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Showing posts from July, 2017

So You Got What You Prayed For ... Now What?

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I had a very specific prayer request on my heart for two years. It was personal, serious and deeply painful, and it absorbed much of my mind and time for all those months. I surrendered my control of the situation to God and told Him I would love and reverence Him no matter what His answer was.

For those two years, God's answer was "wait." He had the timing all figured out, whether it felt like it or not. I struggled, I spent hours on end in my prayer closet and I did my best to continue on with the normal things in life. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, but by the grace of God I tried to live life in obedience to Him.

And then came that week when everything changed. God's "wait" answer turned into a resounding "yes!" He showered me with blessings even better than I asked for - or could have even imagined. My life today is living proof of the great and mighty God we serve.

But now what? For two years I was so focused on this prayer re…

A Week Of Pulling Away

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You can hear the rushing water from far away. It's a sound like no other, the music of a creek tripping over the rocks. This melody means fresh water, clean water, a way to quench the thirst that comes from traveling.

The moving, dancing water calls to the heart. You know the sound means water, and you want to be close to it. It is pleasant to the eye, a joy to the ear and peaceful to the soul. You want to sit there, listening and breathing in the sights and sounds that have pulled you away from the dirt and grime of the world.

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. Psalm 42:1

As the heart is pulled to the rushing water, it is pulled even more to be close to the Lord. The creek may satisfy thirst for a time, but God will satisfy our soul's longing for all eternity. When we've been roughed up from a day in the world, what a soothing time it is to sit alone in the presence of the Lord.

Make this a week of pulling away. Listen for th…

A Present For You On My Birthday!

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I can't think of any better way to celebrate my 40th birthday than to share the Scriptures that have been so important to me over the past year. I pray they will touch your heart as well.
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4
Now when he had oft speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. Luke 5:4
Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. John 21:22
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands. Psalm 143:5
They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. Nehemiah 4:17
And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivere…

20 Ways To Take A Break

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Somewhere along the way, women have convinced themselves that unless they're running themselves ragged at work and at home, they're not really accomplishing anything. If they stop moving for even a few minutes, it means they're lazy. If movement ceases long enough to take a breath, they're not working hard enough.

In reality, nonstop work drags us down. Women may be designed to endure a lot both physically and emotionally, but we're not designed to go nonstop. If we were, we wouldn't need coffee, chocolate and a soft bed at night.

The next time you feel worked to the max and just need a quick break, remind yourself that you were designed to rest. Rest in the Lord, rest your body, rest your mind.

Not sure what to do during your break time? Here are 20 ways you can shut down and relax a little.

1. Read your favorite chapter in the Bible.
2. Cuddle with your dog or cat.
3. Turn on some music and crank it up.
4. Light a scented candle and meditate on a verse of Sc…

Cinnamon Sugar Bars

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These sweet little bars are the perfect ending to a great meal. Or as a mid-morning snack. Or as a afternoon pick-me-up. Or as an evening treat.

Ok, so they're pretty amazing any time you want them.

And with just a few ingredients, all of which you probably have in your pantry right now, they're also easy to put together. So make a batch today and enjoy sharing them with someone special.

Ingredients:
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 cups mixed nuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. Cream butter, shortening and sugar until smooth. Add the two egg yolks.

3. Slowly add in the flour, cinnamon and salt.

4. Spoon mixture into pan and spread evenly.

5. Whip the two egg whites until fluffy. Pour into pan and spread evenly.

6. Press nuts into the top of the mixture.

7. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Words For Wednesday

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Wild West Paper Crafts

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On August 5, Stuff From Trees will have a booth set up at the Albia Restoration Days celebration. The theme this year is the Wild West, and we have several pieces that celebrate that cowboy spirit. I love this quote from John Wayne, and it fits perfectly with this denim and leather stand-up sign.

Our altered journals are some of my favorite crafts we do, and the Wild West one is no exception. It's covered with words and images that are sure to take you out on the range.

The inside covers are covered in a metallic bandana print in both blue and red.

And the back is a gorgeous denim print with ropes and steer emblems.

As wonderful as those two are, this altered Little Golden Book is probably my favorite of anything we'll have at the show. Lasso the Moon is a book about two children who spend their night wrangling the stars and practicing their lasso techniques on the crescent moon.

I took the book apart, made my own pages and used the original book illustrations as pages and ac…

Mama Deer Takes On Triple The Responsibility

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So a few weeks ago we had twin raccoons on the property, and we thought that was pretty cool. But it was nothing compared to this week when we saw a doe and three fawns by the little pond. They were absolutely stunning to watch, as they looked for their breakfast and had a romp in the water.

Two of them stayed very close to their mama, and we were able to see them nuzzle her and help her pull leaves off the trees. They enjoyed playing in the water a little and all seemed to be in great health. We would much rather see them this way than in a rehabilitation situation like we're used to.

The third fawn was larger and didn't stay as close to the doe as the other two. Our assumption is that this baby lost its own mother and had been adopted by this one. If so, that's one brave mama to take on three fawns all at once. We're looking forward to seeing them on the property and watching them grow to adulthood.

How Closely Are You Following?

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My very favorite game on my phone is a racing game - I get to go as fast as I want and drive some pretty amazing cars. This is as close to any of them as I will ever be, and it's fun to pass other cars, tap their bumper on occasion and rack up lots of points for my great driving skills.

The only problem is this: I work hard to race my way from the last position up to the front of the pack. I breathe for a moment after passing 20 or so cars only to realize that I'm not in first place like I thought I was. There's usually one car in front of me (sometimes two), and the game shows me exactly who one of them is - Danny. He's raced more and is at a higher level than I am, so he's often way out in front of me and all I can do is follow. That little icon tells me where he is, because often I can't see him, and how far in front of me he is.

My lower level and experience in the game mean that I will not be able to pass him, yet, but I can copy his lines, see how he tak…

Craft Inspiration From Book Sale Finds

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This is just a sampling of the paper craft books and magazines I've found at book sales this summer. When they're anywhere from 25 cents to $1 each, they're difficult for me to pass up. My addiction to books, as my husband politely puts it, definitely crosses over into my business life as well.

During one particular afternoon's creative jumpstart session, I saw this lovely card in one of the magazines. While I especially liked the sentiment in the center, the simple layout and beautiful color scheme really caught my eye. This spark of inspiration put a card in my head with this layout, but with my own spin on it.

For my card, I kept the same template, using spring rain and daisies as my theme. I chose a sentiment that would fit in the center of the card and matted it on distressed wood decorator paper. Instead of hemp rope, I used yellow baker's twine to set off the yellow in the flowers. For a finishing touch, I used two different sizes of pearls in place of a fe…

Words For Wednesday

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My Two-Tiered, Plaid, Candy-Covered Birthday Cake

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First, a confession. This is not the cake I intended to make last weekend. One of the dearest, sweetest girls in my teen Bible study turned 18 on Friday, and her mom asked me to decorate the cakes for the surprise party. I would much rather decorate than bake any day, so she brought the finished cakes to my house. I immediately stacked them in the oven because you don't leave anything important on the counter when you have a Great Dane.
Are you already sensing the impending doom? Yes, after I heated up the oven for supper that night, we noticed an odd burning smell. And yes, it was the cakes heating up in the oven. They were so warm by that time that they stuck to the pans and the cutting boards. They were salvageable for birthday cake truffles, so Plan B became truffles and four more cakes of my own for the party.

So here is how I made a two-tiered, plaid, candy-covered birthday cake!

I started by tracing the outline of each pan onto newsprint. (What good writer doesn't have…

Three Things That Made Me Smile This Week

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There has been so much to rejoice over this week, but here are just a few of my favorites.

Grand Central Station on the Carrell Wildlife Preserve: I felt like a Disney princess this week, watching all the animals around the house. It started with two bunnies being chased by a ferret. The ferret caught one of them while the other thought he would escape across the field. Instead, he was captured by a hawk that was flying by. Add to this a congress of turkeys, a yard full of moles and several shifty-looking squirrels, and Molly has been beside herself trying to protect us.

OK, so somebody created light bulb and ceiling fan-shaped fan pulls. It's the littlest thing in the whole wide world, but it's also possibly the cutest! We're going to get them for all the light fixtures in the house, so everyone else can have a tiny smile, too.

In Molly's attempt to bark at every single thing that moves on the property, she's wearing herself out. She's been moving very slowl…

Rules Of Life From 1875

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Living History Farms in Des Moines has always been a favorite destination for school groups. I remember going there in school several times, walking through the farms set up depict what life in Iowa was like in the 1700s, the 1870s and the 1900s. Farm life was very different then, and it has always fascinated me to see actors literally living on the farms from day to day, showing us what happened there on a daily basis.

The second half of the Farms is an 1870s town, complete with general store, church, dress shop, lawyer's office, dentist's office and printer's shop. All of the buildings are working shops, actually printing all the signage for the town, making period-style clothing and selling goods that would have been available in that decade.

Visiting a living museum like this as an adult is much different than walking through as a child. Everything makes more sense now, and I notice things I definitely don't remember seeing as a little girl. Walking into the schoo…

Too Many Pockets Altered Children's Book

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Sometimes inspiration comes at the strangest moments. At one of our local book sales, I happened across this adorable children's book. It might not mean anything to most people, but my mind automatically thought that this would make an amazing altered album with a ton of pockets inside.

This week I finally sat down to work on it, and the result was an adorable little gift book.

Inside is the condensed version of the storybook. 

Every other set of pages is a pocket with tags tucked inside. They can be used for pictures, journaling or just about anything your little heart desires.

This altered album starts like all the books I make - the inside pages come out. This is a fairly easy process regardless of the type of binding.

Then I cut the cover into two pieces, a front and a back. Then I punched three large holes in the spine for the binder rings.

For the inside pages, I cut plain card stock just smaller than the cover, then punched holes in one side.

 The pages that will be from t…