Archives for April 2012

This One’s for the Girls Giveaway!

With Mother’s Day just two weeks away, I thought it would be fun to have a giveaway that’s totally girly. How about a $15 gift card to Bath & Body Works? Can’t get much more girly than that, huh? :)

To enter the “This One’s for the Girls Giveaway,” leave a comment on this post by noon (CST) on May 13th (Mother’s Day) to be included in the drawing. If I don’t know you personally or can’t contact you via your own blog, you must include your email address in your comment to be eligible for the giveaway.

Any comment will work, but to make it a little more fun, why not fill us in on your very favorite Bath and Body products (or similar products from different stores).

As for me, I like to splurge on bubble bath. I enjoy the ones with a light fragrance the most. My current faves are Moonlight Path, Black Raspberry Vanilla, and Sea Island Cotton. I also love having sweet-smelling antibacterial hand soaps stationed at my sinks. I recently tried the new Fresh Picked Strawberries scent, and it’s definitely a winner.

Another of my favorite products is for totally practical reasons. C.O. Bigelow’s Chapped Hands Remedy has become a must-have for me because it works. It’s one of the only things I’ve found to keep my hands from getting painfully chapped in the winter. It’s a little pricey for a small tube, but I use it only at bedtime—and that’s enough. It works and is well worth the price. I stock up when I have a coupon or when it’s on sale.

I look forward to hearing about your favorite pampering products. Any other bubble bath lovers out there? :)

If you don’t have time for a nice long bubble bath, how about a short soak in the Word of God? Our souls need attention, too, don’t they? Even a few minutes spent reading words from the Author of Life will leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to march into the challenges of the day. And this works for both girls and guys! :)

How about it? Let’s enjoy refreshment from the Word every day!

“Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”‘” Matthew 4:4

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out later this week. Sign up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by grantlairdjr

Crazy for Cookies

Sometimes a gal’s just gotta break out of the norm, and today’s one of those days for me. Spring is in the air, and I’m feeling a little wild and crazy. Crazy for cookies, that is :)

I don’t share recipes here very often, but sometimes something so yummy comes along that it would be a crime not to share it. I know my blog is all about refreshing spirits and nourishing souls, but believe me, after you’ve tried these, your spirit will be refreshed :)

Don’t let the name of these down-home wonders put you off. My mom baked some for our Easter visit, and it was love at first bite for all of us. I’ve already shared the recipe with my Facebook friends so if any of you have tried them, leave a comment and let us know what you thought. But for the rest of you, here’s the recipe to what will become your newest cookie delight :)

Dishpan Cookies

2 c. white sugar         4 c. flour
2 c. brown sugar        1 ½ c. oats
2 c. oil                          2 tsp. soda
4 eggs                           1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla               4 c. Honey Bunches of Oats (or store brand)

*Add chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, nuts, or coconut—or a combination of any of these.

**This makes big batch. Half of the recipe makes about 40 cookies. If you halve the recipe, you can keep both teaspoons soda if you’d like—a mistake has proven that the cookies are still incredibly yummy with all the soda :)

Cream sugars, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients and 4 c. Honey Bunches of Oats. Drop by spoonfuls on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 325. Don’t over bake.

So who else is crazy for cookies today? Shout out your all-time favorite—and if you’re feeling extra-crazy, go all out and share your recipe! :)

And you know me—I’ve got to offer a little soul nourishment, too. While you’re dreaming of your newest cookie delight, take time to delight in God’s Word as well. After all, the joy it gives won’t wind up on your hips! :)

“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16

*Friend me on Facebook if you’d like! If I might not recognize your name or picture, be sure and include a note that you’re one of my blog readers.

*Flickr photo by waitscm

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out next week. Sign up is free and to the right!

Moving On


Change is afoot in our family. My parents recently decided to put their home on the market and look for a smaller place that will be easier for them to maintain now that their advancing years play havoc with their energy levels.

I know it wasn’t an easy decision. Mom and Dad have put a lot of themselves into their little corner of the Missouri hills. They’ll really miss the place they’ve called home for over twenty years now. All of us will miss it, too. Their home in the Ozarks has been a place of refuge and refreshment for each of us. My Fall Family Time post gave you a peek, in fact, at Mom and Dad’s home in the hills as well as the wonderful family times we’ve enjoyed there.

We most recently visited on Easter weekend. Right before we headed home, I stepped out in the backyard to take some photos and soak up the beauty once more, unsure of how many more opportunities like that I’ll have.

After a few minutes, Dad came out and joined me. Not only was it a beautiful afternoon, but their view always sends my spirit soaring. All felt so peaceful as the wind chimes added perfect accompaniment to nature’s glory. Dad pointed out a couple of sights in particular and then said, “We’ve had a good run here.”

I think that moment will stay with me forever. I get sad even now thinking about it. I know they are ready to move on, but I also know it will not be easy when the time comes. Goodbyes can be hard, can’t they?

For now, it’s time to look ahead to the next good thing God has in store for Mom and Dad. More beauty, more joy, more peace, I’m sure. More work for the Kingdom and more glorious days walking with the King. Yes, that’s what’s ahead for them—more!

Might God be showing any of us that it’s time to move on in a certain area of our lives? If so, let’s thank Him for a good run and then follow His lead. After all, more is ahead!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

*Do you have a moving-on story to share?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out the first week in May. Sign up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Zach Dischner

Standing in Grace

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand . . .” Romans 5:1-2a

The apostle Paul, who wrote the above words to first century believers in Rome, could sure power-pack a sentence, couldn’t he? Just look at the topics he touched on: faith, justification, peace with God, our Lord Jesus Christ, gaining access, grace. Wow, what crucial and life-changing issues.

Each part of the passage above is worthy of reflection, but today let’s take a closer look at the last few words—“this grace in which we now stand.” Just think about it. As believers, we are standing in grace. Yes, standing in grace! How thrilling is that?!

Of course our very salvation, eternal life, and status as children of God are all gifts of grace—given to us because Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross. But every blessing that comes to us is a grace gift, isn’t it? John, who referred to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved, said, “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” (John 1:16)

I don’t know about you, but I’m not only standing in grace—I’m dripping in grace. The gift and privilege of being a child of God, of being right with Him because of what Jesus did, is more than enough to have me feeling bathed in grace all the time. But all the blessings He continues to pour out on me keep me dripping in grace with every step I take.

I pray that His grace will shine through me each day. I pray that any joy I feel in His blessings will reflect back to Him, the Giver of all good gifts. May all who cross my path see me as I am—see me standing in grace. May all who cross my path see Him . . .

“. . . and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13b

*What’s one of the recent grace gifts God has given you?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out the first week in May. Sign up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Anemone Jones

So Much to See, So Little Time!

Anyone else longing to travel? The older I get the more I realize how far behind I am in seeing the world. And now? There’s just so much to see and so little time!

Summer’s already teasing me. We haven’t been in the habit of taking a real trip every year—after all, life has a way of eating up vacation funds. But now that college and wedding expenses are behind us, vacations are more of a possibility.

Since the best time for my husband to travel is in July, we have a tendency to pick Colorado mountain destinations where we can escape the Kansas heat. But there are so many other places I long to see as well. Maybe after retirement? Sadly, Don tells me he wants to teach until he’s seventy! Good grief, doesn’t he realize I’ve got traveling to do? :)

Here in the good ole USA, I’d love to someday visit Washington, D.C.; New York City and Boston, along with other East coast historic areas; Alaska and Hawaii; Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons; West coast cities and scenic destinations; historic areas in the deep South; Florida, Tennessee—I could go on and on. As you can tell, I want to see more of our country!

And if that’s not enough, I’d even like to get up the courage (and the money!) to brave international travel at some point. Like everyone else, I’d love to visit Rome, Paris, and London (and other points of interest in those cities’ respective countries), but other places intrigue me as well.

Since my family immigrated from Ireland and Scotland generations ago, those destinations hold a special appeal. (I’ve enjoyed getting a taste of Irish life over on Irish American Mom. I learn something new from Mairead [rhymes with parade] every time I visit.) Switzerland and Germany sound appealing, too, and visiting the Holy Land would be so meaningful—though travel there sounds a little more scary to me. I can be a chicken :) Given that fact, I’m not sure I’d be up to an African safari, but that also sounds amazing.

Like I said, so much to see, so little time. I realize I won’t see all of these places in my lifetime, but surely I can make it to some of them. And to be totally honest, traveling to and navigating around unfamiliar places does indeed make me a little nervous. You know, all those chances to get lost and/or make other mistakes :)

I don’t want to let my fears hold me back, though. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in over a half century of living, it’s that the Lord walks with me each step of the way. And even better than that, He goes before me and guides me if I’ll only look to Him.

So even though there’s so much to see and so little time, my heavenly Guide will help me make the best of it. How about you? Anyone else ready to travel?

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

*Is summer already teasing you? Where would you like to travel?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out the first week in May. Sign up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Per Ola Wiberg ~ Powi