A Week Of Analyzing Your Core

On our 33 acres of land, we have hundreds of tall, older trees and lots of small, newer trees creating an underbrush around them. It's fascinating to see the different generations of growth around the property and picture what it might be like 50 years from now.

Many of those older trees are now out in the open and exposed to the elements. In a recent wind storm, we lost a good-sized tree on the hill up toward the barn. From a distance it sounded like a pretty spectacular crash, and up close it was clear why it took the tumble.
The inside of the tree's trunk had been eaten away by bugs over a long period of time. There were several places where they had nested, creating weak points throughout the bottom of the tree. All it took was one giant rush of wind across the hill and it didn't stand a chance, literally.

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descende…

Spring Flowers For Our Corner Garden

What a beautiful week we've had - perfect weather for clearing out the gardens and getting some beautiful spring flowers in the ground. I won't tell you about the sunburn I earned while doing this bed - that's a story for another day.

Part of my problem with this particular garden bed is the downspout right above it. One of the joints wasn't sealed properly, so anything I planted was flooded during the first good rain. My first plan of attack was to run to the local home improvement store and invest all of $4 in a tube of gutter sealant. Seriously. That's all it took.

The only plants that would grow in these harsh, water-logged conditions were wildflowers. Unfortunately, they took over the garden and then died as winter set in. The longest part of this entire project was getting all this old growth cleared away.

The change was instantly amazing. This was pretty enough with the new fertilized dirt in it that I almost wanted to leave it just like this. Almost.

You c…

Recovering An Old Card Table And Making It Usable Again

This card table recover project has been on my to-do list for months. I've been using it as my workspace in the craft room for quite some time, and it sees a lot of abuse. Here it is now, with a neutral cover on it so I can take better pictures for my tutorials.

There were dents and dings in the old blue covering from metal tools.

And yes, I've used my embossing heat tool on it several times, leaving pretty good scars. The padding underneath the blue cover also made it difficult to keep paper crafts flat when adhering them together, so it was time for something new. That's where a simple vinyl tablecloth comes in handy.

The process to recover the table is pretty simple, but I learned a couple of lessons the hard way. I share them with you now. First, don't do this on any surface but a carpet. I tried it on the deck int he sunshine to get better pictures, but all it did was tear up the cover. Second, get a second pair of hands to help you keep the cover tight and you&#…

Cheese And Tomato Stuffed Pork Chops

If you're looking for something simple and delicious for dinner this weekend, you'll want to try these amazing stuffed pork chops. Check your grocery store's meat section to see if they have pre-butterflied pork chops, or ask the meat manager to do it for you. It will save you a ton of time, and you'll save yourself a step.

6 boneless pork chops, butterflied
6 slices Monterrey Jack cheese
1 small jar sun-dried tomatoes, drained
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. Open the butterflied pork chops and layer cheese and tomatoes. Transfer them to the baking dish and season with salt and pepper.

3. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until pork chops are cooked through. Be careful not to overcook or the meat will lose its tenderness.

For the recipe for the roasted sweet potatoes and asparagus pictured, just click here.

Words For Wednesday


Give A Cheery Get Well Packet

I don't know what it's like in your family and church right now, but here we're passing around some nasty sicknesses. I can't remember the last time our whole church family was together, although I know it means job security for my nurse friends. Today's project will help you share your love and concern with those people who need to hurry up and get well soon and use up some of your paper scraps at the same time.

For this Get Well Soon packet, you'll need packages of dry soup mix, plastic spoons, coordinating paper, matching eyelets or brads and ribbon.

Measure out a rectangle of paper that is about an inch wider than the packet on both sides and half an inch longer on the top and bottom.

Cut two of these, one for the front and one for the back.

With both patterns facing up, fold the front sheet down about two-thirds of the way so you can see what is written on the packet.

Cover that exposed white flap with coordinating paper.

Then tack the flap down and seal …

Psalm 95 — A Call To Praise The Lord, Part 1

At the top of this psalm, my Bible says "A call to praise the Lord." This simple phrase stirs us up and tells us the writer's exact purpose for penning these words. What better use of our pens and our voices than to give God the honor, glory and praise due Him?

O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. V1

The first thing we need to notice about this opening verse is that it's not one single person chosen to praise God. Us, us, our - these plural words make it obvious that as a collective couple, family, church, community, nation and world, we are to burst forth in song. This pleasure isn't reserved for someone smarter, more talented or more spiritual, but the desire to give praise and celebrate the Lord's goodness is for every one of us.

The second half of this verse is one we musicians think is ironic. Noise and music don't usually work in harmony, but "loud and unpleasant" isn't the definit…