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Don’t Wait For Death To Celebrate Lives

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1 Corinthians 15:55

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

Yesterday marked the passing of my friend’s father.  He was a wonderful man, generous of heart . Ken Harrell not only loved his own family, but any human that needed a hand. He was that kind of man. I have been friends with his daughter for almost 30 years, and there was a time in my youth where he stepped in to fill a gap for me. All through my adult life when I went home to visit, he would eagerly round me in for a hug when our paths crossed.

I am heavy-hearted today, 2,066 miles away from my home roots. Unable to help my friend with the new reality of her grief. Unable to even attend the funeral. But I will pray, not for Ken…for he knew where he was going. I will pray for his family, left behind in the wake of his absence. That they will grow closer to the only true source of comfort in this life. Ken has sailed on, his path was set for Jesus.

I tell you this story to urge you not to wait to show people you love them.

The irony of death, to me, is the gathering of the departed’s loved ones.

Why, I muse with sorrow, do we often wait until death to celebrate someone’s life?

I would rather be together with my loved ones now, while I am alive to rejoice at our relationship. Come now, while I can hold you in my arms and laugh with you.

Life doesn’t always work out like we hope. Today, on a very serious note, I urge you to make that call. Book that ticket if you are at all able. Write that note. Celebrate life with the living, too often we postpone that joy. Looking at the impossibilities that seemingly block the way.

Love, as a verb, an action word. Not smooshed under the guise of good intention.

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Use Those Tiny Photo Index Prints

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Photos are returned to us with sheets of tiny shots, miniscule memories  we are unsure how to utilize.  Wanting to create a scrapbook layout about unexpected turns in life led to this idea. Cut out the ones that are most meaningful over a span of years, as far as you can gather up. Few dreams turned out as planned, but it turns out experience is a rich teacher.

This could be turned into a beautiful home wall art project. Try it, post what you come up with. I love sharing ideas with you…share with me how you use them.

Finding Hope In Dry Places

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Summer has been dry and hot for so many areas this year. Now that we live in an agricultural state, there is a new appreciation for the difficulty of farming. A keen awareness of how the lack of rain is affecting crops. Large corn and soybean crops  are planted in a seemingly cracked desert landscape where soil once was. Where summer grass usually welcomes bare feet, this year it is dry and crunchy. Painful to walk on.

The neighborhood is a sea of brown, excepting an unusually high yield of bright green weeds, tall and unkept in most yards. It is as if so many have just given up and are hiding inside, looking for a cool escape from the news making heat wave. Most of my flowers have died, despite hand watering. Today I went to buy some small plants to bring a burst of color to the porch. There were none in the garden section left at the store. A few large plants, but their entire garden area was condensed into one display.

It is with special joy, you see, that I tend to my bright spot of green adorning my porch. One geranium plant. God always puts something bright in our desolate situations, and in times like this we have to look hard.

I don’t mean to minimize the challenges that face our land. I don’t know what that bright spot is for the agricultural world. I hope they find it, I really do. We pray for rain. In the dry times here though, we decide to look for the brilliant.

My husband has hours freed up each weekend with no grass to mow. He likes yard work but is choosing to relish the time. The grass crunches but yet the tree still provides shade to sit under. And with so few flowers, how much more is the sense of appreciation heightened for this greenery? Its distinct scent fills my nostrils as I lean in to prune it. We have water to use simply for nourishing our plants, when millions don’t have it even to drink.

In the dryness there is beauty. Gratitude. Increased observation for what lives. And hope. Even as I type, a gray cloud thunders above. Perhaps this will be the one that showers our land. And, the cycle will shift again.

Hospitality Made Easy

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Hospitality has been a passion of mine for many years. It started small, I can clearly recall the first meal I set out for company in our first apartment as a newly married couple. It was, um, simple.  Plastic fishy placements, matching (lucky day) Corel dishware, and a few flowers. The offerings were meager, but the spark of desire to open our home was lit.

People have all kinds of excuses, and let’s be honest, that is often what they are, not to have people over. I know. I have heard them all possibly, and used some myself. Hospitality sounds so formal, requiring fancy meals and a Pottery Barn home. Nothing could be further from the truth. When someone is down and out, just being in the presence of loving company gives powerful support. Read the rest of this entry

Homemade laundry soap for cheap! Thanks Angie

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My trusted friend Angie gave me this soap recipe and I can’t wait to try it. I have been giving alot of thought about saving money and researching simpler things like cleaning supplies. Her email couldn’t have been more timely..

Angie says,

4 cups hot water
1 bar of soap(Fells Naptha)
1 cup Washing Soap(Arm&Hammer)
1/2 cup Borax
20 drops essential oils(optional)

Grate bar of soap & add to sauce pan with water. Stir on medium heat until melted.
Fill 5 gallon bucket half way with hot tap water. Add melted soap, soda and borax.
Stir well until powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir and cover.
Let sit overnight to thicken. Add 20 drops per 2 gallons of essential oils after soap cools.
Fill Laundry container half way with hot tap water and fill the other half with soap. Mix together
and use 1 cup per load.

Just to give you some tips of what I have done from experience after making my second batch.

I use my Pampered Chef cheese grater to grate the soap. For just a deeper cleaning soap I used
a bar of fells naptha and a bar of dove soap. I also added a cup of Oxi Clean and Biz to the whole 5 gallon bucket.
You can find Fells Naptha bar soap in the cleaning section at Main Street Payless.  I have had a really hard time
locating Essential oils but I found them at Hobby Lobby in the lotion making section. I love fresh rain and the berry ones.

Let me know if you have any questions. 1 batch cost me about $15 and it lasted our family almost 6 months and that is with
half a box of borax and soda left over.  I have now made a year supply for $21.
I also put 1 cup of detergent in my mop bucket to wash my floors

For a fabric softner you can take your old softner bottle and fill half water and half distilled white vinegar(add essential oils if scent wanted).
Sounds way too simple and i was very skeptical but it works awesome!”