Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!!!

A Few Christmas Verses!

"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21 

"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Matthew 1:23 - His name, Emmanuel, means God with us.
"When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy." Matthew 2:10 - The Magi (these are the 3 wise men in your manger scene) were excited to see the star pointing to the Christ-child. They “rejoiced with exceeding great joy!”

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." Luke 2:10 - We don’t need to be afraid. This news, this great joy (Jesus) is for all people. You.

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14 - This one might be my favorite. The Word became flesh. Jesus was born just like me and you and walked among us on this earth. 

May you have the gift of faith
the blessing of hope and the
PEACE of His love at
Christmas and always.

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." 1 John 4:7-9 - God is love. And He showed us this love by sending Jesus so we could live fully through Him. And this is why we celebrate Christmas. 

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Japenese Gardens

Oh, the Place I Have Visited in 2017

Morikami Japanese Gardens

Moriakami Museum and Japanese Gardens, 16 acres of authentic Japanese gardens, opened in 1977. It is the nation’s only museum dedicated to Japanese living culture, and its gardens are recognized among the finest outside Japan.

Strolling through the gardens you’ll find a pine forest, a bamboo grove, waterfalls, quiet sitting areas…you’ll feel a sense of peace and serenity.

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is located in Delray Beach Florida.

Be blessed and be blessing!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Boneyard Beach

Oh, the Place I Have Visited in 2017

Big Talbot Island

Big Talbot Island State Park is a Florida State Park located on Big Talbot Island, 20 miles northeast of downtown Jacksonville on A1A North and immediately north of Little Talbot Island State Park.

Massive century-old live oaks, cedars and palms growing on the dune bluff fall onto the beach below as Big Talbot’s dunes naturally erode into the sea. Weathered by the sun and sea, their gargantuan skeletal remains lie in eerie rest on Boneyard Beach. Like driftwood, they are a protected resource that offers not only unrivaled beauty, but are a source of shelter and food for coastal wildlife.

Walking the beaches of Big Talbot Island is a surreal experience. Due to the rapid rate of erosion, layers of hard-pan soil are exposed creating unique sand formations along the shore that resemble cooled lava.

Big Talbot and Little Talbot are two of only a few remaining undeveloped barrier islands within Florida.

Be blessed and be blessing!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Drftwood Beach

Oh, the Place I Have Visited in 2017

Driftwood Beach

Visiting Driftwood Beach feels like stepping back in time, looking at ancient ruins of a long-forgotten era. The ancient driftwood monuments line the beach with is located on the north end of Beach View Drive of Jekyll Island Georgia; part of the Golden Isles community.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so.  God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:1, 9-10 (NIV)

Be blessed and be blessing!

Saturday, December 2, 2017


Oh, the Place I Have Visited in 2017


This is a little fact I did not know, Jacksonville Florida is the largest city by population and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. Wow!

Jacksonville is a city rich in history and culture, it’s worth the detour if you’re every driving on Interstate 95. The downtown area buildings make a beautiful cityscape lit up at night. The Landing, Omni Hotel, Friendship Fountain, BB&T,  the Wells Fargo, CSX and EverBank are just a few of the buildings and structures seen in these photos.

Be blessed and be a blessing to someone today! Whatever you hand finds to do, do it with all your might... Ecclesiastes 9:10a (NIV)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Cumberland Island

Oh, the Place I Have Visited in 2017

Cumberland Island

Cumberland Island National Seashore is Georgia’ largest, southern most barrier island. 
Dungeness before it burned (Web Photo)

 Revolutionary War Hero General Nathanael Greene acquired land on Cumberland Island in 1783. Following his death, his widow Catherine Greene, constructed a four-story tabby home that she named Dungeness. Thomas Carnegie and his wife Lucy began building another Dungeness on the original foundation in 1884. The ruins of the 4-story Dungeness tabby home that was destroyed by fire in 1959 is still standing today. The Carnegie family members donated it to the National Park Foundation in 1971. In 1972 Congress created Cumberland Island National Seashore.

The First African Baptist Church was established in 1893 and then rebuilt in the 1930’s. During the 1890’s, the Settlement was established for African American workers. It was the site of the September 1996 wedding of John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette.

Wild horses roam freely on the National Seashore. As the saying goes, "if you don't bother them, they won't bother you. So, with that in mind, I kept a respectful distance.

Be blessed and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Abide & Belonging

What are you the branch of? And do you bear fruit? Have you known that you were meant to bear fruit? Did you realize that as a branch of God’s vine you are meant to bear fruit?

So many Christians read their Bible, listen to worship music, attend church on Sundays, but they don’t bear fruit. In Matthew 28:19 it says that we should spread the good news and make disciples. Let’s change the perspective. A branch can’t bear fruit when it isn’t connected with the vine. A vine without branches can grow but won’t bear fruit.

A branch gets all it needs from the vine. It doesn’t create its own fruit, but it bears the right fruit that comes from the vine. An apple tree won’t bear pears. So when you stay connected with God and align your life with his purpose, you will bear his fruit.

A healthy branch grows. When you start to grow, fruit will be the result. Fruit also needs time to grow. You might not even recognize it at first. To grow to your potential, God may cut off some branches which aren’t healthy, but in the end they weren’t helpful anyway. Abide in the Lord.

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Saturday, November 18, 2017



Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a federal holiday in the United States every year since 1863, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens," to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November.

Psalm 9:1 says, “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”
No matter what challenges we face, there’s so much to be thankful for. This is the season that we usually take time to reflect on our many blessings.
How has the Lord blessed you?

What mighty things has the Lord done for you?

How will you celebrate this holiday season? What traditions have you and your family established so that you will always remember God’s goodness?

Praise Him and commit to Him that you will never forget the amazing things He has done for you.

Be blessed because the Lord has blessed you to be a blessing to others!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Into the Word

The Spirit Guides Us

Time after time the Scriptures help us make sense out of life’s puzzles; it confirms its divine origin again and again as it makes sense out of our experience in the real world and points the way to harmony.

The Holy Spirit is the divine author of all Scripture. The eternal Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love and delight between the Father and the Son, is the author of Scripture. Here are a few scriptures that speak about the Word of God…

Therefore, it is true (Psalm 119:142) and altogether reliable (Hebrews 6:18).

It is powerful, working its purpose in our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:13) and not returning empty to the One who sent it (Isaiah 55:10–11).

It is pure, like silver refined in a furnace seven times (Psalm 12:6).

It is sanctifying (John 17:17).

It gives life (Psalm 119:37, 50, 93, 107; John 6:63; Matthew 4:4).

It makes wise (Psalm 19:7; 119:99–100).

It gives joy (Psalm 19:8; 119:16, 92, 111, 143, 174) and promises great reward (Psalm 19:11).

It gives strength to the weak (Psalm 119:28) and comfort to the distraught (Psalm 119:76) and guidance to the perplexed (Psalm 119:105) and salvation to the lost (Psalm 119:155; 2 Timothy 3:15).

The wisdom of God in Scripture is inexhaustible. If this doctrine is true, then the implications are so profound and far-reaching that every part of our lives should be affected.

I pray you spend some quite time reflecting on the truth of God's Word and seal it in you heart.

Be Blessed and be a blessing!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Created to Work

Created 2 Create

We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. Ephesians 2:10 NIV

We have been created to work. God has called us to be co-laborers with Him in this world. He has given us varying gifts, talents, and abilities to graciously ensure that we are up to the task He has called us to. I also talked about this in my last blog post.

We work with diligence and depth, trusting that God has a grand purpose for our work.   Our creative endeavors and entrepreneurial efforts serve as conduits for God’s activity here on earth. Our work is His work. God is using our work to demonstrate His truth, beauty, creativity, goodness, and justice in the places He has called us to. It is all to His glory, for our good, and to be a blessing to the world.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17 NIV

With the recent update to Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) you can now access your Adobe Lightroom CC and Adobe Lightroom Classic CC synced photos (albums and folders) from Adobe Photoshop CC 2018. Also, from the search icon you can search for Lightroom Photos.

Lately, you can now share photos from Photoshop to Lightroom. In this Share Panel, you see icons for some of your favorite Social Media site. You can now share from here as well.

Be Blessed and be a blessing!

All Photographs in this post/blog © Cheryl Howard

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

This Is It!

Created 2 Create

Working in Lightroom with Adobe Portfolio and the Print Module 

I Did It – This Is It!!! I started on this journey to write for 31 days in October in 2013 and each year since I have joined a community of bloggers at #Write31Days. Each year I’ve chosen different theme, usually inspirational or motivational. I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and do something a little different. This year’s theme incorporates my hobby - Photography and God’s Word; it’s based on the scripture from Exodus 35:35 (NIV), “He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.”

My gifts might look different from yours but you have one too – it might be artsy or craftsy, communicating with others, serving others, teaching, even preaching. Whatever your gift God wants you to use it. So, don’t be shy or selfish – share it.

Each day I featured one of the tools I use in the Adobe Creative Cloud Programs Lightroom and Photoshop, plus a few of my favorite apps and online design/editing programs.

We are all Create 2 Create, we each have different gifts and we are to use those gifts to glorify God and bring joy to others. God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. (Romans 11:29 NIV)

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.  (Romans 12:6-8 NIV)

So, Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV)

God’s Word is clear you are gifted and Created to Create. So, let’s get started…

…Today’s features are Adobe Portfolio and the Print Module in Lightroom.

AdobePortfolio allows you to create your own website to showcase your creative works and best of all its FREE Adobe Creative Cloud!!! It’s customizable, you can choose one of the many templates, add your bio in the “About Me” section, add albums and content. And you’re given a website address – all FREE!

It is very simple & easy. Choose a layout and a few of your favorite images and add them to a “collection” or create a new collection in Lightroom. Then…

Click the + sign on the left side of the screen to add content, this allows us to upload photos directly from one of your Lightroom Catalog. Select the folder you want to add to the gallery and Portfolio does the rest – it’s just that easy!

The Print Module in Lightroom

Truthfully, this is one feature of Lightroom that I hadn’t used until recently. The Print Module is not just for printing, it offers a way to upload images to social media and the layouts are like collages. You can use any of the many Lightroom Templates or create your own; you can print them, don’t have a printer – no worries. Export your images as JPEG files that you can share on social media! Yes, this is the feature I discovered and now use. Here’s how…
Open Lightroom and across the top tool bar, to the far right, between Slideshow and Web is “Print.” Click on Print to open the module.

Along the left toolbar is the list of all the Lightroom Templates and next to “Template Browser” is a + sign where you can add your own templates; they will appear at the bottom. You can add as many templates as you’d like or just use or modify the ones provided. In Page Setup you’ll find all your printers listed.

Along the right toolbar this is where you can decide the layout for your images. Picture package is similar to the school picture packages. Custom package is where you can customize and existing template or create your own in “Add to a Package”. Identity Plate allows you to upload a logo and if you desire, you can add your Watermark to each image.

In Print Hub, this is where you decide if you want to print to a printer or save to a file or desktop to share on social media. I chose print to “JPEG File.” You can adjust File Resolution, Print Sharpening, JPEG Quality (you can reduce this to 80-90% for sharing), Custom File Dimensions (you can leave this one unchecked), Color Management in most instances should be sRGB and Print Adjustment – you can make some final tweaks to brightness and contrast. Once you’re satisfied with all your adjusts you’re ready to Print or Print to file. If you selected print to “JPEG File” the print button will be grayed out. Click Print to File and choose a location to save your image. You’re all set and its ready share!

This is what the final saved image looks like...ready to print or share.

Well this is it for this series! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and I want to personally thank you for stopping by my blog. Here's the list of all the topics I covered in this series.

Click here for the blog link to the series. Enjoy!

Be Blessed and be a blessing!

All Photographs in this post/blog © Cheryl Howard

Monday, October 30, 2017

Adding Text to Images

Created 2 Create

Adding Text to Images

Photoshop provides capabilities to add text to images with control of the font, style, color, size and much more.

Select Text from along the left-side tool bar and enter your text by typing on the keyboard or touch-screen.

To change the font, style, color, size, etc., select all (cmd/ctrl + A) and the make the desired changes.

When the text is selected, use the Option or ALT key plus and arrow key to change the character or line spacing.

Click on the text layer to reveal the Layer Styles window. Add your choice of styles like Drop shadow to enhance your text.

Because our work is a calling from God – because we are called to create – our work is not our own. We create for the glory of God and for the good of others. The Lord has equipped us with the passions and giftings to create new things. Embrace those good gifts and lay them down at the feet of our Creator God as an offering of worship and service. Then and only then will our work feel like a calling. Because…

…We are Created 2 Create

Be Blessed and be a blessing!

All Photographs in this post/blog © Cheryl Howard

Sunday, October 29, 2017


 Created 2 Create

Content-Aware Fill in Photoshop

Have you ever straightened or rotated an image only to be left with blank areas? Here’s where Content-Aware comes to the rescues to fill in those areas. You can call it smart technology!

Use the Magic Wand tool and select the blank areas. Next go to the select Menu and click Modify > Expand. Increase the selection area up to 10 pixels depending on the size of your picture and the amount of empty space. Then go to Fill in the edit menu. Click on it and you’ll see the Fill options window appear. Content-Aware should be selected by default, but if not choose it from the drop-down menu.

There will be a short pause while Photoshop goes to work filling in the blank areas with textures derived from the content of the immediately surrounding area. And like magic - no need to crop those areas unless you want to!!!

Lastly, to add a creative effect I applied an Oil Paint Filter (Filter > Stylize > Oil Paint). I used the Find Edges filter (Filter > Stylize > Find Edges) to desaturate the image and changed the blend mode to Multiply. This is one of the castles we visited while in Copenhagen.

Renewing our Minds

If we are to effectively create for the glory of God and the good of others, rather than primarily for our own fame and fortune, we must, in the words of the Apostle Paul, “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of [our minds]." In order to effectively do this, a community of fellow Christian creators is an essential ingredient.

The simple act of being faithful to God’s call to create has eternal significance. As we create in this world, it takes regular communion with our brothers and sisters in Christ to renew our minds and continually “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Be Blessed and be a blessing!

Photo in this post/blog © Cheryl Howard

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Adobe Sparke

Created 2 Create

Another One of My Favorite Apps… Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud family and also is available as an iOS app.

Adobe Spark works very much like Canva for creating your very own graphic designs. Additionally, it allows you to create video stories. There are many templates you can edit or you can create your own. What I like about using this app, is that it syncs your work and updates across all your devices.

This is a sample of designs you can create with Adobe Spark!

Be Blessed and be a blessing!

All Photographs in this post/blog © Cheryl Howard

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