Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Easter Gardens

As I was browsing Pinterest a few days ago,
I stumbled onto a picture of an Easter garden and instantly knew it would be perfect project for my children and I!

We spend time doing special activities with the children at Christmas to celebrate the birth of Christ,
but Easter is an even more significant event for the Christian!
Jesus' death on a cross and resurrection from the grave is our salvation and hope for eternity.
I want my children to understand why we celebrate Easter,
and this seemed like a great way to start more discussions about it. 

There were only a few basic items needed to make the gardens.
(And if you haven't figured it out by now, I'm all about simple projects! 😉)
I found the clay plate and faux moss at Walmart and got the pebbles from Hobby Lobby.
We just picked out some twigs from our backyard to make the crosses.
Not pictured: an empty tin can

We started with a layer of dirt that Nicholas scooped from somewhere (probably my flower beds!),
then added the tin can with the open end toward the front of the plate.
I hot glued the moss over the can and the children placed the pebbles around the sides and front.
I used twine to fasten two twigs together, which created the crosses, and then hot glued them into the moss.

I took the children on a four-wheeler ride to find some larger rocks to cover the opening of the can.
That was probably their favorite part of the whole project!

It was such fun to watch their gardens take shape,
but even better to have conversations with them about why Jesus went to the cross for us that day. 
I love how a simple activity like this can communicate profound truth to little (and big) hearts.

What Easter traditions are meaningful in your family?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Rug Dilemna (and how we resolved it)

Since moving to the farmhouse, we've been on the hunt for a rug.
It didn't take us long to discover how loud a living room with hardwood floors can be!
We cringed at the echo of noise and the lack of warmth
in this space.

But the process of actually purchasing a rug felt daunting!
For starters, we needed a big rug because we had a big space.
It wouldn't be easy to return if we didn't like it.
And there are so. many. options.
How in the world would I ever decide?!

And secondly, rugs aren't cheap. 
It didn't take me long to discover that I probably wouldn't find the size/style I needed
on Craigslist. (or I might be waiting for a long time)
So I decided that the next best option would be to snag a rug during the Black Friday sale.
I had heard great things about Rugs USA, so that's where I looked and was happy to find some of the best prices anywhere there!

After much deliberation and second opinions, I placed the order.
This rug arrived just a few days later!
And it was SO BLUE. I just wasn't prepared for all that color.
Part of me loved the richness of it, but I just didn't love it!
And we quickly found out that it was simply too big, so I called the company to request a return.
My sweet husband got the job of hauling it back to the hardware store so they could ship it back!

I showed Eddie another rug that I had my eye on the whole time,
but he didn't think the size was right.
We remeasured and decided it would fit this space, and I ordered it just in time to make the Cyber Monday sale! (Thank you, Jesus!)

From the moment it came, I loved it! It fit the room perfectly, had a subtle pattern that was exactly what I was envisioning, and in a color that didn't scream "look at me!!"
Eddie was happy with it too, which was a pretty big deal to me.
It's soft on little (and bigger) feet, and gives the room the warmth it desperately needed.
It was worth every penny!

If you're in the market for a large area rug, check out Rugs USA!
They have a wonderful selection and excellent service.
And don't be like me: get the rug you really want the first time! 😉

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

10th Anniversary Getaway

When Eddie first suggested that we go to a cabin in West Virginia to celebrate our 10 year anniversary, I'll admit I was a little less than thrilled at the idea!
I was picturing vacationing on a tropical island  (maybe even Hawaii!),
but that just wasn't in the cards for us this year.

The longer we talked about it, the more it grew on me.
What's not to love about being snuggled up by a fireplace in a cozy cabin with my man?!
So we booked a sweet little getaway to Canaan Valley in West Virginia for 3 nights.
And amazingly, it ended up being one of the very best trips we've ever had!

When we arrived at our destination, a blanket of snow was covering the ground,
and it continued to snow until late that night.
It felt like a gift from God just for us!

The view from these windows was so beautiful!
I loved waking up to this winter wonderland.

Eddie was in charge of breakfast,
and cooked a delicious meal all 3 mornings that we were there!
It was so much better than anything we could have ordered anywhere else!

The first morning, we decided to hit the slopes since they were covered with fresh powder.
I was a little nervous about going, since it was my first time on skis!

But Eddie stayed with me until I got comfortable,
and I ended up having the time of my life!

By the end of the day, I was wishing I had more time to try 
something more challenging!

This guy has no fear, and he rocks the snowboard!
I'm so glad he pushes me to try new things and helps me face my fears.
This day will always be one of my favorite memories!

The second day, we decided to go explore Blackwater Falls.
 Apparently, it's a popular tourist attraction
but you never know if it will be worth seeing until you actually go! 

We were not disappointed!
There was a short winding trail, which led to several flights of steps down to the falls.

I've never gone hiking in the snow before, but it was exhilarating!
I felt like I had entered a magical new world.

We rounded the bend and got our first glimpse of the snow-covered falls. 

 They were breathtaking!

After we left Blackwater Falls, we decided to take a sled ride down the longest slope on the East Coast! 

We rode this Wonder Carpet conveyor up to the top, and raced each other to the bottom of the hill!  

The icicles here were some of the biggest I've ever seen!

There was a beautiful sunrise on the last morning, and I enjoyed every second.

This vacation ended up being so much better than I even imagined!
I'll always treasure the memories we made
in the mountains of West Virginia.

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.