Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Weekend of Believing the Promises

Do you know that there are literally thousands of promises in the Bible? They cover every single need, want, moment and personal issue you'll ever encounter in your life. But how often we just read over them in our effort to get through another chapter of reading.

How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!  Psalm 119:103

Make this a weekend of believing the promises of God. They are the sweet to the taste and precious to the soul. When everything else seems bitter to the taste, we can always trust in the sweetness of the Lord.

And here's your challenge for the weekend: As you do your Bible study, see how many promises you can count! You might be surprised!

How sweet are God's promises!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Finding Common Ground

A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with a woman that has stuck with me. I've actually found myself repeating one phrase she said over and over again.

We were talking about why she volunteers as a greeter at a local nonprofit, and here's what she said:

You can always find common ground if you dig deep enough.

I've been rolling those words through my mind again and again. She probably doesn't think about it anymore, but I sure am.

Your husband, family and close friends are probably easy to talk to because you already have common ground between you. But what about the checker at the grocery store? The new people at church? The neighbor that you haven't really spoken to? Those might be a little more intimidating.

So why don't we take the time to dig deep enough and find the common ground? Here are the few reasons I came up with, just off the top of my head:

* Fear
* Laziness
* Comfort Zone
* Fear
* Disinterest
* Judgmental Attitude
* Fear

But if we never approach people, we're losing out on some amazing opportunities. As a newspaper reporter, I have a shoe in the door to talk to several new people every day. If you're not in a position to talk like this, it might be a little more difficult.

So picture this - you can either shut yourself off and never find common ground with anyone, or you can put forth the effort to dig a little deeper and find your common ground with many different people. Think of all those opportunities to be a blessing, to share your testimony and to brighten someone's day with a smile.

If there some common ground around you that you need to excavate?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Weekend of Slowing Down

Our "not spoiled outdoor cat" now has his very own itty bitty kitty city. It's been super warm the past couple of weeks, and he adores being in the shade of his new little tent.

But the best part is to watch him relax. He finally has a place to call his own, so he stretches. He gets comfortable. He rests. He naps. He's in no hurry to go anywhere.

Make this a weekend of slowing down and being like Kitty. Stretch, get comfortable, rest, nap and don't be in a hurry to do anything.

Today will have just as much time in it as yesterday did and as much as tomorrow will. Instead of hurrying through it, relax. Slow down and enjoy the day God has created just for you.

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Last Few Days

 If you've been wondering where I've been for the last few days, I have two words for you ... the fair!


The Wapello County Fair wrapped up yesterday, and I covered many of the events over the five days.


And, of course, it was typical summer fair weather in Iowa. Lovely, huh?


The first night was the fair queen and Little Miss contest. The girls were all absolutely beautiful, but this was the shot of the night. They had several things to do while they waited for the judges to make their decisions - but it was so hot and taking so long. I couldn't help but smile at these little ones.


Another night they had an arm wrestling competition. Apparently this is a huge attraction around the state, dating back to the 1980s. Very exciting to watch.


I spent all of Saturday afternoon at the lamb show. Now, I may be an Iowa girl, but I know absolutely nothing about livestock. It was so interesting to talk to people who've been involved all their lives and learn how these kids are shaping the future of the industry.


But the best part was the food! This year's special treat was - and I'm not making this up - Fried Jell-O. A local couple came up with a batter mix that ends up frying into something like a doughnut ball. But it's all gooey and strawberry inside, making it the perfect treat for walking around the rest of the fair.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Kept in Perfect Peace

Here's a news flash for you - there are people int he world who don't believe in the same things you do!

Oh, wait ... you already knew that?

In your own personal life, you're probably in contact with many, many people who either aren't Christians or who have different beliefs within their Christianity. It's sad sometimes, but this part of being human.

It gets even worse when you get on the Internet. I was looking for some very specific things this morning, trying to encourage my heart. You have to do that when the world discourages your heart on a daily basis, dragging you down and damaging your spirit.

But instead of finding exactly what I was looking for, I found hateful, evil perceptions of a God that isn't my God. I don't need to go into detail because it's a waste of my time and energy. I think you get the picture.

I was so discouraged at that point - not the way I wanted to spend my morning.

So what were my choices?

* Read more on the Internet and try to find something to make me happier?
* Vow to never go back on the Internet again?
* Wallow in self-pity and discouragement?
* Take up a hunger strike until the people of the world unite?

Yes, these were my options. But I made I completely different choice.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

I won't say that I don't care what everybody else does because I do care - I care very deeply. But I can't let the people around me, or thousands of miles away for that matter, shake my confidence and affect my mood. My God is entirely too big for that.

So I turned off my computer, sat down with my Bible and walked away with a perfect peace because now my mind is stayed on the Lord.

Perhaps I should have done that in the first place ... hmmm?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Walking the Property in the Rain

After a wonderful, emotional day at church yesterday, Danny and I cam home to take a walk on the property. Now that we're growing out Etsy shop, walking the woods is a great time to get inspiration and find some supplies.


And that's when we actually looked outside. A dark bank of clouds was rolling in quickly, but the radar on the computer showed it was really thin and moving very quickly. So what did we decide? To go ahead with our walk. Yeah, like I'm going to pass up an opportunity to walk with my husband. I don't think so.


Danny spent hours on Saturday working on the trails, mowing and getting them all cleaned up. He even added a new one, so I was excited to see all the hard work he did. Back in the middle of one of the trails on the far side of the big pond, it suddenly got very, very dark. 


And then ... it poured! I love the rain with all my heart, so I was thrilled! But it also meant we had to walk all the way back to the house in the downpour. It lasted the rest of the day, but it was glorious to watch - from the middle of it and from inside in dry clothes!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Weekend of Missions

Our church just finished an entire month on the theme of missions. It's been an incredibly convicting time, talking about our missionaries, the reasons we support them and why they should be on our hearts daily.

This is the bulletin board that I made for the month. If you zoom in, you'll see that the location of each of our missionaries is marked with a heart-topped push pin - hence the "Where In The World Is Your Heart?" theme. It was my mother-in-love, Charlotte's, idea to add the "You Are Here!" tag next to Ottumwa. Perfect!

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

Make this a weekend of missions in your own life. We are called to go into all the world and share the Gospel with everyone - I don't know about you, but I'm not physically, mentally or spiritual capable of being everywhere with everyone all at once. Praise God there are those who are willing, though, to go and share in my place. Danny's parents are my favorite example of this.

This is why I support missions, both financially and prayerfully. It's the best way for me to share the Gospel in all the world.

Where in the world is your heart?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Stuff From Trees on Facebook

Our Etsy shop has now entered the technology age with full force - we're on Facebook!

We'll give some updates on new pieces we've added to the shop, tell some stories about how and why we make what we make and have some special offers along the way.

Just go to Facebook and search "Stuff From Trees." Then like us, check out the shop and see what all we have going on!

It's such an exciting time for the shop - please come join us!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Post No. 1,000

In September 2009, I started a blog where I could share what I believe with other Christian women. All I wanted was a place to talk about the Lord, do a little crafting and cooking and uplift anyone passing by this way.

I had absolutely no idea the blessing this endeavor would be to my own soul.

And now, 1,000 posts later, I've learned more than I could ever have imagined.

* God will never leave me nor forsake me.
* He always, ALWAYS, keeps His promises.
* He is faithful in all things.
* He will answer prayer in ways I've never dreamed of.
* His only limitations are the ones I put there.

* I can do ALL things through Christ which strengeneth me.
* I am not perfect, but I am perfectly loved by a perfect God.
* I am blessed beyond measure by an amazing God.
* I am called to reflect the Jesus Christ living inside me to a dark and dying world.
* In the end, it's not about me at all. It's all about Him.

* Pray without ceasing.
* Allow God to do the leading - don't lag behind and never get ahead of Him.
* Nothing can happen today that the Lord has not already let pass through His filtering hands.
* No matter how terrible the world is around me, my Lord is in control.
* At the end of the book, because of God's perfect plan, we win.

Now, let's see what the Lord does with the next 1,000 posts. I feel a "Glory!" coming on!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Reading Scripture Aloud

I'm not sure why I started, but for the past few days I've been reading aloud from the Psalms. I think part of it might be because I've been so tired and stressed lately, and just focusing on the Word clears my head. It also might be because so many of the words David wrote are the words I have in my own heart. Hearing them out loud has such a calming affect on my soul.

If you've never read Scripture aloud, you might think the idea sounds silly. But the truth is, the Word of God never returns void. Hearing His Word spoken aloud can help you understand it in a new and different way. It might even stir your heart to read more and study more. It is fascinating to see how the Spirit will work in your life.

Start with Psalm 5. Find a nice, quiet spot and just read out loud. It's only 12 verse long, but the Psalmist speaks from his heart in such a wonderful way. You might find places where you think you wrote the words, they so convey the way you feel.

Then go back to the beginning of Psalms and read your way through. I started with one chapter, but I couldn't stop. After just a few verses, my spirit was overflowing and I had to keep going. Then find other places in the Scriptures that have always spoken to you - read them out loud and how the Lord moves.

I pray you'll challenge yourself to read some Scripture aloud. The living, breathing Word of God can change your life if you'll let it.