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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Life is a Gift

A reminder to slow down and savor the beauty of fall.

To live in the present.

And thank God for each precious moment.

The Best Things In Life…

The best things in life are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you.

Robert Louis Stevenson, novelist, essayist, and poet (1850-1894)

D’vine Swirl and Flowers Card – Take 2

Last week I posted a card that flopped. I hated it but chose to post it anyway. I’ve used the same tools and made another card but changed the paper. I’m much happier with the results this time. Amazing how much the color and pattern on the paper can make or break a card. I used the BossKut 0692 Petite Flowers die and Cuttlebug’s D’vine Swirl embossing folder. The card is smaller than the one I made last week so I left the wording off the front.

Unlock Your Creativity – Step 2

Last week we explored the first step in Vivian Banta’s article titled: Unlocking Your Creativity. The article, posted on the Creativity For Life! website. Have you taken that first step and decided what creativity will look for you? Good. The second step is an action step.

Expand Your Horizons    

What do you envision when you read this phrase? Traveling to a faraway place? Daring to ditch the day job and follow your dream? Facing a fear? These certainly qualify as a way to expand your horizon. If you have the wherewithal and the desire, go for it and God bless! But if you’re like me – comfortable in your routine – there are smaller changes that can expose us to new environments and change the way we see the familiar.

The simplest way to begin is do the opposite of what you normally do. If the drive-through window is the first stop of your day, tomorrow pull into a parking spot, go inside the shop and stand face to face with the person waiting on you. See the person behind the voice-in-the-box. Look around at the people sitting at the tables. If you have time, be one of them and sit down. What do you see, smell, hear?

Do you live in the city? Plan a day at an agricultural fair. Instead of pizza on Friday night, go with Chinese cuisine. Drive a different way to work. If you’re an artist, switch to a different medium. Give yourself permission to play and create something that is less than perfect.

If  going away for vacation doesn’t fit into your budget, become a tourist in your own town. We get so wrapped up in our busy lives, we often miss what brings the out-of-towners to our neck of the woods. Take a hike in a nearby state park. Visit a small museum or historic house where docents and volunteers are happy to share their knowledge. Attend a concert given by the town band. You may discover that your mailman plays the trombone.

Stagnation can be the enemy of imagination. Exposing ourselves to experiences outside our regular routine will spark a fresh perspective and new ideas. What one thing will you do differently today?

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

A friend’s mother passed away this weekend. The local tradition is to take food to the grieving family so I baked a Sour Cream Coffee Cake. For years, this heavy moist cake has been my family’s traditional Christmas morning breakfast. The last two years, it has also become my go-to recipe when someone is in need of sympathy and comfort. This saves me from looking through recipes, trying to decide what to make, how much to make, and then shopping for ingredients. The process was too cumbersome. With this coffee cake, the only ingredient I have to run out for is the sour cream. All the dry ingredients are in my cupboard and the milk and eggs are in the fridge. When butter is on sale, I purchase extra and freeze it.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

1 cup walnuts (optional – I don’t usually include them as some people can not have nuts)
1 & 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups flour
3/4 cup butter – softened
1/4 cup milk
1 & 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 & 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 oz. container sour cream
3 eggs
Mix walnuts (if desired), cinnamon and 3/4 cup of sugar and set aside.
Grease and flour a (angel food cake) tube pan.
In a large bowl with mixer on low speed, beat flour, butter, milk, baking powder, baking soda, sour cream, eggs and 1 & 1/4 cups of sugar till blended. Increase speed to medium. Beat 2 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spoon half the batter into the pan and sprinkle with half the cinnamon, sugar and nut mix.
Spread remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon, sugar and nut mix.
Bake 60 minutes.

Don’t forget that 1 & 1/4 cup of sugar in the batter. (I did that once – never made that mistake again!)
This cake freezes well. I make it before Thanksgiving, pop it in the freezer then pull it out Christmas Eve to serve the next morning.

Dressed For Battle

Photo credit: Galdo Trouchky

The apostle Paul used the armor of the Roman soldiers assigned to guard him to illustrate a spiritual truth: the followers of Jesus do not battle “against flesh and blood” but “against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm”. As a follower of Christ I’m to put on my battle dress uniform. But when was the last time I made sure my BDU was combat ready? Would I pass inspection?

The Belt of Truth: The foundation that holds my weaponry. In this spiritual battle, Jesus is ‘the way and the truth’. To win the battle, I need to be anchored in the truth found in God’s Word. Have I fallen victim to any of Satan’s lies? God can’t use someone like you. Is my belt a little loose? Your dream is impossible. Cinching the belt one notch tighter.

The Breastplate of Righteousness: Protection for my vital organs in close combat. The breastplate guards my heart. I’m pure and holy protected under the blood of Christ. Hmmm, my breastplate is in need of polishing so my actions will be pleasing to my Heavenly Father.

The Shoes of Readiness and Peace. Uh-0h. My boot lace is untied. Not exactly ready am I. The peace of Christ isn’t the first thing folks notice about me when I’m hurried and harried and my attention isn’t centered on the Good News of the Gospel. Back to basics – boots laces tied and giving God control of the battle.

Shield of Faith: My only protection from flaming arrows. My shield, dinged and slightly bent, is too heavy for me to hold up. I’ve tried. Wasn’t pretty. Spiritual defeat never is. I need Jesus’ strength to fend off Satan’s fiery darts of deceit, denial and doubt. Am I willing to trust Jesus to be my Shield? He’s patiently waiting for me to decide…

Helmet of Salvation: Essential protection for my survival. It skews to the side now and then when the world offers a distraction and Satan fights for a stronghold in my thoughts. Focusing on the total deliverance that Jesus offers keeps my helmet strapped in place.

Sword of the Spirit: My weapon used for both defense and offense — the Living Word of God. My sword is a little dull. I remember some memory verses from childhood, but I haven’t been faithful in learning more as an adult. Fending off Satan’s razor-sharp dagger with my blunt sword makes the battle one-sided in the favor of the enemy. Time for sword drills with the verses I know and adding others to my arsenal.

“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.” Ephesians 6:14-17

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