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Refreshing Ideas for Summer

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My blog’s purpose is to refresh women in their hearts, homes, and lives.  This week I want to focus my posts on specific ways to refresh you and your home this summer!  Here are a list of ideas to get you started!

This wonderful warm weather and sunshine is a sweet reminder that summer is here!  Woo-hoo!  It’s time to add some summer charm to your home and your life.  Here are a few suggestions to refresh you this summer!

  • Gather all the old issues of magazines from the summer months.  Scour through them and get some fresh ideas for your yard, a summer wreath, refreshing and cool treats for the summer, and places to visit.
  • Plan to head to your Farmer’s market this weekend for fresh berries and see what other goodies they may have to offer!
  • Pick up some pieces of china at a yard sale.  Fill a basket with mismatched china, vintage tablecloth and napkins and have it ready for an impromptu picnic.
  • If you have a clothesline, hang your sheets outside.
  • Fix up your back deck or patio so it’s inviting for summer breakfast, lunch and/or dinners!  Set out some containers of flowers, add party lights, add pillows to your chairs and porch swing, add a blanket for an evening view of the summer sky!
  • Add some pretty ribbon or twine to your hand-held garden tools so you can hang them in a convenient place.
  • Put a cotton quilt on the grass in the shade and read to your children.  Enjoy lunch out there too!

I hope one or more of these ideas will refresh these summer days for you!  Which one spoke to you?

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Family life · Husband · memories · Mentoring · Refreshment · Refreshment in marriage · summertime

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!


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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friends · ministry · Refreshment

Refreshing the Hearts of Others

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Last week my husband and I were standing alongside this stream pictured above.  How refreshing it was to stand in its bubbling song.  There is just something about flowing, moving water that invigorates!  If you’ve ever stood a stream’s edge in the countryside you know what I mean.  I could’ve stayed there all day!

Two weeks ago I was given a handout entitled, Twenty Ways to Refresh.”  Due to the nature of my blog and my desire to refresh others in their heart, home and life, I gravitate to the word, “Refresh.”  Harold Vaughan, the founder of Christ Life Ministries, is the epitome of Encouragement and he is the author of this list I was given.  When we refresh others, we are pouring life into them, like that flowing stream did for me!  If you’re like me and you have difficulty thinking of ways to encourage others, this list will help you.

Today I’ll share the first ten:

  1. Greet people on Sunday mornings (at church) with a smile.  It is okay to let your face say that you are happy to be at church.  Go out of your way to say, “Hi.” Ask questions about the lives of others, and listen attentively.
  2. Visit the widows and shut-ins of your church.  Take an afternoon and visit three or four.  Sit, talk, listen and be willing to look at their photo albums – all of them.
  3. Have a mouth that is overflowing with grace and is slow to wander down any other road.
  4. Show up each Sunday morning with a mental list of three or four people that you are going to find and minister to.  Many of us walk into church with an attitude of, “I wonder who will minister to me today.”  Nothing can be as drastically encouraging to a local church’s membership than a people united in the understanding that they are there to serve and love one another.
  5. Be a Monday morning encourager instead of a Monday morning critic by sending your pastor an email detailing what you appreciated about his Sunday sermon.
  6. Don’t rush out of church on Sunday mornings.  Be one of the last to leave because you are taking the time to talk with everyone you can.
  7. Often remind others of the benefits of salvation and the graces that flow from union with Christ.  Let it season your conversations.
  8. Routinely have a crock-pot meal or roast cooking on Sundays and spontaneously invite a visiting family or family in need for supper following the service.  (See my Successful Sunday Dinner series!)
  9. Seek out those visiting the church, get to know them, and introduce them to others.  Find connections, and be a networker to the glory of God.
  10. Aim to remember people’s names and greet them by name each Sunday.  This takes work, but it can happen.  (I go to my seat and write their names in my journal, with a brief description of the person!)

This really inspired and refreshed me!  Which one of these points spoke most to you?


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friends · Refreshment

That’s What Friends Are For!


The beautiful scene above was the setting for the “Ladies’ Day” I was privileged to speak at last weekend in the UP.  The church has a very adequate and comfy mission house where we lodged.  The only thing between me and the church was this snowy parking lot.

I had the blessing of having a dear friend travel with me.  She graciously volunteered to accompany me on this adventure.  When I questioned if she was sure she wanted to make that sacrifice, she said, “What are friends for?!”

What a joy to have someone literally “at my elbow” all weekend!  We navigated the airports, meal decisions, hilarious situations in the airports, bumps in the presentation of my lessons, AND this parking lot, side by side.  She’s a decade+ younger than me, so she would link her arm in mine as we maneuvered across the parking lot, turned ice rink.  As we walked  I would hear,

Watch that patch of ice!

Look out for that rock – it’s pure ice!

Careful here!

Don’t slip right there!

Together we made it to the safety of the church building where we continued to serve together. Not many would have known she was serving – she did it from hidden places – the quiet of her room at the mission house when she prayed and also wrote me an encouraging card, in the mission kitchen when she fastidiously watched an egg boiling so it would be the “perfect” soft-boiled egg.  Then she served from way up high in their sound room as she flipped my Power Point presentation for me, all the while missing out on the action in the sanctuary.

Again she served as she snapped pictures of me talking to the ladies afterwards so I could remember them as I wrote their names in my prayer journal upon returning home.  She was always on the lookout for how she might serve, and she did it in a way that God was glorified and those around her were blessed.

She won’t like it that I’m recognizing her in this post, but I must because she is the essence of what a real friend does.  It’s far deeper than getting powerpoint slides on a screen – it involves coming alongside, looking for ways to serve and encourage.  Sometimes I think she has a secret camera in my world because her timing is uncanny!  That comes from a person walking under the Spirit’s control and allowing Him to prompt her, because “that’s what friends are for.”

I learned so much about friendship this weekend as I considered her.

  • Folks all around me need a “hand on their elbow,” if you will.  They need to know that someone sees their need and cares enough to reach out to them.
  • They need my close communion with God so that I will be directed to when and how I might serve them.
  • It’s risky business being a friend- she could have gone down with me, had I fallen, but she didn’t mind.  I doubt she ever gave it a thought.  She was more concerned with what I needed next, because “that’s what friends are for!”

My takeaway’s about friendship:

  1. Look for needs – what could I give?
  2. Look for weaknesses – how should I pray?
  3. Look for gaps – how might I serve?
  4. Look for disappointment – how could I bless?

I’m not the only one blessed with this dear friend; she has more friends than springtime has daffodils, and it’s no wonder!  Today I honor her and the many other friends the Lord has poured so richly into my life.  Some are close, some are far away.  Some I don’t talk to very often, but we could pick up the phone today and pick up where we left off. Thank you for the blessing of your frirendship!

Let’s don’t isolate ourselves; we need each other.  Let’s link arms and navigate life together – That’s what friends are for!


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eternal · Family life · home · Husband · joy · Marriage · memories · Refreshment · refreshment at home · Refreshment in marriage · Speech

Ten Stress-Reducers for Marriage


For my Family Friday post today, I’m going to share my husband’s great thoughts from his message series of Putting Hope in Your Marriage.  These are practical for every marriage – stress or no stress!

  1. Refresh daily with God’s Word.  Only His Word can help YOU be what you need to be.
  2. Always put your spouse first.  This requires humility…see point #1!
  3. Build together time into your schedule.  If you don’t put it in, it likely won’t happen.
  4. Learn to say “NO.” This means you’re saying, “Yes” to more important things!
  5. Cut out ministries that are burdensome and stale.  If you’re plugging away at a ministry at church with no heart, it’s better to give it up and get refreshed.  This will also allow you time to pour into your marriage, which is your FIRST ministry!
  6. Serve together!  Aquila and Priscilla served as a husband/wife team.  Where could you serve with your spouse rather than away from him?
  7. Communicate clearly and respectfully. Don’t use your words to punish!
  8. Plan ahead. The anticipation of a fun date or time together is half the fun to me!  If you plan it ahead of time, it will help you get through the stress-filled days of life!
  9. Be “touchy.” Hold hands, hug, love with touch.  It’s amazing what a loving hug will do after a hard time, isn’t it?!
  10. Trust God.  That means trust Him together.  Stop together and pray about that stress.  Read a passage of Scripture to your husband that encouraged your heart in the midst of your difficult day.

Thank the Lord for a marriage that can give one another hope in stressful times!  Add some encouragement to your spouse today!

I’m excitedly heading to Michigan today for a Ladies’ Retreat!  It’s cold and snowy up there, but I’m looking so forward to sharing time in God’s Word together!  His Word is like an oasis in the midst of a blizzard, but I’m packing lots of warm layers anyway!!!  I pray you have a refreshing weekend!

Refresh your marriage with hope!

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Life, · Refreshment

God’s Word About Pets


I recently purchased the little journal pictured here.  Why? Because I have always been a cat lover.  How about you?  Are dogs your best friend?


Dog, cat, hamster, rabbit or horse – whatever your pet is, they can sure get inside our hearts, can’t they?

I’ll never forget the day we had to take our nearly 20 year-old Fluffy to the vet because her life was no longer livable.  Arthritis had taken her ability to stand up, and we knew at that moment that her life was at its end.

We loved her.  Our girls had grown up with her, and even though she had the typical snooty Persian cat personality, she had endeared herself to all of us.

We kissed her.  We cried.  We said our goodbyes, and then we buried her in our back yard on the hill.  We missed her much in the days to follow, but we had to remind ourselves that she had been treated well, and lived the best kind of life for a cat! Trust me!

I’ve recently seen and heard so many comments about pets that die, that I just had to write a post about dealing with the death of a pet.  I can do it because:

  1. I’m a cat LOVER
  2. I’ve had a pet that I loved die – (Several)

I know what it’s like to hurt and cry over their death.

Better than either one of the two reasons above, I also know who Created my pets.  He is also my Creator and yours.  It’s the God of this universe.  He made the animals on Day 6 and we read that in Genesis 1:25

And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

In Genesis 2:7 we read:

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

You could also read Matthew 16:26 or Mark 8:36.

God gave man something that He did not give the animals – a living soul – a soul that would live forever.  Nowhere in the Bible do you read that animals live forever.  When an animal dies, its life is over.  It isn’t reincarnated as a new pet.  Its spirit doesn’t come back to be with you.  We have no further contact with a dead animal.

What do we have, then?

  • We do have the memories, thanks to a God who allows us to remember!
  • We do have the knowledge that we cared for them and treated them with the best love and care.
  • We do have a God who cares for the animals.
    • Consider Matthew 6:26 – Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.
      Who, but a loving God would provide for the animals of the wild?  He made them, He cares for them, and He feeds them!
  • We do have a God who cares even more for us!
    • Matt. 6:26b – Are ye not much better than they? Christ came to die for people because He loves us even more than the animals.
    • God cares when your heart is sorrowful.  Take your grief to Him in prayer and allow Him to comfort you.  I say this lovingly – there’s no use to pray to your animal or talk to them.  We never read in Scripture that they can send us messages or come back as another animal.  They’re gone, but God loves you and is there to hear your prayer.  I Peter 5:7

God loves you so much, in fact, that He sent Christ to die for you!  He gave man dominion over the animals, and He says that we are even better than them.  We have more value because we have an eternal soul that will live forever somewhere, and Christ died so that you and I could have a relationship with Him and live in heaven with Him forever.

The Truth of God’s Word is refreshing, isn’t it?  It reminds me that pets were God’s creation and idea! How kind!

It also reminds me that God cares when I hurt, but He will comfort.  How loving!

I also learn that He sacrificed His Son for me!  How gracious!

Let’s keep our focus on eternal things and make people more important than pets, and when our hearts are missing them, let’s remind ourselves of these truths that will comfort us.

Then be looking for another pet to come into your home and give it the cozy spot on your bed, just like your other kitty had…you’ll end up loving him, too.  Just give yourself a little time.

Thankful for Truth,



Freshen Up Friday

When you turn around and look at the week you just came through, does it make you shake your head in disbelief?  Do you wonder how you got it all in?  How all that laundry was washed, all those meals prepared, all those time schedules met, all those texts and phone calls answered? 

How much of what you did this was actually planned, and how much of it was a bit of a surprise that the Lord handed to you?  With each surprise event, the Lord gives grace.  With each thing that makes us take in a sharp breath, He is there.  Heartbreaking disappointments, illnesses, people hurts…God knows about them all and He was/is there to give you grace to respond. 

After those things are over we are often weary.  We are not sure we can, or sometimes even if we want to go on.  But if the Lord has allowed us to see today, He also wants us to live it joyfully, even if only deep in our hearts (it will eventually make its way to your face).  We need time to be refreshed.  We must step back and regather our thoughts in a biblical way. 

To refresh yourself at times like this, you need a little space. 

  • Get to a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed (okay, lock yourself in the bathroom, if need be!).
  • Turn on some music that will lift your heart to the Lord, or sing to Him. 
  • Read or listen to the Word of God being read on your computer or phone.  (Psalm 42 has recently refreshed my heart.)  Read/Play it over and over, if you need to. 
  • Talk to the Lord.  Pour out your heart to the Him. 
  • Don’t leave until your heart is refreshed.

Now that your heart is encouraged (which must come first!), don’t be afraid to do something nice for yourself at the end of a busy week!  Enjoy a cup of coffee at a coffee shop, get out your crafty stuff and craft away, buy a magazine that you normally wouldn’t buy for yourself and sit in a cozy spot at home and enjoy reading some good ideas, or splurge on a dessert you haven’t had in a long time. A little refreshment will go a long way at the end of a busy week!

The t-shirt idea I mentioned on Wednesday’s Peek inside the Parsonage is detailed here.  Check it out if you’re in a crafting mood!

Be refreshed,