How to Upgrade and Preserve Your Mosaic Jesse Tree

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Hi friends!

I’ve had a lot of questions rolling in about my Mosaic Jesse Tree. Some of the most popular are:

  • How/where do we hang them?
  • Can we laminate them?
  • What’s the best way to preserve them?

While I don’t know about laminating (because the hole punch for the string might just break the seal), I do have another idea for you. It’s similar to the way I created the original Jesse Tree ornaments.

You can mount your cardstock ornaments on wooden craft ornaments, using Modpodge to seal them and to protect the surface. Once they’re mounted and dried, you’re ready to tie the string and start hanging them on your tree!

If you want to make upgrades, I recommend you purchase the Jesse Tree set with assembly required.

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Cut out your cardstock ornaments, punch the holes in the tab, and mount them on wooden ornaments. These ornaments are 3.5 inches in diameter, and they should be the perfect size. I used ornaments very similar to these to create the original set!

Use Modpodge to attach them and to seal the surface. (Use matte for a classic look…)

(…or glossy for a shiny finish.)

Caution: If you seal your ornaments with Modpodge, make sure you store them separately. I learned the hard way that Modpodge softens in the heat… and then when it dries again, everything fuses together. I almost lost my original set one summer while they were in storage.

Now each of my original ornament gets stored in its own sandwich bag.

If you happened to buy the ready-to-hang set, but you still want to make these upgrades to your ornaments, simply replace the ribbons. If you want to be super fancy, Modpodge a length of ribbon around the side-surface of the wooden ornament base. It will give your ornaments a clean, finished look. I did this on my originals. I even lined the hole-punch with ribbon (over-achiever lol).

I also recommend sealing the knots and the ends of your ribbons once they’re attached, so they’ll last longer without fraying. You can use Fray-check, clear nail polish, or a quick fusing over a candle flame. Be careful with using the flame, because you could over-do it and melt your knot right off!

Finally, find the perfect tree to hang them on. This one is similar to what we use at home for our own Jesse Tree!

I hope you love your Mosaic Jesse Tree! If you have any questions, or need any more tips for upgrading or using your Jesse Tree, leave a comment or send me a message any time.

A Prayer Guide for Advent

How to have a prayerful Advent.

I love the anticipation of Advent. The joy and excitement. What I don’t love is the commercialization that threatens to distract me.

The gifting and spending make me cringe. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against giving and receiving gifts. I don’t hate the idea of generosity. I just get stressed out from the pressure of mandatory giving.

So, while it’s a tempting proposition for my wallet, you won’t find me writing a gift guide. I won’t tell you what to buy for your mother, father, aunt, spouse, or children. Because 1) I have no idea what my own loved ones want, let alone yours and 2) that would bring me more stress than joy.

But instead of a gift guide, how about a prayer guide? Continue reading “A Prayer Guide for Advent”

Send a flood of prayer.

We’re all familiar with the Noah story. People were wicked. God sent a flood to destroy them. Then He promised never to destroy the earth by flood again.

Why the sudden change of heart? We look around today, and it seems like wickedness still abounds. Every news outlet is filled with stories of hate and hurt and tragedy. Why doesn’t God send another flood? Why doesn’t He just take out all the bad guys?

God, what were You thinking when You made that covenant?

He told us exactly what He was thinking… “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”

Mankind doesn’t have a gun problem. A porn problem. A drug problem.

Mankind has a heart problem.

And it won’t be healed by melting down all the guns. People have been murdering each other since before guns ever existed. It won’t be healed by outlawing pornography. People have been taking advantage of each other before the world came online. It won’t be healed by wiping out the druglords. New ones are ever ready to rise in their place.

The evil in man’s heart can’t be wiped away by a flood.

As we mourn the lives lost in the recent Texas shooting, we long for quick solutions. We long for a way to eradicate this evil off the face of the earth once and for all. But as God the Father pointed out to us in the story of Noah, evil can’t be stopped by brute force.

How can it be stopped?

By love. By prayer. By sacrifice.

I think of the Crucifixion. I think of Jesus, offering Himself freely in our place. To redeem us from all our own evil. From the darkness that resides in the corners of our own hearts.

How much He loved us that day! How He prayed and wept for our salvation in the Garden of Gethsemane!

It’s almost like God switched tactics here. Sure, He did what needed to be done to stop the evil in the moment. He sent that flood to obliterate the evil. But He knew that, although it would help for a short while, it’s not enough in the long run.

He knew that the world needed more. That we needed, not just laws and heavy handed enforcement, but a Redeemer. He knew that He couldn’t scare the evil out of us. No, we needed more than that.

So He decided to love the evil out of us.

He sent His only Son. To teach us. To minister us. To heal us. To die for us.

And our brothers and sisters in that Baptist Church in Texas have followed right in His footsteps.

They got up on Sunday morning, and they went to Church to love on Jesus. They went their to worship their Savior. And they paid the ultimate price. They gave their lives for Him.

They could have stayed home. They could have slept in. They could have chosen self.

But they chose God.

It was the last choice they made. And their lives were taken from them so suddenly. They had no way of knowing what was in store for them. They were the victims of a terrible act of violence.

And their sacrifice calls us to action. Their sacrifice calls us to do something to stop the evil in this world.

Sure, go ahead and enforce all the laws you want. Go ahead and rid people of convenient means of violence. It may slow them down. But it won’t stop them.

If we truly want this to end, we need to turn to Jesus. We need to give ourselves to the cause of peace through prayer and sacrifice.

We need to minister to the world like He did by proclaiming all that’s good and right and beautiful. We need to heal the world like He did by sharing His abundant love. We need to die to ourselves like He did. We need to live for others like He did.

We need to pray.

Like He did.

Brute force won’t eliminate evil from this world any more than that big old flood of destruction did in Noah’s day.

If we want evil to stop, we need to be the change we want to see.

Have we given our hearts to Him fully? Have we devoted ourselves entirely to prayer and sacrifice? Have we embraced a life of truth and virtue with our whole hearts? Do we live for Him alone?

No?

Then we’re part of the problem.

Today, I pray for myself. For the grace to turn from my evil ways. For the grace to let go of my evil, violent inclinations. To turn from anger and impatience. To act with love, humility and meekness. To be the change I want to see in the world.

And I pray for all of you. Everyone who feels lost and hurt and hopeless. That you’ll lift your eyes up to heaven and pray. That you’ll do all you can to promote a culture of peace.

I pray for all those who commit acts of violence. That they turn from all the hatred and hurt that’s in their hearts. They they my open themselves up to the love of Jesus. That they find their redemption.

And I pray for all those who mourn the loss of their loved ones in the wake of this tragedy.

As I remember the Christians that we lost that day, I keep thinking of the Flyleaf song “Beautiful Bride.”

When one part hurts the whole body’s sick.
When one part mourns, we all mourn with it.

Though we may not be fully united, we’re all part of the Body of Christ. We all love Jesus. We’re all doing our best to follow our Savior and to be holy people.

Our brothers and sisters who gave their lives that day, gave them for Him.

And we mourn their loss. Their their community is hurting. And we hurt for them too. We feel it throughout the entire Body of Christ. Any time there are Christian martyrs, that’s not a regional thing. It’s a whole body thing. It affects us. We shake and we cry and we weep for them.

Rejoice and we’ll sing with You:
Halleluiah!

But… at the same time, we rejoice with them. For them. They’ve seen Our Savior face-to-face. They made the right final choice. They gave up their Sunday morning for Him. They gave their lives for Him. Their last moments were spent loving and worshiping Him.

This whole song reminds me of the bittersweetness of death. And it calls me to do something about the tragedy that brought this about.

Train your fingers for battle.
Fighting this violence with your feet wrapped in peace.
Sad tears and silence, now screams of joy: victory!

This tragedy, like all others, is a battle. A battle fought in prayer. A battle we can only win through peace. Like the recent tragedy, this battle will involve tears and sadness and also victory.

The victory of the Cross.

Jesus’ battle over sin was fought the same way. With prayer and peace. With genuine tears and sadness. With great tragedy. But ultimately with great victory.

As Sean Forrest says, “As believers, we can cry with hope in the Resurrection.”

He made a promise to me: He’d be with me in eternity.
Though you can’t see me now, I’m right here above the clouds.
As I look in His eyes and I see all His love and His majesty,
I know I’ve come home.

And so, as I cry for those members of our Body, the Body of Christ, whom we’ve lost this week, I also hold onto hope. I lift my heart to Jesus in prayer. And I ask the souls of our recent martyrs to pray for us too. To pray for an end to violence. To pray for the unity of the Body of Christ. To pray for peace.

By their sacrifice, they’re changing the world.

Let’s join them and do our part too.

Let’s change our hearts. Let’s reach out to change the hearts of others. Let’s move forward with peace and hope. Let’s begin healing the hurts of this sinful fallen world with the love of Christ.

Let’s send a flood, just like in the days of Noah.

But this time, not a flood of destruction. A flood of prayer. Not a flood that wipes out, but a flood that transforms. A flood of healing waters. A flood of mercy.

Let’s send the flood that ends this evil once and for all.

One drop at a time. One prayer at a time.

Let the flood begin today.

Songs to help you through this time of tragedy:

“Beautiful Bride” by Flyleaf (if you like your music loud)

“He Made a Promise” by Sean Forrest (if you like your music soft)

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great post

Continue reading “Send a flood of prayer.”

A Mountain Meditation: practicing Catholic mindfulness

A mindfulness-based meditation, exploring and appreciating the beauty of God’s creation.

What do you see?

I see the hills bumping up against the sky. They’re crowned with trees. A vibrant red dominates the leaves, but it’s softened by warm yellows and oranges. A hint of green still remains here and there, a remnant of the fading summer.

I see the paths cut through the foliage. Cleared away to make room for roads and power lines and buildings. Evidence of civilization. But I wonder what it was like in its original state. A wild sort of order. The chaotic beauty that God created it to be. Continue reading “A Mountain Meditation: practicing Catholic mindfulness”

Christlike: don’t give them leftovers

A reflection on Sunday’s Gospel

At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.”  But he did not say a word in answer to her.  His disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”  He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”  But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”  He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”  She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”  Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”  And her daughter was healed from that hour.  – Matthew 15:21-28

What are You trying to teach me, Jesus? Continue reading “Christlike: don’t give them leftovers”

The beauty of the liturgical year {giveaway}

*I received a complimentary product from Telos Art in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are genuine, and my own.

We are an Easter people.

And not just on Easter Sunday, but all year round, all the time.

There’s something about the Resurrection that lights up our life.  That fills our souls with joy, our minds with truth, our hearts with love.

We know that the Mass makes the Paschal mystery present in a very physical, tangible way.  But the entire liturgical year makes the mystery of our salvation present in every moment.

It reminds us that Jesus’ Passover Sacrifice “reaches across and underlies all history.” Continue reading “The beauty of the liturgical year {giveaway}”

Sainthood is for sinners

I’m a coward.

I read the lives of the saints and pray, “Lord, don’t let that be me.”

They met Jesus and Mary face-to-face in visions.  They have amazing gifts like prophecy and heroic virtue.  Some even bi-locate.  I’ll admit, I’m jealous of all the cool things that happened to them.

But to whom much is given, much is required.  Continue reading “Sainthood is for sinners”

The garden of my soul #mymasstakeaway

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The good old parable of the sower.  God is, of course, the sower.  And today my pastor emphasized that there’s nothing wrong with the seed.  God sows the same seed – His Word, His Truth, the Good News of Salvation in His Son Jesus.  The same seed is sown in every heart.

There’s nothing wrong with the seed.  The problem is with the ground.  The problem is me.  I’m the four types of soil.  Not just one or two of them.  All of them. Continue reading “The garden of my soul #mymasstakeaway”