Merry Christmas & A Last Minute Paper Bow

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I was busy minding my business walking the hall with a clipboard in one hand.

On a legal pad of paper was a long list of things I needed to take care of before checking them off that morning.

As I floated down the corridor to my next stop I happened to look up and noticed a petite woman in a doorway. She seemed stuck in her wheelchair as she tried to pull herself forward but the chair wouldn’t budge. I stopped to ask if I could help and she said yes that she needed to just get over the threshold. Continue reading

How-To Make Acorns From Batting {& Just When I Have It All Figured Out…}


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So I shared with you the other day that last week was a bummer, and I was behind on that chicken stir-fry recipe post along with the story about my once self-declared permanent bachelor husband and our dinner out for Chinese…

If truth be told… sometimes we don’t consider.
Well, I didn’t tell you that tale because I’m all that and a bag of chips. Snap! I told it because my husband and I both marvel at how often we have made our best laid plans…

…and then God does something unexplainable or amazing or funny that can only come from Him.

We’ve mapped our routes, sent out announcements to the world and then he does something spectacular or jarring to remind us of this…

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

Isaiah 55:8

Has that happened in your life, too?

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He’s amazing like that…
The Lord knows my thoughts and ways have gotten me in trouble more times than I care to remember…. thankfully, he has a rescue plan.

When I stop struggling, I nearly always end up loving his way better than my own… even if it didn’t sit well at first.

He sets a desire in our hearts to want what he has set us apart for.

He’s had good intentions all along… even before we were born…

“I knew you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart for me before you were born…” Jeremiah 1:5  

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They’re so fun to share… 
So did you like the colorful felted wool acorns I shared >>>here? They are so pretty to scatter around the house this time of year and they make really sweet gifts, too.

Who wouldn’t want to receive a tiny gift bag of these?


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In my last post, acorns were made with wool felting, but here they are rolled from quilt batting.

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You can review the how-to in the wool felted acorn post >>>here, then use these suggestions to complete them.

Cut batting into 3×3 inch squares.

Cut one corner away and separate the batting plies until you have an open center — sort of like a ravioli noodle.

Push the opposite corner towards the cut corner until the square is inside out and makes a nest, similar to the center photo shown above.

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Dip the nest in hot water and begin rolling between your palms until each piece turns into a tight ball. A drop of dish soap in the palm of your hand can help tighten each one also.

Rolling… rolling… rolling…

Then hot glue an acorn cap on top and enjoy!

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{Do you know the story?} “It Is Well With My Soul” — The True Events Behind the Song


Do you know the song, “It Is Well With My Soul”?  Most of us have sung it at church, or heard it played at a funeral service.  I have followed along with its words from hymnals found in the back of a pew many times. Maybe you have also? This hymn always tugged at my heart, but I never knew why. Until now… after hearing his story… Horatio Spafford’s real life story.

It is a powerful and incredibly moving memoir written in a song. A beautiful hymn not made special by its melody or lyrics, but from the amazing true story behind words penned by Horatio Spafford. A man devastated by great loss and tremendous heartache. An unimaginable pain most of us will hopefully never experience. It was a pain felt within the greatest depths of his soul.  One of desperation for God’s comfort and healing. It is a written account of how God returned peace to a man’s being, so that he could go on breathing… go on living.

While traveling by ship across the Atlantic, Horatio Spafford scribbled several phrases on a piece of paper.  He had been thinking about a number of tragic events that had unfolded recently. The most debilitating of them had brought him to that moment in time as he peered out over the rolling waves of a vast sea. A fateful journey he was destined to painstakingly endure. One that God would be with him on…

It was the year 1870 when tragedy first struck. Horatio and his wife, Anna, unexpectedly lost their only son to scarlet fever.  Before a year would pass, they would find themselves in the midst of the Great Chicago Fire. One that would ruin them financially. Horatio had been a successful lawyer in Chicago, a profession that allowed him to be a significant investor in property within the area.  But the great flames that decimated Chicago, would also bankrupt him and his family.

The year of 1873 came and the country was in an economic downturn. Horatio and his family needed a reprieve from their hardships and personal financial collapse. He and his wife Anna planned a trip to Europe and would travel by sea on the SS Ville du Havre. As their itinerary was set for voyage, a late change in business plans would delay Horatio from leaving with them. He sent his wife and four daughters ahead with assurance that he would reunite with them soon. But while crossing the Atlantic, the SS Ville du collided with the Loch Earn sea vessel and began to sink rapidly. Anna survived. Nine days later she sent her husband a telegram that read — “Saved alone”.

Alone and adrift at sea… the realization of their great loss of four daughters fell upon Anna. Though in unbearable pain and desolation, she knew in that moment that God was not finished with her life yet.

While traveling to meet his grieving Anna… Horatio was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near the place where their daughters died…

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.”

And through it all we see in these heartfelt words… Christ consoled him. God never left him. And Horatio’s faith was unmoved.

Horatio and Anna would see many blessings.  They went on to have two more daughters, then relocated to Jerusalem and opened a home for children. God carried this couple forward from unimaginable events and continued to use their lives for His glory — even to this day — through this classic hymn.

One might say that the Spafford’s story could be summed up in these verses…
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fill into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46:1-3,10-11

Jesus promises, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened… and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

And Jesus declares, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21




4 Steps To Saying No Gracefully


Are you someone who enjoys helping people but can get overwhelmed by too many obligations all at once? You do your best to juggle the calendar and be there for everyone but stress and dread creep in to try and defeat you. One of the simplest words can be the most difficult to say. So how do you say no gracefully without the guilt?

Accept that you can’t be a part of everything. Your heart knows your priorities. Saying yes to one thing, may mean saying no to what matters to you the most. If it’s your faith and family, write your intentions for them on your calendar. Writing it down will help you keep your top priorities. And don’t forget to set aside time for taking care of yourself!

Decline honestly and leave out the details. Simply state, “I’m so sorry I won’t be able to attend your fundraiser.” If declining feels awkward to begin with, offering a reason why may add to your discomfort. It could also invite the other person to twist your arm. Simply saying you are unable to attend will eliminate challenges. Have confidence in your decision, and yourself, and leave it at that.

Decline with kindness. Most people realize not everyone they invite will be able to accept.  Thank the person and offer her encouraging words. Let her know you will be thinking or praying for her on her special day. Follow-up with a notecard telling her how excited you are about her future endeavors. She will feel good despite your decline, and you will too!

Negotiate what you can do.  Offer the time and efforts you are able to give. Find out what help is needed and say yes to a portion of the request.  If you have been asked to volunteer during a program, agree to a specific time to greet guests or serve appetizers, for example. If the invitation is to a special occasion, like a baby shower, let the hostess know you are excited to attend but can only stay until 2 p.m. Setting boundaries in advance will alleviate stress you may feel when it is time to depart.

Staying focused on who is most important to you during those hectic seasons in life will give you the confidence to say no gracefully.  And you will feel good about what it is you can do for others, even if it’s on a smaller scale.


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