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 4th stop on our third annual 31 Day Handmade Christmas Ornaments Blog Hop. Just like each year past, you can expect to be inspired with all kinds of lovely Christmas ornaments created by 30 extraordinary bloggers, plus … [Read more...]

  This has been the summer of flowers.     It all started when my little grocery store started carrying locally grown flowers in the spring.  I almost did flips when I saw ranunculus. In the most beautiful colors, ever.  So, of course, I purchased some, and arranged them, and took their picture... over and over again. As spring became summer,  there was a constant flow of flowers each week into my store. And when I could, I purchased a bouquet and arranged it, and too more pictures.  For the past month, there's been a steady flow of sunflowers in every … [Read more...]

  Do you cringe at the idea of inviting people to your home? My friend Melissa Michaels, of The Inspired Room, has just published a new book that will help you overcome your hospitality fears and inspire you to send your first invitation for a simple gathering. Simple Gatherings, 50 Ways to Inspire Connections offers a refreshing perspective on opening our hearts and homes to guests. I truly believe that it's what's in our hearts and minds that make our attempts at hospitality successful. Melissa uses this Bible verse as the basis for her efforts... "Serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13. … [Read more...]

  Do you battle with anxiety?     After a few incidents with slippery roads, like the time I uncontrollably coasted off an icy road and skated between a power pole and a row of cars in a used car lot while driving my husband's new car, I became fearful about driving or riding in a car anytime the roads became even slightly dusted with snow.  I still struggle with it to varying degrees, though all-wheel drive has helped those fears decrease a bit. [wink] Maybe your anxieties are over getting in an accident while driving or not having enough money to put gas in the car. These … [Read more...]

  Have you ever had a friend ask you to pray for her? Have you ever thought about the power you are wielding when you take her up on her request and purposefully pray? Earlier in the week I had been feeling poorly and was not doing well at all. I messaged my friend and asked her and a mutual acquaintance to pray. They did. I was greatly improved the next day. So much so that I had an extremely full and productive day.  A very good day. The next day I was up at the crack of dawn and running on full throttle.  It was pretty amazing considering how busy I was the day before. When my … [Read more...]

  Have you ever read a book that resonated with you? I just put down a well-written, humorous yet poignant, behind the scenes story of a life that looked so perfect to me. But, things aren't always as they appear are they?   I remember wearing a new outfit to elementary school that my mom made for me.  Back then, most of my school clothes were handmade, except that special outfit my Aunt Martha would buy for my birthday or Christmas.  My mom was pretty good with the sewing machine, actually, most everything involving a needle including putting needles in the veins of her patients when … [Read more...]

  Fresh ideas for creating a rustic fall farmhouse vignette that is simple and full of texture and charm.   The other day my husband came home from work and after he kissed me as he always does when he comes in the door, he turned and walked towards our little dining nook. I had just finished styling the console table there for fall along with a simple setting for two on our table. I was so happy he noticed the change. But it was his response that totally got me. He said, "That looks like us!" I don't think that he could have said anything that would have warmed my heart … [Read more...]

  God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1   When my friends hurt... I hurt. Today I have friends who have battened down the hatches, filled their bath tubs, and are waiting for Hurricane Irma. Others who escaped to higher ground or other areas to wait. I have another friend who has been betrayed by a person in her life that should always be counted on to be trustworthy. There are the friends who are trying hard to make their marriage work and each day is a struggle. I know people trying to figure out how to rebuild after Harvey. And … [Read more...]

  Easy tutorial and TIPS for making and styling a modern farmhouse 3 tiered tray. And more farmhouse tray inspiration from 11 of my favorite blogging friends!     It was Tuesday... I dropped Tim off at work and then swung around to Walmart for a quick kombucha run, jumping back on the road for another busy day.  And then it happened! My car steered itself into a parking lot... and right into the first parking slot... smack dab in front of the Goodwill store. I looked over and a lady was just unlocking the door. There I was... the first customer of the day with the whole store … [Read more...]

    As I opened the door to the lobby, he was standing there wearing a fluorescent green t-shirt and long navy sports shorts with stripes down each side matching his equally bright orange sneakers. At a month more than seven years old, Thomas lives life large.  He's full of curiosity and asks question after question. Counts everyone in our neighborhood a friend and already, at his young age, is a skilled negotiator.  At least once and some days, maybe four or fourteen times he will stop by our door to see if we will play, or fix something, or answer a question.  Did I say he's persistent? … [Read more...]

  This morning I had a conversation with a friend that got me thinking.  Her family has been in a tough spot for several years and she hasn't been able to provide much more than the very basics for her kids. Everything is okay until the kids see what their friends have and then they become very aware of what they don't have.     It doesn't matter where we are on the socio-economic spectrum... we generally want something we don't have.  The old adage, "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence," is a perspective that most of us fight at some time, don't we? My … [Read more...]

  This past week one of my dearest friends, after getting her son off for his freshman year at college, turned around and drove south with her daughter to help her settle into a new home for graduate school.  As she was sitting in the hotel lobby, we started to get caught up on the details of these momentous life events when something came up on the TV there and she asked if I knew about the events in Barcelona, Paris, and Charlottesville.  Frankly, beyond Charlottesville, I was unaware of the maddening attacks.  I had hardly been home all week and mostly absent from social media and news media. My … [Read more...]

  It was just another summer evening. Tired at the end of a long day, we wanted to have a quiet evening at home. But, we had this nagging sense we would be sorry if we didn't exchange the comfort of our chairs for the sand and waves waiting for us at the beach. So we hopped in the car for the 5-minute drive to Lake Michigan.   We only expected to be there for a just short while, but ended up staying until after the sun set.     You can usually count on it being cooler by the lake than in our wooded location.  But, it's been noticeably cooler even at home the past few evenings, … [Read more...]