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Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Giving Tree


For the past handful of years we have tried to find ways to give our Christmas away. To give instead of receive, to cultivate the habit of giving instead of receiving. This year we wanted to tie in our Devotion tree to our Giving, as a symbol or reminder of Christ – the true gift, to the gift given in His name. Our Devotion tree will be transformed into our Giving Tree for the season as we celebrate Him… His birth… God’s gift to us…

During the weeks leading up to Christmas – the celebration of His birth we will be reading from The Giving Tree Devotional, placing the ornament of His name on our Giving Tree… a reminder of who He is and reflect on Him as the gift… the giver, the one whose name means… anointed one… the one who was given to all mankind… the who was poured out for us. After taking time to prepare our hearts by receiving Him, we will become the gift by completing and giving the suggested gift in the Devotion, in His name…

He doesn’t give us gifts for our gain because a gift can never stop being a gimageift—

                     it is always meant to be given.” (from One Thousand Gifts)

The devotional has been  adopted from Worthy of the Prize. 

I have created a download PDF File with The Giving Tree Devotion imageimage

and The Giving Tree Devotional Journal and Ornaments




We print our ornaments on the back of Christmas Colored Scrapbook paper. I will be posting pictures later this week of our devotion tree, basket and the ornaments made.  You can check out other Devotions we have done using our Devotion Tree here:

Thanksgiving Devotion Tree

Pictures of our Devotion Tree and Basket

Here is an insert from Day 1:

The Giver: I am Emmanuel …

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

Emmanuel happens to be one of my favorite names of Jesus, particularly at Christmastime. It means, "God with us." And that is exactly what Christmas is all about, the very essence of the season itself. The Son of God did not have to step down from his throne in Heaven, but He did it to save us (Philippians 2:5-8).

"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

(Matthew 1:21)

The Gift: Make Nativity Ornaments for Elderly – Visit Convalescent Home

This ornament just needs wood clothes pins, twine, glue, craft wire and a saw. Check your local craft store for wood stars and you'll have everything you need to make these "nativity" ornaments! Glue the "Mary" and "Joseph" clothespins next to each other, tie some twine around the "baby Jesus" clothespin and glue him to "Mary's" "arms", add the star with a bit of craft wire, make a hanging loop from twine, glue together.

Share the gift of Emmanuel with the lonely … give them a reminder that God is with them.

We will also be taking pictures and recording our journey in an 8 x 8 scrapbook.

The Giving Tree

Giving CHRISTmas Away

Hear Jesus whispering it…

“When you give to the least of these — you give to Me.”


Giving to the one who is CHRISTmas

A Season of Giving Christ away…

­­­­­Cultivating the habit of giving-

Developing a life of giving…

Looking forward to growing and giving~

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Celebrating Thanksgiving

image  Thanksgiving Bucket List

This is our Thanksgiving Bucket List.   I shared about wanting a fun way to celebrate the seasons and the holidays with Bucket Lists.  We made a new bucket list for Thanksgiving, after completing our Autumn Bucket List.  We have half of the items on t2013-10-02 22.26.26he list completed.  We will be doing the Thanksgiving Tree Devotion this week and next (before we move into our Advent season.  We have completed the Thanksgiving Menu, The Subway Art the Thanksgiving Banner, and the Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes.  We are making the rolls for dinner on Thanksgiving Day and the reading our favorite Christmas Book, A Turkey for Thanksgiving.  My giving son loves this book (loved hearing it when he was a child) and reads it to the three silly sisters each year now.

As I am reflecting on some past thoughts of Thanksgiving. I am reminded of how important it is to not only give thanks but to live thanks.

Thanksgiving Reflections


Give Thanks

fractal thanksgiving quotes pictures       hd thanksgiving quotes pictures

I love these two quotes.   They go beyond the words of Thanks…

Giving Thanks each and every day, not just on Thanksgiving, invites …

                                 cultivates an attitude of thanks living, but I do not want it to stop there…

        I want that attitude of Thanksgiving - of Thanks-living to  not only be a noun, (a state of being)
                         but to be a verb,  expressed in action and service… 

                                        an expression a love and grace to those around me.

Living out those words of thanks in action~
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Friday, November 22, 2013

A Missionary is Flexible

CET Mexico 2004 151

When our three oldest where younger we were a part of a Children’s Evangelism Team (CET for short).  This was an awesome experience for us as a family and for my missionary daughter it was the beginning of her formal missionary training.  During the training part of the CET program we talked about different qualities of a missionary. (by the way, we are all called to be missionaries – Matthew 28:16-20 )

A Missionary sees a need and fills it CET Mexico 2004 242
A Missionary prays
A Missionary is flexible
A Missionary packs light

The team of children came up with different skits to show these points, they journaled about them, they prayed about them and  they shared testimonies about the ones God was growing and stretching them in.

PICT2476Three of these points came very easily for this girl.  But one of them was a real challenge.

 I remember my missionary daughter just struggling…

 I mean struggling with flexibility…
This was a girl, who as a child was thrown off if we did not sit down and eat breakfast at the table.  Once a week I attended a ladies Bible study and if we were running late I would throw dry cereal in zip lock bags for my 3 kiddos, at the time, for breakfast (we were not morning people).  My two boys loved this, but for my missionary daughter…  this just threw her off.Album-October 2006 - 011
This was a girl who loved schedules… but if we were not doing what it said at 9:00 at 9:00, she was thrown off.  I used to tell her, “we are not a slave to our schedule, it is our guide.”  I had to stop putting times on the schedules  for awhile because it was just to frustrating for her. 
This was a girl that was completely thrown off when we used our coach pillows to make pillows for our kitchen chairs.
She was (and still is) organized, detail oriented and  loves schedules.  These were all wonderful qualities and ones that I knew God was using in her and would continue to use.  


            there was this little issue of flexibility (or should I say – inflexibility)
                                        that she struggled with… 


Her Savior…  the lover of her soul…  met her in that season and began to stretch her and grow her.  He has continued to do so over the years.  

I have been blessed to watch this growth, pray for her during the stretching times and rejoice with her in her triumphs as she has overcome the obstacles of inflexibility…


1393749_10202579678796846_142396971_n  today this girl…
this full fledged missionary daughter posted this blog entry…
Glitches? Nah, it’s God again- In the DETAILS  
I should be leaving for Brazil in 3  hours, but alas, I am not. 
“Why?” You ask. 
Cause God knows what he’s doing.

today this girl is walking into her destiny…
                           as an overcomer…

                As I read her post, my heart was “full.” 

You can read the complete story
                         and follow my missionary daughters journey here:
“ To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life,
which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”       Revelation 2:7

Rejoicing in His love and grace~ Pin It

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Life–in abundance

  I have been on this journey of learning what it means to live the life of abundance that my Savior told me about…  

well He actually promises it…
 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.      John 10:10

He says:   “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
the word Life comes from the Greek word zōē  which means”
  1. to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)
  2. to enjoy real life
    1. to have true life and worthy of the name
    2. active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God
  3. to live i.e. pass life, in the manner of the living and acting
    1. of mortals or character
  4. living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul
  5. metaph. to be in full vigour
    1. to be fresh, strong, efficient,
    2. as adj. active, powerful, efficacious
The word abundance comes from the Greek word perissos which means:
exceeding some number or measure or rank or need
  1. over and above, more than is necessary, superadded
    1. exceeding abundantly, supremely
    2. something further, more, much more than all, more plainly
  2. superior, extraordinary, surpassing, uncommon
    1. pre-eminence, superiority, advantage, more eminent, more remarkable, more excellent
life …
            enjoying…    real…
                     to be fresh, strong and efficient
                              powerful, active and vigorous…
       more than…    exceeding  my needs
                    more than…     my expectations
                                   much  more than…   over and above…     surpassing

Another version says…               but I came to give life—life in all its fullness.
                abundance…    fullness

His promise…
                   LIFE…    in all its fullness

In this blog post I write more about this idea of living life in the moment:


I am reflecting again on the word life~

What does that word look like to me?

  L – Letting go to the moment
  I – Investing myself in that moment
  F – Feeling the emotions of that moment
  E – Engaging fully in that moment
I want my years to have LIFE in them… to be full of life and memories…

I have gotten away from “writing” one living moment a day down, but I hope that I have not forgotten to “LIVE” those daily moments.  I would like to think that I am getting better at” living life”  instead of  “doing life.”

You can check out some of my lists here; each one of these lists has suggestions on how to live life more fully:

365 Days (8-14)
365 Days (15-21)
365 Days (22-28)
365 Days (29 – 35)
365 Days (36-42)
365 Days (43-49)
365 Days (50-56)
365 Days (57-63)
365 Days (64-70)
365 Days (71-77)
365 Days (78-84)

Reading over my lists…   seeing fullness in all things~
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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

My son brought some of these home the other day from the men’s group he is apart of. One of the men’s wife had made these for them.  They were so good~

  Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

Cheddar Jalapeño Corn Muffins
(Printable Recipe Here)
Makes about 30 mini muffins


  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
  • 8oz can cream style corn
  • 8.5oz box corn muffin mix


  1. Preheat oven to 400 and grease a mini-muffin pan liberally.
  2. Mix jalapeños, cheddar, egg, chopped green chilis and cream style corn in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl put the corn muffin mix around the edge making a well in the middle.  Put the wet ingredients in the pond you've created.
  4. Mix only about 20 times and not very quickly, you want this mix to be chunky.
  5. Spoon your mix into the pan and bake for about 13 minutes (mine seemed to need longer).
  6. After you take them out of the oven they will still be quite moist and you might have to let them harden/dry a little before scooping them out of the pan.  When you can scoop them out with a spoon, let them cool on drying rack.


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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Enchilada Sauce

I usually make my enchilada sauce with butter, but I like that this recipe is with vegetable oil, because I always have that on hand. Also I do not use the chicken broth but water.  So, you can make this either way, if you do not have broth just use water.



Enchilada Sauce


1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Heat oil in a large skillet to medium heat. Whisk in flour and chili powder. Reduce heat to medium and continue to whisk until lightly browned. Gradually whisk in tomato sauce, chicken broth, cumin, garlic powder, onion salt and salt. Stir until smooth, and continue simmering over medium heat about 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

2. Serve immediately, or keep in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

From: recipe girl


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