Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Cards

This is the first year I came up with my own design for Christmas cards. The design itself was inspired by the following folk tale (retold by Angela Elwell Hunt). It's a great story of hopes and dreams, where life sometimes takes us, and how we can trust God and his ultimate plan for our lives.


Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: "I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I'll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!"

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on it's way to the ocean. "I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I'll be the strongest ship in the world!"

The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. "I don't want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they'll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world."

Years passed. The rain came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall. One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain. The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the first tree fell. "Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!" The first tree said.

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the second tree fell. "Now I shall sail mighty waters!" thought the second tree. "I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!"

The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter looked up. "Any kind of tree will do for me." He muttered. With a swoop of his shining ax the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter's shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, nor with treasure. She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.

The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even river; instead she was taken to a little lake.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. "What happened?" The once tall tree wondered. "All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God...

"Many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. "I wish I could make a cradle for him." Her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and the sturdy wood. "This manger is beautiful." She said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through with the wind and the rain. The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace." The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth.

One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beam was Yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And Every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.

So next time you feel down because you didn't get what you want, just sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Fun with ATC's

It's been so much fun trading Artist Trading Cards (ATC's) and my family and friends have been really impressed with my growing collection. Last Thanksgiving when we were all gathered together, my nieces and nephews wanted to make some of their own. So after eating, we cleared the dinner table and had a lot of fun painting and creating more ATC's to trade with one another.

Here are some of the results (they came up with some great stuff!)

I think encouraging others to pursue creativity is so important. We're planning another one of these sessions for Christmas!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Top 25 Movies!!! (and more)

The super-talented Jeff Brame tagged me to share my top 25 all-time favorite movies. It was SO tough to limit the list to just 25 because I have so many faves. But I managed to list those I have seen multiple times and never get tired of watching (or those seen once or twice but have affected me deeply). A few more came to mind as well =) Here goes...

1. While You Were Sleeping
2. Return of the Jedi
3. Star Wars
4. Empire Strikes Back
5. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
6. The Sandlot
7. Frequency
8. Sense and Sensibility
9. The Goonies
10. Executive Decision
11. The Patriot
12. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
13. Outbreak
14. Shawshank Redemption
15. Big Business
16. Terminator 2
17. Aliens
18. Jurassic Park
19. Radio Flyer
20. The Passion of the Christ
21. A Christmas Story
22. October Sky
23. The Pianist
24. Speed
25. Eight Below

Other Favorite Blockbusters/Action Films…
The Phantom Menace
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
LOTR: The Two Towers
LOTR: The Return of the King
Back to the Future
The Mummy
Shoot to Kill
The Rock
Dante’s Peak
Independence Day

Foreign Films…
Seven Samurai
Life is Beautiful
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The Wedding Singer
50 First Dates
City Slickers
Coming to America
Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion
Major League
Shallow Hal
A League of Their Own
Angels in the Outfield
The Princess Bride
Forest Gump
Kindergarten Cop
My Best Friend’s Wedding

In Her Shoes
Hotel Rwanda
Billy Elliot
Finding Bobby Fischer
Dangerous Minds

The Lion King
A Bugs Life
The Little Mermaid
Finding Nemo
The Incredibles
Toy Story

March of the Penguins
Supersize Me
A Player to be Named Later

Tammy and the Bachelor
Singing in the Rain
The Sound of Music
Calamity Jane

Whew! ok, there's more that I can name, but I need to end this post somehow or else it will go on forever. I'm going to tag these other talented artists to share their favorites: Eslina, Steve, and Katrice. Thanks for playing along!