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Chalkboard Sandwich Board Signs

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We're always trying to change things up in our displays when we go to art shows. Some of the display pieces get boring, while others are just out of date. The goal is to look more professional and more customer-friendly than the show before. With that in mind, last week we put together some adorable chalkboard signs to replace the folded pieces of paper we had been using.

To get started, I used a ruler to draw a rectangle with a notch removed for its little legs.

On the copier, I reduced the drawing to 75% and 50% so we would have three sizes of signs. Those copies were then turned into cardboard templates that we can keep and reuse.

From there we traced them onto wood and cut them out with the band saw and scroll saw. A note here: we used two hinges to hold the signs together. In hindsight, we should have chosen our wood based on the length of the screws. They were longer than the thickness of our wood, so we had to add a couple of steps to this process. More on that in a minute…

Facing Your Fears

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Several years ago I had the opportunity to take a ride in an historic PT-19 airplane. The pilot took me all over town to take pictures and write an article for the paper. We even had time to fly over our house and see our property from the sky, which was incredible.
When we landed, I profusely thanked the pilot for taking such good care of me and returning me to the ground in one piece. Then I admitted that I have a fear of heights. After we had a big laugh, he said that I shouldn't have any more problems now that I had survived this flight.
I thought I was over it, too, until last weekend at a ladies retreat in northern Iowa. In between some of the most powerful teaching sessions I've ever heard, we had the chance to try several outdoor activities like archery, an incredible pallet maze and paddle boating. We even got to go out on the water in a pontoon boat and ride around the lake.
Right smack dab in the middle of the camp, though, was what I wanted to do more than anything…

Fall Fruit Crisp

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Getting out of my comfort zone in the kitchen is a challenge for me. I rely heavily on the exact measurements of a recipe, and I need to know the specific number of minutes something is supposed to bake or cook. I trust the person who developed the recipe much more than I trust my own skills.

But when I read a recipe for an apple pear crisp that I apparently cut out of a magazine several years ago, I didn't like the way they made it. The ratios seemed weird and the combination of ingredients didn't sound good at all. So I did it my way, using the recipe as a rough skeleton.

When Danny tried it, he said it was wonderful my way and that I need to have more confidence in my own abilities. All this learning and growing from one crisp - who knew?

Ingredients:
4 medium pears, diced
1 apple, diced
4 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup almond butter
1 cup honey and oats granola

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 2-quart …

The Life-And-Death Power Of Your Words

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She sat across from me at the table, swirling the straw in her glass of pop. Her concerns poured out of her like water from the pitcher the waitress brought.

Once the words are out of your mouth, they can't be put back in.

The plates of food began to cool as she told me about the social media post she wrote, just to vent her frustration. She hit send without realizing it would be read by the wrong people. What was once a personal complaint turned into a topic of public conversation. Heat-of-the-moment words sliced into a heart that was never supposed to see them.

Now she was convicted of the power of those words. Her heart was broken for the heart she had inadvertently broken herself.

Why is it so difficult to control the tongue, one of the smallest parts of the body?

The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked. Proverbs 10:11

Poorly chosen words do violence wherever they fly. They demoralize, destroy and demolish everything in the…

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Turkey And Cranberry Sauce

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I know, this sounds like a Thanksgiving dish, right? Can't you picture sitting around the table with family and friends while feasting on turkey, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce? It's pretty traditional and it's making me hungry to just think about it.

This recipe, though, doesn't have to be saved for the holidays. You can turn any day into a special occasion - that's the power of good food.

Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 pound ground turkey
1 can jellied cranberry sauce
1 jar chunky garden pasta sauce
Shredded cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Place them in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat.

3. Move the sweet potatoes to the baking sheet, skin side up. Roast at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes. When you remove them from the oven, the skin should wrinkle and the insides will be very sof…

Words For Wednesday

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A Week Of Living An Abundant Life

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This quote hangs in the hallway of our local YMCA. As you're sweating and working and groaning at the stretching of your body, you read these words about confidently stepping out into life. I wonder how many people have actually read this sign and thought about what it says.

Too many people make resolutions, to-do lists and promises but never do anything with them. This can clearly be seen at the gym, as people often say they want to get their bodies whipped into shape, but they rarely show up or just sit at a machine and check their emails when they could be doing the workout they planned to do.

Beginning to live means bypassing the head-knowledge of what needs to be done and actually getting down to work. Someone can easily prepare for life all their life and never actually live. (No, I won't repeat that - I don't know if I can.) They'll never take that first step of faith that takes them outside their comfort zone and into the life they say they want.

The thief come…