Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

At least I think so.

My favorite holiday season is upon us.  We had a delightful day yesterday, feasting and reveling in God's goodness to us.  It's unmerited favor.  We know it and are so thankful for His grace.

 Love these guys, so much.  We're proud of them.

 The lovebirds.  Their wedding is now 12 weeks away.

My beautiful kids

Dad and Mom.

So thankful for our family, and our friend Denny, who spent the day with us.  He's family too.

Emma and I are headed out early to get groceries (all we have in the house is thanksgiving leftovers, and that won't last long around here!), and then we will begin decorating.  

We are savoring our time as a family as this next year will bring so much change.  Nate and Kay will soon be in their own place, likely planning a wedding, Joseph and Lindsay are getting married in March, Emily will be headed to Bible School in the Autumn.  

Lots of change but it's all good.

I thought of you all last night and today as we were cooking.  Thinking of you preparing your food for the meals you were sharing with others today.  I trust is was a blessing to you as it was to me, to be making a feast for our family to celebrate and be thankful.  I'd love to hear about it!

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness

It's Quiet In The House

I am thankful for this quiet, this morning.

I am preparing my heart, for the coming holidays.  For communicating Thankfulness to my family (and for my family) and for gearing up for the JOY of the Christmas season.

I'm making a last minute run to the store, and then the cooking begins with pies.  I am making Chocolate Surprise Pie and Rachel has been requested to make her fresh apple pie.  She found the recipe on Pinterest and basically you bake a pie crust, chop up Snickers and put into pie crust, slice apples into the crust,  drizzle with caramel sauce, put whipped cream on top and maybe drizzle with chocolate sauce, whatever she does with it, it's really good!  I'll have her give me the exact recipe if you want it.

We are having a family day tomorrow, with my parents, of course, Uncle Denny and our nieces Carrie and Shelly coming by sometime tomorrow.  Our niece Kaitlin will be with us for the first time EVER on Thanksgiving!  So fun!

Tonight my turkey goes into the oven to slow roast overnight!  Here is a post where I explain how to do this.  Everyone who tries this method, loves it.  I love it because it makes Thanksgiving Day so easy!

I am thinking of you friends, each preparing food for a meal of thanksgiving with family and dear ones.  I'm praying for those of you who have suffered loss, that your hearts will find comfort in the Comforter.  I love you all.

Like the Pilgrims of long ago who journeyed out into the unknown holding on to God, we too, are headed into unknown territory as a nation.  I am trusting in the One who holds it all in His hands.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Let's Talk Wedding Plans, Shall We?

I am endeavoring to keep a record here of the many ways that God provides just what we need for the wedding, so I am going to tell you that Lindsay found her dress and we have it in our possession!

This was a concern for me as all the shops mention how you need like 5 months to order your dress.  We don't have 5 months, so I knew we were going to have to find it at a consignment shop or buy a sample.  A sample is simply a dress they have in the shop for girls to try on, and then order in their size.  Fortunately Lindsay fits the sample size perfectly, and they were willing to sell it to us at a discount, because others have tried it on!  The only alteration that she needs is a bit of adjustment in the shoulders and for length.What a blessing!  Big sigh of relief from the mama here!

We bought her dress at a shop recommended to me by a friend whose son got married this past summer.  Classic Weddings in Lititz, Pennsylvania was a delightful experience.  They are very professional and yet personal.  My mom, myself, Emma, Rachel and Sarah all went with Lindsay and it was fun!  Sarah said, "I want to give my opinion, but I don't want to be like those people on 'Say Yes To The Dress.'"  If you've not seen that show, lets just say that some people have their own idea of what the bride should wear, even if it is not what the bride likes.  Awesome thing here?  The bride's favorite was also our favorite!  

Lindsay and I are going to look at a church this morning.  We already have our favorite and it seems as if this is just a formality to say that we looked at several, when in reality, I think we should have just booked the one we like!

With these two things accomplished I will breathe a bit easier knowing that two major things are done.  The next thing is to find bridesmaid dresses.  Lindsay is having Emma as her maid of honor, Rachel, and Joseph's sister Laura as bridesmaids, and then Sarah and Joseph's sister Jane, as junior bridesmaids.  She took them all to tea last week and asked them.  They were very excited. The big issue, besides the fact that the majority of bridesmaid dresses are um, well let's just say too short and lacking material up top, there is a vast difference in the bridesmaids ages and maturity.  Emma is the oldest at 19 and the other two bridesmaids are 14.  The maturity gap is 5 years, and we don't want the younger girls to look like they are wearing dresses meant for someone older.  Then we have two junior bridesmaids who are girls yet, so we are thinking that we will, at least for the bridesmaids, and junior bridesmaids, buy a bolt of fabric and find patterns to suit them.  They would match by wearing the same length and fabric and will look fine.  Emma as maid of honor can wear a different style completely but hopefully the same color.  This is the next thing I want settled. We have 12 weeks to go.

I am also trying to get an idea for the tables.  I am looking online at elegant but disposable plates.  Trying to decide if we want plates that look like china or the kind that look like clear glass.  Do you have any recommendations for me?  

Once the holidays are over we'll be on the fast track to the wedding.  Thanks for coming along for the ride!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Count Your Blessings

Thank you for praying for my cousin, Lisa.  She says, "My faith in God is holding me up."  I know that in the days to come she will be tempted to "curse God and die" as Job was encouraged to do.   The enemy of our souls loves to come into the midst of our pain, and bring more hurt, in the form of doubt and accusation.  I want to remember to up hold her in prayer in the days to come as I am now.  Her son's funeral is today at 2:00pm, so this will be another horrible day for her and the family.

This song was on my mind this morning.  This is a "lighthearted" style hymn that I grew up singing in church, but the words are true.    I feel like with the truths of this song, it should be sung with a more majestic tune.  Do you all know this song?

  1. When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
    When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
    Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
    And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
    • Refrain:
      Count your blessings, name them one by one,
      Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
      Count your blessings, name them one by one,
      *Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.
      [*And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.]
  2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
    Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
    Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
    And you will keep singing as the days go by.
  3. When you look at others with their lands and gold,
    Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
    Count your many blessings—*money cannot buy [*wealth can never buy]
    Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
  4. So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
    Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
    Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
    Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

I love songs that tell about God character, goodness, mercy, love…and not the ones that talk about me and how I am going to worship him or love him or lift him up…I will fail and He never can. 

During this week that focuses on Thanksgiving, I always work to be deliberate in our focus of thankfulness for what we have, especially since we are headed into the season of what we want.  I don't mean to say that we demand or have things we think we deserve, but I always want my children to learn to 'Count their blessings.'  

When they start to grumble about things, I try to remind them that compared to most of the world we are wealthy beyond imagination!  Why each of us have our own beds - with pillows, and warm blankets.  We have four bedrooms and two bathrooms IN THE HOUSE!  Hot water, too, with a turn of the knob.  Add to that clothes, shoes, coats, hats, toys, computers, music and musical instruments, our health…well, you can see our blessings.  We are overflowing with them.

It's humbling to be so well cared for.

How about you?  Care to share your blessings?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Prayer Request

There is so much happiness going on around here and so much I want to share with you.  But…

My cousin's son died yesterday, a month short of his 21st birthday. My heart is broken for my sweet cousin Lisa and her family.  

So today, I will just ask for you to pray for her and her family.  Ask the Lord to comfort her, and to use this sorrowful thing to bring the rest of her family to Himself.  Our lives are like a vapor, and though He knows the our days from beginning to end, we do not!

I'll be back on Monday. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November Note Card Party

I love this Note Card Party!  It's so fun and Vee is the "hostess with the mostest!"  If you have a blog, I hope you'll join us in the fun.  I have met nice friends through this party!

This month is all about Thanksgiving and God's goodness and provision, so I wanted to use images that would allow me to put words with them to express my heart of gratitude!

 These first three I tried to think of text that I might like on a card to both be encouraging and express thankfulness.

This last one is pure praise to the One who is worthy of all praise!

Thanks for joining me today!

Monday, November 18, 2013

I'm Overwhelmed

My friends, tonight I am so overwhelmed by God's grace and goodness.  

The other night Tim and I were talking about our very small budget for Lindsay's wedding and I said, "We just need to pray for God to give us good ideas for a simple but lovely wedding."  

As you know I asked on the blog about a morning wedding and afternoon reception, thinking to keep expenses down by not having to serve a meal to 200 people.  I got a lot of great feedback and decided to do what I was the most comfortable doing which was a brunch reception right after the ceremony.  This was very doable to our budget and I had a plan for having a quiche making party at our house a few weeks before the wedding!

Then today, I got a call that changed everything.  My friends Amy and Bonnie had been scheming together and brought Becky in on it too.

They want to give us the reception as a gift.  Yes, you read that right. As their gift to Lindsay and Joseph they want to take care of the whole reception, planning the food (after getting a menu from Lindsay) setting it up, running it the day of the wedding, and paying for it.  

Tears came to my eyes as my precious friend Amy explained all this to me.  God is so amazing, and our dear brothers and sisters at our church are such a blessing.  We're a family through and through. 

I also have another friend Susan, who does beautiful things with flowers.  She offered to make all the bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages for the wedding, and flowers for the sanctuary.  We will cover the cost of the flowers but she will arrange it all and have them ready to go, as a gift to us.  This is such a blessing, because I love to do flowers but as the mother of the bride I think it could be stressful to have to be doing that the day before the wedding.

I am still overwhelmed.  But I am thankful and learning to accept my Father's provision and goodness to me, his daughter.

Now, onto finding a location and a dress.  I am not stressed.  My God will provide everything we need.  I am so glad you are on this journey with me.  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I'm Looking For Opinions….

Wedding planning is in HIGH GEAR here.

I wanted to ask you for an opinion on idea.  Is it acceptable to have a morning wedding and then have a dessert reception scheduled at a different location for mid-afternoon?

The bride and groom are wanting time to do photos with bridal party and family, without having their guest waiting for them at a reception site.  They do NOT want to see each other before the wedding.  Joseph wants his first look at her on the day to be her coming down the aisle.

I think this is acceptable - we would do something like a boxed lunch for the family and bridal party at the photography site, and it would give family a change to celebrate before sharing them with all their guests.

Okay, bring on the opinions.  Would you be offended by the break in time for the wedding and reception?  Would you be offended that their was not going to be a meal?

Friday, November 15, 2013


It had been in the planning stages for weeks.  Secret meetings, and texts had been going back and forth, all culminating in this one amazing day - Joseph proposed and Lindsay said "Yes!"

She said she wondered slightly if something was up, since they went to an early lunch and then to Longwood Gardens (where he popped the question), and she's on a break from Sight and Sound but he had to take the day off from work.  But she said she had thought last week when they went out to dinner at a really nice restaurant and they things they talked about, that he was going to propose that night!

So she wasn't really thinking "today's the day," but when you are in love,  you start anticipating that it's going to happen sooner rather than later!

Here is a photo they took of themselves at Longwood, after they became engaged!

I didn't edit this one at all wanted to keep the colors and oncoming evening in the photo.  Her is her ring.

Part of the planning was for them to come back to our house, as they normally would and having a family party.  Now with 15 people in his immediate family, 3 sets of grandparents, seven of us,  Nate, Kayleigh and Kamryn, my niece Kaitlin, and Denny and our Pastor Mike, we had 34 people here!

 Sweet sign made by Joseph's siblings.  Laura did the lettering and the younger boys colored them in.

We had a toast and a time of prayer for them.  

We are rejoicing in the Lord's goodness, and faithfulness to both Joseph and Lindsay.  They both have waited, trusting Him to meet the desires of their hearts and He did.  Big Time.  They are so suited to one another.

Now to decide on a date.  Lindsay said "Tomorrow works for me," and my Mom said "I think the weather is going to be good on Tuesday!"  (smiles)  Don't look for this couple to wait a year or even six months.  They've waited, they're prepared and they are ready!

We couldn't be happier for them and for us.  We are gaining a son, and his family is dear to us.  

Let the planning begin!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Autumn Sunset

Event though the leaves are almost gone from the trees, there is such beauty this time of year.  I like the changing seasons.  I like to see the fields laying barren - resting.  

Last Friday I was driving home after grocery shopping and dropping Rachel at the home where she babysits.  I love to drive on the back roads and see the farms settling in for winter to come.

As I turned out onto the main road that would bring me home, I saw this.

 Between my dirty windshield and the position of the sun it was so hard to see, but it was so beautiful, that I held my phone up against the steering wheel and snapped a few photos.

All I did to these photos was to crop them a tiny bit.

We don't see many sunsets from our house.  We have hills around us and live in a bit of a hollow, or as the kids say a "ditch."  We really enjoy them when we can really see them.

I hope you are enjoying the Autumn.  I know I am.  The crisp days, now getting to be cold days, soft sunlight, fires in the wood stove, blustery winds with leaves blowing around the ground.

Sigh…so much to love.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Home Economics Class - Big Project

The girls and I have been busy with a project for our home economics class.

We are helping our friends, who do the class with us, to make over three rooms in their house.  This is a big job but it's been fun, too.

One week we had a planning meeting.  What did they want to do in these rooms.  The girls had been sharing a room and were now going to each have their own room, and we were going to make a family room in the space off the kitchen.

These friends life in a huge house, but it is a rental and they don't have the option to paint right now, so all color is coming in through curtains, bedding, throw rugs etc.

We shopped on Monday and then went over yesterday and set up the new bedroom, which is the older sisters room and see wanted a light, tropical feel to her room.  

We also were able to find a sheer curtain in this exact color for her window.  It looks so pretty.  We also found a piece of canvas print art that has tropical huts and a gorgeous ocean with similar colors to her bedding.  This room is really coming together, and she has a color jar this color and is planning to get some shells from her grandmother's house to bring home and use in her room.  

The second sister is an lover of horses and the outdoors so her room is going toward a western theme.  We are going to have to order her bedding online because we can't find anything suitable locally.

She is keeping the large room that was shared by the sisters.  We moved furniture around in here and hung up some of her accessories, but it won't be finished until the bedding is here and we need to find curtains.

This room is coming together and really suits the girl who lives in this room.  She is a girl who doesn't like change at all.  She was reluctant to have us move the furniture, and wasn't sure what she thought about it all.  But before we left she really liked it.

Their mom sent me these photos from her phone, and I don't have any photos of the space that is going to be a family room.  But we cleared a lot of stuff out of that space yesterday, and it is ready to be worked on.  We are looking for a few leather love seats for this space, and we have a red cabinet and a beautiful area rug, and red curtains.  It is going to be warm and cozy in this space and perfect for hanging out in the heart of the home - the kitchen area!

The girls are learning so much.  Budgeting, planning, how to use color in a space.  They are learning how to arrange seating, the use of an area rug to anchor a space, to think outside the box and to use things that you love in your rooms.

It's fun, exciting and exhausting!  

What are your thoughts?  Any suggestions for things to cover with the girls on this project?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Home Keeping - Dish Love

I've mentioned my love of dishes a time or two, though this last year, we passed on to Goodwill some of my less loved dishes.  I do not have tons of dishes, but I do have red plates, white plates and bowls, white china plates with a silver rim, and Pfaltzgraff Winterberry plates that I bought from the outlet 19 years ago for about $3.00 a plate.

Yesterday, I found a pattern that I have been eyeing for a long time, but the cost has been prohibitive.  I am a thrifty shopper, my white china was bought several years ago at Target on clearance after Christmas.  Twelve plates cost me $12.99!  I am not one to go out and spend, spend, spend.

Do you want to know what pattern I found?

Ah! It's The Friendly Village by Johnson Brothers!  I only bought two dinner plates, two salad plates and two bowls, but I am planning to get more.  I'd be happy with just the dinner plates.  The price of these beauties were only $3.99 a piece and I had a 20% off coupon!  I was so excited.  Rachel says she knows what she's getting me for Christmas!

We host a lot of meals in our home, for example this Thanksgiving we will have 20 people for the meal, so I don't really feel badly for collecting dishes.  We use them! 

 Now don't get me wrong, on Sundays we've resorted to paper plates, but for many years we did regular dishes, because it is easy to wash plates, but many people are uncomfortable if they come to a large gathering and the hostess has 'real' dishes out.  So paper it is for Sundays. 

 And while I am pretty casual about meals on Christmas Day, Thanksgiving is all about the meal, so we go all out with real dishes and fancy place settings.  I may ask for these dishes as an early Christmas gift so we can all enjoy The Friendly Village.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Winner Is…

Here are the names in the hat….


Ginny, please send me your contact information and I'll pass it along to Melissa and let the two of you work out all the details!

I know you'll love whatever item you choose!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

You're Going To Love This - Giveaway!

When we were in Florida in September, we went to a Lilla Rose house party that my niece was hosting.

I didn't expect to buy anything as my hair is fine, though curly, and most hair 'things' fall slide off easily.  Well, the consultant let us try them on and do different hair styles with them, and I found that the mini flexi worked great in my hair and that the headband did not slide off my head!  My girls ended up liking several things too so we placed our order and have been happy with it.

Then my niece Melissa became a consultant.  She asked if I'd like to host a blog giveaway and because I know how great these products are, I said "Yes!"

So here is the deal - The winner of this drawing will get to pick a flexi or other product worth $16.00!  There is a lot to choose from in this price range.

Here are some photos of Melissa and her sister Crystal wearing some flexis.

To see more product click on the Lilla Rose to go to Melissa's business page.

So how do you go about entering this giveaway?

I like simple.  Go to Melissa's page - click on the go shopping link at the upper right hand corner and see what Lilla Rose has to offer.

Come back here and leave a comment about a product you liked.  If you are the winner you are not obligated to pick this item, but just let me know what you found interesting or pretty etc.

Simple.  Easy.  

Melissa is a sweetheart.  If you have any questions you can feel free to contact her through her Lilla Rose website.   Also she blogs at Life Through My Lens, and is a wife and a Momma to two delightful Hobbits.

We'll draw the winner on Monday.

Happy Entering!


  We are finally getting some blue skies with real clouds, and sunshine! I took sometime with Kyle and Kamryn's help to set up the deck ...