*I am interrupting our regularly scheduled programming (30 Days of Thankfulness) to bring you a gift idea. I wanted to give you enough time to make it happen in case you would like to use it for Christmas! Happy gifting!*
Please be advised. It is not in my gift mix to come up with creative gifts and projects, so please don’t expect this sort of post to be happening again any time soon. In fact, the only reason I’m doing this post at all is because I had an idea, and I’ve had several people ask me how to recreate it. So, read on to find out how you can permanently encourage someone with a simple gift.
The Background Story
My husband’s birthday was coming up and I wanted to do something for him that let him know how loved and appreciated he is by the people in his life. I wanted him to see the kind of impact his life has had, and is having, on others. So, I took a concept he uses in his ministry to encourage others and morphed it into something he could hang on his wall in his office.
For as long as I can remember, my husband has been encouraging people in his ministry through the use of what he calls “hot seat.” The idea is that one person sits in the middle of a group of people, and that group goes around and speaks life over the individual. The group says things like:
- “You inspire me by…”
- “I love the way that you…”
- “I see how God has used you through…”
- “Your personality is attractive because…”
- “The joy and laughter in you are contagious in that…”
Usually, by the end of the experience, everyone in the room walks away touched by the love just a few words can share. Tears are not uncommon. Life and purpose have been spoken and received and that in itself is a huge blessing.
In an effort to try to pass this on to my husband, I decided to create a permanent hot seat. I enlisted the help of friends, family, coworkers, etc and asked them to send me three words that described Eric. It could be something like “leader,” “friend,” or “encourager.”
I then plugged what I was sent into a website and used it to create a word cloud. The more often a word was used, the bigger it would become on the cloud. Here is the image that came up for my husband:
The final step was to take this image and have it printed on canvas so that he could display it in his office. Now, every day at work, my husband is reminded of how God is using his life to impact others.
It’s simple really, but with a gift like this it becomes just a little bit harder to believe the lies the enemy tries to sell us. It becomes just a little bit easier to believe that God has called us to a specific purpose and that we can utilize what he has given us to live for something a little bigger than us.
The “How To”
Thinking of a person who could benefit from this? Getting started on Christmas gifts? Here is where I give you the steps of what I did. Take them or leave them. Put your on twist on it. Maybe you could do a painting. Perhaps a collage or scrapbook. Or steal my process. Whatever you do, I’m sure it will be received with much gratitude!
- Create a list of words. Include all repeated words.
- Go to wordle.net.
- Click the “Create” tab.
- If necessary, download java as it is required to use the program.
- Copy and paste your words from step 1 into the text box, then press “Go.”
- My computer asks if I want to run the application. If yours does this, click “Run.”
- Now you get to play around with the font, layout, and color of your words.
- Once you’ve found the perfect display of your words, click “Open in Window”.
- Take a screenshot of the larger version of your image. This is the easiest way I have found to save the image! (Not sure how to take a screenshot? See if this website helps: http://www.take-a-screenshot.org)
- Save the image, crop as necessary, and you are ready to have it printed!
- I took mine to be printed on canvas at Office Depot. If I had more time, I would have had it printed by a professional photographer or sign company. A professional will cost more and could take several weeks. A place like Office Depot, CVS, or Walmart can get it done in a day or two for a lot less money, but the quality won’t be as good. Your choice!
Have fun! I would love to see any images that you create!