Coffee Talk 2015: Week 15 {Be Thankful? You Can’t Be Serious! Part 3}

Damsels in Distress
Biblical Solutions for Problems with the World
Be Thankful? You Can’t Be Serious! Part 3
Trials by Brittany Cady

coffee talk online edition pictureHave you ever had someone tell you that you are a positive person? The real truth about me is something totally different. I am a doubter; I am often an anxious mess, and I am tempted to judge others or compare myself to them so that I feel better about myself. Sounds pretty negative, right? Praise God that He’s saved me from my sins, and so I am called to put off the old and put on the new. Through many trials, God has taught me not to look around me for comfort, but to Him. By His grace, He has changed some of my sinful patterns and taught me how to search for His mercies in the midst of trials, and praise Him for them. Many New Age spiritualists talk about an attitude of gratitude and to some extent the pretense is true: if you give thanks for the positives in the situation, the negative parts about it can seem less important. The problem with that theory is that there is no foundation for gratitude. However, the Christian has that foundation; “God demonstrates His own love to us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

That is just the beginning too. If I only glance at the chapter of Ephesians in my Bible, I am reminded of all the truths that were faithfully explained to us by Pastor Matt in the past year. In chapter one alone we see that God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3); “He predestined us to adoption as sons” (Eph 1:5); “we have redemption through His blood for the forgiveness of our trespasses” (Eph 1:7); we “were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph 1:14); and that’s just to name a few. We have riches in Christ! If we will open His word and read about the things He’s lavished on us, we would not lack a long list to prayerfully thank our kind and gracious Father for.

If you’re feeling particularly pitiful and letting your mind take you to the what-ifs and the whys (which are both places you do not belong going!!!) might I suggest that you take some time searching the scriptures for things to be thankful for? Would you discipline yourself to keep a running list so that when you are not feeling like giving thanks you would have a record to spend time praising God for? This will help you start to change the attitude of your heart. During the times of my life that have been particularly tumultuous, I have learned to determine early in the morning of each new day to be watching for the things that God would have me give Him thanks for. When I started my day with my eyes wide open, looking for His mercies, I found them everywhere. When I started my days looking at my trial and worrying, it was no surprise that I found little to give thanks for.

In the last year, I’ve had many chances to put the lessons I’ve learned earlier in my life to the test. Last winter we found out we were expecting again, and after 2 ultrasounds seeing our baby wiggle around and look perfectly healthy, I miscarried the baby at 14 weeks. I spent a lot of time fighting off the whys and the what ifs. We have a friend who was also pregnant at the same time. I watched her pregnancy progress, and while I rejoiced with her at the birth of her baby, it was a hard thing too. Seeing pictures of him, and hearing stories about him constantly brought me to those ugly what ifs.

This trial didn’t have a clean end like the leukemia or the craniosynostosis. I am still learning to persevere in the fight for joy and thankfulness. I miscarried another baby last September, and another this April. I will not pretend that I didn’t ever ask why. I did. But it was a waste of breath. I didn’t receive any answers and I didn’t deserve any. I will not pretend that I still don’t find myself wondering what my babies would have been like and what my family would have looked like if they’d have lived. I am a human and my perspective is so far from heavenly.

In the end, your thoughts do not have control over you. God does! You have a choice: you can submit to His tender hand and take your thoughts captive. The peace that passes understanding comes when we choose to ask for His grace and then obey, submit, and remember His promises and kindnesses towards you. For me, that means preaching to myself, out loud if necessary: “You are saved from the sins that enslaved you and had you headed straight for Hell. You are adopted by the King of the Universe, you are His daughter!! You have a husband who is alive, who was as good as dead 7 years ago. You have three beautiful children, none of whom you deserve, two of whom no one expected to ever come. You live in America, and do not know what it’s like to be hungry or thirsty, or to want in any way. If you didn’t live in America, your husband would be dead and you would at best have one child. You are forgiven for all your doubt, all your worry, and all your self-pity. You are richly, deeply, and unconditionally loved by God.” We have so very much to be thankful for!”

Coffee Talk 2015: Week 14 {Be Thankful? You Can’t Be Serious! Part 2}

Biblical Solutions for Problems with the World
Be Thankful? You Can’t Be Serious!
Trials, Part 2 (Part 1 Here)
By Brittany Cady

coffee talk online edition pictureI am 32 years old and often feel like my adult life has been spent working towards my doctorate in Navigating Trials. When I was 25 and had my first baby, who was 5 weeks old, my husband Tim was diagnosed with APL, a rare form of Leukemia. After the initial diagnosis the doctor came into his room and the first thing she said to us was, “if Tim survives the weekend, we will start chemo on Monday.” We were also told that first day that Tim would be sterile after his treatments. I didn’t hear much else of what she had to say, to be honest. Tim had three CT scans that weekend to check for brain bleeds and we spent many hours just crying and confessing that our faith was weak, but that we wanted to honor our Father.

Tim was in the hospital for a little over a month and both of us had literally hundreds of chances to share of the hope we have in Jesus Christ. A lady carrying a baby up and down the oncology floor of the hospital is an unusual sight, and Tim being only 27 was an anomaly on the floor too. We saw firsthand how God shows us His tender mercies through the love and provision of our brothers and sisters. Tim got transferred into isolation and I couldn’t bring Ben to the hospital. People from our church PicMonkey Collageand our old church, Temple Baptist, came forward, and there was only one day of 30-some that I wasn’t able to go to the hospital. God had given me such a sweet and easy little baby and there were many times that Ben was one of God’s ways of telling us not to despair or give up. What a gift he’s been to us!

Tim had many physical trials over the next year. There were many “close calls” and those were the cause of many worries for me. I spent many nights lying awake wondering if Tim would be alive when I woke the next morning. Every milestone Ben reached reminded me of the grim prospect of not having any more babies. I frequently got carried away with fear. Those things were real problems, but they were not at all framed by thankfulness. Instead of spending my hours worrying, I could’ve been giving thanks. I could’ve thanked God for another day with my beloved husband, a day I didn’t deserve and hadn’t earned. I could’ve thanked God for a beautiful son, and praised God for his companionship and precious little life. It was in these dark days of my life that I learned that thankfulness is not something that comes naturally in hard times. Thankfulness is a fruit of what’s in our hearts; we have to fight for it, and beg God to help us to be thankful even when our circumstances are telling us otherwise.

While Tim was still undergoing treatment and Ben was only 8 months old, we found out that we were expecting our second child. I still weep at the thought of God’s kindness towards us in this. It was totally unexpected! As far as we know, none of those who’ve been treated with the type of chemo that Tim had have been able to have children naturally afterward. We truly know that our second and third kids are complete miracles from the hand of our merciful God. We were not guaranteed them, and yet we are blessed to be alive, to be able to enjoy them, teach them, and parent them every day.

Elijah came along, Tim was mostly done with treatment, and we were able to rejoice in the prospect of being parents again. Elijah is our miracle, and I cannot even begin to count the number of times that we’ve been able to tell others about the great things that God can do. He is not confined by doctor’s predictions or medical protocols.

When Elijah was about 6 months old, Tim’s blood work looked a little strange, and we were sent reeling again, wondering what God’s plans were for our future. I listened to my fears and began to wonder what it would be like to be a widow with two boys under 2! Looking back, we spent a lot less time despairing in this trial than we had during the last. Because of God’s kindness in all the lessons He’d taught us in the previous trials, we found things to be thankful for and chose to rejoice in them, and fought to leave our worries at the feet of our Savior. We had many friends praying with us and carrying our burden with us. After three weeks of waiting and worrying, Tim’s blood work finally started to return to normal on its own (the doctor had no explanation for this). Our first reaction was to weep with the relief and to praise the Lord again for His undeserved kindness to us. I continued to be able to be married to the man I loved, and he’d be able to continue to be a father to our two sweet boys.

PicMonkey CollageLife settled down for a time, but when Elijah was 14 months old he was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis, a condition where the joints in a baby’s skull close prematurely. The only option to fix this was a surgical cranial restructuring. Getting the news of the surgical treatment options sent me spiraling into a wave of doubt. I can remember thinking, “really God?! How can you give us this now? I can’t handle another huge life trial right now. I still haven’t recovered from the last one!”  How quickly I had forgotten the lessons that God kindly and patiently had taught me previously! It took some time, lots of prayer, repenting and confessing my weakness, and many hours pouring over the passages in scripture that had brought me hope in the past. When it came time for Elijah’s surgery we were content with our circumstances. We had been graciously given another open-ended chance to speak of God’s kindness towards us, and to preach the gospel in places and to people that we’d have had no other contact with if it weren’t for our son’s birth defect.

In the end, we have learned not to be surprised or wonder why when life gets hard and the trials rain down. In the past, I foolishly assumed that since we’d already been through some major life trials that we’d somehow filled our quota and would only have smaller trials in the future. “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.  It’s a guarantee; we are going to have troubles. But a posture of thankfulness is a God honoring way to look at your trials. We have so very much to be thankful for. God sent His Son and purchased our redemption. We don’t suffer in vain! We know that our God has purpose for us in all of life’s circumstances. If we look for His mercies in the midst of our trials, then we can sing of them for all to hear!

Join me next week as I share a few more ways to fight for joy and thankfulness in the midst of a more on-going struggle.

Coffee Talk 2015: Week 13 {Be Thankful? You Can’t Be Serious!, Part 1}

Be Thankful? You Can’t Be Serious!
Trials, Part 1
By Brittany Cady

coffee talk online edition pictureDo you find it hard to give thanks in the middle of trials? This concept from 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “in everything, give thanks” has often been one of the most perplexing to me. Because I’ve walked through some major trials in the last seven years, I’ve had to struggle to make sense of this topic, that while perplexing is also clearly a command to us no matter what situation we find ourselves in.

In this chapter, Martha suggests a few principles about trials from scripture that are essential to understand if we desire to look at them rightly. The first is that “God is sovereign” (p 162). Although this concept is not new, for most of us it continues to be a struggle to fully understand and accept. We like to be in control, we like to make plans, and we like having a say in our own futures. However, since God is utterly sovereign, then we ought to submit to HIS will for us by God’s grace. Our trials force us to take a real look at ourselves and ask: do I trust Him and what He is doing? Or, do I think my own plans are better than His? God makes all our appointments with trials in His sovereignty. The question is: do we trust His hand and want His glory and purposes to reign more than our own ease and comfort? Are we thankful that He’s in control and knows what He’s doing, or do we secretly wish we had the reins?

Another principle Martha suggests is that when we become more like God, we are in fact also glorifying Him.  She mentions that God’s tests have purpose in our lives. She also uses the analogy of the vinedresser who prunes his plants so that they will bear more fruit. An encouragement from this is that “the pain from God’s pruning will fade as the fruit of righteousness flowers for all to see,” (p 164). When we come out on the other side of a trial, there is real comfort in the sustaining love of God as we look back and see how He has brought us through, and what He has taught us.

Many people have spoken on the topic of suffering and trials, but the most profound for me has been Joni Eareckson Tada. She’s got a lot of experience! One passage that she has shared is from 1 Peter 4:1-2: “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.” This verse is not saying that if we suffer we will be perfect. It is saying that our Master, Jesus Christ, when he was on earth, suffered in a way not one of us can even begin to imagine. Because of this, we should be prepared to suffer (not necessarily only physically), and in our suffering remember that God is using it to perfect us, to mature us, and to conform us into His image, so that we might live for the will of God.

I don’t know about you, but I want that! I want to live my time allotted on this earth for the will of God and not for the lusts of men, and the way to do that is to endure and learn from “momentary light affliction” (2 Cor. 4:17). Praise God that He doesn’t leave us where we are, but loves us enough to grow us, prune us, and make us more and more into the image of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ!

In conclusion, perhaps some of the words from “Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken” will encourage you on your pilgrim way, as they have encouraged me.

Go, then, earthly fame and treasure,
Come disaster, scorn and pain.
In Thy service, pain is pleasure,
With Thy favor, loss is gain.

I have called Thee Abba Father,
I have stayed my heart on Thee.
Storms may howl and clouds may gather;
All must work for good to me.

Soul, then know thy full salvation.
Rise ov’r sin and fear and care.
Joy to find in every station,
Something still to do or bear.

Think what Spirit dwells within thee!
Think what Father’s smiles are thine!
Think that Jesus died to win thee!
Child of Heaven, canst thou repine?

Next week I’ll share some of the practical ways I’ve learned to give thanks to God in the midst of trials.

Coffee Talk 2015: Week 8 {Legalism}

Biblical Solutions for Problems with Ourselves
I Just Love Rules, Don’t You?
Legalism
By Brittany Cady

coffee talk online edition pictureWhen I read the title of this chapter, I knew it would speak to me. When I read the pages of scripture, I don’t see myself in the naïve disciples, the forgetful Israelites, or the idol worshiping Gentiles. I see myself and hear my words whenever I read about the Pharisees. I knew this about myself from an early age. In fact, I can remember reading Luke 18:11 where the Pharisee is praying and thanking God that he isn’t like that sinner sitting with him in the temple. I actually wondered what was wrong with that; isn’t it good to be washed and clean and free from “obvious” sin? The problem is that my rule loving heart has always just been a big fat distraction from the real problem: my sin.

In recent weeks, Pastor Matt has been faithfully and clearly teaching us the true nature of our sin and just how overwhelming and strong it is. Legalism makes light of sin and whispers in our ears that we are not that bad if we haven’t murdered, or stolen, or committed adultery. Legalism tells us that if we follow the rules (maybe the Ten Commandments or maybe the rules we’ve made up for ourselves) then we’ll earn favor with God. Unfortunately, the enemy uses legalism to deceive us and make us complacent. Suddenly, we stop examining the motives of our heart, and forget how much pride, selfishness, and idolatry can live there. In our comfortable legalism, we forget the debt we owe and the price that Jesus paid for us. One of Martha’s main points about legalism is that “because of man’s nature and propensity to sin, he wants to make the Christian life workable in the flesh,” p 121.

Another point about legalism that Martha also makes is that many of us misinterpret the object of the Old Testament narratives when we walk away with rules to obey instead of principles to follow. She says on page 123, “Have standards, and base them on biblical principles, but do not elevate them to a ‘thus said the Lord’ level.” An example of this can be seen in the story of Gideon. At one point in his journey, Gideon decides to put out a fleece to make God confirm again what He already had said. In this story, we should not surmise that God wants us to put out a fleece (or look for a “sign”) every time we have a decision to make. Instead, there are several principles we can take away like the importance of obedience to what God says the first time. Another is that our God is merciful (He gave Gideon a sign to confirm what He already said, which He didn’t have to do. God showed Gideon mercy in his doubt) and there are likely others.  The key to remember is that these narratives are telling us what happened, not necessarily what we should do in similar circumstances.

In the end, the very best weapon I have to fight against the tendency towards being a Pharisee is the gospel. Matthew 9:12 tells us that the healthy don’t need a physician, but the sick do, and verse 13 goes on to tell us that “I [Jesus] did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Preaching the gospel truth of our utter sinfulness and lack of any quality deserving of salvation will remind us of our need for a Savior. The songs we sing at church preach the gospel truths back at us while we sing. A favorite song of mine which fights my legalistic heart is Not In Me. The verses combat my natural desire to fight sin with rules, and remind me of the utter foolishness in even attempting to!

 
      No list of sins I have not done, no list of virtues I pursue
      No list of those I am not like, can earn myself a place with you.
            O God be merciful to me! I am a sinner through and though.
            My only hope of righteousness is not in me, but only you.
      No humble dress, no fervent prayer, no lifted hands, no tearful song,
      No recitation of the truth can justify a single wrong.
            My righteousness is Jesus’ life. My debt was paid by Jesus’ death.
            My weary load was born by Him, and He alone can give me rest.
      No separation from the world, no work I do, no gift I give,
      Can cleanse my conscience, cleanse my hands, I cannot cause my soul to live!
            But Jesus died and rose again. The pow’r of death is overthrown.
            My God is merciful to me, and merciful in Christ alone!

Questions:
What tools have you learned to use to fight legalism in your own heart?
What is one way that legalism has tricked you into thinking you’re not that bad?

Coffee Talk 2015: Week 6 {Are You Sure PMS is Real?}

Biblical Solutions for Problems with Ourselves
“Are You Sure PMS is Real?”
By Brittany Cady

coffee talk online edition pictureNo matter what stage of life you’re in, being a woman is part of what defines your identity. Some of the gifts God has given us as women are heralded with high praise: our nurturing nature, or our capacity to understand and empathize with others. Other traits we possess can be embarrassing or the topic of jokes. PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is one of those taboo topics. Men won’t touch it with a 10 foot pole and we women are usually more comfortable making jokes or complaining about it than really addressing any real issues at hand.

Martha Peace discusses the wide range of symptoms that can be associated with PMS and acknowledges that for many women that time of the month can be extremely challenging. She offers 11 ideas on how to help us deal with our own “symptoms” during the week to 10 days that we may suffer with PMS. Some of the solutions she offered were helpful in assessing your character biblically regardless if PMS is something that you struggle with or not.

First, she suggests that you should, “make an honest assessment of your character weaknesses” p 105. Is that not something that we should have a good grasp of anyway? If we don’t know our weaknesses how can we strengthen ourselves in those areas, and how can we work on improving? She also suggests that we spend time preaching to ourselves in the midst of the emotional turmoil that often accompanies PMS. Listening to the varying emotions swirling around in our minds can often lead us to places we do not need to go (Philippians 4:8). Other solutions offered include: being organized, maintaining a good diet and exercise, not overcommitting during the PMS time of the month, or asking for help from a good girlfriend or your husband and together developing a plan of action (accountability).

The most important take away from this chapter is to “realize that the mood swings are real and difficult, but not an excuse to sin” p 106. We may be especially susceptible to outbursts of anger, giving in to depression, or feeling yucky physically. However, we are never given an excuse to give in to the temptation to sin. My favorite tip of Martha’s is to “turn your focus from yourself to God and others” p.110.  She discusses several ways to practice this tip:  “pray for others; thank God for______; fulfill your responsibilities whether you feel like it or not; sing praise songs and hymns or play them from a tape or CD; tell God that you love Him, trust Him, and that He is good; (and) work on new or review older Scripture memory” p 110.

Any time hormones rage we can feel out of control. For me, any time I have been pregnant I have been an emotional mess, exhausted, and irrational. I can remember living weeks on end in complete annoyance with everyone and everything! Regardless of our physical or psychological symptoms, we are accountable for our thoughts and actions before the Lord. We may have trouble controlling the way we feel, or the thoughts that pop into our heads when our hormones are on overdrive, but we can control our reactions. Our loving heavenly Father “will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” 1 Cor. 10:13b. Don’t give in girls!  Don’t buy the lie that the world feeds us that PMS is an excuse to eat everything in sight, fly off the handle at the slightest disturbance, or give in to the sinful thoughts that come to mind. If PMS has you captive, make a plan of action and start with reading this chapter!

Questions:

  1. If you struggle with PMS, what plan of action do you have for dealing with its symptoms?
  2. What are some ways we can come alongside each other and be an encouragement to one another in relation to struggling with PMS?

Sandy’s Decorating Corner: Fall Frenzy

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, let’s take a look at some ways that we can make the look of our homes match the sweet aroma’s coming from our kitchens. We can bring the beautiful colors of the season indoors. With some colorful fabric, flowers, leaves or branches, we can add a little spice to any room.

You can go for a walk and look for some leaves or branches that you can use. Those of you with little ones can turn this into a field trip. Arrange the branches in a vase or use them to make a wreath or swag. You can press the leaves in between the glass of a nice picture frame and have an instant piece of fall artwork.

Find some fabric and make a slip cover for your throw pillows or even make a throw that you can lay over the arm of a chair.

If you have candles, change them out for ones with fall colors. With some candles, silk flowers and leaves, you can make a stunning centerpiece for you table.

Do you have book shelves? Add a colorful candle or decorative piece among the books to add a little warmth. Right now the prices of fall decorations are marked down so you don’t have to spend a whole lot.

Don’t neglect the other rooms in your home. You can switch out your hand towels and soaps in your bathrooms or your pot holders and kitchen towels in your kitchen.

Remember, ladies, with a little time and effort, you can make your home look spectacular for the season. Let’s open our homes and make them inviting and warm for our family and friends.

By Sandy Lamb

Autism: Prepare Your Heart

It’s Sunday morning, all twelve of the children are here, and it’s time for our bible lesson. Our normal procedure is to remind the children that what we are learning about God today is from His word and His word is the bible. We then pray and the children are instructed to fold their hands in their laps.  “Why do we put our hands in our laps?” I ask, “So we can listen and not fool with our friends” they repeat. The children understand through training and direction that this is an important time because we are hearing about God from His word. Ah, the beauty of discipline and order, thank you Lord.

Now is everything every Sunday always so orderly? No, but with the occasional gentle reminder or taking a seat next to the helper the children listen and even respond to the lesson. I love order it gives me peace yet I wonder what about the child who is not trained, or more importantly, the one who cannot learn like the others? Lord how I do as an ambassador of Jesus love and teach a child who, because of abilities beyond his control, cannot sit still. How do I have order in the class which is good and still love, encourage and minister to a child whose world I do not understand?  How do I love and come along side the family of a child who has autism?

As of yet, God has not been pleased to bless me with a child with autism, yet I have learned that autism effects 1 out of 150 children ages 10 and younger. The signs of autism become most evident by the time a child is three. I teach three and four year olds so the possibilities of ministry in this area are good. I do not desire to be an autism expert, or do research for a cure, this is a passion that the Lord has fitted someone else for. What I desire is to show Jesus to the child who is affected by autism and his family. I want to be equipped to love with the same tender mercy our God has shown me.

So, with eagerness, I attended a session through Children Desiring God on “Disability, Autism, and the Tender Mercy of Our God”. In this session, led by Brenda Fischer, I learned many practical ways to help a child with autism and some very technical terms for useful equipment such as “green squishy thing” and pencil twirlers. You see children with autism need help in concentrating and the “green squishy thing”, which is a squeezable ball thingy with bumps, helps the child pay attention.  He squeezes this thing and is more relaxed, increasing the ability to hear the lesson. Also, pencil twirlers help with this.   Brenda assured us, through experience, that after a few weeks the other children just accept what may seem like distractions and no longer notice them.

Music can be a difficult time for some autistic children, so she recommends head sets that muffle sound for them during worship so they do not become overly agitated. The most important things we need to minister to these children and their families are humble
hearts willing to serve and show love. She reminded us that it is not our job to diagnose or offer solutions to parents, but to be supportive with prayers and deeds. An important service in the classroom is a helper specifically assigned to the child who can help the child adapt and be as much a part of the class as is possible for them. This wonderful servant needs to be included in the teamwork that goes on in a class. We as a people need to be willing to invite them into our lives and to be a part of their lives.

As Brenda spoke I began to see that there was no magic formula to serving the disabled or autistic there was God working in and through His people for His good purposes and if He is pleased to bring families into my life who are effected by autism, by His work and grace, I can show them Jesus.

God has given us a solid foundation at MDF through the faithful teaching of His word to equip us for “such a time as this” if He so blesses. We, my dear sisters, have been richly equipped to offer hope to families in a world that is filled with pain and despair, by allowing the beauty of the gospel to dwell in us and mark out how we live.  We can bind the wounds of the hurting and speak peace to troubled hearts, not because our speech is eloquent, or we have logical arguments or superior intellect, but because we have Jesus.

So I ask you to join with me in prayer that God be pleased to bring us into the lives of the wounded and that we willingly love them and serve them so that the world will see our good works and will glorify our Father in heaven.

By Shelly Smith

Sandy’s Decorating Corner: Affordable Kitchen Updates

Want to change the look of your kitchen without spending thousands of dollars? There are several things you can do to change the look of your kitchen.

Your cabinets can be updated with a couple coats of paint and some new hardware. If you don’t mind the extra work, you could strip the old stain or paint off and re-stain with a rich, new color. Whether you paint or stain, make sure you put on several coats and allow for each coat to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Before

After
You can add some new life by changing your backsplash. In my kitchen, I broke up 2 different colors of tile and mirrors and made a mosaic backsplash. You can buy grout that also serves as adhesive. Once you have your pieces of tiles ready, you “butter” the back of the tile piece with the adhesive/grout and stick on the wall. Keep going until you’re happy with the pattern and the wall is filled. Allow 24 hours for drying. Now use the grout to fill in the spaces around the tiles. Wipe off the excess grout as you go.

You may have to do this in layers depending on how thick the tile pieces are. If the grout dries on the tile tops, no worries, just wet the tiles with a sponge and scrape with a putty knife. This can be a little time consuming and tedious, but worth the work as you see the finished product.

You can also find a paintable wallpaper that you like and put that up. After the wallpaper dries, paint and make sure you add at least 2 coats of water based polyurethane on top of your paint color. This will make your backsplash waterproof and easy to clean up. (Picture to the right made a faux tin finish by painting the wallpaper in a metallic paint and then applying the polyurethane over the top.)

I’ve even put ceramic tiles on top of my exsisting countertop for a fresh, new look. I did my countertops, kitchen island and my back splash for about $60. You could also change out the faucet or light fixtures for a quick, inexpensive fix.

With just a little effort and money, you could really make a big change.
Have fun!

Sandy Lamb

Tis The Season of Suffering and Struggle……

We are all done with Thanksgiving and Christmas!  If you are anything like me, it was easy to get caught up in all the tasks that needed to be done and forget to simply sit at Jesus’ feet, dwell on the sweetness of His sovereign love and the work He has done and is doing in your life.  This time of year painful memories are brought to light and for some reason it seems like trouble and calamity strikes more than usual.  I don’t know that as a fact, but rather that is at least more visible and even the struggles throughout the year seem more painful.  You feel the sting of the job loss, or the dead end job that no matter how much you work or how hard you work leaves you still needy and dissatisfied .  You feel the agony that the loss of a loved one brings in a different manner.  You begin to give into hopeless thoughts that come with rejection and the despair of the illness and disease that plague you.  We begin to forget to do battle in our thinking and fight the fight of faith.  We begin to forget the gospel.  We cry our with the Psalmist, ” How long O Lord?”   Which is why we need to be slowing down and sitting at Jesus’ feet all the more and remember to also cry out with the Psalmist, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that would see the goodness of the LORD In the and of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. ” (Psalm 27:13-14)

Dear sisters, I know so many of you are suffering and struggling in some way.  My own mother just recently had a hospital stay after a mild heart attack and is now home taking care of unexpected health issues.  She is a like a tree firmly planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in its season, and is an example of faith as each time she is brought low with suffering, she sees and savors her savior and helps others do the same. Let us be women like that; especially in a time where suffering is so apparent, and help each other by reminding one another of our tender and compassionate God, praying for one another, and loving each other through our season of struggle and the holidays.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust him for his grace;

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face. – William Cowper

I encourage anyone in a season of struggle to read this book:

Discerning Reader review on A Sweet and Bitter Providence by John Piper

By Jasmine Aldrich

Sandy’s Decorating Corner…..Christmas Edition

Decorating On A Budget

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to add a little Christmas to any room in your house. Here are a few examples for you:

You’re going to need wrapping paper to wrap gifts anyway, so why not use some of the paper and wrap a few pictures to look like presents. You could also take some books that you aren’t going to be reading over the holidays and wrap them as well.


How about buying some inexpensive sparkly ornaments and put them in a glass bowl or vase. For extra sparkle you could add  battery operated lights and some crystals or beads.


You could buy some garland, a string of lights and some ribbon to put over a doorway or window.

Let your mind go, think outside the box and have fun!!