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An open poem to survivors: hope has a name

Above the fray.

Above the screaming.

Above the hurt, the fear, the unknown, the uncontrollable, the unattainable, the shame, the injustice, the loneliness, the brokenness, the pain, the shame, the voicelessness, the powerlessness, the rage and the outrage, the frustration, the desperation.

*HOPE*

has a name.

One name above all names.

It’s not a vote or a man.

Not a woman or a stand.

Not a charge.

Not a time.

*HOPE*

Has a name.

A name above all names.

A word.

THE word.

One that raises the dead and heals the wounds and salves the infections and opens the eyes and stops the bleeding and calms the seas.

*HOPE*

Has a name.

One name.

One.

Name.

JESUS.

First Scrap Wood and Still Life project: our faux brick wall

As mentioned on my new web page, Scrap Wood and Still Life, I’m making a more concerted effort to bring joy to folks with my DIY projects and painting. (Follow along on Instagram, @scrapwoodandstilllife.)

My first attempt at bringing readers DIY posts was a couple years ago through a blog series called Home Sweet Farmhouse Home that coincided with the release of my novel, Lead Me Home. It was so much fun that I’m starting it back up again.

Besides a unique way to be creative and love on our homes, I think folks are drawn to DIY and farmhouse themes because restoration touches on our innate longing to know that no matter how messy we are, can be renewed and restored by God’s grace (Psalm 51). Such themes also touch on the fact that we are made in the image of the Lord (Genesis 1:27). Since He is the ultimate Creator, no wonder many of us feel called to create!

On to the project: our faux brick wall

Recently we installed a faux brick wall in our basement stairwell. This was super fun and truly one of the easiest home improvement projects I have tackled to date.

Here’s the wall we started with. It’s mostly stripped bare of the gallery wall I had there before, but even then it was pretty blasé. For 12 years I’ve been wanting to do something creative with the space, because it is open and visible to anyone who comes in, and the little shelf-like area was just begging to be something useful.

After surfing Pinterest for hours and hours, I decided on a faux brick wall with my own version of a German Schmear treatment.

Here’s how I did it.*

Source list and tools (not an exhaustive list):

Liquid Nails makes this project a breeze. Make sure you get the Liquid Nails made for putting up paneling–there are a lot of different kinds. Some DIY sites recommend nailing as well, but if you use the Liquid Nails as directed, I’m pretty sure the paneling won’t go anywhere.

Once the panels were up and given a day or so to dry, I applied plenty of spackling paste to the seams of the paneling, and then randomly in other places. This is where my process differs from a lot of others you’ll see, which spackle all over the brick. I just applied it sporadically.

Then I simply painted over it all with the chalk paint. I left some spots bare and painted some more lightly than others. I just eyeballed it until I was happy with the coverage and look.

Some people want the whole wall to be white, which is a little cleaner looking. Others prefer to let more red hang out, for a more rustic or industrial look. The important thing is to use your imagination and have fun with it!

Finally, caulk all the edges.

I used a 2×6 cut to the length of the shelf, a 1×4 as the shelf back, and stained them with Minwax’s Jacobean, one of my favorite shades of their stains.

Here’s a couple of close-ups:

I added a couple of paintings I made, which were inspired by my cousins’ dairy farm, also the inspiration behind my novel, Lead Me Home:

The real life Red:

Let me know if you try this project!

And if this inspires you, have fun!

Be blessed and celebrate your creativeness, friends!

*****

*Please refer to the main Scrap Wood and Still Life page for an important disclaimer. 

Road Trippin’ with Tyndale and Beth Moore: Stop #12

Welcome to Tyndale Fiction’s Road Trip Scavenger Hunt! We’re so happy you are here. To participate, collect the key words through all 13 stops in order, so you can enter to win our grand prize giveaway!
Some details:
  • The adventure begins on Wednesday, August 1. You’ll have two weeks to make your way through all the stops (giveaways will close on Tuesday, August 14).
  • While you do not have to start at Stop #1, keep in mind that the grand prize giveaway phrase will begin with the word you collect at that first stop.
  • To complete your submission for the grand prize giveaway, be sure to collect the key word within each author’s blog post, submitting the final, completed phrase in the form hosted on this page.
  • Also, be sure to enter the giveaways these authors are hosting on their blogs!

Enjoy the journey—we hope you’ll discover new books along the way as you hear from Tyndale Fiction authors about road trips, the settings of their novels, and more!

Happy road tripping!

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I am very excited to welcome beloved Bible teacher and bestselling debut fiction author Beth Moore to the blog!

Beth’s novel, The Undoing of Saint Silvanus, took her main character, Jillian Slater, on an unplanned and shocking road trip to New Orleans. Here’s the story’s setup: “Only God knew why Jillian Slater agreed to return to New Orleans on the news that her father had finally drunk himself to death. It’s not like they were close. She hadn’t seen him—or her grandmother, the ice queen—in almost twenty years. But a free trip to New Orleans was too intriguing to resist.”

Talk about a locale with atmosphere and intrigue!

Listen to Beth talk about her first road trip to New Orleans and why she chose the Big Easy as her setting for this novel:

When I was fifteen, my little brother and I, the only two kids left at home, took a grueling two-day road trip with our parents to our cousins’ house in Florida. Houston reaches out to Florida with the long, skinny arm of Interstate 10, the only decent bicep of the route being New Orleans.

I have no idea what got into my father’s head, but he decided to trot the four of us right down Bourbon Street. We’d only recently moved to Houston from a small town in Arkansas, so we hadn’t even acclimated to crowds yet. I’m pretty sure he had no idea what he was going to walk his family into.

I would have told you I wasn’t naïve. I was no innocent adolescent. Our family had dangled on the precipice of hell for several years. But I had never walked by a strip bar in my life. Not sure I’d ever even driven past one. The pictures posted at the front doors were so explicit and disturbing that I couldn’t shake them out of my head for years. Dodging drunks, we finally made our way to Jackson Square,  past painters and sidewalk entertainers and palm readers. It was the wildest thing I’d ever seen.

Fast-forward many years, and my husband, Keith, and I would start going back to that city for anniversaries and bask in the deep-fried goodness of New Orleans’s brighter side. Still plenty spicy. Just not as seedy.

Fast-forward a few more years, and I was asked to teach the women of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church at their annual conference. I guess it was as close as I’ve ever come to love at first sight. That whole congregation accepted this white girl like I was one of them. We are blood kin in Jesus. To be loved and embraced by them is still one of the greatest honors and joys of my ministry life. My Bible study Breaking Free was taped in their auditorium. When my younger brother was transferred there for work, FABC also threw their arms open wide to him. He attended that wonderful, warm church until he was transferred again several years later.

New Orleans is second in my heart only to Houston. I’m not sure I can explain exactly why. I’ve had a complex relationship with it. But that’s just it. I’m somehow rarely drawn to simple relationships.

And that is just the kind of relationships you’ll find in The Undoing of Saint Silvanus. The investigation into Jillian’s father’s death quickly unfolds, and she is drawn into the lives of the colorful collection of saints and sinners who pass through Saint Silvanus. As Jillian walks into a web of spiritual and personal danger borne out of her family’s broken history, she finds that only God himself can orchestrate the undoing of all that is going on at Saint Silvanus.

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Here’s the Stop #12 Important Information:

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Before you leave–a chance for another prize!

Be sure to leave a comment here on Amy’s blog for a chance to win this small prize pack from Amy! The winner will receive a signed copy of Before I Saw You, and a farmhouse-style wooden arrow that can be hung on a wall or added anywhere you’d like in your home. Winner of this prize will be drawn at random the same day as the Grand Prize winner, August 14.