Rabu, 28 September 2011

The Art of Display

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Grouping similar objects together makes any collection more exciting.
Our tips will help to enhance any display.

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Treasured objects add personality to your home,
so bring your collections into the open and show everyone who you are.

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Country Living: 7 Ways to Declutter Your Antiques Pile

Tracy Porter Decorating with Bowls: Collect and Display

Selasa, 27 September 2011

Cool Creamy Decadent Treats

This recipe takes your favorite hot chocolate mix and turns it into a rich,
 frozen, decadent treat...

Light, fluffy yogurt-based cheesecake. Yum!

Now I know what I'm making for Thanksgiving!
Maple syrup and a nutmeg-spiced creamy mascarpone cheese
topping give ladyfingers dipped in espresso an alluring holiday spin.
For more recipes...
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Pumpkin isn't just for pie. Get creative and dazzle your holiday guests
with these irresistible pumpkin dessert recipe

Has Christianity Failed You?

Has Christianity Failed You?
by Ravi Zacharias

Words of LIFE Weekly Devotional

Consider God's intervention on three different occasions, as related in the New Testament. We read in the story of young Saul of Tarsus, a terrorist committed to destroying the infant Church, that Jesus met him in spectacular appearance and asked him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Acts 9:4). The encounter with Jesus turned Saul's life around, and he became the apostle to the world, eventually writing one-third of the New Testament. He was a self-declared enemy of God, yet God came to him in a dramatic fashion. I have stood on that Damascus road quite a few times. I have seen the wall that still stands in the place it stood nearly two thousand years ago. Breathing threats against the followers of Jesus, Saul was brought to his knees and moment, and history changed. Sometimes change comes that spectacularly!

In the second instance of God's intervention, we find the apostle Peter in prison and the church in Jerusalem gathered to pray for his release. The book of acts tells us that an angelic "visitor" came into the prison, freedom him from his bonds, and led him past the guards and out into the streets (Acts 12:5-10). I have often wondered why the angel didn't lead him all the way to the prayer meeting, why he was left on his own to find his way there. He was the friend of Jesus, yet he was rescued from the prison and then left in the street to find his own way.

Does this "halfway" rescue sound familiar? How many times have we wished that God would take us all the way, not just half the way? But God has his plans and his ways, and he never violates the freedom of the person. Instead, he challenges us and invites us to trust him and surrender that lesser freedom to his greater call. Sometimes the miracle is dramatic; sometimes it is a halfway miracle.

Finally, we read of Jesus on the path to Calvary. At the last moment, when his pain is at its worst and humiliation at its highest, Jesus cries out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). He is the Son of God, left at the mercy of his enemies. This sense of abandonment by God seems to be repeated too often, and those who are closest to him often appear to be least protected by him. Yet he still asks us to trust him, to believe that he is with us now as he works out his purpose in us and that he will be there for us at the end of the earthly journey. And I might add that Jesus' worst moment, as he faced total abandonment by God -- which because of him none of us will ever do -- he was right in the center of the Father's will.

Some of us he meets in dramatic ways -- often at the moment of our salvation. For others, it may seem that he is with us only halfway as we serve him in difficult circumstances. And still others of us may not be delivered from our trials, even to the point of death.

But in all of these there is one common thread. For everyone -- except Jesus himself, who established the church by his death -- the church is always near at hand to extend loving care in his name. For young Saul there was Ananias, who cared for him in the aftermath of his encounter with Jesus (Acts 9:17-19). Those very disciples whose lives Saul was seeking to destroy were there to lower him over an intimidating wall and enable his escape from the violent intentions of the religious zealots (versus 23-25). For Peter, the church was in prayer for him as he spent the night in prison, and they joyously welcomed him into their presence is set free in answer to their prayers (acts 12:12, 16-17).

The mission of the church is not only to bring people to God but to take God to those who are wounded by the experiences of life, to touch those who are broken, to bring healing to those with damaged emotions. Those of us in the church recognize and accept our responsibility towards someone whose trust has been shattered, as evidenced by the schools, hospitals, rescue centers, and missions established by the church over the centuries.

But what about when the church is responsible for shattering a person's trust? What about the judgment we too often exhibit toward fellow believers who have failed to live up to their own beliefs? What about the collective behavior of the church that leaves a person with no place to go for acceptance, forgiveness, for love? What about when the response of members of the body of Christ to those who trust has already been shattered is far from the way Christ responded to those who had failed or sinned or been failed by someone? What about when that person whose trust has been shattered because of us turns his or her back on the Christ we claim to represent and walks away not just from the church but from God? What then? Christianity will seem to have betrayed those who turned to the church (made up of individual Christians) to receive a healing touch and found no help, no one to offer comfort. To the person who faces a dark night alone, feeling that Jesus has let him down and has not met him in the time of struggle, let me ask: Is it the Jesus of the Gospels that has failed you, or is the church that bears his name that has failed you?

In this physical world, the church is meant to be the hands, the arms, the heart of God. To those inside the church, let me change the phrase "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country" to "Ask not what God can do for you but what you can do on behalf of God." Pain can be best mitigated by the touch of another person.

Sometimes the touch of a Christian comes early, unmistakably, and with great effectiveness. At other times the Christian in our lives can carry us only halfway, and we are responsible to trust God to take us the rest of the way. And at still other times this touch comes at the last moment and proves that, though it seems often defeated, true faith will survive all the assaults of its opponents.

The man looking for a new arm may find that the loving care of the church brings him an even greater miracle -- the miracle of new life in Christ.

Taken from Has Christianity Failed You? by Ravi Zacharias. Copyright © 2010. Used by permission of Zondervan, www.zondervan.com.

Has Christianity Failed You?

Ravi Zacharias on LIFE Today

Sabtu, 24 September 2011

Wisdom for the Trails of Life

Wisdom for the Trials of Life
Dr. Charles Stanley

James 1:5-8

At first glance, today's passage on wisdom doesn't seem related to the subject of trials, but James is actually continuing His thoughts from the previous three verses. We need wisdom to know how to respond to suffering. This means we should see trials from the Lord's viewpoint and understand His purposes in allowing them in our lives.

If you want to profit from struggles, be sustained in them, and come through with joy and victory, you must be persuaded of the following truths:

1. God is in full control of the timing and intensity of your trial and will not allow it to go beyond His boundaries.

2. He has a specific purpose for your suffering which you may not understand until it is over.

3. This trial will prove to be profitable if you submit to God and trust Him through it.

4. Trying situations are opportunities for faith to prove genuine and grow stronger.

5. When you endure extreme pressure with unexplainable peace and joy, the Lord will demonstrate His sustaining power to a watching world.

6. Your difficulties are used by the Father to produce Christ-like character.

7. God will walk with you through all trials.

8. The Holy Spirit will enable you not only to survive but also to come out a conqueror.

If you believe all these principles, they will shape how you respond to difficulties in your life. This perspective eliminates the negative reactions normally elicited by trials and makes supernatural responses possible. Instead of feeling miserable and hopeless, you'll experience amazing peace and joy.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit http://www.intouch.org/.

Oh My Friend !!! Happy Days- Fall colors

Jumat, 23 September 2011

It's Chocolate Turtle Time Along The Mississippi

"Word to the wise, DO NOT MAKE THESE if….

You have will power issues

You have an addictive personality

You are PMS’ing

Your significant other just broke up with you..."

- Leslie Green, The Hungry Housewife

Everyone loves a sheet cake. Try classic Mississippi Mud Cake--a luscious combination of sweet chocolate, crunchy pecans, and gooey marshmallows.

Dashing Dish
Healthy Alternatives to the Food You Crave

"Chicken strips are one of those foods that everyone seems to love. Add to the ‘mix‘ a sweet and salty marinade and a crispy pretzel crust and your guaranteed to have a crowd pleaser!"

- Katie Farrell, Dashing Dish

Drool Worthy Blogs!

Kamis, 22 September 2011

Before and After: Curb Appeal

Before: Ordinary Exterior

Odd window configurations, plain clapboard siding,
and a nondescript porch gave the front exterior of this
1920s cottage very little personality.

After: Crafty Revival

A renovation that boasts strong Arts and Crafts design elements
gives this home plenty of personality.

Better Homes and Gardens

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Maximize curb appeal with an exterior makeover.
See how these 21 facades went from ordinary to unforgettable.

BHG: 20 Ways To Add Curb Appeal

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If your home's curb appeal makes a great first impression, everyone -- including potential homebuyers -- will want to see what's inside. Check out these simple, low-cost improvements that you can do in a day, a week, or a month.

Selasa, 20 September 2011

How To Tuesday

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Scoop up basic pillows in every shape, color, and size,
and make them anything but ordinary with these fun ideas.

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CHOW Tip: How To Make Ice Cream in Your Food Processor

Jeni Britton Bauer, founder of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams,
shares a quick, simple way to make ice cream at home without an ice cream maker.

Bridging the gap between summer and fall

Battered and Bruised

Battered and Bruised
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7NIV).

Friend to Friend
The speaker came out onto the stage. He pulled out a one-hundred dollar bill.

“Who would like this one-hundred dollar bill?” he asked.

Hands shot up all around the room.

Then he crumpled the paper, threw it on the floor and ground the dirt into it with his foot. Holding up the dirty, crumpled and tattered money, he then asked, “Now, who wants this one-hundred dollar bill?”

The same hands went into the air.

“And that is why God still wants you,” he continued. “You may be battered and bruised. You may be tattered and torn. You may be crumpled and creased. But that does not change your value to God any more than what I have done changes the value of this one-hundred dollar bill. You are still precious and valuable to the God who chose you, redeemed you, and loves you as His own.”

“He knows how we are formed; he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). God understands that we are fatally flawed creatures, yet deems us immeasurably valuable no matter how crumpled and soiled we are.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). In Paul’s day, it was customary to store treasure in clay jars. The common container disguised its contents and didn’t draw attention to the treasure within. You and I might not look like much on the outside. We may appear as common as jars of clay, but inside are hidden incredible treasures. Inside these old cracked pots reside the most incredible treasure of all...Jesus Christ. And that makes us valuable.

In Louisa May Alcott’s book, Little Women, she includes a conversation from Mrs. March to her three girls, Meg, Jo, and Amy. “I only care what you think of yourself. If you feel your value lies in being merely decorative, I fear that someday you might find yourself believing that’s all you really are. Time erodes all such beauty. But what it cannot diminish is the wonderful workings of your mind – your humor, your kindness, and your moral courage. These are things I so cherish in you.”

Our culture places an ungodly amount of significance on a woman’s appearance. Outward trappings of appearance are simply that…trappings. But God sees us as simple jars of clay containing valuable treasure…and that makes us beautiful to Him.

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, even though I am battered and bruised, I know that I am still valuable to You. Thank You for loving me so much that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to die for my sins. Thank You for making a way for me to have eternal life through Jesus’ sacrifice. Thank You for seeing me as Your priceless treasure.
In Jesus’ name,

Now It’s Your Turn
Don’t you love the teacher’s illustration of the crumpled dollar bill? Today, consider using that illustration with a friend or a child who feels knocked down by life.

Did the illustration touch you in a particular way? If so, I’d love to hear about it. You can share your thoughts on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes.

More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was taken from Sharon’s book, I’m Not Good Enough and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. If you feel battered and bruised by life, if you have been believing lies that you are worthless, then join Sharon in learning to see yourself as God sees you – a valuable treasure –as a chosen, dearly loved child of the King.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106

Senin, 19 September 2011

Oh Hume. [part 2]

One of my favorite things about Hume is that you can walk all the way around the lake and it is so beautiful! One morning the four of us headed out early to walk the lake and it was just magical. There is something so serene and peaceful about the lake in the morning.

About half way around the lake, we ran into Michael and Jonathan fishing, so Sean and Jack got to fish for a little bit too!  It was such fun to see these special father/son moments. These are the memories that will last a lifetime.

We had so much fun...can you tell?

i love him.

My brother Christian is one of my most favorite people in the world.  He is so sweet and so much fun.  All the kids absolutely adore him. I love my big brother. and plus...he can fly.

My Amazing Mom. She is incredible. She is such an inspiration to me.  

Jack is so cute. He loved the ducks and for some reason thought the ducklings were called "peeps." 
feeding the ducks and the "peeps"

I am so thankful to the Lord for my sweet family and for the fun memories we get to create together when we are at Hume. I hope its a tradition we can continue every year. forever. :-)

Oh Hume. [part 1]

There are few places in the world that I love more than Hume Lake.  My family has gone up there for a week just about every summer for the last 6 years.  I went up as a high school camper, and then as a counselor.  There is no cell service, no internet (well technically there is, but I didn't bring my computer), no large grocery store or Target.  It is quiet. It is inspiring. It is beautiful.  God's presence is palpable.  You can see Him, feel Him, hear His voice.  There is just nothing like being amongst His beautiful, majestic creation. Being apart of it, and knowing the One who created all of it, created me. Loves me. Knows me.  
It is overwhelming, and I never get tired of it.

It is a sanctuary away from the busy, hurried existence that seems to encompass each day. It is also where we have made precious memories with my family. We stay in a large cabin/house all together. We wake up and have coffee together, we eat pancakes and bacon together, we laugh together, we play at the lake together, and we just enjoy being together.  This year was especially fun since Jack really loved every minute of it.

Morning cuddles! So cute!
After breakfast we all get ready and head down to the lake to set up "camp."

This was Claire's first time traveling and being away from home, and with little ones, you can never be sure how they are going to do, but she was perfect.  She did great on the ride up [9 hours], slept great in the pack-n-play and just hung out the rest of the time. She really is such a good baby. It's crazy to think a year ago when we were up at Hume, I was just barely pregnant with her.  Now she is this little person who we know and love so deeply!

She, of course, spent a lot of time relaxing :-)
And so did we.
(Left) My sis and me and our napping babies.    
During the day there were lots of fun lake activities that we did as a family. We took our boat out, which Jack loved...but he literally fell asleep out in the boat everytime! So we started just taking him out around nap time and them we'd bring him back in and he'd nap on a towel on the shore. It was so cute and just reminded me that he is still such a little boy.

At night in the cabin the kids organized events for us. We had a major ping-pong tournament, complete with trophies and awards. My nephew Jonathan and my niece Olivia spent a long time making the trophies out of water bottles :-) It was really cute, and we all had a blast doing the tournament. [I got second place...it was intense. Jonathan took 1st place!]

 Another night we had a song writing contest- which was awesome! My favorites were Mum's "At Hume Lake" to the tune of 3 Blind Mice, and Michael's rap/song "Hume Lake, Hume Lake, Hume Lake is so much fun..." or as Jack says it..."so much, so much fun!" He still goes around singing both of them! 

God Acts On Our Behalf

God Acts On Our Behalf
Dr. Charles Stanley
Philippians 4:6-7

We have become so accustomed to this hurried world that we've begun to demand speed in our spiritual life too. However, God "acts on behalf of those who wait for him" (Isa. 64:4 niv). Wise believers endure until the fruits of His labor appear.

In this devotion, we'll look at three reasons believers are called upon to wait. First, God may be preparing us to receive His blessings. Perhaps we need new skills or greater maturity. Sometimes people require fresh spiritual insight before their hands are ready to hold what their hearts desire. For example, David waited years to sit on his appointed throne. But when he did, he was a wise, strong, and battle-tested king.

Second, the Father is often teaching His children to have confidence in Him. How would believers ever learn faith if God immediately fulfilled their every request? In my own life, the Lord has often said two words: "Trust Me." And He has never been late to meet my needs. No matter how we justify rushing ahead of God, doing so amounts to saying, "I don't trust You."

Finally, the Lord will at times withhold blessing to protect us from harm we can't see. We may never find out what caused the delay. But be assured that God examines the object of our desire closely before placing it in our hands.

Waiting is rarely easy, particularly in this instant-everything world. But rushing ahead of the Lord short-circuits His plan. Believers who do are left unsatisfied, and they often must live with terrible consequences. Be patient while the Lord works out details. His best is on the way.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

Beth Moore: Developing Discernment (LIFE Today / James Robison)

Beth stakes out a starting point for those wanting to develop better discernment of God's will.
To learn more please go here:

Minggu, 18 September 2011

It's Bulb Planting Time

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Fill your garden with beautiful bulbs that bloom in spring, summer,
and fall. Use these tips to ensure success.

My favorite tip is # 9

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We asked what your favorite spring-blooming bulbs are. Here are your responses.

Naturalizing Bulbs in the Lawn

It's easy to create a naturalized landscape of spring bulbs in the lawn.
Sally Ferguson shows you how to create an early spring carpet of color in the yard