“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.” --C.S. Lewis,  The Weight of Glory Recently I have been struggling with getting a decent night's sleep. Usually, I get up early, make breakfast, make the bed,  and see Tim off to work. After getting just a few hours of sleep, he encouraged me to stay in bed and attempt to get a little more shut-eye.  Fortunately, I don't usually have a firm early work schedule or appointments. Somedays I managed to sleep... other days I just lay there in the quiet.  … [Read more...]

  It is just as the Scriptures say, “What God has planned     for people who love him is more than eyes have seen     or ears have heard. It has never even     entered our minds!” 1 Corinthians 2:9     If you're thinking... JoyDay! on Saturday? ...I totally get it!! First... I need to come clean with you. Since Christmas, I've been struggling physically.  I won't say what because I refuse to own it... but I've had too many sleepless nights and have just plain struggled to have enough energy to get through the day.  Essentially, things have gotten way behind.  Photo shoots … [Read more...]

  Sweet and simple ways to decorate a small space living room for Valentine's Day in a French country style.     So tell me... do you decorate your home for Valentine's Day? It's something I've usually done in some small way.     This year after the Christmas decorations were all put away my living room felt so empty.  This year's Christmas tree was so dramatic that once those sparkling lights with the stunning ornaments were gone I just had to do something. Tim isn't a fan of artificial flowers, but I really felt that I needed something of scale that would … [Read more...]

  Don't skip Valentine's Day because retailers and the media make it all about romance and roses.  Instead, make it about fun and love.  Here are some easy ideas to help you set a simple Valentine table that's perfect for friends, family, and even lovers, too.    I almost didn't use any red for my Valentine's Day tablescape this year. When I envisioned my simple Valentine table, the one thing I wanted to be cautious of was the overuse of red.  Don't get me wrong... I like red... but this year it just felt like too much for me.     Why was one of my favorite colors... … [Read more...]

  God generously pours blessing after blessing into your life.     Have you ever thought about those blessings in a spatial kind of way? Maybe that seems a bit weird to you, but what if those blessings were actual objects you could hold in your hand?  For visualization purposes, let's imagine that these blessings were in the form of a very soft putty, kind of like the slime you make with your kids.  Imagine some of them so small that dozens would fill the palm of your hand and other blessings so large you need help moving them. You are grateful for every blessing... large and … [Read more...]

  Do some days feel as if you're barely surviving? Discover how to do one thing to thrive in life...     Can you believe we're already into the second month of the New Year?  Me either. I had great plans for January.  Actually, I had great plans for ME in January. However, my great plans didn't exactly start off the way I intended. Did you begin the new year with great expectations and new resolutions that you just KNEW you were going to achieve THIS year and now just a month in, you find yourself struggling? It's okay. Seriously.  It's okay. Let go of the guilt. If you … [Read more...]

  Remember that last time you were feeling overwhelmed? Here is a way to help you out of that spot.  PLUS... a free scripture art print to download.     There's no doubt you can identify with me... Earlier this week I had a task looming before me that I absolutely was not looking forward to doing. My stress level was creeping up and up by the hour. Feeling overwhelmed, I decided to ask a few of my friends to pray. They did. And the next day that seemingly gargantuan task was accomplished fairly easily. How many times do you live in dread, for whatever reason, keeping … [Read more...]

  In order to navigate through life, this thing called faith is a necessity. Why is it that something so necessary seems so complicated?     Faith.   It's a complicated word. For some...it has great spiritual meaning. For others...it's a bit nebulous.   A long time ago, when one of the girls from my youth group got married, I created some counted cross stitch art for her as a wedding gift.  I stitched these words from Hebrews 11:1... Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Why in the world was I so enamored with this verse … [Read more...]

  We might describe a sunset as magical, but there is something much greater, more life-changing, taking place at that moment for us to embrace with every fiber of our being.      From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,     the name of the Lord is to be praised. Psalm 113:3 During the winter months, I can see the sun rise and set from my south-facing bedroom window.  Through the barren trees silhouetted by glorious shades of gold, orange, and deep pink, I am transported for a few moments to another time and space.  My heart enthralled in the majesty of the moment … [Read more...]

  Choosing a Word of the Year can set the stage for an incredible New Year.  Although my word might surprise you, I'm excited about its potential to make my year amazing.   Several years ago, a young friend, whom Tim had been mentoring for several years, won four tickets to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert.  As a huge fan of TSO and all things audiovisual, it was the ultimate win for him.  It ended up being a win for us as well, as he invited us to be his guests that night.     If you've ever had the privilege of attending a TSO concert, you know that they put on quite … [Read more...]

  Although I'm often surprised by the top reader favorites for the year.  Most of these are some of my personal favorite home decor posts, too.      The old adage, "time flies when you're having fun" is so true.  2017 went by in a blink!  It was a much better year in so many ways!  In spite of a few major disappointments, we have been rejoicing in God's goodness and provision throughout the year and feel so very blessed. The end of the year is a good time to look back and see just how blessed we are. I pour my heart and life into this blog so it's fun to discover the posts you … [Read more...]

  Create beautiful memories around a festive Christmas brunch table. Here are a few ideas to help you quickly and easily plan for a special morning gathering.     How was your Christmas? Christmas can be a challenge on so many levels, but I hope you had moments of peace and joy amidst the celebration and quiet. My happiest Christmas memories as a child are those that were made around the table and sharing it with friends and family. Whether you have the family over on Christmas morning for a late brunch, or it's just a few around the table, these ideas will help you make your … [Read more...]

  Ideas for Making a Warm and Cozy Black and White Buffalo Check Christmas Bedroom.     It's Christmas Eve! My favorite night of the whole year! The snow is falling ever so gently outside my window.  Yet, my heart is jumping inside with anticipation. My home is squeaky clean and festively decorated.  Swedish meatballs are "marinating" in the fridge, there's a pie in the oven, and soon I'll be preparing our overnight French toast for brunch. And best of all, we'll soon be celebrating with hundreds of others at the 11 pm Christmas Eve service at … [Read more...]

  When it comes to Christmas gifts... this one is the best gift ever.     Several weeks ago, before I became swamped with the "to do's" on my to-do list, I mentioned to my neighbor kids that we could have an ornament making party.  The calendar filled up and the days quickly passed.  My little friends asked about it and I told them we would have our little party on the Saturday before Christmas.  That way they would have fun ornaments on their tree and gifts for their parents.  But then, their dad decided that he wanted to leave on their trip before Christmas not after, so they would … [Read more...]

  This year my cozy apartment is living large with a stunning new blue and silver Christmas tree courtesy of Balsam Hill.  Here are some tips for decorating a tree beautifully filled with sparkle, color, and a touch of the dramatic.     Growing up, decorating for Christmas was a big deal in my home.  My dad was all about hanging lights on our front porch and creating gorgeous swags filled with miniature lights. My mom always had a DIY Christmas decor project and could be counted on to cover our tree with lights and ornaments and garland until it looked like one huge sparkly Christmas … [Read more...]

  The other day as I was driving home from the workshop my phone dinged.  It was a notification from one of my partners in crime, er work.  Since I don't text and drive, I pulled off the road to read her message and reply.  There wasn't anything unusual or special about that text, but as I got back into the lane again I thought, "I love my life!" Yup.  You read that right.  "I love my life!"     If you've been a long time reader or friend, you know that my world was rocked hard and I've spent the last eight years walking through the rubble while trying to find a new … [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...]