Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It's Our Christmas in July Sale!

Who doesn't think of Christmas when July rolls around? You don't? Well, we're here to remind you! Start your shopping now and get our best-selling Cross shirt 50% off! Get a great deal on this glamour-ready shirt by using coupon code JULY at checkout. Sale price will be reflected after coupon is applied.

Our Cross shirt is available in half and long sleeve and in black, white and plum. Sizes S through 3X! Hurry! This offer expires July 29th!

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Stars and Stripes

This time of year, as the anniversary of the independence of the United States approaches, we thought it would be interesting to review the history and origin of the American flag.

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed an act establishing an official flag for the new nation. The resolution stated: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." Of course, the thirteen stars represent the original thirteen colonies.

The origin of the first American flag is unknown. Some historians believe it was designed by New Jersey Congressman Francis Hopkinson and sewn by Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross.

Between 1777 and 1960 Congress passed several acts that changed the shape, design and arrangement of the flag and allowed stars and stripes to be added to reflect the admission of each new state.

Today the flag consists of 13 horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with six white. The stripes represent the original 13 Colonies and the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well; red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.

On August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

Wishing you a safe and happy 4th of July!


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Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Friends Who Come to Carry You

by Lisa Appelo

I sat at the stoplight, with the back of my car filled with flower arrangements and my mind turning with thoughts and emotions. The week prior had brought cataclysmic change, and my mind was on overdrive trying to process all of it.

My thoughts drifted to the Bible story of four friends who placed their paralyzed companion on a mat and carried him to the feet of Jesus {See Luke 5:17-26}. I’e always been the one helping, bringing a casserole. But now? I needed such healing. And in our deep hurt, our friends had come alongside us, carrying us.

Less than a week before, my husband had died completely unexpectedly. We had gone to bed like every other night for 26 years, but in the wee hours of the morning, I awoke to Dan’s heavy breathing. Thinking it was a nightmare, I nudged his arm gently. “It’s okay, hon. It’s just a nightmare.”

A few minutes later, more awake, I realized this was not nightmare breathing. I flipped on the light and could see instantly that something was very wrong.

We started CPR immediately; the paramedics arrived and rushed him to the hospital. But Dan never recovered. I came back home, still very early in the morning, to do the hardest thing I’ve ever done — tell our seven children their dad had died.

Moments after I got home, my front door opened without a knock. It was a dear friend and her husband, who having been wakened by a phone call about Dan, threw on clothes and come to be with us. They wept with us in shock and grief.

As we wept together and I tried to explain what had happened, my front door opened again. I looked up to see the first friend I met when our family moved here seven years earlier. We met when she bought some homeschool books I was selling online. We discovered we would soon be neighbors in this big city, and she invited us to her church once we got to town. That church became our church and we’d been raising kids together ever since.

That morning, as my children and I struggled with the pain and grief of such sudden loss, our front door opened again and again and again.

Friends heard and came. Food piled around my dining room table, paper goods and boxes of tissue were set out, coolers packed with drinks lined the dining room. And a band of women, including my sweet sister, worked steadily in the kitchen.

And it wasn’t just the grownups who came to be with us.

As I rested in my room that afternoon, some friends came to get me. “You need to hear this,” they said. I walked into our family room and listened to guitars and teen voices singing praise songs from upstairs in the kids’ rooms.

My children’s friends — in probably a completely unfamiliar experience — had come to grieve with us and be with us.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, Paul tells the body of Christ in Romans 12:15.

What do you say to someone who went to bed married and woke up a widow? How do you fix the hurt for a 17-year-old who will never have her dad move her into her first dorm or walk her down the aisle? What about boys coming of age?

Well, friends can’t fix it. They’re not meant to. Only God can heal those gaping wounds.

But when life shatters with pain, friends can give a soft landing.
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” {Romans 12:10}
Friends are not there to fix the hurt. I cannot take away the pain and suffering of others. That is for God. But I can carry them in the hurt.

I can pray for them. And listen to their heart. I can tell my friends I love them and weep with them and just be there with them.

Lisa is a recent widow and now single mama to seven, writing all the crazy good lessons God is teaching at True and Faithful.

Monday, June 15, 2015

God's Love Through the Seasons

 by Thelma Wells

To everything under the sun there is a time and a season. These seasons bring about changes in our lives, attitudes, status, positions, hopes, dreams and priorities. Some of these seasons are like springtime when the grass is green, the flowers are blooming, the rain is soft and sweet and the little animals come out to play. In fact, the world may seem like a playground then and we go about feeling the cool breeze as we dream of swinging higher and higher. Everything is wonderful in its own way.

The hot summer season watches us stew and steam in the smoldering heat and drip with sweat as we go about our days and nights. The discomfort of this season reminds me of the smothering situations of life that make it difficult to breathe as we keep gasping for air. This can be an unsettling time when things are not going well for us. We wonder, “Where is God to cool us off?”

The fall of the year brings more beauty and balance and helps us began to get a grip on these situations that have easily beset us. Soothing and tantalizing fragrances waft to our nostrils and enhance the appreciation for the colors of the falling leaves and the beauty of the earth and sky. Crisis and circumstances seem a bit more under control and things may be calming down to a pace that we’re able to master. Life is not so unbearable. We can enjoy the crisply blowing winds that cool us down to a manageable temperature. Not a bad season at all.

Winter reminds me of the quiet, dormant, still, even cozy and cuddly settling down from the ups and downs of life into a place of quiet rest and anticipation for a new tomorrow. We can cover ourselves with the light wraps of thought-provoking activities and daydreams of the impending festivals and celebrations to come.

In each of these seasons we can rely on the love of God with His mercy and grace to guide us, protect us, provide for us, comfort us and open our eyes to what we can learn in all the different seasons of our lives. As King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:1 says (in the New Living Translation): For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Enjoy them all. He designed them for us to learn from.

Thelma Wells’ passion to inspire everyone to “BEE” the best never slows down. For more than 30 years she’s been traveling globally speaking to corporations, government agencies, and at national Christian conferences—like Loved: The Farewell Tour, where you can find her most weekends this fall.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What It Means to Be Winsome

by Dawn Camp

The spring before I began tutoring high school students in our local Classical Conversations homeschool program, I sat in on another tutor’s class to observe for a day. Latin, British lit, music history — the discussions fascinated me as I imagined someday guiding my own students in their study of these subjects.

But the most memorable lesson came during debate when the tutor challenged the class — and subsequently, me — to think about what it means to be winsome. I’m sure I sneaked a peek at the dictionary app on my phone as I analyzed this unfamiliar word, which the tutor stressed above winning as the primary objective. Read more......

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

THE Best Concert Shirt of 2015!
Rolling Stones or Zac Brown Band? No matter who you see, you'll be rocking in this shirt! Use coupon code 'ROCK' to receive $10.00 off and get this rock star shirt for $29.00! Offer expires June 14, 2015. 

Add $5.00 for plus sizes; subtract $5.00 for tank style. Tank available in Hot Pink and Black only. Get your order in today!

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Someone Cares
Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7 NLT

The One who cares about you—
Has the biggest heart,
The utmost compassion,
The greatest resources,
The ultimate understanding,
And The deepest love!

God wants you to give Him your cares because He cares about you.

“Cares” are the things that worry you, cause anxiety, and trouble you. A troubled heart can become a heavy heart, and a heavy heart can cause many restless days.

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! Psalm 42:5 NLT

God’s heart is toward you, and that what happens to you does matter to Him.

God has not made you to be a care (anxiety) carrier, instead, He wants you to be a care caster, and hurl them all upon Him.

You can read more of Roy Lessin's devotionals at Meet Me in the Meadow.