Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A Bit Of Creativity

So, I've taken my own advice about being creative, and I wanted to show you what I've done.

I moved this dry sink from our sitting area in the basement, to my bedroom at Christmas time, and this is what it looked like.  

Sometime after this photo I added my antique mirror.

I did take all the holiday greens and lights down in January, but the silver and candles were still there.  The other day I had the idea to try something a bit different for a master bedroom.

I decided that I would try some of my plants on the dry sink.  I really like it.  The ficus spends the winter and spring next to our sliding doors to the deck.  He likes it there, lots of natural light, but he's always in the way of the door sliding and the kitchen aide mixer in the corner by the stairs.

It remains to be seen whether he'll be happy in my bedroom.  It does get nice light in there, so I'm hoping he likes it there.  I usually move him outdoors in the summer.

I like moving this around, so if the plants aren't happy in this space, I will dream up some other configuration for the dry sink,

So, what do you think?  Have you had sparks of creativity? I'd love to hear it!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Hospitality, Or The Lack Thereof

I have really missed people, other than my immediate people, of course.  We are used to having young people in and out of the house, and also having our own friends over on a Sunday afternoon.

I didn't realize how much until I was reading in "At Home In Mitford," by Jan Karon. (I'm wanting to re-read the whole series)  In chapter four called "Company Stew" Father Tim plans and hosts a dinner party.

He invites 5 people, which will make 6 for dinner including him.  He prepares for 8, but can't think of two other people to come with the guests he already has invited.  Its a happy thing, because somehow Uncle Billy and Miss Rose have heard about his dinner party and just happy to show up in time for dinner!  

I chuckled, and laughed along with the guests at Uncle Billy's jokes, and enjoyed the friendship of the group of invited guests.  Don't we all wish we knew someone like Miss Sadie?

That chapter left me with a sadness though.  It made me realize how much I miss hospitality.

As soon, as we are free to get together again, I'm going to start up a monthly dinner party.  I'm going to invite people that know each other but sometimes I'm going to invite people who only know us, and let them become friends with each other, too!  

It's one of the joys of my life to introduce my friends to each other!

What about you?  Are you missing people?  Travel? The ability to be spontaneous?

Monday, April 27, 2020

Sharing My Kick In The Pants, And Encouragement

These lovely photos are from David Austin Roses Instagram account and they shared them so you could screen shot them, and use them for backgrounds on your phone or tablet. 

Aren't they lovely?  Feel free to copy them from here, too!

Saturday was a rough day for me.  Nearly every hour I thought about what we SHOULD have been doing at that time.  10:00am - the bridal party should be just about ready to go get photos taken, 12:45 pm - everyone would be seated at the venue and we'd be ready for the processional to start.  3:00 pm - The reception would be well under way.  You get the idea.  I cried off and on all day.

Rachel and Wes went hiking.  They had made their peace with God about the day.  She said, "If we were meant to be married today, we would be."  How did my kid get so wise? {smile}

Now, you should know but I'll say it anyway, we are not angry with God.  None of us have blamed him, or hold bitterness toward him.  But I was unhappy that things weren't going how I had planned them to be going.

I needed to be reminded to leave it in God's hands, and trust Him.  As our lockdown here continues, and will continue to slowly open up in May, we are finding that we need to make changes to how the wedding will happen on the 16th.  I've always felt like a flexible person, and quick on my feet at adapting to changes etc, but I've resented that as we get past peak with this virus, we are getting MORE restrictions not less.

My devotional the other day, and today on the Truth for Life Instagram account, I got a nice 'kick in the pants' and a loving reminder to run the race set out for me, keeping my eyes on Jesus.  You can see it {here}.

Tomorrow, I'm going to write about missing hospitality.  Have a great Monday!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Created To Be Creative

In Edith Schaeffer's book Hidden Art, also published as The Hidden Art of Homemaking, she talks about the fact that we are created in the image of God, who is a CREATOR, and therefor we are all created to be creative.

I was watching a short video by Paul Tripp on his Instagram account @paultrippquotes and he was speaking to the same thing, and this got me thinking about the importance of creativity.

I've always been creative.  I love to arrange furniture, decorate homes, grow flowers, arrange flowers. I love music, and singing.  I sew, and knit and crochet, but I can't make up my own patterns! But the ways that I am creative may not be the way you are creative.

I have a sister in law who is an artist.  She made me this card -

I am not an artist.  I can copy this, probably, but I am not gifted in the way she is.  That's okay. We weren't made to be in the image of each other, but in God's image!

Paul Tripp said that while we are all created to be creative, that the majority of us don't live up to our full creative potential due to one thing.

Can you guess?

It's fear.

That's so true, don't you think?  We are afraid that people won't like what we created, or that its not good enough.  We fear what someone will say so we do nothing!

Let's choose to do something!

Plant some flower seeds, paint a room in a color that makes you happy, (even if no one else likes it!) draw a picture, take a picture; print it and frame it for your home. Rearrange your living room.  Play music, and sing along! Bake a cake, roast a chicken.

I think that, especially during this time when we are staying home, and stores are closed, and we aren't supposed to get out and about, we should be 'being' creative!

I'd love to hear ways that you are using your creativity! It will inspire all of us and push us forward in our own creativity!

Let's talk in the comments!
I always need creativity in my life and lately that's not been happening.  

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Cheerful Things

 I've decided that I need to focus on CHEERFUL things.  Too many issues crowding into my mind and causing frustration.  I'm sure you all know what I mean.  We've all had to deal with unprecedented events and changes to our daily lives.  It still seems surreal to me at times.

During this time, I've had all the emotions as changes have happened, and I am the one in the family to carry everyone's feelings along with mine.  I'm the one who listens to everyone's feelings and thoughts about how they are doing in this time, and at times I feel overwhelmed!

Added to that, I haven't been sleeping well, due to sciatica pain at night.  I'm working on it, doing all the things one should do, but I'd dearly love a good nights sleep again.

So, because of all the stress and unknown things, and all the feelings and the lack of sleep, I realized that I really need to work to keep my focus on the Lord, and on Cheerful Things. 

Today, I took note of all the sweet things in my hallway.  A wood sign painted by Aimee Weaver and bought by Rachel, as a gift to me, at a sale Aimee had at her home. This sweet bunny from Edith Holden's book "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady," my darling Susan Branch calendar.

These things all make me smile and bring a reminder of WHO is really in control, and that leads to thankfulness, and ultimately brings me to PEACE, and we all know that PEACE is a person - Jesus.

I hope that in my sharing here, I can encourage you all, too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Earth Day

"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters." Psalms 24:1-2

Photo: Lindsay Musser

"But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all of these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?" Job 12:7-9

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Cottage Garden: Roses

For many years I only had two climbing roses because I was a busy mom of six and felt like I didn't have time to 'baby' roses.  Now most of my kids are grown and I have learned about different kinds of roses, and I have taken the plunge into growing roses.

I have long been a fan of David Austin Roses. His English garden roses are beautiful and smell like roses should!  They are multi-petaled, and have a wide variety of colors.  When the catalog comes every year, I grab a cup of tea and spend time savoring the beauty.

Here is one of my Septer'd Isle roses from David Austin. 


None of my roses are blooming yet but the plants are looking very good.

I'll be happy when we can get mulch again!

I have a few other roses that are not David Austin, and I like them, too.  In fact one of them, a red climber, is not going to have anything to climb on this year, unless I can find a new arbor.  The one Tim built for my 15 years ago, bit the dust and had to be taken down.  I've seen some I like online, but until work picks back up we are not going to be buying incidental items that are wants not needs.

I hope you are well.  We are doing very well.  Our governor extend our stay at home by one week, making it May 8th before we can get businesses open again.  Tennessee is opening up on May 1st.  It all feels very political and that's all I'm going to say about that here on my blog.

Monday, April 20, 2020

This Is Going To Be A Hard Week

This is the week, that we would be doing all the last things before Rachel and Weston's planned wedding date of April 25th.  We were all planned and prepared to have everything done a head of time, that could be done, and just have this week to enjoy friends and family coming into town.  Oh, and we'd be doing flowers at the end of this week.

We're feeling a lot of emotions, and as I told Rachel this morning, "It's okay to feel them."  

One bright thing is that it looks as if the date we've chosen for May will work, with things opening up, but it will still be a small wedding, and reception. We also will live stream the wedding so family and friends can celebrate with them, even if its at a distance.  We hadn't thought about live streaming it before, but since we are going to do it there is a silver lining, that means Tim's mom, my niece, and several others will now be able to watch them get married.  

Lemon Layer Cake with Fresh Berries | Free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar

We will have a big reception for the original guest list in August at our venue.  The plan for now is that everyone will wear their wedding clothes to the August event: bride and groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls and ring bearer.

Its so unprecedented.  It's very atypical, we're doing what we can to still get them married, and have a wedding celebration.  A family we know had a daughter marry the other day, and only the parents, preacher, and photographers were there. No siblings or other family or friends.

Sky Lanterns, or Chinese Lanterns, provide a special and unique element to your wedding reception. You and your wedding guests will gather outside to decorate the night sky with a beautiful stream of glowing lights. Plus, these sky lanterns are made with a premium, biodegradable design that comes fully assembled and ready to use!

I'm sure there will be tears this week.  I, who rarely remember if or what I dreamt, dreamed last night that all of the sudden we could have the wedding on the original date and at our venue.  We were all feeling like it was too short notice for guests now, and we'd still have to do it in May.  Sigh....

Know that we are trusting in God's goodness and in His sovereignty. But I believe its okay to grieve the plans that have had to be changed, and the timing of them getting to live as man and wife.  If you think of us this week, please pray for my darling girl, and Wes.  Their hearts are going to be hurting this week.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Friday Five - Lilacs

Happy Friday Everyone!

This five is showcasing my first lilacs in bloom!


The smell of moist earth and lilacs hung in the air like wisps of the past and hints of the future.   Margaret Miller


 The smell of lilacs crept poignantly into the room like a remembered spring.  Margaret Miller

A faint smell of lilac filled the air.  There was always lilac in this part of town.  Where there were grandmothers, there was always lilac.  Laura Miller

Nothing is more wistful than the scent of lilac, nor more robust than its woody stalk, for we must remember that it is a tree as well as a flower, we must try not to forget this.  Stevie Smith

The lilacs are in bloom.  Forget yourself.  Marty Rubin

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Baby Quilts

My daughter, Emma, is due in June with her third child, a boy, and I'm working on a quilt for him.

I do quilts in my own way.  Sometimes I make squares, but sometimes, I find darling fabric and make a solid front and back and then quilt around some of the design on the fabric.  That is what I am doing this time.

When Emma was having her 2nd baby, I knitted him a blanket, but didn't do a quilt, so she asked if I'd make him a quilt, too.  Of course!

I found this darling sea turtle fabric.  The colors are vibrant with blues, greens, yellows, and oranges.  I love it, and I think Clark will, too!

I have a bit of work to do on them still, but its going to be a good project to occupy some of my time here at home.

I hope you have a great day!

Oh! Also, I added a photo to the chocolate chip cookie recipe post from yesterday.  You can find that post {here}.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


The Double Tree hotel chain has a famous cookie recipe that they are sharing with everyone during the Covid19 crisis. 

Top Secret Recipes | DoubleTree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies


I’m sharing it here.

DoubleTree Signature Cookie Recipe

Makes 26 cookies
½ pound butter, softened (2 sticks)
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ¼ cups flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch cinnamon
2 2/3 cups Nestle Tollhouse semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 3/4 cups chopped walnuts 
Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes. 
Add eggs, vanilla and lemon juice, blending with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl. 
With mixer on low speed, add flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, blending for about 45 seconds. Don’t overmix. 
Remove bowl from mixer and stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
Portion dough with a scoop (about 3 tablespoons) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart. 
Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and center is still soft. 
Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for about 1 hour.
Cook’s note: You can freeze the unbaked cookies, and there’s no need to thaw. Preheat oven to 300°F and place frozen cookies on parchment paper-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake until edges are golden brown and center is still soft.

The only difference I see between this recipe and the TollHouse cookies recipe I grew up on is the addition of 1/4 tsp of lemon juice, 1/2 of oats, and a pinch of cinnamon. Oh, and the baking temperature! Lower by 50°.

Monday, April 13, 2020

I Hope You Celebrated, Too

We had a really good weekend.

Tim was goofing off, but wanted to show you that Kyle is taller now.  He loves that!  Tim doesn't mind because Kyle is strong and a good help to him, whether they are chopping wood, working the business, or moving stuff.  He's a good kid!

Most days I'm not even wearing make up.  I use the headphones when there are others using the computer or reading in the living room. I can listen to an audiobook or watch a movie.  Great thing is that they are bluetooth headphones and I can get up and work in the kitchen and still listen.

On Saturday, I watercolored some hardboiled eggs.

 That was fun.

On Saturday we grilled burgers and made fries, and ate on paper plates. Yesterday I cooked a ham, made potato salad, Rachel made a jello salad.  I made several sweet treats (didn't buy candy this year) and set a pretty dinner table.  We are trying to keep special days special, even during a pandemic. 

I realize that at some point each of us may get the virus, and if so, I pray we will have mild cases that give us immunity.  I know a family who are recovering from Covid 19 and dealing with symptoms still.  Each one had it a bit different than the rest.  Mom and one daughter have the pneumonia and while feeling better, they are still dealing with fevers and getting the pneumonia cleared.  Some kids are back to normal, other than a cough, a few still have intestinal issues from the virus.  The virus can look very different in each person even in the same family.  I hope you all continue to be well.

Happy Monday, Friends!

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!


  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 ...