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Showing posts from August, 2010

It's A Hummingbird's Life

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Early in the morning and in the evening hours, we are blessed to have four hummingbirds flock to our porch feeder. Apparently we have the sweetest nectar in the neighborhood because these tiny birds can be quite piggy with their food.

We have a bench on the porch beside this hook where the glass feeder hangs. We've spent many evening out there talking and watching the activity in the yards around us.

One evening recently we were just sitting quietly watching the sun set when Buzz, our favorite hummingbird, zoomed past the feeder. He had come for a taste and hadn't expected to find us there. A moment later he buzzed past again, scoping out the situation. He was quite thirsty and just wanted a moment to stop and drink.

We didn't want to keep Buzz from getting his evening meal, so we sat as still as we could. The girls were out with us, but they were half asleep at either end of the bench. After another minute Buzz came back, a little slower this time, but kept going around the…

My Finished Room

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I took my own advice a couple of weeks ago. Remember when I challenged you to clean the entire house in one week? Hopefully you did a little bit, just to be a blessing to your home and your family. Well, I actually went the opposite direction and redid an entire room.

My craft room is my favorite room in the entire house. It's not a large room, but it's perfect for a few pieces of furniture and my scrapbooking supplies - what more do you need? Everything was still in the same place it was when we first moved in almost a year and a half ago. The layout of the room really didn't work for what I needed, so two weeks ago today I cleared everything out and started over.

There was still a ton of cat fur behind the furniture, so all of that got cleaned up and I dusted every surface I could find. (Needless to say my allergies put me in the bed for two days!) I emptied the closet and cleaned all those shelves and walls, and swept the carpet two or three times.

I had always imagined th…

Have You Ever Been So Busy?

Have you ever been so busy that you realized at dinnertime that you hadn't been in God's Word yet?

Have you ever been so busy that God's plan for your life took a back seat to the things you felt just had to be done?

Have you ever been so busy that your own schedule became more important than what other people needed from you?

Have you ever been so busy that the purpose behind the things you were trying to accomplish got lost somewhere along the way?

Have you ever been so busy that crossing off items from your to-do list was more motivation than the joy of serving the Lord?

Have you ever been so busy that when friends and family checked in to see how you were you considered it an outside distraction from what needed to be done?

Have you ever been so busy that you became frustrated, discouraged and withdrawn?

If we don't stay in the perfect will of God for our life, our day and this very moment that we're living in, we will become that busy. Busy to the point of burn-out i…

The A B C's of Life...

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...according to Bailey and Sadie, our two black labs. Apparently the world looks really great through the eyes of a puppy!
A...adoption. Rescuing a dog from the shelter is a great way to find a friend! B...bones. Treats are the way to a puppy's heart!

C...captivating. Once a dog has your heart, you're hers forever.
D...devotion. Nobody loves you the way a dog does.

E...entertaining. Don't watch television - watch your dog!
F...family. There's nothing more important than the pack.
G...guardian. Who needs an alarm system with two barking dogs?

H...happiness. One wag of her tail or one lick of her tongue can change the course of the day.
I...inexplicable. There are some things dogs do that defy explanation. Don't even ask.
J...joyful. Very little affects the mood of a lab, except when the food runs out.
K...kindness. When you treat a dog kindly, she is always willing to show you kindness in return.

L...loving. Unconditional is a great word for it.
M...memories. How many of …

Create An Emergency Fund

Do you know what's going to happen tomorrow? I sure don't. The day could be filled with wonderful experiences, or the Lord may decide to allow trials and tribulations into our lives. Since God is the only one who knows what the future holds, it's upon us to prepare for any circumstance.

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8

If you or a member of your family had an accident tomorrow, would you have enough money set aside to cover medical expenses, groceries and utilities for a short period of time? What if ---

Look at the ant tucking away food for the winter and you'll see exactly what we're called to do with the money God has provided for us. She gathers while it's plentiful so that it will be available in the time of need. She's looking ahead instead of fulfilling the lusts of the moment.

If we did that with…

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

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This is one of those recipes that is wonderful on its own - it's an old standby that has been a staple for years. But in the old Betty Crocker cookbook that my grandmother gave me when I was in junior high, it's simply Peanut Butter Cookies.

Sometimes, though, you just need a little something extra. I was craving these cookies recently and Danny said, Why don't you put chocolate chips in them?

I was scared to death. Not of the chocolate by any means, but of altering a recipe. I don't normally adjust anything because I assume the writer/cook/baker knows what they're talking about. What if I do something different and they come out hard as a rock? Or they aren't sweet and chewy like I think they should be?

Well, I got way out of my comfort zone (don't laugh...you may need to some day, too) and altered the recipe. They were absolutely amazing! So I just had to share my version of this recipe with you. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies:
1/2 cup granulated…

Christmas In August

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It's almost 90 degrees outside as I write these words, but it's Christmas around our house this week!

Yes, on August 24 I began making Christmas cards, ornaments and gift wrap. I'm wearing a short-sleeved blouse, and I'm pulling out all my snowflake stamps. It may seem odd, but I needed to start putting Christmas items in my etsy shop as quickly as possible.
It's actually been a blessing to my heart to read the Scripture about the birth of our Lord this week. It seems like longer than 8 months since Christmas, and apparently I really needed it. I know a church that celebrates Christmas in July - a special service halfway between Christmases. They sing Christmas carols and hymns, and hear preaching about the day our Savior came to earth.
Can we ever hear the Christmas story too often? Christ the Lord came to take the sin of the world upon Him and invite each person to come unto Him. Stamping a nativity scene or embossing Scripture reinforce that in my heart.
So come vis…

The Contentions of the Contentious

The days we have rain are my favorite times ever. I know there are many places around the country that are battling floods right now, but I love everything about a rainy day.

Rain drops on the roof is my favorite sound ever - second only to my husband's voice. There's something about that pitter-patter than soothes me completely.

A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping. Proverbs 19:13

But when that pitter-patter of comfort becomes the constant annoyance of a woman's voice, the Lord tells us that we've crossed the line. While the rain drops relax and calm the soul, picture our words more like a torrential downpour on a leaky roof. There's nowhere to hide from the droppings, as they're irritating and non-stop. Eventually the dam will burst and our husbands run for cover.

Is this how you want your husband and others to see you? We need to be conscious of our contentious-ness.

It is better to dwell in the wilde…

One Room At A Time

Today I'd like to issue you a challenge - clean your entire house in one week.

While that may seem out of the realm of human imagination, you can make a huge impact in your home's cleanliness, organization and mood by attacking one project, one room at a time.

Whether you have a few minutes a day or a whole afternoon, there are different sized projects for every room. For example:

Entryway:
* Quick: Put away shoes, bags, keys and all that other stuff that gets dropped when everyone comes home.
* More time: Deep clean the floor right inside the door, where everybody tracks in dirt. Consider a new rug or shoe rack to solve this problem.

Dining Room:
* Quick: Set out new tablecloth, napkins, place mats or anything that will change up the look of the room.
* More time: Clean any hard surface that may be collecting...stuff. Pay special attention to the rungs of the chairs, the shelves, the picture frames, the window sills and the table itself. You probably don't want to eat near all th…

The Loyalty Of My Dogs

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This week has turned our home upside down. Early in the week I emptied out my entire craft room to rearrange the furniture. (Story to follow, another day.) The I was sick for a couple of days, so everything was left in the hallway, on the couch, in the spare room...you get the picture.

So I set up my crafting station in the living room so I could get some work done. I'm using up tons of old supplies and finding things I forgot I had. What a fun way to spend the long weekend!
But here's the best part - no matter where my scrapbooking table goes, there also go my puppies. I can rest assured that no matter what room I'm in, there will be dogs at my feet. That's devotion if I've ever experienced any. Dogs have something special that a lot of women need to take notice of: unconditional love. That's what makes them follow you from room to room, stay close by no matter where you go and just want to cuddle, regardless of what mood you're in. Imagine if all of your fr…

Living A Frugal Life

As money gets tighter and prices get higher, we hear the word frugal used more. We're encouraged to practice frugality and plan a frugal budget. But what does that word really mean?

The dictionary says that frugal is the economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful. That sounds like something our parents and grandparents have been trying to teach us for decades!

We're all looking for ways to be frugal in our spending, even if that's not the word we use.

Frugal cooking:
* Look for 3-ingredient and 4-ingredient recipes.
* Create dinners that will have enough leftovers to use for several meals during the week.
* Make use of your spice cabinet to make a meal tastier instead of using more expensive ingredients.

Frugal shopping:
* Cutting coupons only takes a few minutes a week and can really add up.
* Try to never buy anything at retail price - shop during sale weeks and with store discounts.
* Combine your shopping trips to save on time, gas and money.

Frug…

Hello Cupcake!

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Saturday was a fantastic day at our house - my dear friend Renee and I had a cupcake party to celebrate her birthday! We spent the morning at a local cupcake shop and then came back to play and make our own recipes.

We used a couple of different kinds of box cake mix for the cupcakes themselves and got fancy with the toppings. The best part, though, was when we realized that the mixer motor hand burned out and we'd be making everything by hand...fun times. Fun times.

The one I really wanted to try was the sugar-berried cupcake. We learned several things about fruit, particularly that frozen berries turn into wet berries when thawed, which in turn means that the sugar won't stick and stay crystallized. When it says use an egg wash first and then coat the berries with sugar...do it!

The second row is filled with a vanilla cream mix that gets poured in before you decorate. I absolutely adore the Pillsbury frosting in a spray can. If you haven't tried it yet, you'll be hooked…

The Teacher's Survival Kit

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The kids in our neighborhood started school this week. They and their teachers are in my prayers, because if the school year goes the way their conversations were on the street walking to the bus Monday morning, they're all going to need them.

Start the school year off right with this great gift basket for your kids' teacher. It can easily be modified for your students if you home school, or for just about any life event.

Each item in the basket has a meaning behind it, so write each one down in a card to give along with the basket.

* Cup: for when your cup runneth over with joy.

* Gold thread: love will tie together the hearts of everyone who enters your room.

* Aspirin: when all else fails, take two and have a time out.

* Matches: when you need to light a fire under some of your students (or yourself!).

* Battery: to help you keep going...and going...and going...

* Toothpicks: remember to pick out the good qualities in every student.

* Angel pin: you are the guardian angel for these …

Content With Jesus I'll Be

We can't even sit and watch television anymore without being bombarded with all the things we "need" to have. Magazines have glossy pictures of those things we just can't live without. There may be little money in our pocketbooks, but there is always something else we "have" to go purchase.


God has blessed us exceeding abundantly above our wildest imaginations. If you have a roof over your head, food of some kind on the table, clothes on your back and shoes on your feet, then God has done something wonderful for you today.And how do we show our love and appreciation for the provision of the Lord? We look around for additional ways to spend His money and get more "things" in our home. There's always something bigger, better or shinier out there, and that keeps the flesh searching and straining to do whatever it takes to be satisfied.Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I wil…

One Of Those Days

Did you ever have one of those days that was so overbooked before it ever got started? When you'd like to cancel today for lack of interest just because you've seen your to-do list?

I've had several of those lately...they've been wonderful, blessed days, but they've been terribly busy. By the time they're over I feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Is this how God intended for me to live my life for Him?

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11

If I don't start my day with Bible reading, I can tell it for the whole rest of the day. There are many, many things on that pad of paper that need to get taken care of today, but if I'm not in God's Word first, none of it matters.

Bible study is God's time to speak to us. We're holding the voice of the Lord in our hands, and there's so much there to delve into. Wh…

Back Up!

The greatest command we ever taught the girls was "Back Up!" It's a marvelous tool for whenever you have someone furry and four-legged underfoot and need a little space. Watch and see how well it works, even with a little growling. Bailey can't catch anything...the vet told me once that she didn't have sight problems, she was just klutzy. The Sadie-dog, on the other hand, would have been a fabulous Frisbee dog if not for her hip dysplasia. So we're happy just tossing sqeakies in the living room. As long as they back up far enough.

The Sin of Comparison

We've all been there - a sister in Christ comes into the church house on Sunday morning with another new outfit on. Or the neighbors have traded in their used car for something brand-spanking new. Or a relative is moving to an exclusive community, into a house with more bathrooms than family members.

Then we start to think about what we have, and it just doesn't seem to compare. We wish we had more money, spending money and mad money...just a little more something than what we have now.

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12

Paul warned the people of Corinth that coming up with human standards is dangerous business. Whether it's looking at what other people have, or what you don't have, is stepping onto shifting sand.

Can you substitute the words foolish or stupid in place of "not wise&…

The Joy In The Kitchen

Sometimes I forget that I have shelves full of cookbooks, many of which have barely been opened.

Sometimes I forget that the Internet is full of websites with millions of recipes in them.

Sometimes I forget that my best friends are all foodies and have tons of great ideas.

Sometimes I forget that my inbox is full of e-mails with coupons and menus.

Sometimes I sit for hours looking up recipes, only to find the exact one I'm looking for in the cookbook my grandmother gave me when I graduated from high school.

Sometimes just glancing through Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard sparks some culinary creativity for the evening.

Sometimes going back to the simplicity of favorite recipes is all the comfort I need at the end of a busy day.

Sometimes I need to be reminded of why I enjoy cooking so much in the first place.

Sometimes I need a break from cooking so I can be reminded of why I enjoy cooking so much in the first place.

And sometimes it all comes together. The coupons fit with the sales at …

DIY Paper Crafting Embellishments

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There is so much "stuff" in my craft room right now, to make use of a good Bible word. I'm starting to feel overwhelmed after being in here several hours a day, several days a week. Sometimes I just want that one thing that I know I saw earlier, but I can't find exactly where it is...I'm sure that never happens to you!

I was looking for some 3D flowers for a special thank you card when I came across some flowered paper that I forgot I had. And I had just used it recently for something else. That's when this particular flower out of an entire sheet of 12x12 paper caught my eye. It was the perfect size and shape for the card I had in my head!

Using a pair of Cutterbee scissors, which have a tiny, sharp point, I carefully cut around the edges of the flowers and leaves, leaving just a little of the surrounding color. Then I used double-sided tape and a Zig 2-way glue pen to tack it down. It's probably more perfect than any store-bought element I could have fou…

A Hidden Testimony

The woman sitting in front of me Sunday morning was a visitor - I had only seen her there once before. She was wearing the most beautiful summer dress with a huge, lovely floral print. Now, because she was sitting right in my sight line to the preacher, I had to notice this lovely fabric.Then it caught my eye. Right on the edge of one flower petal were three little lines - one of them was rounded like a mountain and the other two created a cross coming out of it. I quickly looked elsewhere in the pattern and didn't see anymore, so I knew it wasn't intentional. But it was powerful.I have no idea if this woman knew she had a rendering of Mt. Calvary on her back. I know I rarely look at the back of my clothing. So for over an hour I was looking at the picture of the ultimate sacrifice worked into the patter of a piece of fabric.But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have rece…

My Own Rose of Sharon

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It's Monday morning again. You know exactly where I've been already today.

One of the things that came with our new house is the rose bush out by the mailbox. Now, I have two brown thumbs...I once killed a cactus, truth be told. But I wanted desperately to make this scrawny, sick little bush into something beautiful.

With a little research and some TLC every Monday morning, I've been able to nurse this puny little bush into something beautiful. I clear away the overgrowth in the dirt around it. There are usually some dead, diseased leaves that need to be trimmed away. The old blossoms have to be pruned off and special vitamin-enriched water will keep the plant thriving for another week.

I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. Song of Solomon 2:1

My Lord and Savior is the fragrant blossom that flourishes in the field of bounty. Knowing that makes my own flowers that much more special Each blossom that comes up from the ground is His creation, fashioned exactly t…

Are We Too Busy For Revival?

Over and over again I hear people praying for revival - in their own hearts, in their churches and in their communities. We are a dry, thirsty people these days, and we are desperately seeking the Lord's Living Water so we can keep going.

He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings. Psalm 107:35

But once we're prayed for a spiritual jump-start in our lives, what are we doing after that? Do we go right back to our normal routine and hope that God will perform some miracle? While He doesn't need our help to do anything, He would appreciate our participation.

We pray that we'll be burdened for lost souls. We pray for enthusiasm and excitement over His Word. We pray for the Spirit to move in our services and for friends, loved ones and strangers to come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Then...we sit back and wait.

Revival is supposed to shake things up, make us change our ways of thinking and serving the Lord. The key to st…

Ways To Save a Bored Dog

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For about 9 months out of the year, I don't have a problem leaving the girls outside for a while. They have tons of backyard space with trees that give them plenty of sticks to play with. And now they have a kiddie pool to wade in/avoid, depending on which puppy you're talking about. Bailey would spend all day outside if we'd let her, as long as she had squirrels to chase and birds to watch.

But during those other three months, the weather in South Carolina takes over my schedule. I can only let them out for a few minutes at a time when it's over 100 degrees before the heat index. We go for our walks very early in the morning, and they can go out back briefly during the day.

So obviously, I have two very bored puppies. They're very clingy to begin with, but when there's nothing to do they get even worse. I love their devotion, but not when they're underfoot. While the looks on their bored little faces break my heart, that time of doing nothing can lead to de…

Breakfast Wrap On The Run

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Would you like a breakfast idea that's quick, easy and completely portable? Try this breakfast wrap - everything from a fancy plate meal in a take-with-you package.

You can vary the ingredients of this recipe depending on how healthy (or not healthy) you want to be, or hwo hungry you are this particular morning. That's the beauty of a wrap! Ingredients: Two eggs, scrambled Three slices of turkey bacon Two slices of cheese or a handful of shredded cheese, your favorite variety One large whole wheat tortilla shell Plus: aluminum foil
1. Cook the bacon in a cast-iron skillet, then scramble the eggs in the same pan. (Awesome flavor!)
2. Spoon eggs into tortilla. Tear bacon into pieces and layer on top of eggs. Top with cheese. Wrap edges of tortilla in, making a large bundle.
3. Wrap entire tortilla in foil, creating a pocket with the opening at the top. This makes it seal-able and travel-able.
4. Enjoy with some OJ or a hot cup of coffee.

The Beauty of Liquid Glass

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Have you made one of those discoveries that jump-starts your creativity? Maybe it's something in a magazine or a new product you happen to walk past in the store. Or perhaps you've done what I did this week - find something fantastic that you've had for ages but completely forgot about.

Last week I was sitting at my craft table staring at a blank piece of paper - not a good thing. I sell Christian greeting cards in an etsy shop and I was completely empty. So on a whim, I brought all my paper, die cuts, stickers and stamps out to the living room floor and started going through all my extra supplies.

In one basket I found a bottle of something I forgot I had. Several year ago I had purchased some Liquid Glass from Close To My Heart Scrapbooking and Stamping. Not knowing what to do with it, I tucked it away and lost track of it. This tiny squeeze bottle rocked my creative world and allowed me to create some beautiful cards.
You can use it to make tiny dots anywhere you want. It …

Right On Time

There are a couple of prayer requests that have been on my mind for ages. The Lord and I have gone round and about over these two very specific prayers again and again. I've shed tears over them, I've tried to work around them and I've questioned the Lord's timing.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

Then several days ago the Lord finally got through to me. Yes, I would still love for these two prayers to be answered a certain way, but I finally understood God's timing in my life.

If He had given me exactly what I asked for the first time I asked for it, I wouldn't have been prepared for it. There are many times in our lives when God answers our prayers with a "not right now" answer.

Imagine that you've been praying for a new house. All you know is that you're outgrowing the one you're living in now and it's starting to fall apart. You don't understand why the Lord won'…

Creating A Prayer Closet

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But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:6

After living in this house for over a year, I still hadn't found a really great place for my daily prayers and Bible study. I needed one desperately, just so I could have a routine.

So I did a prayer walk around the house to find the prefect spot. This may sound silly, but God will always show you what you need when you ask. I tried several different spots but either couldn't get comfortable or was too distracted.

Then I found my way to the recliner chair in the living room. Here I had a comfy spot, plenty of light from the window and light, plenty of table space for the things I need and a quiet corner to be by myself. Now I have the perfect prayer closet and I can truly grow my relationship with the Lord from here.

If you need to create a prayer closet of your own, you just need a f…

Personal Goal Setting

On my birthday each year I set some personal goals for the upcoming year. Then I spend the next 12 months referring back to that list, praying over how I can improve myself, my relationship with the Lord and my service for Him.

Last year I had a fairly short list.

* Set up my own prayer closet. I had so much fun working on this goal. I did a prayer walk through the house to find just the perfect spot for my Bible study and prayer time. The Lord led me to the recliner chair in the living room, which is next to a window and a side table. It's also underneath a great light, and there's plenty of table space for my basket of books, notebooks and pens. That chair has now been bathed in prayer, and the time I spend there is extremely precious.

* Be a better correspondent. Writing letters, sending e-mails and making phone calls are not my strong suit. I'm the first to admit that I get wrapped up in my own little world and neglect those who love me the most. In some ways I made some …