Ministry Focus: Nepal

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Ministry Focus: Nepal

Every day during every year, generation after generation, people gather on the banks of a river that runs through the east side of Kathmandu. You would never be able to find the place on your own if it wasn’t for a helpful native or that tattered yellow brochure with the word “Attractions” printed in black letters on the front page and directions on the second. It’s not a cool fast flowing river but a slow dirty brown one that moves lazily on its way to the ocean thousands of miles away. This particular part of the river runs through a large Hindu temple compound consisting of large gaudy structures and wretched crumbling ones, their age revealed beneath the bright paint and worn rocks. Monkeys play along the ridges of the roofs and hang from the points of the pagodas; the loud calls they make and the evil stares they give make one feel like an intruder in their temple home.

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Preparing For A New Year

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Preparing For A New Year

The beginning of a new year can be exhilarating, a blank slate waiting to be filled with new opportunities and experiences. For many people this is a time to think about accomplishing new goals. Whether those goals are mentally filed away or physically written on paper, it can be fun to challenge oneself to accomplish something new.

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Digging Deep in 2019

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Digging Deep in 2019

Many of us have had the privilege of growing up in Christian homes and attending church ever since we were babies. We could recite Psalm 23 before we could read. We are liberally doused in the Word of God; and yet, it’s so easy to not let the Word penetrate our hearts and truly change us. Our greatest spiritual growth will not happen on Sunday morning, but in the quietness of our own homes as we let God speak to us through His Word. How do we move from a quick reading, that we soon forget, to digging into, learning from, and applying the Bible?

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Move in Freedom

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Move in Freedom

As a mental health professional I am in a trusted position. By the time people come to see me they are often feeling a mixture of desperation, anger, sadness and hurt. Let’s face it, no one seeks out help when life is working for them.

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No Longer in the Manger

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No Longer in the Manger

As a child I remember the thrill of unwrapping the family Nativity scene every year at Christmas. Mom allowed my siblings and me to set all the pieces in the perfect arrangement. We carefully rotated the shepherds, wise men, and animals so that they surrounded Mary and Joseph, and most importantly, the baby Jesus.

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The Hard Facts: A Look Behind the Perfect Instagram Photo

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The Hard Facts: A Look Behind the Perfect Instagram Photo

I’ve been on Instagram for a long time. Coming up on five years to be exact. I’ve seen a lot of things on IG in those five years: algorithm changes, trendy catch phrases, trendy fashion/home/life styles, and more. One thing that I keep seeing time and time again are strong reactions to those photos/accounts that are deemed “too perfect.” You know the ones I’m talking about. The photo of the perfectly organized kitchen, the stunning living room, and the wardrobe to die for. The perfectly dressed children, not to mention their seemingly complete cooperation in having a hundred photos taken of them daily. And did I mention the ones of the moms who are impeccably dressed in the latest boutique style on an almost daily basis?

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On Identity and Meeting Jesus Outside My Burrow Hole

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On Identity and Meeting Jesus Outside My Burrow Hole

I used to think that my personality would somehow magically change when I got married, that I would have a new air of confidence, that I’d be that cool newlywed at whom all the young teenage girls stared googly-eyed (like I used to do), that I’d be that hostess who’d give those guests hugs and I’d know how to tell them with perfect graciousness to fill the water glasses or fluff up the salad, and then we’d all laugh merrily and they’d stay till all the taper-candles smoked and dripped their last wax-tears somewhere down close to the tablecloth, and they’d leave and wouldn’t even feel like they had to offer to wash all those pretty dishes. I used to think that maybe, just maybe, I would slowly find myself recharged, not drained, by being with people.

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Christmas Shopping: 5 Gifts for $25 or Less

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Christmas Shopping: 5 Gifts for $25 or Less

Christmas gift shopping can either be an adventure or something to be dreaded depending on your preference. We are pleased to bring you this list of carefully curated gift ideas from trusted small businesses that we hope will take the guesswork out of holiday shopping this year. The best part? Every gift listed is $25 or less!

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Even If

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Even If

I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You'd just say the word
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone

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Uncomplicated Hospitality

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Uncomplicated Hospitality

Hospitality does not have to be elaborate to be special. These tips for uncomplicated hospitality can help free you up to relax and offer your guests the most important things: welcome, rest, and friendship.

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The Real World

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The Real World

It started with a desire to help people, a love of things unusual, and it was sprinkled with the influence of some dear friends. Going into it I knew that in this part of the country, it was a rough profession, with swearing and crude jokes being a normal, but I was armored with prayer and my parents’ blessing, so I jumped in feet first. 

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My Holiday Home

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My Holiday Home

As the holidays approach and cold weather sets in, my creative energy is channeled into my home. I love the challenge of finding fresh ways to decorate, while maintaining a cozy, inviting atmosphere! I’m going to share a few tips I’ve learned about styling my home for the holidays on a budget.

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Miss Mannerly

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Miss Mannerly

“Sometimes I’m afraid people view me as being like Barney Fife,” a friend confessed to me once, as we sat watching The Andy Griffith Show.

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Claiming Your Family Tree

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Claiming Your Family Tree

IT WASN’T THAT MUCH FUN BACK THEN. Each autumn, we were sent out to the pasture to gather hickory nuts. Although encased in a large outer shell, the actual nut itself is small. Do you know how many nuts it takes to measure one cup of chopped nutmeat for a recipe? A lot!

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You Are Not a Life Boat

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You Are Not a Life Boat

Imagine you are stranded in the middle of the Atlantic. Your ship has sunk and now you are in a lifeboat with six other people, about to sink if you don’t get rid of some weight. Someone has to be thrown over.

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Embracing the "M" Word

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Embracing the "M" Word

The big “M” word. It can falls upon us like the judge’s irrevocable gavel, leaving a bitter residue in the mouth. We give it crust, stigmatization, repulsion. We tread on glass in its presence. We avoid it, abuse it, misuse it, ignore it, disdain it until we’ve turned it into some mental monster. We don’t know what to do with it so we package it up as something left unknown, misunderstood, and even feared. We gingerly toss that packaged “M” word to the women, hoping that instinct will take over and they’ll be able to interpret and apply its mystery in an inoffensive way.

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How Do You Do It?

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How Do You Do It?

When my husband and I got married nearly four and a half years ago, I never dreamed that I would also become a mommy to four little boys in less than three years. I always wanted a big family and loved babies, but never thought it would happen so quickly. Twins and a super surprise baby were not in the plans, but apparently, God knew that was what our little family needed.

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Loneliness and Belonging

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Loneliness and Belonging

When I married, I moved away from my home state to live with my husband in his home town. I loved our trips back to the south. Going home meant family, friends from first grade, dear relationships, a place of comfort and belonging. I so enjoyed these visits because I felt loved and accepted and it was so wonderfully familiar. Leaving all this was more difficult than I had anticipated. I was no longer a part of a small community where everyone knew me and I belonged. I did eventually get to know people and make friends in my new community but the process seemed long and painful. I gained a new appreciation for deep friendships and was able to empathize a bit more with others who are experiencing hard things in life.

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How Much For Your Song?

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How Much For Your Song?

18th century, Paris, France. Times are hard and money is scarce. Within the city, though, there is a tiny basement that’s filled with warmth and light and joy. This is because the basement is inhabited by a cobbler, Alaire, and his good wife Sophie. The basement serves as a home and workshop for the couple, and, although their earthly possessions are few, the couple lives a happy life, for they love each other and have learned the art of contentment. Alaire expresses his joy through singing, and as he works the shoe leather with his skilled and experienced hands, he warbles with vigor and gusto.

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