Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Tuesday, June 30, 2020


There have  been years in our culture when being a homemaker was seen as 'less than.' It just wasn't exciting like working outside the home.  Much of that attitude came from those who bought into the idea that being a homemaker was a drudgery, and of no real value.

I've been a homemaker for most of my adult life, along with homeschooling all of our six children.  I'm in the last years of that 'career,' but I'll never stop being a 'maker of my home.'

Everyone has the power to be a homemaker.(I'm not saying that a homemaker is one who is home full time without a job.)  It just takes seeing the importance of the work of making a home.  Long before I married at age 24, I was homemaking in the space I called my own, my bedroom.

As a young girl, I was always rearranging my furniture in that small 10x10 bedroom.  I always loved the way it felt to make a space feel new and refreshed, and I still do!

I realized as a young married woman that I had power to set the tone in my home.  Were we going to live in peace or chaos?  I came to despise clutter, waging a war on it for many years.  I feel more peaceful when things are tidy - beds made, floors and rugs swept and vacuumed.

I am not obsessive - with six kids that was impossible - but I found a routine that worked for me, actually two routines.  First when I had a lot of littles, I had a daily jobs list for every day except for Sunday.

I'd written the jobs for each day on an index card, so on Monday I'd pull the card out and see that the jobs for that day were to vacuum, dust, tidy the play area in the basement.  So each person, including me got a job to do and we did it all at the same time, so that within a half hour all the chores for that day were done.  It brought tidiness and organization to our lives in busy years.

These days, I clean as I go.  The kitchen gets cleaned every day, counters wiped, the sink clean, dishes either drying on the mat on the counter or in the dishwasher.  My bathrooms are tidied every day.  I wipe down the counters, dust the back of the toilet.  Once a week or as needed, I clean the toilet.  I've found taking just a few minutes everyday makes a huge difference in the cleanliness of my home.  These routines, or ways of cleaning in my home, have worked well for me over the years.

I love bringing coziness and warm to our home in my own style.  I'm a firm believer in not copying other peoples style and to find what makes you feel at 'home.'

I'll be talking more about this in the weeks to come.  It's a huge passion of mine, and I believe that with all this fear around the coronavirus, more people are spending tons of time at home and looking for ways to be happy in their homes.

How about you?  Have you enjoyed being a homemaker?  What is your favorite thing about homemaking?

Monday, June 29, 2020

Monday Encouragement

Taken yesterday early evening after a thunderstorm.

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:1-4

This verse was a part of our pastor's message yesterday.  It was not his main focus, but the Lord used it to get my focus back on the important things. 

I also was rebuked by this part of scripture because friends, I have not been praying for my Governor, or those in power in the federal government. I've emailed their offices, but I haven't prayed for them.

The world has always been locked in a battle of good vs evil. We've talked about that recently and we recognize how evil no longer is trying to hide itself. I'm praying that people will be awakened out of their slumber.  I know I've needed to be awakened to where I can focus my attention and it will really make a difference. (prayer)

The pastor's sermon was actually on Psalm 11.  These were his main points.

When the foundation cracks:

1. We need not flee.
2. We need not fear.
3. We need not fret.
4. The Lord is on his throne.
5. The Lord is paying attention.
6. The Lord will bring judgement.
7. The Lord loves justice.

Psalm 11

In the Lord I take refuge;
how can you say to my soul,
    “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow;
    they have fitted their arrow to the string
    to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed,
    what can the righteous do?”[a]

The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord's throne is in heaven;
    his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The Lord tests the righteous,
    but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked;
    fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
    the upright shall behold his face.

I hope these words bring you encouragement, too.  Our world is facing many dark things, but we don't need to fear.  He is our refuge.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Friday Five

Welcome to my Five on the last Friday of June!

Today it is flowers and a selfie.

1. Hydrangea from my endless summer hydrangea.  I'm loving this continually blooming hydrangea.  

2. Hydrangea make even the bathroom look elegant!

3. My garden has been loving the heat and humidity.

4. Hollyhock 'Nigra' is stunning, as usual!

5.  Selfie

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  I'm glad we are back to church (in person) these days.  I have had far to little interaction with friends since early May.  I have my people here but I still get lonely.

The real struggle in the world of good vs evil is apparent these days like never before, that I remember anyway.  I find I must really monitor my intake of news, and pray to keep my heart focused on truth and on these things - 

"whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" Philippians 4:8

Then "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

I'm Looking For New Recipes For Chicken

I'm bored with all the ways I cook chicken so I'd love it if you would share your favorite recipes with me!  It can be for grilled, oven baked, cooked on the stove.  


I look forward to reading your recipes and following links!

Grilled Chicken Salad - BRIANNAS Salad Dressings

Baked Lemon Chicken Recipe | Food Network Kitchen | Food Network

23 Grilled Chicken Recipes to Make This Summer | Bon App├ętit

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

With The Solstice Came The Heat (Embracing Summer)

With our mild winter, our mild, then cold spring, I wondered whether summer would be hot.  A few days in and I can say that so far it is!

With the heat has come humidity, too, and those of us at home, or who work indoors, have air conditioning but those who work outdoors are feeling it.

Tim works outdoors.  He is already tan, and he is in the season of taking an extra shirt to change into.  When you are meeting home owners or the buyers of a property, you don't want to be stinky.  Thankfully, he fixed the air conditioning in his work vehicle, that had been out for a few years, and he is loving it.

Summer, has never been my favorite season, except when I was a kid.  The last few years I've come to appreciate summer in ways I never have before.  I think mostly because of my garden.

If there was no summer, there would be no hydrangea, few roses, no echinacea, no zinnia, no daylilies, no morning glories, no tomatoes, or strawberries.  No peaches, no sweet corn.

You get the idea. 

Also no fireflies!

I like to sit outside in the evenings in the summer, and look at the sky, don't you?  I love to watch the movement of the stars and planets.  Look for satellites. Drink iced tea, and talk.

My parents pool had to be taken down last fall, and they waited to buy a new one, but then Covid hit and along with every chick in the country being purchased, every pool was too!  They can't find one in the size they want.  We are hoping that one will be available, because playing in the pool is fun, and hot, humid evenings in a pool is the best!

Due to Covid there are some changes to our normal summer schedule but not too much.  We don't often vacation in the summer, because as homeschoolers we can go on vacations after the summer 'season' and still enjoy warm weather, but often prices are half of what they are in the summer.  I'm looking forward to spending time in person with friends, eating outside, going to tea.  

Life changes big time in the autumn this year as Sarah will start studies at a small bible school in South Carolina, in September, so we are embracing summer and making memories!

What about you? Are you embracing summer?

Monday, June 22, 2020

It Was Just Like A Normal Weekend!

We were invited to a drop in graduation party for a sweet friend on Saturday.  It was so fun to sit and chat with friends, and celebrate the grad!

We hosted a Father's Day lunch at our house on Sunday.  Emma could be here but all the other kids were.  This is a screen shot of Emma from a video message she sent!  She just had a baby 10 days ago!

Everyone was in and out of the house.  It was humid and hot yesterday so people came in to cool off, and to play games on phones.

The newest coffee rage among the family coffee drinkers is the Aeropress method of making coffee.  Sarah is making it and Tim is getting my Dad a Keurig made cup of coffee.

Joseph is the family IT man.  He was helping Tim with a few business related computer stuff.

The newlyweds...

Kyle likes to do things and see how long it takes everyone to notice!  Funny!

I didn't get a photo of my dad, mom, or Lindsay.  Some people don't like their photo taken, and some were busy doing stuff all afternoon! It really was a good day!

I hope you had a nice weekend.  Summer arrived on Saturday and the temps for the upcoming week and beyond show it!  Hot and humid!  I'm grateful for air conditioning!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Photo Friday: Editing And Angles

It's fascinating to see how small adjustments to an angle or a bit of editing can change a photo.

Here is a photo I took of my hydrangea in a vase in my living room this morning.  It's grey and over cast so the lighting is poor.  The flowers look pretty but it's not the best photo.

So I played with the editing on my phone and got a much more interesting photo.  The color is richer, and so is the over all tone of the photo.

In this photo of some feverfew in an enamel pitcher, it is the angle that has changed.

I lifted my phone to get a different angle on the flowers and it changed the perspective of the kitchen.

In my second photo you see clean dishes on the counter waiting to be put away, peaches in a bag that need to be washed.  In the first photo you don't really see that angle.

I don't mind either angle because the kitchen is where life is happening and it is rare that there is nothing on the counters.  It is a working kitchen, after all.  I like the way the feverfew looks in the enamel pitcher in the kitchen.  Simple and homey.

Do you ever play around with editing or angles when you are taking photos?  

It's been a busy week here.  Tim has been incredibly busy with inspections.  I'm looking forward to the weekend.  We're going to a graduation party tomorrow afternoon, then we have church on Sunday.  Outside under the trees at our church property.  

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Video Tour Of My Cottage Garden

I made a quick tour of my cottage garden.   Someone mentioned to me on Instagram that they'd LOVE to see my garden because I show so many beautiful peonies and roses from my garden. They assumed I had an amazing garden.

I really don't.  Master gardeners would cringe to see my weeds, and non organized garden.  I love it though.  I love that I can cut flowers from my garden and bring them indoors.  I love sitting in my garden and reading.  Sarah will often sit out on the steps and read and journal.

This is why I garden.

I don't have the ability to easily weed anymore, but with some help I can manage this beautiful space.

I want to encourage you that you can make a space for beauty, too.  Roses can be grown in pots, so can hydrangea.  You could create a garden on a patio, or a deck or a balcony.  You don't have to have a large space, and lots of time and energy.  Do what you can.

I'm inspired by Angela Reed at Parisienne Farmgirl and her potager garden.  My back won't allow me to do that big of a garden, but I can do what I can do.  Our hearts for beauty and caring for our homes and family are the same.  You can find her youtube channel {here.}

The first person who inspired me for gardening was Emilie Barnes.  I already had a heart for homemaking and keeping and when I went to one of her seminars I found a kindred spirit!

She died several years ago, but her heart for her home lives on in her many books which you can find through online booksellers.  I highly recommend them for inspiration.

The key to inspiration for me, is to see creativity in what someone is doing and adapt it for my tastes and my interests.  I love to be inspired!

I hope my small cottage garden inspires you.  A garden doesn't have to be perfect, weed free, or beautifully designed to give you joy and the ability to have fresh cut flowers in your home!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

June Birthdays

In our family May has always been the big birthday month.  My parents both are May, Nate and Rachel are May birthdays, a couple of nieces are May birthdays, too.

Then October caught up with my, Kayleigh, my brother in law, and mother in law's birthdays, then Isla and Klaire (granddaughters born a day apart) were both born in October.

But recently June has come on strong.  It's always been my younger brother's birth month, a sister in law and a niece, but then our kids started to have kids.

10 years old yesterday!

Clark is two!

Kaidence is one!

Von is 4 days old!

Yesterday was Kamryn's birthday, and since Nate was home and could stay with the baby, Kayleigh took Kam, and Klaire fishing.  A few hours later they pulled into our driveway, around the time that Lindsay came by with my parents.  They were headed up to Nate and Kay's to give Kamryn her birthday gifts. Rachel called and was going to drop something off, so she stayed and Wes came over after he got off of work.

June is also Weston's birthday month!

Our other birthday boy, Wes.  

Long story short, we all ended up under the tree in the front yard for cake and presents, and then we got pizza, and spent the first real time relaxed family time together since the lockdowns started in March.

It was really fun, and my mom texted later to say how much she enjoyed it and how much she and my dad had missed being together with everyone.

I'm thankful for the spontaneous gathering, too.

Monday, June 15, 2020

We Have A New Member Of The Family!

Our daughter Emma had her baby early Friday morning!  I knew, of course, before my post on Friday but I never post until the kids have shared their news publicly!

Thank you for praying for her regarding wearing a mask during labor and delivery.  She wore a mask whenever they were in a hallway,(which between labor and delivery and post-partum she changed rooms four times!) but whenever she was in a room she didn't need to wear one.

We are hoping to go for a quick visit in a few weeks.  Until then, I have a bit of sewing to finish Von's quilt.  

We are so thankful to God for our kids, and for our grandkids.  It's such a blessing.

If anyone is interested, Von makes six grands for us, four girls, two boys.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Friday Five

I've had a very interesting week, I'll explain at the end.  For Friday Five I'm showing you some flowers, new bedding and a photo of me.

1. Lavender - Lindsay gave me this plant several years ago and it is thriving.  It stays in this pot and is usually kept next to the house by the kitchen door year round.

2. Hydrangea - My new hydrangea is blooming very well!  I'm going to cut a few blossoms today to bring inside!

3. and 4.  New Bedding - I bought this beautiful white matelasse coverlet from WalMart online.  I need to do something different with some other decor pillows and I think I'm going to get some euro pillows and shams.

5. I won't go into every detail but I had extremely high blood pressure on Tuesday evening. (I normally am always in the normal range)  I ended up in the ER as my blood pressure was in the stroke range! Yikes.
They did a full work up of ekg, chest x-ray, blood work to check cardiac enzymes, liver and kidney function.  It was all just fine.

I went to my doctor yesterday as my blood pressure was still trending very high.  My doctor put me on a bp medicine, and its already worked.

I'm so thankful that I caught my high blood pressure and am able to bring it to a normal range.  I had a friend who is vegan, in ther 30's. and no body fat who had a silent heart attack last week.  Ladies, our symptoms for heart attacks can be very different from men, and most of us think we're just having indigestion, or bloating, etc.  Let's be aware of signs for heart issues and be proactive in having it checked out!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Time For Roses

With the peonies gone, by heart is lifted by the arrival of the roses! 

These are sweet garden roses, not long stemmed beauties, but they are so beautiful!

These pinks are David Austin Scepter'd Isle.  Just gorgeous.

I didn't grow roses for other than a climber, for many years because I thought all roses were 'fussy' and I didn't have time for that with six kids!  But over the last five years or so I've been learning about garden roses, and of course, fell in love with English garden roses!

They do require a bit of care, feeding, spraying for aphids, dead heading.  I have time for that now and the joy they bring me, and the beauty of them in the garden is worth the small amount of time it requires.

I had a comment on my Instagram from my friend Kathy who lives in Michigan.  After she saw a photo of my roses, after all the peony photos, she said that my garden must be amazing and she wanted to see it!  Its not really amazing, its small.  I am going to work on a video to show you.

I'm a believer that a garden doesn't need to be large or fussy in order to bring beauty to a home!


Monday, June 8, 2020

Spare 'oom

When Rachel married and moved out of our home, we had some bedroom shuffling going on.  Sarah immediately moved into Rachel's bigger bedroom, and a week later Kyle moved into Sarah's old room.  This room is the smallest bedroom, but when the previous owners added a master suite onto the house, they made the entry through what was Kyle's old bedroom.

This was never really a problem.  When we moved into our cottage, I was pregnant with Sarah, so we always used that room for a nursery or a young kids bedroom.  Of course kids moving out almost always caused a room reshuffling, but I thrive on change, so it was never a problem for me!

We now have a "spare 'oom," and I'm having fun with it.  So far all I've really done is put Sarah's old daybed in the room.  I have a lot of sorting and clearing of collected kids things to go through.  

This room will be where grands sleep, or Sarah when we have overnight guests.  I used bedding we already had (Watson seems to like it) but I will be looking for some that works on a daybed.  This mattress is comfy, and we added a down topper to it, so it is lovely to sleep on.

I need to get Kyle's room organized and pictures up on his walls etc, before I take any photos in his new space.  Of course, I just got him to deal with a pile of dirty socks, so who knows how long this will take! {grin}

When Sarah flies the nest, Kyle will move to her current bedroom, and then who knows what kind of room this might become, maybe an office or studio space for creativity.  

For now, I'm thinking of new wall color and whether to take the shelf, that runs all around the room, down.  I like the idea of wainscoting to cozy up the space, and it would work just fine with the shelf so perhaps we'll leave it.

I love design projects, but it takes us longer these days due to my back, and Tim being very busy with his business.  However, I do have handy kids, and perhaps we can trade labor for dinner?  Hmmmm. 

Friday, June 5, 2020

Friday Five

My five this week is just beauty from my garden.

Munstead Woods and pink peonies.  I'm enjoying the last of the peonies, but the roses will bloom all summer!

Praying for peace for our world, and for each of you.  As Brenda says, "Peace is Person" and that Person is Jesus.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Life Lately

I thought I'd share some recent photos and talk about life in general.

This is a gorgeous photo of Rachel from her wedding day.  The only thing I don't like about it is the editing.  The photographer has taken almost all of the blue tone out of the photo.  Her flowers were not browny orange. {cringe}

The newlyweds are happy, and thriving.  We're delighted for them.

My lockdown hair is BAD.  

I went with Tim on a quick job on Saturday.  That's when I took this photo of me.  I also took this video of the beautiful morning.

I'm trying to stay off social media.  I have been reading there, and I've posted a bit, but I'm finding a level of political and social stress there that I don't want.  I've had to unfollow someone because of their hatred for our president and they aren't even an American, nor do they live in the United States!  sigh....

I'm trying to read news to be informed, but for the constant barrage of everyone telling me how I should feel or how to think about things, I am stepping back.  I'm praying, and asking God for peace and real change.

I know you all are praying for that, too!

We finished school last week, so I'm trying to keep Kyle busy.  He's doing all the mowing and weed wacking that must be done on our property.

I'm trying to do a summer look out on our deck but we have a family of wrens using one of our birdhouses out there!  I have some plants that I need to plant, I restarted seeds again, and I may just direct sow some seeds as well!

Nate has built a great raised bed for Kayleigh at their place - 
Image may contain: plant and outdoor

She's got spots for veg to grow up, room for other plants to grow and its all contained. I think it's brilliant.

Here is a photo of part of Lindsay and my Dad's garden.  I love seeing my kids growing food and flowers, and having a love of growing good, healthy food.

Lindsay is going to give me a tomato plant and I'm going to grow it in a pot like I did last year.  I can't manage a bigger garden, and the weeding is tough on my back, so I'm trying to do what I can, and take advantage of all the local produce stands we are blessed to have in our area.  I may do some herbs, too.  My lavender is doing beautifully again this year in its pot.  Lindsay gave it to me three years go for Mother's Day.

Emma is due with her third child, our second grandson, any day.  We are praying for the protests and rioting to end, because where she is scheduled to deliver is very near to where there is a lot of unrest.  She already has had to go through three months of her pregnancy under lockdown, and the potential that she may have to labor and deliver her baby with a mask on!  She does not need or want to have to deal with rioters on her way to deliver her baby.  Pray with us, will you?

Here is a photo her friend took of her the other evening.  Doesn't she look great?

Well friends, I must go now and start my day.  I'm thankful for each one of you!


  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We spent Saturday, doing things around the house, and then we swam. Kyle and Sarah left after that...