can handle anyone clinging on to him.... 

So yeah, that's my word for the year.

May your 2016 be absolutely amazingly incredible. May the Lord's presence feel very near to you and your loved ones as you serve Him.

See you next year!

PS. This was originally going to be posted on New Years Eve, but I want to do a post on New Years Day too so this has been shifted forward! :) Anyway. I'll still see you next year.
PPS. Are you doing a 'one word' for the year? What is it?


Monday, 28 December 2015

Hand Lettering Tutorial (video)

Good morning!

I have something a tiny bit exciting for you today....

I've no doubt you remember a post from a little while back which entailed me talking about art in general and the different ways I like doing arty sort of things. I mentioned that I was using entirely photos in the post because I didn't like doing videos because of how annoying they are to work with. Well, I've finally gotten myself a cellphone and decided that maybe doing a video would be a tiny bit easier on a cellphone... long story short here's my experimental video, a tutorial on my favourite kind of hand lettering.

It's a bit of a basic tutorial but I hope you like it... and Ashley, I'm sorry it's been so long in coming!

How was your Christmas? Ours was fantastic. We had a lovely day with our family and some friends.
Have a great week! :)

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:1-20 (emphasis mine)

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

There was no room available for them....
I came across this great quote the other day - isn't it fantastic?? Had to paint it. :)

I wish you great joy this Christmas and blessings abundant for 2016. :) May the Lord be with you and may you shine His light and declare His glory wherever you go.

Monday, 21 December 2015

A + A // Christmas is for Secrets

- Losing my voice completely for the first time ever.
- Getting really used to Chinese people asking me if I have a boyfriend (and occasionally people who kindly provide me with a couple of options :P)
- Being completely sure about a piece of factual information and informing others about your excellent facts.... then discovering you actually weren't right about it.
- Discussing a Christmas present with Mum and having the intended recipient walk past the door to the room in which we were in and overhear tantalising and oh so tell tale tidbits of our conversation. Note to self: check doors are shut before talking secrets in future.
- Leaving personal belongings behind.
- Not being able to make it to an important event you were expected to attend and having to explain the reason you were unable to attend.
- Which happened to be that you were going to be out of town visiting your extremely unwell grandparents which is always awkward telling people because no one quite knows what to say to "My Grandma is dying of cancer".
- Completely missing perfect cues for puns in conversations. Like, come on Bonnie! You can do better than this!
- Trying to wrap awkward shaped gifts. How is one supposed to wrap a ukulele in a way that makes it seem extremely un-ukulele like when you have no suitably shaped cardboard boxes and nothing very useful apart from gift wrap?
- Making plans then having to unmake and remake them oodles of times because your plans just don't work out.

- Finding funny things in English in China.... for example this restaurant that on their business card claimed to have 'Lady-like Kind Gentlemanly Taste', whatever that cryptic phrase really means!
- People who take you seriously.
- That incredibly suspenseful few seconds when you see your exam results have arrived in the mail and you're opening up the envelope, busily imagining all the possible scenarios that might happen. ("So if I get an A+, I'm going to whoop and scream and phone up all my friends.... if I fail I'm going to crawl into a hole and never come out.... if I get one of those annoying in between marks I'm going to pretend I'm disappointed by the lowness of my mark but really I'm going to be secretly thrilled I didn't fail... etc)
- Sunny skies. I have never appreciated sun in the sky so much after seeing all the pollution in the sky in China.
- In itself, the ability to be thankful. So much we often take for granted!
- Having fun with family.
The latest craze amongst some of my younger siblings (especially Ben and Johnny) is carefully building things with wooden domino-like blocks. Then you knock over one end and have a nice carefully planned trail of knocked over wooden domino-like blocks. Or you can build pyramids and things like Caleb is doing here.

- Fresh strawberries and peas in the pod
- Christmas carols!!!! (You knew this one was coming, didn't you.)
- Having brainwaves. They don't happen terribly often, let's be honest, but when they do it is certainly something to celebrate! ☺
- Life in general.
- When you manage to clear away and actually do that one frustrating item on your To Do list that had been sitting there and bothering you for ages.
- That one shade of colour that is pretty much a perfect cross between pink, orange, red and yellow and looks SO BEAUTIFUL whenever you see it... come to think of it, it often crops up in sunsets.
- Sunsets

What do you think we take for granted too often?
Do you have any funny stories about secrets around Christmas time? Do share!
How's life going for you? Anything majorly awkward or awesome happen?

PS. Also, I've posted my family's Christmas Newsletter written by Mum if you feel like you want to read it. Link here . I put it on it's own page since it's so gigantic so if you're looking for it look at the top of my blog along with the other pages.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Paper Booklet Tutorial

Good morning, friends!

Today I'm going to be teaching you how to make a neat little paper booklet using only one piece of paper, a pair of scissors and a pen/pencil.

Sounds weird, right? I mean, a paper booklet? (Has Bonnie gone bonkers?)
No seriously, this is such a great method and is so little known I decided to share it with you. I'm sure it will come in handy at some stage, trust me.

Materials needed: One piece of paper any size (I'm using A4), a pair of scissors and a pen/pencil

Cut the paper down the middle so you have two equal sections.

Fold each section in half (you can't really tell here but that's what I've done)

Make a tiny mark about an inch from the top of the paper on the FOLDED side of one of the halves.... and repeat about an inch from the bottom of the paper on the same side

Put the two folded sides together so you can transfer the positions of the marks onto the same place on the other half of paper

On one of the halves, cut from the top of the paper until you get to the mark. Then stop cutting. 
Now cut from the bottom of the paper until you get to the other mark. Then stop cutting. 

On the other half of the paper, cut FROM the first mark to the other mark, opposite to what you just did on the first half of the paper. (Confused? See diagram below.)

Now, take the paper that has the slits on either side of the fold and insert it into the hole in the paper that has the slit down the middle of the fold, aligning the two slits together.

The two papers should sit evenly together. If they don't, maybe you've got one paper around the wrong way. If so, take it out and try again, turning it round.

And that's pretty much it! It should sit evenly and the pages should turn easily.

It's really easy to make a bigger booklet by using more pieces of paper, just fold them together, making sure you have an even amount for each kind of slit. 

Have you tried making a paper booklet like this before?

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Guest Post by Ashley // Sweeter Every Day

Hello everyone.
First off, I would like to say I greatly appreciate Bonnie for asking me to do a guest post for her.
I decided to share one of my favorite songs with you all. Sweeter as the Years Go By ~ by Lelie Morris. A video of the music is below. Why don't you listen to it as you read. 

At age 52, Lelia became blind. She loved to sing as she did chores around the house, and once in a while would pause to write down the words or tunes she made up. Since she couldn't see to write her songs down, her family built a 28 foot long chalkboard with lines like on a music staff so she could tell where she drew in the right notes. She wrote 1,000 texts such as Let Jesus Come Into Your Heart, Nearer, Still Nearer, Sweet Will of God, The Fight Is On, 
‘Tis Marvelous and Wonderful, What If It Were Today, and the song I'm talking about, Sweeter as the Years Go By.  Even though Lelia lost her sight, she saw that Jesus' love became better and better, and sweeter and sweeter as the years went by. Jesus' great love was so much better than her ability to see, and it was worth singing about.

  1. Of Jesus’ love that sought me, when I was lost in sin;
    Of wondrous grace that brought me back to His fold again;
  2. Of heights and depths of mercy, far deeper than the sea,
    And higher than the heavens, my theme shall ever be.
  4.  Sweeter as the years go by,
    Sweeter as the years go by,
    Richer, fuller, deeper, Jesus’ love is sweeter,
    Sweeter as the years go by.
  5. He trod in old Judea life’s pathway long ago;
    The people thronged about Him, His saving grace to know;
    He healed the brokenhearted, and caused the blind to see;
    And still His great heart yearneth in love for even me.
  • Sweeter as the years go by,
    Sweeter as the years go by,
    Richer, fuller, deeper, Jesus’ love is sweeter,
    Sweeter as the years go by.

’Twas wondrous love which led Him for us to suffer loss,
To bear without a murmur the anguish of the cross;
With saints redeemed in glory, let us our voices raise,
Till Heav’n and earth re-echo with our Redeemer’s praise.
  • Sweeter as the years go by,
    Sweeter as the years go by,
    Richer, fuller, deeper, Jesus’ love is sweeter,
    Sweeter as the years go by. 
What about you? Is your God sweeter to you as the years go by? Is He nearer and dearer with each passing day? 
  • Warmly yours and eternally His, in the unbreakable bonds of Calvary, 

 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

About the Author // Ashley
I am a homeschooling Christian teenager that enjoys writing, reading, blogging, photography, baking, crocheting, crafting, and many other things. Jesus is my love and old hymns are my joy...I love playing the piano for God's glory, especially hymns. 

I blog at Precious Moments; feel free to check it out. :D 

Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Sound of Christmas

Today marks the official twelve days to Christmas countdown.

What makes it seem like Christmas is coming for you?

Is it the excitement of choosing and wrapping presents? The knowledge of what Christmas means? Decorating the house and finding a tree? Planning Christmas Day? Hearing Christmas music?

It's all of those for me. One of my favourites has to be Christmas music though.

I love traditional carols. They are fantastic. Carols are wonderful to sing and proclaim the good news of Jesus' birth through.

I also quite like some of the newish carols that are coming out. Mind you, I don't know many of them, mainly because I don't listen to popular music! :) However occasionally you come across a new one that was definitely written with Jesus in mind and you go, yes, this is good.

Here are two of my favourite new-ish Christmas songs for your enjoyment!

This first one is a take on the original song (that wasn't explicitly Christmassy) written by Leonard Cohen, I believe.

I've heard about this baby boy
Who's come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to you
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
With every breath I'm singing Hallelujah

A couple came to Bethlehem
Expecting child, they searched the inn
To find a place for You were coming soon
There was no room for them to stay
So in a manger filled with hay
God's only Son was born, oh Hallelujah

The shepherds left their flocks by night
To see this baby wrapped in light
A host of angels led them all to You
It was just as the angels said
You'll find Him in a manger bed
Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah

A star shown bright up in the east
To Bethlehem, the wise men three
Came many miles and journeyed long for You
And to the place at which You were
Their frankincense and gold and myrrh
They gave to You and cried out Hallelujah

I know You came to rescue me
This baby boy would grow to be
A man and one day die for me and you
My sins would drive the nails in You
That rugged cross was my cross, too
Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah

The second song is kind of new.... it was written in 1994 by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby you kissed the face of God?

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great I Am.

What are your favourite Christmas songs? What makes it seem like Christmas is coming for you?
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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Trip Summary

Well, hello, hello! Fancy meeting you here!

I'm back from my big overseas adventure and haven't told you all about it yet. Never fear, my summary is here.

So I have just come back from a three-and-a-bit week trip to the land of China with my sister Danella. We went with a team from New Zealand.
We had the most incredible time!

Most of the time we were helping foreign English teachers teach the English language in university classrooms. They would usually do some sort of lesson, then divide the class into small groups and we would discuss the lesson together so they could practice their English. 

We met (and promptly forgot the names of) heaps of Chinese university students, spent some time helping in various group gatherings and did a tiny bit of touristy sightseeing. 

As I said before, we had the most incredible time. We did things like tasting chicken feet, climbing a mountain that was literally a giant staircase all the way up and took us four hours to get to the top, experiencing many crowded Chinese buses and underground trains and meeting lots of wonderful people!

Thanks so much to all our amazing friends who prayed for us before and during our trip. We feel like it was a very fruitful time.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, it's really good to be home. :)

Below are a few photos. Enjoy!

View of a small part of the city from the 25th floor of an apartment building

One of our favourite street foods: deep-fried potato chunks coated in spice! Amazing.

They had all sorts of random potato chip flavours... here are just two we discovered.... grilled squid and cucumber. Who's hungry?

The travellers

We hired a tandem bicycle and rode around a wall for 13.7 km. It was really neat.

Typical university classroom - their classes are usually two hours long.

Here I am, being really intrepid and trying chicken feet! They don't actually taste awful, they just taste like chicken. I think it's the thought of them that is so off-putting. You know, knowing where they've walked and so on...

And here's Danella trying chicken feet. The funny part of this photo is not her or the chicken foot, it's the expression on the face of our team member beside her! Hahahaha! :)

Danella and I had the opportunity to teach a craft to a group of university students. We taught them quilling (rolling up paper into designs). They loved it.

At one point we went out of the city to a village school. The kids at the village school loved playing games with us.... I taught them all sorts of games through mime since I know virtually no Chinese (here we are doing follow the leader) and they knew basically no English at all... that's why we were there, to teach them English. 

We climbed a mountain that was 944 meters high and was basically a giant staircase the entire way.... singing Christian songs all the way up! It was awesome.

We visited a tourist attraction that had a whole lot of miniatures of famous touristy places in China. Here we are in front of one of them, I don't remember what it was. 

And here is Danella hugging a nice big terracotta warrior statue.

We saw all sorts of things, including these animals, coypu. They are about the size of otters but look like giant water rats and have webbed back feet! 

China was fantastic... I'd love to go again some day!

How has the last month been for you and your family?
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