Friday, September 30, 2011

Creative Gift Ideas, Part 3

In a recent Wise Women segment on Wednesday evenings, Candy S. presented a great list of creative gift ideas. There were so many, in fact, that we've split them up into several posts. Ideas for young children can be found here and ideas for girls and boys can be found here. Below is the third group of ideas. (Click on the images to go to the websites with more information.)

For the Ladies

  • Jewelry Frames - other ideas…frame chicken wire, a piece of lace fabric, screen, radiator flashing

  • Wooden Bead Necklace

  • Ruffled Mug Cozy

  • Apron/Tote in a Jar - Provide a pattern, material, and notions to complete the project. Place them all in a mason jar and tie a ribbon on top!
  • Framed Pin Cushion

  • Sewing Kit in a Jar

  • Brooch/Shoe Clips & Earrings from Scrapbook Supplies

For the Biggest Boys

  • BBQ apron and spices — could include tools

  • Toolbox Gift Card Holder

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Creative Gift Ideas, Part 2

In a recent Wise Women segment on Wednesday evenings, Candy S. presented a great list of creative gift ideas. There were so many, in fact, that we've split them up into several posts. The first group of ideas, for young children, can be found here. Below is the second group of ideas. (Click on the images to go to the websites with more information.)

Girly Gifts

  • Friendship Bracelet Kits

  • Headband/Necklace Tree

  • Ribbon Belt/Bracelets

  • Pen Pal Kit - Pretty stationary, stamps, nice pens stored in a pretty box
  • Craft or Kitchen Toolbox - Provide a toolbox, sewing box, tote, etc and help to start a collection of tools for a craft or cooking. Follow each year/event with an addition to that collection.

Something for the Boys

  • Fort Kit

  • Invention Box - Suggestions to include (remember to choose items age-appropriate to your recipient): tapes (such as duct, electrical, colored), rope, cardboard, fishing line, Velcro, bulldog clips, rubber bands, socks, buttons, dowels, wooden pieces, paint
  • Tool Box - Provide a toolbox and some simple starter tools and then add to that collection each year/event.
  • Bleached T-shirts

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Creative Gift Ideas, Part 1

In a recent Wise Women segment on Wednesday evenings, Candy S. presented a great list of creative gift ideas. There were so many, in fact, that we've split them up into several posts. Here is the first group of ideas, for young children. (Click on the images to go to the websites with more information.)

For the Littlest People

  • Recorded Storybook - Give a favorite storybook and have a loved one record themselves reading the story.

  • Animal Washcloths & Towels

  • Simple Coloring Tote

  • Wooden Matching Game

  • 2 x 4 Car Blocks

  • Animal Puzzle Blocks

  • Story Blocks/Stones

  • Simple Drawstring Bag

  • I Spy Bag

  • Mini Bowling Set - Paint “peg people” wooden shapes and ball; give in a drawstring storage bag

  • Color Matching Set

  • Peg People & Clothespin Dolls

    Just for fun… add a take-along play house:

  • Month by Month Onesie Stickers

Monday, September 26, 2011

Being Good Listeners

By Jennifer R.

Do you ever find yourself having a hard time staying awake or concentrating in church? Does your mind wander during church services to the things you have to do later in the day or the week? Do you find yourself forgetting what the message was about before you get home from church?

We are all busy women with many things going on in our lives. It’s no wonder that we are sometimes distracted in worship services. However, there are some things we can do to be intentional about avoiding the distractions that rob us of getting the most out of the preaching of the Word.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss recently posted an excellent article on How to Get the Most Out of Your Pastor’s Preaching. She included some very practical suggestions for preparing our hearts before the service, for actively participating during the service, and for applying what we’ve learned after the service. I commend this article to all of you, even if you haven’t suffered from distraction during worship services before. We can always excel still more at being attentive listeners during worship.

For homes with small children, another good resource to help you prepare yourself and your family for the Lord’s Day is Day of Delight: Making Sunday the Best Day of the Week by Doorposts, which offers many creative ideas for keeping the Lord’s Day special (and stress-free!) for the whole family.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Book Review: The Organized Heart

By Hannah S.

Are there really only two kinds of people in the world: those who love to organize and those who don’t? Are you the kind of person who loves to visit the Container Store and has a professional label maker? Or are you one that feels stifled in a room full of neatly packed bins and boxes and prefers to “wing it?” Well, no matter where you fall on the organization spectrum, the book The Organized Heart: A Woman's Guide to Conquering Chaos by Staci Eastin is for you.

This book is different than the many others I have read about being organized. There is nothing about charts, timers, purging, or file folders in this book, and yet I think it has probably been much more effective than others in helping me get to the root of chaos in my life.

I will have to admit, I am one of those crazy women that loves to organize. I cleaned out my freezer the other day and found great joy in looking at the organization of the vegetables and popsicles. But my system is not always implemented, and two weeks from now I will open my freezer and have to dodge the falling ice cream container. Do I need a better system - or maybe a bigger freezer - or maybe I could blame the kids? Even though I love to read about organization, why do I often find myself literally “under the pile?” Why does my family not feel loved when I am on a cleaning kick? Do I value organization more than relationships? These are all questions that I began to ask myself as I read this book.

The Organized Heart begins as Staci Eastin reminds us of how a lack of organization affects our lives. She writes:

Disorganization steals your joy. It causes you to go through your life frazzled and stressed. It causes friction with your husband and makes you snap at your children. It makes you perform your ministry tasks grudgingly. It prevents you
from developing friendships, because you’re always rushing from one task to the
next. You don’t feel like you are doing anything well, let alone to the glory of

Eastin states her purpose as

My goal is not necessarily for you to have a cleaner home or a more manageable schedule – although I certainly hope that is the case. Rather, my hope for this book is that it will help you serve God and your family more effectively, more fruitfully, and with greater peace and joy.

Isn’t this our hearts' desire? Shouldn’t this be the goal for being organized? So what is stopping us? As I read this book, I began to realize that my issue of organization has more to do with a lack of proper motivation than a lack of knowledge. It is an issue of my heart.

Eastin identifies four idols that hinder us from our heart’s desire to serve our family well. They are leisure, busyness, perfectionism, and possessions. Eastin takes each of these items and discusses the particular pitfalls that they cause. As you read, you will begin to see your own tendencies in these areas and realize how they affect your home and those around you. You will see idols in your own heart that are causing chaos in your home. This book has been a great reminder to me that the answer for the disorganization in my life is not more storage bins or a new cleaning system, but it is examining the motivations in my heart and confessing sin. I am confident as I “spring clean” my own heart that my home and family will benefit as well.

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's So Easy

It's so easy to convince myself
that I have arrived.
It's so easy to swindle myself into believing
that I am righteous.
It's so easy to calm my conscience
by recasting my own history.
It's so easy to make myself feel better
by measuring myself by somebody else.
It's so easy to persuade myself
that my way is the best way.
It's so easy to think
that I'm serving You when I'm really serving me.
It's so easy to judge others
who fail to do what I'm not doing either.
It's so easy to daily hunt
for what I've already been given in Christ.
It's so easy to be more concerned
about the sin of someone else than I am my own.
It's so easy to withhold grace
while I am being showered with grace.
It's so easy to think
that I know more than I know.
It's so easy to fretfully forget
that you are ever with me.
It's so easy to love the world
more than I have loved You.
It's so easy to enthrone myself
in the center of my world.
It's so easy to view myself as poor
when grace has made me rich.
It's so easy to talk myself into feeling okay
about what You say is wrong.
It's so easy to forget
how fundamentally needy I am.
Because these things are so
There is not a
where I am free of needing You.
I live in constant need of
the rescue of your grace.
I am so thankful
that your grace is never stronger
than in those moments of
weakness when dangerous things
are all too easy.

~ Re-posted from Paul Tripp's blog

Monday, September 5, 2011

Book Review: When Sinners Say I Do

By Kim W.

Have you ever looked at your relationship with your husband and blamed any problems that you have on your husband...or have you blamed it all on your marriage? I have heard wives and husbands say they have marriage if the marriage itself is at fault or the marriage created the problems. Doesn't this way of thinking completely take our own responsibility out of the equation so we can just go on thinking that the problems we have are someone's (our husband's) or something's (our bad marriage's) fault? God wants us to think and see this differently. How do we, as women striving to be godly wives, think Biblically about this? I have found some great help from Dave Harvey's book, When Sinners Say I Do.

Dave Harvey says this:

What if you abandoned the idea that the problems and weaknesses in your marriage are caused by a lack of information, dedication, or communication? What if you saw your problems as they truly are: caused by a war within your own heart?

Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:15-16: "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life."

Dave Harvey continues later in his book with this statement:

We make limp justifications for our sinful behavior, and our marriage conflicts end, at best, in uneasy, partial, negotiated settlements. But once I find 1 Timothy 1:15-16 trustworthy--once I can embrace it with full acceptance--once I know that I am indeed the worst of sinners, then my spouse is no longer my biggest problem: I am. And when I find myself walking in the shoes of the worst of sinners, I will make every effort to grant my spouse the same lavish grace that God granted me.

I think that most of us have the desire for our marriage to look more and more like the picture God wants to display to a lost world...a picture of grace, forgiveness, and true self-sacrificing love. As we seek to embrace this Biblical view and live it out in our marriages, others see the example and God is glorified. But, as Dave Harvey says, “Until sin be bitter, marriage may not be sweet.”

John Owen says there are 2 things that humble the souls of men: "a due consideration of God, and then of ourselves. Of God in His greatness, glory, holiness, power, majesty, and authority; of ourselves in our mean, abject, and sinful condition."

Walking this road of humility is provided by God for us as we give due consideration to who God is and who we truly are. I want to walk this road of humility, don't you?