Thursday, November 30, 2006

Faith in Action Ideas

Here is a list of ways to put your faith in action that I found on Summit Ministries. The list is directed towards college students, but some of these would be great projects for the kids and all of us. To read the complete list go HERE.

4. Buy a billboard space and put up messages against abortion, pornography, etc.

5. Call in to a radio talk show.

6. Carry on e-mail conversations with missionaries.

7. Collect information from opposing worldviews and analyze.

8. Conduct a retirement center survey-"If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently?"

9. Conduct a survey of the general public-"What habits you would like to break."

11. Do a word study of wisdom.

12. Find and collect examples of media bias.

13. Get one or more good commentaries and go through a book of the bible.

14. Give a speech to a community organization.

15. Go on a missions trip to a third world country.

16. Go on a missions trip to the inner city.

17. Have a teacher appreciation breakfast.
(OH! I REALLY like this one ;o) )

18. Host a Bible study at your residence.

19. Host a candlelight vigil for Christians undergoing persecution around the world.

20. Host a debate between prominent opponents.

21. Institute positive peer pressure (e.g.-Go without TV for a week).

22. Meet with your state legislator.

23. Minister to homeless people in the streets (e.g.-buy or give someone food or clothes)

24. Offer to write an editorial from for the newspaper.

25. Pick up brochures from your campus Student Union and dissect from a worldview standpoint.

26. Practice complimenting others.

27. Practice emphasizing a positive character quality for a week.

28. Role-play confronting someone who has wronged you.

29. Role-play discussing issues with someone of another worldview.

30. Run for a political office.

31. Sit in on an editorial meeting at the newspaper office.

32. Sponsor a child through Compassion International and study poverty's causes and effects.

34. Study the character qualities of people in the Bible.

35. Survey local corporations to find out about their diversity training programs (what do they say about behaviors such as homosexuality?).

36. Tape a television media report and analyze it.

38. Tour a museum exhibit and analyze it from a biblical standpoint.

39. Tour a zoo and analyze it from a biblical standpoint.

40. Visit a retirement center to learn from older people.

42. Volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center.

43. Volunteer at a homeless shelter.

45. Volunteer for a local community service.

46. Volunteer for your community's Meals on Wheels.

48. Watch a movie with a group of friends and discuss its worldview implications.

49. Write a letter to the editor.

50. Write an encouraging note to someone you look up to.

51. Write or e-mail political officials.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tarzan Cake
I had fun making this yesterday for my little friend Cooper!
Bake and stack three different size round cakes.
I tore our a little of the middle one to make way for the waterfall.
I added to straws to help keep the layer from shifting.
I iced white between layers and filled in the water,
I added a few whitecaps with the white icing....
then the green grass, with grey rocks.
After the rocks air dried a bit I shaped them with my fingers.
I placed bread sticks in for the trees trunks.
These should have been pretzel sticks, but none of our local stores had any. :o/
The problem with using bread sticks is that they get soft from the icing
and will eventually fall we found out the hard way.
I used the leaf tip to make the palm trees.
I bought an elephant and made Tarzan from icing. Now granted he is a bit chubby, and even looks lazy as he lays on the elephant...oh well...
Note: Since I 'dressed' Tarzan he is somewhat modest! ;o)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I am so THANKFUL that our girls (ages 12 and 16) are not too cool to get out and play and be silly! They asked their dad to hang up a couple of old fashion wood and rope swings from one of our big trees. They have been so funny! I won't post the really goofy pictures of them... at least not right now. ;o) We should all have the heart of a child.

And yes, this is Alabama, where you may get to wear sleeveless shirts in late November!

Holiday Hospitality
Part 3

Start a Guest Book

I have a guest book that I made from a regular journal type note book and covered it with some pretty fabric. It's fun to have your guest sign it and date it. They may leave comments if they wish. I am going to add a column for prayer request also. My biggest problem with our guest book is that I forget to ask them to sign it until after they leave. :-O When that happens I just write in the name and date myself...that's better than nothing. I enjoy looking back and remembering special times with guest. This is also a good way to help you remember who was there when... :o)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Looking For Real Life Stories

I am looking for real life stories about prodigals. They can be from a the Prodigals view point or the Parent's view point. If you were raised in a Godly home, but went astray and came home (repented and restored), I'd like to know about your journey. If you are the parent of a prodigal, whether they have come home or not, I'd like to know your story. When I say 'come home', this can be spiritually and/or physically. I'd love to hear some stories from a parent and child in the same family.

What I want to know is the heart of the issue. What would you have done differently? What advice to you have?

As the mom of a prodigal I'd like to hear how others have handled it. I am also contemplating writing a little book on How to Love a Prodigal, Encouragement and Hope for Parents. I may include stories submitted with proper credit given of course. We will also change the names.

With all of that said, I know we are all like sheep and have gone astray. Salvation is by God's grace alone, and not by works. But I also know in the multitude councilors there is wisdom.

Submit your story to , put Prodigal Story in the subject line please.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Hospitality Part 3

These are pictures from last December when my Grandmother (82, widowed and lives alone) came from New York to stay a couple of months with us. As we drove up the hill to our driveway, Jeff was out in the yard with his big WELCOME signs and ready to carry her bags! It was so funny! And Grandma, whom only Jeff calls "The Chief", was so so touched by his 'hospitality'.

Welcome signs are a good way to bless your overnight guest!
Another great project for the kids to make, or an excited grandson-in-love!

Do you have relatives or friends that may need a break from the cold climate, or maybe a break from being alone? We cherish our visits from our 'snowbird', Grandma...aka The Chief!

Decking the Halls
I made this yesterday afternoon to get our 'halls a decking'!

It is made from a real wood log that Jeff cut for me. I made one for my Mom that was a bit larger and simply said: Merry Christmas to hang at her condo. I am also working on some coasters that would be perfect for gifts or an upcoming craft show.

We are also making a bunch of these little wooden gift tags!
Aren't they cute?
I've already sold about 70 of these for 50 cents each. :o)
They are great if you are wrapping with
brown paper and use raffia for the bows.

Great Baking Resource

The Joy of Baking

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

Emma made the pine cone name cards. Olivia made the napkin rings with fresh Rosemary.

Emma made the potatoes and green bean casserole.

Olivia made an apple pie, blueberry pie and the gravy.

Grandma made the turkey.

I made the sweet potatoes, the stuffing (complete with sausage and mushrooms),
stuffed eggs,
cranberry sorbet (which was a flop),
and the whole wheat rolls
(which were perfect, so that made up for the cranberry mush...right?)!
Dad and Josh...the consumers! :o)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Holiday Hospitality
Part 2

I have a friend that is a mail carrier, and another friend that use to be one, both have said it is a rough, dirty job. As a child I remember my Grandmother's mailman (Freddie), he was like a part of the family. He was so friendly, would bring packages up her long driveway and chat a few minutes...always going the extra mile to serve. Then he retired and she got a new mailman, he was the complete opposite (if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all)!

Our mail carrier, or any regular delivery people, are a great opportunity to show hospitality to. Occasionally we leave a package of cookies, or bread in the mailbox for our carrier. The kids will usually run out to get packages and she is always sweet to our lab, who thinks her tiers are black squirrels that need to be caught. You can read how doing this simple act made a difference this summer. (Please pray for our regular carrier, Glennie, she has cancer.)

Last week a friend of mind told me how she made her mail carrier a cup of hot cocoa and met her with it when she was a cold nasty day! Now isn't that sweet?!

People do talk, and not only gossip ;o)...but they do talk about unexpected kindness that is showed to them. This builds a good reputation for you and your family, which allows you to point to Christ when people take notice. We are different because we have the Holy Spirit prompting us to do good deeds, to glorify our Heavenly Father. Simply pray and LOOK for those ways you can be a blessing to others.

Other Ideas

Take goodies to:
Post Office
(both places are known for their 'grumpy' servants, but you'd be amazed how a little undeserved kindness softens their hearts)
Fire Department

Have goodies ready for :
The Pizza Deliveryman
The UPS man

One year Emma made little cards for her favorite people at Wal Mart. Guess that means we are there too much if we know people on a first name basis. :o/ My point is she loved doing it and she blessed others.

Ask God to show you someone you can serve through little acts of hospitality.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Holiday Hospitality
Part 1

The 6 weeks or so of the Holiday Season is quickly WILL fly by and be over before we know it. The more we have a Christian perspective (which is not the legalistic should we celebrate or not celebrate, but should we continue to show love for each other anyway we can) and prepare for the many opportunities, the more meaningful it will be for us and those we encounter. I plan to post several tips on Holiday Hospitality and Gift Giving over the next few days.

Do Not Complain

1 Peter 4:9
Be hospitable to one another without complaint.

An attitude of complaining and dread is the quickest way to ruin your Holiday. It will teach your children to hate having company. It will cause strife between you and your husband. It will make your guest feel like an imposition, and above all it will be sin and not honoring God.

Hospitality can be stressful and it can be alot of work, but your attitude is the biggest part of the burden. Have pure motives. It's not about you, it's about serving God by loving and serving others!

Entertaining is about YOU, hospitality is about Jesus!!!

Romans 12:10
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;
give preference to one another in honor;

Overnight Guest

This week is Thanksgiving, many of us will have overnight guest. The more we plan ahead the easier it will be.

Deep clean the best you can the week before or at least a few days before. Make a list of at least 3 areas to tackle each day. Work quickly and cheerfully. Give each child a job to do. Clear out those piles of clutter.

Cook as much as you can before the BIG DAY! Many of our traditional dishes can be cooked ahead of time and frozen or at least kept in the refrigerator a couple of days with no change to their appearance or taste. Make a few different sweets and freeze them. These are great to put on a small, pretty dish and placed in a few areas through your home. Nuts and pretzels are good too. Be sure to have some sugar free candy for guest that may have some health issues.

Cookies or a loaf of pumpkin or banana bread (baked ahead of time and frozen), served with cream cheese, are perfect when there is a need for a snack...along with some coffee or Spiced Tea on the stove. :o)

Place Cards

There are tons of ideas online for simple place cards. For Thanksgiving, a small pine cone and a small piece of paper are perfect to add the guest's name. You can add a raffia bow, if you like. This is a GREAT project for the children. It involves them and teaches them to be thinking of 'others'.

Bedside Baskets

This is one of my favorite things to do! When we have overnight guest I fix a basket of goodies to place next to their bed. I have found that this always WOWS our makes them feel so welcomed and special. We do this no matter what time of the year it is. I am always on the lookout for 'basket items'. Keep in mind the personality of your guest as to what you'd like to put in it. It can be very simple or chucked full of goodies.

Suggested items:
A Welcome Note...this is usually made by one of our daughters, simply saying, "We're so glad you came to visit us!"
Trail size toothpaste, shampoo, pain reliever, etc... (just incase they forgot theirs)
Special lotion (I get mine form my friend that makes her own, all natural bath products :o) )
Small package of tissues
Note pad
Postcards from your area (with stamps)
A bottle of water for during the night. (replenish if they are staying longer and you notice it has been drank)
Package of snack crackers
Magazines (I always add Southern Living for ladies, and if we have men that enjoy outdoors activities I put in a Field and Stream. Think about the hobbies of your guest and put magazines that they may enjoy reading during their visit. The Thrift store always has these that still look like new.)
Some times I will add something extra special, like a Rice Pack for them to heat up.
If you have young guest add a few things for them too, bubbles, crayons, coloring books, a sucker, crossword book, a little stuffed animal, etc...
If you have an old photo of your guest and you that is fun to add.

Guest Towels

I have bought 4 sets of towels that I use only when guest come. I lay them out on their bed and I think that also makes them feel welcome and more comfortable. I'd like to get them monogrammed one day.

If you can't afford to do this now, put it on your to do list. In January when all the stores have their big White Sales, buy a set! Watch the clearance racks. Always have hospitality in the back of your mind all year long. Christian hospitality is a duty and a privilege.

Guest Sheets

Sheets are another special thing to do. Your guest won't know that they are 'special sheets', but you will! :o) Here again, this is something that you have to plan for. Perhaps buy a nice, high tread count set when they go on sale. Before the guest come, fluff them in the dryer with a fabric softener sheet so they'll smell good!


Above all pray for a pleasant visit. Keep the conversation light and believing the best in others (no family gossip). Photo albums or scrapbooks are good to have laying out to help pass time and create conversation. Candles, light music, little or no TV, all add to the atmosphere. Keep the children busy with good activities and not left to themselves.

Remember Christian hospitality is about Christ...loving and serving others.

Entertaining is about YOU, hospitality is about Jesus!!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Keeper AT Home...
not a Keeper OF the Home

Titus 2:5 be discreet, chaste,
keepers at home,
good, obedient to their own husbands,
that the word of God be not blasphemed.

I have been so busy with preparing for a 3 day craft fair, in addition to working on several orders, that I have not been a Keeper AT Home (Titus 2:5). Olivia has stayed home for the past 2 days being the Keeper and it was WONDERFUL to come home to a clean house and supper ready, but I am exhausted and I want MY job back as THE Keeper! My work at home can be exhausting too, but it is so much more fulfilling. No pay, no degree, no recognition can equal the satisfaction I receive knowing that I am doing my duty to my husband, my family and my home. My heart is at home. It is my purpose, my design.

1 Corinthians 11:9
...for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake,
but woman for the man's sake.

Tomorrow Jeff and Olivia are going to go work the show, and Emma and I will STAY HOME and do what we have been created for!

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Taking the Challenge

A few months ago I was approached about recreating an old quilt. This quilt may not be the prettiest looking quilt, but it is treasured by this family's 2 adult children. So for their Christmas gift this year they will both receive a replica of the original, 75 year old (perhaps older) quilt. After talking with several people at fabric shops and at our guild we have determined that it was probably made from men's boxers or PJ's. Quilting 75 years ago was a necessity, nothing was wasted. It is also a pattern that no one is familiar with. This quilt has some sort of upholstery, perhaps a drape that was used for it's inner layer (the batting), which makes it very heavy and warm! We agreed that we would stay in the same color scheme, but that it would be impossible to find fabric with the same prints. So I bought some fabric markers and drew in the designs the best I could.

Quilting today is an art, a creative outlet. You know it is BIG BUSINESS if you have looked at quilting fabric and the endless tools to make it easier! I LOVE my rotary cutter, I'm not sure I'd quilt if I didn't have one.

Pictured below is the original and then my replica, I still have one more to make.

<- On the left is the original. On the right is the replica. ->

Because the quilt is so sentimental to these adult children, I hope they will be THRILLED when they open these this Christmas. I hope they will be flooded with fond memories of their childhood under the original quilt, and enjoy MANY nights of warmth and comfort with their new quilt, with their own families. This is not anything that can be bought at a store, it is unique, it was created and given with a spirit of love. Quilting is not about making a blanket, it is about relationships, it is about love!

Sweet Sixteen!

My oldest daughter is 16 today! That sounds so grown up. She was the best behaved baby/toddler I content, just happy to be here. As she grew everyone would always comment on how mature...grown up acting she was. She loved her dolls, always being a mommy.
Thankfully God has placed us in a church that has an abundance of babies, a church that embraces life, so she has one to hold each Sunday. Olivia has always had an easy time learning. She started reading at 3 and now will devour anything she can get her hands on. She excels in her studies. She has always seemed to love the things of God and has a gift of discernment, sometimes challenging me on something I'll say or do (not always a 'wise' thing to do! ;o/ ).

The flip side of being a 'good kid' is that it can foster an attitude of pride, self-righteousness. I see her struggle with it so often, and I know she hates it and has to really work on it...reckon why I see it so clearly??? Guess you could say she is a chip off the old block. But I know God will refine her, just has He keeps doing to me, but thankfully He is starting on her earlier in life than He did with me. :o)

Olivia's heart has always been to be a wife and mommy. When she was about 4 she told me she wanted to grow up and be just like me...oh my!!! those words will thrill you and terrify you at the same time!!!
When she was 11 or 12 she wanted a crock pot for Christmas...LOL. I received a few comments about that from other people, but I figured what was so wrong with that? It was what was in her heart, part of her dream of having a home and family one day, she loves to cook, every good cook needs a crock pot! I'd rather her ask for something like that than mindless electronics, rock Cd's, fashionable clothes and makeup. I'm thankful for her heart for the home.

Clothing is a funny issue with her! She has ALWAYS loved to dress like a girl. The thing is, she'd rather dress like a girl from the 1800's, and she could get by with it until she hit her teens, now she feels the pressure to conform to fit in...modestly of course. One day when she was 10 or so she said she'd wear her 'Little House on the Prairie' dress to Wal Mart if I let She has begged me to make her a hoop skirt for years...this is where I have failed as a mother. :o( Though I did make the dress/hat and cake for her 5th birthday pictured below! :o)

So today, as I look at my baby girl and remember how much laughter and love she has brought into our lives, I thank God for her. I look forward to the days ahead, to see what God will do with her. If it be His will, I pray he will bring her a Godly husband, and bless them with many children, to carry out the Gospel to all the nations!
No matter what, I pray she will joyfully serve Jesus! After all...isn't that what life is about?!

Monday, November 6, 2006

Emma bought Olivia some fish for her birthday. The girls were so proud of them and insisted that they make the perfect centerpiece on the kitchen table. A couple of hours later I walked into the kitchen to see that Emma's kitten thinks it is a GRAND idea too!!! :o) Though my sweet husband would have given this kitten flying lessons if he saw her on the table.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

The Real World

I wish I had a dollar for every comment I've had over our 14 years of homeschooling about socializing! As if putting a child in a room with 30 other children, for the majority of their day, and the majority of their childhood is really socializing them...preparing them for the real world. As if giving each child the same books and the same blanks to fill in as they press them into the cookie cutter agenda really is preparing children for the REAL WORLD. Children have very unique personalities, learning styles, gifts and bends in life. People like Edison did not fit in the cookie cutter and had to leave school at a young age. Thank God for that! He was able to learn and experiment. I wonder how many Edisons are being medicated so they can squeeze into the cookie cutter?

If modern psychology had existed back then, Tom would have probably been deemed a victim of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and proscribed a hefty dose of the "miracle drug" Ritalin. Instead, when his beloved mother - whom he recalled "was the making of me... [because] she was always so true and so sure of me... And always made me feel I had someone to live for and must not disappoint." - became aware of the situation, she promptly withdrew him from school and began to "home-teach" him. Not surprisingly, she was convinced her son's slightly unusual demeanor and physical appearance were merely outward signs of his remarkable intelligence.

Spunky has a good post about The REAL WORLD. Go HERE to read it.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

I can NOT believe that *I* am posting this picture! I like our pets (I LOVE our lab) ...but they have their place...they are animals, not humans. It drives me nuts that animals are treated with more respect than an unborn baby. Today Olivia took her boxer, Savannah, with us over to the job site Jeff was working at. Olivia put her in the seat've got to admit, it's pretty cute! Like I said...I can't believe I am posting this.