Thursday, October 31, 2013

Grace at Home No. 80


It's October 31!  A blessed day to everyone!



It's time for our weekly Grace at Home party, where we gather to celebrate the ways we make our homes places of grace.  We are every one of us recipients of God's grace, and we are privileged to share that grace with our loved ones at home.


Thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I've been out of town all week, so I've not yet been able to choose my favorites from last week.  So next week I'll include features from two weeks' worth of parties.

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!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Caring for Myself Body and Soul 26:
Retreating


The greatest desire of my life is to show grace to all--to my loved ones at home, to my family and friends and neighbors all over the world,. But in order for my life to be a reflection of God's grace, I've must soak up God's grace for myself.

And so, this week, I'm on retreat.  I'm at The Cove in Asheville, North Carolina, where this scene greeted me just after I got out of my car:



Then I registered for the retreat and stepped out onto the back deck of the building, where this is what I saw:


O, Lord, we praise you for your excellent greatness.

I'm so grateful for this chance to be away, to be encouraged, to heed the words of the Lord:

"Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 48:10).

When was the last time you got away on retreat?



This post is the twenty-sixth entry in a 31-day series: Caring for Myself Body and Soul.  
Click here for a list of all the posts in this series.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Caring for Myself Body and Soul 25:
Eating less, drinking more


In my pursuit of doing a better job of taking care of myself body and soul, I've found a simple practice that's good for both my body AND my soul.  To tell the truth, I've found that lots of things that are good for my body are also good for my soul, but this one especially fills that bill:

I'm eating less and drinking more.

Before you start thinking that I mean I'm no having two-martini lunches à la Mad Men, let me show you what I'm drinking:


Simple herbal tea.  Nothing too fancy--my favorite so far is Celestial Seasonings Peppermint, which costs about 10 cents per cup.  I simply use my Keurig as a hot water dispenser--no muss, no fuss.

What I've discovered is that sometimes when I think I'm hungry, I'm actually thirsty.  A drink of water is always good, but these cool days I often want a hot drink.  Herbal tea is the perfect thing to satisfy.

And I've found that having a cup of tea in my hand makes for just the right state of mind, too.  You can't run around madly when you're holding a cup of hot tea.  It's more of a sit-quietly-for-a-few-minutes kind of drink.  And those few minutes of quietness are definitely good for my soul.

Are you a tea drinker?  If so, what's your favorite variety?  Please share!



This post is the twenty-fifth entry in a 31-day series: Caring for Myself Body and Soul.  
Click here for a list of all the posts in this series.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Caring for Myself Body and Soul 24:
Sunday soul care


Just what I need this morning:



Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.

O safe and happy shelter, O refuge tried and sweet,
O trysting place where Heaven’s love and Heaven’s justice meet!
As to the holy patriarch that wondrous dream was given,
So seems my Savior’s cross to me, a ladder up to heaven.

Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.

--Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1868




This post is the twenty-fourth entry in a 31-day series: Caring for Myself Body and Soul.  
Click here for a list of all the posts in this series.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Caring for Myself Body and Soul 23:
Facing the scale


I hate to write this post.  In fact, I hate to think about this subject.  But I'd be remiss if I didn't mention it.

I needed to lose some weight.


Let me stop right there and say that I have great sympathy for those who need to lose a great deal of weight.  I'm lucky: I've been fairly slender all of my adult life.  I'm a small person.

But I was not slender as a teenager.  In fact, I weighed more at age 16 than I weighed as an adult nine months' pregnant.  And no, I'm not exaggerating.  I know that being overweight is no fun.

Even for slender persons, though, sometimes the number on the scale creeps up.  Maintaining a desirable weight is easier for some than others, but it requires attention from nearly all of us.

I'd just stopped paying attention to how much I ate.  My clothes had become uncomfortably snug. Meanwhile, I turned 50, and I knew that losing weight would soon become more difficult than it has been in the past.

So as part of this month of taking care of myself, I got on the scale.  There it stands in my bathroom, patiently waiting to be used.  I'd been ignoring it.  The truth is that I just didn't want to know what the scale said.

Over the years I've discovered that I'm comfortable and healthy if my weight stays within a 10-pound range.  If it goes below the bottom of that range (which hasn't happened very often), I'm a bit too thin.  If it goes above the top number of that range, I'm too heavy.  I've learned that obsessing about a particular weight is bad for me, body and soul.  Using the ten-pound range as an indicator works better.

As you can imagine, I discovered that the number was above the top of the range.   So I did what I've been needing to do.  I stopped eating so much, stepped up my exercising, and lost five pounds.  It would be great if I could lose three or four more pounds, but at least now I'm back into good territory.

Now I'd like to know about you.  Do you struggle to maintain an ideal weight?  If not, do you have any secrets?  Do you weigh yourself regularly?  Please share your experience!



This post is the twenty-third entry in a 31-day series: Caring for Myself Body and Soul.  
Click here for a list of all the posts in this series.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Caring for Myself Body and Soul 22:
Getting some fashion help


This month I'm focusing on caring for myself body and soul, and today I'll share with you one of the most fun things I've done for myself in a long time.

I'm getting some fashion help.


This is a photo my husband snapped of me a few weeks ago when I turned 50.  Not bad for a 50-year-old.  But what to wear?  I like to look nice, but I've never had a well-developed sense of fashion.  And after a couple of years of suffering with plantar fasciitis and wearing athletic shoes almost every day, I'm rusty at putting things together.

I need help.

The first place I looked for help, of course, was to blogs.  My friend Cyndi Spivey writes an amazing blog on beauty and fashion, Walking in Grace and Beauty.  She's helped me a lot.

With Cyndi's encouragement, I enrolled in StitchFix.  Have you heard of StitchFix?  It's an online personal styling service.  For a very modest price, you can have your very own personal stylist who will choose clothes for you to try (no purchase required).  You can read all about it here.  This service is amazing!

When I got my latest StitchFix box, though, I wondered if my stylist had sent things to the wrong person.  She wrote "I chose a couple of burgundy pieces for you because I think they'd go great with your hair color and skin tone."  Huh?  Was she talking to me?  I know burgundy is popular this Fall, but I never thought it would look good on me.

I used to have fairly bright red hair, but as I've gotten older, my hair has gotten darker.  Now it's auburn, and what do you know?  Burgundy actually does look good with my hair color and skin tone!

Here I paired the burgundy cardigan over a black tank with grey houndstooth ankle pants.  These pants would look great with heels, but they also work well with these loafers, and my feet can handle the flats much better.


Then I remembered this wonderful scarf my husband gave me a couple of years ago.  It works great with the burgundy cardigan worn with skinny jeans and black boots!


Then I remembered this plaid shirt that's been hanging in my closet.  It works with the burgundy cardigan, too.

Question:  How on earth do fashion bloggers take such great photos of themselves??  Obviously it's not by taking iPhone pics of themselves in a mirror.


The amazing thing is that I was able to quickly and easily put together three outfits that I never would considered simply because I got some fashion help.  Left to my own, I limited myself to wearing the same things over and over.

Do you enjoy putting outfits together?  Have you ever tried a service like StitchFix?

**I'm joining Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore.**



This post is the twenty-second entry in a 31-day series: Caring for Myself Body and Soul.  
Click here for a list of all the posts in this series.



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Caring for Myself Body and Soul 21:
Grace at Home Party


Welcome to the Grace at Home party!

This month I'm writing about taking care of myself body and soul.  Today I'm caring for myself by opening my blog to you so that I can see the ways you make your homes places of grace.  I don't feel that I've accomplished much over the last few days, but I can celebrate your accomplishments!  I can relish the fact that there are people all over the globe who are working hard to make beautiful, gracious homes for themselves and their loved ones.  That inspires me!

Here are a few of my favorites from last week's party:

Shenita from Embellishments by SLR turned her dining room into a beautiful, inviting space for Fall:


Marty at A Stroll Thru Life worked the same kind of Autumn magic in her breakfast room:



These Fall dining spaces are so inspiring to me!  And just look the cozy and warm homespun table setting created by from An Extraordinary Day:

Dollar Store Table Setting :: Day 10 of #31Days :: Homespun Table Setting :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net
Last week's party included some good food for the soul, too.  I was particularly challenged this post from Let Why Lead called "Surprise! I Was a Lousy Wife!"

The Marriage Diaries at letwhylead.com
And in this season when we're all so busy,  I was really glad to read "10 Practical Ways to Show Love to a Perfect Stranger" by Abby at Chapter 37.

DSCF6821

Those are just a few of my favorites.  Thank you to everyone who joined the party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured this week (or in a previous week), 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, October 22, 2013

Caring for Myself Body and Soul 20:
Exchanging rules for guidelines


I started the month of October planning to post every day for 31 days on the topic of taking care of myself, body and soul.

And if you plan to post every day for 31 straight days, you must absolutely, without fail, post every day for 31 days.  You can't quit.  You can't fail.  You must follow through.  Right?

Wrong.


If I'm completely honest with myself and with you, I recognize that I chose to write about self-care because I need some.  And I'm not very good at it.

The events of the past several days, some good and some bad, have kept me away from my computer.  So I've failed.  I haven't posted each day.  My 31-days-in-a-row of posting is a bust.

I broke the rules.

But God is still on the throne.

I'm a rule-follower par excellence.  Ten Commandments?  You bet.  Give me a dozen.  I believe in the power of law and order.  Certain rules really should never be broken.

Over the years, though, I've set a lot of rules for myself, and I've driven myself pretty relentlessly to follow those rules.  Worse than that, I've punished myself mercilessly every time I've broken them.

Life is not a scientific formula that will balance perfectly every time.  Some aspects of life can be organized and planned; others require actions and reactions that can't be predicted.  But the Spirit of the Lord lives in me, and I can trust the Spirit to guide me (Galatians 5:25).

So today I'm resolving to change the way I govern myself.  Of course I'll always have respect for God's laws.  But as for what I set for myself, my goal now is just to follow some guidelines that are good for my loved ones and for me.  And if I fail sometimes to follow those guidelines, I'll learn from the failure, make adjustments as needed, and carry on.

What about you?  Do you govern yourself harshly?  Do you need to join me in exchanging rules for guidelines?

If you need a good laugh, watch this clip from The Andy Griffith Show in which Barney Fife lays out the rules.





This post is the twentieth entry in a 31-day series: Caring for Myself Body and Soul.  
Click here for a list of all the posts in this series.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Caring for Myself Body and Soul 19:
saying thank you





Yesterday I felt compelled to write a little about the Martha Stewart interview that's been in the news this week.  After I wrote that post, I read some other posts along the same lines.  The very best one written by my friend Emily Freeman, and I want to share with you something that Emily posted.  Take a minute to watch this one.  You'll be blessed.



Mr. Rogers was my favorite TV star when I was a little girl.  I watched his show faithfully, loving everything about his neighborhood.   As I watch this video, I think I had pretty good judgment back then.

In his kind and gracious way, Mr. Rogers reminds me that so many people have contributed to my well-being over the years.  So today I'm caring for myself by making a point of thanking them for their love and thanking God for blessing me with their presence in my life.

I'll start here.  I thank you, my dear blogging community.  You make a difference in my life, in more ways than I can count.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.
Philippians 1:3

For whom are you thankful?



This post is the nineteenth entry in a 31-day series: Caring for Myself Body and Soul.  
Click here for a list of all the posts in this series.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Caring for Myself Body and Soul 18:
Reflecting on life and lifestyle (Poor Martha)


Perhaps you've heard about Martha Stewart's recent interview on Bloomberg TV.  If not, you might enjoy watching this little snippet.




When asked about social media, here's what she had to say about bloggers:

"Who are these bloggers? They’re not trained editors at Vogue magazine (sic). I mean there are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested, that aren’t necessarily very good, or are copies of everything that really good editors have created and done. So bloggers create a kind of popularity, but they are not the experts. And we have to understand that."

Many bloggers are understandably miffed by Ms. Stewart's comments, stating that they would have expected a little more respect from her.   I was a little miffed myself when I first watched the interview.  Since I've had time to think about it, I've realized that the very thing Ms. Stewart denigrates about bloggers is the attribute that attracts me to them.

Bloggers may not be "the experts," but that's precisely why I like to read what they write.  Bloggers are like neighbors.  They're ordinary people leading extraordinary lives.  Actually, many of them have become experts in the subjects about which they're passionate, but that doesn't change the fact that they're genuine, sincere, and approachable.  I want to know what they have to say.

In another part of the same interview, Ms. Stewart stated, "I think I started this whole category of 'lifestyle.'"  Perhaps that's true.  I probably should know more about the history of the lifestyle category, since that's how my blog is usually classified.

Clearly, I'm not an expert.  But I would have thought that an enviable lifestyle would include a good portion of humility and graciousness.  I suppose I'm more interested in life than lifestyle.

What do you think?



This post is the eighteenth entry in a 31-day series: Caring for Myself Body and Soul.  
Click here for a list of all the posts in this series.


Caring for Myself Body and Soul 17:
Celebrating with the Grace at Home party


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

This month I'm writing every day about taking care of myself body and soul.  Today I'm caring for myself by celebrating all the ways we make our homes places of grace.

Here are a few of my favorites from last week's party:

Debby from My Favorite Things created a simple but delightful Fall vignette.  Debby's photos are always food for my soul!



Nici at Posed Perfection made a beautiful Autumn centerpiece for her table.  Read her post to learn her secret for getting the arrangement just right.

Using a Rustic Toolbox for a Fall Centerpiece

Sweet Debbie from Debbie-Dabble is celebrating a remodeled kitchen.  Debbie calls her style "country Victorian," and her goal was to make her room look like an old-fashioned kitchen.  I think she succeeded!


Penny from Penny's Vintage Home shared the recipe for this delicious-looking Lemon Zucchini Bread.  I think my husband would love this bread.  Penny's husband actually bakes the bread and Penny makes the icing!


Jessica from Designers Sweet Spot is doing a series on Mason jar gifts.  I think anyone would love to receive a jar of this beautiful Almond Hand Creme, don't you?



Those are just a few of my favorites.  Thank you to everyone who joined the party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured this week (or in a previous week), 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!