Welcome! I'm Melissa Gross, a dynamic and interactive teacher and speaker called to lead and encourage Christian women in their walk with the Lord through classes, workshops and retreats incorporating Bible study, devotionals, illustrated Bible journaling, paper crafting and mixed media projects that merge faith and art bringing God’s Word to life so you can find renewed excitement to dive into the Word, use your creative gifts, and apply the Truth as you draw closer to the Lord and serve Him in your everyday life. This site is where I share my everyday adventures, Bible Journaling pages, scrapbook layouts, handmade cards, and other crafty projects, as well as information on my upcoming workshops and events. I also post photos, ramble about books I'm reading, stuff I'm organizing, and other FUN bits & pieces of my wonderful life.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

October 2012 Photo I Love & A New Series Starts at Sian's Place

I can hardly believe 2012 is almost over! I'm so glad I've captured a favorite photo each month in my 2012 Photos I Love 8x8 album. Not only have I preserved a favorite photo & memory, but the colorful borders are also reminders of the many layouts I've created this year. These square punched pieces are from papers I used in layouts for that month. Most months I've had enough squares to complete the border, however October and August were slow scrapping months so I had to make adjustments. This month I simply spaced out the squares I had and let the white background show through in between.
 
Journaling reads: The God is Calling You curriculum that I wrote was a huge success, and for only the second time Mama was there to hear me teach that Friday evening.

Have you heard about the new blog series Sian has been putting together over at From High in the Sky?

 So This Is Scrapbooking starts today and you can find me there sharing the story of how I became a coach in Stacy Julian's 2011 Finding Photo Freedom workshop at Big Picture Classes.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Final 2007 Layouts

I've finally emptied my 2007 storage binder and memorabilia file. Here's a look at the beginning of the year. I am particularly pleased with this layout as it is my very own design, no scraplifting or challenge to start with.

Journaling reads: We began the new year at the Douglas Fir in Banff after a week long trip to celebrate our 5th anniversary. We drove to Calgary on New Year's Day, enjoyed a nice lunch and went to see the movie "Eragon." We stayed that night in Calgary and flew home on January 2nd to begin what would be a year of changes.

Mid-year we took advantage of a gift certificate for a free weekend at our favorite Bed & Breakfast. I had asked the owner to let me keep the certificate and had it safely stored in my memorabilia file.

Journaling reads: Our first visit to Fall Farm in the fall of 2005 was so relaxing that we returned numerous times in 2006. When Carol heard that we both graduated that year, she gave us a free weekend, which we enjoyed right after my birthday in 2007.

I didn't have any photos for the final week of 2007, so I had to improvise for this final layout.

Journaling reads: We enjoyed a nice quiet week at home to close out 2007. We watched all three Lord of the Rings movies, played a couple of games of Scrabble on our anniversary, met up with friends for dinner and a movie (Enchanted) one evening, built a bookshelf for our paperback books, and spent New Year's Eve at a friend's home watching movies and toasting in the new year with sparkling grape juice.

I found a photo of the bookshelf in my LOM Category Drawers and printed a photo I had taken in 2010 of the boxed set of movies to help tell the story of that week. We often play games and typically keep a score pad in with the games we play most often. I decided to try my luck and pulled out the Scrabble game. I flipped back through the pages of the little notebook to find the score sheets for the two games we played that year - the perfect memorabilia to finish out this layout.

I was even happier to discover that I had won both games! :>)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Purpose Driven Life - book review

I first read Rick Warren's book The Purpose Driven Life when it was published 10 years ago. Our pastor at the time was preaching a series based on this book, and I enjoyed the message that God created us all for His pleasure, His family, to become like Christ, to serve God, and to fulfill our mission.
 
 
An updated version of the book was released this month in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of its publication. This book contains the same information as the original, with three additions:
(1) a QR code at the beginning of each chapter that leads to a short video of Rick Warren introducing the chapter,
(2) a website address at the end of each chapter that leads to a 30-40 minute audio of Rick Warren expounding on the chapter's materials and sharing testimonies from individuals whose lives have been impacted by this book (this audio also comes through when you scan the QR code), and
(3) two additional chapters that address two barriers to fulfilling our purpose: the envy trap and the people-pleaser trap.
 
I have to admit that I had to first download a QR Code Reader to my iPhone so I could try out that feature of the book. The short video was a nice extra and I believe it will appeal to a new generation of readers particularly. I only listened to a one of the audios mentioned at the end of the chapter because I did not have the time to devote to all of them right now. I personally believe this book has a great message and highly recommend it if you have never read it.

However, there are a couple things I don't like about the promotion of the book:
(1) there's a huge focus on how this book has changed lives, when in reality it is the Biblical scriptures that are referenced and a relationship with the Lord that truly change lives;
(2) most of the promotional materials remind us that Rick Warren "reverse tithes", meaning he gives 90% of his income & lives on the other 10%. While I think this is admirable and has blessed many people and organizations, I don't believe it needs to advertised!

[The new edition of The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? was sent to me free from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review on my blog today. As always these are my true opinions about the book.]

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Random Photos From Robbie's iPhone

In celebration of Robbie's birthday today, I am sharing a few random photos from his iPhone and the stories that go along with them.

He snapped this photo at a craft fair because he has this same rocking horse, the one his Dad built for him but which was never completed. Robbie wanted an idea of how the paint should have looked.

 
I often joke with Robbie when he is driving my car, an SUV much larger than his car. He has a little trouble parking in the lines sometimes and takes much wider turns than necessary. So, when I inadvertently parked on the line one day while we were out at lunch, he snapped this photo as "proof" that I can't park any better!

 
Robbie is an avid TV and movie fan who can recall numerous bits of trivia. This show was playing at a trade fair we went to, and Robbie was surprised to learn that Roddy McDowall had once been on the Carol Burnett show in character as Cornelius from Planet of the Apes.

 
 
This framed painting of Santa was in the window of a Kirland's store in the mall and Robbie thought he might like to try to replicate it, so he snapped a photo.
 


Here's a photo taken a couple of weeks ago when we arrived home with my new Suburban!

 
This last shot is my favorite. Robbie was standing in line to vote earlier this month, and he snapped this photo to text to me. He commented, "Look at this cool picture I took. You're starting to rub off on me!"


Happy Birthday Robbie!
I LOVE YOU

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Few Miscellaneous Layouts

I have a few miscellaneous layouts to share today. This first one showcases a photos from Mother's Day this past May.

Next, fun photos from Daddy's birthday several years ago when we gave him his first MP3 player.
 
This last one for our 10th anniversary cruise album highlights some of the desserts we enjoyed onboard. This was inspired by one of Nic Howard's layouts in the Dimensional Details workshop


Five photos, two photos, six photos, some journaling, no journaling, a little journaling, old products, new products . . . it's all fun to me!

Friday, November 16, 2012

January 2011

Prompt Four in the Scrapbook Remix class was really about using floral papers, however I simply lifted the design of one of Shimelle's layouts to create this page for the beginning of our 2011 album.


I am definitely enjoying combining lots of patterned papers (& a little washi tape, too, of course).

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happy Mail & Special Deliveries

Over the past several months, I've received several happy mail packages and other goodies that I haven't taken time to share. So today I'll do a little catch up!

It's been quite some time since Helena offered to share some of her extensive washi tape collection and sent me this lovely package. It's always so much fun to discover new scrapping supplies mixed in with the bills and advertisements that typically fill our mailbox!


A few weeks later, this great trading card arrived from Elizabeth after she had enjoyed the Trading Card Treasures book that is being passed around.


And way back in the summer, I received a birthday gift from my friend Ellyn. This package was hand delivered since we are friends in real life, however the gifts came all the way from London, England! Ellyn and her sweet husband celebrated their 25th anniversary in London a few weeks before my birthday and happened upon a shop with scrapbooking supplies. I'm so glad she couldn't resist picking up a package of these banner embellishments for me.


Ellyn also noticed the abundance of banners everywhere they went in London, so she picked up a banner for her sewing room and (lucky me!) picked up an extra one for me. I finally got it hung in my craft room last week, and every time I walk in it feels like I'm having a party!


Did you notice the tripod set up in my room? Well, I've been practicing and am just about ready to create my 2nd video where I'll share one of my completed albums. (Watch for that to come in the next few weeks along with more information about my album re-organization!)

Ellyn has a sweet daughter who called me the day after she got her driver's license to say she had made me something and could "drive it right over." She had handmade a Thank You card in my favorite color! And, of course, there's no reason for a new driver to use the postal service to deliver it, right?


And one more fun item was picked up for me in New York and delivered by another sweet teenage friend of mine who went on a mission trip there back in July. She was here for my Spring Break Crop, and Robbie & I donated a little money to help her with expenses while she was in New York serving with the group from her church as they fed and ministered to the poor and hungry there.

I'm planning to scrap the story about her response soon, but for now here's a peak at the thank you note she wrote (she, of course, knows what is most important - when we can scrap again!) . . .


and a photo of me in the T-shirt she brought back for me.


I hope you've found something fun in your mailbox or had a special delivery lately!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ten on the Tenth - Texas State Fair Photos

It's the tenth of the month and that means it's time to link up with Shimelle and share Ten Things. Today I'm sharing ten of my favorite photos from our day at the Texas State Fair last month.

1. A State Fair of Texas sign inside one of the pavilions.

2. Original props from the set of The Addams Family 1960's television series.

3. Pop-the-Balloon game on the midway.

4. Prizes on the midway.

5. My favorite indulgence!

6. A previous contender at the pig races.

7. Fried everything is available at the fair!

8. The Texas Star - tallest Ferris wheel in North America.

9. View from the top of the Texas Star.

10.Sydney Smith Memorial Fountain outside Music Hall at Fair Park.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Quadrants - Christmas Eve 2007

Along with the scheduled 20 prompts in the Scrapbook Remix class, Shimelle is providing extra inspiration with Extended Play handouts that take a closer look at a specific technique. The first Extended Play focused on Quadrants - a design that divides the background into four sections.

As you may have noticed, I've been working on photos and stories from 2007 the last several weeks. I knew I wanted to create a layout documenting the Christmas Eve service we attended even though I did not have any photos. I did, however, have the program that we received at the service.

You can see that I used the front of the program in place of a photo on my layout. In addition to the quadrant background, I used one of Shimelle's tips to "embrace the quad and create four matching embellishments."

The program was an 8 1/2 x 11 page that was folded in half, and I wanted to make it so that the inside could be viewed as well. When I added this layout to my album, I cut a slit in the page protector so the program could be opened.


I really like how the quadrant background allowed me to use a variety of patterned papers and to create lots of interest on a layout without a photo. Have you tried the quadrant technique lately?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Scrapbook Remix Prompt One - Banquet

I am in no way keeping up with the prompts in Shimelle's ongoing class, Scrapbook Remix, however I do have a second layout to share based on prompt one. The first challenge was to use one color of paper in multiple tones to create a monochromatic layout, which I did with my Laundry Room Remodel layout. The second challenge was to use two colors, and I once again scraplifted the design of Shimelle's sample layout.

I choose my two colors (maroon & blue) based on colors in my photos and a logo I had cut from a shirt. I'm very pleased with the way this turned out, particularly since I probably would not have chosen these two colors without this fun challenge.

This layout is a classic example of using poorer quality photos - one is a little washed out while the other is too dark, but I was determined to use them both since they are the only two I have of me wearing a sari for the first (and only!) time.

I must admit that there were quite a few safety pins holding that sari in place and I did trip over it a couple of times during the banquet, but I certainly felt elegant in that beautiful material that was brought from India especially for me! I also have a new respect for anyone who can gracefully wear five yards of material all day long without one single safety pin!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Photo for Storytelling Sunday

It's the first Sunday of November and that means we're all linking up for Storytelling Sunday over at Sian's blog and sharing a story in words or photos. Today I simply have a photo for you to contemplate - Robbie snapped this on his lunch hour a couple of years ago, on an overcast March afternoon here in Texas.


What's the story here?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Our Month In Numbers - October

(Digital template from Simple Scrapper. Papers from Cheryl McCain's Tea Party Sampler.)

23 page God Is Calling You curriculum written by Melissa

$80 for Xodiac Colorform alien

1 overnight guest when Becky stayed Friday night of the retreat

35 ladies and teen girls at the Pearls Fall Retreat

4 tickets to see The Addams Family at the Dallas Music Hall at Fair Park

5 hours enjoying the Texas State Fair with Fred & Lynda

2 1/2 hours handing out candy at the Trunk R Treat on Halloween

5 quizzes completed by Robbie in master's level accounting course

2 get togethers for Melissa to crop with friends

8 layouts completed, 3 card created, 18 blog posts published

Friday, November 2, 2012

September 2012 Photo I Love

October was an extremely busy month, so I've just now completed my September page for my 2012 album. I had plenty of punched squares to choose from for the border since September was a very productive month for me scrapwise!

Journaling reads: Twelve scrapbookers from 3 states gathered together for my 2nd BPC unofficial Texas Get-Together. I love that this hobbies has brought me many new friends!

Yes, there is a grammatical error in that sentence, but I've just noticed it as I'm preparing this blog post. However, I am simply embracing the imperfection and leaving it as it is already in the album.

I'm hoping to work on the October page and my Month in Numbers layout this weekend. What are y'all working on?