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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Evening Song – A Mighty Fortress Is Our God


Psalms 46:1-3  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;  Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Sew Happy Friday – Placemats Made with 2½” Strips - Jelly Rolls


Photo property of sew4home.com.

Sometimes it isn’t easy to decide what to do with pre-cuts.  Jelly rolls, or 2½” strips, are especially challenging, in my opinion, because the size and shape limits the possibilities.  If you don’t want to make a whole quilt with strips, what to do?  Little projects are a good alternative, and these placemats are a very nice idea.  These would make a refreshing change for you décor or a nice gift. 

Here is the tutorial at sew4home:

Jelly Roll Strip Placemats

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What to Do In December when You don’t Celebrate Christmas


Awhile back a reader asked what their family might do in December since they were no longer celebrating Christmas.  It seemed like it would be a good subject to write about, so here are some ideas for our fellow non-celebrators.  I wrote this at the Home Maker’s Corner under the section on Christmas-related subjects.


For those of us who don't observe Christmas, it can sometimes be a little hard to know what to do in December while everyone else (more or less) is consumed with celebrating.  We may feel alienated from our family, friends and church to some degree.  This isn't always because they don't care or are resentful (though, sadly, that does happen).  Sometimes it is simply that they don't think of it, or they don't have time to fit non-celebrators into their holiday schedules.  Being resentful or hurt about that won't help.  Since we made the choice to not celebrate, it is our responsibility to find other ways to use that time.

Here are some ideas that may help those who are still trying to figure out what to do in December.

Continue Reading.


For those who may wonder why we don’t celebrate Christmas, here is the answer from our own personal point of view.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Evening Song – I Could Not Do Without Thee

Hebrews 13:5  …he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Cades Cove, Tenn.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Sew Happy Friday – Using Your Scraps for An Improv Block

Here’s a tutorial from Melanie  Ham for making an improvisational quilt block.  This is a great way to use up scraps and strips from other projects.  Be creative and let yourself go with this.  I thought that Melanie cut off too much in some instances.  Making blocks will go faster if you just let the big pieces fill space. 

Also, I don’t think that it’s necessary to keep your 90° angle.  Really, you can sew the strips together any way you like until you have a piece large enough to cut out a block the size you want.  If you want a relatively squared look, then the 90° angle is probably a good idea, but if you want a more angular look to the finished block then it isn’t really essential to keep that in evidence.  The truth is that you could start the center with a triangle and work out to a square from there.
Anyway, just have fun with it.  And if you want to mix up the styles of the blocks, by all means go for it!

By the way, you could also incorporate some small “orphan blocks” (those left over from other projects) as the centers of these blocks.  That would be a nice way to use them up and also showcase them as individual pieces.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Random Thoughts On An Autumn Afternoon


Photo taken in Roane County Park, Tennessee, circa 2005.

I didn’t plan a particular post today, so I’m just going to ramble.  There is nothing quite so nice and chummy as a nice ramble through the Fall woods with a good friend talking and looking and breathing in the loveliness of the day and the smell of burning leaves. 

Since I can’t do that, I’ll do this instead –

This was taken two years ago shortly after we arrived in Australia, hence my somewhat disheveled look.

If I could be anywhere on earth this afternoon, I’d like to pop in at my brother and sister-in-law’s house in Australia for tea and a chat.  (I know all about the time difference, but this is just “what if”, so…)  It would be so much fun to see the things my niece and nephew are working on and talk to them about what they are learning.  It would be nice to sit down and talk with my brother and his wife about the things that are on my mind and about family news, to ask them how they are doing and what they are thinking about these days.


I have thought more than once that I’m glad my husband isn’t particular about the house décor.  He never knows what he will find “decorating” this house when he comes home from work.  Maybe it will be a handful of bean pods laid in a fancy glass bowl to dry.  Maybe it will be a selection of fossils collected from the yard and put in a beautiful glass candy dish for display. There are dried leaves and other bits in several places, and it’s not uncommon to find paper towels with seeds spread on them to dry.  Today it will be a chicken skull that was picked up in the yard and added to the candy bowl till it can be passed on to some kids who will find it interesting.  I admit it’s kind of strange, but I’m glad my husband is OK with it. :-)


Due to the lack of rain over the summer months, many areas here in Texas have had a very dry Fall and there have been wildfires.  They were asking people to remove dry plant material from around their houses to reduce the fire risk, so I have done a lot of raking and a little pruning.  We have quite a few trees that drop leaves around our house.  I think I’ve raked at least 14 piles of leaves so far.  My husband and I, with the help of my dad, removed 10+ of those piles on Saturday and put them in the garden where my dad can use them for mulch.  I was more out of shape than I thought, so I’ve been really tired between the exercise the the heat (which is, thankfully, reducing now).  I’m trying to keep on doing some yard work almost every day so that I will build back up instead of just aching! :-)  There is a good chance of rain this week, so I’m praying for rain here and in the worst hit areas.


I read this today:

Jeremiah 39:15-18  Now the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Go and speak to Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee. But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the LORD: and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid. For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD.

I think sometimes we tend to get the idea that if our country is judged by God, or if the people around us are judged by God for some reason, that we will be judged too.  But, notice that in spite of the fact that he was afraid of the Babylonians, the Lord intended to deliver Ebedmelech because he trusted in Him.  Certainly Ebedmelech suffered due to the judgment that the others received and bad things may happen to us because of other people’s choices or persecution or judgment, but let’s not jump to the conclusion that if God’s judgment falls on a nation around us, that it will automatically destroy us also.  It is certainly food for thought.  How many other examples can you think of where God protected some while His judgment was falling on others around them?  Abraham said in Genesis 18:25,  That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?


A short poem to end this ramble:

To live above
With those we love,
Oh, that will be glory;
To live below
With those we know,
Well, that’s another story.

- Author unknown

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Hiding Place – A Poem


Vintage photo from my grandparents. Taken at Kola Ndoto, Tanzania.

The Hiding Place

Have you ever wished, deep down inside
That you could find a place to hide?
To hide from folks who come your way
With endless problems day by day?
To hide from all that lies ahead,
The unseen foes and griefs you dread?
To flee decisions you must make,
Avoid the path that you must take?
To run away and find a spot
Where even self can be forgot?

Earth has no place as such you seek --
No place of refuge for the weak;
For ev'ry shelter here on earth
Soon proves to be of little worth
And we are left alone to face
The woes that plague the human race.

BUT WAIT!! The Rock of Ages -- He still stands,
A refuge from all life's demands;
A place to hide -- to weep -- to rest;
A place to hover and be blest.

For Jesus is that Rock Who stands
Holding forth His nail pierced hands --
A covert from the storm is He,
Saying, "Come, and hide in Me."

- Author unknown

Isaiah 32:1-2  Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness…And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

1 Corinthians 10:4  …and that Rock was Christ.

Psalms 32:7  Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Evening Song- Here Am I

Isaiah 6:8  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Sew Happy Friday– Vintage Style Little Girl’s Dress Tutorial


Jess at Craftiness is not Optional made this detailed tutorial on how to make a Vintage Heirloom Dress for a toddler.  Her instructions include how to make your own pattern as well as constructing the garment.  It looks very useful and could be altered for more variety.  You will need some basic sewing skills, so this isn’t necessarily for beginners – unless you happen to be adventuresome. :-)

The same instructions would work for a little girl’s dress, but for older girls you might want to lengthen the bodice a bit.

Photo property of Jess at Craftiness is not Optional.
Isn’t she cute? :-)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Tennessee Memories – Frosty Morning

Job 37:10  By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Evening Song – I’ll Meet You In the Morning

1 Thessalonians 4:17-18  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Revelation 21:16  And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Sew Happy Friday–Attic Windows Made Easy (using a panel)


Here is a tutorial from Jenny Doan of the Missiouri Star Quilt Co. showing us how to make an attic windows quilt with a panel.  This method makes it easier than the traditional method.  It should be noted that it isn’t necessary to use a panel.  You could use any feature fabric you wanted.  You could fussy cut fabrics from a theme, or just about anything you want.  A pretty hand dyed fabric in sunset colors would make it look like a sunset outside the “window”. :-)

If you do use a panel, please check to see where any faces might fall in the quilt.  I saw one of these where the face of a deer was all cut into sections and it looked rather odd.  If the faces are going to be segmented, you may want to find a different panel, or adjust your block size to accommodate that.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Monthly Challenge - October


Psalms 149:1  Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.

This month’s challenge is about music.  I was a church pianist for years, so music has been a big part of my life.  There are so many great hymns and songs that have been forgotten over the years.  There are also some great new ones being written.

So here we go!


Learn a hymn or song.


Listen to a CD, record or tape you like but haven’t listened to for awhile.


This should give the option of choosing your difficulty level. :-)

Learning a hymn or song can be as difficult or easy as you want to make it.  If you play an instrument you could learn to play something you’ve never tried before.  Most of us don’t know every hymn in the hymn book, so picking something should be relatively easy.  Or you could learn to sing a new hymn/song.  You could also make a project of memorizing the all the words of a hymn, either one you are familiar with or a new one.  If you have children, think about including them.

If you need some ideas you can look back through the things I’ve posted on Saturday nights for over a year now: Evening Songs.

Listening to something you haven’t listened to for awhile is self-explanatory.  The only question is whether you have a way to play some of the older types. :-)

And, don’t forget, as Christians we are not supposed to be selfish with our music.  We can minister to our own family, even if we feel awkward singing a solo or something in church.  My mom and dad used to sing  Christian songs to us at bed time.  Being able to sing the words distinctly in congregational singing can also be a ministry.  It may help those who are less familiar with the songs, and it can help you to sing out more since you already know the words.  Playing uplifting music in the home is also a good ministry, whether it’s on your own instrument or through pre-recorded music.  If you are single you might still find a way to share your music with someone else – a roommate or friend or perhaps a shut-in, and, of course, congregational singing.

Colossians 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

1 Corinthians 14:7  And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?

In case your excuse is that you don’t sing well:

Psalms 95:1-2  O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Word of the Month – Attributes of God: Safe


Attribute n. - a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something.

No. 10 in a series.


Proverbs 21:31  … safety is of the LORD.

There are a lot of reasons why we worry about safety.  Tragic world events remind us of the fragileness of what we might call public safety.  Crime, domestic violence, civil unrest, and various things can cause concern for personal safety of ourselves or those we know and love.  The tales of religious figures and Christian leaders who commit crimes or do evil deeds against others, especially women and children, may cause fear also. 

The fear of not being “safe” is one of the most powerful motivating factors – both for good and for evil.  Seatbelts, the abolishment of using mustard gas in war (theoretically), safety seals on jars, and so many things have happened to provide safety.  On the other extreme we see genocide and the casting out of whole groups of people who are seen as “unsafe” (the Holocaust and some refugee situations being prime examples).

The only source of real safety is the Lord.  I’m including it as an attribute because He is safe.  In the midst of all of the things that make us doubt our safety, we can know that safety is from Him.

Safety is from the Lord.

Psalms 4:8  I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

Proverbs 21:31  The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.

So many people offer plans whereby we supposedly may be “safe”.  Our families and children will be safe if we follow the plans of certain men and women.  Our nation will be safe if we will just elect so-and-so or follow a certain political ideology.  Our world will be safe if we eliminate this or that.  Our future will be safe if we make these plans or do these things.

The truth is, if the Lord doesn’t give safety, all the efforts of man are in vain.

Psalms 127:1  Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Foreseeing evil (Prv. 22:3) may have its merit, but your safety will be from the Lord regardless of what plans or measures you take.  Yes, there is a time to seek out safety (from violence, from fear, from famine, from abuse, etc.), but ultimately it is the Lord who will provide that and lead you to that.

He is safe to trust.

Proverbs 29:25  The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

Many of the reasons people fear for their safety or the safety of their families are because of the fear of man.  This is a powerful fear.  It will lead people to become refugees.  It will lead people to take their families and hide away in remote areas or cross whole continents to find a “safer” place.  It will lead people to live the lives of hermits, to leave the city or the country, to change their whole way of life, to stockpile many things.  And, to be clear, there are sometimes just reasons for these actions, but at other times there are not.

1 Thessalonians 5:3  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

Sadly, we often find that man’s plans for peace and safety only lead to destruction.  The survivalist movement is largely based upon the fear of man and man’s plan to answer that.  Many parents who have tried to raise their children with the perfect formula to produce “good, godly adults” have found to their sorrow that the end was destructive in some way or another.  People have fled to far places in search of safety only to find that they are not welcome or that their safety is not guaranteed in the place where they ended up.

Psalms 118:8  It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

There is also the problem of political and military plans that are supposed to bring us “safety”.  If we could just elect this person or that person, or have a change of government, or conquer this enemy then everything would be safe.

Psalms 33:16-19  There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.

The host of soldiers and the horse is the equivalent of modern day military might.  The modern machines and armies are just as vain for safety as the horse and hosts, as history has proven over and over again.

Fearing man is a snare – a trap.  It will lead us to do things that are extreme and not profitable for us, our families or our nations/tribes.  It can get us into all kinds of trouble. 

By contrast, putting our trust in the Lord is safe.  No matter where we are or what evil men we fear, if we are trusting the Lord we are safe.  No, it does not guarantee that nothing “bad” will ever happen to us or our families, but when we are in God’s will – trusting Him – He will lead us and keep us and only allow such things as He sees fit to come to us. 

Sometimes it’s hard to grasp that, isn’t it?  But, we are safe in His hand.

Psalms 119:117  Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.

We can also trust Him with our enemies and those who would do us evil. 

Psalms 12:5  For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.

He is able to overthrow the enemy, as the history of Israel shows us in scripture.  Other times, He allows the enemy to conquer for His own reasons, and sometimes keeps His own safe even in the midst of that, as with Daniel and his friends who survived and lived successfully in the court of Babylon.  Sometimes we fear terribly what might become of us in some situation, and yet God is able to overrule the wicked if He sees fit.

Our future is safe with the Lord.

Psalms 78:52-53  But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.

Sometimes the place that God leads us may look very dangerous.  Walking into that parted Red Sea must have been frightening to some of the Israelites, but it was the safest way for them to go, the only way of safety actually.  As they stood on that shore with their enemies behind them and this strange way through a sea before them, the future must not have looked very safe to them.  But, it was because it was the Lord’s way.

The Red Sea

When the Children of Israel crossed the sea,
It comforts my heart to know
That there must have been timorous ones
Who faltered and feared to go;

Feared the ribbon of road which stretched
Ahead like a narrow track,
With the waves piled high on either side,
And nothing to hold them back.

Nothing to hold them back but a Hand
They could neither see nor feel;
Their God seemed distant and far away,
And only the peril real.

Yet the fearful ones were as safe as the brave,
For the mercy of God is wide.
Craven, and fearless,
He led them all
Dry shod to the other side.

And I think of the needless terror and pain
We bring, to our own Red Sea.
Strengthen Thy timorous ones, dear Lord,
And help us to trust in Thee!

Martha Snell Nicholson.

I remember a story from a missionary to Surinam, from years ago.  There was a witch doctor, or whatever they called him, who was angry at the presence of the Gospel there and he planned a display of his Satanic power to impress the people.  Word was put out that he would walk on broken glass and walk in a fire.  (Fire walks seem to be fairly common demonstrations of devilish power.)  The missionary heard that some of the weaker Christians had gone to this event and the Spirit of God moved him to act.  He went to the devil dance, and under the power of God he took off his shoes and socks, walked through the glass and stamped out the fire.  Then he stood there, unharmed, and rebuked the Christians who were present for their unfaithfulness and distrust of the power of God.  From a human standpoint, that seems like a very dangerous place for him to be, and it was.  But, in the power and will of God he was completely safe, just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in the fiery furnace and Daniel was in the lion’s den.

The far future is completely safe with the Lord as well.

Zechariah 14:4, 10-11  And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south…All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses.  And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.

It has been many a long year since Jerusalem was safely inhabited, but God has promised to bring this again with the return of Jesus Christ.

Most importantly, it is safe to trust Him with our eternal salvation, which is almost too far in the future to comprehend.

Proverbs 18:10  The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

Romans 10:13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

The name of the Lord Jesus Christ becomes our strong tower of safety when we call upon Him for our salvation.  His name alone is the safe hiding place of our souls.

"For Thou Art With Me"

I know not when I go, nor where,
From this familiar scene;
But Christ is here and He is there
And all the way between;

And, when I pass from all I know
To that dim, vast unknown,
Though late I stay, or soon I go,
I shall not go alone.

By Annie Johnson Flint [altered]

Lastly, there is safety in knowing God’s word and wisdom.

One thing that can preserve us from the snare of trusting men, following men’s plans, and fearing what the future may hold, is to know God’s word and to follow the wisdom He has given us through it.

Philippians 3:1  Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

Reading, studying and teaching God’s word over and over again will give that safety of knowing what He really did say.  By this we will have the ability to examine what men say.  Acts 17:11  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

We find the wisdom of God speaking in Proverbs 1:31-33,  Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.  But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

Then we read in Proverbs 3:21-23,  My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.

All of this means work and study.  We cannot expect to know the will of God and the wisdom of God if we do not know the word of God.

2 Timothy 2:15-16  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.


To paraphrase an old poem:

Safe, so very safe with God,
Safer I cannot be,
For in the person of His Son,
I’m just as safe as He.

Hebrews 7:24-25  But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.  Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Evening Song - You Are My Hiding Place


Psalms 32:7  Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Just for Fun – Camping Tent Song

The Okee Dokee Brothers, “Campin’ Tent”.  (The Okee Dokee Brothers produce music for kids and families and one of their stated goals is to get families to enjoy the outdoors and nature more.)

Another reason why camping is not one of my favorite things: