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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Not by Works ~ Testimony of Lisa K.

Once upon a time....
      Once upon a time, there was a little girl. She was loved much by her parents, and always tried to please them. She always thought that being good would get her into heaven, so she tried each and every day to be good. She did all the things that were taught in the denomination where she grew up, but no matter what she did or how hard she tried, she just couldn't be good all the time. She wondered, "How many good things do I have to do before I'm considered good enough to get to heaven? When will I know that I'm good enough?" She thought about death often, even though she was very young. She had been to funerals and wondered, "If that person's soul isn't in his body, then where is it?" She had no peace, often lying awake at night, wondering where she'd end up if she passed away in her sleep.
    Time passed and eventually the little girl grew into a young woman.She had gotten tired of trying to 'measure up' when she really had no way of knowing if she was saved or not.  She decided there was no point in trying anymore and gave up. So she became very rebellious toward practically every form of authority in her life.
One day a friend asked her to go with him to talk to a preacher. She reluctantly went, wondering if this man was going to tell her more things she needed to do to try to be 'good enough'. But what she heard was nothing like she'd ever heard before! He shared Bible verses with her, and  told her that the Lord Jesus loved her so much that He paid her sin debt when He died on the cross for her sins -  and the sins of the world. (John 3:16) She had a hard time understanding that Jesus loved her - and died for her sins. How could that be? she wondered, but the preacher was very patient in explaining it all to her.  All she had to do was admit that she was -a sinner. (Romans 3:23)  That was easy; she had spent the biggest part of her life trying to make up for all the wrong things she had done.  Then she had to believe that the Lord Jesus died on the cross and rose again and that His blood was shed to pay for her sins. (Romans 5:8) She believed. And she trusted Him alone for the forgiveness of her sins.  What a peace came over her! After all the years of trying to earn her salvation, she now rejoiced in what only the Lord Jesus could accomplish on her behalf.  She now knew that she was saved and kept - for eternity.
That little girl was me.
560617_10151739129230361_654960360_24013034_405661569_a Lisa is first, a blood-bought daughter of the King of Kings. Second, the wife of one amazing hubby. Third, the homeschool mom of 8 blessings (7 on this earth, and one waiting for me in Heaven). Fourth, the grandma to 3 precious grandchildren, with #4 due this summer. You can find her online at Olive Plants All Around My Table, where she encourages women to be keepers of their homes, helpmates to their husbands and nurturing, loving mothers to their children.
2 Timothy 1:12  "...for I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day."
If you would like to share your testimony, please email me at or you can leave a message or comment on our Facebook page. I look forward to hearing how God has changed your life!
Your story could be the very tool that God is waiting to use to minister into the life of someone else!
Be A Blessing,

Monday, May 28, 2012

My story...His Testimony {New Ministry of BBM}

Photo Credit

Testimony. The word floats around Christian circles like a feather in the wind; it's power and beauty not fully realized. Until recently, I felt the same way about the word. I didn't grasp the importance of how God can use the story of one's life to totally transform, impact and change someone else. The purpose of our life here on Earth is to bring honor and glory to our Heavenly Father. Our lives are the story He is writing. Sometimes we take the pen and write a chapter or two on our own. However, when we submit to His lead, He makes it all, the good chapters and the bad ones, unite into a beautiful, powerful story that He longs for us to share.

Our pastor explained that there are two reasons our church has people give a brief testimony before they are baptized: (1) to pronounce their belief in Jesus as their Savior and (2) to share their testimony of God has been working in their heart and life. For the next several weeks, I continued to think and pray about testimonies and this is what God revealed to me:

  • We all have a story.
  •  Our lives are a story. We all have a past, a present and a future. 
  • God wants us to share our story.
  •  Whatever you've gone through - good, bad, trials, struggles, tragedy, victory, setbacks, triumphs and more - God intends to use for His glory. Chances are someone else is going through the same thing and God longs to use what He has done in your life to minister to someone else!
So after seeking His will, BBM want to offer you the opportunity to share your story!! Every Thursday, we will feature a testimony from and by YOU, our readers!

I know what you're thinking...
~"But I'm not a writer, story-teller or blogger. I can't submit a testimony!" YES, YOU CAN!!!
I'm not looking for a perfectly written, grammatically correct essay. I'm looking for real stories of how God has changed your life!
~"Testimonies are just about a conversion, when someone accepted Jesus as Savior." FALSE!!! That's where you allowed Christ to begin walking with you. A testimony can be from any point in your life. It may be something God has recently revealed to you OR maybe a tragedy occurred, you got angry at God and found that despite the pain his comfort & grace was enough, OR maybe you had a past hurt that was finally healed through the power of forgiveness OR maybe you witnessed God "show-up" during a time when all your faith was on the line.

This new ministry will only work if you will share your story! I know, you're nervous; maybe your hands are getting sweaty, your heart is pounding and over the next few days you won't be able to get this thought out of your head. LISTEN - That's God prompting you!
Your testimony could be the very tool that God is waiting to use in someone else's life.

Please email your testimony to me at or you can send me a message on our Facebook page. If you have any questions, please let me know. I'd be happy to help you!

I know God is going to do mighty things! I look forward to reading how God has made your life, His testimony!
Be A Blessing,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Gifts for Guys

The school year is quickly coming to an end. Time to start putting together teacher appreciation gifts! The web (especially Pinterest) is full of cute, homemade, DIY, unique ideas that are great for that special teacher who has been such a big part of your child's life.

As I started searching for the perfect gift, I realized that most of these gifts were geared towards female teachers. Now I know that women make up the majority of teachers; however, there are many wonderful male teachers out there too. They pour into the lives of their students all year long and it would be great to have some more "manly" gift ideas. Here are a few that I found:

Gift Cards - Everyone loves to get a gift card! Some favorites are: fast food, restaurants, iTune, book stores & teacher supply stores.

Reusable Coffee Tumblers - Find a tumbler in a masculine color, pattern or favorite sports team. You can put a coffee shop gift card inside or a bag of gourmet ground coffee.

Pinned Image

Movie Night Gift Basket - 1 tub of popcorn + movie candy + 2 movie passes = FUN! 

 The Polkadot Chair

Summer Grilling Kit - Load up a basket of some BBQ necessities and wish Mr. ________ a great summer! Mom On Time Out has a great list of items you may want to include and some great printout to add too. 

Food & Treats - Who doesn't love a homemade tasty treat like a batch of cookies or homemade grill rub.
The 36th AVENUE
Big Batch Barbeque & Mediterranean Herb Rubs

Ice Cream Basket - Wish your teacher a 'cool' summer with all the makings for an ice cream sundae.

Wishing you all a very fun and relaxing summer!

Be Blessed,

Monday, May 14, 2012

Easy Mini Pancakes
They say that "good things come in small packages." In my opinion, this definitely holds true when it comes to food! Small, bite-sized, individual foods are so cute!! Plus, they are great for parties or any time you need to provide a tasty treat. I absolutely LOVE this Pinterest find! It's as easy as it is adorable!! 

All you need:
- A box of mini pancakes
- Toothpicks
- Fresh berries (raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries)
- Fresh mint leaves (optional)
- maple syrup

Lay the pancakes on a cookie sheet and bake according to box directions. Stack three pancakes, stick a toothpick through the center. Top each stack with a berry and mint leaf. Place the finished pancakes on your platter. Drizzle maple syrup lightly over the pancakes and you are ready to serve.

Bake pancakes to box directions

Stack & top with a berry (and mint leaf -optional)

That's all there is to it! These beautiful mini treats will be a hit at your next ladies' brunch, morning meeting or lazy weekend breakfast. 

*Find this and other adorable mini treat ideas by clicking on the picture below.

I love mini party foods

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Beyond the Scarlet Letter {A Single Mom's Testimony}

She was raised in the church. Saved and baptized at 6 years old. She had been to church camp, youth meetings, sang in the choir and taught Sunday school; yet, she was not exempt. She knew better, but the heart and flesh are weak. She wasn't a child; but an adult, fully aware of the potential consequences of her actions - consequences that would change her life forever. She was pregnant...Single...Alone...

The year was 1977. Although women were more liberated, pregnancy outside of marriage was still frowned upon by the general public and condemned in most Christian circles. She had a choice to make - keep the baby and face the shame, judgement, rejection and embarrassment; give the baby up for adoption; or have an abortion and forget this ever happened. She agonized over the decision. The baby's father made it clear that he was not ready to settle down and be a husband or daddy. If she did this, she would be on her own. She continued to struggle with the choice she had made and the choice she now needed to make. She was already three months along when she became aware of the life growing inside her. Abortion wasn't an option because (1) it was illegal at that state of gestation and (2) she felt in her heart that "two wrongs don't make a right". A family member offered to adopt the baby, but she declined. That left only one other option - she was going to be a mom!

The struggles didn't end on July 22, 1978 when she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. In fact, they were just getting started. Over the next year, she would loose her job due to being an unwed mother (yes, that was legal back then) and have to relocate. For years, she endured all the shame, guilt, rejection, embarrassment and judgement she has anticipated. She worked tirelessly to provide for this precious gift God had given to her. She taught high school, attended every school activity her daughter participated in and then came home to care for her own ailing mother. She rarely took a sick day, and when she did, it was to care for her daughter or mother. She never went on a date or married. She never complained about her circumstances or made her daughter feel like a mistake. She sacrificed her own life, for her daughter. She willingly gave up her "what-might-have-beens" to help her daughter discover her "what-I-want-to-bes".

All the while, she never walked away from her faith. Her Heavenly Father was with her every step of the way. When she wore a scarlet letter to church for years, He was there, walking beside her. When she wasn't sure about finances, He provided. When she needed acceptance, love, friendship and support, He brought a loving family into her life that welcomed her and her daughter into their lives. When she didn't have the answers about a man her daughter desperately wanted to know, He gave her the wisdom to pour scripture and truth into that little heart instead of bitterness and anger. When she was afraid, worried, lonely, angry, scared, and too exhausted to pray, He picked her up and carried her.

Words can not express the amount of love and gratitude in my heart for this woman - my mom! She has been my life-long cheerleader, defender, protector. As an adult, she is my friend, mentor and sister in Christ. It is a joy to watch her be Grammy to her grandchildren and pour the same love she has for me into our two little ones. She is an amazing example of God's love and self sacrifice. She didn't allow a scarlet letter define her future. She allowed God to forgive and restore her, giving her a testimony that is able to speak into the hearts of other single moms. I am blessed to be her daughter. ♥

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Unplug & Refocus

Every once in awhile, God points you to something that He uses to touch you, convict you right down to your very core. This is what He did to me this morning.

As I began to scroll through the status updates of the morning, I was drawn to a post entitled, How to Miss a Childhood. I assumed it would be about having our children in too many activities, over-extending them too early in life and them missing out on a true childhood. I couldn't have been more wrong!! The post spoke to the very heart of the matter. It exposed what parents are doing (what I am doing) every day that is taking priority over spending quality time with our kids. It's robbing our children of the childhood they truly desire and us of the joy and fulfillment of special moments, memories that will last a lifetime. 

If there is one blog post you read today, please visit Hands Free Momma. How to Miss a Childhood really opened my eyes to changes that I need to make today!!  Starting today, I plan to consiously make the effort to unplug and refocus. Won't you join me?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Learning to be the Light

Photo credit
This morning as I sat outside, ready to read the final chapters for our ladies' Bible study and enjoy a cup of coffee, our son came out to join me. I could tell something was on his mind, so I closed my book and listened as he began to share about his recent struggles. "He's only 10 years old! What kind of struggles could be possibly have?" When you are called to be light in a dark world (aka: public school) - plenty! His biggest struggle was that as he is getting older, he is being exposed to more and more inappropriate words, thoughts and material by his classmates. He does his best to choose the right friends, but that doesn't shelter his mind, thoughts and emotions from the filth the world has to offer. As his mother, I can encourage him, pray over him, teach and train him, help him memorize scripture; but I can't be with him everywhere, all the time. These are battles that he is facing on a day to day basis and he needs to be properly equipped.

As he continued to share specific thoughts that have been flooding his mind, I reminded him that, as Christians, we ALL struggle in this area. We are called to be in the world, but not of it. (So much easier said than done, right!) We can't control what classmates, co-workers, neighbors, even our spouse will do and say. What we can do is take those thoughts, words, and emotions captive! We put Philippians 4:8 into practice. 
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 
After our talk, he went to his room to build with his Legos. After about 30 minutes, he came downstairs. He had been listening to our local Christian radio station while building and had heard a song he wanted to share with me. As the song reached the chorus, the artist sang, 
It's so much brighter living in your world,
Savior what you did for me.
You gave me something I want everyone to see
When we stumble and it all goes wrong,
Only you can make it right
So I say
Oh oh oh oh oh
I'm learning to be the light
whoa, whoa
I'm learning to be the light*
 "Mom" he said, "doesn't this song sound like me!" My heart was so full that my eyes couldn't hold their tears another minute! As they streamed down my cheeks, I agreed with him. I was so thankful for how God was speaking to his young heart, making him aware that he is called to be the light to a dark and lonely world.

Being the light is not for the faint of heart. It requires strength, perseverance, courage and faith. It's a life-long learning experience of day to day choices and opportunities that are available to us to be like Jesus, to show his love to someone, to make the difference, to take the stand, to shine HIS light.

As a mother, I wish I could take all my children's trials and struggles away. I wish they didn't have to endure the hurts and hardships of a sinful world. However, I know that it is through these struggles that they will experience an intimacy with God that can not be revealed any other way. So it is with all of us. God allows each of us to endure for His sake; and in doing so, we too are "learning to be the light."

*"Learning to be the Light ~ New WorldSon"

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. ~ Matthew 5:16

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