I’m Adding Handmade Jewelry To My Etsy Shop

So most of you reading this probably had no idea that I have an Etsy shop; I’ve actually never mentioned it on the blog.

About three or four years ago I started an Etsy shop, Simply Rustic Looks, https://www.etsy.com/shop/SimplyRusticLooks because I was making too many projects and needed somewhere to go with them. I began selling on Etsy and never got terribly involved with it, but did end up selling quite a bit nevertheless. Some of the items ranged from rustic pallet signs, crocheted scarves and hats—to chalk-painted mason jars, including customized gifts as well. Nathan helped whenever I needed more pallets for the projects, but otherwise he’d rather steer clear of a paint brush of any type!!!

In the last few years I’ve become quite a minimalist and have thinned out a lot of the materials I used to make some of those original Etsy projects I was selling, though some are still listed on the shop’s page…and in 2018 I began little by little purchasing jewelry pieces—charms, bracelets, chains, stamp blanks, leather, etc…which take up a lot less space than the projects I made in the past.

Real leather earrings!!

I also bought a metal stamp set so I could try my hand at metal stamping. It’s a lot harder than it looks!!! Thankfully I’ve come a long way with it.

After researching different metals, I decided to go with combinations of stainless steel and aluminum. These are two metals which are hypoallergenic, making them less likely to cause a skin reaction. They also won’t tarnish, discolor, or rust and aren’t known to leave green markings on skin. Both of these metals polish up nicely with a soft polishing cloth or even a light buffing of steel wool over them.

The aluminum has been great for metal stamping as it’s a softer (more pliable) metal, and the stainless steel has been a great source for the necklace chains.

Lately I’ve been putting pieces together, setting product props and snapping photos—preparing to list them on Etsy.

I’m super excited to let you know when the shop will be filled with jewelry, for now you can check out the pallet signs and other odds and ends we have at Simply Rustic Looks:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SimplyRusticLooks

Blessings,

Alicia…and Nathan too😉

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Bread Doesn’t Have To Be A Weakness For Me

Since the start of this year (2019) I’ve been  avidly avoiding gluten and dairy products and so far I’ve been successful.7f7f0dce-8785-40e5-811d-c8cd9cee7cd7

I have an auto immune disorder (psoriasis) and I’ve discovered if I keep my distance from the two I can manage a little better. I’ve gone on these kicks before over the past couple of years where I give special attention to my diet and more often than not I’ve failed miserably…and I’m blaming bread!!!

Bread is my weakness! I mean who doesn’t love a loaf of homemade banana bread smothered in melted butter or a warm slice of garlic bread next to a plate of spaghetti (which I also bypass now due to gluten sensitivity)…

I’m a sucker for bread of all types.

Several years ago I was down in Mexico and had eaten days worth of Mexican food (which I love) but I was craving bread after a while. As it turned out our missions team headed out for a morning of shopping and happened to spot a bakery. I made a beeline straight for that store, probably even stopped traffic on the busy streets of Tijuana just to get there. I walked in and the smell about made me black-out. It was like Subway on steroids, it was glorious—dinner rolls, pastries, biscuits—sweet superfluous loaves of bread. I thought we’d stepped through the doors of Heaven.

I was sooooo completely amazed and overwhelmed that I walked out nearly twenty minutes later empty-handed!! I didn’t purchase a thing in that bread store and this was before I even knew gluten was a word! It was like too much of a good thing and I couldn’t make up my mind so I sporadically vacated, while the rest of my crew splurged. There was no reason I couldn’t have gone crazy and purchased one of every kind of bread in that bakery because at the time I wasn’t aware that bread affected my auto immune disorder.

These days though I’ve decided to be more conscious of my diet by totally eliminating certain foods in effort to make a healthier lifestyle. But I think back to that little bakery in Mexico every now and then and wonder how I’d hold up if faced with the temptation of my bread obsession and a store filled with baked goods situated on the other side of the road. Would I cross the busy street, feeding into that desire, burst through the doors, sniff around, and wipe out the shelves or simply and wisely recognize the temptation and keep my distance?

I’ve been using Luke 4 as an inspiration to steer clear of my “flour-y” nemesis. In this particular chapter Jesus faced temptation, interestingly enough it involved Satan, a stone, and none other than a loaf of bread!!!—so it really hits home for me.

Check it out: (Luke 4 summarized) The Holy Spirit had led Jesus into the wilderness where he would face temptation from Satan. Jesus ate nothing, but after 40 days he’d become very hungry and then the bad guy (Satan) shows up and says, “if you are the son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.”

I’d have been like, “Yes please!! And while I’m at it I might as well whip up enough homemade strawberry jam to spread over each slice!!”

But Jesus (fully man, fully God) knows his hunger needs to run deeper than physical food and he responds by quoting scripture, ‘No! The scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’

The very scripture that Jesus referred to comes from Deuteronomy 8:3b ‘People do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.’

Jesus knew his satisfaction wasn’t in filling his tummy, but in fulfilling his soul by means of spiritual food through a committed and right-relationship with His Father’s will.

In each scenario as Satan continually tempted Jesus throughout Luke chapter 4 verses 1-13, Jesus struck Satan down by quoting scripture…

Oh how incredibly powerful is the word of God.

Finally in Luke 4:13 we read that the devil had finished tempting Jesus and left Him until the next opportunity came.

Until the next opportunity came…

For some it’ll be the temptation of a shopping spree when the money isn’t in the bank, others will struggle with lustful desires, some it’ll be alcohol tendency when the AA meetings fail to fill the void…and for myself the aroma of freshly baked bread.

Those temptations are always going to come and sometimes they’re a challenge to recognize but we must not be fooled by their existence. Temptations will for sure present themselves, not only in obvious ways but through deceit as well. We must ask ourselves is this the Holy Spirit leading me to do this or is this Satan’s way of throwing me off?

Know the difference: Satan will lead us astray from a godly perspective and goals, the Holy Spirit on the other hand will cause us to bring glory to God as we represent Him in our dealings by objecting to the defeat of temptation.

If we’re wise and self-controlled we’ll consider and model Jesus’ responses to Satan’s temptations in Luke 4. We’ll study scripture, fill up on the Holy word, and satisfy our longings with the Bread of Life (John 6) and reject Satan’s forceful attempts at throwing us off.

John 6:32-35  Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 

“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

What are some of your temptation-struggles or weaknesses?

How do you deal with temptation?

Grandma’s Biscuits and…Her Dementia

711FD028-E6E7-4694-B142-F42BC4353A80It’s 3 A.M. as I write…can’t sleep…

Again.

This time I’m blaming my dog. My husband might have been sleep-talking as he rambled off something about the dog and an ear infection; either way his slumbered words sound like the voice of reason to me so I’ll have to get Eli into the vet because this whining and ear scratching is obnoxious—for not only the dog but me as well. Apparently it’s not affecting Nate’s sleep, after offering his ‘unprofessional vet diagnosis’ he’s back to quiet snores before even finishing mumbling.

Anyway after my last post I wasn’t sure I’d be able to write again…ever. There’s times when I share deep parts of my life on this blog and it causes me to feel so vulnerable. It feels like rather than pushing the “publish” button, I’ve just pushed “panic” instead and I begin to get swallowed by Satan’s lies ‘you’re crazy for putting that out there, what’s wrong with you? and blah, blah, blah’…because he’s just that irritating.

But then I have to remember why I originally chose to start this blog—it was never to showcase the best parts of my life through haughty sounding words, it wasn’t to reach a certain number of followers, nor was it to gain attention. It’s always been about noting the things and areas of my life in which God has spoken to my heart, sharing highs and lows and the lessons learned along the way, creating a legacy to pass down to my kiddos. All I want is for them to see how tough life can be BUT what prevails is loving Jesus like crazy regardless.

Perhaps the best part of this blog is being able to write my thoughts out and seeing how God has and is working in my life and then when someone comments on a post even three or four months later to let me know my words spoke to their heart…goodness, there’s just nothing like it. Glory to God alone, I’m then able to grasp that this whole blog is truly For His Purpose. Amen!!?

Not today Satan, not today! Even if it is 3 in the morning, I choose to use this time optimistically.

So on to Grandma’s biscuits and her dementia… Continue reading “Grandma’s Biscuits and…Her Dementia”

Healed Through Forgiveness

Warning: This post may contain emotional content for some. I know it’s long but I’m putting it out here on the chance that it provides help to someone who might be struggling.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. —Martin Luther King Jr.

I had just finished giving a presentation of my life story to a group of ladies. As I packed up my notes and props I noticed a girl whose face was covered in a stream of tears.

Oh no, was it something I said?? Way to go Alicia…My self-conscious way of thinking began to prod away.

Slowly the melancholy faced girl made her way toward me while the noise of music quietly played in the background.

My heart raced forward as I thought about what words may come out of her mouth…would I be prepared with a response or an answer..I’m just a woman who loves Jesus and wants others to know about Him….what if she needs help and I don’t know what to say…God you know I’m a writer, not a talker…

I felt incredibly unprepared for this moment. I hadn’t considered I’d be doing more than simply sharing my testimony, so the thought of anything beyond that certainly overwhelmed me. I quickly pleaded with God in my mind..I did my part God, I shared my story in front of these women, I’m not prepared to further speak—much less counsel someone if this is what’s about to happen…

She now stood right before me. My eyes met hers and I could see there was hurt deep within…she had my full attention…

“How did you do it?” she pushed the words through trembling lips without hesitation….How did you do it??? The words echoed throughout me. I paused long enough to collect my thoughts…

“How did I do what?” I asked with an empathetic whisper.

After-all I had just shared the disarrayed story of my life—starting with the responsibility I felt being raised by an epileptic mother, to experiencing life with a loving but drug and alcohol addicted father; and not failing to include childhood stories of a homicide in front of our California home, sexual abuse, and my own substance abuse as a teen and young adult and the poor choices I made in all of that. I had shared the pain I felt with my dad’s death and then how I finally had my come to Jesus moment in my late twenties.

I had covered many life lessons and emotions just moments before as I gave my testimony in front of this group of women so to pinpoint the one thing she was searching an answer for, would be a challenge in itself.

But it was the sexual abuse that she was referring to…“how did you get past the sexual abuse?” she managed to bravely stutter the words out. Continue reading “Healed Through Forgiveness”

A High, Low, and a Funny

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Photography taken by R. Peters

At our house we’ve adopted a great conversation starter when we gather around the table for dinner at the end of the day. Each of us verbally notes our high for the day, then our low, and lastly the funny of our day. It always amazes me how some days we’ve spent all day together yet each of us has something different to point out. Side note: sometimes when it’s my husband’s turn to state his high for the day he’ll keenly rattle off the “high temperature” for the day…before giving us his true answer.☺️

These table conversations are important because they cause us to know one another’s hearts, feelings, cares, and concerns a little more. Our kids enjoy the idea of being the only one in the “family spotlight” for a few moments during their turn, highlighting whatever it is for the day that stuck out most to them. Often times these smaller talks lead to larger discussions, taking it to a deeper level where we can really reflect, analyze, and engage with one another.

Since you and I most likely won’t be sharing dinner any time soon I thought I’d share my high, low, and funny over this past week (via the blog). Please feel free to do the same in the comment section below if you wish. Continue reading “A High, Low, and a Funny”

Reckless Love

There’s a song we sing at church called Reckless Love (you might be familiar with it)…to say I’m quite addicted would be spot on.

I remember the first time we sang it and I thought reckless…God…what??

Because I don’t think of or consider God as reckless, but the word reckless certainly brings to mind the equivalent of “careless or thoughtless” in terms of descriptive character.

In fact when you google-search “reckless,” Merriam Webster’s definition is one of the first to pop-up, defining it as: marked by lack of proper caution, careless of consequences

Sounds pretty negative right?

Continue reading “Reckless Love”

The Bible: Too Incredible to Deny part 2

PART 2: continued from Too Incredible to Deny

The truth is I could beg a person who stands on the edge of believing to just trust Jesus…to just believe in Him. I could share my convincing testimony with someone; I could challenge him or her to watch the sun rise and fall or count and name the endless stars…to consider the complexity of a baby forming in the womb and then try to tell me there’s no God.

But when it comes down to it, none of those things can cause a person to truly know, love, and appreciate God the way the Bible can. Although a Bible (in its material form) can’t offer salvation, the words within can certainly lead a lost soul to the Lord. No matter how incredible the very thing we view and marvel over appears, the word of God is absolutely by-far the best proof of God’s existence. The Bible makes all of those things worthy of appreciation when we choose to acknowledge God as their Creator.

If you struggle to believe, if this just sounds too bazaar to you, then I challenge you to read the Bible for yourself. You’ll be entertained, motivated, shocked, held in suspense, wowed and awed as you read the history of:

women and men going from zero to hero

  • Moses’ leadership (read Exodus through Deuteronomy)
  • Rahab’s prostitution yet devotion to her family (Joshua 2 & 6)
  • David’s heart for God (1 Samuel 16 through 1 Kings 2 & the book of Psalm)
  • Queen Esther’s life at risk (the book of Esther)
  • Matthew the despised tax collector (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)

Continue reading “The Bible: Too Incredible to Deny part 2”