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34 days…beauty is fleeting

Geeze Louise….in 34 days, I will be 40.  Yowza! 

Beauty is Fleeting 

(The older I get, and the older I look & feel, the more I realize that is sooooo true!  Wrinkles are appearing where once skin was smooth….arms that were once more fit and now slightly flabby….) 

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” 

I Samuel 16:7b says “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 

In 1 Peter 3:3-6, we read “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.” 

In 40 years, I have seen many beautiful women.  Women that seemed to have it all together.  Perfect skin.  Perfect figure.  Perfect teeth, hair, clothes…everything.  But they were horribly ugly on the inside.  They were mean, deceitful, liars, gossips, full of negativity, hate, greed….. 

And yet, the opposite can be true too.  You can meet the most loving, kind, compassionate, normal looking woman and she will truly be beautiful.  She simply ooozes beauty.  She is joyful.  She is merciful.  She possesses the fruits of the Spirit and God’s love shines through her.  Galatians 5:22&23  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” 

How much time do I spend a day getting ready?  Showering?  Doing my makeup & hair? 

How much time do I spend daily in God’s word? 

…something to think about…

2010 {stretch} (& day 35)

2010  {stretch} 

What will my “word for 2010” be?  (one little word–inspired by ali edwards)

In 2008, I began my new lifestyle of counting calories, working out, and getting healthy & strong. 

So, for 2009, I wanted to “refocus & renew”.  Not on my physical, but my spiritual. 

As I began to think about my word for 2010…I finally decided upon “stretch”. 

I tried to think of a word that sums up how I want to live in 2010.  (This goes along with my “40 till 40”, not as lessons learned, but learning.) 

How does the word stretch apply? 

  • I need to stretch out of my comfort zones. 
  • I need to stretch beyond my limitations & fears of failing. 
  • I need to stretch my creativity and push myself harder. 
  • I need to stretch beyond thinking of myself, but to thinking of others. 
  • I need to stretch out of my comfortable relationship with Christ and challenge myself to dig deeper. 
  • I need to stretch my mind and learn new things. 
  • I need to, literally, stretch my budget and push myself to do the projects that I once had a vision & ideas for, (using the scrap stash I already have). 
  • I need to stretch my state of mind, knowing that I am entering new phases in my life….I am turning 40…celebrating 18 years of marriage to my best friend/hubby….my son is going to be driving this year, no longer the ‘little guy’ he once was, but becoming a young gentleman. 

What’s your ‘word’ for 2010? 

{40 till 40} day 37

Pick your battles 

I don’t even remember where I first heard this quote, but I try to use it. 

Whether with my husband, son or whomever.  Pick your battles. 

Is the issue you are about to discuss/argue/bring to conversation, worth the time/effort/hurt that may be caused by it? 

Have I tried to see it from their point of view?  Is it something that really matters in the big scope of things? 

Am I mentioning it, simply to make a point??  MY point? 

1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 

Colossians 3:12 reads “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” 

{40 till 40} day 38

Stop & smell the coffee  I’m not sure this qualifies as a lesson I’ve learned in my 40 years, but it’s something that I’ve grown to appreciate. The little things. Things that some people take for granted, or overlook,   

I take great joy in. 

Like, fresh hot coffee. 

or snow days. 

or Sunday drives. 

or homemade cookies fresh from the oven. 

or Christmas music. 

or snuggling up on the couch with a good book/laptop & my favorite pet beside me. 

or a date with my hubby, even if it’s just going to get coffee… 

or happy time spent with my teen. 

or sitting on my swing in the sunshine. 

or lunch with friends. 

The little things in life make me happy. 

Proverbs 14:30 “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” 

Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”   

**Speaking of snow days, today is a snow day!!!!  Enjoying my coffee as I type.  Received my first Studio Calico monthly scrapbooking kit yesterday, so I am planning on scrapping a lot today!!!  Tune in tomorrow after 40 till 40 and hopefully I will have some scrappiness to post! 

{40 till 40} day 39

May sound like an odd thing to say, Satan isn’t stupid, but as a Christian, in today’s world, we need to be reminded of this.  I need to remember this.  As a mother, a wife, a friend, a woman of Christ, I need to be prepared for the temptations of the world, day in & day out.  This is a day to day struggle as we stand firm in our faith. It’s important to remind myself of this as I see his (satan’s) work in the lives of those I love and those around me.  He is trying hard to destroy those whose hope is in Christ. Satan knows exactly what your weakness is.  He knows exactly how hard he needs to push before you are willing to give in. 

He is a liar.  

The Bible calls him the father of lies.  John 8:44 says “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” 

He will tell you what you want to hear. 

He will make the lies seem ok. 

He will make the sin seem not so bad. 

The old saying could apply to him, “give him an inch & he’ll take a mile”.  Give in to his ways, little sins that don’t seem “that bad” and he will continue to creep further and further into your life. 

Whether it is the sin of adultery, lust, greed, or gossip.  Satan knows how to twist the truth enough.  Just the slightest bit, to make it seem like the truth.  To make it seem like it won’t hurt anyone, that it’s for the best. 

We need to remember this!!  We need to be ready!! 

The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8:  “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour…” 

But remember, God also tells us what we can do to fight against the devil.  James 4:7: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

I’m not saying that I have learned this lesson and I’m done.  I’m saying that this is something that remains on my mind as I see families, (especially Christian families) around me crumble.  I feel that Satan has “gained control” of most things in today’s world…the media…music…TV…movies….what is left? 

Where can he cause the most damage? 

In our homes.  In our families.  In our children’s lives.  In our marriages. 

Stand firm!  Be vigilant!  Resist the devil!  

{40 till 40} day 40

Whew! Can’t believe it.  In 40 days, I will be 40! When you are young, 40 seems like forever away, but suddenly, you find yourself approaching 40 and wonder where time has gone. 

SO,  I have decided to blog, what I am calling “40 till 40”.  Basically, it will be 40 lessons that I have learned / or am learning.   Some may be funny….some may be serious…we shall see where this takes us! 

God’s plan is the best. This is a lesson that has taken me the last 15 years to learn & accept

Prior to getting married, I took for granted my fertility.  When dreaming about your marriage & future family, most girls never stop to think about infertility.  It’s not something that you question.  You assume that you will be in charge of the size of your family, (depending on your beliefs about birth control).  I always pictured myself, husband & 2 kids.  That was the size of my family growing up.  It seemed like a perfect number.  One parent/one kid.  Never imagining that even conceiving one child would be difficult. 

But, God had other plans for my life. 

One child.  Not 2.  Not 5.  Not 19. 


One child that took over a year to conceive.  Month after month, many negative pregnancy tests, many late periods, hopes would begin and then be dashed.  I couldn’t understand it.  Why?  Why me?  Why us? 

But it was God’s timing.  Not mine.  He was in control. 

Finally, I was pregnant.  I was more than ecstatic.  I had dreamed and waited for this!  Then 3 solid months of “morning-n00n-night” sickness set in.  I was miserable, but it was ok.  As long as God was protecting the baby inside me, I was fine with not feeling well. 

9 months later, a healthy, beautiful boy was born.  He was (& is) a precious gift from God. 

But, I was still planning out my life.  Thinking that I knew what was in store for us, as a family. 

So, almost 2 years later, we began to desire another child.  Seemed logical.  A playmate.  A brother or sister.  But, that wasn’t what God had in store for our family. 

Now, my son is almost 16.  No brothers.  No sisters.  Just him.  A single blessing from God. 

Is this what I had planned for my life?  Was this the family I dreamed of?  No. 

Did I have many times that I questioned God?  Absolutely. 

It made me doubt myself as a mom.  As a woman.  As a wife.  People all around me where having more children.  Not me.  Wasn’t I a good enough parent?  Didn’t God think I could handle more than one? 

For 15 years I struggled with those questions.  Yes, I knew that there are many women that would love to have one child.  I understand that & I am very thankful for the one that I do have. 

Do I always understand why things happen in my life?  No.  Does God’s plan always align with mine?  Definitely not. 

But I’m ok with that now

God has walked me down this path for a reason.  His reason.  God’s plan is best. 

It’s not always easy.  Nor do we always understand it.  But, God’s plan is best.

The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 29:11, “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.”  In Proverbs 16:9, God tells us “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”   

God’s plan is best. 

my mocha biscotti

As we know, I love coffee.  I recently have discovered homemade biscotti.  Last year, my sister-in-law surprised me with her homemade chocolate biscotti…it was AMAZING!!!!  Never before had I tasted a biscotti that I liked, but hers was out-of-this-world. So, there was hope.  Store bought biscotti is nothing compared to homemade. 

This Christmas, my mom made biscotti for the celebration.  Her recipe was delicious also.  You can find it here, Chocolate Chip Biscotti, (she omitted the hazelnuts, because of food allergies).  I admit, I am not a ‘fruit with my chocolate’ kind of person, but this biscotti was really good. 

Tonight, I wanted to make some biscotti for a friend’s birthday, so I checked out the Betty Crocker website and found this one for Mocha Biscotti

I altered it a bit, here is my version: 

Ingredients for Biscotti :

  • 2 tbsp. instant espresso or coffee crystals, (I used 2 packs of Starbucks Instant Brew.  One Colombian flavored & the other Italian Roast…that was all I had on hand…it could easily use 1 or 2 more.)
  • 2 tsp. hot water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, slightly chopped (The recipe called for 1/2 cup semisweet bakingchocolate.  To tell you the truth, I didn’t even notice that it said baking chocolate until right now, as I type the recipe…lol…that’s why I used chips.)
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted & chopped (I omitted these because of food allergies.  Instead, I substituted about 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips…there can never be too much chocolate!)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Ingredients for Chocolate Drizzle :

  • 3 oz. semisweet baking chocolate, (I used some semisweet chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 tsp. shortening

Directions :

  1. Heat oven to 350′.
  2. Dissolve coffee crystals in hot water.  In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs and coffee with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon.  Stir in all remaining Biscotti ingredients.
  3. Shape half of dough at a time into rectangle, 10 x 3 inches, on ungreased cookie sheet.  (I always use my Pampered Chef baking stones.  I also covered it with parchment paper this time.)  Bake about 30 minutes or until center is firm to the touch.  Cool on stone 15 minutes.
  4. Cut crosswise into 1/2inch slices.  Place slices, cut sides down, on stone.  Bake about 15 minutes, turning once, until crisp and edges are light brown.  Immediately remove from stone to wire rack.  Cool completely.  (Because I’m impatient, I proceeded to the chocolate drizzle as soon as they were moved to the wire rack.)
  5. In 1-quart saucepan, heat all Chocolate Drizzle ingredients over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth.  Drizzle chocolate over one side of each biscotti.  Let stand until chocolate is set.

*Recipe claims to make 3 1/2 dozen.  I must slice them extremely large because my recipe only produced about 16.  I could slice them in half, but I’m giving them as a gift and I want them to be large and pretty. 

*This recipe was made nut-free by omitting the almonds and checking all ingredients for allergens. 

*Nutritional values are on the Betty Crocker website. 

I haven’t been on the treadmill since my bout with the stomach flu, but chilly weather makes me want to bake, so I better get back on it! 

the TP tree

For those of you that may remember our yearly toilet paper roll exchange, here’s what happened this year. 

(For those of you that have NO idea what I am talking about, you can read about it from my post last Christmas…to sum it up, my dad & I have been passing back & forth the same TP roll since 1988…read the story here.)

It was my turn this year.  I had totally forgotten about it until about a week before Christmas.  Well, in order to stump my dad, I knew I better get thinking. 

I remembered a post that I had seen on a blog about making fabric Christmas trees….uh-huh, that’s it! 

Here are the easy instructions to make a Fabric Christmas Tree:


  • fabric or ribbon
  • hot glue gun
  • tree (cone) shaped foam center
  • (because I was using mine as a decoy, I also bought a circular foam base for the bottom, so that the hollowed out tree couldn’t easily be spotted.)
  • additional ribbon or trinkets if you want to “decorate” your tree  ( I used ribbon bows on the top, but chose not to decorate my tree.)


  • Cut (or tear) strips of fabric approximately 1inch x 4 inches. (Or cut strips of ribbon)
  • Take each strip, place a dot of hot glue on back side of fabric, fold strip in half, gluing it to itself…basically making a folded strip.  You can fluff it open a little at the end.
  • Once strips are ready, begin at base and start hot gluing them to the foam.  Each time I began a new row, I shifted slightly, like shingles.
  • Keep going all the way to the top.  Your last (top) row should stick out above the top of your foam piece.  (I cut a very small circle and tucked it down inside the top, so that none of the foam would be visible.) 
  • To finish it off, I made 3 bows out of ribbon and glued those to the top, helping to close it up slightly. 

My dad has a strong passion for supporting our troops overseas, and his home office is done in red-white-blue, so that is why I chose to use those colors, as oppose to traditional Christmas colors. 

For my tree, my hubby hollowed out the center of the foam, so that the TP roll could easily be inserted and hidden.   

It worked!  I gave my dad this gift for his office on the 21st and after celebrating Christmas on the 25th, I had to give him a clue in order for him to find it! 

We will see what he comes up with for next year! 

my snowy tree

Ok. Don’t laugh.  I like it. 

I had seen a post about making a tree out of a branch and so I thought I would try it. 

I wanted it to be my snowy tree that I can keep up in January. 

Other than braving the cold temps for a branch, it was rather simple. 

  • Find a branch.  Spray paint it.  Nothing perfect.  I chose white…to look cold & winterish. 
  • Once dry, I glued a piece of foam into my bucket.  I am sure that there are many ways to weight it down, but that’s what I chose.  Obviously, you won’t want to glue yours if your bucket is important to you.  (Mine was actually what a fruit basket came in…given to my husband @ work.  As soon as I saw it, I confiscated it.)  Anyways, once your branch is in place, you can decorate it however you wish. 
  • I used fluffy snow (called Buffalo snow) around the base.  Then placed a bird ornament that I gotten on sale after Christmas for $1.  The plastic glitter ornament was actually on a gift that I received LAST Christmas.  The turquoise snowflake is an embellishment that I cut on my Cricut & then glittered.  The ornaments I bought at Target.  I chose turquoise ribbon to hang them.  It felt vintage to me.  Looked snowy. 
  • Oh. I glued a ribbon around the bucket to cover up a Christmas decoration that was painted on it. Then I tied another piece of the same ribbon around the bucket and tied a bow.  This should probably be done before placing the branch in it….but I wasn’t thinking and did it afterwards.