Friday, March 29, 2019

Five MInute Friday: Measure


I just had a birthday.  More than a few decades have now been measured in my life.  I look down the scope... and up the hill... and I know it is but a blink.  So much has been learned and, as wise as I may feel at this stage, so much remains to be learned.

I try to express this to my grown "kids", but it doesn't sink in.  I must admit grace because, at their age, I didn't appreciate the years of experience and LIFE which feed wisdom and understanding.  My eyes beam with greater respect now, though, as I look to my aging parents.  How did they become so wise all of a sudden?  Even amidst their many, even self-admitted, mistakes?  Perhaps my own mistakes help me to see past the mire and into the heart.

With age really comes wisdom.

Even if it is just that simple one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, traveling the path before us, life and living.  The grand measure of EXPERIENCE which can only come with time measured in heaps and mounds.

Yet grace.

This measuring of time is such a process, it helps to remember how some experiences come faster and harder than others... some people will sage as youngers rather than olders.  The variables of life drip in more-or-less depending on each individually as means and measures and God's good Hand pours out.

I am grateful for the measure He has poured me.  I pray to be humbly mindful as I step forward to decades more.

Blessings,







This has been a Five Minute Friday Post where writers tap away for 5 minutes, un-edited, on a predetermined topic.  Check out other great posts by visiting:
http://fiveminutefriday.com/



Tuesday, March 26, 2019

5 Things to Consider When Making a House a Home


It has been quite the month... I don't have the stamina I once did (so long youthfulness) and if just ONE extra thing arises in my schedule, well, that's all she wrote!  This month, with TWO extras tacked on, I feel the blog has been a bit neglected, yet, I couldn't stop thinking of all of you as I took pictures and posted video to Instagram of today's topic....

Once upon a time, when seasons or holidays arrived, I would tug out the plethora of change-out decor and set to work.  Beginning early in the day, I was often ready for bed on time with the seasonal switch complete and tubs and boxes re-tucked in their proper storage places.

No more.

For whatever reason, perhaps slowing biology as age wears on, bins and boxes are situated as decor options are sprawled across my dining room table, beginning a minimum 2-day event of trinket tweaking and greenery tucking!  Why all this trouble?  It is simple,

Hospitality.

For me, decor is part personal and part affability.  I do like pretty things and feel coziest wrapped inside of well articulated ambiance.  I have noticed others feel the same as well and so, for this reason, my decor is often considered with the viewing pleasure and comfort of others in mind. I want my home to tell a story at the same time it creates an inviting atmosphere of comfort.

If home is where the heart is, shouldn't our homes bear the evidence?

Just a few things I have come to consider over the years:

Your personal style and interests.  What do you find charming and inviting?  Don't worry about trend, it isn't about 'keeping up with the Joneses'.  You (or your family or guests) will never feel truly comfortable in an environment which is plastered on from Pinterest templates in an attempt to keep up appearances.  By all means, browse social media and magazines and books to find style inspirations which strum your heart-strings. Once you have hit the right chord, seek to try ideas which fit YOU and your family. Consider your likes, dislikes, experiences, mementos on hand and so on.  Perhaps you have a favorite piece of art or trinket... build your decor around it. 

I love homes.  I have collected Kinkade-esk styles of framed prints over the years along with trinkets, both received and found, which I scatter about our main living/dining room area.  Bird homes make their way into my decor as well and all seem to tie together to wrap us in a garden of coziness.

In my kitchen I have a favorite print done from an inside view of an old general store.  I draw this element out with vintage signs, tins and other tidbits old and new to continue the theme.

DO keep your family in mind.   While you want to be comfortable in the space, you also want to compromise well with the other people in your home!  If hubby isn't into frills and you are, marry the two with a masculine base accented by froofy highlights!  A flower arrangement here, a lace pillow there... and so on.  Be sure you talk with your husband about what he enjoys (or hates) in home decor and out of your love and care for him, craft a space you both can take pleasure in. 

If you have small kiddos, be realistic in your decor options.  Create plenty of storage for toys and define areas for their play and 'work'.  We always had a reading nook defined by an over-sized basket brimming with books flanked by cozy pillows or kiddy chairs in the corner of the living room.  Sometimes the basket was stuffed with library finds, other times it held seasonal favorites.  We also had a coloring shelf where they could grab the necessary materials and take them to a nearby table for hours of scribbling enjoyment!


Do keep guests in mind.  YOU live in this space, first and foremost, however, it is hospitable to be mindful of how guests will feel when they enter your home: 
  • Is there somewhere convenient to kick off shoes and hang coats?
  • Is seating easy to navigate?
  • Is the entryway open and un-obstructed with clutter or furniture?
People feel more welcomed not just by the smiling face which greets them at the door, but also by finding easy navigability and clear areas for them to lay their cares!  Even if you have no entry way to spruce up, you can make the initial opening into your home one where guests can naturally breeze in and find a cheerful welcome.


Make it personal.  I see the various trends right now and I do find them charming, however, as magazines and social media seek to promote the latest decor, personal elements are often left out.  Intertwining favorite items with family pictures is the quickest way to make your house a home.  I think many have forgotten how cheap and easy it is to grab prints from a favorite store's photo department and slip them into even a dollar store frame to commemorate the simple and monumental moments of family life.

Choosing trinkets which share your story is another way to add personal flair.  A family heirloom vase from Great-aunt Betty or vacation novelty figurine from a trip to the beach can make for great conversation when company comes.  It also helps you and your family remember history and your story, another element I feel is sorely missing from many modern homes.  We don't truly have a good heading for where we are going if we can't pause to remember where we have been. 

Just so I am clear: While there is nothing wrong with buying all new if you have the budget... don't break the bank and don't feel it is necessary.  Making a house a home only requires what you have on hand, and what you have on hand is likely to be what tells your story most intimately... the rest is bonus!

It isn't about STUFF!  I know it may seem like I am saying good hospitality and creating a welcoming home is about the stuff you display.  On the contrary.  You can have NOTHING and still be hospitable.  No, my overall goal here is to notice how we all have stuff to varying degrees and we can all, whether by inspiration from magazines and social media or inward style giftedness, create and environment which is welcoming.  Yet, at the end of the day, people really don't come to your home for your stuff... they come for you.  Your hubby doesn't walk in from a long day at work looking for stuff... he walks in looking for you!  Breaking the bank or running yourself ragged to create home will remove the most important factor of all: your heart and the peace God wants to pour to you, through you, and to others.  Let that be your first order of business!!


In conclusion
Taking time to thoughtfully consider how and what we place on our walls and surfaces can whisper words of peace and comfort to ourselves and others.  Walking into a fresh home, anchored with love and careful consideration, can bring a soul to rest when it is weary from the world outside!

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
- Romans 12:13 


Blessings,






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Monday, March 18, 2019

Celebrating True Womanhood

We are halfway through Women's History Month and I finally found a break in the bustle of life around here to jump on and share about a related topic near and dear to my heart.  I pray this is not one of those fire-bomb articles, but rather, an objective (or maybe partially biased) observation from one woman to another.

Feminism.  It has to be said.  When International Women's Day dawned on the 8th, I couldn't help but feel a sense of loss, "When is International Men's Day?"  It may seem silly and counter-intuitive, but with a culture clamoring to subdue men at every turn, the Spirit within me churned in protest.  Learning how the day was birthed in Communist Russian, backed by Socialists... and then brought to America, backed by Socialist... further repelled any desire to "celebrate".

I understand our long history of oppression.  The right to vote, hold property or even be paid a fair wage are relatively recent privileges produced by dedicated fore-mothers with great vision... and I am appreciative.  However, in the multiple epochs since the noble goals of suffragettes, "women's rights" have taken on a beastly form.

People laugh at me.  They think I am crazy to be so counter-culture in my beliefs.  Perhaps.  But I delight in the chivalry of male door-holding and dinner paying.  I find comfort in my husband's strong hand at the small of my back as I am being escorted.  I feel treasured in his watchful care.  But mostly, I feel that God is honored when we stand the ground in the roles he has created us for.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; 
I will make him a helper fit for him.”
- Genesis 2:18

I will agree that mankind, as a whole, has a dark history of treating women as subordinates and abusing their role as "head of the household".  However, I find it hard to believe this domineering stance has been universal.  Rather, I believe the vast majority of situations have been more isolated.  Fact is, Biblically speaking, woman was created as a helper... a walk-by-sider... not an underling.  Yet, in submitting to Biblical roles, we have to recognize that all of society is ran by a hierarchy - no one in charge is called anarchy and usurping power not granted to you is called a coup!!  So who is in charge in a couple or family?  Well, scripture tells us man makes the final call.

This doesn't mean women can't or shouldn't speak up, have discussions, offer perspective and be part of the decision making process... they should.  But ultimately they submit to their husband's final call.  Problem is, "submit" is no longer a favorable word in our culture.  Yet, it is one of the most beautiful in all of scripture.  After all, Jesus submits to God and to death on the cross for our sins (Philippians 2:8)!  Yet, we aren't being asked to DIE... we are being asked to LIVE, to Christ, in obedience to our husbands and the God-ordained roll of men and women in society... that HE might be glorified through us.

In the garden, Eve wasn't punished for disobeying... Adam was punished and, it could be said, he was punished for the role-reversal of submitting to Eve instead of standing his ground in submission to God.  As a result, both were cast out of the garden.  What if Adam had stood up and said, "NO, Eve, don't eat that" and she had listened?  It is a hard hard truth few people consider.

Women, what are we doing to our men, our children, our husbands, our brothers, our friends... when we rob them of their God-given roles to BE MEN?  To be a model of strength for the weak.  To be our providers and good directors.  To be the leaders sorely lacking in this current climate.  They have been relegated to misogynists caring only about skirts, sports and beer.  Yet, if men were to say the same of women: that they only care about pecks, shopping and wine... they would be considered sexist.  We spend so much time thinking so little of the men in our lives, what's left for them to think of themselves?  What if we began to encourage them more and cut them down less?  What if our entire demeanour sought to serve and lift men up rather than to use and push them down?

Womanhood has been hi-jacked by an alternative agenda which seeks to leave God and His good plans for men AND woman on the way-side.  Women: be strong in your womanhood and all of the marvelous abilities and gifts God has planted within you.... but be an encourager to the men in your life to be strong in their manhood and all of the marvelous abilities and gifts God has implanted in them as well.  We need leaders in the home, the church, the workplace and beyond, who aren't wrapped up in gender identity, but rather, those which are wrapped up in their identity in Christ and beautiful heavenly submission to how God intends to work in and through how he has created us... men and women.

And for those reading this today who are housewives, lost in a sea of accomplishment-based culture who says "Oh, you're just a housewife?", remember: God has created you for such a time as this... you are needed, more than ever, to be strong in the role He has gifted you.  You have purpose and there is great beauty in what you do... even if it feels like just cleaning floors and wiping noses.  DON'T underestimate your role.  Read and re-read Proverbs 31 if there is any doubt!  

Also, a GREAT resource, whether or not you agree with this article today, is The Accidental Feminist: Restoring our delight in God's good design by Courtney Ressig.  Easy read, wonderfully written, steeped with scripture and a gentle demeanour to help encourage all of us who have been taken captive by a culture which has robbed women everywhere of their true identity in Christ.  

https://www.amazon.com/Accidental-Feminist-Restoring-Delight-Design/dp/1433545489/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Accidental+Feminist&link_code=qs&qid=1552940650&s=gateway&sourceid=Mozilla-search&sr=8-1&tag=mozilla-20

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Drawing will take place Sunday, March 31st.

I pray, as the second half of Women's History Month plays on, you can celebrate the wonderful contributions our gender has made to society while also honoring the beautiful role God has created us for by man's side.


Blessings,









*Are you subscribed to my newsletter?  You might want to be.  Why?  Well, the newsletter contains bonus material you won't find on the website... not to mention, in those busy months when I can't get regular blog articles up, you can count on this periodical popping up in your email in-box each last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • Free printables under different themes each month
  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me.  

I look forward to sharing Faith and Home Times with you!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Five Minute Friday: Search


I'm in search.

Day-after-day, week-after-week this year the news goes from bad to worse and from worse to impossible.

So I search.

I search for the ground where I must stand.  I wonder; perhaps it is water Jesus has called me to walk out with Him on.  Whatever is meant to be beneath my feet... I just can't feel it anymore.

I want to believe... and I do believe... in hope, in tomorrow and possibility.  Above all, I want to trust I'm not alone.

I search for something to grab a hold. 
I dig in the Good Word and work to not let it be rote.
I lean and listen, "Is that Your heartbeat Lord?"
I cry when no one can hear but I know each tear is a shedding of the hurt leaving room for the healing.

I can't change what was.
Right now I can only seem to be a spectator in what is.
But I can hope in what tomorrow may bring... no matter how many tomorrows it takes.
I can reach up and grab His hand.  I don't have to keep searching because I am found in my Father's arms.

Blessings,







This has been a Five Minute Friday Post where writers tap away for 5 minutes, un-edited, on a predetermined topic.  Check out other great posts by visiting:
http://fiveminutefriday.com/