Saturday, November 23, 2013

How to do laundry—a tip for handling hangers and how dirty laundry is related to faith.

Do you fight the Hanger Monster?

Hangers in my closet accumulate like dirty laundry. When my hanger stash goes empty in the laundry room, I need to replenish the supply. I try to keep them all in a row during the transfer to the bar where I hang the freshly laundered clothes. Clumsiness takes over—my hand is not long enough, nor my arm skinny enough, to gracefully handle them all in one trip. I often end up with a minor catastrophe requiring reorganization which consumes several minutes of precious time. A light came on today when I discovered a method of accomplishing the task without messing the hangers up into a big cluster to untangle. I used a hanger to transport empty hangers from the closet to the laundry room! Why have I not thought of this before? This is great! Now I can use my other hand to grab a handful of peanut M&Ms—because they melt in your mouth, not in your hands.

Use a hanger to transport empty hangers from the closet to the laundry room

Cleaning out a closet and getting rid of dirty laundry is refreshing. 

Our Heavenly Father loves us like an earthly father loves his child. His truth is written on our heart, but our human nature rejects it—this is sin. We should fight sin like a pile of dirty laundry because by grace, His Son Jesus suffered and died for us, even though Christ was innocent and we certainly did not deserve it. Just like laundry is “a job”, we don’t like to be reminded of sin and would rather do things “our way”. A laundry list of sins is found in the first chapter of the book of Romans where we learn that the righteous live by faith and also about God’s wrath on unrighteousness. We cannot confess and turn away from sin on our own, but we receive the Holy Spirit’s power—the gift of faith—in baptism and by hearing God’s Word. The laundry room of our hearts is replenished with “new hangers” of encouragement through church, Bible study and devotions. Our confessed sins are forgiven—washed away like dirt from laundry—and we try to do better.

Believers are not ashamed of the gospel—it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.

    What We Believe
    • God is the triune God of the Bible—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is our Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier.
    • The Bible is the Word of God. It not only contains the Word of God, but actually is God’s Word and is the only source of revealed truth concerning Christ, faith, and salvation, by which the church is governed.
    • Faith in Jesus Christ is the gift of God to man through which man is declared righteous before God who forgives all man’s sins.
    • Man, though created holy and innocent, by his own choice fell into sin, thus separating himself from God.
    • Sin is every offense of God’s law and leads man to death and eternal damnation unless he is redeemed.
    • Redemption is the act of God revealed in the Bible and proclaimed by the Church whereby Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary, died for the sins of the world and rose again from the dead to secure our redemption.
      —Faith Lutheran Church, Abilene, Kansas

    Out of thanksgiving for this amazing Gift we

    • Trust in Him completely.
    • Pray.
    • Worship.
    • Sing and praise Him.
    • Receive the Spirit’s wisdom and direction in our lives, always pushing to learn more.
    • Do good works.
    • Share this Good News with others.
    These things are pleasing to Our Father in Heaven.

    Saturday, November 9, 2013

    Wording ideas for handmade cards, favorite Bible verses and Christian encouragement for 25 occasions

    Words and Verses for Cards

    What to write in greeting cards inspiration resource.

    Christian witness and expressing special thoughts is often best done through a card. Bible verses, wording and inspiration for card making are gathered here. If you wonder how to personalize your message, I hope this reference for quick text ideas will help you.

    The designer of a handmade card has free reign in every aspect to make it unique, unlike any other card that can be purchased in a store. Exercise the God-given gift of creativity in your communication!
    • Dig into the Bible for the right verse
    • Find inspiration in a church service worship book
    • Search your heart
    • Speak from your soul
    • Pray on paper
    • Share your Christian faith
    Artsy rubber stamped cards have been popular for years. Now, designing personalized cards on your desktop is easy and convenient—having that special handmade touch. Check out my stock illustrations in the printable card section of my shop for easy instant downloads. Go directly to the clip art of specific occasions by clicking the headings below. I love to print and hand color them with colored pencils or the gel pens my son Nathan gave me for Christmas. You can use your own computer and printer or utilize print services at libraries, local/online printing service providers.

    If not specified, card wording in this collection are mine and can be used without credit to me; a couple borrowed phrases are anonymous, found without attribution to quotes’ authors. These are in alphabetical order by topic, but mix and match verses as you see fit—they each go with several occasions.

    Anniversary (click for clip art)

    So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
    1 Corinthians 13:13
    Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
    May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
    • God made you for each other and you’re fun to be around. Happy anniversary!
    • You two reflect the love of Jesus Christ. It shines in the way you love each other. 
    • May you be blessed with many more years together, the Holy Spirit uniting you with our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.
    • I thank the Lord Jesus for new mercies every morning and for another year of married life together with you. May He open our hearts so we always receive more of His love so our love will never fade, but deepen and grow through every joy and sorrow we share.
    • More ideas listed below under “I love you”, Valentine and wedding 

    Announcement of engagement, graduation, wedding, moving, baby, adoption, confirmation, first communion, grand opening or any event (click for clip art)

    Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4 ESV
    Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11 (NIV 1984)
    • We have good news to share!
    • Our family has grown through the blessing of adoption! (Name, date)
    • Excitement is building from the ground up with our new business!
    • We’re engaged to be married! 
    • Please share in our joy
      as our daughter
      graduates from (Name of High School)
      (Day, Month Date, Year, Time)
      Open House celebration from
      from (hour–hour _m) at (Place)
      (Parent’s Names)
    • See more announcement wording ideas under various categories below

    Baby shower invitation, gift card (click for clip art)

    New baby announcement, baptism (click for clip art)

    I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 1 Samuel 1:27

    He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11 NIV 
    Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
    Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing. Psalm 127:3
    Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
    The Lord bless you and keep you. Numbers 6:24
    In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Mathew 28:19b
    For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. Isaiah 44:3
    See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 1 John 3:1a ESV

      Baby card wording samples:

      • A baby is a blessing, a gift from heaven above, a precious little angel to cherish and to love.
      • May the Lord bless your growing family. 
      • Christian blessings and best wishes always.
      • We are thrilled about the birth of your new baby! 
      • Your new baby will change your life and teach you so much about love.
      • Pray and worship together. Work hard. Don’t forget to play and thank the Lord everyday.
      • May you be blessed with a future filled with God’s grace, love, peace and joy.
      • Parenthood and family life is a wonderful journey—enjoy the ride!
      • (Name) is your very own miracle. How blessed you are!
      • We’d love to help, as seasoned parents, call when you need some spice.

      Baby shower wording samples:

      • Girl or boy,
        we can’t say
        But we’ll shower _____ [Mom and/or Dad; or “the family”]
        before delivery day!
        Surprise Baby Shower
        [day, date]
        (hour–hour _m)
        [name of place]
        [street address]
        [city, state]
        Given with love by
        [name(s), relationship]
        Regrets only to [name] [phone and/or email]
      • Join us as we honor
        and her baby [boy or girl if known]
        [name of child if known]
        with a Baby Shower
        on [day, date] at [a.m or p.m.]
        [name of place]
        [street address]
        [city, state]
        Given with love by
        [name(s), relationship]
        [phone and/or email]
        R.S.V.P. [not required or please]

      Birth announcement wording samples:

      • Someone tiny and sweet,
        A miracle we’d like you to meet!
        [baby’s first and middle name]
        Arrived: [time]
        [birthday, date, year]
        Weight: __ pounds, __ ounces
        Length: __ inches
        [He/She] is a blessing who fills our hearts with love.
        [mom, dad and brother/sister(s)]
      • Onesie, two, someone new!
        We are happy to introduce to you
        [baby’s first and middle name]
        Arrived: [time]
        [birthday, date, year]
        Weight: __ pounds, __ ounces
        Length: __ inches
        [He/She] fills our hearts with love.
        [mom, dad and brother/sister(s)] 

      Birthday (click for clip art)

      For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14 ESV
      “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 ESV
      May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth! Psalm 115:15
      The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV
      Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14
      • Hoping your birthday is filled with lovely sights, sounds, and tasty things. Hugs from Kansas!
      • We hope you find relaxing and special ways to enjoy your birthday!
      • You are a gift from God—we are blessed to have you in our family.
      • I pray that the love of God will light up your birthday! 
      • Our times are in our Heavenly Father’s hands. May He favor you as you celebrate your birthday. I pray the Holy Spirit will continue to grow wisdom in you, give you grace, strengthen your trust in His goodness and bless you with His love forever through Jesus Christ.
      bridal shower invitations cards printable art
      Click to get the printable art for this bridal shower invitation or card

      Bridal shower invitation is also useful for cards when giving a gift card or cash gift (printable art)

      Join us as we honor
      ______________ (bride’s name)
      and her fiancĂ© _____________ (guy’s name)
      with a Bridal Shower
      on (Day), (Month) (Date) at (Hour) (a.m. or p.m.)
      (Name of Venue)
      (Street Address)
      (City, State Zip)
      Given with love by _______ [description of relationship]
      [names and contact info for aunts, friends, etc.]
      R.S.V.P. [not required; or, please call or email by _______]

      Some people think it is tacky to include registry information while others prefer including it as a convenience so guests won’t need to call anyone if they want to get something from the register. It is better to add it, small, directly on the bottom of the invite than to add a separate insert.

      Children (click for clip art)

      Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, Psalm 17:8
      He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. Psalm 37:26
      My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10: 27-28
      The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:16
      In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
      My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Proverbs 4:20-22 ESV
      But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
      • I’m so glad you were born!
      • God loves you and so do I.
      • First we had each other, then we had you, now we have everything.

      Christmas (click for printable card clipart)

      O holy night! The stars are brightly shining, It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.… John Sullivan Dwight

      Silent night, holy night! All is calm, all is bright Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy Infant, so tender and mild, Sleep in Heavenly peace… Franz Joesph Mohr

      For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 ESV
      I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:18 ESV
      Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! Luke 2:14 ESV
      For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 ESV
      The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. …And the the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. —John 1:5,14 ESV
      Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. —John 14:27 ESV
      He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful. Revelation 17:14 ESV
      • May the love of our Heavenly Father touch your heart to draw you near Him; the light of Jesus Christ shine through you; the Holy Spirit comfort and counsel you.

      Christian Postcards for Christmas or any time of year

      Five postcards I designed are printed on two sides, packaged in 20 and ready to ship. These aren’t available as digital downloads. Please visit the Christian post card section in my Etsy shop to see the verses chosen for these illustrations.
      • Add your own message and a postcard stamp (more economical than letter stamps). 
      • Fun to send with a photo or family newsletter. 
      • Illustrations with calligraphy are quality prints to frame for holiday decor.

      Christian love, Easter, confirmation, first communion, baptism (click for clip art)

      Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV
      Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. Proverbs 16:20 NIV
      Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
      Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 ESV
      “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
      Matthew 28:19-20 ESV
      And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 ESV
      I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 ESV
      Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
      May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 NIV
      But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8
      • On this special day, our prayer is that you will always remember that Jesus loves you. 
      • Let your faith shine brightly so that all your friends, family and everyone you meet can see Christ.
      • Bless you! With true faith—a free gift from the Holy Spirit through water and Word—sin is drowned. Be safe and secure in the Christian Church, separate from unbelievers. Serve our Triune God with joy. With all believers of Our Father’s promise, you will receive eternal life through Jesus Christ.
      • May our merciful Father through the Word and the free gift of the Holy Spirit, enrich your faith that clings to your Savior.
      • By the Lord’s Supper, may the Holy Spirit strengthen you to believe that Jesus Christ alone saves you from sin.
      • May you find joy and comfort in Jesus, learn from this sacrament to love Him and others—to bear your cross with patience and joy until the last day through Him who lives and reigns with our Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
      • Easter blessings 
      • For celebrations, see wording listed under Announcements and Invitations below.

      Congratulations, achievement, reward, graduation, ordination (click for clip art)

      Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Psalm 95:1 ESV
      Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 ESV
      Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14
      This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 ESV
      For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
      All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
      • We thank the Lord for you. He has blessed you with the motivation and resources you needed to accomplish this achievement.
      • We celebrate your God-given gifts.
      • Way to go! I respect you for seeking the Lord and the plans He’s made for you.
      • Keep up the good work. Cheers!
      • Scroll down for more ideas for graduations and other events.


      DNA clip art for birthday, Father’s Day, or any card for dad.
      DNA clip art for birthday, Father’s Day, or any card for dad.


      Fathers Day (click for downloadable card coloring page)

      O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Psalm 104:24 ESV
      By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Hebrews 11:3 ESV
      For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:20 ESV
      Dear Dad, Happy Father’s Day! We thank our Creator for your hand-me-down genes. Each day is new in the joy of our Heavenly Father. We love you.

      Get well, evangelism, encouragement, peace for surgery, sickness, medical issues, disabled, near death, tornado (click for clip art)

      The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26
      Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27 ESV
      For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
      Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
      Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 NIV
      …the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Psalm 32:10 NIV
      May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV

      Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3 ESV
      I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. Psalm 34: 4-5 ESV
      When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. Psalm 56: 3-4a ESV
      So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV)
      • I am sorry to hear that you are having health problems. I pray for you often, the words written on the front of this card.
      • We’ve noticed you in church—thanks for visiting and worshiping with us—you’re always welcome! Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions about our church family, education opportunities or membership. —The Mission and Evangelism Committee
      • praying… Dear Lord, Guide ___ and his family/friends through their future. Encourage them to have thankful hearts for Your wonderful creation, the care You provide through his (her) medical team, and every way you show them Your love, both in sickness and in health. Have mercy on them, strengthen faith and point ___ and each of his (her) loved ones to Your gracious promise of our victory in Jesus. Teach each of them to be a witness and blessing to others. Amen.
      • Our prayers are with you and your medical team.
      • We hope you will get skilled care, healthy rest, that you will be feeling well soon with a speedy and full recovery.
      • I pray the Lord restore you to health, or give you grace to accept this hardship with courage and hope through Jesus Christ.
      • Thank God for everyone in the medical profession to help people with cancer. Draw near your faith — the promise that through His Son who suffered, died and rose again, so we who trust in Him will, too, have an awesome family reunion on the last day with all believers. I pray for your comfort, peace and complete recovery.
      • Father in heaven, watch over Your child who is ill. Mercifully spare the life You have given, relieve pain, guard from danger and restore health by Your will that (he/she) may grow to a life of serving You, through Jesus Christ, amen.
      • As you go to surgery, I pray blessings of faith in the Lord’s loving kindness and protection. I pray He will give the medical team skill and ability, by His will, for renewed health and strength; in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
      • Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of life and for enriching us with blessings of Your creation. Guide, aid and give strength to (Name) and others with physical disabilities. Let them find fulfillment, encouragement and support in their lives each day, in Jesus, amen
      • Lord I ask you, if it be your gracious will, to restore (Name) and lengthen (his/her) life on earth; but if not, keep (him/her) in faith, Your care and lively hope. Let no fear cause lack of confidence and trust in You. At the time You choose, give (him/her) peace and a joyous entrance into everlasting life in Your presence with the company of all believers, through our Savior Jesus, amen. 
      • I’m praying God is using the therapy/exercises/medications/treatments/counseling to heal _____ completely, the Lord’s will be done. It is challenge to parents when things aren’t perfect for our children. It becomes a true blessing to put it in the Lord’s hands, trusting completely that He is by our side no matter what! Thankfully, He’s provided knowledge, skill and experience to therapists, physicians, counselors and health care team professionals to guide and train us in things that are over our heads and situations which seem overwhelming. May you find comfort and peace in knowing these things, strength through your Christian friendships and the love of your families.
        your sister in Christ, ____
      • May the Lord touch you with love, kindness and healing. Amen.
      • I pray, “Lord, assure ___ of Your mercy, comfort _him/her_ with awareness of Your goodness, preserve _him/her_ from temptations of the evil one, and give _him/her_ patience in _his/her_ pain/unhappiness. If it please You, restore ___ to health, give _him/her_ grace to bear this affliction, and comfort those who mourn; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” 
      • Oh dear ___, I pray to the Lord thanksgiving for your safety through this tornado. May you look to Our Father for help He will provide as His Spirit also comforts and loves you, His children, through your family and friends in this difficult time. In Jesus name, amen. Please call if you need a place to stay or think of any way we can help.
      • I pray: Lord, Keep ____; all people with a cancerous brain tumor and other types of cancer as well as their loved ones and their medical teams in Your loving care. Thank You Creator for this beautiful day. Holy Spirit, lead us to focus on Jesus our Savior. Amen. 

      Graduation, moving, life-change events, job loss, time of disaster (click for clip art)

      In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:6 NKJV
      Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 ESV
      The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand. Psalm 37:23-24 ESV
      “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
      For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:6-7 NIV
      And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21 ESV
      Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3 ESV
      He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge… he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways… Psalm 91:4, 11 NIV
      • As you go forward, I hope you can make use of the enclosed gift of stationery (20 sheets and 20 envelopes) for your resume, cover letters, inquires, thank you notes or any occasion you want elegant, personal and professional printed correspondence.
      • Thank you for sending your announcement—it is very cool—you are a beautiful woman. God gave you the free gift of faith. It will be nourished and grow as you hear and read the Word. We pray that you will look to Him as He leads you into the next part of your life, as you fulfill plans He has for you.
      • Congratulations on your hard work and graduation! God bless you always.
      • May the Lord protect and guide you, make your way safe, your homecoming joyful and bring you at last to our heavenly home to live in glory with Him forever.
      • Our Lord’s gracious presence is with you wherever you go. He is with you in your move to a new place. He will support you in challenges and times of loneliness. He provides daily bread. May you find peace and joy in His ongoing kindness and love; through Jesus Christ.
      • May our heavenly Father keep you from want or worry. I pray the resources of His creation be used for a profitable and fulfilling job for you.
      • His ways are not our ways. Our Almighty God, merciful Father has permitted disaster. I pray for faith, hope, comfort, healing and sustenance; for doctors, ministers and those who protect. Bring relief and restoration through Jesus.
      • As you begin a new phase of your life, trust the promise that is yours through faith in Jesus Christ. The Triune God goes with you, so be confident that as you step out into the world with Him, He will hold you with His mighty hand.
      • Just so you know I am praying for _ and _ medical team, too. News of cancer is shocking and stirs up many emotions. I know it sounds a little odd, but I also pray that eyes will be open to blessings even in difficult times. The blessings come from our Heavenly Father through His Spirit and His Son. Let it be a time to fully welcome His help and comfort as you share the wisdom of faith you received in baptism. 
      • Our Good shepherd feeds us and leads us. Thanks be to God! Amen.
      • Scroll up to see more "congratulations or encouragement" wording.

      I Love You (click for clip art)

      Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 ESV
      Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22 ESV
      Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20 ESV
      But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Ruth 1:16 NIV
      But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
      We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19 ESV
      Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8 ESV
      This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12 ESV
      • Thanks for being a patient friend who loves and supports me through thick and thin.
      • Thank you for encouraging me to grow in the Lord.
      • The Holy Spirits motivates you to be one who shows your love through generous actions.
      • Thanks for all you do to enhance our friendship.
      • The Lord blessed you with good looks, talent, wisdom and excellent taste in women ;-)
      • I keep praying for peace that only comes from Christ for you—it’s always there for you. I trust that when I cannot help you let go of what you want to control so that, instead, you may trust/receive faith needed for beneficial lifestyle/relationship changes; the Holy Spirit can do all things! I pray for patience for myself and wisdom to be a loving wife.
      • More ideas listed under Valentine, wedding and anniversary 

      Invitation for confirmation, graduation, celebration, bridal shower, wedding and more (click for clip art)

      Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. … This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. John 2:2,11 ESV

      Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 ESV
      Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20 NIV 
      • You are cordially invited to celebrate with us the Confirmation of our daughter (specifics). Reception to follow (specifics).
      • (Name)
        Graduates from (Place)
        on (Day, Month Date, year)
        Join us for a celebration in his honor
        (Day, Month, Date) from (hour–hour _m) at (Place)
        RSVP to (Person Phone or Email)
      • It’s time for celebration...
        (Person/achievement or occasion)
        (Day, Month Date) at (time _m)
        rsvp by
        (Month Date) to (Person Phone or Email)
      • (Father and Mother’s first and last names)
        request the pleasure of your company
        at the marriage of their daughter
        (Bride’s first, middle and last name)
        (Groom’s first, middle and last name)
        son of (Father and Mother’s first and last names)
        (Day, the date-spelled-out of Month)
        two thousand and fourteen
        at (hour-spelled-out) o’clock in the (afternoon or evening)
        Reception immediately following
      • Please join us for a
        bridal shower honoring
        (First, Last Name)
        (Day, Month Date) at (time _m)
        at (Location)
        Kindly reply by (Date) to
        (Phone or Email)
        Please bring a recipe to share with (First Name)
      • For baby showers, see separate listings above. 

      I’m Sorry (click for clip art)

      Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14 ESV
      Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16 ESV
      O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble. Isaiah 33:2 ESV
      Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 ESV
      for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Romans 3:23-24 ESV
      If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14
      More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:11
      The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 NIV
      The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV
      Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 
      But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
      He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 ESV
      For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: ... a time to keep, and a time to cast away. Ecclesiastes 3:1,6b ESV
      And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34a ESV
      • While I was thinking about everyone in our family, you were on my mind during a walk I took this beautiful morning. The sad feeling I have about our relationship was the inspiration to create this card. I’ve said I’m sorry before, but I say it again hoping you will express to me a desire to renew a healthy kinship. I love you and will always hope for the best.
      • I am sorry and ask for grace. I want to do better.
      • Please tell me you forgive me my wrongs as I forgive yours.
      • Life is fragile, handle it with prayer.
      • God be merciful to you and strengthen your faith, Amen.
      • Holy Spirit, free me from all bitterness in my life. Help me to live with joy for today and trust for the future. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

      Let it Go (click for clip art)

      Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 124:8
      Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10 ESV
      Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
      And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
      I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV
      Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV
      No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
      And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Matthew 10:14 ESV
      Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Psalm 96:1 ESV
      For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
      For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
      Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 ESV
      “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, Ephesians 4:26 NIV
        • Not to spoil the ending for you, but everything is going to be okay.
        • Merciful God, I’ve been suffering on this side of heaven. Grant me grace and wisdom to do your will and continue in faith until the end of my life here on earth. Encourage me, comfort me with peace and renew my joy in the blessing of your promise of the glory in the world to come, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

        Miss You (click for clip art)

        The Lord watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight. Genesis 31:49
        He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
        Leave all your worries with Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
        The Lord is near to all those who call on Him. Psalm 145:18
        He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-31 ESV
        The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 ESV
        Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 ESV
        So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV 
        But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 
        • Sunday, Monday, Tuesday…October, November, December… I’m waiting.
        • Happy memories of our time together tides me over until, God-willing, I see you again.
        • May our ever-present Lord grant us comfort from His promises and fulfillment in loving Him each day, through Jesus Christ.
        God bless you, Mom. I designed this just before Mother's Day for my mother-in-law Arlene and made it available worldwide in my Etsy gallery. It could be used as a coloring page gift or do it yourself (DIY) to make a birthday, love, thinking of you, get well, encouragement, thank you, sorry, miss you or mothers day card. Moms often may seem be hard to buy for when you’re looking for something unique and special. Coloring brings back joyful childhood memories of precious time spent together. Thoughtful words you write in a card you make might create more heartfelt meaning than a store-bought card or gift. This digital clip-art or stock-illustration is designed to print black. It’s fun to add a touch of colored pencil, marker or gel pen if you like to sketch and doodle.

        Mothers Day (click for downloadable card coloring page)

        May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth! Psalm 115:15
        • Dear Mom, we hope you are enjoying our Creator’s spring blessings. Each day is new in the joy of the Lord. We are thankful for and admire the beautiful mother you are. We love you.

        Save the Date (click for clip art)

        O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. Psalm 51:15 ESV
        • The (special event, wedding or other celebration) of (names) is being planned for (day, month date, year). Details to come.

        Sympathy (click for clip art)

        The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1:21b
        Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalms 23:6 ESV
        Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4
        He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
        He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads Me beside peaceful streams. Psalm 23:2
        Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. Romans 6:3-5
        Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going. John 14:1-4
        • Dear ___​ and family, it’s hard… I’m praying you receive the peace of Christ now and always treasure and nurture His gift of hope.
        • Gentle words can’t take your loss away, but I hope this note of sympathy, the grace of God through His Son and the Holy Spirit will help comfort you today. 
        • Your mother holds a special place in my heart. She inspired everyone in so many positive Christian ways.
        • I am praying Christian love surrounds you with comfort during this time of loss.
        • Sharing your sorrow in our loss of such a loving woman. 
        • As Christians, we know this separation is temporary and we can look forward to seeing our loved ones again.
        • We thank our God of grace and mercy for His loving-kindness shown to (name) and to all His faithful servants who now rest in eternal life through Your Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
        • Life’s beautiful journey is because of the special people that cross our paths. I’m thankful for the blessing to know your mother and the certainty of seeing her again someday.
        • I grieve with you during this difficult time. You are in my prayers, that your faith be a comfort and God’s love gives you strength and peace.
        • May beautiful memories and Christian faith bring you peace.
        • Our prayers are with you as you mourn. We rejoice that the Lord forgives sins and gives life eternal. We are thankful suffering has ended. We look forward to being reunited with all believers in Christ on the Last Day.
        • We entrust our loved ones into the keeping of our Heavenly Father. May we look to Him in our sorrow while we are surrounded by the faithful friends and family He blesses us with. Through faith in Jesus Christ, one day we will share the joys of those resting in His presence.
        • I love my uncle and thank God for the relationship we had. Your dad’s encouraging optimism, warm heart, sense of humor and sincere kindness has been a glimpse of Christ, in him, blessing his family and friends. He would want each of us to grow through hearing the Word. We will be together in eternity through faith in Jesus. I’m sending my love and praying for you and your family’s comfort at this sad time.
        • Oh dear, regretfully, I send this with deepest sympathy. I look forward to seeing ____ (along with you and all Christians) again someday at the Great Banquet that lasts forever with no more cancer, pain, tears or loss. Praise be to our loving Heavenly Father! 

        Thank You (click to see printable card clipart)

        And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. Daniel 12:3 ESV
        And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:40 ESV
        “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and a;postID=2498155174995593150;onPublishedMenu=template;onClosedMenu=template;postNum=30;src=linkll knowledge—even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:4–9
        Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV
        In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 ESV
        the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD: “ ‘Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!’ For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the LORD. Jeremiah 33:11 ESV
        Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
        • Thank you for your service to America.
        • Today and always, your thoughtfulness and leadership is greatly appreciated.
        • Your gift was a fun surprise, thanks! I look forward to using this gift which is special and beautiful, like you are.
        • I thank my lucky stars for you.

        Thinking of You (click for clip art)

        He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. Psalms 91:4 NKJV
        God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
        Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 ESV
        Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5 ESV
        Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way. Proverbs 23:18-19
        Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
        • Praying for wisdom, strength and courage. 
        • Trusting the Lord is by your side, with you every step of the way.
        • Lord Jesus, lead us to quiet places where we can rest with you. Amen.

        Valentine (click for clip art)

        When I saw you I fell in love and you smiled because you knew. William Shakespeare
        Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 ESV
        Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV
        • Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite.
        • Dear Mr. Right, I have exquisite taste ;-) Cheers!
        • I thank the Lord for pointing me in your direction.
        • Happy Valentines Day, my love! Yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever yours,
        • More ideas listed under “I love you”, wedding and anniversary

        Wedding (click for clip art)

        But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18
        Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
        Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4 ESV
        What God has joined together, let no one put asunder. Matthew 19:6
        Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17
        Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6 ESV
        What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 ESV
        Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 ESV
        There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage. Martin Luther
        • We’re wishing you much happiness as a married couple! Our prayer is that you will look to the Lord for guidance so you grow in His wisdom for life. In all things, offer Him worship and thanksgiving.
        • May you be blessed with a future filled with God’s grace, love, peace and joy.
        • Pray and worship together. Work hard. Don’t forget to play and thank the Lord everyday.
        • More ideas listed above under “I love you”, Valentine and anniversary 

        What are your favorite verses and phrases to write in cards?

        Add your ideas in a comment. Bookmark this page if you’d like to easily find it again. Come back—this is a post I plan to edit from time to time.

        You might also be interested in How to organize an artist file system, upcycle cards and reap benefits of a creative life

        Monday, August 5, 2013

        Compare apples to oranges, people are like fruit salad

        When life throws you lemons [pray] make lemonade and “chill” with a bowl of fruit salad.

        Apple and Orange
        Apple and Orange

        Apples and oranges are different, just as people are unique individuals.

        If it were possible for an apple to convert an orange to change in order to become like itself the apple, most of the juice would need to be sucked out of the orange. When “Mr./Ms. Know-it-all” pushes me to “become him/her”, frustration sets in, causing loss of concentration, positive energy, creativity and ambition to do things that work best for me. I cannot prevent his/her insistence. Human nature leads each of us believe our own way of thinking is superior to others—we long to hang on to our individuality.

        A quick prayer and an optimistic outlook helps me bite my tongue when subjected to behaviors of controlling personalities. I do not attend every argument I am invited to. Occasionally, my task being inspected can be transferred to him/her so it can be “done right” and I can move on to other things. In situations where how a task is carried out really doesn’t matter, I might as well take advantage of opportunities to learn something new and tackle the challenge of doing it “his/her way”. We’re not competitors—we’re on the same team! I do accept invitations to learn new tricks. It will take a while to catch-on, it may be less efficient than ways I know well; yet, different methods do make sense sometimes. I’m willing to pack in my brain, new (sometimes useless) information. Simultaneously, I’m determined to remember and maintain use of skills I am comfortable with for their proven efficiency. Once “enlightened”, discernment to choose the best option, based on all the variables of a situation, is necessary. All this effort may decelerate the process of completing the very tasks which were hoped to accelerate, but perhaps it is a test of perseverance.

        I value opinions of others even though I do not always appreciate or agree with them. Alternately, I hope for mutual respect; however, I must be patient when it isn’t granted. Certain tasks can be accomplished in a variety of ways through the use of technology, equipment and software which have been specifically designed to meet the preferences of people with a broad range of artistic, eye-hand coordination and cognitive skills. Discernment in handling issues varies based on the matter and the level of virtues blessed with.
        • Opinion
        • Previous critique
        • Past praise or success
        • Education
        • Habit
        • Experience
        • Talent
        • Skill 
        • Creativity
        • Knowledge
        • Physical capacity
        • Mental capabilities
        • Spirituality
        • Maturity
        The happiest couples (or associates) never have the same character and talents—they have the best understanding of their differences. I say, let an apple be an apple, let an orange be an orange! We are a diverse variety of God’s creation, tossed together like fruit salad. The recipe calls us to allow His Spirit to stir us so we become something amazing.
        But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. …If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 1 Corinthians 12:18,26
        Bananas and Lemon
        Bananas and Lemon

        Lemons and bananas compliment each other unawares.

        “When life throws you lemons, make lemonade” is an axiom about optimism and resilience when things are bad. Squeeze a lemon—dunk sliced bananas and chopped apples in its juice for protection from turning soft and brown. A sour person, however caustic or acrid, may actually have my best interests in mind and care about me (especially if it benefits him/her in some way). Imagination is detrimental when it is used to assume that others are against me. When I resist imagining negative intentions, I don’t need to take on a defensive attitude. A peer once told me, “you must have a heart of steel” regarding a situation she was imagining for me. When another person’s sour attitude is shoved in my face, I become temporarily shaken, but by the grace of God, I let it bounce off and try to forget it—that’s when a poor memory serves me well! Annoyed by the behavior, I still care and have hope for the person. Everyone has bad moments (or days). Some may not even realize they’re rude if they are immature or have not learned social graces. When I offer “lemons” the benefit-of-the-doubt, a calming peace allows me to pull positives from ugly situations. I push myself to seek ways to grow through adversity. Amazing is the power of a humble spirit open to critique! Someone driven to control me may be seeking a power trip, but oh well—it might provide him/her with insight to the Spirit of humility as a witness to my response!
        Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

        Watermelon served as dessert for dinner brought out a terrifying imaginary picture. Humorous in an adult perspective, it was a childhood lesson on teasing and the meaning of the word gullible.

        When I was a child, I was teasingly told that if I swallowed a watermelon seed, watermelons would grow out of my ears. I found out everyone cannot always be trusted, but to honor truth and learn from wise people. Watermelon contains annoying seeds that need to be spit out in order to fully enjoy the thirst quenching qualities of the refreshing fruit. Likewise, annoying behaviors get in the way of positive relationships, so it is important to focus on separating the bad from the good. I try to look past people’s irritating “bad seeds” in order to see and appreciate their virtuous qualities. I seek to plant healthy Christian “good seeds” of faith to help others grow. My favorite fruit salad is made by scooping the watermelon out of its shell to create a bowl that holds a variety of fruits together. No one is perfect. We learn from each other and share knowledge. We scoop each other out of our shells. Our shells hold us together.


        Cantaloupe or muskmelons have a hard, scaly, tough rind.

        I need tough skin when others poke with rejection, probe with rude remarks, refuse to listen to (or understand) reason, deny apologies, focus on my (confessed) imperfections and decline my love. Bullish behavior is associated with spiritual immaturity. Everyone sins, including those who know better. It is part of life on earth. Like cantaloupe’s thick skin, the ability to confess and repent of my own sin comes with the gift of faith. The suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for my sake, offers forgiveness. His sacrifice assures hope and keeps hurtful words and actions from damaging my soft inner soul.

        Green Grapes
        Green Grapes

        Grapes which are not spoiled, are versatile—fresh, fermented or aged.

        Rotten grapes need to be picked off and thrown away to prevent their bad taste from spreading to the fresh fruit and spoil the whole bunch or ruin the entire salad. This process reminds me of Baptism which is God’s command for us. Like washing fresh grapes, through water and Word, we are given the free gift of faith which trusts Him. I could turn away and refuse to trust and grow in the Word; but faith will always be there and it is new every day I receive it. Living in faith is a constant challenge. It isn’t glamorous or understood by those who reject it. Faith helps me see the bad grapes in myself—through repentance it offers grace, forgiveness, freedom and the certainty of eternal salvation.
        “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:4
        Out of thanksgiving for the opportunity to live in peace, faith helps me become active, productive and share Good News.
        But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:17-18
        Dehydrated grapes are raisins—wonderful in trail mix snack, Thanksgiving turkey dressing and many recipies. Wine is made with grapes through fermentation, improving with age. Wine is mentioned a couple hundred times in the Bible. The most significant reference being all about the blood of Jesus Christ in The Lord’s Supper / Holy Communion / The Sacrament of the Altar.
        My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 7:1-3

        Strawberry flavor depends on the climate and soil where they are planted.

        When I was a young girl, I picked fresh strawberries from the patch on the rich soil at my parent’s farm. After filling an ice cream pail full, we’d rinse them, take out the stem and serve them in a variety of ways. My parents planted seeds of faith and provided the fertile benefits of devotional readings, church and Sunday school.
        Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

        Pineapple has a prickly surface. People with a prickly exterior naturally emit negative tension vibes.

        People may be cold and non responsive to other’s attempts to be kind and cordial. We are often are willing to share criticism, but nothing positive. When I’m under someone’s critical magnifying glass, I suddenly become clumsy and my heart races as though it’s being pumped up like a beach ball receiving pressure from a stabbing knife. No one is immune to falling into some degree of this gloomy nature from time to time. By the power of the Holy Spirit I recognize it in myself and seek to resist it. Receiving God’s help, I take a step back before responding to an irksome situation—I count to ten when I become a victim under the attack of someone possessing this personality. The same Spirit tells me when someone’s bark is worse than their bite, so I can have peace when I’m barked at and remain calm when I’m bitten. Satan feeds me crap and wants me to have hurt feelings, become insecure, resentful, revengeful and allow negative anger to take hold and grow roots in my life. Wisdom, tenacity and courage are abilities achieved when I apply the healing balm of God’s Word heard in church and through devotional Bible study.
        A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

        Blueberries are full of healthy antioxidants and provide beautiful contrasting color to fruit salad.

        As a child, I took a trip to visit my eldest sister in northern Minnesota. We ventured into the forest to pick tender, wild blueberries. The delicious bounty returned to my sister’s kitchen and together, we created blueberry pie. Berries are among the first plants to regenerate in areas recently cleared of trees or recovering from a forest fire. Like berries that grow again after their habitat has changed or following natural disaster, people bear each-others’ burdens. With prayer, patience and gentle support, we share life’s difficulties. Sad events bring about comfort, encouraging words and hugs. We trust each other and give thanks for faithful, honest advice. Blessings of laughter come with funny times. Love, kindness and joy fills our lives with sweet deliciousness. These are the fruit of the Spirit.
        But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23
        Fruit Salad in Watermelon Bowl
        Fruit Salad in Watermelon Bowl

        Watermelon Bowl Fruit Salad

        Mother’s Recipe

        This is my favorite summer treat for picnics, parties and potlucks! Chill and wash everything (including melons) before cutting.
        • Watermelon, stab zig-zag pattern with a long knife, then split open.
        • Cantalope, cut in half, discard seeds. Use a melon baller to scoop out balls of fruit. Scrape out the rough edges of the watermelon interior—set upside-down to drain rind to use for bowl (top can be used as cover). Honeydew melon, optional.
        • Pineapple, cut in chunks (or use canned, drain).
        • Green grapes
        • Blueberries
        • Strawberries, cut the stems out and slice large ones in half.
        • Apples, chop.
        • Bananas, peel, slice.
        • Lemon, squeeze for juice to coat bananas and apples before adding them to the salad (or use bottled).
        Gently toss—chill if fruits were room temperature when starting—serve immediately. Bananas and strawberries will begin to get soft in a day or two, so you might want to find and eat them before storing leftovers in the refrigerator.