Posts filed under ‘Holidays’

Lent Table of Contents

These crosses were made by CNC’s K-1 Sunday school classes in 2013.

I am going to celebrate Lent again this year (2018). I thought it would be helpful, if I gathered all my posts in one spot.

2 Sentences About Lent

3 Reasons to Celebrate Lent

Ash Wednesday Quiz

I Missed Shrove Tuesday but I Didn’t Miss Ash Wednesday

Lent Begins Today (2006)

Lent Reflections Through Lenten Carnival

Lent Quiz

Lenten Ideas to Help Us Focus on and Become More Like Jesus

Lenten Reflection: Who Am I?

My First Ash Wednesday Service

Your Turn . . .  How and why do you celebrate Lent? 

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How Ice Cream is Like Church

#NationalIceCreamDay – Ice cream and church do go together. … In full disclosure, ice cream was eaten in the making of this advertisement.

“Ice cream brings people together.” ~ Doug Ducey

“Summer would not be summer without Ice-cream. Ice-cream is the favorite currency of love.” ~ Puck

“Ice cream is the perfect buffer, because you can do things in a somewhat lighthearted way. Plus, people have an emotional response to ice cream; it’s more than just food. So I think when you combine caring, and eating wonderful food, it’s a very powerful combination.” ~ Jerry Greenfield

We had all kinds of ice cream: Fudgsicles, Firecrackers, Magnums, ice cream sandwiches, It’s It, cups of vanilla and swirl, and Outshine fruit bars to name a few.

#NationalIceCreamDay is on the calendar once a year. For 2017, July 16th is that day. Since that day is a Sunday, CNC celebrated National Ice Cream Day. Why?

  • It brings people together.
  • It is fun.
  • It is cool. (Pun intended.)
  • It really IS A currency of love. (I grew up in a home where food = love.)

I love that we encouraged people to bring a box of their favourite ice cream TO CHURCH. I like that we encouraged folks to take photos and post them on social media with the appropriate hash tag. And I believe that celebrating ice cream is like celebrating church.

  • Church brings people together.
  • Church is cool.
  • People have an emotional response to church. (Love is just one response.)
  • Church is more than a building or a body of people. It is a place full of God’s presence.

This daddy-daughter duo is cool as they celebrate this National Day.

Church and ice cream have other similarities. Going to church, like eating ice cream, can be a bad experience because . . .

  • The people or ingredients could be rotten.
  • The experience of either/both didn’t meet expectations.
  • There is a bad fit.
  • Someone is just not in the mood for the ice cream or church.

And to that last remark I say a resounding, “Hogwash!” I am always in the mood for ice cream (either Breyer’s Natural Vanilla Ice Cream or Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia). And I am always in the mood for church. Well to be more precise, I am always in the mood to savour God’s Presence.

When we are consistently not in the mood to go to church, let’s PRAY and talk with someone. When our church experience tastes rotten, doesn’t fit our expectations, or isn’t a good fit, let’s PRAY and talk with someone, someone wise. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Although church is filled with people who are imperfect (like me) and who do selfish things (like me), church can still be a positive, uplifting, loving time with God and the people there.

You can eat ice cream in the sanctuary, Rudat Hall, or even in the kitchen.

There are so many GREAT churches in my area. There are a lot of great churches in your area, too. Have you prayed about what to look for in a church? Read 5 Reasons I Love My Church.

And I am adding a 6th reason I love my church. We do silly, fun, connecting things like celebrating National Ice Cream Day.

Next year, come join us! Or better yet, celebrate church with us every Sunday. Join us because it is inclusive, cool, loving and a place FULL of God’s Presence.

Messy is a good look when it come to “ice cream” messy.

Your Turn . . . 

  • How did you celebrate National Ice Cream Day?
  • What is your favourite ice cream flavour?
  • In your opinion, how are ice cream and church alike?
  • What are some favourite things about your church?
  • And if your name is Becky, come to CNC this Sunday.
  • Amanda, thanks for this “messy” photo.

Advice from Jerry Greenfield (co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s  Homemade Holdings, Inc..

“You should not be replacing more than one meal a day with ice cream. We do not consider a pint or a tub of ice cream to be a single serving.”

This is advice I may or may not take.

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CNC Christmas Year Round – Sewing for OCC Boxes

We had lots of gorgeous material to use for our dresses.

Join us as we sew items for our Operation Christmas Child (OCC) boxes.

  • Our current projects are: Cloth pads with bags, pillowcase dresses, small bags and dolls.
  • We meet once a month at Cordova Neighborhood Church, 6:00pm. The dates are as follows: May 19 … June 29 … July 28 … August 25 … September 29 …. October 20.
  • Have questions? Contact Lucy Baptista. Or leave a comment here.

Don’t sew? Don’t want to come out on a Friday night to put together these items?

  • There is a way for you to be involved.
  • We are collecting items for OCC boxes.

THANKS so much to those of you who donated during April.

During May we are collecting assorted items. Drop off at the Church.

  • Marbles, jacks or Legos to fill the small bags we’ve sewed.
  • Brightly coloured cotton material with matching bias tape. 2 yards of material is enough for one pillow case dress and matching doll.
  • Shoe boxes: either empty card board shoe boxes or quality plastic boxes (the size of a shoe box).

Of course you can still drop off non-liquid personal care items: comb, hair brushes, toothbrush with holder, soap with holder, flash light with extra batteries, etc. NO TOOTHPASTE.

Our Facebook group address is as follows: https://www.facebook.com/groups/402694376774970/

Your Turn . . .

  1. Do you participate in OCC?
  2. If you make items for your box(es), what do you make?

Related Resources . . .

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Fall Bucket List Update – November

Yosemite's regal Ahwahnee Hotel had some amazing centerpieces during Thanksgiving weekend. ‪#‎GratitudeScavengerHunt‬ . . . This photo went into the "Something I'm grateful for that tastes good" category.

Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel had amazing centerpieces Thanksgiving weekend. ‪#‎GratitudeScavengerHunt‬ –  This photo went into the “Something I’m grateful for that tastes good” category.

How well do you finish all the things on your bucket lists? I am great at writing them, but have troubles finishing. Well, not this month. This month, I finished all the things I wanted to!!!

Below is the original November list and some details about the item.

ONE. Read – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens before seeing the play. TRUTH DISCLAIMER – I didn’t actually read the book, but I listened to a free audio version. Except for kids books, I have never listened to an audio book. I thought I would do some work while listening to this story, but I ended up sitting in my chair on 3 different occasions just listening. This was quite enjoyable and I will do this again.

I also read a book about gratitude: Choosing Gratitude: Learning to Love the Life you Have by James A Autry. Here is my recap post about that book.

TWO. Field Trip – Go see A Christmas Carol: The Musical with the PEP group at Folsom Lake College. This was a fun night out with 9 women and 2 men. The acting, staging and music were a delight.

THREE. Write Another Bucket List – Write a Singles Thanksgiving Bucket List and do at least a few of the items.

Before Thanksgiving or during Thanksgiving weekend, I did numbers One (Watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving) Five (Made silverware holders), Six (Made this prayer pumpkin)Seven (Scavenger Gratitude Walk), Eight (I gave our waitress a BIG tip.) and Ten (Made a snowman ornament, but not the block one. I used these directions.

This spot in Yosemite didn't have much snow Thanksgiving weekend, but it was beautiful and cold!

This spot in Yosemite didn’t have much snow Thanksgiving weekend, but it was beautiful and cold!

FOUR. Celebrate Thanksgiving in a new way – We won’t be going to the beach this year. I had the joy of Thanksgiving at my sister’s home. It was a merry and tasty time. And then I spent Friday and Saturday in Yosemite with my daughter.

FIVE. Make grown up Advent calendar. See this online Advent calendar. Here is an advent chain to make. Advent November 29 (ends December 24).

I made an Advent Prayer Wreath. The base is a felt quilled wreath kit I picked up from Michaels last year after Christmas. I cut out 24 extra leaves. Each day I will write a name on one leaf and pray for that person. And then I will glue the leaf onto my wreath.

All the numbers started off upside down. As each day comes and I finish the daily "project", the number will be righted.

All the numbers start off upside down. As each day comes and I finish the daily “project”, the number will be righted.

I also made a magnetic tree ornament advent calendar. I got the directions from here.

I decided to read several advent books.

SIX. Donate something extra. Operation Christmas Child is something I always do. And I did it again this year. To add to the joy of doing this project, my daughter-in-law also did this with me. Together we filled 20 boxes.

Here are some posts about Operation Christmas Child . . . Everyone Can Help One Child . . . Grateful I am Able to Help  . . . I Help Because I am a Parent, Auntie, and Missionary . . . Love in a Box . . . My Plan to Collect 55 OCC Boxes 

SEVEN. Try a new pumpkin recipe. A friend (Michelle) and I made a paleo pumpkin and tomato soup. I made a 2nd batch and put some into the freezer.

Your Turn . . . Have you done anything mew this past month? Or something that helped you celebrate Fall?

Related Posts . . .

 

 

 

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Prayer Pumpkin

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This is my take on a prayer pumpkin.

Do you pin many ideas to Pinterest? Do you do many of the things you’ve saved? Every once in a while I do! The latest thing I crafted was from my Fall Pinterest Board. It combined three things I love – Fall decor, puff paint, and prayer.

I created a prayer pumpkin.

The original post is here at Coffee with Us 3. Jamie used real mini pumpkins and a metallic sharpie to write names on the pumpkins. Read her post for all the details and to see her finished work. Leave her a comment while you are there.

I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on this project. So I went to the Dollar Store and bought one of those BRIGHT orange foam pumpkins. Boy, was it bright! Here is how I transformed if from BRIGHT to just right.

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This craft cost $1 as I already had the bottles of paint.

  • I toned down the orange by dry brushing on brown acrylic paint and wiping most of it off.
  • Then in a few spots, I dry brushed orange and yellow acrylic paint over the brown.
  • Again I wiped most of it off.
  • Using puff paint I divided my pumpkin into 7 sections.
  • I wrote the days of the week at the top.
  • And in each section I wrote what I am praying for that day.

I have never prayed according to day before. So I spent time brainstorming what could go in each section. The list I narrowed it down to as follows.

Here is the bottom of my pumpkin.

Here is the bottom of my pumpkin.

  1. Sunday – Church, Love God, Love Others, Harvest
  2. Monday – Christian & Missionary Alliance District Office and Head Quarters
  3. Tuesday – Small Groups, KidMin, PEP, Women’s Ministry (What I’m involved in at work/church)
  4. Wednesday –  My Friends
  5. Thursday – Family, Relatives, Their Friends
  6. Friday – Governments
  7. Saturday – Missionaries (I miss spelled that on my pumpkin)
  8. Every day  – on the bottom of the pumpkin – Godson, Grand daughter, My Kids, Facebook needs (a main reason I am on fb), and BUFF (my diabetic support group)

This is an easy craft and prayer project to do with any age.  Instead of puff paint which might be hard for the younger kiddos to use, try letter, word or picture stickers. Of course the 7 sections are optional. You could do what Jamie did and devote one pumpkin to each family or group/need.

I love this newest addition to my Fall decor collection. And I am intrigued to see how this new way of praying goes.

Your Turn . . . What do you think of this idea? If you make one, please link back to your project as I’d love to see your take on a prayer pumpkin. . . . Have you ever prayed certain things for each day of the week? If yes, what was your experience? Do you have any tips?  

I am linking up with Works For Me Wednesday hosted by Giving Up On Perfect. Be sure to go there to check out all the other ideas.

Related Posts . . . 

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Singles Thanksgiving Bucket List

My version of the prayer pumpkin

My version of the prayer pumpkin. Read #6 to know what I am talking about.

Sometimes single people don’t get to spend the holiday with family or friends. It is more of a solo event. But even if that is true, we can still celebrate and celebrate well. I’ve seen lots of Thanksgiving Bucket List ideas for families, but none for singles. Below is a list of some things to do, if you are alone this Thanksgiving. Of course, these ideas would work for couples or groups of people as well.

  1. Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Youtube has this 25 minute video here. After you have watched the video, take this quiz.
  2. Watch one of these motivational  movies (all on Amazon Instant Video) – Ring the BellFaith Like Potatoesor The Ultimate Life
  3. Write a gratitude letter. Or better yet start your own gratitude project. Here is my original list. The main point is to tell someone thanks and why you are grateful for them.
  4. Eat a festive meal. Of course the traditional turkey and stuffing works. But if that sounds too time- and labour-intensive, make a shepherd’s pie with ground turkey and mashed sweet potatoes. Here is my recipe.
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    I printed the silverware holder on orange paper.  Isn’t it cute?

    Add decorative table touches. Fresh flowers put into a faux pumpkin (or even real pumpkin) are very nice. But you could also make your decorations. For instance these silverware holders are easy to make: Print, cut, glue. We made and used these at our October Secret Sister Reveal Party.

  6. Pray. Praying ad-lib or using a prayer prompt are some standard ways of praying. But what about adding faux or real pumpkins to your table decor and using them as a prompt? Of course you are confused. So go read this post about prayer pumpkins.
  7. Take a walk. Enjoy the scenery. Say hello to other folks who are out. But you can add something special to your time outdoors by taking yourself on a gratitude scavenger hunt. Go here for directions to this activity. 
  8. Execute a Random Act of Kindness. At this post I give 20 RAK ideas. At this one, I list 10 RAK ideas.
  9. Read. Choose your favourite genre or something . . . . funny . . . encouraging . . . or heart-warming.
  10. Craft. A holiday is made better when crafting time is allowed. What about making a Christmas ornament? I have a ton of ornament ideas at this Pinterest board. I make snowman ornaments with my family (almost) every year, I am thinking about making this block snowman ornament especially since I still have my kiddos’ wooden alphabet blocks.
  11. Put up your holiday decorations. Turn on some holiday music and turn your place into a winter wonderland.
  12. Watch a Christmas movie. Here is an idea . . .  Paper AngelsNow that you are at the end of your day, watch a movie. Here is my post 3 Reasons to Watch Christmas Movies.
  13. Insert your idea here. What would you add to this list of things a single person can do to spark up what could otherwise be a lonely holiday?

Your Turn . . . Will you be doing any of these activities?  . . . What would you add to this list?

Related Posts . . .

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4 Things I Learned By Making Peanut Butter Cookies with Spiders on Top

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My Best Advice: Read the Directions WELL!!!

Several years ago I read this recipe for peanut butter spider cookies that Kristan from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen came up with. There were so adorable I HAD to make them.

I made these at my sister’s house where my nieces, sista, and brother-in-law got into the baking action. Lots of fun ensued and I learned four things.

1. Read the Directions. By not fully reading the directions I bought the wrong size Reece’s Peanut butter cups. This recipe called for the mini-sized dudes. While the chocolate fix is greater with the regular-sized peanut butter cups, the cookie also needs to be bigger.

So instead of using a tablespoon as my scoop, I used an ice cream scoop in order to make the cookies big enough to hold the bigger chocolate body. I also needed to bake the cookies at least 15 minutes instead of the original 10 minutes.

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Even though this auntie was unprepared because of NOT reading the directions ahead of  time, there were still plenty of smiles. And the cookies were delish!

2. Read the directions. By not fully reading the directions I bought the wrong kind of licorice. I foolishly thought that you could peel apart the strands from chocolate-flavored Twizzlers. Nope.

We ended up slicing 3 inch pieces in half – length-wise  –  and then in half again. They weren’t perfect legs, but good enough. Of course this took way more work and time than if I had bought  the correct licorice (as suggested by this recipe).

Because of the extra work involved, we decided that our spiders would have only 6 legs.

3. Read the directions. By not fully reading the directions I did not have the necessary “cementing” tools. I thought the licorice was poked into the peanut butter bodies. You can do that, which is what we did. BUT…. It takes longer and doesn’t always look that great.

We finally thought of using peanut butter to cement the candy eyeballs to the peanut butter cup. Chocolate candy melts or melted chocolate chips were suggested in the recipe.

It is a little messy to use peanut butter. And on our cookies you can see some peanut butter cement leaking out the side.

4. Read the Directions. By not fully reading the directions, the peanut butter cups melted. We put the peanut butter cups on the hot/warm cookie and the peanut butter cups melted. Still looked cool, but not as cool as when the bodies are more distinct.

They turned out cute. But to make quality ones, the work involved was too much. So we made 6 BIG cookies for the youth bake sale. And then the family members each made some for personal consumption. We decorated our cookies with our own ideas of what looked spooky.

By the end of the night everyone was happy with their creations. And it was fun. One of the teens said, “We should do this more often.”

NOTE. This is an old post that I forgot to publish. I am cleaning out my old drafts and came upon this.

Your Turn . . .

  • Have you ever had a mishap because of not reading the directions well before cooking/baking/crafting???
  • What festive Halloween recipe are you serving up this year?

Related Posts . . . 

Note: These cookies were made and photographed in 2012. Somehow this post got lost in my draft archives. But since they are still a great cookie to make for the Fall, I am posting this today.

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Lenten Ideas to Help Us Focus on and Become More Like Jesus

On Lent Eve (AKA Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras) I ate pancakes and decided my Lenten plan. And I wrote about the following: When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different? What am I preparing for? (Question by Rachel Held.)

On Lent Eve (AKA Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras) I ate pancakes and decided my Lenten plan.  . . . .  And I wrote about the following: . . . . . When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different? What am I preparing for? (Question by Rachel Held Evans.)

I dabble in Lent. For the past 8 years I’ve done various things: given something up (social media, unnecessary spending), added something (usually a spiritual discipline), donated (money and items) to a good cause, and prayed more. I don’t attend a liturgical church, so I don’t really know what I am doing.

In my past Lenten observances, I’ve never done well at fasting. I’ve never spent extra time in confession. And come to think of it, many of my other attempts were also lame.

But I did these “lame” things to prepare myself for Easter. And while they were done imperfectly and probably incorrectly, I did achieve my goal. By the time Easter came around, I was more focused on the Redeemer of my soul, Jesus. My thoughts & actions were a little more like His.

Here is a cool video about Lent. It is only 1 minute 15 seconds. “Lent is not a list of Catholic Resolutions nor is it a Catholic Endurance Test. . . . It is a campaign for holiness. Instead of giving up chocolate, how about giving up sin.” OUCH!

This year I am keeping it simple. The idea generator in me wants to add a bunch of things to this list. But I typically over-estimate my available time, energy, and resources. So there are only 3 things on my list.

(1) I am giving up negativity in all forms: pessimism . . . uncalled for anger . . .  criticism . . . complaining . . . worry . . . gossip . . . impatience . . . swearing . . . mean talk . . . pride . . . discouragement . . . hyper independence . . .  and victim- and scarcity-thinking. . . . I want to be purposeful about my thoughts and about what comes out of my mouth.

I don’t normally have a problem with negativity, but I think these next 40 days will show how well I really do or don’t do in this area.

(2) I am adding in Gratitude. I will write down one thing I am grateful for every day. And I want to be more purposeful abut looking for God’s presence in my life and in the world. I am sure this will give me many things to write on my gratitude list.

(3) I will read only about Jesus. I want my thoughts to be more focused on Him. Right now I have the following books in mind.

Here are some other Lent ideas. As I get the time and energy, I will pop into the following links and try one or two of their ideas.

40 Days of Prayer Doodling.  This is a visual, concrete,and different way to pray.

40 Days of Signs & Symbols.  Each day a different sign or symbol from Christian history or art and its meaning will be posted. Your challenge is to consider its meaning for you today OR post a picture of something you saw today with a similar meaning OR share a thought as you reflect on this symbol.

40 Ideas for Lent Rachel Held Evans has compiled a list of 40 ideas to help us in this season of reflection, penitence, and preparation. I especially like how she starts off the list with 5 questions. If nothing else, do the 5 questions.

A Lent Where #BlackLivesMatter: 10 Ideas for Black History Month and the White Church. Use the Lenten season to truly immerse yourself in Black history and the current reality of people of color… if a white congregation has truly observed Black History month, then it will have naturally found itself wading, likely deeper than ever before, into the themes of Lent, that season of self-examination and repentance.

Declutter 40 Bags. Focus on getting the unnecessary stuff out in one spot per day. Don’t go nuts and tackle five spots because you want to prove something. Don’t get all bummed out because you missed a day (or ten). Just focus on one. spot. per. day.

Do Lent Generously. 55,000+ people are doing 40 days of giving back, doing good and living generously.

An infographic list of 20 odd ideas for teens (or anyone really).

Lenten Wilderness Meditation Practice. Every day for 40 days, we invite you to spend 10-20 minutes OUTSIDE in prayer/meditation/just being (rain or shine)!

Photography. InstaLent Photo Challenge or this photo-a-day project.

Write 40 Encouraging Notes. 

Your Turn . . .

  • If you’re participating in Lent this year, what will it look like?
  • Have you tried any of the above ideas?
  • What would you add to the list?

Related Posts . . . Read about my 1st Ash Wednesday here.

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5 Ways to Make Someone’s Day on Valentine’s Day

This card was made by my friend Gillian.

Valentine’s Day and even the whole week is so hard for some. It can be hard whether you are in a relationship or not. For many people, there is rejection baggage connected to this festive day.

At this post I told how I got over some majour Valentine’s Day heartache. I shared how I made this formerly HARD holiday not so hard. At this post I shared 20 Ways I Handled My Breaking Heart (from divorce).

Because my healing has in large part been the result of actions and words from others, I want to write about how I (we) can make someone’s day this Valentine’s Day. This will impact their week and maybe even life.

I was inspired by this post.

Usually, dejected folks fill this day with tear-jerker movies, chocolate, and other mood-altering foods, and of course with moaning and groaning. Let’s do something different!!!

Here are my 5 Ways to Make Someone’s Day Special.

ONE. Be hospitable. Invite a friend or more over for a meal. Serve comfort food, have a potluck, or offer an array of cheese, crackers, and fruit. Eating with others can be the best tonic for a sad heart. Add some conversation and a game or two and you have a recipe for a heart-warming evening.

Read posts I’ve written about hospitality. (1)  3 Ways to Encourage Others Year Round (2) Hospitality Field Trip Refreshes and Teaches

TWO. Tackle a huge project together. There is a sense of awe and gratitude when something BIG is DONE. You also have great memories of working together and feelings of satisfaction.

Ideas include:

  • a room makeover – even something like painting the walls is so mood-altering in a good and lasting way.
  • Enter a valentine Run. Here is one in my area.
  • Declutter a room or boxes of photos.
  • Spend a day volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. Here is the link for Sacramento. 

Read about this project I did with others . . .  CNC Sewing Project.

THREE. Be Silly. This day is normally seen as a romantic day full of serious talk about commitment, compliments, and gifts. But when it is a rotic day (romantic without the man), there is no romance. So why not make it a meaningful and silly day.

  • Indulge in a secret persona. Wear fake mustaches or fake tattoos. Dress up as a superhero and go to lunch. Last year I had a sparkly unicorn painted on my cheek at a child’s tea party. Do you know that NO ONE said anything as I did my errands that day? NO ONE! But I felt silly and light-hearted.
  • Watch I Love Lucy reruns. Laugh at the silly antics.
  • Play with bubbles. Make a gigantic wand. Get coloured or scented bubbles. Go to this Pinterest board for a BUNCH of ideas. Or this one has good ideas too.
  • Give a bouquet to your friend, but not one of flowers. How about a bouquet of nail polish, tools, glow sticks, or balloons. The Dollar Store is a great resource for finding balloons and unusual items. Kids (of all ages) enjoy these. NOTE: Is it harmful if you breathe some of the helium and talk in a Donald Duck voice? It certainly is silly.
  • How about soaking each other in silly string? It’s called silly for a reason.

Read this silly post . . . 5 Silly Reasons for Gratitude.

Read other posts I’ve written about laughter. (1) Laughter Has My Gratitude (2) Laughter Quiz (3) How to Be Happy, Healthy and Holy

FOUR. Do Random Acts of Kindness (RAK’s) together. Lots of folks do RAK’s as part of their birthday celebration or during a holiday season. How about doing this on Valentine’s Day? Getting out of our own life and comfort zone into the life of someone else is a sure antidote to the blues. And it sure encourages others.

Here are lots of IDEAS for RAK’s at my Pinterest board.

NOTE: Wouldn’t it be fun to put a page like this in a public restroom or on a public bulletin board? I got the idea from here.   

Read this post I’ve written about RAK’s: Pay It Forward – New Theme for the 12 Days of Christmas.

FIVE. Have a mini worship service. Plan out a time of prayer, singing, and praise. You could even listen to a podcast. Share what you most appreciate about God and ways you’ve seen His faithfulness in the last year. Light lots of candles. Be sure to have some yummy food. Food and fellowship always go together, right?

Read this post about worship . . . Two Results of Proper WORSHIP & How to Experience It.

Your Turn . . . What will you do this Valentine’s Day to cheer up someone?  . . . Share something that has helped make this day not so hard for you.

Related Internet Post . . . How a Table for Two Becomes a Table for Many

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3 Ways I Made My Day Special on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day and even the whole week is hard for some. It can be hard whether you are in a relationship or not. For many there is rejection baggage connected to this festive day.

I know. For years I’ve had issues with this holiday. It was 14 years ago, the weekend after Valentine’s Day, when my (now former) husband told me he wanted a divorce. So for many years I’ve relived that rejection every Valentine’s Day. Now I don’t feel that pain.

I did three things.

  1.  I concentrated on telling myself the truth. I am not perfect but I am lovable. God, the Bible, and important, healthy people (in my current life) tell me so.  . . .  I have a list of Bible verses that I frequently read.  . . . I practiced believing people when they complimented me.  . .  .  I went to therapy and coaching to sort out the lies from the truth.  . . .  I also did the things mentioned in this post: 20 Ways I Handled My Breaking Heart (from divorce)
  2. I made different memories on Valentine’s Day and week. It helps that one of my nieces was born on February 14th. Each year we have an ice cream waffle breakfast and a family dinner that night. I also do special things for myself that week  . . .  craft . . . watch Oscar nominated movies . . .  and spend more time with folks who LIKE me.
  3. I made other people the focus. . . .  I sent kiddy Valentine’s cards – because they are silly people smiled when they opened them up. . . .  I did Random Acts of Kindness. . . .  I called up some folks I haven’t talked to in a while.

Read the post 5 Ways to Make Someone’s Day.

Your Turn

  • What is your attitude regarding Valentine’s Day? Thumbs up or thumbs down?
  • If it is thumbs down, what can you do to change your perspective and thus feeling about this week and day?
  • What action step will you take today?
  • Go read this Anti-Valentine’s Party post. This could be a fun way to spend Valentine’s Day.

Related posts. 

 

 

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3 Ways to Encourage Others Year Round

Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Birthdays are natural times of the year to think about others. I like to give gifts or write things in the card that encourage the recipient. Don’t you? But encouraging others doesn’t have to be, nor should it be, limited to these publicly endorsed times. 

Henry Ford once said that “the ability to encourage others is one of life’s finest assets.”

So let’s work on encouraging others more regularly. But besides the obvious way of giving a gift, what else can we do that shows our affection and thanks?  What are other ways to encourage those special folks in our lives?

If you don’t know about the 5 love languages, go here for an explanation. To order the book by Gary Chapman go here. “Talking” a specific love language to each person can make a big difference in how well each one feels loved and of course encouraged. 

Besides speaking love languages, here are three ways to encourage others. 

ONE. FAITH. Did you know that we can encourage each other by sharing our faith? “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours, ( Romans 1:12, New Living Translation). In a face-to-face conversation, through electronic media, or with pen and paper, share about your faith with someone else.

  • Reveal how God has helped you in personal growth.
  • Tell how Scripture has helped you meet a challenge.
  • Go over a past sermon or Bible study and expound on the encouraging bits.
  • Expose how a faith crisis actually brought you closer to God.

Read other posts I’ve written in faith. (1) Mother Teresa’s Faith Crisis: Similar to Mine? (2) 5 Reasons to be Grateful to God (3) How to Get Out of the Gutter

TWO. HOSPITALITY. What is hospitality? Merriam Webster says it is (1) generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests. (2) the activity of providing food, drinks, etc. for people who are the guests. Richard Krejcir adds to this by writing,  Hospitality is a willingness to share, with discernment, what God has given us, including our family, home, finances, and food.”   

Ever notice how you feel when given especially gracious hospitality? I feel welcome, liked, and special. I leave that person’s company feeling encouraged! I bet you do too. So today be hospitable by being generous and friendly to others with . . .

  • Food
  • Time
  • Family – Share your family with others.  Being with family (doesn’t even have to be your own) feels so comfortable and healing
  • Affection.

Read other posts I’ve written on hospitality. (1) My cooking means someone died? (2) How Messy Is Too Messy or When Is It Clean Enough To Have Folks Over? (3) Hospitality Field Trip Refreshes and Teaches.

THREE. PRAYER. I simply talk to God about someone.

Many times I let that person know I am praying for them. I am encouraged when others tell me. I tell them through a . . .

  • Text
  • Private Facebook message
  • Postcard or card
  • Phone call

Read other posts I’ve written on prayer. (1) Prayer Impacts Us in 5 Ways (2) 10 Benefits of Praying With a Group (3) Know Why God Answers Prayer?

Your Turn . . . What is your favourite way to give encouragement? Receive encouragement?

Related Posts . . . 

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C: Easy to Make CLAY Crosses Using Homemade Dough

These crosses were made by kiddos in the Kindergarten/1st Grade Class

These crosses were made by kiddos in the Kindergarten/1st Grade Class.

Homemade clay is easy to make, inexpensive, and can be used in a variety of crafts and art projects. And there are many recipes available, even gluten-free ones. Since my daughter wasn’t participating and no one else is gluten intolerant, I used wheat flour.

I recently made up a salt, four dough for the kiddos in our Sunday program at church. I used 2 cups flour, ½ cup salt, and 1 cup water. I ran out of white flour so I used up some old wheat pastry flour (that I was afraid to use for baking). It made the crosses look like they were made out of stone. I think it was because of the flecks of wheat in the flour.

These are some of the crosses from the 4th/5th Grade class.

These are crosses made by Gavin (5th Grader).

Previously when making this salt dough clay, I’ve used food dye to colour it. Gail Bartel (from That Artist Woman) suggests using acrylic paints. So I tried that. I like using the acrylics better than food dye.

  • There is a wider range of colours.
  • And the paint didn’t stain my hands, counter, or clothes. Yes, I can get that messy!

The clay was successfully used by the preschool to 5th graders to make crosses.

I love how each cross is so distinctly different. These are made from another student in the 4th/5th grade class.

I love how each cross is so distinctly different. These 4 crosses are made by Eliana (4th grade).

The bead and clay cross instructions and examples from Gail are found here.

 We will make these again next year.

  • We might make some of them into magnets.
  • And I will test to see if these would hold up as a rear view mirror decoration.

Your Turn . . . Share a project you’ve made using homemade clay dough.

Related Posts . . .

  1. 4 Types of Home-Made Ornaments Using Decoupage, Dough, Clay, & Fabric
  2. Grateful for Creativity and Life
NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.
During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.
Today’s letter is C. The topic is the Homemade CLAY Dough.

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