Showing posts from 2020

Words For Wednesday


The Sweetest Cookie Sandwich Frosting Ever

One of my favorite parts of the week is deciding what treats I’m going to make for youth group. Usually it’s something that sort-of-somewhat coordinating with the theme of our lesson. For example, Wednesday night we’re studying the fruit of the Spirit, so we’ll have fruit salad. Clever, I know.
This past Sunday, though, our treat had absolutely nothing to do with our lesson. I just wanted to make an ooey-gooey cookie sandwich that would make the roof of their mouths tingle. (And mine too, because no one gives gifts of food without trying it for themselves. Right?) So my homemade frosting turned store-bought cookies into something very special.
Ingredients:  2 sticks butter, softened 1 7-oz jar of marshmallow fluff 2 Tbsp vanilla  2 cups powdered sugar (with more on hand if you want it) 3 Tbsp milk 24 cookies
1. Put two sticks of softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, then add fluff and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until completely combined and creamy.
2. On low speed, mix in powdered su…

Gone Fishin’ - Because First I Seek Him

“It’s my way or the highway.”“I deserve this.” “This is what I want.”
Society has conditioned us to do what we want because time is short and we only live once. We wouldn’t want to miss out on anything or regret not doing something. Just do it. Get that thing. Go to that place. Say those words.
“Me first.”
If only that mindset actually worked. But it doesn’t. Moses knew it in his day, just as we do now, that living for self means we’re missing out on some very important things.
But if from thence thou shalt see the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shall be obedient unto his voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. Deuteronomy 4:29-31
Me first to God first? The choice is mine every…

My “First Day Of Fall” Planner Layout

It’s finally here! This week is the first day of fall, and I’m so excited! Fall means sweaters, scarves, apple cider, fluffy blankets and bonfires. It also means several new projects at work, special youth group events and some exciting news from Stuff From Trees. Stayed tuned for that one.

So my planner this week has pumpkins and leaves, two of my favorites, in all the strategic locations. I have many, many requests in my prayer list right now, so there is plenty of space of my left hand page for all of them ... maybe. I always use stickers or washi tape to cover the titles printed in my planner because I never use them for those specific reasons, so this time I used coordinating images to make it easy to create my own titles. We have a freezer full of Butcher Box meat right now, so that meal planning space will get filled in quickly.

The quote on the top of my right and page always makes me smile - because I just want to be fall-y! The leaves around our property are really beginning t…

Using Stickers And Ink To Create Reverse Titles

Believe it or not, I’ve picked out my planner for 2021. Before you roll your eyes, I can explain. 1. I’m already excited about a new year coming, and I’m sure you can understand that. 2. I love new projects, and this is definitely a long-term project. 3. It’s paper, and I can’t say no to paper. 4. It’s a blank, empty book, and that’s hard to resist, too. For all these reasons, I’m putting together the January section exactly the way I want it.

To start, I cut a piece of white card stock to the same size as my planner pages. Then I arranged the letter stickers in a cascade down the page.

Using a really stiff paint brush (because I can’t find my handy dandy stipple brushes anywhere - insert eye roll here), I stippled gold ink over each letter creating a halo around the stickers.

Then, when you peel them away, they leave a perfect white letter in a cascade of gold ink.

The effect looks like a cloud of loveliness around the title.

To complete the look, I stippled around the edges, too. I love …

Words For Wednesday


Slow Cooker Taco Soup

How do you feed a gang of hungry teenagers on a chilly day? This taco soup. 
What has a secret ingredient that may change the way you make soup? This taco soup.
What recipe will you want to pull out repeatedly this fall and winter? This taco soup.
What has so few ingredients that it doesn’t seem right? This taco soup.
What is so yummy so you might not have any leftovers? This taco soup.
What recipe takes just three hours to cook, making it perfect for Sunday mornings? This taco soup.
This taco soup. That is all.
Ingredients:2 lbs ground beef 1 1.25-oz package taco seasoning 2 15.5-oz jars corn and black bean salsa 1 16-oz jar thick and chunky salsa 2 cups warm water
1. Brown ground beef in a cast iron skillet. Stir in taco seasoning and heat until bubbling.
2. Combine all the salsa in a large slow cooker. Add ground beef and stir to combine. Add water and stir to combine.
3. Cook soup on low 3-4 hours. Serve with cornbread.

God Is Good All The Time

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Matthew 6:7-8
I am praising the Lord for so many answered prayer today. He knew what I needed, in so many ways I didn’t even know I was in need.
Praise the Lord for conversations with our teens that go beyond small talk.
Praise the Lord for teens we have never met visiting our youth group.
Praise the Lord for filling our church with young people, just like we asked.
Praise the Lord for helping me look beyond myself to see the needs of other people.
Praise the Lord for a church family who loves and encourages us.
Praise the Lord for opportunities to share the gospel with people who have been unwilling to listen before.
Praise the Lord for a strong, loving marriage.
Praise the Lord for a husband who digs into Scripture.
Praise the Lord for making us a teaching team…

My “Don’t Stress, Do Your Best And Forget The Rest” Planner Layout

Every week has been a busy week lately, and this one is no exception. The only way I’m going to stay on track is with bright colors, fun images and motivational quotes in my planner. Another week? I’ve got this one in the bag!

When all else fails, I make a list. I make lists just so I can cross things off that list. I’d probably have a list of my lists if I had more room ... oh look, more room! I’m going to use the list blocks on this page to get a few bigger projects done step by step.

The very first time I heard the phrase “Do your best and forget the rest” was when I did P90X workouts. All I can do is the best I can do, and I can’t compare my progress to anyone else’s. This week I’m going to put my all into everything I do and see how I fill these pages with accomplishments and met goals. Bring it on, week!

Preparing For A Trip To The V-E-T

Three of our four dogs had to go to the vet yesterday - two for vaccine updates and claw clips, and one for some wound care from a tussle the other morning. Everyone is fine, thank goodness, but it was an exhausting trip. I loaded all four puppies into the little red car, which is a miracle in itself, and headed into town. 
Knowing I would be wrestling four big dogs into and out of my tiny car, I had all the questions and concerns and information I needed the vet to know written out on a piece of paper. The paper was a little messy and mangled by the time she got to read it, but she said it helped. I didn’t want to take all four in at once or leave some in the car while I took others inside, so they came to the car and took them in one at a time. That meant having information ready for the vet would save us all time and headaches.

I also had all four leashes with me and treats in my pocket before I put them in the car. They had a special blanket that goes across the back seat when we’re…

It’s All About The Scripture

There’s a cute calendar sitting on my desk at work, the kind you rip off a page every day to see another pretty piece of art and a great quote. Most days they’re very nice, but other days they knock it out of the park.
They aren’t necessarily spiritual thoughts or quotes, but there have been so many times already this year that they reminded me of a Bible verse. That may not have been the publisher’s intention, but Scripture came to my mind regardless. So I thank them for that.
This is what we have been teaching our teens about having read so much Scripture that it’s engrained on your heart. I couldn’t have remembered these verses if I hadn’t read them over and over again. 
Here are a few examples:
Aspire to inspire.The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as become the holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at h…

Chocolate Sprinkle Cake Mix Cookies

Oh my goodness, I haven’t had this much fun baking in ages. I feel like I don’t always time to put anything together to bake, but that all goes by the wayside when I see beautiful cakes, cupcakes or cookies like these cake mix cookies.
And here’s the best part - all you need are a boxed cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil and sprinkles. Simple ... I’m tellin’ ya!
Ingredients: 2 eggs 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 boxed cake mix Sprinkles
1. Move oven racks to divide the oven into thirds. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. (Do NOT skip the parchment paper.)
2. Mix the eggs and oil, then sift in the cake mix, stirring until combined. Fold in about 1/2 cup of sprinkles.
3. Drop dough by the spoonful onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle a few more sprinkles on top of the dough ball. Fill both baking sheets.
4. Bake both trays at the same time, for about 10 minutes. The edges of the cookies will be just browned. Remove from oven onto a cooling rack.

Words For Wednesday


Stuff From Trees Pens Keep On Turnin’!

One of my favorite parts of watching Danny turn a pen is the finishing process. Here’s his description of what happens in the final stages of making that beautiful Stuff From Trees pen you love:

After turning a pen, there is a process to get to the finished product; sanding and polishing, whether working with wood or acrylics.  Granted there is patience needed during the turning stage, it is this stage that requires even more patience to ensure the desired finish.
Once polished, the pen is ready for assembly.Here are the finished pens. 

Before polish, I sand the pen using varied grits of sandpaper, from coarse to fine grit. Then I use sanding pads with even finer grits to get the surface as smooth as possible before applying polish. Here you can see me using a paper shop towel to apply several coats of polish.

And here are Danny’s beautiful pens on display. The purple acrylic shines like crystal, and the teacher pen has black ink on one end and red on the other. There are all kinds of cre…

God’s Masterpieces

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
Some days it’s difficult to look in the mirror and whole-heartedly agree that I’m a masterpiece in any way, shape or form. I look at my imperfect self and the imperfect people around me and wonder how God could look at all He created and still say it is good.
But here’s the secret: it’s not about me. It’s not about my opinion or my perspective because, yes, it’s flawed too. Based on my belief that the Bible is the infallible word of God Himself, then I am truly a masterpiece of workmanship crafted with God’s own hands.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: Mae and female created he them. Genesis 1:27
Imagine the love that must have been flowing through God when He said, And now it’s time to fashion a human being that has my image stamped on them. His creation (that’s us) has the image of the God of the universe. …

My “I Have This Hope” Planner Layout

The song says that what the world needs now is love, sweet love. I beg to differ. I say what the world needs now is hope, sweet hope. Christians have this hope as an anchor for the soul, and whatever swirls and whirls in the world around us will never uproot that anchor. This is what I want to think about this week. Hope in Christ alone.Our hope is in you, Lord. Yes, there are meals to plan and work to do and errands to take care of, but we desperately need hope. I will still make lists, and I will anchor my lists and my plans in hope. Hope that the Lord will be with me as I work, with me as I help and with me as I do the little things.
I have four days to work this week, and my hope is that my Jesus will use me to great things for our community. I have time set aside to be with my friends and family, and my hope is that my Jesus will use me to minister to them. I have a youth group meeting and Sunday school this week, and my hope is that my Jesus will fill our room with teens and our …

End-Of-Summer Treats Your Dog Will Love

If you want your puppies to love you even more than they already do, make these treats. Now is the perfect time because it’s still hot during the day - take them outside like we did and they’ll be gone before you know it.

Seriously, these are the easiest treats ever. Fill each cup of a mini muffin tin with chicken broth and float a tiny dog treat in each one. Then pop the tin into the freezer overnight. When you’re ready to treat your puppies, just leave the muffin tin in the sink for a few minutes to loosen them from the edges. 

We took ours out on the deck to enjoy. At first Parker was a little suspicious and just licked it in my hand. The other three ... not so well-mannered. But after sampling the first frozen treat, all four puppies were taking them whole and chomping down on them. And when Diesel discovered he could get them out of the pan by himself, he didn’t want my help anymore. What do you think your dogs will do for these frozen goodies?

Our Date Night At The Antique Airfield

When you’re married to a funeral director, you learn to make the most of every moment you have together. There are no set hours and many nights of being on call, but it is so worth it to know he’s helping families in their time need. So when there’s a great event being held on a night Danny’s not on call, we’ll be there! That’s what happened last night when we were gifted with tickets to the Antique Aiplane Association’s Invitational Fly-In.

My plane-loving husband was able to see antique aircraft from 100 years ago up close and personal. We stood right next to the runway and see, hear and smell every takeoff and landing. And by runway, I mean a long strip of grass. The airfield is set up like it would have been in the 1930s, so it’s like stepping back in time on several levels.

Since we went out to the airfield after work, the sun was beginning to drop on the far side of the runway. This made for some gorgeous, back-lit pictures of these already-beautiful planes. The Antique Airplane A…

On My Bookshelf At The Beginning Of September

When I set about cleaning up the dining room table, where I do my Bible study and prayer time every day, I shocked myself a little. In addition to my prayer journal, my praise journal, my journal-journal and two Bibles, I found seven books that I have been reading all at once. And I wonder why my brain is a little full at times...
My excuse is that they all cover wonderful topics, subjects that I feel I need to know more about. That about sums it up, right? Narrowing it down made me cringe because that would be like telling those other books they’re not good enough to be read right now. Yes, I understand that’s odd, but you don’t know my relationship with books.
So here are the four books from my shelf I’ve been reading most in-depthly recently:
Awaken by Priscilla Shirer: A devotional that dives into Scripture, going beyond the surface knowledge and looking for its wisdom. Every day for 90 days, she writes about a personal experience that spoke to her, sharing the nuggets God gave her i…

Words For Wednesday


Proof That Drawing Is Not My Preferred Form Of Art

The year was 1989 and I was in the seventh grade. Our art project for the semester was to follow the instructions in a sketchbook and have it completed before semester break. It was then that I understood I was not a draw-er, sketch-er or anything else that required drawing on a piece of paper. I’m able to look back and laugh a little now, even though I was about as frustrated with it as the cat on my cover appears to be. And yes, those are whiskers, not a finely groomed mustache.

The purpose (supposedly) of this assignment was to use a little engineering and create a “beauty machine.” Somehow I designed a series of gears that would pull pretty things like ribbons and diamonds into the machine and turn them into designer clothing. It even has a smokestack and color-coordinating buttons on the control panel, which are both incredibly important when designing a beauty machine. Apparently.

Poor President Roosevelt. If you pull out a dime and look at the detail, I doubt it looks like an anc…