Archives For Atlas Girl

Guiding Us Home

Renee Ann Smith —  July 9, 2014 — 14 Comments

Kinderhook KraftyKash Atlas GirlIt’s this being known that is the compass that guides us home.

~Emily Wierenga~

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These insightful words come from Emily Wierenga’s memoir, Atlas Girl. I was privileged to be part of Emily’s launch team and won the map necklace pictured above with my grandfather’s clock & photos of my grandmother, father, mother and aunt. This lovely piece was created by Kashoan Ward at KraftyKash.

Kinderhook KraftyKashKashoan can fashion special words, letters, Bible verses, quotes or vintage maps into necklaces and bracelets. (Click on the photo below left for a close up view of my necklace.)

Kinderhook KraftyKashRenee Ann Smith Kinderhook

 

If you love vintage jewelry and need a heart-touching gift for that hard-to-buy-for loved one, follow this link to check out her site right now!

For the subject of my map necklace, I chose my hometown—Kinderhook, New York, in the Hudson River Valley.

  • Kinderhook’s the kind of place that still holds band concerts in the village green on hot summer nights.
  • On Christmas Eve, the village Santas (volunteer firemen dressed in Santa suits) deliver gifts to every child in town.
  • At one point during my childhood, every aunt, uncle and cousin on both sides of my family lived in Kinderhook.
  • And I can’t say enough about our beautiful Catskill Mountains. They’re a heart-lifting view even on the gloomiest of days!

Renee Ann Smith Kinderhook

  • Plus, Kinderhook is historic. It was named by Hendrick Hudson—it’s Dutch for children’s corner.
  • And it’s the birthplace of Martin Van Buren, 8th Pres of the USA.
  • The story goes that MVB coined the phrase OK from Old Kinderhook.
  • Washington Irving was also a frequent visitor back in the day.
  • So the name of the school from which I graduated is Ichabod Crane High School & the mascot is the Rider.

I left home & stayed away for about ten years before something drew me back. Now I live just south of my hometown but attend church there very Sunday.

If you’re ever up this way, be sure to stop by for real. I’d love to give you a tour!

Thanks for the blog visit! Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made these graphics by tweaking my own iPhone pics with PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.)

****To learn more about Atlas Girl, CLICK HERE!

Emily Wierenga Atlas Girl

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Love Is Yellow

Renee Ann Smith —  July 7, 2014 — 28 Comments

This post is part of the Atlas Girl Blog Tour, which I am delighted to be a part of along with hundreds of inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!

Emily Wierenga Atlas Girl

***Since Atlas Girl is Emily Wierenga’s memoir, I’m joining in the spirit of things
with a Memory from My Own Childhood . . .

If love has a color, I think it’s yellow.

When I was growing up, I lost myself in books. The stories in books seemed so much more interesting than my life. The people were bigger, bolder, better. I wanted to know those people. I wanted to be one of those people.

My father did not appreciate my book people. He would come home from work, big, gruff, grumbly and find me wherever I had holed up with my books. He’d shoo me outside. After dinner he would ask me to be with the rest of the family.

It hurt him when I crept back to my books.

But I was self-focused and silent and stingy with my heart. With the book people for company, I didn’t need anyone else—even my family.

Some time during those years, I took a home economics class. When the teacher announced a sewing unit, I panicked. I was horrible with the machine. I chose the smallest project possible—a tie.

The material was this cheap polyester stuff. And bright yellow. But those were the days of leisure suits, so maybe yellow was not such an odd choice!

I finished as best I could and presented the tie to my father. I was relieved to be done with it.

My father thanked me as if it were a very special present. And one night, when he left for a meeting, I noticed he was wearing that yellow tie.

Soon after that I accepted Christ, and God woke my heart to life. Almost for the first time, I felt like I was able to love.

A whole new world opened up to me. Needless to say, I wasn’t thinking about that old tie . . .

But many years later, when my father was gone, and I and my adult siblings were going through his things, I came across my old home ec project.

With new eyes, I took in the uneven stitches and crooked seams and snagged material and horrible color.

And all I could think was, “I can’t believe my father actually wore this tie.”

And I wished I had given him something worthy of his love.

I had not put much thought into my gift. Yet my father’s love for me had transformed it into something beautiful.

Atlas Girl Psalm 45(Click to Tweet)

I believe that’s what the Heavenly Father does for His children.

We wrestle with the tools of our creativity,
Words or paints or fabrics.

But it’s not until we place our feeble creation into His hands

That He shapes it into something beautiful.

My heart bursts its banks,
Spilling beauty and goodness.
I pour it out in a poem to the King,
Shaping the river into words.
~Psalm 45:1, The Message~

Amen

May you know many blessings this week, kind friends. Thanks for stopping by today!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic by tweaking an image from my account at RGB Stock Photos with PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.)

Emily Wierenga Atlas Girl***Did I mention this post is part of a blog tour? Emily T. Wierenga, award-winning journalist and author of 4 books, has released her first memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look. They say the book is like “Girl Meets God” meets “Wild” meets “Eat, Pray, Love.” I say the book is inspiring. You can grab a copy here. Continue Reading…

When Love Is Assumed

Renee Ann Smith —  June 23, 2014 — 9 Comments

This post is part of the Atlas Girl Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with hundreds of inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! 

Emily Wierenga Atlas Girl

I grew up in a home where love was assumed.

In my neighborhood, parents worked jobs, had children, enjoyed their small luxuries—color television, decent cars, wall-to-wall carpet—and lived quiet.

Love in action was a roof over your head, food on the table, and presents at Christmas and birthdays.

Love was not spoken. But I did hear powerful words . . . “who does he think I am?” and “look what I’ve had to put up with” and “I’m not going out of my way for THOSE PEOPLE.”

And I saw love as something to be doled out in small portions—like when dessert had to stretch to the seven of us crowded around our table.

Where more for someone else meant less for me. So I hid & hoarded my share.

During my teen years, God touched my life. I gave my heart to Him, and He filled it to overflowing.

I read verses like John 4:13&14 . . .

Atlas Girl Emily Wierenga

. . . and Romans 8:38&39 . . .

Atlas Girl Emily Wierenga. . . and I marveled at God’s extravagant love.

It almost seemed wasteful, pouring out all that on a life as small as mine.

I wanted to believe in that love, to live in it, to share it. But something about the odd choice of words in Romans 8:38 niggled in my brain.

Was LIFE something to fear, something that might separate me from God? The idea seemed ridiculous.

Then I grew older and the happily-ever-afters I dreamed of as a girl fell apart.

I discovered how LIFE can scrape and press and grind until the overflowing fountain of my heart became a broken cistern.

And I once again became a hoarder, trying to stop up even the trickles of love that were seeping away.

When I tried to guard my own heart, I not only shut others out—I shut myself off from God’s love as well.

How did He fix me? He broke me even more.

When I allowed Him to work—He demolished that cracked cistern and replaced it once again with the wellspring of His love. 

God showed me that He is greater than my heart & I can trust Him to guard it.

Worried Hearts I John 3 Bible verse

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So I can be filled enough to overflow and yet never be left feeling empty.

I’m blessed that you stopped by today, friends. Have a beautiful week!

Emily Wierenga Atlas Girl***Did I mention this post is part of a blog tour? Emily T. Wierenga, award-winning journalist and author of 4 books, has released her first memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look. They say the book is like “Girl Meets God” meets “Wild” meets “Eat, Pray, Love.” I say the book is inspiring. You can grab a copy here.

For God is greater than our worried hearts & knows more about us than we do ourselves. ~I John 3:20, The Message~

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***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic by tweaking an iPhone pic of a local garden with PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.) Continue Reading…