Thursday, April 28, 2016

Grace at Home No. 200


Welcome, friends!

I can hardly believe that today is the 200th Grace at Home party. Some of you have been here for nearly every one of those parties, and I can't thank you enough. And some of you may be here for the first time today! Isn't it amazing how we can become friends across the miles?

Here are a few posts from last week that caught my eye:

Kim at Hunt and Host created a kitchen message board inspired by Magnolia Market style--and she wrote detailed directions for making your own!


Jen at Noting Grace built a blanket ladder from scraps of wood. Isn't this the coolest thing?


Handan at The Navage Patch created all kinds of moss balls and topiaries--and she gives detailed directions for making each one.


As for me, I reflected on the fact that sometimes the processes we go through aren't pretty--prompted by the difficulties we've encountered in a home project. I'd love to know what you think!


Those are just a few of my favorites.  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!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sometimes the process isn't pretty


Did you ever plan a project only to have it go very wrong?

I was so excited to get a much-needed improvement underway here last week. After months of waiting, my front door was going to be refinished!

Here it is, all sanded smooth, ready for its new look.



This photo from last fall gives you an idea of how the door had become pretty weathered:



Here's a closer look from Christmastime:


As you can see, the door was a golden color, but badly weathered at the bottom. What's really sad is that the door was never supposed to be a golden color.  In general, I prefer painted doors, but this one is solid mahogany. So I decided to have it refinished in a darker stain.

I knew I wasn't up to doing this project myself, and I'm glad I didn't. I never would have made it through all that sanding.

Although the professionals I hired spent lots of time prepping the door for its new stain, no one could have predicted the outcome:

Sometimes things do not work out as we had hoped--like the refinishing of this door that didn't go well!

Yikes.

So while I had planned to have my front door all beautifully refinished and ready to show off by now, it turns out that it's still in process. And the process isn't very pretty.

But isn't that the way life goes a lot of the time? We dream, we hope, we plan, we do our best. . . and sometimes things don't turn out at all as we'd envisioned.

Sometimes things take a lot longer than we'd imagined.

Sometimes things get worse before they get better.

Sometimes things aren't pretty when they're in process.

But we press on. If necessary, we regroup and re-imagine, but we don't lose heart.

This is one of the ways we can help each other, I think. When one of us is stuck in a difficult part of the process of life, the rest of us can gather around. We can offer one another a word of encouragement, a pat on the back, a much-needed hug, a reminder that everything is going to be okay.

What about you? Are you going through any processes that aren't very pretty these days?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Grace at Home No. 199


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

Here are some features from last week's links:

Angela from Simply Beautiful remodeled a bathroom on a very tight budget--with stunning results. She has so many great ideas, you'll want to check this out!


Pam from Everyday Living shared all the details of her first granddaughter's nursery. Inspiration abounds here!


You may have seen that several bloggers are currently participating in a "One Room Challenge"--completely re-doing one room in six weeks. Pat from Life at Lydia's House is taking on her dining room, and I think you'll love following along with her for the process. She just finished removing the old wallpaper, and she has some great updates in store!


Michelle from Dr. Michelle Bengston shared six important lessons she learned when she was recently forced to rest--great advice for taking care of our bodies and souls.


As for me, I discovered an important truth as I was preparing for spring cleaning. I'd love to know what you think!

Those are just a few of my favorites.  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!


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The most important part of spring cleaning


I'm so grateful that it's finally springtime!

Here in North Carolina, we have to delay our spring cleaning a little bit until after the onslaught of pollen has passed. Now that most of the pollen is gone, we can open the windows, let in the fresh air, and get down to some serious cleaning.

But as much as I love letting in the fresh breezes, I've discovered that my cleaning sprees only make things seem fresh for a little while. Very soon things are back to looking like they need to be "spring-cleaned" all over again.

Determined to do things differently this year, I thought long and hard about what really needed to happen in my house. My husband and I sat down and talked honestly about it. That was a hard conversation for me, for I tend to feel ashamed and guilty when the state of my house isn't what I think it should be. But with God's help and my husband's input I realized that our home was never going to look and feel the way I wanted unless I was willing to take the critical step of getting rid of stuff.
The most important part of spring cleaning: here's the question to ask yourself

There was no way I could clean up our home until I had cleaned out our home.

When faced with a daunting task, my tendency is to get overwhelmed, which leads to paralysis. Sometimes I can't see what I should do first, so I don't do anything at all.

The solution I found this time wasn't perfect, but it worked for me: I rented a dumpster.

There was no way I was going to be able to de-clutter our home without some way to dispose of the things that were no longer useful. Useful items I could donate to thrift stores, which of course I did. But there were so many items poked here and there that were simply of no value whatsoever. Like it or not, those items were trash.

Renting a dumpster allowed me to
  • do a massive cleanout all at once (I had the dumpster for two weeks only)
  • get rid of items of all sizes and shapes
  • worry less about the trash, knowing that part of the fee I paid was to lessen the environmental impact of disposal
Always before when I attempted to clean out clutter, I asked myself this question: "What if I need this?" But all too easily that question led to my keeping things just in case I might need them.

This time, I asked a different question. Instead of "What if I need this?" I asked myself, "What will I do if I need this?"

Asking this question forced me to look at things more honestly. I realized that many things I might need in the future I could simply borrow or rent if the need arose. Or I could--surprise--do without them entirely! 

Then I was free to keep the things I need and the things I value most--and let go of the rest.

The unexpected blessing of this exercise was realizing anew that I can trust God to meet my needs. Without admitting or even realizing it, I had been putting my faith in holding onto possessions. My old "What if I need this?" question enabled me to continue thinking that I would have to meet my own needs. It enabled me to operate under the delusion that I can and must meet my own needs.

The truth, of course, is that God provides what we need. Every good and perfect gift is from above, after all. And one of the amazing ways that God provides is by giving us one another--family and friends and neighbors who help one another.  So what if I do need something? One way or another, God will provide.

You know what was most wonderful about renting that dumpster?  This sight:

The freedom of de-cluttering

My useless clutter was hauled away, never to be seen again.

Now to open the windows--of my house and of my soul--and let the spring breezes blow!

How about you? Are you doing some spring cleaning? Do you need to clean out before you can clean up?
I'm joining these lovely parties:
Tell His Story with Jennifer Dukes Lee
Coffee for Your Heart with Holley Gerth
Inspire Me Tuesday with Marty at A Stroll Thru Life

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Grace at Home No. 198


Dear friends, thank you. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my question last week about whether Grace at Home is something you think I should continue.

I've been hosting this link party a long time, and I was starting to wonder if I should just let it go--so I asked you, those who visit here. I was a little surprised that every single person who commented told me that they appreciate this party and would be sad to see it go.

Now, I have a confession to make. These days, it's easy for me to get discouraged with blogging. There are so many blogs now, many of them much bigger and a great deal fancier than mine. I WANT to share here in my online home. I love the friends I've made here, and I truly appreciate every person who visits here. But as blogging has turned into a business attracting thousands of entrepreneurs, I've wondered if I still have a place here.

My confession is a lack of faith. I began this blog many years ago with the distinct goal of "imparting grace" to my readers. That was a calling from God, and it hasn't changed. God certainly hasn't changed. Only my faith had wavered. I confess this to you, my friends, and I ask for your prayers. And I urge you, in whatever good work you're called to do: keep the faith. Let's "fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). We can encourage one another on the journey!

So now welcome to this week's Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace!

Here are a few posts from last week that caught my eye.

Jessica from LouLou Girls used pallets to build planters for her front porch. They turned out so pretty, and she gives step-by-step instructions for building your own.


Patti from Old Things New figured out a way to pollen-proof her screened porch. I need to do this--I haven't been able to use my screened porch in weeks!



Susan at Quite Simply blessed and challenged me with her thoughts on the ministry of our homes. Love this post!


Those are just a few of my favorites.  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, April 7, 2016

Grace at Home No. 197


Hello, friends, and welcome to this week's Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace.

May I take just a minute here to ask a question? As you can see in the title, today's party is the 197th time I've hosted this link party. I'm wondering if this party still serves a useful purpose in the blogging community. Could you tell me what you think about that?

When I started Grace at Home, my hope was to create a place where all kinds of bloggers could share their content, and I wanted to help all of us to think about the fact that our homes could be a reflection of God's grace in our lives.  So many people have linked up over the years, and I've been blessed by the friendships I've formed with bloggers who came here to join the party.

Also, I've hoped that non-bloggers who read my blog would be blessed by the features I include each week. It seems to me that a party doesn't work if it's only good for bloggers and not good for readers.

So I'm asking: is this party a blessing to you? Is it worthwhile for me to continue to host the party? I'd so appreciate your sharing your opinion in the comments below (or if you prefer, you could email them to me (richellap (at) gmail (dot) com).  I thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

Now, after all that, I still want to share with you some posts from last week's party that caught my eye.

Kaitlin from Sweet Chickadee Design shared very practical, easy-to-follow tips for how to mix patterns.


Patti from Old Things New shared a recipe for a beautiful main dish salad. I want to try this!


Alisa from Flourishing Today shared wonderful advice about how to pray powerful, effective prayers.


Those are just a few of my favorites.  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!