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New Orléans Style bbq Shrimp Recipe

New Orléans Style bbq Shrimp Recipe
By The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch

New Orléans Style bbq Shrimp Recipe

From Heidy,
“New Orléans Style bbq Shrimp is one of the fabulous historical dishes of New Orléans. Of course, New Orléans Style bbq Shrimp isn’t about dumping a bunch of BBQ sauce on chargrilled shrimp. It’s actually a  very delicately prepared shrimp dish cooked in a rich butter sauce spiked with a healthy dose of Worcestershire sauce and white wine and eaten with a freshly baked crusty French bread to sop up the rich flavored broth. You can find various versions at the restaurants and in homes across the city of New Orléans, but the original recipe comes from the Uptown restaurant, Pascal’s.”

From Sarah:

Read the post for a great history lesson.

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This Life I Live : Storyteller

I am not a great reader. I wish I was, but I’m not. I struggle with it. Mostly with finding the time to sit down and let myself get lost in the story the author is telling. In the evenings, when I climb into bed, is when I do most of my reading. But life is so full and most of the time I’m so tired, that a page or two in… I fall asleep.

But there is one book I read recently that I didn’t fall asleep reading…

Mine.

This Live I Live : Storyteller
http://www.thislifeilive.com/the-blog/storyteller

“I read a lot of books to our baby.  I always have.  Joey did too.  She loved reading to Indy and I think that’s part of the reason that Indiana loves books so much now.

When she wakes up in the morning and I go upstairs and pick her up from the crib and put her in my arms… the first thing Indy does is say ‘book’ and then she points to the little stack of books beneath her lamp. A few of her favorites are The Gruffalo, Pouch and Bedtime Prayers.”

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Start each day with a grateful heart

Start each day with a grateful heart

http://redfairyproject.com/2015/04/5387/
The Red Fairy Project

start-each-day-with-a-grateful-heart_daily-inspiration-600x600

Start each day with a grateful heart. One of the key secrets to happiness. Every morning and every night I have the practice of being thankful for all the blessings and gifts I have I my life. From my mental, physical and spiritual health, to my family, friends and boyfriend. To my skills and talents, the safe and clean country I live in, the education I have, the great meals I get to enjoy and I could go on and on. In fact, I sometimes do to the point where I fall asleep while reciting all that I am thankful for.

That shows you the sense of peace and happiness you can feel when focusing on gratitude. So imagine starting your day by centering your thoughts for only a minute or two on all that you are lucky to have.

It’s such a great reminder of the rich life that we live and it also puts dramas and problems into perspective.

Why not give it a try today either this morning or this evening when you go to bed? See how your body feels while you are taking in all that you are grateful for. For me, I instantly feel the tensions melt away. The shoulders relax, the jaw releases and my whole body softens.

 

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Christian celebrity: maybe we’ve created the problem

Christian celebrity: maybe we’ve created the problem
Carey Scott
http://careyscott.org/christian-celebrity/

From Sarah :
The following is from Carey’s Blog. Her introduction.
Her blog is uplifting. Well worth reading. She makes you think about YOU. Yourself.
So please read on.

“Hi! I’m Carey — a speaker, author and life coach honest about my life and faith, stumbles, fumbles and all. My ministry focuses on helping women untangle their self-worth from the “I’m-not good enough” messages and reminding them of their immeasurable value. Because when a woman knows her value, she is freed up to live with purpose and joy.”

A Quote from Carey :

“We can respect the call God has placed on the lives of Christian leaders, but we cannot worship them. We can be blessed by their words, but we can’t substitute them for God’s Word. And we can follow them on social media, but we cannot give them a status above Jesus.

Because He is incomparable and unequal. Period.”

http://careyscott.org/christian-celebrity/

From Sarah:
I have been guilty of doing this. Sharing anything and everything certain people have written and not really reading it ahead of time. I save it to read later.
I don’t share enough of my views of the subject.
Have a great week.

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The Civil Rights Movement Answered An Abuse of Power By Danika Cooley

The Civil Rights Movement Answered An Abuse of Power
Thinking Kids Blog

https://www.thinkingkidsblog.org/2017/01/11/the-civil-rights-movement-lessons-and-activities/

Civil-Rights-Pin.jpg

The Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968) answered an egregious abuse of power, one in which the color of a person’s skin dictated whether one was considered a “neighbor” or not. Martin Luther King Jr. is the most highly notarized leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, but there were countless others fighting alongside him for social justice, black and white.

As you study social injustice, the Civil Rights Movement, and ongoing racial tensions with your children, be sure to bring them back to Scripture.

  • As Christians, we are one body under the headship of Christ.
  • We are called to love one another as we love ourselves.
  • Take your kids into the Books of the Prophets and help them understand how strongly the Lord of Justice and Mercy hates the abuse of power.
  • Remind them too, that we are commanded to forgive–seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22)

The Civil Rights Movement Lessons and Activities

Free Martin Luther King Day Songs and Rhymes for Circle Time ~ This is a neat page with YouTube videos of Martin Luther King Jr. Day songs and rhymes. — Living Montessori Now

Free Martin Luther King, Jr. Notebooking Pages ~ Your kids can use these great notebooking pages to notebook about everything they learn about Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement. — NotebookingPages.com.

More Fun Ideas

 

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Bring the Comfort

Bring the Comfort
http://www.joanneviola.com/2017/01/bring-the-comfort/

By Joanne

In making a pot of chicken soup, the memory came flooding back like it was just yesterday.

We were new to the church when I began to attend the women’s Bible Study. She was older than I and gentle in nature, which drew everyone to talk with her. Her wisdom and faithfulness to prayer made her a woman from whom we all learned.

And I did.

Upon hearing she had been hospitalized for a surgery, I was moved to make a meal. It was the very same soup I making at the moment. Along with the soup, I brought a homemade loaf of bread, a pound cake, and flowers.

So very simple.

Not knowing the family very well, I called to ask if I could drop the meal off to the house. Her daughter came to the door, as I hesitantly rang the doorbell, putting me at ease as she explained her mom was on her way home and would be delighted,

Once recovered, she thanked me for the soup often, making mention of how her family had appreciated the comfort the meal had brought, especially the little meatballs in the soup.

Now years later, for she has been with the Lord for some time, I still think of her each time when making the soup and forming the small balls of meat.

We call such meals – “comfort food”. Mirriam-Webster defines such food as “food prepared in a traditional style having a usually nostalgic or sentimental appeal.”

That is what we all long for. Food that brings back a memory. That reminds you of a happier time and place, perhaps with family or friends. Simply eating such food brings your heart and mind “home” to the place we feel safe, loved, and soothed.

In these days of many needs, we all can reach out to someone.

Send a card.

Make a phone call.

Prepare a meal.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NLT)

Bring the comfort.

 

Today I am joining … Three Word Wednesday and Tell His Story and Coffee For Your Heart and Woman to Woman .

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“Sweet Home Alabama” |What The Song Now Means To Me By Sarah

 

From Sarah:
My Story
I have a different story to tell when I speak of ” Sweet Home Alabama”.

Oh I have plenty of wonderful moments as well, but they will forever be tarred with the memory I have to tell.

It was a beautiful spring day in Colorado. Clear blue sky. Pikes Peak, snow covered  and shining in the background.

As I opened the door I heard the sound of music and I remember smiling. “Sweet Home Alabama” was playing.

I haven’t smiled like that since.

That was the day, my world as I knew it ended forever. The joy left my heart. An innocence shattered

Bobby was gone.

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Bible Reading Plans for the New Year- 2017

Bible Reading Plans for the New Year- 2017

by in Bible Study

https://michellelesleybooks.com/

Happy New Year! Do you make resolutions or set goals you’d like to accomplish during the new year? A lot of people resolve to read the Bible more often or read it through in a year. If that’s you but you’re not quite sure where to start, here are some awesome and unique reading plans that can help.

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1. The Chronological Plan

I cannot recommend this plan strongly enough. You’ll read through the entire Bible in a year, following the events as they happened chronologically. I have been through this plan three times (I even took my ladies’ Sunday school class through it in 2014). It is wonderful for helping you see the big picture of the Bible as well as how all the little pieces of the biblical puzzle fit together. ESV.org (of course you can use any translation) has the plan in five different user-friendly formats.

2. How to Change Your Mind (The Gray Method)

This Bible reading plan consists of four simple steps:
1. Choose a book of the Bible.
2. Read it in its entirety.
3. Repeat step #2 twenty times.
4. Repeat this process for all books of the Bible.
I said it was simple. I didn’t say it wouldn’t be time consuming. But it’s a great way to allow God’s word to grab a hold of you.

3. The M’Cheyne Plan

How about reading through the Bible in a year with your spouse or family (you could also do this one individually)? With the M’Cheyne plan you’ll read through the Old Testament once, the New Testament and Psalms, twice. Each day, you’ll read an OT chapter and a NT chapter as a family and another OT chapter and NT chapter on your own. Free Daily Bible study offers suggestions for making this a two or three year plan if one year seems too daunting.

4. The Bible in 90 Days

“Read the Bible cover to cover by investing as little as 30 minutes a day.
In 90 days (two “grace days” are included) you’ll see the big picture of God’s great story unfold before you.” Can’t be done, you say? Think of it as binge-reading the greatest story ever told.

5. The 21-Day Challenge

New to daily Bible reading and don’t want to bite off more than you can chew? Try Back to the Bible’s 21-Day Challenge. Each day, you’ll read one chapter in the book of John, and in three weeks, you’ll be finished. It’s a great way to get your feet wet.

6. The 5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan

This is a great plan for people (like me) who occasionally miss a day or two of a daily Bible reading plan. It’s a slower paced, 5 day per week plan (weekends are for reflection and catch up), taking about 5 minutes a day, with 5 ways to dig deeper and apply what you’re reading. You’ll go through the whole New Testament in a year, reading approximately one chapter per day.

7. The 90 Day Challenge

Another great one for those who struggle with long term commitment. “The 90-day Bible reading plan integrates readings from Genesis, the foundational book of the Old Testament, with the three [synoptic] Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke. On one side you’ll see God’s creative work and earliest interactions with His people; on the other, you’ll get to know Jesus as Emmanuel, God with us, fulfilling the promises made even in Genesis.”

8. Every Word in the Bible

Take time to slowly savor God’s word with this relaxed pace plan. Readings alternate between the Old and New Testament to keep you from getting bogged down in some of the more difficult sections. You’ll read through the whole Bible, one to two chapters per day, in three years.

9. The Bible Eater

This is a pretty nifty little self-directed plan: “Old Testament: Read 2 to 3 chapters per day and take 4 days off per month. Read 1 to 3 designated one-sitting Old Testament books each quarter. New Testament: Read 1 chapter per day and take 4 days off per month. One gospel is assigned to each quarter and Romans and Hebrews are assigned twice across the year.”  Historical redemptive passages are highlighted to call your attention to the “big picture” of the Bible.

10. Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System

Up for a challenge? The Horner system is sort of an osmosis system, the idea being “inundation” rather than “meditation.” With it, you’ll read ten chapters per day from ten different books. Over the course of a year, “you’ll read through all the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters 4-5 times each, the Old Testament wisdom literature six times, all the Psalms at least twice, all the Proverbs as well as Acts a dozen times, and all the way through the Old Testament History and Prophetic books about 1 1⁄2 times.” (Tim Challies)

11. Denny Burk’s Bible Reading Plan

Do you find it difficult to follow a plan that includes readings from several different books per day? Denny Burk did, so he developed this reading plan that takes you through one book at a time in canonical order over the course of a year. “Each day’s reading is about 3-4 chapters in length, with the exception of the Psalms (which are covered in 5 chapters per day). The idea is to read longer chapters in groups of three (e.g., Pentateuchal narratives, Gospels) and shorter chapters in groups of four. There are 7 catch-up days scattered throughout the calendar.”

12. The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan

With only 25 days of readings per month, this plan is one of the most flexible. Take Sundays off, use catch-up days as needed, or go back and review passages that need more attention at the end of the month. Read from two NT and two OT books each day and finish up in a year, or easily divide the readings up over a two year period.

13. The Bible Project Reading Plan

The good folks at The Bible Project have taken a fairly typical one year plan (you’ll read Genesis – Revelation once and Psalms 2.5 times {one Psalm per day}) and jazzed it up with some neat features. They’ve grouped the Scriptures into 16 “chapters” based on major biblical events, eras, and categories, with a brief introductory video at the beginning of each “chapter” explaining the theme of that section and what to watch for as you read. There are also free downloadable posters accompanying each video.

Need more suggestions? Check out these collections of Bible reading plans:

  • Ligonier– A wide variety of plans, most available in PDFs.
  • ESV Bible– These plans will work with any translation, not just ESV. Most are available in RSS, iCal, mobile, print (PDF), and e-mail.
  • Bible Gateway– Several great plans, especially if your church uses the Revised Common Lectionary or the Book of Common Prayer and you want to follow along at home. Log in each day and the selected text is displayed on your screen, or subscribe to your plan via e-mail. (Note: I would not recommend the Daily Audio Bible plan. It uses several different “translations,” which is an interesting idea, but while some are accurate, reliable translations (ESV, HCSB), others are faulty paraphrases (The Message, The Voice). However, many translations on Bible Gateway have an audio option, so pick another plan with a good translation and listen away!)
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20 Days of Prayer: Introduction

http://www.ifequip.com/node/2012

20 Days of Prayer: Introduction
If: Gathering

Over the next four weeks, we’ll spend time intentionally praying for the church and IF:Gathering 2017. This isn’t a study or even a guide on prayer. In the spirit of IF:Gathering 2017, we’re keeping things very simple. Rather than talking about prayer, we’re simply going to do it. If this feels new or awkward to you, don’t worry. Prayer is simply a conversation between you and God. Don’t worry about coming up with the perfect words or following any type of formula. Just come to Him with your real thoughts and He will hear you.

Each weekday you’ll find a Scripture passage, a sample prayer, prayer prompts, and a video all focused on a theme for the day. The sample prayer and prayer prompts are there just to inspire you. The video is a audio reading of the scripture for the day. We encourage you to close your eyes, listen, and meditate on the scripture. If the Lord leads you to pray in a different direction, follow His leading.

Each day, we will pray around the daily theme. The first three weeks will focus on the church. We’ll start by praying for our own hearts, then those closest to us, our local churches, and the worldwide church. During the final week, we will shift to pray specifically for IF:Gathering 2017.

As a model for the next few weeks, we drew inspiration from Paul’s words to the Philippians. Paul often begins and ends his letters by talking about his prayers for the recipients. When we look more closely at his prayers, we find that he prays for very specific things.

Read aloud:

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:3–11)

Paul wrote these words to his fellow Christians at Philippi, explaining how he prayed for them. He told the Philippians, “you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel” (v. 7). Not only did Paul write this encouraging letter while sitting in prison, but he wrote it anticipating the suffering the Philippians would experience in the near future. Have you ever noticed that in this instance, Paul didn’t pray for the end of his imprisonment or suffering? His prayers for the Philippians reflected this as well. He didn’t pray for their circumstances—he prayed for their hearts. He asked the Lord for their love to increase exponentially. He prayed for holiness and for Christ’s righteous character to be formed in them. Paul prayed this way because he knew that God was, and is, sovereign over all circumstances, and He can use every situation for our joy and His glory. Because of that, Paul focused his prayers on asking the Lord to continue forming his beloved Philippian friends into the image of Christ.

Like Paul, we want to pray for the most critical things. We all come into IF:Gathering from different places. While we can and should continue to pray for the Lord to work in our specific situations, we want to spend the next few weeks praying for God to move and shape us in ways that will matter for eternity—no matter what our circumstances are.

A Call to Pray:

IF we believe God is who He says He is, we will be a praying people. As we begin this season of intentional prayer, we encourage you to spend some time reflecting on the state of your own heart. Pray that the Lord would reveal anything that many hinder this time of prayer. Confess any hidden sin to Him. Pray that He would make us a people marked by faithful prayer and reliance on Him.

Challenge:

We encourage you to share your thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this journey, as well as prayers or prayer requests in the comments at ifequip.com and in the app. Write them out or share voice memos or pictures—be creative! Coming together as a community, even online, can help us strengthen each other in prayer and encourage one another.

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Monday’s Bible Study : 1 Samuel

https://sarahsatticoftreasures.com/2017/01/08/its-time-to-begin-intro-and-resources-for-1-samuel-1-5-by-women-living-well-and-good-morning-girls/

womenlivingwell.org

Chapter 1

Hannah poured her soul out before the Lord passionately, in silent prayer.

Who or what is on your heart today that needs your fervent prayers? Pause now and silently lay your requests before the Lord.


Join us EVERY weekday morning ANYTIME after 7:45amEST on Facebook
to discuss the day’s reading assignment.

Join the #GoodMorningGirls community by following me on  Instagram .
Share your insights using the hashtag #GoodMorningGirls. 

Join the #GoodMorningGirls community by following me on  Instagram .
Share your insights using the hashtag #GoodMorningGirls.

Don’t forget your children. 

From Sarah :
Not shown in This Post are the RESOURCES FOR THE CHILDREN. Check Them Out Here :
All of the 1 Samuel Bible Study Materials in One Place {Including Open Groups, Resources for Leaders & Resources for Children}

http://womenlivingwell.org/2017/01/1-samuel-bible-study-materials-one-place-including-open-groups-resources-leaders-resources-children/

http://womenlivingwell.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/1SamuelWordSearches.pdf
Printable 1 Samuel Word Searches for Kids

Printable 1 Samuel Verse of the Day Copywork Pages for Kids

 

 

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It’s Time to Begin! {Intro and Resources for 1 Samuel 1-5} By Women Living Well And Good Morning Girls

It’s Time to Begin! {Intro and Resources for 1 Samuel 1-5}

From Sarah :
Not shown in This Post are the RESOURCES FOR THE CHILDREN. Check Them Out Here :
All of the 1 Samuel Bible Study Materials in One Place {Including Open Groups, Resources for Leaders & Resources for Children}

http://womenlivingwell.org/2017/01/1-samuel-bible-study-materials-one-place-including-open-groups-resources-leaders-resources-children/

http://womenlivingwell.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/1SamuelWordSearches.pdf
Printable 1 Samuel Word Searches for Kids

Printable 1 Samuel Verse of the Day Copywork Pages for Kids

Don’t Forget :

GoodMorningGuys.org

Instagram.com/GuysintheWord

Facebook.com/GoodMorningGuys

From Courtney :

Cue the Confetti!  It’s time to begin!!!  I am so excited to begin the Book of 1 Samuel with you.

I was amazed at all the places from around the world you all are joining us!  Not only do we have 20 International Groups on our leadership team – which include translators in Bulgarian, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Dutch, French, Italian, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Norwegian, Portuguese, Serbian, Spanish, Botswana, and Sweden – but in the comment section of the last post I asked where you were from and we had comments from women in nearly all 50 states. (Hello Good Morning Girls from Hawaii and Alaska – I see you!!!)

We also had Good Morning Girls comment from in: Germany, South Africa, Kenya, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Tanzania, the Philippines, the Netherlands, the Middle East, Austria, England, Norway, UK, New Zealand, India, Nigeria, Botswana, Dubai, Romania, Hungary and Jerusalem, Israel.

What a slice of heaven!  Awesome! Welcome everyone!  I’m so glad we can all take this journey together!

This is going to be a really great read.  In the book of 1 Samuel, we will see how the sovereignty of God is always at work in the lives of His people and how God does not choose who He uses based on appearances.  We will look at the example of David and Jonathan’s faithful friendship and the courage of a shepherd boy facing a giant.  This is going to be so good!

{If you don’t have your Journal yet – get it now – it’s on sale on Amazon for just  $8.40.}

Here’s The Book of 1 Samuel Overview

The book of 1 Samuel is about the lives of Samuel, Saul and David. As the book of Judges ends, we find there was no king in Israel and everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes. Israel was at a spiritual low point, as their priesthood and judges were corrupt.

Israel desired to be like the other nations and so they demanded to have a King. So God gave Israel what they wanted and Samuel anointed Saul as King. Through a series of bad choices and disobedience of God’s will, Saul ended up rejected by God. A new king was chosen, David, a man after God’s own heart. After David defeated a giant named Goliath, Saul grew jealous of David and sought to kill him.

While David was on the run from Saul, twice he had the opportunity to take Saul’s life but instead he honored the king. In the end, Saul tragically died while on the battlefield fighting the Philistines.

Author: Unknown; some possible writers are Nathan and Gad

Date: about 930BC

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 16:7

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Outline:

  • The days of Samuel before the monarchy (1-7)
  • Israel demands a king and the Monarchy begins (8-12)
  • The reign and rejection of King Saul (13-15)
  • The fall of Saul and the rise of David (16-31)

Here’s the Printable Bible Bookmark – check off your reading each day!

Here is this week’s Bible Reading Plan:

Here are this week’s Reflection & Discussion Questions

{If you do not have a group, use these for a personal time of reflection.}:

Chapter 1

Hannah poured her soul out before the Lord passionately, in silent prayer.

Who or what is on your heart today that needs your fervent prayers? Pause now and silently lay your requests before the Lord.

Chapter 2

After God answered Hannah’s prayers for a son, she praised God and was full of thanksgiving.

Take a moment and share a praise. What prayer request has God answered for you?

Chapter 3

God called Samuel three times before Samuel recognized God’s voice.

We must be listening to God, as we read His Word. Share a verse or passage of scripture that means a lot to you because God has clearly spoken to you through it.

Chapter 4

Israel expected a victory because the ark was with them but their disobedience led to defeat.

God is always with you and wants to give you victory but sin holds us back. Confess here below, any sin that is holding you back today.

Chapter 5
False gods will always fail before the One True God! One day every knee will bow to Him.

How does this bring you comfort to see the power of your God displayed in 1 Samuel 5?

Special Note: For those who have done previous studies with GMG, we are discontinuing the Reflection Question Graphics due to the length of the question not fitting on a graphic. Going forward, they will be printed in Monday’s Resource post in this format.  Please copy and paste them in your emails or Facebook groups.  Thank you!

To print the 31 Discussion Questions for 1 Samuel – click here.

The Verses of the Day:

I encourage you to choose which verse you’d like to memorize or meditate on.  The printable below includes all 5 verses of the day — for the entire week!  Print and cut them out and put them in the bathroom, kitchen, beside your bed and computer and use them for meditation throughout the week.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. – Joshua 1:8

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Click HERE to print the Verses of the Day for 1 Samuel 1-5.

Here’s another explanation of the SOAK Bible Study Method and Bible Coloring Chart if you need more guidance:

Here is the SOAK method I refer to in the video:

SOAK graphic

And the Bible Coloring  Bookmark:

Bible Coloring Chart Bookmark 2Click HERE to Print the full page Coloring Chart
or here for the Bookmark Coloring Chart

Here are the highlighters, pens and pencils I refer to in the video:

Bible Hi-Glider Highlighters
Multi-Colored Gel Pens
Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils
ESV Inductive Study Bible
*Affiliate Links

Don’t Miss the Daily Check-Ins on Facebook and Instagram!

Join us EVERY weekday morning ANYTIME after 7:45amEST on Facebook
to discuss the day’s reading assignment.

image

Join the #GoodMorningGirls community by following me on  Instagram .
Share your insights using the hashtag #GoodMorningGirls. 

For Further Reading
The GMG Leadership Team are bloggers too! Visit their blogs here:
Becoming a Godly Wife – Bridget
Misty Leask – Misty
Rosilind Jukic – Rosilind
Worshipful Living – Mandy

Have a wonderful week in God’s Word – I’ll see you back here on the blog this Friday as we go deeper into God’s Word together!

Walk with the King,

Courtney

**Don’t forget** to visit the new website atGoodMorningGuys.org 

Order your Bible Study Journal today!
Available exclusively on Amazon.
{For ages 10-110}

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Beholding Him, Becoming Missional; Awakening to the Mission Through the Study of First Samuel./ Message From Sarah

From Sarah;
Women Living Well And Good Morning Girls start 1st Samuel this Monday, January,9th.

Here Is another Bible Study On 1 Samuel and a
First Samuel Journal

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The Journal is under $8.00 as of today.
A journal for First Samuel using the most effective way to study the Bible in your time with the Lord. The journal uses helpful questions called the 6 P’s; Paraphrase, Process, Pursue understanding, Principles, Praise God for how He’s revealed Himself and Personal application of what was read. The First Samuel Journal has all the questions listed for one chapter a day with space to fill in your own thoughts. This journal guides you through a personal quiet time with the Lord helping you to hear from Him and act on what you’ve read.

From Sarah : You can find the journal listed under Quiet Time Journals.

have this one. I would recommend it.

The Book :

I have NOT worked through this one as I never purchased the book. I have read a number of posts about it..
It is an IN-DEPTH Study.
From The Post:

Are you looking for a women’s Bible study? After writing many small group bible study lessons for over 30 small groups I’ve lead, I took the plunge to write a 12 week in-depth small group Bible study on the book of First Samuel and I truly think you will be blessed. But don’t take my word for it. Here are some reviews.

Bible Study Reviews
If you like Beth Moore, you’ll love Krokos 
Great Study
Likened to Beth Moore 
A Call to Live with Purpose… and Mission
Tons of Testimonies


8957046
Here’s a little bit about this book Bible study.
Beholding Him, Becoming Missional; Awakening to the Mission Through the Study of First Samuel.          Based on the author’s twelve years of leading Bible studies, the author believes that Beholding Him, Becoming Missional: Awakening to the Mission Through the Study of 1 Samuel will offer women the opportunity to behold the King and be transformed into living uniquely purposeful and missional lives. By the end of the study, women will walk away with minds and hearts that have been transformed through an intimate relationship with the King, and lives uniquely reflecting the King’s heart and mission for the world.

Beholding Him, Becoming Missional has a “come alongside and let’s do life together” flavor and feel, as opposed to simply filling in the blanks. The author has written Beholding Him, Becoming Missional in a relational and relevant way. She shares many stories of victories and defeats, successes and embarrassments. Not only do the author’s own stories reflect similarities to what other young women may be going through, but 1 Samuel is also packed full of relevant stories—stories of people bravely living out God’s heart and passion, stories of utter failure and embarrassment, stories of redemption, victory, and partnering with others to live out God’s very heart.

Beholding Him, Becoming Missional is set up in two sections. The first six chapters will move you into a more authentic relationship with God. The second six chapters move you to the point of action, of living on purpose for the glory of God, reflecting His heart for the world. The author asks questions designed to engage the heart, where transformation can take place, leading them into living missionally.

 

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An Awesome 1st Samuel Bible Study By Beth Steffaniak Of Messy Marriage / Message From Sarah

From Sarah:
On Monday, January 9th, Women Living Well And Good Morning Girls Facebook begin their Bible Study in 1st Samuel. I will be sharing those posts like I usually do. Last year, though, I went through THIS AWESOME AND IN-DEPTH Study of Samuel.
I went DEEP.
Beth uses the “Worthy” Method Of Bible Study.
Check it out at :

http://www.messymarriage.com/bible-study/
It is SO WORTH IT.
The following is the post:

God’s Word is Worthy to be Studied Video

God is in Details

Ever wonder how studying God’s word can make a difference in your attitude or perspective?

Well, I hope you’ll join me for a new study in the book of 1st Samuel using my “Worthy” method of Bible study that will help you discover how to read God’s word and glean it for all its worth! You’ll be blown away by the facets that you discover that you might have missed using a devotional or other Bible studies that don’t teach you how to study but rather spoon-feed you truths.

I’ll be beginning a private Facebook group that will be going through the book of 1st Samuel starting the first week of April, 2016. I’ll provide step-by-step instructions for reading with the “Worthy” method and provide you with my notes as examples of what to look for free of charge.

All you have to do is friend me at Beth Oster Steffaniak and request to be added to the private group.

I will post 5 days worth of studies per week, so that you can catch up on the weekends if you need to. I make sure that you get the notes the night before, so that any time that next day you can do the reading and write out your own thoughts and observations. Then you can come and check out mine to see if there are things you might missed or might have seen that I didn’t. 😉

This group will go for approximately 6 months, so it’s something of a commitment. BUT! You can go at your own pace, drop out if you don’t like it anytime, or stay in step with the pace I set for you.

It’s a great way to stay challenged and focused, if you’ve struggled to be consistent in your Bible reading in the past.

Check out my video on the Worthy study

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Good Morning Girls Resources for the Book of 1 Samuel

http://womenlivingwell.org/2016/12/good-morning-girls-resources-book-1-samuel/
Women Living Well And Good Morning Girls

From Courtney :
Our next study begins Monday, January 9th in the Book of 1 Samuel!

This is an awesome book to read.  I could not think of a better way to start out the new year than in 1 Samuel.  From chapter 1 to chapter 31 – this book is action packed.  We will weave our way through the history of Israel’s first King -Saul and the choosing of the second King -David.  We will see the power of our God unleashed through answers to prayer, the slinging of a stone, and the rise and fall of Israel’s Kings.  It’s going to be so good – you don’t want to miss this!

The optional 1 Samuel Journal is available now exclusively on Amazon!



We also have a Good Morning Guys 1 Samuel Journal .

Both journals have an identical interior and guys can follow my nephew, Johnathan, over at GoodMorningGuys.org as he blogs through the 1 Samuel as well!

Inside the journals you will find:
*An Introduction to the Book of 1 Samuel
*An explanation of how to use the signature S.O.A.K. method of the GMG’s
*The GMG Coloring Chart
* The Verse of the Day each day
*A Reflection Question for each day
* Blank space for SOAKing each chapter of the Book of 1 Samuel

This companion Journal is NOT required to join us.  

If you are new, welcome to Good Morning Girls!  We are so glad you are here!  We are Reading Through the Bible – one chapter a day – five days a week.

We are reading the books in order, but switching back and forth between the New Testament and Old Testament.

So far we have completed:

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Esther, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Matthew, Mark, Acts, 1 & 2 Peter, 1,2, & 3 John and Jude!  You can find all of the links to past studies on the GMG Resources Page.

To keep track of all of the books you have completed use this printable below.  Notice there are no dates on any of our reading plans so anyone can join us anytime.

There are no sign-ups or enrollments.  You can join anytime!

My Bible Reading Plan

 New 2017 Schedule

January 1st – 7th: Regrouping Begins & New Leaders Group Opens

If you are looking to join an open group that meets on Facebook or via email – please come back on January 1st. The leaders are ready to welcome you in with open arms!

We encourage you to start your own real life Good Morning Girls groups by inviting your own friends to join the study and then daily email or facebook each other for accountability.  If you are a New Leader, I will provide a link for you to join our GMG Facebook Leaders Group where you can find both a Leaders Manual and daily encouragement as a leader.

January 9 – February 20

We will read through the book of 1 Samuel, one chapter a day.

February 21 – March 12

Take a break.

March 13 – April 13

New study begins in the book of Luke.  I love studying the gospels during the days leading up to Resurrection Sunday!

Blog and Social Media Schedule

Blog

On Mondays, here at WomenLivingWell.org, I’ll post all of the FREE resources for the week including the Daily Discussion Questions and printable Verses of the Day.

On Fridays, I’ll wrap up the week with a devotional or video here and invite you to fellowship in the comments.

Instagram

On Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, I’ll be posting both in the morning and evening, encouragement for your study in the book of 1 Samuel. Follow me on Instagram here.

Facebook

On Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, I’ll be posting the Assigned Reading of the Day at 7:45am and an open discussion takes place there. Check it out! It’s wonderful! Go to Good Morning Girls Facebook Page here.

Here’s the Printable Bible Bookmark

Here is an explanation of the
Signature GMG SOAK Bible Study method:

SOAK graphic

 

Here’s the Printable Bible Coloring Chart Bookmark

 

Bible Coloring Chart Bookmark 2Click here to print the Bookmark Coloring Chart

This is a wonderful method that slows us down
and helps us soak in every single word.

Here’s what it looks like in my Bible.

image

Still not sure how this all works? Here is a video explaining it further.

Here are the highlighters, pens and pencils I mentioned in the video:

Highlighters -> Acid Free – Bible Hi-Glider
Fine Line Non-bleeding Pens – Micron Archival Ink and Multi-Colored Gel Pens
Colored Pencils – Crayola Twistables and Crayola Colored Pencils
I use the ESV Inductive Study Bible as my personal study Bible.

Here’s the Free Printable Short Journal for 1 Samuel

(This is for those who are not purchasing the Paperback Journal.  This is not the same as the Paperback Journal on Amazon – this eJournal has been created for low-cost printing on a home printer and does not include the Introduction to 1 Samuel, Verses of the Day or Reflection questions.)

Invite your sons and daughters!  

Just like us – our children NEED to be in God’s Word daily.  Children over the age of ten are capable of reading a chapter a day and SOAKing what they have read. I encourage you to introduce this method of study to your children.  Teach them how to drink from the living well of God’s word and soak in all the spiritual nourishment they can!

For Children Younger Than 10 

Print these FREE 1 Samuel Word Searches for Kids

Print these FREE Verse of the Day Copywork Pages

 

I want to extend a special thank you to my leadership team!

This team leads the Facebook Group for GMG Leaders , the International Team, the Regrouping and creates the Children’s Resources and many of the free GMG Graphics you see here on the blog.  I love these girls and they love you!

GMG Leadership Team Collage updated

{From Left to Right: Mandy, Rosilind, Bridget and Misty}

Mark your calendars for January 9th!

 Spread the Word!  

Share this post with your friends!  

And look for the opening of our GMG groups and the Facebook Leadership Group next week!

Keep walking with the King,

Courtney 🙂

Order your journal NOW
to get it in time for the start of our study!

Available on Amazon

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All of the 1 Samuel Bible Study Materials in One Place {Including Open Groups, Resources for Leaders & Resources for Children}


Do you want to grow closer to the Lord in 2017?  Then Good Morning Girls is for you!

Here at Good Morning Girls we provide all the resources you need to grow in your walk with God.  A new year has begun and it’s a great time to connect.  I want to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, grab a few friends and join us!

You can start a Good Morning Girls group that meets for coffee in real life every week or you can start a group that meets daily on-line.  You can use Facebook Groups, email, text messaging and more to connect!

We are here to sharpen each other.

Proverbs 2717 iron sharpens iron

We regroup here at GMG 3 times a year – summer, fall and winter.

You DO NOT have to have a group, to join our on-line Bible study.  I can be your accountability partner every Monday and Friday here on the blog if you’d rather not be in a group.

There are no sign-ups, enrollments or subscriptions required to join us.  No hoops!  (Although if you want to subscribe via email – you can do that along the sidebar of the blog here.)

Find a GMG Group Here

If you do not have a Good Morning Girls group – we invite you to CLICK HERE.  When you click this link you will open a document filled with links to GMG Groups waiting for you with open arms.

Find the category that best fits you (if none of them do – then join the group titled “Open to All”) and follow the instructions at the top of the page to join!

These groups are open until Sunday, January 8th (but don’t wait because groups will be full and closing before then)!

GMG Leaders

GMG Leaders: We have a Facebook Group just for you.  In this group, you will find a Leader’s Manual available (free) to help you as you lead!   You will also find weekly encouragement and answers to all of your questions there.

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What is Epiphany?

 http://www.saraborgstede.com/what-is-epiphany/
Sara Borstede

What is Epiphany?

Epiphany is a celebration of the arrival of wise men, also called magi, from the East who brought gifts to Baby Jesus.

What is Epiphany?|The Holy Mess

The word “Epiphany” means an appearance or manifestation, especially of a divine being.

For many Christians, Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas season. Epiphany is on January 6, after the 12 days of Christmas.

Epiphany is also called Three Kings Day. While tradition holds that 3 kings came to visit Baby Jesus in the stable (and the kings are even given the names of Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar), the truth is probably quite different.

The wise men brought 3 gifts to Jesus which has led to the assumption that there were only 3 wise men, but in reality it was probably a larger group. (See below for the full Biblical account of the visit of the wise men.)

Another false assumption, made more popular by nativity sets everywhere, is that the wise men came to the stable the night Jesus was born. In reality, the visit of the wise men most likely occurred later, at least 40 days after Jesus’ birth and possibly up to 2 years later. These men were traveling 800-900 miles to see Jesus, a long distance for that period of time. Likely the visit occurred 6 months to a year after Jesus’ birth.

The term “magi” gives us information about the wise men. The Greek word used here refers to scholars likely from Persia in the specific priestly caste of Zoroastrianism. These scholars were astrologers, so it makes sense that they would have seen the miracle of the star above the place where Jesus was born.

Today we refer to this as the Star of Bethlehem. On the night Jesus was born, a bright star shone above where Jesus was located.

These men were not technically “kings” as we often refer to them. They were priests and scholars.

The gifts brought by the wise men were expensive and significant gifts, and they bowed down and worshiped Jesus.

Herod played an important role in this situation, too. This is Herod the Great, who ruled from 37 B.C. to 4 B.C. Studies of Herod show that he was ruthless and paranoid tyrant. When the magi came to him inquiring of the child, Herod panicked. He ordered that all baby boys under the age of two be killed because he saw any future king as a threat……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

How Do You Celebrate Epiphany?

Epiphany is celebrated throughout the world in a variety of ways.

In the Christian church in America, traditional churches honor Epiphany on January 6 and then as a season of the church year throughout the weeks until Lent begins.

One simple yet meaningful way to honor Epiphany in your home is to keep your Christmas decorations up until this day, which is the end to the Christmas season.

Epiphany is celebrated throughout the world in a variety of ways. Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, is especially commemmorated in Spanish and Latin cultures.

A friend of ours introduced us to the tradition of a Three Kings Cake. Made on Epiphany, the cake has a small plastic baby baked into the cake. The person who finds the baby in their piece of cake is then the person to bake the cake, or tamales, the following year. (In other traditions, Kings Cake is made at Mardi Gras.)

Kingcake.jpg

Traditional Kings’ Cake. Photo: Wikipedia, public domain

 

King Cake Baby.jpg

The baby inside a King’s Cake. Photo: Wikipedia, public domain

Here is a link to order babies for a Kings’ Cake, and here is a recipe to make your own traditional Kings’ Cake. Here is a very simple recipe for a quick cake using crescent rolls. (I make the simple version.) A traditional Kings’ Cake can also be purchased from a local Latin bakery during this time of year.

Check out this link with more information about how Epiphany is celebrated in other parts of the world.

 

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Welcome to 31 Days of Photo Tips | Day 1

Welcome to 31 Days of Photo Tips | Day 1
My 3 Boybarians
http://my3boybarians.com/2011/10/welcome-to-31-days-of-photo-tips-day-1/

My entire childhood in photos fills about 1/3 of a shoebox.

october 1975

October 1975. Taken 36 years ago, almost to the day. 4 generations.How old were you the first time you clicked a camera and froze that moment in time?

Did your parents or friends take photos of you when you were little? Do you still have those images? Are they tucked away in an album? Are they in a basement somewhere in your parents’ house? In a shoebox in a closet somewhere? What do you do with the images of the people and places you love?

I was in high school before I owned my own camera. Film was expensive. I often found moments I had forgotten about by the time I developed my film. We took far fewer images back then – held back by per-frame printing cost. But the few we did get are treasured because they were uncommon and expensive.
While these photos are meaningful to me, none are particularly compelling technically or artistically.

Now it’s your turn to capture the lives of those around you. What if you could both capture meaningful images, and do it better?

You are the mom in the pictures. You’re the dad whose fashion sense will be mocked in a decade or so. Your kids live close, share everything, and are years away from being separated by college, marriage, or new jobs – or not. You are young, healthy, and beautiful… and one day the photos of you and your family will be a nostalgic trip down memory lane. They will remember your skinny jeans, your love of Starbucks or pizza or sweet potato fries, the Christmas tree they wake up to every Christmas morning. They will wonder that you all were ever so skinny, so young, and why in the world you all wore hair like that.

I have big plans for our 31 Days together. Most of the topics were inspired by YOU – readers of the 31 Days to a Better Photo. You sent in questions, had requests for topics, wanted clarification and expansion. The 31 Days to a Better Photo was like a 101 Course for new DSLR owners.

31 days of Photo Tips 2011

But it’s barely the tip of the iceberg. I hope we can go a bit deeper together these next 31 Days. I want to equip you to make your memories beautiful for you and for the generations to follow.

What motivates you to get behind the camera?
See all the 31 Days Series from bloggers across the blogosphere!

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Homemaking 101 Series: Where to Begin When You’re Overwhelmed

homemaking-101-series-300x229
Homemaking 101 Series: Where to Begin When You’re Overwhelmed

Where-to-Begin-When-You-re-Overwhelmed.jpg

“The way to do a great deal is to keep on doing a little. The way to do nothing at all, is to be continually resolving that you will do everything.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

Before we move on to areas of organization, menu planning and other posts that are part of our day to day care of our homes and families in the Homemaking 101 Series, I wanted to address those readers out there that are overwhelmed.

Maybe you’re the reader who is drowning in clutter and chaos.

Maybe you’re the reader who has some semblance of order but just can’t seem to get anything productive done from day to day to keep the clutter and chaos under control so you have to spend days at a time trying to gain order back.

You may be the reader who never had the care and keeping of your home modeled for you by your mother or an older woman.

Most of my home keeping has been self taught from books and websites that I have gleaned and learned much from over the years.  My grandmother was a beautiful example to me of how to keep a home but most of my time was spent with her when I was little.   When my husband and I first got married we moved away from family for his job so I was on my own in figuring out cleaning, shopping, laundry, meal planning and caring for my children and husband.  Before we were believers I read a lot of Alexandra Stoddard’s books.  They were lovely and taught me how to work beauty into the everyday moments of life.  I still refer back to Living a Beautiful Life often.

I know there are many of you feeling drowned in chaos and not doing anything about it because you don’t know where to start.  Let me help you by telling you to just begin.  You have to do something.  The dishes won’t magically disappear, laundry doesn’t jump into the washer by itself and meals don’t automatically appear at mealtime without some thought, planning and preparation.

The Lord desires for you to care for your family and your home.  (See How Well Do You Manage Your Home.)  This is your domain and the area He has given you to care and keep.  Sitting there in self pity isn’t getting anything accomplished.  There are many days that I don’t feel like doing dishes, cleaning bathrooms or putting laundry away.  Let’s face it, it’s not that exciting and there aren’t any awards given for how many times you do it or how well you do it.

The reality is it has to be done and Mama it is your job to do it.  This is your calling as a wife and mother.  So I’m not going to give you any excuses here but just tell you to “Do the next thing”.

Where to Begin:

From Sarah: Check out the blog to find out where to start.
Also check out Marci’s list of other bloggers and resources. She shares a lot of information in every post.

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31 Days To A Better Photo | Day 1 – Welcome!

31 Days to a Better Photo | Day 1 – Welcome!

There are no photos in this post; this post may be the only one on this blog with this many words and without any photos. It feels strangely appropriate that the first in a series on better photos wouldn’t have a single one.

I was living in Florence, Italy in 1998, attending l’universita’. I spent my carefree weekends with a Eurorail pass, a passport, and a backpack. I saw 13 countries that year. I photographed the snow-capped Alps, the clock and insanely crowded Old Jewish Cemetary in Prague, the beautiful volcanic beaches in Greece, the River Danube separating Buda from Pest with the glorious Parliament building in Hungary. I saw Anne Frank’s hide-away home in Amsterdam, the canals in Copenhagen, tulips in the Netherlands, the lights over Paris taking off from Charles de Gaulle. I saw where Mozart learned to love music in Vienna, and fairy tale castles in Germany.

I snuck a photo of much-too-young Polish soldiers who boarded the train with semi-automatic weapons and sashes of ammunition – their teenage bodies wearing grown-up faces. My camera captured old men on trains, gypsy camps outside of Florence, glass blowers in Venice, men playing bocce ball, kids playing soccer. I fell in love with Il Duomo, Michaelangelo’s Davide, frescoes in Rome, pizza in Naples, cannolis in Sicily, art in Milano – all behind the lens of my camera. I attended Stations of the Cross at the Roman Coliseum with Pope John Paul II and captured the sea of faces who collectively gasped as His Holiness mistepped and nearly fell. I captured piazzas, cafes, lines of laundry, plates of gnocchi, statues, churches… all the faces and places I loved there.

It was my year’s life story.

And when I came back to the States to develop a pillow case full of film…

it was all. gray.

The heightened security due to bombings of US Embassies abroad meant the rays used to scan my baggage deleted every single image from the film. I called Kodak and the lady on the phone cried with me as I told my story.

It was then I realized how powerful images can be and how much they tell our stories. My memories from that year are thinning, and it still makes me incredibly sad that I have nothing tangible to remind me of the faces and places that I loved that year.

But it lit a fire. And out of the loss emerged a girl who loves photos…. who understands the magic they hold, the stories they tell, and the precious, irretrievable time they freeze.

I treasure my photos. My boys sit captivated in front of their scrapbooks. My husband and I have taken photography classes, attended workshops, watched countless hours of training and tutorials via DVD and online. We poured ourselves in learning the technical so we could make the meaningful images we were capturing all along even better.

The lesson I hope you pull from today – no matter how good of a photographer you are, no matter how new you are, what you paid for your camera, how long you’ve owned it, what lens is on it…

What matters most is that you are freezing time and capturing memories. They will be treasured. Because life is constantly in motion. And that little boy smashing trucks and playing Legos will soon be borrowing car keys, and those once-in-a-lifetime trips can not be retaken. Your princess will soon wear a prom dress instead of a Disney costume, and time goes on…

So, today’s lesson? Day 1 to a better photo – take the photo. Always, always take the photo. You will never get a second chance at that moment. It’s a simple one, clearly. But how many times have you meant to bring the camera but didn’t?

Today’s blog sharing opportunity in comments:
When did you realize how much you loved photos? What motivates you to love your images?

Please visit my girls who are sharing this 31 Days journey with us:

31 Days of Grace :: Chatting at the Sky
31 Days to an Inspired Table :: My First Kitchen
31 Days to a Less Messy Nest :: Nesting Place
31 Days of Living Simply :: Remodeling This Life
31 Days of Autumn Bliss :: The Inspired Room
31 Days to More. . .With Less :: Beauty and Bedlam
31 Days to a Better Photo :: My 3 Boybarians
31 Days to Stress Free Entertaining :: Reluctant Entertainer

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Introducing the Homemaking 101 Series By Thankful Homemaker

“In contrast to the wise woman, the foolish woman is not content to be a keeper at home. She is not satisfied with where God has put her. One of the things the feminist movement has done so successfully is to stir up discontent in women with being homemakers and to convince them that other pursuits can increase their sense of self-worth… Fueling discontent and pushing women out of their homes in search of greater meaning and satisfaction has resulted in off-the-chart stress levels for many women who can no longer survive without pills and therapists… The greatest spiritual, moral, and emotional protection a woman will ever experience is found when she is content to stay within her God-appointed sphere. This does not mean that she never leaves her house, but rather that her heart is rooted in her home and that she puts her family’s needs above all other interests and pursuits.”

~Nancy Leigh DeMoss

From Sarah : As You can see , I went way back to the start of this wonderful series.
Start at the very beginning or pick and choose the topics that interest you the most. What do you need help with most?

Introducing the Homemaking 101 Series

The skill of homemaking seems to be a lost art in our world today.  We have tools and gadgets our great grandmothers couldn’t of imagined to make our lives easier and more efficient and we seem to have less time in the care and upkeep of our homes.  Most of us in my generation and younger (ahem – much younger) weren’t trained in the basics of managing a home and caring for a family.  Some of our moms were working moms, if our moms were home we were in school all day while she was taking care of the day to day management of the home and missed learning valuable life skills.  Many times our mothers did everything themselves in the home and didn’t’ take the time to let their daughters work alongside them and learn.

I am guilty of this last one with my own daughter.  It was quite a bit later in life that I captured the Titus 2 vision and started teaching my daughter how to care, manage and be a keeper of her home.

I would like to share with you in this series what I have learned after 27 years of being a keeper of my home. My hope is to not make you keep your home exactly as I do but to motivate you in areas where you are struggling and give you ideas, examples and other resources to be a help in the management of your home.  Let’s make this a community where we minister to each other by sharing your tips, ideas, thoughts and questions here at the blog and on Facebook.

Some areas we’ll cover in this ongoing series are:

The Importance of Our Role
Our time with the Lord
Basic Homemaking Skills
Healthy Eating and  Meal Planning
Stewardship/Budgeting
Time Management
Schedules and Routines
Organization and Decluttering
The Pros and Cons of Technology use in Homekeeping
Hospitality Tips
Home Decorating
Caring for our Physical Appearance

The list above just gives us a small sample of all that we deal with as wives and mothers on a day to day basis.  We have a lifetime ladies, it will never be mastered while we live on this fallen earth but we can continue to be learners and with the Lord’s help live our lives in a way that please God.  Not perfection but “working heartily as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23).  This series is for women in all seasons of life.  Single, married, young children or older children, and empty-nesters.

As always I am going to encourage you to enlist an older “in person” woman in your life that can help keep you accountable and give good guidance and advice.  Stay teachable and don’t think you know it all young mama when you are talking with your mom or an older woman in your church about home management and child raising.  Give her the benefit of walking this road before you and she has much to offer biblically (if she is a believer) and in life experience that you haven’t experienced yet.  As we grow older we realize how much we still have to learn.  We look back at our younger years and are reminded we didn’t know more than our parents but needed to heed their advice more often than we did.

Homework

Each post is going to leave you with a voluntary homework assignment so we might as well begin right now.  I’m going to give you some encouraging reading assignments to do at your leisure.  Below are some links to several articles and some scriptures to meditate on and read.

Assignments for this post:
Read and meditate on the following scriptures: Titus 2:3-15, Proverbs 31:10-31, Colossians 3:23, Philippians 2:1-18, 1 Corinthians 13, Ephesians 5 and Philippians 4:8.

Take some time to read or listen to this Revive Our Hearts Series called, Home-Making is Not a Dirty Word.  There are two messages in the series:  A Home that Reflects God’s Grace and The Joy of Generous Hospitality.

Don’t Miss a Post or Giveaway

If you don’t want to miss a post in the series let me pop quietly into your inbox.  There will still be other posts on the blog in addition to this series but my hope is to get a weekly post up for the Homemaking 101 Series. I will do an occasional surprise giveaway for a resource or tool that will help you in your home keeping.  You can subscribe here to Thankful Homemaker.  I’ll put a tab at the top of the blog for the series and a quick link on the sidebar too.  You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter for updates.

An Encouraging Resource:

My dear friend Jennifer at The Focused Homemaker has made a wonderful DVD called Homemaking 101 and it goes beautifully with this series. Jennifer brings us into her home and shares with us how she deals with the day to day task of keeping home. This is a DVD for women of all ages, but young moms you will be blessed by Jennifer’s heart for her family and home.  She covers time management, cleaning, cooking, budgeting, home decorating, hospitality, chores, scheduling and much more!  You will be encouraged and motivated by this DVD and will turn to it again and again to remind you of the important role the Lord has called you to.

 From Sarah : Jennifer has a wonderful blog as well. Check it out.
This post is part of the Homemaking 101 Series
Visit all the posts in the series here.  
 
Subscribe to Thankful Homemaker and not miss a post.  
 

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Monday Mom Confessions: Not Everyone Loves Christmas

From December 2015. Christmas In Our Neck Of The Woods
Love Sarah

This has been a week of EXTREME HIGHS AND LOWS. I am still wrapping my head around the EVENTS that have taken place.I am FINALLY FEELING THE SPIRIT OF THIS BEAUTIFUL ADVENT NOW CHRISTMAS SEASON.SO IS DANNY. (Sort of.) He is relieved , as I am that some of our WORRIES are over. I am not ready to go into all of it, let’s just say, my dad sent ME (US) a HUGE CHECK.He had no idea how much we needed it.No one did. (Family).So we can get caught up again. Pay bills. Fix our personal truck. ETC.So all is good there.WE HAD A HUGE BLOWUP EARLIER THIS WEEK.HUGE.Totally took me by surprise. The ARGUMENT not the timing. Danny ALWAYS DOES SOMETHING THIS TIME OF YEAR.HUGE ENOUGH that WHEN I got the check, my first though was OH MY GOSH. TEARS. HAPPINESS.AND THEN, FORGIVE ME BUT….I thought, I CAN LEAVE HERE if I WANT TO.That thought didn’t just go AWAY.We also SOLD our RV to a young family who is going to fix it up enough to live in it.We didn’t get much for it after the damaged from the tree falling on it but then we weren’t expecting anyone to buy it to live in. I am excited for them. (His father fixes RV’s).The RV was our First home together. He sold his house the same time I moved here permanently. We lived in the RV for 5 years. Used it for another year after we moved into the house here and then took it to the old shop here on%2

Source: Monday Mom Confessions: Not Everyone Loves Christmas

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Merry Christmas From Our Neck Of The Woods

From Sarah :
Christmas Eve From Last Year. 2015

This has been a week of EXTREME HIGHS AND LOWS. I am still wrapping my head around the EVENTS that have taken place.I am FINALLY FEELING THE SPIRIT OF THIS BEAUTIFUL ADVENT NOW CHRISTMAS SEASON.SO IS DANNY. (Sort of.) He is relieved , as I am that some of our WORRIES are over. I am not ready to go into all of it, let’s just say, my dad sent ME (US) a HUGE CHECK.He had no idea how much we needed it.No one did. (Family).So we can get caught up again. Pay bills. Fix our personal truck. ETC.So all is good there.WE HAD A HUGE BLOWUP EARLIER THIS WEEK.HUGE.Totally took me by surprise. The ARGUMENT not the timing. Danny ALWAYS DOES SOMETHING THIS TIME OF YEAR.HUGE ENOUGH that WHEN I got the check, my first though was OH MY GOSH. TEARS. HAPPINESS.AND THEN, FORGIVE ME BUT….I thought, I CAN LEAVE HERE if I WANT TO.That thought didn’t just go AWAY.We also SOLD our RV to a young family who is going to fix it up enough to live in it.We didn’t get much for it after the damaged from the tree falling on it but then we weren’t expecting anyone to buy it to live in. I am excited for them. (His father fixes RV’s).The RV was our First home together. He sold his house the same time I moved here permanently. We lived in the RV for 5 years. Used it for another year after we moved into the house here and then took it to the old shop here on the pr

Source: Merry Christmas From Our Neck Of The Woods

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 A Special Night From Our Neck Of The Woods : All Was Calm. All Was Bright. Sarah

It Is Often The Small Stuff That Make The Big Memories

Source:  A Special Night : All Was Calm. All Was Bright. From Sarah /  All is not calm, all is not bright | His Mercy is New/

All is not calm, all is not bright | His Mercy is New The post from Mercy Is New is at the end of my post.

From Sarah :

I have really been trying not to get all stressed out this SEASON OF ADVENT. This Season Of Joy…..

Which few of us really feel.
I promised myself that I wouldn’t expect much from Danny this year.

I forgot to remind myself again on my birthday. December 11 was Hell.

Why? Because I wanted sweetness and love and I got realities of life.

Granted I had reason to be upset…. Danny admitted he messed up.

Later.  Days later.

I ALMOST LET A BAD BIRTHDAY. A BAD DAY RUIN THE  REST OF THE SEASON.

I let it go. Or I am seriously trying to.

The picture right now represents

Letting go of OLD TRADITIONS….

MAKE NEW ONES WHEN NEEDED.

I also decided to let things happen this Christmas. Danny is Danny.

Christmas is different for him. I have good memories. Awesome memories. Family is everything. Was everything.

We celebrated life. We celebrated family.

So the days Between Thanksgiving And January 6, Epiphany was a continuation of our love for God, Jesus, Family, Friends And Strangers.

Danny never really had a good family life. He had moments of happy times but always had  the knowledge it wouldn’t continue.

The fear was always there.

His realities and mine were poles apart.

Are still poles apart.

Danny can remember some good holidays. With friends and their families. He saw it on TV.

I LIVED IT.

He grew up as Christian. I am amazed at that. Self taught. Yet, his belief is only SO DEEP.

MINE CONSUMES ME.

I miss family this time of year more than any other.  Friends.

The Lutheran Church.

I want to study and learn. I want to inhale Advent.

So I have studying and did my daily journaling. I have gone deep into his word.

NOT DEEP ENOUGH.

I still have that childish dream of the way Christmas should be.

I had it as a child. I had it as a mom,  an aunt, a teacher  and a  friend..

I crave what I had.

That life is gone.

The memories are there. The strong foundation of love and support is there.

I need to focus on Us.

My birthday. December 11, 2006

There was / is  life after Bobby.

I had an awesome day.

I had my memories.

I had my future.

I had Danny.

Danny and I.


Thanksgiving 2016

At the park.

Danny and I : After Roundup. OCTOBER 2016. He worked it.

I watched.

His needs. What he CAN HANDLE.

I LEARNED LAST NIGHT : ONCE AGAIN :

It is often the SMALL STUFF that MAKE THE BIG STUFF. The Big Stuff like that becomes Cherished Memories.

Danny had fun. I had fun.

Spontaneous. Unplanned.

Danny asked me last night if we could “Open our boxes to each other NOW.”.

Not Christmas Eve like I Wanted to. It wasn’t the right time.

So my first reaction was “No”.

Danny box from me was under the tree. Had been for a couple of weeks.

From Trainworld.

His box.

So he knew it had to do with TRAINS.

He never really said much.

Except he was really afraid my BOX wouldn’t get here in time.

Well, it came yesterday . Shortly before he came home.

From Trainworld.

My box.

Yes, I was curious.

My wants for the trains (my side of the train set) don’t always mash with his.

I knew I would like what I got. I wasn’t sure if I would love it.

I had no doubt he would love what I got him.

My box was long and narrow.

I suspected a few train tracks…

Not my idea…. his.

I got away from the moment when he asked me if we could open them.

My “No! ” was automatic.

He said, “We could open them now. I work tomorrow but I am off the next couple of days.

I work Christmas weekend.

Little train time”.

Then he walked away.

My mind was screaming ” No Way.”

“IT’S NOT CHRISTMAS EVE”.

I grew up opening our gifts Christmas Eve. Church.  Food. A long night of gift giving. Family.

Plus it was 10: 30 PM.

I was exhausted.

Sore.
WAIT A MINUTE!

DANNY IS MY FAMILY. CHRISTMAS EVE isn’t about Opening our Gifts.

Gift giving and receiving should he relaxed.  Special. Slow.

Giving.

Receiving.

Family time.

Quality time.

US time.

So I Said “Yes!”

The look on Danny face was worth it.

The next few hours were Worth Even More. PRICELESS.
We made MEMORIES.

Now read the post that inspired me.

http://mercyisnew.com/2015/12/23/all-is-not-calm-all-is-not-bright/

Mercy Is New : All Is Not Calm

All Is Not Bright.

I kind of laughed as I thought about the phrase from the Christmas carol, “all is calm, all is bright.” And I immediately thought NOTHING IN MY HOUSE IS CALM OR BRIGHT.

But, isn’t that why He came?
Emmanuel: God with us.
He brought HOPE to the hopeless.
He brought PEACE to the chaotic, broken hearts.
He turns our MESS into a MESSAGE to proclaim for His glory.
He truly is the GOOD NEWS the world seeks.

So, as I go about the rest of my CRAZY…I will remember that THIS is WHY He came. This mess, this chaos, these fights, the grumbling, the tears, the heartache, the guilt, the feeling that we will never get it right…and we won’t. HE WILL. And He already has.

And THAT is GOOD NEWS.

Sweet friends, no matter where you are today, Jesus is near. JESUS is the good news our hearts desperately need!! Cling to Him! 

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Author: Sarah’s Attic of Treasures

My real name is Debbie Sue. Sarah is a nickname given to me in high school. My husband has always called me that so here in Florida It’s all I am known by. I was born and raised in Illinois. My son and I moved to Colorado in 1982. I was an in -home preschool teacher until 2006 when I moved to Florida after my son, Bobby died suddenly. He was almost 26. Danny and I live and work at a state park here. I miss the mountains and climate of Colorado. I miss snow and the four seasons. I miss Bobby.

 

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6 Ways To Speed Clean to Clean-Enough for the Holidays [& The 1 Habit That Changes Your Morning & The Whole Day]

6 Ways To Speed Clean to Clean-Enough for the Holidays [& The 1 Habit That Changes Your Morning & The Whole Day]

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Ann VosKamp  : A Holy Night
http://onethousandgifts.com
http://annvoskamp.com/

My Mama said you can’t hurry clean —- just like you can’t hurry love. 

And I’ve been spending about, oh, the last 20 years trying to prove the good woman wrong.

In a (long) moment of apparent brain blur, I tracked down, paid good money, and hauled home one impossible puppy.

Because clearly, in a house of full of more than half a dozen kids, a full-time farmer, 1000 honking pigs, and more dirt than you can possibly imagine, we did not have enough insanity.
………

Well, Mama, this ain’t my first rodeo —

And after twenty years of homeschooling six crazy kids and getting to be wife to one fine, albeit greasy, gritty, farming man— these are a few of the things that I love — because they have proved (to some arguable extent) you can hurry clean — and don’t go telling any mama for one New York minute that doesn’t mean a whole lot of love, love to ease the mind.

………..

Just 5 Steps More

It’s an ongoing refrain here, my ridiculous, relentless Mama symphony rising above the domestic cacaphony: 5 Steps More!

5 Steps more will get that away. 5 Steps More and the clothes are away, 5 Steps More that dish is in the dishwasher, 5 Steps More that book is on the shelf. You are strong enough and you have time enough — for just 5 Steps More. You are just 5 Steps More away from a cleaner house. 

Because the thing I keep saying and believing and living is: We get to make Art for the people who get to come behind us.

We get to make beauty, we get to leave loveliness, we get to make art for all who come in our wake — so they get to wake to wonder. So whether it’s in the kitchen, at a screen, with colleagues, with kids, in the house: Make Art. It brings glory to the Master.

And that Art happens? By getting everyone consistently on your 5 Steps More soundtrack.

4. 30 Minute Love SHAK

 

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You Can Do Hard Things

You can do hard things
Carey Scott, 17 Dec 10:29 AM

When the season triggers bad memories…

When finances restrict your heart’s desire…

When the feelings of love are gone…

When you’re missing someone who was dear…

When the treatment is still making you sick…

When you’re in a room full of those you can’t seem to forgive…

When you’d rather be anywhere but here…

When a hard conversation is right around the corner…

When the tension is thick enough to cut with a knife…

When you wish the situation was different…

When the chaos feels overwhelming and unending…

When you feel weak…

When you think your current season of sinning disqualifies you…

When you’re sure you are not good enough…

When every insecurity is tangling your confidence…

… take a deep breath.

… exhale with resolve.

… straighten your back.

… choose courage.

… and never forget that because of Jesus… you can do hard things.

“May we never tire of doing what is good and right before our Lord because in His season we shall bring in a great harvest if we can just persist” (Galatians 6:9 VOICE).

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Sundays at Home Link Party – Meet Some Of The Bloggers Featured -Christmas Foods, Decorating, HomeTours

Sundays at Home Link Party
http://loveofhome.net/sundays-home-week-140
From Love Of Home

Welcome to Sundays at Home!

Sundays at Home link party logo http://mysoulfulhome.com

Hope it is not too cold where you are.

We have some wonderful Christmas-y features for you this week. May as well revel in the season while it lasts!

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here. Love of Home is a lifestyle blog. My philosophy has always been to keep things simple. I share my easy decor ideas, recipes & projects. I’m a wife, mom of three, coffee lover, believer, crafty girl, self-proclaimed foodie and essential oil enthusiast!
Link Ups From  :

Penny Pincher Jenny :
Smoked Prime Rib Roast
http://pennypincherjenny.com/smoked-prime-rib-roast/

It’s that time of year the holidays!! Now with life always changing we have been working to evolve our old traditions into new traditions.  The kids took to Pinterest and searched for Christmas dinners!!  One meat kept popping up prime rib, now we have been trying new meats but this is one the kids and I haven’t had.  Well, we didn’t want to have our Christmas dinner with a meat we weren’t sure we liked so we had to give it a test run and timed it over the weekend watching football.

Now an important note about my roast was I picked mine up at a local butcher shop.  They asked how I was cooking my roast and offered to season it!! The seasoning is what I was most nervous about so to have an expert do it was perfect.  I also had the butch tie it up when he said it would help with flavor and cooking, he wasn’t wrong at all!

This Smoked Prime Rib Roast is perfect for your Christmas dinner!!! Easy to make and the taste is perfect for the holiday season!

Smoked Prime Rib Directions:

  • Season your prime rib roast and if possible let it set in the fridge for a day or more to allow the flavor to soak in.
  • Now this is where you know your smoker and how to prep it for smoking.  I use an electric smoker and prefer to use apple disks for smoking all my meat.
  • Remove  your chip holder, water bin, and racks out of your smoker and cap off your exhaust pipe if necessary
  • Fire up the smoker by raising the temperature on the dial
  • Fill the water dish and chip holder
  • Place in your chips and once they start to smoke put in your water tray.  I find I can get a good smoke faster by doing this method.
  • Once your smoker gets hot enough and a smoke place in your prime rib roast on a rack.   I kept my smoker at 150-200

This Smoked Prime Rib Roast is perfect for your Christmas dinner!!! Easy to make and the taste is perfect for the holiday season!

  • Roast for hours at least over 6 hours.  We made the mistake of pulling it out to see if we could grill it faster to finish it off and it went up in flames, learn from our mistake don’t put it on the grill!
  • Be sure to keep replacing your smoker chips and disks to keep the smoke going.

This Smoked Prime Rib Roast is perfect for your Christmas dinner!!! Easy to make and the taste is perfect for the holiday season! This Smoked Prime Rib Roast is perfect for your Christmas dinner!!! Easy to make and the taste is perfect for the holiday season!

  • Jenny is a SAHM to three kids, as well as soccer coach, and Girl Scout leader. She is a lifetime Weight Watchers member, running enthusiast, and loves to work out! She and her kids have discovered a new passion for cooking.

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    moms-tall-amt.jpg
    5 Traditions for the Perfect Holiday
    http://www.amomstake.com/traditions-perfect-holiday/

    perfect-holiday.jpg

    Ornament Exchange– Each Christmas morning, since I was born, I have unwrapped an ornament. This ornament was a representation of my year or something special to me. I have a giant engagement ring for the year I got engaged, a teacher santa for the year I became a teacher… etc. I find myself telling my kids the meaning behind each one as we decorate the tree, and they laugh and smile with me. Then I let them tell me about each of their ornaments we have bought them since they were born. It makes me tear up every year. I love scouring the stores and internet for the perfect ornament for them each year, and I love our hodge podge tree full of memories.

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    Book Countdown– This one has become pretty popular over the past few years, but I still love it! Each night before Christmas my kids unwrap a holiday book and we read it before bed. Some are new, most our favorites from years past. They remember them and look forward to finding and reading their favorites each year. There is nothing better than snuggling up for a story around the twinkling lights of the tree.

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    Christmas Tree Slumber Party– Before Christmas each year we have a Christmas tree slumber party. We put on our Christmas pjs, we read stories, eat treats, watch movies, and we all snuggle together under the twinkling lights of the tree for a slumber party. I don’t know who looks forward to it more, me or the kids.
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    TOTS Family DIY, Recipes, Autism, Kids
    http://totsfamily.com/planning-holiday-meal-3-glazed-turkey-recipes/

    Planning Your Holiday Meal + 3 Glazed Turkey Recipes

    Are you trying to plan your holiday meal, but don’t know where to start? Holiday meals are a BIG DEAL! Make sure your guests get happy and full by using these tips.

    Tips for Planning Your Holiday Meal

    Get in prep mode

    If you’re going to make an awesome holiday meal, get in prep mode now! Get excited, make a list, and start executing your plan for making an awesome holiday meal for your family. The better attitude you have, the better your meal is going to turn out!

    Clear your schedule

    When you are the host for the holiday meal, you need a few days to prep. I love to prep a few days before hand to relieve the stress. It’s no fun being stressed out whenever you are planning a holiday meal. Also, practice a few stress relieving techniques to help you stay stress free.

    Get creative with your meal

    The best thing you can do is make stuff you want at your table. Don’t worry about what everyone is making. What are some meals you enjoy having at your table each year? Make those dishes and enjoy them.

    Something that my family loves having around are table is a Glazed Roast Turkey with all the trimmings. There is not anything that can rip away this tradition from our holiday meal. Making a Canadian Turkey a part of your holiday meal is easier than ever. I always have leftovers and I can make awesome left over meals. Turkey is an excellent choice for the holidays that are quickly approaching.

    What are some tips you have for making your holiday meal awesome? Please share your tips! You know I’m always up for a good meal.

    Glazed Roast Turkey with Apricot and Pecan Stuffing

    Sadie’s Seasonings

    Hi there! I’m Sarah, the gal behind Sadie Seasongoods, my blog dedicated to a love of crafting and creating, cooking and cocktails, and treasure hunting road trips! I hope you’ll find my chronicles to be playfully fun, and maybe a wee bit informative or inspiring. Please visit my various social media outlets (“Connect”) below and if you enjoy what you see, please consider subscribing to the blog, as well.

    Craft on!

     

    http://www.sadieseasongoods.com/

    DIY_Repurposed_Upcycled_vintage_Christmas_Ornament_craft_ideas_compiled_by_Sadie_Seasongoods.jpg

    As a December 26th baby, I feel a special connection to Christmas- even if a birthday at this time of year is pretty underwhelming. Coupled with my love of repurposing and upcycling, it should come as no surprise to anyone that combining the two- Repurpose/Christmas- is something I look forward to each year. And while I haven’t done that many of them, repurposed ornaments are an exceptional favorite. I’ve made DIY snowball ornaments from thrifted glass balls…pretty painted “icicles” from vintage spindles…wreaths from mason jar lids…and this year’s favorite, tea strainer / chandelier crystal ornaments.

    Repurposed and upcycled DIY Christmas ornaments by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

    But there are SO MANY amazing ideas out there…so if you’re looking for some festive DIY inspiration, then start scrolling down…Read more

    Wonderful Waterless Snowglobes
    http://www.sadieseasongoods.com/wonderful-waterless-snowglobes/

    Wonderful Waterless Snowglobes

    Two, maybe three years ago, I made a series of waterless snowglobes. A trendy retailer had advertised their version for an uppity price, prompting me to try and recreate them myself.

    And let me tell you, an obsession was born! I, of course, came armed with vintage supplies- old jars, vintage bottle brush trees, and couple of mid-century figurines. The results? 100% charming.

    DIY waterless snowglobe Christmas decor using vintage jars by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

    I casually posted a photo of my waterless snowglobes on the Sadie Seasongoods Facebook Page, and folks loved them! So I knew I needed to make another one (darn!!) from scratch for a new blog post. This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience.

    Luckily, I had plenty of leftover supplies: Jar, bottle brush tree, scrap Styrofoam (I often save smaller pieces from appliance packaging), a Styrofoam cutter, hot glue gun, and faux snow. Oh and a pen.

    DIY waterless snowglobe Christmas decor using vintage jars by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

    I also grabbed some extra accouterments- miniature presents from my childhood dollhouse and some little golden pine cones (I’ve used this kind before, as well).

    DIY waterless snowglobe Christmas decor using vintage jars by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

    This is such an easy project that you may become addicted. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    So, the first step: Trace your jar lid on the Styrofoam .

    Tis The Season for a Delicious Eggnog Virgin Drink Recipe!
    http://www.ourfamilyworld.com/2016/12/06/eggnog-virgin-drink-recipe/

    ShareShare on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on YummlyShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

    The holidays wouldn't be complete without eggnog, right? We have a delicious eggnog virgin drink that is just perfect for the kids (and non-drinking adults!) at your holiday parties!

    The holidays wouldn’t be complete without eggnog, right? It’s kind of a staple of the season! Today, we’re sharing a delicious eggnog virgin drink that is just perfect for the kids (and non-drinking adults!) at your holiday parties! Did you know that, according to one theory about the origins of the drink, once upon a time, only aristocrats used to drink eggnog because the ingredients were so expensive? Thankfully, today it’s a different story. Eggs are relatively cheap (they went up in price for a while, but seem to be going back down now in my area!) and most of us have the majority of the other ingredients in our pantry or fridge. Check out this easy eggnog virgin drink recipe, then print out the recipe card for later!

    ALL BECAUSE SHE SAVED

    Her Story

    Hello and welcome! I’m Keri Lyn and I have been blogging for the past 8 years. If I have learned one thing it is this: great things are meant to be shared and that (ok, two things!) we can all learn quite a lot from each other. Surround yourself with the right people, uplifters work best.Things you should know: I am fiercely brand loyal and I get excited about sharing things that I love. You won’t find me sharing things that I don’t love, because what’s the point? Time is precious. Spend it on the things and people that you love. Simple.I will choose quality over quantity any day of the week. I believe that less is more BUT paying less doesn’t always mean more.Life is best when you hand pick the people and places and things that you spend it with.Most importantly: it’s about SO much more than money. It’s about time. Precious time. … KEEP READING >>

     

    http://www.shesaved.com/

    Mexican Hot Chocolate Mix Recipe (*Great Gift Idea!)

    Mexican Hot Chocolate

    When the weather starts to turn cooler, I know that it’s time to start digging out my drink mix recipes. We love this Mexican Hot Chocolate Mix Recipe because it is so warming on a chilly day. I also love that I can make it in large batches (easily) with very few ingredients. It also presents itself quite lovely, especially if you can find unique containers or pretty jars to store it in, so it makes for a wonderful gift as well!

    Mexican Hot Chocolate Mix

    Ingredients:

    • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
    • ½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon
    • ¼ cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
    • 2 1/3 cups Powdered Milk

    Mexican Hot Chocolate 5Mexican Hot Chocolate 4In a medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients together until well blended. Pour into a jar or another air tight container until ready to use. To use, add one heaping tablespoonful to one mug or warm or hot water. Add in marshmallows, chocolate syrup, or more cinnamon or a cinnamon stick for an additional treat. Enjoy:

    Mexican Hot Chocolate 3

    This mix also makes a great gift. Place in a pretty jar and you have a lovely and delicious gift to share!

    My Kentucky Living

    http://www.mykentuckylivingblog.com/2016/12/post-home-tour-tour.html

    Post Home Tour, Tour

    I want to back track a bit and give you a closer look at some of my Christmas decorations. I guess you could call this a post home tour, tour.
    I prepped the parlor / mama cave and dining rooms for my Christmas home tour…but things might have become a blur because I did not have the time or space to give you a closer look at the decorations I used. I zoomed through.
    Santa has lots of packages…so the smaller sleigh will be helpful. 🙂
    In the beginning…I found these gorgeous aluminum mixed metal sleighs…and decided that they would be just the thing to add to my collection.
    These sleighs spoke to me this year! I have become very selective about buying anything new…because I have enough as it is.
    My original though was to make tiny Christmas presents to fill the sleighs…but time was pushing me to be ready for the home tour, and I saw a box of silver jingle bells, so bingo!…I decided to fill the sleighs with jingle bell filler.
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The Rut of Motherhood From Worshipful Living- Plus (The Rut Of Now What From Sarah)

From Sarah: I never had the Mom RUT but I sure have The Rut Of Now What? No kids around. Bobby is in Heaven.  My Family is Miles AWAY. I am not teaching any more and not able to volunteer as much a…

Source: The Rut of Motherhood From Worshipful Living- Plus (The Rut Of Now What From Sarah)

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25 Days of Christmas Bible Verses

25 Days of Christmas Bible Verses

http://encouragingmomsathome.com/25-christmas-bible-verses/

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Blessed Is She : The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

https://blessedisshe.net/the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year-
Blessed Is She : The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

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Advent wasn’t always my favorite time of year. For much of my young adult years I think I just mentally scooted over those purposeful, preparatory days of Advent with my eyes set squarely on Christmas morning. It’s not that I didn’t place value on the birth of Jesus, but I just didn’t get all of the waiting that happened beforehand.

Today, as a woman with a few more years under her belt, I’ve come to realize that I thankfully know a little bit more about the beauty and goodness and even loveliness of waiting. I know what it means to wait for a husband, wait for a job to come through, wait for a home purchase. I know what it means to wait through the illness of a parent. I know what it means, as a doula, to wait for those I’m serving in birth to welcome their little ones into the world. The blind men in today’s Gospel from Saint Matthew must have also known what it meant to wait:

Wait for healing.

Wait for the Messiah.

Wait for the promise of better things to come.

And while I know a thing or two about waiting, what I’m still learning is the sheer capacity of this waiting to transform my heart and prepare me for the good things to come. I’ve come to view waiting not as something to breeze through as quickly as humanly possible, but as something to be embraced and be transformed by. I’m learning to welcome the waiting, because I know that it changes my heart and (please God) makes me more devoted, more grateful, and more attentive to His will. Our Lord’s interaction with those two blind men in today’s Gospel wasn’t just a random occurrence; it was after months, perhaps years of waiting and praying that their hearts were prepared for the healing that was to come. In the same way, the depth to which we receive the Baby Jesus into our hearts this Christmas season is dependent on our willingness to wait for Him this Advent.

What are you waiting on this Advent season? What stirs your heart as the one thing that would mean so much? Is it a child coming home to the Church? A relationship to be restored? A baby to be conceived or an adoption to be granted? A Mr. Right to be found? A physical, emotional, or psychological healing? Know that there is power, grace, and mercy in the waiting, especially in this holy Advent season.


What are you waiting on this Advent season?

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Why I Don’t Get My Panties In A Bunch Over “Xmas”

Why I Don’t Get My Panties In A Bunch Over “Xmas”

 http://aimeeimbeau.com/2016/12/04/why-i-dont-get-my-panties-in-a-bunch-over-xmas/

Last year, we had the infuriated red cup guy.  Remember him?  Wait, how could any of us forget.  This guy was stark, raving MAD that Starbucks had the audacity to not have Christmas symbols on their disposable red cups.  It was an embarrassing charade of Christian angst.  It really was ridiculous.  Seriously, if you want Christmas in your red Starbucks cup, buy a “Merry Christmas” Starbucks gift card and buy yourself some Christmas blend coffee (then throw said cup into the trash after consuming that delicious dark nectar).  Although I see that the cups are different again this year (go figure…a new design every year!), the fact that Christians tend to rant and rave over some form of Christmas injustice like…the pagan Christmas trees, Santa, ‘Happy Holidays’ or *GASP* – ‘XMAS’!  Well, here is Why I Don’t Get My Panties In A Bunch Over “Xmas”.

Are you angry that Christ is being taken out of Christmas? If so, you might want to read this post. Why I Don't Get My Panties In A Bunch Over "Xmas"

I think we’ve given ourselves a bad reputation for getting upset over silly things, especially around Christmas time.  Yes, I know there is a battle raging.  But instead becoming angry and spouting off like the ‘red cup’ guy, let’s try and do something different.  Our battle isn’t against disposable cups, Happy Holidays or Christmas tree.  It is against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).

Merry Xmas!

One thing we can do before we get our knickers in a knot is to do a little research and discover some facts.  Many years ago, I found the term ‘xmas’ offensive because I heard it was taking Christ out of Christmas.  Then I did a little background check – I was trying to find the origins of this shortened form of Christmas.  I was surprised by what I discovered…pleasantly surprised!  X is the Greek letter “chi,” the initial letter in the word Χριστός. And Χριστός means “Christ.” X has been an acceptable representation of the word “Christ” for hundreds of years.

So, Christ remains in Xmas!

**Note to self – do the research before getting all upset about an assumption;)

But It Is Pagan!

Sure, there are some pagan roots to Christmas.  However, you can find Christian roots to the Christmas tree, wreaths and even the jolly guy in the red suit!

“It was a symbol of eternity and the life of God, which is never ending. So by comparing it to the life of God, which never ends, and the Son of God, who comes to us every Christmas, it gives it this meaning of God, who makes Himself present to all of humanity”, says Fr. Estrada.

The Christmas wreath symbolizes Christ’s victory over death.

CBN has a heart-warming article about the Christian roots of Saint Nicholas.

Honestly, have we gotten so good at trying to find the bad in something – the reason to not celebrate – that we have lost sight of what is truly important?  Have we forgotten how to truly keep Christ in Christmas?

Keeping Christ In Christmas

So, you really want to keep Christ in Christmas, hey?  Yeah, me, too.  Here is how our family will be keeping Him in our celebrations.

Live Free

I am fully aware that Jesus very likely was not born on December 25 and that the date was chosen in an attempt to redirect a pagan celebration (this is the same for Valentine’s Day, which also has a fascinating history…and Saint Patrick’s Day, too).

But, you see, I am all for redemption and freedom.  Christ came to make all things new.  He has redeemed my life, my heart and my soul.  Therefore I am going to celebrate this redemption!

We can keep Christ in Christmas by living a life of complete freedom in Christ.  We can get rid of fear, worry, depression…and anything else that keeps us in any form of spiritual bondage, and live fully for Him.

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Slow Cooker Apple and Clove Ham

Slow Cooker Apple and Clove Ham

The Magical Slow Cooker

http://www.themagicalslowcooker.com/2016/12/08/slow-cooker-apple-and-clove-ham/

Make this sweet and flavorful Slow Cooker Apple and Clove ham for the holiday dinner!

Slow Cooker Apple and Clove Ham

I have been so excited to share this Slow Cooker Apple and Clove Ham recipe with you! It’s the type of recipe that makes me fall in love with the slow cooker ever more. I don’t think there is a better flavor combination than this. The apples, apple juice, brown sugar and clove make a sauce that cooks into the ham, and with the ham being spiral it makes for even more flavor added to the ham with the juices going in between the slices.

I bought a 10 pound ham, it looked like it would fit in my slow cooker, but it was a bit large. I cut an inch off the bottom then it fit perfectly. I used that extra ham for other recipes during the week. Apple juice is used as the liquid in this recipe, though apple cider would be good too.

Slow Cooker Apple and Clove HamSlow Cooker Apple and Clove Ham

Below is what the ham looks like before cooking, after unwrapping the ham it really takes just a minute to get this cooking.

Slow Cooker Apple and Clove Ham

And after: More Photos On The Blog.

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Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

http://www.lizcurtishiggs.com/let-every-heart-prepare-room/

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room By Liz Curtis Higgs

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Read Deuteronomy:

I know, I know. This should be my 12th post of 2016 and it’s only my 5th. Deepest apologies, friend. What can I say? Life happened. A lot of life happened. Some things were wonderful, others were not, but even through the hard times —no, especially through the hard times—God overwhelmed us with His love and faithfulness. Thank you, Jesus.

Now at Christmastime I come bearing gifts for you, along with the best news of all: He is coming.

We stand on tiptoe. Waiting. Anticipating. Counting the days of Advent with our calendars and our candles.

The Bible tells us there was no room for Him in the inn, but there’s more than enough room for Him in our hearts and in our homes. This year, let’s clear away the clutter and make His Word the centerpiece of our celebration.

Christmas in the Bible BigStock.com #3852424

You can do this, beloved.

  • Place a Bible, open to Luke 2, on your dining table.
  • Surround it with the lovely colors of the season.
  • Read a verse from the Christmas story each night.
  • Talk about what Mary and Joseph experienced.
  • Think about what the truth of His birth means.
  • Commit one (or two or four) verses to memory.
  • Pray for the chance to share His story with others.

When God laid out the Ten Commandments, this is how He taught people to honor His Word.

On your hearts Deuteronomy 6:6

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.” Deuteronomy 6:6

We can have God’s Word on our laptops, our smart phones, our tablets—but this method is hands-free. When you write His Word “on your heart and mind” (AMP), it’s truly mobile and lasts forever.

And think about this: If you memorized just one verse a week, that would be 50 verses a year, with a little vacation time thrown in. Good plan for 2017, yes? (You’ll find more ideas in 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart.)

You don’t have to memorize the whole Bible. Pick a verse. Begin.

On your children Deuteronomy 6:7

“Impress them on your children.” Deuteronomy 6:7 

When you say your favorite verses aloud and “rehearse them continually” (GNV), they’ll land on the fertile ground of your children’s hearts. You say your kids are grown and gone? Put Christ-centered books in their hands and point them to Scripture when they come to you for advice (and they will, eventually).

If you’ve been blessed with grandchildren, “teach them carefully” (CJB). Moms never stop being moms, right? And no one is ever too old to learn. Even if they roll their eyes, they’re still listening. Even if they shrug their shoulders, their ears are open.

Keep pouring out His truths. They will not return empty (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Talk about them Deuteronomy 6:7

“Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:7

Gotta love this 24/7 approach to sharing God’s truths. “Talk about them all the time” (CEV), especially “at bedtime and the first thing in the morning” (TLB). More than three thousand years later, that’s still how it works at our house. Maybe yours too.

Driving down the road is a great time to talk to your kids about spiritual things. Since you have a captive audience, captivate them with God’s Word. Your passion will become their passion. Enthusiasm is positively contagious.

Bind them Deuteronomy 6:8

“Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” Deuteronomy 6:8 

Walking the streets of Jerusalem I marveled at Orthodox Jews with small boxes, called Tefillin, strapped to their arms and foreheads—a literal response to Deuteronomy 6:8, with verses from the Hebrew Bible tucked inside.

Even if you don’t “write down copies” (CEV) and “fix them as an emblem on your forehead” (NRSV), you might wear jewelry engraved with your favorite verses. When you “bind them around your neck” (Proverbs 3:3), you can be certain your faith will be showing.

Write them Deuteronomy 6-9

“Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:9

The idea is to put His words where our families and friends will see them coming and going—“on the lintels, and on the door-posts” (WYC). Or maybe on framed prints and decorative pillows and serving trays. The idea is to see His truth everywhere we turn. Even a single word can prompt us to think about Him.

Though it may not be on their wish list, this is what people really want for Christmas: To know the One who came with salvation in His hands, offering His gift of love to a world in need. Thank you, Jesus.

– See more at: http://www.lizcurtishiggs.com/let-every-heart-prepare-room/#sthash.D1bQjS91.dpuf

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Miracle On 34th Street-Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood

From Sarah:
This is one of the best blogs I know of for reviews on CLASSIC Movies…
Miracle On 34Th Street is one of my all times favorites. Not just at Christmas but anytime….

cfar4.pngMiracle on 34th Street, 1947, 20th Century Fox. Starring Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn. Directed by George Seaton. B&W, 96 minutes.
https://classicforareason.com/2016/12/06/miracle-on-34th-street/comment-page-1/#comment-193

Justifiably one of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time, this film is a joyous celebration of how optimism, faith and a little magic can overcome skepticism and the loss of Christmas spirit. It’s also a story of romance, childhood hope, and the security of family for young and old. Most importantly, it’s here you’ll find the best Santa on the silver screen, bar none.

Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara) is in charge of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and finds herself with the worst sort of dilemma in that job: a drunk Santa, staggering near his sleigh only minutes before the parade is to start. Thankfully, there’s another Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) by her side, and he reluctantly agrees to take over, “for the children.”……..

Mir.png

Unlike many movies, this one didn’t use a set for the department store scenes. It was actually shot in the real Macy’s flagship store in New York. The work was done at night so as not to disturb regular business during the day. The scenes with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade were from the real parade as well, including those with Edmund Gwenn riding in Santa’s sleigh.

Maureen O’Hara recalled initially being “furious” when her film studio called her back early from a long-anticipated trip to visit family in Ireland. However, upon reading the script, she immediately changed her mind. Over the years she remained proud she was a part of Miracle on 34th Street. As would John Payne, who, until the time of his death, wanted to make a sequel to the movie, going so far as to write a screenplay.

In her memoir, ‘Tis Herself, O’Hara wrote, “I don’t think I will ever tire of children asking me, ‘Are you the lady who knows Santa Claus?’ I always answer, ‘Yes, I am. What would you like to tell him?’”

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………

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Christmas Isn’t About Me And other Short Posts

Christmas Isn’t About Me

http://lists.christianitytoday.com

The temptation to make this holiday season all about ourselves is very strong. We want to buy the greatest presents, host the perfect party, and feel happy and fulfilled on Christmas Day. Everyone feels the pressure to make Christmas about their happiness. As you’re winding down your small group or Bible study in the next few weeks, take time to do a heart check with your group members. You can discuss healthy expectations, caring for others, and how to keep Christ at the center of the season. It’s an important discussion that will keep group members focused and ready for a new year.

In God’s love that surpasses knowledge …

Amy Jackson
Amy JacksonAmy Jackson
Managing Editor, ChristianBibleStudies.com

P.S. With Beautiful Orthodoxy our ministry shares the true, good, & beautiful gospel. Will you help us expand our reach?

Tools and Studies for Your Group

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

The popular Christmas song, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” paints a nostalgic picture of family feasts, fun gift exchanges, and loving relatives. Doesn’t everyone long for this experience at Christmas? Unfortunately, many people choose to stay away from family during the holidays. Perhaps a painful past or broken relationships keeps them away, but whatever the reason, the holidays can be a lonely time. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can take the first step to reach out to others this Christmas.

A Look at Advent Through the Old Testament

The Christmas story began in the Old Testament. God’s nature didn’t change, nor did ours, and he had our redemption in mind all the time. The prophets Jeremiah, Malachi, Zephaniah, and Micah all proclaim the Christ that was to come. Use this Bible study to lead up to Christmas—or use it Christmas week to make the holiday more meaningful.

Imagination at Christmas

It can be easy to feel disconnected from the people we read about in the Bible. They lived many years ago and were used to customs and cultures very different from what we know today. The Christmas story may feel the same way—but it doesn’t have to. You can make the story of Jesus’ birth come alive—it just takes a little imagination.

Matthew: Jesus the Messiah

Get to know Jesus through the eyes of Matthew. What does it mean that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah? How does he affect our lives today and our relationship with God? Explore the importance of obedience, the power of Jesus’ name, living outside our comfort zone, and more in this 7-session study that introduces us to what Jesus’ life can teach us about our own.

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Remembering Pearl Harbor -December 7, 1941

A moment of silence marks 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/12/07/moment-silence-marks-75th-anniversary-pearl-harbor/95093618/

Seventy-five years ago, on December 7, 1941, war came to a remote Pacific outpost, and forced an isolationist nation to rise as a global superpower. USA TODAY NETWORK

HONOLULU — A moment of silence descended over Pearl Harbor at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time Wednesday, marking 75 years to the minute when the first Japanese war planes filled the skies Dec. 7, 1941, to lay waste to the Navy’s Pacific fleet and usher the United States into World War II.

The USS Halsey sounded its whistle to signal the solemn moment as thousands of Pearl Harbor veterans, their families and other dignitaries bowed their heads. The minute of silence was broken by four F-22 fighter jets flying overhead through clear blue skies in a “missing man formation” in honor of those who died.

Some of the Pearl Harbor survivors were in their seats at Kilo Pier before 6 a.m., answering an early morning call as they did 75 years earlier.

On the front row were three Navy veterans — shipmates on the USS Arizona that fateful morning when a Japanese bomb crippled and sunk the mighty battleship. They were among 335 survivors from a crew of 2,512.

The trio — Lauren Bruner, Donald Stratton and Lou Conter — shook hands and signed autographs, surrounded by people eager to meet them.

“It’s been some long days,” said Stratton, whose son and granddaughter helped raise the money to bring Stratton and three other Arizona shipmates to Hawaii.

Conter, dressed in Navy whites and a red lei, smiled widely as people asked for his autograph and posed for pictures with him.

“We hardly have time to breathe,” he said. “They have us busy.”

He turned to a Boy Scout who wanted a picture with him and chatted for a moment.

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A fourth Arizona survivor made the trip, but fell ill and could not attend Wednesday’s memorial. The fifth of the remaining Arizona survivors, Lonnie Cook, did not travel to Hawaii.

Two years ago, when nine survivors remained, four of them met on the Arizona memorial for a final champagne toast to their fallen shipmates.

Jim Downing, who came from Colorado Springs, Colo., to mark the 75th anniversary of the attack that left more than 2,300 service people dead, served on the USS West Virginia, which lost 106 men.

Downing, 103, says he spent two hours fighting fires and checking the name tags of the dead so he could write their families personal notes about how they died.

He summed up his vivid impressions of that fateful day: Surprise, fear, anger and pride.

President Obama in Washington issued a statement Wednesday saying he and first lady Michelle Obama join Americans in “remembering those who gave their lives” on Dec. 7, 1941. “We can never repay the profound debt of gratitude we owe to those who served on our behalf,” he said.

The president said he will visit the USS Arizona Memorial later this month with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, who will become the first Japanese leader to visit the site of the battle.

Some of Wednesday’s events will be private, including one of the most poignant. At 4 p.m., the remains of two Arizona crewmen who survived the attack will be interred in the wreckage of their former ship.

John Anderson, who died in November  2015, and Clarendon Hetrick, who died in April, will be recognized for their service in a ceremony aboard the USS Arizona Memorial. Divers will take their cremated remains beneath the water’s surface and place them inside the barbette of gun turret four.

The honor is accorded sailors and Marines who were assigned to the Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941. Since 1982, when the practice began, 39 crew members have been interred in the ship.

A third crewman, Raymond Haerry, died in September and will be interred in the ship next year.

For Anderson’s family, the moment will be especially meaningful: His twin brother, Delbert “Jake” Anderson, died aboard the Arizona in the attack.

Nearly half the casualties occurred that day on the USS Arizona, where 1,177 of the 2,512-man crew perished. Eighteen ships were sunk or run aground, 188 American aircraft were destroyed and nearly as many were damaged.

The Japanese launched the attack from six aircraft carriers, dispatching fighters and bombers in two waves. The Americans were caught unprepared to fight back in force. The Arizona sunk 14 minutes after the attack began and many U.S. aircraft never took off from the bases.

The day after the attack, President Roosevelt addressed Congress and the nation, calling Dec. 7, 1941,  “a date which will live in infamy.”

The Arizona, which had never fired its big guns at an enemy in battle, emerged as a potent symbol for a wartime America.

McKinnon is a reporter for the Arizona Republic. Stanglin reported from McLean, Va.

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The Christmas Adventure Box ~ Kid-Friendly Advent

The Christmas Adventure Box

~ an easy, kid-friendly advent for the whole family!

*This post makes use of affiliate links. For more information, please visit Being Confident of This’s About page.  Thank you for supporting this blog!

My husband and I purposed to combat the commercialism of Christmas and cultivate true Christmas spirit in our home many years ago. We looked for resources to use for our young and growing family.

We invested in Veggietales dvds about the true meaning of Christmas and a kid-friendly nativity set.  We participated in Operation Christmas Child, and we worked at local outreach events.   We read the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.

But we still felt like our children needed to be better educated about why we do some of the traditional things we do at Christmas time. Enter the Christmas Adventure Box – a family Advent activity.

The Christmas Adventure Box is a fun, frugal, and kid-friendly activity for advent that will teach your children the true reason for celebrating the Christmas season!  Learn the spiritual significance behind some of our favorite Christmas traditions, such as Christmas trees, lights, stockings, and even candy canes!

 

 

My friend  and fellow blogger Lana introduced us to the Christmas Adventure Box, a family advent activity/program that she developed for her own family.   The idea of the box is to complete daily (or several times weekly, for us) advent activities to help us remember the Greatest Gift of All, Jesus.

It was an immediate hit with our oldest two boys, especially with the word “adventure” in the title!

I know the last thing we all need during the Christmas season is yet another item for our “lists” of things to do (so please, please don’t feel pressured).

However, this family advent plan takes literally less than an hour to organize and the activities can take as little as five minutes or as long as 20-30 minutes depending on how involved you wish to make it (or how long your four year olds will sit still…)

It really is a simple, but fun way to focus on the reason for the season! :)

Update: it’s even easier this year because I’ve added FREE printables that you can attach directly to the items in your box! Just click the link. :)

Lana has created a blog specifically for the Christmas Adventure Box which you can find here.  If you want a full 25 day advent list, then I recommend visiting her site.  It’s very detailed and even has a lesson-plan type of format that would be particularly helpful for those who homeschool, teach children’s church, etc.

However, for our family, I’ve found that it’s less stressful to schedule only a few nights a week of kid-friendly advent activity.  So with permission, I’ve modified the Christmas Adventure Box to fit our schedule and even added in a few items that were important to us, such as spending one day on global missions.

That’s the beauty of this family advent activity – you can tailor it to fit the needs or even the traditions of your family! :)

Here’s how to get started:
Choose which activities you’ll be using (from the list below or from Lana’s site) for your family advent and wrap the according items.  Don’t forget to download and print the cards to attach to each item! Put all of the items into a large box (The Christmas Adventure Box) and wrap it as well.   Each day that you plan to use the Christmas Adventure Box, you’ll unwrap one (0r more) of the items and complete that day’s devotional/activity.

The Greatest Gift  –  read John 3:16 – unwrap the Christmas Adventure Box.

This will be the first activity on the advent list because it sets up the whole idea of the Christmas Adventure Box.  However, once you’ve completed this day, you can do any of the following days in whichever order you choose.

First, bring out the large, wrapped Christmas Adventure Box.  Explain to your children that you will be unwrapping an item a few times a week in order to learn more about Jesus this Christmas season.

Read John 3:16 and talk about how Jesus is the greatest gift of all.  You can also read prophecies from Isaiah about the Promised Deliverer.  Feel free to share the full gospel with your children and pray together as a family.

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Dear Tightly Wound Woman: The Easy A

Dear Tightly Wound Woman: The Easy Adeartww1

By Katie Reid.
hebrews4I see you there, love…my try-hard girl, my striving for the “A” daughter, the Type A woman—the Martha type who handles it all.

You are My creation—painted with the brushstrokes of grace upon breathtaking landscape.

I know how hard you work…rising early, staying up late, constantly stirring thoughts around like stew, looking for the perfect blend to make it all right.

You are not an orphan, but an heir—privy to the inheritance that I died to give you.

Through each season, you strive to keep it all together—polished, shiny, bright.

You strive to measure up. You scurry to keep up. You fear messing up. You dread fessing up.

Can I let you in on a little secret? You don’t have to be flawless.

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” –Psalm 18:32

Can I reassure you, this day? You don’t have to have to earn that which has been freely given.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 6:23

I AM perfect, so you don’t have to be. I AM enough, so you don’t have to do more.

The easy A is yours. That which you are striving for has already been done.

You can stop studying. You can stop counting. You can rest.

We lay our hangups and wounds at His feet. We go forward in freedom because we are wound up in a Love that has no bounds.

P.S. Get caught up on the other Letters to the Tightly Wound Woman:

January: Listen Close, Listen Well

February: Finishing Well

March: Slowing Down

April: Sweet Words

May: Breakthrough

Summer: Waking Up

November: Grace Enough

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Ornaments and Conversations

Ornaments and Conversations

Yesterday was a typical Tuesday and yet one like none other. An ordinary day became extraordinary as I spread the sheets, colored pencils, construction paper, glue, scissors, hole punch, and ribbons out on the table before us.

We were going to spend some time making Christmas ornaments for her to take home.

She was quite intent coloring. The Christmas music was softly streaming from my computer and she was humming along with me. As she colored, she asked a few questions about Christmas and baby Jesus. There is nothing like conversations with a four year old to open our eyes anew.

“All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us’.” (Matthew 1:22- 23, NLT)

Sit a spell and let those words soak into your heart and mind a bit.

Immanuel – God is with us.

We so tend to remember this name at Christmas. But do we allow ourselves to bask in this truth? Maybe we need to say it this way: “God IS with us!”

God is with us in our messes. He is with us each and every day because He is within us. He is present with us right where we are. Today. He came not only that day in the stable but He comes each and every day to us, to be with us.

We can so forget His Presence with us in the messes of our daily routines. Maybe it is because we forget the simple truth – He lives within our heart.

He goes with us wherever we go. He stays where we stay. He is present and presently happening in the moment, this moment. There is not a moment in which He is not with us.

As she colored, she said, “Jesus is in heaven, up there.” A few seconds later, she stated, “Jesus is in my heart too,” and I replied, “Yes, Jocelyn, you are right. He is.”

And the question came, “Mimi, what does He say?”

With the Christmas music softly playing in the background, her head yet bent and focused on coloring, I answered, “Some days, He says:

  • “I love you!”
  • “You are special.”
  • “Always be kind to your family and friends.”
  • “Be sure to share with everybody.”
  • “Obey mommy and daddy and Mrs. Izzo.”
  • “You are beautiful.”

img_0908She was quiet for a few seconds, intently coloring. It was then, I heard her soft voice say, “I like when He says, ‘I love you’ best.”

Yeah, me too, Jocelyn. Me too.

She continued coloring Mary and Elizabeth, the circle indicating both women were with child. As she colored, I prayed for the Lord to seal the truth of Jesus within her and His deep love for her, searing it on her heart and mind.

This morning may you listen to this simple and beautiful song and let the words speak to you what you need this morning. Right now. In the “mess” you are in.

For Immanuel is with us.
And may you hear Him whisper in your heart, “I love you!”

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Give the Gift of Hope with a Blessing Bag

http://faithalongtheway.com/give-the-gift-of-hope/

Give the Gift of Hope with a Blessing Bag

Faith Along The Way : Sarah Ann

Give The Gift Of Hope : Blessing Bags

The Christmas tunes were blaring as I rolled home from Black Friday shopping. My car was loaded with purchases for loved ones, and I was satiated in both spirit and stomach. Thus, I was feeling deeply blessed.

As I pulled to the stop light mere miles from where my warm home awaited me, I saw him. Shakily holding the sign, “Will Work for Food”, his countenance was crestfallen and full of despair. As soon I saw him, I averted my eyes and my happy attitude vanished.

However, this was not the first time we have crossed paths.  Often, I’ve looked at my phone instead of meeting his weary gaze. Other times I simply imagined I could see through him, happy and content in my own world.

But not that day. That day was different.

Shame stirred within me as realized I had become one of the masses. As a society we are too comfortable, too complacent and too at ease in our safe little bubble. Meanwhile, the outside world is desperate for hope and seeking solace from the burdens of this life.

Give the gift of hope in a practical way!  Making a blessing bag is a tangible way to bless the lives of those in need!

Therefore, it’s time to extend kindness and offer hope to a world in need. Let’s pledge to extend a helping hand and bring hope to the hurting this Christmas season.

Hope is a new, warm jacket for a child in need.

Hope is an anonymous donation that will keep the heat on this winter.

Hope is the bag of groceries left on the door stoop of a bankrupt family.

Hope is a kind word and smile to a stranger suffering in silence.

Hope is visiting an elderly neighbor who has no family left.

Hope is a hand-written note to a friend giving thanks for support and encouragement.

Most importantly, hope is found at the foot of the cross, where our defeated spirits are exchanged for a heart fully restored by the grace of Jesus Christ. {Learn more about the hope of grace here.}

As you go through the hustle and bustle of the season,  I challenge you to keep your eyes open and give the gift of hope to someone in need.

For me, I am taking a simple step of faith and creating a Blessing Bag to give to the poor, weathered soul I saw down the street. It contains some basic necessities, and more importantly, a letter describing how to have a personal relationship with the one true hope, Jesus}.

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The Names Of God December Bible Study Challenge By Rachel Wojo

Let’s get to know our Savior, Lord and King a little more this December. Let’s be intentional about reading his Word to draw us closer to the scenes of his glory. Let’s remember that God is my God. Your God. Our God. He’s personal and intimate and longs for us to draw closer and closer to him. Who’s ready for the Names of God Bible reading challenge? Begins 12/1!

Names of God Bible Reading Challenge

Welcome to the Names of God Bible reading challenge! If you’ve never joined a Bible reading challenge here before, each day we follow the plan and read the passage. You can share what you are learning on social media or just keep it between you and God. My goal through the reading is to draw closer to Jesus, and I want that for you too!

For this month, we will use the hashtags #namesofGod and #biblereading. Almost every day, I post on Instagram or Facebook about what I’m learning through the passages and sometimes I post the Bible journaling pages I work on throughout the study.

On Fridays, I post a summary of what I learned through the week here on the blog and invite you to share what God is teaching you in the comments.names-of-god-bible-reading-plancomplete-682x1024.jpgnames-of-God-bible-reading-challenge-pinterest-final-683x1024.jpg

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25 Day Of Christmas Stories For Kids

25-days-of-christmas-stories-for-kids.pngI usually incorporate a few Christian books into my Christmas shopping list. This year we’re celebrating Christmas with 24 days of Christmas books from Zonderkidz, and on Christmas Day we’ll be reading the Christmas Story from Luke 2.
Each of these books shares a beautiful part of Christmas. I’m excited to celebrated Jesus’ birthday every day with my kids. These are the books on my list. Pick up a few … or all 24 … to enjoy with your family!

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25 Days of Christmas Stories for Kids!

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Tricia Goyer : The REAL Reason To Cook His Favorite Dinner

When+was+the+last+time+you+did+something+for+your+husband____just+because+you+love+him_+Considering+his+feelings+and+his+favorites+(even+in+the+little+thi.jpghttps://thebettermom.squarespace.com/the-better-mom/2016/10/19/the-real-reason-to-cook-his-favorite-dinner

For him.

Something about that is downright beautiful.

Hear my heart in this—I’m not suggesting we all need to start dressing according to our husband’s fantasies. If that were the case then I’d be stuffed into a pair of Levi’s and cowgirl boots right now instead of—you guessed it—leggings. The point here is not clothing or appearances at all. Wear what you want.

But let me ask you a question. When was the last time you did something—anything—just because your husband liked it?

Not because you were guilted into it or because you reached a compromise. But simply because you thought first not of yourself but of him—his wishes, his preferences, his comfort.

Yeah . . . I can’t remember, either. And that’s a problem. Why?

Because God created marriage to reflect the selfless, sacrificial love that Christ has for the church. Christ redeems us, protects us, provides for us and died for us. So if I can’t sacrifice some little part of me today or tomorrow or next week in order to love my husband as Christ loves, then I am not reaching the full potential God designed for my marriage.

I’m stuck in myself, while on the other end of the spectrum God says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

I want to be blessed, don’t you? So what can we do today to get in on God’s promise?

Let the hubby pick the movie, maybe.

Cook his favorite meal.

Wear that perfume he loves, just because he loves it.

Just pick something small and do it. It’s not so hard, right? Then let’s just wait and see how the blessings return to us, not only when our husbands are likely encouraged to reciprocate (which is never the motivation although it’s quite a perk) but especially when we discover we’re building marriages rooted in Christ’s capacity for selfless love. Those kinds of marriages have supernatural power to blossom and grow strong.

Sounds like a pretty awesome blessing to me.

“Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way…” (1 Corinthians 13:4–5a, TLB).

 

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Advent Devotions From Lutheran Hour Ministries

Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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A High Point in LIfe”
November 29, 2016
According to the custom of the priesthood, (Zechariah) was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense (Luke 1:9).
Luke’s account provides us rich detail regarding Zechariah the priest and the part he played in the first Christmas. Herod the Great was king over Judea at the time. We learn that Zechariah belonged to the priestly division of Abijah, one of 24 divisions of priests. Each of these divisions worked two weeks out of the year at the Jerusalem temple. Each afternoon these priests cast lots to see who would enter the temple alone to burn incense.
Luke takes us to the day the lot fell to Zechariah. It may have looked like luck or chance to us, but Zechariah knew better. God was inviting him into His presence. As Zechariah smelled the clouds of sweet, fragrant incense rising to heaven, he knew God was pleased with the prayers His people were offering to Him. These were prayers that rose from hearts that believed His ancient promise to send their Savior. 
At Christmas we are often invited to other people’s houses. Sometimes we get the honor of a special invitation. But God extends a greater invitation to us. Like Zechariah we can enter His presence in His house. And not just once in a lifetime can we do this, but every week. At the same time He promises to make His home in us. What a great privilege and honor to sit in God’s presence and learn about His saving love. 
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, what a tremendous honor You give when You invite us into Your house. Thank You for coming to us and making Your home with us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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Good Morning Girls Advent Study – Keeping Our Hearts Focused On Jesus – Sarah’s Attic Of Treasures

Good Morning Girls Advent Study – Keeping Our Hearts Focused On Jesus

This post was written by Courtney from Women Living Well and Good Morning Girls Last Year.
It has all the information for this series…
Plus :
a video from Courtney about Forgiving Yet Not Wanting To Be Friends Anymore With Those Who Keep Hurting You.

Good Morning Girls UK

https://youtu.be/6Po8gTYhU5c Courtney’s video

https://sarahsatticoftreasures.com/2015/12/02/good-morning-girls-advent-study/

Good Morning Girls Advent Series

Good Morning Girls Advent Study – Keeping Our Hearts Focused On Jesus

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This post was written by Courtney from Women Living Well and Good Morning Girls Last Year.
It has all the information for this series…
Plus :
a video from Courtney about Forgiving Yet Not Wanting To Be Friends .

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The Photo That Went Viral On Facebook. My Story.

I post photos of me all the time. Selfies of me working or just sitting in my recliner. I post pics of Danny and I.
I have never minded being photographed until the last 2 years when I started to gain weight – a lot of it.
I do wish I had more photos of Danny and I in the last 2 years.

There was one time though when a photo of me went VIRAL all over Facebook and on the internet.

It was meant as a gift but before I even saw it, thousand of others had and had SHARED it ALL OVER.

At first I was stunned. Then I felt invaded. Stripped.
I wasn’t sharing my life on a blog as I do now. I was still in the first stages of grief.

After awhile…..After I calmed down. I saw what they saw. A women who looked happy on the surface but whose eyes told a different story.

Most of the people who shared it never even realized that it was a personal photo and hadn’t be intended for anyone but me to see.

What is the picture in question:

Behind My Smile
Behind My Smile

The Story Behind the photo.
Danny and I had been busy all week at the park. It was Spring Break and we were Filled to Overflowing.
We were tired but happy.
This took place on a Sunday Afternoon.

We had interacted with campers all week.
visiting with them while working. Seeing them while we clean bathhouses and filled toilet paper.
We’d answered questions and gave directions.

We were also needing a break.
Danny and I were checking on the campground around noon or a little after.
We got stopped and a guy we had talked to asked us if we could help them with their electric.

Of course we did.
I was excited because they were with a huge group and one of them had a TINY HOME.

I’d been eyeing it all weekend. So had Danny.

Danny went to work on the electric and I asked of I could get a little closer look at the house.
I not only got a closer look but we got a tour of it,

893280_480913165309214_1483076517_oThis is the original photo.

It took awhile for me to realize that it was actually an honor for me to be in such a photo that thousands of people connected with

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Meal Plan and Traditions for Our Thanksiving Feast

My Thanksgiving Meal Plan and Traditions Happy Sigh* The groceries have been bought. There is a big bird sitting in my refrigerator,  and the decor is set. I am ready for Thanksgiving. I have spent two weeks wrapping my brain around verses on being thankful, and thanking God for all He has done. I have taken some time to remember what …

Source: Meal Plan and Traditions for Our Thanksiving Feast
Shared From Worshipful Living

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Second Buster Island Paddle Trip With Bill – (Lake Rosalie) Part 3

Life WAS so good back this. Got to get better so I can do it again. With Danny of course.

Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

Check Out The Birds we saw coming out of Zipprer Canal Check Out The Birds we saw coming out of Zipprer Canal

100_3259Entering Lake Rosalie
100_3266Slow and Easy at first and then the race was on. We came in way ahead of the rest of them.
It also meant I couldn’t take PHOTOS. LOL

100_3265Still slow and easy. They were just busy looking at all the birds out. 
100_3264100_3261100_3266100_3272100_3271100_3270100_3269100_3268100_3267100_3303100_3302100_3301100_3299100_3298100_3297100_3295100_3294100_3292100_3291100_3290100_3289100_3288100_3287100_3286100_3285100_3284100_3283100_3282100_3281100_3280100_3279100_3278100_3277100_3276100_3275100_3273100_3304There weren’t a lot of other boaters out or people fishing.
100_3303It was fun to come across them when we did.

100_3302100_3301100_3300100_3299Almost straight across from us was a good place to rest and take and relax for the next part of the journey.
The PRETTIEST PART and also the hardest part at times. It would get very NARROW in spots and the water was LOW.

100_3298This is actually a county park. New at the time. 2012
100_3297100_3295100_3294100_3292100_3291100_3290100_3289100_3288100_3287100_3286I was having the time of my life. I was healthier. A lot healthier. 

100_3285100_3284100_3283100_3282Here comes Erik. 

View original post 11 more words

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Lake Kissimmee State Park : 11 Mile Buster Island Paddling Trail OPENS -EVENT SATURDAY, November 14, 2015

Lake Kissimmee is remote and unspoiled, offering endless reflecting waters, stunning stars in dark skies, and excellent fishing. Paddlers encircle Buster Island, a hiker and equestrian’s delight with miles of trails winding between moss-draped live oak. The paddling loop meanders through the Zipprer Canal, Lake Rosalie, Rosalie Creek, Tiger Lake, Tiger Creek, and Lake Kissimmee before returning to the boat marina. An outfitter at the marina offers boat rentals, fishing advice and Segway Tours.

Danny and I couldn’t be more delighted with this:
It is OFFICIAL:
Lake Kissimmee State Park has another TRAIL……One that we have needed for YEARS.
It has always been there but now it is part of a huge TRAIL SYSTEM and must be maintained As much as possible.
I will post PHOTOS of the 2 different trips that Danny and I have been on around this 11 mile PADDLING TRAIL.
Needless to say, I am delighted.
How did I finally here about this?
My hubby, who is OFF, EMAILED it to me.
He had just gotten word that it was online and ready to go.

Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

Lake Kissimmee State Park: Buster Island Paddling Trail

Lake Kissimmee is remote and unspoiled, offering endless reflecting waters, stunning stars in dark skies, and excellent fishing. Paddlers encircle Buster Island, a hiker and equestrian’s delight with miles of trails winding between moss-draped live oak. The paddling loop meanders through the Zipperer Canal, Lake Rosalie, Rosalie Creek, Tiger Lake, Tiger Creek, and Lake Kissimmee before returning to the boat marina. An outfitter at the marina offers boat rentals, fishing advice and Segway Tours.

Danny and I couldn’t be more delighted with this:
It is OFFICIAL:
Lake Kissimmee State Park has another TRAIL……One that we have needed for YEARS.
It has always been there but now it is part of a huge TRAIL SYSTEM and must be maintained As much as possible.
I will post PHOTOS of the 2 different trips that Danny and I have been on around this 11…

View original post 61 more words

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Our Neck Of The Woods – Updated September 3, 2015

OUR NECK OF THE WOODS…..
Rolling Meadows Ranch (Where we live)
Lake Kissimmee State Park
Allen David Broussard’s Catfish Creek Preserve State Park
Collier Farm Road
Camp Mack Road
Camp Mack Fish Camp AKA Camp Mack River Resort
Liar’s Lair
Lake Wales, Florida
Cherry Pocket Fish Camp
Disney and Other Attractions
Orlando
Beaches and Oceans
The Florida Park Service
DEP  AKA The Department Of Environmental Protection
Fish And Wild Life
Wildfires and Prescribed Burns
Exotic And Invasion Weed Control
Volunteering
And Anything To Do With Florida

I have a blog attached to Sarah’s Attic Of Treasures that I am in the process of organizing.
https://ourneckofthewoodsblog.wordpress.com/

The weir at Lake Kissimmee State Park.
The weir at Lake Kissimmee State Park.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/sarahs-attic-of-treasures/where-danny-and-i-live-and-worklaugh-and-play-love-each-other/407786782628771

There’s been a lot of confusion here about where Danny and I live and work. It’s is a bit complicated. I talk about us working at Lake Kissimmee State Park , Rolling Meadows Ranch and even at Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park. I also mention Catfish Creek ,the Creek. I mention living at the park and RMR .It’s all true. So here’s a bit of the story:
In  November 2006, I moved to Florida from Colorado. Danny and I moved out of the house his Dad had built when he was a child. He lived in Haines City all of his life. We bought a 5th Wheel and moved to Camp Mack Fishing Camp…..Camp Mack Road, Lake Wales. It’s right across from Lake Kissimmee State Park. Danny was working at Bok Tower Gardens at the time.

February 1, 2007, Danny got a job as a Park Ranger at Lake Kissimmee State Park (LKSP) I started volunteering right away although not full time.
On August 4, 2007, we moved the RV across the street to LKSP and lived in what is called Day Use Area. I was Campground and Day Use  Host….
Among many other things.  FULL TIME and then some..We lived there until December 2008.

We moved over to Rolling Meadows Ranch.  (3 miles from the Ranger Station) It was a SOD FARM till the state took it over 6 years before. The Sod people totally moved out January 4, 2009. We remained in the RV until the Cracker House was Gutted and remodeled. (Part of the kitchen was left as it was. ( I wanted the CABINETS.) We worked on the house for  almost 4 years. We moved into the Cracker House and out of the RV in September 2011. It was not totally finish. Not by a long shot. We also needed the RV to cook in, etc. for months.

Lake Kissimmee State Park manages Rolling Meadows Ranch.
LKSP manages Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park (CCPSP) or Catfish Creek.
LKSP also manages a place called Money Tree and  a few other tracks of land.
Lake Kissimmee State Park also leases pasture land. All the pastures seen from LKSP to RMR on both sides of the road belong to LKSP.
Lake Kissimmee State Park connects to Rolling Meadows Ranch.
Rolling Meadows Ranch connects to Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park
So LKSP has almost 20,000 areas to manage.
Rolling Meadows Ranch is the largest of the 3. It’s where we take our NIGHTLY DRIVES that I talk about. It’s more of our Evening Rides because we usually get home around Dark.

Catfish Creek runs through CCPSP and RMR. I’m usually speaking of RMR’S Section of it. SO HAVE I TOTALLY CONFUSED YOU?  It takes time to fully understand all we do.

From Sarah: There are pictures in the original post on Sarah’s Attic Of Treasures. Showing the Cracker House :Beginning.

Source: Our Neck Of The Woods
https://ourneckofthewoodsblog.wordpress.com/about-our-neck-of-the-woods/

OUR NECK OF THE WOODS…..
Rolling Meadows Ranch
Lake Kissimmee State Park
Allen David Broussard’s Catfish Creek Preserve State Park
Collier Farm Road
Camp Mack Road
Camp Mack Fish Camp AKA Camp Mack River Resort
Liar’s Lair
Lake Wales, Florida
Cherry Pocket Fish Camp
Disney and Other Attractions
Orlando
Beaches and Oceans
The Florida Park Service
DEP  AKA The Department Of Environmental Protection
Fish And Wild Life
Wildfires and Prescribed Burns
Exotic And Invasion Weed Control
Volunteering
And Anything To Do With Florida

Good Morning Girls Resources {1 Samuel 11-15}

Good Morning Girls Resources {1 Samuel 11-15}
By Women Living Well
http://womenlivingwell.org/2017/01/good-morning-girls-resources-1-samuel-11-15/

“Welcome back to Week 3 in the Book of 1 Samuel!

I’m so glad you are back!  If you missed week 1’s wrap up – it is here and if you missed week 2’s wrap up – it is here.

If you are new here – jump in with our reading this week and catch up on the weekends.  All are welcome to join anytime – there are no enrollments or sign-ups!

Here is this week’s Bible Reading Plan:”

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Check Out the blog for this weeks questions and daily verses.