Has all the craziness of life sent you looking for peace? It's here.  Contentment and peace are waiting for you.     The sunsets have been stupendous lately not that I've actually seen them. What I have seen of that early setting sun is its blinding reflection bouncing off windows of the downtown condos with screaming shades of deep rich orange and the most brilliant pinks I have ever seen.   Swimming in orders to be filled, I only get a glimpse while standing at my worktable in our busy upstairs workshop. Night after night I missed the sunset... until this day. This day we were … [Read more...]

  Living on the edge of the woods with all that natural beauty inspires me in my Christmas decorating.  This year I purchased a skinny tree and filled it with rustic farmhouse Christmas tree decorations I made.  It's easy and inexpensive to create ornaments using the bounty of nature.   Remember the 31 Days of Handmade Christmas Ornaments that we were so inspired by back in October?  We enjoyed it so much that my friend, Mary Beth and I invited the group back for our First Annual Extraordinary Christmas Trees Tour.  Not everyone could join us, but we have 13 gals for a fabulous 3-Day line … [Read more...]

  "There is always Hope." One of my friends posted a beautiful graphic she created with those words on Instagram. Immediately my mind went to these words from scripture... And Hope does not disappoint. Romans 5:5 People disappoint... but God never does.     I'm not saying that God gives me everything I ask for.  No, far from it. We had moved to a new state and my husband was working for a new church that was quite large.  After several months, I wanted to restart my home decor business, so I sent invitations to my new friends at church and those that were on my … [Read more...]

  Need a coffee table but don't have one? This DIY modern farmhouse tray is a cheap and easy solution with style.   In my home, I'm the beneficiary of a nightly ritual that will make most wives jealous...     My husband prepares a cup of cocoa or chai for me every evening before bedtime. He's been doing this for most of our married life and I love it.  It's a very special way to end the evening. Since we've been living in this postage stamp of an apartment my choice is to sit at the table or on my little loveseat.  Usually, I choose the loveseat.  But, it's risky for … [Read more...]

  Wouldn't you LOVE for this Christmas to be your BEST Christmas EVER?     Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. Colossians 3:16-17 When you realize that there are just 29 sleeps until Christmas does it excite you, not phase you, or stress you out? After my more than 29 years of … [Read more...]

  Part 1: Ideas and tips for decorating your apartment or small space with holiday style and charm. This is the first of my series of small space decorating tips for the holidays.     It's not the size or construction of your dwelling nor the location that makes it home... what makes a home is the love that lives there, the memories created, and the friends and family who belong. And that, my friend, is the heart behind decorating your small space with style and charm this Christmas. My small space happens to be a tiny apartment which we thought would just be temporary.  Yours … [Read more...]

  Did you know that there is a special promise waiting for you to be fulfilled when you trust God?   Life is full of events for which we have no control. June 3, 2009, is forever indelibly marked in my heart and mind. The few words heard at four o'clock that afternoon changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. Two months earlier, when I was backstage running through a little message I would be sharing with kids at church, I said the words I would be inviting them to say, "I can trust God no matter what."  And in my spirit I sensed the Holy Spirit saying to me, "Can you really?"  … [Read more...]

  Learn how to create a budget Thanksgiving table setting with dollar store items and more that is simple and elegant, plus a fun DIY pumpkin centerpiece project.   It was just the two of us that Thanksgiving. As usual, since we moved to the Southtowns of Buffalo, there was snow and lots of it.     There was no way I was going to get in the car and drive 8 hours for dinner.  So I set the table as elegantly as possible and roasted a turkey. Tim and I were having a blast in the kitchen together, making a week's worth of stuffing, potatoes, Far East Celery, two kinds of … [Read more...]

  Sometime after 8 AM and I heard a little tap on my door.     If I had known that it was an invitation to open up my heart and day to spending 5 prime hours with two neighbor kids, I might not have answered. Then again. That morning's invitation was God's way of letting us know he has two little lives to entrust to us with the important task of being Jesus with skin on. Frankly, though, it was inconvenient. My to-do list was a mile long.     Somehow all the lovely warm fall weather we have had disconnected me from the actual dates on the … [Read more...]

  It persuaded me just a little with its $7 clearance price tag. That small red tag pushed me from simple infatuation to head over heels in love. With a tablecloth.     Which is why this lovely dark blue and white tablecloth with the huge gingham checks jumped into my hands and came home with me. I couldn't wait to put it on my little table.     Do you know the difference between the hugely popular buffalo plaid and gingham? I didn't. Want to know? Lean in... Buffalo plaid is a larger square plaid of two colors... one is always black and … [Read more...]

  These past two weeks I've been laser-focused on making this little apartment our home. I'm been scoping out the second-hand stores, choosing paint colors, and painting thrifted furniture and accessories. With the few funds I have available, I want to 'get it right.' And I don't want to waste precious time.     For the past 10 months other than the balcony oasis I created this summer, my decor focus has mostly centered around the table and creating seasonal moments on my console table, another roadside find.  So this passionate approach I've taken to feathering my nest since … [Read more...]

  This week I discovered in a new and fresh way the power of prayer.       On Monday morning, instead of jumping out of bed and scrambling eggs and preparing fruit as I usually do, I stayed in bed.  The night before I hardly slept at all.  My midsection was so uncomfortable it felt like all my organs were swollen.  What was going on?  I had a great day on Sunday and finished it off by cleaning my oven and then baking a blueberry buckle coffee cake with the last blueberries of the season.  Just before going to bed I enjoyed a warm piece of it along with my hot cup of "tiger … [Read more...]

When morning gilds the skies... you are greeted with an amazingly stunning uniquely crafted invitation direct from God that was created just for this day.   This time of year, it's as dark as night at seven in the morning. I peered through the sliding glass door into the darkness to check on the weather.  As I turned my head to the right I saw the most stunning colors etched across the sky. It took my breath away. As I walked into the kitchen and turned the faucet on over a pan of eggs before putting them on the stove, I began singing in my heart the words of an old hymn I remember singing in … [Read more...]

  One day as I was driving to the workshop I tuned my car radio to our local public radio station.  It's one of the few that still plays mostly classical music.  As I was listening I heard a familiar piece of music that moved me in a new way.  My heart engaged so fully I was almost on the verge of tears.     I was listening to a selection from Handel's Water Music. As I listened, my heart was filled with praise to the Lord. I wasn't sure why... so I did a little online research.  Though I knew the name of the piece, I was curious about Handel and if there was a backstory. It … [Read more...]

  One of my favorite things about blogging is that I have an excuse to do the things I love and share them with you.     More than anything I would love for you to be able to join me for a little breakfast tea where we could swap stories and get to know each other.  But, since that's not to be, today I set the table for an early fall morning tea and I'm pretending that you are sitting here with me. It's a beautiful mostly sunny day.  The trees have a little bit of color, but here in the mostly oak woods where I live, it's still pretty green. I wanted to take time to encourage … [Read more...]

  It's been one of those days.... extraordinarily warm for October and yet blustery.  With ominous gray clouds to the north and south, it appeared the skies would bust open and pelt us with rain at any moment.  And if I hadn't pulled my ponytail through the opening in my cap, it would have flown off my head countless times there on the beach.     When the winds gust to 37 mph, Lake Michigan throws up some large waves.  Just the kind of waves that surfboarders and kite surfers love and which little sandpipers skittering along the waters' edge seem oblivious to... even though they are … [Read more...]

  Is there anything better than Christmas decor that's free and natural?  I think not!     That's why I'm excited to share with you my simple rustic handmade Christmas ornaments made from birch logs and pine cones.   But, before I do, if you’re here from Cupcakes and Crinoline (Didn't Mary Beth create the cutest retro vintage ornament ever?), WELCOME!  This is the 4th stop on our third annual 31 Day Handmade Christmas Ornaments Blog Hop. Just like each year past, you can expect to be inspired by all kinds of lovely Christmas ornaments created by 30 extraordinary bloggers, … [Read more...]