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Showing posts from November, 2017

Diligence In The Proverbs

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Diligence is an old-fashioned word for an old-fashioned concept. Its definition varies slightly throughout the Scriptures, but one truth remains the same: diligent people don't just happen. It is a characteristic that is practiced and cultivated over time.

As we'll see in the Bible verses to follow, God is very serious about us working for Him with all our hearts. If we're careless or lazy in our endeavors, we will have to live with the consequences. But if we're dedicated to whatever the task is before us, we'll receive the Lord's blessings over and over again.

He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. Proverbs 10:4

Honor and riches, success and wisdom aren't waiting on the surface of the ground to be discovered. These blessings have to be dug for and mined for with eager determination. The hand of the diligent doesn't mind the extra work because there is something special and valuable to be found. Whate…

Words For Wednesday

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The Four Craft Fix-It Tools You Absolutely Need

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When we go back and forth to craft shows, it's inevitable that something is going to get creased, broken or slightly mangled. I could wrap everything in bubble wrap and something would still need a little fixing.

That's why I never go anywhere without these four tools of the trade. I can fix almost anything with them, as long as the pieces didn't get lost in transit - I'm not a magician.

My four favorite fix-its:

1. Glue dots. They can be cut to any size and have incredible sticking power. When embellishments shift or end up in the bottom of the box, a little glue dot goes a long way.

2. Non-stick scissors. For cutting the glue dots, obviously. If you've ever had scissors that are completely gummed from sticky adhesive, those days are long gone with this pair. The trimmed-down dots peel right off without leaving any residue - it stays on the dot where you need it.

3. Glue pen. While I am a huge proponent of double-stick tape, I would be lost without my glue pen. I…

A Huge Thank You For Your Love And Support!

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We just want to take a moment and thank everyone who came to show us some love at Santa's Workshop this weekend. Seeing so many familiar, friendly faces does amazing things to our hearts, especially when we're surrounded by new customers who don't know us yet.

Santa's Workshop has been one of our most successful shows business-wise for the past two years, but that is just an added bonus. We have also been given the opportunity to share our faith, God's word and Christian hospitality to all the people who walked into our booth. Some we may never see again, so we won't know until we get to heaven how many lives we touched because of the Lord.

This was our last show of the year, which is a little sad, but our ministry doesn't stop here. Everything we had at the show, plus many other pieces we didn't take with us, are now available in the Etsy shop. We would love for you to come visit and see how many names you can cross off your gift list! Don't forge…

A Week Of Letting Christ Shine

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One of the best parts of living in the country is the lack of lights. While the security lights do a great job of deterring unwanted visitors, there is very little on the property to block out the brightness of the night sky.

On Thursday night, the moon was shining so brightly just beyond the power lines that I had to take a picture. Without the right settings on my camera, though, it was just a big blob of light. Not much to look at then.

But when the camera was set for taking distance pictures and adjusting for the change in light, I was able to capture the sliver of moon and just a glimpse of the electric line. When you have the right settings, the light in the camera is very similar to the light your naked eye sees.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 2 Corinthians 4:4-5

Paul knew th…

Join Stuff From Trees At Santa's Workshop Today!

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Today's the day that Stuff From Trees introduces four new product lines! Come visit our booth at Santa's Workshop to see all of them and get some of your Christmas shopping done early. All the details about where and when are at the bottom of this post.

#1 - Our Christmas line. We have ornaments, notebooks, stocking stuffers, Secret Santa gifts and all the holiday gift packaging you need. Wouldn't it be great to walk out of the show with several names checked off your list?

#2 - Our Handwritten line. Give gift sets of journals and pens, plus lots of handmade greeting cards in a variety of themes. You may decide you want to keep some for yourself, too, especially when you have a new pen to write with.

#3 - Our Scrabble line. While the journals are my favorite (come see them for yourself and you'll understand why), we can spell out words and phrases just for you in a variety of ways. We love custom orders here at Stuff From Trees - ask us about it!

#4 - Our Kitchen line…

Seven Ways Of True Gratitude

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On this day after Thanksgiving, are you still practicing an attitude of gratitude, or are you back to life as usual? It's easy to say a prayer of thanks at the dinner table, but does your heart stay in that condition past the meal?

This week our pastor gave us seven ways to show God how thankful we are on a daily basis. Now there's no excuse for not counting our blessings ton by ton!

1. Thank God in every circumstance.

2. Be thankful for little things.

3. Say Thank You more often.
4. Be thankful for what you have instead of dwelling on what you lack.

5. Tell someone every day you are thankful for them.

6. Begin your day by listing five things you are thankful for.

7. End your day by thanking God for three things that happened to you.

My heart's desire is to be grateful for what I've already been given and, by faith, be thankful what God is going to do. Let's determine today that a year from now we'll be able to say our attitude of gratitude has been stronger t…

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Words For Wednesday

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Children's Book Page Banners

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When I asked the church congregation for Little Golden Book donations, I didn't tell them why. All I said was the teen girls Bible study was going to use them for a couple of crafts. These adorable buntings were the first project - the second will happen in the spring.

There is a simple way to make these pennant banners, and it starts with breaking down the book. In order to save the covers, gently pull back the pages and loosen the staples. More on that here.

Once the pages are separated, cut a triangle of cardboard the same width as the top of the page. The bottom point is measured to the middle of width of the page and as far down as you would like. Move the template over the page so the best part of the picture will be used.

Then all you do is punch holes in the top corners of each triangle and run a coordinating ribbon through. A large knot at the ends will hold them in place. The bunting I made is from a children's prayer book and is hanging in the church nursery. 
Now…

Deep Waters And Flowing Brooks

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Water is a focal point of our property. We enjoy the ponds from the window. We fish in them. We hike around them. And they're one of the main reasons we live where we live.

God has set nature up in a very special way when it comes to water:
The little pond empties into the big pond.
The big pond empties into the creek, despite the beaver's best efforts.
The creek flows down the edge of our property toward the highway.

The ponds are silent, not gushing and troubled waters. They calm the soul and lift the spirits. They aren't bottomless, but they hold enough water that they won't run dry in normal, everyday life.

The water from the ponds replenishes the creek, keeping it filled and moving. The creek is clear and fresh, always flowing. It flows naturally because there is always something good in it, because of the water that empties into it on a regular basis.
The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook. Proverbs 18:4

A Week Of Counting Your Blessings

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My favorite version of the hymn "Count Your Blessings" is to sing Ton By Ton instead of One By One. One by one sounds like a trickle of water from the kitchen faucet. That's not nearly the right word to describe the abundance of God.

I keep a praise journal where I list page after page of reasons to give thanks to God. In just a few months, I can write hundreds and even thousands of specific people, things and events in my life that come straight from the Lord. I have no reason to ever be gloomy or depressed because I can flip through those pages and thank God all over again for how much He loves me and how good He is to me.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17

Make this a week, not just a day, of counting your blessings. If you take just five minutes a day and think of all the blessings God has placed in your life, you'll be able to sing Ton By Ton, too! And maybe a we…

What Does Home Feel Like?

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What is that ultimate feeling you get when you finally get home after a long day? What is it that you long for when you're away?

Is it...

* seeing the lights as you pull into the driveway?

* your favorite plants, trees and landscaping outside the house?

* an entryway that welcomes you in?

* Scripture hanging on the walls?

* pictures and mementos of your family?

* piles of pillows and baskets of blankets?

* the aroma of dinner coming from the kitchen?

* the sound of loved ones' voices?

* prayers to end the day and looking forward to tomorrow?

Everyone has personal reasons they love their home and can't wait to be there. What are yours?

Words For Wednesday

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Leftover Candy Brownies

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Brownies are pretty great by themselves, but load them up with candy bits and you can take them to a whole other level.

If you have leftover candy from a party, fall festival or Christmas celebration, chop them up and add them in. It doesn't change the baking time, so get creative and make your one-of-a-kind dessert.

Follow the directions on a box of brownie mix, then add in at least 1 cup of chopped candy. Pour the mixture into a lightly sprayed baking dish and smooth it out.

Now sprinkle a few candies across the top and you're ready to bake. Follow the box directions for this part, too.

Serve warm - ice cream is a necessity, not an option.

Is Your Heart Thankful Today?

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Yesterday was an exciting day as Danny and I began teaching the upper-elementary Sunday school class. We had so much fun cleaning up the room and getting the first of our decorations up, including this fun Thanksgiving-themed door.

While our odd-looking turkey is adorable, we wanted the message to be powerful. We've been entrusted with the hearts and minds of young children, and we want to fill them with thanksgiving to the Lord every time they walk in the room. Whatever is happening around them, they need to know that God is worthy of praise in all things.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

A simple verse, yet Paul gives us a profound message. In every thing, this thing you're in right now and the thing you'll be in later, give thanks.

Please pray for us as we follow God's leading and direction with these children. We want to see them grow in the Lord, bring their friends to hear the gospel and …

On This Veterans Day Weekend

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Fall For All Your Senses

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Stop whatever you're doing and think about fall for a minute. Here in early November, we often skip over autumn and Thanksgiving to go straight to Christmas. Don't do it. Don't even think about it for the next few minutes. Instead, think about how to experience fall with all your senses.

 With your eyes: * The changing colors * Animals storing their winter food * The lights inside as it gets dark earlier * The sunshine on the leaves

With your ears: * The crunch of the ground underfoot * Leaves blowing across the yard * Wind in the trees * Owls hooting at night * Coyotes in the distance

With your nose: * Cinnamon and sugar * A late-night bonfire * Cookies in the oven * Hot apple cider * Pumpkin pancakes with maple syrup

With your mouth: * Warm cookies * Cranberry sauce * Turkey right out of the oven * Your favorite potatoes * Pie in every flavor

With your fingers: * Dry leaves that crumble * Prickly straw bales * The skin of a pumpkin * Scratchy burlap


Sausage And Egg Breakfast Casserole

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At our annual teen girls' Bible study sleepover, we made a yummy breakfast casserole that got them all ready for the day's devotion. It's so easy to put together, and it's super filling. We added a side dish of fresh pineapple and ate until we could eat no more.

Ingredients:
2 1-pound packages of ground sausage
1 32-ounce bag of frozen hash browns
2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
8 eggs
2 cups milk (I used almond milk)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. Brown sausage in a large skillet. Move from skillet to large bowl, leaving the fat and juices in the skillet.

3. Pour hash browns into skillet and cook until browned and the juices are gone.

4. Line the bottom of the baking dish with hash browns, then layer the sausage and cheese on top.

5. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over top of mixture in the baking dish.

6. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes.

Words For Wednesday

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Tips For Mass-Producing Cards

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'Tis the season for making batches of Christmas cards - it's only 48 days until Christmas, you know.

I love filling special orders for personalized cards. It's in those moments that I feel like I'm part of their celebration in some small way. At Christmas, it's even more special to be a part of the holiday season for families around the world.

The first order of Christmas cards at Stuff From Trees was completed this weekend, and it was such a fun way to being the holiday months. I was given the number to make and two images: stars and angels. From there, I was able to let my imagination run wild. I love orders like that!

And then for something completely different... This order came after a friend saw cards I had made for another customer. The phrase on the outside and the Bible verse inside were perfect, and I could do whatever I wanted for the color scheme. (Just no lady bugs!)

If you're thinking about (for lack of a better word) mass-producing cards this yea…

A Week Of Making A Change

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For several days recently, the power company had workers on the property doing maintenance work. Every year they come through and trim under the power lines so they will be easily accessible in case of an emergency. This means lots of chain saws, men on ATVs driving up the ridge and back and one loud Great Dane keeping them all in their place.

"Work Area Ahead" signs were up in several places for a couple of reasons. First, the workers set up signs at the bottom of the driveway and at the first turn coming up so we'd know exactly where they were. They didn't want us to pull in or out of the driveway, possibly running them down in the process.

The second reason was so we'd understand why it was so noisy and the landscape was being changed. The first year they did this, we had no idea how much work they'd have to do. This year, though, there was much less new growth under the power lines, so the work only took about a week to complete. The changes will have ma…

Our Life In A Storybook World

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We have said from the very beginning that we are blessed beyond measure to live on our property. At this time of year, though, it's difficult to step away from the windows. And now, we press the "release the wildlife" button. Prepare to feel like a Disney princess in a storybook world.

Our trio of geese are back this year, and they're joined by a dozen pairs of ducks.

This is the largest of the three bucks.

A crane or two are often walking along the banks of the ponds.

That silhouette in the center of the picture is a muskrat. A very large muskrat.

And we have a plethora of bunnies. I'm hoping one of them is the tiny bunny I kept Molly from playing with a few months ago.

And last but not least, we have a rafter of about 10 turkeys. I've named one of them "dinner" because I would love for him to be our guest at Thanksgiving.
That's the end of our wildlife tour for today, folks. Join us again next time when we hit the "release the wildlife&q…

The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Husband

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Today is Danny's birthday, and it's such a blessing to spend a whole day celebrating him! There are many fun things scheduled for the day - some he knows about and some he doesn't. The secrets make me happy!

But the best birthday present that any woman can give her husband is the gift of prayer. Whether his special day is coming up soon or isn't for several months, it's the perfect time to load him up with eternal blessings.

* Pray that he will have a desire to grow spiritually, in some way, every day.

* Pray for his strength and endurance when he's at work.

* Pray for God's guidance in making daily decisions.

* Pray that God will protect him from temptation and always show him a way out.

* Pray for his eyes to be opened to the joyful moments around him.

* Pray that his heart will be focused on God's will for your husband, your marriage and your home.

* Pray that he will live with integrity and share his testimony with those around him.

And that's j…

Happy 4th Birthday, Molly Jo!

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