Thursday, October 27, 2016

Grace at Home No. 225


Hello, friends, and welcome to this week's edition of the Grace at Home party! I'm so glad you're here to celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace. Can you believe that next week is November?! The weather here has just turned fallish in the past week or so--I'm not quite ready for it to be the month of Thanksgiving!

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

If you're hosting a Halloween party and you'd like some last-minute decor inspiration, check out this post from Lori at Dining Delights. Just the right amount of "spooky" with lots of fun, I think.


Penny from Penny's Vintage Home created a beautiful mantelscape for the Thanksgiving season. If you like romantic decor, you'll love Penny's home!


If you're in the mood for Autumn baking, you'll want to check out these wonderful recipes for Fall baked goods.


And I've saved the best for last. If you're a parent, or a grandparent, or a person who loves kids and wants to know how to relate to them, you must read this post by Marian Vischer: The Ministry of Netflix. 


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, October 26, 2016

Favorite baked goods for Fall


It's finally Autumn in North Carolina! Can I get a "hallelujah"? I know that some of y'all have been enjoying Fall for awhile now, but our summer just hung on and on this year. And then of course Hurricane Matthew hit and made things interesting, but not fallish.

Well. Now. We're finally enjoying cooler temperatures, which have me in the mood to do some baking! Look what I made this weekend:


Aren't those the most beautiful muffins you've ever seen? One of my birthday gifts was a bag full of pumpkin goodies, and the Nordic Ware pan was my favorite thing. Click here for the recipe I used to make the pumpkin muffins--absolutely delicious!


In case you're in the mood for some Autumn baking, I want to share my favorite recipes for this time of year.

First is my pumpkin bread. I promise it's the very best I've ever tasted--and in 53 years, I've tasted a lot.


For a little sweeter treat, try this pumpkin cake. With its decadent cream cheese frosting, it's always a hit.


Apples are plentiful and delicious this time of year. There are lots of great apple pie recipes, but here's one for apple cake. It's amazing!


And if you want a scrumptious accompaniment to any of these baked goods but don't want to make frosting, try this cream cheese glaze. It's a breeze to whip up in the food processor--quick and simple and so tasty.


These recipes have stood the test of time and lots of taste-testing in our family. I hope you love them as much as we do!

Do you have a favorite Fall baked good? Please share!


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Grace at Home No. 224


Hello, friends, and welcome to this week's edition of Grace at Home!

I'm sorry that I've been absent from my online home here this week. I hope you know you're always welcome here, but I've not been here the last few days to open the door.

If you will, I'd like to ask for your help. A very kind reader let me know that she's been experiencing an intrusive "pop-up" ad whenever she visits my blog. The ad covers the whole screen and looks something like this:


If you've experienced anything like that when visiting my blog, will you please leave a comment below to let me know? I have a couple of ads on my site, but there should never be anything that pops up and blocks the screen. I deeply apologize if that's happened to you. Please let me know if it has--I'm trying to get to the bottom of the problem so that I can fix it!

Now on to the business at hand--our weekly Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace. Here are some posts from last week that caught my eye.

Jolena at While I Linger has been busy decorating her house for Autumn. I love what she's done in her kitchen and dining room--take a look!


Judy from JBigg's Little Pieces showed us the "spooky" Halloween decorating she's done for her grandsons. I like this--a little Halloween fun but nothing extreme.


Susan from The Sparrow's Home gave us great instructions for making freezer apple pie filling. I'd never thought of doing this, but what a great idea! Apples are delicious and inexpensive in the autumn, so I'm going to be doing this.


And Dr. Michelle Bengtson shared great insight on how to walk through the doorway to joy.


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, October 13, 2016

Grace at Home No. 223


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.

Here are some posts from last week that caught my eye.

If you're like me, you admire all the home decor made out of barn wood--but you have no source of wood with that gorgeous patina. No problem: Kim at Hunt and Host shows us how to make our own--and then how to make a cool tray from the faux aged wood. So cool!


Jolena at While I Linger shared a wonderfully detailed tutorial for making a wreath. If you've ever wanted to try your hand at creating your own decorative wreath, you'll want to read this post--she shows every step!


Once again burlap is high on the Fall decorating list. Jennifer from Noting Grace showed us how to make a beautiful burlap garland. I want to try this!


Lynn at Quaker Hill Farm didn't want to get rid of the stump of a majestic old tree--so she created a gorgeous fountain in it! Isn't this lovely?


Karmen from Chairs from the Curb is joining the 31 Day challenge. You'll want to read her post on being self-aware--so much food for thought!


As for me, I learned a good lesson last week from an unlikely source--the weather. 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!






Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Learning as I go


Last week I learned a lesson from an unlikely source: the weather.

I live in the southeastern United States, in that part that's sometimes called the mid-Atlantic, so last week's weather news was dominated by Hurricane Matthew. Perhaps you followed the course of Hurricane Matthew yourself.

Let me put it like this: Hurricane Matthew was not at all what I was expecting.

Weekend before last, I was filled with excitement but also with trepidation. Here's why.

I love to travel, but one part of the world I'd never visited was the Caribbean. My husband has to make a trip to the Caribbean once a year for the meeting of a board on which he serves, so I was delighted when I was invited to accompany him on his trip this year. I'd had my ticket for weeks and had really been looking forward to the trip. Even though Jack would be working most of the time we were there, we were anticipating having some time to enjoy the sights and to relax on the beautiful beach. But yes, you guessed it: our trip was exactly the week that Hurricane Matthew was wreaking havoc in the Caribbean.

Weekend before last, my husband and I were spending our time watching the weather forecasts, wondering if the trip would be cancelled, worrying if it would be safe to go, wondering if we'd be able to travel, worrying that our flights would be cancelled, wondering if I should just stay home where it was safe. Wonder, worry, wonder, worry.

You know what happened? They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's one:


That's the view from our hotel room. It looked the same all three days we were there. We were in the Cayman Islands, and the hurricane passed hundreds of miles to the east of us.

The only clouds we saw seemed to be there just for our enjoyment, like in this sunset one evening:


Or on another evening:


Our travel went off without a hitch. Jack's meeting went very well, and I enjoyed some time to rest. While other parts of the Caribbean were experiencing horrifying weather, we were enjoying nearly perfect weather. We gave thanks for our blessings and prayed for those less fortunate, especially for the people in Haiti, the Bahamas, and Florida.

I have to admit, though, even though we'd had no issues with the weather at all, it was good to get back home, safe and sound in our city far from the Atlantic shore. Do you know what I mean?

Then Hurricane Matthew took an odd turn, and this past Saturday, here's what we faced all day long:


All through the afternoon and evening, my phone shrieked at me, warning me of the danger of flash floods. To be honest, I didn't need the National Weather Service warnings about that. Just a couple of blocks from my house, this was the scene:


I'm very happy to tell you that the waters receded quickly after the rain finally stopped. Although we lost power for some time, our home was not threatened. We are grateful.

But isn't it ironic that we worried so much about traveling to the place that we thought would be in danger from the storm, only to face danger after we were back home, seemingly safe and sound?

I can't stop thinking about how this weather situation is a metaphor for much of my life. So many times I would worry, worry, worry about things that never came to pass. And so many other times I would feel perfectly safe and in control when actually there was danger at hand.

Here's the thing: I know the truth in my head, but sometimes it doesn't make its way down to my heart.

The truth is that I'm not in control, I've never been in control, and I never will be in control. I do what I can to try to keep myself and my loved ones safe and well, but there's no predicting what dangers may lurk in this fallen world.

And yet I am safe, because the dangers of this fallen world are not the whole story. The whole story belongs to God, who created this world and is sustaining it through His grace. The whole story is summed up in the love of God in Jesus, from which we can never be separated, no matter what dangers we face (Romans 8:28). The whole story acknowledges that, although outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day (II Corinthians 4:16).

I know these truths. You know these truths. Of course we know them. But I for one struggle with keeping them fixed in my mind and spirit.

As much as I hate to think about it, the truth is that a storm may sometime destroy my home. A tragic accident may kill my loved ones. Sickness may take my life. I do not know what the future holds, and I cannot control it. But as my friend Dallas Willard used to say, I am "an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God's great universe."

Of all things, this episode of weather helped to move the truth from my head to my heart.

I learn as I go, and I am grateful for the reminder that I belong to God. Whatever happens, I am safe and well with Him.

Have you learned any lessons from an unlikely source lately? I'd love to hear what you've learned!

*Note: Want to know how you can best help those who did suffer the ravages of Hurricane Matthew? Here's a link to Vi Bella, a good and godly organization on the ground in Haiti
where your donations can be put to excellent use.*

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Grace at Home No. 222


Hello, friends, and welcome to this week's Grace at Home party--the 222nd time we've gathered to celebrate the ways we make our homes places of grace and beauty.

Here's a blast from the past for you: does the number "222" make you think of anything? Anyone else remember watching "Room 222" on TV?

No? Okay, then. Here are some links from last week's party that caught my eye:

Jody from Southern Seazons showed us her kitchen all decorated for Fall. Just lovely!


Jamie at Anderson + Grant shared a gorgeous fall printable. Visit her site to download it for yourself.


Cheryl from Homespun Devotions challenged us to think about what unexpected consequences our actions might spark. You'll want to read this post!


As for me, I've finally gotten around to doing some Fall decorating myself. I'd love to know what you think about my Autumn front porch.


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, October 3, 2016

Autumn on the front porch


Summer has lingered around here. But the calendar has turned the page, and it's October. . . and I'm ready to decorate my house in accordance with the calendar instead of the weather. Cooler days are coming, I know!

Here's how you'd be greeted if came to my home today.


There was a time when I wanted more, more, more fall decorations at the front door, but these days I'm happy with just a few. I filled my lanterns with gourds, hung a wreath on the door, then added a couple of pumpkins and a couple of baskets. One mum adds some fall color and I hope the doorway says "Welcome friends" as well as "Welcome Fall"!

One of my favorite finds this year is a tobacco basket. While I'm not a user of tobacco products myself, I live in Durham, North Carolina, and tobacco is a big part of our local history.


To the right of the front door is my favorite spot in our house--our outdoor living room.


This area of the porch is surrounded by house on three sides, open only to the North on the front of the house. It's such a protected nook that we use it in most seasons, but Fall is our favorite.

Here you can see how the sitting area is related to the front door:


I had new covers made for the outdoor furniture this year (click here for a helpful post on choosing outdoor fabric). I'm enjoying the fact that the furniture is now so neutral that I can do whatever I want with throw pillows. I've had this pillow fabric for years, and it seemed just right for Fall, so I used this simple sewing technique and stitched up new pillow covers in no time. Other than changing the pillows, I simply added a couple of little pumpkins and a Fall message on the chalkboard.


Here's a look at the whole seating area:


These simple changes took just a little bit of time, but I think they make the porch look welcoming for the season. Now if you could just come sit here with me and have a cup of mulled cider! Wouldn't that be a good way to celebrate the coming of Autumn?

I'm joining these fun parties: