Has all the craziness of life sent you looking for peace? It's here.  Contentment and peace are waiting for you.     The sunsets have been stupendous lately not that I've actually seen them. What I have seen of that early setting sun is its blinding reflection bouncing off windows of the downtown condos with screaming shades of deep rich orange and the most brilliant pinks I have ever seen.   Swimming in orders to be filled, I only get a glimpse while standing at my worktable in our busy upstairs workshop. Night after night I missed the sunset... until this day. This day we were … [Read more...]

  "There is always Hope." One of my friends posted a beautiful graphic she created with those words on Instagram. Immediately my mind went to these words from scripture... And Hope does not disappoint. Romans 5:5 People disappoint... but God never does.     I'm not saying that God gives me everything I ask for.  No, far from it. We had moved to a new state and my husband was working for a new church that was quite large.  After several months, I wanted to restart my home decor business, so I sent invitations to my new friends at church and those that were on my … [Read more...]

  In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the entire inhabited earth should be taxed. This taxation was first made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone went to his own city to be taxed. So Joseph also departed from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to the City of David which is called Bethlehem, in Judea, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be taxed with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So while they were there, the day came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in strips of cloth, and laid Him in a … [Read more...]

  How often do you hear the statement, "I just want her to be happy." Happy.  Happiness is great... but what if we instead would say, "I what him to have joy."     Joy, to me, seems supremely greater than happiness. Joy is something my heart deeply desires.  It isn't dependent upon circumstances.  It's that deep abiding sense of well-being that transcends our situations. Meeting an old friend on the street, hearing a humorous joke, or watching a comedy may induce the feeling of happiness.  Yet, if that old friend were to meet you for lunch and you were to have a true heart to … [Read more...]

  Peace.  We all want it. Peace for the world.  Peace in our hearts.  Peace in our homes.  Peace in our relationships.     Often, our struggle looks like the kitty here.     Let's take some time together for a few reflections on peace.   For several years, I hosted an annual Christmas open house in my home. One of the attendees had been there for quite a while when she said to me, "I love being in your home, it's so peaceful." How is it that my home was a peaceful place when ladies were coming and going and eating and laughing and chatting? … [Read more...]

  What are you hoping for? A good test result? An interview? A mended relationship?     Hope is a funny word.  To me, it's kind of a nebulous word for a nebulous idea or feeling. How many times do we say, "Oh, I hope so!" To your spouse or child, you might say, "I hope you have a good day." or "I hope you have a great time!" It's kind of like a wish.   Other times it's an expectation for something to happen or for someone to make something happen. We often put our hope in things, in people, in events. Recently, a lot of people placed their hope in a … [Read more...]

  Wouldn't you love to approach Christmas with a sense of peace and purpose and less craziness? In the midst of the festivities, busyness, and sensory overload, you really can discover peace and purpose this Christmas.     I've discovered that when I plan to focus on Christ's coming and Advent... the season leading up to Christmas where we intentionally remember what it was like for people thousands of years ago to anticipate the coming of Christ... my joy and delight in Christmas and God's GIFT to us gives me much peace and purpose in spite of all the craziness of the world … [Read more...]

  My desire to make coastal Advent candles comes from some very sweet childhood memories.  Every Christmas, my parents would take me to services at the Swedish Lutheran church.  A highlight for me was observing the Advent candle lighting. The Advent candles hung near the altar in a large circle of evergreen.  There were four red candles on the wreath with a large center white candle.  And though I really enjoyed singing the Christmas carols, I was mesmerized with that wreath. Once I was an adult I realized many families had Advent wreaths and candles in their home.  Many even participated in special … [Read more...]

Do you clean your house for Christmas? I usually do a whole house cleaning in early November.  Generally I will have already done some cleaning in early fall, but in November I whip through the whole house, dusting the walls and ceilings, washing the windows, making my house sparkle in anticipation of Christmas.  One thing I always did in my old house was to put candles in my windows... and my windows had to be perfectly shined for the lights of Christmas.     This week I had a little bit of an "ah ha" moment. You know that I'm all about observing Advent... doing Advent readings, … [Read more...]

Today is the first day of Advent. It seems impossible for Christmas to be upon us, doesn't it?  The year has gone way too fast.   Do you observe Advent? I know many with younger children click off the days' march towards Christmas with candies or gifts. Others may light candles each night and read verses. And still others decorate a Jesse Tree.   Advent is a time of preparation. A time when we prepare our hearts for our Savior. A time when we await his second coming. And a time when we rejoice in his first coming     Typically I don't follow … [Read more...]

Did you realize tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent? I missed the memo. Just in case you're a little behind, like me, here's my not so typical Advent wreath from last year.     Observing Advent is a great way to prepare for the true meaning of Christmas. If you need a few ideas for observing Advent you'll want to check out this post.   And speaking of Christmas... This week we have some Great Ideas! for our weekend wrap up, just for YOU! Our features from Project Inspire{d} are all about the colors Red and White ~ everything from food and drinks to … [Read more...]

Love.  On this Fourth Sunday in Advent we Light the Candle of Love. The first week, we lit the candle of Hope.  The second week, we lit the candle of Peace.  And last week we lit the candle of JOY. My heart is full of gratitude.  I cannot even begin to comprehend this love the Father has for us. To think that he so much wanted us to "get it" that he orchestrated an amazing turn of events to not only demonstrate this love he has for you and me, but to make a way to be a part of his forever family.     At Christmas we imagine a sweet bucolic scene of a mother tending to her newborn … [Read more...]

Today, on this third Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of JOY. The first week, we lit the candle of Hope.  The second week, we lit the candle of Peace. Today, we rejoice with Mary at this amazing thing God has done. Oh JOY!     Though we know that Mary was a very young woman about 13 years old, she had an amazing understanding of scripture and the times in which she lived.  She was carrying the Messiah, the one who to bring freedom to the captives.  No doubt she was a little scared.  Yet, she was filled with great joy. I enjoy reading a translation of the Bible called The Voice. … [Read more...]

Are you observing Advent with a daily reading or a weekly candle lighting? If not, it really is not too late to begin. It's a very special time of anticipation. I shared some ideas for observing Advent here.  And I created a not-so-typical-version of an Advent wreath here?     Today we light the second Advent candle.   The candle of Peace. Click here to read about God’s promise of peace from Isaiah 11:1-10.   In the second chapter of the Book of Luke in the Bible, the writer tells us all the details surrounding Jesus' coming to the world, including the census which … [Read more...]

It was interesting to me to listen to other shoppers when I was in the stores earlier this weekend.  I was amazed at how intentional and sometimes intense people were in finding and deciding upon their purchases.  Most of us have a plan in mind when we go shopping, or even when we begin our Christmas decorating. How many of us have a personal plan for the Christmas season?   Often we are so busy doing....that we don't take time to be in the moment.  We don't take time to ponder the reason for the season.  We just go.  And I am very experienced at getting into that mode.  So... Last week I invited you to … [Read more...]

  Do you feel like you are already on the quickly spinning hamster wheel? For many of us, the holidays are so busy we hardly have time to breathe. I don't think that is how Thanksgiving and Christmas are supposed to be.  Do you?   Hespe   Have you ever thought about observing Advent? I'm not talking about the little calendar where you open the door each day in December as you countdown to Christmas. or even the very fun games and gifts and random acts of kindness that families can do together for Advent. No, I'm thinking about observing Advent in a more quiet … [Read more...]