Thursday, December 16, 2010


We woke up this morning to snow falling and the news that school was cancelled. I was supposed to work today, but because of the treacherous roads and what will be a pretty slow day at the store, I am able to stay home. I think a day at home with all things warm and cozy is just what this heart needs.

So, here is what I am dreaming up for this snowy, wintery day.

Baking Christmas cookies...

Perhaps I will pull out the blanket I began knitting last year. It seems that I only pull this project out on days like today.

Of course, our favorite wintertime treat will be had by all.

I will settle into my favorite chair, wrapped in my favorite quilt and read a little...

But the best part is being able to have the day with these three...

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Finding Peace

This past month has been a whirlwind of sorts. Funny though, because even in the midst of busyness, I have found peace.

The reason this peace catches be my surprise so much is that I don't do well with stress and hurried schedules. When I look at everything going on and things that need to be done, I should be feeling completely overwhelmed. I just thank God that He can come in and completely sweep me over with a peace and strength I can't possess on my own.

The Lord is taking me on another new journey and I keep thinking about how the traveling I've done over the past year or so, has prepared me for the place He is leading me to now. I am really excited and hopeful. I know that God's time-table is His alone, and I can fully believe Him to perfectly orchestrate every single detail. One of the most significant lessons I've learned in walking with the Lord is to embrace and enjoy every part of what He brings and where He takes me. I'll be honest though and say that it took me a long time to learn and accept this. A lot of surrendering, tears, and wrestling with God happened way before I could rest in and embrace where I was.

Truths I have believed before are finding their place in my heart once again as well as the new ones. The lesson that my faith requires action is what motivates me to cling tightly to Jesus knowing that I can trust Him with everything. What I have learned about God and His character in the past is the foundation for which can carry me through now.

So, with the coming of celebrating the Savior's birth, I will delight and rest in His peace.  I will let go of to-do lists and focus on the priorities. This Christmas will be about joy, simplicity, love, and the anticipation of all things to come.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I sit here tonight full of excitement knowing that this time tomorrow, I will be with the ones I love celebrating Thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving is a little different from years past. This year, loved ones are coming to our house to gather and feast. I have busied myself today making all the side dishes. It's nothing fancy, just all  the traditional favorites like green bean casserole, corn souffle, sweet potato casserole, and creamy mashed potatoes. My aunt is coming with cranberry sauce in hand, and of course the dinner wouldn't be complete without my mother-in-law's dressing. I will wake up tomorrow morning and make the turtle trifle, cranberry bog pie, and roast the turkey.

The table is set and ready for all of us to come together and give thanks. I loved every minute of setting the table because for the first time, I am using the china and silver that belonged to my aunt. There is going to be plenty of laughter, great conversation, delicious food and I can't wait.

I've been thinking a lot this week about all that I am thankful for. Really, it's been something that I have been trying to be more purposeful in throughout this last year - having a heart of thanks. Isn't it so easy to get caught up in the busyness and mundane activities of life and forget or tire of being thankful. I began looking around, at everything, and realizing that the little and ordinary things as well as the huge and significant can ignite a thankful heart.

So, with the approach of Thanksgiving tomorrow, I wanted to simply record just some of the things in which I am thankful.

The gift of salvation.

A house in which memories are made and grace is displayed. A house where fun happens, friends and family gather, and love is shared. A house where forgiveness and encouragement is given. A house that reflects His love. A house that we call home.


My husband and true soulmate. We couldn't be any different in personalities and things that make us tick. We have gone through so much and the one constant theme in our marriage is that we know very well how faithful God is. 


The truth that God knows our future and we can trust in Him completely.

Simple things like slippers, music, cozy quilts, and good books.

I am thankful that my children are walking in the truth.

A car that in spite of requiring major work this summer and costing us way too much, still runs and gets us where we need to go. 

My parents and in-laws who have given us a heritage of faith. There is no one who loves and supports us more than they do and I am so grateful.

That my mornings began with a phone call to my sister. I am also thankful for the precious, little voice of my niece who brightens my day just by saying, "hi".

Our church.

My new job.

Having the time and opportunity to pursue hobbies I love- riding horses, cooking, photography, reading, journaling and sewing. 

A transformed and revived heart.

That three wonderful children call me Mom. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dear Ben

Today we are celebrating your 13th birthday and celebrating the gift you are to us. While I know that each year you celebrate being another year older, this particular birthday will be marked with great significance.

As you begin your journey through this teenage years, I pray that you enjoy them to the fullest. I want you to remember that while things may change around you, God is always faithful, He loves you, and has your very best interest at heart. 

I pray that you walk closely with the Lord and you learn new things about His character.

I pray that God continues to build up in you the passions, desires and gifts you have. I want you to always remember that He has given you these as a way to glorify and serve Him. I see more and more your desire to worship the Lord in everything you do, Ben. Let that be the way you always live.

I also pray for you that you will continue to boldly share your faith with those around you. You have learned that it isn't always about the words you say, but how you live that draws them to Jesus.

Ben, you are such a gift to me. You know how to make me laugh at just the right time and from you, I learn what it means to truly live in the moment. 

You value friendships, family and fun times. You are a young man that consistently displays integrity and a good heart. 

I love you so very much, Ben and there isn't a day that goes by in which I don't thank God for giving me the gift of you.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Cranberry Bog Pie

Today, I am guest posting over at Kim's blog Quit Eating Out, so please join me there and make sure to check out all of her delicious recipes!

I am sharing one of our favorite recipes for this time of year...

Cranberry Bog Pie...

Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Grace Upon Grace...

This is a post that was written in August 2008, but I am sharing it today and linking up to Chatting At The Sky.

In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. ~Ephesians 1:7-8

grace: getting a gift you don't deserve.

lavish : to expend or give in great amounts or without limit.

Today I am letting the truth that abundant amounts of grace has been given to me by a loving God. I've known the Lord for 17 years now, but there are times when I need to get back to the basics. I can get caught up in all the things around me, good things nonetheless, but I can find myself not living like I know this to be true.

God accepts me, loves me, has a plan for me, and will use me because of His great affection He has for me. I want my heart to rest and be home in His sweet grace.

I am learning that I can know Him but yet not live in grace. I can read my Bible, pray, go to church, memorize scripture, and do all the "things" you are supposed to do but not live in grace.

Sometimes I can't even wrap this simple mind of mine or my heart around the magnitude of this gift of grace that has been given to me. I don't know why God would continue to pour out, give in great amounts, with no limit, his grace on people who are so unworthy. He does, and we just need to know that it is so.

His grace is a gift that comes because we belong to Him. It is the loving, forgiving, redeeming and steadfast love He has for you and for me.

But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved.
~ Ephesians 2:4-5

When I am a woman of grace, every area of my life is transformed. I can walk in peace and strength. I can have rest for my soul. Through His grace, I can love those around me well. Where there is grace there are hearts that have been tended to. I say "I am sorry, would you please forgive me?" Fun and laughter is going on because I'm more concerned about enjoying the moment than what I have to accomplish on my "to do" list. Where there is grace there are lots of hugs, kisses, and a listening ear.

I know this is a journey and hopefully as the days go by, His grace is more evident in me today than it was yesterday. I'm not perfect. I don't have to wear myself out trying to be. My part is to give myself to Him. Surrender to Him. Know Him. Love Him. There I will know His grace.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Grace Through My Eyes

Grace is what I rest in.

Love is full of grace.

Grace is what holds us together. 

Grace is in the beautiful.

Monday, October 25, 2010


It's a beautiful October day here in Ohio. These last couple of days the temperatures have been in the mid 60's which is allowing me to have a few windows open. I love the sound of the rustling leaves outside and even though we haven't quite experienced the cool, crisp days of fall yet, there is still something inside me feeling all that fall brings.

I can't believe that this month is quickly coming to an end. Another month that has just flown by, but when I look back through my journal pages, there is so much to be shown for it. I read back through and see prayers that were written and as I turn the pages, I see how God has answered them or evidence of how He is working.

Oh, how I don't want to rush through the different seasons of life not enjoying or being so completely aware of His presence.

Psalm 27:4

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek; that I amy dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finishing Strong

Last night, our oldest son, Sam competed in his final cross country meet as a middle-schooler. This is the second year he has run on the team and it's been a fantastic season. 

Sam is a very driven and determined young man. One of the neatest things we have witnessed this season is how there was something that finally clicked with him to push himself and do his best to achieve the goals he set before him. 

Sam has consistently lowered his time at every meet and last night set a personal best of 13:13 for the 2-mile run. We are so proud of him and celebrating his success!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

God Is Able

As we gathered last night for the women's bible study I am leading, I was really needing to hear from God. Just that afternoon, my husband and I, along with our daughter had moved forward in a direction in which we were being led. I know that I am not giving much detail right now, the time will come for that I know, but this is a situation we are really excited and hopeful about. We are seeing a new resolve in the heart of our daughter and God is reminding me that His timing is perfect and He is holding her and her future in the palm of His hand. 

How this is all going to work out, we don't know. When I look at the circumstance, there is that part of me that believes it may be impossible. And the thing is, we don't even have all the information yet. I jump to conclusions and find that my prayers perhaps are not rooted in faith.

So, as we began our bible study last night, we turned in our bibles to Ephesians 3:20-21.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. 

God's timing in this message was far from coincidence. I was reminded last night of some very foundational truths that can alter the way I live, think, and pray.

Our God is ABLE and He is ABLE to surprise me in ways that I can't even imagine.

One of the most fantastic attributes about God is simply that HE CAN.

Ephesians 3:20 begins with a very simple word but with a significant purpose to act and believe...
NOW is the time for me to start considering the ABILITY of God.

I am encouraged and challenged to pray extravagantly because every heartfelt request I lay at His feet is heard. He knows our every need and our desire to be faithful and obedient as we move forward in faith. 

It's living the abundant life when in the midst of an impossible situation I turn and say, "Now is the time for me to believe that HE IS ABLE!"

(These concepts are from the bible study Faithful Abundant True)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

A Grateful Heart

My eyes have been open to little gifts all around me this week. More importantly, my heart has been open to receive and embrace them. 

It's so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and neglect to see all the gifts around me. I get tired, distracted, and my attention starts to turn on all the things that I want to change. My attitude starts to be of  
worry or discontent, and not holding tightly to His faithfulness. 

So, what if I intentionally became more aware and embraced wholeheartedly all the simple and beautiful gifts that are around me each and every day.

What I am finding is that they are unexpected, extravagant, and my heart truly is overcome with gratefulness.

Some of the gifts I've been given this week...

A quiet evening in which I was able to spend time in the Word and prayer.

The generosity of a friend who is giving me riding lessons and allowing me opportunities to come and just be around horses. This is a dream come true for me and one in which where because of circumstances, a passion has laid deep inside.

One of my children saying, "I love you" just because.

Looking outside my window and seeing the beauty of Fall.

My husband painting our front door for the fourth time.

A renewed friendship.

God's timing.

The privilege to pray on behalf of my children.

Having someone recognize a great accomplishment and celebrating with us.


Time to work on craft projects.

Writing in a new journal.

Hearing my 1 1/2 year old niece count to 10.

Resting in faith.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Welcome Fall

I'm sitting here at my desk with a few windows open and I can hear the rustling of the leaves blowing. It's an absolutely beautiful day. There is not a cloud in the sky. The sun is warm but I can feel just a hint of coolness in the breeze. 

Fall is here.

What I love about this time of year is the feeling of wanting all things cozy and warm. This month, sports schedules come to a rest, family dinners will once again be the norm, and cool, crisp evenings will allow us to cuddle up in our favorite quilts. 

I'll bring out the soup recipes once again and there will be plenty of opportunities for bonfires and s'mores. There will be football games to watch and birthdays to celebrate.

There is just something about this time of year that brings me to wanting all the comforts of home and being with the ones I love the most. 

I do welcome the days of Fall. 

I made the "Welcome Fall" using this technique.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rag Wreath

I've been wanting to make a rag wreath for a short time now and with still having a lot of fabric left over from my drop cloth drapes, I decided to use it up.

All I did for this wreath (once again I forgot to take step-by-step pictures!) was use a wire framed wreath I purchased at Jo'Ann's for around $3, cut strips of fabric (I used drop cloths, muslin and burlap) into strips of about 2 inches wide and 14" inches in length. You can certainly make them as long or short as you want them though. I know someone might ask how much fabric I did use and guess what... I don't know! I bought 2 yards of the muslin and the rest I had on hand. 

Once I had the strips of fabric cut, I simply tied them to the wire frame. I tied the fabric pretty closely together because I wanted the wreath to be full in the end. I love the color, texture and the simplicity of it. 

To hang it from our door, I used a piece of rope/trim ( forgive me for not knowing the exact name of it!) that I found at Jo'Ann's in the aisle with all the ribbon, trim and fringe.

Not only does the wreath look great on the front door but I think it would definitely add a special touch hanging on a mirror or window frame. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Still Here

These last few weeks have been really busy and I just haven't had the time to sit down and write out some new posts. Even though they have been busy, I haven't felt overwhelmed or stressed out. It's the continuous lesson of living intentionally and keeping my priorities in order.

Much has happened in the last few weeks...

The bible study that I am leading here in our home is going so well... what an answer to prayer. I am looking forward to the weeks to come as we continue or way through Faithful Abundant True and can't wait to hear at the end what God has done in the hearts of the women.

I have had a little dream come true in the last few weeks as well. A friend of mine is graciously giving me riding lessons. I am having the best time and learning so much. I took riding lessons when I was younger and never thought I would be at a place in my life when I could do it again. My friend has given me a gift and I treasure every single minute of it.

My sister, mom and I had a WONDERFUL time at the Country Living Fair and we are already talking about going back next year. The only thing I regret is that I didn't take more pictures. I came home with a few treasures - a vintage chicken feeder (I think I am going to line it with candles and evergreen and put it on our dining room table at Christmas), a really neat field basket, and a bracelet that my Mom got for me. I've been getting over a cold these last few days, so I promise there are pictures to come.

Hope all of you are enjoying these first days of Fall!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Take A Guess

My sister, Mom and I are so excited we can hardly stand it!!!

Guess where we are going to be spending next weekend...

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Settling Into A New Season

I am settling into a nice routine now that we have a couple weeks under our belt from school starting. I am still getting used to how quiet the house is though. I find myself turning my ear to listen to the sound of the boys playing and the conversations that only takes place among boys.

Our daughter, Jessica has been working a lot and attending college, so she pretty much is on the go all the time.  Even though I don't have the time with her like I once did, I am thankful for the moments we do have - a quick conversation, walking out to her car with her as she leaves, or just a brief hug and "I love you".  

My husband and I are going into this new ministry season fully expecting God to just be huge in our lives and our church this year. For me personally, the last couple of years have been rough, but He is given me a new strength, determination, and excitement for what is possible. 

For the next 13 weeks I have the privilege to lead a women's bible study group. I shared with them last night that one of the most beautiful things to me is being surrounded by sisters in Christ, pursuing Jesus, and wanting to love Him more.

I'm learning a lot about transformation these days. It's something that the Lord keeps showing me, convicting me of, and pushing me towards. Perhaps it has much to do with where I've been and where I need to go because true transformation is a process - from the inside out. One thing that I keep going back to is that the fact that just having a knowledge of God doesn't transform me. It is when I make His truth and His ways be the way I live my life. It's living in His Presence and under His most holy power that radically transforms me so that I can be a woman that has Jesus written all over me. Nothing more, nothing less. 

So, let me ask you my friends, what new season of life are you settling into? What is God teaching you through that? 

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

"I Am" Sign

A while ago I saw this sign and when I was going back through my  "One Day I will Get Around To Making This" list over the weekend, it caught my eye again and the urge to be crafty.  Over the past week between ruffles and signs, I have rightly earned the name "Miss Busybody" in my family.

I started with a piece of pine wood that was about 28"x36". Of course you can make this any size you want. Make sure to use a soft wood though so that when you transfer your letters, you will see them. I painted the wood cream... of course.

Next, choose the words and fonts you want on your sign. This is the time to have fun and be creative!

The font sizes I used ranged from 250 all the way up to 700 (I am). Once you have them printed out (I just used my home printer), lay them out on your piece of wood and tape them in place. As you can see, most of my words didn't come out on one piece of paper. I then cut the letters and arranged them where they needed to go. I even overlapped a few of the words. Just make sure that you are getting them perfectly horizontal and level (this is when my husband advised me to use a carpenter square) or you will end up with words slanting all over the place. I speak from experience on this one because I forgot to go back and fix where I had the "I am" and didn't see until after it was painted and up on the wall that it was crooked! Isn't every project supposed to have at least one little mistake or imperfection though?

So, now that the words are all in place, take a pen and just start tracing really hard around the letters. This will then leave an indentation on the wood. I didn't believe this at first, but it really works!

I then painted the words using two different colors of acrylic paint - black and tan. Another piece of advice... use a thin brush and don't drink a lot of coffee prior to doing this. You are going to need a steady hand! 

The next thing I did was take a piece of sandpaper and lightly go over all the words, edges, and any other place I wanted a distressed look. I also applied a little bit of Ralph Lauren's glaze over the areas I distressed. The next time I make one of these, I will use a glaze on all of it and distress it before transferring the words so that the entire piece of wood looks more aged instead of just certain areas. 

Ready for the final project...

I am so pleased with how this project turned out... even with my little imperfection.  I love that it is in a place where everyone can see and be reminded of the names of God.

Have a wonderful day!!!

Friday, September 03, 2010

What I Did Today

Made more ruffles...

I did try and take pictures this time but let's just say the lighting was anything but cooperative.
So, here is the tutorial again.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Dining Room

Here is one of my latest projects that I wanted to share...

Our dining room is essentially part of the great room in our house that we had sectioned off by laying hard wood flooring. When we moved into our home, which is the church parsonage, it was very important to us to have an area where we could share meals as a family, entertain, and have a space that was large enough to accommodate a big table for when we have the entire family here. 

The table belonged to my grandparents and not only does it serve it's purpose well with being able to sit 12 people, but there is great sentimental value to it. We recently gave the table a more updated look by painting the base of it black as well as the chairs. You can see a picture here. After having it black for awhile, I decided it just really wasn't the look I was wanting. So, after a new coat of paint, here is the  finished project.

Another thing we changed was painting the brick on the fireplace. I can't believe how much it changes the look of the room and I just love it. 

Another project I finished this weekend was using this tutorial to add ruffles on the drop cloth drapes we have in the dining room.

This was a fun and fairly easy project once I got started. Because of the heavy weight of the fabric, I had to be careful ruffling the fabric so that the thread didn't break. My advice is that if you use drop cloths that are thick like mine, make sure to flatten your ruffles down as much as you can as you are sewing them onto the drop cloth. You can actually kind of stretch them out a little once you have them pinned (and I used a lot of pins to keep the ruffle in place) where you want them so it's not quite so bulky. I absolutely LOVE these ruffles and am ready to make some pillows and even try this tutorial where you can add them to a t-shirt.

I can't believe I didn't even think about taking pictures as I made these, so on the next go round of ruffle making, I promise to get some pictures!

Have a wonderful day!!!