More of this less of that

A thought bounces around my head between running kids around town and watching another episode of Call the MIdwife.

"I should read more." 

It's not like I never read, in fact, I read every day. I just don't read a lot of books from cover to cover. I only to this when it is required of me for a bible study at church. So I read about 3 books a year. 

I know increasing my book intake won't just happen by accident. Like anything worth doing, it will take sacrifice. In my case, I will have to sacrifice tv or social media time. Seems like a worthy trade. 

My friend Julie shared an extremely organized reading challenge for the year from challies.com. I'm not a great organizer (cue creative type), so if someone else will do that work for me, then I can do almost anything! 

I unofficially took on the light reading plan. I like to take things pretty easy on myself. So I will be reading one book every four weeks, 13 books in 2016. I will check back in here on my progress after every book.

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Show Your Work!

By Austin Kleon

A book for creatives who donโ€™t want to spend their time selling. This book teaches the art of sharing, and of building a community around what you do. It encourages the creative to be open with their process and to treat their craft as though they would like everyone else to be as excited about it as they are- not to hoard knowledge. And bonus, it has a really cool design! 

Key concept takeaway: share something small every day

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This book inspired me to share my art prints. I have something I love, something that helps me, and I want to share it with you!

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It would mean so much to me for you to check out the prints that are available to you for free.




Free prints now available for download

For a while I have been thinking about what my true intentions are for my art, my shop, my gifts that the Lord has given me. When a friend of mine called me up to pray about our creative endeavors, I jumped at the chance to bring all of this before the Lord. Here is where I landed, I believe in the power of the Word of God. This Word is unimaginably beautiful on its own, and greatly to be desired. I know this, because I experience it myself. The more I dive into it, the deeper I delve in, the more remarkably dazzling it is, and the more I want of it. This is no working of my own, but a work of the Holy Spirit within me. All that to say, I believe in this. And I draw and sketch and paint and journal these words because they are beautiful, not to make them so. 

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So when I create a piece of art displaying these words, I am penning words that have moved me, and changed me, and will continue to do so as I hide them in my heart. God's words need no embellishment to be lovely, but as God created us as visual beings, a creative beings, we are drawn to artful things. And so we benefit from artful expressions of His perfect Word. 

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That being said, I want these expressions, inspired by Him and for Him to be available to anyone who wants them. So I have decided to post each and every print I have made and offer them as free downloads here on this sight. And as I make more, I will post them here as well. 

So please, click the link above to free scripture print downloads and look around! If you see one that you like, click on the image and you will be redirected to a pdf version to download. Then you can print the high quality print document yourself and it will be ready for framing or gifting. Download one or all, these are free for your use. (I do ask that you not take the images and change them in any way or sell them as your own. Honor system here. Thanks!)

Please share the page with anyone who you think might enjoy some free scripture art! 

With love and blessings!! 

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In case you are wondering (and because several people have asked) yes, my etsy shop is still up and running with all of my rustic wooden signs, and I am excited about adding some new products come spring, so be sure to keep up with the changes there! You can receive my occasional newsletter alerting you of new products and sales by signing up here: http://eepurl.com/bqa8Jr

Let's take a moment and all be thankful for BRCA

I want to take a moment during nap time today to catch you all up on my BRCA journey! So many of you have reached out to me letting me know how this story has impacted you. I have had so many encouraging notes and phone calls and prayers said on my behalf that I am thinking God used this to bless me in ways I never would have guessed. Not only did he spare me from the liklihood  of cancer, but he has blessed me with all kinds of love along the way. Love poured out to my family and I that I never would have experienced without the BRCA gene. So yes, I am THANKFUL for being BRCA positive. 

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I am three months and 10 days past my preventative double mastectomy and I am very happy with the results and with my recovery. I feel like if we had to stop here, I would still be happy. I don't look like I did before and my breasts certainly don't feel like they did before, but after three months, it is getting to be pretty normal and I know that I could continue on with life like this if I had too. After all, as I have said from the beginning, my hope isn't in my boobs, it's in Christ Jesus, so let's press on. :)

However, tomorrow I have one final surgery, Lord willing, to finish up this process that started way back in February. I am going in for an outpatient surgery to remove my tissue expanders and replace them with my "permanent" silicone implants. (They are projected to last 10-20 years).

I am actually super excited about this surgery. The implants will not be hard and perfectly round like the tissue expanders. They will sit more naturally on my body and will be much softer to the touch. I think the worst thing about the expanders is how hard they are. They just feel unnatural and sometimes they are itchy and uncomfortable. Nothing unbearable, but I will be happy to trade them in! 

There were a couple of different options to consider for the implants and after talking extensively with my plastic surgeon about it (she is so patient and kind!) I decided to go with what they call the "gummy bear" implant. It is a tear drop shaped implant mad out of silicone, but if you were to cut it in half the silicone would stay in place, much like how the inside of a gummy bear would if you cut one of those in half... hence the nickname. I chose this one because I just happened to be expanded to the right size, and the doctor thinks it will fit my body shape well. It also has less of a rippling effect that normal silicone implants are known for. 

I will have to have an MRI one year after the implants are placed, and then once every three years after that to make sure that I haven't sprung a leak in one, in which case I will need to go in for another surgery similar to the one I am having tomorrow, to have it replaced. 

So there is your update! People have been asking how I am feeling about it all, and to be honest I haven't really thought about it much recently. A few months ago BRCA was on my mind a lot. But now, I have settled back into the natural rhythm of life around here and I seem to forget about it most days. Mostly, I feel thankful. Thankful for the experience, thankful for the grace, thankful for the outcome, thankful for the love poured out, thankful for the prayers lifted up and answered, thankful for the opportunity to speak grace to those in the situation and maybe offer a little peace and persecutive in the midst of a scary diagnosis. Thankful. 

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A couple things for some of you who may be facing the decision to have a preventative mastectomy... 

I thought I would be uncomfortable for 3 months, I wasn't. Like I said, after about a month and a half I basically moved on and didn't think about it very much.

The hysterectomy and mastectomy went very well for me. I couldn't have asked for any better. Btu I know this is not everyone's story. Not everyone gets to keep their nipples, not everyone comes out without complications, not everyone recovers at the same pace. But there is grace for everyone, and enough for every distinct person and situation. What God is really after is our hearts, and so I want to encourage you to surrender to Jesus and place your life in his care. When we can see Jesus for who he is, God's son who laid down his life for us, and now make, intercessions for us before the Father; and when we see ourselves in light off all that he is, our temporary trials and afflictions fade... they really do. 


Again, THANK YOU for coming along side me during all of this. I will update in a few days on the outcome of this final BRCA surgery and the recovery! 

Blessings, 

Elizabeth Ann