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Showing posts from November, 2010

Advent Upon Us

The season of Advent is that beautiful time of the year when we both anticipate the return of Jesus Christ and count down the days celebrating His birth. While Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas, we often look to the first day of December for our starting point.

Over the next 25 days, we are going to look at Advent from the victorious Christian woman's perspective. How can we separate ourselves and our families from the trappings of Christmas commercialism? What can we do personally to recover the joy of Christmas and experience the miracle of His birth? Stay close and we'll discover the answers together.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17

Instead of opening a door on the Advent calendar to find a gift, let's open the Scripture and find those perfect gifts God has blessed us with. Instead of making a list and checking it twice, why do…

Questions About Your Time

I have no idea what your day looks like. I don't know if you're scheduled within an inch of your life for the next four weeks. I don't even know if I am...and that's a scary thought. My calendar and I are in two different rooms, and without that I don't know my own schedule. I just know it's going to be a busy month.

But the motivation behind that busyness often gets lost in the shuffle. We're planning...we're asked to do things...we're expected to be places...and we're trying to accomplish everything we can in a short period of time. But why? Is it truly about celebrating Christmas? Is it honestly about sharing the Gospel with our loved ones?

As you glance at your calendar frequently over the next few hours, days and weeks, ask yourself some serious questions.

* Are you making time to spend with the Lord?

* Have you scheduled yourself so tightly that you're rushing from one thing to another?

* Do you feel like you have control over your time or …

Over The Backyard Fence

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Bailey is my protector. The big dog is the one who stays at the front door and the windows, watching for potential danger. She's the one with the deep growl and the threatening bark.

She's also the one who loves belly rubs more than life itself. She's the one who will whip you with her lab tail while she shakes with pleasure over your mere presence. She's content to curl up with her head on my leg and drift off into a nap knowing her human is safe.

I'm convinced that part of our calling to keep the home is protecting our pets. Bailey protects me above all else, and it's my responsibility to make sure she is safe and secure.

Last weekend I was working in the far end of the house when I heard Bailey barking. She was outside in the beautiful fall weather, so I assumed she was chasing squirrels. They love to torment her, and I don't think she really minds it all that much. So I worked my way to the back door to return our neighborhood to peace and quiet.

I called t…

Apple Enchiladas

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For our Bible study meal a couple of weeks ago, we were using a Mexican theme. I was asked to bring a dessert, so immediately I started doing some recipe research. What I ended up making was a huge hit for any nationality! Please enjoy these apple enchiladas as much as we did!

Ingredients:
2 (21 ounce) cans apple pie filling
8 large flour tortillas
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
ice cream
whipped cream
optional:
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Spoon fruit evenly onto each tortilla and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Roll up tortillas and place seam side down on lightly greased 9x13 baking pan.

3. Bring margarine, sugar, brown sugar and water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes. Stir until all of the sugars are dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

4. Pour sauce evenly over tortillas; spri…

Thanksgiving Blessings

In the midst of everything else you're working on today, take a few moments now to reflect on the blessings God has placed in your life. Give thanks for all He has done in your life! Our pastor's wife gave us this idea in Sunday School recently and it was a real eye-opener. I pray you have a blessed Thanksgiving Day.

For each letter in the word Thanksgiving, write one blessing God has bestowed upon you that begins with that letter. May God continue to bless you in each of these ways and many more!

T-
H-
A-
N-
K-
S-
G-
I-
V-
I-
N-
G-

My list ended up like this: Today to serve Him, Home sweet home, Amazing family, New mercies every day, KJV Bible of my own, Salvation, Gladness in my heart, Inexplicable joy, Victory over sin, Immediate and intimate communication with Him, Never-ending love, Grace when it's needed most.

Happy Thanksgiving! May God continue to bless you exceeding abundantly above all you could ask or think.

Last-Minute Thanksgiving Presentation

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Thanksgiving dinner is already in the works, family are on their way and you're checking your list for tomorrow over and over. Slow down, take a deep breath and have some fun making wonderful holiday decorations.

The house:* Why sweat over a cluttered house? Throw stuff in a basket and tuck it away until the weekend.* Tuck various bits from your fall decorating into a basket.* Coordinate napkins, place mats, cups, plates...whatever makes you think of the holidays.But keep it simple!* Ask the kids to make place cards for the table or design place mats on white sheets of paper. You'll keep the occupied and know they're part of the celebration.
The food:* Pull out all those platters and dishes that you never use - this is a special occasion!* Forget a traditional fruit salad and make a centerpiece! Poke holes in a pumpkin, then add skewers of various fruit chunks.* If you need someone to pick up something at the store on their way to the house...ask! It's easier than runnin…

Corner Bookmarks

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Everyone has books and magazines around the house. But almost no one I know can read an entire book in one sitting - that offers the opportunity for you to share your faith by making these lovely corner bookmarks.


What blesses my heart about these bookmarks is that they're very out-of-the-ordinary. Everything overlaps off the bookmark itself and features lovely Scripture!

Each bookmark is made from one corner of an ordinary envelope. Cut off the bottom two corners (the ones that are opposite the flap) at an angle large enough to fit easily over the edge of a book page. For an interesting angle, cut one edge longer than the other like the far left example pictured here.

From there, the sky's the limit! For these, I cut triangles to fit inside each corner, leaving a little bit of white showing around the edges. The more layers the better in my estimation, so there are both coordinating blocks and flower die cuts on each.




Then the best part: the Scripture! All of the corners overlap…

Be Prepared - Know Your Shipping Dates

Time flies when you're having fun, but don't let it go by so quickly that you don't get your holiday packages shipped in time. The deadlines for getting Christmas gifts boxed and sent off are quickly approaching, so mark your calendar now.

United States Post Office Mail-by Dates:
Dec. 4 - Military mail destined for Iraq or Afghanistan
Dec. 15 - Parcel Post
Dec. 20 - First-Class Mail
Dec. 21 - Priority Mail
Dec. 22 - Express Mail

UPS Christmas Dates:
Dec. 23 - Normal pickup and delivery service for air, international and ground packages.
* UPS Next Day Air packages picked up today will arrive on Friday, Dec. 24. UPS 2nd Day Air packages picked up today will arrive on Monday, Dec. 27.

Dec. 24, Christmas Eve - Normal delivery service for air, international and ground packages.
* No UPS Ground pickup service. Pickup service provided for air and international shipments if prearranged by Thursday, Dec. 23. UPS On-Call Pickup service and all UPS Drop Boxes also are available for air and int…

My Schedule, God's Way

Have you ever been so over-scheduled and over-booked that you've just wanted to collapse? Perhaps you've just wanted to cancel the day for lack of interest? God never intended for us to extend ourselves past the point of caring. Our service to the Lord is to be joyful and uplifting, not a chore that needs to get checked off for the day.

As we head into the busiest season of the year, let's take just a moment to reexamine what we're writing down in our planners and put God's plan where it belongs - first!

* Time in fellowship with the Lord comes before all else. A humble heart first thing in the morning sets the stage for the rest of the day. Energize from the start and ask God what He would have you accomplish today.

* Don't try to be more or do more than God has planned for you. Women have the terrible habit of adding things to the schedule instead of simply enjoying the moment. Our service, our testimony and our sanity are all on the line when we over-extend our…

Give A Puppy A Pill

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Well, we were close in our diagnosis of Sadie's itching. She does have an allergy and has scratched herself to a skin infection. Bless her heart. So the vet gave us medicated shampoo, an antibiotic and an antihistamine.

Now we have five pills to give our dog every day. It was eight, but we're in the phasing out stage! Usually giving pills can be a pain in the neck. From experience we know that human medicine can take horrid, and apparently pet meds are the same. When offered plain, Sadie will look at me like I'm insane - You want me to do what with those?

Instead of forcing pills down the throat or make the situation a struggle, our secret is peanut butter. Both of our girls are addicted to peanut butter, so it was easy to use this as my trick for getting many pills into Sadie.

With just a plastic spoon and some creamy peanut butter, I can medicate my dog easily and effectively. We can pile them all onto one spoonful and Sadie thinks they're a treat. Apparently the smell…

Why We Support Missions

Many people cringe when they hear that it's time to take up a missions offering. It seems like one more reason to give money that they really don't have. And why should they give money to help people they've never even met in a country they'll never even visit?

Not our family and not our church. We are very missions-minded and not just because my in-laws are missionaries to Mongolia. (That's just an added blessing.) God's Word is incredibly clear about why we're left here on earth after we get saved and not taken directly to Heaven.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15

I don't know about you, but I am not physically able to go into all the world. We are not all called to travel to another country or spend most of the year traveling around our own country. Each of is given a path by God to follow and we are to support those called to paths different than our own.

And this means supporting missio…

Cooking On The Fly

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I am not one of those people who generally works without a recipe. I don't particularly enjoy throwing a bunch of ingredients together to see what happens because I am desperately afraid of disappointing those eating it.

It's not as bad as it used to be - I'm venturing off the beaten path some - but I'm perfectly happy with recipes.

That wasn't destined to work last week as I prepared a sugar-free dish for our revival dinner. I had researched some dessert recipes because I had never made anything diabetic-friendly before. I had my Orange Angel Food Cake Dessert recipe in hand and I was ready to go.

And then Murphy's Law kicked in. The first ingredient on the list was an angel food cake box mix. Well, I chose to go to the store and buy one instead to save a little time. Would you believe it - our grocery store didn't have a single one pre-made. I had run out of time and couldn't make one, so I had to think on my feet. Instead of one big pan of dessert I dec…

Check Out This Review of My Prayer Journals

A lovely woman named Stephanie contacted me throug my etsy shop about reviewing my prayer journals on her blog, Stay-funnie Mom. She did an amazingly wonderful job of explaining what I do and why. So lovely.

Read her very kind words here. Let me know what you think!

Flip Up Picture Card

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Did you ever see something beautiful but then had your own variation on the theme? That's what happened when I saw a card example in a magazine years ago. I loved the "little card on a big card" idea, but it wasn't exactly what I had in my mind.

This card is. It's created to hold a picture in the little card and the big card gives you room to present Scripture and write your message. The one I saw was attached to a single piece of card stock, not a whole other card. That's the function I needed.

The creation is simple. Make one big card and one little card. Adhere a picture inside the small card. The attach the small card to the center of the big card. I always put KJV Scripture inside my cards, so that goes inside the big card. It's like having a gift and a card all in one.

I think this a fabulous idea for sending your friends a special message or have the kids make one for their grandparents. It's that unique touch that will guarantee this card will be…

Lord, Walk With Me

Lord, Walk With Me
I’m tired today, Lord. Walk with me I pray.
Grant me strength and courage to make it through my day.
I’m feeling blessed today, Lord. Walk with me and share,
How you know just what I need and answer every prayer.
I’m in pain today, Lord. Walk with me, take care.
As the Great Physician, I know you know the hurt I bear.
I’m busy today, Lord. Walk with me, be kind.
Show me how to care for things and still keep you in mind.
I’m scared today, Lord. Walk with me this road.
Just to have you close seems to lighten up my load.
I’m meeting friends today, Lord. Walk with me and be
The giver of those kindest words that others need from me.

I’m full of bitterness today, Lord. Walk with me, please do.
Create in me a clean heart to bring me close to you.

I’m eager for our time today, Lord. Walk with me and show
How I can be close to you and what I need to grow.

I’m getting envious today, Lord. Walk with me and take
All the pride away for the amends I’d have to make.

I’m full of joy today , Lord. Wal…

Basic Car Care For Women

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You don't have to know how to change a tire, the oil or the wiper blades to take good care of your vehicle. We are a one-car family and maintenance on that one car is my husband's domain. But even if we never fix a flat or tinker with the engine, there are many ways women have control over our vehicle's performance.

Pay attention to your tires. Poorly-inflated tires won't last as long and are more prone to flats. Learn what the proper inflation level for your particular tires are and how to use a tire gauge.
Name that smell. If you notice any unusual smell - burning, hot, rotten, gas or otherwise out-of-the-ordinary - your vehicle needs attention. Don't wait until the car has a problem, be proactive.
Wipe your wipers. Use a paper towel and window cleaner every couple of weeks. This will get rid of the road dust and grime, extending the life of your wiper blades.
Learn to check fluids. Windshield wiper fluid, oil, transmission, antifreeze, coolant - there are many fluid…

When Push Comes To Shove

Friday was not one of my better days when it came to patience. Normally I'm pretty even-keeled, but a series of events pushed me over the edge and I'm not proud of it at all. And it was all over wasting my time.

My time is incredibly precious to me, just as yours is to you I'm sure. If you'll remember, one of my e-mail accounts was hacked a few weeks ago. If you don't remember, click back on my post from September 20. The hacker sent out e-mail from my account that were definitely not from me. So I wasted several hours of my time sending apology e-mails to everyone in my contact list and closing the account.

On Friday I received an e-mail message from a church member and friend that these spam e-mails were still being sent and my name was still attached. I was irate because I was now going to have to take the time to do this all over again. On top of it, my agitation increased when the mail provider made it incredibly difficult to register a complaint. I've had t…

A Doggie Door Saga

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When we moved into our new house a year and a half ago, the doggie door was part of the package. I was all excited that the girls (Bailey especially) would be able to be outside when it was nice and come in for water and belly rubs whenever they wanted.

And then reality set in - we had an indoor cat, and the idea of her exiting the same way never to be heard from again didn't sit well. So the cover stayed on the doggie door and the girls were none the wiser.

So this summer when the cat went to her new forever home, it hit me. We can open up the doggie door and give the girls a treat! They can have a little freedom and I wouldn't have to be constantly getting up and down to let them out.

Now, our girls had never even seen a doggie door, let alone understood the concept. We've taught them that they need permission to go outside, eat, go for a walk or greet people at the door. This keeps us in control of the situation instead of getting over-dominant dogs.

The fun part was just …

Five Ways To Avoid Holiday Splurging

In case you hadn't realized it yet, we're into the second week of November already. Christmas will be here before we know it, and the focus is on our family gatherings. There are groceries to buy, presents to find, rooms to decorate and traveling to plan. How long is your list now?

The difference between breaking the bank over the next two months and being a good steward of the money God has given you is in planning. There is nothing wrong with buying and decorating and traveling, but there is danger in splurging - at the moment and down the road.

Instead, try these five tips in order and make the decision to spend wisely during the next six weeks.

1. Make a budget. Look at any debt you already have, the money coming in over the next two months and how much you can safely spend. Sit down with your husband to make some clear boundaries for the holidays. Know your financial situation better than anything else in your life or it will take over everything. Pull out cash along the way…

Oatmeal Spice Drop Cookies

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Perfect for the lovely fall weather and just right for any gathering, these candy-covered cookies are conversation pieces. I took three batches to a recent church fellowship and they were devoured! If possible, bake them right before it's time to eat them so they're served warm.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup coarsely chopped spice drops

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

3. In another larger bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the oats and gumdrops.

4. Drop large spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheets, leaving space between each. (The dough will SPREAD as it bakes.) Add 2-3 small pieces of spice drop to the top of each dough…

A Simple Fall Centerpiece...Plus

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The grocery store by our house is completely sold out of miniature pumpkins now. They're also short many of those beautiful ornamental gourds. It's autumn in the city (finally) and I'm in the decorating mood!

With just a few basic, traditional fall-themed pieces you can create home decor that is both simple and vibrant. For example, this lovely centerpiece contains:
* mini pumpkins
*ornamental gourds
* pine cones
* silk flowers
* ornamental picks cut into pieces

From there, choose a basket with some personality. This one was a gift from one of my dearest friends, so I wanted it front and center. If yours has holes or openings as part of the design like this one does, just line the bottom with a paper plate and a handful of rocks. This will make a solid surface for your other elements.

Then start with the largest items like the pumpkins and gourds. Fill in the empty spaces with flowers and the sprigs from the floral picks. Finish it off with a few leaves and you're all set!

I e…

Why Bother To Memorize Scripture?

One of the greatest computer programs I own is my e-sword. "The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge" they call it. In one fell swoop I can read my KJV Scripture, search for words and themes, find dictionary definitions of Bible words I don't understand and study commentaries from a dozen different places.

I could spend hours reading, searching and delving deep into this program. Acts 17:11 says: 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. So many conversations with the Lord all at my fingertips.

So why should we bother to memorize Scripture anymore? With a search engine in your lap and the Word of God small enough to fit in your pocket, why should we strive to stretch our minds with memorization?

With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against…

Pyramid Napkin Fold

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For some reason, autumn always makes me think of napkins in pretty folds gracing the table. Perhaps it's because the next few weeks will be filled with occasions when we can make our dining tables beautiful with treats like this.Here is a very simple, very clever design for your next gathering. 1. Lay the napkin face down in front of you. Fold the napkin in half diagonally with the point at the top.


2. Fold the right end up to meet the far corner, matching all the edges.


3. Repeat with the left side, folding the left tip up to the far corner, creating a diamond shape with a seam running down the center.


4. Flip the napkin over, keeping the open end facing away from you.


5. Fold the napkin in half by bringing the top point down to meet the bottom point.


6. Turn the napkin over again, keeping the point toward you. It will look very similar to the other side, but this is a necessary step.


7. Fold the napkin along the center seam and you have a neat little pyramid. The front fold will …

The Time Management Myth

The myth that we are fed is that if we somehow hurry or work harder we will eventually get everything accomplished. If we just had one more minute or hour or day we could finally defeat the time crunch. There must be some magical time management tool that will create a 25th hour and an 8th day, making it possible to finally be done and relax.

That's exactly why this is a myth. God has blessed us with 24 hours of time today. No matter how I plan, organize or beg, there will only be 24 hours today, tomorrow and the day after that. The number of hours we have to work with doesn't change. And the blessings that He provides in those hours are as eternal as the promises He has made.

So how do we get past the urge to schedule ourselves to the point of no return?

Analyze: Look at the many things you are trying to cram into the day. Are they all glorifying and honoring to God? How many of them are chores or activities we've simply created to make ourselves busy? This is the moment to …

What Makes Sadie Scratch?

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Our poor Sadie-dog has been miserable for ages. We think we made a terrible mistake in changing her food and she had an allergic reaction to one of its ingredients. The result? She's been scratching like crazy...
constantly...
continuously. Bless her heart!

The solution? A fabulous, wonderful, incredible product called Pets Best from the Animal Supply House. Designed to calm and soothe hot spots, itching and irritation, this is possibly the most useful pet product we've ever had to buy. And it worked overnight!

Pets Best is a spray, so you don't have to touch, rub or irritate any already sensitive areas. Sadie has several red places where she's licked and itched so much that she's tender to the touch. Not a problem with Pets Best because you just spray it on and let it sit.

We were afraid it would smell like medicine or have some weird odor since it's for dogs. The surprise was that, because it's an all-natural product, that it smelled wonderful! It's made o…

Homemade Or Store Bought?

The holiday season is approaching so quickly that I can't flip the calendar fast enough. There will be many gift-giving opportunities ahead, too: hostess gifts, winter birthdays, Christmas and several other special occasions. One gift for each of them will add up quickly.

Not to ruin the surprise, but my friends and family will be receiving handmade gifts this year. I'm not being a miser, although I love a good bargain as well as the next woman. This is a conscious effort on my part with a particular meaning.

Can you remember back to birthdays and Christmas mornings when you received a hand-knit sweater or a piece of embroidery to hang on the wall? If you were very young it probably didn't mean much, and they were laid aside for the shiny new toy or sparkly jewelry.

These days, perhaps I'm showing my age, I would much prefer a set of handmade note cards or a crocheted throw for my prayer closet. There are many ladies who have already gone to Heaven who would make me those…

Candy Corn Popcorn Balls

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Use that fall classic - the candy corn - to make a sweet treat for all ages to enjoy. I took these to our church's fall festival last weekend and they were a hit with the grown-ups, too!

Ingredients:
two bags of popped popcorn (I used kettle corn to make it a little sweeter and less greasy)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 bag of miniature marshmallows
1 cup of candy corn (or more, depending on personal preference)


1. Combine the popped popcorn and candy corn in a very large bowl. Stir to mix.


2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat. Stir in the salt, corn syrup and marshmallows. Reduce the heat to low and stir continuously until the mixture is all melted and smooth. This may take up to 5 minutes - just keep an eye on it.

3. Pour the mixture over the popcorn and candy corn. Allow to cool for a minute, then coat your hands with butter and mix thoroughly. Shape into balls. Place in the refrigerator for a few minutes until they harden slightly. This will ke…

Apple Cider Cups

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Apple cider is my favorite beverage ever! Now that fall is here you'd think I'd be drinking more, but I've been drinking it all year 'round!

While searching for something completely different I found a great gift idea that uses this favorite drink of mine. I wasn't even looking for this template. I was digging through a notebook and there it was...hmmm.

After tracing the template onto the back of card stock, I cut it out and folded it in half. The front panel is cut down so you can see the drink packet inside. I used some of my leftover fall-themed paper to decorate the front. The apple is a fabulous stencil that I have, so I can make as many as I want.

Then I printed out Psalm 17:8: Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wing. It's matted on ink-distressed card stock and added to the drink holder.



I'm planning on doing some of these in a winter theme with hot chocolate when it gets colder. It's a fun, versatile gift for any season…

The Blessing of God's Comfort

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There's a big, fluffy blanket in my prayer closet that gives me comfort. Having my puppies curled up at my feet gives me comfort. My husband coming home from work every night gives me comfort. But those things are all temporal and can be lost in a moment. Nothing temporal lasts, but I know what does.

The only lasting comfort in this world is the blessing of God's eternal comfort. Resting in His mercy and grace provides the comfort I need to go about my daily life without worry and doubt. That's a blessing that can only come from a loving Heavenly Father.

And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. Exodus 33:14

I've found myself making a lot of sympathy cards lately, and they're selling in the shop very quickly. Apparently many people need to share God's Words of comfort. Those words are the only peace that will soothe the soul and calm the nerves. When times are difficult and everything seems up in the air, Scripture will ground you an…

Cleaning Catch-Up

While we were preparing for last weekend's craft show, I hate to admit it but many other things went by the wayside. When I came home Saturday afternoon with joy in my heart from the wonderful day, I was shocked to see how the house had been left for the past few days. I'm not a fan of clutter to begin with, but this was beyond what I'd realized. It wasn't Health Inspector failure by any means, but apparently I'd had blinders on while I'd been in my craft room.

With renewed vigor in my soul, I began to tackle the piles, dog fur and general messiness with zeal. Truth be told you own home may need the same cleaning catch-up that mine did. Let me explain how I organize a mass cleaning project and perhaps you can use it to put your house in beautiful condition, too.

First is returning everything to its rightful home. I carry a laundry basket with me from room to room. Anything that doesn't belong on the dining room table goes in the basket. Then on to the kitchen…