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Friday, April 30, 2010

Heart Sessions: Who's On Your Team?

My name is Nikki. I am 29 years old.

There is nothing extraordinary about me or what I do. I have no special talent that others have not already achieved before me. My heart still aches when I fail. My eyes still burn after a good cry. I still laugh really hard at lame jokes (much to my embarrassment). I probably blow my nose 20 notches too loud (much to my husband’s embarrassment), but

….there is something that sets me apart.

Sure, I am an individual masterfully created by the hand of God, my DNA is mine and mine alone, and I alone will have to stand before the Lord at the end of this life to account for myself, but that’s not what sets me apart.

What sets me apart is my team. It is those very people who I choose to surround myself with. The truth is that I am surrounded by amazing people. I have many friends, but my team, those who I am closest to and those who know by innermost thoughts and feelings, they are people who have been, without a doubt, Divinely brought into my life.

They are friends who I can call any time night or day and ask them to pray for me and I for them. They are friends who, although, we may not always agree, will stand up and fight for me and protect me and encourage me to live a life that honors the incredible God we serve. They are friends who refuse to let me compromise my values and my hopes and my dreams and the vital, life-giving personal relationship I have with Christ, and I equally refuse to let them live a life of any less.

I have chosen them carefully – or, perhaps, they have chosen me – or, perhaps, God knew that I desired a life that honors Him, and He knew I needed a strong team to keep me steady when the winds of life blow. I believe it’s a combination of all three.

You see, what I’ve learned and continue to learn is that I am only as strong as the people I surround myself by. God has called me to live a life of unity and in fellowship with others, and while I think we should embrace all people no matter what their struggles are and where they are in life and regardless of whether or not they share my faith, I also think it is important for those people who we let in to the very deepest parts of who we are be the kind of people who will love us and encourage us and build us up and fight for us and forgive us when we have wronged them – those who refuse to let us compromise the life we have been called to in Jesus Christ.

I have been blessed with those very friends – I wouldn’t even know where to begin to tell you of the ways that I have been blown away by the goodness and faithfulness of their friendship. I continue to be humbled by them daily. We have fought many battles together on our knees in prayer. We muddle through the challenges in life side by side. We have wounds unseen by the human eye that we continue to bandage for each other. We still drop everything…EVERYTHING…when we get “that phone call”, and for that alone, I am so incredibly thankful.

So, I ask you, “Who is on your team?”

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

Have a wonderful blessed weekend!

One BIG Placecard Giveaway & Auction...Calligraphy For A Cause

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Two and a half years ago, I went on a missions trip to China, and I think any time you step outside of your comfort zone to serve others, it has a powerful way of changing your life.  For me, I got to witness first hand the beautiful people of China, as well as the heart and passion of my team leaders Jon and Elissa Kuert to serve them.  At the time, Jon and Elissa were leading short-term missions trips to China, but it was a little over a year ago that they felt called to move to China permanently and serve full-time.  All I can say is...WOW.

So, today I want to introduce you to a powerful ministry that is changing lives and leading many of the women in Yunan Province, China out of the slavery of prostitution and horrors of the sex trafficking industry by leaving their former lives behind and building new lives for themselves through....creating beautiful jewelry to sell.  This amazing organization is called Eden Ministry

So without further ado, I will let Elissa give you a little background on Eden, and then we can get down to the GIVEAWAY and AUCTION.  This is my biggest giveaway yet (with a twist), so I hope you have fun with it!
~Nikki

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Elissa and the women of Eden

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Elissa: When I think about making things beautiful, I believe it can happen in so many tangible, and intangible ways. Certainly my friend Nikki has created some of the most incredibly creative and gorgeous place settings, party tables and invitations I have ever seen – and I love them! And here in China, I’ve also begun to see God’s beauty emerge in the lives of the women I work with in a more intangible way. Nikki has allowed me to share about Eden Ministry, the organization who’s work I’ve fallen in love with enough to move to China and work for since 2009.

Eden Ministry seeks to bring hope to women trapped in the hopelessness of prostitution. Many women in our shelters have been trafficked, tricked and traded into the ugly and awful world of sexual abuse…but those of us who are committed to serving this ministry are allowed the awesome privilege to see many of them rise up out of those dark places, and become beautiful new creations in Christ, all the while leaving the life of prostitution behind and begin building new lives through designing and selling beautiful jewelry to those around the world. Xia Xia is one beautiful story:

Xia Xia thought she had the perfect boyfriend. He invited her to move to the city with him, telling her he had a great job lined up for her. She had dreams of being a good daughter and sending money home to her family in the village, so she went with him. As soon as they arrived, he sold her to traffickers who took her to another city and forced her into prostitution. After two years, she heard about Eden, escaped her owners and is now living in our shelter. God has done wonderful things in her life as she continues to blossom into a beautiful woman of God.

Creating Jewelry to Build New Lives Free of Prostitution
One big way we support our non-profit work, is by employing the women in our shelters to make jewelry that we sell in China, Europe, and the US. It’s exciting to watch them work peacefully and express their creativity in our jewelry designs. You can support these women, and contribute to their success by purchasing jewelry online at http://www.edenchina.org/, or hosting an Eden Evening of Hope. Funds from each purchase support our shelters, medical clinics and provide wages for the women in our shelter. Thanks so much for allowing me to share.

~Elissa Kuert
http://www.jonandliss.blogspot.com/

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I know I announced yesterday that there will be 2 winners, but because I get a wee bit excited about giveaways, I decided, what the heck, why not make it 3 winners. Cool beans, right?

Because the purpose of this giveaway is to both bring awareness and raise funds for Jon and Elissa as they serve in China as well as Eden Ministry, I’ve tried to offer a little something for everyone. Here’s how it works…

GIVEAWAY – Freebies – Fun Stuff: There will be 2 winners for the giveaway. The first prize is 12 custom handmade placecards (I work with you to design placecards to fit your party/special occasion). The second prize will be a piece of jewelry designed by the women of Eden. To enter, you must do one (or more if you choose) of the following:

1.Visit the Eden website {here} and leave me a comment telling me which piece of jewelry you would like if you were to win.
2. Become a fan of Eden on Facebook {here}.
3. Visit Jon and Elissa Kuert’s blog {here} and make a donation to support them as they serve in China and leave me a comment telling me you’ve done so. Every little bit helps. Even $5 makes a difference. I will match up to $100 for all donations to the Kuert’s.
4. Do a blog post or Twitter about this giveaway.
5. Become a follower of my blog or follow me on facebook {here}.

Please leave a comment for each entry. Two winners will be chosen via random.org Friday, May 7, 2010.

AUCTION: This is where the fun begins! I will be giving away a Lovely Scribbles Party Package (I just made that name up...today) which will include up to 12 custom, handmade placecards, 12 cupcake toppers - see examples here, here and here, as well as 12 miscellaneous labels of your choosing (designed by me to fit your party/special occasion) for a total of up to 36 custom paper products. I am donating all resources for the auction. I will include an (optional) calligraphy inscription on the inside of each placecard with a brief explanation of the ministry these placecards are supporting. To enter, you must do the following:

1. Bid on the Lovely Scribbles Party Package by leaving me a new comment for each time you place a new bid with your bidding amount. ALL proceeds will be donated to Jon and Elissa Kuert’s ministry.

Bidding will begin at $1.00. The Party Package will go to the highest bidder, and the winner will be chosen when bidding ends.  Let the bidding begin!  Update: The current bid on the Party Package is $500!

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Update - May 3, 2010: I will be taking a short break from blogging for the next few days to work on an exciting project I will be sharing with you all soon.  I will still be checking in from time to time to read all your wonderful comments and check in on the status of the auction.  I will return to blogging on Friday, May 7th to announce the winners.  Thanks, gang!

Ciao!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pacman Cupcakes & An 80's Throwback Party

So, I made these cupcakes and cupcake toppers way back last August for a friend's 30th birthday.  At the time, I had posted it on my personal blog, but I have yet to share this project with you all here, and being that it is one of my absolute favorite projects I've ever done, I hope those of you who have already seen it won't mind the recap. Please excuse the junk in the background...these pictures were taken in a mad dash to get out the door!






No lie - after drawing out the pieces, I cut each and every one by hand.  I know, I know, I'm nuts!

And here's a little recap from my original post on my vision for the overall project and how I pulled it off...

Recap:
Okay, so...I don't normally post food stuff on my personal blog, but I've had several requests to send pictures of my latest cupcake endeavor, and I thought this would be the easiest way for everyone to view them.

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine asked me if I would make Pacman cupcakes for her "Throw-Back 80's" themed 30th birthday party, which was this past weekend, so I decided to Google "Pacman cupcakes" for ideas. I came across very few inspiring ideas. I even gave one of them a practice run, only to be disappointed. So, I started brainstorming and came up with my very own creation.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I have a love affair with crafting, yes, that's right...a love affair with crafting. I love to make things, anything really. I love to paint, draw, write, make cards, scrapbook, build stuff, decorate, bake, and try anything new that will test my creativity; therefore, I embraced the challenge before me.

After checking out a few other blogs, I decided that my cupcake display would need a little flair, as I wanted it to imitate the vision of a Pacman video game screen. I tried a few design options on photoshop and wasted a bunch of time and colored print-outs in the process, until I finally concluded that I just needed some fun paper, scissors and my drawing hand. Thus, I handcrafted and cut out each of the cupcake toppers you see below. Did it take me hours? Yep. Was it worth it? Absolutely!

I purchased some crafting sticks and several roles of ribbon to add even more detail to the toppers. Then I filled two large jars - one with gumballs and the other with Dum Dum Pops - to compliment the cupcake display. To top it off, I found the most perfect black fabric with yellow dots as the backdrop for the display, which added more of a Pacman video game feel.

As far as the "Cupcake" sign I created goes, I simply stenciled the words on colored paper, which I then glued to sticks to place in the bottles. I had a couple of empty Frank's Hot Sauce bottles that I wrapped in wribbon to serve as the holders for the sticks of the sign, an idea I snatched from one of the many blogs I follow.

All in all, I couldn't have been more pleased with the finished product. It took a TON of time and patient detailing work, but I had a blast with it, and I truly hope the birthday girl enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed making it for her!

Ciao!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lovely Scribbles on Facebook...Yahoo!

I feel a smidge nerdy saying you can now "like" Lovely Scribbles on facebook, but since being a "fan" is no longer an option, "like" it is!  Sooooooooooooo...yes, Lovely Scribbles now has its very own brand, spankin' new page on facebook, so if you love what you see here, it would put a big, ol' smile on my face if you headed on over {here} and "liked" me.  Does anyone else think it totally sounds funny inviting people to like you on facebook, or am I beating a dead horse here? 

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Anyhoo, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for visiting me here and for always making my day with your sweet comments!  You're the best, gang!!

Ciao!

 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Heart Sessions: The Busy-ness of Being Busy


I was a bit torn up the other night.

And, yet, it was on my knees in the silence of a quiet spring evening that I found peace.

It seems as though conflicting emotions were at war within me. All around me, family and friends and loved ones were hurting. New conflicts and challenges were sneaking their ugly heads into places where they had no business being.  Marriages were failing, sickness and health issues were attacking the bodies of loved ones, emptiness and loneliness were creeping into the hearts of those seeking to break free from it all.

And where was I? “Busy” as usual. I had a million projects piling up on my desk at work, all the while even more was being thrown my way. Oh, and I had to get that run in because heaven forbid my butt grows an inch. Then, I was worried because I’m pretty sure I hadn’t cooked supper for my husband in a week, and let’s be honest, left-overs are good for only so long (bless his heart for eating them for THAT long). And, and, and…the list rambled on and on inside my head. Even as I type this, I have oranges boiling on the stove – no lie, I’m making orange cake tonight as if I have nothing better to do – just…well, just because I’ve been wanting to try the recipe for some time, and I felt compelled to procrastinate on a couple of other projects with tight deadlines, ignore that pile of laundry calling my name, and just sigh at the massive spread of crap-ola strewn across my countertop, much to my husbands dismay. So…..orange cake it is!

The truth is, if I’m not “doing” and accomplishing something (geesh, anything!), I feel like I’m not really “living”. I find a great sense of satisfaction in using the skills that come naturally to me, to constantly produce and do it in record time, no less; and yet, in the broad aspect of it all, all of those things that I cross off another day’s to-do list are meaningless. Don’t get me wrong, I have a passion for living responsibly and striving to use “what the good Lord gave me”, but sometimes, I think I just sort of get lost in it all, and I lose sight of what really matters.

And so…I went upstairs to my bedroom, closed the door, and got down on my knees and prayed. I cleared my mind of all my to-do’s, and I brought every burden, every heartache, every need of those I love and laid them down at the foot of the cross.

And then...

I buried my head in my heads, and I just chose to be still.

It’s not always an easy thing for me to do, but I knew in my heart of hearts that I had lost focus on the heart of God. It’s not that my heart wasn’t in the right place, it’s just that I had become so wrapped up in..well, in myself. I was so caught up with being “busy” that I had stopped truly seeking, and even more so, I had failed to truly intercede in prayer for those hurting and lost and for those I hold most dear. Sure, I prayed here and there throughout my day, did my devotions like I always do, but had I really let it penetrate my heart? I’m not convinced I did.

And so…I remained still before the Lord. I poured out my heart to God, and then I remained quiet. I don’t recall how long I stayed there, but I knew I had been there awhile.

I’m convinced that I will always have to stay on guard from my own drive to live my life my own way. I will always have to fight the urge to be “busy” ALL THE TIME. I will always have to work on surrendering my wants and my desires to HIS will for my life.

But, you know what?

Jesus Christ died on the cross and took ALL of my shortcomings, all of my distractions, all of my sin, and all of my shame – far too many things to count, and He broke down the barrier that stood between me and a life of eternity with Him. Everything that weighs me down and tears me up inside, He took upon himself. He took the punishment for me, and he died for my sin. He took my place, and when He rose again, he said, “I remember it no more.”

And...at that moment, I became His. For all eternity. I am His.

So…where is God when I’m lost in the busy-ness of being busy?

He’s waiting. He’s waiting for me to lay all of my burdens on Him. He’s waiting for me to let Him carry me through when I can no longer carry myself. He’s waiting for me to once again turn my eyes away from the temporary things of this world and come back into focus on the eternal…on Him and Him alone. He’s waiting to give me rest, to restore me, and to set me free once again. Arms wide open, he’s waiting.

It is then when I come back to Him, and only then, that I can truly accomplish all that is set before me. So for today and the days ahead, may you too find peace and rest in the Lord today.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden in light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Blessings,

Placecard of the Week: Turquoise & Red


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Not only is turquoise the "it" color in interior design this year, it also seems to be a popular choice when combined uniquely with the color red.  Perhaps it's the hot and cold contrast that makes it such a bold statement, but whatever it is, I'm definitely a fan!

I whipped up these little babies last weekend, and I admit, I do love the way they turned out (which is not always the case).  I used a Martha Stewart stamp for the top double border and simply added a few embellishment gems here and there.  If you don't mind putting a little "muscle" (I use that term loosely) into your placecards, I think these placecards would add a stunning touch to a wedding tablescape.  What do you think?

P.S. Be sure to check out my new article over at Heart Sessions.

Happy Monday, gang!

Ciao!

Friday, April 23, 2010

One Fabulous Year of Eat Drink Pretty


Being a lover of all things lovely and pretty (yep, that even includes pretty food!), I am huge fan of the loads of eye candy and entertaining tips Jenna over at Eat Drink Pretty continues to give the blogging world.  Not only does she feature excellent recipes, she also includes tips for creating food with flair...put simply, pretty food that catches the eye and is equally as delicious. 

Over the past year, Jenna has posted everything from Real Weddings to Real Parties as well as gorgeous inspiration from the best the blogosphere has to offer.  I am, without a doubt, a fan of her style and shared passion for all things entertaining.  Here's a picture of Jenna that was taken for a Style Me Pretty From Inspiration to Reality photoshoot.  Gorgeous, isn't she?  Did I mention that I'm married to her handsome brother?  Be sure to check out more pictures from this amazing photoshoot on her blog {here}.

Photography Courtesy of Red Ribbon Studio

And, today....well, today marks her one year blogiversary.  Yay, Jenna!  I would expect nothing less from Jenna than to celebrate in style, and that's exactly what she's doing.  For her one year blogiversary, she is designing what is sure to be a stunning dessert buffet and photoshoot with some of the top wedding vendors around the Twin Cities, and she even chose to include little ol' me for all of the paper design and calligraphy.  I'm thrilled, to say the least!

Here's a little sneak peak at Jenna's inspiration behind her Eat Drink Pretty dessert buffet.


Lovely, yes?  Be sure to stop by and give Jenna a kind hello for me.  Happy blogiversary, Jenna!

Ciao!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Going On A Picnic...In Style


Yay!  It's already Thursday....which means...drumroll please...that I get to play hooky for half the day and go to the MN Twins game.  The new stadium is a couple blocks from my office here in downtown Minneapolis, which is extra nice and convenient for a little midday outing.  Yahoo!  Okay, okay, in reality, I'm going to the game with colleagues, so it's not "for real" sneaky-sneaky kind of hooky, but it should be a nice change of pace none the less. 

So.....having the outdoors on the brain, I am totally digging this summery, casual yet elegant tablescape.  The little potted plants are entirely adorable and a unique but lovely combination with the white hydrangeas.  I think they're close enough to hydrangeas anyway.  Yes, no??  Wouldn't this be the perfect picnic setting with friends and family? 

Have a wonderful day, gang!

Ciao!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Perryn House





Via {here}

How gorgeous is this stunning English home?  I love the contrast of this dated home with its bright, clean, and contemporary interior.  The white decor is brilliantly complimented with pops of soft pink throughout.  Did you notice the mirrored wardrobes in the kitchen and bathroom?  They are my favorite accent pieces to this already fabulous home.  And....oh my, how I would love to step out onto that back porch, plop myself down on all those white cushions and lounge the day away.  It really is lovely!

Ciao!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Amy Butler









I am absolutely in love (pun intended) with Amy Butler's new Love collection.  The brilliant colors, bold patterns, and playful elements of these gorgeous fabrics are most definitely eye candy at its finest.  I had a terrible time trying to pick a favorite.  I just kept browsing one collection after another.  I am longing to purchase a few of these fabulous fabrics to call my very own.  Seriously, does it get much better than this?

Have a lovely day, gang!

Ciao!

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