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Showing posts from March, 2018

Smile! God Loves You!

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"Smile! You're on Candid Camera!"

Does anyone else remember this decades-old television show? Hidden cameras would catch unsuspecting people living their daily lives and then do something strange to see how they would react. The caper usually ended with smiles and laughing both on camera and in the home audience.

God's love puts that smile on your face, doesn't it? When the sun is hiding behind the clouds and there's a sprinkle of rain in the air, it's the love of God that wipes the doldrums away. He is really the only reason we're able to smile, regardless of our circumstances.

But what happens if you take away the second sentence? It takes away the reason to smile completely. In fact, it makes it sound as though there is something deep down inside yourself that will help you smile.

"Just smile. No matter what else is going on. You can do it. Smile!"

We all know that's not how it works. You can't summon enough strength every day to…

Words For Wednesday

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My Finished Love Paper Bag Album For Etsy

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It's finally done! I'm so excited to share my finished love paper bag album with you. You can read about the step-by-step process to make it here.

When the folded paper bags are flipped and rearranged, they make a variety of flaps and pockets. 

The small pages make it a great way to feature tiny embellishments.

There are two sizes of tags inside, perfect for wallet-sized pictures and journaling.

Inside the opening of each bag is a large tag, which tucks back inside for a special surprise.

My favorite new feature is the cardboard file folder pages. They're covered with coordinating decorator paper and can be used for larger pictures, journaling or just about anything else your heart desires. If you just have to have this adorable album for yourself or for a gift, you can find it in our Etsy shop. We look forward to seeing you soon!

20-Minute Sweet And Sour Chicken Stir Fry

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This chicken dish is one of go-to meals when we're short on time. Using breaded chicken and frozen vegetables makes it super easy, too.

We get breaded popcorn chicken in bulk from Dutchman's in Cantril, Iowa. The breading they use is amazing, and you can't beat the price. You can get some somewhere else, I suppose, but I never will. If it's this good, why shop around?

Lay the chicken in a single layer on a sheet pan while the oven is preheating to 400 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes, until it's crispy and brown on the outside.

While the chicken is baking, heat frozen stir fry veggies in the microwave. Toss the heated veggies with a drizzle of soy sauce. Cover with a towel until you're ready to serve it.

As soon as you remove the chicken from the oven, transfer it to a large bowl and toss with sweet and sour sauce. Serve immediately on a bed of stir fry veggies.

And it's that simple. If you're feeling adventurous, experiment with different sauces and veget…

When Someone Says 'I Don't Go To Church'

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Every week at the end of our Sunday evening service, our church family prays for boldness and opportunity in the coming week. We want to be ready, willing and able whenever God puts a witnessing moment in our paths. It's a deep desire to be aware of the needs around us on a daily basis.

Recently I stopped at the grocery store early on a Sunday morning, which I rarely do. But on this day I needed some fresh produce that I didn't want to get the day before. I would hate to arrive at our noon fellowship with stale food. (shudder)

As I took my fruit tray and creme cake to the checkout, several young clerks were gathered around the checker's station. They were all young women, and they were talking and laughing like they didn't have a care in the world. This wouldn't have been memorable if one of them hadn't loudly announced, "I wouldn't know...I don't go to church."

This one statement threw me for a loop. What do you say when you'd rather be …

A Creative Sunday School Environment

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We had a busy week last week. In just two days we completely changed our Sunday school classroom from a boring, white box to a place we're all excited to learn in.

This before picture makes me very sad. The church basement had a flooding problem and all of the carpet was removed. This was actually a blessing in disguise because we were motivated to get the painting process started so the new carpet could be installed. 

Before the carpet installation, we gave all four walls a sky-and-grass paint job. Danny was amazing, doing everything but the touch-ups himself. He created the green hills by hand, taking what was in his head and transferring it to the walls. It's another one of his incredible, God-given talents.

Now that the carpet is in, it looks exactly like the ground! The fabric has several different colors of thread in it, making it look like concrete or gravel. Perfect for our outdoor room.

We attached boards to the bottom of the wall and ran rope across them to make the…

Asleep On Your Feet... Or ... Why Chick Days Are The Best!

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I love living in the Midwest at the beginning of spring. There's one specific sound that lets me know the change of seasons is near, and I hear it when I walk into any of the local farm supply stores.

Chick days!

Hundreds of baby chicken and ducks sing the songs of their people, luring cuteness-lovers from every corner of the county. They're easy to fall in love with when they're tiny balls of fluff that move on itty-bitty legs.

Except for the guy in this picture. He was standing at the back of the cage, slightly distant from the others. He was full from the feed in the trough, he was warm from the heat lamp and he was ready for his afternoon nap. His little eyelids were fighting sleep, but eventually he succumbed and drifted off. He didn't fall over - he just fell asleep on his feet. Can you relate some days?

Perhaps they have always been there, but this was the first time I noticed signs regulating the purchase of chicks, ducks and rabbits. They won't sell them …

Words For Wednesday

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Words For Wednesday

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Words For Wednesday

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