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...]

  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...]

  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...]

  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...]

  You went to the garden center... picked out some pretty plants with dreams of having a window box garden like those on Fixer Upper... but really you have no idea what to do.  Don't worry... you've come to the right spot to learn...   What You Need to Know to Plant a Beautiful Window Box     My goal today is to show you how you too, can create a beautiful magazine-worthy window box Joanna Gaines would love.   This is a full-blown tutorial filled with planting tips!!     You Can Plant a Beautiful Window Box!   To make it easy I'll be … [Read more...]

I received the same Ball® Jars being given away.  All opinions are my own.   Did you know that I absolutely LOVE mason jars? Back before they were popular, my aunt, when downsizing gave me a few boxes filled with vintage Ball® jars.  I thought it was the best gift ever, and used them to decorate my sweet saltbox.  Several moves later, the jars were popping up all over the place and I found them among my boxes and started using them here and here. As much as I love those vintage Ball jars, my heart would pitter-patter whenever I spied an amethyst or purple mason jar.  However, I never saw one in … [Read more...]

  "I just want my child to be happy." Have you said that? I think it might be the number one wish for many parents. We're all looking for happiness.     We'll feel better or be happier... if we drop a few pounds. if I could get more traffic to the blog. if we would get the yard re-seeded this spring. if my kids would do better in _______. if I could get that merit raise. if my spouse would ________. These are some of the kinds of things that we think we need or at least want.  Surely they will bring us happiness.   I see you rolling your … [Read more...]

  Put yourself in this story... The man whom you believed was going to liberate you from the tyranny of the Romans had just been cruelly tortured and hung on a tree to die. A few of your friends also truly believed that this man, Jesus, would rescue you. But instead, they are helping you take his dead body down from the cross to bury him in a borrowed tomb. All hope is lost. Not only was Jesus, your leader and friend, dead but surely this would turn to the worse considering all that transpired the last few days. You're consumed with hurt, grief, disappointment. To say you are devastated would … [Read more...]

Are you bold?  Would you call yourself a risk-taker? Or... does that cause you to feel anxious? In the past I was a bit of a risk-taker. Except in areas where I might injure my body. It's amazing what one broken arm and sleeping with ten pounds of sand hanging from a cast, while trying to sleep sitting up in a chair for six weeks, did to cure me from that. And then, there was that bad business decision which has made me much more cautious.     I think we can agree that we need to use discretion, common sense, and wisdom in our daily activities.  Fear, however, should not control … [Read more...]

Have you ever wondered... If God is perfect and complete in every way....why do we praise God? Why does he need, even require, us to do that? I struggled with that concept for a long time. Because I love God and want to obey him, I praised him, but it always seemed strange to me. I didn't get it. What I did 'get' was that when I did, my outlook changed and I had a better view of life, living, and those around me. Knowing that praising produced positive things in me helped me to continue the practice. And then... I had an Ah Ha! moment. Recently in my reading I came across the wise words of two … [Read more...]

  How are you today? Really....how are YOU?   Most of us trudge, or breeze, through the day. The trudging or breezing has to do with the load we carry. If we have a ton of worries and responsibilities weighing us down....trudging might be a generous term. On the other hand, when we're working within our giftedness, living with hearts filled with joy and gratitude, and spending our hours with others who build up rather than discourage....we breeze through our day and the minutes seems to fly away as easily, too.     If you are one who flits through the day … [Read more...]

    It's been nearly a year since I've had the pleasure of hosting overnight guests. My friend and her daughter were driving between Chicago and New York State when they took a detour to visit us. We aren't sure, but it seems like it's been close to two years since we've been able to get together.  When you do life with someone on a nearly daily basis...through the thick and thin, but mostly thin....it's a joy to finally be able to spend time together.  We've burned many minutes chatting on the phone, but that isn't quite the same, is it?     I love serving a nice … [Read more...]

We had a beautiful weekend here in our neck of the woods. Everything is in bloom and Spring is showing off in high style. Today...I thought I would share with you one of my favorite tablescapes....   Black and White Polka Dot Spring Tablescape   This was such a quick and easy tablescape to put together.  Stop here and find out how it all came together. I had no idea that it was so popular on Pinterest....it was pinned more than a thousand times. :)  Wow! There's something about the classic look of black and white, but if I would do this again, my next color choice would be coral. … [Read more...]

Hope you had a great Easter celebration! We enjoyed a wonderful service at church, a delicious dinner, and the most gorgeous weather. Speaking of weather.  It feels like summer today!  After this very long winter it's amazing! No doubt you were busy over the holiday weekend.  Just in case you missed this...I shared some Last Minute Ideas for Your Easter Table, including a place card printable and tutorial, egg decorating idea, and recipes.  "Pin" for next year here.     When the weather gets warm, many of us start thinking about planting flowers. How do I know this?  My tutorial on how … [Read more...]

Growing Paperwhites for Christmas is one of my favorite holiday traditions. There is something about their tall stems and pristine pure white blossoms that dress up a room so perfectly.     Plus, with everything so bleak and barren outdoors, fresh new life and bright green stems just make me happy.   If you would like to add this lovely touch to your holiday decor, you need to purchase your bulbs now. I have had Paperwhite bulbs start blooming two weeks after planting them....but some years they have taken three weeks or more to bloom.  Bloom time is not an exact science. … [Read more...]

  ...We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! Romans 5:3-5 The Message These verses encouraged my heart greatly. Especially this... ...we can't round up enough containers to hold … [Read more...]

  Don't you love these Snowball Viburnum blossoms? My neighbor has a huge bush of them and I was able to clip a few stems to make some floral arrangements for the house. You might remember last week I shared about Snowball blossoms in the post, Look what the wind blew in. This time, I wanted to do something that was more traditional, dressy even, for the chest in my great room.     The Snowball bush's stems are not very orderly in nature and I was trying to figure out how I could arrange them in a compact, as opposed to floppy, manner.  So, I went scouting through the cabinets … [Read more...]