Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Easy, Inexpensive Solution for Storing Christmas Tree Lights

This is outside of what I normally post about, but I came up with an idea that I think is very helpful!  A simple, cheap, effective way to store your Christmas tree lights- just what I needed!  Maybe I had seen this somewhere else previously, because Google tells me that I am not the only person to have this idea, but none the less, I want to share it with you.  Did you save your empty paper tubes from all the rolls of wrapping paper you used at Christmas time?  If you did, they are going to come in handy for you right now.

Trim your paper tube down to about 18 inches (you don't have to, but it makes it easier to handle).

One one end cut a slit, about 1 inch (mine's closer to 2 inches, but 1 inch is all you need).

Now you start taking the lights off the tree.  Begin by placing the plug end inside the tube through the slit.

Next, you just start wrapping the string of lights around the tube, doesn't matter how it's spaced out, but should be taught against the tube.  I'm starting at the bottom and wrapping up towards the top of the tube as I go along.

Once it reaches the top of the tube you just use your hand to push it down, so the strings are now all close together.

Repeat until you have gotten to the end of the string of lights.  The nice thing about this method is that if you are taking down the tree by yourself (like I was) and your tree is up against a wall, it is easy to just place the tube on a branch on the back of the tree and walk around to the other side and pick it up (passing yourself the baton, so to speak).

When you get to the end of the string of lights, put another slit in the top end of the tube (just like you did for the bottom of the tube) and tuck the plug in.
Voila!  I did this for three strings of lights from our tree.  This was very easy, very fast, and these lights are going to be neat and ready to put up on my tree when I take them out of storage next year!

Monday, January 18, 2016


On my recent airline flight home from Rwanda, I re-watched a not-so-new movie called Tuck Everlasting.  In this movie, the Tuck family finds a large tree in the forest.  At the base of this tree is a pool of water.  The whole family is thirsty and drinks fully of the water.  Slowly they discover this water held a secret: immortality.  They no longer age, and they are unable to die or be mortally wounded.

Recently I have felt as though the enemy of my soul has taken aim at my heart and shot me through.  He is a wise adversary.  He takes note of where it will hurt us most, and that's right where he hits.  He wants to take us out- completely.

However, I am reminded of a scene in the movie Tuck Everlasting, where the young men are shot, and should be dead.  They are knocked down, but because they are immortal they cannot be killed, so they get back up again & they keep going.

It is the same for us.  For those of us who have eaten of the Tree of Life, we have accepted God's everlasting gift.  We drank fully of the Living Water found there, and we have been changed.  We no longer can be taken out by the enemy.  We are now immortal.  The enemy will still take aim, in fact even more so because he hates the family we belong to now.  We will be hit.  We will fall down, and we will bleed.  But we will get back up again, and we will keep going.  We will reach our destination and receive our reward. 

No weapon formed against us will prosper!  Nothing can take us out.  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us!

If you have felt under attack, take heart!

Isaiah 54 (The Message translation)
You’ll be built solid, grounded in righteousness,
    far from any trouble—nothing to fear!
    far from terror—it won’t even come close!
If anyone attacks you,
    don’t for a moment suppose that I sent them,
And if any should attack,
    nothing will come of it.
I create the blacksmith
    who fires up his forge
    and makes a weapon designed to kill.
I also create the destroyer—
    but no weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged.
Any accuser who takes you to court
    will be dismissed as a liar.
This is what God’s servants can expect.
    I’ll see to it that everything works out for the best.”
        God’s Decree.

Romans 8 (The Message) 
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Yes, take heart and be brave!  Take courage and do not be afraid!