Lessons from the Sea

Summer is officially here!  School is out, and we can take a break from work obligations.   It is time for vacations and enjoying our families.  This doesn’t mean that we stop learning.  It means that we can learn about things we enjoy in places where we want to be...

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A prayer for America

America, the Beautiful: by Katherine Lee Bates O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain. America! America! God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea. O beautiful for pilgrim feet, whose stern...

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Say It with Red, White, and Blue

When it comes to patriotic table decor there is no shortage of ideas.  The pictured centerpiece is super simple and easily adaptable to any size table.  It features a clear glass container approximately 20 inches high and is a rather tall centerpiece; for a smaller version, simply use a container 10 or 12...

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Just Watch The Fireworks

Fireworks. They illuminate the night and mesmerize all who gather to watch their colors burst across the sky with a comforting crackle and pop. Fireworks in town squares, front lawns and across lakes have become a beloved and highly anticipated part of each 4th of July in America. Family...

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Lady Liberty Birthday Berries

These strawberries are a really easy way to have a patriotic dessert without having a lot of dessert! Its also a great treat to let any kids help. 16 oz Strawberries 4 oz white chocolate Blue Sanding Sugar (as needed) Melt the chocolate slowly in a microwave. Dip the strawberries...

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Sand, Seashells, and Stones

“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.”   Psalm 127: 2 (NLT) School is dismissed for the summer in most areas of the country, and families are...

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Blessings of the sea

And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.  And it was so.  God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters called "seas." And God saw that it was good. And God said, "Let the water teem with...

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Summer-A Time for Family

“But Jesus withdrew himself with His disciples to the sea…”  Mark 6:7 (KJV) Summer is a time for family.  It is a time to rest removing ourselves from the stresses of work or school and focus on deepening our family relationships.  One of the best ways to strengthen the...

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That Sea of Time

OR, from that Sea of Time, Spray, blown by the wind—a double winrow-drift of weeds and shells; (O little shells, so curious-convolute! so limpid-cold and voiceless! Yet will you not, to the tympans of temples held, Murmurs and echoes still bring up—Eternity’s music, faint and far, Wafted inland, sent...

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Stories of Stones

The Opal Report by Katie Turpen   Taken from the Latin "Opalus" meaning "seeing jewel" the opal was said to have fallen from heaven in flashes of lightning, thus producing its multi-colored hues. The origin of the word opal is attributed to Ops the wife of Saturn and goddess...

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Michele’s Key Lime Report

Ingredients: cream cheese   12 oz sweetened condensed milk  21 oz key lime juice   7.5 oz Lime Zest   3 tsp graham cracker crust (baked)  1 Directions: 1. Cream Cream cheese in a mixer until soft and smooth 2. Combine wet ingredients. Slowly add to the cream cheese, stopping to scrape...

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Nature Prayer

He's the Lilly of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star, He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul. William W. Fry We give you thanks, most gracious God, for the beauty of earth and sky and sea; for the richness of mountains, plains, and rivers; for the...

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Flower Power! Women and Wild Roses

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.  Proverbs 31:30 (NLT) If I had to choose only one flower to represent women, it would be the rose.  Long considered the symbol for beauty, the rose offers us a...

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Mothers, Women, and Wisdom

We arrive at the month of May. As the last school bells ring and the air thickens with humidity, it’s a time for us to celebrate mothers! We all have mothers in our lives whether they are in our immediate family or in our friend circle. What a blessing...

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Lavender Lemonade

There are few things that make me think of spring more than lemonade. This lemonade is really refreshing! The lavender cuts the tartness of the lemonade and with the mint helps give the drink a nice light feel. 7 cups water 1 cup sugar 1 ½ cups frozen lemon...

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Cultivating the Soul

Celebrate the earth! Here is a picture of my former roommmates and I volunteering for an organization called Bayou Rebirth in New Orleans, Louisiana. It feels suprisingly theraputic to get your hands dirty in soil, especialy if it's helping to replenish a rapidly vanishing coastline. Living in New Orleans for a...

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The Perfect Hiking Food

Whenever I think about getting outside and hiking, I remember the hikes we would do in Girl Scouts and we would always make trail mix to go with it. The great thing about trail mix is that you can add almost anything you like to it and leave out...

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Nature Child

I am a "Nature Child" by my own personal definition of one of my "inner children." These show up in our dreams as well as being acted out or appearing suddenly in our daily lives. For me, the "Nature Child" means that I connect and make friends with small...

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Easter and Earth

Easter, Earth. and Eggs! Every year, the day before Easter, my mom hard-boils 3 dozen eggs. Then we as a family sit down and dye them. All different colors, using mostly the dye my mom gets from Amish country in the middle of Pennsylvania. Then we all look at...

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Spring Prayer

God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on the trees and in the flowers, clouds and stars. Martin Luther A Prayer in Spring Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today; And give us not to think so far away As the uncertain harvest; keep...

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Setting an Eggscellent Table

When Spring arrives, it is accompanied by limitless natural resources for setting a lovely table–flowers, grasses, tree branches, etc. Even though fresh flowers may be purchased year-round, don't miss the opportunity to utilize what the earth offers.  We've opted this month to use pastel colors, but if brighter colors...

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Who is St. Patrick?

St. Patrick is one of the world’s most popular saints with his feast day, March 17, being celebrated all over the world. Because of the time and place he lived in, 387-461, not much is really known about his life and what is known has been exaggerated over the...

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Irish Simplicity

I've never had the opportunity to visit Ireland, but pictures and texts in magazines and travel brochures lead me to believe that the rural Irish people lead a simple life.  We have attempted to incorporate that simplicity in our March table setting by using plain white dinnerware and plaid...

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Grasshopper Pie

For the Crust: 16 Mint N' Creme Oreo cookies, broken up 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled For the Filling: 3 large egg yolks 1 envelope unflavored gelatin ½ cup sugar 2 cups heavy cream Pinch salt ¼ cup green creme de menthe ¼ cup white creme de cacao 1. Adjust...

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Welcoming Spring

May you always have… Walls for the winds A roof for the rain Tea beside the fire Laughter to cheer you Those you love near you And all your heart might desire. Irish blessings are comforting words this month of March. Spring unfolds before us, bringing back the color...

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The Lord Bless You

Numbers 6: 24-26: The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. (NIV) Scottish Blessing:  May the blessing of light be on you – light without and...

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Healing Faith!

How do we “heal” faith? When there is emptiness in our hearts, it usually means that no “faith”( or life)  is there either! A desert. Not “green” as in life and energy, but the opposite. No faith implies that our faith is broken, damaged, burned out, or been “squashed”...

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Be BOLD with Black

Be BOLD and dramatic using black accents on your Valentine table.  We started with a red tablecloth, then added a black charger, white dinner plate and a red heart shaped salad plate.  The luscious cupcake, as well as our red napkins, is wrapped with a black, lacy-looking cupcake wrapper...

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Filling Up Our Hearts

This is our purpose: "Feeding"our hearts and homes for the benefit of the global faith community. Wellness. Wholeness. Focusing on our source for faith as Christians and that which brings us love, healing, life, and energy versus that which does not. Sacred, Strategic. Simple. Soft. Our different “selves,” the archetypes-...

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Our Valentine’s Table

Chocolate Marlow: (Serves 8) Mousse: 2 cups mini marshmallows â…” cup milk 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1â…“ cups heavy cream Sugared Crackers: 4 whole graham crackers 1 large egg, slightly beaten 2 teaspoons sugar For the mousse: combine the marshmallows, milk and chocolate in...

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Valentine’s Day Prayer

1 John 4: 7 – Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knowth God.  (King James version) Valentine's Day Prayer Loving God, hear our prayers for those who need the sound of your love spoken clearly...

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Strawberry Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 4 eggs 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 cup vegetable oil 2 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped (must use fresh) 1 1/4 cups pecans, toasted and chopped Heat oven to 325. Grease and flour two...

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The Balancing Act

Here we find ourselves marking the last few days of February off our calendars. In a month characterized by heart shaped candies and brightly wrapped gifts, it can be difficult to extract genuine meaning from all the flashy displays.  We are distracted and consumed with tasks like filing the...

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New Year, New Me!

10 Tips to "Lighten Up"! 1. Listen to music that makes my heart "sing!" 2. Check the lighting in my enviroment. Am I getting enough light? Enough sunshine? 3. Play. 4. Pray, even if I can only imagine the face of someone whom I want to "send care." 5, Fruits...

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Peanut Butter Cookies

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour ½ tsp baking soda ½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt (increase to 1 tsp, if using unsalted butter) ½ pound salted butter, softened 1 cup brown sugar, packed 1 cup granulated sugar 1 cup extra-crunchy peanut butter 2 large eggs 2 tsp vanilla...

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Spiritual Celebrations: Son Light!

“…Walk as children of light—for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.”  Ephesians 5:8-9   (Holman Bible) January is many things:  celebrations, resolutions, new diets, exercise programs….and more resolutions.  But if I was only allowed one word to describe January, it would be “gray.”   Here...

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January Babies!

I am a January Baby. There is something about January that invites me into Winter. Perhaps it is because we celebrated my birthday and I remember those special days of childhood. I even had a dream last night that reminded me of that. Childhood friends. Which is to say...

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Dawn of the Self. Resolving to Love.

As an employee of a gym during January, I am bearing witness to those initial efforts of tackling idealistic New Years Resolutions. More people then ever are busting through the doors ready to shed last year’s baggage. I walk down the halls catching bits of conversations about how someone...

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Letting Our Traditions Shine!

There are years that I have not had the time or even felt like sending out Christmas cards. So I didn't. This left a lot of friends from years past wondering about me and our family. But maybe that is what I wanted….people to wonder. To care. Which begs the question...

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Our Favorite Things

        Please Remember these organizations for Christmas Giving: The Humane Society The Red Cross The Salvation Army   New Books I (Janine) can recommend: Unopened Letters from God: A workbook for Individuals and Groups. Rev. Robert L. Haden Jr. Haden Institute Publishing, Trust and Betrayal: Dawnings of...

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FaithShapes! Family: Christmas Traditions

…”this is my name (LORD) forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.  Exodus 3:15b  NIV This month at FaithShapes, the focus is on “letting our traditions shine”—and what better time to think about traditions than at Christmas.  Perhaps you already observe some established traditions...

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December Dreams!

I keep a spiral notebook and pen beside my bed. That way when I wake up in the morning I can immediately write down the images, colors, smells, feelings and "story" of whatever dream is still lingering in my mind. This morning I remember our grandson (now 4)  being...

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Fudge Pie

Janine's Christmas Fudge Pie: 1 cup sugar 3 TBLSP cocoa ½ cup flour 1 stick softened butter or margarine 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla Melt butter. Beat eggs. Mix all ingredients by hand. Cook in a buttered pie plate for 20-25 minutes at 350°. Serve warm or cool. Can be...

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Burnishing Burned Silver

Michele Tracey, our Food Editor, is working on the story of a family piece of silver that was burned years ago!  Michele: All I was able to find out was that the silver dates back to 1885 and we think it could have been a wedding present, if you saw...

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Advent Table

For as long as I can remember, we have made our own Advent wreath. We would put it together at the Advent workshop at our church. My mother provides the evergreens, leaves and holly branches for the whole workshop with cuttings from our yard. We aren’t as diligent about...

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Back to Traditions- Stories on Love and Home

Traditions: familiar, meaningful rituals that help us remember the past while absorbing the present. They are instilled in us when we are young, passed down through generations, and even acts we create and start on our own. It can be sharing a special meal, reading a cherished story, or...

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Bread Stuffing

    This stuffing is my mother’s specialty. It’s so good that my brother actually made the recipe while he was at college. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without this stuffing!  Michele Tracey, Food Editor     Bread Stuffing: 1 loaf white bread Parsley to taste Pepper, garlic salt, celery...

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