Monday, April 30, 2012

WORD FOR THE WEEK * Give thanks to the Lord

Verse 2 then asks us, "Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies."

How long has it been since you thought about what all God has redeemed you from? Drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, a purposeless life, selfishness, idolatry...? Think about it today, thank God for rescuing you, and speak out about it to those who need to be rescued too.

Friday, April 27, 2012



Add to your bling with a RING! Wear a gob-stopper-sized ring (a big ring) that will catch attention and add some flair to your look or stack your rings for a funky edge.

Kristi Childs
Premier Designs Independent Distributor

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Rest in God alone, my soul,
for my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I will not be shaken.
Psalm 62:5-6

I am comforted and I hope you are too, just from reading this passage of scripture.  The Lord is so good and I am so thankful that in Him we find peace and rest.  You have probably heard the saying, “I may not know what the future holds, but thank God I know Who holds the future!”  That is exactly how I feel right now as I pack my bags and prepare to return to the states with all four of my children to take one of my sweet babies to see several doctors.  He is not really a baby anymore, almost 4 1/2 now.  We have a lot of concerns and questions that need to be answered so please pray with us as we seek the Lord’s will for his little life.  This could most certainly have an affect on our future and we are truly thankful to be at peace knowing that the Lord has it all under control and he will light the path for us as we go.  The Lord has even been so gracious to us that He put it in our pastor’s heart to send his daughter, Stephanie, to help with the children since Aaron my husband is not returning with us.  It is also a great opportunity for her to practice the English she knows and to learn more.  She and her family are a great blessing to our family and we thank God for how He uses them in our lives and the life of our church here in Manaus.

I have written many posts in my head dear friends, that have not made it thus far, but I hope to share more with you in due time.  As I am sure you can imagine things have been quite busy here as we make preparations to leave our daddy, home and city for a month.  Please do pray for Aaron while we are gone and this term of the Amazon RACE project that is in it’s last month of the training as well.  He will stay quite busy taking care of a new missionary couple that arrives the day after we leave and will spend most of the rest of his time out at the training camp.  Please pray for our safe travel, good health and for God to use the doctors to give us direction.

Well, today is April 25, 2012.  As you can see this post was started some two months ago and much has happened since then.  We are home in Manuas again after spending  the month of March in the states seeing doctors and visiting family.  The Lord was very gracious to us  concerning the trip and all that we discovered from the doctors.  Evan is doing well and we received confirmation from the Lord that indeed we are on the right track with Evan’s development.  He is in need of further speech therapy  and English languaage stimulation, but he has made great progress after only talking a little over a year now.  He does need some special help and attention each day and we have speech therapy set to start with a friend over skype.  Evan does have some issues with gluten and milk and we will continue with these restrictions in his diet.  He is somewhat malnourished due to his gluten intollerance not allowing him to absorb all the wonderful nutrients the rest of us so easily take in each day.

Please pray for us as we continue seeking the Lord’s direction for our sweet boy concerning speech therapy,  language stimulation, diet, school needs etc…  I homeschool everyone right now and I am not sure I can continue and give Evan all the needed attention . . .  but God is already giving some direction and I know He will make the way clear if we seek after Him and His will.  I know so many of you wonderful moms that are in simular situations and even more challenging ones and I am encouraged by all that you do and that the Lord is doing through you.  Thank you for being an example for me and so many others.

 In His Hands,

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


This recipe was in the magazine At Home Tennessee.  Stacy McSpadden was gracious enough to give me a copy of the March issue. I have many, many Lemon Meringue Pie recipes.  However, I'm always open for a new one.  I made this for Easter dinner and it really was delicious.  To me it was smooth and was good and tart. 
Sarah's Lemon Meringue Pie
5 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

4 T. cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water, divided
4 T. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups sugar

lemon zest from one lemon
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice  ( I got exactly this amount from two lemons)
2 T. butter
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten, at room temperature
9-inch pie crust, baked until golden brown
For those of you who do not like meringue you can always use a whipped cream topping (of course homemade)
1. Place the egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl and place the bowl in a pan of water.  Stir until the whites feel warm and add the salt.  Remove the bowl from the water bath and beat with an electric mixter until the meringue is stiff and shiny.  Reserve.
Lemon Filling:
2.  Preheat oven to broil.
3.  Mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup of the water to form slurry, place in pan and add flour, salt, sugar and remaining water.  Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes or until quite thick---it should hold well on a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat.
4.  Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and butter.
5.   Stir 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the beaten eggs very quickly.  Add the egg mixture back into the saucepan  and stir over the heat for another 3 minutes.  Remove and cool a bit.
6.  Spread into the prepared pie crust. 
7.  Spread warm meringue over the filling making sure meringue touches all sides of the crust.  Use spreader to make peaks in the meringue.
8.  With oven door open. place pie under broiler and brown the meringue a little.  This happens very quickly so watch carefully.
9.  Cool and serve.
If you are doing the whipped topping, spread on top of pie and refrigerate.
This seems like a lot of steps, but actually when you are assembling it, it is very simple and easy.

Monday, April 23, 2012

WORD FOR THE WEEK - Seek the Lord

Do you feel that you are missing something because... 

you are a Christian... 

your small paycheck barely makes it from week to week... 

the man you married isn't the Prince Charming you thought he was...

you've been single for far too long...

your job is at a dead end...

you've searched and searched and can't find a job...

you're stuck at home with dirty diapers and dirty dishes that only seem to multiply...

your circumstances are so messed up you'll never turn your life around...

your sickness or disease has taken its toll on you... 

loss has devastated you?

God promises you will lack no good thing.

Trust Him.  Believe Him.  He doesn't lie.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Accent Your Arms! 

Bracelets can be exotic, simple, or just exciting. They're all about adding extra oomph. Whether you stack them, opt for one wide cuff, or pick one filled with trinkets, they give your style personality.

Kristi Childs
Premier Designs Independent Distributor

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

NO NAME CHICKEN DISH by Saundra Stroud

This recipe does not have a name.  My daughter Linda had it ready one Sunday after church. All you need with it is a salad.  She got this recipe from a fellow teacher, Millie Smith.   Easy, easy, easy.
3 large chicken breasts--boneless and skinless
1 pkg. dry Italian seasoning dressing
1/2 to 1 cup water
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 can cream of mushroom or chicken soup

Put chicken in crockpot.  Add water and Italian seasoning dressing.  Cook on low all day or on high 4 to 6 hours.  Chicken will be VERY tender, you can almost shred it.  About an hour before you serve this, mix cream cheese and soup with an electric mixer and add it to the chicken.  Cook 1 hour longer.  Serve over pasta of your choice (Angel Hair is very good with this) or rice.  Makes a good bit and great leftovers.

Editor's note: Maybe we should name this dish for Saundra. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below :) :) :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

WORD FOR THE WEEK - The Lord has done great things

Is your joy tank running low? Need it to be filled up? Take a moment to stop and remember all the things the Lord has done for you. Isn't He just wonderful?

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Need to take your rings off? String them on your necklace or put them in a safe pouch in your purse. When retiring for the night, you can also string your rings onto your watch.

A hanging organizer with clear pouches is a great place to keep your earrings separate and visible. Use the holes in a button to keep pairs of earrings together. Then place only one pair of earrings in each pouch to make sure that they don’t get scratched. When at home, hang the pouch on your closet door for easy access.
 Small zip closure bags make great travel jewelry storage bags. Keep the clasp of the necklaces just outside the zip to keep your necklace tangle free. When traveling, the small packaging helps you travel without bulk.

You can also use plastic drinking straws to put necklace chains through and cut a slit in the end to pull the clasp into to keep it from escaping.

Kristi Childs
Premier Designs Independent Distributor

Friday, April 13, 2012


“My God will meet your needs…”  Phil.4:19

What are my needs?  I recently returned from my “mission trip” to Kentucky over spring break where I stayed with a dear brother and sister in Christ who just so happen to be my son and daughter-in-law!  I cleaned, taught children, cooked, played in the park, listened to hearts seeking God’s direction, worshipped with other brothers and sisters in Christ, and came away from the trip so blessed!

My trip also challenged me to pray more, to trust more, and to surrender more, but ultimately to release more.  Any time I am with any of my adult children’s families, I now apply the truths I thought I always “applied” when they were growing up, like

~God gives them what and who they need for tomorrow
~God has a plan and is preparing them for the future
~Let’s pray for this circumstance that seems so unfair and ask God what He wants US to learn and to be changed in OUR hearts 

Any of these quotes sound familiar?  While raising my children, I tried very hard not to intervene in unfair, wrongs, and even in hurtful times. I would listen and watch as the circumstance/relationship unfolded, knowing if something went what I considered too far, I could step in and change, influence, rescue, and remove it.  Basically, I would be the safety net for God. Wow, I didn’t realize I just thought of myself as “Plan B” for my children when “Plan A-God” wasn’t quite good, safe, or kind enough! 

Fast forward to adult children.  Finances, jobs, raising children, communication issues (mostly mine - not theirs).  No longer can I use all my gifts and talents, words, or presence to change or even convince their circumstances/relationships to change.  This is the season where “Plan A - God” is their (and my) only infallible way.  By the way, “Plan A - God” was always the only reliable and good plan. I was just a good self-deceiver when I thought of myself as a solid foundational plan. You see, I get caught up in thinking THEY have such big needs and at THE SAME TIME I am fretting, trying to figure something out for them, actively trying to fix the whatever, even being angry or frustrated that the situation is in their life. Then when I calm my heart down enough to take a breath, the Holy Spirit kindly speaks truth to me: “Yes, your adult children do have needs. Yes, you must encourage them, pray for them, but their (your) greatest need is to trust Me, believe Me, hide My word in their (your) heart, live by faith, have a heart that is attentive and obedient to Me.” Full circle – the very truths God taught me as a mother in the midst of raising children are the very truths He reminds me of today with adult children!

So, what are my needs?  Today, as I write, I believe my greatest need is to live truth.  James (yes, I got him in here!) says “LIVE IT” - the truth of God.  Speaking truth can be so easy to roll off the tongue that living it and trusting God to do for my children, health, finances, relationships, work, and ministry is difficult at times…especially when I can’t do good or even see evidence of good or change.  This is where the rubber meets the road. 

“Do not merely listen to the word …Do what it says.”  This is my greatest need.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


It's that time of year.  Everything is blooming and turning green.  The nurseries and garden shops are buzzing.  And I am sneezing my head off.  When I bought my house a few years ago, I had a huge misconception that a beautiful yard was not a lot of work.  I mean, how hard is it to plant a bunch of flowers in beds and pots? who am I fooling?  IT IS SO MUCH WORK!!!  The grass cutting  and edging are not such a big deal, maybe because I don't do those things, but the flower bed weeding and pruning are a pain!  Nevertheless, I still want it to look nice.  This will be my eighth summer in my house, and I am finally getting the hang of this yard stuff.

I decided this season to focus on my back patio.  Since I am a color girl, I really wanted to bring some bright and vivid color back there.  My friend, Lana, lives in a Mid-Century apartment building in Midtown, and her porch has been a great motivator to me.  She has introduced some fun color on her balcony with not only her flowers, but her furniture.

I recently inherited some iron patio furniture from a friend.  It is the typical black iron that most of you either have or know someone who does.  Well, this furniture needed a paint job and I decided that I would go for some bright color instead of the same boring black.  I painted two of the chairs a turquoise and two a bright red.  It was so easy.  Lowes has all kinds of fun colors in their spray paint, and it works great on this kind of furniture.  My next plan is to add some fun outdoor fabrics in pillows for the chairs.  A lot of the fabric companies now have lines of whimsical fabrics that are treated to use outside.  They will resist sun damage and water for a few years.  The following are a few patterns I recently found in one of our lines at the store.

You will notice the similarities to the styles that I have written about in the past weeks.  These are just a fun way to pull those inside styles to our back porches and patios.

Other fun things that add some texture and accessories to your patio are sculptures, lanterns, bird baths, etc.  Lots of us have those Tiki Torches sitting around, but I like the addition of different planters, baskets, and other wooden pieces.

And everyone wishes that they had a Mouse with Cheese sculpture in a planter.  I gave a friend this one, and I loved it so much that I had to have one, too!


My friend Lana wanted a mouse with cheese for her balcony, but she waited too long to get one.  So she improvised and made her own.

Except this Mouse with Cheese sculpture doesn't do well in extreme heat :)

But I digress...the point is, don't be afraid to bring some of your fun inside textures and colors to your outdoor space.  Spice it up a bit and make it really fun!

Happy Decorating, 


Stacy McSpadden
Manager of Interior Design Services
Chestnut Hall Interiors
3075 Forest Hill Irene Road
Germantown, Tennessee 38138

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Nancy's Cake by Paula Roten

When my daddy was in the hospital one time, Nancy Hughes brought Mother and him a cake that was out-of-this-world delicious. (That's not surprising, though, because everything she cooks is out-of-this-world delicious!) When we asked what the name of it was, she said it didn't have a name. So, it became known as Nancy's Cake. It will take every bit of willpower you have not to eat the whole thing warm, straight from the oven.  

Nancy's Cake
1 yellow cake mix (I prefer Duncan Hines)
1 cup water
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 can ready made coconut pecan frosting

1. Mix cake mix, water, oil, and eggs until incorporated for approximately 2 minutes. 
2. Stir in coconut pecan frosting.

Bake in a well greased and floured Bundt pan at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. 

Monday, April 9, 2012


Do your ways need changing? Has God been trying and trying to get your attention? What will it take for you to trust His promptings and submit to His change of course for you?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

Sorry about the quality and size of this cartoon, but I liked it and wanted to share.

This is why Good Friday is good!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

NEW by Tony Manley

Today is a new calendar and I love turning to a new calendar!  My bulletin board this month says, “Spring brings new choices!”  I love the word new!  Think about all the word “new” means…
          A fresh start
          Never before

Because I am a morning person, my “heart eyes and ears” are probably most attentive in the morning!  I love the quiet, the slowness, the “before” my day.  I love the thought of what this day holds, and at this time of day I usually look forward to the day – I am fresh and ready! 

A new thing – God wants to do a new thing in me and through me daily.  I was asked a question by the radio speaker this morning, “Do you resist God when He begins a new work in you or your life?” Again, because I love morning talk, I thought, “No, I really do want and welcome a new thing from the Lord.”  But then the Holy Spirit began His gentle probing and kind of asked softly, “Really? Let’s see…how do you respond to ‘new’ requests when they are inconvenient, uncomfortable, not expected?  What about ‘new’ people when you weren’t looking for ‘new’ relationships, when the ones you have are comfortable?  How about ‘new’ surrenders?”  You get the picture! The Holy Spirit is a master definer of out of the box ideas for my life!

I think God wants me to embrace the “new” from Him moment by moment as His good, right, perfect, and just ways are working to make me more into a “new creation” with the “new self” living with a “new heart” and a “new Spirit.”

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I know that it seems that we hardly had a winter, but even with this lack of cold weather, it is still hard to believe that Easter is upon us.  I don't know about you, but I have really enjoyed this long Spring and I am especially enjoying seeing everything turn green and blooms on bushes and trees.  Sunday night I was closing my blinds in my kitchen and saw my first Knock Out Rose of the year!

I think that I love this time of year because of all the color and the reminders of how beautiful God made our "ugly" world.  When I see this flower, it makes me wonder how people can't deny God's Creation. All this being said, Easter is in a few short days, and I think we might want to start planning for our family get-togethers!!!

One of my favorite things to do as a child on Easter was to dye the eggs.  It was an event that my mom and I both looked forward to each year.  I really enjoyed creating fun designs with that wax crayon and some dye.  And of course, you can't ever forget that magic last egg that is placed in each color to form the gray egg.  I still enjoy dying eggs, and I have turned my love for these creations into a great medium for decorating my Easter table.  I loved this picture that I found on Martha Stewart's site.  It is so simple that anyone can do it.  Just place your fun eggs in a nice bowl and there you have it....a centerpiece!

For those of you who are handy in the garden, I thought that this was a fun arrangement.  Basically you take a big bag of jellybeans and place them in a wide glass vase.  Then pick some daffodils or buttercups and loosely arrange them in the vase.  Easy, cheap , and most of all, fun!  But don't let the kiddos eat those jellybeans when you are done!


This last idea is really fun.  I know when I started working at Chestnut Hall, we did a lot of seasonal decorating and we carried these fun chocolate bunnies.  I purchased a few of them and started using them to decorate my house for Easter.  These have become very hard to find, but the same thing can be done with the real chocolate bunnies.  Just place an arrangement of several size bunnies on a console or sideboard.  Get some of the natural looking basket grass (not that plastic stuff) and take some of your dyed eggs and arrange them in the grass to look like a nest.  Really fun and easy, and you can eat the bunnies if you don't leave them out too long!

Easter is kind of like Christmas.  We can get too involved in the cooking, decorating, Easter Baskets, Easter dresses, etc!  Let us not forget that our Savior gave His life on the Cross so that we could have Eternal Life.  Take this time to show someone the love of Christ and the joy of your salvation.  Happy Easter everyone!

In Him,


Stacy McSpadden
Manager of Interior Design Services
Chestnut Hall Interiors
3075 Forest Hill Irene Road
Germantown, Tennessee 38138

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

SUGAR COOKIES by Paula Roten

I always wanted to make those cute, frosted sugar cookies that you see during special holidays, but mine never seemed to turn out. My cookies always lost their shape, and my icing never dried. Finally, I got a recipe from my daughter who got her recipe from a neighbor who at one time worked at a specialty cookie boutique type store. (Were you able to follow that?) Now, I can make tasty sugar cookies like the magazine pictures.

Sugar Cookies
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 T. light corn syrup
1 T. vanilla extract

1. Whisk together the flour and salt.
2. In another bowl, mix the butter and sugar.
3. Add the egg, corn syrup, and vanilla extract.
4. Stir in the flour and salt mixture.
5. Divide dough into 2 portions and chill in the refrigerator 1-2 hours.
6. Working with one disk at a time, roll between 2 sheets of wax paper till 1/4 inch thick.
7. Cut into shapes.
8. Place shapes on an ungreased baking sheet.
9. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.
10. Frost with Sugar Cookie Icing.

Sugar Cookie Icing

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 T. water
1 T. butter, softened
1 T. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla flavoring

1. Combine all ingredients and mix until sugar is moistened.
2. Beat at medium speed until smooth, adding additional water if necessary to reach desired glazing consistency.

If you want to squeeze the icing out of a decorator's bag, omit the corn syrup.

Monday, April 2, 2012


A little background for this verse:

The Children of Israel had left Egypt and were at a dead end! The Red Sea was in front of them, and Pharaoh's army was behind them. They had nowhere to go. They began complaining to Moses, "Weren't the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die...?" (Exodus 14:11 msg) But Moses told them, "...God will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut!" (Exodus 14:14 msg) 

And, of course, you know the story. The Children of Israel walked through on dry ground, and Pharaoh's army was drowned in the depths of the sea. Chapter 14 ends with the Children of Israel realizing God's tremendous power, being in awe before Him, and trusting in Him. And Chapter 15 opens with everyone singing a praise song to God.

Our challenge this week is to keep our mouths shut when we're tempted to complain about our circumstances, wait expectantly for God to act on our behalf, and then praise Him out loud when He does.