Thursday, September 18, 2014

Grace at Home No. 122


Welcome, friends, to this week's Grace at Home party!

Grace at Home is a party designed to celebrate the fact that God gives us His grace so freely and all the ways that we reflect that grace in our homes.

Here are a few features from last week's party:

Laura from The Turquoise Home rounded up 100 inspirational fall projects.  I'm just getting started on a little Autumn decorating, so I was glad to find this!


Shana at Our Feathered Nest completely transformed her garage.  Here's one of the "after" photos--wait til you see the "before" shots!


I've been looking for some new dinner ideas, and a couple of chicken recipes caught my eye this week.

Super-Simple Salsa Verde Chicken from Nici at Posed Perfection (I love super-simple recipes!)


Chicken and Mushrooms from Holly at Two Kids and Tired Cooks

I was inspired this week by this lovely post by Erica from Let Why Lead: 42 Ways to Make Your Kids Feel Absolutely Loved.


And I was so blessed to read "Putting Worry in its Place" from Heather at Encouraged at Home.


Many of you let me know that you were praying for my son, Preston, who was in the hospital last week.  I'm so glad to let you know that Preston is now at home and making good progress.  You can read more about our adventures last week here.  Thank you so much for your prayers!


These are just a few of my favorites.  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 (the code is right over in my sidebar).  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.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The scariest week


My friends, I am so grateful for the online community!  My heart is brimming with thankfulness as I write to thank you all for your prayers for my son, Preston.

Long-time readers will remember that Preston has a complicated medical history.  When he was 14 years old, he had major open-heart surgery which entailed replacing his ascending aorta with a graft and his aortic valve with a mechanical valve.  Mechanical valves are amazing, but they carry a danger of forming blood clots. 
Preston is now 21 years old and is a senior at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  He's amazing--he's strong, smart, funny, kind--everything I could ask for in a son.

Last Tuesday, as Preston was riding an exercise bike, his artificial valve threw a clot and Preston had a stroke.

I asked for prayers for Preston, and so many people responded.  A friend of mine remarked that heaven has probably been overwhelmed with the number of prayers lifted for Preston.

Preston gets a visit from a wonderful therapy dog.  She made Preston smile!

Thanks to the healing hand of God and the diligent efforts of God's friends the physicians, nurses, and other health professionals, Preston is doing well.  He was discharged from the hospital on Thursday evening.  He continues to recuperate at home (where it's a lot easier to rest than at the hospital!).

Please keep praying for Preston.  We are asking God that he will be completely healed, and we would appreciate your prayers for that, as well.

And look how he smiled when they brought his discharge papers!
Meanwhile, please join me us thanking and praising God for Preston's progress.  This wonderful son of mine is alive and well and has a very bright future.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Grace at Home No. 121


Welcome, friends!

I'm so glad you're here for our weekly Grace at Home party.  We are dependent on God's grace for everything in our lives, and I love that once a week we celebrate the ways we make our homes a reflection of that grace.

This week I don't have any features to share; instead, I have a prayer request.

This is my 21-year-old son, Preston.


Preston is seriously ill and is in the hospital.  Would you all please pray for him?  Long-time readers will know that Preston has a complicated health history, and this latest chapter has been extremely difficult for him.  I'd truly appreciate your prayers for his healing.

And now for this week's Grace at Home 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.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Time for a reset


Last week I celebrated my birthday.  Just a regular old birthday--no balloons, no fanfare.



Last year, on the other hand, I celebrated a big time birthday.  A milestone.  The big 5-0.

To be honest, turning 51 is a lot less exciting than turning 50.  All that fanfare was fun.  But turning 51 is a whole lot more like my real life than turning 50 was.

Real life, as it turns out, is not so much about the big, alert-the-media events as it is about the ordinary, everyday stuff.

This non-milestone birthday has prompted me to do some deep thinking about my blog.  I started blogging back in 2007.  I knew of only one other person who blogged.  I wrote a few posts, but then life got in the way and I stopped.

I re-started blogging in 2009.  By that time I'd read several other blogs and found them to be helpful and encouraging.  That inspired me.

To be helpful and encouraging.  That's exactly what I wanted.

And I loved it.



So long as my focus was on being helpful and encouraging, I was free--free to be my true self, to make Imparting Grace an extension of my home and my heart.  Sort of a front porch with a lot more places to sit than I'd otherwise have.

Over time, though, the blogosphere changed.  Suddenly there were hundreds of thousands of blogs, and thousands of those were so much better than my blog.  They had professional-quality photos, exciting headlines, streamlined sidebars.  I was amazed and a little intimidated by them.

I knew I needed to get with the times or be left behind in the dust.  So I made some changes, joined some networks, hired some expert help.

The problem is that somewhere along the way, the idea of making my blog a success became more important than my original intention of helping and encouraging.

Honestly, having a successful blog is not a bad thing.  I now know lots of highly successful bloggers, and they're great people.  I rejoice with them.

But for me, the lure of success ended up being a tool in the hands of the enemy of my soul.  "If you're successful, you'll be able to help and encourage so many more people!" he whispered.  "You're just enlarging your platform so that you can do more good in the world!"

That sounded plausible.  And maybe there's some truth in there. But the more I got wrapped up in striving to be a successful blogger, the less satisfaction I found in blogging.  What was once a source of pleasure became a source of pressure.

I've decided that I need to go back to my front-porch approach to blogging.  My original intention was to impart grace to my readers.  Simply trying to help and encourage was good for me, and I hope it was good for you, too.



Blogging has brought me all kinds of opportunities, but what I value most is that blogging has brought me the opportunity to get to know people.  Strangers have become friends, and friends have become family.  And every single one of you is more than welcome here on my front porch.  Y'all come and sit a spell, won't you?

I'll be here, being my true self.  We'll share what we've learned and what we're learning.  And if I can be helpful and encouraging to you, I'll count that plenty successful.

What about you?  Do you ever need to stop and re-evaluate whether what you're doing is reflective of who you truly are?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Grace at Home No. 120


Welcome, friends!  It's time for the weekly Grace at Home party!

God's grace extended to us is what makes life possible. Now we are privileged to make our homes reflective of that grace!

Here are a few highlights from last week's party:

It's super-hot here in North Carolina, so I haven't started Fall decorating yet.  It's time to get going, though, and Ashley from Giddy Upcycled shared 25 Fall Decor Ideas for a Neutral Palette.


Steph from A Time for Seasons made a printable "Fall Bucket List." So cute!


Erica from Dwell Beautiful created a side table from a simple craft-store crate.  Love this!


Jessica from Lou Lou Girls found a way to make baked Monte Cristo sandwiches.  Great idea for a large group!


Angela from Simply Design discovered how to make dry shampoo from a simple household ingredient and shares her technique for using it.


Diane from An Extraordinary Day offers great advice for how to pray when doubts fill your mind--and shares this wonderful printable!



These are just a few of my favorites.  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 (the code is right over in my sidebar).  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.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Grace at Home No. 119


Hello, friends, and welcome to the weekly Grace at Home party!  We are all recipients of God's grace, and it's our privilege to reflect that grace in our homes.  That's what we celebrate here each week.

Here are some links that caught my eye last week:

Sarah at Backwoods Babies created this lovely chest from an old Lane hope chest, and she gives step-by-step instructions for how she made it.


Brooke at Artistic Endeavors 101 shares a tutorial for making beautiful paper tags.  I'm going to make a batch of these!


If you're eager for Fall to arrive, you'll enjoy looking at these Fall table settings from Fabby at Fabby's Living.  She's the queen of tablescapes!


Ever wonder what to do with leftover chicken?  Nicki from T-shirt and Jeans shares a recipe for BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad that looks delicious.


Karmen from Chairs from the Curb shares the way God spoke to her about having enough and having plenty.  You'll enjoy her post "Ga Leor and Galore."


Renee from Doorkeeper shares fives Bible verses for when you feel overwhelmed.  This is so helpful!

These are just a few of my favorites.  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 (the code is right over in my sidebar).  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.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!