She {SHARES} Truth

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I have a confession: I judge books by their cover. As a visual person I cannot help but be drawn to books with well-designed covers. I could spend hours in a bookstore being inspired and shocked by the choices of the authors and publishers – yep that’s me browsing and judging all before I read one word inside.

When it came time to choose the next book for our Bible study I was drawn to several books – friends, we are so blessed with so many great Christian authors (and cover designers)! Then I came across this beautiful black, white, and yellow flat lay with a yellow binding and a clean logo on top and I had to know more.  Open Your Bible was simultaneously a simple title and a call to action.

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I sent it to my co-leaders as my choice and, as with all things meant to be, they had both chosen it as well. This six week study changed all of the lives of the ladies sitting around my dining room table. The authors Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams, of She Reads Truth, spoke straight to our hearts; they challenged and encouraged us. The core of the study is that the Bible is for all of us and for now. Through sweet anecdotes, wisely chosen scriptures, and prayers – not to mention beautiful images and clear layout design – they spoke Truth to and over us, as well as taught us how to approach the Bible on a daily basis. {Bless their hearts!} I highly recommend this study, it will meet you wherever you are in your faith walk and grow you.

On the same day as we made the decision to go with their study, my co-leader Kristy sent me this promo video for the She Reads Truth Bible. A Bible for the creative heart and visual learner. A Bible designed {and GOD breathed}…for me.

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We talk a lot about inspiration here on It’s A Colo{u}rful World. We have shared people who inspire us, books we love, places we’ve been, and gushed over the array of colors that surround us. To a creative, inspiration is like water to our parched souls. For this creative heart, divine inspiration is like a frosty glass of ice-cold water in the desert.

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Needless to say, I was inspired, and since my birthday was coming up I made my prayer warrior momma proud and asked for a Bible for my birthday. Let me tell you I LOVE THIS BIBLE!

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It was made for creatives like me who geek out over custom fonts, beautifully lettered graphics, streamlined infographics (maps, charts, and timelines), and lots of white space for notes and sketching. I have never seen a Bible quite like this. The attention to detail and intentional design make my heart so happy and it inspires me to dive deeper into the Word daily.

“Every human word and element  in this book is an intentional invitation for you to both read Scripture and grow in your affection for it. ”                     Raechel Meyers & Amanda Bible Williams

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In addition to all the aesthetic beauty that was added to the most beautiful words ever written, the ladies at She Reads Truth added reading plans and devotions for each book of the Bible. Each book has a section with a key verse that summarizes the book as well as a description of the author, context, message and purpose, genre, and how it fits in the larger picture of the Word.

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In the front section there is an overview on how to read the Bible, including a summary of the topics covered in the Open Your Bible study. Then, following the key features pages, there is an introduction to the Christian Standard Bible translation. You can tell that every element was prayerfully and purposefully executed.

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If you have been searching for more from this life, for a place to go when you don’t know what step to take next, or if you are hoping to grow your faith, this Bible will inspire you. Take a step toward the ultimate Creative and He will meet you there, even in your mess.

“We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope” – Tim Keller

Come. Seek. Find. Be inspired!

blessings friend,

kdg

LINKS:

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The Crayon Books

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Ever since I was a little a girl, a fresh box of Crayola Crayons has made my heart so happy. That yellow and green branded box held so much possibility and potential creative outlets. My ‘artbrain’ liked to imagine that each color had a it’s own personality, opinions, and origin stories. Like Jungle Green was a really laid back fellow from Costa Rica and Burnt Sienna was from a cattle ranch out West. We had some really good times, my crayon friends and I, as I learned to color in{and OUT}side the lines. I even remember the first time I bought a box of crayons for my son, imagining we would be spending time coloring side by side, that vision wasn’t very realistic when he was only 18 months old, ha!

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Then one day my childhood fantasies of a crayon world became a “reality” in the pages of a Christmas gift from Tio Russ. Our beloved Tio, had bought the boys two fantastic books about a set of crayons who wrote letters to their owner. The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, are now staple readings and gifts in the DG house.

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The Day the Crayons Quit is a series of letters to a poor little boy, Duncan, from his unhappy crayons. Each color has it’s own grievance from being overly used to being naked! Duncan just wants his crayons to be happy, so in the end he comes up with a creative solution to take care of his “friends.”

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The Day the Crayons Came Home is equally as witty and cheeky and introduces us to some other colors including the geographically challenged Neon Red Crayon and the egocentric Pea Green aka Esteban the Magnificent. Let me tell you the giggles that I hear when my oldest reads these letters to himself make my heart sing!

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These books are perfect for elementary age children and parents –  I promise you will laugh out loud too. The fantastic child-like handwritings and illustrations by Oliver Jeffers brings each crayon to life. New readers will enjoy conquering each letter and older readers, for example, can use the series to learn about the use of perspective in literature. In addition, the The Crayon Books website has educational materials for teachers and parents. Full disclosure, I just found about about the two new additions to the crayon book universe, The Crayons’ Book of Numbers and The Crayons’ Book of Colors while researching for this post and have since order them for my 3 year old.  

My family highly recommends these fun and creative crayon books it.  They combine our love for reading, color, and laughter perfectly. I am genuinely inspired by Drew and Oliver’s collaboration as well.

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If you are a fan like us, go check out the Every Crayon Counts site and share your thoughts…um, I mean, support for the Crayons Union! #supportthecrayons #thedaythecrayonsquit #everycrayoncounts

Color on!

kdg

Colours of Africa – The Alexa Kirsten Story

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When my friend Kerry casually dropped 6 books on a table amongst friends, she said “Oh, I have a few books of my mom’s story, if anyone wants to read it.” I’m pretty sure I elbowed our other friend Robin out the way to be one of the first ones to read it. Sorry Robin.

The book Colours of Africa – The Alexa Kirsten Story was written by Debra Hunter and published by Hunter publishing, New Zealand, in 2013.

“We shall not cease from exploring, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time” – T.S. Eliot

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Background:

The books goes into detail of how this family started their African journey back in 1938. When Alexa’s mother, Lexie, and her best friend Faith arrived in Cape Town, South Africa from England, to start their epic adventure travelling and hitch-hiking through Africa. The British pair had very little money, but a whole lot of heart, and this was my first insight into the strength and character of the women of this family.

During the war in 1943, Lexie was a qualified physiotherapist when she met South African solider, Charles Campbell Elliot. It was love at first sight and the pair were married within 2 weeks in Tripoli, Libya. On 27 July, 1952, Alexa Helen Jessie Elliot was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa to this remarkable couple. She was their 3rd child, and first daughter. Tich, Alexa’s younger sister followed 18 months later.

When Alexa’s family moved to Knysna she met her would-be-husband, Steve Kirsten. In 1973 the couple got married in The Holy Trinity Church in Knysna.  Fun fact: this was the first building to be designed by a female Architect in Africa.

From Knysna the couple then settled in Wellington after the birth of their first child, a daughter, Kerry. Once there they went on to have a second child, Ben, and 10 years later Luke made his appearance.

“God, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. And sever any tie in my heart, except the tie that binds my heart to Yours” – David Livingstone (1813-73), explorer

Monday morning, 7 February, 2005

Alexa heard a scream coming from the neighbours house and ran over to investigate. She entered the house calling out, but there was no reply. And then she saw him. A short dark male figure emerging from the shadows. He said nothing. Alexa slowly turned around and walked back towards the back door and then she felt it. She has been hit alongside the head with an old iron door stopper. She staggered and then fell to the floor. He then went on to stab her in the back of the neck 17 times. She was left for dead.

But she was not gone. She very clearly recalls herself leaving her body and rising up above the scene with a complete sense of freedom and peace. She was completely calm and pain free in that moment. But she felt something holding her down, she describes it as the Hand of God, not allowing her to rise any further. But it didn’t last, she found herself back inside her body once again, the fear and pain returning, she could see the figure running away. Her neighbour had been killed in the attack. Alexa was taken to hospital and began her very long road to recovery.

She ultimately testified in court along with many witnesses and her attacker was sentenced to life in prison. Alexa, has chosen to live a life free of hatred, filled with forgiveness and overflowing with courage. She now does public speaking, helping women who have been through crisis to bring comfort and support and she also speaks at prisons, helping to shed light and conform (I can only imagine the courage it must take to go there).

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Her Art

Alexa has always had a love for art, but even more so since her attack. Her colours are even more vivid and her illustrations even more charismatic. She is also a remarkable story teller. The biography features letters she has written to her neighbour since the attack as a form of therapy.  It’s through these letters that you start to see the true artist behind artwork. She is a very talented writer and painter.

You can view her cloth work on her Facebook page Colours of Africa Cloth or via her website.

I can’t wait to commission her to create a memory cloth for my own family; it’s a beautiful way to hold onto our stories and memories.

Thanks

My thanks go out to Alexa Kirsten for sharing your story with such strength and grace. You are truly an inspirational woman and one simply cannot come across your story and remain unchanged.

Debra Hunter, for writing Alexa’s story.

My friend Kerry for boldly sharing her mother’s story with us.

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” I begin to understand a little more of why God allowed me back and gave me another shot at life – this is indeed a violent, fearful and angry land. With so much bitterness and hatred, it is so easy to become part of the negative talk and situation. I was able to put this to these men, the fear and hatred that abounds outside the prison walls – from people who have been violated and traumatised by the things that they had done – their crimes. The ordinary people live in fear – fear for themselves and their loved ones, people who are shocked by the terrible, unbelievable awful things that happen these days.I pray with all my heart that my story, told to these, the most unlovely of men, might touch their hearts and that they may turn from their old lives, that they may make restitution with those whose lives they have destroyed, with themselves, and ultimately with God himself.” – Alexa Kirsten

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The Kirsten family still lives happily in South Africa and cherishes everyday, even Great- Grandmother Lexie is doing well at 103.4 years old!

I hope this story has inspired you as much as it did me.

xoxo,

la