Thursday, February 15, 2018

Grace at Home No. 286


Hello and welcome! I'm so glad you're here for the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace.

Here are some of my favorite links from last week's party:

Jenny from Refresh Living created a stylish, functional family office space for just $100. You'll love seeing all the details!


Colleen from Life on Kaydeross Creek shared some wonderful ways to use old books in decorating. I got some new ideas from this.


I'm trying to get better at meal planning, so I was really glad to see this post from Kelli at 3 Boys and a Dog: low-cost meals for end-of-the-month meal planning!


I always appreciate getting easy dinner recipes, so I was glad to see this one from Marilyn at Marilyn's Treats: Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas. Yum!


Pam from A New Lens touched my heart with her post "When Communion Comes." I think you'll appreciate this post!


As for me, I find that sometimes the perfect-pink-hearts atmosphere surrounding Valentine's Day leaves me feeling like a failure. If that's true for you, too, I'd love for you to read this post.


A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about

  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!





Tuesday, February 13, 2018

When you feel like a failure


My life isn't pink. Maybe yours isn't either.

But when Valentine's Day is upon us, it can feel as if we're the only ones not celebrating with all things pink, can't it?


And all the talk of love and sweethearts can make us feel as if we're short on the one thing that the whole world seems to proclaim is all you need.

A world bathed in pink and swathed in roses can make a person feel like an awful failure, you know?

When I want to know more about love, I turn to the passage of scripture that was read at my wedding: I Corinthians 13. I'll bet you've read it:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  

Love never fails.

And then I really feel like a failure. As much as I may want to exhibit that kind of love, I rarely do so. I wish I could say that I always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere, but I don't.

But oh, my friend, I have good news. That passage is not about me. It's not about you, either. Our failure is not the point.

That beautiful passage in I Corinthians is a description of God's love for us. The Greek word for this kind of love is ἀγάπη. Written in English, it's agápē.

That's not to be confused with the English word "agape," which, usually referring to the mouth, means "wide open, especially with awe or wonder"—but that's probably how you'll look when you realize the kind of love that God has for you.

It's a funny thing: we often quote verses like John 3:16, but we sometimes have difficulty realizing that God's love applies to us. But it does. God loves YOU, God loves me, God loves us all with a love that never fails.

That's the kind of love God wants to share with us. So that very same word, agápē, is listed as the first fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. The good news is that we don't have to manufacture this kind of love; the Holy Spirit will produce it in us. 

My friend Dallas Willard said it best, I think:

"We must understand that God does not "love" us without liking us - through gritted teeth - as "Christian" love is sometimes thought to do. Rather, out of the eternal freshness of his perpetually self-renewed being, the heavenly Father cherishes the earth and each human being upon it. The fondness, the endearment, the unstintingly affectionate regard of God toward all his creatures is the natural outflow of what he is to the core - which we vainly try to capture with our tired but indispensable old word 'love.'" (The Divine Conspiracy)

God is this kind of love (see I John 4:8), and God shares this love freely with us. We are not failures; we are beloved children of God. 

Now that word would make a good Valentine's Day treat, wouldn't it?
Much love to you!






Thursday, February 8, 2018

Grace at Home No. 285


Another week has zzzoooomed by! I can hardly believe that it's already Thursday, and time for our Grace at Home party. I'm so glad you're here.

Here are some links from last week's party that I thought you might like.

Carol at An Oasis in the Desert decorated her home for Valentine's Day, including creating a darling Valentine's themed tree from a leftover Christmas tree.


Want to add just one fun Valentine's day touch to your home? Chas from Chas' Crazy Creations made a cute Valentine's decoration from a simple glass block. Check out her post for the easy directions.


Shannon from Homemade Lovely came up with six alternative things to do to make Valentine's Day special. While she still enjoys flowers and chocolates, these ideas are fresh and fun!


Now that we're well into the new year, I'm determined to make some progress on some of my goals, including doing a better job of meal planning. Do you struggle with this, too? Leslie at From Playdates to Parties offers some very practical tips for meal planning.


And I think one of my first meal plans is going to include this yummy-looking casserole from Andrea at Living on Cloud Nine. 


Last but not least, I was inspired by reading about faithful waiting from Debbie Kitterman at Dare 2 Hear. I think you'll be inspired by this, too!


A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about

  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!





Thursday, February 1, 2018

Grace at Home No. 284


February greetings! Can you believe that the month of January has already gone? Time really does seem to slip away more quickly than it used to.

I'm glad you're here for the Grace at Home party. Here are some highlights from last week's party.

Valentine's Day is fast approaching. If you want to add some Valentine's prettiness to your home, you'll want to check out the wonderful ideas from Laura at Decor to Adore.


Michele at The Scrap Shoppe Blog created these adorable LEGO valentines for her kids to distribute, and she's giving away a free printable for you to make your own. My boys would have loved giving these to their friends!


Lina at Sew Historically shared 25 Valentine craft, recipe, and gift ideas.


If you're like me, you may still have the January "organizing bug"--but I really like the year-long approach to getting organized developed by Shea at The Fogue Abode. She includes a printable to help you get your home decluttered.


I love getting new bread recipes, so I was delighted to see this No-Knead Cranberry Walnut Bread from Pattie at Olla-Podrida.


My spirit soared when I read Michele Morin's post about making a commitment to blessing. I think you'll like it, too.


A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about

  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!







Tuesday, January 30, 2018

On writing a book


My 8th grade history teacher, Mrs. Pevey, was the first one to predict that I'd write a book someday.

Since it's been more than 40 years since I was in 8th grade, I'm not sure that I quite lived up to Mrs. Pevey's expectations. She might have been thinking that I'd write a book when I was 30 years old, perhaps.

But I didn't know much at 30 years of age, so maybe 40 would have been more like it.

Nope, 40 came and went and still no book.

By age 50 I'd written a small book, but I'm not sure that would qualify as fulfillment of Mrs. Pevey's prediction.

But now, here I am, 54 years old, finally living into the potential that Mrs. Pevey saw in me.

Well, at least I'm under contract to live into that potential. (In case you missed my announcement, I'm currently writing a book for InterVarsity Press. The book is called Mythical Me: Escaping the Trap of Comparison. You can read more about it here.)

I have no idea if Mrs. Pevey is still alive to be proud her former student, but I sure am excited to be writing this book. . . although I will admit that this is one of the hardest things I've ever done. A writing friend of mine posted this on Facebook last week:

The human brain is amazing. 
It functions 24/7 from the day you're born 
and only stops when you sit down to do some writing.

Ain't it the truth?

As I write, I'm reminded of the pledge I made when I started this blog. I pledged to live according to the words found in Ephesians 4:29: "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is useful for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearer" (NKJV).

Yes, I'm excited to be writing a book. I like to write. I'm grateful to be given the chance to write for a larger audience. 

But if my words don't impart grace, they don't need to be written. 
If my words don't express the amazing love of God, they don't need to be written.
If my words don't, at least in some small way, point people to the wonder and glory of God, 
 they don't need to be written.

The world is full of books. Perhaps the last thing we need is another book. But if my book can point people to the love of God, the work of writing it will have been worthwhile.

As often happens, an old hymn expresses my thoughts very well:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Oh love of God! How rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song.

                           - Frederich Lehman


Would you be willing to pray for me as I write this book? I want to write it. I've signed a contract to write it, so I must write it. But I want to be faithful in the writing, and I know I need God's help for that. 



Thursday, January 25, 2018

Grace at Home No. 283


Welcome! I'm so glad you're here for the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace.

Here are some highlights from last week's party

Paula from Sweet Pea lives in a 1950's home without a lot of closet space, so she built this under-bed storage drawer, and she shares a detailed tutorial of how to build your own.


I'm not a naturally organized person, but with a book to write this year,  I need to get myself organized! I was happy to see this post about how to use a daily planner efficiently from Shannon at AKA Design.

In addition to needing to get more organized, I've noticed several places in my home that need some extra cleaning attention now that the holidays are over. I'm going to try this homemade upholstery cleaner from Chrystal at Happy Mothering.


You may know sweet Debbie from Debbie-Dabble from the way she lavishly decorates her townhouse for every holiday. Apparently a lot of us have asked where she stores all her decor, so she's answering that question!


I've been craving hot soup the past couple of weeks, so I was glad to see this recipe for gumbo from Jaxx at The Bearded Hiker. 


Now that the new year is well underway, we're all having to face the fact that life is full of challenges, even if we have started a new calendar. I was especially grateful to read these words of wisdom from Karen at Growing Together in Grace and Knowledge.



A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about

  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!