Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mysterious Ways

I found this in my email from Guideposts, a Mysterious Ways article that I thought was wonderful and wanted to share. ~ Anastasia.

Follow the Leader

Stuck in a heavy snowstorm, my guide dog was as blind as me. Who could show us the way?

By Sandy Seltzer
Mineola, New York

Dustin, my California-bred guide dog, was having trouble outside our Long Island apartment. This was his first snowstorm and he was confused. I'm blind, and I wasn't doing so well either. No one was out, so there were no sounds to steer me. Contrary to what many people think, guide dogs do not find the way for a blind person. The blind person directs the dog.

After a harrowing 45 minutes, Dustin and I finally made it back. But guide dogs must be walked regularly. "Next time why don't you ask God to go with you?" a friend suggested. And so I did. "Lord, go with Dustin and me. The wind is so fierce it's hard to concentrate on our direction. Lead us."

Snow stung our faces and it was difficult to make a path. Dustin whined a little. "Okay, boy," I said to him, "the Lord is with us." And then I gave him a command that a blind person gives only when another person is leading the way: "Dustin, follow!"

Dustin perked up and to my astonishment took off as though he knew exactly where to go. We made it to the street, then headed back to our building—no problem.

A young woman trudged up and offered to walk us to our door. "We'll just follow your footprints," she said. "Yours and the dog's, and that other person's."

"What other person?" I asked.

"There's a dog's prints. And your prints. And a larger person's prints. Wasn't someone with you?"

I paused for a moment and then I answered, "Oh yes, there was someone with us." There always is.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Congratulations to the winners...

Bailey's Basics and Phil of Philz Corner

I will be sending out the prizes this week. Also, for those wanting to play along, I will post the answers to the song titles next week. So put your thinking caps on and if you want, email the answers to me and I will check to see if they are right. ;)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

1 Day Left

Hurry up! The contest ends tomorrow! Not much time left to send in your answers!

Friday, December 12, 2008

2 Days Left..

There's still time, the contest ends this Sunday. Keep playing and sending me those answers!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


DON'T CHEAT!!!! I'll know if you cheated!

Figure out the titles of these popular Christmas songs. You MUST email your answers by 12/14/08, to me at

For a list of contest rules, see this post

To see what you are playing for a chance to win, please see this post

When emailing your answers be sure to include your name, address, country (if appropriate), and most importantly... your etsy username!



My sold desire for this Yuletide Season is receipt of a pair of central incisors.

From dark ‘til dawn. Soundless and sanctimonious

Celestial Messengers from Splendid Empires

The antlered quadruped with the cerise proboscis

The event occurred at one minute after 11:59 p.m. with visibility unlimited

Ornament enclosure with large sprigs of berry-bearing evergreen

Personal hallucinations of alabaster December 25th

Anticipation of this Noel’s mementos: Nil

Clappered, inverted cups, amalgamated

Testimony of witness of maternal parent’s infidelity with Kris Kringle

In a distant bovine diner

Universal elation

O miniature Nazarene Village.

The approach of the holiday commemorating the birth of Christ is become evident

May Jehovah grant unto you makes hilarious retirement

Those of you, who are true, come here!

Are you detecting same aural sensations as I am?

The diminutive male of less than adult age who plays a percussion instrument

Primary Yuletide

Heavenly cherubs announcing in song – listen

Reining Monarchs of the Far East

Who’s the mystery kid?

Proclaim it to the hills

Pastoral woolies nocturnally observed in vigilance by herdsmen

Village expectations of a yuletide emissary

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Feed the Children...

I was channel surfing earlier tonight, some time after 7, looking for something to watch. I started out watching L&O on TNT then went down the line looking to see what else was on. I almost never watch my network, but when I was channel surfing I stopped. OK, I admit it, I only stopped because right as I put it on there, Dean Cain was on talking about something. Of course I got curious, after all, he has only gotten better looking as he's aged! *ahem*

So I left it on out of curiosity and he was talking about being in Kenya. I don't know what the show was about exactly, just that a handful of actors went to Kenya and spent time in the slums, orphanage, schools, feeing the kids and even on safari. I was watching Eyes on Kenya and from what I could tell, it was a joint effort with Feed the Children. The show itself was very eye opening and I'm sure, life changing for most of the people that watched it. For me though, even though I don't even own a passport, I know people live like that. I know that is reality for folks in Kenya, and really, other parts of the world.

Even though I grew up on the north side of Chicago, we weren't exactly rich. We had a nice apartment building, lived modestly and all, but if you looked closely, you would have seen all the things that were hand me downs and what not. But I still am not surprised or shocked when I see people living with less. While watching Eyes on Kenya I thought of the time I did a serving project on the south side. I had gone back to Willow Creek at the time (this was after I bought a new car, my old one was in too bad of shape for me to make the drive weekly from my house so I stopped going). I remember it was a Saturday morning in winter and the group I was put in went down to the south side to meet up with a church there. We split up in teams and were given a list of names and addresses and a bag of presents and off we went. The group I was in had the easiest assignment, we just went up and down the street the church was on. The other groups had to walk to other streets, one or two groups even went to the projects.

It's funny how being there felt like home to me. Even though I never hung out on the south side when I lived in the city, I still went to high school with a number of people that lived on the south side, some of whom lived in the projects, or knew people that did. I was probably the only person from Willow that wasn't shocked or surprised or freaked out by anything I saw. It was all normal to me. I guess that just goes to show you the difference between growing up in the suburbs vs the city.

Even though there were some nice looking homes, they still lacked things like adequate heating. I remember someone from my group being shocked/surprised/whatisthewordI'mlookingfor? at the sight of one of the houses. We walked back into the kitchen and the mom was cooking. She had all four burners going though, to heat the house. It's not that I'm jaded or anything, but to me that wasn't surprising or shocking or anything. That was everyday life for some people.

People who have never known what it's like to not have money, or struggle with finances, have no clue what it's like to not have money or struggle to make ends meet. Some of us have spent 20+ years living like that, while others who only go through seasons of that try to tell us what to do to get out of it. You know, there is no way to "get out of it". As easy as it is for you to say do this, this, and this, the reality is far different. We can't change our situations overnight and harping on us to do so and wagging your fingers at us for xyz isn't helping. though xyz is what you see and hear about at this moment, you don't know the whole story and you shouldn't harp on people for the way they live.

Just like those families on the south side can't snap their fingers and things will improve overnight, same goes for people like me.

At the end of the show the actors talked about giving the orphanage a Christmas present. They all pitched in and provided the resources for the orphanage to have a new school and sleeping quarters. It was heart warming to hear those actors talk about how this trip has changed them and how they were going to go back there again because they wanted to do more. I'm so sick and tired of seeing and hearing about celebrities who are spending thousands of dollars on clothes, purses, etc. Um, how about using your money for more important and better things?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

First Annual Team CAC Christmas Contest

The first annual Christmas contest starts THIS Sunday! You will be given a list of well known Christmas song titles and you will have to figure out what they are. I won't make it that easy though! The titles won't be obvious, they will be exaggerated and well, it might make your brain hurt trying to figure out what they are.

*~* Contest dates
- Contest starts 12/07/08 and ends 12/14/08. Answers MUST BE emailed to me by 12:00 AM CST on 12/14/08. Any emails after that will not be eligible. I will disqualify any answers posted to here and etsy. Emails only!

*~* Eligibility
- Contest is open to all sellers and buyers on etsy, including international folks
- Sellers (Team CAC members) providing gifts are not eligible to participate, along with their families

*~* *~* Prizes will be mailed no later than 12/22/08. People outside the US, please allow extra time for gift basket to arrive.

*~* *~* *~* *~* Drawing
- One winner will randomly be chosen by me on or after December 15, 2008. Once winner has been chosen, they will be notified via email. So check your emails people! :D

*~* *~* List of participating shops.

The following shops are providing prizes for the gift basket.

Erika Price Designs
Jo Bead
Matt's Crafty Wife
Cherry's Creations
MF Cardworks
Amy's Treasures
Flamingo Lady

I'm still waiting on prizes, once I have them in house, I will show off all the lovely prizes you can win.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Congratulations to Amy's Treasures and Mat's Crafty Wife

Amy's Treasures and Mat's Crafty Wife (oddly enough, that's the two of us that post to this blog. lol) for making it into Gift Guides.

My Christmas Cheer wineglass charms are currently being featured in the Holiday party and decorations gift guide.

Matt's Crafty Wife's Christmas stocking is featured in the same gift guide.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

I'm sure we'll all be feeling like Snoopy at some point this week.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Recipe

Today I came across this yummy looking stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving and wanted to share it with you all. I love, If you've never been on there, give it a try!

Awesome Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing

15 Min
25 Min
1 Hr 40 Min

1 1/2 cups cubed whole wheat bread
3 3/4 cups cubed white bread
1 pound ground turkey sausage
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1 cooked turkey liver, finely chopped
3/4 cup turkey stock
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degree F (175 degree C). Spread the white and whole wheat bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until evenly toasted. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl.
In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned. Add the celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to blend flavors.
Pour sausage mixture over bread in bowl. Mix in chopped apples, dried cranberries, parsley, and liver. Drizzle with turkey stock and melted butter, and mix lightly. Spoon into turkey to loosely fill.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Devotional for the day

Devotional for today

November 23, 2008
From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
II Timothy 3:15 (NIV)

I can’t think about the Bible for very long without remembering Grandma Fellman. She lived to be ninety-eight and kept her Bible beside her always.
A couple of years ago her now elderly daughter, my aunt, sent me that Bible. Its leather cover is worn and tattered, and some of the pages have come loose from the binding and are threatening to fall out. Several people have suggested that I have it restored, but I like it the way it is. Holding it with the spine in my palm, I can feel the impression of Grandma’s hand. She held it that way with me on her lap and her arms around me as we read chapter after chapter.
For some people the Bible is just a complicated collection of sixty-six books by thirty-nine authors spanning thousands of years, a historical document needing criticism and correction. Not so for Grandma Fellman. She often told me, “Honey, this book, from beginning to end, is about one thing: the Savior Jesus. The old part is about how we lost touch with God and He made a plan to send Jesus to bring us back. The new part tells Jesus’ life story and how He wants us to live. Follow His way and you will never go wrong.”
I hope that the next time Grandma sees Jesus, she’ll tell Him that lots of us down here are trying to follow His way and she’ll ask Him to keep being patient with us.
Lord Jesus, thank You for the Scriptures that tell us Your story. Help us to live together in Your way.
By Eric Fellman of

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Surviving the holidays

It's that time of year again, when we are scrambling to figure out who is hosting what, where and when. When you find yourself pulling hosting duties there are easy ways of surviving with minimal damage. The key is preparation and get as much done early so that when the day arrives, you just have minimal things to do.

For instance, we are hosting Thanksgiving this year and are actually doing it on Thursday, which has been a rarity since my sister got married in '95. Ever since then she goes to her in-laws and we've put off turkey day feasting until the weekend. Which is fine, and kind of nice because then we can invite friends over that normally can't make it. But this year we're having it here at my folks' house. So to make it go easier since my mom and I both work, we're doing something I keep trying to get her to do, prep and get more done before d-day.

Last night I sat down with one of my recipes to see how much I needed of what. I know the ingredients, it's my hash brown casserole recipe that I got from my sister who got from her mother-in-law. I've had this recipe nearly as long as my sister has been married and it's the one thing I have made for gatherings that went in seconds. It's a super easy casserole to make and oh so good!

So I sat down and made a list of what I needed for that and anything else we were making. My mom has my brother's bringing desserts even though I wanted to make them. Ever since working at Cookies By Design a few years ago I haven't been able to bake around this time of year because I've always been swamped at work. That is the downside to working for companies that either have the bulk of their business for Christmas or are in general busy around the holidays. So now I finally have the time and energy to bake more and my mom has out sourced desserts. *sigh* But I'm still making two casseroles.

So today we did our grocery shopping. The list was a huge help, we spent less time wandering around the stores trying to figure out what we needed, and less money than we normally would have I'm sure. With one or two exceptions, we picked up nearly everything from the list so now we don't have to go grocery shopping after work Monday, like we originally planned. That now leaves us free to relax after work and either clean the house or just relax. Wednesday is the day I plan on getting as much cooked as I can. I already made the dip for the veggies when we came home from the store today. So that will be nice and flavorful by Thursday. Wednesday after work I will make both the green bean and hash brown casseroles. I don't know if we're going to do anything with the cranberry jelly, usually we just dump it out of the can. But after seeing the Neelys jazz it up a bit with orange juice and zest, I might do that for something different.

So we will be cooking as much as we can on Wednesday after work, leaving just the bird and rolls for Thursday. However, we will be prepping the bird ahead of time (of course). How that will be done isn't finalized. Aside from soaking it in buttermilk, I have no idea what else my mom is going to do to the bird.

Now you might be asking yourself where do you put all that food once it's cooked? Well, if you have a second refrigerator, use that. If not, make sure your fridge is as empty as you can get it the day you start all your cooking. This way you have more room to put your casseroles and other dishes. Leave the casseroles in their dishes, that's all part of their preparation. The other dishes are a different story. If you are like me, and live in an area where you get fall spring and winter, then take advantage of the cold garage and clear room on that junk table and place your well covered dishes in there overnight. It is cold enough in there that it is basically, a big refrigerator.

Ice is one of those things you don't think about until it's too late. Save your money and make it ahead of time, put them in ziplock bags to store until the day of the party. Of course, if you are using a cooler or something to keep drinks cold, then you're better off buying bags of ice. But if you can, just make them ahead. We have something like six ice cube trays and when I get off the computer, I will be filling them up.

Speaking of drinks, if you are planning on having pop, then skip the 2-liter bottles and just use cans. The reason being is you don't have these big bottles left either half full or unopened. Those bottles are not meant to keep the pop fresh, it goes flat in no time. If you use cans, you have less waste and they are easier to store.

Another helpful thing to do is empty the dishwasher before your guests arrive. Even if you have to run a small load, make sure there isn't one thing in there unless you are using it to store dirty pots and pans to free up the sink while your guests are over. The less in the dishwasher, the more you can fill it after dinner and wash in one load. If your friends or family aren't the kind of people to just get up and help you clean up, ask them. Don't be afraid to draft people to help. Makes things go by so much faster. Every time my sister has a gathering of some sort at her house, I always help clean up after dinner (at least), putting food away, getting dessert out. At my oldest brother's house, I always get drafted to help prep for the party. Something I always end up doing at my sister's as well.

I know there are people out there that hate going to bed with a messy kitchen, but you might want to consider it after a holiday gathering. It's taken me years to do that to my mom and she has finally given in and rested instead of killing herself to clean everything in the kitchen before bed. Why do that to yourself? Why not rest and then get back to the dishes the next day? After all, clean or dirty, they're not going anywhere. They will still be in the house when you wake up, so why not take a break after everyone leaves, then tackle the pots and pans once you've rested? Now granted, for me ever since getting mono 10 years ago I haven't been able to push myself like I used to. So when I finally get my own place and host my own holiday parties I will be doing just that. I know I can only push myself so far before my body shuts down and forces me to rest.

So there you have it, a few easy tips to surviving the holidays.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Today's Positive Thought

Todays Positive Thought

Learning to get out of your own way is one of life's most valuable lessons.
You can spend your life tripping on yourself; you can also spend your life tripping yourself up.
Learn to get out of your own way.
Suzan Lori Park

In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Proverbs 3:6

Check out Pastor Jeff's Blog

Monday, November 17, 2008

More to come....

Just wanted to start off the team blog with a little bit of information regarding our Christmas contest. With this being the first year of our new team, I thought it would be fun to start it off with a contest.

Contest starts 12/07/08 and ends 12/14/08. Answers MUST BE emailed to me by 12:00 AM CST on 12/14/08. Any emails after that will not be eligible.

Come back often for more details.