Growing the Gift

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Hattie May Wiatt

Have any of you heard of Hattie May Wiatt and the story of the 57 cents? Hattie was a young girl who lived in Philadelphia in the 1880’s. She attended a baptist church not far from her home, but the Sunday school room was so full of children she was afraid to go in for fear of being trampled. Often tickets were issued before the services to avoid overcrowding, imagine that! On voicing her concerns to her Pastor, Russel Conwell, she was told that one day, when they had enough money, a new, larger church and Sunday school room would be built. Sadly, in 1886 Hattie May died. After her death, Hattie’s mother gave Pastor Conwell a little purse with 57 cents in it, explaining that Hattie had been saving to help the church build a larger premises. Pastor Conwell was moved. He changed the 57 cents into 57 pennies and sold them to his congregation.  Church members made donations, and cheques came in from far and wide. The 57 cents turned into $250.  The Wiatt’s Mite Society was formed and was dedicated to making Hattie’s original 57 cents grow further.  The amount of money raised was a sizable investment towards the building of a new Sunday school and church building, and eventually a university and hospital too.  It’s amazing what can come of 57 cents and faith! Today Grace Baptist Church is still going strong and you can check out their website here.

Why am I telling you this? This weekend, out of the blue, a friend of mine gave a gift to our church to put towards hosting a team of people from Pulse Ministries, who we’re partnering up with to run a holiday bible club for local kids in August.  This gesture blessed us immensely.  The family doesn’t attend our church and their children aren’t at the age where they will be old enough to attend the club in the summer, yet they chose to bless us with a gift. It humbled us.  It encouraged us. However, most importantly of all it revealed their compassionate hearts and kingdom building mindset. They’ve realised the potential this bible club could have in our community. 70 children, many unchurched, being taught the gospel, for 5 hours a day, for 5 consecutive days…that is bound to be a game changer. This isn’t just about a week. Foundations will be laid for lives being built and lived out on solid biblical truths, seeds will be planted which will sprout and grow into blossoming relationships with Jesus Christ. This is kingdom building folks, and that is powerful stuff.

22317_imPOSSIBLESo, we’re asking you to invest: Not in Ste or me, not in Full Life Church or Pulse Ministries, but in growing God’s kingdom here on earth, in the wider church. We’ve changed our friend’s gift into £1 coins and we want to sell them, just like Pastor Conwell did with Hattie May’s 57 cents, at a profit. We’re in the process of setting up a Just Giving Page where you can donate an amount of your choice in exchange for one of the original £1 coins (If you’re not local, message me your address via our Facebook page if you’d like me to post you your £1 coin!). Alternatively you can do a bank transfer into the church account.
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Interestingly, the Bible is full of stories about investing and multiplying, the parable of the talents being the one that springs to mind in this instance. The Message version of it is below for you to read, but for now I’ll say thanks, in faith, for buying a £1 and investing in the bigger picture!

The Story About Investment – Matthew 25: 14-30

14-18 “It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.

19-21 “After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

22-23 “The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

24-25 “The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’

26-27 “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

28-30 “‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’

 

 

Coconut oil and baking soda skin brightening scrub

My skin has felt a bit lacklustre recently, maybe due to the cold I’m fighting or maybe the change in weather as Autumn sets in. Anyhow, I wanted a little scrub to brighten my face and get rid of all those dead skin cells… Gross. We all know baking soda has a trillion uses, as does coconut oil, so I thought I’d combine the abrasiveness (that’s not even a word is it?) of the baking soda with the moisturising properties of the coconut oil.

I used two teaspoons of baking soda and one of coconut oil and blended into a paste. Use a spoon or stick as if you use your fingers it’ll melt (trust me it’s easier to get on your face if it’s slightly more solidified).

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Massage the paste into your face (it will start to melt at this point) avoiding the eye area. Leave it to work it’s magic for a couple of minutes while you’re in the shower or bath before rinsing off. Your skin will feel refreshed and slightly oily, but fear not, coconut oil absorbs very quickly leaving you with super soft and we’ll moisturised glowing skin.

If you enjoyed this post why not check out my Frankincense and cinnamon winter balm made using coconut oil.

Personalised bunting

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I’m a big fan of handmade and personalised gifts, not least because it reminds the recipient that you had them in mind as you were making it. There’s much more sentiment there than just walking into a shop and picking something up off the shelf, and that appeals to me. My very best friend had her second baby girl earlier this year and I wanted to make her something for her first Christmas that she could keep for years and look back on saying, “my Aunty Han made that for me”! I want her to know that I was thinking of her beautiful face and big munchy cheeks as I was making this, and that she really is very special to me.

There are a lot of photos in this post as, in this instance, I think it’s easier to see it rather than just read instructions.

Firstly cut out coordinating materials into triangles. This is double sided bunting so bear in mind when you’re cutting that you’ll need double the amount of triangles. I have 8 flags on this string of bunting so needed 16 triangles.
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Cut out the required name in felt and hand sew onto the front of the flags.
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Once they’re all sewn on, place another triangle right side down on top of the triangle with the letter sewn on.
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Using a machine if you have one, sew a straight seam down one of the edges (not the top of the flag) and when you get to the bottom point, pivot the flag with the needle still in the fabric, so you can sew up the other side, back to the top of the flag.
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Do this for all the flags with the letters on plus another four blank flags, two for either side of the name. Trim the bottom of the flags so that when you turn them the right way around you get a fairly defined point at the bottom.
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Once they’re all trimmed and turned the right way around you should end up with something like this:
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It’s really important to iron the flags now. Trust me they look way better for it. Once ironed, trim the little excess triangular bits of fabric from the tops of the flags to make them straight.
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Now get an inch or so wide length of ribbon and find the mid point by folding it. Press with the iron. This is your starting point for positioning the flags. Fold the ribbon in half lengthways and press along the entire length of it. Once you’ve done both these things you should have ribbon that looks a bit like this:
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Now this is where iron on hemming tape becomes your best friend.
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Tear a little piece off, put it into the folded ribbon starting in the centre of the length, and follow with a flag.
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Press with the iron. You should now have a flag that is fixed between the two sides of the ribbon. Carry on doing this working from the centre outwards until all the flags area stuck. You could leave it like this but I prefer to finish it off with a long stitch all the way along the ribbon to secure.
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Et voila! There you have it. Personalised double sided bunting for just a couple of hours work. Lovely!
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Wow factor chocolate slab

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We’ve all seen those beautiful chocolate slabs adorned with luscious dried fruits, crunchy nuts, sweets and sometimes even gold leaf, but tempting as they are I resent paying upwards of £15 for them when I could knock one up myself for half the price, and in little over ten minutes. Plus there’s the added bonus that I can gleefully boast to the recipient that “I made it myself”! Here’s how easy it is:

Buy the best quality chocolate you can as it will set better after melting. I used a bar each of white, milk and dark Green & Black’s.

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Melt each chocolate separately in a bain-marie, stiring occasionally. Meanwhile put a piece of greaseproof paper on a tray or baking sheet.

Once the choc is melted pour the dark on one side of the tray in a rough line, then the milk on the other side of the tray so it’s opposite the dark, then pour the white in the middle to fill the gap between milk and dark. Use a skewer to swirl the chocolates into each other to create a pretty pattern and start your adornment process. I used cranberries, sour cherries, raisins, nuts and gold sugar (turns out Sainsbury’s don’t stock gold leaf!).

Leave to set, then peel off the greaseproof paper, wrap in cellophane and tie a ribbon round it. There you have it, chocolatier style chocolate for half the price. Perfect for Christmas, but this one is for a certain someone’s special birthday…

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My little helper in her element!