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...]

  How do you like to eat fresh picked blueberries? When it's blueberry season our family's favorite blueberry food, aside from blueberry buckle coffee cake, is blueberry pancakes.  Or at least it was until I decided to make blueberry waffles.     The thing is, the stove in our apartment has the most uneven burners ever.  Everything slides to one side of the pan. Making pancakes on the stove is sheer craziness.  So when Tim suggested we make pancakes for our Sunday brunch I got all twitchy... until I remembered I have a waffle iron. My waffle iron was purchased a while back for … [Read more...]

  I have a special reminder for you today. YOU ARE LOVED! Yes!  YOU!     If you're feeling unworthy, comparing yourself to someone else, or are feeling rejected today, know... you are loved. If today, you're on top of your game, you're shining brightly, and you're a wonderful blessing to everyone you see... you are loved. You are loved by your Creator... the God of the Universe and he says... "you are mine." Now, this is what the Lord says... “Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you. I call you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1     Sometimes we … [Read more...]

  I wish my mom or dad would have told me this growing up... I wish people who live by this wouldn't keep it so close to the vest... I wish I hadn't lived nearly half a century before I learned this very big life secret...     It's never about me.    We think that everyone notices us. We think people care how we look. We think that people want our ideas or opinions. We worry and fret and spend endless time being concerned about something that we think the world sees in us. Brett Butler's last words to Scarlett O'Hara in the great classic, Gone with the … [Read more...]

  Have you ever had an old friend come to town and want to meet up with you and friends she hasn't seen in a year or two or ten? You're happy to make all the arrangements. Lunch at a great restaurant is a good option.  It seems so much easier, but, there's the noise of the other diners, the interruptions of the servers, and who knows what else. Why not go all old-style and host a small gathering or luncheon at your home?     So much more is in your control and the peace and comfort of your home tops everything the restaurant has to offer.  You don't have to worry about staying … [Read more...]

  Morning is my favorite.  I love the light and the quiet and peace of the morning.  And though I am an early riser... I love to savor the morning and begin slowly.  It doesn't always happen. But, this morning Tim got up before me and put eggs on the stove to boil and proceeded to get ready for work. As I walked into our living room, the sunshine was streaming in the windows.  The sky... brilliant blue... everything looked extraordinarily crisp and clear.  And then I noticed it... the sunflower in the vase... it was facing the sun.  Its petals glowing. It was a moment.  Could I call it a holy … [Read more...]