Christmas · Christmas decor · Crafts · Gifts · Hostess Goals

Homemade Rae Dunn-Like Ornament

 

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My church is hosting a Ladies’ Brunch and Ornament Exchange on Saturday morning.  I’m always up for a fun event at church where we can fellowship over good food, open God’s Word together, and share the special Christmas season!  Because we could have visitors who might not come prepared for the ornament exchange, I decided to bring some extras with me.  I wanted them to be special and pretty, but not too pricey.

I had seen some Rae Dunn ornaments that were lovely, but they were way more than I wanted to pay since I needed about six.  Then when I was Hobby Lobby this week, I got inspired to try to mimic the look of the Rae Dunn ornaments.  Let me show you my finished product then I’ll tell you how easy it was to create. Continue reading “Homemade Rae Dunn-Like Ornament”

Prayer

When God Doesn’t Answer Our Prayer

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One afternoon I went to town to run a couple of errands. One intersection that I had to cross is always bottle necked. When the light is green, the cars have to be ready to move because the light changes again very quickly, and if you don’t catch it, then you’ll have to sit for a while.

I was about the third car at the light and the light was green, but the first car just sat Continue reading “When God Doesn’t Answer Our Prayer”

Christmas · Christmas decor

Learn To Make a Bow

What a beautiful embellishment a bow is on a  package or wreath.  I attended a Christmas Memories class at a lovely shop here in Johnson City and watched as the instructor immensely changed the look of a wreath simply by changing out the bow.  It adds “that final touch,” doesn’t it?

I’ve had so many tell me they struggle with bow-making, so I thought I’d refresh your Christmas prep (and your packages and wreaths!) with a lesson.  Here are step by step pictures for you.  Grab a piece of wired ribbon and try to make one as you follow the Continue reading “Learn To Make a Bow”

home · Home making · refreshment at home · Women's roles

Refresh Your Family By Being the Homemaker

During the recent health crisis of my mom and her hospital stay, I was reminded of this chapter that I contributed for the Extraordinary Woman Book.  Here’s what I wrote:

She riseth while it is yet night and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. Prov. 31:15

The memory is so clear in my mind, even though the event took place when I was only eight.  My mother had gone to the hospital for surgery, requiring her to be away from home for a week. She left plans for our meals, school outfits, and personal needs in the careful hands of our loving dad.  He did all she had instructed him, and we had no immediate wants unmet. However, her very bodily absence left such a void in my young heart that I felt desperate for her presence. Having no way to remedy the situation, I made my way to the front closet where all our coats were hung. Finding my mother’s coat sleeve with the fur cuff, I buried my face in its soft comfort and cried tears of longing for the one who made our house a home.

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The remembrance of that event brings tears even today, as I recall the short-lived pain that was so real for a child.  I wasn’t used to not having Mom home, and it was a happy reunion when she was well enough to return to our house where she would make everything right again.

It is God’s plan for us as women to make our residence more than a four-walled existence. In verse fifteen of Proverbs 31, we see The Extraordinary Woman stirring about very early in the morning.  Her pre-dawn rising allows her time to prepare food for the day, taking careful efforts to provide for each member of the family. I imagine her household, still comfy in their beds, hearing her stir in the kitchen preparing breakfast, and that truth alone bringing a smile to their sleepy faces.

It’s a sweet comfort when families know that all is well at home because we are there.  Ladies, we are the homemakers; the ones who create a place of warmth, welcome, acceptance and genuine Christlike love.  There are simple ways to accomplish that.

Be there. There are times and situations like my mother’s surgery that temporarily remove us from home, but for the normal days, we need to be there when our children are there, if possible.  We need to be ready to greet our husband with a hug and kiss when he walks in the door.  A full house can’t echo, and an empty house cannot embrace.

Be prepared. Stress is relieved with early preparations. Creating a meal plan will allow us to know what we need at the store.  We will also be able to prepare food early in the day.  There will be time to create a simple, but inviting place for the meal with table settings that include silverware, napkins, a centerpiece of flowers, fruit, or candles to bring warmth.  Imagine the conversations had while dirty dishes wait and silver flickers of candlelight illumine beloved faces. The visions and aromas of even a simple meal prepared are treasures homemakers can provide. Without preparation, it’s just supper; with care, it becomes an event!

Be aware. It’s easy to be disconnected in this day of constant accessibility, even when are at home surrounded by those we love most.  Everyone can get caught up in their own little world, like caged mice running on a wheel. No one is talking or engaging.  Someone must care enough to look up and into faces of the family for signs of need.  That someone is us, the homemaker.  Home is the place for making time to dig into God’s Word together, to pray, and to find answers. We’ll never have the opportunity unless we are alert, and that opportunity comes with the discipline of saying no to self as we put others’ needs before our own leisure.

Be the homemaker that creates the atmosphere your family would miss – even if you were absent for just a week.

  • What would your family say about the atmosphere in your home?  Are you there enough?
  • Are you well prepared for meals?  What do you need to add to make mealtime more inviting?
  • Do you take time daily to look carefully at the needs of your husband?  Your children?

Refresh you home today by being the homemaker your family needs. Image result for tiny heart

denise a
P.S. The book I mentioned can be found in this link.  The distributors are having a buy one get one free sale right now.  They have many titles that would make great Christmas gifts!

 

gratitude · Prayer

I Prayed For Healing

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Here I sit in my quiet space while the fire and my Christmas tree are lit before me.  The glow that is emitted from them both doesn’t compare to what is radiating from my heart this night.  The overflowing emotion that has spilled out in a torrent of joyful tears in the past week is Gratitude.

Perhaps you’ve followed along here with the news that my mom was to have major surgery the day before Thanksgiving.  I didn’t share any details beforehand, but now that it’s behind us, I must share the background story so you’ll get a glimpse into the reason for my grateful heart.

In late September, my mom had Colitis that sent her to the emergency room.  While doing a scan, a mass was found.  A biopsy was taken at that time.  A couple weeks later I went with her to two appointments where the doctors dismissed the colon issues and were very somber about the mass.  The biopsy had come back inconclusive, leaving them very concerned about this softball-sized tumor.  The next step was an appointment set for her at a cancer center for a consultation.

Hearing the words “Mass” and “Cancer” is enough to make anyone quiver, and I felt my own emotions shaking like the  leaves that were hanging from the tree branches on that autumn day.  However, my mom was confident and calm, resting in a sovereign God who has her life – and her death, in His hands.  Peace emanated from her life and reminded me of Philippians 4:7 – “the peace that passes understanding.”

The oncologist told her the mass must be removed, spite her age. He explained that both ovaries would also be removed.  He went on to say that this is a tough surgery for any woman, and would be especially so for my mom, a woman in her early 80’s, but that he felt she was strong enough to endure it.  A surgery date was set for early November, but after several “events” happened with her, the date was set back to the 27th.  She would be in the hospital seven days, and possible rehab after that.  Now we had two months to think about this. 

Two months to wonder what the mass was. 

But also two months to PRAY for God to intervene.

I say this, not from pride, but as a testimony to my great God – the Lord would stir me in the middle of the night and I would feel so compelled to go to my place of prayer and pray.  I poured out my heart before Him as Scripture compels us to do.  I admitted that I was fearful.  I would have to confess my worry.  Then I also rehearsed some verses on prayer that I read, such as ~

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16

I prayed for a miracle.  I knew that every doctor was sure it was cancer, but I began pleading with the Lord to remove it, knowing that “nothing is too hard for Him!” I know that God hears the cry of His children and is very near in a time of trouble.  These verses are reminders that a person’s healing won’t always be here on this earth – God may choose to “deliver us from our trouble” by taking us home. Ultimate healing is promised every believer, but sometimes God heals here.  We see that evidenced over and over in God’s Word.  That was the answer for which I was praying. I’m leaving out so much as to why I was asking God for that, but it wasn’t just my own love for her…God knows the deeper reasons. I was also seriously asking for God’s will because I know that what He chooses to do is always what is best.  I knew that I could trust Him with the outcome.

Then came the surgery day.  While my mom was away with the medical staff, my family was gathered in the waiting area.  We stopped to pray in the middle of the surgery.

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After a two-hours in the operating room, the doctor came into the consultation room to comfort us with the news that she had done well during surgery and that they removed the mass and the ovaries…and that the mass was

BENIGN.

Benign!

No cancer!

We rejoiced and then we stopped to pray and thank God for His touch in her life.

That night after I returned to my parents home, I found a place to bow on my knees before the Lord to give Him thanks in private.  This is how I had come to Him over and over again in those two months.  I would be remiss not to do the same in order to thank Him for hearing my prayers.  I am nothing.  He is everything.

I acknowledge Him – my omnipotent God for His gracious kindness towards us. If God had allowed the cancer, He would still be good.  One day each of our lives will end and He knows when that time will be.  But for now, I know that He has ordained that my mom be given more days to serve Him and love Him.

He’s given me this day to praise Him, and I will!

The seven day hospital stay was a mere four day stay, and no rehab afterwards!  She was home Saturday night and has been recovering remarkably well, again, all because of a powerful God!

Through this whole trial, I have come to a greater love and longing for prayer.  How can I live one day without communing with God, sharing my heart, giving Him my burdens and watching what He can do? Oh, may I never forget the blessing of watching Him do the exceeding things that only He can do, all because we prayed.

Let me end by thanking many of my dear readers here who were praying for my mom’s surgery.  How that touched my heart!

Next week I’m going to address the subject that may be on your heart as you read this post – What About When God Doesn’t Answer Our Prayers?  

With a grateful heart,

denise a

Comfort Food · Dinner · memories · soup

Turkey Soup and a Story

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I love recipes that have a story.  Such is the case with today’s recipe.

Many years ago when I was in high school, my twin sister and I were riding to our home in the country on a cold, snowy day. Our driver was my sister’s boyfriend (who later became her husband).  As boys are want to do, he might have been driving a little faster than the narrow, icy roads necessitated.  Just as we topped a hill, we met another car coming towards us.  The brakes were hit, and our car Continue reading “Turkey Soup and a Story”

Refreshment

Listen To a Podcast

Happy Week of Thanksgiving!

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That little photo is a throw-back from a Thanksgiving years ago when our whole family had the flu!  We made the most of it and had a memorable day!

I’m going to take the week off from blogging so I can be with my family this week, but if you’re interested in listening to the RefreshHer podcast, you can go here to our church website and look on the far right side of the home page for “Refresh Her Podcasts.”  There you will find the most recent at the top of the list, going down to the podcasts that preceded it.  I pray it will encourage you!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!  

denise a