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Sunday

12 Art Prints That Inspire Me On Minted.

by: April D. Byrd



First off, let me say this, I just found out about Minted.com and visited their site... I love them! Minted.com is a collective of greatness, so much talent in one place, and I'm so here for that. Minted. is a marketplace for independent artist to share their work. The website is amazing! It has some great pieces. Also, they have stationary, I'm big on stationary, planners, invitations, and all that good stuff, especially being a writer.

There is a lot to love, but I limited the post to 12 (it was originally supposed to be 10, but I was having so much fun, by the time I looked up I'd went over, shows you how good minted is.) It'd be great to choose a lot more, but I won't hold up your time. You can check out all the great prints on minted.com for yourself.. I'm looking forward to lurking more on their site, and purchasing prints, I had my eye on a few planners too. Among the prints I chose a few favorites that definitely stood out and really spoke to me...and here's why:



1. Cloud Observation by Stephanie Goos
It was the first one to catch my eye and attention. I love clouds. The beauty and the texture of this piece really stood out to me. There is such skill by the artist in capturing the color undertones and the visual story of the image. It's filled with beauty and magnificence. I want to go into that place where the clouds are. It's apparently (In this picture) some place to go and it makes me long to feel that calm, that it presents.

2. Foilage by Julie Song Ink
Foilage, oh Foilage! It's so beautiful. The colors are amazing! we are all different leaves on a branch so many colors and our own uniqueness.

3. Cosmos Garden by Lorent and Leif
I like the imagery that this piece creates. It shows that the artists knew how to arrive at the desired result using what they had. Very skillful. It looks like a rose bush to me. This is artistic talented work and I love flowers, especially roses. I would use this in my house to decorate with. It makes for a good accent with the decor of a warm, sunny, happy home.

4. Golden Palm Tree by Wilder California
Love this shining palm. I'm from Florida originally, so I love seeing the beautiful palm trees whenever I go down to visit. This image is from California, I believe, but for me it brings about a homey feel, not to mention the angle of the shot is glorious. The image is just beautiful. It's something you'd wanna see on a day you're traveling into town...welcoming beautiful palm trees in sunshine. Delightful.

5. Blue Fields by Hi Uan Kang Haaga

Color contrast. I love this blue and green with the specks of red sitting out for effect. It truly does look like an image from the sky, dreamed up from the artists mind. It pops, in a good way.

6. Pining for Pineapple by Joni Tyrrell
If you're a fan of pineapple...you get it. Even if you're not a fan, beyond the mouthwatering appeal this picture is very clear. It's direct, focused, and makes a statement...a BOLD statement. "I alone, by myself, with know distractions or fancy backgrounds...I am enough. That's one conscious pineapple!

7. Sunset Study by Jessica Cardelucci
Sunset Study produces a familiar feel that comes over the distance. It's a reminder that joy comes in the morning. No matter what we go through, the sun will rise again, It's a beautifully imagined evening sunset.

8. Twinkling light by Lindsay Ferraris Photography
This image reminds me of driving up to a party or social activity, where the people are. The dim, out of focus perspective is a testament that there is light, even amidst mediocrity, and where there's light there is life.

9. Bits by Katie Craig
The lovely bits! These are "bits into the blue". I'm in love with blue, and it's a great decor' piece. Simple beauty.

10. Facades by Qing Ji
My grandmother use to have a picture just like this in her house. It brings back sentimental feeling and memories, and at the the same time it makes me want to travel and go somewhere far away that I've never been before. (Italy, maybe.) Pretty much anywhere that's not where I am. This picture makes me believe and wander. There's motivation here, motivation for something better.

11. Four Sisters by Holly Royval
Love this! The color contrasts here rock! The sisters here are similar, but different in personalities, that's how we know they're sisters. It is an image of us all. Human kind as a whole, we belong to each other, but we have differences in authenticity. Beyond the meaningfulness of the lesson the picture is just nice to look at. Are the four sisters: style, class, elegance, and sophistication? because that's what this painting says to me.


12. Big Sky Country by Vicki Rawlins
Last, but not least: Big Sky Country. This is the beauty I want in my life, the image itself, and the feel it brings. Can you tell I love clouds? Clouds denote the glory of God. There is such an animated clarity here. It's clearly skillful work by the artist. Another plus... it looks like Mufasa from The Lion King is about to come breaking through the clouds at any minute. Very glorious and splendid.


What is your take on these 12 prints? Did you find these or any of the other products and prints inspiring at minted.com? Let me know in the comments... You can also follow this conversation with Breath Of Life Daily + Minted. via social media on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest.

Wednesday

Own Your Power... Including Your Mistakes



Until we learn to own our mistakes and grow from them, we can never fully own our triumphs.
Yesterday there was a big ruckus at my job, one of the ladies asked another to pray for her (I currently work at a ministry) The matter of casting out demons and it's implications were thrown around and some people in the camp were freaked out or uncomfortable with the whole thing. As the situation was blown out of proportion, the woman who asked the other for prayer was very regretful.

She stated. "I wish I had never done it, then all this never would've happened."  I reminded her of the power she has. Mistakes are made to help grow us and we shouldn't be ashamed of whatever decisions we've made, but observe and learn from them. Her actions produced a ripple affect, and so did mine for the particular situation. 

As a result, I observed that the big fiasco that was made from the situation was a result of the power she has. Now wouldn't it be great to use that same power to make an impact with purpose and direction from God?

Even though at the time she was clueless... She was moving! Mistakes are a sign that we're making effort, and when were making effort we're operating in power. Let's Own our power fully. Effort is a sign of life, movement and growth. There must be growth after trial and error. We can make mistakes, but we have to learn from them and not live in regret, lest we be stagnant.

When we make a mistake the way out is to take up wisdom, right then and there. admit it, seek God, and grow from it. Wisdom is a way out, and it is an escape from our error. 

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).


Have you made any mistakes lately?  What lessons did you take away that you will utilize? or what scriptures can you think of that address our mistakes? Leave a comment in the box below. and Keep following the conversation with with us online via Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

*Resources: Scripture Article
*Photo Credit: Iyanla Vanzant

Monday

From Gridiron To Grace: Derwin Gray's Winning Testimony



Growing up on the west side of San Antonio, I believed in god—the god of football. The game was my ticket out of an early life saturated with violence, addiction, abuse, and chaos.
I was raised by my grandmother, because my parents were only teenagers when I was born. They were children bringing a child into the world. As much as they wanted to care for me, the hurt and brokenness in their lives prevented them. "Grannie" was a Jehovah's Witness, so that was the religion I knew. After a while, even that went away.
We were not poor. We were "po." We couldn't afford the other o and r. We didn't eat meals together. We didn't pray together. There were good times, like when we'd go fishing or when my grandfather would come home after work in the evenings. By the time I was 13, however, I looked at my environment and told my grandmother, "I'm going to do something with my life."
Football was my way out of the hell I was living in. I believed it would lift me into the heaven of the American dream.
Football functioned as my savior. It gave me love: If I played well, I was loved by fans. It gave me an identity: I was Derwin, the football player. It gave me significance: I was somebody because I was a great player. And football gave me a mission. My mission was this: Derwin, you can go to college and make something of your life.

Running from Naked Preacher

During my sophomore year of high school, I started to do just that. I transferred to Judson High School in Converse, a suburb of San Antonio, where I played for D. W. Rutledge, the Texas High School Hall of Fame coach. My senior year, I accepted a football scholarship to Brigham Young University (BYU). So, you have a black kid from a lower socioeconomic, multiethnic context with a Jehovah's Witness religious background (whose god is football) attending a Mormon university.
On January 15, 1990, during my freshman year at BYU, I met a beautiful young lady named Vicki Ensign. She was a javelin thrower on the track team. We fell in love fast and married on May 23, 1992, during my senior year. The first wedding I had ever attended was my own.
At BYU, my god had come through for me. I had an outstanding career and later was named to BYU football's "All Time Dream Team." Plus, I was loved at the school. I had the girl of my dreams. I was making something out of my life. On April 25, 1993, I was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts to strong safety. I had made it!
Then I met the Naked Preacher, a linebacker for the Colts in 1993.
It was impossible not to notice a linebacker who would take a shower, dry off, wrap a towel around his waist, pick up his Bible, and ask those of us in the locker room, "Do you know Jesus?" I would think, Do you know you are half-naked?
I asked the veterans on the team about him. They said, "Don't pay attention to him. That's the Naked Preacher."
At this point in my life, I did not want anything to do with Jesus or a half-naked man talking about him, so I tried to avoid him. One day after practice, I was sitting at my locker and saw the Naked Preacher (whose real name is Steve Grant) walking toward me.
"Rookie D. Gray, do you know Jesus?" he asked.
I pretended to not hear him and turned my back. He repeated the question, but this time he was at my locker. Even though I was not a churchgoer or involved in any religious group, I gave what I thought was a very religious answer: "I'm a good person."
I explained to Steve that I was one of the only men in my family who had not been to jail, who did not have a substance abuse problem, who had graduated from high school and college, and who did not have a child outside of marriage.
The Naked Preacher opened up his Bible and shared two verses with me: "And Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone'" (Mark 10:18, ESV); and, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).
Steve explained that according to the Bible, only God is good; he is the standard of goodness and righteousness. Everyone else has sinned and falls short. This disturbed me.
I said, "Naked man, you are telling me that my moral comparison is to God and not to other people?" He said, "Yes."
"God is perfect! What can I do to be perfect?" He answered, "Nothing."
I said, "I'm in big trouble."
"Rookie D. Gray," he said, "now you are starting to get it. You can't do anything to reach a perfect God. But Jesus has done everything for the perfect God to come down and reach you."
I sat in silence. I needed time to think through what he was saying and what I was experiencing in my heart.
Over the next five years, I watched Steve live out the gospel. When my teammates needed advice, they were at the Naked Preacher's locker. Steve was involved in the greater Indianapolis community. He displayed Jesus in the way he loved his wife and children. He preached through his words and actions.
As the Naked Preacher preached, God's love crushed me. I had achieved the American dream, only to realize it could not empower me to love my wife or forgive my father. My fame and money could not erase my sin, shame, guilt, fear, and insecurity.
... Continue reading Derwin's powerful testimony here.


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Wednesday

10 Scriptures To Uplift Your Spirit



Our spirits need to be devoted to God if they are to thrive amidst chaos. It is God's will that we thrive and that our spirit experiences the wholeness and prosperity that the holy spirit offers. Here are 10 scriptures that help emphasize the blessing of devotion and belonging to Him:
- I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
-"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." -John 15:5

- Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
- Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? - Matthew 6:26 


-So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:31
-He is so rich in kindness that He purchased our freedom through the blood of His Son, and our sins are forgiven. Ephesians 1:7

-Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. Ephesians 1:4

-Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. - Psalm 51:7



-See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. -Psalm 139:24

- But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. -1 John 1:9


What are some of  your go to scriptures that help uplift your spirit? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Monday

How To Become Resilient

By: April D. Byrd



Yesterday my Pastor, (who's brother had just passed away the same day) talked about resilience. It was very powerful! " As a character trait, Resilience is the mental ability to recover quickly." She spoke on the importance of developing emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence helps us to recognize our own emotions, identify the emotions of others and how to handle them, and diffuse conflict.

It increases self-management: being able to manage our emotions in a healthy way. It also helps build social awareness and relationship management. Emotional intelligence can help your performance at work and also benefit your health. She shared a few steps to emotional intelligence, but not all. and I was able to write some down, such as:

1. Learn how to relieve stress.

2. Accept the circumstance that's happening.

3. Develop flexibility.

When we learn to take a leap of faith, and and how to let go of emotions that make us uncomfortable, we find ourselves. Even though outwardly nothing is consistent, we can find consistency inside of ourselves. All information received to the brain comes through our senses, when information is overwhelming, instinct takes over. We can bring our emotions under control through Christ, and building our emotional intelligence. We can't yield to the will of emotion, but conquer it through understanding. "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting get understanding."-Proverbs 4:7 Also remember being strong doesn't always mean we have to be tough. Water will softly touch a rock, but slowly wear it down over time. For me that illustration of water brings to mind our hearts being in the right hands, at the right time. God has given us resilience to overcome all things The king's heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; He guides it wherever He pleases. -Proverbs 21:1 Continue to pour up love and be guided and directed by it. Love always wins.


What are some ways that you build and maintain resilience? Share in the comments section below.

You can hear more from Pastor Jennifer by dialing in to the conference call line on Sundays at 10 a.m. EST. dial 1 218 632 9333 access code: 430365 Subscribe to the BOLD weekly newsletter for the latest updates.

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Wednesday

BOLDImpact SHE Created iT SPOTLIGHT Artist: Tomecas Thomas

Breath Of Life Daily is happy to feature She Created iT’s monthly artist spotlight and celebrate female artists and entrepreneurs. She Created iT is a platform to Promote, Produce and Educate Female Artists.



Every month She Created iT Highlights a phenomenal female artist. For the month of June the She Created iT Artist Spotlight is on Tomecas Thomas.

Tomecas Thomas is a The Matrona: Certified Holistic Doula, Childbirth Educator and Breastfeeding Consultant. She lives in the Metro Atlanta area and has had the pleasure of assisting women in labor for over 20 years. From Teens to over 40.

“Before being a Doula, which I did not know what it was called then, I have always assisted family and friends when giving birth to their children. I enjoy every minute of it!”


Tomecas is a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) for 20 yrs, Labor and Delivery Nurse (RN) for 8 years and possess a CPR certification with the American Heart Association BLS Adult and Infant.

The specialties are: Family/Internal Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynecology and Pediatrics.
She is married to a wonderful supporting husband and is the proud mother of 3 sons and 1 daughter to whom she delivered via all natural (non-medicated) birth. She is also a proud grandmother of two grandsons.

“Growing up as a child I was amazed at how humans were created. Just like any other child I asked a question "Where do babies come from?" I had to laugh at that when the day came that I gave birth to my first child. It truly helps to understand the support that mothers need. During pregnancy and after the delivery, women experience emotional, physical and mental changes.



"It gives me great pleasure to educate, encourage, empower and provide the missing piece of the puzzle to ensure both mother and baby are healthy while making delivery a smooth transition.”



"Childbirth is an experience in a woman's life that holds the power to transform her forever. Passing through these powerful gates - in her own way - remembering all the generations of women who walk with her... She is never alone." - Suzanne Arms


For more information visit Tomecas website:  http://omoroseblessings.weebly.com/about-me.html and stay in tune with SHE Created iT for their latest projects and events.

Monday

Take Action And Erase Your Fears

by: +BOLD Impact Network




God gives us guidance and warning ahead of time. If we're working and praying there is no need to worry. Fear is False. Evidence. Appearing. Real. It's false because we think we don't have what we need to handle whatever it is that's causing us to fear, but in actuality we do. There is always something we can do, Don't just be scared, take action. Be BOLD. Don't Fear. Scripture says "God hasn't given us the Spirit of fear."  Worry about anything is not of God. Fear comes naturally, because it's a lack of understanding. You can get what you need. Invest in getting the truth and the understanding that you have what it takes to fulfill whatever life has for you. The power of God in us gives us strength. "Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you." Understanding gives us power over fear. God's will is for us to prosper. Seek God's will above all. He has power over All! 
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. -1 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
 Get the truth and never sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment. -Proverbs 23:23 (NLT)
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. -Matthew 6:33 (NLT)
 Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. 3 John 1:2 (KJV) modified.
 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen. -Romans 11:36 (NLT)

What are some other good scriptures you can think of that help give you confidence when you're afraid? Has God ever  given you a word of encouragement to step up in a situation and not be a afraid? How did it go? Leave your thoughts about this post in the comments section below.