Today we were walking through one of the big home improvement stores when we heard a nearby forklift call attention to its presence with a "beep beep."  Something we never give another thought to hearing.  But, right in front of us, walking down the aisle, was a mom pushing a shopping cart with two small children.  A little girl seated in the front of the cart started calling out, "Beep Beep!"  "Beep Beep!" as her mom pushed her towards the checkouts. My husband heard the little girl and brought her beep beeps to my attention.  He had the biggest grin on his face. There's something … [Read more...]

  Do you have those lightbulb moments when you just have to share your "Ah Ha!" with someone else?     On the weekends my husband works at our local men's transitional shelter.  There is a volunteer who regularly pours herself into the ministry by cooking delicious meals for the men there and getting others from her church to do the same. It's a gift of love that the men greatly appreciate. Especially on Friday nights.  Previously a nutritionist was preparing their food, but on Friday nights, they usually just had a salad and frozen pizza. The men are always grateful for any … [Read more...]

    The day after my birthday I received a surprise phone call from a special friend and longtime reader of the blog.  Though we have never met, over the past five years or so we have developed a lovely friendship based on our love for the Lord and our similar interests.  We pray for each other and encourage each other through life's challenges.     During our conversation Debbi shared how she had been feeling a little down before the start of this school year and then she remembered something the Lord had done for her.  That started her down a path of recounting … [Read more...]

  What is it that you've been ruminating about? What are you carrying in the back of your mind all the time? What are you wringing your hands over?     Most of us get caught up in worrying or fretting at some time. It takes a millisecond for a thought to take off and then... there you are... chewing on it like a dog on an old bone. It's all consuming and about as useful as that old bone. I try to not worry about things, but then I get that pain, or that email, or my husband says something, and then... if I'm not mindful of things I can jump right on the worry train.  … [Read more...]

  Wouldn't you love it if you could easily invite friends or family over to your home for an impromptu celebration and pull it off easily? You totally can!     First of all... it's a mindset. And like the choo-choo train... if you think you can... YOU CAN!     Honestly... this isn't rocket science.  It's more about the want-to than ANYTHING else. If you want to freely open your home for celebrating around the table you have to decide that you can do it and then prepare. Mindset and preparation will make you a hospitality rock star.  … [Read more...]

  This weekend I attended my class reunion. It's been a LONG time since I've seen my former classmates. I had mixed feelings about attending.  Two of my friends would be there, but beyond that, I had no idea.  How in the world would I be able to chit-chat with people who weren't in my circle all those years ago? Since I didn't want to regret not attending, I went. A few people attended that I hoped would be there. Yet, silly me, I never thought that there would be people who were hoping that they would see me. It was wonderful hearing old friends say, "I wondered if I would see you!" "I … [Read more...]

  It was just another summer evening, or so we thought. 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 awaiting 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 count on it being cooler by the lake than in our wooded location, usually.  But, it's been noticeably cooler even at home the … [Read more...]

  Prayer is crucial to our lives. Have you wondered how to improve your prayer time?     It might surprise you, but I've come to the conclusion that my relationship with God is more dependent on me than on him.  This realization has been pivotal in improving my prayer life. You see, God is constant, never changing, always present. Me... I'm up and down, coming and going, flitting all over like the butterflies I've been watching from my balcony garden. There are days that I struggle to write or stay on task for any length of time.  Honestly, I wish it wasn't true, but that's my … [Read more...]

  When we need relief NOW, there is a practical plan to free us from the overwhelm.     When was the last time you were overwhelmed by your to-do list? I occasionally pick up little side jobs.  Lately, it's been painting or cleaning a rental between tenants. The thing about these little jobs is that they are physically taxing and usually don't fit into my schedule very well.  I find it challenging when something quickly comes up and I need to drop what I'm doing to accommodate someone. Especially when I have my own deadlines and projects. We aren't supposed to live with … [Read more...]

  A glimpse of summer living at its finest and a peek in my summer sanctuary at home.   Picture yourself walking down the coastline with the waves lapping at your feet, the sun warming your back, and with every step, the cares of the world melting away. Wasn't it refreshing taking that brief mental break to envision yourself strolling down the shore? Those times on the sandy edges of Lake Michigan are my favorite, especially after indulging in a picnic at on beach. When we've walked as far as we can, we'll go back to our spot on the beach.  There we'll settle into our sand chairs to … [Read more...]

  How many times have you asked the question, "What will they think of me?"      My close friend will soon be boarding a plane to attend a special event honoring her daughter. She is touched that the parents of her daughter's boyfriend will be hosting a BBQ to celebrate the momentous occasion.  We chatted about what a lovely thing it is for them to do and how grateful she is for their warm hospitality... and then she texted this, "What will they think of me?" How many times have you thought or worried about what someone will think of you? Contemplating this question is like … [Read more...]

  It's not too early to start making your own natural Christmas tree ornaments.  May these fabulous ideas inspire you to get your craft on.      My rustic nature-inspired Christmas decorations are my most popular posts. The best part of using the fruits of Mother Nature in your Christmas decor other than the beauty is that it is usually inexpensive. Take some time now to create without the pressure of the season and enjoy the process.  We all have good intentions, I don't want you to get caught on Thanksgiving weekend wishing you'd had a bevy of handmade natural ornaments. Use … [Read more...]

  Do you talk to yourself?     I will admit that sometimes I talk to myself. Talking to yourself can be a good thing. Some might think it's a little quirky, but if they really knew what you were doing when you talked to yourself, they would want to follow your lead and pick it up too. What? Maybe you're thinking... children learning to tie their shoes with rhymes and little old ladies who are trying to not forget things... they talk to themselves... not me. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you too will want to talk to yourself, regularly. If you become a … [Read more...]

  Don't overlook that clearance item because it's not quite your style.  Here's how I gave a rustic farmhouse metal sign a makeover and turned it into casual coastal wall decor.     Have you ever been shopping and discovered something on a super sale that caught your eye, but it wasn't just right for you? When that happens don't dismiss the item... look at it again to see if you can tweak it or paint it or personalize it in some way to make it just right. Not long ago I was in Hobby Lobby when they were marking all kinds of home decor items down and I came across this metal farmhouse … [Read more...]

  Once the calendar rolls over from spring to summer, I have this heavy awareness that nearly half the year has passed and we're on the bullet train to the end of the year.  That realization usually sparks an evaluation of where I've been and what I've accomplished.  And frankly...  right now... I'm not pleased.     From my work to my health to my relationship with God I want to be in a better place. The first thing I do is analyze why... Why am I in this spot? You know what my biggest challenge is? It's my thinking. My success in all of these areas begins and ends in my … [Read more...]

  Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans!     To celebrate, I dressed up a small sideboard in my dining room.  You might have seen glimpses of it in the background of the photos where I shared how to set a star-studded 4th of July table. It's funny how I didn't think I had much that was red, white, and blue with which to decorate.  Surprisingly I had plenty. The festive red, white, and blue banner was given to me by my blogging pal, Mary Beth from The How to Home.  It sets the perfect backdrop to the vignette.     If you wonder how to easily … [Read more...]

  I love the American flag and all things red, white, and blue. Right down to my dining table.     Yet, this patriotic tablescape almost didn't happen. This summer my focus changed from the blog to my personal health and wellness.  I'm making some strides, although it seems that it's two steps forward and one step back.  But, I decided to not stress over it.  Instead, I'm giving myself grace to let go of a few things.  I'm good at pushing through... not at receiving grace... especially from myself.     So, even though I love decorating for the 4th of … [Read more...]