Monday, November 30, 2009

A Story Tree...

It was about this time last year that I stumbled upon something called The Jesse Tree here on the internet. I hadn't heard of it before, and as I read different pages on it, I became intrigued. It seems like such a great teaching tool!

I liked:
  • The emphasis on those verses predicting Jesus' coming & the Messiah (I don't study those much)
  • The use of those verses during Christmas season
  • A tree (I have always loved Christmas lights on a tree in the dusk....)
I didn't like:
  • That it all led up to December 25th and then stopped. Jesus was not born on Dec 25th
  • That it only led up to Jesus' birth
So, the more I thought about it, the more I thought I'd like to adapt it to my own use, and since have had a wonderful time researching and studying out my own series of lessons. I have never done a tree like this yet, but this year, thought it might be fun to have my own "Virtual Christmas Tree." Perhaps you could use some of the ideas I have as well....feel free!

Here are some notes:
  1. There are 23 lessons. One for each day Mon-Fri of December. (skipping the weekends)
  2. I want it to emphasize, that from the beginning, God had a master plan for us, that He carried out/is carrying out to this day!
  3. It is formatted for a once a day devotional style activity
  4. I am actually working now, on condensing the lessons to possibly use in my Sunday morning kid's class. (we'll see how that works)
So, starting tomorrow, I'd like to share with you, my Virtual Christmas Tree. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009


These are my narcisuss bulbs. I read that you can "force" them to bloom in December. With these bulbs, you also don't need to grow them in dirt, rocks work fine. You set the bulbs on the rocks, and fill with water to just below the bottom of the bulb (you don't want the bulb sitting directly in water, they will rot).

Of course, I didn't have rocks. But, I did have a big jar of marbles!

We'll see how it works. :)

For more information about forcing bulbs, check out these links:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Reasons to be Hospitable...

Last week, I found this great list of reasons to be hospitable! Check it out here. Here are some I particualrly like:
  • The host can practically prove his love.
  • He can get to know new people.
  • He can learn about other cultures without traveling.
  • He can learn to understand others better.
  • He can build trust
  • He can communicate important truths to his children.
  • He can accustom his children to the idea of loving all people.
  • He can break himself and others of prejudices.
  • He can learn to share and do without.
I still remember the great lesson I learned last year when 2 young mormon men stopped by, offering Bible studies.

I was shocked when I learned that Mathew had invited them in, had served them water, and agreed for them to come again! I was extremely uncomfortable with the whole idea. But the next week, I too was home when they stopped by. I followed my husbands lead, and offered them a cool drink and even some cookies I had just made. They were surprised. But I also know they could read my un-comfortableness all over my face too. Mathew easily conversed with them, listening kindly, and also directing them to verses, almost causually, during the conversation. He invited them back again. (His wife was fairly speechless)

After they left, Mathew and I began to discuss the whole situation. I voiced my concern. He warned me of fear. I told him it was silly. He said all things are possible with God. I said I was uncomfortable. He responded that we are called to love everyone. I said I didn't know what else to say. He said to pray about it. What could I do?

I did spend lots of time praying about it. I started reading a bunch more books too. I learned that I could lean heavily on God, trusting him for the right, gracious attitude, and for Mathew to have the right words. I can't tell you what a huge impact this had on me.

The next meeting, since we were running off to an appointment, Mathew casually asked them over for supper instead. What?! Thankfully I didn't shout out during the conversation! ha Goodness, this was taking my trust factor to a whole new level! But they agreed and set up a time. Sooner than later, I was making Taco Hotdish and cake and answering the doorbell to two people I never would have thought to have over. We enjoyed the meal together, learned about their families and their lifestyle, learned that they liked to play games...basically, I learned they were normal humans too!

Week after week, we deepend our friendship with these two boys through supper and board games. And through that friendship, we had many many deep discussions, flurries of questions from both sides, and a trust and understanding was built that otherwise would never have occured. I learned to practically put into practice the belief that God created all men equal. That God loves every one. That I can rely firmly on God's word. That I can love others, who are very different than me, finding out, they are not so different after all.

A couple months ago, the 2 young men had to move away to another assignment. We haven't heard from them since. But it amazes me still, how often their names and faces pop into my memory, and I say a quick prayer, wherever they are, whatever they're doing, that God will seek them out. And that someday, we will see them again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Tough Quote

"It's easy to lip-synch in the chorus of life, but each of us will have to sing solo before God." Ken Boa (from Conformed to His Image)

Are you doing what you do or saying what you say or living your life the way you do all because of what
  • Other Christians do/say
  • Other friends do/say
  • Family does/says
  • Spouse does/says
  • Church does/says
Or are you living in tune with what God/Bible says to do?

Indian Breakfast

I was wanting to try making this Indian breakfast for a long time, but had convinced myself that it takes too long to do on a weekeday....but then I always forgot about it on the weekends. So finally, I determined that I should just try....and see how long it really does take!


This is a mixture that sits overnight:
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Paste (made with one tsp rice flour with boiling water)
  • 2+ cups water to make a loose mixture

In the morning, you mix 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1 egg white, 1 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp salt in to the mixture. You ladel a spoonful into a dipped pan, and cook for about 3 minutes, until golden brown. (I struggled with getting it brown).

You eat is with chicken curry. But....I didn't have any chicken we ate it with vegetable stew.

It was okay for a beginner try...but I need to work on it a little bit more! :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Proclamation

If you get a chance, please do read Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation really is great. Here is my favorite part:

"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart andThere observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore if, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union."

There are more presidential proclamations to read here: Pilgrim Hall
And if you're insterested in more Thanksgiving facts and history, this is a nice site: History

I tried it!

The other day I posted about some neat centerpiece and arrangement ideas. I was hoping to try at least some of them, and I have! (One.... so far....) Here is my first project:

I do really like how it turned out. I was actually NOT going to do Christmas colors, but with what I had to work with , that worked best. :)

Mom had given me a bunch of pine cones (some of which were spray painted gold) and ribbon. I hot glued five ribbons to the bottom of five pine cones. Then I simple gathered them up at the top and tied a ribbon around it to hold it together. On the back, I glued a wire loop, so that it can hang on a nail etc. And then to finish, I wrote WELCOME with my caligraphy pen on some cream paper and backed it with dark green cardstock, and then glued that on the front.

I like it alot, and I have plans to try a different bunch with smaller pine cones and cream ribbon. We'll see...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Things to think about

I am reading a book from a friend, Wisdom Tales from Around the World, by Heather Forest. And in it, are some fun proverbs. Here are a few I liked:
  • It is better to turn back than to get lost. (From Russia)
  • Talk does not cook rice. (China)
  • When the kettle boils over, it overflows its own sides. (Yiddish)
  • Mistrust is an ax at the tree of love. (Russia)
  • Not all that si black is charcoal. (Philippines)
  • He that goes barefoot must not plant thorns. (England)
  • A crooked branch has a crooked shadow. (Japan)
  • It is one thing to cackle and another to lay an egg. (Ecuador)
  • One dog barks because it sees something; a hundred dogs bark because they heard the first dog bark. (China)

Friday, November 20, 2009

When Company Comes....

I sometimes draw a blank when it comes to something to post. So I thought, maybe it's time for me to do a series....something that constantly inspires me or I have to talk about (like there's only one, ha ha).

So to help me (and perhaps help those who read it), I begin "When Company Comes..." Every Friday, hopefully, I'll have something to share, whether it be a tip, a recipe, a link, a flop, a story....we'll see what comes and goes!

First of all....we love having company. We really do. M. is much better at hosting and inviting than I am, but I am thankful I can live and learn! I think it's been so GREAT having lots of different people, friends and guests and family, all visit in our home. I have so many great people as examples too....but I'll share those later :)

Today, to start, I think I'll just share a recipe. And a cookie recipe at that. Warm cookies, right out of the oven with cold milk.....what can beat that! I remember eating these almost every week. We really went through the cookies at our house! But best of all, this recipe makes a big batch! Big enough for lots of guests, or sharing with neighbors, or even freezing for later!

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs

Mix these together in big bowl. Then add:

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup powdered milk (or if you don't have this, add 2 Tbl regular milk)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Mix. Then add a bit at a time:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 bag chocolate chips

Bake at 400 degrees F. for 10 minutes.

Yield: 6 dozen

Tip: Serve these warm out of the oven on a sturdy plate while watching a movie with friends, or playing a board game. Make sure to have napkins around too, as the chocolate chips are still gooey!

And finally, a great verse to learn:

"Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay."

1 Peter 4:8-9

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not Easily Offended

" [Love] is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily provoked, it keeps no record of wrongs."
1 Corinthians 13:5

I have been meditating on this verse recently....mulling and thinking and looking at my own attitudes and opinions. And I must admit, I do not feel like I am living out this verse at my best! I have found (just as recently as yesterday) that I can be so easily offended! And it's just little things.....things that really shouldn't get me riled up and defensive. But I find out that I have opinions on the randomest things :) *sigh*

And feeling offended, this verse will not leave my head! It's a good reminder to me that I shouldn't get all bent out of shape about things of no eternal significance. But I find I cannot bend my will as easily as I might like. That I really DO need to depend on Christ helping me....because my feelings are sticky....they stick and stick and stick to me...

Anyway, here are some interesting things to think about if you are feeling offended:

  1. God does not want you to be easily offended or provoked. He wants to you learn self-control and gentleness. 1 Cor 13:5
  2. Proverbs 18:19 says, "An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city." This is not something you want people to say you are! Work at being compatible and pleasant. Don't be difficult to get along with....the world does not revolve around you.
  3. Proverbs 17:9 says, "He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends." Take these opportunities to thank God for His love and help. Thank Him that He wants to teach you to love and forgive, by giving you a difficult person to work with. And take the opportunity to tell God your grievances, not others....even if it means not griping to your close friends or spouse....respect the other person enough not to slander their name to others.
  4. When you feel offended, ask yourself, "Is there any truth to this? Do I need to make some changes?"
  5. Give yourself time! I have found about 1/2 day is the time I need to cool down from a topic or situation before I can think through it rationally and not emotionally! Oh boy.
  6. Here is a quote from Keith Hester, "Love is not just how we act toward people, but how we receive them."
  7. Aim for this: Proverbs 19:11 "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense."
  8. And this: James 3:17 " But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."
  9. Read this article : Don't Get Offended or this one Not Easily Offended

Monday, November 2, 2009

More Thoughtful Things

Here is a list of monthly goals or focuses, from the Inspired Room that I thought was worth considering. Basically, the author has chosen one word to focus on during the month in her quiet times and daily life. Below is a partial list. Check out the post here for the full details.

June: Healthy Living
April: Solitude (regular quiet times)
October: Hospitality
December: Giving

I'm considering how this would work, and what words I would choose. What about you?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thoughtful Things

I have had a wonderful collection of books I've been reading through recently (and hopefully I can share more from them later), but here are some things to thoughtfully think about from the book, Conformed to His Image by Kenneth Boa:

"Spiritual life is a balance between radical dependence and responsible action; both grace and self-discipline are required for spiritual maturity."

"Spiritual maturity is characterized by the ability to recognize and apply the principles of Scripture to daily experience."


"Wisdom is a skill that is developed thru instruction and discipline."


"We are stewards of our time, talent, treasure, and truth, as well as the relationships with which we have been entrusted. [We should] periodically review the ways we have been investing these assets."


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