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Showing posts from December, 2011

A Weekend of Newness

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If you're anything like me, and I imagine you are at least somewhat, you have been anything but perfect during the past year. I know in my own life, I've been proud, angry, discouraged, mean-spirited, unloving, judgemental, suspicious, lazy, arrogant and probably more than a little selfish. I am just a sinner saved by grace, and my daily living is often proof of that sinful nature.
It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
This weekend many people will use the New Year as their "reason" for starting anew. They will look for newness of life in diets, kicking bad habits and trying to do a 180-degree turn in other areas.
But Scripture tells us that we have new mercies every single day, not just the first day of the year. We can look for God's faithfulness today, tomorrow and even sometime next week when we've broken the diet, forgotten the…

A Weekend of Christ

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Matthew 1:18-24
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all…

A Candy Cane Treat - Part 2

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So, here's my pile of leftover, broken candy canes. These are the ones that I couldn't make into hearts yesterday because they've cracked and crumbled.
Now what?

We get into the kitchen and use them up!

Whole candy canes:
* Get fanciful and hang them around the kitchen.
* Tuck them into plants, into cups and into glasses for a quick snack.
* Offer them as an alternative coffee stir stick.

Bits and pieces of candy canes:
* Drop them into a cup of hot cocoa.
* Scatter them around a dessert plate as garnish.
* Add to a party mix with popcorn, chocolate candies and other munchable goodies.

Crushed candy canes:
* Sprinkle on top of chocolate cake.
* Mix into no-bake cheesecake.
* Stir into softened ice cream, then refreeze.
* Add to the frosting of your favorite dessert.

May the week bring you many candy canes, broken or otherwise. It might get your creativity working!

A Candy Cane Treat - Part 1

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It's not every day that I air my mistakes before the entire blogging world, but today is the day.
I bought the wrong kind of candy canes.
There was an amazingly cute craft in a magazine that I'd been saving for just this week, so I went to the dollar store and bought two packages of candy canes. They're all pretty and red and perfectly striped.
But then I got home and reread the instructions. Instead of my pretty, edible candy canes, I needed the candy cane ornaments made of plastic. Real ones won't work.
So, that one will have to wait until next year. And now I have 24 candy canes. What's a girl to do?
Make candy cane crafts and recipes! Yay!
So here's the easiest, cutest candy cane craft int he entire world. They're perfect for a quick gift, decoration or ornament.

All you need are two candy canes and a hot glue gun. Please leave the candy canes wrapped, unless you plan to never, ever eat them.

After preheating your glue gun, place two drops of glue on …

Who We Are

Human beings, women humans especially, tend to categorize themselves in funny ways. Ways very different from how God sees us.

We measure our self-worth by physical traits - those we lack and those we have too many of. We judge our character by the things we've failed at more than our heart condition while we've attempted them. And we'll often be much more harsh on ourselves than we would ever be with someone else.

There are many times when our self-critique prevents us from seeing the saved child of God that He sees. "How could the Lord love me when He knows who I am, what I've done and what I've been?"

Isn't it amazing (and such a wonderful blessing) that God sees us through the blood of Christ. Because we've come before His throne in repentance, we are a new creature, completely covered in the crimson flow. What was once a lost, struggling, sinful person is now seen clean, pure and refreshed by the grace of God.

So who are we to belittle, judge …

A Weekend of Anticipation

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Everyone's hurrying around this weekend - attending events and parties, shopping for numerous gifts and writing out the last of the greeting cards.

Are we anticipating the event or the arrival?

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Matthew 1:20-23

Make this weekend one of anticipation over the birth of the Savior. The other stuff can wait - praise and worship of the soon-coming King can't!

Rain In Due Season

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 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Leviticus 26:4

My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass. Deuteronomy 32:2

And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. 1 Kings 18: 41
 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. James 5:18

Getting Adjusted

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Just wanted to let you know that the girls are having a wonderful time in their new home. There was a little anxiety at first, but everyone is now settled and adjusted to life in Iowa.

They love to be out on the property, sniffing for the deer, turkeys and the occasional raccoon. The woods surrounding us are the perfect place to do a little exploring.

You can tell that everything's back to normal when your Labrador Retriever spends her time in the kitchen with you while you're baking. Just in case you need help cleaning up...
 And they're happiest when they can watch the world go by from the warmth of the inside. Bailey protects the house with all her heart, especially when there are birds and deer on the loose.
It's a great time to be a puppy.

Would You Like Your Ravioli Toasted?

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This recipe is so easy and so fantastic that I made it twice in one week. Restaurants everywhere have included it on their menu, but for a better value (and quicker service) you can make it yourself.

I found several recipes around and about for toasted ravioli, mainly because I didn't want the hassle of frying them. These are baked instead, and take just a few minutes in the oven.

Interestingly enough, I had also screwed up some step in each recipe I had saved...yes, surprising, I know. So I had to modify and make things up as I went along to compensate.

Mind you, my measurements are a little guess work - I added enough spices to make the bread crumbs smell just right and look really pretty. The exact numbers are really up to you. Take a whiff and decide what you like.

Ingredients:
1 bag frozen meat ravioli, thawed overnight
1 egg white
2 Tbsp water
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
3 Tbsp basil
3 Tbsp oregano
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
marinara or pizza sauce

1. Preheat oven to 400 …

It's Not That Time Consuming

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After a while I get tired of hearing people say that it's too time consuming and too difficult to make your own Christmas cards. Then they settle for some generic design that many other people will purchase and that may not say exactly what they'd like.
Let me show you, in just seven pictures, how quickly and easily you can make a beautiful card to share the joy of the season.
Step one: gather one blank card, one sheet of decorator paper, two coordinating scraps and one 3D embellishment. Yep...that's it. That took me about two minutes, mostly because I'm still not reorganized yet.
Step two: adhere the decorator paper to the card and trim to fit. That took about a minute.
Step three: with your paper trimmer, cut a small strip of paper, long enough to run top to bottom on your card. Then adhere it to the coordinating piece so there is a thin border on either side. This may take three minutes, tops. 
Step four: adhere your new strip to the center of your card. This takes…

Reading Through The Bible In A Year

If you've been following along with the Daily Devotion on this site, you've just read through the entire Bible in less than 50 weeks. It's truly hard to believe that it's been that long, but it's been a blessed journey.

We've watched the Lord of all Creation make a universe...and then create a man. Through the miracle of His power He made that man a help meet, which started our own beautiful family.

But we've also had to read about sin coming into the world and the need of man for a Savior. From the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation, we've clearly seen that scarlet thread that is the blood of Jesus Christ work its way through history.

We've seen how God can use a shepherd, a slave girl, a king, a harlot, a publican, a Pharisee, a fisherman and thousands of other lives to give glory and honor to the King of kings and Lord of lords. If He can do that with this variety of people, what can He use me for?

And possibly the best pa…

No Trespassing

Our new home sits well off the road in a great area of trees. You can't see it from the highway and there is little traffic noise. It's not somewhere people just happen to be passing by, so when someone arrives in the driveway, it is normally planned and expected. And usually they are here for a purpose.

Anyone who isn't here by invitation or to complete a necessary task for our family is trespassing. They have no reason to be here and probably aren't up to anything good. We've heard about people hunting on surrounding land without permission, and that is a scary thought. This space is precious to us, and we like to protect it from anyone who would do it harm.

Unfortunately, I have been guilty of allowing trespassers onto our property. No, it wasn't hunters or salesmen. There hasn't been anyone on our doorstep that shouldn't be, but I have allowed other things to creep their way in.

When I worry, I am allowing those people and issues that have evil inte…

Under A Blanket Of Snow

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Just wanted you to see what happens when you try to "encourage" the snow. (Reread yesterday's craft post.)

This is how we woke up this morning, and it's still coming down. Just sitting inside praising the Lord for the beauty of His creation.

Have a wonderful day bundled up in God's love!

Farewell To Fall Cupcakes

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It's finally time to share the culmination of a past post - one you've probably been sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for, right?

I've been thinking about these tiny cupcakes for days, and finally made them yesterday morning. Half went to work with Danny and the other half went to the newsroom with me. Only a handful made it home, but we're not complaining.

Ingredients:
one white cake box mix
the ingredients called for on the package
one jar marshmallow fluff
one can creamy white frosting
one can spray frosting (or your favorite kind)
one container of chocolate-dipped graham crackers

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place one tiny cupcake wrapper in each spot of a 24-count mini-cupcake pan.

2. Bake 48 miniature cupcakes, 10-12 minutes for each batch. (Try not to eat them as they come out of the oven.)

3. Meanwhile, mix most of the jar of fluff and most of the jar of frosting together. If you use all of each one, you'll have tons leftover. Hmm...

4. After t…

Snow, In All Its Many Forms

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After spending six years in a state with very little snowfall, I'm so looking forward to winter in Iowa! It's been predicted that we'll have some snow on the ground soon, and I can't wait!

So perhaps to encourage it along, I challenged myself in the craft room this weekend. Each card I made had to be on the snowflake theme, but completely different. Have you ever tried that? Not as easy as it sounds...

I used my snowflake punch to just make some accents for my phrase. I love the way they look against the dark tree background. Contrasting colors make everything pop a little more. And there's also a snowflake in the torn corner panel. Did you see it? It's really subtle.

The look of these snowflakes on their contrasting circles proves my point about making colors stand out. Layering also adds tons of texture and makes your project more interesting to look at.
Two punches, a simple border cut from another sheet of paper and there you go. Sometimes it's the lef…

A Weekend Of Breaking Through

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It's been a very chilly week...alright, it's been downright cold! This icy scene has been pretty typical on our ponds for the past few days. And it's quite beautiful - from the warmth of inside!

If you're brave enough to venture down to the water's edge, you'll quickly see that the waters are still swirling underneath that thin sheet of ice on top. It will get thicker as the weeks of cold continue, but for right now a light tap will break through that covering.

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Psalm 95:6-9

Make this a weekend of breaking through whatever has begun to harden your heart. It may be like that thin layer of ice right now, just a little bi…