And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.   Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:8-14 (NIV)

Christmas Tree Shaped Subway Art
by Purposely Designed

Happy Sunday and Merry Christmas!

Take a look at the CAST Shop of the Week, kandykettlekitchen, The items listed in Tammie's shop speak for themselves.  You need only browse the photos to see the delicious items available. Although it's too late for Christmas delivery, keep this shop in mind for Valentines Day! 

Chocolate and Mint Fudge - 1 lb

Please note that the only way to be featured as the CAST Shop of the Week is to tag your shop items "castteam" on Etsy and to not hide your teams in your Etsy profile. You will also have to have at least 12 items to feature. Those are the ways that I find great CAST shops to feature each week. 

CAST Members: If you have a minute or two, please feel free to favorite ♥ this shop or promote it on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or other social media.  Thanks!

by Sue of SueRunyonDesigns
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV)

Wishing you all a very blessed Christmas 2014!  May the Lord protect those who are travelling to see loved ones and bring peace and comfort to those who find themselves grieving at this time of year.  And may you always have joy in our wonderful counselor and prince of peace Jesus.

I made these tasty brownies for our soup kitchen to have after their thanksgiving dinner. I made 120 of them and they were a big hit!

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies


8 TBSP (1stick) of unsalted butter, plus more for pan
6 ounces bittersweet choc, chopped
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp of baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree ( use can)
1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 inch square pan or spray pan with a non stick cooking spray.

Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl that is set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. In a medium bowl, add sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 mins. Beat in flour mixture.

Divide batter between two medium bowls ( about 2 cups per bowl). Stir chocolate mixture into one bowl. In the other bowl, stir in pumpkin, oil, cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer half of chocolate batter to greased baking pan smoothing top with a rubber spatula. Top with half of pumpkin batter. Repeat to make one more chocolate layer and one more pumpkin layer. Work quickly so the batter doesn't set!!

With a knife, gently cut through all the layers or swirl to create a marbled effect.

Bake for 40 to 45 min or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting.

Regina of ReginaTherrienstock

John 15 5:6

I am the vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separate, you can't produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. (The Message Bible)

Distractions are a part of our life.

 I head downstairs to get meat from the freezer for dinner.  My freezer is in my pottery studio.  My tools are still sitting unwashed on my potters wheel.  I wash them, then wash my wheel.  My bucket of clay water needs to be dumped out, so I dump it out.  Brushes are every where, I put them away. And the list of distractions grows. My distractions are done and I come upstairs without my meat. Back downstairs I go to get the meat.

The downside was that I had to make 2 trips to get something for dinner.  What is the downside when distractions get in God's way for us?

When God has asked me to do something and distractions take me off His path my branch is no longer connected to the vine.

A distraction almost came last month.  Years ago I believed I had no talent, but God said otherwise.  Therefore my passion is to release people into their creativity as He has released me into mine.  Recently I've had a burden to start a creative art club in our church, for fun and to help release people into their creativity.

This idea excited me, then the distractions came.  What if no one likes it and comes? How do I do it, I've never done this?  What if I'm not good enough? Do I have the time, I'm a very busy person?

I have a choice I can follow God and stay attached to the vine and be blessed or I can ignore God, listen to the what if's and go my own way.  My branch would become deadwood and tossed into the fire. The blessings for me and others would not happen.

I choose to start an art club in our church. 

Distraction --- Have any?
"Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful.  He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.  The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. " Joel 2:23-24 NIV

Have a blessed Sunday!

Most of us have been to the mall or a theme park and studied the directory, the map.  Where can we find Old Navy or our favorite roller coaster? Those maps come in handy to help us find our way.  We find where we want to be  - the kids are begging to go to Build a Bear, the husband is hoping for the food court and maybe we just want to head to the nail salon.  No matter where it is that we want to go, we first must find out where we are.  We look for the big red spot that says “You Are Here”.  Once we find that, we can map our way to our desired destination.

The bible is our spiritual directory.  Psalm 119:105 says “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  It shows us the way to go but first of all we need to know where we are spiritually.  That big red spot can be found in 1 Corinthians 2 and 3.

First of all we have the natural man.  They have no interest and no understanding of the things of God. Spiritual things make no sense to them and are foolishness.  The natural man is lost, unsaved, without God.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

Next we have the carnal man. Carnal means of the flesh. They are the spiritual babies and their characteristics include being dependent, divisive, and critical. They are self-focused and live like non Christians. The carnal man is lukewarm towards the things of God.

"And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

Finally we have the spiritual man. They understand the Bible.  No, not everything. There isn’t a scholar on earth who understands it all.  But they have a good grasp on it and a desire to learn more. Scripture is a part of their life.  The spiritual man is a learner - growing in the things of the Lord.

"Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." 1 Corinthians 2:13

So where are we in the spiritual realm?  Are we lost, lukewarm or learning? Search God's road map and let it be the guide for your life.

The term "man" in this article refers to all human kind rather than gender.
By Karen W of Ellie Marie Designs