How to Create an Online Inspiration Board + Free Worksheet

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

 

Is there a better time to create with the purpose of inspiring?

 

The inspiration board is personal, but when we’re inspired we can’t help but inspire others.

 

The beauty of an online inspiration board is that it’s easy, fun, free, and well…downright inspiring. Since we’re all homebound for a while, it’s the perfect time to give it a try. Children will enjoy it too!

So, let’s get to it…

Pick a subject. There’s no right or wrong answer. Here are some to get your juices flowing:

  • Goals for the next 30, 60, or 90 days. {Spiritually, physically, and emotionally}.
  • Things I’d like to learn.
  • Ways to use this season in life to serve others.
  • What I want to create space for {Spiritually, physically, and emotionally}.
  • Scripture verses I need to remember when anxiety clouds my mind.
  • Ways I can use my home for God’s glory.
  • New ministry ideas.
  • The why behind a book you’re writing or a ministry you’re considering.
  • Inspirational quotes.
  • A vision or calling that could use a little clarifying.
  • Why _____ is important to me {and specific reasons why they are for when we tend to forget.}

 

It’s the last suggestion that was the catalyst for my own board: Get and Stay Healthy. That, and my yearly physical. Although I’m healthy overall, my doctor made a couple of strong recommendations: cut down on sugar and exercise four times a week. I’ve known for a while I’ve needed to do both. But like a silly toddler, I stuck a finger in each ear and la-la-la’d all the way to the freezer to find comfort from the very thought of it.

 

I know what I need to do but I tend to forget the most important part: the why behind it.

 

So I made an Inspirational Board specifically aimed at my why for taking better care of my body.

I didn’t have cardboard lying around or any magazines I wanted to cut up, so I decided to go to Canva and create an online version. I might use it as my desktop screensaver or when society is up and running again, I may print it in color and slap it on my closet door. Or the freezer’s.

 

Just the simple act of creating a board helps to clarify what’s really important.

 

Here’s a quick overview on how to create your inspiration, mood, or vision board:

  • Go to Canva. (There are other online tools but this is my go-to for most projects. It’s easy and free.)
  • Click on “Create a Design” in the left sidebar and choose “Mood Boards Photo Collage”.
  • In seconds, you’ll see beautiful templates on the left. Focus on the layout, not the pictures, because you’ll be replacing theirs with your own.
  • Click on a template you like and depending on what type you choose, you can name your project and/or start loading images into your template by dragging them over. (Don’t worry about deleting the image to try a new one. Just move a new one over the existing one.) Click on the Elements or Photos in the left sidebar to use Canva’s images, or you can upload your own.
  • Once you’re finished, download it as a pdf to print it or as a png (image) if you want to display it on your computer.

For a more detailed version, click here to go to Canva’s instruction page.

 

Here’s my Inspiration Board.

The blocks below represent some of the whys behind my decision to make wiser choices. It’s my personal board but I don’t mind sharing it because if this virus has taught us anything it’s that we’re all in this together.

 

Inspiration Board

This is how the Inspiration Board helps me:

  • Temptation raises its ugly head more often while home 24/7. I read it to help keep me focused on the long-term goal when the short-term is begging for attention.
  • With WW meetings postponed, the accountability factor isn’t the same and where I am in the process, it’s a must. This board quietly but powerfully acts as a visual accountability partner.
  • The board inspires and encourages me of the possibilities ahead.
  • Last but not least, it also acts as a praise board. How could I not praise the One from whom all good gifts flow?

 

I chose a template that gave me several places to write down my whys, as well as places for images to match. But there are many templates to choose from, so:

  • Pick a subject.
  • Choose a template that matches how many blocks you’ll need.
  • Have fun!
  • Stay alert to what the Holy Spirit may want to show you through this process.
  • Need a little warm-up? I created a fun (and pretty) worksheet to help you get started.

Click here to download your FREE “My Inspiration Board” worksheet.

Free Inspiration Worksheet

So, what’s at least one subject you’d consider creating an Inspiration Board for? (There’s no right or wrong answer!)

 

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3

 

Subscribers, check your inbox tonight for your Monthly Letter! It includes in-home Easter celebration links, NEW hope-filled coloring pages, a download, “Giving God Glory From Our Spacious Place”, and more.

 

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Thank you for stopping by! I hope you’ll decide to stay awhile. If you’d like to become a part of the community, simply type your e-address in the righthand sidebar. >>>> Bi-weekly posts offer a pause of goodness to your busy days, and once a month, you’ll also receive a newsletter chock-full of the latest happenings in the Tiny House on the Hill, along with ideas on ways we can draw near to God and love others well.

So, come on over and sit a spell. I’d love to get to know you!

 

30 Meaningful Things to Do If You’re Self-Quarantined

Well, those are words I never expected to type, but here we are.

I’m not in a panic over the Coronavirus, but it’s true that some, perhaps many of us, may end up self-quarantined or otherwise homebound. But here’s the thing:

 

Every opportunity holds the potential to become meaningful.

 

Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise — making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15,16

 

Below are thirty ideas to consider if staying inside for a while. I pray they’ll become the catalyst for spreading hope, encouragement, and truth, to others (germ-free!):

 

  • Set aside fifteen minutes to scroll through Facebook to collect prayer requests. Jot them down and set aside time to pray specifically for each person. Well-meaning “likes” don’t always result in prayer, but they can today! If the Lord brings to mind a certain scripture verse while praying, share it with the person. Our extra minute can encourage them for days.
  • Turn on praise music and sing to the Lord or better yet, sing acapella.
  • Create your own music list. Fill it with songs of hope and peace.
  • Start a new Bible study. If you don’t have one on hand, try an online study from Proverbs 31, LifeWay studies, and free studies from Jen Wilkin.
  • Complete the last study you didn’t finish.
  • Hibernate in prayer.
  • Turn everything off. Listen to the birds. Watch them. Study them. Let these tiny creatures serve as a reminder of God’s intimate care for you. (Luke 12:24)
  • Cook a vegetable meal. Before you pick up the fork, read Proverbs 15:17 aloud: “Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.” Invite conversation: How does this apply to our family? How can we “put feet” to this verse in helping others?
  • Take a James 1:17 stroll. “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” As you walk outside, intentionally search for God’s good gifts surrounding you⏤an unfurling blossom, a flower’s scent, the sun breaking through clouds, etc. Embrace the goodness of God and let it carry you heavenward throughout the day.
  • Take tea for two, you and God.
  • Finish the current book you’re reading. Then, go the extra mile and leave a review on Amazon. Bonus points if you do the same on Goodreads, and don’t forget to add it to your reading list while you’re there.
  • Start a new book. If you know the author, message her along the way sharing what encourages you or a phrase that stood out to you. If a quote stands out, consider posting it on Facebook and Instagram to encourage others (and the author).
  • Call a different person each day. Many of us prefer to text but let’s delight someone by laying aside our preferences and call instead.
  • Text two people each day with one purpose in mind: to encourage.
  • Pray for your children/grandchildren. Jon Bloom’s 7 Things to Pray for Your Children is a favorite.
  • Pray for your adult children.
  • Pray for the lost. Tim Challies’ 18 Prayers to Pray for the Lost is a great place to start.
  • Draw a line down the center of a page.
  • Plan for the future. Sometimes our immobility is simply a rest area on the highway of life. It gives us unexpected time to pray, think, and mull over ideas.
  • Create mini-love notes and place them in sock drawers, on mirrors, cereal boxes, or inside his/her Bible.
  • Is it raining? Engage those God-given senses!
  • If you’re up for it, work or play in your yard. Plant flowers, pull weeds, plunge seeds into the ground.
  • Create simply for the joy of creating.
  • Create a vision board. Go through magazines, clip inspiring quotes and pictures OR create an online version via Canva (free). (Watch for an upcoming post on this subject!)
  • Write morning pages. Not sure how? Click here for one of the best breakdowns I’ve read (other than Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.)
  • Start a gratitude journal. Is there a better time to focus on our blessings?
  • Do a prayer walk through your home.
  • Set up a prayer journal.
  • Read scripture verses on peace. Write them down. Memorize at least one and lean on God’s promises with the same warmth and confidence a child bends toward her mother.
  • If you’re a Creative Pauses subscriber (you are awesome!), enjoy your free resources (Scripture-Based Coloring Pages, Praying Throughout Your Home, 10 Ways to Show Up for Others This Summer, etc.). If not, then pull up a chair and join in the fun! Simply type your email in the top right-hand sidebar >>>> and start enjoying your free resources immediately.

* Click here for a downloadable PDF print of the list above.

 

The Coronavirus situation gives us, the hopers and believers of the world, opportunities to share Christ in ways we’ve never had before. Becoming more intentional in how we care for others — emotionally, physically, and spiritually — during a time when many are focused on themselves, might just make an eternal difference.

 

Yes, we plan and use our resources wisely, but above all, we love selflessly.

 

Is there one particular idea above that stands out to you, or do you have one to add to the list?

 

 

 

 

Tea for Two // A Quiet One-on-One Gathering with God

Gathering each week to worship the One true God is life-giving.

Gathering with the One, quiet and alone, is a sacred delight.

 

This gathering requires no preparations. Simply come.

 

Sometimes, especially after a hard season in life, or in the middle of one, I find comfort in setting an intentional table for two. This tea time with God isn’t a weird “fluffy feel good” practice. It’s an intentional act that flies in the face of my enemy who never tires of reminding me of past sins or current failures.

But God’s nearness is the key that unlocks both my hope and joy. So I simply come.

Two teacups sit on my farm table. One cup holds a teabag. The other holds a place at the table, reminding me that my Heavenly Father’s presence is that near.

As the kettle whistles and the water pours, my cup blossoms into rich amber. Its rising fragrance reminds me of the incense that arose from the Holy of Holies, representing the prayers of God’s people.

Let my prayer be accepted as sweet-smelling incense in your presence. Psalm 141:2

 

As I sip my tea — time slows to a sacred pace. I sit still and quiet.

 

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

There’s nothing natural about stilling the heart and mind. (Lately, it seems the more unnatural/uncomfortable something feels, the more convinced I am it is of God.) He wants us to know Him. I can’t wrap my head around this truth but I fully embrace it with every drop of gratitude possible.

Let these truths settle deep in the soul: God never hides from us, ignores our pain, or fiddles with a phone when we speak. Nothing is too small, too big, too high, or too wide for His reach. He is ever-present.

 

May this truth never wear thin in the fabric of our everyday lives.

 

As I sip my tea, I read His Word aloud, pray, and talk with Him as I would with a friend sitting across from me. Words aren’t always necessary, just like any relationship. “Happy masks” are exchanged for the freedom that is mine through Jesus. In Him, I can be me — a repeat offender, quirky, and quite the mess, but it’s in this same freedom I recognize that “being me” doesn’t negate my sinfulness. In fact, it highlights it, and for my good. So I confess and close out our time by thanking God for who He is:

  • Heavenly Father
  • Holy
  • Just
  • Forgiving, full of grace
  • Omniscient
  • Omnipresent
  • El Roi, the God who sees

 

The quiet power of our tea-for-two lingers long after the last sip, thanks be to Jesus.

 

Have you practiced something similar? Is there a particular name of God you’re leaning into these days? I’d love for you to share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

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If you’d like to become a part of the community, simply type your e-address in the righthand sidebar. >>>> Bi-weekly posts offer a pause of goodness to your busy days, and once a month, you’ll also receive a newsletter chock-full of the latest happenings in the Tiny House on the Hill, along with ideas on ways we can draw near to God and love others well. So, come on over and sit a spell. I’d love to get to know you!

 

 

Engaging Our Five Senses on a Rainy Day

Goodness knows we’ve had enough of them this winter!

Over the past couple of weeks, our area has experienced devastating floods, a tornado, and snow. Gotta love the Carolinas!

With March just around the corner, more rain is sure to come. So let’s consider some fun and meaningful ways to engage our rainy day senses:

 

What Can We See?

  • Read rain-related verses. Here are some to get us started.
  • Go through old photos – not for the purpose of organizing but simply to enjoy.
  • Watch the rain⏤the way droplets weigh down the leaves on a branch. Or the places where it puddles. Reading the verses beforehand can’t help but add depth to our wonder.
  • Hopefully a rainbow!

 

What Can We Hear?

  • Listen⏤really listen⏤to the soft ticking of the rain on your window, umbrella, or rooftop. Rain is a symphony of nature created by God for our listening pleasure.
  • Vinyl spinning on a nearby turntable.
  • Perhaps a crackling fire if it’s cold outside?
  • The sloshing sound from beneath our rain boots as we jump puddles with (or without) our children/grandchildren.

 

What Can We Smell?

  • Step outside and catch the scent of rain. Depending on where it falls (the driveway, freshly plowed dirt, grass, or the pup), we’ll pick up on a variety of aromas. All a delight, except for the latter. 🙂
  • Burn a candle as you read a favorite book. (Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson is a new fave of mine. This isn’t an affiliate link. I’m just a fan.)
  • Soup cooking over a hot stove. Is there anything more soothing than soup on a rainy day? Besides warm chocolate chip cookies, of course.

 

What Can We Touch?

  • Warm pj’s and flannel sheets. Need I say more?
  • The hands of a loved one. A rainy night is the ideal setting to unplug and spend time with those God has placed in our lives.
  • Birdfeeders. My country birdies are voracious eaters when it rains.
  • A pen. Rainy days are perfect for re-engaging the art of a handwritten letter.
  • Hearts and lives through prayer. Let’s pull out our prayer journal and lift up the lost and loved ones to the Lord.

 

What Can We Taste?

  • Steamy mugs of tea. Lace it with honey and sip away.
  • My go-to Weight Watchers meal from Skinnytaste, Crockpot Sante Fe Chicken. It’s a real meal everyone can enjoy.
  • The rain! When’s the last time we put on our rain boots, ran outside, looked up to the heavens and stuck out our tongue? None of us are promised tomorrow, so let’s have some fun!
  • The goodness of God. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8) Rainy days offer a pause⏤physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Set aside time to journal or make a list of specific ways you’ve tasted (experienced firsthand) God’s goodness in recent days.

 

“You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with it; I, the LORD, have created it.” (Isaiah 45:8)

 

 

So, which of the five senses do you most enjoy on a rainy day?

 

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Thank you for stopping by! I hope you’ll decide to stay awhile. If you’d like to become a part of the community, simply type your e-address in the righthand sidebar. >>>> Bi-weekly posts offer a pause of goodness to your busy days, and once a month, you’ll also receive a newsletter chock-full of the latest happenings in the Tiny House on the Hill, along with ideas on ways we can draw near to God and love others well.

So, come on over and sit a spell. I’d love to get to know you!

Praying With Our Eyes Wide Open

Literally.

I know, I know. It goes against everything we learned growing up. Bow your heads and close your eyes. To do anything different seems awkward.

But within my four walls, I welcome the difference, always praying with my eyes wide open. When it comes to praying with others, however, I cave to tradition.

 

I don’t want to look weird or feel out of place — and my spirit groans every single time.

 

The only way I know how to describe what happens the moment I close my eyes to pray is to compare it to a Twilight Zone episode called Little Girl Lost. A child accidentally falls through an opening in the wall and enters a different dimension. She cries while floating around in the dark, trying to reach for her dog, who suffered the same fate.

Okay, so that’s a tad dramatic but it’s true. I close my eyes to pray and everything goes dark. Everything except for the distractions. They bark louder than any dog I know.

 

Is it Unbiblical to Pray with Our Eyes Open?

 

It’s not. There’s nothing in the Bible that says our eyes must be closed to communicate well with our God. When Jesus feeds the 5,000 he prays looking up to heaven. Were his eyes open? I believe so.

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.” Matthew 14:17-19 [emphasis mine]

God doesn’t pay attention to what we wear, if we’ve showered, or if our hair is mussed or perfect. The tradition of closing our eyes is both understandable and honorable. We all want to be fully present, whether our eyes are open or closed. But since our conversation today is focused on the former, here are some tips for avoiding distractions:

 

How to Avoid Distractions When Praying With Eyes Wide Open

 

  • Look up! Jesus set the example. The sky is vast and full of God’s glory. Like the ocean, it reminds us of our smallness and that is good.
  • Journal prayers first. Write down the specifics first, and then pray. This way, when praying with our eyes open, the things we want to pray for surface quicker. Distractions, at least for me, tend to happen more when my heart/mind isn’t warmed up.
  • Whenever possible, pray aloud. Hearing the words help to cement them in the heart. By the same token, praying out loud also helps me to “hear” the sins that are trying to squeak in the back door of my heart. Sometimes the simple tone of my request says it all. Combining the two ⏤eyes open and aloud⏤changed my prayer life.

 

Other Times We Can {and Should} Pray with Eyes Wide Open

 

  • When driving. Or when the guy on your bumper scooches up just a little too close for comfort.
  • When we’re outside. “Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders.” Job 37:14
  • As we go through our day. Ephesians 6:18 encourages us to be alert in prayer. Staying attuned to the beauty and heartache that surrounds us every day gives us continual reasons to walk and pray throughout our day.

Writing is often cathartic and this post is one of those moments for me. If praying with my eyes wide open isn’t unbiblical and if my spirit groans when I try to pray like everyone else because of pride, I need to confess it and move forward in faith. Because this is what we know:

Eyes open, eyes closed. It matters not, as long as the heart is engaged.

 

 

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Thank you for stopping by for a visit! I’d love for you to stay awhile. If you’d like to become a part of the Creative Pauses community, simply type your e-address in the righthand sidebar. Bi-weekly posts offer a pause of goodness to your busy day and they automatically land in your inbox. Once a month, you’ll also receive a newsletter chock-full of helpful tidbits on drawing nearer to God and loving others well.

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3 Ways to Pray More Intentionally + A Tiny Journal Giveaway!

Intentional is my “one-word” for the year.

Some think the one-word movement is hokey. I know because that was me not so long ago. And yet, in a world that tugs on us with the same fervor as a hungry toddler, embracing a word that points us to the Word offers an intentional act that can help us stay focused.

 

Many areas in life deserve more intentionality on my part, but none more than prayer.

 

Below are three ways I’m learning to re-engage the power and beauty of prayer in my own life. I’d love to know how you’re doing the same in the comment section below. We are in this together, after all. *smile*

 

1. Re-visit the Why

 

Why pray? If we were raised in the church, our whys more than likely roll off the tongue with ease. But what about today? What about prayer stirs us to set aside time on a busy morning? What do we believe about prayer that causes us to risk embarrassment by thanking God for our food in public places?

For me, this “why” surfaced first: Because I can⏤because we can. Thanks be to Christ’s sacrifice, we can converse with the One True God⏤the One who formed us, the One who redeemed us, sanctifies us, loves us beyond comprehension, quiets us, heals us, and empowers us to live more like Jesus.

It is impossible to grasp the reality of this magnificent privilege and remain the same. 

What is your “why” and how does it change your intentions for 2020?

 

2. Scribble Your Prayers

 

Scribble, you say? Okay, maybe that’s not exactly what I mean, but one of the best pieces of writing advice I ever received was to scribble my rogue ideas and rough drafts in a plain spiral-bound notebook. Not fancy ones, like those Brian used to bring home from France. {I’m not sure what it says about me that I asked for paper instead of perfume, but let me just say, this was no ordinary paper. The crisp white sheets were smooth as glass, yet thick enough to resist any bleed-through.}

But this same sheet of paper sat blank because I didn’t want to waste a “good” sheet for what could be the worst paragraph ever.

And therein lies the beauty of a solid-colored spiral-bound notebook. The sheets are thin and anything but crisp⏤but they are brimming with words. There’s no concern about messing up or writing the wrong thing on a cheap piece of paper.

Sometimes when journaling our prayers, it’s easy to feel stuck, unsure of what we want to write. Or we skip a day, a week, or longer because we don’t know where to begin. So the page remains blank.

But when the imperfect spiral-bound pages make themselves available for imperfect words and sentences, there’s a freedom at work that I can’t explain.

“Scribbling” tips:

  • Write like no one else will read it but God. It’s a safe place to pour out your hurt, your dreams, your doubts–whatever is on your heart. King David paved the way in Psalms, showing us how to trust God with our honesty while never failing to recognize His majesty.
  • Try different methods. There’s no one way that’s right for everyone. Over the years, I’ve used an organized prayer notebook with tabs for praise, confession, intercession, and salvation. I also have stacks of plain notebooks, some started but never finished, and others filled with my failures and God’s faithfulness.
  • Keep a tiny journal with you at all times. Be intentional, watching for God’s goodness as you move through your day. Eventually, you will create your own pocketful of praises. {Don’t miss the tiny journal opportunity below!}

 

3. Incorporate “Touchpoints” of Prayer

 

To be clear, there’s nothing sacred about touching anything. But using everyday touches to prompt a prayer is a simple and intentional way to stay connected with God throughout our day. Such as:

  • Washing the dishes. Let the water running over your hands serve as a reminder to pray for those who are spiritually thirsty, without Christ. We pray for their salvation so that their innermost being will flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)
  • Steering wheel. As you take hold of the wheel, let your grip serve as a reminder of God’s closeness to you, praising God for surrounding you with His presence. “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 125:1,2)
  • Feet to the floor. This “touchpoint” is mentioned in 4 “Touchpoints” to Connect with God Throughout the Day, the latest gift for current/new subscribers. The moment our feet touch either the coldness of hardwood flooring or the warmth of cozy slippers in the morning, let that touch prompt us to offer God our first thought of the day. It can be as simple as, Thank you for a new day, Thank you for fresh mercy (Lamentations 3:22, 23), or Have Your Way Today, Lord.

 

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” Jeremiah 29:12

 

How would you like to become more intentional in 2020? Share in the comment section below to help cement your own intentions, encourage others, and have your name placed in a random giveaway for a pair of mini journals.

 

We’d love for you to join us on the Tiny House on the Hill!  Pull up a chair and make yourself right at home among women who love and serve God with their whole heart. (Or simply enter your email address in the pop-up below or right-hand sidebar!) >>>>

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