Christmas Wares In The Shop

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Yesterday I shared some of my Christmasy and Autumn wares from my shop. But I forgot this little gem! My Winter Deer Embellished Hoop Art! So adorable!! Go and take a peek!

Also my Woodland Themed Embellished Hoop Art!

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And here are the Gingerbread Ornaments and Leaf Pins I shared yesterday. All of these items are ready to sell in my ETSYSHOP now!!

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Happy Shopping!! :>

Leaf Pins and Gingerbread Ornaments

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I have some great things in the shop for Autumn and Christmas! Leaf Pins look great pinned on a lapel, a hat, a purse, in your hair, just about anywhere! And they come in Green, Yellow and Red!!! Pop over now and take a peek in the SHOP!

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I also have adorable Gingerbread Ornaments in both men and women, ready to bake some Christmas treats! I absolutely LOVE all things gingerbread!!! They are just so fun and whimsical!!! So pop over and take a peek at these also!! Right now!! :)

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Christmas is coming…happy shopping for your loved ones!

Stir Fry Chicken and Rice Soup

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I love happy accidents…especially when they occur by throwing a bunch of leftovers together! I made stir fry one day, then later was thinking about dinner ideas, but needed soup, so I decided to make it easy and throw in the already cooked veggies and rice. I also used our new Garlic and Herb seasoning that Whole Foods gave me because they were out of my favorite. Thanks Whole Foods. It’s a hit!! And this is our new favorite soup recipe!!! :)

Stir Fry Chicken and Rice Soup

1/4 bag of each organic veggie:
Broccoli slaw
Shredded cabbage
Shaved Brussel’s sprouts

All stir fried for a few minutes on medium in olive oil and a bit of soy sauce.

2 cups cooked Bob’s Red Mill wild and brown rice mix

4 cups organic chicken broth

1 can chicken

1 tsp Handmade Culinary Collection: Garlic and Herb Seasoning

Throw everything into a pot, bring to a simmer and enjoy! So yummy!!

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Happy eating!!

Book Review: The River by Beverly Lewis

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My blog is back up and running, yay! I am a bit behind on book reviews because of it, so here we go. Today’s review for Bethany House is by my favorite author, The River by Beverly Lewis.  I just adore her style and her love of people, healing and forgiveness.

Here’s the summary:

“She looked once more at the dreaded river. Since Anna’s death, it had been such a barrier . . . a place and a moment she could not seem to move past.
           
A line I can’t move beyond…
The River

Tilly and Ruth, two formerly Amish sisters, are plagued by unresolved relationships when they reluctantly return to Lancaster County for their parents’ landmark wedding anniversary. Since departing their Plain upbringing, Tilly has married an Englisher, but Ruth remains single and hasn’t entirely forgotten her failed courtship with her Amish beau.

Past meets present as Tilly and Ruth yearn for acceptance and redemption. Can they face the future in the light of a past they can’t undo?”

Here’s what I think: I Loved it!!

Family relationships are the most complicated. Deep down the love is usually there, but many times it’s so hidden we, ourselves may not even know it. I have many complicated relationships of my own, many of which are healing finally, so I really related to Tilly and her father’s difficult relationship. It reminds me so much of mine with my mother. As the years have passed, I’ve learned more and more about the fears that make my mother act the way she does. It’s still difficult to interact with her, but it sure helps knowing where she’s coming from. Just like Tilly and her dad. Once they begin to understand each other, the healing begins. Many of us experience awful things and don’t react well. It can ruin relationships and our lives if we let it. But our Lord wants us to take these things to Him and let Him do the healing for us, instead of letting our fears rule. Tilly and her dad (and other characters) were holding onto hurts they didn’t need to hold onto, and it wreaked havoc in their family.  Going home and dealing with these issues with humility brought them healing and forgiveness.

Also I love that these sisters were never running away from God, but from hurts and false guilt. Now their relationship with God will become even stronger as they let go of all of the baggage they’ve been carrying around. Honestly, I bawled through parts of this book, and have a better understanding of my mother after experiencing the father’s struggle and pain that caused him to be so critical of Tilly.

Love and Forgiveness glues families together! Definitely worth the read!!

**I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, but the glowing review is all true!

**Photo credit: Bethany House**

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Modest Monday: Red Flowered Engagement Dress

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Finally, another Modest Monday post. After weeks of wearing repeat outfits or being too busy to get my Sweetie to take photos, here it is. :>

Then, I was going through the photos and realized I just wore the dress I became engaged in. Gotta love empire waists, the forgiver of extra pounds. Did you read last week’s post about our engagement day? Of course, it’s a lot warmer here in California than in Oregon in October, so definitely no tights or cardigan.

So here you go: my engagement day dress 16 years later!

DSCN6441Look…autumn colors behind me!! And it was kinda windy as usual.

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I love these rings!

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The perfect necklace! And a reminder that I’m loved. :>

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My windblown hair and one of my Leaf Pins carefully put into my hair.

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Can you believe some people think my hair isn’t curly? :>

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Stop by my ETSY SHOP for a red, yellow or green Leaf Pin and wear it every day, for Thanksgiving, Christmas or give one as a gift!!

Here we are 16 years ago:

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Have a great week!!

So Much At Home

Lord’s Day Scriptures: Working For The Lord

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“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, rather than people.”  Colossians 3:23

This such a good reminder! It’s so easy to forget why we’re doing what we’re doing, and to seek glory from people. If we’re seeking glory from people, our actions will be actions and activities that please people. But if we’re seeking glory from our Lord, our actions and activities will be those that please Him.

It’s so much easier and more fun to follow other people, friends, family, the world. So much less risk in that. And so much superficial glory. But is superficial glory what we truly desire? God offers us His true glory, but we must seek after Him, His desires and His plan. We have to be willing to take the risks…like seeking out only Godly activities, even if our friends and family think we’re too strict, or ridiculous. It’s really God we’re seeking to please, not them. It’s REALLY hard to be the one who’s different.

But it also means  sharing the Truth of who Christ is, why He came and why we want them to surrender their lives to Him as well. Because, if we truly love our Lord, and love people, we will talk to them, no matter the glory, but because we don’t want them to perish.

I want to see my friends, family and anyone else with me and my Lord in heaven, on the New Earth for eternity…so I’ll seek to please God, and try not to care about pleasing people.

To God be the glory, forever and ever!!!

**Picture credit to nickikoziarz.com via Facebook

So Much At Home

Book Review: $10 Great Dates by Larson and Arp

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It’s time for another book review!

This one is for a non-fiction book. I usually don’t sign up to receive these because I don’t read them as quickly, but this one is a fast read. And dating ideas are always fun…and something you can pass on to others. :>

$10 Great Dates by Larson & Arp

Here’s a summary:

“Tired of the usual dinner-and-a-movie dates? Looking for new ways to connect with your spouse?

Energize your marriage by getting out of your normal routine with the help of these 52 creative date ideas. From outdoor dates to out-on-the-town dates, you and your spouse will have no trouble finding the perfect date that fits your mood–all on a $10 budget!

See for yourself how new experiences can help you bond together and nurture your relationship. Which of these will be the first of your Great Dates?

· Time Travel Great Date
· Moonlight/Sunrise Great Date
· Bucket List Great Date
· Surprise Me! Great Date

Each date includes easy preparation suggestions, tips for the date, talking points to enhance your conversations, and a Great Date takeaway. What are you waiting for?”

My Sweetie’s hours were recently cut temporarily, so the timing was good for ideas…because we still need to date each other! And there were actually ideas here we hadn’t discovered yet.

There’s a  unique aspect about this book that made me love it. I’ve seen a lot of books and blog posts about ways to have cheap dates, but this one takes it a step further by focusing each date on a THEME. Example: I especially love the conversation questions that relate to the theme, and the idea of making memories together (or reliving old ones). It’s always fun making memories together!! :>

Great book, great ideas, and most of all good, clean fun while making memories!! A big thumbs up from me!! Creative and meaningful ideas that may take some extra time, but would be worth it.

Looking for a wedding or anniversary gift? Give this great, fun book!!

Once again, Happy Reading!!

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.**

Twenty Years and A Proposal

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A few weeks ago I shared these two photos to celebrate the day my Sweetie (finally) asked for my hand in marriage (yippee! ) sixteen years ago. So I thought i would share them here also, with a bit more info about that exciting day. :)

First off, I met his cousin TWENTY years ago last May while working at The Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center. We hit it off immediately and our friendship has only grown stronger over the past twenty years. We’re actually more like sisters than just friends. :) Over that first summer she would have relatives visit, but I somehow didn’t meet any of them…until HE came to see her that August. As she introduced us and we shook hands, God told me he was the one I would marry. I didn’t argue. He was/is pretty handsome! And fun! It’s a good thing God let me in on the plan, since I ended up having to wait four years for the proposal!

This life shattering news threw me for a loop because I had big plans…I was leaving the country in a short three months to serve as a missionary in Ireland for a year. I pursued him anyway, keeping Elizabeth Elliot’s advice in mind, of course, which means I didn’t TELL him I was going to marry him. I did, however, make it clear that I was interested. At the time, he was also interested in me…as well as some others. This, of course, made me crazy! He stayed on to help for a couple of months to fill in where needed. Yay! I would say there was no official dating at this point, but lots of group activities, and a few non-group activities.

But I was twitterpated, and came close to canceling my plans for missionary work in order to be around, just in case. I was supposed to marry him after all. In the end, I decided to keep my commitment and call, so I headed off and settled for letter writing with this great guy. It sure would have been more fun these days with email, Facebook and Skype!! I definitely don’t regret sticking to that commitment. That year, that turned into two and could have ended up being even longer if it weren’t for a certain handsome guy I was thinking about, led to twenty year friendships and visits back to the gorgeous green isle to visit those loving and gracious friends. I wouldn’t trade that time!

So then I came home and several months later he moved to be where I was, and this time he was only interested in ME! We started officially dating and after awhile (several months) people seemed to constantly be asking me if he had proposed, especially after holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. I finally started responding by reminding them that I’m the woman. I’m not the one to propose, the man is. They finally began asking him instead, but he wasn’t ready. It turns out he thought he might need another year to decide. After a few months of this, we felt we were at an impasse, I didn’t want to get even closer to him and his family, only to have him decide I wasn’t the one for him, and he wanted to be absolutely sure about the decision. I was always struggling with what I felt God had said to me four years earlier, and the message I was getting from my sweetie. At the time, I was working with the church youth group and singing on the worship team. The leader for both of those was also the associate pastor at our church, so we decided to meet with him and his wife for some counseling on the matter. They agreed we were at an impasse, and as I couldn’t think of a solution, we broke up. He was concerned about how he would propose now if he decided to, since I felt it best we not even talk for awhile. We were both heartbroken and miserable, but three weeks later, after prayer, fasting and many chats with long-married couples I learned, he proposed, just four years and two months after we met. Haha! He knew after all. I was stunned, especially since I hadn’t read the pre-proposal letter he had written to prepare me in case I wasn’t receptive to seeing him. I wasn’t even sure if I uttered the word “yes” out loud. He assures me that I did. Little did he know…I didn’t need a letter if I was getting the RING!! :)

DSCN6161Those daisies (my favorite) in the background had a letter attached to prepare me, but I didn’t read it until afterward. My friend wanted to see inside the chapel (read, leave me alone to read), so I went in to show her. In the foyer, I saw my Sweetie hiding, wearing his suit and holding a rose…surprise spoiled. :)

We had a fantastic day! He had wanted to propose at the beautiful Multnomah Falls, but our friend that was helping him secretly plan couldn’t tell me what was going on, so I said I had laundry and lesson planning and no time for all of that that day. Haha! So after the proposal at Multnomah Bible School’s darling Prayer Chapel, I spent the day with my new fiance’, NOT laundry and lesson planning!! :)

The proposal was after church, so then we went to lunch at the Irish Bank (now closed : /) in the “private” booth we had always admired, think curtains, but a window to the street, then found a Greek Festival with yummy food, music and dancing! We had a great day!! And we were engaged!!  :)

Since our engagement happened in October, which was the month I always wanted to get married in with all of the gorgeous autumn colored leaves, (autumn is my favorite season when I live in places with crisp, cool air and the great colors), we had to figure out a different month for the wedding, because I wasn’t waiting ANOTHER year to get married! We finally decided on March with an Irish theme, since we both have Irish roots, and I obviously have a soft spot for the country and people. That’s pretty much the story. A short engagement and then a wedding! If you want more about the wedding day, you can find it HERE and HERE.

I’m so thankful for my Sweetie! :>

Lord’s Day Scriptures: Awesome Majesty

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Where I’ve lived the past 10 years, we don’t really have autumn and I’m always on a search for bits of that favorite season of mine. Today I stumbled on a pretty reddish leaf, which led me to more leaves and a tree with even more, although it was still mostly green.

I was so excited, I wanted to shout with joy! Why aren’t there ever other people around at these moments? :>

I’m so thankful for God’s GOLDEN SPLENDOR and AWESOME MAJESTY, including what we see here on earth, and more importantly, God’s own!

I love the way my Lord surprises me in these little ways with perks I need so very much at those moments. One little leaf gave me such pure joy that I could hardly bear the joy of seeing the rest of them! That’s the special care of a God who loves me so much, and brings simple joy from His own amazing creation! Thank you Lord!

Here are my wonderful leaves in phone photos:

IMG_4559I collected a few. :>

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And our magnificent rock:

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God creates beautiful things!

(I found the image on Facebook and don’t know who’s it is)

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Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth
 

Book Review: Miracle in a Dry Season

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It’s time for another book review! This is brand new author, this is her first book, and I really enjoyed it. :>

Here’s the summary:

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas

“In a Drought, It’s the Darkest Cloud
That Brings Hope

It’s 1954 and Perla Long’s arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor…until he meets Perla. She’s everything he’s sought in a woman, but he can’t get past the sense that she’s hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla’s unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.”

The theme throughout the book is forgiveness. It’s a great reminder that there is a fine line between accountability and forgiveness, and it’s often difficult to see the right move God asks of us. And that only the Lord truly knows the heart of each Person. It’s also natural to wonder if someone is truly repentant if they aren’t displaying outward remorse for their sin. It’s great to think about these challenges and to see how the characters faced them as they learned more about God’s forgiveness. It isn’t just the main characters dealing with this issue either, there are quite a few characters judging (the way only God gets to), judging (as in accountability) and forgiving. So much healing takes place as the town struggles through drought, food and water shortages, blame, fear and desperation for rain. I also love that Perla’s daughter, Sadie is used in big ways to show the path to forgiveness. We can often learn from children, just as they learn from us.

The bottom line? God forgives, and tells us to forgive. Sometimes that’s easier said, than done, but always worth the work. We all need forgiveness!

Jesus (Christ) said, “I don’t condemn you, go sin no more.” John 8:11b

(I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review).

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