“If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” ~Romans 12:8

Let’s ease into this series of Christmas posts with a little gift-making idea, shall we?

Last month I wanted to suprise Ryan with a gift of encouragement the morning of Advance’s third preview experience, so I did what all thoughtful, creative wives do: I stole from Pinterest:

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I figured I could recreate something like this for Ryan’s office by using a phrase that is especially meaningful to him: “If not you, then who?” 

Those words were a game changer for us last year as we tried to discern where God was calling us to plant a church. On the flight home from Ryan’s initial, exploratory visit to Vegas, God clearly spoke those words to him, and they proceeded to haunt us as we ran like Jonah in the opposite direction of Nineveh. Of course we eventually obeyed, but not before pretending for a while that we didn’t hear exactly where God had told us to go.

Needless to say, the phrase is a big deal in our home and in the story of Advance Church, so I figured it needed a place in Ryan’s office.

 I started by purchasing a package of 6″ stick-on vinyl letters from Office Depot for $10 and a piece of pre-cut 2×2 plywood at Home Depot (around $9). I did a rough cut of the letters and arranged them on the board (I was short one letter O, so I cut the tail off Mr. Q and saved myself another trip to Office Depot).

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Next (while I went back and forth on whether or not I should clutter it up to include a comma after ‘you’), I made pencil marks every 8″ to divide the board evenly into three. I used the edge of a level to draw some guidelines.

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It wasn’t until I peeled and applied the letters that I realized I forgot to account for a border in my measuring, so there’s way more empty space at the top than there is at the bottom. #craftfail 

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I didn’t have the patience time to fix my mistake, so I let it be and headed outside with a $4 can of glossy spray paint.

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I put two coats on and let it dry for a couple of hours before removing the letters and sanding it a little to give it a rougher look.

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Then I stood back and gave myself an ‘A’ for effort, but a very animated verbal lashing for opting not to include the comma. #grammarfail

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In the end, Ryan was encouraged (though he did nail me on the comma omission), and I proved to myself that I could tackle a craft project without having a perfectionstic meltdown. I will definitely attempt this again…and hopefully do a much better job next time.

To sum up:  If you are looking for an easy, inexpensive, and personal way to encourage someone this Christmas, consider going this route…and then remember to send me a photo of your masterpiece!