Thursday, October 20, 2016

Vanilla Trifle

Normally when I make trifle, it's the Death By Chocolate version. I layer chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, chocolate cookies, chocolate chips and anything else I can find that's loaded with chocolate.

But this week, while planning desserts for our ladies retreat, someone else was bringing the chocolate version. So I went out of my comfort zone and put together an out-of-this-world vanilla trifle.

Judging by the six bites that I came home with, it was a hit!

vanilla sandwich cookies
vanilla frosting
angle food cake
white/vanilla chips
whipped topping

Start with a layer of bite-sized chunks of angel food cake.

Heat the can of vanilla frosting in the microwave for 30 seconds, until slightly runny. Drizzle the frosting over the layer of cake.

Crumble 10-12 cookies into a layer on top of the frosting.

Spread a thick layer of whipped topping, then sprinkle with vanilla chips.


You should be able to get two of each layer into a regular trifle bowl.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fall Bulletin Board Inspiration

We received such a blessing at ladies retreat this past weekend. It was a time of rest, renewal and soaking in the word of God. So much time and energy was put into the food, the activities and the decorations, which are my favorite parts of the planning process.

I designed several bulletin boards for the ladies of our church to put together, and they knocked it out of the park. We generally use plastic tablecloths for the backgrounds, and then print out letters and words on the computer when we can't find remade letters we like. I also picked up several packages of multicolored leaves at the dollar store.

This one is my favorite. Each letter has two holes punched in the top, and they're strung on twine and stapled to the background. This is a great way to make a rustic banner in just minutes.

We were also able to use a variety of borders from the church's massive collection. Each bulletin board then had the same theme, but drastically different colors and patterns. Mixing and matching is definitely allowed, especially when there were multiple boards to decorate like we have.

This is the bulletin board at the back of the church, right inside the doors. While it looks just like the plan I had in my head, it was so much fun to see how they added little touches like the arrangement of the leaves, the layout of the letters and the pile of leaves at the base of the tree. I'm glad fall is just beginning so we can enjoy them all for several weeks. They're too pretty to take down!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Turning Your Circumstances Into Prayers

If I had to wager a guess, I would say you're probably going through a trial or a storm right now. If you're not, it's also possible that you will be before long. These times of testing grow us, change us and prepare us for whatever God has planned for us next, but that doesn't make them any less painful.

The best way to thrive - not just survive - in these long days is simply to pray. We always want to do something, try something new or ask someone else to change something in our situations, but none of these are the answer. No one can begin to touch your circumstances the way God can with a simple touch of His hand. And whatever He has you going through at this precise moment is exactly what you need to mature in your faith and rely on Him for your every need.

But so many times we don't know exactly what to pray. Are we supposed to pray that the situation just goes away? No. Should we ask that God changes that other person so everything will be like it once was? Of course not. Can we pray that He punish someone for the harm they have inflicted? Not a good idea.

So how do you turn these difficult circumstances into a prayer? Here are just a handful of ideas to get you 

* Pray for wisdom. (2 Chronicles 1:10) Solomon didn't pray that God would bless him with riches or power, but simply the wisdom to make the best decisions he could as ruler and king. If we ask the Lord to give us His wisdom in the midst of a trial, we can rest assured that His prefect guidance will get us through.

* Pray for God's peace. (Philippians 4:7) This is one that I have prayed more times than I can count. It's incredibly difficult to make good choices when you're anxious and worried, so it's such a blessing to be covered with His perfect, all-covering peace when times get tough.

* Pray for His hand of conviction in all involved. (Ezekiel 11:19) God is the only one who can change a heart - yours or someone else's. He can turn a stony heart to flesh, a cold heart to warm and a broken heart to one that can sing with joy.

* Pray for His will, not your own. (Matthew 26:39) Here is Jesus' perfect example of praying the Lord's will over our lives. How easy it is to simply enter God's throne room and complain about how life is treating us. It's another thing altogether to lay everything at the foot of the cross and leave it there.

* Pray to be used as a testimony, even in this. (John 3:32-34) While you're waging spiritual battle in the midst of difficult times, you stand before the world as a testimony of what God can do. Your witness will be even stronger in the hard times than the bad times because anyone can be faithful and true when it's all sunshine and roses. You will make the most impact when you stand firm in your faith even when the ground seems to be crumbling beneath you.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Sketch

For today's sketch, you're going to make a paper ribbon. This fun, simple embellishment will make your card stand out, as well as save you from trying to find something to coordinate with the colors and styles you're using.

You'll need at least two patterned papers for the card itself, another pattern for your paper ribbon, a large square embellishment and a fun sentiment.

To make the paper ribbon, cut a strip of paper to a width that will fit behind your square embellishment with about an inch to spare. Then use the corner of a piece of card stock as a guide to cut a perfect triangle out of each end.

For my card, I chose four fun, coordinating patterns: one for the background, one for the panel on the side, one to cut down for the square embellishment and one for the paper ribbon.

They are all layered on top of a textured brown paper.

I wrapped it all up with a card stock die cut sentiment.

For more great layouts, visit my Etsy shop. You'll find hundreds of handmade Christian cards, journals and other paper crafts and wood gifts along with some inspiration for your own projects.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Weekend Of Clinging

This is what happens when you take a 2-year-old Great Dane for a walk in the woods. This is what my pants, shirt and socks looked like when we got back to the house. I'm still not sure how they got inside my boots...

Molly and I went for a tour of the property the other day, looking for fallen logs for a project for ladies retreat, and we ended up in some tall grass. Once we fought our way through, I came out covered in burrs. Apparently Molly's fur was a great barrier against them because she emerged with only a couple of the little Velcro-type seeds stuck to her.

It took the better part of an hour to get all the burrs off so I could wash my clothes. Molly and I sat on the deck together while I pulled each individual seed out. My clothes were fine, it just took some time to un-cling the burrs. (If it's not a word, it is now.)

Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. Deuteronomy 13:4

These little burrs are the perfect example of how we should look at our relationship with God. We should be cleaving - clinging - so tightly to the Lord that someone would have to pry our fingers off of Him to move us away. In faith, we hold onto Him for dear life, not letting go with every new wind that blows through, but tightening our grip so we cannot be moved.

Make this a weekend of clinging to God. Whatever you're going through, hold on to Him so tightly that your knuckles turn white. Cling to Him in prayer, in obedience and in service to Him throughout the next two days. Find joy in His presence and peace in knowing He will never leave nor forsake you. Have confidence in knowing you're holding on to the One who will never change and will carry you through every circumstance that comes along.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Smells Of Fall

Are you ready to fill your house with the smell of fall - and spend very little money to do it? Pull out your favorite wax burner and try this idea.

You'll need:
a wax burner
a votive candle
3 Tbsp coconut oil
3 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix the oil and spices in a small bowl until smooth. Spoon into the top of your wax burner and light the candle.

If it's too strong or not strong enough for your taste - I mean, smell - then adjust the ratios a little and try it again. After each candle has burned out, just wipe out the slightly cooled oil and start again.