Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I admit it:  I'm a pack rat.  I have a tendency to save everything.  Its that old adage of "Waste Not, Want Not," the recycler/crafter in me that just knows I'll find a use for those 200+ bottle caps and toilet paper rolls (and I often do!), and also I am a sentimental person.  Fortunately in my life I have moved several times and that forces me to clear out a lot of the overabundance of things like receipts, old warranty manuals for things that have long since broken and been disposed of, stacks of magazines already read but have articles I just know I'm going to one day want to read again and reference... and so on.  I have gotten a little bit better at it in that I at least try to go through each room a couple of times a year now and clear out items, recycling and taking loads to the donation locations, shredding items that are no longer needed, etc.  Its a slow change but it is happening. 

While putting out the holiday decorations this year, I set out the wicker "sleigh" we have where I like to gather the Christmas cards we receive each year.  Yesterday I noticed there are only 4 cards in it this year so far.  People just don't send cards like they used to.  I can recall years where I mailed out over 60 Christmas cards and received about that many back as well.  I personally enjoy crafting and making the cards so its a tradition to do that in our home now.  I think there is a wonderful blessing when someone walks to their mailbox and finds a personal card and/or letter in there to surprise them, instead of just junk mail and bills.  But I also know that in this day and age of technology, a tight economy, and a "paperless" environmental concious, that e-cards have their place as well.  And even in email now, its a blessing to receive a personalized note in an e-card rather than having your email account filled up with junk mail and e-statement notices.

So today's Good Deed challenge to you:  SEND AN E-CARD.  Here is a great site that has some and benefits charitable organizations as well to get you started:


Monday, December 12, 2011


I love to do Christmas baking.  Its a holiday tradition for us to spend a weekend just baking 'til we drop basically.  Which I did this weekend.  22 loaves of holiday breads and 16+ dozen cookies.  A friend asked me if I was nuts, and what on earth I was going to do with all those cookies and breads!?  I replied, matter-of-factly and simply:  SHARE!!!!

After all, isn't that what we're supposed to do?

The kids decorated the gingerbread cookies, the last of those to be finished.  Then I gently packaged them up with pretty cellophane and bows, and sent the kids and husband to deliver them to the neighbors.  Some also went to inlaws and I took some to work.  And there are still a few pretty packages waiting on the counter for those last minute surprises.

I hope you get a chance to share some fun baked goods with others too!  After all, don't they say that the calories cancel each other out if you share???


I was watching JCTV when Jason Crabb's video, "Someone Like Me," came on.
I've had the honor of meeting Jason in person and even chatting with him a little bit about two years ago when he did a benefit concert in Martinsburg, WV, and our music ministry Ash2Ash opened for him.  Jason is very down-to-earth, we really enjoyed talking with him and he is a very generous and caring person. 

I really like this song: The lyrics make you stop and think.  I pray that we may never become so calloused that we don't reach out to those in need and care for others.  May no one ever pass by our church feeling unwelcomed, and may no one ever leave it not feeling welcomed to come back. 

As Jason's song points out, will it be someone like me (or you) who reaches out?

Friday, December 9, 2011


Reach out, share a smile, take a moment to talk to someone you normally don't.
Share the Gospel.  Be a light for the Lord.  Invite them to church with you, or just to share a cup of coffee and conversation.  Care.

I dare you. :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

SAVE THE EARTH (and its inhabitants too!)

The Bible tells us God created the earth (and its inhabitants) in seven days.
What we don't know is how long one of God's days are compared to the 24-hour version we currently use.
But we are rapidly destroying this beautiful creation that God designed for us.  We have used and abused it in ways that aren't even fathomable if you start to look at the statistics*:
  • The U.S.A. is 5% of the world's population, yet we generate 40% of the world's waste.  Not a statistic to be proud of.  200 MILLION TONS per day.
  • The average American generates 4.6 lbs of waste each day -- or a total of 1460 lbs a year.  Yikes. 
  • Less than one fourth of our waste is recycled -- although 75% of it is recyclable!
In Genesis 1:26, God gave us dominion over the earth, but I hardly think He intended for us to destroy it.  After all, in Genesis 2:15 He assigned mankind to care for it:  "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it."

As part of an experiment in our home, we started recycling.  Our area unfortunately doesn't have a curbside recycling program, so instead, I bought sorting containers for our garage, and then we make regular trips to the recycling center to drop off items.  What is amazing is that our containers always fill up quickly.  Whereas we used to have 2-3 large garbage cans at the end of the driveway every week for pickup, we now only have one, and it isn't even full all the time.  And honestly, we aren't even doing as much as we could be, we are doing the base level of it.

We've also become more conscious about our purchases.  If I have an option to buy something with less packaging, or that uses recycled materials, I choose that option.  For example:  Christmas gifts, wrapping paper and bags.  There are some incredible ones that are made from recycled materials now, and even better, I've started using the reusable shopping totes as gift bags instead (practical too).  And the gifts themselves can be recycled and if you purchase from sites like the Rainforest site, you are also helping to save the environment as well.  Look at this incredible item (to the right)  that was made from recycled oil drums, helps to support artists in Haiti, and also contributes to saving rainforest acreage at the same time every time you purchase one:
(And they often have shipping and specials, such as today,
its on sale, and if you spend $30 or more, you get $10 off!
How can you lose?)  Better yet, think about giving a gift that
doesn't use materials but rather gives the gift of giving!
(i.e. Make a contribution to a charity in someone's name!)

Need more ideas? How about a LIVE tree for Christmas, still in the pot,
ready to be planted in the Spring? Or possibly decorate an outdoor tree
with birdfeeders or nesting materials made into ornaments?  Recycle by
donating items for others to use through Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army,
or ARC stores.  And one of my favorites:  Join a FREECYCLE group in
your area, encouraging recycling (and often items also go to those in need):

They may be simple little changes, but in the longrun, every bit helps.  And just like doing good deeds becomes a contagious spirit, becoming environmentally conscious also becomes a habit and grows.  Before you know it, they'll become second nature.

God gave us the earth to inhabit and "keep."  So what do you do to help care for this incredible, beautiful, blessed gift from God?

(*Information from the EPA Fact Sheet at, the Annenberg Foundation's Garbage Exhibit at, and a Fact Sheet for Girl Scouting at )

Monday, December 5, 2011


"The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means God with us)." Matthew 1:23

What a thought:  God with us.
He came down from heaven, to be with us.  Born just as any of us would be, raised as a child, experiencing childhood, teen years, parents and the world, through our eyes. 

I cannot even imagine leaving the glory of heaven, to come to earth and live among those who I have watched from heaven.  Not then, not now.  But God loves us so much that He did that.  In the form of His son, Jesus Christ.

And He commands that we love others as well.  That we care for each other.  What if God were next to you?  What if Christ were the man hungry on the street corner, holding that sign?  Would you turn away and just drive by quickly, pretending you cannot see him?  What if that starving child is God visiting us to see what the state of our humanity is? 

He does so much for us, and just asks that we love Him back and honor Him by obeying His commands and loving one another. 

What have you done for God lately?  Its not too late.  Stop now, pray on it, ask God to show you what it is you can do for Him, and then DO.

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left."

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."

“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?"

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

Matthew 25:31-40

Monday, November 21, 2011

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?...

It's a neighborly day in this beauty wood,
A neighborly day for a beauty.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?...

I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

So, let's make the most of this beautiful day.
Since we're together we might as well say:
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?
Won't you please,
Won't you please?
Please won't you be my neighbor?

By Fred M. Rogers, © 1967

Watching Mr. Rogers is one of my earliest childhood memories.  I can't remember a time when I didn't.  Just hearing that welcoming, caring song called out to my heart and drew me in.  There was a comfort and caring about him that just made me want to be a neighbor.  He would take a stroll through his neighborhood and stop in to visit with different neighbors, and demonstrated how to be a good neighbor, listening, caring, sharing. 
When was the last time you went for a stroll in your neighborhood and just stopped to talk with neighbors?  Its becoming a lost art I think, much like sitting on front porches in the evenings.  Earlier this year, we purchased a home in a neighborhood a little farther away than we had originally planned, but it drew us in... one of the things we loved about it is the way the streets are laid out, line with wonderful trees and inviting you to just take a stroll.  We also noticed so very many people out and about, just walking their dogs or strolling along, stopping to talk with each other, and always waving to us as we drove by.  It felt inviting and comfortable.  We went back several times to look at it, always getting the same feeling, even in the dead of winter.  God blessed us in that we were able to purchase a home there, and sure enough, within a week of moving in, we were invited to meet many of the neighbors at a welcome reception in one of their homes, and we are on first-name basis with many of them now, stopping to chat with them often and waving to them as we go by.  Its a wonderful feeling. 
Being a good neighbor takes so little effort, and its healthy for you too.  If you haven't stopped by and chatted with one recently, make it your good deed for the day.  Go for a stroll and say hello.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Matthew 25:40 - The 366 Challenge!

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40


Remember being a kid and how those dares would just taunt you?  You knew you had to step up to the plate and do them. 

So I'm triple-daring you to take the 366 Challenge with me. 

2012 is a Leap Year, thus 366 days.  I'm working on a list of at least 366 Good Deeds to do... one per day.  Help me to complete it if you have suggestions.

Now that may sound like a daunting task at first... to do one every single day.  But I realized that so far today, I have done over 10 in just an hour:  I stopped for coffee this morning and dropped off food for a food shelter in their collection box, opened the door for someone else, encouraged someone to smile and laugh, then went to work and shared a few words of encouragement with a coworker, prayed for some friends in need, and clicked on all the tabs at  I even found and committed to sending cards of encouragement to four children facing health challenges this weekend so there are four more for the next few days! What a great way to start a morning!  And if I can do that many in less than an hour, I know that at least one a day is going to be a breeze!

So how about it?  Are you up to the Challenge?  I TRIPLE DARE YOU!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Warm & Cozy - Inside & Out

There is just something warm, cozy and secure about a hand-crocheted or knitted item. When I was little, my mother taught me to crochet. I started out with a basic granny square. I remember making myself this bright yellow, orange and white giant granny square afghan for my bed when I was in high school. It literally fell apart from use over the years. Now I have afghans or cozy fleece blankets in every room. Over the years I have made them for most of my family members and friends at one time or other.
A few years ago I also started making prayer shawls, praying for the recipient as I made it. Seems like the need for them is always faster than I can keep up with crocheting them, and now I'm getting requests for them as well. There is a prayer shawl group on Yahoo even if you wanted to join it as well. I received a wonderful shawl from a fellow crocheter on there at one point, its so very warm and cozy, and greatly cherished.

My sister and daughter knit hats and baby items for crack babies and infants in need through their knitting groups, and I've participated in afghans and shawls for soldiers projects in the last two years too. One of the best memories is when I received a photo of a soldier in Iraq wearing one of the shawls I had made for him -- I think I felt as warm inside as he did wearing it!

Currently, I'm in two Good Deed swaps through Splitcoaststampers (SCS) right now that have put my crochet skills to good use: one is for newborn baby blankets, and another is to make caps for children with cancer. (You do need to join SCS to participate, but its free and worth joining!) If you crochet or knit (or quilt or sew or even tie fleece), these are great projects to join! The picture above is just one of the caps I had fun making for the caps for children with cancer project. I pray it will bring a smile to its recipient.

Here is a link too with multiple crochet/knit charity projects to join. With the cooler weather coming on, what better way to enjoy an evening that to sit and knit or crochet, being warmed on the outside with a project on your lap, and on the inside with the good deed being done?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Isn't this little guy cute? He is a penguin ornament handcrafted out of a gourd by an artisan group called Manos Amigas in Cuzco, Peru. And you can buy him to help these women gain their own economic security for themselves and their families. :) Fabulous Christmas gift, isn't it?
I love this website: ! It is the ultimate way to shop. Note that there are 8 tabs across the top. First, let me point out that you can just CLICK on the boxes at the top center of each page to help donate to each of the 8 charities every day (takes less than 2 minutes to help 8 of them! I know, I've timed it!). Then notice the LEFT navigation list. Its like a department store! EVERY PURCHASE you make also gives to charity, and often many are fair trade and support social groups and artists in addition to the charitable donation. Its like double or triple dipping!

Right now there are also some charities that give you free shipping if you make a donation (check out the GIFTS THAT GIVE MORE section on the left) AND you can also help feed seniors in need if you enter the code MEALS2 upon checkout! Is that AWESOME or what?? Free shipping, donate to charity, support groups in making a living for themselves, support fair trade, feed seniors in need, and get your shopping done all in one stop and for the same if not lower price than if you went to the store!!???? AWESOME! Go now!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Glory of Fall

Fall is my favorite time of year. The richness of all the color changes, the cooler air outdoors and the smell of baking indoors.
We had an early snow this year, on October 29th, so the Fall colors outdoors were short-lived, but I'm still enjoying playing with the warm earth tones indoors. As you can see, here is one of my Fall creations. I bought the EK flower punch to try last month and it just sang out "Mums" to me. Then I saw this stamp which expresses perfectly how I feel about the glorious beauty of the earth and how it sings God's praises. I love how they came together in this framed art project.