Saturday, September 22, 2012

One woman's trash...

Don't you just love yard sales? I find that I get a special little thrill when I visit a great sale, one where the front-yard proprietress has a well-stocked lawn, an organized inventory and an abundance of old wooden chairs and trunks - these last two items make me stop every time! This summer, we had a treasure sale at our house and we donated all the proceeds to our school. God was so good! We had good weather, lots of shoppers, and made about $1400 in two days. We prayed for a God-size, loaves and fishes kind of math when we counted our dollars and piles of coins, and that is what He did!
I thought I'd share some great strategies that worked for us: 1 - great signage and merchandising - we laid it all out in "departments" and had cute signs on every table to catch the eye of browsers 2 - great food - our kids sold baked goods (cookies, banana bread, brownies) and coffee and lemonade and they made about $120! 3 - price to sell - we were more concerned about what people would spend, not what the items might be "worth" 4 - Be organized and clean - clothes hung on racks and when needed, sat in bins marked by size - all clothes were $1 per piece to save us having to price each item. Coats were $5 5 - Put big items by the road - these are the things that get people to stop Though we did our sale in the summer, autumn is still a great time to hold a treasure sale. I think it is ALWAYS a great time to purge those closets, too!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Imagine a hero entering a bright city. His armor shines as he sits tall in his horse, hands extended, waving at the crowd. Children run alongside his steed, tossing flowers in his path and calling out his name, hoping to catch even a glimpse of him. For his faithful service and loyalty to the king, a reward awaits him inside the city. This triumphal procession pulses with life and anticipation and joy.

Now imagine our same hero, only this time he has been captured by his enemy, fallen prey to his foe's deception which lead to a trap. Rather than riding in atop his horse, he is bound and dragged behind the beast of his nemesis. He stumbles and falls, trying in vain to keep his bloody feet under him. The jeering crowd jockeys for position alongside the road so they can kick dust at him, spit on him, hurl insults. Children run near and throw rotting fruit and stones which hit him on his already beaten body. Following this display, only death awaits him beyond the city gate. This funeral procession pulses with bitterness and hatred and fear.

The gospel is said to be either the fragrance of life or the smell of death to those who hear it. For those who listen and believe, what awaits them is this triumphal procession of life, beginning now, but carrying into eternity where the King of Kings will welcome him into His glorious city, as a son finally come home. But for those who reject the mercy and grace God offers, their road leads only to destruction. We all begin with this terrible separation from God, a chasm forged by sin itself, but to those who refuse to believe the gospel, that chasm remains and the prince of this world shares his doom, bitterly victorious in his successful deception.

Have you shared the good news of the gospel with someone recently. Will you be there, as if with fresh flowers in hand, the sweet fragrance of life to offer? When we fail to do so, we might as well be standing idly by, rotting fruit in our hands, the stench of death in the air, indifferent to the horror that awaits them.

I am personally challenged this week by the Spirit in me that reminds me that I have an urgent responsibility to share Christ with others. In John 6, Jesus asked his disciples if they, too, would leave Him after He shared some hard teaching with them. Peter replied, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
I am praying that God will give me many opportunities to share those words of life.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

National Pancake Day!

If it is good enough for IHOP, it is good enough for our kitchen! In honor of National Pancake Day, I thought I would share our very favorite pancake recipe. It has been tweaked and doubled and made to fit our family perfectly. Add blueberries, chocolate chips, dried apples, etc. to your own imaginative taste! Enjoy!

3 cups flour (use half white and half whole wheat if you like)
2 eggs
2 cups milk (buttermilk is even better)
6 T melted butter (use the real stuff)
1/4 cup sugar (sub brown sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon if you are doing apple pancakes)
2 T baking powder
1 t salt
1/4 cup real vanilla (I know this is a is worth it - yummy!)

Mix just until combined and ladle onto a hot griddle. Serve with syrup, fruit, and all the other yummies (My husband is a huge fan of bacon, so I will often cook the bacon first so there is a bit of bacon grease on the griddle - I do drain off most of it - in which to cook the pancakes. He loves that bacony crispy, greasy edge around his cakes! Hey - I never claimed these were healthy, just hearty and homey and every inch of their diameter is comfort food!)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Two are Better than One

You’ve seen them in the check-out lane at Meijer. They whisper sweet somethings in your ear as you slowly roll your cart along the conveyor belt. As you turn your back on them, you look at your food, satisfied with the fruit and veg on the belt and plan for tonight’s quick supper as you eye the box of pasta and jar of sauce. Still, sometimes it is impossible to ignore their siren song and the inevitable happens. A candy bar ends up in your cart. You slip it in your purse as you pay, and you polish it off before you pick up the kids from preschool. There are perks to being the grown up. One of them is that you don’t always have to act like one and nobody needs to know!

A favorite of mine (and let’s face it, there are lots of favorites when chocolate is involved!) is the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. You can’t go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter and you can’t go wrong with the sweet, two for one deal in that little package. Two are better than one. Seriously. Twice as nice.

Enjoying my treat, I am reminded of a great passage from Ecclesiastes, penned by the wise King Solomon, divinely inspired by the Living God. I believe the broadest application of the verses is for friendship in general, but I can’t help but see how it applies to our closest earthly relationship, our marriage.
Two are better than one,
   because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one falls down,
   his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
   and has no one to help him up!
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
   But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
   two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Eccl. 4:9-12

Two are better than one. In the garden of Eden, when God created Adam, He saw that it was good, but He also said it was not good that Adam should not have anyone like him. So God created Eve to be like Adam. More than that, she was created to help him. What a lovely, wonderful plan God had! He foreknew the need Adam would have to experience the close, human connection with one like him in marriage, and God also understood that He was calling Adam to do some big, important things and he would do well with someone to come alongside him as he endeavored to obey his Maker. The simple fact is that God, Himself, is sufficient for all that we need. However, He saw fit to give us others in our lives to be one avenue through which He meets those needs.

As wives, we have the special privilege of walking alongside these men God has given us and holding their hands, eyes on theirs, and saying to them what God says to each of us, with conviction and commitment, “When we work together we will accomplish much, so let me help you. When you stumble, I will be there, not to point one finger at you, but to reach down with all five, hand spread, grip firm, and pull you back to your feet. When the shadows and dark invade and you can’t see what lies ahead, and you face the frightful, swirling storms of life, I will be there beside you to help fight off the bitterness, the biting wind, the fear, the cold. I will warm you with my words and with my presence. When you do battle, and your foe is too great for one, I will not desert you. We will fight, shoulder to shoulder or back to back and together we will defend ourselves, our marriage, our family. When we go forward, day by day, moment by moment, into the perilous, exciting, sometimes dangerous world, I will not leave your side. When the going gets hard, I will stay. I will fight for you. I won’t quit. Instead, you will hear my words in your ears, reminding you that together we can face what comes. I will remind you most importantly, that together means not just you and me, but you, me, and the awesome, powerful, sufficient, changeless, Mighty God who made us and gave us to each other, forming a three stranded cord that is not easily broken.”

Truly, peanut butter cups are a sweet treat and two are definitely better than one, but marriage is sweeter, and though, like chocolate, there can sometimes be a darker, bitter side, we will stick. Like the peanut butter on the roofs of our mouths, we will stick and remember that indeed, two are better than one.