Saturday, July 23, 2016

Let the peace of God rule in your heart...

"Let the peace of God rule in your heart" is easier said than done in the world we are living in right now.  Just scrolling through the divisive memes and snarky comments on many Facebook pages or checking in on what's happening in the news can seem to steal a person's peace, can't it?  Yet, if God tells us to let the peace of God rule in us, it must be possible.  Let's look at the verse in context and see if we can find some clues on just how we let the peace of God rule within.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, July 24th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Friday Favs...Accessorizing your home with bargain store decor

My mama was a believer in saving up and buying something of good quality that would wear well.  I followed in her footsteps, and appreciate the difference in something of quality that is well made, and something that is cheaply made with poor craftsmanship.  When we bought our leather couch, chair and ottoman sixteen years ago, we bought good quality furniture that was on sale.  Even then, it was still an investment, but it's lasted for the long term.  In the end, buying good quality is cheaper than buying poorly made furniture that doesn't wear well and needs replaced frequently.
I try to save up and buy quality for the things that get a lot of wear and tear, then fool the eye with bargain priced accessories that still look nice. The key to this is to recognize the items that look like they could have come from high end decor stores, but that you actually got at Homegoods or Ross or similar bargain priced stores.  In the photo above the mirror above the t.v. came from Ross, the media cabinet was on sale at Target, (I'd like to find an antique or vintage piece to replace this at some point, but didn't want to leave the space blank in the meanwhile). The side table was on clearance at Marshalls, the drapes were name brand but very inexpensively bought at Homegoods and the chair came from Ross. (An occasional chair only gets used occasionally, and most of the time just sits there looking cute.  So, while I wanted it to be sturdy, I didn't need to spend a bundle.  I just made sure it looked well made.)
The antique trunk that serves as our coffee table came from the Goodwill and was half off the Goodwill price!  The basket came from Homegoods, the Johnson Bros. tureen made in England came from TJ Maxx, the vase from Ross, the pillows and quilt on the couch from one of three stores, Homegoods, Marshalls or TJMaxx, which are owned by the same company and often have the same sort of things.  You can get great deals on name brand items for bargain prices!
When looking for art for my walls I try not to fall into the trap of buying cheaply made mass produced wall art that looks like cheap hotel decor.  I look for things that are unique.  The wooden key came from Ross as did the large letter S, which was on clearance and painted in zebra print before I took it home and spray painted it.  The wooden arrow was made for me by my son-in-law, the ironstone platters were either thrifted or found at antique stores.  The mirror was another Ross find. I changed the frame with some paint.  The hello was a cheap chipboard sale item at the craft store and I took it home and spray painted it gold.  The h-o-m-e letters were Christmas ornaments from Target as were the glittered feathers that I placed inside of a clearance sale frame.  The red lamps were purchased at Marshalls, the blue planter at Ross and the large basket in the corner on clearance at Ross.
This blue and white planter was four dollars at Ross.  I don't think anyone would know it wasn't purchased at a high end store.  I love it.  The shelf near the big chair in the photo below was purchased at Ross and the little side table at Marshalls. The large pillow was a gift from my daughter, purchased at Target.
The moral of this story.  Save the big bucks for items that will need to take a lot of wear and tear.  Accessorize with items that won't break the bank, but fool the eye into thinking they are more expensive than they really are.

Well, it's almost Friday, friends!
Have a HAPPY, HAPPY Friday
a safe and BLESSED weekend!


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Wednesday, July 20, 2016


I think the saying "happiness is a journey, not a destination" is a profound truth.  It may sound like a trite cliché that looks great on a sign you hang on your wall, but I propose that it's a good guiding motto for life.  Too often I've lived with the wrong mindset that I'd be happy if this person would change, or that circumstance in my life were different.  Happiness became as elusive as chasing the wind.  There were two events in my life that dramatically changed that way of thinking for me. 

The summer I turned fifty I went to the beach by myself overnight.  I knew there were some things twisted up inside my heart that could only be straightened out with a good long talk with God while I walked by the sea.  My heart was full of unforgiveness and bitterness towards others and about circumstances in my life that I was unhappy about.  I can take you to the exact spot on the beach where God spoke to my heart these three simple words, "Build your life".  He gave me the understanding that I had been focusing on all of the unchangeable things in my life, other people and certain circumstances that I had no control over, while I had been ignoring things I could change. Shortly after that I quit a job that had become way too stressful and which was limiting my availability for ministry at our church.  I also began pursuing things I love to do,  such as writing and photography.  
Not long after that trip to the beach, I also began to keep a gratitude journal, which I have now been keeping for over six years.  Every day I take notice of at least three things to be thankful for and I write them in my journal. Each Sunday evening, I write a blog post about all of the blessings that I counted from the previous week.

It was those two things, choosing to shift my focus to the things I could change about my life rather than focusing on what I could not change, and learning to see and give thanks for the many daily blessings in my life, that caused me to find happiness in the journey of my life.

(You can pre-order my friend Jennifer Lee's new book The Happiness Dare.  Find out how here!)

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Crabapple branches...

 On a recent walk I passed an empty lot. There among the overgrown grass and weeds I spotted a lovely little tree, it's branches laden with crabapples.
I had a vision of my antique enamelware pitcher filled with those branches, and I knew I'd be back with my pruning shears to make my vision come to pass.
It's so satisfying when something turns out every bit as lovely as I imagined it would be.  It was a joy to photograph this simple still life.  No other props were needed, the beautiful crabapple branches with their green fruit blushed with a touch of red in the old white and blue enamelware pitcher is perfect in it's simplicity, in my opinion.

(all photos edited using Kim Klassen's dreamit texture)

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

A thankful person...

Sometimes I just need some time by the sea, some time to walk along the shore and have a good talk with God while I'm looking at His amazing creation.  It's the place I love to go to reboot, to restore my perspective, to renew my soul.  So that's just what I was able to do this week, and it was exactly what I needed.  As I was walking along, the words from "It is Well" by Bethel Music ran through my mind, "So, let go my soul and trust in Him, the wind and waves still know His name." In prayer I began letting go of one worrisome thought after another, burdens that had been weighing me down.  It was only a short getaway, but just what I needed, and I'm so thankful.

Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)


-a billing error corrected
-a room with a view at the beach 
-a safe drive

-a relaxing morning at the hotel, sipping coffee, having devotions, reading an inspiring book
-a long walk by the beach, a good prayer time
-a great lunch at a new to us restaurant
-a clearance sale on a new running jacket
-sunset at the beach

-ending our time by the beach with one last walk
-our oldest grandson coming over to help Papa with yard work,
and our youngest grandson enjoying "helping" to wash the car
-an impromptu dinner with our middle daughter and her family
-falling asleep while reading a good book

-walking up super early and enjoying coffee and devotions in the early morning light
-an enjoyable time writing just for fun
-a planning meeting for VBS at Hula Boy
-prayer walking the neighborhood around our church
-a good report

-homemade bread toasted in olive oil for breakfast
-a visit with our youngest daughter and her husband
-a gift card for lunch
-finishing a book
-flowers from my husband

-sweet morning quiet time
-facetiming with my brother
-our neighborhood
-an evening walk

-God's transforming work
-lunch with a family from church
-a relaxing Sunday evening 

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

What do we do with all of this bad news?

It seems as though we are bombarded with bad news coming at us relentlessly.  We don't have time to process one breaking news report before we hear of another.  We can have various reactions to this.  My husband is a "news junky" and wants to know what is happening and the implications of what is happening from every angle.  I'm more of the "I want to be informed, but can't take too much of it" camp.  Some are from the "I don't want to know, just let me focus on something else, preferably something lovely" camp.  (Hence, a flower to go with today's scripture instead of a current news event photo!)  Whatever camp you are from, there are some things that might be helpful to remember as you are watch or hear about current events in our world.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, July 17th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday Favs...a bit of summer seaside decor

Once the fourth of July was over, I made a few quick and easy changes to my living room decor for summer.  I wanted to add some seaside charm, since I LOVE the sea, but I didn't want to be too over the top in beach decor tchotchkes.
I made a simple cotton pennant garland to hang over my antique mirror.  My collection of antique aqua colored glass bottles, some wicker and shell spheres and a couple of starfish were placed on the old salvage wood mantel.

I added a tapestry that used to belong to my mama and a few other "beachy" items to the shelf on the wall by my husband's chair.  I love the little galvanized letters spelling out S-E-A that I purchased at World Market.  I had some larger wooden letters from the craft store there, but found these smaller galvanized letters and like the look of them on the shelf them much better.

Well, it's Friday, friends!
Have a 
a SAFE and BLESSED weekend!


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