Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Free Tools to Prepare for Christmas + Gift GIving Ideas

We kick off the holiday season in two days. Two. Days. I didn't create anything new for my shop or blog this year. I had so many ideas and plans. But then I paused for Thanksgiving. And now Christmas is upon us. I'll just save those ideas away for next year.

In contrast, last November I was very productive in the area of Christmas printables. It was so much fun! In collaboration with a friend and coworker we created some amazing, free resources for the Advent season. All you need is a printer and card stock, or a friendly Staples Copy & Print employee. Mine knows me by name! (Upload the file to their website and pick up your order the next day.)

These sets of Advent Countdown cards were part of a craft kit created for women at our church who hosted Christmas Open Houses in their homes with their neighbors last year. I love these so much! They are perfect for a simple Open House craft, or for making up a small gift for a neighbor, teacher, or friend as we kick off the holiday season.

Download Advent Countdown cards.
Step-by-step guide to creating this Advent Countdown craft.
Download the entire hostess kit on Amy Lively's site How to Love Your Neighbor.

This Isaiah 9:6 Christmas printable is one of my absolute favorites, and we made it available on our church website during Advent last year. I gifted 5x7 prints to teachers, MOPS childcare workers and relatives. It looks absolutely stunning printed on bright white linen or recycled speckle tone card stock. {Trust me, it's all in the paper quality!} This printable is available in three sizes.

Isaiah 9:6 Christmas Tree | 4x6
Isaiah 9:6 Christmas Tree | 5x7
Isaiah 9:6 Christmas Tree | 8x10

One last idea I ran across just the other day... We have a Jesus Storybook Bible and my boys love reading out of it at night. {This Bible would make a great child's gift!} Each story in both the Old and New Testament points to Jesus. The illustrations are beautiful. Faith Gateway is offering a free Advent Printable, which includes illustrations from the book, and an Advent Reading plan. Go here to download the printable and reading plan. I'm really looking forward to using this reading plan and decorating with the illustrations this year!

Besides the fact that they are all free, the best part about these printable ideas is that they are all Scripture and all point to Jesus, bringing our hearts right back to the reason for Christmas. I know I need that reminder daily as my attention is constantly diverted to the lesser important things of this world.

For unto us a child is born. Unto us a son is given. And his name shall be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Sunday, November 22, 2015

NEW Poster Print {No Longer A Slave to Fear}

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

My mom slipped this verse written on an index card into my carry on before I boarded a flight to spend my summer serving in Spain my sophomore year in college - not my first international trip, but my first solo trip. One where I did not know the person who would pick me up at the airport in Madrid and take me to a children's camp to work. Nor was I fluent enough in Spanish to help me if there was nobody there to meet me. I bet it was pretty tough for my parents to send me off on this trip, even while trusting those I would serve alongside. I wonder if they slept that night.

Tomorrow my youngest brother, a sophomore in college, boards his first international flight, solo. He will meet up with friends at his destination to attend a conference. The world is a much different place from when I met up with a missionary group in Spain and wandered Madrid with another college student. Now that I am a mother, I have a new perspective on just how hard it would be to send your child off on his first international adventure.

But our God has not changed in 13 years. He still upholds each of us with His righteous right hand. He still keeps His promises to those who are called his children. After hearing a song by Bethel Music for the first time in our worship service last weekend, I was inspired to create this print. {Go add this song to your playlist!} God's children are no longer in bondage to fear. If we give into it, the enemy wins and we no longer be effective. He is our deliverer, our liberator. We are sons and daughters.
I'm so proud of my brother for working long hours while in school full time, for saving his money, for planning this trip, for following his dreams. And for trusting his Father to protect him.
Stand and sing ... I am a Child of God.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

{I am Thankful for} Free Printables + Scripture Memory Card Collection

The world of social media appears to be skipping right over Thanksgiving. You've probably seen it too: 'Halloween's over, so it's time to put the Christmas tree up...' Some years I would be all for getting a jump start on the Christmas season,  but I'm not jumping on the bandwagon this year. Maybe it's the 70 degree weather this week or the fact that my husband loves Thanksgiving and I love him ...

Spending time reflecting on God's goodness and His blessings is just too important for the health of my soul to neglect it in exchange it for prolonging the frenzied chaos of the Christmas season. Of course Christmas is ultimately about God's goodness to us through His greatest gift, but it's often hard to cling to that reality as the world competes for our attention at Christmastime.

I hope you will consider taking a week or two to pause, reflect and be grateful, setting yourself up for a Christmas season that's all about the gift of a Savior. I've created some tools to help my family and I hope they will benefit yours as well. 

A sweet friend photographed our "Thankful" Tag Free Printable (2x4, 4x4) and our newly added Scripture Memory Card, Thankful Collection in her home for a little inspiration on creatively reflecting on our blessings and expressing gratitude. By the way, I blogged about this friend here.

This first one just might be my favorite because it's so simple and inviting! 

Or decorate a wreath with Scripture....

On a burlap board, mix your own thoughts written on our  2x4 or 4x4 "I am Thankful for" free printable with our Scripture Memory Card, Thankful Collection.

Scripture Memory Cards are printed on beautiful high quality linen card stock and make the perfect gift set, Thanksgiving table favors, or simply a reminder for the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, in your car. You could even use them to write a short note of encouragement on the back for a friend. The Scripture Memory Card, Thankful Collection is available as a set of 16 or as an instant download (8 verses) to print on your own.

Download your free printables and please share a picture showing us how you use them this month. Tag @lovelydwellingdesign on Instagram or post to

*These printables are for personal use only.

I also plan to use tour "I am thankful for" 2x4 printable to decorate a Thankful Tree. Follow @lovelydwellingdesign on Instagram for more inspiration.


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