Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I want you all to know that I'm working on some new ideas!  I've been pondering our need to be pampered a bit.  I know that treats can lift our spirits.  My last posts really embraced the idea of baking, decorating, and sharing those yummy treats!  Now I want to move on to something more personal.  Something just for you! But first...here's an update about me.   

We have moved into a smaller home within a little neighborhood.  It's completely opposite of our previous setting.  Gone are the wide open meadows bursting with flowers...and...yes...thistles.  Gone is the prairie garden and the gravel driveway.  Gone is the church house.  

In it's place is a new life.  Convenient. Finished. Small. Affordable. Practical. Neighborly. Manageable. Grassy. Tarred.  Towny.  Hmmmmm.....  seems like a lot of words.  Where's the personality?  True, I've grown accustomed to unusual circumstances.  I kind of like a "work in progress".  If the surroundings are "done"...where's the beauty?  Where's the challenge?  Where's the fun?

Contentment.  Ouch.  That's my new word.  I've wrestled with it...attacked it...resented it...cried over it.  Why do I lack contentment?  Why must I always strive for something outside of my grasp?  Where does this wildness come from?  I need to be content.  That's obvious.  The Lord is molding a new part of my character.  "Thank Me for this," He seems to be saying.  "Be content."  "You will find the peace you desperately need."  
Am I addicted to "peacelessness"?  (I know it's not a word!)  :)

"Be content with  your house, your borrowed van, your job, your yard, your flowers, your husband, your practical new surroundings.  Be content!"

You know, the idea is slowly growing on me.  Contentment.  I may be able to  embrace it.  I may call it my own.  

But I do want to make some changes here....paint a few rooms...plant a few flowers....meet a few new friends.  I'm willing to practice being content.  If I practice enough....maybe I'll become....content.   Hmmmm....I like it.

By the way, the other day, I was walking around our small, grassy lawn.  Guess what I saw?  It brought a smile to my lips.  A single...small....bit....of....a......THISTLE!  You know what they say:  "You can take the girl out of the field of thistles, but you can't take the "THISTLEBITS" out of the girl!" ;)  

And so....our story continues!  Let's embrace the beauty....every "bit" of it!

Monday, February 14, 2011

“Warm Fuzzies” & “Red Hot Flashes” ~~~Valentine’s Day Cookie Recipe~~~

"Happy Valentine's Day"!
"Warm Fuzzies" & "Red Hot Flashes"

This is a sugar cookie recipe that has been handed down through several generations of women in my family.  I have added my own twist when decorating these cookies for Valentine’s Day.  I cover them with melted white almond bark (or sometimes white chocolate) & sprinkle with shredded coconut or "Red Hot" candies.

 I’ve always called the coconut covered hearts “Warm Fuzzies”…’cuz that’s what you get when you taste them!  The newest addition was that of “Red Hots” and I’ve dubbed them “Red Hot Flashes”!  (I assure you this has nothing to do with my ever increasing age!) 
Make & share these with LoVe!

***Gather ingredients.***

***Roll out your cookie dough!***

***My Favorite Ripple-edged Cutters***

***"Warm Fuzzy" Cutter***

***"Warm Fuzzy" Dough***

***"Red Hot Flashes" Cutter***

***"Red Hot Flashes" Dough***

***Gather decorating ingredients!***

***Heart-Shaped "Red Hots"
& Almond Bark***

***Bright White Shredded Coconut***

***Use red coloring to tint some of the coconut
a festive pink color!***

***Melt the almond bark (or white chocolate if you prefer) in the microwave for about 2 minutes.  You can use a double boiler on the stove top otherwise.***

***"Warm Fuzzies"***

***Heart-Shaped "Red Hots"***


***"Red Hot Flashes"***

***Mmmm...Happy Valentine's Day!***

1 ½ cup powdered sugar
1 cup soft unsalted butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
2 ½ cups unbleached flour
*Combine all ingredients in order given. (I usually double this recipe.)  Chill.  Roll out.  (I sprinkle powdered sugar on the counter rather than flour.  It tastes a lot better and doesn’t toughen the dough.)  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Enjoy these delicious treats!  

Friday, February 4, 2011

~Handmade Pink Grapefruit Chamomile & Red Jasmine Glycerine Valentine Soaps~

Pink Grapefruit Chamomile & Red Jasmine Soaps
I was cleaning out my craft drawers and came across some glycerine soap.  I was about to toss it in the trash thinking I would never use it.  I felt a twinge of guilt.  This was perfectly good soap.  All it needed was a little "love"!  How many times are we tempted to throw away something perfectly good...a friendship, a marriage, a job, a car, etc., when all it may need is a little more love!  Selfless love.  Love for the sake of loving.  I decided to turn that glycerine into something great..."trash" to "treasure" was my motivation.   Here's what I did!  Enjoy!

Pick a pretty pan!  
Look at the detail on this heart!  These soaps will be so fancy!

I have had these cupcake pans for years.
They are sooooo versatile!

Gather your goods!  You will need: glycerine (also spelled glycerin) soap, coloring, essential oils, molds  or cake pans, saucepan, wooden spoon, spray bottle, rubbing alcohol, apron

Don your most "love"-ly apron!
 (OK..you don't really need an apron...but I LoVe aprons...so there!)

I used unscented Chamomile Glycerine soap (on left) and unscented Glycerine soap (on right).  I prefer  pure vegetable Glycerine soaps with 1/3 humectant moisturizers...enriched with Aloe Vera, Coconut & Vitamin E.

"I'm melting...melting...melting..."

Glycerine soap is melted!  Cool slightly.

Add a few drops of coloring.  I used McCormick Red Food Color.  You can substitute water-based soap dye as well.

Just a few drops is all it takes!


Now to make this soap "scent"-sational!  I love using essential oils!  Add one drop at a time until you reach the desired fragrance.  

Waiting for a filling.

When using a cake pan like this one, make sure to fill at least to a 3/4 inch thickness.

I chose Jasmine for this batch. 

Beautiful jewels!!!

Now for the Chamomile Glycerine!  Here we go!  I will add just a bit of red coloring to tint this pink and then use Grapefruit Essential Oil for fragrance. YUM!

I ran out of room in my heart-shaped pans so  I found these cute little molds with my cookie cutters.  They look like flowers!

Spritz the surface of the glycerine with rubbing alcohol.  This will help to remove any air bubbles and keep the surface smooth!

Cool molds completely...for at least an hour.  You can put cooled molds into a freezer for about 2-5 minutes (no more) to help soap pop out of molds. (I just stuck mine outside the front door.  Here in MN it was -18 degrees at the time!)   Invert and release your soaps.

(You can use a plain cake pan if you like.  Simply pour all of your soap into one pan.  When it's cool, turn out and cut shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife!)  :)

Pink Grapefruit Chamomile Heart

Red Jasmine Heart

Pink Grapefruit Chamomile Flower

What a delightful gift to give this Valentine's Day
...or any day you'd like to share some love!  
                                           Have fun making your own handmade soaps!
 *~* Debbie *~*

"And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment." Mark 12:30

Monday, January 24, 2011

* Sparkle Shoes *

     There I stood….in the shoe section of a local department store…facing my greatest temptation of the week….sparkle shoes.  Now these weren’t just slightly sparkly.  No.  These were covered….covered….in glitter!  Multi-colored glitter covered pumps….with 5 inch heels…and a platform at the base which was, you guessed it, covered in glitter!  A kaleidoscope of purples, silvers, grays, pinks & whites held my attention.  “Size 8, please,” I said hopefully to the sales gal.  She returned with a shiny purple box.  “I only have a 9,” she replied.  I tried to act casual.  “Oh that’s OK…I’ll just try them on,” I retorted.  
     Now, I was wearing my black fuzzy socks.  You know the kind, you them wear when it’s freezing outside and you want to feel a bit pampered.   Hmmmm….oh well….I pulled the glorious glitter pumps out and put them on anyway.  Fabulous!!!  Fantastic!!!  Oh I really loved them!  I walked around.  Women everywhere were commenting.  “Wow!”  “Beautiful!”  “I love those!”  “Where did you find those?”  I knew.  They had that something special. 
     Now it just so happened that it was my birthday that day.  I planned to go out with my husband and a few friends that evening to celebrate.  It was definitely the perfect time to wear sparkle shoes-birthday shoes!  I had the sales gal hold them for me….just in case. 
     As I pondered the purchase of these impractical, spike-heeled, glittery shoes, I glanced outside.  It was about -20 degrees, the wind was blowing hard and it was starting to snow.  The parking lot was filled with piles of dirty slush and cars slid by on icy patches, spraying bits of dirt and grime up on the people who walked by.  I sighed.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t put those shoes through that kind of torture.  To be made to skid and slop through such muck.  To become covered in snow….frozen…then simply stomped on to remove the mess.  To be….oh dear…dirty & dull!  No.  Besides, they wouldn’t truly fit me unless I wore those thick, fuzzy black socks.  They were too big!  They deserved much better than that.
      I returned to the sales gal and told her to put them away on a safe, warm shelf in their purple, shiny box. I walked away.   
     Maybe someday I’ll find those glittery shoes…in my size…and I'll buy them!  Maybe you’ll get to see them.  Until then, I'll remember them fondly.  They were...and are…quite spectacular! :)   
     So am I being vain to admire and desire fancy shoes?  I don't know!  It's fun  to try something a little different...a little wild...a little glittery.  I love to be a woman!  Women are beautiful!  We have so many wonderful gifts.  We nurture, love, support, pray, give, encourage, praise, and uplift others.  We smell nice, we smile, we giggle, we are colorful and somewhat unpredictable. How fun!  I think even a Proverbs 31 woman would dare to wear spiky purple glitter shoes.  Why not?  In fact, here are some bejeweled verses...about rubies and fine linen...and purple! 
     Proverbs 31:10-11"A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.  Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.      
       v. 21-22 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.  She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple."    
     I think that's a good start.  (You can read all of Proverbs 31 if you like.)  I know I don't live up to the ideal Proverbs 31 woman...yet...but that's ok!  I'm a work in progress!  So are you!   I hope you know how beautiful you are.  God loves the way he created you.  You are a beauty...a gem...more dazzling than a sky full of stars!  May you embrace that inner and outer loveliness He bestowed on you.  Hey, and if you feel like walking around in some glittery high heels, do it!  It's kinda super fun! :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"If You're Happy & You Know It..."

"If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!
If you're happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it!
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands....!"

     Um....so.....what if you don't know it?  What then?  Are YOU happy?  Does your face show it? 
          I am convinced that many of us don't know if we are happy.  We want to be.  We crave it.  We achieve those happy feelings at times; we clap and smile....and later...we may feel guilty about it!  Crazy.

~>"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God."  

Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 <~

     I encourage you today to find at least one thing that brings you joy! It may be a friend or loved one.  It may be an image of beauty that surrounds you.  It could even be a trinket or a treat!  Perhaps it's a favorite scripture or a song.  Whatever can draw your mind to the positive side...focus on it for just a bit!   Bring a smile to your pretty face!  Coax a happy tear or two from your eye!  Hum or sing loudly!  Savor a moment!  Close your eyes and dream!  
       When my kids are extra grumpy I tell them to "...Smile big...show ALL of your teeth..."  It's pretty funny to see them going through the motions, drawing their lips back and baring those pearly whites , more like a growl than a smile.  "...ALL of your teeth...,"  I'll repeat.  The lips go farther back and the gums begin to show.  "Perfect!"  I exclaim.  Then we have to laugh.  The grump vanishes and the silly child emerges!   

     You should try it if YOU feel especially grumpy one day.  Look in the mirror.  Smile BIG.  Show ALL of those pearly whites.  Smile harder.  Let your gums show.  I KNOW you'll smile for real.  Maybe giggle a little.  The grump will vanish and your silly little child will emerge.  What a joy you are!  I hope you know you are a treasure....a perfect creature...filled with creativity and talent and endless possibilities!   Be encouraged today and...if you're happy....and you know it... CLAP YOUR HANDS!!! 

Friday, January 14, 2011


Here I am at last!!!  After lots of encouragement, I have decided to start a blog!  Who will "follow" me?  Who knows?  I plan to share lots of ideas, insights, and inspiration!  Come and follow me!  :)  

Genesis 3:18: ..."Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herbs of the field..."

My inspiration for "THiStLeBiTs" is truly based on personal experience with thistles.  A few years ago, my husband and I, along with our 4 children, bought some land (10+ acres of prairie) and moved a large church building onto the property to renovate into our home. ("The Church-house") It's been a few years and the project is not yet finished....probably never will be! 

 As the projects on the inside of the house languished, I spent time planting gardens around our home. I became a ditch-hopper, braking my truck at the slightest glimpse of color in the roadside ditch, jumping out with my small shovel to dig up a clump of flowers, then speeding off!  I salvaged plants, like my wonderful hydrangeas, from old buildings, coaxing the "starts" of the roots into small, sturdy bushes.   

Unfortunately, as I worked to till, hoe, and dig, the thistles in the prairie waged war on me!  They attacked the freshly seeded lawn, spiking their way up and spreading out.  They wove through the rows of the potager, fighting with my organic greens...and winning!  They thrust their way up through the neatly mowed trails, which wound around our property.  I wanted blood!  Thistle blood!!!  I hoed them, raked them, sprayed them, dug them, sliced them, and boiled them.  They returned.  I thought about them day and night.  How would I win?  How could I beat this adversary?  I prayed...."Please God, give me a beautiful garden, full of color, full of birds and bees, full of life!  Oh, and please kill those nasty thistles!"  

I picked out plants to accent my terracotta home...white, lavender, green.  Lovely!  Still the thistles returned.  One day I hiked along a path, wearing flip flops.  Prickly leaves poked my toes and heels as I went.  "Grrrrrr."  Suddenly, I rounded a bend and looked out across the prairie toward my house.  Glory!  I couldn't believe it!  The colors jumped out at me...whites, lavenders, greens!  A huge, amazing garden, filled with birds, bees, & life!  The thistles rose to the top, over the clover & over the yarrow.  They stood proudly showing off their purple tones.  They were beautiful!  I knew that God had answered my prayer but differently than I expected.  

I had beauty all along but there was a cost.  Prickles.   I learned a great lesson that day.  I had been dwelling on the discomfort caused by the abundance of these thistles, the whole time missing out on the beauty they possessed.  I wanted vitality, color & life in the confines of my gardens.  The whole time, I was surrounded by exactly what I wanted...yet never noticed! 

 I want to see the beauty around me.  Even during the struggles (the prickles) of my life, I want to turn a corner, lift my eyes, and see the glory that is surrounding me.  I must only take the time...to notice!   


 A thistle as a whole is intimidating. However, if you take the time to avoid the prickles and notice the "bits", you'll experience true beauty!  Who or what is a thistle to you right now?  Focus on just one good bit of that person or thing.  You may be surprised to find that there is beauty there....a wonder to behold...!

*~* Debbie *~*