Happy Imperfections

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I’ll never forget the day we moved into our country home where we are now.  It had just been finished being built! We were moving into our very first brand new house!

It was surreal.

I wasn’t moving into someone else’s mess or used home that needed work – this one was new and perfect!

We had many strong men helping us on move-in day lifting, carrying and lugging all our possessions into our new abode.  One kind man set down a box in my kitchen and I began to slide it closer to the place where it would be unpacked.  His response echoes in my ears even today:

These hardwood floors will scratch up even by a box being slid across them; you better lift that instead.

I followed his wise advice, fearful of causing some imperfection to come to my new and perfect home.

Those words guided the careful application of pads to every chair, table, foot stool, and anything else that was going to be rubbing across the hardwood.  I couldn’t stand the thought of a scratch ruining the looks of my perfect kitchen, hallway or living room.

But alas and alack, over the four years that we have been here, it has happened.  What would that man say if he could see where a can of green beans fell in my pantry and dented the floor there on a day when I was preparing a meal?  Or the heels that have walked across the planks causing scratches, or the other little nicks and bumps that have happened just because people live here, visit here, eat here, spill here, and do life here?

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Perfection isn’t a word that would describe my home, but I’m good with that now.  I’ve come to see those scratches as reminders that people are more important than my perfect standard.  If we lived here alone there would be far less imperfections, but oh, the blessings of belly laughs, happy shedding of tears, playful frolic, nurturing visits, prayerful conversations and loving of souls that we would have missed!

Thank you, sir, for your good advice.  I’m grateful you shared that with me – I really am.  I’ll keep the pads in place and care for my home as a gift from the Lord, but when the marks are added to the hardwood, fingerprints to the glass, or smudges on the walls, I can smile instead of grimace at the happy remembrance of the people that have helped make memories – not imperfections.

Last week when I mopped the floor, I saw a scuff on the floor and started to sigh, but then was reminded of the truths that God has been teaching me about living more for people than perfection.  Instead of sighing, with every stroke of that Swiffer, I thanked God – by name – for the different people who had been in our home.  It made my heart so happy – happy for my perfectly wonderful memories made in my imperfect home.

Do you ever get caught up in wanting your home to look perfect, and feel frustrated that it isn’t? People are more important.  Look at the people, instead of the imperfections, and you’ll have the freedom to use your home to glorify God!

Refresh your heart about your home.

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Kitchen Table Centerpiece Ideas

As a follow-up from my recent video on setting the table, I thought I’d share a few photos of simple centerpieces for your kitchen or dining room table!

Are you ever stumped at what you could put on your kitchen table as a centerpiece?  It doesn’t have to be an FTB bouquet to be pretty!  Sometimes we just need a few photos to inspire us to pull out what we already own and make a pretty embellishment.  Here are a few examples…

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The only thing purchased for this grouping was the fruit!  Included in my silver holder is a blue Mason jar with a battery operated candle, a glass gourd, copper strainer to hold the fruit, a glass acorn dish with a lid and some fall leaves.  Add a variety of heights for a good visual effect.

 

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These flowers were part of a $5.99 bouquet that I made into three separate bouquets!  A short, square glass  holder with a glass frog to keep the stems in place is holding the bouquet.  A charger under the bouquet adds another dimension to the centerpiece,

 

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Another part of the $5.99 centerpiece was placed into a mirrored holder, giving it a dressier and taller look.  I put a fabric runner under the arrangement to add softness to the table.
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A tiered stand makes a great centerpiece.  I layered different textured pumpkins, some fruit and silk fall leaves, then placed the stand on a fall fabric runner.

 

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This rustic bouquet was all gathered on my morning walk and put in a mason jar glass with a burlap ribbon tied at the top.  It’s perfect for the patio table.  When I edited the picture, I added some mini pumpkins to show what else you could add to make it even cuter!

Look around your house for items to use for the table.  Consider:

  • Taper candles
  • A basket
  • Cloth napkins or a charger for under the centerpiece
  • Trays – Wooden, silver, black
  • Fruit
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Stems of  tree branches
  • Silk leaves
  • Fabric pumpkins or real ones that are miniature
  • Tea pots, pretty jars or pitcher to hold the flowers or stems

I hope this inspires you to gather some of the things you already own and refresh your kitchen table!  Even if it takes days for your family to notice, you’ll see it and it just might bring a smile to your face!

Refresh your heart by being in a Gospel preaching church this Sunday.  Christ loves the church and gave Himself for it!  Ephesians 5:25  Since He loves it that much, we should, too!

Which centerpiece was your favorite?

Lovingly,

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Setting the Dinner Table

A part of every day life is eating a meal.  So, too, is the need to set the table.  I’ve heard many women say they don’t really know how to properly put the silverware and tableware out.  Is it just being too fussy to set the table?  No!  But if you don’t know what to do, fear not; it’s not something that requires lifted pinkies or tea cups!

My video today will show how to set a simple table, making it pretty enough for company, but also perfect for your family.  Don’t let them have your leftovers (no pun intended!). Make them feel special by making mealtime an event.  It’s really up to us to make the table pretty, and this simple video will give you a few ideas to show how.

 

What centerpiece do you have on your table right now?

Refresh your family’s dinner table!

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The Healer of the Family

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This coming Wednesday in Pioneer Club I get the joy of teaching a Bible lesson I’m not sure I’ve ever taught. As I’ve pondered this Bible passage, I’ve realized how important this little two-verse story is!  It’s the story of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law being sick with a fever.

But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.

.And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.

Mark 1:30-31

So why would this be in the Scriptures?  Why should we tell the children this story? Why do you and I need to read it? I believe it’s because it speaks volumes about the care we should have for our family.  Just as this family looked after the needs of this mother who was sick, we need to put the same kind of efforts into our family relationships.

  1. They loved her.
  2. They wanted to do the best thing for her.
  3. They got the best care for her needs.
  4. She showed her gratitude by serving.

It’s so simple, yet so powerful a message of family life as God intended it.

Loving, caring, giving, gratitude – all attributes every Christian family should have.

But so many homes today are filled with fighting and bickering, bitterness and grudges.  The thermostat in the home is set at the high temperature of STRIFE.  Heated discussions., sassy children, and hot words of anger fill the rooms instead of love, forgiveness and kind deeds.

James  3:16 says,

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Confusion.

Every evil work.

Is that what we want inside our home?  If we allow strife, that’s what we  will get.

I have a sad memory  from years ago of a grieving family who were at the casket of their mother.  She was now in heaven, and the family knew there were bitter feelings they had never reconciled.  This family had “solved” problems with shouting matches, that of course did no good.  Now their mother was deceased, and their hearts were hurting, filled with regret, and sorry they hadn’t taken care of it before she closed her eyes in death.

Standing at the grave of a loved one is not the time to make peace. It’s today.  Don’t let strife and confusion and every evil work typify your family.  Instead, allow your relations to  enjoy the forgiveness you received at the cross.  Life is too short and family is too precious.

Let’s be like Simon Peter and lovingly go get the best help we can for our family – let’s run and find Jesus!  We must bring Him in on each situation and problem.  We must care for the needs of our parents, siblings, and children, forgetting our own.

Does your family have a need?  It can be met in Jesus.

(Tomorrow will be continuation of this post.)

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Friday Favorites = Family & God’s Faithfulness

This past week could pretty much be summed up with one word – Family!  What a blessing to have a loving family who love God, run to the Throne of Grace with you and for you, and celebrate blessings and weep in sorrows together.  We’ve had pretty much all of that this past week.  It was a reminder of how blessed I am, and I certainly don’t take it for granted.

Last Friday gave me time with my youngest daughter and her two little guys.  How fun it is that they’re getting big enough to ride in the stroller while their mommy and Gigi have lunch and do a little shopping!

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Saturday morning took me to a 10K that my husband ran in.  I’m so proud of his work at his running distance and time.  Staying healthy and fit is important to both of us and he finds running helps him with that goal.  I’m a walker, not a runner, so I stand on the sidelines and cheer him on!  This  was his fourth time to run in this particular race and it was his best time yet!  I’m so proud of him!

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My flower boxes continue to bring a smile to my face, even in this early fall season.  I’m looking for something to transition them into autumn boxes, maybe with some mums and mini pumpkins.

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Sunday afternoon took us to central Kentucky to visit my family.  We had planned to go for Labor Day, but God providentially postponed our trip, knowing what we did not – that our family would be dealing with a crisis the next weekend.  I mentioned what happened in yesterday’s POST.  How grateful we were to be able to be there for my sister and brother-in-law.

We also had the fun of celebrating mine and my sister’s birthdays. My sweet parents grilled delicious steaks, baked potatoes and all the trimmings.

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My mom mixed and my dad churned their famous homemade ice cream to accompany the Tiramisu cake my mom had purchased.  I might have to walk some extra miles this coming week, but it was worth it!

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Winchester, Kentucky is home to the famous Ale-8 One, a ginger soft drink. They’re selling it in East Tennessee now, too!  A friend of mine has purchased it for me locally and been “carded!” but it’s not alcoholic!  It’s purely a soft drink and we love it! We always stock up when we’re home!  Their salsa is also super-good!

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Central Kentucky is beautiful, and I always love getting to visit my home, but the best part about it is spending time with my family that lives there. Our week there was full of family fun and family sorrows, but God’s grace was seen in it all. His grace allowed us to have the sweet times of fun, and it continues to give strength to endure the hardship.  What would we do without the Lord?!

So tell me…

  • How have you seen God’s providence in your life this week?
  • What do you add to fall flower boxes?
  • Who’s heard of Ale-8? Have you tried it?
  • Would you please pray for my brother-in-law, Tim?  He has a long road of recovery ahead of him.  Thank you!

Have a great weekend! Find a place to worship God and be strengthened in His Word!

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In-Laws and Outlaws Part II

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Jokes about mothers-in-law…there are many.  I remember hearing one about a Greyhound bus going over the side of a cliff, but there was no worry, because the only passenger was the man’s MIL.  Ouch.  Where do those punches come from?  Maybe from people who have gotten fed up with that female in-law who crossed the relational boundaries.  But it’s so easy to do, isn’t it?  We may reason that

  • we only want to help!
  • we’ve been where our children are and we think we need to  give them some good advice.
  • we see our kids getting ready to make the mistake of a lifetime.
  • they need help raising those grandchildren of ours.

The reasons for mother-in-laws interfering are many, but for the most part, they may be very unwelcomed  from our birth children and our in-laws.  It can do far more damage than it does help when it’s unsolicited.

What is a mother-in-law to do if she desires to have a good relationship with a son or daughter-in-law?  Here are a few things I’ve learned (and am still learning!).

  1. Only give advice when it’s asked for.  If you see your kids doing something you think is wrong, pray about it instead of speaking to them.  Trust a sovereign God to direct them just as He directs you when you’re heading down a wrong path.
    That would include little “hints” you might want to drop about your DIL’s housekeeping, lack of meal prep, or careless parenting skills.  Or your SIL’s need to turn off the television, get a job, lead his family or attend church.  Take it to God instead.
    I’ve had to ask both of my girls to forgive me for stepping over that boundary once they got married!  We’re so used to being “mom” that we scold, advise and reprimand our grown kids as quickly as we used to throw our arm across them when we came to a sudden stop in the car.  Let’s fold our hands in prayer instead and ask the Lord to give them wisdom to make right choices.
  2. Don’t demand your children’s presence for ANYTHING. would mean Christmas, Thanksgiving, your birthday, Mother’s Day – you get the idea.  They have lives of their own.  They have a family to care for.  They have burdens to carry.  They have jobs and ministries.  Let them live their lives.  Again, if you feel neglected, take it to the Lord in prayer.  Even if you don’t demand their presence, but you pout because they weren’t there…it’s just as bad.
    Also, be sure you’re building that marriage relationship with your spouse.  Have so much fun together that your kids will know that if they’re not able to come home, you both are fine just being together!
  3. Never drop in to your children’s home without calling ahead.  “Yoo-hoo!” at the front door as you walk in could make an embarrassing situation for you and your children.  It can also turn you into the lady that might be given a ticket to ride that Greyhound bus!
  4. Consider your child’s spouse.  Think to your own MIL and how you liked or disliked when she left you out or included you, as the case may be.  Love them.  Talk to them.  Send a text.  Call them occasionally just to say hi.  Pray for them.  Treat them with respect and give them those kind of words.
  5. Allow your children and their spouse to be adults.  Treat them as such, remembering that you raised them to be independent. Don’t see your son as your little boy.  He’s a man.  Let your daughter be a grown woman. Let go of those early days and let them establish a home as adults.

Remember the story of Ruth and Naomi?  Ruth was said to have been kind to her mother-in-law.  We may cry out – “My daughter-in-law needs to take a lesson from her!  My son-in-law needs to learn to be kind to me!”  But what made Ruth and Orpah want to go back to Bethlehem with Naomi?  She had been gracious to them!  Someone has said,

Maybe if we were more like Naomi,

there would be more Ruth’s.

If you’re guilty of something in this post, be humble and ask the Lord to help you.  You might even need to ask your children and in-laws to forgive you for the way you’ve treated them.  A humble spirit of repentance could be the very thing that will turn those difficult relationships around.

Let’s be more like Naomi today.

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School, Seasons and Sad Momma’s

I want to take just a minute to encourage moms today.  From one who has been there, I realize that this time of year can be an emotional roller coaster for women who may feel they aren’t needed in their children’s lives quite like prior years.  My only longing is to give a biblical perspective to guide a mom’s heart.  So, here we go…

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Late August can only mean one thing for children – school is back in session. For some of their momma’s, there is relief of no more slamming screen doors, frantic baseball schedules and camp-bound teens.  They greet the fall and its changes with a happy sigh and open arms.

But for some moms, this school session brings sadness because they’re not just staring at lunch boxes and back packs; they’re staring at the changes it has brought. Perhaps…

  • One child has left home to head to their first year of college. 
  • A daughter is in their last year of elementary school.
  • A son is in his last year of junior high.
  • All children are out of school and out of the home due to graduation and/or marriage.

The type of changes could go on and on, but the truth is, every year we live is going to be full of what we often stiff-arm – a change in the seasons of our life. Here’s a beautiful reminder in God’s Word in Ecclesiastes 3 about the seasons of our lives:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

God has given us a mother’s heart to love our children, to love parenting and nurturing them, so how are we to deal with an end or a change of those seasons? How can we find joy and a reason to move on when our role is different and we don’t feel quite as useful or needed as a mom?

  1. Think on Truth. We are commanded in Philippians 4:8 to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. Therefore, if I let myself constantly think about those early days of my child’s life, and how much I miss when my girls were toddlers on teenagers, all I have to do is look into their current photos to realize that that is not the truth for today. Today they are grown, married and moving on in God’s will.Thinking about the truth of today could remind us that our kids are maturing; they’re developing into people that can serve God. Are they doing what we raised them to do, to serve and love God? Wonderful! Praise His name! If they’re away from the Lord, we can remind ourselves of the Truth that the Word we poured into them will not return void. God loves them more than we do and is pursuing them. What comfort Truth gives!
  2. Enjoy the memories of former days with a proper perspective. Isn’t God gracious to allow us the blessing of being able to remember those past seasons? It’s fun to flip through photos and recall the years now behind us. But while you’re recalling those times, be honest with yourself and remember that those days also brought some hardships.We home-schooled our girls almost completely through, meaning I was a home-schooling mom for twenty years. While I loved it and was thankful for the opportunity to pour into my girls’ lives, I remember days when I just wished I could go to Walmart alone! Some days I tired of dissecting earthworms and reading book reports. It’s easy to focus on the highlights and get discontented with here-and-now. Be real when you’re looking back.
  3. Honor your children and God when you reflect. If this next description is you, I honestly mean no ill, but I ask you to consider the reality for a minute. What adult wants their mom to post pictures or comments about their child, desiring that they were “a little boy once again?” I’m sure none of us would have wanted our mother-in-law to post toddler pictures of our husband because that’s how she wished she could see him.  What girl wants to be remembered today as only what she was many years ago? If we really want to honor our children and be respectful of them (and their spouse, if they’re married) we will remember those former days only in our heart, and not on social media. Being considerate of their maturity is one small way to honor who they are today.How can we honor God in the way we remember our past seasons? Don’t think that your best days of serving Him was when you had children at home, or when they were littler, or more needy of you. Do you have a mate? Are you pouring as much energy and time into him? Each year as your children need you less, transfer that energy to your husband.  If you have a ministry at church, give it your all. Find a younger woman to mentor and be a blessing in her life by spending time in God’s Word, working on projects together, praying with/for her and helping her in this busy season of her life!

I’m really not trying to get hate mail, but I only desire to encourage women to live as God would have us. Today is a gift from His hand, meant for serving, enjoying and laying up treasures in heaven. Don’t regret what’s gone – reboot and move on! This is a new season, Mom! Thank the Lord for yesterday and ask Him for a new opportunity to get out of bed, then put a smile on your face and be happy today!  That might just mean going grocery shopping…alone! =)

What has been the most difficult time in your role as a mom?

Refresh your “momma” heart,