Showing posts from April, 2018

All I Can Say Is Hallelujah...

All I can say today is Hallelujah For The Cross. Thank you, Lord.

Each Piece Of The Puzzle

While sitting in the doctor's office waiting room this week, I put a puzzle together. I took a picture of it as evidence of my hard work and diligence. It wasn't very many minutes after I'd completed my masterpiece that someone came along and ripped it apart so they could put it back together. I was glad I had my picture.

When I was little, I didn't put puzzles together the normal way. I would memorize the picture, the shapes of the pieces and where they belonged and then lay them out one at a time. "This is Snoopy's foot, and I know he's standing on the piano, which is about 1/3 of the way down in the middle." And that piece would go there .... in a big empty space. And so it would go with every piece for the entire puzzle.

Do you ever feel like life is one big jigsaw puzzle and no one is letting you see the picture? Or maybe there's a piece or two missing and you can't see what the finished product is going to be? If so, join the crowd. If …

Who Are You ... Really?

In our Wednesday youth group gathering this week, we continued our verse-by-verse study in the story of Joseph. This segment focused on Jospeh's reaction to the brother's first appearance in the Egyptian palace to buy food for their large family.
At this point in the story, the 10 men were recognizable, but their brother Joseph wasn't. They would have remembered the 17-year-old boy, not the grown man in Egyptian finery who was prime minister of the country. When Joseph questions them, he uses the word "spies" repeatedly to describe and accuse them. But their words are different: servants, sons, true men, brethren. The way they saw themselves was very different compared to how the thought Joseph saw them.
To illustrate the idea of identity of a Christian, we gave each teen an index card and had them write down two or three of the worst things anyone had ever said about them. No one else would read it - they would just write them down and fold the card in half. I…

The Middle Of A Little Golden Book Upcycle Project

Whenever I have two copies of a Little Golden Book, my favorite way to use them is in an upcycled album. For specifics on how I disassemble and reassemble a book, read this.

The book in progress right now is one I remember from my childhood - you probably do, too. 

Over the past couple of days, I've disassembled both books, made new card stock pages for the inside and cut the old pages down to make new embellishments.

Next I'll add journaling blocks and lots of embellishments from those original pictures. This is my favorite part - getting to turn these very basic pages into tiny works of art. Next week I'll show you the finished product, and it will be available for purchase in our Etsy shop!

Words For Wednesday


Just A Few Things God Can And Cannot Do

What God Cannot Do:
1. God cannot lie.
2. God cannot change.
3. God cannot recall our sins after we've asked for forgiveness.
4. God cannot be the author of confusion.
5. God cannot leave us or forsake us.
6. God cannot go back on His promises.
7. God cannot revoke His gifts.
8. God cannot be pleased without faith.
9. God cannot be defeated.
10. God cannot be too big for our problems.
11. God cannot be too little for our problems.
12. God cannot prefer one person over another.
13. God cannot break His covenant.
14. God cannot revoke His calling.
15. God cannot be unjust.
16. God cannot do anything contrary to the Scriptures.
17. God cannot bless a lie.
18. God cannot love sin.
19. God cannot give anything to a double-minded man.
20. God cannot be forced into an impossible situation.
21. God cannot ignore the praises of His people.
22. God cannot be our problem.
23. God cannot be overcome by the world.
24. God cannot be late.
25. God cannot be neutral.
26. God cannot be weak.
27. God cannot bless doubt.

Cheeseburger Pizza

It's always fun to challenge yourself in the kitchen, and pulling a refrigerator raid can jumpstart your creativity.

In an effort to use up the food we have in the house without having to go to the grocery store this week, I put together my version of a local pizza restaurant's cheeseburger pizza. Every ingredient was already in our freezer or pantry, and it took only a few minutes to put together.

What's in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer?

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 pizza crust (I used a pre-made crust)
1 can pizza sauce
1 bag Italian mix shredded cheese
1/2 cup bread and butter pickles, diced

1. Preheat oven according to crust directions. Mine was 450 degrees.

2. Brown ground beef in a skillet.

3. While meat is browning, place crust on baking stone and brush with olive oil. Spread a thin layer of sauce over the crust, then sprinkle with half the bag of cheese.

3. Drain the browned meat and stir in the remaining pasta sauce. Pour mixture onto crust.


What's Living Inside?

As crazy as this may sound, our trees are full of holes. In the yard between our house and the barn garage, there are half a dozen trees with massive holes in their trunks. Every now and then it's fun to see what's inside them.

It's not difficult to imagine fuzzy neighbors curled up inside, getting out of the weather.

Some are full of leaves and twigs, making an insulated place to sleep and raise baby creatures.

Others are just falling apart, leaving huge gaps in the wood.

The woods here are changing every day as animals make, fix and leave their tree-trunk dens. That means there will always be something new and interesting to look at as we walk around the property.

Sunshine Behind The Storm Clouds Of Life

For some reason, spring is elusive in southern Iowa this year. We've had so much rain and so much snow that we feel like it will never end. Whoever is holding the snow globe we're living in ... please stop shaking it. We're ready for blue skies and warmer temperatures!

Unfortunately, there have been more cloudy, stormy days than usual. At least it seems that way. We've been more apt to wake up to a dark sky, like the one pictured here, than sunshine. We know it's back there, though, even in the midst of the storm.

Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He taketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Psalm 107:28-30

So many people we know are going through storms right now, and not just the thunder-and-lightening kind. They're facing illness, sadness, death, financial difficulties and fear of the unknown. T…

Booth Brothers

We were so blessed to be able to attend the Booth Brothers' concert in Pella last weekend. It had been at least three years since we'd seen them in person, and their music touched our hearts in so many different ways.

I have always loved their song "The Blind Man Saw It All," and hearing it in person is amazing. "A Moment Of Grace" meant a lot to us this year as a couple, and being invited to sing with the Booth Brothers on several hymns was the icing on the cake.

While the songs were a testimony in themselves, we were also moved by the preaching between songs. One nugget in particular was especially powerful.

Even knowing that I would sin, God created me anyway. He knew where I would reject Him, walk away and do incredibly selfish things, God decided there needed to be one of me in the world. And because those sins would separate me from Him, He sent His Son to die in my place. That kind of love will never be found here on earth, but we'll lavish in i…

Sorry, You'll Have To Take The Financial Staircase.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was an escalator that would whisk you away to your financial goals? You just step on, hold tight and arrive in your desired location. No mess, no hassle, no fuss. Then you could reap the benefits of being financially stable.

This is where I pinch you so you'll wake up.

Financial security isn't something to which you arrive, but something you work toward.

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? Proverbs 27:23-24

Diligence means taking your financial journey one step at a time. No fair skipping steps or trying to find the escalator. There are no shortcuts in this trip.

Here are just a few other things to keep in mind:

* Money spent on small things can't be saved for bigger things.
* Figure up your hourly wage, then compare that to the amount you're spending. Is that purchase worth the time it would take to earn that much …

The Animals Are Just Getting Warmed Up

Nature is coming alive out here on the property as the temperatures warm up. We can look out any window at any given moment and find some kind of wildlife. The puppies are especially suspicious of the shifty squirrels digging in their yard.

This spring, for the first time, we have two pairs of pied-billed grebes. They're small diving ducks that are amazing to watch - they'll flip over and completely submerge themselves to find food under the water. They're very small ducks, and we're on the lookout for their platform nests.

We also have very skittish turtles. It's very difficult to take their picture because they can see and hear everything. We have a great log that reaches from the bank of the small pond several feet into the water, and they line up on it every afternoon to sunbathe.

There is always a collection of beavers, muskrats, otters and other furry creatures around the ponds, too. The beavers we're not too fond of because they're cutting down our …

Words For Wednesday


BBQ Meatloaf

Recipe inspiration can come from anywhere. While having dinner with friends recently, we ate an amazing BBQ meatloaf. It was tender, moist and so flavorful. Thinking about my own meatloaf recipe, one I've made dozens of times, I realized I could do something similar and make it my own.

So here's my traditional, go-to meatloaf with an added BBQ twist. What can you tweak in your own recipe?

2 pounds lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup honey BBQ sauce
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried oregano

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Transfer to loaf pan.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until top is browned and crusty. Drizzle top with additional BBQ sauce. Let stand 5-6 minutes before serving.

You Were On The Mind Of Christ

On Easter morning, our youth group handed out tags to everyone in the congregation. Each one had a railroad nail through it with the words "When Christ was on the cross, you were on His mind." We hand-lettered each one and tied it up with ribbon. The teens were so excited to be able to share their hard work, and their faith, with the church family.
Before we began, though, I read them something I had written during the week while studying the last days of Jesus' life.
These tags are not just a project to do to take up time. It’s an opportunity to change your life. It’s an opportunity to change someone else’s life. If you understand the words you’re writing on this tag, you can’t have lukewarm feelings about them. Christ was hanging on the cross - beaten, battered, tortured and humiliated - and thinking about you. 
What had Jesus Christ been through?  Matthew 26:50 - laid hands on Him, took Him Matthew 26:67 - spit in His face, buffeted Him, smote Him with the palms of their h…

He Is Risen Just As He Said!