Showing newest 16 of 23 posts from February 2011. Show older posts
Showing newest 16 of 23 posts from February 2011. Show older posts

Are You a Good Listener?

Feb 28, 2011

Many times when friends are having a hard time we may try to encourage them to talk it out by lending a listening ear.  We may even tell them, "I am a good listener."

Listening takes practice.  We need to hear the details, be empathetic, not interrupt, and be patient.

Are you a good listener when God speaks?  The book of Jeremiah is a history of God's people not listening.  Jeremiah is constantly delivering bad news to the Israelites as they continue to ignore God.  He warns of destruction and chaos.  Instead of listening and taking heed, they want to throw him in prison or kill him.  Talk about shooting the messenger!

Do we do the same thing when God speaks?  If He says something we don't want to hear, do we ignore it, put it in a box and store it, or go the opposite direction?

Something to think might our lives be different if we obey what we hear from God?

"I know the plans I have for you," 
declares the Lord, 
"plans to prosper you 
and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11


Tissue Paper Flower Tutorial

Feb 26, 2011

 K wanted to make tissue paper flowers, so of course, we Googled it!  Thought we'd share how easy they are to make!
 Lay out 6-8 pieces of tissue, being sure they are the same size and lined up correctly.
 Fold with 1 inch accordian folds, trimming any uneven tissue at the end.
 In the center, either use a bread tie or a piece of floral wire to secure.  Trim both ends either to a point or rounded for the ends of the petals.
 Then slowly and carefully as the tissue tears easily, begin separating all the layers and spreading them out to make a circle.
After they are all unfolded, scrunch with your hands to get a wrinkly look.
Super easy!  This would be a nice cheap craft to do at a birthday party!  K wants to attach them to her bulletin board in her room.  I got a package of  30 sheets of tissue at the Dollar Store, and a set of 32 pipecleaners.


Chicken Squares-Family Favorite Recipe

Feb 25, 2011

My two girls beg me for this dinner each and every week!  Maybe it will become one of your family favorites.

Chicken Squares

1 8oz block cream cheese
2 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
1 Tbs. onion flake
Dash of milk
salt and pepper
1 Crescent Roll (pkg of 8) 

Soften the cream cheese.  Add chicken, onion, milk, salt and pepper.  On a cookie sheet (I line mine with aluminum foil for easy cleanup), combine two triangles of crescent rolls to make four  squares.  Add chicken mixture to center of each square of dough.  Now bring opposite corners of the square together at the top and pinch together to form a square.  Bake at 375* for 13-17 minutes, until golden brown.
We serve our meal with a baked potato and salad.



Inspiring Women Series

Feb 24, 2011

Have you ever had someone in your life who has had a profound influence on your faith?  Maybe someone in your family, your church, or maybe someone you have never even met, an author perhaps?

Over the last year I have grown tremendously in my faith, and it is largely due to many women who have inspired me to look deeper, seek harder, really see the authentic God.  When a tough circumstance arises, I often think of  women who have been there before me and have handled adversity with faith and grace.  When I need to live my faith out loud, I think of a few women who do that every day, and I am amazed.

Do you know someone like that?  Over the course of the month of March, I am going to share with you several women who inspire me.  Women who have touched me in some way and have changed me.  Mind you, I could list SO MANY of YOU, fabulous women through blogging that could easily be added to this list!  It is difficult to choose just a few, so I want to invite you to join in with me.

Starting March 3 I am going to share with you each Thursday Inspiring Women in my life.  I invite you to write a blog post about someone who has inspired you and share them with all of us.  We'll create a link list and we can all be inspired together!

I can't wait to get to know more Inspiring Women!


Let Me Introduce You To Hearts at Home

Feb 23, 2011

Hearts at Home

Hearts at Home is a fantastic organization that is passionate about  mothers.  They host conferences that support Moms on every level of their journey through motherhood.  Their goals are to help you:

Feel REFRESHED and ready to embrace the challenges of motherhood.

Enjoy a fun, GETAWAY weekend with your friends.

IMPROVE your time management and run your home more smoothly.

FALL IN LOVE with your husband all over again.

REMOVE the guilt of not being the perfect mom.

Experience a newfound STRENGTH through a deeper FRIENDSHIP with God.

I've been to many Hearts at Home Conferences and I leave each and every one of them feeling refreshed and re-focused for my family.

Their next conference is happening March 11 & 12 in Normal, Illinois.  It is an easy drive from most anywhere in the Midwest.  Grab a friend and road trip!  I'll be there volunteering because I love what they do AND they have fantastic people on staff that I just love to hang out with (I used to work for them)!  Don't live in the Midwest?  Check their website for other conferences in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Rochester, Minnesota later in the year.

Check their website for details about registering, but if you have the time DO IT.  You will not be sorry.  If you decide to go, let me know, I'd love to meet you!

If you can't go, check out their website anyway!  They have all kinds of things to support you MOM!


I'm also sharing today over at MODSquad Blog.  I hope you'll join me!


Ten Things I Love About My Church

Feb 22, 2011

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Ten Things I Love About My Church

The Husband and I met over 16 years ago at our church.  Back then it was in a much smaller building with about 1/3 of the congregation.  We are so richly blessed by our church family.

We have a fantastic book store on site that provides great resources for everyone.  Every week the message is recorded so if you hear something you'd like to give to a friend or co-worker, you can purchase it right after the service.  It is also a cozy place to look through books!

Our atrium is full of tables and chairs for folks to gather between and after services each week.  Trust me, this area is jam packed with people every Sunday morning.  We love the sense of community, and it happens here each Sunday.  This area is even set to be expanded this Spring!

Our attendance is now around 4,400 each week.  I love to be among that many believers worshiping the King of Kings and growing together.  Yes, it is a large congregation, but when you get involved, it becomes much smaller very quickly!

We house a food pantry that is fully stocked and run by our congregation.  Thousands of families are blessed by this pantry every year. 

Our church believes strongly in Missions!  This year alone we will send about 12 different groups to various places around the globe.  We've had an ongoing relationship with a church in Haiti for over 10 years and have partnered with them to build a church and a christian school.  We are also heavily involved in the Dominican Republic.

I love that if you are struggling in any given area in your life, we have a group that can help you!  We offer many different support groups, as well as specific groups like single moms and seniors.

This guy is the heart and soul of our church.  Mike Baker is our Senior Pastor.  Husband and I have known Mike from even before he came to Eastview through retreats with CIY, where he worked previously.  You could not meet a more genuine guy who is on fire for God and for His church.  Mike preaches only from the Bible each and every week and he is an awesome speaker.  His wife?  She is awesome too!

Our kids are taught straight from the Bible as well each and every week.  Every two years they cover the entire Bible.  That means in their time in Kidsview they will have studied the Bible 3 times!  The teaching, love and encouragement found in our childrens department is TOP NOTCH!

Our girls have been involved with Upward Basketball at our church for several years and truly love it.  It brings in over 700 kids throughout our community every year.

We've been involved with a small group the entire time we have attended this church.  It is the great way that our large church can seem much smaller.  We have made some of the greatest friends through our small groups.  Our kids all grow up together and have created some terrific bonds.  We have been able to "do life" with many of these families that helps us through the day to day challenges of marriage and parenthood.  I consider them my dearest of friends.


Song of Solomon-What's That About?

Feb 21, 2011

So we're cruising through the Bible and we've survived chapter upon chapter of blood shed, we wade through an entire book telling us that life is meaningless and then we stumble upon a book all about sexual attraction.  Confused?  Me too!

This book just comes out of nowhere, making it very difficult to switch gears after feeling depressed about our meaningless lives!  Even crazier is the fact that Solomon wrote both of them!  Boy were his emotions all over the board.  Now that I can relate to!

Honestly I needed to do some background research on this one.  As before, I reached for my handy Zondervan Handbook To The Bible for help.  I found that it is easier to read this book like a dance between a man and a woman when they realize they are attracted to each other.  They go through the stages of anticipating, looking, finding, consummation and commitment.  It reads like a conversation between the two of them.  They exchange compliments back and forth to each other, but in phrasing and allegories that are lost on us!  Here are a few things I found helpful in understanding this conversation:

  1. If you keep in mind how you felt physically when you started dating, this might help you get into the mindset of these two young new lovers.  Tingly inside, sweaty palms, blushing, can't stand to be away from each other kind of feeling.
  2. When you begin to fall in love, your eyes see only beauty and perfection, thus the descriptive sections scattered throughout about various body parts.
  3. The "garden" described is an euphemism for the "private parts".  When they are described as locked, or a secret garden, it is an indication of virginity.
  4. Mandrakes (7:13) were thought to have aphrodisiac powers.
  5. The seal in Ch8:6 indicates a charm engraved with the lover's name to be worn like a necklace close to the heart to show possession and devotion.
  6. In current English, the ending would read "and they lived happily ever after"!



We're Going to Disney World!!

Feb 18, 2011

We are so excited that our family is going to Disney World in Florida for the very first time over Spring Break!  Our girls are absolutely giddy with excitement!  They've been pouring over some Disney books we recently purchased at the library book sale (that's why I love 'em).  They've put hundreds of sticky notes on pages of things they want to see.  We'll be there for 4 days, but by the way they are planning, you'd think we were planning on a month!

We'll be staying at the Pop Century Resort, which some friends have stayed at numerous times and tell us it is just wonderful.  We're pretty simple people, so the Value Resorts fit us just fine.  Who cares really....I mean you aren't there to stay in the hotel all day, right?  All I need is a comfortable bed!!

I'm sure hoping that our girls, ages 9 and 10, won't think they are too old to visit the Disney Princess's.  They are just lovely!

I must tell you that I am completely overwhelmed by the scope of everything there is to see and do.  Thankfully for this first trip we are working with a Disney travel agent who can help us "newbies" not to miss anything fantastic!

Has your family been to Disney?  What was your favorite thing not to be missed?


Is Spring Here Yet?

Feb 17, 2011

"I just want time to do my one life well."
~Ann Voskamp

The last couple months have had me sequestered at home most days.  I  hate am not a fan of winter, so I tend to stay snuggled away at home where it is warm and dry.  Since it has been a very hard winter with extreme cold and loads of snow, I am praying diligently for an early spring.

I've developed a keen affection for my computer, Twitter, and the internet.  Some might even say I'm addicted?

So today I am planning to stay away from the computer as much as possible.  The weather is supposed to be warmer, and I really need to get some fresh air.

How about you?  Need a computer break?  Come can do it.  Step away from the mouse!!

Need some other great reads today?  Check out a couple friends who always have fantastic posts!

Marci @ Overcoming Busy
Stef @ Layton Family Joy
Rachel @ A Steady Rain


Finding Encouragement in the Light

Feb 16, 2011

"Blessed are those...who walk in the light of Your presence."
Psalm 89:15

I've always had a great affinity for the word "light" throughout the Bible.  I've searched the scriptures to find every mention of the word during some of the darkest times in my life.  As one who battles frequent bouts of depression, the word can take on significant meaning.  Depression is often described as a deep dark pit, so those who have suffered through it know that "light" is a lifeline to help.

Jesus is that lifeline.  And not just for depression, but for whatever situation you might find yourself in that feels dark, frustrating, or overwhelming.  Jesus is always waiting with his hand outstretched to pull you to safety.  The Bible promises hardship for all of us, but nowhere does it say that we must endure it alone.  In the first several verses of the book of John, Jesus is described as The Light, and again in 8:12 Jesus proclaims it himself saying,

"I am the light of the world.  
Whoever follows me 
will never walk in darkness, 
but will have the light of life."

What a gift!  We are surrounded by darkness on every side in our society, but Jesus provides our hope.

If you are struggling, would you go to the concordance in your Bible and do a word search for the word "light" and read through those scriptures?  I hope that you will be as encouraged as I am each time I do it.  Then pray and ask God to infuse you with the light of Christ, let it permeate your soul.  Soak Him in, and rest in his assurances.

I love that each day as I walk past my fireplace, I am reminded of the Light of His Presence by this beautiful vase and candle holder.  It is one of my favorite pieces from Blessings Unlimited.

Have a blessed day walking in HIS light!



Top Ten Tuesday-My Favorite Bible Verses

Feb 15, 2011

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Choosing just 10 bible verses as my favorite is a difficult task.  I have so many that have touched my heart in various seasons of my life.  God's word always provides the direction and encouragement that we need in every circumstance. 

  1. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23
  2. Live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,  being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.  Colossians 1:10b-12
  3. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  Ephesians 6:11
  4. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  II  Corinthians 1:3-4
  5. The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.  Romans 8: 6b
  6. My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.  Luke 1:46
  7. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33
  8. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11
  9. I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  Psalm 40:1-2
  10. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:17-18

These are some of my favorites, but I hardly even put a dent in some of my favorite Old Testament verses.  Maybe that will be another Top Ten list for later.

I'd love to see a couple of your favorites!  Leave them for me in the comments!


God has a Valentine for You

Feb 14, 2011

heart in sand by lady_jess, on Pix-O-Sphere

Father's Love Letter
An Intimate Message From God To You.


My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.
Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.

Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.

Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented
by those who don't know me.

John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.

1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.

1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.

Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.

Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.

Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.

Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.

Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.

Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.

Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.

Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.

John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.

Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.

1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.

Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.

1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.

Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.

Luke 15:7
I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.

Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is…
Will you be my child?

John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God
Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications


Ugliness of our World

As I sat down at my computer last night to write a post about Job, I quickly checked my email and Twitter, as I hadn't been on my computer all day.  I was saddened to see so many people watching the Grammy Awards.  there was a constant Twitter stream commenting on every happening.  I was disappointed.

I love music.  I adore lyrics that are uplifting and make me think.  Lyrics that are encouraging and bring me closer to the Lord I love.  But the Grammy Awards are something completely different.  They seek to reward many people whose words bring nothing but strife, filth and discouragement to so many.  The songs celebrate everything that is wrong with our culture.  I don't need to list them here... you know what they are.  Why are we celebrating with them?

Why do the Lady Gagas of this world get all the attention when we have modern day heroes among us fighting poverty, unsafe water, and human trafficking?  Where is their glory?  Where are the cameras that should be focused on the good they are trying to bring into the world?  Why does our society always focus on the negative?  Honestly, I find it so disheartening.

Even more discouraging to me was the list of names on my Twitter stream who were watching and participating in this madness.  I know it was certainly not a family friendly show, and I shudder at how many children were exposed to it in the name of entertainment.

How I wish that we could view this world through Christ's eyes to see the work of Satan through these seemingly "harmless" activities.  He only needs a crack before he breaks down the door right into your living room.  And before we know what hit us, he has our children wrapped around his little finger.  Those seemingly harmless movies, award shows, video games, singers, and lyrics are now their idols and heroes.  God is nowhere to be found in the path of destruction.

Numerous times in the New Testament we are warned about this very thing:

"keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27b

"If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning".  2 Peter 2:20
 "For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world".  I John 2:16
Do not be deceived by the prince of this earth who leaves behind him a path of death and destruction.  
Guard your hearts, 
guard your minds, 
guard your children.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.  I Corinthians 16:13


Inspiring Words through Song

Feb 13, 2011

Absolutely beautiful!


Relief from Cabin Fever

Feb 11, 2011

Ya know, there are just so many days a woman can take being stuck at home.  Between the blizzard and the freezing cold temperatures, I have stayed in most days.  But today I just had to get out some, so I headed to the neighborhood Hobby Lobby.  What better place to go to be inspired, take in some pretties, and look forward to spring?

There is always loveliness abounding at that place!  Nothing lifts my spirits like a walk down the garden aisle.

Isn't this pitcher absolutely lovely?

And this sign, "Sunshine on a Stem"....couldn't get any cuter!

Don't ladybugs just make you smile?

 I am also a sucker for anything iron.  I loved everything in this aisle!

And butterflies.  This really doesn't have blue on it, just from the flash, but isn't it lovely?

 I can't say I am a mushroom fan, but I thought these were super cute.  They almost look like they are wood carved.

 These bright colored pinwheels just made me happy!

Birdhouses.  Who doesn't love birdhouses?  They really make me look forward to my Jenny Wren returning each spring to raise her young in the same birdhouse each year.

One of my favorite areas to roam is through the framed art.  They just have the most beautiful things, and because Hobby Lobby is owned by a christian man, they carry lots of faith products.  I could easily find a place in my home for either of these!

Well there you have it.  My nice long hour of browsing Hobby Lobby in an effort to stave off the CABIN FEVER!  Where is your favorite place to window shop?


How God is Changing Me

Feb 10, 2011

 God is powerful; all must stand in awe of him.
Job 25:1

All I can say is WOW.   God has been doing an incredible work in me, and I am amazed.  Not that I don't think He is completely capable, but it is the means by which He is doing it.  You may remember when I decided to start the Bible in 90 Days program, I was extremely nervous because I do not always have the best follow through.  Self-discipline is not a strong suit for me, and that carries through into many areas of my life.  (Husband was even worried, knowing I had tried to read the bible in a year and didn't complete it.)

Not only have I kept up with the reading, but I have also been studying along the way.  Of course, reading 45 minutes a day doesn't allow too much time for study, but I have enjoyed a few side trips.  But the part that I am so excited about is that He calls me to it everyday.  I look forward to reading everyday, and I set everything else aside until that is done.  He has uncovered so much richness for me and I can't wait to join the next 90 day challenge!

I had also posted at the beginning of the year about choosing the word "FOCUS" for 2011.  That included really concentrating on getting our finances in order and trying to follow a budget.  It has been slow going, but I have made some good strides writing some things down, and just yesterday I created these beautiful cash envelopes, thanks to the great SVG cutting files from Kelleigh Ratzlaff.

I punched them and then bound them all together with a front and back cover like a little notebook.  Now I have no excuse not to try the envelope system of budgeting!  And thanks to Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts, I have been mesmerized by the notion of the sin of ingratitude, and that has changed the way I am spending my money.

I am praising my God because in the time span of only 2 short months of 2011, He has worked in my heart on issues that I have struggled with my entire life!  Can I just say I can't wait to see what else He has in store for me?

How is God working in your life?  I'd love to hear about it.

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