Archive | Motivational Quotes

Bravest Thing


This piece is a little different from what I usually post.  I make more collage pieces, but they tend to be more personal in nature, so they don’t make it onto the blog.  And they tend to be messy on the paper as well as emotionally messy.  But this one is different.  I had fun collaging bits from my desk that are part of my story:  stamps (travel, writing), hearts/love, growth, circles and cycles, birds, measurement, music, a J for Jeff–and then a random goldfish, just because I liked it.  🙂

But it is the quote that really spoke to me and that made me want to share this piece.  I am pretty open about my fight with depression these days, but I wasn’t always.  And fighting through the process to healing was definitely the hardest and bravest thing I did do.  And coming out on the other side loving myself, giving myself grace.

I did a presentation at a MOPS group a few weeks ago.  I was supposed to be talking about faith art journaling, and I did, but what I ended up emphasizing was owning my story and the process that brought me to healing and the part art played in it.  I think the coordinator was disappointed–she wanted more of an art lesson.  But I had three women come up to thank me for sharing.  They felt like they had heard their own stories, diagnoses, and felt they weren’t alone as I spoke.  God sent me to them that day.  God knew I needed to own my story and be brave about it to help those other women.  It was worth it.

Love your self today enough to be brave today and own your story.  You never know where it will take you.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Far Better Up Ahead


One more Lewis.

The best part of being a Christian is knowing that better things are ahead.  We are promised the greatest reward out there:  eternal life with Jesus in the best place ever in complete joy without any suffering at all.

Super awesome.

As long as we stay focused on that far into the future, we can’t go wrong.  Things will happen here on Earth that are going to bring us pain and struggles, but we will leave all of them behind.  Just drop them and go.

Why not do it now?  Why worry?  Live life.  Yearn for better things.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Moon and Stars


Just a fun quote to start the week.

Last week I traveled to Iowa with two girlfriends to do some antiquing/junking/treasure hunting.  We stayed with my family and I got the chance to show them some of the beautiful side of Iowa.  The one night my dad encouraged us to go out and see the clear sky full of stars.  If it had not been so darn chilly that night, I think we would have stayed out there gazing at them for hours.  It is so dark with no city lights, crisp and clear with no pollution and the sky is polka-dotted with millions of pricks of light.  It is gorgeous and awe-inspiring.

I originally found this quote when I was looking for inspiration for a bride.  I loved the concept that we don’t need the material stuff in a marriage.  It is the commitment to standing and enjoying the light and awe of love.  And sometimes that is hard–life gets clouded with pollution and swamped with light that drowns out the simple things.  It is about stopping to be together and just enjoy.  It is about keeping a promise to shine for each other.  It is about that forever quality of being in a very special relationship, especially when it is grounded by faith and the knowledge it can go on for eternity.

So tonight, find the light of a star–outside or the inside the one you love and enjoy it.


Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Affect the Day


Let’s go out and affect this day!  We can make the quality of it high–we can make it better, make it glorious, make it filled with love.  This is what we are called to do.

We cannot change other people’s reactions, attitudes, and behaviors–but we can affect them.  By being positive role models, by being cheerful, by sharing unconditional love.

There is no reason to worry–what will be will be.  We are provided for in huge ways.  We are going to encounter struggles, but how we deal with them is what is really going to make the difference.  We can sit and stew on them and ruin the moment that is right now, we can miss the beauty of the moment of right now and the wondrous things God is currently doing.  Or we can rise to the moment and enjoy it in all of its splendor.

We have been given Today.  We must make it the best possible we can in gratitude to God for giving it to us.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Become Better


Become Better by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

I haven’t shared a C. Joybelle C. quote in a long time.  She does have sooo many.

See the hope associated with this one?  The ability to RISE above.  To BECOME more and better.  To let go of past hurts, and past positives to be honest.

Because, sometimes, the good things that have happened can hold us back just as much as the bad!  I know there have been times that I thought I was as good as or better (read superior) than someone due to my education/grades/honors, my home state (Ok…still feel this way about Iowa, sorry), my Christianity. EW.  Did I just admit that?  I wanted to go around bragging about my “wonderful” history.  All the good stuff.  Well, you know what?  I needed to get over myself.  We all have good stuff we all have bad stuff.

And the reality is:  NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT MOST OF IT.  And to be completely honest…most of the time, most people DO NOT CARE.

They see what is right in front of them at that very moment.  That is what they will form opinions about.

Our goal needs to be to ALWAYS do better, and to do it in humility.

Butterflies don’t run around showing off.  They just ARE.

In the moment.

Above the noise.

On hope.

With sighs of the Spirit.

That’s where I want to rise to.  How about you?


Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Reach into the Well


Reach for the Stars by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

I have ALWAYS dreamed of being published.  Of selling my artwork.  This week the Etsy store reached a milestone:  1000 prints sold and 300 orders.  I am in awe.  I am blessed by all who have supported that little corner of the internet.  I am silly giddy that most of those are Bible related pieces encouraging other’s faith!  God is so good!

He creates each of us with this well deep inside us.  It is filled with strength, patience, and passion:  in the Bible He calls it a spiritual gift.  We all have a well with a different gift.  But He really does fill each well with those same things.


Any well can just sit there.  Be full.  It takes a person to dip the bucket in.  It takes a person to make use of that well.  Or it will sit and go stagnant.  We must reach down in deep, fill that bucket, and hand over hand, pull it OUT.  And when you get that bucket you will be amazed at what you see:  the reflection will shine with eyes full of stars, a heart full of love, and joy beyond reason.

That is the confidence I feel as I have pulled my bucket out of the well recently.  And I LOVE knowing that God is filling my thirst for His living water in that bucket–the thirst for His strength, His patience, His passion.  That is so quenching, yet you can never get enough.  So I will keep putting my bucket back in and drawing out more–never ending.

What a blessing to be confident in that well–that we can reach in and find the stars!

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Listen to something new

Scan-001I am only going to share music with this today.

This is some of the best piano music I have found in a long time!  Absolutely inspiring click the links below to go to YouTube and listen:

Paul Cardall New Life, “Letting Go”*

David Ketchum “MGNT Kids Remix” you can listen here. **

(* He composed the music to go with several Richard Paul Evans books and an album of hymns.)

(**The original song is good, but a bit scary. But as a piano piece it was fabulous.  The rest of the album is good and interesting also.  I always like being introduced to something new.)

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Remember to Quiet



I don’t know about you, but sometimes it is hard to quiet–my thoughts, the world, everything.  Especially on vacation.  I have thought before how I needed a vacation time to recoup from my vacation!  If only I would take time for quiet, time to sit and listen for God, for stories of his children, for the beauty of creation–I wouldn’t feel the rush and the push and the vacation would be more rejuvenating.

So as you move into the weekend, take time to be quiet–to quiet the yelling, the traffic, the roaring of whatever.  Sit and listen to what is pulsing underneath and hear God’s voice in that.  And may it bless you in ways you never imagined.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

One SMALL Positive Thought


Positive Thoughts Change the Day by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

Have you ever woke up from a bad dream and it colored your whole day?  Made you cranky, nervous, uneasy.  Ever woke up with a headache?  Those are a bummer–again it can ruin the whole day.  Felt annoyed by something immediately?

But what about those other days?  The ones where you wake up from a peaceful dream and sleep.  Or start with a great Bible reading or song.  Maybe a sweet kiss and words of love from a little one.  Or a super cool piece of artwork.  (Wink, wink  heehee)  Maybe just the song of a bird, a great cup of juice or coffee, good traffic, pants that fit today.  Could be anything.

Those things leave us in a good mood for the whole day–we can come back to them and get warmth and encouragement from them every minute of that 24 hours.  Just ONE SMALL POSITIVE THOUGHT.  What if we gave ourselves permission to do that–have a positive thought or maybe even to compliment our SELF.  What if we warmed ourselves from the inside? How could that change us?  Do you think they would snowball?  Would we be willing to allow ourselves more little positive thoughts?  Would we feel the glow of them?  –And then be more likely to share that encouragement?

Hmmm.  Interesting thought.  Yes?

I now have this print on my desk–so I see it first when I come down each morning.  It helps me.  If you think it might help you, you can get prints of it here.  


Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Everyone Can Do It


Everyone Can Give It by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

So encouragement.  Don’t think you can walk up to random people and give them a compliment?  Brighten their day? Make them feel special?

Of course you can silly!

Here is a little story of how it can work, and help:

Our post office people in Lockport have a reputation for crankiness.  They used to drive me bonkers.  But the more I stop by there with orders, the more I see the silliness they must cope with.  So I decided to hand out some compliments, and hopefully add to their day in a positive way rather that add to their drudgery. –I complimented one woman’s ring, another day I noticed the other woman was more tan (turned out she is going on vacation), another time I commented on how well the man was handling all the crazy passport business.  I did or said other little things for patrons.  And you know what?  It worked!  Hallelujah!  Now I get grins, jokes, and better service.  And sometimes, we get other patrons to smile too.

Just like the birds on a wire, who will always make room for another, we can always make room in our hearts to encourage another of God’s family.  It is something we can all do.  And it takes seconds.  And it reflects back to us–it encourages our selves.  It pays it forward.  And it eventually will spread like wildfire.  Encouragement.  Everyone can do it.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Miracles of Great Love


Great Love Miracles by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

One quick reminder!  Have you been to Bible Stories from the Heart Bible study of Exodus?  At least check out the website and facebook page please!  I am going to be creating different art for over there and tutorials on how I create them.  Abbie and Leslie have all sorts of plans to help us go deeper in study and share with people from all over, in our own time.  The link is in the sidebar as well.  It is definitely a small piece leading to a great thing and I would love to share it with you!  🙂

I have had some long posts this week, so I will try to keep  it short today.

Miracles:  God is awfully good at them, isn’t He?  When I think about that series of small stuff, I see miracles of His love throughout.  His love is so incredibly great, He really was with me all along working his miracles each day.

Miracles don’t have to be HUGE things.  Sometimes a miracle is just that overwhelming feeling of being alive.  Of being so insanely loved and pursued by Christ.  Of the knowledge that God created everything around us.  Of the miracle that Christ died for us, that grace is available every moment.

That is a great love.  That is a great miracle.

Don’t you think so?

Look for little miracles of great love today.  Your turn to write–leave me some comments!  Tell me about the great love you encounter. , of the miracles in your everyday.  I can’t wait to share in your miracles.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Ya Can’t Use Up Creativity


You Can’t Use Up Creativity/Maya Angelou by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

This is how I operate.  The more I paint, the more I write, the more it flows.  It just keeps comin’ and a comin’.  Sometimes, I won’t get a few days to paint and I will get so cranky!  And I think, “Oh it has dried up!  I am all out, empty.  I can’t come up with another single thing.”  And then I sit down, start doodlin’ and before I know it a morning has passed and I have a pile of stuff started.

God proves this is true, He sets an example of this all the time.  I am so often truly amazed, dumbfounded, electrified by the sheer magnitude of His creativity.  From the DNA that makes our core, to the clouds in the sky, to the infinite colors flashing on a fish, to the delicate petals of a flower, to the speckles of a pebble, to the majesty of a mountain.  He is is the ultimate creative soul.  He is the great innovator of all time.  He is the one who inspires us all to be more, see more, experience more.

Let’s pray today:

Thank you God for this amazing world you created, that you designed and formed from the beginning of time–that you continue to shape in each and every moment.  I often wonder if you sit back with satisfaction and enjoy your galaxies.  Help us to remember to take the time to appreciate all your work, forgive us for when we take it for granted. We thank  you for inspiring us to use the creativity you knit into our very DNA–to worship and glorify your name in the ways you created us uniquely to do.  We pray that you will lead us to recognize our gifts and to trust you that you have a plan for those gifts at the right moment that only YOU have planned.  Lord, you are.  You simply ARE, and we are so very amazed by YOU.

In Jesus’ name–all God’s people say…AMEN!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!  Get out there and enjoy some creativity!

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

A Quilt of Good Intentions



Do you ever feel like this?

The patches of fabric are all of my interests, talents, duties, family, friends–all the things that make me ME.  And woven into the fabric is my own confidence.  But there are also threads of doubts and low confidence that make me question whether the fabric will hold together.

The seams are all of the intentions–the constant trying and effort to keep it all together.  Some seams are strong, I have no worries that those will hold for my lifetime.  Others are loose.  Others have snags, and might come undone at any moment.

And what makes a quilt the best is the layers–the top of patchwork, the filling that gives it warmth, and the single back pieces that is the base for it all.  Faith is my base.  Always there holding it together.

But the great thing about quilts is they can be mended and patched, and washed to keep them going.  The sooner you fix the issues the better.  BUT, it still does its job even in a lesser state.  It still brings warmth and comfort.  We are the same.  When our intentions are good, when they are filled with love and kindness, with grace and peace–we flourish.  No matter what state we are in, we bring warmth and comfort to those around us, we are worthy.  Worthy of the love that comes back to us, and given from God.

The Quiltmaker's Gift  -     By: Jeff Brumbeau<br />
    Illustrated By: Gail de Marcken<br />
Ever read this book?  It is gorgeous–illustrations and stories.  It is all about an older woman who makes and gives away quilts.  The king in the land tries to buy one from her, but she makes him give away everything he owns before he can have one.  It teaches an absolutely beautiful lesson.

Like quilts?  Jeff’s aunt, Linda Nelson Johnson, makes amazing art quilts.  Here are just a few of them.  If you pop over to her site at you can see more–and if you quilt yourself or are a fabric junkie, she hand dyes the most delicious fabrics.  You have to see them!

Iowa MadeThis We’ll Defend: 3768 3081

Autumn Colors   The Promise

And these are created by a wonderful woman, Vicki Swenson.   I immediately recognized her as a kindred spirit–let’s just say I was supposed to stop by for a few minutes and I stayed two/three hours. 🙂 I met her last summer when she made the most beautiful quilt for me out of a top that I patched together years ago that was no where near perfect. But her talent made it into my favorite warm spot in the house.  Here is some of her amazing design and quilting work:



Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

I thought I had a plan


The Lord is near by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

Ah, peoples, I am just going to be real tonight.  Completely honest and vulnerable and transparent.  Off the cuff, not using my scheduled art and notes, nothing.  Just gonna let you in.

Because today was HARD.  And I don’t have the energy to dig deep tonight.  As a lot of you know, I usually write most of my posts on Saturdays, schedule them for the week, and then can focus on other things.  But this weekend I didn’t have a chance to write.  The last couple weekends I haven’t had a chance to write.  I am in a polar vortex of sports. This time of year is hard for a non-sports fanatic:  between our own baseball games, hockey playoffs and basketball playoffs on tv, and regular season Twins games…I cannot escape it.  And I can’t get anyone else to turn it off.  So if I am not running to games, I am spending an hour every day looking for the stuff they have lost.  Because they can’t see the hat sitting on the table.  Or I am trying to catch up on everything around the house.

I am in technology meltdown. One computer is dying–hopefully we can keep it running until our IT guy comes back again.  Everything seems to be in slow motion.  I cannot seem to be happy with several marketing items I am trying to put together, I spent all morning rearranging pieces.  My phone keeps dying and getting stuck so I have to restart.  And then when I was supposed to work on-line with it and make some calls during dance, I forgot the stupid thing.

I got lost three times today.  Trying to find one store. Who does that?  With a GPS?  I wanted a store not a distribution center.  UGH.

We did homeschool, but the girls were pretty independent today.

Then I had someone email me tonight that a notebook I made, I used the wrong dictionary page, I am tearing up I am so mortified, it had several horrible words.  I really do try to be careful.  So please, if you have bought anything from me with dictionary pages, please check it and I will replace it for free.  My heart is heavy.

My current to-do list is filled with lots of fun things.  Lots of stuff I want.  But on a day like today, it is overwhelming.

Ever have those?  So I am having a little pity party right now.  And I am trying to remember that my Lord is near me.  My spirit is feeling heavy under the weight of all those little pebbles.   And I am trying to remember that Satan is trying to tempt me right now.  Anytime something really good faith wise happens Satan seems to be right there tempting me over the edge.  He loves to play with my perfectionism.  He loves to push my guilt buttons.

So I am going to stare at the breathe deeply artwork, drink some wine, and talk with God.  He is such a good listener, even for the little pebbles.  And I am going to push away my frustrations and Satan.  And I am going to look forward to a new day tomorrow full of grace.

Thanks for listening.  Love ya’ll.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

Breathe in Deeply My Sweets


Breathe in Deeply by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

I told all of you that my big news also came with a crazy story.

I visited my wonderful sister in Ohio this weekend, and it was so good to see her!  But I arrived with a serious stomach bug.  Truly.  Half way there (200 miles in) I started feeling nauseous.  Really nauseous.  And within an hour of my arrival I was full on viral, food poisoning, sick.  My poor sister.  I was there to attend a dance recital and watch her and her three kids dance.  The last thing she needed was me there in full sickness mode.

I stayed home Friday evening with her youngest and my two.  I turned on the tv for them, snuggled on a couch with clear paths leading from it, and tried to distract myself with emails and Facebook.  Low and behold there was an inquiry email from Leslie!  So in between flashes of illness, I was encountering a God whisper!

I wanted to just smirk up at God, and ask Him, “Really?  You do have a sense of humor don’t you?  I feel awful right now, I am not even at home, and right now is when you want me to look into this? Now?!  This should come when I can do a happy dance!  When I am near a computer so I can do this full on, not my phone, which I can barely type full sentences on.”

I am telling you.  We never know when Jesus will decide to show up!  This is why our hearts MUST be open and our ears ready to listen, our mouths shut and our arms ready to embrace.

So.  I took a deep deep breath.  Another deeper one.  And I perused the Bible Stories from the Heart sites.  And I took another deep breath and contacted Leslie.  And I took another deep breath, and prayed that this was the correct answer to God’s whispers.

Saturday was busy (recital and of course my two kids got sick).  Sunday night I returned home, feeling much better and checked my email.  And did my happy dance.

This is going to be wonderful!  All in God’s time.

Have you been waiting for His whispers and answers?  It can be so hard to wait and listen.  It can be so hard to take His advice and let go to do His will.  It can be draining fighting all by ourselves, and fighting His plan.  But when we breathe in His grace, love, peace, mercy, and wisdom–it is the cleanest, brightest, breath ever.  It fills not just your lungs, but instantly travels your whole system.  Breaths of surrender to His plan.  And your whole body is lifted and lighter.


I can’t wait to have you breathe in deeply with Leslie and I!


Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.

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