Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Simple DIY Beaded Keychains

We're having so much fun putting together goodie bags and door prizes for our upcoming ladies retreat at the church. So many of our ladies have donated craft supplies, decorations, time and energy to treat our visitors to an amazing time. These keychains are just one of the gifts some of the attendees will find in their bags.

All you need to make them are a variety of beads, some fairly thin yet sturdy cord and a jump ring.

Cut a length of cord, fold it in half and string it through the jump ring.

String matching beads on both sides.

And tie it off with a double knot. So simple, yet so pretty.

Here's another variation: Cut a length of cord, fold it in half and thread it through a jump ring.

Tie one or two beads on one side and tie it off with a knot.

Make the other side longer with additional letters and beads before tying it off.

Make a variety of lengths, colors, patterns and phrases so no two are alike.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The One Time It's Ok To Be Angry

How does your anger come out? Do you throw things? Scream into a pillow? Run away and hide? Clam up and glare? All of the above to varying degrees?

There are many, many verses of Scripture that talk about anger and how to avoid it for the sake of your testimony. Anger eats away at your joy and forces you to obey emotion instead of truth. It's a nasty little feeling that can quickly and easily grow into a destructive monster.

But rest assured, you are not alone. Each one of us battles anger off and on throughout our daily lives. It's how you handle it - and what you allow to trigger it - that makes all the difference.

Take Moses for example. We are introduced to him before he becomes a murderer, killing in anger over the poor treatment of his people. He retreats to desert and gets his emotions under control for the next 40+ years. God then calls him to a high-profile lifestyle that requires him to interact with anger-inducing people on a regular basis. But still, time after time, Moses fell on his face before the Lord and begged Him to spare the people. They sinned, and Moses interceded. They murmured, and Moses prayed. He didn't turn his back and he didn't walk away in anger.

Then came Exodus 32 and the golden calf. Moses' anger finally came to the forefront and it was completely and totally justified.

Moses, the meekest man on earth, had steam coming out of his ears. He came down from the mountain where he had just spent time in the presence of God to find the people of Israel wrapped up in golden idols and naked dancing. The icing on the cake, though, was his own brother's story of how this calf just suddenly appeared out of the fire that the people made him make. Yeah, right.

You know the story from here - Moses hurled the tablets to the ground, and they shattered. Then he separated the Levites from those who refused to be on God's side, and there was a slaughter. He wasn't acting in anger because the Israelites had sinned against him, but because they had the nerve to sin against God, again. Their choice to do wickedness in the face of the Lord stirred up a righteous anger in him.

This is the only time that anger is justified. It was understandable that Moses was boiling over because he would not stand idle while Israel flagrantly disrespected God. Getting mad because the people pulled him down off the mountain with their rebellion would not have been the right kind of anger. Remember it's not about us, it's all about God.

And in the end, Moses did go before God and asked forgiveness for the people. Was he still angry? Probably. But it wasn't because of the inconvenience of it all or the time wasted talking about sin when he wanted to be talking about tablets and tabernacles. That anger was put aside, though, as he petitioned the Lord to be the definition for forgiving once again.

Things will happen this week that will make you angry, I'm sure, and I don't have to have premonitions of the future to tell you that. The way to get through those moments, though, is to give them a little test: are you angry because you've been hurt or are you angry because of sin against God. That's the litmus test. If it's personal anger, confess it immediately and move on. If it's anger over the wickedness and sin in the world, you can still take it to God in prayer.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Sketch

Here's an outside-the-box sketch to try this week! Let's work "a round" this shape, using a circle cutter and patterned paper.

If you can find a pattern that's already in a circle, that's great. Just cut around it and adhere it overlapping the bottom of the card. Add another partial circle across the top that follows the line of your circle.

Choose a matching image or square of coordinating pattern and attach your sentiment there.

For my card, I cut down a patterned paper that had a circle of buildings on it and matted it on a solid brown card stock. I loved the jet trail behind the plane, so try copying that in your own layout.

The sentiment is layered on top of a coordinating square of patterned paper and placed in the center of the circle.

For more great layout ideas, come visit my Etsy shop. You'll find handmade Christian cards, journals and lots of other paper crafts and gifts.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Weekend Of Standing Out

As I was out on the deck recently, this walking stick caught my eye.

Now, this is the exact opposite of what should happen. A walking stick bug is specifically designed to blend in to its home in the woods. It looks like a stick so its predators will think it is just another stick among sticks. This is very smart camouflage for an insect that lives in the woods of our property.

But he wasn't in the trees when I saw him - he was on the deck railing. If he had been sitting on a pile of twigs stacked not he deck, that would have been a different story. But there he was, just hanging out on the old wood of the deck.

A walking stick can't blend in with the background when he's on the wrong background.

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. John 17:15-18

Jesus prayed for His disciples, not that they would be spared from the things to come in this life, but that they would be protected and prepared along the way. Christ asked His Father to share with them all His truth so they could be salt and light to a lost and dying world. This is how they would stand out - people would know that they were different on purpose.

Make this a weekend of standing out. The walking stick would have blended in and gone unnoticed if he had stayed in the trees with all of the sticks. Instead, he wandered out to somewhere different and could easily be seen. The people who need you the most will see Jesus shining brightly through you when you're right where He wants you to be.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Get Ready For Fall With Eight Scarf Tying Ideas

While it may still be hot and humid during these September days here in Iowa, the mornings and evenings are finally starting to get cooler. This is the first hint we have that autumn is on the way, so let's pull out our scarves so they're ready to wear soon.

I have dozens of scarves in my closet, and all of them can be turned into infinity scarves. Simply fold the scarf in half and tie the matching corners together. Put the knots at the back of your neck, drape the scarf to the front, twist and hang back over your neck. Then adjust it so you have two loops, one longer than the other.

For something a little more traditional, start with the center of the scarf at your throat and the ends hanging down your back. Cross them behind your neck and drape the ends to the front over your shoulders. Adjust the size of the loop so the ends hang exactly where you want them.

A simple drape with knots in the end allow you to also showcase a long, pretty necklace.

For this one, fold your scarf in half and hold the loop on one side with the tails on the other. At your throat, tuck one of the tails through the loop. Then twist the loop once and tuck the other tail through the new loop.

Make a square knot - like you would on a gift box - and add a fancy clip to the center of the knot.

Start with the center of the scarf at your throat and the ends hanging down your back. Cross them behind your neck and then tuck the ends underneath the loop.

Again, start with the center of the scarf at your throat and the ends hanging down your back. Cross them behind your neck and drape the ends to the front over your shoulders. Instead of letting them hang loose, make a large knot. Rotate the entire scarf so the knot sits just in front of your shoulder.

Fold your scarf in half and hold the loop on one side with the tails on the other. At your throat, tuck both of the tails through the loop. Then twist the loop and tuck both ends back through the new loop.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tilapia And Broccoli Slaw Wraps

Fish is a great, easy summer meal that takes very little on-the-stove cooking time. This tilapia dish is ready in just a few minutes and combines an amazing source of protein with the crunch of fresh veggies.

I use individually frozen tilapia filets and thaw two small ones in a bowl of hot water for each wrap. Just remove the fish from the plastic and submerge them in a bowl of the hottest tap water possible. You may need to change the water once, but they will be thawed in just a few minutes.

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a cast iron skillet while you're draining the water from the tilapia. Then season one side of the fish with your favorite seafood seasoning and place that side down in the skillet. Season the other side.

As the tilapia is cooking, heat a cup of fresh broccoli slaw in the microwave. (You can find broccoli slaw by the bag in the produce department.) Then drain off as much water as you can.

Flip the fish and put a whole wheat tortilla on a large plate. Heat it in the microwave for just 10 seconds.

When the fish is done, spread the slaw on the tortilla and layer on the fish. Drizzle it with sriracha, soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce. Wrap it up and enjoy!