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A DIY Gift Box Made To Order

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When individuals and organizations come to our office asking for donations for their events, we love to help. We may not be able to donate money or large-ticket items, but we’re glad to give as much swag as we can. But when we were recently asked to help put together a gift basket for the grand prize of a contest, I said yes immediately. Pictured here is the end result of several local businesses and attractions pooling their resources for a good cause.

The only problem was that we didn’t have a basket big enough. But never fear - who needs a basket when you can make your own gift box? Our brand color at the office is teal, so we have tons of teal tissue paper. I found a box with an attached lid that was the perfect size to hold the American Gothic puzzle and wrapped it with the paper. (Yes, the American Gothic House and Center are just a few minutes away from here.)

It takes some taping and a little cutting to make it work, so I had to be more patient than I normally am when I cut. …

You Will Know That God Is Lord

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Have you ever had one of those weeks when you spent more time praying than you have in a long time? You spent time talking to God about all the normal requests, but circumstances around you - and other people’s needs - brought you to your knees more often?
That’s what last week looked like for me. I was praying about a difficult relationship, specific needs in our youth group and several health problems within our church body. Being in a constant attitude of prayer took on a whole new meaning.
On days like these, it’s easy to question God’s plan and timing. Everything seemed to happen all at once, and in many cases praying was the only thing I could do about them. I know we often say prayer is the least we can do, but it is also the greatest we can do.
It’s definitely ok to question God, as long as it’s not a fist-shaking, foot-stomping demand to know what He is thinking. We have so many examples in Scripture of people taking their questions to God in a humble way and receiving an ex…

Sunday Sketch

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I couldn’t resist making a card with this adorable fox playing in the leaves. Ok, I’m pretty sure there’s a whole fox in there - his tail is cut, anyway!

None of the papers from this fall set are full sheets anymore, so I created this sketch to use smaller bits of paper. All of the, are ink distressed, as are the card stock stickers. It’s those little details that really make this card look finished.

Combining embellishments is always fun. For my card I used a card stock sticker border across the bottom, six acrylic dots and baker’s twine on the card stock sticker sentiment.

Ready to make this sketch your own? Gather up three patterned papers, one coordinating card stock, a large die cut image, a sticker border and your favorite embellishments.

Cover the card with one of the more subtle patterns, then add a mat that is one inch smaller. Tear a paper border for the left side and overlap it on top of the center frame.

Then comes the fun part. Layer your embellishments for lots of great…

Our Dog Park Adventures Of The Day

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All three of our dogs had to go to the vet's office on Friday. Molly's been licking a lot, and we needed to see if she is allergic to something. Diesel has an ear infection, which we only found out about when his sister was licking it all the time. And Callie ... she was just along for moral support. Afterwards we made a 30-minute stop at the dog park!

When we pulled into the parking lot, a couple in a truck were taking two tiny yippy dogs into one side of the park. So I pulled into the large dog area and unloaded our three big dogs from the car. The first thing the man asked me was how I got all three of them into my little Ford Focus. My response was, very carefully. They were chomping at the bit so I quickly opened the gates so they could run. They didn't want to play or sniff or talk to the other puppies - they just wanted to run off all that pent-up energy.

But then two more people were walking on the trail behind the dog park with their dog off leash. He came tearin…

Garlic Sriracha Chicken Drumsticks

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Chicken has always been one of my comfort foods, and I’ve always been a huge fan of dark meat. Whenever we eat out and they have chicken, I pick through the pile to find the legs. Silly, I know, but those drumsticks make me happy.

So when we had a package of chicken drumsticks in our most recent Butcher Box, I adapted one of my favorite baked chicken recipes to make the most perfect garlic Sriracha chicken legs!

Ingredients:
10-12 chicken drumsticks
3 Tbsp minced garlic
1/8 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp sriracha

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place chicken in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Add ingredients in the order listed above.

3. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Flip chicken and return to oven for 15 minutes. Flip chicken a second time and return to oven for 15 minutes. Flip chicken one last time and return to oven for 10 minutes.

4. Remove from oven and serve immediately with veggies and fruit.

What Can You Do On The National Day Of Encouragement?

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We all need a little encouragement every now and then. It might be a tough day, a sudden complication or an illness. Or maybe someone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, a terrible home life or a serious diagnosis.

What can you do to be an encouragement?

That’s the question many of us will be asking today - the National Day of Encouragement.

This shouldn’t be a one-day-a-year occurrence for Christian women, though. We’re called to edify and lift one another up every change we have. Is that what you’re thinking about when you’re going about your everyday life?

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

So how can you be an encouragement today ... and every day to come?

1. Does someone you know make your life better just because they’re in it? Tell them!

2. Say hello to a complete stranger. Smiling makes this even more effective.

3. Ask someone how they’…