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 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...]