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Showing posts from June, 2010

DIY Outdoor Lighting

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In the heat of June, the only time you can comfortably sit outside is after the sun goes down. By that time, you need a little mood lighting. This easy, pretty outdoor candle holder can help illuminate the evening in the perfect way.



You'll need:
glass jars of multiple shapes and sizes
chain, twine or other rope strong enough to hang on
small candles
rocks, shells or other tiny bits for decoration

Choose your favorite style of jar and tuck a votive candle into your rocks or shells. Tie your hanger tightly around the mouth of the jar. Stagger them around your sitting area and light up the night.

Coming Back In A Cloud

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South Carolina has been knocked around by thunderstorms over the past few days. For someone who loves storms (like me!), it's been a fantastic week.

The beautiful part of sky-watching during the storms has been the cloud formations. This one came over our house after church Sunday night. We had been hearing thunder all through our revival meeting, and there was even a rainbow over the fellowship building after the service.

When I see clouds like these, I always think about the rapture of the church. We read in the book of Acts how Jesus Christ returned to Heaven in the clouds.

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. Acts 1:9

Picture men standing there, gazing up at the sky and looking into the clouds. I've always wondered if it was just one cloud in a bright blue sky, or if it was a sky full of dark clouds. This is the most precious part of the life of Christ, and He could have used any kind of cloud He…

Lessons Learned From My Lists

I'm the first to admit it - I'm addicted to paper. I love notebooks, scrapbooking paper drives me crazy and I'd rather get a note in the mail than an e-mail any day. I even have the sweetest friend - she'll give me yellow notepads as gifts! How sweet is that!

My favorite use for paper, though, is my list. I have lists of everything: what I have to do today, where things are, plans for the future, ideas I have. I even have lists of my lists...how silly is that?

Seriously, there are lots of great benefits to being a list-maker. The best one in my opinion is being able to use my list to overcome my failing memory. At my age I shouldn't be having senior moments yet, but I am. When I have my list handy I don't have to worry about forgetting something super-important. When I have it written down in black and white, I can actually tackle the things on the list and not waste time thinking about what I should be doing.

Do you have a notepad next to the bed? One of the wor…

While You Were Waiting

Last week I found myself waiting: at the post office, at the library, for Danny at a restaurant, for everyone to gather for prayer room on Wednesday night. We're all put in situations every day that we have to practice patience, and I don't remember praying for patience!

So what can we do to make good use of our time while we're waiting patiently?

1. Read the literature around you. This is an especially great idea if you're waiting in the doctor's office, but also works at restaurants and in the car. Just try to keep from reading what's around you while you're waiting in line at the checkout counter: there's too much there you don't need to read.

2. Make a list. Jot down some ideas for dinner, a surprise gift for your husband or those book titles you've been wanting to read.

3. Write a note. If it's going to be a few minutes before you get in to see the doctor or you're early for church, write a quick note of encouragement for a loved one. A…

Help Your Dogs Be Cool

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Our thermometer said 100 degrees several times this week. The air conditioner has been having a hard time keeping up, especially with dogs laying in front of the air vents. It's been hard enough for the humans of the house to keep cool, so it's twice as hard for your pets.

It's time to make some effort to keep our dogs just as cool and comfortable as we are. They'll thank you for it...trust me!

* Fight dehydration. Water is just as important to our four-legged family members as it is to the two-legged ones. Make sure their bowls are always full of fresh water, and place them in convenient places. If they're outdoor dogs, change the water often since you have no idea what might have gotten in there.

* Time your exercise. Plan on going for a walk first thing in the morning or as late in the day as possible. This important for two reasons: first to be out during the coolest times of day, and second to keep puppy feet off the hot asphalt. Imagine if you had to walk aroun…

Stewardship - Thanks Be To God

God has significantly blessed our family financially. My husband has a wonderful job to go to every day that provides our home with all its needs. I have two wonderful businesses that give us a little extra help along the way. We don't have an abundance of money, but what we do have we thank the Lord for constantly.

I think we can all agree that God supplies our needs - all the time and exactly when we need them. Not a day goes by that I don't see one more instance of His many blessings on my life and those around me. Finances are a huge part of that, because I think God understands better than anyone how money makes the world go 'round.

With that in mind: How are you spending your money? If my God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and a wealth in every mine, how am I using what He has blessed me with? Yes, we've worked for that money, but God provided us with a job, our husbands with jobs and our bosses with good enough financial skills to pay us on time. Everything t…

A Different Presentation

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Five years ago I couldn't have told you a thing about cast-iron. Lodge was somewhere you went to get off the slopes. To say nothing about washing them with soap (gasp) and water. Times have changed, sweetheart.
Today I won't use any other skillet but our cast-irons. They make a difference - in cook time, in heat distribution, and most importantly in taste! You can tell when something's been cooked in a well-seasoned iron skillet. (And no, that doesn't mean covering it in salt and pepper!)
It was a great day when we discovered the Lodge store at Myrtle Beach. I had never been in one until a couple of years ago, but now that stop is the highlight of our visits. Forget the sand and surf...give me skillets, muffin pans and dutch ovens! On our last visit I found this adorable mini muffin pan and had to make it mine. It uses almost one whole muffin mix to make these six perfect little mini-muffins. This is great for some special presentation - one tiny muffin for six people, o…

Accordion Mini-Album - Music To My Ears

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I'm always looking for great, simple ideas to use up my leftover scraps. I have tons of little pieces that won't really work in a card or scrapbook page, and if you're a paper crafter you do too!

This tiny album (it only measures 3.75 inches square) is a fantastic way to put those scraps to good use. It's perfect for a brag book to tuck in your purse or for a last-minute gift.


1. Cut two 3x9 inch strips of paper. Score in thirds (every three inches).









2. Fold in alternating directions to create accordion. Tape the two opposite ends together so you have one long accordion.









3. Cut base for the accordion out of decorator paper, measuring 3.5 inches square. Then cut a base for the piece 3.75 inches square out of the same paper you made the accordion from.





4. Adhere accordion to the first base. Mark a dot on either side of the accordion and punch a tiny hole. Thread your fiber through and tie a bow on top. Adhere the bottom layer to the back.






5. Decorate the pages as desired. Choo…

In The Rumble Of The Thunder

On Friday afternoon, a wild and woolly storm broke loose. The lightning was so bright and the thunder rumbled loudly enough to rattle the window frames. I knew it was bad because my Bailey dog wouldn't go outside with me, and she's my storm watcher.

And then the rain fell.

It didn't just fall, it cascaded. The clouds let go and we were enveloped in a desperately-needed downpour. The drops were so close together that they blocked out the view to the other side of the street. It was the best afternoon I've had in ages!

And all the while, the thunder boomed.

The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook. Psalm 77:18

God's voice is often described in Scripture as rolling thunder. There is such power in it that you can feel it clear through to your core. The Lord is constantly speaking to us, and we have to take the time to listen. Sometimes He can be that still small voice, but other times He has to get through …

Four Things To Do Daily

Before you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the week, I'd like for us to seriously talk about budgeting our time. A lot of things are going to happen in the next seven days - some will be planned and others will take us by surprise. That's just the way life works, because that is how God uses time to grow us into mature Christians.

For these next seven days, I challenge you to find time to do each of these four things. None of them will take more than a couple of minutes, but God can use that sacrifice of time to do great and mighty things in your life and the lives of others.

1. Tell someone you love them. And not just somebody that you share this phrase with all of the time. Look for someone who truly needs to have the love that God has placed inside you spilled over onto them. Don't be fake, or secretive, or showy, or hasty. Simply give them the words they need to hear.

2. Write someone a note of encouragement. We all know people who are really going through it - …

A Long Nap On A Summer's Day

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In the crazy-hot weather of South Carolina in June, there not much better to do than take a nap. We're professionals nappers around here, and everybody usually ends up congregating in the same room.

Just this week all four of us were in the craft room while Danny was at work. The air conditioner can't always keep up with the outside temperature, so everyone gravitated to the coolest room in the house - how smart are we?

Sadie will always curl up under whichever chair I'm in, regardless of how uncomfortable she might be or how balled up she has to be. As long as she's a close to me as she can be, she's happy napping wherever she ends up. She's my heart - my unconditional love.

Cayenne sleeps anywhere that's comfy and smooshy. On this particular day I kicked her out of my computer chair (simply because I wanted to sit in it!) and she made her way up to the back of the futon. I crocheted those throws out of chenille yarn, so they are perfect for winter cuddling -…

Temptations Turn To Fickle Finances

Everything in this world requires money. We need money to cover our daily living expenses, prepare for the future or free ourselves from debt. And unfortunately we often plan our finances month by month or paycheck by paycheck, just surviving rather than getting ahead. We can struggle financially or we can be victorious in this aspect of our life.

Setting ourselves up for success can be a challenge - we take on new ways of thinking about money, we pray and read about what the Bible says about our money, and we step forward into new actions and responsibilities.

So what happens when we finally get settled into our new fiscal decisions? Temptation. I've been cracking down on extra spending for weeks now and thought I had a pretty good handle on it. Then came...the post card. A coupon for a really great discount at my favorite clothing store innocently found its way into our mailbox.

Now normally I would have been there before the week was out, whether we could afford it or not. How can…

National Eat Your Vegetables Day

Believe it or not, today really is National Eat Your Vegetables Day. I would imagine that most of us aren't doing so on a regular basis, so here are some ways you can participate today.

* Throw some veggies on the grill for added flavor.

* Put together a giant salad and make that dinner for the evening.

* Try one vegetable you've never had before, or one you thought you hated as a kid.

* Have some vegetable wontons instead of the usual pork for some variety.

* Make a stir fry with lots of fresh veggies.

* Bake some zucchini bread - that's still vegetables!

* Pull out some old recipes - my grandmother used to make Scalloped Corn for all our special events. I haven't had it since she passed away because no one can find the recipe. If you have favorites, use them, keep them and pass them down.

* Browse the produce section for recipe and idea cards. Match them up with what's on sale.

* Mix frozen veggies into you rice while it's cooking. Just use a little less liquid for bo…

Summer Decorating For Next To Nothing

It has been blazing hot around here lately - I'm sure you know the feeling. Even sitting on the couch can make you feel sticky when it's this warm. If you look around the house, you'll probably find all sorts of cool-weather decorations around and about.

Did you realize that you can change the feel of your home, literally and figuratively, by thinking cool? And you don't have to spend much at all to do it...bonus! Wander through each room of your home and see where you can find ways to lighten up and cool things off.

Kitchen:
* Update your dishes with something light-colored or clear.
* Clear off your counters and clean thoroughly, replacing only the essentials.
* Replace anything dark and heavy with light, airy pieces.
* Clean cabinets and give them a fresh coat of paint or finish.
* Set out a bowl of summer fruit for snacking.

Living Room:
* If you can afford it, replace dark paneling with light-colored paint. If you can't remove it, try painting it.
* Cover your dark, hea…

God Knows

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I absolutely adore flying in an airplane. There's something special about being up in the clouds, a little closer to Heaven than when both feet are on the ground. And knowing that the Lord could come back in any one of those clouds at any moment is a comforting thought.

It's so amazing to watch the ground get smaller after take-off and see miniature communities out the window. The best part of the flight was after the sun set. All the porch lights came on and there were thousands of head lights from the little cars.

That's when it starts to set in - God knows the hearts of every single person in every one of those houses. He knows the life of everyone driving those cars. We must have flown over hundreds of different cities packed with people - people that I will probably never meet, sit down and talk with, or ever get to know.

But God knows. He knows every tiny detail of their lives. He knows if they're saved, all about their families and where they are in their walk with…

In The Rearview Mirror

A couple of years ago we were read-ended by an 18-wheeler. Traffic on the Interstate was slowed to a crawl and the truck driver couldn't get stopped quickly enough. We were bumped hard enough to get some whip lash and the back end of the car was crushed pretty good.

The worst part of the whole situation was that I saw it coming. I was looking in the rear view mirror and saw the truck barreling down on us. I even braced myself for the impact because I knew that "objects closer than they appear" were already too close for comfort.

That few minutes in time years ago still affect me. You'd think I'd be over it by now, but other drivers still scare me. Just last week an SUV came up behind me much too quickly and my fingers started to tingle...the first sign of my nerves. He was zooming up in the rear view mirror, and I had a flashback to that 18-wheeler. This driver had no idea of what I had experienced in the past, because he was just trying to get to Point B.

How many …

Is Time Apart A Good Thing?

Danny and I spent almost all day yesterday apart. Not that we were upset or anything...we just went our separate ways for the day. I had errands to run and he had chores around the yard to take care of. After lunch Danny headed to his woodworking shop and I went to the craft room. As far as I can tell we both had a fabulous day and ended it together watching movies.

His work schedule is really taxing - he works eight days in a row and then gets a 3-day weekend, works two days and has one more day off. Then it starts all over again. It works really well for the company, but can make it difficult for me to schedule time with my husband.

I used to think that every waking moment of that 3-day weekend needed to be spent together. I felt like I was missing out on Danny's time during that long week, so I deserved to make up for it. There were several weekends that I was severely disappointed because he just wanted to nap and watch television and recover from those long days at the funeral …

A Trip To Congaree

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The girls have been bored. You can sense when they're not really interested in playing with their toys or walking around the backyard. You can almost hear them asking, Isn't there more than this?
So we found something to keep them from being bored yesterday. We are just minutes away from Congaree National Park near Hopkins, South Carolina. Danny has the weekend off so we packed the girls in the back seat and headed over. You can see how excited they were to be on the road!

The park has several trails of different lengths that are perfect for dog walking. Our girls are funny, though, because they have to walk side by side. If there's not room on the trail for that, they have a fit...I imagine because one doesn't want the other to see or smell things she can't. So funny!
Sadie has severe hip dysplasia in both back hips, so we really had to watch her workout. It was already almost 80 degrees by the time we stopped for lunch at 11 am, so she was letting us know it was qu…

To Spend Or Not To Spend...

I was given $20 this week. My first thought was, "Yeah! There's a sale at my favorite clothing store this weekend, so I can put this toward something I've been looking at!"

My second thought was, "Don't I have a closet full of clothes? Haven't I been concerned about finances lately?"

So that $20 is safely tucked away for another day. Maybe it will even have attracted some friends by then and they can all get spent together.

How do you decide when you'll spend money and when you'll save money? Are you thrifty in the face of financial opportunities or do you spend it as you get it? Do you have confidence in God's provision or do you feel like you need to prepare yourself for the financial times ahead?

As we've scrutinized our own finances to look for the ways the Lord would have us prosper, here are a few of the realizations we've come to.

* If you've already got one, don't get another one. I am the most guilty of this...I love …

A Smoothie Move

When the temperatures skyrocket and the sun fries us every time we step outside, we start to crave something cold. While I love to turn to ice cream or lemonade, smoothies can be a healthy alternative for cooling off.

In addition to being incredibly versatile and easy to personalize, they take next to no time to make. And if you have a Magic Bullet or similar blender attachments, you can make individual smoothies in their own glasses.

If you think you've tried all the flavor combinations available, you'd be surprised. Pull out your blender and get smoothing!

Strawberry-Banana: banana, strawberries, OJ, plain yogurt

Melon: honeydew melon, frozen green grapes, lemon yogurt, mint, lemon juice to taste

Island: banana, peach yogurt, mixed-fruit juice

Fruit Salad: peach, banana, strawberries, evaporated milk, frozen OJ concentrate

Sparkling Fruit: assorted fruits, coordinating flavored yogurt, nutmeg, ginger ale

Sweet Fruit: assorted fruits, vanilla frozen yogurt, frozen apple juice concent…

Create A Scripture Memory Book

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One of the ways I have decided to grow in my walk with the Lord is by memorizing more Scripture. I adore the verses about being ready in season and being accountable for what you know. I think memorization has a deeply important place in my Christian life.

So here is a great way for you to put some Scripture together for your own memory verse book. I used the Proverbs 21 Woman, my favorite section of Scripture in the entire Bible.

The book itself is made of chipboard, a sturdy material a little thicker than cardboard. I found these two books at Target for $1 each, but you can make your own if you'd like a different shape. They already came with a ring to hold them together, and you can use book rings in colors to coordinate if you'd like.

Using your favorite adhesive, cover each side of the chipboard pages with coordinating decorator paper. They can all be alike or you can alternate throughout the book.



Write or print out your Bible verses on coordinating paper and attach to eac…

Temptation

Whether you've been saved for 6 minutes or 60 years, all Christian women face temptations in their daily lives. Each individual woman have some temptations that are easily to overcome and others that are terribly difficult to deal with. While we tend to think of sexual temptation first, many women battle laziness, gossip, depression and many varied sins of the flesh.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. James 1:12-14

Enduring temptation means getting beyond the lust of the flesh at that particular moment without giving in to it. This can be terribly difficult when we're bombarded with images, words and attitudes everywhere we go. Add in the "need" to satisf…

Why I Love My Girls

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Every pet owner has their own reasons for falling head-over-heels for their four-legged friends. Here are a few of mine.

* Unconditional love.

* Looking down and seeing an upside down puppy.

* Waking up to that slow and steady purr.

* Going for a jog around the block and seeing those smiles when we're done.

* Having a sounding board whenever I need it.

* No matter when I'm doing, I have to stop when a doggie toy gets dropped at my feet.

* Sitting on the porch together during a thunderstorm.


* That little sputter that comes before the purr.


* When the ears go up and the tail starts to wag.


* Knowing that no one will break in with that kind of barking going on.


* Having a tiny kitty head tucked under my chin while we cuddle.


* The joy of the pack, whatever mix it might be.

What A Bunch Of Money Can Get You

Did you ever think about what you might purchase if you had all the money you needed? Lord willing we will probably never be in that predicament, but it's interesting what's available if we had extra spending money. Would you buy any of these things? I found all of them in the most recent Sky Mall catalog while we were traveling this week.

* $299 - a hair laser that treats thinning hair through advanced technology.

* $99.95 - a telekinetic obstacle course, which lets you maneuver through using just your mind.

* $79.95 - a ceramic pet fountain that keeps a constant stream of clean water running for your cat or dog.

* $59.95 - the canine genealogy kit, designed to test your dog's DNA and identify the breeds, potential health risks and genetic profile in your pet.

* $109.95 - the traveling pet seat with a booster underneath so your dog can easily see out the windows while traveling.

* $895 - a re-creation of King Tut's Egyptian throne chair, hand-finished with authentic gold le…

Recipes From the Back Of The Box

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It's truly been a struggle to find interesting recipes lately. Everything seems too complicated, has way too many ingredients or takes too much time. Talk about cooker's block!

Then, while cleaning out the cupboards, I happened to notice a recipe on the back of the stuffing box for a chicken bake. I already had all the ingredients on hand and all I had to do was mix it together and bake - perfect!

Immediately I started looking on all the grocery items I had to see if there were more ideas, and almost everything I had featured some kind of recipe, cooking tips or other ideas. It was like a treasure trove I didn't even know I had.

Here are just a few examples:

The back of the rice box:
* Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken
* Teriyaki Steak and Brown Rice Dinner
* Southwestern Chicken Skillet

The back of the pasta box:
* Whole Wheat Rotini Pasta Salad

The back of the instant potatoes box:
* Potato Soup
* Potatoes for Baby

The back of the baking mix box:
* Blueberry Muffins
* Banana Nut Bread
* Straw…