Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year


Christmas in Leavenworth WA

Monday, December 14, 2009

white paper packages tied up with string...




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I helped my father-in-law with a project. He had purchased gift certificates for gifts and asked me if I had any ideas on how to dress them up a little. I love getting asked to help out with projects because I don't feel guilty about waisting my time on crafts that really serve no purpose... :). So, again, using mostly what I had on hand, I crafted away. Oh what fun it was! I improvised on the envelopes, since I didn't have the right size...I didn't take into consideration how thick the gift certificates would be once they were stacked, but they turned out fine. I know most of my gifts look the same, but not one person will be getting duplicates, so I am using up what I have before I go with another color scheme and style! Hope everybody had a good weekend!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Baby's First Christmas

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I absolutely LOVE babies. I remember telling my mom I was going to have a million babies when I grew up. She said it wasn't possible, but I would NOT believe her. I think she figured I was so stubborn that I would just have to find out on my own. Boy! Did I ever! All day sickness, lots and lots of needles, throwing up more than I thought was even humanly possible etc.. I was more than happy with two adorable children. I was informed that we had a "Gentleman's Family"...that is, one boy and one girl...but every time I see a baby, hear the whimpering cry of a newborn, or smell their just makes me want...a million more!

It seems like quite a few of our friends have had babies this last year and it is going to be Baby's First Christmas...including my very favorite doctor who just got back from her maternity leave. I had an appointment today, and I wanted to do something special with things I already had on hand (My grandmother would be proud...she always said you already have everything you need...of course, this is the same lady who thought more than two squares of toilet paper was MORE than ENOUGH!), I had a spoon, wire, beads from when my kids were in kindergarten, jingle bells from Christmas, some small scraps of ribbon...that I thought I had used up... I love little finds like that...A box I had saved from a gift, and scrap paper.

Granted, I used to make these spoons as gifts, but I was excited that I still was able to do with what I already had.

I thought you might like the idea for a Christmas gift. You could give it as a "sugar" spoon or put a friend's name on it or group it in a shadow box with other baby memories...

Hope everyone of you are well and enjoying this very special Christmas season. I am so thankful for a Heavenly Father who knew what my future would be and that He fulfilled my dreams of giving me two precious children...I guess I was a bit off... give or take a million!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Quick Treats

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Chocolate Candy Cane Marshmallows:

This is the EASIEST gift to make. You can really dress them up to make your gift extra special and yummy!

Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn

Crush candy canes in a ZIPLOCK using a rolling pin. Make sure to leave some chunks for visual interest

Dip PINK PINK PINK marshmallows...the BIG ones...into chocolate and then dip into candy canes that have been poured out onto a plate! That is IT! No mess and they are A.DOR.ABLE! I packaged mine into cellophane bags and labeled it with a darling little label and ribbon and of course a little jingle bell. Give it with hot chocolate and it is perfectly sweet floating and foaming in a steaming cup of hot eggnog, coffee or HOT CHOCOLATE! You get alot of bang for your buck with this homemade treat! Even the littles in your home can do this! Enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2009


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OH.MY! How many times have I told myself to PAY attention when I am turning on the stove burners? Seriously! I have melted spatulas, craft projects, a cooler lid, my Tupperware Thatsa Bowl etc. I guess that is what I get for insisting on a flat surfaced stove top! { HEY! I needed the extra workspace!} Anyway, on Thanksgiving morning, I pulled my very favorite petite little saucepan out of the Lazy Susan to make Jezebel Cranberry Sauce. Did I mention HOW EXPENSIVE THAT ITTY BITTY SAUCEPAN COST?!!! I just absolutely love it because it is so perfect for making just a small batch of lemon curd, butterscotch sauce, ganache and well, okay TOP RAMEN! I get excited every time I use it because it is just sooo cute.
I measured everything out for the sauce and put it on the back burner and went about getting ready for dinner. I also turned on the tea kettle for Hot tea. Well, I am always burning something, so when I started smelling smoke, I assumed it was something on the burner so I just let it be…until there were clouds of smoke creeping into my bathroom. I ran out to the kitchen and sure enough I had turned the wrong burner on HIGH! I saved some of the sauce, but I have NEVER seen a pan have so many layers of burned debris stuck to the bottom. I immediately set it back on the burner with a tiny bit of soap to try to boil it off, but nothing was working. I thought to myself maybe I should just throw it away, but my sweet, sensitive son insisted that he try. He took a knife to it and scrapped and scrapped making huge scratches in the pan but eventually it looked like it may be salvaged. After getting home late that night, I was still thinking about that little pan. How ridiculous was that?!

The children were in bed and my husband wouldn’t be home until the next morning, so, I had lots of time to reflect on the day and to pray.
As I thanked God for our day of Thanksgiving, I thanked God for yet another lesson learned that day.
Do you ever feel worthless? Without hope? Like you really don’t matter?
Sometimes, I feel like I don’t have as much worth when I am not able to keep up with commitments, deadlines, laundry, housework, friends etc. but Jesus sees me through his most compassionate adoring eyes. Just like that yucky, smelly, burned saucepan, he sees my worth. He knows the price He paid for me and He is not willing to toss it. He sees me as pure in Him. He knows that I am worth the scrubbing, scrapping, and yes even the imperfections! He knows my potential and is willing to pursue me…and even though you may feel like He is doing NOTHING for you, HE IS…He is pursuing you like a treasure hunter looking for his TREASURE!

“If we confess our sins, He is Faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL unrighteousness.”
I John 1:9 NIV

…as for my little pan…I love it even more…scratches and ALL! Thank you, Caleb for your Strong hands and determination! I love you!

December Menu

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Javanese Stacki-Upis

A buffet- type meal where everyone enjoys pilling on the toppings of their choice!
This is a great dinner for entertaining.

Chinese noodles
10 chicken breasts, sautéed in olive oil, granulated garlic, and soy sauce.
2 bunches green onions, sliced
8 stalks celery, sliced into bite-size pieces
5 tomatoes, cubed
1 pineapple, cubed
2 cups coconut, toasted
2 cups toasted sliced almonds
1 cup of green olives
2 (10.40 oz) cans of Mandarin oranges

* 4 cups water
* 4 tablespoons Better Than Boullion ( chicken flavored)
* 4 tablespoons cornstarch- salt and garlic to taste

* Prepare 4 cups of rice (according to packaged directions)
* Prepare chicken (keep hot in covered over proof pan)
* Prepare sauce
* Set out the large bowl of rice
* Put the toppings in small serving bowls
* Have everyone help themselves

My friend Penny gave me this recipe. It brings back sweet memories of her and our fun craft night! It was originally featured in Taste of Home. It was submitted by Florence Palmer.

Upside Down Apple Gingerbread

1/4 cup butter, melted
2 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 cup hot tea

pour butter into a 9 inch square baking pan. Arrange apples over butter; sprinkle with brown sugar and set aside. For gingerbread: combine butter, nolasses, sugars and egg in a mixing bowl; mix well. Combine dry ingredients and add to sugar mixture alternately with hot tea. Mix well and pour over apples. Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes or until the cake tests done. Cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Loosen sides and invert onto a pretty cake stand. Serve warm. DO NOT OVERBAKE!

I made this with pears and served it with ginger flavored whipping cream and warm caramel just SCREAMS Christmas!

linked to:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Manners Table

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No, this is NOT what our "Manners Table" looked is just a picture I had...:)for those of you who need a picture to look at!

I know I write a lot about my family and our children when they were little, but my husband and I made a real effort to do some things a certain way when raising our children...and we are truly reaping the benefits now as they are both teenagers! We wanted our children to contribute to the family...not only as an act of "helping out", but as they grew up in our home we wanted them to feel the importance of their role in our family. Trust me, there have been times and there ARE times when it would be so much easier and LESS exhausting to have everybody get their own food, use paper plates and heat prepared food in the microwave...and there is a place for that. However, it is so rewarding to work together in preparing meals together, setting the table, clearing the table, and cleaning up afterwards. It creates a bond. We will chat about that another day.

Now that we are off the bunny trail, back to the SUBJECT!

We always wanted our children to help with meal preparation. There were times I had to remind myself why. Some days I just did not have the patience to repeat myself over and over again as to what needed to go on the table etc., but I knew that I wanted my children to be able to be nurtured by me, yet independent enough to know how to function in the REAL they grew up.

Parents! Take advantage of your children wanting to help when they are little. It is going to be TOO late to start when they are teenagers!

OKAY, maybe we are the only family in the world that had this littttttle problem, but EVERY time we went out to dinner, it seemed like our children just lost all sense of what it meant to behave at the dinner table. You know you have a problem, when you are ignoring ALL invitations to have dinner with friends and family. The one exception being it is a picnic invitation when the children just nibble on finger foods and would rather play than eat! And there is NO way that someone is going to take you aside to offer a "tiny bit" of parenting advice!

SOOOO, my BRILLIANT hubby, the father of my two darlings, came up with an amazing idea. We were only going to eat AT the kitchen table until there was a major improvement in table manners. That was fine with me, because I am pretty sure that whoever put carpeting in our dining room was completely INSANE! Well, maybe they just didn't have a toddler in a highchair!

Scott's plan was great. We ate in the kitchen and would work on a manner. Once both children had it down, we would set the Manner's table, which was always so exciting for them. We would pretend like we were at a restaurant or at somebody's house and we would use the manner we had learned. We eventually got through MANNERS 101. It also just so happened that whenever we had company we would HAVE to use the Table because it was so much bigger than our kitchen table...needless to say it worked like a charm. Not only did we have better behaved children, but who knew you could have so much fun with a "MANNERS TABLE"!

*Idea shared with: raising homemakers

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Ideas


Here are a couple of Thanksgiving ideas...using things I already had on hand: I baked a few pumpkin bundtlettes with rum sauce, lined the Chinese take out boxes with wax paper...the pre-folded ones... placed the bundtlette in the box. I had some leftover verses I had made as Thank you cards,so I glued them down to the top of the box. Some fresh rosemary and a plastic spoon tied to the handle with a brown ribbon is already to enjoy. This is a quick, simple gift...that can be shared!
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The plan was to give my mom some leaf punches for Thanksgiving decorations for above her dining room table. My leaf punch decided NOT to work, so, I printed some Bible verses on cardstock and used a luggage tag template. I tied a ribbon to the top and put some fishing line through the hole. The verses...all based on giving thanks...will hang from the light above the table, and the guests will each take one home to use as a bookmark or whatever else they want to use it for. The tags are to remind them that this life is temporary...just traveling through...but most importantly to remind them of the JOY we have in Christ.

You know how excited you get when you get to go somewhere really exciting? Who knows what the journey may entail? Late planes, cancelled flights, a flat tire...but there is still the anticipation of what is to come. And I am so thankful to have ALMIGHTY GOD in control of this journey with Him reminding me that He is with me every step of the way...detours and ALL.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Enjoy your weekend with friends and family...they are MOMENTS to be cherished!
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cranberry Orange Walnut Streusel Muffins

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These are the best muffins in the Fall. The bright cranberries, the zing of orange and the crunch of walnuts make them extra yummy!


1 cup fresh cranberries
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon sugar

1 3/4 flour
2 3/4 teaspoons
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 grated orange rind
1 egg
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
Combine 1 3/4 cups flour and next 5 ingredients in a bowl, and make a well in the center. Combine egg, milk, and oil. Add to dry ingredients, stirring until moistened. Fold cranberry mix and walnuts into batter. Spoon into greased muffin pans, filling 2/3 full. Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon Streusel Topping. Bake at 400 FOR 18 TO 20 MINUTES. COOL IN PANS ON A WIRE RACK FOR 5 MINUTES. Remove from pans.
Makes 12 muffins.


1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Combine all ingredients until crumbly.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Birthday Girl

Years ago while your Auntie and Mommy were playing, it was decided that whoever had the first baby girl would name her Laurissa...Mommy's name and Auntie's names combined.

Your Daddy just knew you were going to be a girl from the VERY beginning even though we never found out until you were born. He was SO SURE that he bought you the most adorable white t-shirt dress that was sporty, yet girly. It was kind of like a white tank top that was pleated at the waist with a sprinkling of dainty pink roses stitched around the front. He bought it for you months before you were born!

I clearly remember watching the movie "FATHER OF THE BRIDE" shortly after you were born. On the way home, I was crying and told Daddy, " I never want Laurissa to grow up!" We just loved holding you, playing with you...even watching you sleep. Daddy calmed me down, like he always does, and whispered, "Lisa, she is so tiny-we have a long time before we need to worry about that." I feel like I wiped my tears and now here you are a very dear young lady...full of grace and charm and a CHEERFUL spirit...which is exactly what your name means.

Mommy never journaled a lot when I was pregnant with you. I didn't really write down my dreams, my joys, my fears and my hopes for you. I guess that I just wanted to savor every moment. I had so many thoughts I am sure I wouldn't have been able to write them all down anyway. Every thought I had was so real I didn't think I would or could ever forget the feelings I was feeling. As I am writing this letter to you, my little sweet Lauris, some of my memories are as vivid as though they happened yesterday:

Sunday afternoon naps
Afternoon walks on old country roads
Sheer delight in your BIG blue eyes when Daddy came home from work
Your love for Caleb: Crawling into his crib to comfort him
Carmex as hair gel
First snow ice cream runs
Long walks through "BEAR COUNTRY" with Daddy
Rides on Daddy's motorcycle
Your love of family...Nana,Poppi,Oma,Opa,Aunties, Uncles and Cousins!
School carnivals
Surprise lunches
Rainy soccer games
Sunday picnics and walks
Bike rides...with bikes that broke down...a long way from home!
Studying for your driver's permit...Celebrating BIG when you passed!
Long talks
Girl's nights,Christmas programs

I have seen you go from my strong newborn, to a babbling infant, to the busiest toddler, to a very social teenager who is loyal to her friends, and last but not least a daughter who has become my dearest friend.

I am ever touched with your compassionate spirit and your deep love for the Lord. I know things have not always been easy, and there have been a lot of difficult years. I am, however, comforted in the fact that you have learned to depend upon the Lord for your strength when I have not been able to be as strong a mother for you. Thank you for loving me despite my faults and for the unconditional love you shower me with. You, my dear, challenge me when I walk by your room and there you are reading your Bible and praying...NOTHING, absolutely nothing , brings me more joy.

You my dear, are my firstborn with whom I have shared my youth and with whom I will share many more years making memories that have WORTH beyond WORDS!

Happy 18Th Birthday to the SWEETEST BIRTHDAY GIRL! I love you. MOMMY and FRIEND

BEAUTIFUL photo courtesy of Rob Buster Digital Reflection PDX

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Gift from the Heart

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The majority of us learn the most from our parents.

It is from them that I have learned that the greatest joy in life is not from what is received, but from what is given of oneself to others...A gift from the heart.

They served our Country for a total of seven years...Dad in the Air Force and Mom in the Army...but it has been over the past 35 years that they have continued to pour their hearts into the lives of military men and women.

I am thankful for my heritage. Thankful that they served our Country and continue to this day- to encourage sons,daughters,uncles,aunts,dads,and moms etc. here in the United States and abroad as they now serve as missionaries to the military.

This morning on my way to taking my son to basketball practice...I didn't take my cell phone, I kept the radio off, and drove down our old route (SPEED BUMPS AND ALL!) and we prayed.

As we talked about Veteran's Day, I reminded him that if he ran into anybody at the gym who may be a Veteran-to be sure to thank them for their service to our Country. He listed the men he knew had served and assured me he would thank them if he were to see them.

As I drove out of the school parking lot, I noticed I was driving on empty AGAIN! I can't stand stopping for ANYTHING when I haven't had a shower, brushed my hair or teeth and have my slippers on!

Reluctantly, I pulled up to the gas station and found the least intimidating gentleman to help me. I stuffed a piece of gum in my mouth, rolled my window down and asked for $30.00 of premium... not really wanting to "chat".

I HAD to say good morning and ask how he was. It wasn't his fault I was running late and a bit irritated. How RUDE would that be? As I wished him a good morning and asked him how he was doing...I was completely overwhelmed. This is what he said, "Just HONKEY DOREY, MAAM!" Smiling back, I said, "That's nice, we need more people in this world like you!" He had a twinkle in his eye as he squinted just a bit and was quick to add, "I woke up this morning, and that's something to be thankful for!"

I have seen this gentleman quite frequently. I never talk to him because I am usually on the cell phone, cleaning out my purse, trying to hush my dog when they are out of "TREATS" or whatever other crisis is happening in my car...anyway, I just simply have not taken the time to REALLY talk to him. BUT it was quiet this morning. Most people were taking full advantage of their day off!

As the gentleman went to open my gas tank-which I forgot HOW to open!!! I thought since I had just lectured my son on thanking a VETERAN, I should at least ask him if he was. He acted surprised that I would ask. He walked over to my window and said, "MAAM, most of us old guys here are!” We had quite the conversation. I should have had him fill my tank to the brim...just to listen to his heart and to hear his passion for his COUNTRY he still carried in his voice after all of these years. What was it that he had seen, experienced or achieved in his life that gave him such a sweet spirit and a zest for life on such an early, chilly November morning?

OH MY GOODNESS! As I started up my car and thanked him for his part in serving our COUNTRY, I was completely fascinated by him. Maybe because he reminded me of my very favorite Grandpa...something about his sheepish grin, the lines in his face, his slight limp. I don't know!

Baffled, I pulled out of the gas station. My vision was a bit blurred from tears. As I drove home, I was wondering how many of these men and women are out there amongst people like me and like you who are so compartmentalized and are too busy to even recognize the people we pass every day who have served with a willing heart ? The sacrifices so many of them have made? How many have lost a friend in their very arms, and then come home to hold a new life only to find out that they, too, have forsaken them, lost hope that they may return.

I know that we realize there is a price for our freedom, but I don't usually think about these amazing men and women as individuals. They each have their own stories. Their own lives have been altered in one way or another. Maybe one night they were being kissed by their mom and the next, only by the dripping rain! Who knows?

As I pulled into my garage and turned the car off. I just sat for a minute. It dawned on me why this distinguished gentleman was still on my mind: He was still experiencing the greatest joy in his life...not from what he had received, but from what he had given of himself...although many years was the gift from his heart!

Thank YOU

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Did You Know?


A Firefighter's Prayer

When I am called to duty, God
Wherever flames may rage
Give me strength to save some life
Whatever be its age.

Help me embrace a little child
Before it is too late
Or save an older person from
The horror of that fate

Enable me to be alert and
Hear the weakest shout
And quickly and efficiently To put the fire out

I want to fill my calling and
To give the best in me
To guard my every neighbor
And protect their property

And if according to your will
I have to loose my life
Please bless with your protecting hand
My family, children and my wife.

Did you know that the Maltese Cross...the badge every firefighter has earned and YOUR symbol of protection? It means that the firefighter that wears this cross is willing to lay down his life for YOU. The Maltese Cross is a firefighter's badge of honor, signifying that he works in courage- a ladder rung away from death.

Adapted from The Firefighter's Badge by Aaron Feldman and Holman Bible Publishers

SOOOOOOOO, the next time you are in the grocery store line with your screaming little ones who are in desperate need of a nap, and you are dreading the afternoon of feeding the babes, putting the groceries away, cleaning toilets, folding laundry and fixing dinner, and right there behind you in line are four firefighters who have had the luxury of shopping together (Can you even imagine how much fun it would be to do grocery shopping with Three of your best friends!) Remember this... there is a reason that they shop as a crew and that reason is that for 24 hours every third day these men and women must be ready at a moments notice to respond to any emergency situation they are called to. During that time they are on shift they do just about everything as a group. They do their house duties, shop, cook, eat, work out, respond to emergencies and do other various tasks together. These people become a second family to each other. They learn to live and work as a team... a team that will be there for you in YOUR time of need... arriving there to work as a team to make better your bad situation... and putting their lives on the line for YOU!

"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends"

John 15:13 New Living Translation

Photo courtesy of Marlo Fitzgerald Smith...thank you for the photos and the memories!

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Speed Bumps

Have you ever had something in your life that brings you so much joy and then, as circumstances change, THAT VERY THING that brought about joy suddenly brings about fear and pain?

Years ago, as our neighborhoods started to expand, and traffic patterns were altered, new houses went up, new roads, new lights and new signs. A small stretch of road added SPEED BUMPS! I thought it was ridiculous, but there they were one morning as the children and I were already running late for school. Talk about one more inconvenience!

The "Pollyanna" in me decided right then and there that those speed bumps were going to be another reminder for our family to slow down and to pray! To this day I still have vivid memories of our children's innocent little voices praying with such sincerity. We prayed for everything: sick friends, teachers, special ice cream after school, lonely friends, friends without Daddy's and Mommy's, the "blueberry lady" who sold her land, animals. You name it! I looked forward to those speed bumps. They were a comforting reminder that no matter how hurried we are in our lives, Jesus is NOT! He is never in a hurry. He is ALWAYS there waiting for us and He loves it when we slow down and talk with HIM.

Several months ago, I was in a car accident and my BIG TAHOE absorbed any discomfort a healthy, strong body might feel in going over those bumps, but let me tell you, my "new" car is much smaller, and the suspension is TIGHT. My sore and achy body can feel every inconsistency in the road, let alone the pain that radiates through my body when we go over bumps.

I have started taking different routes, longer routes...any road I can find where the ride is smooth. At times, when I am going somewhere new or different and I see an unexpected bump, it causes instant fear of the pain that shoots from my hips all the way to my neck. Something I had come to find comfort in is now something I avoid and fear.

Tonight, on our way home, I felt like God was wanting me to Trust HIM. This Speed Bump in my life is not something to be avoided. It is going to be HIS teaching tool in my life. The only difference is this: He is in the driver's seat and I am the immature and weak child praying in earnest. I am completely inadequate, but with God's power I am able to overcome the difficulties I face, and I, too can trust my God who is sufficient. Out of this experience, I know that the same way I loved hearing my children pray, He loves hearing me come to Him.

It dawned on me, even though they are much older, I am still teaching them. They are still observing. I may never have this opportunity again to let my children know that the same God who has been listening and answering our prayers (NOT ALWAYS THE WAY WE HAVE PRAYED FOR!)over the years is completely capable of alleviating my fear and pain or in giving me the courage to deal with it differently. He has a purpose and a plan...he wants me to slow down and to trust in HIM. Don't avoid the SPEED BUMPS in life...because with Him we are Never without HOPE.

"Come to ME, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30.

multitudes on mondays

Friday, November 6, 2009

My fun, bubbly, energetic friend has just started her new business of helping others GET ORGANIZED! She works fast and this is the perfect fit for her. SHE LOVES HELPING PEOPLE AND SHE IS GIFTED in the organizational department. So, if you are feeling overwhelmed and don't have a clue where to start...she would love to help you out...and her prices are very affordable for those of us who are on a budget. Just think, in the long run you will be saving money, not to mention having peace of mind living in a home with much less clutter. More time for family, friends...and the list goes on!

Waffles for Dinner

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