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