Christmas · Christmas decor · Comfort

Cozy Christmas 2018 Invitation

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Years (and years) ago when I went away to college, I’ll never forget coming home for Christmas break after my first semester.  We lived out in the country on five acres and I can remember the warmth that pervaded our home even from the driveway as I approached the house.  When I stepped inside, the fire was burning, music was playing, the lights were lit and low, my mom had the best foods prepared, and best of all, my Continue reading “Cozy Christmas 2018 Invitation”

Christmas · peace

Peace Instead of Chaos At Christmas #2

We’re two weeks out from Christmas!  How’s your “peace level?”  If you find yourself in any kind of chaos instead of peace, you’re not alone.  So many struggle during this time of year when there are so many demands, expectations and voices shouting at us.

As Mary pondered the happenings going on around her during the time of Christ’s birth, I believe that those thoughts brought her peace and those same thoughts in our hearts can bring the calm we crave.

In the video today, I’m sharing three areas that will be helped at Christmas if we will think about the power of God – the kind Mary witnessed.  It’s available to us, too and it can bring us peace…sweet peace.

In which area that I mentioned do you need the power of God to overrule?

Refresh your heart with peace that comes from His power,

Denise

Christmas · Gifts

Practical Gift-Giving Guide

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My Monday’s posts are typically food related, and while today’s post does have some food, it’s primarily food ideas rather than recipes.

With Christmas approaching, I wanted to use today to share some fun and terrific gift ideas with you! Figuring out what to give people is hard for me.  Maybe it is for you too, so I thought you might appreciate some suggestions from a friend of mine. She has the gift of giving the perfect gifts! This friend is Vickie Stykes. She has prepared gift baskets to welcome our guest speakers at church or visiting missionaries in years past. She could think of such clever things to add to each basket to make it personal and useful! She has also made and purchased gifts to give away at our church’s ladies’ retreats, and trust me, those gifts are always much desired!

Some years ago Vickie shared a list of ideas with our church ladies about baskets and bags of gifts to give to certain categories of people.  Single moms, grandparents, teens, bakers, crafters,  there are gifts for all!  I’m sure you’ll find some wonderful ideas for even the hardest person to buy for!

CHRISTMAS GIFT BASKETS/BAGS
Christmas gifts do not have to be expensive, just filled with love from you. Here are some of my favorite suggestions. — Vickie Stykes

1. For the single person or newlywed couple: Make a favorite meal gift bag/box. Examples:
“Italian Feast”- Include a box of spaghetti, noodles, homemade or canned spaghetti sauce, can of mushrooms, bag of salad, loaf of bread and checked napkins to complete the gift.
“Favorite Sunday Dinner” –Prepare a roast ahead and freeze, wrap thoroughly in aluminum foil to include in gift bag/box. Include potatoes, carrots, onions, can of green beans, pkg. of rolls and homemade dessert or even a frozen fruit pie would be good. Meal can be ready in a short time.
“Pizza Please” – Include a box of pizza dough mix, pizza sauce, pkg. cheese, mushrooms, pepperoni, green pepper, onion, or any other pizza toppings you may want to include. You may also add a bag of salad mix. For an extra bonus include a pizza stone and cutter. You may want to add a video gift card for a “pizza and movie night”.

2. For the grandparents: Give car wash coupons, gas cards, favorite magazine subscriptions, grocery store gift cards or beauty/barber shop gift certificates, photo albums, etc. Decorate a gingerbread house for their Christmas enjoyment.

3. Let your children make special help make a memory album including a video or tape recording messages for those who live miles away. Include some photos throughout the year of special events, birthdays, vacations, etc.

4. Stationery Basket: Can be used as a hostess gift, for a college student, the newlyweds, grandparents, senior saint, someone recovering from surgery/illness, secretary, a special friend, teacher, etc. Include: stationery for those who still write letters or notes, thank you and various other cards, stamps, monogrammed cards or seals, address book, pen, etc.

5. For the baker – Baking Bag/Basket: Include items for baking such as 10-X sugar, chocolate chips and other flavored baking chips, nuts, cocoa, Eagle Brand Milk, cake mixes, a dessert cookbook, etc. May also include a baking sheet, spring-form pan or Bundt pan, Silpat sheet for cookies or parchment paper, cookie cutters, cookie sprinkles and cake decorating equipment, gingerbread house kit, etc. Complete kits can be purchased for around $10.00. You may even want to complete the gingerbread house and give it as a kit to someone special.

6. Wrapping Paper Bag/Basket: Include a variety of wrapping paper, gift bags, tape, scissors, blank gift cards, ribbon, tissue paper, etc.

7. Card-making Bag/Basket: Include a storage container for supplies, a variety of card stock, envelopes, decorative papers, scissors, glue sticks, stickers, etc.

8. For those serving in the military or who have served in years past: Prepare a photo frame with the soldier in uniform to give to his wife, children, or parents. If more than one generation has served in the military include photos of each one, include the branch of service, purchase military seals, etc. Make a shadow box of the soldier’s medals, hat, special pieces of uniform, etc. Use patriotic fabric as a background or include a small flag draped across background.

9. For your adult child: Prepare a history story beginning with their birth up to the present including dates, schools, friends, special events and awards, first events (first haircut, lost tooth, overnight stay, camp, etc.) 

10. Cookie Jar Recipe: Prepare a quart jar filled with layered baking ingredients for your favorite cookie recipe. Cover top with decorative fabric or paper circle, tie with ribbon and attach mixing/baking instructions. Also include a batch of the cookies with the jar if possible.

11. Hot Cocoa Mix: Prepare batch of homemade cocoa mix, place amount in zip-lock baggie for 2-3 cups. Purchase a decorative mug and place cocoa mix inside with instructions for amount to use. Give cocoa mug alone or with a dozen homemade cookies. Could also give several mug sets for a family gift and include larger amount of cocoa in decorative tin. This makes a good teacher gift, neighbor gift, doctor or special person gift, etc.

12. Recipe Book: Write your own favorite recipes, poems, stories, traditions, photos and include in a notebook as a special gift for your adult child, friend, relative, etc.

13. Basket from Grandma: Perfect gift for grown grandchild from grandmother or to give to grandparents or teachers! Include a jar of your favorite homemade jelly/jam or apple butter and a loaf of homemade bread. If you are not a bread maker, include muffins or muffin mixes to eat with jelly/jam.

14. Auto-Care Basket: Gift for a college student, grandparent, for a boy with his first car, for dad, a boss, etc. Include car wash coupons, gas cards, car deodorizers, Rain-X, Amoral, chamois cloth, car wash mop, personalized license plate, travel atlas, maps, roadside emergency kit, Kleenex, paper towels, trash container, music CD or book, etc. for unique gifts.

Be sure to bookmark this page; it will be helpful not just at Christmas, but all year long!

Which of these ideas are your favorite?

Refresh your gift-giving with a clever suggestion!

Denise

 

 

Marriage · Refreshment in marriage

It’s a Wonderful…Marriage

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Aren’t the old classic Christmas movies special to watch?  A favorite of mine is It’s a Wonderful Life.  This sweet story reminds me of what every wife should be doing for her husband – showing unconditional love and support. If you’ve seen the movie, let me remind you of a couple times when the wife, Mary, displays that…

After George and Mary get married, they are on their way to their honeymoon when there is a run on the bank money. George spends the rest of the day caring for his customers, half forgetting that he has a new bride. Though they have no money for an extravagant honeymoon, he finds that Mary has taken an old run-down house that she’s dreamed about living in and prepared a beautiful dinner in it for him. She hung up posters of exotic places they’d dreamed of visiting and created the best atmosphere possible for their wedding night using her limited resources and her love.

The last clip of the film shows George returning to his home and family. He quickly learns that Mary that has informed their friends and family that he was in trouble. She organized their support in the form of financial help and their presence. People come pouring into the house with money for them. George is overwhelmed at their kindness. All through this last scene, there is Mary, smiling, supporting her husband, loving him – no matter what. Through good times and bad, she gave herself to be the best wife to him that she could be, both behind the scenes and in his presence. She never belittles him; never criticizes.

No marriage is without hard times. It comes in all different forms over the years, and there must be a resolve to support our husband. We must be willing to sacrifice, lend our help, and continue to love him through the toughest of situations.

What hard thing is your husband going through right now? How can you show your support of him?

Proverbs 18:22

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

If a husband has a wife who will stand with him and love him through the hard times. I believe he’ll know how blessed he is…and it will be a wonderful marriage (life).

Refresh your husband with your unconditional support.

Denise

Christmas · peace

Peace Instead of Chaos at Christmas

I’m sure we all desire to have a peaceful heart, home and life during Christmas, but it’s often difficult to grasp because we can’t stop long enough to even realize how to get it.  Do you ever wonder how Christmas got this way with the activity and pressures?  Me too.

I’ve been considering that question as I’ve read through the account of Christ’s birth recently.  The Lord has shown me some things that must change in my own life so I can enjoy His peace this season.

My videos during December are going to share the things the Lord has taught me as to how we can actually obtain the peace Christ came to give us. Here’s the first simple suggestion.

 

What are you pondering about Christ?  What Truth has calmed your heart?

Refresh yourself and ponder Christ!

Denise

 

 

 

 

 

 

baking · Christmas · Fast meal · freezer

Tips To Help with Meals & Baking In December

 

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Busy days and home-cooked meals are a mean combination, aren’t they?  And what month is busier than December?  I was thinking through ways to provide home-cooked meals this month, and have come up with a plan so we don’t have to buckle under the pressure and eat out a lot or call for carry-out!  Here’s what I’ve come up with: Continue reading “Tips To Help with Meals & Baking In December”

Family life · Favorites

November Wrap-Up

November was so packed full of great blessings!  As the month closes out and we head into December, let me share a few of those blessings in the form of pictures and a brief description:

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My sisters and I had the blessing of attending a retreat together!  They are precious gifts in my life!
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Whitney went with me when I spoke at a retreat in Virginia.  She took care of my every need and was a sweet traveling companion!  We made some good memories together!
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This is the Virginia retreat.  At the end of our second session ladies prayed together about the things God has spoken to their hearts.
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This is the team that planned the retreat.  What a great job they did getting everything decorated and so well organized!!
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Thanksgiving with my parents was so wonderful.  I am so blessed to be their daughter!  The food was amazing and our fellowship precious.
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Whitney and her husband visited KY while we were there.  She and her Papa have a special relationship!

My husband preached in my parent’s church after Thanksgiving.  We had four generations in church that Sunday.  God is so good.  How thankful I am for the legacy of faith.

There was my month!  What was the highlight of your November?

Strap on your boots…here comes December!!!!

Stay refreshed this weekend by faithfully attending and serving in your local church!

Denise