Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Friday, February 28, 2020

Friday Five

This Five I'm talking about five things going on around the cottage.

1. Rachel's bridal shower.  It's happening in two weeks. 

2. Beauty and The Beast.  I'm working on feather duster costumes.

3. Wedding Gifts - Invitations went out and two days later gifts started to arrive!

4. Tea with Friends =

5. Wedding Florals - looking at boutonnieres.

We have just a few weeks before the bridal shower, the next week is Beauty and the Beast, the weekend after Sarah and Tim will be going to a prayer conference at the school Sarah will be attending in the fall.  Then we're on to Easter and the wedding in April.

I've learned that it will all get done!  His grace is sufficient for my need!

Happy Friday Friends!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Home Keeping: New Recliner For The Living Room

We finally have replaced all the broken furniture.  We looked around this past weekend for a chair to replace a small scale recliner, and couldn't find anything we liked.  So we looked online, and found this one.  It has all the comfort my reclining loving family members want, and the style I love.

I really like the nailhead trim on this chair!

Today is Ash Wednesday.  We don't practice Lent, in our faith tradition, but I wanted something to read as preparation for Easter this year, and found this book a few months ago.  I'm a fan of C.S. Lewis and am looking forward to reading it.

From the inside book cover

" Preparing for Easter is a collection of beautiful gems discovered amidst Lewis's essays, poems, letters, and other works that are not as familiar to most of his readers.  But all of them serve the same purpose that pervades Lewis's work, the goal of going "further up and further in" in our relationship with God."

I trust that as we prepare our hearts and look to Easter, that foremost in our mind is that Christ gave his live, willingly, out of love.  There is nothing we can do to earn it.  Salvation is a gift of God.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Tea on Tuesday

I’m posting from my iPad today, because Tim is on the main computer. He’ll be leaving soon to do inspections, but I’d like to get this post out before 10:00 am.

I bought this tea cup while antiquing with Cheryl from Thinking About Home and our husbands.  I love having such a beautiful reminder of time spent with someone dear to me.

I’m going to tea tomorrow with friends.  One of my friends lives four hours away and when she comes, we try to get together for tea.  I love the specialness of time at a tea room. Drinking tea, eating scones, and lovely little sandwiches.

I’m grateful for opportunities to spend with friends, aren’t you? They’re such a gift from God!

I’ll try to get some photos and share them next week for Tea on Tuesday.

In other news, we replaced our broken recliner, with a nice brown leather library style chair that reclines.  I’ll share it with you tomorrow, since it just arrived and it’s so grey and rainy today!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Monday Musings

The morning light coming in through various windows caught my attention today.  It's around 7:00 am and I've been back from taking Sarah to work for an hour.  

I've been thinking about the message at church yesterday about how satan tries to deceive us.  One big area is that he tries to get us to believe that God does not delight in nor is He committed in doing good to me.

I struggled with this for many years.  However, God's word says that He takes delight in me, and rejoices over me.

The Lord your God is in your midst,    a mighty one who will save;he will rejoice over you with gladness;    he will quiet you by his love;he will exult over you with loud singing.
                                                                       Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

The NIV says

The Lord your God is with you,    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.

Growing up, I kind of had the feeling that God was only pleased with me or loved me if I did what He wanted.  That'd been my experience with people, so it seemed like that was the way God was, too.

But the God's word says that he loved me before the foundation of the world and that He loves me because He loves me, not because I do everything right.

Isn't it cool that the one who made us and fashioned us just how He wanted us to be, loves us with such grace?

 I know that it helps me to be free to be who He's created me to be, regardless of my circumstances, or personal struggles.

My God delights in me, and He delights in you, too!

The second month of the year is nearly over, can you believe it?

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

What Do You Think?

I really appreciated all the wonderful comments on my blog in the last few weeks, especially the personal ones.  You're all so very kind, and I'm delighted to be your friend.

We addressed the wedding invitations last night!  We have a challenge and I'd love to hear your thoughts.  The groom has a lot of relatives and we are wondering where to draw the line (or if we can).   There are many cousins he doesn't really know and then there is the issue of his cousins' children. 

I'm in the camp that you don't need to invite people that you don't really know, even if they are related to you, and especially not their children. 

I didn't grow up with my cousins, and don't know them. So while I invited my aunt and uncle to my wedding, I didn't invite their children.  With my kids' weddings, even my aunt and uncle weren't invited.  They don't live in the same state and my children barely know them.

With the costs for weddings being what they are, I feel that you should invite people that you know and really care to have there to celebrate with you.  You shouldn't have to leave people, you really want to come, off your invitation list, because you feel obligated to invite someone because they are related to you. This is, of course, when you are trying to keep your numbers down.  We are well over 200 right now.

We also know that not everyone invited will be able to attend.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Tea On Tuesday

This is almost all of my tea cups, I have 9 in my trough on my kitchen table, and only a few of my tea pots. In fact the ones on the bottom shelf are very small and I don't usually use them.

It gives me great delight to have collected these, either by my own purchase at antique or thrift stores, or to have been given them as a gift.  

I use them yearly for the teas I host either in my home or at church.  

I also have some petite tea cups that I use when I have small children to tea.  They love them and are very careful with them.

For me having a nice tea party is not about stuffiness, or being old fashioned.  It's the chance to connect with others, to treat yourself to a unique experience.

“Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea! How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.”
― Sydney Smith, A memoir of the Rev. Sydney Smith

“Some people will tell you there is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims

“While there is tea, there is hope.”
― Arthur Wing Pinero, Sweet Lavender - A Comedy in Three Acts.

“Tea! Bless ordinary everyday afternoon tea!”
― Agatha Christie

I hope you have a lovely day, and a chance to have a cup of tea!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Flowers, Flowers Everywhere

We ended up with lots of flowers in our home this weekend!  On Friday I picked up two small mixed bouquets of flowers from Aldi! I was craving fresh flowers.

Tim brought me a lovely bouquet for Valentine's Day...

I went into my bedroom to find that Rachel had bought me a bouquet of roses...

Then Wes came and brought Rachel a beautiful bouquet!

We are all enjoying the beautify effect of fresh flowers in the house!

I hope you had a lovely weekend.  Ours was cold, but sunny, and the sun is shining today, too!  It's been a mild but grey winter, so I always make note when the sun is shining!

We spent yesterday afternoon with friends.  Remember praying for my friend Jen?  She is doing well in her recovery.  We brought pizza, they provided everything else and we all had a wonderful time. Kids played, young adults kids visited and played games, the adults visited, enjoyed grandbabies, used a computer program to layout the reception space for Rachel and Wes' wedding.  Good times!

We'll be working on addressing invitations this week!  Very exciting!  68 days until the wedding!  Lots to do but we have it well in hand.  There have been crazy things that have happened - for example we now have to set up the wedding the morning of instead of the evening before - but God has got all the details!  

Trusting that this will be a great week.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Friday Five

Happy Valentine's Day, and Happy Friday Five!

1. The wedding invitations have arrived! (the lighting makes them look yellowish but they are white background)

2. The ottoman I purchased from Target online arrived and it perfect. Being short can make it hard to sit comfortably on furniture and this ottoman makes it easy!

3. I set up our parents room at our co-op yesterday to celebrate Valentine's Day early.  It was fun.

 4. I ordered Erin Benzakein's new book and decided to order her first book as well.  The first book arrived yesterday, and I'm loving it.  I see them as an investment in my wedding florals business.

5. Because she's so cute and sweet - Kaidence has begun to crawl.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.  I think I will be sewing costumes for Beauty and the Beast.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Home Keeping: Ottoman

I am short. Just about 5' tall. Most years of my life, I was very flexible and just curled up on the furniture rather than have my legs dangle down with out touching the floor properly.

But in the last 5 years I've had lower back issues, and right now I'm having an issue with my left knee.  We had a love seat that was a dual recliner, so I sat in that for several years and solved the lack of being able to 'curl up' on the furniture. Until that piece of furniture didn't work properly anymore.

So we got lovely new chairs from Ikea.  They make an ottoman that matches it but I didn't like the look of it, so we didn't buy it.  I've been using a toddler chair to prop my feet on which is fine, but when my knee hurts it was hard to ice it without my leg being out flatter. (hope this makes sense)

My solution was to have the coffee table brought up close to the chair and put my legs up on that.  No problem until I had to get up.  Then someone had to move the very heavy coffee table so I could move!

Sunday night I finally took the situation in hand and searched the internet for an ottoman.  I found one at Target.  It came yesterday.

I took this photo nearly right away!

This morning I took a few more photos of it.

The lid is removable for storage, too.

It's perfect and I'm glad to have found something stylish and affordable!

My short legs are happy, too!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Tea On Tuesday

I read an interesting article online yesterday that said in Britain traditional black tea drinking was going out of style as more young people were turning to coffee and herbal teas.  {here}

It's sad to think of and yet, in my own family, most are coffee drinkers. I certainly hope companies don't close.  The price of regular tea could skyrocket if there are fewer sources to buy from. And what happens to economies that depend on tea growing?  I guess we'll have to wait and see.

I don't drink coffee, but I do enjoy many kinds of tea, including chai.  And I drink both hot and iced teas.  When my girls want to go to Starbucks, I order either a hot or iced chai latte.  Yum!

The article I linked said that young people want experiences, and I believe that's true.  So how do we go about giving young people tea experiences?  Perhaps companies need to be more innovative with teas, both flavors and preparation.  I've seen people use a french press for tea, and I think that's brilliant!

Maybe young people think only of tea as formal tea parties (which you know I love!).  Maybe they don't see how it can be casual with food, and warming, and relaxing!

What do you think?

For me I'm going to do my part in saving the tea market.  I'm brewing a pot of tea as I type this post!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Thoughts On Aging

 A funny thing has happened.  I've gotten older!  I've been busy raising kids, and still am, but somewhere along the way I've gained weight, gotten some grey hair, and some age spots have joined my freckles.

I'm a grandmother of 7 - one of whom is in heaven, one is still in the womb, and five are growing up quickly.

How does this happen?  

James 4:14 says - Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.  You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

At 56 I can see the truth of that verse in ways I couldn't when I was 26.  I think my mother in law at age 98 thinks her life has been just a vapor, too!

We're given a finite amount of time, and only God knows the length of that time.  (Psalm 139:16)  What I have tried to do for the last 40 years, is to not worry about my future, but to trust it to the ONE who holds it all in His hands.  This is not always easy. I'm a planner and a fixer and I like to help God out from time to time. (grin)

I'm trying to stay away from sugar and too many carbohydrates, I'm eating healthy fats.  I'm drinking more water. Trying to move more, which is a challenge with a soft tissue issue with my left knee.  I try to stretch each day.

I take good care of my skin, I always have, though I don't exfoliate as often as I should.  I use Lacura products which I buy at Aldi, but they are available on Amazon. You can click the source button under the photo for the link.

These are all physical things but I think the most important thing as I age is to keep a cheerful spirit.  To keep serving others, and trying to encourage others. It also helps to keep learning, and to spend time with people who are doing the same things.

That's the main reason I keep blogging and reading blogs.  You all are so interesting and I learn from you every week. We discuss ideas, recipes, projects, family, life. It keeps my brain young!

When I started blogging 13 years ago, Kyle wasn't two years old yet, and all my children still lived at home.  By September this year, Kyle will be 15 and the only kid living at home full time!

These last 13 years have been packed full of life, but they've flown by, and those years are gone like a vapor. Here one moment, and then it has dissipated.

In the Fellowship of the Ring, a conversation takes place between Frodo and Gandalf -

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tolkien – The Fellowship of The Ring

I've loved this quote for many years because the truth of it reasonates with me. I do not know why things happen, or why I was born in these days, but God does, and truly all I have to do is decide what I am going to do with the time that God has given to me.

I'm a firm believer that He has created each one of us for His purposes, and has placed us in exactly the time period He wants us to be in the history of the world.  

I put both photos in this post, because they are both me.  This bottom one is grainier - taken in much lower light in the house verses the one taken in the van.  My hair is longer in this second photo, too. (I'm getting it cut tomorrow) 

However I look when you see me, I hope that you see a woman walking in grace, and extending grace to others.  I want you to see an encourager, a kind woman, a friend.  Not because I'm so wonderful, but because God has been graciously changing my life over the last 40 years.

I hope you see Him, when you see me.  If that happens then I'll be aging with grace, and what better way to age?

Friday, February 7, 2020

Friday Five: Reading Edition

Today's five is about things that I have been reading.  If you like tea, gardening, beauty, the Queen, and daily devotions, like I do, prepare to be inspired.

1. Brenda recommended this book a few weeks back.  I found it for about $5 online and have enjoyed the chapters I've read so far.  The author talked 13 women while they had tea together and found out about their lives.  Very enjoyable. 

2. The only magazine I still subscribe to is Victoria.  When Hoffman Media took over publishing this beautiful magazine, it went back to its tried and true format. (there were several years when Hearst tried making it more of a monthly woman's magazine. shudder)

3. This beautiful booklet arrived from David Austin Roses.  When I signed up I thought it would just be their yearly catalog.  It is so much more.  There are tips on growing roses, a guide to the sizes of their shrub roses (I have a few that are going to be bigger than I anticipated!), guide to fragrance, how to plant etc.  It's full of beauty and garden inspiration.

4. I'm enjoying Angela Kelly's book.  It is a fascinating look at how clothing is chosen for events, how they are designed, behind the scenes of the care of items such as the garter robe, the state robe (worn to the opening of Parliment).  It's easy and enjoyable reading.

5. I haven't mentioned this book recently, so I thought I'd put it here in my five.  Paul Tripp's daily devotional is excellent and encouraging.  I highly recommend it.

It's been fairly gloomy here in Lancaster County.  Thankfully we've had pretty mild temperatures and so we are getting mostly rain and not tons of snow!  Much easier for driving!

Sarah is fever free, and back to work today.  She's going to be exhausted this evening but she can get to bed early.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

I Think I've Been In A Slump

Have you ever felt as if you've been busy, you've had creative outlets: freshening up your home, sewing, and wedding planning, but you just feel kind of blah?

That's been me.  Frankly, I've been in a slump.  I feel unmotivated, and some days haven't done much, except the basic necessities.

I think that it's partly the emotions of separation that I am feeling.  Rachel is getting married in April and in her heart she's already gone.  This is normal and good.  We are very happy for her and Wes.  It does, however, create a bit of an emotional wrench for me because I'm trying to have time with her before she leaves our home to create her own.

I have lots of adjustments to make this year, a daughter marrying, a new grandbaby, a daughter going to school in the fall, being at home with just Tim and Kyle, who is on the cusp of manhood.

I am beginning to come out of the slump because I recognize I've been in one.  I've done some rearranging in my bedroom, changed up the table on the deck, read two books.


Now for some personal work.  I'm nearly back on track with my eating plan, but on days I'm feeling my slump, I eat off plan and that doesn't help with my slumpiness, if you know what I mean.

I'm getting my hair cut next week. I've been wearing it a bit longer and fuller, but I'm going back to something like this.

I've ordered some dresses to try for the wedding.  I will not be wearing bling or a long dress.  The wedding is in the afternoon, so I'll likely just be wearing a pretty dress.

I'm planning to join a friend soon for tea. Maybe more than one friend for multiple teatimes!  

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Wedding Planning: Updates

I want to keep a running update here on the blog for our planning of Rachel and Wes' wedding. 

They've had their engagement photos done with their wedding photographer - 

We have the dress - 

As I mentioned before, we bought it online and I purchased a size up from her normal size.  This ensured that we could have the dress fitted properly.  The seamstress mentioned that I did the right thing buying a size up, because many dresses bought online don't have extra in the seams to take the dress out if needed. Fit is an area that was important to Rachel.

Also the seamstress noticed a pucker in the under layer, and has taken care of that along with being able to shorten the front of the dress (so Rachel doesn't trip) without losing the lace detail on the bottom of the dress.  She's also putting in hooks and loops to bustle the dress for the reception.

We have the flower girl dresses - 

The flower girls are Kamryn, Isla, and Klaire.  Kamryn is 6 years older than Isla and Klaire, so her dress is a bit different than theirs, but they are all the same color.


This is a photo of the little girls dresses.

We have our venue, our menu planned out, a caterer, a plan for the cake.

We are working on what kind of flowers for bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages.  There will be peonies!  I will order them in early April and we are going to do the flowers ourselves.

We have a plan for decor.  Its going to be fresh and simple. The reception tables are rectangle seating 10 people so we are going with glass vases that will hold a flower and greens and will use about 6-8 per table so that the flowers go down the middle of the table rather than one centerpiece.

Here is an image from Pinterest of the idea - 

120 blush bud small vases down long farm table by San diego wedding florist tiny victories at sacred mountain julian ethereal garden wedding elegant vibes

We cannot buy the paper goods, plates, flat ware, cups or napkins until we get the rsvp's back in March.

The invitations have been ordered.  My friend Amy has designed all of my kids wedding invitations. She even made a custom logo for Lindsay and Joseph's wedding.  

We're looking at table markers, and Tim is making a focal point for behind the bride and groom during the ceremony. 

I'm looking for a white dress shirt and new tie for Tim, a dress for me.  Kyle has what he is going to wear, though he probably will need shoes.

We have 81 days until the big day, and I feel like we are on track to get everything done.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Monday, Monday

I kind of disappeared at the end of last week, didn't I?

I often don't post on Thursdays, that's our co-op day, but I completely missed Friday Five.  I partly missed it because I was recovering from my second round of the nasty cough and I hadn't been taking any photos.  No new photos are not good for a blog.  I also didn't blog because, we had an appointment with the seamstress who is fitting Rachel's dress.

Saturday, Tim, Wes, Rachel and I went to breakfast which was a nice time to spend with them.  They've been busy between work, and doing wedding things, having pre-marital counseling, meeting up with friends so we haven't had much time together lately.  Breakfast was a good time.

That evening the men in our family, along with some friends went to a wild game dinner at my parents church.  So, Sarah, Rachel and I went to see Little Women. (the girls hadn't seen it yet)  They loved it and it was fun to see it with them.  We tried out a new theater in our area, that serves food, that you can eat during the movie.

Yesterday, was church, then we met up with my parents to have lunch at a local Mickey D's.  This one has a huge play area, and since we take Kamryn and Klaire to church with us, we can feed them and let them play afterwards.  We enjoyed sometime with my parents before heading home.

We are not generally Super Bowl watchers.  We watched a movie with Sarah, who then went to spend sometime with friends at a Super Bowl party.  Wes and Rachel were at his brothers' house, so Tim and I took the opportunity to watch an episode of the new season of Vera on Britbox.  We, of course, had a cuppa.

Today, Tim is home gathering the tax stuff, Sarah is home with a fever, and I will probably go out to run some errands.  The sun is shining and I am going to enjoy it as much as I can.

Have a great day!

Information Friday, On Saturday

  Well, I was all set to do a post yesterday, but I had trouble uploading my photos. I really thought I'd get it done in the evening, bu...