Rejoice In The Lord

God never moves without purpose or plan
When trying His servant and molding a man.
Give thanks to the LORD though your testing seems long;
In darkness He giveth a song.

I could not see through the shadows ahead;
So I looked at the cross of my Savior instead.
I bowed to the will of the Master that day;
Then peace came and tears fled away.

Now I can see testing comes from above;
God strengthens His children and purges in love.
My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;
Through purging more fruit I will bear.

O rejoice in the LORD
He makes no mistake,
He knoweth the end of each path that I take,
For when I am tried
And purified,
I shall come forth as gold.
- Ron Hamilton -

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; 
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, 
and he shall direct thy paths.
- Proverbs 3:5 & 6 -

 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: 
knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; 
and experience, hope.
- Romans 5: 3 & 4 -

Bring forth a vessel pure and tried
by Your refining fire.
God's refining fire,
God's refining fire.
May it purge me now 
and make of me what you require.
O Lord feed the fire
Your refining fire.
Now as gold and silver must be tried,
Lord, may my heart be purified.
Lord, send your great refining fire.
- Mac Lynch -

Have a glorious and blessed Lord's Day, friends!
Much love to you!


Make Your Own Gift Bags

Happy Wednesday, my friends!
How are you on this fine July day?
I sincerely hope you are well.

Today I have a fun little project to share with you-
handmade gift bags.
These easy peasy bags are not only a delight to make,
they are also quite easy and they make giving gifts even more wonderful.

Supplies needed:

cotton fabric or burlap
fusible fleece
lace for handles
lace for embellishing
shappy roses or fabric flowers
satin seam binding

Cut the fabric to the desired size of your gift bag.
For this burlap one I cut a piece that was 
about 20-inches long and 10-inches wide.

Cut a piece of fusible fleece that is the same size
and iron it onto the backside of the fabric.

Also, cut a piece of lining fabric that is the same size as the bag.
I used cream cotton fabric for my lining.

Pin on some delicate lace to the top edge of the bag
and sew into place.

Fold the fabric/burlap in half with rights sides together
and sew up both sides.

You will also do this with the lining fabric,
but leave an opening on one side 
so that you can pull your bag right side out.

Once you've sewn up the sides you will need to push the corners out.
Measure 1 1/2-inches in and draw a line.

Pin to hold in place.

Sew {don't forget to backstitch} along the line.

Cut the corners off,
but don't cut above the seam!

Do these steps for boxed corners with the lining fabric as well.

Now cut two handles from some pretty lace
and pin into place.

Turn the lining rightside out
and slip it into the bag;
pin into place.

Sew along the top edge to secure the handles and lining,

Remember that little opening you left in the lining?
Now is the time to use it by pulling the bag through.

Iron the bag and press the top so that the lining is not popping out.
Sew along the top edge.

And you're done!
If you so desire you can add a few extra embellishments.

I added pearls and satin seam binding to the center. . .

along with a stunning gem.

And I used a clothespin to hold a dainty gift tag

I also added some sweet shabby roses that you all know I love :)

Place your gift inside,
add some tissue paper,
and you're ready to give a beautifully wrapped gift to a special someone.

You can make these bags in all shapes and sizes.

And the best part about giving these gift bags
is that the recipient can use them for something else
rather than letting the usual gift bag collect dust in the closet or under the bed.
I don't know about you,
but I always save gift bags and then forget to use them.

Now if you're not the sewing type than no worries. . .
I have some gift bags available in my Etsy shop
including the burlap one I showed you today :)

And speaking of my Etsy shop,
I just listed some new items last night:

Reversible Aprons

Quilted Tote Bags

Mug Rugs

Tea Cup Coasters and Tea Bag Wallets

And much more!
sweet friends.

Have a delightful day!
Love and hugs to you!


In Christ Alone

My faith rests not in what I am,
or shall be,
or feel, or know,
but in what Christ is,
in what He has done,
and in what He is now doing for me.
- Charles Spurgeon -

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.
- Keith Getty and Stuart Townend -

Almighty Father, You alone are holy,
You are my refuge, I will trust in You.
You are a tower, Almighty fortress,
You are my strength and shield, 
You are God.

Almighty Father, You alone are holy,
You are Creator, You are all in all!
Yours is the power, Yours is the glory.
Yours is the majesty, 
You are God.
- J. Paul Williams -

Sweet blessings to you on this Lord's Day!
Love and hugs!


No Other Will Do - Book Review

She trusts him for the job,
but can she trust him with her heart?

Men are optional.
That's the credo Emma Chandler's suffragette aunts preached 
and why she started a successful women's colony in Harper's Station, Texas. 
But when an unknown assailant tries repeatedly to drive them out, 
Emma admits they might need a man after all. 
A man who can fight - and she knows just the one.

Malachi Shaw finally earned the respect he craved 
by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. 
Yet when Emma's plea arrives, 
he bolts to Harper's Station to repay the girl who once saved his life. 
Only she's not a girl any longer. 
She's a woman with a mind of her own 
and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn't deserve.

As the danger intensifies, old feelings grow and deepen, 
but Emma and Mal will need more than love to survive.

My Thoughts
Karen Witemeyer has done it again. . .
she has combined her charm and sense of humor 
and turned them into a delightful novel that the reader won't be able to put down.
I have read every book published by Karen
and I have LOVED every single one.
She never fails to bring a smile to the readers face
and her unique stories are filled with humor, romance, faith, and a little suspense
which leaves you wanting more of her talented writing.
When I see a new novel from Karen Witemeyer
I can honestly say that I am giddy with excitement.

I found No Other Will Do to be quite an emotional read.
You see, Emma {the main female character} 
started a women's colony to help and aid women who have suffered heartache
and faced difficulties in life. . .
Heartache and difficulties such as physical beatings and threats from men.
The pain that some of these women in the colony suffered
brought tears to my eyes.
When the colony comes under attack there are two things these women can do:
run away and cower in fear,
or stand together as strong and brave women.
I'm sure you guessed it-
they stand together.
The womens faith will be tested and tried
and when they lean upon the Lord and stand united
they come forth as gold and oh my,
what a beautiful journey they take together.

And speaking of beautiful,
when Malachi Shaw comes to help the women
he and Emma realize that their feelings for one another are very real.
To see their relationhip blossom and grow was truly a joy and incredibly sweet.
Also, because of Malachi's kindness and compassion
he was able to be a testimony to the other ladies.
He was able to show them that not all men are cruel
and because of his kind example 
the women were able to start healing from past heartache.

No Other Will Do is a wonderful book, my friends.
With twists, turns, romance, and humor
this book is one that older teens and adults are sure to enjoy.

A 5 star novel by Karen Witemeyer.

** I was given a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for an honest review.
All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received. **

About the Author
Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award 
and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, 
bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance 
to give the world more happily-ever-afters. 
Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. 
Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.


Summer Blueberries

Oh, the lush berries that spring forth during the summer!
Don't you just love the harvest of raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries?
Mmm. . . such sweetness can be found in these little treasures.
Rasberries are by far my favorite berry during the summertime.
How about you, sweet friends of mine, what is your favorite berry?

Last week I made a blueberry trifle 
since the blueberries in our grocery store were perfectly ripe.
To be honest, my husband, son, and I aren't crazy about these little blue berries,
but the trifle recipe sounded delicious so I decided to give it a go.

Here is the recipe, dear friends.

1 angel food cake mix - baked as directed on package
{or buy a premade one at the store}

Blueberry Filling
3 cups blueberries
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup cold water -divided use

Cheesecake Filling
16 ounces light cream cheese or a litte less depending on your taste preference,
 softened to room temperature
⅓ cup heavy cream
⅓ cup milk
⅔ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whipped Cream For Topping
1½ cups heavy cream
½ cup powdered sugar

Make the angel food cake according to package directions.
Cool and tear into pieces.

To make the blueberry filling:
Add ¼ cup water to a pan with the blueberries and sugar. 
Bring to a boil. 
Cook for about 3 minutes. 
Stir the remaining water and cornstarch together. 
Stir into the blueberry mixture and stir until thickened. 

To make the cheesecake filling:
Add the cream cheese, heavy cream and milk to a mixer bowl. 
Beat on medium speed until combined. 
Add the sugar and vanilla.

To assemble the trifle:
Put the angel food pieces in a large bowl. 
Add the cheesecake filling and mix carefully until it is combined with the cake. 
Add half of the cake to your trifle bowl
{as you can see I used parfait glasses instead of a bowl}.
Add half of the blueberry filling.
Top with the remaining cake mixture.
Add the remaining blueberries.
Top with the whipped cream.
Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

I highly recommend chilling the trifle overnight or for at least 8 hours.
I tried the trifle after chilling if for about 4 hours and it was okay.
I tried it the next day and it tasted 10 times better.
The cheesecake mixture had time to settle which I think made a big difference.

Now my husband really doesn't like blueberries,
but I managed to get him to try the trifle.
Guess what?
He actually enjoyed it and said it tasted like a delicious cheesecake {{smiles}}
If you are not a blueberry lover than I think you could 
use raspberries or strawberries in place of the blueberries.

Enjoy, my lovelies!
And have a splendid weekend.

{{ hugs }}



Becoming A Woman Of Excellence

With all that's going on in the world
sometimes we need a little beauty in our lives to encourage us.

Sometimes we need to take a moment to remember 
that we are called to be women of excellence
and how that calling can have an impact on what we do 
and on the people around us.

Sweet friends,
take a moment to be still and breath in the goodness of our Lord.
Pour yourself a cup of soothing tea 
and let us ponder some precious thoughts and quotes. . .

The Father and the Child

The Father spoke:
Come, child, let us journey together.
Where shall we go, Father?
To a distand land, another Kingdom.
So the journey will be long?
Yes, we must travel every day.
When will we reach our destination?
At the end of your days.
And who will accompany us?
Joy and Sorrow.
Must Sorrow travel with us?
Yes, she is necessary to keep you close to Me.
But I want only Joy.
It is only with Sorrow that you will know true Joy.
What must I bring?
A willing heart to follow Me.
What shall I do on the journey?
There is only one thing that you must do-
stay close to Me.
Let nothing distract you.
Always keep your eyes on Me.
And what will I see?
You will see My glory.
And what will I know?
You will know my heart.
- Cynthia Heald -

Our desire for excellence and for becoming women of excellence
who bring God glory delights Him,
but we must understand that His purpose is to conform us to the image of Christ.
This transformation is a lifelong journey.
{ Becoming a Woman of Excellence pg. 29 }

 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, 
are changed into the same image from glory to glory, 
even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
- 2 Corinthians 3:18 -

We must practice the art of long and loving meditation
upon the majesty of God.
This will take some effort,
for the concept of majesty has all but disappeared 
from the human race.
- A. W. Tozer -

"If we are going to pursue a life goal that reflects our desire to
"Be our utmost for His highest,"
then we need to study God's character.
We want to become women of excellence
because we are children of an excellent God.
First, we need to acknowledge God's lovingkindness-
reflected in His unfailing, unconditional love
as well as His all-sufficient grace.
Second, we must recognize God's sovereignty.
Third, we need to accept God's loving provision for us,
giving us everything we need to do His will."
{ Becoming a Woman of Excellence - pgs. 15-16 }

Open my ears!
So much of what I read in your Word speaks
of the importance of hearing.
Wisdom demands it;
Righteousness requires it;
Understanding necessitates it.
I see so much of selective hearing.
Am I a selective listener?
Do I only hear what I want to?
Oh, Father!
You know I long to be wise,
discerning. . .
Teach me to open my ears and really hear.
- Carole Mayhall -

We must "ask" for wisdom.
Then and only then can it be given.
"Wisdom," wrote Spurgeon, "is a beauty of life that can only be produced
by God's workmanship in us."
God is not satisfied to save us from this world alone.
He wants to change us,
to make us real in the righteousness that is in His Son.
The only path to real change is to ask for His help.
When we do, we're in for the full treatment.
God's goal for us is greater that we could ever imagine.
- David Roper -

Society beckons us to succeed-
to achive excellence in our appearance, our earning power, our family life.
God Himself also beckons us to be women of excellence.
But was exactly is He asking?
If you're hungy for God's perspective on success 
in a society that bombards you with conflicting demands,
feed on the truths of God's Word that you'll discover in these pages.
Not only will you learn to "approve the things that are excellent,"
but you will also experience the joy of becoming God's woman of excellence.

A little while ago Tyndale Publishers sent me a copy of the 30th anniversary addition of 
Becoming a Woman of Excellence by Cynthia Heald
and I must say that this book arrived at the perfect time.
We are living in a day and age where there is great heartache and pain
in trying to live by the worlds standards.
Becoming a Woman of Excellence is not only refreshing,
but it is also greatly encouraging.
Lovely ladies, we are called to be women of excellence,
and oh, what joy there is to be found when we pursue the goodness and grace of our Lord.
We have a beautiful and high calling to live by God's standards of excellence
and when we take that step in faith 
- that step to becoming a woman of excellence -
we are embracing the woman that God desires us to be.

Becoming a Woman of Excellence is for ladies of all ages.
We {no matter our age} must actively pursue the Lord Jesus
in order to become women of excellence.
May this be our hearts desire.
There is a lot of Scripture references 
as well as questions that will cause the reader to think deeply.
The book is also full of quotes from people such as:
A.W. Tozer
Elisabeth Elliot
C. S. Lewis
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Dwight L. Moody
Amy Charmichael

I highly recommend Becoming a Woman of Excellence.

** I was provided a copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers
in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received. **

This post reflected the book Becoming a Woman of Excellence.
I hope this little taste of sweetness and encouragement 
made you hungry for more.

{ this sweet and charming tea cup was a Mother's Day gift
from my dear hubby and son - they have good taste, don't they? }

Love and hugs to you, friends!
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