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When the Flowers Fade

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Flowers are a special gift that lifts our spirits and make our day. The only thing sweeter is candy; especially on Valentines Day! My husband always sends red roses. Birthday, Anniversary, and especially on Valentines Day. The roses in my post are from my birthday.

Roses are so beautiful when they arrive, I always want to make them last as long as possible. So I change the water. Add a drop of bleach or a packet of preservative and then snip the end of the stems at an angle so that they will absorb the water better. I can usually count on my roses lasting ten days to two weeks.

But what to do when they begin to droop and dry out?

 

 

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I remove the flowers that are still alive and put them into a smaller vase. This year, it was vases. Okay, bottles. My husband buys a probiotic which comes in a cobalt blue glass bottle. Normally, I throw medicine, vitamin, and probiotic plastic bottles away but when I saw they were beautiful blue glass bottles, I told John that I would find a use for them. So I washed them, removed the labels and run them through the dishwasher cycle for good measure. He thought I was nuts! Every month, I add a new bottle to my collection in the cabinet which houses my blue and white dishes. I wasn’t sure what I would do with them but that they will come in handy for some craft.

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I thought one rose per bottle would be nice but they were large enough to hold two roses and baby’s breath as well. These small arrangements lasted three more days.

Then I remembered the card. One must always save the card!

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Next, I decided they needed a pretty tray to place them on and I saw my husband’s Grandmother Long’s crystal dessert plates. Perfect!

There are many ways to preserve flowers. The first time I dried flowers was in college. I learned a new tradition from other girls in the dorm. After the banquet was over, we removed the corsage given by our date (usually carnations) and pinned it to our curtain in the dorm room.

Elonna and Kathy on evening of Candlelight Carols 1977 (2014_02_18 18_15_37 UTC)

I know my roommate, Elonna and I each have a corsage on the curtain but we seem to have blocked them out in this picture but you get the idea.

For years, I dried my flowers. I attached them to a clothes hanger and hung them in a seldom-used closet. After they completely dried, I made sachets and potpourri.

The link below is a great resource for making sachets. In this case, she made hers with lavender.

Lavendar Sachets

One Good Thing by Jillee

Pressed Flowers

Another great way to save your flowers is to press them in a book or in a Flower Press. I have been doing this for years with the flowers that I plant each year. Of course, women have been pressing flowers for centuries. Some women even pressed flowers from someone special or a special occasion in the large family Bible. Until I found a flower press at Michael’s several years ago, I used my heavy Bible commentator. With the flowers laid carefully in a folded paper towel and then pressed between the pages of the book at least three weeks before removing them to use on stationary.

 

 

 

In the 1990’s using dried flowers in making stationary was quite popular. However, the paper was thick and difficult to write on but it made a pretty card. Click the link below for instructions in paper making. In this video they are adding plants but flowers work well too!

Paper Making Video

Preserving Flowers to be Soft

Preserving flowers in wax

I found this YouTube video which is very helpful!

Michael Gaffney on Secrets of Preserving Flowers

However you decide to preserve your flowers, remember.  The flowers may fade and wither but the sweet thought and the love remains.  It also reminds me of one of my favorite verses. Isaiah 40:8

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Delicious Scones

My sister, Judi always sends wonderful birthday gifts. This year she sent a package of scone mix. My husband had never eaten Scones and I haven’t made any from scratch in over 32 years so I was eager to try the mix.

 

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So I pulled out my favorite mixing bowl, added water, stirred and used a large spoon to “drop” them onto the parchment paper covered pan and placed a few in the toaster oven and covered the bowl with plastic wrap so that we could have fresh scones the next night.

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They turned out beautifully!

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I brushed the top with softened butter. They were delicious! I will not say how many we devoured but John loved them.

 

John at the Liberty Station in Bedford, Va

That’s my guy! (This photo was taken last year but it is one of my favs.)

We left one for you!

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We had one left to share with you! It went great with Peppermint Tea. Shall I pour a cup for you?

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I will definitely make these again. I might add a few more cranberries and dots of butter to the batter. The refrigerated batter worked out well the following day. I still prefer to cook from scratch but this was wonderful and was so easy to prepare.

 

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If you have considered buying this product, I definitely recommend it.

Thanks, Sis!

Forgiveness and Fellowship

Throw Back Thursday: I ran across this post from  December, 2011. I am happy to say that Ruby no longer chews on cords or anything she isn’t supposed to chew on. She dearly loves the treats “Daddy” gives her, Skippy and little Alice around 9pm each night.

Miss Ruby hiding under the table after chewing the tree light cord.

Poor Ruby. When she gets bored, she chews on things such as the Christmas tree cord which was thankfully, unplugged. She also loves the strings on window blinds. At our former home, our mini blinds had a plastic twist-to open or close- rod. She loved to bat it back and forth and then she discovered the threads holding the blinds together. What a temptation!

She is actually the sweetest kitty I know. She loves to give “kitty kisses” and wants to be near us. (Maine Coons are not as snugly as some of our other cats but that doesn’t mean they don’t show affection in their own way.) If you stop and think about it, we are very much like that with the Lord. We give into temptation and then when we realize our sin, we feel guilt and run from the Lord.

When Ruby realized she was being naughty, (our scream might have been a clue – we were afraid she would swallow the plastic as thankfully, the lights were not plugged in.) she ran and hid under the kitchen table and chairs.  (It didn’t help that “big brother, Skip” pounced on her!) She didn’t want to come out and play or sit on her cat tree. Even though after the initial scare, and we were sure she knew the tree lights were off limits, we spoke softly to her and told her it would be okay.

She watched as John had to snip away the tight plastic ties holding the pre-lit lights to the branches. Eventually, she got closer and closer as she watched him remove the evidence of her destruction but she didn’t come out from under the table until after we put the rest of the tree together and prepared to go to bed. She followed us from room to room until she was satisfied she was forgiven or her guilt was lost with time.

As you see, Ruby and Skippy had a wonderful Christmas!

Now she is content to sleep under the tree.

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How many times have we sinned against the Lord and our guilt held us back from reading His Word, praying or from having fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ?  How can we forget that He has already forgiven us? That the penalty of our sin was paid on the Cross by our sinless Savior? Why does it take us so long to agree with God about our sin? Pride? Fear? The old sin nature?

I John 1:5-9

Verse 5) “This is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light,

and in Him is no darkness at all.

6) If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth;

7) But we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of

Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.

8)  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Did you catch that? He paid for our sin on the cross with his precious, sinless blood which cleanses us from all unrighteousness. If we have confessed to him that I am a sinner, He forgives us – for always. The Word says that Jesus died once for all! He loves us. He wants to fellowship with us! He wants us to walk in the light – just as He is THE LIGHT.  Verse nine is for believers. When we sin, we break fellowship with Him. Just as Ruby felt guilty and hid away from us because she knew that she had done something wrong.

He wants our fellowship! He wants us to walk in the light and share in the joy of His love. He leaves it up to us. To come to Him and confess our sin to Him – agree with God that what you did, thought, watched, listened to or harbored in your heart so that our sweet fellowship is restored and we want to come to Him. To fellowship with Him, to read His Word above all else and to pour out our heart to Him in prayer. He is our Heavenly Father and loves us.

At this time of the year when parents warn their children, “If you are naughty, Santa won’t bring you anything for Christmas!” (Or in days gone by, he may have left a chunk of coal in your stocking instead of goodies.) In a way, children are being taught a system of works. (Check out Ephesians 28-9)  Isn’t it wonderful to know that Jesus has already taken care of the “naughty” and wants us to come to Him?

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This Christmas, let the children come to Jesus and adore Him together!

 

Have a blessed Christmas!

Kathy

Little Isabel’s Christmas Joy – Part 6

 

“He’s here, He’s here. Everybody come and see” Isabel called from the foot of the stairs, “He’s finally here!”

“Who’s here?” Papa said as he rubbed his chin and smoothed his hair which was sticking out in every direction.

“You mean he was here, don’t ya’ Sis?” Eugene said as he slid down the banister and bumped into Mama who ran from the kitchen to see the commotion.

“No! He’s here in the parlor. He’s here – just as He said!”

“Isabel dear,” Mama said softly, what do you mean?”

Isabel took Mama’s hand and ran directly to the stable. She cried out in delight as she looked in to the eyes of the Baby Jesus lying in the manger. “All those years, we waited and waited and He Came!”

“Oh, Isabel dear, Jesus came almost 2000 years ago. We celebrate Christmas because He came. The carved baby in the manger is just a reminder that He came. You know that this is kind of a picture that represents Him.  Something we can hold onto as we read God’s Word but it’s just an object. We mustn’t make an idol. You know this doll isn’t Jesus.”

“Yes Mama, I know that. But He came, didn’t He?” Isabel said as her eyes filled with tears. He came because He loved us, right? That’s what Eugene and Curtis said from the Bible.”

“Yes child.” Mama said softly.

“Jesus loves me Mama and I love Jesus.”

Papa moved in closer, picked her up and held her tightly as she held Baby Jesus in her hand.

“You’re right, Isabel.” Papa said and wiped a tear from her cheek. “We love Him because He first loved us and you know what?”

Isabel shook her head from side to side.

“He’s coming again!”

“He is?” Isabel pushed back to see Papa and Mama’s faces. “Will he be in a stable?”

“No, but He will be riding on a white horse and will come as The King of King and Lord of Lords!”

“We will see Him?”

“Yes Isabel,” Mama said as she wiped the tears from Isabel’s eyes. “We talk to Him every time we pray and He speaks to us through His Word, The Bible! It is my prayer that someday you, your brothers and sisters will receive Christ as your Savior. We will live with Him forever.”

Isabel looked at the image in her hand, at her parents and to the image again. Finally closing her eyes and said, “Jesus I love you because You first loved me. Thank you for coming! Thank you for Christmas!

“Mama,” she whispered, before we look in our socks and open presents, may we sing?”

“That would be wonderful, Isabel. What shall we sing?”

“Joy to the world the Lord has come!”

~*~

What about you, friends? Is your focus on The Son of God, Jesus who gave His life for you or are you focusing on the external trappings that often draw our attention away from Him?

Christmas isn’t about the tree, the decorations, the  Carols, or even the gifts.

It is about God’s love for you.

We love Him because He first loved us.”

I John 4:19

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. 

He who believeth in Him is not condemned: but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

John 3:16-18

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

John 3:36

Why did God send His only begotten son – knowing that He would be the sacrifice for our sin? Because He loves us.

God is Holy and cannot look upon sin and yet He loved us – even though we are sinners – and longs for us to be redeemed from the penalty of sin. This is what Jesus did for you and for me. He took the penalty of sin in His own body on the cross. He gave His life so that you and I will spend eternity in Heaven with Him.

When I first heard the Gospel in 1968, I did not immediately receive Christ as my Savior. I was a quiet child and everyone told me that I was “good.” This is not true. I am a sinner. It took me a week to realize it.

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God:

Being justified (made upright and in right standing with God) freely by His grace (unmerited favor of God) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 3:23-24

One night, after a week of conviction that I am a sinner; I could practically see Jesus suffering, dying on the cross for my sin! In the wee hours of the morning, I got on my knees and confessed to Him that I am a sinner and asked Him to save me. Trusting completely in His redemption; He saved me. He Redeemed me. (Bought with a price – the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.) Oh, what a gift He offered to me and to you!

“For the wages of sin is death; (separation from God) but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 6:23

So dear friends, this Christmas please look past the manger and see the Gift of God – to you! Receive it just as you would receive a gift from a loving father. It is a gift that you cannot lose and it cannot be taken away. It is yours forever! 

Have a blessed Christmas!

Kathy

Thank you!

658eabf84bcda5d20eea47ffdfc01558Norman Rockwell Christmas mailman (2014_12_17 05_44_30 UTC)

 

I love this Norman Rockwell picture. Just the expressions on the children’s faces would make anyone smile!

For those unsung heros at Christmas time – the US Postal Service, UPS, Fed-Ex, box stores and all of the people who work for online shopping/shipping department who work tirelessly to get our packages out on time. I just wanted to thank you for your hard work. You are appreciated!

I must confess that our packages and cards are going out late this year, so I am asking your forgiveness in advance!

Wrapped gift

This reminds me of the most wonderful gift of all. Jesus won’t you receive His gift of salvation to you today?

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Handmade Gifts and Needlecraft

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I am slowly working on emptying boxes from our move two years ago. We have boxes stacked along the wall of our garage and we are both trying to clear them out. Also, I am trying to find my rolling pin because I definitely want to bake Christmas cookies this year!

A few days ago I found some treasures – Cross Stitch magazines from the 1980’s to 1990’s. Some of my favorite patterns were from this publication and I feared they had been thrown away.  I stopped counted cross stitch when my eyes changed and had to use a magnifying lamp which was awkward to say the least.  Memories of gifts I had made for loved ones over years came to mind.

Before I got married, most of the Christmas gifts I gave were handmade. From homemade potato bread (Granny Hinchee’s favorite) to Crewel, Embroidery and my favorite, counted cross stitch.   After all, a single teacher in a small Christian school has a small budget and must be creative. My husband however, knew how to shop for “good things!” Nice clothing, etc. and so my needlework was mainly for our home – with two exceptions. Mom still has the large, double matted cross stitched Governor’s Palace, Williamsburg, VA.  I also worked on two other Williamsburg buildings but still haven’t had them framed or made into a pillow.  The second was a gift to my Mother-in-law. She kept this in her kitchen until she was recently moved into a small room in assisted living. It is in our home now. Every time I look at it, I think of Mother Purdy and am reminded to pray for her.

ImageAs I was looking at the magazine, I became recharged and immediately copied the patterns – enlarging them so that it will be easy to read. I have some projects picked out but my goal is to have the better patterns finished as gifts by next Christmas. This year, I already have some easy gifts picked out on Pinterest. ImageI was delighted to find two pillows I had made for our room back in the late 1980’s – 1990’s.

ImageIt definitely needs work. My trim is loose and the year and the background fabric are fraying but this is one of my favorite

patterns. If you look carefully, you will see a kitty hiding in the picture!

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My friends will know why I love this pillow. I love cottages and especially like cottages with vines growing on it. Isn’t it picturesque? One of the reasons I was delighted to find the magazine is that there is another cottage pattern I am anxious to get started on.

Part of the fun of needlework is in imagining the finished product. Oh, there will be times when I have had to pull out one or two rows of stitching, or added something not in the original pattern, such as my initials and the date.  In my earlier days of stitching, I thought adding my name or initials was too showy. I simply wrote on the back of the framed piece my name and the date finished.  However, through the years, the Lord impressed upon my heart to add that detail. Why?

     1. We need to reflect Christ in all that we do. (Whatsoever ye do, do heartily as unto the LORD and not unto men.”)

     2. It is easier for family members and friends to identify.

     3. There is an old saying that whatever the task, do it so well that we will not be embarrassed to put our name on it.

I am always reminded of the industrious Proverbs 31 woman when I make something new and also ask myself if it is gift-worthy?

In Proverbs 31, her husband trusts in her and her children rise up and call her blessed.

How about you? Do you do needlework? Embroidery, counted cross stitching, quilting?  I would love to hear your stories and see pictures of your work. I am sure we would all enjoy seeing your handwork.

 

Piecing a Memory

When I saw this picture of a little girl sewing on a toy sewing machine, it made me think of my grandmother, Isabel!

When I saw this picture of a little girl sewing on a toy sewing machine, it made me think of my grandmother, Isabel!

Why does this remind me of my grandmother?  She gave me a toy sewing machine for Christmas one year and a miniature sewing basket “just like hers!” I had so much fun piecing together pieces of cloth to make something special for my dolls. You might say that when we are reminded of pieces of childhood, we are piecing memories. Precious memories of our loved ones to share with our children, grandchildren and in our case, nieces and nephews.

A toy sewing machine and sewing box just like my Grandmother Isabel's!

A toy sewing machine and sewing box just like my Grandmother Isabel’s!

Decades have passed since that Christmas Eve but when I saw that little girl with her toy sewing machine, a flood of memories of my grandparents filled my heart. Granny was so excited about that gift because she knew it was the “perfect gift!” I had always admired her sewing basket and  she had found a tiny one just like hers.

Isn’t it funny how seeing something familiar can bring back memories?

The smell of coffee perking or bacon frying in the morning transporting us home and giving a sense of security and warmth. Remember crawling out from under a nice warm quilt to dress for breakfast, knowing your Mom or Grandmother would be at the stove humming a tune?

Perhaps our Heavenly Father planned it that way so that we will remember all that He has done for us!

How many precious gifts from His loving hand have we cast aside, grown away from or hidden away? Search your heart, rummage through the scrapbook of your life and see the good and perfect gifts that only He can give.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

James 1:17 (NKJV)

The best gift of all – His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ who gave His life for us.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in Him

should not perish but have everlasting lasting life.

For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world,

but that the world through Him might be saved.”

John 3:16-17

“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 6: 23

Who could ask for a better gift than eternal life? We can’t work for it, we can’t be good enough. That is why Jesus came as a tiny baby – completely man and completely God – that He would become the sacrificial lamb for you and for me on the cross of Calvary. He conquered death and arose from the dead three days later. So that we may have everlasting life. This is Love!

A sewing machine and tiny sewing basket was Granny’s way of showing her love. I accepted it without hesitation and with glee! God gave His only begotten Son because He loves you and me. I just had to share this wonderful news with you, dear reader. Won’t you receive His gift today?

 

Good Housekeeping Cover copied from Pinterest vintagecottagehome.blogspot.fr

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

This is the scene most of us cherish as memories and hope for each Christmas. A cozy Christmas is wonderful; especially if you are surrounded by loved ones. Children anticipating opening the gifts Mom and Dad so generously purchased to make their wishes come true and parents hoping they didn’t forget anything and welcoming the slower pace after Christmas is over. What fun!

My wish for you dear reader, is that you have or will receive the most wonderful gift of all. It was anticipated for generations, foretold in Scripture, and is offered to all who will receive it. What is this wonderful gift?

God's gift. Immanuel - God with us.

God’s gift. Immanuel – God with us.

His name is Jesus!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son; that whosoever believeth in Him

should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16

“Whosoever” means you, my friend. Won’t you receive God’s gift today?

The light of Christmas

Have a blessed Christmas!

Love,

Kathy

P.S. Isabel’s Story will be continued after Christmas. I’m sorry for the delay. Hope you will come back later this week to read the continuing story of little Isabel’s Christmas Joy!

Missy Cat in the Heart of the Tree

A Christmas story for your little ones!

Introducing Missy Cat in the Heart of The Tree

Now available through Amazon.com and will be available soon for Nook, I-book, Sony and other digital books. It will also be available as a paper book as well! Check it out and please feel free to leave a comment.  Kathy

Opportunity to share the Gospel tonight!

 

For many years, I shunned the participation in the age old tradition of “trick-or-treating”.

The fact that it emerged from heathenism, I didn’t feel it was right to encourage the practice. However, about thirty years ago, the Lord prompted me to turn the darkness into “Light” by using the opportunity to share the Gospel (Good News) of the Lord Jesus Christ.

At first, I made Bible Verse cards on business card stock. I made goodie bags and included a card in each bag. Later, I learned that I could order Halloween, Harvest and “Kid” tracts from the American Tract Society and thus began a wonderful tradition.

One year, when I was providing child care in my home, teaching Sunday School and speaking in Awana, we had 92 children receive a Gospel goodie bag! That was an expensive year as I place at least three good candies in the bag with the tract.

We have had parents and children come to our door after Halloween, thanking us for the tract and expressing their delight.  As time went by, children who knew us and traditionally visited our home on Farm Road each year began to grow up. Teenagers stopped by knowing that they would receive a bag too.  Over the past ten years, we have given out less than fifty. This year, we had  only thirty-four tracts for children. We have had about a dozen adorable visitors so far. Not bad since this is only our second year in this neighborhood.

Praying for each child and their parents to read the Gospel tract and that some will receive Christ as their Savior.  We can shun events we do not approve of or we can turn it into blessing. John and I choose to share Christ tonight. How about you?

Oh, we couldn’t resist giving out my bookmarks and business cards to older girls and to Moms who love to read. Shameless advertising. The children are the most important tonight. May God bless each one tonight.

For more information or questions, please feel free to contact me at khpurdywrites4Him@hotmail.com