Showing posts from 2019

Sunday Sketches

Sometimes you have an image, especially one that’s part of a piece of decorator paper, that needs to be showcased. Today’s sketch uses a sash banner to add some movement to an otherwise ordinary card.

For my card, I could have made my kite image as a side banner, but it was printed at such an interesting angle that it seemed to fly off the side of the card and not up into the wild, blue yonder. Instead, I rotated it just a little, and suddenly the kite is in flight!

This sketch is also perfect for both a title and a sentiment. Overlapping the words onto the sash gave it some added dimension, and sticker alphabets in two different fonts was just fun!

Ready to make this sketch your own? Start with a background and a matted background paper for your card’s base. Make sure it’s a solid color or a very light pattern so the image really stands out.

The image is your focal point, so pick something strong and vibrant for your sash banner. Arrange it so it hangs off the edges of the card base…

A Fish Fry For Our Youth Group

Two of the young men from our church youth group graduated this year, so our get-together this month was in their honor. They were thrilled that we were having a catfish fry and that they got to choose the events of the evening. The catfish nuggets came from Dutchman's in Cantril, and Danny used a fish fry coating that we picked up in Louisiana a few weeks ago. It was all so amazing. 

Even though a gigantic storm was headed our way, they wanted to go fishing. Four fish were caught, all by the same guy! But after that there were no more fish to be caught, although they were under the water taunting us. Talk about mean...

And the storm clouds made for a dramatic backdrop to the day. We wish our guys the best God has to offer in the days to come. They're taking very grown-up paths in their lives, and we've told them repeatedly that they will be in our prayers. God has something amazing planned for each of them. We can't wait to see what that is!

Words For Wednesday


Chocolate Caramel Brownies

This week in our weekly email at work, we featured the perfect picnic spots around Ottumwa. It was fun to put together some places and recipes that would be fun for a picnic, despite the rain that’s keeping everyone from going outside.

My favorite recipe was submitted by Quincy, the events manager at Bridge View Center. These brownies are absolutely amazing, and I couldn’t resist making a batch to share.

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

2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt together 1/3 cup milk with a 14-oz bag of caramels. Stir until combined and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine 1/3 cup milk, 3/4 cup melted butter and 1 box German chocolate cake mix.

4. Spoon half the batter into the prepared dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes.

5. Remove dish from oven and pour 1 package dark chocolate chips over the batter, then cover with the melted caramel. Drop remaining batter on top of caramel.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for an additional…

My Geocaching Adventures

As part of the Outdoor Moments To Remember Instagram campaign we’re running at the CVB during May, I downloaded a geocaching app. One post was dedicated to getting outside and try finding some caches as a family.

If you’re not familiar with geocaching, it began with the first global positioning satellites. The scientists wanted to make sure that it was going to work, so they hid a tracker and let the satellite search for it. Then they could adjust the programming as necessary.

What does this mean for us? It means we can use an app like Geocaching to find fun treasures hidden in our communities. Pictured above is the first cache I found after we created the CVB profile. It was hidden in the railing of one of the bridges - no spoilers ... you have to find it for yourself.

The app will give you a map of caches that have been registered in the area. Just click the Navigate button and you’re off! It will also give you a Log button to share your adventure of finding this hidden gem. Take a…

Pressing On Toward The Mark

When you stand at the bottom of a rock climbing wall and look up, it can be quite daunting. You can’t tell exactly where you need to put your hands and feet in order to make it all the way to the top. You know the goal, you just don’t know the path to get there yet.

The same can be said of our spiritual lives. After salvation we know we’re to walk with the Lord, but we don’t know what that looks like for certain. That’s how we build trust in God, as we listen to His guidance and take one more step. And one more step. And one more step.

Does our Christian walk look daunting from down here? Of course it does. You’ve never walked this path before, and the journey can be pretty terrifying when you’re not the one doing the planning or holding the map. What a test of our faith, when we put our steps into the hands of God. We definitely don’t want to misstep and fall off the rock wall part way up. If you’ve ever hesitated to move your hands from where they are now because it’s safer over he…

Sunday Sketches

Ready for a big, bold sketch of the week? Find the tallest, most colorful embellishments you have and combine them to make a card they’ll always remember.

For my card, I used a tall, vertical candle  for my 3D embellishment. I punched out the letters with the largest circle punch I have, and they fit perfectly in the space next to the candle.

Need something else, though, right? In those little spaces between the image and letters, I tucked in different sizes of acrylic dots in a contrasting color. All put together, it’s a bright birthday card that anyone would love to receive.

Ready to turn this sketch into a card of your own? Let’s get started.

Begin with a solid color for your background, coordinating it with the embellishments you choose. You’ll want something tall and skinny, then mat it on another color of card stock.

Punch out your letters and stack them on the opposite side. You can use stickers, rub-one, die cuts, computer prints or something written by hand.

Then choose some…

Are You Ready To Get Outside?

After this long, cold winter, it’s about time to get back outside and enjoy the weather. There may be rain in the forecast here in southeast Iowa, but 60 degrees and a little precipitation is better than being snowed in, right?

At my job with the Greater Ottumwa Convention and Visitors Bureau, we’ve just started our Outdoor Moments to Remember Instagram campaign, and it has been so much fun to create. We’re sharing as much information as we can about what Ottumwa has to offer outdoor enthusiasts.

We’ve worked with Parks and Recreation, physicians, trainers, bikers, walkers, experts in a dozen fields and people who just love being out in nature to give you all the information we can pack into 31 days. If you love it and it’s outside, we are probably featuring it one day in May.

So head over to the @GreaterOttumwaCVB Instagram page and follow us. You’ll get a daily dose of where to go, what to try and a few surprises you probably didn’t know were out there! Then post your own photos and…

Where Two Or Three Are Gathered - National Day Of Prayer 2019

Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:18-20

What a precious promise from our Lord that our prayers of faith will be answered. In a day and time when evil and corruption and horrendous acts are growing more and more prevalent, we may be tempted to doubt whether our prayers are making it past the ceiling. How encouraging it is to read Jesus’ own words that it shall be done.

On this National Day of Prayer, individuals and groups all over the country will be dropping to their knees today to join together in prayer. Millions of prayers for forgiveness, blessing and reconciliation in a devastated and discouraging time. Ou…

Words For Wednesday


Trail Mix Banana Bread

Tired of plain old banana bread? It may be really good, but let’s try something different today. Let’s combine three of our favorite trail mix ingredients to one of my favorite banana bread recipes ever, creating Trail Mix Banana Bread!

Clever, right? I know.

We’re going to add almonds, walnuts and mini chocolate chips to my cake mix banana bread to make something out of this world! I used my baking pan with the four braided loaves, just so I could spread the love around a little more.

3 brown, overly ripe bananas
1 box yellow cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup walnut pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two loaf pans or four small pans with nonstick spray.

2. Combine bananas, cake mix, oil and eggs in a stand mixer until smooth.

3. Fold in chocolate chips, almonds and walnuts. Pour into prepared pans.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes for large loaves or 40-45 minutes for small loaves. A …

Creating For God’s Glory

Someone made this sign with their own two hands. They outlined it, filled it in and made it beautiful with their own creativity and talent. One piece of handmade art is more loved and treasured than 100 piece of art that were mass-produced.

From the very first verse of Scripture, creating things is given the utmost importance:

In the beginning, God created... Genesis 1:1

We were lovingly created by a God who sees great blessing in doing things by hand. We were created in His own image, with our own gifts and personalities, instead of being stamped and pressed into a mold. How boring life would be if we were machine-made and all looked alike.

And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you. 1 Thessalonians 4:11

Just as the Lord creates, He has built a longing for creation into us, too. Paul remind the church at Thessalonica that they were to be quiet, yes; to be about their business, yes; but they were also to put their ha…

Sunday Sketch

Today’s sketch features a center sentiment with a bunch of fun circles all around it. Think bubbles, rocks, cups and saucers or even the pack yard swimming pool! You could use this sketch a dozen times and never make the same card twice.

For my card, I chose a masculine theme and using punched feathers for my embellishments. The larger circles are layered with textured card stock circles of the same size.

The A Birthday Wish sentiment is made of the same metallic paper as the background stripes and is raised on 3D adhesive for some added dimension.

Ready to make this layout yourself? Here’s the sketch for today’s card.

Start with a plain card stock and a coordinating decorator paper. I always layer them to give it more depth and dimension. Cutting your decorator paper 1/2 inch smaller than your card will give you a nice 1/4-inch border all the way around.

Then just grab your punches and have fun! They can be all the same size, mixed together or a whatever your creative heart feels li…

Reasons Christian Women Need Ladies Retreats

What a blessing to have 14 sweet sisters in Christ go to a ladies retreat this weekend. There’s something special about gathering as women to worship and learn that grows and knits us together.

Why attend a ladies meeting? Oh my goodness ... here are just a few reasons why they’re so important.

* Time spent together draws you together. Even just a few hours with friends over a weekend creates strong bonds that stand the test of time.

* Hearing different women speak gives you new perspective. Even if you’re not familiar with the women chosen as speakers for the retreat, you might gain new perspective into Scriptures.

* Breaking the monotony of your routine always feels good. Go somewhere new and meet new Christian friends. Pick up one of the speaker’s books and learn something new. Start a new lesson or study based on the theme of the conference.

* Fellowship for the journey. Stick a bunch of ladies in a van or bus for a while and enjoy the stories, fun and conversations that come fro…

Our Trip To The Promised Land Zoo

On our trip through Branson last week, we made a stop at the Promised Land Zoo. It was a great way to start the day, walking a couple of miles and meeting some amazing animals. As a bonus, the zoo is run by Christians, and there is Scripture and the Romans Road posted all over the property. Here is just a sampling of the photos we took on our zoo trip!

There are several of these pictures that I've set aside for Danny to do wood burnings of for Stuff From Trees. If you love that idea, let him know which ones you'd like to see!

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Baked Pineapple

When pineapples are on sale at the grocery store for 89 cents apiece, that’s too good to resist. Baking them with brown sugar and cinnamon makes resisting futile.

The only prep for this dish is to slice and cube the pineapple. From there, you mix everything together, pour it in a baking dish and let your oven do the rest.

1 medium pineapple, cubed
3 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil.

2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to coat the pineapple, then pour into baking dish.

3. Bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes. Stir pineapple and bake for another 12 minutes.

Words For Wednesday


My Bullriders Of America Finals Scrapbook Page

If you've ever tried to create a scrapbook layout with a large piece of memorabilia, like a program or a signed photo, you know how difficult that can be. It's way too bulky to adhere to the page, or it takes up too much room or you won't be able to open it once you get it in place. And all of that stifles the creative process, right? Today we're going to create a pocket page that will solve all your problems.

For my page, I used the program, photos and tickets from the Bullriders of America finals in February. I also chose a piece of 12x12 textured card stock, a 12x12 denim patterned paper and some die cut embellishments. Add a handful of metal brads to the pile and you have all the components of a great scrapbook page.

I trimmed the denim paper down so there was a 1/2-inch margin on the sides and the bottom. I took more off the top to make the pocket. The denim paper is then tacked down with metal brads on three sides. This creates a sturdy pocket with the opening a…

Spring On The Carrel Wildlife Preserve

It is very slowly and deliberately becoming spring on the Carrell Wildlife Preserve. After a long, cold winter, even the slightest flash of green brings a smile to my face.

We had quite a bit of brush along the driveway cut back by utility workers a few months ago, but what's still there is turning green again. They reseeded those portions they removed, so I'm excited to see what the result of that will be.

We haven't planted any plants or flowers yet this year, so these tiny violets absolutely made my day.

 Since most of our property is wooded, it's so much fun to watch them turn green every spring. I love this shade of green - that light and airy color that gives hope of warmer days to come.

And, of course, the wildlife loves spring, too. The turtles have been hibernating under the ice for months, so they're delighted to come out and sit in the sun. The coyotes, deer, turkeys, otters, muskrats and many other animals are enjoying the sunshine, too.

These two tree…

Because He Lives!

May this Resurrection Day find you filled with joy and hope because Jesus lives! Wishing you all the blessings of God on this special day and in the year to come.

Jesus' Last Days - All The Way To The Cross

Today's post is the continuation of yesterday's look into Jesus' last days on earth. To read the first part, click here.

When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. Matthew 27:24-28

Jesus already knew He would be mocked this way. He knew their spite, dressing Him up like fake royalty. But He also knew that all this would come full circle, and the robe would mean everything.

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed …

Jesus' Last Days - The Holy Week

Jesus Christ took on the form of man. He walked the same paths we're walking today. Our human hearts forget that, though, as we let situations and circumstances block that out. When we're feeling alone or hurt or sad, Jesus knows. And He can relate because He's been there.
But at the same time, He was still completely God. He was never surprised by the twists and turns of life, and He knew the significance of each event. As we look through the last days of His life, we can clearly see that Jesus knew.
Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? Matthew 26:59-62
Jesus knew the heart condi…

Easter Morning Breakfast Cresent Ring

Make Easter morning breakfast simple and tasty with a cresent ring. Fill it with some favorite breakfast ingredients and enjoy more time with your family instead of slaving over the stove.

2 cans refrigerated cresent rolls
1 box pre-cooked bacon
1 package refrigerate sausage crumbles
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Beat four eggs with a splash of milk. Scramble in a small skillet.

3. Open both cans of crescents and fan them around a pizza pan. A small bowl upside down in the middle will help make your circle.

4. Layer eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese around the thick, inside part of the ring.

5. Remove the bowl and fold up the points of each cresent and tuck it under in the middle.

6. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the cresents are browned and the cheese is melted.

Words For Wednesday


Words For Wednesday


Fun New Looks For Custom Card Orders

I had the joy of making a set of custom cards for a friend last week. She blessed my heart because she is dealing with a serious health problem, but she still has other people on her mind. That’s why I was delighted to make these cards for her.

I had been given a boatload of greeting cards to upcycle, and several of them just screamed “make me into a birthday card!” With some of them, I was able to punch out the images and repurpose them as a fun border.

Others had big, beautiful sentiments on them that I could cut out and raise on 3D adhesive.

This might be my favorite card of all. It’s made in shades of green, and each little word or phrase just needed a little color around the edges to make it stand out.

Finally, I was asked to make some masculine birthday cards, since they’re so difficult to find at the store. That’s why I adore these feathers, especially with the metallic birthday sentiment in the middle.
I pray over every card I make, that the sender and the recipient will be …