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Showing posts from January, 2015

Choose Joy

When you wake up each morning, you're immediately bombarded with choices.

Get out of bed or hit the snooze button three times?
Get around and dressed or stay in your pj's all day?
Hair up or hair down?
Cereal or pancakes?
Bible reading or hurry to work?

And as the day goes on, the choices get more difficult.

Speak your mind or hold your tongue?
Share your faith or shy away?
Work a little harder or give up?
Support a friend or turn away?

In all of these situations, and all the difficult times each day brings, one decision can make all the difference.

Choose joy.

It's not an easy decision, but it changes your life.

Choose joy.

This has become my meditation phrase lately, and it does change you from the inside out. From the top down. From your head to your heart.

Complaining is your first instinct. Gossiping makes you feel better. Whining and muttering are simple.

Choose joy instead.

You are the only one who can change your mindset and your attitude.

When you're faced wit…

Apple Honey Pork Tenderloin

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Living in southern Iowa, we're so spoiled by the quality and variety of pork we can get here. The grocery stores have some really great sales, too, making amazing cuts of meats a good deal.

Recently I got a 10-pound pork tenderloin at less than half price. I brought it home, cut it in half and froze one piece.

The other half went straight into the slow cooker!

Three other ingredients and we had meals for several days.

Here's what I did:

Cut several slits in the fat side of the tenderloin.

Slice an apple and slide one slice into each slit.

Heavily sprinkle the whole loin with brown sugar.

Drizzle everything with honey.

Cook on low for 8-9 hours. You don't need any liquids because it will create its own juices. The apple slices will caramelize and melt down into the tenderloin, making it all sweet and tender.

Take it out and shred the meat. Serve with a side of veggies and some fruit.

Words For Wednesday

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Sunday Sketch

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Here's a sketch that lets you have fun with fibers!

A strip across the middle of the card is balanced by a trio of fibers on the side. One might be enough for your card, or you might want more, depending on how thick they are.

The image on the middle strip can be a phrase, a picture or just a design that you really like. The width of the strip will be dependent on this image, so choose wisely.

Also, play around with your backgrounds. Mix patterns and solids, or use the same pattern in different colors.

For my card, I chose three different patterns from a collection of papers already coordinated. That made mixing them easy — yeah, I'm lazy that way.

I used two chalkboard-themed images for my designs, each printed on card stock. The fibers are twine — I wish I had used something a little thinner, though, because the paper buckled a little at the top where I folded it over. Next time!

Many other cards, paper crafts and wood gifts can be found in our Etsy shop. Come visit Stuff Fr…

A Weekend Of Following

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Winter is the best time of year to see what's living in the woods around the property. It's not because they're out and about — it's because you can see their tracks in the snow!

Even from the house you can trace the paths the coyotes and the turkey and the deer took from one place to another. They follow each other up the ridge, around the ponds and across the levee to their dens and browse and homes.

It also means that the animals can track their prey better, too. They can follow the tracks and hunt down food quickly because they're so visible. They may have great eyesight, but following a trail makes finding lunch a little easier.

What tracks are you following?

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entirety not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by …

Quick Three-Ingredient Chili

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On those cold, wintry, blustery Iowa nights, there is nothing better than a bowl of hot, steamy chili. Here's a recipe that will let you clean out your pantry and make a tasty meal.

Please remember that this is a three-ingredient recipe. You may add all kinds of other things to your favorite version, but this one is a back-to-the-basics starter chili.

And you'll probably find two or three of the ingredients on hand already. Talk about saving you money at the grocery store!

This recipe will easily serve two people, so increase the amounts exponentially as necessary. I let it simmer for about an hour after all the ingredients were added and the flavors melded together perfectly.

Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 can red beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis

1. Brown the ground beef in the bottom of a medium-sized pot.

2. Add in the drained beans and the tomatoes.

3. Lower the heat and simmer for as long as you'd like.

4. Serve with your favorite toppings an…

Words for Wednesday

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Altered Notebook Prayer Journal With Denim Pocket

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I've wanted to do this project for ages. I found the perfect pair of girls' jeans at Goodwill and had the notebook on the shelf for weeks.

And that's where they stayed.

That's no fun, is it? So I sat down last week and had a great time putting this prayer journal together.

I started by carefully cutting the pocket off the pants with sharp scissors. The backing is still on it so there's an actual denim pocket, not just the look of one.
After layering the paper and inking the edges, I attached the pocket with hot glue. It took a good amount to keep it on, but not so much that it would overrun the edges or get the paper wet and messy.

There's a fine line with hot glue.

So now this prayer journal has a special pocket on the front for pens, pencils, erasers, photos or anything else you'd like to tuck away.

And I still have the other pocket to play with!

You can find this prayer journal, along with many other cards, paper crafts and wood gifts in our Etsy shop. …

Pallet Wood Bedside Tables

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I asked Danny if he would be willing to make some bedside tables for the prophet's chamber downstairs. It's so much fun to watch his imagination run wild.

What he made were two of the most amazing, rustic bedside tables I've ever seen.

If I had asked for something specific, I couldn't have dreamed these up. They're perfect for the space, the perfect size and a beautiful color.

He made them from pallet wood, about one pallet for each table. They're not identical, but that makes them all the more unique and perfect. Have I used that word enough yet?

So now I just need to figure out what to ask for next, especially since this request turned out so well!

Accidental Dirty Rice

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There comes a time when you need to make some meals and clean out the pantry. I have several containers in various forms that are leftover from other meals or were just never used. Your pantry may be in the same condition, and it's always a good way to save some money on this week's grocery bill.

So last week I realized I had several packages of ground beef in the freezer. I'm not quite sure where they came from, but I was incredibly happy to stumble across them.

I also had three boxes of brown rice — two of them open for some reason — and I decided to make a one-skillet meal. That way I could use up some other cans of things in the pantry. Not only is it easy, it's fun and economical.

Danny loved it and I decided to share it with you here. I asked what I should call it since it was just a mishmash of ingredients. Danny looked at me a little strange and said, I thought you made dirty rice. I stopped dead in my tracks — I was thinking of it as a ground beef dish with a…

Words For Wednesday

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Molly's Snow Adventures

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Yesterday was a beautiful, snowy Monday in southeast Iowa. By the time I got home from work, the sun was beginning to set and there was a lovely blue glow over everything.

So the first thing we had to do was go outside. Molly is now 14 months old, and she ADORES the snow. She'd romp for hours if we'd let her. She followed my tire tracks for a minute, and then something up by the barn got her attention.

So our Great Dane went on point. Then she sat down, while still on point. She's an absolute hoot! And look at those ears. She's just so sweet. Her old-lady big sisters were ready to go back inside long before she was, but she went in with a little coaxing. And promises that we'd go back out soon.

The KEYS To A Great 2015

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There is a new bulletin board at the church this weekend, one that gives just a hint of what you'll need to have a great new year.


They're really no secret. They're just a good reminder of what it takes to be joyful, peaceful and successful in the eyes of the Lord.


What are those keys? Set aside time for prayer and Bible study. Enjoy fellowship and be in church as often as you can.


Listen to Christian music, sing in the choir and attend concerts by Christian groups. Listen to preaching by good Bible-believing preachers, even on days other than Sunday. Saturate your life with Scripture and spend as much time as you can in the company of other believers.


These were just the few that would fit on the board. What others keys would you add?

Sunday Sketch

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I probably say it every week, but this sketch is so much fun! So grab a couple of your favorite punches and let's get started!

The vertical strip has partial circles punched out in varying intervals, and smaller punched shapes are placed within them.

Coordinating colors of paper are offset by some sparkle or shine in the inset images, and there's plenty of room for a small verse in the bottom corner.
I smiled the entire time I was making my card! I chose two shades of red/pink for my background and vertical strip. Then I used my 3/4" circle punch to punch the edges.

Before adding the hearts, I raised the strip on 3D adhesive, adding some dimension. I did the same thing with the tiny hearts, which are punched from gold foil paper.

I stamped the phrase and double matted it on both the strip paper and the gold foil.

This card, along with many other paper crafts and wood gifts can be found in our Etsy shop. Come visit us here today and see all the beautiful spring pieces we&…

A Weekend of Shining

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Our town has a yearly, mile-long drive-through Christmas lighting display. It is absolutely spectacular, from beginning to end.

Millions of bulbs send out their light, shining in the the darkness. You can see it from across the highway, sparkling for all to see.

It reminds me of Scripture from Isaiah, after the Jews returned from captivity. They had been in darkness, and the Lord had rescued them.

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. Isaiah 60:1-2

Imagine the light and joy that came from knowing the Lord and rejoicing in His goodness. You've probably experienced something similar in your own life, some very personal promise that God has fulfilled for you. That's the fountain of light that shines all over the heart and life of a victorious Christian woman.

Make this a weekend of s…

Powdered Peanut Butter

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Ok, so powdered peanut butter sounds like something the astronauts would take up in space with them. Just sprinkle a little on your freeze-dried ice cream and you're all set, right?

Well, not really. It's actually a healthier alternative to processed peanut butter, and it's quite versatile in many of your recipes.

It's lower in fat and much less greasy than regular peanut butter. Our grocery store even has it in multiple flavors.

Here's one way to use it ... and it's a yummy one. Add three to four tablespoons of powdered peanut butter to a package of chocolate pudding mix. Add the milk, follow the directions on the box and you'll have Peanut Butter Cup Pudding.

Yes, it's that simple. And YUMMY!

The package also has other ideas, along with the instructions for making actual peanut butter with it. It's super easy to mix up, and it has a wonderful, smooth texture.

It's definitely not going into the girls' treats - it's too special for that …

Happy New Year ... And Happy Anniversary!

Today is not only the first day of the year, it's also Danny and my ninth wedding anniversary. It's a very special day to celebrate a very special occasion.

As we begin this new year, I'm thinking about all the possibilities that lie ahead of us. There are 365 days just waiting to be lived. All of those hours and minutes to be a witness and serve the Lord with all our hearts.

And, as is on my mind today, another opportunity to strengthen our marriage. Here are just a few verses that mean so much to Danny and me. I've not quoted them, but given you a list to read and study on your own.

Happy New Year!

• Ephesians 5:22-33

• Colossians 3:18-19

• Titus 2:3-5

• 1 Peter 3:1-7

• Ephesians 4:32

• 1 Corinthians 7:2-5

• 1 Corinthians 1:10

• Romans 14:19