Saturday, September 30, 2017

How Do I Love Thee?

Division and strife abounds everywhere we look.  We see it in the headlines, we see it in our Facebook and Twitter feeds, we see it in politics, sports and in our churches.  It's obvious that we are finding it next to impossible to love one another well.  

When I was a young wife and mama, long before podcasts and audio book apps,  there was a Christian radio station that used to have an afternoon program in which they would read a book aloud.  I vividly remember hearing some author of some long ago forgotten book title state that human love is a limited resource, it eventually runs out.  The author then went on to use marriage as an example, sharing that it's very common to wake up one day to find that loving feeling gone.  The author then when on to say that we need to be plugged in to a source of limitless love, which is the unconditional love of God.

Let's face it, it's sometimes hard to even love the people under our own roof well.  No wonder we find it next to impossible to love someone who's political views are different than ours, who's skin color and/or culture is different than ours,  who's life experience is different than ours, who's belief system is different than ours.  No amount of lecturing, finger pointing, guilting or shaming is an effective motivation for us to love others better.  We can know that we should love our neighbor better, but knowing we should and being able to genuinely love them are worlds apart.    (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, October 1st, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Also happily linking up with the lovely
The Mom Gene

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Friday Faves...Fall Mantel with Homemade Cornhusk Wreath

When I saw this Martha Stewart cornhusk wreath project,
 I knew immediately that I wanted to try to make one for my fall mantel.

The good news is that the supplies only cost around ten dollars.
One package of tamale wrappers was under five dollars at my local grocery store
 and I had more than enough to make this wreath.
The straw wreath and T pins were around five dollars with coupons at JoAnn's fabric.

The bad news is that this was a lot more labor intensive than I thought it would be.
I imagined completing it in one afternoon.
The reality was that I would wet and shape one row of the cornhusks and hold it into place with the T pins,
 then I'd have to wait until the next day for it to dry so I could hot glue that row in place
 and pin a new row of husks on. 
It ended up taking me almost a week to complete.
However, I'm happy with the finished project!

 I hung the wreath on the antique mirror using a removable command hook.
Other than the wreath and baby boo pumpkin, 
everything else on my fall mantel are things I already had.
This fall mantel decor will stay through autumn 
until I change things up after Thanksgiving for Christmas.

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


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Bar Harbor, Maine...

Welcome back to my photo journey of my 60th birthday trip to my Mama's home state of Maine. To recap, Mama was born on P.E.I. and raised in the town of Bath, Maine. Mama and Daddy moved to the Pacific Northwest after WWII, and I only visited Maine twice growing up.  My husband and I have been to Maine a couple of times together, so this was my third trip to Maine as an adult. My birthday wish come true was to go to Maine with my three daughters so they could see the beautiful place that their grandma was from.  They all LOVED it and wished we could all move there.  

Here's where we've journeyed so far-
Kennebunkport-click here
Portland-click here
Fort Popham-click here
Bath-click here
And last week I took you along on a lobster feed! Click here.

It was bittersweet to leave my relatives and the quaint town of Bath and to head out for our next adventure to Bar Harbor.  We decided to drive the longer route from Bath to Bar Harbor so that my daughters could see more of the little coastal towns and villages on our way north. Perhaps, with our youngest grandson who was only two months old along, that wasn't the wisest move.  The weather was rainy, the baby was tired of being in the car seat and we had to stop for his feedings, so the whole drive was a bit less breathtaking and a bit more wearying than we had all anticipated. That's the reality of travel and vacations isn't it?  But I did manage to capture that great photo above out of the car window on one of those baby feeding stops!
This photo is out of the car windshield looking up as we crossed a bridge near Ft. Knox, Maine.
 And a quintessential lobster shack that every little village in Maine seems to have.
Bar Harbor is such a beautiful place, but I didn't take into account that the previous times we had been there was in September.  Since it was the height of tourist season on this visit it was very crowded.  The good news is that the rainy morning gave way to a beautiful afternoon.  We checked into our hotel, enjoyed some shopping, then had a fabulous dinner at Paddy's Irish Pub. We all decided that for our last hurrah on our final evening in Maine, we would take a sunset nature cruise through the harbor islands and along the coastline of Acadia National Park. Best decision ever! It was unforgettably beautiful as well as very relaxing.

 Do you see the two seals on the rock in the foreground?

 The rocks along the cliffs of Acadia National Park are pink granite.  So beautiful.

Farewell, beautiful Maine!  I hope to return soon.

still following,

Flower Friday

Monday, September 25, 2017

Giving thanks always...

There are many advantages to keeping a gratitude journal.  Of course, the primary one is that taking the time to notice and record the blessings of God in my life has resulted in a greatly increased confidence in His constant faithfulness and care in my life resulting in me being more contented and at peace.  But, another benefit has been that sometimes a busy week zooms by like a blur and I need my gratitude journal to remind me what happened in the midst of that blur! And so, I'm looking back at last week and all of God's blessings and I'm giving thanks.
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)


-God's faithful provision
-crossing to-dos off my list
-our son-in-law inviting us to meet them for dinner
-this prayer-"God order my days and my time"

-the riches found in the book of Ephesians
-cozy candlelight on this rainy day
-our small group filling our home with feasting, fellowship, study and prayer

-a walk just before the downpour started
-taking our two youngest granddaughters to the beauty shop and for a Starbucks treat

-my hubs repairing something for me

-breakfast with the oldest grands who spent the night while their parents are out of town
-surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
-our oldest granddaughter singing with the worship team at our prayer service

-the first day of autumn
-a really nice Friday Date Day together 
-tinges of fall color appearing on the trees against today's blue skies

-sleeping in after staying up too late
-Saturday quiet time
-God's help with a writing project

-joyful worship and a really good word
-hungry new believers with lots of questions
-trusting God
-lunch with a dear family
-babysitting our youngest grandson while his parents attend a wedding

still following,

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A New Thing...

I am a creature of routine.  I like the comfort of my little daily rituals.  I like to wake up early and head straight into the kitchen for my first cup of coffee. I like to sit in my cozy chair in our kitchen nook and sip my coffee. Once the caffeine begins to kick in, I like to get my Bible and journaling supplies and have my devotions.  Yes, I like my routine...until I don't.  Sometimes my routine gets boring, lifeless, and same old same old.  When that happens, I know that my routine has turned into a rut.  I need to get creative and shake things up a bit.  At times like that I'll grab my Bible and journal and drive to a lovely spot by a park or next to the river for my quiet time.  Sometimes, I'll go for a walk first and get some exercise while listening to worship music or a good podcast. At other times, it's counterproductive to force my morning routine to stay the same when my environment needs tidying up or I have a long list of to-dos.  I find that I can focus on my devotional time better if I get those things done first.  So, while I like my usual routine, I don't like it when my rituals turn into a religious rut. I'm not afraid to change things up when I feel that happening.

This week, Autumn 2017 began.  I'm glad that I live in the Pacific Northwest where each season is distinct.  After a hot, dry summer, the cooler temperatures and the much needed rain are welcome.  Until they're not.  Just about the time us Pacific Northwesterners can't stand another gray, rainy day, the seasons change again.  I'm thinking that maybe the Creator doesn't really like ruts either!  In fact, I think that the Creator is constantly doing new, creative things. I don't believe those changes are just happening in the world around us.  I think God is constantly doing new and creative things in us.  That is, if we allow Him to.

Sometimes, I get a little too fond of things the way they are.  When my morning routine gets interrupted, I can get frustrated and upset at the person or situation doing the interrupting. Likewise, when I have my same old way of doing things, and then someone or something comes along that upsets the apple cart of doing it my own way, that makes me a bit cranky.  When it's the Creator Who is messing around with the way I've always thought or the way I've always done things that's a whole new level of discomfort.  That's messing around with my inner comfort zone, my inner routine, my inner rut.  Why that's messing around with who I am-with me!    (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, September 24th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Also happily linking up with the lovely
The Mom Gene

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Friday Faves...Updating our 1990's kitchen

I've missed posting my Friday Favs! I think at one time my blog was the boss of me. I posted practically everyday! Then somehow it changed and life and busyness became the boss of me and I've struggled to find time to blog. I'm hoping to get back into some sort of a more realistic blogging rhythm without either the blog or out of control busyness taking over my life.

Two years ago this month we moved into our new to us home.  It was built in 1992.  Since moving in we've made a lot of updates and changes, but the biggest change happened this summer when we updated our 1990's kitchen. Here's a before photo.  Behold my kitchen in all of it's nineties golden oak glory!
Let me begin by telling you what we decided not to change.  We decided not to change the footprint of the kitchen.  The layout works really well for us and so we decided to keep it the same.  We also decided not to replace the oak cabinets.  The cabinets are solid wood, including the shelves.  We decided that we would rather figure out a way to update our solid wood cabinets because to replace them with equal quality solid hardwood would be out of our price range.
Here's what we did change. We replaced the formica countertops and their oak trim with solid surface quartz countertops.  We shopped around for the best price and were so very pleased with the company that we chose. We chose MSI quartz in the color fossil gray.  It looks a lot like concrete countertops, which I love. We deepened the width of the bar area just slightly and changed the previous angle cuts a bit.  We also replaced the sink with a high quality stainless steel undermount sink that we ordered from Amazon.
After debating how to update our cabinets, we decided to have them professionally painted. Our friends at Divine Concepts, LLC did a fabulous job! 
We also decided to replace the wood centers of some of the top cabinets with textured glass.  I chose quarter reeded glass which is slightly opaque.  Our good friend removed the wood centers and put the glass in for us, which we ordered from a local glass company.
We also added new hardware on all of the cabinet doors and drawers.  Previously the cabinets had no door or drawer pulls on them.  We ordered the drawer pulls and new hinges through Amazon.  Our same friend and his wife helped install all the hardware. 
For the backsplash I went with 4x12 white subway tile with gray grout that matches the countertop color.  I wanted something simple and clean looking without a lot of pattern.  I didn't want my kitchen to look too "busy" to the eye, but simple and clean.  My nephew and those same friends previously mentioned, (which happen to be my nephew's in-laws as well as our dear friends), helped install the backsplash.

The last update to the kitchen was to replace the can light over the kitchen sink with a pendant light that matches the sconces we have in our dining room.

I couldn't be more pleased with how our kitchen turned out!  It's always gratifying when something turns out the way you've pictured it in your mind!

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