Sunday, January 15, 2017

Word of the Year

  I love new things!
Whether it's that dress I purchased for a special occasion and wear for the first time,
holding a brand-new baby or
exploring a town that I've never seen before:
there is an element of delight in experiencing something new.


A new year carries a bit of the same thrill for me!
It's an unwritten page, clean and fresh, with no mistakes in it.
Goals seem achievable (at least for the first two weeks!), and many resolutions are made.
But I tend to stay away from most New Year's resolutions,
simply because I'm too practical to start something I know I won't finish.


There is one thing that I have done for the past several years,
which I have found to be worthwhile and effective:
choosing a word for the year.
It amazes me how God gives me a word that is specific to the situations I face throughout the year!
Last year, the word(s) He gave me were "bold and courageous". 
They were a reminder to me that I could step into the unknown with courage,
and often gave me strength in uncertain times.


This year, as I prayed about my word for the year,
God gave me a specific verse on three different occasions in a day's time.
When that happens, I pay attention!

"Do not fear, for I am with you.
Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will uphold you with
my righteous right hand." Is 41:10

At the same time, the word "fearless" continued to be impressed on my heart. 
God revealed to me how much fear I have lived under,
and how that keeps me in bondage.
Over and over, when the Lord spoke to people in the Bible, His first words were "Do not fear".
And that is still His message to me: don't fear!


Fear never fought battles; it causes us to lose them.
Fear never empowers; it only defeats.
Fear locks us from being all that God created us to be, and then mocks us for being afraid.
But there is an antidote, and that is the perfect love of God.
It alone is powerful enough to cast out fear!


Since the beginning of the year, I have fought some real battles.
And I have been fearful and afraid.
But I have found strength and victory in the God Who promises,

"I have not given you a spirit of fear,
but of power, love and a sound mind."

I will have to make the choice again and again to not give in to fear,
to choose to be fearless.
And it is possible, because the One Who walks with me is King of kings!
 He won the battle,
and He makes me brave.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My Christmas Home Tour

With Christmas just 3 short days away, I wanted to give you a peek into our home!
Since the kitchen is the first room you enter,
we'll start there.


I just love this antique silver pedestal bowl and pitcher I got from the Embellish girls!
Piled full of oranges, greens and berries, they look quite festive!


Hadassah and I spent part of a Saturday afternoon collecting greens and berries.
It was so much fun making arrangements with them,
and it didn't cost a dime!


The blanket I draped over the banister is actually a blanket scarf!
I love items that have more than one function!


Up in the loft, the children's stockings are hung on the bookshelves, and I realized later that it was a mistake!
They informed me which child's stocking is which,
and of course, they never peeked! (or so they say) #momfail


This long, flat surface on the top of the bookshelves is perfect for displaying my nativity!



The children get to decorate their own tree and even got presents for each other!
You can read more about that here.
  

Lines from one of my favorite Christmas songs: Come and see what God has done.


Let's head back downstairs into the living area.


I love having a mantle to decorate!
Next year, the children's stockings will hang here. Hopefully, the height will deter them! 😆


I love textures, in case you haven't figured that out already!
And this mantle has a lot of them, so it happens to be one of my favorites.


The Christmas garland adds a little sparkle to my window.


In the living room, I displayed two of the gold pieces I got from Embellish,
along with a handmade tree.


Gingerbread houses make cute focal points, especially in a glass cloche!
And how cute is that truck and miniature Christmas tree that I picked up at the Cottage?


I have a few bottle brush trees, and I think another 5 would be just fine!
The European Christmas tree came from Evergrowin' Greenhouse.


Our first Christmas tree at the farmhouse!


Now, let's head outside to the front porch!


I filled my galvanized pail with greens and berries,
and pulled out my Noel sign.


And that's it!
Thank you for stopping by my home!
If you want to see last year's home tour, click here.

Merry Christmas, friends!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

10 Favorite Christmas Traditions for Children

Christmas holds a lot of special memories for me from my childhood,
and I want to establish meaningful traditions with my littles as well.
There are so many festive activities during this season that it can actually be overwhelming,
so I decided to share a few that I have found to be worthwhile and fun!


1. Our church hosts an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing Night,
and Hadassah and Nicholas love to participate in this!


I want to be intentional about teaching my children the true meaning of Christmas,
and this is a beautiful way to let them experience the joy of giving.



2. A few years ago, I bought a cheap artificial tree from Walmart.
It's actually kind of ugly (ha!), but the kids just love getting to decorate it with their own ornaments!
I let them each pick an ornament from New Creation each year
and we talk about the dear women who have created them.


3. The past two years, we assembled gingerbread houses.
It's a mess, and nearly as much candy ends up in their mouths as does on the houses,
but they have so much fun!


Those happy little faces make the mess totally worth it!


4. I was so close to buying an artificial tree this year,
but nothing beats going to a tree farm and choosing the perfect tree as a family!
They watched Papa cut it down, and chased each other through the trees.
It was an hour well spent.


5. Our annual church Christmas play is always a highlight and the children can hardly wait to go for the first showing tonight! Here's a preview clip to pique your curiosity :)
If you're local, we'd love to have you join us!


6. I took the children to the Dollar Tree so they could pick out a gift for each other.
$1 is such a small investment so they can enjoy the fun of giving!
They were so excited to wrap the presents and put them under their little tree :)


7. Go see a live nativity.
We've only done this once with the children, when Nicholas was too young to remember.
I think they would really enjoy going to see one this year!


8. Find a variety of books about Christmas at the library to read to the children.
I love this idea! I'll have to remember it for next year.


9. Bake cookies together and then fix platters to pass out to neighbors.
This is a family tradition my mom started,
and although I haven't done it every year, I think the children would love to participate in this.
Now I just need to figure out how to make cookies faster than we eat them :)


10. Take a drive to see the Christmas lights.
There's something absolutely magical about those colorful, twinkling lights!
I enjoy seeing them almost as much as my children do!

But even if I accomplish nothing else, I want to be present with my children.
 I want to sing Christmas carols, drink hot chocolate 
and experience the wonder of Christmas through their eyes!

Now I would love to hear about your favorite Christmas traditions!

Happy weekend friends!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Woodland Glam Thanksgiving Tablescape

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and I wanted to share this tablescape that I created for the meal I'll be hosting here for Eddie's family!
This season is a wonderful time to reflect on the gifts we've been given.
Sharing a meal together with the people we love
is one of the best ways to celebrate.


For me, creating the tablescape is almost as much fun as eating the turkey and pumpkin pie!
(And that's saying something, because I sure am looking forward to Mom's pie this weekend!)


I used this gorgeous platter that I got from - wait for it - the Embellish sisters!
The candlesticks come from them, too.
Basically all my favorite decor comes from them...and Hobby Lobby! :)


This succulent pumpkin, which I mentioned in my fall home tour,
was the foundation for the whole tablescape!
I love the woodland element it brings, 
along with the acorns I collected and some leaves from a bush in the backyard.
Foraging is therapeutic for me, and I love incorporating what I have outside into my home.



The square plates, napkins and rings were gifted from Pier 1 a few years ago,
and the round plates were thrifted from Goodwill.
I love white on white, especially when they are different shapes.


I baked our favorite sourdough bread recipe in these tiny bowls,
and they turned out to be the perfect size.


Add some leaves, and a simple white name tag made out of cardstock,
and your place setting is complete! 


Hadassah was so excited to help me with this project, and she did a wonderful job
setting out the plates. She helped a little with the styling, too.
It's so fun watching her develop an eye for beauty!


But beyond all the preparations, the turkey, and even the family,
I want to cultivate a spirit of thanks giving:
not just for this week, but every day of the year.


On Sunday, our pastor shared this quote that spoke so powerfully to me:
"God multiplies His kingdom
through gratitude and generosity."



May His kingdom be multiplied through me and my home.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Woodland Glam Thanksgiving Tablescape

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and I wanted to share this tablescape that I created for the meal I'll be hosting here for Eddie's family!
This season is a wonderful time to reflect on the gifts we've been given.
Sharing a meal together with the people we love
is one of the best ways to celebrate.


For me, creating the tablescape is almost as much fun as eating the turkey and pumpkin pie!
(And that's saying something, because I sure am looking forward to Mom's pie this weekend!)


I used this gorgeous platter that I got from - wait for it - the Embellish sisters!
The candlesticks come from them, too.
Basically all my favorite decor comes from them...and Hobby Lobby! :)


This succulent pumpkin, which I mentioned in my fall home tour,
was the foundation for the whole tablescape!
I love the woodland element it brings, 
along with the acorns I collected and some leaves from a bush in the backyard.
Foraging is therapeutic for me, and I love incorporating what I have outside into my home.



The square plates, napkins and rings were gifted from Pier 1 a few years ago,
and the round plates were thrifted from Goodwill.
I love white on white, especially when they are different shapes.


I baked our favorite sourdough bread recipe in these tiny bowls,
and they turned out to be the perfect size.


Add some leaves, and a simple white name tag made out of cardstock,
and your place setting is complete! 


Hadassah was so excited to help me with this project, and she did a wonderful job
setting out the plates. She helped a little with the styling, too.
It's so fun watching her develop an eye for beauty!


But beyond all the preparations, the turkey, and even the family,
I want to cultivate a spirit of thanks giving:
not just for this week, but every day of the year.


On Sunday, our pastor shared this quote that spoke so powerfully to me:
"God multiplies His kingdom
through gratitude and generosity."



May His kingdom be multiplied through me and my home.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!