Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Just about any solid surface can be covered with chalkboard paint. The spray can kind makes it even easier! Plan on painting several coats to make it smooth and even.
For example, the cookie sheet that I used for my message center had a pretty nasty burn mark on the back from a label. But after two coats of paint (probably could have done three), you couldn't even see it!
Follow the directions on the paint container for use. And wear gloves...trust me. You could write messages on my finger right now on the splotch I accidentally painted. You'll probably also want to work outside to keep fumes to a minimum. Just keep your item away from falling leaves, birds and any assorted bugs that might want to walk across your wet paint.
The finished product is the perfect chalkboard surface. My amazing husband even drilled a hole in the handle so I can hang it on the wall. The paint doesn't de-magnetize it, so you can hang magnets on it for some added pop.
Imagine all the possibilities of turning your cheap garage sale finds into chalkboard surfaces! What fun there is to be had!
Monday, May 30, 2011
And then there were a dozen tiny buds on each of three stalks. At first I didn't even notice them. And then they exploded into petals of soft pink that make my day every time I see them.
We had written off this pitiful rose bush because it wasn't looking or producing the way we assumed it should.
But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
It's one thing to have a judgemental eye about the productivity of a plant, but it's quite another when we're looking at people. We assume age, health, position, finances and first impressions dictate how effective someone will be in serving the Lord. But that's looking at the outward appearance.
God is looking at the heart - the hidden woman that the world never sees. Even our own sisters in Christ may never know how we've been a prayer warrior, a supporter of the pastor's family, the cleaner-upper around the church property or just an effectual witness in our own homes. Those things will never be seen on our face or in our height.
So instead of just deciding to dig up the rose bush that is another person's service to the Lord, let's water it and place it in the sunshine. God may have an intensely precious plan in mind if we'll just help Him cultivate it.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
There's nothing wrong with any of these delights, but they're not in line with God's desires for our lives.
Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4
Make this a weekend of delight - in God first and foremost. Then He will provide the rest as He sees fit. And His delights don't have to be stored in the garage!
Friday, May 27, 2011
In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. 2 Kings 20:1
So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered morter, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered morter, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it. Ezekiel 13:14-15
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
Thursday, May 26, 2011
It seems more than a little excessive, especially with the current economic conditions. But the pet owners treating their birds to an aviary day care and their dogs to fur dying, it's just one more way to share their love with their four-legged companions.
I don't know about you and your pets, but my girls have different definitions of pampering. And they have nothing to do with coordinating clothes, expensive food or accessorizing.
Bailey considers spending the entire day in her back yard as pampering. She'd rather chase squirrels and protect her yard from birds than anything else in the world. If I just open the doggie door, she's in paradise. She can come in for water and cuddles, and then head right back out to patrol her territory. That's some serious pampering in her mind.
Sadie is perfectly pampered when she has our undivided attention. She isn't truly happy unless she's touching you somehow - and you're touching her right back. Sadie is addicted to belly rubs and she'll rest her head on your knee until you make eye contact. Those sweet brown eyes let you know that she's desperate to have her ears scratched. Subtlety isn't her strong point.
So check with your pets and see what their definition of "pampering" really is. You might save all that money that you're spending on luxuries when all you really need to do is share some cuddle time!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
3/4 cup water
1 1/4 package taco seasoning
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
40 oz can meat ravioli
1 package frozen meat ravioli
1 16 oz jar pasta sauce
1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9x9 inch baking dish.
2. Brown the ground turkey in a large skillet and drain off grease. Add water and taco seasoning. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. If using frozen ravioli, heat and combine with pasta sauce.
3. Cover bottom of baking dish with ravioli. Layer 1/3 of the turkey mixture on top of the ravioli, then layer on 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese.
4. Continue layering with ravioli, turkey mixture and 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese. On the top layer, combine the remaining mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
5. Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes. Cheese will be melted and browned. Serve with garlic bread and salad.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
All of the tall pieces go in the back - the books, tooth brush and toothpaste, personal reading light, comb, pens and pencils, combs and Emory boards. It's hard to balance out the practical with the fun because we're so intent on pampering these servants of God.
Then come all of the little things - soap, lip balm, hand sanitizer, wipes, picture frames, lint rollers, hard candy and a note from our class saying Thank You! A few pieces of hard candy are sprinkled around, then it all gets wrapped in netting and tied with some pretty ribbon. We always have several on hand so we can give them out freely.
Monday, May 23, 2011
So now what? What can we do to fix these holes? I could plant a pretty flower in each one of them. That would brighten up the yard and give us something lovely to look at...for a while.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. Isaiah 40:7
Or we could put some sod, some pre-grown grass, over each one. It's not the same grass, though, and it might not root. Then there would be another dead patch to deal with.
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. Mark 4:16-17
But wouldn't it be better to sow some grass seed and allow God to work in nature the way it was designed? Human beings can force things and kick down doors, but the Lord will work in His own time and grow things in His own way.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
God is doing this exact same work in the hearts of Christian women. We have holes left in our hearts from His constant pruning and weeding. If you've ever been through a trial or valley in your life, you're quite familiar with those holes. They're the proof of the work He's doing to grow and cultivate us.
We could fill them in with something ourselves, but that will just lead to withered, offended patches. Instead, we have to be willing to let the holes be filled with the good things, those perfect things that God has chosen just for those particular spots. Then they will grown up thick and lush, fit for the Master's use.
What holes are in your yard today?
Saturday, May 21, 2011
But our Lord and Savior has a solution for times like these.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
Make this a weekend of calm and rest. You may not think that's possible right now, but Jesus Christ Himself is calling you. Listen, and let Him give you rest.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress. Psalm 71:3
Thursday, May 19, 2011
While bathing the girls this week, I was struck by how very different they are. Bailey is my water dog - she'll get herself in the tub just so she can enjoy the warm water. She'll obey my every word, moving where I ask and staying when I need her to stay.
The best part is drying her off, though. She delights in the massage of the towel and getting all wrapped up. She'll hang out for ages until she's completely dry, giving me her back feet when I ask. In the end, her obedience makes the task much easier for both of us.
Sadie, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. She despises water, fights having to get into the tub and tucks her tail the whole time. She has to be as close to me as possible, which makes soaping and rinsing very difficult. She ignores basic obedience commands which means I have to forcibly move a 60 pound dog over and over again.
And drying her is incredibly difficult. She's in a hurry to move on with her life, regardless of the streams of water getting all over the place. We get it done, but she's impatient and causes more clean up as she tries to shake herself dry.
So as I recovered from the experience, I felt the tug of the Holy Spirit. How often am I like my obedient dog and how often am I more like the disobedient dog? Is God trying to complete a necessary task in my own life while I'm fighting tooth and nail? Am I allowing Him to work for my greater good or am I unwilling to even step foot in His direction?
In the end both of my dogs got clean, but one was a much more pleasurable experience than the other one. Imagine what our Christian walk could be like if we were so willing and obedient to the Lord's leading as one black dog is at bath time.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Bake your bacon-filled cinnamon rolls according to the package directions. Let them cool for a minute or two and then slather with frosting. They're super-duper filling, so find someone special to share them with!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Like this one for example. I still have tons of Scrabble letters left over from other projects. There are also two round, self-adhesive magnets that have been staring at me for months. So put the two together and you have a fabulous craft.
Because there are just two magnets, I used a pair of pliers with a cutting blade to turn them into eight tinier magnets. This made them the perfect size, too, for fitting on the back of the Scrabble tile.
So now I have a simple, lovely, God-focused word on my refrigerator door. It took just a few minutes and used up some "ingredients" that I already had. Empty out your own stash and see what might go together for some home decor.
Monday, May 16, 2011
The dictionary says that to meditate is to dwell on any thing in thought; to contemplate; to study; to turn or revolve any subject in the mind. I love the last part because it is very visual to me: turning and revolving the things of God in my head.
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psalm 1:1-2
David wrote about his own meditating throughout the book of Psalms. The Word of God, His laws and His promises, is to be meditated upon day and night. That doesn't leave out any period of time, does it? Whether we're just waking up, in the middle of our busy day or headed off to bed, we are to be meditating on God's Word.
But the first thought in our minds is, I'm too busy for that! I can't take time out of my schedule to just sit around and think!
If we make time for God and the things that are pleasurable to Him, we will be so greatly blessed that we'll want to give Him more and more of our time. He is faithful to hear us, to delight in us and to commune with us whenever we approach His throne.
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands. I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah. Psalm 143:5-6
We could spend the rest of our lives meditating on the works of God and we'd never cover it all. David speaks here of an overwhelmed soul, one that craves the Lord - haven't we all been there before? His mind then turns to the blessings he has received from God and he is satisfied.
The joy in remembering and meditating on the great and wonderful things God has done in your life is unlike anything you could ask or think. They will wipe away all of the evil thoughts that tend to creep into our lives: doubt, anger, disappointment, depression, anxiety. The love of God erases them from our minds and helps us to focus on what's truly important - Him!
Start your meditation with a simple Scripture: Be Still And Know That I Am God -Psalm 46:10. Turn and revolve each word in your mind, thinking about its definition, its purpose, God's meaning behind it. Pray that the Lord will open your eyes to new and personal messages from His lips to your soul.
Then move on to other Scripture, blessings He has given and miracles you have witnessed. You'll be so blessed by God for the time you give Him that you'll be drawn to Him in ways you'll have to experience to understand.
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. 1 Timothy 4:15-16
Saturday, May 14, 2011
With seemingly effortless movement, these feathered creatures can plop down in the most unlikely of places and balance for ages. What do they have that we don't?
Make this a weekend of balance - check your schedule, priorities and obligations. There's no reason Christian women can't be just as balanced as the many birds of the world.
If we choose to follow God's plan.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Joshua 1:8
Friday, May 13, 2011
The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. Nahum 1:3
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Mark 4:37-39
For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. Isaiah 25:4
Thursday, May 12, 2011
But there are also some hazards out there that need to be addressed. Whether you have a dog or not, whether you walk your dog regularly or not, take a look at the street in front of your house. There may be some dangers there you didn't even realize.
I am very careful on our walks about where I let the girls walk. This may seem silly, but here's what we saw on the side of the road yesterday morning alone:
* broken glass
* the remnants of a busted tail light
* the jagged handle of a piece of silverware
* several empty food wrappers
* a 9 volt battery
* smashed plastic and aluminum beverage containers
* curled up wire
* huge ant hills
While we can't clean up every street in the neighborhood, we can take care of our. Simply sweeping along the curb and spraying some pest control will do the trick. This way dogs can walk where they like and their owners aren't concerned about removing glass from puppy paws when they get home.
Take 10 minutes this week and make your walk that much safer and that much more fun for all those involved. And you'll beautify your property at the same time! Who wouldn't enjoy a safer, prettier walk?
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
After searching for recipes and trying many different variations of dough and decorations, I settled on my grandmother's Christmas cookie recipe. Isn't it amazing how, with all of the new and exciting things out there, sometimes the old ways are the best?
This is a super-easy recipe and takes about an hour from start to finish. Use a good amount of flour for kneading and rolling - it's a very sticky dough otherwise.
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray 2 cookie sheets with nonstick spray.
2. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. If you have a stand mixer...use it! The dough will be very heavy and very sticky.
3. Add in the shortening with a fork or the paddle blade of your mixer. Add in the eggs and vanilla, mixing well.
4. Roll dough to about 1/4 inch thick on a well-floured work surface. Cut into desired shapes with a floured cookie cutter.
5. Bake on greased cookie sheets for 9 minutes. Watch carefully toward the end of the time so the edges don't get overly browned. Remove and cool completely before decorating.
If you'd like to make sugar spots like the purple ones on my cows, just sprinkle on the sugar right before they go into the oven. The dough is pretty thick, so you may need to gently press the sugar in with your finger to keep it from rolling off.
The eyes are just a chocolate sprinkle pressed into place before baking. They aren't in the oven long enough for it to melt and get gooey, so you can experiment with different colors and shapes.
These are also fantastic cookies to bathe in powdered sugar frosting. I did a few this way last Monday with my leftovers. It's a great combination if you're not making 400 cookies at a time. I was immediately whisked back to my childhood, helping my grandmother make Christmas cookies. What a lovely way to end Jubilee for this year!
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
All you need for this project are a few tree cookies. You know, pieces of a log cut into coaster shapes. Then just gather up some of your stamping supplies and get creative!
Once you're done stamping, spray the whole coaster with a semi-gloss polyurethane. This will seal up your designs without taking away from the colors of the wood.
You can move beyond coasters and use this technique on any wood surface. Think about distressing and stamping small pieces of furniture. Or those boxes and chests you see at the hobby store. The only limits are your budget and your imagination!
Monday, May 9, 2011
These two rose buds are like the Christian women who are satisfied with the mediocrity of life. They are very pretty just as they are - I could trim one bud off and it would make a lovely gift the way it is now. But there is so much more available to these women if they move past contentment.
For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. James 1:23-24
Mediocre women feel like they're fine the way they are. There's no reason to change or grow or be better and different than they are right at this moment. They're lovely rose buds, but there's so much more.
A little further down the bush is one huge pink blossom. It catches your eye the moment you pull into the drive way. It has unfurled its petals to reveal all of the beauty inside and has the most wonderful aroma. It's just a joy.
This is the Christian woman who surrenders her entire being to the Lord. What was once the tightly wrapped bud of a woman is now a blossoming woman ready to share her God with the world!
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalm 1:3
Which one are you? If you're saved, you are one or the other. The joy of the Lord comes when we move past being content with who we are and decide to become someone greater by His grace.
I pray we all become vibrant blossoms for the Lord. Throw open your petals as a testimony for what God has done in your life!
Saturday, May 7, 2011
It might be the gentle breeze of a Spring morning.
Or it could be a miracle in the midst of an ordinary day.
Or it might be a gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit just when you need it most.
Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Psalm 4:4
Be still this weekend and meditate in your heart. Look at all the little things God has done and stand in awe.
Remember all the huge changes He has made in your life and stand in awe.
Take in the beauty He has placed all around us and stand in awe.
Then imagine what He might be planning for tomorrow...and stand in awe of the possibilities!
Friday, May 6, 2011
"The Lord desires your presence even more than I do. Thank you for being here."
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Danny and I have some extra yard work to do in our back yard. It's not because of weeds or pine cones...although those can be problems. Bailey has a special talent that creates more work.
She shreds sticks.
Bailey doesn't just chew on them or treat them like a snack, the way her sister does. Instead, she pulls them apart like BBQ pork! It's fun to watch, regardless of the clean-up time!
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
In an effort to save money and use up the staples we already have, I came across this salmon. Flipping it over, there was a recipe that sounded wonderful - simple salmon cakes. There were only a few ingredients and it would take no time at all. That's my kind of recipe! It turned out to be delightful, filling and very healthy.
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
cayenne pepper to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 6 oz pouch pink salmon
1 medium egg, beaten
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
3 Tbsp butter
1.Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in salmon, egg and 1/3 of the bread crumbs.
2. Divide mixture into four pieces and roll each into a ball. Roll each ball in remaining bread crumbs and flatten into a patty.
3. Heat butter in skillet. Fry the patties over medium heat until browned, 3-4 minutes on each side.
4. Serve with veggies and fruit for a complete, healthy meal.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Start with three identical images. I used three stamped butterflies on two different colors of paper. They need to be symmetrical images so the edges will all line up. The best part is you can use stamped images, stickers or die cuts, whichever you have on hand.
Choose your best image and lay it face down on your workspace. This is going to be the top image that you see all of. Attach half of the second image to half of the main one. Trim around the edges if necessary so you can't see that there are two together. If you don't adhere just half of the image, it won't pop up.
The attach half of the third image to the main one. You will now have three full images. Fold back the two loose halves and attach those to your project. You'll be able to see half of each background image when it's attached to the card and all of the top image popped up.
Make sure that all of the edges are adhered securely. Because of the 3D design, it will be easy to catch and tear if it's not. How simple and how beautiful - and you used things you already had in your crafting collection!
This card, along with many others, can be found for sale in our shop: http://www.stufffromtrees.etsy.com/. Stop by and visit any time!