Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gospel Greetings Self-Challenge

Hello all!

I just wanted to give a little background on why I am sharing these *Gospel Greetings*.  This really is a challenge I am putting myself up to ~ to take the initiative in sharing my faith...whether that is just planting a small seed or making a large effort.

I will not be sharing that many *how-to's* but more of the *whens* and *wheres* I have stirring in my mind...to seize special opportunities in everyday life as I am out and about to take that extra step to share with someone else about our amazing Creator and His Son.  I have found that, so many times, I am lazy about this!  Other times, I am just so timid or nervous about it!  However, I do know that I have a desire in my heart to be a better witness for Christ, as He leads me.  I am definitely no expert in this area of being an effective witness.  In fact, I could probably write several posts on the *how-not-to's* of witnessing (learned by personal experience)!  But I have learned...the more I do it...the easier it becomes and the more opportunities I am given.

I was brainstorming the other day about this and about 40 scenarios came to mind!  The challenge now is not to come up with witnessing opportunity ideas but to...do them.  So, I am using my blog here as an accountability tool to keep me on task.  This challenge is not about me.  This challenge is about trying to be a witness for the amazing God I serve.  It is not about my creativity nor my ability...because by myself...I lack both!!!  This challenge is something the Lord has laid on my heart to deepen my faith in and obedience to Him.  Mark 16:15 is such a noble challenge and command from the Lord that I fall so very short on.  But, with His help, I aim to change that!

I'm guessing that all these ideas that will be shared here have been tried and true by many believers out there.  I'm sure many of you have several stories to share about how you have done many similar things!  I'm hoping some of you will choose to share with me times or places or creative ways you have been granted to do the same ~ this encourages me so very much!  I am challenging myself to be creative, to heed the Lord's call to walk out of my comfort zone, and to choose to acknowledge Him and speak the truth in love as much as I can.  This whole challenge for me is about taking the initiative, making the effort, and growing in my faith.  Some greetings may be anonymous and not very difficult to carry out...some will be much more personal and will take more effort.  However, every challenge will have this goal in mind...to point someone to the love and mercy of Jesus.

...With all that in mind, I will be praying for the Lord to open doors.  I will be praying for the hearts of the receivers of these greetings.  I will be praying for courage in those moments or situations I feel like chickening out! I will be praying for the Lord to water any seed that may be planted.  Would any of you be so kind as to pray for me as I attempt this?  I am expecting different reactions ~ some good, some not so good, some seen, and some unseen.  All that matters to me is that I go about this exactly as the Lord wants me to.  I pray that ultimately this will glorify God, will point some people to Jesus, may encourage others, and will help me learn what the Lord wants to teach me.  And with that, I'm off to greet with the Good News...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gospel Greetings!

I love sharing the Good News!  Ever since I found out what Christ did for me and I trusted in Him as Savior, I have loved finding new creative ways to share my faith with others.  A few summers ago, I had the privilege of leading a small summer youth program at our church up north.  The idea of a "Gospel Greeters Club" popped into my mind.  Every youth became a "Gospel Greeter" for the summer and was challenged to share the Gospel in a new creative way each week.  They were a creative bunch of kids!

Well, with Christmas upon us, I'd like to instill in my children the importance of giving....not just presents and smiles and goodies...but the Good News of God's greatest gift!  I just thought I would share some of our ideas we've either found or created of how to creatively share the Gospel during this Christmas season and any day!

Starting Wednesday, December 1st, I will be sharing one new "Gospel Greeting" daily until Christmas Day!  :-)    I hope to not only present ideas here but to actually put each into practice to share my faith with those around me.  Anyone want to join along?  Anyone up to magnifying the *reason for the season*? Feel free to share your creative ideas and stories as we go! May Jesus be magnified this Christmas and always!

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."                                                                                                        ~Mark 16:15

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Giving thanks to God above for His Son...
The cross in our entryway.

Making family memories...
Our Thanksgiving blessing from God last year!

Baking goodies...
Last year's Thanksgiving creation from the kitchen...

Reading about our heritage...

A copy of the First Thanksgiving Day Proclamation by President Washington (left).
 A history book my great uncle and grandma used...I just love it! (right)

A Thanksgiving tradition I started a couple of years ago at our house was to read the Thanksgiving Proclamations given by...
How wonderful to hear our very own past American Presidents proclaiming the goodness and provision of God!  Lord, may we all do this daily!

Being creative...

...is Thanksgiving to me. 
What is Thanksgiving to you?

Have a blessed Thanksgiving everyone!!!

"Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
         Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms." 

                                                                           ~Psalm 95:2

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chocolate Memories

For my Grandma's birthday this past summer, I decided to put my creativity and memory to work. I have posted on my Grandma Tootie herehere, and here in the past, and, for those of you who have prayed for her, thank you so very much!!  Since those posts, she has moved into a nursing home. She gets excellent care, and I think she is very comfortable there.  However, she recently had pneumonia and is just so tiny and fragile to begin with, she just really could use a few prayers if I might be so bold as to ask for them again!  I know she would be so very grateful!

I fully admit that giving a gift to a grandparent in a nursing home has been somewhat challenging for me.  She has limited space and mobility, and I don't want to give her anything she can't use or will take up room that just isn't there.  What I do know, however, is that whatever I decide to give, I want it to be from my heart. I also know she likes chocolate. :-)

Well, this gift was very inexpensive in terms of dollars, but I did invest some time into it which all proved very worthwhile...and fun!  I spent some time reflecting on past humorous or sentimental memories the two of us have shared together alone and with others. I also thought of some encouraging words and favorite Bible verses.  I typed them up on the computer in a font and color I liked.  

I had this cute little lonely blue basket on hand in our storage closet that had not found a use yet, and so I cut and glued some brown felt to the bottom of it and recycled a ribbon that one of my aunts gave to me on a gift for our new baby boy last year. It just all matched so perfect! 

I then gathered the rest of the materials I needed to complete this project.  I picked out some coordinating scrapbook papers, a manila folder, and some raffia strands from my crafts bin. With some scissors, a hole punch, and a glue stick, I was on my way to making some cute little homemade tags. Very simple, and it cost me nothing! 

Here is how I completed this project in 7 very simple steps: (Simple yes, a bit time-consuming....yes again. I suggest popping in a good tear-jerker in the DVD player while finishing the following steps and you'll be done before you know it!)

1. I cut out the memories with some scrapbook scissors and glued them onto the scrapbook paper.

2. Then, I cut around the memories again with the same scrapbook scissors leaving about a 1/4 inch of the scrapbook paper matting as trim.

3. Next, I glued these matted memories onto a manila folder (which as you can see I kept from a previous tag making session!).

4. I then used my regular straight-edge scissors to cut out each into a tag shape.

5. Then I punched a hole in each tag and tied a piece of raffia through it.

Almost done!

6. I then opened up a bag of chocolate bars (the only few dollars I spent) and tied a tag to each one. I think I had 20.

7. Lastly, I arranged all of these chocolate memories into the basket I prepared, and it was all done!

The most fun was delivering it with a smile and a hug.  My Grandma Tootie is a special lady with a spirit to match her sweet tooth.  I thought a gift like this might last a few days and that she would have fun opening up each chocolate and reading the memories we have shared.      Who in your life could use a basket of chocolate memories?  :-)

I thought perhaps this might be a good time to share this frugal homemade gift idea before Christmas!  I'm always looking for creative homemade gift ideas!  Please share yours!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bargain Blessing

Last winter, I went to a book fair that came to our town.  I was tickled to go on the last day of the sale and snag some great deals.  One item that caught my eye was this apple bookstand pictured below ~ for just a few dollars!

My kitchen in Wisconsin had an apple theme, and I am slowly but surely getting our new kitchen in order.  Well, I hadn't even opened the box of this apple book stand ~ it had been packed away since last winter.  I came across it the other day among the many boxes I've been rummaging through since we've moved, and as soon as I saw it, I knew just exactly what I wanted to use it for.  

My Bible!!!

I love having open Bibles all around the house, but the kitchen is where I spend the majority of the hours in my day.  When I uncovered this apple stand in that box last week, this inspiring post from The Homespun Heart came to mind!  How perfect!  Now, it will be even easier to *grab those minutes* to spend in God's Word right in my kitchen!  Thank you, Monica, for that encouragement!

I spend a lot of time at that particular spot next to the kitchen sink ~ washing dishes, preparing meals ~ and it has been such a simple added blessing to my day to walk over to the sink and soak in some Scriptures.  I find just having it there and open so very inviting!

How do you sneak in some extra Bible time into your days?  Please share!

"But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
 And in His law he meditates day and night." 
                                                                  ~Psalm 1:2

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Persimmon Bread!

Remember my delight in finding a new yummy delicacy in a nearby conservation area? I decided to whip up a couple of loaves of bread with the pulp from them!

It truly was a lot of fun discovering and learning about persimmons, and it was even more fun creating something out of them!  I had baked 6 loaves of pumpkin bread the week before, so I had it in my head to come up with a similar recipe for the persimmon pulp.  I then researched online for some persimmon bread recipes and found one that looked pretty good. I decided to make a hybrid of my Betty Crocker Pumpkin Bread recipe and this persimmon bread recipe, and this is what I came up with:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Persimmon Bread

3/4 cup persimmon pulp (that's all that I had to work with)
1/3 cup apple sauce 
4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
2 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all ingredients until batter is well blended.  Pour batter into two greased 9" x 5" loaf pans. Bake for 55 - 60 minutes.  Serve warm with butter.  Enjoy!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

For those of you who maybe have never seen a persimmon fruit before (I hadn't until now!), here are a few photos of what I did with them...

I washed them and removed the leaves...

...peeled them...

...split them...

...pitted them...

...pitted more of them...
(some had just two seeds...others had eight!)

...pureed them...
(I came up short of a cup, 
so I added apple sauce to make up the difference.)

...had a little helper scoop them in a bowl...

...mixed in the other ingredients in the recipe above...

...popped the pans in the oven...

...baked them...


we have persimmon bread!

I'll close with a few interesting pieces of trivia...

**If you are wondering which episode of Christy features persimmons, it is the one entitled, "The Sweetest Gift".  I won't say any more than that!  :-)  

**If you are wondering what the inside of a persimmon seed looks like and the folklore legend that accompanies it, stop back again to find out! (No, I do not believe in it, but it's a cute little story that apparently has been around for many many years!)

Have you been doing any baking this Autumn? Please share what goodies you've been whipping up! 

And don't forget to thank a Veteran today!  Thank you to all of our past and present military members!  We appreciate your service and sacrifice!