Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Home As A Haven

Few things we can do in this world are so well worth doing as the making of a beautiful and happy home. He who does this builds a sanctuary for God and opens a fountain of blessing for men."   
J.R. Miller

I love my home.  For most of my adult life, I have been home based.  Whether I am home educating, or planning a wedding, the bulk of my day is at home.

These days we are all at home most of the time.  Many people are not used to being home, or home with all the kids and their spouses either, other than on weekends.

I think it will be interesting to see how people's lives change after we can go back to our 'normal' lives.  I hope that people will have learned to really love their homes, and to make them a haven - a welcoming, safe place for their families.

I find that it just takes being intentional to make my home a haven.  I don't have to have a lot of money, or expensive things.  Here are some things I do regularly to make my home welcoming to family, and for guests.

1. Diffuse Essential Oils. Human beings respond to scent, and my favorite for our home would be lemon.  Diffusers are not expensive and you can have just one oil to make your home smell nice.  If I had to choose just one, I'd pick lemon, but you can choose whatever you like.

2.Tidy House.  Notice I didn't say spotless.  We live in our house, and Kyle and I are (right now anyway) always home!  Now, I don't have little ones at home anymore, and we all pick up after ourselves (mostly), but it's easy to have coffee cups left sitting out, or a boy's bedroom with socks in a pile.
I function better without clutter, and my husband appreciates a clean home.  So I work at it.

3. Books.  We all are readers, and we have a lot of books! Endless entertainment.  If you have young kids, I cannot stress enough how important it is to read aloud to them!  Even if they do no other school for the rest of the school year, if you read good books together and talk about them, they'll thrive!  It will become a favorite time together!

4. Good Food.  This is higher on the list for Kyle, but having good food in the house is a priority.  Funnily enough, my girls have been baking more during this shelter at home situation.

5. Talking together.  We nearly always eat dinner together, and in the evenings we often spend time talking, too.  Last evening we also watched a movie together.

6. Create Traditions.  I'm trying to bring back tea/coffee time in the afternoons when people are home.  Just to take a break and relax together.  And if people are home earlier in the day and won't be later, then we can do elevensies!

These are just some simple ideas to make your home a welcome place for your family, and after we can resume our lives, for friends, too!

I also find, that sometimes, my family doesn't really care about whether I am making a haven for them or not.  Especially now that they are all adults, or nearly.  But I find that the things I do to create HOME, I would do even if it was just for myself.  

I respond to beauty, and it helps me to feel as if I am thriving, when my surroundings speak life to me.  For me that means, flowers, books, tea, sunshine, thrifted silver, old mirrors, and plants.

What are things that you need to have in your life in order to feel at HOME?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Let's Talk About Some Good News

I read an article this morning that said that the State of New York discharged more patients who had recovered from Covid-19 than they admitted for four days straight!  That is a good sign that the hardest hit area of our country is headed in the right direction!  You can read the article {here}.

A doctor in Los Angeles has been using hydroxycholorquine and zinc on very ill Covid-19 patients and getting very good results with in 8-12 hours.  He says, they are symptom free in that time!  Read it {here}.  If this is the case, then do we even need a vaccine?

The total of deaths in the US is still under 10,000 according to the CDC website as of this morning. {here} The CDC estimates that from October 1, 2019 to March 28, 2020 there have been between 24,000 - 63,000 flu related deaths here in the US. {here}  That is perspective.  Remember, we don't really know how many people will die from Covid-19 and if the treatments will work quickly there will be fewer and fewer deaths!

Now, for a personal prayer request.  I had a bad bout with sciatica last night.  I didn't sleep much.  After many hours with heat, and an ice packet alternatively, I feel better.  Please pray that it will not be an ongoing issue, I appreciate it so much.

Later, I'll nap, but for the most part I will sit in some sunshine today, and I'll be reading the new issue of Victoria magazine which came in the mail.

Happy Tuesday Friends!

Monday, April 6, 2020


Saturday Tim and I went on a driving date.  I had not been away from the house for weeks (I do get outside), so we decided that we would take a drive to a wildlife management area.  (We didn't get out of the car)  It was a lovely day to drive.

Our church is sending out study guides and links for us to use on Sunday mornings.  We are preparing for Easter from the book of Isaiah.  It's been good as we read and discuss the scriptures, and sing, too.

I can't believe Easter is next week.

In the evening, Tim made a campfire and some of us went out to sit by it and enjoy the beautiful evening.

I hope your weather is fine today.  We have a chance for rain the next few days, so I'll be savoring the sun today!

Friday, April 3, 2020

Friday Five

This is the first week, I've had trouble with what day it is.  I think it's because Sarah and Tim were both home on Monday, it seemed like it must still be the weekend.

Today's five is photos of things around my living room. 

1. This wire basket (Target Dollar spot last year) with garden books, an antique ball jar with zinc lid and some faux greenery always makes me smile.

2.  This clock stopped working years ago, but it was an anniversary gift we bought for ourselves, so I wanted to keep it.  I painted it with chalk paint and gave it new life.  The books in the photo, are mostly all from our library's used bookstore.  You can buy these books for $4.00 each!

3. This basket for throw blankets is one of the best things ever!

4. My sweet friend Annie  gave me this hand painted sign a few years ago when she and her Momma came for tea.  I treasure this gift, but I treasure the giver even more.

5. My maidenhair fern died, but my ivy lives!  It likes this spot on the bookcase by the big window.

 After dealing with the reality of having to change Rachel's wedding date, etc, yesterday was just a sort of down day for me emotionally.

I'm good now.  I took sometime to be in the Word, and to remember that my Father knows.  I can trust Him, even when I don't understand why.

Today, I am praying for my friend Tammy's daughter Emily.  Emily is a nurse and on the front lines.  My prayer for Emily today is that she would have joy, and be source of encouragement and blessing to her patients.  I'm praying for her health, and that if she does get the virus, that it would be very mild.  Feel free to join me!

Happy Weekend, Friends.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Thinking About Easter

This photo of Kamryn and Kyle came up in my memories on FB yesterday.  He was seven and she was two.  You can tell Easter was early that year, by their Easter baskets on the piano behind them.

I'm thinking about what Easter will look like this year.  It will be different for sure, but I still want to keep some traditions.

I'll get some candy with my groceries, and a ham.  We always have green bean casserole.

Part of my life goals are to be flexible and to adjust to how things are, and not how I want them to be! (sometimes it takes me a while to get there)  It makes for a happier and more contented me.

 Maybe we'll go for a drive after our Easter luncheon, if the weather is fine.  We don't need to stop or come into contact with anyone else, so that's doable.

I think I'll still color some eggs to enjoy.  One of these days, I'll make some pretty decoupage eggs that I can use year after year!

The things I'll miss are all of us gathering here with guests, too, to celebrate the Resurrection. We will still celebrate the it, and rejoice in Jesus victory over death, but it will be a smaller group.  That's okay, really. 

On that day all over the world, Christians will be celebrating, and that is a lot of people.  We are not alone.

What are your plans for Easter, this year?  

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

A Change In Plans

Reality has hit our wedding plans.

We really tried to hold on as long as we could.  Then we decided we'd do a very small wedding on their planned date, and a big reception in August.

However, our governor has extended our county's shelter at home plan until April 30th.  That was kind of the last straw.  Now we can't use our church, or our pastor until after that date.  And that is unless they extend it again! Yikes!

We're looking at dates that work in May.  It will still be a small gathering, we could even do it here potentially. We're planning the larger reception at our original venue, with everyone wearing their wedding clothes, etc.  I think we'll be celebrating many things at that reception!

She goes this week to pick up her dress from the seamstress, they are working on dates with their photographer, I'll be able to order flowers again by the end of the month.  So many details, and everyone affected by this virus.

We had tears last night.  We fought to keep their original date! As the virus hit, and requests came in to stay out of large groups, we made changes to plans, but we kept saying, "But, we're having a wedding on the 25th!" That last bit of hope was crush when the shelter in place until the end of April was extended.

We are still trusting God's goodness and His love for us all.  Weston and Rachel know that even though they don't understand the why, He does!  They know this is part of their life story that God is writing.

March seemed so long this year.  We're hoping the month of April goes by much quicker!

Praying for good health and strength for us all!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Take Every Thought Captive

I woke up this morning pondering a bit of fear I was feeling over potentially getting sick.  I think it is because of the quarantine and stay at home orders, and the way life has so quickly become 'dangerous.' 

I don't want to think this way, and I do limit my intake of news, but I am realizing I need to be even more limiting, even in conversations with other people, because their concerns and fears affect me.

 I was praying about it as I began my morning, and the verse about taking every thought captive came to mind.  A captive is one who is under the control of someone or something else.

I think this is a good practice during these unprecedented days.  I will work to take every thought captive to the truth.

The truth is that God is with us, He will never leave us or forsake us.  He already has numbered our days, He hides us in the shelter of His wings, He fights for us.

King David said in the Psalms - 

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.  (4:8)

And - 

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.   (3:3)

I want to walk in freedom from fear, so that I may be used by God to meet needs.

I hope you all are well.

Do you remember the little wee girl I had you pray for a few months back, maybe even in the late autumn?  This family has the virus, and with three medically fragile kids the mom was taking extra precautions.  However, the medically fragile kids have a mild case, the mom and the other kids who have it are okay, too.  The mom had the worst case, as she had pneumonia also.  *Update* one of the medically fragile kids has pneumonia know.  Please pray!

God is with them and He is with us, too.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday Five

This Five is random things from my week.

1. We kept our granddaughters on Sunday, while their parents helped friends move.  The friends had to move and had hired movers.  The movers cancelled on them, so Nate and Kay helped them all day.  

2. I slow roasted a turkey the other night.  I used some of the meat to make Turkey Packets, and the rest went into the freezer.  Turkey Packets (usually made with chicken) are easy to make.  I put the cooked meat into a mixing bowl with an 8oz block of cream cheese. You can add some onion if you want.  Then take crescent rolls and put two together to make a square/rectangle. Place a scoop of the chicken mixture in the middle of the rectangle and draw the sides up over the chicken mixture.  Drizzle melted butter over them and cook at the temperature and time for the crescent rolls. They are delicious! We served them with a nice green salad.

3. I've been using my essential oils to clean and purify my home.  Plus it smells good!

4. The reality of what my kitchen counter can look like.  Basket for mail and business papers, my diffuser, a big bowl of Cara Cara naval oranges, coffee syrups from the bridal shower, the jar of coffee pods, a Keurig, tea pots, my flower seeds!

5.  My seeds are happy

The weather is warming up nicely here.  I'm going to have to repot some of these seeds or just get them into the ground - soon!

Happy Weekend, Friends!  I'm thinking of you and praying for all!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Finding Motivation

Lorrie, in a comment yesterday, mentioned that she was finding it hard to be motivated.  I totally understood.

It seems crazy because we are home full time right now, at least most of us, and we have lots of time on our hands!  We should be doing all the things we talk about doing if we had the time....

However, we are in an unprecedented time in history.  I can think of no other time when the whole world was taking similar measures to combat something, except perhaps during the Spanish Flu.

All around the world friends are at home, whether they are in Australia, or the UK, or Africa.

I think it's okay to what you need to do each day.  If it's being highly productive, then do it! If it's watching a movie, on the couch, or reading a book, or sitting in your garden, then do it!

There is no shame in feeling vulnerable and being concerned for the future. This doesn't mean we are letting fear control us, it means we are human.

Yesterday, I did school with Kyle (which is mostly overseeing him working independently), watched a movie with Rachel, and reorganized this bookcase.  I felt very accomplished.

 Today, I'm going to wash the fabric that I purchased to make baby quilts for a few grands.  This will be a step forward toward actually sewing the quilts. 

I'm also going to read a new book I bought recently, supervise school, and make dinner.

Today is rainy again.  Yesterday, it rained too, and the sun didn't peak out until I was in the middle of cooking dinner, so I didn't get outside to sit in the sunshine.  If you have sunshine where you are, take advantage of it!  It's good for our mental health!

I hope you are all well.  I read this morning that Prince Charles has the coronavirus but the Duchess of Cornwall does not.  He seems very healthy and I'm sure he'll come through it just fine.  The issue will be weather or not the Queen has been exposed.  At nearly 94 she is in a risk category, but she seems to be very healthy overall too.  

I'm praying for all those who are working in the medical field, those who are sick, and those who are well.  We might be self quarantined but nothing can stop prayer!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
                Romans 15:13

Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord
                              Psalm 31:24

Be of good cheer friends, and don't give into fear.  Let's all do our part to not overwhelm the healthcare system.  Many of us will get sick, but most care can be done at home like we would for a typical virus.  

If we can keep from becoming contagious, and we stay home, we can keep from passing the virus to those who are vulnerable and at risk to have serious complications from it.

The "flattening the curve" aspect means that the virus would hang around in society longer, but it would keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, because people would not be sick all at the same time.

So, don't be afraid, find things to do that bring you joy.  A few months ago I bought some water color paints, paper, and brushes, and I intend to try my hand at being creative with them!  The weather will be mild today, so I will sit on my deck for awhile and if the sun pokes its head out I'll soak up some Vitamin D.

There is a lot to read, things to watch, people to text.  I also have begun to write cards to send in the mail, though I'm thinking about whether people will welcome that at this time.

Let me know what you've been up to during this time of social distancing, and quarantines.  As people have been saying, "We're all in this together...separately!" {grin}

Monday, March 23, 2020

Garden:Seed Update

You may remember that I started flower seeds, for my cottage garden, last Tuesday.  I bought one of these inexpensive 'greenhouse' containers this year.  I've only watered them right after I planted them, so it's doing great to help them stay hydrated.

Imagine my surprise the other day when one of the kids said "Hey! The seeds are coming up!"  And indeed some of them are!

It's going to be so interesting to see how they grow, which ones do the best, if any of the older seeds grow.

How was your weekend?  Ours was good.  This was supposed to be the weekend for the Beauty and The Beast performances.  Sigh.  We had church as a family yesterday morning.  I've only been out from home once in just over a week.  That was to pick up Sarah from work.  Tell you what, people are still loving their CFA!  That drive through was packed!

I'm sure we all have our own opinions about whether anyone should be out and about, and I just have to say that in our family, those who work away from home, are thankful to be able to still be bringing in an income.

We had our three local granddaughters all day yesterday, as Nate and Kay were helping their friends move.  Somethings just still must be done, and this couple needed to be out of their apartment and the moving company cancelled on them.  Otherwise Nate, has been off work.  That is going to hurt them financially, as it will so many others.

We are praying for the virus to end, for the curve to flatten, and for everyone who is ill.  I know we are all in agreement with this!

Home As A Haven

Few things we can do in this world are so well worth doing as the making of a beautiful and happy home. He who does this builds a sanctuary ...