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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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!

Ale 8

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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Best Friends in Marriage

The posts have been about friendship this week, we can’t forget our BEST earthly friend and the importance of maintaining  our relationship with him!

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Yesterday found my husband and me in the basement going through some boxes of “stuff.” Stuffed animals, old toys, pictures, school annuals, dolls, dishes, and books were sorted through. I was down there for several hours – not because I got so much accomplished, necessarily, but because when I go through old things it brings back memories and I have to stop and reflect! My husband and I passed many pictures back and forth to one another. “Oh, remember this?” “Look at us! How hilarious!” (You will not be seeing any of those pictures posted here!) Not only did we recall many special times from our past, but it was a sweet time together recounting good memories and numerous blessings.

I also leafed through a couple of the books that I hadn’t read in a while. One book was on marriage and there was a chapter on being best friends with your mate. The highlights were how important it is to spend time together having fun, talking, sharing your heart, and being open with one another. I smiled – we had done that even in a cool basement on Memorial Day when most of our neighbors were probably out at the lake or at the park having a picnic with their extended family. We had shared secret memories of times and places when notes were found written in our handwriting. We’d laughed. We’d talked about times when our girls were growing up. This is what friends do.

Dari Ace

After we’d had our grilled hamburgers later in the evening, we headed out for a drive through the countryside. Opening the sun roof on the car, the warm air blew through as we pointed at beautiful homes, the clouds over the mountain or a row of flags in a front yard. We even stopped for an ice cream at Dari ace – so cute! It was a great end to a fun day spent with my best friend.

Are you still best friends with your husband? Are you spending time together? I don’t mean time living – I mean time just being together. What tone of voice do you use when you speak to him or repeat an answer to his question? Is it the tone that one would use with their best friend? God gave Adam a wife so he would have a companion. Are you and I being the best kind of completer that we could possibly be? Best friends give each other the benefit of the doubt, love when no one else loves, and enjoy just doing little things together. Is your husband the one you spend that kind of time with? Don’t replace his companionship with that of your girlfriend, sister or parents. That is not God’s plan for a married woman.

I am planning on re-reading that book I found. It was a good reminder for me. We all need to be encouraged in what a godly marriage looks like. I’m thankful for a day in the basement that helped me to be refreshed in the friendship part of our marriage!

With love,

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P.S. I believe the book I was referring to is, The Ministry of Marriage, by Jim Binney.

Summer Date Night Ideas

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One day last week, my husband was cleaning out some of his office boxes that had been stored away in our garage when he came across a stack of preserved letters, notes and cards, most of them written by “Yours truly.”  We began reading them and found ourselves laughing, crying, and rejoicing over the years, the experiences we’ve shared, and the goodness of the Lord in it all.

It became so obvious to me that the written note is so important!  Without that, how would we recall these precious memories?  How would we have remembered how awed we were by God’s provision, or how near the Lord was during that trial?

Since that afternoon, I’ve determined that I must
a.) Continue writing notes.  Texts are great, but in ten years, how will we be able to reread that form of media?
b.) Read through the stack I have tucked away from the 36 years behind us!

Now, here are 30 great Summer Date Night ideas! 

  1. My first encouragement to you about a summer date night is to make a time when you and your spouse can sit down and read through some of your cards and letters you’ve saved.  Go out on your back porch to read them, or take them to the lake where you can sit at a picnic table.  Just do it.  It will remind you where you’ve come from and how special your relationship really is!  I fell in love with my husband all over again!
  2. You don’t have any notes?  Sit down and write your husband one today and leave it in a special place where he’ll find it.  Write it on pretty paper.  Spray a little perfume on it.  Then tuck it away so you can start that file you’ll be able to read again when you’re old and gray.
  3. Make your own Drive-In.  Make the setting outside your home perfect for watching a movie or show on your laptop or tablet.  Turn on the patio lights, light candles, get a bowl of popcorn popped and a comfy swing to share!
  4. Bookstore Date–  I first shared about this here ,and no matter if you have done it before, this date can be done over and over again and it will be new each time.  It’s one of our favorites!
  5. Read your favorite books to one another – or find a new one to read!
  6. Bake cookies together
  7. Watch the sunrise, then make breakfast together
  8. Attend a local baseball game
  9. Go for a long drive
  10. Have a picnic
  11. Play Frisbee
  12. Visit the farmer’s market
  13. Video Record the Story of How You Met & Fell in Love
  14. Cook a Late Night Dinner Together
  15. Write a Prayer List & Pray Together
  16. Make Smoothies or Milkshakes
  17. Share 5 Goals Over a Late Night Snack
  18. Do a Puzzle Together
  19. Play a Game
  20. Have a Chip & Dip Night – Add Conversation
  21. Record Each Other Sharing a Recent Memory
  22. Tackle a FUN Project
  23. Write a Gratitude List about one another
  24. Have an Ice Cream Sundae Night
  25. Search for Funny YouTube Videos
  26. Go to Yard Sales and see who can find the best bargain
  27. Go to the Local Bike Trail and ride bikes.
  28. Enjoy an Outdoor Concert
  29. Begin a Date Night Journal and Write down each time you have a date, what you did and any fun memories you created.
  30. Go to a Theme Park Without your children and leave your phones in the car.  Ride all the water rides.  Eat the snacks.  See the shows.  Stay late for the fireworks!

I hope you’ve had a great first week of June, and I hope some of the ideas shared this week will inspire you to create some fun at home this summer!  Each day is a gift from God and is worth celebrating!  So enjoy!!

Stay refreshed in God’s Word this weekend.  We need Him every single day!

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Summer Fun Series (Day Two)

Here we go – another list of fun things for children to enjoy during summer months:

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This clever treasure box, which is organized around the principle that anything goes, has ample room for plastic bags of beach sand, seed packets, subway tokens, maps, sea glass, photos, finger paintings, invitations or even a tiny book of best friends’ autographs.

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Start with a sturdy cardboard box (one with a lid), which your child can label with his name and the date. As he amasses odds and ends, he can tuck them inside or, if he prefers, glue some onto the outside of the box. To give the box a durable finish, brush on a coat of white glue thinned with water or cover with Con-Tact paper.

Make Homemade balls:

balls
CRAFT MATERIALS:
9 (11-inch) balloons (for 3 balls)
Funnel
2 1/4 cups of dried lentils
Scissors
Time needed: Under 1 Hour
1. Stretch the first balloon by inflating it halfway, holding it closed for about 30 seconds, and deflating it. 2. Place a funnel in the balloon’s neck and gradually pour in 3/4 cup of lentils, pushing them in as you go. The balloon should be firm but squeezable. 3. Snip off the balloon’s thick rubber lip. Cut the neck off a second balloon and gently stretch the opening. 4. Ease the second balloon over the filled balloon, tucking in the neck as you go. 5. Cut the neck off the third balloon, stretch the opening, and ease it over the other two. Repeat this process to make a set of three balls, or however many you’d like.
How about making some cute cupcakes on the day your grass gets cut? What a yummy reward!  Or make these for a great Father’s Day treat! This idea was on Family Fun web site.

lawn mower cupcake
RECIPE INGREDIENTS:
Chocolate-frosted cupcakes
Coconut, flaked
Green food coloring
Hershey’s Nuggets
M&M’s
Frosting
Black licorice laces
1. For each cupcake, mix a handful of flaked coconut with a few drops of green food coloring. Press a chocolate-frosted cupcake into the coconut to cover. 2. The mower is made with a dark chocolate Hershey’s Nuggets body, brown M&M’s wheels, and a red M&M’s engine, held in place with dabs of frosting. 3. Shape the handle from a piece of black licorice lace, then insert the ends into the cupcake.

Make a simple version of homemade ice cream –

What you’ll need:
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup milk or half & half
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons rock salt
1 pint-size plastic food storage bag (e.g., Ziploc)
1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag
Ice cubes

How to make it:
Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt. Seal the bag.
Put milk, vanilla, and sugar into the small bag, and seal it.
Place the small bag inside the large one, and seal it again carefully.
Shake until the mixture is ice cream, which takes about 5 minutes.
Wipe off the top of the small bag, then open it carefully. Enjoy!

Tips:
A 1/2 cup milk will make about 1 scoop of ice cream, so double the recipe if you want more. But don’t increase the proportions more that that — a large amount might be too big for kids to pick-up because the ice itself is heavy.

Don’t forget some of the good ol‘ standby summer fun things, such as:

  • Hopscotch on the driveway
  • Hula hoops
  • Sprinkler or water hose jump rope
  • Cardboard boxes – find a refrigerator box and let the kids make a playhouse or puppet stage
  • Make Popsicles
  • Play hide and seek just as it’s getting dark. Use flashlights to tag!
  • Don’t forget the library. There are so many fun things to do there!

Enjoy…summer’s going to be gone before we know it and we’ll be pulling out the sweaters!

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Family Friday – Mother’s Day Dilemnas

That holiday is approaching.  You know, the one where our family bows at our feet, singing our praises for the sacrifices of

  • laundry at midnight
  • science projects aided
  • homemade cookies baked for classroom parties
  • wounds kissed and cleaned
  • A patient, listening ear always ready to fix a relationship problem.

Okay, maybe not.  In reality, likely not.  Not if you still have children in your care.  Not if you’re a single mom.  Not if your husband is caught up in the pressures and stuff of life.  But I’m not here today to shake my finger at them because it’s so easy to forget.

I admit forgetting, too.  As a little girl, I was pretty much only focused on what my mom could and would do for me. Because she was so consistant, I came to expect a hearty meal every day at 5:00, clean clothes in my dresser, hugs when I was mistreated, and words of wisdom to guide my life.  It wasn’t until I became a young adult that I realized how much was sacrificed in order for me to possess that kind of home environment.  It was then that I really learned to say thank you to my loving mom.  I began to comprehend how truly blessed I was.  Every Mother’s Day since then, it’s been my goal to express to her how grateful I am today for all she was and still is.

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So let me stop to say, Mom (Millie Ray), thank you for all you did to make home so special.  Thank you for the meals you prepared that were both delicious and graciously served.  Thank you for taking the effort to decorate our home and keep it clean, and also teach me how to do those household tasks.  Thank you for sacrificing your own career so you could be home for us.  Thank you for loving God and making sure I knew Him, too.  And thank you for loving my dad and showing me that marriage was for keeps.  I appreciated it as a child, but today I once again say thank you and I love you!

To all you readers who are moms, I say, enjoy Mother’s Day by not expecting anything from your family.  Put your thoughts on your mom, or some other woman that the Lord has put in your life to encourage you, love you and support you.  Be grateful for them.  Do something to show your gratitude.  Stop and thank the Lord for your children.  Keep your focus on gratitude, rather than on your expectations. I learned this the hard way!

This is one holiday that makes me hurt for some dear women.  To those of you who wish you were a mom and find pain on this day, I say I’m sorry, and even greater, God understands and sees your grief.  Remember that He is a good, good Father, and don’t doubt His love because He has withheld this from you.

To those who didn’t have a loving mom, I say, God saw, God knows, and that is the reason we needed a Savior.  He gave us His son so we could all understand the greatest kind of sacrificial love.

To those whose mom or child is in heaven, remember that we’ll be joining our loved ones sooner than we think, never to be separated again. I love to think about what my daughter, Ashley is enjoying in heaven at this very moment!

Let’s allow Mother’s Day to find us showing our families that our greatest desire is God’s, “Well Done,” and that the joy of His comfort is enough for every pain in our hearts.  There are many coming behind us that need to learn from us that holidays are man-made, but the joy of being a Christlike woman is God-made!  That’s a gift that only He can give us, and that is enough!

Find refreshment in Christ!

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Our North Myrtle Beach Favorites

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As you may have read, my husband and I were on vacation last week.  We love the North Myrtle Beach area because it’s relatively quiet (especially in late April!).  They’ve added lots of great shopping and restaurants in that area, too, making it one of our favorite places to retreat!  Today I am sharing some of our favorite places and activities when we’re there!

Walking/Running on the beach.

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We love to get up early and walk/run while the sun rises.  It’s invigorating, it’s beautiful and it’s fun!  Time together strolling later in the day is also fun.  Hand in hand, we stop for a look at the pier or a beautiful shell, or to watch the parasailors do their thing.  It’s just so relaxing to walk the shoreline!

Enjoying an ocean front room.

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We spend lots of time on the balcony.  I had my quiet time out there each morning.  We ate our meals out there.  The door is kept open so we can hear the beach any time we’re in the room!  Being ocean-front is like living ON the beach without the sand!

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Eating at Fun restaurants.

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There’s a breakfast place we love – Golden Griddle.  It’s so inexpensive, but the food is great.  I always order from the kids menu and it’s plenty of food for the morning!  There’s always a line out the door, letting you know it’s really good (and worth waiting for!)

We also make sure we eat at Sea Captain’s House.  Their hush puppies alone make it worth the visit!  We had salmon fixed with a Southern twist and it was delicious!  We always share a meal and both of us are filled!!  The view from the window is spectacular!

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Another favorite place not pictured is California Pizza.  The pizza is great, but we also love the atmosphere of sitting in their open air restaurant and enjoying the sights and sounds around us!

Time together!

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What’s better than not feeling in a hurry to get to the next thing?  Time together at the beach is great for our marriage, even as empty-nesters!

The sky!

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These pictures are totally unfiltered.  Every day the view is different and beautiful, pointing to an Awesome Creator!

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We’re home and back into ministry and our daily routines, but how fun it is to look back at our pictures and remember our time away.

How good the Lord is that we vacation at the beach and come home to the mountains! We are indeed blessed!

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Where do you love going on vacation?  What do you do to refresh yourself?

Thanks for stopping in to see our vacation favorites!

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