Thursday, September 29, 2016

Grace at Home No. 221


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

Here are some links from last week's party that caught my eye:

Shannon at Belle Bleu Interiors showed us how she decorated her dining room for Fall. She's so good at adding a few touches and creating a lovely look.


Susan Gay from Quite Simply set up a fall coffee station in her breakfast room. I like the way she used a small bit of space and created a welcoming spot for guests--and she did it very economically.


Kimberly from LouLou Girls shared a recipe for dessert nachos. I can just imagine how much my guys would enjoy digging into these while watching football. Don't they look yummy?


Sharon from Sharon Sharing God told us about an accident her husband suffered and offered some very practical advice for dealing with our fears. Love this post!


As for me, I've been practicing the spiritual discipline of noticing small things. I'd love to know what you think!


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!




Monday, September 26, 2016

The spiritual discipline of noticing small things



I have a problem with wishing.


These days, I wish that the last vestige of summer would be gone and the crisp, cool days of Autumn would begin.

But before long, I'll be ready for Autumn to be over and I'll be wishing for the Christmas season to arrive.

Then it will be Winter, and I'll be wishing mightily for Winter to be past and for Spring to arrive.

Spring will come, but with it will come lots of pollen and probably lots of rain, so I'll start wishing for the blue-sky days of Summer.

Summer will linger, and I'll wish for Autumn to come quickly.  And it'll start all over again.

Another year will have passed, long on wishing but short on savoring.

Lately I've felt that God sees me wishing the days away and wants something different for me. I've heard Him inviting me simply to rest in His presence every day and to enjoy the gifts of each season.

The trouble is, I tend to think of God's "gifts" in broad, expansive terms, often forgetting to look for the small, specific gifts that might fill my days. And while I'm looking for universal beauty, tiny treasures can go unnoticed. Do you know what I mean?

So right now, in this no-longer-summer-but-not-quite-fall season,  I'm practicing the discipline of keeping my eyes open, of noticing small things. Turns out that there is beauty everywhere if I just have eyes to see it.

Like these mushrooms growing in the damp soil right next to my driveway.


Or this tiny frog perched on a basket on my front porch.


Can you see him?


Dear Lord, forgive me for going through my days with my eyes closed to the beauty around me, never seeing what is here while I wish for the next thing! Help me to notice the small things so that I can rest in Your presence and enjoy the gifts of this season with You.



Lord willing, the next season will arrive soon enough; I'll be savoring this one while it lasts.

What about you? Do you struggle with wishing the seasons away? Want to join me in the discipline of noticing small things?


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Grace at Home No. 220


Welcome, welcome! It's the first day of Autumn--hallelujah!

Friends, I can hardly believe that a week has passed since I've written anything in this space. But I'm so grateful that you're here today for the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace.

Link parties are interesting things. I've always thought of them as a great chance for bloggers to get to "show off" their posts, and I like being the host for that. I think they hold value for the reader, too, though--lots of good posts all in one place. And I hope that they promote community by "introducing" people to one another.

Anyway, I'm so glad you're here!

Here are some entries from last week's party that caught my eye:

I've been enjoying some of the Fall home tours online. Marty from A Stroll Thru Life shared hers with us. Marty does a great job of adding just a few touches touches and making a room come alive for each season.


I love makeovers, and there were a couple of furniture makeovers that really caught my eye. Sarah from Gypsy Girl Revivals rescued a table from flood damage and brought it back to life with a concrete top.  Can you believe this? She gives step-by-step instructions for the process.


Pat from Life at Lydia's House rescued a chair in pitiful shape and created this lovely perch for her mom's bathroom. She provides an excellent description of every step of the process.


Debbie from Debbie-Dabble is writing a series about early retirement, and she offers an in-depth look at the process she and her husband have been following. She includes some great advice for everyone, no matter where you might be on the age spectrum.


Dr. Michelle Bengtson offers some great insight about dealing with the storms of life, borne from her own personal experience, such as this: "God's peace is not the calm after the storm. It is the steadfastness during it. It is in His presence that we can find peace in the midst of the storm."


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, September 15, 2016

Grace at Home No. 219


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. I hope you've had a good week. I was out of town for several days, so it's good for me to be back at home both in my house and online!

Here are some links from last week's party that caught my eye.

Liz from The Tuscan Home shared the way she creates Fall vignettes. Liz loves to decorate for the seasons, and she outdoes herself in the Autumn!


I have Fall decorating on my mind right now, so I was glad to see this tutorial for making fabric pumpkins (a 10-minute craft!) from Kristi at Making it in the Mountains.


Cathy at My 1929 Charmer shared a recipe for Chicken Basil Pasta. Doesn't it look delicious?


Laura from Harvest Lane Cottage inspired us to do what we can with what we have in our hands. 


As for me, I've been reflecting on the events of 15 years ago and have realized that I need to practice the spiritual discipline of remembering. I'd love to know what you think!


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!





Sunday, September 11, 2016

The spiritual discipline of remembering


Throughout the course of human history, there have been days that have rocked the world--days that stood out with such significance as to be unforgettable. For citizens of the United States and many others, September 11 is such a day.

The nefarious deeds of a band of terrorists 15 years ago seared September 11 into our consciousness. Cries of "never forget" what happened on that day are unnecessary. We cannot forget. We will always remember.

As we reflect on the past, we can choose to cultivate a redemptive memory.

But there is another kind of remembering that I need. On this day when I so easily remember the infamous acts of a few, I must work to remember the heroic work of many. I must remember the bravery, the selflessness, the kindness of those who banded together to love and minister to the wounded and the grieving. In the midst of great evil shone the light of great goodness, and that is what I choose to remember.

As I read the scriptures, I am struck by how many times God admonished his people to remember. Over and over He commanded the people of Israel to remember all that He had done for them. David sang, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all His benefits" (Psalm 103:2). As Jesus shared the last supper with His closest followers, He exhorted them, "Do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19). We must remember.

Unfortunately, with our ability to remember can come a difficulty. Our minds can retain the bad as well as the good. We can cling to memories of suffering all too easily. Not just monumental evil occupies our thoughts; pain of any degree can come to mind with disturbing ease. We remember our wounds, the hurt we've suffered, the slights we've felt. And very easily--sometimes most easily--we remember our own sins and mistakes, the pain we've inflicted on others. Indeed, each of us sits beside our own pool of tears.

I am tempted to remember only the suffering, to focus on the pain. One of my greatest needs, then, is the process of developing a memory of redemption. I think of this as the spiritual discipline of remembering. A key practice for me has been looking at my own history from the secure place of knowing that I am God's beloved child, purposefully recognizing that He always has loved me and that He always will love me. If I start from that place of security, I can recall even the times of greatest suffering and see that God has always been present. I can see that His goodness has been constant, His love for me unwavering, His work in my life unending.

I believe and trust that if we start from a place of security as beloved children of God, "our remembering of past pain takes place with a hopeful heart. Christ, the crucified One who both understands and shares our suffering, lives beyond crucifixion. His living presence is constantly at work in every painful memory from the past, seeking all the time to bring forth another little Easter" (Trevor Hudson, Discovering Our Spiritual Identity, p. 42).

In remembering God's faithfulness throughout the past, I gain confidence in His continued faithfulness. Without God, facing the pain I've suffered and the pain I've caused can be crushing. But realizing that God has been present with me in every circumstance calms my mind. Recalling that God's love for me has never wavered comforts my heart. And knowing that God can redeem even the most difficult of circumstances gives me confidence to face the future. Looking through the lens of redemption, I can see that nothing is wasted.

As I think of the horrific events of 9/11, I remember the goal of terrorists is indeed to inflict terror. They seek to disrupt the lives of their enemies, to create chaos, to force people to live in fear. In short, they seek to drive us to our knees, thinking that will lead to our surrender to them. Instead, we can choose to be on our knees, surrendering to the Lord of our past, our present, and our future. Whatever comes, we can choose to remember and to remind one another of God's goodness and faithfulness.

Then, today and every day, we can say "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!" (Psalm 68:19)

What about you? Do you need to practice the spiritual discipline of remembering?

Joining
Tell His Story at Jennifer Dukes Lee
Thought-Provoking Thursdays at 3D Lessons for Life

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Grace at Home No. 218


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

I hope you've had a great week. I certainly have--my birthday was on Labor Day! It's not often that one's birthday falls on a national holiday, is it?

Here are some links from last week's party that caught my eye.

Marty from A Stroll Thru Life provided some timely instruction in how to create simple but beautiful Fall vignettes.

Leslie from Lamberts Lately helped us get started off on the right foot this school year with tips on how to organize school papers. I wish I'd received this advice when my boys were small!


The LouLou Girls did a series on making freezer meals, including several yummy-looking recipes like this taco lasagna. I need to learn to do this!


Kim from Hunt and Host wrote beautifully about developing a pinpoint purpose in life--and provided a fun tutorial to make a holder for reading glasses. A wonderful post!


As for me, my birthday had me reflecting on living with gratitude. I'd love your thoughts on my post "Choosing to Celebrate." 


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!