Praying and Taking Time Off

I will be signing off GiveMe Chocolate from Thanksgiving until the first of February.  I will prepare for the Christmas season celebrations and then take care of long overdue tasks; and hopefully, finish a writing project in which the Lord called me to obey Him.

Meanwhile…

My heart is heavy for Ferguson and St. Louis.

I continue to pray, fast, donate food and supplies to the police protecting innocent people and businesses, and I continue to hope in the Lord.

Thank you for joining many in our community who prayed and fasted before, during and after the grand jury announcement in the Michael Brown case.

Private local citizens protecting innocent store owners from looters and robbers

I’m grateful for ordinary citizens who are helping clean up after the vandalism, looting and destruction.

I’m grateful for local artists who are beautifying all the boarded windows in Ferguson, St. Louis and South St. Louis.

I’m grateful for police officers who show up for every shift to protect and I’m thankful for their families who kiss them goodbye not knowing what the day holds for their loved ones.

I’m thankful for local pastors who are going the extra mile to minister to citizens and protesters.

I’m thankful for armed citizens taking time off work and giving up sleep to protect local stores from looters and robbers.

I’m thankful to see the best of America; big hearts, generous givers donating best wishes, prayers and blessings to a local cake baker at Natalies CakesNmore through GO FUND ME. As of tonight donations have topped $170,000. Natalie’s shop was vandalized by rioters the night of the grand jury announcement.

 

If you are interested in seeing the same evidence the grand jury saw; click here, GRAND JURY TESTIMONY AND EVIDENCE, to view documents released to the public.

 

“Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral… violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.

Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible… It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.” Martin Luther King Jr.

I am weary with the pain of Jacob’s wrestling
In the darkness with the Fear, in the darkness with the Fear
But he met the morning wounded with a blessing
So in the night my hope lives on

When Elisha woke surrounded by the forces
Of the enemies of God, the enemies of God
He saw the hills aflame with angels on their horses
So in the night my hope lives on

I see the slave that toils beneath the yoke unyielding
And I can hear the captive groan, hear the captive groan
For some hand to stay the whip his foe is wielding
Still in the night my hope lives on

I see the armies of the enemy approaching
And the people driven, trembling, to the shore
But a doorway through the waters now is opening
So in the night my hope lives on

Like the son who thought he’d gone beyond forgiveness,
Too ashamed to lift his head–but if he could lift his head
He would see his father running from a distance
In the night my hope lives on

I can see the crowd of men retreating
As he stands between the woman and their stones
And if mercy in his holy heart is beating
Then in the night my hope lives on

I remember how they scorned the son of Mary
He was gentle as a lamb, gentle as a lamb
He was beaten, he was crucified, and buried
And in the night, my hope was gone

But the rulers of earth could not control Him
They did not take his life–he laid it down
All the chains of earth could never hope to hold him
So in the night my hope lives on

 

hhkhj

Grand Jury Decision Tonight

Please pray and fast for St. Louis. A St. Louis County grand jury has reached a decision on whether to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson and officials will reveal it tonight. Pray for protection over every one involved. The Ferguson community has been devastated by people from around the country who have come to St. Louis for the purpose of causing confusion and violence. Please pray for peace, understanding and for positive purpose to come from tragedy. Psalm 140 The Message (MSG) A David Psalm 140 1-5 God, get me out of here, away from this evil;     protect me (St. Louis) from these vicious people. All they do is think up new ways to be bad;     they spend their days plotting war games. They practice the sharp rhetoric of hate and hurt,     speak venomous words that maim and kill. God, keep me out of the clutch of these wicked ones,     protect me from these vicious people; Stuffed with self-importance, they plot ways

read more Grand Jury Decision Tonight

Prayer and Fasting for Ferguson/St. Louis

 

The scene in St. Louis is out of control; darkness.

“Remember when the media were complaining about the “militarization” of the police in Ferguson? ABC News is now reporting that the police have reason to be worried and well-armed. ABC News Justice Department reporter Pierre Thomas says the FBI is warning about violent extremists and outside agitators targeting the city.” Continue reading: Ferguson protesters more militarized than police.

“Tonight the leader of the St. Louis chapter of the New Black Panther Party Olajuwon Ali and Member Brandon Baldwin were arraigned on Federal charges in the court of US Magistrate Tom Mummert for trying to purchase pipe bombs.   Undercover FBI agents caught the two in preparations to destroy The Arch by blowing it up as a sign of white racial oppression as well as killing as many cops as they could during the impending unrest in Ferguson after the grand jury decision is announced.  They were arrested this morning.” Continue reading: New Black Panthers arraigned on Fed charges for attempted pipe bomb purchase in #Ferguson.

 

On a large scale it is a small group of people reigning terror over the city. Satan is having a grand time. This is a spiritual battle so we must pick up our weapons and fight the good fight.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for the entire Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6: 10-18

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12

I am requesting your help. Please pray for and fast for Ferguson this Monday. If you can fast from one meal; great! Spend that time praying, including scripture, over the Ferguson issue. If you can fast all day; super!

Prayer and fasting are never done in vain.

There is power in the spoken Word because God ordained it. Through scripture we find multiple accounts of the Lord speaking words followed by miracles. Begin at the creation story in Genesis 1; read it, all spoken into being. God could have thought it but He spoke it. We find the power of spoken words throughout the Holy books from the beginning, to Jesus’ time on earth when He preformed miracles and cast out demons, to the end in the book of Revelation during the end time judgements.

“‘I believed; therefore, I have spoken.’ With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak.”

2 Corinthians 4:13.

According to John 10:10, Satan has plans to, “Steal, kill and destroy.”

Ask God what His heart and will is in this matter.

Begin this week by attending church for hearing the word of God and spending time in grateful prayer, praise and worship.

“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing; sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”

Colossians 3:15 The Message

 

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7  NIV

Be persistent in prayer as you ask God to change the hearts and minds of those planning harm, havoc, death and destruction in St. Louis. Seek God’s word beginning by praying through the book of Psalms. You will be amazed at the powerful words you find dispersed throughout that apply to this issue. Claim God’s words as precedence over evil and confusion.

 

 

I hate adoption.

Grab the Kleenex! If you are adopted, if you are the sibling of an adopted child, or if you are just on onlooker of an adoptive family here is a glance into the heart and conflicts of life after signing on the dotted line. Sometimes you have no idea what is going on inside someone else’s home! I’m grateful for adoptive families and the love they pour into children’s lives which gives hope, healing and a forever family. On the flip side; I have known families that have been traumatized by their traumatized adoptive child. Years of sacrificial love, time, counseling, prayers and relationship lavishes on the precious child with little given in return. Yet parents and siblings keep an eternal perspective and know they are making a positive impact and providing a better quality life for the child. Most importantly they are providing an avenue for the child to become a believer in, and a follower of, Jesus Christ.

read more I hate adoption.

Freedom Run for Ronald (McDonald House)

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A grateful heart…

 

family room

Ronald's kitchen
Ronald’s kitchen

I wish I could find the pictures of our family using the Ronald McDonald Family Room at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The room, staffed by volunteers, offers the families of patients a comfy home-away-from home setting. Friends can drop off meals, marked with the patient’s name, for the patient’s family in Ronald’s fridge; these can be warmed and eaten at the family’s convenience.  The Family Room provides computers with internet access, a T.V., beautiful sofas for lounging, a kitchen, dining table, fully stocked snack and refreshment bar, laundry facilities, toys, books, board games, phone and an immaculately clean bathroom with a hot shower for family members to use.

Family room
Family room

Bleach and a pair of flip-flops could not entice me to use the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit’s shower for patients’ family members. I don’t know how anyone can manage to spray the walls, floor and the outside of the toilet with human waste of almost every kind, but someone did. And did it every day. Nasty!

Don’t get me wrong, we were and are grateful for the hospital, doctors and staff. Some of the best in the world! But some of the visitors had not been taught good bathroom etiquette and the importance of good hygiene.

January 1, 2011- Day after middle of the night brain surgery

 

Our family benefited from McDonald’s charity when my son, A.J., had a severe traumatic brain injury three, almost four, years ago.

Blessed Beyond Measure briefly chronicles A.J.’s hospitalization.

Celebrating an Answered Prayer Again was in celebration of A.J.’s 11th birthday.

Improving by the hour. Day 4
Improving by the hour. Day 4
Day 5
Day 5
About three months later with his puppy, Clancy.

Fast forward to October 2014.

A.J. has been on a mission convincing me that he needs more opportunities to serve others so he can become more like Jesus. He’s looking for ways to be involved in helping, serving and learning. He, better than anyone besides me—his dad—his brother (poor little brother)—and his sister—maybe add a few close friends—okay anyone who knows him, understands his bossy side. But he wants to become a servant leader.

A.J. and Colson have enjoyed participating in the local 40 Days for Life prayer chain the last few years. Recently they began preparing  food platters for Parent University, classes offered to parents who have chosen life. Our church hosts classes where parents can learn positive ways to parent, run a home, and build relationships.  Because of his heart for the unborn, A.J. wanted to run in the pro-LIFErunners 5K on the Katy Trail in Jefferson City, Missouri, but found out he had to be twelve to enter; he’s only eleven.

This led to looking for a local 5K for his first ever running event. I found the Freedom Run on the internet, sponsored by Missouri Baptist University. It was in honor of veterans, and his dad served in Desert Storm as a Marine. Plus it was benefiting the new Ronald McDonald House at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis. Perfect! He already held a warm affection for Ronald McDonald because of the Family Room at Children’s Hospital.

Farm Boy signed the two of them up and they began walking and running to prepare for the race. Their goal was for A.J. to finish in under 45 minutes considering the short training time for his first 5K race.

Signed in? Check. T-shirt and bib number? Check. Streeeetch and stretch some more. Check.
Lost in the pack at the start line
Lost in the pack at the start line
Start!
He’s so excited that he runs 13 minutes without walking.
Excited! Feeling nothing but positive thoughts about running this for the Ronald McDonald House.
Excited! Feeling nothing but positive thoughts about running this for the Ronald McDonald House.
Colson and I are waiting at the finish line. The race began at MOBAP and finished at the new Ronald McDonald House.
Introducing the Ronald McDonald House at Mercy Hospital.
Introducing the Ronald McDonald House at Mercy Hospital.
36 minutes. He beat his goal.
36 minutes. He beat his goal.
Carbs and fruit for the runners.
Carbs and fruit for the runners.
He said he never once regretted the race, was only happy, and wants to help out next year.
He said he never once regretted the race, was only happy, and wants to help out next year.

He also hopes to run without walking next year.

One last surprise of the morning. He was put on the spot and invited to the podium to briefly tell his story about being in the hospital. It was purely by chance that the organizer found out about A.J.

A.J. had his serious face on as he explained he had a brain injury and that the Ronald McDonald room and staff helped his family while they stayed with him in the hospital. He ended by thanking them.

A.J. made me promise that I would not post the video on social media.

I promised.

 

Happy Veteran’s Day to the brave, honorable and loved men and women who have served and presently serve our beloved nation, the United States of America. Thank you!

Oorah! (For Farm Boy)

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread: Gluten Free

It’s fall.

Its scent is in the air, the rustling leaves sound like it, and the chilly outdoor temperature confirms it.

This means one thing in our home: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread baking time. Since we have a bon-fire to go to this weekend, and we committed to bringing this bread, our home is about to smell like the glorious scent of chocolate harmonizing with pumpkin. Our taste buds are preparing to dance!

GiveMe Chocolate Recipes

Life is hard.

Chocolate is good.

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But chocolate mixed into pumpkin in next to heavenly! Literally. I believe God made the cocoa bean specifically for women as a little gift to compensate us for the once a month hormonal upheaval we endure. And when we discovered the scrumptiousness of mixing chocolate into pumpkin, God may have smiled, leaned over to Jesus and said, “Do you see that? She discovered another little treasure we left for her.”

Make yourself a batch of this bread, which makes three loaves, and see for yourself that Gluten Free does not have to mean flavorless, fall-a-part dry bread. This bread is fit for breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight snack or anytime in between.

Eating Gluten Free means putting extra time and thought into almost every meal or snack we eat. I am thankful to have the resources to eat what we need and want but the planning is time-consuming. Plus, eating gluten free can make my boys’ taste buds whiny. They’re not whiny—but their taste buds are. The best way to hush them is with this dense, moist, bursting with flavor treat. If you have never tried chocolate and pumpkin together you are missing out on one of the finer things in life. Chocolate and pumpkin are perhaps the most perfect union since the pairing of chocolate and peanut butter. Don’t doubt it ’til you’ve tried it!

This is my own personal recipe I am sharing with you. My kids and friends can NOT keep their hands off it. Prepare to gain a pound—or two.

Our dog became a thieving table jumper the first time she smelled it. She is willing to suffer consequences  to wrap her mouth around this delicious concoction of chocolate and pumpkin. To manipulate us in to giving her more she has, without being prompted, been known to perform every trick we have ever taught her; one after the other, until we almost die laughing and cave to her cuteness. When we have a say in the matter we remove the chocolate chips from the dog’s bread. Sometimes we don’t have a say in the matter. Like when she runs by, jumps and grabs a mouthful from our hands. She’s fast like that—for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread.

With no further ado I present to you:

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

This is a very forgiving recipe. Combine the  ingredients in the same mixing bowl in the order listed.

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups packed brown sugar

1 cup canola oil

3 eggs at room temperature

1 – 29 oz. can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

Mix

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Add 1 teaspoon each: Cloves, Cinnamon, Nutmeg & All spice

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum (located in the baking aisle near the yeast or GF items)

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Mix

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Add 3 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill, gluten free 1 to 1 Baking Flour (I purchase this at Sam’s Club but you can also find it at a grocery store).

 

¼ cup ground Flax seed (Flax seed helps hold the bread together)

*If you love Flax seed you can adjust the recipe to ½ cup pot. starch & ½ cup Flax seed; this slightly changes the texture.

Mix

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Mix in 2 cups chocolate chips.

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Pour into 3 ungreased 4 inch X 8 inch pans.  I use the disposable pans from the store because they bake the most uniform nicest looking loaves of bread and for some reason they bake more evenly than any of my other pans. This makes a nice size loaf of bread for DSCN3003gift giving. Sprinkle 1/4 cup chocolate chips down the center of each loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes. Insert a toothpick. When it come out dry, except for chocolate smudges, it is finished. Test each loaf. Cool about 20 minutes then use a metal spatula to loosen the bread from the sides of the pans. With one had on the top of the bread and one hand on the bottom of the pan; turn the pan upside down to remove the bread. Completely cool before placing in a bag or container.

This bread freezes beautifully in a freezer bag.

DSCN3006Optional: You can use a combination of your favorite grains and starches. For this option use 2 cups of grains, 1/2 cup gluten free ground oats, and 3/4 cup potato starch. I buy most of my grains from Whole Foods and mill them at home with my electric mill but many grains can be purchased already ground/milled. I am listing my favorite combination of flours for this post but I have used many combinations and never disliked any of them. I have used Millet, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Brown Rice, Sweet Rice, cooked Quinoa, and Almond Four. I do not care for Garbanzo and Fava Flour in any baking product.

Gluten Free baking needs to be done with room temperature ingredients.

~Enjoy!

 

 

Prayer Tool Box

DIY Projects

DIY Prayer Tool Box

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“I can’t do this but I’m doing it anyway,” is a quote by Nicole Lavelle that pretty much sums up my life.

How then does one do what they are not capable of doing?

Prayer!

Do you have insurmountable obstacles? Do you know someone in need of a miracle? Are you desperate for an answer to prayer?  Are you concerned for someone close to your heart? Are you anticipating God’s activity in your life?  Are  you seeking a creative way to teach your children to pray and to involve your family in meaningful prayer? Are you finding it difficult to appropriately thank God for something He has done in your life?

I have encountered all these scenarios and found prayer was the tool I needed for every one of them.

I was inspired by my church’s Prayer Room, with various specific prayer stations, which we have utilized over the years while holding prayer vigils. When I compared my prayer time at home to my prayer time during the vigils it resembled drive through fast-food compared to an elaborate five course dinner with the One I love at an upscale restaurant.  I enjoy and depend on my daily prayer time but my soul found uninterrupted intimate relationship, renewed strength, and blissful zeal in the simple structure the prayer vigil offered participants.

The idea of dedicating a room in our house solely for prayer was a grand idea but did not realistically fit our family at this stage in life. So I condensed prayer tools, some of which were replicas of the prayer vigil along with some of my own, into a Photo Box. The box coordinates with our home decorated in the seasonal colors of fall because I could live in perpetual autumn.

I am teaching my kids to use this box of prayer tools which makes our prayer life richer, organized and meaningful. Although this could be used daily, we reserve it for special occasions or special needs. I want to ensure my children do not become bored and do not feel inadequate while praying. Christ’s disciples fell asleep in the Garden so I know we are capable of doing the same.

Here is a list of what I keep in our Prayer Box:

  • Step by step directions
  • Scriptures
  • Candle and matches (keep out of reach of children)
  • ABC cards. Go through the alphabet to find a descriptive word or phrase for God that correlates with every letter of the alphabet. Write the word or phrase that describes God to you in this particular situation or write how  you are asking Him to work in this situation.
  • Clay
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Psalm 100 cards
  • Hymnal
  • Journal
  • List of missionaries from our church
  • Small pad of paper and a sealed box
  • Current list of prayer requests for our church family
  • Bible
  • Essential oils: Cassia, Cedarwood, Cypress, Frankincense and/or Hyssop
  • I keep these tools in a decorative photo box

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These are inexpensive therapeutic grade oils I ordered from Edens Garden.

Don’t forget a box of Kleenex or a travel size pack of Kleenex

We find a comfortable spot and gather close. (There are times when I use the box in private).

We do not consider quiet time during prayer uncomfortable but rather an opportunity for God to speak to our heart, soul, mind and strength. It is good to discuss something with the Lord and then be silent as we wait on Him. (This is a discipline I lack and hope to enjoy the benefits of before moving to my residence in heaven).

We follow the A.C.T.S. approach to prayer and worship time. We read the scriptures and instructions out loud. You may use all the tools/helps or choose according to your prayer topic. Pray the printed scriptures out loud; add your own prayers anywhere you choose.

A drop of Cedarwood may be rubbed into the palms of your hands before beginning your prayer and meditation and/or a drop of Frankincense to symbolize you are bringing your best to Jesus.

“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.” Revelation 5:8 (NIV).

“Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne.” Revelation 8:3 (NIV).

“May my prayer be set before you like incense;
    may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141:2 (NIV).

We read in scripture that incense represents the prayers of the saints and in the tabernacle the altar of incense was before the throne of God, the arc of the covenant, burning continuously because we are to pray without ceasing.

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved…                    2 Corinthians 2:15 (NIV).

Take a moment to light a candle, or light incense, and as you enjoy it’s sweet aroma, be blessed to know that your prayers are always a sweet aroma to our Heavenly Father.

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ADORATION

“But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak,  knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.” 2 Corinthians 4:13-14 (NASB).

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him… Savior, Master, Yahweh. There is something about that name!

Use the abc card and go through the alphabet to find an adjective, word or phrase for God, that describes what you are asking of God in this request. When you are finished take time to read the list back to God, just fill in the blank —

“Lord you are_____________________”

(We believe, therefore we speak!)

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When you have finished this card, pick one of your words and find a hymn or praise song for that word/adjective. Meditate on that song and sing it to God, either out loud or in your heart.

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 God “inhabits” the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3). As your heart begins to adore him, you’ll sense his presence more deeply.

CONFESSION

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 (The Message).

“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

“Change my heart, Oh God.” Make it ever true. Change my heart, Oh God. May I be like you. You are the potter; I am the clay; mold me and make me; This is what I pray…

Take a piece of clay from the bag. As you work the clay into the shape of a heart, use this time to search your own heart. What do you need to give Him? Pride, greed, selfishness, anger, lust…

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(Symbolically use the hand sanitizer to ‘cleanse’ your hands.)

Use a drop of Hyssop as a symbol of the cleansing work Christ has done for you. “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7 (NIV)

“… let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God.”                             2 Corinthians 7:1 (The Message)

 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9

 Accept God’s forgiveness and cleansing and thank Him for it.

Use a drop of Cypress which scripturally symbolized purification and can be used as incense.

THANKSGIVING

 “We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!” 2 Corinthians 4:13-15 (The Message)

“For all that you’ve done, I will thank you. For all that you’re going to do, for all that you’ve promised and all that you are is all that has carried me through, Jesus. I thank you.

And I thank you, thank you Lord! Thank you for loving and setting me free. Thank you for giving your life just for me. Jesus, I thank you, gratefully thank you.”  -D Jernigan

Take time to meditate on Psalm 100.

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
     Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
 Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

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On a Psalm 100 card, write your own personal Psalm 100  by filling in the blanks.

Know that the Lord is ________________________________________________

It is He who ________________________________________________________

And we are His ______________________________________________________

Enter His _____________________with ___________________________________

Give ________________________to Him and ________________________His name.

SUPPLICATION

 “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4: 17-18

 If you are praying over someone in your presence you may anoint them with drops of Cassia, a holy anointing oil, used during Old Testament times.

Pray for the people on your prayer board, church prayer request list or your church missionary list.

Other prayer needs:

  • Church staff, leaders, teachers and members including families, singles, widows, sick and shut-ins.
  • Life’s difficulties, struggles, relationships, finances, studies or job.
  • Friends, loved ones, relatives, neighbors, co-workers. Talk to God about their needs. Ask for their salvation.
  • Our nation: President, legislators, justices, judges, governors, mayors, police and emergency personal.   Grant us wise leaders. Turn our nation’s hearts and minds to you, God. Pray for righteousness. Pray for the weak, the oppressed and the enslaved.
  • Internationally: Pray for the weak and oppressed and pray against modern day slavery. Pray that God’s word is accessible to all people in our generation. Pray for pastors and churches in countries where Christianity is persecuted. Pray for the poor and the starving that Christ will provide their every need. Pray for Israel to recognize their Messiah and pray for their purpose and safety.

Use the journal to record and date thoughts, prayers, dreams, etc.

Use the small pad of paper to write down your struggles and give them to God. For this I have a completely sealed box (glued & tied) where the struggle may be placed.

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Another option is to pray for ourselves or others and then give the request to God by releasing a seed outdoors. The seed symbolizes something we need to let go of. When we release it outside we are showing God it now belongs to Him. We may see the fruit of our prayer some day or God might be the only one who knows the outcome of the prayer/thrown seed.  We know whatever the outcome— it will be a supernatural work of God. (I have found gourd seeds to be vigorous.)

I hope you find this prayer time refreshing and that it makes you long for the next time you come before the Lord. I pray that God ministers to your heart, soul, mind and strength during these prayer times and that you begin to notice and remember answers to prayers.

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Completed Cards

More information on the above mentioned essential oils:

CASSIA* (Cinnamomum cassia) Cassia was an ingredient in the Holy Anointing Oil given to Moses. This exotic fragrance of vanilla/cinnamon might be similar in its aroma to cinnamon, but it is physically and chemically much different. Care must be taken in topical use as it may cause skin sensation. It is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and an anticoagulant.

Scriptures: Exodus 30:24; Ezekiel 27:19; Psalm 45:8

Historical uses of Cassia:

  • A drop placed in the hands rub hands together and cup over nose for a joyful, uplifting feeling.

CEDARWOOD* (Cedrus atlantica) Produced mainly in Morocco, it is the species most closely related to the cedars of Lebanon. Of all essential oils, Cedarwood is highest in sesquiterpenes, which are oxygen-delivering molecules capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier.

Scriptures: Leviticus 14:4, 6, 49, 52; Numbers 19:6

Historical uses:

  • Diffuse or inhale from bottle to enhance prayer and meditation.
  • A drop of oil in your palms and then cup them over your nose and mouth. Inhale, breathing deeply to help with mental clarity.
  • Used as an effective insect repellant).
  • A drop to a cotton balls and place in drawers to repel insects.
  • Egyptians used 1-3 drops rubbed into the scalp may help to inhibit hair loss.
  • A drop or two rubbed on wounded skin may help to clean, disinfect and protect from infection.
  • Rub a drop or two on the chest area to help relieve symptoms of (difficult breathing) bronchitis.
  • Applied to help with sleep.

CYPRESS* (Cupressus sempervirens) The oil of Cypress has been used since ancient times for purification and as incense.

Scriptures: Genesis 6:14; Isaiah 41:19; 44:14; I Kings 9:11; Song of Solomon 1:17

Historical uses:

  • Used to help with healing cuts and healing of scars.

FRANKINCENSE* (Boswellia carteri)  It’s a generational tree that takes forty years to produce its first resin. One of the gifts of the wise men to our Savior, frankincense would have been rubbed all over the body of the baby. Egyptian tradition says that “Frankincense is good for everything from gout to a broken head” or in other words “good from head to toe”. If in doubt, use Frankincense. Other names for frankincense are “olibanum” or “Oil from Lebanon”.

Scriptures: Exodus 30:34; Leviticus 2:1, 5:11, 6:15, 24:7; Numbers 5:15; I Chronicles 9:29; Nehemiah 13:5, 9; Song of Solomon 3:6; 4:6, 14; Isaiah 43:23; 60:6; 66:3; Jeremiah 6:20; 17:26; 41:5; Matthew 2:11; Revelation 18:13

Historical Uses:

  • It was used improve concentration.
  • Spiritual oil that enhanced and promoted emotional and spiritual feeling.
  • Diffused to elevate mood.
  • A key ingredient in the holy anointing oils and the oil that stopped Biblical Plagues. 

HYSSOP* (Hyssopus officinalis) It has a very long history as a cleansing herb.

Scriptures: Exodus 12:22; Leviticus 14:4, 6, 49, 51, 52; Numbers 19:6, 18; I Kings 4:33; Psalm 51:7; John 19:29; Hebrews 9:19

Historical uses:

  • Used to prevent the Plague.

 

You will love your new prayer tool box!

Goodbye Cardinals Hello Royals

October baseball

Goodbye Red October; there is no other sky I would rather live under every autumn. You are always faithful and fun; albeit nerve-wracking!

Baseball A Nervous Breakdown

Jon Jay dances with Matt Holliday’s son Ethan,7, while the team celebrates in the locker room after the St. Louis Cardinals won the National League Division Series after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Our team has style in every way! Just one more reason I love our team on and off the field.

Not a Cardinals Fan

I’m thankful Missouri’s rising Blue Moon has the force to push the Giants into the sea. May the Blue Moon’s powerful tide make the dawning of the fifth day unattainable for the San Francisco Giants.

KC Royals

This Missourian is cheering for you, Kansas City Royals.

Moo!

Moo

Farm Boy and I took our ten and eleven year old boys to Kansas City for a game during the Royals’ series against the Tigers the weekend of September 19th. Colson and A.J. thought the Royals’ fans displayed rude manners booing so many times at the umps, the other team, and even their own team when they made mistakes yet they also commented the fans were not as rude and unruly as the Giants’ fans.  Our boys did however love the Mooing!

Moooooooooooose!

The below video is of Matthew West’s Royals’ song. Matthew West is one of my favorite Christian recording artists; in fact, I have used some of his other songs/videos in earlier Toxic Tuesday posts to encourage my readers to thrive despite difficult circumstances.

KC mascot
Sluggerr—Royals’ Mascot
Royals' fountains
Kaufman Stadium Fountains

2014 World Series

KC

Giants

DIY Fall Leaf Collage

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DIY ProjectsAutumn Project: Leaf Collage

Because I thrive in an organized and visually appealing environment I like our home to have a comfy, cozy, welcome, “Sit down and stay a while,” feel to it.  We had a big empty wall that screamed, “Lonely, void, help me,” which led to this project.

The concept came from the desperation of wanting a large piece of art for the lonely living room wall. I found a beautiful painting of a turkey at a Missouri Conservation Artists’ sale but the $2000 price tag did not fit in my budget.  Farm Boy is an excellent painter but since he already has a demanding day job I knew he did not have time to paint me a large — very large — turkey in an autumn landscape.  I brainstormed from March to September attempting to decide what to place on our large empty wall. Autumn descended and as I looked out my windows at the beautiful colors on the trees I realized I wanted these colors; all year long. How? Bring them in? Hmm… I knew I could do it. Yes, instead of colorful turkey plumage on canvas I would place the hues of fall foliage on canvas. So I began.

Here is how I created my Leaf art:

In Missouri, autumn will be peaking over the next four weeks which makes it the perfect time for collecting colorful fall foliage.

Five years ago I drove around looking for deep purple and red leaves which I did not have in my yard. I found them at a local lake along with gold Ginkgo leaves.  I also collected leaves from friend’s yards so I could think of them when I delighted in my finished project.  To this day the red Japanese Maple leaves, from my friend Ann’s house, are my favorites.

I am going to estimate I collected around 700 leaves, from small flaming red Burning Bush leaves to a few large dark brown Sycamore leaves. It sounds like a lot of leaves but it doesn’t take long once your begin picking. Other leaves included: Bright orange Sugar Maple, deep purple Red Maple, yellow Silver Maple, several types of brown Oak, gold Ginkgo, red Japanese Maple, purple Sweetgum, pumpkin orange Sassafras, bright gold Shag Bark Hickory, deep reddish-brown Red Bud and various shades of tan and brown from Elm and Poplar. I also collected several very small branches with 4-5 leaves still  intact.

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I allowed the wet leaves to dry then placed them in large heavy books for pressing.   2/3 of the leaves remained pressed 4-5 weeks  1/3 of the leaves were pressed for 2 weeks then removed so edges could slightly curl.

In a large ventilated area, our garage, I set up 4 saw horses and placed large pieces of lumber or old doors on top of them. I covered the large flat surfaces with wax paper to eliminate sticking.

I watched for a 50% off sale and then bought a 4’ x 4’ wrapped painter’s canvas at Hobby Lobby  for $40.00.

For the base color of the canvas I used two coats of a coordinating trim paint which we had left over after painting trim in our house. You will notice in pictures we do not have baseboards finished yet. I will admit we have way more projects going on than we can keep up with or afford. As the cost of living continues to sharply and painfully increase our rehab budget keeps shrinking. Add to that doctor bills and therapy for a severe traumatic brain injury plus some newly added college costs and well; maybe we will finish the house during retirement — if we ever achieve retirement. Nonetheless, I still enjoy my home of perpetual autumn and I love the people who live in it.

I was after a natural look for preserving the leaves; nothing shiny, which meant wax was not an option. I watched the ads for Hobby Lobby and Michaels to purchase flat finishing/ polyurethane spray 50% off. I used 5-7 cans (memory is foggy here).

To preserve color and ensure my leaves lasted for years, I used a flat spray and gave the slightly curled leaves two coats on each side, allowing dry time between each application and making sure the leaves did not touch/stick together.  When completely dried I loosely piled the leaves in a box and brought them back in the house to deter bugs from feasting on them in the garage.

When the remaining 2/3’s were finished being pressed I spread them out on the saw horses.  Using the flat polyurethane spray I gave the leaves two coats on each side, allowing dry time between each application making sure the leaves were not touching/sticking together.

Attaching the leaves to the canvas proved to be tricky. I attempted just about every type of adhesive and glue a soul can find at the arts and crafts store. None held! Out of desperation I took a look through our garage. Neither wall paper glue nor wood glue worked. While considering Liquid Nails I spied: Henry Premium Multipurpose Carpet and Sheet Vinyl Adhesive. Out of curiosity I opened the tub and my eyes beheld thick goopy beauty! Just what I needed to grab hold of the veins on the back of the leaves. I applied this adhesive, allowed dry time, turned the canvas over, shook it and nothing happened. Nothing! It held the leaves in place. No falling off. No breakage.

Using a small craft/paint brush I turned over each individual leaf and generously applied adhesive to the back then pressed it down on the canvas; wiping away any excess with a damp cloth. I covered the entire canvas with the flat-pressed leaves allowing overage along the straight edges of the canvas.

I allowed the pressed leaves to dry then sprayed two more light coats of poly on the entire project.

Next I generously applied adhesive to the curled three dimensional leaves on the spots where they would touch the canvas base of pressed leaves. I set them in place and allowed them to dry.

I allowed the newly adhered leaves to dry then sprayed three more light coats of poly on the entire project, allowing dry time between each coat.

Done.

My boys know when playing with Nerf guns that the guns may NOT be aimed at the leaves and they have been careful to obey. Someone did toss a pillow hitting a leaf and breaking a small portion off. To my knowledge this is the only damage to my leaf art. I have had minimal fading to the leaves but with the unfiltered direct light coming into our home I have had minimal fading on everything in the living room.  I do not have an expensive camera for taking quality photos but I believe I am showing a good representation of the final product.

I used just under ½ quart of the Carpet & Sheet Vinyl Adhesive for this project.

From start to finish, because of pressing time, this was a 2 month project.  My guesstimate on time spent is 25 working hours. This does not include dry time for the paint, poly & adhesive. Total cost was approx. $80.00. That’s $1920.00 less than the $2000.00 turkey painting!

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Above: View of the dimensional aspects.

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Above: View of edge                                                            Side profile

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I enjoy my little piece of autumn in winter, spring and summer too.

Toxic Tuesday: Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders Part 3

Are we moved by past friendship, loyalty, sympathy and fear for the accused or by the distress, pain and heartache of the children? Make certain your compassion is properly placed and driven by love of truth and justice for sweet innocent children.

read more Toxic Tuesday: Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders Part 3

Repost: After the Last Bullet

Several weeks ago I reblogged, Because Life’s Not a Beach, by my friend Lisa Fisher. She wrote, “So blissfully blind to the upset just around the next bend.” She spoke of her oldest son’s traumatic death. This article is written by one of her daughters, Anna Graham, and is the precursor to Because Life’s Not a Beach. Please take a moment to read this beautifully written entry.

Moms’ Night Out—Now on DVD

If you like comedy this is the movie for you. To top it off—it’s also clean!

It was refreshing! I needed to laugh and Moms’ Night Out provided the source.

I know some mothers who take a mom’s night out once a week, some who take one occasionally and some who rarely if ever take one. Do you have a friend to enjoy a mom’s night out with?

Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Seeing Moms’ Night Out guarantees good medicine.

I had not experienced such unbridled laughter since reading the Pioneer Woman’s,  All I Wanted Was a Doughnuthttp://thepioneerwoman.com/blog/2011/12/all-i-wanted-was-a-doughnut/

The thing that made the movie better was the longevity of it.  It was an extra-large jumbo size dose of good medicine and a timely lesson from Bones. (You will have to see the movie to find out about Bones.)

I thought the movie would strictly be a ‘Chick-Flick’ but no; I heard and saw men laughing as uncontrollably as me.

I have never laughed so much, so hard, so loud in any movie. Hysterical laughter, tears from hysterical laughter, snorting from not being able to catch my breath due to hysterical laughter. Side splitting I tell ya!

There you have it. My encouragement for the day: Laugh. Funny movies, funny books, comedians or funny friends; find your funny and take a full measure of it.

Buy or Rent Moms’ Night Out  tonight!

See the right side margin : A Cheerful Heart…for multiple opportunities to laugh.

Original Moms’ Night Out: You Need to Laugh post