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A penguin project to brighten your day.

Each year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, my loved ones come to our house where we all enjoy our annual Family Fun Craft Day (FFCD).

It entails crafting, sharing a meal, whiffle baseball or soccer in the backyard, cornhole, and often times a swim in the community pool. Even Poppy, our family’s patriarch at age 93, joins in the fun and at day’s end we finish by decorating his apartment door in his nearby residence.

The crafts are up to me and since I’m not a crafty person by nature, it’s often a bit of trial and error. Ideas are gathered, supplies purchased, and a week or two prior to FFCD, Greg will assemble the men’s project while I tackle the ladies’—just to be sure we have everything we need and to figure out if the proposed crafts actually are doable.

This year for the men: Project Penguin

The men this year are making a light bulb penguin. I’ve seen these for years and it turns out they’re relatively easy to make. And if you know you’re going to be making them, just save your burned-out traditional light bulbs throughout the year and you can cross that item off the supply list. Pictures and instructions are below. Give them a try and be sure to let me know how they turn out. (You can attach a hanging cord to turn them into tree ornaments or skip the cord and make them in several sizes to display as a penguin family. The ones we made this year are rather traditional, but you can get creative with different hats or outfits. Have fun!)

And be sure to share your own family Christmas traditions in the comment section below.

Light Bulb Penguins

Brought to you courtesy of: 66 Craft Happy Summer on YouTube (https://youtu.be/7HrmbGBOEMA)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Light bulb
  • Wooden (or cardboard) heart for feet (a little bigger than 1” square)
  • Red pom-pom (1)
  • Googly eyes (2)
  • Orange triangle for nose (we made ours out of felt)
  • Glue gun/glue
  • Ribbon for scarf
  • Thinner ribbon for hanger (if using as hanging ornament)
  • Paint: white, black, orange, red

Creating the Penguin:

  1. Paint feet orange and set aside.
  2. On light bulb, outline the front face/belly and paint white. Two coats.
  3. Paint the rest black. Two coats.
  4. Glue light bulb onto the feet.
  5. Paint the top socket red for hat. While drying, glue on two googly eyes.
  6. Glue on a triangular piece of orange felt for nose.
  7. Add ribbon around neck for scarf and glue into place. (One drop will do.)
  8. Glue red pom-pom on top for hat topper. If making into a tree ornament, first glue on thin ribbon for hanging. Then add the pom-pom.

Great results or better luck next time?

How did your penguin turn out? Comment and include a picture. Would love to see what you came up with. Our son-in-law Chris got creative and made a University of Florida penguin. Check out his right hand. Very cute.

Mimi

Awkward…

So, let’s just get this out of the way up front. Today’s post is a little awkward because it involves something that we don’t often talk about. The word begins with “F” and rhymes with art.

I think you catch my drift. So why am I talking about it? Read on and you’ll see.

Back in November, my brother, his wife, Greg and I, and my dad enjoyed a 10-day Caribbean cruise together. We ate great food and even some not so great food. We enjoyed tours on the islands and there was plenty of time in the sun. We even took steel drum lessons which was not only fun but LOUD. Yes, the cruise was everything we anticipated it would be.

But there was that one awkward moment.

The ships are huge and the elevators often crowded so my philosophy is to take the stairs whenever possible. It gets you to your destination faster and the exercise helps offset the extraordinary number of calories consumed through the day.

Typically, you run into other people using the stairs but on one of my stair-climbing expeditions, it was just me and a lady coming down as I was going up. We acknowledged each other with the usual head nod but on this occasion, the lady also acknowledged me out loud. With…you guessed it…a fart.

I didn’t know what to do.

Had I been with my family or in church, I might have snickered or even burst out laughing. But this was a stranger to me and in a flash all sorts of scenarios went through my head. First was the thought This is a completely natural thing; we all fart. And then I wondered if I was the one passing gas, would I have acknowledged it by apologizing or saying “oops?” I had no idea. I even thought about saying “oops” myself with a smile so she would know I wasn’t at all offended.

As it turns out, neither of us said or did anything. There was no acknowledgement, we just continued on our way. Thought, I have to admit I had quite a smile on my face as climbed the remaining stairs. Maybe because it was funny or maybe because I was glad it hadn’t been me.

Awkward moments happen all the time.

We encounter awkward situations all the time and like the one above we don’t always know how to respond. After asking a neighbor how they’re doing we might hear back “Well, I lost my job so not great.” Or “Life is rough now, my drug addicted 40-year old son just relapsed for the third time.” One time I asked the how-ya-doing question almost like saying hello and I was surprised when the person burst out crying instead of saying fine.

While times like that can be a bit awkward, they also open the door to real ministry. When a person bursts out crying right in front of you, it shows me their need for comfort, reassurance, or someone to care. Right then, right now.

And the same often holds true when the unexpected answer to your greeting reveals a lost job, marital infidelity, or a child with drug problems, etc.

What to do?

It can be difficult for people to reach out and ask for that help or to simply admit they’re experiencing a rough time. But if someone takes the time to respond to your simple greeting or if they come to you for help all on their own, please, please be ready to respond. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  1. Be ready for the unexpected. If you ask how someone is doing, be prepared for anything. And respond appropriately. Sometimes all that’s needed is a kind word, some sincere reassurance, a hug. Proverbs 12:25 says “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”
  2. Do something. Don’t just nod your head. In addition, offer something and be specific, be practical. I’m sorry you’re going through this. May I pray with you right now? I can see you’re overwhelmed; I’d like to ease the load and provide a meal. Or can I run that errand for you?
  3. Follow-up. Many will vaguely offer help but leave it at that. Or they might even help ONCE and then never check in. Be the one who stays connected, who shows you care long-term. Be the one who digs in for the long haul with the one needing help so they don’t feel alone.

Ministry isn’t always convenient or easy or a one-time deal. You often pay a cost such as an expenditure of time or money. But boy, is the payoff worth it!

Matthew 25:40 reminds us: (Jesus talking) “I tell you the truth, anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me.’

Mimi

Do we truly see the unseen?

Today I’m including a link to another great Joshua Rogers post entitled “What happened when I said thank you to an unpopular cop.’ I hope you’ll take 2-3 minutes to read it.

This post talks about something we all encounter and often overlook: people who are unseen. While Joshua’s story centers on a parking enforcement officer, all our lives are touched every day by those unseen: the Walmart cashier, the trash collector, the neighbor down the street.

Daily, we interact with friendly faces we’re familiar with. But what would happen if we went out of our way to engage with those who are often overlooked? This post not only explores that but encourages us to seek them out and show our appreciation.

But it comes with a warning.

Reading articles like this often prick our consciences to take action!

If you’re ready and have the courage, then READ ON.

Mimi

Praying for each other.

I got to do something this past weekend I haven’t done in a long, long time. I prayed with a stranger.

I was attending a women’s retreat with my friend who was the guest speaker. We knew no one except each other.

The praise and worship were wonderful, reminding me of sweet times I had experienced in the past. It had, in fact, been years since I had had an opportunity to get lost in worship and simply enjoy the presence of the Lord.

Prayer Time

At one session, recognizing there were people in need of prayer, the leader said she wasn’t going to do an altar call. Instead, she was asking those who wanted prayer to raise their hands. The ladies around them were then encouraged to pray for and with them.

I looked around to see if there was a hand raised nearby. Not seeing any, I kept on worshipping the Lord. But for some reason I knew God was asking me to pray for someone in the room, someone I didn’t know.

I looked again and simply chose a lady nearby, walked over, touched her shoulders to let her know I was there, and just started praying for her. Afterwards we shared a hug and I returned to my chair.

It’s so important.

I love moments like these, moments when I hear God speak and respond. Moments spent with my sisters in Christ. Moments spent praying for one another.

Back in the day, this was more the normal scenario. During or after service, we would gather near the front and pray for each other. When someone prays for you, they are actually picking up your heavy load or burden and helping you carry it.

I’m not sure why churches have stopped doing this. Most likely it’s because service times are getting shorter. There’s just not enough time to “tarry around the altar” as we used to.

The illustration says it all.

I don’t even remember where I found this picture, but it sure does show why we pray for each other, doesn’t it? We pray for each other because it’s tough to do life alone. And when we have a burden or problem or situation that weighs us down, that’s when we really need the help of the body of Christ.

We are exhorted to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Today I got to share someone’s burden. I hope she was blessed. But one thing I know for sure: I certainly was.

Be a blessing.

My encouragement today is to look for a need, look for a burden to share. Pray for someone. Hug a friend and allow her to cry on your shoulder. Run an errand for them or provide a meal. All are very tangible ways to help carry their load.

Much love to you.

Mimi

Sweet love shown as we care for others.

Isn’t this the cutest picture? Recently, we had three of our four grands for a sleepover. I came across them combing each other’s hair and it just really tickled me.

We all desire to be loved and cared for.

Looking at the three of them, it would appear Callan had the best deal. He just sat there while Konnor combed his hair. He was totally immersed in being cared for.

Konnor also got to enjoy the sensation of having someone else comb his hair but he had to attend to Callan. Hmm, does that mean his experience was any less satisfying? Or does it mean he was blessed as he was blessing someone else?

And then we have Addie who combed Konnor’s hair without anyone to comb her own. Well, that doesn’t seem fair. Or perhaps she had the best opportunity to give selflessly to someone else.

It’s all about perspective.

I actually think all three shared similar experiences: the enjoyment of being cared for and in caring for others.

Often in life we are in a giving time. You see this as parents are raising children or when you provide care to someone without any expectation of getting something in return.

At other times, as we give or do for others, we are indeed are on the receiving end of a blessing. Perhaps it’s when your teenager acknowledges and appreciates all you do for them. Or as you take care of a neighbor, someone pitches in to help or provides you with a meal for your own family.

And sometimes, we are in a position to just simply receive…receive God’s blessing directly or indirectly through someone else. This may be one of the most difficult positions to find ourselves in because we’re so programmed to give that we often don’t know how to receive a blessing when it comes our way.

Wherever you find yourself today, know that you are blessed. And whatever your hands find to do, do it willingly, with love for others, and with a cheerful heart.

Remember this: The person who plants a little will have a small harvest, but the person who plants a lot will have a big harvest. Each of you should give as you have decided in your heart to give. You should not be sad when you give, and you should not give because you feel forced to give. God loves the person who gives happily. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)

Prayer

Father, may we give wholeheartedly to others, fully, completely, and cheerfully.

Mimi

 

 

 

Sometimes our to-do-list needs to wait.

Today I’m sharing a recent devotional posted on Our Daily Bread.

Because we live in a world that’s super-busy all the time, we can become so inwardly focused on our own to-do list, we may miss God’s gentle interruption asking us to do something on His behalf for someone else.

Read on and see if you can relate.

Scripture to Read

Don’t judge others, and you will not be judged. Don’t accuse others of being guilty, and you will not be accused of being guilty. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. You will be given much. Pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you. (Luke 6:37-38)

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)

I headed into the post office in a big hurry.

I had a number of things on my to-do list, but as I entered I was frustrated to find a long line backing up all the way to the door. “Hurry up and wait,” I muttered, glancing at my watch.

My hand was still on the door when an elderly stranger approached me. “I can’t get this copier to work,” he said, pointing to the machine behind us. “It took my money and I don’t know what to do.” Immediately I knew what God wanted me to do. I stepped out of line and was able to fix the problem in ten minutes.

The man thanked me and then left. As I turned to get back in line, it was gone. I walked straight to the service counter.

My experience that day reminds me of Jesus’s words:

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

My wait seemed shorter because God interrupted my hurry. By turning my eyes to others’ needs and helping me give of my time, He gave me a gift. It’s a lesson I hope to remember, next time I look at my watch. —James Banks

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, all of the time I have is in Your hands, a gift from You. Please show me how to use it to bring glory and honor to You.

Reminder: Sometimes our to-do list needs to wait.

Have the best day ever.

It doesn’t take much to bring a smile.

 

This image sure does bring a smile to your face.

I came across it in my phone’s photo library. Don’t know if someone sent it to me or if I found it myself. But it immediately made me smile. So, I in turn sent it to two people. And both wrote back right away. One said it was just what she needed. And the other said she had been thinking about me at the same time so she found the timing just perfect.

 

No effort needed.

After hearing from both these ladies, I began thinking about how something so simple brightened their day. There was no cost involved. Very little effort on my part. But huge payoffs all around. They smiled. And that made me smile.

Let’s spread a little sunshine.

Knowing how easy it is to spread a little sunshine, let’s think about doing it more often. Here are just a few thoughts on how we can bless others.

  • The minute someone comes to mind, be proactive. For me that typically means using Siri to set a reminder for a time when I can actually do something or make a plan.
  • Don’t let anything get in the way. A quick “I’m thinking of you” text or note means as much to a recipient as a gift delivered to the front door.
  • Baked goods hand-delivered or mailed are always appreciated.
  • Pray for that person. Right then. Later, let them know. Praying for others is always so appreciated.
  • Do something tangible. Be specific. Offer to bring a meal, “babysit” a child or their elderly parents while they go out. Offer to clean the bathrooms or do some laundry.
  • Drop off a plant or a single flower.
  • Send a card. It’s rather old-fashioned but who doesn’t like getting fun mail rather than just bills in their mailbox!

The ways to bring a smile are endless. But don’t put it off. Find someone to bless today.

What are your thoughts? How do you bring a smile to someone?

Mimi