Friday, May 30, 2008

Pray for those who've never heard


This morning, my heart was moved by this AP photo on the Yahoo news on my home page about uncontacted tribes living in the Amazon River basin between Brazil and Peru.

According to the article, there are still over 100 tribes worldwide who have never had outside contact with about half of them living in this Brazil/Peru Amazon River Basin region. They are in danger of being forced off their land by companies logging in the rich rain forest areas. Also. because of their isolation, they've never had contact with diseases we now immunize our children against - diseases that could wipe out whole tribes.

What really blew my mind was that there were still over 100 tribes in our world that have never heard the Good News of the Gospel of Christ!

One of the biggest influences in my life was the story in the 1950's of Wycliffe Bible Translators who were killed making contact with the Auca Indians in this region of the world. Following this tragedy, the wives of these men ventured int the area to bring Christ's message to the very people who killed their husbands.

For years after reading this missions story and following the life of Elisabeth Elliott, my teenaged heart longed to go into this region of the world and reach those uncontacted tribes. I never realized that dream, but have often thought about those who have never heard the Gospel in those regions.

Today I was reminded to keep praying for them that they will hear and believe the message of Christ. I also sensed an urgency about it - you see we are living in the last days according to the prophetic message of Scripture. It isn't hard to see that as we look at the events in the world around us lining up with the future events prophesied in Scripture.

But one of the things that is supposed to happen is that all nations will have a chance to hear the message. That includes these uncontacted tribal nations in remote areas of the world.

My blog today is a call to prayer for Christians everywhere to pray for those who haven't yet heard the good news of the Gospel. He is coming soon - May all the people hear the message of love and forgiveness in Christ.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Crafty Thursday - Quilt card

Of all the card designs I like to make, this is one of my all time favorites, though it is a bit labor intensive. It was inspired by my growing up years in Southeastern PA - when we would drive along some of the back roads on our way to Lancaster. Often there would be a quilt hanging on a backyard wash line being aired out.

For this card, I used a black square for the quilt background and punched out an assortment of mini squares with my Paper Shapers square punch. The tree limbs were punched from brown cardstock using the Paper Shapers mega-sized tree punch and covered with shades of green leaves punched with the Paper Shaper oak and Maple leaf punches. The same with the butterfly and dragon flies.

I added some grass across the bottom and flower shaped brads for a little more texture. and drew a wash line with clothespins freehand across the top of the quilt.

Does anyone have any suggestions where I might find some quilt stamps? I have some ideas in mind and am looking for some cute stamps with quilts on them.

Happy crafting!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Let the hunt begin - a fun meeting idea for your ladies or youth group

Remember the scavenger hunts when you were a kid? You were given a list of items and let loose to find as many as you could with your teammates. After a specific amount of time, you all gathered together again and counted the items you were able to find.

There have been many variations on the scavenger hunt idea, but this one I recently heard about tops the list! It's a "grown up" version which would make a great outing for a women's group or teenagers.

Karen, a fellow pastor's wife, shared this idea at a recent luncheon for pastor's wives. The group got so excited, we decided to try it ourselves Unfortunately it coincided with my trip to Florida to see my grand kids so I couldn't participate . But the gals had fun and took lots of photos.
Here's how it works:
Girl’s Nite Out Scavenger Hunt
Everyone meets at the food court of a local mall and is assigned to a team. Each team must have a digital camera and will be given a list of rules, a "Girl's Night Out" sign and a list of photos they must take in the mall (See a suggested list below). Set an hour or 2 time limit and have everyone meet back at the food court at the end where you may have a devotional if desired.

~ Be as inconspicuous as possible…pretend you’re on a secret mission.
~ Put EVERYTHING back where it belongs…be courteous!
~ Put the “Girl’s Nite Out” sign in each picture. Have someone different hold it each time.
~ Everyone needs to be in every picture—except for the photographer. You can rotate if you want…
~ Pictures do not have to be taken in order, but the whole group needs to return to the Food Court by 9:00 PM whether or not all the pictures have been taken..
~ Have a GREAT time!

Required Pictures
(may be changed to reflect the stores in your local mall.)

1. Everyone pick out your favorite colored towel at Penney’s and pose with it! (Be sure to fold it and put it back neatly!)

2. Have a child take a picture of everyone at the mall playground.

3. Have one person in the group try on a formal and have the group pose with her.

4. EVERYONE try on a pair of crazy shoes at Pay Less or Famous Footwear (both shoes need to be on and the right size). Take a picture of just your feet.

5. Have everyone get on the glass elevator and look out except for the photographer. Take a picture from the outside.

6. When the group arrives downstairs, do a creative pose and the photographer should take a picture from the floor above.

7. Take a picture in front of a mural.

8. At Bath & Body Works, have everyone choose their favorite lotion and pose with it.

9. At the toy store have everyone choose her favorite game & pose with it.

10. At Dollar Tree, everyone choose their favorite snack and pose with it. Then, put all your pennies together and buy one package of bubble gum. Note how many pennies you used here:____________

11. When you leave the Dollar Tree, give everyone some bubble gum and see who can blow the biggest bubble. Take a picture of everyone with a bubble!

12. Get a picture of everyone on a sofa at the furniture store.

13. Buy $1 size French Fries at Wendy’s. Take a picture with the fries, then have someone time how long it takes for the group to eat ALL of the fries. Write the time here:________________.

14. Get a picture of the group behind a bathroom stall door with only your heads showing.

15. At the Bon-Ton, everyone pose with your favorite purse (or pocketbook).

16. Get a picture of everyone at the ride-on toys. Have at least one person on a toy. Give 50 cents to a child to go on a ride.

17. If possible, take a picture of everyone with the “Yummy” Chef while taste-testing the chicken. If he’s not out, just take a picture in front of the restaurant & everyone say, “Yummy, yummy!”

18. Go to Hallmark and find your name on something—see if you can find something that tells what your name means. Hold up the item and take a picture. (Remember what your name means—write it on the back of this paper.)

19. Take a picture with your favorite TY Beanie Baby.

20. Do a creative pose at the fountain.

For her devotional, Karen used:
One Body with Many Parts
I Corinthians 12:12-31 (NLT) and tied it in with how the women worked together to accomplish their assigned task.

Thanks Karen for this great idea!!!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A One of a Kind Life

This week's quote is:

"If you'll live like no one else,
then later you can live like no one else."
~Dave Ramsey ~

I'm not sure of the context of this quote, but it did give me a chuckle perhaps because I frequently hear myself complaining to the Lord about wanting to live life as a "normal" church member rather than being the pastor's wife! I guess I already do "live like no one else."

For over 34 years now, my husband and I have been in full-time pastoral ministry. People watched my children grow up, criticizing my parenting skills; they've criticized my housekeeping skills in the parsonage; and they've expected me to lead women's ministry, sing in the choir, lead Bible studies, visit the sick, pick up those who need a ride to church, teach Sunday School and/or Children's Church, along with anything else that needs doing... because I'm the pastor's wife. Now that my children have grown and I don't work outside the home, I suppose I ought to have time for a few more assorted duties as well.

In the ministry, I felt like I always needed to be an example of servanthood, so I never said "no" to anything that I was asked to do. I felt the need to be strong and in control so others would see how Christians are supposed to handle problems. How could I help and counsel others, if I couldn't manage my own inner stress I reasoned?

God to Bonnie.... Hello!!!!! Over the last 34 years, He has spent time showing me the unrealistic expectations I fall victim to. Most of those expectations are my own - the ones I place on myself so I shine in the eyes of those around me; the ones that prevent me from seeing myself as a failure. Too often I've had to scrape myself off the floor and rub my bumps and bruises where I fell trying to be something I'm not.

I've come to see that pastor's wives are human and fallible - we need prayer just like the women in our congregations, but too often we don't know how to ask for it. It has taken me a long time to learn how to be open about my warts and wrinkles. Sure some still criticize or expect more of me than I am able or willing to give, but I'm more secure in my relationship with the Lord now. It doesn't matter as much what others think as long as He thinks I'm okay!

To me this quote serves as a reminder to be my own unique self and to put that vertical relationship with the Lord first in my life. When I do that I will live a tailor-made life, so different and unique from anyone else - a life where I find joy in His presence today and for eternity.
If you'd like to play along today, simply blog about the quote on your site, then visit our hostess Amy at her site, In Pursuit of Proverbs 31. Leave your URL for your blog site in the Mr. Linky box so everyone can share what you've written and while you're there, be sure to leave Amy a comment.
Feel free to check out the blogs of other participants to see how they interpretted the quote as well.
Happy IOW Tuesday!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Babt Buggy Birth Announcements

Baby Buggy Birth Announcements - try saying that really fast five times...

I have a baby shower to go to Saturday and another one in July so I've been busy making baby announcements for gifts.

Amanda's mom said Amanda was tired of pink so even though "it's a girl," I decided to add a little green and purple. Of course I have to be a little traditional so there's a little pink bow for effect.

For this card I used the baby buggy stamp from G Studios clear stamps collection, embossed it with pink embossing powder, and matted it on a 1 - 3/4 x 2 - 3/4 inch piece of purple cardstock.
I created a second layer using a 5.25 x 4 inch piece of purple card stock with a 2 x 3.75 inch rectangle of green floral patterned paper and a 2.75 x 3.75 piece of plaid paper.

Next, I embellished this mat with a 5.25 inch piece of sheer ribbon, (1 inch wide) and a 5.25 inch piece of floral specialty ribbon on top. After adding the stamped image, I glued the entire matted piece onto the card base - a half sheet of card stock folded in half to make a 5.5 x 4.25 card.

Since it is tedious to try to figure out the placement to print words onto the card using my computer, I usually type a sheet of "It's a girl!" words and print it on vellum paper. I used 26 point Creative Keepsake's CK Jacque font for this one. Thank goodness for Xyron machines - I cut the words in little strips and run them through the mini X-shaped xyron so I can stick the words onto the card. They almost appear invisible.

Amanda and her mom are very crafty and may want to make their own announcements, so I'm sending 2 card inserts - one she can use as an announcement and one for a "thank you" All she has to do is peel the protective cover off the double-sided tape and slip the insert of her choice into the card. both are printed in the same font as on the outside of the card. I print the inserts on a regular sheet of copy paper (2 inserts per sheet) then fold and trim to fit the inside of the card so it looks like a liner.

Here's another idea - with the cards I include enough postage stamps so she has everything she needs to send out her announcements. I also have started creating folders or boxes to protect the cards, decorated with similar colors and embellishments. Inexpensive boxes can be purchased at the dollar store and recovered as desired.

If you want to do more, purchase those tiny glass seed beads in the colors you used for your cards and some very tacky tape - the wide kind. Cut a piece of the tape to fit the length of the pen's barrel, adhere and peel off the backing. Next roll the pen in the seed beads until coated - voila! A matching pen to go with the baby ensemble.

And now, on to my next project...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Small town hidden treasures

One of the things about moving is that you just get to know the community where you lived, then you move and have to start all over again in a new place.

Back in our small town in western Maryland, I had discovered 2 wonderful little fabric shops right in the homes of my Amish neighbors. Another local woman had a larger fabric shop where she sold wool, spinning wheels and looms along with remnants and the ends of bolts of all kinds of fabric. What a treasure for a crafter like me!

Each Wednesday during the summer, there was a quaint farmer's market where the Amish and other local farmers brought produce, baked goods and crafts to sell on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. No one was allowed to start shopping until the bell rang at 10:00 a.m. sharp. That fresh produce sure tasted good!

It was sad to leave those places behind when we moved. But now here we are living in another small town in central PA. Even though my husband grew up here, there are a lot of new discoveries to make, like farming neighbors who sell eggs and other produce and a hardware store that has a pretty decent craft supply section.

But the other day I made a really neat discovery. Being an avid crafter/card maker, I found out that the local child service office which serves 2 rural counties was a great crafting resource!

They have a "Toy Lending Library" which is not only for the children in their programs like Head Start, low income, special needs or the Wrap-Around programs, but is a free resource to the community. If my grand kids come to visit, I can go and borrow toys for the duration of their visit or borrow some and when their interest lags, return them and borrow something else! No more toy clutter in my house when the grand kids go home.

Now, that doesn't have much to do with paper crafts, but the woman who operates this center also has invested in several die-cut machines with the accompanying tools to cut a wide assortment of shapes out of paper and craft foam including letters, numbers and even large shapes that work on bulletin boards or displays! Because they are used for educational purposes, they are a part of the lending library.

That's right up my alley. My mind is already working on plans for projects for children's church, Wednesday evening children's ministry and of course, my card making. The machines are free to use as long as you bring your own paper and Sally who operates the lending library is already putting together a new wish list for the next round of grant money she will receive. Oh boy! more scrapbook toys!!!!!!!

No matter where you live, there are resources available. Many will be "hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered so get out your phone books, talk to your neighbors, contact those who run community programs and see what treasure troves are "hiding" nearby. You'll make new friends and have fun discovering the wealth that may be right next door.
Happy treasure hunting!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up.

I had to smile at today's quote because I've been in that position so many times - in need of being "helped up." But as I prayed and looked back at the context of this scripture, I realized something really wonderful. As soon as Jesus helped this woman up she began to minister to the needs of others.

Peter's mother-in-law was ill. Jesus came and took her hand and helped her up, healing her in that instant His hand touched hers. The thing is - as soon as she was well, she began ministering to the needs of those around her, doing what she was uniquely called and qualified to do.

Service was birthed out of her suffering.

Think about the influential Christian people you know. How many of them are doing what they're doing as a direct result of some suffering in their lives? After Jesus lifted them up, they turned right around and began to minister to people - and often those they minister to are experiencing the same type of suffering they were just lifted from!

One Christian psychologist I know studied the counseling process as a direct result of his wife's struggle with postpartum depression. As Christ helped his wife up, he was motivated to find a way to help others, especially those in ministry who were struggling with mental health issues. As a result, many years later, a counseling training ministry was established to help pastors better minister to those who are suffering in their churches.

Jesus doesn't cause our suffering so we can minister - rather He takes our deepest hurts and walks through the healing process with us. Some how, in the healing process, He "redeems" or buys back those sufferings as if they were precious to Him and He turns right around to use those very struggles we experienced in our lives to help others.

One of the things I am learning as a writer is that my writing becomes more powerful as I become more transparent. As a child, I was taught to hide my feelings and keep the family secrets. Opening up and sharing the things God has done in my life is an emotional and terrifying experience for me.

But I am learning that the more I share - the more open and honest I am - the more He can take those old hurts in my heart and turn them into beautiful and useful tools for ministry. The shame is gone, replaced with glory and it is His doing! He takes my hand and lifts me up to serve Him.

This week, Christelle is hosting "In 'Other' Words" at her site, Beloved Mama. Pop on over to read her take on the quote and be sure to leave her a comment.

If you'd like to participate, simply blog about the quote on your site, then leave your blog address in Mr Linky's box on Christelle's site. While you're at it, check out the thoughts of the other participants!

Thanks Christelle for this great quote today!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Snow on the Tulips

May is supposed to be a time for baseball, firing up the outdoor grill, spring flowers in bloom...not SNOW!


I just had to take this photo of the tulips in my front yard this morning. It's snowing! Though most of it is melting as soon as it hits the road surfaces, it is laying on the grass. The temperature outside is almost 40 degrees and the white stuff continues to pour down!


Here's my maple trees in the backyard - views of my garden and the church baseball field taken at 7 am this morning. Our church team already played 2 games ...


Friday, May 9, 2008

It's a soupy day

It's a soupy day - literally!

One of my favorite meals to prepare is soup - especially on a chilly, damp day. Today it's 45 degrees and (soupy) rainy outside, which is good for the veggies I just planted, but not so good for arthritic bones...LOL!

So I have a wonderful pot of veggie-beef soup simmering on the stove. Over the years, I've gotten pretty good at soup, though I really don't know how you can mess that up????? When the garden is at its height, I do try to use all fresh stuff, but in the winter and spring I use whatever I can find and supplement with canned or frozen veggies.

Veggie Soup

All I do is cube up a small beef roast - about 2-3 pounds and brown it in my electric roaster. Yup! when I make soup, I make SOUP - the bigger the pot, the better. Once the meat is browned, I add my fresh veggies and enough water to cover them so they'll cook. For the fresh ones today I used potatoes, onions, celery, carrots and cabbage.

I let the fresh ingredients simmer for an hour so they cook before adding the rest of the ingredients. This week, I used canned veggies because I had a lot of them on hand - corn, peas, green beans, butter beans and diced tomatoes. I love a thick hearty soup so I don't add a lot of liquid. I spice it up with parsley, oregano, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and bouillon cubes to taste. Let it simmer for awhile longer until all the flavors mingle and boy is it good.
We'll have a loaf of fresh French bread to go with it.

The best part is that we'll have leftovers for several meals and it can be frozen in meal sized containers for later.***My husband likes to have meals at church so the members can fellowship and get to know one another better. - the soup and sandwich pot luck seems to be his favorite.

My favorite soup to make for pot luck is a wonderful thick potato chowder.

Potato Chowder

I dice about 6-8 medium potatoes in a large pot and add celery, onions, shredded carrots, broccoli florets and a slice of ham cubed. For seasoning, I use garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and parsley. I may add a little salt, but often the ham is salty enough to flavor it well.

I add just enough water to cover the ingredients and lit simmer until the potatoes are well done. If they fall apart, they help to thicken the chowder. Then I add a Parmesan cheese and a block of shredded cheddar cheese (or if I don't have that, I add cheddar cheese soup or Velveeta.

When I take it to church, I add a quart of half and half creamer to help thicken it, but when it's just my hubby and I eating it here at home, I add powdered milk or regular skim milk which makes a thinner soup. To thicken it if necessary, I will add some instant mashed potato flakes.

This is great with corn bread!

Thank you Lord for soup. Homemade sure beats canned soup any day!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Victorian Favors for Banquets or Teas


These are really easy!

For the sachet, I took a lacy type of ribbon, 2 1.2 inches wide. I used a ribbon made out of a product similar to the interfacing sewers used, but any type of lacy or gauzy ribbon will do as long as your potpourri won't fall through any holes in the lace. I cut it into 6 inch lengths and folded it in the middle.

Leaving the end open, I machine stitched down each side to form a pouch which I filled with some apricot scented potpourri. I tied the ed shut with a ribbon and hot glued on a string of beads and a flower. Done! I made 30 of them in an hour.

The pins take a bit more work. I cut 6 inch strips of 1 inch wide gathered lace and used a running stitch on the gathered edge, pulling it tight to make a lacy circle and stitching it in place to keep the shape.

Then I glued on 2 different color ribbon bows - 1 wide and one narrow, a string of beads and 3-5 silk flower blooms in any shade you like. I just cut the blooms near the end of the stem and hot glued them on to cover the gathered part of the circle.

Add a pin to the back and you're done. I used beading pins without the loop at the bottom, but larger safety pins work well too.

I figured the cost to be about 30-40 cents each and they went together quickly - a nice favor for our Victorian Legacies theme banquet.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Legacies Revisited


We had a great banquet Saturday evening. Our theme was Legacies and we decorated with vintage items, took vintage photos of everyone who attended and talked about the Legacies that have been passed down to us by our families. Because some have asked, I have posted the message outline I used Saturday night.


Introduction: I used mom and daughter volunteers to show how we pass down family traits in our appearance. We can't control this physical legacy, but it is something we pass down - sometimes even generations later, there will be a trait that will pop up out of the blue -For example, my son is tall but the rest of the family is shorter. He apparently got that from several generations back - one of my grandfathers who was very tall.

1. Another legacy we pass onto our children is a historical legacy. Here I talked about family trees - genealogy. I shared some interesting facts about my ancestors that I had found out through research and stories that were passed down through the family. We also cannot control this legacy -we have no choice who our ancestors were or what they did, whether they were preachers or horse thieves.

2. But we do have control over the Intellectual/educational legacy we leave our families
a. I shared some important lessons my mom passed down to me - bits and pieces of advice
b. I shared how my grandmother and mother in law taught me to cook and shared some old cookbooks
c. I also shared how my parents made it possible for me to do many different things to help me develop my fullest potential as a person
d. Then I tied it in to how Christ provides the opportunities and experiences we need to prepare us to be all we can be for Him

3. Spiritual Legacy
a. How we as parents pass down a spiritual legacy to our kids -taking them to church, teaching them to pray, modeling the Christian life - with family examples
b. God also brings people into our lives to mentor and guide us - examples
c. God also gives us the legacy of His word - full of stories of real life people who suffered as we do, who felt the same emotions we do including, fear, abandonment, anger, etc.
d. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 challenges us to keep his life-lessons always in front of us - He does this through object lessons - like the feasts the Israelites celebrated and Communion

Conclusion: So the question is - Who are we in Christ?
- You are who you are because of the physical and family tree legacy passed on to you. You can't control what you look like or who your family members were, but God gives you the choice to be the same or different from them.
-You are who you are because of the intellectual and educational opportunities you have had or will have whether they were provided by God the father or your earthly parents..
- You are who you are because of the Spiritual legacy from you r Parents and your Heavenly parent who loves you and is investing in your life through people and experiences to bring out the best in you

Christ has provided us with an inheritance - a legacy as unique and individual as each of us here tonight. He is investing heavily in our future each day though we don't always see it . Why? So we can bring as many to heaven with us as we can. He's giving us a living legacy - a legacy of faith to pass on to future generations.

I finished by singing the song by 4 Him - Future Generations

We must be a light to future generations!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Beautiful Desert Place

Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the desert and

speak tenderly to her.
Hosea 2:14

When God needs to get my attention and say something specific of importance to me, He takes me to the desert.

No, not the arid, dry desert place of bleached oxen skulls where travelers die for lack of water, but to an alone desert place, teaming with life and beauty. He takes me there because we can talk alone, uninterrupted by the hustle and bustle of daily life around me.

As we sit in the shade of a blooming cactus plant, He speaks tenderly to me. He'll point out how each plant and animal is specifically suited to thrive in this lonely place. Some have learned to avoid the heat and cold while others have special appendages to dissipate the heat. Often they are paler in color than their non-desert dwelling counterparts so they don't absorb as much heat from their environment and they are harder to see, allowing them to escape their predators.

Since water is such a valuable commodity in the desert, some animals retain water while others are even able to manufacture it from the dry seeds they eat. Certain mammals have developed the ability to reabsorb the water from their urine back into their systems, reducing their need for fresh water.

Eventually the conversation turns toward the relationship between the Lord and I. By this time, He has allayed my fears and calmed my spirit so I am ready to listen to all the things He needs to say to me.

He understands the difficulties of my life, my wounded, broken and bruised heart. But He has brought me here to see the wonder of His love for me. Though I am hurting, He has helped me to "adapt" through His special grace so that I not only survive life's storms, I can thrive. He shows me how to remain cool in the heat of battle. He teaches me how to quench my parched spirit with the nectar of the desert plants. When I need to learn new ways to cope with old problems, He is there, walking me through the process every step of the way.

As we sit and talk, my heart swells with joy at how much He cares - enough to speak tenderly to me and teach me His ways. The desert isn't a desolate place, but rather a special place of companionship and instruction where He can bring me back to Him. Thank you Lord for the desert places in my life!

Today's quote was chosen by our hostess Heather. Visit her at her site, Titus 2 Woman to read her take on the quote. Be sure to leave her a comment.

If you'd like to play along, , simply blog about this quote on your blog site, then visit Heather and leave your URL.

Also, while you are at Heather's site, check out the blogs of the other participants! You'll be blessed!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Keepsake candles


I'm still working on Mother Daughter things for our Banquet on Saturday evening. These candles were fun to make and will look great on the tables so I thought I'd share them with you.

I took vintage family photos and made photo copies on regular copy paper. Using my Coluzzle, I cropped them into ovals for the 6 inch pillar candles. I pinned the photo on to the candle using 2 straight pins - one on either side of the photo so it wouldn't curl (The top and bottom of the photos don't need to be pinned.)

Then using my heat embossing tool, I heated the photo which melted the wax of the candle and bonded it to the photo - the surface of the photo copy actually absorbed the wax, giving it a semi-gloss finish.

Using my hot glue gun, I adhered lace, beads, ribbon bow and silk flower accent (Don't burn yourself like I did, LOL!) Voila! A great looking vintage candle keepsake to keep or give as a gift. I can see I'm going to be quite busy making these for Christmas...