Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wonderful Easter Object Lessons for Children

Many of you have heard of Resurrection Cookies.  If you were reading the blog last year, you may remember I shared the recipe and instructions on how to use them as you share The Easter Story.

Well, earlier this week, while visiting my friend, Jennifer of the wonderful blog, Smelling Coffee, I learned of yet another special object lesson.  Resurrection Rolls!  A fascinating illustration of the empty tomb.  Please take a moment and visit to learn about this very creative idea. 

Maybe you have older children. You will want to check out Jennifer's post today, sharing a wonderful devotional idea for your older children or teens. 

One last thing, she shared the Jelly Bean Prayer

Using her post, I typed up the prayer, attached it to small cellophane bags of jelly beans and gave them to my Bible study girls today (Sorry...I forgot to take a photo before distributing them!)  They absolutely loved them and some planned to make them with their grandchildren. 

I created the color coded prayer card on Microsoft Word, but I'm unsure how to link it to my blog. I would be happy to send it to you via e-mail...just leave your e-mail address in a comment.    

Special thanks to Jennifer for such wonderful and creative ideas to illustrate The Easter Story!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Long Overdue Thanks

With all the recent talk on my blog about giveaways, I realized I have two very long overdue Thanks to share. 

Last month, I won two different giveaways just a couple of days apart!  First, a wonderful vinyl wall phrase  that reads "Every Day is a Gift" from As Time Goes By, a blog written by sisters Victoria & Christina.  I've wanted one of these for over a year, so you can imagine how happy I was to have won!  I'm still trying to decide exactly where I plan to place it (and since the whole house is due for a fresh will have to wait a little longer to actually go up on the wall!)  Thank you so much Victoria & Christina! 

If you enjoy thrifting/repurposing/decorating & photography (not to mention meeting really sweet ladies!), pay them a visit. Bet you'll like it, too!

A couple of days later, I was visiting TidyMom, a really fun blog devoted to baking, creating, mothering and yes, tidiness.  She was sharing a wonderful cherry dessert that was made in a heart-shaped pan.  At the end of her post, she mentioned that she was giving away several Wilton Heart-Shaped Pans.  I entered and lo and behold, I won there as well!  Thanks so much TidyMom! 

My initial plan was to make her dessert (or something similar) while using the pan.  I assumed I could  share my thanks AND a recipe, too!   Well...let's just say what resulted could only be described as an "epic failure."  (I really wish I would have taken a photo!  You would have gotten quite a kick out of it.)   For now, this photo I took before the baking fiasco will have to do. = )

Thanks again for two wonderful blessings and my apologies for such latecoming thanks!!  = ) 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Jordyn & Josh!!!

Believe it or not, these two, (my niece and nephew Josh & Jordyn), are twins!  Today, they are 12 years old!  I absolutely cannot believe it.  They are very busy and talented middle school students...Josh is an awesome cross-country runner and Jordyn is fierce on the basketball court.  Among a host of other talents and activities, both are honor roll students and members of National Junior Honor Society.  They are as different as night and day, yet both GREAT kids who are lots of fun. 

Josh & Jordyn, I love you dearly and wish you a wonderful and very special birthday!  Looking forward to celebrating with you next weekend!!!   

Christmas in March...Mittens!

Greetings friends! In my efforts to help you prepare for Christmas all year long, here is this month's ornament (just a shade late...usually the 25th of each month).  Not too long ago, I found a WONDERFUL site, " Idea Place."  I found scores of great of which I chose to do for this month's ornament selection...(hold onto your hats...these are ADORABLE!) 

Normally, I show you step-by-step instructions, but her tutorial in this link is sooooo well done, I'm going to instead suggest you follow her instructions.  That's exactly what I did and I had no trouble whatsoever (although mine are nowhere near as darling as hers!)  You can make them in sets... 

or make them in singles...

I'm just getting started, but I've discovered these are so much fun to make!  As you can see from the examples in her tutorial, the possibilities for decorating the mittens are endless!  Not only that, you can make a set for Christmas, and then another set to keep up all winter long!  Have fun & let me know if you give them a try.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Marcia!

Someone very near and dear to my heart is celebrating a birthday sister, Marcia ("Mar-see-uh").  Next to Tom, she is my closest friend...I've adored her since the very day my parents brought her home from the hospital.

Of her many gifts, I'd like to tell you a little about her heart for serving others.  She is one of the most thoughtful, caring souls I've ever known.  She's a hairdresser by occupation and just the other day, I called and asked what she was doing.  She said, "Buying flowers."  I said..."Sounds fun, what's the occassion?"  She said, "I've got a client coming in, an older woman...and today is her birthday.  I thought it would be fun to surprise her."  So very sweet, yet this is the kind of thing she does all the time!  She is constantly looking for ways to bless others.

So many times, I myself have been a recipient of her kindness. A while back, I had a nasty case of tonsilitis. The antibiotic they had given me wasn't working, so they called in something stronger. I felt absolutely horrible, but I was going to need to go out to pick up the new medication if I wanted to feel better. Well, she insisted on picking it up. When she returned, she had not only my medication, but a two kinds of soup from Panera and a slush puppie! (Did I mention this was two weeks before Christmas? And she has 5 kids?)

Last summer, when my Dad was hurt, she was positively tireless in her efforts to help both he and Mom with things that needed to be done, but always going a step farther to show an added measure of kindness, grace and thoughtfulness, too.

She absolutely adores her husband and kids, and as you can imagine, they adore her right back.  Any given day finds her running in a million directions, tending to the their needs, cheering them on, giving love, support, encouragement oh, and laughter...always lots of laughter, too.  She wouldn't trade it for all the money in the world. 

Happy Birthday Marce!  I love you so much & thank God that He made us sisters!  Hope you enjoy your day...looking forward to seeing you tonight!  ((Hugs!))

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Spring!!!

Greetings sweet friends!  Are you as happy as I am that Spring (at last) has officially arrived!?  While God truly speaks into every season a beauty all its own, for me personally, that is especially true of Spring.  There is something so powerfully encouraging about seeing new life spring up from places that gave no indication of its presence just a short time ago.  (Could there be a more perfect season for Easter?)  I think Spring mirrors many of us as believers.  In our Winter season, God is quietly, almost imperceptibly at work within us, yet because we feel no difference, or see no change in outward circumstances, we often find ourselves lulled into discouragement and defeat.  Then, very slowly, God begins to reveal in our Spring the beauty He's been cultivating all along.     

In a great post by a friend earlier this week, I was reminded of several of my favorite verses that speak to this very thing.  I especially love this one...

Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone. The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.  The fig trees are forming young fruit, and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.  Rise up, my darling!  Come away with me, my fair one!” 
~ Song of Solomon 2:11-13

Maybe you've been walking through an especially long Winter season.  Will you trust that God has been imperceptibly at work within you?  Will you reach out and take His hand today and ask Him to reveal to you a glimpse of your Spring?       

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  ~ 2 Corinthians 4:15-17

* * * * * *

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  ~ Isaiah 40:30-31

* * * * * *

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
~ Isaiah 43:18-19

He's at work dear friends, in each of us who know Him.  May you find a quiet time and place today to think on that truth.  This song shares it beautifully & powerfully...may it encourage you this day.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

And the winner is...(drumroll, please)

Karen of Hallelujah Anyhow! 

It's been several months since I first "met" Karen here in blogworld.  A wife, Mom & Grandma who loves the Lord, she is a kind & wonderful encourager.   Please stop by her lovely blog and say Hello!  Once again...Congratulations Karen!!!  No doubt you'll have fun with that panini press! 

I know it may sound cheesy, but it's true...I really wish I could have given a prize to all of you!  Thank you so much for celebrating my blog birthday with me.  You really helped to make it an extra special celebration! 

May your day be blessed...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Have you ever heard of Saint Patrick's Breastplate Prayer?  I admit I had not until two years ago when friends of ours (who were missionaries in Ireland at the time) shared it.  I found the portion quoted above to be especially meaningful.  Why is this known as his Breastplate Prayer?  Because it was Saint Patrick's prayer seeking God's protection over his life...adversaries that were both seen and unseen.  To read the prayer in its entirety, click here

I can't read Saint Patrick's prayer without thinking of what God says about "putting on the whole armour of God" in Ephesians 6:10-19:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Though many things have changed since the writing of both Ephesians and Saint Patrick's Prayer, their relevance is not lost in today's world.  Why not adopt his as your prayer today? 

Blessings to you all...

P.S.  Remember, my giveaway continues up until midnight (Eastern time) tonight.  If you haven't entered today, please stop by.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Finale! Blog Birthday Giveaway from CSN!

As I was planning the final gift for my blog birthday giveaway, I was contacted by CSN Stores about an opportunity to choose one of their products to give to one of you! (What perfect timing!)  I thought, "This will be sooooo much fun!"  Just moments after clicking on their link I realized I might be in for a challenge!  I was stunned to learn CSN is home to over 200 online stores!  Truly a one-stop-shop!   Whether you need bar stoolshome decorhousewarestoys, even furniture and mailboxes, they're the place to go!  That being said, I was so overwhelmed by choices, I couldn't possibly narrow it down to one item.  I asked nicely and the kind folks at csn have agreed to let me share several items from which you can choose your prize.  (whew!)  

Bearing in mind what I know about many of you, my dear readers, I headed toward housewares and made the following choices... (hoping I chose wisely):        

Your choice of colors:  Carribean (shown), Dijon, Kiwi, Cobalt, Black Onyx, Cherry, or White


Simply click on the links below each photo to read specifics about each product. 

This giveaway will run through next Wednesday (3/17) at midnight (Eastern time).  Winner will be announced on Thursday (3/18)!  You can enter once each day between now and then.  Simply leave a comment with your name, e-mail address and which product you'd prefer.  You may also gain one extra entry by sharing this on your blog and commenting with a link to your site.  I wish all of you could win, but alas only one will be chosen.  Hoping it's YOU!  = )

Congratulations & Blog Birthday Giveaway #4...

Greetings friends!  Once again...Congratulations are in order!  This time to...

Melissa Jo of MJP Photography and Melissa Jo's Recipes.  She is the keeper of two very artful & creative blogs!   I really enjoy her photography at MJP....if you're a fan of photography, you will too!  Is cooking more your style?  Then stop by and check out all she has to offer at her recipe blog!  In any case...please do stop by and say Hello & Congrats!

Thank you so much for your comments!  Some really good ideas for blessing others. = )  Thanks to all of you for always blessing ME, too! 

I've been saving the best for last!  I'll be posting about the final Giveaway later today (Thursday).  (You won't want to miss it!)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Congratulations & Blog Birthday Giveaway #3!

I'm happy to say the winner of Giveaway # 2 is...

Unlike many of my blog buddies, I have the distinct privilege of knowing Kristin in "real life!" = )  In fact, I've known her for many years...probably back to her elementary days when they moved to our area.  Later, she was in my middle school small group.  That's when I really got to know her best.  She is among Brennan & Breezy's closest friends and in fact, can be seen in their wedding photos!  She is a lovely and very talented young woman, currently pursuing a degree in photography.  She's done some really exciting and wonderful things in addition to photography, from working with Compassion Internation, designing graphic artwork for various organizations and even creating web sites, working closely with people like Bethany Dillon!  Pretty impressive for a 20-year-old!  The best part?  She's one of the most humble souls I've ever met.  Once again...Congrats Kristin!  = )  Please take a moment and stop by her blog.    

Now...onto the next giveaway!

A beautiful assortment of 24 all occassion notecards.  Birthday, thank you, sympathy, and "just because."   These are especially decorative, charming little cards, perfect to keep "on hand."    


A wonderful candle by Bridgewater Candle Company called "White Cotton."  Reminds me of freshly laundered clothing fresh from the clothesline...a perfect fragrance for spring & summer! 

Are you like me, do you just love going to your mailbox finding an unexpected card or letter from a friend?  Don't get me wrong, I love technology and use e-mail and e-cards regularly, but I still love to both send and receive paper cards...especially when they're unexpected.  = )  Taking just a few moments to send a card could make such a difference in someone's day.  (If you've been blessed in this way, I suspect you know just what I mean.)  We're even told in Scripture, "encourage one another daily, while it is still today."  Hebrews 3:13.  Won't you join me in looking for an opportunity to bless someone unexpectedly?     

Leave a comment sharing something kind or encouraging someone has done for you, or something you plan to do (or have done in the past) for someone else.  In doing so, you might give the rest of us some really good ideas!  I read last year about a woman who decided to bless the person behind her at Starbucks by paying for their coffee at the drive-up window.  That person continued the blessing, as did the next one and the next one.  It carried on for over an hour!  Can you imagine!?  Let's go forth and bless someone today!

Giveaway will remain open until midnight (Eastern Time) Wednesday (3/10).  Winner will be drawn then and announced on Thursday morning! Here's hoping you win!  = )

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Congratulations & Blog Birthday Giveaway #2!

First things first...

Congratulations to Heidi of Everyday Cookies!!! 

She was the winner of Giveaway #1...the women's devotional book and the ESV Bible with the celtic cross.  I only recently discovered her charming blog and I was so glad!  She is a wonderfully talented, creative, and Godly woman.  Please stop by and say Hello.  She shared her favorite verse, Proverbs 31:25:  "Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come." Heidi takes this verse to heart by "always facing tomorrow with a smile."  Now that's a woman I want to know better!  = )

Now, onto Giveaway #2!

A beautiful 4 x 6 frame from Mason Lane.  It's very substantial with lots of lovely detailing.  (It's crisp white, but could easily be accented with glaze should you so choose.)


A new 8GB memory card! 

How do you enter?  Leave a comment sharing either your favorite photo subject OR tell me about your personal favorite photo.  Giveaway will remain open until midnight Monday (3/8).  Winner will be announced on Tuesday morning! 

Have a great weekend!  = )

Thursday, March 4, 2010

2 Years Ago Today...

...I ventured into a whole new world!  It's been quite an adventure to say the very least.  Life-changing is more like it.  To this day, it staggers my imagination the paths I've been privileged to cross since that time.  While I believe God gave me the nudge to start "my cup runneth over" as a means for sharing joy and encouragement with others, He constantly turns that around and blesses me, too!     

Beyond countless things practical, there are other things I've learned through the course of my blog journey thus far:       

*  Friends I've never met face-to-face can occupy a huge place in my heart!

Some of the sweetest encouragers and most faithful prayer warriors I've ever known can be found here.

When something wonderful happens in my life, be it big or small, blog friends find great joy in celebrating with me.

I am privileged to know some extraordinarily gifted writers.

My walk with Christ is much stronger and deeper than it was two years ago, due in part to journeying alongside some amazing women of faith here.  

*  My life is unbelievably, unquestionably, undeservedly blessed.

Among the blogs I regularly read, 

some are devotional and reflective and challenge my faith;

some give ideas for showing kindness & encouraging others;

some celebrate and savor life's everyday blessings;

some demonstrate how to create a more loving & welcoming home;

some flow with creative ideas for crafting;

some pass along hints for cutting costs and saving money; 

some serve up tried and true recipes;

some share their glimpses of life thorugh a camera lens;

There are also a few that seem to cover many, if not all these areas, which is where I like to think of mine.  On any given day, you could see a post on any number of these topics.  Yet whether I'm sharing my favorite new recipe, a thrifty idea or a something I've learned studying the Word, it truly remains my hope that the joy of the Lord is demonsrated in everything I share. 
Now...let's celebrate!  I have put together a number of giveaways for the next week.  I'm so excited because I think (humbly, of course) they are really good!  They also cover of variety of different interests, so if one doesn't strike your fancy, perhaps another will!

First up...  
100 Days of Grace - a beautiful devotional book for women and a compact sized, ESV Bible embellished with a beautiful Celtic cross.  It's the perfect size for carrying in your purse! 

To enter, leave a comment sharing with me your favorite scripture.  I'll take comments through midnight (Eastern time) tomorrow, Friday (3/05).  Winner will be announced on Saturday morning with the posting of the next giveaway!  Here's hoping you win!  = )