Showing posts from May, 2014

Words for Wednesday


Our Pathways Magazine Reveal

It's been months in the making - and it's finally here!

On Friday, the Ottumwa Courier's Pathways magazine was revealed. And I'm so excited! It's wonderful to have it in hand and not just talk about it.

Several months ago, I was asked to be the editor of our newspaper's new magazine. I could hire writers, choose the stories and get it all put together. I was thrilled and immediately accepted.

The subtitle of the magazine is winding through southeast Iowa. There are so many interesting people doing exciting things on those back roads and dirt trails around here, and this publication is the perfect way to uncover them. We've got more time, space and color to give detail and show parts of our community you might not normally see.

In this first edition, we've combined history, renovation, revitalization, summer fun and healthy eating all in one magazine. It's so much fun to see it progress from an idea in my head to stories on the computer screen to a …

Faithful Men - Happy Memorial Day!

We had amazing Memorial Day Sunday services this weekend. Personally, they were exactly what I needed to get recharged and ready for the week.

The highlight of the day was the men's quartet, who sang in the morning service. Pastor Mel Kendall, Pastor Craig Knupp, Danny and Tom Boos sang "Faithful Men," a song I had never heard but immediately fell in love with. It's all about following in the footsteps of those who have gone on before us - so appropriate for this weekend.

In the evening, we had a singspiration and testimony service, and it was a moving, powerful time of worship. All music and testimonies, everyone had an opportunity to contribute by requesting songs or sharing a story from their spiritual walk. Just amazing.

As we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country today, I pray you'll find peace and joy in the presence of the Lord and those you love.

Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday Sketch

If you're looking for a fun, versatile sketch for this week, this is the one.

Think about a pocket. Think about an envelope. Think about a napkin or the corner of a bed sheet. This card sketch could easily be any of those designs.

Choose a patterned paper for the background, then offset the corner of a solid color or slightly patterned paper across the top. You don't want two busy patterns together for this one because it just plain won't look right.

Then use the left side of the corner piece for a phrase and the right side for some embellishments - or vice versa. The fun part is that it's completely up to you how it's decorated.
For my card, I used a pretty pink and maroon flower-patterned paper as my background. Then I layered with with the rustic-looking coordinating maroon pattern on top. It was just the right color - not too dark to read the stamped phrase and not so light that the rhinestones wouldn't stand out.

So now ... think about the variations you …

A Weekend of Taking Off

It's almost time.

My favorite wren came back this spring to have her babies in the nest over our garage security light. I've been watching her little ones grow and lose their down, and in just the next couple of days they'll take off for the skies.

It's so exciting!

By the way, the little one on the right couldn't stay awake while I took his picture. I think I was keeping him from his nap.

So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. Acts 13:4

My baby birds have an instinct, and a pushy mama, that will get them out of the nest and into the sky.

You and I have a Holy Spirit living inside us that is ready to lead, guide and direct in our everyday lives. The difference is when you release yourself completely and obey unconditionally.

Make this a weekend of taking off. Listen to the Spirit and follow where He leads. God has some amazing plans for your weekend - prepare for the flight!

Softball season starts

After a rainy week last week, church league softball started for Calvary Baptist Church Thursday evening. This is my absolute favorite time of year, and I think Danny would tell you the same thing.

Sometimes it's hard for us to be there because of our work schedules, but it's worth the extra effort. It's a great time to socialize, and Danny's been working out as much as he can so the "day after the softball games" isn't quite so difficult. (But we do have a good supply of pain killers on hand.)

I don't play, but I love to cheer. The guys had two great games this week, winning them both handily, so there was a lot to cheer about.

We took first place last year in addition to the sportsmanship award, so it's already looking like a good year.

So now everyone has a week to recuperate and get ready for next Friday's games. They may need it.

Words for Wednesday


A Weekend of Trimmings

There are very few smells I love more than freshly cut grass. My allergies tend to disagree with me, but that doesn't make me enjoy it any less. There's nothing like throwing open the windows after Danny's mowed and breathing in that fresh smell.

What's leftover after the mowing is that long, shaggy grass that was clipped off. It quickly browns and dries while the new grass comes in bright and green.

It's fun to watch the birds fly off with bits of it for their nests, and the wind carries much of it away. What remains is gathered up, piled away or burned so it won't hamper the growth of the new grass.

As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. Psalm 193:15-16

Today is going to speed by, just like yesterday and the day before. Our time will end up as that cut grass, one way or another. Will your life be used by others, blown away or le…

Altered Binder Clips

I was looking for a new project, something that would be totally different from what I've been working on lately. I can only do one thing for so long before I go completely insane and don't even want to go into my craft room. That's a terrible, horrible place to be.

That's when I found a package of binder clips at the dollar store. Then my imagination ran wild. There's so much you can do to decorate a simple binder clip. And when they come eight in a package for a dollar, they're well worth it!

To start, I marked off and cut down a piece of notebook paper for a template. Now I can use that rectangle of paper over and over again and not have to measure repeatedly. I'm very lazy that way.

Then I gathered up all those little, 3D, miscellaneous embellishments that have been taking up space in my storage shelves. If you've been crafting for any length of time, you know exactly what I mean - the rhinestones, stickers, letters and ribbons that you don't w…

Words for Wednesday


Sriracha Chicken Legs

I'm not a huge chicken fan. I'm also not a huge fan of spicy food. That being said, however, I could curl up and live on these drumsticks.

Danny loves sriracha, the hot sauce made from sun ripen chilies which are ground into a smooth paste along with garlic. He uses it on many, many things.

So he asked me to make something special using this great sauce. I was a little unsure about using it, though, because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to eat them because of the heat.

So here's my take on these amazing wings - the longer you marinate them, the hotter they will be. So if you want some kick without making your lips go numb, just marinate them for a shorter period of time. You can also use a little more honey to sweeten the sauce. Experiment a little and see what combination you like.

10-12 chicken legs
1/2 cup sriracha
1/4 cup worchestershire pub burger seasoning
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Place chicken legs in a large plastic bag. Add al…

For The Moment You're About To Complain...

...and we all have those moments. You know exactly what I mean: circumstances are against us, people are rude, if only we had (insert something bigger or better here). Perhaps things aren't going the way you planned or someone didn't follow through with something you think they should have. Maybe they didn't meet your expectations ... or maybe they did and you just don't see it that way.

We were at an event over the weekend that was a fancy affair. Two ladies were sitting at the ticket table and there weren't very many people there yet. So instead of engaging in conversation with the guests, they sat there and complained. And complained. And complained about how much they had to complain. I was grumpy myself just listening to them.

As soon as someone came over to their table, they immediately stopped their complaining, pasted a smile on their faces and spoke in sickeningly sweet voices. They took care of their visitors and then went right back to complaining. I'…

Sunday Sketch

When I actually drew this sketch, I had my doubts. In my head it makes sense, but on paper - it's a little different.

Start with two layers of solid colors, then choose a very special patterned paper. Pick one that has something special on the righthand side, a flourish of stars, a dramatic swirl or maybe a sweet picture.

On the left, you'll mat the perfect phrase or image on a coordinating card stock to give it some added dimension.

So on paper it may look like a challenge, but it's really very simple.
For my card, I started with two shades of purple card stock and rounded the corners of the top one. Then I chose a purple patterned paper that had butterflies flying up the righthand side. That's the only place they are, so the phrase isn't covering anything up.

On the left, I hand-stamped my phrase and matted it on a darker card stock. I don't always stamp on colored paper, but when I do, it's a very dramatic combination.

This card, along with many other p…

A Weekend of Release

Earlier this week, I had an appointment that I just knew was going to be a challenge. There would probably be a confrontation and maybe even hurt feelings.

Now, normally I would worry about a meeting like this. I would stew and think and plan and rehearse everything so that I could be prepared for any scenario. The planner in me can go a little overboard.

But I didn't.

Did you know that worry is a choice? You don't have to be scared and anxious and bent out of the frame over something that hasn't happened yet.

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:31-33

God has already gone on before - He knows what lies ahead because He has already arranged it for us. The test…

Words for Wednesday


Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

When Danny texts me at work to tell me he has a surprise for me, it makes my day. When it's his day off and he texts me at work to tell me he has a surprise for me, it's even better.

Last week, that surprise was an amazing banana bread adapted from his granddaddy's recipe. Those almost-dead bananas on the counter went to an incredibly good cause.

I'm blessed beyond measure.

This recipe makes enough for two full-sized loaves of bread.

1 cup shortening or 2 sticks of margarine
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
6 over-ripe bananas
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Mash up the butter with a spoon. Add the sugar, eggs and bananas, using a whisk to mix well.

3. Add dry ingredients and blend well.  Be careful not to over mix.

4. Bake in 2 well-greased and floured loaf pans for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

You can also substitute 1 cup of nuts if you'd rather not have chocolate.

A Weekend of Taking Time

It's already Saturday. For that matter, it's already May! Apparently time flies when you're having fun.

They say that time goes faster as you age. I still feel young, but I would have to agree that the days are speeding past at an alarming rate.

... who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14

Make this a weekend of taking time. Take time to pray. Take time to reconnect. Take time to just sit and think. Take time to get out and about.

There are so many possibilities for this weekend. Take the time to make the most of it.

Choose Your Words Carefully

Unless you live in a remote corner of the jungle or stay in your bedroom 24/7, you have some kind of contact with people every day. It may just be a phone call, or it might be interacting with the public each day at your job. What it comes down to is this - you have to speak to them.

In this modern age of texting, email and social media, it is very easy for people to communicate. This is splendid if you're staying in touch with family, want to share an encouraging word or have news to pass along.

But more and more, people are using these types of communication to use language in very negative ways. Words have the power of life and death, the Scriptures say, and from the abundance of your heart come your words. This is becoming more clear every day as you go through your normal, everyday life.

This is scary when you receive an email from someone you've never even met who wants to critique your job. Or you work somewhere you have to answer the phone and talk to customers. Or you…