Dinner · Family life · refreshment at home

“Dressing” the Dinner Table

I recently posted about dressing ourselves, but you know, we should also be dressing our dinner table. Simply put, we should make the dinner table attractive. I post lots of ideas for recipes here on RefreshHer, but it’s only a means to get you to gather around your table. That’s where the connections happen. That’s where communication, love, relationships and nurturing thrive. There’s just so much to say about the gathering around the table. Since it’s so important, we should put some thought into making it welcoming. It isn’t stuffy or pretentious, but simple and inviting. How can we do that?

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Family life · memories · Refreshment · Vacation tips

The Grace Gift of a Family Vacation

Who doesn’t LOVE going to Pigeon Forge in the Smokey Mountains?! Last weekend we were blessed to gather there for a family vacation. After all the restrictions, I have truly rejoiced each time a planned event actually gets to happen! This time away was our 2020 Christmas gift to our children and their spouses, so we’ve been planning this for many months. What a precious time it was and how full our hearts are after four days and three nights together! This is hard, but I’m just going to share five highlights of the many fun moments we shared.

We opted to have all but one meal in our condo. We divided up the days and mealtimes and each contributed food for that meal. The first night we made it easy and brought pizza in since we had just checked in an hour before. I added a salad to round out the menu. Here is everyone (except my husband who’s taking the picture) at the table. We were a happy clan!

Whitney and I both have September birthdays, so we celebrated with a delicious Lemon-Raspberry Cake from Blackbird Bakery in Bristol, VA. How special to have the whole family there to celebrate with us! That in itself was a precious gift!

For a little added fun, we had a game competition that lasted the whole weekend. That was Whitney’s idea and it turned out to be a great plan! We played Sorry, Dutch Blitz, Spot it, Miniature Golf, Scrabble and Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza. That last game is hilarious and great for a crowd!!!

I loved our game time because it kept us connected even at hours when we were really tired. Instead of scrolling on our phones, we were playing games, laughing ourselves silly, and pushing up our competitive sleeves to gain more points on the scoreboard! Whitney kept an ongoing tally of the winner and second place contestant of each game, and then awarded the first and second place champions on Monday morning. Who do you think won???? Keep reading!

it was really great that the condo has a putt-putt course on site. Beside it is a playground, and just up the way was the pool. It was all literally outside our door! Our little guys enjoyed all of those fun activities and the Lord was gracious to give us beautiful days in which to enjoy it all.

We had several special times in God’s Word and prayer as a family. How sweet to gather together to thank the Lord and also leave our burdens and requests. I’m so thankful for a family who loves Jesus. Equally special was seeing individuals open the Bible in their own little space and spend time with the Lord before our day began. Yes, my heart is full.

I’m not boasting and don’t desire to make you envious of our family time. It was truly a gift from the Lord and we praise Him for it. There are heartaches and burdens, needs and concerns in our family, just like in yours. How precious to be reminded even this week that as the Lord heard Hezekiah’s prayer and told him that He saw his tears, our God hears us and sees our tears, too.

Whatever may be grieving your heart today, refresh your spirit by remembering that the Lord cares and is at work in your life. Cry to Him as Hezekiah did, then watch to see how He will comfort you.

I pray your weekend is refreshing as you fellowship with believers and worship our great God!

Oh, wait…the first place winner of our game competition was Alli, and anyone who knows our family will not be surprised at that! Second place was awarded to her equally competitive mother!

What are some ways you keep everyone connected during family times?

Celebrations · Family life · Marriage

The Best Anniversary Celebration

Last weekend our sweet daughters planned the most lovely early 40th anniversary celebration for my husband and me! Their gift to us was a family photo session with some great photographers from our area.

Plan A was to go to a park in our area, but the day turned out very wet.
Enter Plan B!
We used our newly decorated family room’s lovely blue wall as our backdrop! It ended up being really great (God’s interruptions always are!). I’ll share just a few of my favorite photos from the day.

Our twin grandsons were so cooperative and full of smiles!
I couldn’t ask for sweeter daughters. They are so dear to me.

This next photo is from our wedding day, June 20, 1981!

Forty years ago! And now…
Current!

Lots of things have changed, but Dale’s fun-loving spirit is not one of them!

After the family poses were all taken, the photographers invited each couple to come outside and stand in the rain under their giant umbrella for some really great rainy day shots! I love this one of Paul and Whitney!

And Alli and Andrew…

Look at the rain droplets!

Here are the “Oldie-weds!”

After a delicious lunch at Carrabba’s, we went to Alli and Andrew’s for dessert, consisting of a scrumptious Strawberry Cake. Whitney decorated for the party in her typical flare. It was so much fun and so pretty!

We can hardly believe we are staring 40 years in the face, but we are so thankful. God has been faithful, spite our old sin natures and imperfect love, He has guided us, provided for us and grown us. We pray that the years we have remaining will find us pointing others to the glorious Gospel where Jesus demonstrated the perfect sacrificial love, forgiveness, mercy, kindness, grace, and submission.

Here’s praise for (almost) 40 years!

Fall · memories · Refreshment

Bye, September, That Was Fun!

Just like the leaves scattered on my walking path, September has left some special memories of events and happenings during the month. Here are the photos from some of the blessings of those thirty days.

I had the blessing of speaking at two different ladies’ events last month. After pouring over God’s Word and seeking God’s direction in my study, it’s such a joy to my heart to get to teach women Truth from the Scriptures. Both events were so well planned out, and I believe all the ladies were just so thankful to have an opportunity to gather together. Things were different, of course, but it was still such a blessing to share this time with these precious ladies!

My husband traveled with me to the first event, and then my dear friend traveled with me to the second one. She’s a jewel, carrying my belongings, tending to any need, and also mingling with the women and serving them so well.

Then we were blessed to get to gather in Asheville as a family to celebrate Whitney’s birthday. Spite the fact that we ate outside in an alley with the cool winds whipping around our feet, we had a great time! We made the best of it by wrapping up with blankets retrieved from the car and later warming ourselves over dessert served outside of Starbucks with coffee and sunshine!

That same week we were saddened by the hospitalization of my dear dad, but thankful to the Lord that he came home after a two-night stay. These photos were the evening of the day he was discharged. How blessed we are for every day together, every dish of ice cream shared, every conversation spoken. God answered our prayers and we are rejoicing!

The next weekend took us to Pennsylvania where my husband had the joy of preaching at the installation of a dear friend as he assumed role as pastor at a church there. This church had been without a pastor for three years, so they were so excited. Our friend and his wife had been praying about returning back to ministry after a few years of rest. What a blessing to see how God prepared the way for all this to happen. My husband got to give the charge to the new pastor. We shared sweet fellowship with them in their home.

The fall colors were beautiful and we took some scenic routes and enjoyed the journey!

September had lots of miles, lots of memories, and so many blessings! Our hearts are full and thankful!

What was your best adventure in September?

I hope you’ll refresh yourself in a Bible preaching church this Sunday!