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Our Little Backyard Miracle

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Praise the Lord that our part of town wasn't in the path of the terrible storms yesterday. We had tornado sirens and strong thunderstorms for the better part of an hour, but we were blessed with almost no damage.

Other people in the area weren't so fortunate, and we keep them in our thoughts and prayers during the recovery and clean-up efforts.

The bright spot here on the property was a tiny baby rainbow in the backyard. The sun came out in the middle of the torrential downpour, and a half-circle rainbow went right over the grape vines. Hopefully you can see it here, though pictures don't do it justice. It was just a little promise from God that everything is going to be ok. Thank you, Lord!

Words For Wednesday

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Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

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Sheet pan meals are the best, and these chicken fajitas are incredibly tasty. Plus ... next-to-no cleanup! Mix up your own combination of spices so it's as spicy - or not spicy - as you want.

When you go to the store to stock up on ingredients for this great recipe, look for traffic light peppers: red, yellow and green all in one package. The store will often pick the best quality veggies to put in these combinations, choosing pretty and fresh peppers together for simple prep.

Ingredients:
2 lbs chicken breast, cut into strips
traffic light peppers - red, yellow and green - cut into thin strips
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis, drained
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
fresh ground pepper to taste
salt to taste
tortillas, warmed for a few seconds

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a sheet pan with foil and spray lightly with nonstick spray.

2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat. Pour mixture onto prepared sheet pan.

3. Bake …

String Art Tree Slice Ornament DIY

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I absolutely adore the newest line from Stuff From Trees - tree slice string art! (Say that five times fast.) They're a blast to make, and this small size makes them perfect for gifts. And you'll probably want a set for yourself, too.

I used the band saw to cut slices from a medium-sized branch, the belt sander to smooth both sides a little and the drill press to make the holes for the twine. Having the right tools makes a huge difference in efficiency and productivity. Plus, I just really like using power tools.

Using a shape template, I marked tiny dots where I wanted each nail. 

Then, with a pair of pliers to hold the nails, I used a small hammer to set them. For an inch-thick tree slice, I chose 3/4-inch wire nails. When they're that tiny, pliers protect your fingers from getting smashed. Huge bonus.

With six-strand embroidery floss, I tied a knot around the bottom nail.

There are a couple of different ways to outline the shape with thread - either run it along the un…

Praise Ye The Lord!

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For a musician, very few scriptures resonate as clearly as Psalm 150. Throughout the Psalms, the writers have played the same melody: praise to the Lord. In every situation, in all voices, at every occasion, praising God is always appropriate and vitally necessary.

Our omnipotent God is to be praised in His sanctuary - in the tabernacle, in the temple and in the church building. This is where we find the foundation of His power. He is to be praised among the congregation of believers at every opportunity. This includes singers and musicians, but it should also encourage testimonies, teaching and times of public prayer.

Our omniscient God should be praised for knowing exactly what we need every moment of our lives. We look behind us and see His hand at work in our past. We rejoice in the way He moves in our present. And we praise Him now for the excellent greatness in His future plans for us.

As the psalmist mentions specific instruments, those of us involved in music ministry can hea…

The Blessings Of Rain

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After several days of oppressively hot temperatures with intense humidity, it finally rained in southern Iowa. It lasted most of the afternoon, and you could practically hear the ground slurping it up. 
Think about your reactions the last time you woke up to a thunderstorm or were disappointed because an event was canceled due to rain. Did you think about how important rain is and the blessings it brings?
* As human beings, we need a fresh water source to sustain life. Water flushes our bodies of toxins, and hydration keeps our energy up while transporting oxygen and nutrients through the body.
* All living, growing plants on earth require rain. It is absorbed through the roots and dispersed to the stems and leaves. Without healthy plants, we would have no oxygen to breathe.
* Rain affects the oceans by creating currents. Many of these currents are directly responsible for rainy and dry weather conditions.
* Both domestic animals and livestock need fresh water, just as humans do. A lack of…

God Reigns And The Son Shines Church Bulletin Board DIY

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I absolutely adore decorating our church bulletin boards. I try to plan ideas for each season, plus designs for specific scriptures. This one, our board for the summer months, is one of my favorites.

The easiest backgrounds for a bulletin board are plastic tablecloths and wrapping paper. Both come in a variety of colors and patterns, and they're easy to staple in place. This is a white tablecloth folded in half.

Between my downstairs closet and the teacher resource room at the church, I can always find some beautiful borders. In an instance where you need a thicker border, you can overlap them the way I did here on the sides. 

The letters are printed from the computer and hand-cut. Arranging them is always the hardest part of the board for me because I have absolutely no depth perception. Tacking them up with double stick tape before stapling or pinning them on makes rearranging them much easier.

To attach the flowers, I use long yellow sewing pins. (And to my sweet friend who kn…