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Words For Wednesday

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Why I Include My Faith On All My Planner Pages

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It is a rare day indeed when I know what the schedule for the day is going to look like. In our office, we can either have a productive day and check everything off our to-do list, or a day that looks nothing like what we’d planned. This is why I write the work side of my planner pages in pencil. It’s just easier that way. But what never changes are the words of faith I include on every planner spread. Some days, like this day last week, the whole layout is about faith and rejoicing in the Lord. Other times, I just embellish the spiritual growth page with a few words or images. I have a set of faith planner stickers that I love because they have praying hands and Bibles and other beautiful little accents that catch my attention in the middle of a busy day. It doesn’t matter what’s planned for the day, if my planner is full of cute stickers or if I’ve colored coordinated all my plans - if I’m not grounded in God’s word every single hour of week after week, I might as well not even do th

Surrounded By That Beautiful Spring Green

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There’s something about that one shade of green that screams “Spring has arrived!” You know the color I’m talking about - that beautiful shade of light green that looks like it would glow in the dark if you turned the lights out. It’s that green that comes out first and then spreads all over the ground to help it wake up. Yesterday was the first time I’d been down to my prayer bench since before winter. It’s been such a wet, soggy mess all over the property that I honestly didn’t want to sink knee-deep into the mud. But early yesterday morning I put on my muck boots and made the hike. And I’m so glad I did. I even took my favorite cappuccino in my favorite mug with me! I stirred up every single front in the little pond as I went past, which was kind of fun. That special green goes all the way around, and there are tons of animal tracks in the mud along its banks. When you go to the far side, in the middle of this photo, and hang a right, that trail leads down to the big pond and my pra

Turning A Random Stamped Page Into A Beautiful Card

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Sometimes the old ways are great ways, we’ve just deviated from them a bit. So for this fun birthday card, I went back to my scrapbooking roots and random-stamped my own background paper. If you’ve never tried this technique before, or it’s been decades since you did, let’s review. I wanted to use my large stamp from the latest Illustrated Faith kit, a very detailed flower arrangement, for this background. So I pulled out a couple of pastel-colored decorator papers, mostly because I despise coloring large, detailed images. I don’t have the patience for that in any shape or form. Using one paper as my test sheet, I stamped the flowers in the corner using navy blue ink first. It was a pretty look, very subtle on the darker colors. Then I switched to black ink, which was very dark - a little too dark for my taste. Turning the paper again, I stamped one in bright pink, which was my favorite so far. Then I couldn’t resist one in purple. But that’s just me. I decided I liked the pink flowers

Three Tips For Your Best Spring Barbecue

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For foodies, warm temperatures mean one thing: it’s grilling season! At our house, we have the grill out as much as we can, and we always have a freezer full of Butcher Box meats to play around with. These flat iron steaks were absolutely perfect with just some seasoning and a little time. Did that get your stomach growling? Hopefully you’re ready to put together your own spring grilling meal plan. But where do you start? Use these three tips to spark some creativity: 1. Choose your meat carefully. Certain cuts are better than others for grilling, and some will take much longer than others. Skirt and flank steaks are perfect for trying some adventurous dry rubs. Larger pieces need to be smoked for a few hours, while cubes on a skewer can be done in a few minutes. 2. Do a little research. Once you have your meat, read up on that cut and some ways other trillers have prepared them. Do an Internet search, watch a fun video or flip through some old cookbooks for flashes of brilliance. 3. E

Words For Wednesday

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Jesus Paid It All, All To Him I Owe

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Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18 On this Resurrection Sunday, and in all the days to come, may your heart be filled with awe and wonder at the sacrifice Jesus made for you.

For Those Days You Feel Like A Terrible Puppy Parent

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Honestly, I feel like I’ve failed somehow. After more than a year, we had to pull Callie and Diesel’s crate back out. It seems like all their dog training has gone out the window, and I know I’ve let them get away with a lot. But this is what sealed the deal. All four chair and sofa cushions now have some form of destruction done to them. I’m so embarrassed to show you this, but it’s also a little liberating. I’m so very far from perfect, but I’m learning something new every day. And in this case, that means we go back to crating the babies while we’re gone. Yes, I know they’re the culprits ... trust me. What I hadn’t counted on was how much being crated means to them. Whenever I leave, I pull out four treats and give the first two to Molly and Parker. As soon as I turn to the other two, they hightail it around the corner, down the hall and into their crate. They don’t whine or bark or even give me puppy-dog eyes, even though they do all of those things very well. They just take their

Books I Read And Loved In March

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One of the things I’ve given up in the past year was reading books just for the fun of reading books. For some reason I’ve felt like everything I read should be a Bible study book or some deep writings that would change my life completely. I’m not sure where these ideas came from, but I evicted them from my brain in March and read some amazing books. * The Powerful Purpose of Introverts by Holley Gerth. I am the perfect example of an introvert - I’m happy interacting one-on-one, I get overstimulated very easily and time by myself is the best way to recharge my batteries. This book let me know that I’m not the only one who feels this way and that I have so many gifts to offer. Love it! * Living True by Christy Wright. This 40-day devotional is sweet and serious and challenging all at the same time. It’s a reminder of who God is, who we were created to be, how to accept where we are right now and how to trust God with where we’re going in life from here. I think I highlighted half the bo

Baked Beef And Pork Meatballs

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Whenever I try a new recipe, I’m totally guilty of never following the recipe word for word. I change some ingredients, use what I have on hand or just substitute something I like better. This meatball recipe was no different. When it called for two pounds of ground beef, I decided to use a pound of beef and a pound of ground pork, mixing them together to make a tastier combination. This is the best recipe for freezing meals for later. Let the meatballs cool to room temperature, then fill up a freezer bag or container. When you need them, just thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Ingredients: 1 lb ground beef 1 lb ground pork 2 eggs 2 cups (1 bag) shredded mozzarella 1/2 cup heavy cream 2-3 Tbsp Italian seasoning (to taste) 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. 2. Using your hands, thoroughly mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  3. Roll mixture into balls about the size of golf balls and line up in baking dish. 4. Bake at 400 de

Words For Wednesday

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What Distractions Are Keeping You From God’s Plan?

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One of my favorite high school memories is driver’s ed, which just happened to be in the middle of the floods of 1993, a memorable time itself. Before we were allowed out in the driver’s ed cars, we had to sit in driving simulators and drive along with a video. The simulators would transmit our actions to the instructor, who could see if our reaction times were good enough to move on. Just like it was yesterday, I remember complaining because the video seemed unrealistic - it showed a little girl running into the street, someone opening their car door into traffic, a dog crossing the street, car horns in the background, a driver running a stop sign ... on and one for several minutes. How could I concentrate on driving when they were throwing all these other people and situations into the mix? Low and behold, on the way home from one of those driver’s ed classes, my very own street turned into one of those videos. There were kids playing on the sidewalk, people getting in and out of the

No, Your Planner Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect

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It would be so wonderful to find a planner that fills all my needs, every day, no matter what’s happening this week. But there’s not. Even the planner pages I design and create myself aren’t perfect. There are some days that I don’t get them all filled out, sometimes I need another section, or a different section or way more space to write in. And all of that is ok. The pages that work for me today may not work for you, and they may not even work for me tomorrow. That’s the reality of daily life and the not-so-important stuff we tend to focus on. On Tuesday this week, for example, I needed a few more lists and planning spaces than normal. That meant covering up some of those sections I would normally use. And that’s ok. Just because I spent time and effort creating “the perfect page” for myself, it doesn’t mean that I have to use it exactly the same way every day. Most of the time this page fits my needs, but every day is different. I’m not going to beat myself up because I need a bigg

Diesel: Therapy Dog Extraordinaire

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When we adopted Parker, we knew that he had thunderstorm anxiety. He had some medicine to take the edge off, but it wasn’t really helping the situation. Plan B was just cuddling and loving and turning on some music to drown out the rumbles. Earlier this week, though, Diesel took it upon himself to help Parker feel better during a pretty intense storm. Parker was by himself on the couch, panting, and Diesel jumped up and sat next to him. This was unusual in itself, as Diesel normally doesn’t get worked up over what’s going on around him. After a few minutes, he moved around to Parker’s side and just kept him company. He didn’t seem to mind that Parker’s panting was shaking the entire couch. He just sat there, touching Parker’s side with his leg. Eventually, when Diesel saw that Parker was calming down, he laid with his head on Parker’s back. Even when a flash of lightning would make Parker shake and pant again, Diesel would just shift a little and calm him back down. It was very possibl

Everything You Need For Spring Planner Pages

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Yesterday was the first day of spring, so now it’s official - winter is over! To celebrate warmer, more beautiful days, I turned my Saturday planner pages into a breath of fresh, spring air! You can do the same with just a few spring-themed supplies. * Washi tape in spring florals and bright colors. * Journal block stickers can be backgrounds for quotes and phrases. * Die cuts of the leaves and flowers we can’t wait to see again outside! * Acrylic dots and other flat embellishments. When I shopped in my own craft room, I found so many spring-themed supplies that I forgot I even had. When I pulled them all out, there will be enough to make cards and journals for days, as well as several planner spreads in the spring days to come. At least you know where I’ll be.

Turning A Vintage Find Into Much-Needed Craft Storage

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One of my goals for 2020 has been to exercise some self control and not buy absolutely everything I think I need. The best example of this is shopping out of my own craft room instead of buying new supplies. So when I saw a video of a woman organizing her washi tape in a clear box with little dividers and tabs, I said to myself, Self, you can find something even better in your own stash.  This stacking basket was a vintage find at The Shop Iowa City , a fun store just an hour and a half from us. I fell in love with its uniqueness, but I never had a use for it ... until now! My washi tapes fit perfectly inside, standing on their edge so I can see the patterns and then layered on top. All three baskets are fairly deep, so I was able to fit almost my entire collection of washi tapes in here. It’s as though they were made for it! When I’m not using them, the lids go on and they get stacked back up on the open end of the handles. Two little wicker rings lock the top basket in place. And now

Words For Wednesday

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A Twist On Toast

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There’s nothing better first thing in the morning than the smell of coffee brewing and bread toasting. That combination has been starting days for countless generations! But what if there’s more than just plain old buttered toast? If there are so many combinations that you could have a different kind of toast every morning for weeks? It’s true, I tell you, it’s true! So pull out that toaster and let’s get to work. Try these combinations on your favorite bread and find something new: * avocado and sliced hard-boiled egg * peanut butter and blueberries * hazelnut spread and mandarin oranges * hummus and turkey * peanut butter, banana with a drizzle of honey * cream cheese and peaches with a drizzle of honey * cottage cheese and strawberries * avocado and salsa * tomatoes and bacon * cheese and shaved ham What’s your go-to combination for outstanding toast?

Are You A Sunrise Or Sunset Kind Of Person?

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Sunrise and sunset look completely different in the country than they do in the city. Those beautiful morning colors creep over the hill and through the trees to usher in a new day. And in the evening they turn into flames as they find their way behind the trees to the west. The question is: Which do you prefer, sunrise or sunset? As we read through the Bible this year, we’re already seeing how God works in the morning ... and in the night ... to touch the hearts and minds of His people. Some of the best interaction with God in the Bible happened early in the morning. Abraham rose early to stand before the Lord. Jacob rose early to build an altar to the Lord. Moses rose early to receive the 10 commandments from the Lord. Joshua rose early every day for a week to circle Jericho as the Lord instructed. Gideon rose early to talk with the Lord about His battle plans. David rose early time and time again to pray and share his feelings with the Lord. Jesus Christ often rose early and went to

Words For Wednesday

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Using My Planner To Keep My Spiritual Life Intentional This Week

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On Sundays, when I put my planner together for the coming week, I always try to make Monday’s layout inspirational and motivational. If I can get started with God’s word and His truth, the week always has the right perspective. I’ve been Bible journaling and making cards for friends with these beautiful embellishments from Illustrated Faith, so it was just natural to carry the theme over to my planner. These words - intentionality and taking every thought captive - have been on my heart for days now. I don’t want to just go through the motions of my faith life ... ever. And especially not when there is so much going on that being rooted and grounded in God’s word means everything. By the end of the day, these pages will be full of notes, dates, lists and moments that I want to remember in the days and week to come. Every day I keep track of those nuggets from my Bible study time that touch my heart, and tomorrow’s page will remind me that no matter what happens, I am captured, seen and

Gone Fishin’ ... There’s A Sign Up On Your Door

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While I was sitting in the truck at the local convenience store, I did a double take at this sign. The small print says “Our worms catch fish or die trying.” I laughed out loud at the worm carrying a fish, then at the pun because that’s pretty good. I’m always up for a good pun, the punnier the better. The double take was when the spiritual connotation hit me. Whenever I think about fishing, which we can do in our ponds soon, my mind goes to Jesus making His followers fishers of men. Then for the rest of their lives, they would be fishermen of an eternal sort.  Many, many of Jesus’ followers fished for men until their very last breaths. Many of them died in terrible, horrible ways, but they chose to be faithful to Christ until the end. They died trying to bring in their net for Him, no matter what the consequences. As long as we’re alive, let’s put the sign out on our door that we’ve gone fishin’. Fishin’ to the very end.