"Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion.”
~ Jani Ortlund

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Family Culture

 Family culture is such a wonderful thing.  It is the things in your family that mark your family as, well, your family!

In our family we like to have people over.  We like to play games, some of us more than others.  We watch movies together, learn together.  I guess you could say that we spend a lot of time together.

The funny thing is we are all so busy!  Lindsay and Emma work 2 jobs each, I work here and in our store, Tim works his crazy hours at his work...but somehow we all end up together at some point during the day.

This liking to hang out together did not happen by chance.  We made deliberate choices to foster family closeness.  We worked through personality issues, we keep short accounts with each other, we laugh together a lot, and we practice forgiveness.

Our home is a fun place - it's messy sometimes, it's loud sometimes, but it is a place we love to be.  We also love to take road trips together!

I am thankful for God's grace in our lives.  So thankful for nuturing relationships with one another.  I am thankful to see my children's love for each other, and their love for their grandparents, and Tim and I.  We're blessed.  We know it!

So when the storm was coming we made sure that my parents came here to spend a few days with us.  Grandpa bunked in with Kyle and Grandma in with the girls.  The girls stayed up late talking with Grandma.  Our friend Denny dropped by yesterday and today.  We made phone calls to check in with friends to make sure they were okay.  Teaching our kids to care for others outside the family as well.

I want to write more in the coming weeks about family culture, but tonight my heart was full from the last few days of time together.

Blessings....   

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Day After

 After the wind howled all day and night, I thought the leaves would be gone from the trees!  It is still raining that is why I only took photos from the doorways of my house.  This view is out the front door.

 The view out the back door, off the deck...no trees down as far as I can see, and the fence seems to be intact too!  The trees you see near the play house don't have very good roots.  The original owners of the house, cut these trees down - they line the creek - and did not grind out the stumps.  So multiple trees grew out of each stump.  We have lost many over the years, and we were sure several more would have been lost in this storm but so far everything seems fine.


The view into the pasture.  This is the trailer Tim is rehabbing.  He had to fix rusted out spots, weld things, put on new fenders...he has the front painted but needs a few dry days with temps over 55.  The folks he's working on this for took a while to get it inspected and to get the trailer to him, months in fact.  So, now in October, it has been rainy and it has taken him longer to finish than he wanted.  

The next few days should be rainy and windy.  We still could lose power, and if so we are prepared for that. 

We are thankful for answers to your prayers for us - We have no storm damage, we have our power, and we are all safe!

Thank you friends for your prayers!  We thank God for his protection! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Has Arrived

She actually arrived yesterday in the form of light rain.

Overnight the rain increased and this morning when I let the dogs out the winds were light and breezy about 10-15 mph.  Now they are up to about 25 mph and are supposed to increase to about 45 mph sustained, with gust of 60 mph.

 They were facing north - into the rain and winds...

 They kids were out making observations for science.

 Tim is setting up the generator in case we need it.  His work stays open no matter what, so he is supposed to go in later.  I hope they take the step to close, since the storm is supposed to be it's worse here while he is supposed to be at work and coming home.

Winds have increased since I started to write this.  

There is a lot of reading going on here today - somehow a rainy day is just right for that.  

Trust you are all snugged in safe where you are. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

We're Ready, I Think

This is Sandy's projected path from yesterday.

We are in that white space in Pennsylvania.

We are nearly ready - just have to move the chicken coop and take down the awning from the deck.

I am thankful that we have been stocking a food pantry for a few years.  It makes these kinds of events, including winter storms, easier to deal with, as most of the preparation is already in place.

If you are going to be affected by this storm, know that I will be praying for you.  Cheryl, Vee, Becky, Katy, I am thinking of you and trusting you to God's care.

I am sure we'll have our stories to tell. Can't wait to hear about them.
  


Friday, October 26, 2012

Mid-Morning At The Cottage

 A trip into the city to drop Emma off at the shoppe, returning via our local dairy for milk and the delightful surprise that they now carry our favorite apple cider. A quick stop at the apple orchard for some apples - then home.  I love my cottage - it welcomes me.  I took this photo from the corner - zooming in a bit and then I cropped it - wish I could crop the speed limit sign (it's twisted a bit so you can't see the numbers in this photo) out of the photo.  Oh, and the antenna should go - we have never used it!
 
Autumn is quickly fading here - perhaps it knows a huge storm, "Frankenstorm", is on it's way.

My darling friend jAne at Tickleberry Farm was the inspiration for our breakfast this morning...you can find her post here.

Farm fresh eggs, sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, baby spinach, farmer's cheese...it was delightful.  Real food.  Yum.

Thank you for praying for me yesterday.  We had a really good meeting and the website should be open for business Wednesday or Thursday - just in time for the Christmas shopping season!

   Here is a wonderful quote by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

 “A true woman is willing, serious, and determined to reflect the beauty and heart of Christ to her world. She seeks to live a God-centered life, trusting Him and saying “Yes, Lord!” She knows this is only possible by His grace, and seeks to do so in community.”

I hope you have a wonderful day.  If you are in the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast, make some sort of preparations for the coming stormMost prep is for things that are useful anyway - water, batteries, gas for a generator, tp.  I am hoping that it will weaken not be as bad as they think it could be.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Putting On My Business Woman Hat

Tim and I are headed out this morning for a meeting with our marketing guy.  His company is building our new website - it is almost ready.  We have a few things to discuss with him about it, but they are small issues.

The thing is for me is that I don't always think of myself as a business woman.  I am a wife and mother, a daughter and a friend, but business woman?





When we did our event at Hershey a few weeks ago, I had been feeling like we would show up and be the "country cousins" so to speak.  I mean a huge fur company was there and a big diamond store!  I worried that we would be seen as 'lesser than' and be fish out of water.

However, as soon as we arrived we were treated as if we belonged there.  We were one of their vendors, one of the co-ordinators said "I'm so excited your here.  It's such great exposure for your store.  I'd never heard of you before."  Our business was booming that day, while others around us didn't do as well.

I learned a huge lesson that day.  We are a legitimate business.  We have great products and offer great, personalized service.  

So today, I'm putting on my business woman's hat and having a meeting.  I have hired this company to provide a service for us. He is working on a website for our business.  God has lead us down this path and has equipped me with everything I need to do it.

I am hoping that our grand opening of the website will be by November 1st!  Just in time for your holiday shopping pleasure!  I looked at the calendar and realized that there are only 29 more days until Black Friday!

I've got a lot to do before then!
     

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Late October In The Garden

Just a few quick photos this morning taken with my iphone.  


 I love the color the hydrangea has mellowed into.  So beautiful.

 These are a mum that look so cheerful and daisy like.  They add a lot of color into the barren garden at this time of year.

 My Red Sunset Maples are finally turning....

It makes me so happy to see them.  They are one of the last to change color on our property and it extends the beauty by a week or so....

Thanks for all your thoughts yesterday.  They were similar to what I was thinking so that is encouraging.
Of course, I'll show you when we are done!  I'm excited to have another space that I can decorate and make welcoming for those who visit our shoppe!
  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's Nearly November

It was a shock to me too!  I was driving by a theater here the other day and their sign mentioned that their CHRISTMAS show started November 1st.  

It was like a shock to me!  I went "CHRISTMAS!?"  Wow.  Yes, really.  It is almost the holiday season.  

I am looking for some advice from you.

As you know, we own a retail store (Women's Accessories) and I am wondering when to decorate for Christmas.  




www.allposters.com


I have a few thoughts on this -

1.  I hate when the stores are decorated too soon, ignoring Thanksgiving altogether.

2.  However decorating for Christmas helps remind people that they need that gift for Aunt Suzie and wouldn't that darling bracelet be perfect.

3.  At home I personally wait until the day after Thanksgiving to decorate, and we keep up the decor until New Years Day.  It feels wrong to eat Thanksgiving dinner with a Christmas tree up.

4. The shoppe is different than my home - it is a place of business. 

So, I am looking for your thoughts.  


When do we decorate?  We want to help people be in the shopping mood - but not be obnoxious about it.

I was thinking perhaps the day before Thanksgiving, that way when we open on Black Friday, it will be the Christmas season.  But that may not be soon enough in retail land.

Thanks for your help!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Snapshots From My Week

 I had a full week, as is the norm in my life these days.  Much of it is driving people to work, etc, but some of it is just fun stuff.  

Yesterday afternoon, after our fellowship meal at church, there was an airsoft game that took place in our woods and pasture.  The rest of us enjoyed the cool air and a campfire in our fire ring.  As dinner came we did the easy thing and ate salad and roasted hotdogs and the biggest marshmallows ever!

As the evening wore on, a couple of guys from church, started playing the guitar and mandolin, singing songs that one of them wrote.  Such wonderful, worshipful songs written from the scriptures, and not recorded anywhere!  This man is leaving soon with his family to return to Ireland where they work as missionaries.  We've loved having their family as part of our church family for 4 months now.  We'll miss them terribly!

 
 I told you about the pumpkin carving and bonfire that took place here this week too.  So much fun....

 We went to a fire and safety field trip on Friday at the Fire Company where my Dad is now the chaplain.  Look who volunteered to be the patient.  They like to show the kids what would happen if they needed attention from medical personnel.  Sarah was being a child who had fallen and hit her head.  Statistic show that it is more likely now for kids to be in an accident of some kind than to have a fire at their home.

 Here she is in the ambulance being assessed.  She had a lot of fun!

I leave you with a photo taken from my car window while I was at a stop sign.  I pass this house multiple times in a week and just love it.  Right now with the leaves changing on the two trees at the front of the house, it is delightful!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Gift From My Son

Kyle very proudly brought me something held behind his back this afternoon.

He told me, "guess what it is."  

I said something silly like "a pickle" since that usually gets a funny response from him.

He said "Mom....."  Then brought it out.

The most beautiful leaves from one of my Red Sunset maples, that are now beginning to turn.

I said "Oh, Kyle!  They're beautiful!  They're my favorite!"  

He said "I know!  I got them from one of the trees in the front. And I did it like this," he added, pointing to his feet with only socks on.

I grinned, and expressed my thanks.

He grinned and went away pleased with himself.

I wasn't about to complain about him going out without his shoes on such a rainy day.  No way. 

I love that boy.  He melts my heart.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another Fun Blog Party!

My dear friend Cheryl is hosting a link up party where we can share our Hospitality Tips.

You can join the fun here...
www.thinking-about-home.blogspot.com   
 I am so happy to join her in talking about hospitality.  I love hospitality and have seen the blessing and fruit of it over the years.

I asked my husband years ago now what he would like for us to be involved in as a family - what we could do together.  His quick response was that he would like us to invite people to our home - he wanted us to be hospitable on a regular basis.  I love having people over so this was a win-win for us!

The kids didn't always like the preparatory time - I would drive them pretty hard about cleaning up etc.  Finally we got a system of cleaning that basically allowed us to have a tidy house in 15 minutes, so we were all a lot less stressed!

My tips about hospitality are not anything earth shattering or new.  We are just regular people with a regular income.  We have had masses of people over all at the same time, and we have had just one person on a regular basis who has become like family to us all.

Tip #1 - Take the plunge and invite someone over!  People love to be invited - it shows that you were thinking of them, and that you want to spend time with them.  

Tip #2 - Don't be afraid to have a large family over.  We consider ourselves an average sized family due to the circles we run in, but for most people a family of 8 is big!  People are intimidated to think of having us over with "all those kids."  Most people think that all children are unruly and out of control - this is not true!  Plus as a mom of a larger family, I am quick to ask what I can bring to help with the meal.

Tip #3 - Remember there are more ways to entertain in your home than to have a meal.  You can invite people over to play games - with everyone bringing a snack to share, invite people over for dessert and coffee, invite people to a potluck.

Tip #4 - Don't be afraid of your house not being perfect.  Believe me a Mom can relax a bit if the home they are going to doesn't look like a magazine!

Tip #5 - Don't wait until your children are older to start practicing hospitality.  For my kids, it is as natural as breathing to have people over and they pursue it themselves every week!  Sarah is always making sure people have been asked over on Sundays.  And the girls have become the regular hosts of game night.  As I write this post there are 12 young people carving pumpkins at our table in the kitchen.  They are laughing and having a wonderful time, as they enjoy spending time together.  There is a bonfire burning outside as well, and they will end up out there soon, drinking coffee, hot chocolate and hot cider and spend hours talking away.  They are tying the strings of friendship and camaraderie from heart to heart.  I hope that in the years to come they will raise their families together, still encouraging each other on!






I am blessed as I see my children walking this path.  The other day Lindsay and I saw a sign at a store that said "Enter as Strangers, Leave as Friends."  She said "That pretty much describes our house!"  That made me a happy Mama!  

Give hospitality a try - and if you get the occasional grumpy person, chalk it up to a fluke and invite someone else the next week!  You'll be glad you did!




 





Note Card Party!








These four photos are my choice for Note Cards this month.  I added a frame to them on Picmonkey.com  That is a fun and easy site to use for photo editing.

If you want to see more beautiful photos, join us at Vee's monthly Note Card Party.  It's so much fun!



A Haven for Vee

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm Here

and after a busy but great weekend, I have hit the ground running once again!

I'll definitely post tomorrow - so much to tell you about the events we did on Friday and Saturday, a great day of fellowship on Sunday and the websites near completion!  Finally!

Meanwhile, I have been able to read your blogs and comment, which has been fun.  

A worthwhile series to read this month is my friend Cheryl's series on '31 days of Hospitality - Not to Impress but to Bless'.  It is so good and encouraging.  The link is to her latest post!

Now I am off to do some buying for the store - I need to replace those bracelets and rings that sold this weekend!



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Let's Chat

Pull up a chair, grab a cup of tea or coffee, if you prefer and let's settle in for a bit of a chat.  Doesn't that sound nice?

I have lots rolling around this brain of mine and I love talking with you and hearing what you are up to as well.

Emma and I got up early and headed about an hour away to shop at a wholesale place.  We needed some display pieces, so we don't have to strip the store when we have an event.  We found some nice ones, and also some nice jewelry.  They even had the cute children's bracelets back in stock that are so popular.

Speaking of events we have two this weekend.  The Hearts in Style and Song event at the Hotel Hershey on Friday benefits the Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute.  It is a great event with a luncheon, fashion show, silent auction, and vendors.  It is already sold out.  This is our first time being vendors for this event but we are excited to be in this beautiful hotel and a part of this fundraiser.


On Saturday, Rachel and I will be headed to Harleysville for a 5K run benefiting the American Red Cross.  We are excited to be a part of this event as well.  I am hoping it doesn't rain as this whole event is outdoors like a street festival.

Last night the girls and I hosted our third Reclaiming Beauty webinar.  I had planned to do it with my daughters, and we decided to invite some friends to join us.  It has been really good.  We've been challenged in our health, who we are dressing to please (no rules of "this is godly, this isn't),  trying new things.  Last night I was challenged to address my weight.  I've never allowed myself to see it as a sin issue but for me it is.  I am lazy, and lack discipline.  I want to please the Lord in every area and this is the one He wants me to work on now.  Pray that I will delight in riding the exercise bike, that I will give up coca cola, and that I will be able to see results to keep me encouraged.

After these two events this weekend, we will start to focus on our Fall Fest we hold at our home every October 31st.  It is Reformation Day, and a good opportunity to get together with our church family and friends to celebrate together.  We have a bonfire, play games, have a hay ride (sometimes).  



Then in November we will have family visiting us.  One of Tim's sisters early in the month and the other mid month on their way to hunt and spend Thanksgiving with our brother in law's mom on the family farm in New York.  This will be fun to have them in our home and spend a bit of time together!



I am looking forward to Thanksgiving, and I love to savor each holiday.  This year it will be a bit different as we will be in our store on Black Friday, instead of home decorating for Christmas!  And that means that the store will be decorated probably before Thanksgiving!  In fact, Emma and I found a nice sized tabletop Christmas tree for the store today!  


My friend Brenda, collects the brown transfer ware pattern by Johnson Brothers called Friendly Village.  I think it is charming and so I started to look for some plates or cups for myself.  Well the other day when I was out shopping with a friend I found a set of service for 12!  But all the pieces were priced individually and the dinner plates were $12.00 each!  A bit much for my budget these days!  But it is charming, isn't it?



Lindsay and Rachel took advantage of the cool weather on Monday and took their horses out for a ride.  Liberty is too small for Rachel so we are looking to sell her.  She is young, with attitude but learns quickly and has the potential to be a nice gaming pony.  Rachel will miss her.


Well, I should get back to work now.  Doing prep in the shoppe today for the weekend.

Hope your day is lovely.

Monday, October 8, 2012

She Made Me Cry


Oh, yes she did!

If you want to see how, go read her blog post for today.  

Love you friend!

Deanna


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sneak Peek Revealed!


On my birthday Tim and I went to several furniture stores that sell "fine" used furniture.  We found this loveseat in just the right colors for our home.
 
 One of the things we had to consider is the scale of the furniture, how we live in our space and how many people we want to be able to sit on it.  I was surprised at how large couches and love seats and chairs are these days!  We needed something on a bit smallish scale.

This loveseat is perfect for our space and we like it very much.

 It also is a dual reclining loveseat.  So cool!
 It works very well, and it holds quite a few people at a time.

 We also got this chair from Ikea to replace a chair that we put out of its misery.  We tend to use up our furniture - the previous chair, a recliner, we'd had for about 16 years. 

 Today my friend Amy came and spent the day with her children.  Her son went with Tim and Kyle to a men's event for church.  She brought me these delicious pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting!  Oh my!  Good thing they are small, so that eating two is like eating just one regular cupcake, right?

We went to breakfast, then loaded up our kids and went to run some errands, get pumpkins - you can see one in the background - and we also popped into some antique stores.

Look what I found!

Isn't it adorable?  Did you know I have a thing for red plaid?   Well, I do.  Oh, yes.  The coaster doubles as a lid to keep your drink hot and the best thing?  It was 5 bucks. I had a cuppa in it tonight and it works quite well, thank you.

So are you tired of hearing about my birthday yet?  Rest assured, my fabulous week is now over.  I'll try not to bore you any more!

Church tomorrow, and wonderful fellowship await.  

I must go now.  I am guiding the kids through showers and prep for tomorrow - they pick out their clothes the night before.

We are hoping to watch another episode or two of Downton Abbey's 3rd season.  Lindsay found it online, and we are enjoying it.  No spoilers from me, so don't ask, but you could ask for the link....