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Showing posts from February, 2011

The 31-Day Greeting Card Challenge

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Yesterday we attended the seventh funeral in our church since Thanksgiving. It has been a heart-breaking time of loss, memories and home-goings. What a meeting we'll have in the air when Jesus returns!

In between visitations, funerals and graveside services, I keep having the same thought: Did I say the right things? When we speak from the heart, God will give us the words to say to family and friends who are grieving. Sometimes all they need to hear is that we love them and are praying for them. Those words can mean the most of all.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21

Or will we say anything at all? Words have the power to wound and the power to uplift. Not saying anything can be just as destructive to someone's heart as saying the wrong things. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't said things that could have (or should have) been said, and now it's too late.

That's why tomorrow I'm star…

A Weekend Of Prayer

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Choose to make the focus of this weekend prayer.

Our prayer life is the most important connection we have to the True and Living God. The stronger that communication is, the stronger we are as a Christian woman.
What is on your prayer list this weekend? Peace?Healing?Revival?Strength?Traveling mercies?Comfort?
Make sure that your prayer time always begins and ends with thanksgiving. No matter what the circumstances may be at this moment, there are always more blessings in our life than needs.
And remember the lost. Pray that God will save souls this weekend. He can save just as easily on a Saturday afternoon as He can on Sunday morning.
Let's spend our weekend in fellowship with the Lord. Enjoy your prayer time and make it special.

God's Gift Of Clouds

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Whether they are thin wisps of white that streak across the sky, or huge fluffy polka dots on a sea of blue, clouds have a special place in God's heart.And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. Genesis 9:16

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night. Exodus 13:21


And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. Numbers 9:17


While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. Matthew 17:5


Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the cloud…

Dog Show Worthy

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It was so interesting to watch the AKC dog show last week. There are so many beautiful dogs in this world and such sweet personalities to go with them. What a blessing it was when God created our four-legged friends.

And sitting through a show like that makes us appreciate our own dogs even more. They may be a mixed breed, but that's made them all the more lovable. It didn't take long before we were on the floor with them, cuddling and playing, while the show was playing in the background.

Sadie is such a hoot - she knows the command to "watch the puppies on tv." She'll turn to the television screen, mesmerized by whatever the dogs are doing. She won't do it with people or nature - just dogs. So she was glued to the dog show, watching the puppies do interesting things in the ring.

I'm convinced that our girls could win a dog show. I know they're not purebred anything, but they have shows for mixed breeds. They are both absolutely gorgeous (no bias here) …

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

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Just the name of the recipe reels you in, doesn't it? Combine two of my favorite desserts and you've got a creamy treat that's just incredible. Be careful that you don't eat your way through the entire pan!



Ingredients:
2 packages (18 ounces each) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 13X9-inch baking pan. Let both packages of dough stand at room temperature about 15 minutes.

2. Press 1-1/4 packages of the dough evenly onto bottom of prepared pan. Lay aside the remaining 3/4 package of dough.

3. Combine cream cheese, sugar and eggs in large bowl, beating until well blended and smooth. (This will take a little while.) Spread cream cheese mixture over dough in pan. Break reserved dough into small pieces and sprinkle over cream cheese mixture.

4. Bake 35 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Store leftovers covered in refrigerato…

Fun Spring Flowers

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Even if your weather doesn't scream "Spring" yet, you can still add a little warmth to your craft projects. The flower for this Spring card is super-easy and super-versatile. With just a couple of leftover paper supplies you'll be making flowers for everything!


1. Cut or punch a 1.25 inch circle. Place a floral design in it using a stamp, die cut or sticker.2. Cut a 1.5x12 inch strip of decorator paper. On the back, mark it at the .25 inch point with a pencil. Fold it accordion-style with that first fold as your measure. If you have a scoring blade for you paper trimmer, you can use that the entire length of the paper.


3. When you've accordion-folded the entire length of the paper, adhere the two ends together, printed side out, with double stick tape or your favorite adhesive. This will make a funny little circle.


4. Push gently on the top edge of this circle to flatten it out. That top edge is now the center of your circle. Lay two small pieces of double stick ta…

The Reason For God's Miracles

In Sunday School yesterday, we talked about God's miracles - at least all the ones we could squeeze into 30 minutes. There are powerful and mighty miracles on every single page of God's Word, and narrowing it down was so difficult. How could we not mention some while choosing to talk about others? They all bring joy and share the love of our glorious Creator.

Just rejoice over these few:
* God speaking to Moses out of the burning bush
* Parting the Red Sea
* The walls of Jericho falling at the sound of trumpets
* David and Goliath
* Job's restoration
* The three boys in the fiery furnace
* Jonah in the belly of the whale

And Jesus so wonderfully:
* walking on the water
* calming the sea
* healing the blind
* raising the dead
* turning water into wine
* feeding the five thousand

But in the end, one blessed my heart more than all the others.

Luke 18:35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:

Luke 18:36 And hearing the multit…

God's Blessings Make Me Smile

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In the midst of life itself, God gives us special blessings. Each and every one of us has those special blessings that God gives just to make us smile.










Take time today to find those blessings that make you smile.

Living On His Bread

Earlier this week I made the most perfect grilled cheese sandwich I have ever made. The cheese was warm and melted and the bread was that lovely shade of dark brown right before the burnt-black stage. It was crunchy and gooey and just the right temperature to be totally yummy.

But just a few minutes after enjoying this lovely lunch, I was hungry again. The sandwich was perfect in my opinion, but it wasn't enough. My hunger came back with a vengeance, and I had to find something else to satisfy it. The bread, though perfect for one meal, wasn't enough.

In several places in the Gospel, the writers of the New Testament tell of a conversation Jesus Christ had with His followers about bread. They question Him about the manna in the desert, and place this miracle above the precious things Jesus was doing in His ministry.

John 6:30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?

John 6:31 Our fathers did eat manna in the …

A Little Chocolate Decadence

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While looking for something special for our Valentine evening together, I stumbled across this lovely recipe. Anything chocolate is eye-catching to begin with, but this is something completely different. This is called sipping chocolate - a rich, thick hot cocoa for grown-ups. It is super-duper sweet and very heavy, perfect for a chilly winter evening.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
4 ounces Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate, at least 60 percent cacao, chopped - I used their baking chips and they worked perfectly. Use about a third of a bag for deep flavor.
1. In a small heavy saucepan, bring cream and milk to a simmer over medium-high heat. 2. Remove from heat and quickly add chocolate, stirring until melted and very smooth.
3.Return to medium-low heat and warm for 3 minutes or until a bubble or two form on the surface.
4. Pour the hot chocolate into espresso cups. Add a dollop of whipped cream if you'd like (and we did!) Enjoy slowly!

Cards That KISS

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KISS: As in "Keep It Simple, Sister!"

You don't have to spend a fortune in craft supplies or spend tons of time making projects that mean something. Sometimes a one-layer card can speak volumes. Keep it simple and still show your heart.
* Stamp your way around the edges. Instead of relying on the edges of your paper layers to create a frame around your card, create your own. These stitches are hand-stamped in a contrasting color.
* Make your focal point stand out. The Scripture is the best part of this card and the flowers just draw your eye in. You don't need to raise it to 3D levels to make it pop off the page. On this card I highlighted each line of text with a little yellow chalk to give it a highlighted look.




* For this beautiful tie-dyed look, apply chalk in a circular motion, letting the edges overlap a little. Then use your finger or another cotton puff to blur the lines. There's nothing to distract from the words, but everything works together perfectly.The…

Happy Valentine's Day!

What a lovely Monday morning to celebrate Valentine's Day. Danny already has some treats to take to work and we're looking forward to a fun evening. Love is lovely, isn't it?

And more importantly, we are loved by a wonderful and mighty God. That love is stronger, deeper and more powerful than any human relationship we could ever imagine. On this special love day, let's spend a few minutes looking at three great loves.

1. God's love for us.

The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Picture for a moment how God watches us every day. He rejoices as we wake up to a new, beautiful day that He created just for us. His heart overflows as we pray and thank Him for all the blessings we are about to receive. He smiles as He thinks about all the ways we reflect His love throughout the following hours.

No earthly love can compare to God's love fo…

Beat the Winter Doggie Blues

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During those two or three months when it's actually cold in South Carolina, our girls go a little stir crazy. With my fibromyalgia I don't walk well outside when it gets too cold. So they either have to play in the backyard or follow me around the house. Not too exciting, huh?

We've found a handful of indoor games that pass the time, keep the girls entertained and out of trouble. Plus we work on obedience training at the same time - bonus!

* Our favorite is hide-and-seek with treats. I'll lock them out of the living room and hide little treat pieces in all the nooks and crannies. (Little pieces, mind you. The last thing I need are overweight dogs!) Then I release the hounds and let them play detective. This is how I taught Sadie to use her nose and not her eyes.

* Take time to go beyond the basic dog commands. We've taught our girls to "back up" and "wait." Danny's been trying to teach Bailey how to balance a treat on her nose, but that's …

Spring Is In The Air

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Forget the winter weather advisories and snow boots for a while.Signs of Spring are already here!






For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. Isaiah 61:11

Lord, Let Me Have Revival

Where do you turn when you're exhausted, frustrated, pushed around and spiritually drained? Aren't there days every now and then when you're ready to give up, go back to bed and hide under the covers for a while?

We all have times when it seems like our Christian service is going nowhere and there isn't reason enough to keep on working. We're tired of limited results and less-than-helpful co-laborers. There are two choices from there: give up or turn back to the Lord.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Psalm 51:12

Jesus Christ is the source of all strength, joy and endurance that we need for the moment, for tomorrow and for the rest of our lives. It's the circumstances of the day that cloud our eyes and fog our minds. Our God is the same yesterday, today and forever - the same Lord who walked on water walks beside us at this very moment.

The joy of salvation was planted in our hearts at that glorious moment that we accepte…

Tuna Pita Pockets

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While clearing out the kitchen cupboards during our recent home detox, I found one lonely can of tuna. In the interest of following my own advice and using up what we have before making another shopping trip, I decided to put this can of tuna to good use.

When you go to a company's website, you can find tons of great ideas and recipes specifically designed for that product. In a matter of minutes I had over 50 tuna recipes to choose from and one was absolutely perfect. I had picked up some pita bread for hummus later in the week, so these tuna pita pockets hit the spot.

You'll need:
1 can tuna, drained and flaked
1/2 cup diced tomatoes (I used the ones with green chilies for extra flavor)
1/2 cup shredded carrot
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 pita bread
4-5 leaves of lettuce

1. Mix the tuna, tomatoes and carrot in a medium bowl. Season to taste. Drizzle olive oil over the mixture and stir until just moist.

2. Cut the pita in half to make two pockets. Layer the lettuce, half…

Personalized Notebook Cover

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Sometimes you need a special gift or decoration and can't find exactly what you want. Take this notebook for example. I wanted something this shape but didn't like the design on the cover. Using a little creativity and a cute pair of pliers, you can change any notebook cover to fit your needs.



This 5-inch notebook was at the dollar store, just begging to be altered! If you check the spiral that holds the pages together, you can tell immediately if it will open easily. Some are one continuous loop that runs the entire length, but this one opens at each hole. Use a small pair of pliers (or just your fingernail) to open it up and remove the cover pages.


Use your favorite adhesive around the edges of the cover and attach your background paper. Then use a paper punch of the same size as the holes to make new holes in the background paper. If you're going to cover both sides, make sure you punch your holes after you've attached the first sheet, otherwise you'll cover up th…

The Great Physician

For the past several days I have been incapacitated with a sore back. When your back hurts, it affects every other inch of your body - there is no way to compensate or change the way you move because your back is connected to everything else.

The only answer is to become immobile. I lived in the recliner for three days, even sleeping there one night. When I finally got to the doctor's office, he couldn't even touch my back because the pain was so intense. The pain killers and muscles relaxers finally did their job and I have pretty good range of motion again.

While the medication did its job and the heating pad helped, the real healing came from the Great Physician. I know that there were many people praying for me and I spent much of my on-my-back time in prayer. The only reason my pain went away was because God removed it from me.

Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. Jeremiah 17:14

I honestly believe that sometimes God kn…

Detox Your Home Office

As we wind down our detox process, you may have already have tackled your home office space. It may be tucked into the corner of another room or just at a table in the kitchen. If you're truly blessed you may have an extra room that serves as your computer/bill paying area.

No matter where your office supplies are physically, they still need to be cleared out and organized. You can save yourself tons of time and energy later by having your paperwork and bill-paying needs all in one place.

1. Tackle the paper. Yuck...yuck...and more yuck. If you're like me you have plenty of paperwork that needs to be kept and a whole bunch that needs to be shredded and discarded. Before you do anything else, sort through those stacks and files and do some serious purging. You may need to set up a new filing system, but a better idea is just to slim down what you have on-hand. This may be a whole day job, or you might decide to spread it over a few days so you won't get burnt out and never fi…

Detox Your Body

We tend to think that just because God bestowed free will upon us that we’re entitled to do anything to our bodies that we want. That’s how the world ends up with drug addicts, alcoholics and 900-pound people, right? God’s view is completely the opposite.

Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

We had nothing to do with the creation of our physical bodies, but we seem to think that because we’re in them 24/7 that we have supreme control, and that just isn't true. We do make the choices of what foods we put in them, how we exercise them, how much rest they will receive, but ultimately God is the only one who determines how they function, how well they function and how long they will last.

God only gave us this shell for the short while that we’re here on earth, and as temporary as it is, it’s still His creation. From that first breath of life in Genesis 2:7, God uses these human ves…

Detox Your Attic/Basement/Garage

By now we're getting pretty good at the detox/sort/get rid of stuff process. And it's a good thing that we're all practiced and ready because this next step is a big one!

Where is your storage place? Where is that one room that gets all the leftover boxes, shelves and piles of stuff that don't go anywhere else? Do you tuck them up in the attic? Down in the basement? Or maybe out in the garage? Perhaps the thought of tackling this project scares the daylights out of you, so let's take a look together.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. Ecclesiastes 9:10

It's human nature to employ the "out of sight out of mind" technique for things we don't want to deal with. If I put boxes in the attic, I may never see them again...which is a pretty tempting thought. If I only go out to that shed when I'm putting something new in, I won't have …

Detox Your Finances

Over the past few weeks we've cleaned, organized and detoxed so much - our homes, our hearts, our priorities. Now how about something incredibly practical like your finances? They get stuffy and cluttered, too, and that makes it difficult to be good stewards of the money God has given us. This is the perfect time to take a look at your spending, saving and investing to see what needs to be cleaned up and what needs to be throw out.

1. Analyze your money flow. Sit down with your husband and all of your monthly bills. Prayerfully consider where and when your money is leaving the house and when pay checks are coming in. If you go over your finances with a fine-toothed comb, you'll find plenty of ways to plug up leaks. And working together as a couple will strengthen your marriage and allow you to discuss some money issues that you've never addressed.

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown end…