A P U B L I C AT I O N O F O N M Y O W N N O W M I N I S T R I E S
JAN / 2012
Young Christian Woman
Getting the Most Bang for Your Gift Card Buck
Catch and Release Understanding Times and Seasons
Repurposing Cards Christmas Trees Candy Canes and More
JUST NOT THAT INTO RESOLUTIONS? w w w. o n m y o w n n o w. c o m
in this Single! Young Christian Woman Jan 2012, Vol. 4 On My Own Now Ministries, Inc., Publisher Donna Lee Schillinger, Editor Donna Lee Schillinger with Daniela Bermudez, Page Design Kimberly M. Schluterman Editorial Support Contributors Shellie R. Warren, Jeffrey Bridgman, Kimberly Schluterman, Tamara Jane, Julie Ann Except where noted, content is copyright 2012 On My Own Now Ministries. Articles may be reprinted with credit to author, Single! and www.OnMyOwnNow.com. On My Own Now Ministries, Inc. is a nonprofit organization with a 501 (c) (3) determination. Your donations aid in our mission to encourage faith, wise life choices and Christ-likeness in young adults during their transition to living on their own. We welcome submissions of original or repurposed articles that are contributed without expectation of compensation. May God repay you. Visit us at www.OnMyOwnNow.com.
Straight Talk from the Proverbs One Resolve Fits Most by Donna Lee Schillinger
Moving Out...Settling In Not Into Resolutions by Kimberly M. Schluterman Center Ring Catch and Release. Understanding Times and Seasons by Shellie R. Warren Dear Gabby Hoping in Hannibal Guest Columnist: Tamara Jane
Reba Ray's Downhome Healthy Cookin'... Holiday Remix: Repurposing Candy Canes, Christmas Trees, Cards and More The Recap on Holy Bible (the band, not the book) Review by Jeffrey Bridgman Spare change Getting the Most Bang for Your Gift Card Buck by Julie Ann
GOOD READS AVAILABLE AT WWW.ONMYOWNNOW.COM + 50% of the sale price goes to support On My Own Now Ministries, publisher of this ezine.
Walking Man: A Modern Missions Experience in Latin America By Narciso Zamora Winner of the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Award, this odyssey of a Peruvian delinquent’s winding and treacherous path toward finding his calling in missions recounts a literal journey of 10,000 miles. 978-0-9791639-0-6 Softcover 208 pp. On sale $11 at OnMyOwnNow.com Abridged audiobook in MP3 format and CD .Kindle edition available. Also in Spanish: Caminante con Dios…en apuro mas no desesperados: El Trabajo Misionero en América Latina Por Narciso Zamora 978-0-9791639-1-3 Softcover 186 pp. On sale $1 1 at OnMyOwnNow.com
White Collar Skid Row by Melissa Ann Bell Melissa thought her faith was strong, but when she fell in love with and married a charming doctor, in rehab for alcoholism, she quickly became his enabler and their relationship challenged all she believed about herself and her faith. White Collar Skid Row is a wake-up call for any woman who thinks she might be impervious to falling for the wrong man. Paperback 302pp. On sale $11
On My Own Now: Straight Talk from the Proverbs for Young Christian Women who Want to Remain Pure, Debt-free and Regret-free By Donna Lee Schillinger This compact collection of quirky vignettes, based on gender-reversed Proverbs, is great for daily devotions, affirmations, confessions, benedictions and many other religious “tions,” all with the goal of keeping you on the yellow brick road. After all, you’re not in Kansas anymore – you’re on your own now. 978-0-9791639-5-1 Softcover, 288 pp. © 2008 On sale $11 at OnMyOwnNow.com; Abridged Audiobook (MP3 download) On sale $11; Kindle edition available. Also in Spanish: Por Mi Cuenta Ahora: Una Conversación Directa de los Proverbios para Mujeres Jóvenes Cristianas que Quieren Permanecer Puras, Libres de Deudas y Arrepentimientos Por Donna Lee Schillinger. Free e-book at www.VivaLaPureza.info Purity’s Big Payoff/Premarital Sex is a Big Rip-off is a collection of 17 first-person narratives about successfully waiting for marriage to have sex – or not – and the consequences of those decisions. 978-0-9791639-8-2, Softcover, 116 pp. On sale $11 at OnMyOwnNow.com Also in Spanish! La Gran Recompensa de la Pureza/La Gran Estafa del Sexo Prematrimonial. Free e-book at www.VivaLaPureza.info
In the Care of Angels: God’s Work Through Adoption (both Physical and Spiritual) By Dorothy Grace Manning Kennedy A tender story of a selfless act that addresses critical issues for those considering adoption. Softcover, 86pp. On sale $11
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N N She who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich.
One Resolve Fits Most By Donna Lee Schillinger
n the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish woman devours all she has. Proverbs 21:20
Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor and drowsiness clothes them in rags. Proverbs 23:20-21
“When I was your age, I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight.” Sound familiar? I know I’ve said that to my daughter a time or two and it is true. Young women burn calories quicker than older women do. Starting at about age 18, a woman’s metabolism starts to slow down and it grinds to just above a standstill by the time she hits 60. When I was young, not only could I eat anything I wanted, I did. And with no restraint on my food choices, I developed a keen sweet tooth. I consider myself an expert on pies, from key lime to pecan. And fudge and truffles and pastry and on and on. Though those dessert days were memorable, I wish someone had instructed me and guided me to get into the habit of eating correctly
when I was young. Instead, with that same “eat for the moment” mentality, I went off to college on a three-times a day, all-you-caneat meal plan. The result was the freshman 15 – 15 pounds gained in my freshman year. It was probably the ice cream bar that did it. Actually, whether it is all-you-can-eat or hardly anything to eat, most women will gain weight beginning at age 18. It’s how we go from a girlish figure to a woman’s figure and it happens whether we go to college or right into the work world or get married and start having babies. It’s a fact of life – the older we get, the slower our metabolism and thus, we gain weight. Some women learn to compensate for this metabolic slow-down more quickly and easily than others. Those women are self-disciplined. They can make themselves exercise when they don’t feel like it. Even when surrounded by wedding cake and punch, boxes of Krispy Kremes or a dessert bar at Golden Corral, they limit themselves to a small portion – if they take any at all! Do you think they don’t enjoy ice cream as much as the rest of us? I think these highly disciplined women do love the taste of food just as much as the rest of us. I think the difference
from the proverbs
in them and well, me, is that their rational, realistic thinking remains engaged even when they’re passing the dessert bar. And after years and years of reminders that late night pizza or pecan pie will go straight to their thighs, they have finally internalized it to the point that they no longer have to give the matter any conscious thought; sensible eating is a habit and way of life. I know that there are a variety of physical conditions that can result in a person being overweight, and right now I’m not talking about people who have one of those. But for the rest of us, our problem is that we don’t resist the things that tempt us: the sweets, pastas, breads, fried foods and junk foods. And on the flip side, we don’t exercise sufficiently to work off the calories in excess of what our bodies need as essential fuel. Why? Because we lack discipline. Don’t hate me for saying that. I don’t like to browbeat – and I’m making a confession about myself here, as well. For several years now I have
been trying and trying to drop 30 pounds. I put it on at a stressful time in my life, about seven years ago, and have not been able to get it off since. I can blame the stress for having gained the weight, but that is not really the root cause. Fit people live under a great deal of stress too. The root cause is that from girlhood up, I never learned to control my eating. My father was a binge/purge eater. He would go day after day with no breakfast and very little lunch and then when we went out to eat on Sunday after church, he would really pack it in – including finishing whatever was left on the kids’ plates. He would revel in his feasting. Watching him pack it away actually made for some good childhood memories. In fact, one of my favorite memories of my father is when he took me to work with him one day when I was about 14. After working through the morning and into the early afternoon without eating, we were both ravenous. He took me to a pie factory, a place where they baked the
continued on page 20
NOTInto Resolutions E
very year, thousands of professional and amateur writers and bloggers fill cyber space with their ideas about and commitments to their New Year Resolutions. Most are admirable, some
by Kimberly M. Schluterman are realistic, and a few are even achieved. Not this writer, though. Iâ€™ve made New Year Resolutions before, and I doubt that Iâ€™ve ever achieved any of them. The best resolutions are those made not
because of a calendar marker, but by a major event of the heart. Below is my list of common resolutions and my reason for not resolving to do them this new year.
settling In Somewhere along the way, I became an organization freak, but I didn't do it because it was January 1; I did it because my life required it.
Lose weight. First off, I’m not overweight. I have resolved in this column before to achieve a life of better balance (see Project Balance) that includes exercise and improved diet. Well, I definitely eat more veggies now than I did then, but I still hate exercise. My lifestyle has become more active since then, however, and that will have to do for now. If your weight is a health concern for you, I do encourage you to begin a regimen that you can follow. But don’t do it just because the new year has begun; do it because you are committed to protecting God’s temple (I Corinthians 6:19-20).
Get organized. Well, I’m not disorganized, but I used to be. When I was in Jr. High, my teachers would tell my parents that I was very smart, but I was an organizational nightmare. If only I would get organized, they said, I’d be a great student. That went on for as long as it could, but when my grades began to suffer, I committed to a life of better organization. By college, my classmates were always asking me for assignments, dates and de-
tails, because they knew I would have it all. Somewhere along the way, I became an organization freak, but I didn’t do it because it was January 1; I did it because my life required it right then.
sider a different job or limiting the number of hours you spend interacting with technology. But make major life changes slowly and methodically, not on impulse or spur of the new year moment.
Spend less, save more. Who shouldn’t commit to this? This is a good one, and tough for me to deny. But again, I have to fall back on the part where that has been my resolve all along. Maybe if I had a lot more disposable income, it would be easier to cut back. But when all your money goes to tuition, there isn’t much left over to either spend or save throughout the year. So for me, I continue to be thrifty, saving as much and spending as little as I can.
Fall in love. Really, I can’t even believe this one makes the top ten lists. It should go without saying that this is not something one should resolve to do. If anything, you can resolve to wait for God’s timing or to prepare yourself for being the best wife you can be. But resolving to fall in love is dangerous. I hope I don’t sound like a miser because I reject all these resolutions, but the common theme throughout is that these should be done throughout the year, as a lifestyle, and not because of peer or media pressures to make a resolution. If you are not motivated for any other reason than the date, I doubt your resolution will take. Let God, life, and others inspire you—not a calendar.
Spend more time with friends and family. If your life is in a state where you have to resolve to this, then you probably need to make bigger changes than you can make all at once. Do you work too much? Watch too much TV or spend too much time on a computer alone? Play too many games on your phone? What are you doing that prevents you from spending time with those you love? Con-
By Shellie R. Warren
Catch and Release
Understanding Times and Seasons “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven...He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”---Ecclesiastes 3:1&11(NKJV) “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”---George Santayana
woman by the name of Maria Edgeworth once said, “If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.” That’s interesting (to me) being that the Italian poet, Cesare Pavese, was once quoted as saying, “We don’t remember days, we remember moments,” which complements a quote that I’m sure all of us are more than familiar with: “Make each moment count.” And what’s the commonality that these three quotes share? The word “moment.” And what does the Word, which is Adonai (John 1:1), tells us about moments: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being
renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”---2 Corinthians 4:16-18(NKJV) Our light affliction is but for a moment. I’m pretty sure some of us just needed to be reminded of that alone; that what we are currently walking through is for “an indefinitely short period of time; instant”, “a definite period or stage, as in a course of events; juncture” and perhaps, most importantly, this definition of “moment” right here: “importance or consequence.” Some of us need to hear, right now, that the Most High’s children (Psalm 82:6) do not experience times of “pain, distress, or grief; misery” or “sickness, loss, calamity, or persecution” (all definitions of “affliction”) for naught. God would never be so random. Or so cruel. No, such moments are important. They are to bring about certain consequences, one of which is “an exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Yep. If you choose to trust the Lord (Psalm 28:7) and his Word, what comes with
that is believing (Mark 9:23) that affliction works out an inspired level of glory; that temporary challenges shouldn’t take our focus off of the eternal (not just heavenly but lasting) benefits that are manifested on our behalf. For our good (Romans 8:28). Therefore, sometimes the prayer may need to be not, “God, why am I going through this?” or “Why can I not release what I have experienced in my past?” but “Help me to remember that each moment, whether pleasant or unpleasant, is about bringing me to a greater state of glory. No matter what. Because you said so.” And all of that alone complements the lead verses and the lead quote in a very thorough way. Indeed, everything does have a season and time. Indeed, everything does become beautiful in its own time as well. Not our time, mind you. Its own time. However, the purpose of this particular message isn’t to just focus on trials and tribulations. It’s to further explore what King Solomon meant when he was inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to pen Ecclesiastes 3. It’s to dive deeper into such words as “seasons” and “times.” Ask Adonai About Your Season. And Time. Something that the Comforter (John 14:16-AMP) got me into the habit of doing a couple of years ago was periodically going to Ecclesiastes 3 and seeking out wisdom from the Father (James 1:5) regarding what season in my life I was in...at the time. At the moment.
You know, when you read that chapter in its entirety, is it just me or does it basically read like a spiritual weather forecast? “A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace” Eccl. 3:2-8 (NKJV). OK, but is it also just me or does it seem like a lot of us don’t position ourselves to receive, well, what time it is? When it’s not what we want, we’re so quick to rebuke demons and pray for goodness and yet, again, the Word does tell us that there are moments for what we may not necessarily be excited to deal with. That there are times to break down, there are times to weep (One of my favorite “weep quotes” is “As we weep, we see.”), there are times to lose and throw away... there are times of war and peace. And you know what? We don’t make up that timetable. Acts 1:7(Message) tells us that “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit.”
center ring Now, it’s another message for another day that it’s our choice whether we want to take what the Holy Spirit has to offer: the counsel, help and strength that he provides to get us through certain times; that sometimes the moments would not be nearly as hard as we’re allowing them to be if we would simply utilize all of the spiritual tools that we have available to get through certain seasons. However, before expounding, again, the first thing that we may need to do, is seek (Matthew 7:7-8) to be more discerning (Proverbs 2) about our times and the times of those around us. Sometimes, in relationships, there is a time to embrace and there’s a time not to. Sometimes, in communication, there’s a time for speaking and there’s a time to hush up. Sometimes, when it comes to the spiritual principle of giving and receiving, there’s a time to plant (pour seed) and there’s a time to pull it up (be willing to receive as a result of what you’ve given, 2 Corinthians 8:8-15). Based on where you are, it may not always be very comfortable but that doesn’t mean it’s not extremely relevant. Psalm 24:1(NKJV) tells us, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.” Does the weather ask us if we want it to be winter or spring? Nope. The earth has an agenda, a purpose, and it’s our job to simply adjust. If we’re really trusting that various times within our lives also have a definite purpose, spiritual maturity (Hebrews 5:12-14) tells us that, in response to them, we must be willing to adjust as well.
Understanding Seasons. Better. OK, who hasn’t gotten the mailing about people coming into your life for a reason, season or lifetime? I think I’ve mentioned before that it’s interesting that it seems like the only “til death parts you” relationship that is expected, at least biblically, is marriage (Genesis 2:24-25, Matthew 19, I Corinthians 7:1-16, Ephesians 5:22-33). Children grow up to live out their own lives. Friends have ever-evolving needs (and expectations). Business relationships change and transition. Oh, but marriage? That’s a commitment that is meant to last. Yet more and more, it seems like it’s the first one that people set out to end. Anyway, my point in bringing all of that up is that while there may be seasons within a marital covenant, the union itself was not designed to be seasonal (together one day, apart the next). I was given that reminder as I sat in the doctor’s office waiting on a friend yesterday. William and Helen sat across from me. William in a chair. Helen in a wheelchair. What initially started
the conversation with them was that I was intrigued by how they teased one another. How they understood each other’s body language so effortlessly. How there were moments when they were totally content being in silence. Upon asking them how long they had been married, William casually said, “Next October, it will be 20,000 days.” 20,000 days! Wow. Just wow. He broke down for me that those days added up to 54 years. I stood equally amazed. Days. Years. It was still a huge commitment. And testament. To honoring covenant. In under an hour, we discussed their key to a lasting marriage: being responsible in your commitments (Galatians 6:5-NCV) no matter what; what’s wrong with the Church today: taking out (Sabbath and) Sunday school because education is to be the cornerstone of the Church; how the formula for success is a life of balance because it doesn’t matter how great you are on your job if your personal life is in disarray. Oh, and what makes up good child-rearing: to raise your children, from day one, with dignity, respect and grace (they have three children, six grandchildren and all of them have a close relationship with both of William and Helen, by the way). During our chat, there were pauses of quiet contemplation. After one of them, toward the end of our conversation, after already discussing some of the things that I’ve already accomplished, William, while doing his Sudoku puzzle and not even looking up at me, asked, “So, what are you going to do with your life?” At first, internally, I was like, “Huh?!?” He followed that up with, “Are you satisfied with where things are?” I paused. “No. I’m not.” He dug further, “So, what’s the situation?” I heard myself say, “One of my favorite quotes is that adulthood is about surviving childhood. I think I am just now really healing from my past and as of late, I’ve been asking myself, ‘What do I want? What do I really want?’” He paused. “Most people don’t survive their childhood. They make horrible choices because of it. They don’t pick the right marriage partner, the right job, the right friends. Everything is about trying to make up for their past rather than really planning out their life. Most of them realize it too late too.” He paused again. Longer this time. “How old are you?” “Thirty-seven,” I said. “It’s time you get to figuring it out.” My reply? “I think the Lord had you say that to me.”
His response? With a smile, well more like a smirk, he replied, “So many people don’t listen in life. I’m glad you heard me.” For me, I knew that William was serving as my own spiritual meteorologist for that day. He was providing me with a heads-up of a clear and definite season shift on the horizon. Yet, here’s the thing that I want to share as it relates to spiritual seasons, in general. Look at how the word is defined: Season: one of the four periods of the year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter), beginning astronomically at an equinox or solstice, but geographically at different dates in different climates; a period of the year characterized by particular conditions of weather, temperature, etc.; a period of the year when something is best or available; a period of the year marked by certain conditions, activities, etc.; a period of the year immediately before and after a special holiday or occasion The first thing that hit me was that, for each definition, it has “a period of the year” within it. Are there not times within this year where you have loved what was going on and times when you have hated it? Have there not been babies that have been born and loved ones who have passed on (Psalm 116:15)? Do you not recall moments when you have felt like you were going to “break down” under the pressure and then moments when you felt stronger than ever (built up)? A lot of times, we make seasons out to be a bit more dramatic than they have to be. Good and bad happen in each season. In every season. Oftentimes from moment-to-moment. It’s what we choose to focus on that tends to have the most emotional impact. The second point is found in the two definitions of “season” that are underlined. Seasons take place when something (or one) is available for it to. One definition of “available” is “suitable or ready for use.” In Romans 9:21(NKJV), the question is asked, “Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” In Psalm 66:10(NKJV), King David was inspired to pen, “For You, O God, have tested us; You
have refined us as silver is refined.” If it’s the time of year for laughter, it’s because that’s what’s best for us. Oh, but how we tend to attempt to pray away some of what we really do need. Most of all. For instance, Ecclesiastes 7:3(NKJV) states, “Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better.” Oftentimes, when we’re sad about something, it is due to grief or regret or because we are unsatisfied with something within our lives. The cool thing about laughter is that it speaks to something that amuses us. OK. But the beneficial thing about sorrow is that it speaks to change – and if we’re paying close spiritual attention, it can be change for the better. Whatever the case may be, according to season’s definition, these things happen when it’s suitable for us to make some adjustments (whether we believe it’s time to or not). The other “ah ha” is that we must allow these adjustments to happen on our job, in our relationships, etc., as well. Therefore, the “reason, season, lifetime” writing is profound and on-point in many ways; however, we must be willing to receive that things may not always be as permanent as we would like. Sometimes seasons come to change the way we do things; not to end them being done. The relational transitions between Jacob and Esau is a good example of this (Genesis 25,27, 32, 33&36). And third, we have to keep in mind that seasons are purposeful; that each one exists for a very specific reason. Therefore, when the conditions line up for us to dance, it’s of purpose. When conditions line up for us to mourn, it’s of purpose as well. Yet, no matter what season you may be in, do you see all of those “ands” connecting the seasons in Ecclesiastes 3? They tend to work together. They tend to balance one another out. Therefore, if you’re crying continually for months on end, you might want to seek some godly wisdom as to why (some laughter should break those moments up, no doubt!). If you’re constantly feeling hatred about something (or one), you might want to seek some answers on it as well (“God is love” and we’re made to reflect his image). Whatever the case may be, in most of the definitions of “season” that I looked up (even
Good and bad happen in each season. In every season. Oftentimes from moment-to-moment. It's what we choose to focus on that tends to have the most emotional impact."
center ring “for a season” meant “for a time, especially a short time”), something that I discovered that the thief (John 10:10) has done a pretty good job of, in times past, is making people (me included) think that seasons had to be endless and uninterrupted years or decades. No, often my choice in response to a particular season brought about that kind of result! If I am willing to be more open-minded, I can admit that almost daily I experience season changes. Yesterday, I received a package in the mail. In a minute, I’m about to throw out some trash: a time to gain, a time to lose. They both serve a purpose. Life, and the things within it, always do. Beautiful. In Its Time. This brings us to the final point. The other two words that really triggered me within the lead verses were “everything” and “beautiful.” Everything is a pretty loaded word, right? One definition is “all.” Kinda reminds me of when Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together. OK, but here’s another way it’s defined: “something extremely important” or “a great deal.” Great deals happen for a season and a purpose. This means that when what we perceive as major highs or major lows come about, we must keep in mind that they exist for our benefit as well. And also that they will manifest to bring about something beautiful. Whether immediately. Or eventually. And when something is beautiful, it is “wonderful,” it is “very pleasant,” it is (good one!) “excellent of its kind” and “very satisfying.” Yes, things will add up to bring about a feeling of “full contentment.” Again, a contentment on a level of excellence that is of its own unique kind. I’m sure this is a part of the reason why the lead Scripture tells us that we can’t always figure out what God’s doing. There’s no blueprint. It’s a “custom-designed beautiful” with incomparable seasons created just for that outcome. Oh for grace to trust Adonai more! Do you recall how 2 Corinthians 4:18 mentioned that eternal things are things that we don’t see? OK, and do you also recall how in the lead Scripture, it states that Adonai puts eternity into our hearts? One definition of “eternity” is “infinite time” – time that has no beginning or end. The only thing that I can recall in the Word that is also that way is Elohim (Revelation 1:8). Just now (Psalm 18:28) am I understanding a reason why King Solomon may have brought up “no time” in the same space as “some time.” It’s because when God
is in our hearts, we tend to become, what I call, “time bottom liners.” We’re not so caught up in what’s going on from moment-to-moment so much as how it will affect us eternally. Therefore, if it’s happening to make us better, let it happen...for as long as it needs to...to make us closer to God, to make life richer, to make us spiritually more beautiful. And the cool thing is that when that is your priority, time and seasons start to matter less and less and purpose fulfillment begins to matter more and more. Seasons manifesting purpose is how time is perceived. And prayerfully embraced. Doesn’t that make Psalm 20:4(NKJV) just jump off of the page: “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.” A “Shellie edit” of this would be: “In getting to all of the beautiful that God has for you, may you embrace each and every season. Within them all, may you catch what you need and release what you don’t. May you be ready and willing to do whatever is needed at the particular time to get you from one moment to the next. May you strive for the eternal rather than the temporary. May Adonai’s purpose being fulfilled in your life be your constant goal.” Seasons come. Seasons go. Time shifts. Moments pass us by. In the grand scheme of things, it’s an experience that brings about an excellence of its own kind. It’s all beautiful. Case in point: Christ dying was a brutal and beautiful event, right? It had many seasons in one instance. If we focused only on the physical experience, we would miss the spiritual outcome. And what a tragedy that would be. Therefore, we have to be willing to learn to look at life’s broader picture. Again, no matter what, it’s all beautiful. Daily. And eternally. So, stay open. Stay faith-filled. Trust God. Be patient. Adjust. Another season is coming. Ultimately for your good. Soon and sure enough. Selah. And amen. Shellie R. Warren is author of the book Inside of Me: Lessons of Lust, Love and Redemption and the blog On Fire Fast Movement, as well as other writings related to marriage and preparing for it. ©Shellie R. Warren/2012. This article is reprinted with permission. Subscribe to Shellie’s Word Seed devotional.
Dear Tamara, For about two months, I have been dating I am dating this guy, Ryan, who my parents really like. He treats me like he really does care. His name is Ryan and my parents love him. He treats me like he really does care. He comes to my church now every week and this Friday, he and his mom are staying the night in Jeff City to come and watch me at my state XC meet. h in g aw itlot We. Ihang and we love to spend a mout in 'm b e o u h a v e y time with k e friends and family. s o u n d s li Anyway, I really admire your exas ample - your gentle words and kind w p u r it y d a y s v–ie and I would like to know how heart you have made thinks work with your u r r e la n d Iy othought a lf e boyfriend. I should ask how s r u yo on your s the t’ a h w s to put down rules to keep ourselves s d is c u o r c lo s e a r e n tsother. p r true to each u o y to and your G o d He’s to -Hoping the One in Hannibal n o ti vo
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Holiday Remix Repurposing Candy Canes, Christmas Trees, Poinsettias, Cards and More by Reba Ray
’m takin’ a break from cookin’ and eatin’ – we got enough of that in December, didn’t we? – to throw out some ideas of what to do with all that stuff (to put it poetically) that we accumulated over the holidays. Yur average thrifty person will have a few large, plastic storage bins to save ornaments, lights and even mildly used packagin’ for next year. That’s great and everyone should do it! But there are still just a whole bunch of things that don’t go into the bins that make me wonder as I wander to the garbage can, “Isn’t there somethin’ better to do with this than toss it?” You know what I’m talking about – Christmas cards, candy canes, broken (but not to smithereens) ornaments, obviously used packagin’ and even our quickly deterioratin’ tree. Great amalgamator that I am, below you’ll find some of the sweetest and neatest ideas on the Web for recyclin’ and repurposin’ what won’t keep until next year. If you set out to reduce some of the waste of this holiday season, you’ll quickly conclude that the best way to limit holiday waste is to cut down on what we purchase in the first place. So my best advice for a frugal and planet-friendly holiday is to plan the next one better. Start now by sendin’ out an e-mail or Facebook message to like-minded friends who might want to do a decoration exchange in November of the comin’ year. Propose a couple of holiday craftin’ weekends in October to put into practice some of the best of these ideas in the fellowship of friends. Take the time now to organize projects, settin’ aside in an orderly fashion all you’ll need, and then knock ‘em out during those long, snowy evenings in February. Just remember this: Wise
women wrepurpose! (Even if they can’t say that five times in a row real fast.) Oh, Christmas Tree! There are lots of environmentally sound ways to dispose of a Christmas tree, from mulchin’ to improvin’ fish habitats to dune restoration, and the best one for you is gonna depend on where you live. Contact yur local recycling center to see what they suggest. If they are big losers and have nothin’ to suggest, contact yur, city, county or state parks department. Or, if yur feelin’ crafty and want to turn that tree into next year’s Christmas presents, check out this Rachel Ray video on makin’ jewelry, coasters, hair sticks and more out of a tree trunk. Also on this video is a great idea for even the most brutally used wrappin’ paper – shreddin’ it for gift packagin’ all year long. But I’m bettin’ you may have already taken out the trash… Well, next year! Playing Your Cards Right What to do with Christmas cards is gettin’ to be less and less of a problem, with people optin’ for e-cards or no cards at all! But for those whose families and friends cherish the tradition, you get a double whammy on the way to the trash can with Christmas cards, knowin’ that not only could they be repurposed, but they also have sentimental value. But who needs (or wants!) a set of Christmas card collage placemats? Some not-so-corny uses of these cards are creatin’ an advent calendar for the next year, Christmas crackers (a great, and fun tradition you need to start!), and money-savin’ gift tags for next year. If you’re a scrapbooker, why buy Christmas scrapbookin’ supplies? And if you
down-home healthy cookin’ for one on a budget have a recipe card collection, use the blank sides of Christmas cards to note some of yur favorite holiday recipes. Card fronts also make great post cards or custom invitations for holiday functions next year. Better Off Broken If you have cats, you probably have some broken ornaments. And Christmas lights aren’t built to last forever either. Turn these tiny tragedies into triumphs, creatin’ custom gifts. I refer you back to the Rachel Ray video featuring PBS’s “B Organic” Host Michele Beschen, who makes jewelry from broken ornaments, as well as three other neat ideas found here. Candy Canes Don’t Expire Chocolate-covered cherries around my house never get the chance to grow old, but candy canes, on the other hand, could fossilize before I take the wrappers off. I see that candy companies have responded to America’s waning peppermint appetite by fancyin’ up the candy cane – Hershey’s makes a mint chocolate candy cane, and I saw gingerbread-flavored candy canes too – but I’m thinkin’ it’s just too much hard candy in one package because even these new tastes aren’t temptin’ me. The crazy thing is I buy some anyway! When they inevitably break, I feel okay about tossin’ em, but ya know, that’s not OK. Some poor little sugar cane had to give its life to make that and I should value that sacrifice, which is why I’m pleased to steer ya to 33 Uses for Leftover Candy Canes. A Life is a Terrible Thing to Waste Of all the post-Christmas perditions, it’s poinsettia homicide that bothers me most. If I lived in Florida, California or along the Mexican-American border, where it doesn’t freeze, I could just find a sunny spot outside to stick it in the ground and it might stand a chance. I know they can be grown as houseplants, but if you’re like me, and tryin’ to keep a poinsettia is really just prolongin’ its inevitable death, consider alternatives. Do you have a friend or relative who is successful at raisin’ ‘em (and actually enjoys it)? Give it away, then. If you know you’re gonna kill it sooner or later, try preservin’ the flowers before they get yucky. Put ‘em between two sheets of wax paper, pressed down between some heavy books for a couple o’ weeks. Then you might be able to craft January birthday cards or use the deep red for decoupage of Valentine’s crafts.
Oh, I know, it’s easier to get a 35-gallon glad bag and toss it all. But as wise women – resourceful and good stewards – we’re called to make somethin’ out of what other people call garbage.
Holy Bible Yet? by
which stands for Holy Bible, is a Christian band from Finland—don’t worry, they have English lyrics. The band formed in 2002 and has since been consistently creating new and original music. “Frozen Inside,” released in 2008, is the English version of their second full-length album called “Enne.” They usually produce both English and Finnish versions of their albums because they have such a wide audience. That’s cool, but the question is: What do they sound like? Actually they don’t sound very Finnish—whatever Finnish sounds like. Their vocals are perfectly intelligible and aren’t hindered by an accent that makes it
hard to understand. Except for the occasional odd wording, an average American might go away thinking the singer was British. Musically, they’re like a female-fronted band, like Red or Skillet, but with a more bombastic, orchestral feel. Trans-Siberian Orchestra is another similarly sounding band. HB can also be compared to secular gothic metal acts like Nightwish, Within Temptation, or Lacuna Coil. All of these consist of basically the same mix: female singer, symphonic string passages, choirs and heavy guitars. However, HB offers positive, Christ-centered lyrics, as well. For example, one of their most popular songs, “God Has All Glory” opens with stringed instruments followed by choirs
© Essi Tuomi HB is: Johanna, vocals; Antti, guitar, vocals; Bob, guitar; Sofia, guitar; Tuomas, bass; Markus: drums Below: © Taneli Heiskanen
while guitar chords build the song into a bold wall of sound. This crescendo is then graced by beautiful, female vocals singing glorifying lyrics to God. Some of the songs could almost be praise songs sung in a church if put to different music. They usually have lyrics that proclaim God’s power and wisdom while proclaiming the importance of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Lyrically, the album touches on various themes of faith. Some songs call out to the unsaved asking them to turn to Jesus as the only One who can complete their lives and save them. Other words beacon unbelievers to open their hearts to the One who loves them just as they are and reminds them of how He is waiting for them to turn to Him and be set free. Other songs by HB prompt the saved to live out their faith well and to be witnesses for Christ. “It Is Time” asks if we have become prisoners of our own comfortable lifestyles and encourages us not to forget the reason why God
has put us here on earth—to be His witnesses. The chorus of this song is a prayer to God to help us be obedient to Him as He’s called us to do. HB includes other themes which deal with common trials in life, like the song “Years Go By,” which has a ballad feel containing a beautiful piano piece, or the title track “Frozen Inside,” where lyrics cry out to God like David did in some of his Psalms. Here’s the final assessment: HB infuses scripture and godly themes with great music, making for unique sound which demonstrates the artists’ passion for Christ. If you like hard-hitting rock played by skillful musicians, you should check out this band! Here’s a couple websites to get you started: www. hbmusic.net and www.myspace.com/hbmetal.
Getting the Most for your Gift Card Buck
by Julie Ann
omehow it always seems that once January rolls around my wallet is stuffed with little plastic gift cards bearing various retail stores and restaurant logos from relatives and friends who decided it would be safer for me to pick out my own gifts. According to First Data, a firm that conducts an annual study on the gift card industry, 82 percent of those surveyed received a gift card in 2010. Given the steady yearly increase in the giving of gift cards, the chances are high that you were a recipient in 2011. So what did you do with those gift cards you received this past Christmas season? Rush right out and spend it, right? Well, yes, but there are several factors to consider before plunking your gift card down to pay for purchases. Registration: The first thing you should do when you receive a gift card is check to see if you can register it. This will protect you if the card is lost or stolen. Remember, these cards are to be treated like cash and adding a layer of protection is always wise. Reloading: Many businesses want you to reload your gift card and continue to use it for purchases. Often these businesses will reward you for using the card. One such example is Starbucks. Over a year ago, someone gave me a Starbucks gift card. I registered it online and now earn gold stars for free drinks every time I use the card to pay
for my coffee, plus I earn a free drink on my birthday and other special deals. Recently a friend gave me another Starbucks gift card. I registered it and transferred the amount on the card into my account. This is a great way for me to limit my Starbucks purchases to funds available on the card and earn free stuff, and it’s easier than cash. Read the Fine Print: Somewhere in teeny, tiny print on the card there will be the terms and conditions for using the card. For example, I have an iTunes card in front of me. When I read the fine print it tells me that I can only use it in the iTunes store. I have to be a certain age to open an iTunes account. I can’t redeem the card for cash or refunds, and they aren’t responsible for any damage, etc. Be sure to read the terms and conditions, paying extra attention to any expiration dates or other restrictions that may prevent you from using the card. Remember millions of dollars in gift cards go unused every year because people didn’t read the fine print! Remember, it’s a gift: First of all, because it is a gift card, I like to make sure that I use it to purchase something I would like to receive as a gift but that I wouldn’t normally buy myself. After all, the gift card giver probably didn’t intend for you to spend the card on toothpaste, soap and deodorant, but rather a fun treat for yourself. Consider the Cost: One of the things that stores like about gift cards is the chance that you will spend more money than you have on your gift card, thus earning them a higher profit. If someone gives you a $50 gift card, keep in mind that you will have to pay from your pocket any amount over $50. Be
prepared to shell out more (essentially buying yourself part of the gift, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense) or find something near the gift card amount. If You Can’t Spend It: What if a co-worker who hardly knows you gives you a gift card for a restaurant or store that you despise or an out-of-town relative gifts you one for a business that doesn’t have a store near you? You have a couple of options. First, you could consider re-gifting the card to someone you know who can use it (and won’t figure out you’re re-gifting it!). Or you can hop online and find a gift card exchange where you can trade for a useful gift card or even cash, such as PlasticJungle. com. There are various rules and sometimes fees associated with these gift card exchange site, so as always, read the fine print and make sure you know how everything will work. Just run a search for “gift card exchanges” to find a site. If you are an eBay user, you can sell it there. Of course, an even better idea for unwanted gift cards is to find a needy family who could use a night out at a nice restaurant or a local shelter that could use the card to buy supplies for the homeless (a side note: it is always a great idea to have a few extra gift cards any time of the year to help out those less fortunate.) As convenient and popular as they are, gift cards do come with a few strings attached, things to look out for and occasionally minor inconveniences. However, they seem to have become a staple of the giftgiving season, so be smart and get the most bang for your gift card buck.
Be prepared to shell out more (essentially buying yourself part of the gift, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense).
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pies for many area restaurants, and we bought a coconut cream pie. We sat down opposite each other at the one booth in the wholesale pie place and dug into that pie. About twothirds of the way through the pie, we sat back, looked at each other and groaned. Ah, good times! And yet, the sad reality is that we had each just consumed about a day’s worth of calories – mostly made up of sugar and fat. There are a lot of things in life that we can legitimately credit or blame our parents for, and our eating patterns are among them. However, just like all those other things, both good and bad, that we picked up from our parents, when we’re on our own, we have a choice to keep them or toss them out. It’s a lot easier to keep them than to shed 18 years of behavioral conditioning. However, if we’ve inherited a poor self-discipline when it comes to eating and exercise, we must make the effort to change! Even if we are not overweight now, we should start to change our unhealthy patterns, because they will catch up with us! I was in my mid-30s before my gluttonous sweet tooth caught up with me. If you think reversing 18 years is hard, try changing 35 years of behavioral conditioning! I read the results of a seemingly silly little study some social scientist conducted once to prove a point about change. And boy, does it ever! Researchers asked their subjects, people who worked at a desk with a garbage can on one side, to move their garbage can to the other side. Then they tallied how many times it took people to begin to automatically go to the side where the garbage can was to throw something away. For an average of 57 times, people turned toward the wrong side, the side where the trash can used to be, when throwing away their garbage. The point is that if something as simple as learning to toss a wad of paper to the left when you’re used to tossing to the right takes 57 tries before you get the hang of it, consider the effort and repetition needed to change eating habits of 18 years. (This is crazy, but after having read that study, I have made a point of periodically moving my trash can from place to place. Just when I feel like I’m nice and comfortable with one spot – bam! – I move it. I call it malleability conditioning.)
I wish my mom and dad had worked harder at developing my good eating and exercise habits. I wish they had modeled better behavior. I can’t dwell there though. I’m an adult now and I have my own choices to make. One of them is determining to do better by my own children and expose them to healthy foods, making eating good foods a family habit and helping them find a form of exercise that they will rely on to stay fit throughout life. Another choice is to improve my own habits for me, but also, again, for my kids, because what they see me doing will make much more of an impression on them than what they hear me saying. I have focused almost exclusively on the health and fitness benefits of self-discipline in eating and exercise. But note now how our verses relate eating (and exercise) habits to prosperity. Solomon ties eating habits and income together with the common chord of self-discipline: “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (Proverbs 23:20-21). It would be oversimplifying things to say I’m overweight because I’m a lazy glutton, and even if there is some truth in that, it won’t do me any good to dwell on it. Instead, I should resolve to increase self-discipline – the result of which will reflect favorably in everything from my waistline to my bank account.
Hold this thought: I will begin to develop a good habit today.